Monday, February 24, 2014

Workin Hard for the Money

But not in that way.  I love to write about my family mostly, things we've been up to, things we're dealing with.  But I very rarely write about my job.  Technically, I have two jobs right now. I teach piano - I have 8 students that I teach every week- and while it takes up a good amount of time, I consider this more of a hobby.  It keeps me playing and learning which I love.

Last June, I started my private practice in counseling.  And I have been surprised by both how hard and easy it has been.  There is SO much involved in starting my own business that I won't get into that and bore you.  I feel grateful for varying experiences I have had in different fields prior to this that helped prepare me a bit, but am still learning a lot as I go.  Thank goodness for nice people who can give me a lot of advice.  It always takes more time than I think, which can be a challenge considering my main priority is to take care of my family.  I never get everything done that I would like, so I have endless lists of ideas, books to read, ways to educate myself, and so on.

My cute little office building.  I share it with three other therapists.  

But . . .it has been easy in that I have been kept very busy with a lot of clients - way more than I ever thought in my first year.  I feel so extremely grateful for how well it's gone.  And I just can't describe how lucky I feel to have my dream job.  I love what I do.  It's still never easy being a working mom, I often feel like I have tough choices to make in how I spend my time.  And I feel torn.  There are a lot of days where I don't want to hassle with childcare or getting myself showered and into my office, but in the end, I come out smiling and feeling lucky.  I feel like I personally push myself and it forces me to grow.
My logo that I use on my brochures and business cards.

***This post is not in any way commenting on working or not working as a mother, simply explaining my gratitude for the blessings in my life; my job is definitely one of them.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Letting Go

I almost titled this post, Let it Go, mostly because Briz sings it ALL of the time and it gets stuck in my head.  And she has added a nice new verbrato every time she sings a song.  I have to hide and laugh, because she is so serious when she sings.

 But this post is a bit more serious.  I have had some insights into my grief lately that I wanted to try to share as concisely as possible.  Since I've been pregnant, my grief has manifested itself differently.  One thing that I have found is that for the most part, I haven't felt anything towards this baby I'm carrying.  I could care less about anything baby related, and I almost dread thinking about her arrival.  Not exactly how you would hope to feel and certainly not how I have felt with my other kids (although I did have my own worries).  This has concerned me, but not enough to push me to figure it out.

I still see a therapist every few months just kind of as a check in, to keep an eye on my grief and help me manage life and take care of myself.  My last appointment came just a few days before I had my 20 week ultrasound.  I shared my apathy with him.  And I shared that I am nervous about this baby taking the place of my forever baby, Holland.  And what I discovered was that in my own way, I am trying to keep Holland alive.  I don't feel like I am generally, because I don't talk about her a lot, I will mention her, but I don't feel like I have been over the top.  But internally I feel this huge obligation to still take care of her in the ways I can, now that she is dead.  Whether that's by visiting her grave, letting people know that I had a daughter that died, or making sure we involve her in family things.  I feel an immense amount of guilt if I fail with one of these things, because I am her Mom and she's my baby and I have to take care of her right?

(the freaky one eye open while she's snoozing).

I had to remind myself that Holland doesn't need me anymore.  She is doing great.  I am her mother, but she doesn't need me and it is impossible to maintain the same kind of relationship with someone that is not physically present.  I have my memories, and I have my sweet experiences with her every now and then.  But that's it.  And by trying to maintain this close relationship, I am trying to keep her alive in a way.  I have been afraid what having another baby would mean to that relationship, and so I think I have just dreaded it.  It's scary to think of letting her go because what does that mean for me?

So often I engage in these behaviors, particularly as a Mom, because Holland died.  Example: I check on Briz in the middle of the night every night.  She doesn't need me to and I certainly never did that before Holland died.  It's not by any means some extreme behavior, but I do it simply as an obligation to Holland, to try to hold on to her and the meaning of her death.  Letting go means that I don't define my behaviors as a mother from her death, that I simply parent as me.  And it means that this baby girl inside of me has nothing to do with Holland.

It will be a process to really let this sink in, but I already feel a bit like the "old Lexie."  And I already feel more open to connecting with this baby girl.  I have a lot of stubborn moments, where I think "No, I can't completely let her go.  It's too hard."  But I am now finally starting to understand what the final phase of acceptance is.  I thought I had already accepted, but being pregnant, and starting a new stage has helped me realize that like always, there is more work to do! :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February Happenings

In addition to Mom trying to not overdo it while Dad works a ridiculous amount of hours at work, here's what we've been up to.

We've been watching the Olympics whenever we can, which is tough since we are cheap and don't have cable.  Briz loves the ice skaters and she has a lot of questions.  She particularly wants to figure out the dynamic between the pairs: are they married, are they in love, are they boyfriend and girlfriend?

Briz started swim lessons.  She is with a boy teacher and all boy friends, but she doesn't seem to mind too much.  She said she wants to wear this swimsuit every lesson because her teacher told her he likes it (she already has a crush on him).  She is such an awesome little swimmer, its fun to see her gain more and more confidence.  

We have loved spending time with the Papworths, now that they live close by.  Little Miles just turned 1 and he absolutely destroyed his cake.  It was the best I've seen by a one year old.

Nick sprained his ankle playing basketball.  My response was, "Well at least we don't have to go to the emergency room."

I visited Briz in her classroom this week, and it was so fun.  I just want her to stay this age forever because she just adores Nick and I.  She wanted to show me off to all of her friends; she was so proud I was there.  And her friends started following me around for some reason.  At one point, I was reading to 10 kids who just started sitting on my lap and wrapping their arms around me.  Love little kids.

We had fun getting ready for Valentines Day.  Briz and I made this about a week before V-day, but Briz was extremely proud of it.  I am starting to realize that there are way too many Holidays which involve kids eating candy.  Not sure who thought of that, but I'm already less enthusiastic about it.  Briz loved writing her Valentines herself, to her friends and teachers.  On V-Day,  for dinner we had pink pancakes with pink whipped cream, and heart shaped strawberries.  We played games after, and I'm pretty sure Briz was on cloud nine.  

I normally really dislike Valentines Day, and its still not my favorite, but this year I felt very grateful for all of the love I feel in my life from Nick and Briz.  They make life fun.   

Monday, February 17, 2014

This Baby

I was trying to think of a post about this pregnancy/baby that summed it up, but then it all seemed very pessimistic, and perhaps one day this kid of mine will be offended.

After my last post, things got better.  Mostly cause I laid on the coast of the Caribbean for a week.  Hard to complain about that.  But here are some updates since . .

- My belly grew a lot in Cancun.  I am now 21 weeks and I feel like I about 30 (or how I have felt in the past at 30 weeks).

- The big news of course was I found out we are having a girl!  I never know what I am going to have.   This is the first pregnancy where I had somewhat of a hunch and I thought it might be a girl.  But I just chalked that up to only having known girls.  I wanted a boy.  I don't really care about this being a girl, I was just bummed because I wanted to feel like I had the freedom to be done with this kid if I wanted to.  I know I still could be, but I think it would make Nick very sad to never have a boy (and me too).

- Even though I was a little bummed, it was so fun watching this crazy little girl.  And she is crazy.  She kicks and punches non stop.  Her hands are always in fists and she is just boxing my uterus all of the time.   She doesn't stop.  This is her fourth ultrasound now and the technicians get very frustrated with her because she has never cooperated and never stopped.  I also loved seeing her sweet little profile, which of course included chubby cheeks. 

(Sidenote, I know people say you can't see much from ultrasounds, and perhaps that may be true with one, but after having 7 or 8 with each child, you get to know them pretty well.  Briz at her 20 weeks had a huge belly - still does.  Holland had really chubby cheeks, and she stayed that way).

- I also got another nice little surprise during my ultrasound.   I found out that I have Total Placenta Previa (I should have known that the baby using my placenta as a bed/trampoline was unusual).  This means that the placenta is covering my cervix completely.  It's fairly common, particularly at this stage, but the fact that it's total makes it a little more unusual.  I will most likely have to have a scheduled C section and will be fairly high risk the third trimester because you can bleed and have early signs of labor.  My doctor already is telling me to take it easy and Nick is getting mad at me for doing too much.  I am okay with the C section but nervous about managing my life for the next 19 weeks.  How the heck do you "take it easy" when you have a busy 4 year old and two jobs?  

At this point, I sort of have a different attitude.  My general response to everything has become, "Whatever."  I don't mean that in an apathetic way, because I do find myself getting more excited about this little girl.  But I just realize over and over how little control I have over things.  So bring on the migraines, the placenta previa, the cholestasis (at least I'm not sick anymore!).  It will just make me love this firecracker even more.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow snow snow snow!!!

Last week we had a great surprise upon returning from 80 degrees in Cancun.  20 degrees in Portland!  That is COLD for here.  I  heard a lot of buzzing about snow but I didn't take it too seriously.  Portlandians are funny when it comes to snow.  They talk it up a lot.  And usually nothing happens, so I just assumed that was still the case.

Thursday morning I got in my car to go to the grocery store and there were a few flakes starting to come down.  When I got to the store, it was mayhem.  You would have thought the world was ending.  I have never seen it that crowded, and it made me laugh (also a bit annoyed).  But as soon as I stepped outside to my car I stopped laughing, because there was a ton of snow on the ground!  It took me over an hour to drive home in what normally takes me about ten minutes.  And I almost got in two car accidents (Portland owns like 2 snow shovels total).

This is when it first started coming down.  It reminded me of being in Utah: snow and construction.

It kept coming down for four 1/2 days!  It was awesome.  We were totally home bound; we went sledding, made snow angels, made a snowman, and I made lots and lots of food.  Of course the best part was Briz was so excited.  Although I am pretty sure her absolute favorite thing was having hot chocolate.  It was such a fun adventure.

By Monday late afternoon, it stated to rain.  Tuesday morning we woke up to hardly any snow on the ground.  I was ready to get back into the routine of things (after being sick and then being gone I was feeling very behind with work and just life in general).  

Every year we hope we get snow once, and this was our perfect fun snow storm.  Everything shuts down and people live a slower pace of life for a little bit.  One of the many reasons I love Portland.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Nick and I wanted to plan a trip for our ten year anniversary, but it turns out that this baby inside my tummy sort of ruined our plans, seeing as it should be popping it right around that time.  We decided to take our anniversary trip early and take a break from the cold, rainy weather.   We looked for a while for the best deal we could find, and just landed on Cancun simply because it was the cheapest.  I didn't have the highest expectations, but thought it would simply be nice to sleep in the sun. 

I was pretty anxious before I left (I always tend to get anxious when I leave Briz).  We had just gotten over being sick (Nick still had a bad cough when we left), and so I was trying to catch up with life from then, let alone get everything ready to be gone for a week.  But once I got on the plane, I felt excited.  I was so spoiled because for most of our flights I sat first class.  Not sure I can go back!

Our hotel was ridiculously nice.  I don't think I have ever stayed in a place this nice before.  Our room was huge and had an amazing view of the ocean.

I could not believe how blue the water was.  And I immediately loved smelling the ocean air.  At night, I loved sleeping with the sliding doors open and listening to the ocean waves.  

We spent most of our days lying out in the sun. The sand was so soft.  And our beach was quite and private.  The water felt like bath water.

We also spent time swimming in the pool when we wanted a break from the sand.  It was fun to just sit in the pool for hours and talk and laugh.

I wasn't sure if Nick would be able to lounge for a week, but I was quite impressed.  Gave me hope for future trips.

Our big adventures were taking the city bus into Wal-mart for food to sneak into our hotel room.  And riding the city bus down South through Playa del Carmen and to Tulum. 

Nobody speaks any English in Cancun, and we don't speak any spanish, so that didn't help us in trying to navigate the local transportation system.  In Tulum, we got a little lost, and ended up walking probably about 7 miles to get to the ruins (my body hurt after that).

But the ruins were amazing.  

And the beach right below the ruins were stunning.

A picture of the temple.

We also ventured over to another beach one day and went boogie boarding.  I went for about 30 minutes and got completely wiped out.  I hate feeling like such a wimp but pregnancy does that to me.  It made me feel a little better when Nick got wiped out.

Even still, it was fun.  Boogie boarding is better without a big belly in the way, but I'll take what I can.

This is the lobby of our hotel, and you can see how big my belly is!  Again, I grew a lot just in the week of being gone.

Our last day Nick had to stay out of the sun because he was sunburned so badly, but I of course wanted as much sun as possible.  We were both in denial about leaving.

A final goodbye to one of the best weeks ever.  It was truly so relaxing and a lot of fun to just be with Nick for a week.  I still kinda like him.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

January Down

January is over.  Overall, I am quite happy about this, because by this time of year I am pretty much done with the cold; ready for spring. 

In looking back over the month, I think its appropriate to look at our enjoyment as an inverted bell curve.  The month started out with excitement and high hopes, but took some big dips, and then ended on a positive.

 We were pretty lame New Years Eve.  I was way too tired and sick to do anything other than sit on my couch.  But Sierra and I watched a movie with Briz, it was a perfect lazy evening.  The next day we were a bit more ambitious and took a trip to the beach.

It was a beautiful day there and I felt lucky to have so many other people to entertain Briz so I could just sit and watch.

Briz is kind of nuts and decided she wanted to go in the water, so the moment we got there, she pulled up her pants, took off her socks and shoes and headed straight for the water.  But she loves the beach.  Even the cold Oregon Coast.  And I love that.

She also loves her Papa.  They can be beach bums together.  Papa considers it his job to find seashells and sand dollars for Briz (for what she calls her "collection").

It's hard to explain how amazingly beautiful it was.  At one point I could hardly tell where the ocean ended and the sky began.

A few days after, we decided to do something we had wanted to do prior to Christmas but never got around to . . . Zoo lights.  Briz LOVED all of the lights, and was constantly picking out her favorite display (the Wizard of Oz won out).  Nick and I were a little less enthused.  We were hungry.

And Briz always has fun with Will and Ella. 

She would not stop giving this Polar Bear a hug, and it was starting to gross me out a bit because the bear did not look super clean.

Briz has been working on her reading and writing lately. She was very proud of herself this one day for writing Sam all by herself. 

The Thaynes invited us for a free day at OMSI, which really translated as a chance for Megan and I to hang out.  It was SO nice to be social (don't feel like I've been too social lately).  

Now comes the down moments.  I was feeling hopeful about this month because I felt SO awful about December, and I was getting closer to my 2nd trimester.  I was still getting migraines, but I thought that didn't seem too bad.  Then, I got hit with the nastiest flu of my life.  I was in bed for 5 days straight with a temperature that would not drop.  I was trying to avoid taking antibiotics, but eventually  had to stay out of the ER.  It took another 4 or 5 days after to get an appetite back.  This is me my first day out of bed, and as you can tell I am pretty excited about life.  I am also showing off my exponentially growing belly.  I am 16 weeks here.

Briz and Nick were sick as well, although thankfully not as bad.  Our first night out since being sick was to the BYU/ Portland game basketball game.

It was one of the craziest games I have ever been to.  Triple overtime and BYU ended up losing.  The game didn't get out until 10:30 p.m.  We were all exhausted (possibly from yelling a lot).   

The next night we put Nick's birthday present to use: Jerry Seinfeld!  It was one of, if not THE funniest night of my life.  I truly didn't expect him to be at his funniest, but he was.  I think I peed my pants twice, and at one point I thought I was going to have a heart attack because I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.

Minus the physical complications, it felt good to laugh so hard.  We needed it after a hard couple weeks.  This was the beginning of the uphill slope for sure.  

The best ending . . . Cancun.  But that deserves its own post.