Friday, September 29, 2006

My NIP confession

I am an adamant supporter of nursing in public (NIP). If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably have read many comments I've made on the subject. I'm for feeding your babe any time, any where, without draping yourself in blankets or fancy marketed "hooter hiders". I firmly believe that if someone takes issue with seeing a woman NIPing, it's THEIR problem, not the nursing mamas.

So what is my confession? Well, I've turned in to a reluctant NIPer. Yesterday we stopped at a small burger/ice cream joint so I could get Iris some ice cream. She jumped right in to a booth directly across from the counter, which was also right in front of the restaurant door. As we sat there eating our ice cream, Eloise was getting a little fussy. I started to feel my stress level increase, I knew she needed to nurse, but I didn't want to do it right there. I was sitting at a booth, which are tough to BF at, six feet away from the counter where there were only high schoolers working, and facing the front door of the restaurant. As I looked around I just thought, man, I bet many of these people would be uncomfortable if I nursed Eloise here. I ended up asking Iris to go sit at a table outside with me, where I then nursed as usual.

What is my deal? I'm not totally sure, but I have some theories. First, NIPing is difficult when you're as heavy chested as I am. "Popping" my boob out is more like "hefting" my boob out, and no matter which way you look at it, I'm still wrangling a gigantic boob out of my bra and trying to non-chalantly shove it in to my babe's mouth. Actually nursing Eloise isn't a big deal, I can do that fairly discreetly, even with a monstrous chest. Then there's the matter of getting everything back together. There is simply no way to put my nursing pad on my boob, heft my boob back up and try to re-hook my bra strap. Hell, I even embarass myself when I try to do this at home. It is not easy. Usually if I'm in public, I end up just shoving my boob back in all willy-nilly and high-tail it to a private place to tidy myself up.

It's frustrating. I want to be the kind of mama who easily whips it out anywhere and doesn't have a problem, but alas, the reality of the situation is, these babies don't "whip" and in fact I put on quite a show getting ready to nurse and cleaning up from it. I don't think that many mamas think about this. Or maybe they do. Everyone talks about NIP, like they are actually refering to the nursing part of the whole process. I rarely hear anyone talk about the best way to discreetly get a boob in and out of a bra, or affix a nursing pad while you're in the middle of the food court at the mall with a baby in one arm.

A few weekends ago a similar thing happened to me. We were all at a church carnival and had gotten some food and sat our butts down across the table from a nice looking couple. The gentleman introduced himself as Pastor Steve. "Oh, no", we thought, hopefully he doesn't start asking us anything about religion. He was actually very, very nice and chatty. Eloise was getting fussy, I knew she needed to nurse, but I just couldn't bring myself to whip it out two feet away from Pastor Steve's lunch. Does the lord look down on NIPing? Who knows, but I didn't want to risk an admittedly unlikely tsk-tsking.

I am a fraud, I know. A big, fat, stinky fraud.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Whew!

We had a very busy day. This morning Iris was taken to co-op by another mama so I spent a little time cleaning and then a little time relaxing. Iris came home and took her nap so we could get going right away to my six week postpartum visit with the midwives.

It was bittersweet to see the midwives for the last time. I am soooo glad to not have to drive all the way to the birth center anymore, and glad that I am now considered back to "normal" now that I'm six weeks postpartum. I also got a pap today, which I was definitely due for, so that was good to get out of the way. But it's so sad to say goodbye to these women who have helped me through so much. To say goodbye to the midwife who caught Eloise while I delivered her in my bedroom just a short time ago. The women who supported me through the hardest, most amazing thing I have ever done. I had wanted to give them something to say thank you, but I just couldn't come up with the right gift, and didn't have the time to do any shopping or anything. I decided to donate money to the birth center as my thank you. The midwives thought that was a nice idea.

After the midwives we killed some time before meeting my friend Julie after she got off of work. We got some food at McDonald's so we didn't have to get out of the car and wake up Eloise. I was surprised that Iris ate her whole hamburger! She must have been hungry! I had also promised Iris ice cream, because I had read on the Adventures in Babywearing blog that Cold Stone Creamery was having an ice cream social to benefit the Make-a-Wish foundation. I had planned so far ahead that I wrote down the address of one close to where we were going to be this afternoon. As luck would have it, I drove all over and still couldn't find the darn place. Iris was getting po'd that she wanted ice cream and there wasn't one immediately in her hand, plus all of her complaining woke up her sister. We just stopped at a regular ol' ice cream place and had soft serve. We then went to a park to play for a while. There were some young girls playing there, as well. One of them was four and was the same height as Iris. She looked to me like she could be a bit older, but to someone who wasn't a parent, they probably looked the same age. I realized after watching how different Iris and the girl were how people might perceive Iris, as she really is tall for her age. Of course, I'm a proud mama and think Iris is totally smart and advanced, but next to a four year old, she is obviously quite young. This other little girl was trying to involve Iris in complicated pretend play, and Iris stood there with a blank look on her face, then shoved the other girl. ugh. I wanted to say, I'm sorry! She's only two! I also had forgotten my sling, which there really is no excuse for since I own so many of them. It is really hard to carry the baby in my arms and take care of Iris! I saw another mama at the playground with a beautiful pouch sling and I had to stop myself from walking over to explain why I wasn't wearing my baby in a sling ("really! I just forgot it!").

It was fun to visit with Julie and meet her new pup, Puck (as in hockey puck). I miss spending time with her. We have a plan to go see Bobby Bare Jr. right after my birthday next month, so I'm excited about that. Before long, it was time to get going. I had to stop for gas and at that point Eloise just fell apart in her car seat. I struggle with the right thing to do with a screaming child in the car seat. If I know for sure they aren't hungry or have a dirty diaper and are only pissed to be buckled in, lots of times I'll just barrel through the drive to get home as fast as I can. Tonight, when she started screaming we were quite a ways away from home and she wouldn't stop after 5 minutes of crying. So, I found a relatively safe place to pull over. I feel so vulnerable traveling with both girls, so pulling over the car at night in a parking lot gives me the heebie-jeebies. But, it had to be done. We were there for a good 20 minutes so I could calm her down and then nurse her, luckily she was calm enough to make the rest of the drive home without crying.

Now Iris is finally in bed, almost an hour late. Whenever I'm gone much of the day I feel so disjointed and anxious. I get home and feel like I have a million things to do, even things like "sit and watch tv" because I hadn't done it earlier in the day.

We'll have to lay low tomorrow to make up for today. Hooray!

Oh!!! I forgot to say that Eloise now weighs 12lbs 12oz (clothed). Just six short weeks ago she was born at 8lbs 2oz. Um, hell yeah.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A fun new place to play!

I finally got around to getting over to Birth and Beyond today. I'd been wanting to go for a while to get another nursing bra but it's way on the other side of town, so I haven't been able to make it. Today, though, I got a bee in my bonnet, and off the girls and I went. Of course, they didn't have the bra in stock that I wanted, of course! grrr. I knew I should have called first. I was wearing Eloise in the Mei Tai and, interestingly, both of the women working there were asking me about it and looking at it. They even sell slings at Birth and Beyond, so I was suprised they hadn't encountered one like I was wearing. It made me feel pretty special :) I had the woman demonstrate a Moby Wrap for me, as I am intruged by wraps, but I don't currently own one. I had a Didymos a couple of years ago, but with my tendonitis it was so painful to try and wrap/tie that I ended up selling it. I really don't need another sling but my eyes get VERY wide when I see fancy new slings unlike ones that I already own.

After Birth and Beyond we walked down to a coffee shop I heard about buy never been to. It's called My Coffee House and it was very, very cool. Basically the whole place has toys and books and a train table and lots of stuff for kids to do. Some benches and tables for the parents and a great menu of bagels, soup, coffee, kid friendly food, etc. We had a great time! Iris played while I relaxed and ate lunch and Eloise slept in the sling. The owner was working at the register and I chatted with her a bit about opening up a business while her kids were so young. Melissa and I want to open a business, but I just think it will be a while before we're ready with all the small children we've got around!

In other news, I got a call from my friend Julia this morning. She was in the hospital and had gone in at night because of abdominal pain and ended up with emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy. I felt really, really bad for her. I knew she had wanted another baby, but her husband is adamantly against it. I thought it would be so hard to go through something like that. So, then tonight she calls again to tell me it turned out there was no ectopic pregnancy. Apparently the lab said her pregnancy test came back positive, but really it was negative. She had other symptoms that pointed towards an ectopic pregnancy so they just went ahead and did their surgery. So, now she had an unecessary surgery, thought she was pregnant and then it turns out that she was discharged but they don't really know why she was having the pain. That would be so hard to deal with. She has to recovery from surgery, now, as well. I was talking to Matt about it and he said that a similar thing happened to his co-worker. Her doctor thought she had an ectopic pregnancy and gave her drugs--twice--to terminate it. She ended up still pregnant after two rounds of drugs and it turns out she never had an ectopic pregnancy. It was a normal pregnancy, but she ended up having to terminate the pregnancy (for the final time!) because the drugs had messed the embryo up so badly. Could you imagine? Ugh. I would be so devastated.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Could it be?

Matt and I met a new counselor tonight. Remember what a disappointment the last counselor turned out to be? All I had to go on was a list of counselors who were covered by our insurance and the first one I spoke to, who also happened to be right here in our neighborhood, turned out to be pretty good! Matt actually liked her, as well, so hopefully we'll get something accomplished with this one.

It feels overwhelming to have to start over with a new counselor, but I am confident that after the initial "getting to know you" sessions we'll be cruising along on our way to some sort of bliss, right? We've been getting along much better these days, so I am feeling hopeful that even if we don't decide to be in a relationship, we will still be okay.

In completely unrelated news, I am going with Matt to a wedding next week. We were invited to two seperate weddings in October, and being that I love weddings, I'm excited to be able to go to one of them. It's a friend of Matt's that I met the night of our first date. If I recall correctly, he pulled Matt aside and in that drunk I-think-I'm-whispering-but-really-I'm-shouting way he said that I was hot. *blush* I at least owe it to this man to go to his wedding, do I not? So, I have to go to a wedding, a night wedding, one with "cocktail attire" required. Have I mentioned that the only thing in my closet I can even fit in right now is yoga pants and t-shirts? Yeah, so I'm going shopping. I don't even know for what, as my body is just blobby and wierd. I want to look, um, hot, but I'll settle for not looking totally ridiculous. I'm going to need a dress, probably something to wear over the dress (cause I can't wear a beaten up sweatshirt!), stockings, shoes . . . the only thing I DO have is jewelry (the diamond pieces Matt got me for Christmas last year) and make-up. I don't even know what to do with my stringy, long, shapeless hair.

I was just looking at shoes on Zappos and fell head over heels in love with about a million different pairs. I wish I had reason to wear cute, fashionable shoes every damn day. I love that online you can find the best shoes in size 11 (aka the gigantic feet size). I feel like a complete dork asking for shoes in my size in stores. Usually I just end up getting frustrated and saying "okay, so which of ALL these shoes are in my size?" and then the salesperson carries out a couple ugly pairs of clogs and some white sneakers.

So, that's my mission, to find a cute outfit to wear to this wedding, and have fun. Melissa is coming to stay with the girls that night (though after Eloise's crying fit tonight, I hope she doesn't back out on us!) and I will drink champagne and look cute (albeit a little plump) and have, gasp!, fun.

I would be a millionaire!

I just came up with the best baby invention. Now, as an AP mama, I would never purchase one of these (except for that I would TOTALLY purchase one of these!).

So, you know how there are baby swings, and baby rockers, and baby seats that vibrate. My children have never been very soothed by any of these products. They certainly never helped them fall asleep. You know what DOES help my girls fall asleep? Bouncing them on the exercise ball. I have heard from many other mamas that this is the magic bullet for their children, as well. You obviously see where this is going. Why doesn't someone make a snug little seat that bounces with the same motion as an exercise ball? Genius!

I do actually spend a great deal of time holding my girls. Iris I held alot more than I do Eloise, for a couple of reasons. Eloise just doesn't demand to be held as much, and sleeps a great deal more than Iris did. But with both of them, there were so many times I needed to put them down and have them remain content. I use a bouncy seat with Eloise, just as I did with Iris, but it just sort of keeps them content for about five minutes unless they are put in the seat already sleeping. Eloise spends most of her napping time asleep in the bouncy seat, actually.

So, anyways, that's my big idea. If anyone steals this from me, could you send me a big fat check after you make your first million? I'd be greatly appreciative!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Revived!

So as I mentioned in my last post I was taking Julie and Melissa out to a fancy brunch on Sunday morning. It was soooo much fun! We brunched for a couple of hours, out on the patio overlooking a marina. I just love being close to boats and the water, so it was really nice. We ate a ton and I drank a couple mimosas. Being away from the girls to actually have normal, adult conversations and a nice meal, it put my head back in the right space, I think. It was actually the first time I was away from the girls other than the few vet trips I made when Lily was dying.

The night before the brunch I got super upset with Matt because he had been boasting all day about how much fun he was going to have playing poker with his friends that night. It was the third night in a row he was doing something fun and taking time away from being here and helping with the girls. I was just so aggravated that he gets to do fun things whenever he feels like it and I don't. I know it's different right now with him not living here and everything, but it still makes me mad that in order for me to go anywhere I have to ask him to be here to watch the girls and in order for him to do anything he just does it, and I deal with it.

However, I realized how revitalizing just a two hour brunch was. The rest of the day I was in a fantastic mood. Iris was down for her nap for 2 1/2 hours and when she got up we got ready and went down to the playground so she could ride her trike. I really enjoyed spending time outside with the girls while I was in a good mood, for once. There was a couple playing fetch with a Portie in the field, and that made me sad to see, but besides that, it was alot of fun. There was a five year old boy playing on the play equipment and he was so sweet and engaging Iris a ton. They were shrieking back and forth at each other (in a silly way) and I was encouraging it-- finally a time to use her "outside voice"! The boy's dad was playing basketball and yelled over for his son to stop yelling. I was like, what? If a child can't be loud outside, where can they? Anyways, I kept encouraging Iris to be loud, which she enjoys. The little boy said bye to us when he left and the dad kind of looked at me and I smiled.

Today the girls and I are having a great day, as well. We all went to Safeway to buy groceries this morning and then came home and Iris colored and watched tv while I did laundry and dishes and made lunch.

I hope I can continue to make time to get out and remember myself as a single person, and not just as a mama. Even though it's the most important title I wear, I still need to remember who I am. It's been so much nicer for the girls, as well, to have a refreshed mama. Because, as they say, if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

In the home stretch

During my pregnancy with Eloise I decided to make a real effort to avoid sweets. I gave myself the freedom to eat anything I wanted during those early nauseous days and then to just kind of be mindful until I hit 20 weeks and which point I intended to avoid ALL sweets. Well, I didn't manage to do that, but I did do worlds better than I did when I was pregnant with Iris. With Iris, I had a Slurpee-a-day habit. I'm not kidding. I ate bags of jelly beans. I ate pints of ice cream. I decided I had the right to, I was pregnant, after all! Well, I delivered an almost 10 lb baby, who was born two days early. I'm not sure if it was the sugar or not, but I was terrified of my next baby being even bigger (which I had heard they usually are!). So, the way I felt I could exert control over it was to avoid sugar as much as possible.

I'm not sure how much of it was the sugar consumption, but Eloise was almost two pounds lighter, albeit born almost two weeks early.

Due to my sugar limitations while pregnant, I decided I could eat sweets with abandon after the delivery. Oh, and eat sweets I have! The meals I have been getting delivered by friends have more often than not included ice cream, cookies, chocolate bars, etc etc. I have eaten up every single morsel, including many sweets I bought myself. I have eaten not one, but TWO containers of frosting. Both purchased with the intention of being put on a cake. I have also eaten a tupperware container full of cookie dough that a kind mama gave me so I could bake them. I actually like the raw dough more than baked cookies, so I spooned away at it as fast as I could, some mornings it was all I had for breakfast.

But, and there always is a but, I limited myself to eating this way for the first six weeks post-partum, and then back to healthy eating again. Alas, this magic six week mark will be here next Thursday (hence being in the home stretch!). Sigh. I am all at once devastated and elated. I can't wait to lose this belly. Ugh! It's just, well, gross. I will also miss the ice cream, but I seriously need to lose this weight. I still can't wear pre-pregnancy clothes.

I don't really have a plan as of yet other than to stop eating sweets and get my butt outside for as many walks with the girls as I can. I honestly think that's all the structure I can handle at this point, but it will make a big impact towards getting to my goal. I don't want to set myself up for failure, since I'm one of those people who would just through it all away if I couldn't adhere to one point of the program. I also want to eliminate juice again, drink more water, not eat late at night, cut out fatty/salty treats, oh I could go on. However, I'm starting with one bold move and will move on from there.

In other news, I'm taking my two very good friends, Melissa and Julie, out for a fancy brunch tomorrow. It is my way to thank them for the never-ending amazing support they've provided me during all these rough times. I initially wanted to do something for them right after Eloise's birth, but then I was in the ER, and then timing wasn't right, but now I will finally have the chance to formally thank them. It's probably good it kept getting pushed later because I certainly haven't needed their help any less as time has gone on. Hopefully I'm "out of the woods" (as they say) and won't have any more major crises any time soon.

I don't know what you can say to people who have gone so far above and beyond for you than what could have ever been expected of them. Both of these girls make me hope I am even half as good of a friend to other people as they are to me. So, we're going to brunch, and relax, and eat our bootys off. It's going to be wonderful. I'll update tomorrow!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Back to all things baby related

I have finally jumped on the Fuzzi Bunz bandwagon. When I was still pregnant with Eloise I was trying to get some idea of what cloth diapering system I would need to set up that would be economical but also practical. I got my hands on four Fuzzi Bunz and so far they are, by far, my most favorite thing to use! Of course, Miss Eloise pees about a gallon an hour, so with only four Fuzzi Bunz, she's not in them for very long. I had grand illusions of folding recieving blankets in to dipes, like I did with Iris, but I just don't have the luxury of time to get in to it. I decided to buy a dozen Infant sized Indian Pre-folds (well, I ordered a dozen, they only sent me 11, grrrr). I really like them, actually. Last night I figured out that the stack of fitteds I have is just barely starting to fit Eloise, so I am using those, as well. I still haven't figured out the best way to keep her dry, though. I don't use cloth for night or for outings, yet, because I don't want to have to deal with changing her during those times (if I don't have to). Right now I could change her once an hour and it still wouldn't be enough! I think I need to think layers, with fleece next to her skin, but I can't imagine how many layers that would actually take. She also sleeps so long during the day, I just hate that she's stewing in pee the whole time . . . sigh. I guess it must not bother her, as she sleeps for up to four-five hours in the day, but it bothers ME!

So, I just ordered six more Fuzzi Bunz, but in the next size up since she won't be in smalls for too much longer. I think I might end up buying a bunch more, since they have such a high resale value, and sell everything else I've got. Diapering with Fuzzi Bunz is practically as easy as paper diapers, except for the laundry factor. Hopefully I purchased enough doublers to stuff them up nice and plump to absorb all the pee!

I should get a picture of Eloise and her gigantic cloth booty. For the short time Iris was in cloth Matt and I would joke that she had a "J. Lo. booty". She really did!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Is there another dog in my not-so-distant future?

Losing Lily has made me realize I am definitely a dog person. With the stress of small children, I was definitely having a very, very hard time being a good dog owner, but I know that as soon as I am able, I will have a dog again. I think that waiting until Eloise is older, probably at least one, and we live somewhere with some yard access (or at least are on the ground floor!) and I feel a bit more financially stable, a dog will be a new dog in our lives. Last night I was talking to my mom, which is always so nice to share memories of Lily with someone who was as close, if not closer, to her than I was. She had mentioned that sometimes there are dogs in Lily's situation, they live in a family and are bred and shown, then when they retire from those jobs, their owners like to find a new home for them where they can be an only dog. I think alot of people who breed/show dogs have several at home, but sometimes the temperament of a certain dog is better suited to being an only dog in the family. Anyways, she suggested I could get another dog that way, by waiting for one who needed a new family. She even thought one of her dogs would be ready for a new home by the time I was ready for one--which would be so ideal. I could get an adult dog whom was already trained well AND who was a descendent of Lily's!

Anyways, I am so lonely without a dog at home. I also don't feel nearly as safe. I must admit it's nice to not have to be running in and out of the house for potty breaks or deal with a dog being under foot all the time, but I terribly miss the presence of a dog. As soon as my patience has returned and my newborn is a bit less needy, I'll be in a good space to take on the responsibility again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The newest excitement!

So, to lighten the mood a bit around this blog, I thought I'd share with you the video that's causing much excitement around our home. Enjoy! (and watch the dog carefully, very funny stuff!)

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

PPD, hmmm . . .

I mentioned in a previous post that I wsa wondering if I have postpartum depression. Seeing as how I have been hit with the loss of a relationship, the birth of a baby, a trip to the emergency room and the death of my dog all within a four week time span, well, duh, yeah, I'm going to be depressed. As I wondered before, I am not sure that my depression symptoms are related to being postpartum or if they exist due to my circumstances.

Doing some quick research on the net yielded some interesting results. Feeling restless or irritable? Check. Feeling sad, hopeless or overwhelmed? Yeah. Crying alot? Well, I would alot more if I didn't have to save face in front of my children. Eating too much or too little? Yup. Sleeping too little or too much? I actually sleep less than I could be, which is quite a feat when you've got a newborn. Trouble focusing, remembering or making decisions? What was the question? Feeling worthless or guilty? Uh, have you been reading my blog? Okay, I could go on and on. Needless to say, many of the criteria for PPD apply to me. I don't think I'm ready to throw myself under a bus or anything, but it's interesting to know that on some level, I have a diagnosis of depression. In college I went through a period of being depressed and taking medication, this feels very different, much less hopeless.

I don't know what the answer is (of course) and I'm not sure if I should run off to the nearest pharmacist to get some meds, or if I should just try and suck it up and get through, if I should start some serious therapy or what. I suppose all this indecision is just another symptom, huh? I just want to feel normal.

I'm sure I will talk to my midwives about it when I see them next week. Hopefully things start looking up before then.

Monday, September 18, 2006

All I need to know in life I learned from my dog

I was just thinking about the author who coined that phrase. It's making quite a bit of sense to me right now, actually, and whether or not that sounds totally ridiculous, it's very true.

I've lived a great deal of my life sad and angry. I don't really know how it started, actually, but it certainly morphed in to taking over so many parts of my personality. For a long time I accepted it was who I was, that it was as much a part of me as, say, my right hand. There was no changing it, everyone, including me, would just have to accept it. That's not to say I'm not happy and loving, because I very much am, but often times, the happiness and I love I feel is clouded by negativity. When people (or animals) are in your life just accepting that is who you are, as well, it really becomes rooted that those traits are perfectly fine. I just thought "well, all these people love me, so I must be okay just how I am". And to some degree, I am okay, surely I could live the rest of my life with the same level of crabbiness I have right now and be reasonably fine. Luckily I have enough loved ones who accept me even as a human being with faults.

So where does my dog tie in to all of this? As I talked about in my guilt post a couple of days ago, I was hit with tremendous guilt about the kind of owner I was to my dog. No, I wasn't abusive and horrible, but I was impatient, crabby, and when stressed, I yelled more than I talked sweetly to her. And why? I don't even really know. It wasn't about her, she was just a dog, a very sweet, well-behaved, wonderful dog. It was about me. And what did I accomplish from acting the way I did? Absolutely nothing. I accomplished filling myself with so much guilt, it's going to take a lot of soul searching to clear it all out.

I feel like I'm really at a crossroads, my life has changed so drastically over the past few weeks, and I can either just go back down the road I was on (which wasn't really a road that was getting me where I wanted to be) or I can choose a new path, and use this opportunity as a time to do something different. I would hate to ever trivialize Lily's life by saying she was here to be a lesson for me, but rather amongst all of the lives she has touched, this is how she has affected me and opened my eyes.

My mom and dad sent me a children's book called Dog Heaven. I looked at it and thought it would be nice to read it to Iris. We sat down on the couch and I open it up, telling myself I wouldn't cry. The first lines in the book are "When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields. We when a dog arrives in Heaven, he just runs." Yeah, I was a blubbering mess by the second page. I kept on reading, through my tears. Iris just looked at me and said "book make mama sad". One part of the book says "Every angel who passes by has a biscuit for a dog. And, of course, all God's dogs sit when the angels say 'sit'. Every dog becomes a good dog in Dog Heaven". Okay, I could quote the whole book. It's just the sweetest, most touching thing I have read. If Iris were a little older and more concerned about what happens when a dog dies, it would be perfect to talk to her about.

As my mom shared the news of Lily's passing with her friends, also Portuguese Water Dog owners, one of them responded by writing that you are only saying a temporary goodbye, as someday we will meet our pets again. I truly believe this, in fact, one of the last things I said to Lily was "we will see you again, sweet girl". Although I'm not sure I actually believe in God, or Heaven, I'm not sure what I believe, but I do feel in my heart that this isn't the end of the line for us. The souls we are joined with in this lifetime aren't gone forever in death.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Eloise is a month old!

I didn't even realize that today was Eloise's one month birthday until Matt's mom reminded me. It's amazing how fast the time has gone! It feels like she has changed so much. In the blink of an eye she's not a newborn anymore. I wish I could think of something poignant to say, but honestly, I can't. Eloise has nestled herself right in to our lives and happily exists sleeping and nursing while the world around her goes on. I wish with all I am that my memories of the beginning of her time on earth wasn't so clouded by sadness.

Some of the mamas on MDC gently suggested I might have PPD. I suppose I might. It doesn't feel like I would be so down if external things in my life weren't so hard. If I had a stable relationship, a healthy post-partum recovery and a living dog, I think my mental state might be pretty much picture perfect. I don't know if PPD is the correct diagnosis for any post-partum depression, or only pregnancy/birth induced depression. Who knows. I will look in to it.

In good news, Matt has been amazingly supportive during this hard weekend. Without me even asking, he took off of work Friday so he could be here for me and accompanied me to Lily's euthanasia. He brought me breakfast and a bouquet of lilys on Saturday and we spent the whole weekend as a family. It was nice. I am starting to think maybe there is hope for us, after all. I know for sure I've been learning some heavy lessons lately and looking at things--ALL things-- very, very differently. Can't help but think that only good will come of that.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The guilt

I am not sure how other pet owners feel when their beloved animals pass on, but I have been wracked with tremendous amounts of guilt. My amazing support group keeps telling me that Lily lived a happy life, but I just can't get it out of my head that there was so much more I could have done for her. Especially at the end of my pregnancy and through the birth of Eloise, my patience for Lily was almost non-existent. Most of the time I spoke to her it was yelling for her to go lay down, or get out of my way. All she wanted was to be near me and I was nothing but crabby. I absolutely hate to think Lily was here to be a lesson, as she was obviously so much more, but if anything, I learned I absolutely have got to be more patient. More patient with my children, with my loved ones, with myself, with my animal companions. My crabbiness and impatience serves absolutely no one, certainly not myself, and I'm not sure I'll ever shake the memories of my crabby moments with Lily. Unfortunately, right now, they are standing out more than the loving times.

Last Monday night I was getting sick of Lily being so stinky, so I gave her a bath. It had been a long time, and in fact a very long time since I even touched her. I couldn't believe how skinny she had gotten as I rubbed my hands along her soapy, wet body. How did that happen, I thought. That was the beginning of me realizing something was definitely wrong with her. The next day, seeing her so weak, sealed the deal. Because I am selfish and preoccupied, I didn't bring her in to the vet until Wednesday morning. Of course, I thought they'd tell me she was just fine, and that they only needed to get her to eat more. Obviously, had I known she was dying, the course of action would have been completely different. I can't believe I didn't know how bad of shape she was in. I can't believe I was so out of touch with my dog, I didn't know she was dying. I will likely be constantly burdened by the nagging thought of what would have been, had I been more in tune with her.

Everything in my life is suffering. My relationship with Matt has fallen apart, my children don't really have the mama they need, my pets have been sorely neglected. I feel like I've spent the last few weeks just putting out the fires where I can, but never really connecting with any of the things I love in my life. Matt asked me to find a counselor we could see together (since our last one was such a gem!) and I said I absolutely would love to, I just didn't know when I would be able to. I am juggling everything, at the expense of, well, everything. I just wonder, what if Matt had stayed living here? He was such a huge part in caring for Lily, what if he had been here to help care for her when I didn't have the energy? I guess I don't know. I am sure everyone will say there is no need for me to beat myself up about it, it's probably just part of my grieving process.

Iris has talked about Lily a few times. Yesterday morning she said "I go to work!" and I said "Oh, yeah? Where will you work?" and she said "with Lily and the doctor". I told Iris then that Lily wasn't going to be coming home. She didn't seem interested. Later that day she looked out the window and said "Lily, no barking!" and when we got home from going out to eat last night she ran in and looked for Lily in her kennel. It was Iris's job to put Lily in her kennel before leaving and letting her out when we got home. Today she also looked for Lily in her kennel. I think it will take time to retrain all of us from the automatic things we used to do for Lily. For instance, every time someone comes to the door, I tense up thinking Lily will start barking. I heard a noise this morning that sounded like her nails on our hardwood floors. I keep thinking I smell her stinky dog breath. Never in a million years would I think I would miss that.

I'm going to apologzie to my readers now for the vast amount of posts that will be dedicated to remembering my dog over the next few days/weeks. Writing about her has been really therapeutic for me and I'll probably keep writing until I get it all out.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My obituary for Lily



Well, Matt and I went to wish Lily a final farewell. She was put down just after 1:00 today. It was amazingly, incredibly sad. I wondered how I would have the strength to get through it. I guess you just do.

Lily was born on April Fool's Day in 1996. She was officially named CoZe's Primera Lily de Agua, Lily for short. My mom had fallen in love with Portuguese Water Dogs after visiting Lily's mother, and decided to take Lily home. Early in life she had three litters of puppies. The first was perfectly normal, lots of sweet, healthy puppies. The second two litters were delivered by c-section, not many puppies lived, and there were some complications. She also was a show dog. I don't remember all the titles, but she won many awards. She also was a therapy dog, and was trained to visit folks, young and old, and provide companionship.



Lily loved playing frisbee. My parents have a huge yard at their home in Wisconsin and Lily spent alot of time playing frisbee, especially with my dad. Just after her seventh birthday, Lily flew on an airplane out to live with me in Seattle. I had been dying to get a dog, and Lily wasn't getting along with another female dog my mom had, so I was incredibly excited to become her new care taker. We did just about everything together. Went to dog parks, went on lots of walks, visited friends. She loved to swim. I bought her a toy for her to fetch in the water and we went at least once a week to the lake for her to swim. Lily was the single light of my life, at least until Iris was born. Then she graciously shared the attention, and the bed, with a new baby. Lily was always gentle and careful of the baby. Never once acting aggressive towards her. She tolerated all of Iris's stages of baby and toddler-hood with grace, letting her hair and tail be pulled without so much as a yelp. Lily was very fond of sitting right under your feet and tripping you up, lying right outside the tub as you showered, positioning herself underneath the table as you ate dinner, and sleeping on the bed. She pretty much ignored Benjamin (our cat) but loved to chase other cats. She also loved to steal "treats" from the cat litter box :) Some of her favorite treats were popcorn, apples and carrots, especially the popcorn. Matt used to make popcorn almost every night and he and Lily would sit and snack together. We also had some silly nicknames for Lily. I don't remember how she got some of them. Lily Lillerson was a favorite, which stemmed in to "Lily Lillerson of the Fremont Lillerson's" because I lived in a neighborhood called Fremont when she came to live with me. We also called her Lily Butters, which was often shortened in to just Butters. Not sure why, but it was a term of endearment that stuck.



My last great memory of Lily was at Eloise's birth. I must admit I don't personally remember much from this, but rather my memories are pieced together from everyone telling me how Lily stood guard through the labor and delivery, positioning herself closely and sitting patiently. My midwife thought she was just the sweetest dog.

I am going to miss her a great, great deal. As the days go on I am sure some of the grieving will get easier, as some of it will get a bit harder. She is still all over our home, her toys are laying out, her bowls are still on the floor in the kitchen, her kennel is still set up in the living room. It might be a very long time before I can bring myself to put them all away. She loved and protected us and was a friend to everyone who met her. When out in public people used to stop us all of the time to talk to us about her, often wondering what kind of dog she was.

Lily's body was donated to an autopsy program whose mission is to help better the lives of portuguese water dogs by determining their causes of death. It feels good knowing that her life will benefit countless dogs in the future. Her body is going to be cremated and her ashes will be spread at some of her favorite places.



My sweet, sweet Lily. I love you dearly. I am sure you will live eternally, happily swimming your days away.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lily update

Well, the prognosis just got much more grim today. This morning they discovered that Lily doesn't have Addison's, like they thought she did, she just has a bad heart. Somehow that is causing all these other problems in her, like making it hard to breathe, not eating, etc etc. After much consultation between vets and with my mother, it's been decided to put Lily down. We may do it as early as tomorrow. My mom wants to participate in a program that does autopsies on dogs, apparently if you "donate" your dog to the program they pay for everything to be done. We just have to wait to see when they can arrange getting a container to ship her body to the autopsy place and then that's the day we'll put her down. So, it may be as late as Monday. I kind of am feeling like getting it over with, I'm just getting more sad by the minute and not sure I can go through the weekend with this grief.

My dear friend Julie accompanied me to visit Lily at the clinic tonight. Lily had to stay in a kennel because she is hooked up to oxygen. It was so amazingly hard to see her there and know I won't be able to take her home. She seemed so happy, actually, she got up when we walked up to her and wanted to jump out of the kennel. I just kissed her and pet her and told her we loved her. We didn't get to stay very long. Poor Julie, it was pretty hard for her, too. She's a good friend to me, so she has known my dog for several years. She also just got a puppy of her own, so has very much started to understand how connected humans are to their beloved pets.

I'll find out tomorrow morning if that's going to be the day or not. I am not sure how I'm going to be able to get through the procedure. My mom said I don't have to go, but I know I do. I absolutely have to go to be there with her. Now that I'm a mama I get to be the strong one, right? I mean, that's what I do. I wish I could fall apart. All I want to do is fall apart.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh I'm so sad

It seems pretty sure that my dog, Lily, is dying. She hasn't been eating the past few days and I didn't think much of it (she has been fickle in the past with food and always just starts eating again, no big deal) but yesterday she seemed to be really weak and I noticed she has gotten very, very thin. Being that I am more busy than any person really should be, my dog hasn't gotten that much physical attention from me. I didn't realize she had really lost weight until I gave her a bath the other night. Her fluffy coat of hair did a great job of hiding the weight loss. So, I told my mom that Lily needed to go to the vet, I was worried about her. This morning Lily walked down the stairs and got in to the car and seemed reasonably fine. I dropped her off at the vet and asked them to call my mom when they knew something, because my mom really knows more than I do about dog health, and she was also going to be paying the vet bill.

I just now got a call from my mom saying that the vet told her that Lily collapsed in the office and they didn't think she was going to survive. It sounded like they gave her oxygen and she was now "resting comfortably". They also did an x-ray and it looked like there was a tumor by her heart and then something else, I forget. They are bringing the x-rays to an emergency clinic to see what they can say about it. My mom really thinks that something very serious is wrong and Lily will most likely have to be put to sleep. Conisdering that she is over 10 years old and is apparently very sick, that sounds like the right choice. I guess I don't know.

I just started bawling when my mom called. I can't believe Lily is so sick. If I hadn't brought her to the vet she would have collapsed at home and would have died. I feel like the worst pet owner ever in the whole world. I haven't given her anywhere near the love and attention she deserves the last few weeks. I think I wrote a blog entry about this a bit ago, how I decided my mom needed to take her back because I couldn't give her the attention she deserved.

I just can't believe this is happening. Logically, I know dogs get old and sick and have to die at some point. But not today. I don't know how I am going to deal with this.

ETA So it looks like Lily probably has Addison's disease as well as having heart disease or pneumonia on top of it. She is spending the night at a critical care facility and the vet there says is a very, very sick dog. The best case scenario is that she has Addison's and then something else and it can be treatable (but not necessary curable) and the worst case scenario is after many expensive tests and nights in the hospital, she will still be very sick and will have to be put to sleep. I'm so exhausted after dealing with this today. In the end I'm just glad she's still alive. I hope she can come home and I can spend a great deal of time pampering her to make up for the shitty dog owner I've been. I'm so glad my mom is paying the vet bills. Just for this critical care facility alone it will be $1300 to $3000 depending on what they need to do. That's on top of the bills she accrued at the regular vet earlier today.

I would have to say, besides the obvious joy of giving birth to Eloise, that the last few weeks have been some of the worst of my life. When will the shit storm end, huh?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Planning, planning, planning

Tonight Eloise accompanied me to a two and half hour long orientation meeting for the pre-school co-op that Iris will be attending this year. It was really overwhelming and exhausting. Just a bit too much information overload. I love the idea of co-op, I really do, but I would love to just have the money to send Iris to a "real" pre-school for that time and not have to worry about having so much involvement in it. The biggest thing that I, and several other mamas, are worried about is what to do for child care for our younger children while we bring our older children to co-op. It's been putting a huge amount of stress on us all, enough that many of us were considering not even doing co-op, which would be very sad for our older children. I may have finally figured out the perfect child care situation, but it's amazing how much juggling, schedule changing, etc that this whole thing is involving. Also, Matt is going to take Iris to school the first eight weeks, so he and I have an insane amount of information to co-ordinate about that. I'm so overwhelmed.

The overwhelm-ment is exacerbated by not even knowing where the hell I'm going to be living in a month and a half. I might not even be able to keep Iris in co-op if I have to leave the state! It takes so much energy to plan for all of these things, and have so many what-if's on the plate. Even the child care swap I've arranged with another mama will be down the tubes if I have to move a distance out of my neighborhood. Everything is just so far up in the air right now, it's insane. I was talking to my sister tonight, who called to find out how things were going, and I was just telling her how hard it is to even think ahead a day or two, let alone until next week, next month or beyond.

I feel like I need a person to just sort of follow me around and help me make decisions. Like a peronal assistant/therapist who can understand things and sort them all out for me. Someone who understands the insanity of everything.

Anyways, I just got home and I felt all out of sorts like the momentum of everything made me want to just sit down and figure all this out right now, but I just needed to sit down and veg out on the computer while the girls were asleep and I had a moment to decompress.

Sleep, glorious sleep!

After two nights of basically getting no sleep at all, Miss Eloise blessed me with almost five hours straight of glorious, sweet, beautiful sleep. Of course, after 4:00 am she woke up about every hour, but I didn't care, I was well rested! She also slept in after Iris got out of bed, thereby making my morning fairly low stress. I had to get the family together for a trip to the zoo with Melissa and her son, it was Eloise's first zoo trip! Naturally, she slept through it except for waking twice to be nursed. At our zoo they just built a lovely carousel. We went over to take a look and Iris decided she wanted to take a ride. So all five of us climbed aboard! I am so glad Iris liked it. Last time she was on a carousel it went about fifty miles an hour and almost threw her and her dad off of it. The speed of this one was much more relaxed.

Every time I leave the house with both girls and things go basically well, I feel so triumphant. I am sure as time goes on I will be shuttling the girls around without a second thought, but for now, it's still this monumental thing. If I can get to and from a certain location without either of the girls ending up in tears? Well, that's just bonus points in the great game of motherhood, isn't it?

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11th

It feels sort of silly to write about grief on September 11th. Mainly because everything that can be said, probably already has. An event so far-reaching, that didn't leave a single person unaffected, well, what is left? I'm extraordinarily lucky in that the events of September 11th didn't take the lives of anyone I knew. My recollection of the events of that day are much like most people, plastered to the television in disbelief.

I had just moved out to Seattle from Milwaukee. I believe my roommate and I were here since Saturday, and wasn't the 11th on a Tuesday that year? Due to the time difference, it was pretty early here when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. My sister called, waking up my roommate, to tell us the news. I got out of bed and was talking to her while my roommate tried to set up our television. We got the worst reception, we pretty much watched through fuzz. I was still on the phone with my sister when the second plane hit. We immediately knew, as did the rest of the world, that something far beyond a simple accident had occured.

There wasn't much else to do at that point besides sit and watch. My brother, his girlfriend and their young daughter lived in Brooklyn, just across the East River from Manhattan. I didn't have reason to believe they were anywhere near the towers, but it was still nerve wracking. I didn't even try to call them, I knew they would reach us as soon as they got a chance. My roommate was from New Jersey, so he was very familiar with New York City and was concerned about his friends and family. It felt really lonely to be out here, so far away from everyone I loved.

Later that day my roommate and I just tried to go about our lives as usual, making a trip to the local food co-op. He and I chatted with the beer and wine buyer there, sharing that we had recently relocated to the area and how the events earlier that day seemed straight out of a summer blockbuster action flick. He sent us home with some free beer, to welcome us to Washington. I don't remember if I spoke to my brother later that night or not. They were all fine. He did send pictures of the towers. I wish I still had them. From the roof of his building he watched the whole thing happen. I couldn't imagine seeing it all in person. It was so surreal watching it get re-played over and over on television. Of course, viewing it on the tiny t.v. no where near did the devastation justice.

I have only been to New York City once in my life. I actually got to see the WTC as my friend and I walked around lower Manhattan. They were the most amazing buildings I had ever seen. It is truly hard to fathom how tall they both were. How many people they both held. How many lives were lost that day.

So, that's my "where were you on September 11th" story. Pretty simple. My heart goes out to those who friends and family were lost on that day.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

"I wanna see sassy peoples!"

Tonight as Iris and I were hanging out, the show Nanny 911 came on the television. I have caught these kinds of shows before and have always been a bit intrigued at catching glimpses in to other people's lives. So we are watching for a bit, I am not saying a word, and Iris watches for a bit then says "ohhhh, sassy peoples!" I laugh and say "yes! they are sassy peoples!" and then every time a commercial came on, or the show cut to something eles Iris would say "I wanna see sassy peoples!". Of course, I saw pieces of myself in the mother of this family. It's so crazy when you have moments were you get a chance to see yourself from the outside-- for better or worse. I appreciate those times when I can go "whoa, I so totally do that and it is NOT good!" So, there, a little life lesson from Nanny 911.

We had an okay weekend. Yesterday Matt came to spend time with the girls and the four of us ended up going to hang out at the house where he has been staying these last four weeks. I enjoyed the chance to get out of the house and relax somewhere else, and Iris really liked playing with all the toys that belonged to the kids who live there. There was an amazing eggplant something-or-other casserole waiting on my doorstep when I got home. Yay! Dinner was on the table with no effort at all.

Last night Miss Eloise had a rough night. She was awake from 9:00 pm to midnight. Fairly content, but still awake none-the-less. She was getting more and more sniffly as the night went on. By the time I finally decided to attempt to lay down, she was having no part of it. To make a long story short, I slept about 4 hours, in chunks, and spent a great deal of time keeping her upright (and therefor less snotty). I was so beyond exhausted. The kind of exhausted where you think you can reason with a three week old. Where you think you can explain to her, several times with increasing desperation, why it's too late for her to be up crying and that she needs to go to sleep. I have a futon in the living room where Eloise and I spent the last two nights, and I suspect we might end up tonight. Thank goodness Iris is fine in my bed alone and didn't wake up for the day until 8:00. Matt came over to help out, which was fantastic. Another meal was delivered this afternoon, as well.

The big news of the day is that Eloise had her first bottle of breast milk! Matt gave it to her while I sat about five feet away. I know it was better if I wasn't even in the same house, but I figured I would wait and see. She gulped down about an ounce before falling back asleep. Amazingly, she even took the rest of the bottle from me when I tried a few minutes later.

I also went to the store, ahem, ALONE, tonight. Just to pick up a few things, including one lonely bottle of Mike's Hard Limeade (which was DAMN good!). It was so wierd to be out alone. You really do forget how much, well, how much easier things are when you aren't wrangling two small children.

Tomorrow Matt and I are going to a counseling session. It's either going to be really great and clear up alot of things or a huge disaster.

Friday, September 08, 2006

BFing to save the world!

Okay, maybe that's an over-exaggeration. As I sat on my comfy nursing chair last night pumping some milk to relieve the pressure, it dawned on me that I might actually be able to donate my milk to a needy child or ten. In the span of about three minutes I pumped four ounces. If I had actually pumped until the boobies were empty I might have had about a gallon of milk, but of course I can't say for sure. That's another experiment for another day. It would make me really happy to be able to donate milk, so I hope it works out.

More lurking on message boards I should really stay away from led me to some mamas commiserating about leaving the house without some part of all the formula-feeding equipment a mama must drag with her everywhere she goes. I hadn't actually thought about how much work it would be to be a formula feeding mama on the go. I absolutely would have been a mama who left the house day after day without a bottle, water or formula. What a chore! I then started thinking about those formula fed babies who are caught in the middle of things like natural disasters and their parents don't have access to formula. What do they do? I am sure thousands of babies caught in Hurricane Katrina last year were very hungry. What if all those babes had been breastfed? What if mamas who were breastfeeding offered to nurse the hungry babies (and who knows, I bet it actually might have happened!)? If breastfeeding were the standard, I suspect very few, if any, babies would have been hungry during that tragic time. Could you imgaine being a mama and having nothing to feed your baby? It just absolutely breaks my heart. Now, I am sure mamas don't think to themselves "hmmm, if there was a natural disaster, what is the best way for me to be feeding my baby?" but it happens. All over the world people are affected by hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, etc etc. Okay, I understand I'm probably dwelling on a really minor point, but it still really upsets me.

So, if there was ever a natual disaster where I was, I'd be the mama in the corner, hanging on to my daughters with one hand and nursing all the hungry babies at the same time. I'd be saving the world with breastfeeding. What a novel idea.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The incredible expanding baby!

So Miss Eloise is already up to TEN pounds! Hooray! I can't believe how quickly newborns grow. I mean, she gained about 25% of her body weight in three weeks. It's crazy to look at her and see that she is now just a tiny bit over the size Iris was when she was born. Yowza!

In other baby news, please visit The Falcon's Nest to read about Sophie's arrival and Austin Mama to read about Fiona's arrival. All these new babies!!! Hooray! I LOVE to read about new babies.

The girls, Matt and I had our first outing as a family. We went to the park and it was actually kind of nice. Matt spent some time holding Eloise so I could play with Iris. A few moms today commented on how beautiful Eloise was and all I can respond with is "it's funny people keep saying that even though she's covered in zits!" What is it with baby acne? What a cruel joke! Babies are born so lovely, why oh why do they need to get zits at three weeks old?

I've also been trying to figure out if there is a better co-sleeping arrangement for the girls and I. Right now we have a queen sized bed pushed against a well. On the other side of the bed is the co-sleeper. I had full intentions of using it, but I'm just not. Even thought it's right there it's still a pain to put Eloise in and out of it several times a night. It's just plain easier to leave her in the bed next to me. So it's Eloise on the outside, me in the middle, Iris on the inside next to the wall. I think I might try to remove the co-sleeper, but set it up as a bassinet in case I want to put Eloise in it for naps or something. I will still need something for that side of the bed, then, perhaps a side rail? I don't know. The co-sleeper would be SO much easier if the mattress were level with my mattress. I don't understand why they make them lower. Grrrr. Anyways, if anyone reading has some advice on co-sleeping with two, please let me know!

Domestic Goddess?

Okay, not to toot my own horn, but I think I may have reached a new level of Domestic Goddessness (if only for a day). I managed to drag my weary booty out of bed this morning before 8:00 even though Iris has the boogers and didn't sleep well and Eloise basically squeaked and nursed every 10 minutes or so all night long. Okay, maybe every hour, but whatever it was, I don't think I managed to sleep much in between. Already this morning I did laundry, showered and washed my hair, put beef stew in the slow cooker, and accepted a package of cloth diapers from a VERY cute UPS delivery man. Now it's noon, Iris just went down for her nap, I'm drinking coffee and blogging, and Eloise is sleeping.

Speaking of Eloise sleeping, that's still pretty much all she does all day long. Now at night, that's a whole other ball game, but during the day she's rarely awake except to nurse. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE this, but it's so wierd to me. I don't think Iris slept pretty much, well, at all. I have a theory that she hated being out of the womb, but who knows. She just screamed her head off all of the time. Eloise is about as content as can be. Even when she does awaken for short periods and is alert, she rarely fusses. If she does, the answer to calming her down is pretty easy to find.

Some days I feel like things couldn't get any harder, then days like today, which are becoming more frequent, I just think "yeah, I've really got a grasp of this whole being a single mama of two thing!" If I just had the money to sustain my lifestlye (and by lifestyle I pretty much mean roof over my head, bills paid, food in the fridge), I think I'd be incredibly happy keeping on along this track. A co-op mama took Iris for a couple of hours yesterday so I could have a bit of a break. She has two daughters and her youngest is Iris's age. They are spaced the same as my two girls. It is so neat to see them interact, and think that in two very, very short years, my girls will be at that stage. I am bound and determined to do everything I can to foster a close relationship between Iris and Eloise. I just think it's incredibly important to be close to your siblings, and that parents play a major role in helping to facilitate that relationship.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Recipe for happiness

Ah, a good day! I wish I could choreograph days like this. It turns out that the secret is one of the girls sleeping in later than the other. Mornings are the busiest time in our home and just end up being mayhem most days. If one of the girls sleeps in later (today it was Iris) then I can stagger the mayhem in to manageable chunks. I haven't quite figured out how to make this happen every day, but maybe if I can drag my booty out of bed a bit earlier in the morning it will help a bit.

The girls and I went grocery shopping, as well. It was the first time I had been out in public since Saturday of last weekend. At the grocery store where I occasionally shop there is a coffee stand. Iris is now automatically programed to ask for coffee every time we walk in. I figure that $4.00 is a small price to pay for an iced coffee drink that will keep Iris happy for an entire grocery shopping trip.

I've also been in a great mood today, which has helped alot. It's all in the attitude, huh?

I'm also still getting meals delivered by co-op friends, which is beyond fantastic. I can't even believe how great it is to have dinner already made. The women who are doing this for me are just so amazingly sweet-- they are all mamas themselves, some of more than one child, and yet they are still finding the time to bring me a meal (some have come by more than once!)

I've also started to succumb to the fact that unless something gets resolved between Matt and I (not holding my breath . . . ) the girls and I will be moving back to WI. Even thinking about trying to stay out here and immediately go back to work and throwing my children in day care makes me come dangerously close to having a complete nervous breakdown. Not that moving will be any easier, but at least I'll be home with my girls longer. I'm feeling more comfortable with this decision, as well. I keep thinking of all the selfish reasons to stay in Seattle, but in the end, it's not about me. It's about my children and doing the best thing for them.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I just can't stop with the pictures!

Sisters.


Sleeping Eloise. I LOVE it when she sleeps this way!


So, I think I was on to something with Iris and modeling. I asked her to pose so I could take a picture in her new jammies and this is what she did. I could make some money off this little girl, huh?


And not only is she totally adorable, she's incredibly smart. This is a twelve piece puzzle she puts together all by herself.


Self-portrait of Eloise and I. My sister made this sling, I think for her first son, so that means it's gone through four children now.


And for fun, our cat, Benjamin, has found a use for this horse.

Okay, I'm really starting to get restless

I am on day eight of being a complete shut-in. I think I'm ready to venture out a bit. Maybe Eloise and I will try and take a walk around the block later this afternoon. Woo Hoo! Do I know how to have fun or what? Matt has, once again, taken Iris out for the rest of the day. Although I am excited to have a break with only one child at home I am very much starting to miss having MY time alone with Iris. It will be nice when Eloise is old enough that I feel comfortable leaving her long enough to re-connect with Iris.

What is frustrating me the most about having a toddler and a newborn is that Iris just can't figure out how to be gentle with the baby. Every single time she touches Eloise, which is ALOT, I have to remind her that the baby is fragile and not to lean on her, smack her, poke her, etc etc. I can't put Eloise down at all if I'm not going to be within eye shot of her. Well, even that's not good enough, because today Iris smacked her with her Leap Frog fridge farm while I had my back turned doing dishes. Grrrrr. It is so infuriating. I get SO mad when Iris does things like that. It's hard to temper my anger so I don't just start yelling. I had Iris go and sit on the couch until I was done in the kitchen. She knew exactly what she did, because she started saying "don't hit baby with farm. no no. VERY sassy". I suppose most babies survive older siblings, right? Hopefully there will be no calls to 911 or trips to the ER for my little girl any time soon. I then get frustrated that I'm so frustrated! It's like the emotions build upon themselves. I don't want to be upset with Iris. I don't want to have to spend 75% of my day asking her to stop doing sassy things. In her defense, this behavior was there LONG before her baby sister was born, it's just much harder to stay on top of with a newborn in my arms.

Friday, September 01, 2006

What? It's September?!?!?

Oh my goodness! It's September! I can't believe it. In my mind, that's officially the end of summer. It doesn't really feel to me like we've had much of a summer, so I'm sad to see it go. Now that I am a mama I base how good the summer was on how much fun Iris had. I didn't even get to do half of the things I wanted to do with her. Of course, I have my pregnancy to blame on most of it.

The end of May was my last day of work. Just around the corner in June was Iris's birthday. Then we left for three weeks to go back to WI. After we got back we had about three weeks of things being sort of okay until everything blew up with Matt. Eloise was born a week and a half after that. Now, it's two weeks later, and I am sitting on my ass inside, as I have been for the last week. That's our summer in a nutshell!

I had fully intended to take Iris to the beach, go to a million parks, visit lots of friends, take some great day trips, etc etc. It always felt like there would be more time. At the beginning of June it feels like summer is going to last forever and there is no reason to rush it.

To be honest, summer is my least favorite month. I dont like hot weather-- even as hot as it gets in Seattle. I much prefer autumn and it's brisk days and cold nights. I like to bundle up and feel cozy. Of course, from the eyes of a child, it doesn't get much better than the summer time, so that's how I choose to look at it, from Iris's perspective. We are going to be starting our pre-school co-op soon. Well, I should say that Iris is. Matt is taking her for several weeks so that I can stay home with Eloise. Other than that, nothing else great is on the horizon for Iris. Before long I'm going to have to figure out our financial and living situation, hoping beyond hope that the end results don't affect my girls any more than it absolutely has to.

In news totally unrelated, today Eloise had her first episode of projectile vomiting. Aren't you happy that you kept reading long enough to get to that tidbit?