Thursday, February 23, 2017

Motherhood and Life



I've been thinking a lot of Motherhood lately.  Especially now that I'm current in a rut.  A really bad, depressive, anxiety-filled rut.  I've been wondering why motherhood is so hard.  Right now Helena is in full on terrible two stage, and I'm mentally preparing because I hear 3 is worse.  But then I feel guilty...why always (ALWAYS) with the mom guilt?!  Because in some aspects Helena is amazing and loving and perfect just how she is.  She's just 2.  I wish I could bring myself to remember that during the moments of frustration, the moments of yelling, the moments of repeating myself over and over and over and over again.  I feel bad when she wants to hang on me, and kiss and cuddle on me when we are eating dinner.  When I ask her for the thousandth time to not play on Bennett's toys.
For me life right now is in limbo.  We have an action plan, and we'll definitely be out of Alamogordo no later than 6/1.  Possibly 5/1.  No confirmation as to where, which is where my anxiety comes in.  Chris and I are trying our best to take control of the "where" but when it comes down to it we'll have to entertain any location where a job is offered.  For now Chris continues to work in Northern California 4 days a week.  He leaves at 3am Monday morning, and arrives back home around 11pm Thursday night.  The cycle is horrible.  Sunday night usually ends with me having a break down and expressing my feelings that I can't continue like this anymore.  As of right now there is no end in sight for this schedule and that also leaves me anxious.  We've been living this way since September.    As grateful I am that Chris as a job, I want our family to be living together full time again.
Then Monday is another hard day.  I usually have another break down around 5pm, just because that's the normal time I would expect Chris home.  Knowing I have 4 nights all by myself just depresses me.  This week as been especially hard because I currently have 2 sick kids.  Helena has been sick with a bad cough and cold since last weekend, and just yesterday Bennett has gotten a runny nose.  And now I have a runny nose.  The good side of the sickness?  Both kids are taking naps.  Which has given me the opportunity to catch up on TV and writing this post.  I've been doing laundry all week because our dryer sucks and is taking 3 hours to dry a load.  Plus we've been out of the house everyday this week, which has helped the time past.  Monday: I can't remember (I think Wal-mart?).  Tuesday: MOPs.  Wednesday: Bennett's 9 month well.  Thursday: Highlander oil change.
It's hard when your days are full but then at the end of your day you can't remember a single thing you did.  As a Mom I feel like the most underappreciated task of each day is the simple ending of keeping you and your kids alive.  Not that the opposite is an option, but I truly feel like I've done something right when at the end of the day my kids are sleeping soundly in their beds.  Plus raising kids is hard.  Not only am I trying to raise human beings, I'm trying to raise human beings that are nice, respectful, sweet, funny, courageous, loving, and opinionated.  That takes the task to a whole other level.
Right now I can't leave Bennett alone.  He's mobile, and he is fast.  So if I want a simple moment to go to the bathroom or forbid take a shower, he's got to be either in the pack 'n play, walker, highchair, or crib.  And Helena.  This girl as an attitude.  She's bossy and I hate that she gets her mad-tone from me.  She doesn't eat, and mealtime is usually the time of day I least look forward to.  She gets into everything.  She takes her step-stool all over the house and gets up to grab anything and everything.  She's exhausting.
I'm in constant state of wondering if I'm doing this right. I think the biggest thing about being a mom is you are immediately emerged in it.  Sure you have 9 months to prepare, but nothing prepares you for being a mom until that baby actually exits your body.  I was thinking about what I could compare it to, and the closest thing that came to mind was getting a new job.  But there are some obvious (and big differences).  When you start a new job.  You get training.  You get help.  You get support.  You get the ask questions.  You get 8 hours of sleep.  You get to go home after 8 hours.  Usually when I start a new job I dream about that job.  In my mind that's my why of processing the day, soaking up what I learned.  I've never dreamed about my mom-job.  And I think that's because becoming a mom is everything all at once.  You don't get training.  You don't get help.  You don't get support.  You don't get to ask questions.  You are sleep deprived while doing this new "job".  Your job is 24/7.   Now, of course you do get some help and some support, but for the most part you are just immersed in caring for a newborn.  The expectation is that everything needs to work.  And it's so hard.  You don't recognized for "working" and you don't get paid!  All I know is that this momma needs a break.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Bennett at 9 months



I feel so bad for not writing monthly updates on Bennett!  Such is the life of a second child.
This month has been big: we have a full on mobile baby.  He started crawling right before I went to Napa, but would still take a preference to rolling everywhere.  By the time I left for my trip he was a full on crawler.  His strength and speed do not match his balance and coordination, so he needs constant supervision.  His forehead is already covered with bruises, and I'm so scared he's going to open his head up on the coffee table.  He is always pulling himself up to standing and is starting to cruise the furniture, but his confidence isn't there, and for that I'm honestly grateful.  I'm so not ready for him to not be a baby anymore.  He loves so smack his lips, I think this is a comfort for his 2 new top teeth that have also appeared!  We have these amazing conversations with our eyes...he'll blink for a few seconds and I'll blink back at him, and we just go back and forth like this, and he just loves it!  He also shakes his head back and forth as if he is saying No and it's super cute, along with his growing vocabulary.  He's got bababa, mamama, dadada, and other's down.  He loves to spontaneously scream!  He can clap his hands, and he loves to read.  He'll flip through all the pages in a book, and the best trick when I'm trying to change his diaper is to put a book in his hands.  He can still wear some 9 month clothing, but 12 month is best.  He usually sleeps really good, and twice recently he has slept until 9am!  He's in size 3 diapers.  Helena loves to play with him when I stick him in the pack 'n play because I have stuff I need to do around the house.  As of right now he'll laugh and laugh when Helena pushes on him because she's annoyed with him, thankfully he just thinks she's playing with him, hence the laughing.  He already loves playing with things that aren't toys: the remote control, my phone etch...  He loves seeing Dad on facetime, he immediately lights up.  He loves his bath and the water.  He is slowly transitioning from two naps to one, which is mainly by my doing.  On days when we stay home if he takes two naps, his naps are before and after Helena's nap, which gives me zero time, which I really don't like.  So I'm trying on keeping Bennett up so that he naps closer to Helena's nap time so that I get some peace and quite in my day.  This is much easier to do on days when we have a morning outing.  He stayed at the MOPS daycare for the first time a few weeks ago, and dropping him off was super hard, as he instantly started crying.  He is definitely attached to me.  He does this cute thing when I'm feeding him before nap or bed time where he crosses his hands over his bottle.  I think it is a huge comfort thing for him.  I really want to try and snap a picture of it.  He as also started sleeping on his belly, but I think his favorite position is this side.
I'm not too sure how I got to be so blessed to have two happy babies, but I feel honored that this little boy is mine.

My Birthday Weekend

 I am so blessed!  My parents watched Helena and Bennett for 3 whole nights so I could travel to Northern California to see Chris for my birthday weekend!  It was a really nice getaway.  I've been full of anxiety lately and stressed out about what the future holds and not knowing.  With Chris only home 3 days a week that doesn't give us a lot of time because we have the kids etc..., and having him all to myself for 3 full days was so nice.  We were able to just focus on each other which is something you take for-granted pre-kids. 
I flew out on my actual birthday Thursday January 19th into Sacramento and on the way to Napa we drove through Fairfield (the town he works in) and he showed me the hotel he stays in and the hospital he works at.  Then we made the hour trip to Napa.  We got checked into The White House Inn (the cute bed and breakfast we stayed in) and walked the half mile to our first night out.  We ate and this amazing sushi place called Eikos.  The sushi was so good and so fresh!  It had been more than a year since we had had good sushi, and this place didn't disappoint.  The atmosphere was fun and the drinks were strong, so we had a great time.  We got a cab ride home.



The next day we went on the Napa Valley Wine Train.  The whole experience was meant to reflect something out of the 1920's which I loved, and it was so relaxing.  We sat in the "Vista Dome" which is the car that has windows curved all the way up the train, so you truly get a panoramic view of Napa Valley.  We were welcomed with some champagne and I got the Sweet Wine Flight that I had throughout my 4 course meal: appetizer, salad, entree, and dessert!  We were on the train from about 11:30am to almost 3pm, and it was so nice.  We saw an amazing rainbow and winery upon winery.



After the wine train we walked over to a place called The Oxbow Market.  Think of a small mall but with food.  We did a casual walk through and enjoyed all the of the sights, but we were so stuffed from our fancy lunch that we ended up just sitting and talking and eventually calling a cab to give us a ride back to the inn.
Once we got back we did a little bit of exploring before the weather turned nasty and we briskly walked back to our room.  We just hung out while it rained, and later found a place for dinner.
The next day we did a Platypus Tour!  This was so much fun.  There were 8 of us and we went to 4 different wineries.  The whole experience was so nice, and each winery so different.  There are over 500 wineries within the Napa Valley region and our tour guide took us to ones off the beaten path, which was so nice.
By the third winery I was definitely zoning out, but the experience of that one was so cool: the wine was paired with chocolate!  By the fourth stop I couldn't have anymore, but enjoyed the atmosphere.




That night we ate at a steak place called Cole's, which was just ok.  The food was great, but our service was not so great, which definitely took away from the overall experience.
Thankfully overall the kids did great!  We were able to facetime with them in the mornings and Helena was excited to be all over Grandmasita.  Bennett unfortunately didn't sleep well there.  Only took 10-15 minute naps, and got up in the mornings super early.  
I flew out of Oakland, and when I called my mom while I was waiting to board my flight to check on things my mom immediately exclaimed she was so excited for me to be home later that day.
Leaving Chris was hard but I definitely missed my babies, so I was ready to come home.  We stayed in Albuquerque on Monday and I was up with Bennett Tuesday morning from 3am to 6am.  We drove home Tuesday afternoon.  I really don't like that drive.  Since then Bennett as thankfully been sleeping much better.
I wish that the freeness and ease of my vacation followed me home, but being back home immediately brought back my anxiety of not knowing what the future holds, and being a single parent 4 days out of the week.
Sunday nights are super hard on me.
I'm just so thankful for my parents, for taking care of my kids so I could get away for the time that I did.  It really was a great trip, and I love traveling for my birthday.

Monday, January 9, 2017

2016 Year in Review

2016 Christmas card
Our Christmas card this year read:
We've been in Alamogordo, NM for a year now, and will be moving soon, although location is TBD.
Chris enjoys working for Aramark and works incredibly hard for our family.
April still blogs and sells Younique.  She has connected with lots of moms and enjoys MOPS.
Helena (2.5y) potty trained herself over the summer and is a great big sister.  She is always asking what we are doing next!
Bennett blessed us on 4/25 and is a very happy baby!  He laughs and laughs and doesn't take his eyes off of Helena.
We are looking forward to the blessings 2017 will bring!

~~~

Now that the year is officially over and I look back on it, 2016 was a hard year.  I didn't want to move and I still think about Denver almost daily.  It's incredibly hard for me to not think that moving here was a mistake.  Mainly because we moved here for Chris's job.  Well Chris only had his job for 10 months.  And when everything is said and done, he'll just about be traveling more for his job, than the amount of time he actually had a job in Alamogordo.  Hopefully that makes sense.  If I would have known, I would have much preferred to stay in Denver, and have him travel back and forth from Denver to Alamogordo.  I know it's horrible to look back because you can't change the past, but when I look back on 2016 I just wish we would have never moved. 
But then that brings me to the positives of this year.  One of course, being Bennett. Having my son.  A huge part of me feels that moving to Alamogordo resulted in me getting my VBAC with Bennett.  Mainly because I feel had we stayed in Denver, I would have most likely stayed with my doctor that delivered Helena and that she would have eventually convinced me to have a section.  Moving forced me to find a provider to give me a shot and something I really wanted.  In that aspect I'm thankful for the move.
Another amazing pro about this small town are all of the amazing friends I've made.  I have some great friends.  Finding friends was super important to me, and one reason why I jumped right in and got involved immediately after moving here.  And I'm so glad that I did.  From MOPs, to book club, Bunco, Moms Night Out, playdates, library activities, to being on the leadership with MOPs, all of it has kept me sane.  These women get me, and are truly there for me and offer there support constantly even though they have their own lives and children to take care of.  I feel extremely blessed that knowing when I leave here I'm taking some amazing friendships with me. 
Lastly, I hate how this year ended.  We have so much up in the air.  And that is just a huge weight on my shoulders.  I want to know where we are going to live.  I hate that Helena's 3rd birthday will be (most likely) in a 3rd different state compared to two previous birthdays.  I want to feel settled.  And I feel like we've been unsettled since September. The uneasiness is not good for me. 

~~~

What did you do in 2016 that you had never done before?  Gave birth vaginally!  It was amazing.  Went out of my comfort zone and asked for help from almost total strangers, that are now friends.  

What moments from 2016 will remain etched into your memory?  Giving birth.  Holding Bennett.  Creating daily moments everyday where I just hold Helena tight.  Helena potty training herself.  Driving home for the pediatrician and having to pull over to take a phone call from the pediatrician to hear bad news about Bennett.  

What was your biggest achievement of the year?  Taking care of my two kids and myself.  

What was your biggest failure?  Binge eating, and gaining weight.

Did you make any resolutions?  Did you keep them?  Yes and no.

Did you suffer illness or injury?  I still remember how sick I got when I was 38 weeks pregnant.  It was so bad.   

What was the best thing you bought?  I would have to say all of my LuLaRoe stuff!

What were your favorite photos of 2016?  This is always so hard, but I tried to pick pictures I had previously put focus on.
January 2016

February 2016

May 2016 my short breastfeeding journey

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

September 2016

September 2016 ~ Chendra's visit

October 2016

November 2016

Christmas morning 2016


What did you get really, really, really, excited about?  Chris planning a weekend away.  What was our anniversary trip to Taos, NM.

What song will always remind you of 2016?  Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake

What was the best food discovery of 2016?  Probably accepting that cooking isn't all that bad.

What do you wish you'd done more of?  Blogging, watching what I ate, finding time to work out.

What do you wish you'd done less of? Losing my patience with Helena.

What was your new favorite TV show?  This is Us and Notorious.

What was the best book you read?  I only read one book this year: Room.

What was the best film you saw this year?  Moana

What did you want and get?  A life in Alamogordo.

What did you want and not get?  A move back to Denver.

What's something you fell in love with?  My son.

What kept you sane?  My husband, mom, and all my friends.

Who was the best new person you met?  My son.

What was a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016?  To not keep things inside.  To talk about things. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmastime 2016

Giving Papa and Bennett a ride

out showing Helena Christmas lights

making sugar cookies

Bennett is ready to open presents!

playing with Grandmasita

they love each other

rolling under the tree

Christmas in Kearney

she loves her Auntie Alice

helping Great Grandma open presents

Christmas morning

Helping Grandpa

playing at the Children's Museum


Giving Grandpa a check-up




the famous wagon ride!
We had two Christmases this year.  One with my parents the week before Christmas and one with my in-laws at their house in Kearney, NE.
My parents came down the week before Christmas.  We made sugar cookies, went looking at lights, and opened presents!  It was a lot of fun, and the kids had a blast!
And of course Helena and Bennett got spoiled.
The Thursday before Christmas we started on the 13 hour journey to Kearney.  I was not looking forward to this drive.  I don't like driving 3 hours to Albuquerque so planning for this trip wasn't fun for me.  We only did 6 and half hours each day so we stayed in a hotel coming and going, so it took us 2 days to get to our final destination.  It just sucks, because traveling from one small town to another small town, there is just no easy way.  We were on small state highways the whole time driving slowing down every hour or so to drive through another small town.  So the drive just goes slow.  Plus driving for a total of 4 days to only be there for 5 days.  But we had a good time, as usual the atmosphere at my in-laws is just so relaxing.  My MIL made home cooked meals each night and we just enjoyed the company.  The first night was really hard for Helena as she didn't have a place to sleep.  So her and Chris slept out in the living room.  For the rest of the trip Helena slept in Great-Grandma's room, while Great-Grandma slept downstairs.  Helena and Bennett enjoyed daily wagon rides, and Helena got to bake cookies with Grandma.  Bennett got lots of love from everyone!  Chris and I even got a night out.  We went to the Kearney Children's Museum.  Overall it was a fun trip!  And of course Helena and Bennett got spoiled.  Helena got an amazing owl recliner and Bennett got fun toys!
We thankfully had no weather to worry about on the drive, and Chris did some of the driving home which I appreciated.
We got home to spend the New Year as a family.  I usually love to stay up until midnight but I just couldn't hang and rang in the new year asleep in my bed.