Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Books.

I've been reading a lot more lately and I just really, really enjoy reading.  More than that, I enjoy a great story that you can really sink your teeth into - something with substance and something that stays with you in your mind long after you finish.

I read the Fifty Shades of Grey books in a week and I just couldn't put them down.  Following that I read "Water for Elephants" and it was even better than the movie (which I completely loved).  Now I am reading Stephenie Meyer's "The Host."  And while I like ANY great story, I have to say I tend to favor book series rather than a standalone book.  It allows for you to enter into a realm and stay a little while to get to know the place rather than pop in for a quick visit.  I love being able to dwell on the same characters and get to know and spend time with them.

After reading such fantastic series (Twilight, the Hunger Games, Divergent, 50 Shades, Harry Potter... etc...) it has really made me stop and wonder what I hold in my own brain.  I have an imagination and I love a great, unique story - so what exactly is stopping me from writing one of my own?  I have to think I am lacking inspiration?  Or time/dedication?  I know I'm not lacking the aptitude... but maybe I am lacking the knowledge of the structure of a novel?  Because really, I have so much to learn when it comes to actually writing a book.  But I guess you have to walk before you can run - what I want more than anything is to come up with the basic story... even the IDEA of a story... and if it's good enough then I will figure the rest out.

Basically, what I mean to say with all of this is that someday when I have the time to dedicate to a project as huge as this - it would be a dream come true to write my own book series.  It's intimidating to even write that dream into words and to accept that is what I want for myself at some point in my life.  I just hope from now until then (whenever "THEN" is...) that something comes to me that I feel so passionately about.

And until "then" I plan to keep reading and hoping and waiting and coming to terms with what I can do to help check this off my bucket list.  Which leads me to ask - what are your favorite books?  I've got a long list of books I'd like to read and I always love adding to it!

Friday, August 22, 2014

{Presley is 2.5}

Jeez Louise!  My itty bitty baby goose is a big two-and-a-half year old!



Presley & little cousin Annie (Summer 2014)
Annie & Presley (Christmas 2012)
Annie & Presley (Summer 2014)

I am so proud of this kiddo.

Here are some fun 2.5 year old Presley facts and stats:

*She still loves reciting her ABC's.  If you ask her what a specific letter is, she can recall just about all of them.  Smart as a whip!
*She loves her little sister.  When we're in the car and Molly starts to cry Presley will say, "It's okay Molly-girl.  We're almost there!"  Never fails to make me smile.  She asks to hold Molly on a daily basis and is very gentle with Molly.
*Presley has definitely upped her milk intake over the last few weeks - I think this is due to knowing Molly gets to drink milk around the clock.  Presley's also hit a stage where she eats very little so I've started giving her a gummy multivitamin each morning.
*Presley is teething and is working on pushing through her bottom back molars!  After those are in we only have the top back two molars and then we will {eventually} enter into the world of LOSING teeth... eeeeek!
*Daddy is still her favorite person in the entire world.  And I don't blame her one bit - he is my favorite person, too!
*She is a legitimate fast runner and loves to run.
*She's just recently started to LOVE the Tinker Bell movies. (And so do I.)  Loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Lilo & Stitch, Shrek, the Lorax, Tarzan and is just starting to open up to the older Disney movies (Cinderella and Little Mermaid so far).
*Such a great sleeper at both nap and bedtime.  Loves her new nightlight that projects stars and the moon up on the ceiling!
*Absolutely loves her toddler bed.  We'll be switching her to a twin bed here soon in the upcoming months so that Molly can have the baby mattress for her crib!
*Still peeing/pooping in diapers and neither one of us are making any effort to change that.  She has no interest in using the potty - the big one or the small potty we got her.
*LOVES playing in the water.  Sprinklers, pools, bath or shower time, spray grounds, puddles... you name it - she will jump right in and enjoy it.
*Is beginning to enjoy trips to Target almost as much as I do!  She asks to go to Target (by name!) because she knows she will get a cookie at the bakery.
*Really loves our trips to the Memphis Zoo - which are too few and far between these days because of the heat and having a newborn.  She almost always asks to see the hippos!  She asks for the giraffes and elephants and usually the big cats and penguins!  She really likes the fish in the aquarium, though I really wish they would expand their tiny tiny aquarium exhibit.  Her favorite attraction at the Memphis Zoo is the water that sprays up like Old Faithful... she could play in the water for hours if she had the opportunity.


Presley also had her first insect sting experience this week and it was a doozy!  Tony took Presley over to a family friend's house to swim yesterday and just as he went to strip her down to get her into her swim stuff he saw a wasp flitting around.  Tony stomped on the bug and went to move on when he saw another one flying around and that's when the damn bugs started to swarm Tony & Presley and attack.  Tony picked Presley up and jumped in the water where they didn't let up much until he swam over to the water sprayer on the pool.  Tony got stung once in the leg and poor Presley was closer to all the wasps before they got in the water and she had at least 3 stings we could find - the most obvious was on her left eyelid (the other two were on her right hand and left cheek). 

I was at home with Molly when they called and Tony asked me to come over there.  I called my Aunt Donna & Uncle Jeff - who are pharmacists & parents - because I honestly didn't know what to do in this situation.  When they didn't answer I called my little sister who is on her way to becoming a nurse.  She was really very composed and I asked her what else besides children's Tylenol to give Presley, to which she straightaway answered with chidlren's Benadryl.  Thankfully we had some so I swooped those things up and rushed over.  Tony warned me beforehand that Presley's eye was very swollen and that it was a sad sight to see her upset - so thankfully I prepared myself for the situation on the way over. 

This was at least an hour after taking the Benadryl - which seemed to help the swelling


When I got there I covered Presley's good eye and she was able to recall how many fingers I was holding up with the bad eye.  My Aunt Donna & Uncle Jeff called back right after I got to Presley and they were able to help me with the dosage of the Benadryl for Presley.  We headed home rather than an ER because from what we were reading online it didn't sound like we had to get a stinger out or that her life was in danger - though I wasn't 100% reassured.  On the way home I called so many people - the pediatric group to leave a message for the on-call physician, my older sister & brother-in-law because I figured as camp counselors they might've dealt with something similar, a friend who is a pharmacy tech at LeBonheur, Tony's aunt and Tony's mom and I couldn't get a hold of anyone.  We finally got a call back from the on-call pediatrician who was very reassuring and said we didn't have much to worry about unless her breathing became labored, she started coughing or vomiting, or if a widespread rash popped up.  Presley was really a trooper through the entire thing and we got Chick-fil-A for dinner as a treat.

Here she is this morning (in her Star Wars jammies) - no worse for the wear!

I still can't believe the wasp managed to sting her RIGHT at the end of her eyelid... I can't imagine what the hell would've happened had it stung her eyeball and I am so glad I really don't have to know what that looks like right now.  Just another parental experience we now have under our belts!

I could go on & on about Presley at this age - but I think this will do.  I can't believe she will be three in another 6 months and we'll be planning another birthday... didn't she just have one?! 

Presley girl, I hope you feel how loved you are by all your friends and family and especially Mommy & Daddy.  I'm glad God's plan was more brilliant than my own and I am so thankful to have you in my home and life and family and heart.  I pray you will always be this sweet and special girl I've come to know over the last two and a half years while continuing to evolve into who you are meant to be.  I love you so much and I always will.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Currently x18 {link up}

I'm linking up with Harvesting Kale for another week to let you know what my family and I are currently up to!  If you would like to participate...

This weeks prompts are {calling, lighting, making, watching, planning}

Calling:  Wishing heaven had a phone number this week.  Ever miss someone who has passed away more than you normally do?  When you first lose someone the pain is unimaginable but then over time it dulls - or you become more used to the pain being there.  But then out of nowhere it dawns on you that they are actually dead and never coming back and it is enough to make your knees buckle and your breath catch.  I'm currently having one of those weeks.  It started after hearing "Can't Help Falling in Love" on my Pandora - the version sung by Ingrid Michaelson.


My dad was an Elvis Presley fan and I imagined dancing with him to the Elvis version of this song at my wedding.  I probably would've had him pick the song we danced to... so I'll never know what he would've picked... but it's what I imagine.  Like I said, that came on my Pandora radio station and the beautiful part at the very end choked me up and I just lost it for a moment.  I wish he was here on good days but especially on bad days.  He was so great with me and my sisters that it kills me to know he would've somehow been even better to my two girls and they would have loved him so much.  The thought makes me happy and incredibly, desperately sad.

Lighting:  I've finally lit a fire under my own behind when it comes to making & sending out Molly's birth announcements.  I've made them but only received half of them... the first half turned out just the way I wanted them!  I am starting to slowly send them out but I just really want the other ones to get here already.  I ordered from both Shutterfly and Target Photo - still waiting on Shutterfly but have been SO pleasently surprised by the quality of Target Photo and how quickly it made it to me!

Making:  Finally making plans to have our house sprayed to prevent bugs from sneaking in and also getting into a termite contract.  Feels good!

Watching:  Oh man, is anyone else really into Big Brother this season?  We are!  And I can't believe Frankie put Zach up to possibly go home!!!!!  So sad - I love Zach.  He really reminds me a lot of one of our good guy friends who moved away to the west coast.  He's silly and says some crazy stuff but he seems like a genuinely good guy and it makes me miss my friend, Kris!  Really hoping that if he does get voted out that he can get the chance to come back.  (Can't believe I care so much about this show!)

Planning:  On making some changes for the better in my life.  I feel like I've been in a fog for a little while now and I've been much too complacent with the way things are regardless of whether those things make me happy or sad.  I guess I just lost the sense that I control my own life - no one else does.  If someone isn't good for me or my family or the life I want to live - I have the control over it by keeping them in my life or putting distance between us.  If I feel we have too much clutter and crap in our house that we don't use regularly - I have the control to get rid of it and stop holding on to so many THINGS.  Just little things like that and bigger things as well.  It's good to feel empowered.  There are so many things we don't have control over... we can't dictate what others choose, we can't control the weather, and we cannot control the passing of time... but the thing we always have control over is ourselves - our reactions, our choices, our thoughts, our words... etc.

Here are some photos of what we've been up to lately.









Wishing well to everybody.  I hope September brings with it a wind of change for the better in all our lives.  Nothing like another fresh start.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Time vs. Second Time

Blogging is the last thing on my mind these days.  The night before Tony was scheduled to go back to work, I was feeling so emotional.  Similar to last time around, I wondered how I was going to get through the day without him and I knew I would miss him 100% of the day.  Much UNLIKE last time, I really don't count down the hours/minutes/seconds until he's scheduled to get home and I truly think it's because I'm kept pretty busy here!  Last time around it was just me and a baby on our own - this time it is me, a baby, plus a smart, talkative 2.5 year old.  I have someone to talk to (thank you, Presley!) and nursing is a 24/7 task to keep busy with and although I do miss Tony, I don't feel as desperate as last time.  One of our family friends told me I would be too busy to miss him during the day and so far that has pretty much proved to be true!  Of course EVERY thing would be more fun if the whole family was together - and no amount of "busy" will cause me to forget that.

Anyways, these few revelations got me thinking about the similarities and differences I've experienced thus far with my two different newborns/post partum experiences.

Unlike last time, it is SUMMER (in the South) and not the dead of winter (in the Midwest).
Like last time, I sometimes feel like I have no idea what to do.
Unlike last time, I feel a LOT more joy and happiness throughout the day. {And to build on that, unlike last time, I am not experiencing post partum depression or anxiety besides the normal stuff!}
Though, like last time, I also have moments where I feel like giving up or that I'm literally going to have a mental breakdown - usually from a fussy baby + lack of sleep!
A lot like last time, I am SWEARING this is our last baby.
But unlike last time, our children have a sibling now, so that takes off the pressure to have another.
I'm breastfeeding again, like last time.  And like last time, I can't help but think formula feeding would be SO MUCH EASIER.
Though, unlike last time, I know how much easier breastfeeding gets and how fulfilling it can be - so I am still hanging on and have a greater depth of understanding on the breastfeeding experience.
Almost EXACTLY like last time, Molly is pulling on my hair like crazy.
Unlike last time, I am NOT going to chop my hair off... though I plan to have a haircut very soon.

Something else that has been sharp on my mind lately is my patience.  I have noticed that it is a tedious task to exercise patience every single day from start to finish.  I feel like by the end of each day I am snapping at someone - Presley, Molly, or Tony.  And unfortunately, it is usually Presley.  She is into everything... she is pushing limits and also teething.  Something has been making her very whiny and moody lately - whether it's the age, her lifestyle change thanks to the new sibling, or maybe the new teeth coming in. 

Whatever the cause it has made things interesting around here and at some times it is downright difficult to deal with.  And for the first time today I told her to go to her room.  And I didn't just tell her, I (irrationally) yelled it!  Her reaction?  Her eyes went very wide and she said, "okay" and went straight to her room.  Bad mommy moment.  I don't feel bad about reprimanding her for what she did (which was purposely knocking over a TV tray that held my water cup... spilling my water on the floor)... it was just definitely the yelling on my part that I regret.  And the overreaction on my part is something I do not want to become a habit.  I realize I'm not perfect but I also need to remember neither is she.  So, about 30 seconds after Presley went to her room, I set down Molly and followed Presley to apologize for my yelling.  Nobody can really warn you that being a parent is so tough in so many different ways.  Or really, that it is SUCH a learning experience.  How can one little person that you love so entirely also become so frustrating?

All things considered though, the twos have been much more terrific for us than terrible... which makes me nervous for the threes since I hear they're the new "terrible twos."  We'll see.  We have one hell of an awesome toddler so I really and truly think our life will continue to be terrific with her. 

Aside from all this fun, not too much is new in my life.  Thanks to my awesome little sister I am reading the Fifty Shades of Grey books and while I had my doubts about the books I have really come to love them!  I think the characters are fantastic and the book is well written.  I can't wait until the movie come out for Valentines Day!  At that point we will just about have a three year old (!!!) and Molly will be nearly 8 months old... how different will our lives be by that point?!  This is also the first book series that I've read solely over my phone (thank you Kindle app!) - that's been a neat experience and also makes me want a phone with a larger screen.  I'm not sure if I prefer it to physical books or vice versa yet... I think I enjoy either method of reading.

Finally, I will leave you with a few photos of my cuties from recently.






Hopefully it won't be so long until the next blog - I plan on doing monthly updates for Molly as I did for Presley {minus month one... sorry Molly!} - so stay tuned!  And for all you fifty shades fans... Laters, baby!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

One week+ update!

I have been thinking so much over the last week about the need to write out what's been going on here lately... But it's been a little difficult to write more than the quick updates on Facebook. 

Labor and delivery this time around was amazing. Amazing. At the time I'm not sure I would have described it that way but pain is never easy to deal with at the time. First things first, an epidural was a part of my birth story - again. I labored from 8pm until 2:30am without medication at which point I was practically begging! I had made it to 4cm on my own in that time frame and I honestly felt like I was at the point with pain where I would clench up and not allow my body to keep progressing. 

From that point on, my body definitely sped up! The procedure was finished around 3am and I had no idea that I would be giving birth in a mere 3 hours!!! 

After giving birth I felt that immediate relief and we finally got to see and hold Molly! Another amazing feeling. I birthed the placenta, I got a stitch for my "scrape" and that was it. At this point I noticed my neck was so sore and wrote it off as a byproduct of pushing... Maybe I had my neck in a weird position or maybe I pulled something? Over the next few hours it intensified and was to the point where I couldn't use my neck to look around - just had to keep it completely stiff. Again, the pain was unbearable. I decided to have a blood patch a few hours after having Molly and it was unsuccessful at taking the pain away. 

We had the option of being discharged from the hospital the next day (July 1st) and we decided we would be more comfortable at home. We could have stayed due to my pain and Presley's bilirubin level being high-ish. Once we got home the pain got worse each day. By July 3 all I could do was lay flat 100% of the time to keep the pain at bay and even then I was still in pain at times. If you've never had a spinal headache - the pain is literally a constant 10 when you're upright. It was awful. 

Nursing a newborn takes some work... You are in charge of teaching this new baby how to eat. I was unable to do this because I couldn't even look down at her. For almost all her feedings we have been in the side lying position and thankfully this has been good enough. I notice my breasts never fully empty - probably due to Molly passing out every single feeding! (I kinda feel like this wouldn't happen as often if I were able to feed her sitting up.) Thankfully with the help of my husband (and mother-in-law and sisters) I've had the help I need to get her latched and she is a good eater! Molly weighed 7#12oz at birth and lost about 8% of her weight by the time we went home the next day. At her appointment this Monday she was up to 8 pounds! Woo! At that appointment we found out her bilirubin was at a 10 (it was at a 14 a few days prior) so that was even more great news for Molly. 

I decided to have another blood patch done on July 7. The drive to the hospital was excruciating as was sitting slumped over in the wheelchair until they could get us a room with a bed. Thank goodness they got us a room quickly and as soon as I was flat my pain went from a ten to a zero! Phew. I headed from the outpatient room to this triage area to get prepped for the blood patch and I have to admit I was super intimidated by it all. I met my anesthesiologist, Dr Jones, and he tried to find a vein for an IV. The first attempt was a hit and a miss and the vein tore - OUCH - so he had to get out an ultrasound machine to find a good vein (apparently I had small, rolling veins). After getting the IV in we headed to the procedure room and holy moly it was terrifying in there! Thank goodness Dr Jones understood how much pain I was in if I wasn't laying supine and he didn't have me sit up until he was 100% ready to go. This man was incredible. I was going to have some sedation for the procedure because of the pain I would be in once upright, but I opted out as it would affect my Breastmilk. 

Much like the last blood patch, we hit a little hiccup halfway through the procedure. Both times the nurse tried to take the 20ccs of blood needed for the patch from the port of my IV. And both times it didn't work... They would try flushing it with saline and then trying to draw blood again and it wouldn't work. So they called in another doctor who came in to draw blood a different way and it worked thank God. Oh and did I mention this whole time I have to sit completely still because the Dr has the epidural equipment in my back?! TERRIFYING. He then injected 20ccs of my blood into my back which caused a huge amount of pressure in my lower back. It was all done and I ended up laying flat for about two hours in that bed afterwards. It was so comforting to get back to my outpatient room to see Tony, Presley, & Molly again. 

After two hours it was time to get out of bed and that was pretty awful as I was not prepared for how difficult it would be to stand or walk. Not to mention the pain in my lower back. BUT the headache was pretty much gone! The ride home from the hospital couldn't have been more different from the ride there... I was singing and sitting up and smiling and laughing! It was a great feeling. 

Over the next 24 hours the pain in my back got worse and made it extremely hard to move around, walk, get in/out of bed, etc. I started to lose hope that things would get better because it just kept seeming like something was going to go wrong. 

I woke up today and was still in pain (neck, head, and back) but I could tell it was already getting better. I made the mistake of not eating breakfast (it's hard to eat when you're in pain) and on the way to the bathroom this morning I passed out on the floor. It was absolutely terrifying not being able to control your body. I'm not sure what caused me to pass out, but I didn't feel great the rest of the day despite my pain lessening in my back. (See? Like I said, seems like it is always something!) 

By late in the afternoon I was feeling a little stronger and was able to sit out in the living room for the first time in so many days and visit with friends/family and even eat a family dinner! And? I was able to change two of Molly's diapers - first time in a week! Silly as it sounds it felt nice to do something normal again. 

So, that's where we are currently at with postpartum life! It's been a seriously crazy turn of events but it has made me appreciate my health. I have another 2-3 weeks of taking it easy and in that time period I won't be able to lift more than 15 lbs among other restrictions just to insure the clot in my back stays put. Tony will be home with me for another few days and then I'm on my own! And now I will leave you with a few photos from the last few days...