Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Because I Can Be So Cheap

I decided to try to take sephia-colored 'shots' of my kids to make my own collage'. The 'professionals' wanted A LOT of money, so I am trying my best to do my own. Seriously, what do you think? Do you think I am doing good enough, or should I leave it to the professionals???

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Oh, What a Week We Had

Last week was wonderful. I bet you thought I was going to complain about something again:) Nope, no complaining here. Monday through Friday was vacation Bible school at our church; you may remember me complaining about preparing for THAT. S. had a blast, which I must admit that I, too, had. Not only did I work with children, but I worked with adults for four hours a day for FIVE WHOLE DAYS! Guys, it was great! Teaching the kids stimulated me in a way I have not been stimulated in a very long time. I was back to using my old 'teaching sayings', ranging from the old 'if you have to use the bathroom, you should use it now', to the traditional 'as long as you try your best, you should be proud of yourself.' Of course by the end of the week I found myself saying to those children who block a hallway because they HAVE to lean against a wall rather than stand behind someone,"Off the wall. Believe me, it is strong enough to hold up itself up." Yah, right about that time I was beginning to remember why teaching wore me out, and just why I didn't want to do it anymore on a full-time basis. Besides the wall-hanging, I forgot that kids don't listen. I know you are probably laughing because I should know this already due to rearing a 3-year old, but remember I used to teach older kids. I swear, I would divide them up into three groups, and no sooner than I was done, they'd be going the wrong way. So I'd have 10 for one group, 10 for another, and 15 for the third. Drove me batty!!! But I digress. The following is a picture from the activities. Yep, my older son got to come to my class for 25 minutes. We rotate in 25 minute increments to other activities. It really helps to keep the kids' interest.

Behind my boy is one of the murals we created. Everyone seemed impressed by them. It's funny how I just slipped back into teacher mode. I tell people give me construction paper, or butcher paper, and I can make something out of it! Too bad it's not that easy when I go to decorate my house!

Hubby was also away in Thailand for the week. Yes, freakin' THAILAND!!! Now as much as I hate my husband traveling, especially overseas, I must admit it has its positives. I am going to bullet these to make it easier.

  • The house stays clean, including, but not limited to, BOTH bathrooms. Anytime hubby tries to blame the boy, I now know it's a lie.
  • Everything is according to MY schedule. No waiting for a phone call from hubby telling me he's on his way home, so I know when to start dinner. I got SO much done. The kids and I ate earlier, which made us all happier.
  • I completed projects I know hubby doesn't want me to do. For example, painting. I did make a huge mistake when I painted one bathroom when we first moved in the house. However it's been EIGHT YEARS, so hubby needs to get over it. I decided to paint the play area. I painted the walls yellow, put up new curtains, etc. This is the kids' playroom in our sub-basement. What do you think???
  • The laundry was much easier to contain. I am serious when I say that the laundry more than doubles when hubby is home. He literally wears TWO complete outfits a day, even when he wears suits Monday through Thursday. Unfortunately, they are trying this new 'casual summer' thing at his work, which just leaves more clothes to be washed. I hate all the clothes that end up on the utility room floor!
  • I become so much more independent. I suddenly can and do complete the things he usually does. I think I fall back on hubby when he's home, and 'use' him like some sort of crutch. For example, it sucks giving one child a bath and the other a shower. I just don't enjoy it, so hubby gives the older one a shower while I bathe the baby. However, doing both when he's not home didn't bother bother me a bit.
  • My sitter's other client cancelled her two days, therefore I got to have my sitter FOUR days, 4:00PM until SHE put the kids to bed. I felt like I was on a vacation even though I was running around most mornings trying to get out the door by 8, then the teaching thing, lunch and naps.
  • I relaxed the rules a bit. I took S. out for ice cream before, instead of after, dinner. And no, he didn't become an obese child who only wanted to play video games. I am so routine orientated, and a by the rules person, that I forgot that it's okay to ease up a bit. S. was fantastic all week, so he got a treat. I did too. Got to love Oberweis!
  • I felt rejuvenated being around adults, and actually doing something every day. I got LESS sleep, and was completely organized which reminded me of my former child-less self. I felt like me. I was happy, I was enthusiastic, I was me. And I forgot after all of these years of grieving for my mom, being a SAHM and just taking care of everyone else's needs, who I was. Who I am. It felt good. So good that I already volunteered for next year's Vacation Bible School.

I should also mention that I am very happy that my hubby is home, as are the boys.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I Know, I Know...

makes you want to gag, doesn't it?! I put this shirt on for church, and when hubby read it he said 'thank you' softly. (And he got 'ribbed' by our friends). We all had a great day, and hope all the fathers know how much they are needed, loved and appreciated. I sure hope my hubby knows this!

Friday, June 16, 2006

How Infertility Has Led Us to This Decision

I am feeling better now. Thank you God for that! And thanks to you all who responded about my reluctance about the vasectomy. I think teachermom hit the nail on the head. I have been thinking about having babies for so long that it really is hard to switch gears. We went down the long road of infertility where I just wanted a baby so badly. My mind was always on babies. I just couldn't think beyond that. Whether I was at work or at home, or at a party, or at dinner, you get the idea, my mind was always focused on babies. I was always researching the best options, success rates and treatments. Anything that meant failure was devastating to me. I remember writing that I was losing myself, that I barely remembered who I was anymore before the infertility. It affected my feminity, my optimism, my whole life. It consumed me.

Before the infertility, if I worked hard at something, I succeeded. The key was to work hard. Guys, I truly worked harder at getting pregnant than I had most things in my life up until that point. The very first month we tried to get pregnant, I bought and used an ovulator prediction test. I am a very goal-orientated person, and I wanted to get pregnant, so let's just figure out when I'm ovulating and hit this ball out of the park, so to speak! Hubby even asked me when we could tell people we were pregnant, and this was before we had even started trying! Imagine my surprise when we didn't get pregnant that first month. I was angry! I told hubby that I was so mad that we weren't going to try the next month. Yah, I really set myself up for disappointment pretty early on in the game. By month four, I was furious at my body. I was sure it had to be my fault. I must have done something wrong. So the charting began. The only thing that accomplished was it proved to me that I already knew my body very well. I then decided to bring in the big guns, and bought a fertility monitor. Guess what? I wasted over $200 because it told me exactly the same thing that I already knew! I have perfect 28-29 day cycles. I ovulated between day 13 and day 15. My lutueal phase was at least 13 days long. We were having sex at the right times. So why was I not getting pregnant?

I won't bore you with my saga any longer. Let's sum it up this way. Three fertility doctors, one surgery, one miscarriage, and four clomid cycles later and my first son was conceived and born. After him, the tot took two clomid/iui's, three Follistim/iui's, one unsuccessful surgery and one IVF cycle to conceive. Oh, and my IVF bloodwork told me my FSH level had gone through the roof to the high number of 13, 8 is considered 'high average'. Oh, and my IVF was nearly cancelled due to a poor response. I feel like I had PTSD after the whole infertility nightmare. BTW, Tot was a twin; I lost his sibling. However, other than losing the twin, Tot's pregnancy was so close to normal. S.'s came complete with two bleeding episodes, loads of ultrasounds at the local hospital where I became on a first name basis with the staff, and modified bedrest.

So why get a vasectomy if we never could get pregnant in the first place??? Many people have asked me this question. After going through years of disappointment, I need to know it is all over. I still wonder every month when I get my period, why I am not pregnant. With the exception of that one ill-fated attempt to use a condom which resulted in a UTI, I haven't used birth control in 6 years, and I have not gotten pregnant. Plus, I figure now that I'm getting close to accepting that it will/should not happen that it will indeed finally happen. I figure I'll be 40 years old, and finally moving on in my life and that is when I'll get pregnant, or something like that. We just need to take the whole 'pregnancy thing' off the table and heal from all of this. We have our two children and now we need to move on. Yes, I have been honest about the fact that it would be easier for me to accept if I had a baby girl, but God has His reasons for giving me two boys.
There were times I felt I would never get to other side of infertility, but I did. And I am thankful, so thankful, that I did.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Trying to Out-Run My Depression

As I have said before, exercising has had many benefits for me. One of my favorites is the whole endorphin rush that seems to kick in when I'm running, and oddly enough, feels similar to that feeling you get right before the big O. Sorry, but that is the only way I can explain it, and I'm sure you understand why I have enjoyed exercising, just a little more. Well, it turns out that exercise is like drinking alcohol; you end up developing a tolerance to it. Which is why I am 'running' more now, and I really despise running! Only now I have to run more and more to get that 'buzz'. I now am looking at the people on elyptical and treadmill machines, as well as some horrid looking stairstepper-type of machine, and understanding why they do it. I need more from my workout than I fear that I can get from simply running/walking the track. UGH! Remember that I hate exercising next to people, because I fear they're looking at me. What if I can't last long on one of those machines??? I guess I'll have something fun to blog about that day!

But on a more serious note, I have been feeling a bit low this week. It happens, I know that. Depression is a lot like allergies in the way that there are times when you aren't feeling as well, and then the next week you are fine. It's a chronic illness that I have to stay on top of. I often wonder if I never had babies, or my mom never died, if I would have developed it. I am missing my mom badly right now. There are some stressful things going on also, so I'm sure that's what causing it. Therefore, when I'm on the track and feel those thoughts coming on, I run harder. In the last week I have increased my strength training by 7 machines. I now have 11 on my program, and instead of lifting 9,000 lbs., I'm up to 16,000. Which is good, but why then am I still feeling low? I am thinking of telling hubby to put the whole vasectomy thing on hold, and I know that is probably the wrong idea. Vacation Bible School is next week, and I am a leader, and I am feeling unprepared. There are some more things, but I have to tell you all something, not bad, and I don't feel like I have the time right now. I will soon, though, and hopefully I will be able to tell you that I have been able to out-run my depression again.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Why Am I the One Having a Problem With This???

As most of you know, hubby and I decided that after the birth of our second child that he was going to undergo a vasectomy. We made this decision while I was pregnant with the Tot. We were going to have no more babies and that felt very good. A few months ago I began nagging hubby to make his consult. appt. and get this party started. I was sure, damn sure, that I was never going through the whole pregnancy, birth and postpartum period again. I mean it is obvious that I don't do the whole newborn stage well!

As I began to feel better, my resolve to have no more children got even stronger. I NEVER wanted to feel as bad as I did after I gave birth to the Tot. Physically I felt super, mentally I was a wreck for a very long time. The weight did not magically melt off me this time. The spare tire was not budging. As Tot got older, and I felt better, we were having fun. Life got easier, not easy, just easier. It was then that I discovered that I really couldn't do the whole three kids thing well. Two was just enough, thank you very much. And sometimes I wondered what the hell I was complaining about when I had just one. But I digress. Two made me feel complete, and was the most my control-centered-self could handle. Hats off to you moms who can parent well with 3+ kids! I just can't.

Soon I decided that I needed to DO something about my weight. Complaining about it wasn't helping, and my self-esteem was going down every time I looked at my stomach. So I joined the gym, and my tummy has improved. I still have a hard time accepting that I will never look like I did before I had kids, but I do look better than before. As I would run, or lift weights and sweat, sweat, sweat, I would think I am finally getting my body back and I am definitely not going to start all over again! I work my ass off. And I feel better mentally as well as physically.

So I was surprised when I felt a sense of loss when the tot turned one. I remember looking at the baby bedding and clothes that day, and thinking that I will never get to buy all that again. I will never get to hold my own baby again. Wasn't I the new mom not that long ago? And reading peoples' birth announcements and stories makes my mind go foggy, and I think about being pregnant and giving birth.

And then I feel what I am not supposed to feel. I have two beautiful, healthy little boys, but I will never have a daughter. I will never have the little girl that I always thought I'd have. I will never have that mother-daughter bond. Who will take care of me in my old age? My boys' wives? I hope they like me. I don't want to be the bitch mother-in-law. Yes, I am already worried about that! I wanted a daughter, and I have two boys. I can't imagine NOT having my two boys, and I can't imagine having a third child. So there you go. I feel guilty for even thinking this. Especially because I know that we almost didn't have a second child. I thank God for IVF, and for the fact that we could afford to pay for it, otherwise we would have no Tot.

I also know that I have to come to terms with the fact that I shouldn't have another child. With my PPD worsening after each birth, I wonder what would happen to me mentally if I had another child. I know it would not be good, and I have my sons to take care of. My two healthy boys.

You'd think it was my hubby who would be having problems with this. Nope. He has a surgery date all set up. I guess it's the finality of it that is causing me to pause. I know it's likely I would never get pregnant again, but with the vasectomy, I know for SURE I will never have a baby again. It's the right decision, so why do I feel like I'm losing something?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Get Your Freak On!

I know I promised my next entry would be about the 'big V', but hubby just had the funniest discussion with the neighbor. A little backround info. is needed. We have a large tree in our front yard. No, not just large, it's a freakin' huge spruce tree that prevents us from seeing anything in that direction! Anyway, it's always been a place, shall we say, to 'get it' on among the teenage crowd. Yah, we're that house. Do you think TLC should come and feature us on their new show,"What's with THAT House"? Probably not as TLC is mostly a G-rated channel. At any rate, in the past hubby has had to remove condoms from underneath that tree. He used gloves, I assure you! Being the germ-freak that I am, I relegated any condom disposing to him. Well, it has been quite a while since any 'action' has taken place around our neck of the woods, we thought.

Apparently, last night our neighbor 'heard' a couple having sex outside their window. Now their car was parked next to our infamous tree, but their bodies were firmly placed on the lawn outside the neighbors' window, where there are no trees! Were they just hoping to get caught? Does that chance provide excitement? Or is our tree no longer good enough for them?! Pretty ballsy, if you ask me. No pun intended.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Week in Review

I cannot describe just how wonderful it was having hubby home last week! We also had our wonderful babysitter come a few days so that we could go out and do things just the two of us! I figure that I can review our week with a few pictures.

Hubby and I began our weekend sitting outside on our new patio with our fire pit going. So nice.

We took the kids to the Shedd Aquarium which we will NOT be doing again for a long time. It cost each of us $26, not including parking. And the city of Chicago wonders why attendance has dropped? There were also a lot of school field trips that day, and the restaurant area smelled a whole lot like the school lunchrooms I remember. Gross! No matter how much extra money the schools that I worked for offered for me to do 'lunch duty', I never would. The smell was just too bad! The boys did seem to have a really good time, which I guess was the whole point.

We also went to the zoo, and both of the boys did great despite the less than stellar start. Notice how hubby and I are the only ones looking at the camera!

S.'s motto for our vacation. The kid just loves to 'do' things.

Our little gardener. S. loves to water plants. The zoo's family center has a whole greenhouse-type thing for the kids, and S. had a blast!

The flowers S. and I planted using kids' buckets. Hubby took the handles off so no child could pick them up and take them off the patio. Whatever. The little spray bottle is his, and he loves watering them just like he did at the zoo.

The tot enjoying the weather.

Our new landscaping in the backyard. Who were the cheap landscapers we had do the work? Why ourselves, of course. I don't think we did a bad job.

Hubby and I also worked out, shopped and had dinner together during the week. Oh, and we also finally got to that will thing. Now that was just so much fun. I did learn something useful that I felt I should share. If you don't have the time and/or money to go ahead and do a formal will, you can write down on paper who you want to be the guardians of your children, etc. and have two witnesses watch and sign it, like your neighbors. Our lawyer said it is just as legal as the formal will. And cheaper! Just thought you'd like to know.

Next entry: the big V.???

Friday, June 02, 2006

Finshing Up

Enjoying our last lazy days of vacation. Jeff has been home since last Friday, and it has been wonderful! I'll be back very soon.