Monday, December 22, 2014

The 2nd time around

Being pregnant the 2nd time around is certainly a different experience than the first. With the first, people treat you as though you are a delicate, magical being who needs help with things. You have a glow about you, strangers ask about your bump and how you are feeling and what the nursery will look like.

Maternity shoot with Andrew
I really didn't feel sick when I was pregnant with Andrew, so my pregnancy with him was actually kind of "fun."

Now, I  feel tired, huge and instead of a glow...I have dark circles under my eyes. We are not even sure where the new baby will sleep, so the nursery theme will be "a crib."

Yes, there are many differences with this pregnancy versus my first...

1) When I was pregnant with Andrew, I don't recall ever missing alcohol. In fact, it sounded disgusting. However, with #2, I am missing my wine. After a day with crazy middle schoolers, followed by an afternoon and evening with an active toddler (morning too-since he is up by 6am) I was getting used to relaxing at night with a nice class of red wine. Now I have switched to tea, but it is not the same.
Happy Toddler at the beach

2)The first time around, I was so focused on being pregnant, I didn't really put much thought into what life would actually be like once the actual baby arrived. I had been told newborns sleep a lot, so I had visions of Adam and I watching movies at night while the baby slept soundly in a swing. The baby would also come to all of our usual activities- wine tasting, dinner, the gym, etc.. and sleep in a car seat. I had seen other babies doing just that, so I figured ours would to. Wrong. Andrew, although adorable, was an incredibly "high needs" baby who never just "fell asleep" anywhere.

At least this time, don't have high expectations of how easy it will be. However, I am worried about how we will manage if the next one is as needy as Andrew was?

Sweet Andrew- active from an early age
 Maybe though, with subsequent children, parents are more relaxed and it will just seems easier? Let's hope so, because the combination of an incredibly energetic toddler and a fussy newborn might put us all over the edge.

3) When I found out I was pregnant with Andrew, I read every book, anxiously anticipated each doctors appointment and received weekly updates about my baby and what size of fruit Baby Andrew was. We obsessed over possible names and bought tons of baby items for him.

 Today, somebody asked me how many weeks I was, and I realized I had no idea. I actually had to look up the due date online to figure it out...

Sorry-I don't have any actual photos
of myself doing yoga...
4) At the end of the pregnancy with Andrew, Adam and I attended a birthing class, where all of us hugely pregnant women were made to sit in uncomfortable folding chairs while a lady basically told us if we didn't have a natural birth, we were bad parents right from the start. They tried to tell us that dancing around and sitting on a ball, along with yoga would help one to have this kind of birth.

 Guess what? I did yoga nearly everyday and STILL ended up with a C section. I really do admire women that can have a natural birth, but it wasn't in the cards for me. Since I am having a repeat C Section (no, I do not want a VBAC, so don't ask me about it) the only worries I have are what we are going to do with Andrew when I am in the hospital and recovering at home?

Meaghan and I at my wedding...2010
5) I took the rules very seriously with Andrew- no lunch meat, alcohol, raw cookie dough, lifting anything over 25 lbs, sleeping on my back or eating sketchy cheese. While I am still laying off the booze, I did sneak a bit of cookie dough this evening and have consumed lot of cheese. As for the lifting rule? Andrew weighs more than 25 lbs, so that rule is out the door.

The funny thing is that excited as I am about the new baby, I am mostly excited to have two because they will have one another. Even though my sister and I fought sometimes (particularly one incident in Italy where she was sure I stole her gelato money), having a sibling was my favorite part of growing up. Even better? Meaghan and her husband are expecting a baby girl in March, so Andrew and his new sibling will also have a cousin close in age.

Although, I am not sure if either of us are ready or know what life will be like with two kids, I know that we are excited to find out.
Hood Canal

Sunday, May 18, 2014

One year later...

At this time last year, I was anxiously awaiting Andrew's arrival. (Don't worry, this post is NOT a story of my labor and delivery).  I had no idea that life was about to change forever. Prior to having a child myself, I couldn't fathom giving up things I loved for a baby. As I stated in an earlier post, I thought it might be nice to have a flexible baby. You know, one that we could take wine tasting and out to nice dinners and such.

What I didn't realize was that you don't choose your baby- your baby chooses you and comes with a personality all their own.

Lately, I have been thinking about how people categorize babies as "good" or "bad/difficult" based on how little they interrupt their parent's lives. A baby is "good" if he or she naps easily, sits quietly at meals, doesn't fuss, etc. "Bad babies" are ones who cry, don't sleep well and don't want to be contained.

Why are these babies "bad/difficult?" It is simply that different babies have different dispositions, just as we adults do.

When I was not a parent, I used to hard-core judge parents and their kids in public and categorize them into the "good" and "bad" camp. The baby sleeping quietly on an airplane? Good. The little boy running up and down the aisles at the grocery store? Bad. The toddler sitting nicely in his highchair at a restaurant? Good. The baby who wouldn't sit in her stroller at Greenlake? Bad.

You get the picture. I figured the "bad" babies were that way due to the fault of the parents. My baby would certainly follow directions because I would know how to parent.

Then along came Andrew. He was fussy, and I mean really fussy as a newborn. He would only sleep if I walked with him for miles everyday. I always see pictures of other people's babies on Facebook with a caption reading " __________ just fell asleep while playing with her toys! How cute!"

Andrew has NEVER just fallen asleep while playing, even as a newborn. He was angry a lot, and I know now that he was mad because he wanted to move.

As he got older, he became a happy, charming little gentleman. He (luckily) was able to sit and crawl at a young age, which gave him the freedom he craved.

He started walking around ten months and gets loads of attention every where we go, because it does look funny that someone so small is out and running about. However, when he is confined against his will  (such as in a high chair, stroller or grocery car) he becomes a "bad" baby.

The other day, he threw a full on tantrum at the store because he wanted to hold the loaf of bread as we went around the store. Rather than trying to prove a point, I let him hold the damn bread. I had shopping to do, so leaving would actually punish me rather than him. I knew other parents were looking at me, judging me and my "difficult" child or questioning my parenting skills.

On most days, he will move continuously for 2-3 hours, refuses to let us read him books (we have actually memorized the books and "read" them in the car), refuses to stay in his bouncer for longer than five minutes,  and takes a two minute bath because he won't sit in the bath tub. We have realized that going out to eat is no longer fun unless there is a play area.

Today, we celebrated his birthday with some family at a local ice cream shop. There was another boy also celebrating his first bday. This little boy was sitting quietly on his dad's lap for the entire hour they were there! My little guy? He was running around the shop holding balloons and yelling. And also maybe taking the other little boy's ice cream spoon.

However, I don't think he is a "bad" baby at all. High energy? Yes. Opinioned and strong-willed? Undoubtedly. But, "bad or difficult?" No.

See, what I didn't realized until almost a year ago today is the unconditional love that I would feel for this special little boy. Sure he won't sit down and let me read to him anymore, but I love watching him chase Teddy around the house. And tonight, when we was shrieking and running in the sprinkler, I couldn't stop smiling. If he was a "good" baby, would my life be easier? Most likely, but it certainly wouldn't be as fulfilling or fun as it is now!

Happy Birthday, Andrew Walter. You are my rambunctious little guy and I love you very much. Don't every change, because that strong personality is what makes you incredibly unique (and adorable) and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pet Peeves, part 2

"Pet Peeves" because...why not?

1) When I am on a run and cross paths with a person smoking a cigarette. Totally ruins the fresh air I am trying to breathe and always seems to linger in the air for the next few meters.

2) Parents that suck and don't do their jobs, and then expect the school to handle their kids.

Example: A mother of a student of mine had to come in for a conference after her son was very disrespectful to my substitute teacher. This student is...well, a complete asshole (sorry, no way to sugar-coat it). When I met the mother, I realized from whom he inherited his shining personality. Before I could speak, she says, "I feel like I shouldn't have to come to this school unless my son beats the shit out of somebody! Can't you guys just send him to do detention in the office or something?"

True story

3) Pouring a nice cup of coffee in the morning, only to realize the creamer is gone.

4) When shows that are "On Demand" don't allow fast forwarding.

5) Annoying neighbors.

Example: My 45-year-old neighbor, who is mooching off his mom, smokes weed in his car ALL day and has no job. He likes to complain that the people doing maintenance on our townhouses aren't working hard enough, and points out people who are "white trash" or "bad neighbors." Have you looked in the mirror buddy? I don't know if this is really a pet peeve or just situational irony?

6) Still not knowing who "A" is on Pretty Little Liars. I have been watching the show for several years now, and every season I think we are going to find out...nope.

7) When you see the movie after reading the book. I just saw Divergent and was disappointed with the cutting of major scenes and the rearranging of others. In a way, I was also secretly glad, because we read the book in my classes and I always tell the kids this is the case. Always exciting to hear a sixth-grader say they liked the book better than the movie!

8) Going to the grocery store and having them put all your items in myriad of plastic bags after you specifically ask for paper. Yes, they still dispense plastic bags up in Lynnwood.

Not to complain for this entire post, here are some things that made me smile this week:

- Waking up early to play with Andrew before I go to work in the morning. It is my favorite time. Even when it is 5 am

- Watching Teddy and Andrew chase one another around the ottoman.

- Actually remembering to put something in the crockpot for dinner

- Getting fresh flowers from Adam when he stopped by the store

- Going for a quick run on my way home from work

Friday, February 28, 2014

confessions of a working mom

I wrote a blog entry previously about my (temporary) "Stay-at-home-mom" status. Since then, I have ventured back to work. Without a doubt, I can squelch any debates about which role is more difficult- they are EQUALLY difficult. Both jobs require multi-tasking, decision making and attention. I feel fortunate I could stay home for the first eight months, but am a slightly bitter I had to go back when he really started getting to a fun (non-newborn) stage.

With that, here are my Confessions of my new "mom" role as a working mom:

1) I never realized how guilty I would feel about going anywhere or doing anything for myself outside of the work day. Before I had Andrew, I had full intentions to continue Crossfit, maintain my bi-weekly pedicures and catch "happy hour" with friends often. Instead I run a mile on my way home from work, my nails are chipped and we usually just take Andrew to the local Mexican place for dinner.

2) The good part about working is that I truly did miss the social interaction. By social interaction, I mean discussing things besides babies with other adults. However, since I am a teacher, this occurs  maybe an hour each day. The remainder of the day, I communicate with middle-school kids.

3) Since I work with kids all day and then am a mom at home, I am almost always on. By this, I mean there is little room for down time. You really cannot just kick back and relax around preteens or 9-month-olds, or disastrous things could happen.

4) There are times when I feel I am doing both jobs only half-way. That I am not doing the best I can do at teaching or being a mom. It is a struggle to do both well. I used to come into work early and stay late, but now I would rather get home and play with Andrew. At the same time, when I come home from work, I attempt to fit an entire day of play and fun into a few hours before bedtime.

5) Never in my life did I imagine I would be so tired. All the time.

6) It is nice to get dressed and wear nice clothes again. Although, I have decided that I no longer have a desire to sport dress pants any longer. Jeans and a top with a blazer/cardigan is good enough. I also realized I had not really gone shopping in about two years and that all of my clothes were out of style. Thank goodness for online shopping!

7) Some days, I wish I could quit my job and stay at home full-time. Other days, I am excited by what I do and the fact that I am helping other children. I am thankful for the fact that I have summers off, and that one day, I will have the same schedule as Andrew. For now though it is difficult. Teaching is not a flexible job. I cannot decide to work 4-day weeks, come in late or take off early.

8) Everyday, I worry about what I am missing Andrew do during the day. What if I miss his first step? What if he no longer is excited to see me when I come home? Although I complain about being tired, I secretly enjoy that he wakes up early enough that I can play with him for a couple hours before I go to work.

9) Although I am working, I am glad that Andrew is with his dad for most of the day. They have really bonded since Adam has been home with him more. The girl we have as a nanny several days a week is excellent and I am grateful that a friend recommended her to us! This makes me feel (a little)bit better that I am not there with him.

10)  I miss taking Andrew to Little Gym and the baby story hours at local libraries. It is great seeing him interact with other babies and have fun at the gym. Every Friday at 1:30, I REALLY wish my job was flexible and I could leave and watch him there. It sucks and often feel like there is not enough time in the day.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Every Year...

Warning- this is the most difficult thing I have ever posted. That is why it took me over a week to actually post it. I kept re-reading it, questioning if it sounded right, etc. I am not even confident it does now. It is not my typical "sarcastic" post.

7 years ago today was when I realized I was not invincible and people you love can be lost in an instant. Without warning. Until then, I assumed death was something that happened to grandparents who were old or people who were sick for a long time. One phone call changed all that.

I still remember the moment vividly. I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping on lower Queen Anne when my phone rang. It was Michelle, an old friend from high school. At first I was excited, thinking she was planning to invite me to a gathering back in Mill Creek. Instead, with sadness in her voice informed me, "there has been an accident and Kaisa passed away."

At that moment, my heart skipped a beat and denial took over. Surely, Michelle must be mistaken. Maybe Kaisa was injured and in the hospital. We would all go visit and she would there for a while but she would be okay. I had not heard about this on the news or read about it, so it was not real. My mind flashed back to years earlier when a friend was in a horrible car accident in Lake Chelan and had to be airlifted to Harbourview. She was in bad shape, but pulled through and recovered. This had to be the same as that, right?

Reality hit when I drove north and met up with a group of girls from high school. She was really gone. None of us would ever be the same. Our way of thinking would change forever. We spent the evening sharing "Kaisa" stories.. of which there were many.

Even still, I often I find my mind wandering and reflecting back on memories I have with Kaisa or see/hear things that remind me of her: Rollerblading through Mill Creek, creating "talk shows" and shooting video of them, traveling to Wenatchee and Yakima to stalk watch the baseball team, blasting the "Fugees" in the car,  and big groups of us hanging out for hours in her basement. Remembering these times bring both a smile and sadness to my face. I smile because feel fortunate for the good times we had, and sadness that there will be no more of them with Kaisa.

Sometimes I also feel angry because the last time I talked to Kaisa, we made plans to meet up for Happy Hour and catch up over my winter break. This never happened.  I wish I would have not gone so long without connecting. It is important to make time for friends and family... no matter how busy your life may seem at the time.

I find some comfort in knowing that Kaisa would be pleased that because of her, many friends who had not talked in years reached out to one another and reconnected. She would have loved to stay in Roslyn with Valerie, Carly and I two years ago. I just know she would have been the first of us to sing with the band at The Brick.

She would also have loved to meet all of the babies and kids that have arrived in the past few years. I remember Kaisa telling me once that she wanted to have a daycare when she was older and she would watch all of our children. This is something she would have been excellent at and enjoyed immensely. It is a blessing to know she is a guardian angel now to so many little ones.

For some reason, this post took me years to actually put into writing and post. It is one that I drafted over and over again in my mind (and occasionally on paper), but I never quite thought it sounded just right. How do you put something like this into words?

Kaisa was a girl who loved a good time and would want her friends to cherish the happy memories. She had so many friends and touched many people in her (too short) life. She reminds me every day that life is short and the importance of living each day to the fullest.

So, today Kaisa, as we begin 2014, I will strive to live life a little more like you did. I will keep in contact with old friends, spend quality time with family and keep dreaming big.