Sunday, December 27, 2009

Younger now than we were before...


All good things must come to an end. Take a vacation for instance....you spend all that time planning, packing, driving there...and in what seems like a matter of seconds...you are driving home, unpacking, and back to the daily grind! Then there's that fantastic chocolate fondue at the Melting Pot. You "save room" during the cheese (unless you are me..man I love cheese), "hold off" on the last bit of the main course (unless you are Richard...or any man for that matter), then before you know it..you have a crazy amount of cheesecake, a few Oreo covered marshmallows, but no gooey goodness. Boo! I'm sure the proverb isn't referring to my desperate annual need to put my toes in the sand or add a few inches to my waistline....I'm pretty sure it is referring to life, death...and possibly the 30 year marriage wrecked by that skanky 20 something secretary who can't keep her eyes off the large dollar signs on her bosses back pocket, but as 2009 comes to an end so does an era. It's not quite the end of my 20s, but definitely the end of my youth!

So we have hit the six week mark in Hudson's short life. I have to admit that it has been HUGELY different than the first six of Corbin's. We are definitely waiting for the other shoe to drop, but trying to enjoy what has been our "easy" baby so far (knock on wood). He is eating us out of house and home, but it's the "cheap" stuff, not the golden milk! Who could possibly ask for more than that. Not me, that's for sure. Corbin has gotten a little more jealous in recent days, but still kisses on his baby brother ALL.THE.TIME...aka...putting all his weight on poor Hudson's belly and practically eating his face. Other than that, there isn't much to report.

It's such a weird feeling to make the last decision of your youth. To bring the string of milestones left in your life to a complete end. No I didn't plan on anymore kids. No I don't ever want to be pregnant again. But no I don't want this to be done. You wait your entire life for these things to happen. You imagine what it will be like. And then it's over. You find the love of your life. You fall in love. You get engaged. You plan a wedding, buy a house, and start a family. It's exciting. It's unpredictable. It's the things you pretend when you are 5 years old. Now I'm standing on the other side. Looking back on what has happened in the past 6 years. It happened so fast. I feel like I'm on this runaway train and I've got my hands out the window desperately trying to grab onto something to slow it down. Like nails on a chalkboard. 5 seconds ago I was lying in bed watching these small little kicks from inside my belly, laughing about what our baby boy would sound like when he said daddy, what his name would be, and where he would go to school (definitely UGA!). 10 seconds later I was singing "You are my sunshine" to Corbin and 5 seconds after that his face changed to Hudson. This can't be it. Sure...if we never had anymore kids..we would get our lives back, get back to us. I could find what it is I've always wanted to do...my next definition. I could go to the bathroom without any visitors. Drink my morning tea before it got cold. Watch a channel that doesn't sing about wanting a candy cane for Christmas. But what if you hesitate when you go to summon someone to "fix" it ;) (Richard that is). It sounds like the perfect idea until there's no going back.

I truly believe that your gut tells you which direction your life should take you. What you'll be and who you will love. And apparently when it's time to throw in the towel on procreating ;) Is this a defining moment in my life? A defining decision? Or just another moment in a string of best days in my life? I'm beginning to understand what it means to just let your life happen. You can't anticipate the next number you land on in this game of Life. Having children is seeing the steps you take in life from the other perspective, from an adult perspective....wisdom is like watching your child's life from the top of the Empire State Building...you can see a little further into their future than they can. Being a parent is constantly trying to stop that crash on 5th street from happening while the car your kid is driving is still down on Main. It's in that instant that your baby will bring back that element...that innocence you lose when you experience all the events that make you "wise". My type A mind craves the perspective you find from the top of that building. The answer to questions we don't get answers to. The ability to suck the shock out of the best surprises...no pun intended, Mom ;) To change the inevitable. But does that mean I want to miss out on the joy or the lessons in the unexpected? Plan out every minute of the rest of my life? Sounds pretty boring. So here's my New Year's resolution...to let go of those reins. To give into unpredictable. To come down off the ledge of that building. To truly be young. Will we have another baby? Not today. Will we bounce around the living room with our boys the next time Ellen dances up her stairs? Go to Monticello's on the anniversary of the day we started dating? Plan a trip to put my toes in the sand? Without a doubt. So many people get lost in the details of things that are out of our control. I can be one of them. Worry more about the outcome rather than the steps it takes to get there. So here's to reinventing my youth.. but let's be honest..here's to the first step in fulfilling my resolution... do something about the things I can "control" today...a birth ;) So Dr. Morris..let's order that up! Ha ha!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Here comes Hurricane Hudson!


And so it begins...my life as a mother of TWO!! Somewhere around 33 weeks pregnant, my new sweet bundle of joy decided to make his mother's life a living hell ;) That's his job right?!?!? The first born is forever trying to please his parents, while the baby tries to stir it up. Well he's off to a pretty good start..ha ha! Man, it's a good thing they make kids cute ;)

So on the Sunday morning that started it all, Richard took Corbin to Starbucks to get some coffee. No Corbin doesn't get coffee..he just plays with the sugar ;) When he got back, I was complaining that I had cramps and that the Braxton Hicks I had been having were coming more frequently than they had been. After a little while, I decided it was time to start timing them because they wouldn't go away. I was 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant. After an hour or two of BH every 3-8 minutes...I decided to call the after hours nurse line. I told her my story and she told me to head to the hospital to be checked out. We got there, headed to triage, and was hooked up to the monitor. After confirming that the contractions were 3-8 minutes apart and picking up, they decided to try a shot of terbutaline to get them to stop and checked to see if my cervix was dilated...1.5cm. One shot didn't work, so we moved on. Next step was to move me to a room where they administered a total of 3 bags of IV fluids, 3 more shots of terbutaline, another med called Nubain, yet another med called Percardia, and an overnight stay at the hospital. Sadly, none of it worked, but by the morning, my cervix hadn't changed and the contractions weren't stressing the baby out....so I was sent home with a prescription for Percardia and told to take it until my next appt, but to come back if the contractions became regular again. It wasn't even 48 hours before we were back, but still no change, so we were sent home.

I got the joy of contracting for 3.5 weeks. Everyday. Sometimes just at night and other lovely times..all.freakin.day.long! They were never really painful...annoying at best. Don't worry....I complained a lot. ;) Anyway, if you are wondering what this has to do with actually having the child...it does. On Tuesday, the contractions became painful. Not regular, just painful. All day I would have to stop every now and again because I would have this shooting pain from my back and through my hips. I had an appt with my OB that morning and I was still 3cm, as I had been the week before, so it still didn't seem like they were really doing anything. I didn't really think anything of them until they became REALLY painful and very regular around 7pm. Again, we started timing them...every 2-4 minutes. I tried taking a bath to make them stop with no luck, so I decided to call the nurse line...as expected...go to the hospital. So we go in...go to triage...get hooked up...this was old hat by now. They checked my cervix and I was still 3cm, but on a scale of 1-10..the pain was about an 8. They checked me into a room and kept me for 2 hours for observation. They gave me Nubain again for the pain and let me sleep a bit, but as expected I was still 3cm at the end of 2 hours. Over the course of the day, I had become more effaced and the pain was still at an "8" level, but the nurse said they were going to discharge me anyway...because it wasn't "real labor". She told me to take a bath if I wanted them to go away. I cried the whole way home. We got home around 1am...I walked straight upstairs..and went to bed, but couldn't sleep because the pain got progressively worse and the contractions continued to come every few minutes. I tried not to wake Richard, but after 3 hours of trying to endure..it was too much. I woke him up and he ran a bath. While I was in the bath, I told him he needed to call the emergency nurse because on a scale of 1-10...my pain was probably a 25. Maybe I have a low tolerance, but seriously...I was basically freaking out...in the bathtub. The emergency nurse told Richard to give me Benedryl and to go back to sleep...I freaked and she told him that if my pain was unbearable to go back to the hospital. At this point, I couldn't get up....couldn't get dressed...and told Richard he needed to call an ambulance. He thought we could get there faster ourselves and after calling my mom to get there fast to watch Corbin, we left before she got there. Yes, I left my child home alone (for all of 5 minutes at most), but it was an emergency.

It was straight out of the movies...he ran red lights...I screamed the whole way there...I'm glad no one videotaped it ;) We finally got there around 5am after what felt like the longest car ride in the world..and I couldn't get out. They came and got me with a wheelchair and rushed me to a room. Of course, I was still screaming and I'm pretty sure I yelled at someone wanting to know why they sent me home...right after I begged and pleaded for an epidural ;) They checked my cervix and I was 8 cm, had a bulging bag, and Hudson was sunny side up...yay..fun! Of course, they had to do paperwork, then give me a bag of fluid, then they would call and wake up the anesthesiologist, so he could come put me out of my misery. I'm sure 45 minutes to one hour to do all those things was seriously fast in a hospital, but it felt like a lifetime! That god of a man showed up and tried to introduce himself..of course, didn't go over well...then said he would explain what he was doing...again, not well. Seriously, just DO IT! 15 minutes later....I was a pleasant person :) Well, as pleasant as I get :)

After the epidural...I was happy. Sad that we only needed to make it another day for our OB to be on call, but my least favorite doctor was no where to be found, so whatever. The doctor on call was nice enough and when she came into our room, she mentioned in passing that she was off to do a C-section with our doctor and left. We thought maybe she would stop by, but it was just our luck that she stopped by to deliver Hudson :) :) She walked in 15 minutes before her C-section and just as I was ready to push! It worked out perfectly...she moved her surgery back 30 minutes and it was a big party....singing Arms Wide Open and Air Supply. Gotta love a second baby deliver..ha ha! As Hudson was about to be born, she asked Richard if he wanted to help deliver him and with her "spotting him"... he got to see everything first hand. Not sure if it was a good thing, but after that traumatizing event....there will be no more births in our family, so he might as well grab the opportunity when it presents itself ;)

So Hudson Pierce Bray was born November 18 at 9:25 am, weighing in at 6lbs 9oz and measuring 18.5 inches long. After a very miserable 36 weeks and 1 day...I was glowing....to not be pregnant..woot, woot! And now my life as a mother of two boys begins. I'm not going to lie, I know that the insane times are coming, but it has been pretty awesome so far. I'm not nearly as high strung this time around. I'm taking it one day at a time and today is a great day. I'm enjoying the days when the world disappears....where we enjoy just being with each other for a few weeks...where you realize what's important. At the end of the day, I would do it all over again, but am sure glad that hormones make you forget almost every painful piece ;)





Thursday, September 10, 2009

Identity theft


Who remembers that stupid question the guidance counselor asked everyone in high school? If money did not matter, what would you do with your life? Ok, unless we live in a communist country...money matters. Hence, I became an accountant...money was my life. But seriously, if money did not matter, what would I do? Is get a cleaning lady, chef, and night nurse on that list...how about take fancy trips to Tahiti with a nanny on hand to sit there with Corbin while I take long walks on the beach with my husband....but best of all....how about pay someone else to carry this baby, so I could "have" him without the stretch marks, mood swings, and extra weight that was "ok" to gain since I was eating for two. That reminds me...where did I put that Butterfinger? ;)

We've hit a pretty big milestone in our house recently. Corbin started his first day of preschool yesterday. Yup, my puking, non-stop screaming baby is now a tantrum throwing, non-stop screaming toddler...and best of all...someone else's responsibility for 4 hours a day, two days a week..woot, woot.....PARTY AT THE BRAY HOUSE! Oh, sorry..what I really meant was....tear :'( Ha ha. In all seriousness, I was anxious about it. Trying to make sure his new nap time was right for when I would pick him up and setting up a playdate with a new friend from school, so he would have a familiar face on the first day. I wanted to make this transition as easy as possible for him. And what seemed like a blink of an eye....6.5 months flew by (since the time we registered him)...as did 1.5 years....and it was time for orientation. His orientation was in a private room at the Chik-Fil-A right by our house and after playing with play dough and painting his tote bag...daddy came to play on the playground and eat lunch. He did well for the most part, but was slightly anxious when it was his turn to paint. I figured it would take some time for him to warm up to the teacher and after lunch..he gave her a hug right before he bolted out the door. Typical man ;)

His first day came and he actually slept in a little bit. We had been talking about school the whole day before and continued all morning. Seriously...to the point where Richard was like "I think he gets the point", but I wanted him to remember where we were going, so he didn't feel ambushed when we got there. We brought "green bear" with us and talked about how if he got scared or wanted to cry, he could just hug "green bear" to feel better. When we got there, he told me he was scared :( , but he was ready (he seriously said this). So we got out of the car and headed towards the door. When Miss Shelley answered, we made a big fuss...yay for school...I walked in, but Corby didn't. He just stood there, hugging "green bear" and then told us he was scared again. It was so sad. But once the kids started to arrive, he got excited, and then his new buddy, Fletcher, got there and he was downright happy :) He even gave me my 3 kisses (our family's tradition..they stand for "I love you") and said "love you" as I was leaving. He loved it. Not a tear from my big kid. I was so proud. Unfortunately, mommy was not so lucky and was very sad picturing him all wrapped up in his swaddle as he ran back to read a book with Miss Shelley. :( Tear....

I spent so much time concentrating on trying to make it easier on Corbin that I never even thought that it would be tough on me. The pregnancy hormones are wreaking havoc on my emotions lately and poor Richard is left to pick up the pieces. My current breakdown was about how no one understands how hard it is to be a stay at home mom. How people think that there is this abundance of freedom that comes with raising your children on a 24/7 basis. I listed off all the sacrifices made the day I quit my job....from going to the bathroom alone...to driving with the windows down and radio up....to showering while a lil' one stares at your privates (only to later announce that Mommy's wee-wee has fur..sorry for the TMI, but seriously..already??). It's not easy. But with motherhood...whether you work or whether you stay home...you face a huge identity crisis. If money didn't matter, who am I? If I'm not defined by my work...if all the years I spent defining who I will be (without the knowledge of how much it will be changed by a baby), meant nothing....who am I? I've taken baby steps in realizing who I am as a mother and since I stay home, it is a struggle I face on a daily basis...with no real break. What choices I make and how well I do this job...define me. Just like it did when I was an accountant. All of a sudden, I had to let go and walk away. Be who I was when Corbin was not attached to my hip. Who I was when I could just go to the store without a bribe to get in the seat..get out of the seat...sit nicely in the cart...don't touch that...get back in the seat...crap its time for lunch...what am I going to make for lunch...crap its nap time...damn...I have to sit here until he gets up. And as I stood outside that preschool door. I had no idea what to do or where to go.  

I could never help anyone without kids understand what this is like. How lost you feel most of the time...how every part of your comfort zone is ripped away...how it feels like every time you get to a point where it feels "normal", you start from scratch one more time. I know this isn't the last time this will happen. I know that in 3 months, my world will be turned upside down one more time...then Hudson will start preschool...they will both start kindergarten...and each time, I will be left to figure out who I am in this new phase of my life. I had a constant when I worked...things in my life might have changed...I might have bought a house...I might have gotten married....I might have gotten pregnant, but every Monday morning..I got up at the same time, I walked through the same office door, and I went home at the same time. It's easy to go back to your constant...hold onto something. This is my challenge. As a SAHM. But its also what I love. I have learned more about who I am in the past 2 years than in the previous 26. Stripped away what wasn't important and embraced what was. I don't think you ever really know who you are, but who you are in that moment...that circumstance...that "job".  I showed up, with Richard, to pick up Corbin just a little early. I had been counting down the minutes. I didn't want to drive with the windows down and the radio up...don't really mind the visitor in the bathroom. I couldn't wait for that moment when he ran around the corner, saw us, and started jumping up and down yelling "mommy".  Maybe freedom means something different to everyone, but my freedom is knowing that at the end of the day...no matter what life has handed me...we play outside until bath time...make daddy "coffee" with cups and the running water...we sing a "put on your jammies, so you don't get cold" song...and give 3 kisses before daddy reads a bedtime story. It may not sound like much....it may not be super exciting to some....it may not be a corner office with my name on the door....but its who I am....right now :) And I think I'll take it. 


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Free fallin'


So Richard and I were driving in the car today...I say...so when you met me, did you think you would end up married to me and I'd be pregnant with your second kid? Such a girl question, but my ever so patient husband answers with....no way, you were way too stuck up. This I have to agree with, but my ever so thoughtful response was...hey, you were the one with the "lines and swoosh". Poor Richard really liked his hair gel back in those days and...yes...add the lovely comb through when he was done. It was awful...I banned it shortly after we started dating. I then added...see we have made each other better people...which he says...so you aren't stuck up anymore? And what can I say, but...well, not as stuck up as I was ;)

It is totally not my fault. Other recent conversations have included this very topic...Gen Y. Yup, I'm a part of it..go ahead make your comments. Yes I want to make a ton of money and no I don't want to work for it. Yes I want to do what I want when I want and no I don't want to answer to anyone for it. Blah, blah, freakin' blah. I've heard it all...including a lovely pamphlet that Deloitte circulated while I worked there, so that people would know how to "manage" people like me. How this sounded like a good idea at the time is still beyond me, but I guess "insulting" is a characteristic that I'll add to that generation. But in all seriousness, is it really my fault? Can you point your finger at an entire generation and just say that they were "bad eggs"...spoiled maybe...but can you spoil yourself??? Um, I think not. I point the finger at my parents! :) Yes, I'm sure this is what a therapist will do someday when I realize that I need drugs or some sort of psychoanalysis. So why not start now. It is totally THEIR fault. I didn't shelter myself or spoil myself...until I made way too much money for my age...so can you blame someone for their upbringing? And not just theirs, but an ENTIRE generation's upbringing.  

It took me a long time to appreciate what I have. I think it comes with age, but it also comes with parenthood. I never had to keep a job in high school or pay for my own insurance. I never got an allowance and pretty much just heard "just don't tell your father" any time I asked for something. But I never learned what a dollar really meant. Never learned how much $150K could really buy you. Never realized how long it was going to take to pay off $20K in student loans (which I would like to remind everyone got me a Master's I used for 2 years and then decided to have babies and stay home..smart). Looking back on it...it was when all the fluff was taken away that I really figured out what you need in life and how to get it when you are struggling to get by....referencing my "blink of an eye" part-time job to pay for Corbin's prescription formula. My real question is how do I avoid letting Corbin hit these same speed bumps in life? How do I teach him appreciation?

With that being said, what kind of pitfalls are we setting our kids up for...with our "natural" parenting, no TV, no junk food, preshool at 6 months (really 2 years, but still). We recently finished Corbin's "big boy room". Like the nursery...it is way over the top. If you know me personally, you really can't be all that surprised. The theme is planes, trains, and automobiles. New paint, new bed, new train table...he loves it. Everytime he wakes up from his crib...he asks to go to his room. We just got the mattress today, so the transition from crib to bed will start any day now. In this new phase of his life, he has also taken on a new best friend, Sunshine. Sunshine is a bear that Richard and I bought from a bed and breakfast in Sonoma, CA and named Sonny (obviously after Sonoma)....Corbin decided it should be Sunshine instead. It has been sitting on our bathroom floor since Corbin was born and he hasn't even taken a second look at him. Now all of a sudden, he can't leave his crib, room, or the house without Sunshine. All I have to say is...do you want to go take a nap with Sunshine?....and he's up the stairs trying to climb in his crib. Seriously...it's insane. I recently looked at Sunshine's tag to see if I could get a duplicate for the inevitable day where he is left on a park bench, soaked by an afternoon rain, or eaten by a neighborhood dog. No such luck....simply stated on the tag...made exclusively for the Four Sister's Inn. Damn! 

The funny thing is.....every mother I know has told me to do this. It was my first instinct to find another Sonny to avoid the meltdown that will come the day he is gone forever. Is that sheltering him? I know that's an extreme...its a freakin' lovey for god's sake, not the war in Iraq. But in these first few years, a mother always wants to catch their baby when they fall, but it is impossible to teach them to walk without letting them fall down. This carries forward. I feel like I'm watching Corbin's life from a high rise building and can see the bumps he'll find in his road, but he can't see them. I could obviously warn him, but will he actually listen? Will he avoid the wall he's run into 700 times? Will he study hard or choose to party? Will he save that extra dollar or buy a beer? I made all the choices my mother told me not to. Went against anything my father told me to do. And I learned appreciation the "hard" way...or should I say the "only" way. You can't teach someone how to appreciate. One of the hardest things in life is to watch your child make the mistakes you made and not being able to help them avoid the pain that comes along with them. My job as a parent is to pick him back up again when he trips over the hose :) To make sure he keeps trying when he doesn't make the team the first time. To grab a tissue the first time the stuck up chick snubs him for having "lines and swoosh". :) There are so many life lessons that can't be taught, but must be learned, must be seen for yourself. Sheltering your child is only robbing them of the experience. We all learn to appreciate what we have on our own time and in our own way. I have Richard and Corbin to thank for it. You realize that you have exactly what you need and are exactly where you are supposed to be....when you wake up every morning thinking...Oh my god, I am so lucky :)


Monday, July 20, 2009

Keeping the faith

Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to.


If life is a long distance road trip, I'm currently sailing through Nebraska (on my way to Las Vegas..ha ha)...ok, that might be a bit of a stretch...but at least you get the point. Don't get me wrong...we're playing by the "no news is good news" rule in our house. A boring pregnancy is the best kind to have, so I'll take it. But with that comes zero inspiration for my "adventures" to report. Do you really care that I actually made dinner tonight or that I'm directing all my obsessive tendencies towards Corbin's big kid room at the moment? Yeah I didn't think so....

I'm sure we can all agree that if you've read one of my pregnancy posts, you've read them all and this one won't be much different. I've craved everything from sweet tea (which I usually hate) to pepperoni and cheese on crackers (which I find quite random). I've done my fair share of yelling at Richard, Corbin, and the occasional four year old at the playground...even though I have no regrets for that last one...snotty lil' girl made Corbin cry after smacking him in the face for no apparent reason. I should have knocked her block off ;) All in all, I am pretty typical...pretty hormonal...and pretty ready to never be pregnant again..ha ha!!

So I recently asked our pediatrician if the chances of the next baby having the same tummy issues that Corbin had were high. His response was vague, of course. Basically just confirming what I already knew...that since it's genetic, probably in combination with the fact that he was early, that there is always a chance. Thanks...that was helpful...so with that, all the fun of our first year came flooding back. Only the next time around...I'll be screaming.."NO TOUCH" from the dark bathroom or be wearing a backpack complete with a Corbin as I circle our downstairs..bouncing and buzzing. Oh joy, why haven't I done this sooner ;) It seems like such a small issue now...one that left as soon as it came.. but I can't deny that it definitely felt like the end of the world at the time. Looking back on it..I actually feel lucky that it happened to us. I know, I know..it sounds ridiculous..but hear me out. I like who I am WAY more today than I did two years ago. As any Type A bloggy friend will agree, I needed to have my arms wrapped around every detail of my life to feel like I had some sort of say in how it all went down. To feel like I wasn't spiraling out of control. I learned the hard way. I spent every waking moment, well not every waking moment, but more time than I should have....researching what could be wrong with him. What foods I should avoid...what diseases he could have...what I was doing wrong. I was on an island...just me and Corbs...desperately searching for sticks to make my S.O.S sign. I felt like no one would explain to me why he was reacting this way...he fell into a grey area. No one understood. Everyone looked at us as a reason to be thankful for their own lives. I hate that! I hated my doctors for being so nonchalant about what was my life. The only doctor I liked turned out to be looking for his next big case and convinced us that Corbin had this lifelong illness, which only led to one of the worst days of my life. And at the end of it, I felt like I had just put my child through all of this for my own peace of mind. Was it all necessary? Was it worth it? In the end, the doctors were right and Corbin woke up one day..completely fine. Off the meds at 13 months and off the Neocate at 16 months. It seemed like an eternity, but it wasn't. With all that behind us, it is now clear that the best part of the whole situation was that I am a better mother for it. A more calm mother. A less controlling mother. Hopefully a less smothering mother. And above all, a happier mother.  

I'm hoping this lesson changes the way I deal with our next baby...I was convinced it was a girl...possibly because I thought if I said it out loud enough times (how Richard cannot produce "X" chromosomes) that somehow the universe would prove me wrong. Put me in my place. This idea seemed to hold true for the past 18 weeks. We went in to our first ultrasound at 8 weeks singing that same song to the OB..her response..."how many times have you tried?" ;) She's awesome! So we play the guessing game with her and according to her predicting method...she said girl. Something to do with the yolk sac (sorry sounds gross) touching the baby or not touching the baby. At the next appt, we heard the heartbeat. (So awesome) According to Dr. Morris...160 bpm equals girl. This had me convinced. It was in my head that it was a girl, but how in the hell is that possible?!?!? Richard's father produced 3 boys who have 4 boys between them. I was fully prepared to get peed on multiple times a day again. But it didn't seem like I was going to have to deal with it. So we picked out names... Jillian Greer or Hudson Pierce. Needless to say, my belly was called Jilly, sometimes Chilly Jilly, sometimes Jilly bean all the time. And one day it hit me. If this is a girl, I know that Karen (my good friend who passed in Feb) had something to do with it. There was no other way in my mind. I know it sounds romantic, but if you haven't figured it out yet....that would be me. I got pregnant less than a month after she passed away. This is what helped me sleep at night. I hung my hat on it. 

So last Thursday...I dressed Corbin in his "Big Brother" shirt and we headed to see the baby. I feel like you know way too much the second time around, so I really didn't care the gender. A girl would be nice since we have 3 boys between myself and my sister, but a boy would nice because I love watching Corbin and Emmett play together. So sweet! Corbin was all excited and on the way there we practiced what he was going to say to the baby..."hi". So we get there, they call my name, and she rubs that nasty jelly all over my belly....there it was....the face of our next  lil' one. Perfect...you could see every detail. Corbin immediately blurted out..."hi"! "Baby"...and finally the best of all..."COOL"! He loved it...even started singing "You are my sunshine" What a good big brother :) Unfortunately, the baby was lazy...which I am not going to cry about in about 20 weeks...so they couldn't see everything they needed to on the heart. It took forever and Richard kept saying...can you tell, can you tell? All of a sudden , she tried to move him and swept across his lap. There was no denying what this baby was....you guessed it...no "X"s coming from my husband....a sweet baby boy :) Here comes Hudson!! 

I had a dream the night before the ultrasound that we were having a boy. In my dream, I felt disappointed. I want to state very clearly that from the beginning, we really wanted another boy. Not only because we know how to deal with and love having a little boy, but also for Corbin's sake. Don't get me wrong, we would have been thrilled with a girl too, but I think I had connected having a girl with something it wasn't. An idea that I get proof that the people we love never leave us. A hope that a baby girl would be confirm what I really already know. But isn't that why they call it faith? Who do I think I am? And how unfair would it have been to Corbin and "Jilly". To have these unreasonable expectations. I found myself falling back into the same thinking I had when Corbin's belly hated us...that I could control it. I got to know things that aren't meant to be known. I realize that letting go of this way of thinking..of letting go of the need...of having faith in myself as a parent, our doctors, and in fate, itself...will always be a struggle for me. But isn't that what being a good parent is? Consciously letting go of your own needs and feelings to focus fully on what is best for your child. Everything will always work out the way it should...sometimes in my favor and sometimes not, but the only thing I can really control is my reaction. I can't always wait for the other shoe to drop because I feel so lucky to have certain people in my life, so lucky to have lived the experiences I have, and so excited for what is to come next. What will be will be. I can't change it. I have faith my life isn't my own to shape, faith in the idea that in the end it all works out, faith that Karen is still here. I don't want to know anything else. Don't need to know anything else. And if sweet Hudson comes out kicking and screaming like the last one...make sure someone sends me a backpack for the baby shower ;)

video

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The wheels on the bus....


It's official. I'm old. Age isn't actually counted in years, but by the number of feet that lie behind the driver's seat in the car you drive...or in our case..the bus you drive. I think this puts me at approximately 65....only to be outdone by that monster Dodge Sprinter on the reality show currently making all the headlines. The only thing left to make the transformation complete....is a really bad mommy haircut. The kind where from the back....people question your gender, but you think the best thing about it is that you can just get out of the shower and go....not to mention the grown out highlights due to the fact that all your money goes to diapers, formula, and soccer uniforms. That's when you know all the sexiness has seeped from your body and your youth is totally gone. 

Don't worry...I definitely went down kicking and screaming. Man, I loved my CR-V. Corbin and I would zip around town like we were...ok, I was....still in high school. Don't lie...you identify with your car. It says something about you. When I turned 17, my parents surprised me with a Civic Coupe....much to my sisters' dismay...but I loved that car. I didn't even have my license yet...only because we moved on my 16th birthday and in GA you have to hold a permit for a year...so I used to spend HOURS just sitting in it listening to the radio. Every now and then, my mother would open the garage door to tell me not to kill the battery, but I know her soooo well....that it was probably to make sure I didn't turn the sucker on and die of carbon monoxide poisoning. Me and my baby Civic survived a lot...a lot of boyfriends, apartments, cities, and just one accident (that I swear was not my fault). Finally...when that sweet girl wouldn't pass inspection any longer due to a completely rusted out exhaust system...we traded her in...I'm sure to be sold for spare parts :( So seeing as the CR-V is basically a Civic in the shape of a box. I loved her almost as much. She didn't come with the sentiment, but definitely my identity. 

For a couple of weeks now..yes I break easily...Richard has been talking about how when the new baby comes...my sweet baby CR-V was just going to be too cramped. Especially after loading that puppy down for a 3 person 4 hour trip to the beach. I agreed, but resisted the thought of driving...the mini-bus. He suggested a bigger SUV, so we entertained this for all of 5 seconds. Yes it would hold more...yes I could still hold onto my dignity for a few more years, but in the end, between the safety issue of the third row seat and the non-existence of the trunk space when that third row is up....we realized in two years...I'd be listening to this same speech again. So I agreed to "just go look." "Let's just go drive them and see what you think." Richard's famous last words.

So we drop the munchkin off at Nanny's and head south to Rock Hill..thinking they would be cheaper...but seeing as it was South Carolina (sorry for my stereotype, but I was annoyed)...nothing was open on Sunday. To appease the preggo, we broke for lunch. After the rise in blood sugar, I was down to keep on trucking. So back to Charlotte we went and our first stop was a Toyota dealership. And the first car we drove...at the Toyota dealership...was a Honda Odyssey. Go figure. 2005 with 17K miles on it. Hardly a scratch on it...seriously, it was like brand new with $15K knocked off the price. As you can imagine, my husband's anxiety started to rise...like he was on the Amazing Race and he struck gold, like he had to cover it with his shirt to hide it from the other competitors. I was basically screwed from the get go. So we drive it. I'm not going to lie...I started to get slightly excited...if I didn't look in the rearview mirror, of course. So they take the sweet baby CR-V to appraise her. So we go inside to talk numbers. I'm laughing hysterically by now because this is just like us. We had this whole plan to sell the car on our own, get outside financing, to do the opposite of everything that is usually Bray in this department. So we talk numbers, they suck, we walk out. I think I dodged a bullet...NOPE. We go to several other places, realize it was an awesome deal, and end up at home on the phone with the dealer. URGH. We got our outside financing...used it to get a cheaper rate with the dealership...got cheap payments and now I'm the proud owner of a mini-bus. I know...I could barely keep up too. 

So 5 minutes ago, I was a young girl.....windows down, zipping around in my sassy lil' car and now I'm old, having a mid-life crisis in the middle of a Honda dealership in South Carolina. Buying a mini-van was the equivalent to turning 30 to me...possibly 40. This huge hump from my youth to the inevitable dark hole of age. How did this happen...I'm only freakin' 27...as Richard so nicely pointed out is not middle age as I hyperventilated in the middle of the dealership's parking lot (good thing they weren't open). Then all of a sudden it dawned on me. I hated high school. I hated dating. I hated the insecurities of my teens and twenties. Maybe this hump..is actually the gateway to the best years of my life...with plenty of room to fill in ;) Maybe when I peer into that special "conversation mirror" and see my two sweeties smiling (probably screaming) in the backseat...I won't miss zipping, but will be glad they can't actually touch (possibly punch) each other :) Maybe my mini-bus is my new identity. Not an old frompy soccer mom, but just a mom. It's who I am. I bust my ass. I dry up tears in the matter of seconds. I speak a language that is not taught in any ivy league school...toddler. I am the professor of all of life's most vital skills. I am a superhero...to someone. My mini-bus is just my Batmobile..... in disguise. So take the sweet baby CR-V...it's been a fun ride....but there are definitely greener pastures on this side of the fence :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Richard and Alissa plus 1...and a half ;)

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylum would be filled with mothers."
-- Edgar Watson Howe

I did it...I'm not proud...it really is a guilty pleasure. I hate to admit it, but I watched the season premiere of Jon and Kate Plus 8. I know, I know...not quite as bad as Flavor of love, but definitely up there with the Hills. Come on...does anyone else get queasy at the sight of Speidi??? I also have to admit that I might have gotten a little misty at the end when Kate started crying. I know, I know...gotta be the hormones. ;)

So it got me thinking...how are any of us different from them? Ok, seriously..I get that people aren't chasing me down to get a photo of my latest haircut and Corbin is just one child..not 32, but in all honesty, how are their fundamental problems any different from the ones any married couple faces at some point in their marriage? We haven't hit these bumps yet (knock on wood), but I'm assuming after 10 years...every marriage feels a bump now and then. I think the media is just amplifying their issues..probably making them a little harder to get over, but if you listened hard enough...it came across loud and clear...that man is TOTALLY having a mid-life crisis (and crazy whiney!). Floundering...trying to figure out what comes next and I see myself there not too long from now. Not that I don't love my life...I wouldn't trade it for the world (seriously...there is no other husband like Richard)...but sometimes the issues you face are inevitable and have nothing to do with your spouse. 

I always said I would have kids and stay home. Until I started working at TWC...then I paused for a minute, thought maybe I could have both, but in the end...Corbin put his foot down and I quit ;) I don't regret that decision..not for a second, but that doesn't mean it isn't hard. People have this perception of stay-at-home parents....playdates, lunches with friends, soap operas and chocolate ice cream. I just want to shed a little light on the truth. You always hear people say they know its the hardest job out there, but do they really understand what that actually entails? I spent six years of my life becoming an accountant and a few more becoming a CPA and the most complex decision I make on a daily basis is what to feed everyone for lunch and dinner. That's a hard pill to swallow when you are used to calculating bonuses for the executives in a Fortune 500 company. The most adult conversation I have during the day is trying to figure out what "ba ba" means in the instance Corbin is using it...bottle? bubbles? ..... who the hell knows until he throws himself on the floor because I haven't figured it out in the 5 second timeframe he is allowing. The most flexibility I get is whether I should wake up before him and take a shower or be lazy and wait until he goes down for his first "nap". Hence...I haven't showered yet ;) My day does usually consist of playdates, lunches with friends, and Dr. Phil (if Corbin isn't glued to something on Noggin), but it is all on Corbin's call. We have a 4 hour period between his first nap and second nap that we can leave the house to do anything. If I miss either by even a few minutes..I pay the price. And yes, he naps for 2.5 hours in the afternoon, but its not like I can go to a movie or spend the afternoon shopping at the Gap unless you mean online. How many times can you watch a Baby Story? Or surf www.allrecipes.com for something new to make for dinner. And let's not mention if I don't get it started while he's sleeping...dinner doesn't get made. After a few months...these things can wear on someone who is used to just going with the flow...taking a break when you feel like it...having a set purpose for each day with something important that has to get done or the boss is in your face. 

I took those days for granted. I know that now, but I'm no more an accountant than I am a circus performer. No more a Corporate girl than I am a movie star (although the paycheck of that last one would definitely come in handy). But that doesn't mean I shouldn't get something of my own (hence the blog..ha ha). That doesn't mean that my 24 hour job doesn't come with a few perks of its own. I may sit on a Sunday night wondering what the hell I'm going to do with Corbin for five days, but the funny thing is...everyday I wake up...we get to do something new. We have the freedom, in that 4 hour slot ;), to go where the wind takes us. Some days we meet people for lunch...some days we go shopping...most days we play outside with sidewalk chalk, toys, and Rocky. It's not the most exciting thing I've ever done, but it is the most rewarding. My boss does care about me. My boss does show instant gratification every time I get him a cup of juice or rewind the Jump Arounds for the 8th time in 15 minutes. My boss is my best friend...besides Richard. I gladly give up my life for him because I truly believe he will be a better person for it. And I truly believe its a small price to pay. 

I made a sacrifice the day I decided to stay home and I didn't even realize it. It was such an easy decision for me. It's not for everyone. Some families are better off with two working parents, not only financially, but emotionally. Giving up your life for however long you choose should be commended. In 5 years, my children will be in school and I will finally have my life back. But will it be "my" life. I walked into motherhood a career-oriented, headstrong woman...and I'll be making the next step in the journey, someone who has no clue what comes next. My degree led me to Richard, but it won't lead me back to where I came from. So where do you go from here? Sure there are a thousand things I love to do, but do I have the drive and the ambition to turn them into who I am next and still be able to be home when Corbin gets off the bus? I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that when the time comes I have a family who will support me no matter what choice I make because it will include them. I find it so sad that this family, who put their lives on tv, are being scrutinized for things that everyone goes through. Yes, they have made choices I would not make, but who am I to say that when I'm not in their shoes. I hope they find their ways and that someone steps up and realizes the complaints they have are petty. Mean nothing in the scheme of things. And when the time comes...and I'm sitting at that door of "what's next"...I hope Showtime buys my blog and makes it into a mini-series! Ha ha!!! Cha-ching ;)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monsters vs. aliens

This sucks. The alien has taken hold. My life as I know it has come to a screeching halt and standing in front of me is a mountain of buffalo chicken dip. I love buffalo chicken dip, but do I really want to eat an entire mountain of it. Ummm, yes...who doesn't. But the aftermath of the mountain is just depressing. Seriously depressing. So depressing that I might wash it down with a frosted sugar cookie ;) 

Yes...this mama is 10 weeks pregnant. Feels like 45 weeks, but only 10 rather long weeks. I don't remember half this crap. Corbin was such an easy pregnancy. I hate me pregnant with Corbin. You suck! I was nauseous for one week. Week 7. Then perfectly fine, slightly larger, Alissa. Not this time. New lil' bean alien is screaming "I hate you" from the inside out and I thought I had at least 16 years until I would hear those sweet words uttered from my offspring. Not a chance. Loud and clear...pure hate coming from this belly. In the form of nausea, mood swings, headaches, fatigue...let's just say..you name it..lil' bean is throwing it my way. How could the presence of such an innocent being morph someone into this hormonal fear inducing monster. I'll tell you how. It's simple actually....they mess (I would rather use a very vulgar word, but I'm trying to curb my language..haha) with your mind..that's exactly how. I'm telling you...this one HAS to be a girl ;) 

The plague is spreading through our house. At around 6 weeks the nausea kicked in. No vomiting, which is thoughtful of "her", but a constant car sickness feeling..like I've been riding in a car going through the mountains with my eyes closed for about 3 days. Pleasant. The only thing that seems to help...besides tons of vitamin B6 and a prescription for Zofran
(every pregnant woman's miracle drug)...is EXACTLY what I want when I want it. How is this different from normal Alissa you ask?? Your guess is as good as mine ;) This unfortunately is at the cost of dear Richard's sanity and evenings...poor guy has seriously made more runs to the grocery store and to every fast food restaurant known to man in the past 4 weeks. The best was a Zaxby's run at 9:30pm one night. I'm sorry, but when you need a Wings and Things combo..you need a Wings and Things combo. I'm not going to lie...a Cherry Limeade slushie from Sonic sounds pretty freakin' awesome right now :) (please note that by 7pm this evening..one was waiting in the freezer for me) All movies and tv shows make these cravings look all cute and funny...oh honey, have you had some pickles and ice cream. Screw that..it BLOWS. We have a monthly budget for eating out of $80. Seems like plenty right? NOT THIS MONTH...I blew that joker in the first week of May...you guessed it, we broke the $300 mark this month! Insane...she's evil I tell you..EVIL. Don't think Richard hasn't jumped in on the action. It is definitely true that men get sympathy pains. While we were at the beach, Mr. Bray made himself a nice afternoon snack. Not quite pickles and ice cream, but definitely close. He mixed potato salad and mac and cheese together to create what came to be known as potato-roni and cheese. He nuked it in the microwave and basically licked the mayo and cheese covered bowl clean. Even I thought it was nasty. That's saying a lot.

All this binging is not free for me either. Every morning when I'm getting ready and every night when I'm brushing my teeth. Richard points at my belly and laughs. Sweet, huh? There is already this ever so subtle "bump". Oh yes....not even 3 months in and she's "showing". What the hell? I will say this is what Richard thinks...its the baby. Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and put it out there that the 12,000 calories I'm probably consuming on a daily basis can't be helping my cause. And I'm pretty sure the baby isn't making that bulge....it's definitely fat. ;) Needless to say..I've already graduated into my "fat" pants that I wore for the weeks after having Corbin and it is.... oh, so depressing. I won't even mention that people couldn't even tell I was pregnant with Corbin until I was 7 months. We took pics at 6 months when I felt huge and looking at them now....yeah, I look like a do now. Damn it! I'm going to be a whale! And although, I might have promised not to say anything about this...Richard totally split his pants down the butt while bending down to pick up Corbin yesterday. It was freakin' hilarious....to me...not really to him. Hence...sympathy came to bite him right in the a*@....literally :)

The one thing that never changes from pregnancy to pregnancy is the wonderful fits of rage. I'm starting to wonder if there is a secret rage management class out there just for women who are growing people. Like a temporarily insane group. If everyone remembers correctly....these lovely fits did not occur until around 20 weeks when I was pregnant... and still lovely...with Corbin. Practically bum rushing a woman in the bagel line and spearing a man in the sausage biscuit line with the tongs...to this day, I still stand by the fact that that crazy man took the sausage biscuit from my side of the tray...HELLO, I WAS FEEDING TWO FREAKIN' PEOPLE!!! (am I making my case about rage, by any chance :) ) This all leads into my latest incident with the Indian food man. One warm Sunday morning...let's say I was 8 weeks pregnant (not 20)...probably around 10:30am...I decide that I have..yes HAVE..to have chicken biryani. So Richard calls the restaurant that helped cater our wedding to place a to-go order. The man says they don't open until noon..to call back. Fine. So I wait and wait..tummy starting to hurt..and wait. Finally at noon..possibly 11:59...I call back. The man informs me that on the weekends, they don't take to-go orders because they serve a buffet. Sorry. Um yeah...I'm pretty sure I don't have to tell you that I went ape sh*t. Seriously...I could be quoted saying something the effect of...then why the hell did you tell me to call back at noon, etc. and so forth. Finally I get done screaming and hang up. Poor guy. Then Corbin starts whining..for some unknown reason... even to him I assume...I scream. He shuts up. Richard has chicken byriani sitting on the counter 20 minutes later from who knows where..but I'm pretty convinced he's learned to pull things out of his butt when faced with an adverse situation like this one :) Totally why I married him! Then all things were right in the world...for about an hour or so ;)

I do find it humorous that in the span of 10 weeks...most of the rage centers around food. Like its an animal instinct to hoard as much as you can...hence the fact that I've already gained 8 pounds. (For those fortunate enough to avoid this lovely life altering event in your lives....you should gain 1-2 lbs a month...starting much later than this) Oh well...I have this hope that if the pregnancy is bad this time around I will be spared the agony of the big red ball. I know its a pipe dream...but at least give me the hope. Corbin has recently gone off all his medicines and is eating anything and everything. The only hurdle still left to jump is getting him to drink real milk instead of the prescription formula. We have put about an ounce in his sippy so far with no problem, so I'm confident it won't be long. 

It's funny how you are a different person the second time around. The same person..just with a different idea of what you are going through. I'm not glued to What to Expect When You are Expecting....or taking numerous pictures of my belly's progress. I haven't bought 17 newborn outfits that I now know...the baby will NEVER wear. I'm not constantly analyzing every single symptom I have or don't have thinking that only the worst has happened. I've already paved the way. Know what is to come. I'm more relaxed. Not a naive young girl.....anymore. I know it doesn't sound like it, but it's almost as if you learn to let go of what you can't control through the first baby. What will be will be. You just deal with the things as they come instead of anticipating what they will be. Sometimes you get that happy ending and sometimes you don't. That's life. At the end of the day, it's not the not so happy endings that you count...it's your blessings...and some of mine, I count twice :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Here we grow again!


So here I am. Standing in a dark room barely lit by a Winnie the Pooh nightlight that sits just as you open the door. Right next to a cherry crib with the mattress inches above the floor and a very big boy stretched more than halfway across it. I remember decorating this room. Putting up the bead board. Having to paint that crap 17 times because Richard's brilliant idea was to paint it before we put it on the wall...it warped. Yelling at the guy who painted the mural..partially because I was insanely hormonal and mostly because Winnie and Piglet looked hypothermic. Standing on a ladder...7 months pregnant...and lining up each individual letter in each word for the border and surprising Richard with the ending since the entire quote didn't fit. (You must always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and..here's my part...loved more than you know). All of this seems like it was just yesterday....but seriously...here we go again!

So I'm not going to lie and say this was a big surprise...oh my, how did this happen?!?!? Please.....everyone knows how this happens and with a small getaway by ourselves for the first time since Corbin was born...it ain't no surprise. We actually decided to start trying shortly before we left. Yes..I said it..the forbidden word..."trying". I don't get it. Why are people so embarrassed to admit they actually want a baby??? I understand not wanting to tell people during the process. There is that whole image you put in people's heads and of course, if it doesn't happen for a long time..you have everyone constantly asking if you've had sex and completed the task at hand. Talk about awkward. ;) But after the deed is done..who cares. We were trying and it happened a little faster than I thought it was going to. Since I'm insanely Type A, over the top, and a gigantic planner..I took my temp with Corbs for 6 months and then he decided to join this crazy family the second month we were "trying". Not this lil' guy...HELLO...ready or not, here s/he comes!!

So there I was. Two weeks after the "trip"...the dreaded two week wait. The WORST part about "trying". I took a test..negative. Boo! A few days later..still waiting. I took a test..negative. Boo! A week later..still waiting. Convinced it would be negative..not only because of said tests, but I also didn't feel the way I did with Corbin. The funny thing was that Avery would not leave my side. This being our (my) cat that I've had 10 years and pretty much does her own thing..aka..sleeps all day and never really bothers anyone. She would even sit outside of the shower the entire time I was in it and when I would open the door..would.not.budge...even though she would get soaked by the dripping water. It was weird and we knew something was up..who knew whether it was a large tumor on one of her organs (god forbid) or there was a small "tumor" (my mom swore I was a tumor..aka "surprise" or as my sister's liked to remind me..accident) growing arms and legs in my tummy. Anyway...after taking my last two boring tests..all I had left was a sample digital test. I took the test. And waited. It took 3 minutes to get any results.... no watching to see what appears.... lines, a plus sign, or any other image pee and paper can form. So I'm waiting. And waiting. Seriously..3 minutes feels like a lifetime in testing and in...well, labor. All of a sudden. The answer popped up... Yes+ . Shock, disbelief, panic, excitement, joy....you name it...I felt it. SH@T! It crossed my mind to keep it a secret and find a fun way to tell Richard, but as always..it was written all over my face when I walked out of the bathroom. So I just handed him the test. At least he didn't throw his back out this time ;)

So now the journey begins for one..and takes a sharp turn for the other. We got to see our sweet lil' bean today for the first time. I was amazed at how it already looked like a baby...Corbin just looked like a seahorse on his first ultrasound (but was a week or so earlier). It all became very real very quickly. The memories that had been masked by time and that wonderful hormone drug that wipes your mind clean of all remnants of any reason to never have children again...were suddenly in the forefront of my mind. I felt nauseous. What the hell was I thinking?!?!? Two under two? Seriously??? Richard is soooo taking the fall for this one...damn wine ;) I just got my sense of normalcy back. I actually eat meals again. Use the bathroom when I actually have to go. Can form a complete sentence. This very large solid brick wall is standing before me and I'm headed straight for it in a car doing well over 100 mph. Two kids...I feel nauseous. And then the doc says.....and there's the baby's heartbeat. This tiny little blinking light in the middle of the screen. And it became very real. The look on Richard's face when he cut the cord. The warmth of a tiny baby sleeping on my chest. The tiny little legs that curl up when they hit the cool air. And that first baby smile. Only this time....I will get to see my big boy meet the new baby. Give his new sibling kisses in the hospital room. Curl up in bed to watch cartoons as a family of 4...instead of 3. He already points to my belly (and randomly to my boobs..ha ha) when you ask him where the baby is and then he kisses the tiny bump. I'm not naive this time around. I know what I'm headed for. I know it won't be all fun and games, especially the first few months, but I also know what comes after the storm. The rainbow you get for bouncing on a big red ball in a dark bathroom. I know those days pass. And so will these. The reason for I'm standing in a dark room watching my big boy sleep. This will soon be someone else's crib. This will no longer be Corbin's room. Our lives are about to get a little bigger, a little more chaotic, and a lot harder. I can't stop the car. I can't slam on the brakes. But I can find the tunnel that is slightly to the right..the one that has that light waiting for me at the end of it. The one that may be dark for a few seconds, but then opens up to two sweet kids running around in the backyard. My big boy teaching his baby sister or brother how to run through the sprinkler. To pour sand all over the patio. To discover a lady bug. Oh yes, ladies and gentlemen....here we grow again :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Not your average Joe....


I always said that I would never be an accountant. I have a Master's in it...After I got there, I swore I would never marry an accountant. Ummm, we are both CPAs...I said I could never stay home with my child because I couldn't see myself changing diapers all day...enough said ;) Never say never..ha ha! I will NEVER win a million dollars....yeah, I'm still waiting! 

My lil' man is seriously pure genius...advanced...like ten miles ahead of the rest...ok, really he's just average, but I'm still amazed at EVERYTHING he does. We recently installed a DVD player in the car. I was majorly against this. On top of the fact that he really watches enough Wow, Wow, Wubzi, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Blue's Clues at home..I didn't want him to freak any time he was in a car and couldn't watch the latest video. Until he just started freaking in the car....no matter what. Hence the DVD player. I swear its magical! The silence and sweet smiles and giggles I see in the rear view mirror as he watches his video happily strapped in. It's a beautiful thing. When we got it in the mail, Richard was trying to see if it worked and threw in a Baby Einstein Signs DVD. We used the DVD when Corbin started throwing tantrums around 11 months and once he realized he could communicate with me...in some sense...he calmed down..a little ;) Anyway, he used to watch the video once a morning while he ate breakfast and recognized it right away. Rich forgot to take it out of the player when he put it in the car, so I just figured any video would do. So sweet Corbin smiled at Marlee Matlin for at least 15 minutes every time we got in the car. He seriously wore those first 15 minutes out because most of the places we go aren't that far from home. But on occasion, he got to witness "repeat play" like on the way to Miss Holly's house :) 

So one day on the way home from my mom's house...who lives like 5 minutes away...he's watching those first lovable 15 minutes..and I peer into the backseat to witness my lil' guy rocking his arms (the sign) and all of a sudden, he spouts out "baby"! OMG...he had the biggest grin on his face as I went crazy! YAY!! He then continued on with the video and did the signs along with the words for mommy, daddy, baby, more, please, and thank you (no words..just sign)! WTF!! I was soooo impressed. My little man is sooo grown up. The only sign he really uses correctly is please (if you tell him no, he says "eeeeee" as he rubs his chest and one day when he couldn't get something out of the cabinet, he did the same thing..no clue who he was asking..ha ha), but still...I'm not even that polite at 27 let alone 14 months! I thought giggling was the best milestone, but these first words are definitely right up there :)

So here's the funny thing...we blame everything on BabyPlus ;) ( www.babyplus.com ) Oh yes..my mom bought me this system when I first found out I was pregnant. I keep telling myself that's why I used it..because I didn't want all that money to go to waste, but if I stop lying to myself for about 5 seconds to avoid accepting the psychoticness that is Alissa Bray..I would realize that even if she didn't buy it..I would have been one of those mom's that squeezed headphones round that large lump and played classical music to my unborn child.... just because. ;) Anyway, so twice a day starting at 18 weeks..I strapped that annoying thing around my stomach. Once while I was getting ready for work and once while we watched tv at night. Thuuuuuump, thuuuuuuump, thuuuuuuump is how it started off and eventually was thump, thump, thump...in psycho hyper speed. So annoying and it made my belly itch, but religiously...thump, thump, thump. I'm SHOCKED that Corbin doesn't bang his head against any non-moving object he can get his hands on! ;) But the website says your baby will calm easy, cry less, and reach milestones sooner. Let's see...cry less, calm easier...I'm going to go with no. How about you? :) Trust me..I ran over this thing in my mind NUMEROUS times...and then backed back over it ;)

But milestones sooner? Sh*t, I can practically have a conversation on the downfall of the economy with my 14 month old..ha ha. In all seriousness, he did hit gross milestones (except walking) pretty quickly. He rolled from belly to back at ONE MONTH...twice...made me a liar..then finally got the hang of it a few months later. But his fine motor skills came a little slower. I swear he didn't wave or clap until after 10 months and I already had my conversation mapped out for the doc at 12 months because he couldn't feed himself. He eventually figured it all out. And I'm sure that his words are the product of WAY too much tv..ha ha..or the fact that everything he picks up is "pencil", "spoon", "ball". When he can finally talk, his first sentence will be "Mom, SHUT THE HELL UP!" I won't blame him, but will still probably put him in time out....and laugh for the entire 90 seconds (since this will most definitely occur in the next 6 months, thanks to Baby Plus...ha ha). The great thing about kids is that they all end up in the same spot. One may mouth off way sooner than the next, but in the end..they all do it! I laugh sometimes because I catch myself feeling competitive. Well, John is doing that..why isn't Corbin?? The first rule of motherhood is .... DON'T COMPARE! It's so hard, but makes your life so much easier. Every kid finds their way at their own pace, but the real problem lies in watching it. Being the first time for me, as well as Corbin, means I'm hitting milestones as well...they just aren't advertised (or applauded, damn it). How am I supposed to know the difference between advanced, average, and delayed? First off, there is no such thing as advanced! (My mother, for sure, will tell you different about her 3 grandsons...even if all they do is pick their nose!) Secondly....every mother is a first time mom at some point. It sucks...uncharted territory causes more stress than its worth...and your big milestone will be accepting your ignorance. Although, it encompasses everything I said I would "never" do.....You will have NO idea what to do. Just go with it. You can call the doc's office 30 times a day...you are allowed. Give your kid Tylenol anytime he makes the slightest noise because you swear he's teething at 4 months. I'm sure it helps something.  And you can be astounded by your son's first real word. And his second...and his third. Talking about your child nonstop to people who don't have kids is forgiven (by other moms..ha ha..probably not the non-kid people..but who cares). And best of all....you can think your kid is advanced...even if he's just average :)

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Monday, March 23, 2009

A "BC" Bray weekend



I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm not who I was. The funny thing about staying close to the people you grew up with...close in proximity that is...is that they never allow you to change. This, of course, is my opinion. I believe this for any stage in the game. Childhood friends don't really count...your true personality shows without being tainted by experience when you are a kid..but high school friends, college friends, first job friends. It's like that whole time period when you are trying to discover who you are is who you will always be to them. I was crazy in high school and college. More so if I was single and luckily, I was a serial monogamer. I'm pretty certain my high school friends wouldn't even know what to do if they saw me now or if I actually showed up to our 10 year reunion this year (so not gonna happen). I was opinionated, loud, outspoken, and strong willed. Let's just say...I've toned down a bit ;)

We decided about a month ago that it was time to take a trip back in time...to when it was just the two of us. For several reasons....one, we had barely been alone for more than a couple of hours at a time since Corbin was born and two, we had always promised we would do this once a year and it was time to cash in.....so I booked a mini-vacation for this past weekend in a small 2 person log cabin (built by hand..might I add) in Boone. It was awesome ... minus the lovely carpet that looked like the pot holders I made in Brownies when I was...let's say 8... www.blueridgerentals.com .... called the Dog House because apparently their dog, Rubberdog, was run over by a car and didn't have a scratch on him. Yeah.. Rocky would have definitely been called..Splatterdog! Anyway...very cozy, hot tub, and these awesome adirondack chairs with a fire pit right along side the stream running behind the house. I highly recommend it ... especially if you need a little breathing room from a child that has only learned one pitch in the range of sounds his voice can make.... oh, wait...that's me...ok, check!

So Grandma and Grandpa drove up from Georgia to stay the weekend with our little terror..I mean sweetheart ;) They arrived around 11am on Friday morning and we had hightailed it outta there by noon...ha ha! And you thought I was going to say I had a hard time leaving. Nope. A quick run through of the Corbin Instruction Manual and..... Peace out, Corbs! We got to the cabin around 3pm after stopping for lunch, grabbing the keys, and going to the grocery store for extra munchies (possibly called Cabernet) ...that first bottle of wine was consumed by 5:20pm :) Guess we haven't lost our touch....so we pretty much just spent some much overdue time together the entire weekend. Except for an emergency trip to Old Navy due to the fact that we forgot bathing suits..which wouldn't have been a problem in the summer, but having the trees bare...we thought the neighbors might appreciate it ;) ...and a little shopping downtown, but other than that..it was just us. I hadn't realized how much I missed just us...it was so nice. No schedule, no whining, or entertaining.....no snaps at each other about not moving fast enough or being too snappy (ha ha).... no internet, Facebook, or blogs...no TV, DVR, or movies...no worries, just us. 

It's funny how you find the strength in your relationship that way...like we hadn't seen each other for years (caught up in the daily madness that consumes every minute until you fall on the couch hungry and tired at 8pm bedtime), but were just the same after all that time...you throw a colicky, sensitive baby into the mix and you don't even have time to realize you miss who you were. 
Of course, by Saturday night around 6pm, we were both really missing Corbin. The piece that makes us who we are now. Sometimes he may throw a kink in our perfect little package... needing a small reminder to get us back on track..but we aren't "us" without him anymore. We've changed...for better, for worse...a little older, a little wiser....we've grown. Our relationship has a whole new depth. It brings the good and the bad...the little spaces you never knew about the person you hold most dear. Without Corbin, I would never have known how insanely, irrationally clean the kitchen needs to be at all times for my husband...it drives me nuts. Without Corbin, Richard would have never known that I need him to move at the speed of light to make milk, change a diaper, or even shower, for that matter..I like to refer to it as "mommy speed"..something a daddy can never do ;) But without Corbin, I would have never heard Richard sing "You are my sunshine" to help him fall asleep...never witnessed the best made-up game ever...brought to you by daddy (finding the "love buggie" in the book and then tickling him when he does). He may have never seen the way only a mommy can kiss that boo boo all better...if it wasn't for Corbin. It's true that we would be the same people to each other...love each other just as much...be just as perfect for one another...if Corbin had never come along. But we wouldn't be "us"...who we are meant to be together. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I found who I was through Richard..I am a better person with him than I was without him. I never lost myself, but just became someone I respect more than I did before. I've changed...those people from high school or college wouldn't recognize me because they know "BR" Alissa (Before Richard)...the same goes for us. "BC" Brays. We still are the same family...only better...thanks to Corbin. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

13 months going on 30


So, we have been growing up in this house. Our first baby steps have turned into full out running in a matter of seconds. Sometimes his little legs get going faster than the rest of his body can keep up with....causing a very nasty spill at the park where the sidewalk basically ate his cute lil' face. Most of the time he just looks like he's had 5 too many beers. He's talking a mile a minute. He repeats EVERYTHING you say. Sometimes it just sounds like some strange form of Mandarin, but others...you can definitely tell he's telling 
you something. He even said Thank you in the bathtub the other night. And uno yesterday. Yeah, what's up world...my 13 month old is already bilingual ;) He can tell you what a cow, sheep, lion, and kitty say. And just last night...he sat at the table like a big boy for the first time! Strapped into his booster seat and ate out of the plate suction cupped to the table (Because we all know where it would end up if it wasn't attached to something!) ALL.BY.HIMSELF! It's insane. Soon I'll be hanging onto his pants leg, the way he does mine now, as he boards the school bus to kindergarten. Ok, who are we kidding..I'm so going to be a carpool mom! And by the time I actually make it to the building, I'll be throwing all those kids out of our car myself...as they sing "the wheels on the bus" for the 14th time ;)

Speaking of school, we signed Corbin up for preschool (tear!) Yup, my big boy will be attending Creative Minds starting in September. Two mornings a week, I will drop him off and get 4 glorious hours to myself...oh wait, I'm supposed to be sad about this ;) Take two...oh boo hoo, what am I going to do without him..whaaaaa, whaaaa, whaaaa. Better? Yeah right, I can actually go to the bathroom alone, eat breakfast (and maybe even LUNCH!), and let's not forget that I might even be able to sit in silence for more than 3.5 seconds. I'm sorry, I think I might have been jumping up and down a little too high. Ha ha! Don't get me wrong..I think this will be really hard (at first), but probably really good for him. He'll get to socialize with other kiddos, learn to take instructions from another adult..one he doesn't know...and he'll learn that when mommy leaves, she will always come back (probably..just kidding). I know a lot of moms think 2 is too soon, but not this mom ;) 

So one of the rules for him to attend at 20 months (just shy of 2) is that he has to be able to walk by himself (check..make that double check) and no separation anxiety (hmmm, not so check). Since Nanny (my mom) and Bapu (my dad...short for Bapugi...grandfather in my dad's language) live down the street...sweet lil' Corbin has never stayed with anyone he doesn't know. This might cause a problem when it comes to rule #2. I'm assuming a big problem, especially now that he recognizes when Richard or I aren't there. In order to alleviate the possibility of getting kicked out of his first school, we joined the YMCA to take advantage of the child watch program. 
This was actually my "spin" on why we should join the Y, so I could expedite the whole bathroom by myself process :) Anyway, so we sign up for the Y and I head on over for my first morning of "me" time. Well, not exactly just me...me, a treadmill, and about 50 other people. Ipod, please...ok, "me" time. I'm not going to lie, I was actually really anxious about dropping him off. I didn't want him to be around sick kids..and the obvious, be all scared and sad. But it's a necessary evil we must face eventually and sooner is better than later. So through the doors of the child watch we go only to be greeted by a very nice looking "older" woman. I tell her that this was our first time dropping him off and she hands me a sticker to label him. Ha ha..too funny. So I fill out his "label" and slap it on his back while sticking my corresponding label on my shirt. Then comes the obligatory question for this mama..."Do you allow food in the kid's area?" She responds with sure, he can have anything in there....dammit! So I explain that my only concern is that he has food sensitivities and I wouldn't want him to eat any of the other kids' snacks. Then she hit me with it..."Oh hun, that's just going to be way to hard. That means they would always have to be watching him" Ummmmmm....yeah. Seriously..am I the only mom that finds several concerning points in that statement. Let's start with A) Richard doesn't even call me "hun".... B) Corbin is about to find the milk haven that he's been dreaming of since birth....but worst of all C) they would "have" to actually watch him????? Too much to process for lil' Miss Type A over here. 

So I take a deep breath and decide to talk to the people who are actually "having" to watch him...not grandma at the front desk. They slap another bright orange label on poor Corbin...announcing to everyone that the "special" kid can't have any of the good stuff and they open the half door for Mr. Corbin to enter. I bring him in and also tell them he's never been with people he doesn't know, so lil' Miss 20 something starts yanking him off me. Big smile..no problem she says. The more she yanks the harder Corbin's death grip gets. "Don't leave me with crazy Joker lady, mommy." I swear that's what he would have said. So I suggest I just walk him over to this awesome train table before I leave. So I do and he barely notices I'm gone. I go run. Well, let's be honest...walk...for 15 minutes. I swear I thought if I walked faster the time would go just the same, but it didn't. And 15 minutes felt like hours. I even tried to watch the View on the TV attached to the machine to distract myself. But in the end, I barely made it 15 minutes before running (yes, this time I was running) downstairs to make sure Corbin was alright. And of course, he was. Sitting in a bean bag chair (like the big boy he is) watching the Wiggles. Big smile when he saw mommy...she came back :) We've been one other time since....still no tears have been shed...and the second time there was a nice lady's lap to curl up on and when I came back for him...this time 40 minutes later...he was laughing as she made him flap his arms like a duck. He's such a good boy (tear!)

So it turned out that I might be the one with the problem. Doesn't that suck ;) I was all stoked to have my "me" time and when it came down to it....I just wanted to be with Corbin. Of course, he's still going to preschool...especially after I saw how excited he was to play with all the other kiddos at child watch. But maybe I won't be jumping quite as high as I had imagined. Maybe I'll just skip a little...go to Starbucks and watch the second hand on the clock until I get to speed over to relieve him from joys of "freeze dancing" and puppet making. I'm sure he's going to leave kicking and screaming...so we might add a little Jack to my coffee ;) It's just the fundamentals of motherhood...you get used to one stage and here comes the next one. You get one schedule down and they decide to drop a nap..you finally get a good meal prepared to perfection and they decide to go on strike for hot dogs or chicken nuggets. I've come to learn that the key to survival is to just roll with the punches. Another gift we've been given with my new grown up boy is his grown up messes. Wow, our house looks like a tornado within 5 minutes of him waking up in the morning. In all honesty, it really doesn't bother me. I couldn't say that a year ago. It's not really a mess to me anymore. He could sit for a good 30 minutes and try to figure out how to put all the plastic forks back into the bag. Of course, they end up all over the kitchen, but to just see him discover this is amazing. To see him open a cabinet door and yank everything out because he sees his old bottle liners in the back is incredible. He actually remembers them! If you look at it that way, can you really rob him of the mess? I know I can't...and then there is the obvious. The day will come when I will wish there were plastic forks and bottle liners all over the floor. The day I will have to rediscover who I was before he was here. Unfortunately, the transition is coming in just a few short months. The transistion from child watch to preschool, from chaos to a little structure, from big kid to bigger kid, from mommy to me. But who are we kidding...maybe its just time to have another..ha ha!!

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Same sh*t, different day...

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I love baby feet. There is something about baby feet...I don't know if it's that they are pudgy or that all the toes seem to be the same length...but I love baby feet. I hate adult feet..they totally gross me out, but man...Corbin has the cutest feet. His diaper butt is pretty sweet too, but I have to experience the not so sweet on that end, so I'll stick with those feet :) 

So our saga continues....Corbin is still gassy...and still has trouble with any kind of food it seems. The poor kid has to be starving. The other day...I say other day, but it was probably 2-3 weeks ago. Our friend, Sally, brought her ultrasound picture over to show off her sweet baby boy. Georgia, Corbin's girlfriend, came along in tow. We were gabbing and the kids were playing..when I went to tickle Georgia. OMG..her belly was sooooo squishy!!! Is this normal...I had become numb to the beautiful squishiness that is a baby belly! Corbin's is always the size of a basketball and hard as a rock. It took me back to when I worked in a daycare..oh yes..me plus daycare equals...well is just not good. I LOVED this little girl in the 4 year old room. Morgan...she would come up and giggle before I could even grab her belly..so sweet! I had totally forgotten....until sweet G reminded me. So of course I go off the deep end. No sticking my toes in to test the waters...full on cannon ball, tidal wave...tsunami style. We took away everything..stripped our poor child of all his favorites...green beans, apples, peaches, pears, squash (pretty much any veggie or fruit the internet proclaimed to cause gas)...no more pasta, bread...anything with a remote amount of flavor..leaving him with bananas, avocados, sweet potatoes, and that blasted golden milkies. Within TWO days...he was a new kid. He still had gas and by the end of the day, his tummy started to form a rounded dome resembling a deflated basketball (but a basketball none the less), but he was SO happy. Didn't want me to hold him non-stop. Laughed. Talked a mile a minute..started just spouting out words he had never said before (yeah, my kid's a prodigy)...it was incredible. 

So we moved on up a level of psychotic-ness and incorporated the infamous "gluten-free" diet. I was bound determined to make my kid happy...who knew the price it would cost me..literally. We stroll on in to Earthfare to recover all the necessary ingredients of the Orzma mix on Wogglebug.com. The usual suspects I had never heard of...being a gourmet chef and all...but we found them (most of them)...tapioca flour, xanthum gum, baking powder, etc. But we could not find sorghum flour (we ended up finding it in an indian grocery store as jowar flour for future reference). It was in every recipe, but because I couldn't find it....I opted for quinoa flour, since it was in the gluten-free pasta he had already and seemed to sit well. So we go home and I whip up the first batch. The moment I opened that quinoa flour..I almost THREW UP..blah! It smelled like pure cement. I'm not exaggerating....ok, maybe a little, but it smelled like sh@t! But I thought after the $75 grocery bill on less than 10 things and no coupons to save my wallet...Corbin was gonna eat it! So I decided to make pizza dough. Only because it didn't call for any milk subsitute or eggs (being careful after those freakin' chickens ruined our day)...and made little balls..thinking they would be like biscuits. So I cooked them for the 10 minutes they called for as the smell of cement filled our house and the images of hurling into the trash can started creeping into my mind. I, of course, wasn't even going to come close to tasting them...so I pawned them off on Richard...who wasn't completely unsuspecting due to the lovely odor that had invaded our house, but he ate them. He wasn't jumping for joy, but wasn't on the same puking page as I was. Next came poor Corbin. My sweet baby boy that will eat anything you put in front of him and can now spot things on the counter...would not go near those pizza rocks with a ten foot pole. I even drown them in grape jelly and NO WAY.... I wish I had a camera for that face. URGH! I think I'll deal with the gas ;) (And major props to the moms whose kids are on the gluten-free diet..I have another level of compassion for you and another level of respect if you can make that stuff edible!! I, obviously, cannot!)

Don't think the story ends there...you have to know by now that the story....never...ends! But what the hell would I write about if it did?!?!? So Richard's back is crap....evident by the episode when I told him I was pregnant (just seeing if you are paying attention..ha ha)...anyway, so he goes to a chiropractor. After he was adjusted, he explains Corbin's tummy issues to the doc. The doc says that Corbin is a prime candidate for an adjustment. So we take him...as you can imagine..Corbin was all too thrilled and basically screamed the entire time. I think we are pretty numb to it because it didn't phase either one of us. And to be completely honest, neither of us thought it was going to do any good, but figured it was worth a shot since so many other mommies claim it has worked wonders on their child. All I kept thinking was...they obviously didn't give birth to Corbin. 

Well, it's been almost a week (he has another adjustment on Friday) and the basketball belly is GONE!! (knock on wood) We've given him bread (homemade) with peanut butter and yesterday he had cheddar cheese (made with goat's milk)...who knows if it was the adjustment (he said he found 3 restrictions and fixed them) or if it's the fact that I took most things away, but I'm happy. He's happy. Isn't that what matters most?? It's funny because I'm constantly worried that people think I'm crazy. I mean I know I'm crazy, but in terms of Corbin's belly. They don't see it on a daily basis and maybe I AM a new mom that doesn't know how to deal with the unknown. The uncontrollable...Type A meets....chaos. I think the lesson of the day was a hard one for me. Not everyone is the same. It seems so obvious, but so overlooked at the same time. And can you really compare apples to apples anyway..no one's circumstances are ever really the same....When people go through rough times, I jump...I go off the deep end ;) And it is sooo hard to realize that not everyone reacts the same way. When Corbin had his procedure, I was so hurt by some people's reactions and it took a long time for me to see that it didn't mean their intentions weren't good or weren't there at all. Just because they didn't jump. They are just different than I am. And who's to say how someone would react when confronted with a baby like Corbin...if they would jump or just let nature take its course. Listen to a doctor who prescribes meds or try a more unconventional route (we are trying them all!) Who's to say which is best? Coming through this..I know that I am doing what I know how to. Maybe one of these things will work or maybe its just a way to feel useful in a situation that makes me feel so helpless most of the time. Finding a new perspective...learning to see things from a different light...getting outside of your own box. It's makes life easier..may be met with slight resistance...but eventually easier. I may love baby feet. But that doesn't mean I want to miss out on the squishy belly, the sweet diaper butt, or the smell of his hair after a bath. It just means that I've found my foundation and discovering who I am and can be from there is just the next step in my journey.