Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thankful on Thursday

My health has been a struggle lately, so I will count my blessings today. Here we go:

1. My adorable little girl, one of the reasons I motivate myself to get out of bed every day, despite the debilitating pain,

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2. My awesome husband, who recently wrote to FMS specialists all over the country to ask for their help with my situation,

3. My massage therapist, Thea, who is actually coming to my house to give me a massage today. Matt can't take me, and I can't handle the hour of driving it would entail to get to her office. When Matt told her about it, she offered to come here. Did I mention she lives in another state and had to juggle her day around me? Amazing...

4. My MIL, who regularly offers to come help with Audrey when she knows Matt will be late,

5. My mom, who asks me each and every day how I am...and she actually cares about the answer,

6. That I finished writing a paper for my class that's due this week, even though it involved a lot of staring at the computer screen and took HOURS longer than it should have, and

7. That I could write this post today, since I haven't been able to blog for so long. And I miss it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

My ray of sunshine

I've been depressed lately. Very down. I had a stomach virus (I guess that's what it was; I'm no doctor, obviously), but it wore me out. Then, I did a sort of "cleanse" that my massage therapist suggested. I won't bore you with the details, and I'm sure you're eternally grateful for that. Anyway, it was necessary (and still ongoing), but it's made me feel so much worse. I'm weak, and I haven't been able to take Audrey anywhere by myself for 2 1/2 weeks.

And I don't have to tell you how hard (and boring for both of us) it is to be stuck inside the house all day and all night. It can lead to very depressing thoughts. I feel like Audrey is suffering as a result of my illness, that she's not being stimulated enough here at home, even though I try my best.

There were a couple of times when Audrey and I didn't leave the house for four days straight. Last weekend, I was too sick to even go anywhere with Matt. I haven't even felt like blogging, which is usually one of my favorite activities. I've been so weak that it's hard to type for any length of time.

But, I'm hanging in there, trying to remember this verse: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34). It's hard, since I'm a chronic worrier.

The other day, though, I was feeling so bad. I was lying on the floor with Audrey, my stomach cramped up, but still trying to play with her. So, do you know what this sweet little girl did?

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She crawled over to me and kissed me right on the mouth. And it made my day, drool and all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New game

Gramma came over yesterday and introduced Audrey to a new game. I guess we could call it "Chase the Turtle" (I know; I'm so clever). Papa brought her a sea turtle from the Cayman Islands (I think), and it was bigger than she was at the time. Not any more, though.

I'm always glad for a new game. Sometimes I feel guilty, like I'm boring her with the same old toys and books.

So, the game consists of chasing the turtle and catching it:

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giving it a little pat,

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and then pouncing on it for a good snuggle.

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Ahhh...I love my soft turtle. Maybe I'll just take a nap now.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Never missing a beat

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I had lunch with an old girlfriend on Friday. When I think about how long I've known her, it makes me feel ancient. Let's see; we met in 6th grade when we were 11, so that 27 years. That just seems unbelievable. That, my friends, is absolutely nuts. Because Matt is only 29. Okay, I must stop thinking about that before I have a breakdown.

I hadn't seen her in over 2 years, even though we live maybe 40 minutes apart. There are a lot of excuses we could give for that; she has three very active boys, two of which are in middle school. How can I have grown up with someone who has kids in middle school? One of them is playing football, for goodness' sake.

Plus, we have my health to consider, the fact that it's so hard to make plans when I never know how I'll feel on any given day. In fact, the last time we were supposed to meet for lunch, I had to cancel because I just wasn't feeling well. I had a good reason, though...I went into labor that night. I still think it was a stellar excuse.

She'd never even been to my house before, so she got lost on the way over. But I can't even describe how much fun we had. I have very few friends like her. You know, the ones that you could go months (or years) without talking to, and then, it's like you've been in contact every day. You never miss a beat. There's no awkwardness, or long silences. Just wonderful, deep conversation that can turn light-hearted in an instant. And then we're giggling like we did back in high school.

When I first met her, I didn't like her. But in high school, she became my best friend and, later, my college roommate. In other words, she knows where all the bodies are buried. We know things about each other that would, if known to anyone else, make them wonder if they ever knew us.

How great to have friends like that. How wonderful when you have make the time to see each other. I felt so great when she left, like that feeling you get when you leave the salon with a fabulous new cut and color, like you can take on the world single-handedly.

We pledged to do better about seeing each other, and I am determined to do so. There are few things more valuable than a true friend, someone you could call in the middle of the night if you needed her, and she would be right by your side. It's a precious thing, one you should never take for granted. And my fervent prayer is that Audrey will have friends like that one day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

10 month letter

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Dear Audrey,

You are ten months old today! You're getting to be such a big girl. At your last appointment on September 13, you weighed 18 pounds and measured 28.25 inches long. You're so long that some 12-month pants fit you now.

The day before your 9-month appointment, you started crawling. You'd been working on it for a few weeks, and you did it! Daddy and I were so proud. I was happy that Daddy was home (it was a Sunday), so that he could witness it, too.

How life has changed since you've begun to crawl! You started out slowly, hesitantly, but now you're very fast. We have to watch you like a hawk so you don't get into anything you're not supposed to touch. You always try to get my cell phone, laptop, reading glasses...basically anything you shouldn't have! Daddy's done a lot of baby-proofing around the house so that you won't get hurt. Nevertheless, you've fallen several times and bumped your head, and it breaks my heart to see you cry.

Your naps are getting longer, but you're down to two a day, normally. They usually last at least an hour, but if you're very tired, they last longer.

Your favorite thing to do is the same as last month...standing and holding on to the ottoman. You've started trying to cruise around furniture, and you love it when Daddy and I help you "walk". You love it when we read to you, and I think your favorite book right now is On the Night You Were Born. It's so perfect because it describes exactly how special you are.

You went to your first football game this month, stayed by yourself in two different church nurseries, and experimented with Stage 3 foods. You were not a fan; you gagged and spit them out. I guess we have to try that again.

You're getting the hang of the sippy cup, although I'm not sure if you're chewing on it or drinking sometimes. You love eating puffs, and you'll shove 10 into your mouth at once if we give you that many. We don't make that mistake anymore.

Daddy and I both love you so much, and our lives are brighter because of you. The whole family adores you, and they fight over who gets to hold you next. You're such a sweet baby and so loving, and everyone wants to be around you.

Happy 10-month birthday, Bug.

With all my love,

Monday, October 4, 2010

Momentous occasion

Recently, my two nieces (Elizabeth and Nichole) decided they want to be baptized. Matt, Audrey, and I went to my parents' church so we could see them go down the aisle. I'm so very proud of them!

The day was somewhat marred for me (and the rest of our family), since SIL decided to bring her boyfriend to church to witness the event. I thought it was a bad call on her part, since she and my brother aren't even divorced yet. In fact, I thought it was absolutely ludicrous.

Elizabeth and Nichole have had a rough, terrible year. Their mother has put them in three different schools in a years' time. They've been moved from their home with SIL and brother, and now they're living with SIL and her boyfriend in a trailer. They have to deal with SIL's boyfriend's kids (two boys) who are over every other weekend and several times during the week. They live at least an hour away from where they were born and raised, away from us, away from my parents, away from my brother.

Elizabeth and Nichole's lives are completely different compared to what they were a year ago. Noah, who has health and mental issues now, is not capable of taking care of them at this time by himself, so they stay with him and my parents when's it's his weekend to have them.

They go from house to house to house, from my parents to the other set of grandparents, back to where they call "home" now, all on a regular basis. It kills me to see them have to pack up and be shuttled to and fro all the time. It kills me when I hear that they beg not to go home to SIL's, that Nichole actually hung her head as she walked back into her mother's house recently.

So, in a way, I'm kind of surprised they've made this decision. SIL doesn't taken them to church, but my brother and parents do. And yesterday, I got to see them stand in front of church and declare their desire to be baptized. It was a wonderful thing to experience.

Later, we spent the day at my mom's house, and it was a great day. Matt played basketball with the girls, we all took Audrey for a walk, I had a nap (!), and it was just a peaceful day. Elizabeth read some books to Audrey.

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Reading Little Quack

And we played on Elizabeth's bed for a while, just reading and talking. These are some of my favorite moments.

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Me, Elizabeth, Audrey, Nichole, and of course, Charlie

I love spending time with my family, and it pains me that I only see my nieces once every two weeks now. When they were very little, I saw them every other day. In recent years, after we moved 30 minutes away, I still saw them once or twice a week. So this has been extremely painful for me.

I am removed from their lives. SIL was my best friend, and I would help her with the girls. I would pick them up for school when she couldn't, help them with their homework, and just play. Now, not so much. In fact, not at all, except on my brother's weekends. It's simply heartbreaking.

I'm so happy for them in the decisions they made this weekend, though. So very proud.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Such a klutz

At the end of yesterday's post, I wrote about hitting my shins when I ran into the ottoman. Let me tell you, it hurt VERY BADLY. It's a soft ottoman, but around the top edges, there are some hard places that give structure to it, of course. Ouch.

It all started with a bump to Audrey's head on Tuesday night. I was sitting on the floor right beside her, and she hit her forehead, hard, on the cedar chest. I felt so guilty about it, especially when I saw the knot that rose up almost immediately. I know I shouldn't feel guilty, but it's so hard not to. I know there's going to be lots of times that she's going to hit her head, especially when she starts walking, but I always think, "I should have prevented that."

She screamed and screamed, which is unusual. Since she started pulling up recently, we've said "Oopsie!" every time she falls, and she usually just smiles. I know the parents' reaction affects the way the baby handles it, so we try to remain calm.

We checked the dilation of her pupils, which I insist on doing every time she has a hard hit to the head. Yes, I'm paranoid. My dad had several brain aneurysms in his lifetime, and I'm all too aware of how brain injuries work.

The worst part was, it was almost bedtime. That means we couldn't really check on her, watch her behavior, to see how she was. Matt did her usual nighttime routine, but she still wouldn't go to sleep. She just screamed. Which is highly unusual, especially since we successfully completed sleep training a few months ago.

It turns out she was fine, but we got her up anyway; I wanted to check her pupils again. I know, the OCD was rearing its ugly head. I had her in my arms, screaming, and I practically ran to the bedroom to get the flashlight. Wham! Hit the front of my shins on the ottoman.

Matt and I are trying to watch our language now, since we don't want little Audrey to start cursing while she's at, say, the church nursery on Sunday. But I was in so much pain that I let several terribly unflattering words fly from my mouth.

Last night, I am not exaggerating when I say I could hardly walk, and I have two big bruises on my shins. And it irritates me to no end. Because ever since I was diagnosed with FMS, I've become clumsy. I knock things over, drop things, fall and hit my head...the list is endless. Part of FMS has to do with loss of muscle control. When it was really bad, I could be standing there in the kitchen, holding a glass, and I would just drop it. With no idea how it happened. Poor Matt has had to clean up so many spills in the last few years, bless his heart, usually with me crying and saying, "I'm so sorry!"

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I feel like such an idiot. As a child, I was not uncoordinated. I played church basketball and softball, and I probably would have played high school softball if I hadn't worked so much. So this loss of muscle control is tough.

At least it's gotten better in the last few months. Even though you'd never know it by looking at my shins.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mother Goose was on the loose today

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Audrey and I went to a program today at the library called "Mother Goose on the Loose". I had no idea what to expect, other than the fact that there would be nursery rhymes. Yes, I'm a rocket scientist.

It was a lot of fun! The woman who presented it was awesome, although she wasn't dressed for the part, as shown above. Can't say I blame her for that, though. She had puppets, and she'd get down on her hands and knees, crawling, and bring the puppet around to each child. And there had to be at least 35 people there. It was packed out!

One of the puppets was some kind of bird, maybe a swan, and the lady brought it right up to Audrey. A lot of the other babies tried to get away from it, giggling, but Audrey just let the puppet "kiss" her on the nose. The lady said, "Oh, we have a brave one here!" She didn't even flinch. It's funny, since you never know how your child is going to respond to something like that.

I think most of the people were regulars (they have it each week), and most of them knew the songs. I felt a little out of it at that point, but it was okay. The lady brought around a drum, and each child (with the parent's help) had to beat out the syllables of his/her name on it. I took Audrey's hand when it was her turn, and she seemed to enjoy it.

Near the end, the lady gave out some transparent "scarves", just little squares of fabric. We played games with those, too. Audrey, however, decided she'd rather chew on hers. Needless to say, her scarf went in the "special bag" when the lady took it up. I can't keep anything out of her mouth these days.

I think we'll go again next week, if I'm not hurting too much from this time. It was a very interactive program...we were swinging the babies all around. We also ran and tiptoed around the circle, so my legs are already hurting. Of course, that could be because I smacked the $hit out of my shins last night on our ottoman. Brilliant, yes? I'll never get used to how clumsy I've become due to FMS. But that's another story, for another day.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Why won't my baby play with toys?

Okay, I'm not going to say Audrey never plays with her toys, but she definitely has a curiosity for things that definitely don't fall into the toy category. Like today, when I found her in the kitchen.

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Yes, she's playing with my grabber! That's what I call it, anyway. I'm not sure what the official term is, but my mom gave it to me when my FMS was so bad that I couldn't even pick things up off the floor.

And now, I use it on my bad days, but it's also very useful for picking up toys at the end of the day and putting them away. Seriously, I think the manufacturer should re-package it and sell it at Babies R Us as a toy picker-upper. Yeah, I can't think of a snazzy name for it right now, but people would definitely register for it.

But what is this fascination with things she can't have? Here are some items she goes after on a regular basis:

1) my cell phone, which is TEEMING with germs, according to what I've read,

2) the power cord for the Apple laptop, which she can now pull down even from the top of our "big chair". She proceeds to stick it directly in her mouth, every time.

3) my keys (see #1 for reference to germs)

4) the camera

5) the laptop itself.

And today, she crawled over to the Blu Ray player and turned it on. Her Baby Einstein video came on, and she just smiled. Unbelievable!

I'm thinking, for her birthday and Christmas, we should just wrap a bunch of empty boxes and let her tear the paper off and play with them. I remember the year that my nieces, after unwrapping all their gifts, pushed everything but the boxes and bubble wrap aside. The packaging was a huge hit, and I have a great picture of the two of them jumping up and down on the bubble wrap.

It would definitely save us some money. It might be a bit embarrassing at her birthday party, though.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Football and salad and EPIC FAIL

Thursday night, Matt had to shoot a football game at the middle school where we both used to teach. He's doing all the sports shots for them, which is such a relief because we need the extra money.

I was excited because I wanted to take Audrey to her first football game. Matt and I love football, and I hope she does, too.

Audrey had a great time, and I wish I had a picture of her enjoying everything. She loves to look at people, so her head was constantly swiveling all over the place. There could easily have been a picture, since I brought the camera...except for the fact that I was so very miserable.

I can't believe how hot it was. It was BOILING. I don't sweat very much, not at all. It must be genetic, because my brother doesn't, either. When I used to work out at the gym, friends would comment about it. Like my friend Lynn, who would run on the treadmill next to me. Her sweat would be flying everywhere, even hitting me on the bicycle next to her!

But on Thursday, I was sweating in places I'd forgotten I have. The game started at 5:00, so even though said it was be 91, I thought it would be bearable. Not!

I made it through an hour, which is amazing in itself. Matt was down on the field, so I called him to say I couldn't take it anymore. When I got up from my chair, my back was sweating. My back! I don't think it's ever sweated before, except maybe when I lived in Charleston, where the humidity is so bad it will take your breath away.

It was such a relief to get in the car and blast the air conditioning. It was 6 pm, and it was still 93 degrees. And that's not even taking into account the humidity. Audrey is hot-natured, but she was fine because she had the shade on her stroller to protect her, thank goodness.

I was so disoriented from the heat. That's one thing about FMS...the heat affects me in ways it never did before. It literally feels as if the life is being sucked out of me. I can almost picture the energy leaving my body when I walk out into extreme heat.

Since it was already late, I stopped by Chik-fil-A to get one of my favorite salads, the Chargrilled Fruit Salad.
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Doesn't it look yummy? Yeah, well, it doesn't look so great when it's dumped all over your leather couch. You read that right. I was so shaky and drained by the time I got Audrey to bed and finally had time to eat, that I dumped it everywhere.

Aaaaahhhhhhh...we need to move. This heat is KILLING me. I thought I was hot last year when I was pregnant, but please. This summer is one of the hottest on record, and I am over it already!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

There should be a law...

that every doctor's office, store, etc. should be required to have a baby-changing station. I don't care if it's just a table in a back room, really, but there should be SOMEWHERE that I can change Audrey if she needs it.

Yesterday, I went to the psychiatrist for a routine check-up. As I was leaving, I realized Audrey had a dirty diaper. I went to the front desk and said to the nurse, "Do y'all have somewhere I can change my baby, since you don't have a diaper-changing station in the bathroom?"

The nurse, who's always very nice to me, said to let her think about it for a minute. I sat in a chair and waited. When Audrey was much younger, Matt and I brought her to this same place, and they gave us an empty room to change her. So, I figured there would be no problem.

Wrong. The nice nurse must have made someone else come out and tell me that they didn't have anywhere for me to change her. Are you kidding me? There's nowhere in this two-story building, no little corner where I can change my daughter's diaper? I mean, I've paid enough money to this place over the years that I could have a wing named after me. I was so. ticked. off. In fact, I wanted to follow that woman back to her office, put Audrey down on her desk, change her diaper, and then wipe it all over her computer. Aaaaarrrrggghhhhh.

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I never noticed this problem until I had a baby, but there are so many places that don't have anywhere for a baby to be changed. If you have a bathroom for adults, then you should have a changing station! I'm not asking for anything fancy, just a level area that's big enough.

We were recently at a large furniture store with some of my family, and the place had a very nice bathroom. But guess what? That's right. No changing table. So I asked one of the employees about it, and he said, "We don't have anywhere to change her." Then my mom said, "How about right here?", referring to one of the reclining lawn chairs that was nearby. He looked totally disgusted. Then I got really angry and said, "There no baby-changing station in your bathroom."

The guy actually suggested that I change her on the counter in the bathroom. I said, "Are you kidding me?" There was maybe two inches between the sinks on that counter. I guess he could tell by the look on my face that I was going to change her right then, right there, whether he liked it or not, so he relented.

But it's not right. I think I need to write my senator or something. Because next time, I WILL change her on that woman's desk at my psychiatrist's office. And I hope she has a big poop that day, too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

9 month appt

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Our 9 month appointment was about a week late, and now it's a week after that, so I'm slack in writing about this. But here's how it went:

Weight: 18 lbs (we were surprised that it wasn't more!)
Height: 28.25 inches
Head circumference: 44 inches.

Audrey's a little skinny mini, as you can see. And I continue to be blown away by her height. Matt has some tall family members, but mine are mostly shorties. I thought she'd be about my height, 5'2". The only person in my family with any height was my grandpa, who was 6 feet. Well, like I've mentioned before, she'll be able to reach the high cabinets for me.

So, the pedi asked me about her "pincer grasp". I just looked at her blankly. I know what the term means, but we hadn't give her any finger foods at the time, so I didn't know. Dr. W seemed surprised that we hadn't, but she didn't mention anything about it at her 6 month appt. They always give us a guide with eating, sleeping, behavioral tips, but it didn't say anything about finger foods. And for some reason, I just haven't wanted to start them without the doctor's okay.

I was shocked when Dr. W said Audrey can basically have anything now, even meat. Whoa! I wasn't expecting that. After the appointment, we all went to the store and picked out some Stage 3 meals for her, since the pedi said we should be getting Audrey used to having breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Before this, we'd been giving her two purees a day, Stage 2.

Her first Stage 3 food attempt was chicken noodle with carrots. Now, Audrey LOVES carrots. And for some reason, I didn't think she'd have a problem with Stage 3 foods. Even the foods she doesn't like, such as peaches, she'll finish eating (complete with a shudder and a small gag).

But the chicken With her first bite, she gave us a look like, What are you doing to me? Where are my nice, smooth purees? I thought she'd be okay after a few minutes, but nope. She literally gagged and spit it out. It was so funny that I had to get the camcorder. Matt and I were laughing until I had tears running down my face. That's going to be lots of fun to watch later!

The next night, we tried spaghetti with meatballs. A totally different taste from chicken, so we thought she might be okay. FAIL AGAIN. She did the same thing. She just rolled the meat around in her mouth with this horrible look on her face, then spit it out. So, she's probably going to have Matt's weird thing about textures. Great.

For now, we're back to the purees. I just couldn't do it to her anymore; plus, it was a waste of food. Bless her heart. Matt and I decided that maybe she'll be a vegetarian. Hey, we'll just get used to cooking tofu. No problem, right?

Friday, September 17, 2010

I hit a parked truck yesterday

Yep. That's right. And, to be perfectly honest, it's not the first time I've done such a thing. And it scared the #@$% out of me.

I was backing out of our driveway, and a truck was parked across the street, on the road, in front of a house. The truck was facing the wrong way to be parked on the street, but apparently, according to the jerk of a trooper who came out, that doesn't matter if you're in a neighborhood. It matters everywhere else, for some reason.

I was on the way to meet my mom for lunch with Audrey, and I definitely looked when I backed out. I really did! I'm not going to blame the car seat, but it was the car seat's fault. We have the Safety 1st Complete Air seat; it's black, and it sticks up over the seat (I'm sure most convertible car seats do). Anyway, the truck was a dark blue, almost black color, and I think the two mixed together in my field of vision.

All I know is that I heard a sickening crunch. And my heart sank to my feet. At first, I thought I hit a mailbox. Then I looked in my rearview mirror, and I saw it. CRAP. Our driveway slopes down a little, so I clearly didn't see it earlier. But by the time I got in the road, of course I could.

I didn't know what to do. I'm usually pretty clear-minded in an emergency (at least I was before FMS lifted its ugly head), but I think I was in shock. All I could think about was protecting Audrey. I knew she wasn't hurt, since we barely made impact. Of course, from looking at the truck, you'd think I hit it harder than I did.

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See the back quarter panel?

But all I could think was, somebody's going to come out of that house (I assumed a guy, since it was a truck...sexist, right?) and freak out on me. I was really afraid that someone would hurt Audrey or me, thus leaving Audrey defenseless. Why did I feel this way?

For one reason, I watch too many crime shows. For another, the three houses across the street from us have been rental properties for the entire time I've lived here. As a result, people move in, you rarely see them, then they move out again. I think a lot of them probably skip out on their rent, since they're here one day, gone the next. So I never get to know them.

Anyway, no one came out, and I called the police. I had to get Audrey in the house, because she really needed a bottle at this point. And when I came back outside, the truck was gone! People asked if I left a note, but it truly never occurred to me that this person would leave before the police got there. I was too busy taking care of Audrey.

Obviously, when the trooper showed up, he couldn't do anything without a second car. He said if the truck never came back (we'd never seen it before), there would be nothing we could do.

But when we got home from my massage last night, the truck was looming large across the street. DOUBLE CRAP. Since I had to bathe Audrey and get her into bed, Matt had to go over there by himself.

The neighbors are Hispanic, and Matt said the woman couldn't understand what he was saying. She kept saying, "La policia! La policia!" And then she got in the truck, drove down the street, turned around, and came back and parked in her yard. Matt thinks that she understood him to say that he wanted her to move the truck so I wouldn't back into it. Too little, too late!

We couldn't help but giggle about the experience when Matt came back. He said he'd never heard anyone say "La policia!" so much. He ended up talking to her husband on the phone, and they figured things out. The poor woman didn't even know the truck had been hit.

What a day. Thank God Audrey wasn't hurt, and that no one was in the truck when I hit it. I guess I'll be backing into the driveway from now on.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I couldn't be a baby

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I HATE shopping. Unless I'm alone, or with Matt. Or shopping online.

On Sunday, Mom, Michael, Matt, Audrey, and I went to Toys R Us to get some ideas for Audrey's birthmas. That's what I call it, since she was born in December. It's much easier to say, trust me.

I'm not the biggest fan of shopping in the first place, mostly because of FMS. I have a lot of environmental sensitivities, and the smells from the new merchandise make me feel a little loopy. I get light-headed, easily confused, and to top it all of...EXTREMELY irritable. So, anyone want to go shopping with me?

I much prefer shopping online, which my mom does not understand. But how could she not? I can sit here on my comfortable reclining couch, peruse items at my leisure, and even read reviews from people who've bought the product.

In the store? Oh no. Mom is always two or three aisles in front of me, telling me to look at whatever new treasure she's found. And then, I have to trot over there and check it out. Does she stay with me to see what I'm looking at? Nope. And I move a lot slower than she does, so that compounds the problem.

On Sunday, it was so much worse. Because I had Mom calling out for me, and then I had Matt doing the same thing, usually at the same time. Utter chaos! I felt like I was teaching again, with five kids calling my name over and over again. Seriously, I began to hate the sound of my name:)

So, as often happens in these situation, I became "unplugged". I had to sit down, and I had to do it RIGHT THEN. And Toys R Us has nowhere to sit, and I mean nowhere. I've started to notice that a lot of stores don't, and I think it's so rude. I guess they don't want people hanging out, not buying anything, but some people have health problems and need a rest!

Mom was asking me, "Where are you going to sit? I don't see any place to sit!" And then I must have gotten a steely look in my eye, because she immediately backed off. I can't take all her questions, even though I know she's concerned, when I'm feeling this badly. I snapped at her and said, "I have to sit. NOW."

I felt bad about it later and apologized, but I have to pay attention to my body. If it says stop, I have to stop. If I don't, I will most certainly pay for it later.

So, getting back to the title of this post, Matt found a wheelchair cart for me. I hate having to use these, but I had no choice. It was either that or leave.

And now I know why there are so many babies screaming in stores. Because they're bored! You're at the mercy of whoever's pushing you, and you can't look at what you want. It's so frustrating. I understand that disabled people have to endure this every day, and it has to be beyond horrible.

Honestly, Audrey was handling it much better than I was. She just kicked back and propped a leg up on her stroller and chilled out. Not me. I was getting so annoyed; Matt was bumping into everything (not his fault, you know how they cram as much as they can in stores), and I couldn't see anything above eye level. Someone would call out, "Hey, look at this, Emily!" And I would say, " I can't."

So, I couldn't be a baby again. Not that it's even possible, but still. And I have a new appreciation for people who are in wheelchairs permanently. They're horribly uncomfortable, for one, and for another, you totally lose your independence, unless you can wheel yourself around. Or if you have one of those cool scooter things.

I'm thankful today that, even though I hurt every day, I'm not in a wheelchair. I feel as if I need to do something for people who are, advocate for them in some way. I was in their shoes for a short period of time, and I did not like it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

We have a crawler!

Wow. This weekend was a study in contrasts. Saturday was absolute torture, since I had a horrible migraine. It's bad enough having one during the week, since I have to care for Audrey alone, and they really knock me down. I was grateful to have Matt's help, of course, but I feel as if I lost a whole day to the pain and didn't get to enjoy my time with Audrey and Matt. So annoying.

But I have to say...Sunday rocked! We didn't go to church, because the day after a migraine, my head is still very sensitive. It's like the migraine is just lurking in there, waiting to spring out and torture me again. It's the devil. And our church has a fairly loud band, so it was a no-go.

But Audrey crawled!!! I can't believe it. Still can't. I mean, I knew it was coming...all the signs were there, of course. I'm just so glad that Matt was home to see it. I was terrified that he'd be at work the first time she did it, then I'd have to keep it a secret (per his wishes) until he saw it on his own.

As you can see, this child is ready to go!

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Just a few days before crawling
I had bought Audrey a new toy, and I put some of the "linking bugs" out of her reach to see if she would crawl to them (as I've done a million times before with other toys). But she REALLY likes these, so she started lurching toward them. Something told me, This is it. She's going to do it.

So I yelled for Matt, who came running in the bedroom, and she did it! I can't believe how exciting it was, one of the best moments of my life. And bittersweet, too, since my little baby is growing up. She didn't crawl far, or for long, but she definitely crawled. Matt got it on the camcorder, so I have proof that I didn't imagine it.

Oh, Audrey. You're growing up so fast.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Yay me!

I wrote here about finally getting up the courage to email my local Mom's Club for some info. I NEED to get out of the house, and Audrey needs to be around other kids. Since I've been feeling marginally better, I decided to go to one of their events at the library today.

It was great....but really, really loud! I guess we're used to our quiet little house.

There were about 6 "stations", all with different activities for Reading Readiness (4 yrs. and under). I was afraid Audrey would be too young to enjoy it, but I was wrong. She LOVED it. I only wish I'd brought my camera. I saw another mom with one and mentally smacked myself in the head.

Her favorite station was the music one, which I could have easily guessed. There was a bin with all kinds of musical toys in it, and she was fascinated. I think she would have stayed there the whole time and been perfectly happy. She also liked the one with puzzles, since we don't have any here at home. And no, I'm not quite that's just that I've yet to see a puzzle that didn't have a 1+ age requirement on it. There were some really soft ones, though, ones I've never seen in stores.

My OCD kicked in a bit (okay, A LOT) when Audrey managed to get a couple of things in her mouth. I was watching her like a hawk, knowing that other kids had done the same thing right before her, but I still couldn't prevent it. I would turn my head for a second to talk to another mom, and BAM! Something in her mouth. If she gets sick now, it's totally my fault.

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I'd probably wear one of those if it was socially acceptable. That's why I don't like buffets. And my least favorite part of church? You got it...when people shake hands. Yuck.

I had to let it go, though, since Audrey was having a good time. I know, I know, children are exposed to germs everywhere. And I'm somewhat mollified after reading that there's something in a baby's drool that helps kill germs. But still.

Anyway, I didn't chicken out, and I'm proud of myself for going. I met some nice people, and it was good to get out on such a beautiful day. Even if I did have to wipe Audrey down head-to-toe afterward.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

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This weekend was fabulous. I probably wouldn't change one thing about it.

Okay, I might change Nichole's meltdown on Sunday, but hey, if that's the worst thing that happens...

On Saturday, we finally took Audrey downtown to the park for a picnic. I guess it wasn't much of a picnic, though; Matt had his NutriSystem food, I had my Wendy's salad, and Audrey had a bottle. Oh well, we still ate together, right?

We spread out a blanket under some trees, with a fantastic view of the waterfall, and just hung out. IT WAS BLISS. I love being just makes me feel better, even though it does NOT make my allergies happy. But I was willing to sacrifice.

We've been wanting to take Audrey downtown for a while, but it's just been too darn hot. Heat indexes of over 100 do not equal a fun day in the park. Not for my hot-natured child (and husband). So it was such a relief to get outside and "enjoy the nature", as Nichole says.

Everyone was enchanted by Audrey. She'll smile at anyone, and her smile lights up her face like Christmas. People can't help but come closer, almost as if they're drawn to her. And she was certainly in her element on Saturday.

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She really loves dogs, and there were two women in front of us who had a cute one. They asked if he (she?) could come over and "meet" her, and I told them to go ahead. Audrey started giggling like mad, and everybody was laughing and smiling. It seemed like everyone we saw was having a great time, and I can't even explain how much I enjoyed it. I'm stuck in the house WAY too much these days.

On Sunday, we went to my parents' house, and we got to see Nichole and Elizabeth. We had the grand idea to bring Scrabble, since Elizabeth loves playing games. Well, I hate to say it, but Elizabeth (9 years old) beat Matt and me at Scrabble. And she'd never played the game before. Yes, she's a genius.

Matt argues that he technically won, and that may be true, but it's only because Elizabeth got bored at the end and quit the game to go outside and play. Wow. Talk about humility. I mean, I have a degree in English. You would think I could beat a nine-year-old at Scrabble. But you would be wrong.

We spent Monday with Matt's family; they came over here, since it's so much easier for Audrey to get good naps in her own crib. We ate outside, since the weather was still cooperating. Lovely! However, I got "unplugged" (my term for when FMS gets the best of me) and I had to lie down for the rest of the afternoon. This is what I look like when FMS catches up with me. Not a pretty sight.

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At least Matt had plenty of help with the baby. I guess all the activities of the weekend finally caught up with me.

I can't be too bitter about it, though, since not too long ago, I wouldn't have been able to go to the park at all because of the walking involved.

Like I said, there was only one scene when Nichole rediscovered her love for Webkinz (after going under Audrey's account and playing with her giraffe) and decided she must have one THAT DAY. I talked to her, though, and she was placated when I agreed to paint window sun-catchers with her. I love doing crafts, so believe me, it wasn't a sacrifice.

I love that the weather was cooler, but we're back up to past 90 for the rest of this week. That's okay. I've gotten a glimpse of fall, and me likey.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

9 month letter

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Our Lovebug

Dear Audrey,

Nine months old...I can hardly believe it. I feel like writing that in every one of your letters, because it seems as if time is flying by. You are the greatest joy of our lives, and Daddy and I are so proud to be your parents.

You make people smile everywhere you go. We took you to Falls Park yesterday, and you were a hit! People kept looking at you and commenting on how beautiful and sweet you are. And they're so right.

You're becoming more mobile each and every day. You can scoot backwards across your nursery floor in the blink of an eye. You're trying your best to figure out crawling, but you haven't quite gotten the hang of it yet. Sometimes, I think you're going to skip crawling altogether and just walk. One of your favorite things to do is stand up while holding on to the ottoman. You can do that for several minutes at a time, which just shows how strong your legs are.

You're now eating Stage 2 foods, and your favorite vegetable seems to be sweet potatoes. You're eating like a champ, and you'll try anything once. You ate two containers of peaches, even though I know you really didn't like them. After your last bite, you closed your eyes and shuddered. Don't worry; we won't be buying you peaches anytime soon.

Every day I spend with you is such a joy, and I treasure every moment. Your kisses and hugs are the absolute best way to brighten up my day. Some nights, I don't even want to put you to bed because I want to spend more time with you.

Thank you for being such a wonderful daughter. You mean everything to me.

With all my love,

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I am so slack

I did a disgusting thing two days ago. For an entire day (maybe two), I took what I thought were clean bottles/nipples from the dishwasher and used them for Audrey.

I guess you can figure out what the problem was. They weren't clean. 

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Matt and I are always joking around with each other, so when he told me he thought the dishes in the dishwasher were dirty later that night, I said, "Please tell me you're joking." He insisted, so we began to inspect the dishes. We rinse everything off so well (since our dishwasher sucks), that it's hard to tell sometimes.

We inspected coffee cups, glasses, etc. I was convinced they were clean. I JUST KNEW THEY WERE. But then Matt lifted out the offending plate, and it was clearly dirty.

I burst into tears. I'd been feeding my baby with dirty bottles and spoons. GAG. I am a total germaphobe, so I really felt nauseated at the thought. I mean, after we rinse dirty bottles, they sometimes sit there for a day or two. Imagine all the bacteria that collected on them before they even went in the dishwasher. I cried harder.

Matt came in the bedroom and told me I was being ridiculous for crying. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? RIDICULOUS? Men. Why don't they understand these things? Why didn't he understand that, in the job of taking care of Audrey, I had failed completely and totally?

I am soooo disgusted with myself. And I blame Oprah. That's right. I saw one of her shows years ago about germs, where they tested hotel comforters, doorknobs, kitchen sinks, etc. for germs. I've been totally paranoid ever since. Yes, I'm aware I have OCD, so don't even tell me that.

So, I suck. And I feel like a failure.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Finally, I got up the courage...

to contact our local Mom's group. I've been debating this for a while, ever since I first learned about it in the spring. Of course, I was feeling MUCH worse then, and it would have been impossible to go anywhere with Audrey by myself. Those infant carriers weigh a ton.

I was about to lose my mind by the time Matt got out of school for the summer. But then the summer was heavenly. We went somewhere almost every day, whether it was just a Target run, since Matt is the type who has to get out of the house. I'm not that way...I've been know to not leave the house for days and be perfectly happy, but even I was reaching my limits before summer.

The thing is, I'm old. Not really, but I'm older than the average first-time mom (38). All my friends' kids are older, much older...some are in middle school, which really makes me feel ancient. So I have no one to go through these first years with, only people who have left those years far behind.

And now, Matt's back to teaching. And I'm back to where I was, except I'm feeling much better these days (as compared to then, anyway). Another plus is that Audrey can now ride in the Peg, so I don't have to bother with the obnoxiously heavy infant carrier.

So, I took the plunge. And I got a really nice email from the head of the "Sunshine" committee, telling me about some things that were coming up. There's an event at the library next week, and she said she'd be there with some friends, and that she'd even email the day before and tell me what she'd be wearing so I could find her. Wow.

Now, I've never been much of a joiner. In fact, I've avoided joining much of anything, except for choir, since I was young. I'm not sure why, but I'm a bit shy. People who know me might not believe that, and you probably wouldn't if you met me for the first time. For example, one of Matt's friends from out-of-town (a girl) found me to be "intimidating" when she saw me at my wedding. Who's intimidating on her wedding day? Is that how I look here?

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If that's what she thought, she should have seen me when I was in the classroom;)

I'll have to let you know how it goes. I'm proud of myself for reaching out, though. I have zero friends around here who stay-at-home, and I could use some outings for Audrey and me. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't chicken out at the last minute. Because I'm very likely to do just that.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I'm shackled to Audrey

A couple of posts down, you'll see where I wrote about Audrey being so close to crawling. As a result, I am determined not to let her out of my sight until she does. I mean, what if she crawls while I'm gone somewhere? My MIL came over to help with Audrey one day this week, and I really should have left and gotten my allergy shot while she was here. BUT I COULD NOT LEAVE!

I know all you mamas who work outside the home have to deal with this all the time, and I seriously don't know how you do it. I read about some Bumpies whose daycare providers don't tell them when their little one does something for the first time, and I think that's great. That way, it's happening for the first time FOR YOU, and you don't know any differently.

So, this is what Matt has decided he wants, if she starts to crawl while he's at school. He doesn't want me to tell him about it. And I don't blame him. But how can I keep such an exciting thing to myself? No clue.

Of course, this is assuming that Audrey does crawl. She absolutely loves standing up, and she'll hold onto the ottoman and stand for several minutes at a time. It's one of her favorite things to do. See?

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That's me in the background, of course, being the hovering mommy, trying to keep her from falling on her bum. For some reason, she's not a big fan of that. Go figure.

Since she enjoys standing so much, and she can't get the crawling thing down yet, Matt and I are half-expecting her to walk off one day. Just let go of the ottoman and walk.

But I don't think I'm ready for my little girl to be mobile. She'll be 9 months old in 3 days. How did that happen?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ideas of Beauty

As a teenager, I used to look at Seventeen magazine and wish I had blond hair and blue eyes. It must have been something about the 80's, because every model seemed to look the same. Or maybe it's because I wanted what I didn't have. I can even remember this cover, from when I was a senior:

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Okay, so Niki Taylor didn't (and doesn't) have blue eyes, but look at that gorgeous blond hair. I did everything I could to have blond hair. In fact, up until very recently when I stopped getting blond highlights, most people thought my hair color was naturally blond. In high school, not so much. Instead of a well-paid stylist, my good friend Michelle took care of all my hair-care needs.

Once, we bought some haircolor that showed a girl on the box who looked a lot like Niki Taylor. We used it. WHAT A DISASTER. It turned a horrible shade of orange. And back then, it was not cool to have orange hair at school. I ended up going to my mom's stylist, who reassured my shocked mother that she could fix it. But then, I told the woman I wanted my hair color to match my eyebrows, which are very close to black (you know how teenagers can't make up their minds). I'll never forget the looks I got when I walked in school the next day. Why I chose to wear a bright fuschia sweater in addition to that is beyond me.

When I found out I was pregnant, I thought I'd have a good possibility of having a red-haired child, or blond, at least. There's red hair in both our families, and Matt's hair is reddish-blond. I was blond as a child.

Imagine my surprise when, during my "attempted" delivery, the nurses said, "We see the head! There's a full head of dark hair!" I was like, "Are you sure?"

And all my thoughts of having a light-haired child flew away. I absolutely fell in love with her dark hair, not to mention her dark eyes. She is so beautiful I can't stand it, and I wouldn't have her any other way.

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So I'm glad she'll grow up with a more diversified idea of beauty. Just check out one of the recent covers of Seventeen with Selena Gomez.

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Now, THAT'S what I'm talking about. Although, when I think about it, she doesn't need to be reading that trash anyway. She needs to be absorbed in Romeo and Juliet or something. Those girls are way too skinny, don't you agree?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A student again...sigh

Not that I don't like taking classes, oh no. In fact, I could easily make a career out of being a full-time student if I had the money. Oh, and if I didn't already have the best job in the world, taking care of this little angel:

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(And yes, she IS chewing on the strap to her high chair. Getting new teeth is rough).

This class is for my teacher re-certification, even though I'm not teaching right now. I can't let my certificate lapse and have all that education go to waste. Also, it means I could teach a home-bound student, which pays very well.

The class is really perfect for me. Totally online, independent study, reading interesting novels.

I've finished reading the first book, Evvy's Civil War, and I was surprised that I liked it. Since the target audience is middle school students, I wasn't sure if I would. It incorporates lots of great topics, like the Underground Railroad, the oppression of women and slaves, and the Civil War, of course.

But when I sat down to write my paper on the novel last night, I just stared at the screen.

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This is not like me. Not to brag, but I never had to brainstorm or do those silly pre-writing exercises that teachers (myself included) like to require of their students. I just sat down and...wrote. Like I do with my blog. It just flows out of me, for better or for worse.

But this is killing me! I think the problem is, Dr. M wants the paper to be written in first person. What? I've never written something like that, not when evaluating a novel. I have a BA in English, and any of my professors from the College of Charleston would have gladly knocked me over the head if I'd written a paper in first person.

So, I've decided that my writer's block is Dr. M's fault. It's her fault that I'm procrastinating, and it's her fault that every time I see the novel I grimace.

Sigh...being a student is hard.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How far we've come

Audrey is so close to crawling that she can taste it. I don't know the precursor for crawling, but I imagine it has something to do with a baby on her stomach, getting really frustrated because she can't move anywhere on her own. See the frustration?

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Okay, so maybe that's more of a confused look, but it's so cute I had to post it.

But she just hasn't gotten it yet. Mom says I never crawled, that I lacked the coordination (thanks, Mom). I don't know if she actually said that last part, but that's how I remember it:)

Mom said I went right to walking, and that I wasn't at all happy until I did. Apparently, she used to sit in a chair while I grasped her finger and practiced walking around the chair. Mom said I would do that for hours. And that's probably not an exaggeration, since I tend to keep at something until I accomplish it. Stubborn? Yes. Driven? Absolutely. OCD? You betcha.

But Audrey's been perfectly content, until now, to just sit in my lap, or beside me, and play. She's such a happy baby. And I looooove it.

Now? Those days are mostly over, unless she's tired. Her favorite activity is to flip onto her stomach and flail around, trying to get somewhere.

If crawling was defined as moving backwards, Audrey would have it down pat. She can back up with the best of 'em. Forward...not so much.

Lately, though, she's been pushing herself into what I think of as the plank position. It looks like I am at the beach in June:

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And if you believe that, I've got some seaside property in Arizona I'd like to sell you. I USED to be able to do that, and so much more, but FMS has stolen that from me. Okay, bitterness over (for today).

I haven't been lucky enough to get a picture of Audrey performing this yoga move yet. Is it just me, or is the camera impossible to find when you need it? But I'm amazed by the strength of her legs and arms, this strength that she's developed in just the past 8 1/2 months. And the fact that, even though no one's showed her how to crawl, she's going to do it. Amazing.

Or at least I hope she will, and not be stubborn like her Mommy and go right to walking.

Monday, August 23, 2010

And the "I couldn't care less" award goes to...

my family.

I fell again yesterday. I'm okay (don't panic, now), but it felt as if I'd dislocated my kneecap (patella?) for a few minutes. Hey, at least I didn't get a concussion this time, right?

The fall isn't really the point of this post, though. The point is that, when it happened, all of my immediate family were sitting in my den. You would think someone might come to my aid, right? Yeah, that's what NORMAL people might do. Here's a brief synopsis of what happened:

The family was over to go swimming yesterday. Everyone was in the foulest of moods, even my mom, who would usually have a smile plastered on her face even if she was sitting in a briar patch.

Here are Mom and Michael later at the pool, where you would think the Vitamin D would improve their dispositions. But you would be wrong. Case in point:

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Anyway, I open the front door to go outside with my niece to get her flip-flops. Our dog, T, chose this time to come barreling in the front door, almost knocking me over. Whatever, I'm used to that.

The problem is, he was on one of these leashes:

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which are really fabulous. Except, have you ever been burned on the legs by one of those as your dog goes running past? That thin part of the leash will sting like your grandma just took a switch to your legs. And yes, I would know.

In order to avert the burn on the backs of my legs, I quickly moved out of the way and slammed my knee into the door. Big mistake, since the burn would've been much better than the knee pain. I fell to the floor, writhing in pain. And y'all, I'm not a dramatic person. I'm the type that says, "Go ahead, I'm all right", if I get hurt.

Do you know what my family did? NOTHING. Audrey had woken up during my unfortunate accident, and they played with her. Matt came to my aid immediately, of course, but COME ON!

I lay there for about 10 minutes, trying to ascertain if I had dislocated my kneecap (if that's possible) or what. So, Noah had to go out the front door in the meantime, and he just stepped over me like I was a pile of crap on the floor. Seriously. He never even asked if I was okay. Then, someone threw him the truck keys, OVER MY BODY. What in the heck is going on here?

If any one of them had fallen, I would have been at their side in an instant! Good grief. I think even strangers would've paid more attention to me than they did. My mom finally came to see if she could get me some ice. Too little, too late, Mom, but thanks a lot.

And sorry, Noah, that my body was in your way when you were trying to get out the door. I could have sworn I heard you huff when you had to step over me. The nerve.

Grrrrr. My family has taken the leap from merely dysfunctional to seriously disturbed.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Parent abuse...from my own child

Dear Audrey,

Darling, I have done nothing but love you for the last 8 1/2 months. You have been my joy and my delight. I know you love me, too. See?

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You know how much fun we have. I'm here 24/7, at your beck and call.

But lately, you've been abusing me. You pull my hair, hard, and it hurts, especially when I have a migraine. Whereas before, you used to stroke it gently and lovingly. Can we go back to those halcyon days?

Now, you reach for my boobs, grab my nipples, and twist as hard as you can. Is this some kind of retribution for not breast-feeding you? You know I couldn't, and you know my meds wouldn't allow it. You know I agonized over it, especially each and every time I read that "Breast is best". And every time somebody asked me the inappropriate question, "Do you plan to breast-feed?"  

::side note:: Yes, a man asked me this at one of my baby showers.

But, honey, I'm giving you good nutrition, despite it all, and remember when you had all that diarrhea? I searched high and low for a special kind of formula, otherwise known as The Holy Grail.

Please, baby, treat your mommy right. Otherwise, I'm going to have to cut my hair really short (which is not a good look for me, trust) and design some kind of nipple protector.

Hmmmm....maybe I'll do that anyway. The nipple protectors, I mean. I could call them "Nipple Shield" or something like that, and I'd make millions. Yay. Thanks for the great idea, Bug.

With all my love,

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pancake time (and not what you think)

I got a mammogram yesterday. Ouch. If you've had one of these, you know of what I speak.

I mean, they squish your boobs into a pancake. It doesn't seem possible. Then, to add insult to injury, you have to stand as still as a statue (and hold your breath) while they take the pics. You don't dare move, since you'll have to re-do it, and it could also show something in your breast that's not really there. And no one wants a biopsy, right?

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(Yeah, how could I resist putting that picture in here?)

I've had about three at this point, even though I'm only 38. I have a family history (Mom's had it twice), so the recommendation is to start at 35. Joy. I guess it's better than worrying about it, though. But of course, it's always lurking in the back of your mind, after the mammogram, that you're waiting on the results. Just waiting for that note card in the mail to make sure you're okay. Or subconsciously dreading that call that may say you're not okay.

And I maintain that, if men had to go through a similar exam, the men in the Senate and House of Representatives would be pushing for money to research and find a better way to perform them. As my mammogram tech said yesterday, "Honey, if I had to do that kind of procedure on men, I'd quit. After 18 years, I'd be done. Men are babies." So, so true.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Awwww...she finally slept!

Oh, thank God. Audrey took two naps yesterday, and each of them were at least 1 1/2 hours. Hallelujah! Can I get an "Amen" up in here? The child has not slept more than 35-45 minutes for naps since she was a newborn (except for when the salmonella set in, which clearly doesn't count). Yay for sleeping babies!

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There's something so peaceful and beautiful about a sleeping baby, isn't there? Besides the fact that you can actually have some time to yourself, I mean.

I can't tell you how excited Matt and I were. We actually began to think there was something wrong because she was sleeping so long, but we were scared to check on her for fear of waking her up. Also, we have the AngelCare monitor (love that thing!), so we knew she was okay. I wish I'd had that monitor from the very beginning, because it has saved me a lot of heartache and worry. Our first one sucked...Graco iVibe...don't get it. Seriously. Don't waste your money. All you can hear is static.

Anyway,  she was a different baby yesterday. She usually has a pleasant temperament, but she was positively radiant. She was bouncing up and down on Matt's knee just for the sheer pleasure of it.

Oh, please let this continue...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Why? Just...why?

Okay, I know someone who's currently traveling a path very similar to one I experienced myself. Divorce (oh, I hadn't mentioned that before? Oops), depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, even nearly identical health problems. I think you get the picture. Yet, this person will not take any of my advice. NONE.

I see him going through almost exactly the same things that I have (or are currently) going through. I have lots of resources that could help him, such as psychiatrists, therapists, etc. I have lots of ideas about things that could really make a difference in his life.

BUT HE WILL NOT LISTEN. He pretends to listen, nods his head, and says things like, "Yeah, maybe I should do that." But does he? No, he most certainly does not. He is at rock bottom; he could not be lower unless he was dead. But I can't do anything except watch him self-destruct.

How am I supposed to deal with this? How??? Because it's breaking my heart, every day.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dear lady at TCBY,

Thanks a lot for catching me with my pants down, literally, the other day. I was in the restroom, and what did you do? You just came barging in like the troops on D-Day, and I was just standing there with a look of horror on my face. Something like this:
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Yeah, I know I didn't have the door locked. THAT'S BECAUSE THE DOOR LOCK WAS BROKEN. Have you ever heard of knocking before shoving your way into a room where a person is very likely to be naked? If you haven't, you must have been living under a rock somewhere.

And did you apologize? Of course not. I stammered out something like, "Uhhhh..." and you just looked at me, huffed, and left. Are you freaking kidding me? Not even one "Sorry", whether you meant it or not?

I yelled, "Unbelievable!". I didn't meant just flew out of my mouth. I thought, when I come out of the bathroom, you'll apologize, tell me how you should have knocked first. Did you? No, you most certainly did not. You just kept chatting to your friend like nothing ever happened. You never even made eye contact.

You are rude, and I don't like you. Why don't you learn to be polite before going out into public again? I'm sure we'd all appreciate it.

Thanks ever so much, 

Thursday, August 12, 2010


My ex-SIL is a loser. I've written two posts about her, part 1 and part 2, if you're interested. I never continued the saga, because I found out that she put my nieces in danger, not just once, but several times. I'm done with her. But not with my nieces, of course. I've been a big part of their lives since they were born, and that's not going to change just because Marie sucks. Here are my adorable nieces:

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That's my mom, Audrey, Nichole, then Elizabeth on the right. (By the way, my mom would kill me for posting this. For the record, she DOES NOT have a receding hairline; she just hates looking at the camera).

So, Marie decided, after the separation from my brother Noah was barely final, she was going to move in with her boyfriend, Shane. Yeah. They're living in a single-wide trailer with no air conditioning. We live in the SOUTH, where the heat index is frequently over 100 degrees. That's four people in a small trailer, along with Shane's two boys, who will be there every other weekend. Nice set-up, huh?

Also, Marie's uncle, who Marie claims tried to "touch" her when she was little, has a grandson who's been hanging out around my nieces. He told my youngest niece, Nichole, that he wanted to rape her. That's right. I'D LIKE TO RIP THAT KID TO PIECES.

I cannot stand Marie. My anger for her knows no bounds, even though I know I'm not supposed to harbor anger towards anyone. Now, I get the news today that the girls will be going to their third school in nine months. I was a teacher for 11 years, so I know what kind of cruelty can be dished out to the "new kids". This is just too much, TOO MUCH CHANGE for these little girls.

I'm so disgusted, I can't even write any more.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just for one day

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You know what I wish? I wish that everyone who doesn't understand my FMS, who thinks it's a crock, could have it for just one day. From the people at Wal Mart who give me the side-eye for walking too slow, to my doctors who don't seem to care and just throw prescriptions at me, to the people closest to me, who seem to "forget" about it. The people who say they understand, but they really don't. The only person I would exclude from this list is Matt, because he understands me more than anyone else on earth. He's been through this whole journey with me, from diagnosis to now.

You know, if I only had one arm, people would look at me a lot differently. They would actually "see" my disability. But since people can't see it, they often assume it's not there. So, I didn't walk fast enough across the parking lot for you, guy in the redneck truck? Bite me. I can barely walk at all today. So, I'm pushing my cart more slowly than you'd like? That's because my arms are killing me, like I've been boxing for an hour.

So take it, please take it from me for a day. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy (and you know who you are) for the rest of their life, but just for a day, understand why I can't do the things that "normal" people can do.

Then you'll understand why I give you the side-eye right back. And why I don't explain why I can't do certain things anymore, because you wouldn't understand anyway.

Monday, August 9, 2010

So much pain

I feel as if someone has taken a baseball bat to my lower back. And not just anyone, but a professional baseball player. Good grief.

My lower back always hurts. ALWAYS. It's just a question of how much it hurts from day to day. On Friday, my massage therapist worked on that area almost exclusively. I thought, I am going to have an awesome weekend! My niece was coming over to spend the night, and I was very excited. She's so good with Audrey. Here they are, Audrey and Elizabeth:

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Anyway, I was wrong about the weekend. I was in so much pain that, when Matt suggested we rent a movie, I knew there was NO WAY I'd be able to sit on the couch and watch it. So we all piled in the bed together, which worked. But you know it's bad when you can't even sit on a reclining couch without major pain.

I dragged myself to church yesterday, and we sat in the privacy room, since I'm not comfortable leaving Audrey in the nursery yet. We sat in the congregation last time, but she was Chatty McChatterstein yesterday, and that wasn't happening. It was absolutely frigid in that room; even Matt was cold, and he is the most hot-natured person I know. Audrey's usually warm, too, but her hands and feet were icy. Not to mention the fact that we couldn't hear a word that was being said...something wrong with the speaker in there. I swear, it was probably 55 degrees. So, we left. Another fail.

Today, we had to go to Wal Mart to get a few things, especially baby-proofing items. Audrey's not crawling yet, but I wanted to go ahead and get them, since Matt is going back to work on Thursday. Another fail. We were there for over an hour, and I felt like I was going to have to be carted out on a stretcher. MY BACK WAS KILLING ME.

I am so ticked off. I can't even do a simple trip to Wal Mart without nearly keeling over. So, so, so sick of this. I told Matt on the way home that sometimes I wish I was dead, just so I wouldn't have to experience the pain. I know that's awful, but when you live with pain each and every day, it gets to be too much at times.

Don't know what I'm going to do on Thursday without Matt's help. I couldn't be more discouraged about my health right now.

Friday, August 6, 2010

What an honor

So, my step-dad, Michael, was ordained as a deacon on Wednesday night. Mom thought it was very important that Matt and I be there, so we left Audrey with MIL so we could go.

I grew up as a Southern Baptist (don't hold it against me), so I guess I've probably seen lots of ordinations in my life. But, as a person who strayed from church for a long while, I'd forgotten the process.

I didn't think it would be so emotional. They "laying of hands" was the most touching part. Most of the current deacons literally laid their hands on Michael, whispering prayers in his ear. When Michael's dad lay his hands on him and prayed, I thought I was going to lose it. What a great honor, and what a wonderful experience it must have been for his dad, to see his son being ordained.

Michael definitely deserves it. He probably would have become a deacon long before now (he's in his 50s and has been a member of the church since he was a baby), but he's the quiet type. The behind-the-scenes, non-attention-seeking type. I'm glad his devotion was finally recognized.

He'll be a great comfort to families in need, visiting hospitals, ministering to families, and even attending funerals when he can. What a great responsibility, and he will be such a blessing to the families in his care.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

8 months old today

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August 5, 2010

Dear Audrey,

The best way to describe this month is to use Dickens' quote from A Tale of Two Cities; "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." If I'm being positive, though, I'd have to say that it's all turned out well in the end.

You've made some incredible accomplishments this month. Thanks to sleep training, you're now putting yourself to sleep at night (with your Green Heart Bear, of course), and you're sleeping a solid 11-12 hours a night. We're still working on naps, since you prefer not to sleep more than 30 minutes at a time during the day. You'll get there, though.

You're now sitting up without assistance. You have the best laugh, a low, mischievous chuckle that I treasure every time I hear. You've tasted all the vegetables Gerber has to offer, and you're now starting your first fruit. You weren't sure about the applesauce at first, but now you love it.

You're the sweetest child. You take my hair in your hands and run your fingers through it, very gently. It makes my heart soar. You have two teeth, which I love to see when you give us that beautiful smile.

You made it through a serious case of salmonella this month, with a fever that spiked up to 102.6 with Tylenol. We (and the doctors) thought it was just a stomach virus, but your tests came back and showed us the truth. I was devastated, like I didn't protect you enough. But your daddy and I took good care of you, and I'm so thankful he was home for the summer to help care for you.

You're feeling so much better now, almost good as new. Your eyes still look a little haunted, but I'm just glad my prayers were answered and the salmonella didn't get into your bloodstream. You're a fighter, aren't you?

I love you so much. I love kissing your drooly mouth. And I love the rare times when you say "Ma ma ma ma ma." Thanks for bring such joy to our life. Happy 8th month birthday, love.

With all my love,

Merry Maids update

In my previous post, I wrote about my disappointment with MM this week. To update, the two ladies who came out on Tuesday rocked. my. socks. off. They were so apologetic for the previous cleaning (these were different ladies), and they admitted that not all cleaning teams were the same. Of course, I already knew that.

When I was telling my mom about this, she said, "Why don't they let those people go, then?" I hadn't even thought of that, but seriously. There are so many people out there looking for jobs, why keep people who don't perform well?

Anyway, I can't even tell you how pleased I was with Tuesday's cleaning. They dusted everything, and I think they even washed our kitchen floor on their hands and knees (that's how this particular team does it). I think the first team we had just spit on the floor and wiped it up with their shoes.

Instead of the smell of disappointment, I smelled cinnamon. Ahhhh...delicious. They added all these personal touches, like folding in the sides of our toilet paper and putting little stickers on there (a fish and a duck). They also set up Audrey's green heart bear in her crib, like the lovey was just waiting for her to come back.

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Awesome! Now these ladies are on our rotation, and I could not be happier. I mean, if they could get three-year-old cheese from countless pizzas out of the stove, they have superpowers. Don't judge me.

Cinnamon smells so much better than disappointment.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oh, Merry Maids...

I mentioned last week, in my Thankful on Thursday post, that we're finally able to get a service to come out and clean our house once a month. I can't do housework because of FMS. That's right; I actually have a prescription that says "No housework allowed".

Okay, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. But my rheumatologist told me that vacuuming is the worst thing I could do, as far as cleaning goes. Which figures, since that's really the only cleaning task I don't mind doing. That and laundry. But I can't dust, either, because of my leg weakness. And I get sore just thinking about scrubbing the bathtub. Please. They'd find me facedown in the tub, covered with Comet and dripping with Tilex. It would definitely make the 5 o'clock news.

I'll end my pity party here, but I just wanted to explain why we need this. Because I'm embarrassed that I can't clean my own house. I used to pride myself on it.

Yesterday, our very enthusiastic-sounding Merry Maids came out. We were told at the initial consultation that the first visit is a deep-cleaning, including...wait for it...baseboards, ceiling fans, windowsills, blinds. I nearly had an orgasm just hearing that. I swear.

We left while they were there, mostly because I'm allergic to dust and didn't need to inhale all that junk. Because let me tell you, practically none of those things mentioned above have been cleaned since Matt moved into this house.

The deep-cleaning was supposed to last about 3 hours. They called me less than an hour and a half after they arrived, saying they were finished. Say what? They would've needed 10 people, working at full speed, to do everything they promised in that amount of time. I instantly felt a sense of dread.

Matt and I were still being positive about it (him more than me, of course). He spoke of the smell that might greet us as we walked through the door. Would it be cinnamon? Vanilla?

Nope, it was more like the smell of disappointment. I went in first, and what did I see? Let's just say I wasn't too merry when I saw everything that hadn't even been touched, much less deep-cleaned. Audrey could've done a better job. So Merry Maids=FAIL.

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I was so mad. I walked around the house for the rest of the night, mumbling to myself and running my finger over surfaces to see what was dirty. Even Matt noticed what wasn't done. I got so worked up that I was angry at myself for being so angry.

They didn't clean the ceiling fans, the baseboards, or anything that was promised in the deep-clean (oh, I'm sorry, they did clean the blinds. Yeah, just one side of them. The side facing out). Surfaces were dusted, but nothing actually sitting ON TOP OF the surfaces were touched. I took a post-it note off our computer monitor where I had taped it, and a big plume of dust filled the air.

I called MM this morning to give them a piece of my mind. But D, the guy who answered the phone, was so damn merry that I couldn't even work up a decent indignant voice. He said they'd be out today to clean it again, along with a supervisor to make sure that it happened. D said to make a list of what needed to be cleaned, which consisted of about 15 items.

So, as much as it pains me, I now have to give props to MM's customer service. But I'm still not sure about their cleaning; guess I'll see about that later today.

I think I'll take my toothbrush with me, though. I've heard horror stories about what maids do when they feel they've been wronged. And believe me, it's worse than a waiter spitting in your food.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We have two teeth!

I can't believe it. My tiny, helpless baby who came home from the hospital with me in December, who couldn't even lift her head, now has TEETH! I just can't believe it (oh yeah, I already said that).

She got the first one on July 15, and the second one came in on the 29th. As I went to record this amazing development in her baby book, I marveled at how fast this is all going. Despite the fact that I'm with her basically 24/7, she's changing every day before my eyes, and I can't keep up with it.

I had already told Mom about the first tooth, but honestly, so much has been happening that I forgot to tell her about the second one. So when we went furniture shopping yesterday, she was appalled that I hadn't told her about the second tooth.

And I thought, why didn't I tell her? I used to call her the second Audrey did something new. This certainly qualified as a major development.

I immediately felt guilty, as if it somehow diminished Audrey's milestone because I didn't pick up the phone, or at the very least, shout it from the the rooftops. I mean, my baby has her second tooth! And that's something to celebrate.

I did celebrate with Matt; we were excited, shocked, and so proud. We were constantly trying to get Audrey to open her mouth so we could see it. We did everything we could think of to make her laugh, which was the only way she'd open her mouth for us (stubborn child).

I'm trying to give myself the benefit of the doubt here. I barely spoke to Mom this week, and most of our communication was by text. But still, the lingering guilt remains.

Do you ever get over that when you're a mother? Somehow, I don't think so. I think the guilt can eat away your soul if you let it.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going up to the rooftop now to shout the news. Better late than never, right?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thankful on Thursday

Hey, I remembered this week! I've just had my PMS tea, and I feel ready to write this. Let's go! I'm thankful for:

1) the aforementioned PMS tea. It rocks. And it keeps me from wanting to hurt someone, which is always a plus.

2) our mortgage payment going down. This means....and I can hardly type it, because my eyes are tearing up with joy...we can afford for Merry Maids to come once a month. Hallelujah, praise God. You might be thinking, You're a SAHM and you're going to have maids come in? You got that right, sister. I have FMS, so I can't do most cleaning, per my doctor.  If you don't like it, bite me:)

3) Audrey's photo shoot going so well yesterday. We got some AWESOME shots, and she's just beautiful. Look at her:

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4) Matt's biopsy being benign. He had a tumor removed from his leg a week and a half ago, and we got the test results yesterday.

5) the Baby Einstein San Diego Zoo DVD, which keeps Audrey occupied while I have my breakfast.

So tell me, what are you thankful for today?