Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sometimes you just have to speak.

I met another cleft family this week.

Well, to be accurate, they go to my gym. You know, where I work in the drop-off nursery. And they drop their kids off there. And I noticed about two months ago that one of their daughters has cleft lip.

And I've been wary of saying anything - because the last time I said anything to someone, the mom got totally offended and basically rushed off before I could even tell her my daughter has cleft as well. And I completely do not think I said anything offensive, all I asked was if her daughter (who had a scar running from her lip up into her nose) had a cleft. She informed me that she did not, she was just born with the scar (which is what is called a microform cleft, by the way - and is what Joaquin Phoenix has - although he denies it... but I digress), and then rushed off. I totally wasn't trying to be rude, just to connect with another parent who has been there, you know?

So, last night, I worked up my guts and said something to the dad. And he was wonderfully receptive. And told me that I should speak to his wife, when I mentioned I didn't know any other cleft families HERE, because, as he put it - she's totally involved and educated and knows a lot more than he does. He travels for work, so he missed most of the nitty-gritty, aside from surgeries, and told me I'd be better off talking to her. So hopefully, one day soon, I will work up my guts AGAIN and say something to her.

Because as much as I know I can do this on my own- oh, how wonderful it would be to have another person HERE, live and in person, to talk to about my fears and struggles and such. Someone who has been where I have been, or am going, and can reassure me on these things.

I have a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful network of online support. But sometimes, a real, live person and not just a screen name on the web, would really be great too...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Well, so much for that plan...

I had grandiose plans to do lots of exercise this week as Monster Boy is out of school all week - so I was going to need that sanity time.

Unfortunately, Miss Sunshine decided this would be an opportune time to get sick. So I have not made it to the gym at all - I even had to call in to work yesterday to stay home with her. She'll be going in with me today, snotty nose and all, as she's been fever free since last night, but since she's refused to take a nap today (I am about at the point of duct taping her to the darn bed so she'll STAY IN IT), that just means I get to have a super cranky little girl with me today in the midst of all the insanity that Tuesdays bring at work. Ah well.

So, needless to say, the weight loss isn't going quite as I'd hoped it would at this point. I shall endeavor to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday and start fresh next week. SIGH. The best laid plans...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Glory Days...

I have been working out this week. (I'm pretty proud of myself for this accomplishment. Hopefully I keep it up, AND start seeing some results from it). I worked out every morning for at least 30 minutes this week.

I also discovered this totally awesome app on my phone. It's called Pandora Radio - I'm sure many of you have heard of it. Well, Daddy Mac has been raving about it for some time, so I decided when my MP3 batteries died to give it a shot this week. And it's fantabulous.

I've long been a fan of what my husband likes to call "chick music" - or more accurately, indie rock female singers. You know - like Jewel before she was big and famous? (I still LOVE Jewel, I just don't think you can call her "indie rock" anymore). 4 Non Blondes, Alanis Morrissette, Sheryl Crow, Leah Andreone, the list goes on. And from back in the day (and by day, I mean early to mid-90's) especially.

So with this totally cool, awesome thing known as Pandora, you can type in the name of a favorite song or artist, and it will automatically create a "station" of music based on that one piece of info. So I've been rocking out to "Jewel radio" this week - and man, it's so cool. I've heard some great new stuff as well as some old classics (well, okay, no, they don't really qualify as classics, per se... but you get my drift...) and it's just been a good old time. So good, I've caught myself starting to sing out loud along with the songs - in the middle of the gym. Yeah, that was a bit embarrassing. Especially since I, you know, work there and all...

Anyways... where was I going with this? Oh, yes. Enjoying my music and my memories that go along with them... so I was curious - do you ever hear songs that make you stop and think "Oh, wow! Remember when?". I'd love to hear what some of them are - you people never comment on here and my blog posts are getting kind of lonely! So, come on, comment already!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Of naptimes and other craziness...

You know, being a stay at home mom is radically different than I ever thought it would be.

Before, there were never enough hours in the day, because the majority of them were spent away from my home, at my job. So I had limited time, in the evenings, to get things done.

Now, there just are not enough hours in the day. Every time I turn around, something else needs to be done, and there is nobody else there doing it and somehow it's already time to go pick Monster Boy up from school and head to work, or to the doctor, or to a play date, or to sports practice, or to Grandma's or whatever.

And trying to make time for ME in all of that mess? Forget about it. I'm lucky if I get showered by noon most days. Ah well. In the long run, it's certainly worth it. I wouldn't trade these moments for anything.

BUT. One thing I would trade? My daughters new-found refusal to take a nap. You see, we recently made the transition from crib to toddler bed with her. A bit early, possibly. But someone (cough, cough, Miss Sunshine, cough, cough) decided that it would be fun to try and climb out of their crib. And while I am all for inquisitiveness and exploration - falling over the top of a crib railing flat onto our heads? I'm not such a fan of that. So, we made the decision that it was toddler bed time. Which worked out great for the first few days. Miss Sunshine was SO terribly excited by her new bed, it was unbelievable. And since she is also Miss Independent, the appeal of getting into bed on her own for nap was huge, too. So, she'd climb in, and get settled, and I'd cover her up and give her kisses and off to dreamland she'd go. But then, about four days in, it finally clicked in her head. "Hey, I can get IN the bed on my own, I bet I can get OUT of the bed on my own, too!". And she did just that. And has continued, periodically, to do just that. Mostly on days when Mommy has to go to work in the evenings, which makes for one cranky, whiny, clingy little girl at the daycare center. Which means that Mommy spends roughly three hours a night CARRYING said little girl because she simply cries if Mommy (and ONLY Mommy) is not holding her. SIGH.

I'm trying not to jinx myself right now, because she is actually ASLEEP for nap time today, miraculously. And Mommy has to work tonight. And is praying that she won't have to carry Miss Sunshine everywhere. But is totally packing her sling just in case.

Because, man, my arms are getting TIRED.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Do you ever...

look in the mirror and dislike what you see?

Something I have struggled with nearly my entire life is my lack of self-confidence. My self-image. I have never been truly happy with myself, if you know what I mean. There has always been something, whether physical, intelligence-based, performance-based or what have you, that I have not been satisfied with.

While I do feel that everyone has room for improvement, I also know that there is a point that this dissatisfaction becomes unhealthy.

Many of my friends will tell you that I am talker. I am loud, I am opinionated, and I am not afraid to share it. But the reality is - I am not really that way. Oh, yes, I am that way with people that I KNOW. People that I am comfortable with. But people I have only just met or don't have a close acquaintance with? I am quiet and reserved. I probably come off as stuck-up or stand-offish. But the reality is - I am SHY. I am probably too concerned with other people's opinions and impressions of me, and it's something I struggle with daily.

Today I am starting a diet. Ever since Miss Sunshine's birth (well, really even before I got pregnant with her, but most especially since she's been born) I have struggled mightily with my weight. I currently weigh the most I have ever weighed in my life, with the exception of when I was heavily pregnant with Miss Sunshine. Yes, I even weigh more than (or equal to) what I weighed when I was my most pregnant with Monster Boy. There, I have admitted it. It makes me unhappy. Which makes me depressed, which makes me eat. It's a vicious cycle. I am an emotional eater - I always have been. So when I get upset about something, I eat. Which, you know, causes you to gain weight. It's a circle I have been stuck in for a while now. It certainly does not help matters that those little happy pills that I took for a while after Miss Sunshine was born also cause weight gain. Add those two things together and you get where I am now.

I am not obese. I am medically overweight, but not obese. If I lose 30-35 pounds, I will be dead center in the healthy weight range for my height. I'm shooting for 40 pounds of weight loss - not because I have an overwhelming desire to be skinny (because, let me face reality for a minute here - even if I do lose 40 lbs, I will never be skinny. I am just not built that way. Ah, the joys of having "child-bearing" hips....) but because I want to be HEALTHY. I want to feel GOOD about myself when I look in the mirror. I want to think to myself "Man, I look good for having two kids." Not be using "Well, I have two kids" as an excuse for the way that I look.

I have been researching my options - looking at the best ways to lose weight. Do I want fast results? Of course! Who doesn't? But I want results that are going to LAST as well. So I made the decision that I am not going to use a fad diet. I'm not going to go for those fast results. If the results come fast, well, then great. But that isn't my goal. I am going to reduce my portion size. I think this is a huge part of my issue. Along with that, I'm going to count my calories (at least in the beginning, until I get used to eating appropriate foods) and watch my fat intake. I'm going to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, five days a week. And most of all, I'm going to have faith in myself that I can make this work.

This is about making a lifestyle change. Today is the first day of my "new" life. Life as a healthy person. Because I know one thing for certain - as much as Daddy Mac and I would both love to have another child - I'm not doing it until I reach my goal weight. I have, with both pregnancies, been lucky enough to lose most of, if not all, of my "baby weight" within 6 weeks of delivery. I've just developed a bad habit of putting it all back on about 6 months later. So, if I can get myself into a healthy lifestyle, at a healthy weight, and THEN get pregnant and have a baby, I have faith that not only will I have a healthy pregnancy (which would be a first for me, by the way) but that I will be able to maintain my healthy lifestyle AFTER my baby is born. So that I can be the best parent possible for ALL of my children.

And if we don't have that third child? Well, isn't it even better for the children I DO have to have a healthy, happy mother? A good example for how to eat healthy and live healthy?

So you, my friends, get to go on this journey with me. I'm not going to be recording every little thing that I eat here, or anything like that. In fact, I'm not even going to tell you my starting weight. I am, however, going to do a weekly check-in, as a way to keep MYSELF accountable for where I am at on my journey. Put it out there for all of you in cyber-space to see, so that I can't avoid it, I can't hide it, I can't run away from it. Starting today.

Today, I have 40 pounds to go.

This little ticker will take up residence on my sidebar for daily tracking (and a way to make myself enter my weight daily). Weekly, I will make a post solely with my weight left to lose as the title, and a blog posting about how I am feeling about my progress, along with a copy of said ticker, again.

Friday, November 12, 2010

On the road again...

Well, not really NOW. Now, we are back home again.

But we DID go to Chicago for a follow up with Shriner's this week, for Miss Sunshine's ear tubes. Everything checked out great! Her tubes are in place and functioning properly. She passed her hearing test, although the audiologist did make sure to inform me that at this point they are only testing her GENERAL hearing. She is too young yet to test individual hearing in each ear (do you remember the big old headphones they used back in school? Eventually they will do that kind of testing with Miss Sunshine to verify if she has any hearing loss in either ear) but her overall hearing, meaning the hearing in both ears combined, falls within normal range.

And, while we were in Chicago I got to meet two people who I know from the internet, but not in real life. Well, I suppose now I know them in real life! One is a mommy who also has a little girl with cleft and who is also going through Shriner's for her care (and her daughter is just beautiful!) and another is a mommy who has a little boy the same age as Miss Sunshine. We met up and took the kiddies to a children's museum, where they had a blast and we got some cute pictures. (And since I haven't had a chance to ask said Mommy yet if I can post pictures of her adorable little boy, I will regale you with pictures of Miss Sunshine alone - although I do think his arm shows up in one shot!)

She is dragging a cube over to use as a chair at this desk area in the "vet's office" here. Pretty inventive, this one.
Going grocery shopping. Capri Sun and fruit.

Pretending to be a checkout girl - just like Mommy did back in the day! (Well, okay, I didn't pretend, I really was a cashier at a grocery store for nearly four years in high school and college...)
Steering the ship!
She put herself in the cage. First thing she did after opening the door to it - and I totally saw it coming!

And we survived our horrendously long day in the airport the day after our appointment, and even managed to make it home a bit early on standby. And came straight home and went straight to bed, and got right back up and back in to everyday life. With the good news that everything is going well, we will go back for her one year post-op sometime in January or February, and I have every faith we will be released to yearly visits at that point, because of how well she is doing now. Such a huge weight off of our shoulders.

And now, well, I'm going to go get some rest because I still haven't caught up on all the sleep I didn't get while in Chicago (since I NEVER sleep well when sharing a room with either of my kids) this week.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Still being thankful.

Today was fraught with insanity. (Oh, how I love busting out my mental thesaurus!)

Our thermostat in our house has been on the fritz. I cannot set the heat above 68 degrees, and if I try to, I get (not so) cool blue sparks coming out of it. We decided it was time for a new thermostat. On top of that, Monster Boy is in desperate need of new uniform pants for school since he underwent a sudden growth spurt about two weeks ago.

So today, after I dropped Monster Boy off at school, Miss Sunshine and I headed off on our adventure. First stop was a local (okay, really a LARGE national chain) home supply warehouse. After doing some searching, I discovered the thermostats. I also discovered that, since we have a heat pump rather than separate heating and air conditioning units, I got the privilege of spending MORE money on a thermostat. Ah well. I did get a programmable thermostat, however, which should save us money in the long run by allowing me to set it to different temperatures for different times of the day. So that was good news at least.

After the home supply store, it was off to another retail giant to get some basics. Laundry detergent, toothpaste, and of course, those now nearly infamous uniform pants. After some searching for our laundry detergent (because they now put all the free & clear detergents together, instead of with the same brand names - I know, made no sense to me either) which I have to be specific about thanks to Monster Boy's very sensitive skin, it was off to the little boys department for some uniform pants. (By the way, did you enjoy that giant run-on sentence? I know I did!) Much to my dismay, no pants were to be found. After about 20 minutes of digging and coming up with only size 12 Husky pants, I conceded defeat. As a consolation prize, I did, however, score a couple of Halloween costumes for $3 each for Monster Boy to play dress up in.

So now, it is time to make a trip to the dreaded mall. I have no other choice, as I have exhausted all my other store options for these darn uniform pants over the past week. So off we go. We get parked, I get out of the van to get Miss Sunshine out, and lo and behold - my jeans (the already distressed kind) have torn from pocket to knee straight down the front. Joy. As luck would have it, though, we were, as I mentioned, at the mall. So I walk straight in to the department store, straight to the women's clothes, and grab a pair of jeans, which are, as luck would have it, on sale for 50% off. I pay, head for the dressing room, and make a quick wardrobe adjustment. I am, however, pretty upset, as the pair of jeans that are now ruined were my most comfortable pair of jeans. But I don't have time to dwell at this point - it's on to our mission. Since I'm at the mall, I have decided to add another item to my list - black boots for Miss Sunshine. I already possess brown boots for her, but since she has an equal amount of clothes that require black shoes, I want a black pair as well. So off we go on our mission. Three stores later, I finally locate pants for Monster Boy, after a nice associate goes and checks their back room to see if they MAYBE have some in his size, since there aren't any among the six pairs currently on display. As luck would have it, they do, and I buy them out of their stock in his size. (That would be two pairs of pants, by the way). Now off to the shoe store. I find black boots, but not in Miss Sunshine's size. They check THEIR back room. No luck. They do locate in stock boots around the city for me and give me a list and a $3 off coupon though. I hit up another shoe store. This store has black boots in her size, but they do not zip up the side. Um, yeah, there is no way I'm getting imitation Ugg boots on this child that do not zip down the sides. Have you ever put shoes on a toddler? Then you know where I am going with this one. So that was out. Two more shoe stores later, and I am left to wonder why everyone has brown, pink, purple and red boots, but nobody seems to carry black ones. So that is a journey for another day.

So today, I am thankful that my jeans decided to wait to rip until I was at least at a place where I could replace them with jeans that were on sale!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Giving Thanks

(I promise I will provide you with happy Halloween pictures later. However, my camera and computer are not cooperating with each other right now and I am just not in the mood to deal with it, so you'll have to wait.)

Halloween has come and gone, and it is now November. On to Thanksgiving!

(On a side note, today is MY Daddy's birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!)

I'm sure many, if not all, of you have seen the facebook thing that runs around in November encouraging people to post a status each day for one thing they are thankful for? I think it's a marvelous idea. It really makes you get down to the heart of the matter. By the end of the month, you can really be reaching deep within yourself to find something you are thankful for that you haven't already posted.

We are going to do a new variation on that this year, and I'm going to involve the kids. Well, okay, Monster Boy. Miss Sunshine isn't quite big enough yet to understand (or heck, tell us) what thankful is. But each night at bedtime, I'm going to have each of us say something we are thankful for and write it down. After the kids are in bed, I will then take scraps of fabric (probably quilting squares cut in half) and carefully write our "thanks" on each scrap of fabric. At the end of the month I will quilt them together to create a table runner for our Thanksgiving table. I will probably leave one end "unfinished" so we can continue to add to it next year, or perhaps I will just make new ones for each year. Either way, I think it's a great way to teach our kids about thankfulness, as well as creating wonderful memories, and a family heirloom to remind us how important it is that we give thanks for all that we have!

I'd love it if you'd like to join me in doing these things too - in fact, feel free to comment throughout the month with me and show me what you are doing too! I'll try to do a weekly update on the table runner and some of our "thanks" for the week.

And I'm going to start it off right with a little thanks of my own today : I am so very thankful for wonderful friends and family who are so loving when we need them to be, so supportive when we need them to be, and just so themselves when we need them to be!