Saturday, December 31, 2011

The good. The bad. And the ugly.

2011 was a pretty crazy year, filled with insane ups and downs. In some senses, it was one of our best. In others, one of our hardest.
We started off by counting the days until viability with Ellen. An unexplained bleeding incident in early December had us scared and the situation would go either way - it was either something awful that would likely lead to is losing the pregnancy or it was nothing. Thank god it was nothing.
We sold our house. When we went to get the check for closing, the teller told us congratulations on buying a new house. It hurt to tell her that we were paying that much to sell our house!
And then began moving our entire house into a tiny apartment and storage unit with a 2 year old. While 24 weeks pregnant and on restrictions.
Our apartment living was difficult. Ryan missed having space to play and we missed having any space at all. But we did enjoy the swimming pool this summer!
We closed on our house, Ellen wad born, and Michael was laid off within 2 weeks. Looking back, I cannot believe we took that as well as we did. But Michael got a great new job and all is well.
Building our house was an intensely frustrating process. I know that I tend to micromanage and that plays into it. Now, 3 months post move, I finally feel at home and am happy yo have everything (almost) in it's place.
Ryan gave us some new parenting challenges this year, easily winning the "most difficult McFarlane" title for 2011. Pretty impressive considering his competition was a newborn for a good portion of the year. But he has returned to the awesome little guy we know and love and is exclusively using the potty.
We had an awesome vacation camping with Erin, Nate, Cole, and Grant. Everyone thought we were nuts taking a 4 month old camping, but she loved it and we had a blast.
We survived 2 stomach bugs within 3 months and my anxiety was much better than expected.
Our families faced illness and all appear to have luckily won their battles. We welcomed Maura into the family and enjoy having a partner in crime for Ellen.
Fellow preemie moms experienced loss beyond words and we all cried together. We celebrated each milestone as our kids kicked prematurity's butt.
I can't say that I'm sad to see 2011 go - it's been a wild ride. Here's to a boring 2012!

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, December 05, 2011


This is what an 8 day stomach bug + a weekend with guests + a newly potty trained 3 year old looks like.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Happy birthday eve monkey

Ryan's birthday will always be the best and worst day of my life. Which sucks. No one wants that.
This year has been easier. No dwelling on where I was last year or the year before. No crying. Just excitement about celebrating.
Until today. All of a sudden I wasn't feeling very well. Then I was feeling awful. I was scared my stomach bug was back. And then i was crying. Sobbing crying. I didn't want to cancel. I didn't want to miss ryan's party. I didn't want to screw up his third birthday the way I screwed up his day of birth.
and then it hit me - every time I think of anything about his birthday, I get nauseous. It is clearly anxiety. And in all the chaos of the last week, I didn't have time to think about these milestones. Until they hit me all at once, like a ton of bricks.
I was alone in my hospital room 3 years ago tonight, hunkering down for another 7 weeks. Contemplating the holidays in antepartum and missing my pups. Changing my cell phone plan to include my blackberry as a wireless modem. And none of it mattered - my baby boy was here 24 hours later.
Tomorrow, instead of being bedridden in a hospital, scared out of my mind, I will be at ryan's 3rd birthday party, watching him climb things and being scared of him falling. The sting of his prematurity will never go away, but it will always remind me of how lucky I am to have what I do today.
Happy birthday eve monkey man. I love you.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, December 01, 2011

pukefest 2011

is the title crass? yep. but honestly, it's way nicer than the actual experience was!

a couple of weeks ago, ryan got strep. there were 2 puke incidents. but then he was better! hooray!

then ellen puked twice on friday. oh well, all the kids at daycare had randomly thrown up at least once, so that must be her turn.

and then it became clear as day that we were under attack. no carpet, towel, sheet, clothing item, pet, or parent was safe.....

i took ryan to his well doctor appointment on monday afternoon. he weighed in at a solid 39lbs and is 42 inches tall. his weight is off the chart, his height is all the way up by where you write your name on the chart. he got a clean bill of health, we got some noodles, he went to nap, i went to work in the office.
and then it began - ryan began throwing up every 15-30 minutes. normally, especially after the incidents described above, i would freak out. my feet would immediately go numb and my stomach would be upset. instead, i handled it quite well.
but then it didn't stop. around 8pm, there were small flecks of blood in his vomit. ok, i know what isn't supposed to be in vomit, and blood is one of them. i called our doctor and she suggested that he go to the ER. michael took him in and after a few doses of zofran and some ice chips, he finally stopped.

and then i got it.

and then michael got it.

i'm thinking ellen's had to have been friday, right? nope.

i picked the kids up from daycare yesterday (which includes a very lengthy story about cleaning up even more puke that didn't belong to a mcfarlane, but that's for a different time) and i just had a feeling. it was the first time i was anxious.

i'm beginning to think anxiety might just be intuition instead.....

ryan puked again.

and then ellen puked again.

i went to walgreens at 10:45pm to pick up some pedialyte for miss ellen as the bottle we already had was surely turned into baby poison immediately upon entering its 49th hour of hanging out in my fridge. the cashier told me to have a good day.
i'm at walgreens at 10:45pm.
in sweatpants and glasses.
buying only pedialyte.
sir, i think it's safe to say that the "good day" ship has sailed and left me drowning in its wake.
but i appreciate the sentiment.

it is now 4:09pm on december 1st, and by my count, there has been no vomit in my life during the month of december. and, with a little luck and a lot of hand sanitizer, it will stay that way.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

the last thankful post

well, that's probably not true as i'm sure i'll be thankful for something again, but you know what i mean!

day 25 - i am also thankful for tradition. instead of dwelling on the past, we now spend black friday decorating the tree. ryan LOVES the christmas tree. ellen seems to enjoy it as well. every ornament was "that's so pretty momma" and every placement was contemplated. granted, they all ended up in the same place, but he thought very hard about it. :) he picked a very bright, glittery red star for the top from target and loves it.
we put our old, smaller tree in ryan's room and he loves it. there is no more innocent sight than a sleeping child in the light of christmas tree lights.
as our family of 4 was decorating our tree and listening to christmas music in the house we've only dreamed of until now, i couldn't help but stop and think how wonderful life is. dreams can and do come true.

day 26 - i am thankful for family. we have had lots of visitors in our new home and today we hosted my mom and dad, my mom's mom, and my dad's dad. it was fun showing them around our house and watching them interact with the kids. thanksgiving was great with grandpa mac and grandma sue, although the gravy was a bit salty... :)

day 27 - i am thankful for ryan's sense of humor. it never ceases to amaze me what that kid comes up with. on thanksgiving, we were watching the macy's thanksgiving day parade and there was a funny commercial with justin bieber and a bunch of grown men screaming like little girls. i laughed and so ryan thought it was hilarious. for the rest of the day, whenever he would scream, we'd yell "justin bieber!" and he would laugh and laugh. eventually he asked us to scream and would yell "beef & beaver!" which was even more hilarious. we spent about 30 minutes at the dinner table yelling. it's moments like those.

day 28 - i am thankful we live so close to a wonderful childrens' hospital. ryan was throwing up quite a bit and so we took him in. they took great care of him and get everything under control.

day 29 - i am thankful for the television. michael and i were both sick with the same stomach bug and ran was kind enough to entertain himself almost exclusively the entire day. he even ventured into the playroom and played a bit!

day 30 - i am thankful that i made it through pukefest 2011. in the last 2 weeks, ryan has had 3 separate vomiting incidents, ellen has had 1, i have had 1, and michael has been quite queasy. i have only had mild anxiety to this point and i am more than relieved. tonight has been a bit rough, but with the end in sight, i can live with that.

and with that, november draws to a close. bring on december!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

thankful - day 24

not only am i thankful for my kids as individuals, i'm thankful that i've been blessed with 2. when we were undergoing infertility treatments with ryan, it was difficult. i figured it wouldn't be so bad the second time around because at least we had ryan. in fact, it was harder. it killed me that i wasn't sure whether we'd be able to give him a sibling. and i thank god every day that we could.
they way they look at each other is amazing. they have a bond that no one else can understand. tonight, ellen was crying (which is rare, i know, i'm lucky) and ryan dropped what he was doing and ryan into the room yelling "ellen's crying! it's an emergency!" i often catch him telling her she's pretty or that he loves her. and the way she looks at him is incredible.
there are days when i wonder what i was thinking having 1 kid, no less 2. but then i see them together and it makes all the difference.
happy thanksgiving!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful catch up!

Ryan got strep. I got a sore throat. After the sinus infection that came back 3 times. But enough with the excuses.

Day 14 - butler. He was my first baby. He has been with Michael and I since before we were Michael and I.

Day 15 - Molly. She is my first baby girl. She loves without condition and is understanding of my impatience.

Day 16 - I am thankful for the opportunity to have known all my grandparents and to have lived close to all of them. Every now and again there are things that pop up that remind me of the time I was blessed to spend with them.

Day 17 - I am thankful for my preemie momma friends. I have never met such a truly amazing and strong group of women. There's something comforting to know that someone has your back, always. I may not love why we know each other, but I love that we do.

Day 18 - I love my house. It is exactly what I wanted. Everything in its place. Or at least it will be.

Day 19 - I am thankful for my friends. No matter how much tome has passed, it's like we were together yesterday.

Day 20 - I am thankful to have been able to breastfeed as long as I have. Not so thankful for the pumping, but you win some, you lose some.

Day 21 - I am thankful I have a good job. Sometimes I get frustrated, but there are plenty of people that don't have that luxury.

Day 22 - I am thankful for sweatpants. Ummmmm, comfy!

Day 23 - I'm thankful for good tv. Sometimes it's nice to relax!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thankful-days 11-13

I have a lot to be thankful for!
- veterans. Andrew, my grandparents, and ryan (Daack) most of all. In the past few years, I've known several men who were deployed and have seen the effects of their absence on their families. I am also thankful for the selfless people who step up when these brave men and women go off to fight.
- my dad. It's was his birthday on veterans' day. He is me, but in old man form. :) we don't often fight, but when we do, it's epic. I see so much of him in Ryan and I can't imagine a better man for Ryan to emulate.
- days off. I get veterans' day off and so I spent the day with the kiddos. While I love my job (most days) and know I would be a terrible stay at home mom, it's nice to have days where my only job is to take care of Ryan and Ellen.
- healthy babies! On of the amazing preemie mommies that I have the easier to know had her baby girl yesterday at 35 weeks and 2 days. While it might not seem like much, she fought for every minute that baby spent inside. And she has a beautiful, healthy baby girl who gets to room in. That might not seem like much, but for someone who hasn't had that experience, it's amazing. Congrats trish!

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, November 10, 2011

thankful days 9 & 10

i am thankful for my bathtub. it's glorious. there's not much better than sitting in a warm tub with a gentle, cool breeze coming in from the outside. especially when the warm breeze smells like fireplace. yum.

i am thankful for mountain dew. not because of the caffeine, but because of the delicious taste.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thankful 7 & 8

I'll start with today, cause it's shorter.
Tonight, I'm thankful for tub time. Tonight I climbed into the big tub with Ryan, Ellen, and some glow sticks. Add the jets and it's a pretty good time.

Now, back to yesterday. I got a text from our daycare at about noon asking where ellen's milk could be. Um, in my fridge because Michael forgot it. I started rushing around getting ready to go, all the while contemplating what I was going to say to Michael when I called him. And then I figured out where my keys were. In the back of the car. The locked car (in my only defense, Michael locked it, not me). So here I am. At home with no keys and a baby that needs milk any minute. I called Erin and she came to my rescue and let me borrow her van. Michael met me at daycare and gave me his key to my car. Ellen was none the wiser.
So yesterday I was thankful for Erin for saving me.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Ok, a tooth. Ellen's first tooth finally popped through. With Ryan, he'd come home from daycare with a new tooth we never realized was coming. With Ellen, we've been waiting quite awhile. Her other bottom tooth shouldn't be far behind! No more toothless babes in this house!

Sent from my iPhone

Thankful - days 5 & 6

Yesterday was nuts and I was busy enjoying it, so no time to post.
Yesterday I was thankful for days like yesterday. We went to discovery world and had a great time. I love seeing the smile on ryan's face when he's really enjoying himself. I am thankful for family time.
Today I am thankful for my parents. I'd go into detail about how they are the best parents ever, but you probably wouldn't believe me and be all like, "no, my parents are better!" and you'd be wrong, so we'll just skip it. You know, so you're not embarrassed by being totally incorrect. :) but trust me, they rock.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, November 04, 2011

Thankful - day 4

I am thankful for Michael. I am thankful that he didn't give up on me when I was crazy the first or second times. I'm thankful that he pretends to care about reality tv couples when I tell him. I'm thankful that he is an amazing daddy. I'm thankful that he was so supportive during our fertility/nicu/preemie/fertility/newborn experience. I am thankful he is there to pick up the slack when Ryan is driving me insane. I am thankful that he takes the dogs out in the middle of the night. I'm thankful he worries I'm seriously injured when really I just sat weird and my back hurts. I'm thankful he knows what I'm thinking before I even tell him. I'm thankful he knows where the nalgene bottles go in every home we've ever had and is accepting of the fact that I have far too many.
I'm thankful he's my partner.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, November 03, 2011

We interrupt this program - thankful day 3

I was going to be thankful for Michael today (not that I'm not thankful for him, just that he's not my thankful thing anymore), but something so outstanding happened that I had to veer from the scheduled thankfulness.
he has been potty trained #1 for a few weeks now but refused to poop in the potty. It finally came out last night that he was scared. Everything I read online said to just wait it out and he would do it on his own time. Seriously?! The entire internet and no one has a better plan than that?
So Michael and I talked tonight and hunkered down for a long, poopy-pants filled winter.
And then it happened. I was feeding Ellen. Micha was on the phone. And my not-quite-3 year old walked into the room and declared he had pooped on the potty. Michael verified and the celebrations commenced. Ryan is now the owner of 2 new trains and a lot of self-confidence.
So tonight I am thankful that Ryan overcame his fear of pooping on the potty.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Thankful - day 2

These first couple of days are pretty easy. :)

Today I am thankful for my little boozer, Ellen. She is such a happy baby and I adore every inch of her. I love her for her laid back demeanor and the way she will play on her own for what seems like forever. I love her crazy hair. I love her beavis and butthead laugh. I love the way her nose crinkles when she smiles. I love the way she chews on her feet and the way hr legs go crazy when she's excited about something. I love how she looks at her brother, as if he could do nothing wrong. I love how she feels when she's sleeping on my chest. I love the way she "talks" herself to sleep. I love the way she looks in her strawberry tutu. I love every moment with my baby girl.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Thankful - day 1

It's November and time to focus on being thankful for all I have. So, everyday will bring a new "thankful" blog post. Here it goes!

November 1
Today I am thankful for Ryan. For his smile, his laugh, and his creativity. For the stories (however less-than-true they are) that he tells me in the car. For the way he looks at me when he knows he's been naughty (I've seen a lot of that lately). For his independent streak. For the funny way he dances and does "tricks" to the chipmunk version of "shake your groove thing.". For his incredible negotiation and reasoning skills. For every moment I have with him. No doubt, I love that guy.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


We are almost entirely moved in. Clothes are in dressers. Rugs are on the floor (lots of rugs! We have way more bathrooms now and i feel like I'm constantly at target buying more rugs and garbage cans!). Toys are everywhere, but you can still see the floor. The pups are running around like crazy, the way they did before when we had room. We actually lost Ryan (he was outside in the car) which is a problem we've never had (and won't have again - the security system beeps if he opens the door).
We spent this past weekend enjoying life for the first time in what seems like forever. I played with Ellen on the floor. Michael worked outside. Ryan played. No driving to get this or that, nothing that needed to be done. The windows were open and there was a beautiful breeze. The sun was warm and bright.
This - this is what I have been working for.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, September 24, 2011

No fair

My heart is broken. A fellow preemie mom lost her little boy to SIDS this morning. He was playing and happy and then she found him unresponsive during his nap. My heart hurts for their loss and I cannot stop thinking about it. And the best I can come up with is "no fair."
Today, all I care about is that my kids - my life - keep breathing. I don't care if Ryan screams for 15 minutes outside of pick n save or if Ellen gets up 20 times tonight. Because it means I still have them.
It all just hurts my heart. Please keep Sara and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

somethings gotta give

if there has been one theme to the last year, it's that you can't do it all. something eventually has to give.
today i'm home sick. apparently, my body has quit. the sinus issues that i've had over the past week or so have finally taken over. my head hurts. my feet hurt. my hair hurts. so now i'm stuck on the couch, unable to get anything done.
we've all heard it - you can do anything you put your mind to. and i have really embraced that in my life. i have a husband, 2 kids, 2 dogs, a good job, and a nice house (which i hope to move into in the next week or so, but that's a whole different story). i use coupons to save money, i try to exercise, i love watching tv, and i'm interested in photography. and, of course, there's always that ever-lingering CPA exam....
lately, especially with the house stuff coming to a head, i've realized something very important - when you try to do everything, nothing gets done well. my day starts at 6:30am and doesn't stop until 9pm. i make 1 trip to the house a day, usually pumping in the car on the way there or back. i work 8 hours. i try to spend quality time with both my husband and my kids. i'm exhausted at this point and haven't even considered things like laundry.
having 2 working parents is more of a logistical challenge than i thought it would be. michael and i are both successful at what we do. but if we were both in positions that really pushed us to meet our potential, no one would be around for the kiddos. so instead, i work in a position that isn't necessarily my dream job, but is flexible and pays the bills. and honestly, being ryan and ellen's mommy is my dream job - everything else is secondary.
soon our house will be done. we will be moved in and have enough space to really spread out. we will have a place for everything, which should make keeping an organized home a real possibility. there will be a schedule for cleaning.
with the house off my plate (at least the building part), i should be able to refocus my priorities. i would love to do more preschool activities with ryan. i would love to spend more time playing on the floor with ellen. i would love to cook a meal every now and again. and those other things can wait. sure, i'm not wearing a fit CPA that wears a suit every day while working to defend people against tax injustices, but i get to play trains and put together alphabet floor puzzles.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

6 years ago

Six years ago today I woke up at my parents' house, got my hair and makeup done and married my best friend.

Today I woke up to Ryan calling for daddy and the overwhelming smell of poop and spent the next half hour cleaning up more poop than I've ever seen come out of one individual.

But today i'm more in love with Michael and life than I could even have imagined 6 years ago.

Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, August 25, 2011

OCD study

I am currently participating in a study at UWM for OCD. It's a computer program that works to help a person inhibit their brain from clicking a button. There have been 7 training sessions and I completed it today.
Then I got a text from daycare letting me know Ryan threw up. Cue crazy anxiety and mommy guilt for not being the best mom i feel I can in this situation. Four or so pukes later and I finally feel like I can breathe (3 hours later). I'm going to say that it didn't really work. Darn it.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, August 12, 2011


I pumped for Ryan for 5 months. The intention was to give him frozen milk for the last month, but it didn't smell right so Michael dumped it. He was supplemented with formula from day 1. I had no choice, the nicu just did it. And getting out of the nicu was more important than being exclusively breastfed.
Ellen has not had anything other than breastmilk. Well, except the barium for her upper gi, but that doesn't count. I have been able to breastfeeding through a ridiculously painful injury that required the type of ointment they use on burn victims and nearly 12 weeks to heal. It hasn't been a walk in the park, but I think we finally have the hang of it. Enter a new challenge - pumping.
The first week back I pumped 1 ounce more than she took each day. Hooray! Second week - still and extra ounce! Third week - not so lucky. I am short an ounce a day.
So I asked my preemie mom friends for help. I have added a pumping in the morning, started taking motherslove more milk plus special blend (a combination of herbs), used the letdown button on my pump, added 5 minutes to my pumping session and am drinking more than I ever have. This morning my bladder hurt ( a lot really) from being too full.
Today I am back to making enough milk. I might accidentally drown myself in the process, but we're getting there!

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Before I even got pregnant with Ellen, I wondered how I could love her like I love Ryan. I know it's the cliche, but I was worried. I fought so hard for him, through infertility, high-risk pregnancy, and the nicu. I fught for every developmental milestone, every ounce of forumla eaten and everynounce of breast milk pumped. Ellen was kind enough to try to level the playing field by being equally difficult to conceive and by giving me a scare with bleeding at 17 weeks, but she listened to me and stayednout the whole 39 weeks.
And a girl?! How was I supposed to raise a girl? I know boys. After 8 boys in the family, a girl was a complete change.
After almost 13 weeks (well, I realized it on day 1, but am writing it at 13 weeks), I can honestly say I wouldn't have it any other way. Ellen is so wonderfully different than Ryan. I love her just as much, but in a completely different way and for completely different reasons.
When i look into ryan's eyes, i see myself. I see my sense of humor, my independent streak, my particularities. Ellen reminds me of her dad and everything I love about him. When I watch a wedding, I no longer think of my wedding, I think of hers. I wonder what it will be like and what her dress will look like. I know, however, that she will be the most beautiful bride ever.
When inseethem together, I couldn't be happier. The way Ryan cares for her and worries about her and the way she looks at him and smiles is miraculous. Sometimes I can't believe they are mine. Each of them with their similarities and differences.

Friday, July 29, 2011


it's been awhile since i have updated on the kiddos, so here's a quick summary.
ryan has been doing great. he has been very well behaved and is totally in love with construction equipment. i know more about what type of truck is what than i ever expected. he picked out a dolly for ellen at toys r us the other day and asked if we could buy it for her - i think my heart melted. witness the crazy lady with a 2 year old in toys r us with tears in her eyes. :)
ellen is getting big. i tried to put her in 3 month jammies tonight and they were about an inch and a half short. i swear they fit the other day. good thing we stopped for some 6 month pjs on the way to iowa! she's been smiling a ton and babbling a lot. especially to her new dolly. she loves to sit up and enjoys sitting in the bumbo and watching what's going on.
watching the 2 of them interact is the most amazing thing ever. to see the way she looks at ryan and to hear ryan talk to her so nicely is beyond what i could ever have imagined. i'm blessed beyond words.

week 3, days 2, 3, and 1 again

i finished week 3, although it took longer than it should have. with starting work again, it's been harder to find the time and motivation.
i decided to repeat week 3 because week 4 looks scary. i did run 1 again yesterday (thank you to michael for telling me to go when i tried to back out) and it was probably the worst run i've had to date. i actually didn't make it through the 2nd 3 minute run. i stopped at about 2 minutes for 30 seconds, but i picked it back up and finished out my 3 minutes. ouch. i just felt heavy and not good.
also, i left my ipod in iowa last weekend and so i've been running without it. it's amazing what music can do for a run.
next time (tomorrow) will be better.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


ryan went on the potty at daycare last week! he was rewarded with a small toy backhoe. we told him that if he went potty on the potty again the next day, he could have a roller. (he is obsessed with construction equipment right now)
when i went to pick him up, i asked if he had gone potty on the potty. he said yes and told me that he had tooted on the potty. when i told him that tooting didn't count, he looked at me like i was crazy and told me that he had tooted on the potty and he wanted his roller.
this is what happens when 2 lawyers have a kid. the next day the terms of the agreement were modified to state that he had to either pee or poop on the potty. :)


two years, 7 months, and 13 days. that's how long it took us to need to go to the emergency room for a true emergency. we've been in a couple of times for wheezing, but it wasn't quite so urgent.
as ryan was preparing for his nap yesterday, he was jumping on his bed. well, as the song says, he fell off and bumped his head. he landed lip-first on the train table. there was blood EVERYWHERE. we weren't sure if he had bit through his lip and thought we should go in to check and see if he needed stitches. so we all hopped in the car, me in the back with the kids, and off we went to childrens' hospital of wisconsin.
ryan was crying pretty hard before we left. by the time we got to the car, he had calmed down significantly and was mostly just upset by the blood on his hands. we cleaned him up and he was mostly just shaken up.
we were put into the world's hottest exam room where we waited and watched spongebob. given it was nap time, ryan was not at his best and got into everything. eventually we saw a nurse practitioner, a doctor, and another doctor before we decided that stitches weren't necessary. there were 2 wounds that could have used one, but odds are that he would have just bitten them out anyways.
we finally made it home at 3, about 2 hours past naptime. ryan slept until 7:30 and is no worse for the wear today. he does have quite the battle wound though, making his already big lips even bigger.
the moral of the story is - no more monkeys jumping on the bed.

week 3, day 1

it was really nice out on thursday and i talked michael into running with me and the kiddos. we had a 90 second run, 90 second walk, 3 minute run, 3 minute walk, then repeat. the 3 minute runs hurt, a lot, but i got through them. i was honestly surprised that i could do it!
unfortunately, it's not so nice out now and i'm having a hard time finding the motivation to go again. tomorrow is the day. week 3, day 2, watch out. i'm coming for you!

Monday, July 11, 2011

potty failing

we attempted potty training for the second time (the first was at 18 months, way too early) this past weekend.
ryan woke up in a terrible mood and we should have taken the hint. he would have nothing to do with the toilet. after 4 accidents, we quit. potty training 3.0 is scheduled for this weekend.
to date no other experience has made me feel more like i have no idea what i'm doing. i would rather shoot myself in the foot and chew tin foil than potty train this kid. but alas, he's in size 6 diapers and they don't go any bigger. oh well.

week 2 complete!

the last 2 runs have been on the treadmill in the clubhouse (the one silver lining in this stupid apartment situation!) and they've gone pretty well. today i really pushed myself, increasing my walking speed to 3.5 and running the first 3 intervals at 5.0mph, the next 2 at 5.2, and the last one at 5.5mph.
next week scares me. i don't remember the exact plan, but i know there's a 3 minute stretch in there! eek!
now, if it could just cool down a smidge so i could run outside. although i think it's good for me to use the treadmill so i can better manage my pace.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

the one where i shamelessly go on and on about my amazing child

ryan's final NICU follow-up (30 month adjusted) was today. he scored well above his adjusted age at his last (18 month adjusted) appointment, but i figured it would be fun to see how far he's come.
we met with the speech and occupational therapists and they worked with him together. the occupational therapist plays "games" with him, asking him to do things like stack blocks, put puzzles together, and thread a string through blocks. at the same time, the speech therapist is asking him questions about the objects and talking to him about pictures.
he scored at 35 months in occupational and receptive speech (listening) and at 42 months in expressive speech (talking). 42 MONTHS - that's a 3.5 year old, a year older than his actual age. pretty impressive to be a year ahead when you've only got 2.5 years under your belt. the speech therapist said that he would have likely scored higher on the receptive speech but he was more interested in the "games" that the occupational therapist had. :)
the doctor said that we are not only on track to having the biggest preemie ever, but also the smartest. i couldn't agree more! :)
in observing his time with the therapists i noticed that he definitely gets bored when he's not challenged. he was sitting back in his chair with an "are you kidding me" look on his face during a large part of the speech therapy portion. at one point, as they were asking him to name the color of specific crayons, he started giving intentional wrong answers and then correcting himself when the therapist moved on without doing so. apparently he's a smartass in addition to being a smart little dude. but it gives me insight into what we need to keep in mind when school starts.
i couldn't be more proud of my little man. he was on his best behavior, used his manners, and obviously cooperated for the therapists. ryan has kicked prematurity's ass. i wish i could take credit for his growth and development, but i honestly think it is mostly him. he's a strong, independent, strong-willed person. he has come so far and this only goes to show that the sky is the limit.
congratulations ryan on your NICU follow-up graduation!


parenting has been a challenge in ways i never would have thought. for instance, as ryan and i were driving to his NICU follow-up today, he suddenly started crying and saying his penis hurt. not having a penis, i didn't really know what to do or what questions to ask. so i decided the best thing to do would be to pull over and check it out.
turns out his diaper leaked and he was soaked. he tends to drink insane amounts of liquid and then fill his diaper so quickly that it doesn't stand a chance against the pee machine.
of course, i didn't bring extra shorts. and so began the creative problem solving that i've found myself engaged in quite a bit in the last 2.5 years. thank goodness there was a target nearby - new shorts! problem solved, right? nope. ryan didn't have any pants on. if he was a year or so, i could swing taking him into a store without pants, but he's a gigantic 2.5 year old, so that wasn't going to work.
so i did something i never thought i would - i left him in the car alone. i offered him the choice of putting his yucky pants back on and coming in or staying in the car. he chose to stay behind (don't blame him there!). i rolled down the window, gave him a book, instructed him not to move a muscle, locked the doors, and ran like the wind.
my best parenting moment? no. but sometimes you do what you've gotta do. he was psyched to get new orange shorts and doesn't appear to be permanently scarred. crisis adverted.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

2 months

miss ellen is 2 months old! that certainly went fast!
at her appointment yesterday she weighed in at 10lbs, 3oz and is 24 inches long. which puts her in the 25th percentile for weight and the 95th for height. tall and skinny like her daddy! she is meeting all of her milestones and the doctor says she looks great. i totally agree. :)
she started sleeping through the night (10/11pm to 5/6am) last week and it's been great. now we just need to work on transitioning her to sleeping on her back. we got a prescription for some reflux meds from the doctor, so hopefully that will help. she doesn't spit up a lot, but she has a lot of drool and grunts quite a bit when she's flat on her back. it's just a theory, but we'll see how it plays out.

week 1 - day 3 and week 2 - day 1

i love day 3, finally i can see some results! because it is finally summer here in wisconsin, i had to do day 3 in the clubhouse on the treadmill. it was great and i felt great afterwards!
today i did week 2 - day 1 with ellen in the jogger. we walked and dropped ryan off at daycare and then started on our run. run for 90 seconds, walk for 2 minutes. 90 seconds doesn't sound much longer than a minute, but it sure feels like it! it was definitely difficult and a challenge to push through, but we made it. i made a new playlist for my ipod, so that was helpful i think.
i am excited to try day 2 and see if it's easier or harder than last week....

Friday, July 01, 2011

Week 1 day 2

Remember when I said day 1 hurt? I forgot that day 2 is always way worse. You're still sore from day 1 and your body now remembers that it hurts to run. But I did it. All 8 intervals even though I was dying by number 5. Ellen didn't even freak out. Onto day 3!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

week 1 - day 1

one of my "by the time i turn 31" goals is to run a 5k. being pregnant, especially high risk, derailed that plan a bit. but now that i'm 8 weeks postpartum, i'm back on the bandwagon.

i plan to check in after every workout. accountability and stuff. i was going to include a weight diary, but then i remembered that losing weight is not my goal (although it would be a welcomed side effect) - my goal is to be healthy and fit. so instead i took my picture in the mirror and will take an updated picture each week.

i'm going with the couch to 5k program. week 1 is a 5 minute warm up, 60 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking. sounds easy, eh? yeah, not so much.

i was going to spend today hydrating and then start tomorrow, but realized it's time to be done with excuses and procrastination. and i spent a bunch of money on a rocking jogging stroller and some good sports bras, so it's too late to change my mind! i loaded up ellen in the stroller (with adequate head support of course) and off we went to run and get monkey from daycare.

the first interval sucked. hard. i swear, i could feel my butt jiggling. it almost seemed as if it would hit the sidewalk. ick. i also learned that i tend to lean on the jogging stroller, which is a problem when my cargo only weighs about 9lbs. no more leaning!

i made it through all 8 intervals. for comparisons sake, the first time i started the program (last summer), i could only make it through 5 intervals the first day. was it hard? you bet. but i did it. i ended feeling energized and proud of myself.
the first step is the hardest - onto day 2!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


the other day ryan called me stupid. i was in the kitchen getting him some milk or juice and he just all of a sudden said "mommy, you stupid." out of no where. we weren't fighting, i hadn't just told him no. it came across as nothing more than an observation.
my immediate reaction was "how dare he call me stupid!" then i thought about it. mean, yes. wrong, maybe not.
i don't know if i've ever been legitimately called stupid. i've always excelled in academic situations and have always been at the top of the class. but here i was, standing in the kitchen, completely offended by a 2 year old.
sure, i can do individual income taxes in my sleep. i discuss rules of evidence while watching legal shows with michael. i once created a 2 variable algebra equation to figure out the optimal amount of formula to buy with my coupons. i can read a book in record time. i have a ton of degrees. i can calculate shareholder basis in section 351 situations.
yet ryan doesn't care about any of that. all he knows is that i'm his mommy. and to him, i'm sure i do come across as stupid sometimes. i can't even count the amount of times i've looked at one of my kids and the only thing i could say was "i got nothin'."
i have no idea how to get ryan to stop turning into a crazy person about once a week. i took ellen to urgent care about 2 hours after we got home from the hospital because i was worried about her breathing, only to find out she was 100% fine. i've said things i shouldn't, done things i shouldn't, and not done things i should have.
i've made my mistakes, but i'm trying the best i can. in the meantime, i imagine this isn't the last time ryan (or ellen for that matter) will think i'm stupid.
PS. i did explain to ryan that "stupid" is a naughty word and that it hurt mommy's feelings. he also got a time out. a few days later, he started to call michael stupid and caught himself mid-word and stopped. success!

Friday, May 27, 2011

baby #3 - the house

now that we have the birthing of the children out of the way, we're onto our 3rd baby - our new house.
we started thinking about building when we were in colorado, before we were even married. we've been considering builders in WI since we moved here. i started agressively pursuing getting this house built as soon as we had an accepted offer. here we are, about 6 months later, and we finally have a hole in the ground. the funny thing is, it should only take about 3 to 3.5 months to actually build the house.
they broke ground on wednesday unexpectedly. apparently the excavator had to delay a different project because of the rain and so we got bumped up. good news! then today i got a phone call that our foundation pouring will be delayed because of questionable soil conditions. bad news. unfortunately, the soil condition is the only thing that we don't have covered in our contract - any additional costs are ours. the only redeeming news is that the excavator didn't see a problem and we're hopeful the engineer will tell us the same. of course, not until we pay him $500 to do so.
i also found out today that one of our neighbors is ticked about us building a 2 story and told the builder they were trying to stop us. the lot was originally slated to be a 1 story lot and we had to have the subdivision requirements amended to build a 2 story. the neighbor that disagrees is from across the street - not part of the subdivision. she said the lot was zoned for 1 story. unfortunately for her, zoning doesn't specify an amount of stories, it just lays out a maximum height, which we are less than. so she's full of bologna. can't wait to trick or treat at her house. welcome to the neighborhood....
so now we wait. the engineer is coming this weekend and hopefully he'll say we're fine and we'll have a foundation and be back on track next week. but then again, who am i kidding, that's not how we roll! :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Welcome Ellen!

Ellen Avenarius McFarlane joined our family on May 2nd at 7:57am, exactly as planned. she weighed in at 7lbs, 6oz and was 20in long. now she's pushing 8lbs and was 21in at her last appointment!

the birth day went beautifully. the night before we dropped ryan off with auntie erin and i said a very tearful goodbye. michael and i spent the evening going out for sushi and watching the town. oh yeah, and giving molly's ear a bath cause she was stinky. :) michael barely slept and i did surprisingly well.

we were up and at'em very early on the 2nd. we hung out in triage for awhile, which felt like forever. at 7:30 on the dot, the nurses came to get me. i walked down the hall by myself and into the operating room. a far cry from my very quick trip down the hall in a hospital bed with ryan. it's amazing what a little anticipation can do for a situation. i had about 10 minutes to freak out about ryan coming, i had 39 weeks with ellen. i must have looked scared out of my mind!

the doctor placed the spinal and we were good to go. i had a bout of nausea early on, so the doc gave me a 2nd anti-nausea medicine, which made me feel loopy. it wasn't long before ellen joined our family. she made 2 squaks and that was it. michael joined her as she was cleaned up and finally brought her over. beautiful. there are no words to describe those first few moments.

unfortunately, the rest of the surgery was a bit sucky for me. i was shaky and loopy and couldn't keep my eyes open. not too many people can say they fell asleep during their c-section! recovery was a bit hazy as well. shaking a ton, falling asleep. they gave me demerol, which also made me sleepy. finally i got to the point where i could keep it together and i got to hold my peanut. she latched immediately and we haven't looked back since. :)

recovery was awesome. my pain never went above a 3 and we got out after 2 nights.

the moment ryan met ellen was everything i hoped for. unfortunately, the respitory therapist decided that was the moment she wanted to teach me to use the funny blowing machine, so i missed quite a bit of it. thank goodness for stephanie, our photographer - she caught everything on film. our photographs from those first few hours are priceless.

that's enough for now. i'm going to go back to snuggling my baby girl. i'm trying to take in every moment and remember every noise, every smell, everything. this time i know how quickly everything changes.

here's our preview video from the photoshoot -

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

38 weeks - the last pregnant post!

Pregnancy: 38 weeks

Weight Gain: i don't want to talk about it...

Sleep: i go to bed about 10-10:30. i get up at 11:30, 12:30, and 1:30 to go to the bathroom. at my 12:30 awakening, i flip to laying on my right side. lather, rinse, repeat.

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :)

Feeling: anxious to meet this little one! the doctor said today that she wasn't engaged yet, but you could have fooled me - my pelvis hurts SOOO bad.

Cravings: nothing specific really

Health: i've had a sore throat the last few days, which sucks. and everything hurts. but we're in the home stretch!

Movement: a little bit less this time. we did a non-stress test today (about 30 minutes on the heart monitor) and she looks perfect though, so she must just be running out of room.

Belly: imagine a whale that walks like a penguin. yep, that's about it.

Next Appointment: monday at 5:30am for our scheduled c-section at 7:30!!!!!

as much as i can't wait to meet our daughter (i think that's the first time i've referred to her as that. i remember the first time called ryan my son - it's amazing what emotions a word can bring), i'm find myself feeling sad that our time with just monkey is ending. as we sit around and play or are being silly before bed, it will all of a sudden hit me that our days as a family of 3 are numbered. while i know that this next stage of the journey will be even better, i still will miss this time with just him. he and i will always have a special bond.

OP's birthday is scheduled to be a pretty exciting day. we're having cupcakes delivered to the hospital (i had a coupon) and have a wonderful photographer coming to document our first few moments with our baby girl. most importantly, she will be there to capture the moment ryan meets his little sister. i'm blesssed to have a picture of the best moment of my life to date - the moment we brought ryan home from the hospital and we were all together on the couch in our house. i have a feeling the moment that my children meet will be equally special, if not more. i can't wait.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

the one where i complain...

i am a very, very lucky person. not much comes easily around here, but eventually it all works out. i have the most amazing husband, a beautiful baby boy, a baby girl on the way, and am *thisclose* to having my dream house. i have a wonderful support system and a fairly stable job (although the last few weeks have been a bit sketchy - thank you congress).

that being said, being 37 weeks pregnant while caring for a 2 year old and building a house is HARD. not a little bit hard, a lot a bit hard. if i had to choose, i would choose this path over the NICU path every single time, but that's not making this path any easier.

there is a lot to do. i have at least 1, if not 2 meetings scheduled every day between now and wednesday. drop off the builders risk insurance check, copy the HUD statement and deliver it, OB appointment, chiro appointment, closing, get a subsoil guarantee, pick out colors, meet with the photographer, blah, blah, blah. as my body grows more and more tired, i find myself with more and more on my plate. not to mention, i have to get my work inventory ready for someone else to take over.

this is not what we planned. we put our house on the market nearly a year before we sold it. it took us awhile to get pregnant again. i started working on building our house as soon as we found out we sold. yet here we are, closing less than a week before our baby girl is scheduled to debut. fingers crossed that she doesn't have the same interest in being dramatic as her brother and that she stays put until her scheduled arrival.

not to mention, this pregnancy stuff hurts. my pelvic bone cracks when i move after sitting in one position for too long. i didn't even know that was possible. the nausea has returned. last night was not pretty - i'll spare you the details.

and, to add insult to injury, my OCD is in hyperdrive. i wonder constantly if what i'm feeling is normal or if something is wrong. why am i nauseous? am i sick? is ryan going to get sick? OMG, i can't handle being sick right now, i'm too busy. and i can't even consider ryan being sick. i'm hopeful that when my hormones settle down my OCD will return to it's manageable level. at this point, i'm constantly worried that ryan is sick. constantly. if he is staring at the TV, i'm worried. if he doesn't eat a huge dinner, i worry. if he coughs, i worry. if he's quiet, i worry. the worry consumes me and i'm anxious for it to stop, or at least return to the point where i'm only freaking out when there's actually something to freak out about.

that's enough complaining i think. this last couple of weeks is a marathon and we're nearing the finish line. i have no doubt that the rewards will be worth the effort.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Pregnancy: 37 weeks

Weight Gain: i don't want to talk about it...

Sleep: a few nights i was awake for a good long time because of reflux. ouch. other than that and some pretty sore hips, not too shabby.

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :)

Feeling: relief! i finally get to see what being full term feels like. as it turns out, it hurts.

Cravings: raspberry sundaes from culvers

Health: being full term is playing games with my OCD. i have NO IDEA what going into labor feels like and therefore i'm always wondering if what i feel is normal. as it turns out, one of my *favorite* OCD quirks is that i can make myself feel pretty much any symptom. pain in the upper right quad? well, now that you mention it, i did feel a twinge last tuesday. so that's been fun. i can only imagine the fun my doctor and i will have together in the next 14 days. thank goodness he's understanding and patient.

Movement: lots and lots!

Belly: imagine a whale that walks like a penguin. yep, that's about it.

Next Appointment: tomorrow at 37w1d.

Monday, April 11, 2011


ryan is named after one of my best friends from high school. since my friend passed away, i've been blessed to be reminded of him every so often, usually when i need some reassurance that everything will be ok. for instance, the day i first had bleeding with ryan, i heard the five for fighting song "superman" playing at TJ Max. given that this was in 2008 and the song hadn't been popular for awhile, i knew it was ryan, letting me know i didn't need to worry. blond haired, blue eyed kiddos in superman shirts tend to show up at the most random times as well (not counting my blond haired blue eyed little dude).
when ryan was first born, as is the case with most preemies, he laid in his isolette with his arms outstretched and bent, as if he was signaling a touchdown. i know in my heart that he had 2 angels standing on either side of him - ryan and my grandma avenarius. i believe all preemies lay that way because they need the help of their special angels.
i've explained to ryan many times that he has 2 special angels. when he lost his balloon outside and it flew up into the sky, i told him it flew to his special angels. when we hear the superman song, i remind him that that means his angels are watching over him.
last night, as i laid next to him in his bed and he was drifting between sleep and awake, he was telling me all about his angels. i couldn't understand most of what he was saying, but it warmed my heart to hear that he knows about his angels and that he is loved. when i relayed the story to michael, he told me that ryan often talks of his angels.
it brings tears to my eyes to know that ryan, on one level or another, understands that these ever-so-special people are part of his life as well.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


according to the checkout lady at target, i'm having twins! when i told her that i was quite positive that wasn't the case, she asked if i was sure. i think after upwards of 5 ultrasounds i can pretty confidently say yes.

35 weeks, 6 days pregnant (with ONE baby)

nesting without a nest

i will be 36 weeks tomorrow - 1 week away from "full term." my goal was to have everything in place and ready to rock by 32 weeks, 6 days, but with selling the house and moving, that didn't fall into place. the new goal is 36 weeks.
i have lists - a list of dinners, a list for the hospital bag, a list for ryan's bag, a list for what needs to be done, a list for work stuff that needs to be done. a list of lists.
we've been slowly making progress - a load of laundry here, a bag packed there, but still had a lot of things to do as of today. and as i get bigger, my motivation gets smaller and smaller.
it seems i forgot all the important things in storage - 4oz bottles, the bassinet portion of the pack n play (aka baby OP's crib), hooded towels. all that planning, and i forgot the things related to food, bathing, and sleeping. oops! my sister came through on her hooded towels and pack n play and i used a couple of amazon coupons to get more 4oz bottles. if she's anything like her brother, she won't need the for long anyways. and hopefully she'll take to breastfeeding and bottles won't be as much a part of our day to day lives.
today i packed monkey's bag for his sleepover at auntie erin's on may 1st. it was bittersweet packing his big brother shirts into his big boy suitcase. that night will sting a little bit - it will be the last night it's just him. the last night he has 100% of my attention as we eat dinner, take a bath, say our prayers, sing our songs, and cuddle. but bigger and better things are ahead of us. he's so excited to meet his big sister - he's always telling us what she likes (songs) and what she doesn't like, who likes her and who doesn't, and that she makes chocolate (i'm pretty psyched about that!). today he bought her a present - a new blankie and a violet (leapfrog puppy) just like his. on the way home today he told me he was going to snuggle and kiss and sing to his little sister. he's going to be a great big brother and i can't wait to see my little ones together.
next up was cleaning out the top drawer of nightstand. leaky gripe water is icky. we got new tylenol (the target brand cause i'm still mad at target for making me replace all my tylenol!) and gas drops. they are in place and ready to go.
we installed the car seats. i'm not going to lie - 2 car seats in my honda pilot is kind of scary. we moved ryan over to behind the driver and i hope he doesn't freak out. the passenger seat is way up and i look forward to 6 months or so of squished riding. :)
we still have what seems like miles to go - set up the pack n play, set up pumping (i'm going to try to start early to establish a good supply this time), pack my bag, etc. we have 21 rings left on our paper chain until we're a family of 4. (well, 20 rings, ryan took 2 off today)

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

35 weeks

Pregnancy: 35 weeks

Weight Gain: i weighed myself once since the last OB appointment. it scared me, so i'm in the denial stage now.

Sleep: this takes tired to a whole new level...

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :)

Feeling: anxious. 3 weeks and 6 days from now i'll have 2 kiddos. there is a lot to do between now and then!

Cravings: raspberry sundaes from culvers

Health: good, although i'm in way more pain than i thought i would be. apparently my body didn't get the memo that it doesn't need to widen for birth. oh well, the days are numbered!

Movement: lots and lots!

Belly: i honestly think that it's going to sound like a balloon popping when they cut into me.

Next Appointment: april 6th. i will be 35 weeks, 2 days. they're calling it my 34 week appointment....

Saturday, April 02, 2011

random stuff

today has been painful. my stomach hurts. my butt hurts. my neck hurts. everything hurts. putting my shoes on is a joke. i have found myself wishing for warmer weather, just so i can wear slip on shoes! but alas, 4 weeks more to go. i foresee much more time on the couch in the near future.....

this weekend has been awesome. scott and jess ( came to visit and have our annual tax party. they got in at dinner time last night and we enjoyed some great company, complete with conversations about the judical retention election in iowa. this morning we drove around and looked at the lots we like (still no decision on whether we'll be able to get the lot we have an accepted offer for!), which was doubly productive as michael thought our 2nd choice lot was actually totally different than the lot that is actually our 2nd choice. lunch at la fuente (can't go wrong there!), watched tangled while monkey slept, played in scott's TT, and did some sliding. good times with lots of laughs. kind of makes me miss college. :)

ryan has been amazing. he's in a great mood and it's been awesome. tonight he hung out with me when i was taking a bath (trying to ease the pain!) and we sang and talked and had a great time. afterwards, he climbed in with me to get clean and we had quite the splashfest. he kept dumping cups of water over my head. it was a mess, but there was no way i was going to stop him. that's what pure joy feels like.

one final thought - as i was sitting around the other day, i was contemplating bringing the baby home from the hospital. is it better to have ryan home or to have ryan at daycare so we can get settled? i thought about how exciting it would be for us to go to the hospital and bring home his little sister. i was picturing everything in my head. until i remembered that babies generally come home with their mommies - i'm not going to be here to go to the hospital with him. i'm not going to come home and then go back to get my baby.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

34 weeks

Pregnancy: 34 weeks

Weight Gain: i gained 10lbs between 28 and 32 weeks! holy bologna! i'm up 5lbs overall.

Sleep: i'm tired. a lot. but generally sleeping pretty well.

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :)

Feeling: anxious. i can't believe she's coming in less than 5 weeks. 5 weeks sounds so much less than 6.

Cravings: raspberry sundaes from culvers

Health: good

Movement: lots and lots!

Belly: way bigger than i ever was with ryan. all sorts of strangers are asking when i'm due. and one kid at volunteer taxes that asked if i was pregnant. i should have said no. :)

Next Appointment: april 6th. i will be 35 weeks, 2 days. they're calling it my 34 week appointment....


i think the root of my OCD fears is lack of control. vomiting and other bodily functions are largely involuntary - they are hard to predict and even harder to control. i like to be in control. therefore, it freaks me out.

my OCD has been considerably worse since having ryan. when you think about it, it makes sense - my body, without any warning and completely unpredictably, began bleeding excessively. then my gallbladder failed and caused me pain like i had never known, again completely unpredictably. then my gallbladder surgery caused disruptions with my digestive track which made the next 8 months very difficult. in less than a year, i went from a fairly healthy person to having all sorts of difficult, painful, unpredictable medical issues. (disclaimer - i know that my conditions are all very minimal in comparison to the issues others face every day. my descriptoin of the conditions as difficult are in relationship to their affect on my OCD)

in the last few months of my pregnancy, i have felt my symptoms getting worse. there is residual trauma from ryan's stomach bug earlier this winter. i find myself watching him very carefully, looking for signs that he is going to be sick. is he eating normally? is he acting normal? is he burping more than usual? coughing more than usual? and he's taken to telling me his stomach hurts and then smiling - now that's what i call exposure therapy! it breaks my heart - i'm scared of my kid. i have to stop myself from running away. i am scared to lay next to him, sit next to him, cuddle him. i do it anyways and michael kindly reminds me that ryan has no idea, but that's not the point. i'm his mom and i should willingly be there to comfort him in all situations.

despite the fact that the symptoms are worsening, there is nothing i can do. i can't take my "emergency pill." i can't up my meds. therapy has proven largely ineffective. so i'm trying something new - acupuncture. will it work? is it all just a bunch of hocus pocus? how exactly is looking at my tongue going to help anything? i don't know. i know that i can't describe my OCD without tearing up. and i know that i owe it to myself, michael, ryan, and baby OP to try everything i can to return to normalcy.

so here's to hope - hope that i can beat this.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

32 weeks, 6 days, 20 hours, and 12 minutes

at 8:12pm tonight, march 20th, 2011, i will officially be more pregnant than i have ever been. while some moms may look at this milestone as a nuisance, i couldn't be happier. i couldn't be happier that my tailbone hurts when i walk. i couldn't be happier that the cup of macaroni and cheese i had for dinner felt like a 4 course meal in my already swollen belly. i couldn't be happier that i'm not sleeping as well, but am exhausted almost all the time. because my baby girl, tonight, at 8:12pm, will have been inside of me for longer than ryan had the opportunity to be.
every single moment counts. every week, every day, every hour, every minute, every second gives my baby a better chance of avoiding all of the problems we saw with ryan - the reflux, the immature lungs, the (temporary) concern over weight gain and developmental milestones.
i've been watching the clock all day - remember where i was, what i was doing, how i was feeling. at 1pm, i remembered calling michael - i was crying so hard i could barely speak. at 6pm, i remembered sending michael to get the pups and take them to daycare for the night. at 7pm, i remembered the contractions starting and being very quickly rushed to the OR for an emergency c-section. my how things are different this time. this time, i'm sitting on the couch, having spent the evening eating mac n cheese and watching monsters inc with my cranky, decided-to-skip-a-nap 2 year old.
this is the point at which their stories diverge. the point at which i have no idea what i'm doing, regardless of the 2 year old i'm chasing.
in honor of this day, this hour, this minute, i ask that you consider donating to the march of dimes march for babies. the walk will take place on april 30th. obviously i won't be walking/waddling, but michael and ryan will be! i i'll likely hang out back at the start and do some volunteering. :) our team website is this year we are asking people to make a donation of $32 - a $1 celebration for each week i was pregnant with ryan and now have been pregnant with his little sister.

Friday, March 11, 2011

31 weeks

Pregnancy: 31 weeks

Weight Gain: this weight gain brought to you by the girl scouts of america...

Sleep: sleeping, but still tired. ryan's not a big fan of mommy sleeping in.

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :)

Feeling: emotional, hormonal, moody, nostalgic, all sorts of fun over here!

Cravings: and we've moved on to egg salad sandwiches for lunch

Health: good, although my stomach has been hurting quite a bit lately. apparently i'm stretching.

Movement: lots and lots!

Belly: way bigger than i ever was with ryan. all sorts of strangers are asking when i'm due.

Next Appointment: march 18th

Friday, March 04, 2011


last night i had a dream that i was almost 36 weeks pregnant. i was standing in our bathroom, looking in the mirror, and thinking to myself that i could actually go into labor at any time. it was the first time that i, awake or sleeping, considered the possibility of actually going into labor. strange for someone who has already had a child.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

30 weeks

Pregnancy: 30 weeks

Weight Gain: i'm thinking i've gained some, but whatever.

Sleep: same, it seems i need much more nowadays though. exhaustion sucks!

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :)

Feeling: emotional. the house stuff is really getting to me and taking it's toll on my mood. i've also been nesting a ton, i figured i should get some stuff together before this baby comes to live with us in our tiny apartment!

Cravings: peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwichs and doritos for lunch. every day.

Health: good

Movement: she moves so much more than ryan! and the rib pain that comes with it is awful!

Belly: picture an elephant. that's pretty much me.

Next Appointment: march 18th

Monday, February 21, 2011

29 weeks

Pregnancy: 29 weeks

Weight Gain: no idea. the scale is in an inconvenient place and at this point, i couldn't care less.

Sleep: same, although i cut down on my apple juice/water mix at night and that's helping me to not get up 100 times.

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :)

Feeling: i went to the chiropractor today and that was great. other than that, i'm doing pretty good. leaning forward makes my belly hurt a bit, but i suppose that's to be expected.

Cravings: nothing really.

Health: good

Movement: she moves so much more than ryan!

Belly: picture an elephant. that's pretty much me.

Next Appointment: march 18th for my 32w appointment, although i'll technically be 32w4d. that's weird because my appointments are always on mondays, which is the day i "level-up". with ryan, my apppointment was at 32w5d and i went to the hospital from the doctors. not this time little one, not this time!

mirror image

when i was pretty young (less than 5 i would guess), my family and i were on vacation with my grandparents. mom took me swimming and was helping me float on my back. she wanted to get grandma and grandpa and show them, but i told her no. she kept pushing and i told her that if she made me do it again, i'd puke in the pool. she decided to test me and found grandma and grandpa. cue the puke.

ryan looks exactly like me and even more like my dad. his personality mirrors both of us in ways that are oftentimes spooky. his facial expressions, mannerisms, and the way he says things are very familiar. as it turns out, he also gets a very, very strong stubbornly opinionated streak from us.

ryan loves his crocs. he has mickey crocs, dino crocs (which might actually be dragons), fleecy crocs, and packer crocs. he takes them off and puts on a different pair lots of times during the day. this morning, it was snowy and so i suggested that we perhaps wear his "stomp stomp" shoes (his light-up tennis shoes). i began the conversation before we even put on our clothes (a robot shirt beacuse all the puppy shirts are in the laundry), explaining that it was snowy and i didn't want his piggies to get wet and that i would put his mickey shoes in his bag and he could put the on as soon as we got to daycare. and then i tried to put the shoes on. cue the craziness.

i put his shoes on not once, not twice, but no less than 20 times. he took them off every.single.time, often before i could get both on. he was crying to the point he was coughing and drooling. finally, i managed to get both on, stood him up, put his coat (not fleece, he won't wear the fleece) and hat (not the green hat, god forbid, the superman hat) and ran into the bedroom to grab my phone. by the time i got back, he had removed his tennis shoes, gotten his mickey shoes out of the bag and put them on.

i wasn't expecting a mild-mannered, passive child. neither michael nor i are like that. but i wasn't expecting to see such determination at such a young age. i imagine, someday soon, that he and i will go to blows again. and god only knows who will win the next time. or the next, or the next, or the next.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

28 weeks

hello 3rd trimester! we're living in the apartment full time now and only have a few things left at the house. our closing date is officially the 25th and everything is set. we're focused on choosing a builder and a lot and hopefully will be off and running soon! i have no idea where we're going to put this baby when she comes!

Pregnancy: 28 weeks

Weight Gain: i gained 4lbs this month, which puts me at a whopping negative 4 lbs this pregnancy.

Sleep: same, lots of nighttime trips to the bathroom

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :)

Feeling: my ribs hurt. my hips hurt. my stomach hurts. i'm tired. taking the dogs out is difficult. playing with ryan is difficult. rolling over is difficult. but i'm psyched that it looks like i'm going to have to deal with 11 more weeks of this - no preemie for me this time!

Cravings: i'm thinking that 4lb weight gain is due mostly to snickers pb squares.

Health: good

Movement: she moves so much more than ryan!

Belly: lots of strangers have been asking when i'm due, which i love because i didn't really get that with ryan.

Next Appointment: i need to set my appt, but it will be at 32 weeks. it's a bit bittersweet as my 32 week appointment was the last one i made it to with ryan. let's hope there are many more after that.

Monday, February 14, 2011


valentines day. i've never really been a fan. it stung a little when i was single and i never really got into it once i met michael. today's activities included michael staying home in the morning due to a sinus infection, my 28 week OB appointment, and scallops for dinner (which is my favorite meal). it will probably finish with us watching the rest of get him to the greek and going to bed around 9. but i don't mind. in fact, i like it this way. because i realize now, more than ever, that romance goes so far beyond what any person could do in one day.

romance isn't going on google to figure out what amazing plans you can make to impress your significant other. it's in the details. it's the fact that michael knew i would be pleased as punch to get a filing cabinet for christmas. it's the fact that he knows when i'm feeling anxious before i even say anything. it's in looking at his eyes when he looks at ryan. it's knowing that he's as excited as me for our new baby girl to arrive. it's in the way he asks me if we should iron the sheets every.single.time we change them.

we're lucky to have found each other and even luckier that we realized what we had was different. i love that guy.

Monday, February 07, 2011

27 weeks

we toured the birthing center this weekend and got a lot of good info. we're at a different hospital this time, so we wanted to see how things would go. they showed us the amazing birthing suites, only to tell us that the C-section people don't get ot use those. oh well, i don't have to sit around in labor for a long time, so i suppose it all works out.

Pregnancy: 27 weeks

Weight Gain: same 'ol, same 'ol.

Sleep: same, lots of nighttime trips to the bathroom

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :) ryan is getting very good with the name now and recognizes that it's his baby sister. super cute.

Feeling: suddenly i feel very pregnant. i can pack for about 5 minutes before feeling like i got hit by a bus. my ribs have also been expanding, which is not at all comfortable!

Cravings: still loving snickers PB squares and froot loops

Health: overall pretty good.

Movement: she's been moving and shaking in there. michael is starting to get to experience it as well.

Belly: it's suddenly a lot bigger! and hard!

Next Appointment: valentines day for my 28 week appointment. holy bologna - 28 weeks?! how did that happen?!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

26 weeks

yesterday marked exactly 90 days until baby OP joins our family. and 11 days until we move for the 1st time. i'm so excited about all the changes that are coming, even if it's a bit overwhelming in the meantime.

Pregnancy: 26 weeks

Weight Gain: same 'ol, same 'ol.

Sleep: same, although i'm getting up a couple of times a night to use the restroom.

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :) ryan is getting very good with the name now and recognizes that it's his baby sister. super cute.

Feeling: frankly, i'm exhausted. between chasing ryan, working, and trying to get ready for 2 moves, i'm pooped.

Cravings: right now i'm a big fan of snickers pb squares and froot loops.

Health: my nose is stuffy and runny, but i can't complain - it's way better than it has been!

Movement: she's been moving and shaking in there. michael is starting to get to experience it as well.

Belly: i feel like an elephant

Next Appointment: valentines day for my 28 week appointment. holy bologna - 28 weeks?! how did that happen?!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

25 weeks

ok, so now it's starting to seem real. i can't believe we're already 25 weeks. things go so much faster with the second one. i don't have time to sit aroun and ponder the upcoming changes. and with moving added in, there's just so much to do!

Pregnancy: 25 weeks

Weight Gain: who knows at this point!

Sleep: same

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :) ryan is getting very good with the name now and recognizes that it's his baby sister. super cute.

Feeling: much better this week.

Cravings: nothing too much. honestly, my appetite has been crap since i got sick.

Health: still no more bleeding! hooray!!!! fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Movement: i can see it on the outside now. she likes to hide from michael though!

Belly: getting bigger by the day. i'm definitely growing more "out" with her, while i was more wide with ryan. i did have someone tell me i was "tiny" for 24 weeks. i've never had anyone say i was tiny anywhere!

Next Appointment: valentines day for my 28 week appointment. although i get to go in for my gestational diabetes test a week before that. hooray!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

mixed emotions

we sold our house. finally. after almost an entire year on the market. we are going to build - a dream michael and i have shared since we lived in colorado. we are going to have plenty of space - a room for each of the kids, a guest room/bath, a playroom, an office, a garage that both cars fit in comfortably, enough space to host family events. i can actually picture hosting thanksgiving in our new dining room. we are going to settle into our brand new house as a brand new family of 6 and i can't wait to finally relax and enjoy life.

i never loved this house. it wasn't the "you'll know it when you see it" house - it was the "oh crap, our lease is up and this house will work" house. we saw potential, lots of potential. and i think we really worked to make this house meet its potential. unfortunately, even dollar we spent (and then some - well, a lot) disappeared when the market crashed. we've been looking to get out since we got in. i hate the fact that the floors creek. i hate the fact that there are mice in the basement. i hate that there isn't enough room for guests. i hate all sorts of things.

but this is our 1st house. ryan's room has always held a special place in my heart. when we toured the house, i could see how it would look when it was set up for our baby. i cried when we were going through infertility treatments and i wasn't sure if that room would be a reality. i was elated when we finally got to purchase the bedding and paint for our baby. i was devastated when i thought i wouldn't be able to finish decorating because i was on bedrest. i sat in the middle of the room and sobbed as i painted listening to ben folds "the luckiest." i sat in ryan's cuddle chair and pumped for 26 days, angry that i didn't have my baby boy home with me. i sat in the cuddle chair and watched him sleep more times than i can count. i held him in that room on his 1st and 2nd birthdays, at the exact moment of his birth, and remembered it all. michael and i laid on the floor with ryan and laughed till we cried as ryan "fed" us his milk and juice.

there were a lot of great moments here and on some level or another i'll miss this place. but, there are new memories to be made and new moments to be shared. and this time with a little more space. :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

24 weeks!

Pregnancy: 24 weeks

Weight Gain: scratch the close to pre-preg weight thing - i'm down 8lbs total.

Sleep: my hips hurt! i keep getting shakira's hips don't lie in my head....

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :) ryan is getting very good with the name now and recognizes that it's his baby sister. super cute.

Feeling: ok, this last week was no joke! i got the flu. you know, the one that you get the flu shot to prevent? apparently i got one of the non-covered 3 strains. boo! fevers and achiness suck. :( finally feeling better today!

Cravings: nothing too much. honestly, my appetite has been crap since i got sick.

Health: still no more bleeding! hooray!!!! fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Movement: definitely getting stronger. she's completely oblivious to the fact that i'm sick. i think she's partying in there! :)

Belly: getting bigger by the day. i'm definitely growing more "out" with her, while i was more wide with ryan.

Next Appointment: valentines day for my 28 week appointment. although i get to go in for my gestational diabetes test a week before that. hooray!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


since ryan was born, he has been an easy child. slept through the night since he was allowed to, switched to a sippy and milk with no problems, eats anything, only cried when he was hungry, etc.
and then he turned 2.
to say that ryan is difficult when we are out and about is probably the understatement of the year. he won't sit in the cart. he won't sit in the basket of the cart (yes, i've seen the little picture that specifically prohibits such a thing - the person that designed that didn't have a 2 year old and needed to buy milk). he won't hold your hand and walk with you. he won't let you hold him. he won't help you push the cart. what will he do? run up and down the aisle like a crazy man and then lay on the floor and scream when you catch him.
so, what does a "good" mom do in that situation? i'll tell you, before i had a 2 year old, i had all sorts of ideas for what you could do. first of all, my kid would respect me and he would listen when i calmly explained that we don't act that way in public. and, in the off chance that my little angel was having an off day, we would just leave immediately.
that plan sucks. it completely forgets to take into account the fact that 2 year olds are irrational beings and sometimes you just need to get groceries, whether your kid wants to or not.
in the past few weeks, ryan has had time outs at target, panda express, church, and various other establishments. i can't just leave the store - i'm pretty sure that's what he wants. i can't just strap him into the cart - he can actually hulk out of the seatbelt. i can't bribe him - he can't hear me above his own screams. thank god i have an amazing group of mom friends that assure me that this ridiculous behavior is normal.
i tell you though - i owe a lot of moms some serious apologies for judging them at target over the last couple decades.....

Monday, January 10, 2011

23 weeks

Pregnancy: 23 weeks

Weight Gain: i have no idea. it looks like i'm close to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Sleep: no problems! danielle got me a new body pillow for christmas and it rocks my socks! the old one was getting flat.

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :) ryan is getting very good with the name now and recognizes that it's his baby sister. super cute.

Feeling: dude, i feel like crap. i'm achy and coughing and exhausted. michael felt yucky for a long time, and i'm afraid i'm going to be sick forever because all i can take is amoxicillan and tylenol. boo!

Cravings: nothing too much

Health: still no more bleeding! hooray!!!! fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Movement: definitely getting stronger. i bought a doppler online for $15 and it's fun listening to her heartbeat. not to mention the piece of mind.

Belly: getting bigger by the day. i'm definitely growing more "out" with her, while i was more wide with ryan.

Next Appointment: january 17th - 24 weeks!!! a baby is considered "viable" at 24 weeks. don't get me wrong, i realize the dangers of a 24 week delivery and wouldn't wish that on anyone. but getting to the point where we at least have a fighting chance will be a huge relief, especially after the bleeding earlier on.

Friday, January 07, 2011

22 weeks (a little late)

Pregnancy: 22 weeks

Weight Gain: all i have to say is reese's peanut butter cups.

Sleep: no problems!

Gender: Girl!!!

Name: she has a name, which everyone will learn on may 2nd. :) we tried to get ryan to say the name and he has a very cute nickname for her already.

Feeling: pretty good. i have some antibiodics for a sinus infection, but we're all on the upswing!

Cravings: nothing too much

Health: still no more bleeding! hooray!!!! fingers crossed that it stays that way.

Movement: definitely getting stronger

Belly: getting bigger by the day

Next Appointment: january 17th - 24 weeks!!!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

my, how things have changed

in the not-so-distant past, new years eve was a time for celebration. a time for staying up late, hanging out with friends, and maybe even having a drink or two.

and then there's new years eve nowadays. we spent the evening hanging out at home with erin and nate and the boys. cole and grant played mario kart as ryan chased cole from chair to chair to chair. we ordered chinese food and ate it throughout the night, kind of like our own chinese buffet. we sat on the floor in the dining room, playing with ryan's new toys and searching through quarters to complete cole's quarters of america book. we sanitized our hands after playing with money.

ryan was in bed by 9 (and even slept in until 9 this morning!) and we settled in to watch Julie and Julia after our guests left. we were in bed and sleeping by about 11pm.

and you know what? i loved every single minute of it. goodbye 2010 - here's to 2011!