How is it October??

Part of me really misses writing… and part of me is overwhelmed with everything I have scheduled for myself lately. A few updates though…

Nadia’s OCD – I did chat with our new pediatrician, who I love, at Nadia’s three-year well-child visit a few weeks ago. She was frank with me, explaining that Nadia’s behaviors which worry me, such as lots of hand washing, not wanting to get dirty, not eating at school as she doesn’t have wet wipes there, etc., could be a phase related to her age. But it could also be a larger issue. She was all about getting a consult from an occupational therapist who would be be able to observe Nadia and perhaps give me some parents tips and/or schedule further sessions to work with Nadia. I’m still waiting for the consult to be scheduled, so more to come on that. I’m anxious though, as Nadia refusing to eat at school is really bothering me, although it doesn’t seem to bother her. When I pick her up she immediately gets her lunch and says she wants to go home and eat it there. Which completely ruins her appetite for dinner, but that’s another post for another day!

House Search – Earlier this week we had a contractor go through the brick house that needs lots of updates to give us an estimate of what it would cost to make it the house we picture in our minds. So for reference, they are asking $875k for the house. And the estimate to renovate came in at over $500k. Ugh. Our realtor thinks we should offer $600k, as it’s a great property and if we have the money to renovate, the house would hold its value. That’s a lot of money though, by Iowa standards. I need to chat with a banker and figure out our options as far as doing a construction loan for renovations or if we would just pay for renovations as we go. Well, all that assumes they would even take $600k for the house, as I’m not sure we are willing to pay more… and that’s quite a bit below asking being it includes some land.

New Vehicle¬†– You know how I’ve been complaining about our awful van forever? Well, we finally got rid of it! We bought a 2019 Maserati Levante. It was actually a joke, I saw it online and told Eric I thought it was cute. Well, he thought we should get it… so we did. It’s a gorgeous blue and has beautiful leather interior. Actually, I feel quite silly driving a car/SUV this nice. And it’s obviously more of a sports car/SUV, meant for speed, certainly not the two carseats I have in the back! I kind of miss the space of the van, but so far we’re good, I just use the trunk a lot more now whereas I used to throw everything like backpacks and such on the floor in the back by the girls. And they kind of miss the DVD, but I figure on long trips we can figure something out. It’s actually nice them not watching a movie all the time in the car, instead they tell me about their days now!

Big Girl Beds – Yesterday the girls’ full-size mattresses arrived! I converted both of their crib/toddler beds and wow, putting them to sleep last night felt weird. Like weren’t they just babies?? How are they old enough for big girl beds??

My Time – I somehow seem to fill my days with, well, laundry, this blog, I have a women’s bible study on Tuesday mornings and MOPs on Thursday mornings… I’m still trying to workout, although five days a week doesn’t really work unless Eric is off that particular week to watch the girls. I’ve been trying to listen to some good podcasts, so far I like The Happiness Lab… it’s quite interesting. Since it’s fall all the new shows started back up, so my DVR is almost full, but who has time for TV?? By the time I get the girls in bed each night it’s after 8pm, then I make their school lunches and maybe get to read for a few minutes before I sleep. Honestly though, my favorite time, even when they are fighting, is with my girls. They are so happy to see me each day when I pick them up from pre-school. Usually all smiles. I mean, until we get home and they start ripping toys away from each other… but you know… Oh, and Nora is all the sudden into Barbie and insists I play with her every single minute of every day we are home together. But they make me smile, and I am so thankful for them. Eric is on week one of two weeks straight of call, as he traded some time with a partner who took a trip out of the country. Might be a long two weeks for me, maybe I will get some time to empty the DVR a bit.

Anyone have any favorite podcasts they think I should check out??

 

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 ūüôā

fullsizeoutput_39ee

 

 

Getting More Involved

If one more person tells me to volunteer…

I know, you all mean well, and maybe that is the key to my happiness, volunteering I mean… but I kind of doubt it. And you’re all right, unhappiness with being a stay-at-home mom has been a recurring theme of this blog for months, dare I say years. I do want to thank all of you for your comments and suggestions. Even though I might not respond to all of you, I read every single comment and ponder it, sometimes for days or even weeks. Many of you seem to know me better than some in my ‘real’ life. And thus, I’ve come to some conclusions…

  • I care what others think. Maybe I shouldn’t, but not caring what others think is so much easier said than done. Maybe I want to fit in, or feel normal, or I base normal off of what others think and do, I don’t know… I just know I care.
  • I’m sick of caring what others think. I spend so much time feeling guilty for what I want, or sometimes what I think I want or should want, that I can’t even always separate what I want from what I think others want from me.
  • I haven’t yet figured out how to make myself happy. I appreciate the suggestions, and please, keep them coming. So far I’ve considered going back to work. That would be hard being there weren’t a lot of finance opportunities here the times I have looked. But… openings are always being posted. It would also involve a more full-time childcare situation. Again, we are still on a center’s waitlist, but I could investigate other options, such as in-home or hire someone to come into our home full-time. For now though, I’m putting the idea of a job on hold. I feel like it might create more stress for me, being the girls still have several appointments each per month in Iowa City.
  • MOPs is starting back up soon, next week I think, and I’m hoping that reconnecting with other moms, even for just three hours once a week, will help me relax and feel a sense of calm in my life. The Christmas break from MOPs was difficult for me, so I’m glad it’s over.
  • I joined a MOMs club through Meetup. No idea if anyone will be someone I will really connect with, but I’m trying. I made plans to attend a playgroup Thursday morning at the rec center here with a few of those ladies. I think the rec centers activities will be geared more toward Nora, but Nadia will have to come as well, since I don’t have a sitter on Thursdays. I know this will be good for us, but taking two kids out in the cold, alone, well, I’m already kind of dreading it. From the looks of the groups calendar, they have something planned almost everyday. We’ll see how much is of interest to me.
  • I think I’m going to register Nora for Kindermusik. Anyone familiar? The video terrified me. No seriously, check this out. I’m not entirely sure this is for me, but… maybe we’ll meet some good people, and it will get Nora some socialization. I just hope I survive!¬†A look at Kindermusik
  • Ultimately, I just don’t think I’m meant to stay home with my girls. Many people keep telling me that I’m fortunate to have the opportunity, and while that may be true, if it’s not what makes me happy, than it’s not a good thing for me. I’m not quite sure how to describe it any better… I just wish some in my life would realize that what they think would be a wonderful life doesn’t translate to a wonderful life for everyone. I don’t want to act ungrateful for the opportunity to stay home with my girls. I am grateful that I don’t have to work, but I need those close to me to realize that they might not know what is right for me. I welcome suggestions, but I also need support when I make my own choices.
  • The idea of me and the girls moving to a larger city is still in the back of my mind. Eric commuting 45 minutes each way doesn’t really sound like the end of the world to me. Yes, I realize there are major downsides, like the fact that I would be alone with the girls even more, Eric would be home 45 minutes later than he already is… But there are upsides too. I’m not sure how to say this in a polite way as not to offend those who live in small towns and enjoy it, so I’ll just say it. There is an entire world out there… Don’t I deserve to live in a place that has a bit more to offer me? Nothing wrong with those who don’t want to live in a larger area, but I’m just beginning to realize that a smaller community with fewer opportunities is just not for me.
  • Ultimately, I feel like the reoccurring theme in my life is waiting for the next stage… Before I had kids I felt like I was waiting to be a mom for my life to start. Now everyone keeps telling me that this stage is hard and that I should just wait, that things will get easier and better once my girls are a little older. Can I just say, I’M SO SICK OF WAITING FOR MY LIFE TO START. This is my life, right now. I don’t want another day to pass while I wait for something to make me happy. I know I need to make myself happy, and now. Doing that though, well, thats another story. I need to think some more, consider more options… For the time being, I’m going to leave this calm relaxing Starbucks, go home, cuddle my beautiful babies, and the enjoy the chaos that is 4-7pm each evening waiting for Eric is arrive home ūüôā

MOPs

Today was the first day of MOPs for the year, and it didn’t disappoint! ¬†A few hours away from everything in my life that feels stressful right now, good food I didn’t have to make, and best of all, great conversation with some of my favorite ladies was just what I needed! ¬†Today we were allowed to sit with our table of ladies from last year. ¬†And I love those women dearly, so it was great to see them all again after the break for summer. ¬†Starting next week though we’ll all be placed with a new table of ladies, and while I should have an open mind, I’m really sad to be moving on from this great group. ¬†Of course, we still plan to get together, but I know how difficult it can be sometimes when the events aren’t as structured. ¬†I’m hoping my new table of ladies are just as wonderful!

After MOPs I rushed home, although Eric had already sent the babysitter home.  Eric is off work until September 27th, which is both wonderful and annoying at times.  Great to have the help and support right now, but Eric is sooooo used to having a very set schedule.  When he has free time, like now, he tends to waste it.  And maybe he deserves to do nothing right now, but him laying on the couch watching Star Trek while I do everything is getting on my nerves.

Speaking of my nerves… ¬†And I must first say, I don’t really mean to complain. ¬†I think it’s just my hormones talking. ¬†Yes, let’s say it’s my hormones…

When I got home from MOPs Eric’s family (mother, brother, aunt and uncle) was here all ready to pick him up and drive him to Iowa City to see Nadia. ¬†They are staying over night so they can see her both today and tomorrow, and wanted to include some time for dinners out and shopping as well. ¬†Now I know this is going to sound awful, but I’m annoyed. ¬†This sounds like a vacation to me, and what I wouldn’t do for a vacation right now. ¬†Eric gets to see Nadia, stay in a hotel, without a toddler, eat out at nice places, etc,. for the next two days. ¬†I’m home with Nora, and yes, I love her to death, but home alone with a toddler is no vacation. ¬†And I miss Nadia so much! ¬†Eric is coming home tomorrow sometime, I assume late, and then there is another home game Saturday, so I won’t get to see Nadia until Sunday. ¬†And that feels like FOREVER to me right now. ¬†I just want my baby home!!!

Nora and I did have a good day though. ¬†She didn’t nap all that well for the sitter in the morning so after Eric and his family left I fed her lunch and then she took a nap which was over two hours! ¬†She didn’t wake until about 4:15! ¬†Then we played outside at her water table for a bit, had dinner, played some more, read some books, and then finally got her to bed around 7:30pm. ¬†Just as I started to read her books it started to storm, as in, hail and the whole bit. ¬†So I rocked her a bit longer than usual, and she was still pretty wide awake when I laid her in bed. ¬†Thankfully she went right to sleep.

I finally got out my hands-free pumping bra, which is facilitating this post ūüôā ¬†I know I still need to write the ending to Nadia’s birth story, and I planned on doing it tonight, but now I’m worn out and tired and writing another post is the last thing I really feel like doing… ¬†Scalding my milk and washing pump parts used all my energy.

Before I go though, I don’t have a lot of details on Nadia, since I’m not there and what Eric has told me is over text, but he said she is doing really well. ¬†Over 5 pounds now, increased feeds again, and she must be doing okay without oxygen, as it wasn’t back on her in pictures today. ¬†Thank goodness!

I’ll try to make some time tomorrow to write a post that’s a little more substantial and meaningful ūüôā

Home!

We’re home, and I’m already feeling so much less stressed.  No idea what it was about being in the hotel.  Maybe just too much for me, the added stress of having a toddler out-of-town just put me over the edge.

Today was similar to yesterday with Nora.  She clung to me and screamed if I wasn’t able to hold her.  Eric had to take her away from me on several walks today.  I did get a few hours with Nadia, even got to hold her again!  They moved her back to bay 5 (an area for more stable babies), removed her oxygen, and increased her feeds.  So all good news today!  And she’s up to 4 lbs 14 oz.  We still haven’t been able to try breastfeeding since still increasing feeds to an appropriate level, but hopefully soon.  And I even got to see a few preemie ‘smiles’ today!

‚Äč

‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč‚Äč

‚ÄčWe got home around 5pm, feed Nora and almost immediately put her to bed.  She needs sleep since today was the second day of no naps!  I unpacked and washed pump parts and bottles and scalded milk I pumped today and yesterday.  Fun times.  I should be in bed, as tomorrow is the first day of MOPs this year, so I need to get up before Nora to shower and attempt to get cute.  Eric is headed back to Iowa City tomorrow and staying overnight.  More on that tomorrow.  I need to pump once more and then sleep. Good night!

Random Thoughts & Updates

  • Nora is getting faster and faster at crawling… ¬†Time to actually close the baby gate at the top of our stairs I suppose! ¬†And last night she sat from a crawling position! ¬†So fun to watch her learn and change! ¬†I still find myself behind on her weekly pictures, I haven’t taken this weeks yet…
  • I finally counted my frozen milk storage, and I’m pleasantly surprised that I have about 7,000 oz. ¬†I’m so so so sick of pumping, so yesterday I started trying to stop. ¬†I had been going up to 8 hours between sessions, so I’m going to try to be consistent and not pump more often than every 8-10 hours. ¬†And currently I pump for around 15 mins each session, but I’m going to try to cut that down as well, this morning I pumped for 12.5 mins. ¬†Hopefully I don’t end up with mastitis on something more awful from quitting too quickly. ¬†Anyone have any advice on how to stop?
  • We are back to fortifying my milk for Nora as she’s gaining very, very slowly. ¬†I weighed her a couple days ago and she was only up to 13 lbs 13.5 oz. ¬†The high risk NICU followup team in Iowa City would like to see her gaining a bit faster, so hopefully fortifying helps.
  • Every now and again we try solid food with Nora, but so far she doesn’t seem much of a fan. ¬†She happily opens her mouth to be spoon-fed or will feed herself whatever is on her tray, but as soon as it’s in her mouth her tongue pushes it out. ¬†I guess you could say we are doing a combination of baby-led weaning and baby food. ¬†And maybe she is just still too young, as she is just over 6 months adjusted now, but I’ve heard that preemies often have more issues with solids, so I’m a little worried. ¬†For now I’m just going to keep trying solids with her every few days and ask her pediatrician about it at our next visit in a week or so.
  • Kona has been acting super jealous the past few weeks so I finally made an effort to get her more exercise and socialization. ¬†I really miss Just Dogs Playcare in Coralville where Kona used to spend a few days a week, and I’ve been searching and searching for a place here… ¬†And I found one, Happy Dogs Daycare. ¬†First I must admit that the people are really amazing. ¬†I was super impressed with both the owner and manager. ¬†Their focus on safety really put me at ease. ¬†The location though, and the facility, well, they leave a bit to be desired. ¬†The building looks like it should be condemned. ¬†And there is no parking lot other than a mud area behind the building where apparently the guests park. ¬†Would it be rude to inquire about investing in a new facility for their business? ¬†No seriously…
  • I went Christmas shopping yesterday and finally purchased a few gifts. ¬†I have no idea what is wrong with me this year, but for the life of me I can’t seem to find suitable gifts for those on my list. ¬†You’d think I have more time this year than any other year to search for the perfect gifts, but no, somehow the days are still flying by. ¬†I think my problem is I’m finally realizing that Christmas is more than gifts, and thus I’d rather give something meaningful, but what that meaningful gift should be is difficult to find. ¬†I wish my family would eliminate gifts for adults and just focus on being together and perhaps a few gifts for the kids.
  • Speaking of Christmas, I haven’t even purchased any gifts for Nora. ¬†I think we’ve decided no visits to Santa this year, being the mall Santas are germ infested. ¬†But what does one get their daughter for her first Christmas? ¬†Again, I’d like something heartfelt, something I can look back on and remember that it was Nora’s first Christmas gift from her parents.
  • The tree is finally up, well, almost. ¬†I purchased a larger artificial tree this year, along with ornaments that coordinate with the colors in our living room. ¬†But apparently I had no idea just how large this tree is, as I ran out of decorations halfway through. ¬†I’m still waiting for the rest to be delivered. ¬†I’ll post a pic when it’s complete!
  • I’m still really enjoying getting to know the girls at my MOPs table better. ¬†Last night we got together at one of the mom’s houses for a little Christmas gathering. ¬†It was fun, we just sat around and chatted while sipping punch and enjoying Christmas goodies. ¬†I took a Cranberry Orange Cheesecake that was very tasty! ¬†And then this morning I met one of the moms for coffee who couldn’t make it last night. ¬†Just nice to get out of the house and chat with others. ¬†I cancelled our sitter this afternoon, as Eric was finished with cases at noon… ¬†But he arrived home about one and immediately got a call to come back to see a patient. ¬†Ugh. ¬†It really never ends.
  • This afternoon I need to get my Christmas cards in the mail as FedEx just dropped them off, and then I was considering making Christmas cookies. ¬†I might run out of energy soon though, day 4 of no caffeine, an experiment to see if Nora will nap better…

Good Week!

I’m happy to report that Nora and I had a really good week!

We’re getting into a groove with the nannies. ¬†I still have four different ones that are coming at different times throughout the week, but I kind of like it that way… ¬†I have four people I now trust should we need an evening out! ¬†The four come here in total 15-20 hours per week. ¬†And honestly, I don’t think I need them here that much, so I might consider rearranging and/or cutting some of the hours. ¬†We’ll see.

This is one of the nannies with Nora…

Last week a dear friend encouraged me to check out MOPS in my area. ¬†And I’m pleased to say that I was brave and signed up online and went to the first get-together Thursday morning. ¬†The group meets at a non-denominational church here in town, pretty close to my house, every Thursday morning from 9-11:15. ¬†We sit with the same people each week, and thankfully the table I was added to is awesome. ¬†The girls are so so sweet! ¬†We all chatted like we’ve known each other for years. ¬†The tables take turns bringing breakfast, and wow, what a spread there was. ¬†And every single flavor of coffee you can imagine! ¬†Childcare is offered, or you can keep your child with you, which I did, as I’m not sure it’s a good idea to expose Nora to germs just yet, being we were told to keep her out of daycare for a year. ¬†I’m thinking of maybe having one of the nannies watch her here those mornings instead of taking her. ¬†She seemed to really enjoy it though, as she’s the nosiest baby I’ve ever met! ¬†It seems like the more stimulation she is exposed to, the happier she is. ¬†I’m anxious to see all the ladies again next week!

Speaking of the non-denominational church… ¬†Well, maybe that needs a post all its own… ¬†I probably have too much to say about my faith and my thoughts on baptizing Nora to add here… ¬†More to come ūüôā

I can’t believe how much Nora changes, as in, every single day! ¬†She’s getting more hair! ¬†It’s still really hard to see, as it’s super blond and really fine, but it’s there! ¬†She’s just starting to discover her toes, reaches for them and grabs in their direction. ¬†She is still chewing on anything and everything. ¬†I actually feel bad for her, as you can tell she really want to chew on certain things, but her coordination isn’t always there yet… ¬†She gets frustrated when she can’t quite get an object into her mouth to chew. ¬†Our ped told me to wet a dishcloth and put it in the fridge before giving it to her to chew. ¬†So far though, she’s a bit scared of the cold feeling. ¬†I’ll have to try again in a few days.

All of the nannies have told me what a good baby Nora is, and I’ll trust them, since I don’t have many experiences with babies for comparison. ¬†She’s still sleeping through the night, from roughly 9pm to 7am. ¬†Sucks that I still get up to pump, but such is life. ¬†Oh, side note, I set an end date for pumping! ¬†December 16th, 74 days from now, Nora will be 9 months actual. ¬†I have a freezer FULL of milk, so I figure I can depend on that supply beginning then. ¬†How long it will last, I have no idea… ¬†I guess I’m hoping it lasts until her 1st birthday. ¬†I love providing her with breast milk, but honestly, exclusively pumping is SO MUCH WORK.

I wouldn’t say we have a routine really… ¬†Should we? ¬†I kind of just go with the flow, feeding her and allowing her to nap whenever the mood strikes her. ¬†She is not a great napper. ¬†At all. ¬†I feel like she is awake for the better part of each day… ¬†And happy pretty much the entire day. ¬†Until around 5pm. ¬†From 5-9pm when she is usually in the bed for the night seems to be our struggle time. ¬†I can’t complain though, it’s only a few hours, and its not even every night that she’s crabby. ¬†The nights she is crabby suck though, and tonight was one of them. ¬†I get the feeling that she is just so overly tired from not napping well that by the end of the day she’s just had it. ¬†And even though she is so tired she struggles to actually allow herself to sleep. ¬†We tend to alternate between her in bed crying, trying to feed her again, cuddle her, bringing her back out to the living room, feeding again, rocking her some, basically whatever it takes to get to 9pm when she usually just passes out for the night. ¬†And even when she’s crabby she’s cute! ¬†

Alright, more later, so tired, and piles of dirty laundry are everywhere!