13 September 2019

Music and Soccer

Another week is gone just like that. I suppose we're getting settled into more of the daily routine of things, at least for the mornings and getting Natalie ready for school and there on time. After school is alway unpredictable with play dates and family stuff. I love it though. I love switching up what we do.

This week Vanessa and I took a music class together. It was definitely more for me to get out of the house and have something to do but I really wanted something new for her and I to do together to bond too. I'll be honest, I felt pretty stupid at times doing the dances and movements while singing cheesy songs to such a little baby who wasn't all that engaged. She did sit quietly in my lap/arms almost the whole 45 minutes until she got hungry at the end and fussed a tiny bit. She did coo loudly when we first got to class and the older kids banged on the drums. She also smiled at another mom who I had to hold hands and rock with. I'll tell you, Natalie made me a big softy and now Vanessa has turned me to mush.

Natalie will be starting soccer next week! I'm so excited for her to be part of a team. I'm a tad nervous, because she can be really competitive and want to be the star of the show, so we'll see. I casually asked her last night what she thinks it means to be a team player. She talked about passing the ball to other players and having good sportsmanship. I was pleased with her response. We'll find out soon!

Something else we talked about last night that broke my heart was safety drills at school. She was telling me how they are going to practice walking to their designated safe place during school and how if someone mean enters the school and is trying to hurt them they'll barricade the classroom door. She told me if that fails then they'll throw chairs at the person and she said "that's reasonable" to do if someone is trying to hurt you. I felt like I was punched in the gut hearing my little girl talk about such a horrible scenario that is all too real.

On a lighter note, Vanessa and I got to visit Natalie at school for lunch this week! Boy was it overwhelming in that cafeteria though. So noisy and a lot going on. I feel bad for the staff who oversee the kids but one lady sure has gotten mean this year compared to last. I try not to be too critical because it's not my job to redirect 100 kids, a lot of whom are disrespecting me and not following directions. I am considering asking the principal if he would like me to create a parent sign up for volunteers to come assist with the older group of kids to help relieve some stress for everyone. I'm not sure if he'll think that's a good idea though and don't want to overstep my bounds by making that suggestion. Like I'm insinuating he's incapable of his job and figuring out a solution. Or maybe he doesn't feel like there's a problem at all.

I'm glad that Natalie has gotten a bit more used to school and is making new friends. She is having a playdate with someone tomorrow and told me about someone else she befriended today during their safety drill. I look forward to seeing how soccer goes and what kind of things Vanessa will be interested in when she is older. I foresee she is going to be on the more creative side and be into the arts more than sports. Whatever my little girl's are into I hope I can nourish those interests and be part of them.


06 September 2019

Cynicism

The first few days of school are done with and tomorrow is the weekend! I seriously look forward to that so much. I'll be off Saturday and Sunday. School is actually the reason I started alternating Saturday shifts, so I could have more time with Natalie since she wouldn't be my sidekick all day anymore.

Now I've got a new little one glued to me all day. Vanessa is so damn sweet. She is non stop smiling and cooing and it melts me. Last Friday she learned to roll from her back to belly two days before the 10 week mark. She's also gone on the swings at the playground while strapped to me and down a slide when she was sleeping and strapped to me at an indoor playground.

Sleep is still all over the place. I can say she will sleep between one and three hours a night. She is still so gassy and wiggles around in discomfort at night. I'm holding up pretty well though, especially with having to get up around 6:30 with the school schedule. Natalie on the other hand has a harder time waking and she is grumpy about going to school. It's not because it's a bad school or experience, it will just take some getting used to. She has had play dates each day after school so far.

I encourage her to make new friends since she was bummed none of her best friends are in her class and she told me she has enough friends already and isn't going to. Man is she stubborn. I also think she is beginning to rebel against me and all authoritative figures as she is quite often combative and contrary. If I tell her to do something or make a suggestion it is the opposite of whatever I say. She can also be really negative and dramatic and says things are terrible or awful or the worst thing in the world... ugh. I can't help but feel I am to blame for a lot of her negativity. I am not always the most optimistic person and I think that gets projected onto her at times. I am not mean to her or anything like that, I just have a negative attitude about various things and she has probably picked up on that. Or maybe she is just a 7 year old cynic. Who knows... I am starting to realize I need to be more upbeat myself since that is how I want my children to be. I am just so skeptical of the world and so untrusting and always assume the worst. I don't want my kids to be disappointed in life and I don't want their hearts to get broken by false expectations, so I tend to make sure Natalie is aware of the less pleasing side of reality. Example, and I am glad I caught myself before saying it, but there was a boy who Natalie really can't stand who she was anxious would be in her class. He is just mean and apparently called her a bitch to another kid last year and she heard it. Makes me so mad. Anyway, he ended up not being in her class and I was so happy and she was too. I almost was like, "Well keep in mind there might be other kids you don't like in your class this year too," and then I thought, why does she need to think about that? Her anxiety was just relieved and here I am about to put that worry back in her head because I don't want her to get too comfortable with the idea that everyone will be nice. She will learn that in time. And I hope I can teach her to see the good in people despite their flaws.

I have a some flaws to work on in myself, clearly. Change is hard but necessary. I want to raise my girls to the absolute best of my ability and I know I can do better. I am a very happy person inside and need to do a better job portraying positivity even when I feel cynical about life.

03 September 2019

2nd Grade

 It's so bittersweet watching your little ones grow big. I am so unbelievably lucky to have these children in my life. I can't believe Natalie just started 2nd grade today. She was so excited and we all went to drop her off. I was going to walk her into class but she changed her mind on that at the door because she saw a friend in another class going in without his mom so she walked with him.


29 August 2019

Little Lady

Last Thursday Natalie and I went to my job to get our hair done together. I went a smidge darker and got it trimmed, she went for green ends and bangs. I'll have to say she made a good choice and it looks so cute! I can't get over how grown up she looks with bangs. It frames her beautiful eyes too. She also got her ears pierced on Sunday. She started asking about getting them pierced last summer and we agreed she could do it for her 7th birthday but she changed her mind come December. I feel like people might judge me for letting my little girl have green hair and holes in her ears but what the fuck ever. After our hair appointment we got lunch and then picked Vanessa up from my mother in laws house. At home she wanted to watch a movie and I got to do that with her for a bit before baby duties called.

I love spending time with this little chickadee and so don't look forward to back to school. Tomorrow she is going to meet her new teacher at open house. She didn't get the teacher she wanted and none of her best friends are in her class but I am optimistic she will like the teacher and make new besties. I am so proud of my little lady.






26 August 2019

2 Months

Vanessa turned two months three days ago. She had a doctors appointment last week and her weight is 11 lbs 9 oz (64th percentile), length 23.5 inches (93rd percentile) and head circumference 38.7 cm (72nd percentile). Her percentiles went down and I was concerned about the head circumference but the doctor assured me not to worry and we'll see where things are at 4 months. It's not that I'm comparing her to other babies and basing my concern on the percentile thing, it's that her growth slowed down. Her head barely grew and that freaks me out. She is so alert and coo-y and smiley and seems to be improving on coordination and head strength so that is the most important thing to me. The doctor also felt her hips at the end of the check up and said her left hip possibly felt a bit loose. So we scheduled an appointment with a pediatric orthopedic, then were told they wanted her to have an ultrasound before seeing the specialist but the first opening for an ultrasound was October 12th. I scheduled that then they called me and said they were going to see if the doctor wanted her to come in anyway without an ultrasound or if they can get her an earlier ultrasound. So we're just waiting but I am not too concerned with that and expect everything to check out okay.

So overall everything is still amazing and I am so happy! I love this little baby so much my heart wants to burst! 




18 August 2019

8 Weeks

The summer is coming to an end and I feel a little bummed about Natalie going back to school. Okay, I feel quite a bit bummed. I want her to get out of the house and socialize and learn but I sure will miss having her at home with me. Granted, we don't get to do as much as we did last summer and I feel bad at times but she is happy and has fun. She can still struggle with following directions the first 14 times I ask and can get an attitude when things don't go her way but she is such a good kid. She is so freaking funny. I can't even explain fully, she just is silly and witty and has a good sense of humor (unless I poke fun at her, then she gets sensitive). I enjoy our conversations and how mature she seems when talking about things.

Vanessa is 8 weeks old today and the absolute sweetest. She is so smiley and chatty and cuddly. I literally have to keep her strapped to me all day for her to nap and hold her in my arms at night. I'm not crazy about the night time thing only because I am concerned about the safety of it. I looked into getting a breathing monitor for her but that tracks movement and if she's in bed with me it will pick up on my motion, hence giving a false reading. She loves being held and talked to and gets bored fairly easily. I actually hold her all day, or put her down and talk to her. Her eating and sleeping is still all over the place. She definitely is the gassiest baby. Poor girl has belly pains often and fusses, part of the reason I think she likes being held and upright so much. Natalie is the perfect big sister to her and absolutely adores her. I just love and adore these girls so so much.

I am feeling good. I've been taking Zoloft for two weeks now. I am not sure it's actually had an affect on me yet or not. I can tell you I felt so good the first day I took it and have since. Everything I read and the doctor said it takes weeks for it to start working, so perhaps it is just a placebo effect.  Either way so far so good. Physically I feel awesome too! I've lost 35 lbs and am trying to take better care of myself overall.



04 August 2019

Lately

Today Vanessa is 6 weeks old and Natalie is 7 years and 8 months old exactly! I am certain my father in law will be by later to drop off a card and donuts for Natalie, Vanessa might have to wait awhile before she gets special treats. ;)

Sleep is still not good. Honestly I don't really care about that though. As I lied awake at 4 in the morning today after feeding the baby, her a bit restless and uncomfortable in her sleep, I thought how lucky am I that this is my biggest problem? Waking up to take care of this beautiful child who belongs to me is amazing. So what if she wakes up more often than most babies or has tummy troubles that make her fuss? It's such a small thing compared to the problems a lot of people have.

Her eating is still all over the place at times. We've increased nightly feedings to 4 ozs. She doesn't always finish them and during the day she will eat, fuss, eat, sleep, wake up after 15 minutes, fuss, eat, so not much consistency when it come to feeding. She does drool and chew on her hands a lot- Matt calls it her handburgers when she does. If she weren't a month old I would say it's teething. I also remember Natalie drooling and chewing a lot long before she ever got teeth too, so I think it's just something babies do.

Natalie is doing well. She is such a funny and smart kid. She genuinely makes me laugh and impresses me with her vocabulary. She uses words like subtle and eager and I think it is so cute. The other day she told me she liked my sunglasses and tried them on. I said, "You look good in those," and she said, "Aw, thanks. So do you...even though I don't know what you look like in them," so I tried them on and she goes, "You look good in them! Even better than I look in them...even though I don't know what I look like in them," and it cracked me up because she was intentionally being playful and silly. She has been enjoying going to camp pretty much every day. Granted, we only send her for 3 hours a day or so but she has fun and looks forward to it which is such a relief. My concern is once school starts she is going to hate doing that and have a lot of anxiety about it.

Speaking of anxiety, I talked to a doctor about mine and was prescribed something for it. I just took my first does today. I have so many hesitations about going on meds. I am afraid of the potential side effects and that it will physically make me feel bad. Then I am scared of the emotional side effects possible and that it will mentally make me feel more depressed/anxious or worst of all make me feel suicidal or something crazy. I know that is rare but still. Then I debate if I really am all that anxious/sad. I don't have the classic checklist of symptoms for depression like loss of interest in activities, poor appetite, fatigue, feeling hopeless and such and I certainly don't feel depressed but on occasion I just break down and sob out of nowhere. I know I am anxious for sure but sometimes I think it's fine and that I am handling it fine but then I think, why would I want to keep feeling like this if I don't have to?

I think going back to work is a good thing for me mentally too, at least it seemed to be this weekend. My first day back was Friday. Everyone welcomed me back and it felt good to have different responsibilities for the day. Of course Saturday morning things at work had to get a bit off track and I came in to computer issues first thing. Everything I do is on the computer and it was malfunctioning so making work a bit difficult but it was early enough it didn't fuck things up too much. I swear that salon is cursed though because we have the worst of luck with everything. Every week or so there is a new issue popping up. A few weeks ago when my sister was working lightening struck right outside the shop and completely fried our computers and wifi modem. There are so many things like that that consonantly happen and it makes our job 100 times more challenging. Plus my boss really isn't helpful and leaves us to figure out how to solve the problem while we're trying to deal with the problem and explain the mess to customers. Sounds like I really am happy to be back to work, huh?

Life has been good. We've had lots of visitors including my friend who lives in N.C. One of Matt's friends even stopped by to meet Vanessa, which was sweet to me because he's this big, burly dude. We've been spending a lot of time with Matt's parents too. They are always so kind and helpful and we're so lucky to have them.




23 July 2019

One Month

We can now begin counting in months! Vanessa Nicole is one month old today! She had a check up yesterday and is weighing in at 10 lbs 3.5 ozs (80th percentile) and is 23 inches long (99th percentile). Besides a terrible rash she has on her face, head, back of ears, and chest she is doing great. The doc said it's just a generic rash that babies get. We thought it was heat rash and of course measles crossed my mind too. It seems to flare up and get better at times. We were told to use hydracortisone cream and switch to fragrance free soaps, lotion and detergent.

Sleep has gotten worse for her and us. At night she wants to be on her belly so we have to hold her a lot. She wakes up the second we put her in the crib and fusses/cries. I try soothing her with a pacifier or by touching her but it rarely does any good. I have to pick her back up and hold her for another half hour then try again. Last night I was awake from 4:30-6:30 trying to make her comfortable in the bassinet next to our bed. I would have just put her in bed with us but Natalie had a bad dream and came into our room to sleep right at that time. We have been guilty of falling asleep with her in our arms (Matt has, anyway, I just can't sleep that way) and sleeping with her in our bed. I was so determined she would sleep in her crib before she was born. I am still hopeful and trying. I lie her down for every nap in her crib even if I know she'll wake up to try and train her to sleep there. I don't know if it's even possible to train a baby this young but I am trying. 

Eating is kinda all over the place. She wakes at night to eat every hour-hour and a half. Two hours is a rare stretch that she will go if she's in our bed or arms. We're giving her 3 ozs each feeding but she doesn't always finish it. Sometimes she will finish it and act hungry so we make another bottle and she takes a sip then falls asleep. Sometimes she will eat half of it then fall asleep then wake up 30 minutes late and want the rest. I honestly can't remember if it was like this with Natalie or not. 

Developmentally she seems on par with where she should be, though I don't read much about that kinda stuff. At least not yet. She makes great eye contact and has begun to coo in response to us talking/singing to her. She also smiles quite a bit, especially in the mornings. I swear she does it intentionally even though I know it's way too soon for that. Either way it's really sweet and makes me happy. She also has this adorable quirk of burying her face in between your body and bend in your arm when you hold her so she can fall asleep. Like a little baby mole rat. But more attractive. 

Tomorrow I have my check up. It isn't six weeks postpartum but I assume that's fine. I think I am going to bring up how I've been feeling lately. I find I am super sensitive (that has always been a trait of mine) and am up and down with the anxiety and sad spells. I don't know if I want to go on medication or not. It has been a long time coming to address the issue of me feeling the ways I do sometimes but I don't want the negative side effects pharmaceuticals could bring. I keep telling myself I can deal with it alone but I am also not sure I want to keep doing that. It's a conundrum but I am going to talk about it and weigh my options. 



15 July 2019

3 Weeks Old


Vanessa turned 3 weeks old on Sunday! Time is a strange concept, especially with sleep deprivation so it feels like she has been here a lot longer. She fits right in with our family. 

Things are still going pretty well. I think my poor baby has some form of reflux/tummy issues. She cries and grunts and squirms around when she eats and she also gags on occasion, which really freaks me out. I purchased gripe water last night in hopes that will work but I am not very confident. Anything safe is worth a try to give my baby some comfort though. 

She also smiles more now, which I know is just a reflex but sometimes she looks at me and I say something or make a funny face and she'll smile and it feels like it's in response to me. She also will smile and let out a little noise that sounds like a giggle/laugh when she sleeps. It is so cute. 

I'm doing better emotionally. I haven't had a crying/sad spell in awhile. Stress definitely got to Matt and I a bit and we argued the other day about who pitches in more, which is so stupid and I don't know why I was so frustrated. We both help with the kids and do our share. I just want to be recognized and appreciated and thanked a bit more for the sacrifices I make. Sacrifices I am more than happy to make I should add. Matt takes care of our family and is such a good dad, I know I shouldn't nit pick. Anyway, we're all good now. 







11 July 2019

My Butterflies

When I was in 7th grade I learned a song in music class called "Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlyle. My roommate/best friend (I went to boarding school) Alana and I would sing this song together in the showers almost daily. I loved it and how it went through a girl's life from childhood to her wedding day.

Fast forward years later after my own wedding day and having a daughter of my own and I would sing this song to Natalie at night to soothe her. (The song is from the viewpoint of a father, but I always changed the word dad/daddy in the song to "our" or I would just leave it out.) When she got older she would request that I sing it to her, sometimes singing along with me. Eventually I stopped singing it so often to her and now I can't tell you the last time I did.

One day before I was pregnant but not too long ago she said to me out of the blue, "I want you to call me butterfly," and so I started to. She would smile and get giddy when I first began to call her that and told me how much she liked the nickname.

When we were looking for a name for baby sister I suggested Vanessa. I looked up the meaning and it was butterfly. At one point I told Natalie the name and it's meaning and said something along the lines of, "We're going to have another butterfly in the family," and she said, "We're not naming the baby Vanessa." Eventually it became her who was more set on the name Vanessa than I was.

I think the names are sweet and perfect together, just like I hope my two girls will be.


Ad we placed in the school yearbook for Natalie. 

10 July 2019

2 Weeks

Vanessa had her two week check up on Monday. She gained 1 and a half pounds since birth and weighs 9 lbs 4.5 ounces. She was still measuring at 21 1/2 inches, which is what she was the day after she was born, but the doctor said that didn't mean she didn't grow, just that it's hard to measure babies when they don't cooperate. That's the 83rd percentile for weight and 95th for height. Her head circumference was 36.8 cm, which is the 92nd.

We had a rough night because she does not want to sleep on her back. She sleeps well in the day time being held or in her rocker chair but when I lay her down in her crib she wakes up after a minute or two 95% of the time. She was also waking up every hour last night to eat and seemed like she was having tummy issues. Her becoming a good sleeper and being able to soothe herself and sleep in a crib is my biggest stressor when it comes to parenting an infant. Natalie was not a good sleeper and we did nothing to encourage her to learn to sleep on her own, we just rocked her to sleep or took her on midnight car rides frequently, on top of her sleeping in bed with us for 5 years.

Speaking of Natalie, things with her have been a bit challenging the last few days. She had so much attitude the other night and we had to ground her and it just wasn't fun. I chalk it up to her not having a consistent schedule. She is a good kid and I feel bad when I lose my cool with her but it does get frustrating to repeat myself over and over again and her to get snotty with us. She's still an amazing big sister and honestly helpful though.

Most days I feel like I keep it together really well. I keep the house clean, the kids are taken care of, I cook dinner, make sure everyone's needs are being met and still try to make time for myself (by make time for myself I mean take a shower, go to bed at 10 p.m. and rush through the occasional blog post). I have been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I hope it's just hormones and not true postpartum depression but I have been having random crying spells and moments of sheer anxiety. It comes and goes each day at different times and there doesn't seem to be a trigger for it. I'm not having any thoughts of self harm or anything so I am not terribly concerned but it isn't fun when it happens.

Overall I think things are going well, despite all the negative things I just went on about.

05 July 2019

4th of July

In true mom fashion I posted the pictures for this entry days ago but haven't been able to get around to finishing writing about our 4th of July until now. Weekend update included. 

We had such a good 4th of July! In the morning we attended a neighborhood festival that takes place each year but I somehow never knew about despite living in this neighborhood for over 10 years. There was a moon bounce, snow cones, cotton candy, face painting, music and a dunk tank that Natalie had a blast doing over and over again. There was also a baby "beauty" contest, which consistent of taking Vanessa up to two "judges" and them giving us a certificate. They gave her the title of, "Princess of Rosemont" (our neighborhood) which I thought was really cute!

Later in the evening we went to Matt's brothers house for dinner and some fireworks. Natalie had a great time playing with her cousins and I enjoyed having wine and chatting with my sister in law. We stayed pretty late and I definitely regretted it the next day but it was a lot of fun anyway! 

Yesterday (7/6) Natalie went to a classmates birthday party at a place with giant inflatable slides and moon bounces. She had so much fun. I didn't realize we were just supposed to drop her off and roll out so I planned to stay the whole time and brought the baby and all. It worked out great though because there was a little grill next door so we just went to lunch there and then headed back over to the party for a bit. I love how easy it is at the moment to tote Vanessa along with us wherever and she pretty much just sleeps the whole time. I'm glad to test my mom abilities too and have two kids, plus myself ready to go by a certain time along with everything I need in a bag. I am sure it gets harder but for the time being I got dis. After the party we went to my mother in laws house where her niece was visiting with a friend for a couple of days. Natalie absolutely adores the niece and is obsessed. Her friend was really nice too and even though the girls are young (19/20ish) they entertained Natalie and played with her so well. Natalie was so happy and just giggling and excited the whole time. 

Today (7/7) Natalie is going to Cirque du Soleil with Matt's brother as a Christmas gift from this past December. She is so excited and last night after dinner at Matt's dads house she was asking Uncle Bobby what their schedule was going to be and created her own itinerary. I love seeing she has organization and planning skills in her. 













30 June 2019

First Week

Vanessa, my sweet girl,

It felt like it took so long to finally have you in my tummy and now that you're here in my arms it doesn't feel like such a big wait. You make my heart so full of happiness, just like your sister does. I don't even mind the middle of the night wake up calls from you because I am happy to see your sweet face when I open my eyes. You seem to be patient, content, curios and alert. You do not like sponge baths or diaper changes most of the time. You're strong and ahead of yourself when you try (and succeed) to roll over onto your side. I love being your mom so much and nurturing and caring for you and keeping you safe. I know we're all still adjusting and figuring this out and we have learning left to do but I am glad we're doing it together! So glad you're mine. -Love, Mommy

Wow, my little baby is a week old! Life has been pretty good. A lil' rough at times but even when it's rough it's not so bad. Straight from the hospital we went to Matt's moms house, who lives two blocks from us. It was amazing  having an extra set of hands for the girls, help with laundry, cooking, cleaning, and the much larger space for all of us to be comfortable. Last night was our first night back at our house and while it's good to be back it is quite cramped but we'll make it work.

Vanessa is doing great! She had a doctor check up the day after we left the hospital since we left the day after she was born. They like to be extra vigilant to make sure babies aren't losing too much weight and such. She was down about 4 ounces and measure 21.5" long. She has a check up tomorrow and they want her to be back to her birth weight at the 2 week check up. I don't know how fast babies gain ounces back but my expectation is she will meet that goal and then some soon. She's eating every hour to three hours and usually about two ounces at a time, though I think we will increase the volume soon. Her digestive system seems to be getting more regulated and she isn't pooping every five minutes like she was the first couple of days. Seriously we would change her diaper, then as soon as a new one was on she would poop again, then in the midst of changing that one she would poop. She sleeps for good chunks of time during the day but at night I am lucky if she goes 3 solid hours. I think that has only happened about twice. She will also stay awake for several hours at a time during the day, just looking around and chillin'.

Maybe it's just the endorphins and excitement of a new baby, but I am feeling pretty great myself. Emotionally I have been on cloud nine most the time. I have had a few crying spells of just being overwhelmed by happiness, fear and utter awe of my new life. Anxiety still makes it's appearance and I am so scared of something happening to Vanessa. She's so fragile and precious. Physically I am definitely healing. My back, hips and pelvis are very achy sometimes and it makes standing up or walking around a bit challenging. The soreness from my stitches/wounds significantly improved on day four and is almost non existent now. I have to be careful not to put too much pressure down when sitting/standing.

Matt and Natalie are doing well too. Natalie is such a good big sister. She really looks out for the baby and dotes on her. One day there was a blanket lying next to Vanessa while she was sleeping on the bed next to me and Natalie came in the room, saw it and was concerned and told me babies can't have blankets next to them when they sleep. (I told her before the baby was born how the crib has to be empty when she is sleeping/alone.) This morning Natalie said, "Will the T.V. hurt the baby's ears?" asking to watch T.V. while I held her sister. I thought that was so sweet. The other day she was holding V and doing "little piggies" with her. She made me laugh so hard by saying, "this little piggie went to the market, this little piggie stayed home, this little piggie had beef jerkey..." I thought it was so cute and did not correct her telling her it's roast beef. She is such a funny girl. Yesterday we saw some free things a neighbor was giving away and she said, "It looks like there's a sweet lemonade maker." I asked what she meant by sweet, wondering if she was using slang. She replied, "Cause lemonade is sweet and like sick." I cannot believe how she is talking like a pre-teen already. I know tomorrow will be a struggle because I am sending her to camp and for some reason she hates going. I ask in depth why and all I get is a, "it's boring". I think there is some social anxiety that comes into play and she is nervous at how busy it is and all the kids running around screaming and the counselors yelling directions and feeling a bit lost but she doesn't admit that. Matt and I have done a really good job making sure her little sister doesn't overshadow her and giving her lots of attention. We play games with her all day and on Friday we had a family outing to the mall and to Matt's office to pick up his paycheck, just the three of us.

Tonight we had our first family of four outing. We went to Home Depot and out to dinner. Vanessa just slept the whole time, then woke up as soon as I finished my meal for a diaper change and bottle. It worked out perfectly.



26 June 2019

I Bleeping Did It!

Classy title for a birth story post, right? Well, I did it, I gave birth and survived!

Here's how it all went down: Saturday, June 22nd Matt and I took Natalie to his mom's house to spend the night since I was scheduled to be induced at the hospital at midnight. She was nervous and sad for us to leave and I was too. At one point she said, "I can't do this, it's too overwhelming." and I totally understood. She calmed down and we left.

I don't like to be late for things so I wanted to arrive at the hospital early to process our pre filled paperwork and be sure once 12 am rolled around we were ready to get started. We got there at 11:30 p.m. but I was told they couldn't even enter me in the system until midnight or we would pay out of pocket for an entire day. We waited in the amazingly lavish lobby. Seriously, it had a grand piano and waterfalls and sculptures that looked like something from an art museum.

We went back up at 12:00 a.m. on the dot and were told my room wasn't ready just yet. We sat in the waiting area upstairs that was full of people when we arrived and there was no one but a very tired looking elderly couple sitting out there. They were nice and started chatting with us and revealed their daughter was also being induced but had been in labor since 3 p.m. the previous day. They said once she started dilating it took an hour per centimeter, but she was at 9 cm and going to start pushing soon, which they were told would take another 2 hours for pushing alone. I felt bad for her and wished them luck as the receptionist came and got us.

They got me set up in my room, room 7. The room was bigger than the entire first floor of my house, I was so dumbfounded at how nice this hospital was. It had a pull out day bed for Matt to sleep on too. They hooked me up to monitors to measure contractions and the baby's heart rate. I was feeling some cramps and the nurse said my contractions were coming every 5 minutes but I certainly did not feel them that often and the ones I did feel were pretty mild. I was surprised at how close they were.

The doctor came in, though I'm not sure what time it was. She chatted with me briefly and told me they would give me a cervix ripening agent every 4 hours and in the morning I would be given an IV of medication to start contractions. She also checked to see if I had dilated at all, and I had not. She said I was about 40-50% effaced and it was possible there was scar tissue form a surgery I had several years ago and that could be why I hadn't dilated.

I was asked questions and given an IV of fluid. Once all was said and done I was given a vaginal pill insert at about 1:40/1:45. I only remember because I asked how long it usually takes to begin working and the doctor told me about 20 minutes. I looked at the clock and did the math and expected something to happen around 2:05 a.m. I was told I could expect some cramps but sometimes the first dose doesn't work for everyone.

My contractions did begin to get stronger but I don't remember how soon after. The nurse asked me if I wanted a Benedryl to sleep. I initially said no, figuring it wouldn't help because the contractions would get too strong to sleep through but then I reminded myself that these medications take time, hence why they start them the night before, so I agreed to take one. My mind was racing and I hoped it would allow me to relax.

I was left alone to try and sleep. Matt was already doing his best to get some rest but I could not. Between the anxiety of it all and the need to get up and pee and unhook my monitors I just couldn't. The nurse had to keep coming to check on me because the baby wasn't picking up on the monitor well at times due to changing positions (from her and I I'm sure).

After one trip to the bathroom the nurse came in to ask if I was okay. I told her I was and apologized that the monitors kept coming off me. I lied back down and she adjusted the monitors around my belly. Then I felt my water break. I calmly told her, "I think my water just broke." Even though I was really exited and hopeful I still felt slightly skeptical about it. Despite just using the bathroom did I accidentally pee myself? I remembered how long it took me with Natalie to finally stop being in denial about my water breaking and I knew now it really did happen. The nurse said, "You think so?" and I justified it to her with, "Yeah, I mean, I just used the bathroom and I don't think I peed myself." She told me the doctor used a lot of gel when inserting my pill so it could be that. I felt even more seep out and I told her I was pretty sure. She checked me by asking me to cough and confirmed it had broken. I was so happy. I knew this meant I most likely wouldn't have to be give more drugs to artificially start labor, even though that was the plan.

I had been told once your water breaks is when things really start to progress and the doctor already told me I could get the epidural whenever I want since I have a history of quick labor. I felt so relieved by that but the idea that things would take a long long time still lingered in my head. I didn't want to get it too soon and it wear off by push time. I talked to the nurse and she said maybe wait an hour. I agreed with her.

The nurses switched shifts and 30 minutes later things started to pick up in intensity so I asked for the epidural. At some point my new nurse checked me and told me I was dilated to 2 cm. I said, "That's it?" and she said, "Yeah but it will progress quickly," I laughed a little and said, "You're right. I really shouldn't complain, this is already happening a lot faster than I expected." I was told I had to have a full bag of IV fluid in me before I could get it and that concerned me. What if now I wasn't able to get it because things moved too fast? I was all over the place.

They increased the speed of the IV pumping into me and called the anesthesiologist. I don't even know what time it was. I think around 4 a.m. I got the epidural. My legs pretty quickly started to feel numb. Maybe 5-10 minutes later. My right leg was more numb than the left and they told me to lie on my back and let gravity help distribute it. They kept asking me how my contractions felt and I told them they were still pretty painful.

Again the baby kept moving from the monitors and they kept having to adjust things. When everything finally settled down around what I think was close to 5 a.m. I felt so sleepy. I lied on my left side and was in between being awake and asleep. Then the pain got so unbearable. I would cry out in pain and remind myself to breathe. I had to tell myself out loud, "You can do this. You can do this." Matt woke up and I told him I wanted help. He asked if he should call the nurse. I said I didn't know, and then no because she couldn't do anything to keep me from being in pain. Maybe 15 minutes later I changed my mind and told him to call her. I wasn't sure what I wanted her to do but when she came in I asked if my epidural had come out. She checked and said no then told me she would check me. I hoped so badly that I was pretty far along dilated.

She checked and said, "Her head is right here." What? All that pain was for a purpose! She called the doctor. I told Matt, "I don't want you in the room when I push. You can come right after but I have to focus." Not that I thought he would distract me from doing my job per se, but I just wanted privacy and to be alone with the medical staff for it. He didn't question me and asked the nurses where to wait before he gave me a kiss and told me he loves me then headed out to the waiting area.

The nurse told me not to push until the doctor came. I wasn't having any urge or desire too so that was easy for me. The doctor came in quickly and got prepared. They told me on the next contraction to push. I was still waiting for it to come along so to get my mind off things I made small talk. "Today's actually my husband's birthday," and they smiled and said "Really?" and I said, "Yeah, it's his 40th too, so a big one." then along came a contraction almost before I could finish my sentence and I told them.

They said to push. I still had no urge and said, "Okay, like this?" as I sat up and they said yes. I held it for maybe 30 seconds. I remember asking if the baby was okay and they told me yes and showed me the top of her head. Then she was out. I said right after, "Holy shit that was easy!" in amazement at how fast and easy it was. They laughed and my main nurse replied, "Said no one ever!" They put her on my chest. She cried a lot. I remember blood getting smeared on my arm from her body and wondering when they would clean her up.

They took her after a minute or two and began to work on me. One nurse asked if I wanted her to take pictures of the baby on my phone. I said sure and she tried but it's such a crappy phone and didn't work out. I told her no to worry about it . I was told I had a 2nd degree tear. I'm not sure how bad that is or not and that's one thing I don't want to Google. Finally I called Matt to come back in the room. He was surprised at how fast it went and I had to tell them it was faster than he thought, they were just busy doing other things after she was born.

The entire day felt surreal. I couldn't believe it. I was so proud even though I had absolutely no control over how things went and had no choice but to get this baby out of me at some point. It went so amazingly that I just couldn't wrap my head around it.

Vanessa Nicole was born on June 23rd, 2019 at 6:12 a.m. weighing 8 lbs 4 ozs and 21 inches long. She is absolutely perfect from head to toe and I couldn't be more in love.



20 June 2019

40 + Weeks

I knew I would see my due date come and go with no baby in my arms, even though I had moments of believing second babies come sooner, or just getting a feeling she might arrive before expected.

With Natalie I remember how long the very end of my pregnancy felt and it got a bit discouraging with each passing day. I have had my moments with Nugget where I felt desperate for her to come, but for the most part I have relaxed and am happy waiting, mostly because the finish line is in site. We have scheduled induction for Sunday. That's five days after my due date, which I think is a fair amount of time to wait. Sunday is also Matt's birthday, which he is excited about! I do kind of wish Nugget would have her own birthday, but even if I weren't induced there is a possibility of her being born on his birthday anyway. What makes it even more special to me is that I have had to change hospitals, so I will be delivering in D.C. which is where he was born too.

I had a doctor appointment yesterday and everything with baby is looking good. We did a non stress test which is where they put some monitors around my belly that track the baby's heart rate. I was given some animal crackers and cranberry juice then just lied in a chair for 20 or 30 minutes and pressed a button when I felt baby move. They said everything looked great! I was asked if I felt any of my contractions and that really surprised me. I have had cramps through every trimester. I have been having them a bit more lately perhaps. My doctor said I was having one at the moment she was talking to me but I didn't feel a thing. It's really confusing how the body works. She also tried to check my cervix to see if I've dilated but I have a tilted uterus and she was having a hard time feeling anything and didn't want to make me uncomfortable any more. I was a bit bummed to not find out if I have made any progress or not but it's going to happen soon enough so whatever. I have been having some pretty strong nausea since my due date that comes and goes but I don't know if that means labor is going to happen on it's own soon.

I can't believe how soon my life is going to change! Today is the last day of school and I am so proud of Natalie again. She kicks ass with her grades and behavior. She is reading at a level "O," which is above where she is expected to be and got all 4's on her progress report again. Her teacher said she's a joy to have and a good friend to her peers and always exited to learn! I am going to treat her to a Slurpee after school today to celebrate. :)


16 June 2019

Father's Day 2019

With as spoiled and pampered as I have been so lucky to be lately I really wanted today to be special for Matt. Unfortunately being huge and pregnant along with being poor makes spoiling him as much as he deserves impossible.

Still I drug myself out of bed this morning to make him breakfast. The plan was him to stay in bed but he ended up out of bed before me, something that never happens, because our smoke detector batteries were low and it kept beeping. He changed them with what we thought were good batteries but it still was beeping so he had to call his dad (who lives 2 blocks away and is our handyman) who showed up with more batteries which did the trick. 

After that little fiasco I gave him breakfast and Natalie gave him a card she made for him last night. I also purchased him a 3 month membership for a hot sauce of the month club, since hot sauce is his main food group. He mowed our lawn, and later the three of us went to lunch, followed by a quick trip to the playground. Once back home we lied in bed and I gave him a back rub before he went on a long walk, something he really enjoys, while Natalie and I played lots of board games together. We finished the evening off by going out to dinner. 

I can't believe I get to raise another little human with this wonderful man soon. I honestly don't know a lot of fathers (or husbands/partners) that are as loving and devoted to their families as he is. I certainly didn't come from a stable, happy household, not by a long shot. Giving my kids a two parent home means the world to me. It also makes me feel so bad for all the kids who are missing so much at home because their parents don't have their shit together. 

I know relationships don't always work out between moms and dads, and a lot of the time it's for the better that they separate. It's just a huge shame that not many people can co-parent successfully for the sake of their children. I see so much drama and deadbeat parenting happening around me and it really does make me mad. Hell, I see uninvolved parents who are raising their kids in the same home together. 

I'm not perfect and I've made tons of mistakes in my life, in my relationship and in my parenting. I am flawed and will continue to make mistakes. As long as Matt and I walk this earth though we will do our best to make our family work and give our children the love and stability they need. 






12 June 2019

Best Birthday

Today I celebrated my 29th birthday! I started the day with a doctor's appointment, fun! It was pretty boring check up, I was asked if I wanted to be checked to see if my cervix has opened, but I declined as I am confident it has not. After that Matt and I went to the rec center to finish registering Natalie for summer camp, and then we were off to paint our anniversary pottery. We did that, which was harder than I expected. I am no artist, and wasn't too pleased with the way my pottery turned out. Matt's looked really great though and I can't wait to see it when it's glazed and finished. Then we went out to lunch and had a really big meal. After lunch I met up with my sister at the nail salon and she treated me to a manicure and pedicure! I couldn't feel luckier, happier or more spoiled.  I'm so grateful for my loving husband and family.


10 June 2019

Pampered Mama

I woke up at 3 in the morning today thinking labor might be beginning. I had some stomach pains and needed to use the bathroom, which is how labor with Natalie began (in addition to my water breaking first). I thought for sure my system was cleaning itself out and contractions would follow suite. I was so excited by the idea of labor starting that I had to force myself back to sleep. 

Alas nothing happened but my system isn't exactly back to normal. I have read loose movements could be a sign labor will start soon, or it could be weeks away. I think it's because of the hormone that causes your joints to loosen and pelvis to open up to make way for baby. My hips and thighs have been aching along with my pubic bone. It makes it really hard to get out of bed and Saturday night I was in a lot of pain. I was worried if that pain lasted I wouldn't be able to walk the next day. That kind of onset the feeling of desperately wanting labor to move along and now I have been wanting it to start for the last few days. I wasn't in a hurry before at all. I was in no rush to experience the pain of child birth but now I just want to get it over with and the thought of it happening soon is driving me crazy. I know it will start soon, as in the by the end of next week so I need to just take my mind off it. I hate feeling like I'm just wishing time away. 

Today was such a good day despite not giving birth. Matt purchased a prenatal massage for me for our anniversary but nothing was available until today, which is perfect because my birthday is in two days so it was an early birthday gift. I wondered how awkward it would be to be naked under a sheet with a stranger rubbing on me at nine months pregnant, but it was fine. They even included a face mask and foot scrub. I felt so pampered and spoiled and taken care of and loved. Then I came home on a natural high and cozied up and took a nap before Natalie came home from school, took her to the playground, cooked dinner and then we spent some family time together working on an activity book before bed. There are so many good and happy moments to soak up in daily life! I am the luckiest woman, I swear. 

07 June 2019

38 Weeks

This week marks 38 weeks of pregnancy down! I had a doctor's visit Tuesday and we did a quick ultrasound to check to make sure my water wasn't leaking since my underwear randomly is damp at times. No leak and we confirmed we are having a girl!

My doctor also checked if I've dilated at all. Everything is still closed. That kind of surprises me, because I feel baby girl really low down and have been getting strong cramps and even feel a burning sensation in my lower right side at times. I thought for sure some movement had happened.

We talked about scheduling induction and I told her some dates after my due date that I would like to aim for. I just am waiting to hear back from the scheduling nurses at the hospital to see what's available. I am starting to feel a bit more comfortable with getting induced, though I still don't want to. I told Matt it's like knowing you're about to be shot in the head (yes I can be dramatic) instead of it just sneaking up on you like natural labor would. I don't understand why the cut off for an epidural is about an hour. I swear when I had Natalie I got the epidural and then pushed 30 minutes later or so. Maybe it's all a blur and it was closer to an hour but it wasn't long. I didn't go completely numb, as in I could still feel the contractions and it started to burn, but I didn't feel her exiting my body and was so thankful for that.

In non bodily news, today I hosted the last craft party for Natalie's class! We made jellyfish sun catchers. Her teacher asked for a craft that would take up a good amount of time and this definitely did so. Mostly because there was a lot of supplies to sort out and well, they're first graders, so...

Afterwards I sat on the bench outside the school for about 15 minutes until lunch time then went back in and visited for lunch. A couple other parent's showed up and it was just a good, happy, fun atmosphere. I am off tomorrow and then another busy week ahead with a prenatal massage, my birthday and last day of work (it's a hard life, I know).






04 June 2019

7 1/2

Today Natalie turned 7 1/2 years old! I totally forgot it was her half birthday, because we don't celebrate half birthdays. If you're my father in law though the countdown to Natalie's next birthday is always on, as her brings her donuts and a card on the 4th of each month.

Today she got donuts, a card and $20. It makes me laugh at how spoiled she is by Matt's parents. It's not even about the material things they give to her, it's how much they love her and are always thinking of her and the time they put into spending with her. I think I am equally excited for them to be grandparents to another one of my children as I am about being a mom again!

Natalie was home sick yesterday and today. She tried to go to school this morning but her body took over and chose not to. I woke her up and got her dressed and asked if she wanted to come down for breakfast, she said yes but kept falling back to sleep and said her throat hurt. I just gave in to letting her sleep some more and went back into my bed. It wasn't long until she came into my room and said, "I want to snuggle with you and take a nap," and sure enough she was out light a light and slept until about 9:30.

Sick or not I try to make sure she isn't just sitting at home watching t.v. all day. We did some work sheets and played dolls today once she got some of her spunk back and she did a pretty good job entertaining herself afterwards. This evening when she was playing in her room she made me the sweetest card. It said, "Thank you Mommy," on the front with a heart on it and today's date. It said on the inside (with my spelling corrections) "Roses are red, violets are blue, it's just a little way of saying thank you...for being my mom! I will always love you you are the best. I love you so much you are great. To Mommy from Natalie love you so much Mom. I will always love you!" as she proceeded to tell me how much she loves me no matter what, even if we get mad at each other (insert heartbreak) and she will always hold my hand. I love this girl more than any words could ever come close to explaining.

As you can tell, she is a very sweet and lovey girl. She is also creative and loves making up her own board games, story books, songs and games in general. She loves American Ninja Warrior and constantly runs through the house and backyard making up obstacle courses. She's very athletic. She can be a bit hardheaded and easily distracted. I have to repeat myself to her at least 10 times before she will actually listen and do the task at hand. She still isn't terribly social and doesn't usually initiate play dates or branch out to new friends but that isn't a bad thing in my opinion. She is definitely a bit of a girly girl and starting to care a lot about fashion and her appearance. She can be a bit picky about clothes and shoes and such.

I don't have a recent picture of her on my computer that I haven't shared already, so here's a couple from when she was 6 months old!



02 June 2019

Weekend

Hello, June! I cannot believe a new month is here. I say that every month, but that's because time is going by so so fast. This month is going to fly by. There is always so much going on and there are less than 3 weeks until my due date.

This weekend Matt and Natalie went up to a family wedding in NJ. I decided months ago against going since I knew I would be big and pregnant and uncomfortable and there would be a small chance I could go into labor. The thought of them being gone, along with his mom and dad, frightened me a bit but I successfully did not go into labor this weekend.

Instead I worked my last Saturday before baby comes (Saturdays are long shifts, I will still work my regular schedule on Fridays until June 14th.) With Natalie I worked until I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and gave birth to her on a Sunday morning after working a long Saturday shift the day before. I'm 7 1/2 years older now, much less in shape and we've changed salon locations so there is a lot of going up and down the stairs at work so I chose to cut my time a bit short as far as work goes.

It was a pretty relaxed weekend for me. My sister came over to change the clean the cat's litter box, so I had some company. We ordered food, baked brownies and she helped me a bit with some prep work for the last class craft party I am putting together for Natalie's class this month. We're going to make jellyfish sun catchers and that required me cutting out 20 outlines for the body and about 240 pieces of ribbon, whew.

I definitely missed my husband and daughter but I was happy to know they were having a good time celebrating with family. It was about a 4 hour drive up for them and Natalie did a good job keeping herself entertained and not complaining. They drove up with my mother in law and Matt said her and Natalie sang songs part of the way, which is really sweet. Natalie played some gold once at the hotel since they had a putting green. She danced and enjoyed herself at the wedding, but unfortunately has come back sick.

She had a cough that began a day or two before the trip, so I kind of saw this coming. I made sure to pack medicine up with her just in case. She is in good spirits, but feeling a bit lousy. She fell asleep in the car earlier when we were going to grocery shop. She complained of not feeling well on the way to the store so we headed home and she was out pretty quickly. It was a very short nap, maybe 15 minutes and she still seemed tired afterwards. I thought she would be so tired come bedtime but here we are at almost 10:30 and she is having chicken noodle soup. I gave her a bath and said I would read to her until she fell asleep in my bed. I read a few books, then gave her some nighttime cold medicine and rubbed her back before she asked me, "Mommy, are you sure there's nothing else that could help me feel better?" She suggested another bath but I told her that would have to wait til the morning, so she asked for hot soup and cold milk to soothe her throat. I am just surprised at her ability to stay awake after such a long weekend in addition to being under the weather, wow.


Anyway, she will most likely stay home with me tomorrow, which of course I don't mind. I know she will be disappointed to miss school, as her teacher is doing an alphabet countdown each day til the last day of school. They do something fun each day, like B for bubbles and go outside to blow bubbles. Tomorrow is M day and they're going to watch a movie and listen to music. Obviously she can do that at home with me but it's not quite the same thing.

29 May 2019

37 Weeks

I'm 37 weeks along and still feel like I have another couple of months until the baby comes. I don't know why I feel like there's so much time, it still doesn't really seem real I guess.

I had a routine doctor visit today. They checked my weight and vitals and measured my belly and checked the heart beat. My weight jumped up 5 lbs since last week, which seems extreme but the doctor didn't say much, just asked if I've been eating a lot of sweets. (Which I kinda have in general, but not more than usual for this pregnancy.) Saturday after work I noticed my feet got swollen, perhaps my body is just holding onto extra water. I was measuring at 36 weeks, but the doctor didn't seem concerned about that either, she just said the baby probably dropped a bit.

I brought up an elective induction to my doctor in more detail today. I don't feel comfortable doing it, but I also don't feel comfortable going into labor naturally with all the variables working against me getting to the hospital in time, so I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Generally speaking I am at low risk for needing a c-section if I get induced and the other risks that I am concerned about (fetal distress and infection) are low too. Anything is possible though and I have been heavily weighing my options and stressing about this decision for a month now. I am leaning more towards getting induced though. I wouldn't do it before 40 weeks and I would do it after my due date. Honestly I'm terrified and just want her to come early so I don't have to make this choice.

Anyway, after my appointment I went to visit Nat at lunch. I don't ever tell her when I'm coming, that way in case I can't make it she isn't bummed. She always asks me when/if I'm going to come to lunch that week but when I do come she is more interested in talking to her best friend than me, haha. The school staff is always so nice and everyone was asking how I'm feeling and suggesting ways to bring on labor, like walking and apparently hot water on your back.

I've been looking at my old post from when I was pregnant with Natalie and labor was even quicker than I remember. My water broke closer to 6 in the morning, I thought it was 5. Then the contractions started after that (what amount of time I have no idea) and I remember they became pretty intense pretty quickly. I got to the hospital around 8:30 am and she was born at 11:09 am. So if you count labor from when my water broke that is about 5 hours, if you count it from first contraction I will say about 4. I was 3 cm dilated at my doctor's appointment 6 days before she was born.

I really want to reassure myself that everything will work out one way or another. I think talking about it helps.One way or another I am going to be a mom again and I am so happy about that!

28 May 2019

8th Anniversary

Today we celebrated 8 years of marriage! This years material was one of my favorites, because we got to incorporate it into our date: pottery. We booked a private pottery lesson at a place called Cafe Pottery. It was fun to try something out of my comfort zone (yes, that's how boring I am, I consider a pottery class beyond my comfort zone). We made a cup and a bowl each and then after the class we went to lunch, and after lunch we popped by the place we got married at, just to visit. We then went home and watched t.v. before a quick dinner and picking Natalie up from Matt's mom's house. All in all a great day. Natalie had one of the best days ever too and did not want to leave my mother in laws. She went to the dance studio with Linda (MIL) and then they went to the dollar store and out to hibachi for dinner! Almost sounds like a more fun date than mine and Matt's. :p 



27 May 2019

Memory Lane

Tomorrow we celebrate 8 years of being married! I mean this in a good way but it feels a lot longer than 8 years. Life has changed so much in such a good way and it feels like a lifetime ago we were saying our tearful vows to each other.


I remember how nervous I was for the wedding. Not because the commitment scared me but because the social anxiety of it all made me almost sick to my stomach. I was so relaxed when everything went smoothly though and we became husband and wife. 

Now here we are 8 years later and I 'm a nervous wreck over a different life event, yay! I can't imagine what my life would be like if I never met Matt. (I would say I can't imagine what life would be like if we never met and fell in love, but the falling in love was inevitable. Me first and then he had no choice but to love me back ;)) He is my rock. Our relationship has definitely changed in ways and it has not always been easy. There are frustrating and upsetting times but we genuinely love and care about each other. Truly and deeply. 

Our anniversary is one of my favorite days of the year because now that the big celebration of the wedding day is long gone, we get to celebrate alone together. Every year we spend the day together and go out to eat, catch a movie, or figure out something special to do to commemorate the day. 

One of my favorite parts though is the gifts. Not because I'm greedy, but because we use traditional materials as gifts for each year. I.E. the first year was paper, then cotton, then leather and so on. It is really fun basing a gift on a material and trying to get creative with what we give. So let's take a trip down memory lane and talk about all the gifts we did over the years!

First year: Paper. For the first year we both gave each other the same gift: love notes in bottles. I hand wrote mine and Matt ordered (and I hope customized) his online. I remember his plan was to give mine to me at the beach and half bury it in the sand for me to find, but we never made it to the beach for whatever reason. 

Second year: cotton. I gave him a nice Polo shirt like I do for most special occasions and he bought us a new mattress. Not as romantic as the first year but we needed a bigger bed SO bad since we were sharing a queen size with a little munchkin who liked to roll and kick a lot. 

Third year: leather. This one felt pretty tricky. I got Matt some Rayban sunglasses in a leather case and asked him for a tablet in a leather case too. We ended up losing the tablet a few years later (honestly it became Natalie's anyway) and the case he got was too small/shaped weird but I still have it!

Fourth year: fruit and flowers. It seemed stupid and challenging at first (here's a daisy and a bowl of oranges..?) but I think we both did a good job getting creative. I put together a basket full of some of Matt's favorite snacks along with some masculine flowers that wilted and died because I hid them in the humid basement and I also made him a really pretty fruit tart. He gave me several bouquets of flowers and took me on a date to the arboretum in D.C. 

Fifth year: wood. I saved the cork to the (cheap) champagne we drank on our first anniversary, so I was excited about using that to create a sentimental gift. Again, I am not crafty, so I spent a lot of time thinking about and putting my heart into how to give him a piece of wooden cork as a present. I decided to so a shadow box. I found a picture of us from our first anniversary with Matt holding a glass of the champagne and then added some cutesy little details along with the cork in it. Matt got me a much needed dining room table. 

Sixth year: candy or iron. This is by far my favorite! Neither one of us care for sweets (I do have a sweet tooth now that I'm pregnant) so it seemed hard to figure out. My mom actually suggested we take a trip up to Hershey, PA and I thought that was genius. This was the first (and only) trip we'd taken without Natalie and we had so much fun. We stayed at the shadiest motel which added to the excitement. Will we get robbed or murdered?! Who knows?! It was comical how bad the place we stayed at was and the woman Greta who worked there always seemed to be lurking around. We went to Hershey Park and even though we didn't get on any rides we visited the zoo in the park and had a really good time. I picked out a cute little Hershey kiss stuffy and named it Greta to take home to Natalie. Matt also gave me real roses preserved in iron, how sweet! 

Seventh year: wool or copper. We once again gave each other the same gift this year: Moscow mule cups. My plan was to make Matt a nice dinner at home and then relax together and have some cocktails in our new cups. It sounded romantic to me but that is not how the day worked out. I ended up being violently hungover from a party the night before. Classy, I know. We didn't do too much but decided to drive out to the Shenandoah area for dinner (about an hour away). There was no way I was pouring another drink that day or anytime soon after and the cups still have yet to be used. 

I am excited about and look forward to tomorrow's material: pottery or bronze. 


23 May 2019

Zoo Field Trip

I remember how different life was last year at this time. Natalie was in kindergarten and she took her first field trip that I wasn't able to attend. I literally had a panic attack that day. It was rainy and they were going to see a play like 45 minutes away. To add fuel to my concerns a few days prior there had been a horrible school bus accident that killed several children in NJ. I was a mess. This time last year is also when I had my chemical pregnancy, so I am certain that the hormones from that were contributing to the emotions, I just didn't know it yet.

Today I was lucky enough to get to chaperone her field trip to the zoo. I had mixed feelings about signing up to go because last week when I took a walk I was having frequent cramps in addition to my back pain, but I felt so bad when I told Natalie I might not volunteer and she cried. I looked into purchasing a back brace, even getting a prenatal massage the day before the trip, but we took a little test drive on Sunday and walked around the Museum of American History, and I was in decent shape so I figured I could handle the zoo.

I am really glad I didn't chicken out and went. The other child in my group was easy going and I paced myself so it wasn't too challenging.

The animals were pretty active. We saw a gorilla roar and bang on a door, which was really exciting and a bit intimidating. We also saw a panda chomping on bamboo and a tiger take a dip in water too cool off. Poor Natalie did get poked in the eye by a laminated neck tag she had on while she played on the playground. Her eye still has a red spot and she was really worn out after that happened but ending up perking back up.

I don't know what life will be like this time next year, but I am feeling really lucky  to be able to experience these happy moments that are here now.