Often when I'm awake in the middle of the night (usually to feed the baby), I find at least ten other things to do after I'm finished with his feeding. Feed the cat. Get a drink. Go to the bathroom. Put wood on the fire. Get lotion for my hands. The list goes on.

More often than any of those, I've been getting online when I'm awake in the middle of the night. I'm not sure why, but I find myself staggering toward Facebook, mentally crying out "Facebook bretheren! Come, get online with me at 2 a.m!" Most of the time, there is no one to hear my cry. It is a phenomenon of which the cause I am unaware.

On to the snow. Boy, there is a lot of it. News anchors and Richmonders alike are calling it "record snowfall." Well, it could be record snowfall, but it's not THE record FOR snowfall in Richmond. Please don't get confused - that honor belongs in 1940, where Richmond received a whopping 21.5 inches of snow in 24 hours in late January. And you thought this snowfall was bad...

I'm debating tackling the great dig-out tomorrow. There is no telling if work is going to close on Monday or not, and I would HATE digging out my car at 6 a.m. on Monday morning. Talk about a big suck.

Well, the fireplace was just roaring and I had to shut it down quick, so I guess my work is done here. Over and out, until 2 a.m. tomorrow.


One More Day

My self-inflicted quarrantine is nearly over, with just today to go. Tomorrow will be day four since the ease of my stomach illness symptoms, and I will no longer be contagious then. Praise God.

And guess what tomorrow also will bring? SNOW, and LOTS of it! Hooray!

I completely plan to sit on my butt all day and do nothing. Nope, I don't plan to go out in it, mostly because JJ can't really go out in it due to the RSV. It's just not a smart thing to do. So we will sit and play and nap all day. It's going to be very nice. What a great winter weather weekend.

Everybody has their milk and bread, right?

I ventured to Walmart for diapers this afternoon and immediately thought to myself that I was in trouble. I knew that I was in serious trouble when I couldn't find parking spot. No joke. I just needed diapers!! They should have spots at Walmart for customers that only need one thing, right in the front. They should also have spots for pregnant women and parents with children. What a world.

I did make it in and out of Walmart alive and under a half hour. Surprisingly.

I discovered a very scary thing today. As you all know, I've been having some serious sinus issues all season. I'm at my whits end, so I tried a Neti Pot. Here's how it works, and NO, I'm not making this up.

You get this little tea pot thing and fill it with warm water. Then you mix in the packet that comes with the pot. Then you tilt your head to the side, lean over a sink, and pour the spout into one of your nostrils. The water comes OUT THE OTHER NOSTRIL. The first time I tried it, I thought I was going to drown myself. For real, this thing is terrifying. After I finished it, my nose felt clearer, but it's running like crazy now, so I'm still a little skeptical. Freaky.

It was fun, to say the least.

So I'm just in babble mode so I'm going to sign off and go to bed, even though it's only 8:40 p.m. Perhaps one day my evenings will be filled with something other than eating and immediately going to bed...


It Must Be the Plague

Don't you hate it when the lousy Virginia weather pulls a fast one on us? That warm weather earlier in the week was so good; I could have taken a bath in it. I could have bottled it up and saved it for a day like... well, today. I want spring so bad, I can taste it. Pollen and all.

It's been a hard week. Tuesday was especially hard - leaving JJ in the morning to come to work was difficult after being so close with him for the previous four days. I felt like I could hold him forever and that would be okay. Then Tuesday night, I came down with a stomach bug. Thankfully, it didn't last long and I somehow managed to work a half day yesterday. I feel completely fine today.

The only problem with all of this is after stomach flu, you're contagious for at least three days after your symptoms start to go away. I haven't touched my son in two days and still have a few to go. It's excruciating. My house reeks of Lysol and Clorox. If the CDC walked into my house, they may even call it sterile. I've sprayed the walls, doors, doorknobs, light switches, refrigerator, countertops, ceiling fans, baby swing, high chair, toilets, sinks, computer keyboards, cabinet knobs, TV remote..... anything that was even slightly touched got sprayed. I'm going to do it again today, too. JJ can't catch this - he needs time to be well for a while.

Jerry has really stepped up to the plate and taken all baby responsibilities. JJ slept all night last night as a favor to Daddy, which I thought was nice. As a result, I also slept all night, which is something that I haven't done in MANY months. It was great because we all needed it. I could hardly believe it when I woke up this morning.

So now that the stomach bug is gone, I'm continuing to fight the sinus infection that is still hanging around. It's been four weeks and one round of antibiotics for this stupid infection and I've just had enough. I'm probably going to have to do another round of antibiotics to get it to go away. Anybody have a quick fix in the mean time?

I'm hoping that the plague is on the way out and we can start being normal again - whatever that is.


Rain, rain... go away...

And I don't mean the rain outside.

JJ and I are home now and both completely exhausted. In fact, he's been sleeping in his car seat since I got on Chippenham Parkway to come home over two hours ago. He needs the sleep.

We've had some major drama to go with our hospital stay, including some home nebulizer drama that we're dealing with right now. It basically comes down to people not doing their jobs, including JJ's doctor. It's ok, though. We're home and on the mend and that's the only thing that matters right now.

And now it's six hours later. JJ woke, I fed him, and we snuggled and slept on the couch for a while. It was nice not being interrupted every two hours. Now he's sitting in the bouncy seat, being bounced by Daddy, and watching the football game. He's cooing and kicking and having a great time. It's good to see him so active - it's been a while since he's been really happy.

My sinus infection has come back with a vengeance. The cough has come back too. I feel competely miserable, on top of the sleep deprivation. I'm looking forward to a nice, quiet day tomorrow... including a trip to the peditrician. I'm also hoping JJ sleeps well tonight. It's been a while since either one of us have done that.

I've concluded that we're all going to be okay one day. The sun will come out again.

I'm gonna go snuggle my baby and call it a night. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, visits, calls, and especially the food. It is all deeply appreciated.


Looks like morning in my eyes....

A perfect sunrise is developing over the city of Richmond. I can see the downtown skyline from our window, and I must say, it's quite beautiful when you look past the rusty satelites and the dirty puddles of water that are on the rooftop under us.

JJ had a pretty restless night. He can only tolerate 2 ounces of formula at a time, so he's waking practically every hour wanting to eat. We didn't get much sleep, to say the least. Respiratory Therapists are coming in every three hours, so our 90 minute sleep marathons are frequently interrupted. He's taking his last nap of the night now, but I'm awake and wired.

My mom will be here in a few hours. There are times when a kid needs Mom. JJ needs me right now, and I need my mom right now. I'm looking forward to her visit.

I also have breakfast coming. SUPER EXCITING!

Baby calls... more later.

Our little drama king...

I should be sleeping. Anyone with half a right brain would be sleeping right now if they were me. But nope. Not sleeping.

JJ is sleeping in his hospital crib beside me. In fact, he's even snoring a bit. I feel quite comforted by his apparent comfort.

On Thursday night, JJ was very uncomfortable. I could tell he was working a little to breathe, but I didn't worry too much because he's had this respiratory infection for a few days. I couldn't get him to settle down to sleep, so I rocked and rocked until it was nearly time to eat.

After he finished eating, I pulled the bottle out of his mouth and he was blue around his lips. I gave him a little jostle and he perked up and the blue went away. He's quite stuffy, so I'm sure he just couldn't move any air when he had the bottle in his mouth. I laid him down in the swing to sleep, and watched him for a few minutes. I could literally see the perimiter of his lips start to turn blue as he fell alseep. I woke him up, he turned pink again. He fell asleep - he turned blue again. I immediately packed him up and headed to the ER.

We got to the ER around 1 a.m. He was very sleepy and pale when we got there, and we were again immediately taken to the back. The nurse suctioned his nose out and he was much more comfortable. We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally the doctor came in and told me that he was moving air well and that he turned blue probably because of all the mucus in his nose. She was going to send us home with a nebulizer since JJ had started wheezing. As an afterthought, she checked his oxygen saturation (the amount of oxygen in his blood) and it was 80. It should always be close to 100.

She moved the probe and checked again. 79. I was in disbelief since he was sleeping in my arms and seemed so comfortable. The nurse gave him some oxygen and it went back up to 90. She took it away - back down to 75... which made JJ the proud winner of a shiny hospital room on the seventh floor.

It was 6 a.m. when we were wheeled into our room. At that point, I hadn't slept in 24 hours and it didn't even phase me at all. My kid is in the hospital and I have one job to do - mommy him as much as motherly possible. Sleeping not required.

So here we are at 1:25 a.m. - 24 hours since we were in the ER, waiting. Jerry brought me the netbook with the wireless broadband so I can have some entertainment. The baby down the hall that has been crying since we got here is finally quiet. In fact, all of the babies are quiet right now. JJ has had eight breathing treatments and is finally starting to breathe more comfortably. He's still on oxygen, but they are stepping down the dose so we can get him off it soon. I don't have much of an appetite, although I feel hungry. My sinuses are on full fledged attack mode and have been driving me crazy since we got here. I still have a litle lingering cough, so I sound just sick enough for people to feel a little sorry for me, but not enough that they think I'm irresponsible for being in a hospital with the plague.

Prayers are appreciated. Always. We think we might be able to go home Sunday or Monday, depending on the course of the RSV. The doctor warned us that it still could get worse before it gets better, and we need to keep him here long enough to make sure that doesn't happen while we're at home.

This is the finale of the sickness. We've decided that none of us are going to be sick anymore all season. We've all had enough.

Feel free to call me tomorrow if you have questions or want to check on us.


Epidemic Proportions

Sickness is rampant in my house. JJ and I have escaped the latest epidemic, so far, and I plan to keep it that way. We think Jerry has the stomach flu, but are hoping that it was just a nasty sub he ate at Mr. Submarine last night. I wouldn't eat there even if the President offered his seat to me. Gross. To be safe, the Clorox, Lysol and Purell are stationed on the front lines and Jerry has been quarantined to the upstairs for the next three days or so, with rations being delivered to him as needed. JJ and I cannot get sick again, after finally starting to get over this bronchiolitis/sinus infection/RSV crap. Our immune systems just can't handle it.


On my way back to C-field from dropping JJ off at my sis-in-law's house (again, God bless you, Ev!), I started getting a little queasy and immediately started to panic. I'm talking the sweaty palms, heart racing, frantic-to-find-a-solution kind of panic. How in the world would we take care of JJ if we both have the stomach flu?! This can't be happening to us!!

As I was sitting in the inevitable stand-still traffic on I 95, I realized that I hadn't eaten anything since lunch yesterday. I completely forgot to eat dinner last night because I was so busy with the baby. I didn't eat breakfast this morning because I was busy, again, with the baby and taking care of Jerry. My stomach was starving!

I made a quick stop at WaWa and got some breakfast and felt WAY better after I ate. Phew. That was a close one.

I finished breakfast as I pulled into my office's parking lot and right on cue, I started to have a coughing fit. As time moves on, these coughing fits are getting longer and more painful as my body continues to try to get the gunk out that got in there nearly three weeks ago. I coughed so hard, I saw stars. I thought my head was going to fly off. Thank goodness I didn't lose my breakfast, like I have in the past after a coughing fit.

Somehow I managed to recover, gathered my things, and staggered into the building, all while sucking in gulps of air. I hate being sick.

Let me back up here a little on my blog full of rant - yesterday, I had my fancy new birth control implant put in. It's totally cool - no worries at all about birth control for the next three years. Super exciting. Basically, it's a 2 inch rod that the doctor crams under your skin on the underside of your upper arm. It's minor surgery to have it done, but I was numb the rest of the day yesterday, so it was okay afterwards. Now? It feels like I've been shot in the arm. Multiple times. Looks like it, too.

So when I walked up to my office, I plopped my stuff down and poked my head into my neighbor's office to say hello. Just as I positioned myself in the doorway, I crossed my arms. YEOWCH!!! Holy hell, that hurt so bad I thought I was going to pass out. It's been throbbing ever since and it's lunchtime.

Thankfully (knock on some serious wood here), JJ and I haven't developed any symptoms of the stomach flu, which means either we caught it in time for an effective quarantine, or it's the Nasty Sub Disease.

We need a break here. I would like just ONE day where none of us are sick. None. Just one day. Is that too much to ask? I would think not...


Oh, What A Night...

Yesterday morning, I noticed that JJ had a little cough. Nothing major - with his now chronic stuffy nose, I assumed it was from post-nasal drip, but it still raised some concern. He seemed to be feeling okay, so I decided not to panic over it.

This is the part where I'll say what I wish I had realized yesterday: I should have listened to my motherly instinct and gotten it checked out RIGHT THEN.

Since JJ seemed to be feeling okay, at 5 o'clock, we packed up and headed to Nana's. He spent the evening there while Jerry and I attended the January Birthday Bash at Sarah and Justin's (January birthdays represent! LOL!) He seemed fine when we dropped him off, and just as fine when we returned three hours later to pick him up.

As I was feeding him after we got home, I noticed that he was having some difficulty breathing. Another "no big deal," it wasn't uncommon for him to have stuffiness when eating. As I started to suck the stuff out of his nose, he began to cry and cough. LOUDLY. He coughed so hard that he vomited, cried LOUDLY some more, and coughed persistently. I tried to soothe him, but by the time Jerry called the pediatrician and left a message, JJ was frantic and I knew we needed to get to an ER. Pronto.

We were in the car and out of the driveway in about 30 seconds. It was 11:00 p.m. Although it seemed like it took years, we pulled into Chippenham Hospital's parking lot eighteen minutes later (I remember staring at the clock in the car). JJ had vomited again in the car and was pretty much asleep by the time we got there. I was in my striped pajamas, also covered in vomit, but I didn't care. The only thing that mattered in the world was JJ.

We were immediately triaged and whisked away the Pediatric ER, which was brightly decorated with yellow fish and rainbow seahorses. I held JJ close to me and prayed as we walked back. JJ was feeling better by the time we were ushered into our room, and after the few minutes of sleep he got in the car.

A nurse finally came in after another 30 minutes and took a look at JJ to make sure he wasn't in true respiratory distress. His lungs were clear, so she left and we waited some more for the pediatrician to come in.

Around 1 a.m., the doctor finally came in and took a look over JJ. Both of his ears were infected (again or still? I haven’t decided), but his lungs were clear. She concluded that he has Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which has caused bronchiolitis ( It’s basically a super-charged cold that has settled in his bronchial air ways, kind of like baby bronchitis. I later learned that this is very common with C-Section babies, especially those who go to day care; although I don’t think he caught this one from daycare… I’m fairly sure he caught it from me. Basically, we’re now the proud parents of a very sick kid.

From onset of symptoms, the worst of the infection happens on day 2 (which is today) and by day four; the disease is no longer contagious. The doctor warned that JJ could be coughing for three whole weeks. Happy Birthday to me.

The doctor decided that JJ wasn’t sick enough to keep him in the hospital but made sure that we were aware of the circumstances in which we need to bring him back. I was reassured that he wouldn’t suffocate himself in his sleep, and that he would let us know if he was in serious distress. He slept in his car seat last night, which seemed to help a lot with his breathing, and I slept (or, at least, pretended to sleep) on the sofa next to him. We got to bed around 2 and he slept until 8, with intermittent bouts of coughing all night. It was a rough one.

JJ’s cough has now transformed into a raspy bark, very similar to the type of cough I have had for over a week. We’re both down for the count today. We’ve had lots of cuddle time, sleepy time on the sofa, and he’s now comfortably sleeping in the swing. The only thing we can do for his cough and cold is the run the humidifier, force fluids, and pray that he gets over this one quickly and stays well long enough for us to regain our sanity.

We need to be sane. Desperately.


Happy Anniversary, Captain Sully!

I just realized that I must write about the anniversary of the Hudson River US Airbus splash landing, because as I was reading the article on MSNBC, I surprisingly started to cry. The jet, which had just taken off from LaGuardia, reportedly hit at least one bird that crippled an engine. I read of a woman, once an avid swimmer, who says that swimming now reminds her of agonizing fear as she carried her baby son out of the water-filled cabin to safety. She said water also brings back visions of her husband, chest deep in the wet stuff, hoisting her four year old daughter above his head trying to get out of the plane. Water, something that no human can live without, reminds her of impending death. Just the thought of my infant son being in such peril is terrifying to me and the thought of being petrified of one of life’s necessities is unfathomable.

The woman, her husband, and their children all survived, as did every other passenger on the plane. Reports later stated the bird did not survive.
Shortly after news of the crash, media officials quickly referred to the event as “the Miracle on the Hudson.” In fact, Captain “Sully” Sullenberger and some of the survivors are on a boat in the Hudson River, right now, raising a toast in honor of the very lucky anniversary. Captain Sully is a true hero – you rock on, Sully, with your bad self.

Stemming off of yesterday’s horrible blog, here is an example of a time when innocent lives were spared, opposed to innocent lives being taken away. Tonight, a woman will hold her two babies, far away from her bathtub, and will thank God for the opportunity she was given to live exactly one year ago today.


Another Bad, Awful, Terrible, No-Good, Horrible Day in Haiti

Yes, I blogged last night. Yes, I'm blogging again. I'm a blogging fool.

Now if I can just get rid of this really annoying cough....

As many of you, I'm reading a decent number of websites that are dutifully reporting on the carnage and squalor going on in the country of Haiti. Nearly every website that has any information concerning the 7.0 magnitude shake-up proudly shows a picture of the National Palace, falling over from the quake. The National Palace was the most structurally sound building in the entire country.

Associated Press has informed me that most of the other buildings in the country are of "questionable construction,” simply because the people living in them built the homes themselves. There are very few fancy contractors in Haiti. There are very few roofers who will work around their schedules to come put new shingles on their homes. Even if there was a roofer somehow available, the Haitians wouldn't be able to afford it, anyway. Haiti is among the poorest countries in the world, and even the poorest family in America would be among the richest in Haiti.

Surprisingly, this isn't the first string of devastatingly bad luck for the Haitians. In fact, they are "prone" to natural disasters, if there could be such a thing. In 1994, Hurricane Gordon killed more than 1000 people when it hit Haiti, followed by Hurricane Georges killing more than 400 people in 1998. Hurricane Jeanne killed more than 3000 Haitians without even making landfall in 2004. The northwestern City of Gondaives was hit heavily by four tropical storms in 2008, which destroyed a vast majority of the crops there and killing several people in the process. A school even collapsed in November of last year, killing 90 people and injuring 150. (

I just can't imagine living in a country that is "predisposed" to so much bad luck and so many natural disasters. That's like living a life where you are predisposed to be hit by a truck every few years. I don’t think I could put up with something like that.

So what’s a Haitian to do? Many of them can’t afford to pick up their families and move, so they are forced to endure hardship after hardship in a country that is unforgiving in every way. Among the people who can afford to move (less than 20% of the entire population), they refuse because their family has lived in Haiti for many generations, and leaving would be deserting a family heritage. Imagine being forced to stay in this country, by poverty or family ties, and not knowing what other disaster will happen the next day. Imagine spending your tiny life savings to rebuild your one-room home for your family of five, only to have it torn back down in two years during a hurricane. Kind of puts a new meaning to being stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Haiti needs more than prayers and money – they need a break. This massive quake took what little they had and crushed it into nothing. What do you get when you take little from nothing? Less than nothing, which is what the Haitians have right now, as they stand in the streets with their children in their arms, staring at the pile of bricks that used to be their homes. This is what the Haitians have as they weep in the streets over the bodies of their loved ones.

This is an offering to all of us as another opportunity to put our own problems into perspective –


Ramble and insurance

So today was a pretty crappy day and I'm not going to post why because the internet is the most public place I can think of and personally, I don't think it's a wise decision to be sharing my deepest business online. Just rest easy knowing that I'm working on eliminating the crappiness so Jerry and I can become normal people again. Oh, how I long to be a normal person.

The sinus infection has nearly cleared up already (day three of antibiotics) but my ears HURT. Funny... they didn't hurt before I got them checked out... hmm... The coughing is persistant but less than it was over the weekend, which is a good thing. Overall, I feel okay. At least, until the next one.

Gasp! *leans in close to the computer screen* I have two followers. *leans in again to get a closer look* Yup. It's two. Thank you both for your patronage! I promise to post some interesting blogs here and there.

I'm going to take a minute to talk about health insurance. This is such a controversial topic that no matter what I say, someone will have something to say about it. All I have to vent about is OMG at how expensive premiums are!! Holy moly, I'm paying more for JJ's health insurance premium than my car payment and student loan payment PUT TOGETHER. Thankfully, Jerry and I are both covered by my company, but other dependants are additional and paid by employee. It's highway robbery, and I'm obviously in the wrong business for making money. It doesn't suprise me one bit that so many people are without health insurance, simply because they can't afford it. We almost can't.

Ugh. It's getting later than I thought it was. My useless ranting on a blog that is far from a masterpiece will have to wait for another day.


Mighty Morphin' Power Sickness

My cold's "comeback" has now morphed into a sinus infection/double ear infection/strange throat infection. Although my ears don't hurt, they feel like I've crammed all the cotton I can in there after pouring a gallon of water in each one. Not uncommon for me - my ears get infected at least once a year, and last year I squeaked by without one. They've felt like this for probably a week or more, but I ignored it because I don't have time/energy to go to a doctor. I shouldn't have ignored it, because when the doc looked in my ears, he asked "How in the world did you get this sick?" Not contagious, thank goodness. Antibiotics and Mucinex abound.

Perhaps JJ knows that I don't feel well because he absolutely can't sleep. Maybe he's growing, which would surprise me very much since he grew out of his clothes not two weeks ago. He's been waking every three hours at night acting hungry for the past three nights. I give him a bottle; he drinks half and goes right back to sleep in my arms. We start all over three hours later. He did sleep, restlessly, in the swing from 1 to 6 this morning. I didn't sleep, because he tossed and turned the entire time he was swinging. If this continues, I may go crazy. In fact, I may already be there. It’s not a long trip.

I’m sitting at my desk wondering if I really am crazy when a strange thought pops in my head: Why doesn’t McDonald’s sell hot dogs? I mean, they sell practically everything else, and now they have their own coffeehouse inside every restaurant.

Mmmmm… Coffee….


A Completely Normal Blog

Other than this nasty cold which has decided to make a comback that would put Cher to shame, I've been in a pretty decent mood for the past couple of days. JJ didn't even cry once today, except for a little fussing near bedtime (that kid was TIRED.)

And that's about it. I'm sitting here thinking about something to write that would be of any interest to anyone, and I can't think of a single thing. I'm boring. And.... normal? I dunno, I should be thinking of something else more interesting than JJ has grown out of EVERY peice of clothing he owned and we did some major shopping for him this weekend. This is where I should throw in that I love Once Upon A Child. They were having a $1 winter clothing sale when we got there. Yup. A dollar. I bought a TON of baby clothes and shoes for peanuts. I was pretty freaking excited about that.

I'm about to go online and order myself a new Vera Bradley, cause I'm deserving. At least, I think so.

The other night, a friend of mine and I spent a good couple of hours telling another friend every detail of pregnancy, childbirth, and after. We left nothing out. It was hysterical. I feel a little guilty about it now, because I don't want my friend to be afraid to have kids on my account. So, Sarah, here you go:

10 things I like most about being a mom:

1. The way JJ smiles at me. He's always truly happy to see me.

2. Watching him grow. It's astonishing how fast it happens.

3. The little sounds he makes when he's eating. It's just funny.

4. Desensitization to poop/puke/snot/gross bodily fluids. It comes naturally and it's quite handy, especially when the baby poops up your arm and pees in your face (both have happened.)

5. Being excited to pick him up in the afternoon. It's the highlight of my day.

6. Baby shoes.
(considering that I was just interrupted by a child who woke up screaming, it may be difficult finishing this list. Don't worry, he's ok. Bad dream, maybe?)

7. The way he smells. I don't know if it's nature that moms can smell which baby is theirs or not, but my kid smells so good. It's sooooo good....

8. This one is totally selfish - He's a great excuse to leave/not attend an event. "The baby is not feeling well," or "it's past the baby's bedtime" are just things people can't argue with.

9. The way he stops crying when I pick him up. He needs me and he knows it.

10. Baby shopping is way more fun than grown up shopping, and I haven't been able to figure out why.

I'm gonna go order my bag. I wonder if it's going to be big enough to fit baby bottles in...


Coming Clean in a Teacup, Final Volume

OK… so where was I? OH right. The thinking.

Have you ever had something on your mind that weighed so heavily, you drive somewhere and forgot how you got there? I’ve done this more than I would like to remember (or… forget?) I don’t think I remember how I got home that afternoon after visiting Charlotte Reynolds.

I wish I could say my visit to Charlotte “opened my eyes to how precious life is” or “made me cherish every moment on the earth.” Those things didn’t happen, at least not right away. I don't know what happened to me, but I knew right then something was different.

When a good day did roll around, it was good. When it was a bad day… it was BAD. I was a little nervous about the good days I had after Charlotte’s visit because I didn’t want to give them up. After the visit, miraculously, my nerves started to calm down. I felt more “together” than I had in months. I can’t explain it, but I know I had thoughts of “Ok… today is a good day. The bad ones will come back.” I didn’t want any more bad days. Ever.

Even more: I started sleeping in my own bed after weeks of sleeping on the sofa because I was scared to be away from JJ, who is now sleeping in his crib. I am more careful when I drive my car. I paid for the guy behind me in the toll booth line. I hold JJ closer than before.
I want to come home in the evenings; I want to get up in the morning. I don't care about the dirty dishes in the sink (at least until tomorrow.) I don't mind that I get woken up…well… for the most part. When my baby nuzzles under my chin for comfort, I now stop to relish the moment, rather than continue the hustle and bustle of what we were doing. Whatever it is, it can wait for the nuzzle to be finished. It is a dramatic change and I’m still sitting here wondering why.... and what the heck happened to me...

I visited my doctor this week and told her about my wild emotions, just to see what she would say. She didn’t seem surprised and said it was probably from the Depo Provera birth control shot I’d received shortly after JJ was born, which is wearing off now. She gave a few other random physical issues which may have caused, and subsequently cleared up, the problem, but I’m not sure I buy it. It’s just too coincidental.

Don’t get me wrong – yes, sometimes I still feel like throwing things. I still feel like I have no time in the day to do anything substantial. I still feel emotional, but it’s over the happy things in my life, not the horrible ones. But… oh well. I want to spend time in my house with my kid and husband rather than cleaning it. My child and husband are gifts to me. Why not enjoy them?

So you tell me, if you’re still reading this (and if you are, thank you): Was this sudden transformation a result of scientific theories, or the power of a young dying child? Was I called to go read to her because she needed me, or I needed her? Is it possible that she taught me both sides of being a mother – the "getting things done," and "the slowing things down?"

From all of this, I've resolved that my problems are small. Important, but small. My Grandma told me one time "if your problems turn out to be so small they can be washed away with the water in a teacup, then you are a very lucky person." All I need is the water from a teacup... with a couple of refills! And I do feel lucky. Very much so.

So… *looks around the room* Let’s move on to that book I was talking about…

Coming Clean in a Teacup, Volume III

I'm actually having a good time posting so many blogs. I decided recently that I want to write a book sometime in my lifetime, although I have no idea what I'm going to write about. Perhaps it will come to me one day. In the mean time, I'll continue to epic blog. As before, if you haven't read the previous blogs, go back and read them first.

As bad as I am at keeping secrets, I’m just that good at blanketing my emotions. I’m going to blame that on my previous career in retail. I learned very quickly that in order to be a great customer service representative, you put your life aside, put on a happy face, and pretend. Every day at a retail career is a production. Managers not only have to pretend with customers, but with the employees as well. If you’re having a bad day and you come to work in a bad mood…. everyone else is in a bad mood, too. It’s hard to run a business like that.

I became quite skilled at covering up my emotions; I thought “putting on a happy face” would work in other situations, too. In some cases, it worked beautifully. In this case, not so much.
Just like the game of "If I can't see you, then you can't see me" game, I figured if I kept my secret from everyone, they would never question if I was normal or not… or if I was a good mother or not. I sat down with Jerry and told him how I was feeling, I looked at him through my tears, and with a small voice asked him, “Please don’t tell anyone about this.” I feel a little hypocritical now.

When Christmas rolled around, I felt like my head could have flown off my neck at any time – taking off like a rocket and exploding in the sky in a glorious display of red and green Christmas fireworks. While we HIGHLY appreciate all of the visitors we got during the Christmas break, visitors mean one thing – cleaning. I cleaned… and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I stressed…. and stressed and stressed and stressed. Christmas cards didn’t go out this year (in fact, thank you notes and birth announcements haven’t gone out, either…). Our tree did get up and our house did get decorated, but I threw a fit and was annoyed that I had to shop for and wrap gifts on top of all the other things I had to do. I should just have done gift cards for everyone (idea for next year?) and saved myself a bunch of trouble and mess. I was disappointed that I spent Christmas hustling and bustling and I didn’t take time to savor JJ’s first Christmas. I know better for next year.

It was a few days before Christmas that I learned of Charlotte Reynolds ( She was a four year old girl in Ashland who was dying of a brain tumor. When I read her story, my heart broke in pieces and all I could think was: life can be so unfair sometimes. Her parents set up a reading vigil for her entertainment while she was bedridden and something deep inside of me told me that I had to take JJ to go read to her. Two days after Christmas, I packed up my baby and made the 45 minute drive out to Ashland. When we got there, we were greeted with the warmest smile from her dad, Roger, and I knew we were meant to be there right then.

JJ and I read Dr. Seuss’ “Horton Hears a Who” and “If I Ran the Zoo.” Charlotte was asleep the entire time we read, but I knew she could hear us. As I looked at her beautiful and peaceful face, my whole life seemed to come into perspective, although I didn’t understand it at the time. JJ visited with her mom, Rachel, for a while and after our stories, I kissed Charlotte on the forehead and wished her the sweetest of dreams.

When I got home that night, I had a lot to think about. Boy, did I have a lot to think about...

Coming Clean in a Teacup, Volume II

Before you read this blog, be sure to read the one that was posted yesterday. I'm posting in seperate blogs because I have so much to say... :)

So let’s recap here, since this blog is turning into a major undertaking. Let’s add it all up:
-C-section pain and recovery. It’s major surgery, people.
-Very little consecutive sleep in several weeks. Sheer exhaustion.
-Emotional roller coaster due to out-of-whack hormones.
-Uncontrollable crying/irritability as a result of out-of-whack hormones.
-Overprotectiveness and feeling trapped.
-Pain and frustration about breastfeeding.

So here I was, convinced that I was failing as a mother. I thought because I was so emotional and unstable, that I wouldn’t be able to properly take care of my baby. I decided to supplement with formula to take off some stress about breastfeeding and to make sure he was getting enough nutrients. I felt incredibly guilty about our decline in the breastfeeding venture, just like I felt guilty about not being able to give birth to him like I had planned. It wasn’t long before I wasn’t producing much at all and we switched exclusively to formula around week 6.

My emotions did get some relief, aside from the guilt, with the end of breastfeeding. I struggled for weeks about it and when that struggle ended, I felt like I could sit back and take a breather.

The time came for me to go back to work and surprisingly, I wasn’t that stressed about it. I knew I had to go back – we decided that before I even got pregnant. We have a great day care and I don’t worry about JJ. The only thing that got to me about leaving him was… leaving. Several mornings, I would cry on the way to work, wondering what I would miss today.
I think that every working mom goes through the “I don’t want to miss anything!” phase. It didn’t take very long for me to realize that his “first” anything wasn’t a first until I SAW it. Then it was real. I got over the leaving him part quickly when I realized that us being apart all day made our time together very special and meaningful. I appreciate JJ more and he’s generally happier to see me and his daddy.

By week nine or so, JJ was pretty much sleeping through the night. We certainly didn’t get through every night without waking up, but most. JJ also had another ear infection, which kept him awake for several nights. Having a sick child is incredibly stressful, mostly because you want them to feel better no matter what it costs. When there is nothing you can do to help them – it's even worse. I was very stressed about JJ’s health and on top of all of the emotional garbage, I started having disturbing dreams about the day he was born and random flashbacks during the day. This is when I started to worry about my true mental health, which scared me even more.

The holidays rolled around and, like everything else, put more stress on me. I wasn’t motivated to do anything, I threw even more temper tantrums, I cried even more, my appetite waned, and I started to convince myself that there was something wrong with me. There had to be something wrong with me, because here I was with a beautiful baby, a loving husband, a nice (but work in progress) house, healthy pets, a good job, and a supportive family and I was unhappy. How dare I be unhappy! My emotions were so wacked up at this point that I started to feel guilty about feeling unhappy.

See, that's the problem with emotions. Once one grabs you and won't let you go, the others always come to join the party...


Coming Clean in a Teacup, Volume I

I have never had a problem with readily volunteering information. Like about a surprise birthday party that I once ruined. Or when I got pregnant – I had to tell someone that day and made her keep the secret. Keeping secrets is NOT my strong suit, and I wish I knew why. Who doesn’t love keeping a juicy secret? Me.

It is for this very reason that I am writing this blog, in volumes no less, right now.

I don’t know if any of you are tired of hearing me talk about having a kid or not, and to that I say “Oh well!” I will continue to talk about it until it’s old to me, which may be never… or until our next one arrives in another seven to ten years. I don't know if there are any baby books written about any of this, because I pretty much despise reading. Meh.

Today I want to talk about something…. a little scary. I don’t even want to have a full-out conversation about it, I just want to type. I can’t recall anyone ever writing/blogging/ emailing/talking about how they FELT after having a baby. Sure, I’ve read plenty about the physical ailments (and there are plenty) after having a baby, but nothing about how a woman really feels, emotionally, about having a baby. I think the reason why I felt that my emotions were so incredible was because no one told me what I would be feeling or experiencing. I expected for everything to be normal again right away, only with a little less sleep and a cute baby to carry around. I was wrong, and part of that could be my fault for not being proactive about the situation and seeking out the answers to “what might be.”

First off, a “little” less sleep should have been translated into “zero” sleep. A newborn can eat every two hours, which JJ did. So I would get up, change him (at least ten minutes), feed him (which took 30 minutes), rock him back to sleep (sometimes up to 30 minutes) and go back to sleep myself (roughly ten to fifteen minutes). That left me with about 40 minutes of sleeping before he woke again to eat. Your body was designed to function on 6 to 8 CONSECUTIVE hours of sleep per night. Nothing can prepare you for the shock of sleeping only 40 minutes every two hours, and trust me… you don’t get used to it. Add this to the fact that your hormones are dancing a jig inside your brain – and it’s a recipe for instant psychosis.

The first two weeks I was a mess. Not only could I hardly move from the C-section, but I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I almost couldn’t function. I would be holding JJ while feeding or rocking him and start to cry uncontrollably. My tears dripped on his newborn face and I would wipe them off gently, focusing on the contours of his tiny nose and chin and cheeks… and start to cry harder. I was paralyzed by the thought about how lucky we were that he was here and healthy. It’s startling that you can love someone you’ve never met so much that you would give your life for his to be spared.

JJ got his first ear infection by his second week. You’ve never heard a baby cry like he did. Babies are difficult to soothe when they’re that little to begin with, but when you add sickness on top of that, soothing becomes impossible. Jerry and I rocked, sang to, talked to, and held JJ almost constantly for a solid two weeks. I slept while I held him. I peed while holding him. Jerry held him while I showered. It was the only thing that brought him any comfort and it was, like everything else, exhausting.

As JJ learned how to be a baby and I learned how to be a mom, the emotional roller coaster slowed down a bit. JJ started to sleep up to four hours a night (not consistently, but often) by week three and it was a very welcome relief. While my constant crying continued, I also became emotionally unstable over many little things. I would get wildly aggravated if there were dirty dishes in the sink, or if I got woken up by anything other than the baby (telephone, dog barking, Jerry kissing me goodnight – you name it.) I screamed and yelled and cried and threw temper tantrums. Now I know how two-year-olds feel when they haven’t napped. It isn’t pleasant. I became overly protective of the baby and called the pediatrician/newborn nursery several times in several weeks over little things (some of which weren’t so little – like the choking-on-and-sneezing-out spit-up at week two.) I had a hard time being physically away from him, even to take a shower. I was tethered to him; trapped like a hostage by my own child.

It was around week four that the breastfeeding became complicated. JJ needed more than I could produce, so I pumped between feedings. This translates into feeding him, pumping an hour and a half later, cleaning the pump, feeding an hour and a half later, pumping an hour and a half later, cleaning the pump, feeding an hour and a half later…. you get the picture. Sleeping? No time for that anymore, I need to trick my body into thinking that I needed to produce more milk. It seemed to me that the harder I worked at it, the less my body produced. JJ’s latch started to suffer, because he was getting frustrated that I wasn’t satisfying him enough. Because his latch wasn’t good, breastfeeding became extremely painful, and I went to exclusively pumping, which meant even more work. It was exhausting and frustrating.

Exhausting and frustrating seemed like the only words I knew then.



Tomorrow is the day. As I've said many times before, I can't believe how fast time goes by sometimes. I can hardly believe it's here and how much has happened in the past few years.

I've always been a deadline/goal-driven kind of person. I almost can't function if I don't anything to work for. Several years ago, I somehow managed to lay my whole life out in front of me, section it off, and divide and conquer. I've watched too many people casually live their lives and never get anywhere and I was (and still am) determined not to be one of those people.

I challenged myself to get married, buy a house, finish college, get a good job and have a baby by the time I turned 28.

In September 2005, my wedding day finally rolled around after a lifetime of waiting. It's true that little girls plan their weddings from the day they turn five years old, and I had done just that. I remember standing at the altar thinking to myself "Savor this moment... savor this moment..." but all the savoring in the world couldn't slow down time, and it was over in a flash. My soul mate was mine and I was a very happy newlywed. That's all I could have hoped for.

The day I graduated from college was definitely memorable. My graduation ceremony was at 2 p.m. and was a small-ish affair. It was in May 2006 and the day was rather warm outside. I wore my pearl necklace. It was also the day that Jerry's brother, Jeff, got married! I felt like we were in some kind of comedy - racing to graduation, ducking out in the middle of the diploma distribution (after I got mine, of course!) and racing over to the church for the wedding. It was hysterical.

Nothing could have held us back the day we closed on our first house. It was August 2007 and we couldn't find a parking spot. Our broker's office was in Downtown Richmond, and parking there was terrible the day we needed to be there. We were late. Very late. I remember running across Main street in order to get the papers signed before the bank took the house from the previous owners as a result of foreclosure. We signed just in time.

My big break came in August 2008. I was offered a great job as a business development writer with a Federal Government contractor. The day I left my last retail job far behind me was a glorious one, and I will never go back. There isn't enough money or vacation in the world that would make me go back.

January 26, 2009 was a VERY COLD day. I know it was cold because I forgot my coat when I went to Walmart at lunchtime. I had other things on my mind, anyway. I was on a mission - ginger ale and a pregnancy test were on the grocery list that afternoon, and after I checked out (I couldn't make this up, I swear) I headed to the restroom. I found out in that Walmart bathroom on that very cold winter day that I was pregnant. Eight long months later, our sweet baby boy JJ made his dramatic entrance into our lives and the rest is history.

Looking back, I realize that my life has been in hyper drive for the past five years. I'm still in awe at the magnitude just a few years can have on a life. I've been spending the next few days brainstorming on what I want to accomplish next. It will be challenging, but I think I'll be able to come up with a few things for the next few years.

Tomorrow is the day I turn 28. It will be a true celebration of the accomplishments that have come our way in the past five years. I'm excited for what the next five will bring.


Peddling Hard and Going Nowhere

October 14, 2008? It seems that maybe October 2008 was the last time I was alive, according to this blog. It's been an absolutely amazing year, with both ups and downs, and I have not once blogged about any of it. Nothing. Not a word. Like it never existed.

With the birth of my first child (September 2009), I've realized that these days will fly by quickly and I better get them documented before they shrivel into the earth.

Let's back it up here - with my pregnancy this past year, I realized that as much as we wish time to go by faster, it will eventually go by and we look back and say "Why didn't I slow down a bit?" I'm thinking that about my pregnancy. It's been over for three months and I can't tell you everything about it anymore. I don't remember a great deal about it, actually. I only very vaguely remember JJ moving around inside me like it was some kind of dream - the very thing that was the most exciting about being pregnant in the first place. It's like your brain resets into nothing having to ever do with being pregnant. Strange but true, this may be nature's way of swindling women into having more children. If it weren't this way, the human race would quickly die out and we would never have the kind of entertainment that we have from shows like "Jon and Kate plus Eight" or "18 Kids and Counting." Heated debates over phenomenon such as "Octomom" would never exist. What a tragedy that would be.

So let's talk about JJ. He's an awesome kid. He's growing faster than I ever thought possible. I'm thinking that all of those childbirth classes were a waste of my time, because the things I need to know most were never offered. "Photographing Your Baby" or "Functioning on Two Hours of Sleep a Week" were convienently left off the list of must-take baby prep courses. What a jip.

On a more serious note, during the time that I was searching for classes to take on baby birthing/rearing/bathing/carrying, I never once saw a class on a few very important topics, such as Postpartum Depression or The Effects of A Baby on Your Marriage. I think that someone should step up to the plate and put these real world scenarios out there so that moms-to-be can be prepared. I wish I was more prepared. Since I'm not much of a reader (surprised?), baby books haven't been much help to me. I want to go to a class where I can ask questions, listen to people talk, and see examples. I'm a much more visual learner, and that can be detrimental when you have a child and are trying to learning everything about it.

Yep. I'm struggling a bit.

It's hard for moms to admit that they struggle. New moms even have a hard time calling themselves "Mom." It's such an adjustment to a new life that some days, I'm pretty sure that I don't know my own phone number. But I still try to do it all, which is another detrimental factor.

Why do moms try to hard to do everything themselves? It seems to me that every mom I talk to does the same thing. What on earth is wrong with us and why do we think this way? It's like getting on a bike in the middle of the ocean - the harder you work, the more you realize that you're not going anywhere. Pretty soon... you're going to get exhausted. Then what?


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