Saturday, May 31, 2014

OWW:Day 4

I'm sitting here frantically shoving grapes (hey, better than Thin Mints, right?) in my mouth as we listen to Zoe SCREAM her little head off. It's taking everything in my power not to go scoop her up and hold her tight. I keep looking at Zach desperately and saying some variation of "do you think she's ok? she's ok, right?" every 5 minutes.

Sigh.

It's official. She will never be back on her schedule. She will never again fall asleep before midnight. We will send her to college and we still won't be sure whether we should swaddle one arm for a little longer or just let her go swaddle-less.

I am stressed. I KNOW she's ok. She's safe and she's fine. But still. Stress.

This is our last ditch effort...just letting her cry. We have tried just about everything over the past 4 nights and she has not successfully gone to bed before midnight any of those nights. Her daytime schedule is exactly the same, she's back on track in terms of naptimes and eating. All that to say is...if you have the secret, SHARE IT. Tell me what to do. I'm desperate.

We have declared that we will never again take a trip with such a big time-zone leap with a child (or children). Never again. Ever. Except, you know, when we move back to the states. There's that. But that's what grandparents are for, right? But in the meantime. Worst adjustment ever. I just need a few good nights of sleep. I'm running on a HUGE deficit at this point.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to relax the tension in your back and shoulders when your baby is screaming? Impossible.

Ok.

Anyways.

OWW: Day 3 (nope, it's Day 4. Help.)

Bedtime: welllll, we didn't get out of the ball until around 11, so I think we finally got Zoe down by 12:30am.Ish.

Zoe's night: slept great. Thank God.

Wake time: 7am. Woof. But good. This is her usual wake time.  

Chocolate croissant count: 0. Requested when Z went to the grocery store. He forgot it. It was a sad, sad moment.

Weather: sunny! Amazing. Still cool though. But that is just Germany. I miss the heat. 

Probability of leaving the house: we came home from the ball and I decided to never leave again. Just too exhausting. Plus, we have GOT to get Zoe back on a schedule and that means keeping her routine as normal as possible. I will do whatever it takes.

Status of suitcase: still 98% packed. And now my overnight bag from last night is also still packed and sitting on the floor next to my suitcase. Rats.

Naps: a few catnaps in the car. Have decided I will live the rest of my life in a state of jetlag. Will never sleep a full night, ever. It's like having a newborn all over again.

Pulled out the super secret reserve box of Thin Mints. They're chilling in the freezer as we speak. Decided not to turn to wine because may not be able to limit myself to appropriate amount. Know your limits, alright?

Friday, May 30, 2014

OWW: Day Three

I don't know about today, you guys...I don't actually think it can count towards the official OWW because we have a military ball which means that I not only have to leave the house, but I have to GET DRESSED...but not just dressed, dressed in formal attire.

Have you seen the movie "In A World"? There's this scene where the two female characters have to get ready to go watch their dad receive an award and they're both refusing to go but the husband of one of the women forces them to go...he says something like "come on, let's go. No sweatpants." And one of the women immediately and dramatically throws herself back on the couch and groans.

That's me, right now.

Also, the ball is in Frankfurt so...no nap for me today. Just a long car ride. And then (oh my gosh) socializing. With actual people. I can't do it.

Bedtime: attempted 8:30pm bedtime. Oh my gosh it makes me want to cry when I realize Zoe screamed and fought sleep like a thrashing crocodile for 4 hours.

Zoe's night: asleep sometime after midnight. Woke at 4:30am. I laid in bed very still, silently begging her to go back to sleep. Even though she is in her room across the hall, this seemed to work.

Wake time: 8am. Zoe woke me up. We will probably never be on a normal schedule again. She will probably never sleep again or go to bed at a reasonable time again. Outlook is bleak. Hope is wavering.

Chocolate croissant count: 0. But this will be remedied by Z when he gets home early today because I'm getting dressed and socializing  during my OWW and that deserves one chocolate croissant.

Weather: cold. rainy. dark. Perfect wallow weather. Germany, stop it.

Probability of leaving the house: 100%. Totally against my will. Working on an attitude adjustment. Or not.

Status of suitcase: still 98% packed. Turns out this works out great, since we're staying at a hotel tonight anyways. I'll call that a win.

Naps: none. It's not going to be pretty.

SIIIIIIIIIIIGH.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

OWW: Day Two

OWW: Day Two

Bedtime last night: Woof. Put Zoe down around 9:30. Didn't actually get her to sleep until sometime after midnight. So much screaming. Zoe was pretty upset too.

Zoe's night: when she finally fell asleep, she stayed asleep. So there's that.

Wake time: 8am. had to wake Zoe up. had to wake myself up.

Chocolate croissant count: 0. VERY unhappy about this. But my desire for a croissant is about 1% less than my desire to go out of the house, so...

Weather: cold. rainy. dark. Perfect wallow weather.

Probability of leaving the house: 0%. I've given up.

Status of suitcase: still 98% packed. I have only removed toiletries. And one shirt.

Naps: 2. Well really, 1.5. This afternoon I put Zoe down and came back downstairs, only to realize WAIT A MINUTE! It's Wallow Week and Zoe is sleeping. I should be sleeping too. But by the time I made it upstairs and got in bed, Zoe was stirring. So that was only like 10 minutes of "quiet time".

Zoe has fluctuated between totally happy/adorable and screaming/angry. But I get that. So we press on.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

One-week-wallow (OWW)

Well, we're back in Germany after a wonderful 2 weeks in the states. More about that later.

For now...wallowing. First, because jetlag. Second, because it's just hard to go back to far-away Germany, to leave friends and family and sun and Chick-fil-a. So there needs to be a cushion...a week of time to just be sad and adjust and practice radical self care.

I announced to Z that I would be wallowing for one week and that not much could be expected of me during that one week. Because he knows me well, he quickly agreed to this one-week-wallow (OWW, for short) and even told me I could take longer than a week if necessary. But I think a week is ok. Not too indulgent but not too short, either. Just right. But then he proceeded to completely unpack his suitcase and because I'm tired and jetlagged I was sure he was unpacking AT me and trying to lead the way with his good example blah blah blah and I began to get a little suspicious and concerned that he might not fully understand what this whole "wallowing" thing entails.
So I decided to never unpack my suitcase.
And then while catching up on blogs I follow, I came across this from Heather Armstrong and I'm thinking YES, she gets me: "I never fully got my eyesight back for the rest of the day and more than once had to look at the calendar on my phone to figure out what day it was and what time zone I was in. A few hours into the delirium I opened my suitcase to attempt to unpack a few things but then realized I could leave everything right where it was for the rest of time. No one would ever know. I could potentially win an award for something really important and the people in charge of deciding that I deserved it would have no idea that my suitcase is still sitting unpacked at the foot of my bed. Shhhh!"

Anyways.

So what does an OWW look like, you ask? Easing back into life in Germany. Reflecting on our two weeks stateside. Looking at pictures. Missing our families. Sometimes crying. Snuggling our squishy baby. Chocolate croissants. Watching movies and The Bachelorette. Craving Chick-fil-a even though we ate it approximately 3485 times in the past 14 days. Unpacking...slowly. You know, those kinds of things. So here we go.

OWW: Day One

Bedtime last night: 11pm. Fighting the jet-lag fight.

Zoe's night: awake at 11:25pm. awake at 1somethingish am. Paci re-inserted multiple times. WAY better than what I expected.

Wake time: 9am. 2 hours later than normal. Had to wake Zoe up. (listen, if you're going to be wallowing and jet-laggy, I suggest having a smiley baby to help ease the pain. She woke up HAPPY.)

Chocolate croissant count: 1

Weather: cold. rainy. dark. Perfect wallow weather.

Probability of leaving the house: 5%. and that's generous. and only because we need food.

Status of suitcase: still 99% packed. I have only removed toiletries. Z, on the other hand, has unpacked both his and Zoe's stuff. And he even put his stuff away. Overachiever.


It's only day one...but so far, so good. I see naps and coffee and pjs in my future.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Words I Like

I like to think of myself as a writer, not so much in the have-been-published or working-to-be-published kind of way, but more so because I have a compulsion to write, to get words and thoughts and stories and memories and feelings out of my head and onto something more stable and concrete. When I write, I feel more grounded and relaxed and understood (even if just by myself)...and when I write, I feel like I finally say exactly what it is that I wanted to say, I finally figure out exactly how I feel (sometimes I just write to figure out what I'm feeling and I don't know until I read what I've written).  

I think it's this reason that also causes me to be a voracious consumer of other's written words. I LOVE to read...books, articles, magazines, essays, blogs, emails, text messages...I love written words. And my favorite thing is when I read someone else's words and feel as if they say exactly what I would have said, or would have LIKED to say, or something I feel or felt but didn't really know how to put into words the right way. I like that connection.

Here's some words I've really connected with recently...

"No one can ever prepare you for what happens when you have a child. When you see the baby in your arms and know that it's your job now. No one can prepare you for the love and the fear. No one can prepare you for the love people you love can feel for them."
(Ok this isn't written, but it's a movie quote and YES. When the character, Tim, said this line, it about put me over the edge. I rewatched the scene with this quote multiple times. It hit me exactly where I am right now. I can't even read it without welling up with tears. It's from the movie "About Time" and if you haven't seen it yet, you should.)

I love this quote. I can't even talk about it because it's so overwhelming and so true and so huge that I just don't know what other words to add to it. It is everything true about the first moments of parenthood and about seeing family and friends meet and fall in love with your child.

I'm reading the book "Bread and Wine" by one of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist. My dear friend Anna introduced me to this author a few years ago, back when Z and I were still dating. I read her first book, "Cold Tangerines", at Anna's urging. I fell in love and have now read her other 2 books and follow her blog. She says a lot of the same things in slightly different ways, which sometimes makes me a little frustrated (to solve this problem, I just try to read her books with a few years in between them), but then she'll have a sentence or paragraph that just SPEAKS to me. So those nuggets of gold keep me going back to her writing.

"One thing's for sure: if you decide to be courageous and sane, the healthy people in your life will respect these choices. And the unhealthy people will freak out, because you're making a healthy choice they're not currently free to make. Don't for one second let that stop you.
Either I can be here, fully here, my imperfect, messy, tired but wholly present self, or I can miss it--this moment, this conversation, this time around the table, whatever it is--because I'm trying, and failing, to be perfect, keep the house perfect, make the meal perfect, ensure the gift is perfect. But this season I'm not trying for perfect. I'm just trying to show up, every time, with honesty and attentiveness."
-Shauna Niequist, from the chapter "present over perfect" in "Bread and Wine"

This resonated with me because it's so easy to get caught up in trying for "perfect". Clean house. Dinner ready. Baby dressed in adorable outfit. Me dressed in adorable outfit. Plus showered and makeup. Picture perfect family, baby, life, etc. etc. But perfect is EXHAUSTING. And not real. And really does lead to missing out, not being fully present. And, at least for me, it leads to a LOT of stress and anxiety. So this touched me. I WOULD rather be kind of a mess, living fully in the moment, saying no to certain things, letting certain spinning plates drop, not having it all together...than exhaust myself and miss out on moments with my family and friends because I was trying so hard to maintain some level of perfection. That's a distraction and a stressor that I just don't need.

"I want to be the kind of person who makes peace with her body. Also, I just want to fit into my pants."
-Shauna Niequist, from the chapter "on scrambled eggs and doing hard things" in "Bread and Wine"

Gosh. YES. There have been many wonderful, encouraging, empowering things that have been written about women and the post-baby body. And that's great. But that doesn't give much comfort or encouragement or empowerment when you're standing in your room, surrounded by every dress you own and realizing that NONE of them fit. And you have a wedding to go to in two weeks. SIGH. There was frustration and tears and self-pep-talks. And then I just walked out of the room, leaving the dresses and shoes strewn about all over the place. (Poor Zach, walking into that mess when he got home). But when I got into bed that night, I read that line and had to laugh. Because yes. I want to be empowered and encouraged and give myself grace and cut myself slack and all of those things that you should do when you just had a baby 3 months ago.

But also, I just want to fit into my pants.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

First, let me say this. I know Mother's Day is hard for a lot of people, including some very dear friends of mine. Whether it's because they have lost their mom or they have a strained relationship with their mother, or because they are struggling with fertility issues, or waiting for adoptions to go through, or mourning the loss of a child via miscarriage...or really any other number of issues on this being a mother/having a mother/becoming a mother spectrum. I want to take a minute and acknowledge those women, because this day holds pain or hurt and it's so easy to feel "less-than" or broken or left out when the stores and commercials and all of social media is swirling with picture-perfect mother/child relationships. I want you to know that I'm writing about my mom and my mother-in-law and my experience becoming a mom...but that I don't forget you or ignore your story. I know this day isn't wonderful and full for so many people. And that's ok. My intent is not to make you feel left-out or less-than or to rub salt in your wound. Your story is your story, and I respect and honor that. I am simply telling my story. And I want you to know there is no magical happiness or completeness  or perfection that comes from being a mother or having a strong relationship with your mother/mother-in-law. Don't ever let any pictures or articles or blog posts make you feel like you're missing out on something secret and exclusive. Everyone is on their own journey and times of joy and sorrow come and go for everyone. Just because someone else is in a season of joy doesn't mean that there will be less joy for you.

One of my favorite teachers in high school said about becoming a mom: When you have a baby you will call your mom in tears one day and apologize for every terrible thing you did or said because you will finally realize that all of things you have to do for your baby, she did for you.

Yes.

When you have a child, I think you have an even greater appreciation for you parents. You understand just a little bit more clearly the love and the fear and the joy and the pain that they have felt. And when I say "a little bit", I mean a TINY bit. We're only 14 weeks in. Our parents have been doing this for 30 years. So today, I want to take a minute to honor my mom and my husband's mom, and then jot down a few thoughts about being a mom.

To my mom: Happy Mother's Day. Thank you for being an amazing mom. Thank you for changing my diapers and rocking me to sleep. For disciplining me. For cheering me on. For letting me cry. For knowing what is truly important and passing that on to me. For letting me stay home from school when you sensed a "personal day" was just what I needed. For prodding me when I needed prodding. For giving me space when I needed space. For coming to Germany to spend 3 weeks with me as I adjusted to life with a newborn. For being an incredible Oma. For changing our daughter's diapers and rocking her to sleep. I hope that I can be half the mother to Zoe (and our future kids) that you have been to me. I would consider that a huge success.

To my mother-in-law: Happy Mother's Day. Thank you for being an amazing mom to Zach and a wonderful mother-in-law to me. I know the stigma that comes with "mother-in-lawing". But you break that mold. You are encouraging and loving and fun and accepting. You're what every mother-in-law should be (and I will try my hardest to keep this in mind when our children get married one day. I don't think it's an easy job, this mother-in-law thing. But you certainly make it look easy). Thank you for how you raised your son. And for how you have graciously and without criticism allowed me to love him and care for him. Thank you for being an amazing Mimi. I am so happy Zoe (and our future kids) have you as a grandmother.

On my 1st Mother's Day: I kind of worried that becoming a mom would fundamentally change who I was. It is a pleasant surprise to find that is just not true. But at the same time, my life has completely changed. I told a dear friend recently that I didn't have the thought "I love being a mom" until Zoe was about 8 weeks old. I loved and adored Zoe from the minute we met her (even before that, really), but it was a very clear moment when I finally had the thought "I really love this gig." I was changing Zoe's diaper, which is where all "I love this" revelations probably DON'T happen. But she was being fat and squishy and smiley and adorable. And I realized I loved being her mom. That was a revelation to me and a relief. I hadn't consciously NOT loved being a mom, but I was mostly just trying to survive and wondering why no one tells you how hard those first weeks are and why everyone just gushes about "that moment you become a mommy" and I'm over here like "help. Just help." There was no room for basking in the "I'm a mom and I love it" moment. It took a while for me to have that moment. But I do. I love it. I am terrified, but I love it. I love everything about that little baby. I love her cries and how I know when she's just making noise or when she really needs to be rescued. I love that she's started to laugh and I will do ANYTHING to get a good belly laugh out of her. I feel like my entire day is 100% completely wonderful when she laughs. I love that her personality is starting to show and I can hardly wait to see who she becomes. I love that, even though there will hopefully be more babies in the future, she is the baby that made me a mama. I love that she's a little bit of me and a little bit of Z. I love being a mom. And I'm writing this down so I can reread it one day when Zoe is driving me nuts or is being a teenage girl.

So there we go. A celebration of moms and being a mom. Happy Mother's Day.

On Packing

Today is the day!

The day I start packing.

Oh, and it's also Mother's Day and I have things to say about this. But that needs to take a backseat right now. (Happy Mother's Day to my mom and mother-in-law, though. They are truly the best.)

I have decided that today I will get packed and ready for our trip. And if I'm really doing well, get the house picked up.

You might say, "But Katie, you don't even leave until Tuesday. There is still Monday! It's ok!"

You are so right. There is still Monday. But Monday I will be on-call all day in case the hair salon has a cancellation because there's been an unfortunate event with hair color and I just...I can't talk about it. It needs to be fixed. I just have this problem with being too loosey-goosey with my hair. Yeah, let's change the color, lighten it up for spring/summer. And then whoa, why is it so orange? Sigh. So Monday is high alert, rush to the salon at a moments notice day. And if that doesn't happen, well, I'll be adding "get hair fixed" to the list of to-do items for when we get to Atlanta.

In case you're curious, this list also includes: eat Mexican. eat Chick-fil-a. eat sushi. go to Target. buy a dress that fits (not necessarily at Target, but if it happens, it happens). get nails done. buy new running shoes (see items 1-3 on list. Also see item  5).

So anyways, here I am. Totally ready to tackle the packing and preparation. Obviously. Since I'm sitting here on the computer writing this.

It's times like these when I really NEED my dear lifelong friend Kristen to come to the rescue, much like the episode of Friends where Monica casually stops by to "visit" Phoebe, who just happens to be in the process of moving. Monica asks if Phoebe wants to go a movie and Phoebe says something like "I can't; I have to get all this finished today!"
To which Monica replies, "Oh, well. Now that I'm here I might as well help you with the cleaning and organizing! Just happen to have my label maker!"
And she pulls the label maker out of her purse.

This would be Kristen. Although I don't know if she has a label maker. I bet she does. She is super organized and super on top of things and a totally "can-do, go-getter" type of person. She is not one to leave things to the last minute or stick her head in the sand when a daunting task is in front of her.

I am not these things. So when I AM faced with things like packing for a trip or, even worse, a military move, I always wish Kristen could just come over and tell me what to do.

Since I don't have that luxury, I have to live by the "WWKD?" rules. What would Kristen do?

She would make a list!

So I made a list.

She would organize things into piles! Baby clothes. Baby toiletries. Baby accessories. My clothes. My toiletries. My accessories. Zach's...oh who are we kidding, he's on his own.

So I organized things into piles.

She would get things done!

Rats. This is the hard part.

Because now I actually have to go down that list and check off items and put piles into the suitcases and move forward with this packing and preparation task.

TOO HARD! TOO MUCH! TOO SOON!

The good news is that this gets us one step closer to being with our families in Atlanta and THAT is my motivation right now. Here we go. We can do this. Channeling Kristen.