Monday, May 27, 2013

Monday Funday - 1st Birthday!

What a weekend!  It was E's first birthday so the past few days have been whirlwind.  I'm glad I'm taking this time to reflect on his first birthday and really let the experience sink in.  I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact a year ago I was in the hospital with him.  I look at those pictures when he was first born and think "Where did this year go?"   It has been an amazing year and it was a great weekend!

I had Thursday and Friday off last week for a total of five days no work.  Amazing feeling and the time off really helped.  I'm not even dreading going to work tomorrow.  Thursday and Friday were cleaning days, both inside and outside the house.  We not only wanted to be ready for E's party but we had a Realtor check our house out on Friday morning.  We're just in the information gathering, checking out our options phase right now so more on that later.  It's amazing what your house can look like when you take the time to pick up and de-clutter.  My parents also arrived on Friday afternoon so Mike and I got even more stuff done around the house with their help.  Plus the extra pair of hands to help with E makes chores easier.

Saturday was grocery shopping day and decorating for the party.  I got some relaxing in too which was nice since the past two days Mike kept me busy with a long "To Do" list.  I'm usually the one with the list and this change in roles wasn't sitting well with me.

Sunday was the day of the party.  We've been planning this for months and it was finally here.  I planned a dinosaur themed party.  When E was very little he would make these noises that sounded like a little dinosaur. When he would make these noises, Mike and I would say "Dinosaur!" and it just kind of stuck.  Ever since then I assumed he liked dinosaurs and bought anything dinosaur I could.

I was hoping weather would be nice so we could be outside.  It was cold and rainy but we were able to get burgers and brats grilled.  We had traditional picnic style food; veggies and dip, fruit, chips, potato salad and my dad's famous baked beans.  I also tried a new recipe, Brownie Batter Dip, which is delicious with graham crackers.  

It was a really great day and my little E is so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends.  I was so grateful for the people that were there to help us celebrate.  It meant a lot to Mike and me.  There were people that lived far away that couldn't make the trip but I know they were thinking of E on his special day as well. E is a very loved little boy and it was such a wonderful day to honor him and be grateful for the joy he has brought into our lives.

Here's some pics from the party:

E's Birthday Invites

He dug right into the cake!
First taste of cake!

Mom, Dad, and E with his dinosaur cake.

Present time!
More presents.
Golf clubs, he and Daddy are set for the summer.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Year Ago...

This week has been so full of emotions for me.  It's E's Birthday Week!  I can't believe it's been a year.  I wanted to write about what was going on in my life at this time last year.   

A year ago today I was 38 weeks pregnant with E.  I went to my weekly prenatal checkup with everything being normal and left with orders to go on bed rest.  The past few visits my blood pressure was high and this week it was extremely high.  They were concerned about preeclampsia so they thought bed rest was the best option to lower my blood pressure.  I remember not thinking anything of it.  I would be on bed rest the rest of the week and be back at work on Tuesday.  I went back to work to check in with my boss and team and grab my computer so I could stay caught up on work while I was gone.  I made a quick stop at Costco to stock up for the week since we wouldn't be out and about much.  Looking back, I realized I didn't take orders very well.  Bed rest meant go home and rest, not go grocery shopping! 

I felt fine so I spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on the couch and watching TV enjoying an excuse to do nothing.  The next day I did the same thing still feeling fine.  That night I woke up around 2am with a sharp pain in my right shoulder and upper right abdomen.  It was so painful I couldn't get back to sleep.  I woke up Mike to tell him what was going on and he asked if I wanted to call the hospital.  I said no because I didn't think it was contractions so I tried going back to sleep.  About an hour later I still couldn't sleep and was still having pain.  I got up and Googled my symptoms.  After doing some reading I decided I should call the hospital.  Since I was put on bed rest for preeclampsia they wanted me to come in right away.  So I woke up Mike again and we headed to the hospital.  Thankfully the hospital is in our same town so it was a quick 10 minute drive.

When we finished checking in and got settled in a triage room, it was about 4am.  They took my blood pressure and it was still very high.  They drew blood and put me on a magnesium sulfate drip which made me feel intoxicated, blurry vision and foggy brain...awful!  Mike and I just sat there in silence, neither one of us knew what to think.  I was feeling a little worried but glad we had made the decision to come to the hospital.  If anything was wrong, we were in the right place.

Finally around 7am it was determined that I did have preeclampsia and my blood pressure showed no signs of going down.  The Dr. came in and asked “How do you feel about having a baby today?”  Mike and I looked at each other and the reaction on both of our faces was the same, this is really happening.  The Dr. went on to explain the only way to “cure” preeclampsia was to get the baby out.  Since I was 38 weeks along, the baby was developed enough that the probability of complications for him or her were minimal.  I remember asking if we could call our parents because if this was it, I wanted them there.  Mike went out to the hall and called my mom and then his mom and explained what was going on and that they should probably come.

When Mike came back into the room the nurse told us she would get us into a delivery room and they would start me on an IV to induce labor.  While they were getting our room ready, Mike went home to let Josie out, poor puppy had been in her kennel for a long time by this point.  Of course I didn't have a bag packed so I tried to rattle off things to Mike that I would need and where he could find them. 

Around 10am I was settled in our new room and I was thinking great, just in time to watch Hoda and Kathy Lee!  Since I was still on bed rest, I wasn't allowed to get up and walk except to go to the bathroom.  I was also on a liquid diet so I couldn't eat anything and I was starving!  I hadn't eaten since dinner the night before.  My parents arrived around noon and Mike’s shortly after.  We got everyone up to speed and then they left to go wait in the waiting room while Mike and I tried to get some rest.  It was a long afternoon.  I finally had some broth and jello for dinner and then tried to sleep more.  I woke up every 2 hours or so that night to go to the bathroom.  Poor Mike had to get up with me every time to help since I was hooked up to an IV. 

The next morning, Saturday, there was minimal progression but enough where they broke my water.  I was then able to shower which felt so good.  Then there was more waiting.  Thankfully our family was there so Mike could take some breaks and get some food.  I was starting to feel pretty weak, probably from all the drugs and lack of food…I was living off cherry popsicles and water.  Between 6 and 7pm, I started to feel some mild contractions.  I got excited, finally something was happening!  Unfortunately, I had also developed HELLP syndrome and my platelets were dropping.  The Dr. started to talk C-Section.  Nothing in my birth plan had gone the way I wanted it to and a C-Section was definitely not in my plan.  But at this point it had been 36 hours and I was ready to be done.  Mike agreed so we got ready for the C-Section.  It was finally time, we were going to meet our baby.    

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Letter to My Husband

Dear Mike,

Happy 3rd Wedding Anniversary!  I'm so thankful you are my husband and I couldn't ask for a better Father for our son.  I know there are days when we get on each other's nerves.  Like when you don't clean the sink out after you wash dishes.  Or when I leave my pop can by the sink instead of putting it in the recycling.  There are times when I nag you about all the things that need to get done, and then you get overwhelmed, and then we get crabby with each other.  Those moments aren't fun, but it's real, and it's us, and it's our life.

But our life is also those moments when we kiss and E giggles at us.  Or the times we spend eating dinner together every night talking about our day.  The moments when I'm stressed and you calm me down, moments spent laughing at the stupidest things, and moments when it's just you and me and we don't need to talk, we can just be.  This is what makes our life together great.  Because it's these moments and so many more that make all the things that are hard in life worth it.

Thank you for being my love, my friend and my family.  I love you.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Monday Funday

Happy Monday Funday!  We had a rainy weekend but it didn't stop us from having some fun.  I started my weekend off with an hour long massage.  Mike had booked it for me as my Mother’s Day gift.  It was amazing.  Mike went fishing Saturday afternoon so E and I hung out.  We went for long walk and played in the sandbox.  It had rained in the morning and the sand was pretty wet.  Lesson learned, wet sand and little boys do not go well together.  In the bath he went. Saturday also marked E’s first haircut.  He was getting a little shaggy and  I've been putting it off.  For some reason the thought of cutting the hair he was born with made me sad.  But I did it and he looks so handsome now.

Yes, I cut his hair during snack.
I thought it would be easier.
He was proud and combed
 his own hair.

Saturday night my sister-in-law came over to watch E so Mike and I could go out for dinner and celebrate our anniversary.  It’s really not until May 22nd but we celebrated early.  I wish I would have taken a pic of us all dressed up.  Ok, we weren't really all that dressed up but I was in something other than khaki shorts and a t-shirt and Mike was wearing a polo.  That’s dressed up for this couple!  Anyway, we had a nice dinner at Hell’s Kitchen and then we walked around downtown and stopped at the Newsroom for a drink on their patio.  It was a gorgeous night and Mike and I enjoyed our date

We were supposed to have family pictures taken Sunday morning but we rescheduled because of the rain.  It actual turned out to be a pretty nice afternoon so we headed to a park.  My Monday Funday was cut short when I got a text from work on Sunday night that coverage was needed for Monday.  I said I could cover the 2nd half so I worked 11:30am-6pm.  I know I’ll need someone to cover for me some day so I wanted to take my turn. 

Overall, a pretty good weekend!

Friday, May 17, 2013

You Can't Force Sleep

E has always been a good sleeper.  He was sleeping through the night around 3 months old and we've never had any problem getting him to sleep...until recently.  The past week E's sleeping has been so off.  He's up at 4am some days, taking long morning naps, not taking an afternoon nap or if he did it would be around 5pm and then not go to bed until 9pm and then still up between 4am and 5am.  The poor kid was exhausted and you could tell by the way he was acting.  He's wasn't my usual happy boy.

Mike and I tried forcing him into a sleeping pattern.  We'd wake him up from naps so he wouldn't sleep so long in the day.  We'd sit rocking him trying to get him to take a nap.  None of it worked.  It seemed the more we tried to get him into a sleeping pattern the worse it got.  He would sit and cry and rub his eyes and my heart would ache because I didn't know what to do.

By yesterday, it was bad.  When I got home from work, I took E so Mike could have a little a break.  Books always seem to calm E down.  So that's what we did, we just sat and read one of his favorite books over and over and over.  He finally closed his eyes and when I put him down in his crib he was out.  We decided we didn't care if it was only 5 in the evening, the kid needed sleep so we were just going to let him sleep.  He slept all through the night waking up once around 12:30am.  But a quick tuck-in did the trick and he was back asleep.  He woke up at 5am the next morning.  I was already at work by then so Mike texted me that E was back to his normal self.

E ended up taking an almost 3 hour nap this morning but no afternoon nap.  It seemed to work for him though.  When I got home from work tonight he was a different baby than Thursday night.  He was his happy self playing with toys and being as sweet as ever.  He ate a good dinner and went to bed easily at 7:45pm.

What I've learned from this past week is that I can't force things.  E is his own person and I need to respect that even if he is only a baby.  I can't be in control of everything and sometimes I just need to go with the flow.  Part of that is also learning to trust that things will work out.  I need to trust that E will sleep when he needs to sleep but it will be on his terms.      

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Having a Little Boy

 I don’t have a daughter, and if I did, I absolutely would love her just like I love E. But I believe I was meant to have a little boy.  I love that I can just buy t-shirts, shorts, a few polos and he’s good to go.  I don’t want to deal with dresses and leggings and all the accessories.  I love the fact that he’s always just a little bit dirty, whether it’s food in his hair or dirt under his finger nails.  E is definitely all Boy!  I feel relieved that I won’t have to play Barbies or dress up.  I’d much rather play Legos or trucks.  I know I’m succumbing to stereotypical gender roles as I think of my child.  But it’s hard not to and honestly, I want to.  I love having a little boy so I can do those “boy” things.  I know I could play trucks with a little girl, but I just don’t think it would be the same.  If Mike and I have more children and we happen to have a little girl, I know I will enjoy that too.  I will gladly embrace the pink outfits, bows, and nail polish.  I’ll even play Barbies, but for now, I love having a dirty, mischievous little boy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Funday

This weekend marked my first Mother's Day as a Momma.  I did celebrate last year because I was 8 months pregnant and a mother to be. This year was special because I actually felt like a Momma and E was really here.  I had to work all day on Saturday so it was a short weekend for me but I still had a wonderful Mother's Day Weekend!

I got the sweetest cards from both E and Mike and Mike booked a massage for me next Saturday.  Looking forward to that!  My boys also know me well, this was included with my cards...
What Mom doesn't want a bottle of wine for
Mother's Day?
Mike worked on E's sandbox the rest of Sunday while E and I took a nap.  The sandbox is almost done, the only thing missing is the sand.  In the meantime E is content to play with the dirt on the outside.  In the afternoon I planted flowers in the front of our house.  I bought the flowers about a week ago with good intentions of planting them sooner.  Well, you know how that goes.  Some of the flowers are dying but I think a good watering will bring them back to life.  

Mike grilled steak kabobs for Mother's Day dinner.  They were perfect!  Then we made a trip to DQ for dessert.  All in all, a great first Mother's Day!

Today we had out last day of school for E.  Thank goodness!  I've mentioned I don't enjoy going, too many kids and too many parents talking about how advanced their child is and one-upping the next parent.  "Can your child really be advanced when they're under a year?"  That's what I want to say during the group discussion, but I don't.  E does seems to enjoy class and we have met a few nice people.  We have a 2 week break before the summer session starts which against my protests, we will be attending.  The things we do for our children!

This week I'm trying 4 new recipes from Pinterest.  I'll post a recap later in the week.  Here are some pics from the weekend...
Sandbox in place complete with toys, minus the sand.

Lack of sand did not discourage E.
My grilled Mother's Day Dinner.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Note from the Paternal Side - Sometimes a Man Just Needs a Paci

My favorite affirmation for Evan is “Sometimes a Man Just Needs a Paci.” I don’t remember being 11 months old, but I am reliving the epic experience now...daring to place myself in his gigantic shoes.  
You work hard everyday in your play and exploration.  You are starting to figure a few things out.  Objects that are solid can be held on to.  Wait...what if they sprout hinges?  What the heck are hinges!?!?  You hang on for dear life as the once solid gate swings you around.  
Day after day, week after week, you relentlessly pull yourself towards the divine dog food dish.  Unimaginable treasures lie inside...waiting for your discovery.  Lurking overhead, a hyper vigilant parent swoops out of the sky like a vulture to defend the forbidden object, placing it just beyond reach.
You are beginning to understand words but do not yet possess the gift of expression.  You see a parent cutting up blueberries and are overcome with the unregulated passion that only blueberries can bring you.  Your only option is to cry with anticipation while simultaneously feeling the frustration that comes with not being able to say “keep’em coming!!!” when the inert parent doesn't cut them fast enough.
Movement is slow but gaining momentum. You stumble and tumble along and you know you have to keep going.  The falls will come, but on a good day they don't hurt too bad.  
Evan is coping with his new world the best he can.  It can be difficult at times but well worth his heroic efforts.  When the tears come, I pick him up and say, “Sometimes a Man Just Needs a Paci.”  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Funday

Another weekend comes to a close.  I always get a little sad on Monday afternoons because I know tomorrow starts the work week again.  It's not that I hate my job, but I would much rather be spending time at home with my family.  Like I said, thankfully I don't hate my job so once I get through Tuesday it's not so bad. 

My parents came for a visit this weekend.  I'm very close with both my mom and dad so I love spending time with them.  I'm lucky because my parents adore Mike and he enjoys spending time with them as well (at least that's what he tells me).  When we get together we have a great time.  

Saturday was cold and rainy so Mom, E, and I went shopping.  Poor E didn't have any summer clothes.  He had a few short sleeve onesies that he's been wearing with the nicer weather but that's about it. I knew I'd eventually need to get him new clothes, it's not like he can wear his summer clothes from last year.  But it wasn't until that first warm day that I realized he really didn't have much at all.  No worries, Grandma and I got the kid stocked up.  
Just a few items from E's summer collection.
Unfortunately, Mike picked the wrong day to go fishing.  He and a friend entered a fishing competition at Lake Minnetonka.  He came back freezing and without a prize.  He said he did have fun though so it wasn't a complete bust.  

Sunday and today we had great weather.  We spent as much time as we could outside and grilled Sunday afternoon and Monday night.  Mike even started our first outdoor project of the year, a sandbox for E!  Here's some pics from our outdoor adventures this weekend.

Picked this up for the weekend.  Perfect for drinking outside!

The beginning of E's sandbox.

Who knew Grandpa was such a photographer?!?!

Grilled fish, sweet potato, and asparagus.

Mommy and E waiting to go to the park.
And just because my mom thinks I'm
pretty darn cute.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Times They are a-Changin'

Things are shaking up in the Gesellchen house. I’m getting a new work schedule starting the 2nd week of June. I’ll be working Saturday – Monday 5pm to 6am. This is very different from my current schedule of Tuesday – Friday 5am to 4pm. I knew my schedule would be changing and I was able to put in my request for what would work best for me and my family. I was fortunate enough to get my 2nd choice. However, this will be an adjustment with our schedules at home and we’ll have to figure some things out. We are fortunate that Mike is an at home dad, otherwise I don’t think this schedule would work for us if he had a job outside the home.

There are some definite downsides to this schedule.  My sleep schedule will be all out of sorts.  I’ve spent 2 years waking up for work at 4am and going to bed before 10pm.  I don’t even know the last time I saw midnight let alone stayed up the entire night.  Most people have the weekends off and I won’t be able to see my family and friends without some planning ahead.

I’m focusing on the positive side of this new schedule and as I really started to think about things, the positives are outweighing the negatives.  I work 3 days a week and still maintain full benefits and pay.  Not too bad.  Working over nights, I will still get a Friday night and some of Saturday and I can pretty much get my whole weekend by just taking 1 day of vacation.  The new schedule will also be less stressful than my current one as far as work load and team management. 

I’m excited for this new opportunity and to have 4 days off with my family.  This adjustment will be challenging but I know we can make it work. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Meatless Monday on a Wednesday, a Snowy Day in May, and Two Crabby Parents

I worked the night shift on Monday so we are finishing up our month of Meatless Mondays today.  As I mentioned last week, this week was more of a decadent dish but lighted up using spaghetti squash instead of  pasta.  But more on that later.  Let me elaborate more on the title of this post.

We had  snow today, 3-6 inches in the forecast.  We didn't get near that and nothing stuck but it did look like this outside.

I'm hoping that's all the snow for a while and we can finally get a spring. I'm so sick of winter!  The weather had an impact on why there were two crabby parents in our house.  We had a tease of spring and it was so fun to get outside as a family.  Today was my day off so I was bummed it was crappy weather.  Plus I was stressing about all the things I need to get done at work when I go back tomorrow.  I was trying hard not think about it and let it ruin my day off.

In addition to the weather, Mike was crabby because he was having printer issues with his computer and he spent a good portion of the morning trying to figure it out.  With both of us being crabby it led to an argument about the proper way to mop the kitchen floor.  Lesson learned, if my husband is going to mop the floor, who cares how he does it, at least it's getting done.

That's when we decided we needed to get out of the house despite the weather.  We wallowed in our crabbiness over a lunch of nachos and beers.  Yeah yeah, I know, turning to junk food and alcohol to make you feel better is not setting a good example for my child.  But he's still young so I think we're safe, plus he had grilled chicken and fruit.  I do have a few good parenting skills.

A mood lifting lunch.
After lunch we were less crabby and went to Toys R Us to look for some outside toys and shoes for E.  E was in heaven!  I'm worried what he'll be like when he gets older and can actually put things in the cart.

So that leads us to the original point of this post, Meatless Monday.  By the way, yes we did cheat and had chicken on the nachos.  Dinner is completely meatless though. I've been wanting to make this recipe for a while, Spinach Artichoke Pasta.  It's from The Pioneer Woman's website and it was delicious!  I cut the recipe in half because the original serves 10.  I also added chopped red onion to the spinach and garlic mixture because I love the smell of garlic and onion sauteing in butter.  I also chopped a tomato and added it.  Since I used spaghetti squash instead of pasta, the mixture was a little runny.  I baked it for 20 minutes at 350 so it would set up more.  I sprinkled bread crumbs and more parmesan cheese on top which turned a wonderful golden brown.  Both the boys liked this meal and I will be making it again.  Next time I will use less artichokes, 1/2 a can instead of a whole can.  They overpowered the dish and I wanted to taste more of the spinach and spaghetti squash.  
Spinach Artichoke with Spaghetti Squash
As our month of Meatless Mondays ends, I found 4 great new recipes to incorporate in my meal planning.  And Mike learned that he can be satisfied without having meat at every meal. I look forward to cooking  more meatless meals for my family.