Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fake it 'till you make it!

Last few days have been light on the sleep and heavy on the coffee. 

My Monday class ran longer than normal.  The students got their first exam back, and as expected, the grade distribution looked like a reverse bell curve.  There are students who care and work hard, then there are the students who don't care and don't work hard.  None of the students who routinely ask questions in class got worse than a B+, and suddenly in class on Monday, the students who failed wanted to ask lots of questions.  It happens ever semester, and every semester I warn the students that those who fail to do homework and ask questions on it in class will fail the first exam.  And every semester about one third of the class does just that.  Some of them drop, the rest suddenly ask lots of questions and try desperately to catch up.  After 140 minutes of cash controls and cash management, I headed home and got in bed after 10pm,  then fed the baby and put us both to sleep just after 11pm just two hours later than normal.  I try my best to be in bed by taps at 9pm each night.

Sleep deficit -2

Somehow Chester took off his diaper before bed or in the middle of the night, I'm not sure.  He wet his bed, and then came to the spare bed we keep in our room.  He then wet that bed.  He was up for the day around 5:15am, a full hour earlier than normal

Sleep deficit -3

The boys were crazy all day and though I can typically get them all to nap at once and catch an hour for myself, it wasn't going to happen Tuesday.  Chester and Pete had eaten an entire jar of mandarin oranges with their lunch on Monday.  And Monday night for dinner, they asked Ryan for more.  There's no way he could have known I already fed them far too much fruit, and because the boys are normally so picky, when they asked for more oranges, he happily fed them an entire second 24oz jar of mandarin oranges with their dinner.  So Tuesday things were a little.... loose for the boys and though Pete is old enough to use the bathroom himself, Chester's mastery of the potty is not yet solid enough to handle an upset stomach.  And when he was managing to hold it in, he was so focused on not soiling himself that he peed his pants about every 30 minutes.  So I spent a lot of the day cleaning.

Sleep deficit -4

In an effort to fake alertness, last night I was upstairs in my room at 6:30pm cleaning the bathroom after dinner and decided I should do my hair, put on a dress, and welcome my husband home with a smile and a beer instead of an exasperated frazzled sigh.  He was immediately on guard, thinking he'd forgotten some event I needed to attend, but did eventually accept that I simply wanted to pretend we'd had a good day, not a day filled with, well... crap. 

I should have skipped last night's debate.  I didn't learn a thing about either candidate that they haven't already said in multiple speeches and ads, and Marek was asleep from 8:30-11:30.  Coincidentally, he woke up right as I was turning off the debate commentary to go to sleep.  Last thing I remember the clock said 12:46. 

Sleep deficit -7
Chester was back up and crying, but not entirely awake right around 1:30am.  I debated between letting him fully wake up and come to our room vs. trying to slip out of my bed to calm him in his own bed.  I slipped my nipple out of Marek's mouth (yes, I am his pacifier all night)  and stumbled down the hall, successfully soothed Chester back to sleep and tucked him in his own bed and headed back to my bed, where I was greeted by a crabby baby wondering why his pillow and pacifier had abandoned him.  Knowing that Ryan's alarm goes off at 4am, I decided to head downstairs to sooth the baby.  Poor kid is definitely getting a few new teeth, and while he didn't want to eat, he was definitely tired and wanted to rub his face and his snot all over my shoulder and breast.  He was finally solidly asleep at 3:30am and I carried him back upstairs so I could fall asleep in my bed.   

Sleep deficit -9

I must have been dead to the world, because I don't remember Ryan getting up at 4am, and I have no idea when Chester rolled into his spare bed in my room, but I know about 5am I screamed at him to put his head on the pillow and lay still or I was going to make him sleep with the dog. 

This morning, as I could hear my oldest come into the room, I assumed it was still very early because it was still dark.  I told him it was still sleeping time and to come back later.  He sounded pretty confused, and for good reason:  It was already past 7am and my room was very bright, I just had my eyes closed and thought it was still dark.

Not entirely sure when the last time I showered was (maybe Sunday?), so I hopped in for a quick wash and then dressed the whole family and myself , including hair and jewelry, packed Pete's snack, filled his special me box for show and tell and managed to get us all down the street to school by 8am.  I dressed in my work clothes, knowing I wouldn't have time today to work out, so I was and I decided to get hair and make up and jewelry done first thing too even though I normally don't bother until 5pm when it's time for class, and hope that I could fake my way into a good day.  It hasn't worked yet, but I'm determined!

Final sleep deficit of Monday and Tuesday -8

And I imagine I won't make it to bed before 11pm again because I'm teaching another class tonight. 

I'm a much better mother when I'm well rested, but clearly this week is not going to allow for that, so I'll be helping myself to a large Diet Coke on the way to swimming lessons this afternoon and trying to prop my eyes open for the 20 mile commute to teach class tonight.

To everyone else on I-95 tonight, I apologize.  But even zoned out and exhausted, I'm still probably a better driver than most of these Massholes!

Friday, September 28, 2012

I can rest when I'm dead.

How many times have you heard that old adage or some variation of it?  For some people, it's a totally foreign concept- they make sure to take care of themselves and rest appropriately.  For others, it's their official motto.  And I am thoroughly convinced my children have made it their motto.

This is not just about sleep.  Lord knows, we have enough trouble with that topic around this house.  No, this innate drive to keep moving, possibly until you drop dead, was demonstrated this week by my sick little two year old. 

Croup is an inflammation of the airways, most noticeably featuring a barking cough and difficulty breathing.  It's just a minor virus, and could cause minor sniffles in one child and croup in another.  It usually affects infants and children, and mine get it with a vengeance!  Pete's had it a few times, once badly enough to hit the ER for a shot of steroids.  This time, Chester came down with the barking cough on Wednesday night after swimming lessons.  I already know how to treat croup, keeping him comfortable with Tylenol and Motrin, alternating steamy showers with cold night air (or the freezer if it's not cold enough outside) but I worry about crossing the line between treating at home and needing steroids and oxygen at the hospital. 

If you ever need to get a toddler's head in the freezer, put an Ipad in there!
Luckily, Wednesday night nurse friend H came over to listen to Chester's lungs and we decided he wasn't quite in need of treatment at the ER that night.  We survived the night propped up with pillows so that Chester could breathe comfortably and I could feed Marek.  I was actually pretty proud of the multitasking...

Thursday we headed out for Pete's ear appointment at Boston Children's and as we waited, Chester quickly headed down hill.  His breathing was rapid and labored, sucking in at his ribs with each breath.  I made arrangements to take him to his own pediatrician, but wasn't too concerned because he kept playing.  He was still running around like a madman!  He was climbing on tables and on chairs.  When we arrived at the pediatrician, I strapped Marek in the Ergo on my back and carried Chester while Pete walked and held the door.  Chester still tried to play in the waiting room, following Pete around the benches and pointing out the butterflies painted on the wall.  All while the color slowly drained from his face and the wheezing continued.  When the nurse took us back, I placed Chester on the exam table and he tried to get down and play puzzles, but the nurse was adamant that he remain seated and called the Doctor in right away.  They started him on a nebulizer, gave him oral steroids and called the hospital across the street to send us over for an epi nebulizer.  His oxygen levels were too low, and he was in pretty bad shape, but he was literally going to play until he dropped! 
Anyone know how to rotate this picture?
After the steroids and several hours of oxygen and observation, he perked back up to a 97% oxygen level and they sent us on our way. 

I should mention that while we spent 8:30am-3:30pm at Pete's appointment and then Chester's hospital stint, the boys were all unbelievably good and patient.  Marek slept in the Ergo, Pete and Chester played with the toys at the Dr. office and then patiently watched PBS in the hospital. There's a running joke among military wives of a deployment curse that it seems like the disasters only happen when husbands are away.  But you know, even with Ryan away only four days this week, the deployment curse had to rear its ugly head.  Luckily I have friends here to help out, and I love every one of you girls!  (And your husbands for their help too!)  Add an extra special thank you to Ryan for cutting his trip short and coming home on Thursday night.  He's a pretty good husband.  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

No excuses!

Well, I have lots of excuses, but all that really matters is I didn't even manage to blog once in August.

So let's catch up:

We left Ohio and Michigan after a long and exciting summer with family. We got settled back into our new home on the Air Force Base. The boys quickly caught on to some new rules like how far they can go outside (around our house and the next house) and to stand with a hand over their heart when they play the National Anthem at 5pm each day.  When you go to a movie on base, before it starts they play a few patriotic videos and play the National Anthem.  


Pete learned to ride his bike without training wheels (all it took was one week of screaming and crying and stopping every few feet) and Chester learned to ride a big kid bike with his new training wheels. I picked up the Spiderman bike at Beverly Bootstraps Thrift Shop and it set off a new obsession in our house: Spiderman cartoons.  The first week Chester was learning to ride, he hadn’t yet mastered braking.  Riding home from the playground, he got going too fast and scared himself, but couldn’t slow down so he rode his new bike off the sidewalk, down the grassy hill and directly into a tree.  It’s a good thing helmets are required on base!


Ryan won an award with the Coast Guard for all the work he’s done with Optide and the Trident network.  We’ll be taking a family trip to Washington DC in October for him to accept the award.  But even with all his extra time on these projects, Ryan still had time to design and build a pirate ship in our new playroom.  The boys are in heaven.


Pete started at his new preschool and Chester, Marek and I started at a new Stroller Fitness class held on base.  We hadn’t been going long when Chester decided he couldn’t wait for a pitstop … and watered a tree while we were doing floor exercises in the park.  Meanwhile, Marek, fussy from cutting his fourth tooth, demanded food right in the middle of abs.  I suppose doing a plank over the baby while dangling a boob in his mouth will just have to do for today’s ab workout. 


Marek is crawling all over (including up the stairs so don’t forget that baby gate!), has four teeth and loves to eat.  His dislike for other people is still just as strong as ever, so it’s a bit challenging to keep him happy while I teach class twice a week at Salem State.


Chester and Pete are continuing with their swimming lessons and doing an amazing job.  Chester can swim all over with a bubble, and Pete can even float on his back without his teacher.  They both happily jump in with the teacher and can turn and doggie paddle back to the wall. 


I hit my goal weight and I’m holding pretty steady, balancing days with healthy habits and days where I eat three ice cream treats after dinner.  I’ve run a few 5Ks since Marek was born, with my best time just over 29 minutes, and next I’m planning a return half-marathon like I ran after Pete and Chester were each born.   


It seems like every week the boys do something silly that makes me think I should sit down and blog, but I never manage to find the time because I’m almost always on the iPad, or using two hands to wrangle the baby for food.  He had a brief spell of time where I could just sit down and feed him without holding him in place, but that ship has sailed again and he’s too wiggly to feed without pinning him down. 

And my camera battery is missing, so I can't take pictures to load on the blog.  Maybe I'll learn how to load them from my phone someday...

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My arms are full and my heart is heavy.

I'm snuggling an 18lb bowling ball of a baby right now, so my arms are weighed down and I can't type much.  But my heart heart is much heavier and by comparison my arms are light as a feather. 

Earlier this week, my friend's baby didn't wake up.  Sweet little Baby Bo was welcomed by a loving Mommy and Daddy and adoring big sister just over 4 months ago and this weekend, he was laid to eternal rest.  I can't imagine the heartbreak.  It hurts my soul to even dare to think about it, and brings tears to my eyes.   

K and I had our babies weeks apart and joked about losing our baby weight and what a struggle it is.  I had two sick little boys the day of their going away party, so I just took Marek for a short visit that day and said goodbye and good luck in North Carolina.  I am so glad I said goodbye and got in one last hug.  I wish I could extend that hug across the miles again tonight. 

Since hearing the news earlier this week, I've been snuggling my boys extra.  I've been letting them sleep in my arms, and allowing the extra ice cream they were trying to sneak at the pot-luck lunch (I think Pete nearly had a heart attack when I called him over with the ice cream, only to help him open it instead of take it away).  I usually try to keep my anxiety and panic to a minimum regarding my kids, let them learn to ride bikes, go to preschool, ride four-wheelers with Daddy.  I push my anxiety down so that they can learn and grow and explore, because I don't want to be the mom who won't let my kids out of my sight.  But days like this I let my anxiety take over and try to get as many of the hugs and kisses and snuggles as I can.  Just in case this is the last snuggle.  I want to remember every second and every snuggle.  Just in case.  Just in case. 

If you have a spare prayer in your heart tonight, please send one up for Baby Bo and the J family missing him tonight.  And then go hug your babies.  Just in case.   


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rennovations, part deux!

Next on the list of cleaning and rennovation is the hallway bathroom.  Also known as the kids bathroom since all three of us used it growing up.  It's also the guest bathroom, and now when just Mom and Dad are living here most of the time, it's Dad's bathroom.

It's just your standard bathroom by most measures, except that the original owners of this house had a thing for stained glass.  They also may have been colorblind, or perhaps stoned when they selected the stained glass throughout the house. 

I neglected to take a "before" picture, but let me assure you it was horrid.  Yellow wallpaper from the 70s surrounded a yellow and pink and green stained glass window all lit in glaring florescent bulb lighting.  Ugh. 

Early in June, I tore down all the wall paper quite easily, which shocked me.  Expecting to rip and scrape and steam, I merely showered without the exhaust on to steam up the room and loosen the paper and started pulling from one edge!  99% of it came off without any extra effort and the little bit that stuck came down with a sponge full of water. 

Ryan arrived in mid-June and took over the project.  He pulled out some damaged wallboard, replacing it with new upgraded "bathroom safe" greenboard.  He also removed the hideous florescent light and replaced it with a much softer set of wall mounted sconces.  Finally, he filled the hole in the soffet from the original light, taped and mudded the drywall and then primed and painted a very nice "Tea Room" pink from Afinity. 

Let me just pause to put a plug in for the Benjamin Moore Afinity line of paint.  Every single color in this line goes together.  They have solved the problem of picking colors that look nice together to use throughout your house.  If you love the pink for the bathroom, it will look fantastic with the cream for the hallway and the blue in the bedroom and the green down the hall.  I thank God for people with an eye for that kind of thing because I'm good at numbers and numbers come in two colors:  Red and Black. 

I still need to put up some art and a clock, and buy new bathmats and a shower curtain, but the hard work is all done.  Ryan did a great job, as expected, since he's pretty much the best husband ever. 

Ignore the dirty floor, I haven't finished mopping up the drywall dust.  The yellow shower curtain... it gives you an idea of just how hideously yellow the bathroom was.  It's not a super deluxe rennovation by any means, but just a nice fresh look for a bathroom from the 70s. 

One more room down, eight to go! 

Goal! I'm Healthy!

This morning I stepped on the scale and smiled.  I smile most mornings because I'm slowly and steadily going in the right direction, but this morning it was an ear to ear grin. 

I hit 164.0 pounds.  Why is that number important?  Let me just briefly recap.  I lost all the weight by six weeks after Pete was born and then lost even more.  I hovered between 150-155 for about a year before getting pregnant again.  I ate and drank and did whatever I wanted and scoffed at the other Moms trying to lose the babyweight saying "Nine months to put it on, nine months to take it off." 

After Chester I did not lose all the weight.  Ugh.  And then I got pregnant again. 

After Marek, I was stuck at 177.  According to my calculations I needed to be 167 to be at a healthy BMI.  I set my initial goal to 167 pounds but sadly, after a visit to my new pcm, I am an inch shorter than I remember, bumping that elusive healthy number to 164.  I never felt "fat" but when I did the calculations, I was 27 (that's NEARLY 30!) pounds over my easy weight just after Pete was born.  It was time to get serious.

I snuck the baby into the YMCA a week early so I could go back to the gym.  I put my health and exercise time at the top of the priority list, removing my other playdates and MOPS group so that I had my mornings free to hit the YMCA.  I quit drinking so much.  Notice I said "so much".  I still indulge in a few cocktails, beer or wine occasionally, but it has to be occasionally or I gain weight again.  And probably most importantly, I started tracking calories on  I programmed  my goal to 2,000 calories, which includes about 400 for breastfeeding and I lose 1-3 pounds a week if I stick to my calorie goal.  Whenever I stop tracking, my progress stops dead. 

It's not easy.  It's not fun.  I would much rather eat ice cream than veggies, but I know that this is important.  It's important for my health, so that I can play with my kids, and so that I'm still healthy enough to play with my grandchildren.  It's important so that I can enjoy life and not spend my days tired or sore or uncomfortable from carrying around extra weight.  It's also important to me (judge me all you want) that I remain attractive to my husband.  I love him dearly, and I know he wouldn't stop loving me just for being pudgy, but I feel it's my responsibility to look nice for him because he deserves to have a hot wife. 

Earlier this week, Pete and I went for a run.  It filled my heart with joy to put him on his bike help him strap on his helmet, and then lace up my sneakers and strap on my ipod.  It was a short run, just 20 minutes, but I hope for many more evening runs with my little man.  I look forward to sharing a special time with him and I hope that it's the time that he would be jogging along with me and saying "You know Mom, I'm having trouble with my girlfriend" or "Mom, I think I want to change my major" or whatever difficult conversation is weighing on his soul. 

So let me give you encouragement if you're not happy where you are.  And let me give you congratulations if you're making progress towards a goal.  Whether it's 3lbs or 30lbs or 100lbs, you can do it!  Join me on (my screen name is SKPK) and we'll do it together.  I'm just 4 pounds from my second goal and 14 pounds from my "wouldn't it be nice" goal.  I want my friends to be happy and healthy too so that we can all be sitting around the old folks home someday, laughing at our great-grand-children. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Killer: How he survives daily life is beyond me.

Ryan's dog is everything but a dog.  He's a lizard.  He's fat.  He's lazy.  He's cold-blooded.  He's everything that a Boston Terrier should not be.  He might also be a cat, happy to snooze in the sun and flashes you disdainful looks if you try to cuddle him or take him for a walk.  Killer also has at least nine lives.   He's done really crazy things like eat blocks of rat poison and survived.  When he ran away in Lynn, he happened to hop in the car of a sister of a  friend from church.  But he's actually been a great dog on this trip, too lazy to run away, too fat to climb the stairs and get into trouble.  Killer is happy to lay on the back patio and sun himself.  He even excuses himself to the back bushes to use the potty.  Great dog, I tell you! 

Last night I let him out for a potty break about 8pm.  When he hadn't returned by 8:30pm, I was a little worried that someone picked him up, since he's too lazy to run away.  Because we just moved, his only tags are for the Air Force Base, and I figured the well-intentioned good Samaritan was probably hanging out with our fat lazy dog until the Air Force Base Vet opens in the morning and could help identify and return Killer to me.  (Yes, I'll go to Petsmart tomorrow and get him new tags too!)

So as Mom took the bigger boys upstairs for stories, I took the baby and headed out for a walk around the neighborhood to find the dog. 

I didn't need to go far. 

Killer had wandered next door and found the neighbor's minivan, which admittedly looks just like ours, and made himself at home.  He had been snoozing on the floor of their van, while my neighbor was cleaning out the back.  When he heard my voice, he jumped up and stuck his head over the back seat, scaring the neighbor about half to death.  Jerry opened the sliding door and out came Killer, just tickled to be free again.

Clearly this was God's perfect timing, since the doors were shut and Jerry hadn't noticed Killer in the van.  A few minutes later and Jerry would have been done cleaning out the van and I wouldn't have found him.  Killer would have been locked in the van all night, and depending on their plans for the next day, could have been locked in there all day too.  And we all know you should never leave your dog in a car because he can die of heat stroke in even mildly warm weather.

I figure Killer just used up another one of his nine lives. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Oh, that's right. I have a blog. Guest Room update

There are so many things to catch up on, but I'll focus on the present and I might actually catch up on the past few months at some point too. 

I'm in Ohio.  No, I didn't move here (though we did move last month!) but this is the annual summer trip to Ohio and Michigan.  Right now I'm in Hudson with my three boys while Ryan is still at work in MA.  One of the perks of being a stay-at-home-mom is that I can take weeks or even months at a time and head back to my hometown. 

My parents bought this house in 1985, just before I started kindergarten.  27 years later, it's pretty much the same as when they bought it.  We painted and wall-papered a few rooms, and they did gut and remodel the kitchen a few years ago, but for the most part, what they bought is how it remains today.  The goal is for my Father to retire (Mom has already retired) and for my parents to move to "The Island" (long story for another blog) sometime in the next two or three years.  It's been the five-year plan for about the last ten years, but I get the feeling this time it's more likely than not (also the topic for another blog!).  The Island Home is much smaller than their current home, so the first item on the agenda is helping them downsize all the stuff that nearly 30 years and three children has brought into their home.

The second issue will be updating the house to prepare it for the current rough real estate market.  The latest info we get from interior decorators and real estate agents is that wall paper is OUT, so we're not just downsizing stuff, but also preparing to tear out wall paper and paint the entire house.  A fresh coat of paint makes everything look new and exciting, right?

I'm also assuming that we'll be updating the landscaping too, but that's definitely not in the cards for this summer! 

This is the guest room.  At various times in the last 27 years, it has been Greg's room and Doug's room, but now serves as the guest room for married adults.  (Ahem, Doug!)  All our high school books, including some Cliff Notes are still on the shelves, but I've removed everything else.  I took five boxes of clothes to the thrift store and threw out another three boxes that I didn't consider donate-able.  I've been working on this room since last summer, going through countless boxes of Doug's photo materials, old blankets, books, and clothes.  The closet now has room for guests to hang clothes, there's a nice comfy mattress on the bed, the extra desk is gone and there's even room for the crib to be put up while we have Marek here with us.  I vacuumed the rug today for probably the first time in ten years. 

I still have a little work to do for this room, but I am just thrilled to death with the work I've put into it so far.  I have one more box of Doug's sports and high school memorabilia to box up, and all those books to donate back to the high school (even the Cliff Notes.  Especially the Cliff Notes!) but then we will be ready to pull down the wall paper and choose a color!

I've also been cooking, cleaning, shopping, going to the gym, strawberry picking and chasing my three boys during this renovation, so I'm more than a little exhausted, but at least I'm not pregnant this year!  Oh, and my parents finally got the air conditioning fixed, just in time for this to be the coldest June on record... just my luck!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Beginning of the End.

Marek learned to roll over today. 

He's been trying for a while now, but I've been a bit lazy about tummy time (really, he screams his head off often enough for no good reason, I don't need extra screaming by forcing tummy time!) and today when I laid him down and left the room to rescue a green truck from under the radiator, I returned to a baby on his back.  While I know he was alone and no one else could have flipped him over, I wanted to actually see it for my own eyes.  Thus began the half hour of amusement, putting Marek on his belly and watching him slowly wiggle his arm under him and kick up and over on to his back.  He was quite pleased with himself.

The last few days he's been rolling from his back to his side as well, and I know it won't be long before he kicks all the way over to his belly.  I personally think his ability to roll to his side is a direct effect of my breastfeeding.  I always place him on his side to eat, so when he's looking for food, he turns his head and stretches out to get a mouthful, rolling himself onto his side. 

I feel like this is early, 12 weeks for rolling?  Chester started rolling just before 5 months and I thought that was early!  But the reality is that it doesn't matter when your child rolls.  Or crawls.  Or walks.  Or talks.  Because, for the most part, our children are normal and healthy and won't be leaving for college without the ability to roll over.  My first two boys reached their milestones within or before the "normal" range (except for talking, but we caught up quickly!) and so this time around, I'm purposely not even looking at the experts.  My kid will roll when he's ready.  Clearly, he's rolling before I'm ready and I'm fairly certain he'll crawl and walk before I'm ready too. 

It's exciting, and yet bittersweet.  I love watching all my boys discover new things and master new skills.  But this is likely the last time I'll watch my little baby learn to roll.  We're probably done having children, so the next baby I have this much vested interest in will be my grandchild. 

So this is the beginning of the end for so many reasons.  The beginning of the end because once there are three mobile children, Ryan and I are outnumbered.  The beginning of the end because my last baby is growing up.  In our house, there will be no more baby snorts, no more soft baby-scented hair, no more little baby stretches.  The little old man face of my newborn has morphed into a fat cheeked round face of an infant, and will soon quickly grown into the constantly smudged face of a toddler.     

Slow down, little man.  Slow down.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I've been here before.

That number.  It looks so oddly familiar.  It is.  Odd.  And Familiar.  Since I have no idea who's reading my blog these days, I'm a little hesitant to put such a number out there.  Here goes.  Maybe I can use a small font?   177.  That's right.  I said it.  That's how much I weigh.  It's how much I weighted before I got pregnant with Marek.  So I could call it pre-pregnancy weight.  However, it's not my goal weight.  I was about 17 pounds from goal weight when I got pregnant with Marek, so now I've returned to this spot, this plateau and this time I'm determined to blow right through it. 

I'm technically overweight by the BMI charts.  And before you give me the "you have a two month old" speech, let me assure you that I was at this weight after baby two within the first six weeks.  I just never pushed past it. 

There were so many factors that contributed to me keeping 17 extra pounds after Chester.  The most glaring is that I was overconfident.  The weight peeled off after Pete.  In fact, I was the thinnest I've been since high school after Pete was born.   I didn't even have to try to get the weight off, it just melted.  I laughed in the face of women who said "nine months to put it on, nine months to take it off".  I'm 5'10" with a nice solid frame, so 145 and a size four was actually not an attractive weight for me and I happily gained back to a healthy 160 before getting pregnant again.  After Chester, I didn't bother making any sort of effort again, and lost 20 of the 40+ pounds I'd put on.  But that was it.  The scale hovered between 170 and 180 for the next year. 

Our vacation to D and K's wedding in Turks and Caicos really pushed me to make an effort.  Oh, not before the vacation, but after.  After I saw myself in pictures, and saw myself in a swimsuit I truly started my weight loss journey.  There were a few bumps in the road, but I manage to get down to 168 before starting to gain with Marek. 

This time I told myself I will not allow that to happen again.  So I'm being more careful with the alcohol.  And brownies.  It's best if I don't even let baked goods or candy in the house, as I have zero self control when I'm stressed.  After cleaning the toilet and your toddler's pants for the fifth time today, a handful of M&Ms really satisfies with the crunchy shells and the sweet chocolate melting in your mouth... but I digress. 

I'm a mere three weeks from being able to use the YMCA playcare for Marek.  Though now that I've been cleared by the midwife to return to the gym, I am going to sneak him in earlier, like this week so that I can return to my yoga, zumba and treadmills.  Exercise is both good for the body and the soul, but it's difficult to accomplish at home with three children screaming for your attention, and trying to fit it into our evenings when Ryan's home to watch Marek is nearly impossible if I want to have dinner and bedtime on time to keep my older boys in a routine.  I also do better with a stable schedule, and I'm excited to be starting a sustainable routine again, even if it means fibbing a little to the YMCA playcare.   

Mini goal #1 Sneak the baby into playcare twice a week while Pete's in pre-school.
Mini goal #2 167 pounds, which is the cut off between overweight and healthy for my height.
Mini goal #3 Run a 5K.  I returned to running after Pete and completed a half marathon, but failed miserably 8 miles into my half marathon after Chester. 
Mini goal #4 Run that half marathon!
Final goal- 160lbs, living a happy and healthy life with the ability to keep up with my three crazy boys. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

When did the time start to fly by so quickly?

Do you remember a time when summer break seemed like forever?  When the days crawled by as you struggled to find ways to stay entertained for three whole months

When did it change?  When did time start to fly? 

Ryan replaced our roof this fall and we choose the 30 year shingles.  Chatting with my Grandmother, who replaced her roof on the boathouse recently with a metal lifetime roof, she laughed that 30 years flies by and before you know it we'll have to buy a new roof again!  I guess when you're 85, 30 years can fly by. 

Because of a scheduling conflict, I'll be missing my ten year reunion this summer, and do you know what I honestly thought?  Oh, well, that's sad, but there's another one at 15.... 

Right now we're in between, not quite dragging the days like our youthful summers and not quite breezing by 30 years, but I am noticing the rate of time increasing as it passes.  It took forever for Pete to turn six weeks old, yet already nine weeks with Marek has flown by.  With three kids, there are appointments, school days, lessons, parties etc. that keep us so busy I'm booked solid through July.  That's right, it's March and I'm scheduled out through the end of July.  Pete's birthday is six weeks away.  Our move is eight weeks away.    Three months until Shelley's wedding.  Then a trip to Ohio and Michigan and once we're back to Massachusetts it's time to get ready for school and the festivities of fall.  My birthday, Ryan's birthday, our seventh anniversary, Thanksgiving in NYC with Doug and Emily, and finally there are 19 paychecks until Christmas.  Don't you feel like you just finished cleaning up from Christmas?  I'm tempted to get pregnant, just to watch the 41 weeks slow down again!

I feel like we turned the corner a few days ago, when I got close to a full night's sleep.  The older boys were behaving pleasantly, and the baby allowed me to put him down without screaming his head off.  I got to enjoy my children.  It's something I haven't done in a while.  While it's been a total zoo around here, I was just treading water.  Just making it through the day.  But this week, I got to take the time to enjoy my children again.  It's not like every day is suddenly perfect (though it was pretty close to perfect because I did shower, put on my next size down jeans, put on make up, do preschool drop off and drop off a meal to another brand new mom all by 10am) but the days have been pleasant enough that I was able to enjoy the little moments of each day that make this all worth it.

Maybe now that I'm not in such a haze the days will stop flying by.  Or maybe soon I'll be telling my grandchildren about that 30 year roof needing to be replaced before you know it. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

They're all different. No, really, now I actually believe it!

Everyone kept telling me each pregnancy is different (mine were all pretty similar and miserable, though this last one did kick my butt a little more than the first two- I figure I'm just getting older!) and that each child is different.  I smiled and nodded because the first two boys were very similar.

But now I can really believe it. 

Pete and Chester both had trouble breastfeeding.  Marek has been a dream.  He followed all of my research about how a breastfeeding relationship is supposed to go.  From the slightly sore nipples, to the six week growth spurt, it's like he actually read the books too!  I stopped by the LC office this week, and of course the LC recognized me immediately (I spent enough time in her office, she probably went through withdrawal when I stopped going after Chester started solids).  The LC, my NP, PCM, midwife, ENT and breast surgeon never could figure out why Chester mangled me so badly.  We never had a definitive answer, and so I just assumed this would be another year or more of screaming pain.  But Marek has excelled from day one.  He's well on his way to becoming my favorite!  (Just kidding.  A little)

Pete and Chester both wake up screaming angry.  They always have, from day one.  Regardless of if they're sleeping in my arms, in my bed or in their own bed, swaddled or unswaddled, day or night.  The eyes open and they squeal.  I envied mothers whose children "fussed" or "talked to themselves" when they wake up.  I nearly smacked the mom who said she waits to hear her baby on the monitor (we never needed a monitor, they wail loudly and immediately, so why amplify the cries?) then gets up and takes a shower, gets dressed and only then, 30 minutes later, does she go get her child from his crib.  I was always woken up by a shrill scream, and the crying doesn't stop.  Marek has started waking up and babbling in his crib!  Seriously.  I've showered twice this week, even put on make up and dried my hair too.  The older boys?  Both still wake up from nap screaming like someone is stabbing them. 

Not much time these days to blog, but I just wanted to put a little updatte out, and record my glee at how well we're doing.  Busy, but doing well!  I'm sending out hope for all of you Moms (like my pal JC, happy birthday!) who had difficult first babies and might be a little cautious about a second...   They really can be different!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

To think that in such a place, I led such a life.

Those words, by Winston Churchill recalling his days as a student, are inscribed on a sculpture at the Hub of Miami University.  I spent five years there in Oxford, earning my undergrad and graduate degrees in accounting.  I learned even more outside of the classroom, meeting friends that have already lasted me over a decade.  While my days there lived up to the idea of such a life, my days since have been even more cherished. 

I never spent my days dreaming of children like some women do.  I wasn't into babysitting and baby dolls and baby anything.  I spent my days dreaming about my success as an accountant.  Even though I assumed children would be part of my life, part of my family (with the standard husband, kids, house, dog and white picket fence) I also assumed I'd be a working mom, dropping off at daycare each morning on the way to my wildly successful corporate career. 

I started off on the way to my dream, moving to Boston, settling into my career as a CPA, meeting an amazing man and buying a cute little house.  We even added two dogs to complete the American Dream.  Then the kids arrived and threw me for a loop.  The logistics of my career require long hours, which daycare doesn't cover.  The logistics of Ryan's career require months out to sea, which daycare also doesn't cover.  I couldn't quite get the hang of finishing my work by the time I had to leave to pick up Pete from daycare and I couldn't quite figure out how we would ever have time together as a family. I was working a tax season while Ryan was in port and then I had time off in the summer while he was out to sea.  So I quit to stay home with my first baby when he was about nine months old.  I assumed this would be a break for three to four years until he entered pre-school and I could get my "life" back.

After getting over the bored to death feeling, and learning to cook and bake from scratch- it's easier on the budget of a single income family, I decided that if I were going to be a stay-at-home-mom, I was going to REALLY be a stay-at-home-mom.  So we had two more boys, all three of them in under four years.  And now, I can honestly say I'm having fun.  Of course there are many challenges like frustrating days and sleepless nights, but I can actually say the satisfaction I get when Chester pees in the potty is equal to the joy I used to feel when I tied out a FAS 109 footnote.  I really never thought I would feel this way, but I do, and if I can enjoy motherhood, I'm pretty sure anyone can.   

Recently I considered ordering a hand-crafted sign common in military families- "Home is where the Coast Guard sends us" followed by a listing of all the places Ryan has been stationed.  But now that I think about it, I'd rather have a sign that says "To think that in such a place, I led such a life". 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Commence potty training

Last week Chester turned two and this week I decided to give the potty a try.  It is admitedly on the early side, as WebMD tells me that boys start potty training between 22 and 30 months, and are fully potty trained on average by 38 months.  Pete tried at 24 months, but didn't really succeed until 30 months, so he was fully average.  Chester has been asking to sit on the potty for months, but has no concept of the feeling or timing of holding or peeing, so I thought it would be a good time to try the three-day potty training method.  With only three days invested,if there's no progress we can quit and revisit the situation again in a few months. 

The concept is that your pump your child full of fluids because more peeing equals more opportunities to pee on the potty and give positive reinforcement.  Then they run around in undies only, so that they notice the pee and associate it with a wet yucky feeling in their underpants.  You watch very carefully and the minute they start peeing you whisk them away to the potty to finish peeing.  Any amount of pee ends up in the potty and they get rewarded with very excited clapping and dancing, and in our family, CANDY!  Then you put on clean undies, clean up the puddle and drink more to repeat the cycle.  At no time do you put a diaper or pull up back on, this is do or die for three days straight. 

The original instructions don't mention it, but I think it's extremely helpful for you to be drinking too.  And not juice.  Be sure to stock up on your favorite alcoholic beverage because you won't be leaving the house for several days.  Unfortunately for my sanity, I'm trying to lose a few pounds to fit in a dress for a semi-formal event in two weeks, so beer is off my list of stress relief options.   

A wise mother once told me to skip the potty chair and the potty seat and go straight to the real potty facing backwards.  Then you can use any potty, anywhere, which can be a big stumbling block for toddlers leaving the house.  It also helps when they are learning to poop on the potty.  Besides those two obvious benefits, those little potty chairs don't sufficiently block little boys from peeing straight out into the middle of the room.  Sitting backwards ensures all they hit is the toilet lid.  There are even times (and this is more than I ever wanted to know about raising boys) that the pee will go straight up.  Pete learned this the hard way, leaning over to see if he was peeing yet, only to get squirted straight in his face.  Oh my!

We started Chester's potty adventure Thursday after nap, with white grape juice, apple juice, cranberry juice, chocolate milk and Valentines Day candy from the clearance shelf.  It worked pretty much immediately, and we had quite a few puddles.  Thank God for hardwood floors!  The encouraging part was seeing his face as he felt and recognized the pee,which is something Pete didn't have the first time I tried the three day method with him.  By bedtime, we had actual progress, with several intentional pees on the potty. 

I do use diapers at night because I feel there's no point in torturing them, or me, with waking up every hour until they've demonstrated the ablity to take a nap without wetting the bed.  After dinner, he took one last potty trip, put on a diaper and jammies and headed to bed.  That's when disaster struck.  Drinking juice and milk all afternoon did a number on his digestive tract and he had a liquid poosplosion sometime in the middle of the night.  I smiled a little while Ryan had to deal with the cleanup, as I was in the middle of feeding Marek.

This morning was much more successful.  We had a few full-on accidents, but mostly Chester would get his undies a little wet and run himself to the potty to finish peeing.  A few times he even sat on the potty at my request, and peed on demand.  I think we're doing great but I also don't want to think about another day like this, with the rug rolled up, watching Veggie Tales and playing cars on the bare wood floor, chugging heavily diluted juice and licking ice cubes all in the name of learning to pee in the potty.  I pray for patience (for me) for enlightenment (for Chester) and for the strength to see this through so we can have just one baby in diapers.  If we can get Chester fully potty trained, we'll actually be gaining two sets of diapers, because with one in diapers, I'll go back to our cloth diaper stash.  I've been slightly overwhelmed just trying to live life with three boys under four and I haven't gone back to our cloth diapers since Marek's birth.  

If there was any doubt that God has a sense of humor, late last night after Chester's poosplosion, Marek gave a very loud poosplosion as well.  After he filled up his diaper, I turned on the light, and started changing him.  For convenience, I keep a diaper changing kit with wipes, diaper and changing mat (actually it's just an old prefold diaper) on my bedside table so I can change his diaper without even moving from my warm and cozy bed.  I was about halfway through changing him when he gave another loud poosplosion and it shot across the changing mat, splattering all over me.  I'm pretty sure I heard Ryan chuckle in his sleep as I swore and started to clean up.  Now today I have to finish cleaning the house during naptime for another showing, and the bed sheets, my jammies and the newly soiled twenty pairs of undies in the bathroom laundry will be a struggle to finish before 2:15pm!  Guess I better stop blogging and head for the basement. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

They say there's never any pictures of the second kid.

Well, I took lots of pictures of the second kid, but I neglected to blog about his second birthday last week.  Yeah, Mother of the year, I tell you! 
Oh my, that was one fat little baby!  Chester weighed in at 10lb 6oz at birth, and just in case you've read the latest study on IV fluids during labor, I didn't have any.  So that means all 10lb 6oz of him was really all him.

Chester has been a spitfire from day one.  After his dramatic entry into the world, he learned to crawl at five months, crawled up stairs at seven months, and climbed out of his crib at thirteen months.  He's been my Mama's little boy, Daddy's little buddy, and Pete's best friend. 

Learning to crawl on the 4th of July.  Naked.  Because that's how he rolls.

Crawling up the stairs in Virginia Beach over Labor Day weekend 2010.

First birthday pictures!  Still so sweet and innocent, but a few days later.... out of the crib and running around at 1am.

Chester has a unique combination of a laid back attitude, combined with an adventuresome desire to explore and push physical boundaries.  It's only fitting that his two year pictures document the bruises, scrapes and scars on his adorable little face.  We threw a little party during the Superbowl, served typical tailgating appetizers and baked him a dinosaur cake.   

Many thanks to Jenny and Meghan for their help on the cake.  And the wine. 

And at the end of the day, he was so exhausted he passed out on his pillow.

Here is the original post from Chester's birth:

Baby Repete arrived at 12:38am this morning (2/5/10), with Daddy on the speakerphone.

After my appointment, I was feeling the same few mild contractions I'd felt after the last two appointments with membrane stripping. So I called Meghan, a friend across the street, we had a glass of wine and sat down to watch Grey's Anatomy. After the show, I took a shower, to see if these contractions were real, but I still hadn't timed them or anything. No big deal. The shower slowed them down, I called Kelly to let her know we weren't having a baby tonight, told Meghan I'd see her tomorrow and started in on laundry and cleaning. Too bad these suckers came back with a vengence! At 11pm, I couldn't decide if this was for real, so I called the birth center, they asked me to come in to get checked. I called Ryan (out on the boat) to let him know I was going in to get checked. He said there's nothing he could do, but to give him a call if they admitted me. I called Meghan to take me to the birth center and called Jennie, my fabulous Doula.

We arrived at the birth center at 11:50pm. I called Kelly, she came and picked up Pete and took him back to her house. I was checked in at 6cm, monitored for 15 minutes, moaned and bitched, got in the tub, and 2 pushes later arrived my fat little baby at 12:38am without so much as a tylenol. 10 POUNDS 6 OUNCES! 21 inches long.

We'll have to wait for Ryan to return home to officially name our new baby BOY, but I'll let you know what we come up with. And if I can figure out Kelly's camera, we'll get some pictures up too.

I feel great, and Baby is doing well too. Pete is having a sleepover at Kelly's house, and Daddy comes home soon!

Thank you thank you thank you Kelly and Meghan for all your help tonight. This further proves Karma's a bitch. I mean, who needs a backup plan, after all, it's not like I'm going to go into labor so fast I barely have time to get to the hospital...


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Take pity on the ugly baked goods.

A few lessons learned from today's bake-a-thon for the Boston Coast Guard Spouses' Association Bake sale scheduled for Valentine's day this week:

1) The instructions on the back of the white chocolate box are BS.  They say to microwave the chocolate 60 seconds and then stir, then microwave another 60 seconds.  It is still rock solid after the first 60 seconds, and totally burnt after the second 60 seconds.  Tomorrow I'll buy more chocolate and try again. 

2) Don't promise your three year old he can sprinkle the chocolate covered pretzels until you're sure you're not going to ruin the chocolate for the chocolate covered pretzels.  I'm pretty sure Pete's new nickname is going to be meltdown.

3) Red velvet cake batter smooshed in your two year old's hair looks shockingly like a serious head wound.

4)  Red velvet cake batter in general is a bad idea.  From the head wound scare to the smudges on the counter to the spot on my favorite camel sweater, that batter jumps from the bowl to cause havoc and stain anything it reaches.  

5) Those super cute heart cakes aren't going to come out level on that baking sheet, so leave lots of room for frosting to fix them.  The brownies do come out level, however, which leads me to a serious dilemma: ugly baked goods.

I wasn't planning on donating the brownies to the bake sale.  The brownies were Pete's reward for being so patient and helpful.  But the brownies are the cutest of anything I baked today.  Once we slather on some frosting, and sprinkle with Valentine sprinkles, they could be sliced up and served in Valentine baggies with pink ribbon ties.  It will look like a 12 year old girl went to town decorating them with all the pink and purple and hearts all over, but it will be festive and pretty.  Except that I had planned for my family to eat them, not donate them.... 

My Red Velvet heart shaped cakes are uneven, sloping noticeably to one side.   I know that even with copious amounts of cream cheese frosting, they probably won't be adorable.  They'll taste great, but they'll be as ugly as my failed attempt at sugar cookies back in December. 

The chocolate covered pretzels might not even make it to the table if I can't figure out how to properly melt the darn chocolate. 

Do I send the ugly baked goods, and keep my brownies to eat, or do I bite the bullet and donate the pretty brownies?  At this point, I'm very close to buying some festive bags, filling them with pink and white candy and calling it a day.  It's been hours, my kitchen is trashed and my kids are angry about the sprinkles. 

So the next time you're passing a bake sale, just take pity on the ugly baked goods.  Someone tried very hard, and those ugly baked goods will taste just as yummy as the beautifully decorated cookies.  And if you find a decorative bag full of candy, you can assume some one's weekend was pretty miserable.  Either way, make a generous donation please!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The third one has to get his share somehow, right?

Clearly Pete and Chester demand my attention.  They can both physically demand my attention by doing crazy things around the house, and verbally demand my attention calling for me, "Mooooommy!".  Marek, on the other hand, just sleeps, eats, cries and poops.  Usually in that order.  If I put him in the cradle, he's still there when I return from the shower.  He may cry, but he can't actually create havoc and mayhem yet.

Instead, Marek has resorted to other methods of monopolizing my attention, and at first I fought it, but now I've just decided to accept 2am for what it really is.  Our very special quiet bonding time.  Marek gives me a relatively good stretch of sleep at night, from about 8pm to 1am or maybe 2am.  He eats and gets a new diaper when he wakes up.  Then he wants to play.  He's not crying (unless I put him back down) and he's done eating.  He just wants to hang out, typically for about two hours.  At just over a month old, he's alert and strong enough to hold up his head while he coos and giggles.  He makes googley eyes and waves his arms and legs around.  Eventually he tires and begins to yawn and that's my cue to swaddle him and rock him back to sleep.

He's the littlest brother, and he'll always have to fight Pete and Chester for his share of the ice cream, the legos and the 4-wheeler.  But we'll always have 2am. 

Just don't shower. It's not worth it.

I should be doing laundry, but this is too funny not to share.  The boys are curled up in "nests" that we made out of blankets and pillows,  and the baby is napping so I have a few minutes. 

I took a gamble and showered this morning.  It had been too long and I had the baby napping soundly, and the other two boys trapped in the living room, seemingly entertained by Diego Dinosaur.  I figured they would do something devious while I showered, but I had scanned the living room and playroom for any serious danger, and decided a shower was worth the risk.  Besides, the bathroom is no more than 20 feet from the farthest point in the living room, so I figured I would hear if they started getting into trouble.   

After I emerged and dressed, I was ready to celebrate my success.  The couch cushions were all over the room, but that's simple enough to fix.  They had stacked all the cushions on one chair, telling me it's a princess chair.  We learned the word "throne" and Pete told me I'm a princess and a queen and that's my princess chair.  I certainly felt like a princess, having actually gotten clean and dressed by 9am.  Even better, I had moved from the size 12 jeans down to the size 10 jeans today, just over one month post partum!  The day was really shaping up after yesterday's disaster.

Then I started to put back the cushions and I noticed some red splotches on one.  I made a mental note to wipe them down when I had a minute and went back to picking up the cushions and folding the blankets.  That's when I noticed little red splotches on the floor and it finally dawned on me that the splotches on the cushion were BLOOD. 

Before you call DCFS, I want to tell you that it was a teeny tiny injury under Chester's toe.  I checked his face first, as most of his injuries have been busting his face or mouth, but his head was fine.  I found a small cut under his toe, and followed his little bloody tracks over the couch, up on the window sill and across the stone hearth.  I could not find anything sharp or anywhere he possibly cut his foot.  I cleaned the toe, bandaged it and put a sock on him to keep him from playing with it.  Now that I think about it, if he were wearing socks to begin with, he probably wouldn't have cut the toe....

The couch is all clean and dried, and I think I found and cleaned all the little bloody footprints.  Now I'm hoping that they'll pass out in these little nests we've made while they watch a dinosaur movie and I do a little laundry.  After all, I'm still working on their blankets from last night...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

There's only one beer left? *sob*

So I just took the last beer out of the fridge and burst into tears.  I only had one, and I thought there was at least another six pack in there, but I guess not.  It's been that kind of day.

Allow me to tell you about this day in reverse.  I have time to blog because my children are watching TV right now.  At 8pm.  Because their sheets are in the washer.  Not even the dryer.  The washer.  That gives me approximately 60 more minutes before they'll be in bed.  At least the baby is sleeping.  Oh, wait, he is, but that means my 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep have already started, and as noted, I have at least another hour before my older boys are in bed, leaving me with possibly 3 hours of sleep tonight.

I had to and leave him to scream while I put the boys in their pajamas.  That was his fussy time of the night and I was left alone to do jammies and bedtime.

At least they ate dinner at the birthday party today, which means I didn't have to cook!  Happy Birthday T & M, we loved Build a Bear!  I hope my dark under eye circles and unwashed hair didn't scare any of the other mothers.  Yes, they all have kids, but based on how cute and perky everyone else looked, their kids are a little older and sleep through the night.  Or they're on speed.  Which I am now seriously considering picking up as a habit too.

A poor naptime leads to meltdowns at CVS, and a new baby with a new prescription for Thrush means the lab tech takes forever to file all the forms.  While I wrangle all three screaming.crying.children and ignore the look of death being shot at me by the little old ladies in the waiting area.  I would have gone through the drive through, but I needed to pick up a card for the birthday party.  I meant to do that earlier this week.  Didn't get to it until 20 minutes before the party.

I'm officially turning off my phone during naptime.  The ONE hour I had available to me to nap was interrupted three times by the Real Estate Agent.  They scheduled a 2pm showing.  Then cancelled it.  Then, at 1:19pm, tried to reschedule the showing for 2pm.  What part of Three Kids under Four do they not understand?  41 minutes notice to show the house?  Oh Hell No!

We made it home from preschool with one child asleep, one child fading fast and one child screaming his brains out.  I guess getting your Hep B vaccine and then being shoved into a car seat isn't a recipe for a happy car ride home.  To add insult to injury, the Dr. office was running late, so we were late to pre-school pick up, and the main door to school was locked.  I gambled and decided to park illegally, then carried two screaming children down the stairs and around to the back door to pick up the pre-schooler. 

The one bright spot in my day?  Marek is 11 lb and 1 oz.  He's been alive 31 days and he's gained 31 oz.  This is the most successful breastfeeding relationship of the three.  The first two were miserable and had me in tears every day.  This has only hit a little hiccup with the Thrush today but is still unbelievably easy.  My LCs and other BFing friends told me for the last three years that this wasn't normal, the pain should have gone away, etc.  And finally, I believe them.  I wasn't being a wimp before, the cracked and bleeding nipples with clogged ducts and mastitis were not the norm.  THIS is the norm.  THIS is what breastfeeding is supposed to be like. 

I actually had enough by 8am so after I dropped off Pete at school, I took Chester to the gym.  He went to playcare and I sat down to feed Marek and read my book.  I felt bad because I had already been screaming at the boys by 8am.  Insane, angry mommy screaming.  The kind of screaming that leaves you with a an ache in your head and shame in your heart. 

I slept 4:30am-5:30am this morning.  And 9:30pm-1am last night.  What did I do for over three hours last night?  I fought a war with my one month old poop machine.  Though I am thrilled to death that he's so well nourished that he has lots of poop, I would prefer he either poop during the day, or learn to poop without grunting, crying and wiggling.  You see, he filled his diaper and I changed it.  He filled it again, and I retaliated with a cold wipe instead of a warmed one.  He peed on me.  I put another diaper on him which he promptly filled.  I let him sit in that one for a while, but he held it and then pooped WHILE I was changing the diaper.  I gave up.  But the damage was done and it was 4am.  We finally both passed out, just as Ryan's alarm was going off at 4:30am.

One bad night is not the end of the world, but this was the third one in a row.  I'm waving the white flag.  Actually, I'm waving the Lime flag.  The Bud Light Lime flag.  But apparently I'm only waving two of them tonight, since that's all that was left in the fridge. 

We are all just doing our best. And today my best just wasn't enough. But I will try again tomorrow.  Because I love them. 


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Sleep, or lack therof.

I've written about being tired, but the topic needs to be revisited now that Marek has arrived.

Ryan and I are both so exhausted some days that hilarity ensues.  For example, last night, Ryan was reading his book while I fed the baby.  We were talking, and he just suddenly stopped responding.  He had fallen asleep, with his light on, and his head in the book.  I considered being offended, but since I can't remember what we were talking about, I guess it wasn't that important anyway.

Marek doesn't have a sleep pattern yet.  Some nights he's asleep at 7pm, some nights it's 9pm.  Some nights he's awake twice for food, some nights it's just once, and some nights he's just up once but it's for three or four hours!  Mostly I pick him up from the cradle, feed him and if he's fussy after eating, I keep him in bed with me.  The other morning I woke up in a total panic, tossing blankets everywhere, horrified that I might have fallen asleep with Marek eating and smothered him.  I couldn't find him, and the seconds ticked by as I tore apart the bed and pillows looking for him.  Then I looked in the cradle, where he was sleeping peacefully, totally oblivious to my sleep-deprived flip out. 

Clink.  Clinkety-clink.  Scuffle scuffle.  Clink.  What is that noise?  It's the sound of my nearly two year old scaring me into an early grave.  I awoke to a strange clinking sound one night last week, and in a panic, sent Ryan out to the kitchen to find the source.  Ryan found Chester, standing on the chair he had pushed over to the counter, and chopping a pear with my butcher's knife.  I used to think I'd hear anything these guys did in the night, but now I'm not so sure.  So we're back to baby-gating them out of the kitchen and living room, and in addition, we've added alarms to the exterior doors and added locks at the top of the stairs.  We used to have baby-proof door knobs for the doors, but my kids can outsmart those silly door knob covers so we've moved to more secure pre-schooler proofing. 

Speaking of Chester trying to scare me into an early grave, he tripped over his own two feet in the living room this week, and put his bottom teeth through his lip.  At this point, I've given up (see previous blogs of Chester's injuries) and after we stopped the bleeding, I determined that it wasn't worth stitches as the cut on the outside was small, and the local ER here doesn't stitch inside the mouth.  (Is that a policy across the country, or just the ER here?)  He looks fabulous with a huge fat lip and a bruise on his forehead.  I'm still taking his pictures this weekend for his second birthday.  It's nearly healed now, and even if he still had a swollen lip, I think it's important to document these things to embarrass him in front of his future girlfriends.

What does 2 + 1 = ?????

A whole lot less time than before!

I'm not sure what's been taking so much time recently.  Though the obvious answer is "that pesky newborn" I don't think that's the whole answer!  We've had family visiting pretty much non-stop since Marek was born, so even when he's sleeping, we're catching up on all the family and hometown news from the last six months.

I know you're reading this blog solely for the gratuitous pictures of the new baby, so here's one:

Notice Chester wrestling Ryan in the background?  It's like Battle Royale around here most days!
 Marek is now three weeks old and he's much more alert already.  He's such a great eater, I couldn't be happier with his nursing.  He also had his first bottle this week, and though I went back to work teaching just one night a week, he still needs to eat while I'm in class!  Marek is still learning to like his binky, but the Wubanub is helping a lot.  It doesn't keep the binky from falling out of his mouth, but it certainly makes it easier for me to find and put back in his mouth while I'm driving. 

Ryan and I also took a trip to San Diego last week.  Crazy, I know, but he was being honored by the AFCEA US Naval Institute with the Copernicus Award, and we don't get to choose the date of the awards ceremony it was now or never. 
Here we are at the awards ceremony- Marek was totally content to snuggle up in the Moby wrap and sleep through most of the trip.  I also used the wrap to sneak him into the convention center even though it was supposed to be ages 16+, you can barely see him peeking out of the wrap!   

Here's Marek's first trip to the Beach.  He's snuggled up in the Moby, but I managed to dip my toes in the ocean.  So now I'm up to the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Alaska, Caribbean Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Pacific Ocean.  I'm taking suggestions for my toes' next adventure!

 We also took a few side trips while we were in San Diego.  I'd never been to California before, and it was nice to have a little extra time to explore.  This was taken at the Mt. Soledad Vetrans' Memorial.  It's so weird to be at the beach and then up in the mountains ten minutes later!  As we drove up the steep and winding neighborhood streets, I kept thinking how crazy it must be to plow them in the winter.  Then I realized this is winter and clearly there's no snow.  If we ever get stationed in San Diego, it will be a completely different experience than New England, and even Virginia!

Speaking of totally different.  Let's compare last winter to this winter.   First is a picture from this winter, with the two inches of snow we've had.  The boys played outside the one morning that we had snow.  It melted later that day.  Second is a picture from last winter.  We had so much snow that we were running out of room to put the snow after Ryan shoveled it off the driveway!

January 2012

January 2011
 Finally, we've been taking advantage of Free Friday bowling over at Hanscom Air Force Base.  The first time we went when Marek was 5 days old and I needed some activity for the boys while Ryan enrolled Marek in DEERS.  I wasn't sure how they would do, if they would be able to hold the ball, or understand the concept, but I shouldn't have worried at all.  Both Pete and Chester now love "Rolling Balls".  
First, they find EVERY six pound ball in the entire alley.

Whoever invented this thing is genius.  We also use the bumpers and they hit pins every time!

There's Pete's strike! 
So there are the updates.  I can't promise I'll be back soon, but I'll try to keep up!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

One week old. One week down. One crazy week!

Marek was born on Saturday night and we came home from the hospital on Monday morning.  Their policy would have allowed another day, but I was bored, the boys were bored and Ryan was pretty bored too. 

I came home to a wonderfully clean house, with all the laundry finished and a lasagna ready to bake for dinner.  Ryan has done an amazing job with the boys and the house, which can't be easy, considering he was just thrown into the details of our daily routine (really, I swear I'm not crazy, but there's a gazillion things to keep straight as you go through the day and missing the timing of just one can lead to a pre-schooler peeing his pants during naptime).  With the way he's jumped in to help deal with the house and kids and meals and me and the baby, I'm pretty sure I have the best husband ever right now, so all you single ladies can just give up, Prince Charming is already taken. 

So far this week, we've handled pre-school, doctor appointments for weight checks, a trip to Pump it Up, more doctor appointments, a grocery trip, a Babies' R Us trip, pre-school again, more doctor visits, and an afternoon of bowling.  Even with a new baby, we've been just as busy as ever with Pete and Chester.

On to the baby related news:  Marek is eating well and gaining weight.  I cannot sufficiently express my joy over this but many of you know how badly I struggled feeding Pete and Chester.  At the Navy Hospital where Pete was born, I was told he was a "big baby" (at 8lbs 10oz- the smallest of my children) and would have blood sugar problems because he hadn't eaten 3oz of colostrum in the first two hours after his birth.  There's so many things wrong with that, but I had no idea, and instead he was given bottles of formula until my milk came in three days later.  By then we had no chance of getting his latch right and he ended up hurting me when nursing directly and mostly ate bottles of pumped breast milk.  Chester's saga was a little different, his latch was inhibited by a tight frenulum, but the result was the same, he totally mangled my nipples, leaving me cracked and bleeding for months.  He also had poor weight gain, so we supplemented Chester with bottles of pumped breast milk.  Finally I have a child who seems to be on the right track. Marek has already regained his birth weight by day four, and I have no new significant damage to my breasts.  This is how breastfeeding should be and I am forever grateful to BG, SBH and the lactation counselors here in Beverly for everything they've done to get us on the right track this time. 

Caution: graphic breast details- skip this paragraph if you don't want to know.  Thursday, after meeting with the Lactation Consultant, I was sent to a breast surgeon who numbed the nipple and sliced the scar tissue that had been covering a milk duct for over a year, since Chester mangled me.  As soon as she did it, the pressure released and the gobs of old milk that had been stuck behind the skin came out like stepping on a toothpaste tube.  We are hoping it won't seal over the opening again as it heals, but it already feels a million times better when Marek eats.

I even had a chance to enjoy a girls' night out with SH, LG and LK on Friday night, though I guess it wasn't a true girls' night, since Marek came along with me.  And this afternoon, there's a spouses' club board meeting for me to attend.  I'd say we're settling right in, even though I'm still using my two hands to feed the baby, and therefore can't quite surf  the internet like I could while I was pregnant! 

With all three boys napping, I better get to sleep too.  Having a newborn in the house is just about the same as being pregnant with two poor sleepers and third-trimester insomnia, so I'm grabbing naps whenever I can!
And now for the gratuitous baby pics! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm going to San Diego!

At my January 3 midwife appointment, I received severely disappointing news.  Despite an original due date of January 4, they were moving my due date to the last of three dates.  Three different ultrasounds gave estimates of January 4, 6, and 12, and considering we had reached January 3 with no indications of impending labor, it was a “safe” idea to move the due date to January 12 to allow Baby to enter on his own schedule rather than using medical intervention.  Birth Center protocol only allows for a baby to be delivered up to two weeks “overdue” and by changing my EDD to January 12, we were protecting my right to a birth center birth without the hassles of hospital protocol.  Though I knew and understood the reasoning behind the change, it was still a devastating thing to hear.  Even worse, the final cutoff for Marek’s arrival was January 26, the day AFTER we were scheduled to return home from San Diego.      
Saturday, after an exciting week of visiting with Grandma Kowalske, I was rapidly giving up hope that Marek would arrive while she was here to help and I was starting to worry I would have to cancel my trip to San Diego.  We attended J’s first birthday party in the afternoon out in Sudbury, an hour from our hospital, almost as if I were daring a rapid labor to start.  Looking back, I remember feeling a few twinges at the party, but nothing different than the last three weeks that would indicate progress. 
We ate dinner and I put Pete and Chester in bed, this time I actually started timing some of those twinges, mild, but lasting 30 seconds and coming approximately every ten minutes.  And then… they stopped.  I was upset, but this had happened between 7-10pm several times a week for the last three weeks and it wasn’t surprising to me at all. 
About 8:15pm, I started feeling a general sense of pressure, and I was having momentary twinges, just a few seconds at a time, and sporadically, a minute, then three minutes, then one minute apart.  They didn’t form a pattern and lasted at most three to four seconds.  Remembering how quickly Chester’s labor went from “mildly uncomfortable?” to “OMG that’s a baby!” I decided to call the midwife on duty for a chat.  She reviewed my history and agreed that I should come in to get checked, if only for peace of mind.  I really thought I would be sent home.      
When we arrived at the birth center at 9pm, I measured at 3cm and based on my description of the pain we decided it most likely wasn’t labor but she suggested we stay for an hour to confirm there was no progress.  Ryan watched the Lions game on and I listened to music and tried to solve a crossword puzzle.  The “real” contractions returned at 9:30pm, so I was encouraged, and found comfort hanging over a birth ball.  By 10:15pm, Reina checked me again and I measured at 6cm.  I was officially admitted, she filled the tub and put me on the monitors.  Ryan called our friend Sarah who would be photographing the birth, and sadly my friend Meghan was visiting family in Maine and she would miss the birth.
The contractions got stronger, but not significantly closer together and I wondered how this birth would go.  Every birth has the potential to be different from the last, and I was a little nervous of my ability to handle the pain if it didn’t end soon.  I was in the tub and begged to be checked again, but I couldn’t move to allow her access.  I had no concept of passing time, but was able to joke and laugh in between contractions.  I focused on the music each time a contraction hit, closing my eyes and envisioning my hips opening, trying to relax through it and open instead of tensing to fight the pain.  I hummed and moaned through each contraction and I’m pretty sure I got a little loud.  Suddenly I could feel movement, and I thought I might poop.  All I could think was that would be very embarrassing with my friend there to watch, even though all the books tell you it happens quite often.  I didn’t want to poop, but with the next contraction, I no longer cared and decided to let it happen.  That’s when I realized it wasn’t poop, but his head coming.  I paused to listen to the music, and heard Il Divo singing Amazing Grace, pushed again and his head was out.  Another push and his shoulders emerged.  The midwife had me lay back and reached in to guide the baby to the surface as I gave one final push and his body slid out.  I looked at this guy and just thought how small he was.  He felt small, he looked small, he had been predicted between six and seven pounds just a few days before, but he was actually NINE pounds and two ounces.  I guess it’s all relative! 
Marek Jacob Kowalske, born 1/7/2012 at 11:44pm.  Nine pounds, two ounces and twenty one inches long.  Another fast and easy birth to make up for a long and miserable pregnancy. 
Big brothers Pete and Chester are in love with their new baby brother.  Pete even wanted to bring him home “already” (his favorite word when I tell him he needs to wait or be patient) and Chester brought him cheerios to share.  I see many discussions of what babies are and are not allowed to eat in our future!