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The Third Trimester–The Final Frontier…And Eva

“These are the voyages of the starship” of a pregnant, crabby woman.

Ah hem.  Excuse me, my nerd was hanging out.  For those of you that had a life in the nineties, I am referencing the show Star Trek: The Next Generation.  I even recently taught my non-Trekkie husband “ugly bags of mostly water” is a great summary of a human one does not like.  But, back to the point of this post, if there is one.

My pregnancy app beeped at me yesterday to inform me that I have officially entered the third trimester of pregnancy.  I informed my husband later that evening that we had entered the third trimester, and he should really begin to give me many more massages.  So far, results have varied.  My husband showed me a meme on Facebook that summed up the three trimesters of pregnancy as:

1. I want to vomit!

2. Awww baby kicks!

3. Get this thing out of me now!

I haven’t (let me knock on some wood real fast before I finish this thought) reached the point where I am ready to get this baby out yet, but I am definitely getting uncomfortable.  My sacrum or sacroiliac joint on the left side is freaking out daily.  Yoga is still the only thing that seems to help.

The gestational diabetes has been interesting so far.  I am just as frequently too high as I am too low.  I have all the right foods and I am eating them, despite craving ice cream like crazy.  Eva has been the best part about this pregnancy (well, you know, other than my baby I am carrying).  She is so involved in the growth and development and all things baby.  It is nice to see her taking it all so naturally and with grace.  I hope that continues when there is a screaming baby in the house.  I want to share some Eva-isms that have popped up concerning my pregnancy.

I set an alarm on my phone for an hour after I have finished breakfast and lunch so I can see how my blood sugar is affected by certain foods.  Eva, my six-year-old, has gotten so used to this that she usually calls it right before the alarm goes off.  One slight hiccup is that she usually tells me it is time to check my blood pressure, not my blood sugar.  She somehow thinks they are the same and will not hear any arguments to the contrary.

I keep calling Eva my little know-it-all because she continues to instruct me in all things pregnancy.  I have been sharing with her the weekly video updates from my pregnancy app.  It covers everything from how the baby is developing this week to what I should expect as far as discomfort goes.  It even mentions things like not to worry if I hear an irregular heartbeat for the baby in the next few weeks because this is common in a developing heart.  Last week, as I was complaining to my husband about my sacrum pain, Eva reminded me that this pain was to be expected and the best solution was to stretch and participate in some moderate exercise.  She definitely had a I’m-smart-and-you’re-an-amateur tone to her words.  I just raised an eyebrow and turned to look at my husband who was trying very hard without much success to hide his smile and snickers, and then I continued my conversation.

At our last trip to a maternity clothing store, as we were checking out, Eva went over and grabbed one more item.  She was trying to get me to purchase one of the pregnancy pillows that is curved at the top and the bottom.  Again, my app suggested a body pillow would be a good idea.

Eva has now began to try to use my stethoscope to listen to the baby.  She is trying desperately to find his heart beat, or hear him kicking or flailing or anything.  Every once in a while, he will hit the stethoscope causing some noise, which she chooses to interpret as her baby brother being playful.

This morning, she got up, went to the bathroom, then crawled into my bed to snuggle for a bit before getting up.  She scooted close and then placed her hand on my belly.  She used the other hand to begin to poke (mostly gently) my belly.  She volunteered that she was trying to get her brother to kick so she could feel him.  She was successful, too.

Later in the afternoon, she asked me to lift my shift up so she could see my belly.  I reluctantly complied.  She then signaled my husband and both of them looked very eager.  It is usually a bad sign when they are conspiring together.  My husband then pulled out a flashlight and turned it on.  They pressed the flashlight to my belly and asked me to point out the baby’s current location.  They moved the flashlight a little closer and then sure enough, the baby began kicking.  They could see my belly moving, and they both giggled.  Eva had initiated this scheme when she informed my husband that the baby should be able to discern light from darkness at this point.

Eva informed me that I am stretching out my yoga ball when i sit on it.  She hastily added that it was just because the baby is making me so big.  Sigh.  She has said this now several times.  Mostly because she really likes my yoga ball and she is concerned I’m going to make it lopsided.

She has/had strep throat earlier in the week.  She seems to be recovering quite well, thankfully.  Amazing what antibiotics can do for a girl.  As she was feeling so incredibly miserable, she said at one point that she was very glad her brother wasn’t here yet because she would hate to see him so sick.  She is so sweet.  There is just no other way to say it.

To help her keep track of how long it takes for a baby to grow and develop over 40 weeks, we made a construction paper chain back when we still had a little over 200 days to go until due date.  She continues to tear a link off the chain every day to keep track of the days.  When we made the chain, we could stretch it out across two-thirds the length of our apartment.  Now it is about nine feet long.  We have 93 more days until the due date.

The chain at the end of August

The chain at the end of August

I am so thankful that Eva is so happy to have a little brother on the way.  I made sure by saying the words out loud that she knew that by having a baby I wasn’t going to love her any less or any differently.  I have made a conscious effort to make her feel involved in baby-related things, like the gift registry and ultrasound appointments.  She is the one who got to announce to Facebook via photos that we are expecting and later the gender (she reveled in that one because it involved a balloon and a box).  I have made sure to share with her baby kicks as soon as they could be seen and felt.  I show her the videos on the pregnancy app (which has been a blessing and a curse).  She even got to contribute to the pool of names from which we chose his name.  I have said the words to her that babies need a lot of care and attention, and they do not operate on the same schedule as the rest of us.  This was my attempt to prepare her to share her mother and to be more flexible with her schedule.  I will keep saying these words to her, too.  Now I just pray that I have done everything I can to prepare her for the shift a little brother will bring to her life.

My Mother, My Nurse

I remember being so sick multiple times as a child, always with the same ailment.  Streptococcal pharyngitis, or strep throat, was the bane of my existence at those times.  I would get it every three to six months from around age four until I was about ten, if my memory serves me right.  I wonder now if they should have removed my tonsils, or if that would have made any difference at all.  I remember laying on our couch, motionless except for the moments my mother made me drink something or get up to use the bathroom.  I think she used these moments as an assessment tool to see if it was time to go to the ER.  Luckily, we never had to go.  I remember her best friend coming over and trying to comfort me, but it was just too painful to even tell her thank you.  I remember laying in the back seat of our Ford Escort, dressed in layers and covered up, my head on a pillow, as my mom drove my oldest brother four hours away from our home back to college after Christmas break.  I slept quite a bit on that trip, seeing Chicago only in an inverted view through the small window at my head as I lay there miserable, picturing my little antibodies fighting the strep.  I had seen the cartoon depiction of the first time someone was treated for rabies or some such nonsense, and it showed white blood cells as white knights riding to fight the rabies virus.  It stuck in my mind.

My poor mother couldn’t do anything to help me other than take me to the doctor and wait for the antibiotics to kick in.  She was, still is, a very squeamish lady.  Each illness I’m sure tested her and pushed her limits.  Trips to the doctor were comical, now that I look back.  At the time, each trip to see the doctor was a battle of wills.  I had already had my throat swabbed so many times by the time I was five, that by age six I wasn’t having it.  It was so painful, and I did not enjoy being gagged.  The nurses would always try to do it as quick as possible, but the quick method was actually much more painful for me.  I remember arguing with the nurse around age six or seven, telling her to give me the swab and a mirror and I would do it myself.  My mom wasn’t even in the room by this point because as soon as they said strep test she looked like she was going to faint.  The nurse finally compromised with me by letting me hold on to her hand as she did it.  My mother rejoined me and we waited while they checked the swab, tears silently streaming down my face because I was again sick and I was so incredibly miserable.  I never made noise when I cried.  It used to bother my mother so much because she wouldn’t be able to tell I was crying unless she was looking at me.  It’s not like I would tell her I was crying.  What was the point?  I was miserable and she couldn’t fix it.  The test that day came back positive for strep, as it always did when I felt that way.  Off to the pharmacy we would go.  I learned to swallow pills at a fairly young age because I could not stand liquid medication.  It wasn’t about taste for me; it was the texture.  I generally gagged and threw up all the antibiotic on the first try.  Another trial for my mother.  I don’t remember her getting angry with me over this except for once, but that was probably because I was pushing the issue.  I just wasn’t going to take it until I was good and ready.  I didn’t usually draw lines in the sand with my mom.  I loved her, and she was so good to me so I hated to disappoint her.  When I was sick, though, all bets were off.

I remember when I was about nine years old, and we changed doctors for some reason.  My mother took me to a doctor with a name I couldn’t even pronounce for a well visit.  The well visit went just fine, except that I could not understand the man at all.  He would speak to me, asking me a question, and I would look to my mother to translate before answering.  He was obviously frustrated with me by the end of the appointment, but I had never once met anyone with an accent that couldn’t be classified as a Southern drawl.  The next time we went, I was sick.  I informed my mother I had strep again so she had made the appointment and we went.  While we were there, the doctor said a lot of things I didn’t understand followed by two words that couldn’t have been more clear–strep test.  I stopped him mid-stride toward the door by saying his name (with poor pronunciation, I’m sure).  He turned and smiled at me, seemingly pleased that I was taking the direct approach in this visit.  I very calmly informed him that I would not be allowing a strep test to be performed and that he should take my word for it that I had strep.  He looked stunned.  I feel bad for him looking back now.  I’m not sure what I would have done in his shoes, but he stuttered for a moment before calmly bowing his head toward me in acknowledgement and leaving the room.  His nurse returned a moment later with a prescription for antibiotics.  I couldn’t believe my mother wasn’t angry with me for being so rude, but she seemed almost amused by me.  Looking back, I’m sure she was trying her best not to laugh.  She wasn’t any more eager to see them do a strep test than I was to receive a strep test.

All of these thoughts and memories are running through my mind tonight as I sit watch over my Eva.  She is so very sick.  She has a fever that has to be tackled with both acetaminophen and ibuprofen.  She started feeling poorly last night just before bed.  She declared that her throat hurt.  There was no sign of a fever or runny nose, but her throat hurt enough that she asked for some medicine.  Around six this morning, she woke me up by laying her head on my side.  She didn’t even need to speak because I could feel the heat radiating off of her in waves.  I told her to meet me in the kitchen, and off she went as I played turtle-on-its-back trying to get out of bed to follow her.  In case you aren’t familiar with this game, it is a pastime enjoyed by pregnant women everywhere around the six month mark until the end of pregnancy.  Eva paused on the way to the kitchen, finding her dinosaurs had made a mess (you can read about that here in case you are thoroughly confused).  She giggled slightly and then made sure I saw them, too.  We then continued to the kitchen where I took her temperature, which was at a horrible 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and promptly administered ibuprofen.  She returned to snuggle with me in my room, which was fine by me because I wanted to keep an eye on her until her temperature started to come down.  Then when her fever had only slightly reduced to 102.6 by 7:30 am, I gave her some acetaminophen as well.

I hate when Eva is so sick.  She doesn’t get this sick very often, but when she does it just hurts my heart.  My husband feels the same way.  He was ready to stay home from work even though he knew I would be here with her.  He even asked me if he needed to come home early.  He worries about her, too, which makes me love him even more.  Poor Eva laid on the couch all day, only moving when I made her for food or drink or bathroom, reminding me of the times that I felt the same way.  She didn’t eat much, turning down my offer of ice cream even.  She also said next year she would gladly get a flu shot if it meant she never felt this sick again.  This is so huge for her because she takes after my mother–she is terribly squeamish and absolutely petrified of needles in any form.  She squeals every time I check my blood sugar if she happens to be in the room.  We have been able to keep her drinking and keep her peeing and keep all her medicine down to keep the fever controlled, so far (I am rapidly knocking on wood right now, as quietly as possible so I don’t wake her) with only one incident of vomiting.  My fingers are crossed that this continues throughout the night.

Being the mom instead of the patient is quite different, for sure.  But, being the mom to my little patient has sure made me so much more appreciative of my mom.  She might have been squeamish, but she did the best she could for us.  She loved us and it showed in everything she did.  She was a stay at home mom, despite being a very capable and highly valued employee.  I remember thinking with pride that my mom was good at her job, but she chose to stay with me instead.  It wasn’t just me, it was my brothers, too, but we all know how self-centric the world seems at a young age.  I’m so grateful to my dad for working so hard, so much to give me my mom all the time.  It wasn’t easy for them, that is for sure.  I remember several different periods of time in which we didn’t have a car except for the one my father used for work.  I remember lean Christmases that probably made my mother cry, not that I would have ever seen it.  I remember, too, that we never missed a meal.  There might have been days or weeks or months that they worried about making a house payment or keeping the electric on, but I never would have known it by the way my mother acted.  I wonder now how often my mother felt panic, not just about bills, but about all kinds of things, like when I was sick.  She never let on, but I’m sure she panicked every once in a while when I was so so sick.

Earlier, after Eva had vomited, her fever seemed to take on a life of its own.  It was obviously increasing.  Her skin was mottled with angry red areas that looked closer to a sunburn than anything else.  I knew I had to get some fluid in her quickly to get her fever down or else we would be on our way to the hospital.  She hasn’t drank a lot today, so she didn’t have much to spare.  All the liquid left that wasn’t accounted for had come back up when she threw up.  So, with a lot of urging, I got her to drink quite a bit of water.  She wasn’t the most willing patient ever, but she did it anyway.  After five minutes, her temperature had not dropped.  At the seven minute mark, it was still sitting around 103, but my mother’s touch knew it was higher than that.  I knew we were approaching the 104 mark.  I felt a bubble of panic start to well its way up as I continued to encourage her to drink, waiting for her temperature to start to decrease.

Just as I was about to call to my husband who was in the other room dealing with household chores I had ignored in favor of watching my patient closely, she began to itch.  With the itching came an even more brilliant flush to her skin on her cheeks, neck, stomach and back.  The panic then really and truly forced its way to the surface.  I leaned over to touch her forehead as I opened my mouth to call to my husband.  Before any sound filled my throat, though, I realized she actually felt cooler.  Dare I say, she even felt a bit sweaty!  I’m withholding my glee for now and replacing it with a wait and see attitude.  Her little body appears to be adjusting its inflammatory response appropriately at the moment.  All my prayers are up that it continues to do so.

My precious Eva is snoring away on the couch right now as I type this.  Any variation in her breathing has me pausing to stare intently at her until her breathing returns to the natural rhythm of a sleeping child.  I look at her, and I wonder about my mother who was my nurse for so many years.  Did she know how miserable I was every time I had strep?  I didn’t complain about it.  I didn’t whine.  At most, I would lay there silently crying when I thought no one was looking.  Did she know?  How did she manage to give me my space and allow me to deal with my illness in my own way?  Did it bother her I didn’t reach out to her when I was sick?  I guess I will have to ask her one of these days.  How will I ever live up to the standard that she set for me as a mom?  She had her flaws, for sure, as we all do.  But she really did show us that she loved us in everything she did, even when she had to discipline us.  I hope I can be as amazing.  She carries on with her amazing-ness as a grandma even.

This evening, my mother stopped by with new markers and a coloring poster for Eva to work on as she convalesces.  I had told my mother this morning about Eva’s illness, knowing she would be very sympathetic to “the girl”, as my parents call her.  I used to be “the girl”,  That had been my official title for most of my life.  It is only fitting that this title was passed along to Eva shortly after she was born.  Now, my parents call me mom.  My mom also dropped off a card for me.  I didn’t open it until she left, and I’m glad because it brought tears to my eyes.  The card said that she is grateful that I share my life and my family with her and my father and that she can’t wait to meet my son once he is born and watch him grow.  She said that looking at the woman and mother I have become makes her realize that all the dreams she had for me as a child are real and living in me right now.  She said she was proud of me.  Now, how do I tell her I am proud of her, too?  She gave me every tool I needed to be a great mom.  Anything I am is because of her.  I hope now that someday Eva can say the same.

It’s time to check her temperature again.  Fingers crossed she sleeps right through.

Her alligator looks like he bit off more than he can chew.

Christmas Tradition

As anyone who is a regular reader here has probably already figured out, we are a little outside of the range of normal is many aspects.  By we, I mean us, my family and myself.  We spend most of our holidays traveling from one grandparents’ house to the next, or at least we have up to this point in our lives as a family.  I think next year we might be starting new traditions that include a lot of staying home and inviting grandparents to come to us.  While this is the holiday tradition (all the traveling back and forth) that is pretty typical for most U.S. families, we have another tradition I would like to share.  We don’t have an elf on a shelf; we have dinosaurs causing trouble.

Every year, beginning sometime in December, my daughter Eva’s plastic dinosaurs come to life.  They have a mind of their own, and they are always causing trouble.  She wakes up on random days in December to find that her dinosaurs were up to no good while we slept the night away.  Last year, I distinctly remember the dinosaurs got in our fridge and pulled out some veggies and some lunch meat.  They made a mess with the food!  Luckily, they remembered to shut the fridge at least.  A few days after that, Eva woke up to find that they had been taking a bubble bath in the bathroom sink.  There was water and bubbles everywhere, and one dinosaur was wrapped in toilet paper.  Another was suspended by the toilet paper, while yet another had obviously thoroughly enjoyed himself while shredding a few squares of the TP.  Their mischief continued throughout the month, the pinnacle of their mischief occurring on Christmas eve.  Eva woke up to find that the dinosaurs had partially opened one of her Christmas presents, and that her T-rex had tried eating some of the tree ornaments.

This year, the mischief has just begun.  I just happened to notice some mischief had occurred as I was getting ready for bed.  In Eva’s play room, I found quite a mess.

The dinosaurs had taken over her grocery store

The dinosaurs had taken over her grocery store.

Her alligator looks like he bit off more than he can chew.

Her alligator looks like he bit off more than he can chew.

Each dinosaur appears disappointed with the food this year.

Each dinosaur appears disappointed with the food this year.

T-Rex is either trying to climb (unsuccessfully) or he is trying to tear things apart.  I'm just glad he isn't taking his frustration out on his herbivore friends.

T-Rex is either trying to climb (unsuccessfully) or he is trying to tear things apart. I’m just glad he isn’t taking his frustration out on his herbivore friends.

This little flyer right here seems to be the key to the plan for tonight.  He flew up to the top and secured a rope for the others to climb to reach the food.  Obviously someone has managed to knock a lot of the food out of the bins for everyone to eat.

This little flyer right here seems to be the key to the plan for tonight. He flew up to the top and secured a rope for the others to climb to reach the food. Obviously someone has managed to knock a lot of the food out of the bins for everyone to eat.

It is possible that this little gal right here is the mastermind, except she appears to be stuck in the rope while trying to liberate that carrot.

It is possible that this little gal right here is the mastermind, except she appears to be stuck in the rope while trying to liberate that carrot.

I’m sure Eva will give them a stern talking-to when she wakes up in the morning, as is tradition.  She gets very frustrated with their inability to clean up after themselves!

As much as I would love to say I’m this creative to have thought of this on my own, I’m not.  I originally read a blog about another set of parents with some very naughty dinosaurs.  You can read that blog here.  My favorite picture of Refe’s (the author of the post I just linked) is the picture of the dinosaurs taking a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle hostage and making him sweat.  

A Girl’s Best Friend (If She Has Gestational Diabetes)

I have been working on figuring out this whole gestational diabetes thing.  It has been pretty simple so far, luckily.  I have had a hard time finding snacks to add to my diet that are about 22 grams of carbohydrates.  So, this weekend I tried something new.  I purchased some frozen Greek yogurt that contained 18 grams of carbohydrates to replace any ice cream cravings I may get.  The result is delicious!

Allow me to introduce my new best friend!

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Now, if my local grocer just carried it in chocolate all my dreams would come true…well, the most important one anyway.

We Made It To Double Digits

My pregnancy app informed me this morning that we have 99 days remaining until my due date!  99 days seem like a blink of an eye compared to the 240ish that popped up when I originally downloaded the app.  I know that for babies, due dates are very negotiable.  I don’t have a single niece or nephew that stuck to the due date deadline, and I have a lot of nieces and nephews (23 to be exact). 

Beginning today, I plan to spend the remaining 99 days, more or less, completing a baby-related task each day.  There will be some stretching and some squatting every single day, but I will start doing other things like going through the mountain of baby clothes my brother found and purchased as an entire lot.  Today, I’m going to complete my baby registry, come hell or high water.  I’m also going to make sure I get lots of one-on-one time with Eva as she enters her final days of being the only kid in the house.  I guess I should try to get some one-on-one time with my husband, too.

So, here we go!  Three months and nine days…that doesn’t seem like a very long wait.  I’m sure I will be singing a different tune when this kid is in my ribs making me miserable in a couple of weeks.

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20 Days into my 100 Day Challenge

mindyminix:

I am reblogging for my own reference. I have been using prenatal yoga and it has made quite a difference in helping my sciatic pain and lower back pain. I also feel like it is helping prepare my body for later stages of pregnancy and labor.

Originally posted on Cultivating Habits:

Yesterday marked day 20 of my current 100 day challenge: to stay active in the final days of my pregnancy.  I’m happy to report that I did something every day and have continued to keep myself accountable by making daily videos.

In these last ten days I have stepped into my third trimester!  I’m probably going to say this at every update, but I really can’t get over how fast time is flying.  I’m getting so excited to meet him!

Also, baby has been kicking like crazy this week!!  He’s getting bigger and I can feel his kicks getting stronger and stronger.  Danny’s been giving him stern talking tos about repeatedly kicking me in my right side, which do not seem to be helping.  It’s funny, at first I was so excited about every little kick, now it’s more like, OK baby…that’s enough now :)  This doesn’t mean I’m not…

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YouTube + Childbirth = Oh my…

In an effort to prepare my brain for birth (I don’t visualize very well, which you can read here), I have been watching birth videos on YouTube.  Now, don’t scold me, I realize that this isn’t the most ideal way to educate myself about labor and delivery.  I even feel bad for watching some of these because all I can think is even if these women didn’t feel the need to protect their privacy, I should at least respect their privacy by not watching.  But, I watch anyway.  In my defense, I would like to point several things out: 1.) I’m not squeamish, not even a little bit, 2.) again, my brain can’t visualize unless it has something real it can recall, and 3.) I have never seen a woman give birth, including myself.

How many times have you seen a woman give birth?  I’m not talking about a quick shot of a mother’s face as she is pushing in a fictional situation such as on TV or in a movie.  I’m talking about the real deal, the nitty-gritty, blood and fluids and exclamations of pain, a baby is coming out of that lady’s formerly tiny orifice labor and delivery type birth.  Before a few weeks ago, I had never seen a birth that showed anything below the waist.  Now, before all the pregnant women reading this go to YouTube and start watching, I have a few more things to say about what I have learned through this process.  Hopefully my trial and error process will benefit someone.

1. Be prepared to see poop.  What else do I need to say about that?

2. Look for the type of birth you want to have.  I just searched for birth and started watching the first result.  I then watched the next, and the next, and the next result.  All of these that I watched had one thing in common that I have no desire to emulate–every woman was pushing her little heart out laying flat on her back.  I want to use gravity to my advantage, especially when it comes time for the baby to descend and come out!  Lord only knows if I will still feel this way when the time comes, but I wanted to see how delivery would work in a different position.  So, I changed my search to natural birth to see what I would find.  Boy, I tell you what, I found some stuff alright!  But, moving on…

3. Good luck getting your husband/partner to watch with you!  I was determined that my husband needs to watch these videos, too, so he could prepare to help me with labor and delivery.  He hates reading, he doesn’t want me to read to him, and we won’t be taking any classes.  What other option is left?  I figured I would educate him visually!  Yeah, that isn’t going to happen.  He made it about 15 seconds in before turning pale, making some indiscernible exclamation combined with a gagging sound, then turning his back to the screen.

4. Make this watching process part of an overall goal.  It made it less awful to watch with a goal in mind.  My goal was to keep watching until I could watch the entire delivery process without clenching my jaw.  If I can’t even watch someone else and remain relaxed, how the heck am I supposed to go through it and try to relax certain parts of my body to help with labor and delivery?  If I could reach my goal of being relaxed while watching someone else deliver a baby, then maybe all hope isn’t lost.

5. After seeing the nitty-gritty details of a delivery, find a video that shows someone going through a calm, purposeful labor.  Watching just the last 10 or 15 minutes of birth, the most intense part, really is only a small part of the entire process.  I found a video that was nice and calm and very helpful.  It was a mother laboring at home with her eighth child.  She doesn’t speak during the 30+ minute video, but she has edited the video adding text to explain certain parts that is very helpful.  Here is the link in case anyone else is interested in watching.

I will keep preparing for birth intellectually as well as physically.  I hope that my husband can get there emotionally so he can get there intellectually as well.  If I come across anything helpful in my preparations, I will share with everyone.

Next on my labor and delivery list is writing a list of the things that I fear the most.  Thanks a lot, Janet Balaskas (I’m reading Active Birth right now), for the nudge to explore my feelings, because I just love exploring my feelings (psst, that is sarcasm).

So, I Have To Look Nice

Tonight is my husband’s work Christmas party.  His company is a small, locally owned company that fits all the good stereotypes about such businesses.  It is owned by a father and son and one other business partner, and the company has a family focus and feel to it you just can’t hardly find anymore these days.  We took champagne to his office on our wedding day (we got married on a Friday at noon) to toast with his co-workers, for example, because that’s just the kind of place and people that are there.  His bosses have all made a point to personally congratulate us on our marriage and house and baby with cards or emails or both.  He gets a birthday and anniversary card every year from his bosses.  It is really from them, too, not the assistant.  To add to this lovely atmosphere, each man’s wife is wonderful!  They are all fantastic, nice, beautiful ladies that seem authentic.  All of these ladies are moms and have college degrees and look like they shop at stores I have never even heard of in sizes I have never been able to wear.  Now, let me just say, that if any of these ladies were to read this, I’m sure they would giggle at my description of them.  Not only are these ladies great, but they don’t seem overly focused on the fact that they are great and beautiful.  Herein lies my problem, though.  I feel the need to look fantastic.

Yes, I realize I’m fantastic, too.  Yes, I realize that even though I weigh more than any of them has ever weighed (pregnant or not), I am beautiful, too.  Usually, I’m quite content to wear what I happen to have in my closet, throw some makeup on, and take the time to actually do something to my hair.  This year feels different, though, because my pregnant body is just not cooperating.

I have red splotches randomly on my face (I have rosacea, but it is usually controllable except, apparently, when I’m pregnant) coupled with acne on my chin and neck (who gets acne on their neck?!) and puffy eyes (because my body has decided that with an increase in mucus production my eye lid area is going to be puffy for the rest of this pregnancy).  My wardrobe is lacking, to say the least, which does not help.  If my face is a mess, at least I could put something really cute on and everyone would notice my cute outfit (wishful thinking, don’t burst my bubble of hopeful thoughts combined with self-pity) instead of my face.  But, alas, I have one pair of jeans and one pair of leggings and exactly two shirts to choose between because nothing else fits anymore or because my other options are too casual.  I spend most of my days (working from home these days, don’t judge) in exercise pants and a shirt that doesn’t sufficiently cover my belly with a hoodie over that because I’m always cold (and because my belly is too big for the shirt).  So, no this year I don’t feel like I look fantastic, or that looking fantastic is even a possibility.

Let me stop my pathetic whining for a moment to say that, again, I am quite aware of how amazing it is to even be pregnant to begin with and that I am incredibly happy and grateful that I have all of these pregnancy related appearance issues.  I will gladly take the good with the bad.  I certainly won’t be putting any infertility tags on this post just to show some sensitivity to all the women in the world that would kill to be fat and ugly due to pregnancy.  I wanted to make a point, though, that not every pregnant woman feels like she is “glowing”.  I certainly do not feel that way.  Most days, I avoid looking in the mirror completely.  I take a peek at my belly in profile to make sure the shirt I’m about to wear to the store or to get my daughter from school sufficiently covers without any patches of skin peeking out, but that’s about it.  I take a picture once a week to chronicle my growing baby and belly, but even those pictures are of headless bodies.  My brain won’t even cue my fingers to type the appropriate prepositions or pronouns in my sentences anymore.  I have to proof-read more carefully than ever before in my life.  This greatly impacts my day since all I do all day every day now is write!  I can’t even control my brain or fingers!  I feel slightly disconnected from my body.  This body I currently occupy is much different in certain aspects than the body I usually occupy.  That body is under my control (for the most part, ignoring the PCOS issues) mostly, and I don’t feel disconnected from it.  I feel like it is mine and part of me.  I feel like that body is a direct reflection of me, that what I am directly responsible for what it does and how it appears.  Right now I feel like a passenger, like someone else has taken the wheel and their driving is questionable at best.  I know I can’t be the only pregnant woman to ever feel this way, either.  Why have I never heard anyone else say any of these things?

I also know I’m going to have to deal with this before labor.  If I want a natural, intervention-free birth, then I’m going to have to figure out the balance between surrendering to my body and allowing my mind some measure of control.  I have certainly read enough to know that labor will be much more difficult if I try to fight it every step of the way.  I have to get out of my body’s way and let it do what it was built to do.  But the question that keeps coming back to me over and over is, what do I do with my mind?  If anyone has suggestions, I would love to hear it.  I am not a visualization kind of gal, as in that part of my brain is broken.  I can’t picture anything anyone ever tries to describe to me.  I always just nod and say something affirming and move on.  Sometimes, that has come back to bite me in the ass.  Like the one time my hairstylist described what she wanted to do and I just blindly agreed.  But, that’s a different story for a different day.  I can’t even picture something I know about intellectually if I haven’t seen an accompanying picture.  In my anatomy and physiology lab in college, I did pretty well because everything was learned through identifying that precise part on a skeleton, or dissection, or through a microscope.

Tonight, I will spend an hour on my appearance–adding makeup, wiping it off again, adding different makeup, trying my four pieces of appropriate clothing over and over, and (probably) straightening my hair.  I will suck up my appearance woes and know that I am the only one there bothered by my lack of a cute outfit or screwed up complexion or ever widening hips.

Now, instead of worrying about my appearance, I go back to worrying about labor and delivery.  For some reason, this has conjured a bit from my childhood.

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Oh look, there’s another typo…ugh.  I give up.  Interpret my sentences as you so choose.

How I Knew My Husband Was Right for Us

Warning: Some explicit language, mention of miscarriage, and it is really long.

I feel a little like Marty McFly in this post.  I took a look at my past to remind me of my future.  I know that doesn’t exactly make sense, but if you keep reading I think I can manage to spell it out a little better.  However, if you don’t know who Marty McFly is, then we can’t be friends.  I’m sorry, but I can not have someone in my life that has never seen or heard of Back To The Future.  Ahem.  Moving on…

On the daily, my husband drives me crazy (not usually in a good way, either).  For the past three weeks, it’s been the same exact thing driving me crazy.  All I have heard about every night as we lay snuggled in bed (as I hack up a lung, thanks to a cold that seems to never end) is how nervous he is that his yearly evaluation is coming up at work.  Now, the first few nights I was very sympathetic to his feelings of nervousness and insecurity.  I could empathize that it is truly nerve-wracking to know that your performance for an entire year was going to be dissected and critiqued, and that based on that performance you would receive feedback and specific goals for all of the next year.  That is kind of a big deal!  I get it.  But, I lost all empathy around the seventh day in a row.  By then I wasn’t just hearing about it at night, I was hearing about it throughout the day.  I heard about it every time he gave a quote, made a sale, or lost a sale at work.  I heard about it on his lunch.  I heard about it all the time.  No longer was he just nervous, but now he had convinced himself he was going to be fired.

Let me stop there for a moment.  I realize that in most cases, this assertion that he is going to be fired would probably be based on a guilty conscience.  So, maybe he knows he is lazy or hadn’t done a very good job and he has reason to think that he will be let go.  That doesn’t really seem to be the case in this scenario, though.  My husband met the sales goal set for him by his bosses.  Not only did he meet it, he surpassed it.  He has also taken the initiative on several projects, and he has been assisting the new salesman learn and develop his sales techniques.  He has used his freelance-writer wife to his advantage, on his own initiative, to develop marketing emails and other company literature that can be used to benefit him as well as the other sales associates.  His direct supervisor makes it a point to let me, the wife, know that he thinks my husband is doing a great job and that he loves his motivation, drive, and attitude at every business dinner we attend.  I think I am pretty justified in thinking that not only will he not get fired, but he will probably get a pat on the back, a good job, an atta boy at this evaluation.  So, as the evaluation looms closer and closer (it is only a few hours away at this point), his nervousness isn’t abating but only increasing despite my best efforts at reassurance.

My husband, just a little bit ago on his lunch, expressed his annoyance with my constant focus on educating him on all things birth related.  I had forwarded him an article (it was to-the-point, informative, funny) to read on his lunch.  After I asked if he had read it, I could hear the eye roll that accompanied his answer to the affirmative.  I was instantly aggravated.  It is so typical of him to be all-consumed with worry over something that wasn’t even a realistic worry while completely ignoring something that is imminent!  The birth of our child will happen whether he wants it to or not!  Whether or not he is educated and prepared makes no difference to my body or this baby–birth will happen!  I’m only 14 and a half weeks away from my due date, for crying out loud!  Worry about the important things already!

So, this is when I took a deep breath and made myself remember all the reasons I married him in the first place.  This is how I ended up feeling a little like Marty, with a slightly faulty watch.  I tried to conjure up reasons out of thin air, but nothing was happening.  I could only see my anger and frustration.  I want this birth to be completely different than it was with Eva.  I want a partner that is involved!  All I could think of then was not why I married my husband, but why I wanted a different birth.

So, back to the past I went in an attempt to change my future.  The end of April, 2008 was my first stop.  I was laying in a hospital bed as my water was being broken with what looked like a giant knitting needle.  My then husband, Eva’s father, was sitting in a chair next to the bed playing a game on his phone, completely ignoring me, the doctor, and everything else.

My next stop, which felt a little random, was August, 2009 as I walked into a local gas station and applied for a job.  They weren’t hiring, but the manager seemed to like me, and he said he would keep my resume on hand.  He also seemed impressed with the fact that I had a resume.  This had been my fifth stop of the day in an attempt to find a job, and yes I am that person who brings a resume to apply for a gas station, minimum wage job.

Next stop in time–two weeks later.  Now, I had a job at the same gas station.  The timing couldn’t have been better because my first semester back to college had just begun, and my then husband had left me and Eva a short 17 (I have a weird memory that remembers numbers, but not important things like birthdays) days prior, taking all our money (which wasn’t much since I had taken the summer off to spend with Eva before college began) with him.

I jumped through time again, landing in January, 2010 as I was at work at the gas station.  I had quickly realized that I couldn’t be too nice to the men that came in because many of them didn’t understand that the new cashier at the local gas station was trying to do her job with a smile, not get a date.  In walked (at the busiest time of my shift) this kid with a thin, scruffy beard, lots of change, and an arrogance that didn’t mesh with his general appearance.  He needed to get gas and cigarettes, but he didn’t even know what kind of cigarettes he wanted.  He was annoying.  I was being patient and distantly polite, until he leaned on the counter and asked what I was doing later.  My patience ran out.  I ignored his question and asked for his driver’s license instead.  He was a whopping nineteen years old.  Just as I thought, he was another local arrogant kid that thought I was an ideal target for harassment.  Oh joy, let me count my blessings that I get to put up with this awful behavior four days a week for $7.50 an hour.  At least I had time to do homework between customers for most of my shifts.

Skipping ahead a month or so, it was now the end of March, 2010, and the arrogant kid with the facial hair was back.  I couldn’t help but compare his attempt at a beard to pubic hair.  It really did look awful.  I noticed recently he had been wearing what looked like a chef’s uniform when he would come in for gas.  It wasn’t complimentary, either.  Today was no different than most other encounters because he asked me again when I had my next evening off.  Today was different, though, for me because I was in the midst of planning my daughter’s second birthday party which included arguing with her father about who would get her when.  I had finally just offered that he could come to my parents’ house on her birthday for the party so we could both spend time with her on her birthday and she wouldn’t have to be rushed around to get from one party to the next.  His response had been that he would be bringing his girlfriend so he expected my family to play nice.  Someone gag me, shoot me, and take away my phone before I say something I shouldn’t, please!  Now here stood this nineteen-year-old arrogant, pubic hair beard, chef outfit kid.  He managed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back that day.  His obviously appreciative looks at me combined with his urging that we should “hang out” was met with a lot more venom than it deserved.

I leaned over the counter getting closer to him and smiled and tilted my head.  It was the closest approximation to a flirtatious move I could muster.

“Listen carefully, because I won’t be repeating myself,” I said, smile in place and a blush flooding my face.  He smiled even bigger and leaned a little closer.  “I am twenty-four years old, I am in the middle of a divorce, and I have a two-year-old daughter.  I am a full-time college student living at home with mommy and daddy due to my current circumstances.  That’s just the baggage I can talk about in public or without crying.  The array of emotional issues and baggage that accompanies all of those things said and unsaid is more than any little boy such as yourself can begin to comprehend.  I will not be ‘hanging out’ with you, which in my time here has been made abundantly clear to me does not mean ‘hang out’ but rather that you would like to convince me to fuck you.  I am not a ‘challenge’ or playing hard to get.  So, kindly keep your elbows off my counter, pay for your shit, and move on.”

His response made my barely-tethered anger break its leash completely.  He continued to smile as he said without hesitation, “I like kids, and two is a great age.”  He paid for his gas and moved on then, with that stupid smile still in place, as my anger silently blazed.  I was very glad no one else was in the store at that moment.  I was also very glad he at least had the sense to move along and not hang around.  I think I might have thrown something at him.

I stop to reflect here and there through the next few months, as life continues.  This same kid, who seemed unmoved by my ire and honesty and baggage and lack of encouragement, continues to come to the gas station frequently.  I notice things about him, like that his friends call him Bubba even though his license says his name isn’t anything near Bubba.  I notice that he still smiles at me, and he still asks what I’m going to do on my next day off, but now he asks if I will be taking my daughter to the park while the weather is nice, or if I have a day off at all between work and college.  He also always makes it a point to invite me and my daughter to whatever event he has thought up this week.  He doesn’t give up, but I don’t give in either.

Somewhere in this period of time, I went by the gas station to pick up my paycheck with my daughter in tow.  He happened to stop by as we were preparing to leave.  My daughter, who always got a free candy bar from my boss every time I brought her in, had just settled into her car seat and began munching on her candy while I walked around to the driver’s door of my car as he approached.  For some reason I instantly felt panicked.  I didn’t have a counter to hide behind, and I had my daughter right there with me, so I couldn’t use anger to repel him.  I would have to be polite.  As soon as he got close, I indicated that I had my daughter and we needed to be leaving.  He further frustrated me as he immediately ignored me and focused on her.  He introduced himself and asked if her candy was any good, to which she smiled and took another bite and then tried to talk with a mouth full of chocolate.  She held up money she had found on the ground and told him about it, and they carried on a conversation as my panic continued to rise.  I wasn’t even divorced yet, even if Eva’s father had already moved in with his girlfriend, my daughter was not the way to my heart.  I wasn’t ready to be vulnerable yet!  He told my daughter to have a good day, and went on his way with a wave and a “see ya” to me.  I released a sigh, and climbed in to my car.  My daughter, still smiling, so naive, so sweet, so innocent, asked me if he could come play at her grandma and grandpa’s.  I don’t remember my reply, I just remember wanting to cry.  How was I ever going to have a meaningful relationship with anyone and keep her out of it?  And how was I going to have a relationship at all if I wasn’t willing to open up a little?  Not that that damn kid was relationship material anyway.

My next stop in the past was a few weeks after this, when I had just been in a car accident.  My car, which I had just purchased with great effort three weeks prior, was totaled.  I had no health insurance, and I didn’t have full-coverage insurance on my car.  I wasn’t at fault for the accident, but I also didn’t have the money for doctors or prescriptions up front.  I hadn’t sold the piece of junk I had previously been driving, luckily, or I wouldn’t have had transportation, either.  I couldn’t afford to miss work.  We were barely surviving on what I made.  I couldn’t imagine missing a day.  I went to work the next day after the accident, only to discover I couldn’t lift my left arm high enough to stock the top shelf of the cooler or refill the ice hoppers.  Just as I was almost in tears trying to lift a five-gallon bucket of ice over my head, who would happen to come inside other than that damn annoying kid.  Without much comment, he took the bucket and finished the job.  He then did it again and again until both ice hoppers were full.  He asked what else he could do, and hesitantly, I pointed out the few top rows of the cooler that needed restocked.  He didn’t ask what I was doing on my day off.  He didn’t ask me for my number.  He didn’t even pry into my obvious injury.  He just did what I couldn’t.

May 19th, 2010 was my next stop.  I had finished my finals, and I had done well in each class.  I suddenly had a huge hole of time that I wasn’t sure how to fill.  My daughter and I were spending lots of time outside playing.  The problem I had was when she went to her father’s for three days.  Work could only fill so much time.  So, I caved.  He came in the gas station that day, clean shaven, and before he could say anything to make me change my mind, I asked him for his number.  He smiled and he asked why he couldn’t have mine instead.  I raised an eyebrow and said something along the lines of I didn’t trust him to not drunk-text me and I hadn’t decided to actually use his number yet.  He asked me instead what I was doing two nights later.  We made plans.

On May 21st, 2010, we went on our first date.  He was quite obviously nervous.  It made me smile and much more comfortable to see his discomfort.  He didn’t even try to kiss me on our first date.  All of that arrogance was gone.

Time moved on, and we continued to see each other.  I learned things about him, like that he had come from a broken home, and that his high school girlfriend had aborted their baby without his consent, and that his baby girl would have been a year older than Eva.  I learned that despite his age, he had been through just as much heart ache as I had, and he understood way more about my hurts than I would have ever guessed.  I learned that no matter how much I tried to push him away, he wouldn’t budge.  I also learned that when I wasn’t pushing, he was just as constant.  I slowly brought Eva around him.  When I did, it didn’t matter what he had wanted to do or what I had wanted to do; the only thing in the world that mattered is what did Eva want to do.  If she wanted to watch Cars for the eight time that day, then we would watch it.  If she wanted to go to the park, then we would go to the park.  If she wanted to play blocks, then we would play blocks.  Not only had I found someone reliable, but she did, too.

My father disliked him.  My best friend hated him.  My mother just gave me that look she has that says she trusts me to know what I’m doing.  My aunt threatened to kill him if he hurt me or my daughter.  I don’t blame them, because I had the same reaction to him initially.  He can be so arrogant and obnoxious, to say the least.  Time moved on, and eventually we moved in together.  The divorce had been finalized, and I was ready to move forward in life.

A couple of months after we had moved in together, my dad become terribly ill.  He was in the hospital for 16 days, and then he was home but still not back to normal.  He had physical therapy appointments to attend three times a week, a doctor appointment to attend at least once a week, a visiting nurse to change his dressing on his hand, a PICC line (a peripherally inserted central catheter which was a direct line to a major source of blood flow) with heavy-duty antibiotics due twice a day, and he couldn’t even figure out where he was half of the time.  He had also been my babysitter for Eva prior to his illness.  Now I was down a babysitter and terrified my father would die while my mother was at work.  My wonderful boyfriend encouraged me to quit my job.  He made enough to pay the bills without my income.  I called my mother, who had maxed out her sick time and vacation time at work and was pushing the boundaries of kindness of her boss, and told her that I would be quitting my job.  I told her I would be available to take care of dad, to take him to appointments and keep an eye on his progress.  She was so relieved, and so was I!  Except for my time in class, which wasn’t much at that point because I was part-time that semester, I was free to take care of Eva and my father.

I had my first panic attack two weeks after I quit my job.  I was so sure that I was placing an unfair financial burden on this kid that I now saw as a man that I lived with.  I managed to work myself up to a brand new level of anxiety.  And still, he was steady and constant.  He wiped my tears away and told me to suck it up, which was exactly what I needed to hear.

I hate to make things sound like they just worked out, because they didn’t.  The thing I never hear divorced women talk about is how difficult is it to try again.  Most divorced women talk about how awful the divorce was or the reason for the divorce.  Most leave out how much it sucks to open yourself up again.  Living with him and then being financially dependent on him was the scariest experience of my life.  I know how ridiculous that sounds, but I don’t know how else to say it.  The amount of trust needed to be in such a committed relationship…man, I am at a loss for words to describe that feeling.  I had put my emotion well-being at risk by being there, with him, in a strongly committed relationship.  This also involved my daughter’s emotional well-being because she lived there, too.  She had fallen for him as her Bubba.  Her playful giant that could never tell her no.  As if that isn’t enough to make every divorced mother run away in terror, I had also added the one thing I had only ever trusted to one other man in my entire life–my financial well-being.  I felt as if my heart and checkbook were teetering on the edge, staring at a never-ending abyss every day.

We definitely had our moments.  I had a lot of pride and fear.  He had a lot of pride, too.  He also really sucked at saying what I needed to hear.  I pushed him away so often, I still can’t believe he stuck it out.  I tried breaking up with him repeatedly, giving him a way out.  He never took it.  He would just squeeze a little tighter and remind me that Eva and I were all he wanted, and all he needed.  He chose us; he wasn’t stuck with us.  He would tell me those words so often, but the best part is he would back them up with action.  Even when Eva was still in diapers and had diarrhea and I accidentally flung poo all over his arm and chest in an attempt to get the diaper in the trash before the liquid poo overflowed on to the carpet, he still came back for more.  He wasn’t angry that I was in danger of dying from laughing as he cleaned poo off of his arms and threw one of his favorite shirts in the trash.  After he quit gagging, he laughed along with me.  Still, I gave in to the panic that would clutch me as he settled further into my heart.

After living together for about seven months, Eva and I moved out.  It was around June, 2011.  He and I had began to argue about money.  I say argue, but it wasn’t even an argument.  He had put me in charge of the money and the bills, because he really did not do it well.  Unfortunately, though, he would still want to buy all kinds of things we just couldn’t afford.  At this point, I was back to work and my father had recovered, but it didn’t matter.  The things he wanted were just not within our budget.  He also didn’t feel the need to clean anything, ever.  The money argument combined with feeling like he was not doing his part sent me running.  I thought for sure that moving out would be the final nail in the coffin.  Surely he wouldn’t understand that the problems I had already discussed with him multiple times over many months were truly important to me.  I wanted a partner, not another child.  I wanted someone that could and would take responsibility for themselves and all that entails.  I informed him of my decision, and I gave him a date on which I planned to move all of my stuff and Eva’s stuff.  He didn’t take it very well, obviously.  He was quite angry and upset.  The next two weeks before I moved were the chilliest two weeks of our entire relationship.  I knew this was the end.  My heart broke a little each day as the moving day approached.

To my utter amazement, the day prior to the designated moving date, he moved all of my stuff and Eva’s stuff while I was at work.  We were moving back to my parents’ because I was going to start nursing school the next semester and I would need their help with Eva.  During my eight hour shift, he lovingly packed all my things, leaving only one night’s worth of my stuff behind, and took it to my parents.  He then lugged all my furniture to the second floor of my parents house.  He also set up all of Eva’s things (she was at her father’s that weekend) in her room.  That night when I got off of work, we both cried.  I thought he was finally getting rid of me, even though it had been my idea.  I thought he was making sure things ended on his terms and that was why he had moved me out a day early.  Instead, he assured me that he wasn’t going anywhere, and that he was going to miss both me and Eva more than he could express.  He knew that moving back to my parents wasn’t something that was easy for me, and he didn’t want me to have to move myself piece by piece.  He knew it would be hard for me to do, emotionally and physically.  He also assured me that he would be over to visit as often as we would let him.  I still didn’t believe him.  Words are so easily said.

Again, he backed up his words with actions.  He stayed true to his words, spending as much time with us on our terms as our schedules would allow.  I also noticed something else radical happening–he was cleaning!  He was paying his bills and struggling to manage his money, but he was still doing it.  There were several mistakes and a few overdraft fees as a result, but he was learning and growing.  Something else happened I never would have expected–he told me I was right!  He said he quickly realized how much I had been doing around the house, and that he had not realized how much we had been spending on things he wanted instead of things we needed.  I could not believe that this man I had thought of as a kid not only had an emotional depth carved out of life experience, he was also willing to be a grown up.  He was striving to grow and change and better himself.  I still just didn’t believe it.

That fall, I had a surprise.  Just before nursing school was to begin, I discovered I was pregnant.  I had had strep throat and had been taking antibiotics.  Unfortunately, I had also put the wrong date that I began taking the antibiotics in my phone.  I was two days off, which resulted in ineffective birth control pills.  I knew I was pregnant just as I had with Eva.  I also knew about a week early.  I was beside myself with fear and trepidation.  I come from a family that strongly believes in marriage before babies.  I also knew during nursing school was a horrible time to have a baby.  As I began to get over all the reasons why I can’t be having a baby right now, he was filling my heart with hope and joy.  He was so excited to hear the news!  He wanted to tell everyone and anyone who would stand still and listen long enough right away.  I had began to feel hopeful that maybe this could be the greatest thing to happen to me since Eva when the bleeding began.  I lost my baby.  I was a mess for a while.  He was so sad, too, and I didn’t have the emotional energy to push him away.  So we bonded a little closer through our grief.

In October of 2011, though, he almost pushed back too hard.  He asked me to marry him.  Cue my second panic attack.  I said yes with the caveat that he would not pressure me to choose a date.  I didn’t pick a date, either until the end of 2012.  We were married in May of 2013, with a lot of supporters in attendance.  Everyone that had previously disliked him was there, and strangely enough each of them had been instrumental in my ability to say I do to him.

As I would find another reason that he couldn’t possibly be right for me or Eva, my mother, my aunt, even my father, would gently remind me that actions speak louder than words.  His actions clearly showed his love and commitment to me and to Eva.  His actions clearly showed his willingness to grow with me, to learn how to be a better partner and step-father.  His actions clearly showed he could and would put up with me, even when no one else wanted to put up with me.  He could deal with my fears and baggage.

The single, most important thing about him that I have to remember every time I feel like I am at my wits end with him–he is a great dad.  Eva’s biological father moved far away when she was two and a half, returning for a few months that spring before moving back to the west coast.  For Eva, her dad was her Bubba.  She has always called him Bubba, and I would bet that she always will.  He loves her like a father should.  He was right here with me, crying while Eva spent four weeks over the summer with her biological father.

So, at the end of my journey through time, I reminded of one thing that is so important.  He was right for us because his actions speak louder than words.  So what if he hasn’t read any of the books I want him to read to prepare for the birth of our son?  So what if he rolls his eyes every time I forward him another blog post or article about his role in birth?  His actions always speak volumes about how he feels about me.  I know that I can trust in that with certainty and peace of mind.

 

By the time this post was completed, he has already had his evaluation at work.  Let’s just say his actions may be relied upon, but his wife is always right!

Homemade Christmas

This year, we are doing Christmas a little differently.  I think the biggest influence on this change has been the fact that I have more time.  Eva is in school, my freelance writing projects have (so far) been short and sweet with flexible dead lines, and I have a big (for us) house with plenty of room for projects.  All factors come together to form the perfect chance for me to do some homemade gifts this year for Christmas.

Needless to say, Pinterest has become a necessity.  I never thought we would see the day that I, the non-craft person, would ever cave and become a Pinterest junkie.  Here I am, though, Pinterest’ing away!  I have plans for crafting Fort Kits, Incognito packs, and bath bombs.  Pretty ambitious for me, the lady that never does crafts.  I started with the most volatile of the group–the bath bombs.  I figured if I can manage to pull these off, then the rest of my goals should be relatively simple by comparison.  Now I share the news of my success!  I have successfully made bath bombs!

The plan for this year is that all of Eva’s cousins will receive a family basket full of homemade gifts that were (relatively speaking) inexpensive and promote imagination and quality time as a family.  I’m sure some of my brothers will be thrilled (not so much) that they will be recruited to help form a fort in the living room with their kiddos!  Eva will be receiving some homemade gifts as well, which will be a lot of fun because she has a great imagination!

I will leave you all with this, a photo of my bath bomb success:

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Followed by a picture of my bath bomb failure:

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with a word of warning to myself–don’t get cocky after your first success and start substituting ingredients like you know what you’re doing!  Stick to the recipe!  It has proven to work!