Saturday, February 27, 2010

Raptors, Triceratops, T-Rex... Oh My!


Adam and I recently took the girls to the Museum of Ancient Life at Thanksgiving Point. In all honesty, the trip was just as much for Adam as it was for the little ones--he'd never been to a musuem of that sort. I don't know about you, but I usually think of dinosaurs as these mythical, fantasy creatures. It's interesting to see the bones, read the plaques, and realize that these things DID, in fact, exist.

Here are the girls right before we actually entered the museum. You can see that Shylee is VERY excited, while Morgan is not AT ALL amused:


It was really dark in there, which made it difficult to get good pictures, but here are a few of the exhibits:











This one was my personal favorite. It depicted 'early man' hunting a Giant Mammoth:


If you look closely at the above picture, you can see that there is a guy about to be squished by the Mammoth's giant hind leg. It was DEFINITELY not this dude's day:


Luckily, his buddy was standing on a cliff overhead, ready to help out:



Overall, it was a good day and we had an awesome time. My absolute favorite part of the day wasn't the museum itself, though. It wasn't even the 3-D movie we watched about BUGS. No, my favorite part of the entire day happened just as we were getting ready to head home. We were in the elevator on our way out, when Shylee started rubbing her cheek and with a look of utter disgust, turns to me and says "I have a nipple on my face!" Confused, I asked her "A what?" And, louder this time so everyone in the elevator could hear, she says "A NIPPLE! It's on my face!"





It's a trip we'll definitely be making again, but I believe we'll wait until Morgan is old enough to appreciate it a little more and Shylee has learned the difference between a NIPPLE and a FRECKLE.

Friday, February 26, 2010

HER again!?!


That's right! ANOTHER post about Morgan. It's my God-given right as a mother. But, I promise, it will be a short one today.

I just wanted tell you that although Morgan handled her immunizations like a TOTAL CHAMP yesterday, she was NOT fond of the nurse who administered the shots. Within a mintue or two of getting poked, Morgan was already done crying. She was sitting on my lap, curled up in my arms when the nurse walked back in the room to give me some paperwork. When she heard the door open, she looked up for a minute and when she saw who it was, I'm not kidding you...she GROWLED directly at the nurse then buried her face in my chest.

My child growls.

This was not the first time, and I'm sure it won't be the last time, that I found myself thinking MY KID IS A TOTAL BADASS!

On the brighter side

Although my moment of frustration isn't entirely over, (is it still considered a moment if it's lasted three days?) I'm doing much better today. Being the eternal optimist that I am, I've really been making an effort to focus on the brighter side of things. It's not an easy task, I'll admit, but I have been able to come up with a short list of the positive things I've experienced and the (hopefully) admirable qualities I posses, thanks to CF.

Responsibility: From a very early age I've been responsible for my own health. Everything from treatments to taking pills to being sure I know and respect my own limits. Sure, my mom had to do a lot of pushing and prodding when I was younger, but ultimately the resposibility was on my shoulders. She couldn't do my treatments for me. As I've gotten older, the thought of sticking around for a while is enough incentive for me to be responsible. I feel like I've been able to apply that attitude of responsibility to other aspects of my life as well: my job, parenting, finances, etc. I certainly try, anyway.

Appreciation: I feel like I appreciate things on a more acute level because of CF. Because I know what it's like to be sick, I appreciate the days I feel good. Because there have been times that I've struggled to walk up a single flight of stairs, I'm appreciative of the fact that I can jog around the block most days. Because I wasn't sure I'd ever experience pregnancy, I appreciated every aspect of it: the leg cramps, the weight gain, the aversion to toothpaste...it was all a result of that baby inside of me, and that was something I could definitely appreciate. Because my days may be numbered, I try to appreciate each one I'm given. Because I know there's a possibility of this life being short, I apprecate the knowledge and belief I have of an after-life.

Friends: I've recently connected with other people whose lives are affected by CF, and I'm so grateful for the bonds that have formed there. Through these friends, I've been given a support system (outside of family). I love sharing stories and advice. And when I start feeling down, I love having an outlet, a place to go where I know someone can relate.

Maturity: I've often been told that I have an 'old soul'. My 20-something friends are super fun and spontaneous, but the ones that I find I can relate with most are my 30-something friends; the ones who have taken a few more trips around the sun and have a better grasp on reality. That being said: I still laugh at farts, I enjoy saying inappropriate things and watching people squirm uncomfortably, and I'm not beyond sitting on the floor and coloring with crayons and a coloring book. I'm not for one second going to be pretentious and say that I'm the perfect specimen of maturity--I'm NOWHERE close. However, I do believe that being faced with the serious issues and challenging situations that are part of having (or dealing with) CF has made it easier for me to distinguish between the meaningful and the insignificant things in other aspects of my life.

Even during difficult times, I know that life is good.

And I have been so blessed.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Having a moment

I couldn't sleep last night.

As I tossed and turned, I thought back to the conversation Adam and I had earlier that evening. The silly conversation that began with Adam stressing about turning 25 next week. The innocent little conversation that somehow managed to stir up all these unwanted and difficult emotions I usually keep hidden.

Me: Honey, you need to chill. 25 is NOT OLD!
Adam: Maybe it's not technically old, but 25 is halfway to 50, and in my family that means halfway to DEAD.
Me: Well, you should consider yourself lucky. I mean, someone with CF...
Adam: Don't even say it. Please.

We hate talking about it, so we usually don't. In fact, we generally avoid the topic like we would avoid the plague. THE FUTURE is a taboo subject in our house. We talk about what our plans are next month, or next summer, or even what we'd like to be doing in a few years from now. But we rarely dare to venture much farther than that. It's difficult to think about what the future may hold, even the pleasant things, when there's this perpetual dark cloud looming overhead; when there's no guarantee you'll even be there to experience those moments. And what's even worse: imagining how the ones you'll eventually be leaving behind are going to cope.

Most of the time, I'm very optimistic. Most of the time, I feel strong. Most of the time, I feel completely capable of handling this disease and all that implies, even the hardest parts. But every once in a while, I break down. So I have to remind myself: I'm allowed to cry. I'm allowed to have moments of insecurity. I'm allowed to curse this disease that has already taken so much from me and will, someday, take all of me. I'm allowed to have moments of weakness where I throw my hands up and shout IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!

I'm allowed to be scared.

Soon, I'll gather my emotions back up, pull myself together and press forward once again with a positive attitude. I just need to be allowed this moment.

And then, I promise, I'll try to be strong again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cocktail, anyone?

This little cocktail is what we have started referring to as my NIGHTCAP:


Follow that up with a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar
 and we're good to go.
Who needs whiskey, right?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thanks for your input, but...

Before I begin this...this, what? Rant? No. This tirade? I guess that's not an accurate word, either. There's a very good chance this will end up being a perfectly ordinary post, but I guess since I'm feeling pretty touchy about this subject right now, I feel the need to warn you: this post MAY end with me standing on top of car with a megaphone saying some very regrettable things to anyone unfortunate enough to pass by. Anyway, before I begin, I just want to say that PARENTING has been a hot topic lately (at work, between friends, with that lovely mother-daughter pair that cornered Adam and I in WalMart) and I'm just feeling like I need to vent a little. So that's what this is: AN OUTLET.

When I was pregnant I was often annoyed amazed at the overwhelming amount of advice I recieved. Everyone from my close family members to random strangers in the grocery store had something to say. "Oh, you're carrying low... Should you really be eating that?... When I was pregnant..." Often it was innocent enough--mostly small talk. Sometimes it was a bit obnoxious. On occasion it was completely ridiculous. Opinions varied drastically from one person to the next. I eventually learned to listen to each person, nodding my head and saying 'mmm-hmm' in the appropriate places, then, as they walked away, I'd promptly forget everything they'd just told me.

I didn't for one second believe that this behavior would stop after Morgan was born. It did, however, take on a different and perhaps more intense form. As much as people have to say when that baby's inside of you, they have EVEN MORE to say once that baby's outta there! Now I get to hear about how I'm doing this wrong, or how that is totally inappropriate, and don't I know I should be doing this?

Here's the thing: I know I'm just a rookie at this, but I firmly believe that the way you parent is completely different from the way I parent. And I also believe that's totally fine, in fact, I believe that's the way it should be. I don't believe that a single method exists that will work for every family, or even for each child within the same family. We are all so different that what works WONDERFULLY for you and your family may not work AT ALL for me and mine. And visa-versa.

I am a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing momma. I believe in routine, but not a strict schedule. I embrace what I know about the benefits of using sign-language with children and, with the help of my amazing babysitter, I've begun signing with my baby. I've parented by instinct since Morgan was born: letting her tell me what she needs and responding in whatever way works best for us. I didn't know that I had a "parenting style" but as I've read about it, I've found that the things I've done so far, and the reasons why I do those things, are in the same school of thought as attachment parenting. (If you care to click on that link, you may also want to click on this one about what attachment parenting is NOT.) I think this style (as well as most others, I'm sure) can be taken to extremes, and I'm not a fan of ANY extreme whether it be in religion, fashion, politics...whatever. I believe a happy medium can be found in any enterprise, and I'm only beginning to learn what mine is as far as parenting.

If you feel the best and most healthy thing for your baby is to give her a bottle of formula every three hours, on the hour, please feel free to do so. And if you let your child cry-it-out for as long as 40 mintues before they finally fall asleep, more power to ya! If you're one who believes that a strict and unwavering schedule is the only way to go, that's wonderful! Really. There are countless ways to do things, and I promise I won't judge you for whatever method you opt for. But please know that as you're trying to convince me that your way is the ONLY way, I'll be nodding along and smiling with you, but as you turn to walk away, I'm going to promptly forget everything you've just said to me.

Because my child is different than yours. And you and I are very different people. And that's okay.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Learning to slow down

“Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast - you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.” -Eddie Cantor
Recently, I made a quick trip to the little gas station in town to rent a DVD from RedBox. For no reason other than the fact that she'd asked SO POLITELY, I brought Shylee along with me. She studied the pictures carefully, making sure to call my attention to each and every one that looked like it might be a children's movie. I tried to explain to her that even though 'ZOMBIELAND' had a very colorful title, I suspected there were other movies that she'd much rather see. We eventually decided on 'UP'. When she asked if she could push the buttons pretty please, instead of telling her "JUST LET ME HURRY AND DO IT" like I often do, I sighed and said "WHY NOT?" then lifted her up so she could reach the screen.

Several mintues later (it takes a bit longer to rent a movie when a four year old is the one operating the RedBox) we were in the car and on our way back home. As we pulled into the driveway Shylee said to me with a huge grin, "That was so much fun! Do you think we could go push buttons again tomorrow?"

It was so darn cute, it just about broke my heart. Something that small, but something I usually feel too hurried to let her do, TOTALLY made her day. Why do I allow myself to feel so rushed, so incredibly busy, that I can't stop and take an extra couple mintues to do things like that more often? This is something I've really been trying to improve on lately, and this little experience made me realize once again how important it is to just take it easy every now and then.

And so, after thinking about it for a minute, I smiled and said "That WAS so much fun! I'd love to push buttons with you again. And maybe next time I'll even let you swipe the card."

Friday, February 12, 2010

How To

HOW TO ANNOY ME:
-Call me "darling" with a fake British accent.
-Do absolutley nothing about your children who are wiping boogers on each other and asking strangers if they can have a quarter.
-Use the 'speaker-phone' feature on your cell phone in public.
-Talk about "gettin' some" and "that skank" on your speaker-phone in public.
-Wear a mesh tank top and spanky shorts in winter.
-Wear a mesh tank top for ANY reason...EVER.

HOW TO WOO ME:
-Bring me a Milky Way and a Caramel Iced Coffee at work because you thought I "might like them".
-Don't judge me for watching 'The Bachelor' even though we both know everyone on the show is a total train wreck.
-Tell me I have a cute baby.
-Sing along with me to Celine Dion.
-Tell me I have a cute baby.
-Smell like a meadow, then pretend you don't know it's you that's making the entire room smell so heavenly.
-Tell me I have a cute baby.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 2010 Newsletter: 6 months

Dear Morgan,

This past month has been one of discovery for you. You TOUCH and EAT everything you see. You've spent every waking hour picking things up, briefly examining them, then shoving them into your mouth. There's not an object in this world that you feel is off-limits to your grabbing and eating. I think your favorite thing to snack on is your feet. If I put shoes and socks on you, you'll grab them and pull and struggle until you get those wretched things off! You don't even have to free both feet, as long as you have at least one set of toes to suck on, you're happy. There was a time when your hands were your favorite, but that was SO two months ago. You've moved on to bigger, better things now. Hands? Hands are for babies. And you're not a baby, you're a SIX MONTH OLD!



If you're not assailing something with your mouth, you're scratching it with your little fingertips. This is usually done when your mouth is already full or if, after several attempts, you realize that the object is too darn big to fit in there. You scratch daddy's arm, you scratch the couch, you scratch your crib mattress, you scratch the walls, you scratch the stroller. It's just another way you are learning about and familiarizing yourself with the things around you.


You've been very interested in food for quite sometime now, and this past month we finally introduced you to rice cereal. The first few times I fed you, we both ended up covered in the goo, but now we've finally reached a point where the input is greater than the output. You think eating real food is pretty amazing, and if I dare set food out for your dad and I without having a bowl of cereal ready for you, there are definitely consequences. I know you don't understand this right now, but there are all sorts of foods out there that are even better than rice cereal. I can't wait for the day that I can show you the deliciousness of things like powdered donuts and butterscotch pudding.


This month you've learned to reach for things, which is unfortunate because you haven't quite mastered the whole balancing thing yet. Most of your attempts to reach out and grab something end in a face-plant. Surprisingly, this doesn't seem to bother you too much. In fact, you can remain lying with your face mashed into the couch cushions or plastered on the carpet for quite sometime before you announce any sort of discomfort. Even still, we're really starting to work on your balance. I'll sit you up and hold you steady for a few seconds, then I'll pull my hands away and watch. Often, you'll sit there just fine until you realize you're doing it all by yourself and then suddenly it's like someone walks up and shoves you over.


Something you have perfected this month is ATTITUDE. You've suddenly become fussy, dramatic and very opinionated. I had no idea you would be so innately female. Or maybe it's the combination of your dad's stubborn DNA with my even more stubborn DNA. Whatever is to blame, I'm cursing it. The mood swings you have rival the ones I had when I was pregnant. When you're mad you don't cry, you SCREAM. A very loud, angry scream. If that doesn't get you what you want, you start pinching and pulling hair. Luckily this doesn't happen very often, but there have been a few times I've been tempted to set you out on the street in a cardboard box that reads: FREE KID. Although, to be fair to your new family, I think it should also say BEWARE: SHE BITES.


Morgan, there hasn't been a single dull moment in these past six months, thanks to you. You have made my life so complex and crazy and beautiful. Just when I think there couldn't possibly be any room left in my heart, you snuggle up to me and bury your face in my neck and my heart can't help but grow a little more. Sometimes I'm worried that my body won't be able to contain all the love I have for you and one day I might just spontaneously explode. And it's not only me you've affected in such a positive way. I'm not sure how to explain it except to say that TO KNOW YOU IS TO LOVE YOU; to fall hopelessly and completely head over heels in love with you.

Oh, and that part about sending you with a new family? They'd have to PRY you from my COLD, DEAD FINGERS.


Love,
Mama

Monday, February 8, 2010

Just HAD to share

When my sister was here in December she was able to do a little photo shoot with Morgan. I haven't seen all of the pictures yet, but she emailed me a preview and I'm just so excited about them that I had to share...


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And in case you were wondering: Yes, I DO spend a great deal of my day resisting the intense urge to put those little toes in my mouth.

Thanks again, Teresa!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Winter


I DON'T LIKE WINTER. I hate the cold. I detest the slick, icy roads. I loathe the fact that I have to wake up 15 minutes early to ensure that I have time to warm up my car and scrape my windows.

I've always been a summer person, and I'm even more excited for summer this year because Morgan will be at such a fun age. Adam and I are avid campers, but because of the constant pregnancy scares we were having, we didn't get the chance to go much last year. A frantic ride down the mountain to the hospital at 12:30 AM with a seven-month-pregnant me bouncing off the truck seat and simultaneously shouting 'HURRY, PLEASE' and 'BE CAREFUL, DAMMIT' was only fun once.

So, I'm going a little stir crazy--aching to get out of the house and into the sun. But in the meantime, I'm trying to appreciate the beauty of the season.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Birthdays



I just wanted to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful
niece, Halle, who turns 2 this week...



...and to my sweet nephew, Logan, who
also turns 2 just ten days later...




                                                                             
...and we can't forget my fur-baby, who happens to share
 birthdays with Halle, and is turning 3.

                                           

Monday, February 1, 2010

A child's logic

We were able to visit with some of our dear friends over the weekend. Wes, Angel and their daughter Savanah were in town from Oregon. It was GREAT to see them again, it's almost been two years! One of my favorite conversations from their visit went something like this...

Shylee: Come on, let's play some more!
Wes: But, you wore me out. I'm OLD.  
Shylee: You're not old, my daddy's old.
Wes: I'm actually older than your daddy is.
Shylee: Nuh-uh, because you have a smaller tummy.