Monday, October 10, 2016

One month.

Want to know how many times I changed the title of this post?  Too many.  That's how many times I tried to write to you, but my eyes blurred through tears, or my jaw hurt from clenching my teeth to hold them back - making it an impossible task. 

One month.  It's been one month since you left.  Left us with too many questions, and too few answers.  Left us broken and trying to pick up the pieces and learn to live a life without you in it. 

I've met so many of your friends, and  I hope you know how loved you were.  Your roommates and friends from Serenity are amazing and I wish I had gotten a chance to meet them under better circumstances.   

I know we didn't talk a whole lot over the last few months, but even when your challenges kept us apart I was still there in the shadows cheering you on.  I remember one evening this past winter/early spring when you were at bottom.  You texted me telling me you were giving up because there was no hope for you.  You threw out some falsified statistic that 88% of addicts still fail after attempted recovery treatments.  I told you that you could be the 12%.  That was my new motto for you - to "be the 12%".   The next morning you reached out to Mom for help.  I helped you get enrolled on an insurance plan.  I prayed that this time was the time.

While we know that you are no longer "the 12%", all I can wish for now is 1.

One more day.

One more hug.

One more "Hi Kitty!", or "Hi Sister!" 

One more stupid, annoying gift for Jack, Reese, & Cooper for a birthday or holiday - surely to annoy me for all eternity - or at least until the batteries wore out.

One more chance to tell you how (excuse-my-French) fucking proud I was of you when I finally got to see you up north over Labor Day weekend.  I really was.  And I'm sorry I never told you.    

One more lifetime.

I've heard that others have noticed little signs that you're still with us...a vision, a song, a memory... 

I'm waiting.

"i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)" - e.e. cummings

Monday, January 12, 2015

Things I love [a baby gear post]

Over an 8 ½ year span I have brought three children into this world. 

Over this same 8 ½ year span there have been some major improvements in baby gear.  I am going to use this post as an opportunity to review a few items that, after using with Cooper, I don’t know how I had ever lived without…and that I don’t really want to part with.

[rockaRoo by 4moms]
The rockaRoo is hands-down the best baby swing I have ever owned.  It is super-portable, has convenient removable fabric that is machine-washable, MP3 hookup, and plugs in – NO BATTERIES, PEOPLE.   It has five speeds, and rather than the typical swaying motion of your standard baby swing, it rocks like a rocking horse.    

 [mamaRoo by 4 moms]
 When we were expecting Cooper I was leaning towards purchasing the mamaRoo.  During my research, 4moms released the rockaRoo.  In the interest of saving money, I went with the rockaRoo.  After Cooper was diagnosed with torticollis and in PT, we were gifted a mamaRoo by the 4moms Cares program.  The mamaRoo is not a swing,  I refer to it as more of a “ride”.  This seat has five pre-programmed motions that mimic movements such as a car ride or a kangaroo bounce.  It has four built-in sounds, and like the rockaRoo it is also compatible with MP3 players, has the removable fabric and also operates by plugging in.

[breeze by 4moms]
We used the same Graco Pack ‘n Play for both Jack and Reese.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this product in terms of quality and reliability; it was the assembly that drew me towards the breeze.  Unlike your standard play yards, the process of assembling and disassembling the breeze is ONE STEP.  Well, two if you count the insertion/removal of the pad.  Don't believe me?  Watch this:

Amazing, right?!  It really is that simple.  It also comes with a storage bag and bassinet insert.  My one and only complaint about this product is that it is Heavy.  Like in excess of 40lbs, heavy. 

Anyone with a tiny human knows that (most) babies prefer to be swaddled; and to get a better nights sleep, it has to be straight-jacket style.  Once that tiny human has mastered the art of rolling, the swaddling ceases abruptly...and so does any chance of an uninterrupted slumber. 
Husband and I like to watch Shark Tank.  One night, we watched an episode that featured the Zipadee-Zip; a wearable swaddle-transitioning blanket.  This is essentially a starfish-esque sleep sack that encloses the entire body from the neck down, but still allows for full use of arms and legs.  That's Cooper in the photo above rocking his.  The Zipadee-Zip is designed with a slight resistance in the arm span to prevent the occurrence of the startle-reflex that causes babies to suddenly wake up.  This 100% works, and was worth every-single-penny.  If you are considering buying one, buy fast.  These seem to sell out just as fast as they return to stock. 
WARNING.  Some of you may judge me for this next item.  To be honest, I judged people with this item, because no.  And ::gag::.  And gross.  But in a moment of desperation to get my congested baby to breathe through his nose, I sent the husband to Target just before close to get...
I used the standard bulb nasal aspirator on all three of my kids.  You know, that blue one they send home with you from the hospital?  It generally does an okay job, but Cooper was so congested the other night that I was desperate to find an alternative solution.  After consulting Dr. Google, I stumbled upon reviews from other parents about the Nosefrida.  I will fully admit that I have scoffed at the thought of someone buying this product on more than one occasion, because the thought of using it completely freaked me out.  But you know what?  It works.  So well, in fact, that I almost want to kick myself for not buying this sooner. 
If you cannot tell by the picture on the box, the Nosefrida is a device made up of three parts:  the applicator, the tubing, and a filter.  The filter is placed in the base of the tubing which snaps to the applicator.  The applicator is then placed at the base of the baby's nostril and you use the power of your own mouth to create a vacuum seal that draws out everything you didn't want to see congesting your little one.  For those who are wondering, NO, you do NOT get anything in your mouth!  Everything is collected in the applicator and never enters the tubing.  The filter is in place to also prevent any bacterial transfer.  Although there was definitely some serious hesitation before using, I will tell you that this works a hundred million times better than a bulb aspirator and I will never, ever go back.  Judge all you want, but my baby can breathe freely.     
Alright, I think that's enough for tonight. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Helmet Life.

Cooper has been wearing a helmet since he was 4 months old. 

Around 2 months he was diagnosed with torticollis after we expressed concern to his doctor that he wasn't an (and excuse the Zoolander reference) "ambi-turner" because he couldn't turn his head to the left.  After some PT and learning new stretches we corrected the problem, but as a result from constant pressure on the right side of his skull he developed a flat spot; also referred to as positional plagiocephaly

Although it made for a great Halloween costume as Sloth from the Goonies, it was definitely something we wanted to have corrected. So at 4 months Cooper was fit with a STARband

For those who are not familiar with the remodeling process, the helmet is essentially worn 23 hours per day, everyday until the end of treatment.  Only removed for one hour per day to bathe and air out the babe and clean the helmet.  Cooper HATED wearing the helmet at first, and his head smelled like a foot - even after a bath.  The cleaning method of 91% rubbing alcohol wasn't removing the smell to my liking, only making the helmet smell like an alcoholic's foot.  The struggle was real, folks. 

But then he got used to it.  And so did we.  I even found a solution to the end the smell of the helmet, and (mostly) from his head.  So, for anyone reading that may need some cleaning advice, I will share my super-not-so-secret helmet cleaning regimen:

Clean inside of helmet using 91% rubbing alcohol and a soft toothbrush.  Dry with a microfiber dishcloth.

Put small amount of Mustela Physiobebe No-Rinse Solution on the same microfiber cloth and rub on the inside of the helmet.  Let air dry.

That's it.  Super easy, and no smell. 

His head, on the other hand...well, we're still working on that.

Regular baby shampoo works okay, but it's not the best.  I have found that this product works much better, but it is borderline expensive.

While I don't hate the helmet as much as I did in the beginning, we are ready to be done.  One more good growth spurt and it's sayonara.  But for now, he's awfully cute with it on...

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Annnnnd we're back!

It has been over two years since my last post.  Ho-Ly Cow.

As one might expect, a whole bunch has happened since October 2012.

Here's an update on [them]...


Jack is now in third grade and will be turning 9 next week.  While I am proud that the things that come out of his mouth are more intelligent these days, it has caused a serious lack of JACKtionary material.


Reese just turned 5 and will be starting kindergarten in the fall.  She definitely marches to her own beat, which I think is fabulous.  We will see how that plays out once school starts...

Also, while things that come out of her mouth are hilarious...they are also hilariously-innocently-obliviously-inappropriate...which make them questionable to post on the interwebs.  But since I don't really care what strangers think, you may see some REESEtionary pop up from time-to-time.  


Wait.  What?  Who's Cooper, you ask?

Oh yeah, we had a baby.

Cooper was born in June.  He wears a helmet (hopefully for not too much longer), and is the sweetest, most laid back baby on earth.  He's my ham sandwich and my Cooper-Pig and I sometimes want to eat his face (in the most loving, un-cannibalistic way imaginable) - which is totally normal, you know.     

.... And here's an update on [us]...

We started to outgrow our townhouse, so we put it up for sale in January 2013.  The listing expired with no legit offers, so we had to re-list in June (or was it July?) of the same year. 

Finally in September 2013, we sold our house!  But, hold on...the government temporarily shutdown our buyer's special mortgage program...

Then late October 2013, we were back in business. And oh, the buyer wants to close in three days.  THREE DAYS. ::insert panic here:: So we packed like maniacs, put everything we owned in a U-Haul and made it to closing (albeit 5 minutes late...).  Did I mention I was in my first trimester with Cooper during all this?  Hell, I tell you.  Pure hell.

But we moved into a single-family home with a yard and more bedrooms and a basement that needs finishing.  Calvin has even slimmed down tremendously from the almost-daily chasing of the neighbor's dogs along our fence line for the last year, and his spanx are fitting him nicely these days.

The Husband, with the help of an amazing group of family members who lent expertise, labor and tools and who worked for beer, put a deck on our house over the summer.  It took a couple months to finish, but I look forward to being able to enjoy it more once the snow melts this year.

The latter half of 2014 was spent adjusting to life with the newest member of our family, celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary in October, and enjoying the holidays. 

Happy New Year!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Graduation Part Deux - and the time I almost killed my husband with Lipton Tea.

This last Friday I FINALLY earned my BS in Business Administration, graduating with high honors. Contrary to blogging belief, words cannot describe what this accomplishment means to me. After a how-many-year hiatus, multiple changes in major, and earning an associates degree in a completely unrelated field, I am so glad went back and stuck through it. While I could not have made this achievement without the immense amount of support from my friends, family and coworkers, it is my husband to whom I owe the most gratitude. He was so patient with me and my crazy schedule, never complained about entertaining the kids while I did homework, and always told me to "suck it up" or "you'll be fine" when I was on the verge of a near-meltdown.

Speaking of JP...

He has been sick with an awful cold for going on a week now. After the graduation ceremony last week we went out with my parents to dinner. They noticed his cold, and I proceeded to tell them of a little incident that occurred around this time last year - when I almost killed my husband with Lipton tea.

When men are sick they are the most god-awful creatures to be around. Rather than suffering in silence, they (JP) find it necessary to make the entire house aware of how miserable they are feeling while they (JP) lay around the house like a sloth.

In addition to the various medications and vitamins JP uses in attempt to cure himself, he likes to drink tea. He will generally heat water in a mug in the microwave and go about his tea-making way. Last winter he sent me to the store to buy a box of Lipton tea bags. I went to Target, made my purchase, and brought them home.

When JP proceeded to open the box he and I both thought the bags looked a bit unusual, but thought maybe after half a century Lipton decided to redesign their product. No big deal.

After drinking two mugs of the new tea, JP became even more ill than he was earlier in the day: dizzy, heart racing, shaking, sweating, and weak. It was only after acquiring these new symptoms that JP checked out the Lipton box...where he discovered that I bought tea bags that were designed to make an 8-cup pitcher of iced tea...and really shouldn't have been used in a single coffee mug. In essence, my husband consumed the caffeine equivalency of 16 cups of iced tea within about 30-45 minutes.

Now, the "lethal dose" of caffeine is quite substantial and generally runs about 150-200 milligrams per kilogram of body mass depending on who you ask. This is the approximate equivalence of 80-100 cups of coffee. Technically speaking JP only drank 16 cups, so it really wasn't enough to kill him...but it still makes for a good story.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Silent reverie.

Sometimes a visit from an old friend can really help put your life into perspective. Over the weekend I served as host for a comrade I hadn’t seen in the upwards of about 14 years (mas o menos).

The whole visit was incredibly surreal.

Her free spirit has taken her places I could only dream of going, and I am in awe of all she has accomplished. I felt a bit - for lack of a better word, boring - describing where my life has taken me over the years. Now, I don’t necessarily have any regrets, but I do wish I had more to say (and more time in which to say it). I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her stories and reminiscing over the past while looking at our 6th grade yearbook (while drinking a semi-awful bottle of cheap wine). The following morning we said goodbye…and I am slightly embarrassed to admit the wave of emotion that overcame me as she drove away in Clark (a van that looks to have just as many stories as she…).

At the beginning of 2012 I had two goals for the year:

1. Graduate in September, and;
2. Apply for grad school

After she left, I had time to reflect on the last few years of my life. I am proud of who I am and where I am in life, but I decided that because almost everything I do is to give my family the life they deserve - I need to do something for me. On that note, I made the executive decision to add two out-of-character goals that I hope to accomplish before the end of the year…

1. Get a tattoo. Somewhere inconspicuous because I am a coward.
2. Fly (yes, I said fly. Let’s all gasp collectively ::gasp!:: Are we done? Moving on…) to NY as a graduation gift to myself…or an anniversary trip for JP so he can soak up the land of his beloved Yankees. (yarf).

Thank you for coming to visit, HF. I can’t wait to get together again soon; hopefully before another 14 years goes by.

…I hear my voice
And it’s been here
Silent all these years
I’ve been here
Silent all these years…