>Proof of Life

>Sorry. Not much to post about. Working like crazy, recovering well from the tendonitis in my left foot and ankle. Starting classes in a couple of days and spending my non-working hours doing such thinks as making sure I know how to navigate the online college experience and obtaining textbooks and needed software. Plus we are in the market for a new car and I have been dealing with that as well. So far, I have looked at the VW Toureg (too expensive), the VW Routan (grrr, a minivan), the CR-V (not much more room than we have now). Next up is the Chevy Traverse (love it, but we’ll see what the dealer can do for me on price). Plus I’m trying to finish the book I’ve been reading that is completely unrelated to work or school before I find myself in the throes of juggling like a madwoman again. Sorry. Boring boring boring. Hope everyone is doing well out there in the Blog World. P.S. Zach has 2 teeth now. So cute.

>The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

>I work amongst some of the most ridiculous, petty drama you could imagine, considering these are all college-educated adults. This one de-friended this one on Facebook, this one screwed someone’s husband and as a married woman, another one completely removed from the situation took complete offense. And because another one is BFF’s with the defriended one, the de-friendee is now on her shitlist. And on and on, so it goes. I mean, really. And I try to stay out of it. I really do. There are going to be disagreements because we work long hours under stressful conditions, and we are all human. I’ve had my disagreements. But adults move on. And we are not going to like every person in our department. There are about 50 therapists in my department. Someone is going to dislike me, and that is okay. But be an adult. Be professional. And so this post is all about work.

Let’s start with the Good, shall we? One of my coworkers asked if Zach needs any summer clothes, and since I have only bought about 5 or so summer outfits so far, I mentioned that we could use some, that I haven’t really shopped. Well, she had us meet her and gave me bags of her son’s cothes to go through. Oh holy crap. There were 4 pair of swim trunks, 6 pairs of sandals, 30 complete outfits and a ton more separates, 7 pairs of light pajamas, and even an unopened pack of swim diapers. All looking brand new, all designer labels. So while I had this huge list of stuff the boys needed for summer, all that is left for me to buy Zach is bigger-sized onesies. Seriously. Love it!

The Bad: Well apparently, I have upset some people and I do not know why. I shouldn’t care but I do. I have always worried too much about what others think of me and have been insecure about it. But I keep noticing people from work gone from my friends list on Facebook. Unlike some of my coworkers, I will not start WW3 over it. Hell, I won’t even mention it to anyone. But it kind of makes me wonder what it may be the result of. Am I just a bad person? Am I completely pathetic for even worrying about it?

The Ugly: Apparently a coworker had her annual evaluation at work and my name came up. My supervisor mentioned the “problems” we have like I would instantly know what she is talking about, and I honestly have no clue. This person is always nice to me and this was the first I had heard of it. I just played dumb when I should have spoken up. I mean, there are some people who just will not like each other, but to go so far as to bring it up to my boss? Really? And the only thing I can think of was when I first found out I was pregnant with Zach and, keeping in mind the experience I had with Evan, I was sort of upset about it. This girl had been trying to have another baby for sometime, and got very upset, to the point of screaming at me, for being upset. She now, after my pregnancy, understands, I think. But at the time she was downright mean about it. I don’t know if it stems from this or not. But this worries me. What did I do?

So anyhow, that is what is on my mind. Just a little concerned.

>Off of Cream Cheese!

>Okay, so tonight I made a dinner that was semi-homemade and delish, and so I thought I would share. I actually got the recipe from the back of a container of Philadelphia cooking cream cheese, and it was for “Easy Chicken Enchiladas”. Of course I keep laughing because I keep thinking of one of my favorite movies of all time, which is 200 Cigarettes. If you had anything to do with the 80’s and have not seen this flick, I say check it out! But anyhow, in it, Martha Plimpton’s character is throwing a party and made some dip, on which everyone keeps complimenting her. And she keeps exclaiming, “I got it off of the back of cream cheese!!!” Ha!

So anyway, I’ll tell you what the recipe calls for, then tell you what I did.

1 can diced tomatoes, 1 white onion-diced, I container of Philadelphia cooking cream cheese-Santa Fe Blend, 3 cups shredded chicken, cooking oil, Kraft Mexican Blend shredded cheese, 8 flour tortillas.
You’re supposed to cook and shred the chicken breast, heat the oil and saute the diced onion, then mix 3/4 of the cream cheese, some of the shredded cheese, the chicken, and the cooked onion together, then roll the mixture in the tortillas. Place the them in a greased 12×9 pan, seam down. Spoon the remaining cream cheese over the top and sprinkle with more of the shredded cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350.
But I can’t follow directions, and I was too lazy to cook the chicken and then shred it. So I mixed the onion with some lean ground beef, and cooked until the beef was browned. And I mixed that in in place of the chicken. And then it didn’t seem like enough, so I cooked one of those Uncle Ben’s microwaveable rice pouches (Spanich Style) and mixed about 2/3rds of that in the mix.

OMG, they were awesome. The pan was gone in like 3 seconds flat, I swear.
And I got the recipe off of the back of cream cheese!

>Reunited

>

Reunited and it feeeeeels so goooooood……” Ummmm, not really. Yesterday, dear bloggy friends, I reunited with an old friend. It wasn’t my recess buddy in grade school or my BFF from high school. It wasn’t my college confidante or one of my sorority sisters (yeah, I was one of those). It was….dun, dun, dunh….The Mart Kart.

Yeah, I know. These things are great, making it possible for the infirm and extremely elderly and handi-capable all to go buy important things like food. And medicine. And their Depends. Well, they’re great and wonderful and convenient…until you have to be the one on it.

Let’s start with how I became an expert driver of the Mart Kart (yes, that really is the brand name of the cart Wally World uses. (Thanks to Evan, whose young and agile brain is able to store vast amounts of such useless info.) I became an expert while preggers, when I was on either bedrest or modified bedrest, and John would shout out, “Honey, I’m going to the store!” And I would yell, “Oh hells no, I’m COMIN’!” And most times I would just waddle to the car and ride along for some scenery, windows down for some fresh air and sunshine. And sometimes, depending what was needed, I would actually go in. But aside from my team of doctors’ orders, I was physically incapable of walking through any store, especially the huge box stores like Wally World, Target, BRU. He would drop me off in front before parking the car, and I would be moving so slow that people passing me on all sides would literally create a breeze effect. Because I had been in bed for months and also because as soon as I tried to stand upright, the contractions would pull my belly so tight that it automatically had me walking stooped over. I would hunch and hobble and waddle my way to the electric scooters and hop on. I had so many misadventures on those damned things and became an expert.

Target’s sucked. They had the big bumper thing on the bottom to keep you from getting too close to anything in the store. But this bumper thing is what caused me to crash into everything. It is what put the feat of God in the people working the electronics and how I got the best service as they brought different cameras to me so I could look and decide on one. There was no way they were going to let me get that close to a glass case. This was, of course, the same day I took out an entire rack of newborn clothing, and I am not even going there. Click the link if you want to read about Mach 5 embarrassment like no other. It was also the week before Zach’s birth.

And then there was the time I thought for sure that I had been busted by the very one from my practice who finally told me, “No more, Andrea. You are to be on bedrest until you deliver. You’re done.” (I later ‘fessed up and discovered that while he didn’t see me that day, that according to him, he has busted many a bedrester that way.)

Or the day someone accused me of being on one out of laziness. Yep, I hate the things.

So here’s what went down: I woke up just a couple of hours after falling asleep on Wednesday morning with my left foot filled with this intense ache in very localized places, yet still radiating up my leg, if that makes any sense at all. I honestly thought it was the weather because it was sunny and 70 here one day and literally 34 degrees and cloudy the very next day. And trying to storm on top of that. I have a bit of arthritis in that leg after having ACL surgery in 2003, so I thought maybe it was the beginning of that type of pain. I took some ibuprofen and went back to sleep. It got worse, but I went to work that evening as planned. Within 2 hours of starting work, I had no idea how I was going to make it through the full 12 hours. It was that bad. I did make it until all of my patients had been seen, though, and I handed off my pager to one of the other therapists. I had to make J0hn come and get me, and went home to ice and elevate my foot. Which helped. Until I tried to stand on it again. I ended up in the ER, getting it x-rayed. I felt silly and stupid and was seriously worried that they would think I was drug-seeking because there is nothing visibly wrong with my foot. Nada. Except I have the ugliest feet. Bunions, ingrown toenails, calluses. Because what I do for a living doesn’t go hand-in-hand with sandal season. But I got people who knew me. And I turned down the pain shot I was offered and requested an anti-inflammatory injection instead. And they said it is bad tendonitis, that they could see hazy areas of inflammation on the x-ray, and that I may have some underlying stress fractures as well, but I won’t know that until it fails to get better. But I am on crutches now. And spent last night drugged up enough that I slept through the entire season finale of Jersey Shore….Erm, I mean another show–a more high-brow show that isn’t so embarrassing. ItalicSucky sucky sucky. Because I apparently work too much. (In fact, it was Wednesday and I had already worked 48 hours this week….They may have been on to something!)

And so I am grounded for a couple of days. But Zach needed diapers because I never did manage to make the switch to cloth. And he needed formula. (Completely random tidbit and silver lining in all of this? That last night, I bought either the last or second-to-last bit of infant formula I have to buy for Zach! That crap is so expensive! And I have yet to decide if I am going to use the toddler formulas they make now.) And the fridge was bare here. And so I had to use the damned scooter. Again. And John laughed at me through the entire store, though Zach watched me from his perch in the cart and seemed to be fascinated that Mommy was motorized.

Such is life.

>Thanks for Ruining the Lesson….

>

….A$$hole.

Today, we were making the trip home from the park when we encoutered a homeless guy. I am reasonably soft-hearted about this and will do what I can. And this guy said he just needed food. So we take a detour through a nearby McDonald’s drive-thru because I’m sure he didn’t care about counting calories and fat content at that point. We not only bought him a combo meal, but we also got him a $30 gift card with the idea that it would feed him for a couple of days. Evan was in the backseat making his sad Evan face. The kid has a bleeding heart like me and promptly wanted us to take the man home with us to live forever. I was setting a good example by doing this in front of Evan. My way of saying, “Evan Robert, you appreciate the things you have and you always do what you can for your fellow man who may have a lot less than you.” I am feeling all uber-Mom-ish and proud that I am setting such a great example. And Evan is feeling proud that we are doing something nice for the man.

So we maneuver down one-way streets to get turned around in traffic so we can drive by the man in a way that allows John to quickly hand the man the food and gift card while in traffic. And we do, and he thanks us. And so now we have to turn around again to get to the direction we were originally going. Which means we have to drive back by him.

The Bastard! He was still there. With his sign that says “feed me” or whatever it said. After I spent $40 on him because he was starving. If he were truly hungry, wouldn’t he have been eating the damned food?

So lesson plan averted. Instead, Evan learned that there are people out there who will take advantage of those willing to help, that this is probably why there are so few people willing to do so anymore. And this is what is wrong with humanity in general.

Not exactly the lesson I wanted my baby to learn at such a young age. It would have been more appropriate if Evan were, say, 20 or 30. Not 9.

Bastard will probably go et in his nice car and hit the drive-thru to feed his family that is waiting at home for him. Home that is probably nicer than mine. I got swindled.

>Free Shopping is Lovely

> So I had this big in-store credit for the breastfeeding boutique. Which would have come in handy any time in the past 10 months, because this woman literally has every-stinkin’-product for breastfeeding moms that I have purchased. My herbal supplements, my end-of-the-alphabet-sized nursing bras. Even all of my nursing tanks I have layered under my clothes for all of this time (doesn’t seem like a biggie until you consider that everybody else carries the ones designed for stick-thin women, and aside from a few people I know, what mom is a stick immediately postpartum???). But now? Now that Zach is almost a year old and I have decided I am done? I didn’t think I would find a thing.

I was wrong. I was so wrong, And it all seemed free because I didn’t have to pay for any of it with plastic or paper! Which made me feel like I was on Cloud 9.

First of all, Big Baby Woombies. (B, you asked me about these a long time ago, and I wish I would’ve tried them then!) Here’s the skinny on the swaddlers: Zach still sleeps swaddled. He shoulldn’t because he is 10 months old, but he sleeps so well that way that I can’t fight it. But he gets his arms loose now, waking himself up. The Woombies are made like a sleeper, zipping all the way up to the neck, and are confining, but still stretchy enough for him to wiggle and squirm. And I got 2 of them. And we heart the Woombies. Seriously. They also have one that lets you gradually train them to sleep without it by gradually giving them more freedom with their arms. We will be using that, I can tell you right now.

Bebe au Lait Double Reversible Bibs: I bought only one of these because they were really pricey in my book. $25.00 for one bib, when I honestly usually buy the 10-pack of bibs at BRU for $10, simply because they get stained. But this bib seemed posh and cute and the design and concept was really neat, so I decided to try one. Plus, since they are made to match the patterns of Hooter Hiders nursing covers, the majority of the patterns were rather feminine, and I only found one pattern in the store that would not make Sniper John the Marine freak the eff out. But I love it enough that I will be ordering more. After I see how it holds up in the laundry, of course.
Baby Legs. I bought a pair of Baby Legs and they are the best thing since sliced bread! Because Zach is at that age where he wants to go go go, diaper changes have become a pain in the butt, especially when he does the dirty. He spends the entire time trying to get away, and some times he is successful. Anything that complicates that is bad–i.e. pants. But with these, you can keep his legs covered, all warm and protected as he crawls all over, yet he can be in a onesie, so diaper changes are quicker and closer to painless. He still protests, and now that he babbles more, the newest thing is to cry, “OhMAMAMAMAAAAA!”, which successfully breaks my heart and melts me in one step. But it really is quicker, so I have to endure the heartbreak less. Of course John couldn’t help but point out their resemblance to leg warmers of 80’s fashion, which had to be the most useless fashion fad ever (I still had them, though–don’t laugh at me!). The entire first night Zach had them, John was singing Pat Benetar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. We need more of these, too.
I got a Maya Wrap. I know, I know. The Ergo was supposed to be the carrier to replace all of them. But I was talking about it being harder to use now that Zach is bigger and that the hip carry in it seems way complicated. And the woman’s daughter, there working with her 18-month-old daughter in tow, did a demonstration for me on carrying a big baby in it, and I was sold. We used it today at the park and it worked like a charm.
And finally, the subject of the picture above: I bought Zach a Sophie the Giraffe. So many people I know swear by this teething toy. And here’s the thing: Zach really doesn’t gum anything. We have tried anything and everything: those soft flexible hands and feet that Evan loved when he was a baby (boy, did I have to hunt for them in order to try them for Zach!), textured rings, rattles with teething ends on them, the water-filled ones that go in the fridge, wooden ones….Anything that would catch his interest and would relieve his sore gums. The kid still has no teeth, so I want him to find something that works in order to help him help himself to break them through. They’re still right there! The only thing we hadn’t tried was Sophie. (“Sophie le Girafffffeeeee” according to a coworker of mine with a 7-month-old girl). And so I got Zach a Sophie. And it went like this: I bring it home, and John sees the price tag and flips out that I spent $25 on a rubber teething toy, first of all. I am trying to explain to him that it is the teething toy, and apparently Mason of Kardashian fame even has one (again, the girl at work). And it is going to cure the endless teething. I mean, we are going to wake in the morning and all 4 of the teeth that are straining against Zach’s gums are going to be out. All because of $25 Sophie. And then I get the box opened. And the first thing that comes to mind is a 99-cent doggy chew toy. It really does have that texture. And smell. And sound. Honestly I am kind of appalled because I immediately think that I could have gone to Petsmart and achieved the same effect. I mean, am I giving my baby a dog toy? But I get over it and give it to Zach.
Zach effing hates Sophie. He puts it up to his face, and I think this is it, he is going to chew on it! But then he must’ve smelled her aroma, which smells like a box of latex gloves or a freshly unwrapped Trojan (you pick), and he wrinkles his nose and throws her. And I retrieve her and give her back to him. Same reaction. I had the camera all ready to take a picture for you, but he kept throwing her. Finally, while he was all smiley and interacting with me, I slyly sat Sophie on his lap and snapped the above pic. What you don’t see in it is that 2 seconds after the pic was taken, he discovered that the offending giraffe was back, and Sophie abruptly flew across the room again. We are a stubborn bunch, though, and Evan and I are dead-set on teaching Zach to love Sophie like he is supposed to. John just laughs at us, but between Evan and I, Sophie is always there with Zach. He’ll get used to her and we’ll have the miraculous teeth popping through little swollen gums, I swear. That has to be the case because I am out of options for the teething, y’all.
And so that concludes my free shopping experience, It was real. It was fun. I got some stuff I love for the baby. And then I was abruptly thrust back into the real world by a phone call that Zach’s new Pediped shoes had come in and I had to go and pay for the $200 shoe order. Such is life.

>Letting Go of Things

>

It started with the shoes.

This past week, I have been streamlining our very existence. And it started in Zach’s closet as I packed up the outgrown clothes that had been loaned to us so they can be returned. And I saw the shoes. 16 pair of Pediped shoes, in various infant sizes, all of which Zach had outgrown. I lingered on them a bit. They were so cute and I remembered when he was that small for just a minute. And then I put them into a bin and moved on to the next thing. Newborn swaddlers. The source of the sleep-filled nights when he was a newborn and none of the other new parents out there were getting any. And the Boppy with which I used to nurse him. And so on, throughout Zach’s room. I tried to do this before and couldn’t. The obscene amount of tiny newborn clothes still filled Rubbermaid totes all over this house because I couldn’t stand the thought of getting rid of them. And so I started going through those as well. I kept a few things like the outfit he wore on the trip home from the hospital and the little Ralph Lauren one-piece he wore in his newborn portraits. He’ll have those when he is an adult. But the rest? It went into the bins, also. And I took all of it to a consignment shop and got rid of it. I made room for new things. The walking toys Zach is really starting to use now as he finally pulls himself up to stand and is starting to find his legs, the bigger sizes of clothes he will be wearing when he starts to take his first real steps. New, new, new.

How fitting can you get?

Out with the old and in with the new.

Now, before I say what it is I am about to say, I want to first say that I have no intention of offending anyone who might read this, and if you start to feel offended, please read it all before you come to any conclusions. But I was never this person. I honestly thought the whole organic, extra-crunchy, all-natural stuff was silly. My mom never got into any of that with any of her 7 kids, and we were all healthy. Natural childbirth? What? Why, when there are such good drugs out there? I have said similar things as recently as when I was pregnant with Zach. I think it was my way of coping with the fact that I have never had a normal pregnancy. I would tell you I didn’t give a damn as long as the baby was healthy.

I lied. I cared. Oh, I cared a lot. And I wouldn’t even admit it to myself. So imagine my surprise when I feel this deep sadness after Zach’s birth, all over the experiences I will never have. I never dreamed I would be that person. But I was. I literally had some symptoms of PTSD. Seriously. I would wake up in a cold sweat after having nightmares. It took until Zach was about 6 months old for me to stop having flashbacks. I would feel needle sticks in my hips all of the time. And I felt like I was the biggest wuss on the planet each and every time. And I was too embarrassed to admit this to anyone. I alluded to it and that is all. I endured a lot of pain for my children. For both Evan and Zach. And don’t get me wrong: I would do it all again for either one of them. But even though I would love to have a little girl someday, I will never do it again. I will not put myself, my husband, my children through that. This is a big change from what I said when Zach was smaller. I said almost immediately that I wanted another one. Not anymore.

So what has happened? Well, I realized that the reason I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of Zach’s newborn things is that I was trying to hold on. To the experience of pregnancy and new baby, the hope of a normal childbirth experience. I just couldn’t let it go. (I also think the emotional trauma of losing Ben so early in his life has something to do with this, but I cannot even scratch the surface of that because is and always will be a part of who I am.) But as I sat in Zach’s bedroom floor, going through the tiny sleepers and onesies that I had previously latched onto, I realized how silly I was being. I don’t need tiny outgrown shoes or sleepers. I have Evan. I have Zach. And just like I needed to rid myself of some of the outgrown things that had accumulated in order to make room for the new, I also had to let go of those feelings. Because there are so many new things coming our way: Zach’s first steps, first tooth, first real word, first birthday. And Evan will be 10 years old this year. One whole decade! My baby! Such wonderful memories are coming my way as my life with these two miracles continues to unfold before my very eyes. And I need the room. I need to let that weight go so I can move on.

I will always remember. My pregnancies took so much out of me. So much more than the average woman has to give of herself to become a mother. I never could understand why that was. I always had such bitterness about that. And now I finally get it. I had to give more of myself, but in my eyes, my kids are so much more than the average. And it was so worth it.

And so here I am, 9 and 1/2 years after Evan’s birth and 10 months after Zach’s. And I have finally let go. I’m healed and whole. And just like it took every ounce of my being for those boys to make it into the world, I love them with every ounce of my being now.