Posted by: Ingrid | June 28, 2017

The labyrinth of grief

Since the early hours of June 28th, a decade ago, when I got the phone call telling me my mom had died, I have had a radar for quotations about grief. I think there is something about losing someone you love – you are always trying to find words that express what you feel but are too clumsy to say or to feel like someone else understands the experience and you aren’t crazy or alone.

Some words are better than others. While I absolutely love C.S. Lewis and his writings, there is a reason why I understand, A Grief Observed, the short book that came out of his journal entries after his wife died, and may never again pick up his Problem with Pain. Grief can’t be neatly labeled and categorized. It moves around unpredictably, is messy, and crops up again and again, when you least expect it. It leads you to think thoughts that you’ve never entertained and leaves you crying for no reason in the middle of the night.

When I was binge reading random library books during finals week I picked up a librarian recommended book (this method of book selection works for me about 70% of the time when I’m in a hurry). Entitled, A Boy made of Blocks, by Keith Stuart, it chronicles the story of a father with an autistic eight-year-old son and a failing marriage. As he works to understand himself, his wife, and his son better, he finds a surprising connection to his son through video games. I didn’t think I would like it but I loved the book. In a paragraph I liked enough to copy down in a notebook, the father says this about grief:

Here is a secret about grief. It’s kind of an open secret, because everyone who has ever experienced it knows it to be true, but here it is anyway. Grief never really goes away. Time doesn’t heal. Not fully. After a while – a few months, a few years maybe – grief retreats into the darkest corners of your mind, but it will lurk there indefinitely. It will leak into everything else you do or feel; it will lurch forward when you don’t expect it to. It will haunt you when you sleep.

Another thing people don’t tell you is that grief isn’t two-dimensional. It grows and changes with you, which I think is wildly unfair. Instead of being able to look back ten years and think, Ah, how sad to not actually be able to establish a solid adult relationship with my mom in my late twenties, it instead becomes a new form of grief in each new stage of life. I don’t know that any of those stages is worse than the young children stage, particularly when only one functional grandparent is left in the picture. There is something about the quintessential idea of a grandma to me. When my kids feel exhausting or hard to love, it seems that a grandma could perhaps see past some of the daily difficulties and could believe in and love my kids better than I can in those tough moments. That she could be someone who encourages my children, when sometimes it seems to me that no one is there to build them up and be on their side and in their corner.

The grief at this stage is the weight of knowing that I am it. As a mom without family around or a grandma in the picture I provide all the continuity with the past and the future. Any traditions, stories, and family information is all on me. Most days I feel like I can’t even carry the emotions and disappointments of a seven-year-old, so bridging the gap of a missing generation seems like far too much to shoulder. I have to raise these kids… surely someone else can regale them with stories about crazy uncle-so-and-so and show them pictures of where their great-great-great-great grandparents came from.

My kids know that they had a grandma who they never met. With side-ways glances they make comments about a friend’s grandma who was at school pick-up or kids who go off to grandma’s house with the unspoken understanding that such things will never be for them. Lily has solved problem this by creating her own imaginary grandma named Cee-Fee (Cifi rhymes with Fifi?) with whom she leaves her dolls when she jets off to work or school. She has recently taken to telling me, often, that when she is a mom then I will be a Grammy, which shows touching faith on her part that somehow life will be fair when often it is not.

I guess I thought that things would have been tucked neatly away at this point. I thought I would be sad for what happened then and instead if feels as if I’ve been followed for a decade by constant reminders of what I no longer have. It still remains surprising to me how much you can miss someone you haven’t seen in ten years.

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More than a month ago I completed the first year of nursing school. This means one more year and the NCLEX to get my RN and then… I don’t know. My BSN? MSN? Doctorate in nursing so that I can be Dr. Nurse?

The completion of this year is a testament to an encouraging husband, my live-in father for half the year, encouragement from friends and family along the lines of “this really won’t get any easier as your kids get bigger”, my husband’s fantastic and understanding supervisor, excellent day care providers, and a good deal of hard work on my part. No thanks to my children who would prefer that I not be in school and who got sick on SEVEN clinical days in the spring (when there was no back-up plan), causing my husband to miss seven instructional days.

On the whole, particularly when I stumbled back on the many many many many thoughts I’d had about the nursing school process over the past eight years it has taken to get here, I am grateful to have come this far. It is infinitely easier for me to dream big for others while coloring in the lines for myself. Not pursing a degree in medicine and turning down a semester in Oxford both come to mind. So here I am! Pursing my education with four kids and still standing! All that aside there are a few big picture things that it is helpful for anyone to know who is contemplating nursing school, things that I wish I’d known before the beginning of the school year.

  1. You will be stressed most of the time. I wish this wasn’t true, but it is. Nursing school is intense and demanding and there are often things that are announced suddenly or rescheduled. There is not enough time to go to class, read the book adequately, prep for clinicals, and study. If you like to do things well (like I do), this will drive you crazy. If you have this personality then you as a student will then drive your stressed out teachers crazy (true story). It is the circle of life in nursing school. Everyone is crazy and everyone is stressed and no one actually gets to take the anti-anxiety meds we talk about all the time.
  2. All the Pinterest memes are true. It is really fun to know the jargon of a particular group and to understand the inside jokes. Go onto Pinterest and search nursing and humor. Then start nursing school and discover that it’s all true. The teacher and textbook will disagree, you really will tell patients that it’s not your first IV start (but will leave out the fact that all the rest were practiced on a giant doll), you will be told repeatedly that “Even though your answer was correct, it was not the best correct answer”, and you will find that normal nursing exams are harder than most finals. This will be both a source of pride (My school is so much harder than your school.) and anxiety (How many cumulative finals can you really take during finals week!?!)
  3. People will be the best and worst part. In my limited experience, most nurses are very J on the Meyer Briggs spectrum. This is awesome when a nurse is assessing a traumatic situation and determining what to do first. This is less awesome when you are stuck in a room full of J’s and instructed by J’s and everyone is stressed out. Things can get ugly pretty fast. And everyone is almost always stressed. Try to keep your head up and stay away from gossip (even though it is way more fun than chatting about lab values). Your classmates, instructors, patients, and nursing staff at the clinical sites will sometimes make you so happy that you chose nursing and other times make you want to quit at that very moment. Remember the nurses at your clinical sites and let both the positive and negative experiences guide how you treat students after you graduate.
  4. Nursing school isn’t supposed to be comfortable. It is rigorous and tiring. You are constantly learning new information and skills that you are then supposed to practice on real people before you feel like you should be allowed to go near anyone with an IV, catheter, or educational material. I have had 20 weeks of clinicals at this point (160 hours) and I have not had a day I didn’t feel awkward, out of place, and on the verge of making huge mistakes. I don’t have any great advice for this, except to get through it and do your best to be professional and competent. Awkward is the new normal, so be awkward with a smile!
  5. The rest of life will get trampled by nursing school. You can do nursing school. I am proof that you can have kids and do nursing school and do it well. But the rest of your life will suffer. You will not have as much time with your kids, family, significant other, or friends. Your diet and exercise (gaining 20 pounds the first year of nursing school is a real thing) and work and anything scheduled will take a back seat to nursing school. It will be hard to keep up with friends. The house won’t get cleaned, you won’t complete projects, and just getting the laundry done will feel monumental. The thing is, you will make it through because you are running on massive amounts of stress. Make sure you buckle up for the winter and summer breaks, however. I was unprepared going into summer break. Instead of relief, I felt massively behind and exhausted. I promptly gained 5 pounds, have had terrible running, and have been tired and dragging for more than a month. I had to give up my marathon because I wasn’t able to get in my long runs during the last three weeks of school and was too tired to care in the end. As an introvert, I feel beyond depleted. Just remember that nursing school will take over your life and that you are paying for it to do so but it’s not forever (unless you die before you graduate, I guess). Do your best to give yourself grace at the end of the semester (something I am trying very hard to do) because you will just be that tired.

Two more months before I head back for round two and it already feels like the summer is slipping through my fingers!

Posted by: Ingrid | May 25, 2017

12 Months: One year old!

Dear Wesley,

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As per my new normal, this comes late. And it is the last “month update” I will ever write, which may feel sad at some point but right now, having written 47 of these over the collective baby-hoods of four children… I am ready to be done. Now it’s time for all the months to merge together in the roller coaster that is the toddler years!

The fact that you are one is sad for me though. As exhausting as the first 12 months of life are, I still maintain that they are my favorite. I mean, maybe I will be surprised and love the teen years even more or something, but maybe these fleeting moments are as good as it gets. (And maybe mommy needs to not be quite so pessimistic).

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All of the cliches apply here. Where did the year go? Wow, you blink and you miss something! They grow so fast! These babies just get bigger! So trite on the surface and yet so ponderously heavy when you are the mother. Because the squirmy not-so-much-a-baby that I heft around now is not the helpless infant that could do nothing more than burrow into my shoulder a year ago. And it did go too fast and I do miss the impossible softness and wonder of the tiny infant we brought home from the hospital.

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Your last month you started cruising, holding onto things with one hand, “dancing” when music played, and generally got into everything you could reach. You empty the toothbrush and makeup drawers, routinely pull out the pots and pans, try to play in the toilet and with the toilet plunger, and especially enjoy emptying the bookshelves onto the floor. The other day you got into a stack of books that had been piled in the corner and I realized it would be quite easy to twist things around and say (truthfully and literally) that you were “into the classics” at a very early age. Another favorite is pulling knives out of the dishwasher and trying to climb on the door. You can scuttle across the floor rapidly when you hear the sounds of the dishwasher door being lowered with a knack that is uncanny.

You learned to wave this month, and that is absolutely adorable. You are such a little flirt when you want to be! You also discovered a love for baths after so many months of crying when I’d try to clean you. Now you don’t want to get out and take great delight in splashing everything.

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You say mama, dada, go, hi, and your own version of Isaac. You are responsive to the word no, respond to your name, and most adorably, will gaze upward and point to the ceiling when I say light. You also know the word cat, and Poseidon is very jumpy these days, because you are predicable in how you grab his fur and tail and unpredictable in the ear-piercing shrieks of delight that you let out when you catch him.

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You still sleep pretty well, with two naps a day and with usually one wake up per night. You ended your year with 5 teeth, blue-grey eyes, and light brown hair. Despite the fact that you still look chubby to me you are now down to the 12% for weight at 20 pounds 7 ounces are 28.5 inches long, mostly wearing 12 month clothing. You nurse 5-8 times a day, refuse to drink out of a bottle or cup, and like bananas, crackers, yogurt, and goldfish. You also really like wipes from Walmart. I don’t know what they put in them, but you seek them out and eat them unreservedly.

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You discovered your body this month. I know that sounds weird but all of a sudden you were grabbing your stomach and legs and touching your skin with this strangely inquisitive look on your face. Watching someone become aware that they exist and have substance is absolutely wild. You also discovered your nostrils and spend plenty of time with a finger up your nose because it’s fun.

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Your siblings love you more today than the day we brought you home. You now feature in their games, get in their way, pull their hair, try to chase and tackle them, and try to eat their toys. They compete for your attention, try to soothe you when you are sad, and talk to you when they are pretending. It is the best thing in the world to watch your relationship with them develop.

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Other things, at random. You really like playing with the broom. It is seriously one of your favorites.

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Although you are less inclined to sit still now (just in time for spring concerts, preschool graduation, etc.) you are still up for snuggling.

You love to pull things. My favorite so far has been the table you pulled out of Lily’s room and down the hall. No one can say you lack persistence!

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Your actual birthday was celebrated by the wearing of a shirt that proclaimed you were one and a “party” thrown for you by your siblings at 6:30 am. We had a bunch of balloons left over from something I had done for a clinical day and they brought you in, threw balloons at you, and sang happy birthday. It was seriously adorable. Then we forgot about your birthday as we rushed towards finals week and finally, eleven days later, we celebrated with cake. Boxed cake and frosting for the win. You had so. much. fun. You were an absolute mess and it may have been the most you’ve ever eaten at one sitting.

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It is strange to think how far you have come in a year, Wesley. From this:

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To the fun loving, tenacious, little rascal who you are at age one.

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It is such a delight to watch you grow, even though my vantage point has been so different this time around. Even though in some ways I have felt more removed, I couldn’t love you more.

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Love,

Mom

Posted by: Ingrid | April 30, 2017

Eleven Months: Only 27 days late

Dear Wesley,

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You are 3 days away from turning one, so I really have to get this up now or it will never happen. The good news is that all graded assignments have been turned in on time, so to be this late on something non-academic is simply par for the course this year. I had this written a week late but unfortunately, uploading pictures was just too much to deal with until now.


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It seems impossible to me that in a month you will be an entire year old. I was still pregnant last year, still waiting to meet you.

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This month you have started cruising the furniture. While you crawl swiftly from one point to another you quickly pull to standing and wreak havoc upon the cat, the couch, or any papers that you find in your reach. You have started letting go while standing, but I really do not think you will be walking by 12 months, and that is okay.

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Your growth, at least weight-wise, has halted around 19 pounds 7 ounces. I attribute this to the fact that you are back to hunger strikes at the day care, refusing to eat food or take a bottle, sometimes from 6:30 am until 3:30 on my clinical days. For the most part you haven’t really been getting a ton of calories from real food, although you would think that avocado and meatloaf encrusted Cheerios would pack some sort of caloric punch. It is so easy to nurse you and so hard to remember to feed you real food in the middle of a busy semester.

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You are so industrious in your crawling and exploration. Several times I have gotten down on your level and watched you zip from place to place, opening drawers, pulling things down, ripping books. In the bathroom you empty drawers, remove and eat toilet paper, and stick your hands in the toilet when we forget to close the lid.

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Some favorites include being tickled, grabbing (but not reading) books, chewing on socks and pencils, and playing peek-a-boo. You have reached that stage where you hate being on your back for diaper and costume changes, although playing with my hot pink ear plugs sometimes buys a little time. Until you try to stick them in your mouth. You are so sensorimotor these days. Everything heads for the mouth.

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You make loud sounds, lots of mama and dada, something that may be “hi”, and very stereotypical baby noises like ga-ga goo. You like to hear yourself talk, and I am pretty sure that you understand when I say the words “daddy” and “cat”. Poseidon lives in fear of you and prefers to be somewhere over your head and away from your chubby little fingers.

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We all love you, you interact with your siblings and make them laugh, and we all try to get extra time playing and holding you which you sometimes tolerate. Other times you screech and push away to do your own thing, reminding us that you are beginning to enter that slightly scary world of early toddlerhood.

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It is amazing to see how much you have grown in just 11 months, Wesley. While I am a little sad that you aren’t the tiny newborn we brought home from the hospital, you are a daily delight as you discover the world.

Love,

Mom

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Posted by: Ingrid | March 19, 2017

Marathon lite: Quarterly report

Nursing school is famous for “owning” its students. When you add up class time, clinical time, extra-things-added-to-the-schedule-time, and homework time, it demands a big chunk of the best part of your life.

Which is why I signed up for a marathon.

No really. That is exactly why I paid money to register for the REVEL marathon in June. Twelve of the sixteen weeks of training will coincide with my second semester of nursing school, leaving me four weeks after finals to peak, taper, and run the race. Even though things are crazy and it feels like there isn’t enough time to fit everything in (and there’s not – I just just cleaned the bathroom for the first time in three weeks because I am on spring break), I really dislike feeling like I am completely owned by one thing. So call this marathon my attempt to feel a little more sane and a little more myself.

That said, trying to figure out a training plan that is flexible and doesn’t involve too much structure but also makes me feel like I am actually training is challenging. It is mentally difficult as well, knowing how I would like my next marathon attempt to go while knowing that I can’t put in the training that would require. I looked at the plan that was created for me when I ran Boston two years ago and it is a thing of beauty. I can’t believe everything that is listed. Unfortunately, it does not fit at all into my current schedule of crazy. I have pulled together mileage from a Hal Higdon plan, an “easy” plan put out by Runner’s World, and the bare bones of my long runs from my Boston plan and tried to form what so far has been a tenuous alliance of running plans that are then thwarted by sick children, daylight savings, and early clinical mornings.

My goals: To get in my long runs and keep decent mileage( 40+ miles now, 50-ish when I hit my three 20+ mile run weeks). The marathon I chose runs down the Rockies. And by down, I mean they bus you up to 10, 500 feet and let you go. I am pretending that my pace will be 7:35-ish because I am a fan of the “think system” and because it is hard to let goals go. Also, it is hard to believe that running downhill won’t help my pace, though it will simultaneously trash my legs.

My plan: Run consistent mileage and focus on the long run. Run fast miles at race pace during some runs and do fartleks when I need to change things up. I will probably keep the segments of race pace running and hills in my long runs as well, just to make things more interesting.

Weeks 1-4 highlights:

1: Long run of 10 miles with 27 miles for the week.

2: Long run of 11 miles with 31 miles for the week.

3: Long run of 9 miles with 31 miles for the week.

4: Long run of 15 miles with 40 miles for the week.

25% of the way there!

 

Posted by: Ingrid | March 5, 2017

Ten Months: Mostly bullet points

Dear Wesley,

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This post is brought to you, a day late, by bullet points, a high level of procrastination, and a mixed drink made from a blue raspberry Koolaid and rum. Which, incidentally, would taste way better with a beach nearby, a tiny umbrella, and much less stress.

You are almost one!  I can’t believe it!  I apparently don’t want to believe it, as I keep trying to stick you in 6 month clothes, giving you that fashionable 3/4 length look that all the babies are wearing.

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At 10 months:

-You crawl like you are on a mission (and you usually are) – to grab cat food, pull cables, and remove socket protectors from the wall.

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-You have so far destroyed my Garmin connector cable, dented my lap top, ripped a book,ruined a white noise machine, and pulled the air purifier down on top of you. When you aren’t on a hunt-and-destroy mission you are pulling the broom down on your head and gumming everyone’s socks.

-You have four teeth! Two on top and two on the bottom. Every bad teething night was a night before a clinical shift when I had to be up early. Also, with only 4 teeth you STILL manage to do that horrible grind-the-teeth thing that makes me cringe.

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-You still sleep, partially swaddled, in the crib in Lily’s room. Sometimes you sleep through the night.

-You are pushing and pulling up to standing now, looking like it’s the most natural thing in the world.  You love to crawl to me when I kneel on the floor, push to standing, and then head butt my stomach.

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-You have started taking a bottle again at day care. Mostly you still just nurse, although you have sampled some baby food and enjoy the occasional Gerber puff. On Valentine’s Day you tried eating stickers, but that didn’t go so well. You are over 19 pounds but have fallen from the 40th percentile to the 25th.

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-When you get mad you fling yourself backwards and cry, with complete disregard for where your head lands.

-The other night you had the best time playing with your brothers’ glow in the dark light sabers. It was pretty awesome and completely impossible to capture in pictures.

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-You love interacting and playing with your siblings and really would prefer it if one of us carted you around and held you all day long. And you get held way more than any of our other kids did when they were babies.

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-You have grown hair, but you still look so much like your daddy and Jonathan.

-You still chase the cat, to the point where he had to lay a warning paw on your forehead last week to encourage you to stop mauling him.

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-When I put my nose against your cheek your rooting reflex still kicks in and you try to latch on.

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-You are incredibly ticklish and have a delightful chortling sort of laugh.

-You move a lot and it is almost impossible to get good pictures of you now because you are a blur.

I love you to the moon and back

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Love,

Mom

Posted by: Ingrid | February 3, 2017

Nine Months: Live for the applause

Dear Wesley,

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Just when I thought your crawling couldn’t get any cuter you sprouted teeth and learned to sit up and clap. My favorite thus far was when you intentionally tipped over the cat food and then gave yourself a round of applause for your dexterity and for making it past mom and getting all the way to the food dish. It’s like the precursor to video games – tip the cat food without getting caught.

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If I could keep you here, crawling around with socks in your mouth and clapping so intently as you stare at us (you know it’s an attention getter), I would do it for at least three more months. It’s such a precious stage. And you do have a sock radar. You climbed a large pile of clean clothes last night and, without missing a beat, came down the other side with your sock in your mouth. On the other hand, it’s rather a nasty shock when it’s my sock you’ve been gnawing on.

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Speaking of gnawing, those long awaited teeth have finally moved in just a few weeks back. All of that drooling accomplished something, I guess, and you have both of your bottom front teeth. You are still in the phase where you feel them over and over with your tongue with a puzzled expression on your face but have no problem nipping me with your little mouth razors. Baby teeth are sharp! And babies with teeth have a wicked sense of humor!

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You may have teeth, but the only “foods” you have been halfway interested in are paper and amoxicillin. You developed an ear infection last week and sound like Darth Vader in miniature. Then, yesterday, all three of your siblings were diagnosed with strep, so we have antibiotic parties twice a day where I plunk four containers on the counter and serve up drinks. Amoxicillin on ice! And you like the stuff! But you won’t eat real food and you no longer take a bottle at day care, which means unless I come by to nurse you don’t eat. Which leaves me and your day care provider in a bad position when I have clinicals from 6:30 to 3:15. This is just a rough semester, and you getting sick and not eating are just icing on the cake of difficulty.

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You are really into moving around and cause and effect these days. You like to go from the cat dish, pull a straw out of the dishwasher, and then pull the dish towel off and crawl away with it clamped in your mouth. You like anything you can aggressively open and shut or pull back and forth, and you really like to crawl head down in your car seat. Your most epic cause and effect involved you pulling my computer off the table via the computer cord. Fortunately the computer did not land on your head and still works (though the edge is now broken). You are pretty equal opportunity about finding something to do in any room of the house, but some choices, say, the toilet brush in the bathroom, are more dicey than others. You also like to push to standing whenever possible, which makes me think that you are going to think about exploring alternative means of transportation in the near future. That just makes me sad.

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Your sleep seems to be doing pretty well. Often you will sleep from 8 to 6:30, but you always make sure that one of your siblings has scheduled a bad dream or empty water bottler to ensure that I do not, in fact, sleep completely through the night. You are doing great in the crib in Liliana’s room and I am still quasi swaddling you, by swaddling your arms and then flipping the blanket between your legs. You are 19 pounds of pure baby muscle, so swaddling hardly contains you, but I feel like it helps your sleep a little. Maybe.

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It has been a delight watching you interact with yourself in the mirror. You make eye contact and then head butt your reflection. I’m not sure why you think you’re a baby battering ram, but you do. Whenever you’re upset, you come and do the same thing to my ankles, like you’re trying to beat me into picking you up.

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And you do get picked up a lot, so maybe it works. When you are really upset you settle, crying, into a full downward dog with your head on the floor and your bottom straight up in the air. I don’t know where you learned this, because I don’t do yoga.

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You chase Poseidon around now, and he looks like he lives in a permanent state of feline discomfort. I think it’s hilarious. Sometimes, though, he will snuggle against your head while you nurse, so I like to think that he secretly thinks you’re okay.

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Best of all, I’m pretty sure you head butted my ankles and said, “mama” yesterday. You are just that adorable and smart.

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Love,

Mom

 

 

Posted by: Ingrid | January 6, 2017

Eight Months: Crawling and baby eviction notices

Dear Wesley,

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Only a few days late this month! During month eight we evicted you from our room and did something we have never done before. We put you with another sibling. At the point you were waking me every 1.5 hours and I was feeling a bit frayed around the edges, we ousted Lily from her crib, put you in, and discovered that I really only have to wake up with you once or twice a night. We also discovered that Lily is a solid sleeper because by the time I hear you you are yowling. Why is it that all your siblings can sleep through you screaming but instantly wake up if I get up at 5:30 to read?

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This month you discovered all sorts of movement. A month ago you were content to roll across the room. You spent a great deal of time in December being frustrated because you were unable to go from your stomach to sitting and back again. Then all of a sudden you were up on all fours. Then, right before Christmas you started to crawl. Two days later you were proficient in crawling. That night, I walked into the bathroom and discovered that you had pushed up onto your feet using Lily’s pink potty.

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I cried. You are so quick with the crawl, your little legs swishing back and forth like pistons. You are so curious and keep getting underfoot and stuck in the chairs. Occasionally you do some baby yoga – your downward dog is coming along nicely -and other times you take a hand off the ground as if to say, Here come the one-handed push ups!

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You are sprouting fuzzy hair, still have blue eyes, and are such a chub! You were 18 lbs 11 oz on December 20 and your 6 month clothes are looking decidedly tight. You still have no teeth but your location is made clear by the trail of drool you leave across the floor.

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You didn’t pull down the Christmas tree this year, and that feels like a win.

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You do actively pull the cat’s tail now, and that feels like a disaster waiting to happen now that you can hunt him down. Also, I am afraid that you think you are a dog. You crawl around with your socks between your gums and the other day you crawled up to me with a rope in your mouth like you wanted to be walked.

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You are happy and curious until you get tired and then you hunt me down, crawling toward me as though you were crawling through a desert in search of water. When you are roughly in grabbing distance of my ankles, you sprawl out on the floor as if it has all been just too much for you. Melodrama anyone?

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It is incredibly cute to see you crawl towards people when you are called, though. Because Liliana never crawled and didn’t walk until 22 months, I feel like we haven’t seen this stage in years. I love it so much. We have already put a gate at the basement steps because you may have started to tumble down them once.

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We finally started you on solids after Christmas. Aside from the fact that you don’t like rice cereal, or apple sauce, or avocado, or spoons, it seems to be going well.

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You like bananas, and you will eat if your daddy puts food on his fingers and lets you suck it off. Other than that, you still nurse well and I am enjoying reading something other than text books while on break.

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You make great big noises, like you are trying to speak whale, interspersed with normal baby sounds (gagoo and dada) and your own dolphin language that involves clicking your tongue.

Your siblings LOVED you this month.

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They fight to sit next to you, Isaac hauls you around despite you being almost half his weight, and they talk to you, provide you with toys, and interact.

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You respond by being delighted, squealing, trying to grab them, and thinking they are pretty funny. You actually think a lot of things are funny and getting a response from you is fantastic. All the baby laughter and crows of delight make the tiredness worth it, for sure. Just please, baby boy, SLOW DOWN. This is all going way too fast.

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Love,

Mom

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Posted by: Ingrid | January 1, 2017

2017 Resolutions

I would resolve to make fewer resolutions this year, but that would take up a resolution, so I won’t. My desire to pare things down is colliding with my desire to list all the things. The list maker in me won and I had to have 17 resolutions. I love my lists!

  1. Date my husband once a month. We have been perfecting the art of the hour long Fiesta’s date. Even with 4 margaritas and a dinner the babysitting bill for 4 kids for one hour will probably be higher than the food.
  2. Complete, enjoy, and do well in the second semester of nursing school.
  3. Complete, enjoy, and do well survive the third semester of nursing school.
  4. Complete one big house project.
  5. Finish the back porch furniture and make the porch look pretty.
  6. Be intentional with the time I spend with my kids, particularly during the semester. This means not multitasking when doing things with them, trying to be present in the moment, and doing scheduled things.
  7. Finish teaching Jonathan to read before he begins kindergarten.
  8. Take Isaac running with me sometimes.
  9. Potty train the princess.
  10. Attend parenting classes again. I am a little afraid that these might be addictive. I can’t wait to go back!
  11. I have a trinity of athletic events that I would love to do this summer: a marathon in June that I am already signed up for, an ultramarathon in July (not a big one, just a 50 km), and hiking a 14er (or a pair of 14ers) in August. My realistic goal, given the fact that I am in school for 16 weeks and that I want to remain married to my long suffering husband, is to do 2/3 of the list, probably the marathon and the 14er.
  12. Read 30 new books.
  13. Hire a personal trainer at some point to work on strength training (sub goals: do a pull up and climb a rope.)
  14. Travel to 4 new places in Colorado.
  15. Consistently read some type of devotional throughout the year.
  16. Make time to write and journal even during the busy times.
  17. My focus this year, comes from Sara Groves’ song Add to the Beauty. It’s a song I’ve loved for a long time, and if I could unravel in words what I wish my life could look like because of these thoughts or what I wish I could do differently to make these concepts come alive in my life, I would. I do want to pay attention to the moments that I have with people and do what I can to make life more meaningful and lovely for myself and the people around me.

We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on our hearts, written on our souls
We come to every new morning
With possibilities only we can hold, that only we can hold

Redemption comes in strange place, small spaces
Calling out the best of who we are

And I want to add to the beauty
To tell a better story
I want to shine with the light
That’s burning up inside

Bonus resolution: Finish watching the extra Gilmore Girls episodes and all of Call the Midwife.

Second bonus resolution: Find additional hours in the day so I can complete all of these resolutions!

 

Posted by: Ingrid | December 31, 2016

2016 Resolution Recap

Having not looked at my resolutions since having a baby, it was fun to pull them up and see how things went. I completed 8 of the 17 and gave myself and additional .33 points for another 3 resolutions. 2016 was definitely an interesting year and I am thinking I may need fewer resolutions for 2017.

Resolutions 2016

  1. Read 50 books. I read 82.
  2. Enjoy the rest of pregnancy #4 and have a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby. Last pregnancy complete, delivery successful, baby delightful. Pregnancy not necessarily enjoyable, but whatever.
  3. Refinish the back porch and make pallet furniture. We got the back and front porches resurfaced and I got pallets but nothing lovely has come of it yet. I will bump this to my to-do this this May.
  4. Find 6 sustainable homesteading type activities to implement. Yeah, this didn’t happen even a little. Too busy with baby, kids, and school.
  5. Travel to South Dakota to see family.  Done! And done successfully too. We rocked the road-trip-with-a-newborn event.
  6. Write some sort of will or living trust or whatever one responsibly puts in place when one has scads of children. Nope. 
  7. Take a parenting class.  We did two and loved them!
  8. Transition to non-pregnant running and PR in something. I didn’t do any real training and my only event for the entire year was a low key 5K.
  9. Catch up on the baby books that I have not touched all year. Nope. Must do this this year.
  10. Lose the baby weight plus 3 pounds. Done! And boy does that feel good.
  11. Be intentional about my spiritual life. This never makes a good resolution, but I add it because I care about this aspect of my life. It’s not measured well and I still feel like I’m floundering. I can’t have what I want or maybe I just don’t know what I want.
  12. Tighten up the budget since we are going to be making 6% less this year. School has been way more expensive than planned, which frustrates me to no end. Life has been more expensive. The budget is not making me happy.
  13. Try 36 new recipes. I tried 168 new recipes!
  14. Write at least one letter or birthday card a month. This fell off the to-do list probably around April. Oh well.
  15. Enter the Nursing program. Program entered and one semester has been completed.
  16. Find an effective sustainable weight routine that gets results.  Bonus resolution: climb a rope and do a pull up. I feel like I have resolved this many times and I still didn’t even make headway on it this year unless pinning workouts on Pinterest counts.

Superfluous and frivolous resolution: Finish all the seasons of The Office and Gilmore Girls and watch Downton Abbey as the episodes air online. Done!

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