23 June 2022

Three














 Three years ago today I brought my amazing youngest daughter into the world, on my husbands birthday. Whew life sure has been busy since and I sincerely wouldn’t change a thing. Vanessa is an insane, silly, funny, sensitive, affectionate little girl who is crazy adorable. She’s super social and wants to be in the heart of whatever game is going on at the playground. She gets disheartened easily though if we can’t understand her, or someone doesn’t want to play. When she’s upset she has moderate breakdowns that can sometimes be hard to console. My best tactic is just riding it out and waiting until she’s distracted and forgets about it. If I try to talk things out and empathize she only gets more upset and will tell me to stop talking or she just cries even harder. Daily life can be tough and the biggest hurdle is communication. She’s definitely gotten good and sentences and saying things but I don’t think she’s on par exactly where her peers are. Medically she wouldn’t be categorized as behind or anything but all her friends her age are saying bigger sentences and I can have legit conversations with them. She doesn’t say a lot and her speech isn’t as clear. She still acts silly and speaks gibberish frequently, especially if you ask her a question. Her favorite is “goopey” whatever that means. She finds potty talk humorous and we have to tell her all the time that’s private stuff we don’t just say unless you’re saying you have to go or something asking this lines. She is so sweet and cuddly and loveable. The other day she found a bouquet of artificial tulips in the basement and was like “I take these to the park?” I said she could and she goes “Margaret gonna love them.” Turns out she wanted to give to flowers to her best friend. We agreed on bringing one flower for the friend and one for her but her friend wasn’t at the playground and I think Vanessa got sad about that because she got pouty and asked to leave shortly after we arrived. She loves a hand me down stuffed cat from my childhood and one from my niece Bridget’s too. She plays with them every day and it makes me so happy to see her cherish something from when I was a little girl. I hope she always likes the toy but I’m sure she will outgrow it. I have a fear of it getting lost someday. She named the cat from my niece Minnie Meow and I think that’s very clever. Today we had a party for her at the playground where her best buds all showed up. My mother and father in law also came so she was quite happy. The party turned out well though it could have been better organized on my part. It was planned for 10 am but it started raining so I pushed it to noon. Everything was wet and it was a little cool but it worked out well anyway. I played music but the batteries in the speaker died shortly in. I had some sandwiches catered from the grocery deli and gave out pbjs to the kids. Later my twin nieces came over and we had pizza, cake and presents. It was a good day.


14 April 2022

Spring Break 2022

Our school systems spring break always coincides with Easter and Easter falls later than usual this year (which I prefer so we have a warmer break time). Today we came back from our annual trip to Massanutten, VA. We brought along my 6 year old niece Scarlett. There is an indoor water park and a cool children's museum that we always visit but otherwise we just take it easy, hang out, go to restaurants and maybe do some shopping. This trip was a pretty big success. There was minimal drama with the kids, though my niece got sick out of nowhere after breakfast yesterday. She randomly threw up so I had her take it easy and lay down then she was totally fine with no issues. I was worried she had a stomach bug and we’d all get sick or she would have to miss out on the museum but we were lucky that wasn’t the case. Maybe it was acid reflux or something. The condo we stayed at was so spacious and nice. I was amazed we got all the things we got for about $160 a night. It was a two bed, two bath condo with a loft, balcony, fireplace, full kitchen, jacuzzi tub and sauna in it. We were tucked low in the mountains with a nice view of woods and saw a bunch of deer every day. The weather was gorgeous. Vanessa and I didn’t do the water park (she is so unpredictable and i didn’t want her to have a fit and us all the have to leave) but she took it surprisingly well when the others snuck out without us. She asked about where they went and Natalie told her before they left they were going to “work” for a bit but she didn’t cry or want to be included much. Kids are naturally stressful and draining so vacation is never really vacation with them but I would be so bored sitting around relaxing anyway. ;)  Oh, random update on potty training: Vanessa completely reverted to diapers again. 😩 We we’re doing sooo well and I thought we just needed to fine tune things a bit and it was over but nope. She came down with a stomach bug about a month or so ago and that’s when things went to shit (literally). She has since began making some progress again and even used the public bathrooms several times on vacation but there is still a lot of work to do and I’m worried this will just be a continuous struggle. 








24 February 2022

Potty Training

 I am totally gonna jinx this by posting about it but I realized I don't remember much details of potty training Natalie. She was 26 months old and she peed on the floor one day when she didn't have a diaper on while waiting for her bath. Matt told her she's supposed to pee in her diaper or on the potty and from there we had a pretty easy journey to get her out of diapers. I think we told her if she used the toilet ten times we would take her to the store and she could pick out a toy. It was either that or we told her if she pooped on the toilet we would get her the toy, I cannot remember. I do remember taking her to Target one night after she accomplished her goal. She picked out a lego duplo ambulance and a pack of live savors mints which she used to love eating at my mother in laws house. I don't recall how long it took her to be fully independent from the diaper, or when she started telling us she needed to go, or how often she had accidents (not much), or if we used pull ups (I don't think so) but I do know it was relatively quick and easy. 

Anyway, back to the purpose of this post: Vanessa potty training. We definitely didn't luck out like we did with Nat but we've taken a turn for the better. I started trying just before her second birth in June 2021. She was initially interested and I bought books and thought things would progress. She quickly decided she wanted nothing to do with it though and would decline sitting on the toilet, even when we would bribe her with a treat. She would get upset when we asked her, so I stopped. Matt would occasionally tell her not to use her diapers and she should use the toilet instead but she wasn't influenced. 

I don't recall how or why we started trying again but within the last three or four weeks things have taken off! (Knock on wood.) I started setting a timer every hour via Alexa and would sit her on her training toilet. Then I would reward her with a lollipop if she peed and a small gummy just for sitting. She would still frequently go in her diaper and wasn't bothered by it at all. Just two days ago she started telling us she needed to use the potty! I am so proud and excited and happy! I told her if she told me she had to use the toilet I would give her a star sticker and when she got to ten stickers she could go pick out a toy from the store. She earned ten stars yesterday but hasn't asked to go since so I am wondering if the appeal of asking is gone. I guess we'll see how today goes but I am crossing my fingers she doesn't regress and lose interest again. 

Overall though she has made so much progress and is such a sweet, silly, crazy child. She was lying in bed the other day and said to me, "snuggle me." I didn't understand her at first and thought she said "tickle me" but I asked her to repeat herself and my heart melted when she did. Last night after dinner at my father in laws house as she was saying goodbye she was like "thanks for dinner" without being prompted and it was so cute and sweet! I love this baby big girl as she calls herself! 

14 February 2022

Valentines 2022

 I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that Valentines Day is my favorite holiday but I’ll say it again! Vanities Day is my favorite holiday! I remember when I was probably five or six years old my mom had me choose between a box of chocolates or a white teddy bear as my valentines gift when we were at the grocery store and shockingly I chose the bear (I was super into sweets). Every year at least since we’ve had children of our own Matt and I take the day off from work (usually I’m not working since I only work part time) and get a sitter. We go to the movies, lunch, shopping, bowling, for long drives, or anything else we can think of that we actually feel like doing. Today we dropped Vana off at his moms house and headed to a mall we don’t usually go to. We walked around and found somewhere to eat. We had a nice meal (Matt really enjoyed the fish he got) and even though I was full I got a banana split afterwards. Then we came home, watched a show that we found out his coworkers son directed, exchange gifts and went to pick up the kids. Things are always kept simple but we have such a nice, fun time when we’re connecting without any responsibilities. Matt talked about how he dreams of the day when every day is this relaxing and we’re retired. Honestly thinking about the future terrifies me and find me with existential dread. There are so many things that can go wrong and so many awful things that can happen. What if one of us gets terminally ill or hit by a bus? I could list more horrible scenarios but that’s not the reason for this post. The reason is I want to remember this day and the love and happiness I feel. I’m so so so so grateful for this man and this life we’ve built. 




30 January 2022

Caregiving

In my summer recap post I said there was something I wanted to post about but didn't want to jinx so here it is (it really isn't exciting to anyone but myself, haha): I got a new job! I know, big whoop. But I worked for the same company for 13 years as a receptionist in a salon so this is a really big change for me. I am now working as an elderly caregiver at an assisted living facility, so it's a completely different world from answering phones and booking appointments (amongst other tasks). I got hired on the spot (which I like to think is because they thought I was amazing but I think it's because they're desperate for staff 😉) and started my hands on training in midish October. I do enjoy it but it is super demanding at times as I'm sure anyone in healthcare can vouch for. I am not really sure what this may lead to for me. Maybe (and probably) nothing much more. Now that I've dipped my toe in the medical field I don't think I want to pursue it full time or have any more responsibilities other than everything I do now. I definitely don't want to be a nurse. All you hear is how short staffed it is, how underpaid you are, how emotionally taxing it is, how grueling the hours are, and how mistreated you are. Plus how hard and expensive nursing school is. I also hear nurses are really really awful to each other. No fucking thanks. I do very much enjoy taking care of other people though. The reason I left the salon after so much time being a dedicated employee is because of some unnecessary mistreatment towards my sister (who also worked there and also quit). Long story short there was blatant (and completely unjustified) favoritism from my boss to a new receptionist who was HORRIBLE. Things with the awful woman came to light very shortly after we left, which gives me a bit of satisfaction (just being honest). I was nervous and it was kind of hard to decide to quit (only because I didn't think I could find somewhere to give me the hours I wanted but I did) but at the same time I knew I couldn't put up with the toxicity and drama there anymore. I feel like a great weight was lifted. For the past almost 11 years I really haven't had anything exciting that belonged just to me, so changing career paths is exciting!






06 December 2021

TEN!

 Two days ago my first baby turned ten years old! Hard to believe I’ve been a mama for a decade now, wow. We celebrated with family and her best friend. We had a party at my father in laws house and the theme was winter wonderland. It was a cute party. Natalie of course had to bring some drama and get into a minor quarrel with her cousin Bobby. The next day Matt took her to Dave and Busters with my sisters boyfriend and two of his kids while I worked. Natalie is happy to be back in school (for now) but of course there is always a bit of drama with other girls. I seriously dread middle and high school, ugh. For now I am enjoying her still being (mostly) innocent as a 10 year old! 














08 September 2021

Summer Recap

 Wow, time just keeps ticking away! I haven't updated about several big things, like a visit with my grandma and uncle, a family reunion and amusement park trip, the first day of school, and more! 


So over the summer in July my 87-year-old grandma and uncle drove out from Colorado to visit for my mom's birthday. They stayed about a week and we visited every other day. It was Vanessa's first time meeting them and Natalie's first time in about four years. It is challenging to talk to my grandma because she is severely hearing impaired. She used to wear a hearing aid but years ago someone broke into her house at gunpoint and robbed her and for some reason took the hearing aid. I believe she accused her nephew of being in on the robbery and then her sister got really angry and there's been bad blood since. (The nephew may have even done jail time for the crime, I honestly don't know all the details.) You literally have to yell at her a foot away and she still doesn't seem to hear you sometimes. My uncle is a chatty guy but a bit...not so politically correct. He even insulted my weight (mind you, he is a very large guy), which upset me a bit. Anyway, we had a big family dinner and my grandma got to meet all 10 of her great-grandchildren. The evening before she left I also gave her an engraved, personalized photo album with lots of photos I took during their visit. She actually cried, and so did I.  I am so glad she got to meet both my children. Vanessa was so sweet and hugged a lot and made my grandma laugh. It's a bit morbid but that may be the last time I see her again. I'm glad it was a good visit. 


A couple of weeks after that, we had a family reunion on Matt's side of the family up in Pennsylvania. It was roughly a 4-hour drive up which I was nervous about with Little Miss High Maintenance. She did surprisingly well, however. It helped my mother in law rented a minivan and sat next to her the whole ride. We spent a couple of days up there and had a good time! The amusement park is at the bottom of the Appalachian mountains with a stream that cuts through it and a good amount of trees. Natalie had a blast riding roller coasters over and over and over again with her cousins and dad. Luckily my father-in-law took Vanessa and I back to the hotel when we had had enough because Matt and Natalie stayed ALL day. In addition to the park, we took a tour through the small town my in-laws are from and visited family cemeteries and old houses. Matt and I have talked about visiting the amusement park he frequented as a child for years and years (before we even had kids) so I am glad to mark it off the bucket list! 


And now on to Natalie's return to the classroom full time for the first time in 17 months! She started on August 24th which is much earlier than ever before. It should have been September 7th but there was some change in VA law that required kids to start school before Labor Day in the dead heat of the disgusting summer. Anyway, she was so happy the first couple of weeks back but I think she is starting to get depressed/bummed again. There are a lot of challenging kids it sounds like and some mean girl bullshit and cliqueyness going on. The kids sound very obnoxious to me and I don't blame her for mostly keeping to herself, TBH. I feel like this is going to jinx it but she has been getting up at 6 am, taking a shower, having breakfast, and then going to the playground before school even starts! It is a total change from the girl who could barely get up in the morning for an 8 am Zoom day. I just want her to enjoy school and be happy. I fucking dread the drama that comes with girls though. She already doesn't have many friends because she just doesn't vibe with them and there have been some minor issues with things like exclusion and gossip. Ugh. I will admit that since covid, I have been very uninterested in anything the school says or does. I am actually quite bitter towards the school and community because I feel no one was there for us in a darker chapter of our lives. And the question could be posed to me, "who did YOU help or support through the virus and all the bullshit it brought about?" and the answer would be pretty much no one because no one reached out to me. We would try and contact neighbors and people we thought were Natalie's friends and we always got the cold shoulder. It had nothing to do with safety either, as they were socializing with other families and were not keeping a "bubble" of people. I can't wait for her to be done with the school she is at and move on to a bigger school that hopefully presents more opportunities for actual friendships. 


Anyway, there is something else I am not going to update on yet because it feels like bad luck to at this point. (I am not pregnant.)