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!).