lezbemoms

Raising a Blended Family

On our way

So much has been happening but in spite of it all, we are on our way towards our much-needed vacation.

I had my first double-pumping session in the airport of our connecting flight before boarding, and it was oh-so-frustrating that I had to dump all that pumped milk down the drain after months and months of carefully saving every last drop. I’m sure back at home, Pax was cursing me too for dumping it. Oh well. The good news is, I reached my pumping goal and managed to save up 230+ ounces for him to drink while we’re gone, so he should be well-fed at least in our absence.

I miss the little guy but I’m doing better than I thought I would- I’m not a puddle of tears or anything close and am actually enjoying the just US time with my wife. Even the ability to stop and have a nice pair of breakfast burritos and coffee this morning at the airport and not be interrupted by a million questions or tattles or whining felt like SUCH a luxury. It’s so nice to just be us for a bit- and we haven’t even made it out of our connecting airport yet, ha.

I’ll see you guys in about a week and post updates then on vacation and on how everything else has gone.

Also, I was nominated for the Liebster Award by Our Journey To Becoming Mommies. I haven’t had a chance to get to it yet but thanks for the nomination and I promise I will when I get back!

Have a great weekend and week, ya’ll. If you need me I’ll be on the beach.

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Packing, Reflecting, Crying

We have been doing a lot of all of these things around here this week.

Packing- we have to get the kids’ stuff together before we go to Jamaica.  There isn’t time once we get home. We have to find all their toys spread out amidst all the rooms of the house, find all the pairs of underwear in their dressers and in the laundry, make sure favorite lovies and barbies and cars aren’t excluded from our searches.  We have to pack blankets and sippies and beds and shoes, because they are moving out and there is nothing we can do to stop them.

Yes, this is usually when the reflecting and crying parts come in. Also, when we look at pictures. That pretty much does it too. Shorty found a bunch of videos of when Addie was a newborn- crying her newborn hungry cry, sitting and cooing, laughing as Thing One did silly faces at her and she just looked so.damn.little and we have come SO FAR.  She was all of six pounds when we got her and fit in her newborn clothes until she was two months old. I remember the favorite outfits and the so-sweet nighttime feedings and cuddles and the way she didn’t even fill up half of a sleep sack and how she used to cover her eyes with her teeny little fists while she drank her bottles.  I remember all of it.  And it sickens me, fucking sickens me, that it doesn’t matter how far we’ve come or how many videos and pictures and memories and everything else we have because it still all comes down to this.

She was never ours to begin with and now they’re sending her back. They’re sending them all back. Secure attachments, love, stability be damned.

 

Three days left.

 

This fucking blows.

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If you’ve been following along but lost the password, email me. Its the same one its always been.

This last post I put up is a pretty big deal, and not in a good way.

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Happy 8th birthday, Thing One!!!

Thing One turns 8 whole years old tomorrow (today)!!! Happy Birthday baby girl!

By the time this posts myself, Shorty, my mother, brother, the babies and all three kids (including the Birthday Girl herself!) will be headed in two separate cars to a destination of the Birthday Girl’s choosing- a local water park called Holiday World- to spend the day conquering water coasters, wave pools, and giant water playgrounds (the kids) and floating in the lazy river trying to be as sloth-like as possible (myself, Shorty, my mom, and the babies will probably have a go at it too.). It’s going to be a hot one (90ish degrees) so the water will be a welcome relief and a great way to celebrate a little girl who is getting older but still has a youthful spirit.

In the past year Thing One has grown so much.

She repeated- and kicked the ass of, might I add- first grade and came out a more competent, confident student who is ready to take on second grade in a few weeks…

She lost a lot of baby teeth, and gained some big ole teefers in return…

She’s gotten better at making friends and a little bit more mature in her friendships (though still very girly and not at all preteen-like… Ok by me!)…

She has lost none of her goofy, silly ways…

Scaring the crap out of anyone and everyone she can by hiding around corners and doors is still a favorite activity…

She has taken to big sisterhood like she was born to be a Big Sister. Heck, maybe she was. I can’t wait to see her and her brother’s relationship continue to grow over the years.

She remains our smart, silly, hyperactive, lovable, energetic Thing One. We love her one year more, one year older, onwards!

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In Which I Freak Out About Leaving My Baby While On Vacation

So, I know in the past I’ve been all casual “hey, yeah, we’re going to Jamaica in two weeks” and I may have even been all “heck yes, it’s just going to be the two of us!” about this vacation… but with the count down looming at a week and a half, I am here to tell you that all that casual posturing it has been a LIE.

Yes, I am excited for a vacation with my wife, to an adults-only, couples-only, all-inclusive resort on a beautiful beach with calm clear blue water, hammocks, dark wood island-style rooms and all the piña coladas we can drink (pause for swooning)…

but also…

You guys… I am FREAKING. OUT.

And let’s be honest, the freak out is all about the babies because the older kids are totally all like “okay yep bye” as they push us out the door. And they understand the concept of time and the fact that us leaving them for a week isn’t us abandoning them forever.

Let’s be even more honest- Addie is such a social little bug that I’m truly not (as) worried about leaving her, either. She is a PEOPLE person, she’s always done fine in daycare situations, she eats regular food and has bottles and understands the concept of object permanency. I think she’ll do well for the week we’ll be gone.

It’s Pax. Pax, I am worried about. Pax keeps me up at night with worry, makes me guilty and scared and nervous as hell, with worry.

Let me pause to say that I haven’t written about this here really, I guess in fear of being judged. Because this vacation is totally a choice and heck, I totally understand if you’re sitting back going “well, if you’re so anxious why don’t you just take them with you?”, or “how can you even THINK about leaving your nine month old baby behind while you vacation with just your wife?” I get that, I really do, because half the time I am the one yelling it at myself. I never planned on being the person who left their kid for a week when the kid wasn’t even a year old yet. In fact, this vacation started out as a family-friendly trip to Mexico and we were taking Thing One and the babies with us… And then we got the other two. And then life got reaaaalllllly busy and sometimes stressful. And then we had a significantly reduced amount of us-only time [read:basically none] and we started remembering the heavenly trip we’d taken a few years earlier, just us, and wondering why on earth we weren’t doing that instead of a family trip and there you go. At the time I was more focused on the needing-to-get-away-and-just-BREATHE-with-my-wife thing and less on the realization that doing so would mean leaving the babies while they were still babies, and so… Here we are. As vacation has been getting closer and closer that reality has been setting in more and more and I am getting more and more freaked out.

So that’s why I haven’t written about this here yet, but then I figured that you already KNOW I’m going without the kid so writing about it can’t hurt anything and I really need to process, dammit.

So back to the worrying thing. Leaving Pax worries me for so many reasons. To some degree I know all moms worry when they leave their babies for the first time (then again, not all moms choose their inaugural leaving-baby trip to be a whole week long!), so maybe I’m just like every other mother out there. And yet. It’s hard to explain, but he has always been more needy than Addie. He’s always been a mommy’s boy, always wanted to be held more than he wanted to be put down, always looked for us in a crowded room and followed us around with his eyes until we came back and picked him up from wherever we put him down. Addie has always been so independent and seems to PREFER floor time… Pax is just the opposite.

Also, because I stay home with them, he doesn’t have a lot of experience with outside caregivers. He’s very attached, this boy of ours, and is just fine with moms and no one else. I guess I just am worried about him feeling abandoned. I made the mistake of reading some very strong attachment-parenting-oriented articles about how any leaving by the parent in the first few years is automatically perceived as abandonment by the baby and how it can irreversibly damage the psyche. I don’t know if it’s true or not but I cannot get those words out of my head and they make me want to run and squeeze him and never leave his side. It makes me feel like a big fat traitor, every time he looks up at me so trustingly, knowing that in less than two weeks I am leaving for a week and he will have no idea where I’ve gone or if I’m coming back, and I will have no way to explain it or prepare him. Ugh.

My other major concern is this damn food hangup of his. When we booked this trip we thought about how old he would be (9.75 months) and assumed he would be eating table food by then. Not exclusively, of course, and we always knew he would still be breastfeeding because my goal has always been for long term… But we thought that he would be eating at least some solids by now to supplement his breastfeeding and we thought he would be used to a bottle or sippy by now.

Neither of these are true. You know all about his eating issues, and as far as the bottle/sippy goes… I have some hope, because he WILL chew on one of those soft sippy lids and get milk out of it to drink. However, it’s not his *preferred* method, by far, and while it CAN work during the day, the few times Shorty has tried to comfort him in the middle of the night when he woke up, rather than me nursing him, have resulted in a very.very.very distraught baby. Given that he still wakes up once or twice a night to eat (something else we had hoped he’d be done doing by now!), we are obviously concerned about that! I’m really hoping that his refusal to be consoled by anyone else in the middle of the night is due to him knowing I am there, ten feet away in bed while Shorty is rocking him. Maybe when I’m gone and he can’t smell me he will take someone else’s comfort more readily?

The good news in all of this is that I have more than enough pumped milk for the trip (and if I don’t, my mom can mix breast milk and formula for a day and it won’t kill him). I have been pumping for MONTHS for this trip and have 200+ ounces stored up, and also plan to pump 3/4x per day during the trip (pump and dump) in order to keep up my milk supply so I can nurse still when I get home. Inconvenient, pumping while on vacation, but very very worth it to me.

We have the feeding study scheduled for tomorrow morning. I think, depending on the results, my anxiety will either skyrocket or mellow out. If the study turns up nothing of concern and the doctor tells us he’s just being stubborn refusing to take a bottle or eat anything, then that helps because stubborn is frustrating but not pathological… Give him a day away from me with his milk in a sippy and he’ll damn well learn really quickly how to get milk out of it. If, however, there is something wrong, I guess we’ll just have to take it from there. We do have trip insurance so we can cancel if necessary, though we need this vacation so very badly I am loathe to do that, even with all this anxiety.

I guess we’ll see. I go back and forth a lot. I have no idea if we are doing the right thing or not, taking this vacation. I know we have to worry about whats good for Pax but we also need time for us, for our relationship… it’s a hard balance.

I’ll let you know what the study says. And in the meantime, any stop-freaking-out advice is very welcome (other kinds are NOT*).

*don’t be like my mother: I was talking to her about how anxious I was feeling and about how it’s been a struggle with the sippy cup and getting him to drink pumped milk, and she came back with “wow, yeah, I really hope he doesn’t starve while you guys are gone.” Direct quote. So helpful.

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Well, that was a bust.

Negative HPT at 13DPO. Guess we’re out!

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On the other hand, alcohol and roller coasters here we come!

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We won’t be able to try again this cycle due to being out of town but hopefully will be able to try again in August. Onwards and upwards!

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Where’s the fat lady?

I know it ain’t over until the fat lady sings, it ain’t over till it’s over, etc etc…

But folks, we’re pretty sure it’s over. At least, Shorty is- I maintain a bit more optimism that it’s still possible (and it is!), but then, I’m not the one feeling absolutely.not.pregnant (as Shorty puts it).

Negative test this morning (at 12DPO), so, I guess we’ll see. If AF is kind and does not play dirty tricks, we should only have a few more days until we know for sure one way or the other.

The good news is, if Shorty is not pregnant, then I won’t be the only one enjoying the all inclusive top shelf liquor in Jamaica in two weeks or the roller coasters at Thing One’s upcoming birthday celebrations. So there’s that.

Of course, we’d rather her be pregnant.

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Camping!

Well, the TWW was dragging a little bit too long for us (we’re at 11DPO today) so what did we did to make the time go faster?

We took the kids camping! All five of them! It was the babies’ and Bubby’s first time ever (and possibly L’s too… She says she remembers a different trip with her Idiot but we think that might have just been a one day trip when she was little).

Anyways, it was supposed to be a four night stay starting Wednesday, July 3 and ending today, but we came home a day early because in our third and final night it started pouring and did not stop. We woke up and half our campsite was one giant mud puddle. I am all about nature but with three kids, two babies, and no way to build a fire (wet wood, wet fire ring) and it being virtually impossible to step anywhere without slip sliding (not exactly safe with a baby in your arms!) we decided home was where we wanted to be.

Other than that though, the trip was unexpectedly amazing! We expected to be stressed out and constantly muttering under our breath about how we were idiots for doing this trip (and there were a few moments of that, notably when we were in the shower house with all the kids on the second night trying to get ourselves and everyone else clean… We’re in the handicapped stall bathing the babies and the kids are in the other three stalls yelling, screaming, wanting us to bring them soap, towels, clothes, etc… Holy stressful!)… But for the most part, the trip was wonderful!

The babies did a great job adapting to their environment… We figured out pretty quickly that Addie needed her pack n play to be covered with a sleeping bag during the day in order to take a nap (makes sense since her crib is in our walk in closet at home- no light) and once we got that solved it was smooth sailing from there, sleep-wise (Pax just slept on us while we chilled in a camp chair). The other kids slept wonderfully too, aside from the first night when they were too excited to sleep.

In retrospect, there were a lot of things we did right that made this trip a success with two babies in tow, and a few things I would change next time.

We opted for easy meals (grilled chicken and steak, foil dinners, hot dogs) and did only one hot breakfast out of three mornings so that there was minimal preparation and clean up, and that worked out very well. We also utilized the girls to help watch babies during mealtime preparation (our reasoning being that if they want to eat, they gotta work for it!).

We also brought a separate, popup tent that we used exclusively as a sort of screened-in play area for the babies, which worked well so that we had a place to put the babies down without worrying about bugs and without having to constantly lug the pack n play in and out of the main sleeping tent. We have giant foam interlocking mats that were previously used for the babies play room, that we brought to put under the play tent to cushion against falls and also had enough left over for the kids to use as sleeping mats under their sleeping bags. Even though the babies sometimes cried when we left them in there (not unlike our own playroom at home!) it was worth it to have and I would definitely bring it again.

We brought the twin jogging stroller we have, and when we weren’t on walks, we set it up by the fire and the babies had ready-made front row seats to the campfire action! (Not too close, of course!) I can’t tell you how entertained they were by watching the fire glow. They also were perfectly happy to just sit in it and play with toys, and when we wanted to throw a frisbee or swing with the kids or something, we would wheel it over to wherever they were and they would watch from the sidelines. Overall, it worked really really well and I’m so glad we brought it instead of the other one-behind-the-other stroller we have.

The babies’ swimming related gear- their little popup pool we have and popup spring floats- made lake time a breeze! The fact that they were popup spring ones instead of blow up made packing them really easy as they just folded back up and didn’t take up space.

Finally, the older kids’ bikes were a life saver. We almost didn’t bring them but I am so glad we did because they spent the entire time it seems riding around the campground meeting friends and playing chase- affording us some free time/downtime, which was life saving!

If I could change a few things, I would definitely bring the babies’ blow up ducky bathtub for showers next time! Although there were two of us to wrangle them, there were also two babies, and we were forced to put them down to (quickly) shower/dress ourselves. During that time, they were both making escape attempts… Having naked (slippery!) baby crawling around under your feet while you’ve got one foot in and one foot out of your pants in a shower stall is not the best situation, and definitely contributed to our stress during shower times! I think having an actual portable bathtub to contain them would definitely help with that.

Also, I would bring pax’s bouncy next time. The child is in LOVE with that thing and it would have been nice to have one more place to put him down when necessary. Of course, this is in an ideal world where we would have all the space we wanted to pack the car… That isn’t the case! In fact, the reason we DIDN’T bring it is because we could literally not find one more cubic foot of free space to put ANYTHING, let alone a bouncer. But it would be nice. We’ve got a few more, shorter trips planned this summer (So. Much. Camping!), so we’ll see if we can squeeze it into one of those trips.

Overall, the trip was great and the babies and kids clearly enjoyed camping. I have some really special memories of camping when I was a kid and want my kids to grow up with the same. Excited for our next trip (but happy for some downtime in the meantime!).

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In honor of the TWW…

We had breakfast for dinner. A little sperm with your egg, anyone?

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(And in case you were wondering, yes, this TWW is making us a little crazy. What gave it away?)

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