Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Evolution of Motherhood

When you first become a parent, you fret over EVERYTHING and buy only the best for your little peanut. We all know, the best usually means expensive. But, hey this is your baby and you aren't about to feed him just any formula or pureed food much less let him poop in less than stellar generic diapers or *gasp*, wear last seasons attire. You want new. Just because you are now a mom doesn't mean you can't be posh. Right? I mean really, what are the fellows mom's at the park going to say if you aren't tooting the latest, greatest diaper bag?

Then one day the double pink lines show up again and you find yourself the mother of two. Suddenly your whole philosophy changes. What once seemed to mean so much, you now realize was oh so frivolous. You realize that posh is not a necessity. You go from top of the line to practical and affordable. You gleefully accept those hand-me-downs from your friend, but mourn the day your daughter catches up to theirs, rendering your freebie exchange out of business. So you find yourself one day at Walmart picking out some really cute mix and match outifts (and wondering why they can't clothes in your size this comfortable). So what if the pants you bought for $3 a pop fall apart after about four months because she's grown out of them anyway. Oh yeah, and that car seat you need because your son isn't the requred 40lbs. and 4 years for a booster but your daughter, the chunky butt she is, has outgrown her carrier; your friend steps in and offers theirs because really it's just collecting dust anyway. OK, so the buckle mechanism is downright frustrating and REALLY annoying at times to put together. Enough to bring out the expletive spewing psycho inside of you, but hey, it works (and it's FREE). You recycle the sheets and sippy cups from your first child. Girls can like cars and trains too. Heck, my son eats off of pink plates and chooses the Disney Princess vitamins over Toy Story on occasion.

Throughout it all, you one hold out though. Your trusty Pampers diapers you've used for years, that have NEVER failed you. Even after your friends try to convince you generic is just as good. You have flashbacks to the brand you bought at the grocery store on a whim. Thinking it would save you a few bucks, but instead it increased your water bill with all the clean up you had due to your son pissing through, each and every one. No thanks, you tell them. I've been there done that and my pampers work just fine. Not going through that mistake again. They insist that Costco diapers are different and actually work. They aren't the first to insist this to you, but you are still skeptical. Then one day to prove it, one of your friends hands over a Costco brand diaper and says, TRY IT. It sits there, in your diaper bag for a few days. You stare at it wondering. Then a week goes by and finally you pull it out, thinking the blueberries you just fed your daughter that morning should really put this diaper to the test. Despite the fact that no exploding blueberry poo happened it did successfully hold in her pee. So it makes you wonder.

You grab the latest receipt from Target and calculate how much Pampers is worth per diaper. Including the $2 off coupons you get in the mail frequently. Needing to run some errands you decide to stop off at Costco on the way and price out their diapers. Your initial find is that it is only .20 cents difference. Thinking it would be more, you decide to stick to your brand. It's not a significant savings. Then your brilliant husband opens your eyes to the fact that .20 cents added up over a month, and even a year saves you a whopping $120.00! Really? OK. I'm sold.

In all your new, saving money is way more important than labels philosophy, you head back to Costco and pick up a box. While you're there you notice the box of wipes that are 900 count for only $20. What a steal, and yeah remember these puppies are even better than Pampers at getting out wine stains from your carpet. See here for that story.

And there you have it my friends. The simple evolution of motherhood. You live, you learn, and then you get realistic. Quite honestly, at the end of the day my kids don't care whether they are pooping in designer diapers (as a side note, can I just say, how ridiculous are those Huggies jeans diapers? I poo in blue. Seriously?), or that Mom uses a cheaper version of a designer diaper bag.

Update: as I am writing this post, my daughter has been dealing with a rash on her legs (well the back of her thighs near her butt). What I thought was probably just dry skin from going to the pool frequently or possibly eczema, cause she has it other places already, turns out to be a contact reaction (allergy). The doctors diagnosis? Must be the new diapers and wipes we've been using (cause that is the only change I can think of recently). Really? Seriously? Did he just tell me that my daughter is allergic to the way cheaper, generic diapers and I HAVE to go back to overpriced designer labels? *picture me banging my head against the table and weeping*

Update, update: I've said screw that. I'll just use the topical steroid medication we already use on her eczema and stick to my cheapo diapers. Thank you very much. I mean, they aren't scented or anything. So far it has seemed to clear up the rash pretty good. And I am crossing my fingers and hopeful. But seriously, leave it to my kids to be allergic to saving money.
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Friday, August 27, 2010

technical difficulties

The other day I watched as my daughter pushed her 36lb. brother around the house on our mater sit and push toy. I was amazed that she was strong enough to accomplish such a feat and rushed to grab my camera. Of course I wanted to document this momentous event. I got a few really cute ones and some action shots as well as a full minute of Sophie giggling with each step and push, and Mason exclaiming "Sophie's pushing me Mommy. She's strong." I couldn't help but smile the whole time. A somewhat rare but becoming a more common scene of these two getting along. The older she gets the more he is able to interact with her and vice versa.

I immediately thought to post the video to facebook. Wouldn't all my friends get a kick out of it? So I sat down at the table and hooked up the camera to my computer and waited. A few moments went by and iPhoto hadn't popped up. That's strange, I thought. So I checked my camera and it was turned off. Hmmm, did I forget to turn it on? So I just hit the power button again and the most horrifying words pop up on the LCD screen of my camera. No Image. Now picture me sitting there, eyes bugged out, mouth agape, frozen. What!? No image. That can't be right. Maybe they uploaded already and I missed it. Heart pounding, breath held, I click on the iPhoto window in my nav bar. Scroll down to the bottom and see no new photos. Shoot. Except I didn't say that word. Taking deep breaths I shut off the camera and unplug it from my computer, then plug it back in. Thinking this might help, praying and hoping this might help, and when I turn on my camera the photos will miraculously be there again. Still no image.


It finally sinks in. All the photos and video I had on my camera are lost. Gone forever. I feel that catch in my throat. Close my eyes and try to remember what photos were on there. The play area at Tysons Mall, Sophie at Gym class, the kids on mater today and something else. Something the other day......oh damnit why can't I remember? I feel the panic and the tears fall, splattering my keyboard in small drops as if in slow motion. Trying not to let the panic overcome me, I take my SD card out of my camera and rush downstairs.

Fred is working from home and I am not more thankful for that than today. I beg him to put the SD card in his computer and see if he can find anything. Nada. Being the awesome husband that he is, he searches to see if there is something we can do to restore the photos and downloads a program. After about an hour and not finding the photos we are about to give up when we try one more program and, Voila! There they are. I feel my heart leap, excited. Hopeful we figured this out until I realize the free version doesn't give you access to restore the photos. You have to actually purchase the program to do that and guess what, it ain't cheap. Something like $50 and with money tight right now Fred gives me the look of Sorry babe.

I understand. He says if the photos were of something important....and I agree with him. It's not the best time to be buying programs we may or may not have to ever use again just for some photos that can honestly be reproduced (not exactly. But we still have two more gym classes left, and visit the play area on occasion and really would my kids disappoint by not pushing each other on Mater again? I think not.) though, on the inside I argue that they are important because they show our everyday, what are lives are right now. Moments we won't remember years from now. Still I accept the fate of my lost treasures, think of how to replace them with new, similar memories and silently but sadly mourn their loss.

I figured out that my battery, being low (though I never got the low batter indicator), sort of died on my camera after I plugged it into my computer. And if your camera is turned off mid upload (read/write process) guess what happens?

Sometimes I really hate technology.
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Saturday, August 21, 2010

What's the newest hip jargon now? Oh yeah, Epic Fail.

So I just have to say that being the newest member to the mothers of preschoolers club really sucks. This is brand new territory for which I am not prepared. And after my performance so far, I wouldn't be surprised if I got kicked out of the club.

At the beginning of the month we received the welcome packet for the 2010-2011 school year. In said packet was a wealth of information from carpool guidelines to his class schedule, as well as a letter regarding parent involvement committees. I read everything, noting important dates on the calendar such as; orientation, first day of school, back to school and the PCC social. Apparently I didn't pay attention to dates enough.

I received an email from Mason's school on Thursday reminding me that the information sheet and Health forms were due back to the school on August 20th. Augsust 2oth? That is....oh crap. That's tomorrow. So what do I do? Dash to the library where important papers are kept and realize that I do not have his health form filled out or signed by his doctor. At this point I am banging my head against the table, wall, computer, really any object I can find hoping that maybe it will miraculously knock not only some intelligence back into my brain but also help me come up with some solution to this now looming problem.

Do I call our pediatrician at his house tonight and beg him to sign the papers? No, that would be rude and a violation of our friendship with his family. I'll just call the office tomorrow and cross my fingers that can fit us in to their schedule to sign.

On the phone in the morning, the receptionist sounded promising that if I got in ASAP that it would be able to be signed. So hop in the car and dash down the street to our PED's office and drop of the form. However the receptionist I came into contact with there seemed to give me the look of; seriously, you're that mom?, when I mentioned that the form was due today, and then subsequently informed me that she didn't think it'd be ready. I just wanted to look back at her and say sarcastically; yeah, I'm that mom, who in the midst of raising my two children while simultaneously running a household is overworked and tends to overlook things at times. Dude this stuff happens, you can't tell me I'm the first mother in history to rush into this office last minute begging to have a medical form signed for school.

Luckily I have an awesome pediatrician and got a phone call two hours later letting me know it was signed. Back in the car, pick up the papers while expressing my gratitude, race over to Mason's school and hand in the paperwork. ON TIME. And really the admin at the desk didn't even blink when she saw me come in, paperwork in hand. She just looked it over to make sure everything was done and thanked me kindly. Yeah, I knew I wasn't the only parent to have a massive brain fart over necessary forms due throughout the school year. Still I walked away thinking, perfect first impression Rachel. That will really win you a spot on the PCC committee. Cause every parent/teacher group is looking for a member who procrastinates, turning in EVERYTHING last minute.


Now I'm thinking of a better system and more visible place for all of the preschool "stuff" that will be sure to multiply over the school year. Cause if I don't get my ass in gear, this is going to be one LONG first year of school.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

Poster Child.

Yeah it's been quite a year. In terms of my body. I know what I am about to divulge might be a delicate subject to most of my readers. However, with what I have read on other blogs, message boards and in general conversation regarding this subject; it seems to be a growing trend. 

It was last year, oh sometime in October I think, that I walked into my OB/GYN's office and had the copper Mirena IUD inserted. 

Now I was no dummy. I did the research. I read the typical pamphlets, listened to my obstetrician, and perused the internet for others experiences. I read the many terrifying accounts of women who, Oh My God, recounted the experience as MORE PAINFUL THAN LABOR. Yet, I filled out that form and paid my $500 trying to only think about the period free days, months and years I was promised. 

Sitting there in the all too familiar waiting room, I nervously awaited my name to be called. Trying hard not to think about all the horrible things that might happen, and the pain. Oh the pain. 

"Rachel Briggs?"

That's me. Oh wait, I could just pretend I didn't hear that and let them think I wasn't me. Except all the nurses know who I am. It is a rather small practice. So in I went. Remembering to take deep breaths. It felt like an eternity waiting for the doctor to arrive, sitting there in that gown, all exposed and vulnerable. 

I was meeting her for the first time as my regular OB/GYN does not do the insertion of IUDs. But she was easy to talk to, nice, friendly demeanor. And talk I did. I was so nervous, I didn't shut up. Talking about life, my kids, on and on until she said, "ok, that's it. We're done."  Huh, what? I was so confused because I didn't feel a damn thing. There was no way it could be over. Where was the worse than anything I've ever felt, grab the table screaming like a banshee and then throw up, pain? Shocked, I admitted my childish fears about what I'd heard. She was sympathetic, letting me know that yes, some women experience pain but me; I am "the poster child for Mirena."

I walked out of there relieved for having felt no pain, cramping or other symptoms described in the many message boards and blogs I read. Sweet! This Mirena thing is the best decision I ever made. What was I so worried about? Life is gonna be awesome from now on. Then I got my first period after having the IUD inserted, and my love affair with Mirena ended. 

All I can say is at least something ended because my period; not so much. Constant spotting in between the heavy cycles I normally experience. After a few months I was convinced it would never stop and I'd bleed for the rest of my life. I kept joking with friends, no wonder you don't get pregnant on Mirena. You can't have sex in order to become pregnant because you're bleeding ALL THE TIME! That's how it works. Approximately five months I endured this inconvenience, always praying that maybe this time it would end. And one day it did. 

I don't remember the exact date, I just remember noticing that I hadn't had my period or spotting in a really long time. Hallelujah! I've enjoyed this new state of period free life for four glorious months and felt less regretful about my decision. No more worrying about what color pants to wear, no more changing plans because so sorry kids there is no way in hell mommy is getting in that water when she is hemorrhaging between her legs. No more pads and tampons to inconspicuously hide in my diaper bag, or back pocket for those frequent trips to the bathroom. No sir, I am living the high life and not looking back. Quite honestly menstruation is by far my least favorite thing about being a woman. Even though it gave me my two wonderfully, beautiful children. I'd really rather just have it gone all together. 

So imagine my complete and utter disappointment when yesterday, I got my period. 
What the....!? Yeah, just about every expletive word I could think of came flying out of my mouth. I've been racking my brain, trying to come up with reason why this happened; I started exercising. I mean really exercising, intentionally, on the elliptical for 45 minutes a day. I started taking naproxen twice a day, per my primary care physicians orders, for the pain in my shoulder that has lasted more than two weeks. The planets Venus and Jupiter are aligned and my cosmic karma is biting me in the ass, hard. No, seriously though, I can't seem to come up with something that totally makes sense as to why after FOUR MONTHS of nothing, my period would suddenly show up. NO WARNING!!

Frantic and frustrated, I broke down and called my OB/GYN's office praying they'd have the answers. But all they could give me was the advice to wait a month and see what happens because they couldn't do anything for me right now. And my exercise didn't seem to be excessive enough to cause major change in my menstrual cycle. I even went back through the literature and NO WHERE DOES IT SAY, OR EVEN SLIGHTLY MENTION, YOUR PERIOD MIGHT RETURN AFTER YOU HAVE ENJOYED IT'S BLISSFUL ABSENCE. Not a single sentence, or reference in any of the pages or their website. So I turned to the only thing I had left, google. And guess what I found? Other people having the same questions and similar experiences. Though a lot seemed to have worse experiences.  I suppose I should be grateful that I still have all my hair, I'm not experiencing pain or cramping, and don't have mood swings from hell (at least not caused by my IUD). Maybe I've been experiencing a lack in sex drive that others have claimed is a cause of Mirena. Or it could be the two kids I spend ALL DAY raising, but who is really placing blame here anyway.

I don't want to freak anyone out. Honestly I'm not at the point of regretting my decision. I mean, I am probably the worst at remembering to take a pill every night, much less at the same time each night. Add mommy brain to that and I'm hopeless. I might as well just pop out the third kid right now. Plus I have really enjoyed the four months of not worry about bleeding. The best part is I've had no migraines. Is the timing of this unexpected return less than stellar? Yes. Will it be a huge inconvenience if it doesn't go away by the time our beach trip arrives? Yes. But as my husband likes to tell me, there isn't anything I can do about it so why dwell and stress. It is what it is and we'll deal with it the best we can. Besides there is hope. Most people who experienced this said that their period returned only for a short time, didn't last long and then was gone again for months on end. The constant spotting on the first 3-6 months seems to be usual and due to the lining of the uterus thinning out, which results in the blissdom of little to no periods some of us experience. So yeah, it's par for the course. Am I worried something more serious might be causing this sudden onset of bleeding? Sure. Could it be the sudden taking of medication? And might it stop once I stop taking said medicine? Probably. But I'm not a doctor, I can only speculate and why spend the next month freaking out over something I have no control over at the moment? (Cause that's what I do. I am a woman.) I am trying not to and instead focuses on the fact that others have been there done that in this situation and got through it. And somehow for now, that seems enough.

Mostly I just wanted to say, yeah I'm left with questions and not exactly in the most ideal situation that I dreamed of when I first signed up for this IUD, but my experience seems to be fairly normal, if not better than most. I'm not ready to yank mine out. Not yet. I'll give it the month suggested by my OB/GYN. Would I recommend it? Sure. If you are like me and can't remember to take a pill every day. If you don't like using condoms and are not yet ready to make anything permanent and are willing to deal with a few months and possibly days intermittent of inconvenience for the overall joy of not worrying if you washed your black underwear and pants cause today is out for the white you normally wear. Or stopping mid romance to search for that one condom you swear you still have, where is it damn it? If that is you, yeah I'd get it. 

If you have been experience the same situation and are left wondering just like me, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I hope this gives you some peace of mind, some comfort and eases your fears. If you've been there, done that, maybe this will inspire you to tell your experience to help someone with theirs. And if you're still reading my blog after this, thanks.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Earth to Rachel...

It's been one of those weeks.

You know, when your son acts up, refusing to listen to you and has your sanity hanging by a thread. When your daughter is starting to have tantrums at the age of one. ONE! And you are ripping out your hair because she doesn't have a vocabulary yet so you don't know why she is throwing said tantrum. At least not entirely. Usually it has something to do with some toy or food she wants and she either can't get it or it was taken away. And you just want to say to her suck it up, kiddo.

A week when you had to bail out on a fun playdate at the water park because you felt it was a good lesson to teach your child, that if he doesn't behave and listen to mommy, there are consequences and they hurt. And even after the few tears shed on his part, he continues to act like the spoiled brat you swore you'd never raise.

A week that you just want to hide in a deep dark hole, but know errands need to be done. And even though you dread to be seen in public with what you consider to be the spawn of hell, you venture out and pray that you get your list checked off one by one with as little pain as possible.

However, amidst all the whining and pleading and you praying to god to just get you through the day, you happen to do the unthinkable. Totally distracted, you carefully put your sleeping baby in the car, hoping she doesn't wake up. Through clinched teeth tell your son if he wakes his sister their will be blood. Look at the sky and think to yourself, we better get going before it starts to rain. Cause that's really what I need, for it to rain right now. So quietly you get into the car, buckle your seat belt (so we can be safe) and drive off. Leaving your double stroller sitting in the parking lot. Only you don't realize this till you are a few miles, a million stop lights and one store away. The car is parked, you are walking to the back, reaching into the trunk only to see it empty. Where's the stroller? Then it dawns on you, and you have that moment when everything is slow motion. Your eyes roll up before you close them, scrunching up your face and and out it bursts. Oh. Shit.

Yeah that was me. Putting the pedal to the metal, tailgating, screaming at the drivers actually going the speed limit, screaming at my kids, praying over and over please let it be there, please god please. Thankful for not getting pulled over by a cop for speeding and lucky that my Graco Quattro Duo Stroller was sitting on the sidewalk next to the building as I sped, tires squealing, into the parking lot. Hallelujah!

Quickly I jumped out of the car, grabbed the stroller, giving it the once over before making sure it actually made its way into my van. The whole time thanking the lord a million times over because damn it, that sucker was expensive.

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Do not pass go, Do not collect $200....

I really don't know how all these mommy scrappers do it. Maybe they are more disciplined and organized? Maybe their kids are way older than mine? Maybe they have help, like a babysitter or nanny, that comes a few days a week? Whatever it is that gets their creativity flowing and producing, I don't have it.

After months of a major dry spell in creating layouts or even stepping foot in my craft room, I decided to take a day and actually GET SOMETHING DONE. Put pen to paper, decide on a design, print pictures, adhere paper... just do something. ANYTHING. Feel productive. But alas once again, all I managed to accomplish was to backup the most recent uploaded photos to my external hard drive and get totally and absolutely frustrated. Frustrated with my son for not taking his nap and interrupting my focus with, can you help me cut this paper? Mommy, I need these stickers. Mommy, the thunderstorm is bothering me. Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!! Frustrated with my lack of direction and inability to commit. Frustrated with perfectionism. Frustrated with my time management skills. Frustrated with having all these ideas and stories in my head and not being able to translate them onto a single layout.

Maybe I'm just at a point where my creativity is tapped out, dry, in desperate need for some hydration. Or maybe I just need to figure out how to relax and stop over thinking everything and doubting myself and just do it for god's sake! Or Maybe I need to just wait till my kids are both fully in school. Or never attempt to scrapbook during naptime and only late at night when I know everyone is asleep and won't be interrupted by nagging children, husbands and the phone ringing off the hook.

If you are a mom (or dad) of young children and have a hobby, like scrapbooking, but not necessarily my particular hobby; how do you do it? How do you find the time and how do you not go CRAZY when it all goes to shit?
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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Holy *#$@

Photo Credit: FitSugar
You know it's bad when you feel like you are going to pass out after two minutes on the elliptical machine you inherited from your dear friends who moved.

I knew that I haven't been working out lately, been kinda lazy really, but figured I kept some sort of stamina, chasing two children (both of whom are now walking) around day in and day out. Clearly, I was proven wrong tonight.

No wonder my body has been falling apart these last few weeks! Guess I'll have to work that much harder to get ready for the beach. In oh, 4 weeks. Yikes!
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