Re-starting Over

Well. Hello there! How have you been?

I know, it’s been a while. Maybe too long. Did you forget about me? I almost did.

Do you have a minute? Oh good! Let’s chat. Here, have a cookie and some tea. I have something on my mind I’d like to share with you.

I’ve been thinking long and hard about this blog and if I want to keep it going. It started out as a place to post stories of my crazy work environment. I wanted to share some of the funny and weird things we encountered. Those posts are still my most popular to date.

But once I left that office, the focus shifted to posts about my family and life at home. After a time I felt stuck in the silo of Mommy Blogger. Don’t get me wrong – there are a ton of great Mom Blogs out there but I felt like I was always competing with them and never quite measured up. The posts became more like long status updates and my heart wasn’t in it.

So I just stopped posting. I even thought about shutting this whole thing down.

Then I realized the other day that I could get back to what I started with. Not necessarily stories about The Annex but about other strange things that go on in the life of Team Trader. Believe me there are plenty. I recount them to friends and family all the time, so why not here?

So, that is going to be my new focus. That’s not to say I’ll never post about my family again. On the contrary, more often then not they’ll probably be featured in my stories. But it won’t be to report on the latest milestones Cora is hitting or how our financial situation is going (by the way, this year we’ve paid off all our debts except the house – BOO YAH!). It’ll be more like “you’ll never believe what happened when we tried to go look at Christmas lights the other night.”

I hope this change will rejuvenate both my spirit in writing and your spirit in reading this blog. 

Do you want to hear a tale? You do! Great!


I have to tell you about a phenomenon that goes on in this house. It’s called the Sleep Principle. This is how it works: whenever I have a morning where I could sleep in, Isabella or Cora will wake up extra early. On days when I work or have an appointment, and therefore it doesn’t matter to me how late they sleep, they will set records with the amount of time they will stay in bed. This can also be called “The Odds Are Forever In Your Favor CJ” Principle.

Saturday was one of those days when I could have used a few extra winks. I was feeling the beginnings of a cold and was also worn out from the hustle and bustle of the season. Well wouldn’t you know it but Cora was awake at 3:30 a.m. wanting to eat. I fed her and got back to bed by 4:15.

I believe it was exactly 2 hours later, and approximately 90 minutes after I finally fell asleep, that I heard “Mommy it’s morning!” and turned to find Isabella staring at me.

“Go back to bed,” I muttered knowing full well I was wasting my breath.

“No Mommy I’m hungry.”

Sigh. Fine.

I got up and shuffled downstairs. I made a deal with her that if I put in a movie and gave her food, she would watch it quietly while I went back upstairs to rest. After all, that’s what parenting is all about right – bribery and deal making. I popped in Despicable Me, made up a breakfast plate and was ready to head upstairs when I felt the call of nature. A call that could not be ignored.

So I made a detour in to the downstairs bathroom.

I had just finished drying my hands and was rounding the corner toward the staircase when I heard it.

The all too familiar sound of a dog dry heaving.

I tell you what, I have never run up those stairs so fast. I actually think I flew at one point.

I hurdled up to the second floor, tore down the hallway to Samson’s Loft (What? Your dog doesn’t have his own loft?) and yanked open the kennel door in time to see him puke all over his bed.

Good morning to you too!

Then he started the dry heaving again. I grabbed his collar and yell-whispered “Go Dude go! Outside! Come on!” while dragging him down the stairs. You try dragging 88 pounds of heaving dog down the stairs some time and see how fast you go. We didn’t quite make it and he hacked again in the playroom. I finally got him out the back door but he was already done by then.

I looked at the mess for a good 30 seconds while contemplating my options. I could do the responsible thing and clean it up immediately or I could ignore it and go back to bed. Of course I chose the adult grown up option –  place a paper towel on top of the pile so it was clearly marked, and then hustle up to my pillowed wonderland.

And just as I laid my head down on that sweet soft gateway to dream world, Cora woke up.

It was at that point that I elbowed CJ and told him to get up. I knew there was no going back to sleep for me but dammit I was not about to deal with all that awaited outside our bedroom doors all alone. There were kids to feed, diapers to change and 2 piles of puke to clean up.

Welcome to my life of luxury!

I hope you’ll come back soon to share in it some more!

 

Deep Thoughts from Isabella | Life A.D. – 6 Months | Then She Was Four

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Little Things

For the most part, being a mother of two beautiful little girls is wonderful and rewarding.

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But then there are the other times.

Like when they are both crying at the same time and it becomes a game as to who can scream the loudest.

Or when you’re out and about and remember that you need to “run in quick” to the store for milk. When you travel with children, nothing is quick.

There are the times when you look around the house and see nothing but a sea of toys and bibs and clothes and forgotten drinks and piles of dishes and wonder if your house will ever be uncluttered again.

It’s at precisely those moments that it’s important to stop and remember the good stuff. The things that make you smile.  Here are some of those special “little things” from this week. 

Walking out of the room, after tucking Isabella in to bed, and hearing her sweet little voice say, “I love you Mommy.”

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Having  a .6 lb weight loss on the scale after a week of not being sick and unable to workout. And then having a 1.6 lb. loss the next week even though I ate out almost every day!

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Crossing an item off my to-do list that has been on it for almost a year.

Getting my Inbox at work cleaned out and down to only 18 emails!

An afternoon baseball game.

Wearing shorts to work.

Evenings out chatting with the  neighbors while all the kids play together.

Coming home from a long day at work to be greeted by a wagging tail and cold wet Labrador nose.

Saying “hello” to Cora and having her instantly recognize me and break out in to a big gummy grin!

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Playing sand volleyball on a beautiful summer evening.

The baby nuzzling in to my neck.

You know, once I started building this list, the thoughts just kept coming. I could go on and on. That tells me something. It tells me that there are way more good times than bad and life really is pretty darn great!

Time Flies When You’re Up Every 2 Hours

Or “How the last 5 weeks got away from me.”

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything in 5 weeks. Here I thought that I would be blogging at least once a week during maternity leave since I’d be home and have so much time on the computer.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Boy was I wrong!

Free time? What’s that? I definitely have less of it now than I did before. It’s so much harder to schedule and plan for things when you have an infant who eats every 2 hours. Just when you think you’ve got a few minutes to get something done, she wants a bottle or to be held or have her diaper changed.

She’s, like, so demanding…

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And of course the moments when Cora is sleeping quietly and I start to think “Here’s my chance!”, her big sister wants attention. Gees kid, make your old meals would ya!

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Seriously though, it has been challenging at times but we’re getting it figured out. Sure, there are 2 of us here but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. We each have our own agenda of goals to accomplish. Sometimes they align and sometimes they don’t.

As of this week I’m back to work so we’re adjusting to a whole new routine. CJ is figuring out the intricacies of being a Stay At Home Dad to 2 little ones while I get used to sitting at a computer all day and having to think about things besides spit up and play dates.

It’s all good though and establishing this new routine will help us in the long run. Fortunately Isabella is pretty adaptable and old enough to help out.

Both girls are doing great. Cora had her 2 month check up a couple weeks ago and is up to 10 lbs. 8 oz. and 23” long. Other than a bad case of cradle cap and dry skin, doc says she’s doing great. She’s very alert now and likes to “talk” a lot.

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It’s so much fun to sit with her and just “chat”. Those moments are priceless.

And when she smiles at me…fuhgeddaboudit!

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In terms of my recovery back to normalcy, it seems to be taking longer than I had hoped. Sure, I’m all healed up “down there” but there are other things. My tailbone got bruised during labor and delivery and it’s still sore. Sitting all day at work has aggravated it all the more so I’m using one of Cora’s tummy time Boppy’s to sit on and provide relief. I also have to ice it a couple times a day. I tell ya, I have sat on more ice bags in the last 3 months than anyone should ever have to…

My weight is still an issue too. I haven’t lost a single pound or inch in these last 5 weeks since I posted. I’ve been working out 6x a week and watching my calories but it’s not working.

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My “Before” pic – it’s a silly one but you can see my belly pretty good. Ugh. (FYI this was taken at Morrill Hall in Lincoln, NE)

So, last week I joined Weight Watchers. I had hesitated for a while because I was worried about the cost commitment but enough is enough. I know several who have done it and had success, and group support tends to work well for me anyway so I figure, why not. It’s still too early to have results but I’m hopeful this program will be what I need to drop these pesky 20 pounds.

Also, we are officially done having kids. CJ had a vasectomy last week. We’re both getting too old to go through this all over again. We’ve been so blessed to have two beautiful, HEALTHY, girls and I’m very content with that. So instead of going on birth control for years to come or not using anything and risking a pregnancy, we went this route. CJ is feeling pretty good, with occasional soreness.

That’s about it from the Team Trader camp!

A Day in the Life: Baby Edition

Oh how life has changed. When I did my original “Day in the Life” post, my day was mostly about work (I also did a DITL: Weekend Edition).

Not anymore.

At least, for right now.

Here’s what most of my days look like lately, and will for the next 10 weeks or so.

It’s hard to know when to “start” my day because it feels like it’s never ending. So I’ll start when the day officially starts – midnight.

12:00 a.m. I’m usually sleeping at this time. CJ and I have a system for overnight feedings where he takes the first few and I take the last few. Since I’m not nursing, it makes it easier to split shifts. That way, we can each get a 4-5 hour block of uninterrupted sleep. So, that means CJ’s on duty until about 2 or 3 am, at which point I take over.

Does that mean my day begins at 3am? I don’t know. It’s all pretty much a blur.

2:30 a.m. Basically, from 2:30 until about 7 a.m., I’m in the nursery. I feed Cora then put her back to bed.

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I rinse out the bottle, go potty and then curl up in the recliner and try to get a few more winks until the next feeding.

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Why don’t I go back to bed? Well, right now, Cora is waking up to eat about every 1.5 to 2 hours. And she makes grunting noises in her sleep. So, to be fair to CJ, I just sleep in the nursery so that he’s not awakened by me coming and going or her noises. Once she starts stretching out the feedings, I’ll go back to sleeping in the bed.

The recliner is actually quite comfortable. It reclines all the way back so I just curl up, wrap the blanket around me and I’m golden!

7:00 a.m. Isabella usually gets up around this time and will either go in to the master bedroom and snuggle with CJ or come in to the nursery and snuggle with me. Once we get up, I try to take a shower and get dressed right away. If I don’t do it immediately, chances of it happening at all are slim to none.

Most of the time one of the girls stays with me while I shower (Isabella watches cartoons and if it’s Cora, she sleeps or plays on her mat) and CJ takes the other one.

Today it was Cora who was my shower buddy!

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And of course Samson is always close by, in the sunniest spot!

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8:00 a.m. After getting ready for the day, it’s time for breakfast. Breakfast for me is either coffee or a smoothie and then a combination of oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt or toast.

8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The bulk of the day is a mixture of feeding Cora, changing diapers and playing with Isabella.

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Some days CJ takes Isabella out to a play group or story time hour, which gives me a nice break at home with just the baby. 

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On those days, I use the time she’s sleeping to get things done around the house, pay bills, update the blog or run errands.

Around 11:30 we have lunch followed by more of the same – feedings, diaper changes, and playing with Isabella. IMG_3687

Last week we planted sunflower seeds!

I tell you what – I do not know how stay-at-home parents do it in terms of keeping it fresh everyday. As many toys as Isabella has, I still find it hard to come up with new games or things to do. Isn’t that sad?  I see how the days can become monotonous really quickly if you don’t take time to plan activities ahead or have a set schedule. I will probably try to set something up as the weeks go on – both for my sanity and to get Munchkin ready for pre-school in the fall. I hate to admit it but many times I turn the TV on to keep her occupied while I tend to Cora (if CJ isn’t around or unavailable). It’s become a bad habit. One that we’re going to curb immediately!

2:00 p.m.. This is my favorite part of the day – naptime! We usually get both girls down by about 2:30 and then it’s snoozeville for me too. CJ will sometimes stay up with Cora if her feeding/sleep schedule is slightly off of ours or nap with her downstairs on the couch. I always hit the bed and will get around 1.5 to 2 hours of sleep. I NEED this time. If I don’t get a nap, the rest of the day is miserable.

4:00 p.m. Up and at ‘em! If CJ hasn’t been able to catch a nap during the previous 2 hours, he’ll go upstairs and get some shut eye while I hang with the girls. It’s usually pretty quiet – feed Cora, get Isabella a light snack and read some books or color.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. Time to get dinner ready and eat! After Isabella was born, making meals seemed like a big challenge. We weren’t very good about planning ahead back then. Thank god for frozen meals people had made for us and gift cards to Pizza Hut!

This time around, I’ve stuck to planning meals out for the week every Sunday. This helps immensely. Most of the meals are simple ones because we don’t have the luxury of extra time to cook right now.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. These 2 hours are spent doing quiet activities or getting ready for bed. I can’t give Isabella baths yet because I’m not supposed to lift anything over 10 lbs (so can’t lift her in to the tub) and it hurts to sit on anything hard (like the toilet lid) or stand for long periods. So we try to make it a family affair. We all go upstairs and CJ and Isabella do her bath time while I feed/watch Cora and fold laundry or just rest.  Some nights if there is time, we will go back downstairs and watch part of a movie. And of course we always make time to read bedtime stories!

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8:00 – 8:30 p.m. This is when Isabella goes to bed. To be honest, the adjustment of having a little sister has been hard for her. She doesn’t like sharing the attention so she’s been acting out negatively, most often at bedtime. She will dawdle or not listen or even tell us no when it’s time to go potty, brush her teeth, etc. We made a checklist for her to cross items off, which worked for a few nights but then that got old. We’re still trying to figure out a good solution but in the meantime, each day is a new adventure…or struggle.

8:30-10:00 p.m. By the end of the day I am exhausted and very sore. Overall my pain levels have gone down quite a bit but after wrangling 2 kids all day and dong various other chores/activities, things really start throbbing down below. So I take some time to sit on an ice pack, put my feet up and unwind. I also have to prepare for the night of feedings – getting bottles ready and such.

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10:00 p.m. I try to head upstairs by 10 (sometimes earlier) so that I can be in bed by 10:30. After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I lay on the floor and do some stretches, Kegels, ab exercises and push ups. I haven’t  been cleared to workout yet because things are still tender in my nether regions, but I figure I can still do a little bit to start getting my upper body back in shape.

Then I hit the hay and am out like a light until it’s my turn for feedings.

And there you have it – my typical day. It’s completely different than what my days used to be like (working outside the home and such) and it’s been an adjustment. I’m pretty much at home, inside, for most of every day.  I do get stir crazy but I also know it’s only temporary. I look forward to the coming weeks when the weather warms up (hopefully!) so we can get outside more. Also, once I’m able to walk and be on my feet longer, we can start doing family outings to the zoo or other fun places in Omaha.

It’ll be interesting to see how things change. Maybe I’ll do another DITL post in a month or so. I hope by then we’re stretching out nighttime feedings, doing more outings and generally feeling more human again!

 

Check out these other posts!

Cora’s birth story | Body A.D. | Team Trader 2.0

It Only Took a Year

Over a year ago I bought Isabella a shirt. I was both excited and nervous about buying it as I didn’t want to be presumptuous. Unfortunately, shortly after I made the purchase, life happened and she wasn’t able to wear it. I put the shirt away and waited for another day.

It’s been hanging in the back of her closet ever since. There was one day when her Grandpa put it on her after she spilled on another shirt. He didn’t know that the time wasn’t right. I took it off her soon after he left.

Now, a year later, the time has finally come for her to put it on and wear it with pride.

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Around April 10th of next year, Miss Isabella will take on a new role as big sister as we welcome a new baby in to our family!

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I am currently 10 weeks along. We’ve known for just over a month but didn’t dare say anything given our history of early miscarriage. Our first doctor appointment was 2 weeks ago. That’s when we got this beautiful picture.

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Doc said everything looked excellent and baby was on track. Still, I was a bit apprehensive given my “advanced age” (who knew 35 was advanced?) and history so she suggested I come back in 2 weeks instead of the typical 4.

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I went back in today, for my 10 week appointment. It was at the 10 week appointment last August that we got the devastating news that we had lost that baby. Part of me was terrified of repeating that day. Yet part of me was confident things would be different this time.

And they were!

Doctor was able to hear the heartbeat with the Doppler machine right away and it was very strong. Her exact words were, “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Isabella was with us at the 8 week appointment and as we were leaving she looked down my shirt and said, “I don’t see a baby.” I told her it was in my tummy. “Did you eat it?” she asked. Her reaction to this whole thing has been quite amusing. She asks me every day if the baby is here yet. One day I heard her say from the other room, “Well, I better poop before the baby comes.”

So we can now shout it from the rooftops and proclaim to the world – Team Trader is having a baby!