Monday, January 24, 2011

Getting Out

So, the Inaugral Bloggers' Night Out was this past Saturday. I got the opportunity to meetface-to-face with some amazing women who have walked the path of infertility.

The drive down to dinner was strange. I had butterflies in my tummy. It was weird to be actually meeting people that I have never "met," but know so intimately. There is also the teensy tiny detail that I share an obnoxious amount of information here and I was all of a sudden all too aware of that fact!

I got there first, got a table, and was seated. And then one-by-one, everyone else arrived.


Jen is one of my longest-time blogging buddies. She is just as warm and personable face-to-face as she is over her blog. She is one of those people you just feel instantly comfortable with. She is one of those "real" people that you can just be yourself around.


She is a great listener and one of those people that I just can't wait to get to know even better. She is just so nice and you can tell how much she adores her babies. She also looks a-freakin-mazing mere months after an extended bedrest and delivering the twins.

Ludicrous Mama

She had me laughing from instant one with her "tell it like it is" attitude. She always has something to say and it's usually hilarious! I "knew" her the least of all of the bloggers, but I am hooked on her blog now, especially her Muffin Tin Meals.

Anonymous Blogger

One of the bloggers in attendance prefers not to be identified so I can't say much, but I love, love, love this girl. She is just starting her first IVF cycle and I am so excited to follow her journey.

What was amazing is that I have always wondered how "real" people are in their blogs. I mean, I know I am pretty honest here and try to be who I am, but there is always a certain amount of self-editing that takes place. But when we got together, you could see the personalities shining through. Everyone was just as real - and as wonderful - in person as they are through their blogs.

It was an incredible experience to meet these wonderful women in real life. At one point, Anonymous Blogger pointed out that there were five women in attendance and eight children between us all. Eight miracles who prove that there are happy endings to the sad story of infertility.

Thank goodness for the blogosphere and the wonderful women (and men!) in it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

She Runs In the Family

My cousin, Poppy, has a blog. She is way funnier than I could ever hope to be. Seriously, do not drink any beverages while reading her blog. It will come out your nose. Yes, that funny.

My cousin, Poppy, also runs. Marathons. She is way more athletic than I could ever hope to be.

Currently, she is trying to win a sponsorship from TRX to train for a marathon. Please view this video if you have a few minutes. If you'd like to help in other ways and win a free mug, she has more ideas on her blog.

Thank you!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Still Not Too Late

If you are in the Seattle area and would love to meet up with some pretty cool people (if we do say so ourselves - and we do!) and have cheesecake to boot, then don't forget about the Bloggers' Night Out!

More details can be found here. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Oh, heck, just show up if you want. We'd love to meet you!

I'll be posting pictures of the fun. . . and the cheesecake.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Leash Laws

Thanks for the supportive weigh-in on Will and discipline. Sometimes, just posting about an issue seems to help resolve it. Possibly it's the release of emotions and anxiety that change my attitude, which in turn, changes his.

We had to leave another play date on Friday, but we were there for a good hour before the infraction occurred. It also happened just as I sat down to nurse Emma. It doesn't take Freud to figure that one out. I just worked very hard at being as diligent and as consistent as possible these past few days (not that I wasn't being consistent before, I just made extra sure).

I also finally busted something out that my MIL had given me right before Emma was born: the leash.

Now, I'll be honest. When she gave me this thing, I tried to subtly look to see if she'd also included the gift receipt. I wasn't gonna leash Will. He is the kid that stays close by to me. He is usually contained in a stroller or cart. I always hold his hand or carry him in a parking lot or dangerous situation.

In the past month, however, there have been two times when I have had to chase Will down and there has been a kindly stranger that has intervened to corral him. If those strangers hadn't been around, things could have ended differently. The fact that, even for a few seconds, I wasn't in control and he was in danger haunted me.

I decided that he just wasn't ready to roam free, so it was back in a cart or stroller. But that isn't possible all of the time. And it's not really as much fun doing a necessary errand with a screaming child in the cart.

So, I dug through Emma's closet and found the leash. It's a fancy leash, actually a wrist band that connects us with a retractable cord. It's black and neon green and looks super cool. But it's still a leash.

I looked at it and felt trepidation. Had it really come down to this? Had it really come down to leashing my child? After all, one of my pre-kid statements was, "I will never put my child on a leash."

As Will grew and became more independent, I found myself looking at the "backpack" type leashes and even put one in the cart from time to time at the store. I always put it back because, ultimately, I still was on top of the situation. Lately, I can't say that I 100% will be able to keep him safe without the use of a leash.

Even though he was never in any true danger in these past two episodes, I saw how quickly it could happen. I saw how it takes just one second to go from being in control to being in an emergency situation.

So I put the leash in the diaper bag so that it would be there the next time we were in a situation where I felt as if I needed the extra security. That time came Friday night.

M woke up Friday with a horrible flu bug. He was out of commission for the day. I got the kids out of the house to give him some rest. We went to the mall to return some things and let Will play at the kiddie play area. I used the double stroller for that outing and he was contained and safe. Then, on the way home, I decided to take the kids into a Baja Fresh to get some dinner. This is one of those very situations where safety becomes an issue. I have a diaper bag, Emma in her car seat so I could set her down in the restaurant, and Will to manage by myself. It was a crowded parking lot and a small, crowded restaurant where a double stroller would not be appreciated - or even fit. I reached for the Ergo and realized that it was sitting on top of the washer at home. . . waiting to be laundered after an unfortunate incident involving Emma's first sweet potatoes. So, I reached for something else. . . the leash.

Will thought it was pretty cool to put on our matching "bracelets." He thought the retractable cord was fun, too. The walk across the parking lot was great. He was contained and safe.

We walked into the restaurant and again, it was great. He could walk in a three foot radius from me, so he felt the illusion of freedom, and I felt the reality of safety.

We got in line and there were two younger guys in front of us (man, I feel old calling them younger, when they were probably early twenties. . . but I digress) and one of them barked at Will and said, "Hey, buddy, are you a doggie?"

Now the guy didn't mean anything by it, he was just having fun and teasing, but it hit me where it hurts. That is exactly why I didn't want to leash my kids. They aren't animals, they are human beings.

I took a deep breath. Will thought being a doggie was great fun, after all. He woofed back and laughed. He was none the worse for the wear.

We put in our order, found a table, got settled, and enjoyed a nice meal (I took the leash off while we ate). I was complimented on my "beautiful and well-behaved children" by the elderly couple at the table next to us.

After dinner, I hesitated as I took out The Leash. I looked outside at our car, across a busy, blustery parking lot. I decided to go for the lesser evil and I put the wrist bracelet back on Will. As I did, the same elderly lady said, "Gosh, I wish they would have had those when I was raising my kids."

That made me feel a bit better. We headed out to our car.

He laughed and twirled as we crossed the lot. I was in control, I had him, I felt safer. He felt free.

Like so many pre-kid statements, I am retracting The Leash. I will not use it all of the time. I will use it when it is necessary. I realize some may not agree with me. Some may think I am treating my kids like animals. Like a lot of parenting decisions, it has to be what feels right for our family, for our kids. Right now, I am putting Will's safety above my own vanity, my own concern about what people might think.

Really, that is all that matters.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kicking and Screaming (or Scratching and Hitting)

It seems as if this whole discipline thing comes up on the good ol' blog every few months. When I am not yammering about sleep, what to do about the behavior of my older child seems to be my parenting foil.

This week has been. . . rough. It seems that we have weeks like this, where I seriously wonder where my sweet tempered child went.

Monday was one of my weakest moments as a parent to date. We went on a fun playdate to local bounce place. I had a great time playing with him in all of the bouncy houses. He was fairly well-behaved there, until one of the mothers wanted to get a group picture of everyone. Well. That didn't work out so well. He didn't want to stop playing (kinda can't blame him, but still) and so he hit me when I tried to pick him up to take him over for the shot. Time out.

Then he cried during the entire five minutes that we tried to get said group picture. Finally, he was released to play again, but it was like the switch had been flipped. After leaving there, we all went to McD's where he proceeded to behave terribly. He would not sit down, he did not want to eat his lunch, he kept rocking Emma's carseat and taking away her lovey, and he was bouncing on the chairs, etc. Finally, even though everyone else was still eating, I declared that the party was over and collected our things. Will was not pleased to be leaving while everyone else was clearly staying, so he made my job as difficult as possible, fighting me every step of the way.

Once in the parking lot, he tugged his arm away from me and started running down the sidewalk. For those of you still anticipating #2, this is one area that is still challenging: the transport. Because now you are lumbering with a carseat, a diaper bag, and who knows what else, and that makes you slow. You can't exactly throw number #2 to the ground to catch #1, but when you are in a busy parking lot, it can be scary that you are so compromised.

Fortunately, another family was just getting out of their car and the dad blocked Will's escape from me. He was very kind and I saw no judgment in his eyes, just that look of solidarity that said he'd been there.

Gratefully, I scooped up my child in my (not really) free arm and hauled him back to the car, with him kicking and screaming the entire way. I was starting to lose my Mommy Cool by that point and spoke to him in a voice I am not sure he's ever heard me use. "Get in your car seat."

He hesitated and I said it again, "Get in your car seat." The tone of my voice and the slightly crazed look in my eye got him hustling into his seat. I buckled him in and looked at him in the eye and told him in my Most Serious Mommy Voice, "It is dangerous to run away from Mommy. I am very disapppointed in you. Do not run away from Mommy ever again." He was quiet on the way home and didn't fight me on going down for a nap. We both needed the break.

I decided we needed a day "at home" on Tuesday. Things seemed a bit more settled here, but then again, there were little opportunities for him to run away or act out when we were within the four walls of the house.

It snowed here on Wednesday morning, so M took our Jeep to work to handle the commute, which meant another day at home. My neighbor and good friend called mid-morning to invite us over to play and have lunch. We headed over after Emma's nap and were there for two minutes when Will's friend started telling him that "Emma my sister." Will said, "No! Emma my sister!" As this "game" has upset Will before, I started to head their direction, but before I could get to them, he had reached out and scratched a huge welt into his friend's face. A second later, blood welled to the surface.

I was horrified. After making sure his friend was okay, we left immediately, Will crying great big, gulping sobs the whole way home. Even though I knew he was 100% wrong and that taking him home was the right thing to do, it still did tug at my heart to see him so upset.

It seemed to make an impression on him, so on the way to our playdate today, I reminded him that any sort of hitting or scratching would result in our immediate departure. He was actually much better today. I also was on him like a shadow, trying to prevent a hitting before it occured. We were there for two hours before he hit during a tug-o-war with a friend. I immediately grabbed his hand and told him we were leaving. He started to cry, "No, Mommy, I go in timeout!" This had been the previous (obviously ineffective) punishment for hitting.

So, that's it now. We are going to have to leave every playdate for here to eternity or at least until he figures out how to handle his frustrations in non-physical ways. I was okay with the occasional hit and then timeout as a consequence, simply because I think that's how toddlers communicate, even if we don't like it. But it seems to be escalating and the scratching was a whole new level that I could not tolerate. Fortunately, my friend is understanding and didn't freak out, but not everyone is going to be as "okay" with being a learning tool for my son.

Ugh. . . discipline.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Me Do It

Oh, boy.

We've entered a new phase here.

It's the "me do it!" phase.

Will wants to do everything himself. . . "me put on boots," "me get Emma's toy," "me turn off light" . . . you get the picture.

Lord, grant me patience.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I had forgotten how exciting it was to have a new blog! You know that feeling? Where you have a lot to say and a blank page to say it on? It actually inspired me to go back and read some of my original blog entries here, too, just as a reminder of where I've been.

I'm going to be really honest here. Once you get to the other side, it's easy to "forget". Not that I will ever forget my angel babies, not that I will ever be able to look at conception and pregnancy in the same way, but you do tend to forget how bad it was, how all-consuming, how painful, how deep it cut. It's part of being human. We move on, whether we want to or not. But there are times, when I remember all too often, how much it hurt.

Reading some of those early entries was one reminder this week. Another was when I went into my shoe closet to grab some shoes I hadn't worn in over two years. This was clearly evidenced by what I found in the toe of the left shoe.

Two pee sticks.

To understand why pee sticks would be in the toe of one of my shoes, you probably have to have been around reading the good old blog back then. I was insane. I was obsessed. I couldn't pee on enough sticks. It was as if I could somehow control the outcome if I knew the second there was enough HCG in my system to detect a pregnancy.

My husband did not approve of this addiction. He was okay with me taking a test if my period was a day or two late. But when Aunt Flow was more than a week off, he could see no point in wasting my time, emotions, or money. A sane person would have agreed.

I was not, in any way, shape, or form, sane.

So I grew to hide my addiction from him. Wonderful, no?

Our master closet is right off the bathroom. My shoe organizer hangs from the inside of the door. It was a great place to shove a pee stick if the bathroom trash was empty (no wrappers to bury the sticks under) and my husband was around at the time of a peeing. Plus, you know I always broke the rules and looked past the time limit, so it was just more sanitary to reach into the shoe organizer rather than dig through the trash.

Seeing those pee sticks, yellowed with age, and no longer relevant in my world today, brought some old feelings bubbling to the surface. Anger, grief, embarassment, and finally, relief. I am so glad and grateful that I am not in that place anymore. It also made me ache, because I know there are still those waiting to move beyond that spot. Right now, there is someone, somewhere, staring a pee stick, willing it to show her hopes, dreams, and future, all in the form of second line or digital PREGNANT. Someone, somewhere is staring at red on the toilet paper, feeling their heart in their throat, as they realize that this "isn't right" and their baby isn't going to be born on the due date circled in their minds.

It is generally best to look forward. Looking at the past doesn't usually serve much purpose. However, there are time when a reminder of where we've been is a good thing. It keeps us thankful for the present that we have.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Meet Me Over Here!

Well, I've finally done it. I've decided to start a new blog. It's going to be focused on our recent eating adventures. It might be a total flop, but I have had quite a few people asking for recipes and ideas since we started our vegan detox way of life, and I decided to just put it all out there in one place.

It's still in the itty-bitty blog phase (one intro page and one recipe post), but I promise there will be much more to come. And there will even be a semi-embarassing TMI post about me and a Big Mac. Oh, it's been a long time since I had a McD's post on this blog!

Of course, I'll still be providing you with way TMI here on this blog, so don't worry your pretty little heads about that!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Oh my gosh, you guys.

It's another New Year! Happy 2011!

We had a really nice family New Year's Eve. We started the day out at the Children's Museum, where they had a Rockin' New Year's Eve Party, complete with crafts, noisemakers, and the usual madness that is the museum. We met our friends there and then went to McDonald's for lunch and more playtime.

After that, we continued our Family Tradition of writing notes to our lost babies and releasing balloons along with a wish for the New Year. This was a tradition that started out as a memorial for Gummy Bear. We now each pick a balloon and release them together at a beautiful park overlooking Puget Sound. This year, we added a balloon for Jack. What I love about this is not only that it continues to serve as a reminder to what we hold in our hearts from our past, but also, as our family grows, it evolves into a beautiful, unique family tradition that we can all look forward to. Yesterday happened to be a beautiful, sunny day, so we could watch the balloons for quite some time before they disappeared into the distance over the water.

M has been craving pizza (a lot of places serve gluten-free crusts now but don't have a vegan cheese alternative) and though I make a pretty good one here at home if I do say so myself, I had found out about this place. So we drove. . . are you ready for this. . . 30 minutes to get take-n-bake pizza. One way. But it was worth it, because M happily devoured over half of the pizza (though he actually said mine tastes better!).

We watched a movie as a family, then tubbies for the kiddos, and after they were in bed, we watched a movie. We opened a bottle of champagne at 11:45 and toasted the New Year. At 12:02, I headed to bed! Ah, New Year's is definitely different with kids.

So. . . 2011. I don't really make resolutions, per se. Last year, I had a goal to become more organized and efficient. I actually made some great strides on that, but I have room to grow. So, let's just say I am going to continue to work on that skill. We are already eating better and I do a pretty good job of getting out and about with the kiddos for walks, but I'd like to do even more physical activity in the coming year. My hopes for this year is that we continue to evolve as a family of four and that I remember to appreciate the little things and be happy in the moment.

How did you celebrate the ringing in of a new year? And what are your resolutions/committments/hopes/dreams for 2011?