School, Soccer, and Style

The end of summer rush hit us hard around here. Between our trip to New York, Henry’s birthday, school shopping, appointments, paperwork, and trying to figure out what our schedule is going to look like with Cadence starting 1st grade and me starting a new job on Thursday, we’ve barely had a minute to sit down and breathe. But we’re not complaining. We’re excited to turn the page on this brand new chapter. And in those few free moments we managed to find these past weeks, we’ve had a whole lot of fun.

Cadence and I had a special girls’ day to go get her hair done. She’s been asking to dye her hair for quite awhile not. I’m not sure whether the obsession started because several of her favorite cartoon characters have funky-colored hair, or because she saw a few photos of me with pink/purple/red/blue hair from my college days. Either way, Stevie and I knew it was something she really wanted to try, so we decided it would be a fun back-to-school treat to let her give it a go. Miss C has always had a very unique sense of style, and both Stevie and I are supportive of Cadence’s desire to sport a little extra color. So C and I headed to the College of Hair Design last week for a cut and a little color (she asked to dye her whole head; we agreed that we’ll start with a streak). And other than Cadence getting a little bored when the bleaching lasted more than an hour, we had a blast and were both so excited with the results.

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Yeah, our kid is cool.

Sunday, Cadence started fall soccer with the YMCA. We thought we’d give it a try since she’d done so well in the Happy Feet league. It was the perfect day–sunny, warm but not too hot–and Stevie, Henry, and I had fun watching Cadence play. Team Coventry ended up losing 2-1, but it was a great game, and Cadence had two awesome breakaways and really controlled the ball well. It’s amazing how good she is for only starting to play soccer in January.

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Since Cadence is running around looking so stylish, I figured it was time for Mr. H to finally get the haircut he’s been so desperately needing. Little man’s hair was hanging down into his eyes, and he’s been sporting a full mullet in the back for quite some time now. These days, the boy is obsessed with books and Mickey Mouse, so I put some Mickey cartoons on the tv and gave him a board book to look at and dove right in. Other than stealing the spray bottle from me and demanding his own comb, he did awesome, and I think I managed to give him a pretty straight cut. But he looks so different! Seriously, he doesn’t even look like my baby anymore, and I don’t know how but cutting his hair made him look taller. Long or short hair, he’s one handsome little man.

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Somehow we managed to fit it all in and get everything done, just in time for Miss C’s first day of 1st grade today. I can’t even believe she’s this old already, and it amazed me how mature she looked standing there on the front step impatiently waiting for me to get the obligatory first day of school photos. Impatient or not, she couldn’t hold the serious face long, especially after I pointed out how Electra was creeping on her in the background.

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And now H-man and I are waiting for her to get home so we can hear all about the first day. And then I’ll have one more day home tomorrow before I head back to the office life and start my new position at the University of Nebraska. I can’t wait! Just when I don’t think it’s even possible, life always finds a way to getting more interesting. But with Stevie, Cadence, Henry, and Electra along for the ride, I’m ready for any new adventure that comes my way.

Nigh Nigh

So in the midst of all the recent craziness, Henry went and said his first word. Little man has been babbling for awhile now, but it seems that a few weeks out of the house and away from Cadence’s constant chatter spurred H-man to begin exercising his own vocal chords. And I dare say that now there just might be a 3-way tie in our house for who is the loudest (bet you can’t guess which 3).

Before we even left for San Diego, Henry’s sleep schedule was bordering on ridiculous. The dreaded 4-month sleep regression had hit us hard and never really went away, likely due in part to the fact that H-man started busting out teeth at 3-months-old. Add that to a week spent in a hotel room with me coming and going all hours of the day and night, an abrupt introduction to formula after my milk supply tanked and my freezer stash ran out, and then just a brief pit stop home before hopping a flight to New York for a funeral and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. And I wasn’t surprised that my baby boy revolted and refused to sleep anywhere but snuggled up tight against my chest clutching my shirt for dear life. The only bad part was that Stevie and I were sharing a bed that would only be considered regulation size of you were a card-carrying member of the Lollipop Guild.

So, considering everything else that was going on, I am pretty proud of myself for even realizing that Henry officially started talking while we were in New York. And while I may have missed the very first utterance, if my little H-man is anything, he is persistent.

“Nigh nigh. Nigh nigh. Nigh nigh nigh nigh nigh.”

I was only half paying attention. I saw Henry rubbing his eyes, and knew he was tired and jet-lagged. A few moments later, when I didn’t respond, Henry kicked up the volume and added a frustrated whine.

“Nigh nigh. Nigh nigh nigh! NIGH NIGH.”

“Yeah Henry? Night night? You tired little man? Time for night night?

Henry smiled at me and rubbed his eyes. “Nigh nigh nigh nigh.”

I took him to the bedroom, changed his diaper, fed him, and two minutes later, he was fast asleep.

The next nap time followed the same routine. And on and on.

And now that we are home and we finally seem to be shifting back down to low gear, H-man is not only announcing when he is ready to go to bed, he is also SLEEPING THROUGH THE FREAKIN’ NIGHT! Hallelujah!! I hope I don’t jinx it by mentioning it but H-man has slept well every night since we returned home. The first couple nights, he told us “nigh nigh” and went to bed around 8 pm, woke at 3 am to eat, and then back to sleep until 7:30ish. Last night, he went to bed at 7 pm and woke at 6:15 am.

I tell ya, after running on 2-3 hours a night for the past month, this is heaven.

Fingers crossed it continues.  

Feed Me, Seymour

That look Henry gives me when I try to take a bite of my dinner, momentarily delaying his next bite of sweet potatoes…

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Our Dog, the Creeper

So H-man has officially started solids. After hearing him holler at me every time I tried to eat something in front of him, and having him constantly grabbing at my food and putting EVERYTHING in his mouth, we decided it was time to get the little man started. With Cadence, we tried rice cereal exactly once. She made faces and gagged and absolutely hated it. I took a bite to see what all the fuss was about, and I gagged too. That shit was worse than Malt-o-Meal, and tasted like stale, sweetened styrofoam, so we promptly switched to fresh veggies (steamed and pureed) and Miss C was hooked.

With Henry, we decided to just skip the disgusting rice cereal altogether and just get to the good stuff. His first foray into solids was a spoonful of pureed peas. The kid was immediately hooked. Since then, he’s gobbled up squash, had a few bites of pears (which he hasn’t quite decided if he likes yet), and seems to be developing a love/hate relationship with bananas (much like my own). But sweet potatoes…oh, sweet potatoes. H-man goes nuts for sweet potatoes. He scarfs them down about as fast as Electra eats a bowlful of kibble, and he moans “Mmmmm…mmmmm” the whole time he’s doing it. Stevie and Cadence and I laugh and little H-man just gives us a big gummy grin and then opens his mouth wide and demands another bite.

It didn’t take long for Electra to remember what having a baby in the house means…accessible food. Our dog is no dummy. She’s learned that Cadence is no easy target anymore. Cadence is at an age now where she finds our hound’s food-stealing downright offensive. And even worse for Electra, Cadence will fight back. She knows enough to yell and grab Electra’s collar to pull her down off the counter or the table. And she has even snatched pieces of food right out from under Electra’s nose when necessary.

Electra knows Cadence is no dummy, not anymore.

But now there’s another little human in the house, and he’s short and slow and messy and generally clueless, at least when it comes to Electra’s intentions.

And almost overnight, our dog has become a creeper again–watching, waiting, calculating Henry’s every move, just waiting for a chance to sneak in a lick of his face or his fingers. Electra knows, the only thing better than a puree covered baby is a food-dropping toddler, and well, my friends, those days are just around the corner.

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 8

I see a meme floating around Facebook every now and then that says:

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Yeah, I’m just about there.

Henry recently went from sleeping 6-8 hours a night back to being up every couple hours. To say that I’m exhausted is an understatement. Stevie has offered to get up and take a night shift, but since I’ve gone back to work I’ve gotten seriously stingy about using any of the frozen milk I’ve stashed unless it’s absolutely necessary. And on top of the recent sleep regression, little H-man is teething too.

Double whammy.

Leo and Cosette must have been reading my mind because we woke this morning to discover they’d fashioned their own little fort out of books and wrapping paper, and were snuggled up in a couple of Santa hats.

Silly elves.

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Five Years Ago Today (part 3)

I managed to get a few hours sleep, even with the nurses coming into the room periodically to check on me through the night. The contractions began shortly after I swallowed my second dose of medication, at least that’s what the doctor told me when she came to check my progress as she made her final rounds around 5:00 a.m.

“Still no change,” she said, shaking her head. “You still haven’t dilated passed two centimeters, but you’re having some pretty steady contractions. You say you’re not feeling any pain?”

“No, not at all,” I said, shaking my head.

The doctor stood watching Cadence’s vitals on the fetal monitor for a moment.

“I can’t wait to see this little girl of yours. The ladies have been talking about her all night out at the nurse’s station,” the doctor said, meeting my gaze and smiling. “She’s the most beautiful baby we’ve ever seen on the monitors. That little heartbeat is as steady and strong as we ever get to see. Some of these other babies have us running in and out of the rooms all day and night worrying, but not your beautiful girl. She’s keeping us very happy out there!”

I smiled and rubbed my hands above the fetal monitor strapped to my belly. “Thanks, I can’t wait to finally see her too. It’s nice to hear she’s doing well. I’m just hoping she hasn’t gotten too comfortable in there!”

The doctor laughed. “Oh don’t worry about that. She’ll come out one way or another! Are you sure you’re okay? And you don’t need any pain meds?

I shook my head, and the doctor left me to rest. On the couch beside me, Steven slept soundly.

My breakfast tray was delivered at 6:00 a.m., and I couldn’t decide whether I was excited or slightly depressed that I was still being fed at regular intervals, but it didn’t stop me from devouring everything on the tray. I even ate the oatmeal, and I hate oatmeal.

I turned on the television and watched a bit of the local morning news and Live with Regis and Kelly, before breaking out my crossword puzzle book. Steven woke around 9:00. A bit more color had returned to his face, and he admitted he actually felt a little better. Discovering that he had no clean clothes left in the suitcase (everything he packed had been completely sweated through during the worst of the colitis flare up), Steven decided to make a quick run to Target for a change of clothes.

Shortly after Steven left, there was a knock at the door.

“Yoo hoo! I’m heeeere! You can go ahead and have the baby now!” called my sister Kassie as she charged into the room. Momma Dawn followed, laughing.

“You’re freakin’ crazy!” I laughed.

“I’m not kidding,” Kassie stated, plopping her computer bag and purse down on the couch. “I took off work to be here today, just so I could watch my little niece Cadence being born. I’m ready, so let’s do this already. Stevie’s sick, so he’ll probably end up passing out, and I’m his back up, right?”

Momma Dawn just shook her head. “You better quit saying that,” she told Kassie. “I’m pretty sure you’re to blame for Stevie’s colitis. You spent all these months praying to be the one in the delivery room, and now Stevie suddenly got sick? I don’t think that’s a coincidence.”

Kassie’s mouth fell open.

“Mom!” she cried. “That’s a terrible thing to say!”

“You know, Sis. I think she might be right,” I said, taking Momma Dawn’s lead. “You are going straight to hell. I can’t believe you prayed for my husband to get sick!”

Momma Dawn and I giggled as Kassie loudly defended her innocence.

For months, Kassie had been begging, pleading, insisting, and even downright demanding that she was going to be in the delivery room when Cadence was born. She’d even come along to one of my prenatal check-ups thinking maybe she could formulate a game plan with my doctor. I’d relented enough to tell her she could be in the room while I was in labor, but reiterated often that as soon as it was time to get down to the nitty gritty of pushing and actually delivering the baby, she was going to have to retreat to the waiting room along with everyone else but my husband.

But Kassie is not the type to just give up, and when she found out that the doctors planned to start me on Pitocin if the current round of oral medication didn’t put me into active labor, she went ahead and took the day off work, certain that I was going to deliver before the day was over. Armed with her laptop, her cell phone, and a purse full of snacks, she was ready to wait it out.

A little over an hour later, Steven returned with a bag of new clothes. He apologized for taking so long (since the Target is only a few blocks away), and told us that apparently the Target employees had taken one look at him when he shuffled in the door wearing his full hobo outfit (which, at that point, was beginning to emit a rather foul odor), and assumed that he was a homeless person looking for something to shoplift.

Still a little disoriented from the medications, Steven was having trouble finding everything he needed. He’d picked up a package of socks, a couple pairs of boxer shorts, and an ASU t-shirt, but was having trouble finding a pair of pants. He didn’t want jeans or slacks or anything with a tight waist, since his abdomen was still pretty tender. He’d been wandering around for about 20 minutes, trying to find a pair of sweatpants or pajama pants or something, when he realized that he was being followed and carefully monitored by two Target employees. Embarrassed, he approached one of them, explained that he had been in the ER, and that his wife was now in labor and all he wanted was a change of clothes. With a sympathetic smile, the young man helped Steven pick out a pair of black wind pants with an elastic waistband.

Freshly showered and dressed in his new clothes, Steven almost looked normal again.

The hours ticked by slowly, broken up only by the nurses coming in and out of the room to check my progress. While the contractions continued to increase in duration and intensity, I still wasn’t feeling any pain. Around noon, a nurse informed me that I wasn’t going to be taking my final dose of medication. My contractions were too strong and too close together, but I still wasn’t dilating. The doctor wanted to give me an hour or two to rest, and then they were going to start me on Pitocin.

“Once we start the Pitocin, things should really get moving,” the nurse assured me. “Pitocin always does the trick.”

Kassie smiled excitedly, yet I was skeptical. It had been 36 hours with absolutely no progress other than some very strong contractions. I was starting to wonder if Cadence hadn’t built herself a little fortress inside and was staging a stand off.

At 2 p.m., the nurses began administering Pitocin through my IV. We spent the afternoon watching the contractions rise and fall on the monitor and listening to the blip, blip, blip of Cadence’s steady heart beat.

Around 5 p.m., Kassie and Momma Dawn finally had to give up and head back home, much to Kassie’s disappointment.

“You better call me the minute anything happens!” she insisted. “I’m staying at Mom’s tonight, so I can be back in a half-hour if necessary.”

I laughed. “Don’t worry, Sissy, I will.”

She and Momma Dawn gave me a hug, and then headed out the door.

Every time the nurses came to check my progress (which seemed to be every hour at that point), I cringed. I was getting sore, and really tired of hearing, “Wow, still just two centimeters. I can’t believe it.”

I began asking the nurses about the possibility of a C-Section. One of my doctors had mentioned it several weeks ago during one of my routine exams. He said he didn’t want to alarm me, but I had a pretty narrow pelvis, and he said he wouldn’t be shocked if I ended up having a C-Section. He’d given me several pamphlets describing the procedure, and told me that the best thing was just to be informed and prepared for whatever might happen during my delivery. Now, as my hospital stay was beginning to seem endless with no signs of any progress in my labor, I wondered if he had been right. The nurses said they would mention my concerns to the doctor on call.

At 6:30, the doctor arrived abruptly and informed me that he was going to break my water.

Steven and I looked at each other wide-eyed.

“But, the nurse just checked me and said I was still two centimeters,” I said, watching him pull instruments from a drawer next to my bed.

“That’s right,” he said. “Your contractions are very strong, but we’re just not seeing any other progress. I’m going to break your water, and then we’re going to up the level of Pitocin, and that should get things going here.”

Before I could protest, the doctor asked me to lie back. A moment later, it was done.

“Now, do you need anything, any pain medication, or any questions before I go?”

I shook my head. Tears had welled up in my eyes. I wasn’t in any pain, but for the first time, I was scared.

The doctor left as quickly as he’d arrived.

“Okay dear, don’t be afraid to call us if you need anything,” the nurse said, readjusting the pillow behind my head. She pressed a button on my IV stand to increase the Pitocin flowing into my veins. “I’ll be back to check on you shortly.”

“Holy shit!” Steven said after the nurse left. “What the hell was that?”

I wiped my eyes and shook my head. “I don’t know.”

“Are you okay?” Steven asked, coming over to the side of the bed and squeezing my shoulders.

“Yeah, I’m okay…I just…I wasn’t ready for that,” I explained.

“Why didn’t you ask him about a C-Section while he was here?” Steven asked.

“I don’t know…I guess he just didn’t seem like he was really keen on the idea, you know?”

Steven nodded.

“Well hey, look at the bright side,” he said.

“Yeah, what’s that?”

“The season premiere of LOST starts in about ten minutes.”

I laughed. “Damn, Cadence better hold out a while longer, then!”

Steven laughed and hugged me. He moved my IV stand, and pulled a chair over close to the side of my bed, and then took my hand and held it.

Halfway through the two-hour season premiere, the nurse came in to check on me.

“Do you need anything?” she whispered, noticing that Steven and I were engrossed in the program.

“No, thank you,” I whispered back.

“You’re okay with pain? You don’t need any meds?” she asked.

“No, I’m good,” I said.

“Okay, what I need you to do is to turn and lie on your right side, okay?”

I rolled over to my right. “Like this?” I asked.

“Yep, that’s perfect,” she said. “You’re having some really strong contractions, and the baby doesn’t seem to like it very much, so we’re going to try a new position.”

“Is everything okay?” I asked.

“Yep, we just want to make sure your baby is comfortable.”

The nurse stood for a moment watching the monitors, and then she turned and left.

Steven and I made it through the end of the show, and then flipped through the channels for something else to watch.

A group of three nurses came in and stood for a few moments, huddled around the monitors.

“There, do you feel that?” one of them asked me.

“No…feel what?” I asked.

On the monitor, I watched the little line steadily climb to the very top of the screen and stay there.

“You don’t feel anything at all?” another nurse asked.

I glanced over at Steven, and then back to the nurses.

“No,” I said, not really. I placed my hands on my stomach. It was hard like a bowling ball. “I mean, if I touch my belly, it’s really hard and tight, but it doesn’t hurt or anything.”

“See! I told you!” the first nurse said to the others. The three of them laughed, and then stared in apparent disbelief at the monitor until the line began to slowly descend again.

“Okay, well you just let us know if you need anything, okay?”

“Sure,” I said.

The three of them left, muttering quietly to each other.

“What was that about?” Steven asked.

“Dunno,” I said, shrugging. I glanced at the monitor, watching the line begin to rise again. “I think maybe those are contractions, but they’re not hurting or anything.”

“You don’t feel anything at all?” he asked.

I shook my head. “No. My back is a little sore from lying in this bed all day, but otherwise, nothing hurts.”

“Leave it to me to have all the labor pains huh?” Steven said laughing. “My wife has a uterus of steel. You could probably carry Superman’s baby, you know.”

I laughed. “You’re freakin’ crazy! I guess we better try and get some sleep though. It’s getting late.”

Steven turned out the lights and crawled back into his nest on the couch. I was just beginning to doze when another nurse came in and turned on the light next to my bed.

“How are you doing?” she asked.

“Okay,” I replied.

“Are you needing an epidural?” she asked.

“Oh no, I’m fine,” I said.

“Okay, well let’s have you roll over on your left side for awhile okay? We saw baby’s heart rate dip again with your last big contraction, so we want to get her in a different position for a bit.”

“Is everything okay?” I asked. Steven sat up and listened.

“Everything’s fine right now,” she said. “We’re just keeping a close eye on the baby. We don’t want her getting too stressed out since your contractions are so strong. Okay, that’s good. Try to get some rest if you can, okay?”

“Okay,” I said.

The nurse turned the light off and left.

Lying on my left side, facing the monitors, I stared at the blip, blip, blip of Cadence’s heart. The number that had been so steady since we first arrived in the hospital Sunday night was fluctuating wildly. I watched the number go from 145 to 155 to 170 to 65 as the line for my contraction steadily climbed. For a moment, the number disappeared, blinked 0, then 125…

140…

145…

For the next several hours, I couldn’t tear my eyes from the monitor as the numbers rose and fell with each contraction. The nurses began to reappear like clockwork, every ten minutes or so, to help reposition me, and I began to detect genuine concern in their faces. I was starting to think that Cadence wasn’t looking so beautiful on their monitors anymore, and I could feel the icy fingers of fear beginning to creep in.

“Has the doctor said anything about a C-Section?” I asked. “Because I’m okay with it. I mean, really at this point, if the baby is starting to get stressed out, then I am all for it. I just want her to be safe.”

“He hasn’t said anything yet,” the nurse replied. “But I am going to page him now to let him know what’s happening, and we’ll see what he says.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“Seriously, this is getting ridiculous!” Steve said, as soon as the nurse walked out the door. “Something is obviously going on with the baby, and nothing is happening. I think the next time they come in, we just need to insist that they do the surgery.”

I nodded. “I’m starting to think so too,” I said. “Have you been watching the monitors?”

“Yeah,” Steven said. “Her heart rate is all over the place, and the nurses are obviously worried about it because they are in here every five minutes.”

The door opened and a nurse arrived as if on command.

“See what I mean,” Steven said..

“Well, the doctor called and we gave him the update, and I let him know what you said about a C-Section,” the nurse explained, curtly, and I wondered if she didn’t quite agree with the orders she’d been given. “He said he wants to up the Pitocin again and give things a few more hours to see how it goes, and then we’ll take it from there.”

My mouth dropped open to protest, but I closed it again.

“Oh geez,” Steven muttered.

The nurse pressed the button on the IV to increase the dose.

“Okay, now let’s have you lie on your right side again, and we’ll see how the baby likes that.”

I turned to my right, but twisted just far enough so I could still see the fetal monitor.

“Okay, she looks good. We’ll try that and see how it goes,” the nurse said. “Are you okay? Do you need anything? Any pain meds?”

“Nope, I’m okay,” I said.

“Alright dear. Just buzz if you need anything.” The nurse turned out the lights as she left.

“This is freakin’ ridiculous,” Steven muttered.

I didn’t say anything. In the darkness, I stared at the monitors.

145…

145…

145…

My stomach tightened and the line began to rise on the screen, signaling another contraction.

148…

155…

162…

127…

77…

43…

22…

0…

0…

0…

>365 Project - Day 33 - One Year Ago Today...(part 3)

>365 Project - Day 33 - One Year Ago Today...(part 3)