Monday, December 27, 2010

And Away He Went!

Back to our regular routine so soon! Stephen left the house around 4am today to catch a flight to Atlanta and then on to New Bern, NC. We thought for sure his flight would be cancelled because the headline on the Atlanta news website was DELTA canceling flights. kept saying ON TIME. He left...arrived in Atlanta and was about to board the next plane when that flight was cancelled. So frustrating. The next flight is Thurs...this is Mon. He could have stayed here until then instead of wasted his vacation days sitting in Atlanta. I can only imagine how many other people are in this same situation. He could have spent more time with his girls if the airline had made their decision just a few hours earlier. Why say his flight was on time when all the other flights had been cancelled up to that point? UGH!

I didn't get much extra stuff done while he was home. It was just too hard to grab my computer or even clean instead of spending time playing with the girls-- when Ainsley wasn't crying of course. She's still doing pretty poorly. As soon as we can I will be taking her back to our osteopath. A little over a week ago we found out her rib was out of place. I'm not sure how much of her crying is still due to that or to something else. We'll see.

In the is Monday but I'm taking this week off and letting the house fall apart. We'll get back to being organized and efficient in January.

Monday, December 20, 2010


I am looking forward to picking up my husband in the morning but I am already sad that he has to leave again. I shouldn't be thinking about his departure already but I can't help it. I fear this next goodbye will be harder than the first. We had a date in mind that he would return so even though he was leaving for several weeks-- we knew it wouldn't be long. Now, we don't know when he will return again. This time, Avery will know that when he says goodbye it isn't just for the day... and I'm worried this will be more difficult for her.

This week will fly by with him here. I don't know what to expect...the girls and I have our own routine (of sorts) but he will come home remembering the routine we had when he left.. it will be interesting. I hope we can just relax a few days so the time doesn't fly by.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Earlier I posted about being humble and learning to ask for help... well I asked for help. I had a friend of the family come up for 2.5 days so I could take care of a huge list of things I needed to do...some of it included sending documents to my husband, getting Christmas gifts for the girls, birthday gifts for Avery and a fairly large amount of work for a client of mine (with a deadline of tomorrow). Well this friend came up much later in the day than planned...shortening my time to get stuff done that day. Then the next day I was off at an appointment for Ainsley... well when I returned the friend HAD to go NOW. UGH. What the hell? I couldn't even fake an "Oh that is OK, I understand." I flat out had a look on my face that let her know I was pissed. She went on and on about how the reason she had to leave was just "so overwhelming". The thing is...she was called away because an unexpected visitor was on their way to her house...but they live 6 hours away. On top of this-- she has no kitchen because it is being remodeled and her visitor is vegan...and she lives in the middle of no where (where you can't really eat vegan easily unless you like iceberg and Dorthy Lynch salad dressing). So the best thing to do would have been to tell the person she mad a commitment already to stay and help us out...and leave as she had planned (or even a few hours earlier). Instead.. she left.

This is not the first instance of this kind of disappointment with this person. I would much rather she just say "No" she can't help than attempt to help and fail. All this did was set me back even further because I made plans for the time that she was here and basically waited until the last minute to do stuff because she was coming. By waiting until the last minute-- I really mean I just stopped stressing about being unable to fit the stuff in between the demands of the girls. Anyway... the major deadline work that I had to do is the only thing that I can't make up. I can shop online for the presents and I'll just have to drag the girls in and out of places to get the errands done... but that client isn't going to be happy that I wasn't able to fulfill my duties on time.

I don't know how to handle this situation... I don't even know what to say to the lady if she mentions it any time in the future. I know I wont be asking her for help again. I know she isn't obligated to help but when you make a commitment it is polite to keep it--especially if failing to keep it puts the person you were going to help in a worse spot than before! Grrrr!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tot School: Our Second Week

We are still getting into a routine at our house...not just a Tot School routine but a newborn routine! I really enjoy connecting with Avery during the Tot School activities. We've been reading books before and after our activities. She has enjoyed matching activities. She is really helpful at matching socks so I printed the winter trees this week off Tot School.

I'm completely without a real camera so these photos are from my phone. We started off with the tree matching. The second photos is Avery cleaning up this activity...she says, "I'm buying them" as she swipes them across the table and hands them to me like a cashier at Target.

We picked up a laminator at Target...the same brand (Scotch) as suggested at Tot School but it was $11 less than on Amazon UNTIL today...and it is on sale for less than $20. Oh well...I am still happy I picked it up so we could laminate Frosty! Avy loves putting buttons on this guy and naming her shapes.

We printed a few of the booklet activities for Christmas...the candy cane booklet, the symbols of Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus. She likes the pictures and listens but I think there are more words than photos to keep her engaged so these weren't her favorite yet.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two Weeks--I Surrender

Wow--it has only been two weeks of handling the munchkins alone! It feels like it has been a month...maybe longer! This whole situation has been eye-opening to me in so many ways. I am sure by the end of the year I will have learned so much and gained respect for various situations and people. First of all, I am not very good at asking for or accepting help. I've always been someone who does things on her own. I pretty much had to as a kid and as an adult I thrived on my ability to handle pretty much everything. I can admit that I'm proud of myself for accomplishing so much without relying on anyone but myself. This is the first situation (so far) that has hit me upside the head. I'm already waiving the white flag...I, without a doubt, cannot handle this single-parenting situation entirely alone. Two weeks ago I did not know this but I did know that if I needed help I had no idea who to call....and even if I had a list a mile long of people-- I would not call them. Even if my car blew up on the side of the road and we were freezing--I'd probably still not call anyone except a tow truck or some other "service".

Enter a very new friend, a relatively new member of my mama group.... she visited after Ainsley was born and a seemingly random series of events occurred one Wednesday that lead her to help me. From there...she decides she's going to help me get through this crazy period of life. She's come-- I have no idea how many times now-- with her 19 month-old daughter and picked up the house, cooked food, researched possible solutions to all the various reasons Ainsley wont stop crying etc etc. Add to this-- she lives pretty much as far away from us as is possible without living outside the "metro area". Oh..also...Avery picks on her adorable little girl...seriously! She bullies her so much I can't believe they ever come back.

Back to the point... I have no choice but to accept help from this mom. I do so knowing that I may not ever be able to repay her in any way. It is hard for me. I feel guilty-- for lots of reasons. She drives a great distance, her daughter puts up with Avery's behavior (which I'm blaming on transition/stress/sadness over dad being gone and her lack of attention due to Ainsley) and she has stayed pretty darn late (even slept over when I had to take Ainsley to the ER!). If I didn't accept her help..where would the girls and I be? Well we'd be up a creek my friends. So it is true..I'm human. I can't handle every situation on my own. I have to admit that. I have to accept help from others in order to provide for my girls. If I don't surrender and accept help I may do more harm than good to my kids. My independent self wants to compile a list of ways I can repay this super mom-- and anyone else who helps us in the future--but I have no idea if I will even be capable of anything I may put on that list. It is a terrible feeling...but one I have to surrender humble

"God opposes the proud, but gives graces to the humble." (James 4:6)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I've never been too terribly bothered by "unsolicited advice" in all my (few) years of raising children. However, lately it is bothering me. I'm in a situation where I have to ask for help-- whether it be just asking for advice, to talk or physically needing a break. It seems the medical professionals in my life have varying opinions on what defines a thriving baby. A few days ago Ainsley cried for huge blocks of time and only slept a total of 5 hours and some minutes over the course of the 14 hour day. I called our pediatrician and the on call doc called back telling me to take her to the ER in case she had a virus without a fever. So I did...but I was pretty much treated like an idiot mom at midnight who takes her "colicky" kid in. I was concerned that Ainsley's weight had only gone up 2 ounces in two weeks...the first ER pedi said that my breast milk wasn't "fatty enough" yet, which is normal she says. Um...ok...that is something I have NEVER read in any of my lactation consultant training or any breastfeeding book before. Whatever. Next ER pedi comes in and tells me to have a glass of wine and not visit the baby until the glass is gone. Um....what? I'm sent home with a crazy packet of information about colicky children-- much of it focuses on letting them cry it out and a few other generic suggestions: swaddle, rock, car rides, shushing etc. I'm not going to hurt Ainsley...but the long hours of crying are really pushing my limits, especially with a toddler. The shoddy advice from the health care team was less than encouraging.

I relayed this information and my troubles to another medical professional in my life and was told that the lack of weight gain was basically a sign that Ainsley wasn't thriving... which I would agree with but I'm not sure what to do about it. I've given up dairy and gluten to see what kind of results that can create. This person took Ainsley for several hours and fed her some expressed breast milk and a few ounces of formula. Ainsley slept a good deal after this and then she was awake and I saw her coo for the first time ever. This caused me some mixed feelings. First, it made me immediately believe that my breast milk is inadequate. Second, it didn't entirely convince me that supplementing with formula was the way to go. I came home and could not get her to latch on to I felt like it was one step forward and two steps back!

At this point I'm not sure what to do. I'm going in to see our regular pedi today. I suppose she'll have a different opinion...she'll either agree that Ainsley isn't thriving or she will say she should just "cry it out". Ugh... I know babies don't come with manuals but it would be nice if medical advice was somewhat consistent from one person to the next....and it would be great to have some encouragement instead of reasons to feel inadequate. Thinking that my child isn't thriving because of something I'm doing...some emotion (stress/anxiety) that I'm projecting is to blame is disheartening.

We'll see what today brings.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Communication Problems

Well I'd like to say we have completed our first week of being without Stephen but because it isn't a "work" week...we still have two more days! Ugh. We have been tested this week that is for sure. Stephen has had major communication difficulties so we have hardly talked or messaged. He lives in a place where his phone has no little signal that he can't even receive emails or messages on his Blackberry! I really dislike not having an open line to him whenever necessary. Even though I can't see him or hear him...knowing I can just punch a message to him in my phone makes me feel connected. Boy..when he told me the phone problem I had a serious panic attack. I thought it was a bit crazy that such a little thing made me feel that way--but it truly feels like a door was shut!

On his last day before he went to his permanent "home" we were able to video chat with Avery. It was pretty sad and cute at the same time. Her first thing was to say "Daddy want to hold me?" about ripping my heart out...and I know it hurt Stephen too. They both "kissed" each other a ton via the camera. Avy would hug the screen too and say "love him so much". I hope he can get his microphone fixed or another external mic so we can talk (since we used the phones to talk and the computer to see each other). She did better that day after spending time with daddy.

Today was not as great in the morning as the rest of the one was bathed until 12pm and the house went from surprisingly clean to a complete disaster in a matter of 24 hours. It just goes to show-- no day is the same right now and I should prepare for a "bad" day every day so I don't freak out on Sunday when its time to clean for the open house. Guess I better stick to my cleaning schedule!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Thursday has always been my favorite day of the week. Even though I don't work outside of the home (nor do I have a job that requires a schedule) I just feel like it is the end of the week and things fly until the weekend. I hope this is the case even now.

I've finalized my weekly schedule for cleaning.

Sunday: Church/Touch up for the open house/Floors
Monday: Tot School Planning/Bathrooms
Tuesday: Bedrooms/Bedding
Wednesday: Kitchen
Thursday: Make up cleaning/Grocery Shopping
Friday: Trash/Dust/ Work on major house project
Saturday: Living Room/Major house project

My major house project, like I said earlier this week, is currently scrap booking.

I came up with an idea that I really like-- Avery isn't real good about eating veggies. When she gets up from her nap I give her a tray of different veggies and I make myself a salad. We may not eat veggies at every meal but by having this concentrated snack we are at least getting our basic servings in for the day. Yesterday she had 2 baby cucumbers and about 1/4 of a red pepper and a green pepper plus some carrot shavings. I hope she continues to enjoy this little snack. I'm also starting a 7 day dairy-free diet to see if I can get Ainsley to stop crying so much. Part of me hopes that it makes no improvement because my diet is heavy in the dairy category but at the same time, I'd love for her to be happier.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We Started Tot School...and It Was Fun.

Last night I printed off a bunch of stuff from Tot School, something a friend was blogging about. So far I'm pretty excited. Avy has already mastered many of the skills the Tot School focuses on but there are a few new ones I didn't think about-- like matching. We match socks but I think we can spend some time matching other things. I printed and prepared the Five Little Monkeys Tot Pack. I also printed some "Winter Fun" packs like this one for putting buttons on Frosty. This was a big hit with her because she loves Frosty and she loves shapes. She learned oval, diamond and octagon. She knew the rest of her shapes and colors. After counting the buttons she was able to count up to 10 better than usual. She usually gets stuck around 4 and 7 and quits... but now she is counting to 10 without any problem. I think we spent maybe 5 minutes on this task. She didn't want to do the snowflake matching but we'll try that again later.

I'm looking forward to trying more things. I'm about to order a laminator so we can make these activities more stable. One of the things I liked the most about Tot School's website though...the list of toys/items that she calls tools. We have Avy's birthday and of course, Christmas, coming up. We knew she needed a bunch of new toys and activities but we had no idea what would be appropriate. Here is her list.

Here is one photo of Avery playing with the Frosty buttons. (Taken on my Blackberry...a camera is supposedly coming to me from Santa this year!).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I keep thinking it is Wednesday but it is only Tuesday! Last night was slightly better. Avery was pretty hostile towards Ainsley when she started her crying. Both Ainsley and I were hit with toys so Avery was put in her crib for a "time out". It took several hours to get Ainsley to sleep but From 11pm until 5:30am she slept! I slept most of that time-- around 4am I started worrying about her but she finally ate and was wide awake for a while. I hope this is our new schedule. I was able to take a shower while she sat in her bouncy chair..ate my breakfast while holding her and even hung out with her for a bit before she fussed to go to sleep again. She was asleep by 7am and woke again at 10:30am. Nice!

My current week-to-date task schedule looks like this now:

Sunday: Church, prepare for the open house (which means I'll catch up on any cleaning I wasn't able to do during the week) and rest!

Monday: Craft day and scrub bathrooms.

Tuesday: Clean bedrooms, wash bedding and catch up on laundry (I basically do a load of diapers per day and a load of wet nursing clothes plus baby clothes=2 loads per day).

I had planned *again* to leave the house but it probably wont happen. So far the house is actually clean. I could stand to dust a little bit but I will save that for Sunday. I've showered every day and Avy has had her bath every day (except today so far). Ainsley needs a bath so I think the next awake period she has I better tackle that. UGH!

This roller coaster ride is quite interesting. I just wish I could see people more often and that Avery would get to interact with kids more often...maybe in the future. This awful winter season has already kept people home sick from playdates!

Monday, November 29, 2010


Last night was awful! It is really depressing to walk into the bedroom and see the bed made, lamps on and remember that you'll be sleeping alone tonight...and every night for a long time. I guess I can say I was lucky that I didn't spend too much time in bed. Avery absolutely didn't want to go to bed. She was behaving strangely. She ended up getting naked and asking to use the potty four times. The fifth time she didn't potty in the potty chair-- so I thought it was a game. I quit getting her out...big mistake. She peed twice in the bed after getting naked. Keep in mind here-- I'm putting her clothes back on every single time. The sixth time (at midnight) I finally left her naked in her crib. I realized she may pee or poo in her bed and have to sleep in it but I felt like this game could have gone on all night. I tried everything-- snap diapers, difficult to remove clothes and almost used a safety pin to keep a zipper from going down but I was afraid she'd figure out how to open it and hurt herself. While this fiasco was going on from 7:30pm until midnight-- Ainsley was crying. I would tend to her-- go re-dress Avery and change the bedding..back and forth back and forth. At 2am Ainsley finally went to sleep...woke at 4 and went back to sleep at 6..but Avery woke up at 6. This was exhausting and I cried almost the entire time. I felt terrible for Avery because she kept saying "remember Daddy" as if he had been gone a long time.

Anyway-- today wasn't much better but whatever. Every day is going to be the same-- stressful and tiring. I tried to determine what I would do on Mondays-- I was going to scrub the bathrooms but I'm so tired I don't care. Maybe next Monday I'll clean the bathrooms. I did manage to create a craft for Avery. I printed Santa coloring pages. I let her color one. Maybe tomorrow we'll glue on cotton balls for his beard. I figured she'd enjoy dipping the ball into glue and sticking it on his beard. She is coloring inside the lines these days so I thought this would be a step up.

Stephen is about to arrive on base in North Carolina in the next hour. When he sent me that message I felt like this situation was "for real" if it wasn't real last night..or maybe he would turn around and come home. Ugh.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

First Day: Sunday!

Well there was no chance we'd be making it to church this morning so that goes on my "to accomplish" list next week. I'm making this mental "to accomplish" list to keep myself from being overwhelmed. It seems that after I complete one of these accomplishments I feel like I can make it a regular part of my routine. Take the grocery trip yesterday for example, I feel pretty confident that I could take both kids out today to get the eggs we forgot. However, I have yet to fit in a shower so I'm putting the store off until tomorrow.

Stephen left at 8 this morning. He was very sad to say goodbye to his little girl. I mean, he was sad to leave all of us but he and Avery have a very special bond. He told her he was going to North Carolina for a while and she seemed OK. She did tell him not to go a few times but he distracted her with Toy Story.

On Sundays we have open houses from 1-4pm. Stephen kind of destroyed the house packing. It seems everything he left was in a pile in some corner of every room. UGH! First, the batteries died in the swing-- which is the only place Ainsley will sleep if I set her down. Second, I had 3 D batteries and the machine takes 4. Third, Avery wanted to eat in the living room. I normally don't let her eat much in the living room but she was starving and Ainsley was too. So...a bowl of Goldfish, sunflower seeds, bananas, strawberries and cheese was delivered. I know that is a weird breakfast but she didn't want eggs, oatmeal, cereal, toast or pancakes-- and yes-- I offered her them ALL! This is one battle I am giving up right here and now. When Avery is hungry-- she is uncooperative and actually pretty mean. I can either be strict and tell her she has to eat what is in front of her or go hungry (and deal with cranky pants) or I can let her eat what she likes (within reason). I'm thinking for now-- I'm going to keep giving her the "buffet" tray of things to eat. Anyway-- 25% of the bowl ended up smashed into the carpet (Open house day remember!).

Long story short-- I left the living room alone because she was destroying it and quickly cleaned up everywhere else. This was a LONG process. I had to stop and feed both kids twice during these 5 hours...change 6 diapers and 2 sets of clothes. Now both kids are napping and the house is clean except none of the floors are vaccummed (remember the Goldfish, sunflower seeds, bananas, strawberries and cheese?). I feel like I can cross preparing for the open house off my "to accomplish" list. I managed it and while I wouldn't lick my bathroom countertops-- they are mostly clean. We just scrubbed them last week... so they aren't that bad.

On to another topic-- I've decided what Sundays will include: Church, cleaning the house up for the open house and that is all. Sunday is to be a day of rest anyway so I'm going to enforce that in my home going forward. I feel like I should be doing 1,000 things but I'm not going to do anything but fulfill the girls' basic needs and hopefully my own! (Remember, I haven't showered yet today!). Now...if only I could shower while they were napping during the open house...but that could be a little awkward.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eve of Departure

Today Stephen basically acted as if he wasn't really here when it came to handling both kids. I'm not sure if this was entirely intentional (to help me get used to it) or if he was just busy preparing to leave. Regardless, it was complete insanity. Last night, Avery refused to sleep. She crashed for 45 minutes at 7:30am but she was literally up 24 hours...and refused a nap later. We all went grocery shopping at three stores to stock up so I wouldn't have to take the girls out alone for a few more weeks. INSANE! This is where Stephen really let me handle things. If it were freezing cold right now-- Avy would have been turned into an ice cube sitting in the cart while I tried to get Ainsley out. I tried the car seat in the cart-- annoying because not all carts are big enough. I also tried carrying her in my ErgoBaby carrier but getting her into that quickly and then getting Avery is not quick at all! Anyway, it was rough.

My little one day experiment made me realize just how crazy hard it is to be a parent. I've had rough moments with Avery (prior to Ainsley) but I never really thought I would explode or possibly go insane. I definitely feel crazy now. I feel like the time I spend with each girl is just to fulfill their basic needs. Rarely do I get to interact with either of them in a way that is promoting their development or even nurturing. I'm simply providing for them...clothes, food, clean diapers, baths. That is about it. I really hope that in the coming days (not weeks or months!) I am able to spend quality time with these kids...and I'd love to have 15 minutes to myself. When I shower these days- I have one screaming newborn in a bouncy seat and a curious toddler whipping open the shower curtain spraying water everywhere.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Making the Best of It

I'm mostly OCD but having a toddler (and now a newborn) makes it hard to fulfill my obsessions..especially the ones that focus on being clean! So in order to cope with my husband's departure I have come up with a crazy plan to really organize our house from top to bottom. It isn't in that bad of shape but I feel like I have a lot of clothes that I will never wear, junk that we don't use and there are some things we need around the house--like couch pillows and a second set of sheets! All these things we just put off. So beginning Monday after Stephen leaves I will create a plan to attack this organization stuff. In addition to putting myself back on a cleaning schedule I'm going to have a project that I work on until it is complete. Normally my OCD self would put a deadline on when it would be done but with two kiddos I think I'd be happier just saying the task has to be complete before the next is started!

My first task is going to be a fun one-- I'm going to print and organize all of our photos from 2008 to present. I have a scrap booking addiction that I am very behind on. So I'm going to print photos, put them in a box with a label of the month and year...and task two will be to scrap book through 2009. I think it is OK to be a year behind but 2 years is insane!

To save myself from getting overwhelmed I'm not going to make a list of major projects. I'm going to work on one and then decide the next. This is very difficult for my OCD self to handle but I think it is the smartest way to handle things.

On another note... an ongoing task I have is to get back in shape! I've been pregnant or breastfeeding since March of 2008 and it shows! Even though I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight before getting pregnant again-- I was not muscular as I used to be. We have a membership at the YMCA so I better start using it!

Let's hope my OCD behavior can keep me sane. Stephen leaves in two days and I'm totally not ready.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Yes, I have known for months that my husband would be leaving us soon but so far this week I have felt serious panic. I walk around feeling like I have something very urgent to do..but really it is just the gnawing reminder that we only have 5 more days together. His orders have been all messed up for months too and today didn't make them any better-- his mobilization date was moved UP to the 28th instead of the 29th. You would have thought they said today by the way it impacted me. I know I'm still battling the baby blues but when I heard he would be leaving Sunday instead of Monday I totally lost it.

The plan is for him to come home for Christmas but with the weather and flying I am not confident he will make it. He would have to fly in to Kansas City or Omaha and then we'd have to pick him up-- obviously if the weather is even remotely bad I wont be taking the two kids to pick him up. Avery's 2nd birthday is the 22nd of Dec too and he'll miss that. UGH!

I don't know how men do it, but they are so capable of separating from their family and not crying. Why do women have to have that emotional response? And why does it have to be so strong? It would be really nice if I felt sad but could function normally despite that feeling. Maybe in a few months when I get some sleep I wont be so sad and cry so much but for now... I'm going to play the "life isn't fair" card. Life could be worse...he could be going to Afghanistan or somewhere else that he can't visit/we can't visit but still...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Stop the Count Down!

Ugh, 10 days until Stephen leaves for North Carolina. I'm trying hard not to count the days but its impossible. There are so many reasons why I feel anxiety about him leaving. First, handling a newborn with a super busy 23 month-old is really hard when you are sleep-deprived and not quite healed up enough to leave the house. Second, when he was gone for two weeks Avery was not happy by the middle of the second week so I have no idea how she is going to handle this extended absence. Third, how will this affect our marriage? How does it affect the marriage of other military families? It seems so weird to just take a break from being together for a year and expect things to be OK. Fourth, I have a serious case of baby blues and cry about everything and nothing so it makes me feel even more sad and anxious about Stephen leaving. Fifth, the holidays and winter are right around the corner and we already spend those times not have Stephen here will just make it worse. There are a lot of silly things that upset me-- I don't want to decorate for Christmas because I think it will just make my life more difficult keeping Avery out of things-- but I also don't want to skip decorating when she's finally old enough to maybe like it. PLUS we have relisted our house for sale and I just think the decorations will make it cluttered-- especially the tree!

Speaking of the house-- we dropped the price $44,000...SERIOUSLY! If someone doesn't buy it for this price then its never going to sell. Even though the market has pretty much tanked around here, the house is still valued at $218,000 so selling it for $174,900 is a steal. Know anyone? :)

Before Ainsley was born I was pretty sure I could make it being alone but right now...I'm certain I can't. Maybe things will change when I'm not in pain and when I don't almost faint every time I stand up due to some deficiency, including iron, from all the blood lost during Ainsley's birth. I don't know how other people do it. I hope I can look back in a year and feel good about surviving... for now I have a lot of guilt because I have resorted to letting Avery watch TV in the morning for 1.5 hours while I eat and shower and try to clean up a little bit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Giant Yet Invisible

I'm three days away from my original due date and 10 days away from my "hospital" due date. I feel giant. I can't walk around because breathing is a chore thanks to hormones but also because I can't "walk softly". I'm honestly not *that* big but of course I'm not normal-sized either. I'm still in my non-pregnancy underwear.. so I feel OK with my weight. Anyway..that isn't the point of my "giant" post today.

I'm half annoyed half sad...and feeling a little bit invisible. Two of my local friends, ones I have known longer than my newer mommy friends, called/texted in the past week and seemed completely oblivious to the fact that I was pregnant. One actually thought I was only half-way through my pregnancy. Now I know being pregnant only seems like a big deal to the person who is actually pregnant but these people haven't talked to me in weeks...actually more like 2 months. I don't expect anyone to know exactly how far along I am but it was obvious when they asked when I was due that they realized it had been a LONG time since we talked. I am starting to see why my husband wants to move closer to family. Friends are cool and all but sometimes they aren't enough. So when these friends say "oh let me know if you need help when the baby comes" my first thought yeah...right....sure thing. I think part of it is just that life is so fast and busy for everyone. It stinks. It really deteriorates the quality of relationships-- marriage, friendships..everything. It probably doesn't help matters much that my husband is also pretty much oblivious to my being pregnant.. his head is in North Carolina already. Luckily when the baby does come it will cry a lot so he wont be able to ignore him/her anymore.

I probably sound like a big whiner right now but I actually feel some peace after experiencing this. I have always thought that saying that people are in your life for a "reason, season or lifetime" rang true. It definitely seems to be accurate in my life at the moment.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Men Truly Are from Mars

My husband was really working hard on his MBA and his part time role with the Marines here locally. He was always 100% distracted/obsessed/absorbed with those things. It was hard to get his attention when needed...for anything! If I tried to talk to him (ever) he was frustrated because, of course, he was engrossed in something school/work related. I always responded with, "Well, when can I talk to you then?" I kinda gave up. I thought it was just temporary.

Now he is out of school due to his upcoming mobilization. I thought that this would be an opportunity for us to reconnect before he left...since really he has no "duties" until he leaves. Guess I was wrong on that one. I'm at the end of my rope with it all. We have a baby coming in 4 or so weeks and we don't have a name, none of the baby stuff has been decided on, the emergency road delivery plan isn't made... the list goes on. How do I get some freaking attention around here? Ugh.

The emotional side of me is really worried about how this will impact our marriage. If he leaves and we are this disconnected, how are we going to survive a year apart? I feel like we are two strangers in our how will being apart a year make things? It would be twice as weird, wouldn't it? Awkward? His response to my concerns-- it will just work out. While he is off working and watching days turn into night rapidly-- I will be here with two kids pulling my hair out, crying and wishing for an emotional connection...because that is what women do. I'm totally fine with being a single mom for a year but I need some sort of sign that this separation isn't going to destroy our marriage. If strong marriages falter during a separation, what is going to happen to our frazzled matrimony over the next 12 months? Why doesn't he even seem concerned? Men are just weird. I have no idea how he is fine with all this but I'd pay big bucks to feel as carefree as he does right now.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Seasons Change

I am just so incredibly overwhelmed...and pregnancy just makes that feeling magnified! Fall is my favorite time of year. It is also one that pulls on my heart because a very special lady, Leanne, is forever embedded in fall in my memory and she lives in Indiana now. We both have little ones so visiting isn't that with every leaf, Pumpkin Spice Latte and other sign of fall I feel both happy and sad.

This fall season is one of an especially large amount of change for me and my little family. Our baby is due sometime in the next 34 or so days. My husband just received word that he is being mobilized to North Carolina within the next 45 days. He will stay there for 12 months. Now, when he first heard about this opportunity our whole family was moving. I was apprehensive about uprooting myself and a newborn (literally a newborn!) to a new state but I thought for a year it would be like an adventure. We would keep our house it to a trusted friend and just go live in NC while he worked. Well, the orders now indicate that he will be going without his family. This is really bothering me. First, I am planning to deliver our baby about 2 hours away in Iowa City. Coordinating that trip (in labor) plus rendezvousing with our friend who is going to watch our toddler was going to add enough complexity to it to make anyone crazy. Now he may or may not be here when I go into labor.

So once that hurdle is cleared I get to worry about handling a newborn and a very active 22 month-old. A is very well behaved (unless she's sick) and really not a handful. However, she does need to do something every day. She isn't going to be content lounging around the house all day while I try to get into a routine with the newborn. Plus, she'll be confused about sharing my attention with a baby and her daddy will be gone. Sleepless nights, crying, extra diapers, recovering from childbirth...etc...something I hadn't even worried about because I knew with Stephen around we'd be just fine.

The added detail that makes this sad for me-- to most people this doesn't sound too bad because they'll just call their mom, aunt, sister, cousin etc etc and have them rotate off or help out in any way necessary. All the ladies in families love babies and will take every opportunity to hold them, squeeze them and help a new mom out. This isn't an option for me. Stephen's family lives too far away and aren't the traveling type. Anyone who knows me really well knows what I'm saying-- I just don't have a relationship with anyone in my family so having help isn't an option for me.

On the positive side, there are a LOT of doulas nearby who are needing to make money so I'll be lining one or a few up to help during the early months after the baby is born.

This is definitely not a direction I ever imagined my life taking. I'm just glad I'm not the one making the decision because I don't want any responsibility in splitting our family up for this period of time. I don't see how it will cause positive change. While one of us is working a 9-5 the other will be managing a household 24/7. I know lots of women do it but I feel like this took me by surprise... I didn't sign up for it that is for sure.

Friday, August 27, 2010

First Taste of Military Life

Well I feel like a big baby for complaining for two weeks about not having my husband around. He comes home tomorrow but I feel like he has been gone forever. It already breaks my heart knowing how many moms and dads leave their children (and spouses) behind for deployments but having this two week introduction made it hurt even worse. Our family is fortunate that the type of role Stephen plays in the military means he is very safe here in the U.S. I can't imagine the fear and sadness moms and dads experience when their spouse is deployed.

Avery did very well the first week but by the middle of the second week she was very clingy and worried I was going to leave like daddy. I feel so bad for the moms and dads who have to deal with this for a full year or longer. When Avery cries for her daddy it just breaks my heart. I am fortunate because he's just a few states away and will be back soon I cannot imagine having him away to Afghanistan! Ugh.

This small taste of military life was a big eye-opener for me. I hope everyone who knows a military family takes an extra minute to check in on them. Little kids seem like they are unaffected but they really are...sometimes in very small ways. Mom or dad may be staying up late nights comforting the babes. They may hear a plane like little Avery and run home thinking they will see daddy. Such disappointment! These little things add up and surely make the time apart that much more difficult.

Much love and prayers to all who have moms or dads deployed!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Everyone's in Bed So I Turn to My Blog

Can I just say that I'm PISSED! P I S S E D. Yep I'm cursing.

After over a year of working my butt off for a company doing things that were paid as well as volunteer they have decided that I am no longer "adequate" for an aspect of the paid part of my duties. Oh but they would LOVE to see me continue the volunteer part. Um yeah, sure you would. There are maybe 5-6 other people who do the same volunteer role in other areas of the company but truth be told, I do WAY more work as a volunteer than anyone else. I don't do it for accolades or anything like that. I did it because the financial gain from the paid work was much appreciated by my family. I love(d) the company...what they stood for....the service they provided. I knew what was expected of me and I was helping others learn how to get accustomed to their knew role as a contractor for this company (all that stuff was my unpaid role). I saved the employees of this company a lot of time by volunteering...and I mean a LOT of time. I put out fires, reported thieves, filtered "complaints" and brought to light real questions and problems, herded the sheep, bandaged name it-- I did it all-- virtually speaking of course.

So yeah...I don't get to do the same paid work anymore but they would love it if I would continue my volunteer duties--my choice. Jerks. Are you kidding me? You pee on someone who's given so much FREE about some coaching if I need to improve? Or am I getting paid too much and you need me to work less? Was there SOME other way around this? I am pretty sure there was. Since you went the icky route...and had the gall to ask if I would still want to volunteer despite not getting to continue with the same paid role.... I have to say I am very disappointed in you.

I'm also disappointed in myself. I knew I was giving too much. I ALWAYS give too much. Sometimes I pout when I'm alone because people never give back equally...or at all most times. I can't give 10% I guess. I have to give it all or I don't feel like I've done enough. Would you call that having pride in your work ethic? When am I going to learn? I cut a lot of people out of my life in the previous 24 months because I was always the giver. I had a lot less stress when I got those people out of my life. I miss some of them but I know it isn't worth it. I need to learn not to give 100% all the time. I'm sick of getting peed on for being to generous... jerks.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Munchkin Hates Me!

I sincerely don't believe she actually *hates* me but she has been awfully mean lately! About two weeks ago she kept waking up sneezing and then having a short-term drippy nose. I assumed that because I was having some allergy problems she was too. Well- a few days later we find out we infected pretty much every munchkin in our playgroup. Ouch...we deserve the dirty diaper award for that! Anyway, she was downright GROUCHY for days and days. It has not let up so far. Her symptoms of illness seem a little better--just a clear runny nose BUT she is so angry. She has been smacking me, scratching, pinching and yelling if I even look in her direction. She doesn't really do that to dad. Sometimes she tells him "no" that she doesn't want to play but she has not been nearly as awful towards him. I have a nice scab on my cheek where she removed a strip of skin! This is not mixing well with my already heightened sensitivity due to being pregnant.

I'm ready for her to be well and happy again. This is not fun. I can't really take her anywhere because she has the drippy nose but trying to keep her happy when she doesn't want me can see my dilemma here. Ugh!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

VBAC Journey Thoughts

I'm way over the half-way mark now.. so my thoughts about getting through this pregnancy are no longer about what I can eat that wont make me throw up but am I going to get this baby out and how badly will it hurt? Ha! I read at least one birth story per day, kind of like an affirmation. I must say that it has served me well. The closer I get to having this baby the more I realize how wounded I am from my first delivery...can I even call it a delivery? I didn't deliver my baby, a team of people in pale blue masks and green scrubs did. How sad is that? The more I think about it all the more angry I get. I carried a baby for 41 weeks and 1 day. I deserved to deliver my own baby and to hold her first-- before anyone else!

So many people consider a c-section a routine part of life. Just something that happens...and they move on. For some c-section moms it really is no big deal. For others, it causes wounds that are far greater than a 6 inch scar across the uterus. In order for me to face my future labor I have to get beyond my previous birth experience. I can still recall every second of my hospital stay and I remember exactly what is feels like and sounds like to be prepped for a c-section, to have the staples removed and to try and hold a newborn after being drugged so heavily. The first time I saw my baby I could hardly make her out. My vision was so blurry and I couldn't stop shaking. I remember the next time they tried to bring her to me I refused her. I felt so awful I didn't even want to hold my baby! Looking at her now I can't even imagine waiting 4 hours to touch her for the first time. What was I thinking? I try not to be mad at myself for refusing to hold her. I know she wont hold it against me and no one else will either. I just feel sick thinking that this is how I met my first child.

It all went wrong. I've spent the past 27 weeks doing everything I can to keep it from going wrong again. I am not entirely in control of how things will go but I definitely wont be receptive to any scare tactics this time. My experience has lead me to a new path in life and plans for a new career in the future. Every mother deserves the birth she wants. Most of us first-timers think it just comes naturally. It really doesn't. I mean, if we lived in nature and didn't rely heavily on the medical system-- then yes, every woman would probably have a great birth experience (Except for that small number of women who really may need a c-section). Instead, we follow all these routine practices of care or standard operating procedures as if my body is just like the previous pregnant body. We're all different but the medical system tries to make us the same.

In the grieving process of getting over my c-section, I'm a anger and bargaining but I'm nearing the depression stage-- the part where I will spend time reflecting and feeling as if no one understands why this is still bothering me. Lets hope I'm through the 7th stage by the time I enter into labor.

For anyone else preparing for a VBAC or trying to understand why c-sections are a big deal, head over to

Friday, July 30, 2010

Counting Down the Days...

Obviously I'm counting down the days until this pregnancy ends which also happens to be the same day I get to meet this other munchkin. Not so obvious, I just realized that I have 98 days left to spend with my first born. Ugh, why does this break my heart?

It really truly makes me sad to think about sharing my time with Avery and this new baby. I know everyone does it and kids all turn out fine after having their role of only child taken away. I just hope she is the type of toddler who doesn't feel hurt or left out by the new addition. That will make it easier on her and of course me.

To keep myself from being too sad about this I just try to focus on the excitement I know she will have when playing with her new sibling. I'm trying to make sure we squeeze in all kinds of important moments in the time we have left. It wasn't sad for me to "give up" my life of being childless but for some reason it is really hard to give up being a mom to just one kid. Strange eh?

There are so many differences too! I am more apprehensive about the baby than I was with Avery. Once I got over the shock of actually being pregnant (with Avery) despite believing I could never have a baby, I was completely excited. I even showed up at the hospital for my induction without any fear. I don't know what I was thinking then but I sure wish I could think the same way now. Seriously, I showed up for a procedure that went so terribly wrong but I was smiling the whole time (until we prepped for surgery of course). I don't know, maybe it was my horrible birth experience that makes me more fearful of the labor and delivery this time. I just wish I didn't have this giant bump in the way while I spend the last 98 days with little Avery. It sure does inhibit a lot of the fun things we could be doing. I mean, I can hardly get down to give her a bath (here I am crying about that as I type it). Yep, those days are coming to an end.

Hopefully I don't sound crazy and other moms can relate to feeling this sadness over becoming a mom to two. Wait, did I just say it was sad to have a second baby? Now that sounds crazy!

Monday, July 12, 2010


I've always known that I have a problem with being unhappy when the people around me are unhappy. It is true that I spend far too much time doing whatever I can to make other people happy or comfortable even if it means I'm miserable. Somedays I really prefer to be a people-pleaser but every now and then I meet a person whom I really care about and want to make happy all the time. That person just happens to be IMPOSSIBLE to please. This of course makes me feel terrible about our relationship and about my efforts at making the person happy.

I'm not really sure how to make our relationship work. Either I have to learn not to be a people-pleaser or this person has to get happy. Both of those necessities seem pretty unlikely to occur. What does that mean for the two of us? I'm not exactly sure. I just hope we find a way to accommodate each other in the meantime.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I know there really is evidence that pregnant women have memory and brain functioning issues, but man, I think it is worse this time than last. During my first pregnancy I could tell you how far along I was right down to the actual week and day. Now, I think I'm somewhere between 15 and 20 weeks?? It is June 5th but I thought last month was June...and keep calling it July. I guess I missed the fireworks already??

While I'm getting dumber, Avery is getting smarter. Thankfully! Someone in this house has to keep their brain. Every day we are amazed at her little tiny voice and all that she says with it. When she hears music she sings with it but she replaces the words with "Happy Birthday". I just love it when she does that, it is too funny. She puts strings of words together too! Tonight as the sun was setting she said, "oh no, bright sun" as the sun shined in her eyes. Too cute. Her new thing is to do this really awful dance when she hears a good song too. It is adorable, but I hope she gets better with age. Right now her form looks like she's tapping one foot while flapping her arms around and bouncing her hip all at once. Oh, and she shakes her hair with the beat too! What a geek.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Big Girl Bed

Since we found out we were expecting a baby this fall I have been asking Daddy to convert Avy's crib into a day bed. Well, the silly rails that keep kids in are "unavailable". I called to see if they were on backorder or what, but all I was told was that I could put my name on a list and be notified when they were available for purchase. How annoying!

It has been about six weeks now since that happened. While changing the crib bedding I decided to just put the mattress on the floor and see how that went. Well Avy seemed to love lying down in it and reading with me before bed. She was all tucked in with her light-up turtle but as soon as the light went out...she freaked out. We heard her crying and yelling "night night". I went in and the poor thing was standing in the middle of the room in utter blackness. So Daddy came in and took the front off the crib to turn it into a day bed...without a rail.

We put pillows underneath an started the bedtime process again. She went straight to sleep. I'll add photos soon (we have a horribly annoying camera that takes hours to upload even 10 photos).

First check: Avy was right on the corner of the mattress with her left arm dangling off the crib. I took a picture and pushed her to the middle.

Second check: sleeping soundly in the center.

Third check: around 6am Avy was in the middle of the bedroom floor, face down into the carpet, knees tucked under and her butt in the air.

Fourth check: I heard her reading "Buddha puddha" AKA "Mr. Doodle's Poodle". She was up in her day bed with pillows propped and a pile of books. So I climbed into bed with her to read.

I am sad to learn that the bed only handles 125 pounds. Me and my big pregnant belly just wont fit with 25lb Avy. :( Oh well, it was fun to do it at least once.

Nap time has come and gone and Avy has done nothing but read in her bed. We'll see how night #2 goes in the day bed. I look forward to the first time she gets out of bed and comes into our room to wake us. Awwwwww

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Godiva should probably start paying me for advertising. I'm going through some crazy pregnancy craving stage where the only thing that sounds good is chocolate..and not just any chocolate. Just the kind that melts in your mouth and is so strong in flavor that you really can't eat more than one at once. I've Tweeted, Facebook status updated (twice), Private Messaged (6 people) and posted about 5 thread posts about Godiva and eating it as dinner. I blogging about Godiva? Well, because I have reached that icky part of pregnancy where your hormones go kinda nuts. I feel extremely lonely and isolated. Which lead me to eat chocolate for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and bedtime snack for two days in a row. Don't worry, I ate other foods too. I still feel attacked my hormones. I've also been truly isolated because I have been participating in a challenge for one of my writing clients. I set out to produce an insane amount of pieces and this has required writing basically 19 hours out of each day. It ends on Monday night at midnight though... so not too much longer.

My other problem is that I have to keep a food log for my midwife. She's a tough gal. Not the stern, make you fear your life kind of tough. But she definitely tells you that if you want to work with her, you will do what she is recommending. Well, she actually says it more like, if you are like the other women I have worked with and truly want a VBAC, you will do this. Anyway, so eating truffles isn't exactly going along with what she recommends.

So yeah- I'm alone with my blog one last Godiva truffle, depressing pregnancy hormones and very little sleep.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

High School Reunion

This is more of a vent than anything...or not a vent but...I just have to say these weird thoughts I have and move on.

First, my 10 year class reunion is scheduled for sometime this summer..July I think. We did not have a 5 year (fine by me) and I think I've maybe run into 1-2 of my former classmates here in Des Moines. Did they talk to me? No, not really. Did they talk to me in school...well yeah...there were only 52 of us...but only during school hours or functions.

I think I was very well DISliked in high school, but I could be wrong. I know I didn't fit in and always felt like people were picking on me or saying rude things. I don't remember all the details as to why, but it may have had something to do with my moving from Oswego, IL to the small town of Corning, IA to start my junior year. Hmm- yeah I dressed kind of funny compared to the farming community. I also may have gone through a lot of rough stuff at home and had a chip on my shoulder... but I don't recall ever being mean to anyone.

Anyway- I think I have more bullet thoughts than fluid so:
  • I had more friends in IL than in IA during high school and I think I had 300 or maybe 600 peers in IL..can't recall but I know it was not a small school.
  • If I went to the Corning reunion I don't know who I would talk to. I can actually imagine walking in and sitting down...never talking to anyone. Seriously- in a normal setting I think I'd see someone and ask them how they were and they would do the same. I can't think of a single person who would do that if I showed up.
  • The discussion of what to do and what to serve at the reunion is on Facebook. Someone mentioned a vegetarian option...and it was met with usual.
  • I'm not a vegetarian but I have a hard time eating animal products, especially when I know nothing about the establishment.
  • I hate to even make this point but I will... the reunion is held at the Carbon Bar...which is in a small community that used to be a town. If I remember correctly- the post office is no longer open there and it is basically a bunch of houses and a church...oh and the bar.
Okay- I got that off my chest. I wish I had graduated from Oswego so I could go to that reunion. It would be great to see the friends I had there...some of which I still talk to today- UNLIKE the people I went to school with in Corning. Weird, huh?

Now that I have said all this- I'm actually annoyed that someone even bothered to invite me to the reunion. Oh wait...I didn't actually get invited. I was just asked to join the Facebook group. Maybe that is how the world does things now. I don't know, I'm not Miss Etiquette, that is for sure.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Are You In there?

Can you believe it? I'm wishing for morning sickness? Seriously! I am! Why? Well, because I have a silly theory that if this pregnancy is just like the last then I WILL have another girl. I cannot find my early pregnancy journal so I am unsure as to when I first had morning sickness, but I remember it being terrible. It was, of course, only 24 months ago.

I know in the first trimester of the first pregnancy I was pretty nauseated and super sleepy. I'm definitely tired and I had some nausea during the weekend of implantation. I know it was implantation because I had all the other symptoms, plus a fever, chills, aches and vomiting. So yeah...that is how I knew I was pregnant.

I've read that the second pregnancy is more relaxing since the mom already knows how to deal. Well, I'd have to agree with that. I know my mind is not 100% consumed by pregnancy thoughts (yet). I actually am not really sure a baby is in there (well an embryo at this point). I definitely can't button my skinny jeans but other than that- I have a symptomless second pregnancy.

Come on heartburn! I want a girl!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Itty Bitty No More

Avery in March of 2009 and there she is at the end of February 2010.

Man I just had one of the most reflective weekends!!! I know what spurred it and am thankful. More on that later...but right now I have to tell you about our basement.

With spring coming around the corner we decided to sort the basement a bit. I had been throwing maternity, post-pregnancy, "fat" clothes and any infant/baby thing Avery was no longer using, down the stairs into the basement. We decided to put everything into tubs and label them.

Well- the emotional effort that goes into sorting your first child's clothing is intense. We had a bin for neutral/boy clothes and baby girl clothes. Touching Avery's first shirt she wore in the hospital, the beanie they put on her and then the outfit she went home in was so hard. Before doing this I don't think I could have described a single onesie that she used to wear. Holding each one up and folding it, I had all kinds of memories about her wearing this cute one and that cute one. Yeah- seriously- she's old enough that I have MEMORIES about her. I know a memory technically develops moments after the event occurs, but I was naive. With only 14-months of life with Avery (not counting the 42 weeks in the womb) I would never have believed her first days in my arms would seem so long ago. But they do! It was so hard for both Stephen and I to put those itty bitty clothes into a bin and realize how fast the time went. We spent so much time waiting for her next milestone that we missed those tiny baby moments, in a way. Obviously we enjoyed her baby moments but the next time I have a baby I wont be looking ahead so much. I want to spend more time in the moment.

Those of you with little babes...pull out some of those tiny baby clothes and give yourself a reality check. While it is so awesome to anticipate your child's next big thing- once it arrives, then what? The previous moment is gone! I'm pulling back the reigns on time. More photos, more journaling and more focusing on the moment. I don't want to put toddler clothes into a box and feel like I didn't get enough time with my one-year-old.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Has Anyone Heard from Spring?

I know I shouldn't complain about the insane amounts of snow we have received this winter with all that is going on in the world but I'm going to anyway. What else have I got to do while I wait for the bitter winds to die down and the mounds of white to disappear?

It will be two years ago this spring that I refused to move away from Des Moines. My husband was living in IL trekking back here on weekends to see me. In May we bought a house because while I was pregnant I insisted this was the place for us. Well, now I'm wondering what the heck I was thinking!

I really don't want to stay here through another winter. I have absolutely no desire to sit in a house during months of rain, months of spring and very few FULLY sunny days. There are plenty of great things to do here but dragging a toddler in and out of a car through snow, winds and rain just isn't my idea of fun. I don't know how people do it.

Our house is truly suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder). We are grumpy, tired, unmotivated and sad. Sad over what? We don't know...the lack of sun? The giant drifts of snow? The lost hours spent shoveling?

Anyway, I'm ready to move. If things fall into place in the future that allow us to move- I wont be putting my foot down to keep us here ever again. While I love the friends I have here, I hardly see them. (Often due to snow). So I'm not sure I see the benefit of living here forever anymore. I'd like to say that as soon as spring gets here I'll feel differently but it is going to take a while to shake the fear of snow I have developed. I can guarantee my husband wont be putting forth any effort to stick around for another Iowa winter. Poor guy...