Friday, April 8, 2016

Crafty Lady

Anyone who knows me already knows this but I am a total "Pinterest mom."  You know, that mom that makes DIY toys for my kid and hand makes gifts and party decorations.   I mean, I made him an elevator out of a cardboard box last year (with The Pilot's help).  I'm secure enough to own up to all of my "labels," including Pinterest mom.  I don't apologize for it because I was a crafty lady before I had Megatron.  I've always been creative.  Opening a new box of Crayola crayons was pure heaven as a kid. Who am I kidding?  I still love a brand new box of crayons. I read this article that put into words who I feel about being a "Pinterest mom." I didn't make 20 feet of paper chains for Megatron's 1st birthday party because I thought he would like it or remember how festive his party was.  I made them because I like to do that kind of thing.  I don't think anything of it when I go to a party and someone hangs up store bought party decorations. I'm not judging anyone for not making random crafty things like I do because not everyone is crafty or has the desire to be.

Before I started my journey as a stay at home mom, I was an event planner.  I frequently used my crafty skills to add personal touches to the events that I planned.  I frequently would bring projects home with me at the end of the day so I could use my craft supplies to add some flair to board member gift bags or vendor thank you cards.  I didn't have to, I wanted to because that's just who I am.  So now that I don't have a professional outlet, I craft at home for my kid.  I give handmade gifts.  I make stuff just for myself.  I make stuff because it gives me an outlet from the monotony of staying home and raising an extra special kid.  Time spent crafting is "me" time.  It's no different than when I go for a run really.  Running and crafting helps clear my head and makes me feel whole again.  It's no secret that I've had a hard time adjusting to staying home with Megatron.  It wasn't part of the plan and I knew I wouldn't be completely fulfilled "just" staying home with him.  I'm making the most of it because I know it's the right thing, right now.  I'm finding a much better balance of getting "me" time and making sure Megatron isn't running with scissors and is happy and healthy.  That's because I'm making more time for running and crafting.

So now to where I do that crafty stuff...

When we first walked through the house we ended up buying four years ago, there was one bedroom that basically sold the house for me.  We liked the first floor but when we walked up the stairs, there was a bed room that screamed "craft room!"  Yes, it really did.  If you are at all creative, you know what I mean.  At my condo that I owned when I met The Pilot, I had a craft space but it was in the basement without any windows. Not very inspiring.  This house had an extra bedroom upstairs with a big, east facing window.  We knew we wouldn't need it as a bedroom and The Pilot was happy because I was happy (smart man!) so we bought the house and bam, I had my own craft space with a window!  The craft room is also my "Disney" room where I hide all my treasures so people don't walk into our living room and feel like they are in the middle of a Magic Kingdom gift shop.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I did marry someone who simply tolerates my love of Disney.  And if he let me have my Disney collection all over the house, I would have to agree to have model airplanes all over the house.  Marriage is all about compromise, is it not?  So my Disney collection decorates the walls and shelves of the craft room but the furniture itself was a random assortment of college particle board shelving and hand-me-downs.  It was all mostly functional but it didn't feel like a grown up, inspiring space.

In the fall, The Pilot and I borrowed a larger car and made a (kid-free) trip to Ikea (currently, the closest store is about 90 minutes away so it's a production to go there).  I was hoping to find a new craft table.  I figured I would end up with an inexpensive desk and that would be that.  Until we got to the kitchen section of the store and I saw a giant kitchen island.  I fell in love with it.  The Pilot knew it.  We went back to the desks and I sat at probably a dozen different desks but I kept thinking about that island.  It cost more than we had planned to spend and I was about ready to settle for a simple desk when The Pilot gave the thumbs up.  It was going to be both my Christmas and birthday present....for the next 3 years but I was so pumped.  That bad boy went home with us.  It took us awhile to put it together because it was a 2-person job and finding free time when The Pilot and I are both home was a challenge.  So we finally got it put together.  What we didn't realize when we bought it was that it was an unfinished butcher block work surface so it would need sealed first.  OK, no biggie.  Except once we got the sealant and read the instructions, we realized it was a couple months long process.  What??  I wanted to do crafty stuff NOW!  But if we spent that much on the table, it needed to be done right so the surface didn't warp. So every couple days, I lightly sanded and added another coat of sealant. Until finally, FINALLY! The table is assembled, sealed and ready for crafting!
Those bins under the table hold all my fabric.  The bottom shelf has all of Megatron's "quiet" activities.  The things we take on car tides, long doctor visits/procedures and restaurants.  :)

I decided that a new table meant the entire room needed a mini make over.  One big thing that this bright room last lacking was lighting.  Even though the window is great, I often have to do my crafting once Megatron is down for the night.  I've been using 2 lamps but they cast all kinds of shadows so it wasn't ideal.  Luckily I come from a family of electricians.  My uncle and cousin came over and ran electricity through the attic and installed a ceiling light for me!  I am ridiculously excited about this!

I made a new window treatment because the old one was left over from the condo and really didn't do anything to jazz up the room so I bought a 1/2 yard of fabric and made a simple valance.  I also wanted to tie in the fact that it was a creative space and not just a Disney room with a craft table.  So I customized some cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby to spell the word 'Create' on the wall.  I used fabric scraps, buttons, washi tape, paint and paper to make each letter different. 

The closet is full of my craft supplies but was a little out of control so I purged a lot (that's a post for another day!) and re-used some storage containers from other parts of the house to get a little more organized.  I tend to hoard anything that I think I can make something out of so my stash gets out of control easily.  I had an entire box of scraps of ribbon...but you'd be surprised how often I end up using random pieces of ribbon!  So I wrapped the scraps around craft sticks, pinned them and placed them in a jar on the table. Now it's a pretty way to keep them organized.
 Any respectable type A human owns a label maker.  These are more for me but one can hope that clear, labeled bins will one day help Megatron put his own crap away.  One can hope....
If you are crafting with kids, I highly recommend a vinyl table cloth.  I bought one at Target last year on clearance after Easter and I cover our kitchen table whenever Megatron is painting (which I still do with him strapped into his booster seat.  I am type A after all, I can't have complete chaos when paint is involved.)

 
This over the door organizer was actually a wedding gift.  We got a gift certificate to the Container Store and I found this. It's  designed for a pantry but it's perfect for holding paints and glue!

For the most part, I like my supplies to be out of sight but there are certain things I like to have at my reach at all times (scissors, tape, tape measure, pens, my nicer paint brushes).  I found a tin to keep those things in on the table also.  It also keeps those things out of Megatron's reach (for now at least).

During a previous Ikea trip, I had fallen for a little metal cart but at the time, I couldn't think of a reason I needed it or a place to put it.  But this trip though, I got sucked in and realized it would be a perfect addition to the craft room.  I like to have access to supplies I need but don't want them on my actual work space so this teal cart is perfect.  The lower shelves have things for Megatron and I left the top shelf empty to use while I'm working on a project.

When we went to Ikea, we also wanted to find a small table and chair for Megatron.  I wanted him to have a space to sit at in the craft room too.  I had this fantasy that we could both be in the room, crafting together.  I wasn't sure if he would be into it but I figured a little table would have decent re-sale value if he didn't use it much. I'm soooo glad we did find a little table because it does work!  Megatron does sit and stand at the table and work on crafts and other "quiet" activities. Not for long but long enough for me to get organized for my next project.


Sitting at his table working on fine motor skills...pushing pipe cleaners through a dollar store colander.
We put his table together first so for awhile there was a mostly empty room with a tiny little table in it.  It was nice to put a few things on the table him though and work on the rest of the room.

So that's a good portion of the room.  The other side of the room is still a bit of a mess.  It's been acting as my purging staging area.  Anyone who has read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up will understand, but like I said, that's a post for another day. We also have plans for one more Ikea purchase to transform the space from "college mismatch" to "a creative grown up works here."  Gotta keep saving the pennies for that though.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 Superhero Run

Megatron and I ran a local 5k last weekend.  It was only a couple miles from my house (if I was training for a long distance race right now, I probably would have run TO the race, done the race and then run back home) and it supported one of the local high schools...which I happened to graduate from a really really long time ago.  None of my usual crew was doing the race so I decided I was NOT going to make it a fun run, even though it was called the Superhero Run.  I was going to run all out and see what I could do, despite having to push the stroller.

After I unloaded the stroller and Megatron and his breakfast and his meds (naturally the race started right at the time he needed his immunosuppressant, but we are both used to meds on the run these days),  I put on my superhero tutu... Back up!  I was also wearing socks with capes and wings, a Wonder Woman shirt and a crazy headband.  This was all part of my Halloween costume but Megatron ended up with a nasty cold and cough the night of the Halloween party we had been invited to so I never got to wear it.  So I was pretty excited to wear it for the race.  And I fit right in.  Lots of people, adults and kids alike, were wearing various superhero costumes.  I clearly take my running very seriously.
Yup, capes AND wings!
It's like a jazzed up Pope mobile.
Unfortunately though, when I did a warm up run, the tutu just wasn't working.  I knew it would drive me nuts, even if it was only 3 miles.  I decided to still keep things festive so I tied the tutu around the handle of the stroller.  Ultimately it still drove me nuts during the race but at least it was manageable while running. As we headed towards the start line, I realized I had left my Garmin at home!  Ack!  I've never ever forgotten my Garmin for a race!  I probably could have driven home to get it but I had a great parking space and I knew I would need it after the race because I had a feeling Megatron would throw a tantrum when it came time to leave.  And anyone with a tantrum-ing toddler knows you sometimes need a quick escape path! So I decided to just run based on feel (something I suck at) and do my best to not slow down.  


He was all snuggly and warm inside there.  He just chilled and enjoyed his breakfast while I worked my tail off!
The race was pretty small (around 200) and I could kind of tell who the "serious" runners were based on where they lined up at the start.  I decided to start pretty close to the line because one, there was still a gaggle of kids in front of me but there were tons more behind me.  And I knew that I did not want to get stuck behind too many kids, not because I didn't want them to slow me down but more because I was afraid I'd accidentally hit them with the stroller.  Kids tend to run super fast for 20 feet and then STOP.  Then they do that over and over again the entire race.  I'm short.  Kids are short.  When I'm pushing the stroller, I can't see the front wheel  so if someone stops or slows down suddenly in front of me, I can't always judge how much space I have. 

The first 100 yards were on a really narrow sidewalk and I was worried it was going to be a looooong race because I was already getting trapped behind slower people but it was too narrow for me to pass and I can't off road with the stroller (that sucker is super top heavy and tips easily).  Luckily the path widen so it got a lot easier to pass.  I tried not to go out too fast but I was anxious to spread out a little so I could focus on running and stop worrying about running over kids.  It was crazy windy that morning so I was just waiting for the course to turn into the wind.  That's when I realized that it wasn't the head on winds that I needed to worry about.  It wasn't constant wind, we were getting random, strong gusts and it was the gusts coming from the side that caused me all kinds of trouble.  The wind would gust at the side of the stroller and pull me right along with it.  There were quite a few times I had to push using both hands.  Have you ever tried running with your arms tied to your sides?  It's hard.  Your arms propel you forward so not being able to swing at least one of my arms made it extra difficult.  Luckily the course was winding around so we changed directions enough that I eventually would get a break from the gusts. 

It was an out and back course and that was something else that was a challenge with the stroller.  The path narrowed again but it wasn't an issue because the crowd and spaced out but the turn around was a cone in the middle of the sidewalk.  I had to do a complete U-turn with the stroller on a narrow sidewalk.  I had to slow to almost a walk so the stroller wouldn't tip and when I did, no one could go around me because it was so narrow.  I went as fast as I could without tipping the stroller and picked up the pace as soon as I made it around.  I don't think anyone was too bent out of shape about it because there were some kids right behind me and when I got a look at some of the adults who were behind me, they just seemed to be shooting the breeze with their friends and kids.  No one back there was there to "race."

I thought I would be more thrown off by not knowing my pace since I didn't have my Garmin but that didn't bother me so much.  What I really wanted to know was how much further I had!  The course had a 1 mile marker but that was the only one I saw and to be honest, it didn't seem like it was accurately placed.  I couldn't quite judge how far I had left to know if I should slow down so I could make it to the finish without a break or if I was close enough to give it the gas.  I just kept hanging on and hanging on until I saw the finish.  One benefit of it being a small race was the fact that I started so close to the front.  I knew that I would only be a couple seconds off the clock time.  So when I came hauling into the finish line and saw the clock, I knew I had a PR.  I wasn't sure how much of one exactly but I knew I had done it!  I beat my Band on the Run time!

I really gave it the gas when I could see the finish so when I did cross, I was super winded and felt a little sick.  I walked a little but by then, Megatron knew we had finished and was starting to whine about getting out.  I had promised him he could get out when I finished running.  Luckily they had set up a bounce house at the finish so I took him out of the stroller, shoved him inside the bounce house and tried to catch my breath and not puke.  Funny thing about the bounce house was that there weren't any other kids inside and Megatron is too small to actually make it bounce. He's still a little too uncoordinated/weak to stand up to bounce but he likes to just sit down and let the bigger kids bounce him.  So he just sat in the middle looking around, waiting for another kid to come in.  Luckily one finally did so he was happy.  I recovered and he surprisingly, came out of the bounce house without me threatening him like I usually do (home boy LOVES to bounce!).  Probably because he knew that meant he could do to the playground next.  The race was at a local park that has one of his favorite playgrounds.  I promised we could play after the race and I was quickly regretting that promise.  The wind was picking up and it was COLD.  I was starting to freeze after getting sweaty during the race.  After only 10 minutes, I was shivering so bad I had to haul Megatron away to the car.  He was not very happy.  Oh well, mama couldn't feel her hands!
Standing...not bouncing. 
Once in the car, I cranked the heat and pulled up the race web site on my phone.  I love race technology/chip timing these days!  Instant race results! "Back in the day, I remember when 5ks weren't time an if they were, you had to rip a tag off your bib at the finish line and they recorded the time that way," said in an old lady voice!  I was able to see my results while still sitting in the parking lot.  33:33 was my finish time...over 4 minutes faster than my previous PR!!  I was pretty damn surprised.  So surprised that I questioned the accuracy of the course.  I thought for sure it had to have been shorter than 3.1 miles for me to have been that much faster.  But someone else who did the race said that their Garmin showed 3.09 miles.  That's close enough to accurate in my book and I probably did go further because I passed quite a few people.  Maybe it was the wings on my socks.... My strategy of going fast and hanging on for as long as I could paid off.  Naturally thought I'm curious how fast I can run a 5k without the stroller!

I doubt I've ever placed that high in my age group!!

It's like riding a bike...in water

I went swimming this morning.  At 5:30 am.  Because in a little over 4 months, I will be doing the swim leg of a 1/2 Ironman.  That's a 1.2 mile swim in open water.  Oh, and did I mention that the last time I swam laps was 3 years ago?  I even blogged about it because I was 22 weeks pregnant at the time. 

I was pleasantly surprised again (like I was back then) at how things went in the pool.  I thought for sure I wouldn't even be able to make it one length of the pool before I tried to inhale while underwater or needed to hang onto the side of the pool.  But that didn't happen.  It really is like riding a bike, you don't really forget how.  It all came back to me and all the running has certainly helped my cardio because I was even able to do 200 yards before I needed a break.  Don't get me wrong, I was crazy winded and I definitely wasn't going fast.  I was even using my open water trick of rolling to look at the ceiling to take an extra second to inhale (that is much more calming in open water because looking at the sky has a different effect than looking up at an old natatorium ceiling).

Overall, it was a great swim.  I have the opportunity to swim with my team two days a week but because it's at 5:30 am, I'll only be able to attend when The Pilot is home.  I doubt I'll find a babysitter willing to come over at 5 am to stay with Megatron.  If only the baby monitor worked 18 miles away...I was back home before he even woke.   Hopefully I'll still be able to go a couple times a month until the weather warms up and we start doing more open water swims.  I know I won't win. I know I won't place.  I doubt I'll be the last one out of the water, but even if I am, that's ok.  My only two goals are to not drown and to finish the 1.2 mile course under one hour.  That's the time cut off.  If I don't finish, I'll be disqualified and my teammates can't even start their legs of the race.  And that's not gonna happen!

Monday, February 29, 2016

An Ode to My FuelBelt

My FuelBelt and I have been on quite a journey!


It's been with me for nearly every mile (except the stroller runs) I have covered on foot for the last 10+ years.  I don't usually track yearly mileage but I can say with certainty that it has THOUSANDS of miles on it.  It's held strong through (at least) two full marathons, (at least) ten half marathons, half way through a pregnancy, weight gain and weight loss.  It's been there for my race walking days, my run/walk days, my triathlon days, my "oh my gawd I hate running but I love running but I hate it" and during my great comeback of 2015.  It has been present for every single one of my PRs to date.  It's carried my water, my ShotBloks, my phones, my inhaler, my Chapstick, a marble (in case I lose my own), a PB&J sandwich one time, back up safety pins from when I was coaching (inevitably someone would forget theirs), sunscreen for the EXTRA long coaching days, my gloves and arm sleeves for when I overdressed and started peeling gloves off.  The bottles have been replaced twice.  The caps have been replaced once more. One bottle was sacrificed in the great Porta-Potty incident of 2014. I've had to cut fraying fabric off of it.  The FuelBelt even carried a banana for more miles than I'd care to admit while coaching in Cleveland.  There were even bets placed on how long the belt could carry that banana.  I lost the bet but it wasn't the belt's fault.  There was actually a medical emergency that I ran to help and the banana was run over by an ambulance.  True story.
RIP banana.
That FuelBelt has been damn faithful to me.  Which is why it pains me to have to retire it.  A couple weeks ago I went for a run and it would.not.stay up.  It literally slid off my waist, over my butt and would have gone right to the ground had I not caught it.  I had to hold it up while running back to my car where I abandoned it and went back out to finish my run.  My 40 pound weight loss (!!) has proven too much for my poor FuelBelt.  No amount of adjusting will keep it on my waist anymore.  :(

You've done good though, my friend!  I'll always have fond memories of our time together.  But it's time for you to rest now.   I hope you view this transition as a wonderful send off into the sunset and not like you are getting replaced by a younger, prettier model.  But you kind of are.  I took a new FuelBelt for a 5 am running date recently.  And the bright and shiny new belt stayed in place.  The new belt still has big shoes to fill, and needs to prove it's worth still, but staying in place is the first hurdle any FuelBelt of mine must tackle.  Here's to the next 10 years of my athletic adventures!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Two Years S/P

Two years!  It was two years ago today that Megatron got his new big boy liver.  I really don't think I can put it much better than I did when I wrote last year's "liver day" post. Here we are though.  This year was even better than last.  Our challenges this year have been 95% normal toddler stuff!  Dealing with tantrums and new found independence, trying to understand his evolving English skills.  We are almost on autopilot when it comes to his transplant related things.  Sure, keeping track of meds and insurance and lab work is a lot of work but it's become second nature now.  It's just part of our routine.  It gets old some days but honestly, it's a lot like doing laundry or washing dishes.  You don't want to do it but you have to do it, so you just do.


Megatron's liver is still plugging along like it should!  A liver that's in it's 30s but is thriving in a 2 year old's body.  What a wild concept.  Never for a moment do we take for granted what an amazing gift The Cousin gave to our family.  I have my days like any parent does.  Days I'm exhausted and my patience is all out but even on those days, I don't lose sight of the fact that without the gift Megatron received, he wouldn't be here.  I wouldn't have the privilege of being Megatron's mom anymore.  And boy is it a fun job sometimes!  There are just enough fun and sweet moments with him that make all the hard times worth it. The Pilot and I are having a blast right now with Megatron.  He's interacting with us more than ever and his speech improves daily. He's such a funny little kid and we know we are so lucky to be his parents.  We are lucky that he's tough as nails and somehow held on despite a failing liver.  We are lucky and thankful that we had a very medically uneventful year!

As I hope we continue to do each year on Megatron's liver day, we have been making the rounds to try to do two things: Thank the people who have helped us on this journey, and take the opportunity to share our story with the public and stress the importance of being a registered organ donor. We couldn't have survived this without help or without organ donation! We've been mailing thank you cards and celebrating with those closest to us.  I recently spoke at a Ronald McDonald House fundraiser.  And Megatron?  He's being treated to Daniel Tiger LIVE!  If anyone has toddlers, you will know that this might be the highlight of his life so far.  Never mind that new liver, just show him is favorite Mr. Roger's Neighborhood friends. Like any normal, healthy toddler!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Updates

I finally got around to doing another "day in the life" post about Megatron but I haven't really updated much on what's going on for myself.  Because the world doesn't always revolved around Megatron.  Ha.  Slow clap.

I'm now about 7 months into Weight Watchers and I'm soooo close to hitting the 30 pound mark.  I've officially lost all of the baby weight (not pregnancy weight but the "oh my gawd, my kid has a life threatening disease and I'm living on hospital food and stress" baby weight.) plus some.  I'm the lightest I've been since probably my freshman year of college.  I have roughly another 10 pounds to go before I will be smack in the middle of the healthy BMI range for my height.  I won't lie, it feels AMAZING!  Amazing in terms of how I feel physically because I'm running faster than I ever have before and with less effort.  I have more energy, which is helpful now that Megtron runs around a full speed.  Amazing in terms of my emotional health because I feel fit and strong instead of jiggly and sluggish and that alone does wonders for the psyche. And while I've never really focused too much on numbers, I've dropped 2 sizes.  Once I hit my goal weight, I'll be in single digit sizes for the first time since high school.  I never expected to see that number again! 

It hasn't been easy.  At all.  Especially since around Thanksgiving when Weight Watchers changed their point system.  I was so successful on the old system that I was reluctant to the change but I tried to embrace it and get on board.  And failed.  I hated it.  I felt deprived all the time (while it was hard before, I never felt like I was starving or depriving myself) and that was just irritating.  I got a horrible sinus infection around the same time so I ate a bunch of comfort food and it was like opening Pandora's box.  I had a hard time getting back at it, especially since it was so much more difficult than the previous point system.  I'll be honest, I still don't like it.  At all.  But I'm so close to my goal weight, that I'm forging ahead.  I've done much better the last 2 weeks and while I don't weigh in again until Tuesday, I know I will be down. 

While I haven't posted anything about running in awhile, I'm still at it, as usual.  I actually did a 7 mile (plus some because the course was way long) race today.  Weird distance but it was cheap and my friends were all doing it.  I had planned to run it with Megatron in the stroller but it was absolutely frigid so he stayed home with grandma.  I don't have any other running races scheduled for the year yet so I've been hanging out around 3-4 miles for my short runs and anywhere from 5-8 for my long runs.  I need to sit down and decide what races I want to do and what is in the budget.  Especially since I dropped a decent chunk of change to do a half Ironman relay later this year.  Yup, you read that right.  This former Gym Class Dropout is registered to do the swim leg of a 70.3 mile triathlon.  I'm not even doing to running leg!  I am doing the leg that will be most difficult for me to train for because I can't exactly swim laps with Megatron.  Well I'm sure I could pull him in a boat like Team Hoyt but I doubt he would sit still long enough. 1.2 miles of swimming and I haven't swam laps of any kind in 3 years? Why not, when have I ever shied away from a challenge?  Ha!  I haven't started training for it yet since it's in August but I'll definitely be posting about that progress.

So that brings me to my other challenge...one of the biggest challenges I've ever had to tackle.  PTSD.  Like I mentioned in that post, it's been a process trying to deal with and let go of some of that trauma.  I don't know why, but I'm incredibly hard on myself.  It is like I have an inner mean girl trying to shame me when I have flashbacks.  Which is sooo not helpful.  Instead of being kind to myself and letting myself feel the emotions as they happen, I just get angry and annoyed that my brain is still pulling up scenes form the time when Megatron was sick.  And when I say scenes, I'm not exaggerating in that that my brain is able to play it over just as if it were happening again.  I can close my eyes and suddenly I can actually feel myself sitting in the ICU.  I can smell it.  I can hear every beep of Megatron's IV and feeding pumps and hear rate and pulse oxygen monitors as well as in the surrounding rooms.  I can recall specific conversations with doctors and nurses (but yet if someone were to ask me about a specific moment, I have a hard time remembering the details).  It's certainly getting easier though.  Instead of flashbacks happening every night, it's now about once a week which means I'm sleeping much better these days!  Or sometimes I'll have a fleeting moment during the day.  Seeing/hearing helicopters, especially if I can recognize it as a MedFlight, makes my heart ache.  Same with ambulances (coincidentally, it was 2 years ago today that Megatron and I both added "first ambulance ride" to each of our baby books). 

I felt like I was making great progress but had a bit of a setback a couple months ago when I had to have my own endoscopy (I've had reflux ever since I got pregnant with Megatron and I'm finally getting around to trying to take care of that).  Something about that endoscopy was a trigger for me.  It physically made me ache to remember how many times Megatron has had scopes and other procedures and surgeries.  There I was in a room having the exact procedure my infant had had done multiple times.  It sucked.  I wasn't sleeping again and then when it came time to have an additional test to find the cause of my reflux, I had a complete panic attack and couldn't complete the test.  Which just made me angry and frustrated and continued the cycle of not sleeping and having vivid flashbacks.  I was a mess again.  It was understandable, and probably not a surprise to anyone who knows our story, that something about that environment would stir up some bad memories but that mean girl is just so impatient and frustrate that this is still such a big challenge for me. But I did what I do, I worked through it.  Ran through it (my poor running partners). Cried through it.  And I'm finally back to a much better place.  There is still work to be done but I'm plugging along.  And trying to be much kinder to myself!  The rest of the world seems to be giving me all kinds of grace so the pressure I'm putting on myself to get my act together is all me, so it's time to be a little nicer and more patient.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Day in the Life: 2.5 years

The last "day in the life" post was back in March!  Megatron was still so much a baby!  Now he's 2.5 and he's all toddler for sure!  That means it was even harder to take pictures because the kid is wild and I feel like all I do is chase him and clean up after him.  But I gave it a try a couple weeks ago(it's taken me that long to come back and type up everything!)  because I do want to record what our days are like because he won't always be this small.  Or this wild. 

I got up at 6:30 and came downstairs to feed the cat.  If I don't feed her first, she starts pawing on not just my bedroom door but if she's really angry, she starts pawing on Megatron's door and meowing in the hallway.  I came back upstairs and got dressed, skipping a shower because I had plans to run later.

I gathered up the laundry, hauled it to the basement and got the first load started.  I went back upstairs and cleaned the toilet in our master bathroom.  I straightened things up a little in our bedroom and watered the plants.  I headed back to the basement to gather up some things I had boxed up to donate.  I also straightened up the basement.  Out of sight, out of mind rings true and every couple months our basement ends up looking like a disaster.  I also gathered up a big bag of dead batteries that needed to be recycled.

I could hear Megatron starting to stir over the baby monitor so my mad dash to get things done before he woke up was coming to an end.  I got his meds ready (He's currently taking 2 liquid meds daily and one capsule.  Then on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays he takes an additional liquid med.).  I mixed up some formula and made a mental note to schedule his first dentist appointment for after the first of the year.  He's still drinking the hypo-allergenic formula and between being so sick when his teeth were starting to come in, taking tons of harsh meds and now the formula, I worry about his teeth.
I remembered that I ran the dishwasher before I went to bed the night before so I opened the door and pulled the drawers out to shake off some of the water.  I just left the door open so I wouldn't forget to unload it (I HATE when I do that).
I could hear him starting to talk to himself so I grabbed an egg from the fridge along with some red bell pepper and mushrooms and a pan so when I came back down I would have everything for my breakfast ready to go.
I got him up around 8:30 (which is a little later than usual for him, but it was nice to get so much done before he got up!).  When I opened his door, he immediately said "mama, hi."  I love it!  He's been in speech therapy for several months now and combining words into short sentences was where he was lagging but a couple weeks ago he seemed to figure it out and now I am hearing daily improvements.

I got him dressed and we slooooowly made our way downstairs.  Like most toddlers, he's very easily distracted.  He's also still mastering the stairs.  While it would be so much easier and faster to pick him up, I hold his hand while he carefully takes one step at a time.  We found out recently that he does know how to do it on his own if the handrail is low enough.  He proved it at a playground and then again at a physical therapy evaluation.  He still has some weakness in his torso/hips so he needs something low enough for him to reach so he can help himself push and pull to navigate the stairs.

 
Once downstairs, I threw a allergy friendly waffle in the toaster and worked on making myself a scrambled egg with veggies.  He requested "faafer" on his waffle which in his world means syrup.  I have no idea why or how but that's how it comes out.  Megatron is a very slow eater usually.  He takes his time so I'm usually chomping at the bit to get other things done.  Today he started saying "mow siyen nigh" which is obviously "more silent night."  He loves that song!  It's probably because it's one of the few lullaby-like songs I can sing off the top of my head without any music to prompt me.  I've been singing it to him since he was an infant.  Well now that it's Christmastime, he's hearing much MUCH better versions of it and has taken a liking to Kelly Clarkson's version that I found on YouTube.  So while he rocked out to Silent Night and ate his waffle, I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher.  I stopped briefly when his immunosuppressant alarm on my phone went off. I gave him the capsule (which he still chews, and thus why I worry about his teeth).

Once he was finished, I wiped him off and set him down to play while I ran upstairs and brushed my teeth.  Once I came back down, I grabbed his diaper bag and my wallet and loaded the car with the bag and the boxes of things to donate.  I had to chase him down to get his shoes on but soon we were out the door.

I dropped off the boxes at the donation place and then we headed for the library.  Megatron recognizes the parking lot and immediately starts saying his version of "library" immediately followed up with "puppy, naanee door," which is "button, magic door."  Another one of those weird toddler things.  Button always comes out sounding like puppy.  Anyways, he loves pushing the handicap button to open doors and he's starting to remember which places have buttons.  So he knew just by the parking lot that he was going to get to push the "puppy."  We had a couple minutes to spare before toddler story time started so I grabbed a couple books for him and the he helped me "pay" for them (that's what he calls it at least).  

See the blue tape on the floor?  Kids aren't supposed to cross that line so there are always parents fetching little ones who are standing right under the librarian's toes.
He did great at story time but he did NOT want to get back into the car. And getting a toddler into a car seat who doesn't want to be in a car seat is like a round of  WWE.  We press onward.  We stop at Batteries Plus to see if they can replace the battery in my car key fob.  I didn't realize how dependent I was on that thing to lock and unlock my car until it quit working.  And after only making a couple stops and circling the car about 12 times to get the kid in and out, I was annoyed that Batteries Plus was a priority.  While they worked on my key, I sorted the dead batteries into their recycle bins.  All while trying to keep Megatron from eating any batteries or knocking over any displays.  We had to wait what felt like an eternity in toddler minutes so he was restless.  And then he started to swing at me to show his frustration.  While I fully understand his hitting is usually because he's frustrated and doesn't have the self control or vocabulary to manage his frustration, we have a zero tolerance policy for hitting.  It didn't matter that we were in the middle of Batteries Plus but home boy got a time out.  He had to sit down against their front windows for 2 minutes while he pulled it together and told me he was sorry.

Once that fun was over and my key was working (thank you, jayzus for technology!), it was back in the car.  I had one last Christmas gift to buy and the only place I could get what I needed was the mall.  Boy do I hate the mall.  But it couldn't be avoided so I planned it for a weekday morning with hopes that it would be a very quick trip.  We ended up entering the mall right were Santa was and there wasn't a line so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone.  We walked up and a lady showed me a laminated card and asked me which package we'd like to purchase.  $24.99 for the cheapest package which only included 2 prints?  Hell no. I asked if Megatron could just say hello and she said "of course, it's always free to just talk to Santa.  But no personal cameras or cell phones."  Well Merry Christmas.  So Megatron walked up, gave Santa a high five and started screeching about the "yayayo," which he caught sight of behind Santa.  Santa was obviously confused so I translated, "He wants to ride that escalator behind you.  In fact, that's probably all he would like for Christmas is to ride the elevators and escalators all day."  "Ho, Ho, Ho."  And we went on our merry way.  The mall was dead so I left the stroller at the bottom of the escalator and I made my kid's day by riding up and then right back down the escalator.  Oh to be so easily entertained.  We busted through the mall, picked up the gift and got the heck out of there. 
Eehrmagawd, mama!!!
On our way home I realized I still needed to pick up all of his meds from the pharmacy and that I really didn't want to have to go back out after his nap.  So it was off to CVS, our second home.  I'm usually there twice a month still.  They know us well, except for the newest pharmacist, who even though he's been there for several months, still doesn't know us and always forgets to put the stoppers in the med bottles.  Without them, I can't accurately dose his meds.  I go bat sh$# crazy if I make it all the way home before I realize they aren't in the bag.  After double checking everything before we left the counter, it was BACK in the car and we headed for home.

It was fairly late so I was in a rush to get lunch on the table.  And in the time it took me to reheat some leftovers for both of us, Megatron received not one but TWO time outs.  The second came as I tried to put him in his booster seat and he hit me for no apparent reason.   Sigh.
Time out with his bib on. And no, he doesn't always just sit still.  I'm often putting him back where I sat him and biting my tongue so I can keep with my Super Nanny time out method.
We ate lunch without incident and once we were done, he ran off to play while I cleaned up the kitchen and sorted through his meds and put them away.  I gave Megatron a warning that we would be going upstairs in a few minutes so he knew that nap time is imminent.  Yeah.  The warning didn't work because a few minutes later, he was very uncooperative when it came to heading upstairs (usually he goes right up).  He hit me yet again and that was enough for me.  I was over him completely.  I wrestled him in his SleepSack (a wearable blanket for those don't know) and put him in his crib without reading a story, which sent him over the edge.  He carried on screaming and crying for probably 10 minutes (Which for him, is a long time.  His hissy fits are usually very short lived) before he fell asleep.

I took a breather and checked my e-mail and Facebook before getting back to my to-do list.  First I noticed something in the living room.  The LittlePeople school bus was in the ball pit and it reminded me of The Magic School Bus and my imagination took my back to 3rd grade and I wanted to see if Ms. Frizzle was driving.  Who's with me??

I snapped out of it and went to the basement to deal with the laundry again.  I also cleaned the litter boxes while I was down there.  I headed back upstairs to clean up a LittlePeople doll house that my brother's kids handed down to us.  We were planning to give it to Megatron for Christmas (taking full advantage of the fact that he has no idea what new or used means).  We decided it was going on close to 10 years old so it was due for a whole house scrub.  Armed with hospital grade antibacterial wipes and q-tips, I went to it.  I did stop at one point and realize how odd my life has turned out.  I was scrubbing a LittlePeople toilet with a q-tip.

Those LittlePeople live like animals!

Once the house was spotless, I moved on to wrapping Christmas gifts.  The cat decided to join me.  Sometimes she also takes advantage of the kid-free time and will follow me around, stealing head scratches along the way.  I took a quick break and ran to the basement to deal with laundry and cursed the dryer because for some reason it was taking forever to dry.
Enjoying the quiet before the next round of toddler tornadoes.
Megatron woke up and after a diaper change, we went downstairs.  Sometimes he perks right up after a nap and is back to running at full speed.  Sometimes he's not and today was a day like that.  So I took advantage of him not trying to hit me and cuddled with him on the couch while he had a snack. I even turned on a show, which probably only happens a couple times a week.  Or when I've been alone for 5 days straight, at my wits end and need a break and the TV buys me 10 minutes of quiet.  Yup, 10 minutes is about all the TV is worth.  Megatron just doesn't seem all that enthralled with TV.  Now watching videos of himself on an iPhone, he will do just about anything you ask if watching  iPhone videos is the reward.

Even though I didn't want to skip out on cuddles, no one else was going to make dinner for us so it was up to me. I mixed up more formula for him and then I made myself a veggie pasta with zucchini and feta and then made him a allergy friendly veggie pasta with chicken.  It's still a pain sometimes and it's always a lot of work, but I've been cooking Megatron's special meals for a year now so it's just part of the routine now.  I try hard to have a couple meals that we can all eat but that doesn't happen often.  I portioned his out and put most of it in the freezer to pull out on busy days.


While making dinner, I had to chase both Megatron and the cat out of the kitchen multiple times.  I hate having either under my feet while I'm cooking.  Both must have sand in their ears because neither of them seem to get the point. 

Yeah, don't use the mesh strainer at my house without washing it first.
We finally sit down to eat, which was uneventful.  Megatron was taking his sweet time and while it might be "better" to just sit with him and let him finish, I'm a single parent more days than not.  If I want to get any sleep at all, I have to be efficient.  I feel like the pace slows down significantly when The Pilot is home.  I start cleaning up my cooking mess and get the dishwasher loaded while Megatron and I chat about "noonoos" (noodles) and "mow mee" (more milk).  Once he's done, I put his dishes in the dishwasher and then let him turn it on.  He loves when I point to the buttons and then he is allowed to push them to turn it on.  Since the kitchen is already cleaned up, I sit down with him in the family room and play with him for a little while.  

We hear the dryer buzz so he comes down to the basement with me and "helps" me by taking everything out of the dryer and about 1/4 makes it into the clothes basket.  We head back upstairs with the clean kitchen laundry (we hardly use paper towels so we have small towels that I made out of terry and flannel that we use to wipe counters down/dry fruits and veggies, etc).  And for some reason, he starts to meltdown again.  More hitting.  More time outs.  While he is in his various time outs, I fold the kitchen towels and start downloading a video on the iPad so I can watch something while I run on the treadmill.  And by that point, I am counting down the minutes until he's in bed and I can go run.  So much so that I take another breather and run up and put on my running clothes.

I got him into his pajamas and then had to pin him to the floor to brush his teeth.  Sigh.  Some nights he sits and lets you brush his teeth without issue and then other nights you would think I was trying to pull his teeth out one at a time the way he screams and carries on.  He calmed down once that was over and was sweet as pie as we go to his room and read some books.  I put him in his crib without any trouble and then I'm off and running again.  Literally.

I swapped out the laundry again and then jumped on the treadmill for 4 miles.  And man did I need that run!  Between dealing with him and his hitting all day and having been on my own for a couple days, I was drained.  The run helped clear my head.  I took a quick shower and dealt with laundry one final time.  I managed to get it all done!  Three baskets full of clean clothes are sitting in the hall way, which is the adult equivalent of getting a gold star.  I'll wait until tomorrow to put everything away, as one whole basket goes to Megatron's room.  Before bed, I dropped all of the pictures I took for the day into this blog post.  And then it took me 2+ weeks to come back to it and write everything up.  :)

So that was what a day looks like now that Megatron's is 2.5.  It's busy and exhausting.  Which ultimately how most days have been since he's been born.  Just with each stage, it's been busy and exhausting for much different reasons.