Monday, May 31, 2010

Holding down the fort

As some of you know, Mark’s been gone for a week.  He couldn’t tell me where he’s going, and he’ll be gone for another week and a half or so.
Last time he left for a few weeks, I cried for 2 months before he left every time I thought about him leaving.  This time I didn’t cry at all, before he left, or even when he left, which was a huge “improvement” for me.
I wish I could say I was one of those women who did just fine when their spouses are away, but that would be a lie.  I do okay, mainly because now especially with Abbie, I don’t have a choice.  But I miss him so much it physically hurts most days.  When Abbie is easy to deal with and I get out of the house, I do pretty well.  But days where Abbie is fussy and doesn’t nap or sleep well and I have to deal with everything on my own, sometimes I melt down.
Today was a fairly good day.  A friend came over and watched Abbie for me today so I could do some unpacking and I got more done in the few hours she was here than I have in the past week combined.  It was pretty nice.
Tonight Abbie and I were in the living room.  Mark does this thing with Abbie where he’ll put pillows on the floor and then lay on the floor and pretend he’s sleeping and Abbie will climb all over him and then lay down next to him.  Well Abbie pulled a few pillows off the couch tonight and then laid her head on them and said “dada” like 3 times in between all her giggling.  I sat there and cried.  I know she misses her daddy.  She FREAKS out when I go out of her sight, so I think she’s afraid I’m going to disappear too like her daddy did.  It’s so hard when they’re this age because she knows her daddy isn’t here and that something’s different, but she doesn’t know why and you can’t explain it to her.
I really cannot wait for Mark to get home.  I miss him more than words can describe, and so does his daughter.

Happy Memorial Day


For so many years, Memorial Day had just been a day you get off school, or work.  I don’t think I ever truly thought about the meaning of Memorial Day, until I married Mark.

I have been to Washington DC numerous times with my mom when I was younger.  We were almost always there over Memorial Day weekend, and we’d attend the concert held in front of the Capital Building.  We’d visit Arlington Cemetery and see rows and rows of those white crosses, and even saw a funeral procession, with the casket on a horse drawn carriage, a flag draped over it.  We listened to a bugler play Taps on his trumpet.  We witnessed Rolling Thunder, which was the largest procession of Harley Davidson’s that I’d ever seen in my entire life, all proudly displaying their American Flags.  I think we stood there for a good half hour, watching bikes go by.  It was a very moving experience.  All of DC can be a moving experience.  And I think I was so moved because I was so wrapped up in the patriotism of it all.

And then I married Mark.  And all of a sudden my viewpoint changed. DSC_6721

Now looking back on my memories of Arlington, all of those crosses, which really are beautiful to look at, are someone’s husband or father or brother or son.  Now it’s all too easy to put a face behind a name, and to put myself in that situation of having a loved one die.   Now it’s imagining what those poor families went thru when they lost their loved one who was fighting for our freedom.  Now it’s dad’s not being able to see their children grow up, and parents losing a child, and spouses losing their partners and having raise families and face the world alone.  It’s all much more personal now.

I’d like to think I was grateful for the people who have served and are serving in our military before I married someone in the military, but the truth is, I didn’t know the half of it then.  I knew that people deployed to war zones and some of them died, but I didn’t realize all the in-between stuff.  Sometimes men and women are deployed for over a YEAR.  Imagine not having your spouse around for an entire year.  Men miss their children’s births, and birthdays.  They miss all holidays and anniversaries.  They miss first words and first steps.  Often times when they come home they have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and they have a hard time coping.  They come home to children who don’t know them anymore, and are afraid of them for short periods of time before everyone adjusts.  Spouses have to do everything as a single parent for long periods of time.  They have to deal with explaining to young children many times why daddy isn’t there and how he can’t come home for a long time, or, if the worst happens, that he won’t be coming home at all.  Kids often have issues with daddy’s being gone.  They act out and are angry because they just don’t understand at young ages, or they do understand and are frustrated and scared at older ages.  I never thought about ANY of this before I married Mark.

So on Memorial Day, I hope we can all remember, and be thankful for, the huge sacrifices that SO MANY have given so that we have the right to the freedoms we are granted.  I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day with friends and family.  Wish I was there to celebrate with each and every one of you.



PS:  I love you Mark, and I really, really miss you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I don’t even know where to start.

I have 22 boxes in my kitchen, and about 90% of my cabinet space is already full.  I have absolutely NO clue where I’m going to put all this stuff.  (Excuse the mess.) IMG_6201

The living room is a tiny bit better, but I have the piano to put together and I have absolutely no clue where Mark put the tool box, so I can’t put it together.  I’m not sure I can pick the thing up by myself anyway. IMG_6202

The bathroom has about 1/20th of the storage of our one in Phoenix.  And I can’t get bottles and stuff to stand up easily on those metal shelves so I need to figure out what to put on the bottom of the shelves to make it a solid surface.IMG_6203

I have 11 boxes of clothes in our bedroom.  Our 1 wardrobe is pretty much full, and about 60% of our dressers are full. IMG_6208IMG_6206

I thought it was hard unpacking a house when I was 35 weeks pregnant.  But that doesn’t even hold a candle to my situation now.  Our house is essentially 5 levels.  The garage, laundry, bathroom, storage level.  The big room (that 50% of our stuff is in) level.  The kitchen/living room level.  The bedrooms/main bath level.  And the 3rd bedroom level.  So that means there are marble stairs EVERYWHERE.  Which also means there are now baby gates everywhere since Abbie loves to attempt climbing stairs.  She does well, but the one time I’m not there is going to be the time she falls and it’s not worth the risk to me.  It’s not at all easy moving boxes around when you have to climb over baby gates to get anywhere.  Or when you have a little one that screams when you leave her in a room by herself.  Or when said little one is in the same room “helping” you unpack.  I had her in the bathroom with me today trying to unpack a box.  First she was playing with the door and trying to swing it.  Then she was getting into the garbage.  Then she was unrolling the TP.  Then she was taking stuff off of shelves just as fast as I could put them on them, and throwing them.  After 5 mins I was so frustrated I was almost in tears, so I just quit.

Having this house an absolute mess is stressing me out.  I just want to get it organized but that’s next to impossible with Miss Abbigale here, and me being by myself.  My friend Cassy might come over on Monday to help watch Abbie for me so I can get some stuff done.  I’m watching her dog for her for a week so she said she’d help me.  And then Brittney, the saint that she is, said she’d help me all next week.  I’m never going to repay her for all the help she’s given me, but I’ll try!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


After we dropped Dave off at the Venice airport, we decided to make a run to Ikea (which is about an hour from Venice) since we had to take a few things back and wanted to get a few more things.  We decided to do a little site seeing along the way and found a little town called Segrado.  (I think…)  Here are a few pictures of the town.

 IMG_6087 IMG_6089 IMG_6093 IMG_6095 IMG_6104 IMG_6108 IMG_6111 IMG_6113 IMG_6116 IMG_6119

Mark saw a sign for a park that he wanted to go check out, so we headed that way, not knowing what we’d find.  I think the name of the park was San Michele, but I’m not 100% sure on that.  I’m so glad we went because it was GORGEOUS! IMG_6137 IMG_6142  Don’t worry, I was hanging on to her tightly!IMG_6147 IMG_6149 IMG_6154  IMG_6182 IMG_6185

Apparently that place was some sort of lookout and there are tunnels running through the top of the hill where they stored all their ammo and stuff.  It was pretty neat for sure.  Italy is such a beautiful country.


Daddy’s little helper

Abbie is all into “helping” now, and let me tell you, she’s a HUGE help….  =)  Especially when I’m trying to unpack and organize things and as fast as I can get them on shelves or in drawers, she can get them off or out.  It’s great.

Anyway, we were putting the bench we got from Ikea together, and Abbie had to help Mark.IMG_6196IMG_6192

And here are a few more pictures of her from her birthday.  We got her a little instrument set that she LOVES.

“Hurry up daddy!”IMG_5979

Kazoo’s make funny noises!IMG_6017

“Hmm..  What IS that thing??”  (It’s a harmonica.)IMG_6036

She actually got it to make a little noise! IMG_6037

Abbie’s 1 year appointment

IMG_6169We had Abbie’s one year appointment today.  Again, thank the Lord that the friend He sent me, Brittney, was willing to go with me.  That girl truly is a gift from God and I am SO thankful that we met each other online and hit it off right away.  (I am very thankful for all my friends who are reading this too and send me letters and emails to make home seem not so quite as far away.  Love you all!!)

The whole appointment was slightly traumatic for both of us.  I like her pediatrician here, but she’s obviously not for delaying vaccines like I have been doing with Abbie so far.  She said the decision is ultimately up to me, but then put the fear of God into me.  I hate it that Mark isn’t here to help me make these decisions right now.  Luckily Brittney was, and she’s an RN.

So Abbie is 31.5” long (95+%), weighs 21.11lbs (between 25-50%) and her head circumference is 42.5inches, and I have no clue what percentile that was.  The doctor visit was really quick because she was late for some meeting I guess, but she said overall she’s right on track and doing really well.

So then came the shots…  I’m following Dr. Sears delayed vaccination schedule, or I had been anyway.  His schedule says to get the polio vaccine and the mumps vaccine at 12 months, instead of the 5 that the CDC recommends…  I’m just not comfortable pumping her full of that many “things” all at once, especially considering that one of those 5 could have been the MMR shot, which is 3 in 1.  Well they don’t have vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella separately anymore, it’s all or none.  So after much deliberation, I decided to go with the polio vaccine (her 2nd one) and the MMR, which is a live virus vaccine.  I don’t know if I really believe that the MMR vaccine causes autism, but I’d be lying if I send it didn’t worry me a little bit, even if it has been proven that it doesn’t.  So she gets 2 shots, one in each leg, and she screams, but she got over it quickly.  That part wasn’t too bad, it was more the deciding what to do without Mark’s input that was hard for me.

The blood draw, however, was a different story.  I guess they drawn blood on all 1 year olds to check for anemia and they take it from their arm.  So we sit down in the chair, her on my lap and they put the little bar down and she’s already getting tense from the 2 people hovering around her, no matter how big they were smiling.  So I’m supposed to bear hug her and keep her other arm tight against her, and one technician holds her other arm while the other one draws blood.  They put the tourniquet on her tiny left arm and she pretty much looses it, and then I, in turn, loose it.  They’re feeling around her little arm for a vein, she’s screaming, I’m in tears… It just wasn’t good.  So they decide that that arm wasn’t good so they put the tourniquet on the other arm, and she screams even louder, and then her cries turn into big sobs and she keeps looking at me with her big blue eyes like “mom, why are you doing this to me?”, and I feel like an idiot because I’m sitting there hugging her against me with tears running down my face, but I couldn’t help it.  I know it didn’t hurt her that much, but I know she was scared and I had to keep her in that uncomfortable situation.  Again, thank GOD Brittney was there.  She did her best to distract Abbie for me and helped me with Abbie and the diaper bag and purse and grocery cart and packages, etc, all day.

So Abbie got over it pretty quickly, more quickly than I have obviously since just writing this makes me tear up again.  I’m hoping she doesn’t have any sort of reaction to these vaccines, but the guy that gave them to her said that them having a reaction (getting a fever, being drowsy, etc) is actually good bc it shows that they’re building up an immunity.

Anyway, so that’s the saga of her 1 year appointment.  I’m glad it’s over…IMG_6174

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What was I thinking??!?

I cannot believe I never posted these pictures!!!  I guess a year ago I was a tad bit preoccupied and it didn’t even cross my mind.  Our doula ended up being more of a photographer than anything else, but I’m glad she captures the moments.

So here’s the birth story from a year ago, via pictures.

Just getting settled in. IMG_4992

Contractions starting.IMG_5014

It’s funny, I don’t really remember the pain at all now.IMG_5028

I absolutely could not have given birth without Mark’s help.IMG_5040

He was at least 10x’s more beneficial to me than the doula was.IMG_5048

Finally dilated to 10cm’s!IMG_5070

My first look at her.IMG_5092

Yep, I cried when I first held her, and I still cry every time I think about that moment. IMG_5102

The nurses called her “extra cheesy”, meaning she had lots of gunk on her.  Took them a while to get it all off.IMG_5107

Apparently my adrenaline is still kicking at this point.  A few minutes after this I got so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open for the life of me.  They don’t call it labor for nothin’…. IMG_5119

Our brand spankin’ new blueberry.IMG_5124

She was a rather large blueberry…IMG_5140

Mark was enamored with her from the first moment he saw her, and he still is.IMG_5149

They all look like little aliens when they first time out, but she looked perfect to me. IMG_5168

This is when her bruising started showing up.  You can see a few on her arm here.IMG_5196

She was so tiny!!IMG_5199

Us with our doula, Julie.IMG_5214

Daddy and brand new daughter.IMG_5216

We’re both tuckered out!IMG_5236

Here you can see the bruising on her head some.  Poor little thing.IMG_5243

Our cutie-patootie!!IMG_5280

Our little glow worm.  (She had jaundice so she had to be on those lights quite a bit the first few weeks of her life.)  IMG_5341

I think this was taken the day after she was born.IMG_5325

I can’t believe how big she is now, compared to what she was a year ago!  It’s amazing!IMG_5337