Monday, December 31, 2012

thy faith hath made thee whole.

there's a story in the scriptures about a woman who, having suffered for fifteen years with what is described as an "issue of blood" but what i assume was something that we would currently diagnose as  endometriosis or fibroids,  heard about the Savior and His power. when she knew He was coming, he crawled through a crowd to touch the hem of His garment, knowing that even a minor contact with Him would have the power to heal her.  i have to believe that she considered herself unworthy of an audience with Him, feeling like her problem was not enough to warrant such attention, but was desperate enough to look for any road to healing. 

i have never thought of this story as anything other than what it is presented as in the scriptures--a story of exceptional faith. i never saw myself in it or felt the personal connection to it that i might have with other stories.

i get it now.

as i was cleaning the kitchen tonight, i stepped back and felt what has become a too-common shooting pain in my left ankle.  i don't know what it is--it started last week and i think it might have something to do with the cold--but it is very painful, much more painful than the first few steps in the morning, when i have to lean on any available surface to try to get started.

and these always take me by surprise.

so as i was wincing in pain, my yelp bringing my husband in to see if i was okay (he thought i had cut myself), i said "what if i can never run and play with my kids?"

and i began to cry a little.

while my husband assured me that it will get better (and my mind tells me it will, however frustrated my heart and body are with the slow progress), i thought about this story.

i now completely understand how someone would crawl through a crowd, hands and knees in dirt, being kicked and jostled and paid no mind, to touch the hem of the Savior. beyond the obvious, that it would be such an honor to even be in His presence, i understand that kind of longing desire for healing.  i told my husband that i guess, if it never gets better, i will look forward to the resurrection that much more.  i long to be whole so much.

i would crawl through any crowd for the chance to run with my daughter through a park. to not face every parking lot with complete terror that she might pull away from me and i will not be able to chase after her.  to not be housebound because i haven't figured out how to go down the stairs with both my toddler and my baby and my whacked ankle.

to be whole.

i say this not to elicit sympathy, but to say that i understand, just a little bit better, the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  i understand how the power to heal is such a gift. 

i wonder, a little more, how i can call upon the power of Heaven to help me in this journey. but mostly i am grateful to have found, yet again, another Someone who understands. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

valleys and mountains and all kinds of cliches.

so, a lot of people have told me how well i'm doing, how surprised they are that i am keeping (or trying to keep) a cheerful attitude about this whole broken pregnant thing.

my reaction? what else am i supposed to do?

am i supposed to whine, rage, complain, be bitter? am i supposed to let myself sink into the kind of darkness that is not anywhere close to being helpful in moving me THROUGH this? sinking seems to indicate being stuck, and i'm physically stuck enough. i don't need any extra emotional or mental or spiritual stuckness.

so i've been trying to soldier on, and it helps so much to see progress.  yesterday, i got down the stairs on my own and actually got up off the stairs without any help. it just sort of happened, and it was kind of awesome.

but with any of this stuff, there are always setbacks, and yesterday was a big one.

baby girl is breech, so i have to have a c-section.

i would like to say that i didn't see this coming, that i didn't know i was going to be asked to do this, that i didn't know that additional challenges were coming our way, but that's not really true at all. i think i knew, all along, that this was what was going to happen.  that's how God works in my life--He prepares me as much as He can along the way. 

but i was definitely hopeful, and i thought that she had turned.  they told me in the ER with my leg that she was breech. i thought maybe she had turned in the fall and would turn around again.  i thought i had convinced myself that she had.  no such luck, unfortunately. 

so here we are, a day and a half away from baby day and yesterday i was entirely shell shocked.  i don't know how else to describe it.  i wasn't surprised, but i was petrified. fear from the tips of my fingers to the tips of my toes and everything inbetween. i think i had imagined that it would be so much worse than it really will be--that my present condition will be almost impossible for mobility, that i will tear open the incision, that i will not be able to function in that much pain.  that taking care of my most basic needs will be impossible. that i will never, ever get to the 2nd floor of my house again. 

these are all fears, and like all fears, they are probably rooted in some degree of truth but have blossomed into something entirely overwhelming (much like the renegade bush outside my kitchen window--that thing is a demon).  the overwhelming is usually what paralyzes, and it's also usually what isn't actually so.  strangely, i find that to be true. the things that scare me the most are usually the things that never really happen.

in the meantime, though, the paralytic nature of such fear makes it almost impossible to move forward, in faith or hope or any kind of positive emotion.  instead, you just sit there, wrapped up in the fear, and wait for the worst to happen.

in this case, it means that i was dreading the birth of our baby.

isn't that awful? i hope you take that in the spirit in which it is intended--i don't dread meeting tessa. i just was so wrapped up in the logistics and scary nature of it all that i was missing the point.

we are having a BABY.

she's a miracle. her lungs are mature. she's healthy. she's about the size of maggie when maggie was born (i apparently grow them all the same size, though we'll see...).  she's active and kicking and apparently really likes being nestled up near my heart.  she's her own person, she does things her own way, and she refuses to listen to anyone else's ideas for her.  she reminds me of me, in that way.

i worry, still, that there's something wrong with her.  not a thing has been detected on her 3 ultrasounds.  i feel certain something would have, were there something to detect.  but i still worry a bit, especially with all that has come in our path the last few months.  i just worry that somehow, somewhere, there's another shoe that's about to drop.

but regardless, i have been praying to move forward with faith and hope. hope is so much what i need: hope that i will have the strength to do all that i need to do, hope that the path for us will be made clear, hope that we will have sufficient for our needs, hope that our family will be whole and healthy and strong and normal again soon, hope that our burdens will be lifted in some small measure. 

i need hope. i cling to hope, especially for myself.  i cling to it because, in the face of something i have never experienced, hope allows me the capacity to believe that i can face just one thing at a time and conquer it. hope allows me the space to know that, hey, i don't have to know it all right now. i just have to take it one step at a time.  that's all i need.

and if that's all i need to do, i think i can do it.

it's trying to see farther than that, trying to move more than that, that makes me a little bit more than just a little bit afraid.

so in the meantime, i pray for hope and i pray for joy, so that i can go into this with full confidence that the ONLY thing that really matters is a healthy, happy, strong new baby. 

everything else, i can weather.  i'm strong enough for that, i think, in my strength and in my weakness. 

i'd like to say i know why all of this is happening. i don't. all i know is that every single day, i have more of a testimony of the goodness of people, of the capacity of the human heart, of the strength of the individual, and of the absolute and total dependence i have on my Heavenly Father.  i'm still not great at praying like i should, and i should read more scriptures. but i have no doubt, not even a little bit, that He knows me, He loves me, and He is holding me and my family in the hollow of His hand. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

weakness: broken but not broken.

i have never been as in need as i am now and it's very frightening at times.

if you don't already know this about me, i am not someone who readily asks for help. in fact, i think i resist it because i don't want to be seen as weak, or because i don't want to put anyone out, or i don't want to cede control of the way i do things or my life.

you don't get those kinds of choices when you can no longer put your weight on your left leg.  you don't get those kinds of choices when you can't climb the stairs in your own home. you don't get those kinds of choices when the discharge instructions say that you should keep your affected leg elevated AT ALL TIMES. you don't get those kinds of choices when you can no longer care for your 1 year old on your own.

sometimes, asking for help ceases to be a "luxury" and suddenly becomes a necessity.

in those moments, it's very frightening.  though i am getting much better at doing some things for myself, i am no longer in the position to be the caretaker. i am the cared for, and boy can i tell you that that is hard for me.

it's not that i don't recognize that we need help. i absolutely do recognize that we need help. my husband starts his student teaching in a week. he will be gone for 8 hours a day, and i can't take care of my baby by myself.  we have tons of people offering to help, but it's hard for me to not stare that great gaping need in the face and have fearless confidence in other people. that's not to say that i don't believe in them or in their capacity to help, because i absolutely do--but it's more like i am not accustomed to this feeling, this absolute dependence on someone else, and so it scares me mightily to need so much.

the need itself is almost paralyzing, if i let it be so.

i have been humbled. i think that's not a bad thing. 

strength: broken but not broken.

i'm not sure who's still reading this.  it's fine if no one is, because i have yet to decide what to do with it now that i have another blog that deals with the kids and is protected. it will certainly take over the cute kid portion of our program, and i haven't decided if i just want to start journaling (so i can not edit myself at all) or if i want to keep this little portion of the internet for myself.

long story short, if i'm talking to crickets, it's okay. i understand.

lots of stuff going on here, most of which has been incredibly challenging.

on august 2nd, i fell on the stairs, did the split, and sustained an open fracture of my leg/ankle. i had surgery that day and was in the hospital for two more. i came home sunday and have yet to be able to get to the 2nd floor of my home. camping out, as my mother in law puts it, willy wonka style in my living room is what's going on up in here.

it's been a trial, a blessing, a learning experience, and a wonder all at once. 

i think there are moments when you see yourself for what you didn't know you were. that has been my experience with this, or at least it was for the first few days.  when it happened, i screamed in fear and freak out for about 30 seconds. then, as my wonderful husband rushed to see what happened (and it was abundantly clear that i had done something fairly horrible to myself), i switched into some sort of practical, deal-with-it gear.  i started rattling off directions, because he was understandably rattled.  "you're going to need to call 911." after he did that, i said "you need to call your mom and have her come up right away to watch maggie." and then "i'm going to need my insurance card. my wallet is in the green bag." and then "you'll need food for maggie and diapers and stuff" because he was going to follow me to the hospital in the van with the magpie until his mom could meet us there. 

after all of that was handled, i sat, beginning to shake in a splits formation on my stairs, clinging to the rail just above my head. 911 had said not to move me.  i wasn't inclined to do that anyways.  he sat on the stair below me to help hold me up. i prayed. he gave me a blessing.  i prayed that the ambulance would come soon, because i was so uncomfortable. it wasn't pain--just totally uncomfortable.  i was bleeding, and when the ambulance came (they didn't know it was an open fracture), they didn't understand why i hadn't moved.  so they helped me move.  and then they wrapped it up as best they could, and i scooted down the stairs, having the presence of mind to not get my one pair of maternity shorts bloody on the way. 

who does that?

we rode and i tolerated it.  we got to the trauma unit and i tolerated it. the only time i cried was when they tried to reset my dislocated ankle. even that wasn't too bad (by then they had given me the good drugs). i was more upset when they did an ultrasound and we found out that the baby had turned breech (i think she's turned again--or so it feels) in the fall. she's perfectly healthy and was the whole time, even under the influence of some pretty good drugs.

then they came and told me that the reset of my ankle had worked in one place but not in another.  i'd had enough by then. i told them that i needed my husband. the first time, i'd been by myself because he had maggie and the last thing i wanted my baby to be was freaked out by mommy freaking out.  this time? no way. i needed my husband.  he came. it was bad.  they couldn't get it back in and so they kept on trying. sorry to be so detailed, but i don't want to forget. i was sobbing, just saying over and over that i couldn't take anymore. 

they finally stopped, saying that they would do it in surgery.

yeah. thanks for that.

because i was 35.75 weeks pregnant at the time, they were very cautious.  on the one hand, we were far enough along that if anything happened, baby girl could be born and would be more than likely fine. on the other hand, it was two patients they were dealing with instead of just one.

as the stars always align when i have some sort of emergency, i had two of the top people on my team. my anesthesiologist was, in fact, the inventor of these nerve block pumps that they put into my sciatic and femoral nerve to try to kill the sensation enough to do the surgery on that alone. it didn't work, but it's what kept me pain and narcotic free for the entirety of my stay after surgery. he was wonderful, kind, and really concerned about me and my baby. i was very dehydrated when i went into surgery, so when they did the spinal (i was awake for the surgery because it's much safer for the baby) my blood pressure kept dropping. he told me later that i reminded him of why he hadn't done obstetrics in so long--it was too stressful!

they put me back together, ala humpty dumpty, with 2 pins, 1 plate, and an assortment of screws (cool tidbit: i got to look behind me and see the in-progress x-rays. it was very awesome to see all the hardware--and not a little surreal!).  they took me up to the ortho floor and i was remarkably not in pain. my husband was astounded. he expected me to be in horrible pain, but my pain never reached anything higher than a 3 or 4 on the scale of 1-10 the whole time i was there.

they kept me on the nerve blocks for 2.5 days, hoping to give me enough time to heal enough to get over the huge pain hump before heading home. they turned them off at 4am on sunday, and came by to see how i was doing. they had given me 2 tylenol when they turned them off. before that, my leg was really heavy and dead, which made moving really hard but made feeling also pretty impossible. when they came to check me at 8am, to see if i was ready to go home, they called me the toughest lady in the hospital. i thought they were joking, but they really weren't.

and in those moments, when i think back to them, i think "wow. i am much stronger than i think i am." you don't know that until you're tested. you don't really know what you're made of until you have to put it on the line. my mom has always had an incredible tolerance for pain, and i've always been the wimpy one. when they told me that i was the toughest lady, i thought "i am my mother's daughter." what a proud moment for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

33.5 weeks.

this pregnancy is hitting my body image HARD.

numbers on the scale are frightening.  i am reaching the "i don't care" stage--case in point, i had pop tarts twice in 24 hours for the first time in like...ever. my party line is that there is no excuse for pop tarts.

unless you're 9 months pregnant, that is. 

and cookie dough.  i haven't gone overboard with that, which is pride-inducing, but i'm just so tired of caring when it doesn't matter. even when i'm eating well, i'm still gaining weight at a predictable, relatively normal rate.  but when you already hoped to not gain much, it's sort of depressing.

i desperately want to be able to not be frustrated with my toddler, to not be tired at 6pm and then wired at 11pm, to be able to finish all of these projects that i have, but work and my big belly seem to get in the way.

and then i feel guilty.

why am i so anxious to be done? it seems unfair to tessa.  she needs to cook. i'm totally fine with that on an intellectual level. i don't want her here yet. it's far too soon.

but good grief, i'm going to be DONE DONE DONE when she is. 

i think that's a good thing, but it feels like an eternity until that point.

in the meantime, i'm trying to eat better. i'm trying to get more rest. i'm trying to remind myself that, once she's out, even if she's screaming every 45 minutes for food, those 30 minutes inbetween will be much better sleep than now. 

i'm a broken record. i'm sorry. i just wanted to say, somewhere, that i am tired, i am huge, and i am tired of being huge. 

when i was at my midwife appointment on monday, i met a new one (i'm far enough along to start seeing everyone so that i can be familiar with them in case they are on call when i deliver).  she asked me if i was planning to have more kids, and i said, emphatically, "oh yeah. we're not done." and she was so excited. she said "normally, when people are as pregnant as you are, they are not as quick to say they'll get into this again. that's so great."

i guess that's a good sign that i'm not THAT miserable.  i think i just want to stop feeling like i'm the fattest thing ever.  i'm really, really, really looking forward to that immediate 20 pound weight loss.  i am retaining so much water this time that i know that it will be crazy. 

and, of course, i'm excited to meet tessa. but i'll be straight up--that's a side benefit to getting my body back for a while. 

see? guilt.  i shouldn't be thinking that way!

i'm sure i'm not the first to think that, though.  i hope not anyways.


Friday, July 6, 2012

32.5 weeks.

i don't remember how i felt when i was this pregnant last time. was i this tired? was i this determined to get EVERYTHING done before she came? was i this down on myself, watching the number on the scale move ever closer to a number i haven't seen in YEARS?

i'm sure i was. in fact, i may go back and look at the posts from that time when i'm done with this one so that i can remember.  i do remember a few choice, golden nuggets of pregnancy side effects that have reared their ugly heads again. i seem to remember, in fact, that one of them happened right about this time and i was like "what?!?" 

it's hard being pregnant and having a toddler. it's not like she's physically demanding, really. she climbs the stairs on her own and can climb down with a finger to hold on to.  she climbs on me, but doesn't mind sitting on a tall pillow beside me.  she's not THAT heavy, and i'm not so large that getting her in and out of her carseat is a big deal. 

no, it's not physical. it's entirely emotional.  it's just exhausting keeping up with her, especially when she's in a "i'm not listening..." mood that day. i just don't have any patience. and it's not just with her. i have no patience with anyone, really: drivers on the road, students in my class, any piece of technology, my poor, wonderful husband, dishes, the fact that dinner has to be made every night.  nothing. i have patience for nothing.  this has been, by far, the worst side effect of this pregnancy. my mood swings are just not good.  i'm taking fish oil to try to combat it (read about it online), and i don't know if it's working or not. i know when i am eating better, eating more protein, i tend to feel better.  imagine that.

(ahahahahaha....just found week 33 from maggie--sound familiar?)

whatever. i'm getting stuff done. i'm determined. and i'm sometimes miserable. but not as miserable as i could be. perhaps not even as miserable as i might one day be, sometime soon.  perhaps not even as miserable as i deserve to be, given my attitude.  my feet keep swelling up, and that FRUSTRATES me so much (i never swelled much with my first pregnancy...summer pregnancies suck for that reason alone).  i've got aches and pains and braxton-hicks that beat the band, man.  but i get to practice my deep breathing and it's all good.

56 days, give or take 14.  i can make it. there's a little co-sleeping bassinet set up in our room now that tells me that, whatever i endure, it's worth it in the end. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

nesting, part one.

papers to grade, closets to organize, etc. so i really shouldn't be on here when my husband is taking charge of ye olde crazy toddler baby downstairs (why does she like to kick so much? why does she smile when we tell her no? MADDENING, I TELL YOU. MADDENING.) so that i can get work done, but...

...i spent eight hours (no, really. i am pretty sure it was close to eight hours) yesterday basting together the letter for Baby T's contribution to the nursery.  i thought it would be a lot more complicated, then i thought it would be a lot easier, then i was all ARGH. THIS IS TAKING FOREVER. but it's almost done, save reinforcing the seams with the sewing machine (i was away, so i did it by hand) and stuffing and closing and hanging. 

i had puffy ankles to show for it (oh, hello period of time wherein if i don't walk around a bit while sitting in the same position, i get slightly balloony ankles) and my hands were all carpal tunnely but it makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, i might be ready when this girl gets here.

so much left to do, but i turned to my husband and said "i think i must be getting ready to have a baby. i have the need to sew."

it's true. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

i think i've lost my chops.

i've never considered myself an exceptionally social person, though i very much like to meet people and to engage in spirited conversation. i always liked hanging out with friends in my pre-marriage life, and i liked making fun happen.

i don't know what has happened to that person, but socializing wears me out, mainly because i feel like once you get married it's awkward to try to have friends.

am i the only one who feels that way?

even standard sorts of activities seem strained to me, especially if my kid is around. i'm certain that's because i don't have the wherewithal to try to engage socially when i'm trying to make sure my kid doesn't launch herself, head first, off of a set of stairs, but it's also just sort of exhausting to put an almost 14 month old in the midst of adults.  it's a landmined field of awesome, because i don't know where she'll go or what she'll do and yay there she is talking to a stranger and oh boy there's a tablecloth she's going to pull (not might...going) because wouldn't you if you were at that height?

you get my drift here, right?

so we have bantered, off and on, about how we should invite people over, make friends, do things. but honestly? i'm tired.  and i want to make friends, and i seem to do okay when i'm on my own, but when it's a family thing, i just stink at it.

so is that how married life is? you have your separate friends? because i find it exceptionally easy to make momfriends, and i don't mind when it's a momfriend activity plus baby because moms tend to gravitate toward the non-potentially-lethal activities.  but mostly i just feel stupid at other socializing, and like people just don't like me.

but maybe this is how it just is right now? maybe someday, when our kids are a bit older and we have settled someplace, we will find families who have similarly aged children and be friends with them (because, hopefully, i'll like the moms of my kids' friends or that's going to really be stupid)?

so i'm putting this out there: is this normal? am i just bad at this now?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

sleep vignettes and other adorable things.

if i don't write these down, i'll never remember, and i want to remember, and this is the easiest place to do it.

this weekend, maggie spent an inordinate amount of time winding down for bed. she just laid in her pack and play (we were away) and chattered. i swear she said every word that she knew, but especially the ones that she had mastered that day. "auntie, auntie, auntie, auntie" was like a mantra chant.  she got a bit upset when she heard her daddy leave the room (she hadn't realized i had come in), and cried. i gave her hugs and laid her back down a couple of times.  then i listened to her chatter some more.  she seemed to chill out, and then i heard her say "YUM! yum." and then all was silence.

those were her final words. she's a nut.


about a month ago, she started getting better with her sleep with some encouragement from us.  one night, as we began another process of getting her to be more independent with her put-down process, i just sat and watched her.  she was in her crib, not upset at all, playing with her blue bear.  she folded her arms with him, then hugged and kissed him, then put him down on the bed and patted next to him. suddenly it occurred to me that she was doing our bedtime routine with blue bear--prayers, hugs, kisses, loves, and into bed. 

amazing little kid she is.


she knows the word "taco," and she says it like "tato." her dad thinks that's the most adorable thing she says. i have been pretty enchanted by "pup!" which she likes to say all of the time as well.

she mastered the word "banana" today. during lunch, she just kept saying it (she had previously only said "ba") and saying it and saying it until she had it down.  now, when she sees it in a book, it's "banana."   before that, her only other two syllable words were those with the "ee" sound at the end: "daddy" and "teddy."


she's started babbling sentences.  today, it was like i was living in a country for which i had not studied the language well enough. every few words would be one i would recognize, and it was obvious that the sentences had meaning, but i haven't the foggiest idea what they meant.  as bill cosby says, "i just listen for my name."


today, she fell asleep by herself on the floor of the living room. she found the pile of freshly washed blankets and decided she was done. so she put herself to sleep.

MILES from where we were, let me tell you.


she's starting to cry when she thinks she's in trouble, especially with her daddy. it's sort of heartbreaking and adorable at the same time.  i think she might get that from me--i very much don't like to be in trouble.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

week 25: baby t.

dear baby t,

we know your name now. we like it, and we've been using it more and more.  maggie tries to say it, and it's fairly adorable, and i like the idea that you are someone now. not that you weren't someone before, but you are who you are now. 

your name story is sort of like your sister's, but less certain. that's not to say that we don't feel sure now--because we do--but it wasn't as clear at first that your name was being chosen, or that we were being helped.  we just sort of...landed on this name and couldn't get it out of our head. we went through what must be a fairly typical process of finding a bunch of names we sort of liked, and then narrowing it down, and then narrowing it down some more, until we had about three or four. but the other three were nothing compared to your name.  and we couldn't get it out of our heads.  so we didn't. and we figured out, finally, that the reason we couldn't is because you had chosen your name.

we were the ones that were a little slow on the uptick.  forgive us, baby.  we got it now.

your name is spunky and sweet, graceful and powerful.  it has room for astrophysics or for cake design, for being a lawyer or being a mom or being all of those things if you so choose. that's important to me--that you can walk into any interview anywhere and be taken seriously. we even asked grandma tutu what she thought of our short list. "would you give them an interview?" we asked. and she answered honestly. and that was good.

you kick a lot and move even more.  you seem to like sugar, but i think mainly you're like me--you're a person who needs to eat frequently, and you like it when you do.  you started to kick tonight as i was putting maggie to bed, when i was singing.  that was sweet. i like to think it's because you heard my singing and liked it. maybe it's because maggie was on my lap and you wanted all of it to yourself. who knows? but i liked it. pretty soon, i think maggie's going to figure out that she's being kicked by you. 

hopefully that won't be the beginning of sibling rivalry.

i think of all that i did for maggie's pregnancy and what i haven't done for yours, and i feel a bit badly about it. i only have like three pictures of my belly.  i am not recording every little thing.  but i am still invested, baby girl, and i'm still planning. i'm still working and i'm still trying. 

thanks for being patient. i promise you, somehow, i will figure out how to be a good mom to both of you. there may be bumps in the road, but i hope you know how loved and wanted you are.  we are very excited to welcome you to our family.

keep cooking for a while yet, though. we're not ready for you quite yet.


Friday, May 11, 2012

four am wakeup call.

i'm 24 weeks tomorrow, and the hip pain while sleeping has commenced.

i don't remember when it started with maggie. i seem to remember going to the doctor after weeks of not sleeping well and my doctor looking at me and saying "you look tired." i feel like if the most unobservant of doctors i've ever had makes a comment like that, you must actually look like a truck ran over, backed up, ran over again and then dragged your remnants far and wide.

so i'm not sure when that started, but i know it was a pretty big, long deal.  we're just a few weeks away from the third trimester (finally! yay!), so i think it was probably around this time.


maggie has been making HUGE strides in her sleep. as in, she's basically doing it herself now. she'll rock for a few minutes (like 2 or 3) and then she squirms and points at her bed and signs please when we ask her if she's ready for her bed.  then she might whine and complain a bit, put her bear to bed, or just lay down on her blankets and settle in.

she does it all by herself.

we're still in the room at this point, but we're getting farther and farther away. i'm pretty sure that soon we won't need to be there at all. 

i feel so very proud of her and so very grateful at the same time. it's been hard work, but i think what's most rewarding is that we did it by listening to her and to the Spirit. we did subscribe to anyone's plan of sleep training. we listened to our kid and we prayed. and when the time was right to do something else, we did it.  and it was hard at first and it was exhausting but when i think about how quickly she changed and how much she has grown since then, i am so proud of us for being brave and i am so proud of her for doing it on her own. 

and the past few nights, she's been sleeping better than she has in AGES.  what a blessing.

i don't expect it to be an every night thing. but it's so nice to see that she can do it.  i think she had slept through the night ONCE in the four or five months previous to this last month. now she's done it three or four times (once on the night before her birthday party--what a blessing!).  i'm grateful for long stretches. 

but i don't really get them.  last night, i was wide awake at 4am. i think it might be because my body is so accustomed to not getting straight sleep (longest stretch is usually 3 hours, maybe 4). when it got 5.5 straight hours, it was like BING! TIME TO WAKE UP!  so up i was.  finally, at 5, maggie woke up briefly.  when she went back to sleep, i went to work. i got a lot done, but goodness i am tired at 930.  why am i not in bed?

i still have work to do, and there's something lovely and wonderful about the time to be just me (whether it's working or not) after she goes to bed. she's kind of squally right now--cold + big fat molar coming in (the gum in superswollen now and pushing up) = whiny, weepy, cranky kid.  plus, we're in the throws of the 2-1 nap transition. she's been on one nap for a couple of weeks now, and i think her body is still trying to adjust to that change.  some days she has monster naps. some days she barely has an hour long nap. 

nevertheless. things are good here.  i'm busy but my husband is home more.  i have read 2.5 mysteries in the past two weeks. i have gotten through the grading for seven classes.  i'm about to start four more, and i managed to plan two entire classes (including posting all of the materials and rewriting 8 quizzes) in two days while my baby was sick and my husband was getting there too.

it's a challenging life, but it's a good one.

even when i wake up at 4am.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

i've been having Deep Thoughts about motherhood and this whole gig wherein we take our lives in our hands to give life. 

but i can't think about that because the phrase that's going through my head constantly is "don't pee on my head and tell me it's raining."

let me pose this question to you, internets: is it possible for someone to try to upload two papers, to try to email said papers once before, and to fail both times miserably? as in, i never got them and am yet being told that, yes, said assignments have been sent?

at first i thought, sure. it could happen. i was suspicious, but okay. benefit of the doubt never hurt anyone.  but how can you tell me you sent it to an email address that i'm checking every single day from my phone (so multiple times a day) and yet never received it?

don't pee on my head and tell me it's raining.

student2 just sent me a superrude email after getting his superlow grade on his plagiarized paper, suggesting that it is, in fact, mere coincidence that his paper and a superfamous tell you everything about a book including themes and character sketches type of site has the same phrasing, the same ideas, the same construction. 

uh huh.  yup. i buy that. fine. i'll just tell you all of the things that are wrong with your paper on the face of it, tell you that you're rude and need to reconsider how you speak to someone in authority, and suggest that a few moments of careful reflection before hitting "send" wouldn't be wildly out of line. i should have also suggested a great deal of spell check, but even i'm not that snarky.

and the thing is? i still really like what i do. 

but next semester? so different. so very very different. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

the requisite end-of-semester professor rantfest

oh no, wait. that's been every afternoon in my house when my husband comes home.

"guess what?" i'll say and he'll probably inwardly roll his eyes heavenward, begging for the end of this trend toward tirading, and i'll launch into a diatribe about a student who begged and begged and begged for extra consideration for turning in late work and then doesn't turn them in, or the 90% of my class that didn't turn in their final paper on time, or the students who email me absolutely clueless about why the link to submit their paper has gone away two days after the paper was due.

this semester, though, it just felt so much worse. the absolute disregard for syllabi.  the inability to manage to read directions. the begging, pleading, whining, and sometimes downright saucy confrontations about policies that were deemed unfair (i never cower to those--they just annoy me).  it was a rough start for me to the semester, with the worst cold i've had in MONTHS (literally--hadn't been sick since maggie was born) and morning sickness on top of that and a baby being sick, and i feel like it took me weeks to catch up.

but catch up i had and things seemed to be running well.

i could sit here and say that this is all a reflection on me, but i won't because, while i do believe it's a bit of a reflection on the chaos in my life, it's not a reflection on me as a teacher. it is, however, a reflection on me as a syllabus writer and a policy upholder. 

i need to get my metaphorical and merciless ducks in a row.

beyond that, i think it's a sign of the times, sadly.  and it will just keep happening. but when it does, i'll have plans, policies, outlines, and details already published for students. they'll have agreed to them in writing. they'll have promised that they've read them.  thus, when the time comes for them to cry ignorance, i will feel confident (if not entirely comfortable, because i don't ever like being the bad, bad guy) holding my ground.

but goodness i've never been so glad to say goodbye to a semester in my life. 

good riddance.  two more weeks and i am done done done. 

just in time for summer to start. 


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

dear baby sister: thank you.

Baby Sister,

you rock already. i just wanted to tell you that now, as i'm thinking about it and you just flutterkicked the heck out of me.  you are awesome and already so, so different from your sister.

i don't expect any different. for your whole life.

everyone thought you were a boy, even daddy, and i did too because i felt so different.  but there was a time when i began to feel like you were another little girl, so by the time it was time to find out, i didn't care. i just wanted to know that all of your bones were growing, that your spine looked like such a beautiful string of pearls, that your head contained a big, beautiful brain, that your heart was beating well. 

so when they told me that you were a girl ("that view should look familiar" said the ultrasound tech), i was not expecting to be so filled with overwhelming joy. but i was.  pure joy, from my toes to my head.  i cried.

we are so excited for you.

before i went to that appointment, i ate a lot of jelly beans. see, when maggie was in my belly, she didn't want to move AT ALL for the ultrasound.  so i thought, just in case, i would urge you along.

i really didn't need to do that. in fact, i have to go back to get a picture taken of your heart because you moved SO MUCH. you were rockin' and rollin' in there, already an individual who had your own idea of how to behave in each situation. in fact, i have noticed that when i eat a lot of sugar, you react A LOT.  i should keep an eye on that, i think. but i love that about you. you're just so...excited.  already. 

i was thinking about you yesterday, and it sort of came to me that your reaction to the jelly beans and your tendency towards periods of huge activity (lots of kicks and flutters in a short amount of time) tell me a little bit about who you are. we've been trying to think about your name, and though we think we have it narrowed down (because nothing else seems to fit but this one name, though we're not certain), i just wasn't sure if it was you.

yes, we have lots of time to figure it out, but i want to start to get to know you. if i know your name, i think that helps.  so i was thinking about this name that we've been kicking around, and wondering if it suits you. and suddenly...i got a little glimpse of who you are.

and i think you're like me.

see, most of the time, i walk around getting VERY EXCITABLE about certain things and then moving on. it's not that i'm hyper or even especially passionate. i'm your daddy said...enthused about things that capture my fancy. so, lately, for example, i've been ranting and raving to your daddy about my teaching jobs.  "ranting" and "raving" may not be the best terminology, but i always get very animated, using my hands to punctuate what i say and feeling very strongly about what i say.  but that doesn't mean that my blood pressure rises or that i'm angry or upset--just ANIMATED.

and i think you might be like that too.

maggie is more like your daddy--steady, confident, sure of herself. i think you might be more like me: quick to be excited but perhaps equally quick to doubt.  i think the name we've been thinking of suits you, and i think it is a confident name, a name that says to the world that you are unique, an individual, but someone who is spunky and faces the world with a great deal of enthusiasm. 

i'm excited to meet you, baby girl.  i'm sure you'll grow to hate the fact that we called you Baby Sister until we were sure about your name, and maybe even after, but know that it's the greatest term of endearment we can come up with now. soon you'll be someone else, called by your name or by some nickname (like maggie's bubba or doodlebug) that i come up with organically because it just comes out of my mouth.

but in the meantime, sweet Baby Sister, thanks for being you. keep growing. keep kicking. keep reminding me that you are entirely different than our sweet maggie girl, because it just reminds me that i have double the blessings in the form of two extraordinary daughters who are bound to rule the world, with love, someday.

i love you already.  thanks for being content with what i have to offer right now, which isn't as much as i could give you under different circumstances.  i may be distracted, busy, and stressed, but each day brings more excitement to meet you and each day makes me want to know you more.  i can't wait to get to know you.  i think we're going to really like each other--at least until you're 11.  :)


Monday, April 16, 2012

cue the procrastination.

well, we made it.

we made it through the week we'd been both dreading and looking forward to for MONTHS--ultrasound, recital, maggie's first birthday party. it was GOOD. we were blessed. all went well, save some elevated blood pressure at the doctor's appointment (new doctor, they wanted me to do a ton of labwork because of it, i got a blood pressure monitor instead and have been monitoring--oh look, not a smidge over 120/70...going to call and say "not doing labs--have evidence it's nerves, so leave me alone" and see how that goes over). 

we made it.

now descends the end-of-semester madness.  yay for that.

but mainly i just wanted to write about how i think it's entirely CRAPPY that parents don't support other parents. we are all so darn judgmental. i posted a facebook status update about reverence in church. i wasn't yelling, i wasn't upset, i was just alarmed at how LOUD it is in church.  i specifically said i didn't think anything of kids being the cause of this, only that i thought the bigger people could be quieter in general, beginning with myself.  i have only noticed this lately, since maggie has been increasingly interested in the world and, therefore, increasingly difficult to get to sleep at church. i know the day is coming when she will no longer do it.  i'm not looking forward to that day at all, but in the meantime, i literally have to cover her ears, even when in the mother's room, when someone walks into the door of the building. it's absurd.

but the chapel? good grief. we walked in with a sleeping baby. but the pre-Sacrament meeting din was so loud that she woke up. i got her back to sleep, hello organ (not slamming the organ--just wow you don't notice how loud that is).  back to sleep, hello microphone.  and this all amid a lot of just noise.

it was just disturbing, that's all. (so was walking out during the opening prayer to hit the mother's room and seeing someone staring at me, who was clearly not closing eyes or bowing heads. weird.)

so i posted a status about it and i have some dad basically telling me that i'm doing it wrong, that it shouldn't be hard to just give them a look and a shh and that's it.  that the Spirit exists independent of children, that we should just listen to the speakers. he's a dad. and i don't want to be annoyingly sexist, but i wouldn't be surprised if i talked to his wife and she admitted to having the same problems that we (me and said dad's sister-in-law) have.  of course it's not my child's fault that i am distracted--but she IS the reason. it would be wonderful to just tune her out and listen to the speaker, but in the meantime, she would have climbed onto the pew and fallen off, cracking her skull, or removed the entire contents of my purse while proceeding to gum my iPhone into oblivion or eat a mechanical pencil, or walked onto the stand (climbing the stairs by herself) to party with the piano, or run down the hall never to be seen or heard from again.  that's not a viable option.

beyond that, WHY CAN'T WE JUST BE SUPPORTIVE? you don't have to agree with the other person. you can even suggest that the person may not be entirely clear on a particular concept. but why is it necessary to, when seeing a struggling parent, pour salt onto a metaphorical wound? what purpose does that serve? what good does it do? NONE.  it just divides parents.  shouldn't we be united, especially within our church? shouldn't we be each other's greatest support system?

i just don't get it. 

parenthood can be incredibly isolating. my sunday experiences are emblematic of this. i spend much of the three hour block separated from where i "should" be because i have responsibilities that call me out of class.  maybe you're the person who sits in the front row and thinks bad thoughts about the mom in the back row with the really adorable towheaded kid who wanders up to the front occasionally. maybe you're the one who doesn't understand why the family is sitting on the couch. maybe you're the one who thinks it can't be that difficult to just get a kid to take a nap. 

if you are, i guarantee you're not a parent yet, because i've been you.  but if you ARE a parent, and you still think that, i don't understand. i really, really don't understand.  nothing has taught me more about the need for friendly, empathetic faces and understanding arms than being a mom for the last year.  and now, with Baby Sister on the way and what can only be described as insanity looming this fall, i need it.

i just wish i could find it more readily sometimes.  i just wish we were all a little less sure of how right we are and a little more sure of how much we love each other and appreciate each other's challenges, even if they are not our own. 

and that rambling rant is now concluded in favor of SOME kind of productive work being done on my exhaustive/exhausting list of remaining things to grade.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

i find the following things awkward.

...chatting with students online. it feels uncomfortably familiar for me to approach a student on Gchat at 10:35pm, but it also feels unmerciful to not say "hey, you're not failing, you're just looking at the wrong thing" when i know it's true and the kid is sitting right there. it feels wrong...on all levels. especially when said student was all "hey, i'm going to skype you because it's weird that i've never seen you face to face and you're my teacher" and also took a picture of himself in a wifebeater as his skype profile picture...*shudder*

...finding out, through a ward member's blog, that there was apparently some big party at a ward member's house that a bunch of families were invited to...and we were not.  i think it was probably for older kids, but i still was all "wow. WOW. wow. we have no friends."

...having your mother-in-law refer to the baby that "we're" having.  uhm, does anybody else share this body, besides me and ye young baby bean? i think not.  brent gets props because a) he contributed 1/2 of the DNA, so yeah, he can claim him/her and b) he has to DEAL WITH ME every day. that ain't no easy feat sometimes, especially since i occasionally tell him i just want to hit him. not because he's done anything bad (never does...he's a prince) but because sometimes i just get irrationally aggressive when pregnant. i never DO hit him (unless he gives me permission) and i never do damage (haven't been to body combat in a LOOOOONNNNNG time...i am a pansy girl) but really? "we're" having a baby?  i think not.

...when you get a lot of hand-me-downs from people and then you realize you don't like any of them. or the vast majority of them are not in good condition. i feel awkward because, really, i am so grateful to anyone who wants to share with us. we are so blessed in that way, and i am so grateful. but the other part of me thinks that i would NEVER give anything to anyone else that wasn't in great condition.  maggie has onesies that she wore ONCE, got sweet potatoes all over, and destroyed.  i'd put her in it if i was desperate (before she grew out of it) and we were hanging around the house, but that's the equivalent of putting me in dirty gym shorts because all of my other shorts were in the washing machine.  does that make me a bad person?

...looking obviously pregnant and someone being surprised when i tell them that maggie's getting a sibling.  either i assume that the world looks at my belly way more than it does or else people just think i am enormously fat. i'm not sure which one is worse.

...pretty much everything about the fact that i watched the first seasons of make it or break it and switched at birth in a two week span. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

letters to my girl: month TWELVE.

dear maggie,

about the time you started walking, i stopped writing. you might see a correlation there. it's also about the time we found out that you're going to have a sibling. i got a little tired, baby girl. i'm sorry about that.  i will try to be better, especially because so much happens so fast with you that i don't ever want to forget it.

let's go from head to toe, shall we? people say you have your daddy's face and my smile. i think they're right, to a certain extent, but as you get older i think you look more and more just like you.

hair: blonde, and coming in more and more! it's starting to get a little bit long and shaggy in the back, which is exciting, and you're getting more and more on the top. you don't look like you have "kid" hair yet--it's still baby hair--but it's very blonde and very fine.

eyes: still gorgeously blue. i don't think that's going to change, which is sort of awesome since my grandma had blue eyes too. seems appropriate.

nose: molars make your nose run. i'm sure you'll be horrified to read this someday, but it's one of the ways that you tell me that you're teething.  also, you've been fighting colds since christmas (everyone in our house has, actually).  your poor nose has been getting its fair share of attention lately.

mouth: well, there's a lot to talk about here. seven teeth so far, working on at least two more. 

eating--you're eating big kid food now, but you're still drinking milk too. you love your bottles and will not hold it while eating at all. i don't think you ever will.  i think you'll give them up before you do.  i don't blame you. why do work when you can recline and not have to? i think this speaks volumes about you.  we're working on transitioning you to whole milk from formula. so far, you don't even seem to notice.  if it's in a bottle, you're good to go, i think. 

you are getting really good with finger foods.  you don't really miss your mouth very much if you decide that you actually want to eat something. there are times, though, when you just seem to absolutely refuse to eat anything.  for this reason, you're still eating some purees in a pouch. at least then i know that you have eaten SOMETHING with some nutritional value.

some of your favorites: blueberry yogurt (you eat it EVERY morning!), apples (it's the one food that you will consistently try to eat), goldfish (you eat them one at a time--i wish i was like you!), cucumber (found out at a salad bar of all places), grapes (we have to split them in half for you), CHEESE! (cheddar, though--nothing else will do), peanut butter (this one's new), blueberry bagels or really bagels of any kind, frozen muffins (they're easier to hang on to! you especially like the pineapple ones).

some of your least favorites: meat. you really don't like it.  you don't like pancakes, french toast, or waffles, unless the waffles are frozen and you are teething and then you just gnaw on it until it's thawed and then throw it on the ground.

someday we'll get there.  i think once you get some of these molars in, it will suddenly be a lot easier to eat some of this stuff that you've been looking at with suspicion.

talking: your first real word was "done!" i didn't realize how often i said it to you when i was feeding you or when i was changing you or when i was doing anything until, one day, you said it back to me when i asked you if you were done while you were in your highchair. i think i beamed.

you say, and know what they mean:  done, mama, dada, cup

you say these words after we say them: yum (this one is about to be upgraded, though, because you say it unsolicited recently),  bum, apple, gum (from the "raindrops were gumdrops" song), yeah, come (this one's new), dum (not dumb; i think it's the sound word), cheese, bee (either the letter or the insect, we're not sure).

you talk all the time. you love to talk. but you're also happy to be silent as well.  you are so smart. you take direction really well. even though you can't say them, you know what things are (especially your toys). you correctly go to your penguin when we ask you, you know what your caterpillar is, you know what your zebra is.  you know what "diaper time" is and you know what breakfast, lunch, dinner, and milk are.  you know what it means when i say "daddy's home!" and you squeal in delight.

you are adorable.

hands and arms: you can clap, wave, and pick almost anything up. you've taken to trying to haul and drag my big purses around, which is fairly hilarious. you like nothing better right now than to walk around with a reusable grocery bag around your NECK because, i guess, it's too big to just hold on your arm.  your fingernails grow insanely fast, but you won't let me cut them anymore because you would rather sleep in your bed (i used to cut them after you would fall asleep in the rocking chair). i actually don't know what i'm going to do about that.

belly:  you've still got a little belly, but it's so cute that i hope it sticks around for a little while longer.  you have taken to pulling up your shirt (now that you're wearing more shirts than onesies) and showing it to the world.  you can correctly identify it when we ask you where your belly is--you pat it lovingly.

legs: i think you're getting ready to run. or dance. or both.  you've begun to run in place a little bit when you're excited, big smile on your face.  it's SO STINKIN' CUTE.  it's like you're learning that you can move those feet faster and with more rhythm that you thought you could.  i've not been looking forward to the day you learn how to run, selfishly.  but you're pretty fast anyways. it didn't take you long to get out of the "toddling" part of learning how to walk. you walk with confidence now, like you've been doing it for your whole life.  you have incredible balance, navigating piles of laundry and piles of toys in the living room like they are no big deal.

when you got your zebra riding toy, it took you a few minutes of suspicious inspection before you figured out, ON YOUR OWN, how to mount it and bounce on it. you're incredibly strong and you're always on the move.

feet: we finally have shoes that work and fit and i love them. you seem to be enthralled by the velcro on them, but only unhook one part, so they still stay on.  i'll take it.  but most days, like me, you're barefoot. i bet that's how it will always be.

brain: you are so smart, maggie.  as you get older, you just surprise me even more.  i know every parent brags about their kids and what they do, and i'm certainly no different, but your daddy and i were talking today about how you're smart in every area. you're verbally smart--you pick up on words, phrases, and what they mean VERY quickly.  you're aurally smart--you understand what you're hearing and what sounds mean and can follow directions very well.  you're physically smart--you have fallen a few times, but it didn't take you long to figure out how to avoid that by getting off of the couches in the way that i showed you. i think maybe it took you two or three days of me showing you every so often how to do it. then you had it. the same thing is true for any of the skills that you have developed--you learn it quickly and it's yours.   you LOVE books.  your new thing is bringing us books (we're working on having you not throw them at us) and having us read them over and over and over again.  i didn't think we'd get to that phase for a while, but...we're there. but you're so smart about it--you know exactly what you're doing. 

i don't know what will come of this, but i know that you are a clever girl. i hope you will always use that cleverness to achieve something good. there's not enough cleverness being used for good in the world.  whatever you choose to do, i know that you will be successful at it. it's who you are. you were born that way.

heart: my goodness are you sweet.  you have your moments of fussiness and your moments of short tantrums, which i attribute to not being able to articulate what you want or to understand how to express your displeasure, but you are overall a smiley, happy, cheerful kid.  you like people SO MUCH now.  you love to be around other kids. only recently, you have been utterly fascinated by babies smaller than you. you want to touch them, to examine them, but you do it in this gentle sweet way.  you love other adults too, and you love church so much because there are so many people and so many new things to see.  you flirt with people in the store, you wave to people sometimes, you are so sweet to everyone you encounter.

with us, you are cuddly and kind and so funny.  you are almost always smiling. when you're not, you just want one of us to be with you. you have taken to having some chill time with me on the couch sometimes, if you're feeling a bit tired or just need to be close.  it's very sweet and i treasure it.  most of the time, though, you are an intrepid explorer, trying to see what you can find next, and always with a smile.

i can't believe it's been a year since you joined our family, maggie. you are the best and the sweetest and the most exasperating. :)  you are teaching us things that we never could have learned without you, and i am so grateful every day that you are ours for the time that Heavenly Father has entrusted us with you.  we promise to keep doing our best, and we're thankful that you are as forgiving of us as you are.

thanks for making me a mom and making your dad a dad. thanks for teaching us how to do it and how to trust ourselves. thanks for proving that we're doing something right by being as happy as you are to be where and who you are.  thanks for coming to us as perfectly as you did.  thanks for being you.

i can't wait to see what the next year brings. you'll be a big sister.  i think you'll be an extraordinary one. this baby bean has no idea how lucky s/he is to have you. i'll remind him/her of that, i promise.

we love you so much more than any word, anywhere, anytime, could ever express. 

mommy (and daddy).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

calling all wives' tales.

my dreams are off the charts insane with this baby. for example, last night (or in the early morning hours) i dreamed that i was jacqueline kennedy and i was making out with john f. kennedy, who was but was not my husband.  and not only that, but i was analyzing their relationship, in this weird detached way, suggesting that the reason that she put up with his nonsense is because their love was like a shooting star.

so cliched, but what do you want? i was DREAMING.

i have nights where it is just back to back dreaming. dreaming on a weirdly odd scale for me. normally, when i dream, it has some sort of connection to my life.  it makes sense to me, and a lot of the time, i recognize that it's a dream a bit of the way in and then continue like it's some awesome made-for-me movie.

these? not so much. i have no idea where they're coming from, but they are OUT OF LEFT FIELD.

anybody have any ideas about what gender this indicates? the chinese gender chart says it's a boy. everyone else thinks it's a boy. i'm about ready to think it's a boy, except that i'm worried that if we find out (on tuesday) that it's a girl, i'll be disappointed (really? could i be? i think not, but i don't want to put that on a kid).  so i'm trying to be all "la lah la" and i ask musicboy 500 times if he still thinks its a boy. he says he thinks so but he's not sure (like he was with maggie).

sigh.  technology will rule the day. i feel like it's been FOREVER that we've been waiting for this appointment. it will be here before we know it.  scary. crazy. then we'll know who this kid is. 

then we can get serious about naming it. 


maggie's birthday is tomorrow. TOMORROW. she'll have been on this earth for one year.

i hope she's liked it so far.  we have.

Friday, March 30, 2012

oh hey.

did you know i was pregnant?

i never forget, per se, but it's amazing how much stuff you DON'T freak out about/read about online/research into oblivion when you, you know, have done it before and have a kid on the cusp of being 1 (and already being awesome) running around.

but for the past few nights, i've been feeling flutters. i felt them way early on, and then a kick, but then they sort of went away. that freaked me out a little bit (but nothing like it did with maggie). so i'm glad to have Baby Bean communicating, even just a little bit and every once in a while. i know it will get progressively more and more. i'm glad.  i think i'm ready to figure out who this kid is.

i don't know what i think about being the mom of two. sometimes i think i'm already giving this kid the shaft, because i just don't think about the bean that much during the day. my husband says it's because my body has got it covered and i don't have enough time or energy to worry about it too.  he's right, i guess, but i wonder what it's going to be like to have two kids under 2 and a husband who is student teaching. oh, and me teaching too.

big fun, i'm guessing.

but, as my mom always says, you can do anything for [insert amount of time here]. so i can do anything until musicboy graduates.  if that means not sleeping much and showering less, i guess that's what we'll do. 

i have to have faith, though, that all will be well. will it be hard? heck yes. but nothing good isn't hard.  it's all hard because it's all growth. i think, for whatever reason, i just have a lot of growing to do in a short period of time. 

that's okay. 

remind me that i said this in six months, okay? i may have forgotten by then.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

a glimpse.

on monday, i had one of those days that gave me a glimpse of motherhood in another stage.

maggie took an unusually early nap, so we went to our church's playgroup for the first time.  she loved it. she just walked around, throwing her hands up in the air or chewing on a random block, so delighted by everyone and everything that it almost made my heart hurt with joy.  i love seeing her with other kids and, better, i love seeing her so totally brave. she didn't need me. she'd come over, say hi periodically, but she didn't need me.  she was on her own in a giant gym and she was totally fine.


then we went straight to the grocery store, where she rode in one of those racecar carts. she got to face forward, which she always wants to do in any cart, and see the world. she was totally delightful the whole time.

we got home, and she got a big new (to us) toy. after a few wary interactions with it, she spent about a half an hour checking it out (it's a riding zebra bouncy thing) and then got on...and started bouncing.

monday taught me something.  i always had this idea in my head about the kind of mom that i would be. i would be the library story time/playgroup/grocery store/outing mom. we would go places, and see things, and i would be happy to let my kids explore.

i haven't gotten to do that much yet. it just hasn't been feasible, for various reasons. but it's starting to become feasible and it made me cry. i was describing it to my husband and i didn't realize how much it meant to me until it made me well up with joy.

i'm going to be the mom i want to be.  no one can ever picture what the first year of a baby's life will be like when you've never been through it before. maggie and i, we've been finding our way.

i think we've found a bit of a stride, though things are always changing and things are always frustrating to a certain extent. i know that will never change.

but i see a whole world opening up to us, and it's so exciting to me.

i know i complain a lot on here, about how hard things are. i hope you can always sense my joy in my journey at the same time. sometimes things are hard. sometimes life is hard for a while. that's okay.

but on monday i got a glimpse of what all this hard work and investment does.  my courageous, delightful girl.  that's who we've been raising.

darn if that's not worth every sleepless night, every exasperating highchair experience, every disgusting diaper change.

delightful, happy, smart, courageous, amazing, beautiful girl.

i'll take it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


today was a day i hope that i always remember, in a tale of two cities kind of way.

it was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

i hit a really hard place this morning.  i don't know why. i could list a million reasons that may sound like excuses to stronger, more immortal people than i am--pregnancy, sickness, nap strikes, jobs that i'm just not doing very well at all, the burdens (yes, they are joys sometimes but right now they are burdens) of being responsible for a home and its care/maintenance, life in general.  it doesn't really matter why. 

i just hit a place where i said something that i've never said before: "i don't think i can do this anymore."  i didn't mean it in some sort of scary way. i meant "i don't know if i can keep doing what i'm doing every day anymore."

in essence, i was saying i was breaking. 

i think it's been coming for a while, but i've been sticking my proverbial finger in the dam.  it works for a while, but it's not sustainable.  and the looming picture of what's coming up for us: new baby, student teaching, me still responsible for teaching as much as i am's just really frightening to me if this is how things are going right now. 

maggie was, this morning, in pretty rare form. when i step back and see it for what it is, i understand.  she's getting molars, i'm pretty sure, and they are making her quite the grumpster. and it takes her forever and a day to get any tooth, so she's also getting her last front bottom tooth at the same time (the partner cut a few days ago, so i know the other one is on the way).  she's getting over a cold.  she's got some kind of developmental thing happening because her language is exploding and she's determined to climb on anything and everything in sight. this leads to her getting to the one place that was the dumping ground for everything that we didn't want her to get to. oh, and she's striking her naps now too.  so yeah...lots of stuff going on here.

but these things are all easy to see with the tiniest bit of perspective. 

i didn't have even a little bit of that this morning. 

instead, i felt like every single day was a fight. a fight to get her to eat. a fight to get her to sleep. a fight to get myself to feel well enough to cook something. a fight to get myself to feel well enough to do something after she went to bed, something that i am being paid to do.  a fight to try to be kind to those around me, including maggie.  a fight to not feel like an epic failure all of the time.

all that fighting? exhausting.

so today, around regular nap time, maggie and i headed up to her room.  normally, she'll let me rock her and then she'll fuss and want to go in her bed.  sometimes this means she's ready to sleep. sometimes this means she's getting there but isn't quite there. sometimes this means that she's about to jump up and party in her bed.  if it's a nap strike, that's exactly what it means.  i have learned, quick enough, how to read the signs.

but this time? this time she added a new twist. she refused to let me rock her.  like she'd let me but then she would try to twist and arch out of my arms, so hard that she nearly faceplanted on the floor out of my arms.  all of this is going on while it seems like she's so tired--that's the other little frustration gold mine. she always seems like she's exhausted when she does this.

i just...lost it.  it seemed like nothing i did would work, nothing i did was good enough, nothing i did was good.  i know that sounds supremely woe-is-me, but that's where i was at. i burst into tears, pretty well begging her to let me rock her, to let me help her, and it had no effect (other than to make her upset).

so i called my mom.

who told me exactly what i needed to hear, because she's a mom and has magical powers.

she told me that i was doing it, that i was doing a good job.  that all of this worrying about being a total failure was COMPLETELY normal.  that i was doing the work of four people and that no one can just do that indefinitely.  that figuring out which battles to fight--in my case, the constant saying "no" and the getting her out of stuff was the most exasperating--would help a lot.  to not worry about whether or not she eats or sleeps--to put myself first for a little while.

how do they do that? how do they know? i mean, i guess i know maggie better than anybody else, in the sense that i can sometimes tell what's up with her or have a sense of what's up with her before anyone else does.  but really...when do the magical powers start? because i could really use some of those.

in the midst of the nap striking and crying, i was also praying. praying hard. and i thought i got some pretty immediate answers, which were cool.  and mom said a few of them again, which was really cool.  but when i listened--when i did the things that i was being directed to do--it was like the entire day turned around.

my eyes are still puffy, red, and sore, but my attitude is entirely different.  i turned off the netflix and turned on some CDs.  i cleared off the table that seemed so very enchanting to maggie.  i figured out a plan for how to break up tasks during the week.  i made lunch.  she actually ate some (sweet potato fries. i swear the kid is trying to kill me. how to get her to eat fruits and vegetables? i have no idea. but at least they were sweet potato fries and not regular fries and at least she had pears for breakfast.) lunch like a real kid.  she seemed entirely different (i had also given her some tylenol for those teeth) and i did too.

i have no doubt as to why.

i don't think there's a mother out there who doesn't have the power to call in the heavenly forces in her favor when her goal is to do the best for her family. i don't think there is anything more powerful than that prayer of desperation, of rock bottom feeling, of frustration.  i know that i have been infinitely blessed today. i can feel it--it's palpable.  i know that i have too much on my plate, but i know that i will be able to manage it better if i just listen a little bit better. 

i guess i just wanted to write this down, while it's still fresh, because sometimes you just feel like you're not doing a good job. sometimes you feel like, from the outside looking in, everybody else has it together and you're the only one who says no too much and who gets really, really annoyed that no one's listening.  you're the only one who feels like you're not measuring up to the dream you had in your head of the kind of mom you wanted to be.  i think that's really, really not true. i think the deepest truth is that every mom has these moments--probably over and over, in each stage of a child's life--and most moms never talk about them because they are so raw.  so we just sit with it, and with live with it, and we stew in it, and we pray about it, and we hope that we can find our way out of it.

and i think most of us do because we reach out, even just a little bit, and feel a Guiding Hand helping us through.  and He leads others into our path who say something amazing, or who are just there when we need them.  and He makes sure that we are known and He makes sure that we know that we are loved. 

but i just wanted to say, that if there's another mom out there who is feeling this way, you're not alone and you're entirely normal.

being a mom is the hardest job ever. it never ends, it never stops, and it never ceases to strip you bare and rebuild you again.  that's hard stuff to endure, and the minutia of it can seem unyielding and eternal.  i'm going to try to not get bogged down in that stuff so much anymore, or when i feel myself doing so, to remind myself of this day and how quickly a little bit of perspective can turn things around.

and how calling your mom can really work miracles.

and how a few sweet potato fries and an afternoon nap and a half dose of tylenol can make anybody's day a little bit better. 

hang in there, everyone.  we're going to make it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

i am grateful for the 30 minutes maggie gave me to write this.

apparently, all you have to do to get rid of morning sickness is to whine stream of consciousness style about it on your neglected blog.

about 15 minutes after i posted that, i guess i hit some sort of magical window (more than likely 13 weeks) wherein the epic nausea went away, replaced in favor of looking really fat (not yet pregnant, but definitely with what looks like an impressively earned muffin top--i don't know...) and feeling pretty achy and tired.  cue growth spurt, i suppose.

i am grateful.

maggie and i are sick again, which is SO annoying because we went 9 months with no sick, but daddy brought it home from the stupid music building, where apparently everyone just passes around the illness. mr. superimmunesystem succumbed himself, though not much, though when he gets sick i know it's going to be twice as bad for us mere mortals. 

so far, i'm not wrong.  maggie with a cough = she just gives up on sleeping by herself. i can't fault her. most of the time when i cough myself awake, i give up on sleeping too--and i have the benefit of pharmaceutical intervention, even while pregnant.  WHY CAN'T THEY COME UP WITH SOMETHING TO HELP BABY COLDS?!? i don't want them to ruin livers or anything, but come on. it's no wonder kids get like 3 colds in their first year or whatever the average is.  they never can bounce back fast enough to fight off the next one! poor kids.

so i don't know if maggie is trying to test my resolve, or if she's actually working on getting rid of her morning nap.  today was the third time, maybe fourth (though not in a row, i must add), that she has absolutely refused to go to sleep, preferring instead to party downstairs with her sick mom.  (party, here, being an entirely relative term, i hope you know.) she's a sneeze away from 11 months, which is pretty early for this, but she also crawled at 5.5 months, walked at 9, and is probably going to write her dissertation in molecular biology about the time that i was whining over geometry, so i shouldn't be surprised. 

part of my curiosity about it is entirely selfish. i don't think there is anything more frustrating that a kid who is basically asleep when you rock them, then up and partying in the crib.  feed them? same thing.  nap strikes are frustrating, so part of me wonders if it's just better for everyone to just decide that we're taking one nap and not two. i won't pull the trigger yet, but it's on the horizon. i've heard (i should really stop listening) that it's good to wait until they are consistently striking that first nap, but no one seems to have a definition for what "consistently" is. my kid is a crappy sleeper anyways, so i'm not sure it will really matter. 

i think i'm just deciding, little by little, that she's a big kid. like able to eat people food, go to the park, play with other kids, wander the halls of church with me tagging along behind her, take one nap, understand me when we have deep conversations big kid.  it's kind of cool. it's sort of amazing how she responds when i look into her eyes and tell her what's up.  she was fighting the 1 nap at 12ish today and i just looked into her eyes and said "i'm not holding you. you're feeling better. you can go into your bed. your bed is wonderful and comfortable. it's where you need to be."  and heaven bless her if she wasn't drowsy 2 minutes later and willing to go down in her bed right away. 

i don't get it. it's a weird sort of thing.  you would think that i would learn, then, that speaking to her rationally is what works instead of getting frustrated and being all "why won't you EAAAAATTTTTT?"  but no.

i blame this on what i have been thinking about for a while but finally crystallized in my mind when i was talking to my mom the other day on the phone. i am in total survival mode these days.  you know the drill--when you are operating on just what you have, with no real reserves because those get depleted when something else comes along (i.e. you get sick, your baby gets sick, you have a major deadline at work, your oven breaks, whatever).  periodically, you'll get your head above water and start renewing those reserves, but because of how much there is going on and pulling at you, you are never really able to renew them enough to REALLY renew them. 

i don't know if this makes sense to anyone else, but it makes perfect sense to me and it really helps me understand why things bother me now that never would have rankled me so much before.  things that aren't really any different now (though perhaps manifesting themselves in different ways) are just sending me into orbit sometimes. i know, when i can get the tiniest bit of distance, that it's me. i know that, in previous months/years/incarnations of me, i could have easily come up with some way to handle such situations with grace (or at least more grace).  but now?

i just have nothing.

everything i've got, every bit of introspective energy, is spent in trying to improve me in the right now: how can i increase my spirituality, even just a little bit, so that i make sure that i'm not leaving that by the wayside in the midst of the crazy of my daily life? how can i improve and streamline how things work around here so that they don't feel quite so overwhelming? how can i work diligently on work while also giving myself enough time to sleep and recover from my 14 hour days with the magpie? how can i make sure that i am connecting with and loving my husband the way he deserves? how can i increase my patience with my baby, who is growing so fast and is so exasperating sometimes.

(she eats books. it makes me nuts. everyone else might be zen about it. i AM A BOOK PERSON. it makes me nuts. i need to let it go. also, she's so tall that there is really no place that is safe from her. the dining room table really isn't anymore, unless something is in the middle.  also...i swear sometimes she knows when i'm saying no and just does stuff to see what will happen.  gah.)

these are the things that cause me to think, to ponder, to try to be better.

and once those are done, that's it. that's all i've got. i don't have the energy, literally, to consider anything else. 

maybe that's a bad thing. but i can't see how it could be, since it's reality for right now. and when i realize that, which it has taken me a long time to do (and before i did, i would beat myself up for not being able to do more, to think more, to contemplate more, to not be the me i was 3 years ago or the me i was even 1 year ago), i think that it's actually pretty dang extraordinary that i can still laugh, that i can still try to make every day pretty good, that i can still try at all.  in the midst of all of this really hard stuff, i can still be me.

that's pretty amazing.

but i am REALLY looking forward to the light that i see at the end of this tunnel, when my darling husband gets a job and i am not the only one responsible for working.  he's excited too, for lots of reasons, but one of them is, i am sure, that he gets to take some of the burden off of me because that's the kind of guy he is.

(i won the lottery with him. i really did.)

but until then, survival mode is where it's at.  and, for better or worse, it's what i can do.

that's good to know, really.  that's not to say i won't keep trying to make survival mode a bit better every day,'s nice to know that sometimes your best really is your best, even when it's not the best that would have been your best in previous times.

enough rambling.  that's where my head is at. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

pregnancy 2: ain't nothin' like it used to be.

i'm dying.

or most of the day it feels more like i'm dying than creating life (totally stole that from a babycenter comment, because it felt like truth). 

if i could stop eating, i would gladly do so. i would gladly just drink those disgusting chalky shakes three times a day that are supposed to keep old people from withering away or the kid ones that are supposed to replace the gaps in their nutritional sphere if it meant i never again had to think about what to eat, what might not sound disgusting, what i SHOULD eat versus what sounds remotely palatable, or had to deal with the inevitable consequences.

and i don't even throw up. so i don't even have that to deal with.

i just, with this pregnancy, have the most oppressive, long-lasting nausea i have ever experienced in my entire life.  i got pretty sick before i had my gallbladder removed. i think this is worse, though i remember the only thing i ever wanted to eat then was blueberry bagels and apple juice (both of which don't sound terrible now).  so maybe it's about the same. but at least then i could still go to school, make cogent and logical arguments, do my work.

right now all i want to do is sit around and moan.

not a viable option when you have a highly active (walking, getting ready to run, perhaps, climbing) 10 month old.  and a job. or a series of a jobs. and a house that doesn't clean itself.

but seriously.


when does it end?

like i'm praying for the 2nd trimester. in all earnestness. i don't even know what week i am. i think i'm in week 11 or 12. ISN'T THAT WHEN IT'S SUPPOSED TO END?

i'm sorry to whine. i know that my troubles are nothing in the grand scheme of things. i know that feeling moderately guilty for only wanting to eat corn chips dipped in plain sour cream is a totally first world problem.  i get that i am blessed. i totally get it.

but when you feel like you've been run over by the disgusting train for 12 hours a day (okay, maybe 10.  but seriously. it starts about noon and doesn't end until 10 or 11 at night), you maybe sort of enter the woe-is-me land. 

and then i had a stomach bug on top of it this weekend.

seriously. I'M NOT EVEN JOKING.

sometimes i just think Heavenly Father really has a whacked out idea of what i can handle.  but then i realize that, crappily as i might be doing it, i am handling it.

so maybe He knows what's going on after all.

this pregnancy is nothing like the last one. of course, i didn't have the 10 month old last time and i had the luxury of napping through the worst of the nausea (which has always, for me, been the best way to deal).  i get two naps a day if i'm lucky with maggie. she doesn't mind sleeping with me, and we at least sleep together for the morning nap. that usually gets me through. sometimes, if i'm entirely thrashed, i crash with her for the second one.

but mainly i spend the afternoon praying that my husband gets home soon so that i don't have to be jumping off the couch baby alert all the time and can lay down. or just moan in peace.

man. i'm a downer.

but this is straight up nausea-induced stream of consciousness stuff here.  gold, i tell you. gold. someday i'm going to look back and tell myself to suck it up, you whiny git.  that'll be a good day.

or else i'll look back and say "oh yeah. that was RIGHT BEFORE it all got better." (i hope. i hope. i hope forever and ever.)

this pregnancy is nothing like the other one.  which means either it's a boy or a girl who hates me.

either way, i'm in for it. 

back to grading things i couldn't possibly care less about. 

(you all totally want to hang out with me, don't you? i am a LAUGH RIOT.)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

good grief.

there's so much to say.

new baby coming. edd: september 1st (and i totally called that due date, too).

i'm exhausted and stressed.

maggie is all kinds of developing. walking. nearly talking (she has her own language that makes me laugh. i'm constantly asking her "what does that MEAN?!?").  throwing hissy fits when she doesn't get her way. incredibly cuddly.  adorable and fun.  exhausting. 

my husband is amazing. i am in awe of him. he wonderful. and the most wonderful thing about him, right now to me, is that he sees me exactly the way he's always seen me. the fact that my hair is greasy or that i haven't gotten out of my pajama pants all day or that i shower at odd times when it's an option or that i spend most of my evenings in front of a computer grading things or that i am just struggling and it shows in grumpiness or tiredness or just overwhelmingness...none of this seems to phase him.  we talked a lot on sunday. i am so grateful for him and for the priesthood that he holds. he is so wise.  and he does all he can for me. i think for a long time i tried to be superwoman and do everything myself.  especially since i've been pregnant, that just has gone by the wayside. i really just can't do it all myself and some recent events have taught me that putting everyone and everything ahead of me is actually one of the worst ways to try and take care of my family.  i never really understood that until recently. now i really do.

i'm sorry the blog is so silent, but i really don't have much screen time that's not full of random 2 minute facebooking or grading.  but i'll try to keep you up to date as much as i can. 

someday, i have faith that i will get it all together.  i'm not sure when that will be, will be a someday. and that someday will be a good day.

in the meantime, i'm trying to make all the days inbetween good ones too. i have variable success.

today, however, was a hard but ultimately good day.  that's a good feeling, when you can fight through the bottle refusals and the hissy fits, cry some tears of frustration and think that Heavenly Father must REALLY THINK YOU'RE REALLY VERY CAPABLE OF LOTS OF THINGS, get things done and look forward to the next day's challenges. 

that's, i think, the definition of any mother's good day.

(don't ask me about the toys strewn all over the living room or the dishes in the sink or the laundry piled up in the corners of rooms. i have no comment about those. someday.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

steadfast and immovable.

[if you subscribe to my old defunct but now being resuscitated health/fitness blog, you know this got posted somewhere else. all i can blame is sleep deprivation. oyvey.]

so maggie continues to dally in the dark land of 9 month sleep regression/separation anxiety/co-sleeping and her mom continues to pray earnestly to figure out what the heck is going on with her.

at first, her nights went to heck in a handbasket but her naps were amazing. they had finally lengthened, we were down to 2, and her total was about 2 hours for both (so one was usually 1.25 hours and the other was 45 minutes). she'd wake up happy and chattery.  she was doing fine.

now we're back to supercrappy naps, many of which this week have been less than 45 minutes. she wakes up REALLY annoyed. if i let her, she will fall back to sleep in my arms. yesterday, she slept another hour plus. something is obviously stopping her from sleeping. do i know what it is? no. but the sharp protrusion in her back left top gum makes me think maybe it's a molar.

(really? REALLY?)


(because while i would like The Answer to all of her sleep issues, i really understand that i am never going to find it.)

i have been praying.

in the midst of this, maggie got her first cold.  this is part of the reason why i entirely missed her 9 monthday on this blog and in real life.  sad, but true. so one night, a week or so ago, she was just not having anything to do with her bed. she was uncomfortable, congested, and just one big unhappy camper.  i was laying in bed with her, trying to find a position in which she'd stay comfortable and not screechy, and i was praying. i was praying hard. i was asking what we should do. i was asking if what we were doing was right. i was asking for help. i routinely beg for her to sleep, but these were different types of pleas.

i was at my wits end, to be honest, not knowing what else i could do and feeling like maybe we were entirely screwing her up (anxiety about sleep and sleep habits = this generation's freak out soup du jour). 

now if you asked me if you could really screw a kid up by doing what is necessary to get everybody (including said child) the best and most sleep possible, i would probably say no unless it involved drugging the kid or not giving that child the opportunity to sleep (i.e. keeping the kid up too late, not doing naps, not having a routine, etc.).  but if you're just trying to deal with what life has suckerpunched you with? no.

why do i think this? because somewhere down deep, despite the stupid chaos in my brain from everything i've ever read about sleep, i know that all kids learn to sleep. some kids are better sleepers than others. some kids are prone to nightmares. some kids sleep like the dead. some kids don't sleep the long stretches that they are "supposed to" but end up being 2 grades ahead of everybody in algebra.  whatever.  kids are kids and sleeping is a biological impulse, but it's also developmental. so...every kid learns how to sleep at some point.  and my guess? they do a lot of it themselves.

i think a lot of parents do something to help it along, but every kid is different and every situation is different. so, having assessed our situation, we have figured that what we're doing is what's right for our family for right now.  that said, i still wonder. i still doubt. in fact, i would say i am fairly well plagued with doubts at some points in our journey. 

so this was one of those nights. doubts, they were all over me. 

so i prayed.

and the answer i got was to be steadfast and immovable.

so i thought i knew what that meant. i thought it meant that i should have confidence in the answers that we have been given and in the things that we have decided to do. even in the hard times, i thought that meant that i should not waver.

tonight, as i was considering a very specific question about bedtimes (i've been wavering all over the map with this, hoping that at some point i would hit some magic time that would make her sleep for more than she is in a stretch), the same answer came: steadfast and immovable.

and i think i learned something profound.

answers to prayers are all-encompassing. and we learn about the nature of them as we continue to ponder and try to understand them.

i also learned that Heavenly Father is entirely invested in our success as parents. even when he gives us just what we need, not necessarily what we want, He is investing in our success. if He gave us everything, if He took away the tough stuff, how would we learn? while i understand this sometimes, it doesn't make it easier.

but in moments like tonight, when i was rocking in the dark and praying quietly, i realize that there's really so much more going on than we can ever understand.  yes, i would like maggie to sleep through the night again. yes, i would like that to happen sooner rather than later. but i also understand that she's on her own journey. she's doing what she's doing. maybe she's getting a tooth. maybe she's going to walk tomorrow. maybe she's still recovering from a nasty cold (her mommy is!).  maybe she's just more comfortable with us than without us.

it doesn't really matter.

all that matters is that we're doing our best to stay steady for her.  that we're showing her that she's safe, loved, and that all is well.  that no matter what happens, some things are constant.

we'll get through it. and in the moments when i think we won't, i have confirmation that we are known and loved.  that helps more than i can say.