Monday, January 31, 2011

A Desperate Plea to Appleseed

Dear Appleseed,
Sweetie, it is your Mommy.  I know that you are very busy in there, but we need to talk. 
According to What to Expect, you are smack in the middle of another big week, and loving your new status upgrade from “embryo” to “fetus”.  You are growing – somewhere between the size of a green olive and a prune.  You are looking more like a baby everyday.  Like I said, you are busy for being so tiny.
Let me just say this – how busy you are in there is showing out here. You are kicking my butt, little one.  I am exhausted.  I feel like I could sleep until September 1st, but of course that can’t happen. 
Eating and enjoying it is a no go these days – come on, kid.  Give me a break.  You and I have gotta eat, and I don’t want to feel like crap.  There must be something you will let me enjoy.  Anything?  Daddy is on the hunt for anything to sustain the two of us.  I am just forcing in down.  Seriously – If you think of something, let me know…  Your sister liked birthday cake with extra icing, macaroni and cheese with green chili salsa, PB&J…  All of which has me gagging as I type.
I just want to lay on the couch in a heap of exhaustion and self-pity until I can see your darling face and forget this part forever.  Your business in there has led to a total lack of business out here on my part.  Your Daddy is gonna kill me for showing this to the world, but here are some examples of what a slacker you are making me:
Hayden’s toys are everywhere.

Books, too.

Beds are unmade and laundry is multiplying.

Dishes, too.

I have broken down and let your sister watch Yo Gabba Gabba.  I am sure that someday, you will also like Yo Gabba Gabba, but it is truly torture for adults.

I will spare you pictures of the dog hair under the dining room table and the bathrooms that need cleaning. 
As you can see, things are looking grim out here.
So, my darling child, what I am asking your for is this- can you ease up, just a tiny little bit?  I know you are busy and I love you dearly and I am so glad that you are growing strong.  I am so glad that you are small but mighty, and I understand that the exhaustion and the sickness come with the territory, but maybe just a teensy, tiny little bit of relief?  I have to get on track out here before the house falls down around me in shambles and your sister figures out that I have lost the will to fight and ties me to a chair so she can do whatever she wants.  That would be a disaster, but I am beginning to feel like it is not far from a reality.
At least give it some thought.  Please?
Love, Mama

Monday, January 24, 2011

Boobies are for Babies

We are done.
Nursing is for babies, and I have a big girl. 
Contrary to popular belief, you can nurse a baby through a subsequent pregnancy if you so choose.  No harm will come to any of the three of you, you will just have to eat enough to make the milk and gain the necessary weight and drink a ton of water.  It is doable.  Admittedly, most doctors recommend against it, including my own OB/GYN, but research says that you can do it with no adverse effects.
But, as you might remember, with a trip to Rome looming over me and now a baby on the way, it was time for weaning.  I need a break between kids, and I need this one to sleep through the night (in her own bed) before the next one comes and we start all over.
We made a “No Boobies When the Sun is Up” rule two days before Hoot’s birthday, a week after the pee-stick confirmed that Baby Appleseed was joining us.  My supply had kind of dipped, which was actually the first way that Appleseed made him or herself known and cued me that I should pee on the much talked about stick in the first place. 
So we just cut the day nursings out.
Hoot surprised me.  She never asked for it during the day, she was taking naps without nursing and she was as happy as ever. 
I stalled on cutting the night nursing for another three weeks, but three nights ago, Hayden nursed for the last time.  We just told her, "No more. Boobies are for babies. You're a big girl now." And that was that.
The world (and my heart) didn’t implode.
She was only minimally annoyed the first night, and she got over it and went back to sleep.
An era has ended – we had a good run. 
I loved nursing my girl, I loved that relationship, and I will always remember it dearly.  But we are on to a different, big girl relationship.  I think it has been harder on me than on her, but even I am proud that she is so accepting of a sippy of whole milk throughout the day and that she likes just snuggling and watching Sesame Street before naps and bedtime.  I am proud that she is so able to adapt, and it gives me hope on the sleeping through the night front.
 And in a few short months, I will be back at the starting line with a new baby - who I plan on nursing for at least a year just like his or her sister, but I can’t promise that I won’t nurse longer than that.  We’ll see what the future brings us.  All I know right now, at almost 13 months, Hootie is happy and thriving, and weaning her wasn’t as hard as it felt like it might be. 
But, between you and I, I already miss it – just a little.  ;)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meet Baby Appleseed

Introducing our tiniest family member, Appleseed.

Isn’t he or she cute?  I am making him or her myself.
Remember that “dark place” I mentioned that I had spent some of the past 7 weeks and 6 days (that is how long Appleseed has been a member of our family) in?  That negative, ugly, no-way-in-heck- that-I-deserve-two-happy-healthy-kids place I have been going?  It’s the place I go to think of the “what-ifs” and the “coulds” and the “unthinkables” of being pregnant.
It isn’t a good place.  At all.  And I am trying to stay out of there.  In that place, every twinge, pull, tug, cramp, whatever can turn to the worst.  I passed through that place when I was pregnant with HootOwl, but this time it feels like I’m lost in a bad neighborhood full of one way streets and dark alleys but few ways out. 
I let that place get the best of me over the weekend.  But rather than staying there, I called my doctor.  The nurse there is named Carrie.  She said she doesn’t want anyone to feel so worried.  So she moved my ultrasound to today to give me some peace of mind.  Thank goodness for her.  
So, I have a roll of pictures of tiny little Appleseed and I am using it like a map.  A map to guide me from that place to the bright, sunny neighborhood I belong in.  I have a tiny little kid growing in me today, and I love him or her, even if you look at the picture and think it’s a face (or something?) that only a mother could love.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Two days before New Year’s, I was riding next to my husband in the truck.  We were on our way to Wal-Mart, and like we do every time we are on the way to Wal-Mart, we were making a shopping list.  It is true that we should probably do this before we leave the house, but we never ever do.  The conversation went something like this:
G:  Dog food.  Mostly we are getting dog food.
Me: And I want to look at the Christmas sale stuff.
G: Great. We’ll be there forever.
Me: No, we won’t – I’ll be quick. (We both know this isn’t true.  I am never quick.) (long pause) AndI think I need to pee on a stick.
Me: Yes, again. Humor me.
G:  How many sticks can a person pee on?  You always think you’re pregnant, whether you have real reason or not.

He’s right.  In the month of November, I peed on $65 worth of sticks – why are they so expensive?  I just wanted to make sure.  I was still nursing Hoot full-time, too, so things were all crazy with my body .  $65 worth of pee sticks and they were all negatives.  I was expecting the negative, just like before, but I am paranoid.  Have you ever seen that show I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant?  Hell if I am going to be one of those women who have a surprise baby in an amusement park bathroom after nine months of behavior not cohesive with baby-baking!  Aside from being dangerous, it would just be embarrassing.

I stopped taking the mini-pill around Halloween.  We decided that we would take on a “don’t try, don’t prevent” method of family planning.  After all, this is how we got Hayden.  We thought it would take time, like it did with Hayden…  Okay, admittedly, it only took four months with Hayden, but this time I was nursing a baby and I only recently let my husband sit next to me on the couch after the trauma of childbirth and we sleep with a kid in between us.  It was going to take time.

Anyhow, back to this day at Wal-Mart.  It was about 5pm and when we got home, I peed on the stick.  I was expecting nothing, like before when I may as well have just peed on $65 cash and called it good.  I just wanted to put my mind at ease and go drink a glass of wine. 
Like always, the universe had different plans.
I didn’t even have to wait the full three minutes.  I peed, set the stick on the windowsill, and stood to pull my pants up.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it.  I didn’t believe it, but I saw it.  Not the one pink line I was used to.  TWO.
 Two pink lines.   
Two kids under two years old. 
Two times the diapers.
Two times the night wakings.
Two babies.
I blinked away tears and disbelief.  Two pink lines?  Two pink lines!  A positive?  I was crying and shocked and happy all at once.  My life flashed before my eyes.  I picked up the stick and ran to find Garrett.
He was standing in the kitchen, probably still sulking about the fact that I was peeing on yet another stick for no reason.  This part of the conversation went like this:
Me:  Look.  (holding out stick) You’ve gotta see this.
G: What? 
Me: Two lines. Look.
G: (huge smile, hugging me) Congratulations, Mama!   Aren’t you happy?
Me: Oh, yes.  Yes!  How did this happen? Two lines?  We are going to have two kids.  What have we done?
G: (laughing) What do you mean, “How did this happen?” Isn’t this the exact conversation we had when you found out you were pregnant with Hayden? 

Again, he was right.  It was almost verbatim the conversation that we had at 6am around 20 months before this one.  What can I say, I lose my head when under pressure.  Sue me.

So, the moral of my story?  Unprotected sex makes babies. 

And this family is growing.  And my waistline is preparing to grow, too.  Hayden will be welcoming her baby brother or sister at the end of the summer.  They will be 19 months apart.

I am excited and nervous .  At first I felt like I was taking away Hoot’s “babyness” - depriving her of being the only one just a little longer.  Of being THE baby just a little longer.  But now I realize that for her, the positives will out-weigh the negatives ten-fold.  She will have a friend, a partner, a buddy.  She will never be lonely or wish that she had a playmate. I know that she’ll be the best big sister ever.  She is going to love it.

We wanted our kids close together, and that is what we are getting.  We are very blessed.  And truthfully, after this kid is born, I think that we will be afraid to pass each other in the hall or make eye-contact at the wrong moment for fear that it will be this easy again! 

As for me, the mom, I already love this baby.  I feel like I am way more worked up than I was with Hayden.  I have a lot of worry and anxiety.  I have actually been in kind of a dark place – worrying that something bad will happen, that this baby won’t be real.  My first appointment (and ultrasound) is on the 24th.  I am doing all I can to stay out of that dark place – worrying will not add a single day to anyone’s life.  Each day, I have to wake up and tell myself that I am so fortunate – I have one gorgeous, healthy kid and soon I will have two.  Like I said, I already love him or her.  And that is enough for now.

I feel pregnant.  Gaggy.  Weepy.  Exausted.  It’s all there.  It hasn’t been that long since I did this – but time dulls all memories, especially the unpleasant parts.  I see how smart and funny Hoot is and I see how worth it the gaggy, weepy, tired nine months are. 

For now I’m taking it one day at a time.  We’re talking names, and nurseries, and double strollers. 

Like I said at the end of my post about Hayden’s birthday – TWO, here we come.  We’re the Awesomes – we’d like you to meet our kids, Totally and Frickin’.  :) 

Good thing I peed on all of those sticks.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Party Day

Hayden's party was PERFECT.

The Birthday Girl was gorgeous. (As always!!)

The decorations were great.

The goodies were all in place -

- including the best birthday cakes EVER made especially for Hoot by my cousin, Erin Rae:

There were presents galore!

The cake was eaten... or smashed.

And the Owl was pooped when it was over.

All in all, it turned out perfectly - and I really enjoyed it.  (That's a big deal for those of us suffering from The Clark Griswold Effect.) 

Thanks to the family and friends who all came to wish Hootie a Happy 1st Birthday.  It means so much to us that so many people love her.  She is a really lucky little kid.

And now, onward and upward - TWO, here we come.  We'll bethere before we know it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Bye-Bye Baby: Happy 1st Birthday, Hayden Paisley

My baby isn’t a baby anymore. 
Today she is one.  A whole year has passed since her daddy and I first met this little person.  The tiny little person we had been dying to meet for nine long months. 
I can’t believe that we are headed full steam ahead into toddler hood.  A couple of weeks ago, I told my dad that I felt like I was taking away her “babyness” by weaning her and he said, “Allison, look at her.  I think her ‘babyness’ has been on it’s way out for a while.”  We looked up to see my girl, walking and talking and playing babies and chasing the dogs and doing all of the things that “babies” can’t do.
He was right.  My baby is pretty well gone.
So I feel like today, on her first birthday, I should recount the story of her birth.  I guess I am feeling a little nostalgic for her “babyness” and I can’t believe that a year has passed.  In so many ways it feels impossible that a whole year has flown by, in other ways it feels like she has been in our lives forever.
Starting about Christmas 2009, we were on baby watch.  My official due date was January 8, 2010, and the week before Christmas (at 36 ½ weeks) I was already dilated 1cm.  To me,  this seemed hopeful.  Like I wouldn’t make it into the new year, like there was a light at the end of this tunnel.  
The weather outside was cold and icy for the whole month of December, and I was tired of having to waddle around like I was part of a Whales on Ice show, and I was nervous about our one hour drive to the hospital in Carson City should I go into labor.  My dad, who is a rancher, said that I was starting to get nervous like the cows do, sniffing and pawing at the ground in anticipation of calving.  I was growing annoyed with people saying how huge and tired I looked, and I was tired of the well meaning comments like, “My god, you still haven’t had that baby?” 
At this point, my poor husband and my family and friends were having to deal with me and my bad attitude, too.   I was growing cantankerous and my fuse was all but burnt out.
 I also began having some strange blood pressure issues, so we were going to the doctor every third day or so, and every time, I was still 1cm.  I should receive a ribbon for staying at 1cm for three and a half long weeks.
Christmas and the New Year came and went, and my blood-pressure was still a little wacky, and my bad attitude was wearing on the people around me.  It was decided that we would check into the hospital on the evening of January 6th, begin an induction with Cytotec overnight followed my my doctor breaking my water and Pitocin in the morning.  The plan was to have a baby sometime late afternoon or evening on the 7th.
We checked in to the hospital in Carson at 5pm on the 6th.  We had this really nasty nurse that hated my husband (I don’t know what that was about, but she was so mean to him) and she immediately sat down at the foot of my bed and proceeded to scare the crap out of me.  She told me that tonight was going to be awful, and tomorrow would be worse and that it would probably take about 24 hours of hard labor and that I would probably not have my baby in my arms until well after this time tomorrow.  She told me how bad it was going to hurt and that I should have taken some better birthing classes or practiced my breathing more and that I would be sorry I hadn’t.  She was truly awful.  Let’s call her Nurse Beezy.
I proved old Nurse Beezy wrong in that my night was pretty uneventful from the looks of it.  The only discomfort I felt was that the bed was like a rock and every time Beezy came back in my room, I would start crying after she left because I was so scared of what tomorrow might be like. 
When Dr. Chacon came in at 6am on the morning of the 7th, he said I was at 4cm!  I had been doing all that work all night and had no real clue.  I wasn’t feeling my contractions, but they were happening – two minutes apart to be exact.  He broke my water, and I said, “Wow.  That was a lot.  I am glad that didn’t happen at home.”  Truthfully, I am glad that none of it happened at home because things got a lot more intense from there.  Dr. Chacon started the Pitocin and said he’d see me sometime in the late afternoon or evening to meet our baby.
As soon as my water was broken, the contractions were awful.   They were right on top of each other and they were unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I was a screaming, cussing mess of a woman.  I demanded my epidural – NOW.  Nurse B. and her shocking lack of bedside manner replied, “I told you that you’d be sorry you didn’t think more about breathing techniques.  The anesthesiologist is in a C-section.  He’ll be here in an hour.” 
This is where I became possessed by the devil.  An hour?!  An hour?!  I told that witch that I didn’t care where the effing anesthesiologist was, get him in here NOW.  My poor husband was left with me, screaming and cussing and carrying on.  All of this is pretty foggy, but I do remember the lady from the kitchen coming and with a little paper for me to order lunch, dinner, and breakfast for the following morning – and in an attempt to displace what was happening in the room, poor Garrett asking me what I might want.  And, between my shouting and screaming and cursing, I answered him.  Looking back, it seems like such a funny conversation to have as my head was spinning around like The Shining.
It was 7am.  My mom had gotten a room at the Holiday Inn across the street, and we had told her that since it would take all day for this kid to be born, to take her time.  She was going to bring Garrett some Starbucks and be here at 8:30 or 9.
Somewhere in here, there was a shift change and Nurse Beezy was replace by a wonderful woman who was amazing.  And the anesthesiologist finished his C-section and was headed my way.  In the mean time, I was given a shot of Nubian, which did nothing for the pain and made me so silly and even looser lipped.  The swears and cruses continued to fly. 
At about 8am, the anesthesiologist came in and asked me to sit up.  As soon as I was sitting up, I was certain I was going to die.  I told the nurse that I was going to have a baby on the floor and I told the anesthesiologist to “hurry the eff up” which made him laugh. 
“No, really,” I said in between contractions, “I mean it.  I never want to feel like this again.” 
“Oh, don’t say that,” he replied, “You want to give this little one a brother or a sister, don’t you?”
“NO!” I yelled, “Not like this. I can get one from Cambodia or something!!” Everyone (except me) chuckled at that.
As he was getting the epidural in, I was still shouting and carrying on, I thought I was going to puke, I gagged, I swore some more.  I told the nurse again that I was going to have a baby on the floor.  I could feel her making her way out, but seeing as it had only been three hours since I had been in real labor, I knew that it was probably not the case.  We had hours ahead of us according to the nurses and even Dr. Chacon.  We probably wouldn’t see this kid before dinner time.
As soon as the epi was in place I was a new woman.  I could think clearly again.  Well, pretty clearly – I was still silly from the Nubain, but I wasn’t cussing or screaming.  I felt no pain.  Next time I have a baby, I want my epidural at 20 weeks. LOL  I told the anesthesiologist that I was in love with him, I was in love with epidurals, and the next day, when it was over I’d be writing a poem proclaiming my love.  Embarrassing. Haha!

It was now 9:30.  My mom was still not there yet.  We figured it was a waiting game now and that we were hours away from having a baby.  Garrett opened the windows and we watched it snowing on the hills.  We joked about how awful the first three hours of this day had been.  The nurse came in and checked me.
10 centimeters.  Ready to go.  Only 3 ½ hours.  We were stunned.  She went to call Dr. Chacon.  My mom showed up.  She couldn’t believe we were ready to go. She missed all of the terrible part, including my exorcism, er, epidural! We were gonna have a baby before lunch.
At 10:15, we watched out the window as Dr. Chacon skittered across the ice from the backdoor of his office to the hospital.  He was as surprised as we were that this was happening so fast.
After only 4 ½  hours of labor and four contractions worth of pushing, Hayden Paisley Diegel came into the world, weighing in at a hefty 8 pounds even, measuring 19 ¼ inches long.  She was immediately laid on my chest.  That was the most amazing moment of my life.  I never knew how intensely I could love someone until that moment. 

As I have said before, she was born an old soul.  She came out with huge, blue eyes and a serious and thoughtful expression.  She looked right at us, immediately melting her dad’s heart.   She had a full head of hair, long fingers, and huge feet.  She was born holding her head up like a big girl – how else was she supposed to see everything this world had in store for her?  Basically, my girl’s feet hit the ground ready to run.  
And she hasn’t stopped since.  It is crazy how much a person can change in a year – not just Hoot, but Garrett and I, too.  Our universe has shifted in ways we could never have anticipated.  Everything is bigger, brighter, better.  We are finding our way through it, just like she is. 

A year ago, we said hello to our new baby, today we may be saying goodbye to that baby in a way, but we are saying hello to new, bigger things.  So- bye-bye, Baby – hello, Toddler.  Here’s to another one of the best years of our lives.   

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A note from a Clark Griswold protege on birthdays, family memories, and a strange affiction

I have four days to plan the First Birthday Party of the Decade.
I have a tutu to make, some hairbows to glue, shopping to do, brownies and other gourmet goodies to to bake and decorate, a house to clean and then decorate to the hilt with some decorations I will be crafting and assembling in my “free time”, and a million other little things to do.
Of course I could go to Wal-Mart and buy a cake.  Of course I could go and buy all of the decorations and a little dress for Hootie and even some snacks and goodies.  I could lay all of that out for our friends and they would love it.  It would turn out to be a great first birthday party.  No one would think less of me, and I would be sane and easy-going all week.  Nothing wrong with that at all.
But there is a problem with that.
This is my curse:  I have a bad habit of going over-board.  I have a habit of getting an idea in my head and being unable to shake the picture of perfection out of my thoughts long enough to realize that I am even doing it.  I have this grand idea of what a first birthday party (or Christmas eve, or Thanksgiving, or summer BBQ, at my house “should” be like.  Streamers, homemade snacks, handmade d├ęcor and everything in its place. 
Oh, I want it to appear effortless – “Oh, this? Pfft – it’s nothing!!”
It is a hang-up of mine.
And it doesn’t always serve me well.
In the past, it has ended up with me disappointed in a perfectly gorgeous gathering/event/favor for a friend/project/Wednesday night dinner/you name it because it wasn’t what I envisioned. 
I call this “The Clark Griswold Effect” – in other words, the planner of an event (in my case this is Hayden’s birthday party, in Clark’s case, it’s an “old fashioned family Christmas” or an awesome family vacation in the Family Truckster) builds something up so much in their mind that there is no way that said event could ever live up to the vision - even if everything went right, which (as you know if you have ever seen old Clark in action) it never does.
If you are not familiar with Clark Griswold, he is the over-zealous patriarch of his family.  He (like myself) sets lofty goals for his family gatherings and events in an attempt to make beautiful memories for his children.  For poor Clark (and often myself) these goals end in disaster or at the very least disappointment.  Clark (okay, and I) just want everything to be perfect, and we refuse to admit that “perfect” isn’t real and that nothing could ever live up to our expectations.  Thus, “The Clark Griswold Effect.”

TCGE pretty well rules my life.  I guess you could say that I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the memories making and what I expect of myself.  Clark and I are kindred spirits.
I am working on trying to curb this little Clark problem of mine.  I am telling myself that all that matters is that Hootie has fun and that we celebrate the best year ever and that I am still good enough – even if my party isn’t flawless magazine quality.
 Actually, this birthday is a scaled down version of my original vision, even if this scaled down version still includes a four day long To-Do list.  Hey, I said I am working on it. 
Clark Griswold and I are just gluttons for punishment, I guess – we both just keep on coming back for more.  It is in us – eternally optimistic, always trying to find the bright-side, over-the-top visionaries we are.  We may both be suffering from TCGE at every turn of our lives, but we both have the same simple reason for our affliction – we love our families.  We want them to grow up and look back on their childhoods and remember how great their birthday/Christmas/vacation/whatever was. 
Which, I know deep within, that they will - no matter what their birthday party or vacation is like  – because the love that Clark and I have for our kids is bigger than any birthday party or vacation could ever express.   People like me and Mr. Griswold approach everything – including loving our families – with that same lofty expectation of ourselves. I guess that there are some situations where being afflicted with the over-zealous approach to life and love for family that always ends with the “The Clark Griswold Effect” is a good thing.  I hope so.  TCGE isn’t something you can just shut off – take it from me. 
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go make a tutu and some handmade decorations for Hayden’s “fun, old fashioned family birthday party….. :) 
Love Always, Clark Griswold Jr.