Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dear Moms of Twins...

My sweet, Batman loving, dimple faced, growling at me when he falls because he's embarrassed, little man turns 3 today. It's a bittersweet day for me. Not many moms understand the mixed bag of emotions I feel today. The happiness that he is even here, that I can squish on him and tell him I'm going to kiss his face until it falls off and he can reply "my face didn't fall off Mommy" in his growly little voice.  And for that I am eternally grateful. But I am also broken and sad. I am missing his twin. The one that didn't make it. That child should be here too. I should be squishing them and kissing their face off as well. But that child never made it out of my womb. You see, I am a mother of twins, but no one sees it.

The minute I saw that first ultrasound with two babies, I was sold. I was frightened and nervous... going from 3 babies to 5. But that is what God had in store for us. And I was excited and completely on board. We started planning. But somewhere deep in the back of my mind I knew that just because there were 2 babies in there, it didn't mean I would give birth to 2 babies. I had lost two babies between my first and second children but I continued to ignore the feeling. After all, I had already fallen in love with both of those babies, I knew where their car seats were going to go in the van. I knew how we were going to lay out the nursery with two cribs. I knew there was enough love to go around.

And when that nagging feeling came true, the one that I had completely ignored... I was devastated. How do you mourn for one child and be grateful for the other? There's no manual on that. I still hurt. There are days, especially the ones when I meet a parent who has twins, and think, that should be me. Today is another day I dance on the edge of happy and sad.

But you know what hurts the most? When parents of twins tell me how horribly hard their lives are. Now don't get me wrong, it's in our nature to complain about things being hard. All babies are hard, if yours isn't, don't tell anyone, you won't have any friends.

But I think I speak for every situation, not just having twins, when I say that when you complain about something incessantly, there is bound to be someone within ear shot that has either lost that very thing you are complaining about having, OR would give anything TO have that very thing you are complaining about.

If you take away anything from this, take away this, please take a beat and soak in how blessed you really are. You never know what others have been through or who has had it harder.  I know that is what I will be doing today. Soaking in every moment of this sweet face....






Monday, March 02, 2015

Declan sees...

A few weeks ago I was at the doctor's office, you know, like I am all the time because my kids and I have been sick constantly this winter... Declan was wheezy and the nurse practitioner decided not only did he need to go back on albuterol, but she suggested I take him to the eye doctor, naively I asked, "why?" She went into detail why she thought he might have amblyopia. Now to everyone, like me, who has never heard of that, it's kind of a lazy eye. Essentially the optic nerve on one, or sometimes both eyes, is not as strong as the other, and so the brain stops helping that one out and gives all of it's attention to the strong optic nerve and tends to ignore the lazy one. Well, the good news, as she went on to explain, is if you catch it before age five, it's correctable.

Great.

So I called and made an appointment. His eyes never seemed "lazy" like she explained, but who am I? I did however, notice, he tends to look at people sometimes out of the corner of his eyes. I thought he was just being a snarky 2 year old. The soonest I could get in was 2 weeks later.

So I took the little ones to the eye doctor while the two big kids were at school expecting full well that Declan didn't have a lazy eye. I was right. But what I wasn't expecting was for him to have severe astigmatism and farsightedness in both eyes. How severe? Well... He definitely needed glasses.

I know what you're thinking, small kids are so cute in glasses.

Not what I was thinking. I was thinking... But what about when he gets tired? He likes to rub his eyes. He likes to put his face down on your shoulder and cuddle up to you. How is he going to do that with glasses? What about as he gets older? If someone makes fun of him I will cut them. I will. You know I will. Mama Bear roared loudly inside me.

I took his prescription home and I spent the next 2 days reading and researching about small children with glasses. And this was after spending that entire first day looking for frames for his teensy face at multiple places only to find that no one carried anything small enough for his little face that was comfortable. He HATED trying on glasses. Absolutely hated it. And if he hated trying them on, how was I going to get him to keep them on? A couple of days later, emotionally spent, I decided to put his prescription into an online simulator that helps you understand how poor your child's vision is. As soon as I pressed enter and the blurry photo popped up, I was broken. It was like one of those movies... you know the ones... where the lady accidentally gets pregnant and refuses to believe the pregnancy test she takes so she takes like 30 of them looking at each one in disbelief. I just kept finding more simulators and putting in his RX and getting more and more upset.

How could his vision be THIS bad?

How could I have not noticed?

And then it all hit me at once like a tidal wave... All the times he fell over, ran into things, put his face up close to look at things, fell off of things, why didn't I see it before?

Then the tears came.

He has never seen me. He's never REALLY seen me. He's only seen a blurry colored version of what he thinks is me.

I couldn't get glasses ordered soon enough. I wanted him to see me. I wanted him to see everything. I researched for an entire day and then a friend led me to blog a mother wrote about her son, Noah and she found Tomato Frames to be the best fit for him. I checked them out, they're rad, they have a cool nose pad, (the reason why the glasses kept falling off his face) they're indestructible, and they have a removable strap in the back. And the best part, I found a frame that comes in what Declan would call "Batman symbol colors." The only downside is they are coming from overseas and it's gonna be a while.

So we went into Walmart to get a cheap pair to get us by until then. A really not so nice lady told me the pair we picked wouldn't fit his face and then didn't help us in any way to pick another pair. So when the pair we did get finally came in and we went to pick them up the next week, we had no clue that because the lenses he needed were so thick, it bent the frames outward and made them too wide for his face and no longer fit. It was a total nightmare. Our 2 year old was completely agitated to say the least. So we left, empty handed and my heart sunk.

It's been a few days and I have since tried to channel Elsa and let it go. I realized that he's gone 2 1/2 years without being able to see, what's a few more weeks right? It'll be okay. But then Declan, Lucy and I decided to take a trip to the Northwest Arkansas Mall today while the big kids were in school. And guess what was the first store we happened upon as we walked in... A Lenscrafters. Did you know that Lenscrafters can get your eyeglasses done in an HOUR? I didn't. Until today. We thought we would make one last ditch effort and just see if they had anything. Well... God sent us a sweet angel to help us. She was THE most wonderful woman. Declan took to her right away and tried on any frames she asked. She happened to have 4 kids as well and knew exactly how to treat my little Batman. She let him scan the frames we picked and used all the right words with him.

We walked the mall for an hour as we waited.

And when we came back, Declan tried on his very first pair of glasses and this is what happened...

video

That moment. 
When it all changes for him.  
Be still my heart. 

We walked around the mall for an hour afterwards. He didn't want to leave. It was like he was discovering the world for the very first time. Everything was exciting. Everything was new. He saw all the little details. There were these shoes he found, Spiderman, he was so excited. Then he saw the Batman ones. And oh my gosh! They LIT up! It was amazing. 

video


At one point we were walking, I had his little hand in mine, Lucy was far ahead of us pushing the empty stroller. He was looking down at the ground. I asked him, "what are you looking at buddy?" 

He stops, sits down on the ground and traces the grout between the tiles and says, "these cracks here, Mommy."

He's never seen those cracks. 

And now he does.




Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In My Defense...

I posted something on Facebook earlier today that might've ruffled some feathers. Heck, if I read it I would've gotten a little irritated. Generally speaking when people post about how they lost weight or went to the gym or went on a run or whatever, I'm like, dude get over yourself, I don't care. We all know you're amazing and wonderful. So here's the reasoning behind my post, so no one thinks I'm an A-hole.

This is what I posted earlier today:

My doctor just told my not to lose anymore weight. My life is complete. I can die happy now.

In my defense... 

1. My nickname growing up was Bubba. Other names I remember being called were Lard Ass, Fatty, & Brutus, even though I can now look back at pictures and I don't see a fat girl in a single one of them. 
2. I am most definitely NOT that girl who doesn't have to do anything, can still eat cheeseburgers and cake and look like I do. I hate those girls too.
3. When I was 16 I was told by my basketball coach, "I think you're going to have a growth spirt soon. When girls chunk up like you, they tend to grow soon after." This was AFTER my orthodontist had x-rayed my wrists when I was 14 to see that all of my growth plates had already fused together and I was indeed DONE growing.
4. I went through a phase in college where I would work out 3 hours a day only to see the number on the scale increase.
5. I also went through a phase in college called bulimia. 
6. I lost all of my baby weight by 4 months postpartum not because I starved myself or because I breast fed, but because I got up and I ran and I lifted weights and ran some more. And when I hurt, and I was tired from being up all night with the baby the night before, I did it again the next day because my post baby body reminded me of how those words cut deeper than anyone knew.

So... I really hope that when you read my post, that you consider all of this. I am not trying to brag or make anyone feel bad about themselves. I am not trying to insinuate that attaining a number on a scale is going to complete a persons life. I am merely stating that my life has been rough one when it comes to body image. And it's fascinating how a simple sentence from a physician can make not just my day, but make up for a lot of heartache in my life. And I know the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Baby, I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, I shake it off, I shake it off.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lulu Bean is FOUR?

I remember when we left Oregon only a year and a half ago and so many of our friends were like, "my goal in life is to get that Lucy to talk to me." 

Most of them wouldn't believe this Lucy we have now. This 4 year old girl we have now, she's like a completely different person. Tony likes to describe her as a walking sitcom. She drops one-liners all the time. She throws out "I am going to give you infinity hugs" like it's going out of style. She's the sweetest thing full of random sayings. When you offer her water, most kids would say gross, but she proclaims, "yes! that's my favorite drink in the whole world!" She is kind and sweet and above all she is grateful. Her only downfall, she has a hard time trying. Sometimes if it's too hard, she will barely try at ALL and just say.... "uhhhhh... it's tooooo hard." Even if you ask her to "please pick up that piece of lint and put it in the trash." It's hilarious. But I suppose it's part of the sitcom charm. 

Just yesterday we were at the splash pad and a friend of mine leans over and says, "you better watch her, she's gonna grow up and be a supermodel." It's funny, I've never even thought of her that way before now. When Tatum was born, everyone always said how pretty she was. I didn't think of Lucy that way. Her crazy Lyle Lovett hair always got in the way. But as she's really starting to grow into herself, she really is a striking little girl. And with such an awesome personality on top of it, that girl is going to move mountains, I just know it. 

Brand new
One
Two
 Three
 Four
 


Tatum turned 6... I know, I'm behind.

So there's this kid that follows rules. Those even exist? I don't even know what to do with her. She keeps me on my toes, that's for sure. I have to say, having a child that is kind of a little bit opposite of who you are, but in a totally good way, it's sort of good for you. When I want to break the rules, and Tatum is around, I can't. Or she will totally call me out on it. And what are you gonna do? Ummm.. sorry. I know I wasn't supposed to do that. I promise I won't do it again? It's almost like she's the adult sometimes and I'm the child. It's been good for me. I've grown up a lot. At least I know that when the kids are older and I send her with Spencer or Lucy that the truth will ALWAYS reveal itself. I just have to find a way to make sure her siblings don't hate her for it.

I swear, everytime I look at her she seems to have grown 2 more inches. She's helpful and sweet and smart. SO smart. And KIND. When she was 4 we had a talk about what it meant to be beautiful because it was about that time that everyone, people she knew and people she didn't, were telling her how beautiful she was. We were driving home from somewhere, we pulled into the garage, I turned around to talk to her and she looked like she was about to cry. I asked what was wrong and she blurted out, "Mama, I don't think I'm beautiful." Well that just about broke my heart. We went into this huge conversation about what it meant to be beautiful. We talked about exterior beauty and being pretty, which she totally obviously already was, but that being beautiful had more to do with what was inside your heart and how you treated people. Since then, she has blossomed into the sweetest kid. Her last day of Kindergarten, her teacher awarded her with the "Kindness" award and she spent her entire recess yesterday trying to help a friend rekindle a friendship with another friend when she had no reason to and would gain nothing from it.

I'm so proud of Tatum. I think she knew that beautiful girl was inside her. She just had to figure out how to bring her out.

3 weeks
 1
 2
 3
 4
5
 6


Monday, August 18, 2014

Honeymooniversary

Little known fact, when Tony & I got married ten years ago, we were broke. Tony was in grad school and I did what any other person with a degree in Art Studio did, I worked at Starbucks. Over the years I took solace in the fact that we would have anniversaries. I knew that we wouldn't always not have money and that one day we could go on a vacation. Well... as the years went by and as the amount of children went up, I started to worry. I wasn't getting any younger and there was a price that baby making was taking on my body. As I hit 30 and my 4th baby came out at 10 pounds, I felt ruined. I spent my 20's pregnant and my youth was gone.

So my sweet sweet husband decided on a whim to whisk me away to Cancun on a weekend for our 10th anniversary the weekend before our kids school started back up. I love that man, but he's not a detail man. We spent a real quick day and a half on the beach in gorgeous Cancun at an all inclusive resort with 9 bars and a million pools... But let's be real, any longer and I would've missed my babies so much I would've been begging him to take me home. But he didn't really take into consideration that a 6am flight home meant a 2:30am wake up time and a 3am checkout of the hotel time... which dominoed into a horrible, horrible day of events that meant we spent 19 hours traveling to get home to our babies. But I'll spare you the awful details of me crying at the airport and the jack & cokes I consumed and just show you the beautiful pictures of our amazing honeymooniversary and tell you that now that I've finally stamped my passport for the very first time, I've decided that we are going to spend the month of June in Mexico every year...


I'm totally in the ocean.
 Fully stocked all inclusive bar.
 Totally chilaxin.
 Best food ever.
 Awesome entertainment.
 I'm in the ocean.
 Check out the dude on the freakin' futuristic overboard thing.
 #honeymooniversary
 Swans
 Tony had to find shade day 2 cuz he totally burninated...
 ...while I still swam.
 Love this pic of us.
 I'm a dork. I really was just trying to get a picture of my feet in the sand but was somewhat intoxicated and couldn't figure out the angle to do it.
 That's totally Brett Favre.
 I want a pool hammock.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

Absent Minded Much?

So, for those of you that don't know… I suffer from migraines. For those of you that think that those are just really bad headaches… Wrong. Let me walk you through a typical migraine.

For some migraine sufferers it just means pain. But for me it means an aura as well. I start feeling like my body is not my body. I lose my peripheral vision and one side of my body starts to go numb. I become nauseous and I end up vomiting. After about 45 minutes of this, the searing pain will hit on the opposite side of my head. And now I am in full migraine mode. For the next 8 to 10 hours, parts of my body will continually go in and out of numbness. I will lose feeling in one or both sides of my arms, face, legs. My hands and fingers will curl in and I will lose the ability to control them from time to time. My ability to understand what you are saying or the ability to talk comes and goes. And ALL of this happens while feeling like I am being stabbed in the eye by a burning hot fire poker. And then the next day I pretty much feel like I've been hit by a truck. 

The first time this happened was when I was pregnant with Spencer. It didn't happen again until I was pregnant with Tatum. And again when I was pregnant with Lucy. I thought I had found a pattern. And I was somewhat okay with it because I was making people. I could endure the pain because it would all be worth it. But since having Declan I have had about 10 more of these horrible episodes. 

I recently relented and saw a neurologist and I have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow. I am on a new preventative migraine medication. But my body has to learn to become accustomed to it. 

These are the side effects:

Tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, loss of coordination, tingling of the hands and feet, loss of appetite, bad taste in your mouth, diarrhea, weight loss, mental problems, confusion, slowed thinking, trouble concentrating, trouble paying attention, nervousness, memory problems, speech and language problems.

They say it takes about eight weeks for the medication to level off, for your body to become accustomed to what's happening. I am on week two. I find myself forgetting words. Forgetting what I'm doing. Losing focus. I am not used to taking the kids to ONE store and being so completely mentally and physically drained that I cannot go anywhere else, let alone remember why I'm there or find my way home. I am not used to asking for help. I am a multitasker and I find myself only capable of doing one thing at a time, if that. 

So you may be wondering to yourself, why is she telling me all this? I'm asking for help. Actually… Just for a little bit of leniency. If I seem out of focus or if you ask me for something and I forget, or I don't seem up to the task, please cut me some slack. I promise I'm trying, but it may be more than this medicated self can handle at the moment. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Uncle

Today I am feeling broken and hurt and defeated.

The phone rang at 7:30 am. Who on earth calls that early in the morning? You know it can't possibly be a good phone call. It was my Aunt Patti calling on behalf of my Dad's other sister, Terri, for my dad. There was a freak accident at my uncle's work and he was crushed between the trailer that carried the logs he was to transport and the truck he drove. 

My dad goes to tell my mom and I sneak back into the bedroom I'm sharing with my boys during our vacation in Oregon. I sit in the quiet. What just happened? I can't even start to register what's happened until my kids start waking up. I don't know what to do. My brain is mush. Just go through the motions. Breakfast. Waffles. Waffles are easy. I start making breakfast and when the first waffles burn and stick to the waffle iron, I want to give up, but the kids have to eat. We all make it through the burnt waffles without saying much when I hear a loud thud and a scream from my oldest but still quite young 6 year old daughter.

I run to her side and scoop her up into my lap when moments later her foot starts gushing blood. I cry out for a paper towel and the 8 year old returns with an entire roll and a terrified look on his face. After everyone calms down, my mother tries to convince me that she can just superglue the wound together and it'll be fine. My gut says go to the doctor. Fortunately for us, our old pediatrician fits us in.

We spend the rest of the morning at the doctors while my brave little Tatum endures five stitches to her pinky toe. The very first stitches of any of my babies... The first of what I'm sure will be plenty more to come.

And now... Now is when I finally start to breath. The reality of what happened this morning at 7:30am is just starting to set in and I'm drowning. It's getting harder to breath and all of the memories have started to flood in.

When he let me, and only me, drive his brand new Convertible when I was 17.
When he went completely out of his way to get me a job as a landscaper at his company.
When he still loved me when I quit because I hated it.
Super Bowl Sunday at his house.
When he let me bring my friends to swim at his pool whenever I wanted.
When I went off to college and he drove all the way up to see me and take me out to dinner.
When he gave me the email addresses of everyone he knew in LA so I would have connections when I decided I wanted to be a movie star.

And the pain that's eating me alive because I hadn't seen him in 9 years.
He's never met my children.
He never will.