Monday, March 28, 2011

Easter Favorites!

I love Easter time. It means that winter is finally over - spring is here. The weather is beautiful - not too hot but not too cold- and all the beautiful flowers are starting to bloom.

I love the candy and the Easter bunny - I remember being so excited waiting for my Easter basket that I couldn't sleep. Somehow I always missed the Easter bunny, as hard as I tried to stay awake - and when I woke in the morning, I couldn't resist taking a peek at what was in my basket before anyone else woke up!

This year, E is old enough that I can start some new traditions! I got him an Easter basket last year, but he didn't really care about it. This year, instead of a basket I got him a shovel and pail, in which I'll put all his Easter goodies! My parents did that, and we always just loved the shovel and pail. We have a sandbox in the play area in our town home complex, and I think he'll have TONS of fun digging in the sand.  I want to do an Easter egg hunt for him in the backyard.. but I'm not sure if he'll "get it." Nothing wrong with trying though, right? I sort of want to dye eggs... I saw an "unspillable" egg dye kit at the store the other day, so maybe I'll try that. But I'm thinking E's still a bit too young!

In addition to all the fun, superficial traditions, since B died, Easter has had an extra special meaning to me. In the Christian faith, Easter is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. The Christian belief is that everyone will be resurrected someday - and for me, that means I'll see my precious, teeny tiny baby girl again. It's a time of year that is filled with hope and happiness for me. I know that not everyone believes the same way, but for me, this belief brings a lot of comfort. I hope to pass that belief on to E, so he can look forward to meeting his big sister again, too!

I found this website that explains some of the symbolism behind all of the things we associate with Easter! I found out that Easter eggs represent new life or re-birth. Lambs represent Jesus, or "The Lamb of God." I found this one particularly interesting, "Easter hats & wearing new clothes for Easter- Symbolizes new life offered through the death and resurrection of Jesus." I didn't know that! 

So while E and I are having fun doing our Easter traditions, I will be thinking about B and what all of those things mean for us as a family. I am so grateful for our faith! What beliefs or traditions do you have when it comes to Easter?

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hop blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

I know I just did a graveyard decor post, but obviously since it's WAY overdue, B's little resting spot has gotten a makeover.. for Spring!!! I felt a little silly decorating for Easter so early, since it's not until the end of April this year (can anyone explain to me WHY Easter changes?! It confuses the heck out of me. Something to do with the moon cycles is what I've heard... but what kind of sense does that make?!) but I couldn't stand her Valentine's Day stuff being up in MARCH.

So here it is!

The finished look :)

The bunny was an impulse dollar store buy. I still can't decide if I like it or if it's scary. 

Garland with daisies, plus I hung some egg ornaments that I found in the dollar store section at Target off of the garland. You can't tell, but they're sequin-y and sparkle like crazy in the sun! 

Lots of little stakes around the edges - eggs on the sides and butterflies in the back! Also in the back next to the solar lights are little pinwheels!

This garden tile was at the dollar store, and I really loved it. It's true, and I thought it fit well with the Easter resurrection theme. 

Eli, being helpful and taking the beads I put in the eggs to make them heavy out :/

But he was having fun :)

Doesn't that look springy and festive?! I love it! 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Little Late....

I am just barely getting around to uploading pictures from my phone from the last few months, and I wanted to share how we decorated B's grave for Valentine's Day. I know that was over a month ago, and I'm pretty sure I tweeted a picture or two, but I just wanted to have it documented here on my blog because I think it looked really cute!

E helping me decorate...

What it looked like when we were finished! 

We dropped off the teddy bear on actual Valentine's Day! 

Somehow the garland had come off the bottom of the pole... but whatever. It still looked cute. 

Miss you, my little Valentine! My due date with her was February 16th, so I was secretly hoping she'd be a Valentine's baby!

Friday, March 18, 2011

To Be or Not to Be?

I'm contemplating moving out. On my own.

I'm scared.

Ever since I left M, I've been living with my mom. It's crowded and cluttered and chaotic. But free. I also get along much better with my mom than I did growing up, and I enjoy her company and getting to know my little brother (8 years younger than me!) a little better.

It can be very frustrating though. We seem to have reached an impasse at this point - my mom offered my sister (the one with whom M cheated on me) our couch to crash on for an undefined period of time coming up in a few weeks, after my sister gets back from a month long trip and is in between apartments.

I want to clarify by saying that my sister is not without other assistance - we have other family in the immediate area she could stay with during that time, and she has a reasonably substantial college fund which is more than enough to get her a new apartment quickly.

I, on the other hand, have few alternatives to being here. I have a child. I have no assets. My college fund was spent on - gasp - my first two years of college, and on paying marital expenses while M was working his way up at his job, up to and including our cross country move after we got married. I thought I was investing in our future, but it turned out he was just screwing me over. He left me with literally nothing but my child and our personal belongings.

I know that it has been four years since she betrayed me. It's been four years since she lied to my face, manipulated me, humiliated me. My mom feels that I should be "over it" and be able to place all of the blame on M (which I do place 75% of it on him - but I witnessed my sister's encouragement which I now recognize in hindsight, and I cannot absolve her from that 25%). She has never apologized to me, never said "I'm sorry for the role I played," "I'm sorry that I hurt you," "I did a terrible thing to you," nothing. She has tried to pretend like nothing happened, but it did. She was my best friend - the person I would have trusted my life with - and she did that to me. I can't forget it. I can't forgive it.

Yet my mom expects me to somehow be able to share a house with her? Share a bathroom with her? Share meals with her? Have her around my son? I leave the house when she comes over, or stay in my room. I don't answer the house phone when she calls, and I get extremely anxious when anyone talks about her. I simply can't do it. I can't. I can't. I can't.

So I've been looking into my other options. Section 8 housing is nixed - applications are not being accepted at the current time, and although the woman I talked to seemed to think they would be opening soon, the waiting list is two years. I'll be finished with nursing school (knock on wood!) by that time, and I fervently pray that I will have a job and be in no need of financial assistance of any type. They emailed me a list of other low-income housing options, though, and today I looked into one of those.

It's essentially "the projects." It's income adjusted housing. I went to find the apartment office and ran into three moms letting their kids play in the courtyard, and they were very sweet to me. They answered all my questions, and assured me that the apartments were livable although small. They said that they felt that they and their children were safe, and that there are barriers to renters with previous criminal and/or drug history living there. They shared how much they typically pay per month for utilities, and expressed how convenient it is to live downtown, basically within walking distance of everything. They said everyone is pretty friendly, and there are rules about excess noise that are rigidly enforced - so no thumping bass from somebody's car in the middle of the night. The office was closed, but I made an appointment to return on Monday to see about filling out an application. I was informed that there is a waiting list - there would be about 14 families ahead of me - and the nice women outside said that most people wait about 3 months before getting in.

After having several previous clashes with my mom regarding this same subject, I submitted my FAFSA for the 2011-2012 school year to say that my plans were to live off campus, to see if that would change my financial aid package at all to facilitate living by myself. I have yet to receive the package, so we'll see. A 3 month wait would mean I'd be moving just as school was starting, and by school I hopefully mean the nursing program provided that I get in. That would be stressful. But I will have gotten my financial aid at just about the right time to be able to pay deposits on utilities and things... it might just work out.

If it does... I have no furniture. None. M walked away with everything - all our furniture, all our appliances, all our dishes, everything, simply because the logistics of getting everything clear across the country when I had no place to store them didn't add up. But now that I might be needing them.. I'm seriously regretting that. There are thrift stores of course - I could make do or do without. I've gotten good at that. The only problem is if I find furniture at a thrift store... how am I supposed to put it in my apartment by myself? I haven't been very good at attending church, so I don't have a support system that way.. my dad is kind of old and frail.. my mom and step dad might help, if they're not too mad that I'm moving out in the first place. I just don't know. I don't know.

I just need to focus on getting through the next few weeks - getting the application, getting on the wait list, and see where it goes from there. I'm going to have to endure my sister being here no matter what, so I'm just going to have to have my Xanax in hand and man up. Nothing I can do about that. But I've been living at home for about a year and a half now and I'm honestly scared to be back out on my own. I'm scared to stress about utilities and if I locked the door and what that bumping noise was. I haven't ever lived by myself - always with roommates, or married. You know what, though? I may struggle with my self confidence regarding relationships, but I know for a fact from all of the crap I've been through that I can do scary things.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Lately I've been thinking about this blog. Why I post on it. Why I don't as much as I "should." I thought about why I started blogging.

I started blogging because I couldn't find any blogs written by people like me. When M told me that he didn't want to be married to me anymore, my life stopped making sense. Never in a million years had I pictured myself as a single mother. I was I searched the Internet for blogs about single mothers. Mothers whose husbands had left them when their babies were as little as mine. Women who were blatantly rejected by someone who, a few days before, swore up and down that they were completely happy in the relationship.

I didn't find any.

I found some very inspiring single mom blogs. Moms of multiple children, moms who had gotten divorced after many years of marriage, moms who were successfully coparenting with their exes. But none with a story quite like mine.

I was desperate to know how I would do it. It seemed so impossible. So nightmarish. I needed to see that others had been through what I had and had lived to tell the tale. I had found solace in the blogs of stronger women before - when I miscarried and when I lost B - and so often I wished that I'd had the strength to blog while I was going through those experiences.

So I decided to blog this one. The journey of my single motherhood. My road to self reliance and self acceptance. Lately, though, I've found myself uninspired. I come to this blog when I need help - to ask questions or to blog about my problems, and that's not what I intended this blog to be. It's been difficult to blog about the divorce process while it's been going on, and it's difficult to be open about the experiences while leaving out key personal details.

So I want to refocus. This blog is about what I do right, and about the lessons I learn from the mistakes I do make. If I can reach out and help one woman going through similar changes in her life, I'll have reached my goal.

Why did you start blogging? Does your blog still reflect what you meant it to be?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

So Obvious.

Well, I figured it out. It only took me... almost a year, but I figured it out.

So right after M and I separated, I started losing weight. This was way healthy for me, because I definitely had weight to lose after 3 pregnancies in a row. In the spring, though... I started to plateau. But that happens with weight loss, so I didn't worry about it. Incidentally, that was about the time I started taking domperidone.

Fall? I started to regain. I was mortified, but I chalked it up to all the stress eating and studying that I'd been doing, as well as lack of exercise. But... when I finally got up the courage to weigh myself? I'd regained at an alarming weight. Totally alarming.

I've been doing the 30 Day Shred again, and really taking care to make healthy food choices. I haven't been perfect, but I've improved a lot over what I was doing in fall semester. But the scale hasn't budged.

I thought it must be something I'm not doing right... I must be eating more than I realize.. but how did I lose weight so fast before and now, doing the same thing, I'm unable to lose anything?

Then when I was debating whether or not to order more domperidone to continue pumping for E... I ran across a thread on some mommy website. Each and every woman in this discussion said that she had gained weight while taking domperidone, and couldn't lose it until after she got off it. I searched around some more and found more discussions on other websites that came to the same conclusion. It's the domperidone!

Well crap. Crap crap crap. Summer is coming, I feel awful, and I know without a doubt that this is what is causing me to gain and retain weight. It only makes sense - the purpose of the drug is to speed up digestion. The side effect just happens to be enhanced lactation.

So now I'm so conflicted. In the scheme of things, what's 4 1/2 more months before I manage to shed the baby weight? Not a whole lot. But I feel so awful about myself, and the divorce is going to be final, and I'm lonely. I want to feel cute and dateable, you know? Which I seriously don't right now. Not in the least.

Sigh. So, I'm not sure what to do. I'm pretty sure I'm going to finish out what I have. At least I know now. But I don't know if I can order more when I know it's doing this to me. I'm so glad that I took it to be able to feed E breast milk.. but I'm so ready to shed this weight. Soooo ready.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

So Lucky

Spring Break is coming up for me (yay - I really, really need it!) next week, and I plan on doing absolutely nothing. In fact, I think it would be a good time to catch up on all the movies I wanted to see in theaters, but missed because of the nuisance of studying! Just in time for Spring Break, Redbox is offering a chance to get free movie credits during the Redbox Lucky To Have Friends Like You promotion. They give you your own unique web address so that each time someone uses your link to rent a movie, you get a free movie credit. Pretty sweet, right? 

Besides being lucky enough to score free movie rentals, I'm lucky in a lot of more serious ways. Even with all the crap that has gone on in my life over the past few years, I have so much to be grateful for! 

First and foremost, I am so, so lucky and grateful to have a living, breathing child. Even at the most frustrating times of motherhood, that fact is never lost on me. I'm lucky that I was able to stay on bed rest to keep him baking for the 3 weeks that made the difference between life and death for him. I'm lucky that he did so amazingly well in NICU, and I'm lucky to have met all the amazing medical professionals who helped us through that difficult time and inspired me to become a nurse.

Speaking of nursing, I am so lucky to be able to "start over" and go back to school. If my mom hadn't stepped in and offered E and I a place to live, I might be stuck working for minimum wage and barely making ends meet forever. Literally, forever. Not everyone has the opportunity to get a college education and I'm so appreciative of this chance. 

I'm lucky to have all my friends! Even with the craziness that is my life, I am so happy to be able to stay connected through blogs, emails, Twitter and texts. It has saved my sanity more than once. At some point in my life I hope to get to be a little more social "in real life," but for now I'm grateful for the technology that can connect me to friends and family when I don't have the time or the means to get together in person. 

And now that spring has (almost) sprung, I'm feeling lucky for the beautiful and safe area I live in. It's so great to be able to take E outside without worrying too much. He loves to play outside and the weather recently has been so gorgeous! 

I don't pause often enough to count up the things in my life that are lucky. I complain too often and I want to change that! In what ways are you lucky this St. Patrick's Day? 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and redbox blogging program, for a $25 Walmart gift card from redbox. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Got Keys?

Thank you to P&G’s Have You Tried This Yet? program and Kroger for sponsoring my writing about trying new things and breaking out of my everyday routine. Click here to find great savings on high-performing P&G products at a Kroger store near you. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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I am notorious for being late. When I say "Meet me at 3:00," it really means 3:15. It's awful and it's a habit I need to break before getting into nursing school, because in that program lateness is absolutely not tolerated. Nor is it tolerated at a job (although with previous jobs I've managed to get myself to work on time), so now is the time to fix that. 

One thing that has caused me a lot of lateness in the past is losing my keys and/or my debit card. Those are things I always haphazardly stash in a random pocket in my purse and inevitably they get lost in the dark depths of it. Then when I'm about to fly out the door I have to pause and frantically search for them. Not very conducive to timeliness. 

Funny story - I once missed a dinner with a good friend who lives an hour away because I couldn't find my keys. Seriously. I had come home from running errands, gotten ready, changed E's clothes, and went to find my keys like 30 minutes later and couldn't find them anywhere. ANYWHERE! I tore the house apart looking for them, and by the time I found them it was way too late and I had already missed the dinner. It was so awful and embarrassing.

And that's not the only time something like that has happened to me. Before this semester started I was looking for some ways to get organized - I wanted to make this semester a little less stressful than last. I got a fabulous idea - I invested in a lanyard and a zip pouch with a key ring on it! 

Ta-da!!! Now my keys, ID, and debit card are all in the same place. Even better? I just loop it over the handles of my purse like so

 and I don't even have to dig for it - it's always right there. I haven't lost my keys since I purchased this. 

Even though I'm still scrambling around trying to find a bottle, sippy cup, diapers, wipes, baby socks (HOW do people keep track of baby socks?! If you have any suggestions, please do tell), and all the other things that it takes for a mom to get out of the house, the essentials are always in one place where I can find them. 

What a simple change, right?! I'm not a very organized person, but I tried one new thing and it has made a huge difference in my life. I wonder what other little changes I could make! Do you have any suggestions??

Monday, March 7, 2011

Can't Quit

I think I have a problem. An addiction of sorts. They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right? Right?! So maybe I have a problem. 

I'm afraid to stop pumping. Really, literally afraid. I can't imagine a world in which I don't need to pump at least twice a day. I can't imagine a world in which I don't have breast milk to give to my baby. 

The thing is, my baby? Will be turning two in only five months. Two. That's pretty old. (Yes, I have now been exclusively pumping for 19 months. Yes, I am insane.)

He mainly takes a bottle of breast milk at nap time and at bedtime. He's down to about 20 oz a day. The last week or so he's become obsessed with "wa-wa" (water) in his sippy cup or a regular cup (which I try to avoid since he spills it all over himself). He insists on will take sips of cow's milk out of a cup if I'm drinking it, but I haven't tried putting it in his sippy or a bottle yet. I have a feeling he'd be fine with it in a bottle.. but that seems so weird. 

I'm almost out of domperidone (which, in case you're unfamiliar, is the medication recommended to me by my OB to take to maintain milk supply while exclusively pumping). Do I buy more? Or do I stop taking it, and let my supply taper off and start mixing with cow's milk? I can't decide. I just can't decide. 

On the one hand, I'll be really glad not to have to worry about it. The day I don't have to wash bottles and pump parts?! Well, it will just be one thing I can scratch off my to-do list... for good. Yay. 

On the other... I like pumping. I like the assurance of knowing that E is getting good nutrition even though he still has some trouble eating solid food. I like that breast milk is free (well, sort of... I buy the domperidone). And that it's always available. 

Any advice?! Is my reluctance to quit a sign that it's not time yet, or is it just the inability to accept that my teeny tiny preemie is now a toddler and doesn't really need me like that anymore?? Maybe some of both. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dialect Vlog

Hey guys! I'm not a big vlogger but everyone is doing this and I had to join in, I think it's really fun! The point is to hear how different people from different regions of the country say this list of words, which I will paste below the video!

Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil,Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught


What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?

What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?

What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?

What do you call gym shoes?

What do you say to address a group of people?

What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?

What do you call your grandparents?

What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?

What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?

What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

Wasn't that fun?! Play along and upload your own dialect vlog! 

Friends who already have:

Katie at Pickles and Paisleys
Emily at Baby Dickey
Alyssa at She's Mommafied
Natalie at Mommy Boots
Christa at Little BGCG
Joshua at Daddy Green's Pride
Joanna at Baby Gator's Den