Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merrily they roll along

MIL to Sweet One (in an unnaturally high pitch): What noise does a zebra make? I don't think they make a noise
Me: You'd probably get the same answer I got when I googled Do Hippos make a noise? Only they fart! (Then I laughed.)

I tell ya, I almost had to pick up her eyeballs as they rolled across the floor! Perhaps it is best if I stay in the kitchen and continue to work on a Turkey dinner. The Pecan Pie is just finishing up!

Monday, December 27, 2010

And sometimes, all I can do is laugh

I wasn't all that quiet about my surprise and hesitation at the idea of my in-laws coming for a visit. Quite frankly, I'm still not. But I agreed to it because I know it is good for Sweet One to have time with her Grandparents and also Big Love wasn't as against the visit as I was! They planned to be here for three nights and until a few moments ago* it sounded like it would be shortened to two. The Nor'easter that is kicking the world of airline travel's ass has landed them in Philly for a few more hours than originally anticipated. We warned them that with such a short time for a visit (a cruise took up the majority of their vacation) they were taking a chance with the weather forcing them into a hotel for an extra night or two. As I watched the weather channel yesterday I just shook my head and laughed because really, what else do you do? So many other times I've worried about weather and it turned out fine.

Then last night happened. Sweet One slept until 330 and I miraculously got just under a straight 5 hours of sleep. But she didn't get back to sleep until 415 or so. And then I didn't get back to sleep until some time after 507. And then the phone rang at 534 with an automated voice telling me that my in-laws flight out of Philly was cancelled. And then Sweet One woke up at 622. By 700 we had checked out a few things online, tried to see if the in-laws were still at their hotel but they had checked out, and I was trying to get a little more sleep. But Big Love and I had forgotten to send the phone out of the room with him and my FIL woke me up at 745 to tell me what was going on. "Yup, I know it's cancelled because the airline called me at 535!" I was finally able to get a bit more sleep after that. Completely surprising to me is that I'm not pissed off about all that because it got to the point that it was beyond the point of ridiculous so I'm just laughing.... and about to have a nap.

*After typing the first few sentences my FIL called again and said they are on a 351 flight which is about 6 hours earlier than they had originally thought they'd get one. We'll pick them up at the airport and they'll get to spend the drive home with Sweet One before I put her to bed at her regular time.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Not the Christmas Day I had hoped for

Today I screamed at Sweet One. After multiple nights of interrupted sleep, two 5:15 mornings, insufficient naps and multiple, multiple diaper changes, I lost my shit. I couldn't keep it together. It was 50 minutes of on and off rages from her because she wanted her soother at nap time or I had the gall to put her in her crib.

About 20 minutes in I was getting very frustrated and so I put her in her crib in order to leave for five minutes; let her scream it off for a little bit while I tried to gather myself a wee bit. Less than one minute later I heard a bang. Finally she had ripped off the side of the crib?! Nope. It was her body hitting the floor as she found a way to crawl over the side. I picked her up and rocked her until the sobbing hiccups had ended and I thought she was completely asleep. Shortly after I put her down in the crib the flailing began again. She would not. lie. down. She slammed her body around and smashed her face into the side. I clenched my teeth, perhaps thinking that it would mute my outburst, and screamed "Lie! Down!" She looked at me and continued crying. Realizing that this situation was not going to end up in the ideal the way I wanted, I picked her up and took her to my bed where I held her and began to cry as she settled down.

Screaming at my child(ren) is one of two things I never wanted to do. My father was a screamer. He'd lose his temper and scream at me until his spit was on my face and he had done his best job at belittling and humiliating me. Blaming me for his inability to take responsibility for how he reacted. It only made me lose respect for him. Over the past few weeks I've been having more difficulty dealing with Sweet One's outbursts and the challenges from her being sick for the past two months. When I get angry I feel like part of my father is being expressed by me and I absolutely hate it. I feel sick to my stomach. I was plagued by his abusive anger for so long in my life and when moments like this happen, I feel like it is still has a place, despite all my attempts to let it go.

Sweet One has forgiven me for yelling so easily but I can not seem to forgive myself because I am afraid it is going to happen more. It's been a long two months with 7 weeks of congestion turning into an ear infection, followed by her first stomach virus over the past four days The few days in between each of these illnesses had her waking up multiple times in the night. I am trapped in a dark tunnel and completely unable to see the light at the end.

I want so much to remember this Christmas Day as the one where Sweet One woke up and found the little kitchen I had assembled for her the night before. She enjoyed opening her presents and became so focussed on each new toy that she played with it for as long as she could before her Daddy couldn't wait any longer to give her the next gift. She put on the new shoes I bought her and didn't want to take them off: "Pitty! Pitty!" It was absolutely delightful to watch her.

If I may have one Christmas Wish before this day is through, I desperately ask that we get back to the great sleeping habits that we had worked so hard to find. And if that isn't a possibility, I ask for more patience with both myself and my daughter. Perhaps even the ability to forgive myself.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Sweet One and I are watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. I remember watching this almost every year as a kid and I think that getting older hasn't stopped me from enjoying it. When I was little we also had a record with the whole show on it and my siblings and I would listen to it in our basement.

Big Love is at the church for the early service. I had thought, at some point, that Sweet One and I might go but since she's on Day 4 of a stomach virus I've decided it's best to keep her home. It has been a difficult four days as she is very demanding on me when she is sick as well as our lack of sleep. Big Love also seemed to get the same virus just before suppertime last night and luckily he seemed to be over the worst of it before he had to go to church. I only hope things start to look up as we near Monday since that is the day her Grandparent's will be here (although I'm not that optimistic).

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas with friends and family. I hope that I can ignore my aches and pains that seem to overwhelm me and remember what this season is truly about.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hide and Seek

Sweet One loves playing Hide and Seek with her Daddy these days. It doesn't even matter if she can see him sticking out from his place because we don't have that many places to hide, she thinks it is the greatest. Big Love will put his index finger on his mouth, "Hmmmm" and Sweet One will copy as he's finding a place to hide. If he forgets the 'thought process' she reminds him and does it until he remembers! Me? I'm sitting on the couch, eating my bowl of regular oatmeal and freshly ground flax seeds, thoroughly enjoying how much they like to play together. (And secretly happy it isn't me trying to get into places because I'm losing my ability to be graceful getting up and down.)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

All that matters is what he thinks

I felt fortunate last night to fall asleep almost immediately after my head hit the pillow and staying asleep until 4:15. I didn't go back to sleep and then with Sweet One waking at 5:00 I was up for awhile, desperately hoping that she'd go back to sleep and we could put an end to this gong show of a sleeping habit she's been in since November began. What the hell is it with November and December for her? I was able to get another hour of sleep after Big Love took Sweet One downstairs at 6:20.

I got up at 7:30, showered and got ready to go to MOPS. My second meeting and despite my trepidation about taking part in something lead by fundamental conservation christians, I was looking forward to going somewhere to meet other moms and let Sweet One have some time on her own with kids her age. (The first time I went I cried when I left her in the age appropriate room and she went on to thoroughly enjoy herself!)

When I came downstairs I put The Simpsons Season 8 in a gift bag and told Sweet One to give it to her Daddy and say Happy Birthday. She was very excited and as she handed the bag to him she said, "Happidy!" Big Love was excited to get another season as it is his favorite show.

After MOPS, Sweet One and I came home and had lunch with Big Love. He decided to take today off from work because he didn't want to work on his 30th birthday. I don't blame him at all. After Sweet One was sleeping I tried to rest but couldn't and so I went on some errands. In just under two hours I stopped at 9 different places and while it sounds like a lot was accomplished, it truly wasn't. Frustrating.

After I got home I went upstairs and put Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov in the same gift bag as before and Sweet One repeated her role. Quite cute. Big Love thought the edition was beautiful and so that gift was a success! (I don't think he's ever read a book written since 1900 as long as I've known him!) We proceeded to just hang out and at one point I got mad at Big Love for not choosing Super Shipper Saving on my Christmas present from amazon. There is nothing more I hate than paying for shipping when I don't have to because I'd rather that go into a bill or another little something for me - wasted money makes me physically ill! Since I knew what my present is, I also knew the shipping would be a little too much.

I went into the kitchen to work on the toppings for Big Love's birthday cheesecake. I lifted the bowl off the plate and was completely flattened when I saw it. It looked like someone stepped on it. (I love cheesecake and there is truly no place in this town where I can go and get anything other than a New York cheesecake and so I am hoping to one day figure out how to make a decent cheesecake. I cried over this one because I was just so disappointed that his cake didn't turn out better. I don't know what I'm doing wrong and I don't know anyone who can give me pointers!) Big Love came to see what was wrong and had a chuckle but said that it will be fine and that it looks delicious. I put the toppings on it and I still feel like it looks like something I find in Sweet One's diaper.

Luckily the dinner I made turned out just as it should have.

We ate some cheesecake before taking Sweet One up for her bath and two hours later I am just finally starting to feel like I can breathe again! There was one more present for Big Love and I carefully had Sweet One cradle it in her arms as she carried a bottle of Vintage Port to him, wrapped beautifully in the paper bag it came in. The look on his face was sheer delight and he said, "this has been a good day".

I had been spending so much of my energy holding myself together as best I could, and feeling like I was failing, that I didn't imagine it could have been a good day for him. But I guess that's all that matters. With very little going on and a few presents spread out throughout the day, my husband will leave his twenties behind him without a regret. He will continue to be the optimist he is, looking forward with hope and more patience for me than I deserve. Despite the fact that he wastes money on shipping, he is truly a great man.

Sweet One went to sleep without any troubles and after doing a short yoga program I have collapsed on the couch where I feel much better. One more catharsis to leave me feeling better than when I started.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Toddler in toy crane vending machine!

My father in law sent us a link to this news article and we found it very interesting! Kids sure do find a way to get into everything if they want to!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thinking of a stranger today

Sweet One is dancing to the Local on the 8's update while wearing her Robeez booties (still the 6-12 months size!) and a diaper shirt that is undone. After three nights of her sleeping well I look at her and smile and know that life is good.

There are moms out there who deal with so much more and as I just read one of my favorite blogs, I can't help but think of her and Monkey today hoping that all will be well for them. This woman has so much on her plate and yet, from what I read, I find it staggering how well she manages to always operate from a place of love for her family. I don't know her at all other than reading her blog but she is an inspiration to me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pink sticky goo all over the place

There is nothing worse than trying to give liquid amoxicillin to a toddler who doesn't in any want to swallow a single drop. Our first dose was easy and my guess is because she felt like shit and wanted nothing more than to go to sleep. But each time I've had to give it to her since has gotten worse and worse. The flailing, the spitting, the gagging and the screaming. I feel like the worst mom in the world; by the time we were done the dinnertime dose today I was crying and wanted to curl up in my own fetal position and hide in the corner. I don't know what we're going to do and I hope that if we can't get her to get drink it disguised in juice tomorrow morning that I will need to call the doctor's office again to ask if there is a chewable kind.

What I find hardest about this is that it feels like this illustrates how I've been feeling for awhile now. With her ear infection causing her to need me so much, the disrupted sleep (ever since the damn time change) and no time to myself I feel completely incapable of finding myself in a healthy mental state. I am constantly apologizing to the little Bean that is growing inside of me because I feel guilty for giving him/her such a fukked up Mama to grow inside. I can't help feeling that it is unfair for Sweet One to have had what seems to me a much healthier Mama to grow in.

Fortunately, about two minutes after the medicine gong show ended, Sweet One was resting on me and snuggling as if I was on the only one in the world she loved. If I could only forgive myself as quickly then maybe I'd be able to see better days on the other side of this goo that is clouding my vision.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What to get Big Love

December begins tomorrow and with it, one of the busiest times in our year. With Big Love being a church musician, everything starts now and he ends up putting in more hours than usual both because he feels he has more prep work to do and because the church people demand more of him. (There are times that the latter part bothers me because some of their expectations are ridiculous and would never be present at a different church.)

Mixed in with all of his work comes much celebration for us. Big Love's birthday is 10 days before Christmas, then there is Christmas, followed by the in-laws short visit and Sweet One's 2nd birthday exactly two weeks after Christmas. So much in a short amount of time. I can honestly say that I made sure baby #2 would be born at least a few months away from all of this commotion!

I'm completely at a loss of what to do for Big Love's birthday. It is his 30th and so I feel like I want to recognize it differently than the quiet way we've celebrated his other birthdays. I want to buy him a special gift he is truly a person who wants for nothing. Sure, there are a few books and CDs in his wish list but nothing that could be 'the wonderful gift I got for my 30th birthday'. (Now, we don't spend a whole lot of money on gifts, usually they end up around $100 in total for any occasion.) He is not a gadget guy, his interests for hobbies lie within his work and I can honestly say that I have never ever heard him say "I'd like to have" in regards to anything.

I also want to give him something a little special to say thank you - for waking up early with Sweet One so I can get some extra sleep, for enabling me to get my workout done on the days when I feel like I really need to, for not getting cranky when the evening comes and I collapse on the couch because almost every muscle in my body is aching, for never getting mad when I snap at him because I feel like shit, for not complaining that he's had no physical affection since I got pregnant (oh, he did gently remind me that I don't even kiss him these days), for doing the dishes so often because he knows I hate doing dishes, for not giving me shit that he comes home to a house that is littered with duplo, spongy blocks and colored balls, for making sure I can go to a movie when I want to, ..... and the list goes on and on.

So what do I buy for a man who wants nothing and doesn't play with gadgets? I have no idea. But really, I also need to figure out Christmas at the same time!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

If I were a cupcake, I'd taste gross while trying to cover it all up with some cream cheese frosting

For the past few months I have been absolutely lacking in any desire for making suppers. No adventure to try new recipes and often end up scrambling to throw something together at the last minute. Or I end up making a recipe and make do without some of the ingredients. All this leaves me a little bitter that I am always having to think of supper and plan it - but really, when I express myself regarding this I seem to be kept company by the proverbial tree in the woods. I guess I can thank my MIL for never teaching her sons to cook and accepting their complete absence in the kitchen while they grew up. Big Love will help if I ask and once in awhile even asks if I need help. What I want is to have it all taken care of so I don't even have to waste any energy planning it. Just as it does for Big Love pretty much every day, I want supper to miraculously appear in front of me. Luckily, the man does do dishes and I think if he didn't, I'd lose my mind.

So to distract myself I try to focus on some of the entertaining things going on here. My primary doctor is a DO and so today I went to him for an adjustment. The appointment started out:
Do you have an equivalent to Thanksgiving in Canada?
Yeah, it's in October.
What do you call it?
He started to laugh his head off and the rest of the appointment seemed to go like that as if moved from me explaining why I think it is insane to have more than two kids, to having my OB offer to tie my tubes during my cesarean, to him telling me all the times I can go and watch his eldest daughter in a production of The Nutcracker where she will dance as a present.

While it can be very exhausting, from about 4:30 on for the past three days, Sweet One has been very clear that I am the only one allowed to do anything for her from washing her hands after supper to giving her her blueberries. She seems to need a chunk of time where we are attached for up to half an hour. The end of day comes when we are in her bedroom ready to read a book and she looks at her Dad and says, "Bye" clearly telling him that he is no longer in her room as the two of us begin to read stories. I do feel bad for Big Love and the small amount of rejection he sometimes feels when he is told in many little ways that he just doesn't cut it! Then again, they are both currently inside of her fire truck playing so maybe she does like him after all. (She does answer "yeah" when I ask her if she loves her Daddy.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

A few cute moments make the hard ones worth it

Sweet One has been a little clingy lately. She goes through phases in the day when she wants to be attached to me or I am the only person allowed to do anything for her because Daddy just doesn't cut it! It's a little exhausting especially when she's had another two 5:30am mornings with me on the hardwood floor for one of them trying to get her to go back to sleep. Isn't it two weeks after the time change and still no major adjustment for her! With the last two canines making their way through her gums, a nose that won't stop running and these early mornings I have a toddler who is doing her best to be happy (happidy, happidy) when she can. I'm also starting to feel some of the muscular fatigue of a belly that is pulling my back in directions it doesn't usually go. Each day I am more and more thankful for the moments of sheer adorable toddlerhood that keep me going and help me make it through the next time she has a mood swing.

Moment One
Do you want some blueberries*?
Can you say please?
Yes. (In a tone that completely says, 'yes, you know I can'.)
Say please.

*You can substitute blueberries for anything a toddler might ask for.

Moment Two
(Arms outstretched.) Hai. Hai!
You want a hug?

And this can happen anywhere - in her booster seat, in the car seat, in a cart in the middle of a store, on the couch, blah blah - anywhere at all!

Moment Three
Uppity! Uppity!
You want to come up? Just a moment, Mama's got raw chicken* all over her hands.

*Once again, substitute for pretty much anything I could be in the middle of. But it's probably not the begging to be lifted up as much as the word she uses that makes this moment cute to me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sweet Relief

I had an appointment with my new OB and all I can say was that by the time I was done talking to her nurse before the doctor even came in, so much of the stress from the last two months had quickly dissipated!

The nurse first said to me, What did the other doctor tell you about VBACs? and the look on her face made me realize that all my concerns about having a VBAC at this hospital IF it becomes allowed were completely warranted. At this point, the hospital is not allowed to do them because they do not have anesthesiologists in house, they are on call. That means that if someone suddenly ruptures, they may not get the pain management they need for an emergency c-section in time. Also, VBACs require special expertise and since this hospital has not done them for a very long time, they do not have the experience necessary.

Then the doctor came in and we talked more. I thanked her for taking me on and her reaction was so much more relaxed than the women I spoke to to get switched in the first place. You gave it a try and it wasn't for you, that's just fine. So, they are working on booking my c-section early so that they can try to get one of the first surgery slots of the day and we were allowed some input into when it happened. We chose the day so that Big Love can have his choir rehearsal the night before - being close to Easter with a choir that needs much prep and all!

I have completely lost where I was with all this. Sweet One had two friends over while their mom was at an appointment and then I had them for lunch. In the past hour and a bit I feel like a tornado has hit me! Luckily, dishes are done and the living room is tidied. Now I will hope Sweet One naps so I can relax a bit.

A final thought on my OB. I feel so relieved that this one and her staff seem to be of a similar wavelength as the one I loved so much and I am feeling much better about the next half of my pregnancy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I want to be a bitch rather than gracious and understanding

My in-laws recently emailed me asking about Christmas lists and if they could come for a visit next month. This is quite a surprise as they usually give us much more warning about when they want to come and also December is probably one of the busiest times for Big Love. I have no idea why they directed the email in a joint account to just me because if they knew my initial reaction was to scream NO! they might have also addressed it to Big Love!

I wish I was one of those women who got excited at the idea of the in-laws visiting but I simply am not and can't seem to be no matter how hard I try. The conversation wraps around and repeats so many times that I get dizzy out of boredom and I truly can not relate to my MIL's life. She's retired from her part-time work at retail stores and, from what I can tell, spends it watching tv and reading. Sometimes Big Love will call and my FIL is out doing something on his day off and she is still at home doing nothing. She doesn't have any friends that she gets together with, doesn't do crafts or bake or cook to pass the time. She's quiet, prim and proper and likes to glare at me when I say things she either doesn't understand or thinks is ridiculous. I find this very hard to relate to and it exhausts me to be tiptoeing around my personality in fear of doing something that might blow the roof off.

Sweet One and I have also been battling a relapse of whatever it was we were sick with a few weeks ago. Add the time change being something she hasn't adapted to and we're all very tired here. For instance, this morning she woke up at 5:04. I went in to try and get her back to sleep and at 5:20 I left to use the bathroom. She started crying again and so I spent the next hour and ten minutes sitting on the cold hardwood floor with my arm between the slats of her crib trying to keep her relaxed and resting. Big Love came in when she started talking at 6:30 to find me lying on the floor between the crib and the wall. (We have to pull the crib out from the wall or she turns on and off the light instead of sleeping.) I'm exhausted and she's exhausted. Big Love is also very tired with a demanding month ahead. The idea of having to cook and clean for anyone at all for a 'few' (curious about their definition of that word) days makes me want to cry.

I am trying to believe in the importance of putting myself in their shoes as well. I understand it can be hard for them to be away from Sweet One and it would be good for her to have time with her grandparents. Also, Big Love is approaching his 30th birthday so there is no doubt in my mind that that is part of the reason they want to come to visit. I have told Big Love that in the end it is his parents and if he'd really like them to come he can make that decision and I'll suck it up. Because every once in awhile you have to do something you don't really want to for the rest of your family. He'd just better find a way to take a few days off work so I'm not stuck with them on my own for the majority of the time because the last time that happened I almost lost my mind.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Small town, smaller options

It has been awhile since I have felt bitterness at living in a small town. The resentment and anger I had been feeling for a good portion of my time here wasn't doing me any favors and I decided that a change was in order. I found reasons to be happy - the low standard of living enabling us to own our house and for me to be at home with Sweet One was a big one.

Today I was reminded of what can be lacking when living in a small town. Choices. And not just choices in terms of stores, restaurants and concerts. Today I was shown that there are limitations to my health care. I made the decision to pick up the phone and ask to be moved to a new OB. After my previous one went on medical leave (I adored her and would trust her with my life to this day) and I got put with a doctor I didn't feel comfortable with, I spent much time trying to see if I was going to be ok. But I just don't. A male doctor of similar age to my father, whose emotional and physical abuse has left me with many wounds that I am still trying to heal, leaves me feeling uncomfortable. I have plead my case in the most gracious and level-headed way I know how with a receptionist and the office manager but I do not know if they are going to move me. While they argue that there is a 50% chance a male doctor will deliver my child, I argue that it is not just the delivery that I am uncomfortable with but the consultations leading up to delivery and after. I simply do not feel comfortable in the care of a man who is from the same generation who spent so much time making me feel horrible about my abilities, choices and who I am.

This is the only OB clinic in town. I can not go to a nearby city because at the time of delivery I believe that it would be too hard on Big Love and Sweet One. Added stresses of travel at a time of year when weather isn't the greatest is not something I want to put them through.

I may also have the decision of whether or not to VBAC and this is also a bit disconcerting. Up until a month and a half ago I had been told that they do not happen in the local hospital and that I would be delivery via c-section again. But now they may be implementing protocol to encourage VBACs. Do I want to choose this with a doctor that I am not familiar with and be one of the first people in this area to attempt the VBAC? While the doctors are capable they are obviously inexperienced in this area since their policy has been against these types of deliveries.

More doctors with more opinions to help me make the choices I need to make. That is what I desperately wish I had right now.

I'm happy to say that I got a phone call the next morning with the news that one of the female doctors will be taking me on as her patient!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

I think I'll keep him

I've had two nights and one full day as a single mom and it isn't going too bad. At first I realized there were a few nice things about being on my own.

Lately, between me, Big Love and the maternity pillow it has been getting a little cramped in the bed so I was excited to have it all to myself. My last two sleeps have been a little less disrupted than other nights but last night after being in bed for just over an hour, Sweet One woke me up and I realized that I was still cold. I hadn't yet warmed up and my feet felt like ice. Usually I would have had them tucked under Big Loves long, skinny legs to warm up but that didn't seem to be an option!

Pesto. It is lovely. It's the only reason I grow parsley and basil (because I rarely remember to use it fresh during the summer) and so I make a bunch and freeze it. I can't use it for a family meal because "oh my god it is made of cheese and cheese is evil because it is made by letting something curdle and go bad and it stinks unless it is mozarella and only on pizza" and so I was able to enjoy it last night without making someone's stomach churn! But then when dinner was done and I was feeling a little pooped, as I often do these days, I realized that I would be the one to do dishes. I kinda hate doing dishes.

After getting Sweet One to bed last night, I came downstairs to watch The Boys Are Back (it was interesting but it didn't hold my attention very well) and realized that there was still stuff on the floor. Since I'm the only one 'allowed' to put her to sleep, the living room has often been tidied by the time I get downstairs. It only took a few minutes but every inch of me wanted to collapse on the couch. And I had to get the cloth diapers dried and folded, which is often something Big Love takes on. I did like being able to hunker down and watch a chick flick without feeling bad for taking the tv hostage and leaving Big Love to figure out what he was going to do.

I've woken up with Sweet One the last two mornings, obviously because I'm not going to let her take care of herself while I catch a little more sleep, but usual Big Love does because my sleep can be so disrupted. Luckily, over the past while I've been falling asleep easily after I wake up (KNOCK ON A FOREST!!!) and so getting up hasn't been too bad - and Sweet One hasn't woken up before 7!

After a full day of thinking that being on my own wasn't too bad, I talked to Big Love on the phone and kept rambling and repeating myself to keep the conversation a little longer even though we were both tired. I guess I missed him!

It seems that Sweet One is ready for her morning poopy bum change - which Big Love usually takes care of. Just one more reason the Cons outweigh the Pros. I guess it's nice to have him around and so I won't get rid of him any time soon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Right here and now

It's 7:30 am and I am hiding out in my bedroom. I'm very rarely awake this early but I haven't been able to fall asleep since Sweet One woke up at 6:30. Luckily for me, Big Love gets up with her in the mornings due to the sleep difficulties I have brought on my hormonal changes. Rather than going downstairs and joining them I'm hiding out in my nice warm bed and taking some time f0r myself before I gather my energy and face the day. Over the past couple days I've felt very unstable and by the time Sweet One is going down for her nap I am on the verge of tears. I'm not exactly sure why but I think it is hormones and all the crap that seems to be going through my head.

One of the ways I deal with big changes is to try and figure out as much as I can ahead of time. Lately, I have been starting ta o think of Sweet One's move to a big girl bed and moving her entire room to a slightly larger one. We have three bedrooms upstairs with one being a studio/office. I slash an office because I had hopes that I would be teaching voice lessons in the studio and so we used the second largest room for that. At this point its use as a studio has been limited and so now the best use for it will be a bedroom for Sweet One and her sibling. Especially good will be the fact that this room is a little cooler in the summer because it is does not have west facing windows. Sweet One's actual transition into this room is what worries me because I've never done something like that. I know in the end that it will work out and that once we are in the midst of it all will be what it is, but that seems to be something on my mind in preparation for the new little one.

Tomorrow we will hop into the car and take Big Love to a nearby city so that he can do some professional development. Nothing huge and exciting, just sitting in on some church choir rehearsals, going to the symphony and another concert as well as attending a church service. This will be Big Love's chance to recharge and do things that he desperately needs at this point to take care of himself. It will be the first time I am on my own for a few days with Sweet One and while it isn't really that long I am not sure how I am going to do it. The weather may not be great and when we are cooped up in the house all day long I struggle to find ways to entertain her in a productive manner. I think the kid has inherited my love of tv watching and if I'd let her, I think she'd watch all day long! My struggle here is that I feel like a shitty mom when I let her watch too much tv because I lack the ability to keep her stimulated.

As I write all this down I feel like a bonehead. Things have felt very overwhelming lately and I do know that it is my pregnancy hormones causing the disturbance. I was sick for almost two weeks and am now trying to get my sinuses to finish up whatever they want to do. While I was sick I didn't have as much time to rest as I would have like because I spent all my spare time, and the very little energy that I had, trying to get a skirt made for my niece's skating this year. I did get it done although I'm not sure if I have recovered from the trauma of trying to fit 400 inches of tulle on a very small skirt! Now I move on to the skating dress and I am working with the 4way stretch of polyester and lycra for the first time. It is a steep learning curve and within the first few steps I was saying how great it was that I got my new machine after I attempted this the last time!

Our ultrasound is tomorrow. I am eager to see this little one and hopefully feel more excited about the pregnancy, but I am equally eager to see if my placenta is going to do the same thing that it did last time. Just knowing where it is will give me some idea of what kind of decisions that I will have to make. If it is not blocking the baby's exit, I may be able to choose a VBAC which scares the crap out of me because with my old doctor there was never going to be that option - and I am still sad that she is no longer my doctor. If I will have a recurrence of placenta previa I look forward to eventually being taken off exercise. I also have not decided if I want to be put with one of the other doctor's in the office as I am not completely sure how comfortable I am with the new one they placed me with.

It's nearing 8:00 and after typing all this out I feel like I'll be able to take on today without being too afraid of what my nervous system might put ahead of me. I sometimes wonder why I keep this blog going but I guess I have realized that it is only for myself and the catharsis I can experience as I look at what is going on in a different way. Right here and now my struggles are not a large as what many other people have in front of them but they are still mine and I need to figure them out.

Perhaps this morning I am also avoiding getting out of bed and seeing how this country voted. For the last two election I have been afraid that decisions will be made out of irrational thought brought on my fear.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lonely Ladybug

A few weeks ago I got a costume made for Sweet One and, thinking it was pretty cute, in my head I anticipated a lovely Thursday evening of Trick-or-Treating with her for the first time. (This town does things weird with the Trick-or-Treating happening on the Thursday before Halloween so that teachers don't have to deal with the kids on 'sugar highs'.) Things don't always work out as we plan when we're parents and this was definitely one of those. The moment I tried to put it on Sweet One, she hit the floor in a tantrum! I did manage to get the wings on her red jacket and so Big Love spent about half an hour taking her to a few houses. The best part was watching her run away from a house as quickly as she could so that she could follow her friends! I just chuckled as I handed out candy to those who stopped by!

So my costume may have to wait another year or perhaps it will always be the lonely ladybug who hoped to be someone's first Halloween costume.

On another note, the netbook seems to have survived the flood! I am so relieved.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It was one of those days where I'm tired from waking up throughout the night but I was making the best of it. With the temperature being 60 degrees by as early as 10:00 this morning Sweet One got outside and we had a nice time walking up and down the street and then playing in the sandbox. We were able to Skype for the first time with my sister and her kids which was awesome. And then Sweet One knocked over a glass of water being she was trying to poke at the computer after I told her not to and the water went all over the netbook. Now it is one of those days where everything is melting down and I just want to cry. I wish I was one of the bloggers who mentions they're having a problem with something and voila! some company fixes it for them just because they know they'll get free advertising that way. Well, I'm not and I may be going without a netbook if this one dies. It was a nice 6 months of being technologically relevant.

Friday, October 22, 2010

First cold

Sweet One has her first cold. Now I realize how completely fortunate I am that in 21 months she has never been sick, save for a couple fevers, but it is never fun to see your child sick.

Mostly it has manifested itself with a runny nose and not being able to fall asleep on her own as well as constant waking during the night. The second day was her most irritable and at night she didn't sleep for more than 1.5 hours at a time which drove me nuts until I decided to bring her into the bed with us. I figure that it looked pretty cute with she and I curled up together in a full size, wrap around maternity pillow. While I was able to rest more than getting up constantly to comfort her, it was interesting trying to sleep with a toddler making me her sleeping surface.

Last night she surprised me by sleeping through the entire night - it was blissful - for the first time since we were on our vacation to the cabin. I'd been starting to worry that we were going to be entering a downhill spiral into months of no sleeping but thankfully Sweet One rescued me from that!

After rocking her to sleep for her naps and a good portion of her nights lately, I'd been feeling like it was going to become a pattern that I struggled to break. Tonight after I initially put her down for the night, she began to cry and scream. I let her cry for 5 minutes and then I checked on her. She settled down and so I left the room again to which she responded with more crying and screaming. I did about 10 minutes of yoga while she cried on and off and then checked on her again. Same thing happened - she settled, I left, she cried. I didn't have to go back in because she finally got herself to sleep but I feel like a complete asshole. I hate having to put her through that to try and prevent sleeping problems. Half an hour after she fell asleep I finished my yoga and cracked her door open just enough to hear her breathe. There was still the remnant of her crying so hard before (not quite sure how exactly to explain the sound but I'm sure any parent knows exactly what I am talking about; the little uneven exertion in her exhale). Right now I want to run upstairs and pick her up out of her crib and hold her, hoping she'll forgive me for putting her through that when she is still not 100%.

After nights of little sleep I am now trying to fight off an impending sinus infection - the way every bug I have to fight manifests itself. I will probably lose and am not looking for another round of amoxicillin while pregnant. Hopefully we'll get a good night sleep and I will feel a little better tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Too many surprises in one day

I had an OB appointment today and for the past month I've been worrying about it because my previous experience with the new doctor was quite negative. I was nervous as we waited for him to come in because I was worried about having one appointment with him and then having to go out and fight for my right to have a doctor I was comfortable with. Little did I know that he was going to pull the rug right out from under my toes. Even Big Love was shocked. The doctor I saw today was completely unlike the doctor I had met once during my previous pregnancy and twice in the hospital. He was kind, personable and genuinely interested in getting to know us a bit in the short time allotted for these appointments. On top of it, he mentioned that should my placenta cooperate this time, protocol may be in place for me to have a VBAC if I so choose.

By the time I was about to leave this appointment I was nearly in tears, partially due to Sweet One being awake for 2 hours last night, because nothing in that appointment was what I expected. I had a doctor who I could possibly be ok with and the potential for a whole new way of thinking about giving birth this time. I can honestly say that I am still very sad about my previous doctor going on medical leave because I adored her and in my eyes no one will ever be as good as her.

I have so much to think about. It is insane how different my new doctor was at this appointment. In two weeks we'll have our ultrasound and see what the placenta is doing and then I can start to think about what I'd like to do delivery-wise. Although, I'm not sure I'd like to be one of the first people to have a VBAC at this hospital. Right now, I just need to go and watch some Parenthood and relax, turn off my brain and pray that Sweet One sleeps through the night. On top of all this, she has her first ever cold.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cold and Drizzly with a hint of cheesecake

We went to Keystone State Park on Monday and returned Friday. It's a great time of year to rent their modern cabins (or in any Pennsylvania State Park for that matter) because during the week they're freakin' cheap! One thing that can suck at this time of year is the weather.

We drove in drizzle and rain all the way, stopping in a city to get some supplies from Trader Joe's. After I rocked Sweet One to sleep (we had some sleeping issues while we were there), I found the silence from lack of computer and/or TV staggering. At the same time, I knew it would be good for me and my tendency to turn on the boob tube and disappear for an hour or so. Tuesday and Wednesday were also cold and drizzly. We were so desperate to get out of the cabin to entertain Sweet One that we hopped in the car Wednesday morning and went to the nearby Walmart!

Luckily we woke to blue skies and sun Thursday morning or I might have lost my mind. We went hiking and Sweet One climbed the trails to 250 feet higher in altitude than where we began. After this she made me carry her all the way down - Daddy could not help! - and proceeded to do everything in her power to fall asleep. I was successful and kept her awake but it did take some juggling! In the afternoon we went to the lakeshore and Sweet One filled as much time as she could throwing rocks into the lake. It was amazing how much she liked that.

Our moments of luxury were went Big Love and I ate one piece of cheesecake every night. Thanks to Trader Joe's and their Chocolate Dilemma we had a different flavor every night! My god was that cheesecake much better than we had anticipated.

Leaving Friday was bittersweet as the sun was out even stronger than Thursday but this body could not handle another night on that bed. It was wonderful to get away from everything and despite the shitty weather we're glad we went.

On Monday we go and sign the papers on our 2010 Rav4 that we ended up buying a month earlier than we expected because of a low interest rate. After stuffing our civic as full as we possibly could we know it is time to trade it in for something more spacious as our family gets bigger.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Doctor Dilemma

My previous pregnancy was full of anxiety, especially in the third trimester, because I had placenta previa. In the end, I couldn't have found myself a more capable, compassionate OB to take care of me and my baby in the situation. Luckily, I was able to carry Sweet One the full 39 weeks which is designated (at least here, I have no idea about anywhere else) for a scheduled C-section.

The first appointment we had with this pregnancy, my OB told us how excited she was to see our name on her list of new pregnancies. It made me feel even happier that she was our doctor but unfortunately, I had no idea that she is ill. At our second appointment I ended up seeing a different doctor without any warning and later that afternoon I learned from my neighbors that my OB was ill. I left that conversation with a feeling that she would not be able to deliver this baby.

Monday afternoon I was outside with Sweet One and at 5:15 Big Love told me I had a phone call from the OB office that I had to return. Unfortunately he told me too late to call that day and so I spent the night with a strong feeling that my doctor would no longer be my doctor and that they stuck with me the only doctor in the office who I felt very uncomfortable with. My fears were confirmed the next morning. I immediately pleaded with the woman on the phone to not leave me with him but at this point she has asked me to see how I feel after my first appointment with him. I agreed.

Just when I finally stopped worrying about our green card, I get to worry about this now. I have spent the last two days trying to figure out a way to advocate for myself that is firm, gracious and successful in convincing whoever I need to that I do not in any way feel comfortable with this doctor. I do not know exactly what it is. When I met him with my first pregnancy I just had a feeling that I was so relieved he wasn't my doctor and then when he had to fill in for my OB and check on me after my C-section, I again was rubbed the wrong way. It may be a lack of bedside manner or the fact that he is male, perhaps even both, but I do not want to have him examine me at all. Nor do I want to be pretty much naked, paralyzed on an operating table with him cutting me open.

Will this office not give me an option and force me to stay with this doctor? I do not know. I guess I'm a little ignorant on what is considered acceptable in this situation. I fully understand that this is not the easiest situation to deal with for the office as much as myself but I desperately hope they will have a fraction of the compassion my previous OB had and let me have another doctor. What is consider acceptable/medically ethical in this situation?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sucky Sunday

After many weeks, perhaps even a few months, of not going I decided that Sweet One and I would go to church this morning. I had hoped that she'd be manageable for at least part of it, making it to the children's story.

We arrived about 15 minutes early and Sweet One immediately went into her shy mode. If people started talking to her and she didn't know them, she'd scream. I then took her into the choir room where Big Love was rehearsing the choir and it only took a few minutes for her to want her Daddy. More screaming ensued and so I took her out, went to the washroom and then returned when the choir was finished with their warm-up. Sweet One got a quick hug and we went into the sanctuary, joining an elderly couple who are friends of ours. Sweet One did not play shy with them at all but five minutes later she was mad that she couldn't go up to where her Daddy was and so, more screaming. We left for a few minutes and then I thought we'd go back in during a hymn but as soon as she saw her Daddy as we passed the stairs to the choir loft, she started screaming again. I grabbed our things as quickly as I could and we left.

When it came to nap time, I was feeling like crap and exhausted but Sweet One decided to take an hour to get to sleep. No screaming happened here but I sure wanted to! Finally, after I was able to rest for a bit I went to a movie because I needed a break. I saw You Again and while it really wasn't all that original or exciting, it was a much needed mental vacation and the actors were enjoyable to watch.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A whole new view

I hadn't been in a rush considering how little she is but as I drove to Dairy Queen to get myself some Dilly Bars (heartburn cure!) I decided that today was the day I would turn Sweet One's car seat around. At almost 20.5 months I figured it was time. She's not quite 22 pounds yet but I could see her head poking over and she couldn't stretch out her legs. And really, I wanted to look back and to see her face! When we put her in it after I got it set up, the look on her face was priceless.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The grass does look a little greener!

Today I found out that should our green card application be denied, there are two other avenues for us to go about staying in the country for awhile. While I believe that the green card gives us the most freedom to move on to a new location when we are ready, it is good to know that we will not have to pack up and leave on short notice. Quite a load off the ol' shoulders to say the least. Our lawyer is also very confident that Big Love fulfills all of the criteria required for receiving a green card in his current capacity and so he has left me with the feeling that all should be good.

Excuse me while I sigh a breath, or eighteen, of relief!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Literary Guide

For a number of years now, my choice in books has been strongly influenced by M. Actually, it's probably safe to say it is guided by her! Luckily, I have never disliked a book she has recommended. Her reading is varied and I am always excited to see what might be next when I ask for suggestions. Over the past few years I have especially enjoyed the Canadian authors that she has exposed me to.

When an actual book is passed on to me that she has already read, there are always a few pages that have been dog-eared. As I make my way to those places, I am eager to see if I can understand why she has marked that page. Sometimes I can and sometimes I'm not sure . When I do think that I have figured it out I wonder if that spot would have meant something to me without her guidance.

Currently I'm reading Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner. A memoir about her childhood growing up on the American side of Niagara falls. A slightly unorthodox childhood in the '50s, I find myself in awe of the story each time I pick it up. It is absolutely delightful with challenging moments woven throughout that gives the reader glimpses of how different our lives can be from one another and how we can be shaped by each person who crosses our path. (I'm excited to have just found out in my Chatelaine magazine that she has just published volume 2!)

This book has more pages dog-eared than any book she has passed on so far! And while M is now 2100 miles away from me rather than 500 (something that I am still having some difficulty adjusting to!) I feel like we are sharing a little moment together when I come upon her special pages.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What's bugging you?

Yes, I stole my title from the Backyardigans because it is the episode Sweet One is watching right now. At one point after "What are we gonna do?" was asked between characters, Sweet One shot up, turned around, put her arms out to the side, faced me and said in a nice high squeak, "Do?" Other versions of this are "mutter mutter do?" It is quite cute and sometimes her repetition of this statement goes on for five minutes or so. It doesn't always have to be prompted by the Backyardigans either.

Now to go and stop her from hitting her head on the tv because she is mad that she doesn't get to watch another one! Oh! Looks like her found her box of 8 crayons and we are about to embark upon an hour or so of taking them in and out of the box. Does that help her fine motor skills?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

She thinks I'm a Mokey!

Thursday afternoon after I finally convinced myself to get Sweet One outside for a bit (knowing full well her Dad would be coming home shortly and take over the child care for me!) we stepped outside onto the porch and there was a package. I was very curious about this package because I was not expecting anything from amazon and so I quickly opened it and found a Mokey doll. I pulled up the packing list and it read:
Hi Sweet One. I'm sending you this Fraggle. Her name is Mokey and she always reminds me of your mom...she's the fraggle version of your mom so when you snuggle her it's like snuggling your mom.
I will admit that my first instinct was, is Mokey the winer? What does she do that is annoying? Ridiculous, I know. And now as I've looked up a character description I am completely flattered. I found it on wikipedia:
Mokey represents a highly spiritual and artistic type (she recites poetry, sketches and paints), and usually remains quiet and contemplative, though even she can get annoyed from time to time. She functions as the optimist of the group, trying to see the best in everyone and everything, and comforting her friends when no such "bright side" can be found. According to episode 15, Mokey can make friends quite easily because of her optimistic personality. Though spiritual and serene, Mokey has the dangerous job of procuring radishes from the Gorgs' garden. Mokey has mauve skin and light blue green hair; she wears a greyish brown cardigan. She also wears the pop-top from a soda can as a necklace pendant.*
So I guess I've learned that I can just smile and be thankful that my sister thinks of me in such a cute way! Watching Fraggle Rock was something that we did as kids and whenever I see their DVDs, I look forward to introducing Sweet One to them.

*This description was found in Wikipedia.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The perfect mini vacation

All summer we have wanted to take Sweet One up to the nearest Great Lake to go swimming but every time it was hot enough we figured that it would be too crowded. Today, however, we thought would be different since it was the first day of school. I'm so glad we did.

Despite the strong waves coming into shore, Sweet One managed to play and dance on the wet sand and then venture into the water with us from time to time. It completely killed the sweltering heat that we have been having for the passed few days. Sweet One wasn't afraid of the water at all. I was surprised at how difficult it was for her to walk on the sand - I definitely didn't expect that!.

It was truly a mini-vacation and by the end of it Big Love hardly remembered even being at work today! We finished it up with Tim Horton's chili and McDonald's fries in the car on the way home and then stopped at a local ice cream place to sit on their patio and eat some tasty ice cream. (Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures because the batteries died as soon as we got there. I hate our camera. The batteries die constantly and it takes forever to get ready to take the next shot after one has been taken. Oh how I wish I could get a new, more reliable one!)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A completely different experience the second time

It is currently 84 degrees today and fairly comfortable here on my porch sucking back as much water as I can to try and appease this unquenchable thirst. I love my covered porch although I don't spend a whole lot of time on it because Sweet One would much rather be roaming the neighborhood, stalking the cats or hanging out in front of our neighbor's house as if we're using her as an excuse to spy on them. I've started feeling quite uncomfortable standing in front of the neighbor's houses and so that is one reason why Big Love is out somewhere along this street with her right now.

The past two and a half weeks have been quite difficult for me. At 8 weeks pregnant, I am constantly nauseous with only a few hours respite in the afternoon. I desperately wish I could just be sick to make it feel better but it doesn't happen. I never felt like this with Sweet One. The only complaint I had after the first trimester was over with her was how tired I was and I knew I was lucky. Add the nausea and my nights already being interrupted three or four times and I feel like I'm barely holding on.

Last night at 11:08 I walked downstairs and did my prenatal yoga workout for the first time since the stick said yes. At one point I cried from the realization that I had yet to be purely excited about this little one growing inside of me. Completely planned and anticipated, I've been caught off guard by how hard it is to take care of myself and Sweet One at the same time. I am constantly in awe of women who do this time and time again because I know that I could not. I instinctively know that two will be enough for me and I am crossing my fingers that there is only one heartbeat at my next appointment! And I also know just how fortunate I am to have gotten to this point.

Thank God! for Big Love. He is stepping up in ways I always knew he would but am still so grateful for. He continues to wake up with Sweet One without complaint as her mornings have been earlier than we're accustomed to over the past week. In the hour and a half it takes me to be functional in the morning he continues to offer to make me breakfast, gets Sweet One dressed and himself ready for work. By the time I'm finally ready and about to walk him to work, it is probably a little later than he'd like but still absolutely no complaint. When he gets home from work he often takes back over the care of Sweet One and plays with her while as I drag myself between a few tasks hoping to feel the slightest sense of usefulness. The day finishes with supper, dishes (which Big Love always does), bath and bedtime. After this is done I usually flop onto the couch and lie there until it is bedtime for me knowing that I only survived the day because of how amazing this man is that I married.

I'm looking forward to the first signs of life in this belly of mine. The first bubbly feelings that evidence there is really a little one growing inside of me rather than some other condition that is robbing me of my energy right now. Until then, I'm trying to enjoy when I am feeling ok and give Sweet One as much good energy as I can possibly muster without beating myself up when I feel like I fail.

On a slightly funnier note, when we were at a crosswalk in Montreal a woman was admiring Sweet One and after a few words said to me, "and you're having another one" while she looked at my belly. This to me was a little victory because I've always made jokes at how my 'pooch' never really went away and while at 5 weeks my belly hadn't yet changed, it still looked like a pregnant belly to a stranger!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Food Frustrations

I have decided that all of the recommendations to eat a variety of flavors while pregnant and nursing so as to help your a child eat a wide variety of foods as they get older is a load of shit. I think whether or not a kid is going to be a picky eater or not is quite possible preprogrammed into their brains in those early weeks of pregnancy that leave you exhausted and feeling hung over all day. (Maybe a picky eater is punishment for the gin and tonic drank before the stick said yes!)

I did eat a variety of foods while pregnant and nursing and at one point Sweet One had a whole list of vegetables that she would eat. Then when she moved primarily onto finger foods, beans and noodles were her staples. These days I have no idea what she'll eat. I always offer what we are eating to see if she'll try it but I still have to have a separate meal for her ready to go. The one main thing she'll eat is wieners and I buy the all beef ones hoping they're a little healthier than others. Who knows. All I know is that it drives me nuts to guess at what she'll actually eat, or even to have her act enthusiastically to a suggestion, and then go into a screaming fit once it is on the tray in front of her.

Maybe once I get back onto our 'winter' meals she'll eat things like curried lentils, meatloaf and chili again. I just hope I don't have to make her separate food until she moves out.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Switching outlooks

One of the greatest things about Big Love is that he is level headed. Constantly reminding me that things will be okay when all I want to do is fly off the handle and have one of my freak outs. We definitely balance each other out! But right now I'm not so sure.

With our recent issues at the border and the realization that our green cards may not go as smoothly as we'd like, Big Love has been taking every chance he can to mention that we might be sent packing with a moments notice. Meanwhile, I'm desperately trying to picture us here, in our home as long as we want to - to be able to leave on our own terms.

I'm worried as to how Big Love's lack of confidence in our situation may cause me to lose my mind. Sweet One and I walked Big Love to work today and as we were walking into the parking lot something came up to which he answered, "then again, we may end up there a year from now" or something like that. I wanted to scream, "you can't lose it on me or I'll go insane and then I'll be the biggest basket-case you've ever seen for the next 10 months!" Instead, I quietly told him that he needs to be positive or we're gonna be screwed.

I need him to be stable for us. I need him to reassure me, not the other way around. This is how it has always been and that is how we are supposed to function as a couple! At least in my brain. I've decided that each day I'm going to take some time to visualize things as we want the outcome to be. Perhaps the universe will agree.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our dubious status

When we returned from Montreal this passed Sunday, we encountered our first glitch at the border. In our passports has always been the I-94A and, since our visas have been extended, there was also one other piece of paper stapled to the I-94A that we received when our visas were renewed. For some reason, the US government does not put the expiry date on the renewal slip. Why? I have no freakin' clue and think that that is absolutely retarded! Regardless, the paper which the renewal slip detaches from does have the expiry date which we have carried with us on two previous trips and never needed them. I've always been someone who carries more than we need with us to prevent any problems, but this time I completely forgot about the lack of expiry date on our passport documents.

We were one of those cars sent to the offices at the border. They take the keys to our car and firmly tell us where to go. On one hand, the person at the booth could have easily found it in the computer they scan things through - which is what I'm guessing has been done in the past - and on the other, we should have had the rest of the renewal notice with us. Luckily, all the information regarding us and our status in the States is readily available in the computer and the person we dealt with in the office issued us new I-94A's, confiscating our other documents which were being used in our green card application. What this might mean for our green cards, we had no idea.

On June 17th I received an email from our lawyer instructing me not to worry about some of our concerns and also that he would be filing our green card application within the week. I hadn't heard anything from him a month later and so I emailed inquiring into the status of our application with no reply. The day before we left for Montreal I emailed him to let him know we'd be leaving the country for a short time and again queried as to the status of our application. Still nothing.

On Monday I left a message for our lawyer with a brief description of what happened at the border. Later on that day he returned my call and asked about what happened. At one point he mentioned that he didn't know we'd be out of the country to which I responded, I sent you an email the day before we left. "Oh." (Dude! You're obviously not reading my emails!) turns out that we were very lucky he hadn't filed the application because if he had and we were in possession of new I-94A's, then the entire application would have been thrown out. (And if he had filed the application we weren't supposed to leave the country until we get new travel papers!) While I was frustrated that our applications hadn't been filed, it's a good thing they weren't!

This whole experience has reminded us just how strongly our presence here in the States is determined by someone's decision. Our application will be put on someone's desk and they will decide our fate. (Hopefully they'll be in a good mood and not recently been dumped by the love of their life!) We are somewhat afraid that the decision will not be favorable to us and that we will be given a short amount of time to pack up and return to Canada. Without income, a place to live, a toddler and an infant, we just can't seem to imagine where the best place to go would be or how things will work out. Houses in this area do not sell quickly and so we'd also have a mortgage to continue paying. It's scary. Because it could be quite some time before we know our fate, I am trying to live each day as if we're ok and whatever happens, we'll deal with it. I so desperately hope that when it is time for us to leave this place it will be on our own terms because we're ready for the next step.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The sweetest half full cup of coffee I'll ever have

This past April, my birthday present from Big Love paid hommage to the Gilmore Girls and my love of them. One Dragonfly Inn t-shirt, a replacement for the "Everything I need to know I learned from the Gilmores" tshirt he had shrunk, and a coffee cup. I had to explain the irony of the caption on the cup to Big Love and then he chuckled. I can honestly say that despite two visitor's attempts, no one else has used this cup and it is the only one I drink my coffee out of! If I don't have girlfriends here to have coffee with, I'll make believe I do!
Lately Big Love has been making coffee for me in the mornings. You might think this isn't a big deal but when the guy doesn't drink coffee himself, except for the occasional mocha which he sucks back like it is oxygen, it really is a treat. A simple romantic gesture.

The day before we left for our latest trip to Montreal, I was down to one tablespoon of beans. I was fine with that because I planned to hop in the car early the next morning and get my coffee on the road, forgetting that I would need some coffee that day. To my surprise, the coffee was made and as I started to pour myself a cup I realized that it was done before I started. I only had half a cup. So I turned to Big Love, asked why he made such a small portion and received this response: "I figured that it would be better to have a small amount of stronger coffee than an entire pot of weak ass coffee." He was so right! And indeed that half cup was strong. So I filled it up with some water and had a perfectly balanced, full cup of coffee that morning!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Growth Spurts

In the past week, Big Love and I are constantly surprised with what Sweet One is able to reach. Our sofa table that two weeks ago she couldn't really reach the top of is now fair game, as is our bedside tables and pretty much anything else that is about two and a half feet high! She can even grab things that are on the edge of our table - like my seam ripper! Good lord. Well, just one more way in which her growth spurts surprise us and announce their arrival once they're done!

I can not stop laughing at a little thing that happened while on the phone with my sister. Suddenly, she started laughing at her son. He was packing for their camping trip: one beer for mom, one beer for dad, a pop for himself and a key for the RZR! Kids are hilarious!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Ball of Joy

We were walking through the store and suddenly she stopped in her tracks. Paralyzed with pure anticipation, she almost trembled. "Am I in heaven? Those can't really be what I am thinking they are. It really does exist! Is life really this good?"

After playing catch with one of the neighborhood boys, Sweet One had become mesmerized by all the beautiful round globes she saw in neighbors' yards. A fit ensued later that day because the boy couldn't play and her ball just wasn't big enough. I looked at three stores that day but none of them had any left.

The following day, in an attempt to escape the humid heat wave, I decided to take her up to the big W and see if they had any left. If they didn't, time would not be wasted as we enjoyed the air conditioning. Luckily, they were there. I can only imagine what was running through her mind as she stood about 10 meters away from the bin of brightly colored giant balls and my emotions almost overtook me to see just how happy I had made her. She insisted on playing with the ball as we made our way out of the store, sitting on the floor and starting to cry when the cashier was scanning it through, laughing hysterically when she got it back and then holding onto it every chance she had. I could barely see if we were going to walk into something as I carried her, carrying the ball, and made our way to the car.
Once in the car, she held on to it and sang along to the Glee soundtrack I was listening to. When we got to the church to show her Dada just how happy she was, even he was beyond words for how happy she was!
She has carried it around the neighborhood.
And even when we go for walks she doesn't really want to let it go!

I hold onto these moments when a mere $2.61 can make my daughter more happy than I could imagine.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Sweltering Insanity

I'm sitting on my covered porch and enjoying the breeze. Who woulda thunk that moving air could make or break me! With the temperature at 83F (high 87) and humid, it's the only way I can keep my sanity right now.

Our house is not well insulated and so the heat comes in as quickly during the summer as it escapes in the winter. Air that doesn't move seems to render me without any coping mechanisms. Ridiculous, yes! I blame it on growing up near the prairies where humidity is something only ever heard of and rarely experienced. Standing still in the kitchen and sweating? Unheard of. Four years here and and still the ability to acclimate seems far away.

Finally, getting outside seemed to halt the near panic attack I had at the idea of having to endure two days of this. High of 90F for tomorrow! Sweet One is running around, up and down the street with her Dad.

I think Sweet One is tuckered out. She's been playing for almost two hours and came back to water my gerbera daisy. I don't want to break her heart and tell her there's no hope left for it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

What a mouthful!

I went to the dentist today and five and a half hours after I left, I'm still wondering at what point my dental hygienist draws the line for too much information:
  • telling me that her uterus is tilted and her OB/GYN considers it a fishbowl absolutely perfect for getting pregnant?
  • that her husband got a vasectomy after they had their second child?
  • that she and her husband have been having sex "scot-free" for the past 13 years?
The answer is NO! None of these seem to be too much information to share with me. The only time I ever see her is in this office. I've been there three times now. Once her stories get going, so do her hands and she stops doing what she's supposed to.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Getting where I want to be

I am not an optimist just as I am not a pessimist. I have always considered myself a realist. When a new situation arises I need to take account of all the negative possibilities before I can prepare for the positive. This way, if it all goes south, I feel more prepared to deal with it rather than having my feet swept out from under me floundering like a goldfish that just jumped out of its bowl. "Hope for the best but expect the worst." A friend told me that. It sounds kinda harsh but it doesn't have to be but it works for me.

To be fair, there are times when I have let the 'expect the worst' part take over. With my anxiety levels whirling out of control, I got trapped in a place that hovered just below that imaginary line of happy and sad. A low-grade depressive state that left me feeling that the more I hoped for the good things, imagined myself feeling great for multiple days in a row, let myself fully enjoyed the good things, the more I would be 'punished' for being optimistic. My punishment was a dark place that was full of anger and self-hatred that I desperately hope my daughter will never inherit.

I've been on and off mild anti-depressants and in and out of counselor's offices since I was 15 or so. The most recent round of counseling was life-changing for me as my mind and body seemed ready to deal with what was at the core of everything. It felt amazing to finally tackle that. I could not have been a good mother to my daughter without working through it all.

Despite this realization and the freedom it gave me, my brain was still chemically and physically predisposed to a mild depression, high anxiety levels and anger when I didn't feel like I was any better. Watching my daughter every day and having an amazingly supportive husband only frustrated me further because I wanted to be present, be "in the now" more but I simply could not seem to get there. (I had read two books over the years that were supposed to help with that. I understood the principles but couldn't 'get' there on my own.)

Then my sister introduced me to this self-help website that has, quite honestly, changed my days. Common sense concepts that are added to my 'list' each and every day (and yes, the checklist sometimes feels much too long) that have helped stop the self-sabotage. It hasn't turned me into an optimist but it has helped me function from a better place. As quickly as the first week and my husband noticed changes. I feel relieved that I can finally take all the concepts I have read about and wanted so desperately to achieve over the years and use the tools that Coach Steele gives to get there. There's a lot of good work to do with it. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed but I do my best to remember to keep at it.

I still have a ways to go - after all I'm not dead and hopefully I'll be learning new things every day. Thankfully, I finally feel like the albatross around my neck is gone. I'm on day 43 and there are 90 in total and I'm really hoping I can keep going. The assignments for this week seem to be the most daunting that I have encountered but since this post has gone differently than I originally imagined, I'll get into that another time. For now, I am grateful that I have finally been able to find a way to function better and enjoy each and every day a little bit more.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wardrobe malfunction

My summer wardrobe absolutely sucks. And 18 months after my daughter was born I am still struggling with finding the time and money to buy a few more items. I've ordered 7 shirts online from two different places and not one has worked. It is damn hot with no sign of letting up and I need shirts!

But rather than cry, I'm going to try and focus on what a wonderful time I had with my friend and her husband while they were visiting and how great my garden is doing. There is almost no room to move around in it and the potatoes are up to my shoulders!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Applying only the highest standards while painting

I recently painted the area above the stairs going down into the basement. While starting with a canvas of lead-filled fluorescent green, I used a platform obviously created by a skilled engineer to help me reach as high as I could with the caulking gun to fill in the cracks. Lucky for me, Big Love was wiping down the walls (I was completely afraid of what I might find!) while I did this. It is important to point out that no injuries happened only because my platform was made of only the best materials possible.

The lower set of stairs were harder to set a platform upon. Rather than having to stand on something that might be a little precarious (the previous picture is proof that I would never do this), I decided to purchase a stellar adhesive that would allow me to get the brush into the higher corners. Yes, this product is used by only the greatest of handymen - just ask Red Green!

I do so enjoy aspiring to the highest standards of stairway painting. The evidence is here in the finished product where the shade of grey I chose did not manage to look purple! I even found a hidden treasure in the process.
Soon there will not be a wall in this house that I have not painted, save perhaps for the walls of the basement and the unfinished attic. As shown above in my pictures, I love using the best tools out there so that each and every project I attempt is completed to the highest standards possible.

(Still trying to figure out why the grey looks purple!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

What to do at 102?

We've been very lucky here in the Pickle Jar with very few bouts of illness over the past 18 months. (Forgive me as I type this with one hand because I will be continuously rapping my knuckles on the wooden window frame beside me.) After being awake for a couple of hours last night and then very fussy a few hours after she woke up, we realized that today Sweet One had her second fever. We fared well with the necessary drugs, a little extra tv and a second nap. She didn't drink as much for fluids as I'd like but her appetite seemed quite good. Strangely enough, she seemed to completely perk up at 6 pm as she sang along with Michael Morrison and Lea Michele performing at the Tony's. I'm still not sure what the cause of this is but I think it may have something to do with teething. (She currently has 4 front teeth and 4 molars.)

Now I must go back up to her room where she is fighting the idea of going to sleep. Hopefully the night will have less disruption and she'll wake up feeling as good as new.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Fearless swimmer

Last summer when I took Sweet One to the local rec center and then to the lake at my grandma's house, she had absolutely no desire to be in the water. This summer I bought a little kiddie pool for her to get used to a collection of water outside of her bathtub in preparation for some Parent-Baby swim lessons.

When it was time to walk into the kiddie section, Sweet One started walking and didn't stop. She had a mission and nothing got in her way! She walked where she could, sat on the edge for a moment and then turned around to get back it; kicked around a little and put her face in the water. When we got to the places too deep for her I carried her around - well, all I really did was keep her floating as she squirmed and reached for all the toys in the water that she could get her hands on. She was brilliant! I was so proud of her and completely surprised at how brave she was. Because of the lack of enrollment for the baby class, we were moved to the toddler class and she was doing better than a few of the 2-4 year olds.

I'm looking forward to the rest of our sessions where she can interact with some more kids and enjoy the water - although the next three days aren't supposed to be warm so an outside pool might be interesting!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A sermon in defense of toddlers

I'll be the first to admit that I do not go to church regularly. Yes, my husband works in a church but right now I go more out of obligation than a genuine desire to be a part of the congregation. Usually we sit about three or four pews from the front on the outside with friends of ours. Then again, to say that we sit through the service is a complete misnomer. Sweet One is constantly on the move and I have no desire to try and restrain her. If I did, I know that there would be nothing but screaming. Following her around the sanctuary is also one reason why we don't go every Sunday - I do not like feeling so conspicuous and constantly chasing her is exhausting. (Even as a child I wished I could be more invisible during the service but as a PK, that is nearly impossible.) I don't know how many times members of the choir and the church have come up to me and said, "I love how you let her freely roam" and the congregation's smiles when she has made her presence known does help me feel better.

After not being at church for a few weeks and knowing that I won't be going next week, I decided to go today. (I just finished sewing Sweet One a seersucker dress that had to be shown off!)

For the summer, our church has decided to go to one service instead of two and this week was a bit different in that the young man who was in charge of the day camp over the past week or two did the sermon. Because of these two things the pews were quite full and with us arriving just as church started there were no aisle seats to be had so I sat at the back with the ushers. (There we go, I'm pretending that I will actually occupy my seat again!) It ended up being a great place to sit because there was a big open space for Sweet One to walk around in and do her thing. Every once in awhile she would make a noise but nothing that was unacceptable.

During a hymn Sweet One danced in circles and laughed. Halfway through the hymn I noticed an older woman shaking her head in frustration at Sweet One's sounds. At first I felt like I should silence her as a lumpy feeling showed up in my stomach. But then I reminded myself of how much this congregation loves her and that this poor old, cranky lady is the first to ever negatively react to Sweet Ones presence in church. A short while later as the young man finished up his sermon he said something along the lines of: "The next time you're in church and a toddler is making noise behind you, relax! At least there are children in the church. And the children are the future of this church." Of all the defensive lines I had running through my head, this definitely said it the best.

(As we left the church the friends who sit in the front said they didn't even hear Sweet One so she really couldn't have been that loud!)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One month of garden

One month ago this garden was planted and I dare say it is doing well. The potatoes are taking off, as are the tomatoes. I think I have a critter eating a few of my bean plants but hopefully it won't be too bad. In the bottom right hand corner there is a big blank spot because I planted one more row of lettuce yesterday and will do a third in a month from now. The blank spot just above that is supposed to be parsnips. I haven't grown parsnips before and there are only a few. I wonder if the birds have been scattering them as they have many of my carrot seeds. I have two types of beets growing and they are growing - these are some of my favorite vegetables and so I'm excited to have two varieties this year.

That's my garden update. My sleep was quite fragmented last night from a yappy neighbor dog, Sweet One waking up a few times, the humidity that was driving me mental and storms that seemed to be everywhere but right above us. So, it's me and the couch tonight and I desperately hope that both Sweet One and I get a better nights rest tonight!

A bientot. (Yes, I realize I'm missing a few accents. But that's as french as I'm getting - Sweet One beckons. Too much sun in the windows to sleep is my guess.)