Saturday, July 5, 2014

This Blog is Like My Journal

Mostly ignored, but captures the big stuff in life. 

My cousin gave me this gorgeous leather bound journal when we were in college. I love how  it looks like an ancient, sacred book. There are hundreds of velvet soft pages watermarked with an vintage looking doorway covered in vines. The possibilities are endless. Such a big commitment to start writing is such a beautiful book. What day to start? What color pen to use? Which handwriting? Does anyone else have different handwriting for each mood?

I finally cracked it open the day after Christmas in 2003, I was in a really bad place. Struggling with my first bout of depression and anxiety. (The second in my life came after Everleigh). I wanted to start fresh for the new year, and write down some resolutions. 

There are less than 20 entries. In 11 years. Even though it's beautiful, it stays hidden, because I write such personal things. Depression, my many broken hearts, struggling to figure out who I was, poetry (and very bad poetry), the death of one of my best friends, many moves, and meeting the love of my life. I really only crack it open when I come across it, which is during a move, or while we are cleaning. I read the past entries, and feel inspired to write how my life has changed. 

Since I recently moved to Dreamtown, and came across this book again, this is what I found as my last entry: 

The entry before that was 7 years earlier, a silly 26 year old who just met and fell in love with her future husband. 

And wouldn't you know it...I had a new entry to pen. I am pregnant, with my second baby. 9 weeks yesterday. Naturally, again. 

I don't know what this blog is to me now. Sometimes, it's an overwhelming commitment or loose end. But I do know that I love to read my past, how I've changed, and I like how it captures the big stuff. And although my posts are few and far between, maybe just a handful recently. There's enough here to weave it all together, and it's all meaningful to me.  

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Self Preservation

The ongoing theme of motherhood for me, is self preservation. A term I only came to understand after Everleigh was born. It's kind of embarrassing really, but sometimes I can't wrap my mind around really simple literal terms. Like my friend used the example "Cupcake" for example. It's a cup of cake. Duh. So I was aware of the word self preservation, but never had used it in day to day speak until I was late night texting with another friend while our babies were nursing and I asked her a question and she answered "I need to be more self preserving". Wise words. But what did they mean? I'll admit, I had to google "Define Self Preserving" and duh again. It means exactly what is says. To preserve oneself. Now you think I'm a total idiot I'm sure.

I love that she said that, and it really struck me. From that night on, I've practiced self preservation. I preserve myself and my energy for my daughter. I realized I didn't have to do it all, I just had to take care of myself, for my daughter. This meant many things, all under the umbrella of self preservation. Saying no sometimes, going to bed early, laying down to nap, or at least clear my mind and recharge, brush MY teeth, take care of my body, exercise, keep my own doctors appointments, take my vitamins, not drink too much wine, don't over commit myself, keeping life simple in general. 

All of these habits alone seemed like a big effort before, but when I started viewing everything as a whole theme of self preservation, it was really easy to fall into a new lifestyle. I don't think I could have made these changes pre baby, or had the excuse to. I wish I could have practiced more, but the pressure of life and careers and needing fun time too was so great. It also doesn't strike me as a negative or selfish term, like the way say... prudent could. I feel like prudent has a negative connotation when it really means acting with care for the future, but a synonym is "shrewd" or nicknamed a "prude". 

I am also generalizing the term for everyday habits, when self preservation is defined as "the instinct to act in your own best interest to protect yourself and ensure your survival" But isn't that what the newborn days are? Survival? For all of us? The baby must survive, we must survive off of very little sleep, our marriage must survive. 

And now toddler hood. This has been an adjustment for me from babyhood. Now that we are down to one nap a day, I recharge and lay down when I can. So that's what I am doing now. Resting in bed. Writing and reading. Sometimes sleeping. 

Anyway, it feels good. Mark and I were driving the other day and he said "this is not the car of a Mark and Lanie from 5 years ago" Messy crunchy crackers, milk stains, books, toys. We also are up at the crack of dawn deciphering who gets to go work out first, when the other is watching Everleigh. I think we used to sleep in until 11 or so on the weekends and then maybe watch movies in bed until about 2. I like being an adult. I like being a parent. I like being boring. I like having more accomplished in my day before 10 am and naptime than I used to accomplish in an entire weekend. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

It Hurts Less

I wanted to believe I was fixed. After a natural pregnancy, I wanted to believe that it was all my body needed to learn how to work properly. Typically, I'm a hope for the best, expect the worst kind of a girl, so my expectations wouldn't be crushed, but this time I allowed myself to get carried away. 

Since I've gotten my cycle back post pregnancy at 15 months, and been tracking and temping, it's apparent things are just as, if not more complicated. So I'm dealing with that. And it's disheartening. I allowed myself time off from TTC thoughts during pregnancy and breastfeeding without my cycle, so it's just now that this is all weighing on my mind. 

But, recently matching little tiny toddler socks and making sock balls, and folding fresh warm jammies the other day, my heart wanted to burst from happiness. I get to do this. That is not lost on me. A tiny detail of everyday life, that I was frightened that I would never be able to experience. I am so lucky. 

Toddlerhood is magic, I tell you. I am right smack in the middle of parenting euphoria. My kid is sweet, funny, smart, sleeps well, fun, and it makes me want to do it all over. I feel like I've got this motherhood thing down, and truly and surprisingly enjoy being a stay at home mama to the core. 

The infertility is creeping back in, and all those thoughts of doubt, worry, and insanity are flooding back slowly, however, this time in the back of my mind I think - I have the option to end this all now, or later, or whenever I decide. I can resolve to have this child only, and live my life fully and without regrets. I don't know if I want to, but I can. That was not an option to me prior to having a baby. 

I hurts less than it did when I had no children, right now anyway. I can see this is a slippery slope, I can see myself falling back down the rabbit hole, I can see the hurt growing like a snowball. It's already starting. 

I'd like to say I'll have a stop date, where we'll stop the plan to expand, and just live our lives, but I don't know what that looks like, or when that would be. I want to say I can be strong, and be decisive when the time comes, and gracefully and joyfully without any hurt in my heart know that I made the right decision. It scares me to know this is an option I'm considering rather than moving forward with reproductive intervention, but it's even more frightening to think of a lifetime of trying and feelings of failure and hurt. 

I certainly do love folding my daughters laundry. Someday maybe I'll proudly fold soccer uniforms, or launder smelly horseback riding clothes. It will never get old. I have a kid. I have a kid. 

I am still so in awe of this. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dreams, Realized.

Hey everyone!

When I logged in to Blogger, I had an unfinished draft wondering if I was ready for so many changes and if we were really going to pick up our life and move. Aaand, here I am, I'm all settled in Dreamtown, and my life has been... a dream come true. It doesn't even feel like my own life...yet. I honestly don't have words to explain how lucky and grateful I am for the turn of events that got us to this place. I remember being so stressed in my career, after long commutes, undervalued, and underpaid, struggling with infertility, and asking Mark "When's my great thing going to happen?" and he always said, "It will come along, have patience".

Being a new SAHM is really tough, actually, but I am not undervalued anymore! I get tons of squeezy hugs around my neck and wet kisses. I am in awe watching Ever learn and grow. "Dada, wawa, peas?" and putting my purse over her shoulder and saying "bye bye" and blowing kisses and walking on her tippy toes with a little swagger, acting like her mama. She has her first gymnastics class on Thursday. It all feels too good to be true, but I'll take it!

Blogging is near impossible for me these days because I have my hands FULL. I don't even check my phone/computer sometimes until bedtime, and then only for a few moments before I have some wine, drift of to sleep or watch another episode of "Orange is the New Black" on Netflix.

Although- you can follow me on Instagram @lanieoconnor, I'm finally on there (a lot late to the game) and posting about Everleigh, running, friends, family, Dreamtown, and our new house. I'd love to follow you all too!

Oh, yeah!  Dreamtown also came with my own built in bloggy friend. How lucky am I? You know Jessah @ Dreaming of Dimples? She was nominated for our local TV station BEST OF (!!!) local blogger. Let's help her reach this goal! She's the sweetest, coolest girl and definitely deserves such an honor. Go to her blog to learn more, or VOTE HERE! I just think that would be amazing if an infertility blog won. She is so courageous to be open about her experiences. I would love for more understanding from the community about Infertility, and this would be great exposure to the real life struggles we as infertiles have gone through.

Thank you for voting.

Love, Lanie

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

So Long, (boob) Suckers!

I'm officially done with the breast pump. I think my last day pumping was January 16th. I was at work, and had been having problems with bleeding, cracked nipples and I could not bring myself to hook up to the pump one more time. I was engorged that day, but luckily Everleigh nursed a lot that night, and then I took some time off to visit "Dreamtown" so we nursed morning and night with cows milk throughout the day.

She still isn't sold on cows milk, so after trying many different variables including warming it, 50/50 blends with breast milk, then reducing that, serving it cold, serving it in sippys...the thing that works best for her is warmed cows milk in bottles. She's a good eater, and great at drinking tons of water out of her Nuby Insulated Cool Sipper, so I'm not really concerned about her taking a few sips of milk and basically being disinterested in general.

Since my job is wrapping up and I've been home with her more lately, she kind of increased my supply. She'd push away her cow's milk and say "Nononono" and then pull down my shirt and say "Num Num" while smacking her lips. So of course I gave in. So I am weaned from the pump, but not from baby.

I love nursing her at this age. I squeeze her chubby thighs and make her laugh. We scratch our heads when we are tired, because it feels so good. We go over body parts. She bullies me and pokes at my eyes, and grabs my nose until I scream. We grunt conversations back and forth. She demands to hold her lovey, tiger and bunny in her arms when she nurses. I sing Goodnight Irene, or sip my coffee while she quietly nurses herself awake. It's really the only time I can get my active girl to look at me straight in the eyes and nuzzle noses and snuggle up.

I honestly think I could not pump again for another baby. Perhaps I won't have to face that. Maybe I won't have another biological baby. Maybe I won't ever have to return to work and I can just nurse. Perhaps time will pass and I will be okay with pumping again.

It went from being totally okay with the pump, to absolutely despising it the next day. Part of the issue was that by pumping 3-5 times a day for 12 months I wore down the soft silicon suction cups that came with the pump and I had to order the hard replacement parts (the silicon was $80, and I was near the end of my pumping career anyway, so I got the $14 hard plastic). This contributed to the tearing and bleeding of my nipples. It's is awful as it sounds. I'd be sitting at work pumping and reading blogs and when I looked down one of the bottles would be filled with what looked like strawberry milk. So gross and annoying. I'd dump it, clean out the parts, put on lanolin or coconut oil and begin again.

I'm so glad to be done pumping. I hope to wean enough to get my cycle back, but really she can nurse as long as she wants. She's my first baby. My miracle baby, and I don't know if I'll ever get to nurse another baby again.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Stars Align...

Alternate titles for this post could have been "Defunked" or "How Driving Through My Garage Door Changed My Life".

December 17th - I back through my garage door on the way out to dinner with Mark, Everleigh, Mom and Dad. Everyone is silent waiting for me to meltdown. Everleigh says "D'oh!". Little did I know then, but it was the catalyst for all the events that were about to happen.
December 19th - I decide to go back to work full time and inform HR. I find out later that day our company has been sold, and I will be out of work after March 31st. I do get severance based on my time with the company 7.5 years. Not bad. Despite the news, and for the most part liking my job, it feels freeing. I just have one big trade show to attend in Orlando first.

January 4th - Visit friend from hometown. We discuss my plans post layoff. I shoot out a couple of ideas, and she suggests I revisit my dream of moving to "Dreamtown", a town near my hometown where Mark and I dreamed of moving eventually. In fact, it was kind of part of the deal when I moved to his town to be with him 8 years ago. I had completely forgotten this dream and had written it off because we are so settled here in the bay area. We talk about the idea on the drive home. It feels like a pipe dream still, but we both agree it makes all the logical sense in the world.

January 14th - We decide to have our realtor over to evaluate our home and just see how much we can get for it. It turns out, a lot more than we paid for it. Fully renovated one stories are desirable in our town, and only stay on the market for 7-9 days and often go for more than asking price. We decide to do more research on "Dreamtown". 

January 17th - 19th - We visit "Dreamtown" for a weekend. We drive around looking at neighborhoods, eating downtown, looking at model homes, looking at resales. We put Everleigh down both nights in the hotel and talk excitedly in bed. Could we really do this? Why not? We could have more house and live on less money, eliminating the need for me to work. I could raise Ever, possibly have another baby, or go back to work to save money for travel, retirement, dream cabin in Tahoe ;) ...

Now feels like the time. I could use my severance to pay down/off my car, and our only debt would be mortgage. Everleigh isn't in school yet and wouldn't be leaving friends. My family is in the area. Our friend group is only 20 minutes away if we move.

We always knew our house wouldn't be our forever house. It was our 7-10 year plan. We knew when we put work into it, it was an investment. 

January 22nd - Mark goes to look at a house. He believes I will love it.

January 23rd - We both go back while Ever is at daycare to look at the house. I have a cold. I love the house, we make and offer, we get approved for financing. 

January 24th - With Everleigh and I sick, I can no longer fly to Orlando for my trade show. I call in sick. The new company is very understanding. With the redundancy in my job, the other Event Manager will take care of everything. I am now free to get well and get my house ready to be sold while coordinating the trade show remotely and working from home. This is such a stress reliever for me. A week in Orlando trying to work with a one year old who is teething, sick, and tantrum-y sounds like a nightmare. I feel it would have sent me over the edge.

January 25-27th - We renovate our guest bath (the last room in the house needing remodel) for $360, using leftover materials and paint we have, and just buying a vanity, medicine cabinet, finishes, and new lighting fixture. We have contractor come paint our front door and work on a few finishes we don't have time for. We change out all the brass door knobs to matching brushed nickel. We have gardeners come. The house stager comes. 

January 26th - Offer is accepted on our new house!

January 28th - The new garage door is installed. We picked a more expensive insulated carriage door because we thought we would be living with it. But it just helps our home look more upgraded and custom for the sale. 

February 1st - 2nd - Open house on our house. We think it will go fast. We need it to, to meet the contingency on our new house. We should be in our new house in 45 days. 

Mark said 2014 is our year, and boy it sure has been busy so far. And it's only January. I can't believe I will be making a home and life in our dream town in a new house that we hope to be in at least until Everleigh graduates from high school and college. We will keep it until we can't climb the stairs anymore. 

Everything has been clicking into place naturally. In fact, my anxiety has gotten so much better just with the prospect of moving. No longer will we both have to work to afford our lifestyle. No more 1.5 - 2 hour commutes each day. No more traveling for work. No more travel to see my friends and family. Mark and I feel united and re-energized. We love to have a project to work on together. 

Wish us luck! We need a couple more things to fall into place, but this is happening...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Work It!

I’ve been reflecting lately during my workouts how much my lifestyle has changed since having a baby. I am surprisingly way more active now than I ever have been in my life. I don't really see that changing in the future. It kind of happened accidentally, and now it's just a way of life for me. I think I can say that after a year. This is kind of a follow up post to The Best Me I Can Be, because a few things have changed since then.

I am now back to work full time and work from home on Fridays. I used to run Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Now I run Tuesdays after work (I still make time, biggest shocker there!) and keep my weekend schedule. I can skip a day or two a week without wigging out that I'm missing a workout. Balance is good!

I bought a rain and wind cover for my BOB, although I've never had to run in the rain yet (c'mon California, we need rain!). And I bought running gloves. 

It's strange when I do laundry I fold more workout clothes than regular clothes.

I now can go 9 miles, but I started to get a touch of tendonitis and muscle aches, so I do this only once per week with the other runs at 5 or 6 miles. When I bought my new shoes (a Christmas gift!) the sales clerk really stressed how important it is to stretch and use this muscle roller thingy to roll out my muscles. I'm totally guilty of just leaving the house and coming back with no time to stretch and dive right back into motherhood. I need to take time.

I take Everleigh with me about half the time. Sometimes I push myself without her and I can hit 8.5 minute miles, or I bring her and jog along at nearly 11 minute miles. I KNOW, it's like walking, but I'm pushing about 40 pounds of baby and carriage.

One year ago today, I started using myfitness pal and walking with my newborn. It was about 2 weeks after I had Everleigh when the weight loss ceased and I knew I had to use diet and exercise to get those extra unwanted pounds off. I religiously logged in for about 10 months. I could tell you the calories in anything! I also would always use map my run/walk app to find out my running stats. 

About 2 months ago I quit logging into MFP because healthy eating had become ingrained in me. I could easily track it in my head and save myself the time. And then I lost more weight because without the reminder of "I have 60 more calories to eat today", I just didn't eat them. I stopped when I was full. So it actually works out better for me to monitor myself. When I felt restricted, I wanted to eat with food on the brain. That was an interesting finding.

Then I started leaving my phone at home when I ran by myself. I didn't want to carry it. And I realized it didn't matter how many calories I burned. I just wanted to be outside. 

People tell me that I should run a half marathon, or that I could easily train for a marathon. I am just not that interested. It's the solidarity that I crave. But I might be interested someday. The big frosty beer and bragging rights at the end sound like fun since I've started to come out of my reclusive shell, but the waking up early and logistics sound anxiety inducing. 

Two people have asked me recently how I like running and said they run 2-3 miles and HATE it. I thought back to when I used to run every once in a while pre-baby. I hated it too. I just did it because I felt like I had to do something. 

So after some thought, I told them to work up to longer runs. They looked at me crazy-like. If you get back home and you think you could have managed to run another mile, you should. Every time I run, I kind of hate the first 2 miles too. I wonder why I left my cozy house. It's the warm up. My muscles are stiff, my heart is achy from breathing in the cold air, my ears are cold, my nose is runny, I am uber aware of my pinky toenail... but after the warm up period and your heart and lungs are conditioned, it becomes relaxing and almost exhilarating.

Last weekend, we got a sitter and I went to Nordstroms to spend some birthday and Christmas gift cards. Mark got his haircut in the mall and left me with a personal shopper. Yes, you heard me right. I needed help. She is an acquaintance of mine and one of the people who asked me about running. I spend an obscene amount of money - it was kind of like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. But it was priceless to like myself in everything that was styled for me, after a year of such hard work and dedication. 

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