Monday, December 26, 2016

My 2016 Grown-Up Christmas List

So, I love this time of year. It's full of that wonderful magic feeling. One of the tangible things I enjoy most is the 24/7 Christmas music on certain radio stations! The. Best. But unfortunately this also results in many eye-rolls when they play the few Christmas songs I'm not extremely fond of like Grown-Up Christmas List by Kelly Clarkson/Amy Grant/anyone, I Want a Hippopotamus for ChristmasMistletoe by Justin Bieber, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus by the Jackson 5, and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer. This is certainly not an all-inclusive list... just the very worst that I came up with off the top of my head.

Anyways. After listening to one of the above songs, I got to thinking about what I really wanted for Christmas. So, here is my grown-up Christmas list:

1. New toilets - the tall ones that can also suck down a whole bag of golf balls! (Yes! They exist!!!) 
2. Tankless water heather - especially since it seems our current one may be going out and is certainly not efficient these days!
3. New paint throughout the house - and one that doesn't chip!!!
4. Shoe molding pretty much throughout half of the house, too.
5. Probably new flooring in the other half of the house. Definitely no more carpet in the dining room or bathrooms!
6. A mantle & fireplace that doesn't look so dated.
7. A not-busted-up driveway.
8. Oh yeah, somebody has to fix the mower. (Not it!!!!)
9. Remodel our weird looking master bathroom... rip out the old tub with jets entirely. That thing can be so unsanitary. Plus, it's not human-shaped. I want a tub where I can be actually submerged in - like all body parts under water at the same time.
10. Start and finish our 4th bedroom. Which includes fixing up/finishing off the stairs and walls (possible insulation first?), doing some work on the window, flooring, electrical work, paint, etc...
11. A new HVAC system. Which needs to be done already, but once we get the 4th bedroom done we'll need a bigger unit. And we'll need the 4th bedroom connected to said new unit.
12. Update faucets, cabinets, drawer pulls, door knobs, light fixtures, and several windows throughout the house.

I mean, I could keep going. We keep MEANING to do all these things - but where are we pulling this money and time from? When we bought this house we got a pretty good deal on it and we did so knowing that we'd need to eventually do most of these things. And I know, none of these things keep the house from being livable. Carpets in the bathroom are kinda gross, but we can survive with it the way it is. Still, these are the things I dream of doing and the things that made my Christmas list this year. This doesn't even get into the other things I'd like... a family vacation, a solo vacation, and a vacation with my husband. (Yes... three different vacations.) Bananas that don't brown so quickly. A set of those amazing zipper sheets for every bed in the house. An updated wardrobe since I have no idea what to wear anymore. A gym membership. A monthly spa trip. And mostly, I want to continue to be thankful for the things I have in the New Year. I have a beautiful, relatively healthy family that keeps me busy and happy, a house that keeps us safe and warm, more than enough of the things we need and so many things that we want.
And I would give up every single "thing" to keep these people safe and healthy

But I'm hoping we get a few of these crossed off the grown-up Christmas list in 2017... if you were me, where would you start?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

3 TV Shows... {thursday thoughts}

My hope was that I would get through these writing prompts before Crosby came since I would likely have more time then, but as usual I'm running well behind schedule.

Anyways, I love watching a great TV show! I love connecting with well-written characters and watching them develop as their story unfolds. There are so many great shows out there it's hard to catch them all or really sometimes it's hard to know where to start. And I really enjoy hearing shows (or books or movies) that my friends recommend so I figured I would throw out some of my favorites!

03. Parenthood
If you haven't seen this show, you are really missing out on something special. It's not on air anymore and you can find the series in it's entirety on Netflix. It's a show about family. It's truly funny. It's touching. It's real. The family featured in the show is the Bravermans - two parents and four now adult children. Each adult child has a story and now their own family and set of struggles and hilarity. You get to know them and love them like they are your own network of people. Check it out if you haven't! And if you didn't know already, this show is where we got the name for our newest family member, Crosby. I absolutely love the character on the show and his name is precious.

02. This Is Us*
Oh goodness, I am so glad this show exists!!!!! This Is Us is new to NBC this year and I am enjoying it so very much along with SO many other people watching this show every Tuesday. The show just went on hiatus for a winter break but it'll be back on January 10th. I won't give anything away about this show other than it is a ton like Parenthood - it follows a family's story. And it is heartwarming and amazing and literally EVERY week there is something so incredibly touching in a way that it feels like it was written for you or the people in your life. I learn something new every week about myself because it draws attention to so many things within myself that I need to explore. Anyways... I won't say anything more except for this: WATCH. IT. And start with the pilot episode. You will be glad you did, I promise.

01. Grey's Anatomy*
If you haven't heard of this show then you probably don't have a television. Or maybe TV isn't your thing. (If so then this entry will likely bore you to tears!!!) I love this show for many reasons and the first one is that no matter what, Shonda Rhimes knows how to write something extremely compelling! I might not always like where she leads her characters, but yet I'm back week after week. This show has been my JAM since the pilot episode... I watched it live when it aired and I have been hooked ever since! Heck... I was hooked when I saw previews for the show as they were hyping it up just before it aired. It's awesome being so many seasons in (13 now?) and literally watching the characters grow up. You can catch up on all the previous seasons on Netflix and it airs Thursdays on ABC! I've lost count the number of times I've watched each season of Grey's Anatomy and I will keep on watching for years to come.

Honorable Mentions:
The Tudors
The Office
Life on Mars
Fixer Upper*

*Shows that are currently on air

What shows have you watched before that you recommend? I'm always looking for shows to watch on Netflix that aren't cartoons... not that I'll ever get to watch them!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Crosby: 2 Months

Somehow it has been 9 weeks since I brought Crosby into this world. It has been a tumultuous nine weeks, that's for sure. I was so sure that I knew everything I needed to know about taking care of a baby. I thought I knew all I needed to know about breastfeeding a newborn. Surely this third child of mine would be a breeze! But I was served a slice of humble pie with Crosby. It reminded me that I'm not immune to the highs or lows that come along with breastfeeding - it's a tough ass journey. When you're sleep deprived and you already feel like you're giving every single part of yourself as a human to your new baby and any other children in your home... then when you feel like you're scraping the bottom of your barrel it's time for the next feeding. Sometimes it honestly feels like you have NOTHING left to give and yet you're the only one can satiate your baby for what they need. You feel desperate. You feel like quitting. But for whatever reason, you choose stick with it. Maybe it's the health benefits for baby or the health benefits for you. Maybe it's the fact that you literally cannot afford the insane costs of formula. And from somewhere within the depths of your reserves, you pull out the mental and physical energy it requires to keep going. Ladies and gentlemen, this shit is not easy. And for everyone who has tried breastfeeding - you have my deepest respect. I understand what you're going through! It's so hard.

For everyone who has decided not to breastfeed, you have every bit of my understanding and respect. I am with you no matter what you choose! None of it's easy!!! And if you would have handed me the money to buy formula five weeks ago, I would have quit this breastfeeding journey on the spot - and probably kissed you on the mouth. So trust me - never judgment from me. When I talk about breastfeeding, it's not from a high horse. But it is how I feed my baby and so I will talk a lot about it in my blogs, I'm sure.

To update on me suspecting/worrying that Crosby could have a tongue or lip tie, I've now taken him to a pediatrician, a lactation consultant, and a pediatric dentist - all who gave me great insight and help and each of them telling me that IF he does have a tie that it is so slight that it's nothing to worry about. (But for the most part all of them thought he had enough mobility in his lip and tongue that he most likely doesn't have a tie.) The LC noted he has a super high palate and that could be the cause of his weak latch. The pediatric dentist (who is seriously phenomenal) showed me that Crosby's got quite an overbite - already! - and that his weak lower jaw could be making his latching a little more difficult. So, after seeing the dentist I feel like I can finally put the tie thing behind us.

Crosby seemed to have a reflux issue from the get-go and would projectile vomit once daily... it was sooo draining and worrisome. Thankfully that has been getting better! His pediatrician thinks it was due more to underdeveloped muscles that aid in digestion rather than a reflux issue. (I hope I'm explaining that correctly!) His gassiness and pain after eating has eased as well. He still makes a clicking noise while he breastfeeds but it doesn't seem to be doing any harm.

He eats often and well and has been gaining weight as a result. Crosby weighed 7#15oz at birth and at his two month check-up Wednesday he was up to 12#5oz (and 23.5 inches)! This puts him in the 50% range for growth which is wonderful.

Cros is in a size two diaper and wears 3-6 month clothes, and he's been laughing in his sleep - yet he doesn't know he can do it while he's awake yet. He smiles! And it really does melt my heart. He loves being in the ergo carrier - that's how I shop, pick up Presley from school in the afternoons, or get things done around the house. The most consistent way Crosby falls asleep every night it in Tony's arms with him walking Crosby around the house. Works like clockwork! Speaking of sleep it's different for him every night but he will sleep for 5-6 hour stretches if I'm remembering correctly. Some nights are better than others!

Tony is such an awesome team player... I feed Crosby and he'll change diapers. He never hesitates to help put him to sleep. In general Tony has no issue helping me on all fronts and I am beyond grateful for that in my partner. Each time while going through the rough first 6 weeks or so while breastfeeding Tony is so ultra supportive. He'll grab a new breast pad for me, fill up my water, bring me my Boppy pillow, burp/change Crosby, encourage me to keep going, help me remember why I don't actually want to give up... etc.

It reminds me how much it takes a freaking VILLAGE to be successful... and sometimes not even then does it work out! I hope so much to be that encouragement to other moms in whatever way they feed their babies! None of it is easy and we're all just trying to survive these early days.

So that's about it for our two month update. We're still in absolute survival mode BUT in so many ways things are getting easier day by day. And even though each one of them takes turns driving me insane, I love my family and I'm grateful for them.

This is my motherhood: unwashed hair, tired face, babywearing, cookie-or-grumpy-faced kids and throwing together an outfit and just hoping it looks good together! But these are good kids and they might be crazy days but they are good days.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Happy 6 week birthday, Cros!

Our little guy is already six weeks old... thank goodness!

Here's our guy at the 4 week mark a few weeks ago!
Those earliest newborn days are not easy. At. All. Tony took paternity leave for the first two weeks but unfortunately he got the respiratory flu and was down for 4-5 days there towards the end. That was definitely no fun! He was quarantined to the master bedroom/bathroom and I checked in on him and tended to him as needed. That meant Crosby and I slept out in the living room and the playroom (which is a formal dining room we currently use for a guest room/playroom). It could have been a lot worse, that's for sure! But one of the nights I literally got ONE hour of sleep before getting up to take care of the bigger girls. I cried a LOT that next day. I felt like I couldn't do it and couldn't possibly continue to be a stay-at-home mom anymore. But, here we are just over four weeks later and I'm still here! :) 

It has been a trying transition this time around but even still, I would still say that going from 0 to 1 kid was the hardest. (All you parents know that none of it is easy - but of course worth it!) I've had a lot of moments this time around where I feel like I just can't do it... whether it's breastfeeding, being a mother to three tiny humans, being married to someone whose profession requires lots of long hours. It has caused me to question so many things. 

For the longest time now I've been concerned that Crosby may have a tongue or lip tie. I took him to our pediatrician about it and also to a lactation consultant and neither one seemed to think it was an issue of his since he's been gaining weight so well. The pediatrician we saw at our group seemed to think his fussiness could stem from reflux. He was on medicine for that for a while but it didn't seem to help - if anything it honestly seemed to make it worse! So we went back to the doctor and they prescribed him something stronger. I started doing reading on the medicine for babies and I decided to stop his reflux meds for a few days to see how it went. Well, here we are a few weeks later and his mood has seemed to improve. He still seems in pain every once in a while - but we're thinking it might just be gas? Or possibly it is reflux but not a very severe case of it. Who knows... like my cousin Breanne said, babies are really SUCH a guessing game. And it's MADDENING! 

I plan to take Crosby to someone who specializes in tongue and lip ties to have it confirmed one way or another - hopefully sometime this week. He's got so many of the symptoms/signs that point to this being a possibility (clicking noise while he nurses, high arched palate, short tongue/low mobility, gas/reflux issues, shallow latch, short nursing sessions...) and neither professionals we saw before were entirely confident telling me he didn't have a lip or tongue tie.

This time around hasn't been easy... Crosby has really made me work for everything this time around! And I can honestly say that at this point things are finally seeming to fall into place a little more each day. I might just be saying this because I actually got to majorly sleep in today!!! And it was EXACTLY what I needed. There have been many nights so far where Crosby has slept right on top of me - either on purpose because that was the only way to get him to sleep or by accident because I was so exhausted we both fell asleep while I either nursed or burped him! And while sleep is sleep, when you are in a lighter state of sleep or constantly in an odd position, it just doesn't feel as satisfying. Not to mention just a few hours of sleep here and there is hard, too! Sleep is still not the greatest around here - and depends on the night - but we are getting there. 

He's already moved up into a size two diaper and we just recently switched him to 3-6 month clothes. Yes... this kid is only 6 weeks old! The last time he was at the doctor he was already up to 10#4oz and that was a couple weeks ago - he is absolutely growing like a weed! He still fits into 0-3 month clothes but the sleepers are getting too short on him and seemed uncomfortable. And he really does seem so much more comfortable in the 6 month clothes.

That's about it! We're still breastfeeding. And surviving! And I suspect before too long we'll be doing even better than just that.

Here are some great moments from around here lately:

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Baby Crosby is HERE!

Phew. So it's been a whirlwind of a week! Last week I wrote about all my feelings after my doctor's appointment and I honestly felt like this baby was never coming on his own. I really was convinced that I would have to be induced at 42 weeks of gestation! So last Monday was no fun. I was determined to shake it off and have a better day on Tuesday and that happened. But I still felt SO uncomfortable all day and after talking to Tony I decided to contact my doctor and ask our options for induction. He left for the day and the nurse assured me he'd give me a call Wednesday. I told myself if he didn't call by 2pm on Wednesday then I would call back again. Wednesday morning Molly woke up super poopy and had the WORST diaper rash! She had been super snotty with a cough the past several days and that seemed to be getting worse, too. After cleaning her up and having a relaxing morning and early afternoon being goofy at home we headed to the store to stock up on groceries and so I could make some more food for our freezer for when Crosby did make it here. Afterwards we stopped to see Tony at work... he told me he was having Tops BBQ for lunch and wished he had ordered the burger. Ever since he mentioned wanting a burger I pretty much had to have one and McDonald's oddly sounded the best! So on the way home I got a #2 and we headed home to have some lunch. I still hadn't heard from my doctor's office but by that point I figured we could give waiting a go... I wouldn't be pregnant forever. Blah blah blah.

I ate my food pretty much on the way home and I fixed food for the girls once we got home.  While they were sitting in their chairs eating and watching one of their shows or movies I got super uncomfortable and tired so I nodded off on the couch for a little while - as much as you can with two kids in front of you. I thought the uncomfortableness COULD be the beginning of labor, or it could be nothing. Once the girls were all done with their lunch I started having some contractions. Again, these could be false or real or could fizzle out so I tried not to get my hopes up. These are the contractions you can still walk and talk through but they were definitely more than just a little crampy at this point and seemed to be coming regularly so I started timing them around 4pm and they were lasting 50-60 seconds and were coming in about every 6 minutes. This kept up for 30 minutes but the contractions were coming in sometimes every 5 minutes and sometimes more like every 2-3 minutes and had certainly picked up in intensity! I don't remember the exact timeline but Tony left work early and I think got home around 4:45pm. I threw a few final things in my hospital bag and he grabbed a couple things for himself. I got the kids in the van and sat in the back with them and had a big contraction while waiting for him that really freaked me out! He hustled us to the hospital, thank goodness.

Tony dropped me off and I signed in while he brought the girls in from the parking lot. After a little time in the waiting room I headed back to triage where I found out I was 5cm dilated around 5:50pm, so they started to get all the paperwork and everything else going. I was having contractions the whole time but really stopped counting them and tried my best to calm my body and breathe through them. One of the nurses asked me to rate my pain because she was surprised with how composed I was! Score!! Unfortunately I was in triage for longer than expected because they had a hell of a time getting an IV in thanks to my small, rolling veins. The first nurse tried two different spots with the second place getting blood ALL over my arm, the floor, and even the wall! Thank goodness my mind and energy was focused on my contractions because otherwise I would have had anxiety through the roof about this. The nurse apologized profusely and I kept telling her she had a really tough job and there's no way in hell I could do what she does and to please stop apologizing! She called another nurse in who tried a different spot that once again, didn't work. I said a prayer to myself and asked God to help us out here... I asked my Dad to help out somehow if he could... he was a regular blood donor and seemed to be at ease with these situations. Lo and behold, the 4th time was a charm and they got an IV to stay and we headed back to a room!

They wheeled me out in the hallway and the first face I see is Tony's and I instantly felt so much better. The nurse who was wheeling me back to a room said Tony reminded her of her nephew and I said, "You must have a good looking nephew!" :) Seriously, just so happy to have him by my side again. At this point the girls were in the waiting room with my mother-in-law and were waiting to come back and say goodbye... this was about 7pm, I'd say. At this point the contractions were certainly coming in nice and painfully! I felt so reluctant to say goodbye to my girls but at the same time I felt a lot of relief with them going home so we could focus AND get that epidural! The girls handled it all like champs and made it so easy on me to say goodbye to them. They're so used to hanging with Grandmommy at this point that it's not a big ordeal which was another huge blessing.

Saying goodbye to my babies!
Tony walked them out and that's when I remember my contractions becoming extra painful. My nurses were getting ready for the anesthesiologist who would be coming by very soon. But Tony still wasn't back! And I didn't want to do this part without him because of the scary and horrible wet tap experience last time. I got my biggest contraction yet and that's when I knew I would be signing up for this epidural as soon as humanly possible with or without my husband!!!! Thankfully he beat the gas man to the room and I'm glad he did because it was peaceful having him there with me.

Have I mentioned the labor and delivery nurses yet? I believe their names were Margot and Michelle. And they were angels. So helpful, so calm, so informative and friendly and wonderful and attentive. So they introduced us to the anesthesiologist, David, who was also 100% an angel. He talked to us for a little while and one of the major things we talked about was the spinal fluid leak from my epidural last time. He asked lots of questions and offered a ton of insight. He was so warm and reassuring. Not to mention he was building up my confidence so much with his kind words! So it was finally epidural time and it went SO well and about 10-15 minutes later I was feeling much, much less already. This is when the story went from a battleground to a trip to the spa! Labor seemed to slow down a bit after getting the epidural but absolutely worth it.

Crosby's heart rate would dip down considerably during my contractions - this was happening back in triage as well. So I was on my side as much as possible. Around the time of my epidural I was around 6-7cm and when they checked me a while later (maybe a few hours?) I was still at 7cm so they brought back this gigantic ball that I put in between my legs while I was on my side - 30 minutes on one side and then 30 minutes on the next side. (Did I freaking mention my angel nurses?? They did everything for me and cared so much!) I'm a little fuzzy on what time it was but I know I was 8cm around 11:30pm and after that point we realized Crosby wouldn't have an October 5th birthday! Up until this point Tony was pretty sleepy but stayed up with me to talk and keep my mind preoccupied which I appreciated so much. We watched like four or five episodes of Modern Family together which lightened my mood so much! I told him to get some rest and that I'd let HGTV and Law & Order: SVU keep me company for a while. He had no problem falling asleep and nodded off right away!

I don't remember what time it was that my nurses checked me again but I remember she said she felt "no cervix" at that point which meant I was at 10cm and she said my bag of waters was bulging! All good things! They called my doctor who said he would be there in about 15 minutes... I think this was around 1-1:15am! Everybody was in and out of the room at this point getting things ready to go for when the good doctor got there. I still wasn't feeling much of anything - thank you epidural & David for administering it!!! Tony came over with my phone and took "one last" photo before we met Crosby and I remember Dr. Podraza walked in just as we smiled for the camera - the timestamp on that is 1:39am!

As soon as I saw Dr. Podraza I just felt so extremely grateful. He did such an incredible job delivering Molly and it was so comforting to see him here again... not to mention he was here in the middle of the night! Bless him and all the nurses and doctors who do the same thing for their patients! So I thanked him and he jumped right into all the hustle and bustle. He let me know that my bag of waters still - somehow - hadn't broken (just like my previous two deliveries) and I believe he went ahead and broke it. There was meconium so he let us know it could be an issue or maybe it wouldn't be... that if Crosby came out shouting and crying then it would be a great sign. If things were okay when Crosby came out then I would get skin-to-skin time with him immediately. He also let us know Crosby was posterior/sunny-side up just as my previous two babies had been and then proceeded to flip/spin him around right there in the birth canal. And then it was pretty much go time!!! I asked my nurse if they turned down my epidural for pushing because I still wasn't feeling very much and internally worried how pushing would go. Dr. Podraza jumped in and said they normally would turn it down and would have if he anticipated that I would push for very long but that he felt like this would go quickly so there was no need. My nurses and doctor did an awesome job talking me through pushing when I wasn't sure if I was doing it right or not (couldn't feel much!) and after about 2-3 rounds of pushing Crosby was out! And nearly immediately he was crying so loud and strong!!!! I remember looking at Tony and saying how great it was to hear him cry right away. They called out the time that he was born - 1:53am!

Next thing you know they're putting this soft, squishy baby on my chest. I noticed the dimple in his chin right away - just like Presley, my dad, my little sister, and my nephew! Doctor Podraza waited several minutes until the cord was done pulsating before clamping and cutting it which I was so grateful for because of the benefits of doing so. Tony cut the cord and that was that!

Had to get a photo of Doctor Podraza before he took off to start the rest of his day
We had some more skin-to-skin time and then eventually put the medicine on his eyes and weighed him and then it was time to get him to breastfeed! It took a little trial and error there but then he got a good first latch and started eating! Yay!! We waited about two hours and then it was time to move from our room in labor and delivery to a new room in the mother/baby part of the hospital. This is about the time that they took Crosby to the nursery to be measured - we didn't have his height yet - and they would give him his first bath and all that good stuff. We waited until he was back from that to announce on Facebook & social media that Crosby had joined us earlier in the morning!

Crosby Thomas - 7 pounds 15 ounces and 20.5 inches long!
It has taken me FOREVER to write this much... I'm thinking a lot of that has to do with my mind going in all directions these days and my lack of sleep! I plan on writing a little more another time about the girls meeting him for the first time, having my placenta encapsulated, and more of that great stuff. Thank you for EVERY kind wish, prayer offered, and encouragement from each of you along the way. He's finally here and I am so grateful that labor, delivery, recovery and breastfeeding have been going so well. Now it's onto surviving the newborn sleep deprivation and making the most of the small amount of time Tony's got off from work!