Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Coming Out of a Fog

I can't promise I am back to blogging with any regularity (in fact, I can probably promise that I'm not), but I am climbing out of a year and a half funk of post partum depression and thyroid madness, and it feels good to feel like myself again. My pregnancy with Clare was pretty rough, as well, so the "me" I am finding was buried quite a ways down there! I suspected, after the fact, that I had some degree of post partum depression with Felicity, so I figured I knew what to look for after Clare was born. Except I guess I still didn't! After about 9 months of feeling like I was a terrible mother, couldn't parent these children of mine, kinda wishing for a different life, and sleeping a lot more than is normal for me (well.... a lot less than is normal due to a baby, but taking advantage of any opportunity to nap during the day with the house semi falling down around me), I finally went to the doctor. It took a bit to get my thyroid back in business, which was one piece of the puzzle. My doctor was impressed I was functioning as "well" as I was with a TSH of 12! But things still weren't quite right, so she recommended I try an over the counter supplement called 5HTP, which is a serotonin booster. I have to be careful how I take it due to interactions with my thyroid medicine, but I noticed an almost immediate improvement. After a couple months, I started feeling that feeling again, and upped the dose. I'm now at the highest dose, and feeling really great. (Side note: do not take without asking your doctor, especially if you are already on other medications.) The next step (because I can't take any higher of a dose) would be antidepressants of some sort, but I will cross that bridge if and when I need to.

It's nice to enjoy life again and not feel overwhelmed by every single thing that comes my way. One of my friends will see my reaction to something and joke, "wow, those are good meds!!". But it's true! I feel like a different person, or like I used to before, and I am able to appreciate my kids despite the trials of having two littles. When I began to talk to friends about how I was feeling, it was surprising how many people had been through or are currently going through a similar thing. As much as my 'village' helps in other ways, it was incredibly helpful to share resources, vent, and know I wasn't the only one going through this. I'm not totally sure what about our day and age makes PPD/PPA so common (though I have my theories), but it's been amazing to have people to push me to feel better, and to support me. If you aren't feeling like yourself, please, please talk to someone. It can sound scary, daunting, or just downright exhausting to make and attend an appointment (hand raised), but it is so worth it. I wish I had gone sooner, because I think in the back of my head I knew it was an issue, but I was just waiting for it to get better. Instead, I lost a lot of opportunities to bond with my kids or just enjoy the time with them. I am hoping a potential next time around, I'll deal with it sooner!

It also helps that I'm doing things for myself. I haven't done that great of a job of that in the past 3.5 years of being a mom, but I'm making it a priority now and Steven of course supports me 100%. My main desire is for alone time (introvert here!) where children are not needing me or touching me. My secondary desires are for relationships and faith strengthening. So twice a month, 3 friends and I get together for a Bible study. We are using the Blessed Is She series which are deep enough to be moving, but easy enough to not have homework :). We meet at a Panera for about 2.5 hours of food, chatting, and studying. It is SO refreshing!!! I'm also going to a season of plays at a local theater. They happen every other month and have multiple show times, so I should have no problem working around Steven's schedule. I went to the first one last weekend, Doublewide, Texas, and it was hilarious and so much fun! I was gone for about 3.5 hours and felt completely refreshed the next morning, despite being out late and getting less sleep. It is nice to invest in myself, and I know my family will benefit from it, too!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Current Favorites

I have come to accept that I don't have the time or energy to blog anymore. But periodically I sitll want to jot down things that I don't want to forget. These babies are growing SO fast. Literally overnight Felicity quit saying "lellow" and "Selicity" and began saying "yellow" and "Felicity".

Thankfully she is still holding onto pupcakes for cupcakes, Old Mcdonald's for the restaurant, pupperoni instead of pepperoni, and she says paper toilet for, of course, toilet paper.

Felicity went to a parents' night out recently. Well, both girls went, but we only left Clare long enough to go to dinner. Felicity was so excited that we ended up deciding to leave her for the whole thing, from 6-9. She, who even just a few months ago would not leave my side at soccer, ran to the classroom in a place she'd never been before, to people she'd never met before, without a second glance back and Steven or me. She was SO excited and had not an ounce of hesitation. It was so cute to hear her talk about the night as she's rarely away from me for me to hear about something she did that was her own thing. She talked about how the 'blue shirts' helped her... the people running it all wore blue shirts. So cute!

Felicity is obsessed with our neighbor's boys!!! We babysit them for about 8-10 hours a week and walk with them most week day mornings followed by about a half hour of play time... and she still begs to see them! It is so sweet to watch their friendships.

Clare does not talk much at all but has the cutest little personality quirks and mannerisms. She has one version of "If You're Happy And You Know It" that makes her day when it comes on in the car. She turns to look at her sister, beaming, and begins clapping. I often turn it on to boost my own mood! Clare also loves Old McDonald and sings "EIEIO". Felicity often will get up dance during the opening song of her shows, and now Clare does too, even if Felicity isn't. She smiles at me and turns circles until she falls. In fact, the only dance move she has is turning circles haha! *In the interim of writing this and it sitting in my drafts, my sweet baby has had a language explosion! She calls herself "pitty" (pretty) when she puts anything on including but not limited to Steven's work shoes, and a fireman raincoat. She says woof, her version of meow, sissy, Jesus,  and bye bye. She is also super in love with our friend's baby who she has named "me-me" and she now refers to all babies and baby dolls as "me-me".

Clare is really into whatever Felicity is into, which I expected would happen when they were older, and I find precious to see already. Because Felicity is so into Paw Patrol, Clare also likes "deedee" (dogs). Any time Felicity wears her paw patrol shirts and bathing suits, Clare runs to her, points, and exclaims "deedee!". I found a baby sized Skye shirt at Old Navy on clearance and knew she had to have it! So funny that she's "into" things already at this age, just because of her sister! She is also obsessed, OBSESSED with shoes. She wants to wear everyone's shoes, no matter how big, and the crankiest mood can be lifted by putting on a pair of shoes, real or 'dress up', and walking around the house. I have never seen a kid so into shoes!

These girls may wear me on daily... no, more than that!... but I am really loving watching them grow and change!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Baby is 1!!!

Wow, what a year!!! Clare has changed so much, beyond the obvious ways. She started off as a super quiet, laid back baby who nursed about 23 hours a day, for months. She also slept 8-10 hours straight at night. Then the 4 month regression hit, a little early at 3.5 months, and my cool as a cucumber baby became kind of fussy and hard to manage, and woke to nurse a ton at night. Now at a year, she is still kind of .... tempermental :). Teething pain has surprised all of us, and she has 6 teeth that all came in over the course of about as many weeks. She is loud and proud, a little chatterbox, and likes to let you know what she's feeling. Clare is also such a funny little girl! She makes the best faces and cracks up at her sister, being tickled, and lots of other things.She is such an explorer and nothing slows her down. She climbs and goes down slides by herself (even big playground ones), and basically climbs anything she can scale! People keep telling me how tiny she is, which surprises me as she's always been around 65th percentile for height and weight, but I guess she has slimmed down a lot since her 9 month well check due to how insanely active she is! We go on the 16th, so I will find out stats. I've dealt with a bit of post partum depression, largely related to sleep, and that coupled with some crazy thyroid issues has made her first year harder for me than it would have otherwise been. It has also gone even faster than Felicity's first year did. But along the way we have had so many great snuggles because this girl is such a great eater! As brave as she is, she gets overwhelmed in crowds and new settings, and often we retreat to somewhere quiet and I nurse her and kiss her little hands. I have loved those little moments and they've kept me going through the chaos and struggles.



Medical issues: none since the last update!

Sleep: Her sleep has gotten worse, so we're going to begin very slowly night weaning a la Jay Gordon's method. I'm going to choose 4 hours where she won't nurse and Steven will take over during that time, so I'll get a minimum of a 4 hour block of sleep. Then she can nurse/sleep with me. Her adjustment to the toddler bed for naps and the first part of the night was pretty easy, so I'm hoping this goes just as well!

Clothes/diaper size: Same as last month... 12 months clothes (thought I have her in some 18 but they're a bit too big), and size 4 diapers.

Likes: Eating EVERYthing she comes across, especially rocks and mulch at the park. She doesn't actually swallow it, so I don't stop her, much to the dismay of children and parents alike at playgrounds. Clare likes to be tickled, play peek a boo, look through books, nurse and cuddle, kick while nursing and general other gymnurstics, loves to put toys in and out of containers, and loves playground equipment.

Dislikes: Clare does not like having her diaper changed or clothes changed/put on. She is not a fan of swings (so opposite from her sister!), preferring to crawl all over the playground. She does not like bed or nap time, though thankfully is usually down within about 10 minutes.

Nicknames: Clare Bear, Sissy, Clara

Milestones: Clare took her first steps on February 23rd, and a week later was up to 10 steps at a time. Currently she can cross entire rooms and does about 50/50 with walking vs crawling. March 7th was when her climbing really took off. She began climbing any steps she could find, and especially loves climbing up on the couch from a foot stool. Today she figured out how to get off the couch by herself by sliding down on her belly, so maybe I'll have a few less heart attacks ;).

I don't want to forget this: Clare and Felicity have begun to play with each other in the back seat of the car and it is SO CUTE to watch and hear. Felicity will hold Clare's hands and they giggle, or they'll make faces or noises at each other. Felicity will also hold Clare's hands and walk her around the room. It's great practice for Clare and Felicity feels like such a big shot for helping. Clare sometimes tackles Felicity, and it is so much fun to watch her initiate play with her sister! I can't wait to see how much more this fun and wild personality of hers develops!!

Monday, February 20, 2017

My Big Kid is 3!!!!

The little girl who made me a mommy is 3 today. I can't believe it! The year from 2 to 3 has hands down been my favorite, and I'm excited to see what 3 holds. I did not think the 2s were terrible at all. Watching her grow, learn, and become her own person has been such a fun ride. Felicity is smart as a whip, tender hearted, assertive some of the time, and shy some of the time. I often say I never know what I'll get with her. I guess she's like a box of chocolates ;). For her birthday, we threw a Paw Patrol family party complete with a pink cake with purple icing that she requested. Today we're going to a giant indoor play place and having ice cream sundaes for supper! She got lots of paw patrol toys as well as a cleaning kit, outdoor toy kitchen, and our big gift to her is magnatiles... which we can't wait to play with :).

Height: 38 inches... she had a growth spurt this year and looks so tall to me now! She outgrew our back up car seat (even though it's rated for 40 lbs 40 in) almost over night.

Weight: 36.5 lbs; during that growth spurt, Felicity also went from a 2T to a 4T. She has almost no 3T clothes to pass down to Clare because we barely had anything in that size before the pants got too short. I do think her diaper affects that somewhat, but 4T clothes seem more comfortable for her.

Medical issues: Poor girl has some major constipation issues we're puzzled by and trying to solve, which also seems to be affecting potty training, so that's on the back burner until we get everything figured out for her. Other than that, she's had a couple small bugs and colds this year but has actually been the healthiest out of the 4 of us. Multiple times the rest of us would have something, and she'd never catch it.

Sleep: About a month ago, Felicity gave up naps. I don't mind because she still has a "rest" where she stays in her room for about 90 minutes. Sometimes she stays in bed and other times gets out, but she plays quietly. This gives me down time while Clare is down, or time to nurse/keep Clare down while she is in her room, so it works out really well. She has put herself to bed easily and slept through the night the entire past year, with (thankfully) no regressions when Clare was born, or anything like that. She's a great sleeper! Felicity usually sleeps anywhere from 6:30/7;30pm to 6/7 am. Some days she will sleep til 7:30! I realize that may be early for some, but it is luxurious here.

Clothes/diaper size: As I mentioned before, she's mostly in 4T. I suspect she'll be in them for quite a while, but she could surprise me! Felicity is wearing a size 6 diaper.

Likes: Everything Paw Patrol! Her imagination has exploded over the last few months, and she will easily spend an hour in her room or at the kitchen table playing with her paw patrol toys (and she has LOTS of them because we apparently have no self control). From 1 until about 2.5, she didn't care much for toys, especially if she was playing alone. Most of her things went untouched and she was much more into reading, dancing, arts and crafts, etc. Now she will get out Little People, puzzles, her doctor kit and so many other things and come up with her own little scenarios. I have a blast peeking in at her to see what she's playing. It's such a fascinating glimpse into her little brain.

Felicity loves naming colors, numbers, shapes, days of the week and letters. She's has them down for probably close to the last year, except days of the week which are very new for her, and is now starting to enjoy trying to copy letters (as of this week). She is incredibly easy to teach. I have never 'formally' taught her anything. She watches educational shows, we sing songs, read, and I point out things in every day life and she absorbs them almost immediately. I'm always surprised when I teach her something once or twice (like how to pray the children's rosary where you just say the names of the prayers) and she will do it on her own days or even weeks later. I hope she is always this much of a sponge.

She also enjoys just about any show on Rootle (the PBS kids' channel), any book that comes her way especially Berenstain bears, dress up, snacks, and night snuggles.

Dislikes: Felicity is very, very tender and is, dare I say outraged?, when someone hits or pushes her, or takes her toys. Though she of course will offend others in the same way, it is so hurtful to her when it happens to her. Much to my dismay, she does not really like kisses or hugs. She might run up and hug me once or twice a day, but that's about it. Kisses are almost nonexistent. She doesn't like loud noises, anything in her shoes, or wearing coats even when it's cold!

Nicknames: She mostly requests to be called Skye (Paw Patrol), and we call her Tickle, Big Girl, baby, and sissy.

I don't want to forget this: Felicity has matured so much this year! She's pretty good at using her manners, although she's a little 'bossy' ;). She LOVES nursery (1x a month) and being left with neighbors (maybe 3-4x a month) where 8 or so months ago she would have dissolved in tears at being left. Now she runs off, refusing a hug goodbye. Probably out of necessity, Felicity has become much more independent since Clare was born. She gets her own diapers and wipes, along with her sister's, and throws away the dirty ones. She's putting her dishes in the sink and sometimes will wipe up her messes. She is pretty good about putting things away, and seems to like things having a 'place'. She's very much a preschooler and not a toddler anymore!

I love watching the special relationships she has with her grandparents. She warms up to them almost immediately, if not immediately, and loves to play with and cuddle them. It's also been so fun to watch her with her sister! Although sometimes it's frustrating how rough she is with her, there are also tons of sweet moments where she'll try to comfort Clare if I can't get to her right away, saying things like "it's ok baby; your mommy is right here!". She also is cute about sharing her food with Clare, which she won't do with anyone else!

I love this girl so much!!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Clare Sophia: 11 Months

One more month until I'm the mom of a toddler, instead of a baby! Today is her last first holiday (besides her 1st birthday, of course).

Weight: 21.5ish lbs, she's slimmed out and slowed down! 

Height: No clue! 

Medical issues: None really except super fussy sooooooo much of the time! I only put it under medical because I think it's due to teething. She will have a good week, then a few hard weeks and *pop* a tooth appears. 

Sleep: Thankfully she is sleeping until 6 or 6:30 most days! We moved her into the toddler bed for naps and to start the night, and it was SO EASY! I figured she was ready because she wasn't sleeping as well and, while she's not doing much of the night in there yet, it has been such a simple transition. I would say 90% of the time she is asleep within 10 minutes. Such a difference from her sister who took 60-90 minutes to fall asleep for many months! She is still napping twice a day; usually she does a 30 ish minute morning nap and about an hour and a half in the afternoon. She goes to bed around 6 or 6:30. 

Clothes/diaper size: Still mostly 12 months with a couple 12-18. She was wearing bigger sizes than her age for the longest time and now we seem to be hanging out in this set of clothes for a while! 

Likes: hanging on mommy, laughing at/with her sister, wrestling with her sister in small doses, climbing anything she possibly can, eating (finally!) 

Dislikes: me sitting on the couch AT ALL EVER (so exhausting, wee one), me leaving the room, poopy diapers, having her diaper or clothes changed 

Nicknames: Clare Bear, Clara (her alter ego) 

Milestones: January 15th she got tooth #2 (her other bottom/middle tooth). On January 22nd, she started cruising, and REALLY picked up on it on February 10th. Also on February 10th, Clare realized she can climb! She climbs up the baby slide by herself, uses the foot stool to get on the couch, and a step stool to climb into a kitchen chair. She is one adventurous girl!!! On February 11th, her top right tooth broke through and I can see the top left one working it's way under the gums... which explains why she's been pretty  miserable; poor girl :(. 

I don't want to forget this: Goodness, she makes the best faces!!! Clare can do the funniest little contortions with her face and erase an entire tough morning with one goofy look at me! 

She is super ticklish and lately the palms of her hand get her laughing SO hard! I love to tickle her and smother her in kisses. 

If Clare is not happy about something, she will slowly fall to the floor and lay on her back. So dramatic!!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Clare Sophia: 10 Months

Double digit months!!!! For once, I wasn't going to be sentimental about something, but then Steven said "she'll never be single digit months again!!!" and I got all verklempt.

Weight: 21.5ish lbs

Height: Yard stick broke so not sure lol.

Medical issues: So last month I shared (again) that Clare has been kind of difficult and cries a lot, particularly with me. Well, guess what? The issue has been solved and it had nothing to do with her. It was all me! My thyroid was completely out of whack and was manifesting itself in PPD-like symptoms. Clare was feeding off of that, and in turn I thought she was super fussy, especially with me, and did not want to be around her much. I am SO SO SO glad I finally figured it out and am being treated because she and I have both been a night and day difference, and trying not to focus on the 2+ months I basically lost with her because I was a mess :(. Anyway, medically this past month she's been great. A tiny bit rashy here or there but nothing too bad. I've even been able to give her a tiny bit of dairy on occasion without a rash flareup! 

Sleep: Basically the same as always but mornings are soooooo hard because she's waking up in the 5am hour having to poop. I can't change the time she poops! So we are both up very early and are very tired. She's having 3 naps often because she can't make it to her first nap time getting up that early. So I'm crossing my fingers and hoping Clare's poops will at some point wait until at least 6!!!! 

Clothes/diaper size: 12 months for the most part, although I've pulled out a couple seasonably appropriate 12-18m things that she has worn and they aren't super big! She's in a size 4 diaper and I imagine will be for a while. 

Likes: to hang things out of her mouth and give her mother a heart attack, like a toy drum stick while crawling; pacifiers to play with; pouches for breakfast; pulling hair

Dislikes: playing alone on the floor for more than 20 min or so without me down there to keep her company (she doesn't want/need me to play with her but just wants me close by), 

Nicknames: Clare Bear, Rocky (dubbed Rocky by her Paw Patrol obsessed sister)

Milestones: At the very end of December, Clare started climbing stairs. Of course she gave me yet another heart attack by climbing our brick porch steps, but now that I know to watch for her heading that way, I can spot her and she does a great job! She later climbed almost all the way up our friends' stairs at their house. On Jan 4th, Clare stood for a couple seconds unassisted. She has done it more and more since then, probably peaking at 5-10 seconds at a time. On the 12th, she began standing up from the sitting position on her own, without using us or furniture to pull up. 

I don't want to forget this: She is still my funny and silly girl. Clare is constantly putting random things to her head like a phone. When she stands, she will often put both hands up beside her ears like "look ma! no hands!" and is so proud of herself. She has this one tooth that she'll smile with her bottom jaw jutted out so all you see is this little tooth sticking out, and it gets me every time! Clare just makes such funny faces all the time.