Saturday, March 26, 2011

Who Did It?

Fess up. You know who you are. You read my last stressed-out post and thought, "Oh, you poor little thing. You're having such a hard time. I need to put you on my Women's Bible Study prayer list." I know you did it because I didn't do it. I never pray for myself, and it's not intentional. I know I don't talk about my Christianity much on here, but I do make time to talk to God and pray for others. But I can't even remember to put on deodorant and mascara half the time much less remember to pray for myself, and now that I think about it maybe I have needed a little prayer lately. I don't have cancer or anything, but I guess everyone's "problems" are relative. Basically, I don't feel like I've been myself for a while, and I'm just now comfortable admitting that.

The move to Chicago, adding a second child to the family, quitting my job and then returning to work, yada, yada, yada, and I guess it all got to me and I didn't know how chill out. My husband probably thinks I'm a walking time bomb that can be set off by any little thing, and that is not who I have ever been. But I had definitely been a little moody for a while. Let me explain. Of course I had all the emotions and anxiety that goes along with pregnancy and having a baby, but mine continued. About four months after having both Mimi and Mack, I developed post-partum hyperthyroiditis. Post-partum-who? Basically, my thyroid went into overdrive. When it happened the first time I thought I had mono or the flu, but after many tests and a visit to a nutso endocrinologist, I found out my anxiousness, fatigue, heart palpitations, hair loss, weight loss, and overall craziness could all be blamed on my thyroid. At the beginning of this January, I immediately knew it had returned. Just when I began to feel comfortable and confident about being a working mom of two I suddenly felt frazzled and crazy. My first sign was the day that I felt like I had drunk too much coffee only to remember I had actually forgotten to get any coffee that morning. I had to catch my breath after walking up a flight of stairs. I was on edge and couldn't keep my thoughts straight when having a discussion with a doctor. Hair was covering my car seat and wool coat. I know that a lot of this can be mistaken for some normal things that can happen after having a baby, but they were a little extreme. The endocrinologist told me that probably about 1 in 10 women has thyroid issues a few months after having a baby but write it off as normal hormone wackiness. Thankfully I have always been good at knowing when something is a little "off" with my health, or I would have just dealt with this and never seen the doctor.

So anyway, I feel like the thyroid issue cleared up by the end of February, but I have still felt a little out of control. I kept telling myself it's because I have too much on my plate and this is normal, but that hasn't been a good enough answer for me. Then suddenly I woke up about a week ago and felt at peace. Life began feeling a lot easier and a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have done absolutely nothing to get to this point, so what I want to know is who has been praying for me? The change is so significant that I swear you must have gotten Beth Moore herself to talk to God about my attitude. Well, whoever you are, keep up the good work. Life feels easy-peasy right now, and I would love to keep it that way. I don't believe in jinxes, so I'll say it again. Life. Is. Good.

So on to some randomness since I have lots of catching up to do. Mimi's last ballet class was a couple of weeks ago (tear), and I took her a little early in hopes of getting a beautiful, blown-up-frame-worthy kind of photo. And this is the silliness I got instead :)
Yes, this one is my favorite.
Can I tell you how much I love Baby Take a Bow? Each week has a theme, so they play a little game at the end of class incorporating some positions or dance moves they learned that day. They've had princess week, butterfly week, animal week, and some others, but last week was "Hollywood Week." Fun stuff.Tomorrow we are beginning Hip Hop classes, and you better believe I have the outfit ready. Can't wait to post those in, oh, two or three months. But I'm not stressing because it will get done and God is in control. I always get annoyed at overused, general statements like "God is in control" or "He won't give you more than you can handle" or "If it's meant to be, God will make it happen." But I'm feeling it now, so can I get a witness? He he. Anyway, this is Mimi and the owner Miss Kristen. We heart her.

And I'm rewinding a little to the last post because I am too lazy to add to it. I uploaded some photos from my phone and found this little guy on his first flight. Are you kissing your screen because I am. Sweetness. The girls in front of us were playing peek-a-boo with him and people passing us to go to the bathroom were stopping to say hi to him because he smiled the whole time. Except when he slept. Smiles, eats, and sleeps. What a great example to live by.

And Mimi mesmerized by the fluffy clouds.

I'm thinking of installing this airport carpet in our next house . . . what do you think?
So back to life being easy-peasy and F-U-N. Mack has hit the easy stage. He's sitting up and content with a couple of toys, and he's not quite rolling or scooting too far away yet. He goes to bed around 7:45 and is up by 6:30, so he's a little more on my early-to-bed schedule unlike my night-owl daughter. He and Mimi take baths together occasionally (sorry for the crappy photo), which cuts bath time in half AND is really, really funny.

He eats a ton of baby food, some of which I'm actually making myself (I am so not that kind of mom), so he's only nursing 3-4 times a day. Can you believe I'm still nursing (sorry guys, you can stop reading if you're uncomfortable)? With Mimi, she and I were both over it (the thyroid craziness made it worse) at four months, and I didn't feel one bit guilty about not sticking it out the full year. So I never realized that they actually don't need as much after they start eating baby food. Duh. Now I'm going to be that psycho mom who continues to nurse until he starts kindergarten because it's gotten easy and I'm too lazy to stop. Let's hope not. So he's a fantastic eater, sleeper, and sitter-upper. Other than a little bit of teething, I barely ever hear a whimper out of him, but I do hear lots of squeals. Mimi thinks they're pretty funny and she imitates them . . . which makes him squeal even more.

Mimi has even gotten easier. I thought Clint was going to cry today he was so happy that he asked Mimi to get a pillow for him and she actually did it. She is slowly beginning to listen to us and follow some directions. We still have a long way to go, but this is a huge breakthrough. She likes to take toys from Mack, and now when I tell her to give it back so they can play together or she won't play with it at all she pauses to think about the consequences for a minute before setting the toy down between them. But occasionally she still yells to me, "Mommy, baby Mack isn't sharing!"

But I did have a scare with her yesterday when we were leaving the Y. We joined a couple of months ago but other than Mimi's swim class we haven't been at all. That all changed this week with my newly found strength and energy, and I have been twice. This is HUGE for me because I despise gyms. Basically my routine has consisted of walking about 3/4 of a mile to the Y, checking the kids in, fumbling through my IPOD and Pandora for the perfect work-out background music, piddling on the treadmill and looking over the class schedule spreadsheet, and then stopping by Walgreen's for a Snicker's on the walk home. Anyway, yesterday as I was trying to get Mack situated in the stroller so we could leave I was letting Mimi dance around me with another little girl. I saw her run into the coat closet but then when I went to get her she wasn't there. I didn't panic because she absolutely loves to hide from me, so I assumed she was behind somebody's puffy, long coat. I continued bundling up Mack for another few seconds before I realized she's gone.

I glanced in the play area and didn't see her. I ran outside and immediately looked left toward a very crowded Lincoln Ave and began to panic. Then I realized I'd just left Mack alone also and before I could cry I heard, "Dere you are! I found you!" and my little Mimi who had on no coat and no shoes on a 32 degree day was to my right surrounded by a couple of worried moms. She ran into my arms and said, "Oh Mommy, I so sorry I run away. I was so scared. I sorry, Mommy." The whole way home she apologized and asked me if I was okay and if I was also scared. Yes, of course I was scared. I still want to vomit every time I think about it.

But back to some fun stuff which is Mimi and Clint. Daddy's girl. Mimi may have a perfect mixture of our facial features, but her personality is all Clint. She's dramatic and animated and likes to sort things and is sympathetic and honest. They were having a dance party downstairs at 10:00 last night while Mack and I were upstairs asleep.

My dramatic ballerina.
And back to the swim class I mentioned early. Mimi started this class a few weeks ago, and I'm so sad we didn't start it sooner. It seems to be the "dad class," and they sing silly songs and play with rubber duckies and watering cans and play games, and Miss Mimi has a blast. She was a little nervous at the first class and kept yelling, "I need to poo poo in the potty!" which is her way of getting out of an uncomfortable situation. And poor Clint got her out of the pool at least half a dozen times and peeled off her sticky, wet swimsuit only for her to tell him, "Nah, I not potty. I jump in the pool!"
Clint sent this photo to me while I was running an errand one day. Makes my heart smile.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ahhh, Vitamin D

I could find it in milk, but it's much nicer getting my Vitamin D from the sun . . . but it's kinda hard to do that in Chicago right now. Seriously, the highs this week are in the mid-30's, and I'm so over it. Everyone told me to be afraid of the winter, but my advice to newbies is be afraid of the Spring -- because it is NEVER coming. Yes, I'm exaggerating. We have had a couple of sunny days in the 50's, and you better believe I squeezed every second out of the daylight hours at the park on those days. But now I am seeing beautiful photos on Facebook of Southern friends with their little ones outdoors in short-sleeved shirts (okay, those are actually short-sleeved smocked dresses and John-Johns, which I will not be seeing in Chicago anytime soon!), and I have to admit it -- I'm jealous. I want to see buttercups and cherry trees and those crazy bright yellow bushes in bloom, like, right now. I have spotted a couple of hyacinth-looking green things sprouting from the ground . . . but then they got a nice sprinkling of snow a couple of mornings ago that may have put an end to them.

We were warned this could happen -- the winter crazies -- so we made a trip to sunny Orlando to get our Vitamin D fix. As excited as I was about this wonderfully warm break, I was nervous as H-E-double hockey sticks about the actual travel. We have never flown with one child much less two children. Let me remind you that I do not have well-behaved seven-year-olds who can walk calmly next to me and go to the restroom on their own. I have a teething, squealing, still nursing six-month-old (well, seven months now my post is so far behind), and a sassy 2 1/2 year old freshly potty-trained monkey child who BOTH had some serious snotty sinuses, which never goes well with travel. Since I've had children, I have paid close attention in the airport to the parents who were sane with calm angels and the frazzled ones who had to deal with the screaming little demons. How could I learn from them and be prepared? The ones with calm children were calm themselves. Check -- I can appear to be calm. They had a bag full of new toys, crayons, and movies loaded on some sort of IPOD or laptop. Check -- Mimi loves to watch cartoons on my IPhone, and I made a pit stop at the toy section in Target right before we left. The frazzled ones seemed upset that their children wouldn't sit still and be quiet, and they were yelling and threatening and basically making everyone in the area uncomfortable. But then I had noticed parents who appeared to be sweet and calm and prepared, but their children were still going nutso in the security line. Yikes. This was going to be me.

But it wasn't. I'm still smiling ear to ear thinking about how pleased I am with how well the travel went. First of all, I was the most efficient packer ever for this trip. I fit all of Mimi's, Mack's, and my things into one large suitcase. I only took one extra pair of shoes for myself, which still surprises me. Clint left Mack, who was strapped to me in the Baby Bjorn, and me at the terminal along with the luggage, and we checked in curbside. He parked and brought Mimi in the little umbrella stroller, and the security line was luckily not very long. There were no meltdowns going through security, and then we only had about 20 minutes to spare at the terminal. This time flew after taking Mimi to the potty several times and letting her pick out the best pack of M&M's and a coloring book in a store. And the flight alone for Mimi could have been her vacation, and she would have been pleased. She was SO excited about the take-off and landing that it made everyone around us excited about being on a plane. She was perfectly happy with her new Strawberry Shortcake and Littlest Pet Shop toys that I don't even think she asked to watch cartoons, which is just not normal for her. Mack made friends with everyone who passed us in the airport and on the plane. Fat little cutie.

Anywho, I'll stop bragging about how fantastic they were on the plane. We chose Orlando because our sweet friends Shea and Matt and their daughter Kendal live there, and we were desperately in need of a visit. Shea and I have been great friends since we were skinny junior high cheerleaders with braces and tight-rolled jeans, and she has been my saving grace since we moved to Chicago. She and Matt moved to Orlando from Missouri when she was well into her pregnancy with Kendal, so she knew what it felt like to be in a new place trying to make friends when it's difficult to even get out of the house. She has had a job for as long as I can remember and dealt with the same changes of suddenly becoming a stay-at-home mom. And what did we do on this trip?

And this:

And this, too:

And a little of this:

Oh, yes. Even a little of this:
Aaagh. Disney World. I'm not a fan. I probably shouldn't admit that since I have lots of Disney-loving-border-line-obsessed friends, but the thought of going to Disney World makes me break out in hives. The lines. The overpriced food. The confusing Fast Passes. The guy who stands way too close to me in line and is from a country that hasn't introduced deodorant yet. I'm not hating on Mickey Mouse because I was obsessed with the Disney Channel when I was little, and there's very little I love more than watching Mimi sing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog song and shake her little booty. BUT Matt is an art director for Disney, so we were able to check it out for free -- why not? I knew Mimi would either love it or hate it, and we had nothing to lose. In a nutshell, we had lunch and rode It's a Small World, and I think we'd all had enough. We'll try again in a few years. We took that one photo on our way out of the Magic Kingdom just to prove we tried.

So we went back to Shea's to do a little more of this:
He he he. Mack and Kendal heart each other. Shea was a little concerned about how Kendal would act around a little one, but she was oh so sweet. She shared toys with him and gently petted his bald head, and he loved watching her. Clint thought it might be a good idea for them to practice some stunts. Geez.But Mimi acted a little differently. She hasn't really been around other children on a regular basis since we moved to Chicago, so we have a lot to work on. And she's a normal two-year-old, so I'm definitely not beating myself up about this, but girlfriend was a little snobby. There were some moments where she and Kendal would laugh at each other and hold hands running through the house, but most of the time Mimi was practicing phrases such as, "No. Get away. Do NOT take my teddy bear. Do NOT eat my poods (food). DON'T touch me. STOP IT!" Sigh. We also found out while we were there that she had double ear infections, which definitely didn't help with Prissy's mood. So she chose to play by herself most of the time while Mack and Kendal giggled at each other. The morning after we returned home Mimi asked me, "Mommy, can I fly on the airplane to Matt and Shea's and play with Kendal and tell her to not take my teddy bear and you tell me that's not nice? Please, Mommy? I wanna see Kendal." Of course she did.

But this was Mack's mood the entire trip. No matter where we were. No matter what we did.
There was yet another added bonus to this trip. My other skinny junior high cheerleader BF Jessica, who lives in El Paso, just happened to be working in Orlando the week we were there! Jes and Shea lived together their first year of college, and then Jessica and I lived together the next so we were a tightly-knit threesome for a while. We've tried to stay in touch the best we could but living hundreds of miles apart just stinks. After a few minutes together the Mississippi accents (and gossip!) began to come out while we all talked at the same time but heard and understood everything the other person said. The three of us haven't been together at the same time in years, but it didn't feel that way. After moving on to finish at different colleges and then moving far from home and marriage and children and jobs and all the other things that have gone along with our growing up, I don't think we've really grown apart much. We're still just as silly as we once were. And I'm so happy about that.
Okay, so hopefully I can crank out a few more posts before the weekend is over. No promises though :).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I'm drowning . . .

. . . but am trying my best to doggy paddle and catch my breath . . .

For the past month I have averaged about 5 minutes of free time a day, which usually occur at random times. Those few seconds I allow myself to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling before peeling the covers off. When I sit down in my car in the morning and stare at the dash for a minute trying to remember exactly what it is that I do between 8:00 and 5:00. The doctor who is finishing up with a patient and makes me wait just another minute. The fifteen seconds that I stand still waiting on Ruthie to finish her business outside. The minute I stare at my sleeping baby in his crib before I go to bed.

And then I wake up and start all over again. Before I know it the days pass. Then the weeks. Then an entire month. This is great for a person in jail but not so good for a mommy who wants to hold on to every adorable sound and cry and word from my children. When some people see how busy my life is, they have told me the ridiculous statement "this too shall pass." Seriously, shut up. I don't want this to pass. I am not trying to hurry this stage of my life. I love to hear Mack cry because it means he needs me. I love to watch Mimi try to sneak away at a restaurant because it means she's smart and independent. Why wish it to hurry?

In the past month Mack has gotten his first two teeth and is sitting up. He flew on a plane for the first time and visited Disney World. He attempts to drink out of a sippy cup and gnaws on graham crackers. He laughs harder than the "baby ripping paper" on You Tube and eats more than a fat man. And he is without a doubt the cutest baby alive. I am not modest about this. Mack is my heart and I am head over heels in love with him.

Mimi has become a little girl. She doesn't act like a toddler. Girlfriend doesn't "toddle" anywhere. She walks with authority and her head held high. She has no problem telling me what she wants to order at a restaurant and when she needs to potty. She told me her ears were hurting and thanked me after I gave her the yucky antibiotic. She was a champ through the security line at the airport and the long and winding one for "It's a Small World." When I tell her she needs to be patient, she responds with, "Okay. Alright, Mommy." Within the three minutes we were waiting on our car in a parking garage, she had climbed in the security guard's lap and was helping her pass out keys. This week she has had some type of fever virus and has not felt good at all. But she sat still and thanked the doctor and nurses who checked her. She has also become more sympathetic. If Clint coughs or sneezes, she asks, "You okay, Daddy?" When Tinkerbell can't seem to do anything right, Mimi makes me look at the TV and says, "Oh, Mommy. Tinkerbell so sad. What happened?" When Mack is crying she tells me we need to check on him. She threw a toy in the air a few days ago, and it smacked Mack right in the middle of his forehead. And guess who cried more? My tough little bubby stuck out his bottom lip and fussed for a few seconds, and then Mimi completely fell apart and told him how sorry she was.

I don't know how I could love my children or the time I spend with them any more than I do. So it is not always fun for me to go to work anymore. I don't know why it is so different now than it was when I was in Memphis, but I miss them much more during the day. Okay, that's a lie. I do know why it's different. First of all, the actual job isn't too different -- believe it or not it's even better. I am beginning to really like most of my offices and the areas I visit, and we have a much better product to sell. But I do have to drive at least 45 minutes to get to my closest office (and about 3 hours to a few of them), and this could be longer on the way home if I hit the Loop downtown at the wrong time. I knew this when I started, but I had no idea how hard it would be to finish my work day only to realize that it might be a very long time before I ever get near my house and my babies. So I do like my job and working, but it's really kicking my butt right now. I need to apologize because I don't mean to sound so angry and bitter. I'm just really, really tired and overwhelmed with trying to balance work and family and I guess I need to vent.

So this is my excuse for being a crappy blogger lately. And pretty much crappy at everything else I once did for my personal enjoyment. Such as my new found love for sewing. I haven't even pulled out my sewing machine since I started working. I haven't read so much as a magazine article much less a book in months. But people do it all the time and have many more children and work longer hours than I do. And they still love their children and their children love them. Sigh. I think I need to DVR a few episodes of the Dugger shows and watch them while I'm getting ready in the morning for some perspective. Don't worry. I will catch up with pictures and funny stories before too long . . . I just need to take some swim lessons to figure out how to get out of this ocean . . .