One day closer

That light up toy may have both helped and hurt. She seemed to like it. Except it turns off after 15 minutes, so if she’s still awake she asks me to turn it back on, or freaks out. F*ck. So much for that.

Nadia has been consistently saying her one ear hurts. So tomorrow morning she is going with me to Nora’s four-year well-child visit to have her ears checked. Ugh, I thought tubes took care of all pain? Nadia did wake at 12:30a, 330a, and 6a for the day last night. Do you find it odd she asked for milk at each of those wakings, and each time drank six oz?

I’m supposed to be packing but spent the past 90 minutes putting together the next MOMS Club Business Meeting agenda. Gag. God, only a couple more months until my role as President is complete!

Okay, onto laundry and packing. If I must. I’m really losing motivation, which is weird cause I thought as the week progressed my anxiety would force my motivation. Maybe it’s more the sleep deprivation.

Not a great week…

Where to start on this week… It has not been great to say the least. Do you ever just feel like everything in your life is falling apart? If you’re not in a great mood yourself and don’t wish to be brought down, I encourage you not to read the rest of this post. I said way back what this blog was for, to get out my feelings and emotions. And that’s what I’m doing. If you think I’m too negative, well, you’re right, because this is my outlet for my negative feelings. I’d love support, but don’t need anyone to remind me of what I already know, that I’m really struggling with a lot right now.

I guess I can start with something a little positive. One of my calm places, where I tend to go when I feel stressed, is Barnes and Noble. If we had other book stores around here I’d go there, but this is pretty much the only one close. I’m not sure why I go, maybe the quiet atmosphere, wandering around with a coffee… I like reading, of falling into a good story, or learning something new, seeing a perspective different from my own. I’m actually quite sad that book stores don’t seem to be doing so well lately, I’d hate to think one of my favorite hangouts might no longer exist! Anyway, I found myself there Monday morning when I was particularly down, sad, distraught, you get the idea. I browsed the self-help section, I mean, seriously, all these books, isn’t there just one I can read and be fixed, feel happy, understand life and it’s struggles?? I came across “What I Know For Sure” by Oprah Winfrey. Now… I’m not a huge Oprah fan, I don’t really love or hate her. I don’t really even watch her talk show, but I have to assume she’s a smart lady who has been through a lot and learned some lessons over the years. I’m only on page 55, but so far I recommend. It’s an easy read, short, cute stories from her life. Nothing completely groundbreaking yet, but certainly a few tidbits I’ll try to remember when I’m feeling especially stressed, like how we should always dance, enjoy the little moments in life, persevere through our fear, etc.

This morning the MOMS Club I’m president of was supposed to hold their monthly, required, business meeting. Only me and one other board member (there are five of us on the board) RSVP to attend. So not even the entire board, much less not a single other member planned to come. So I cancelled it. But it will need to be rescheduled since it is required to hold our non-profit status and affiliation with MOMS Club International. I’m just so annoyed with the members, and the board. The board is supposed to support me, but even they are too lazy to come to the business meetings. I get they want the fun part, the playdates and such, but ugh. If we don’t also have the business side, which coordinates everything, then how can we have all the fun stuff?? If I just stop holding these meetings, the group will cease to exist. Is that what they want?? As if I don’t have enough in my life without feeling like I have to keep this moms club going. I don’t go to most of the playdates involving children. I usually stick to the moms stuff, like book club, moms night out, coffee talk, etc. I really like the moms I’ve met through the club, but most I’m close with are my age, but have children much older than mine, in school, and thus also have some free-time during the day.

So nothing on my calendar today except maybe dinner out with my MOPs ladies if Eric is home from work in time. I won’t know until the last-minute. I dropped the girls off at school and now I’m home, doing laundry. I’m not sure why I don’t like being home alone, or even home alone with the girls when Eric isn’t here. It’s like I don’t know how to spend the time, how to get through the hours. Or maybe I just feel too guilty relaxing… I know laundry is easy, and necessarily, but having that as my only task today feels quite depressing. I know I do much better, feel much happier I mean, when my calendar is more full, when I’m busy and feel like I’m contributing and accomplishing things. The weather was nasty again yesterday and so I picked up the girls early from school. And I was fearing that today would be nasty too and I’d be stuck at home all day with them. That shouldn’t feel like a bad thing, to be at home with your two and three-year old all day. But then why did it feel scary to me, lonely and depressing? Eric had to stay in Waterloo last night because of the weather, so maybe it was the idea of being with just the girls for days on end without help that felt so overwhelming. But still. How can I love them so much, but dislike being stuck at home with them? Does that say something about me as a mother?

Okay, moving on… I think I’ve been having panic attacks. If they are indeed panic attacks, they started this past weekend. Long story there that I’m not ready to go into. I guess to help explain though, I said and did some things that have broken trust between Eric and myself in our marriage. I feel awful, and am dedicated to making things better, to making him and I closer. For now though, I think the stress and anxiety, which I struggle with anyway, now feels heightened, and thus the panic attacks. The feelings I’m having include a racing heart, sweating, feeling in general like I’m burning up inside, sick to my stomach, sometimes my hands feel shaky… Once I was a bit light-headed and felt like I had to sit down. I’ll mention them to the doctor I see for depression, but my next check-up with her isn’t for almost a month yet. I’m hoping these don’t continue…

Eric and I have talked more and more about moving back to Cedar Falls, especially in light of this past weekends events. I know the distance, him commuting, essentially living between two households, has hurt our marriage and pulled Eric and I apart. Thankfully we are both commuted to making things better and stronger between us, but the how of that feels so enormous to me right now. Like how to even begin. I know sometimes it takes me a long time to make a decision, like moving back to Cedar Falls. It’s been on my mind for what feels like forever now. But now that I’m feeling like it’s the best choice for us, I want it now. I’m kind of like that with all my decisions. Once I make a choice, I want to work toward it, make it happen. It isn’t that easy though, our old house in Cedar Falls has renters and is currently for sale. We’d like to get that sold first. Then I assume we’d list our current home for sale. How long could all that take? And here I am feeling in limbo in the meantime. Moving again sounds so overwhelming to me, but with more bad weather coming and Eric being on-call and away again next week anyway, well, the feeling of wanting to be closer to him and together more is on my mind now more than ever. Looking back over the past several years, I haven’t felt at home. Not in Cedar Falls, and now not here. Could we move again, back to Cedar Falls, and finally make a house feel like a home? How? When? And what does moving the girls again do to them? Another new school? New friends, even though I know they are little and don’t remember much. But still. How do I not continue to feel like a visitor in my own house?

Pondering…

I just left daycare, as Nora had a dance recital this morning. Bless her heart, and the dance instructors, as I feel like at this age, three and four year-olds, it’s basically unorganized chaos. Adorable though, that’s for sure! Nora didn’t know the dances very well, as this is only her second week back in dance, due to our old daycare dismissal… She did a great job though! This particular dance program, Daytime Dancers, meets once a week, and they come to her daycare… so it’s not all that involved really. Should I be enrolling her in a more demanding exciting dance program? Or other types of programs? So far we haven’t really done much extra stuff with the girls, as it would be on me alone to organize and attend. Which isn’t all bad, but still nice to have some help with the extra stuff sometimes.

I’m actually wasting time at a coffee shop, but God knows I have a million things at home I could and should be doing. I have another appointment soon, and didn’t want to head all the way back home, so here I sit, with a Snickers Mocha. So much for my diet.

I had a chat last night with an old co-worker… Well, over text, but none the less, a chat. They just can’t get over, or rather, understand Eric’s and my working/living arrangement, of Eric’s three-week work rotation, one week off, one week commuting 45 minutes each way, usually missing dinner and bedtime with the girls, and then the third week of Eric living the 45 minutes away while he’s on-call, thus completely missing everything with the girls and me that week. Basically I parent alone for two weeks out of every three. I know, it sounds a little crazy, right? Of Eric living away every third week… I’m not saying it’s ideal. It’s hard not having Eric home to help, not seeing him every day, or heck, even every week. But what other choice do I have? Move back to Cedar Falls? I wasn’t happy there, and I’m finally starting to make some good connections here. I have MOMS Club, MOPS, and I just joined a new Mom E’s group at my church. I haven’t connected as much with old friends and co-workers here, but maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, I knew them before I had children, most through work. And since I’m not working, well… our schedules don’t align well.

Looking back at my time in Cedar Falls… well, I’m trying to figure out why I wasn’t happy there. The obvious, I was stuck at home, in a new, strange town, where I knew very few, and met very few since I had a newborn and 15 month-old. We eventually met an amazing sitter, but even when she was available to watch the girls, I didn’t know how to spend my time, didn’t know where to go. I found myself at one of the two coffee shops in town. Which was good, for a while, but got old. We were on daycare wait lists there for YEARS and still haven’t been called, since they don’t even know we moved. I did have MOPS there, which was really good, but it was two hours a week. Certainly not enough to sustain my adult interaction needs. Eric worked more then, as he didn’t start his every third week off until we moved to Hiawatha. He was rarely home for dinner when we lived there, but now he might be, taking out the 45 minute drive home.

So I guess what I’m asking is… What makes a city for you? What makes you happy about your physical location in this world? What makes where you live your home? The people? The stuff?

Physically moving is easy, buy house, pack, move crap, unpack. It’s all the other stuff, right? Making those connections. Sure, I could easily join MOPS again back in Cedar Falls, but you can’t buy friendships. Mom friends are hard to make, and even harder to keep since we’re all so busy! And finding daycare for the girls, and not just a place for them to go, but a place I feel good about and they like. That part feels impossible. We established here, doctors, dentists, daycare, doggie daycare, etc. I have my places I like, tons of coffee shops, the library the girls like… you know, all the places you frequent. I browsed jobs there the other day… nothing. Granted, it was a quick search, but still. I assume moms who work outside the home don’t sit and ponder this stuff. They don’t have time I assume! Would that be better for me, to busy myself with a full-time job, to go about my days, looking forward to each weekend and not paying attention to the in-between? But then I’d miss the dance recitals, and the hugs after 🙂

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Daycare Decision & a MOMS Club Rant

The girls and I are home today making spritz cookies, my favorite! Although… I noticed last night my cookie press was broken, so waiting for a new one to be delivered overnight! The dough is ready and Nadia is pretty excited!AQuVq%PHRQKTvWdVMzB19g.jpg

I made a decision on daycare… The girls are starting January 2nd at the traditional center close to our home. It’s just more convenient overall, and right now, convenience and less stress is what I need. I guess it’s true what some people told me, the girls have their entire lives to attend school…

I received a few nasty comments about why I need daycare when I don’t work outside the home. Clearly those readers haven’t been following this journey, or they are jealous… I admit I’m the worst SAHM, in fact, I never wanted to stay home with my girls. But adding work back in now with Eric’s schedule and him living away every third week when he’s on call is more than I can handle right now. I know, I don’t need to justify it to anyone else… Plus, my role as MOMS Club president, while unpaid, takes a ton of time.

Speaking of, I was hoping Eric would be able to stop home tonight, at least to help with bedtime, but he has eleven surgeries today. I don’t even get how they are allowed to schedule that many in one day. But I guess no one asked me.

So MOMs Club. I’m still the president until the end of June. And lets just say, being the president rather sucks. I think the majority of moms see it as just a playgroup. And is it, but it’s also so much more, a non-profit with affiliation to MOMS Club International. That said, we have by-laws we are required to follow… we are REQUIRED to have a monthly business and monthly board meeting plus a full calendar of events available to every member, currently around 45. I spend a lot of time preparing for those each month, but very few moms attend the business meeting. But of course they all wanna bitch about stuff. I want to scream, then come to the damn meeting and have your say so! This a copy of an email I really wanted to send out this morning, but the board told me they thought moms would quit if I sent this…

Good morning moms!

Don’t forget, tomorrow morning, Wednesday, December 3rd, is our business meeting playdate. Tomorrow will be a bit more informal as we’ll be exchanging yummy Christmas cookies and I believe we have a few prospective moms joining us! The agenda is attached showing time and location, or check Facebook to RSVP.

One note: It’s no surprise that business meetings are one of the most poorly attended events on the MOMS Club calendar each month. And I totally get it, they aren’t always ‘fun’, but they are essential as this is where the real business of the group takes place. In fact, they are the ONE meeting each month that is REQUIRED per the by-laws to retain our non-profit status and International MOMS Club affiliation. The board puts a lot of time into preparing for each month’s meeting and we would appreciate EVERYONE’S attendance. I can’t stress this enough. The ‘business’ side that takes place at these meetings are really what keeps the group functioning… I’ve personally noticed afternoon events are more popular, perhaps we need to reevaluate our meeting time… I’ll add this to the January agenda.

I honestly feel like if this makes them quit then they weren’t meant to be a member in the first place. Maybe they need to join a moms playgroup and ditch MOMS Club. It’s part of their duty as a dues paying member to come to the business meeting, and vote on items.

That said, I didn’t send the email. I still want to be a part of this group once I’m no longer president, so not having others hating me is a plus. But, I can’t spend a lot of time caring about issues when others don’t. I emailed my corporate contact for some ideas. Maybe no more business meeting agendas which take a lot of time to prepare. Maybe I just need to say, if you have something you want to discuss, come to the meeting.

Okay, the girls probably need naps and I need to check the mailbox for my new cookie press!

Eric comes home today!

It’s been a long week with Eric away. I keep thinking I’ll get better at this parenting alone thing. Who knows. I did get a ton of laundry done yesterday, but of course there are more piles today. It’s like the most unforgiving task ever, the gift that keeps on giving, usually in the form of poop streaks compliments of Nora. I’m treating myself with a very pretty mocha at my favorite downtown cafe before I pick up groceries.

I’m working on MOMS Club stuff, like the agenda for our next business meeting, planning our next board meeting, and finding committee leaders for holiday gatherings. I like this part of my role as president, the managing, organizing, leading part. With almost 50 members though, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of everyone’s demands wishes.

A friend of mine is getting ready to have her fourth baby. And I seriously can’t imagine. I’m still finding two a challenge, ever single day! One minute I’m thinking, I have these two perfect little ladies who complete our family. And then the next I think of our tiny embryo… just waiting for its chance to grow. Can I handle three? What if it splits and we get twins, as this is more common with IVF transfers? I can’t handle four alone so much… I’d have to hire help at home, which would completely change our family dynamic. So the question, how does one know when they are finished having children? My case isn’t typical though. I probably shouldn’t carry our embryo, as we know my chances of carrying to term are extremely small. A gestational carrier is a completely different ballgame. One we can afford financially, but what about emotionally? I was just reading about how traumatic experiences change our brain structure, possible forever. This could explain my anxiety and heightened depression since birthing two preemies. Will I ever find calm again? (Am I getting too deep for a Friday?)

A mom friend posted on Facebook how the day her babies were born were the happiest of her life. That is a completely foreign idea to me. Those days, and the weeks that followed each of my girl’s births were not happy or special. They were sad and terrifying and stressful, full of tears and longing to hold my alien-like babies. I was sent away from Nora’s NICU suite on an almost daily basis so they could gather more spinal fluid to see if her meningitis was improving. I left the hospital every night to sleep, waking to pump every three hours. Hardly exciting, happy times. It’s still hard for me to see new moms with their babies… Is that why I want another? Another chance at all the things I feel I missed out on with Nora and Nadia? The baby shower pictures with the big belly, the kicks, the visitors in the hospital…

Or am I just dreaming any of this is possible?

Two Down

Two doctors appointments this week down, one more to go.

Nadia’s ophthalmology appointment went well, considering it took four hours… Her eyes look perfect thus she’s been released from their care related to prematurity! One more specialty out of the picture! Tomorrow morning is her pre-op for tubes… Hopefully it’s quick and I can get her to daycare before lunch so I can actually work out. It would be the first time in over a week.

Today felt long and hard. Four hours in a waiting room with a 20 month-old is brutal. Keep in mind her eyes were dilated, so she was pissed about that. This picture was obviously taken as soon as we got to the hospital. monster cookie in hand 🙂 7A73EAAE-8602-4BDD-9396-CE54CC0B2B06

I was so hoping Eric could drive home for even a few hours tonight, at least to help me with baths and bedtime, but no such luck. He said he had too many patients in the ER and more being transferred from smaller hospitals which don’t have urologists. But… the girls are clean and in bed, I think one is sleeping, hopefully the other will be soon.

Also today, this morning, was our Mom’s Club meeting, and I was voted in as President. More to come on this topic as I honestly don’t know much yet. I get the impression a lot of moms weren’t happen with the current president, but with 40+ members, how do you keep everyone happy?

President

This morning was my Mom’s Club’s monthly business meeting where we discuss, ya know, business stuff. It’s that time of year for board member positions to be turned over to new moms… and it was announced that I was nominated for both the president and treasurer position. Nominations are anonymous, so I have no idea who thought I was fitting for either… but as I was the only nomination for president, its assumed I’ll be voted into the position next month. I’m not sure if I’m excited… I like to lead and organize things, and I technically have the time… but I fear it’s more work than I really want as the this chapter is part of the larger Mom’s Club Nationwide Non-Profit Organization. It’s actually good experience to put on a resume… if I ever plan to need my resume again. Maybe someday.

While at my meeting this morning, and still now, I’ve been feeling really bad for Nora. She was quite upset when I left her at school/daycare this morning. Today was her second day in her new three year-old room with her new teacher, Coya. She does have four friends there with her from her old room, so she’s not with all strangers, but still. She doesn’t seem to handle change well, I hope it’s not something I did in raising her thus far. She cried and clung to me as the teacher pulled her off me. Broke my heart. Made me wonder if this is really good for her, or if I’m causing more harm. I mean, I know at some point, preschool and beyond, she will need to be in such social situations without me… but… leaving her when she’s upset and crying makes me feel like a bad mom, especially since it’s not like I have to leave her to go to work. She’s always happily playing when I come back to pick her up, but still. And I know she learns a ton at school. I don’t know. I’m so confused. Overall she had a really good day at school yesterday, even stayed dry the entire day in underwear, which is huge for her, first day for that! Maybe I’ll feel better about this all next week when Nora is more familiar with her new teacher.

Nora’s new classroom plays outside from 3:30 to 4pm everyday and I learned yesterday it’s best not to try to pick her up when she is outside… hard to find her, then we still have to go inside to get all her stuff, etc. So I guess I won’t be picking the girls up until 4pm now. And since it’s only 12:30pm, I have several hours to get some stuff done. I originally though I might go look at flowers for pots, but it looks a little like rain. I could always do laundry, but that feels more like something I should do after the girls are in bed.

What would you do with an afternoon off, free of children??

Park Play Date

Remember the Mom’s Club I joined almost a year ago? We go to a few meet-ups every now and again. Today they held a park playdate. And I want to say it was fun. I mean, it was, but it was so stressful for me. I had a sitter today, as Nadia had the PT appointment in the afternoon, so this morning I left Nadia home and just took Nora to the park.

 

People, she clung to me for the entire first hour!

 

Seriously! All the other kids were off playing together, and she was crying unless I was carrying her around. What am I doing wrong?? Is it because I stay home with her, because she isn’t around other kids enough? After the first hour passed she finally opened up a bit and started to play, although she still tended to shy away from most of the other kids… Ugh.

 

Here are a few pictures I was able to get of her finally playing!

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MOMs Club

I survived my first MOMs Club event!

And I have to say, it was a good experience. We got to the rec center around 9:30am and were greeted by one of the club organizers. She showed us around, where we could dump all our ‘stuff’, like coats and shoes, and then showed us to the gymnasium where all the toys were set up. It was a fairly large area with lots of different stations, like one area had ride-on toys, another had a bouncy house, another had plastic houses with slides and such… Nora was afraid at first, she wanted me to hold her, and then she wanted to just walk around and hold my hand, but finally she gave up her blanket and pacifier and played with the other kids. It was probably a little intimidating, as there were quite a few moms and kids there, maybe 25 moms with 1-2 kids each. I chatted with a few of the moms, mainly the group’s organizers, and but for the most part, they seemed fairly normal. Which has been hard to find in this town!

Taking both kids to an event was hard though, I’m not going to lie. It probably took me two hours to get us all ready, and then we were only at the event for about two hours before Nora was worn out and Nadia was cranky. It was worth it, but still, a lot of work. In the future I will make a point to wear Nadia to such events, as she sat in her car seat along one wall with all the other babies. She napped most of the time, but it was nerve-racking, having to go check on her, making sure she wasn’t crying, as there was no way I would have been able to hear her…

I’m definitely looking forward to more MOMs Club events! Below are a few pictures of Nora from our morning out!

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Nadia – 20 Weeks (10 Weeks Adjusted)

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Nadia continues to amaze me… In the fact that she can be smiling one minute, and SCREAMING the next. She is still fussy, she may always be fussy. But the smiles are making it worth it. Most days anyway 😉

Nadia is up to 10 lbs 5 oz, which is only 10% according to the CDC for her adjusted age of 10 weeks. She was closer to 25% when we left the NICU, although for now we are just watching her weight. Maybe she is just going to be small like Nora. She’s becoming more and more alert, and yesterday she seemed to wonder what the heck her left hand was. It was cute! It’s hard to believe Nora was ever this small, so I’m trying to enjoy the baby cuddles while they last.

I have a sitter again today so I’m enjoying a little quiet time at a coffee shop before I head to the grocery store. I picked out three recipes for this week for dinners, although one is really a breakfast casserole. Links are below, I’ll let you know how they turn out!

Farmers Casserole

Stuffed Shells

Teriyaki Chicken

Tomorrow is my first meet-up with the mom’s club I’m joining. I’m nervous, not to meet the other mom’s, but to take two kids out alone to the rec center… Is it weird I pack the diaper bag the night before, and lay out the kids clothing? Getting Nora to eat before we leave the house in the morning will be the hard part. And oh gosh, what if Nadia screams the entire time?? Take in the stroller, or try to carry Nadia’s infant carrier and pray Nora will walk and hold my hand? Nora clings and wants me to carry her when she’s scared though, which happens often it seems… Ugh, why does this feel so hard??