As a blogger, I’ve been feeling pretty uninspired lately.

I want to write. But I don’t have anything I want to write about. It’s quite a predicament.

I’ve been at this for almost seven years now. SEVEN YEARS! I remember when it used to feel effortless to get posts up 4, 5, 6 days per week. What the WHAT? How? It feels like a past life; I guess in a lot of ways, it was.

Maybe I need to jump on NaBloPoMo again next month to get the wheels turning again. Last time, I didn’t even follow the prompts all of the time, but having them there just helped for some reason.

Anyway, there’s this thing that I’ve seen bloggers do sometimes to help get out of a rut. They turn it on their readers.

So, readers: Since I haven’t been posting as much, I’ve been hearing from you less. But what do YOU want to hear about when you come here? Why do you keep coming back?

Not only that, but if you’re so inclined, go ahead—ask me questions. I can’t guarantee that I’ll answer them all, but maybe some of your comments and questions will be the inspiration I need.

 

Spring is here. Finally.

Unfortunately for us, spring in this area still means many cold days, but there are sunny and/or warmer ones sprinkled in for good measure. It’s good the soul, and gives me hope that no, we are not cursed with an eternal winter thanks to all of the littles around the world (including my own) belting out “Let It Go” on repeat since late November. It’s nice to walk out the door in the mornings or at the end of the workday and take a big, deep breath of SPRING.

We had the opportunity to take our new double stroller for an inaugural spin around the neighborhood on Sunday afternoon. It was only in the mid-50s temperature wise, but the sun was shining and it felt wonderful. Tomorrow? It’s supposed to be 70. SEVENTY!! It is the warmest I can remember it being for at least five months, if not longer. I cannot wait to bask in it. I’m planning to work remotely tomorrow just so I can be sitting somewhere the sun is shining and I can fully enjoy it, even if I’m busy banging out emails to clients and doing some writing. Maybe I will even open up the windows in our house and let actual AIR inside. Can you imagine?

Speaking of work, it’s been a few weeks at my new job now and I’m settling in. Things are starting to feel more routine, but I’m still learning the ropes. It’s the perfect time of year for this sort of thing. Spring—new life, fresh air. It lends itself well to fresh starts and new beginnings in a professional sense.

There is an impact at home, too. In our house, I’m currently focused on getting rid of ALL.THE.THINGS. I’ve upcycled old bookshelves that were just sitting in our basement for use in my new office. And baby stuff… if the girls have both outgrown it? It’s going. And we officially decided to stop cloth diapering completely—I am both crying and rejoicing inside, haha—so I am busy getting rid of all of that, too. I have been utilizing local “mom swap” Facebook groups and a lot of stuff has been moving out, and we’re gaining some extra cash in exchange. Good stuff.

I wish I could take a solid two days and just deep clean EVERYTHING in our house. Better yet, I wish I could hire someone to do it, haha. Scrub all of the bathrooms, the floors, the baseboards, the windows, all of the surfaces… everything. It’s tough to do so around work and weekend plans. But man, if I get a free sunny day with nothing going on? Watch out.

Spring is good for my psyche. It makes such a huge difference in my mood and my overall sense of happiness. I’m so looking forward to the next several months and all that they will bring.

Who else is being uplifted by the change of seasons? How are you “celebrating”?

 

Exactly a year ago, I woke up with a little bit of an upset stomach.

It quickly escalated from there into what I originally thought—as did my doctors—was the worst.stomach.bug.ever. The most violent vomiting you can imagine. The pain and discomfort associated with a stomach virus, but multiplied times ten.

I spent the day suffering.

Suffering through an OB appointment to check on the baby due to my vomiting, during which the nurse practitioner told me the baby was fine, but I did indeed have a horrible stomach virus. She said I’d have to tough it out for 24-48 hours until it subsided.

Suffering through hours lying in bed, writhing around in discomfort, praying I would pass out for even just a few minutes so I could have some relief.

Suffering through phone call after phone call to my OB, to my primary care physician, to on-call doctors—begging someone… anyone… to help me.

Suffering through a trip to urgent care, where they turned me away without even looking at me once they realized I was 22 weeks pregnant. I cried.

Suffering through a drive to the ER, where they—wait for it—also turned me away. THE EMERGENCY ROOM. Turned.me.away!! At that point, I laughed. Because seriously, what else could I do? By this point, it was nearly 7:00 p.m. and the last 12 hours had been a nightmare.

Thankfully, the ER didn’t make me go far. They made me go up to L&D. There, I finally got some relief through an IV with three bags of fluids to hydrate me, as well as pain and anti-nausea meds. After a few hours, I felt a little bit better. Ultimately, the doctors there agreed with the morning’s diagnosis—gastroenteritis. A fancy word for the stomach flu.

But if you’ve been around for more than a year, you know that this turned out to be not at all what it seemed. As I walked out of the hospital that night, I started feeling a weird twinge on my lower right side whenever I stepped on my right foot. An ominous sign, and one I should’ve apparently paid more attention to. In hindsight, I would’ve turned back around and gone right back up to L&D.

But I didn’t.

One thing led to another and I ended up back in the hospital just 6-7 hours later, in the early hours of the morning. Acute appendicitis they said. What I had thought was a nightmare the day before? That was nothing compared to what happened next. As I waited for surgery… that angry appendix burst. Pain you cannot even imagine unless you’ve been through it. And I don’t know, maybe it’s different for everyone, but for me, it was way worse than childbirth—and I’ve had two babies sans any drugs.

We didn’t know if our sweet unborn baby would survive all of this. Abdominal surgery when pregnant was a risk to begin with, but once that appendix ruptured, my risk of losing the pregnancy multiplied. The baby was much too young to be born, and it was scary. It continued to be scary as I endured eight days in the hospital with some complications.

The whole thing was horrible. One day, I was a healthy, happy pregnant lady enjoying her second trimester, and the next, I was recovering from surgery, unable to get out of bed by myself, unable to eat, and with a nasal cannula shoved up my nose to help my oxygen levels. I was so very sick.

Now, a year later, it is amazing to think about how all along, that baby inside of me during all of that? It was our Vivienne. Thankfully, amazingly, miraculously… we wouldn’t meet her until four months later. I am so grateful I was able to go on to have a healthy pregnancy and wonderful delivery.

But my Vivienne… I think I will always have a little extra bond with her because of what we went through together at that time. Sometimes I look at her and it is incredible to think about what she endured with me. They opened up my belly and “power washed” my organs (because of the rupture), and Vivienne was right there inside. It kind of blows my mind.

The whole thing is still kind of surreal to me. I look back and although I lived it—every horrible minute of it—I still kind of can’t believe that happened to me. At the time it was all happening, I didn’t know how that story would end. I didn’t know how that event would shape my life, and to what extent. I’m so, so glad that I had a good outcome. It was a big deal at the time, and I will carry the scar from it for the rest of my life, but really, it was only a blip on life’s radar. It was a hiccup.

This morning, we were at our pediatrician’s office to get Vivienne a vaccine and we actually ran into the nurse practitioner from my OB’s office (it’s in the same building) who so easily dismissed me that morning, exactly one year ago. She was so sure it was a stomach bug. I don’t really blame her, because there were others who thought the same—and I’ve since heard so many horror stories about appendicitis initially being misdiagnosed—but I still wish there had been someone along the way who thought to consider the possibility.

I allow myself to go back there in my mind, to think about it sometimes. About how it could have been different. How I could’ve avoided the rupture if only I had been diagnosed correctly, if only I had paid more attention to the “twinge” in my right side, if only I had refused to leave the hospital that night. But also how it could’ve been so.much.worse.

It happened and I—we—made it through.

One year ago. And now I have her.

 

Dear Vivienne,

It’s great to be eight (months)!

This is SUCH a fun age. You are animated and adorable, you’re usually capable of occupying yourself with a few toys, you still (mostly) stay where we put you down, and you’re FUNNY. Oh, and did I mention that you’re sleeping pretty darn well?

Why yes, you’ve made quite a few strides in numerous areas within the past month.

Let’s start with sleep. I wrote last month that you were still waking up in the middle of the night most nights, usually just to squawk or cry a little bit until we came in and gave you your pacifier back and you’d drift off to sleep. But then, I don’t know… you just kind of stopped doing that. A lot of the time, you still wake up about half an hour to 45 minutes earlier than we’d like, but we’ll take it. It’s not ungodly early like a lot of parents deal with, so… not going to complain about it. Once you’re ready to get up, you’re up. I remember that Nora would sometimes drift back off to sleep in the early mornings if we went in and gave her the pacifier. You? No way. If we go into your room and then try to walk back out again? You are MAD. You cry, and it’s a distinct “upset/angry” cry that we otherwise don’t hear out of you too often. So you’re ruling the roost these days in terms of the wake-up calls.

Food. You eat it now, and you do very well with it. It’s still all purees. You’ll eat pretty much anything, although the things that you like go down a lot easier than things you are just “so-so” about. I’ll admit that up until the last few weeks, I really hated feeding you solids. It was time consuming and pretty frustrating because you were not that into it and it seemed like every spoonful was a little bit of a battle. Now, you knock back big bowls of food like it is no big deal. In fact, you fuss for your food at dinnertime! If we’re eating and you’re not, there are many nights that you let us know that’s not okay with you. I think you may be going through a growth spurt at the moment, because you’re even hungrier than usual. Once your big bowl of food is gone, you’re often whining for more, so I’ll let you suck down a pouch of something else. You’re a champ with those pouches, by the way!

Oh, and your reflux? You’re officially off of the meds, completely. You still spit up quite a bit, but since it doesn’t seem to cause you discomfort anymore, we’re just dealing with it as a “laundry problem”—and nothing more! And me? Well, I’m eating CHEESE again! And it is glorious. I’m still not back up to my previous level of dairy consumption, but that’s probably a good thing—not just for you, but for me, too.

You are sitting up pretty well now. We still keep your boppy around you for support when you sway side to side and backward, because if we don’t, you can still fall over fairly easily. But I can tell you’re getting stronger and you’ll be a champ at completely “unassisted” sitting in no time. You love to sit on the floor and play with a bunch of toys. Your favorites are the small things you can manipulate with your hands and put in your mouth. You’re obsessed with things that crunch—the “crinkle” toys, and sometimes we’ll give you packaging to play with because you just love to make noise with it. With bigger toys, you completely manhandle them. We call you “Bruiser” because you so easily swing and bang things around and throw things with force.

As it turns out, your pediatrician was completely wrong last month when she told us you were not even close to teething. Because seriously, two weeks after she said that, your first tooth popped through the surface. You’ve now got two that are cut through, but they’re both still making their way up. They’re just sharp little nubbins right now, so they have a ways to “grow.”

When we put you down on the floor, on your back or your belly, you are getting pretty good at moving yourself around. No crawling at all—not on all fours nor the “army crawl”—but you can roll across the room, and while on your belly, you can pivot in a complete circle with ease. You do the “plank” position and manage to get yourself up on your knees quite often, but just don’t know what to do when you get there. Still, the way you move your body trying to figure it all out? Well, all of that movement manages to propel you a bit, even if it may not be in the direction you intended. And your jumperoo? Well, your legs are still too short to touch the floor (WHY do they not make them to accommodate smaller babies??), but I finally figured out that if I put our lap desk underneath you, it’s the perfect “booster” and you love jumping in it now.

You are a very happy baby. You’re usually content to just look around and watch everything going on around you. Or you are easily occupied with a couple of toys. You’re very smiley, flashing grins at pretty much anyone who looks at or talks to you. (That means you tend to be a huge crowd pleaser.) People can’t believe how happy you are. And it’s true—you only really cry when you’re getting tired.

You bring so much joy to our family. Nora continues to adore you, and you her, which absolutely warms my heart.

It’s been so fun to watch you grow and change. We’re going to keep on eating you up, okay?

Love you to the moon and back.

XOXO
Mommy

 

My mom: “Mommy and Daddy went out on a date to a restaurant.”
Nora: “Oh. Did they go to Applebee’s?”
(Important to note that she’s eaten at Applebee’s maybe three times in her three years. I guess it made an impression on her! LOL)

As she’s picking up her toys off of the floor in the family room, to make space to roll a ball around:
“It’s a mess! I can’t stand it!”

We were contemplating how to spend the hour or so before we were going to get dinner started.
“Nora, do you want to go to Target? Or do you want to watch some of Frozen?” I asked.
“I have an idea,” she responded, almost immediately. “Let’s go to Target, THEN watch Frozen.”
Alrighty then.

Watching the beginning of Frozen, when young Anna jumps on young Elsa while she’s sleeping to wake her and asks if she wants to build a snowman.
“Mommy, when Vivienne gets big, she can jump on me when I’m sleeping and I’ll push her off.”
(This is what Elsa does to Anna, but still…)

When I was off from work for a week between leaving my old job and starting my new, I took Nora out to lunch at Five Guys. First, we were waiting for the food, and with her chin in her hand, she said, exasperated, “This is taking FOREVER.” And then, as I was cutting up her hot dog for her, she randomly said to me:
“Mommy, I’m 3.”
“Yes, honey, you’re 3.” I confirmed.
“It’s fun being 3!”

I was having an argument with her over getting dressed. She turns to me, and with huge attitude, says, “MOMMY! Daddy’s funny, and YOU’RE NOT.” I guess that was the best insult she could think of at that moment. I had to hide my face to shield the laughing. I might not be funny, but she sure is.

On Saturday, we pulled up to my new office and parked. Nora looked around.
“Mommy, where’s BJ’s?”
“BJ’s? What do you mean?” I asked.
“You said your new work was near BJ’s.”
“No, actually, I said my new work was near Trader Joe’s.”
(Smacks her forehead) “Ohhhhhhh!” she chuckled at herself. “I thought it was BJ’s.”

I came downstairs from putting Vivienne down for a nap to find that Nora had picked up all of the toys in the family room and cleared the floor.
“Look, Mommy!” she exclaimed. “I cleaned up all by myself! You’re going to be so proud of me!”

I LOVE this kid. Nowadays, she usually talks the ENTIRE.WAY.HOME from daycare every day. Like literally does not stop talking. She gets going on the most random things sometimes and will ask a million questions, or comment incessantly about it all.

She can count to about 15 reliably, then starts skipping around. “…12, 13, 14, 15, 25, 22, 28, 29…” It’s hysterical.

She thinks any and all little girls are her “friends,” and they are very important to her. As she’s getting dressed, she’ll sometimes say, “Mommy, my friends will like my shirt.” Or “my friends will love my headband.” It doesn’t matter if she’s met them one time or if she sees them every day… every single one is her friend. She also asks me about my friends all of the time. “Mommy, what your friends’ names?” or “Who your friends at work, Mommy?” or “I know your friends!” and she’ll start listing them off.

Nora Grace, you make us smile every day with the things that come out of your mouth. You are smart, inquisitive, funny, and loving. I hope I will always remember what you were like at this age.