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Parenthood is fraught with fear.  Sometimes even terror.  Always anxiety at the very least.  No one tells you this ahead of time…not that you’d believe them anyway.  Before I became a parent I had the same ideas everyone has before they become parents.  I thought I would have way more control than I actually do.  The truth is I have very little control and it freaks me out all the time.  For example, tonight I was getting William dressed after his bath.  He was lying on our bed…or rather he was supposed to be lying on our bed.  In reality, he was rolling all over, bouncing around and doing naked back-flips.  He came dangerously close to the edge once & I caught him and yanked him back over towards me.  As I was attempting to get a diaper on him, he rolled away from me again, and then it happened…he did a back-flip right off the other side of the bed onto the (hardwood) floor.  My heart lurched.  He was screaming immediately and he was in my arms seconds later.  It happened too fast for me to stop him and it could have been bad…very, very bad.  As it was I kept him up later than normal just to watch him.  He seems fine.  No bumps or bruises so far.  His speech was fine.  He was walking fine.  It’s been over an hour and I just went in to check on him…tried to wake him slightly.  He seems fine.  I’m still going to worry all night.

It’s not just the physical injuries I fear though…it’s the less visible emotional injuries.  I know they are going to get their feelings hurt.  I know it’s unavoidable and even sometimes necessary.  I just hate the thought of them hurting for any reason.  I worry about us screwing them up as parents.  Does every parent worry about that?  The worst part is I know that no matter how much knowledge and wisdom I amass in my lifetime I can never give it all to them.  I can never keep them from making the very same mistakes I have made.  The mistakes I’ve made are countless and some of them are huge.  The thought of my children going through what I put myself through absolutely kills me.  Kills me!  I know there is no way I can 100% prevent them from going down those same roads.  I have the advantage of knowing, at least to a large extent, what led me down those paths.  I just can’t control how they will internalize things, how they will deal with being hurt emotionally.  I can’t control what is in their genes any more than I can control what is in mine.  The chances of one or both of them dealing with serious depression are pretty good.  I hope it’s caught early, and I hope they understand through watching me that it’s ok.  Depression certainly doesn’t have to be the end of the world…it sucks, but it can be dealt with and people (like me) go on to have happy, pretty normal lives.  It weighs heavily on my mind though…and my kids are still so young…there are plenty of other things for me to worry about.

I look at my kids pretty much every day and wonder what they will be like when they are older.  Of course, I would like to think that they’ll be angelic, perfect teenagers and wonderful, productive adults.  Then I remember –  I know their parents, and that’s  really unlikely…not to say we aren’t productive adults, but we certainly weren’t angelic, perfect teenagers (as if there is such a thing)!  So the thought of my children being teenagers terrifies me.  Completely.

I see why people tell me to soak up all the sweetness while they’re so young, even though I’m usually looking tired and frazzled when people are telling me this (because I have 2 toddlers).  I see the sweetness everyday.  Sometimes it’s just glimpses amongst the chaos that my little bundles of energy create, but it’s there.  And I do try to take it all in and soak up every ounce.  They’re growing and changing so fast and it’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

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Sigh…Another day at home with sick kids.  I guess this explains some of their less-than-ideal behavior over the last few days.

I feel bad that my frustration level (with the kids) has been so high lately.  Knowing they are sick makes me way more tolerant, but even so, there will be a glass of wine or 2 at the end of this very long day!  I worried about the kids all night.  When their temperatures jump way up I don’t sleep well…I’m listening for them constantly.  Anna had fallen asleep on the living room floor last night around 5:30, so I knew she must be feeling really, really bad.  She didn’t want dinner (even though I made strawberry pancakes for them).  She told me she wanted to play with her trains, so I told her that was fine.  I looked in her room 2 minutes later to find her lying on the floor *barely* moving a train back & forth on a piece of track…2 minutes after that she was asleep again.  I moved her to her crib & she slept until 7ish this morning.  I didn’t hear a peep out of her all night.  William seemed fine when I put him to bed, but was awake at 1am.  His temperature had shot back up into the 101’s.  A dose of Motrin and a bottle later he went back to sleep without too much fuss.  I checked on Anna while I was up.  She stirred a bit while I took her temperature (almost 103!) and asked for some water.  A dose of Motrin and a few sips of water later she went right back to sleep.  Me…not so much.  I slept lightly, I swear I heard the kids every time they rolled over in their cribs and I was up before 7 as usual…even though I knew I wouldn’t be going to work today.

We’ve already made a trip to the pediatrician since they are both so prone to ear infections.  Everything looks fine, so we’ll just have to ride this virus out I guess.

Here I sit with the laptop in my lap…typing a blog entry when I really have 100 other things I could/should be doing.  I really need to sit down and prioritize my to-do list!  Since we have a rather major home improvement project on the horizon I could be doing some early prep work for that.  I really should be doing laundry or cleaning the kitchen or picking up the toys that are E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.  I could sort through all the kids’ clothes that need to be prepared for consignment.  I could make Mark the music CD’s he’s been bugging me about for the past 6 months.  (Seriously, Mark, I know you know how to make a CD!).  I should also probably eat something today since it’s almost 1pm and all I’ve had so far is coffee.  But no, I think I’ll just blog.  About nothing.

I’m amazed at how my maternal instincts shift when the kids are sick…it’s so automatic.  I monitor temperatures, keep up with their Motrin/Tylenol dosing schedules, sponge their little heads with cool, damp cloths when their fevers spike back up.  I rub their little backs and brush the hair back from their faces.  I’m gentler, more patient…and I worry because I’m their mom and that’s what I do.

When each of my kids was born I felt that sudden, overwhelming feeling of responsibility…that rush of knowledge that it was my sole purpose in life to nurture and protect them.  If I step back and look at it, that responsibility is so monumental, so huge that it’s scary, but as I’ve learned since I first became a mother in June 2008, it’s something I just do.  One foot in front of the other…So when they are sick or hurt I’ve noticed that Mark and I both shift into auto-pilot.  We hold them and soothe them and check on them way more than normal…we make decisions on who is going to miss work, who will take them to the doctor, who will make a trip to the pharmacy.  And it’s no big deal anymore…not that we don’t worry about them being sick, it’s just what we do because we love them and because we are Daddy and Mama.

As my cousin was discussing on her blog the other day…parenting is largely instinctual…it’s innate or at least it should be.  This week the news had made me sick to my stomach more than once.  There’s the Casey Anthony thing…I’m not even going to get started on that, because it makes me ILL.  Then there were 2 kids (3 years old and 2 months old) that were left in a car one town over from here by their grandmother.  Thankfully someone called the police when they did because the little one was dangerously close to dying.  It’s not just intelligence that makes a person not do something like leave small children in a car with a window barely cracked in 90+ degree heat.  It’s instinct, it’s common sense.  It’s the internal drive to make sure your offspring survive and thrive.  It’s the natural order of things, at least for humans.

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It’s been a busy long weekend here.  The kids have been alternating between very well behaved and complete heathens.  Not always at the same time.  That’s been fun.  William has enjoyed (or not) many time-outs and Anna has been threatened with time-out several times.  Thankfully, threatening is all I usually have to do with her…it works, at least temporarily.  The other thing that’s suddenly working for her is counting.  I have officially turned into my mother with this one.  “Anna!  ONE…” (She gives me a mischievous look), “TWO…” (She usually starts doing whatever she’s been asked to do).  If I actually get to three and take a step toward her she scrambles to do whatever she’s supposed to be doing.  Why does this work?  I don’t actually threaten her with any sort of punishment.  I don’t say, “if I get to three you’re going to time out” or anything…she just somehow instinctively knows that if I’m counting I must mean business.  What the heck?!  Kids are weird.

William couldn’t care less whether I’m counting or not…maybe he’ll catch on to that eventually.  I hope so because it’s almost kind of magic.  Much easier than listening to him scream through a timeout…he hasn’t caught on to that totally yet either.  There has been A LOT of, “William don’t throw that.  William!  DO. NOT. THROW. THAT!  William!  If you throw that you’re going to time out.”  He throws whatever it is about 75% of the time.  I guess 75% is progress from 100%, right?  Yesterday he pulled a whole handful of Anna’s hair out of her head.  I left the room, Anna started screaming, I run back in and her ponytail was all skewed on her head.  William had a big handful of hair and Anna was (rightfully) upset.  He went to timeout.  She got her ponytail re-done and after a little soothing from me she was ok.  Argh!  William is a terror lately.

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A quick recap of our weekend…Friday Anna had her last swimming lesson.  She loved getting a little pool time 4 afternoons as week.  She was already really comfortable with the water, so she didn’t need much (any) help with that.  She learned to paddle around using either a pool noodle type thing or a floaty ring.  By the last few days of lessons she was paddling around the pool (with one of the above floatation devices) without the instructor holding on to her at all.  She seemed a little resistant to the instructor letting go of her at first, but by the end she seemed to like it.

Saturday was a day of cleaning, grocery shopping and yard work.  Saturday night Mark and I had a date night.  We had a really good dinner at The Opera House and then a few drinks at The American Legion (OMG we miss The Pub!).  We were home by 10:30 and in bed not much later.  Man, we’re getting old!

Sunday we did more yard work and more housework.  We had some friends over for a little cookout.  The kids stayed up a little later than usual because our friends brought their daughter who is just a few weeks older than William.  They played in the sprinkler and had a good time.  We put William to bed an hour or so later than usual, but kept Anna up to watch some fireworks.  She was NOT a fan of the noise.  We were pretty surprised how freaked out she was by it…usually she’s so fearless.  Mark shot off a couple of things, but it was clear that Anna was just not having it, so we went ahead and put her to bed as well…about 2 hours later than usual.  She was ready to go.  We stayed up and sat around on the porch talking until 11ish before calling it a night ourselves.  We did a few more fireworks, but nothing spectacular.

Today Mark got up with the kids & I got to sleep in a little.  We did a little sidewalk chalk, we played briefly in the backyard, then the kids had snacks and went down for their naps.  Anna gave me a pretty hard time about naptime, but she went down eventually.  Mark and I rushed to the garden to do a little weeding & tie up the tomato plants that had started to sprawl everywhere.  We got most of it done…still some weeding left to do, but it was about to rain & we were hearing lots of thunder in the distance.  Mark managed to squeeze in a little more mowing & threw some fertilizer on the garden just before it started to rain.  The garden looks as good as it has ever looked.  Our corn probably get the award for most improved…we’ve never had much luck with it before, but it’s looking really nice this year.  We have 4 cantaloupes about  the size of softballs, so maybe they’ll be ready in a couple weeks.  We (finally) have tomatoes on our tomato plants, but they are still small and green.  I’m hoping we have better luck with those this year too…We never have much luck with our tomato plants for some reason.  We’ve gotten a few zucchini, one squash (just yesterday), a few jalapenos, maybe 1 poblano pepper and a TON of cucumbers.  Mark has made at least one batch of pickles.  We’re still waiting for the green beans and the watermelons.

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We’re in the process of preparing for a rather large renovation project.  It has needed done for a  very long time, but it’s kind of involved and I think Mark just wasn’t ready to tackle it until now.  I’ll post some after pictures once it’s complete, here are the before pics (excuse the mess on the indoor ones…this room has become kind of a catchall):

This is the back (or really the side) of our house.  That’s the main door that we use to come and go…

Facing the dining room…the interior window (why is that necessary?) to the right goes into Anna’s room:

The crappy door and windows (note the plastic sheeting over the windows and the exposed insulation that’s been stuffed next to the door – stylish, yes?):

The closed door here is William’s room.  See the square of wood screwed to the floor?  It’s covering a hole.

There are 5 doors off this room…the one to the left goes into a small hallway off of which leads to Anna’s room, our room and the bathroom.  You can just barely see the edge of the doorframe on the right…that one goes into our front foyer from which our bedroom is on the left, the living room is on the right and our front door is straight ahead.  Also…the blue ceiling?  That’s gotta go!

It has looked like crap for a long time.  The wood siding has gotten so old that it no longer holds paint and it’s starting to rot in places.  The wood all around the eaves needs replaced.  The door was not installed properly and we have trouble with it constantly.  We either have a hard time opening it (it sticks) or we have a hard time getting it to close all the way.  It’s a completely energy waster in the winter especially…cold air just pours in around the door.  There is very little insulation in the walls and NONE over the ceiling.  The wood floor on the inside is old and soft…so soft that when I walked across it one day (carrying William no less) it cracked below my feet and I looked back to see a nice hole.  The windows are about as energy efficient as the door.  Oh, and where the door is positioned is awful when it rains.  All the water from that side of the house (a rather large area) runs into that valley of the roof and comes down in the corner right by the door.  We can’t get gutters big enough to hold all that water…so it all just pours off the roof…right on to the steps in front of the door.  It’s awesome!  So…here’s the plan:

I’m leaving town for the weekend on the 22nd, with both kids.  I’m really heartbroken that I’m going to miss all this fun, but someone has to take care of the children, right?  😉  My brother-in-law has so kindly offered to help Mark with this rather large project…we have an electrician friend helping with the wiring and a couple of other friends that will help other random manual labor tasks.  Thank goodness for friends and for a really nice brother-in-law!  I promise to make a grocery run before I leave town so they will all be well fed and there will be plenty of beer for AFTER each work day is done.  🙂  Anyway, Mark and I will prep the room the week before.  I’ll take down anything hanging on the walls.  We’ll move the computer desk into the living room (which we’ve been planning to do anyway), we’ll take down our dining room table and move it to the shop (it needs some work anyway) and move the big rolltop desk that is the bane of my existence into the dining room.  The bookshelf may go in there too and then a piece or 2 will temporarily reside in our bedroom.  Mark will take all the door & window trim down along with all the (crappy…there’s that word again!) molding.  We’ll also get all the new wood siding painted and ready to go.  After the kids and I leave the house Friday morning, Mark will start tearing out the floor and walls.  Hopefully (ha!) they won’t run into any snags, but with an old house you just never know what you’re going to find when you start a project like this.  It’s going to take weeks to finish.  The plan of the one weekend (when my brother-in-law comes over) is to get one wall reframed (we’re moving the door to the middle of that wall…it’ll have a window on either side), the siding up and the subfloor and wood floor in place.  If they work really hard, they can hopefully get the drywall hung inside too.  Mark and I will have to work on finishing the drywall (and floor) later.  I don’t even want to think about how long it will be before we’re able to actually get it all painted and get the trim and moldings back in place and painted.   Oh, and there will be a small deck to build too…at least eventually…it will be just sort of a long landing to provide a little space between the steps and the door…Can you tell I’m excited?  And a bit terrified too?  I’m looking forward to documenting it all here…Anyone have suggestions for wall color?  I’m still on the fence.  I do want a color more so than a neutral…but I want to keep it light because our house is so dark overall.  At the moment the front-runner is a very pale icy blue aqua color.  Is that weird?  It just screams old house to me.  🙂

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Sometimes I have an off day as a mother…or a whole string of off days. This weekend was one of those times. My patience was shorter than usual, the kids were clingier/whinier than usual and it was just not a good combination for anyone involved.

We woke Saturday morning to a nice summer thunderstorm – perfect sleeping-in weather. Not that anyone slept-in at our house! Mark got up with the kids both Saturday and Sunday, so I guess I can’t complain…I got to stay in bed, but after listening to Anna say “Get OUT, get OUT” (as in “get me the heck out of this crib people!”)about a thousand times and hearing William chant “Mama-mama-mama-mama” incessantly, I was no longer sleeping. I tried though. Oh how I wanted to sleep! No luck.
The power went off around 9am and was off for at least 2 hours. Toddlers don’t understand what is powered by electricity and they don’t really accept “the power is out” for an answer. The electricity came back on just before nap time so we made the kids lunch and put them down for naps. Thankfully they slept, but not as long as I would have liked.
Sunday was much the same. We got up and we all got dressed, we made a trip to Lowe’s to price a few more things for our upcoming big home improvement project (more on that to come!). The kids were pretty well behaved, but about 2/3 of the way there it started to rain. Torrentially. Is that even a word? WordPress says no – I say it is. Anyway, on the way back home as we were coming into Martin the traffic lights were out…not a good sign. 😦 Sure enough, our power was out again. It stayed off for even longer that time. It was nap time when we got home, but that didn’t go well. William still wants a bottle before his naps at home, but we had no way to warm it. That didn’t please him. He didn’t sleep. Anna played for awhile in her crib before alternately screeching and demanding to be released from her baby cage. I wanted a nap. I needed a nap…and I’m not usually much of a napper. It wasn’t happening. In the middle of this William starts screaming, I went in, settled him down and went back to bed myself. 5 minutes later he was SCREAMING…turns out he had his leg stuck in the crib slats. About this time my mother-in-law drops by…not the best timing. This was getting to be a comedy of errors! Oh, but it wasn’t over yet! During my mother-in-law’s quick visit, we got both kids up. They weren’t sleeping anyway, and I had *just* freed William from his crib slats. We fed them some lunch. Maybe they were hungry and couldn’t sleep? We let them play for a little while. The power FINALLY came back on and we were able to get William to bed with a warm bottle. We tried putting Anna back down, but it was just more of the same. I finally gave up and brought Anna to bed with me. Mistake! I’d close my eyes for a minute and she’d be quiet, then I’d open my eyes and she’d be inches from my face. She thought this was hilarious. Then she started trying to pry my eyes open with her fingers. Then she stopped that and decided to comment on anything and everything in our room. I finally gave up and told her to go in the living room with her Daddy. I still didn’t get a nap. Neither did Anna.
Later that evening it became apparent that Anna still needs to nap. She had a HUGE tantrum…I’m not even sure what it was about…In the midst of it, I gave her a bath…she loves baths and had high hopes that this would settle her down. Nope. It went on for 30 or 45 minutes. Mark finally got her settled enough to read a couple bedtime stories and I think she was asleep before her head hit the pillow.
I bathed William while Mark tried to settle Anna. He was upset because Anna was upset. He suddenly decided that he loves the tub and doesn’t want to get out. I had to practically pry him from the tub. I somehow managed to get him dressed while he flails all around. I make him a bottle, I sit down in the rocking chair in his room and try to read him some bedtime books. He wants his Daddy. His Daddy is still in with his sister. I stall. Mark finally puts Anna to bed and I hand off William. I breathe a huge sigh of relief and walk to the garden. Ahhhh…the garden is quiet!
Today was a bit better. My patience at least lasted through Anna’s swim lesson (probably only because I hadn’t seen my children all day). Once we got home, they were tired and hungry. William was whiny. Anna was clingy. It was a mess. We managed to get through dinner and the bath/bedtime routine, but I’m just not feeling like the best mama lately.
We’re struggling with 3 year old tantrums and trying to find what works to either stop them or prevent them. I’m not even sure either is possible. We’re also dealing with the early onset of the terrible twos. William is a handful! He throws his toys. Not out of anger…or at least not always, but just because he thinks it’s funny. It’s less funny when he hits someone (me or Anna usually). Speaking of hitting…he thinks that’s funny too. Again, not usually in anger, but just because he seems to think it’s fun. Now if he does get mad, he breaks out the triple-threat…he throws things, he hits, AND he bites. Awesome. So, he’s been getting a lot of time outs lately. I think he’s still too young to really understand them, unfortunately, because they don’t seem to be getting the point across. I just keep doing it over and over and over again. Maybe one of these days he’ll make the connection. This aggression is something I want to nip in the bud!
Well…that was quite the bitch-fest about my children! I love them both dearly, but they are both going through some challenging stages.

In contrast…Anna has adopted my latest “happy” song as her personal favorite song ever. If she sees me plug in the iPod, I must play it! When it’s over she wants me to play it again…and again…and again. Ad nauseum.
Here it is:

I really do love this song…even if I have heard it about 500 times in the past week! It really does put me in a good mood. I got to thinking about the lyrics…because usually the songs I like best are ones whose message I can relate to. This one is about a lifestyle that is way more jetset than my life has ever been (or will likely ever be). So I got to thinking about it Saturday afternoon during my weekly grocery run…Despite my not-so-great weekend with the kids, they are what my good life is all about. Despite their tantrums and the headaches that they cause, they make me happy beyond belief…so I decided to write my own little parody. You can thank me later. I’ve kept a few lines of the original song because they still fit, but overall…this ain’t about jetsetting. 🙂

The Good Life (of a parent)

Woke up in the hospital yesterday
Found myself in the nursery
Brand new baby
Took me so very long to get here.
I got some pictures on my phone
New names and numbers that I don’t know
Pediatricians at work and home.
Day turns to night.
Night turns to another long day.
We’re way too old we say

Oh, this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life.
Oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight.
Yeah, we probably won’t sleep tonight, but
This could really be a good life.
A good, good life.

To all my friends on Facebook I say hello
Old friends from The Pub they don’t know
Where we’ve been for the past few years or so
Diapers to sippies to stale Cheerios
Sometimes there’s tantrums, they won’t calm down
Discipline tactics that don’t work out
We’ve got our stories, but please tell me what there’s to complain about

When you’re happy like a fool
You let it take you over
When everything is out
You gotta take it in.

Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life
Oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight
Yeah, we probably won’t sleep tonight, but
This could really be a good life, a good, good life

Hopelessly. I feel like there might be something that I’ll miss.
Hopelessly. I feel like the window closes oh, so quick.
Hopelessly. I’m taking a mental picture of you now.
Hopeleslly. The hope is we have so much to feel good about.

Oh, this has gotta be the good life,
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life
Oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight
Yeah, we probably won’t sleep tonight, but
This could really be a good life.
A good, good life.

To all my friends on Facebook I say hello
Old friend from The Pub they don’t know
Where we’ve been for the last few years or so
Diapers to sippies to stale Cheerios
Sometimes there’s tantrums, they won’t calm down
Discipline tactics that don’t work out
We have our stories, but please tell me what there’s to complain about.

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And now, after that silliness, I’m off to bed. I’m sure I have another challenging day ahead of me tomorrow!

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The following is yet another blog post inspired by a song.  A song I probably wouldn’t even like if it weren’t for the subject matter involved.  Actually, I used to always change the station when this song came on…it’s not really my thing, but one day I listened to it and it struck a chord.  Or hit a nerve.  Or both.  Now I listen to it a lot because I feel what he’s saying…I’ve lived the lyrics.

My version (and there’s actually a Part 1 and Part 2) started when Anna was about 3 months old.  As I have mentioned in previous posts it was around that time that I was not sure my marriage was going to make it.  I was having a tough time, and in all fairness, I’m sure Mark was too.  I just wouldn’t know because we didn’t talk about it at the time.  We did a lot of hurting each other…not on purpose, but out of frustration, out of sleep deprivation…and at least on my end, because I didn’t know what to do with myself.  My life (with a colicky baby) was unrecognizable.  I was depressed, I was tired and I was scared that things would never feel ok again.  Then when Anna was 4 months old, Mark quit his job.  I had never gone back to work after my maternity leave.  We were both suddenly unemployed.  I understood his reasons.  I didn’t disagree, but it put us in a very tight spot.  We were lucky to both find something within a few weeks…both at the same place, both doing what we had been doing before.  It was an ill-fated career move, but I would’ve taken just about anything at that point.  We worked those jobs for 6 months and managed to make it past the colic stage with Anna.  Money was still tight.  I ended up having to put Anna on TennCare (that’s Medicaid for those outside the State of Tennessee) because we had no insurance through our company.  I also broke down and applied for WIC…that stands for Women Infants Children…it’s public assistance of a sort.  A program that provides vouchers for certain food items to nursing mothers, infants & children.  I did it because we needed it.  There was a lot of putting my pride aside and doing what I had to do to get us through.  I didn’t want to…I seriously did not want to!  I found the whole Medicaid/WIC experience humiliating…which could be simply due to my own personal hang ups, but it hurt my pride.  It sucked.

We did that for 6 or 7 months, then we both lost our jobs…at the same time.  Once again, we were both unemployed…this time, thankfully with unemployment benefits, but that will only get you so far.  It was in this mercifully short period of time when we were both unemployed that things shifted.  It was a nightmare in so many ways, but it was an experience helped us find our footing again in our marriage.  We had each other and our daughter…and not much else.  This is when I remember sitting up talking…laughing because if I didn’t I’d cry.  I remember it like it was yesterday…that feeling of being constantly on the verge of tears.  I’d wake up in the morning and feel normal for about 10 seconds before reality set in, I remembered the state that our lives were in and the lump in my throat returned.  The only solace sometimes was sitting up at night after Anna was in bed…drinking cheap wine and talking to Mark and laughing.

Then I got a job.  Mark became a stay-at-home-dad for 4 months or so.  Things felt better for about a week…then I found out I was pregnant again.  Mark didn’t take it well.  I struggled with his reaction.  I knew a lot of why he felt the way he did, but it didn’t change the reality of it…and it didn’t change the way his reaction hurt me.  Our relationship had taken a big step forward in the previous month, but when I found out I was pregnant for the second time (surprise!) it took two very large steps back.  It wasn’t until the following Spring…a whole year later…that we recovered.  Much in the same way as before…It started with a short trip without the kids and it continued through the Spring.  We’d sit up and talk on the weekend after the kids went to bed.  We still do.  It’s nice to have that time to reconnect and talk about our week after the kids are in bed.  We still struggle…with money, with the kids, with everything, but our tough time in 2009 was a solidifying event for us.  We figured out what was most important to us…and we ended up on the same page.  For the first time I felt like I knew we were working towards the same goals.  One of which was/is making this work.  Our marriage and our little family.  I guess it was a true test of our marriage, and we somehow managed to come together and push through.

And here’s the song (written by:  John Daniel O’Donoghue, Mark Anthony Sheehan)

For the First Time by The Script

She’s all laid up in bed with a broken heart,
While I’m drinking Jack all alone in my local bar,
And we don’t know how,
How we got in to this mad situation,
Only doing things out frustration,
Trying to make it work but man these times are hard.

She needs me now but I can’t seem to find a time,
I’ve got a new job now on the unemployment line,
And we don’t know how,
How we got into this mess is it gods test,
Someone help us cause we’re doing our best,
Trying to make it work but man these times are hard

But we’re gonna start by
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
Shit talking up all night,
Saying things we haven’t for a while
A while yeah
We’re smiling but we’re close tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time

She’s in line at the dole
With her head held high
While I just lost my job but
Didn’t lose my pride

But we both know how,
How we’re gonna make it work when it hurts,
When you pick yourself up,
You get kicked to the dirt,
Trying to make it work but,
Man these times are hard.

But we’re gonna start by,
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
Shit talking up all night,
Doing things we haven’t for a while,
A while yeah,
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting for the first time.

Yeah…
Drinking old cheap bottles of wine,
Shit talking up all night,
Sayings thing we haven’t for a while,
We’re smiling but we’re close to tears,
Even after all these years,
We just now got the feeling that we’re meeting, for the first time

Oh these times are hard,
Yeah they’re making us crazy
Don’t give up on me baby

Oh these times are hard,
Yeah they’re making us crazy
Don’t give up on me baby

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Well…Anna’s birthday has come and gone.  I don’t even think I cried at all…although I teared up a little a couple times during the day…especially when I posted on Facebook at 4:06pm…that’s exactly when she was born.

I didn’t take nearly enough pictures this weekend, but the few I did take I’ll share in a few minutes.  I think Anna had a good birthday.  This was the first year that she was actually aware that it was her birthday and that birthdays are special.  Mark & I both worked all day, so she spent the bulk of her birthday at daycare.  I made cupcakes for her class, and they sang to her (which she reportedly didn’t like much ), so at least her day was a little extra special.  I can’t believe how my baby girl has changed and grown…the obligatory birthday picture progression:

Sorry for the poor quality of the 3rd birthday picture, but I think it’s the only one I got of her on her actual birthday.  Mark took it Gran’s house that evening on his Blackberry.  She was feeling extra-sassy with her new sunglasses on…the jacket is a swimsuit cover-up that goes with her new swimsuit from Mickey.

We went to my mother-in-law’s (Gran) house after work/daycare on Friday & opened her presents there.  We also made an attempt at eating dinner there (not at ALL successful) and doing cupcakes (with candles & singing) there (slightly more successful).  We saved a couple presents (including her big one) for Saturday.  She opened the big present Saturday morning:

My sister’s youngest son handed down all his Thomas the Train stuff to Anna & William and they’ve really gotten into it.  We only had the trains, though, no tracks, so I thought I’d get her some for her birthday.  Unfortunately only 1 of the trains that were given to us fit on this set.  Ugh!  They’re even made by the same company!  They’re just a little bit off…Thankfully this set came with an engine and a car.  The kids haven’t really even noticed the others don’t fit on the track quite right.

Check this out…Anna’s not the only one getting big!

There was a method to our madness in withholding a couple presents until Saturday.  We had a birthday party to go to for a little girl who was born the day after Anna in the same hospital.  We had a couple playdates a couple years ago…before the girls turned 1, but we haven’t seen them since I went back to work.  Her mom & I (hey Cassie!) have kept in touch on Facebook since then and we were excited to be invited to Gabriella’s party.  All 4 of us went and William & Anna had a great time & really enjoyed playing with the other kids (and all the new & different toys!).  It was nice to get out of the house with the kids and we all really enjoyed ourselves.  We really don’t do that sort of thing enough…which was apparent in the end.  The kids did great the whole afternoon…even during the opening of presents, which I was a little worried about since Anna was still in “birthday mode” herself!  However, as it got to be around 5:00 I could tell Anna was wearing down and I knew we were going to have to wrap things up and head home.  I just didn’t wrap things up fast enough.  Anna finally had a meltdown and we left with her screaming.  Nice, huh?  She screamed the whole way home…it was unintelligible at first, but then we could make out that she was screaming, “Gabriella!  Gabriella!”  Over and over and over again.  She had a little time out in her room when we got home & finally settled herself down enough to eat a little dinner…and lick the icing off a cupcake.  *Eyeroll*  Oh, and she got to open her last present too…a sandcastle mold.  She couldn’t wait to get out to the sandbox today to try it out.

Anna starts swimming lessons tomorrow at our local pool.  I’ve been excited for her to do this, but I’ve also been a little uneasy about it…simply because I will have to take BOTH kids with me since her lessons are right after daycare.  I decided earlier in the week that I wanted to try to go to the pool today so I could at the very least familiarize myself with the layout of things and figure out what the heck I’m going to do to entertain William while Anna has her 3o minute lesson.  So, even though Mark didn’t seem overly excited about it, we headed to the pool today.  We really had a good time & the kids did well.  They have a toddler pool that is sectioned off from the big pool & the kids had so much fun splashing & scooting around in there.  William hasn’t quite figured out how to stand back up if he goes under the water, which, understandably, freaks me out, but I was right there to pull him up each time he went under.  I’m hoping he’ll get the concept after a few more trips to the pool.  Sunday afternoons seem like a good time to go.  It wasn’t that crowded in general, and we had the whole toddler pool to ourselves most of the time.  Both kids had a slight meltdown when we had to get out of the pool for the required 10 minute break.  Thankfully, one of my co-workers was there & Anna was more than willing to go right to her.  She calmed right down after that & I got William calmed down too.  We managed to leave without a meltdown at all, shockingly enough…just the promise of a popsicle at home & some playtime in the backyard was enough to convince the kids that going home was a good idea.  🙂

They did play in the backyard when we got home…Anna finally got to try out her sandcastle mold, which she really seems to like.  They were both so tired by 5pm that I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep them up until their usual bedtime at 7:30.  The water really tires them out quickly!  At just after 5:00 William was barely holding himself together…he was hungry and tired.  I took him in and gave his bath early since he was covered in sweat and sand (not a good combination).  Then he snacked until dinner!

They did end up both going to bed a little early, which is fine because tomorrow is going to be an early morning for me & Mr. William.  He’s getting tubes put in both ears & we have to be there (30 minutes away) at 6:30.  Ugh!  On that note…it’s 9:55 & I have to get up at 5am.  I should probably think about getting some sleep!

Although I mentioned nothing about it previously in the post…Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially my 2 favorite dads…My Daddy & my husband!

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Anna’s birthday is coming up and, once again, I’m having a hard time with it.  It’s not that I don’t want to celebrate her being another year older because I do!  I want her birthdays to be special and fun and memorable in the very best way.  I just have a hard time wrapping my head around how fast she’s growing and changing.  She’ll be 3 this week.  How on EARTH is my baby girl 3??  I got a little weepy about it last night.  Mark and I sat outside after the kids went to bed.  I had a margarita, Mark had a beer & we were just chatting.  It just hit me suddenly and it hit me hard…she’s going to be 3.  THREE!!  I cried for a few minutes thinking about when she was brand new…how tiny she was, how difficult her birth was, how strange and wonderful it felt the first time I got to hold her, knowing that she was mine.  I had waited so long.  I commented to Mark that 3 years ago on June 11th, 6 days before Anna was born, we had no idea.  No idea how our lives would change, how we would change.  We didn’t know then that her birth would be the ordeal that it was.  We didn’t know that she would develop colic when she was 2 weeks old and that it would last for months.  We didn’t know how little sleep we could actually survive on.  We didn’t know she wouldn’t talk until she was 2 years old and how that would worry us.  We didn’t know she would become a big sister at 18 months old.  We didn’t know how much we would love her.  We didn’t know how much we could love really.  We didn’t know what a sweet, quirky little almost 3 year old she would become.  It’s been quite a ride these last 3 years.

There’s a line in a Keith Urban song that I just love, which is weird, because I so DON’T love Keith Urban.  I find myself listening to that song when it comes on just to hear this one line, because it just sort of sums it up.  “Along comes a baby girl, and suddenly my little world just got a whole lot bigger.”  That’s a good description of it really.  I wouldn’t have thought so 3 years ago maybe, but in retrospect, that’s exactly what happened.  We went from our little Mark & Stephanie-centric world to one that was about so much more than just us.  A whole lot bigger for sure.

Ah…let me switch gears for a moment before I reduce myself to tears again!  We’ve had a laid back weekend.  The usual playing in the yard in the morning (at least until I felt like I was going to melt into a puddle of sweat), naps for the kids & a grocery run for me.  Garden tending (we ate our first cucumber of the year last night!) and pool time in the afternoon.  Today I washed dishes and did laundry, vacuumed the whole house, took the van to town to vacuum and Armor-All it.  Then lots of toy cleanup and re-cleanup.  Lots of playing with the little ones.  Oh, and we took some pictures!  William was 18 months old last week & Anna will be 3 this next week…it seemed like a good time for some new pictures!  Here’s a sampling…

 

And since my internet connection is not the best tonight…I’ll post some more pictures later in the week!  Goodnight for now!

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