Monday, January 30, 2012

The Worst Kind of Tired

I am SO tired today.  And I have no idea why.  No, I'm not pregnant.  For once I am very sure of that.  I had a fun and relaxing weekend, and other than a couple-hour span yesterday, I didn't really exert myself at all. We spent the weekend with my parents while Craig was on a two-city roadtrip, and despite the help, I'm exhausted today.  I even went to bed at a reasonable time--earlier than usual.  In fact, I fell asleep on the couch at 10pm, which almost never happens.  I got myself into my real bed sometime between 11 and 11:30, and I woke up for a few minutes when Craig finally got home past midnight, but other than that, I slept well and yet still woke up feeling no better than when I went to sleep last night.  Just tired.

My one tiring experience (other than dealing with a little boy who was uninterested in listening all weekend) was the couple hours after we got home, in which I ran around the house like a crazy woman, unpacking and putting other things in their proper place.  I was compelled to put things away that had been sitting in the wrong spot for weeks, or pick up little messes that had been bugging me.  I also made dinner and did dishes during that time, and shortly after had to do the bedtime routine.  I settled onto the couch with a snack and a newspaper to watch an episode of The Biggest Loser on DVR, and found myself thankful that it was only an hour--not the usual two--because by the end, my eyelids were drooping.  And I just couldn't muster the strength to get up and go to bed, so there I napped for a bit.  But I was still in bed earlier than usual and I don't recall any wakeups other than when Craig got home.  So why am I so tired?

Normally I'd spend a day like this just a tiny bit intrigued/excited because I'd be hopeful that it meant I was pregnant.  Or, at the very least, I'd be convinced it was a symptom of a greater problem that might be impacting my ability to get pregnant.  While any problem isn't ideal, at least it would provide a place to focus our efforts.  And assuming it was something fixable, it would be nice to know that there was just a simple bump in the road we had to get past in order to get back on track.  But this time around, I'm just tired.  I know I'm not pregnant because I know where my cycle is and I just had bloodwork last week.  It confirmed that I wasn't already pregnant, which I knew, nor did I have any obvious evidence that anything was amiss...no thyroid trouble, no hormonal imbalances.  So while that's all good news, it sort of just leaves me back at square one for the next few months until we're past the window of time where the Disney trip is at risk.  I do have follow-up bloodwork next week as well, which may give another hint or two as to what might be going on, but I'm pretty sure it's all going to be chalked up to bad luck or the dreaded "unexplained infertility" which is the diagnosis when nothing seems wrong but nothing's working, either.  It reminds me of the term "irreconcilable differences" that every Hollywood divorce claims.  Clear as mud.

So, without the many possibilities that a tired day could signify, I'm just left with with a tired day.  Bummer.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pain

Seeing your child in pain is one of the worst things ever.  Even if you know it's common pain and something they will get over, it's hard. 

The last few days Jacob has been complaining of a sore butt.  Now that he's potty trained and has had very few run-ins with constipation, I guess I figured we might be past the stage of down-there discomfort.  But apparently not.  The other night when he first complained about it, I took a look and it was, in fact, a bit red.  It looked like it could use some extra wiping, like maybe he pooped at daycare and it didn't get wiped well enough, or maybe he farted and a little sneaked out.  I knew that having even that little bit against his skin could make things a little raw, so I wiped him and figured we were done with it. 

But then it happened again the next day, and when I went to check it, there was a little bit of watery poop there this time.  Which made me think maybe he was getting a case of diarrhea and that's what was causing his issues.  But no, he pooped (with much angst) and it was mostly solid.  Nothing large either. 

Last night he was absolutely miserable around bedtime, to the point I put on diaper rash cream when I put on his nighttime diaper.  He struggled and screamed through his time on the potty and the cream application, and it was pretty awful to watch.  He just would not calm down.  This morning he initially seemed fine.  But then I made him go potty and he freaked out.  He didn't go and then wanted to go back to his room, so we did and I put a little more cream on, just in case.  But shortly thereafter, he said he had to poop and we ran back to the bathroom.  It was a really painful one for him to get out, even though the size wasn't anything major, but he did it...and after that he seemed fine. 

When I brought it up at daycare, they confirmed that he had been having issues with needing to poop but nothing coming out, and him saying his butt was sore.  So, at least it's not just us. 

But the question remains--what is it?  Did he have one big poop that tore him up a bit and it can't quite heal?  For the record, this kid can get out frighteningly large poops without flinching, including one the other night--pain-free--in about five seconds, tops.  So if that's the case, I don't know why it would just be happening now.  Might he have some minor irritation that's making his poop sting?  Or is he suddenly having a problem with extra strong urges that make him push more than normal?  Can kids even get hemorrhoids?

I'm going to just wait it out over the weekend and see if it happens again.  If not, I'll assume that he healed up and all is well.  If it happens again, I guess it'll be worth calling the doctor.  I'll probably hear all of the usual stuff--suppositories, stool softeners, fiber, juice, prunes--anything to get him going, but softly.  But whatever it takes to not go through another round of Jacob screaming or writhing in pain.  It was so hard to watch that.  We've all been there, and it bums me out that he has to be there, too.  He probably doesn't remember the few times that he had trouble when he was a baby, so this is most likely a foreign concept to him.  He doesn't know why pooping hurts him, and the last thing I want him to do is hold his poop for fear of hurting himself, because that will only make it worse.  It's hard, but in the meantime we just have to do what we can to support him when it happens...encourage him, become deeply reacquainted with his nether regions, and hug him through it all.  Poor baby.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Scarred

One year ago yesterday was Jacob's mole removal surgery. I knew it was right around this time of year, but I didn't know the date until I looked back in the blog, and voila...January 24th, 2011. That was quite the day. I mean, it was an early morning, and a cold one at that. We had to send our little boy off with a surgeon, then go through the stress of waiting extra long while the drugs wore off. We were home pretty early and the worst was over, but we crammed a lot of emotion and action into those few hours.

A year later, the scar is probably about as good as it's going to get.  I take comfort in the fact that someday it'll be covered with leg hair.  I tried to get a good picture of it, but it wasn't easy.  This was probably the best I got. 
Interestingly, there's another picture I took where you can barely see it.  It just depends on the angle and how the light reflects off of it.  The skin is mostly the same color now, despite what you see above, but there's a definite scar.  But the irregular cells are gone, and that's what's important.  A scar is nothing compared to a healthy little boy.

Ironically, over the past year another scar has replaced it on the top of the list of body concerns, the one on Jacob's face that he got on his trip to Delaware Labor Day weekend.  That one is slowly but surely getting better, but I'm not sure it'll ever totally go away.  It's all a part of him now, right?  I'm still hoping his little boy skin will heal better, but we'll see.  There will be many more where they came from, too, I'm sure.

While I was trying to take a picture of his leg, I took this one of his feet.  I never took a super cute one when he was tiny, so I figured I'd get one now before I totally lost my chance...
That's my moose, Loosey Moosey in between the feet.  Those feet are gigantic compared to what they once were.  Still cute, though.
He slept all night on the floor last night and decided to do it again tonight.  He has a significant layer of stuffed animals and some comfy blankets to keep himself snuggly, but we have no idea why he finds this concept so novel.  As long as he sleeps through the night I'm not going to bug him about it...unless it goes on way too long and we're risking him being "the weird kid who doesn't sleep in a bed".  Such an oddball.

But he's our oddball, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday News & Notes

- We're still dealing with some behavior issues, enough that the Batcave is taking a vacation locked in the basement, but at least Jacob is feeling better.  It was still a pretty low-key weekend.  Jacob and I hit up Wegmans during a prime sample time on Saturday, then went to the Knighthawks game that night.  Sunday we went to church, I made a good dinner and the boys did movie night (complete with popcorn), and that was pretty much it. 
- I did the strangest thing on Sunday afternoon during Jacob's nap.  Well, two strange things.  I tried on skinny jeans at Old Navy, which was pretty awful.  I thought maybe I could pull them off with boots, and maybe I can...but perhaps not in the way I'd like myself to be seen.  So that folly is still a bit of a work in progress.  The weirder thing I did was go to a real estate open house.  No, I have no intention to move again any time soon.  I can probably read my blog from that period and be thoroughly convinced of that.  However, I still keep my eyes on the local real estate listings, simply because I'm curious.  It's an interesting opportunity to take a look inside houses you pass every day.  I've never gone to an open house just for fun, though...mostly I just look on the internet at the pictures. But this particular one intrigued me, and I had the time to go see it.  There are a lot of houses around here that look like our old one.  I saw one a couple neighborhoods over that was so similar, yet so different.  It had a family room off the kitchen and an unfinished basement.  I was just interested to see an "alternate reality".  In the end it made me grateful for our house now.  It wasn't a bad house, but the rooms looked so small and it had a lot of little issues with the way it had been updated that made me so happy we have our house now.  I think we made a very good choice!
- Today I got a call from daycare midday from the director.  I always cringe a bit because most calls either mean Jacob is sick or injured.  Well...today was his one teacher's birthday (not the one he "married" last week) and her boyfriend sent flowers and balloons to the center.  The director told me that when Jacob saw them come into the room, he started saying, "They're from me!  They're from me!"  Seriously?!  Everyone got a kick out of it, I guess!  Even when I asked him about it on the way home, he insisted they were from him.  Wow. 
- As I mentioned earlier, we went to the Knighthawks game Saturday night.  Here are some videos and pictures to give you an idea of the best 10 minutes of Jacob's night...first him taking a shot, then him doing a faceoff, and then what Jacob does most of the time...
video
 


video
video

He felt so cool in his big boy jersey.  We happened to be sitting in a section with a lot of real Greece Hurricanes, which was sort of funny.  Of course, we sat with a real lacrosse guy--Knighthawks Hall of Famer Tim Soudan, who used our other two tickets--and Jacob was beyond shy.  Silly boy.
- Recently at daycare I've been impressed by Jacob's puzzle prowess.  He's been doing this puzzle when I've come to pick him up, and he's really good at it.  It's a real puzzle with interlocking pieces,  not a baby puzzle.  It is only 24 pieces, and good-sized ones at that, but still...he does it well.  Years ago at a baseball game, we saw a puzzle that we thought would be fun, and it was so cheap that we couldn't pass it up.  It was made up of cartoon images of minor league baseball mascots, including the Rochester Red Wings mascot and three Buffalo Bisons mascots.  The puzzle was 150 pieces, with bigger pieces than your standard adult puzzle but far smaller than what Jacob is used to.  And this morning I brought it out and told Jacob we could do it tonight.  And when he was still talking about it at pickup, I knew he'd be up for the challenge.  I definitely did most of it--mostly because we wanted to finish before bedtime--but I took the opportunity to teach him the technique of finding the flat pieces first and doing the frame, then asking him to find pieces that fit certain criteria.  And you know what, he got a lot of pieces all by himself!  The kid is apparently a puzzler.  It suits his attention to detail well, I guess.  It was really fun to see!
Putting in the last piece!

All done!

The finished product.  Spikes is fourth from the left on the bottom, Buster is the lower right corner, and Chip is a couple up and over from Buster.  Well worth the five bucks or so that we spent on it!  I pulled out all of the white writing pieces at the top, but Jacob put that whole section together by himself!
- Tonight Jacob wanted to sleep on his floor.  I decided it wasn't worth a battle and he'd probably figure out quickly that it wasn't comfortable.  I'll be interested to see if he's still there when I go up to check on him.  Then I need to decide if we should move him or risk him waking up uncomfortable in the middle of the night.  Ahhh, parenthood. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On a Break

Well, as of yesterday, we're officially on a baby-making break.  Somehow ovulation wasn't detected despite more than two weeks of testing, but ironically this cycle was right on time.  Let's hope it's the start of a trend.  If so, that would be a tiny bit of good news in the midst of a generally unhappy little scenario. 

As I mentioned previously, if we didn't get pregnant this time around, we had to wait a while to start trying again.  We're going with Craig's whole family to Disney in November, and if I were too pregnant too fly or if we had a really new baby, it would prevent me from going, which would be such a bummer.  I want to see Jacob's little face the first time he sees it all, so I just can't fathom not being there.  Plans have already been made, so it's full speed ahead with that.  The way I figure it, getting pregnant next month would have put a due date right near the end of October, less than two weeks before the trip.  I think you're not supposed to fly any later than seven months (and frankly, I don't know how I'd feel about a week on my feet at that point either), so that's a couple more months we'd have to wait.  If we wanted to aim for a spring-ish due date (April?) that's moving toward a summer conception. 

So, for a few months, we're off the hook completely.  The decision will come after we're past that Disney trip window, when we need to decide if I'll be risking my sanity by being homebound with a baby in the middle of winter.  A lot will depend on what happens in the interim.  Will my cycle regulate itself to the point that making real attempts will be easier?  Will the blood work I need to get done tomorrow give us any insights into why things have been so off?  I think it may be silly to wait lest we still find ourselves in this same position a year from now.  And beyond that, if things still don't work, we'll have to decide how far we're willing to go to have another one.  Risk having twins?  IVF?  Adoption?  Hopefully we never get to that point, but admittedly, it's getting a tiny bit scarier each month. 

It hit me yesterday morning that we're just not getting any younger.  I mean, I understood that I'm currently facing being 34 going on 35 at the youngest.  That's far from old in the childbearing world, but fertility declines considerably around 35, and I'll be five years older than I was the last time I went through the pregnancy/labor process.  It may not seem like a lot, but a lot can change in five years, from the way my body handles pregnancy, to how it tolerates labor and delivery, to how it snaps back (if it does) afterward.  Everything could be totally different next time around, and I wasn't really planning on that when I started looking toward #2.  In addition, Craig turns 40 at the end of this year.  I don't know how sperm quality might be affected by age, but I know he doesn't want to be an old dad, either.  His recent diet and 30 pound weight loss should help a bit, at least, but the more this gets put off, the more this stuff becomes an issue. 

In the meantime, it's a funny place to find ourselves in.  All of the planning we'd been doing, all of the things that were waiting on a new baby, sort of find themselves in no-man's land.  Lately I'd been thinking I should think twice about buying new pants, but now I know I'd get quite a bit of use out of them regardless.  I was thinking about Jacob's big boy bed and bedroom, too.  I mean, we figured it was just a matter of time until he had to move, but now it could be another year and he's getting awfully old to be in a baby room.  I think we've both been looking forward to the day where we can snuggle him in his bed, as book reading and bedtime will take on a whole new joy.  Of course, on the off-chance that we ended up using Clomid and (God forbid) had twins, they'd have to end up in the big room and I'd hate to work hard on a big boy room only to have to deconstruct it again.  And we'd lose our spare room in the meantime, unless we push forward with the plan to get a trundle bed for the office...which could be a waste if none of this pans out.  It's funny knowing that I won't be pregnant this summer after all, and that I might not be pregnant for the Disney trip either if things continue to not go well.  After nine months of planning and mostly blind attempts at getting pregnant, all of a sudden it's just...done.  It's weird.  And yes, sad.

I'm hoping the lack of pressure will be a good thing, and it'll make everything that much more special if/when it finally happens.  It's a lot of time to focus on Jacob and pray hard for a quick and simple resolution once we're ready again.  But right now it's a little bit of a bummer. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reasons Why

The other day I discussed the many thought processes behind my questionable fertility and my reservations about changing up the plan.  Today I'm pondering some of the reasons why God may be making us wait longer than we thought.  Some are shallow and some are serious, but here's what I'm thinking...

- Quality time with Jacob - I know that this time is precious, and I won't even know how precious until we have to split our time between two kids. A baby will limit some of what we can do, so I suppose we should be getting as many experiences out of the way with Jacob now as we can before it goes on hold for a bit. I know I'll someday look back wistfully on this time much as I look back on our life before kids now--incomplete yet blissfully low-key.

- Time to get stuff done - I still haven't gotten the carpet replaced in a couple of our bedrooms and there are plenty of other house projects we could probably take care of now, before we're short on time and shorter on money.  And while we're at it, we should really appreciate our sleep, too.

- Saving our finances - While we could pull off a second kid in daycare, ultimately we'd probably be digging into our savings a bit. As it stands now, we'd only be paying for full double daycare for a short time before Jacob heads off to kindergarten (!). We'd still be paying aftercare, for sure, and maybe before, along with tuition if we decide to go the private Christian school route.  All of that may still be less than we're paying now, but perhaps God is giving our finances a break in the interim, too.

- Setting our kids up for a good relationship - Per my last post, maybe this span will be better than anything else. It's hopefully also giving Jacob time to become the best big brother he can be. The older he is, the more of a help he'll be and hopefully the less his behavior will be a distraction when we have to care for a baby.

- Setting us up for a girl - In all my planning I had a perfect scenario to get pregnant at a similar time of year as last time so I could reuse a good portion of our baby clothes and all of my maternity clothes.  I also really want to have good weather so I'm not cooped up in the house with a newborn.  Now that my schedule has been turned upside-down, either we'll be facing a cold due date or we'll be waiting a very long time.  We'll just have to deal with that either way.  But it would cushion the blow if we had a girl off-season, since I wouldn't need to reuse many clothes anyway. 

- Making us grateful even if it is a boy - After such a long wait, we'll probably be so grateful to have any baby that the gender will be a non-event.  I'll still probably walk through stores staring at the gorgeous little dresses and adorable shoes, and spend my life longing for a shopping buddy and someone to play with my old dolls, but I'll also be so grateful that we could have a second that perhaps it won't matter as much.  I know I will be absolutely in love with any child we have, and when I see the whole brother thing in action, it probably really won't matter.

- Fixing any lingering health problems - Not that I have any, but I have been meaning to change my primary care doctor for a while.  My current doctor seems quite unfazed by my lack of smell and taste, and I feel like a clean slate might be a good thing.  I should get a physical anyway, so a new patient visit seems like a good way to do it.  And between that and the blood work that I'm supposed to get done during my next cycle, if there are any issues preventing me from getting pregnant, hopefully we can find them and fix them...before any treatments could impact a fetus.

- Confirming that two is it - Before this, I figured that if we didn't get a girl this time around and circumstances changed to the point that having a third seemed doable, we'd just have enough time to sneak another one in.  But as each month passes, that window is getting even smaller.  The longer it takes to have another baby, the less time there would be to do it again.  And even if there was time, would we have to go through this all over again?  So, yeah, pretty much this is the sign that this is it.  The world is made for families of four anyway, but I am still intrigued by the dynamics of three kids. 

- Teaching us to stop planning - It's nice to work with a bit of a framework, but let's face it, rigid planning is probably a bad idea.  At least, if you believe in God and believe His plans are far better and far wiser than ours, it's probably a better idea to stay flexible.  The more we plan, the less we lean on Him and allow Him to direct our path.  I'm pretty terrible at that, which is why this process is probably a good thing.  I need to take this time to become a more prayerful person.  Admittedly, that part of my life has suffered since having Jacob, since often at night I am so tired that I only make it partway through my prayers.  Sometimes I carve out moments during the day to try to "catch up", but even then it's far too easy to get distracted.  I really need to use this time to get that back on track and fully trust that God's plan, whatever it is, is better for us than anything we could imagine.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hot Stuff

When Jacob was born with a dimple, I remember a lot of people saying that he'd be a heartbreaker courtesy of that dimple alone.  I've continued to hear it all along for the past three and a half years.  And now, it appears that he's finally got the personality to go along with it.

Right around Christmas, one of Jacob's teachers had a friend come in to help out.  Her name was Emily.  Apparently Jacob and Miss Emily hit it off.  I don't know what the draw was, but he'd wake up from nap and give her hugs and cuddle with her whenever he had the chance.  I never got to see her, and presumably she won't be around a lot, but it was certainly intriguing that he took to her so quickly.

Over the past few months he's talked quite a bit about inviting his teachers over, or going to their houses.  He's talked about going on dates with them.  Jacob told one of his teachers that they should go on a date, and since Catwoman is Batman's girlfriend in the one movie he watches, she could be Catwoman.  When she said that she wished she had a body like Catwoman, Jacob told her that she had  "boobies like Catwoman".  Awesome.  Yesterday he and this teacher went on a "date" that apparently involved a movie (that they shared with the rest of the class), and Jacob was offering to give her smooches during the movie.  And today he said he gave her a rink and they got married.  Where the heck does he get this stuff?!  Pretty sure it's not from us.

For all his bad boy ways that got him into such trouble over the last year or two, he sure seems to have some big fans.  One day one of his current teachers and one of his former teachers were giggling about how they love his laugh and think he is just too cute.  I've heard quite a bit lately about what a good boy he's been lately, and admittedly, it's really nice to hear.  After all, a year ago he was the one inspiring the sticker chart in his old classroom.  I'm not sure what accounts for the difference, but perhaps it's maturity, or perhaps it's less boredom.  Either way, it's a nice change of pace.

I'm not quite sure what this means for the future.  I figured my sports-obsessed boy wouldn't even see girls for at least a good 12 years, but apparently he's jumping ahead to the older women.  I'm sure it means nothing, but I guess it's good to know that we may have a mini-playboy on our hands.  At least I've got a few more years to adjust.
  
While my little boy may have the hots for his teacher, thankfully he no longer has the "hots" in his body.  He seems to be considerably better after his traumatic triple feature of illnesses last week.  Stomach bug, strep throat, and pneumonia...crazy.  He's still getting the nebulizer and still has a few days left of the amoxicillin.  But for the most part the problems are done.  We're still dealing with some residual behavior issues, but who knows if it's still from the prednisone, which is done now, or the culmination of his eased boundaries last week.  I'm relieved the worst is over, but hopefully we'll get back on track behavior-wise soon. 

Ironically, yesterday I got a box in the mail that would have been helpful last week.  I had forgotten that I had signed up a while back to be a mom tester for Parenting, to try out a new product--a digital thermometer.  I really could have used it last week!  The ear thermometer we have just doesn't seem to be consistent.  It's based too much on angle and it's too hard to get right on Jacob, let alone ever using it on myself.  Turns out this new one is pretty good...and we get to keep it for free!  It's a Vicks Behind the Ear thermometer, and it's quick, painless, and easier to position.  I'm so excited about it that I'm talking about it here--and I don't have to...I'm not that popular of a blogger!  And in case you want to get one, you can enter coupon code SHARE20 at checkout via www.behindear.com and www.coldandflushop.com.  Seemed like a waste not to share the code, so why not here?

Anyway, I'm happy Jacob is feeling better, and increasingly amused by the silly, enchanting, complex little boy he's becoming. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Waiting

Waiting to get pregnant has been a challenge.  I know that my issues are nothing compared to those who have been through round after round of fertility treatments, month after month of negative tests, and go for years without conceiving a child.  I already have one, after all, and asking for more seems greedy, even if there are perfectly good reasons to want another baby that have nothing to do with me. 

I've been hearing more and more lately about infertility issues--a blogger here, a friend of a friend there, random discussions about late childbearing--and it helps me to know I'm not alone in this.  I'm doing fine overall, but it's still not easy at times to deal with the wrenches that have been thrown in our plans.  The crazy thing is that there's still no official reason to believe there's a problem that can't be easily overcome.  At this point the only confirmed physical problem is a wacky cycle.  It just takes one time to figure it out (or get lucky) and this will all be behind us.  Maybe there are problems beyond that, but we haven't gotten to the point to find that out.  We may get some hints next time through a cycle, but sometimes it's easier not knowing. 

It's been hard hitting certain milestones and not being pregnant when I thought I would be.  Originally I had a plan to have kids three years apart...only when the time came, I didn't feel comfortable about it.  I wasn't thrilled with our financial situation, nor was Jacob's behavior at the time conducive to managing two children, both of whom register high on the needy scale.  Then I figured we'd wait an extra year...only, despite thinking I left enough time to aim for a spring-to-summer due date, things never materialized.  I figured I'd be pregnant by the fall...then by Christmas...and then I figured I'd definitely have a baby sometime in 2012.  But now that the Disney trip is on the radar and a break is in order to avoid missing the trip, now even that seems unlikely. 

Growing up, there were four years between my brother and me.  Gender differences are one thing, but those four years provided a considerable challenge.  We were never in the same "thing" at school.  After four years on the grade school basketball team, he went to high school just as I got old enough to join the cheerleading squad.  He went to college when I went into high school.  And when I finally got to college, he was off to the real world in a job a couple hours away.  I'm sure for most of our childhood I was the pesky sister who ruined his Lego projects, stole the remote control, and consistently got better marks in school. 

Our experiences at each level were significantly different, as well.  He was always into sports...I was content reading, drawing, or playing with dolls.  He was popular in high school...I was just one of the smart kids.  He partied hard in college...I hung out with a group of Christians.  He moved a significant drive away, then across the country...I'm still relatively close to home.  Yes, we're both married and we both have kids, but our lives otherwise are quite different.  We don't communicate as much as we should.  Warm fuzzy moments have always been rare.  It's sad and regrettable, though I'm not sure what the best fix is at this point.  Old habits die hard and you can't necessary create common ground.  I don't really know how things ended up like this, or what could have been done to avoid it.

As a result, I've put a lot of thought into age differences between my own children.  Three years seemed perfect because so many people I knew like that had really good relationships with their siblings.  They were close enough in age to share some school experiences, but far enough apart to stay out of each other's social circle.  When we put off baby #2 for another year, I knew we were facing the same dreaded four year span.  I wondered if same-gender siblings with that gap might be better.  After all, I have cousins with that gap, both girls, and they're now best friends in their 20s.  But now we're looking at five years, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that.  Will that make them even farther apart?  Or will Jacob be old enough to become a protector for a little sister or his brother's biggest fan?  Five is old enough to be an amazing helper, but it's also old enough to be stuck in your ways as an only child.  I suppose a lot of it depends on the kids' personalities and interests, and some of it depends on our influence on them--teaching them to appreciate each other and creating opportunities to bond.  I know my parents had the best of intentions in not taking us on many fancy trips (financial sensibility, taking trips sans kids to reconnect with each other), but maybe if we did we would have created more unique memories to look back on.  Maybe we had it too easy...after all, think of the bonding kids do when faced with adversity like divorce or death of a parent.  I certainly don't hold the vacation thing against my parents, and I'm obviously grateful we never went through negative stuff like that, but I'm just not sure what the missing piece is...and I hope to figure it out by the time we have two. 

It's disappointing and deflating each time a milestone passes by, but let's face it...there isn't much that can be done at this point.  I'm not really keen on taking Clomid because I'm worried about the increased risk of multiples.  I don't know if I could really handle two at a time.  We got lucky last time, I guess.  There are some other steps we need to take first, and hopefully they'll get the job done first.  Or maybe we'll get lucky in the meantime.  It only takes once, after all.  In the meantime, I can only ponder why God has put us in this position, and soon I'll tackle the possible reasons...stay tuned.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Prednisone is Evil

So...things are getting better.  Jacob has a pretty significant course of meds, and so far they seem to be working.  Amoxicillin twice a day for seven more days.  Prednisone twice a day for the next three days, per an extension from Jacob's doctor.  Nebulizer at least three times a day through Friday.  It's a lot, but if it makes him better, it's worth it.  We went to his follow-up appointment yesterday, and his doctor told us that everything she was hearing seemed to be consistent with a viral pneumonia.  The wheezing was mostly gone, but the crackling remained a bit.  She was happy to see his progress, though, and he's pretty much in good shape to get back to normal life.  In theory.

I can tell he's still a little off.  His naps are a little all over the place.  Sometimes they're long, sometimes they're short.  Sometimes he's running around energetically, sometimes he's curled in a ball.  His fever is gone but he's still super congested.  He's getting much better at nose blowing, thank goodness, but he's still having a tough time with a sore nose and nasty cough. 

The biggest side effect at this point is plain ol' crankiness.  I don't think it's just sickness crankiness, though.  I think it's the prednisone.  As you may recall, back in May I was on it for a while to see if it helped my missing sense of smell (no luck then or since), and it made me absolutely nuts.  I was so cranky, so miserable, to the point of wanting to crawl out of my skin.  If it did that to me, I can only imagine what it's doing to Jacob.  And to that point, maybe it's just me, but he seems a little crazy at times.  He whines about the most mundane things, and freaks out about the most routine requests.  When it's time to get ready to eat or ready for bed, it's a full body tantrum.  He screams bloody murder about nothing.  He whines about something as simple as getting a tissue.  It's pretty grating and I'm hoping it's just the medication causing it.

The nagging thing that keeps crossing my mind is that this illness is going to blow all of our hard work.  All of the limits we've set down are pushed when Jacob is sick.  We're lenient about his appetite, his sleeping, and his behavior in general.  We know he's not feeling well, we know he's not in control of his body, and in this case especially, I'm pretty sure the prednisone is making him a little wackier than usual.  We give him the benefit of the doubt and try to pick our battles.  But with an illness this long and this serious, it puts us in a precarious position.  After so many days of relaxed rules, it's hard to get Jacob back in the groove.  He was freaking out last night at the prospect of sleeping alone in his room after two nights in our spare room with both of us keeping an eye and ear on him.  He had a meltdown about taking a bath tonight.  He says he has a stomachache when it's time to eat.  He curls up on the couch when it's time for a nebulizer.  He stiffens up when it's time to brush his teeth or move on from his current preferred activity.  It's been a challenge taking into consideration that he still may not be feeling well (or may be a little out of control, for reasons beyond his control) while still trying to stick to the rules.  Last night I did manage to coax him into his bed, probably by sheer luck, but perhaps by getting him back into the bedtime routine.  Once we got through books, he was down easy.  But I worry about the long term effects of this long week off our schedule.  Will he stop whining about everything?  Will he panic when we go back to daycare on Monday? 

On the bright side, potty training is still on track.  In fact, the last two mornings he's woken up dry, which almost never happens.  The downside of that is that he's been up late both nights having to pee.  So apparently he gets it out of the way by midnight and doesn't have to go after that.  Oddly, we've always been pretty strict about drinks after dinner, yet he still wakes up wet every morning...until now.  Oh, and that no drinks rule has been relaxed this week because we wanted to make sure he was hydrated and comfortable since he's doing a lot of mouth breathing right now.  At least the fact that he's waking up indicates that he's starting to recognize those urges even at night!

I'm very relieved, however, that Jacob seems to be doing well.  It sounds like the cough is still a bit away from being gone, but that's no surprise given his history.  We still have a long road ahead, as well, as treatment isn't ending anytime soon...so while it's hard to keep expectations in check, we'll have to do just that.  But looking back on the events of Wednesday night, I feel so grateful for a healthy-ish little boy.  It's all I can ask for at this point.  Anything more seems greedy.  But good thing for us that God often leaves cups running over.   

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Scared

I wrote the following post last night:

There's nothing quite as scary as knowing something is wrong with your child, but not knowing what it is.  As I've mentioned, Jacob seemed to have a stomach bug Monday morning, and has been fighting a fever since Sunday.  Fevers seem to go hand-in-hand with viruses that cause stomach bugs, so I can't say I was surprised that the fever was sticking around.  Often I hear about people who talk about their kids being out of commission for a week, and I think, "Man, how do you get through a week with a sick kid and two working parents?"  Well, we're inching ever closer to that week mark, and per yesterday's post, it's been tough.  I worked all day today while Craig stayed home, and I managed to get some good work done.  However, tomorrow could be another tough day.  I'm hoping for half days for both of us at worst, but I know Craig is really feeling the pinch with the Knighthawks' first game coming up on Saturday. 

Anyway, when I called daycare today the director told me that one of the kids in Jacob's class hadn't been in all week, and his turned out to be a surprise case of strep.  If there's one thing I've learned from life at daycare, it's that strep comes in many forms.  In adults it's a sore throat, but in kids, you'd often never know they have it.  Last year Jacob's only symptom was a rash around his mouth.  Another kid at daycare recently had pinkeye, but their strep test came back positive.  Rarely do they complain about sore throats.  Apparently a stomachache is a symptom, which a co-worker of mine validated.  Jacob's been complaining randomly of stomach pains all week, and while part of us thought it might be an escape route, it did seem a little oddly timed sometimes to be faked.  Yet it came and went so quickly that we just couldn't be sure.   

I had already planned on calling the doctor today, but my chat with the director solidified it.  Not to mention that Jacob's nose seemed to be running worse than usual and his cough had picked up.  While I know he's been vaccinated and the odds of this are slim, I thought his cough sounded strangely similar to this commercial about whooping cough I heard the other day.  I don't really think he has whooping cough but as I type this I'm a bundle of nerves because something IS wrong with my baby and I don't know what.

Craig took him to his appointment two hours ago and they're still not home.  In fact, the doctor's office is closing right now and yet I haven't heard anything solid.  Craig has snuck on Facebook a couple of times, but all I know is that his breathing was too low and they were trying to get it up.  I sent him a message (that I'm not sure he's gotten yet) reminding him that we have a nebulizer at home in case we need it.  But even still...not knowing what is wrong with my little boy is making me a little crazy.  And sad.  And guilty for not getting him in there sooner. 

I don't think I've been this freaked out about Jacob's health in at least three years.  Three years ago we were going through the many tests to find out why Jacob was still coughing months after an initial bout with RSV.  We did breathing treatments, horrible tests in the hospital, and in the end it was determined to be caused by reflux, which he's still on medicine for today.  We got the ok to take him off of it, but he has been just sick enough to keep him on it.

~~~~~~~~

And that's where I cut off.  I'm sure I had more to say, but by that point I was starting to lose my mind with worry.  I did find a text message from Craig from earlier, but all it really told me was that he had strep and he was having breathing problems.  They couldn't get his oxygen level up to the target 95%, and we were thisclose to having to go to the emergency room.  In the end we filled three prescriptions: amoxicillin for the strep, prednisone (a steroid), and albuterol, to use in our nebulizer.  We've giving him treatments every four hours, around the clock, for two days.  Then it's four times a day for two days and three times a day for five days.  Hopefully by then he'll be back to normal.  He seemed considerably better today with just the first few doses of everything under his belt.

roadtrip and wouldn't answer his phone.  It was literally painful and beyond agonizing. 

Eventually I couldn't just sit around, so I headed out to see if they were still at the doctor's office.  They weren't when I got there, but I didn't miss them by much.  At that point Craig finally called and they were on their way to Wegmans to fill the prescriptions.  I met up with them there, we waited until the pharmacy closed, then came home to finally eat some dinner (around 11pm!), do another breathing treatment, and get Jacob in bed.  It was a late night, with a 3am wakeup for another treatment, and an early morning.  Craig got up extra early to go into work early and I let Jacob sleep until 8am before getting us up for yet another treatment.  We switched off home duties at lunch.

My parents are coming tomorrow because Craig's off on a roadtrip and I really can't miss more work.  We have a followup appointment at 8am tomorrow, so I should get some answers then about what caused these problems (the strep, a different infection, bad genes, etc.), and what the implications might be (asthma, future things we have to watch).  It scares me to think what might have happened had this not been caught when it was.  It's been such a crazy week that I can barely begin to wrap my brain around it all.  I'm so relieved that Jacob appears to be doing better.  I'll be even happier when thing whiny, demanding, shrieky randomness that's overtaken him this week goes away, but for now I'll take better breathing by a long shot.  Still, probably the thing I will most take from this experience is the absolute gut-wrenching pain that I felt when I didn't know what was going on.  Oh, and the thing that really set me off?  When I saw all the comments on Facebook from my friends who were praying for him (per a request in my status)...the mere sight of them almost solidified the fact that something was truly wrong, and I lost it for a few minutes.  The helplessness and worry were overwhelming.  More than any other time in his life--even among the problems he had at birth or the issues he had in his first year--I was so desperately worried about the state of his health.  I hope I never have to feel that way again.  Ever.

Even still, keep us in your prayers.  If there's anything I've learned from parenting, it's that you just never know what's next.  I pray he only continues to improve, but suffice it to say that my confidence is a bit shaken.  My faith, however, is intact, and I'll be holding on to that until further notice... 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Work-Home Balance

I know this post isn't really going to say anything that hasn't been said--either by me on this blog or by dozens of other folks in the blogosphere--but today proved to me, more than ever, that the conflict of the working parent is eternal.  The primary thought that popped into my head, was, simply:

There is no way that a working parent can have true balance.  Each will always suffer at the hand of the other. 

There is no getting around it.  No matter how careful you are, no matter how hard you try, it's going to happen.  Work will suffer because of your home life, and your home life will suffer because of work.  Just by virtue of being at work the home life takes a little hit...I mean, the long-held ideal is to raise your child in your home, so being a working mom means that I'm not getting nearly as much time with Jacob as would be ideal.  I've said before that I wouldn't be a great stay-at-home mom, but if I could have more of a balance--working part-time--I'd feel like I'd be a better person and a better mom.  I'd have more home time which would hopefully mean less stress about getting things done there.  However, working part-time means that I'd get less work done, so maybe my stress would be higher there.  Again, can't win.

I feel like I'm in a tough spot in my job because I'm the only one in my department who has a child.  No matter how everyone might think they understand, I don't think they truly do.  I can't stay late at work, nor is it easy to come in early.  Most of the time I need to leave work in time to get Jacob at daycare by closing time.  I don't want to leave extra early in the morning because that means I need to wake Jacob up extra early so he's ready on time.  I could enlist Craig to get up earlier or pick Jacob up more, but he's got his own commitments and it's not necessarily fair to "punish" either of them because of my issues.  Maybe I need to stand up more, but it's not easy.

This week Jacob has been sick.  This is one of the busiest weeks of Craig's season--the week before the first game of the season.  He had a meeting yesterday and a press conference today.  I had a doctor's appointment first thing yesterday, but came home to take over Jacob's care right after so Craig could make his meeting.  Even though I was planning on coming in later, my boss told me to stay home--probably to make sure I wasn't spreading germs either.  Craig took the morning shift at home today, but I had to take over for the afternoon...which means that in the last two days, I've been in the office for less than four hours.  That, on top of a four-day week last week, and a week off before that, and an inconsistent schedule for a few weeks before that.  I'm way behind on everything, and it's driving me nuts.  Today I wasn't able to get something done that my boss needed, and she sent me a rather unhappy email about it, basically wanting to know why I didn't get it done even though it was communicated to be a high priority.  It's hard to explain why, I suppose, but a couple other projects also noted to be "ASAP" took a while, and then the little things--responding to emails, moving projects forward, etc.--just took long enough that the other thing couldn't get done.  And I simply couldn't stay to do it.  Oh, and my work laptop simply will NOT work at my house. 

I don't think people fully understand how limited your schedule can be once you have a child, and having a spouse with an unconventional schedule isn't easy either.  The road trips start this weekend, so that's even less often that I can alter my schedule.  When you have a child, you can't just do things for yourself.  It's one thing to impact your spouse, a grown adult who could fend for himself if needed.  It's another to mess with the schedule of a child who craves structure and routine, and who only gets a limited amount of time with you as it is.  And when they're sick?  Yeah, all bets are off.  We can't send him to daycare with a fever, let alone as the sad, whimpering boy he's been the last couple days.  Ultimately, we both need to sacrifice, and as it worked out, I've had to do more time-wise this week.  But considering the week it is, Craig's time is probably more valuable.  How can you choose?

Tomorrow I get to work all day, I think.  We're hoping Jacob's fever breaks overnight, though I reluctantly gave him medicine tonight because the fever really seemed to be bugging him.  I wanted to let the fever do its thing, but a good night's sleep and his general comfort seemed more important this time around.  If the fever doesn't break, Craig will be staying home.  Let's hope it doesn't come to that, though.  Even if it does break, I'm not sure his energy level will be quite where it needs to be, but it'll be worth a try.  It has to be.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Well, it WAS a good weekend...

The weekend started out with a gorgeous sunset as seen from my office.  It was breathtaking.  The sky was doing this crazy ripple thing in one spot.  I've seen clouds do this before, but these ripples were so tiny!  It was awesome.  This picture almost looks blurry, but it's not.


And toward the other direction, it was doing this:

And later, this:

Friday night we went out to a local restaurant where the Knighthawks' dance team was doing their official calendar release party.  The girls loved Jacob, and the players that were there couldn't help but laugh at how shy Jacob still is.  He's seen them a bunch, but he still shies away every time.  We had fun, though, and headed home so he could go to bed and I could start packing for our weekend trip to Buffalo. 

Saturday we had hoped to get a quick start, but it just didn't happen (as usual).  We took off after a quick lunch at home, did some quick shopping, and stopped at my parents' for a little bit since it was my dad's birthday.  After dinner, we headed out to a big event: Jacob's first NHL game!  He's been to a preseason game, but this was the first real thing, and it was exciting for all of us.  Not the least of which me, since I hadn't been to a Sabres game in probably five years.  This from a girl who spent a lot of time at Sabres games back in the day.  We had great seats and although Jacob was quiet when we got there, he was definitely taking it all in. 
Pregame photo op with Daddy...the best I could do!

And one with Mommy...again, the best we could do!
 During an intermission, we managed to track down Sabretooth!

And the requisite popcorn shot...
At least the full mouth helped him to stop asking to go out and play hockey...yep, great seats, but he still wanted to go play.
The Sabres lost in overtime, 2-1, which was a bummer even though we were slightly torn.  I mean, obviously we're Sabres folks at heart, but after Craig's job situation, things were tarnished a bit.  Then, of course, there was the matter of our postgame activity.  Two of the Winnipeg Jets used to play for the Amerks, and Craig has kept in contact with one of them.  We set it up to wait for him after the game.  While we were waiting, I snapped this pic of Jacob.  I sorta like it.
Eventually the players came out, and the other former Amerk recognized Craig right away and was happy to see him.  Finally Tanner Glass came out, and man, was he ever a nice guy.  He and Craig caught up, and Jacob (of course) got shy, but when Jacob wouldn't give him five or shake his hand, Tanner told him he would shake it out of him...and he picked him right up!  We got a good laugh out of that, and I think Jacob thought it was pretty cool, too!  He got an autograph on his Amerk puck, and we eventually said our goodbyes and headed out.

On the way out, we snapped this random picture in the old Aud seats outside the Pour Man's Aud Club.  Random, yes...totally us, yep.
We spent the night at Craig's parents', and spent Sunday with his whole family.  Jacob enjoyed discovering some of Craig's old toys in the basement and spent most of the day hiding from Lulu the dog, who still likes to nip.  He had a lot of fun, but he felt a little warm to me and seemed a little off...not wanting to eat, a little sleepy, etc.  He went down pretty good once we got home, but he seemed extra tired.  This morning he woke up extra early, and when I got out of the shower he was in our bed.  I walked into the room, he told me he was sick, and when I asked what was wrong, he promptly threw up in our bed.  Yup.  Awesome.

We got him into the bathroom for the next round, and he freaked out a bit when it was all over.  Luckily he didn't have much in his stomach since he didn't eat much yesterday, but it was still pretty awful to watch.  He threw up once again after a couple sips of water, but that ended up being it for the day.  On the bright side, everything was pretty easily cleaned up, and puking in our bed spared his million stuffed animals.  Best idea ever was to put down an old comforter on the living room floor to keep a comfy safe-zone for him.  He seemed better around lunch time, asking for food and keeping it all down, but he slowly became more lethargic and his fever came back.  He fell asleep out of the blue around 5:30, after a fitful nap full of sleeptalking earlier this afternoon, but still went right down at bedtime.  I always worry a bit about dehydration even though he was peeing normally and crying tears.  He just seemed so miserable at times, whining about random stuff and staring off into space.  He said his belly still hurt, but everything stayed down.  Not sure how things will go tomorrow--or for Craig and me for the rest of the week, both health and work-wise--but at least I got all of my Christmas stuff taken down today.  A little bonus for me, I guess. 

So, it was a good weekend...but today was not the best kind of Monday. Wish us luck...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

From the outside...

A few weeks ago, just before Christmas, one of my best friends from college had a baby.  I posted back in November about my trip downstate for her baby shower, and she ended up having her baby about 10 days early (much like I did!), coincidentally on the same day as my niece's birthday.  It's her first baby, a boy, and I couldn't be happier for her. 

For myself, though...I'm a bit sad.  No, not because I want to have another baby.  I think it's easy to get jealous of acquaintances and feel a little bummed when you see a pregnant woman you don't know, but when it comes to close friends and family?  I think happiness is a far easier emotion to feel.  Maybe if this goes on for many more months I'll feel differently, but when you truly care about people, I think you can't help but feel joy for them when they receive such a precious gift. 

So why am I sad?  Well, it's because we've grown apart.  As I alluded to in my baby shower post, we had sort of fallen out of touch for a while.  I can't blame it all on her, by any means, but I do think that in the nearly five years that have passed since our college trio last had a fun, non-event-based weekend together, I've been the one trying the hardest to get together again.  Then again, I was the one who had a baby first, and the first year or so after Jacob was born was hard--I was nursing, I was tired, I was hesitant to leave him--so for a while there I wasn't trying that hard either.  I'll admit that I was hurt when neither of my two best friends saw me pregnant, but I chalked it up to crazy schedules all around and tried not to let it bother me.  And I think that's part of the reason I was so determined to make it down for the shower--I wanted to make the effort because I knew how crappy it was to not have my friends to share the experience with.

In the interim, I've certainly seen my college roommate more.  A couple concerts, day trips and dinners here and there have solidified the fact that our friendship is still an important element of my existence.  It weathers times of less communication relatively well.  She's also been awesome with Jacob.

I know that my friend who just had the baby has a full plate.  She has a demanding job and a full personal life.  Since meeting her husband she got very involved in his (now their) church, and they're super-involved with the youth group there.  Between that and family commitments, they had things going on nearly every weekend, so it was always tough to find one that worked--let alone one that worked with all three of our schedules.  In addition, I suppose that Facebook makes it easier to not bother with a big email, since you know and share enough random details that it doesn't seem necessary.  It was a gradual change that turned into total lack of communication, and by the time I went to her shower, it didn't exactly feel like I was seeing one of my best friends from college...it was more like hanging out with a good acquaintance.  Catching up on three years of stuff was just...odd.  It was fine but not nearly as comfortable as it was before.  That alone was a bit of a bummer.

In the middle of everything, when I found out she was pregnant via a slightly premature Facebook post by her husband, he ended up de-friending me, and I had no idea why.  I asked while I was there for the shower, and the reasoning had something to do with the fact that he posted that status before she was ready to tell people...even though I had already seen it and commented.  The whole thing was just weird.  Knowing, however, that he posts on Facebook far more than her, I told him that I was going to re-friend him, if only to keep up on baby stuff.  Good thing I did, too, because pretty much the day I did it, he posted a picture of their new little boy about an hour after he was born.   And he's posted pictures nearly every day since. 

The pictures are super cute and I'm so happy for them.  But I can't help but feel a little sad.  I mean, up until a few years ago, or maybe even the last year, I imagined how great it would be when my friends and I were having kids.  I pictured fun visits, holding newborn babies, and even our kids playing together someday when we got together for one event or another.  Considering none of us live close I knew that it wouldn't be a frequent thing, but I still envisioned that we'd have plenty of opportunities to enjoy one anothers' brood over the years.  I fully expected that I would know my best friends' children, and they would know mine.  But so far, that isn't how things are shaping up.  And every time I see that sweet little baby, there's a twinge of sadness knowing that I may never know him like that.  The way things are going, it's pretty apparent that visits would be few and far between at best.  And maybe that should be enough...but I can't help but wish for more.

There's a point in a waning friendship when you wonder if it's worth the work.  You wonder if it's better to cut and run and move on, or push through the frustration and perceived rejection in hopes that things will improve down the road if circumstances change.  While pretending everything's okay doesn't really appeal to me, neither does giving up on a friendship in which much has been invested.  I guess for now I'll continue to enjoy the baby pictures and consider any sadness as further investment in a friendship worth saving.  Love at your own risk...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

News & Notes

- We now have a date for the Disney trip, which means we have a self-imposed deadline for one last try before taking a baby-making break.  Not that we're even trying in the traditional sense...it's all just a shot in the dark at this point.  I haven't seen one positive ovulation test yet.  Not that I've been consistent, but I guess things have been that far off.  On one hand it seems asinine to let a trip get in the way of creating our second child, but then again, there are a lot of people involved in this trip (eight not counting us) and it's a huge thing for Jacob, so I guess we'll target five years apart instead of three (and then four).  I have to do some calculating to see when we can at least try again without risking the trip.  That would mean another trip without rides, but I suppose that's among the best case scenarios here, since it means we'd be on our way to another baby.  It's bothering me a lot but I'm trying not to worry about it, because that will only make things worse.

- Have I mentioned that Jacob is pretty much potty trained?  Day trained, at least.  Of course, posting it here means that he will start peeing his pants right about...now.  I don't know when it happened, but it just did.  He started to be really good about going to the potty without us asking.  He'd had very few accidents at daycare.  And most importantly, the wet spots on his undies became fewer and smaller.  I had long suspected that his bladder just wasn't ready yet, and perhaps now it is.  Or maybe it was his brain all along.  Either way, things appear to have caught up.  He's been dry for naps at home for a while, but night is still going to be a while yet.  Still, this has been awesome and I'm so excited he finally gets it.  It's like having a real big boy.

- This weekend we're taking Jacob to his first Sabres' game.  The Sabres were a huge part of both Craig's and my life growing up (my parents had season tickets, Craig even went to Sabres' hockey school), so it's neat to share that with him.  Amerks' games have been old hat his whole life, but Sabres' games are a whole different ballgame.  He's already been to the arena for a Bandits-Knighthawks game, but it's exciting to take him there for the sport I know best.  It's been far too long since I've been to a game.  Craig's been to a couple here and there through work, but I think it's been five or six years since my last one.  That seems like so long ago, but I think that's the case.  Considering how often I went to games when I was a teenager (thanks to my late Uncle Bink's work connections--it was the best thing ever when my cousin Kim and I could go there by ourselves!  Ironically, she works there now!), it's actually a little sad that it's been this long.  Hopefully it's a good game and Jacob enjoys himself.  We'll see if our connections to players on both teams are able to enhance the experience.  There's a chance...

- This coming weekend marks the official end of the off-season.  The Knighthawks first game, a road game, is the following weekend, and there are games every weekend from then through the end of April with the exception of one weekend.  I know I shouldn't complain because there are about 20 hockey games Craig hasn't had to work this year, but it's never easy when it starts.  Jacob and I do fine, but it's always nice having Craig around.  One of my favorite bloggers writes about her husband's work trips quite a bit, and she's got three kids (including a newborn) so she's got plenty more to complain about.  She always says that the anticipation of the trips is worse than the trips themselves.  I think she's probably busy enough to not wallow in self pity once he leaves, but I can relate to the whole anticipation thing.  Knowing that you're going solo for a few days, you have time to think about all of the things that can go wrong and worry about how you'd manage if they did.  In reality, if something goes wrong, you just deal.  It may not be easy, but you do.  The bright side is that Jacob loves going to games (and so do I), and it provides some extra incentive for my parents to come visit now and then.  We'll miss Craig when he's traveling or working a 14 hour day, though.  Speaking of which, he's probably on his way home from Canada right now after a full work day and a trip north for Knighthawks practice.  Time to get to bed so I can sleep deeply enough to not wake up when he gets home.  I was awake with Jacob at 4:30 this morning (not sure if he really wasn't feeling great or just wanted to play) and I never really went back to sleep after that, so I need to get whatever sleep I can.  Getting back to the grind this week has been tough (though routines have their perks), but thank goodness for a four-day week!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Nothing like the real thing...

If there's one thing that I learned this week, it's the value of doing things the right way...you know, the old fashioned way.  In this era of shortcuts and any attempt to make life easier, it's easy to forget that there's still same value to the way it used to be done. 

Case in point, my kitchen floor.  Friday afternoon while Jacob was napping and Craig was working, I did some housecleaning.  I vacuumed the kitchen floor and brought out the Swiffer Wet Jet to clean up the non-vacuumable messes.  Our kitchen floor is a light gray linoleum that's made to look sort of like stone.  There's a definite texture to it, with small nooks and crannies, and each tile is made to look different.  Over the 20 or so months that we've lived here, I'm ashamed to say I've never gotten on hands and knees to scrub it.  In the five years we lived in our other house, I probably only did it a handful of times there--more often once Jacob was crawling than early on in our time there.  However, that floor got visibly dirty more often because it was where we entered the house.  Salt, mud, and the design of the tiles all made it much easier to see the dirt.  Well, here the kitchen is only used as a kitchen, not a pass-through, and the Swiffer Wet Jet seemed to be doing the job.  The pad was dirty every time I cleaned and the visible spills were cleaned up.  I noticed in some spots the nooks and crannies were a little darker than others, but no matter what I did with the Swiffer, the spots didn't seem to change...and I never got around to trying anything else.  Well, Friday when I was cleaning up a stubborn mark on the floor, I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, and oops...the haze on the floor and the dark spots cleaned right off.  Crap.  Turns out the floor was filthy and every single one of those dark areas cleaned up.  Mom FAIL right there.  So, I put away the Wet Jet, filled a bucket with water and Mr. Clean, and started scrubbing the floor with a good, old-fashioned scrub brush.  I'd scrub the dirt up, use a sponge to soak up the dirty water, and do one last rubdown with a towel to speed drying.  It took a while, but man, was it worth it.  The floor now looks more white than gray, and the dark spots are gone.  And now I know.  I either need to find a new day-to-day cleaning method, or I need to commit to scrubbing it more often.  And it apparently can't be a modern shortcut, because that just didn't cut it.

Same goes for quality time with Jacob.  In this age of countless toys and ever-present technology, nothing really gets the job done quite like sitting down and spending good, quality time with him.  He's a great solo player, and it's easy to just let him go to it.  Interestingly, electronic toys have never really grasped his attention.  It took a long time before he really noticed the TV, and even now that he loves movies, he never really sits and focuses on them for long.  Many of the toys he got for his first birthday and Christmas involved batteries, and only a couple of them were ever really big hits with him.  In fact, I just took most of them down to the basement to make room for his new toys, and I had to take batteries out of most of them.  I think I could count on one hand the toys he plays with now that involve any meaningful battery use.  The toys he loves most are his hockey guys, baseball guys, and most recently his new Batcave and Daddy's old Legos.  Good, old-fashioned action figures and imagination all around.  While it warms my heart to see that, it's still pretty apparent that Jacob thrives off one-on-one attention.  Nothing beats it.  The Play-Doh and coloring book time we spent last week brought out a great side of him, and over the weekend he and Craig had great times in the basement playing with Craig's Legos.  Jacob was such a good boy for all of it.  It might also explain why he's such a good boy when we visit my parents--because with at least three adults around, there's always someone to keep him company.  So while technology and an everlasting supply of toys may help keep him occupied, nothing replaces one-on-one time. 

I'm definitely grateful for modern conveniences and all (hello, I'm blogging for goodness sakes!), and there are plenty of instances where older isn't better.  Cars beat horses and washing machines beat a rock.  But some things just can't be replaced.  Sometimes when things just aren't working like they should, it's probably a good idea to take a step back, think about how it may have been done way back when, and see if any old school methods might work.  I used to bemoan the arrival of the video scoreboard to sporting events, because it seemed like they always lulled the audience into a stupor that they only emerged from when the scoreboard told them to "Make Noise!"  Gone were the days when music or a good PA announcer could pump up the crowd better than anything.  I think many things in life are much the same--we're so tuned into the easy way that it's hard to see past to what might be a better way.  Maybe this is a flawed concept as I can't think of another prime example right now, but it just struck me that sometimes the better way might be easier than it seems.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

And so another year begins...and while it barely seems possible, this is the sixth year in which I will have blog posts!  I started late in 2007, and now here we are in 2012!  Last night Jacob tried to stay up until midnight.  Craig had been telling him they could camp in the basement sometime, and I guess last night was the night.  We hung out in the basement (home of our own personal "Legoland", where the boys have been building quite the little town) and watched a movie.  I spent part of the movie attempting to Skype with both my brother and my parents.  There were some odd issues on both counts, though my brother's iPhone saved the day!  I rejoined the boys in time to catch the end of the movie, but then Jacob had a couple rough spells, and it became apparent by about 11:30 that he was way overtired, so he was in bed by 11:40.  We watched the last few minutes of our movie, then turned the TV to New Year's Rockin' Eve to catch the annual painful countdown from Dick Clark (poor guy).  We watched some of the post-midnight festivities before heading to bed ourselves.  The good news is that Jacob slept until about 9:30 this morning. 

We headed to church to start out the year right, and then came home for a relatively lazy day.  I did do some laundry and some cooking, but other than that...not much.  Jacob was a little on the obnoxious side today--mostly just having some attitude and pushing buttons on purpose--which I'm sure is a direct side effect of the late night, even if he did sleep late enough to compensate.  Being off-schedule definitely has its own issues. 

I'm thanking my lucky stars that I have off tomorrow, if only because it's supposed to snow and I don't really feel like dealing with both a day of work and a snowy commute on the same day, first day back.  Jacob's daycare is closed and I managed to carry over one vacation day to cover it.  That means I'll come back behind after the extra day off, which sort of stinks, but I don't have the same anxiety about that as I do when thinking about how I'd feel going back tomorrow.  It's been a long break, which has been amazing...10-1/2 days away.  Heavenly.  It'll be hard to go back, but I suppose that I'll be busy enough to distract myself. 

Anyway, a new year is upon us.  I'm not quite sure what to expect this year, but I'm hopeful.  The whole baby-making thing is getting increasingly complicated.  My cycle still isn't on track, and now we have our big Disney trip in the fall, which is freaking me out a bit.  I mean, I totally can't wait to go, mostly because I can't wait to see Jacob's face.  However, there are a couple scenarios in which I may not be able to go at all, which would kill me.  Best case scenario at this point is that I get pregnant very soon and we have a couple-month-old baby by the time we go.  If I don't get pregnant for a while, I could end up doing exactly what I said I never wanted to do again--go to Disney while pregnant.  I don't know how I'll survive walking past all the fun rides again.  But that's still a far better scenario than a) being too pregnant to fly; or b) having a brand new baby and it not being safe or comfortable for either of us to travel and/or spend a week walking around amusement parks.  This is all assuming I get pregnant, of course.  The ever-widening gap between kids is starting to freak me out a bit, and the longer it goes, the harder it might be to even get pregnant.  Fortunately I have an appointment with my doctor next week (scheduled annual visit), so at least I can talk through some of this stuff and get feedback.  They usually don't do much on the infertility front until you've been trying for a year, but considering we can barely try at this point, I don't know what their response will be to that. 

I'll admit that there are times when all of this drives me nuts.  At the same time, there are moments where I have some peace with the whole thing, like it'll happen at some point and God's got better plans than I could ever have.  Deep down I know that, but my own internal planning is hard to ignore sometimes.  Particularly now that the Disney thing is a newly imposed "deadline" of sorts that we need to work around.  I told Craig that if things don't work out in the next couple months, we'll have to take a break to strategically avoid the two scenarios above that would prevent me from going altogether.  It would KILL me to know the boys are there and Jacob's getting his first taste of Disney without me being there to see it.  But this is obviously a very special, very generous gift from Craig's parents, and it's not like we can dictate how it should go or turn it down.  And under all other circumstances, we never would.  It may all be a moot point (let's hope), but it's certainly in the back of my mind for now.