All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


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Time to Get Serious

I feel like I’ve used that title before.

A while back (July 29 to be exact), I had a grand plan to start going to the YMCA to get my ass in shape.  Then one of the boys got sick and there was no way I was going to leave them in the “free” child care at the gym.  My plan got deferred for a week (I like to start on Mondays – I’m weird), which seemed like no big deal.  Then we went out for breakfast with B’s parents and he and his mom had a conversation about leaving your kids in the child care at the gym – and that we don’t know the people working there.  I sort of rolled my eyes at this conversation, but then took it to heart as I pondered it.  Don’t read into this – B was perfectly fine with the boys going to the gym child care while I worked out, but hearing them talk about how we don’t know those people made me not OK with that plan.  So I didn’t work out, and I didn’t work out, and I didn’t work out.

There is a pretty big cross-country race here that we’ve done a few times together, and registration for it was this past Saturday.  I knew it was the motivation B needed to get running again, so I offered to sign him up.  I mentioned that I was jealous that I couldn’t do it too but that the boys and I would enjoy cheering him on.  I also mentioned that I’m not in any shape to run that race and then lamented the fact that I wasn’t going to the YMCA because of the conversation he and his mom had about the child care.

And then he said, “we have a treadmill in the basement, and you have at least an hour of nap time each day to run if you want to.”

That’s just what I needed to hear.  How could I have forgotten that?  I mean, that treadmill is the source of many a joke in this house.

(There is some history behind this piece of exercise machinery.  It was my grandpa’s and when his house was being prepped for sale, B and our friend drove down to get it, and carried it up a very narrow staircase to hoist it into the truck for me.  As they were trying to maneuver it around the staircase (built in 1950), B told me that he was about to just leave it there because getting it out was going to be impossible.  But they did it!  They then drove it home 2 hours and had to figure out a way to carry the beast into our basement.  We got it all setup, with treadmill track under it to protect it from carpet fibers, and it sat there.  For a long time.  Of course that didn’t stop us from buying a TV for that room so that I’d have something to watch when I decided to use it.  Then we finally got pregnant and I decided to try it out, and B caught me jogging on it 5 days after Matthew’s transfer.  I was forbidden from using it again “after all we’ve gone through to get you pregnant,” So it just sat there.  Then I never got the motivation to use it again.  And we dropped cable.  So now it’s in the only spare room we really have with a TV that has no means of displaying a single TV show.  And that treadmill, and the TV, have sat unused for 3 years.  Until today.)

I took B’s words to heart and put on my (tight-fitting) running clothes prior to Matthew’s nap so I’d be ready.  I laid with him until he fell asleep (just a couple of minutes – it gets easier and faster every day) and then I was out of there!  I grabbed the monitor for Bryson and headed downstairs with my phone so I could stream some SVU on Net.fli.x.  Of course the emergency “key” was missing from the treadmill so I had to track that down (thank you, Matthew, for bringing that upstairs a while back), but I found it quickly and I got all setup.  I even stretched!  I walked for one mile at 3.5 mph, then jogged for 2 miles at 4.0 mph (an admittedly light jog), and then finished with a 1 mile walk at 3.5 mph and a 3.5 incline.  I moved my body (as Josey would say!) for 65 minutes and burned 432 calories.  My average pace was 15:55 which is slow, but acceptable to someone who hasn’t run in over a year.

So yeah – I did that today!  And it felt great!  And it motivated me to sign up for that race with B (I cannot believe I got in!).  And it motivated me to take photos (GASP!).  And it motivated me to start my fitness tracking spreadsheet.  And it motivated me to stop eating like crap and just take better care of myself.

It’s time to get serious.  I will log my progress here each week with photos (gasp again!) if I get around to it each Monday (I plan to and even set a reminder on my phone!).

I’m in pain tonight, and I will be tomorrow for sure when I wake up, but as I know from my fitness past, this pain will be gone soon enough.

Starting weight: 177.6 (10 pounds more than when I got pregnant – GAH!)

Current weight: 177.6

Target weight after 10 weeks:  159.6 pounds

Target weight loss after 10 weeks: 18 pounds

What I currently look like (A new version of the bump photos – HA!):


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When He’s Awake

I realize that I have been the most boring blogger of all time lately.  I looked back on the last few weeks of posts and saw what I feared – that most of what I’ve been blogging has been about Matthew’s naps – or lack-there-of.  There were four posts in a row that touched on this challenge – and three of those four posts were solely about his recent ditching of naps.

Sleep is a major source of stress for me.  Back when Matthew was 9.5 months old, we (I) finally decided to try the Ferber method with him because nothing else worked.  We tried it all.  And when I say we tried it all – I mean – WE TRIED IT ALL.  I tried every gentle sleep solution book on the market, and all they did was make his sleeping worse.  The Ferber method took a full 14 nights, but it finally worked.  I could put him in his crib drowsy but awake at night (but never for naps) and he’d sleep through the night for 10+ hours each and every night.  He rarely woke up in the night, and if he did, it was for a good reason (sick or teething).  Then, just as we were about to welcome Bryson into the family, I decided Matthew needed to be moved into the new room and queen bed so that the crib could be freed up for Bryson.

Biggest mistake ever made.

Well, maybe not the BIGGEST mistake ever made, but it was a big one.  😉

I have to lay in bed with Matthew until he’s asleep or he’ll get out of his bed and rip the tree decals off the wall.  It would take anywhere from 30-90 minutes to get him to fall asleep, even when he was tired.  I didn’t mind it the three weeks before Bryson was born, but after he came home, I didn’t have that kind of time each night.  But it did not matter – I still did it anyway.  We kept Matthew up a bit later at night so that he may be more tired and the routine decreased to 30-60 minutes.

Better.

All the while, Matthew was taking 2-3 hour long naps each and every day in the crib without fail.  He was only sleeping 9 hours at night, but making up for it with his naps.  It was great!  The only problem was that I had to rock him fully to sleep for his naps.

Then, on September 17th, Matthew quit napping in the crib (we never transitioned naps to his bed since I don’t have 30-60 minutes during the day to coax him to sleep). I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the beginning of him not napping anymore unless I did something major to fix it.  I tried napping him in his bed and that was a disaster.  By September 19th, he was done napping.

Or so I thought.

On the 20th, I tried one last time to get him to nap in his bed or the crib and I was beaten and screamed at, the entire time, keeping my cool.  I took him to our room and put on a construction truck video and told him to have some quiet time.  He fell asleep.  He fell into a DEEP sleep.

Today is the 27th, and Matthew has napped in our bed for 6 of the last 8 days.  He’s sleeping beside me right now as I write this.  I have to wake him each day after 1.5-2 hours (I never let him go more than 2 hours anymore).  It’s not ideal, but it works for us.  It works for him.  The only times he hasn’t napped is when I’ve kept him up deliberately because I need him to fall asleep quickly that night (like when B is out-of-town).  His bedtime sleep routine (after books are put away) takes 5-30 minutes depending on the length of the nap earlier in the day.  I will admit that the best nights are those that follow no nap – he is asleep and I’m out of his room in 15 minutes.  But I won’t complain about 30 minutes on a nap day – no way!

So this brings me to Bryson.  I swore a while back that I would not make the same mistakes I did with Matthew.  I refuse to have another baby/toddler who needs me to fall asleep at night.  I have been thinking about this, and thinking about this, and thinking about this… as I’ve been rocking Bryson to sleep, letting him sleep in the rocker beside our bed (instead of the crib), and letting him fall asleep with us in our bed while nursing him when he wakes up at night.  GAH!  Have I learned nothing?!

The funny thing is, though, that I did none of those things with Matthew.  He was out of our room and in his crib at 5 weeks old, I had him fall asleep on his own for every nap (until he wouldn’t), and I followed all the sleep rules, even if they didn’t make sense to me.  And he’s terrible at putting himself to sleep.  Bryson was great at putting himself to sleep, but he’s starting to need more help.

And I’m starting to be more firm.

I will not nurse him to sleep for naps – NEVER!  That is how everything started going downhill with Matthew.  I remember it.  I remember telling B, “well, that worked great – I’m going to do that all the time!”  What a mistake that was.  I won’t sing and rock him to sleep at night like I did with Matthew.  When it’s time to establish a bedtime routine, I’ve told B that I will sing first, then he’ll read books and put him to bed.  I am not going to be a crutch.  I won’t have my second child napping beside me in my bed when he’s 2 years old.

I have started this post over and over again in the last week or so, and as I was rocking Bryson today, Belle’s post popped up.  I started reading it, and I then suddenly stopped what I was doing and put Bryson in his crib.  I patted his bottom as he drifted off.  I watched him wake up, and put himself back to sleep again, several times on the monitor.  He was fully up after an hour – but I won’t complain about 60 minutes in the crib.  It’s all about establishing good habits, and I have to thank Belle for reminding me of that as I was drifting down a bad sleep path with another child.

To be fair, Bryson is a GREAT sleeper!  He only wakes up once a night to eat.  I feed him around 8:00 and then usually wake him for a “dream feed” around 11:00 or 11:30 before I go to bed.  He then sleeps until around 3:00 AM when I feed him once again and put him back to sleep until he wakes around 6:30 or 7:00.  I didn’t wake him for a “dream feed” last night and he woke up at 12:30 and then again at 5:00.  We are getting very close to the “dream feed” lasting all night for us (11:30 – 6:30/7:00).  We never experienced this with Matthew, so this gives me hope that we won’t even have to use Ferber for Bryson.  But I’m not holding my breath.  I know this can change in an instant.

I’ve loved my snuggle time with Matthew, but it’s not something I can do again if it causes Bryson attachment issues at bed time.  I will just have to snuggle Bryson extra during the day.

When he’s AWAKE!

(My afternoon in pictures… 1.5 hours of semi-silence!)


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A Tear or Two

B just forwarded me an email from his mom regarding Christmas.  It was lengthy and complicated, and you could just tell that she hated sending it.  She knows the holidays are stressful for her married kids who have two families to appease.  She is rather sensitive to most everything, so her email had a friendly, “I’m sorry for doing this to you” tone.  (We would never get an email like that from my parents.  HA!)

When talking about activities for Christmas Day, she said, “Understand B that you, Courtney and the boys will be spending Christmas with Courtney’s family.”  You, Courtney, and the boys.  The boys.  THE BOYS.  Reading that made me smile… and it made me tear up instantly.  That one little sentence made me think about the fact that my dream – our dream – came true.

We have the boys.

We have OUR BOYS.

Not just one, but two!

Sometimes, the pleasant reality of my life hits me when I least expect it.  Sometimes, someone else’s words make me reflect on the life I’m living, and the people in it.  Sometimes, I pause for a moment and cry a happy tear or two.

 

 


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Real Connections

Starting a blog was something I wanted to do for a long time while going through infertility, but I didn’t have the time or the guts to do it.  I did start a blog while I was pregnant with Matthew, but I never posted even one post, which made it very obvious to me that I just wasn’t ready yet.

After Matthew was born, I struggled almost more with IF than I did while we were pregnant, and I’ll never know why.  I think I felt terribly guilty, and I think I was surprised that I didn’t feel instantly better about our IF since we had a baby.  I think that maybe I expected the sadness to just go away the minute I saw my son – but it didn’t.  Even two years after he was born, a diminished version of that sadness remains.

I always wondered what I would blog about if I did start a blog, and I quickly knew I wouldn’t be a typical “mommy blogger” (I do not like it when adults use the word, “mommy,” but I use it here because that’s what those bloggers call themselves).  I couldn’t see parenting the same way those types of bloggers did, because the IF cloud still hung over me almost every day in some way or another – so I just didn’t blog.  But when Elphaba started PAIL – I jumped on it immediately – and I’ve been blogging ever since.

The only thing I wanted to achieve by blogging was the capturing of my emotions, thoughts, and images in one place for myself and for my family.  That is still my goal every time I blog.  I hope that some day, this blog will help my boys understand a little bit more about me – the me that they may not necessarily see as I’m running them to school and back, or tucking them in at night.  I want them to know how it felt to be their mother.  I want them to know that even once they were here, I wasn’t instantly healed of my sadness.  I want them to see that emotions are real, in every form, and that they’re OK.  I also want them to see just what I went through to teach them to sleep, or nap, or eat.  HA!

I have gained so much from blogging – it’s really been a great thing for me.  B used to read my blog all the time, and said it gave him a new perspective on who I am and what goes through my head.  He doesn’t read my blog often anymore, but when he does, he seems a bit more patient with me.  😉  I don’t think he had any idea how hard the IF was on me even after bringing home a happy, healthy, handsome baby.  I have gained peace in our infertility, and I honestly don’t think I would be where I am today without my blog.  I really needed a place to process my thoughts and feelings.  When I say that I’m at peace with our IF, it’s not that I’m over it or forgetting it, but that I’ve accepted it for its role in my life and in my parenting.  I know it’s always going to be there.  I know that even when I KNOW my family is complete, that I’ll worry about how it affects our boys’ families.  I’ll worry about how and when to tell their future wives about our fertility struggles.  I’ll worry about how we’ll pay for their fertility treatments if they inherit MFI.  These are things that aren’t going to go away, and I have a feeling I’ll blog about them in the future.

I expected to blog my feelings and then work through them on my own.  I did not expect to find a network of women who would work through them with me.  That has been the greatest value in blogging that I’ve realized.  I knew I wasn’t alone, but it’s been so nice to be told that I’m not alone.  AND – I have made some great friends through blogging.  When I first started blogging, I posted about my IRL friends being my community.  Many of my URL friends have become my IRL friends whom I consider as some of my closest relationships.  Back when I posted about my IRL friends, I never thought that the commenters on my blog would be folded into my community.  I had no idea.  But today, I rush Matthew to his nap so that I can get on Skype or FB to see who’s there, and to plan the next times we’ll see each other in person.

It’s awesome!

And it’s been life-changing.

Thank you all for being there, and for listening.  Thank you for your friendship.  What started out as a way to process my feelings and document them for my family turned into a way to connect with other women who had walked a similar path.  Connections are good, and as I’ve realized, they’re REAL!