2 Minute Gratitude List

The other day, I read a blog on Ten Things Moms Need to Remember. I posted it on my FB page, and several mommy friends thanked me for posting it.

Even though I haven’t said much to friends, or posted much about it, most weeks I feel like I am not getting it right. Lailah is the most precious gift I’ve received, but I have a hard time dividing my days between work, her, HH, CH, and on yeah – myself! I feel like I am getting it wrong almost daily, which leads to at least two people being frustrated. It’s like a rain cloud that just follows me around. It frequently brings me to tears (in the shower, of course, because I feel like I can’t show this frustration to everyone). I’d say that it’s a small cloud, because in the scheme of things I have a ton to be thankful for. But the cloud is still there.

Number 8 on the list of 10 things to remember is “keep writing your gratitude list.” This is something I used to do a lot of. I even had a phone app and a journal app on the iPad. Neither of which have been used much lately. The author of the blog posted a Google docs link to a free printable for completing a 2 Minute Grateful List:

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You set yourself a timer for 2 minutes, and list the things you are grateful for today. On her blog, she mentioned a lot of little things I don’t even think of. Like coffee. Music playing. Freedom. The sweater she was wearing. The possibilities are clearly endless.

I started writing these earlier this week. My lists are kind of small right now. It’s hard to write a long list when you are feeling frustrated. However, I’ve found in those 2 minutes I feel a little better. I put the list up on the fridge each day so I can look at it when I’m in the kitchen.

At first, I was going to just do this without telling anyone. I wanted to see if I could keep it up on my own. I changed my mind because I figured you guys could help keep me accountable. I know at least two of my Twit.ter friends will harass remind me about the list.

Do you write a grateful list each day or periodically? If not, have you ever thought about trying it?

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I’m Still Here

You ever have that moment where life reminds you of something that you are already supposed to know?

These last 7 weeks have been a whirlwind now that Lailah is here. This is kind of “old hat” for HH, but she’s my first kid. Me, the woman who said in her 20s that she was never having kids.

We’ve both been so focused on her, we forgot about each other. Like, hello? I’m still your spouse and I’m still here. I need some attention, too.

I wonder is this is something that happens a lot in marriages, when the kids come along. It came to a head the other day when we had a hard, but necessary, conversation about wrongs on both our parts.

Since then, it’s been some of the best days since she was born. We’ve figured out how to share the love between all three of us. We baked a pizza and had movie night last night. On NYE, HH cut off all my hair at my request. That simple haircut became a bonding experience.

CH comes back from NY tomorrow, and I hope he’s got his mind right, because I like my family vibe right now. He’s been informed that he needs to start looking for a job (within walking distance from the house), and that he needs to put in some serious work on the academic front. We shall see.

One Month In

Little Miss L is one month old! I can’t believe it. That means it’s almost time for me to go back to work. *sigh*

Yesterday, while she was asleep, I went through my bin of fall/winter clothes. I realized that my new upper body is NOT fitting in anything marked “medium” any time soon. So, all of those sweaters and tops from New York and Company are in a box – they will either go to friends or to a women’s shelter. I can still fit some of my pre-pregnancy jeans, so at least there’s that. *looks down at chest*

Miss L is in charge of all schedules. I prayed to every deity known that she would give me a long stretch of sleep last night. What did I get? Woken up every 2-2.5 hours to nurse. Booooooo! LOL! And what is she doing right now as I type this? Coming up on 5 hours of sleep. Seriously, little girl?

We have been doing a lot of co-sleeping. It’s just easier with nursing. However, I’ve also been trying to get her used to sleeping in her Rock n Play next to the bed (the Pack n Play was taking up too much room, and we need to take it to daycare next month, anyway). She sleeps in it, but fidgets and grunts a lot. The doctor said that’s just normal baby noises. I’ll have to take her word for it. I am wondering when I will stop jumping at every noise. It’s not my intent to co-sleep for a long time, but since we have a split ranch, it will be a couple is months before she’s out of our room and into her crib.

It’s funny to check in on high school friends on FB, and see that their kids are in high school or older, and here I am just getting started. However, that’s ok with me, because looking back on some of the chuckleheads men I dated, I know that I was absolutely not meant to procreate with any of those dudes.

I know that everything happens when it’s supposed to happen, but I sometimes wish that HH and I had had more time to ourselves before CH moved down, and more time being married before we had a baby. We’ve had so many major life changes in a very short time. There’s something to be said for adapting to change!

I never thought that I would be a mom, yet here I am. Every time I look at my little mini me, I’m so glad the universe entrusted me with loving and caring for her.

Labor of Love

Baby L decided to start her grand entrance into the world around 6:15pm on 11/12. It took me a good 30-45 minutes to realize what was going down. The contractions were like 15 minutes apart, and felt like menstrual cramps. I thought maybe I’d had too much ice cream.

Around 7:00, I shot a text to Middle Dolly and asked her how her contractions felt when she had my niece. She described the same feeling I was having. By that time, they had moved to about 10 minutes apart, and stayed that way until early the next morning.

I tried to get some rest that night, but it was hard, after the intensity got worse. They were waking me out of my sleep. I called the physician on call around 2:00am, and he advised that I could continue to labor at home at that point, until they got to 5 minutes apart, 1 minute in duration.

By 5:30, the 30 seconds of contraction pain was getting to critical mass. I told HH (via text) that was going to wake mom up and head to the hospital. 5 minutes apart my behind. I couldn’t talk through those things and I was over it dot org. At one point, I just remember not being able to move from the bathroom floor. I literally just laid out on the cool tiles thinking, I might have this baby right here. Let me get myself up.

We made it to the hospital in one piece, and without getting lost (if you follow me on Twitter, you know why that is significant, lol). I made my way up to maternity while mom parked the car. I had pre-registered, so I only had a few forms to sign. My first nurse of the day was Michelle. She had a nursing student in tow, but at that point, I didn’t mind. Which is interesting, because on the birthing plan I filled out (and forgot to bring), I actually indicated that I did not want any nursing students to observe. She seemed nice – and nervous – and I felt like I didn’t want to rob her of a chance to observe.

Michelle checked me and I was 3-4 cms dilated. I was also hooked up to the monitors to checks contractions, my blood pressure, and baby’s heart rate. At that point, the pain was still at a tolerable (but not pleasant) level. Michelle could see when my contractions were about to hit, and of course, I could feel them. At that point, I thanked Stacy and every other yoga instructor I’ve had for teaching me the proper way to breathe deeply. That’s the only way I got through each contraction. They took blood to check my platelets and they were at 122. Yay!

Once I got moved to a birthing suite, it just became a waiting game. HH made it here from work, and after that, he and mom did their best to help me with comfort mechanisms. The contractions were getting more and more intense. I really had intended to tolerate them as long as I could before introducing an epidural, but they became so intense each time one hit. I was using my yoga breathing and doing pretty well, and then one hit that was so bad…I just started crying. HH just looked like he wished he could switch places with me. Mom was rubbing my arm and shoulder and telling me it was ok and to cry if I needed to.

I decided to “tap out,” and asked my nurse to please get the anesthesiologist for the epidural. All my fear of that needle in my back flew out the window. The process was actually more tolerable than I thought it would be. However, due to it being a “procedure,” only one extra person could be in the room. HH went to the waiting area and mom stayed here. The anesthesiologist was very nice and explained each step in the procedure. Nurse Michelle was awesome and held my hands/shoulders while the epidural was done.

Once that kicked in, I could tolerate the contractions, and the nurse indicated I was at 6 cms. The only down side is that I could not move around. The nurse kept having to come in and turn me from side to side. My left side was ridiculously numb, and I could barely move that leg. It would periodically slide down off the bed, and mom or HH would have to put or back on the bed. LOL

By the time I got to the third nurse of the day, I was wiped. I was hooked up to everything you can think of: Foley catheter since I couldn’t get up to the bathroom, IV for meds, and blood pressure cuff to keep track of my BP. All these numbers were on the same monitor screen, and mom kept looking at them periodically and let me know. The nurses at the nursing station could also see.

At one point they brought me a “clear liquids” dinner: chicken broth, sprite, apple juice, and jello. HH moved the bed up so I could sit up and drink. I got like 1.5 sips of broth and then the nurses came in to say that sitting up was making Baby L’s heart rate decrease. So, I was forced to lay back down and I never got my dinner.

They kept checking me and kept saying, “still at 6cms.” The next step was to insert a monitor to determine if my contractions simply weren’t strong enough. After delaying as long as he could, the doctor came in and advised that the contractions were indeed strong enough, but his concern was that the baby’s head was not moving down. He wouldn’t have cared about the 6 cms if she was progressing. He looked as disappointed as I was, when he said he felt surgical intervention was needed. However, he left the decision totally up to me. By that time, I’d been having contractions for over 24 hours. I told him that I didn’t want to be having this conversation with him 9 hours from now, so let’s just proceed. I must’ve burst into tears for the third time that evening, bringing forth the part of my mom’s personality that I love…she said at the end of the day, the goal was to get Baby L here safely and for me to be healthy. I dried up my tears and gave the go ahead.

I listened to the childbirth ed lecture on C-sections, but never thought I’d be having one. There are so many doctors and nurses in with you. HH sat at my head, and there was a big curtain up, so we couldn’t see the actual surgery. The doctors started cutting and chatting about their travel plans. LOL! I actually started feeling a little sleepy. Next thing I know, they were telling me I was going to feel some pressure. It felt like someone was pushing down on my stomach. Then she was out!

They whisked her over to the warming table for examination and I didn’t see her for like 15 seconds, but I could hear her crying. Then they held her up so I could see, and I just started crying. I remember thinking, I’m that little girl’s mother!” HH took some pics of her on the table and her being weighed. Everyone wanted to know her name, and we told them. One of the nurses took a pic of the three of us together. Next thing I know, the room was clearing out, they had sewed me up, and were moving me from the surgery table back to my bed, so I could be wheeled to recovery. I was completely numb/paralyzed from the waist down. It was such a weird feeling to have them rocking me back and forth and feeling like I was outside my body.

In recovery, I was cold and shivering, and they had to bring me heated blankets. They were ready for me to start skin to skin contact with her, but I wanted to wait until I stopped shivering. Eventually, I did get to hold her and look at her beautiful little face close up.

When I look at her now (1 week out…because I started this a week ago, but as you can imagine, it took a while to finish), it was all worth it. Swollen feet, numb heels, prednisone, headaches, and even those ridiculous contractions. Now, I look forward to learning from her, and doing a better job of living in the present.

Teen Tales

CH’s bedroom was the only one without a ceiling fan when we moved in. We thought that was odd, and HH went out and bought one. Then when he took the light fixture out, he realized why. The structure wasn’t there to attach it. We had to have an electrician come out to check some other things, so we had him check on the fan. He had to go up into the crawl space, but now the teen has a ceiling fan.

Which he feels the need to leave on the high setting, even when he’s not in the room.

Uh, did Duk.e Energy announce that power was free this week? No? OK, then I’mma need you to turn the fan off when you are chillin’ in other parts of the house. Thanks!

On Thursday and Friday mornings, HH works first shift, so he leaves for work around the same time CH leaves for the bus. I heard him ask the teen had he turned the fan off in his room, and I heard the teen say yes. Matter of fact, he even went back into his room before he left for the bus stop.

So, imagine my surprise & chagrin, when following instincts, I went to check his room and the damn fan was on high, just a blowin’ away at nothing?!?

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Dude. Seriously? Seriously.

I am going to fight this kid!! LOL!

History: In Pictures

I remember a time in elementary school and in high school, where I was tasked to do school assignments involving my family tree. I remember hating it each time. Why? We didn’t have an established family tree. Most of the white kids around me had trees that reached back to when their ancestors came to America. We most definitely did not have that.

Now we have Ancestry dot com, and all kind of services that will help you put the pieces together. I have a good skeleton of my mom’s side. I need to get with my Aunt Shirley to work on my dad’s side.

Every time I come home, I like to look through the old photo albums my mom has. She has given us all our baby books to take home, but for some reason my oldest brother’s book is still here. I was looking through and found photos of my grandparents on both sides. It’s so nice to have faces to go with the names. Both of my grandfathers died when I was very young, so I have no memory of them.

20130712-120150.jpgPaternal grandparents

20130712-120226.jpgMaternal grandparents
I can’t wait to print some of these out for display.

20130712-120500.jpgMy parents and my oldest brother, in 1963

20130712-120619.jpgMe and my mom – don’t hate on my muscles…lol

20130712-120716.jpgmy brothers and my auntie

I have found so many today, and I still have more albums to look through. Do you have any old family photos? Do you have a family tree?

Men Don’t Read Directions on Mars

So, DiscoDiva sent us a waffle maker as a wedding present. Yay! Last weekend I made HH some waffles. I opened the waffle maker packaging and READ THE DIRECTIONS. What it means when the red light comes on, the green light comes on, how much batter to use per waffle, etc. We had great cinnamon waffles.

This morning, HH woke up and said, “you want some waffles?” I said, “sure!”

I heard him mixing the batter and all was going well.

Then I heard, “well, that didn’t turn out the way I planned it!”

Uh oh.

I went running into the kitchen, and there is an abundance of waffle caked to the waffle maker and almost burnt. He has it cranked up to 3.

Me: well…I generally put it on 2, and per the directions you only use half a cup of batter per waffle. That’s what it said in the manual.

Him: oh. I didn’t know that.

I figured. Because the directions are nowhere to be found (they’re in the kitchen drawer with all other electronics manuals), which means they were never read. And even after I told him that, he attempted to make another waffle by pouring a random amount of batter on there without measuring!

He says it’s his first and last time using the waffle maker. I concur, given the three crispy waffles he just pulled off of there. LMAO!