Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 Recap

In looking back over 2015, I see that this post is only my 37th of the year. That's less than a post a week and the lowest yearly total I've had since starting this blog back in 2009.

I sometimes think that I should just shut this blog down entirely, as I seem to post here only sporadically and the posts I do share are hardly a true (or at least complete) reflection of my life or my feelings. In looking back at my posts over the past year, it appears that I only occasionally post about my sons and/or motherhood and most often just post random updates about what is going on in my life.

Plus, the reason I started the blog -- infertility -- is no longer an issue in my life. I have been a mother to my sons for nearly four years, and for a variety of reasons, we do not intend to have any more children. I will be 45 on my next birthday. So while I am technically probably still infertile, I am far from being in the trenches anymore.

So as I recap 2015, I am giving some consideration to whether I should even continue to post here. Most of the time this blog just feels like one more thing I can't keep up with these days. . . .

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
I rode the Polar Express with my sons.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any new year's resolutions for 2015 and don't intend to make any for next year.  I've come to believe that, for me, all resolutions do is set me up to fail.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Hmm. Not anyone close to me, but a couple of friends had babies, and a couple more are due next month.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Same answer as the last two years: I need to exercise more so I can have more energy and better health
7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No particular date stands out.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I seem to have finally found a job where my skills and abilities are appreciated (and compensated financially). That's a first for me.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I'm not sure.  I feel like I am failing at *something* nearly every day. . . .
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Yes. I was hospitalized in late April/early March due to sepsis and have also had several less serious illnesses throughout the year, including some nasty colds, a GI virus, bronchitis and an eye infection.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Adele's new CD, 25.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Once again, to child care expenses (almost as much as to our mortgage)
13. What did you get really excited about?
Taking the boys to the Polar Express
14. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Bad Blood (which MJ calls "the fighting song")
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? about the same
– thinner or fatter?  ever so slightly thinner
– richer or poorer? slightly richer, thanks to a raise and an unexpected bonus
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
18. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with my family: husband, kids, mother and inlaws.
19. What was your favorite TV program?
I don't have one.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (spoiler: it didn't change my life), The Girl on the Train, The Giver (surprisingly, I had never read it) and Bel Canto
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
Adele's new CD
22. What was your favorite film of the year?
Hmm. Probably Spy
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Husband took me out to dinner and (inadvertently) spoiled my evening (I blogged about this here). I turned 44.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A two-week spa retreat.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
26. What kept you sane?
Chatting with other mothers of small children who work outside the home. It's nice to know that there are other friends dealing with the same challenges as I am.
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
I can't do it all. It's foolish to even try.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays!




Wednesday, December 2, 2015

I think I'm ahead

I'm so far behind at present, I think I'm ahead. Work has been exceptionally busy for the past 6 weeks or so, with no end in sight. Add in my sons and the holidays, and I am feeling quite swamped.

Here are the main things going on in my life of late apart from work:

  • Traveled to Mi.ami Be.ach for work and got one glorious night of uninterrupted sleep in a hotel right on the beach
  • Had a good Thanksgiving with my mother and my inlaws (I only prepared one minor side dish!)
  • Celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary the Saturday after Than.ksgiv.ing
  • AJ insisted we put up our Ch.rist.mas tree on Monday, so now it's on display
  • Took the boys to a local reptile sanctuary over Thanksgiving weekend, and they loved it. (MJ held a king snake, and AJ actually LICKED a green anaconda after petting him for a while.)
  • Taking the boys on the Po.lar Ex.press this coming Saturday
  • A dear friend is pregnant with her third, and I'm attending a sprinkle/lunch in her honor Saturday before we leave for the northern part of the state
  • Have done some shopping for the boys' presents but none for anyone else. At least I have an idea of what I'll buy. . . .
  • Sent out my holiday cards. I used to love doing a family Ch.ris.tmas letter, but I simply don't have the time these days, so folks just get a photo card from us
  • Have been working on organizing my digital photos in anticipation of printing them all (I crazily signed up for the "Embrace Your Phone" course which targets this issue in early November)
  • Started the 21 Day Fix on Monday, and so far, so good. Long overdue to eat more healthfully and exercise more regularly! I need to do something to have more energy
If I make it to February 1 with my sanity intact, I will be very grateful!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Little Boys of Three

Look tenderly on little boys of three;
Their softness is as fleeting as a flower,
The cheeks like petals such a little hour,
The deepest dimple, theirs so transiently.

Even tomorrow softness may be hard;
The little cotton cushions on the knees,
Turned into bony knobs for climbing trees,
The fists, so like a rose, grow lean and scarred.

His full moon cheeks will narrow to a line,
The silken hair becomes the brush of bristle,
As mother's little flower turns to thistle,
And there will linger not one little sign

To prove the cuddly cupid that was he;
Look tenderly on little boys of three!

~AUTHOR: Isabelle Bryans Longfellow 


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Top Ten

These are the current top ten most commonly heard phrases from our sons, age 3 years 9 months:

10. Because I said so 
9.  I'm not your friend (only by AJ) 
8.  Can somebody wipe my bottom?
7.  I want a treat
6.  There's no monsters? (only by AJ)
5.  Watch this, Mom!
4.  I want to watch something on the TV (only by MJ)
3.  I want to buy that!
2.  I'm thirsty (or hungry)
1.  Why?

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

When It Rains. . .

it pours. Monday night MJ woke us up with a croupy cough and wheezing. And then AJ woke me up with ear pain (he'd had ear pain and fever earlier in the day as well). And MM woke up vomiting.

Because MM was so sick himself, it fell to me to take the boys to their pediatrician first thing in the morning on Tuesday. (Fortunately, the NP was able to examine them both even though only AJ had an appointment.) AJ was diagnosed with the expected ear infection, and we learned that the tube has fallen out of his right ear. MJ was diagnosed with croup and a sinus infection. Antibiotics were prescribed for both, as well as a dose of steroids for MJ.

I missed a group firm photo for a local magazine (as well as most of a day's work), but that's life. On the upside, all three of them are much improved today, and everyone is back to work/school.

The one saving grace was that I am about 95% recovered from my own illness. Had I still been sick also, it would have really been a rough day.

Monday, October 19, 2015

#MicroblogMondays 60: Steroids Edition

The day after my last post, when it was clear I wasn't getting better, I finally broke down and went to urgent care. (I hate going to the doctor when sick and will usually avoid doing so until/unless it becomes obvious I won't get better without some type of intervention.) I was diagnosed with bronchitis and prescribed a ZPak, steroids and a cough suppressant, and on Friday night, I had my first decent night's sleep all week, which contributed to my feeling much better on Saturday.

By yesterday, I was close to my normal energy level, and although I am still coughing, the episodes are fewer and farther between, shorter and less violent. That allowed me to make a significant dent in the virtual mountain of laundry that had accumulated over the past week when I was feeling particularly poorly. I washed and dried nine loads and folded and put away seven of those, with two more waiting for me to fold and put them away this evening.

I also cleaned the kitchen, including mopping the floor, and vacuumed, in addition to the usual weekend trip to the grocery store and keeping the boys entertained. (They had tee ball on Saturday, and on Sunday we took them to a nearby ranch's "pumpkin patch" -- really, just pumpkins stacked on and around bales of hay, but they don't know the difference and had fun.)

It felt good to be productive and start to get a handle on things at home, as well as feeling well enough to enjoy hanging out with my sons. Thank you, steroids, for the quick recovery.

Now to chip away at the work "to do" list. . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2015

I hate being sick

As of today, I have been coughing for two weeks straight. I caught a cold at the end of September and was just getting over it, with the cough still lingering, when I came down with another cold (this one more severe--worse sore throat and ear pain in addition to congestion) last Saturday.

My cough has been so bad the last three nights that I've hardly slept. I've tried everything that is available over-the-counter, and none of it has helped much. I'm frickin' exhausted.

(TMI: I also have urinary stress incontinence since having my sons, which makes for a lot of extra fun when I have a bad cough like this. Good times. . . .)

I'm really more annoyed by this than anything. Things had been going relatively smoothly for me. . . well, as smoothly as they ever seem to go in my life post-children. Since my hospitalization in early May, I'd only been sick once, with a GI virus in early July. I had recently started exercising regularly for the first time since my sons were born, and I'd managed to keep up the habit for three consecutive weeks before these colds hit me. Now I've had to put that on hold for no other reason than that I am absolutely worn out.

It isn't even cold and flu season yet! And our daytime highs here are still hovering around 100 degrees!

Anyway. I know that no one ever died from a cold, that there is nothing that can be done to shorten the duration of a cold, and that I'll be back to normal in another week or so. But right now, this just sucks. I just want to sleep and stop having to wear a diaper-like Po.ise pad all the time.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Playing catch-up

The title says it all: that seems to be the theme of my life these days. As I said in a comment on one of gwinne's posts recently, I fell behind on a variety of things when I was pregnant with my sons and have never been fully caught up since.

At the moment, I have a number of items that need to get done TODAY, both at home and at work. The work items have accumulated due to my secretary's getting fired this week (long story, but it had nothing to do with her job performance per se) and due to my being out of town all day yesterday for depositions. At home, our house is in its usual end-of-week state of chaos -- toys and various other detritus strewn about, low on essential grocery items, floors in need of vacuuming/sweeping/mopping -- plus we are completely out of dog food as of this morning, and I still need to buy snacks for the eight children on our tee ball team before tomorrow morning's game. Whew!

Meanwhile I still have a lingering cough from the cold I had last week, we have plans to (belatedly) celebrate MM's birthday Saturday night (it was actually Wednesday), my mom has finally arrived in the metro area and is coming over Saturday, we have the boys' second tee ball game Saturday morning and we hope to visit the pumpkin patch Sunday.

And on that note, I must end, as another urgent matter has just been dropped on my desk. Happy Friday

Monday, September 28, 2015

#MicroblogMondays 57

  • The day after I wrote the last post, MM and I had a long talk about our plans to list our house and buy the larger house we'd found and decided that now just isn't the right time, for a number of logistical and financial reasons. So that plan is on hold for at least another 18 months.
  • We were both a little bummed to miss out on the house we liked, but in the short term, I'm really glad to not have to deal with the stress of sprucing up our current house, keeping it showing-ready indefinitely and then moving. Ugh.
  • MM had a cold over the weekend, and I woke up with congestion and a scratchy throat this morning. Darn him! I've had a surprising stretch of no illnesses, too: nothing since the GI virus the boys shared with me in early July.
  • I am proud to report that I have walked at least 30 minutes, between 1.75 and 2 miles, at least 4 mornings every week for the past 3 weeks. Probably doesn't sound like much to anyone who exercises regularly, but I have been out of the habit of regular exercise since I got pregnant with my sons, so this is a big deal to me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

More space


MM and I have talked often about wanting to get a larger house when the boys are a little older. Our current house, where we have lived over seven years, since before we were married, is more than adequate to our needs at present -- 1500 sq ft, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms -- but the bedrooms are pretty small. Two toddler beds fit in one just fine, but two twin beds would be a tight fit.

For a while we have figured we would wait to make this move for a few reasons. First, it's not a pressing concern. Second, we currently pay almost the equivalent of our mortgage for daycare costs for our two children, and that outlay of cash will be less once the boys start kindergarten in a couple of years. (We will still have to pay for some after-school care, but that won't cost us even half as much.) Third, although the housing market in our area has been recovering, we weren't sure if it had recovered sufficiently to make selling our home a realistic possibility that wouldn't involve a net loss.

However, this past Saturday Mike stumbled across a house in our neighborhood having an open house that "ticked all our boxes." (In addition to our stated desire for more space, we have some specific and somewhat peculiar things we are looking for in our next house; the good thing is that we are in agreement about them.) And not only was it everything we are looking for, it is priced significantly under what one might expect for a house of that size in its location.

So now since Saturday we have crunched some numbers and done a lot of talking and planning, met with a realtor, been pre-approved for a home loan, and decided to list our current house in the hope of buying the other, larger home. It is exciting but also more than a little daunting when I think of all the things we will have to accomplish over the next two weeks just to get the house listed. . . let alone thinking beyond that to showings, a potential move, etc.

I am not sure if this is all going to come together -- whether we will sell our current house, whether the seller of the other house will accept our offer, etc. -- but I guess time will tell. I am trying not to envision myself living in the bigger house, just in case things don't work out.

In the meantime, the length of my "to do" list has tripled. And I am asking myself why I didn't wait for Bubbe's arrival in two-and-a-half weeks to take this on. (She would surely help me out with more than half this stuff if she were here.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Childless" or "Childfree" = Insult?

I wondered if any of you read this article with excerpts from an interview with actress Kim Cattrall where she talks about being a parent because she mentors young actors/actresses and has nieces and nephews to whom she is close.

I have not had time to listen to the full interview (which is 58 minutes long), and there are parts of what she says with which I don't disagree -- like the fact that you can express your maternal side without giving birth and that our society devalues women who have not given birth to children -- but I do take exception with her assertion that she is a "parent" because she loves, nurtures and mentors young people. To me, parenthood includes those things, to be sure, but it includes more, and is more all-encompassing than being a loving aunt or mentor.

Before I had children of my own, I had a nephew whom I adored (still have, LOL), and I was a mentor for children in the foster care system. I was also an "auntie" to the children of a few close friends.

None of those experiences was the same as being a mother to my own children. Not only do I love my sons more than those other children (apologies to my sister and friends if they're reading this), I am responsible for their care and upbringing in a way that I was never responsible for those children's.

I completely agree that biology has little to do with parenting. Rather, it's the nurturing and bonding over years that really make someone a mother or father.

But I don't think you can say you're a parent simply because you are a nurturing, loving person who shares those qualities with others in her sphere.

What do you think?

Monday, September 14, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 55

How I'm doing, in haiku. . .

I finally walked
Four mornings last week pre-work
Exercise should help

Need to get away
But I'm too busy at my job
Answer? Suck it up

Often so fatigued
No matter how much I've slept
Doctor says I'm fine

[beginning first week of October]
Boys playing tee ball
(AJ said no more soccer)
No free Saturdays

Mom is coming soon
She will stay through Easter time
Yea for Bubbe!

Monday, August 17, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 51

  • School has started again where we live. In two years' time, my sons will start kindergarten.
  • A friend at work was talking about his daughter who just turned 6 months old last Thursday and how she is trying to crawl and to talk. It's crazy to think that, at three-and-a-half years of age, my sons are now closer in age to the kindergarten-starting kids than to his baby. How can that be??!!
  • My sons are at an age that is both challenging and fun. They each merit their own full-length post, and perhaps sometime I will have time to write it.
  • Work continues to be busy, and things continue to go well. Although I have my moments of discontent, and I sometimes think "how will I do this for the next 20+ years until retirement?", I know I'm fortunate.
  • Most days I am just trying to get through from one day to the next. . . sometimes one hour to the next. Just keep swimming. . . .

Monday, July 27, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 48

  • I keep reading about how terrible the job market is for people in my field, and yet for three weeks running, I have had one or more emails a week from recruiters wanting me to apply for positions. (Today's recruiter, who is someone with whom I have history vs. just a "cold call," actually pressed on after my initial reply of "thanks, not interested" and asked if I'd change my mind if he could get me a "considerable bump" in salary. Whaaa?) I didn't realize I was so much in demand. Of course, ironically, these emails are coming at a time when I am not job searching. . . .
  • I continue to be plagued by GI problems on the tail end of whatever virus my sons had more than a week ago. It's been about ten days, actually. Ugh
  • My sons have been getting up to shenanigans at bedtime that have been keeping them up 1-1.5 hours later than usual, and it's no good. Trying out a new approach to bedtime starting tonight. Wish us luck!

Monday, July 20, 2015

#MicroblogMondays 47

I think I have figured out what at least (part of) my problem is: I am suffering from serious burnout at work. (I stumbled across this article in the Was.hin.gton Post a few days ago, and it describes me to a T.)

I am majorly stressed out a lot of the time, and it is definitely affecting my health and happiness. However, I am also extremely busy at work at the moment, with a couple of major events coming up, so there is no end in sight and no realistic way for me to put the suggested solutions on "how to feel better" provided in the article to action in my life.

I am still plugging along with the clean(er) eating, and I will say that that has helped my energy level. Or it would have, had I not had my sleep interrupted six out of the last eight nights due to a gastrointestinal virus that has been waking up both my sons in turn. It's always something it seems.

I'm still hoping to add in the exercise piece at some point, and I'm sure that would help my mood, too. When I'm not so sleep-deprived. . . .

Monday, July 6, 2015

#Microblogs Monday 45

  • Starting today, I'm working on cleaning up my eating again and exercising, for what feels like the bajillionth time (is that even a word?).  I've tried just about everything else under the sun to increase my energy EXCEPT eating completely "clean" and getting regular exercise, and nothing has worked, so I think I'm just going to have to find the time in my schedule for these things.
    • I know, intellectually and from prior experience, that I will feel better for doing these things. . . but it's just so much more WORK and TIME than simply grabbing food on the fly!  Hmph.
  • Biggest difference between being 24 years old (or 34) and 44: I really am not that concerned with whether I lose weight.  I just want to feel better!  
    • Actually, I am kind-of annoyed at the prospect of losing weight and having to buy new clothes, since I hate shopping and finally have my wardrobe pretty much in a good place at the moment.
  • We had a good holiday weekend.  Having an extra day off just made me want about 10 extra days off, though.
  • My boss emailed me out of the blue last week that he is giving me a $7K/year raise effective this month.  The extra $$ is nice, and it's even nicer to feel appreciated.
    • Relatedly, the raise makes me feel guilty about b1tching about work.  LOL

Monday, June 29, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 44

  • Although it has no direct effect on me whatsoever, I was happy to hear about the Supreme Court's ruling on the issue of same-sex last Friday.  (I summed up my feelings on same-sex marriage in this post from October 2008 on my old, pre-infertility blog.)
  • Despite having plenty to do at work, I am feeling decidedly unmotivated today.  I thought a Star$$ caffe mocha would help: nope.
  • Highlights of my weekend: got a massage Friday night and had brunch with my BFF on Sunday.
  • Low points of the weekend: boys were being contrary most of Saturday.  Ugh.
  • It's a four-day week this week!  Yea!  But that means I'd better get to work.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Microblog Mondays #41

Am I the only one who still has moments where she doesn't feel like a real grown-up?

Or maybe it isn't so much that I don't feel like an adult as it is that I don't want to be an adult sometimes?  I don't know.

I have been feeling mildly discontented at work for the past month or so.  There are things I like about my career field, and my specific job is pretty good insofar as my boss appreciates me and treats me like an intelligent human being with unique skills and attributes (this is rarer than one might think in my area of practice).

But on the other hand, there are things about my current sphere of practice that are very wearing; my stress levels are constantly at a level that I feel cannot be healthy; despite my best efforts not to, I spend too many hours working and thinking about work every week; and I just don't see myself doing this for the next 20+ years until retirement.

What does it say about me that I am on my second full-fledged professional career and dissatisfied?  I'd like to think that, like the line from the Baz Luhrmann song Everybody Is Free to Wear Sunscreen from the late 1990s, it means I'm an interesting person (remember the lyric "Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't"?).

But I fear that it actually means something else. . . like I am destined to be perpetually discontent professionally no matter what I do.

I have no idea what the solution to this dilemma is, and I'm too busy today to ponder it further.

Monday, May 11, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 37

For Mother's Day we were fortunate to have unseasonably cool weather for us, which allowed us to take our sons to one of their favorite places yesterday morning, the train park.  Given the usual May weather here, I would anticipate that this trip to the train park will be our last until the fall.

In the afternoon, we visited my inlaws for Mother's Day.  The boys gave me gifts they made at "school," and MM gave my flowers and a very sweet card also (plus a contribution to my iPhone 6 purchase fund).

All in all, my fourth (!) Mother's Day as a mother was a good one.

I am still feeling more tired than usual following my unexpected illness and associated hospital stay, but apart from that fact, I am pretty much back to normal.  Still trying to dig myself out of the hole I'm in with work, but I'm making (slow) progress.

Onward and forward. . . .

Monday, May 4, 2015

Microblog Mondays 36: Medical Mystery Edition


A week ago today, while I was sitting at my computer at work in the middle of the afternoon, I had a pain on the right side of my neck that radiated up to the base of my skull.  Initially, this pain was little more than a mild annoyance, and I chalked it up to having sat too long in a bad position.

Over the course of the next couple of days, the pain continued, became more severe and began to spread to the top of my head and to the left side of my head as well.  It was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and was so severe on Wednesday that I spent the day on the couch and in bed, taking high doses of ibu.pro.fen and icing various parts of my head.  Nothing helped.

Wednesday night MM mentioned that he thought I felt feverish.  However, I didn't feel sick.  I just had such awful pain that I wanted to die.  I could hardly sleep at nights because just placing my head on a pillow caused an increase in the pain.  I also had no appetite, very unlike me.

Thursday morning I was no better--perhaps worse--and so we agreed that, although I would go to the office, because I had deadlines and a couple of pressing matters I needed to take care of that day (having stayed home the previous day), I would then go to the doctor.  As planned, I went to work for about 45 minutes--enough time to take care of the things I had to--and then drove straight to the emergency room of the Mayo Cl.inic Hosp.ital.

I actually thought I might have a long wait because I was "misusing" the ER to get treatment just for a muscle strain.  I really thought that was what I had.  Even when I noticed that I had developed some sort of odd discoloration on my forehead since waking up that morning that I couldn't really explain.  I thought maybe I'd fallen asleep with an ice pack on my forehead and it marked my skin.  In retrospect, maybe I wasn't thinking very clearly.

When I arrived at the ER, instead it turned out that I had sepsis.  I had a fever of 39.8 degrees Celsius (103.6F).  (My usual temp runs around 97.8; I run low.)  The mark on my forehead had grown more red and swollen and had also spread to the right side of my face.

For over a day, doctors did not know exactly what was wrong with me.  They administered treatment for an infection, since that was the presumptive diagnosis, given my high fever and the results of some lab tests, but they were unsure.  They ran what seemed like every test known to G-d or man.

It is a scary thing to have a doctor in a preeminent hospital tell you "I'm not really sure what is going on with you."  At one point, I jokingly compared myself to an episode of House, M.D., and the resident physician said "We were just saying on rounds that your case is like an episode of House!"  When you are sick and in pain, you want answers.

Notwithstanding their inability to immediately diagnose me, I believe I received excellent care throughout my hospital stay, and I began to respond to treatment.  The results of the many tests performed gradually started to rule out more serious and/or chronic diagnoses.  Finally, on Saturday, the redness and swelling on my face and right ear (which had eventually swollen so much it looked like I'd been in a boxing match) began to subside, as did the pain all over my head.

Ultimately, I was diagnosed with cellulitis of the head and face, with an atypical presentation.  Based on the appearance of the rash on my face, and on my response to certain antibiotics, the infectious disease physician believes that the most likely organism responsible is group A streptococcus.  However, a source of the infection was never identified and probably will not be.

My condition is/was complicated by myositis (inflammation of the muscles of the scalp) and by collection of fluid under the muscles of the scalp.  The myositis and fluid were what were causing the tremendous pain I was in (and continue to be in, but to a much lesser degree).

I came home on Saturday afternoon and have been focusing on resting and trying to get back to normal.  There is so much I want to do to get caught up, but am finding I have very little stamina and can only work at anything physical for 10-15 minutes before having to sit down and rest.  I am also sleeping more than usual.

I am also still processing the experience emotionally.  Apart from the hospitalization associated with my pregnancy complications with my sons (which you can read about in the January 2012 archives, if you weren't a follower of this blog then and are interested), I had never before spent a night in the hospital.  I've never been sick.  I've never even had another surgery besides my c-section.

For the first 24-36 hours, while the redness and swelling on my face continued to spread (although other parts of my condition improved), I did not know what was going on, and it seemed my doctors didn't either.  I was very scared and wasn't sure what would happen to me.

Well, all's well that ends well, they say.  I am home now and definitely on the mend, albeit at a slightly slower pace than I'd like.  I guess I will have to wait and see if any greater insights come to me out of this experience.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Microblog Mondays #35

A mom posted on my local twin moms' group's Fac.ebo.ok page last week that she was feeling overwhelmed and hoping it was just a phase that she was going through where she felt like she couldn't get anything accomplished.  She has 10-month-old twins and has recently returned to work part-time as well.

I certainly cannot speak for all mothers of twins, or for all mothers who work outside the home, or for all mothers-of-twins-who-work-outside-the-home. . . but if my experience is at all a representative sample, it could be a long time before that feeling goes away.  As I think I've mentioned here on a number of prior occasions, I feel like I am constantly behind.

Obviously I get SOME things accomplished, both at home and at work--if I didn't, by now, more than three years into this parenting experience, I would now be unemployed and child protective services likely would've removed our children from our care--but there are so many more things that I must leave UNDONE on a daily and weekly basis that it SEEMS that I'm not accomplishing much, or sometimes, anything.  Especially when it comes to things like dishes, laundry and general tidying, which just need to be done again when you've just done them yesterday, or even earlier that same day.

I think the secret to maintaining some shred of sanity as you live through this experience is prioritizing and letting go of the notion that you will get everything done.  You won't--you can't--and you just have to accept that.

Monday, April 6, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 32

Don't have time for a full post. . . luckily it's not expected on Microblog Monday. . .

  • The boys had a good Easter. . . insofar as they define a good Easter by getting an Easter basket they like, including plenty of candy, and finding plenty of eggs on their Easter egg hunt.  (Thus far they have no clue what the holiday is actually about, and I'm a bit at a loss as to how one might explain the resurrection to 3-year-olds.)
  • I finally got a massage on Saturday after over 3 months of failing to fit it into my schedule.  It was long-overdue and much-needed.
  • My husband was super-psyched that Wis.consin beat Kent.ucky in the Final Four on Saturday.  I didn't much care which team won, but it was a really good game (well, the second half that I got to watch was good).
  • My dad is home from the hospital and doing better.
  • Work is stressful and busy but generally going well.  I sometimes wonder what I was thinking by choosing this profession, but at this point, over ten years in, don't know what else I'd do instead.
  • My mom left for Oh.io last week, and I already miss her.  She won't be back until September.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Evil stepmother


Based on my personal life experiences, it's no surprise that fairy tales employ the plot device of the evil stepmother.  I have a stepmother, and if she's not exactly evil, she is certainly unpleasant and toxic.

My father has been remarried to my stepmother for over 25 years, and she and I have never been close.  We are just two VERY different people, and truth be told, I think she has always felt threatened by me.  My father and I were very close when they married (though less so now), and I think she was jealous of that.  Plus I have a very strong personality (like my father's), while she is more passive-aggressive.

Honestly, I could write a number of blog posts about the many problems and conflicts I've had with her over the years--and the conflicts I've had with my father that were really due more to her than to any problem with him per se--but it's not worth the effort and energy to put the words down on paper.  Suffice it to say, I don't like her much, and I believe the feeling is mutual.  We act like we like one another for my father's sake. . . but actually, we don't like each other.

At the moment, my father is in the hospital.  Sadly, this has become a not-infrequent occurrence of late.  For this particular admission, my stepmother had to call an ambulance in the early morning hours of Sunday because my father was too weak to stand or walk and had a high fever (103).

Yet although he was taken to the hospital in the early morning hours of Sunday and admitted almost immediately, she did not call either my sister or me to let us know he was in the hospital until after 7:00 p.m. their time the following evening. He had been in the hospital for over 36 hours before she let us know.  She claimed that he told her not to call us because they "didn't know anything" about what was going on with him and decided to wait until they could talk to his doctors on Monday.

She called me again yesterday evening with a brief update saying he was improving.  We talked for less than 10 minutes, during which time she mentioned that she had left the hospital at noon and gone home at my father's urging and that she had called him a few times over the course of the afternoon to check up on him.

On my way to work this morning, I called my father on his cell phone.  I figured since my stepmother told me last night that she had spoken to him a few times yesterday afternoon that he (1) had his phone, and (2) was able to talk on the phone.  She answered the phone instead of him.  I was initially surprised, as one is when someone else answers someone's cell phone, because you expect to reach the person you are calling directly.

I said good morning to her and then said I had hoped to talk to my father.  She responded "I'll see if he wants to talk to you."  There was a brief exchange between them, and then he came on the phone.

He and I spoke for 3-4 minutes, and then I told him I loved him and goodbye.  The phone was not immediately hung up, and I could overhear some of their conversation in the background.  She was obviously angry that I had called.  The first exchange I only caught bits and pieces, and then I distinctly heard her say "I won’t call her again unless it’s a dire emergency because she will just call you directly anyway.”

Oh, and I should mention here. . . back in November when my father was in the hospital, I called him one afternoon around 2:30 p.m., and I overheard her telling my father "she [meaning me] hasn't even bothered to call" (apparently because it was afternoon and I was just calling).  So apparently last time I was a b1tch for not calling and now I'm a b1tch for calling?

It's clear to me that it really wouldn't matter what I did: it would not be right in my stepmother's eyes because she dislikes me.  I really don't care about that because I have little regard for her or for her opinion.

I do care about my father, though, and it puts me a difficult situation to have to deal with her as the go-between who provides me with information when he is sick and/or in a weakened state.  (Normally when he is home and doing well, I just call him directly and talk to him and bypass her entirely.)

There is no solution to this situation, and it is one I have been living with for a long time.  It just sucks.

Monday, March 23, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 30

Saturday was my birthday, and MM took me out to dinner to celebrate.  Just after we ordered our meal, he thoughtlessly made a comment touching on something that really upset me. . . to the point where I had to leave the table because I was about to burst into tears.  (This topic is something that we have previously agreed is to be a closed topic, and I am not posting about the details simply because (1) they don't really matter for the purposes of this post; (2) they are extremely personal and sensitive; and (3) explaining them would make this post WAY too long for a microblog post and take me too long to write.)

I am not generally a crier, so the fact that what he said made me cry is, in and of itself, noteworthy.  In short, his thoughtless, offhand comment ruined my meal and basically ruined the evening.

My husband is, in the main, a good person and a decent husband.  He is also an excellent father.  However, things like this make me wonder sometimes if being married is worth it.

After talking with him about it, I do believe that MM's comment at dinner was not intentionally made to hurt my feelings.  But it didn't make it any less hurtful.  And there are few other people in my life who would be allowed access to knowledge of my inner life that would allow them the ability to hurt me in that way.

And even if a friend or family member had that knowledge, at the end of the day, I could return to my own home and my own space, away from that loved one.  Not so with my husband.

I don't know that I really have a point, and this post is already too long and much too heavy for Microblog Mondays, so I will simply close by saying that marriage is one of several parts of adulthood that hasn't really been what I thought it would be.

Monday, March 16, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 29

We have taken our sons relatively few places out-of-town in their three years of life.  The reasons for this are primarily that I don't get much time off; my inlaws live locally, my mother is here for a few months each winter, and my father and stepmother have visited us more than vice versa historically, since they are retired and we both work full-time; and neither MM nor I would consider traveling to a vacation destination with two toddlers much of a vacation.

We spent this past weekend visiting my father for his birthday.  He lives a 6-hour car trip from us, so we spent a total of 12 hours in the car in less than 48 hours.  I had also traveled 3 1/2 hours away from home for business during the week, so I spent approx. 19 hours in the car over the past week.

MJ said "it's too far, Mom" about 10 times on the drive home yesterday.  I agree, buddy.  I could never be a long-haul trucker, that's for sure.

Yesterday's drive made MM actually bring up the possibility of flying to my father's in future.  (My father's health will no longer permit him to readily travel to us, but prior to yesterday, MM had been firmly set in the belief that he did not want to fly with the boys until they were "at least 5.")

Glad to be home.

Monday, March 2, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 27

Any suggestions on ways to boost one's immune system?  It's only March 2, and already I am dealing with my third cold of 2015.  I am also currently treating an infection in my right eye of "idiopathic origin" (fancy way of saying the eye doctor has no idea why my eye got infected; I haven't even worn contact lenses in over a month because I ran out of them).

I have had at least 8 or 9 viral infections (I've lost count) in the 7+ months since the boys started day care in late July, and I'm sick of it (no pun intended).  I simply don't have time for being sick this often!  I have difficulty enough keeping up with my daily life when I'm well.

I already do the obvious disinfecting, handwashing, etc., stuff--I was a nurse for seven years, after all, I do know basic infection control--so I figure that if I am getting sick so much more often, the problem must lie within me and not within my environment.

The Harvard Medical School website suggests regular exercise and eating more fruits and vegetables as two things I should do to boost my immunity, but let's be realistic: if I had time and energy to integrate those things into my life, I would be doing them already for other reasons, and I'd also be a lot thinner than I am.  :-)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

10 Questions

1. When was the last time you cut your hair? Did you like the haircut?  Just before Thanksgiving, and yes (it's the same haircut I've had for the past few years).
2. Grapes with seeds or seedless?  I don't like grapes, so neither.
3. When was the last time you went to a fancy party? What did you wear?  Last summer.  I wore a pink/peach beaded tea-length formal dress
4. What colour is your bedroom wall?  All the walls in our home are a light beige/tan.  (We have never painted them from the color they were when we bought the house.)
5. The worst smell in the world is…  Rotting flesh (like in a badly infected and non-healing wound)
6. Last thing you spat out.  A dog hair.
7. Do you sing when no one is around? What do you usually sing?  Yes.  Whatever pops into my head. . . usually some random pop song.
8. Your least favourite name (and it’s okay if it’s Melissa; I can take it).  So hard to pick just one. . . I can say, it's NOT Melissa.  I like that name.
9. Did you like the food served at the last dinner party you went to?  I can't even remember the last dinner party I went to, but I am not a picky eater at all, so probably.
10. What is your most prized possession? Would you kill a unicorn in order to save your most prized possession?  Again, hard to pick just one.  I probably treasure my photos of family more than anything else.  I have never seen a unicorn, but if one threatened my photos, I probably would kill it.  :-)

Monday, February 2, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 23

  • It's funny how there seem to be certain stages that all kids go through.  About a week after turning 3, MJ (and, to a lesser extent, AJ also) has started asking "Why?" often.  Stereotypical 3-year-old behavior, right?  So far, it's cute.  We'll see how long it takes before the novelty wears off. . . .
  • I discovered an iPhone app this weekend that I'm excited about.  It's called Little Hoots and is a way to preserve the cute/funny things your kids say.  I've often thought that I should be recording these things, so this will give me a fast (and potential creative/artsy) way to do this.
  • Hard to believe it's already February!  Living in Pho.enix, I could care less about Punxsutawney Phil's pronouncement that there will be six more weeks of winter: we are headed into the mid-to-upper 70s for the daytime highs this week.  That's our winter weather!

Monday, January 26, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 22

I am at a mediation today with an actual client.  Believe it or not, this is a fairly rare occurrence for me; at most, I generally attend mediations with an insurance company representative, and more often, the insurance company representative is just available on the phone.

It is actually quite refreshing to spend time with a real business owner and talk about legal issues with a non-lawyer.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On a random Tuesday

I am (pleasantly) surprised to report that I actually exercised before work today (it was just a 20-minute walk with the dog, but that's better than the usual "nothing" I do most days) and did two loads of laundry before leaving for the office.  (I had intended to do 20 minutes of yoga but couldn't find the DVD remote, so the dog lucked out.)

I've been at work for over an hour and am feeling motivated, rested and alert.  I am contemplating the project(s) I can tackle tonight after the boys go to bed.

Meanwhile, I have a full work day ahead of me.  I hope this energy and motivation last. . . .

Monday, January 19, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 21

Happy Third Birthday, AJ & MJ!


I can hardly believe it's already been three years since they were born. . . .

Friday, January 16, 2015

2014 Recap

I realized I never wrote one of these last month, and I really should because I enjoy looking back on them. . . here it goes.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Found a new job in less than two weeks after being unexpectedly let go from my last one.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make any new year's resolutions for 2014 and don't intend to make any for next year.  I've come to believe that, for me, all resolutions do is set me up to fail.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes, my friend Jay, who blogs here.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Hmm.  I don't think so.
5. What countries did you visit?
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
Same answer as last year: I need to exercise more so I can have more energy and better health
7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
No particular date stands out.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I think MM and I did a lot of important work on our relationship this year.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I'm not sure.  I feel like I am failing at *something* nearly every day. . . .
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought the family a streaming DVD player for Christmas.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Once again, to child care expenses.
13. What did you get really excited about?
No particular thing excited me, but it has been exciting watching my sons grow and mature.  Over the course of this year, they have ceased to be babies in any way and have become little boys (sniff!).
14. What song will always remind you of 2014?
All About That Bass
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
– happier or sadder? about the same
– thinner or fatter?  about the same
– richer or poorer? about the same
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
18. How did you spend Christmas?
At home with my family--first time spending the holiday with both my parents since before their divorce in 1980!
19. What was your favorite TV program?
I don't have one.
20. What were your favorite books of the year?
I read the first four books of the Outlander series, all three Divergent books, all three Maze Runner books and The Willpower Instinct
21. What was your favorite music from this year?
I don't remember
22. What was your favorite film of the year?
I don't think I saw any first-run movies
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I honestly don't remember what I did.  I turned 43.
24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A vacation.
25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
26. What kept you sane?
Not sure. . . some days I was hanging on by a slim thread. . . .
27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.
No one is coming to save me.  I have to pull myself out of any mess I get into.

Monday, January 12, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 20

I made a little progress on my backlog this weekend, insofar as I got Chri.stm.as put away.  The tree and all decorations are down and put away; cards have been appropriately dealt with; and no trace of the holiday remains in our home.

In order to make this a reality, as well as get my other necessary household chores done, I had to give up my usual Saturday outing alone, but it was worth it to me for this week.  I did not even start on going through the boys' clothing; I left that for another day (again).

I still feel behind at home, but perhaps not as far behind as I felt at the end of last week.

Work is another story.  Lots to do, so nose to the grindstone. . . .

Thursday, January 8, 2015


Given the pace of my job and my life, once I get behind on things at home, it seems nearly impossible to catch up.  I just have so many things that MUST be done on a daily/weekly basis that there is no "extra" time for catch-up.

Plus, I won't lie: I am usually very tired by the end of the day, just in the usual course of things, and I need to relax and unwind for a little while after my sons go to bed.  I also go to bed early compared to most people because my body needs eight hours of sleep a night.  On the rare occasions when I look at things on pin.ter.est, I know that the moms who've made those creations don't go to bed by 9:30 or lie on the couch exhausted reading a book for a half-hour after putting their kids to bed. .  . because if they did, they wouldn't have time to be so crafty/organized/healthy.

Add in the fact that up until today, I had been even more tired than usual due to being sick for over a week, and things are particularly bad at the moment.  I am so far behind, I may never catch up.

Right now, my house is a total mess, my Chr.istm.as tree is still up, my holiday cards and wrapping supplies are still out, and I don't know when I am going to get around to taking care of any of this. This weekend will be the usual flurry of activity: keeping the boys entertained, laundry, groceries, meals, etc.

I could pay for an extra housecleaners' visit, but I would have to spend at least an hour clearing up clutter before the housecleaners could even do their job, plus arrange to be home during the day so that someone could let them in and out.

Besides, all the housecleaners can do is clean.  They can't pack away my Chr.istm.as things, or update my address list from the holiday cards I received, or decide which of my sons' outgrown clothing should be taken to the consignment store for resale.

OK, enough whining.  I have to find a way to have more energy because there is no way to create more hours in the day. . . .

Monday, January 5, 2015

#Microblog Mondays 19

In addition to this virus I cannot seem to shake, which has settled into mostly a cough that has kept me up a good portion of the past three nights and has now made me lose most of my voice, I also woke up with a severe migraine at 5:00 this morning.  Coughing with a migraine is a misery.

My home is a mess, and I have accomplished nothing beyond the barest essentials in my life for over a week.

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy(?) New Year

I hope there is no truth to the notion that how you spend New Year's Day is an indicator of how the new year will go.  I went to bed at 9:00 p.m. on New Year's Eve, feeling like crap and angry at my husband.  I then slept fitfully, due to cough and congestion and to my neighbor setting off fireworks until nearly 11:00 p.m. which frightened our poor dog, who has a major phobia of fireworks.  Needless to say, after a poor night's sleep and being ill, I didn't wake up feeling very good, and I continued to feel poorly most of the day.

In addition to feeling poorly myself, AJ was still sick (although much improved--he was VERY sick earlier in the week and was diagnosed with bronchitis and bilateral ear infections on Tuesday).  As a result of not being 100%, he was very whiny and clinging to me a lot.  MJ is usually the one who is more attached to Mamma, so he was not very happy to find his brother in my lap more often than not.  One of the more difficult parts of having twins, IMO, is not being able to give either child your undivided attention when they want/need it; I hate that.

It was also much, much colder than usual here in Phoe.nix--we actually had a dusting of snow on the surrounding mountain peaks--precluding all outdoor activities, so I couldn't even get a little of our signature sunshine to lift my mood.  The one bright spot was that my mom spent the day with us, and she was happy that Ohio State beat Alabama.

So yeah. . . not one of my better days.  I am at the office today and feeling improved (though still not well), and the boys are back at day care.  I am hoping that things look up from here for 2015.

I have not been at work since December 23, and I have a lot of loose ends to tie up, so I'd better get to it.  Hope everyone else had a better New Year's than mine.  (Judging by my Fac.ebo.ok news feed, they did.  HA!)