30 June 2014

Summer Days

Every morning at 6am, Eleanor gets the snuggles. As in, she wants some. No matter when she last ate, she always gets a little fussy at 6am. She's not hungry, she just wants to be in bed with me. I pull her in and we both fall back asleep. Matt gets up at 6:30 with Abigail, makes his lunch, eats breakfast; I roll over onto his half of the bed. He wakes me up at about 7:30 and I get up, leaving Eleanor on my side of the bed. And there she sleeps for another 30-60 minutes; a little 10lb baby in a queen-size bed, the cotton sheet pulled up to her waist. It's really cute; I gotta get a picture before she trades this stage in for a new one. It's kind of a nice gig, actually, this little phase, because it means I get a couple of minutes to get myself fed, get Abigail dressed and ready for the day, and maybe even get myself freshened up.

I'm sorry blog posts have slipped in quantity and quality. Two kids keeps a girl busy. I've also been making a point to get out of the apartment a few days a week - playdates, trips to Grandma's house, evening runs by myself. I'm normally a devout introvert, but getting out does a damn good job of keeping the PPD at bay and Abigail is much more pleasant to be around when she doesn't have all that pent up energy.

Although I haven't been blogging, I've been trying to take lots of pictures. These here typically developing newborns grow fast and I want to capture the progress of these chubby cheeks so I can look back and remember when I'm old and grey.


We found a picture of my maternal grandmother when she was about 12-18 months the other day and nearly mistook it for Eleanor. The nose, lips, cheeks, dark hair. All my grandma's. My sister-in-law's mother (not sure she's anything to me technically) noted that dark hair and light complexion are a mark of the Irish. My grandma's dad's family was Irish. It's all making sense.


Summer means evening pajama walks before bed. I know some parts of the country are experience record warm springs and summers, but up here in Michigan, we've got a slightly below average summer going on. After three years in Florida, it makes me practically giddy to enjoy a slightly below average summer.




Abigail at 2.5 months and 3 years in the same swing (it's covered in a blanket in the left photo). My how they grow. The funny thing is that Abigail is so light that she's still under the weight limit for most newborn gear. At 24.5 lbs, she's even light enough for most bassinets.


Poor Cat is still a bit neurotic since we had to put down Puff Puff. She just walks around the apartment meowdeling (a meow-yodel).


I told Abigail we had to flash peace signs in the photo because that's what all the cool cats do nowadays, but she kept seeing my "two" and saying, "three." Cause she's three. It was pretty cute.


So I flashed a "three" and it made her pretty happy.

Oh goodness. Fun post coming this week, one that explores my experience with a typically developing vs. special needs newborn.

27 June 2014

Test Results

We're back. Thank you for the prayers - they worked! Nothing too serious at all - Abigail almost has a few more diagnosis to add to the list.

Before I explain things, I have to give you the full story of The Phone Call yesterday. So we left the playdate and I saw I had a voicemail. It was a nurse from the Pediatrician's office asking me to give them a call. That was it. That's unusual for my office - they usually leave details in messages. I was on alert when I called them back and it grew way worse when the receptionist said, "Oh yes, the Dr wants to see you today or tomorrow." WHAT?! I pressed for details, but she said she didn't know anything. I scheduled an appointment for two hours from that phone call and hung up. The very first thing that popped into my head was Leukemia. Kids with Ds have a higher chance of getting it than the general population, so we test her every 6-12 months. That had to be it. I mean, what else would you only discuss in person, but the big C word? I freaked out the entire way home. I called Matt and freaked out. I contemplated calling about a hundred other people and freaking out with them, but a tiny part of me did recognize that we could be dealing with something much more mundane. An hour before the appointment, they called me to reschedule until tomorrow (today). "And this is so serious we can't talk about it on the phone?" I asked. "Yes," came the answer. Desperately trying to hold back another freakout, I explained that I was fraught with worry and needed some sort of detail on what we were waiting to discuss with the doctor. Finally the receptionist transferred me to the nurse who explained it had to do with the spine and thyroid and that the doctor wanted to talk in person so we could have a more personal, detailed discussion. Shit, people. Never tell a special needs mother that a doctor needs to see her ASAP and then hang up the phone. It isn't nice.

So anyway. As soon as she said "thyroid" and "spine," I knew exactly what we'd be discussing. I'd read about these problems in the books they give you when they give you a diagnosis. Underactive thyroid, spinal instability. They're on the list of things you test when you live in my world.

The Thyroid
They look at three things when they test this gland with a regular blood test. One of Abigail's three things is a tad bit high. Just barely above the top of the acceptable range. Her pediatrician wants to test it again in a few months to see if and how the numbers change. We might get regular blood work done every few months for a little bit before we take action. Just making sure there is a problem before we start treating it. I personally am very open to pursuing natural remedies before I start Abigail on any kind of regular prescribed medication, but even thinking about that just yet is getting way ahead of things.

The Spine
Abigail just barely doesn't have Atlantoaxial Instability (AAI). In really watered-down terms, her spine (right at the base of the neck where the spine meets the skull) might be too flexible. It's just barely not too flexible. If her vertebrate move one half of one millimeter more, she'll officially have AAI. As you probably guessed, having too flexible of a spine would leave you really susceptible to injury if you got hit when your spine was all flexed out.

We're uncertain if this is something that will stay stable or get worse as she gets older. If it does get worse, it'll mean she can't play contact sports, go diving, or take a gymnastics class. If it got worse and got serious, it could mean neurological problems and maybe surgery. The pediatrician is going to call up a bone doctor and discuss Abigail's results and get a special's opinion. Depending on what they say, we'll either bring Abigail in for another evaluation or hold off and test her again every two years.

In the meantime, the pediatrician advised that we treat Abigail as if she does have AAI, so she won't be taking anymore gymnastics classes in the fall. And I'm also going to hold off on any more horseback riding until we hear from the bone doctor.

So anyway, thank you all for your prayers. I suspect those prayers are why everything is just barely, almost, not really yet a problem. They say, "little kids, little problems; big kids, bit problems" and I wonder if that's true for kids with Down syndrome. Cause if heart surgery and spinal instability are little problems, I'm a bit terrified of what our big problems will be. But then again, physical problems are almost always easier to deal with than emotional ones...

26 June 2014

Rain Cloud

So in keeping with this morning's post, we went out to a free "splash pad" (water park for little kids). We spent all morning running around, getting wet, being cold because somehow it's low 70s in June, chatting with other moms, enjoying ourselves, and wearing out a certain three-year-old. When we got back in the car, plentifully exhausted, I had a voicemail from Abigail's pediatrician. We need to come in tomorrow to discuss her x-ray and blood work results. Her spine and her thyroid are causing problems. Seriously? Can the poor girl not get a break? She's freakin' three. I suspect I know what we'll discuss in tomorrow's appointment and it's probably going to rule out equine therapy for the rest of Abigail's life. Don't tell her spine, but I let her ride on a horse earlier this spring at my mother-in-law's. She loved it : ( Prayers, prayers, prayers, please!

In less depressing news, when we got home from the playdate, Abigail ate an entire grilled cheese, a few chips, a cookie, and went down for her nap without complaint. Score two for mommy.

Why I Love Frozen and How Exercise is the Solution to Everything

A lighter post today, for all those who stick with me through the heavy shit.

We're totally a Frozen household. And I love it. I love complaining about how many times I've seen the movie in the past two weeks; I love griping at playdates about how I have "Let it Go" stuck in my head; I love that Abigail gasps and points whenever she sees something with Elsa's picture on it. She's had her first indoctrination into Disney Princess World, and I love it.

Why? Because everyone else is.

You see, we all love to go on and on with quotes about how being unique and being different is better than following the crowd, the best way to achieve your dreams, the surefire answer to happiness. "If you are always trying to be normal, you'll never realize how amazing you are!" We all blasted everywhere when Maya Angelou passed. And that's all good and true to some extent. But humans are social creatures at heart. We were created to love and be loved. We strive for real connections with one another. We join clubs and share stories and celebrate holidays together and we want to fit in and be liked, maybe even loved. Well I've got built-in different. I've got built-in "not normal." And sometimes that gets in the way of real connections. I've lost friends and been unwelcome at playdates for our "not normal." But more commonly, I find myself sitting around playdates quietly. When the conversation turns to our kids, there are very few times I can say, "Oh, that's how my life is too!" Or if I'm describing something we're going through with Abigail, I rarely hear, "Oh my little boy did the same thing!" Usually I hear something more like, "Well, all kids go through that stage at some point." Then there's either awkward silence or someone overacting, "Yeah! My brother's kid was just like that when he was that age!" I don't often feel like I make real connections with other moms.

But when conversations turns to Frozen? Yes, we are all going through the same thing. My kid sings "Let it Go" at the top of her lungs too. And my kid asks to watch it several times a day too. We're all about the Frozen stickers at the doctor's office, the Frozen books at the store, and if our store wasn't constantly sold out of them, I'm sure she'd be all about the Frozen dolls too. And when she grows up and meets other kids at school or gymnastics class or art club, they'll have Frozen in common - pretending to be Elsa, building elaborate ice castles with their imaginations. Cultural references to the movie won't go over her head. We have lots of different, and maybe some people would argue lots of chances to realize our amazingness, but I love that we're a Frozen household because for me at playdates and for the rest of Abigail's life, when the conversation turns to one little princess movie, we'll all be on the same playing field.

* * * * *

So Matt and I stumbled across old episodes of The Dog Whisperer online and we've kind of become obsessed with it. We're in love with Cesar Millan. Anyway, he has this principle that you have to exercise your dog before you can train them. You gotta fatigue them because when the dog is full of pent up energy, he can't focus and listen to your instructions. After a few days of thought, I realized that's true for people too. When I'm physically tired, I'm calmer and more patient. I care less about the one-car situation, I obsess less about the mess in the kitchen, I spend less time looking online for houses we're not ready to move to, I'm less depressed when I have to sit on the couch (again!) to nurse Eleanor (again!) because sitting feels good! And Abigail? When she's tired, she's less interested in climbing up onto the desk and throwing things off, she eats better, she listens better, she wants to snuggle more. We're all more pleasant people to be around.

There is less conflict around here when we've all been outside for a good, long walk. Plus ain't nobody going to argue that hearty exercise twice a day doesn't increase your quality of life about a thousand percent. Or help you lose the rest of the baby weight.

So I've been working up some plans for daily energy burns with Abigail. I secured a double stroller and fully plan to initiate long walks during our more stressful times of the day. I'd love to walk Abigail until she asks to be carried, then I'll strap her in the stroller and head home. And pushing them both means I'll be able to walk to parks in the area and let Abigail burn some energy there. Physically active playdates once a week, romps with cousins in their backyards, climbing up and down the stairs in the apartment building when it's raining outside. I'm making a list. I'm totally willing to give Operation Fatigue my full efforts. Plus it's the perfect way to enjoy summer and create happy childhood memories for my girls.

23 June 2014

PPD

Sorry I haven't been blogging much lately, a combination of newborn busyness and postpartum depression is robbing me of the ability and desire to write. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't stressed and frustrated on a daily basis - I feel like I can't accomplish anything other than the three of us ending up dressed and fed, enough dishes washed to prevent us from eating off paper plates, and package of defrosted meat and a plan of what I'd ideally like it to become. It is good for me to get out and talk to other moms, to be reminded that no one gets anything done during the newborn period, to be reminded that it's normal to spend hours sitting on my ass on the couch nursing, to be reminded that everyone feels unattractive and desperate at first. I thought if I did everything right that life would be smooth. But newborn world is all-consuming, even when you breastfeed, don't have to pack and move, and don't have a c-section. I can feel the veil of depression lift when Aunt so-and-so shares my pain and turns it into humor: "And you come home and everything leaks! There is a pad on everything and it's the size of a canoe! You go to the hospital and stare in amazement: 'Where do you even get pads the size of a canoe?!'"

I'm trying very hard to soak up some of these newborn moments. I pass Eleanor over to a mom who's passed her child-bearing years and she soaks up the baby snuggles and the baby smells with a wistful: "I forgot they're this small!" One of Matt's uncles was telling me about how his baby had terrible colic for six months straight. Another about six months of sleeping upright with an infant with very serious GERD. About how those days were hell. About talking their wives down from a ledge at 1am when they were away on business trips. And about how those days were gone in the blink of an eye. About how they miss them. The first year of Abigail's life was difficult too. The PPD is just as bad now as it was then. And that year passed in the blink of an eye too.

Speaking of the other mega complication in my life. She adds a whole other layer onto the stress. Especially her eating issues. Hand-over-hand spoon feeding my three-year-old while my six-week-old nurses. It takes every bit of my strength to keep every meal from turning into me yelling and ripping the spoon out of Abigail's hand. I'm not telling you these things because they make me look good. I don't know why I'm telling you these things.

I also can't leave the two of them alone in a room together unless Abigail is contained. She does not listen to my rules to leave the baby alone and any command of "be gentle to baby" has an expiration date of about five seconds. And I can't just put Eleanor out of three-year-old reach because Abigail has one hell of an arm and loves to "share" her toys with Eleanor. And until last week, Eleanor would not nap alone or in a carrier. So I had to hold her. While I went to the bathroom. While I made lunch. While I changed my underwear. Unless, of course, I wanted to let her sob locked up in my room in the rock n' sleeper while Abigail bangs on the door, "Baby! Mama, Baby!" I start hot flashing, my blood pressure rises, my milk ducts get all antsy. And my poor neighbors. I'm sure they love me at this point. Goodness gracious.

I'd also be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to preschool in the fall. I have high hopes that the amazing special ed teacher Ms. N can teach Abigail some impulse control. Because, of course, some mental complications of Down syndrome are: "repetitive and obsessive-compulsive behaviors; oppositional, impulsive, and inattentive behaviors," emphasis added to what Abigail most struggles with. When we visited the preschool, I noticed all the kids were leaving alone a computer and telephone in child-grabbing range. "Abigail would be over there in about two seconds," I commented to Ms. N. She looked me right in the eye, "They all do at first." My jaw dropped. I think about that scene when I'm stuck in the rocking chair during an hour-long nursing session while I try to command my impulsive toddler with repetitive behaviors to stop banging on the side of the stove with her baby doll's plastic head.

And the best part? Looking forward to the day Abigail goes away to preschool makes me feel like a terrible parent and fills me with a sense of guilt, totally fueling the postpartum depression. Feeling like a worthless mother makes me think I shouldn't have kids, which distances me from Eleanor. Cue a second helping of PPD. I then commence feeling like I'm ruining my girls' childhoods. Do you see how the PPD makes the PPD worse?

I don't know why I'm saying these things because I've determined that I am going to publish this post no matter what I write. I'm just trying to be honest. Vulnerable. Sincere.

19 June 2014

Newborn Photos

How on earth is it already Thursday afternoon? I've written a couple of posts this week, but each time I wasn't very impressed, so then I just saved them as drafts. I'm also working on a post about my experience with a special needs newborn vs typically developing newborn, but it's not ready yet. Bleh.

In the meantime, here are some photos from Eleanor's newborn photo shoot. They were shot by The Fresh Image, when she was three weeks old and I would absolutely recommend them! Our photographer was professional and great with kids. Some of these you'll notice were on Facebook, but there are a few new ones as well.










15 June 2014

Father's Day Baptism

Eleanor was about two days old and we needed a couple of things. We were still respecting the whole "don't carry heavy things" instructions from the doctor (does anyone actually avoid heavy things for the full six weeks?). I was going to shirk the rules to help on the rainy, dreary day, but before I could blink, Matt had both kids in his arms and was headed toward the entrance. My heart swelled with love. It is truly incredible how much more you love your man when you watch him care for your children. Happy Father's Day, Babe.


What else do we like to do on Father's Day around here? Have Baptisms.


Father's Day wasn't our first choice, but if we wanted the priest to do the baptizing (as opposed to the deacon), we would be having the Baptism on the third Sunday of the month. Period. So we did. The bonus of a Priest Baptism is that it was held during the Mass in front of a large, clapping congregation, instead of rows of empty pews. Eleanor didn't cry, which, considering what a crier she is, is pretty shocking.


Later my mother-in-law noted to me: "She wakes up a lot when she's not nursing."

Yes, yes she does.

It was a great Baptism though, with lots of family and friends packed into the reserved pews up front, and a church full of people we've fallen in love with all smiling as we streamed to the baptismal font and back.

And you know it's a good Catholic Baptism when everyone involved is holding a kid during the ceremony.


And the dress? It was a gorgeous.


I also made a bonnet, which I just realized I didn't take a picture of. The only one I can find of it is in this blurry shot below. Made with the same fabric as the slip, then a crochet border added.


I haven't stopped smelling her head all day long. And my arms smell of the chrism oil from cradling her. Is that not everyone's favorite part of Baptism? The oil?



Welcome to the Church, Eleanor, and Happy Father's Day, Matt.

12 June 2014

When things go right

I did it. I successfully managed to take both kids somewhere by myself.

I think it's good for the morale to get a home run every once in a while.

Caveat: our excursions were only Level 1 adventures. We met up with some friends at a park and then went on a lunch date with Daddy. I ramped up my offense by practicing by taking walks during the afternoon. I practiced all sorts of plays: wearing Eleanor, pushing Abigail (not the best choice for burning toddler energy, which we need to do since we don't have a backyard for romping); pushing Eleanor, Abigail in a harness (she hates the harness); wearing Eleanor, letting Abigail go free. The last option makes the girls the happiest, but takes the most energy on my part.

I also walked the girls up to the library once - that was a bit of a disaster. I wore Eleanor in the Ergo (which she doesn't particularly like...yet) and pushed Abigail in the stroller (the library is a bit far for her toddler legs) but the library isn't very stroller friendly, so I did have to release the Kraken when we arrived. She behaved a little less than ideal. BUT, today went quite well! I wore Eleanor in the sling, which she doesn't mind, and I was able to keep an eye on Abigail and still carry on a conversation in between escorting Abigail down from the playscape (the girl's a cat: she can go up, but can't come back down). When Eleanor got hungry, I nursed her while Abigail had a snack. It was, dare I say? Easy! Everything went smoothly! Everybody was happy!

Afterward we met up with Matt for lunch - an obvious softball. He works downtown - read: lots of exciting people and cars to watch - so we scored a window booth at a sandwich shop and handed Abigail a bag of chips. After spending most of the morning asleep in the sling, Eleanor had a quick bite and was then content to sit in her car seat and look at me. It was like we didn't even have kids. Matt and I had legitimate conversations. The various aspects of my lunch were the appropriate temperature.

It was so encouraging to be able to participate in society like a normal person with my two small children in tow. And I needed it too because yesterday, oh goodness, yesterday was a level 7 on the 1-10 pain scale of parenting.

I'm hoping today's awesomeness spills over to tomorrow: I'm taking both girls to their wellness visits by myself tomorrow.

I have no photos of today - didn't have the expertise to juggle the camera on our first "real" trip out. So here's a Throwback Thursday photo instead. Naples, Florida, February 2012. I don't miss the heat and humidity in June, but I sure do miss that beach.


10 June 2014

Now Loading...Newborn: Month Two

She's already a month old today. One month. 30 days. 4 weeks, 3 days. Life since she made her sweet, peaceful entrance into this world has been an indistinguishable stream of 2-3 hour stretches of sleep punctuated by chaotic blips of fulfilling everyone's needs. Time is inconsequential. Sometimes Abigail and I eat cheesecake for breakfast and eggs for dinner. Sometimes I change Eleanor from one sleeper and put her straight into another. I have been wearing leggings as pants for a majority of the last 4 weeks and 3 days. But as we emerge from Newborn: Month One, I find myself starting to organize life into bits and pieces of routine. We kind of have a morning thing down, where the three of us end up fed, cleaned, and dressed, a simple chore gets done (how on earth does adding one new person to the family mean I need to do laundry three times as much?), and we go for a walk. Meal plans are being made, we're not dependent on Blues Clues on a daily basis, and I cleaned the bathrooms once.

I think life beginning to return to normal is facilitated mostly by time moving forward. The breastfeeding woes have been worked out, Eleanor has realized it is acceptable to nap in one location other than my arms during a small part of most days, and Abigail has decided it won't kill her to reintegrate grilled cheese and oatmeal into her diet. Somedays I even think I might be able to see how I could do this whole "raise a family" thing long-term.

I think I thought that if I did everything the right way, life would be easy. If I gave birth the right way, if I fed my baby the way women are supposed to feed their babies, if we came back from the hospital to a stable home (read: not moving cross-country twice in one year), newborn world would be easy. And while it definitely has been easier, I would not describe it as easy. It took me a little bit of time to realize that fact. And even though the bastard that is PPD is lurking in the shadows, when I collapse into bed at 9:30pm for a 3-hour stretch of sleep, I have nothing to say to God but "Thank you."

How can such a challenging, sacrificial life fill my heart so full?

 

The one mommy-free place she'll sleep with any kind of regularity:

My mind is bursting with post ideas: my experience of typically developing newborn vs a special needs newborn, how anyone can survive with Eleanor's sleep habits, baby gear I find indispensable, how Matt and I reworked our five-year plan to maybe, just maybe include building our dream house once Matt gets a permanent position somewhere.


But alas, two little blessings are begging for my attention. One of them has the arm of a Yankee pitcher and the other the lungs of Andrea Bocelli.




06 June 2014

PPD

I think I have postpartum depression. The feelings of hopelessness, that everything I do is worthless, that each day is pointless, are ebbing up, gently washing over me in the midst of a beautiful summer day. My life is so full of blessings and I'm struggling to remember that I love the newborn days, that my kids are mini-mes, the small things I'm thankful for, and the ruffle butts in a desperate bid to stave off the bleakness.

My postpartum depression is this funky, manic/depressive depression. I get this honest-to-goodness highs where I feel super elated, make stupid decisions, text people about how amazing my life is, over-commit to things I can't possible do. And then I get the classic depression. I hate myself, I feel like a failure, I feel restless but have no desire to do anything, I feel guilty a lot, I have no interest in talking to or hanging out with anyone.

When I was still pregnant with Abigail, I had a feeling I would get postpartum depression. Depression and anxiety issues run in the family and I'm no exception. When combined with all the intense stress surrounding the move before birth, the emergency c-section, the surprise diagnosis, the heart surgery: Genetics, meet Environment.

But even after we got settled back in Florida, the depression stayed and lasted a good, solid year. And after the miscarriage, just 10 short weeks of pregnancy hormones was enough to trigger about a month or two's worth of PPD.

So I was expecting another duel this time around. But I didn't see it coming so hard and so fast. I got a serious dose of baby blues in the hospital the very first night with Eleanor, but they cleared up, and during the first week of her life, I felt this completely amazing awesome high. But knowing I was at risk for PPD, I immediately started taking preventative measures. I kept visitors light, I got lots of sleep, I took 10 minute walks - by myself! - around the apartment complex in the evening after Eleanor was fed. I thought combining it with doing everything right - the VBAC, the breastfeeding, the stable home, gaining a healthy amount of weight - they'd be minimal. It appears I was wrong.

I gave Zoloft a shot when Abigail was about six months old, but I didn't like the side effects. I worked my ass off on the natural remedies: getting ample sleep (even going to bed at 8pm about once a week), exercising, eating right, getting out of the house, getting me time. It took a lot of work and it didn't always help. Finally, after about 12 months, I was back to normal. I think it was more time than anything else.

Ugh, so frustrating. Just when I think I've solved one problem (no plugged ducts in about a week!), another one pops up.

03 June 2014

At Least There Are Ruffle Butts

This is my third post of the morning, my friends. I wanted to write, but I felt too complainy, so I penned these two happy little philosophical posts, one about supporting fellow moms and one about community.

But they felt really insincere. I'm totally not feeling them today. There's too much real life going on. Like, we had to put our cat down and this morning Abigail was calling her name and searching the apartment for her and I totally broke down in tears again. And I %&#$(@*$ hate breastfeeding for lots of reasons you don't blast on the Internet. I hated bottlefeeding Abigail and thought breastfeeding would solve all my woes. But it turns out breastfeeding has it's own set of issues. And I'm not giving up breastfeeding as I hate it less than I hate bottlefeeding, but I'm just venting because if I even think about my body when I'm breastfeeding the damn ducts plug up. I'm still not sleeping at night, showering is a joke, and I keep stress-eating this stupid banana split pie that I don't even like, but my grandmother thinks I do, so she keeps buying it for me. Too much real life, ya know?

But today was Eleanor's newborn photoshoot and the photographer is one of those friendly, outgoing, great-with-kids kinds of people who totally makes you feel at ease when your baby is sobbing hysterically and your toddler is throwing stuffed animals at the cat and you're having a hot flash and sweating profusely. There is something about seeing other people play with your kids and call them cute that endears them to you, ya know? And eventually Eleanor calmed down and she took about a thousand pictures and when she showed me a few, Eleanor totally looked like a happy, calm, inquisitive baby. And so we had some of those moments. Moments where I can forget that Eleanor's a world-class crier who thinks I'm a human pacifier. Or that Abigail ripped her pigtails out about two seconds after I put them in. Or that I was "this close" to calling my mom this morning and begging her to come visit me and bring me coffee and something chocolatey.

Sometimes it takes someone else's perspective to make you take a step back. And even if everything sucks, sometimes stepping back makes you realize that you were having an awesome hair day last Sunday


Or that she looks really cute in her first pair of flip-flop sandals.


Because even if they wake up four times a night to nurse (in between the nursing her to sleep at bedtime and nursing her when she gets up for the morning), they look so cute in pink diaper covers.

(Whipped that little number up last night when I realized I didn't have any newborn-sized diaper covers for today's shoot. It was the first time I broke out my crochet hook since her birth. I think it came out amazing).


We've been spending a lot of time in the trenches of young-child parenting lately, and sometimes I really need a reality check. Stop and admire the ruffle butts. And the pink stripes. And the high bun. The tears won't last forever and either will the ruffle butts.

01 June 2014

The Memoirs

I believe the week or so before Eleanor was born, I said that I would update everyone on my memoirs the following week and never did. My apologies. Better late than never?


To-do list:
-Do one final read-through of the manuscript.
-Contact the two people I know with hands in the publishing world and see what sort of networks I can tap.
-Submit to publishers who accept manuscripts directly from authors.

Each publisher wants a very specific packet with a fancy cover letter and it's all very time consuming to create. I am going to reach out to the people I know with hands in the publishing world before I get too far down the rabbit hole, but there is one company in particular I want to submit to first. They publish exactly the sort of thing I'm writing and they're looking for submissions. I was attempting to get a packet off before Eleanor was born, but alas, that did not happen. I did, however, get a good start on it and have been working diligently these last few days as she sleeps in my lap when Abigail is napping or down for the night. I just finished a rough draft of the packet (and was inspired to blog about it). I'm going to obsess over every word, every sentence placement, every detail on the entire thing as much as possible as we're striving for perfection here. My goal is to submit it by the end of the month.

Progress here, people, progress.