A Long Overdue Holiday Post

*This post was started in early January, then sat unfinished for some time, so I apologize if it feels disjointed*
Hello everyone! Ah, the holidays are a busy time, I didn’t update as much as I’d have liked. Some thoughts and memories…

Seedling has started wanting to be more active in “helping” at the grocery store. She may start in the cart seat (and wants me to hand her all items that she can then put in the cart herself) or she wants out of the cart and to help me push. Which is totally adorable, until I accidentally kick her (Ok, kick is a strong term, it’s more like bumping with my foot) because, well, she’s right underfoot. But I try very hard not to.

Hubster has been assisting serving during church services for about 2 years now. He really enjoys it, and it’s very important to him. And I support him. He usually only serves 2 weekends a month, although there are times where they are shorthanded and he unexpectedly goes up. Up until recently it’s mostly only been an issue for me in, in that I don’t have an extra hand when Seedling gets bored or wiggly or whatnot during church. But more recently Seedling has caught on that her daddy isn’t there, and will ask for him. Christmas morning my mom agreed to go with us to church (kind of a surprise since she’s not really religious or anything) and Seedling takes this morning to be utterly INCONSOLABLE that daddy is up serving on the alter with the priests. I mean, she couldn’t be comforted with toys or nursing or ANYTHING. My mom is in utterly beyond upset that Seedling was upset and basically blaming our church for being horrible and traumatizing her grandchild. It was to the point where I was trying to palpate her abdomen and thinking maybe something was actually medically wrong and required an ER trip. At which point a friend had reached out and notified Hubster (who had no idea anything was wrong) that he needed to come find us. The second she saw her daddy she screamed and reached for him. Once in his arms she immediately settled and melted into him. So, yeah, no ER trip (thankfully!) but very emotional nonetheless. (Exacerbated by the fact that I felt I had to defend our church to my mom when I was also worried about my child) Hubster and I have decided that since him being separated from us at church is becoming traumatizing to Seedling, that on the days he serves Seedling and I will stay home and pray and sing hymns until she’s a bit older and we can discuss him “helping the priests” so it’s not quite as upsetting. On the says Hubster is not signed up to serve we will go as a family and he won’t help, even if they are short handed. The last thing I want is for Seedling to have a negative association with church!

We went on to have a lovely rest of the holiday. My dad, his wife and stepdaughter came over for Christmas dinner. We had opened stockings in the morning, and most presents after church, so that by the time our guesst arrived it was just about whatever gifts we were exchanging with them. Seedling, of course, got QUITE the haul of really wonderful, thoughtful gifts that will get LOTS of use and enjoyment. I feel like this was in many ways a perfect Christmas (church service aside) because I got to spend it with my family and I also received many wonderful gifts, many of which I had not expected due to cost etc. I am so humbled by their generosity!

New Years we went to a friend’s party. Every year they host as a mini reunion of sorts from friends we made our first year of college. It was very casual, and Seedling did admirably with staying up so late. She usually goes down around 7, but we stayed at party until about 9!

So far 2015 has been ok. Love my kiddo and hubby SO much, but living with my mom is getting increasingly tense. My mom has a new boyfriend, and they are in the “everything is shiny and new and want to spend all their time together” which is totally normal, but I don’t feel like I want to spend all my time with him. I’m happy to see my mom so happy, but he’s kinda pretentious and annoying, and when he’s here and Seedling is sleeping, there’s no place for me to go to get some space. Add in that in the glow of her new boyfriend who is the embodiment of all things “perfect gentleman” Hubster is increasingly become her whipping boy as he can’t measure up to said boyfriend.

We are anxious to get our credit up, buy a house and move out. We’ve been crunching numbers and I finally had to accept that we just can’t do it without more money coming in, so with LOTS of mixed emotions I’m beginning the job hunt process. I am, perhaps, pickier than most about who is going to watch Seedling, so finding someone I can trust, is affordable (AKA won’t take my entire paycheck thus negating having the job) and has flexible hours has taken a while. I’ve finally found an option with a family in our church, so now it’s just on to sending out resumes…

I know many moms who feel they need a job for their own sanity, to have a break, to feel a sense of purpose. And there isn’t anything wrong with that. I just don’t feel that way. But hopefully I can find someplace that is more than “just” a job, but where I fit in and enjoy my coworkers.

Anyway, that pretty much covers everything that I can think of.

Gratitude

I know my previous post today was… A downer.
But tonight, as I was helping get Seedling to bed, I was really hit and overwhelmed by gratitude.

We had gotten teeth brushed, and nighttime diaper on, and were playing on the bed getting the last wiggles out. She would puuuuuull me so I’d flop down dramatically. I’d sit back up and she’d giggle and puuuuull me down again. She’d jump and squat and clap her hands. My daughter is healthy and strong, vivacious. She is overflowing with joy and creativity. Her body and brain works perfectly. I know parents who have had children in the hospital, or children who may never be completely healthy. Watched as parents worried over their children in a way I never have. Seen the pictures fill up my Facebook feed of their children in hospital gowns, with all manner of IV and tubes attached. I am so unbelievably lucky. As much as I long for more children, I am also so fulfilled with Seedling. Strange dichotomy, I know. And so I just want to end the night in this grateful place.❤ Lord have Mercy on us all.

Wibbly Wobbly

It’s been an up and down week.
Sunday:
There is a house on our street that has really outdone themselves with their light display. So I decided to show it to Seedling that evening, as we walked the dogs. She was, understandably, awed. And decided to get a closer look… And went toddling off between their bushes on their front lawn. I was entangled in the dogs and halfway up their driveway (trying to stop her) when the homeowners came home. I just about died of embarrassment. “Sorry folks, I’m didn’t mean to trespass, my kid just really likes your lights.” Thankfully they were very cordial. Lol.
Monday:
My mom has been out of town on work for a week. After over 24 hours of travel she finally arrived home just as I was trying to run out the door for a babywearing meeting. Seedling ended up staying with her while I left. The meeting was crazy hectic and I had to leave early. I got back and we had a quick lunch then drive to get my mom’s car which was in the shop. I then got a snarky message from our Babywearing group’s leader about me leaving early. Ugh. Stupid drama.
Tuesday:
Started the morning with Seedling pulling over my heavy wooden dresser on to herself. Thankfully she’s ok but it was scary and I definitely tweaked my shoulder lifting the heavy furniture off of her. She then threw all her breakfast on the ground and tried to run away from me as it was time to leave. I was grumpy and ended up snapping at her, just over the stress threshold. But we got out to a lovely play date where toddlers got to run about a park on the Tacoma waterfront. An afternoon run to the grocery store was another comedy of errors as I had left my wallet at home, but only realized when I went to check out. -_-
Today:
Went to a long awaited OB appointment. I’m just feeling so discouraged. We’ve been trying to conceive kiddo #2 for a year now with no success. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but when I went in and spoke with a the OB basically said that unless I stop breastfeeding, there isn’t anything he can do becayse all the medications aware contraindicated wit nursing. To be fair, he was super nice about it and not pushy. And he advised weight loss. And he insisted that since my cycles are 28-30 days I “MUST” be ovulating. But I’ve been trying to lose weight for the last year, and all my OPK tests have been negative so I really don’t think I’m ovulating. And even if I wanted to wean Seedling, it’s basically impossible with her sleeping in our room. I just feel like every place I turn ends up a dead end! I was looking forward to having a shoulder to cry on but when Hubster came home from work he was obviously not feeling well, and quickly fell asleep on the couch. Seedling snuggled up with him and I’m writing this post.

And that’s my catch up of the week so far. Bleh. You win some, you lose some.

Let’s Try This Again.

So… yeah… long time no see.
I was thinking about the year ending, and New Year’s Resolutions and such, and about how there have probably been a million tiny moments over the last year that were sweet, or a milestone, or whatnot that have been forgotten. So, I really want to try to get back on the horse. Even if it’s just tiny posts. And, we’ve been trying again. For, like, a year. And I’m starting to get a bit discouraged. So having a safe space to express them would be good as well.

Seedling is now almost 2, in just a few short weeks time. I remember being terrified of toddlerhood, and it has been so much better than I had imagined! She is a bit delayed in speech, today was our final speech therapy appointment, we will reassess in 6 weeks. We got home and I made hot cocoa from scratch, and put a few marshmallows. She took it into the living room and drank a few sips, then pulled out all the marshmallows and ate them! As I was in the kitchen she came back in and held up her mug and signed “More!”. I said “But, you still have cocoa.” and she said shook her head no and exclaimed “More! More!” (To clarify, it really sounds more like “Mo!”) I said “Do you want more marshmallows?” and she nodded enthusiastically “Ya! More! More!” so since she had already splattered quite a bit of cocoa on her shirt, I just gave her a small bowl of marshmallows.

And this afternoon was crisp but sunny (surprising for December in Western Washington) and we took the dogs for a walk after her nap. We walked a one mile loop and she walked the entire thing, actually ran the first half (well, ran for her, normal walking pace for me hahaha) and the joy on her face – it was beautiful and precious and infectious. She would randomly exclaim “Mama!” as if I was a sudden revelation, give me a kiss, and keep walking. Ah, I love this kid.

Now if I can continue little updates and hold onto these moments❤

Settling In

Well, it’s been a couple weeks since we moved into my moms, and I know that there are some of you out there wanting an update.

Per living with my mom:
In so many ways, having my mom around has been helpful. Since she is usually here in the mornings, Seedling looks for her first thing after we leave our room. The evenings when Seedling struggles to settle down and fall asleep? (Which usually take place after rough days that I’m totally exhausted by, physically and emotionally) My mom will take a turn at going in and trying to rock Seedling into sleepy-land. However, all the well-meaning, well-intended advise and questions is totally eroding my fragile confidence. Everyone says “Follow your gut, listen to your instincts, do what feels natural, stand up for yourself and your child, you know your child best!” But it is definitely hard when there is such a frequent line of “don’t you think you should ____?” Or “do you want me to do ___?” Or “why don’t you do ___?”. I know she means well but all this second guessing and having to explain or justify my choices is really, really hard. And since is is my mom, who I love and trust and respect, it makes it even harder to ignore or disregard. Her comments and questions follow me, coming up again and again in my head, little ghosts of doubt.

Per living in this space:
However, in general things are not as bad as I had worried they might be. In fact it’s really not that bad living with my mom, she’s barely ever home, the hardest part is the actual building that we are in and how small it is. While having Seedling’s crib in our room isn’t as difficult as I had originally thought it might be, it is posing a greater difficulty then when she had her own nursery. She isn’t sleeping as well as she used to. When she wakes in the night she doesn’t settle herself back to sleep quickly. Instead she wakes screaming and since her crib is right next to my side of the bed, it’s a very startling way to be woken several times a night. I leap (or blearily stumble) out of bed, pick her up and take her to the rocking chair to nurse. This nursing feels like it goes on for hours as I am exhausted from the constantly broken sleep. The other major difficulty is the tiny standup shower. Besides both Hubster and I frequently bumping our heads against the sides (Hubster admitted that one time he smacked it so hard he saw stars) and knocking off shampoo bottles from the microscopic shelves, it has made it so that my daughter, who used to absolutely adore showers, now screams bloody murder. I think this is because in the standup shower she cannot get away from the spray of the water and she finds this incredibly upsetting, and she has transferred that over even to her bath time! I had hoped the huge, jetted tub she would at least enjoy, but you’d think the water was molten lava by her reaction! The best solution I’ve found so far is to get in the bath tub with her. And while it is quite the luxurious bath tub, there are many times when I need to just clean her off quickly and not take the time to immerse myself.

Per the positives:
There are many positives, to be sure. The condo is clean and quiet, the neighbors are generally polite and friendly. There are a few kids around Seedling’s age so it had been wonderful to watch her get to play and socialize. As much as I begrudge having to walk the dogs (mostly because it is a lot of rigmarole to get shoes on, leashes on, poop bags, stroller out and ready to go etc) the truth is once I get out and going I find myself enjoying the fresh air. And as I recently joined an 8-week weight loss challenge with a mom friend, I use the walks to get in some cardio. I put on some dancing music on pandora and that helps keep a brisk pace🙂

Now off to bed for me. Gotta get my sleep in while I can!

T minus 1 week

It’s passed midnight, so that means it’s officially Saturday. And I can’t sleep. My sporadic insomnia has an edge of panic attack to it. Spinning head, slightly numb hands. I know that my panic attacks are directly linked to my stress load. Let me see… In exactly one week my husband, daughter, dog and myself move in with my mom and her crazy dog (formerly my dog. But I seriously cannot handle his spaz anymore. Thus shipping him off to my moms. And now I’m going to be living with him again?!) in her super small 1 bed + loft room, 1.5 bath. Seriously, I’m guessing this place at about 1,000 square feet. I’m not packed nearly as much as I has planned due to delay of acquiring boxes. My mom is SO HAPPY we are moving in, so no pressure for me to be happy or anything. I feel like she isn’t acknowledging how hard this is for me, or for Hubster. Yes, of course there are things I’m looking forward to. Not being homeless. Less expenses. Extra help with Seedling. I know Seedling is going to be over-the-moon-thrilled to spend so much time with her Grammy. But yeah, just a lot of emotions. Loss of independence and privacy. Fears of tension and conflict. Loss of personal comforts – most of our stuff is going in storage. A few kitchen items, our clothes and dressers, Seedling’s crib and changing table and blackout curtains, a few books, a few knitting/craft projects, movies… That’s all that us coming with us. Everything from our table, plates and cups, couches and wall art, decorative curtains, Chiba cabinet, our bed… All going to storage. I know it’s just stuff, but it is stuff we have accumulated to make our apartment feel like home. it is the things that I’m so familiar with that I don’t consciously bite they are there, but they surround me with a sense if familiarity; colors, textures, aesthetic that I enjoy. While my mom is open to my ideas on arranging stuff, ultimately it her HER home. Her aesthetic, her stuff, heck, Hubster and I don’t even have our bed! (Not because we were forbade from bringing it, just that trying to fit our king in amongst everything seemed too tight.)

Alright, I more or less emptied my brain. Here’s hoping sleep will fill the void.

Complicated

Let me just blow the dust off the shelves around here.  Sorry about the state of things… Life with a toddler (Yup, toddler! Seedling is now 16.5 months old!) is busy – wonderful and frustrating, highest highs and some cranky, rotten, no-good very-bad lows.  But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.  

I don’t know if anyone will read this, but I just need a place to let it all out.  There have been several really difficult things in the last few weeks and while Hubster is an excellent shoulder to cry on, I feel like what I need is to just scream into the wind, scream until I make myself hoarse.  

It started at the end of April with Hubster was in a car accident on his way to work in the morning.  Thankfully no one was hurt, and it wasn’t far from our apartment so I woke up Seedling, drove out and waited with him, called insurance and AAA.  He was able to limp his truck back to our Apartment afterward.  There are still a lot of questions with the insurance, as to who was at fault (no witnesses other than the drivers) and so we can’t move forward with repairing his truck until we know if the insurance will pay for it or not.  So that means we are suddenly a one car family.  I know it is fairly common, and my complaints are that of a “first world problem” but with crummy public transportation options, being stuck at home with a wiggly and and energetic toddler has given me a right good case of cabin fever.  Add in a good dollop of feeling overweight and out of shape and wishing I could access various parks and outlets of exercise, having some really awful body image issues, and continued lack of progress in the conceiving of baby #2.

Then I had the very sad day of taking Seedling to get a lip tie and tongue tie assessed.  The doctor was really wonderful, but I wish we had caught this sooner.  Seedling was incredibly distraught to be swaddled and held down for a mouth exam, and then to have that done a second time so they could cut the ties.  Since then she’s been having some (understandably) rough days dealing with pain and healing, and me constantly messing with her mouth to ensure things are healing correctly.

But the biggie? Well, that will take a but more explaining.  It’s complicated.  I’ll try my best to simplify it.  So, Hubster’s current job does not bring in enough income to cover rent, bills and living expenses.  We have been slowly living off what was left off his savings/trust fund.  He is in his final semester of college (remember, day job and night classes keep Hubster a very busy boy!) and once he graduates, and takes his licencing exam for welding, the world of possibilities opens up for a better job.  We knew that in this semester we would run out of the last of savings.  So he asked for a larger student loan to cover tuition and give us a little extra for living expenses. We waited… and waited… wand waited for this loan check!  He would check in with student aid and they would just say it was coming.  Monday of this past week I got a letter in the mail from financial aid.  THE CHECK!  I tore it open – no.  Not the check.  A letter stating that the loan request had been DENIED.  Clearly there had to be some mistake, some misunderstanding.  Tuesday Hubster spend a good chunk of his afternoon in the financial aid office trying to figure out how to get us the check.  The short story is that while the personnel were able to scramble together enough grants to cover tuition, there would be no loan check, no extra money for living expenses.  I return to the fact that we cannot afford rent and bills.  Turns out our lease ends at the end of this month.  We certainly don’t want to resign a lease we cannot afford to pay.  But anything we might have been able to afford was about the size of a shoebox and pretty low standard of living.  My mother offered that we could move in with her.  And the fact is, it is really our only option.  So we accepted.  But of course, it;s not just that simple.  It’s humbling.  It’s depressing.  I’m 29, I have a daughter, I figured that when we moved next, it would be into a house.  Maybe even buying a house.  Oh, and let’s not overlook the fact that we will be squishing our bedroom and Seedling’s nursery will be combined into 1 (one!) room.  Because my mother’s condo is tiny.  It’s perfect, for her.  But for her plus us?  It’ll be “cozy”.  And my mom is a pretty particular person.  She has a VERY high standard of cleaning and organizing and clutter and, well, we are more relaxed.  My mom is a very talkative, inquisitive, sensitive person who doesn’t have a great awareness of boundaries.  Hubster is a fairly reserved guy, very sarcastic (especially when stressed or cranky), fiercely independent person.  Not to mention that I’ve worked very hard over the past decade to instill boundaries with my mother that are going to be tested to their utmost limit.  Oh – and of course this move takes us 30+minutes away from Hubster’s current job and school, away from my mom groups and friends.  With no car and no close friends I have a foreseeable future of being stranded in that tiny condo alone with Seedling.  I can feel the claustrophobia setting in.  We will be putting most of our stuff in a storage unit, only taking the BARE essentials.  We are going into this knowing (expecting) that it’s temporary until Hubster can find a better job.  Could be as soon as a month or two, hopefully no more than 6 months! But so there is added stress of knowing that not only are we doing a stressful, last-minute move in three weeks time, but also the stress of knowing we can’t really “settle down” but will be moving all our crap again in a few months time.  I feel…. adrift.  Chaotic.  The word “stress” doesn’t even BEGIN to cover all the EmOtIoNs going on.  Some times I feel relaxed, and I can see the good things (super low rent, and extra hand with Seedling, Seedling ADORES my mom, incredible jetted bathtub…) but mostly all I can see if just that this is going to take a lot of energy and effort and the strain this will cause on my relationship with Hubster and my relationship with my mom.

I want a little cottage in the country.  Big enough for us to grow our family, but cozy.  Lots of acreage for cows and sheep and a big garden and fruit trees and chickens and bees. Nothing glamorous, just simple, pastoral, content.  A place where me and my family can work hard and go to sleep at night knowing we did an honest days work, knowing that my kids had loads of fresh air, that I know where the food on my table came from because it came from me.  Dirt under my fingernails.

Anyway, all that to say, I just may be writing a bit more frequently.  Because it’s the only outlet, the only community I’m going to have.
And to end on a good note, and updated photo of my munchkin!❤
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