Tuesday, December 20, 2016

not this year

I gotta be honest, I am not in the holiday spirit this year.  After we returned home from spending Thanksgiving in Albuquerque we put up the tree and the decorations.  My main motivation to decorate the house was to put me in the holiday spirit.  I was hopefully that the decorations would put me out of this funk.  To enjoy my house at Christmastime.  But it unfortunately had the opposite effect.  In fact I feel like it has made me down right depressed.  I'm sad because this house isn't our "home" and I just want to spend Christmas in a place that is home.
My family is going through a huge transition as Chris is currently working in Northern California 4 days a week (it was previously Houston) and daily I'm wondering where we will be living.  I didn't really do Christmas gifts this year and I'm lucky to have gotten Christmas cards out and mailed. Monday's are always the hardest because Chris leaves super early on Monday mornings.  I have a break down every Monday usually around 5pm when I would normally expect him home.
This back and forth isn't good for our family.  Back in August when Chris was told the Aramark contract at the hospital here in Alamogordo would end early I immediately thought we would be spending Christmas someplace else.  That Chris would have found a permanent job by now and we would have moved.  And as for right now we'll be doing this back and forth thing through February.  It's hard because I see no point in living in Alamogordo.  If I would have known Chris would have only had his job here for 8 months we would've never moved.  And now everything is back up in the air.  The only reason we are still here is because we have a lease to fulfill through the end of April.  If we don't have anywhere to go by then the kids and I will most likely move in with my parents.  Which I hate the idea of doing.  I like to feel settled and I feel like we've been unsettled since Chris got fired for the first time back in July 2013.  All of it just makes me sad and frustrated.  And now we have to drive to Kearney, NE for Christmas.  And getting from one small town to another small town, well there is just no easy way to get there.  I'll have to do all of the driving, which I don't like to drive.  Who knows what the driving conditions will be like, and we'll stay overnight in the middle of nowhere Kansas halfway there to break up the drive.  It's just a lot.  Overall I'm just sad that I'm sad this holiday season.  Usually I really enjoy Christmas and I wish this depression wasn't lingering over me because I want to enjoy this season with my kids and truly enjoy the present.  But often times I find myself crying and being sad, or just frustrated.
Then I feel guilty because truly the things I have to complain about aren't that bad.  And I have so many blessings around me.  I have two amazing kids that I get to stay home with.  As much as I write about my dislike for Alamogordo I've made a pretty good life here and I have some amazing friends.  We are close to my parents, who gratefully come down about once a month to see us.  So truly I shouldn't complain.  I just crave stability and I want a place to call home.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bennett @ 6 and 7 months

Bennett @ 6 months

Bennett @ 6 months ~ October 2016
 I'm totally behind because Bennett's 6month well visit wasn't until he was almost 7 months old.  So I'm behind.
He is such a happy baby!  He has 2 teeth and is sitting up, but not quiet 100% as he still has his tumbles every once in awhile.
He's gross, this must be a boy thing.  I've physically seen Bennett poop twice now, and I've NEVER seen Helena poop (going on the potty doesn't count).  His dirty diapers are so much worst to what I remember Helena's being.
He started a family sickness at the beginning of November.  But thankfully it was short lived, but had me worried since I had never had a baby at that age throw-up.
He's eating and wants to eat our food so bad, but I'm just not comfortable feeding him table food yet.  He loves, like really really loves Helena.  Helena is more so just annoyed by him, but sometimes she'll humor him and give him good attention.
He still isn't a fan of being on his tummy, and usually just rolls over which makes me think crawling is nowhere in sight.  Which is weird because Helena was crawling by the time she was 7 months old.  He loves to play with toys and touch different textures.
He's ticklish.  This just cracks me up.  You tickle his belly and he gives you a full on belly laugh.  It's so amazing.
He loves the water and kicks up a storm while taking a bath.
He usually wakes up super happy which I feel totally blessed by because Helena has the same personality trait.
He's super laid back and doesn't mind coming along to all of Helena's activities.  He sorta takes two naps a day.  He'll take a short one in the morning in-between errands, outings, and activities, then a longer one in the afternoon during Helena's nap.  Then he is usually down for the night between 8:30 and 9 and up in the morning around 7.
I'm pretty sure his blue eyes are going to stick around, which it is just crazy to me knowing I have a blue-eyed baby boy.  He definitely has Chris's coloring and him and Helena look nothing alike.
I love him so and I'm so blessed by this beautiful baby boy.
Bennett @ 7 months

Bennett @ 7 months ~ November 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Halloween 2016

he doesn't stop looking at her

have I mentioned that he doesn't take his eyes off of her?
 Halloween this year was a lot of fun. We did lots of Halloween activities throughout the month and I had fun coordinating their costumes.  Bennett was a ghost and Helena was a skeleton.
Halloween night we took Helena out trick or treating for this first time.  Last year on Halloween was when the moving truck finally showed up to our house so we couldn't take Helena out, but going out this year was a lot of fun.  Helena as some friends: Shepard and Noel a few houses down, so all of us went out together.  Overall Helena did really good.  Our neighborhood was surprisingly busy.  I think we got home a little after 8:30 and Helena had a great time checking out all of her candy.  She now asks for candy for breakfast!  I would say her favorite candy of choice: a sucker.
Helena LOVES Shepard

We carved 2 pumpkins but I only got a picture of the one

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Alamogordo: One Year Later

Probably one of the best things about Alamogordo: White Sands.

Can you believe we've been in Alamogordo one year?!  We arrived 11/2/2015 and I think I went to our first playdate the very next week.  I can remember so many details about this time last year.  So much change and now we are awaiting more change.  I'm beginning to realize that with kids in the picture, life will never really slow down anytime soon.  But I want to feel settled, I want that stability.  It's something I crave, and I hope it happens soon.

I miss Colorado everyday.  I miss my friends, my gym, my job, my house.  I love Denver, and I hope to be back there one day.

As much as I dislike living in Alamogordo the one thing I absolutely love are the friends I have made.  I have met some amazing women!  I have some great friendships that have made living here tolerable.  I knew once we moved having friends would be crucial to my mental health and that's why I jumped in and got involved with various groups.  Mops, playdates, book club, bunco, etc.  And when we leave I'm going to miss these ladies so much.  They've been there for me more than they will ever know.

Let's talk about the bad.  One of the things I hate the most about living here is the lack of food options.  We go to either Chili's or Applebee's once a week (not that often, but that is what it seems) and we are so sick of it.  I know that once we move it'll be at least a year before we go to either one of those restaurants again.  There is a good pizza place and good mexican food.  But the local places are closed on Sundays.  As someone who enjoys good food and a good meal out, to not have endless options is still a big adjustment for me.
The weather here is so hot.  I definitely miss seasons.  It's the beginning of November and our air conditioner is still going off.  The spring winds.  They are brutal.
I would say that there is nothing to do, but truly that isn't true.  I would say there's a lack of things on the weekends, but there's usually always stuff going on at the library.  Or there are parks to go to, but the parks are sand covered which I hate, and over the summer a handful of parks got a shade covering, which was great!.  And a lot of the parks don't have a place for the parents to sit at, which sucks.  There are a shortage of sidewalks which makes going for a walk outside of the neighborhood tough.  There are no splash parks which made this hot brutal summer super hot and brutal.  The pool was only open for afternoon swim, which sucked.
The lack of shopping.  Thank goodness for online.  But really if you can't find it at Wal-mart you might as well click at amazon.  We go to Wal-mart at LEAST twice a week.
Because we are so close to Air Force base they have these random sonic booms, and they are so scary, it's like a mini-earthquake.  Sometimes they are twice in a row, those ones are super scary.
The lack of visitors.  My parents obviously come down frequently, but I had more visitors the first two months I lived in Denver, compared to the year I've lived here and majority of my family is only 3 hours away.  This shows me that people come visit the place that you live, if that makes sense?  I get that there is nothing to do here, but honestly it makes me a little sad that not more of my family has come down.

Let's talk about the good.  There is no traffic.  You can drive from one end of town to the other end in 15 minutes.  White Sands, it's amazing having such a beautiful National park literally in your backyard.  Helena loves it, and it's a lot of fun and a great sight to see.  Everyone has a story.  I love hearing people's life stories, and the fact that Alamogordo is a military town just about everyone has a story.  Since living here and various people moving away I now know people who live in: Hawaii, Japan, Germany, San Antonio, and that's all I can think of for now.  Mountain towns: Cloudcroft and Ruidoso.  Cloudcroft is about 30 minutes away, there isn't much to do there but in the summer it's 10 to 15 degrees cooler.  Ruidoso is fun and also cooler!

Alamogordo will always hold a very special place in my heart mainly because of Bennett.  This will always be known as his first home, even though he won't remember it.  I like to think we came here so I could have my VBAC because I feel had we stayed in CO who knows if I would have done the work to find a new doctor because I did really love the doctor who delivered Helena, but I think had I stayed with her care I would have ended up in a repeat c-section with Bennett.  Moving forced me to "shop" for a doctor that I really liked and would give me a true try at a VBAC, and because of that I did get my VBAC.  So for that reason alone I'm thankful for the move to Alamogordo.
Living here is obviously not my most favorite thing, one of the hardest things is not having pride in where I live.  I know it is sad to say but it's true.  Being in a small town is just not me.  Up until I left driving around Denver I would just get this rush.  Going up and town I-25 I would think to myself "I can't believe this is where I get to live."  I felt that appreciation up until we took that final drive out of Colorado on 11/1/2015.  I never thought I would live in New Mexico again, let alone in Alamogordo.  I miss having that pride in where I live.  That feeling of getting teary eyed of living in such a beautiful place.  I guess because I did the work to get myself to Colorado.  I did the work to keep myself there.  Moving to Denver at 22 I didn't know I would love it so much.  At the time I was moving away just for the sake of moving away.  But being there for 13 years I went trough some really low lows and some amazing highs.  And along the way it truly became my home.  One day I hope and pray to go back home.

Friday, October 21, 2016

ABQ and Taos Getaway

Two Friday's ago we traveled to Albuquerque for Bennett's MRI that was on Tuesday.  We attempted the Balloon Glow Friday evening, and unfortunately it was a big bust.  It was too windy.  Just as a balloon got up it would go back down.  We saw a handful go up, but that was it.  Helena got a fun light wand, we danced to some live music, and saw the laser and fireworks show.

 Saturday morning Chris and I left for Taos.  I had never been to Taos before, and it was a great little getaway for Chris and I.  We had breakfast at The Pantry (so delicious!) in Santa Fe, and then checked out the Georgia O'Keefe Museum.  The museum was much smaller than I remember (last I was there was in elementary school).  And there weren't any of her really popular pieces.

 We checked out the plaza in Taos got checked into our room and just relaxed.  We had an amazing dinner at El Meze, with the most amazing tomatoes ever!
On Sunday we did a little shopping and checked out the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  So amazing!  We had a coffee shake (it was ok, but different)!  We tried to check out the Taos Pueblo but it was closed for a funeral.  We sat and drank at a local winery in the afternoon, the wine wasn't that great, but the company was amazing, everyone that was there also trying wine was from the Denver area, so it was just great chatting with "friends".  After tasting some wine we walked to dinner and had a good dinner.  We then went to the casino and played Blackjack we played for a good hour and walked away with what we started with, so we had free entertainment.  Then Chris wanted to play some slots so I picked a $1 slot machine and after a few turns I walked away with $260 in winnings!

 Monday we had breakfast delivered to our room and drove back to my parents house.  The kids did great!
Monday for dinner we met my Aunt Deanna and cousin Cheryl.  It was great to see them.
Tuesday morning we had an early start as we had to get Bennett checked in for his MRI at 6am.  Not too sure how I got so fortunate, but like Helena Bennett wakes up so calm and happy.  Waking him up at 5:30am didn't phase him at all.  We got checked in and I was able to go back with him for his MRI.  He thankfully didn't need to be put down because the MRI was super short.  He wasn't a fan of being swaddled up, but he eventually calmed down.  They put something over his head with a mirror so when he looked up he would see me, and he was such a rock star.  I've never had an MRI but it is so LOUD!  Who knows what the purpose of the loud banging noises are, but it is just so so incredibly loud.  The noise didn't even phase Bennett, he was just focused on me and smiling at me, which helped keep me calm.  At the end he lifted his head a handful of times, so the MRI lasted a little bit longer.  But from start to end I would say it lasted about 5 minutes!  After the MRI we walked over to the UNM campus to give Chris a little tour.  I showed him the dorms I stayed in and the duck pond.  We then made our way to The Frontier for breakfast.  Then back to the doctor's office to actually meet with the pediatric neurosurgeon.  She pulled up his MRI and advised us Bennett is 100% ok and 100% healthy!  Chris had her repeat herself numerous times.  I asked why even the referral, and she said because he does have a big head, and if anything his pediatrician was just being overly cautious.  There will be no follow-up!  We just have a baby boy with a big head!
Overall the trip was good, and now we know Bennett is fine.  I've always taken the phrase "hug your healthy kids to heart" but now it just means so much more.  The trip to Taos was amazing, and two nights of uninterrupted sleep was much deserved!  I truly appreciate my parents who watched the kiddos and have been there!  It was great to reconnect with Chris and have so much continuous one on one time.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Family Update

 So much to cover! We went to the Alamogordo Fire Station last week to drop off baked goods, say Thank you for your service, and get a tour.  It was a lot of fun.  Helena got a nasty reaction to some mosquito bites on her face (in this picture you can see a red spot on the tip of her nose, the worst of it a few pictures down).
Have I mentioned that Helena is a rock star?!  My daughter has completely potty trained herself!  It started about a month ago now?!  Well let me back up.  We started putting her on the potty around her 2nd birthday (back in May) before her bath just to familiarize herself with it and would always congratulate her for just sitting on it.  Then more recently she would tell Chris in the middle of her bath (Chris does bath time) that she needs to go potty.  So Chris would always get her out and put her on the potty, ...but nothing.  Then about a month ago she went!  We were all excited!  After that she went potty in the middle of her bath almost nightly.  Then one day while I was doing laundry and Bennett was just waking up from his nap; Helena was playing in Bennett room entertaining him while he stayed in his crib and I folded laundry in the bedroom. Helena comes running into the bedroom naked from the waist down exclaiming that she went potty.  I immediately thought Oh Dear!  Where's the mess?!  So I ask Helena to show me where she went potty and she brings me into Bennett's room and she had brought out her Minnie Mouse potty that was put away in Bennett's closet!  ...we got the Minnie Mouse potty a few months ago, but she just played with it so we put it away.  Anyways, she peed in the Minnie Mouse potty!  From that moment on we said good-bye to diapers, and now only use diapers at bedtime (we eliminated the nap time diaper a couple of days ago).  She's amazing at telling us when she needs to go and has even pooped in the potty!, which happened completely unsolicited.  After she peed in the Minnie potty we brought it out into the living room for easy access and one evening she sat on the potty then stood up happily announced "mommy there's rocks in my potty?"  Again I thought Rocks?!  But it was poop!  She struggles the most in the mornings, so if there is an accident it's in the morning (but has never had a poop accident!).  Even driving back to Alamogordo on Tuesday she let us know she needed to go potty (even though she had a diaper on).  She takes advantage of the fact that we drop everything when she announces she needs to go potty, especially when we are out to dinner, and this makes it tough to eat, but she's just a rock star and I'm so proud of her!  Now the Minnie Mouse potty is put back away (who wants to clean that up?!) and we got a little seat for her toilet in her bathroom with ducks on it so she calls it her ducky potty.
In other Helena news, I miss her listening to me.  I swear we repeat ourselves all day long.  She'll ask a question, and I'll give an answer, and she just asks the same question and I give the same answer.  There used to be a time when she would easily eat her dinner and would do what I asked.  But that short phase is over.  She now doesn't want to eat unless you beg and she no longer thinks cleaning up her toys is fun.  She's so independent.
She sometimes wakes up crying and it's so sad because she can't fully communicate what's going on.  She had a super rough time going to bed about 3 weeks ago.  It was brutal.  She wouldn't sleep.  It lasted 3 nights and I'm so happy that it ended just as fast as it started.  But she'll still sometimes wake up crying.  I'll go into her room and hold her and ask her if she's ok.  She'll respond and say I'm ok.  I'll ask her what's wrong or what happened, and she says nothing.  Then I'll ask if she's ready to go back to bed.  And she goes ok, back to bed.  It's always short lived, I just wish she could tell me what's wrong.

 I am currently at the end of the Hair Lose Phase of post pardom (thank goodness), I seriously thought I was going to lose all of my hair.  I was losing hair for probably 6 weeks straight.  I'm thinking about becoming a doula.  During my pregnancy with Bennett I had thought about becoming a ultrasound tech, but now I think a doula might be a better fit.  Since Bennett is most likely our last baby, I've decided I need something to keep me around babies!
I'm so happy that MOPs is back and enjoy going to the meetings every other week, along with all the playdates.  One of the nice things about living her, is everyone has a different story.  Because Alamogordo is a military town everyone is from someplace else, and love hearing where people have come from and where they are going.
 Bennett has a clean bill of health!  We traveled to Albuquerque last week, and Bennett had an MRI on Tuesday (at 6:15am!) and his brain looks completely normal.  He was a rock star during the MRI (he didn't get put under) and the pediatric neurosurgeon repeated herself numerous times in saying Bennett is 100% healthy, and that he just has a big head.  Praise God!!!  Thank you all for your prayers!
He's sorta working on sitting up, and crawls like crazy on is back...he pushes himself all over the place, he really can't be left alone.  I call him a rolly poly because he also rolls and rolls all over the place!  He is still not a fan of tummy time.  He loves his big sister!  He hasn't shown any real interest in food so he hasn't had any food yet, he continues to love his bottle!
He laughs and laughs and is SO ticklish.  You tickle his belly or legs and he just giggles, it's so much fun!  He also loves the water and enjoys his nightly bath!
He's in 9 month clothing and overall sleeps really good.  I'm up with him maybe two or three times a week.

 Chris is currently looking for another job.  Back in August he was notified that the hospital is ending the Aramark (the company he works for) contract 120 early (which is mid-December).  He's working with Aramark recruiters to place him in another job, and they've said they'll continue to keep him on payroll until he does find another job.  So our family life is back up in the air.  I of course haven't handled this news well, in fact I'm scared out of my mind, but I'm working on praying and trusting God, and that He'll place us where we are suppose to be.  But I hate not knowing.  I really really really want to be back in Colorado.
Helena's swollen eye (we went to the doctor and got medicine and it is now almost healed completely)

Tuesday morning after Bennett's MRI
We're coming upon one year in Alamogordo (I have a whole post in mind for that).  I desperately want the weather to cool down...it's been in the 80's all week.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Bennett at 5 months

he enjoys tummy time for about 2 seconds

20 weeks
Isn't he just so cute?!  It's crazy to me how Helena and Bennett look nothing like siblings, but how they are both just so cute!  Bennett has changed so much!  His laugh is crazy, and Helena makes him laugh like no other.  There relationship is so special and it just warms my heart, and I look forward to seeing there relationship grow and blossom as time goes on.

I've thought about this post for some time now.  About how to write it out.  Ideally I wanted to do a separate post on it, but time works against me.  So I'll just start from the beginning.

At the beginning of the month Bennett had his 4 month appointment and the pediatrician was immediately concerned with the fast growth of his head.  The growth was off of the charts.  He had a RN with a neuro background come take a look.  Both thought he was fine because he's meeting all his baby milestones and shows no symptoms of having an overly big head, but they wanted to be safe rather than sorry, and suggested a CT scan.  We thankfully were able to get a CT scan right away.  On the drive home the doctor called me and asked me to pull over.  I immediately knew something was wrong.  He advised that Bennett has fluid both in and on his brain and that we need to plan to be in Albuquerque early next week because he was going to send a referral to a pediatric neurosurgeon.  There was more conversation, but I was numb during most of the conversation.  The next day we got a phone call from the doctors office in ABQ and got an appointment scheduled for the following week.  I immediately started sending out prayers request because I'm so scared.  My mom was amazing and dropped everything to come be with me (Chris was out of town at the end of the week) since I was an emotional wreck.  The next day I had to go pick up the records from his doctors appointment along with a CD of the CT scan.  Looking at the paper work I read that his pediatrician diagnosed him with hydrocephalus.  That's when I Googled "hydrocephalus".  Bad idea.  It was so scary.  I immediately started over-analyzing all of Bennett's actions.  I prayed and prayed, and prayed some more.  I prayed for this to be a nightmare and that I would be told my baby boy is fine.  After a long few days we drove to ABQ and met with the pediatric neurosurgeon.  The doctor said almost immediately that she doesn't think Bennett has hydrocephalus!  She is concerned about the fluid in his brain and the growth of his brain, and we'll be back in ABQ for an MRI on October 11th.  An MRI will give her the clearest picture of his brain, but we hope to rule out anything else.  For now she just wants us to keep an eye on him and make sure he meets all his first year baby milestones.  She seems confident that our relationship with her will be short.  The journey isn't over, but I'm hopeful for a positive outcome.
I immediately put blame on myself for Bennett having this issue.  I thought having a vaginal birth was the "trama" to cause this.  I've been told that's not what caused it, but as a Mom I think you just immediately find a way to put the cause on you.
It's been beyond scary and I know it's cliche to say but hug your healthy kids.  And if you have resources available to you within driving distance be thankful for them!  Having to drive to ABQ is not ideal, yes we have family there and it could be so much worse, but overall it's just inconvenient.
I truly believe in the power of prayer, so please pray for baby Bennett.  That he is healthy and continues to meet his milestones.  

Chendra's Visit

You know those people that you meet and you wonder what type of impression they will have your life?  You automatically think a person will only be in your life for a short amount of time, but then you are super surprised because before you know this person ends up being part of your family?  For me that person is Chendra.  I met Chendra in the unlikeliness of places, on a local Thornton Facebook group back when I was on maternity leave for Helena and searching for a caregiver, because at that time we only needed someone a few hours on Mondays and Tuesdays.
I still remember Chendra coming over to the house, I was so skeptical.  As a first time mom I didn't trust my daughter with just anyone, and I surely wasn't about to just let anyone from Facebook come by and watch Helena.  I immediately was comforted by her approach and how she carried herself.  I loved that was she more mature (in her 20's) and was previously a lifeguard (so CPR certified).  She had references for me and was just calm.  After meeting her and when Chris came home, and I told him about her he was not interested whatsoever.  Not too say he didn't trust my judgement, but he also was thinking: what type of person would I find on Facebook?  I'm not too sure how long it took, but before long he was so happy that Chendra had entered our life.
She was the first non-family member to watch Helena starting at 16 weeks when I went back to work, and she soon became our go-to nanny when Chris and I wanted a date night.  I trusted her to watch my daughter which speaks volumes.  Helena soon fell in love with her too.  Not only does she watch our children she treats them so good.  She came to Helena's first birthday party, sent Helena gifts for her 2nd birthday and got homecoming gifts for Bennett.  When we were in Denver in February, I made sure Helena saw Chendra.  Saying good bye to her when we left Colorado was so hard, because I knew we were so lucky, and I knew that trying to find someone to watch my kids in another city would be hard, and honestly is something I haven't even tackled since living in Alamogordo.
When she voiced wanting to come visit, I was thrilled!  Not only because I knew it would give me the opportunity to spend time with her to get to know her better, but also because I knew she would be a great help with the kids, and I'll take all the help I can take!  And her amazing visit to us was last weekend!  We had such a great time.  She arrived last Friday at dinner time, and Helena was so excited to see her.  It was amazing to see Helena get so excited and remember Chendra!
Saturday morning we got up super early and headed out to the Balloon Festival at White Sands.  It was beautiful!  And truly so much fun and relaxed.  We brought a big blanket and just watched all the balloons.  The weather was perfect and I'm so glad we got to show Chendra such a beautiful sight!  That afternoon/evening I planned a date night for Chris and I!  How cool is it that the first non-family member to watch Bennett was the same as Helena?!  On Sunday we went and had a nice brunch in Cloudcroft, then came home at watched the Bronco game!  Monday we went to go see the largest pistacio and did the pistacio tour!  It was fun to do the tourist stuff.  Tuesday morning we said our good-byes.
I'm so thankful that she took the super long 550 mile drive to come visit us.  Chendra has truly become a member of our family.  All of us love her.  Spending good quality one on one time was such a pleasure.  I enjoyed getting to know her better, and I feel confident we will always keep in touch regardless of where we end up.  We've been so blessed since knowing her.  Helena loves her and now Bennett loves her.  She's starting nursing school soon, and I know she's going to be an amazing nurse!
Chendra, thank you thank you thank you!  Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule and life to come hang out with us in Southern New Mexico.  We appreciate and love you so much!!!