Monday, March 31, 2014

Mommy-Wise Monday

It's here, it's here, it's finally here! My attempt at some meaningful fruit from my little blog!

I decided to resurrect Mommy-Wise Monday - because there's such amazing beauty and wisdom that comes from being a mom.  So, without further ado, my little story about becoming a wiser mom.

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October 2013:

I was drowning.

Drowning in a way I thought nobody would or could understand.

Seven months pregnant with our third child, with two boys, ages 3 and 1, I was at a crazy point of exhaustion.  Understandably so.

But it wasn't just that. I wish it were just aches and pains and tiredness from pregnancy that made me feel like I couldn't mother my boys. It was more.

Anxiety plagued me day and night. I had gone to bed every night for seven months feeling anxious, for no apparent reason.  During the day I would agonize over every detail of life, and feel like my own walls were going to collapse in on me.  I would be irritable to my husband. I didn't want his touch. I was cold.  I would yell at the kids for things that normally wouldn't phase me.  Make them feel worthless for spilling milk, or wearing their shoes a little further than the doormat. 

"What is wrong with me?"

I asked myself that every day. 

Eventually it came to pass that I had yelled at the kids almost all day.  Joseph came home and I froze him out, yelling that I had no idea why I felt this way.  I laid in bed and I wanted to die. 

Why? My other pregnancies had been similar - I was a little more high-strung, a little more irritable and cold, but nothing like this.  Each night I went to bed thinking the world was going to end tomorrow. 

I picked up the phone some days to call a friend... then I hung it up, thinking, "I'm way too depressing to be around."  The best I could do for social ventures was to make it to my mom's group, where my oldest was babysat while I visited with other moms and only had my littlest to deal with.  Each week I'd want to ask a friend to talk - and each week I'd fail at the conversation.

It turns out, upon talking to my doctor, that I may have sensitivity to progesterone, the hormone needed for pregnancy.  Spikes in progesterone can also cause PMS, of which I've been a long-time sufferer.  I didn't know this until the pregnancy was over, and the guilt I feel over the time I spent yelling at the boys and freezing out Joseph still bothers me.

But what is the lesson here? Well, here's the thing - I isolated myself in my misery.  I will always wonder what would have happened if I'd gone to my doctor, told my midwives how I was feeling or even just called a friend.

When my boys are having trouble, whether its playing with blocks or reaching the tap to wash their hands, they don't let their pride get in the way of saying, "I'm vulnerable, and I need someone stronger or bigger or smarter to help me."

Sometimes even moms need someone. Some help.  What I see in my boys, in that willingness to ask, is what I'd like a little more of. 

Most importantly, I know I need to be asking the Biggest, and Strongest and Smartest - because He can definitely handle my problems when I can't.


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Have something you'd like to share in the mommy-wisdom department?
Maybe you've already blogged it.  Send me a link, lets do an interview or guest post. I'm all ears.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 23

More amazing blogger adventures at Jen's (I completely agree with her on elephant-tranquilizers while flying btw).

Short version: Blogging woes and nice things, my need for another brain, my sad workout solution, ode to my espresso machine, a great post from someone else, brother and husband love.

ONE:
Blogging failure + victory:

I said I was resurrecting Mommy-Wise Mondays. Well, Monday came and went and I did not post my post to kick it off again. BUT - I did get a comment from Kelly at A Mom for Life, offering her wisdom sometime. As you'll see from her quick takes, she is full of mom-experience and probably just the perfect person to impart some mommy-wisdom to young upstarts like me (and you?). 
This Monday, it will happen. I wrote it on my calendar in red.

Let me know if you have any anecdotal life-lessons you think are valuable mommy-wisdom, and we'll talk about a guest post or interview.

TWO:

Lamenting over my need for technology:

I may have mentioned awhile back that I lost my iPhone. Well, the ramifications are still coming up. That thing held my entire life! I used the calendar to remind myself of appointments, get-togethers,  tasks, and I could remind myself days or hours ahead so that I'd have plenty of time to prepare and be on time.  It was my second brain!

Now, I'm stuck with writing things down on a calendar that I forget to look at. A calendar that doesn't buzz and ding at me to remind me of things. 

I have become a little less dependant on having social media at my fingertips 24/7 in losing my phone, but on little sleep and surrounded by constant toddler and baby noise, I really could use some help here. In highschool I wrote things on my hands... so if I don't purchase a new smartphone (and live without my buffer in the grocery budget), it may come to that. I'll just be the crazy woman in the store holding up her hand saying, "Is that an D or an O? Curse you constant hand-washing!"

THREE:

I'm finding it really hard with the endless winter and 2-month-head-cold, not to mention child needs, to beat the baby-weight (plus a little extra) off my body. Then on Wednesday I turned on the T.V. at 8 a.m., and lo-and-behold, the solution:

 


Bo on the Go is incredibly annoying. However - the boys actually love it. They do the running on the spot, the jumping, the stretching and get even more enthusiastic if I do it with them.

I actually put effort into it and got a decent workout with the added bonus of helping the boys expend some of their pent-up little-boy energy.

Desperate times people, desperate times.

FOUR:

I thought I loved coffee before I had a third baby. Now that third baby Zachary is here, I L-O-V-E coffee. It's to the point where I wake up and the first thing I think about is coffee, particularly espresso.  A bunch of friends got together after I had Zachary and bought me $50-worth of Starbucks cards, but when I am not already out, I use this:


Not a Tassimo or Keurig... just an old-fashioned espresso machine.
 
We bought this for $15 at Value Village a few years ago when people began abandoning making their own lattes and cappuccinos by hand. Kind of like when the ringer-washer went out of style - You know, because you actually have to scoop espresso into the little cup yourself. What an inconvenience.

Anyway, in case you're interested, my go-to "recipe" is to measure out enough fresh-ground espresso to make a double shot into 1 1/4 cups of steamed skim or 1% or almond-milk and a tbsp. of honey and a little bit of vanilla.  This is my sanity-potion, the elixir of life, and something I did not give up for Lent because I really believe that caffeine makes me a better mother.


Yum.
 
FIVE:

This post from Jenny at Mama Needs Coffee.

I read it over and over on Tuesday, which is exactly the day I needed to read it. Some days you just want to sell the kids and move to Hawaii. That was the day. Read the post for better context and a great perspective on having a life-giving attitude.

SIX:

Brothers.
It's a special relationship that brothers have. One that I haven't experienced, being a woman and all. I often think of a few families with a bunch of boys and look at those relationships - that best-friends-and-enemies-for-life relationship that brothers seem to have. I look forward to watching these little guys grow and evolve personality-wise and see where they end up in relation to each other. 

One third-in-line boy we know actually said "my condolences to the baby" when Zachary was newer.  Apparently being a third brother was hard.  However, this young man is very much what I'd like Zachary to be like one day, so it can't have been bad for him to be #3.


Patrick, imparting toddler wisdom to Zach.
 
 



SEVEN:

Joseph is a fantastic dad to our kids.  I've been thinking lately about what a steep learning curve it's been.  Before Patrick, Joseph had never changed a diaper and had held a baby rarely.  He never baby-sat or took care of little kids, and has really been thrust into it three-fold in the last 4 years.
As I was going through some old pictures, I was reminded that he does an awesome job.



Almost 2 years ago!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 22

 
More takes and awesome bloggers at Conversion Diary!

Short version:
Blogger angst, baby growth, more blogger angst, middle child angst, random thought, body angst and a few cute pictures to get you through all the angst.

ONE:

I have this thought whenever I sit down to blog that I should be writing something more important than my musings about the goings on of my little life.  As a writer... well, more of a graduate from a journalism program who has one internship and a smattering of freelance pieces under her belt, I always feel like everything I write needs to be pure gold. Like each word needs to be soaked in and enjoyed by the reader like it's Tolkien or Shakespeare or even Robert Munsch.

But my life with three little boys  doesn't really allow for a lot of uninterrupted time to write the next great novel or even a children's book.  I have 4 children's book ideas mapped out and partially written in a file on my computer, and I intend to complete them and seek out publishing. At some point it will be more than just a hobby of mine.

Which brings me to now... I am sitting down to blog about life once again, and everything I write will be about what it is like to be me.  I'd appreciate some feedback on whether or not I'm capturing the adventure that is my life for you.  What would you readers like to hear about? 

TWO:

Baby update:
Zachary is growing and growing. Latest weigh is 14.5 lbs. Not bad for 2.5 months right?
I might have said before that I love tiny babies... and I don't have them. They've been born 10 lbs, and they don't fit newborn clothes for longer than a week. It's my petty ridiculous sorrow, because kids grow fast anyway, and my time with the tininess is so limited.
 
Partial yawn. Double chin... I love funny baby faces.

THREE:

I've decided to resurrect Mommy-Wise Mondays.  This is a series of posts I began last year, and I got stuck.  I got stuck interviewing a woman who'd suffered from post-partum depression.  She was amazing and had an amazing story, but in the end, she didn't want to see it on the Internet, even without her real name.  She figured her connection to me, since I blog as myself and not anonymously, might out her to some people in her life whom she felt compelled for one reason or another not to tell. 

I have no issue with her decision, but that discouraged me a little in my quest to get anecdotal advice from real moms on real issues out to the world via my little blog.  Then I got pregnant, and morning sickness took over my life.

I didn't want to just talk in the series about something widely discussed, like baby food or cloth vs. disposable diapers... I wanted to tackle something hard and difficult that got to the heart of something serious that affects moms like me.  I wanted to get down and dirty in personal experiences and write something that had profound impact. I failed, not just a little bit, which you will know if you read those measly posts, but maybe now, I'm in a position to innovate.

Find out on Monday how that goes - because I've got a little story of my own to start it off again.

FOUR:

Big brother love.

Time to unload some of my mom-guilt.
I have three boys and above you can see the youngest and oldest.  Poor little Carter was off in a time-out when this one was taken. 
Carter is a huge concern of mine, because as the middle child, he seems to get passed over. He isn't vocal enough to assert himself to get his needs like Patrick, and he isn't tiny like Zachary whose needs, though they are simple, occur often and need to be dealt with more immediately.
His age (2.5) is also a hard one sometimes because he's still very much in need of me to be close to him. 

I suppose I'm doing my best to juggle the three - but when Carter is the only one not dressed at the end of the day, which has happened a few times, I can't help but beat myself up a little.
My sweet Carter.
 
FIVE:

Random happening and musing:

We're into the movie Planes lately. As much as it's driving me nuts, it really is a great movie for kids and adults.  There's a neat story behind the mentor plane, WWII navy fighter-jet Skipper Riley: His character is based on the creator's father - who loved airplanes and flew in the navy. 

I suppose this isn't super-extraordinary, but here's why it matters to me: My own dad was into planes, cars, bikes, trucks... and I am an aspiring children's book author.  I've based characters on my own dad - capturing features of his personality in a farm truck, for example, and I found it beautiful and somewhat soothing to find that the same thing happened in the case of Planes.

SIX:

Body angst + victory:
I decided to work out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to give my post-partum body a little beating back into a shape (other than round in the wrong places), and I ordered this SoulCore Workout DVD a couple weeks ago. So... uh... RECOMMEND! 

I'm busy.  I prayed the rosary AND got a workout at the beginning of today.  They only have the Joyful Mysteries so far, but I'll take what I can get.

SEVEN:

Ah Friday of Lent.... I really only cook three meatless meals, (aside from salmon or some kind of white fish which we rarely buy because I haven't worked it into our food budget):

Vegetarian Chili, Tuna Casserole and Quiche... 

But I'm thinking next Friday I'll mix it up a little and make this Vegetarian Korma.  We love Indian food around here (yes, the kids even eat it), and I don't experiment nearly enough with those lovely spices. The rest of the blog is worth a look too.

BONUS #8:
He's grabbing already! I love watching him grow.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 21

Find more takes at Conversion Diary!

ONE:

I had a terrible dream last night that my beloved Joseph asked me for a divorce.  Over ice cream. When I asked him to give me a reason, or go to counseling with me, or try to fix it at all, he said no, he was moving out that night. I woke up flabbergasted. Not to mention that ice cream would have been ruined for me forever.

Just so you know, Joseph reassured me that this dream is nowhere close to reality.  Sweet, lovely man.

TWO:
It has been rough being married to me this past month.  I caught a cold almost a month ago and either I've been infected and re-infected several times, or the same old cold is just hanging on.  Either way, it has just not been fun.  Not only did this cold (or, the first one rather) ruin our plans for our 5th Anniversary on February 14th, but it also has me (embarrassingly enough) snoring. So poor husband goes off to the couch almost every night for some shut-eye.

The two older boys have also been sickies, and now... the baby.  I've never had a sick baby. Carter and Patrick didn't get sick till they were over age 1.

I had baby Zach checked out yesterday and he's fine - it really is just a sniffly nose and irritated throat, but having never even dealt with that in a young babe, it has me hyper-vigilant and paranoid about croup, RSV, whooping cough, pneumonia... I'm Googling symptoms every hour and driving myself a little crazy.

Zach is still a cheerful fellow though, despite his goobery state, and growing like crazy.  Whose two-month-old is 14.5 lbs? Right here!  I apparently can only produce giant children.

THREE:

Last QT I talked about Patrick's 4th Birthday party, which turned out to be lovely.  Here are some highlights:

Note to self: Sparklers are scary to boys who've just become educated about fire safety.
 
 
Blowing out candles.

Further note to self: Pinatas don't work for toddler parties.
In the longest piñata game EVER, we let the dads have a go
to bust this almost-indestructible dollar-store piñata.
It took 20 minutes.

 FOUR:

Did you check out that cake up there? Strawberry race cars on a strawberry cake with whipped cream cream cheese icing. So delicious.

Here's the strawberry cake recipe. It's definitely a make-again.


FIVE:

Lent.

I'd be completely proud of myself if I did this 40 bags in 40 days during lent.
Hop over to White House, Black Shutters to read further, but basically it's cleaning up 40 areas of the house.

Now, I'm the queen of clutter and chronically messy and I'm prone to stashing stuff to deal with later.

This is the one thing my husband would love to change about me, but alas...

It has followed me from childhood. Just ask my mother.

SIX:

Cute little somethings:

Me: "Why are you following me, I just came down here to throw in the laundry and I'll be back up in 2 seconds!"
Patrick: "I.. I just like you. (shrug) That's all."

Mwah! Love him. He totally got a hug and a smooch for that one.

Carter: "Mom, I need a snack"
Me: "Would you like some raisins?"
Carter: "Yeah! And chocwit chips."
Me: "Uh... chocolate chips aren't that good for your body sweetpea, so how 'bout just raisins."
Carter: "No. Chocwit chips good for my mouf!"

He has a point. I totally caved because he's a smarty-pants.

SEVEN:

A little Chesterton:

"There are saints in my religion, but that just means men who really know that they are sinners."

This quote was actually in a reflection I read yesterday.  It stood out to me as a great theme for my Lent. More on that later perhaps, because I'm still mulling it over in my mind.




Have a lovely weekend!