Category Archives: blogging

Full

Apologies for disappearing again.  I miss this space, and there are the beginnings of numerous posts in my drafts folder and just floating around in my head.  But I’m finding it difficult to fit in time for writing these days.

My life is full of so many good things–a job that I like, a spouse who I adore, these two longed-for kids.  And yet that same fullness means constant scarcity–there’s never enough time or energy for everything that I would like to do.   Time at work means time spent away from my family.   I don’t spend nearly enough time connecting with Roo.  I cannot simultaneously give my attention to both kids at once.

That last one is particularly tricky.  Tadpole is a whirlwind of arms and legs and impulsivity.  He’ll sit still if we’re reading books together, but otherwise is in almost-constant motion.  He’s always exploring and testing–what will happen if he does a headstand in the Ikea chair?  what will happen if he sticks his finger in his sister’s mouth?  And Sprout is an explorer as well.  Her crawling is fast these days, and she pulls herself to standing, which means all sorts of non-baby-safe items have to be relocated to higher ground.  If I focus on one kid, the other is invariably getting into mischief behind my back.  Roo and I are constantly putting out fires, which means we haven’t found the time to do proactive things like putting up baby gates or relocating non-baby-safe items to higher ground.

I hate that one-on-one time with little Sprout is so scarce.  I savor the few moments I have with her during the week–snuggling as she nurses in the morning, making her giggle when I blow raspberries on her belly as I change her into pajamas at night.  But I miss her during the day,  and I wish I could spend more time focused on her.  I love the age that she is (10 months), and I’m aware of how quickly she’s changing.  I only have 4 weekends with a 10-month-old Sprout before I’ll have an 11-month-old one.  That’s only 8 days, and somewhere in each of those days I have to find time for things like grocery shopping and laundry.

Tad’s growth and development isn’t as rapid or as obvious, but this start of kindergarten is an important time for him too.  I want to be sure I’m present to him as well–which is hard when I have to be constantly vigilant to be sure the baby isn’t swallowing pebbles or destroying Tad’s artwork or…

I miss  the slower-paced days of the summer, when I was the only one who had to leave the house before 8:30, and we were all home by 4:15 most afternoons.  Instead of the go-go-go of our current mornings and evenings we had a few minutes to read books on the couch in the morning or to all sit on the porch together before dinner.

I remember with longing the lazy Fridays that I got to spend with Tadpole when he was little.  I worked four days a week, which meant that I had a whole day to focus on Tad.  We went for toddler-paced walks around the block and did storytime at the library and spent entire afternoons watching road construction.  Plus, I had time to start on weekend chores during his nap.  I’m committed to my current job through July of next year, but am wondering if I can find something with a four-day work week after that.  It feels unfair that Sprout (who already has to share our attention with Tad) doesn’t get this kind of focused attention during the school year (though she does have it with Roo during the summers).

I am very lucky in everything that I have–a job is satisfying and that pays well (even if it takes up more time than I would like), two amazing kids (even if it seems impossible that only two children can create the messes that they do), a cozy house (even if it requires endless cleaning and maintenance).  My life is full-to-overflowing and that brings both intense joy and deep-down-in-my-bones exhaustion.

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Filed under blogging, Parenthood, Sprout, Tadpole, Uncategorized

This is it

A few weeks ago we sent in the official notarized form asking Big Scary Fertility Center to destroy to remaining vials of sperm that we had stored there.  This is it.  We’re done with TTC.  It’s an incredible relief to not be in the midst of that struggle.  And I’m so grateful that we are walking away with the family size that we wanted. It didn’t happen the way we’d pictured or in the time-frame we had planned, and there are still scars there (especially for Roo).  But every day I feel grateful that we have Tadpole and Sprout, (even when they are both screaming at the tops of their lungs simultaneously as they were tonight!).

Of course, like lots of bloggers before me, finishing TTC means trying to figure out what the purpose of this blog is.  After some drama-filled months (pregnancy! job layoff! new baby! new job!), things have settled down quite a bit.  There are (knock on wood) no more big changes in our future.  So what do I blog about?  I enjoy writing about the little daily joys and struggles that fill our lives now. Writing about them helps me to be more present to them now, and I hope will help me have a record of this fleeting time for the future.  But I’m not sure how interesting those things are to anyone else.

I’m also not sure what tone to take.  I don’t know how many of my readers are still TTC or are trying to make peace with a smaller family than they wanted.  But I think a lot about any who might be.  Taking too celebratory a tone seems like gloating, like going on and on about the amazing vacation I’m having to the friend whose flight to the same destination was cancelled.  But complaining too much doesn’t seem fair either, given that I know we’re incredibly lucky to be where we are.  And yet, if I avoid both the fabulous things and the hard things about my life, what do I write about?

I’m also struggling with the logistics of finding time to blog.  Our family has settled into our new routines and figured out how to get all of us out the door in the mornings (mostly) on time.  Unfortunately, the secret seems to be doing a lot of tasks (packing lunches, showering, etc.) in the evenings rather than the mornings.  This means less free time in the evening, which means less time for blogging.

I’m still not sure where this blog will go from here.  I’ve found this space useful over the last two-plus years, both as a place to write about my thoughts and feelings and as a place to get feedback from others.  So I don’t think I’m ready to give it up.  I’ll try out some things in the next few weeks/months and see how it goes.  I’d also love to hear your thoughts on what you’d like to see here, or how you’ve navigated the transition to a post-TTC blog.

In the spirit of trying things out, and holding onto the small moments, here are a few recent favorites:

  • Snuggling with Sprout every night after I give her her dream feed before I go to bed.  Her whole body is so limp and trusting.  I love the feel of my cheek against her soft one, her soft breath against my neck.
  • Sitting at the dining room table with our little family after dinner a few days ago.  Tadpole “helped” me bounce Sprout on my lap, she looked down at him and giggled her funny squeaky giggle, which led to laughter all around.
  • Sprout and Roo working together last weekend to plant some flowers in the window boxes of his playhouse in our backyard.  He took the task so seriously and was so excited about every step of the process.
  • Sprout and Tadpole having long conversations in the back seat that consist entirely of blowing raspberries at each other.

This is our life now.  We’re tired, but so lucky.

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Filed under blogging, Parenthood, Sprout, Tadpole, TTC #2, Uncategorized

2/100/30

Just over two years ago, on September 28th, 2011 I put up my first ever blog post.  Today I am putting up my 100th post (which means I’ve been almost-meeting my goal of posting once a week).  And last Wednesday I hit week 30 of pregnancy.  Lots of milestones!

I’ve been going back through old posts and thinking about all that these last two years have included.  In September 2011 we were getting ready to start trying to get Roo pregnant.  I had recently started a new job.  Tadpole was 2 1/2 and had just begun attending the preschool where he is now in pre-K.  I was excited about starting to blog, but nervous about putting my thoughts and feelings out in the world.

One year ago we were in the midst of TWW #5, and almost a year into our attempts to have a second kid.  We were frustrated at how long and drawn-out the process had been, but hopeful that the switch to Big Scary Fertility Center would make a difference.  Roo and I often felt alone, since few of our friends had struggled with fertility.  But the community of bloggers I had found helped immensely.

And now we’re here.  We’re (hopefully!) about two months from meeting this longed-for, dreamed-of kiddo.  She’s in my belly and not Roo’s, which was an option were just starting to think about a year ago.  But she’s almost here!  We’re so lucky to have made it to this point.

And I continue to be grateful to this community.  The thing that I was most struck by in re-reading old posts was the support that I’ve received all along the way.  Thank you for listening to my TTC angst, laughing at silly stories about Tadpole, giving advice about the TTC process, commiserating when we received yet another BFN, celebrating when we finally got a BFP, offering suggestions about parenting a preschooler, and patiently listening to my whining about the aches and pains of pregnancy.  As tough as our 1 1/2-year slog through TTC was (and I know many folks have much longer and harder journeys than ours), it would have been infinitely more difficult without having companions along the way to kvetch to and get advice from.  I think of you all often, especially those of you still struggling to conceive or to make peace with the size family you have.

Even when folks don’t comment, it makes a difference to know that someone is reading what I’ve written.  For anyone reading who doesn’t usually comment, no pressure, but I’d love to find out more about you.  How did you find my blog?  What do you enjoy reading about?

And to all of you, thanks so much for your companionship through the ups and downs of the last two years.

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Filed under blogging, Parenthood, Tadpole, TTC #2, Uncategorized

Gratitude

Here, in no particular order are things for which I am feeling grateful:

A lovely Saturday afternoon/evening with my family.  On this beautiful not-quite-too-hot summer day we went to a cultural festival where we heard gospel music, got Tad’s face painted, tried out drums and banjos, and watched a blacksmith.   Tad was fascinated by all of it, especially anything musical.  Then we wandered around a downtown neighborhood, watched boats, got Tadpole a flourescent-blue-colored scoop of ice cream, and danced to our favorite street musician (with one family member putting on some spectacular sugar-rush-inspired dance moves!).
My lovely and clever partner. Roo suggested that we replace our recently-defunct dehumidifier two weeks ago, which happened to be one week before we had days and days of crazy storms, each of which flooded our basement.
A light at the end of the tunnel. I’m finally (at 14 1/2 weeks) starting to feel less nausea. I’m definitely not 100%, and still have some pretty miserable evenings. But I also have some days in which I feel almost normal!
Zofran.  It hasn’t done much about the nausea.  But when I’m feeling queasy it make a huge psychological difference to know that I’m not going to actually throw up.
Roo’s parents. We’re so lucky that this set of grandparents lives in town and is eager to be involved with our family. Roo and I had a daring night out at a concert on Wednesday night so Tad spent the night at his grandparents’. By all accounts, everyone had a fabulous time. I’m so grateful that Tad has such a good connection with them, that they are willing to help us out, and that they are people I generally feel comfortable entrusting my child too. I worry that he’ll have 6 desserts per meal, but that seems like a pretty typical kids-at-grandma’s thing.
I’m, like, still pregnant. It’s still hard to believe. I was looking back over some old posts recently and remembering how awful it was when we were in the midst of TTCing. Even now it’s hard to remember just what it felt like to not know how long the process would take.  It’s still hard to believe that we’re not there anymore. There’s a really really good chance that we’ll bring home a baby this winter and be able to be done with this crazy process. We can start using the baby stuff that has been stored in plastic bins in our basement for the last five years. And when we’re done using it, we can pass it on! We’ll be done! We won’t be waiting anymore.  This waiting has been such a huge part of the last year and a half that I’m still getting used to the fact that we’re finally moving on.
YOU! The other thing that struck me as I looked back at old posts was all of the supportive comments from readers. Your offerings of commiseration, hope, advice and support made (and continue to make) such a difference! As much as the TTC process has sucked, one positive thing that has come from it is my connection to this community.  I’m thinking of all of you.  And I’m thinking especially of those who are still in the midst of the struggle and hoping that your good news will come soon.

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Filed under blogging, Pregnancy, TTC #2, Uncategorized

These are a few of my favorite things.

Thanks so much for all of your comments on the last few posts.  Your support, commiseration and advice make a huge difference.  I’m feeling much better today, after a lovely weekend that was filled with some of my favorite things:

Conversations with grown-ups:  Friday night was a low-key dinner with friends at their house.  The adults talked in one room while Tad and his friend (who is about 6 months older) played indpendently in the other room.  I had a moment of being grateful that we have an older kid who could play on his own and could stay out well past 8pm.  Sure, I’d rather have an infant and have to go home earlier, but it’s nice to be back in a place where I can notice the positive aspects of the way things are.

Spending time outside: On Saturday we spent a gorgeous crisp fall morning at a pumpkin patch.  We went on a hayride, fed baby goats, and did all sorts of seasonally-appropriate things.  On Sunday I did some door-to-door political canvassing, walking along sidewalks covered in crunchy fall leaves and meeting some really interesting people.

Tadpole’s imaginary play:  Tad spent large chunks of time this weekend playing his current favorite game, “Mail Carrier.”  In this game he takes about a thousand sheets of scrap paper, puts two stickers on each one (one to be the return address and one to be the stamp), and then puts them in a canvas bag and “delivers” them to every flat surface in the house.  It’s a PITA to clean up, but an adorable game.

Tad is also currently obsessed with firefighters. Apparently it is “fire prevention awareness month,” so the library had a whole section of kids’ books about firefighters when we went on Friday. Tad was in heaven! If it has been up to him, he would have brought every one of them home. He has been particularly obsessed with one of the books (of course the one that I like the least) and we’ve read it over and over. He has assigned each of us a character from it and directs us in our roles–“Momma, you are Liz so you check the hoses.” Roo got him a plastic firefighter hat at a consignment sale over the weekend and he wore it everywhere we went–out to breakfast, to the grocery store, etc.

Cozy time at home: It was also nice to have a chunk of time at home to get various chores done. Not only did I wash several loads of laundry, but I also got the clothes put away, which means we don’t start the week with a flotilla of full laundry baskets at the foot of the bed. I love our house, especially on sunny days with with the sun streaming through the big windows.  I also had a delicious nap on Saturday afternoon while Tad “rested” in his room.

One of my favorite bits of the whole weekend was Tad’s bedtime on Sunday night.  After bathtime he curled up in my lap wrapped in a towel.  I got him into his pajamas (his current favorites, long-johns with a cute fruit and vegetable design).  Roo joined us and after the normal bedtime routine Tad asked “what was your favorite part of today, Mommy?”  Perhaps it was an attempt to draw out bedtime, but it was adorable.  The three of us lay cuddled up together on Tad’s bed and reminisced about the beautiful weekend.

I’m still sad that we don’t have a baby yet, but I also think that the life that I have right now is pretty fabulous.

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365

More than fifteen years ago (gulp!),  I entered my freshman year at a small liberal arts college many miles from home.  At a campus activities fair I discovered that there was Unitarian Universalist group on campus and I decided to check out one of their meetings.  I had stumbled upon Unitarian Universalism a few years earlier and liked what I heard.  I thought its focus on questioning rather than certainty and deeds rather than creeds might make it a good fit for me, but for a variety of reasons I wasn’t ready to try it out while I was in high school.  Once I was at college, though, I was ready to find out more about it so I went to a meeting.  That college UU group became a huge part of my four years there.

The meeting format was simple.  We gathered in a long skinny room in the basement of the chapel at 7pm on Tuesdays.  We would pull the rag-tag collection of second-hand couches into a circle and light a a chalice (often a tea light stuck in a glass we’d pilfered from the dining hall).  Someone read a reading on a spiritual topic, and we had a long period of silence.

And then came “check-in.”  It’s a simple concept.  Basically we just took turns telling how we were doing.  But something about the space and the silence and the group of people we had assembled led to sharing that was far deeper than “I’m stressed about exams and my roommate’s getting on my nerves.”  We talked a lot about our attempts to re-define our relationships with our parents as we were moving towards adulthood.  We thought out loud about what we might do after graduation.  One woman talked about her struggle with an eating disorder.  For several of us, this was the first group we came out to.  Sometimes there would be an activity after check-in, but it always felt like check-in was the most important part.  This kind of talking and listening is a good way to build intensely close relationships, and many of my closest friends from college are folks who I met in that basement room.

Writing my blog and reading the fascinating and thoughtful posts of others feels like an internet version of “check-in.” I have discovered that I need this kind of space. I am a better person, partner and parent when I take the time to notice how I’m feeling. And I am happier when I have a chance to share how I’m doing with other folks and feel heard.

My first post on this blog was a year ago.  I’m proud of myself for carving out time for this in the midst of the demands of daily life with a job and partner and a pre-schooler.  I made it to post #52 earlier this month, which must mean I’m meeting my goal of posting about once a week.

I’m so thankful to all of you who are reading along.  This has been a good year in a lot of ways, but has also had plenty of challenges.  It has made a huge difference to get your supportive comments or just to see the stats and know that someone somewhere is reading what I post.  Both parenthood and trying to conceive can feel lonely sometimes and it makes a huge difference to be part of a community of folks who are experiencing similar struggles.  I’m not the only one who begins to despair about whether we’ll ever have a second kid.  And I’m not alone in having moments of wanting to strangle an almost-4-year-old who refuses to nap and then has multiple ginormous meltdowns all evening.

Lurkers, now would be a great time to introduce yourselves.  No pressure if you’d rather remain anonymous, but I’d love to know more about you and what got you interested in my blog.  I’d also love to hear any feedback about the blog from lurkers or regular commenters.  Are there any topics you’d like to hear more (or less!) about.  Do you have any questions about our funny little family?

Thanks again for reading along.  I’m very grateful to have this community.

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4 Calling Birds: Holiday Cards

The folks over at An Offering of Love have suggested some clever prompts for this time of year.  I intended to do several of them, but haven’t succeeded so far. 

I finally have a few minutes to catch my breath tonight, so I thought I’d jump into one of the prompts, even if it’s not the official day for it.  The suggestion for Saturday was to discuss holiday cards.  Saturday was Tadpole’s birthday party, and I was hip-deep in 3-year-olds.  We had figured that, given the time of year, a lot of the folks we invited wouldn’t be able to come.  Instead almost everyone said yes, so we ended up with 11 kids and their parents, all squished into our not-so-big house.  A fabulous day, but not much spare time for blogging…. 

<end disclaimer, start actual post>

For the last several years, Roo and I have done photo cards with a lot of photos from the year. 

I think we both enjoy looking over pictures from our adventures throughout the year, but when it comes to actually creating the card we run into trouble.  We each have strong opinions about what our family card should look like and how we want to present ourselves to the world.  Roo jokes that this can be a disadvantage about being in a two-woman couple.

Since most of our photos are on her computer, Roo usually puts together an initial draft.  Then I look at it, rearrange most of the pictures, take out half of them and put in ones that I like better.  I let her know, then she takes out the photos I had added that she doesn’t like and rearranges the remaining ones some more.  We go back and forth a number of times over several weeks.  When we’re getting close, we enter into the negotiations phase: “We can leave in the one where I’m making a funny face if we can take out the one where the kid looks not quite right.”  “Well, okay, but what about the one that has weird things going on in the background?” Etc, etc. 

In the end, though, we generally end up with something that we’re both pretty pleased with.  And I secretly kind of enjoy the process.  It feels like it fits with other parts of our relationship–we do lots of going back and forth, discussing what is important to us, and what we are willing to give up.  What we end up with is generally different than what each of us would have come up with alone, but also really great.

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WTF?

I had this whole post planned out in my head before I got up this morning.  It would be titled “OMG!”  I would begin by describing how I had envisioned this month’s attempt as a trial run.  After all, we felt lucky to have conceived Tadpole in 2 months, and we were several years younger then.  I would launch into a description of my astonishment when, sometime last week, Roo started having pretty much every single listed symptom of early pregnancy.  And then our joy when we got the faintest of positive pregnancy tests on Tuesday morning.

All of those things did happen.  Where the post-in-my-head diverges from reality has to do with this morning.  The post-in-my-head involved early-morning excitement over a pregnancy test that turned rapidly and more definitively positive.  The post in reality includes an early morning pregnancy test that turned definitively negative.

Obsessive Googling and a phone call to Roo’s OB suggest that we have had a chemical pregnancy.

Before the cycle started, I thought I was ready to be calm and patient and measured, avoiding becoming too excited, too fearful, or too despairing.  But we had several days of increasing symptoms leading to increasing optimism.  And 48 hours of believing that Roo was pregnant, in which we daydreamed about a summer baby and making the announcement to our families and friends and not having to pay a zillion more dollars to the sperm bank.  And now it has all come crashing back down.  I’m trying to get back to that place of being calm and patient, but definitely not there yet.

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Meta

As I am new to this blogging thing, I have been thinking a lot about how to decide what to post, and would love input from more experienced folks. 

I’m excited about my new blogging project, and sometimes want to tell everyone I know.  But then I imagine someday wanting to vent here about certain people or situations, and that makes me hesitant to tell them.  Do I tell my mom?  My mother-in-law?  A good friend with whom I sometimes clash?  But THEN I consider that nothing posted on the internet is really completely private.  So maybe I’ll never feel comfortable posting anything that involves venting about anyone.  In which case I might as well let them read it.  Help!  How do you decide who to tell about your blog, and how does that affect what you decide to post?

Then there is the whole question of Tadpole’s reaction to this.  I plan to keep this focused on MY experiences of parenthood, rather than on Tad’s own story (which I believe should be his to tell).  But the line between the two can get fuzzy.  As he gets bigger and has more of his own ideas about things, will he object to having so much of our family life reported on the internet?  And then there’s his potential reactions to my thoughts and feelings about parenthood; I know that it is perfectly normal for parents to have days when they are frustrated with parenthood, but does Tad really want to know everything that I think about him?  And even if I attempt to keep him from seeing this, it’s hard to predict what search engines or other technology will come along that could make it possible for him to find this blog in the future.

How weird is it that I want other people to read about my innermost thoughts, but that I would prefer that these people be strangers?  And isn’t it odd that I would prefer that my blog NOT become popular enough that people who I actually know might read it.  This internet thing is strange.

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