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Friday, September 19, 2014

Bump in the night

I was having a dream about the end of the world. There were creatures with powers to hold fast and never let go; others could touch you and cause your body to vaporize. It was unsettling, and I was awoken by the sounds of Aspen's door banging and the dog whimpering.

The thunder was rolling over the house in waves. The lightning illuminated our bedroom through the blinds and spilled a flash of light into the hallway. I opened Aspen's door to let the dog out and she ran outside. Knowing a storm was coming, she wanted to take care of business and then crawl into bed with me and Kev to hide.

I gave the dog her sedative so we'd survive the storm without her clawing up her paws or endlessly shivering. And since it was 3am and Linc had yet to wake up for a feeding, I was naturally convinced he had stopped breathing. I checked on him and made sure his little body was still rising and falling with his breath, and then checked on his sister to do the same.

Getting back into bed, I couldn't talk myself out of the anxiety. I knew that if torrential rains fell, we were as prepared as we could be to prevent flooding in the house. The sandbags were arranged and the sump pumps were in place. There was nothing I could accomplish by laying in bed worrying.

Still, my mind raced with concerns. What if the vet prescribed too high of a dosage and the sedative knocks Maddie out and she never wakes up? What if the baby really isn't breathing? What if the garage floods again and I'm up for the next 20 hours without a break? What if? What if? What IF?!

Kev asked me if I was doing alright, and I told him I was having ridiculous thoughts about everything that could go wrong. He tried to reassure me the vet knew what she was doing when she gave me Maddie's pills. He tried to reassure me the kids were still alive and well. He tried to reassure me that the rains weren't heavy enough to flood our house.

But I continued to lay in bed and fret long after he had gone outside, checked everything, and returned to bed himself.

An hour and a half later, Lincoln finally stirred. I actually welcomed the distraction. This was something I could do; I could nurse him and change his diaper and (hopefully) rock him back to sleep.

I nestled myself in the rocking chair with Linc and proceeded to finally feel a release from the tightness in my chest. He nursed and I celebrated that he had slept for eight hours. It's a pity I didn't get to enjoy all those hours of relaxation, but at least he did. And he went right back to sleep for a couple more hours.

The house didn't flood, the dog woke up from her sleep and Aspen got up and ready for preschool on time. All was well in my little (sometimes un)Lucky House.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stretched thin

Artwork by The Painted Arrow

I've been feeling really run-down lately. And I imagine Kev feels the same. He's always working, which means I'm always solo-parenting. We're in survival mode, and it's exhausting.

That is something that wore on me while we lived in West Jordan. It was so hard to constantly be in charge of Aspen and to be the only one dealing with tantrums, meal times, bedtime, bath time and all those other tasks that can exhaust a person. At least this time around I have a support network of friends to make things a little easier.

But still.

I'm so tired.

Linc was giving me some good nights for a while, occasionally sleeping for 6-7 hours in a stretch, and one longer nap during the day (surrounded by cat naps on either side). But lately he's been sleeping only one or two hours at a time around the clock. I'm hopeful this is just a growth spurt and that he'll get through this phase quickly because I am beat. It's especially difficult because I wake Aspen at 7am so I can spend the next 1.75 hours hustling her to just eat breakfast and get dressed before preschool, which is at 9. Those are the only two tasks I ask her to complete in the morning, but she is SO. SLOW. It makes me nuts that I'm wasting precious sleeping time just trying to get her out the door. I haven't yet found the key to motivate her to move in the mornings, although she claims she really does want to go to preschool. If that's not motivation enough, I don't know what else to do. I'm sick of bribing her to get her to do something she wants to do in the first place. Just do it! That should be reward enough.

I've tried earlier bedtime for her, but that's disastrous because I still haven't figured out how to successfully do bedtime by myself. Maybe if I start getting her ready for bed at 5pm, she'll be in her room with lights out by 8. Mayyyyybe. Even then, she complains of being so tired the next morning. Of course, she's too young to understand that real tired is sleeping on your infant's floor at 4am because he won't go back to sleep but he's happy to sit in his swing and stare at you.

Mostly, I feel like I've reached a breaking point. I am so weary of getting up all night with Lincoln. I am so weary of negotiating with Aspen all. day. long. I am so weary of meal planning, grocery shopping, cleaning, scheduling, chauffeuring, nursing, diapering, all the while trying to keep my shiz together.

I occasionally consider sequestering myself in the house for a week so I don't have to stress about nursing and napping Linc on someone else's schedule. But then I realize that would mean no break whatsoever from Aspen. So she has play dates and preschool and we do outings to stimulate her and allow her to socialize. And then I have miserable car rides home with her, during which she complains that we never do anything fun and she didn't want to leave activity XYZ and she's so starving but doesn't want to eat lunch and blah blah blah. It's a lose-lose situation right now. SO MUCH DRAMA I DON'T KNOW WHERE SHE GETS IT FROM.

This phase will pass, I know. But that doesn't take away my fatigue or frustrations. I'm constantly reminding myself to calm down and put things into perspective. It helps a bit... but just because I'm telling myself that XYZ doesn't matter, that doesn't make all the things that do matter magically remove themselves from my to-do list.

I need to figure out a way to recharge my batteries, although the obvious choice is to sleep for a week straight. But even if I could make that happen, my nursing schedule probably wouldn't approve.


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Monday, September 15, 2014

It's your lucky day - garden progress

I'm so happy for this corner of our yard; one of three hollyhocks is thriving, although it does need a little help staying upright. I'm hopeful it'll soon be strong enough to hold itself up, as will the others as they follow suit and grow just as tall.

It's a very popular spot for the birds, and Aspen and I like to peek at them through the window when they eat and bathe. Soon I'll have to trim all our plants for Fall, and it'll be so saaaaaaaad. The hollyhocks and the lavender will be missed. I'm not looking forward to the leaves falling and the snow piling up.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

My little learner

Aspen got sick our last night in Maine, and that cold has been hanging on for dear life. I was so disappointed because she was set to start preschool on the third, and I didn't want to be the parent whose kid got everyone else sick the first week of school.

However, we went to school as planned just to pick up some paperwork. While there, Aspen didn't' cough once, so her teacher suggested I let her stay. I was like SEE YA! Aspen had so much fun and she has enjoyed going to preschool for the last week.

My only problem is picking her up; she insists she's starving to death even though I know they get a snack in preschool. Regardless, she complains the whole drive home, and Linc is usually screaming, too, because he's ready for a nap but won't fall asleep in the car. It's a really, really fun drive.

To avoid this meltdown in the 45 minutes between pickup and lunch being on the table, I think we'll set up a routine. Aspen loooooves routines. Since she doesn't have time in the morning (it literally takes her 2 hours to get ready for 9am preschool) for TV, we'll plan that as soon as we get home from preschool, she can watch a show while I put Linc down for a nap and then prepare lunch. Perhaps if she has that to look forward to without fail, it won't be so hard to come home and wait a few minutes for lunch.

And if this doesn't work, then I'll just stop picking her up from preschool (I kid, I kid).

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Letters to Lincoln, month 3

Dear Little Lincoln Log-

You are three months old! Hallelujah!

It's been such an adventure the last month; you flew across the country and back, and the only way you could tell you were somewhere new is that the ceilings looked different to you. At least, that's what I'm assuming. Gail has less ceiling fans in her house, so you must have realized we were no longer at home as you stared up all day.

Both you and Aspen were awesome on all our flights to and from Maine, and I wasn't really worried about how things would go. I mean, I was worried about ever sleeping again, but I knew your dad and I would be fine to fly with you kids. You both adjusted well to the two-hour time change when we got there and we had a fantastic time. I joke that our two days of travel were the best of your life because you were literally held for at least 12 non-stop hours and you nursed on-demand the whole time. What more could a baby want?!

At three months you're smiling quite often, and cooing at us a lot. Aspen just wants to protect you from everyone because I guess she's concerned we really will eat you. I promise we're just saying that, and we're not going to gobble you up. She gets very upset when I call you a T-Rex (hello, short baby arms!) and when I say you have cheese in the folds of your skin. She doesn't want anyone to say an unkind word about you. She gets really peeved when I call you a Cheese-a-saurus Rex. Well, maybe if you didn't have so much cheesy baby gunk in your short little T-Rex arms, I wouldn't have to call you that!

At your two-month well-visit I asked that Dr. about the possibility you have an acid reflux problem, but we've tentatively ruled that out. I'm just amazed that you spit up SO MUCH. Aspen never did, so this is new territory for me. We all just make sure when we hold you we have proper protection. Like an apron.

Because of your propensity for puke, I don't actually make you do much tummy time. It just makes you barf and then you flop your heavy gigantic noggin right in it and it's super gross. So I'm really sorry if you fail gym class due to a weak core.

And speaking of weaknesses- you have always had the tendency to look to your right. I noticed it soon after you were born and have been actively encouraging you to move your head the other way. You do follow sounds and movement over your left shoulder, but it's still hard to force your head the other way when you're sleeping. We've got your right shoulder propped when you sleep, but you're such a wiggler I often find you've managed to move your head to your preferred side. Your Dr. noticed it at your two-month and we've got to keep on eye on your flat head!

After our trip to Maine your sleeping became more erratic again and I thought I'd never recover from jet-lag. It made for some tough nights, especially since Aspen was sick from our trip and required a little more work than usual during the day. But we had the help of Auntie Fifi for a few days and that took a lot of the stress off of me. She also indulged you daily and held you often while you slept. Which, seriously, I would also do if I didn't want to get anything done during the day (like SHOWER).

Like your sister did at this age, you have found your fingers and you looooove to suck on them and get them all slimey. Your thumb is finding its way into your mouth more regularly but HALLELUJAH AND PRAISES BE, you now take a binky. Gail bought three or four different kinds when she visited for your blessing, and you decided you like the NUKs. I'm so relieved because our travel would not have gone as smoothly if we hadn't been able to use a binky to occasionally soothe you. You don't use it regularly for sleeping at this point but it's so nice to have the option! Also like your sister around this age, your hands have found each other. While you nurse you fold those chubby, dimpled little paws together over your tummy and it's so adorable. I have way too many pictures on my phone of your hands clasped on your fat belly. I can't resist. It was cute then and it's cute now.

Something I really appreciate about you is your ability to fall asleep while being rocked. With Aspen, I had to do a whole routine of bouncing, lunging, rocking, swaying, jiggling, shushing etc... just to get her to take a cat-nap. For you, we're at the point you fuss a bit and I take that as a cue you want to sleep. I swaddle you and then sit with you in the rocker until you fall asleep. It is so beautiful. I will admit that among some of the things I dislike about parenting, getting a baby to sleep is one of them. But when I can just sit and rock you for a few minutes and watch your eyelids droop, I can find joy in it. Now we just need to work on how long you sleep.

Love you Linc, thanks for taking on the crazy that is our family. We wouldn't be the same without you.


See Aspen's monthly letter HERE.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The rule of three

I'm really hopeful we've had our fill of hiccups for the time being. First our house flooded, then Aspen got sick on our last night in Maine and woke up with a fever and the shakes (and when she fell asleep on the plane after a 5am wake up call, she awoke after the nap and cried nonstop), our fridge went on the fritz and now my debit card is cancelled due to fraudulent purchases detected last weekend.

I have to give my bank credit, though. They called me on Saturday and let me know about the transaction, and immediately put a stop on the funds and the card. While it's super-inconvenient to be without a debit card, I'm grateful everything was straightened out so quickly. And I'm grateful the purchase wasn't humongous, so even if it had gone through, we wouldn't have gone broke.

Regardless, I'm ready for a little relief from all the drama! Or at the very least, I need another beach vacation with a sister/nanny to graciously care for my babies while I nap.

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Insta Vacation

I took a bunch of photos in Maine using my phone, and in order to free up some memory space I'm going to mash them all up here for your viewing pleasure:

Portland Headlight
Linc unimpressed at the Portland Headlight.
Aspen captivated by the beach at the Portland Headlight.


Linc pooping in Sophia's hand.
Winslow Park, Freeport.

Aspen with "Aspen Princess" lobster.
Grandpa Vito!

Treasures from Winslow.
Aspen and Little.
Grandpa Vito and Grandma Bette.

Freeport flowers.
Winslow Park.
Aspen drew a picture of herself and Leilani holding Vito.
I went through an old box I'd forgotten at my parents' and found a newspaper Gail had kept from my birth day. Fun!
More Freeport flowers.
I took a walk around Freeport one morning and snapped photos of some of the homes. I love the look of New England houses.
The park by my parents' house.

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Monday, September 08, 2014

Flood update

Despite all the happy-fun vacation photos, our house is still kind of a disaster from the flood. Kev successfully dried all the carpet and pads, but since my Grandpa gave us a generous contribution to the Lucky-House-clean up-fund, we're going to tile the basement.

Phone picture of the garage around 530am, after the water had been bailed out and the monsoon had stopped.
When we got back from our trip, Kev stayed up late removing carpet and most of the pad. Now he's faced with lots of glue and remnants of carpet pad that don't want to let go. He'll soon be sealing off the basement and grinding down/using adhesive remover to prep the floors for tile.

I am excited we'll have a more flood-friendly flooring downstairs, but I'm overwhelmed at the thought of more construction. It's just so sad that everything was done and then *poof* it was ruined. Now our house is in disarray once again and I can no longer park in the garage and there's nowhere for Sophia to sleep when she comes over and blah blah blah.

We initially hoped to have enough money to pay someone to do the tile, but after researching products and the necessary materials for a space this big, we found we couldn't afford to sub the project. I was really disappointed because Kev is almost never home, and I couldn't figure out how he would have the time to do this. I wanted so badly for us to be able to pay someone to come and do the tile while Kev worked so he could come home after a couple of days and it'd just be done.

Laundry room with ruined sink cabinet, ruined dog bed, ruined carpet and overall disgustingness.
Last week, I returned home after taking Aspen to preschool and I saw my neighbor/Bishop hosing down my trash can after pick up. I thanked him for doing that, and for often bringing our cans in from the curb, and he said it was no problem. We continued chatting for a few minutes and he said he hated to bring up a sore subject, but he wanted to know how the basement was coming along.

I told him we were going to put in new floors, and he told me to give him the bill. Just like that. He said that the night before, he had felt a prompting to reach out to couple of families affected by the recent flooding, and he wanted me to know there is help to be had from the church. Not just in the man-power that helped us bail water, haul debris and get the initial clean up going. But help to pay for the rebuild.

It's funny, because I've given the same advice before. When a friend in college mentioned she was stressing about paying her tuition/bills/buying food/etc, I suggested she speak with the Bishop about receiving financial help to make up the difference. She did, and it was so wonderful to see her burden lifted. However, the thought of asking for help for myself right now didn't cross my mind. It was just assumed that this is another thing to pay for in addition to Lincoln's hospital bills and the plane tickets to Maine, and we'd figure out how to make it work.

Knowing that now we can not only get the work done, but have someone else do it so Kev doesn't have to is such a relief to me. It is so wonderful to live in this community where we are in the thoughts of others so often. I don't know how I can ever repay our friends and neighbors for the kindness they've shown since we moved here. I never feel like I've given back enough, or payed it forward enough.

I'm grateful though, and I think that's the first step toward repaying the generosity of others.

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