Monday, December 19, 2011

Dear God

I just read an interesting book by Tina Fey called "Bossy Pants".  And while it had too much profanity for my mother, I did enjoy her humor and I learned a lot about her story.  Nothing gives you perspective on your own busy life than when you hear how insane someone else works, and then finds time to write a book about it.  One of my favorite parts of the book was the Chapter "A Mother's Prayer for her Daughter".  So I was inspired and decided to write my own letter to God.  Who better to entrust with my wishes and hopes for my own daughter?

Dear God,
First before I ask for a single thing let me say Thank you, thank you so much for my daughter.  I was thrilled to get pregnant but I was elated to have a girl.  It's what I (not so secretly) hoped for the minute I saw those two blue lines appear, but of course you already know that.  But thank you so much for granting me the care of this child.  Thank you for entrusting me with her, I hope I serve you well as I raise her.

Please God, let her have my wild independence but teach her the importance of family and friends.  Let her roam from ocean to ocean and maybe even over them, but give her the thirst to come home every once in a while.  Keep her safe in her travels, and give her the desire to go far, as long as she also comes back.  Fill her passport with stamps, but not her pockets with pennies.  Fill her heart with dreams, but not fear.  Give her the courage to explore but plant her heart at home so that she always returns. 

Let there be something about her that reminds us of my father.  When I find that special something on her that looks like him or when she shows me a glimpse of him with her personality let it take my breath away.  In this I will be able to remember him and never forget a piece of him that is carried on with her.  Let my mother see it too. And my sister and brother. And then they will say "that is just like your Pop Pop" and she will know he was not lost forever but instead part of him was tucked inside her by you, God.  Let her carry that piece of him with her for all her days, be it big or small, so that she will know him by knowing that part of herself.

Give her the opportunity to make something of herself, stick her head out the sunroof of a limo,  wear a jean size she can be proud of, and swim in the ocean every summer.  Spare her from allergies and the desire to cut her own bangs.  Give her the ability to control her tears at least some of the time.  If she yells, give her something important to say.  If she cries, let her find a way to heal.  If she loves, let it be returned.  If she angers, teach her also to forgive. 

Show her a way to embrace herself, just as she is.  Whether her hair be straight or curly, blond or red, let her wear it proudly and never perm those locks.  She may not love her hips or her nose (or perhaps those curly toes I love!) but let her accept those things as important parts of her, parts I grew and you created Lord.

Dear God, please help her see the value of sunscreen!  Help me teach her how to correctly pronounce words like a yankee, and teach her early on to roll her eyes when her father makes fun of the north.  When she uses make up or perfume or picks out a tattoo let her remember "less is more".  Make her be a terrible liar so that she doesn't rely on that skill.  Make her proud of her scars, but protect her from making the same mistakes over and over.

Send her to college Lord, any college.  OK, in truth, any college but OU.  And show her a way to pay for her academic path, with scholarships or smarts or athletic skills.  But while she is there Lord, keep her wise in more than just her classes.  Bless her with good decisions that don't involve strip poker, credit card debt, drunk driving or phrases that start with "Hey guys, watch this...!"  Help her find a good friend, one that stays by her side to help with fashion choices and big decisions.  Don't let her cell phone battery die right as she reaches to ask for my opinion Lord.  Spare her from loneliness but not from failure, for in failure she will learn.

I hope she learns some hard lessons, values true friends, starts a savings account, and has good rhythm so she can dance. Please God, put her on the dance floor but don't let her do it for dollars or with her thong hanging out.  Let her dance for fun, to make memories, and to burn calories!  Keep her away from casinos and hard liquor.  May she decline the offer of a joint, resist the temptations of insincere boys, and stand up to bullies.  If she throws a punch she better be ready to take one, and help me teach her responsibility.  Don't let her be entitled, but show her the value of hard work and honesty.  Give her a hundred reasons to say "That's not fair" because I am protecting her, but also allow me to find that good balance so I can also accept letting her go.

Spare her from outdated hand me down clothes, home made outfits and bad attitudes.  If she must hate me as a teenager, let her appreciate me as an adult.  Don't let her use curse words as an excuse of expression and give her the patience to smile for a thousand pictures every year because you know how often I will want to photograph every thing she does. 

If she ends up in cuffs, give me the will power to let her sit in jail for the night so she can think about what she has done.  If she grows up to be a police officer like her Dad, give her good instincts on the job.  If she grows up to marry a police officer, give her the support of good friends and neighbors for all the nights she is alone.  If she grows up with a terrible southern accent, good grief help us all. 

Show her great love God, from friends and family and maybe even from a boy when she is older.  Much, much older.  Mostly, show her your love God.  I pray she seeks it from you and carries it with her so that she can show it to others.  Let that love light her path, lead to forgiveness and shine from within her. 

I know I have already asked for alot but please I have one more request that is a little self serving.  Please God, keep the Tasky Cake company in business so I can feed her those delicious snack cakes!


Monday, December 12, 2011

My Very Hard Day

This past week was a rough one for me.
In fact that may be an understatement, it was more than rough.  It was exhausting, overwhelming, challenging... the list could go on and on.  And at my worst I found myself sobbing on the phone with my mother pouring out my stress and tears.  And then I realized she was laughing at me.  When I asked in shock "Why are you laughing?" she said "You just told me while crying, that you are so happy!"  It was my turning point.  There I was, tired to the bone and facing and uber busy weekend packed with plans and work.  I didn't know how I was going to get through it all, and felt I was failing as a Mom.  I didn't get enough time with Reagan, I wasn't pumping enough milk, I was frazzled and annoyed with my husband and it was all coming crashing down on me.  I had just canceled on a Christmas party that I really wanted to attend because the thought alone of trying to get through a couple more hours was bringing tears to my eyes, in fact I did cry when I called my friend to explain my last minute cancellation!  It wasn't that I didn't want to go, I had been looking forward to it.  But I. Could. Not. Do. It.  But describing all that was going wrong, how horrible my day had been, how impossible it was for me to do one more thing that day.... I was still so happy.  So very, very tired, but still happy. 
What I thought Motherhood would be...

When friends and family had told me about motherhood and all the changes that happen to your life, body and definition of normal I believed them.  I knew what they were saying was true and accurate but a little part me still thought "Well, that is true for them.  But it will be different for me".  I was sure it wouldn't be as hard or overwhelming for me, I totally have it together so my experience as a new mommy was going to be wonderful and though I expected challenges and hard times I wasn't really listening to what they were saying.  I was going to do better than them, do more than them, I was going to do it all and then some. 

One of the hardest things for me is parenting alone alot of the time.  When you are married to a police officer who works the evening shift (2pm-11pm thurs-mon) you do a lot of the work alone.   This is a daunting task: bottles, laundry, cooking, cleaning, and of course spending time actually with the baby AFTER you have worked a full day is nothing short of impossible.  Not to mention I am also nursing which requires at least one feeding during the night.  So I am trying to do it all on broken sleep.  Every day.  Chet is doing a good job with Reagan and he helps when he can, he is just not doing it nearly as much as I am.  Even on the two afternoons a week he has her, the bottles are already waiting for him and he still gets to sleep in, shower and then mosey his way to the sitter's  house.  Not to be a man-hater but the experience as a new Mom is something the Dad's won't really ever understand.  I set a new record for myself last week, I went 3 days without a shower because the energy to wash, dry and straighten my hair was just not there.  I slept in my clothes the other night too, it had been a long day!
But sometimes its more like this. 

Let me share an example.  On Friday night after my breakdown, Reagan went to bed early and I thought "thank goodness" and called it a night at 9 pm.  She woke up 4 times before 6am that night and I was up with her every time to nurse or get her back to sleep.  On Saturday night, after a 30 minute scream session (we think she has begun teething) she finally went down and slept for 8 glorious hours!  The next morning my husband asked why I was so tired because I got to sleep till 8:45 am..  HAHA, silly man.  What house does he live in?  He really has no idea what goes on during the night when he is snoring away, never to be disturbed.  Though Reagan did sleep through the night that night my body is so used to nursing that I had to get up and pump at 3:45 am because I was so uncomfortable, and then I feed her when she woke at 5:45 am, got her back to sleep for a couple more hours before finally waking with her again at 8:45 am.  Over all not, a bad night but I was still up several times.  Not to mention the insane snoring coming from his side of the bed also woke me at least once that night before I put in an ear plug and turned up the baby monitor.  Sorry guys, but sometimes you live in la la land.  I can't really blame him, he is either working or sleeping when I am doing most of the parenting.  So of course he thinks this is easy, and he can't seem to grasp why I am so tired.  He gets 8 or more hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, and even when Reagan has great nights I still wake up! 

There are other fundamental differences here as well.  Even if I could take an opportunity to "take the day/night off" I wouldn't want to!  I love being with her and even if my evening is a bit of a whirlwind trying to do it all with her I wouldn't want it any other way.  I miss her deeply while I work so I treasure that time with her on the weekends and during the evenings.  It is hard to get everything done (or at least try to get everything done) but I don't want to give up one more second of my time with her.  I can't even bear to send her to the nursery during Church because I don't want to be away from her. I spend much more time with Reagan than Chet does but he still chooses to sleep in rather go pick her up.  It doesn't bother him to be away from her most of the week and I hate it.  He doesn't worry, and I worry for us both.  He simply accepts that this is the way it goes and I cry dropping her off at the sitter just thinking about starting another work week without her.  It's a fundamental difference between the connection a mother has with her child and the role of the father.  I don't feel he loves her any less but he definitely doesn't face the demands of being a mother and it feels different to him.  Breast feeding alone is hard, and it takes a lot out of you.  I pump at work 4x a day, which also means I lug my pump and supplies with me each day and clean them each night, organize the frozen bags and prepare bottles for the next day. 
But mostly its like this. 

I could go on and on about the stuff that just plain wears you out.  But I don't need to, most of you know exactly what I am talking about.  On Saturday Reagan was having an extra bad spit up day (yea, I know I need to give up all the milk products but that includes ice cream and I JUST bought my favorite kind....) She had worn her cute Christmas dress for approximately 4 seconds before spitting up all over it and when I couldn't take the sour milk smell anymore I finally gave it and changed her.  Just as I got her into another fresh out fit and sat her in her Aunt's lap she proceeded to throw up all over them both.  I just sigh.  It's just another change of clothes, just another load of laundry, just another average day. 

But despite days that make you wonder how you are going to get through the next 24 hours only to repeat the pattern, this truly is the happiest days of my life.  I wasn't lying to my mom, despite the tears that suggested otherwise, my daughter has enriched my life in ways only a parent understands because there are no words to describe the joy she brings me.  Even when I am making my third trip to the nursery during the night and I want to be annoyed with her, that sweet smiling face that greets me erases anything but I the love I feel for her.  Even when she leaks out of yet another diaper in a shade of lime green that I didn't know poop could come in, I have to laugh.   I am the first person to admit my temperament takes a real nose dive on little sleep and I am no fun to be around when I am grumpy.  Those that know me best will testify, that when I am tired it really effects me.  So some days are super hard on me.  I am learning that I do have some pretty amazing friends here to help me and at least say "Been there, don't worry it gets better".  Even though I bailed on my friend at the last minute, she was so gracious and completely understood!  The reality is I have an awesome baby sitter that I trust and I know Reagan is in good hands when she is there.  I have a Mama who talks it through with me when I need to vent and then calls to make sure the next day is better.  I have a husband who works hard to support his family, and even though he isn't home a lot he loves me.  Even on my hardest days, I am living the good life.  I have people who are willing to help or listen or just love me! 

And God hasn't left me either.  Like I mentioned, Friday was a hard day.  But my two greatest worries have been pumping enough milk and trying to get enough sleep. Saturday and Sunday Reagan slept through the night and I was able to pump two extra bottles.  The Lord knew I was struggling, and even when things were hard he helped me, showed me who was there to support me, and he was there while I struggled.  It did get better.  Do I still have bags under my eyes, yep.  But Christmas vacation is just around the corner and I am headed home!  Even the police officer gets to come too!  My bad day passed, and that light at the end of the tunnel is a string of Christmas lights.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Time flys when your changing diapers

I think all the clocks in my house are broken.  Every single one must not be working because seriously, that can not be the time.  I feel like that every day!  In the morning... in the evening... time just slips by so fast! 
Being a mom is exhausting.  I have a new found respect for those that have several little ones running around, seriously how do you do it?  Last year I got the tree up and all the Christmas decorations done in just a couple of hours.  This year - WHOLE NEW STORY!  Granted, I have a bunch more stuff this year thanks to Josh bringing me some hand me downs from Mom, and a box of stuff from Chet's Aunt but it still took me a week to get things organized this year.  Thanks to the crafty genius of my Grandmother most of the cute decorations are from her!  Now that I am done putting everything in place....wait, I am not done!  The porch lights aren't up and I have to dig out the extension cords!  But so far things look great but that took way to long to get done.  Reagan and I did get the ornaments on the tree during the bedlam game (read: OSU domination over OU) and we had fun cheering and decorating.  Well I had fun and she stared at the tree, hypnotized by the lights. 
Aunt Shanna and sleepy Reagan on Thanksgiving
Just taking care of the house takes so much time that I am enjoying "letting it go" a little bit.  Yea, things are dusty or maybe even a little messy.  Chet likes to point out all the grievances, like that helps.  "You left the cereal box on the counter" - Good, right where I will need it for tomorrow.   "Your shoes are still sitting by the door" - An excellent location for them since I will need them before leaving the house.  "The dishwasher is clean" - Nice to see it is still working great.  And on his day off (which he got to sleep in till 2:30 before going to pick up Reagan - SO UNFAIR!) he claimed to have "cleaned up the whole house".  I will give him credit for washing the bottles, ahem, though it was the first time EVER for him to do that chore.  Round of applause Chet!  And then I looked around and realized all the crazy stuff he did to "clean" the house.  Basically he just moved things out of his way that I still need to go and actually put away.  The storage boxes and ornament holders from our decorations got stacked in my office instead of put back into the attic.  I now have to climb around them to get to my computer or printer.  My kindle box and plug got stacked on my night stand instead of put away in my office.  The baby's toys and bumbo chair got thrown in the nursery instead of in the closet where they belong.  This isn't cleaning dear husband, this is just moving items from one location to another.  Cleaning would involve the vacuum, Lysol, and some scrubbing. 
So time is flying... zooming right along.  I catch myself thinking "remember when Reagan was first born and she would...." or "remember during my maternity leave when.." because so much time has already passed and those moments seem so long ago!  Today she is 15 weeks old!  By Christmas eve she will be 4 months old, how can that be?  How can 4 months have already gone by?!?!  It seems so impossible, but sure enough, she is a growing girl! 
This all comes into perspective when I think about the task of changing a diaper.  This should take a minute, maybe two.  Unsnap, remove diaper, throw it away, wipe, new diaper, re-snap - DONE!  But wait, she is making that cute cooing noise I love so lets stop and "talk".  And that bare belly is so adorable I can't resist  kissing it and having some play time doing rasberries!  She also has her feet kicking so I pretend to catch and eat her toes, and she loves it so lets do that again! And then the mirror that hangs by the changing table is fun, she always smiles at our reflection so I am gonna show her that and talk some more.  Those grins are adorable so I will let her feel my face and smile.  And just like that, 15 minutes are gone.  Not just regular minutes though; blissful, speedy, best moments of your life kind of minutes.  Something I'd like to call mommy minutes.  You get so used to mommy minutes, that dinner burns because surely it hasn't been 20 minutes since I left that on the stove.   And laundry takes 2 days to finish because mommy minutes went by so fast you didn't think the washer was done already!   But my time always slows down when I am at work, this is how I figure things balance out.  Mommy minutes are too fast and work minutes are too slow. 
It is a wonderful thing to love your daughter so much that you lose track of time.  And to think of it, Mommy minutes are the best way I can spend my time.  I keep telling myself, take more pictures, do a family video because she will only be this small for so long!  So as the mommy minutes go speeding along I can capture them with images to last my lifetime. 

We all had a great thanksgiving in Oklahoma and now I am looking forward to spending 12 wonderful days in Pennsylvania over Christmas.  Lets hope that time will slow down so I can enjoy it with my Reger family! 
Did you say Santa was coming?!?!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Domestic and International Enemies of the Traveling Mama

Those that regularly read my blog know I am big fan of the Blog Rants from Mommyland.  So as a true fan I decided to send them my own list after my first travel experience with Reagan.  See the message below that I sent to my beloved Lydia and Kate.

Hello Ladies!
Long time reader, first time email!  I adore your column and as a working first time mommy (in fact, today is my first day back to work after maternity leave) I have learned a ton from your blog and laughed even more.  It is both awesome and educational for me, you rock!
But I thought you might find my perspective on a new topic interesting.  Traveling with kiddos and how terribly hard it can be.  In 2006 I moved to Oklahoma to complete my Masters Degree at Oklahoma State University and had the (mis)fortune of meeting my husband here.  He promptly nailed my feet to the ground and I have been living here even since.  It’s great, except my family is all in Pennsylvania.  As in 1,350 miles apart, 22 hour car drive or several plane rides apart.  At first this was fine, but now that I have a new born I am so homesick for friends and family that live far away.  And this is also the first grandchild for my mother so the distance is also heart breaking for her. 
So due to a serious case of homesickness, and a few remaining precious days of maternity leave I flew across many states with my 7 week old infant.  But wait, there’s more.  I flew STANDBY.  Insanely risky, moderately dangerous, and completely free!  Thanks to a buddy pass from my brother in law who works for an airline I got a free ticket to fly standby.  Since this was the ONLY ticket I could afford I took the chance and flew home.   The visit was amazing, the time I spent traveling was NOT. 

Please enjoy my list of the domestic (and international) enemies of the traveling Mama.  

           Hello there complete stranger, please don’t touch my baby.  Lots of people are at the airport, and it just so happens they are also carrying lots of germs with them on their travels.  So while I appreciate your comments of how adorable she is, and how brave (read: crazy) I am to fly with her, there is no reason for you to touch her.  And no, you may not hold her.  Or put your finger in her mouth.  Especially you, crazy old man with cigarette fingers.  I don’t care if you are a grandpa, step back. 
I was accosted by so many people at the airport it wasn’t funny.  I should mention I was blessed with a beautiful baby, it literally stopped people in their tracks and I heard a million squeals from women of all ages.  I made friends everywhere I went, even one older lady who got a full moon in the bathroom as I was changing the baby and exclaimed “Ohh, what a cute hinny!”  I can’t even tell you how often people offered to hold her for me “if you get tired”.  I just envisioned them running off with her and me telling the police “Well they offered to hold her so I just handed her over…”.  

      Nursing covers are in fact intended to cover.  So when I am using it and you see little feet peeking out from under it this should be a good clue I am intending to COVER myself.  In no way does that mean you should lift the corner for a look.  If I wasn’t using both hands I would smack you right now.  And to all the funny looks from the men on the plane and airport, what are you looking at?  I am being discrete, I am not flashing my boob, so what’s with “the look”?  I would love to be nursing in the privacy of my own home but I am here traveling so get over it.  My child was hungry, so I am feeding her despite our close proximity to you. 

No, my seven week old child does not have a passport you asshat.  It takes longer to order a passport than she has been alive!   Yes, this is an international airport but I happen to just be flying to my connection in St. Louis.  

Oh, the plane restroom, you are a real enemy.  For one the changing table is so small I can barely fit the baby girl on there to wipe her butt.  Yes, I would prefer to use the airport bathroom with all its glorious elbow room but sadly baby girl did not follow the “No pooping on the plane” rule.  Even worse, it seems huggies is also an enemy on this trip because it was a leaky mess.    And let’s not forget about what happens when Mommy really has to pee on the plane.  I am traveling by myself and I can’t hold the baby and pee so that leaves me at the mercy of the flight attendant.  Let’s just hope the complete stranger I had to hand my child too while I peed was careful and had a good hold on her when we hit that turbulence.

Checking the stroller and car seat gate side was convenient, that is until I saw its condition when it was returned to me.  Anyone who has held a baby knows it’s only a matter of minutes before even the tiniest of tots gets heavy so it was a godsend to have the stroller with me at the air port to lug around the baby.  Especially during the 4 hour rain delay in Chicago.  But that also means I left the stroller at the end of 5 different tarmacs to get on the 5 different flights it took to get there and back.  My poor stroller was promptly tossed around, banged, bumped, and then hefted back to me at the end of each flight.  My brand new $300 stroller looks like hell.  Golly gee, thanks for handling it with care. 
      Let's not forget the battle for the arm rest when on the plane.  I think I deserve it due to the fact I am trying to breast feed but the passenger next to me felt differently.  This meant I had to lean out into the isle, dodge other passengers as they got on the plane and in two separate instances block a piece of luggage from whacking her in the head.  It’s great I didn’t have to pay for an extra seat and could travel with an “infant on lap” ticket but come on people.  Watch out!  Be courteous!   It’s bad enough I can’t nap while I we fly since I have to hold her the whole time, but now I have to be on the constant look out as well.   I got up at 3 am to try and make the 7 am flight so I am tired and being super alert is pretty darn hard right now.

       And lastly here’s to the complete lack of confidence strangers had in me, and they told me all about their concerns.  I am a 29 year of grown up (mostly) with a masters degree.  But that is thrown right out the window when someone sees you are traveling alone with a little baby.  Below are a few of the callous comments I received during my very long day at the air port. 
“You’re traveling alone?  Just you and the baby?  Really?”
“Bless your heart (Southern for “boy, you are one dumb Mom)”
“Boy aren’t you brave!  And alone…. Oh but you have a wedding ring.  Where is your husband dear?”
“Is this really a good idea for the baby?” 
“I never would have been able to do that alone with a little one her age.  You’re just so…. Well are you ok?”

p.s. Enjoy the attached photo of baby girl at the airport.  With the baggage tags on her car seat it kind of sent the wrong message, no I did not check the baby.  Although that definitely would have been easier…

p.p.s  thank goodness for the family bathroom.  Those were a brilliant idea.  No doubt a traveling Mama came up with that design. 

My Resume says Mommy

I am sure you have all been wondering where I went.  I had a steady number of posts going along and then I apparently fell off the side of the earth, er... had a baby.. whatever.
The thing is, having Reagan has really thrown a kink in my schedule.  You'd think the kid would allow me some precious blogging time, but no it seems she has her own set of priorities (selfish....).  Anywho, since I know you all learned oh so very much from me during my very hormonal and hot pregnancy lets just keep the wisdom flowing now that I am living in mommy land.
First let me start by saying, Mommyland is great.  I love it.  I love it more than I even imagined I would.  Sometimes I just want to go all Lenny on baby girl and squeeze her up!  My sister thinks I neener the baby too much, but I can't help it.  She is just oh so very lovable (Kissable, hugable, unbelievable...)  And those that have met her will in fact agree.  I have been blessed with a beautiful baby, who is very happy and even is a great sleeper!  This I truly believe is my reward for suffering through my pregnancy during the hottest summer in Oklahoma history (yes, it seriously was.  It's on the record books folks!) and then having pretty much everything go crazy on labor day.  The saying about God laughs at your plans, well in my case it was God read my blog post about planning for labor.  It wasn't a pretty day, and despite all the drama, pain and last minute c-section, out came this perfect baby.  Biased?  Who me?  Umm, have you seen her angel face?
But on to the things I have learned now that I can add Mom to my resume.

My brain is permanently fried.  I remember experiencing my first episodes of "pregnancy brain" this summer.  Pre baby I definitely would have described myself and a detail oriented person.  In fact it was my strength!  Now my mind has turned to mush.  I constantly open a web page or walk into a room and then go completely blank about what I was planning to do.  I forget stuff everywhere, and I feel like my mind is so full of thoughts about baby that it doesn't leave much room for other stuff.  Like grocery lists, or schedules or things I really should have gotten done yesterday.

My house is really starting to get dirty, and I am really starting to care less and less.  Whats most funny about this statement is that I was a messy kid growing up.  My room was a disaster.  But college broke me of my messy ways because those residence hall rooms are small and the mess in the tiny space drove me nuts.  So I morphed into a very clean person, to almost OCD levels and I stayed that way even with our large house.  I really enjoyed cleaning and organizing.  If I noticed something was dirty, I would clean it immediately and then since I was already was scrubbing I would just keep going.  My house was very clean everyday!  Laundry was folded, boxes were labeled, things were stored properly.  This week I noticed my coffee table had some major dust on it, so I wrote my name in it and went back to playing with the baby.

I would love to get rid of the last 12 LBS of baby weight but exercise needs energy and I am still adjusting to returning to work and that schedule alone is exhausting.  Even though Reagan sleeps pretty well I am still getting up at least once to nurse and getting up early for work.  So my exercise plan is taking the stairs 4 times a day to the 4th floor of my building to use the mommy room.  Yep, thats about it.  Go me.

And apparently the hormones don't dissipate much after the baby comes.  I held it together the first week I was at work but come the following Monday morning and I was a mess.  I had the hardest time leaving Reagan with the sitter even though I know she is fine.  The thing is, I just didn't want to be without her.  She makes me so deliriously happy and I am certain in my brain that no one can take care of her as well as I can.

And those things perfectly define a new mom.  I am a scattered brained, messy, sleepy, still somewhat chubby Mom who just doesn't want to leave the baby.  And life is so good.  Yesterday when I woke Reagan to get her ready for the day she opened her eyes, stretched her hands way up and then gave me the biggest grin.  She was as happy to see me as I was to see her!  And no matter what the rest of the day entailed, that moment made it awesome.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Work

Back to work means the kiddo went to her first day at the babysitters.  This was much harder on me than her, she was asleep before I left!  My 8 weeks of maternity leave flew by way to fast!  Though I know I couldn't stay home forever, I was not yet ready to head back to the office.  (stupid bills...)

Reagan is growing fast!  Yesterday was her 2 month check up that included 3 shots.  She was not happy and my poor heart broke to see her hurting but she did fine.  A few doses of Tylenol and she has been recovering fine, after her nap with Daddy that is.

same haircut as Daddy!
She is so adorable that I can't stand it.  We see lots of smiles and cooing now. Already starting to grow out of her clothes and she is looking more and more like her daddy.  They even have the same hair cut ;).

We also got to fly home and surprise the Reger family with a short visit!  My brother in law Josh was able to get me a buddy pass so we took the chance and flew stand by!  Reagan did great on the planes and she slept most of the time.  With the exception of a rain delay on the way to PA and a major pooping accident on the way to OK it was uneventful.  It was a bit crazy but thankfully worked out great and my Mom was speechless, yes SPEECHLESS!  Here is the video of her reaction!
Reagan Surprises Nana

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hormonal Scale

Escalation level
The Situation
How I responded or handled it
What was really going on in my head
Someone says “This is nothing to get upset about” when clearly it upsets me.
Silent treatment, lifelong grudge
I’m a raging river of hormones and now they are all directed at you. 
It’s 100+ degrees, AGAIN
Avoided the heat, banished to the indoors, drink lots of water, make Hubby to the grocery shopping
I am going to throat punch every person who asks me if I am hot.
Husband refers to maternity leave as “vacation”.
You are kidding right?  You consider labor and newborn care vacation?
IDIOT!  Only a man would make an insensitive comment like that!
Doctor says “You’re planning on getting an epidural, right?” after I felt pain during an exam.
Yes, more than likely I will though I plan to make that decision after I am in labor.
No uterus, no opinion.  You have no idea how this feels so zip it.   You just put your hand way up in my vajaja and you think that felt good?  IT DIDN’T!
Someone says “Boy you are REALLY big!”
Smile and say “Yes, that will happen at 38/39/40 weeks pregnant”
Silently add Jackass to the end of that sentence.  At least I have an excuse for my gut. 
I have outgrown yet another maternity shirt.
Avoid the mirror, thrown the shirt into the maternity storage bin.
#!&*%!  shirt, must have shrunk in the dryer.
Yet another person comments on my swollen ankles.
It’s nothing new, been happening for 5 months.  Yes, I am drinking water.  Yes, I am staying off my feet as much as possible.
Does everyone need to point out my flaws right now?   I am aware I have cankles, stop making me feel bad about it!
Random stranger gives you the pity look or uses the phrase “Oh bless your heart!”
Ignore them, continue waddling by.
Give me a break, I’m pregnant not dying!
Husband asks why are you crabby/crying/tired?
Said between gritted teeth “Because I am pregnant”.
Not just pregnant but super pregnant, with swollen ankles, low tolerance, highly hormonal and carrying 50 LBS of pregnancy weight. 
The daily question from a work colleague is “You’re still here?”
Yes, I had always planned to work up till my due date. 
Back off buddy, I barely got out of bed today to drag myself to work.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Planning for Labor

Planning for labor almost sounds like a crazy person, right?  How can you really "plan" for labor?  There are so many things that one will not be able to prepare for.  And as a new mom, who has yet to experience labor there is so much I will not be expecting, but heck, I need to plan anyway.  If you know me at all, then you know I have a plan, despite my serious learning curve.  I have read the books, taken the childbirth class, toured the hospital, asked questions, and made a game plan so that to the best of my (inexperienced) ability I can help plan for labor.

And not even one plan, but multiple plans to help account for the many routes my labor may take.  There is the If my water breaks plan, If I go into labor at work plan, If I go into labor while Chet is at work plan, If I am alone and in labor plan, and of course the regular old If everything goes perfect and I am in labor plan (that one is my favorite, it involves releasing butterflies and what not).  I accept these plans may go right out the window when I am in the middle of it but I feel better knowing I have thought it through. 

And as the mother, the person who has grown and carried this life for the last 37 weeks (and counting), who now is responsible for pushing out this little baby, I feel there are lots of things that get to be MY CALL on the day I am in labor.  I am not talking about unreasonableness, but what I am referring to is the normal things that can be controlled.  I am not demanding God provide certain weather, or that Reagan arrives on a specific day, or even for a perfect painless experience.  I am talking about making decisions like who is with me during labor, who comes to the hospital, and who stays at my home.  I have asked that only my husband and one other person be with me at the hospital during labor.  My Mama flies to Oklahoma on the 31st so if she is here in time it will be Chet and her in the delivery room and if Reagan comes before that date then my friend Julie has graciously agreed to come hold my hand instead.  After all, labor is a very personal thing.  It will be a time when  I will literally be very exposed and hence makes me feel vulnerable and open.  I don't want to share that deeply personal and painful experience with many people, only a couple of people I feel close to that I know can handle the situation and respect my wishes.  So with ONLY Chet and Julie or Mom with me, I like this situation and I am comfortable with "the plan".  So I asked that no one else be present at the hospital while I am in labor.  Why would it be helpful for someone to just sit and wait for me to push out a baby?  I wanted to avoid the stress of knowing someone was just waiting around for me.  Especially considering that labor could be a long time, hours and hours! 
And of course if people are waiting in the lobby, I know my husband will leave MY bedside to visit with them and give up details.  Just thinking about that makes me want to cry.  He would leave me, the person trying to have his daughter, to update others?!?!  That is not OK, but would undoubtedly happen if people were sitting close by waiting to hear what was happening, especially if they have been waiting a long time.

I gave the OK for all sorts of visitors after baby was born, despite the fact that I am likely to be out of my comfort zone after the birth.  But I agreed to let family and friends visit us and meet the baby after she was born.  Key word; AFTER.  This isn't too much to ask, right?  I should be able to set boundaries that make me feel the most at ease and least likely to cause undue stress on that very important day.  

And here is the real point I guess I am trying to make: It is my decision to make.  I shouldn't let my husband decide or even let family or friends push me around based on what they want on my labor day.  Who is the one going through a very personal and private experience? Who will be in pain?  Who will be doing all the work? Oh right, that would be me.  So that makes it my call.  That makes it completely my decision.  And frankly, I don't care how others feel about it, this is what I want and if you really cared about me you would put my needs first on that day and not push your own agenda.  Of course I want to share my joy and love of meeting baby with others but that can be easily done in a way that makes things easier on me. 

So do I want others be a part of the big day - yes!  Absolutely!  But if you really can't respect the wishes of the mother to give her space until after the birth then your making things harder on her instead of participating in the joyful occasion. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ready for Reagan

Pregnancy nesting:  To act as if every detail about your home, nursery, fridge and husband must be ready for the looming arrival of a new baby.  Nesting may or may not be linked to increased hormones and be combined with frenzied cleaning, shouting, or crying.  Typically nesting is demonstrated during the 3rd trimester when actually doing the nesting is very difficult with an enormous bump and swollen feet however mothers do not seem to be detered from this activity despite it's challenges.  Nesting normally includes phrases like "I need to make another trip to Target for more __________" or "Where is my label maker?" and definitely "Honey, can you help me for a second, and bring your hammer/drill/ladder?". 
Warning:  Nesting may cause excessive organizing, deep cleaning and increased need to purchase storage containers in numerous sizes and shapes.  All husbands should adopt the "yes dear" attitude and simply do as they are told.  The only cure for nesting seems to be a completed project list.  The phase will pass, eventually....

I am pretty impressed with the final outcome of the nursery.  I was lucky enough to be able to start with a blank slate, the nursery was an empty room with tan walls and a dresser.  When I was 20 weeks pregnant my sister Juli came down for a visit and I promptly put her to work painting the room with a green and white stripe.  Next was some basic furniture that came from yard sales, hand me downs, and finished off with a new crib from my Mama.  I am not a big fan of the new ornate style of cribs and I wanted something with a lighter finish that felt more casual and country, the one I found online at Target was a perfect balance!  And oddly enough the crib is called the Reagan Design, guess it was the crib for us!  The rocking chair was a gift to my own mother when I was born and I am going to use that area to nurse and snuggle my little one at night.  The rocking chair and the night stand made a long trip in a uhaul with my brother from PA to OK in January.  It was a big trip for him to make but I am thankful to have furniture that has such sentimental value for me in the nursery.    

Our theme was pink and green and a little bit of Tinkerbell charm. (Chet calls the room the "Pink Nightmare" due to all the pink clothes that keep coming in.).  Pink curtains, bedding, and changing pad balance out the green walls and I love the addition of the pink lamp and hanging globe.  And of course the quilt my Mama made pulls all our themes and colors together perfectly with pinks and greens and tinkerbell fabric.  I am looking forward to wrapping Reagan up in it and the quilt is big enough to also use on her toddler bed.  I bet she will get lots of use out of it!  I also added a ribbon of cards above the crib that I saved from my baby showers.  Isn't that a great way to share the love from all our friends and family!  I was also lucky enough to have a friend help with some minor electrical work by adding an outlet and a switch for the lamp.  It made a big difference in the functionality of the room. 

The old mirror came from an estate sale and is quite the antique.  I added the phrase "All you need is faith and trust and little bit of Pixie dust".  Great way to bring my country style into the room.

The last step was putting together the pack and play with the bassinet on top which will go into the master bedroom for the first few weeks when Reagan comes home.  Thanks to some help from Rachel who made this assembly look easy its also ready to go!  

Baby clothes are washed.  Diapers and stacked and ready.  Crib sheets are tucked in.  Batteries are installed.  Monitor is plugged in.  My hospital bag is packed.  Car seat is by the front door.  Check, check, check.....

Now we just need.... a baby.  :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Marriage Advice

One of my favorite things lately has been reading blogs associated with parenthood.  My favorite is Rants from Mommyland where two ladies write about the funny, crazy adventures life brings with children.  Their take on life is pretty awesome: they roll with the punches, laugh at themselves and honestly reflect on their roles as Mommies.  Most days I am giggling with them and also learning something.  Today I read an older post that included some marriage advice.  The first suggestion they gave was a good one and I decided to  share and elaborate on it in my own blog.

Spray each other with the hose.
At first I was all "huh?  How will that help?"  But then reading further it explained a little more and I realized this is actually pretty good advice.  You can have a little fun and tease each other with a little water spray.  It's funny to catch Chet off guard and I have had some fun with this in the past.  It can be funny and playful and just a way to be silly with each other.  Either you both end up giggling a bit about it or it ends up in a full on water match and power struggle for control of the hose.  Either way smiles will happen and as long as you keep it light hearted it will make a fun memory, or at least a way to blow off some steam.  Included with this advice could be to throw a snow ball, dance in the rain, make water balloons, and splash in the pool.
But wait - there's more!  Mad at hubby?  Holding a grudge?  Want to get even or get out some rage directed at him for his foolishness/ignorance/stupidity (insert any fitting ill mannered or inappropriate husband attitude or action)?  Well spray him with the hose works here too, just use the super cone setting that will sting a bit when it hits him and really let him have it for awhile.  Then pretend it was an accident.  "Oh sorry hunny, didn't see you there.  Boy, that really drenched ya" (the key here is to stifle the laugh and pretend to be genuinely sorry all while smirking on the inside).  And then let it go, the anger or madness.  He's sorry one way or the other after that blast so now its time to just get over the issue. 

Now that I have celebrated 2 years of marriage with my own hubby, I can officially give up the newly wed status but I know I am not exactly the marriage guru.  When my younger sister got married last summer I passed her all the wisdom I knew and now I share my limited learnings about life as a wife to you as well.  I am practically an expert after all...

1.  Expect him to do something weird or have an odd habit or two.  Learn to laugh at it, live with it and not stress about it.  My husband has odd theories on reusing towels so after every shower the towel is now dirty and he will not reuse it.  I find this odd - you just bathed and have never been cleaner so why is the towel dirty just from drying off your clean body?  But hey, whatever!  That just means we buy a couple extra towels and he does laundry more often.  (p.s. I find this particularly odd because I have witnessed the man go for a run, shower and then put back on the gym shorts he wore to run.  The towel is dirty but the shorts are still good?  So. Weird.)

2.  You are going to fight.  Oh yes sir.  There will be arguments.  Big ones, small ones, on topics that matter and trivial issues that you can't even recall later.  No matter how much pre-marriage counseling you have had or how well you know each other I promise there will be a few blow outs.  Expect it.  Play fair. And resolve it, maybe not that very day but find a way to get to a solution that you can either except, compromise on, or concede too.  I always say my husband and I are good fighters. I am a yeller but this doesn't bother him and I can turn blue in the face yelling without phasing him.  (When we first moved to our house with our gigantic kitchen I would fight with him in there because with only a little furniture my voice would really sound impressive when I got to hollering.)  I want to sulk and hold a grudge but he will push me to work it out with him.  He lets me be all controlling over certain things and I let him be "the man" on certain topics.  It doesn't always work, but it always works out. 

3. Tell him what you need.  SPELL IT OUT.  Hints do not work, and expecting him to just "know" something often leads to disappointment.  I give him wish lists for my birthday and Christmas.  I write honey do lists and I tell him how how I am feeling in clear, simple words.  We talk about expectations, for baby, for budgets, for holidays, for dinner... If something is annoying me, I tell him about it instead of letting it grow and grow till its a major problem.  If I want a particular thing for mother's day I tell him instead of hoping he knew what I was wishing for.  If I need more time with him, I ask.  If he hurts my feelings, I point it out right away.  Us ladies have physical, emotional and sentimental needs but unless you tell him what they are how can he help satisfy them?  Do you want a wrench set for Christmas?  No?  Then maybe you had better be more clear about what would make you happy. 

4.  You can't win them all.  Sometimes I have to accept I am wrong/won't get my way/I have to do something I don't really like.  And the same goes for him.  It's not going to be win/win all the time.  Some years I don't get to see my family in PA, and we spend time with his in OK.  Sometimes I put more money into the joint account than he does, and its not fair but needs to be done.  Sometimes I have to say sorry and let him get his way.  It sucks, but we survive and we are a better couple for it.  Sometime we give and sometimes we take, but we always have to (at least try) to have a good attitude about it.  Its bigger than just today, or just this argument.  Your relationship is more than being right. 

5.  Keep laughing.  One of my favorite things and least favorite things about my husband is his crazy sense of humor.  He really is a very funny guy.  I even included this in my wedding vows, I was lucky to have someone who can make me laugh everyday.  But sometimes you are also the butt of his jokes too, it goes hand it hand.  There are times when his humor saves my mood, and times when his words are the last straw!  The first couple times he called me pregasaurous during my pregnancy I wanted to smack him!  How dare he make fun of my size, I was already feeling fat and huge without him rubbing it in.  But then I had to relax a bit and laugh about it, especially when I caught my self begging him to get me donuts or eating a huge portion of whatever I happen to be craving.  It really can be funny, if you let it. 

I know by now you are all very impressed by my wisdom.  Clearly, I know it all about marriage. Who would have thought I could be so insightful after only two short years of married bliss?  No, really it hasn't been all bliss.  We have had our highs and our lows, some very low lows when I suddenly understood why some of my young friends abandoned marriages after a short time.  And if I am being really honest, I don't always take my own advice.  My own desire to control things makes it very hard to see his view point at times.  I am a serious grudge holder, I can treat it like a full-time job.  And there are days when he isn't funny, and his words hurt me deeply.  But if you love someone, if you truly meant what you said about being committed you find a way to move past it toward something better.  Even on our lowest days I was still his wife and he was still my husband and that means something.  So maybe my biggest piece of advice, something I still work hard to do, is to remember that you love each other and let that impact everything else.