Monday, June 28, 2010


There are days when I can't believe it has been almost an entire year since Dylan was born, and then there are those days when I feel like it has been several. A year ago this month I was doing everything I could to turn Dylan back into the head down position.  After my midwife visit in May, it was determined that Dylan was head down, in the perfect position and too big to turn around.  Wouldn't you know it, that stubborn little boy decided that he was going to accomplish what they said he couldn't do.  

At my early June appointment, he was head up and happy to be there.  We were a short window of opportunity get him to turn back around without medical intervention.  Despite my resistance to showing my extra large and extra white thighs, I went swimming frequently and did hand stands in the pool.  I laid on the floor with pillows propped under my hips and headphones positioned low on my belly for hours on end.  We took a flashlight and held it up to my belly, and then slowly moved it downward.  This made Dylan move around, but he refused to flip.  Chad and I even went to an acupuncturist to learn moxibustion.  I, more appropriately, called it burning my toes.  

Moxibustion is a form of traditional Chinese medicine where you burn a stick made of mugwort (aka moxa) and hold it at the outer corners of your pinkie toes until it starts to burn.  You then take it away for a few seconds and start again, repeating for 20 minutes twice a day. Despite my American skepticism, it did cause me to have contractions but didn't cause Dylan to turn. 

If you can't tell already, I was determined not to need medical intervention.My whole plan was to give birth with no medication, in a tub in a quiet room with no one around but my husband and midwife.  Unfortunately, my determination was not enough.  I was a sobbing, hysterical wreck as I set up my appointment for an external cephalic version.  Basically, this involved monitoring through ultrasound while a doctor placed her hands behind the baby's head, and a nurse placed her hands behind his bottom.  They push and push until he flips around and is head down.  Imagine how hard they have to push to get enough grip on the baby's body to push him around in utero.  Not pleasant, and pretty scary thinking about what my poor baby was going through.  The good part is he's a happy and healthy 11 month old now, so I guess I did the right thing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

This crazy life!

Wow, it has been quite a while since I've posted anything.  I started back to work in Mid-April and since then life has whirled around me as I try to keep moving forward.  Work is busy as ever, and traffic is bad as ever.  Dylan has been teething and so sleep has become very precious.  I get out of bed around 5am and don't stop until about 11pm (which is conveniently when poor Dylan begins his all-night ritual of waking up in pain and wanting no one but me).  I've gotten a tad cranky (to put it nicely), cursed my luck and blamed Chad for things he didn't do.  But in all of it, we've made a good team.  Somehow, we each find the strength to stay calm when the other loses it.  Of course, it helps that we have this little guy to put things into perspective:

Maybe it is a crazy life, but it sure is sweet.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Words are the Same, but the Meanings have Changed

Here is a list of words and phrases that  have taken on a new meaning since Dylan was born.  Motherhood really does change EVERYTHING!

  • Sleeping in
    • Before Dylan (BD): Sleeping until at least 11am, sometimes noon, and then lazily lounging around the house, maybe making some breakfast, and doing whatever I might fancy at the moment
    • After Dylan (AD):  Sleeping until 6:30am, making some coffee and trying to figure out how to accomplish everything that needs to be done and still get a shower!
  • Showering
    • BD: A way to stay clean. There were plenty of opportunities during the day. Sometimes replaced by a relaxing bubble bath, with lights out and candles lit.
    • AD: Immediately after the nap begins, a chance to jump in and jump out within five minutes, remaining as quiet as possible (no dropping shampoo bottles!) to not wake the baby who's crib is on the other side of the wall.  (maybe we should move his crib)
  • Makeup
    • BD: A fun opportunity to play with the way I look, often making me feel pretty.
    • AD: Something that often happens in the car (only when someone else is driving!) and generally is only applied in a failed attempt to hide the circles under my eyes.
  • Coffee
    • BD: A bitter drink that I wanted to like because it smelled like it should taste so good, but really tasted like cigarette ashes.
    • AD: A bitter drink that I have learned to like because it keeps me going, going, going....
  • Going out
    • BD: A fun opportunity to get out of the house and find entertainment.  This could occur on a whim and could last as long as we wanted it to.
    • AD: A two hour scramble to get him and all accompanying equipment into the car, with the potential to be fun or disastrous.  Outings usually end in leaving early because of extreme exhaustion manifesting itself as inconsolable crying.
  • Love
    • BD: A strong, genuine feeling of caring towards my family and friends
    • AD: An unexplainable feeling that life wasn't complete until this little man arrived in the world.   The knowledge that I would do absolutely anything for him. The fact that he can fart and it makes me smile (if that's not love, I don't know what is!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Finding the Silver Lining

I've done a lot of complaining and feeling sorry for myself over the past few weeks.  I still have trouble picking up Dylan and still can't drive myself easily.  I feel very dependent on others, which is not an easy role for me accept.  The more I think about it though, I realize how lucky I am that I have a little extra time to spend around my family.  Chad has taken some time off work here and there, and my Mom has been coming over to help out too. I get to see Dylan more than I would if I were working every day.  I think that maybe I've been wasting time feeling sorry for myself.  I should really be trying to enjoy this extra time that I have to bond with the people that I love (and who obviously love me to take such good care of a big whiner).  My mom came over yesterday to help with Dylan and she vacuumed, did laundry, washed dishes and found a little extra time to pick some violets for me.  Funny how such a small gesture can change your mood.  Thanks Mom!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

It was only a matter of time

One of the many reasons I fell for Chad was the way he acted around children.  Whenever we were at a family gathering, he would usually disappear.  I always knew that I could follow the kids' laughter to find him.  It was (and still is) so endearing to watch them all flock to him, and to watch him play games like he was one of them.  One of the activities his younger cousins liked most was to line up and run at him one by one.  When they reached him he would pick them up and throw them as high in the air as he could.  He moved on to playing with his nieces as the cousins grew up, and now he has a live in buddy to play with every day. He has already taught this game to Dylan which sometimes causes me to gasp in fear.  (You can tell by the way his head is cut off that I didn't expect him to go quite so high)  Dylan enjoys it immensely though, and lets out his hearty belly laugh.  I think I'm going to have to lighten up or just stop watching these things. :) 

Dylan is one lucky little boy to have Chad as a father.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Dylan doesn't know it yet, but he has a new little buddy.  His name is Paul and he is five days old! My cousin and I have already decided that they are going to be great friends.  They have no choice.  He is adorable and I love him! He makes me want another one.... (record scratches and room falls silent) 

OK, the momentary lapse of sanity has passed.  

Here he is! Little cutie pie.

Welcome to the world cutie Paul!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thank You

I have a huge support network in my family and friends.  I have been lucky to know many kind, caring, and giving people.  Still, it is absolutely amazing to me that people from all over the country, who have never met me, who have no stake in any part of my life, have chosen to read my blog and send me well wishes.  It really strengthens my faith in the innate goodness of this world.  Thank you to everyone who has taken a moment to send your support to both my Mom and me.  Your kind words mean so much.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dreaming of My Garden

I'm loving this mild spring weather. Opening my windows to let the fresh air in is definitely helping my mood.  Since the accident I have basically been stuck inside, trying to rest my aching body and make phone call after phone call to deal with the aftermath of the car accident.  The spring melt coincided with the accident, and it revealed all the work waiting for me in my garden. 

I remember, as a child, working by my Mom's side, picking out plants, digging in the dirt, playing with earthworms and watching everything grow.  I really cherish those times - she gave me a creative outlet that allows me to connect with the Earth and with her.  Talking about gardening and sharing plants is something I have been lucky to share with my Mom and my sister since I started my own little plot. Of course, it will probably take a lifetime of learning and experimenting before my garden is as beautiful as hers.  Even so, it is my release from the tensions of everyday life and I miss it terribly. 

Last year I was unable to work much in my garden because I was pregnant. This year, I was very anxiously anticipating warm weekends when I could spend the day taking care of everything that has gone untended over the past year and a half.  Now I am unable to lift or bend enough to do anything useful outside.  I'm awaiting the benefits of my physical therapy and keeping my fingers crossed that it will work quickly. Until then, I will have to give Chad a to-do list for outside while I enjoy my house plants. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Yesterday morning, Chad was trying to feed some breakfast to Dylan.  Dylan was too busy trying to grab everything around him that he was not paying any attention to eating.  So Chad thought that holding his hands would help him focus on the important task of eating pears.  He wasn't particularly happy about this, but he dealt with it. That is, until I walked into the room.  As soon as I walked into his sight, the pitiful bottom lip jutted out and then the water works began.  He sobbed and sobbed while Chad held his hands and fed him.  The entire time he watched me to be sure I was aware of his discontent.  At first his tactics worked and I felt the urge to pick him up and comfort him.  But then all I could do was laugh at him for being so clever and sneaky.  At seven months he knows my weaknesses and has harnessed his power over me to break up the cohesive parenting team.  If he is like this at 7 months, what will he be like at 7 years?  And lord help us, what will he be like at 17?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lucky, Blessed, Grateful, Hurting

Today I am feeling so lucky and grateful that Dylan and I are still alive, and that Dylan does not even have a scrape on him.  I am also feeling incredibly sore and irritable and blue.  Ever since the accident three days ago, I wake up and cry.  I feel so traumatized.  Poor Chad listens to me complain constantly about my aches and pains (have I mentioned that every single joint hurts, by the way?). He never once tells me how much worse it could have been and that I should remember how lucky I am.  He just nods his head, hugs me, and lets me vent. Maybe if I let it all out here I can give him a break, and stop the constant firing of neurons causing me to relive details that I would like to forget.

I keep flashing back and seeing my sudden stop from 60mph.  I had time to breathe a sigh of relief and to think about how scary that was.  I heard brakes and skidding and felt the hit.  I couldn't stop my car from sliding forward no matter how hard I pushed on the brakes with both feet.  Another hit as my car was pushed into the car stopped in front of me. Then a third impact.  I still have no idea where it came from.  Everything around me was a blur except for the screaming baby in the back who I tried to reassure through my shaking and tears.  I vaguely remember trying to get him out of his car seat from inside and calling Chad.  Then I was standing on the side of I-95 with a 7-month old baby.  Cars flew by on their way to work, too busy to even slow down to rubberneck.  One man convinced me to step to the other side of the guard rail just to be a little more safe.  People were asking me questions. I don't know what they were. Somehow I located my license, proof of insurance and registration.  Then we stood there and waited.  I hugged and kissed Dylan over and over.  People checked on us again and again.  Finally Chad arrived and helped me take care of the situation.  Did I call the police? No. A state trooper had magically arrived at the scene.  Had I called the insurance company? No, but that other guy did.  Did I take pictures? No, should I?  Lucky for us, we live in the age if Blackberries and I Phones and Chad was able to take care of this while I remained in a daze.  I remember focusing on a scratch on our back bumper where the plastic was scraped away.  My focus zoomed in on it and I remember thinking how bad it looked and that it would be hard to fix.  I was completely missing the fact that except for this scratch, the rest of the bumper was gone. Someone found the license plate of the car that hit us inside my car and reality started to set in.

Ever since Chad drove us safely away from that place, I have uncontrollably broken into tears.  I just have to remember that we are OK.  When I watch Dylan laughing and playing I am reminded that he will have to live with absolutely no repercussions of this.  That is enough to help me heal each day.  I will, however, miss that beautiful Jetta Sportwagen TDI that saved our lives.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Calm after the storm?

The blizzard had lifted. The neighborhood sprang to life as everyone made their way outside to shovel.  They all retreated to the warmth of their homes for dinner and to wait for the snow plow.  The neighborhood became quiet as the sun set over the serene white landscape. Mom and Dad thought it was time to enjoy the calm after the storm.  Dylan had other ideas...

Dylan: Eat dinner, refuse the last of it, start crying.
Mom and Dad:  Completely unaware of the sleep they will be missing very soon, assume Dylan is tired and ready for bed.

Mom and Dad: Rocking, singing, swaying.
Dylan: Crying, but louder now.

Dylan: Screaming.
Mom and Dad: Change diaper. Try feeding again.
Dylan: This time, eat and fall asleep.

Mom and Dad: Grateful. Watch a movie, thinking he's down for the night.
Dylan: (evil chuckle) hehehe, just wait.

Mom and Dad: Asleep for an entire 15 minutes.
Dad: Get up, change diaper, bring in bedroom
Dylan: Get in bed with Mom and Dad.  Toss and turn while taking up 2/3 of Mom's side of the bed.
Dre: Groan.  Spread out to take up the remaining 1/3 of Mom's side of the bed.
Mom: Plastered against the wall
Dad: Snore.

Dylan: Whiny
Mom: Get up and take him to his room to rock and feed
Dre: Get up and beg for food. Give up and go back to bed.
Dylan: Sleep. Finally. But don't stop rocking.  Don't stop rocking until 1:45am

Dylan: Crying. Again.
Dre: Get up and beg for food. Give up and go back to bed.
Dad: Get up, go into Dylan's room. Rock...Rock...Rock...Rock. Until 5am

Dylan: gurgle gurgle, haha, babble babble, haha
Dre: Get up and beg for food.  Finally get breakfast
Mom and Dad: COFFEE!!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Holy Snow!

So far we have had an abnormally snowy winter, but today was Dylan's first time actually experiencing the snow.  He definitely didn't enjoy getting bundled up.  Multiple layers of fleece are not easy to get on and probably aren't too comfy either.  But we got him ready and trekked outside into the 25 inches of snow. I just had to get pics of him out there, whether he liked it or not.  He did not. But he looked cute anyway.

Dre, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed himself once he could step off the porch and not get buried. He looked cute too.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Things That Make Me Happy

Dre seeking out light to chase. He seems to think that where there is Dylan, there too will be light.
Learning that the secret to stopping a baby from crying is allowing him to chew on the rubbery top of the dropper bottle.
CAFFEINE in my dorky science mug.
Dylan and his Great Grandmother.
Zen in that same dorky science mug.

The diaper sprayer hooked to my toilet so that I don't have to stick my hands in poopy diaper water.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's going to be a good day

How can it not be when I wake up next to this

Friday, January 29, 2010

Here's to all the Mothers Out There

I don't have the option of being a stay at home mom. I always kind of thought that's what I would do - my own mother stayed home with us and Chad's mom did too. That is what I know most well of being a mom and for some reason I just always assumed it is how it would be.

Instead, I went back to work when Dylan was 8 weeks old. At first I was thrilled to just to be able to get up, take a shower, and do my hair and makeup. It was really nice to get back into some adult interactions. I feel that my time at work makes me appreciate the time that I spend at home even more.

However, I also have trouble with the fact that I can't possibly give 100% at work anymore, and I can't possibly give 100% at home anymore. Just to give you a small idea of how much this bothers me, I used to be embarrassed that I got a 95% on a test instead of a 100%. So at work, when I have to say, "I can do that, but it will have to wait until next week", I feel embarrassed, and angry, and overwhelmed. Don't get me wrong - my boss is a wonderful and supportive woman. She always understands that I'm only one, sleep-deprived person and tells me that I'm doing a great job. So all of this is in my head, but it's troublesome nonetheless.

I have talked to my good friend who is the mother of a 3-year old, and she said just to accept it - it is natural and it will get better. But I can't help feeling like I'm at a critical juncture in my life, and I need to make a decision because something is very far out of balance. I don't want to give up my job - I've worked very hard to get here and I really care about what I do. I don't want to be exhausted and cranky all the time either. I don't want to hurt my relationship with my husband (who lets me come home on my stressed out days and cry on his shoulder, while he cooks dinner for me - good man!) and I don't want to miss out on time with my son. I feel torn - whether I work at home, or work in the lab, something is going to be missing.

I think this is a universal and SECRET dilemma in the circle of motherhood. No one tells you that, despite the wonder and awe of this time, finding a balance is going to be more difficult than you could ever imagine (or maybe I just didn't listen). Unfortunately, when I look online for ways to cope with it, I find a lot of competition: "working moms" versus "stay at home moms", "breastfeeders" versus "formula feeders", the list goes on and on. There are very few people that I feel I can truly talk to about this (thank you to everyone with whom I can be open - you are sanity savers!) I am often afraid to tell people that I use cloth diapers, and make my own baby food. Many women become defensive as if I am telling them they are doing something wrong by not doing the same as me. When the only other people on this Earth who can understand what we really are going through is other mothers, shouldn't we band together instead of forming two camps against each other? Why can't we realize that there is no perfect answer, there is no best way to do things? Why can't we openly share our way of doing things and see different choices as simply different, not wrong? Why can't it be enough that we are doing our absolute best to make our own circumstances work for our family?

In that spirit, I want to send a "shout out" to all the moms out there, who are making it work one day at a time. The mothers who, no matter how difficult it is to drag themselves out of bed in the morning, get up and make the best life they can for their families. To all the beautiful mothers who work their way up the corporate ladder, who work part time out of the house, who have to hold down two jobs to make ends meet, who start their own business, who stay at home, who home-school, and to anyone else whom I've missed...


Sunday, January 24, 2010

My First Baby

I just want to take a moment to praise my first baby. He is now 6 years old, and has played the role of friend, playmate, comforter and protector. Dre was used to a certain level of attention, which decreased a bit when Dylan was born. He has adjusted well. Though he still has his jealous moments, I couldn't ask for a better dog. He lets Dylan pull his ears and grab his fur, all the while just doing his best to lick the baby's fingers and face. He knows the difference between dog toys and baby toys, and has not yet chewed up one that doesn't belong to him. When I am rocking Dylan to sleep, he will come into the nursery and lay at my feet until the baby falls asleep. He has even invented a game that he and Dylan play together. While Dylan jumps in his bouncer and the little mirror attached shines light on the walls, Dre will chase the light and give Dylan a nudge whenever he stops moving.

Even though I can't pay attention to him as much as I used to, he still loves me and is there with an enthusiastic greeting when I get home. He does his best to protect our family, barking at even the slightest noise outside, and chasing anyone who comes too close to our property. I'm sure if they showed any aggression he would run away and hide, but he does his best nonetheless. He's such an integral part of our family and I hope he's as happy with us as we are with him.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Hustle and Bustle of the Holidays

Well the holidays are over. I have mixed feelings - I hate taking down the tree and decorations (that's why they didn't come down until January 15) but I love the calm after the storm. They seem to have flown by even faster than normal, and somehow in the middle of them Dylan went from 3 to 4 to 5 months old.

Thanksgiving was a week-long affair. We visited the Johannes' in NC the weekend before, spent the day with my family on Thanksgiving day, and with Chad's Dad that Friday. It was much nicer than Thanksgivings in the past where we would travel from Eldersburg, to Catonsville to Parkville trying to see everyone in one day.

Dylan had his very first "Cookie Day" experience. His Aunt Jenny has decided to bring back the dough making event the evening before, and hopefully next year we will bring back the tradition of getting Christmas trees before baking cookies. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood are associated with this tradition and I hope that we can make it as much fun for the new generation of children that will begin with Dylan and his cousin Paul who will be born in late March or early April of 2010.

The weekend before Christmas, Heather, Chip, Kylie and Kiersten came up to celebrate with all the family here in Maryland. The night after they arrived we had a blizzard that dumped 2 feet of snow on the area. We all went to MomMom's at the beginning of the storm to get snowed in together. Too bad Dylan wasn't old enough to go outside and go sledding with the girls! The next day we dug ourselves out and went to the Ravens game with Heather and Chip.
Dylan's first Christmas began a new tradition - Chad and I hosted Christmas morning. This was the first time that I had not been at my parents' house for Christmas morning, so that was difficult. But I think this new tradition is nice, and Dylan will get to spend that special time with all sides of his family. I have to thank my family for not buying many huge gifts for him. I know it is hard to pass by all the cute baby items, but our 672 square foot house can't hold much more! :)

There is so much to look forward to in this new year. We have babies to welcome, marriages to celebrate, and milestone birthdays to enjoy. I look forward to all these events, as well as the surprises the year holds in store.