Thursday, October 29, 2009

Worth it.

It was worth it.

As I stepped on the scale yesterday at my six-week postpartum checkup and watched the numbers soar, I thought to myself: "VoilĂ  France and the amazing food. Ah well, it was worth it."

I had hoped to be rid of my maternity pants by now, but alas, Eli's pregnancy has left me with quite the muffin top to remember him by. Still, I think I could cuddle him plenty minus my love handles.

And so, I've gone back to Weight Watchers. I joined nearly five years ago after Brooklyn was born, becoming a lifetime member once the weight was off. Lifetime membership is great because you get three free months to get back to your weight range after your baby is born.

Well, I have a lot farther to go this time around. Twelve weeks may not be enough time to get rid of the tangible French memories I carry on my hips. Even so, I feel glad to have gone back and be headed in the right direction. Twelve weeks will carry me through the danger zones of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and both my daughters' birthdays. I feel stronger and happier when I am in control of my appetite instead of my appetite controlling me. My whole family benefits from more veggies when I am motivated to make healthier food choices.

As part of my pre-New Year's resolution, I'm looking to get more active. My running shoes are calling my name, so if anybody is looking for an exercise partner, please let me know!

It will be worth it.

Frightfully Full

Around 5:00 am each morning, our full-size bed somehow becomes even fuller.

I think tonight I'm sleeping on the couch...

Pumpkin Pickin' Pleasures

A few days ago we ventured out for some pumpkin pickin' pleasure. What fun!

Here we have a happy Brooklyn...

And a happy Talia...

But a not-so-happy Eli. Our little man doesn't appreciate being set down, especially among pumpkins twice as large as he is.

The girls thought the wagons were tons of fun.

They tried to talk us into buying a giant pumpkin, but we've learned from hard experience that they're a pain to dispose of when the holiday fun is over.

And so we enjoyed climbing on them instead.

Where did Brooklyn go?

Talia hitches a ride.

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Toodle-oo TV!

Well, we're still sick (at least some of us are.) The sad truth is that if even one of us is under the weather, courtesy to the general population dictates that we all stay cooped up inside. Yuck! I am sick and tired of staying inside all day huddled around the TV. Well, while we still may be stuck inside, at least we won't spend our days hypnotized by the television set. Yesterday I decided that if I had to watch Cinderella one more time, I was going to lose my sanity. And so, I unplugged the TV, hauled it up the stairs, and packed it away in the closet. Bye bye, boob tube!

(Wish me luck...)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Our Week in Numbers

Ack! It's only October, and keeping our family healthy has already turned into a full-time job. In case you're wondering where we've disappeared to, allow me to share our week in numbers:

40 doses of tylenol with codeine
20 doses of antibiotic
10 doses of pediapred
3 visits to pediatrician
2 new antibiotics
2 H1N1 vaccines
1 refill on pain medication (even more codeine)
1 urine sample
1 renal ultrasound
1 influenza screening
1 pertussis screening
1 oxygen reading
1 chest x-ray
and countless noses blown.

I'm exhausted.

Fortunately, our family is generally on the mend. While next week is still pretty packed with follow-up medical appointments, I hope that someday soon we will cut short our familiar relationship with waiting rooms. How long until spring?

(Oh, and p.s. in case you're nervous--we didn't have the flu, just some nasty colds...)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bye Bye Tonsils

We survived the surgery. As you can see from these "before" pictures, Brooklyn was happy and chipper as we arrived at the hospital. She was quite excited to try on the pink elephant hospital jammies and pose for a final picture of her tonsils. She waved brightly as they toted her away in a red wagon.

The procedure itself took a bit longer than usual. A typical tonsillectomy will last around 30 minutes, but the bigger the tonsils, the longer it takes. Well, Brooklyn's tonsils were really big, so I nervously paced the tiny recovery room for over an hour before they finally brought her back.

The contrast between my happy Brooklyn leaving and the sad Brooklyn returning was dramatic. She looked so tiny huddled on the big white gurney with an IV still in her hand. Hoarse and upset, she sobbed in Mommy's arms for a while before settling down enough to suck a popsicle and watch a bit of Aladdin. Fortunately, they didn't make her stay long. Even though she was still feeling quite miserable, we were able to take her home after an hour and settle her in on the couch within the comfort of her own home.

As a parent, it's hard to watch your child suffer. You realize that at its rudest, most fundamental level, surgery is just a fancy word for intentional butchering. Even though Brooklyn's recovery will likely be a bit tougher because her tonsils were so enlarged, I'm also kind of glad that they were so bad because there really wasn't any question about whether or not they needed to be removed. As hard as this process is, I feel confident that her life in the long run will be more comfortable without them.

In the meantime, life around here has been surprisingly quiet and peaceful. It's been strange having a Brooklyn who doesn't feel like talking, but it's definitely decreased the overall decibel level, especially since she's not up to arguing with her sister. And, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I knew that everything was going to be fine when Brooklyn perked up yesterday evening and said, "I think I feel like some macaroni and cheese." :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Twelve hours from now, Brooklyn will be tonsil-free. While I'm terrified, she's really excited about the whole procedure. Before bed tonight she laid out two brand-new outfits on the floor and asked me to help her choose which one to wear to the hospital. When I told her that she could have as many popsicles as she wants after the surgery, she threw her arms around me in an enormous hug and said, "Oh Mommy! You're the best!"

Feeling a bit concerned about Brooklyn's idealized image of surgery, I sat down with her this evening to have a frank discussion about the reality of recovery. My warnings about pain and a liquid diet didn't disturb her in the least. One sad realization did shock her and almost bring tears: she has to skip breakfast. The ultimate tragedy...

Eli's Baby Blessing

A little over a week ago, on Sunday, October 4th, we blessed our little Eli at my parent's home in Omaha, Nebraska. We feel so fortunate that Jason's parents and his brother Lance drove out from Utah to share the special occasion. (Given the long distance, Nebraska was a better meeting point than Illinois.)

The blessing itself was simple, yet so beautiful. Eli's grandfathers gathered around as Jason took his son into his arms to give him a name and a blessing. I hope that someday Eli realizes how fortunate he is to have started his life in a circle of such love and support.

It's late and I'm sleepy, so I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. As you can see, it was a wonderful weekend! (And worth every mile of the drive...)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Stinkin' Proud

Why is it that we are so reluctant to give ourselves a genuine pat on the back? I think sometimes we are so worried about being overly prideful that we deny ourselves a heartfelt congratulations when praise is due. Well, I recently accomplished something that made me feel so proud that I was literally giddy, prancing around like a silly school girl who aced her spelling test.

So what made me feel so stinkin' proud? I sewed something. Big deal, you might say. Lots of people sew things. But for me, it was a big deal--a huge deal. I accomplished something that I didn't believe that I could or ever would. My mother being the amazing seamstress that she is, I've always left the sewing to her. After all, she can do it so much faster and better than I ever will. While she's tried to share a few tricks of her trade in the past, most of these endeavors have ended in frustration, tears, and unfinished projects.

Well, this time around I tackled the project basically on my own, suffering through the hard parts where I would have thrown in the towel and handed it over to Mom in the past. I learned a lot about accepting flaws and imperfection, sewing through unmatched seams at times, ripping out and starting over at others.

At the end of the day, my project isn't perfect. Look closely, and you'll find plenty of flaws. Still, I love it. Starting with nothing but a few scraps of fabric and a pattern, I actually created something. And I am so stinkin' proud!

(I'm pretty proud of what's inside the project too...) :)

Five More Days...

The countdown begins... Five more days until Brooklyn gets her tonsils taken out. They're planning on removing her oversized adenoids as well while they're at it, so I guess it's a two-for-one deal. They actually considered putting tubes in her ears too (a triple header), but fortunately her eardrums are working fine. (One would hope so since she's already had tubes twice.)

While it's frightening anytime you allow your little one away to be placed under anesthesia, I'm feeling more anxious about this surgery than her other minor procedures. After getting tubes, Brooklyn came home with a tiny bottle of eardrops and felt better within a couple hours. This time around, she's got three serious prescriptions--an antibiotic, something to help with swelling, and a whole lot of tylenol with codeine. While I know kids are resilient and bounce back quickly, it will still be fluids only for several days.

The doctor was very concerned about whether or not I would have help because I am "definitely going to have my hands full." Going to have my hands full? I feel like I already have my hands full. It's a full-time job just keeping the house from burning down--literally. Yesterday I walked into the kitchen and discovered a flaming paper bag in the middle of the tile floor. The girls were standing around it wide-eyed, mouths gaping open as they watched it transform from bright yellow flames to black ash. Apparently they'd been performing science experiments while I boiled water for dinner. According to Brooklyn, she only lit a corner of the bag, but Talia was "really good at it" since she managed to set the whole thing aflame.

Good at it...not exactly the phrase I'd choose for aptitude in pyrotechnics. Once the flames had been squelched, the girls and I sat down for a serious talk about fire safety. All the while, I thought about how I was going to have my hands full. If the worst is yet to come, next week may be interesting...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Baby Euphoria--Or Not

After months of waiting, it's quite common for new Moms to get a case of the Baby Blues once their infant finally arrives. In my case, however, the reverse seems to be true. I get smitten with Baby Euphoria. I am positively enamored by the new arrival--the tiny toes, the fine hair, each funny expression, hiccup, and sneeze--and oh, that delightful newborn smell! No matter how much I snuggle the little one, I can't seem to get enough. Yum!

Now I confess... While I generally like other people's babies, the attraction isn't the same as with my own. After all, newborns are, let's face it, rather wrinkly and kinda strange-looking, especially with their umbilical stubs. And, seeing as to how they can't do much besides eat, sleep, cry, and poop, they can be rather boring too. While small is cute, when I hold other people's newborn babies, they seem so tiny that I worry I might crush them--which scares me. After all, you break it, you bought it.

For some unexplainable reason, my babies manage to forego that awkward, quasi-ugly stage and become immediately beautiful, fascinating, and winsome. (Well, at least in my eyes.) :) It is love at first sight--and I crave more. One baby is so great that I wish I had two, or a dozen, or maybe two dozen. Despite the long nine months of pregnancy and the pain of delivery, the reward is so fabulous that I can't wait to do it again.

Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?), this Baby Euphoria eventually does wane. While I still adore the baby smell, the drudgery of diapers and midnight feedings starts to take its toll. Eli is only three weeks old, yet I'm already feeling the heavy weight of the real-world set back in. Maybe this is because Eli gets grumpy, or perhaps I am simply worn out. One thing is for certain, however--having three is definitely harder. I feel like I am being stretched in new ways. While I can handle a screaming baby with a smile (after all, they're still so darn cute!), it's going to take some serious prayer to learn how to simultaneously handle a fussy baby, a screaming toddler, and whining preschooler with patience.

So much for two dozen...

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Fifteen Days of Fun

At the ripe old age of two weeks and a day, our tiny Eli is growing up fast. This morning his lactation consultant informed me that he had "officially graduated from Breastfeeding 101." (During his first week of life, he was a little slow "latching on" to the whole concept of nursing, but has been eagerly making up for lost time since.)

In honor of the occasion, I thought I'd post some of our favorite pics from the last couple of weeks.

Practically Perfect

A Photoshoot with our Midwife Ray

Bundled like a Burrito

Comfy Cozy

Yummy fingers

Early Bonding with our Favorite Pug

Eli Meets his Sisters (aka Beware the Eye Pokes)

So tiny

What hair!

Talia becomes a big sister

Brooklyn brushes up on her baby holding skills

How many Wheelers can you fit in a hospital bed?

Eli's surrogate parents: Brittney and Bruce

The first car ride

Alternative transportation: The Sling

Weirdness Training begins early at our home... does our obsession with John Deere

Little Farmer Eli gets a little too much loving from his sisters

Eli displays a weird face of his own.

Too cute for words

Brooklyn joins in the fun

Bonding with Dad

Ever affectionate, Talia's always eager for another turn holding her brother

What a precious bundle!

In a while, crocodile.