Nora’s 6th Birthday

I don’t know how my first born is six… Or how it’s Friday of spring break and I feel like most of the week was wasted inside. We went out to play for maybe five minutes yesterday before our fingers were freezing. I think it’s supposed to be a little warmer today, we’ll see.

Nora’s birthday was Tuesday. Eric had to work, but the girls and I had fun. We slept in a little later than normal, Eric and I had decorated the house Monday night so Nora woke pretty excited to see a huge mermaid balloon hanging in the entryway along with some other festive pieces. After breakfast and baths we had a quick lunch and headed to Barnes and Noble, one of the girls favorite places. Mine too. We got cookies (and a mocha for me) and then browsed the large selection of toys, games, and books. I let them each pick a toy, I shouldn’t have, as we have too many and more would be opened that evening, but I’m weak. Nora also picked out a book, which I’m always up for buying. I love books. I would have bought some for myself but I have way more than I need and little time to read these days. Thankfully Nadia agreed to pants for the hour or so we were out of the house.

Later in the afternoon we made chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting, per Nora’s request. They were delicious! I highly recommend that frosting recipe!

Eric thankfully was home shortly after five, but he’d had a horrible day at work so wasn’t in the greatest mood. I guess it’s good kids don’t always focus on and notice the same thing adults do, as Nora appeared completely clueless that daddy had had a hard day. Our original plan was to eat out, although restaurants are pretty limited here, especially since COVID closed many. We ended up ordering in from Texas Roadhouse as Nora wanted to get right to opening her presents, and playing with them.

We ate, sang Happy Birthday, enjoyed the cupcakes, and just like that it was time for bed. Another birthday in the books. I feel a little bad I didn’t plan an actual party for Nora, although we will get together with family in a few weeks. I feel like Nora’s to the age where I’m supposed to invite her school classmates over, but with COVID I guess I don’t know how the other parents feel, or how I do. I don’t even know the other parents really, as again, COVID seems to have ruined lots of normal interactions.

So Overwhelmed

I’m so overwhelmed! So much change, so much to do…

We moved… I know, I didn’t even post about that! There are still boxes everywhere! More on that another time, but so far, it’s great. We need to order some new furniture and decorate, and, well, unpack, but it’s good.

A few of you wrote comments about the ‘hurricane’ in Iowa. It was in Cedar Rapids, about an hour south of where we currently live. I used to live in Cedar Rapids though, my mom still does, and I just happen to be in town that day for a doctor’s appointment. I had just gotten into town, so I pulled off to the side of I380 when the wind was too strong for me to drive straight. I honestly thought I was going to die. There was so much ‘stuff’ flying through the air hitting cars, obviously along with the wind and rain. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before. And then once it was over, driving through town, well, trying to, as it was almost impossible with all the trees down… Just unreal the damage. My mom’s home had some damage, as most in the city did, and they didn’t have power for quite awhile, so they came to my house… but we are all safe. I can’t thank God enough.

Nora had Kindergarten orientation last week. Can you believe she is going to Kindergarten??? I seriously can’t. Each family was given a 15 minute block of time, and only one parent could attend, all due to COVID, but Eric was working anyway. And thankfully Nadia didn’t cry for the sitter!!! Nora was a little shy, but it was good to meet her teacher, see where she will be all day, get a feel for the building…

Nadia got glasses! I think she looks adorable and they must really help her see, as she actually wants to wear them!

Nadia’s 4th birthday was this past Sunday, August 23rd. Eric was on-call this weekend and quite busy, so he was at the hospital on and off that day, but we were still able to celebrate Nadia! The girls and I had donuts for breakfast and we went out for Mexican for dinner, as Nadia loves Mexican rice. And of course she opened tons of presents, mostly toys. I’ll have to plan a time to celebrate with extended family soon.

And finally, the first day of school was yesterday. Both the girls seemed a little excited, and neither cried, which really surprised me. After being home for so long with really only me during the days I was sure there would be tears and lots of drama on the first day. But no, they saved that for the second day… I guess today they knew what was to come, meaning leaving mom for a few hours. I know it’s good for them, and for me, but I still feel bad pushing them in the doors. Parents aren’t allowed inside the buildings, so it’s even harder this year with drop-offs. And yesterday with Nora, well, sending her into Kindergarten for the first time didn’t feel at all like I expected… I guess I thought I would hand her off to her teacher, but all the kids from K-4 were just all walking in the same doors. I think the gym teacher was at the door and asked me if Nora knew where she was going… And no, I doubted she remembered which room was hers on the second floor for the 15 minutes we were there last week. She obviously found her way though! And she came home with lots of things to tell me. She seemed to really enjoy the day. So the tears this morning the minute she was out of bed, her and Nadia crying they didn’t want to go to school really tugged at my heart. I hope they both make some friends very soon!

It’s June!!!

How it can be June, I have no idea. May took three years to pass I swear. Our state, Iowa, is starting to open back up, but we are still staying put for the most part. We have been out once really, for Eric’s birthday to dinner which was last week. It felt very weird to be out, almost wrong. And the girls were kind of wild, but of course, can you blame them after being stuck at home for months?? After Eric’s birthday dinner he enjoyed a homemade chocolate cake at home. Super yummy!

I feel like I have lots of updates… probably because I haven’t written in quite sometime, but also because I feel like all the things put on hold due to COVID-19 as slowing coming off hold status.


The occupational therapy clinic FINALLY called and Nadia’s appointment is next Monday morning. I’m nervous, and I so wish Eric could come too, but they only want the patient and one parent due to COVID. More to come on this!


And… the IVF clinic called to make an appointment to start the gestational carrier process from their end. I have no idea what to expect, I guess we will find out. They suggested some appointment dates in July, but Eric is on-call those days, so I’m waiting for them to call me back so we can figure something out! Stay-tuned!


Alright, back to cleaning the kitchen and laundry, which I’ve been putting off forever. Seems the more time I have, the less I accomplish with poor motivation. I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite photos currently on my phone.

I keep meaning to write… March Updates…

Everyday, several times a day, I think, I should write… And then the girls start screaming at each other, or the dog barks to go outside, or it’s time for a ZOOM preschool session, or the girls need another snack, or Nadia has a meltdown… And just like that the day is over. It’s crazy how I can be so busy doing absolutely nothing.

The last day I was out and about in the world, and the girls were in school, was March 11th, my 40th birthday. I didn’t do anything all that memorable, ran some errands, purchased some summer clothing for the girls at Target, looked around at Scheels for nothing I needed… Oh how I miss shopping for nothing with a Starbucks in hand. That evening we went out for dinner at a run of the mill Mexican restaurant on Main Street, which happened to be PACKED. It was a lovely evening with family. I so miss the ordinary.

March 11th was 32 days ago. It feels like so much has happened, but yet in reality, absolutely nothing has…

Nora’s 5th birthday was March 16th. I tried to make the day special, decorated the house a bit, made her a cake, insisted she wear a birthday shirt. Her main gift was the Barbie Dreamhouse. Why the hell does the thing come with so many accessories??

Other updates from March…

  • Both the girls have Zoom preschool sessions each morning. And while I totally love they still get to ‘see’ their teachers and friends, I highly doubt they are actually getting much from the sessions. Neither is interested in sitting in front of a computer longer than five minutes. I keep forcing them though, as I understand learning is healthy and I want them to have some type of normalcy from their life pre-COVID-19 isolation. God I hope Nora is going to be prepared for kindergarten come August.
  • Neither of the girls have been sleeping well… Right now I’m blaming the drastic change to their schedules. But the longer we’re living in this new normal, the less I’ll be able to use that excuse. Nadia has always been my poor sleeper, she is still waking at least once a night. Nora though is now also waking, and she used to be sleep through the night, in her own bed, every single night. Like last night, she crawled into our bed around midnight. Could she really just be reacting to all the changes in her life?
  • We still haven’t found a new home… which is making isolation even harder for me. More and more time in a house that certainly doesn’t feel like home. I keep praying the perfect house will just come on the market.
  • I fear Nadia’s OCD is getting worse. Or maybe I’m just noticing it more since I’m with her 24/7 now. Her meltdowns are epic, and becoming more frequent. She’s constantly asking for wipes as she loses her mind if anything gets on her hands. I don’t know, I could list a million things… I know we are still on the wait list for a therapy consult, but who knows when that will be.
  • We sent in paperwork to our fertility clinic, basically forcing them to make a decision as to whether or not they will allow us to use a surrogate giving our history of pre-term births. That was over a month ago now and no response, although I can only assume IVF procedures are on-hold since everything else medically is at a stand-still. And I totally get that now would not be a good time, but time is ticking, I’m already 40!
  • I could probably write a book on how hard this whole isolation thing has been for me, how much I miss my family and friends. I feel like everyone keeps telling me to slow down and enjoy this time with family. And I am… but I miss my old life. I miss getting to the gym, having some, if even 30 minutes of daily alone time. And I know the girls miss school, or at least the consistency of it. I was finally starting to feel like my life was settling into a new normal and now everything feels very messy.

I’m sure I’m forgetting lots and lots of things I’ve been meaning to mention… for now though, the house is a reck so I best go do some dishes so I can see the counters again!

40

You guys, can you believe I’m going to be 40 in nine days??? I am not happy about this. I do not want to be 40. I don’t want to get old. Older. I don’t want to celebrate… I want the day to pass by, and me still be 39… forever.

On a happier note, Nora will be five in two weeks! I guess I should start planning her birthday!

Still looking for a house… still haven’t found anything worth buying… How much longer can I live in this house with all my stuff packed? I swear it’s bad for my health and happiness!

And I’ll leave you with a sisterly love picture and Nora all ready for the science experiment!

Last Day of Daycare

Yes, today was the last day! Nora wasn’t all that interested in smiling… Notice the red mark on her head. Remnants of her collision only moments earlier with Nadia’s head.

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We stopped and picked up cupcakes this morning to celebrate their last day. Both girls insisted on carrying their own bag of goodies to the car. Nora cried at drop-off… from the first day at this center until the last. Nadia was actually pretty excited this morning to tell her teacher all about the cupcakes! Thank goodness one was happy!

I’m supposed to be doing laundry and labeling their school supplies, but here I sit on my computer. Maybe it reminds me of working, of being productive. I did notice a new house for sale, I should go drive by and decide if it’s worth viewing. And of course, kickboxing later this afternoon before I pick up the girls and prep for our vacation which starts Sunday, our quick trip to Minneapolis to a waterpark! Oh, and Nadia’s 3rd birthday is also next Friday. Dear God, I have a lot to do before then!

I’ll leave you with a few cute pictures I took last night after baths!

Nora’s 4th Birthday

I’m skipping over my 39th birthday, which was March 11th, as, well, I’m not sure. Maybe I don’t want to be one year closer to 40. Getting older scares me. Another post for another day I suppose…

Nora’s 4th birthday was Saturday, March 16th. And I hope with all my heart she had a wonderful day! I struggle a lot with the girls’ birthdays. The days themselves evoke a ton of stress, anxiety, sadness, and fear in me as I remember the days of their actual births. Certainly not happy memories for me. And as much as I try to focus on how great the girls are doing now, I fear their birth days will forever be sad memories for me. That said though, I also struggle with overcoming my own sadness and finding ways to make the days extra special for the girls. Like, what can I possibly do to make the days as wonderful as possible for them?? I constantly feel like nothing I could plan would be good enough. Do all moms feel that way?

So how did we spent Nora’s birthday… I planned a small gathering with our immediate family and my mom and step-dad to eat lunch at the Mellow Mushroom and then we all played at the Iowa Children’s Museum. I think most of the adults were slightly, okay, probably really bored, including myself, but what mattered was that the girls enjoyed the afternoon. And I think they did!

After lunch and playtime at the museum we went back to our house for cake and ice cream. I let Nora open her presents from me and Eric, but we’ll gather again with my extended family to open presents from them. Yesterday Nora wore a birthday shirt to school and took chocolate chip cookies and popsicles to celebrate. I’m sure she enjoyed everyone singing happy birthday to her again!

Nadia’s 2nd Birthday Party

I survived yesterday. But not without waking with a second cold sore. A visual sign from my body of the anxiety my MIL causes… I personally think she acted a bit odd at the party, hanging out in our lower lever for a portion of the party. Maybe her way of getting the children to herself, I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t care. I made a bit of small talk with her, but only because I was forced as we were both seated at the table eating together at one point. Toward the end when she was preparing to leave I did see her attempts at getting pictures with my children. I assume so she could post on Facebook for the appearance of her actually being a caring grandmother. Which annoys me to no end since I know the real her, the one who could care less about my children until it comes to posing on Facebook as the perfect family.

The party overall was really fun. It was great to see my family and Eric’s brother and wife and kids who made the trip here driving six hours in the car with two little ones. Bless their hearts. We don’t get to see them nearly enough, so it was extra special to have them here. I took a million pictures but you know how that is, like five turned out, with kids actually looking at the camera, with no beer bottles in the background!

I honestly can’t believe Nadia is two. I feel like it was just yesterday she was born and I was in disbelief at another NICU stay. The past two years have been hard on me, raising two little ladies only 15 months apart. I dream of the day they are a bit more independent, especially given how often I parent alone. Eric is off this week, and thank God! As I’m exhausted from cleaning and preping for the party!

Did I mention wanting to put in a real child-sized potty in the girls’ bathroom? Well, it was a special order and finally arrived! I can’t wait, hopefully Eric can get it in tomorrow. The past few days Nadia has really advanced with potty-training. Like literally all the sudden she says potty, and if I take off her diaper and pants she will go into the bathroom, alone, and emerge a bit later, so show me the poop and pee in the potty. Yeah, I can’t believe it either. Nora STILL won’t poop in the potty, although is pretty much trained otherwise, well, except overnight we still have some accidents.

Well, I should go finish cleaning up the kitchen from the party and get the girls down for a nap. Happy Sunday!

Nadia Turns 2

I seriously can’t believe Nadia is two already. I remember her birth like it was yesterday. And now she’s a toddler! Who is starting to talk like crazy!

In case you want to read about Nadia’s birth…

Eric is on-call this week so staying up in Waterloo/Cedar Falls, but he was able to pop home for a bit last night so we could celebrate. We had dinner, a pasta dish, of which the girls ate nothing, decorated and devoured strawberry and chocolate cupcakes, and opened a few presents. Nora wasn’t so sure about Nadia getting to do all the present opening. And Nadia wasn’t so sure about the candles on her cupcake at first, but after Eric blew them out about 15 times she was ready to try herself. And then very angry when the candles were eventually removed. Toddlers…

I am planning a party with family for later in September, so we only opened a few gifts last night. More to come on that party. Invites have been ordered but nothing else is planned yet, except that it’s lunch at our home. And hopefully Eric’s mom decides not to show.

Below are a few pictures from last night, and a few pictures I like from shortly after Nadia’s birth. Browsing back through Nadia’s baby days makes me really miss having a newborn 🙁

The cupcakes we made and decorated last night were taken to daycare this morning for celebration. I actually felt like quite the awful mom taking her today. Like I should have kept Nadia home and made it a special day for her and I… but I wasn’t exactly sure how to celebrate with just a two year-old. So instead I met and had coffee with several ladies from my MOMS Club, which was actually really nice. Chatting with them is good therapy, calming.

I was able to capture just a few pictures of Nadia this morning to mark the occasion!

After I met with my MOMS Club ladies this morning I dropped by a nursery (as in trees and landscaping) to make an appointment. Eric and I have been meaning to make our yard look more complete, but have yet to get around to it… Somehow the stuff the builder had put it just isn’t doing it for me. So we’ll see on that. Appointment isn’t for a couple of weeks yet.

And finally… what do we think of replacing the regular-sized toilet in the girls’ bathroom with this? I know, would only be temporary, but I’m seriously so sick of buying crap to adapt our toilet to make it easier for the girls to use. I might be over thinking this, but I was hoping the current plumbing would work… and then when they are a little older we’d just put the regular toilet back on. We’ll see.

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Monday Monday

It’s another week, another Monday. Weekend went fast, Eric is back in Ft. Dodge today, he left last night. Thankfully the girls slept through the night. Lots of random thoughts in my head today as I sip a sugar-free almond milk latte before meeting with my therapist. I’m not actually sure she’s helping me in any way, but she is lovely to chat with weekly.

Still attempting the Keto diet, but honestly, not sure my body is actually in ketosis, as I cheat from time to time. Yesterday I think I had 28g of net carbs. Possibly low enough for ketosis, but again, not sure I’m always consistent enough for my body to stay in such a state. Regardless, I’m eating soooo much healthier than I was before. In the picture below you can see I’ve lost 7.2 pounds in the past 30 days on the diet. I don’t expect to keep losing this fast, as you may know with Keto, carbs hold a lot of water, so most of my loss is that. The gray line though is fat, so nice to see that is somewhat down. I haven’t worked out in a while, but hopefully going back today after my therapy meeting.

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I was putting Nora’s laundry away yesterday and it struck me… I was putting her underwear in the drawer which used to hold burp clothes. Time really does fly!

Speaking of, Nadia will be two in ten days! And I have NOTHING planned. Well, except a t-shirt I randomly picked up at Target that says, It’s My Birthday. Eric will be away on-call for her birthday and my mom’s club has a mom’s coffee meeting that morning. Should I skip that and keep Nadia home from school and hang out with her? I’d like to somehow make the day special, but how does one do that when it’s just you and the two year-old? Who doesn’t even know it’s her birthday… I mean, of course we will have a party with family on another day, as soon as I get to planning it!