Friday, December 31, 2010

Favorite Picture of 2010!

What a year, what a year! To be honest I could write so many posts on what this year has taught me and what I have learned. But, I want to keep it simple. Instead I picked my favorite picture of the year, which is my profile picture. I can't say it is the best picture in terms of creativity or how either of us look but it is my favorite.

The day this picture was taken was the day that we went to the UW high risk infant follow up clinic for the first time. She had her first specialist evaluation. It was such an exhausting day, long and stressful. She wouldn't eat while we were there, she wouldn't do what I knew she could do. We were in quarantine and I had to have her around all these people which I was sure had swine flu. We came home and both took a nap, had dinner and then took a bath.

After her bath we decided to take some pictures. I had gotten the tutu a few weeks before for fun. I never imagined it would be this fun! I finally felt a bit of relief, after months and months of living on the edge. I finally felt that she might be okay. I guess it was because the specialist didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Furthermore they all agreed she was super cute and very social. She was starting to hit her milestones. It was a brief break in all my worry to just enjoy my daughter. A break in the clouds and brief ray of sunshine.

When I looked at the pictures later that night when she was in bed, I only thought about how cute she looked and how happy I looked. I finally felt that we were becoming what I had imagined so many months ago when I got pregnant. I liked how her room was coming together. The nursery that I never got to put together was actually looking pretty. The broken pieces were starting to be mended back together. And oh did I love her!

Like I said what a year! More happened than I ever could have imagined. More challenging than I could have dreamed. And along the way I made some pretty amazing discoveries and some pretty amazing friends. Thank you so much for sharing it along with me and I just want wait to share and experience 2011 together.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bite me!

Okay, again there is always going to be negative people in your life. The people that say that it shouldn't be done, it can't be done. You are wrong, crazy or stupid. We all just try to do our best in this world and really I don't think a negative judgemental attitude is helpful in any situation.

I have also come to believe that it is really easy to sit and say "if we were in that situation we would...", but you may surprise yourself when you are in that horrible situation, and you may want to do something totally different. I mean lets just get real, I thought that when I had children I would have them eating wholesome wonderful meals everyday. This is still what I want but the reality is that she has a completely other idea. Thus, when you hear yourself saying if I was in the 'such and such' situation I would just let nature takes it course. Maybe just rethink your stance, because it may be a confusing and difficult situation once you get there.

Furthermore, we are all wrong sometimes. What we thought might happen doesn't. The situation that we thought was going to be unbearable is not. And even when it is horrible the journey of who we become or what we learned is so wonderful that we wouldn't want it any other way.

We need to be accepting.

We need to be understanding.

We need to just smile and realize that everyone is different and challenged, don't judge.

This rant was brought to you because of being asked for the thousandth and fifth time if my daughter is normal. As well as reading some internet rants by some over zealous MSNBC readers on a micro preemie article. Particularly enraging to me was a statement that as a society we should remember that in nature birds will throw their ill baby birds from the nest. We should nurture less and allow nature to run its course.


I am glad I am not a bird , and that we kept her in nurtured not tortured in her isolette for a few months.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Stuck in a sugar haze.

We let Katie open some present along the week before Christmas as we thought that it was going to be too much for one day. It took sometimes over an hour to open a present, and sometimes she just wanted to do something totally different. You can see in the following picture what she liked the most. The ribbon or box things came in, the baby doll is off in the background like a Christmas carcass. I just couldn't get over how much different she was, last year she slept most of the entire Christmas day. She screamed when we gave her a stocking. This year she still didn't know what to do with most things but she created her own entertainment with it all.

Last year we were in strict quarantine, we went over to my mother's house in the morning and then spent the whole time by ourselves. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't very cheery. This year we both had a three day weekend, and it was so relaxing and fun. Christmas day we went over to my mother's again and Kate played with her cousins for hours. She absolutely loves watching them play with their big girl toys. She follows them around and tries to sit in their laps. By the end of the day she was a pile of goo, sticky, tired, happy goo.

Now we are in the week after Christmas but before New Years. We both have normal work schedules this week, with maybe a little early time off on Friday. Trying to get Katie back on some type of schedule and regular meals. But, I will admit, I am stuck in a neutral. I don't feel like taking down all the decorations. I don't feel like working on to-do-lists, or working for that matter. I feel like curling up with a book, the fire and just a few more sugar cookies.

Oh, I wish holidays could last a little bit longer!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Toddler wisdom lesson #305.

As we are about to enter a new year I see a new repeat blog coming, Toddler wisdom. I know that it has been done a million times in books, corny sayings and plaques. All the same I am constantly struck by the fact that this little being that can't even tie her shoes has more wisdom and basic humanity than a lot of individuals I deal with on a regular basis.

Now don't get me wrong. I did not give birth to a Zen master. She still has a limited vocabulary. Some of her favorite things to do currently is to stick her finger in her nose, stick boxes on her head and the ever popular slamming her hand down and exclaiming "No!" in her own grunting way.

Thus in full disclosure some of the toddler wisdom is more the wisdom that I have gained from being a parent. The ongoing awakenings that I have in the middle of a busy morning.

Toddler Wisdom Lesson:

You push yourself really hard for what you think might be ahead, and sometimes you are going to be disappointed with what you find. Even if you get disappointed you probably still had a good time reaching for it.

This is the process we are going through nearly everyday and sometimes I think every five minutes. Object of desire is located on counter top. Kate squawking for object. Mother is too busy or doesn't want Kate to have object. Kate now is trying to stand on tip-toes, moving other objects over to stand on them and reaching, reaching and reaching some more. Often more squawking is involved at a higher pitch. Eventually either Kate will get the object via her crazy efforts, or I will get tired of it and give her the object. And as stated above this is where the real lesson is.

Sometimes the object is actually really quite stupid, a make-up brush for example, and other times it is something that turns out delightful (a snow-globe that glows). Either the way, Kate is usually satisfied. Toddler wisdom. It is well worth it to reach for an object you want, even if that object (goal) doesn't end up being what you thought it would be. The fun is in the journey not the destination.

Sugar Cookies.

Now I will do the cardinal sin of blogging, I will make three or four post in a day or so because I have been too busy to blog regularly. I will shamelessly blame it on all the holiday hoopla. As I finally have time now that I am currently peacefully basking in its after glow. Thus if you don't like the flow of the the next several post, you too can blame it on the holidays.

Last Sunday we had a get together at Grandma's house and decorated the most delicious sugar cookies. My mother has an amazing recipe for cookies, and to be honest she has an amazing recipe for just about everything. She makes the simplest things taste great in what appears to me an effortless way. I remind myself that she has had more practice at this than me, but I may have to admit defeat when I am Grandma that my cookies aren't half as good as my mothers.

Above you will see the beautiful cookie decorators in action. They are oldest to youngest from top to bottom. We could also say that they were from best behaved to worst behaved from top to bottom as well. Kate promptly flipped her plate over and then dramatically slammed her bare feet onto the table top with glee. Once being freed from the prison of her highchair she marched around the kitchen cramming sugar cookie into her mouth. Later I found her out by the Christmas tree kicking a stuffed Santa in the head.

To each their own in the fun of Christmas preparation! Another small lesson provide by the munchkin with sugar cookie crumbs all over her face.

Friday, December 17, 2010

They can't hold you down.

I met my husband when I was 20, on spring break in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Who would have thought that you could meet your husband on spring break?! Well, I did. And I knew it pretty much instantly that he was the one for me. This year we will be married for ten years. And to be honest it has gone by in a blink.

At first glance we are total opposites. He handles things on the inside. I handle everything on the outside. He is calm and quiet. I am social and a bit dramatic. He rolls with the flow. I have it all planned and organized. But, once you get to know us it obvious that we have alot in common with each other too. We both love the outdoors, sports and science. A good beer and a nice dinner. We love a challenge and are horribly competitive in every way. Oh and we are both stubborn, which makes for interesting arguments.

He is absolutely the best father to our daughter. Even at 18 months of age, I am a bit envious of the tight and loving relationship they share. She just glows when her dad is around, and they both make each other giggle like crazy. He fully participates in her care, from meals, baths, and playtime.

The other day I was ranting about a issue I have in my life. An issue that I complain about all the time (and shockingly it is not prematurity or our child). We all have these, one of those darn aspects of our lives that we just can't seem to get right. Being a woman I like to talk about it to death. Then in style that is classic to my husband he simply said, "They can't hold you down.".
I of course kept rambling on and dissecting every last aspect of the day that supported my rant.

Several days later though I was running and thinking over several issues including the one I was complaining about the other night. And like a wise old man, I hear my husband's voice in my head, "They can't hold you down.". Kept running and I hear it again, "They can't hold you down.". Now I am thinking, damn right they can't hold me down. Nobody can hold me down. For that matter nothing can hold me down!

We have our struggles and sometimes don't see eye to eye. The past couple of years have been particularly tiring. Thank god though I have somebody to hold me up and give me strength when I need it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Selfish thoughts...

Okay, just because it is the holidays doesn't mean that I have turned into Mary Poppins. I'll admit that I have been jolly this year, and 9 out of 10 days down right grateful. Today being an exception though, and I'd just like to give the warning first. Now if you are joyfully roasting chestnuts by the fire, stop reading. This won't have a cute little story or ending.

I am hoping that it is human nature, but it may be my nature. Something will be bothering me on a subconscious level and I will have relatively no idea what it is for the entire day. I just feel grumpy, dark and sleepy. I won't go for my run. I eat badly. Get short with other people. Watch the clock for the day to end. Basically do everything to make the feeling worse, but still not be able to really put it to rest or even know what is bothering me.

Then we have a few options, if I am really tired and stressed this mood will end in a dramatic fight or crying breakdown. Starting out about something that has nothing to do with the real problem and eventually wind down to what is really wrong. Or, if I am better rested I can just continue in the funk for a few days until it slowly dawns on me what is wrong.

I am currently living the latter. Quietly brooding. Not knowing exactly what it is but, not enjoying what I have right in front of me. Then today after a trip to the playground, I realized what was wrong. And of course then it seemed so obvious, so ridiculously that anyone but I could have seen it.

My problem is two parts of the same old thing that still haunts me: Damn Prematurity!

First off I am reading "Half Baked" by Alexa Stevenson. This is a mother's memoir of a 25 weeker. I do recommend it for a honest memoir of what occurs in the micro preemie world. I am very different from the author in multiple ways, but all the same her writing and experience are portrayed accurately.

So what is the problem? Well, I guess I am not as comfortable with my experience as I thought. And even though I often blog with intricate detail of my birthing experience and premature child. My mind has actually only allowed bits and pieces out in slow motion. And when I want them. Sitting a reading a whole book about an experience so close to what I have lived is just darn hard. There are times that I don't want to remember, or at least I don't want to remember them right now. Stop reading you say. Easy enough. I tried. I can't, it just keeps sticking with me and I have a compulsion to finish it. All the while setting the scene for me to be in a bad mood.

And then there is the second issue. As background information, I belong to a group of super supportive and outstanding preemie parents. It is a online group that has changed my life in so many positive ways I hate to even bring up this problem. In fact I really dislike that this is bothering me, and know that this is my problem not anybody in the group. All the same it was recently posted to the group, "If you knew you would have another preemie would you still have another child?". Then the members of the group could answer the question.

Now come on, this is the internet. Everybody is welcome to their own opinion and lets be rationale adults and understand that it is their opinion and nothing more. Christ, my own friends and family probably couldn't have a more polite conversation about this particular subject. So, to be honest I don't know if it is the question or the responses that has me so upset. Or the combination of both.

I don't know for sure if we want to have another child. I know for sure I don't want to have another 25 weeker. I really don't think I could survive it again. I don't think I could handle having a toddler and and 25 weeker on the verge of death in the NICU. I don't know if our marriage could survive the stress of this experience again.

Its the timeless question: Is it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Well, ask anyone who has lost a loved one and they might have a very complicated answer for you. Furthermore, it is complicated and sensitive subject for anyone when deciding to add to your family. Add some medical and emotional trauma in there and you have pure confusion.

There was a few responses to this "If you knew question" though that have just stuck to me. And I will paraphrase here, as I know it was not a personal attack just an honest opinion given out to cyberspace. A few mentioned that there is no way that they would willing bring a child into this world knowing what they would have to go through to survive. The world selfish was used several times. As well that it unacceptable to put a child at such risk because you want to have another child.

If I want to have another child, I am being selfish and dangerous? Aren't we all a bit selfish when we have children? Aren't we all rolling the dice and hoping for the best. As far as I know there is no guarantee with any child or any life for that matter. Granted I have a greater chance that I would have a premature child than another person. But, I don't know for sure what would happen. The bad outcome of course shakes me to the core, as much as it did in the days before I had my daughter. Then there is the other side of the coin.

I have my daughter. My beautiful, wonderful reason I get up every morning, daughter. Her laugh, her smile and her quirky personality fill pages of my journal, my blog and our world. What would I risk for that? Something I simply can't answer.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Undoing Christmas

The house is completely decorated now. The tree is up and decorated. My snowglobe collection has been placed out but away from little hands. Its cozy and bright, but I have definitely moved things and made it munchkin friendly.

One thing I've done is to create areas that little K can get into things and explore. I placed a basket that has jingle bells on it full of Christmas books next to her toy area in the far corner. I will admit it gets a bit much with the jingle basket but, she does enjoy getting her books out. I also had a whole collection of old decorated tins and boxes. I used to put these in out in our breakfast nook, but decided they would be just the thing to get her attention. So I filled our book case in the living room. The book case has become pretty empty over the last several months as she likes to get everything down off it anyway. She seems very intense with the tins at times, placing them on top of each other and trying to put things into them.

We placed the tree in a different corner than usual as the other corner has her toy shelves. I thought that it wouldn't be good to place the tree where she has spent the last 6 months getting her toys. She has been really good with the tree, for the most point. We've had a few emotional breakdowns with the 'no's' about pulling on the lights. We don't really have ornaments on the lower limbs. Though now we have an odd collection of her favorite ornaments which includes a picture frame ornament, a snowflake, Santa dog, and a star made by my niece. Its pretty fun to hand her an ornament and tell her to go put it up on the tree. She typically will do it and hangs it so gently, though moments later she is pulling it off as if it is attached with super glue.

I love to glance into the living room from the kitchen and see her stack up Christmas tins and walk around with one of her favorite ornaments. She also likes to take her books and flip through them in front of the tree. E will call up from downstairs and ask what K is up to and I simply state, "Oh, she is busy undoing Christmas right now."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas tree hunting.

We are living a hellish schedule lately, of daily munchkin wake up being up at 5 am. I can't complain too much because we are sleeping through the night, and she goes to bed early but, no matter what we do (put her to bed later, get up feed her and try to put her back to bed, etc) she is up and ready to go at 5 am. So needless to say, we are up and ready to go in the morning. Typically in fact we've been up for several hours before most things have even opened. Thus last Sunday, we were the first at the Christmas tree farm with not a car in the parking lot and not a sole around. Luckily the donkey was already awake and eating his breakfast. Kate and I were both ready to take him home (Eddie said no).

This farm is about ten or so minutes from our house, and we went there last year too even though we weren't supposed to take Kate out. I kept her away from everybody so we didn't even go near the animals. I obviously didn't realize that if we had just came at 8 am that we wouldn't see anyone. It is so crazy though when I look back at it because Kate was such a little vegetable last year. Just sleeping and drooling during the whole outing. Now she is off, very impressed with her ability to go where she wants to go. Also very curious and happy to see the animals. She really wanted to touch the bunnies but, they were not so willing.

We found our tree. A Norway Spruce. It is a very nice tree, though I thought it was very prickly in the process of carrying it back to the car. I also realized when we got it up on the car, that we choose a very big tree. Not sure what we were thinking with this size of tree, but should be entertaining to get it into the house and up. Nothing like the holidays and trying to put a tree up to strengthen marital communication and love.

Our little tree hunter was crashed out by the end of it. Unfortunately this was just a cat nap that revived her for several more hours. And she was ready to attack the decorations when we returned. All in all though a very successful early morning outing!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Decorating girlie style.

I was sure I was having a boy. I was absolutely surprised when we found out that I was having a girl. I spent the next couple of weeks (all the time I had left in my pregnancy) worrying about having a girl. I have some serious thoughts about the teenage years, and also the whole mother-daughter relationship.

That being said, I now realize that having a healthy child is all that matters. I have also realized that there are some really fun things about having a little girl. Clothes shopping for sure is a lot of fun with a little girl. There is simply tons of cute clothes for a little girl. Second, I have really enjoyed going a bit girlie in her room. And this includes the holidays.

This weekend, I started putting up the holiday decorations. A new addition is the girlie pink Christmas tree I put together in Kate's room. It is complete with purple star topper and cupcake ornaments. I also sprinkled a few bright colored ornaments here and there. She carried the purple holly all over the house until I finally got it back. We now have a bit of glitter sprinkled around because of it.

All in all girlie holiday fun!

Apple Cup and catching up!

Time is flying. I forgot how busy the holidays can be, and in general I am about ten steps behind on everything. Thus, I have a few catch up post to do...

This weekend was Apple Cup, a football game that happens annually. The game is the University of Washington (evil, horrible, etc) verses Washington State University (perfect, solid, etc). We of course are big WSU supporters. Regardless to how our whole season has gone, this is the most important game. And in years like this year where our season was bad it is even more important. Unfortunately we lost, but it was at least close.

All the same we had a good time eating ribs, and other tail gate food. Stayed nice and warm watching it in our house verses the stadium that was covered in snow. Our little ham-bone was in full force during the game running around, eating pirate booty and collapsing on the dog bed. A good time by all.