Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Daily Fight

I always expected the terrible twos to be bad and for things to get difficult when Katie started wanting to do things by herself. I am happy to let her do things for herself and I can learn to be more patient when she wants to do things that I could do in two seconds. I never thought it would be like this. Katie wants to do everything by herself. Note the italics and bold type. She is sweet until it is time to head upstairs to bed. Then World War III begins. If you touch her, or suggest that you might, in the future, sometime, touch her, or help her, or in any way shape or form THINK about helping her, she has a TOTAL meltdown. A screaming, crying, throw down on the floor kind of meltdown. Then you have to start whatever you were doing over again, from scratch. If she was taking her shirt off and you helped her get it unstuck, she has to put her shirt back on to take off again BY HERSELF. That's not the worst part, however. The worst part is the screaming and crying while she insists that she put her shirt back on, then screams and cries over not being able to put it back on, then screams and cries that you helped her put it back on and THEN screams and cries that she can't get it off.

Seriously, that is exactly what happened to me (and more) last night and exactly what Jim is facing right now as I type this Tuesday night before I go to choir.

I'm hoping that some of the problem comes from being too tired. She went to bed late Sunday night because of the ice cream trip and then all the fighting had us going to bed a little later than normal. She's still not up to snuff after being so sick last week. Fortunately, she is going to bed earlier tonight so maybe tomorrow will be better. If not, it'll be like crossing Godzilla with a banshee and putting her to bed with a porcupine.


Monday, March 30, 2009

And one not so awesome day

I went to the neurosurgeon yesterday. Since July, my back has been giving me ever bigger problems. I guess I shouldn't say that they have been increasing, there keep being setbacks. It took 6 months to figure out how to fix the most recent issues I've been having with my back. That took me to December and I was really starting to feel better over the holidays. In January, we had some snow and I slipped on the ice in the parking lot at school and landed hard on the side where I have been having problems. Major setback. I hurt a lot more for several weeks. Then, I finally started getting better and feeling hopeful again. Unfortunately, my hope was for not as, one afternoon after school, I picked up my workbag to carry it into the house and felt an explosion of pain right in my spine. I've had considerably more pain since. It's gotten better in the last week or so since my physical therapist changed my exercises but I was worried that I had herniated another disk with this lifting episode. I went for another MRI on Friday to find out.

That takes me to yesterday's trip to the neurosurgeon. He assured me that I do not have another herniated disk and that I do not need surgery.

This, to me, is both good and bad news. I don't want surgery. It's incredibly painful, it will take a long time to fully recover from it and it will cost a lot of money. I'd have to miss a month of school and it would just be awful. But, if the disk isn't the problem, what is? I'm still hurting, so something is obviously wrong. Although I don't want surgery, I think I was kind of hoping I would need it because then there would be something obviously wrong that is fixable. Instead, I am left with back pain of indefinite origin, and indefinite length and undetermined fixability. I can't continue my daily activities without pain, I can't exercise for my health (and my sanity). I can't ride (which I enjoy very much). I have difficulty teaching and caring for my child and, although I desperately want to get pregnant again, I can't even try until my back returns to a more stable state.

So, where do I go from here? I take every day one day at a time. Today, I am going to bed early so I can get up and walk tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will walk 10 minutes on the treadmill. The next day, I will try to walk more. Soon, I will go to the pain clinic and try some diagnostic tests to find out what structure in my back is causing the problem so that we can figure out what therapy to try next.

I have to keep hope alive that I will be pain free again. God has plans for me, even though I freely admit I don't agree with the current tack he's been taking. In my life, God has always made lemonade from the poor choices and plans that I've made. Sometimes, I truly made poor choices. Other times, he knew what I needed long before I could ever see it. In hindsight, the way he arranged things has always been the best. because of his guidance (or "interference" as I would call it at the time) I am married to a wonderful, sweet man, I have amazing friends who love me and support me in ways I never knew was possible. I have a great job only walking distance from my house at a great school and a beautiful baby girl who is just starting to button her own clothes. Even when I want to shake my fist and cry out at God in frustration or anger (and believe, I do), I have to remember where he's brought me and what would have happened if he'd been listening to my plans instead of following his.

One awesome day

Sunday in our town was a beautiful day. The weather was nice and the sun was out. I opened almost all of the windows in the house and the strong breeze (well, wind really) blew through the house bringing with it the scent of spring. We've had so much rain lately that the yellow snow season didn't last as long as it usually does. Thus, when I opened the windows, I didn't immediately start sneezing. :) Although I love the springs here, I don't often open the windows because that typically just invites pollen inside. I am moderately allergic to half of North Carolina (at least one thing in every season...and dust for any time the outside might be allergen free). But I digress...
Although we didn't spend the beautiful day outside (we were hard at work dejunkifying the house), we decided to treat ourselves to some Goodberry's ice cream after dinner. The Goodberry's is walking distance from our house but it's a pretty good hike for Katie and her short legs. It was great. We walked, we enjoyed, got a good picture on the way there, and ate LOTS of ice cream (Katie's cone was WAY bigger than I expected). Then the rain clouds rolled in the wind blew harder and we didn't have warm enough clothing for the now cold outside and the tired child (whose bedtime was already past) started tripping (a LOT) and skinning her knees, busting her lip, and scraping her hand. She didn't want Jim to carry her on his shoulders (the easiest and fastest way), she wants me to carry her in my arms. With my bad back.

Despite the bumps at the end we still had a great time and I look forward to many more trips this summer (although, perhaps for lunch or afternoon snack...when rain is not in the forcast...). Now that Katie is more potty-trained (note I did not say FULLY potty trained, just closer) we managed to go on the trip with nothing outside of the money we needed to buy the ice cream. that was awesome. I can't wait to go to the pool without swim diapers! I may bring a case of wet wipes and a jacket next time we go for ice cream though. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Train Wreck

Well, every time I come up with a great plan there is not only a derailment but sometimes a complete train wreck. Since my last post, my back has become worse so I spent days in agony and doped up on pain killers trying to finish the annual ESL testing. I couldn't take a sick day because I was the only who could finish the testing before the testing window closed. Then, the weekend came and, after a decent day on Saturday, Katie started throwing up (in my new car no less) and threw up for several days. Then she had a high fever. After the fever went away and she stopped throwing up she got really bad acid reflux that had her screaming in pain for a couple nights. She ate bananas for several days and had another frightened of pooping episode. We recently got past that so I'm hoping it won't last too long.

Time and Mylicon have finally helped and she is healing now. After our crazy two weeks, it's time to get back on track.

This weekend, Ricarda was back from her trip to Washington, DC and she was willing to babysit for us again. This has got to be the best thing we've ever done. On Sunday afternoon, we relaxed some after church and then worked for several hours going through boxes in our bedroom, doing laundry, and catching up a bit from the craziness of the past weeks. I'm really starting to feel like we might finally get somewhere with our stuff.

Now that things have calmed down, we'll see how our Daily 7 routine works.

Monday, March 16, 2009

All by myself

Every new parent (well, at least this new parent) dreams of rocking their child to sleep and sitting with their child in their lap, reading a book together. When Katie was a baby, she was very mouthy. So mouthy, in fact, that even at a year, the one or two board books we gave her are beyond redemption. She would much rather eat the book then read the book. Fortunately, just as I was about to despair, we read Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? and she was hooked at about 18 months. Now I despair over having to read the Cat in the Hat again. It has been really nice seeing her change and grow into a child who really loves books. When she wakes up from her nap, she will often get books and bring them back to her bed and read. Sometimes she even does that when she's avoiding bedtime (I think I wrote about that once before). She turns the light on and reads until I tell her it really is time to go to sleep.

Rocking has been different. When Katie was a baby, rocking her wasn't an option. She was what I call "a dump job". The only way she would go to sleep was if you put her in her crib and walked away, shutting the door. Rocking, singing, or otherwise staying in her room was too much stimulation. If you left her alone and closed the door, she would sit or stand and maybe cry for a minute and then lay down and go to sleep. To my delight, however, as a toddler, she liked being rocked before bed. It has still been too much stimulation at times. Sometimes she spends more time talking to me about who knows what then relaxing and getting ready for sleep. Or she spends so much time squirming around that 2 whole songs have gone by before she is ready to actually rock (and that's usually when she needs to go down). Despite these times, I have enjoyed sitting and holding my baby in my arms and rocking with her as I didn't get to when she was really little. Now, at age 2.75, she has decided that she wants to rock herself. For the last three nights, after we finished reading her story, she wants to rock "on my bottom, by myself." So, I have left her in her room with the music on, rocking in her rocking chair. After awhile, I go back in and put her in the bed. I don't know how well it's helping her sleep (today she was still pretty wound up after rocking for 7 songs by herself) but I admit I am mourning the loss of my "little one." She's practically too big to rock, at 40 inches and 37 lbs (yes, she really is going to turn 3 at the end of May, not 5). Perhaps this too is just a phase and she will go back to wanting to be rocked before too long. It's just another reminder to me to savor the times I have because, regardless of how long they are, they will always be shorter than I wish them to be.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Awesome NOT procrastinating day

Have you ever felt you were drowning in stuff? That you would rather move and sell the house as is with everything in it, just so you could start over? That's how I've felt in the past several years. Like we were just staying on top of things. As soon as we seemed to be making headway, something would happen and things would pile up. Don't get me wrong, our house is not knee deep in clutter with only paths to walk through the house like some you see on tv, but it is a level of clutter that drains the spirit just by existing. We're trying to fix it, and this time, we just might do it...

This weekend was crazy awesome! Okay, it was nasty and rainy and 40 degrees all weekend, keeping us in the house with the 2 year old all weekend. BUT, I got sooooo much done! First of all, my friend Heather came over to my house and we cooked up a storm. She is such an amazing person I don't know how she does everything. A few months ago, we started getting together once a month to cook and freeze meals for our families. I am always amazed when we get together at how much we get done. My big plan with the cooking was that I would mooch off of Heather's cooking abilities while offering ingredients and willing hands. It's working brilliantly in my book. :) We got together on Saturday morning and planned on cooking 4 dishes. We ended up with 6 or 7. Not only that, but my kitchen is cleaner now than it was when the day started. :) We definitely need to cook at my house again.

We also really worked hard this weekend to get things accomplished. One of our difficulties in the past has been that we try to schedule lots of chores during naptime. But, if we work through naptime each weekend day, then we're tired and want some downtime when Katie gets up again. To counter this problem, Jim and I decided to hire Ricarda, our teenage "daughter" (exchange student living with us), to take care of our 2 year old for a few hours between nap and dinner for one day each weekend. She babysat Katie for 3 hours today and it was great. We got a little downtime during nap as well as getting started on our chores and then we had three blessed hours to get stuff done. Yay! A good hunk of decluttering happened today. A good start to move forward from.

Another thing that we are trying to do to stay on top of our daily and weekly chores better is an adapted version of the daily 7. We can't manage everything that Stephanie does everyday with our full schedules at work but we've added a few things to help us get started. Now, I make the bed everyday (Jim never makes it right anyway :) ) and Jim cleans the cat litter box each day. Three days during the week I will put a load in the laundry and Jim moves it to the dryer before work. Then we put it away together that night. Although these changes are small, I've already seen an improvement in our home life. I have not come home or awakened to the smell of cat poop on the floor. Our cats are old and picky and they poop on the floor if they don't like how clean their litter box is. In the past, this has been every other day. It drove me crazy. Not this week. The bed has been nice a neat everytime I come home and that always makes me feel better. Also, it is easier to sleep when the covers have been straightened each day and the sheets are tight on the bed again. Even the laundry was easier to do. Although we weren't able to stick to putting the laundry away each night we did a load this week, we did get it put away before the weekend and that meant that the rest of the laundry was sooooo much easier to do and get put away. In fact, it is late Sunday night and the only laundry that isn't finished is the sheets I put in earlier today. Everything else is not only clean and dry but in a drawer or hung up. Considering that it is more common for the laundry to hang around in baskets until next laundry day, this is HUGE. I even had time to blog tonight. :) We'll see how things continue but I am hopeful after our start this week on keeping our day to day lives from being too chaotic and making headway in the backlog of things that we need to do and get rid of.