The Love Dare – Day 2

Recap of Day 1

  • Did anything happen today to cause anger toward your mate?
    • Ha! I’m not sure about the rest of you, but living with someone who is rarely home while you’re trying to raise a one year-old and two year-old together is obviously going to result in some friction! I’m not sure any was real anger though, perhaps more along the lines of small frustrations, like why does he always have to close the dishwasher when the racks are still out???
  • Were you tempted to think disapproving thoughts and to let them come out in words?
    • Unfortunately, yes. Negative comments often spew from my lips, out before I even realize what I’ve said. I’m not sure I can say I mastered day one, but if anything, this dare certainly made me more aware of my negative comments to Eric. And aware of our faults is perhaps the first step toward correcting them. I hope.

Day 2 Love Dare

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The Love Dare – Day 1

Anyone familiar with the book, The Love Dare, by Stephen and Alex Kendrick? A girl from one my MOPs tables mentioned it recently and asked if any of us ladies were interested in reading the book and sharing thoughts with her. I purchased the Kindle version and read the first few pages last night in bed before I fell asleep. My understanding is it’s meant to be done over the course of 40 days, a dare each day, I think. Well, this is never gonna work for me, as I don’t see Eric everyday… In fact, I won’t see him until Friday, and it’s only Monday. Ugh.

The dare for day 1 is below… Patience and positive communication only. I did see Eric this morning, very, very briefly, before he left for work for the week. And I already failed at this dare, as I bitched at him for his CONSTANT movement in bed. Seriously, he moves the entire freaking night and it results in crap sleep for me. So yeah… I guess I need to work on eliminating my negative comments. Ultimately I don’t plan to do this in 40 days, but rather at my own pace depending on how often I see Eric. Wish me luck! Oh, and patience!

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5th Anniversary

May 19th was our 5th wedding anniversary. And I have to say, as much as I complain about Eric (who doesn’t complain about their spouse daily from time to time?) he really does spoil me. Our wedding ceremony and reception was held at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort in Riverside, Iowa, and thus, Eric planned a little get-a-way for us there this past weekend so we could reminisce. We had a sitter planned for the day on Friday, and then my mom came to watch the girls Friday evening and overnight until we got back Saturday afternoon.

We arrived at the casino around noon, grabbed a quick bite to eat at their buffet and then Eric had planned a relaxing afternoon for me at the spa. And it was heavenly. I’m not a huge spa person, in fact I think this was only my second experience ever in life…  I was lucky enough to experience the Aqua Body Polish which is a full body exfoliation and refinement using natural minerals and sea salts followed by the application of custom blended hydrating lotion, leaving your skin soft and polished. Whatever oils they used smelled so good! Then I finished the afternoon with a 60 minute massage which was just as nice! I originally thought I would feel a little awkward, but I didn’t. The girl who performed both my treatments was very nice and explained everything.

After the spa we checked into our room and relaxed a bit before I showered and got pretty for dinner. Eric loves to gamble, so we hit a few table games before our 7pm reservation at Ruthie’s, the steakhouse inside the casino. We both had steaks and all the fixings, even dessert. And I have to say, we were both overly stuffed. I guess there is a reason we rarely order dessert.

After dinner we relaxed in our room for a bit, attempting to digest, and then Eric went back to the casino to gamble. And I went to sleep. And it was glorious! Five years ago I probably would have seen going to bed early as a waste of an evening out. But nope, now I see it as glorious! No baby monitor, no children waking me up! Ten straight hours of sleep! I didn’t even hear Eric come back to our room when he was out of money 🙂

I honestly can’t believe our wedding was five years ago… Five years used to seem like a lifetime, but the years have flown. We have been through so much together. Never did I dream that we’d have two children, both born very early… Those months in the NICU truly tested me and Eric, and with the death of Eric’s father shortly after Nadia’s birth, well, I’m surprised we didn’t fall apart. And moving, Eric finishing residency and starting a new practice… So much stress. Maybe I don’t give us enough credit. The hard times have made us so much stronger as individuals and as a couple. You think you know someone so well on your wedding day… but for us, that was so far from the truth. I continue to learn about and from Eric every single day. I’m so thankful for him, for our girls, and the life we continue to build together. I can’t wait to see what the next five years have in store for us!FullSizeRender 16

June 23, 2015 – 3m7d (22 Days Corrected)

I’m guessing someday I will look back on my life right now and think how easy I had it…  I’ll admit though, this doesn’t feel easy.

Last Friday evening was Eric’s residency graduation dinner at a local country club.  Yes, I finally decided on a dress, the one I felt most comfortable in, and it just so happens it matched Nora’s dress for the evening as well 🙂

The dinner was nice, felt a bit surreal to actually be celebrating the end of residency though, being Eric’s was six years and we met the first week.  Residency life is all I know with Eric, I’m both anxious and excited to see what’s next for us.

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We did end up taking Nora to the dinner, as both my parent’s and Eric’s attended the celebration.  My mom was sweet enough to watch Nora during dinner so I could socialize.  So very thankful she was there to help!

So with just a week of residency remaining, Eric’s schedule has been even more horrendous than usual.  I guess not surprising…  Regardless though, as the months and weeks pass I find myself more annoyed with Eric, and not just his schedule.  I assume it’s just me feeling like I have so much more on my plate now with Nora.  I think Eric and I need to come to some agreement, an understanding of who does what within our household.  Right now I get the impression that since he is working full-time and I am not (outside the home) he expects me to handle everything.  And granted, it was like this before Nora was born, but now I’m having a difficult time doing everything.  I feel like a single mom but with the responsibilities of several children, as Eric can’t even find the time to pick up his own dry cleaning.  And I get he works 90+ hours a week, but still…  A part of me feels like his priorities are a bit misaligned.  It’s quite hard for me to step back and look at our situation from an outsiders perspective.  Like, maybe I am expecting too much of him, or am I?

Perfect example…  Eric was in New Orleans last week from Wednesday-Sunday.  His days were filled with lectures, as he was there for a board review course, but he and his colleagues ate out every evening and then found bars to shut down.  I get it wasn’t a true vacation for him, but there was certainly time for him to relax and have fun.  Then, last Thursday evening there was a get together at a restaurant/bar related to graduation, he got home that night after midnight.  Then the dinner Friday night, he went out after with everyone until late again and I took Nora home.  And now he just texted me that some people are getting together for drinks tonight after work as well.  Keep in mind Saturday was spent with his parents and then Sunday he sat in front of his computer all day working, so even though he was technically off, he truly wasn’t available to spend quality time with me or Nora.

While Eric is attending all of these events, the house is slowly falling apart.  We have a toilet that has needed fixing for several weeks, a couple of issues with lighting that need an electrician, my car has been acting funny and finally forced us to take it in yesterday…   And we already hire all the lawn care or our grass would be 10 feet high!  Eric is constantly telling me he has no time to help with anything at home…  But he has time to go out with friends quite often.  Should I be more understanding?  Since Nora came home from the NICU he has been alone with her once, for maybe two hours while I ran to Target.  Otherwise, I’ve been with her.  And I get that I quit my full-time job, but I guess I didn’t think that meant he still gets to find time in his schedule for fun, but I don’t.  How do other families handle this?  I’m just not sure what to expect, or how to get Eric to understand I can’t do it all, that his life needs to change too now that Nora is here…

I suppose I should get back to my list of chores as the laundry isn’t going to do itself.  And I still haven’t picked paint colors for the new house!

Newborn Pictures

Nora has been home for a week already, so hard to believe.  It flew by!  And so far, so good!  I promise to be better going forward with updates…  This time week, well, time kind of got away from me 😉

This afternoon we had Nora’s newborn pictures taken by Cara Hocking Photography, and I’m soooooo excited to see them.  I got one sneak peek, check it out!

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Sessions are scheduled for two hours, but as we’re learning, Nora likes things her way, in her time (her birth feet first) and therefore our session took four hours!  I was seriously exhausted, but so grateful Cara took the time to get great shots even though Nora was incredibly fussy.  I’ll post the rest of the proofs as soon as I see them!

Nora’s fussiness was really just today, I hope.  Since we brought her home she’s been eating, peeing/pooping, and sleeping.  Seriously.  She’s been pretty easy, eating every four hours or so and then going right back to sleep.  Granted, she will ONLY sleep in her mamaroo, but for now, it’s working.  I actually considered buying a second as we’re constantly moving it from room to room with us.  Right now she’s sleeping right next to my side of the bed.  Not sure how long this will continue though, as she is such a loud sleeper.  Grunts and cries for a few seconds here and there in her sleep, which of course wakes me up.  Although I guess if we were using a monitor I’d hear all that too.

I have been putting a sleep monitor on Nora, but not the high-tech one I mentioned purchasing recently.  That one was awesome, if you don’t consider that the probe had to be so tight on her foot that it was almost cutting off circulation.  And perhaps I could have found a different probe, but that seemed like way too much work!  So instead we’ve been using the Snuza Hero Portable Abdominal Movement Monitor.  It hasn’t gone off yet, so either her breathing is just fine, or the thing doesn’t work.  Nora is alive and well though, so I’m going to assume her breathing is perfect.

Feeding is going fairly well, still doing four bottles fortified to 24 cals/oz. breast milk each day (Neosure), and then I’m nursing her the other times.  And wow, for those who just nurse, that has to be exhausting, as she is only satisfied for maybe two hours compared to four with the fortified.  I’ve gone back to the nipple shield for the time being, not because she can’t nurse without it, but because it’s just easier.  The lactation consultant explained how for now I need to sandwich my breast, think mammogram, so she can stay latched easier until she grows bigger and stronger.  I feel like I don’t have enough hands to do that and hold her and direct her head to my nipple!  So call me lazy, but for now, the nipple shield is easier.

Since we have to do some bottles, I’m obviously still pumping.  And it’s a pain in my behind.  In fact, after I feed her I’ve been pumping too, as she doesn’t empty me and I’m terrified of mastitis!  Even sometimes when I planned to nurse her I’ve ended up just pumping instead.  For some reason I can’t seem to get her eating aligned with my pumping.  My breasts are always full when she’s not hungry!  How do others manage this???  And thank God she sleeps a lot, as I feel like all I do is wash and sterilize bottles and pump parts.  How have I only been doing this a week??  I shouldn’t complain, it is awesome to have her home 🙂

So far we’ve had two weight checks and her first well-baby visit.  The second weight check was this morning before pictures.  Upon leaving the NICU Nora’s growth curve was decreasing, but we must have gotten back on track this week as it now shows a slight increase, slight, but still an increase!  Today Nora weighed 5 lbs. 14 oz. (14%), was 18 in. long (33%), and had a head measurement of 12 in. (20%).  (Percentiles are based on premature curves for females between 23.5 and 50 weeks gestation.)  We go back in two weeks for another weight check, hopefully she continues to gain about an ounce a day.  Aside from the weight checks with Nora’s pediatrician, we also have follow-up appointments with her immune team, ophthalmologist, and the infant high risk program, all at the University in Iowa City.  Oh, and a hip ultrasound since she was breech.

All that said, I think we’re doing really well so far at home.  The first few days felt very odd to me, very overwhelming, a strange sense of responsibility…  I kind of wondered what I got myself into.  Is that normal??  Eric has been home this week with me, and he’s off work next week as well, and as much as I love his help, often times he actually creates more work for me.  I assume that’s a guy thing…  I hate to even say that I’m ready for him to go back to work…  It’s not that.  I think I’m just ready to get into my own groove with Nora, a routine, a schedule so to speak.  Somehow I need to figure out cleaning and laundry with a baby.  Oh, and packing to move, I guess I should get a start on that too!

Our chocolate lab, Kona, pretty much ignored Nora until last night when she started walking in circles, in the kitchen, then in the living room, and then our bedroom.  It was so odd.  And today all she wants to do is lay next to us and lick our faces.  I sense jealousy.  Tuesday was our 3rd wedding anniversary and to celebrate we took our first walk as a family.  It was evident on that walk that I will not be able to walk Kona and Nora together, Kona is just simply too strong and not nearly well-behaved enough for me to control her and care for Nora.  Hopefully Eric is up for some exercise with Kona in the evenings!

I best get back to my favorite pass time, cuddling Nora.  She loves sleeping on my chest…  It’s so sweet.  I already can’t imagine what my life was like without her 🙂

27w2d ~ Better Help

Have any of you heard of Better Help?  It’s an online therapy website, with actual trained counselors, I did check that part!  I’m not sure if you remember or not but I had been seeing a local therapist weekly, but stopped a few months ago as my work schedule seemed to keep getting in the way.  Ridiculous as that seems, since most days I swear I just sit here and stare into space.  Or write blog posts.  Anyway, I miss those hours each week.  And I’m not even sure if I can say my therapist was solving my ‘issues’.  Are they supposed to?  It was more nice to be able to vent and talk without being judged or like I was bringing someone else down with my negativity.

Anyway, I came across this Better Help site which was advertised on some baby website that sends me weekly pregnancy updates, I don’t remember which now…  Check out the site and the FAQs if you’re curious, but the jest of it seems to be that you email back and forth with a trained therapist/counselor, as often as you like, or I guess as often as the therapist has time…  When you first sign up you answer a ton of questions so they can match you with someone suited to your situation, but you can search for a different counselor at any time.  It’s $35 a week for unlimited sessions, or rather emails, and included in that cost is one weekly phone call, although you can pay extra for more calls.  I like that it’s very convenient, but hesitant if this type of therapy can actually be successful.  The first 7 days are free, and I just started my trial today.  So far I sent an introductory email to the therapist I was matched with, just giving her a breakdown of what I’d like to discuss.  That email is below.  I’ll update in a few days and let you know how it’s going, in case others are interested in pursuing such a method.  Who knows, this might be awesome, or it could be awful, but at least you can cancel at any time with the click of a button!

Good morning! I guess I’m a bit hesitant to embark on counseling in this manner, maybe because this is new to me and I’m not sure what to expect…

I stopped seeing a therapist a few months ago because it was difficult to find time with work. I felt like I was always needing to take time off, and that just caused more stress. Also, my therapist spent a lot of our sessions talking about herself, I think she was trying to relate, show that she understood and such, but it just seemed to take away from the time we could focus on me.

My main issues center around my husband and his work schedule. He’s just finishing a urology residency, still working 90+ hours a week. I’m due with our first child June 1st and certainly feeling overwhelmed since he has zero time to help at home, and really very little time to even focus on our relationship. Also, he’s starting a private practice once his residency is complete in June, therefore we are moving about two hours north, which was all his choosing, the location and such I mean. I’m very unclear of how our life will be the next several years, and honestly still rather bitter that I had little say in where we’re moving.

Are these topics you feel you could help me with?  I want to make sure I know what I’m getting into… And whether or not this method of therapy would be helpful for me, or if I should search for a local provider with either evening or weekend hours.

Thanks so much!
Stefanie

Maternity Photography

I’ve gone back and forth on maternity photography. I have this thing with pictures though, I love them. And have you noticed I’m STILL using my engagement and wedding photos on here from almost four years ago now?? I feel like it’s time Eric and I have some updates taken, and I was thinking, what better time!

And then I mentioned it to Eric…

He was not fond of the idea. I believe the word he used was ‘silly’. He frankly just doesn’t understand why I would want pictures of this time in my life. From my perspective, I thought it was obvious.

So that was our discussion Tuesday evening, and I’ve been feeling bad ever since. I guess I have this fairytale in my head of him being as emotionally into this pregnancy as me. Are men just not wired that way? Is Eric really all this different from other husbands? Now, keep in mind my idea for these pictures are we’d be fully clothed, think engagement photos, but my belly just happens to be larger! I really don’t feel like I’m asking that much of him… But even last night he said he didn’t want the picture where the husband is kissing the wife’s belly…

How others experienced this pull back from their husbands? I can’t be the only one, right?? Would it be wrong to just have some pictures of me taken? I would love some memories from this time, and while Eric said he would go, now knowing he won’t enjoy it kind of ruins the experience for me. His suggestion was to wait until after the baby is born and have family pictures taken then. And I’ll like those too, but there is still a part of me that longs for memories of this time.

The Joys of Home-Ownership

Isn’t being a homeowner grand?  About as grand as being a landlord, but thankfully it’s my personal property with an issue this time…  The water heater.  Water heaters hate me apparently…

Not sure if I complained on here or not about this topic.  I tend to complain so much I forget who I complained to!  Anyway, often I shower in the morning and run out of hot water.  It’s not too surprising to me, as Eric takes really long showers, which, in my opinion, are way hotter than safe.  Thus, he uses most of the hot water in our 50 gallon heater tank.  I bitch to him about it frequently, but he swears he is normal.  Let’s not even go there.

Earlier this week though it seemed worse, like we would run out of hot water everyday, even when Eric was running late for work and thus his showers were quite short.  So… like any good wife I asked him to check out the water heater, thinking maybe the temperature just wasn’t set high enough.  A few days later he got the manual, which was on the top of the water heater, brought it upstairs, and laid it on the coffee table without another mention of it.  I wanted to remind him to look at it, but I assume if I had he would say I was nagging like his mom, so I didn’t mention it.

Today Eric and I cleaned out the storage room in preparation for moving the office into the lower level and converting the current office into baby’s room.  I walk into the storage room, and what, there was water all over.  How could Eric not have noticed when he got the manual from on top of the water heater???  He said there was too much junk in the basement and he didn’t see it.  Riiiiiight…

So it’s Sunday evening, and a plumber should be here any minute.  Pisses me off this wasn’t handled sooner, the first time I asked him to investigate.  Also pisses me off this house, and thus water heater, are only three years old.  This is not an expense I was planning on in December, on top of everything else right now…

Yesterday was more productive though, as we met with our builder and worked to finalize the floor plans for our new home.  The floor plans aren’t exact yet, but they are getting really close, and we hope to be ready for their appraisal by the end of this week.  I will say though, I didn’t feel very prepared for the meeting.  The builder had lots of questions I didn’t really know the answers to, like ‘what material would you like the deck and deck railing made of?’ and ‘what type of flooring are you thinking for each room?’ and ‘why type of built-ins do you want in the walk-in closets?’  Yeah, no clue.  I’m a visual person, I need to see examples and then pick what I like, and there were no examples.  I mean, I know he just needed an idea to put in a budget amount, but still.  All in all though the  four hour meeting went well.  We made a few small changes to the plans, added some windows, changed around some doors, make the deck and patio larger…  Mostly small changes.  I’m really happy with how the plans turned out, but Eric appeared stressed during our meeting, and after.  Maybe stressed isn’t the right word, maybe more nervous.  After we left our meeting with the builder we stopped for lunch and he was quiet, seemed in a bad mood.  I assume he’s getting worried about the cost of the house as ironically he hates spending money.  You wouldn’t know it from how he gambled and ate/drank in Vegas though!  I assume Eric will get more excited once he’s working and the reality of paying for this house feels more possible.  I hope anyway.  Often I feel like he views building this house as my idea… and the last thing I want is him to be unhappy with the outcome later.

Well, looks like tomorrow is going to be an unexpected vacation day, as the plumber plans to return at 10am tomorrow…  Lovely….