Archives for category: parenthood

 

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Last week I was lucky enough to be accepted as a RedTri Spoke Contributor! I am so excited about this opportunity to share my voice in their community.

In Defense of Downsizing takes a look at what happens when you look into your heart and family and make choices based on the answers you find. I explain our journey to living with less space and more time together.

I hope to remain active in this contributor community. I will always share with you whatever work I am fortunate enough to submit and have published.

Do you have any pieces that have been published on different sites, blogs, communities? Share your links below!

I have written a few times here about how I feel about the current political climate. I have written about my Women’s March experiences. I wrote about why I marched. On my other social media outlets I have written and posted rather extensively (or annoyingly to some people, sorry definitely not sorry). It is not something I plan to end anytime soon. However, I want to touch on how this is making our children feel. Or rather my six year old in particular.

Let me rewind a bit, to last summer when I was young and naive. When I thought there was literally no way this would be where our country is. Surely, enough people could see and hear what I could see and hear. Well, they did popular vote-wise, but do not get me started about my feelings on that. My then five year old told us at our kitchen table he liked (vomits a little) Donald Trump. We both were very shocked. Neither of us had ever said anything remotely nice about that garbage fire. However, being parents who have an open door policy on discussions here, we asked him why. He said matter of factly, “I think he is funny. He is like a cartoon!” We both let out a sigh of relief, this we could work with. We explained he does look and sound funny, for sure.

Then came the Clinton campaign commercial with women reciting all of the terrible, sexist, disgusting, and misogynistic comments he has said about women. I had him watch it. After, I asked him how he felt about it. I asked him if he thought those were kind things to say about women? I am a woman, his grandmas are women, his aunts are women, his cousins are women, how would he feel if we were the women Trump was speaking of? Would he be ok with mommy being called a fat pig? Making fun of my looks. He said those things were very mean and he would not like that at all. From that moment on his view on the funny sounding orange cartoon character shifted.

Fast forward to this week. During dinner we caught maybe two minutes of a Showtime documentary about the election and Trump’s campaign in particular. During those 1-2 minutes they happened to show the violence that Trump called for at his rallies. He saw protestors. He asked what they were doing. I said they are protesting Trump, like mommy did when I went to D.C. Then he saw one of them get punched in the face by a Trump supporter. Then he saw it again as they slowed it down. He kept asking questions. I frantically urged my husband to turn something else on. This was too much. We didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into. We moved on to something else.

During our bedtime ritual of all reading books together, I could tell something was bugging him. He seemed a little bothered, agitated, just not paying attention to the book. I stopped reading and asked him what was wrong.

“What if Donald Trump does bad things to our country?”

I was a bit startled, as that is not what I assumed was the problem. But I immediately knew, the brief 2 minutes had been burned in his six year old brain. I calmly explained checks and balances to him. That there are other parts of our government around to prevent the president from having all the power. He cannot do whatever he wants. He has other people to answer to.

“Ok. But what if he is sneaky about it?”

I said that is a fair point, but there are a lot of people who do not like him. A lot of people watching him. To make sure that he is not sneaky. Then I said it is nothing he has to worry about. I promise nothing too sneaky will happen. All eyes are on him.

I am sorry that show came on. I really am. I wish I had gotten it turned off a few moments sooner. My husband said to me later “he has to learn about checks and balances.” I let him know I briefly explained that. We also decided we need to be far more careful with our watching of news coverage around him in particular.

Our kids are watching and listening. They always are, we know this. The thing is, we shouldn’t have to feel like our children cannot be privy to what the Commander in Chief is doing. We shouldn’t have to explain to them the leader of our nation won’t be allowed to be too sneaky because we are all watching, but in the back of our minds not even believing that whole heartedly. I was always happy to let them be around when Obama was speaking. I never felt that he was going to make them afraid. My son never felt anxious during story time over something Obama said or did. There are times, during some of the countless mass shootings, that I turned the tv off, sure. That was more to do with the evil going on and not anything to do with how it was being responded to.

I am sad that we have to have these hushed conversations about the current situation. However, I will not stop telling him that I am protesting this. I will let him know that I am being vocal. When he has questions I will answer them and I will reassure him. I will try to shelter him from the worst of it. I will try to make him feel safe. Our children are watching. The next move is ours.

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I have been a mom for just shy of six years now. By just shy, I mean six years ago today I started going into labor. Tomorrow will officially be six years. I have learned, grown, changed, and loved a lot in these last years. These are some of the things six years of motherhood has taught me.

That I want my children to grow up in a world that values love, kindness, equality, social justice, empathy, and generosity. It can feel like an uphill battle some days. When everything around you seems filled with ugliness and hate. That doesn’t mean that I will stop wanting them to live in that kind of world. I will always strive and fight to shape that kind of world for them. I will send them out into the world with those values, hoping they too will be agents of them. 

Perfectionism is a nuisance. You cannot control everything at every moment. Life and children are unpredictable and sometimes you have to let more shit go than you care to. I cleaned up the whole kitchen and living room on Wednesday. Spotless! By that evening they had scattered toys all over the kitchen floor. They are still there. I sighed as I walked by them to start writing this. At some point I will get to it, but I am sure when I turn back around, they will have recreated the same mess. You have to let it go. 

Humility. You are not above wiping a poop covered butt (and even back, cause that shit, haha, can and does get everywhere) You will find yourself in the middle of situations you never thought you would be in. Being urinated on. Catching vomit in your hands. Getting poop under your fingernail. Changing a diaper in the trunk of your SUV in the parking lot of a pumpkin farm. Wiping up a half spilled grande pike roast from the floor of Whole Foods that your two year old knocked over when he moved your cart as you were trying to pick up the box of his minecraft figurines he dropped everywhere. So now you have minecraft toys, a box, and a giant puddle of steaming hot coffee all over the grocery store floor. These things happen on the regular. Stay humble folks, there is no prize for being prideful. You will be wiping up floor coffee in public. Or your own version of that scenario. 

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Generosity. Be as generous as you humanly can. With your love and praise for your tiny humans. With your family. With your neighbors. With complete strangers. I have seen it pay off in these last 6 years. My almost 6 year old has started random acts of kindness. He has asked me why I buy coffee for the car behind me. Why I roll down my window and hand cash to the homeless man with the sign on the street. I explain why in detail. This week at school he brought his Pokecards. Some friends didn’t have any and wanted them. He was planning on trading with another kid. He did. Then he gave out cards to his friends that did not have any. Just because he wanted to, because they wanted some cards too. He received nothing in return. Save for my adoration and praise when he told me the story.

Selflessness. You have to give so much of yourself when you are a parent. At least you are supposed to. We all do things differently. I give a lot. It can be exhausting, but then I think about how if I did things differently. If I wasn’t around to give them 200% of myself and then another piece just to be nice. I would not feel right. I want to be around and be the face in their memories when they look back at their childhood. When it all clicks about the magical times, the birthdays, the random normal days, the dinners, the laundry, the hugs, the books, the kisses, the songs, the errands, the treats, the love. You learn to put other people ahead of yourself. Which can be a hard thing to learn to do.

On that note, you also need to take care of yourself. Self-care is crucial. A trip to D.C. to march for yourself and fellow humans. A epsom salt bath. And yes, lock the damn bathroom door. Pilates in the morning. Putting them to bed a half hour early because they are bat-shit crazy that night. Ordering dinner, even though you have things to cook, they wore you out and you just don’t feel like cooking that night. Order that pizza, and bask in the glory of little to no cleanup. Self-care can be huge things, like 4 day trips, or they can be tiny little minutes throughout the day, locking yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes. It comes in all shapes and sizes.

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Love. True unconditional heart growing mind blowing all consuming love. It is a love like I have never experienced. Sometimes I watch their faces and I literally feel like my heart might explode with joy. Sometimes I still look at them and think “they are mine! How is that possible? How did I create these two super cool humans?” It still takes my breath away, that I get to have these two dudes in my life. I am not sure I will ever quite get over that. It is amazing.

The value of words. We talk through things a lot here. Taking time to use your words to explain things to your children will really strengthen their understanding of life. Even if you don’t feel it is sinking in in the moment. They absorb these life lessons and they take them out into the world. I tell my boys “everyone is different.” When they have questions about why someone does something differently than we do. I always explain it as best as I can, then sum it up with “that is ok because everyone is different.” When the oldest was four, some kids at school hassled him because he doesn’t like ketchup and wouldn’t eat it. He got frustrated and finally told me that he said “I don’t like it and that is ok, because everyone is different.” Words matter. Words sink in. Talking through things sinks in. They are very intelligent.

To say sorry. I am a firm believer in apologizing to them. Sometimes moms lose their shit. We do. If you say you don’t, you’re lying, sorry. It comes in different forms for each person, but we all get pushed too far sometimes. If I feel guilty that I snapped on them or was short, or yelled over something totally stupid, I will go and talk to them and say I am sorry. This is not every time they get in trouble. Sometimes they do naughty things and they have to be reprimanded. But I can feel it in my heart when I know it was more me than them. Then I do go say sorry. The oldest and I can have real conversations about human emotions at this point, and we do. We talk through it. The little one, a hug with kisses and saying “mommy loves you I am sorry” will suffice at this point.

It is ok to talk to children as if they are humans with thought processes and feelings. I try not to baby things down for them too much. I explain things to them. I am not a huge baby talk person. I have always interacted with them as the red blooded people they are. I think this has shaped them for the better. I can see it in the oldest. He has a grasp on reality. The things he can discuss blow me away sometimes. I encourage him to think through his thought process. I can explain something and then ask him what he thinks/feels/wants from that situation. I have explained to him what is happening if I think he feels anxious. I explained homelessness to him. We have had conversations about dissent. We talk about body autonomy and consent. They know the actual names of genitals. My motto is if I keep that conversation going and trust them with actual knowledge that it will pay off down the road as life gets messier.

Sometimes we cannot do it all. We just can’t. It’s a fact. We want to. We feel we need to. This leads to being burnt out. I know, I have been there. Sometimes you have to take a step back and delete some shit from your life and schedule. Sometimes you have to say no we are not going to do that. Today we are going to be lazy and relax and enjoy one another. There is nothing wrong with taking some time to just be. As a family. I am still working on this. I am not great at taking things off of my plate. It is a work in progress.

Children love their mother so much. Sometimes I can feel their love radiating off of their little bodies. It can be overwhelming. Sometimes moms just need no one to touch them for, maybe, 2 minutes. That would be nice. Then you hear their little tiny human voices saying “mommy” and they just want to nuzzle in and you realize how very loved you actually are.

My favorite most calming thing in the world is when either boy hugs me and snuggles in to the right side of my neck. I call that “the good stuff” and love when they hug me tight, their little cheek against my neck. That is my calm. That is my heart. That is my motherhood.

I am not a perfect mom. I feel like I am failing a lot. I am hard on myself. I always think I can do better (I should reread that perfectionism paragraph, huh?) I am just being honest here. I do know that I have grown so much since having children. I have become a better person and woman because of them. They have shown me where my heart actually resides. They have made me cry. They have made me laugh. They have made me angry. They have made me insanely happy. They have made me stronger. I am thankful for these last six years. I feel lucky that I get to take this journey with them. Even as I shouted to my husband last night “You are getting a vasectomy!!! I do NOT want a third baby, they are crazy right now!” Yes, they were being insane. Fighting over Mario toys, tears and yelling, all as I was trying to make their dinner plates. No one could eat until the fight was resolved. It was ridiculous. It was so loud. It was frustrating. It was all mine. My crazy, loving, obnoxious, kind, silly, frustrating, kind, hilarious, adoring, and imperfectly perfect family.

I am looking forward to where the next six years of this journey takes me. Thank you boys. Thank you Jackson for making me a mommy. Happy start of labor day my sweet boy.

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Yesterday I came incredibly close to losing my first born child and my youngest cousin. This story has a happy ending. It is a story that I want to share though. I have been talking about it a lot all day, if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know this, except, as the day has progressed the initial shock of it has worn off. I actually cried about it for the first time this afternoon. I cry at commercials, songs, shows, movies, and books, so for me to not have tears until 24 hours later means I was taking time to process this.

We arrived at a family party yesterday afternoon. Jackson loves their pool and immediately wanted to go swimming. He is a strong swimmer. He has been swimming unassisted for over a year. He has been in water since he was 3 months old. We are human fishes. We are merpeople! Ha! I lathered him up in sunblock and sent him on his way. There was a large number of adults outside right by the pool. My cousin Gavin was also swimming. I thought nothing of it.

I chased down Alex with sunblock, then I pinned my squiggly toddler to the floor to get his face covered. I handed him to my dad and started to apply my sunblock. Jason had been standing nearby. Then he wasn’t there anymore. Then someone came and told me Jackson and Gavin almost drowned. I don’t remember who. Or exactly how it was phrased. I had tunnel vision. I looked out the window as I dashed outside, seeing my husband lifting Jackson off of the pool ladder. My aunt was getting out of the pool as well, soaking wet, fully clothed. I made my way over and saw my child shaking and hugging his dad. Then I got the story.

Gavin’s arm floats had fallen off at some point. He began to struggle. Jackson saw him. His first instinct was to swim over, grab his cousin, try to help him up, and then begin to swim towards safety. Gavin began to panic and pulled the both of them under. Which is a pretty normal reaction to drowning. You hear about that happening a lot. My aunt Bridget trying to reach for them from the outside of the pool. My aunt Jenny jumped into the pool, in her clothing, to save both boys.

Jackson is 5 years old. He tried to save someone’s life. He tried to save his cousin’s life. He told me last night that he just tried to hold his breath as long as he could when he was going under. He did his best. The amount of calmness this child dealt with this entire situation astounds me. He was calm enough to see someone drowning and tried his best to save that person. He didn’t freeze or scream, he went in to help, not even thinking of the possible outcomes. Then he was calm enough while struggling to remember to hold his breath under water. He is 5 years old! 5!

Both boys were fine. They are both fine today. Jackson is a bit banged up. He has some scratches on his neck. I noticed those this afternoon. Both boys got back in the pool a little later. No further situations developed. I was glad they both felt safe enough to try and swim again.

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Yesterday I could have lost my son and cousin or just one of them. Our family could be spending our Monday a lot differently. We could be in a hospital hoping someone pulled through. We could be planning a funeral for a tiny human. The magnitude of that is not lost on me. I am thankful that Jackson saw Gavin and that pulled the adults’ attention to the pool. I am thankful my aunt reacted quickly enough to save both children. It makes me sick that I was inside chatting away with my Dad about freaking sunscreen! As I slathered it on my arms. I know I could not have known what was about to happen. I know these things happen in the blink of an eye. I know that they are both safe. But in a different blink of an eye that all could have ended tragically.

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I have been cherishing my sweet boy today. We checked on him as he slept last night. I rubbed his face and covered him with a blanket. I have been calling him a hero, because he is. I told him he is a good person and so very brave. I let him pick out a toy at the store and any treats he wanted. I have hugged and kissed him. We built lego sets and played a board game over and over. I let him listen to the song he wanted in the car over and over. He had his summer reading tutor over this afternoon. We told her the story. As I was saying it out loud I lost it. I told her that is the first time I had started to cry thinking of what could have happened. She said, “yeah I bet you were in shock still. I am going to cry!” I think that is a fair conclusion.

He makes the world a better place, even if he hadn’t done what he did. He is so bright and sunny. He is so personable and friendly. He can talk for hours. He lights up the world. The world could have lost that light yesterday. I am so thankful that I get to continue to raise this incredible human being.

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After we got home and the boys in bed, we were cleaning up the kitchen. It was a disaster. I was exhausted. I kept grumbling about all the dishes and mess. My husband said to me “Better dirty dishes to complain about than only having one kid.” I was confused at first but then he explained what he meant. Our complaints could have been far more serious last night. I will take a kitchen full of dirty dishes at the end of a long weekend over losing my sweet child any day.

I am starting to get back to my old level of training. I have really started to push myself again. It has been a long year plus since finding out I was pregnant! One of the most difficult things for me to handle was the way my strength changed. It doesn’t matter how much I worked out while pregnant, the bottom line is, your body changes and with it so does your strength.

After baby arrives you are exhausted. If your child is anything like mine, you spent the first 20 weeks waking up 2+ times a night! Alexander has just very recently started sleeping through the night. When I say recently I mean within the last week! Someone or all of us have been sick once or twice a month since Alexander was born in October. Two bouts of strep. Two strains of Influenza. 5 ear infections. Bronchitis. Several colds. A couple sinus infections. Croup. I was still training throughout all of this. However, I wasn’t pushing myself like I used to. I was just tired. Sometimes sick. But mostly just tired.

Immediately after having Alexander I discovered I could barely do a bridge on my Reformer. I was so frustrated. Bridging is a staple in my training. It is a staple in my teaching. I could bridge until I collapsed. I could have a student bridge until they collapsed. I truly love the way bridging works the entire body. Imagine my complete dismay to discover my core strength was entirely destroyed and I could barely get my tail bone off the mat, let alone keep the carriage at the stopper.

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That was then. This is now. Alexander is 20 & 1/2 weeks old. He will officially be 5 months on the 28th. I have started running farther distances. I have started to push myself while doing Pilates. I shake and drip with sweat. Planking is my best friend. I do some kind of plank every single day. My options are abundant with my mat, Reformer, WundaChair, Bosu, and Pilates ball. I could plank all day long if I wanted to.

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On Sunday I ran over 4 miles. I haven’t done that since my first trimester of pregnancy. It felt amazing. It felt amazing because I pushed myself to be where I used to be. Yesterday I did an incline program on my treadmill. It had a nice plateau of incline. I smelled like a hockey player when I was done. I have never been happier! I ran 3.2 miles entirely uphill. That is the sweet smell of my fitness returning.

20 weeks postpartum

20 weeks postpartum

I can be very hard on myself. I pride myself on being and feeling strong. So when I struggle to do exercises that I used to be able to do without blinking, I can really feel defeated. I hear a lot “you just had a baby!” I recently asked my husband “Exactly how long is that excuse applicable? How long do you get to say that? I think you get a couple weeks” He told me I was crazy. Maybe. But I also don’t see anything wrong with expecting more from myself. I don’t see anything wrong with pushing myself to be the best I can be.

Lately I have noticed my strength returning. I am able to bridge much better. I can plank rather well. I can move on my WundaChair with greater ease than right after birth. I have noticed my C-scoop improving. My biceps are looking more toned again. I feel I have a lot of work left to do. My hips. My low belly. It will take time though. I am aware of that. I do feel that as I am getting more rest and making the conscious decision to make sure my workouts really work me out, the strength I want will trickle back in.

IMG_7983It is one of the hardest things in life, growing a baby and birthing it. It really changes you emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have done it twice now. It is not easy. You have to be strong in so many ways. For me, my physical strength and fitness helps keep everything else in my life strong. It is all so intertwined it is hard to see where one thing begins and another thing ends. Feeling strong and being strong keep me happy and significantly less stressed. As I am peeking at the end of the exhaustion tunnel, I can see glimpses of my old life and strength returning. And I am positively giddy about it!

A common theme I see out in the mommyhood world is that we never have time to care for ourselves. I am usually rather baffled by any post regarding this. Since the birth of Jackson nearly 4 years ago I have never once left the house unkempt or in pajamas. That is just not my style or how I want to present myself out in the world. I am not saying it is effortless to get us all out the door cleaned, dressed, and coiffed. It takes a lot of balancing, rushing, and using our time down to the minute.

On that note, how does one maintain a fitness schedule with children in the home? That is also simple for me. I choose to do it. Since Jackson was 3 weeks old I have been working out in front of him. Alexander was around 2 & 1/2 weeks old when I started gentle workouts. I bring them to my Pilates room and they hang out. Jackson has started to take interest in trying things himself, so sometimes I train myself and him.

He is so used to it that the first place he looks for me every morning is my Pilates room. He leaves his room, walks across the hallway, and opens the door to see if I am in there already. For him, working out is just a normal part of our day.

I also own a jogging stroller. Around 5 months old I started taking Jackson on runs with me. This continued until the fall before I got pregnant with Alexander. During this spring and summer my jogger was used for walks with Jackson. Once spring rolls around and Alexander is 5 months old I will start going for runs with him after taking Jackson to school on Wednesday and Friday.

We also own a treadmill. We keep it in our basement, which is filled with the boys’ toys, a pool table, and a tv. Both my husband and I run on it while the kids are awake. They will hang out in the basement. There are all kinds of things for Jackson, and eventually Alexander, to do while one of us runs.

I feel it is so important that the kids see you taking care of yourself, especially through fitness. Children learn through example. You can talk until you are blue in the face sometimes, and they seem to ignore you. However, you will find that they will easily repeat things you say and act in ways you act. Fitness is no exception. Jackson has asked to go running with me, something we will start this spring as well. He always wants to try new Pilates moves. He has showed his classmates Pilates, and that was when he was 2 years old! So working out in front of your children is very beneficial for the whole family. The kiddos will want to be fit and healthy if they see you wanting to be fit and healthy.

I want to mention another important factor in our family fitness balancing act. Both my husband and I do not mind taking over the duties while the other one works out. Sometimes you want a quiet workout to yourself. That is when the other one steps up if they are home and keeps the children distracted. There is nothing wrong with wanting a little time to yourself and if you have your spouse there to help with that, then take advantage of it! All parents can use a little mind clearing peace and quiet from time to time.

There are many mornings where I set an alarm to wake up early enough to get that workout in. Things are a little different with a 6 week old, since his schedule is all over the place, but before he was born I knew what time to get up to get a workout in before we had to leave for the day. Now I adapt it around feeding times and getting out the door. It is all a balancing act of priorities. It is a priority for me to be in shape, so I make the time to maintain that.

That is how we do it in our home. That is how I manage to workout 6-7 days a week. I just adapt my schedule and incorporate my sweet boys into my workouts. I am raising the future generation of fitness fanatics. I am taking care of myself. I am taking care of my family. We are having fun. Which is the most important part!

Pilates with the boys

Pilates with the boys

Two weeks. Today Alexander is two weeks old. I feel like it has been simultaneously the longest and shortest two weeks of my life. When I look back I cannot believe that at this time two weeks ago I was still pregnant. Starting labor. I had yet to meet this little bundle of joy. At the same time so much has been going on and some nights have been restless for him, making it seem like an incredibly long time. It is a bizarre feeling. Having two sensations of time at once. That is parenthood though. The same has happened with Jackson. Looking at him I cannot believe he is pushing 4 years old! I remember him being a little squish that I nursed round the clock. At the same time it feels like forever ago that he was tiny like Alex. Time flies. Time drags. Depending on the season or moment.

I haven’t started officially working out again. I have started going on walks with Alexander.

Our very first walk

Our very first walk

Our second walk. This time I wore him. He's my new favorite accessory!

Our second walk. This time I wore him. He’s my new favorite accessory!

We walk around our neighborhood. It is a couple miles. I am contemplating doing a post natal pilates video that is designed for post parturm starting at 0 weeks. Meaning I am two weeks into this recovery so it should be all good. We will see if I fit it in later today. I have gotten to the point where I simply cannot sit around doing nothing anymore. The walks have been so refreshing. The air is crisp and cool, so it feels very cleansing.

Happy two weeks my sunshine face. I look forward to each day, week, month, and year with you!

A happy Sunday morning!

A happy Sunday morning!

When I am out and about without Jackson, I often get the question “Is this your first baby?” I remember how much I would beam when I was asked that with Jackson. I would get giddy and excited to say yes to that question. It was all so exciting and new. I would be floating on cloud 9 thinking about all the possibilities impending motherhood would bring.

Obviously, this time around the answer is “No, this is my second baby. I have a 3 & 1/2 year old too!” I am so excited to meet Alexander. I cannot wait to kiss his face and his little baby feet. The feeling I get when asked that question this time around is a touch different. I would equate it with utter pride. I feel so proud to answer no to that question. It makes me feel empowered and strong. I have this sense come over me that feels as if I should say “I have done this once before and I am choosing to do it all over again. I feel strong. I am a strong, confident, content, happy mom.” Empowerment to the 2nd degree.

I don’t doubt that I can do this and handle having two boys running around. I understand we will have great days and bad days. Just having one child has taught me that. When it is a great day I always make sure to tell Jackson “I am having such a great day with you.” We get to say that a lot in this house. He says it too. We acknowledge our bad days as well. They happen. We move on though. Let’s have a better day tomorrow! Sleep will help!

I enjoy being a mom. I never hate it. I never feel totally defeated. Frustrated, angry in the moment, slightly annoyed, sure those emotions happen at times. I have a fast rebound rate though. I think I was born to be a mom. That is where this confidence over adding another to the mix comes from. I know I can do it. I believe in myself. I know I am strong and can multi task. This has been my favorite job ever. I know I can adjust my schedule to fit in the things I want to fit in. I prioritize things that I want to accomplish. Each person is different, so other parent’s priorities may be different than mine, but I think that is the key to parenting. You literally cannot do it all every single day, but you can try to do the things that matter most to you and your family.

While I may not get teenage girl giddy over questions about what number baby this is, I do get the feeling of “I am momma hear me roar. I got this.”

My sweethearts

My sweethearts

Sunday mornings around 7 is my usual workout time. Well, every day around 7am is my usual workout time. I am sitting here trying to figure out what to do with this lull in my routine. Sitting. I hate that word! Yesterday was so beautiful outside. All I wanted to do was go for a nice walk with my family. My husband wouldn’t have it. He thought the park we would walk to was “too far” There and back is 1.4 miles. I have previously used my running app to measure the distance.

I did a lot of tidying up yesterday. I reorganized some closets and drawers near our pantry. I decided to make room for Jackson’s Legos. They normally sit out on our very long island or kitchen table. Now he has a shelf and a drawer to at least put some of the boxes. I also made a shelf for Alexander’s diapers/wipes and other hygiene accessories we want to keep downstairs. It is a low enough shelf that Jackson will be able to reach it if I ask him to help grab something. I washed/dried several loads of laundry. Today I will get around to folding it all. These are the exciting things I am up to this weekend. 

Yesterday did bring a big day though. It marked the start of week 36. Today I am technically 36 weeks 1 day. Every day counts to me at this point. We are less than a week closer to being early full term. 

36 weeks

36 weeks

My husband rearranged our SUV a bit as well. He moved Jackson’s carseat and added Alexander’s. It is crazy to see two carseats in the backseat! 

We are reusing Jackson's baby car seat. Oh the memories!

We are reusing Jackson’s baby car seat. Oh the memories!

Today I will pack up a suitcase a bit, just in case tomorrow’s appointment brings bad news. This way we are not scrambling to grab things. Or rather, my husband isn’t making 5 trips back and forth to get everything I want. Tomorrow I will be prepared. I hope in the deepest part of my heart that it will all be for naught. I also want to put together a big brother gift basket for Jackson.

I just thought I had so much more time to finish up small things. I certainly didn’t assume I would be scrambling around during week 36 to get these kinds of things done. Life is funny that way. I should know better. Everything big in mine and my husband’s life together turns into an adventure. It is to the point that we usually are really great at going with the flow and laughing about it all. Which is a great outlook to have, I know. It would be nice though if we didn’t always have a grand story to accompany our big life events. Dating, engagement, wedding, honeymoon, Jackson being born, buying a house, major roof repairs, Alexander’s prenatal care, they all have dramatic stories. We always make it through together though. We always always always laugh about it after. We always say “It’s an adventure” Instead of “it’s a disaster” I am glad to have that outlook with him. I see this on Pinterest a lot: 

“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.” – Bob Bitchin

That is how we see our life together. Adventure. This sweet baby boy is just keeping pace with his adventurous family. 

I am lounging on my couch as I start this post. Not necessarily because I want to be lounging around, but because I am supposed to be lounging around more. 

Wednesday I went to my weekly OB appointment and follow up ultrasound. The appointment was at 11. I expected to be home by 11:45 the latest. Instead I was sent to the hospital by my OB and immediately admitted for further tests. The reason I was having a follow up ultrasound was because they have been monitoring my amniotic fluid. Well, the results of this week were 5.8. Which is borderline immediate induction low. Below 5 and they would have induced me being 35 weeks along. 

I was tested for a break in my water bag. That came back negative. Well, all 4 tests for that came back negative. They put my on IV fluids and there I stayed. I wasn’t supposed to get up for much more than to pee. The plan was continuous IV until Thursday morning when they would give me another ultrasound. If my amniotic fluid was 8 or higher I would be released. 

I happened to have fallen the previous Saturday. I was playing soccer in my driveway with my son and husband. Nothing intense as Jackson is 3 & 1/2. Just normal kicking the ball around. I went to get the ball and my foot got stuck in between one of our brick pavers. I fell down. I landed in a lunge (yay Pilates!!) So my left knee took the brunt of the fall. My belly next to my right leg, which didn’t hit the ground. I was fine. I stopped playing and went inside, but there was nothing to worry about. I did mention it, just in case. Turns out, I should have kept my mouth shut. The labeled me a FALL risk because of it. I had awful obnoxious signs on my door and I got a lovely accessory. IMG_7749

Even my husband laughed at me for this. It was so over the top. A non pregnant person would have wiped out too. The tip of my foot was literally stuck in a hole! I probably went down better than most people because I am in such good shape. I made my opinion on this heard. That I thought it was absurd! 

My sweetheart came to visit me after school. I was so happy to see him. He really cheered up my day. I missed him terribly after he left though. I certainly would have preferred to be at home snuggling with him over sitting in a hospital bed pondering the fact that in a few hours I may have a premature baby.

My sweetheart

My sweetheart

Things were a little boring after he left. My husband stayed with me. My mom took Jackson to our home and spent the night with him. I didn’t sleep much more than an hour all night. Labor and delivery beds are NOT comfy for overnight sleep, especially if you are not in active labor about to meet your new baby. Plus, my separated pelvis was highly irritated from sitting and laying on the rock hard surface. I listened to two babies be born. I listened to my unborn baby’s heart beat on the monitor. I listened to different mediation tracks on Spotify. I worried about what the morning would bring. I had a nightmare about a garish blood draw. I finally gave up around 6:30am and got up for the day. 

My breakfast left something to be desired. I was pretty disappointed with my burnt toast. I didn’t order anything else except fruit. I ate the toast. But it tasted like it looks. 

mmm burnt toast

mmm burnt toast

We were supposed to be waiting until 11 for my next ultrasound. I kept counting the hours. How many more I had left. I finally switched to sitting in the rocking chair. Ahhh sweet relief for my pelvis. The nurse came in shortly after. It was just past 10am. My primary OB was in the hospital and changed my ultrasound to right that minute. We were thrilled. Again I was constantly sending mental vibes to my uterus, “please be at 8 or higher. Please” I laid there watching the screen and the face of the tech, trying to determine the results. I saw him type very low centimeter results in all the scans. 1 here 2 there. In the back of my brain rationalizing, they must add that all up. They must! Finally he told us “It is looking like it is 8. Yeah 8.”

I was hopeful on the ride back to my room, but ultimately it was up to my OB to decide what to do. Almost 3 bags of fluids and I was just at an 8. Not 8 point something. Flat 8. We sat in our room waiting. Finally the nurse came in and said “The gods must be with you. You’re being released!” 

That was the fantastic news. The bad news. I am not out of the woods yet. We have a follow up ultrasound and appointment on Monday. It is likely that I will be closely monitored from here on out. Also, I am not allowed to exercise anymore. I am not on bedrest, but I am supposed to take it easy in general. I can do normal every day activities. I have to watch what I lift. I am not supposed to lift Jackson unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Monday will determine what happens next. I will be just over 36 weeks, still not full term. It will help to decide how often I have to see my Dr, how often I need an ultrasound, if I need to be sent back to the hospital for more fluids, or if I need to be induced. It is a big day, that Monday.

I am not good at sitting still. I hate it too much, actually. I am pretty upset that I cannot exercise anymore. I do not know the last time I went this long without working out. 8 years? I don’t know. My husband is treating me like a porcelain doll. Another thing I hate. I am very independent. I don’t like being overly babied. I hated being pushed around in the wheelchair. You have read my feelings on the fall risk situation. I like to do things for myself. It is hard to take a break. I insisted on grocery shopping myself today. It is a normal every day activity. I didn’t lift one grocery bag in or out of my car though. I went to Old Navy for comfy yoga pants to lounge in. If I have to be lounging, I want to be able to wear something comfy. I also got a pedicure. That was the only thing I didn’t have to defend to my husband. He is fine with spa treatments, since you sit around being pampered. As I was leaving for my pedicure my husband said “you have almost used up all your allotted walking time today” He was hoping the Dr would put me on bed rest or at the least very limited activity. I have explained to him being told not to exercise is a prison sentence for me and that since I can do normal every day activity he has to give me some room here. That being said, I have been taking sitting down breaks. Compromise. 

That is where I am this Friday afternoon. Sarcastic, annoyed, and well, frankly, a little worried deep down. I don’t want him born prematurely. It is a hard balance. I want to be my normal exercising active self but I don’t want to cause harm to my little spitfire. Wish us luck on Monday. I am going to take it easy this weekend. Other than Tae Kwon Do for Jacky, we have no plans. I will be trying to not be a cranky lady who hasn’t been allowed to workout. I am trying to adjust to my new normal.