My, how the time flies!
Anna is 11 weeks old today!
Anna had her first official day of daycare yesterday, and I had my first official first day back to work. The day went well for both of us – I had a pretty crazy work day, and it was short (during the day) due to a doctor’s appointment for Julia (follow-up with the allergist). (I ended up working another four hours last night… but that’s beside the point!) Anna did well at daycare yesterday and again today, except she doesn’t want to take a bottle. Adam had trouble with her taking a bottle this morning too, but we’ll keep trying.
Last spring I had a picture of the girls’ first day of daycare in Colorado, and so I thought it’d be fun to take a picture of Anna with the girls yesterday.
Anna was mistaken for a boy twice yesterday due to her blue and white outfit (when in her car seat, you can’t see the flowers!). But, I think she looks like a girl. *grin*
I apologize for not blogging much the last week to give you updates on how I am doing. The last week was a pretty crazy one… my last week home with Anna, a week bookended with two work weekend, a day in Fort Collins with a friend, a quick customer meeting in the office, and a weekend home alone with the girls… pretty busy. This week showed up before I could blink. Hopefully when I have a chance to catch my breath, I can update you. Just know that I am surrounding myself with positive, working very hard to enjoy my kids and my family, and accepting that it’s okay to leave work at a reasonable time to come home and eat dinner with my family and not feel guilty about it (even if I have to work a few hours later in the evening to get ‘caught up’).
Anna hit double digits in weeks today.
This is our last week home together.
And, Anna ROLLED OVER today! Multiple times. From front to back. It was awesome! She did it multiple times, with intention, and she even showed her daddy when he got home tonight.
Today I received a number of emails and FB posts from friends regarding my “Math” post from last night. I even received a phone call. I don’t know how to say thank you to all of the people who supported what I wrote through email, FB, voicemail. It makes being vulnerable easier, that is for sure.
Tonight, while I feel like I should respond to a number of those messages, I’m choosing to tell you about my day instead – to talk about what I did or tried today that filled me. Hopefully in some way, this post will be a little bit of a start of a response to all of those wonderful messages.
Before I talk about today, though, I wanted to share some key things today from different messages I received because they further explain that which I was trying to express yesterday.
“now I know it's not just me... “ – So true. It’s hard not to feel alone sometimes when dealing with these feelings, because having a baby is a “normal” part of life and what we feel after we have a baby should be normal too, right? But for how long? And what really is normal? And it’s hard to accept that maybe what we’re feeling isn’t normal. And that we need help. I read a statistic in the doctor’s office on Monday about the number of mothers that are suspected to have post partum depression or anxiety versus the actual number that seeks help. I don’t remember the number, but it wasn’t good.
Another thought… I won’t copy the exact sentence, but it was akin to the fact that the more other people tell me how together I am or whatever, the harder I am on myself and the harder it is to keep it all together.
“And so what if one of them [all of the balls you’re juggling] falls once in a while ~ life won't stop as you know it.” – This is almost exactly what my therapist said yesterday. What absolutely needs to happen today and what doesn’t. How can you focus on taking care of yourself instead of constantly working to make everyone happy and everything perfect. What can you let drop off your plate… maybe just for today or maybe indefinitely. The world isn’t suddenly going to implode because you chose not to do the laundry tonight. (Did you know that? Because I sure didn’t.
“My answer was, 'I beat myself up for not doing something right.'” – This is me. “Not doing something right” can be as simple as wondering whether I did enough for today and then beating myself up if I don’t think that I did.
“I need to cut myself some slack...I just don't know how” – this is exactly how I feel – I don’t know how to cut myself some slack. Not in the least. Today I realized just how profound yesterday’s assignment was – do something that fills you. Focus on being nicer / less negative to myself. Cutting myself slack. Not focusing on being superwoman but instead focusing on finding that little bit of joy.
Which leads a bit into today. A few weeks ago I signed up to be a chaperone for Raven’s class at daycare to go to the zoo today. I am still on maternity leave and won’t have these sorts of opportunities going forward without using PTO, so it seemed liked a win for Raven and I to spend some quality time together. Yes, I was going to have to bring Anna with, but at least the focus would be on Raven.
As we were rushing around this morning to not be late to daycare and Anna screamed her bum head off because one of her big sisters woke her up before she was ready to be awake, I kept saying to myself over and over again, “Let this be what fills you today, let this be what fills you today.”
Arriving at daycare and helping prep for the trip suddenly led to Anna being left at daycare (on purpose) – the infant room ladies offered to watch her so that I could go and enjoy the day with Raven by myself. I only had about 5 minutes to decide and had everything I needed with me for Anna as she was supposed to be along for the ride anyway, and I took the opportunity. She’ll be going there to daycare anyway. (She did great, by the way, and I was too busy being a chaperone with other women to a bunch of 2 year olds to worry about her!) And suddenly I was free to enjoy a solid four hours with only my middle child – something I don’t think we’ve done for… a very long time.
And this is where my “issues” take over. I had to choose repeatedly to enjoy today. I constantly found myself comparing myself to the other mothers in the group – was I a good mom? Maybe not. Does my daughter have a mean streak right now because I’m not a good enough mom? Maybe. I started to berate myself… and then would catch myself. Refocus on the day. Refocus on the opportunity I had. I wish I could say this only happened once but it didn’t. It happened repeatedly. I constantly had to bring myself back to center and remember to enjoy the time and not nit pick it.
My favorite memory of today… the lions. Raven saw the large male lion and screamed, “Simba!” My heart caught in my throat. I don’t know if you read my post about the Lion King and the stuffed animals we have, but she instantly saw the lions and recalled the movie. It filled my heart with joy. Suddenly the other children started screaming, “The simbas! Simbas!” Some of the other adults looked puzzled – I explained why Raven said that. It was a connection… a bright spot… my vessel filling… to experience that with her today.
And despite the fact that Raven weighs close to 30 pounds, I also really enjoyed that last 20 minutes of the zoo trip where I carried her. We don’t get to cuddle/snuggle as much anymore as we used to, and it was a blessing to hold her close to me, breathe in her sunscreen-skin smell, feel her sweaty hair on my face. I felt close to her. So very close to her. And my vessel filled a bit more.
So, what is something today that I did for me that filled me up? I chose to enjoy the zoo with Raven. I chose. I chose. I chose.
Why is that choosing so hard? Why is it hard to choose joy at times?
Looking forward to working through that and figuring that out.
I am thankful for all of my friends who are lifting me up in prayer right now as well – as another friend put it today, “my family and friends picked up "the 4 corners of my mat" and carried me until I could stand up again”. Thanks to all of you who are carrying the corners of my mat. You mean the world to me.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m looking forward to whatever it is I decide tomorrow is that thing that fills me. It’s interesting – approaching each day with that attitude. To choose to have something fill you instead of letting the negativity and anxiety and outside world take over. This will be an interesting journey. I can’t say that I didn’t experience my fair share of complete anxiety and negativity today because I sure did – but for those few hours today I understood what it really meant to enjoy life.
I wanted to wait to write this post until we had some closure… so some of you may know about this already and some may not.
On July 6, Adam was in an accident. My mom was here visiting. Mom and I had just gotten home from a super fun day of shopping, and Adam called to tell me that he was in a bad wreck with the Escape. He was fine and the other guy was fine but the Escape is not.
I know I shouldn’t be materialistic, but I was a little upset about my Escape being damaged. The Escape was the first really big purchase I made out of college in December 2001, and the car had done us SO well over the years. Until we bought the van in January, the Escape was our family’s main mode of transportation. We had 168,000 miles on it and we were planning to drive it into the ground. I loved that vehicle. Loved.
And, is this irony? In March we spent a good chunk of change on new tires. Not two weeks before the accident we had the brakes fixed and some other work done. THREE DAYS BEFORE the accident I renewed the registration. We had dropped a good bit of money on the Escape in the last few months in hopes that it would last us a good bit longer.
We didn’t want to buy another car right now. We just bought the van in January; we were hoping to pay the van off before we would have to succumb to purchasing another vehicle.
However, the accident changed all of that.
Adam was going slow. The air bags didn’t even trigger. He hit the bed of a pickup truck. Thanks to the design of vehicles these days, the engine dropped a bit and the front end crumpled and Adam wasn’t hurt. The most that could have hurt him was the rear view mirror flying off and hitting the windshield and cracking it, but he wasn’t even touched but that. Not a bruise. Not a scrape. WHAT a blessing.
Insurance has been good to us. They were willing to fix the vehicle and gave us the money to do so, but gave us the option to sign the vehicle over to them and keep the money to put down on a new car. We opted for the latter. After all, it would be weeks before the Escape would be fixed, and here we would be sinking close to $5,000 into the Escape only to have it in the shape it was in before the wreck. And it wasn’t in bad shape, but it’s 10 years old. And it’s not getting any younger and we thought maybe we’d get another five years out of it at best.
So we opted to look for a different vehicle. I’m not sure if I blogged about it then, but our van buying experience in January, while resulting in a beautiful van, was extremely painful. We wanted to avoid that if at all possible and, more irony? We joked in January after that was over that whew, we only have to do this every 10 years or so. Ha. WRONG.
Thankfully I told my friend Ellen about the wreck and she suggested going through her auto searcher. I talked with Adam about it and we decided that considering the time frame (I go back to work in less than two weeks and we really need two vehicles) and the experience, we would give Debi a try. I called Debi on Thursday, we talked, we talked more on Friday, and on Monday (yesterday), she had four vehicles – but would have had more had we requested it – for us to test drive. She even picked out a vehicle we hadn’t thought to test drive for us to take a spin in – the Volkswagen Tiguan.
After test driving vehicles yesterday, we discussed our favorite and our options. We settled on a 3 year lease, as lease rates are super duper low right now (0.2%) and we would have the option to buy in a few years or look for a different car. Considering that we weren’t planning on another vehicle at this point in time, wanted something newer with a good warranty, but also wanted a low payment, we settled on a lease. Debi took care of ALL of the paper work for us yesterday and this morning – without us there – and called us today to let us know that the color vehicle we wanted – dark gray – had arrived and was ready for us to pick it up. Yep, that’s right. She called and found what all colors were available, we picked one, and after a dealer trade, it was there.
No fuss. No muss.
We arrived at Auto Search today at 3:45 pm and she promised to have us out the door by 4:30 pm. With another test drive. And helping us get our insurance changes taken are of. And all the paperwork. And she wasn’t joking – we left at 4:25 pm in our new Volkswagen Tiguan.
Now we have a super reliable vehicle with a full warranty that I can drive to and from work every day and that Adam will use occasionally as well, and while the path to this purchase was less than desirable, it as a blessing in disguise. Maybe we didn’t want a new vehicle already, but the accident forced us to look at our finances again, what we could afford, and also think about the amount of money we were sinking each year into the Escape versus the amount of money we could put towards a new vehicle. Turns out that with the low lease payments, it’s pretty much a wash. And that’s a very positive thing.
I won’t divulge the details of the accident and we’re still not “done” yet with everything involving it, but we are so very thankful that everyone involved was safe and fine and that everything worked out okay in the end.
I wanted to post Anna’s stats from today…
Age: 2 months, 1 day
Weight: 13 lb 5.5 oz (95th percentile)
Length: 24.5 inches (OFF THE CHART – no percentile for that – ha!)
Head circumference: 40.3 cm (95th percentile)
So goes my statement that she isn’t fat… she’s hardly chubby! (She is chubby but not as chubby as Raven was as a baby!) The doctor said that her body is just trying to keep up with her height… which explains the 6 month clothes needed for length reasons and yet she can still wear 0 – 3 month clothes around the weight… she’s just… long. She’s longer than she is big. But because she is so long, she feels big! Either way, I think she’s robust to keep up with her sisters… :)
Otherwise Anna’s appointment went really well. The doctor wants me to start bottle training her during the day (and pumping instead of breastfeeding) so that her transition to daycare isn’t so traumatic, and while I don’t like the idea because of the inconvenience of it, I can’t help but agree as she’s very Dr. Jekyll / Mr. Hyde with the bottle. Anna starts daycare two weeks from today.
Anna received three shots today and one vaccine via mouth/liquid. She did really well… screamed like a banshee as expected, but recovered fairly quickly and had a really good day today.
Anyway… that’s some on Anna. Woohoo!
Yesterday Anna was two months old, as I posted about last night. I took a whole load of pictures yesterday to try and get one good one of the girls and one of Anna… but, I’ll be honest, I have a really hard time getting pictures of the girls without Adam’s help… er… entertainment. Adam was gone this weekend for a beer event, and so I was solo with the girls. I took them to a new park with a lake hoping this would entice them to be good for a few pictures, but it was a no go.
So this picture is an example of what I get when Daddy isn’t there to help:
Big Sister Raven was upset she didn’t get to hold Anna.
Think that one isn’t so bad?
She then turned complete away from Julia and Anna.
Why not give her the baby? Okay.
This is the look I got and now Anna is screaming mad. Ha!
I did get one good one of Raven, though:
We also saw a load of geese and ducks that day… THAT was a major source of amusement for the big girls.
Yah. Raven likes to get way too close to geese. She’s only back this far because I was yelling at her to stop.
Oh, yah, and that picture of Anna I was trying to get? Well, let’s just say I was not too picky at that point.
Monday Julia had an allergist appointment with Colorado Allergy and Asthma Center to determine to what she’s allergic. We were told ahead of time that the appointment would take 2.5 – 3 hours because they reviewed your history, performed the test, reviewed the results, and put together an action plan with you.
I’m very proud of Julia – she’s been handling these recent doctor visits really, really well. No whining, no complaining, no tears – occasionally she’ll ask if she can go home now – but really, she’s been awesome.
Monday was no exception. She hung out while I chatted with the doctor and clinician, and she was very good for her skin test – she allowed the clinician to draw on and number her back, poke her approximately 60 times with little pins, and then laid quietly and without issue on her stomach during the test while watching a movie (thank goodness for TV and DVD player in each room!).
The first test showed that Julia is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dogs, and soy (mildly). Because of the result of the dog for the first test, they had to do a second test with a needle to determine if she was also allergic to cats (which she is). Again, she was awesome during that test too and did not even flinch when they stuck a needle in her arm – like, stuck it in there.
As a result of the day, Julia was given two suckers and we were told she was the best 4 year old patient they had ever had there. I was so proud of her!
Because of the severity of the peanut and tree nut allergies (with tree nut being something we weren’t expecting which is why she reacted SO badly to the walnuts in the carrot cake a few weeks ago), we now will carry EpiPens with us for her and daycare has them too. Here is hoping we never have to use them, but I am so thankful for this child of mine who is SO understanding. Her new mantra is “No More Nuts!” over and over again, she asks after nuts in most every food that is foreign to her, and when we discussed the EpiPen, she understands that if she gets nuts, we have to use it, and while it might hurt, it will make her better – and she is fine with that.
It’s hard when your young kids start having to learn lessons like this. It doesn’t seem so bad, but to have to explain things like this to your child and how she could get really, really sick without taking these precautions – it’s hard, and yet, at the same time, it’s amazing to see her level of comprehension – I simply don’t think of a 4 year old as being able to understand things like that, but yet, here she is, understanding what the EpiPen is, why we would have to use it, and being totally okay with that.
We’re also very thankful that Julia doesn’t have any fear of going to the doctor – what a Godsend. Adam and I talked about it and really think that we have our chiropractor to thank for that – he is SO good with kids and Julia and Raven both love going to see him. We think that because of that, Julia understands that we go to the doctor for good reasons and not for bad. That makes dealing with this sort of thing so much easier.
Anna was eight weeks old yesterday. I didn’t take any pictures of her yesterday and didn’t weigh her either – mainly, we just went through the day as if it was any other day.
There is one point of significance from this week, though – I had to break out the 6 month clothes for her. I’m really really glad that I set up her closet with all the clothes through 9 months when I first dug everything out – otherwise I would have been digging out tubs left and right. She has gotten so long and the 3 month one-piece outfits simply are too short for her. Crazy to think she is wearing clothes at 8 weeks that Julia didn’t wear until she was 5 months old.
Anna has her two month appointment next Monday. Developmentally she seems to be doing well and is falling into a bit of a groove with napping and sleeping. We need to work more with the bottle – we’re just lazy like that – so that when she starts daycare in less than three weeks, she’s ready for it.
In other news, I started back to work on intermittent FMLA yesterday – working a few hours a day. I can’t say that I missed it. A lot of people ask if I want to go back to work – well, there isn’t much point in answering that question or even dwelling on it because there isn’t a choice in the matter. We already made our choice about it when we moved here – without some drastic changes, there won’t be a change. So, it’s a question I try to avoid answering – mostly because thinking about the alternative too much is too painful. It is what it is.
Off to start our day… but wanted to say a happy 8 weeks to my baby!
This is Anna today:
This is me in the same dress many, many moons ago (hard to see!):
Anna sure is a trooper. I think this is the third time we’ve taken pictures in the last few weeks when it started to sprinkle on us when we went outside.
Here is one more picture from today – it is cute to me because she is smiling. (Or in the process of…)
…it would have been just the right size for Goldielocks. Last year I took the girls to the Urban Farm in Denver and snapped a pic of a picnic table. I forgot to have size dimensions, so I just took them from one of the girls play tables and chairs. I went to the store with a friend to pick out treated lumber (Home Depot doesn’t sell “green” C2 anymore, just this reddish treated lumber that makes a great faux-cedar look!
Then one evening I cut and drilled all the pieces so all we needed to do was final assembly. Thought I’d teach the oldest girl how to turn wrenches…literally. I got the carriage bolts inserted, and Julia put washers on and screwed each nut on with a socket wrench. Then I finished it up by screwing on the seats and table top slats. Fin!
You can tell Julia is proud and happy to have her own “just the right sized” picnic table. Now I just need to put a coat of watersealer and we’re done.