Thursday, December 31, 2009

BIG News

Before you all freak out, don't worry, I am not pregnant. But I did give birth, kinda. Check out my new website:
http://www.momisa4letterword.com/

See you there!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Love in the Time of Foreclosure

We recently moved to the burbs. Placentia, the land of great schools and blue-hairs. It's quiet and safe. I love it here. But how we got here is altogether another story. I haven't blogged about it at all. I think part of it was that I was really overwhelmed about it, and part of it was lack of time.

I am confident that we made the best decision for our growing family--to get out from under a house that was too small and too expensive. So we did a short sale, which finally closed just before Thanksgiving. It was a long, drawn-out process that almost killed us. I am SO GLAD it's over.

I still drive down our old street in Santa Ana twice a day: to pick up and drop off the girls for daycare. The other day, I finally saw the new owner getting into her car (we haven't met.) And all of the sudden I was filled with resentment and rage. Why was she coming out of MY HOUSE?! It was like she was the other woman. Up until this point, I hadn't had much time to think about it. But it felt like pouring lemon juice on a paper cut.

I know that we chose to leave that house. But the timing of it all was less than perfect. Rob had to go look at houses when I was in the hospital with Ellie because we were in escrow on another house that fell through the day before she was born. He would take the video camera, then come back and show me. We made an offer in this house before I ever actually saw it with my own eyes. I spent my 3-month maternity leave packing, moving and unpacking. Did I mention that I was also recovering from a C-section? That time is supposed to be for bonding with your new baby, not moving.

Unlike so many others out there, we landed on our feet. So now we dust ourselves off and move forward. But I think it will take a while for me to be okay with all of this.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Keeping up with the Christmas Cards

There is something about getting photo Christmas cards in the mail always makes me feel like crap. I can't exactly pinpoint why.

I think part of it is that I see our friends (with their children nicely groomed, smiling at the camera) I instantly think, "Yeah, it's so easy for you to juggle with your well-behaved kids that sleep through the night."I know that it is just a moment in their life, that it always isn't always so easy for them. And I know that it isn't a competition, but why does it feel that way?

Seeing these picture-perfect families just makes my own inadequacies feel exposed. I am aware that things aren't always as they seem, and most moms, at some point or another, have felt the way that I do now...which is overworked and underslept. I can't wait for the day that's it's a snap to get the kids all dressed up and nicely groomed--and they'll stay that way long enough to capture the picture-perfect moment on camera.

I can't even get organized enough to send out Ellie's birth announcement, let alone a Christmas card! She is now six months old! Those birth announcements have been sitting in her closet since we moved in August. My plan, for now, is to send her announcement and the Christmas card in the same envelope. Just so you know when you get it, it was a HUGE PAIN IN THE A** to do.

So please frame it and hang it in your house, it may be the last card you ever get from us!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like...

...the terrible twos! At 20 months, Abby is diving head-first into her terrible twos. My wonderful brother and his wife took our Christmas photos this year. I know, it was silly of me to think that we could get ONE SHOT with everyone seated pleasantly and looking into the camera.


Abby was in rare form--refusing to be held, to smile, or wear the CUTE headband her mother got her. Even the holy grail of bribes--fruit snacks--didn't work. The pictures were so bad that I actually considered sending a Christmas card, using the image below with the caption "May the joy and happiness of the Christmas Season be with you all year." I thought it was funny, Rob not so much.
As usual, sweet Ellie was totally agreeable. Here's one that almost made it, of course Ellie looks weird.

This is what we'll probably use. It isn't my favorite, but at least Abby isn't yelling/crying/ noodling.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Calling in sick.

I just wanted to lament for a second, so humor me. I've been sick since Thanksgiving. It was originally strep throat, then it morphed into bronchitis which has now settled into my lungs. I just picture that mucus dude with the Jersey accent, relaxing on his barka lounger in my alveoli. I cough all day and all night. I'm am so OVER it!

Abby and Ellie have some version of this too--stuffy noses and rattly coughs.

Here's what nobody tells you about being a mom: When you are sick, the demands don't change.
You don't get a day or two to hole yourself up in your room and just sleep it off. The baby still gets up at the crack of dawn, there are diapers to be changed and mouths to feed.

And here's the kicker--Rob is sick too. He stayed home yesterday (we both did) and he acted more like a baby than our actual baby. I know this will pass, but life is hard enough without the craziness of a whole family of sickypoos.

In Defense of Poofs and Spray Tans

I can, with certainty, say that nobody will EVER call me a "guidette." If this makes sense to you, then you know that I am talking about MTV's newest show, "Jersey Shore."

Over the last week or so, I've had almost a dozen friends ask me if I've seen it. People that don't even really watch TV! So yesterday, when I was home sick with bronchitis (and the girls were at daycare) I watched the first two episodes on MTV.

Now, I am not saying that this is groundbreaking television. But it's a guilty pleasure. As my friend over at The Television Mom says, it's the perfect hate watch. I found myself longing for the days that what I cared about most was the size of my "poof" or who was going to hook up with "The Situation." The whole time it was on, I was telling myself that I should be sleeping instead. But, alas, I couldn't look away. It was like a car wreck, no wait, a train wreck. And I am ashamed to admit I loved every minute of it!

If you'll excuse me, I should go and get some ham and a bottle of water...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

If it ain't Dutch...

Halloween came and went. It was a fun time, but was a lot of effort for something the kiddos won't even remember. But it's nice to have a photo opp.


My lil' punkin.

We did a little spin around the block--Abby in the wagon, and Ellie in her stroller. We had our entourage in tow: The Grandmas and The Grandpas, and the Aunts and the Uncles. It was a big crowd. But I know we're lucky to be surrounded by family that cares so much.





Someone get me a hankie.


Abby has gone from a smack-the-baby-on-the-head-and-steal-her-binky kind of sister to a very cute and considerate little girl. All of the sudden, SHE wants to give Ellie the bottle. She even stops and dabs Ellie's mouth with a blanket. Yes, she pushes the bottle in too far and makes Ellie gag, but it's still nice of her. It is SO freakin' sweet I can barely stand it. Not that I miss it, but what happened to my little Tasmanian devil???

Here's Abby, who crawled unto Ellie's playmat. Just to be near to her. Seriously.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Abby, Meet Abby.

We stopped by Chris and Masha's on the way home the other night and they took this video while she was still in her car seat. She's waving at the adorable baby she sees on the laptop screen.
video

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

It's not you, it's me.

Dear Blogspot,

I think we need to talk.

It's not you, it's me. You see, I need my space. I need room to spread my wings. Room to express myself.It's been fun, and you've taught me a lot. I will always love you, but I am moving on for good. There is someone else.

Love,
Pam

PS You'll know more soon, I promise.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pammie Sue's No Good Very Bad Day

I've been asked over and over what I did to my finger and how I did it. Now that I've got the hang of 9-fingered typing, I thought I'd share the story.

It was a Friday morning like any other. And I was wrassling up the girls to head out the door. I strapped Ellie into her baby carrier and left it on the couch. I usually put Abby in the car first, then come back in for everything else. So I scoop Abby into my arms and step into the garage.

Side note: At this time, like I do everyday, I am playing "eye of the tiger" in my head and congratulating myself on making it out of the house on time. The morning rat race was just beginning. For God's sake, it was only 7 am and I was dressed for work (with clean hair and make-up on, I might add) and both girls were fed, clothed and clean-diapered. It is a mini morningtime-miracle each and every day.

But I digress. Back to the garage. I walk around the car to put Abby in but for some reason the belts in her car seat were way too tight. How does a kid seemingly grow 45 pounds overnight? Something wasn't adding up, so I put Abby down and adjust the straps. She runs over to Daddy's dirtbikes and wants to sit on them, like when he picks her up and lets her sit on top. She's wailing "Maaa muh!" and reaching up toward the bike. I am frantically adjusting straps. She won't be ignored. "MMMMMMAAAAAAAAAWH MMMUAWH!"

I turn to her, remembering the Happiest Toddler on the Block Method. She's really just a mini caveman, you know?

"Abby, I know you want to sit on the motorcycle and you are VERY mad. But we need to leave so mommy can get to work so you can have a nice place to live, so please come over here so Mommy can put you back in your carseat."

I was so proud of myself, thinking that since I employed said method, she would quietly comply and see my point of view.

Yeah, right. Abby instantly flails herself on the floor and wails. I go over to pick her up, and she noodles onto the floor. A limp and lifeless rag doll. I pick her up and attempt to put her back in the car seat--where she engages the "board method" of resistance. Straightening her body, rendering herself totally unable to be strapped in. So now it's like wrestling a gator.

I get her safely strapped in and she is NOT HAPPY. I make funny faces at her, close the door and hear a crunch. That's weird, I think to myself. I slowly back away. And that's when I notice something tugging on my hand. It doesn't make sense. And then I see it. The door and closed AND SHUT on my right index finger.

I don't know if anything like this has ever happened to you--but it's one of those moments where you just KNOW it's going to hurt. It's like the pain receptors in my brain hadn't yet received the message. The whole thing was slow mo. I gently open the door, with Abby still screaming inside. And that's when the blinding pain set in. I know it's just a finger, but it hurt so freaking bad. My field of vision was closing in when I realized that there was a puddle of blood on the floor. Pulsating out of my finger.

I ran into the house, past Ellie waiting patiently on the couch. I grabbed a dish towel and fill it with ice. Then I sat down and realized that I really was going to pass out. It's only now I notice that my nail is crushed, split open and bleeding. I considered running to our neighbors' house, but we're still new to the area and I wasn't sure what I'd even say. I imagine myself passed out on their doorstep and the kids here totally alone. I grabbed the phone and called my mom to come save me. Thankfully, it was a Friday and she could come, but she lives at least 15 minutes away--and that's with no traffic.

As I sat and waited, I realized that I was fading and fast. I can't call 911, I think to myself, I'll end up having to pay for the ambulance bill and be laughed outta town by the dispatcher. As least I know that both kids were safely strapped into carseats for now. So I do the following: open the front door a crack, then lay across it on the cold hard tile. I guess I figured that when I passed out, at least the rescue crew (that I hadn't called) could get in a save my kids. I dunno. Panic makes you do weird things. Motherhood makes you do weird things.

I lay on the tile for a while and do some sort of makeshift lamaze breathing. I never even used it when I delivered my girls, but I was desperate.

Thankfully, my superhero mom came to the rescue. And I never ended up really passing out. Things just got REAL fuzzy there for a while. It turned out to be a hairline fracture--so I am in a splint for the next few weeks and learning to adapt quickly. It still throbs, though and that seems to be the most painful part. That, and when Ellie latches into it and squeezes.

Needless to say, I marched over and introduced myself to the neighbors that night.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

That's My Girl

I was just looking through some pictures of Ellie on her "birth day." Don't worry, they aren't all graphic or anything. At least not in the way you'd expect. Upon closer inspection, I realized what she was really doing with her, um, middle finger.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Some People Knit, Some People Golf...

I have an old saying, "Some people knit, some people golf. I judge." It's my hobby of sorts, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Now, I know that some of you out there will be horrified by this. But the truth is, we all do it--whether you admit it or not. I don't think that I am better than anyone else. I am far from perfect, and I think it can be a relief to realize that NOBODY else is either. I don't do it out of malice, it's just a fun distraction to the daily grind.

I thought that it would be fun to do a new feature here about my favorite past time. Don't worry, names will be changed to protect the innocent. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first installment of "Some People Knit, Some People Golf."

This morning, I saw a lady at work wearing a black turtleneck and black faded mom jeans. Not my style, but the judging hadn't started yet. Over the turtleneck, she wore a SPARKLY vest covered with glittery pumpkins. And if that weren't enough, she was wearing light up jack-o-lantern earrings, with their beady little eyes glaring red.

I am all for being festive. But this was way too much. Let's hope that she works in a patient care area and dressed like that to amuse the children. That's about the only justification I can think of. I don't want to upset my teacher friends (and mom) because I am pretty sure that ya'll are the #1 purchaser of festivewear (my made-up word) like this.
What's the worst festivewear you've seen so far this season?

(As you can see, I am getting pretty good at typing sans index finger.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

taking a blogging break.

i am sitting here typing with my left hand and it is freakin hard. i broke my right index finger on friday. hence, no caps or punctuation.

should make for an interesting week caring for the babies and trying to write at work.

wish me luck...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Present for Pam

To be honest, I don't even remember how I found Tabetha. I was doing a little late-night blog surfing and came across her site and fell in love with her pieces. I decided that I'd "commission" a piece for myself in honor of my 30th birthday. I wanted something pretty that could feature my girls, without being too over the top. Plus, Rob kept asking me what I wanted and I had no idea.

Since each piece is custom, I gave her a vague idea of what I like and she did the rest. And when it came yesterday, it was like my birthday and Christmas rolled into one. I had emailed her some photos and she added vintage beads and crystals. And it is seriously amazing.


If you know an expecting or new mom, a grandma, or heck, any woman with a pulse, I promise that she would go gaga for one of these as a Christmas gift. The best part is that it was really inexpensive. I mean, feel-like-you-are-stealing-it-cheap. Since each piece is different, her prices aren't on her site. But if you email her and let her know what you are thinking, she'll give you an estimate. Check our her other stuff at http://www.reminisceheirlooms.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Em-eye-see-kay-ee-why...


Abby wants to wear these ears every day. All the time. At first, it was endearing. As a former slave to Mr. Mouse himself, I thought it was sweet.

I thought, as we packed up one busy morning last week, "what harm can come from her wanting to wear these stupid ears?"

I got pulled over that same morning when I was in the carpool lane. The cop accused me of putting a Mickey Mouse stuffed aninal in the car seat to fool cops. It was just Abby with this hat on.




Friday, October 16, 2009

Sweet as Pie

The Gift of Fear

There are a lot of weirdos in this world, that I know for sure.

Recently, I was approached by a very obviously mentally ill man in a dark parking lot. He was homeless, or at least looked that way and stank of urine. It was as I was leaving the grocery store. I just had Abby with me and she was still in the cart as I unloaded into the trunk.

He asked me for cash, and as he stood there, he was rambling incoherently to himself. I wasn't mean to him--the truth really was that I had no cash. But I certainly tried to put out that polite, but you-don't-want-to-mess-with-me-or-my-kid-vibe. I guess I went into "momma bear" mode.

I never looked back to see what Abby was doing while all of this was happening. Then I hear her scream "DAAAAA-DAAAAAAH" and when I turned around there she was, smiling as brightly as I've ever seen and waving frantically to this man. You see, Abby calls pretty much all men (including Rob) daaa daaah.

He didn't wave to her, or even smile back. He really didn't seem to know what was going on at all. He just stood there and stared. He ended up leaving after I gave him a bag of tortilla chips from my grocery bag and asked him leave us alone. And he went on his way, uneventfully. But it got me thinking. I know she's little, but she seemed to not pick up on my stress or the man that was CLEARLY not interested in playing her game.

I am not a scaredy cat, it just seems that lately, I've grown to be more and more paranoid about stuff. I guess it's all the media surrounding Jaycee Dugard. It also didn't help that, while I was up in the middle of the night with Ellie, I watched the Oprah from this week that featured all the missing children.

I know that my kids are probably way too young to learn about "stranger danger." I want her to still be her outgoing little self, without being so paranoid about strangers that she lives in a constant state of fear. How do we teach our kids to be safe, without being scared? Please weigh in on this issue, whether you have kids or not. Any advice?

On a side note, I read a great book a few years ago about trusting your instincts. It's called The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker. It's where I learned that sometimes, in the name of safety, it's okay to be direct and ask someone to leave. He stresses that it's always a good idea to trust your instincts. They are there to protect you. He's written another book about keeping kids safe, so maybe I'll read it and do another book review...

Monday, October 12, 2009

My first book review: The Second Nine Months


I love to read. Although back-to-back babies have somewhat hindered my ability to devour books like I used to, I still like to squeeze in at least a little reading at the end of a long day. If for no other reason than it forces me to sit still. I'd like to be more regular about doing book reviews, since I think it could be helpful to others out there. Especially for busy moms, life is too short to read bad books. So I'll only review books that I would recommend.

My inaugural review is of The Second Nine Months, by Vicki Glembocki . I was given this book by a friend after Abby was born. To be honest, my first thought was "yeah right, when the $%# am I ever going to be able to read this book with this screaming baby hollering all the time???"

But one night during one of Abby's mini-naps, I started to read. It's a hilarious and candid portrayal of what happens after the baby is born. Page after page, I found myself laughing (out loud). I could totally relate to what she was saying. Besides striking coincidences, like our daughters sharing a birthday and both having AWFUL colic, I felt as though I could have written many of those chapters word-for-word. She had let me into her private quarters.

I saw the all-too-familiar strain that the new baby put on her marriage. I saw my own self-doubt as a mother in her tales. I really related to her loneliness and feelings of intimidation and fear of joining mother's groups. She writes about stuff that, as a new mom, I felt that I wasn't even supposed to think about, let alone put on paper. It was like she was brave enough to admit the thoughts that I has been avoiding--the good, bad AND ugly, from a close friend. And in the end, the takeaway is that you don't have to be perfect to be a good mom.

I read it again recently and found it just as funny and relevant the second time around. It helped me to see that I wasn't alone, and that it was okay that things weren't perfect all the time.

Now, I need to come up with some sort of rating system. Any ideas? Stars are overused. Maybe vodka/soda-filled sippy cups?

In any case, this book was good enough to make me keep reading, even through the bleary-eyed exhaustion of new motherhood.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And you are...?

I am in the midst of an existential crisis. You see, the last couple of years have been a whirlwind. I am an otherwise totally independent go-getter, who's all the sudden sidelined with exhaustion and memory loss. Now I can't remember what happened 5 minutes ago, let alone what I liked and what I wanted before I was a mom.

This past weekend, my sister took me for a spa-day getaway to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Nobody has EVER done anything like this for me. It was an all-expenses-paid-baby-free day. (Thanks, Brashear Family, for pitching in and making this day possible). She even took me to a fancy-pants dinner afterward. And therein lies the problem--when it came time to decide where to eat and what to do, I was at a loss. I couldn't even think of restaurants I liked or places I had been before I had the girls.

I came to the realization that every decision I make now has a kid-based factor. Is it family friendly? Is there enough parking? Will the double stroller fit through the door? Is it a loud enough place that if Abby screams and Ellie cries, will it ruin everyone else's meal? Do they have slings for the baby seat?

And now, for the second time this week, I am being asked what I want and I don't know. I am turning 30 on Thursday, and my hubby and family wants to take me out to dinner. What do I want and where should we go? The truth is, I'd be happy with a stiff drink and a long nap. Is there a restaurant for that?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Abby's Big Bear Boat Ride

Between the packing, moving and baby-having, it was hard to find time to post these pictures of Abby from the "River Queen" boat ride that took when we were in Big Bear in July. I know it was so three-months-ago, but I wanted to make sure that there were some recent photos of Abby somewhere on this blog. It's amazing how much she's grown since these were taken. That child grows like a weed!















Friday, October 2, 2009

Working Moms & Cuddle Time: What I've Always Known

I am "borrowing" a post from my new favorite blog: The Motherlode on nytimes.com. It's a hip, funny and upbeat blog for working moms and stay-at-homers alike. It's a nice mix of mommy-related news items and guest posters.

I read this post by Lisa Belkin, and was thrilled. Especially since I carry around a suitcase-worth of guilt about having to work full time. I'd like to know what readers out in blogdom think, so leave me a comment and let me know where you stand on the working mom vs. stay-at-home arguement.

And when you're done here, surf on over to the Motherlode. I'm sure you'll love it as much as I do.

Working Moms and Cuddle Time
By Lisa Belkin

There are endless ways of trying to measure the immeasurable, and researchers in Australia are now counting cuddles. Their conclusions: the babies of mothers who work outside the home get just as many as those of mothers who stay home — an average of 138 minutes a day.

Not only was cuddling-time equivalent, the report last month by the Australian Institute of Family Studies concludes, but so was the amount of time that babies were held, read to and talked to during the day.

The data was taken from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, a time-use diary kept by the parents of 3,000 babies between the ages of three months and 14 months. Counting snuggly moments, the researchers found that the cuddle equivalence was partly because working mothers who spent much of the weekday away from their infants became efficient about creating time together when they were home, and also because fathers were stepping up to prevent a gap.

“When mothers work full time, they spend 83 minutes less per day with their child compared to a stay-at-home mother, but the child spends an average of 81 minutes more a day with their father,” the report’s co-author, Jennifer Baxter, told the Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

Other data from the study:
Breast-fed babies got an additional hour of one-on-one time with Mom each day, compared with bottle-fed babies. They were also read to, talked to and sung to more — about 27 minutes extra per day, and “held, cuddled, comforted and soothed” for 32 minutes more per day, though one would think that most of that overlapped the time spent breast feeding.

On the other hand, breast-fed babies slept 40 minutes per day less than bottle-fed babies and spent five minutes more per day crying than bottle-fed babies.
Mothers who are college graduates spend 22 minutes more per day reading to their babies.

Start that clock, and commence cuddling.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Magic.


Rob has been REALLY sick--and therefore quarantined to our bedroom and not allowed near the kiddos. After work, I have been heading to my folks' so we have somewhere to hang that isn't totally germ infected.

Last night, we got home past Abby's bed time and I ran the girls into the house. I put Ellie in her crib (wide awake and kicking) and turned on this little musical/light show thingy she's got in there. I just needed a few minutes to get Abby changed and in bed, and to throw on my jammies. I figured she could self-entertain for a few minutes, then I could give her my full attention.

So I go back into Ellie's room after about 15 minutes, and my heart stopped. Not only had the music and lights show stopped, it was totally silent. I was worried that something had happened to her, that I had left her alone for too long. When I peered over the edge of the crib, there she was. Fast asleep and sweet as can be. I hadn't even changed her diaper and she was wearing a stinks-like-spitup onsie!

And here's the kicker--she slept all night! It wasn't until 5 a.m. that she woke up! It's like she decided it was time to be a big girl. I have been rocking her to sleep the way I did with Abby (who had awful screaming colic) and it never even occurred to me to put her down to sleep on her own.

For all you sleep deprived mommas out there, you know where I am coming from. It was a baby miracle. So let's cross our fingers her new sleeping habits are here to stay!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Things I Never Want to Forget

Ask any mom and she'll tell you memory is fleeting. I've seen this featured on other mommy blogs and I thought I'd give it a whirl. So here goes, my first edition of "Things I Don't Ever Want to Forget."
1. The first time I heard Ellie REALLY laugh. My mom and I were on a road trip back from a wedding in Lake Tahoe, and we were pulled over and Ellie was on my lap. Mom was recanting a hilarious (and somewhat inappropriate) story about a massage chair at a nail salon. We were both laughing so hard--and I guess Ellie felt left out. So she starting cracking up with her husky little laugh.
2. Abby tried to soothe Ellie by putting her binkie in her mouth. It was way too big and Ellie gagged, but it was a VERY sweet moment.
3. We first walked Abby through our new house after the carpet was in and the paint was fresh. She went from room to room, letting out HUGE gasps and squeals of delight. Each room, and each now color was a total amazement to her. Made all that hard work seem totally worth it.
4. The way that sometimes just before bed, when she's getting drowsy, Abby will climb up on the couch with me and want to snuggle. It's a rare treat for me and I love every minute of it.
5. Abby will brush my hair and try to style it for me if I sit on the floor with her. Our new favorite game: Sleeping Beauty. Mommy lays on the floor and pretends to sleep and Abby styles my hair. She has fun AND I relax.
6. The way Abby loves to dance--with her arms waving high with reckless abandon like she's at a Greek wedding.
7. Ellie still wakes up in the middle of the night for a bottle. Usually after that, I hold her and rock her until she falls asleep. She opens and closes her little fist against my chest. Just like a little kitten, it seems to help her fall asleep. And when it stops, I know that she's fast asleep. She breathes like a little puppy just after she's fallen asleep in my arms. Her skin gets all damp and her breathing speeds up just a bit. It's those dark and quiet hours of the wee morning that have become a really special time for Ellie and me.
8. When I go to pick her up after a long day at work, I always see Abby with her little nose squished totally flat (or shoved up like a piggy) against the window near the door. I am so lucky to have such a great friend to watch both girls. They are so happy there!
9. Last, but not least, what an amazing mom I have. Without my mom to help me over the past 18 months, I would go crazy. Seriously, I be blogging from a room with padded walls. She's available to help me anytime I need it--and she'll drop whatever else she has going on to be with me and her granddaughters. I love her so much and I know that I can lean on her when things get tough. I am acutely aware that when I am old and gray, these are the times I will look back on with fondness.

I'm sure that I'll have many more memories to add to this list (and some pictures too) but that's it for now...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Announcements, Announcements, Uh-now-wownce-ments

Gotta love the way Girl Scouts burned that song into my brain. Anyway, I ordered some pretty dang cute announcements for Ellie today from Shutterfly and I am very excited. I know she's two months old already but things have been busy so LAY OFF ME.


Sorry, sometimes I get a little cranky. Even in blogdom.

My brother Chris took some adorable photos of Ellie for the announcements. Please to enjoy:
This picture so clearly captures the difference between Ellie and Abby as newborns. Abby never slept, let alone take a mini nap in a basket! I love it that Ellie is such a sleepy little snuggle pup.



Here's one of Abby that I thought I'd post for good measure. She had the Bonanza DVD Collection box on her head. Before you judge me, I have to mention that it belonged to my folks. So judge away.

To learn more about Chris and his bid-ness, visit http://www.christopherwrenphoto.com/

Friday, July 17, 2009

And Then There Were Four


I know this is LONG overdue, but my hands are FULL! On June 9, 2009, Ellie Marie De Jong joined our family! She weighed 8 lbs, 5 oz. She is a happy and healthy little girl. Abby loves her new lil' sissy and once we taught her to hug, not hit, it's been pretty smooth sailing.

We are hanging in there, sorta by the skin of our teeth. But I promise to post more when I have more time (whenever that is.)

Here are some pics from the big day:




Sunday, April 26, 2009

Playing Catch Up

Don’t worry, I’m not dead. I think once you get to the bottom of this post, you’ll understand why I’ve been MIA in blogdom. Here are the brief highlights of the last two weeks:

I had an emergency root canal. I chipped my tooth (in the back) a month or two ago and I guess it got infected. As I was leaving the dentist office with numbface, I got the call from the nurse at my OB’s office. I failed the glucose screening test and had to do the three-hour comprehensive exam.

The next day, still suffering from now painface, I started having contractions at work. I tired to stay calm, but after about an hour I decided I should do something about it. After a quick trip to the fetal monitoring center (which is conveniently across the street from my office) I learned I WAS having real contractions, and not the fakey Braxton-Hicks. But I wasn’t dilating and the contractions weren’t steady or regular. My OB wanted to pull me out of work at that moment, but I begged him to give me until the end of the week to wrap some stuff up at work. Luckily, he wasn’t suggesting full-on bedrest like last time, I just have to find time to “take it easy.” Yeah right, anyone with kids knows that chasing a one-year-old around is anything but relaxing.

The next morning, I had the three-hour glucose screen, where I learned that I had gestational diabetes. Yikes!

I met with a nutritionist that week that walked me through the process of taking my blood 4-5 times a day, and starting a super strict diet. I was trying to stay positive and be diligent, with the faint hope that I wouldn’t need insulin shots.

I was wrong, and last week I started my insulin shots. This may sound lame, but this is probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I hate needles. And I’m used to being a human pin cushion, given what I’ve been through the last couple of years. But it’s a whole different ballgame when I actually take the needle (which just looking at it makes me wanna hurl) and mix the insulin, draw the solution into the syringe, and stick it into my baby-filled abdomen. It’s enough to push me over the edge. Right now, I am doing the shots twice a day, and using the lancets to prick my fingers throughout the day. I just tell myself as I wince as stick the needle in that I am doing for the baby. It’s really amazing how much I am willing to endure when I know that it’s for my lil’ baby in there.

But my numbers still aren’t that great, so I have a feeling that after my doctor visit tomorrow, I will either have to increase the dose each time or add more shots throughout the day. I am praying for the former…

I ended up wrapping up as much as I could at work, and signing off until baby #2 is here. I’ve got about another 4 weeks until the scheduled c-section. Hopefully, the diabetes thing will vanish right after the baby is born. I just keep focused on that—I can do anything for four weeks, right?

Between the weekly OB visits, the thrice-weekly, two-hour visits to the fetal monitoring center, the dietician/endocrinology visits and the all-day management of diet, shots and blood-drawing, I am going to be busy. I need to remember that the point of the not working thing is to RELAX. But that’s so much easier said than done. Even though we can’t really afford it, we’re still going to send Abby to daycare during the week so I really can try to get a little R&R.

Just typing the recap is exhausting. I’ll upload some new pics of Abby as soon as I get a minute. For now, there’s a blood glucose meter calling my name…

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Here We Go Again!

On Tuesday night when Abby wanted to sit on my lap (or what's left of it) and snuggle I was immediately suspicious. The only time she is ever affectionate or wants to be held is when she is sick. I knew she was getting yet another bladder infection--even though she just finished her last round of antibiotics last week. She had a low-grade fever but I knew it wasn't just teething again.

Thankfully, yesterday, Granny Nanny came down and was able to take her to the pediatrician for me. I had an emergency root canal on Tuesday morning and with all the other craziness lately, I really couldn't miss any more work.

I felt so guilty that I couldn't take her myself. But I have to admit that I was a tiny bit relieved not to have to endure her getting a catheter again. I know, it sounds so selfish but it's really torturous for me too. The results showed yet another infection! I called the specialist we're waiting to see and am got us bumped up to "overbook," meaning that they are going to make us an appointment but we may have a long wait once we are there.

I hate watching her in pain, and fighting this all the time. Any adult that has had a bladder or kidney infection knows how awful it can be. Awful isn't even the right word.

No kid is meant to be on antibiotics all the time. It upsets her tummy, and has created a twice daily "battle of the wills" between Abby and me when we have to PIN HER DOWN and shove the medicine down her throat. She won't even let me put her on the changing table without whimpering, even though most of the time it's to change a diaper. She now associates it with medication. As weird as it sounds, she's always LOVED having her diaper changed.

I want to waive my magic wand and fix her. It is breaking my heart. But since I can't I am putting out an APB prayer request: we need an appointment with the specialist SOON. Please pray that this is the last infection that she gets between now and that time. Please pray that the doc can think clearly and give us a diagnosis that is fixable and that he's able to give us some answers. Thanks for all of your love and support. I just want my happy little girl back!

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Big C


After a little bit of back and forth with my OB, I have decided to go with a scheduled C-section for punkypoo #2 (who until now, hasn't received more than the occasional shout-out on this blog.)*

I was debating the "other" way for a while, but I am TERRIFIED of a repeat of Abby's induced birth. Let's recap:
-12 hours of labor
-a half-working epidural
-all 10.5 pounds of her that wouldn't squeeze into the birth canal
-the emergency c-section after they lost her heartbeat
-an awful recovery exaggerated by a long and fruitless labor

I know that there is a lot of controversy around this topic, but I truly believe that women's lib should really be a woman having all the information available, then making the decision that's best for her.

And after my futile attempts to breast feed Abby, I have also given myself permission to let this one go too if it doesn't work. I am not prepared for the blood and scabs and if it doesn't work for us, that's okay. I am just going to try my hardest, but not punish myself if it doesn't work out.

So there. As Charlotte says, "I choose my choice."

*I'm sure as it all gets closer, there will be more posts and mentions of the impending little one!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A little too close to home...

I am a BIG fan of grammar blogs. And while I probably run across enough material to start my own, I just don't have the time. But once in a while, a heinous error hits a little too close to home. My thoughtful husband sent me flowers at work for our anniversary earlier this month. He called 1-800-flowers and placed an order over the phone. When asked what he'd like the card to read, he dictated his sentiment over the phone.



But when the BEAUTIFUL flowers got to my desk, this is what the card said:



I wonder what the customer service rep thought "muchrob" was...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

So I'm Not Crazy: Sickypoo Part Two

The pediatrician just called and it turns out lil' Abby DOES have a kidney infection. I guess they sent the cath culture to the lab and it came back positive for a type of bacteria that their office screening kit doesn't pick up.

And in a weird way, it makes me feel better to know that there is really something wrong and that she's not just teething with 103 degree fever every night. Now they are referring us to a fantastic urologist--he's one of ours at CHOC. And I know we're in good hands--he's the guy that wrote the books about pediatric urology that our residents (and others across the globe) study.
Even though her other studies came back fine a few months ago, she's worried that there might be another underlying cause that might be causing these recurrent infections.

Not to play the Monday morning (or Wednesday afternoon) quarterback, but I KNEW there was something wrong. I know it's lame to invoke mother's intuition here, but I would have bet a million bucks that it wasn't just teething. And it feels extra defeating to have a doc tell you that everything is fine with your baby when you know in your heart it's not. I hear it all the time at work--stories of moms who had to fight tooth and nail to get their kid's doc to believe that there really was something wrong, only to find out later that it is something serious that was overlooked or misdiagnosed by the primary care doc. But then again, I only hear the horror stories of the kids that end up in the hospital, so I have to try and keep it in perspective.

This is going to sound so selfish: I am so incredibly tired of her being sick. I'm sure she is too! So bottoms up to yet ANOTHER round of antibiotics.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Little Sickypoo Abbygoo



Abby got a high fever AGAIN yesterday, so I called my folks (since it was an early evening appointment and Rob was stuck at work) and begged them to come with me to take her to the pediatrician. Because she has a history of rip-roaring kidney infections, they usually end up doing a catheter to get a urine sample, since she can't exactly pee in a cup.

I know it isn't a picnic for her, but it is REALLY hard on me too. My job as the "momma" is to simultaneously help the nurses pin her down and try to soothe her. Meanwhile, she is fighting against us, crying and looking deep in my eyes as if to say "Why have you BETRAYED me!!???"

(Grandpa and Abby waiting for the doc to come in.)
I think it's the one-two punch of seeing my lil' baby in so much pain, and the pregnancy hormones racing through my veins. It usually results in both of us crying. It's a pretty sad sight. So my dad agreed to go in with me for emotional support. But when the nurse came to take us to the procedure room, she said that there was only room for one adult. WHAT?!

So my emotional safety net (dad) stayed back and Abby and I went in. I know, I'm trying to kick the bottle habit, but it seemed to help.After all that, it turns out that she doesn't have a kidney infection. Which is a blessing. But with an unexplained high fever, we're just going to "wait and see."

But that might help explain some of her crazy middle-of-the-night antics as of late. We were up again all night last night. But for now, she's conked out. So now I ask, why am I still up typing when I should be sleeping? Just a few more misc photos and I really am off to bed.

Uncle Miles came over for lunch on Sunday. Abby just loves him:) He's so good with kids.




We went to the park around the corner a couple of weekends ago and tried out the swings. It seemed very unsafe so we made sure Granny or Grandpat were within arm's reach. Here she is with her lil' push/ride along toy. She is her father's daughter.

She really likes to find odd places to have a bottle. Exhibit A.

Monday, March 23, 2009

No Wonder Sleep Depravation is Used As a Form of Wartime Torture

Let's face it. Things around here are busy and getting busier. We've had an incredibly busy and hectic month, with lots of ups and downs. I'm not going to lie--I'll be happy to see the month end next week.

Abby is finally teething, which makes me happy (READ: glad that she isn't teething in 11 weeks when we also have a screaming newborn). But I am in a sort of downward spiral. She has stopped sleeping for longer than a two-hour spurt at night. And she doesn't just wake up with a whimper. It's a full-fledged, teary howl that is enough to push even the most sane (which I don't claim to be) mom over the edge. Poor Abby, she's got five teeth coming in all at the same time. I'd be fussy, too.

It isn't like I can look forward and say "at least in June I'll be able to sleep." I am thinking a little more long term, like "when the girls are in college and don't live here anymore, I'll be able to sleep."

But just because she screams and keeps me up all night, it doesn't mean that I get to skip work the next day. Professional Pam is supposed to show up looking put together. In clean, pressed business clothes, and shoes that aren't Uggs or Old Navy flip flops. As my belly grows, it's getting harder to fit into anything that looks presentable, or shoes that fit. And the WORST part is that I have a job that requires focus and brainpower. So the whole half-asleep thing doesn't really fly. But I make it work because I have to--even though by the time Friday night comes, I find myself literally thanking God that I didn't keel over that week.

A dear friend here at CHOC (who shall remain nameless) told me once that she had a plan to shut her office door and take a nap under her desk, a la George Costanza. She would take a handful of paperclips with her so that if someone came in or knocked, she could simply explain that she had dropped the paperclips under her desk and she was picking them up.

I have so many pictures to post, but they are very random and spread out over the last month. I promise to upload some recent pics with some quirky photo captions sometime in the next couple of days. But if you need me in the meantime, I'll just be here under my desk picking up paperclips.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Little One

Happy Birthday, Abbygoo!

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since you charged into our lives and hearts. To say that we love you is an understatement. You have brought us joy, hope and a closeness we’ve never experienced!

Here’s to another fabulous 99! We love you dearly.

Xoxo,
Mommy and Daddy

Here is a quick recap of how you spent your first birthday:

We were both feeling under-the-weather today with tummy aches. After a very tearful slumber party with the two of us in the spare bedroom, we were very tired this morning. I called the pediatrician, Dr. Cater, and they were able to fit you in. Little did mommy know that they were going to lump your “1 year well visit” into this one, so you ended up pumped full of shots. We were both glad that Granny Nanny was there to lend a hand since mommy wasn’t feeling well, and mommy does not do well with shots.

At first, you were mad. I don’t blame you.

Then, you were a little better.

Once we got home, we both took long naps while Granny Nanny held down the fort. Sometimes mommy needs to be taken care of too:) And when you woke up from your nap, you were very fussy. You little thunder thighs were probably sore from the shots…

I made you a yummy dinner of your favorite finger-sized pastas. You had a good time eating it, you always do.

Then you were very tired.
Once we cleaned up the spaghetti mess, I chased you around the house as you ran in circles. And after Daddy got home from work, you went to bed.

I'll post Uncle Chris's pictures from your party tomorrow, Mommy is tired and has to go to bed. Love you little one. For everyone else, here's the link to Chris's site: http://photos.christopherwrenphoto.com/gallery/7603344_xcEw7#491604784_xVTUk

Friday, March 6, 2009

Grandma Bernice

Early yesterday morning, Grandma Bernice went home to be the Lord. Thanks for all of your prayers and uplifting thoughts.

I've posted a couple of photos of Abby's first Easter, with Grandma. I have more recent photos (in earlier posts) but these are some of my favorite. We love her and will certainly miss her.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Tough Times

The De Jong family has sure been through a lot lately. Rob's Grandma Benice has been very ill, passing in and out of consciousness in the Intensive Care Unit. And it's with a heavy heart that I share the news that tomorrow, she'll be removed from the breathing machine that's kept her going. Needless to say, the De Jong family needs your prayers as they wade through a lot of very complicated decisions.

These are circumstances beyond our control and that it's truly God's plan for all of this to be happening at the same time. And even if I wanted to change the outcome, I couldn't. And I stopped for a moment to thank God that it's Him in charge, not me. It always seems that in times like these we are forced, through circumstance, to reevaluate what's really important.

And Rob's sister Kim gave birth last week to a happy and healthy baby boy, Nathan John Rockhold. But her delivery wasn't without complications. She actually ended up spending the night in the ICU in the room NEXT to Grandma Bernice. The irony wasn't lost on me--watching a brand new life enter the world, juxtaposed with a very serious illness. But even amidst all of the uncertainty of it all, I was overcome with a very profound sense of peace.

When we're born, we don't know if we'll have 100 days on this earth, or 100 years. And it's a healthy reminder to stay focused on the big picture, and not get bogged down in the small stuff. With everything we're going through right now, knowing that the outcome is all part of God's plan for us is such a comforting thought. The Bible teaches that the only productive thing to do with worry is to pray about it, then let it go. And then refocus your energy on staying positive (Philippians 4: 6-9)

It's very cheesy, I LOVE that Irving Berlin song that Bing Crosby sang in White Christmas, called "Count Your Blessings." I often sing it to Abby as a lullaby:

When I'm worried and I can't sleep, I count my blessings instead of sheep. And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

When my bankroll is getting small, I think of when I had none at all. And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

I think about a nursery and I picture curly heads, and one by one I count them as they slumber in their beds.

If you're worried and you can't sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep. And you'll fall asleep counting your blessings.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bath time!

I finally took some photos of our little butterball in the bathtub. Not just for the blog, but to save for her teen years when they'll be extra embarrassing. Like my dad says, "It's wonderful to finally be able to be an embarrassment to my children."

I took a ton, but I saved the full-frontal ones for our private collection. This blog is public-facing and the world is FULL of weirdos. I guess that's the paranoia inflicted on me by Oprah. Here are some with strategically-placed bubbles, toys and washcloths.

I was so happy the day that she had enough hair to make the obligatory bath-time mohawk.










Monday, February 23, 2009

Now that's a big bottle!


The other night, Rob, Abby and I made a quick turnaround trip to Target. Abby was in the cart, which was full in the back. So Rob stuck a gallon of milk next to Abby in the kiddie seat.
Her eyes got SO wide. She promptly wrapped her arms around it, slouched over and put her little lips around the lid. She started making a very loud sucking and slurping noise. When I shrieked in horror, she looked up at me like "What? I thought this was for me." I was laughing so hard, that I couldn't capture the actual moment on my phone cam. But you get the idea. I think she's going to be a compulsive milk drinker like her daddy.