Monday, September 28, 2015

Life with two ...

In April I gave birth to our son, Elias. He is a sweet baby who likes to eat and snuggle. We are very much in love!

I knew I would like the newborn stage better this time around, having already adjusted to motherhood and having some idea of what to expect. I feel more confident and relaxed. However, layering Zoe's schedule with Elias' newborn unpredictability has been difficult but we are slowly finding our rhythm. It has been a good time for me to accept help, lessen my household expectations and focus on enjoying our babies.

What Tree School is teaching me

This year, Zoe, Elias and I are joining Tree School co-op, a small group of families who meet once a week at the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee (which is AMAZING!) and let our kids explore and teach them about the outdoors.

Honestly, I have no idea what I'm going to do when it's my turn to teach/lead and I had so many reasons not to join that I almost didn't go and try it out. But I went and loved it and I thought what if my kids had a list of reasons/fears not to try something new and I just said okay. I didn't challenge their reasons or help them conquer their fears. What if I did nothing. What then.

What then.

And how will I expect our children to enter into new situations if I refuse to?
If I say No, it is too hard. No, it is too scary. No, I am overwhelmed.
How will I teach them to change that thinking to "it is hard but it is not impossible." "It is scary meeting new people and doing new things but it will help us grow." " I am overwhelmed. How can I ask for help?"

Props to the Tree School moms (and one grandma) who have welcomed us and helped me navigate the woods.

I am still becoming more comfortable bringing both kids anywhere by myself so taking them literally into the woods is both challenging and exciting. And I am easily overwhelmed on Monday mornings after working all weekend and Christopher and I have talked about what he can do to help us get ready for our day. Hopefully this will give us a fun start to our week together.  I am excited (but also still a little scared) to be part of a group of moms who share similar interests/passions and to learn from others about different ways to teach kids.

Zoe already learned the word "squirrel" and is already more comfortable with the group. She brought leaves and acorns home today to show Daddo and Loki. Elias has learned to nurse in the forest and enjoys sleeping in the carrier when he's tired.

We've only been twice and I am looking forward to the upcoming year!

Monday, August 24, 2015

For them

About two months ago I went back to work following my maternity leave after having Elias. I left the night shift hospital supervisor position to work weekends - DAY shift - on a medical/surgical floor. Around that same time, Christopher and I wrote down our personal and family goals for the next several years.

Over the years I have worked for many different goals. I've worked crazy amounts of overtime to pay off loans and go on fun trips with friends. I've worked to save money for a mission trip in Ghana, a down payment on a house and for our wedding and honeymoon fund.

It would be cliche (and not true) for me to say that I work "for my patients" - while I enjoy taking care of (most) patients, the hospital pays me for the hours I spend there and my job - like every other one in the world - involves activities that aren't very pleasant. Regardless, I am so thankful to look back at the many jobs I have had during my career and know that at this point, this job fits the needs of our family.

Today, at this stage in life, I work for them:

I work so that Christopher can write his dissertation during the week and also have quality time with the kids during the week.

I work so that one day these kiddos can run barefoot around our little hobby farm and collect our chickens eggs and pick produce from our gardens.

I work so that we will one day be a professor's family.

I work on the weekends so I can spend my weekdays taking walks, going to parks and juggling nap times.

I work for them. Not just to pay our rent or the grocery bill. I work for our future, for our dreams, for our life.

And in the process, I realize that I am living my dream.

*This could also be known as the post that broke the internet with too much cuteness.*

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Grandma's death and my son's birth

You know how sometimes, unrelated events become linked in your mind and that is that way you view them forever?

A little over three months ago, early on Easter morning, I was woken up early by a text from my dad and I drove out to the hospital to say good bye to my Grandma Schumann. It was a truly beautiful morning - the sun was rising, I remember seeing ducks on a pond near the hospital - and my family gathered around my grandma and said the Lord's Prayer as she entered the Kingdom of Heaven. It was calm, it was peaceful and it was beautiful.

It was also unexpected and sad.

I was over 38 weeks pregnant when she passed away.
Over the next week, my family made plans for her funeral which would be the following Saturday. For months (MONTHS!) I had been telling my parents - who were coming to watch Zoe while we were at the hospital - that they should come to Milwaukee that weekend because I knew (KNEW!) I was going to have our baby that weekend. Even though my due date was later that week and I was scheduled to work that Sunday and Monday, I was certain he would be born that weekend.
So I prayed that I would have peace if he came before the funeral and I couldn't attend. He didn't and I was able to spend that weekend with my family, celebrating her life. I am so thankful for that gift. Had things been different - had we lived further away - had I given birth to Elias on a different day - it may not have been possible for me to be there so I really do view it as a gift.

On Sunday, we woke up a little tired and decided to stay home. I was supposed to work that night and wanted to rest (thank goodness I did!!). I was rather baffled by the fact that I was still pregnant but when my mom asked if she should stay in town, I said no. I was planning on going to work and was feeling pretty good. I remember driving to work thinking that I never really planned to work that night - I was convinced that I would have a baby by then.

At work, my gracious co-worker gave me an easy job for the first few hours. Around 10pm, I thought I may be having contractions and by 11pm, I knew that they were regular and getting closer together. I had had a fair amount of Braxton Hicks contractions prior but when these started, I knew they were different. Now, even though I work at a hospital, we don't do babies so everyone freaked out a little bit when I said that I was in labor. =) I knew I had plenty of time - 12 hours in fact - so I called my co-worker who was "on call" for me and went home.

After a shower to see if it would slow things down - it didn't - our friend Andrew came over to spend the night with Zoe and Loki because I had told my mom that it was okay to go to Oshkosh. She drove back in the morning and was there when Zoe woke up.

Now, Zoe's labor was interesting because I had some sort of infection (a fever, high WBC count, etc) and I was started on pitocin almost right after getting to the hospital. I still had a natural (medication/epidural free) birth but it was busy. So I was amazed at how much time we had "alone" during this labor. We walked the halls repeatedly and I met the nurse in our room on the hour so she would check my vitals. I was given a little box - like telemetry - and could see the baby's heart beat and my contractions on the screen by the nurses station as we walked by. I never met the on call dr who "admitted" me. It was calm and peaceful. I tried to rest --- hahaha. My body seems to like having contractions exactly 3 minutes apart for HOURS which is what it has done with both babies.

Around 8 am, my doctor came in - it was now Monday morning - and was pleased with my progress. I was fairly exhausted and repeatedly asked Christopher and Kara, our doula, to tell me that the last stage of labor would be quicker than it was with Zoe. I pushed for three hours with her and I didn't think I had it in me. They were quick to reassure me that it would be faster.

By 10 am, it appeared that I had stopped progressing at 8 cm and my doctor broke my waters. Elias Christopher was born one (very long and hard) hour later.

He giggles in his sleep and pretty much every time we look at him.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Life Rules According to My Toddler

Life Rules According to My Toddler

  • Don’t feel compelled to choose favorite foods. Eat tons of one thing one day and then none of it the next.
  • Decide on a certain activity (“outside”) and then demand it every day after breakfast.
  • If an item is in a bag or in a drawer, take it out and put it somewhere else. Repeatedly.
  • Do anything for fruit snacks.
  • If you find a tiny loose item, clearly it belongs in a hole of some sort – try the keyhole on the door first, then the dog’s kong.
  • Multiple pieces of the same toy should never all be in the same room. Ever.
  • When deciding on which book to read before bed, refuse every one except the last one. Any other time you should ask to read every book a minimum of five times.
  • When someone gives you horsie rides, they should always wear bunny ears.
  • Peak - a - boo is the solution to every conflict. And fruit snacks
  •  Taking a walk is code for time to examine every thing on the side walk ... and in the grass ... and any nearby area.