Thursday, June 30, 2011

Welcome to the Hotel California...

Hello, folks.

Well, it's been a couple of days since I've been here. Lots has been going on, and then again, nothing has been going on. I'll try to be brief.

(let me interject this real quick - I enjoy writing. For the most part, I'm a good speller and use correct grammar. But there are certain spelling rules I can't seem to master and certain words I can't spell to save my life. Same goes for certain grammar principles. Factor in that I'm constantly sleep-deprived and, well, just cut me a little slack. K?)

It's been a full week since I started my new medication. I'm seeing some changes, but not what I had hoped. I'm forcing myself to get up and get dressed every day, first thing. I'm making myself do more, although I'm honestly too exhausted to do a whole lot. But to be honest, I'm just not feeling great. I'm not where I want to be. And, if I'm being completely frank, I'm actually a little more sad than I had been.

I think I know what this is. In the past, it has been my experience that when I start a medication, I always feel worse before I feel better. I am really, really hoping that's what's going on. I'm ready to feel better.

Have you ever had an experience where you know you should do something, you KNOW you're going to have a good time and feel better if you do it, but you just can't make yourself do it? I'm in that position right now. I have an invitation to go somewhere this weekend with friends I haven't seen in weeks. I should go. I would enjoy myself. I've tried psyching myself up to go. I've tried demanding of myself that I go. I know that I should go. But I can think of a million reasons why I should stay home. These are the friends I prayed for and sought out, they've been good to me...yet I'm hiding from them. Why? I don't know why. I don't understand it myself. I've no idea what I'll ultimately end up doing.

The Eagles' song "Hotel California" has always been one of those songs that meant something different to everyone. To me,  it's always been a perfect analogy for depression/mental illness. Particularly the bits about "stab it with your steely knives but you just can't kill the beast" and "next thing I remember I was running for the door/had to find the passage back to the place I was before/'relax' said the nightman 'we are programmed to recieve/you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.'"  How true. For many people - at least me, I can knock it back til it's a tiny little whimpering fraction of my life, but I can never make it go completely away. I'm still determined to do that, but I've just had a couple of bad days.

Andy, my oldest, lives with his father in Virginia during the summers. He comes home every other weekend, but I haven't seen him since Father's day weekend. For a while, I had been so overwhelmed with so much going on for so long, that it was almost a relief to only have two kids for a while; like a pleasant break. Now, though, I am really starting to miss him. Andy's my cuddler, he is my buddy, and my snuggly one. Andy's the one who volunteers hugs and kisses. I'm starting to miss that.

I love my husband. I ADORE my husband. But he has a three and a half day weekend coming up, and I have a feeling we're going to be ready to kill each other by the fourth. We get along beautifully together, as long as we have things to do. Extended periods of idle time don't suit us well, and we have nothing to do this weekend. Currently, we're trying to come up with some things to keep us occupied. He wants to go to the beach. I'm prepared to send him.

I don't want to post and only post depressing crap, so I'll leave you with a couple of funny little scenes from my life.

First, Charlie has learned a handful of words. Not many, but a couple. What's really amusing is when he uses them appropriately, especially accidentally. Of course, he's figured out "no." (Kill me now.)

Today, I laid him down on the floor to change his diaper. (He's entirely too big for the changing table.) After I get his diaper off, clean him up and he's lying there completely naked, he starts hollering "No! Help!" and takes off running across the living room. His little butt and little blond curly head were just bouncing...and I had to run him down. Could not help but laugh.

Also, I swear Chris is out to get me. Backstory - Chris works for a grocery company. He knows I'm dieting. I'm trying hard, and mostly succeeding. Today, though, he comes home with an entire pumpkin pie. The whole thing. All of it. And he cut me a slice. I ate the entire slice and called him a bastard through a mouthful.

Love to all,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Unexpected aspects of having a girl and other random bits

Morning, folks! First, let me share some bits of news. I might even get to the topic at hand, if I'm lucky and Team Umizoomi holds Charlie's attention long enough.


I entered Charlie's photo in a contest for Parent's magazine, and we found out yesterday that he was short-listed. I need ALL THE VOTES I CAN GET for him! As of this morning, he was #51 out of a few hundred (there were 100,000+  entries) and if he wins this week's reader's choice poll, he wins $250 and moves on to the next round, which puts him up against 19 other kids in for one of 10 spots to go to NYC for a photo shoot! In short, if he wins this week, he's got a 50/50 shot of going to NYC, and if he goes to NYC, he's got a 1 in 10 shot of winning $10,000. We could use this....hell, we could use $250. Money's tight around here.

So, please, go to this web page and vote! It'll ask you to solve a captcha to weed out spam (God, I wish I could spam), and you can vote once a day. Ask your friends to help, too! Help a sista out, y'all!

And now, Back to your originally scheduled programming...

I accomplished my goal yesterday, but I had to change things around. Yesterday at about noon, I decided that I was determined to take the kids to the park, come hell or high water. I gave myself until half an hour after Charlie got up from his nap. During Charlie's nap, I took out the trash and went to the mailbox. By the time I made that one short trip, I was sweating like Heidi Fleiss in church. So I said to myself..."self? Do you seriously want to hang out in this heat and humidity right now?" Then I answered myself. "Hellz to the no."

So, we went after dinner. We went to our neighboorhood playground, but we were only there about 90 seconds. (I'll get into why in another post.) We went to the tennis court to kick around a ball, and that lasted about five minutes. Finally, we went back to our own yard and that worked out great because the blessed ice cream truck came by, and Charlie had his very first ice cream bar from the ice cream truck. His lips are still stained blue this morning.

My good friend Kari and her two daughters came by last night, and although they apologized about 50 times because they thought they were interrupting or whatever, I don't think they realized what a breath of fresh air it was for me. Granted, Chris was somewhat put-out because he was watching "Heroes," but he is the ONLY adult interaction I ever have. I was thrilled to have company. It made my whole day. Thanks, Kari. :)

And now for my big accomplishment...this morning, within 45 minutes of getting out of bed, I was dressed in actual clothes I could go out in public in. My hair was moderately fixed and everything (pulled back in a headband.) I missed out on my shower last night due to a wicked thunderstorm, so I had a quick birdbath, and I don't have on any socks and shoes, but hey. I have on clothes. Real clothes.

This is a big deal, because honestly, for the past 2 months, I've been wearing sleepwear 24 hours a day and only getting dressed if I absolutely have to. So, although I have no intention to go anywhere at all today (the weatherman is calling for more wicked storms this afternoon, worse than last night), I'm up, I'm dressed, and I'm pretty dang proud of myself. Depression, prepare to be my bitch.

Okay. Back to the topic at hand. Here are a handful of things about having a girl that I didn't expect.

1) She stinks. I mean it...she really reeks. Part two of this is that she farts like a man. (I'm actually kind of proud of that bit.) But it's amazing to me that my seven-pound bundle of sweetness and light can cut this gigantic fart that sounds like one of her big brothers and all of the sudden, her 6'4" father feels the need to vacate the room. My boys never stank like this...although Charlie is starting to now. Which is fabulous. The two of them stinking up the house at the same time is just marvelous. Really.

2) I suddenly want everything that is pink, has bows, is ruffle-y, is covered in get the idea. I mean, where the hell did THAT come from? But it's true. I swore to myself for years that I'd never put one of those headbands that looks like a garter on my child's head. Ever. Ever EVER. Those things were for moronic bitches who didn't care if thier babies looked stupid. Right? My Katie had one on at three days old and is rarely without one. On another note, crow isn't that bad with a little salt and pepper.

3) It has been 7 weeks since she's been born, and I'm still surprised every time I open her diaper and there's a bajingo there and not a noodle. For almost 6 solid years before she was born, I changed little boy diapers at least 5-6 times a day. You get used to the view, know what I mean? Then, along comes Katie, and the landscape changes. Charlie isn't anywhere near potty trained yet, so I still have to change him, and it's almost a relief to see the familiar. It's still a jolt when I open up her diaper and there's nothing there. I'm getting used to it, but it's going to take time. And, by the way, yes I did refer to them as "bajingo" and "noodle."

4) I have had the brief impulse to put her in a pageant.  All I have to do to curb this is a) watch one single episode of 'Toddlers and Tiaras' and b) look at my husband. That cures it right quick. If I want to stay married, I won't do it.

and 5) I fear for her future more than I fear for my boys. Maybe it's because I have been a teenage girl. Maybe it's because I went through that gawky, awkward phase when your feet are too big for your body and you develop boobs and you just don't feel right. Maybe it's because I remember wanting to fit in so badly. I think that, in large part, it's because she has her father and I as her parents, and neither of us (particularly me) were even close to cool in high school. I don't want her to be a reject like me. I want her to be confident, intelligent, fun, and have a circle of good friends who are good people. But I desperately fear her being a social reject. It's already keeping me up at night. I've considered sending her to live with my sister-in-law when she gets to that age, because my sister-in-law was the epitome of high school awesomeness...the girl you wanted to hate because she was so perfect but couldn't because she was just too damned nice. This is not a worry I have about the boys.

Well, that's all I have for today. I need to do the dishes, but I'm putting it off, just like always. My big plans for the day are to mow the grass when Charlie goes down for his nap. I'm really looking forward to that...I'm an odd bird who loves yard work. But then, I'm an odd bird about almost everything. :)

Til later then,
Vote for Charlie! :)
Love to all!

Monday, June 27, 2011

File this under "Stuff I Couldn't Make Up"

On Saturday, the Hubster and I decided to take the kiddos to the park. It was to be Katie's first big outdoor outing. And mine too, to be honest. We waited until really late in the day because we thought the heat may be too much for the kids, particularly Katie. That was our excuse anyway. In all honesty, the real reason is that I'm so fat and out of shape that I just couldn't get my big butt in gear any earlier than that. So there. How's that for laying it all out on the table?

Chris had been telling me about about this amazing park that was just off the beaten path and is just perfect for toddlers. He insisted we simply had to go there. So we did. Here's how it went down.

First, you have to drive by a huge-ass park to get to this park. And our destination wasn't far from the park we had to pass, only about a block away. Yet they are two separate entities. The first park is nothing but a huge field with a sign that says "DO NOT PRACTICE YOUR GOLF HERE." All of this was (and remains) confusing and amusing to me.

Second, when we got to the little park we were looking for, I saw that Chris was right. It was truly perfect - a preschooler's paradise. Where there used to be basketball goals on the asphalt, they had put nearly a dozen ride-on toys. The toddler-appropriate playground had sand instead of mulch on the ground, and came complete with toys. Playhouses were all over the place for the kids to run in and out of. It was easy to navigate with the stroller...even my bulky, evil double stroller. There were huge shade trees everywhere. Hills and trees made a natural barrier. still my heart...benches! In the shade! Then came the downside. We circled the park - TWICE. And there was NOWHERE TO PARK!! WTF? We ended up having to go back to the no-golfing field and park there.

Let me preface this next bit by saying I usually take my camera with me everywhere I go. I never know when my kids are going to do something cute, or for the first time, and part of my pathology is that I want to remember everything. So, I try to keep my camera. If you look at my facebook page, you can see that I'm pretty obsessed with taking photos. This time, I forgot it. I regret that deeply now.

When we got there to park, there was a group arriving for what I initially thought was a wedding. It took a second before I realized it was a photo shoot. These people were dressed in what they apparently thought was renfaire gear, but it was the shoddiest, saddest excuse for renfaire clothes I've ever seen - including one girl in a store-bought witches' costume, complete with traditional witches' hat. (To be fair, [or 'faire', excuse the pun] one of the dresses was really pretty and well-made, although far from accurate.) I tried hard not to stare and just stole glances as I struggled with pulling the stroller out of the trunk. Then it happened...they started pulling their instruments out of their vehicles.

Their electric instruments.

I'm not kidding. There was a guy standing in a park wearing a tunic, tights, belt and sword....with a fender telecaster slung over his shoulder.

Chris and I walked off, trying so hard not to laugh out loud. I didn't want to be rude, I really didn't. So we just went to enjoy our evening in the park and figured that would be the weirdest thing we'd see all evening.

It almost was.

After we walked to the park (or swam, it was so damned humid), we unloaded the kids and I saw the bulletin board with one lonely little sign on it. It read...

"Lost a spear with covered blade?
Call 555-9119 + describe."

It occured to me at that point that I had a camera on my phone, and that I could provide proof that that actually happened. Because, of course, nobody would ever actually believe me. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to upload it, so until I do, you guys are just going to have to take my word for it. But that sign was there.

I think we might hunt out another preschool oasis.

Let's see, what other news? 'Cause I know you all are waiting with baited breath...

I'm four days into my new medication, and I'm starting to feel just a touch better. My appetite is curbed, I've definitely noticed that. As in, I'm eating the amount a normal human would eat. Chris went to see the Green Lantern last night and I asked him to pick me up a McD's hot fudge sundae on the way home, but I figure one a week won't hurt me, right? My next step is getting out into the sunshine and moving...I just have to work up the courage to do that with two little ones. The logistics are a nightmare, seriously. Keep me in your prayers.

And, to end things on a humorous note, my grandmother is one of the most unintentionally funny people I know. She's been watching this Casey Anthony trial from Day 1, and she's managed to suck me into it. I called her this morning about 9:45 to discuss the latest bombshell, and she didn't answer. Five minutes later, during a commercial, she called me back. Her first words were "I saw you called me. Is it important? I can't talk unless it's important. My trial's on!" And she refused to talk to me. She called me back on the next commercial break and talked for one minute and thirty two seconds...until the lead-in music came back on before she abruptly said "Igottago!" and clicked in my ear.

God, I love that woman.

Love to all,

Friday, June 24, 2011

Guess who's back...back again....

Loony's back....tell a friend...guess who's back, guess who's back, guess who's back, ....okay I'll stop, so you guys won't have that stuck in your head ALL day. Hopefully.

This is going to be a long, bloated post.  Sorry in advance. This is one of those 'confessions' that actually has a meaning.

Well, here I is. I went away for a while and had a baby, but I'm back from my maternity leave. I bring with me an insanely gorgeous little girl and a post-partum depression that, unfortunately, I let get to a level that could best be described as "Holy Shit!" before I started agressively doing anything about it. I did that yesterday. And that's the topic I want to jump on today...because I'm in a self-analyzing mood.

Let's go back in time, shall we? When I met the hubster, I was a 155-lb single mom to an almost-3-year-old. To the majority of the female population, 155lbs sounds like a weight problem, but I was actually on the border of being *too* thin. I'm one of those rare people that ACTUALLY have big bones. Anyway, I was a solid size 8-10, and my bockasana was looking goooood. Beyond that, I felt amazing. I had had my mental health struggles, but I was at a wonderfully healthy place and was advocating for the mentally ill. I took up playing billiards, met lots of friends, and my three big problems were 1) I couldn't get along with my ex husband 2) I never had any money and 3) I could NOT stop smoking. I loved what I did, I loved how I felt, I loved life. I met Chris, and life got sweeter. We started dating, and, to both of our shock (and some horror on my part), I found out I was pregnant about 3-4 months after we started dating - at the beginning of the year. I had gained about 20 lbs since we started dating b/c we ate out all the the weight REALLY started packing on b/c I couldn't diet like I had planned. Other than that, life was really coming up roses. Hubster and I were married at the end of my first trimester, the issues with my ex husband were resolved and we started to get along (which had never happened - even when we were married), I moved to NC to live with my new husband, and 6 weeks after I moved down, I gave birth to a gorgeous, healthy baby boy.

Then, it started.

Andy lives with me during the school year and his father during the summer. Both of my boys have late August birthdays. Andy came home on a Sunday and Charlie was born on Wednesday. Andy started his new preschool in a new city 9 days later. I was at home, alone, with a new baby and a preschooler almost all of the time. And what I had not foreseen was that almost all of my friends had jobs and lives...they were all busy. Charlie was too little to do anything, and I didn't know anyone. Stranger in a strange town. The depression started setting in.

Then it got worse.

When Charlie was 3 weeks old, my best friend, Erin, who worked afternoons and came to see me in the mornings when she could, was admitted to the hospital for some mystery swelling. She expected to be there overnight, and - well - she never really left. She had a couple of periods of a week or two that she would go home, but she always ended up back in the hospital sooner rather than later. Thirteen months later, she passed away. I wanted to visit her - she was stuck in that room and I was stuck at home, it was a perfect combination, right? - but I was not allowed to. This was the winter that H1N1 was rampant, and children were not allowed on hospital grounds. Because I did not have a sitter, I couldn't get up there to visit with her much at all. We had to resort to texting and phone calls. My heart twists in agony, even as I write this, to think about how lonely I know she was up there.

The depression got worse and worse.

When the spring and summer came, I finally decided I had had enough and decided to make friends and get out of the house. Period. And I made a true and honest attempt. I also decided I wanted to lose weight (At the time, I was hovering around 220lbs) and although I didn't care about being svelte, exactly, I DID want to feel good about myself again. But I could never get myself going. Although I have a pool right down the street, I never went. There is a playground, but I never took Charlie (in my defense, he couldn't walk). There are sidewalks, but I didn't go for walks. I just sat and farted around on the internet and...well...wallowed.

That is not to say that I didn't attempt to reach out for help, or that I was in horrific shape. Not at all. I was taking an anti-depressant and, like I said, I've been really sick before. I guess that's why this very slow-onset depression snuck up on me, and I let it go under-treated for so long. The summer passed by, the boys had their birthdays (which is always a joyous but incredibly stressful time) and then at the end of September, we found out Katie was coming.

Then came the cruelest blow of all...two days after we found out Katie was coming, Erin had to go onto the ventilator. After a week on and off the ventilator, she made the decision on her own to come off of life support and sign a Do Not Recusitate order. She passed away one week and one day after we found out about Katie. I fell into a depression then, but at least this time, I recognized it for what it was.

I also recognized (as did my doctor) that there wasn't a damned thing I could do about it, beyond what I was already doing.

As an added bonus, Andy went to kindergarten this year, and...well...let's just say he didn't have a stellar year. The rough days outnumbered the good days 2-1. We're holding him back, and it's the absolute best thing we could do for him. I'm not the least bit sorry about it. My pregnancy with Katie was not exactly a physically joyous time - first I was puking for the first 7 months, and then it got REALLY painful REALLY fast.

Now she's here, and I adore her. But it hasn't been idyllic. I haven't been able to breastfeed her like I wanted to, (she can't latch) and I've been trying to give myself permission to give up the pumping around the clock. Guilt has kept me going. I've found myself sitting around in my pajamas, not wanting to go anywhere, not wanting to get dressed in actual clothes, not even really wanting to take a bath. All I've wanted to do is sit on my ever-expanding ass, eat (Chris says I've been on the 'carb-and-sugar' diet), and watch crap TV. And when I say that all I've wanted to do is eat, I'm not kidding. I can't STOP eating...I've been like a human sugar and carbohydrate garbage disposal. It's been insane, and I have gained 9lbs in 5 weeks. But, like most people, I've had blinders, and I've only assessed myself as far as the past few weeks were concerned.

Well, I found an infection in my incision the day before yesterday, and made an appointment to go to the doctor yesterday. And I made up my mind yesterday morning that I was going to inform my doctor that my hormones were screwed up and something had to be done about it, she had to fix me. So I told her everything. All of the symptoms...from the last 6 weeks. (remember those blinders?) And she checked my thyroid, my blood sugar..and told me to get to the psychiatrist, that I had post-partum depression.

So I did. And I do. As I was killing time for the hour and a half before the appointment to see her, I did a lot of self-analysis, and when I finally got in to see her, I was further surprised at what came out when I actually started to talk about and acknowledge the fact that I'd been depressed. And my psychiatrist (who I love, by the way) put me on a med that's indicated for women with PPD or has a little hormonal component to it. She swore to me that I'd be feeling better within a week. And that I'd stop craving carbs so much, too. (Hallelujah!)

This is a battle that I'm determined to win. I am tired of feeling fat and tired. I am tired of feeling like not doing anything. I want to feel like I want to do SOMETHING. Even if it's just walking around the block, I miss feeling motivated.

Now, let me give y'all a little insight into my personality - don't offer me any excuses. Have you ever heard the expression "if you give her an inch, she'll take a mile?" - that's me when it comes to excuses for being lazy or not doing something I don't want to do. So if you say "Oh, honey, cut yourself some slack. You just had a baby." or anything along those lines...I have a tendency to grab a hold to it and milk it for all it's worth. Enabling me is the worst thing that you can do for me. I need drill sergeant/cheerleaders. I need friends with skin on them. I need someone to hold me accountable.

I would love to write, but in order to truly be productive and turn out the book that I would one day like to write, I would have to leave my house, leave my kids with other people, and go to an office setting to do it with someone else giving me deadlines to do it. I deliver on nagging....seriously. So, you guys tell me? What would you like from me? What would you like to ask from me and guilt me into delivering? Once a week? Once a month? Whenever the mood strikes?

By the way, I'm weaning from pumping every 4 hours...and I look like Pamela Anderson if she were fat and brunette. Ho-lee crap, these babies are a sight to behold.