Friday, December 14, 2012

Today, I cried

Today I cried, longing for the days when the only thing to be scared of was monsters and the dark.
Today I cried, feeling helpless.
Today I cried, admitting defeat in protecting my babies from the evil of the world.
Today I cried for the blissful ignorance lost.
Today I cried for the teachers, who carry the responsibility of protecting our children along with educating them.
Today I cried for the children that survived, knowing that they have been robbed of their innocence and childhood.
Today I cried as I imagined children the same age as my son and nephews facing something so horrible alone.
Today I cried as I thought of all the mommies and daddies that hurt because they couldn't be there to comfort their children during their final moments before they became angels.
Today I cried, wondering what could have been.
Today I cried for the law enforcement officers that will forever have visions of the crime scene engraved in their hearts.
Today I cried for the family of the shooter as they struggle to imagine how their loved one could do something so awful.
Today I cried, unable to imagine the instant devastation the parents felt when they answered their phones.
Today I cried, hoping they felt no fear or pain.
Today I cried for heaven's new angels. Sleep well little ones.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Screw this

ryan woke up with a fever this morning and was complaining that his head hurt. i dosed him up with ibuprofen and put him in bed to watch tv while i got some work done. then i remembered that headache + fever can mean meningitis. cue the momma freak out. i called the doctor (which i had to do anyways as he was supposed to have his flu shot tonight. which was reschedule from last month when he had a fever) and they suggested i bring him in. i felt kind of silly, but i figure my ego is way less important than being wrong about something that big. he's fine. i get 1 ridiculous doctor appointment a year and i think i just spent it. as long as i keep meds in him, he does fine and is in a surprisingly good mood. other than the brief periods of achiness and chills that he has when the meds wear off, we've had a great time today. michael brought ellen home and she was surprisingly cuddly. normally that would increase my anxiety (sucks that i can't enjoy some cuddles, eh?), but given we just had the stomach bug last week, i thought we were safe. thought. i was on the phone and i heard an "oh no" and michael called for me saying ellen threw up. the jury's still out on whether her tummy is upset or whether she put too much food in her mouth at once (not out of the ordinary). where's my anxiety? about a 5, higher than the first day ellen was sick. not comfortable. i want to run away. i want to go in my room and lock the door and cry and hit a pillow. but even then, i know the anxiety would continue. i am angry. i did SO well during this stomach bug. i feel defeated. i feel weak. i thought i had progressed. and, as always, life just keeps pushing me until i break. and it just sucks.

Monday, October 15, 2012


As any good stomach bug knows, the only thing better than 1 kid is 2! Ryan woke up in the middle of the night Thursday throwing up.
The good news is, both kiddos made it through unscathed. Ellen threw up once. As usual, Ryan got hit a bit harder and threw up 4 times throughout the night. Both were completely back to normal 12 hours after it started. In and out - my kind of bug.
The great news is that I did wonderfully. I was anxious for the first hour or so that I was home with the kids on Wednesday and then, just as the OCD program said, my anxiety came down and stayed down. I stayed at a 2 (out of 7) for most of the rest of the day.
When Ryan got sick I never got above a 3. Considering that my anxiety is generally more intense with him, I consider this a huge milestone. I was even able to lay with him right after he threw up - something I wouldn't have been able to do 4 months ago.
Do I want to do it again anytime soon? Nope. But not because I need a break or am scared. Because I hate seeing my kiddos feeling yucky. Progress feels good.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Accidental genius

During our impromptu day off, Ellen has enjoyed being in her high chair coloring. At first I tried paper, but she just shoves it aside to color on the tray.

The Final Exam

"hey kate, wake up. ellen puked." doesn't matter how many times i hear that, it sucks to be woken up that way. our last stomach bug was at the end of june. putting us at about 3.5 months. frankly, i'm sick of it. i'm choosing to view this as the final exam of my OCD training. my anxiety is at a bearable 4-5 (out of 7) and i haven't cried or had the urge to run away. mostly i'm just mad that my kid is sick again. i just keep repeating "anxiety is just uncomfortable" to myself over and over. maybe next time we can have longer than 3 months between bugs....

Monday, October 08, 2012

you say quinoa, i say quinoa

i've been very interested in trying quinoa. i generally love grains of all types, so the prospect of a healthier option is right up my alley. the problem is, i was having trouble finding a recipe that sounded good to me. a preemie mom friend recommended the BBQ chicken quinoa salad from iowa girl eats. BBQ and a girl from iowa?! it was destined to be. i made this last night at about 7pm. i'm participating in a biggest loser competition with my preemie mom friends and have been doing a terrible job of managing my calories. i keep ending up in situations where i'm starving to the point that i have a headache and am a cranky butt. last night was that night. i came home from the grocery store and got working. i made sure to rinse the quinoa as suggested and used the hillshire farms precooked chicken. convenience is key at 7pm when you're crabby. it turned out less of a salad and more of a mess (i just mixed everything together instead of making it look pretty), but it was good! very filling and fairly low in calories. michael didn't care for it, but he generally doesn't like bottled barbeque sauce so i think that may have been the problem. the kids loved it and kept asking for more. i think we'll keep this one in rotation for nights michael works late.

That's Pinteresting! - best broccoli

i've made this broccoli a couple of times and i have to agree with the name - it really is the best broccoli of my life. the roasted flavor is outstanding and the cheese and garlic add some much needed flavor. the first time i followed the recipe to a T. it was good. this time i changed it up a little - skipped the lemon juice, added some basalmic vinegar (just a splash). delish. ryan didn't like the "barbeque sauce" (aka the roasted parts of the broccoli), but ellen loved it. we're keeping this one in rotation.

That's Pinteresting! - buffalo chicken sandwiches

we made these buffalo chicken sandwiches last week and they were great. the chicken stayed moist in the crockpot and the frank's red hot buffalo sauce wasn't too spicy. we served the kids something else because they generally don't care for any spice, but i thought they were very yummy. we were out of blue cheese dressing, but i picked some up and they're on the agenda for leftovers tomorrow!

Showing our gratitude

i saw a flyer at michael's (the store, not my husband) advertising that you can bring christmas cards for deployed soliders anytime before october 31st and they will send them overseas. ryan has been coloring 1 card each night after dinner and ellen is even getting in on it sometimes! a great way to show our appreciation for the men and women that won't be with their friends and families this holiday season.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Water beads

I broke out the water beads again today. A preemie mom friend suggested them and it's one of the kids' favorite activities. They are small little "beads" (available at craft stores) that are intended for use in floral arrangements to keep flowers watered. We use them as a sensory/fine motor skills activity. They feel like tiny bubbles in your hand! Very cool.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


ryan is almost 4 years old. he is off the charts for age, weight, and verbal skills. he knows his letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and most letter sounds. we're working on reading - at age 3. he is an amazing little boy and shows absolutely no sign of prematurity. yet i carry a large amount of guilt with me regarding his birth. during treatment, i tried to tell my story - and couldn't get through it without crying. the main theme - my body failed my child. i wasn't able to take care of him when he was inside of me and i wasn't able to take care of him for the first 26 days of his life. my first act as a parent was to fail. is this completely unreasonable? certainly. i have heard countless other preemie moms say the same thing and each and every time i have told them that there was nothing they could do differently and they didn't fail. yet i hold myself to a different, unreasonable standard. i have a new therapist that is helping me work through these things. i really thought i was over it - i thought i had processed every aspect of premature birth, but apparently not. i'm working with rose to not be so hard on myself. as a side note, i have also realized that i'm pushing ryan. he is so smart and i want him to accomplish everything he can. i forget that he's 3. i see how i treat other kids his age and i know i treat him completely differently. i know he can do things, but i fail to consider that he has the attention span of a 3 year old and gets frustrated easily. so i am also working to lay off the little man and let him be a 3 year old.

Post OCD-treatment Musings

i ended the program at the end of august. i have been planning this post in my head ever since. the program was very helpful. am i cured? no. will i handle the next round of stomach flu without issue? probably not. but do i have a better understanding of why i am the way i am? definitely. i am a control freak. i do not take kindly to being in situations that i cannot control. the past few years have been the ultimate challenge to maintaining control. we underwent infertility treatments. we sold our house in an awful market. i have a three year old. but the biggest slap in the face was ryan's birth. i had no control over when i was going to bleed, how much, where, etc. i had no control over keeping my son safe. and that is what pushed me over the OCD-edge from a phobia to full on OCD. how do those differences present? i'm not just scared when someone is going to get sick. i'm constantly thinking about it. questioning. worrying. i can't read a facebook status update about a sick kid without getting anxious. and it was beginning to take over my life. ryan gets annoyed with me for asking too many questions. given how many questions that kid asks, that's saying something. so about halfway through, we realized something (which makes me thing of knuffle bunny when "TRIXIE REALIZED SOMETHING"). the reason the exposures weren't causing me any anxiety was that the vomiting itself wasn't the problem - it was the loss of control that came along with it. i don't know when, where, how long, who, and to what extent the stomach bug will take over our family. sound familiar? i thought so. we changed my exposures to include situations where i wouldn't have any control - michael blacked out the expiration date on the milk. i didn't ask where we were going. i didn't double check the diaper bag. and it caused anxiety. brilliant. next up - anxiety. does it suck - definitely. will it hurt me - nope. it's just uncomfortable. like running. it's uncomfortable, but in the end run it will be good for me. each time i do it, it will get easier, to the point that someday it won't hurt. how does this help? it is a lot easier to reason with yourself when you know why you're freaked out in the first place. i believe the revelations we made during treatment, combined with the mindset that anxiety is just uncomfortable, plus the ability for me to take my "emergency pill" (clomazaphan - which is not at all spelled correctly) will make the next bug a bit easier. only time will tell.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

That's pinteresting! - magnet wall

I adore pinterest. I love that lots of other people have great ideas and there's a website set up for me to steal them. Pinterest makes me a better mom. New recipes, new decorations, new organization. Love it.

So today I finally got around to hanging our magnet board. Ellen absolutely loves the leapfrog magnet things and i was sick of having them on my fridge.

We originally used magnetic primer on the chalkboard wall, but nothing sticks. So on to plan B. Pinterest suggested a car oil drip pan. $5 for a magnet board? Sign me up!

We bought it a few weeks back, but I finally had the chance to hang it.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Today's challenge

This is today's exposure.
Three and a half minutes spent with a very nice preteen girl that only looked like she enjoyed half the ride.
Peak anxiety of 4.
Tilt a whirl with questionable partner - check. Bring on the expired milk.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Even crazier

Today my OCD exposures included the following:
- watching a video of a woman vomiting on a roller coaster
- sitting in front of the toilet imagining myself vomiting
- imagining Ryan vomiting
We do each of these things 5 times, a minimum of 2 minutes and a max of 20, recording our highest anxiety level and how long it takes us to cut it in half.
I'm no going to lie, actually doing these things is making me feel a little more crazy instead of less. :) I can feel that my anxiety is lessening more and much quicker.
But the overall moral of today's treatment - never search vomiting on YouTube. Ew.
Off to get today's 5 exposures!

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Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Ready, set, go.

Today is my first day of treatment. 2 hours and 17 minutes in I am beginning to relax from my original state of complete fear. 

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

not stress

turns out i do not have a stress fracture. instead i have exertional compartment syndrome, which essentially means that the muscle on the outside of my right leg gets aggravated and swells, causing numbness and shin pain. that, coupled with some residual healing from an unfortunate incident with a clothing rack, has been named the culprit. treatment plan - rest, ice, and ibuprofen as needed. no big deal. i have officially been taken off all restrictions and can resume my training. now to find the motivation.....

just breathe

i got a call from rogers memorial last night. they will have a spot for me in their outpatient treatment program soon. i will find out just how soon on monday. until then i can be found at home, freaking out. i visited a doctor a month or so ago to do a "hierarchy." basically we spent 3 hours discussing my craziness and determining the best way to torture me to make it better. it was during those 3 hours that i realized that this treatment program is going to be HARD. like scary hard. like hyperventilating hard. like i'm probably going to freak out on more than one occasion hard. HARD. i have essentially signed myself up for 3 hours of torture, 4 times a week, for anywhere from 3-8 weeks. i am sooo excited for the opportunity and even more excited to be "fixed," but i'm so scared for the journey. but i have to do this. for myself, for michael, and, most importantly, for ryan and ellen. they deserve to have their mommy at 100%. as someone much smarter than myself once said, no one said it would be easy, just that it would be worth it.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I jinxed myself. I made it to week 6, day 1 and now I'm on the injured reserve list.
Back when I began this journey I was experiencing some pain in my right shin. I figured it was shin splints and took it as an opportunity for some new shoes. The shoes helped, but my shin is still super tender, which is a problem with 2 kids and 2 dogs running into it constantly. Then it started having this weird numb feeling, kind of like someone dragging a string across my leg and that was the final straw. To the doctor.
As I expected, he thinks I have a stress fracture. And, also as expected, the X-ray showed nothing. I go in on Tuesday for a bone scan to try to diagnose and determine the severity. 8am appointment for the injection and 11am appointment for the scan.
I'm upset. I made it to week 6! Of 8! I was doing soooo well. And now I'm out for the foreseeable future and inevitably will use to go back. And while my motivation is still there now, who knows how it will fade in the indeterminate amount of time I will need to take off. Not to mention the somewhat huge inconvenience potential crutches or a cast would be with 2 little people to haul around.
I suppose it will all work itself out. And it's not the destination that I'm looking for, it's the journey.

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Monday, June 25, 2012


I have been running consistently since the beginning of may. I just finished week 6, day 1, although I think I'm going to repeat it as I had to stop a few times. I have a gym membership and I'm using it. I have new shoes that I picked based on fit, not looks, complete with inserts and totally synthetic running socks. I can run 9 minutes straight.
I am finally finding myself enjoying my runs. I am impressed with myself that I can actually do it. In the past I have always gotten hung up on week 4 - the 6 minutes straight scared the crap out of me. And then I did it and didn't even hurt too badly! Now I feel like nothing is stopping me.
Today I was reading runners world on the plane to Memphis. The gentleman next to me noticed and was reading the same. We talked about training and races and all sorts of running stuff. I've been able to talk the talk for awhile now as I've been on enough 5k race committees to know what I'm talking about. But now I'm finally walking the walk.
I run, even if I don't feel 100%.
I run, even if I look like a fool.
I run, even if I have to walk sometimes.
I am a runner and I'm damn proud of it.

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Monday, May 14, 2012


i am done being crazy. i am done freaking out every time one of the kids coughs. and, now that i'm done breastfeeding, i can pursue other options for treatment. i have been accepted into an outpatient treatment program through rogers memorial hospital. as it turns out, a nationally recognized OCD treatment program is in my backyard. well, oconomowoc, but still pretty close. and they opened another campus even closer, which is a big deal given that the program is quite intensive. i will undergo talk and exposure therapy, as well as drug management, 3 hours a day, 4 days a week,, for 3-5 weeks. i am excited and scared at the same time. i know this isn't going to be an easy road. but, at the same time, this is the first time i will have the experience of getting help from people that are experienced with my type of illness. my OCD doesn't present typically - i don't have rituals or "normal" triggers. i don't wash my hands a thousand times a day and i'm not freaked out by tangible things. i'm freaked out by situations which i imagine will be hard to replicate. i am anxious to see how they handle it. i also took the opportunity to see a hypnotist. i found him on livingsocial and we have met once. we did a relaxation session and i believe i was hypnotized, which surprised me. i figured that someone with control issues would have a hard time. we are meeting again on friday to work through the OCD stuff and see if we can make any progress. i am hopeful that this is the beginning of the end. i am hopeful that someday soon i can live my life without constant worry and anxiety.

The End

after 1 year and 12 days, i am done breastfeeding. it is bittersweet. it was hard. it hurt like nothing i've ever experienced. it was inconvenient. it was exhausting. but it was my time with my little girl. my time to sit with her and watch her big blue eyes. i will miss my special time with her, but i am happy to finally have my body back 100%!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Be all that you can be

I have mastitis. I feel feverish and my breast is extremely tender. I have a call into my ob and pcp. God willing, one of them will take pity on my soul and just call in a script. Until then, I will continue alternating between being so hot I can't stand it and so cold my teeth chatter.
In other news, Ryan threw up this morning. He told me he was going to poop and instead said he puked. We didn't believe him as he was acting normal and neither of us saw anything. Then he did it again downstairs for good measure. At least he hit the toilet both times. He has had a cracker and a sip of juice and can be heard playing in the next room.
It never ceases to amaze me how hard this is for me. Within minutes of the words "my belly hurts" (tmi) my stomach insists on being emptied. I cry. I hate this in a way that is indescribable. The logical side of me knows that there is nothing terrible happening and that we will weather this storm as usual. The OCD side of me can't grasp it, no matter what. The OCD side of me wants to run away from my child when he doesn't feel well and it breaks my heart. It kills me that, no matter what, I'm not strong enough to push through my own issues to be the best mom for him. That i will spend the next week over analyzing every move he makes or doesn't make. That I won't be able to fully relax and enjoy him.
Sometimes I don't know what's worse, the anxiety or the guilt. Actually, strike that, I know. The guilt of not being able to be the mom my son deserves will always be worse.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Those eyes

Happy valentine's day!

We had a great valentine's day. We made hugs for the grandparents and robot valentines for daycare. We ate Mickey mouse suckers, red velvet, heart shaped pancakes, cupcakes, and red pasta. We said I love you lots and lots. I gave Michael a doormat that says "keys. Phone. Wallet" and he gave me a bayside tigers (!) t-shirt. It was a great day with my favorite valentines.


We have been busy. Busy finding a preschool for Ryan. Busy chasing a very fast Ellen. Busy selling stuff. Busy working. Busy organizing. Busy enjoying ourselves.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Out with the old

The time has come for us to purge all of our baby stuff. As it turns out, we have accumulated quite a bit of non-baby stuff during our 6 years in Wisconsin as well!
I took some time and made a pile (aka third stall of the garage) of all of the things we need to sell. I am using the craigslist app on my phone and as of tonight, I finally have everything listed!
We've been getting tons of interest, but have found that very few people follow through to pick-up. To say it's frustrating is an understatement. As of today, I've sold $155. Tomorrow, if all goes well, I will sell another $45. Which makes us $200 closer to our Disney world trip.
About that - we are planning to go to disney for ryan's birthday in December. I know Ellen will be too young to remember and it's possible Ryan won't remember either, but I think it will be amazing no matter what. And given Ryan remembers that my elementary school was octagon shaped (a topic we hadn't discussed in months), I think the odds are in our favor. I have figured it all out and have everything planned in my head. Everything bookmarked on google chrome. Guides are read. And we only have 9 months to go! :)

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Thursday, January 05, 2012


i am happy. so happy. the things i would change about my life are so minuscule that i don't even feel justified in listing them. and i'm terrified.
you see, two times in my life i have stopped and said to myself "this is it, i have everything i need. i can breathe easy for awhile!" and two times the rug has been pulled out from underneath me.
the first was the day ryan died. i was in law school in a beautiful city and had just started dating michael. i already suspected that we'd be in it for the long haul. i was happy. and then ryan died and my world crumbled.
the second was thanksgiving 2008. i had a husband, 2 dogs, a house, and was 32 weeks pregnant with ryan despite the odds. the next day i started bleeding and the downward spiral to his birth began.
so here i am, happy, but scared to admit it. for fear that it will all end.