Archive of ‘sleep’ category

Choosing the bigger cart.

Hello my lovely, supportive, and probably bored readers.  I am very sorry that I have not been the diligent writer that I was last year.  I can give you numerous excuses but the biggest being that I have been falling asleep before 9 many nights and that was my prime writing time.  I do want to write a separate post about this, but the big news is that our household will be expanding to 4 in September.

17 weeks

17 weeks

I’m currently 18 weeks and doing very well.  Another time I will try to write about how different this pregnancy is, given our history and given we have this ball of boundless energy to contend with this time around:

Watch out!

Watch out! (Evan almost 4)

What I wanted to address in this post is this scenario, that I truly believe sums up most days of my life.

Have you ever entered a grocery store, thinking, okay…all I have to get are tortilla chips and salsa, so I will just grab a hand held basket and run to that aisle.  Then you find yourself remembering you need milk, canned beans, and some produce that you ran out of?  So you think, I can fit that in my handheld basket, no problem.  It’s not that long of a trip around the store.  But by the time you get to the register, your forearm is bruised from how heavy your basket is. And you think, jeez if I had just taken the time to get the bigger cart……

If that has never happened to you, then maybe this won’t make as much sense to you. But I have done that NUMEROUS times, especially when I was single and living alone. I always had the mindset that it would be silly for me to push around this big cart when I was only shopping for myself. And I almost always regretted that ridiculous assumption….

The larger picture is that this habit of putting too much into a small basket is a problem that I face with my life’s daily activities.  (I apologize to my close friends who I have already shared this with) I often will look at my calendar and think, sure! We can fit in a hippotherapy session

A little snow doesn't stop hippotherapy!

A little snow doesn’t stop hippotherapy!

two hours before a baptism party that is 45 minutes away. I can squeeze in a hair appointment and make it home to relieve my mom by the time I promised. (and I walk in 30 min late, every stinking time) I’ll think, Evan really deserves some outside time with me, I can fit in a walk with a playground run before I make dinner (and after working 7 hours)

Nine times out of ten, I find myself at the end of one of these too small basket days, feeling very harried, very disappointed in how the activities panned out, and just plain exhausted.  My husband and I both like to travel, hike, take day trips, etc but we will plan a weekend where there isn’t one moment free and at the end we’ll feel like we need a weekend to decompress from our weekend.

Sometimes I thrive on this activity, the busyness can be exhilarating, and just what I need.  Other times (and more often these days), when too many things are scheduled in a day, the actual activities will never live up to the expectation surrounding them because they just plain can’t! Because we are too tired to enjoy them or because we are busy getting stressed thinking of preparing for the next place we have to be.

Today found both little E and I feeling very under the weather. I think I have a pretty bad sinus infection and he has the beginnings of a head cold or the same thing. Of course being pregnant, the only real remedies available are the neti pot, humidifier and rest.

We were supposed to attend a family celebration this afternoon and my very wise husband talked me out of it, saying, you don’t feel well right? And Evan doesn’t feel well right?…..and the logic was too clear for me to argue. Even though the guilt monster crept in as it typically does.

This afternoon Evan (who you know has not taken a proper nap since he was 2) slept for almost 4 hours.

Yup.

I slept for two, and then read a fluffy novel that had nothing to do with work , therapy, how to be a better parent, etc.  It was just to pass the time and help me to stay still.

I chose the bigger cart this afternoon, and I am much better for it.  I think my boys are too.  I just need to learn to do this when I do not have a stuffy nose causing me to make the decision. :-/

Dear Mama

Colorado August 2010

Colorado August 2010

Dear Erin,

I wish I could give you a big hug.  Tell you that you are going to make it through the summer okay.  The unbearably heavy sadness will begin to lift and change into a more permanent hole in your heart.  It doesn’t sound great, but it is much better than the pain you are in now.  4 years later and I still think about him almost every day.  But it is not the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning anymore.  When I dream about my dad now, I wake up happy that I had a chance to see him.  It is not going to make any more sense than it does now.  I wish it did.  But you will find ways to remember him.  Ways to honor him in your every day life.  You don’t realize it, but next month you are going to discover you are pregnant.  It will blow you away considering your pregnancy loss just two short months ago.  You are going to get a chance to see glimpses of your father every day, through the eyes of your son, Evan.

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Dear soon to be mama,

Tomorrow your life will change in ways I cannot make you understand right now.  You will pace around the house tonight eating waffles and stopping every now and again to wince from what you “think” are the real deal contractions.  Hold on sister, because they are just the previews.  I want to tell you to breathe. Breathe in the peace, the silence, the feeling of being one with your son before he is born.  Before he is out in the world and you have to care for him in such a different way.  Know that things are going to change and they are going to be hard. Really hard.  But I can tell you with certainty, it will not last forever.  It is okay if you don’t make it without medication during the birth. It is okay if you struggle with nursing.  As a good friend of ours says all the time, “no one gives out medals if you do those things.”  GIVE YOURSELF GRACE.

One day old Evan in the NICU

One day old Evan in the NICU

Dear Mama of a newborn in the NICU,

It’s going to be okay.  He is fine in there, he is cared for so well by those dedicated nurses.  I know you want him back in your room with you so badly because he is your little guy, you can’t believe how quickly he was swept away.  But in a few days you will be home with him and you will be wondering why you didn’t sleep a little more while he was in the NICU in such good hands.  His levels will increase, and you will take him home.  Breathe.

Evan- a few days old June 2011

Evan- a few days old June 2011

Dear very new mama with newborn at home,

This is the hardest letter to write.  I look at this picture and I know the turmoil you are feeling. I know the insanely strong love you are feeling for that little man but also the intense feelings of responsibility, fear, worry, and guilt that are swirling around in your very sleep deprived head.  I know you feel like you are physically attached to your child, and it is hard to get a chance to shower, sleep, eat, without needing to nurse, pump, or prepare for the next nursing session.  And oh the guilt…..oh the horrible, purposeless, painful guilt you feel every time you wish for a moment by yourself. And then by the grace of god, you get one of those moments and you lie there trying to nap but you can’t because you feel like you should be holding him.  Everyone is telling you how awesome it is to have a newborn and you just want that to be true. Instead you are walking around like a zombie, and worrying that you are not fit to be Evan’s mother.

Okay, so that is where I step in.  You are wrong. You are the best mommy that little guy has, and he needs you.  He needs you to take care of yourself and GIVE YOURSELF GRACE.  No one is going to judge you if you need a nap.  No one is going to judge you when you need to stop nursing because it is too much.  It is hard right now. Capital H. HARD. Not hours and hours of non stop joy. Hard.  Your hormones are plummeting, your hair is falling out, and you are getting up 4-5 times a night to care for your son.  It is okay for it to be hard. Let it be what it is and I can tell you…..he WILL sleep through the night. Not when he is three, like some very mean moms have told you……When is about 13 months he will start to consistently sleep through the night. And before then you will get blocks of 5 hours at a time which will feel like absolute heaven.  And all those doubts, those fears, those ugly nasty statements of guilt and shame you keep rolling around your head?  They will soon lift as well.  You will realize, you are doing okay.  He is in one piece. You can take showers and he will sit in the bouncy seat and be just fine.  You can make breakfast while he plays on the carpet with his toys.  The HARD will soon become your normal and you will not even realize when the change happens.

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Evan a few weeks shy of one year old May 2012

Dear Mama of an almost one year old,

This month is going to end on a very tough note for you.  You have no idea what the doctors are going to tell you about your beautiful baby boy who lights up your every day.  You have been cleaning up after hours and hours of repeated vomiting. You flinch when he coughs or gags because you know what follows.  You have been trying different foods and trying some of the same foods Evan used to eat and he won’t have any of it.  You worry because his weight has plateaued and the doctors just can’t seem to figure it out.  You are going to go through his birthday weekend telling yourself that he does not have any genetic condition. That he just has a gastrointestinal issue and medicine or surgery will fix it one day.  Mama, I say this gently, but you are wrong, and as I have said before- it is all going to be okay.  Evan’s diagnosis will not  change one bit about your relationship with him.  If anything, mama you are going to become one dedicated advocate for your son.  And Evan is going to start Early Intervention services, which will be scary, strange, and hard for you at first, but soon it will become a welcome support that you look forward to each week.  Evan is going to flourish with his therapists.  He will be eating some solids by the end of the summer. You would never believe it, but today, at almost three years old, Evan ate chicken nuggets, fries, and apple sauce for dinner. Toddler gourmet for sure, but I know how impossible that seems to you now.  But he will.  Keep at it mama, he needs you to be strong for him. That doesn’t mean you can’t cry or mourn the loss of the child and future that you had all planned in your head.  Tears do not negate strength.  They are a sign that you are being honest with yourself.  But please know, that as you learn more about Williams Syndrome , the easier it will all become.  Evan is going to do some amazing things. Just wait until you hear him say “I love you,” for the first time, ride a horse, and walk across the playground.  It’s all worth it.  He’s even going to go to school in the next few years. I know, don’t throw up.  You are going to survive it. It is going to be so wonderful for him. And for you and Todd.

This is going to happen a few years from now.

March 2014

March 2014

I’m telling you. It’s going to be okay.  xoxoxo

No Nap Nelson

I think some days, Evan thinks to himself, nap? 
Naps, schmaps. 
I don’t need no stinkin’ nap! 
It took a space heater to get him napping for his newborn pictures.

And the sad thing is, he probably doesn’t need one every day. My motherly instinct is that although he can get away without having one every day, he functions better overall if he has one daily. If I was being honest, I think right now, I need the nap as much as he does. I don’t mean that I need to sleep when he does. (occasionally it is super nice though) I mean I need that little break from having one eye constantly on him, to be able to eat lunch and breath for a few hours before starting up again into Mommy/teacher mode.

I am a social person by nature, I wouldn’t say I am an extrovert per se, but I do enjoy having contact with peers and loved ones. So nap time provides the time for me to connect with friends or check in with Todd and exercise my adult conversational skills and not my nursery rhymes. Not to mention, laundry, dishes, vacuuming, ordering feeding supplies, prepping dinner, paying bills, the list changes from day to day. I enjoy the quiet, I turn on classical music or just have silence to accompany me.  I think it is one of those things that helps me to be a better mom. 
See how cute he is when he sleeps?

But sometimes Evan doesn’t agree with that sentiment and we end up engaging in the nap battle. After we do our normal before “night night” routine, I lay him down, turn on the monitor and go to work around the house and make my lunch. He will typically (even on a good day) take about 30-45 min to wind down, rolling around in the crib, playing with his loveys, babbling, squealing, you name it. Some days he hangs out in one corner standing and bouncing and trying to figure out a way to get out. I know this because we have the amazing video monitor so I can watch every move on camera. He seems to know that we are on the other end of the camera because he will stand at the end of the crib and stare up at the camera wide eyed and bounce and squeal and look right at you.
Little stinker. 

Other days, like today, he will fight the nap with all his might and shout, squeal, and babble to his heart’s content as long as I will leave him in the crib. I will go up, check on him, change his diaper, make sure all is well, and he will whine a bit after I put him back down, but then go back to party time, Evan style. The kicker is that he will roll up in a ball, and look like he is in “sleeping position,” as Todd says, and I will breath a sigh of relief and 5 minutes later I will hear ba-ba-ba-me-me-me raspberry-raspberry and realize he is still awake.
Grrrr.
For some reason, this really really gets to me. 
Evan is such a great baby, I should say toddler. 🙂 He is loving, curious, social, persistent. He is really starting to communicate now and I also think he is close to walking. (even though we seem to say that a lot) This makes our days much more interesting; he is really becoming a little person. I am not sure why, but this nap fighting gets my goat. maybe it is because it is his first way of showing independence and asserting himself. Maybe it is because I don’t want to be wrong about him “needing” a nap. Maybe it is because I feel badly about leaving him in the crib when he is clearly awake.
I don’t know.
All I know, is that the days where he does not nap, I find myself more agitated and on edge when Todd gets home. Evan is not the type of child to throw tantrums when he doesn’t nap, but he is definitely not himself in the evenings without one. He is more lethargic, and easier to whine and cry. 
For now, I am going to keep trying, and putting him down for nap time. Even if he does not sleep, it will be deemed  “quiet Evan alone time.”
I hope that this will transition into quiet time for him when he gives up naps altogether and he will just have rest time and read or lay in bed quietly for an hour or so until he goes into kindergarten. Time will tell.
 If I have learned anything from being a parent, is not to make too many plans. They will change and that is a guarantee.  As I type right now, he is lying diagonally in his crib with his sleep sack on, making funny sounds and kicking his feet up in the air.

I will say this, I will take No Nap Nelson over WakeUp-Overnight Wilson any day.
Right??

20 months- After LOVING his first cream donut

TWO months, wow!

If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.- Vincent van Gogh

Hello everyone! So sorry for the length between blogs, but it might be more like a monthly thing now that the little man is in my life. It has been such a whirlwind, these two months. Evan has permanently changed our lives for the better. He is so perfectly precious and amazing. Today he officially turns two months old. He just started to make little smiles this past week, which warms my heart.  I have spent a a lot of time with my mom this past week which also warms my heart. 🙂 She has taught me a bunch of things about being a mommy that I never would have known if I hadn’t been able to hang out with her. I feel so blessed by all of Evan’s grandmothers. They are so wonderful. My mother in law, Sara, helped out a bunch this past month and she was an invaluable influence on me and Evan. Mom Mom Debbie is going to babysit Evan this weekend for our first little outing to a Phillies game. So blessed we are to have all these ladies in our lives.
I was reading over my last blog and I mentioned getting 4 hours of sleep one night…well I am happy to report that Evan is now sleeping an average of 4 hours at a clip and then 3 or so for the second clip. 🙂 We are moving towards a full night’s sleep I think? Maybe? Last night he turned himself completely in a circle in his crib.  He is such a little squirm. My mom is always saying he is going to give us a run for our money when he gets a little bigger and I tend to agree. He is already moving so much for only two months.
We have his second month check up next Sat, so I will update with his stats then. I predict he will be approximately 12 lbs at that point. He is a good eater and he seems to be a bit longer too.
We are just feeling so lucky and smitten with our little guy.  Sorry to gush!

Taken on his Two Month birthday

Love this little man

Almost a month old!

Hi everyone!
I have so much to blog about and so little time! I want to go back and blog the whole birth story so that Evan can look back and see what an amazing journey he went on in those 8 hours or so on May 27th. 🙂 But for right now I just thought I would quickly let all my blog readers (all 5 of you probably?) that I plan to start blogging once a month or so to update you on how our little family is doing and to sort of chronicle this whole journey. A very special person (my awesome father in law) suggested I try to do that as a new mom. It would be fun to look back on this for Evan but also for me to see how everything has progressed.  Including my ability to handle all this NEW motherhood stuff! It’s so funny how it is so true, there is no preparing you for what it is going to be like. The highs, the lows, the challenges, the tears of joy, the tears of pain, there is just so much that hits you in the first month!
But one thing I do know, is that Evan was worth the 10 month wait. He is already developing his own little personality. My favorite time of day with him is after a good feeding when he is alert and just listening to me tell him stories or sing to him. I also love watching him lie on Todd’s belly on the couch together- we must have 10 pictures of the two of them just chilling. I knew I loved my husband, and I knew he would be a good father, but he has far surpassed that now that Evan is actually here. What an amazing man he is.
Evan will be one month on Friday! UNBELIEVABLE.
Big success of the week, he is napping upstairs in his bassinet once or twice a day. So wonderful for him to get a good rest and I can get some things done and see him on the monitor. Must be that box air conditioner providing the white noise 🙂
Looking forward to: Evan following us with his eyes, and knowing who we are. And of course, SLEEPING more. I would take a 4 hour stretch at this point! I hear that will come in a month maybe??
I’ll leave you with a few pictures that you probably have seen but are some of my favorites:

Sleeping angel

Love his little piggies

After a bath! 

On Daddy’s Lap

Serious Cheek Action