Monday, March 5, 2018

Maxwell James

I wanted to write down the story of how Max came to be, while it's all still fresh in my mind!

Now let's see, if I remember correctly, it was May, around our anniversary... we had been trying to get pregnant for a few months and decided to try some tips we read on the internet... HA just kidding.

We can skip that part and just dive right into the nitty gritty of the day we met Max!

It was basically my dream delivery. Everything that was terrible about Nate's delivery was perfect with Max.

At 39 weeks pregnant, I was having nonstop "cramps", for lack of a better description. They weren't contractions, at least not productive ones, but they were more than Braxton Hicks. I was in pain all of the time, and felt like I was walking with a bowling ball in my pelvis. At my doctor's appointment, my doctor said everything looked very ready to go, and he'd be happy to give my body a little nudge to get things started if I was ready to give Max his eviction notice. Because I love myself more than my baby and value convenience more than his life, I elected to schedule an induction. Haha, or so the internet would have you believe. But honestly, I was ready for him to come out, he was ready to come out, and it really was quite convenient to be induced on the weekend and have Cary there and my sweet cousin in place to watch Nate overnight.

All day Saturday I was calm and collected and just peaceful about meeting our new baby. Ha, again! Man, I am sarcastic today. I was a bundle of nerves and tears and cried 498 times that day. I had painful cramps/contractions all day long and was SO uncomfortable. My belly and my pelvis were just so over this. We went about business as usual, trying to ignore the fact that our whole world was about to be turned upside down. We went to go get frozen yogurt that night with Nate, and I tried so hard to capture in my memory our last moments as a family of 3. We put Nate to bed that night and I laid next to him and sang him extra songs, feeling so emotional about his last night as my littlest baby.

After Nate was tucked in bed and I reapplied waterproof mascara for the 10th time that day, we took off for the hospital at about 9:30. It was surreal, driving to the hospital and knowing that we would be coming home again with a baby! We checked in, did paperwork, I changed into a sexy hospital gown, and the nurse checked me. Much to my surprise, I was dilated to a 3-4 and already contracting! The nurse put the cytotech in and said the doc thought that would throw me into labor all on it's own. After the pill sat there for an hour, Cary and I got up and walked around the hospital for an hour and a half. I was contracting pretty good, but it felt better to be up walking around. After our walking, they checked me and I was at a 5! So the doc said I could get an epidural and he would break my water. I thought this sounded like a fantastic deal, since I still wasn't even in that much pain.

The anesthesiologist came in and gave a very grim warning speech about all of the dangers of an epidural and I said, "Yup, stick me!" He was so incredibly awkward and weird, and I took odd enjoyment out of making jokes and listening to them flatline. But weirdness aside, he gave me one real good epidural! I could still feel the requisite pressure to push and know when I was contracting, but I could feel and move my legs and walk immediately after delivery, and I felt practically zero pain. Contrasted with my epidural with Nate, which took 3 attempts and did not work, and I was in intense pain as they tried to place it, I am now officially team epidural, and I could have french kissed that strange anesthesiologist. Anywho! Epidural in, I'm feeling good, doc comes and breaks my water, which was very uneventful, and leaves me to hang out and be in labor some more. Cary takes a nap, I am too jazzed about the baby thing and still feeling enough of the contractions that I can't sleep, so I watch some Scrubs and just sit and contemplate my reality of pushing a bowling ball out of a hole I really feel is not appropriately sized for such an endeavor.

A couple of hours later, the doc comes to check me again and says, "Well, I'm going home in 15 minutes." I was very confused about his remark, because I thought I would have hours left of labor. Suddenly they were setting me up to deliver a baby and I yelled over to Cary, "Uhhhh, you need to wake up because I guess we're gonna have a baby now??" I asked the doctor, "Is it really time to push??" And he had me feel his head. I remember saying, "He has hair!!" and I was so excited about that, haha. 2 quick pushes later, and he was in my arms. With Nate, I labored hard for hours and hours and pushed even harder for 2 nonstop hours, and I do not even remember meeting him. I was so completely exhausted. This time, they placed him on my chest and I immediately felt a rush of love and happiness that my little boy was here, and he was mine. We looked over every inch of him and I just kept saying, "Hi baby!! You're here! I'm your mama! I love you!"

And we've been completely and totally in love ever since.

Just a few hours old

 Proud Papa
 Loving our new babe. 
 This was minutes after he was born. There is no photo evidence of me, minutes after Nate was born. It was scary, haha. 
 Meeting Grandma!
 And meeting Grandpa!
How we spend a lot of our time these days. I'm addicted to snuggling him!

Friday, January 12, 2018

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about."


I'm not quite sure what is motivating this blog post.  Maybe I just need to process my feelings and writing about it in a sort of public forum is helpful? Maybe it feels so good to have one person understand, and now I just want everyone to understand. Maybe I am a narcissist and I just want to talk about myself a lot? For whatever reason, here comes a doozy.

I have been afraid of throwing up for as long as I can remember. Understatement of the still young century right there.

I was about 7 the last time I threw up. Even typing that sentence gives me extreme anxiety and makes me feel like I've jinxed myself. For the longest time, I wouldn't tell anyone when I last threw up, would never even say the word for fear that it was going to jinx me and make me sick. Seeing the word in print or seeing someone get sick in a movie sent me into a tailspin of anxiety. For my whole life, I've labeled it as an out of control and embarrassing phobia that I just need to get over, but I've never been able to conquer it. And as time has gone by and especially since becoming a mom, it has gotten So. Much. Worse. I am consumed by this fear and the relentless and obsessive thoughts that go along with it. And just recently, my little boy spilled his orange juice and was absolutely beside himself upset. He wasn't just sad it spilled or that his shirt was messy, he was SCARED. And seeing his fear over something that is NOT scary made me realize that my issues could become his if I don't get help. So I sought out a therapist to help me get over this phobia. And she immediately diagnosed me with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. At first I didn't understand, and I wanted a redo on this phobia therapy session gone wrong. But as we continued talking, I realized that OCD is truly the bigger demon that is feeding my phobia.

People joke about OCD all of time- it's definitely not "offensive" to me- people usually say someone is OCD when they mean they are anal or a little obsessive. Whatever, it's a casual colloquialism with no offense made or taken. But I do wish people understood that truly suffering from OCD doesn't mean liking your clothes in color order in your closet (although I do really enjoy that). It means feeling constantly trapped by irrational fears and obsessive thoughts that lead you to irrational compulsions in a vicious cycle, that no one knows more than you is irrational and illogical and totally nonsensical- but you feel completely powerless to stop. I KNOW throwing up is not actually something to be terrified of. I KNOW it's not dangerous. I KNOW that not saying my prayers isn't going to make me throw up- but my brain sends me a message all day long, all night long, on loop- Throwing up is THE worst thing that could ever happen to you, you will not survive, and if you do these things, maybe you can prevent it. OCD is having a constant nervous itch in your brain that is soothed by repetitive and intrusive compulsions. But the relief is so brief, and not real, so you are drawn to these compulsions over and over again as your brain plays a nonstop highlight reel of your biggest fears. It sounds so silly, being paralyzed and held prisoner by such a trivial little fear, but it is SO real. And I've spent my whole life so embarrassed and ashamed of what feels like a ridiculous thing to be so consumed by, but through talking about it, I've found people who struggle with similar fears and compulsions, and just not feeling so alone has helped me so much. 

So, for my own purposes and for anyone that this might possibly help, this is what my OCD looks like. 

1. Constantly checking to see if I feel okay, overanalyzing every stomach rumble and feeling. Keeping mints and bags and Zofran and water with me at all times, "just in case."
2. Constantly assessing Nate- is he pale? He is grouchy? Is he eating too little? Is he eating too much? Is he acting "off"?? 
3. Odd ritualistic behavior- Nate wore that shirt or those pajamas last time he threw up, so I won't put him in them again. If Cary dresses him and puts him in those clothes, I will be very anxious and uncomfortable, but I force myself to try to act normal and not change his clothes- this is my whole life. Trying to force myself to act normal when every part of my brain is screaming EMERGENCY SOMEONE MIGHT VOMIT.
4. Being afraid if I don't read my scriptures or say my prayers, I will be sick.
5. Being afraid if Nate doesn't say the phrase "And help me be healthy" in his night time prayers, he will be sick.
6. Obsessively washing hands and sanitizing our house after we've been "exposed."
7. Obsessively washing Nate's hands and using hand sanitizer when he's been around other kids or touching things in public.
8. Obsessively researching how to avoid the stomach flu, reading the same web pages over and over, trying to soothe my scared brain.
9. Researching norovirus outbreaks, googling "how often does your child get the stomach flu", "do you always get sick when your child gets sick," Over and over. I started to realize I was not okay when I saw google saying things like "You've visited this page 19 times" on some article about stomach flu prevention. 
10. Afraid to go to sleep at night because I am afraid Nate/someone/me will wake up throwing up.
11. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I count the hours until morning when I will feel "safe" that no one threw up during the night. I often can't go back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night because I am so anxious. 
12. When Nate wakes up in the middle of the night, I immediately launch into fight or flight- it doesn't matter if it's a nightmare, dropped blanket, etc., it takes me an hour or so to calm my heart rate and calm down enough to go back to sleep. The few times he has been sick, I am fighting furiously to keep a panic attack at bay as I help him, and as soon as it is over, I am in full fledged panic attack mode, and I will not sleep for the rest of the night.
13. When someone in my house does have stomach problems, I don't sleep for days, I am so anxious and panicked. Just my husband or even someone I saw for 5 minutes at church mentioning that their stomach feels funny is enough to fuel a panic filled night.
14. I am constantly seeking reassurance from my poor husband- If Nate gets sick, you'll clean it up right? Will you go in there and tell him I can't come if he wants me to come be with him? I probably ask Cary these questions 2-3 times per week and that sweet man is so patient but he just doesn't understand my paranoia, and my constant need for reassurance. How could he? It doesn't make any sense!
15. When someone I know has been sick, I will avoid them for weeks. And I will try to subtly ask questions about the illness so I can decide if it's something contagious or how bad it was, so I can properly gauge my level of panic.
16. When I have seen someone vomit, my brain replays the scene over and over again. A constant loop that I can't turn off. I have nightmares about myself getting sick.
17. If I am feeling nervous about getting sick, I have an overwhelming and constant urge to wash my hands. I can usually control it and force myself to not wash too much, but the urge is always there. And if I've been exposed, all bets are off and I will wash my hands until they bleed. 
18. I want to avoid family gatherings, going on vacations, airplanes, amusement parks and other things I really enjoy because they cause me so much anxiety. Once again I force myself to interact and act normal, but I experience so much anxiety and fear and my compulsions increase drastically in the days leading up to the event and during the event.
19. I obsessively check those around me for looking ill- if I saw a kid looking sick at the grocery store, I will come home and wash my hands, Nate's hands, and think about whether or not we could have been exposed for days. If someone coughs funny, burps, or holds their stomach, I will notice, analyze and obsess for hours.
20. I am constantly aware of how much time has elapsed since a possible "exposure" and googling how long the stomach flu is contagious, incubation period, etc.
21. When I feel ill, I tap my fingers in symmetrical patterns, jiggle my knee to certain beats, pinch myself hard to distract myself from the nauseous feeling. 
22. I feel very uncomfortable that this list is ending on 22 instead of 20. I want to edit 2 out, but as I'm trying to learn not to be a compulsive crazy person, I'm leaving it. 

So many of my compulsions are semi-under control, in that I can force myself to not do them (i.e., compulsive hand washing), but I can not stop the urge, can not stop my anxious brain from searching for something, anything to take away the worry. That's the problem with my compulsions- they make me feel better, for just a minute. So I do them over and over again, and the anxiety ramps up higher and higher between each. 

I kept brushing off my issues to the therapist, telling her, "I know this is so dumb, I know this is so silly.." And telling her that I know lots of people have actual problems and actual hard things to deal with instead of imaginary ones. She stopped me and said, "You have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It is not a weird quirk. It is hard.You are terrified all of the time, and fighting like hell just to live a normal life. This is real, and it is hard, and you don't have to feel this way, and I can help you." And I started crying right there. Not because I was better or because I was happy to have a mental illness, but because for the first time, I felt like maybe I wasn't just a weak sissy, and that my struggles were valid, and most importantly, with some help, I can get better. 

Most people would probably keep this to themselves, and I am sure some people reading this now think I am 100% crazy pants, but I feel like admitting to myself and to the world what I struggle with is the first step in getting better. Owning my problem and talking about it helps me feel like one day this won't be my brain and my life. Identifying and writing down my compulsions helps me see how illogical they are and gives me the first tools to try to stop them. And maybe just one person out there will read this that will relate to part of it and feel a little more normal, a little less alone. And if that's the case, it's worth airing my dirty and super of embarrassing laundry for the world to see. And if none of that, at least now you can all stop putting me on a pedestal- I may be beautiful and hilarious and awesome and smart, but take comfort in knowing that I am also straight up nuts. (I'm kidding. I feel like sarcasm is lost in print here.)

I owe it to him to get better. Because the world is too bright and beautiful to always be afraid. 


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dis mah crib

Welcome to my abode, world wide web! Kick off your shoes, grab yourself a Diet Coke from the fridge, and lemme show you around! 
The movers came to pick up the empty boxes today, so we're officially unpacked and moved in! We still have some decorating and furnishing to do, but that will be a process and if I wait until I'm done, I'll never post pictures. So come join me as we tour my house, featuring absolutely terrible photos of a very beautiful house. I am the worst photographer in the history of the world. It's much prettier in real life, so just come on over and I'll give you a real tour! 
Look at that cutie pie house. We love our neighborhood, we live within 5 minutes walking of two different parks, and the mountain views take my breath away every time. 

Come on in through my purple front door!
You walk through the door and see this beautiful staircase, one of my favorite parts of the house!


Here's the entry way, with the door to the left in this picture. The garage is the door on the right. (Oversized 2 car garage! Major upgrade from our tiny-barely-1-car garage in Spokane). Underneath the stairs is the door to the unfinished basement, which is currently full of storage tubs and furniture that doesn't have a place in our new house, and my salon stuff. We would like to finish it eventually, but for now it will be a big play room for Nate's outdoor toys, and hopefully my shampoo sink and hair chair set up down there. 
Anywho, standing in front of the door, the living room is to the right. 
Living room and dining room, both to the right of the stairs. And Abby. 
Dining room 
Coming around the corner from the dining room, here is the kitchen! 
Oh my goodness, I love this kitchen. So much storage! So much counter space! 
Kitchen from the other side. For perspective, the front door is at the end of the hallway, and the stairs are behind the kitchen. 

I somehow didn't quite take a picture of the little eating nook and pantry to the side of the kitchen... so use your imagination. In your imagination, also pretend that Nate's lunch isn't still sitting on the table. But here is the family room across from the kitchen! I have big plans to eventually reface that fireplace and put in built-in cabinets and bookshelves on either side. Someday. 
Love that big window behind the couch, looking out into the backyard. 
We just bought this couch, and I'm in love. And I want to spend my whole life on that chaise. 
 
As soon as we put this TV up, Cary said, "Don't you think that TV looks too small on this wall? We'd better get a bigger one." Typical. 
Down the hall from the living room, there's a little half bath. I went to take a picture of it and found Nate, eating several-hours-old mac and cheese on the floor of the bathroom. I opened the door and he was like, "What? Where do you eat your mac?" Whatever floats your boat, dude. 
Let's go upstairs! 
At the top of the stairs- The master bedroom is in front of you, the laundry room to the right (LOVE having laundry upstairs!) and a second bedroom is to your right. I don't have any pictures of the second bedroom because my little brother is currently living there and it's not quite photo ready.... But it's a pretty little guest room and it's waiting for you!
Master bedroom! Having a master that's bigger than our bed is so exciting! We need some more furniture and decorations for this room, but moving is expensive, man. 
Big window in the master, looking out into the backyard. Also, I wandered out of of the shower the other day and didn't realize that the curtains were open and I'm pretty sure I made eye contact with our backyard neighbor who was out on the porch. Howdy, neighbor! Yikes.  
We have never had  TV in our room before and I'm a little worried about my self control. I want to lay in bed and watch trashy TV until my eyes fall out of my head.  
Entry to the master bathroom, walk in closet on the right, regular closet on the left. Our old house had the TINIEST closet of all time, and I am giddy about all of this closet space. 
Master vanity. Needs a paint job, but it's nice!
 
Tub and shower. I don't love the shower, but it works. Maybe we'll update it someday. 
Okay, so you walk out of the master and you see Nate's room on the left, a linen closet, the second full bath, and a 4th bedroom that is currently our office on the right. 
Nate's room. I thought we would fix it up like a "big boy" room instead of like his nursery, but I just couldn't do it. I'm not ready to have a big boy. He can stay my baby for a little bit more. (Even though he turns TWO next week. WHAT.)
 
Nice big closets in every room. 
I want him to stay in a crib forever. Thinking of switching him into a toddler bed gives me cold sweats. 
Guest/Nate's bathroom. I want to eventually update it, but it does the job for now. 
Tub/shower 
As a fitting conclusion to this photo tour, here is a terrible picture of our office. Definitely in need of some organization, but I'm burned out, man. 

We love our house! I still can't believe we really live here in Colorado Springs. Pinch me! Every store and restaurant I could ever want is within 15 minutes of me, there are beautiful and fun parks everywhere, Cary has a 15 minute commute to work, my family is just over an hour away, I adore our house and our neighborhood- is this real life?? Am I dreaming?? 

Come visit! Our guest room is waiting! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Important things. And other things.

Oy, it has been ages since I posted in ye olde blogge. It is only appropriate that I mark my return to the blogosphere with a matter of most import and interest to the people of the internet.

But this will have to do.

Here are some things:

I think I have dementia. This is me every single time I make popcorn in the microwave:
Step 1: Put popcorn in microwave
Step 2: Walk away
Step 3: Hear popping noises and shout "OH CRAP SOMETHING IS EXPLODING!"
Step 4: Realize it is my popcorn, which is in fact, designed to explode.
Step 5: Walk away again
Step 6: Allow the smell of burnt popcorn to slowly fill my nostrils as I notice with vague interest, "Something is burning."
Step 7: Rush across the house, remove burnt popcorn from the microwave and repeat steps 1-6 with a new bag of popcorn.
Step 8: Eat burnt popcorn and feel sad at both the popcorn's grossness and the atrophy of my brain cells.
What does this say about the sad state of my attention span? How can I not stay engaged in the simple process of popping popcorn, and yet I can watch every second of any episode of reality TV with complete rapture? I am disgusted with myself and yet the only way I see this situation changing is for the microwave industry to make a popcorn button that actually works. These are the issues, people.

This morning, I made a smoothie with some spinach. Nate absolutely demanded a piece of spinach, and I obliged. He took a bite, made a disapproving face, and then gave it back to me saying, "Leaf?" His tone conveyed so much- why are we eating leaves? Don't you know that they've invented nachos and ice cream?

You may be thinking to yourself, this blog was a waste of a click. But I have been saving an important present for you. I am about the share with you some very exclusive pictures from our vacation to Punta Cana. I didn't want to post these pictures on Instagram- I needed people to work for them.

Let me tell you a tale. One time Cary and I went scuba diving in Punta Cana. There was a photographer there who took pictures of us underwater. After we dove, we were all hanging out on the beach. The photographer was walking around, and asked if we wanted him to snap a shot of us. We said sure! It is important to note that this conversation was in Spanish, and my spanish is limited to directions to the train and there are lots of books in the library type conversations.

So the photographer takes a picture of us on the beach:
Hooray. We are on the beach. Gracias por el photo! Adios!

But. The photographer had different ideas! And rather than try to explain that we just wanted one picture, we decided to just pose for his pictures quick and then move on. Let's take a jumping one!

 Ohp. Apparently what we heard was "Let's take one where it looks like you're pooping on the beach!"
 Hey we did it! Okay, time to be done. No, one more? Okay.
 Uh-oh. More beach pooping. Let's try a different angle.
 Much better. Now it looks like you're pooping directly into the ocean. At this point, I really tried to communicate that we had plenty of pictures and we're ready for him to move on. But he just wanted to get one more shot! He told us to lay down on our stomachs on the beach. I knew this was going to be terrible. And then. He said. "Encima" And I said "Huh?" And he said, "Encima!" And I said "What???" And Cary said, "I think he wants you to lay on top of me." And I laughed and said "HA! Like this??" And in my split second of laughing at this ridiculous request, the photographer snapped what is absolutely the most horrifying picture of me that has ever been taken:
I look like a whale that has breached herself onto a very sad and unfortunate Cary, who is extremely displeased to find himself in such a situation. You can see his eyes, begging for someone to save him. At this point I jumped up and said "No mas! No mas!!!" And the photographer finally left. And now we have these precious snapshots to forever remind us that we are pasty white weirdos who should vacation indoors, with plenty of clothing on. And that our futures are not in modeling.

You see, if I waited until I had something profound and meaningful to say before I blogged again, I think we would wait forever.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Lazy hair don't care

This is probably my most random blog post of all time. But I've had a lot of people ask me about dry shampoo lately, and I wanted to share my ultimate lazy and cheap hair hack. I'm a girl who likes to look good, but is also extremely lazy. I also have dry and damaged hair from constant heat styling and coloring abuse (sorry hair), so I usually only wash my hair 2-3 times per week. Don't worry, I shower every day, I just don't wash my hair! My husband finds this absolutely disgusting, but he's not the boss of my life. Anywho. On days that my hair isn't being washed, it's limp and greasy and it is not cute. Enter:

.... drum roll.. 

Baby powder. 


I know, you are skeptical. Everyone I have talked to about this says either they've tried it and it didn't work, or it sounds weird. And maybe my hair is just weird too, but this trick saves my butt often so I'm showing you how I do it! 
 This is what my hair looked like this morning. Greeeeasy, limp. Ew.
 Yup. You could grease a frying pan with my head.  Alright, time to get started- I would do this before getting dressed, to avoid a baby powder-y shirt situation. In these really lovely photos, I have a towel over my shoulders. 
 Step 1: Sprinkle on some baby powder. I like to use the little travel sized baby powder because it is a lot easier to control how much you're putting on and how fast it comes out. It's important to put on enough baby powder to absorb the grease, but not so much that your hair turns white. A little bit of trial and error here to figure exactly how much refreshes your hair but doesn't make you look like a little old lady that smells like a baby. By the way, I've done this with both brown hair and blonde hair, and if you do it right, your hair doesn't look white. 
 Step 2: Make this super weird face and flip your hair all over and continue sprinkling baby powder right at the root. I focus the baby powder on the top of my head and right around my face. Part your hair in several different spots and sprinkle it on in. 
 Step 3: Rub it in! This part is so important! Take your finger tips and really rub the baby powder into your scalp. Give yourself a nice head massage. Focus again on your part and hairline and rub rub rub!
 This is what my hair looks like post massage. Still looking a bit like a little old lady. Don't worry- we're about to fix that. 
 Step 4: Bust out your blow dryer! For just a couple of minutes, blow dry your hair while still massaging and rubbing in the baby powder. Flip your head upside down and rub in the baby powder at the scalp while blow drying. This serves two purposes- it helps blow out the excess baby powder, and it helps restore some volume and shape into your hair. I usually grab a paddle brush or round brush and smooth the top just a bit. 

 Step 5: Sometimes my hair is a bit staticky after this whole routine- I like to use just a bit of styling oil, rub it into a very thin layer on my hands and just smooth the fly aways down a bit. 


And you're done! And your hair looks great, isn't white, and Cary can bite me because he never even notices that I didn't wash my hair that day! With the blow drying, I never notice that my hair smells like baby powder. This is also great for putting your hair up and helps give you some volume. 

With this goofball always at my ankles, I am all about quick little tips that make my life easier- and baby powder dry shampoo is the difference between greasy ponytails and cute hair, and in less than 5 minutes!
I'm already sad I cut his widdle baby hair. 

Let me know if you try this!