Get off of my cloud

I find myself in an exceptionally good mood today, which feels odd. I am normally neutral or a little less than; I’d say on any given day my attitude and overall contentedness with the world sits anywhere from 40-70%. I always pride myself on maintaining status quo; so as long as everything is going smoothly and my obligations are getting taken care of, I am perfectly happy not assessing how I actually feel.  But as I said, I feel GOOD today.

BG slept all night so that always helps. We worked out last night and it was difficult but satisfying. ( I love the 13 minute mark of T25; Shaun T looks right at you and tells you that you’ve got this; just 12 more minutes and you’re done!) We also took a long walk down a different trail than normal. It’s the Fern Trail at Governor’s park. Ash used to mountain bike through there and now he runs a portion of it. We walked roughly 3 miles and didn’t even have too much complaining from the boys. They like it but eventually, get tired. At mile marker 48, there was an area where rock encroached on the little gulley below and make the water narrow but created a landing. The boys got down there and explored for a bit while I stayed above, since I had BG in the carrier. I also had the dogs. While they were down there, my two Bostons encountered another whose name was Kudzu; cute!20140325_17535320140325_175424

 

What is even more strange about my unusual good mood is that the past two days have found me being rather snippy and quick to easy annoyance. Little things got on my nerves: Ash not cleaning up the hair after shaving, dishes in the sink I failed to wash, the kids messing around at dinner. Maybe somewhere in the night, my subconscious decided to say “screw it, be happy.”

Tomorrow, at 12:31 PM, I will turn 35 years old. What is it about those kinds of numbers that make it seem much more important? 31? Not anything to mention. 23, just a random number in between 20 and 30. But count by 5s or 10s and it’s a huge deal. I don’t feel 35 so I guess that is what matters. I have a free Starbucks drink coming to me, a 10 dollar off coupon from World Market, and a free cone at Bruster’s.  I have my eye on a new pair of shoes and I plan to buy BG a bathing suit for when the pool opens. There’s a lot of stuff on my horizon and it’s almost all good. Sure, we have to do our taxes and chances are, that money is going towards replacing the pipes in our house; a huge job but one that desperately needs to get done. But that’s 35. That’s having a house and kids and living the domestic life. I wouldn’t trade it for being single or making a million dollars or being famous. Not for one second.

The fear of not knowing

UGH. Ash is driving with the boys to Orlando today and he’s not answering his phone. One of the worst things EVER. He texted me to ask my parents’ address – obviously for GPS purposes – but then didn’t answer. I can only surmise that a.) he’s on the phone with his brother, who also flies in there today or b.) didn’t hear his phone over the laptop, which is probably in the center console playing a movie for the boys. Still, I just hate worrying. I worry a lot, though maybe less than I used to. But what’s a mom to do when 3/5 of her family is on the roads and it’s raining? I’m finding it hard to concentrate on work when I don’t know if they’re ok.

On the other hand, there’s a part of me that feels alright and believe they’re just fine. I think it’s my leftover Catholic faith that rescues me here. Sure, I may not be an avid church-goer anymore but I grew up in Catholicism and having a strong faith in God. I’m not a bible-reader or a volunteer in the church. I feel bad that I sometimes treat religion like a buffet – picking and choosing what suits me. But I put my mind at ease when I pray and I always remember thinking that if I took anything away from preaching as a child, that it was the power of prayer. And whether there really is a God or not, believing that he’s got my back and won’t let anything bad happen to my family definitely makes me feel a lot better.

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Not twenty minutes after crafting this post, I received a text. They were in Gainesville, stopping for lunch. I definitely feel a lot better.

Now I can work on the myriad things in front of me. I ate me a Jimmy Johns sandwich and the day is cruising along. I am looking forward to my evening; I can’t lie. It’s rare that I’m in the house alone (baby girl won’t count tonight ;) ) so I look forward to having my own time.

 

Save as: six months old

As I tried to get Dakota back to sleep around 11:30 last night, it hit me that this is my last baby; I will never again hold one of my own tiny creatures and marvel at their small form resting in my arms. She will grow and grow and soon, she’ll be another real person running around my house, being all independent and not needing me as much. So it goes.

But I like six months; it’s a good age. She’s not cranky as much as she once was and she can interact in such fun ways now. She has been rolling from back to front for a while now but twice in the past two weeks, she’s gone the other way. Though I missed the actual action both times. She is still breastfeeding like a champ but she has been eating rice cereal for a month. Within the past two weeks, she’s also eaten: sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, pears, apples, and bananas. From a jar anyway. She loves to eat and takes it seriously. She will not smile when I smile when I am feeding her; eating is too serious of an affair for that! She is sweet and loves to be nestled in your arm on the couch, and so long as you keep one hand on her feet, she won’t fidget. She doesn’t laugh as easily as my boys did but she’ll drop smiles on you like crazy.

I am so enthralled by her and in love. But I find it so hard to focus all my attention on any one kid. It’s true you have to spread it around but I wish I could feel really dedicated to any one kid at any one time. I knew this going in, don’t get me wrong. But some days I am being pulled in so many directions, I barely have time to think about myself, my eating habits, my exercise. I’m doing a fairly good job being a good wife and giving the kids love and support here and there; I sometimes even document them with the camera – amazing! But it is a busy busy life. One I wouldn’t trade for anything.IMG_20140202_110459

On the edge of

Do you ever feel like you’re waiting for something to happen but can’t remember what it is? There’s this slight nagging feeling in the back of my mind, telling me that something is coming but I don’t know what. I can only posit what it might be: a new month? The tearing-down-the-deck project? Spring?

I stopped into Whole Foods this morning for some breakfast, because my suture removal appointment isn’t until 9:30. The “snow” day on Wednesday really threw off my motivation this week and this also doesn’t help. I have papers to grade in both classes and soon, an editing job I agreed to do for someone. Time to buckle down!

But what I really want is warm weather and to start running again. I feel flabby and kind of gross. Not that I really look forward to the pain of running but I remember how quickly things start to tighten up. It usually starts with the outer thighs and calves; they just slim right down. Then through my hips and sides, I can feel the fat melting away. My back feels stronger and I breathe better. Sadly, the leftover baby fat in the front is the last to go but this time, I plan to find some kind of ab blasting exercise to do. Pushups were working but my hand will still be off the table for a little while longer.

This weekend, we’re supposed to see temps in the mid-70s and I am doing a little happy dance for the warmth. I may have been born in Maryland but I’m a Florida girl and the cold just kills me. Bring on the heat any day. I want sunny, dry days and more than anything, I want to lay in the sun and feel it. I hate being cold! But, this brings us back to the running; I don’t like laying out in the sun and feeling like I’m overweight in the few clothes I am wearing. SO, I have one year and eight months to be in really good bathing suit shape. Totally doable, right? When Ash and I take our big Hawaii vaycay, I want to look even better than I did on our honeymoon, which was the smallest I’d been in a long time. But it will be our ten year anniversary, I’ll be done having kids/breastfeeding, and it will be high time to reclaim me.

In the meantime, I have to start small. If cleared to, I begin running this weekend. Maybe just a mile or two. But the burn in my legs  and the blood pumping through my veins will feel so good. I can hardly wait.

It’s Luke Bryan day!

In a little bit, I’ll be going home to get ready for the show. I’ll be meeting my friends and taking one car out to the Tallahassee antique car museum, where the concert will be. I’m a little nervous leaving all three kids with Ash, though he’s pretty much a pro at this by now. It’s the bottle feeding, etc for the baby that makes me worried. Not that he can’t do it but that he’ll be stressed out by it. Silly, I know. But he also might brave Elliot’s school’s Fall festival with all three and that would make me nervous if it was ME taking them. I am sure he will be fine though. Sometimes being thrown into situations is the best thing.

I hardly ever do things for myself so I need to stop feeling guilty about it. Ash goes out a couple evenings every week and I am stuck with the three. I do just fine and I know he will too.

Running and rediscovering my oldest child

Ever since I got pregnant with Dakota, I have felt very insular. As in, I focused way too much on me and my thoughts and didn’t pay nearly enough attention to my boys. I reasoned this was alright because what is that second parent for, right? Over the past two years, Ash;s transition to main evening parent was smooth. He picked them up from daycare and aside from me making dinner on most nights, he also kept them entertained until bath and bed time, which he did pretty much all of. Meanwhile, I was either nauseous or tired or in pain throughout the pregnancy. Sure, I got the kids going in the mornings but Ash did so very much of the parenting. As the end grew nigh, I began to feel guilty over my lack of attention. They didn’t complain – much – but I knew I had robbed them of time. If I wasn’t rushing them out the door and into the car, then I was mad or exasperated. Certainly, Elliot suffered the most because, as the oldest, I expect so much more out of him. So, like my father before me, I found myself angry at him and yelling for God knows what reasons and I know he came to fear my moods.

This is not something I am proud of. This hurts just to type.

But then, Baby Girl came into our lives two weeks before public school began. Elliot was home with myself and Ash that entire first week and when Ash went back to work, it was just me and my son the next week. We ran errands and watched movies and played board games. I think he really liked spending time with me. And my guilt increased because, God, why would he want to when I had been so mean to him? It isn’t fair that children forgive us even when we don’t treat them like we should.

At some point, we decided that Elliot would run the local Thanksgiving race with me. It would be a good distance for him – 5k – and a good way for me to get back into running after the baby. About two weeks ago we began our training, which consists of one day, one mile, another day of sprints, and then one long run – two miles at this point. When we’re running, I am the least mad at him. I set our pace and show him how to work on his form. He actually tells me about school and his friends and of course, silly things too that he knows will get a rise out of me. Sometimes he complains he doesn’t feel like doing it but picks up the pace a second later. He’s more like Ash in that he’s super competitive and wants to be perfect. Running can facilitate that for him. I find that we don’t argue as much now. And he’ll come by and give me random hugs and kisses, whereas he didn’t ever really do that before; he wasn’t that kind of kid. (Isaac is totally that kid.)

As Elliot grows up before my eyes and I feel like I’m losing him more and more, this has actually made me feel so much closer to him. It’s hard for me to change, even knowing that I sometimes reenact my father’s horrible ways. Maybe it is just as hard for Elliot to change the things I get mad at him for. I guess if I can understand that then we can meet in the middle, as we tie our shoes and wait for my watch to find the satellites, stretching and easing out onto the pavement, our goal the same.

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What is up?

I am stuck on level 181 of Candy Crush and don’t think I will ever beat it. Unlike some levels where you can get lucky and the stars align just right to win, this one is a lot trickier; I have been stuck there for over a month now. But in those waning afternoon hours where I am too tired to go out or start a new project, and all that’s on are Bones reruns, I still play the level, over and over and over.

There is a squirrel – juvenile from the looks of his scrawny legs – walking back and forth on my deck with a nut of some type in his mouth. We have a lot of them around but they usually don’t frequent my deck near the door, probably because of the dogs. Not that my dogs ever pay them any mind, though. They’re simply present. My dad’s squirrels will go right up to him and take a peanut from his hand. One will even sit on his hand and eat it. In the absence of a dog, my father has adopted squirrels.

Both mornings and evenings have been slightly cooler this week and I am eagerly awaiting actual Fall. The feel of it makes me able to cope with other stresses like ALL those activities that seem to happen around this time. It’s fairly busy right on through Christmas. I cant lie: I am a little stressed about going back to work. This upcoming week I plan to start pumping and storing milk for Dakota’s entry into daycare. The final week of September we’re going to go into the infant room for a couple hours to get used to it. I haven’t had a kid in the infant room at this daycare (both boys did in-home until they were one) so I want to see how they run things. I trust the place entirely but again, my boys were older. I have to store milk for the night I’ll be at a concert. And maybe even for a morning when I might do one of those color runs. I may not though; it’s the day after the concert and I may be a little worse for wear. I love having a baby again but there are all those provisions we must make in order to care for her. (Running during the time of breastfeeding is definitely one of the more annoying and uncomfortable facets of motherhood.)

I kind of wish we could go to the beach one more time before Summer sails on but I know it would be way too hard to make it with the baby. I used to read this blog where they traveled all over the world with their kid and they made it work, but they were made of tougher stuff. The fact that we even have to drive four hours for Thanksgiving makes me preemptively weep.

Baby Girl has started smiling this week. Though I know it is merely a reflex, I do know it is in response to something she likes, like a sound or image. It doesn’t mean she has some kind of emotional connection to me, but it’s good enough. Watching this little lump that does little more than sleep, eat, and poop, finally see your face and then react to it is rather heartwarming. And you can understand why people have more than one kid.

Some days, time slips away from me and I am disappointed that I haven’t done more. Today,  I took the boys to school then went to Target for a few things. It’s ten now and I have papers to grade, but don’t feel like it. I know I’ll be happy with myself if I do so I had better get on it.

 

MMMM + Birth of baby girl

SO, here we are: one week and two days since child #3 came into our lives. In my last post before her birth, I mentioned my induction. The doctor said the hospital could call me to come in anywhere from 4 AM until noon! So I planned for that; had a neighbor on stand-by and a friend for later for watching the boys. All worked out though because they didn’t call me until 10:45 AM. My neighbor came over until my mother could get here, around 2 PM.

Got into a Labor and Delivery room around 11:30 AM and the process began. It was pleasant at first: minor contractions, not too much discomfort. Ash and I chatted with the nurse and things were progressing well, according to my doctor. I am glad I scheduled this because it meant he could be there, and he’s an awesome doctor. At some point, he broke my water and things got going. As much as I didn’t really want to, I opted for the epidural. I’ve done this before and you know what? You don’t get a badge for having a baby without pain meds. You just get pain. And I decided I just didn’t want it. All was fine until transition, when I got very itchy and very panicky. But then it was pushing time. I’m pretty sure I only spent 20-30 mins pushing but it felt like hell. It hurt worse than I remembered and I didn’t feel like I was making much progress. I admit, I started to lose it at one point, wanted to stop pushing and give up. But both Ash and my doc snapped me back to reality and  got baby Dakota into our world.

Thankfully, she didn’t break the 8 pound mark, as they’d guesstimated. She was 7 pounds, 14 ounces – my largest baby but also the one who stayed in there the longest. (Ell= 37.5 weeks; Isaac= 38 weeks 6 days. Dakota = 39 weeks 3 days.) I was pretty relieved at that point and just so damned happy knowing, in the back of my mind, I won’t ever have to go through that again. Though pregnancy is a beautiful and wondrous experience, it culminates in this tumultuous crescendo, thankfully ending in a beautiful child. She was born around 7 PM and by about 9 or 9:30, I moved into a recovery room and sent Ash home. I’m always surprised when nurses act like husbands should stay. I have two boys at home; it was best for him to go. Also, the furniture in the recovery rooms is NOT made for sleeping, that’s for sure.

This time, the hospital did exactly as I wanted: let me go when all was well, even though it was not a full 48 hours. I left around 4 pm Monday and was I ever glad to be home! My mother stayed until Wednesday when we had gotten back to semi-regular around here. The boys really only had issues that first day in recovery: Elliot acted like a fool on crack (his way of coping?) and Isaac, though he promised me he was ready to be a big boy, cried and cried, saying he wanted to still be my little baby. Luckily, that faded away and by Tuesday, he was acclimated. He’s been a big help and very sweet; he’s very concerned about her. Elliot, on the other hand, is just ready to go back to school. So bored with everything and negative too. He’s ok when given tasks, so I am having him do all kinds of little things, lest I lose patience with him and ship him off to military school. Do they start them that young?

This week, Ash will go back to work half-days and Elliot and I will hang with Dakota and do things around the house. I feel better each day and more like me again. There’s always a readjustment period. Last night, I leaned over on the couch towards Ash and found myself on my stomach, instantly springing back, out of habit. No baby in there anymore; it’s ok!

So now, I must begin making lists of the projects I want to accomplish while on leave. There’s a week until Ell goes back to school so or routine will change  again but once that’s settled, I can begin the weeks of just baby and me. It’ll be fun; let’s call it a vacation.

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Songs about cars? Ok then!

You know how I feel about Rob Zombie…

My dad loved this song so it kind of reminds me of being young.

And here’s a cute one from Cake.

 

Finer parenting moments… not

It’s funny how things change in not so much time. Just three years ago I was sitting on my friend Heather’s couch in Crawfordville, after she, Tabb, and their two daughters moved out of their house that was across from the former Nicholson farmhouse. We had been there for my friend Beth’s baby shower; Tiffanie and I stayed later to chat. I remember how Heather told me that she and her oldest daughter didn’t get along because they were always butting heads. I remember thinking how sad that was. Elliot and I are going through this now. These days, I don’t ever see Heather anymore and Tiffanie and I run into each other maybe once every 3-4 months.

But I remember talking that night about kids in such a nonchalant manner; they’ll kill you though, drive you to the brinks of insanity. And at that time, I’m not sure I really saw it. Elliot was only 2.5, and Isaac was still in utero. Elliot has gone through so many horrific stages  but then come out on the other side a pretty cool kid. Lately he is the bane of my existence. Case in point: Ash muttered something while cleaning about the whole freakin’ thing – or something to that effect – and Elliot comes down the hall bragging that he said that word three times and didn’t get a spanking for it. This pretty much sums up how he has been for the last few weeks. That was my breaking point; we had a come to Jesus talk. I cried. Hard. He cried but quickly jaunted off to be annoying elsewhere. But he came back to me and apologized and cried, which impressed me. Maybe at this age he can’t really comprehend all the intricacies  of what’s going on but I was glad he understood, at least, that he made me really upset. It’s the small things that make me feel like he’s farther and farther away from me that scare the shit out of me. Sometimes when he shows no remorse, I wonder if he won’t somehow end up in prison. I can’t honestly imagine he would; the majority of  my instincts tell me he’ll grow up to be just fine, just as I did, and  Ash and his brother and my sister. I know all our parents were probably scared to death about the exact same thing at some point. It’s not something I ever saw coming. So many things you can’t plan for. I didn’t know I’d feel so distant from my five year old because of how he acts.

They keep you on your toes, that’s for sure. I didn’t think Isaac would basically potty train himself in a matter of days or that Elliot would suddenly click into place at school and stop acting crappy and start behaving – and reading. It’s all so frustrating and wonderful and stressful and exciting. This is the busiest my life has ever been. My brain is so FULL; and I wonder if other families – ones I read about on their blogs – don’t go through the same things. Do they have days where in the end, kids are crying and parents are frazzled? Do they yell sometimes because no one will listen? Do they lock the bathroom door for one MINUTE of peace? Maybe they just don’t write about it. I veer away from those darker sides of parenting too for the most part. There’s no use in dwelling on the negative but I just felt like I had to get it out there today. By Sunday nights, I’m usually running for the hills – or, you know, the hot bath with a Sonic Cherry Limeade and a trashy vampire novel. Now there’s an idea… BBL!

I’ve been lookin’ for you, baby

*Kenny Chesney song

So I had a dream that our daughter had been born – in fact, she was about six months old – and she was pretty cute, though blond. Which would probably not happen as no one in our family is. It’s always weird to dream of someone who has not yet been seen or realized; the thing inside me is still faceless and a non-entity (as far as I’m concerned; don’t go getting into weird fetus/abortion issues now!) It’s the only thing I can do: imagine what this child will be like. I only know what features  boys of our lineage will posses.  What will our little girl look like? I have a friend whose daughter looks just like her dad, which is weird because at four, she has a very masculine face… with blond curly hair. My children have each looked squished and scrawny in the first few weeks but then evened out to be really cute. Though, I am pretty sure moms are biased. It’s nature so we don’t kill and/or eat them.

Here’s Elliot when new and then six months later:
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See? Much cuter.

And new baby Isaac and six months later:

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Aww, lookit that little pumpkin!

I had a moment during yoga last night; we were entering the deep relaxation phase – in savasana – and as I slipped further into my own subconscious, I realized how much I will get to share with a daughter that I cannot with my boys. If and when she has her own children, we can share in that feeling of pregnancy. And maybe even labor. (My own mother had to have two c-sections due to breach babies and she didn’t even see either of us until 12-24 hours after we were born.) That feels sacred to me. Even when my boys grow up and possibly become dads, they won’t be a part of that process of incubating a child. There will always be a disconnect. But maybe with a daughter I can experience this.

That was the main point I realized when we found out it was a girl: now I get to experience having both genders and just understanding what that’s like as a parent. I felt truly blessed when I had two healthy boys. When I finally wanted children, I knew I wanted boys. And I got them. Now I get this added bonus and I feel so gifted. I am trying not to think about all the tiny things. I mean, three children will move us from man defense to zone and oh, when this baby is about 2-3, we are IN FOR IT. They’ll gang up on us, factions will be formed. I may need more pedicures and massages and iced coffee trips. But it’s going to be pretty damn awesome too. I know it.