0 Juggling act- how do we cope?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Christmas is over. I would be more depressed if it wasn't a rough one for us. Seriously- we were sick all of Thanksgiving and all of Christmas. Its like a sick punishment. Every time you plan to spend a few extra days doing something fun with your kids or even with family its like a giant hammer hits you in the head and tells you otherwise. The decorations are finally down (only took 11 days into the new year) and we are slowly trying to reclaim the house. I would say we have it all put away and everything is perfect but that would be a total lie. There are simply not enough hours in the day.

I always wonder how parents do it. How do you have a clean, well managed house and work full time with two kids? Is it too much to ask to have some semblance of order to our lives with two kids under 4?  Home cooked dinners, clean clothes put in the drawers they are supposed to be in, trash taken out and toys put away seem like a dream. Sure we have clean clothes, home cooked dinners and the trash is out but it seems like the toys will be a mess. Toys picked up- then the dishes aren't finished.  There is always a give and take.

I know we aren't the only ones who deal with this. I know everyone else has the same issues but don't always verbalize it. I get overwhelmed by trying to make things perfect for my kids when I need to focus on just good enough. Its stressful for everyone to dwell on the things that we aren't finishing when we need to focus on the things we are doing well.

What do I do well- I love my kids. I make sure they are cared for daily. I make sure they know I am present for them when they need me to be. I let them explore and learn and give them the things that help them mature. What I don't do well- making sure my house is spotless. There will be times when I will find myself caught up with the downstairs and the upstairs will be a mess. When you pick up a room one of the girls is messing up the other room.   This is my life. I need to remember that we aren't perfect and that we are all human. I will find my flow one day but right now I am going to live in the moment and make sure that my kids know they are my priority.

One day when I catch up with the juggling act I will shout it from the rooftop. It might be 18 years from now when the girls are off on their own or in college, but I will catch up. Looking forward to that day and the new adventures.

0 Your three year old self

Friday, September 5, 2014
Three years have come and past. You have become a very good little girl. Turning three was rough for you. You had a new baby sister, were trying to potty train, adjusting to a new schedule and you were growing all at the same time.  Your third birthday was on a Friday. We spent the evening together and you had a great time. We ate Mexican for dinner and they sang happy birthday to you. You were embarrassed but loved every second of it.  Below we made a list of your little quirks so we don’t forget them ever.

Your likes:
-          Your binxy- we try our hardest to get it away but you wont give up. You love that thing. You started to bite holes in them but learned fast that when you bite holes they don’t squeak and you only like the ones that squeak.
-          To sleep in our bed. You are always worried that we will be lonely without you. You used to be a terrible sleeper but now you are comfortable and calm when you sleep in our bed.
-          Your clothing- you are quite particular when it comes to clothes but you cycle on your likes quickly. In the summer you would only wear one swimsuit even though you owned 5. That poor purple and silver heart polka dot suit with tutu is the only thing you will wear.

-          Imaginary play- you play so well with kids but will also play by yourself very well.  I love to listen to you play and talk to your babies and your toys. You also make a lot of food for us and sell us your baked goods (you are quite expensive as a piece of cake is anywhere from $2.00 to $100.00 apiece).  
-          All things noodles. You sometimes will only eat noodles. Not just Mac n Cheese but also just any other type of noodle out there. You love to put expensive Parmesan cheese on them occasionally but also try to eat the parm like an ice cream cone (your words not mine).
-          Ice Cream. You and daddy have ice cream almost every night. You love cookies ice cream and you even have special spoons you share to eat it.

Your dislikes:
-          Bugs. You used to love them but they scare you. It doesn’t count ants, but you just don’t love any other bugs.
-          Naps- you take them but you don’t love them. Sometimes you just get too tired to fight them.
-          Potty training. You fought for months but you are finally potty trained. You are a stubborn with it but you are a big girl and love to show it.
-          Clothing while at home. You love to run around in the buff. Its hilarious but you are stubborn enough to do it.

-          Being told no- but what toddler likes being told no.

0 adding baby 2- a birth story

I figured I would type this up so I didnt forget anything- need to do a blog dump if I feel up to it this week.

SO - Thursday night was kinda rough for me. The week was dragging on, work was killing me and I had crammed a bunch of stuff in the last few days before we knew we needed to button down and get ready for the baby. We scheduled a infant CPR class at the partnering hospital since it was closer to home for Thursday night. We got a sitter for C and barely made it to class on time. We started class which was a refresher for us and I started feeling a little rough. I was exhausted and was regretting scheduling the class at all. I was thinking of all the things I had to do at home and was kinda mad at Mark for pushing it. I sat in class about half engaged because I started having contractions. I knew they were about 10-15 minutes apart but nothing too organized. I finished class and jumped in the car. We didnt eat so we grabbed a few salads from outback on the way home and attempted to eat prior to going to bed. When we got home Charlotte was having a rough night. She bit her last binxy (which she only gets at bedtime) and was REALLY pissed. I knew we were out of cat food as well so I begged Mark to run to the store to pick up both. As we sat and waited for Mark to get home I realized that the contractions didnt stop. I was a little worried but decided that if I went to bed it would likely stop the contractions. Mark was eating dinner so I took Charlotte upstairs to bed and thankfully put a towel down in bed. About 11pm I laid down and within 3 minutes I felt a pop and a large gush. Luckily my bed is two steps from our bathroom so I was able to not make a huge mess. My water broke and I was fuming. I was more upset that I had plans that were going to be disrupted than worried about labor. We called the nanny to have her come over and Mark and I started the sprint to get the stuff together.
IT took about 40 minutes for the nanny to get to the house by the time she woke up, packed a few things and drove over. I had the car running, my stuff packed and we were on our way to the hospital by midnight. We go to the hospital and of course since my water decided to break and continue to flow for the next 3 hours with contractions they wouldnt let me walk to labor and delivery.  I spent the next hour in triage where they couldnt get the port in my arm, my veins wouldnt give them blood and my registration was spelled wrong in the computer leading to more paperwork. I finally got to my room about 1:30am and we were able to get our stuff settled. Poor Mark was sleeping in a chair since they were out of cots and the sleeper sofas were not in the labor rooms but the mom and baby unit.
The next few hours were managing contractions, hanging with our nurse (who by the way was amazing), and me finally realizing that my labor was slowing. Petocin was ordered and labor finally picked back up enough that by 5-6 am I finally had my epidural. Not sure why I waited so long but I was glad I got it while I did. Labor continued to progress but was very manageable and dare I say easy. Mark went down for breakfast we enjoyed the quiet time to figure out some name options and got ready for the big event. My mom had to work the night before so she wasnt able to come for delivery and my sister who was also planning on coming for the event had the flu. This was a little scary to me because as much as I love Mark I wanted someone else to be there in case something went wrong. Technically we were only 37wks 2 days by the doctors notes when I delivered. I think we could have been about a week off, but nonetheless, we were a bit early. I asked the nurse if there were people to help me with delivery (of course there are Kelly- complete irrational thoughts) and we got ready to rest.
About 11 am they did a final check and realized I was almost 10cm. They called the doctor to drive in (she is about 15 minutes away at the office) and they started to set up the room in preparation. Luckily our doctor who delivered Charlotte was going to deliver us again. Dr. Lewis is very patient and amazing. I love all the doctors in the practice but it was nice to have a familiar face and someone who I trusted to get me through.
We started pushing about 11:30am. We did a couple test pushes and they made me stop because I was actually getting it right. The baby was progressing a lot faster than they planned. We did the final prep and waited a few contractions then finally started pushing. 4 rounds of contractions and the baby was out. OF course it took Mark a few more minutes to tell me that it was another girl. I only remember asking if she was okay because I knew she was a bit early. As soon as they told me she was a 7lb 14.5oz baby and 20 inches long I was happy. Relief was over us. The doctor worked on me and quickly made a comment about us dodging a bullet. I was a little confused until she held up the umbilical cord. A very tight double knot was in the cord and was the first the doctor had ever delivered. She stated she didnt want to scare us, but that most of the time when knots are present in the double state that the results are not great. She was talking to Mark and the nurses and mentioned that late term deaths occur from these types of knots. I always say things happen at times for a reason and I believe it more now. She was meant to be born early. She had an eventful beginning and now an eventful end. I am very glad she came when she did.
I cant remember the next few hours but I was happy my dad came to see me. It was a huge relief to have someone tell me everything was okay besides Mark. It was a little surreal, but in the end worked out just fine. Having time to relax and rest was nice. We had a few visitors at the hospital but Mark needed to get Charlotte home and needed to get ready for the grind of the weekend.  Of course we delivered the day that Charlotte was scheduled for the daddy daughter dance and Mark was kind enough to suffer through the fatigue to take her.

Georgia Elizabeth was born just at the right time for her. We are in the middle of adjusting to 2 babies, but I will say that I feel blessed to have two amazing little girls. We might be poor in our future to put them in princess dresses, ballet classes, sports, fancy dresses and one day weddings but I wouldnt change it for the world.

0 Life with 2- and back to work

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
It has been 9 weeks since we joined the world of the family of 4. It has been fast and slow all the same but lessons are continuously being learned. As parents do we ever feel like we have enough answers let alone all the answers we need? I am not sure I will ever figure it out.

The first few weeks were a blur. I couldn't tell you what I did on a daily basis at this point. The baby slept well and was a good baby but between pumping, cleaning the house, trying to get myself back together, dealing with random stuff at home I was beginning to think that I would never catch up. Just when you think you have a routine down and are prepared the fun of preparing to go back to work starts.  I am not sure if one is ever truly prepared for going back to work, but I will say that the adventure was much different this time around.

With Charlotte I was fortunate enough to take 12 weeks of work off. I had time to bond, practice being a mom and get my routine down a bit before that time rolled around. I had her in May which gave me plenty of outdoor time, time to spend at the pool and even to get in a few small summer trips with the husband and baby before I started to prepare to return. We had a nanny lined up, practiced the morning routine (at least the routine not necessarily the getting up at 5am part) and made sure we had purchased everything that we needed for the baby and me being apart. The process was emotional and I eased myself back in working half days the first few days and then slowly back to a full schedule within a few weeks. The second time proved to be a much different event.

With Georgia I was fortunate enough to have our wonderful Kim to love on my kiddos while I was at work. She has been helping us since May of 2013 so she knows my house, knows my parenting style and understands how much I appreciate her. The baby wouldn't have to leave the house so the stress of packing enough clothes, diapers, creams, pacifiers, burp cloths, hats, lotions etc. was eliminated. I just needed to focus on myself. Considering I only took 8 weeks off, it was much less bonding time, less time to lose weight, and less time to mentally prepare. I am not sure if it was a good thing to not think about it as much, but it is starting to catch up with me.

I am in my second week back in the office. I almost detached myself from my emotions last week when I returned to avoid crying meltdowns in the office. I prepared myself with new clothing, a pair of new shoes and a routine that made my mornings easier. G was sleeping almost too well and I was ready to get back into a routine. Do I miss my snuggle time with my girls- yes. Do I know that I am setting a good example for them and helping to provide my family a better life- yes. Does it still pain me to think of them when I am at work-yes.Am I glad I do it- yes. I am not sure if it is the second child thing or the exhaustion but its definitely hard. I wouldn't trade my situation for anything at the moment (well give me a huge salary and I would still work, just hire someone to clean, put away laundry and do the chores I hate to do at home and its easy. i realize that I am fortunate enough to enjoy my time away and be a better mom when I return. Having good people in your life make all the difference.

I am sure this post is a lot disjointed since I am all over the place today but I have to jot these things down before I forget them. Off to snuggle the littlest lady in our house and maybe get a hug or kiss from the bigger one (she is too cool some days for that).

0 Becoming the parents of two- how do you really prepare...

Friday, February 28, 2014
Everyone had plenty of advice for us when we found out we were pregnant again. Most of the advice we received was how to prepare our dear Charlotte for the new baby. Nervous was an understatement. When you decide to have another child no one prepares you for the emotions you will go through in the 9 months to follow. The first preganacy has plenty of distractions- from starting a baby registry to parties and planning a new room are just some of these destractions that make the months go by faster. When you are pregnant with number 2, you get lots of questions. Are you ready to handle two? Wow, two kids are expensive? Are you going to find out the gender this time? All of the questions become daunting in the end and sometime distract you from the things you need to prepare for.
When you are finally grasping the fact that you will be a parent of two you finally realize the questions that do need answered. We start thinking about room configurations, babysitting, time off from work and how you are going to prepare baby number one for baby number 2. The things that really matter are pushed off until the point where you realize that you need to tackle them and you arent sure if you are ever going to get them accomplished.

We found out we were pregnant in July of 2013. Middle of the summer, it was hot and I wasnt sure what we were going through. I was sicker than a dog. Morning sickness was something that I experienced morning, noon and night. Trying to hide this pregnancy was something that I wasnt able to do as easily. If you think you could hide it the first 12-14 weeks the first time you cant the second. You start showing way sooner than you plan. Your body is stretched out from the first time and you arent quite ready to see yourself growing as early as you are.  By the time we were announcing the pregancy, it was almost old news to everyone. You could clearly tell I was having another baby. Preparing the house and Charlotte for baby number two would be our focus for most of the pregnancy and who knew if we could even prepare ourselves enough for baby number two.

Our house is more than capable to handle the second child. When we purchased our home a few weeks before we had Charlotte, we purchased a 4 bedroom home knowing that we would one day want two children. As much as we loved our C, we knew that having a sibling would be beneficial for her later in her life. Having a friend and a confident, even if it was a boy, would be something she would thank us for one day even if it was in her adult life. We have always struggled with C sleeping in her own bed (ours is much more fun to her) so we prepared her for a big girl room. We planned to turn our guest room into C's big girl room and started to scope out plans to make it her space. Comforters were purchased, curtains were hung and finally paint was ready to go on the walls. After a few more trips to Home Depot than we planned, she had her big girl room. Did she sleep in in- nope, but its ready for her when she finally decides she is ready to cut that cord.

Emotionally we tried to prepare Charlotte as much as possible. When we would be around people that had more than one child we would explain big brother and big sister to her as well as babies and such to Charlotte. We spent time explaining change to her but also tried to make sure that she understood her place in our hearts. We started Gymnastics with daddy and swimming lessons with daddy to prepare her for special time and to make her have somewhat of a distraction. Not only did she learn new skills but it also helped us realize how independent she was becoming. Watching her learn and grow is something that we are both seeing. Her development is strong and she is learning but how will she react to baby number two.

Fast forward to now, as I look back on the last few months I wouldn't trade it for the world. Do I feel that we prepared her well- yes. Do I think we could have done something different-no. Would I have done anything different- no. Was the reaction what I expected- HELL NO. The first few days were awful. We went into labor in the middle of the night and C was sleeping (I will save that story for the labor update) but we didn't want to wake her to say goodbye. I regret this. I should have woken her up and told her what was going on. I guess you don't know how to handle these situations until you are in them. I made a decision as a parent that I regret, but it could have been just as bad with her waking up.  Later the next day after the baby was born we had Kim bring her to the hospital. The reaction was awful. She wasn't the little girl I left in bed the night before. I sat and watched her hold her head down and not be the vocal little person I love so much. As I look back now I understand it was just a part of her dealing with change, however, it was hard on a hormonal lady. I cried a ton and tried to make her feel special, but it was admittedly rough. C stayed with my parents and got some special time but I will say i wasn't sure how things were going to go the first few weeks.

Looking back two weeks later I can say things are adjusting just fine. Prepared for two kids - no. Adjusting to two kids- yes. C is adjusting very well and is making for a good big sister. She is finding her adjustments by sometimes acting like a baby and sometimes acting like a 5 year old. We are trying to keep her on a schedule and the only other adjustment will be when I go back to work. I am hoping she will continue to amaze me as a big sister while we learn to be a family of 4. I am excited to be a mother of these beautiful girls and really looking forward to their relationships later on in their life.

0 Year 2 of Charlotte Jane.... the adventures continue

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
As we started year 2 of the life of Charlotte Jane, we began to see her develop and grow into a beautiful little girl. We had our trials and lessons and learned to adjust. You enjoy going to Totters Otterville, the Cincinnati Zoo, the Newport Aquarium, The Library for story time and music class and you love to sing and dance. You will play with sticks in the mud while wearing a tutu, you will climb on rocks and play in the barnyard with papaw. You took your first vacation and are still changing constantly. You learned to become a big sister and have really learned your voice. You have a great personality and amaze us daily with the things you come up with.
Some highlights of your second year:
First trip out of town in a hotel- We went to Pittsburgh for a wedding-
Your visit to Primanti Bros in Pittsburgh

Museum in Pittsburgh

We spent lots of time in the summer eating icecream, going downtown and visiting the farm:
Daddy lunch date
Swimming beauty

Tractor wont cooperate
Family pictures at the farm
Decisions on dinner

Second Halloween costume

We celebrated you turning two just as big as turning one. You had a farm party that was amazing. Lots of love was shared and plenty of food and cake!
Birthday invites
Blowing out the candles

Cant wait to celebrate year 2-3 with you. Love the way you are growing and changing.

0 Year one recap - part 2

Of course I get interrupted while planning out these posts and they are already over a year late, but I have time to catch up so why not.

Charlotte Jane- your second 6 months were just as eventful as the first. You are starting to interact and really become a fun little girl. You had your first Christmas (I think you enjoyed the lights and the sparkle more than anything else, but you were spoiled rotten. Who knew that a little girl could get so many things at such a young age. You loved Santa and had very cute faces after
anything people showed or gave you.

Your first Christmas gifts

Proof you liked Santa

We moved into 2012 and enjoyed watching you grow and learn every month. You were not much of a crawler and actually didnt start crawling until close to 9 months and then quickly stood up and started walking a month later. I still remember taking you to buy your first pair of shoes. Your daddy was proud to get you a pretty pair of pink and white Stride Rite shoes to help you walk at Nordstrom and we were happy to watch you learn and grow.
Your first walking shoes!

We had lots of adventures and enjoyed spending time outside and watching you grow. We had a very eventful party for you and started the tradition of taking you to the zoo on your birthday for time with mama and daddy without distractions.  Thank you for being your fun little self and letting us learn how to be parents. Here are some pictures of the second 6 months of Charlotte Jane. The joy you bring us is more than you can imagine.
Feeding yourself for the first time
First Birthday Party