While we enjoyed all the workshops that the LPA National Conference had for us, we also loved participating in other events- like the Fashion Show! Check out Addie in her first appearance in the LPA Fashion show at #lpaSD2014!
Tag Archives: Dave
It’s ok that the day itself may not be marvelous, because the life that follows will be.
And that’s the damn truth.
I’ve struggled with what is OK to share, and what isn’t, and while Addie is at such a young age, I think it’s helpful for parents to know about what may happen with their small children, especially their children with dwarfism going through scarier surgeries, like decompression. For us, we may have a special case (Addie doesn’t seem to bounce back from anesthesia very well), but here’s the story.
Many parents have recalled surgeries from years past and reminded me that our kids bounce back. I totally agree that they do- Addie is such a fighter, sometimes I think she must not be mine. But just because she fights doesn’t mean that sometimes her body doesn’t betray her, or that the bounce that some people recall as “a few days” really was closer to a few weeks… but who can remember years ago in such detail?
So… while it is fresh in my memory, while I’m living it, let me tell you what last week brought us, and why not being 100% doesn’t make this a bad week.
(Disclosure: Addie has decompression of the foramen magnum and a C1 laminectomy. There is a photo at the very end of the post you can enlarge to see the incision.)
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
When we got to the hospital, she was asking for banana. Thrilled that Daddy was going on an adventure during the week, I could tell she knew where we were when we left the car with Hasbro’s valet. We walked in the door, I led the way to the admission room- this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. After check-in, we went up to the 2nd floor to meet with our team, do vitals, review health records… the usual. When I saw Dr. Deer, I was thrilled. I’d requested him to lead the anesthesia team and I could feel myself breathe a sigh of relief when I saw his face. “I knew the name looked familiar…” he smiled… as he’d just put Addie under for her MRI in June. Thankfully, the second I asked, Addie’s neurosurgeon put in my request. Things were starting off well.
After the big stuff was done, we went on to the way cool things, like a syringe of Versed (aka Midazolam, used before surgery or medical tests to make you feel sleepy and relaxed – This medicine is a benzodiazepine) and the playroom. As she played, I reminded Dave to pick her up after a bit because she would get loopy. He grinned and scooped her up. She looked up at him and explained in a slow voice with a beaming smile, something about Sesame Street and Cookie Monster then laughed. He looked at me… “told ya,” I laughed. He was wearing the OR gear that was reserved for me… only I am pregnant and can’t go back to the OR with the gas. I gave her kisses and more kisses and a hug that I could feel was being taken away from me. “OK, Mom. We’re ready. Dad, follow me.”
And they were off. I stood there, motionless, for what seemed like 10 minutes. Then I started to pace. I stood in the doorway when he finally came back towards me- making a right to strip off the gown, hairnet and mask, and then a left to come back to the waiting room. We gathered our bags and headed to the surgical waiting room. The patient progress monitor (sort of like a departures/arrivals screen at an airport, but with patient number and status) was not updating from the day before, and I was apprehensive the whole time because it was never fixed… but with Dave sitting near the phone, I was sure we would know something soon.
And then 3 hours passed into 4. It rang… “You’re speaking with him,” Dave spoke into the receiver. I popped up from the couch where I’d been in a sleepy stupor, started grabbing my things around me and my bag. “Ok, thank you,” and he hung up. “She’s done? Can I see her? What did they say?” In his usual calm demeanor, he told me, “about another hour.” I started the timer. An hour left.
I played with my ribbons relentlessly. Orange and purple she’d said. “Should mommy wear them in a bow?” I asked. “Yes, ok,” she replied. And those were what I was holding on to.
At about 7 after 1 (5 hours and 7 minutes after I’d seen her), Dr. Klinge walked in. I looked at her with this anticipation and excitement that felt like it was jumping off me. As she sat down, we talked about Addie’s compression and how it looked once she got in there. She showed ultrasounds that she took of the spinal cord, the flow, and discussed how there was some scarring around her dura (the outermost of the three layers of the meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord) and pinching. I heard nothing except, “no permanent damage. We took care of it all…” as she talked on. I was handed a bag of Addie’s baby curls with her name on them, and “Do you have any questions?” she asked.
“When can I see her?”
She smiled at me and we talked a bit more… and then she left. Addie would be going to her PICU room before we could see her (skipping the general recovery area), and after what seemed like an eternity, I saw him. Dr. Deer walked toward me and I stood so fast my chair fell over (to be fair, the HUGE bag of Addie’s medical history was on the back). I scrambled to grab everything as he told us she did great and we could come back to see her. As he scanned his badge to PICU, my heart was slamming. “She’s asking for something… a bunk…” the nurse trailed off. “Binky bunky!” I grabbed her pacifier, lifted her mask and placed it in her mouth. Immediately she calmed… but once she saw Dave, she begged to have him. He sat down and held onto her with all his might as she settled.
The first night was rough, but we made it through. As the nurse told me what her lines were for I cringed. Fluids, morphine, Valium. I felt like I was in a panic and was pretty stressed out. Dave got us dinner and even in her stupor, Addie was thrilled that my dinner included guacamole. After we got her settled, Dave went home for the night. Around 3am I woke up and paged our nurse. The pain in my right side was excruciating, my belly was tight… a contraction that wouldn’t let go. “Do you want a wheelchair?” Julie, our nurse, asked. She was so nice… looking at me with encouraging eyes- I think she wanted to wheel me to Women & Infants. “I just need to drink some water,” I assured her. For about 20 minutes I stretched, drank water and walked around. Finally, I was able to lay back down. Scared I was going to bring labor on, I did my best to sleep, but around 4am, Addie woke up. She was puffy and itchy and wanted to be held… so I did what any 34-week pregnant mom would do. I adjusted myself as best I could and held her to my chest. She immediately went back to sleep and I cried into her shoulder.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Her first PT and OT session went well, although she was shaking due to lack of food and a high dose of meds, but… I got my first smile! And that made my heart soar.
We left PICU around 1pm Wednesday, and Addie had some visitors, which made her quite sleepy!
She wept a lot throughout the day, and stayed on her morphine and fluids, barely eating anything. Dave came as soon as he got out of work, which was just what she needed. Addie had woken up in a stupor around 6:15pm and screamed for him for a better part of an hour as multiple people tried to console her, including her Auntie Ashley. But then Daddy was there… and all was well in the world, again. Daddy makes everything better, with our one mishap coming when the line in her foot loosened as it was being taken out and blood went everywhere. Thankfully, it was one of those “looks worse than it is” things (and no, I won’t show you the picture).
We snuggled in for the night, and Dave tucked us both in with her gently whimpering for him. The wrap around her head was bothering her, but I was glad it was there. I wasn’t ready to see the full incision, which was only half visible from underneath a piece of gauze. When Addie rolled over a while later, screaming in pain, I buzzed the nurse, who came in and put another dose of morphine on for her. She looked at me through drowsy eyes and asked for “mama’s pillow”… the pregnancy pillow I’d brought for myself now neatly nestled her small body in it’s curve, leaving me with the hospital pillows to ease my aching body. Her body was wrapped up in barely anything, but she was running warm and we monitored her fever, which stayed low, throughout the night.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Thursday went well, with a PT trip to the activity room, a visit from Grandpa and Poppy (Dave’s dad and grandfather), and time spent with Namah (Dave’s mom). When the bandage was removed, she put her head in my hands to scratch- I went to town, gently rubbing her forehead and behind her ears. I could feel her body relaxing. When I first saw the incision I was taken aback. It was beautiful- her warrior badge shown upon her little head with such gusto and force. It almost took my breath away. From where I was sitting, it looked like 6 inches. There was something so unobtrusive about it… it was there, but her hair would cover much of it, and the stitches, being dissolvable, were not dark or menacing.
She did great all day… most of the day, but after nap time, she was irritable and upset. She’d slept through her medication time, and because we were trying to go all by-mouth, she was unhooked from the IV. My mistake for thinking her being asleep was substitute- when she woke up she was grabbing her neck and screaming through tears. I buzzed the nurse who rushed meds in for her. As I calmed her and gave her lunch, she felt warm. We continued to monitor her fever, which stayed low into the night.
Addie had taken all of her medication by mouth the whole day, and thus we were almost a shoe-in to go home the next day! As I settled her into bed and laid down next to her, we both drifted to sleep. I felt Dave kiss us both and whisper I love you before leaving. I wanted to cry when he left… even though I was mostly asleep, I missed him at night. About 2 hours later Addie woke up screaming. We got her some more meds and she looked at me with these big pained eyes. I felt awful. Her fever was almost gone and she just wanted to go home. “You want to get out of here?” I whispered. She grabbed my face and smiled before we both tried to go back to sleep.
Friday, August 15, 2014
After not sleeping much (she somehow takes over all beds), I hopped up and was dressed and ready for discharge before Dave even got to the hospital for his morning visit.
The pediatrician came in (I love that our pedi checks in with the hospitalized patients every day) and looked in Addie’s ears. With a diagnosis of no ear infection, we knew that muscle spasms were responsible for some of the waking and night screams. I agreed to leave the hospital with a script for a muscle relaxant… For my two year old. This idea went against every fiber of my being, but her being in pain wasn’t something I could handle. We were almost packed and ready to go when we got word that neuro was backed-up and wouldn’t be up to check Addie out for a while. With a sad goodbye, Dave made his way into work. As he left, I checked her head. She’s warm. “100.9°, mom. We’ll keep an eye on it.”
For hours, no one came. I tried to get fluids and food into her, we met with PT and played, and she rested. Slowly, with some meds, the fever lessened- and being under 101.5º, the neurologist agreed we could be discharged. If you know anything about the discharge process, it’s not quick. Paperwork to leave, scripts, instructions and signatures all need to happen before we get the approval, but when Dave came back at 6pm, we were ready. With bags, balloons and flowers in the wagon and Addie chomping at the bit to “please, I go outside now,” we made our way to the revolving door of Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
As she brushed her teeth for bed, I ran downstairs and grabbed my measuring tape. “I need to know,” I said to Dave. He knew what I meant. “Exactly 3 inches,” he said. And that was that. Our first night was OK, with bags of liquids, diazepam in pill form (yes, a pill…) and some sorbet for good measure, I left CVS. Addie took her meds with some disdain and headed to bed, waking only once and settling with a second dose of medication and some snuggles, until 7:30!
Saturday, August 16, 2014
With a morning reminiscent of most other mornings at home, Addie wanted to do something… so we headed out to the Hope Street Farmer’s Market in Providence (RI). She did great, and though I was upset about one person who sidestepped me and got in close to Dave’s shoulder checking out the back of Addie’s head, our mid-afternoon adventure was great- running into friends and enjoying some fresh air!
Addie came home and took a great nap, again waking in pain. Managing sleep times and pain management is a challenge I don’t think I will ever truly conquer. For the rest of the day she was OK, coming out of her grogginess and enjoying a trip to the grocery store for some dinner staples. But then sleep came in clips. After settling in, she woke up screaming and grabbing her head. I could see she was trying to get out of bed- not a good thing for a toddler on muscle relaxants, so Dave ran in while I went downstairs to get her meds. She settled in with him, but just an hour later was up and screaming again- at her door! I picked her up and brought her into bed, where she continued to scream through the night… unable to tell us what was wrong, Dave and I could do nothing but hold her and try to get her in a comfortable position.
Sometimes I feel helpless as a parent… this was one of those nights I felt like a total failure. Her cry left me in pain, and my inability to fix it left me in shame.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
I first saw her Sunday morning when Dave carried her into the bedroom with my coffee. My eyes half opened, I heard her squeak, “Good morning, Mommy!” My heart felt lighter… she was doing OK. Dave looked a little rough, but I knew he would be fine. Our day, as all the others since the surgery, was up and down. There was some crying and pain, but there were also moments of love and snuggles. Her love of being outside and exploring, hand holding and snuggles made their way into each corner of our day, and we’re on the mend. We’re getting there.
With just 5 weeks to go to 40 weeks, Dave and I are laughing at the lack of sleep… Hardcore prepping for baby two, people have jested. Loving our girls and giving them all of us, is more like it. Martinkadelux- always a team.
Here’s to a beautiful week, Reader. Mondays where we choose to see the marvelous, create it for ourselves and spread it to others.
BELOW IS A PICTURE OF HER INCISION BY THE DAY:
I read an article about 50 things moms miss about pre-kid life and while I understand it, I didn’t get it. I laughed a few times- how fun the old days were, with friends I thought I’d know forever. We shared so many secrets about life and lovers we totally thought would last forever- and they were there to buy me shots when it didn’t. I bummed cigs, stayed up late, didn’t worry about not having enough food to eat because I could just skim the samples at Whole Foods for a night. I worked a lot of jobs, and remember how fun it was to take off for the beach at 3am to see the sunrise at the Jersey Shore when I arrived. That was fun for me, then. At 22. We were friends then, bonded by whatever was going on in our lives then… maybe they’d still be here if someone had called more, or if I had the desire to drink whiskey at 11pm, or whatever the case may be. Here, at (almost) 30, I have no desire to live how I did before (remember the time I lived in an illegal warehouse space that had electric heat, so we didn’t use any in the dead of winter?)… I had a lot of fun when I was young and I have a lot of fun now. So, while I feel blessed to share wine with the women who have become family, I certainly don’t want to overindulge and sleep in, because hangovers have just never been fun. Friends who aren’t really there for all the ups and downs of life aren’t that fun. Coming home to an empty house isn’t that fun. But that’s just me. JUST ME!
I think these lists are fun, and I wanted to make my own. Please know: I never really slept much anyway (I used to run at 4am), and I still walk around my house pretty much naked, sex is spontaneous at 2am, I still have hobbies, I grew up in a Catholic and Jewish household so guilt is just something I deal with, and we only have one bathroom- this means I was never alone in it anyway- there was always a dog or cat or dude in there with me, talking to me through the door, or pawing (knocking) to get in.
So, here are 50 things I would miss about life if I didn’t have kids.**
1. Reading all those great books I forgot about.
2. Baby snuggles… especially on sick days.
3. The smell of milky breath.
4. Baby curls.
5. Tiny hands, and holding them as we walk (even if forcefully!).
6. Late night laughter from being beyond tired.
7. … Looking at the monitor and remembering it’s all worth it.
8. Appreciating the time I sleep in.
9. Finally using the microwave! (Hello, reheated coffee!)
10. Learning to experiment with new foods.
11. Drinking in moderation (finally).
13. Creating life.
14. Playing dress up (and wearing fancy clothes to the store because your toddler really wants you to wear those heels with that dress at Target).
16. The chance to sing aloud without fear.
17. Dancing like a fool without judgement (hey, it’s for the kids!).
18. Knowing glances with the mom of the other screaming toddler at the grocery store- being in the club!
19. Watching a mind work.
20. Vacation photos in the same places I took them 30 years ago!
21. Having a good (and cute) excuse for a messy house.
22. A friend for the dog that doesn’t need to go on a walk in the heat, snow, or rain.
23. A running buddy.
24. A constant backseat driver.
25. The reminder that no gift is as cool as Christmas lights and a few empty boxes.
26. Having someone with my same attitude to keep me in check.
27. A chance to figure it all out… again
28. …and to be reminded that I really know nothing.
29. Appreciating good conversation.
30. Being able to adapt.
31. Finally knowing who I can rely on at 3am for help.
32. Relating to my mother in new ways.
33. Having a sleeping child on my shoulder.
34. The money saving perks of fewer and shorter showers.
35. The drive to eat organic and keep only healthy foods in the house.
36. Days where there’s someone else who just wants to stay in bed and watch Disney movies all day.
37. Making up words to a song and no one correcting me.
38. Knowing I have super powers to keep another being alive!
39. Watching my partner grow into a new person.
40. Friends who become aunties and uncles.
41. Seeing my flaws as “bootiful, mama”.
42. Tickle fights.
43. Built in diet of never being able to eat my own food.
44. Learning to be resourceful.
46. Showing off awesome boobs during pregnancy and nursing.
47. …and justifying the expensive bra after it all.
48. Kid selfies.
49. Having someone genuinely believe I’m beautiful.
50. Being a mom.
**At the time of writing this, I am incredibly emotional about being a parent. This piece is not meant to upset people who, of course, love being a parent but sometimes need a break. I think I’m almost jealous of that, honestly. Sometimes I am so immersed in all the medical stuff that surrounds our lives that I don’t want to get away from parenting- I’d take it all- but I want out of the medical things that come up so intensely fast. Some months have been so easy and some of these things she will age out of, but right now, I miss nothing of my old life… I just miss my child being healthy.
The love you feel for your child when you imagine them, conceive them, first meet them… they’re all different loves, but somehow none are more or better than another. It’s just evolving. That is how I feel about becoming a mother again. There are fears, of course, but mostly I just feel my love changing. I feel my heart expanding and my ability to somehow love two humans so completely and fully without a more-so-lesser-than apprehension. I just love.
So, why is Millie’s room still not done?
Well… it’s not to create sibling rivalry and it’s not that I don’t care. I mean I totally had a meltdown the other day when my mom couldn’t find our bedding which is being discontinued. Thus far I’d only had curtains and I was a mess when she called to tell me that the bedding was nowhere. When I finally found it I was so panicked yet relieved, that I posted my I’m crazy and I know it brag on a birth board I am on:
Ummm… legit. I really needed it. Oddly, Addie’s bedding was being curtailed at the end of my pregnancy with her, too and we went on a mad dash to find the bed skirt, which I’d gotten and washed and dried on high heat, which melted (!) part of it. About 50 calls to different stores and we had it. Similarly, I found the bedding and now we are on a mission to get her the things to go with it (accents make all the difference!). I know it is just bedding, but have you ever told a pregnant woman, relax, it’s just…? Yeah. Not a situation you want to be in.
So… we have done a few things… a very few. And this is where we are now. Oh my, how far we are! By this time with Addie, we were set up and washing baby clothes, cooing to ourselves as we sauntered past her bedroom, just waiting for her arrival. I would come home from work and sit in her chair and imagine what it would be like when she was finally here. And now… I am imagining how I will get it all done with two, and loving every moment of my dreams because I know when I am in it, I will feel like I’m in the weeds (anyone else have a culinary background?) and be overwhelmed.
In truth. I am just in love. And as with all love, this love is different. It is complex, and whole, and admiring. A little girl to love and hold and learn from her big sister, the way only a sister can learn. A baby girl is coming… and thankfully, she will be in our room for at least 6 months, because her room might never be completed!
Did you run into delays with your second children? It all gets done eventually… right?
It was Hell. The week (plus) of recovery that was supposed to be “a few days”.
I wish that was an exaggeration, but as far as common procedures go, tubes and adenoids tops the list. For Addie, there was the consideration of her spinal compression, so we stayed one night for observation where she turned up roses. The kid was a peach.
Then Wednesday struck.
Let’s start with admission…
She was great! We played and I wore a hairnet over my hat and looked really cool. (I was annoyed by one of the nurses who kept reading her name as “Adeline”- not a great way to instill confidence in a parent- but other than that it was OK.
I wrote about the surgery before… it was fine. A-OK. And then we made it to recovery… where she was upset and groggy and didn’t really want to come out of it until we’d been wheeled to her room for our stay.
This made for a late night- so it was nice that Dave came to the hospital and stayed with us until after midnight when she finally nodded off. We’d all eaten some Boston Market (my pregnancy fave!) and watched some movies and I was feeling relieved that, besides some pain, Addie seemed to be bouncing back quickly!
The next morning was still uneventful as a few of our doctors were at the hospital that morning- the pediatrician, neurosurgeon and ENT- we got a few visitors and I grabbed myself a coffee from the cart before being handed discharge papers, a bottle of ear drops and heading towards the elevators. Good-bye 5th floor!
Addie still seemed great, if a bit groggy, but I expected nothing less, so we headed home. After her bath she asked to sleep, so I tucked her in bed next to me and while I worked on the laptop, she napped. It was a loud nap- her snoring was rattling my brain and she cried in her slumber. When she woke up I offered her something to eat to no avail and gave her some Motrin, as per doctor’s orders. The night got progressively lethargic as she didn’t eat much dinner and was fussy to sleep.
It was well after midnight and I’d just finished working for the night when I saw her pop up on the monitor. She shot straight up and started to cry. Something is wrong, I felt it in my bones. I ran in, Dave and I practically knocking each other over to get to her and as he shut off her air conditioning, I brought her into our room. I could feel her warmth, and as I made a request for the thermometer I felt the hot, wet slip down my back. Sweet potatoes. The ones I’d made for dinner. They’d reappeared for us onto the bed, so I stripped us both and went to wash up while Dave helped and switched the bedding.
I called the emergency line for the ENT. The doctor told me to keep her hydrated and medicated to keep the fever down and call in the morning. The fever didn’t break for days. Food was nothing Addie desired- not even popsicles or pudding. I could see her ribs. And she cried through every night, even with the ibuprofen and acetaminophen regimen we had. I felt lost. When she finally was feeling better enough to get out of bed, I saw that her head was tilted slightly forward and she wouldn’t move it up. We went for a trip out of the house- the first in days- and she’d found a way to maneuver herself so that her head wouldn’t move. While I was impressed with her resourcefulness, I was scared, too. Why was her fever still there, and the crying in her sleep and now she wouldn’t move her head…?
We went to the pediatrician. We called the ENT. We conferred with the end result exactly as I’d thought: Addie was having an extremely rare, albeit not unknown reaction to adenoid removal.
But now we are here. With the help of serious antibiotics, a lot of time in bed, and fluids, and after 11 days, Addie was on the mend and closer to being herself! I am thankful for recovery… and life lessons. Many times I thought I knew what an outcome would be, and many times I’ve been wrong. In this case, I knew that Addie would be OK, I just expected it quicker. She’s my warrior and I realize that the time it took for her to heal is that what makes her so- it’s the fact that she did it with such courage. While I felt a breaking inside, she never did. Every time I asked her if she was OK, she would take my face between her hands and kiss me. She never answered. I don’t think she wanted to tell me, “no,” no matter how bad it hurt.
How could I not be thankful for this blessing… A child who looks out for her mother.
As we embark on this week with an MRI and the final decision as to whether Addie will have spinal decompression surgery, I open my mind to being stronger and more supportive of whatever is thrown at me- because this isn’t about me, this is about Addie and she deserves that much in a mom.
Your love and prayers are, as always, appreciated.
Have a beautiful week, Reader.
blogger writer, so on this blog I tend to use words to tell my story and photos to back it up. I figured I would let the photos take the lead this time…
Here is our trip to the San Diego Zoo in San Diego, CA from #lpaSD2014! We had an awesome time and think that if you’re looking at going to this zoo, you should try to hit it up more than one day! It’s a lot of zoo!
That was our day! Have you ever been to the San Diego Zoo?
I love all the posts about Facebook and social media in general where we are reminded that what people post are just a glimpse into their day. The perfection we see, even the vacation pictures, one after another, where everyone is smiling… those are just a few. There are surely 100 others of grumpy faces, naptimes avoided, drinks spilled, sand eating, falls. You name it.
But what we share are only the best things. Right?
Not for us. Of course there are bad days- medically speaking, and recently an integral part of our team, Addie’s PT left for another position and I’m really frustrated, but there are other times throughout our generally awesome days that suck. You know what happens when I drop a glass and it breaks on the floor? I say, “damn it!”
In fact, this happened, then a few days later Addie tapped a key and deleted my work. Another time she drew all over my leg with a marker and then in a library book with a pen she got from my checkbook (yes, I still balance a checkbook). After each assault on our otherwise awesome days, I came out with a “damn it.” Even under my breath, I knew she’d heard. “Darn it,” I would quickly correct myself.
But there she was. As she grabbed for my keyboard, I said, “NO, thank you,” and she spits back at me, “Damn it.”
Clear as day.
Hooray! I’d done it. I’d taught her one of the things I actually hate about myself. My language. It’s colorful, shall we say. And as the weeks have passed, we’ve worked more on “darn it” (for both of us), as well as just calming down about situations in general. A broken glass isn’t really a big deal, marker happens, Ctrl+Z can undo whatever you just did- including un-deleting what your toddler has just unwritten!
All of this really struck me as it reminded me of an awesome post my friend Wendy wrote HERE about hugging and not yelling. We can’t erase what we’ve done in the past, but we can certainly move forward. I myself am a yeller. Dave is calm, level-headed, and a problem solver. I am reactive and while I usually find my way, it’s easier for me to scream into a pillow before evaluating any situation- my counterpart does not explode, even into a pillow, and sometimes we just confuse each other. But when it comes to our children and how we want to interact with them and each other, we both agree that I need to find some zen and, in turn, perhaps he’ll find a fire under him in some situations.
So where are we now?
Well, gosh darn it, I can tell you that there are a lot more hugs around here. Between Dave and I and more peppered throughout the day for Addie, too. I love hugging on her, but there are days that I find myself in such frustration, that we both end up yelling at each other. I have found myself looking up from whatever I am doing (cleaning, setting up, cooking, working) seeing her face and realizing she just wants me. As I hold my hands out, she rushes into my arms and nestles her head into my neck. Her little voice purrs “I love you” and leaves little kisses on me… we’re both immediately calm. I love that moment- feeling anger and frustration physically leaving my body. Hugging her to get a result of calming the storm instead of yelling, creating a bigger storm and then ending in tears (both of us) and inevitably a hug to calm down. Going right for the hug has been the best move.
I feel like a better parent, damn it!
So, are all parenting moments perfect? Surely not. We have tears and nos and pushing (Addie not us!) and falls. There are days where we’re tired, nights where we’re wired, and everything in between. The moments we don’t share, but we embrace, cringe and learn from are becoming different for us. There are more times of saying “OH NO!” when something unexpected happens- there are discussions about solving issues, help cleaning, and hugs after. Taking the time to not only teach our children, but ourselves, better coping skills, is such an important part of growing up- something we’re never done doing, I suppose.
So here’s a glimpse into our life- the not-so-pretty and certainly non-worthy of a Facebook status update, glimpse.
We went to Dan Diego for the LPA National this year, and though it’s only our second National Conference, like last year, I was blown away by the fantastic hotel that was chosen as the main site. The Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego offered many comforts in the rooms, wonderful on-site food, is within walking distance to all-things awesome, and has gorgeous views from both towers (where guest rooms are located)!
When we pulled up to the hotel, it was about 1am. Eight of us unloaded from a shuttle service we’d all taken for a nominal fee from the airport located just a few miles away. Immediately men were there to take our bags and help us to the front desk where I checked in and asked a bunch of questions pertaining to our reservation. Because we were staying there under the conference rate (unbeatable) and when I’d first booked the night of July 4th was full, I ended up needing to make 2 different reservations to get the dates we wanted. Though understandable, I was bummed to learn that we would have to switch rooms the next day, but not to worry about that- we could stay in the room as long as was necessary to get our other room ready- a HUGE relief when you’re talking toddler, luggage and pregnant mama.
We started out in the Harbor Tower, getting to our room, searching through our suitcases stuffed with rolled up clothes until we found our PJs and toothbrushes, then passed out in the comfy bed. I was happy that although it was the 4th of July and there was a lot of celebrating going on, I didn’t hear it through the walls. We were able to get a great night’s sleep, and thanks to the time change and a nap on the plane, we were up pretty early!
We wandered out to get breakfast at Café 222 (I’ll tell you all about that in another post) and then we headed back to the hotel… on our way stopping at an awesome playground and community garden to swing, walk, and talk about outdoor gardening all-year long! It was SO cool to just happen upon a superbly clean (not even a cigarette butt or graffiti in sight) city play area with such a beautiful garden and maintained path.
When we got back to the hotel from our breakfast and walk, we packed up anything that had been unpacked, checked out the view and then got a call that my parents had arrived! Addie was just ready for a nap, so Dave went to meet them and collect their luggage until their room was ready- awesomely, by the time he got down to the lobby, their room was already ready (3 hours before check-in time!) and he helped them get to their room and settle in before he headed out for some snacks.
When he returned, we moved into the room where we would stay for the remainder of our time with the help of a bellhop and a sleeping toddler perched on my shoulder. This time our room was in the other tower, the Seaport Tower, on the 29th floor. Because we had to switch rooms, they actually gave us a higher floor (better view) without asking! The rooms were almost identical, with the biggest difference being that the bathroom layout was a bit different making the door open as you would expect, where the first room it slid open (which was really cool!).
We had a room with 2 double beds, thinking Addie would be in her own bed, but because she’s two, she ended up in our bed most nights- which made me wish we’d gotten a king, but the beds were comfy and we made it work! The table by the window was great for sitting and looking out over the city and I loved that we had a comfy chair so that I could sit and read while Addie napped (everyone made use of that chair for the same reason!). We also could relax in the room with the single-serve coffee and teas they provided which were actually good! The desk in the room was perfect for getting the work done that I could without WiFi, which was only free in the lobby, and the large TV in the room got PBS- making everyone happy when the adults wanted an extra 10 minutes of prep time and the Miss wanted to go, go, go on an adventure (from the Cat in the Hat theme song!).
The biggest drawback of the room was the fridge that was not only really small, but didn’t get cold enough to hold anything that could spoil. At conferences, we like to bring or buy food while we are there to save money on eating out, but not having refrigeration made that hard. Being able to rent a microwave for the room, however, is pretty awesome! The sink in the bathroom also seemed really high- and I’m tall. While the look is clean and modern (which I love), it’s not easy to actually use (I stood on my toes to wash my face over the sink without spilling water everywhere).
Finally, the pool! While we didn’t make it to the pool designated for adults only, we did get to spend some time at the 4th floor pool, which was beautiful! We walked right out from the elevators, to the deck, which is easily accessible from either tower and grabbed as many towels as we needed (no need to steal them from your room!), parked ourselves on some chairs near the steps and enjoyed playing the friends, splashing and sipping water. There is deck-service, which is awesome, for anyone who wants to order something to eat or drink right from their chair! Addie and Dave spent a lot of time in the pool- with Addie playing on the steps and jumping in from the side with the other kids. Me? I lounged my big, pregnant belly in the sun for a dose of vitamin D and a nap! The chairs were so comfortable, I would have stayed there had Dave not reminded me we needed to get dinner before Addie’s bedtime!
We really loved the hotel and all the grandeur it offered while still being affordable (at the conference rate for us), but wish the lobby had been a bit more conducive to meeting people. Last year at the conference the hotel lobby was built in more of a compact and circular feel, with the lounge closer and lobby seating closer together, as well as the hotel restaurants close-by. This made it easier for people to connect and bump into each other. With the lobby being planned in more of a rectangle with the bar at one end and a café at the other, and minimal seating, it was hard to bump into people- although easy to find a place to meet up if you planned it.
The Manchester Grand Hyatt made staying in the city such a luxury- close to good food and meet up spots like the The Seaport Village and within walking distance to the Gaslamp Quarter and convention center- this is the place you want to stay, whether business or pleasure, on your next trip to San Diego!
When I wake up in the morning, I always look to my nightstand where I leave a list of what needs to be done. It’s usually long and lists times, if necessary, but what’s it’s usually lacking is a place for breakfast.
…it’s been especially hard here with Addie not feeling well and having some pain eating solid foods. Naturally, Dave worries about us, but even more so, he worries about my eating and taking care of myself- especially while pregnant. To help both Addie and myself, Dave went on a mission to find some simple solutions for his ladies.
To fuel our mornings, we need quick, easy and transportable and in the breakfast aisle of Walmart Dave found just want he wanted… an easy to mix breakfast shake that I wouldn’t fight him to drink.
I LOVE milk, but need more than a glass to sustain me until lunch. Nestle Carnation® Breakfast Essentials™ packets are something I come back to again and again. When I was pregnant with Addie, they served as an afternoon snack at work, and now they are what make breakfast so simple for me. In fact, this is the first whole week in my entire pregnancy that I’ve had breakfast with enough calories and complete nutrition. Seriously… 32 weeks today and I’ve finally accomplished breakfast on a routine basis. Go me!
I feel like I had the opportunity to have breakfast because Addie has been under-the-weather and so we’re not rushing to her usual classes… but this also leaves us home all day and my sweet lady still not able to eat like her usual self- leaving her little ribs looking rather exposed. Knowing this, Dave and I have gotten really creative with just getting calories in her, but we don’t want to load her up with junk. What we came up with comes from the same family as my breakfast solution: Nesquick®. While Addie has never had any special milk flavoring (just plain, organic 2%), the need to get more calories in her with some vitamins took over, and as I mixed her a cup and we started our day (with lots of appointments), she gladly took it!
While we won’t use Nesquick a lot, it is nice to have knowing there are a few upcoming procedures she will be going through and some of them will render her hopeless in terms of feeding. Milk is the way we usually go to get energy in our sweet girl to just keep her going through the days of recovery. I am so thankful to have found something to help us boost her vitamin intake in a tasty way!
It’s hard to get up and take care of everything that needs to get done in 24 hours for the house, your kids and family, while remembering yourself, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day! I try to remember that I am not just helping my family thrive by giving them the best nutrition, but by taking care of me I am setting a good example, too.
Thank you to #CollectiveBias for helping us make breakfast a regular meal in this house again! This is #MyGoodLife… what’s yours?