Saturday, August 30, 2014

Being Their Champion

I was thinking the other day about how important it is for every person to have someone championing for their best interest. Nobody has very many of those people, and too many people don't have one at all. But us lucky ones have at least one person who is fully invested in us and our happiness, all day, every day. I think that's one of my favorite parts of motherhood. I get to be that person for my Milo, and I can rest peacefully knowing that he has someone fighting for him, praying for him, working for him, taking care of him, and loving him no matter what kind of day we've had. He's so little and so sweet and he needs someone to be unconditionally on his side and rooting for him.

It's a fact of life that your own children are your favorite. But it should be that way. Milo is my number one, no contest. And he needs that. He needs at least one person to be his person. And have you ever realized it takes a lot of time and energy and effort and emotion to be someone's champion? Think about it. I make sure he's taken care of, the basics. Feeding, baths, clothing- the things that keep him alive and functioning. But then there are so many other things. Playing together, making sure he doesn't get bullied, making sure he isn't being a bully, teaching manners, kissing boo boos, being right there to catch him when he jumps for the stairs... it is seriously a full time job, and one that I wouldn't trade for the world.

And I watch him. I know what he likes and doesn't like. I know what will make him happy, what will scare him, and how to remedy situations where he feels discomfort. I feel when he feels. I know that legos and cars make his world go round. I know him inside and out, and there's no way I could fully root for him if I didn't know his sweet little soul so completely. He is perfect to me.

So glad I get to be momma, and his momma. It sure gives life a whole lot of meaning. How on earth did I get so lucky?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Adventures in Babymaking

Last month, my doctor recommended that I have an HSG test done to make sure my ovaries were open and that my uterus is shaped correctly. My insurance doesn't cover anything related to infertility, so it would have cost $800, and we decided to wait until we could scrape up the extra money. The nurse didn't make it sound critical, but the doctor told me later on (by that time it was too late in my cycle) that he highly suggested we have the procedure done. For the test, they inject dye into your uterus and put you under an x-ray so they can see the shape and check for blockages. According to my doctor and a few friends I've known to get pregnant right after the procedure, it often clears things out and acts as a treatment as well as just a diagnostic test.

So, when I found out I wasn't pregnant again and we were in Dallas, I called the fertility clinic in Frisco. They said I could get the test done for $300 cash and I went for it. Oh. My. Gosh. In case you didn't know, having dye injected into your uterus is not a fun feeling. I almost passed out and threw up and I was cringing about it for 3 days afterwards and I cried when I got home. Yeeeeesh. I still get the willies just thinking about it! But, it's done! And my uterus is normal! And my ovaries are clear! And the right side wasn't so clear at first and then cleared up with the dye! So, I think it was well worth it, even just for the peace of mind. I'm really so glad I was able to get it done for so much cheaper!

I do have one small frustration (which I'm probably a lot more irritated about than I should be). A couple of days ago, I got a bill in the mail for $25 for a precautionary pregnancy test they did right before I had the HSG done (I had already paid the $300 upfront at the clinic). 25 dollars. For a urine pregnancy test. Talk about adding insult to injury! I just really want to know what kind of pregnancy tests they use there that cost $25? I mean, I buy them at the dollar store. For a dollar. And I'm pretty sure you can order them in bulk from Amazon for like 20 cents apiece. And as a fertility clinic, I would really think they had an abundant supply of pregnancy tests floating around.

So I called, and asked what the heck I was paying for (it was not even a blood test!). Are they charging me a fee for the dixie cup I peed into? Or for having to walk the cup back to the desk? Or for whoever had to look at the piece of paper and decide if there were 2 lines or 1? Or for the postage and paper and envelope they used to mail me a bill for $25? I could have done all of those things. And talking to the clinic didn't get anywhere. So whatever. I'm paying $25 for a tiny piece of paper with only one pink line on it.

I should have just taken the dumb water bottle they offered me before the test. Cause that'll show em. Then again, that could have resulted in an additional $50 bill for whatever imported vegan kosher gluten free spring mountain melted glacier water they use.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Dream Days

Milo is getting very sophisticated. Gone are the days of simply moving toys around all day. We have moved on to bigger and better things, such as lining up hot wheels and pushing them all at once from the back accompanied by a vrooom sound with extra gusto, coloring with crayons and also eating them, and playing with ABC magnets (and getting confused because the stick to the door but not the toy chest, the dishwasher but not the cabinets, the fridge but not the wall, etc). We play outside and bring our ball because we don't just sit in the swings anymore. We like to shoot hoops now. And go down the slide. 
He likes to be involved in everything. He doesn't just want pieces of my apple, he wants to take a bite out of the whole thing like me. He knows that the microwave is where some of his favorite things go to die (at least for a minute or two). He knows his animals need loves. He makes growling noises at all the dogs and bugs and lizards. He could play legos all day long, build block towers forever, and don't even get me started on stacking cups and knocking them over. 
Waiting for his mac and cheese to cool. The anguish!
My little munch is getting big, but then again, he's still so little. His imagination is blooming and he says "bye bye" and "amen" when we pray. He sings little songs and lays his head on my shoulder to sing "you are my sunshine" every night. These are really the dream days. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tiny Tots

That moment when you see pictures like these and realize the true magnitude of your lack of boobs:

I mean seriously. They were always small, but something about being pregnant and nursing just kind of made them deflate into little bug bites of oblivion. And I'm even wearing a real bra in these pictures. Whatever. At least you'll be able to tell when I'm pregnant because the appearance of anything will be a dead giveaway ;).

On a side note, in my mind, this is preferable to huge boobs (what little I did have when pregnant was not my favorite), and far more preferable to lopsided boobs (when I was nursing we had a little issue called right side produced like 3x more milk, thus rendering 75% of my shirts unwearable and making any writing across the top look like word art). I definitely prefer to be smaller chested, but let's all admit that this is a little ridiculous. You'll be glad to know that anything I had previously up there has generously relocated to my belly area. Thank you kindly, bod.

Hooray for teeny boobs! At least they're still perky. And may I hit puberty someday. Er...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Goodbye Summer Vacation

Ladies and gentlemen... I have survived 7 weeks of being away from my child in the mornings! Let me tell you. It was great to be able to immerse myself in real estate. Also, I have quickly realized that I'm really good at being productive from my own home especially when everyone in the office can't hear me sound like an idiot on the phone. Today marks the first day of Trevor being at his clinical for 8 weeks then back to school full time, and to that I say bring it on! I'm so ready to be a Realtor and a mommy at the same time and so, so, so ready to hog my baby to myself all day again. Of course there will be juggling. Of course we will be busy. I'm sure things will get crazy plenty of days. But I think I'm ready for it.

This morning, I woke up and ran, showered, got Milo up, we ate breakfast together, and we've been playing cars and legos ever since. At nap time, I'll hammer out all the real estate prospecting that I can, hopefully schedule a showing or two, and see where the day takes us. It was so fun having Trevor home for a while, and now I'm so ready to get back at it. Especially the "being with my munch all day" part.
I love my little partner in crime. We make a pretty good team.
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Year of Healing

A year ago sometime around today, Trevor looked me in the eyes again and asked if I'd been throwing up again. I had told him about a year and a half earlier for the first time, did better for a while, got pregnant, spent a whole pregnancy sick, and had a good couple of months after giving birth, only to go right back downhill, and fast. I was withering away at 87 lbs and was completely out of control. I couldn't hold in my secret any longer. I immediately broke down and he knew- but I'm sure he already knew. I never want to relive that evening for anything. I could see the sadness and fear and hurt in his eyes. He had been asking, and I had been answering, just not truthfully.

As a man and my husband and the sole person in this world who loves me the most, he immediately started trying to think of what he could do, and what we could do. As it turns out, maintaining an eating disorder starts to suck the life out of every other aspect of your being. I was really starting to see the effects of my actions on my family's life, and the shame and embarrassment and disappointment I felt in myself was insurmountable. One of the most basic of all human needs, fueling my body, was nearly impossible to me. I couldn't mentally make myself first eat, and then keep it down. Every day was a battle. And I was a wife and a mom. I had people depending on me every day! All I wanted to do was live every day in peace with my little Milo, while this whole huge piece of my life was spiraling out of control. It was clear that I had to figure a way out of this dark hole in order to live the beautiful life I had right in front of me.
We made a plan. I would go to the 12 step Addiction Recovery Program through our church. We would leave all the doors open at all times. No fans on that could block noise. We would go to sleep at the same time every night. We would stay together as much as possible. I started keeping a food journal and making sure I was eating enough calories to be healthy, and keeping every last one of them down. Thinking about it now, it's crazy how stringent these actions seemed but how completely necessary they really were. But all I could think about was what was at stake and how desperately I needed to get healthy for my family.

Those first days of recovery and cleansing, every hour felt like an eternity. My digestive system was shot. I felt bloated and huge anytime I ate and kept it down. It was miserable. I would regularly break into a sweat of anxiety knowing that I had to keep everything down. I went to sleep feeling gigantic every night, all because I wasn't starving. I only ate foods that I had labeled in my head as "safe". It's such a testament to how skewed my thinking had really become. I would take naps every day with Milo just to escape having to focus on it for a while. Literally every minute I had to keep myself in check, remind myself that I was doing what was best for my body, and tell myself that this was so much better than the alternative.

It took a while, a few months even. But once I finally let myself be "normal", or at least a version of it, for a period of time, the sensitivity of the nerve started to dull. I would go hours without being preoccupied, and then days. But I noticed that as soon as I had a good run and got lax in my focus, I'd start to struggle again. So I'd reset. And remember to keep it in my head every day again. I've come to realize that part of recovering from an addiction is the fact that somewhere inside of me, anorexia and bulimia will always be a part of me, but hopefully only for the sole purpose of helping me remember the pain and live healthy.
Fast forward to today. I've put on about 20 lbs. and I feel more like myself than I have in a very long time. I still run every day and I still keep a food journal. I still read out of the addiction recovery manual sometimes. But I no longer chase after feeling empty. I'm gradually getting better at not basing my self worth on my appearance. I still have a long way to go, but just one year of truly working at recovery has made all the difference. I could not have done it without the support of my family, close friends, and my Heavenly Father.
So here's to a year! I can't wait to see what another clean year of serenity will bring.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Nights

It's hitting me that we are almost in the end of August, which means it's almost September, nearly Halloween, and basically Christmas. Kids are going back to school, the sun sets just that much earlier every night, and the end-of-season storms are rolling through. As such, we are soaking in every last second of summer (even though some of us are maybe extremely excited that fall is looming). 

Last night Milo took a late nap and we had no plans, and it's finally under 100 degrees at night. I said Milo! Do you want to go outside? and within seconds, he was at the door with his right church shoe on his left foot. Milo L-O-V-E-S playing outside, and it's so fun taking him out now that he can walk and play and run and explore.

We live in a prime location in our apartment complex. We are surrounded by fields and an empty lot, at the end of a cul-de-sac. Across the way is a kind of scary park, tennis court, basketball court, and another less scary park. We went down the slides, ran around on the basketball court (BA baa!), and spent lots of time swinging- of course playing the "Milo got mommy" game and fake-falling over lots of times when his feet caught me. He thinks I'm hilarious. I'm glad someone has realized this. May he not figure out how truly nerdy I am for a good long while.
I love fall, but I think I love summer nights even more. They are nostalgic and they smell so good, you know? And the temperature is just perfect enough that you're still slightly more than warm. Before, I always thought of all the summer nights at home in Kansas staying up way too late. I thought of the summer I met Trevor, about 8 years ago to the day if you can believe it. Then I'd think of the summer nights I spent out on the roof talking on the phone to Trevor while we were dating long distance. Now, in this phase of life, I love them for a different reason. I love holding Trevor's arm, feeling more secure and safe and content than I ever could have thought possible. I love watching Milo run around and explore the world and be completely enthralled with everything. I love talking to Trevor about the day, and about tomorrow, and next year, and in 5 years, and in 50 years. I love laughing with him about all the things we think are funny that nobody else would ever get. I love gushing with him over every little thing Milo does, and knowing only he shares my complete adoration for that little munch.

These days are so crazy, but so, so sweet. We're busy and we're poor and we're just scraping the surface of what life will be. It can feel so ambiguous, but nights like these bring so much simplicity. It's safe to say that I'm looking forward to the next few months of gorgeous weather and perfect nights. And someday soon, maybe we can play outside between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.! Crossing all our fingers and toes.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Me and My Toddler

It's official. I'm the parent of a toddler. And there's a big piece of me that wants to just rewind to a year and a half ago, because it went entirely. too. fast. But oh my gosh. Milo is so fun right now. And we are having so much fun together. He's my best little friend! We can play so much now, because he knows how. Hide and seek, chase, cars... you name it, he loves it. We crack each other up all day long. And he can't hide his joy. When he's happy, it is so obvious. I love that about him. He can't contain his emotions in that tiny little body. When he's happy he smiles and throws his head back and gallops around and jumps and bobs. He laughs and his eyes sparkle. When he's upset his whole face is sad. He tenses up his arms and bends down to yell because we all know that helps situations immensely :).
This weekend we played and played. It is Trevor's last week before he starts his clinicals, and we are soaking in the last of our daddy time! Have I mentioned how much I love my boyfriend/best friend/partner in crime/giggle buddy/husband? I really, really love him. This last few weeks have been miraculous in the reconnecting department. After a few months of living like ships passing in the night, we were seriously in need of some family time to just be and step away from the crazy! 

We went to the park, the mall, the pool, and hung out at our apartment in between. Lots of legos and even more cars. Milo Heaven. He even helped me get ready for church by hiding in the clothes hamper closet. Also, get a load of 1. those thighs, 2. the mohawk, and 3. the outfit. I'm still trying to figure out how such a handsome boy came out of me. I know he's my kid and I'm totally biased, but I cannot stop staring at him!

Also, he totally gets shy around strangers now which equals instant cuddles. Today at the doctor he rested his head on me until we went in. At a showing he let me hold him on my hip the WHOLE time. Booyah. OH my baby. I love you, I love you, I love you!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I'm Ba-ack!

Ahhhh. That was just the trip I needed. A little bit of time to step away from the tornado, be with my boys and sister and her kids, and regroup. We got back today and I'm ready to hit the ground running tomorrow! I think there's a lot to be said for a good trip now and then. Usually I'm about ready to be back after 3 or 4 days, but this time, a week and a day was the perfect amount of time. I got to sort out and analyze all the important life decisions I have floating around in my head with my sister and decompress. Sister therapy man, it works miracles. And take naps, because, naps.
We did a lot of swimming, playing, and a little bit of hitting cousins but that improved significantly by the end. Milo was a dream for the trip. He slept great, ate well, and he was just cute and sweet in every way. I love that munch but sometimes I just love him extra. Watching him float around in his puddle jumper and play peek a boo under his dinosaur blanket were a couple of those times.
 I'm so glad he is getting to play with his cousins. This guy is destined to be Milo's best friend. As soon as they stop making each other cry, it will be a beautiful relationship.

I'm back and loaded with things to tell you. I know you can't wait. ;)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Working Momma

Even though he's on a 7 week break from school right now, Trevor is still working 20 hours a week and he mows lawns around our apartment complex, so I have had a few opportunities to see what life is about to be like as a full time momma and Realtor. 
Waiting for our appointment. THIS is a perfect picture of what my life actually looks like!

The nature of real estate, I've learned, is that you can never fully plan your day. Which with a toddler is hard! As a mom, I've developed the skill of planning for naptime, packing what I need for the day, making sure I time things well within a window of about an hour or so on either end of naps and meals. I've never been super stringent on our schedule, but some semblance of a routine works wonders for the whole family. 

So, when someone calls and says they want to see a house in 30 minutes, and Trevor is gone, and Milo is cranky, it's go time. We figure it out and make it happen. If I ever want to have success as a Realtor, I have to be accessible, available, and flexible. 

I haven't been at it for long at all, but here are a few tricks of the trade I'm already figuring out:

1. Pack for the day the night before. I always have my lunch and Milo's bag packed so that we are prepared to leave whenever we need to. 

2. Work out first thing in the morning. There is no more naptime running happening in my house. If I get up and get it done before the day starts for anyone else, then I can use naptime to get work done. Plus, endorphins. 

3. Get ready first thing. Oh this is a hard one for me. But if I get ready (enough) to head out the door within about 20 minutes at any given time, it takes a lot of the potential stress away. 

4. Sleep enough. The second I get too super tired, my mind starts going fuzzy and I can't focus nearly as well. If I fall short taking care of myself, EVERYTHING suffers. 

5. Remember that Milo has to be adaptable too, and be sensitive to that. Playtime is playtime. I don't want him to feel like his momma time is suffering even though we are out and about a bit more. 

6. Utilize naptime and bedtime and the hours when Trevor is home. He will be home by 6 this next semester, so that means I can get work done anytime 6-midnight if I have to. That plus naptime will give me plenty if hours a day if I'm smart about it. 

7. Prioritize. My family will always, always be number 1. The rest I can figure out without too much trouble, and the laundry can (usually) wait. :)

8. Feel out the situation. Most people so far don't mind Milo joining us for showings. Meetings would be a different story, because I do have to maintain professionalism. Whenever I can bring Milo, I will. Then I can plan for the times I can't. 

8. Have an emergency backup plan. If I'm meeting a client for the first time and I'm not sure how they will feel about me bringing Milo with me, and Trevor is at work, I know I have at least two friends who can hang out with Milo with very little notice most of the time (I love you Lettice and Caitlyn!)

If you have any brilliant ideas on how to be a full time mom and work at the same time, feel free to share! I need all the help I can get! 
Selfies before a showing!

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Tricky Parts

Motherhood is so, so wonderful. And also a challenge, but often for different reasons than I thought. Case in point: Milo is going through a phase of throwing cars/hitting people in the head with them. Not ok. But how do you teach a 1 year old that he can't do that? "No no" isn't working all that great unfortunately. He's learning how to test the waters. He'll hold his food over the floor from his high chair with devious eyes just waiting for me to tell him to keep his food on his table.

Now this boy is a sweetheart in every sense of the word. I know I'm biased as his mom, but it's true. But this hitting thing is a problem! Trevor and I have talked about the best way to discipline him and teach him things. Being firm and saying "no" is surely preferable. And yesterday we realized we need to be more serious about nipping the hitting in the bud. So when he jacked me in the head with a car, I tapped his hand and said no. It wasn't out of anger, and it wasn't hard, just enough to get his attention. And the next 5 minutes were the saddest of my life.

He laid down on the floor and just cried. Like I betrayed him! And then I picked him up and thankfully he just let me hold him and laid his head on my shoulder (if he had run away from me I would have died right then and there). But good grief. Talk about the guilt trip of the century! He cried... I cried... and I felt like the biggest failure of all mothers.

So what do you do when your 1 year old boy is acting like, well, a boy? How do you lovingly and gently teach important lessons without being the bad guy? How do you cope with sometimes having to be a meanie by correcting your child when he's wrong? What's the best way? How do you make sure he knows all along how much you love him?

Advice is so much more than welcome. I want my baby to grow up feeling secure and loved and safe and happy, and I don't want him to be entitled or out of control. I want to raise him to be polite and respectful and fun and sweet and good and happy. Is that so much to ask?! :) Teach me mommas... this toddler thing may just be a doozey!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

16 Months, REALLY?!

Have I really been a mom for almost a year and a half? Actually, it feels like I've been a mom forever now. I kind of love it. I'm in the groove of chasing a toddler and I am in love with it. I'm also in the groove of hearing "MAMA!" accompanied by an urgent point and whine when he wants something :).
Probably my favorite thing he does right now is growling at animals/bugs. It is so funny. I've been trying to teach him animal sounds from a book he has, and mostly we just growl, so now he growls at all the real animals too.
He likes to run sideways with his head cocked. I'm not sure exactly how else to explain it. Then he spins.

He has the cheesiest little smile. He looks at me all the time and just flashes his little teeth. I am in love with it.

He's getting so good at going to bed without a bottle! I'm so proud.

He loves to stack things like cups and blocks, and he loves building his legos.
He likes dino nuggets, yogurt, nilla wafers, and sharing my apples. I bite off pieces of apple for him and then he eats them. He also always knows when I'm stashing a pile of mike n ikes, so he shares those too :).

He loves playing outside and running. He is such a boy.

He loves his lion, and I love that he loves his lion.
He also loves hitting and throwing... we're working on teaching the appropriate times and items for these things. (AKA you can throw a ball but not a car, you can give high fives but not slap heads...)
He likes to head butt us. I am ok with that.

He thinks eskimo kisses are so funny.

I know these posts are all getting to be the same, but here's my thinking- this is my blog for never forgetting anything about my little family. This is our journal of our life, and the place where I keep track of all the fun little things that are happening right now. For the creative writing stuff (and more regular posts), head on over to The Girlfriend Letters.