Friday, December 20, 2013

Blog Hiatus/Life Update

I took some time off from blogging, I've been stressed out! Oh, silly stay at home mom, what is there to be stressed about?!

Well basically, I have a baby/toddler who just never stops crying and whining. I took her to the doctor a few different times and she's always fine, so basically I was scraping by each day, completely burnt out by evening. But of course, it's in my nature that once she gives me a smile (or goes to bed), I forget all about the day's challenges and feel like I can face another day.

However. I just took her to her pediatrician for her 15 month well child visit. She, like many kids her age, is not a huge fan of strangers sticking their face inches from hers and poking and messing with her. So when I was explaining that she's very cranky, not walking, not cruising along furniture, and will only stand up on her terms, the doctor tried to get a look. That didn't go over well, and I joked that maybe if she came to our house, on Lena's turf, it may go better. That's when she recommended a home visit from Early On to have someone assess her and hopefully get us in the right direction.
She can get into things...but can't always get out.

I put in a request at Early On, and as soon as I clicked submit, Lena started cruising along the couch. Taking just a step or two. That was 3 days ago. Today, she's climbing the stairs (just a set of 3), crawling to the piano, standing by the bench and reaching for the keys. She's climbing into Charlotte's little chair, and today I taught her how to scoot down the stairs! You guys. Since she's been moving around more, she's been SO much happier! I feel like a new woman, and I'm sure she's happier too.

I may not be able to get up here on my own, but I've already composed 2 sonatas.
When Charlotte was Lena's age, she was doing all kinds of crazy stuff, and I was 3 or 4 months pregnant at the time. She seemed like such a big girl to me. The thought of having a baby 5 months from now is quite horrifying to me, but if she keeps getting happier...perhaps a new conversation will be had. :) or not.

If she keeps up with this easy-to-manage streak, I may just update a little more frequently. or not.

Monday, October 7, 2013

It All Balances Out

Yesterday was my birthday (Hint: my age rhymes with schthirtybun) and I had a fabulous weekend celebrating!

On Friday night, Marcus threw a wonderful party it was so great to see so many friends in one place! Some highlights include a friend trying to convince me that she ate her placenta and another friend accusing me of having a conversation with my Latin lover right in front of my husband. The assumed lover was my brother. I also discovered that many people are vehemently against taking selfies.

Saturday night I headed to the casino with my neighbors and was somewhat of an 11th wheel, because my husband stayed home with the kids so we didn't need to get a babysitter 3 nights in a row. I sat down to play Family Guy slots and within a couple of minutes I won a bonus game!
I chose Chicken. And won $75!
Since I won right off the bat, I just walked around awkwardly, waiting for my friends to win/lose enough to be done.

And to cap off the exciting weekend, Marcus took me to see Jersey Boys on Sunday night. We saw it in Chicago when I was about 4 months pregnant with Lena and I was so tired from shopping/growing a human, that I dozed off during the show for a little bit, so I was glad I was given a second chance! I loved how I could tell Marcus was trying his darndest to keep from singing the songs out loud. It's not so much that he's such a theater nerd, he just likes Frankie Valli. 

But like all good things, they must come to an end. And that brings me to today. I needed to get groceries. It's normally not that big of a deal. I don't love taking the kids, but it usually goes just fine. But today? Murphy's Law took over and was determined to crush my spirit.
Everything was just pissing me off. From the drivers in the parking lot, pulling out in front of me and taking the spot I was driving towards, to Charlotte getting out of the van and splashing into a giant puddle.
We walked in the store to grab a cart with the attached bench, but the woman in front of me with her seemingly capable 5 year old took the last one. *deep breath.* So we walked to the other side of the store to see if there was one there. There was not. We walked back. Every single regular cart was dripping wet from the rain. I wipe it down with my shirt sleeves. 

As I'm trying to navigate the produce aisles, it feels as if there was maybe an retirement home's day out because all these octogenarians are standing around shootin the shit like what else would you be doing by the grapes, pears, berries, and bananas. 

Ok. I get it. It's not everyone else, it's totally me. I know I'm the one with the problem today, but I don't think I was looking for things to be annoyed by, the annoying things were pushed up into my face.
Parallel walkers down the aisles? don't set your cruise control and just putz along beside me. Either pass or stop. Am I the only one who finds it really awkward to be walking carts side by side in the same direction? Just STAHP IT.

Then. THEN. This. Everywhere. 

Had I known that Mondays at 11am were the times when every shelf is being stocked, I may have reconsidered my timing. 

The one redeeming and slightly embarrassing factor of the trip was Lena trying to keep things interesting by going wild.
One of the more inappropriate versions of "Where's Lena??"
Since she doesn't like to be "messed with" I often don't bother with a onesie beneath her outfits, but I guess if we're going out in public, maybe I should consider it next time.

Over all, the kids behaved pretty well even though we didn't have the bench for Charlotte to sit on. She rearranged the salad dressings and would sit down on a shelf or the floor anytime I took a little too long deciding what to pick out. And to end the trip, we always have to ride the penny pony. Fortunately that was in working order, otherwise we all may have ended the trip with tears.

Oh, and as we're walking out, Charlotte starts whining because look:

Carts with benches. Charlotte's fave.
Of course it was pouring as we were leaving but I ran out of all craps to give while I was shopping. Lena kept slapping her own face with delight when she was getting rained on and Charlotte prancercised all the way to the car, so we all made it through just fine.

So what it comes down to is that if I have a *too* wonderful weekend, it will indeed balance out for me.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Fun

The weather here has been so nice the past few weeks! They say it's "unseasonably" warm, but the last several years it's stayed warm into October. The polar bears love it.

We've been trying to take advantage of the warm weather and smaller crowds now that everyone's kids are in school, so our schedule has been jam packed.

I'm trying to just accept the fact that I have an uber cranky baby and just move forward with my life, but each day poses as an opportunity for Lena to spaz for no reason. I've found that taking her out and getting into the nice weather is usually the solution to this problem. I've also learned that if things are going well, I just need to let sleeping dogs lie and not call attention to myself by taking pictures of her or letting her know that I still exist.

There's a little farm down the street from us that has some fun fall activities and animals that you can feed. They have a little shop in their barn that is mostly creepy but I got a bunch of honey crisp apples for way less than the grocery store, so I guess I can handle this watching me as I shop around:

She has reverse vitiligo on her face. 

We also visited the zoo, had lunch while we watched airplanes take off and land at the airport, checked out Art Prize, and had the time of our lives at the Grand Rapids Oktoberfest.

Lena surprisingly loved the loud music and dancing!

Lottie made friends on the dance floor and they copied whatever the other was doing.

Charotte was so excited about "going dancing" and she danced for close to 2 hours. When it was time to eat, she would boogie with tears streaming down her face saying "just wanna dance!" It was awesome.

In unrelated fall fun stories, this morning Lena was wailing about nothing in particular when I realized she had called a neighbor (and friend - so it's not completely absurd) on my phone. I grabbed the phone from her and promptly disconnected without checking to see if my friend was on the other end. Well of course, she immediately calls me back. Since it was morning and I hadn't yet had my coffee or whatever other excuse I can find, I was having a hard time putting words together as I tried to explain that my shrieking 1 year old didn't dial her because of an emergency. But it probably wasn't that convincing  because I couldn't form a coherent phrase. I believe the first thing I uttered was "sorry she called me."
I hadn't gotten much sleep because of the unknown metamorphosis my baby is undergoing so I sounded like an idiot. Imagine getting a phone call at 7:30 am and hearing a baby shouting at you on the other end. That's no way to start the day. So for that, Kim, I apologize. And also welcome to my life.

Okay really. Will the crabbiness ever stop? We've had a couple good weeks here and there, but she is persistent in letting me know that this will be her personality for the rest of her life. 
Did you have a cranky baby that morphed into a gentle butterfly of a toddler? Make up a story if you have to.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Immunizations for Cranky Pants

Last Friday, I took the girls to the doctor for Lena's one year visit and surprise, they both got immunizations! Charlotte got the Flumist nasal spray flu shot and Lena got 4 bad boys in her pudgy arms. We've never dealt with any major side effects after shots besides an occasional low grade fever and extra sleepiness.

Because of that, I didn't expect this round to be much different. Well, if you don't recall, I am a fool.
Saturday evening my mom watching the girls while we were away and she mentioned the Lena had been crying on and off for a few hours after 10pm. That's not normal, and if it does happen, I know it's not magically going to stop once I bring her home. She was up early and absolutely freaking out. I got up a few times before I demanded  asked nicely that my husband get up and take a turn. He got her back to sleep after about 20 minutes, and shortly after she woke again. It was about 7am, and since we were out pretty late, neither of us was too thrilled to begin the day. Lena didn't seem ready to be up since she was so angry. I'm talking arching her back, trying to throw herself out of my arms angry. I'm trying to soothe her, doing all the things that normally work, when suddenly my husband comes into her dark room singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I thought maybe he was sleep walking or on drugs, but evidently that's how he got her to chill an hour earlier. It didn't work this time around. I convinced myself at one point that she was having an adverse reaction to her shots and that she was going to have to stay in the hospital and our lives would forever be changed. But then I sat with her outside in the cool weather and she finally chilled. (HA GET IT?)

We went back inside and she sat down and played like she wasn't just possessed for hours.
This has happened twice since yesterday morning. She's been up 5-6 times at night, and taking crappy naps. I blamed it on the shots, but after she skipped her afternoon nap today and freaked out instead, I called the doctor (mostly so I could tell them that I hate them). They did explain that since she got two new ones that she hasn't had before, that could explain it. She also said she just talked with a mom who said her one year old was cranky for a week after her shots.

On top of Lena's crankiness, Charlotte got a high fever (103*) yesterday and was moaning and whining and had a runny nose. So thanks Flumist for wrecking my Sunday recovery day from our fun night out.

Speaking of fun night out, we were guests at the Metro Health Hospital Foundation dinner. It was a black tie event so we got all dressed up like we were important people.
she looks like one of those rap guys' girlfriends.

I actually rented my dress from Rent the Runway and highly recommend it! If you do end up needing to rent, you can get $20 off by using that link, by the way. :) I definitely don't have any use for full length gowns in my closet, and even if I did attend more fancy events, we all know I wouldn't wear the same dress. 

Do your kids get cranky after they have shots or are you a good parent who chooses to not poison your children? 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lena is ONE!

Just like that, our little squishy, dimpled baby is a year old.

But it wasn't "just like that."

It was year that was not a walk in the park. I mean, we took walks in parks. And I took pictures like omg look what fun! But it was not always fun.

From the start, Lena proved that if she was one thing, it's inconsistent. We would have great weeks and even months, where I had her figured out, and then something mysterious would occur where she'd do a 180 and cry and whine about everything.

She's always been quick to smile, she's always loved to snuggle, and I've always been her favorite. These things haven't changed.

I look forward to things becoming easier, and I hold onto the hope that they will, but I do look back on her days as a small baby fondly. There's something about having another kid that makes you realize how quickly they actually do grow up, and suddenly I'm sounding like the old church lady that tells you to "just enjoy every minute because it goes so quickly". So although it was one of the more challenging years of my adult life, I do remember the sweet moments too.

People had told me that when your kids are close in age, that first year is a blur, and it really was. With Charlotte, I could look at any picture, and tell you exactly how old she was. I knew the activities and the milestones that occurred in each of her months.

I DON'T HAVE A CLUE this time around. In all honesty, I'm glad Lena doesn't do much because I wouldn't remember when she reached her epic milestone. What I do know is that we've all made it through unscathed and I'm ready for our next year with her, because it definitely gets more fun now.
I does, right?

While I will miss those soft newborn cuddles, I am more than ready for the next year. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tough Choices and Child Abandonment

Several weeks ago my husband and I made plans to go away for a long weekend with friends up north. Sans children. We arranged for my parents to watch the girls and the dog, and we originally thought we'd bring them over Friday late afternoon and pick them up Sunday. Then we find out that we could technically leave sooner, like Friday morning. So I ask my mom if that works. It would. Then, one couple was so enthusiastic, they wanted to leave Thursday evening. I ask my mom again, and she was fine with it. I think I was more nervous about leaving than my mom was to watch them, but it was our first trip away since Lena was born, and she's not exactly the easiest baby on earth.

On Wednesday evening, I hear Lena cough a little bit over the baby monitor. Offfffff course she gets a cough before we're supposed to go away. Her cough was really loud and barky. She slept fine through the night but around 5:30 on Thursday morning, she wakes up and she has the most horrible wheeze I've ever heard.
She's pretty worked up, so as I'm trying to calm her down, I called the pediatrician's answering service. I'm waiting for like 10 minutes, and saw screw it, I'm taking her to the emergency room. I knew it sounded like croup, but it was taking so long for her to calm her breathing. I took her outside, but it wasn't cold enough to change her breathing. Marcus convinced not to take her to the ER, she was calming down, just give it a little more time. Her lips weren't blue, but her face was quite pale. As she coughed again, the whole routine started over again. Once she was calm again, I called the on call doctor again, got a hold of him right away this time, and he said I could either go to the ER or wait until the office opened in a couple of hours. Since Lena had fallen back asleep, I decided to just wait. I had taken a video to show her doctor in case her breathing was completely fine by the time she had her visit. Knowing that I had plans to go away, I wanted to find out how serious the thought it was and if it was still ok.

That's not crying, it's breathing. Scary sounding, no?

Of course when we went to the doctor's office, she was much better sounding. They did prescribe her a steroid and I don't know if they would have done it based on her current condition or based on what she sounded like, but I am SO glad they gave us something. The doctor encouraged me to go away for the weekend, and the croup is much scarier sounding than it is, and my mom would be able to handle it. 
So not only was like "hey mom, watch my kids. watch them sooner. wait now watch them even sooner. here's my sick kid! oh and my dog too!"

Turns out, everything was fine! My mom told me that Lena did great, slept all night was mostly chipper. 
She told me she wasn't lying either. I was able to get away for a nice long weekend without feeling *too* guilty about it.

So basically this is a PSA for new moms whose kids haven't been sick yet. This is what croup can sound like. Ask for a steroid and you won't be terrified. Because I know everything there is to know about all babies and all respiratory illnesses.

Would you still go away if your kid got sick in the last minute? Am I horrible mother?!

Monday, August 5, 2013

I am That Mom.

My kids are those kids.

We have arrived!

Today I needed to head to Target to pick up a couple of things and just get out of the house. Lena has been taking a super short morning nap the past two days, and if we don't fill up the time, we all start going a little crazy.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a woman putting away a cart and told her I'd take it from her. She saw me loading up my kids and said "oh wow! you have your hands full!" I replied "Oh, I only have two! ...But I guess I only have two hands, so yes. My hands are full." But I was upbeat and positive, because my kids are just so doggone sweet and angelic and darling and polite.

We walked into the store, and Charlotte was bee bopping around, Prancercise style:

She pranced her way over to a Disney Princess shopping cart and was completely fascinated with it. Normally, she has no problem with putting a toy back at the store, but she wanted to push it around. Instead of dealing with a potential spazz attack now, I decided to let her push it around the store while we shopped and then we could put it back later. (I am an idiot.)

At this point, the only mischief she was getting into was bumping into my cart and saying "Cheers!"
Any time she sees two like-objects, she clinks them together does a small toast. It's especially great when she bumps shoulders with Lena in a matching outfit.

I found the items we needed, which included some giant storage containers for their outgrown clothes. The cart was pretty full, and I had the lids of the bins on the rack beneath the cart. It was time for us to check out, which meant it was time to put the beloved princess shopping cart away. 

As we turned down the aisle, Charlotte saw another toy shopping cart and needed to clink them together and shout "cheers!" and while she was putting the less-loved cart back, I secretly took the princess cart and put it back on a high shelf without her noticing. 

A look of panic washed over Charlotte's face as she saw her soul mate-toy went missing. She was calling out for the cart as if it would come wheeling around the corner like her trusty dog. When it didn't appear, she went back for cart #2 and decided that one would do. 

I explained to her that she already has a shopping cart at home. 
I asked her if she brought her money (like $1.25 in change), because she needs money to buy it.
<says no, sobs more>

I was holding Lena during this time since she was sick of sitting in the cart, and I had to put her back so I could reason with the terrorist. A strange lady approaches and actually helped by playing peek-a-boo with Lena while I attempted to talk Charlotte off the ledge.

And miracle of miracles, Charlotte got up off the floor (did I mention she was sitting on the floor? Her latest protest position) and we continued on. About 10 steps later, she decides she is not quite done mourning. She throws her body down onto the floor and starts crying some more. 
Lena continues to cry in the cart. 
I'm crouched down trying to get through to the toddler. "I remember when I was little...."
(This gets her attention EVERY time.) 
"...I would go to the store with my mom. You know, Grandma."
<stops crying>
"It was so hard seeing all of those fun toys at the store without taking them home. But Grandma told me about all of the fun things we could do at home with my toys....." and more lies and more lies and more lies.
<gets up and starts walking>
Ten steps later, she begins to wail again. A crabby old woman looks at me and I tell her that I'm just living the dream. She told me that she had two girls "10 and 3/4 months apart". Instead of getting into the nitty gritty of that, I just said "then you know how it goes." And she agreed and went on her way. 

At this point, Charlotte's face is blotchy and red, she's got drool on her shirt and snot dripping down her face. She shoved the cart so that all of the lids to the bins went flying out and scattered across the floor right near the checkout. I'm doing my best not to lose my shit, and I'm getting my items out of the cart to buy.
I was laughing to the cashier about how I just need to get out of there and as she totaled up my items, I realized I didn't have my debit card. The one that was in my pocket last night. The one that I held and said to a neighbor "I really need to stop putting this in my pocket. I'm just going to forget about it." The one that I put on the counter instead of in my purse "so I would remember it". 

Yes, people. This is my life. I asked if she could suspend the order or whatever so I could run home (thankful, once again, that I live a couple of short miles away). She was able to do so, and I got the whole thing figured out, but seriously.

I'm afraid that this is becoming the norm, as Charlotte has had meltdowns just about everywhere lately. 
So if you have any coping mechanisms, please do share! I could use all the help I can get.