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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Adjusting

I like being busy. Not too busy, but I like having something to do every day. Lately, though, it's been really difficult to leave the house.

I think it's a combination of sleep-deprivation and depression. I have a hard time summoning the energy to get showered and dressed and out the door on time. Well, I probably could have enough energy to get out the door, but on time is another hurdle.

It's really hard. I get just as bored, lonely and antsy as Aspen when we're at home all day. But I get so stressed lately when we leave the house and someone has a meltdown (not me! I swear!) or someone needs a nap or someone needs a snack or someone has a blow out or whatever regular obstacles pop up when taking care of kids. So instead of facing those little blips with my big-girl pants on, I just stay home and let Aspen drive me crazy.

I mean... we do leave the house for preschool and dance class, but I went a good three weeks without leaving by myself with both kids for anything else unless it was mandatory. This week I went back to work and it was exhausting. Aspen was up before the sun, and her tantrum woke Lincoln. So I was up wayyyy too early and was extra frazzled because I had planned to have a few minutes to myself before getting the kids up (or at least before getting Aspen up). When that didn't happen, I was thrown off course.

At work, Linc refused to take his bottle and I didn't have the luxury of breastfeeding him because the daycare was full. There was another baby as well as a little girl potty training. Please, parents, for the love of all that is holy, do not send your potty training kids to my daycare. Keep them home until it's a done deal. This tiny darling ended up needing A LOT of help using the bathroom and she ended up having an accident anyway.

So I had Linc screaming his head off to either eat or fall asleep, and he did neither during my shift. It was hard to tune out his cries and give real attention to the other kids. Thankfully Aspen was able to help me a lot, and even though Linc wouldn't actually eat from his bottle, he liked it when Aspen held it in his mouth so he could chew on it. Little jerk.

I anticipate it'll get easier, but right now it's overwhelming. I just keep telling myself it's worth it because only four hours a month at the daycare pays for Aspen's dance class. It's the least I can do! But I still feel a little like a crazy person.

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Letters to Lincoln, month 4

Linc-

You're four months old! Daddy says he doesn't remember what it was like before you arrived, but I do. I'm pretty sure there was more sleeping.

We've hit another rough patch and I sure am beat. It doesn't help that since Daddy works so much, you've developed a preference for me in the night (not to mention the food sources). So even when I have Daddy go in to soothe you for me, I usually end up with you because you scream bloody murder while he holds you.

MAMA'S BOY.


It's really hard on me, Linc. I no longer get to nap during the day because there's just so much going on. So I'm tired. So far this month, we've only left the house (without Dad) to take big sister to school and to buy groceries. And believe you me, I've been tempted to order even those online. When I do attempt an outing, I always regret not getting you home and in your crib.



BUT! That photo right there, the one in which you're reaching for your foot- that is actually the exact moment you FIRST found your adorable little toes. And I caught it on camera. That's pretty special. I'm so glad Aspen and I were there for that milestone.



At four months, you've starting spending time in your Bumbo and what I like to call THE COMMAND CENTER. You haaaate tummy time and I still don't make you do it often. You now see Maddie and watch her walk around, and we finally have some giggles out of you.

Your relationship with the binky is quite complicated and I don't understand it. You really enjoyed it when we traveled to Maine, and I used it on the plane to soothe you. But at home you mostly just want it stuffed into your mouth riiiiiiight as you fall asleep. Then you spit it out a minute later and stay asleep (usually). It's so very different from Aspen. And speaking of weird sleep habits- this week I've been whistling, yes whistling, "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds to help you nod off for day time naps. You'll be wailing and grunting and wiggling in your swaddle, but after a few bars you settle down and close your eyes. You love that song.

At this point, you're mostly wearing 6 month clothes (depending on brand), and that absolutely kills me because Aspen was still in 0-3 when she was 4 months. But, there's a reason why Aspen calls you "Chubs." YOU ARE SO FAT. You have your well-visit next week and I'm so excited to see how much you weigh. There's nothing like showing off a chubby baby and having nurses be like, "HE'S BREASTFED?!" Yes, indeed.

Speaking of food, you are very interested in it. Since you insist on being held all the livelong day, I usually have you in my lap during meals. You watch me lift food from my plate and bring it to my mouth like it's the most interesting thing you've ever seen. I have a feeling you're going to like Thanksgiving this year. I may or may not be planning to sneak you some yams.

Linc, I know this sleep deprivation is just a blip on the radar, and I'm grateful I can look back on Aspen's monthly letters and see similar patterns. There's hope I'll get more than two hours of sleep someday! So we'll keep working on it, k?

Love you,
Mama

See Aspen's monthly letter HERE.

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Thursday, October 09, 2014

Guest post on sisterhood


Lizzie, of The NY Times and Good Morning America fame, allowed me to be a guest on her blog this week. If you'd like to read my post, click right HERE.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Free Coupon Codes

The blog I work for ('Or so she says...') is currently hosting an awesome giveaway, which ends tomorrow.

In addition to the giveaway (prizes include Apple gift card, Disney Store gift card and a Skylanders game), Mariel created a digital coupon book that you can have for FREE. It will be emailed to you and it has some awesome discounts in it, which are perfect to be used for Holiday shopping.

I was psyched when I signed up and recieved it because there is a coupon for 40% off BabyLit books, with which I am obsessed. I bought two for Aspen before Linc was born, and two for him as well. Brickyard Buffalo recently had a BabyLit sale so I bought two more for Christmas. And then I got Mariel's special coupon for the books and I bought two more. They are just so cute! To be fair, I only buy the books that represent novels I actually enjoy myself. so I have some limits. Kind of.

babylit books, babylit coupon code

I really love them. My new favorites are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Jungle Book. The illustrations are fantastic and I'm so excited to give those to the kids at Christmas. Meanwhile, I'll secretly read them in my closet at night when they're in bed.

There are other awesome deals in Mariel's digital coupon book, so go sign up! If I was smart, I would have read the text at the bottom of Mariel's post and I would have known ahead of time what was in it (duh, I blame sleep deprivation). But it was kind of fun to be so surprised and excited about BabyLit. For you, however, I will include a heads up:

Holiday Hot List Coupons: Get Away Today, Lollipics, GroopDealz, Blendtec, Ruby Blue, Raise, Cherishables, Ghiradelli, Build a Sign, Sassy Steals, My Sisters Tee, OverstockDeals, Piper Street, Silhouette, Little Acorns, Linenspa, DownEast Basics, Melissa and Doug, Easy Canvas Prints, Jewelry.com, Our World Boutique, Kiwi Crate, World Market, Indie Gift Box, Cents of Style, CreativeBug, Babylit, Manhattanite.

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Silver Lake

Since Kev is no longer on-call for work 24/7, we decided to drive up to Silver Lake on Saturday afternoon. I kept seeing people post all about it on FB/Insta and I was jealous. It looked so beautiful and I wanted to explore this gem that is so close to where I live.

After the first session of General Conference, we loaded up and headed to the mountains. I'm so glad we did.

I kept telling Kev there's something about Douglas Firs that makes me happy. Just looking at them fills me up with joy. I don't know if it's Christmas-related, or Maine-related, or what. But they are my favorite pine.

I'm so glad there's a boardwalk around the lake, because at the last minute we decided to use the stroller instead of having me wear Linc in a wrap. I did end up carrying him a lot of the way because he needed a nap (and he doesn't go to sleep well unless he's first rocked by a human), but it was so nice to have everything stuffed in the stroller while we walked.

Those trees are totally killing it. The combination of Firs and Aspens? COME ON!!

I'd like to know who owns this house because I will gladly clean their toilets in exchange for a weekend stay. It is so pretty and I'm sure the views are outstanding.

These outings are so much better when Kev can come with us. Not just because he's an extra set of hands to help with a kid, but because I know he loves them, too. Since he took this job two years ago, he's had little time to cultivate his interests, and he definitely hasn't been able to explore SLC as much as he'd like. I know he misses Ogden for so many reasons, one of which is that he knew so much about it. He had his favorite haunts and he has a lot of memories tied to that city. I hope we can keep having family adventures in the SLC area so we can make it feel more like home to him.

There are so many little alcoves off the train that would be perfect for picnicing or photos. It was a great mix of shaded and sunny spots, and today's weather was perfect for walking around the lake. I'm so grateful we could go and enjoy this gift.

 That house!! Seriously. It's amazing. So much prettier than any of the others in the area.

I'm hopeful we'll commit to making Silver Lake a General Conference tradition. Seeing the foliage changing colors is wonderful in the autumn, and in the spring it'll be refreshing to see buds on the trees. Plus, the walk is so easy it's perfect for young kids. And after Aspen got over her fear of the sound of grasshoppers, she was all over "hunting for ground squirrels!" I'd call that a win.

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Thursday, October 02, 2014

Relapse


Well, it's happening.

I'm feeling a lot of the same emotions and stress that hit me hard after Aspen was born. It feels like my day is a never-ending battle of just holding back tears until everyone's finally in bed for the night.

Right after Linc was born, things felt great. I had more energy than I anticipated, I was optimistic about handling two kids, I got out of the house often and snuck in little naps whenever I could. Granted, there were still days I felt like I was moving through mud due to fatigue, and there were those nights of colic that nearly drove me over the edge. but I got through it.

Now, though, many days are a struggle. Aspen and I are butting heads again and it is exhausting trying to manage her tantrums and motivate her to get moving in the mornings for preschool. I had to carry out the threat of keeping her home one morning last week and it was not pretty. We were both crying and I was so upset that I had awoken Lincoln in preparation to take Aspen to school. I go back and forth when it comes to pulling her out of school, although that would be a temporary solution. If she doesn't learn how to get ready on time now, it's not going to magically be easier next year for Kindergarten. But I also can't keep standing by her side, giving her step-by-step instructions so she doesn't get distracted and spend the morning sitting on her bedroom floor with her clothes strewn about her while she stares up at the ceiling daydreaming (IT REALLY HAPPENED, PEOPLE) and Linc screams bloody murder while he's ignored.

I know part of my problem is a change in hormones. Around three months postpartum, I started losing my hair hardcore. So something shifted and it's affected my ability to cope. Additionally, Lincoln's sleeping is very erratic. During the day he'll sleep for about an hour at a time if I'm lucky. Nighttime isn't much better. If I could go to bed at 830 or 9 every night, I might be okay. But Aspen has been stalling like there's no tomorrow lately, and sometimes work keeps me up as late as 10 or 11, so I'm only averaging about 4-5 cumulative hours of sleep each night. With no napping at all during the day. I'm way too old to function on that kind of sleep.

And as much as I want to get out of the house and be around people, it feels too hard lately. It's too hard to get the kids and myself ready and get places on time. It's too hard to take a shower and feel like I'm "wasting" precious time when Lincoln is actually sleeping and I could be doing something more productive. It's too hard to think about grocery shopping and meal planning and getting Aspen to try eating regular food (I CURSE THE POP TART). It's too hard to keep up with laundry and cleaning and paying bills. It's too hard to drive somewhere and listen to Linc scream himself hoarse the whole time. If I do manage to leave the house lately, it's usually for essential errands and not fun things. I no longer have the energy to do both in one day.

Thankfully, though, Kev is slowly transitioning into a new job and that means he's home a lot earlier than usual. When I hear his key in the lock around 7pm, I feel a weight fall off my shoulders. It is amazing the difference it makes having him home so early, and to have him help with bedtime more often.

During the day it's easier to put things in perspective and talk myself out of crazy; the nights when I'm up with Linc for hours, though, are really difficult. I'm hopeful that with Kev no longer working through the night, I can ask him to help more. When he's able to take some of that burden off of me, I can take a step back and re-calibrate my thoughts.

I've been sitting on this post for about a week, and things are already changing. Linc only woke up once last night, and so far today he's taken two, two-hour naps. It's a nice reminder that nothing lasts forever, especially the trials of a new baby. I know my life will constantly be changing for the next few months as Linc develops his schedule and Kev's job evolves. But it's always helpful for me to pound out my fears and frustrations on the keyboard until I get around that bend in the road.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Fanastic Mr. Fox


It's time for another photo shoot of my fat baby. But this time he's even cuter because FOX HAT.

I should mention, though, that I used to have a fat baby but I gobbled him up because you really can't let fresh-baked rolls like these go to waste. 

I MEAN REALLY.
Linc's 3.5ish months old now, and he seems to be over his really bad sleeping spell. He was waking every two hours for about a week, and then we went to my brother's on Friday afternoon and he took a three hour nap, then slept pretty well the next couple of nights and took that wicked long nap at the cabin on Sunday. Monday night he slept EIGHT HOURS. I was like, yea!! So I celebrated by taking photos with all the extra energy I had.

I tried to convince Aspen to join in the photo shoot but she was too busy playing with a washcloth in the bathtub. So maybe next time.

I'm interested to see if Linc's eyes will stay blue like mine, or if they'll someday change to green. Aspen had blue blue blue eyes for a couple of years and then they went hazel. Kev used to have brown eyes as a kid, but they're more green now. I'm fascinated by that. 

I'm dying to know how much this kid weighs. I'm reeeeeally looking forward to his next well-visit when all the nurses will once again congratulate me on breastfeeding my baby LIKE A BOSS.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Overnight getaway


We were invited to a friend's cabin over the weekend, and we were able to make it up for one night. I'm disappointed we were stuck at home all day Saturday with church (me) and work (Kev) responsibilities because the weather was perfect, whereas all day Sunday it rained and we were stuck inside.



Regardless, the views from inside the house were beautiful. And Linc took an-almost-three-hour nap so I at least got to enjoy some time to relax without holding a baby nonstop.

When we arrived Saturday night, it was so quiet and peaceful. There weren't even any birds or bugs chirping in the trees. The area is surrounded by Aspen trees, and some of them are turning golden yellow right now.

It was gorgeous.



On our drive back down the mountain Sunday night, we spotted deer, elk, and lots of moose. I have seen more moose in Utah than I ever have in Maine (I don't know if I've ever seen a moose in Maine!) and I was so excited we got to show them to Aspen.


And, thankfully, Kev spotted this waddling porcupine before it was too late and we got to stop and watch him cross the road. Aspen has seen the episode of Wild Kratts that talks about porcupines, so it was fun for her to see one in real life.

Highlights of the weekend include lots of great company, lots of good food, lots of laying down, and lots of friends for Aspen to play with. Downsides include limited time spent in the mountains, and me significantly cutting open the tip of my finger while making breakfast.

I hope there will be many more opportunities to visit the cabin again next summer. Although dogs aren't allowed, we were able to leave Maddie with our next-door neighbors, and she had so much fun with them she was definitely depressed and moping the day after we got back and retrieved her. I guess she suffers from vacation-let-down, too.

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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.

Wah.

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