I needed a calendar last year. (2019) So I finally decided to make one of those personalized Shutterfly calendars. But I kinda sucked at it and it ended up having all this random blank space, so instead of fixing the format I just decided to fill it full of month-to-month predictions. You know, just what I thought maybe we would be doing in July or October or whatever. And honestly, it kept us all entertained all year!
So now (2020) I decided to look over just how many of my monthly predictions came true and how many did not.
I posted them here, so you could see each one:
“See a lot of Uncle Jeremy”
After we really started to struggle with The Residency, Dan’s brother came down for a couple of weeks to help out.
My brother Collin had an Arizona trip planned so that we could meet Donjeta (his then-girlfriend, now wife). They had to cancel last minute due to an unexpected surgery and we didn’t meet her until March
“Deal with difficulties at work”
We terminated our residency in March.
“Jack will suddenly like nursery”
My painfully shy firstborn did not want to be babysat. He did not want to run off and play at the playground. And he REALLY did not want to go to my church’s nursery class. Then one morning in April, just like I dreamed… he decided he was over that phase. And none of that stuff was a problem anymore.
“Have a hard time potty training, but a surprisingly easy time transitioning boys to new beds”
They both still suck. Casey transitioned easily.
“Have successfully made it through residency and start the job hunt”
Already had the job
“Be trying to extend the contract on our apartment”
We briefly considered leaving our apartment and renting a house but ultimately signed a lease renewal in early August
“Be going to Utah for a wedding”
Both my brother and close friend ended up choosing August for their Utah weddings
Dan worked on Thanksgiving so we stayed in Arizona. I wasn’t even going to cook a Thanksgiving meal but caved the day before.
“We will move into a house”
But December is when we decided to become serious about the home search process
Pretty interesting. I got it about half right. 50/50 chance your random prediction will come true! I ordered another Shutterfly calendar for 2020 with 12 more predictions. So tune in next year to see if the 50% still holds up…
I just wanted to quickly let you know that things are going extremely well for us lately.
Dan’s job has been close to ideal. And my loved one with cancer has had a successful surgery in which they were able to remove the tumor.
2019 has been one of the hardest years of my life, but it’s ending as lovely as it could have. Each trial has been equally matched with a miracle and I’m leaving this year with even more than I started.
The biggest take away for me is the responsibility I feel to give back to others. Good and lucky things don’t happen to everyone every time. I want to remember my good fortune and work hard to help others.
So anyway! Thank you so much for the prayers and positivity. I really believe in my heart that it has made a difference and I’m so grateful to each and every person who has taken the time to read and care.
PS Sorry for the quick and hasty writing but it is NaNo season after all. 🙂
Okay, so a year and a half ago, I made a schedule of what it was like to have one kid. Well, here’s my schedule of what it is like with TWO KIDS. When I was pregnant with my second, I looked and looked and looked for this kind of post… I could never find it. So I MADE ONE MYSELF YOU’RE WELCOME.
*I will note that there is no schedule with the second for the first few months. And then they dip down to three naps a day and it all comes back to you. By the time it’s two naps a day. NO PROBLEM.
8:00 (ish) Wake up, breakfast, get everyone dressed
Honestly, it’s such a mystery when my day is going to start lately. My baby is very consistently like 8-8:30, but for whatever reason these past few weeks my Toddler has been like 7-9. I wake up, I give the baby a bottle. Jack has a waffle, cereal and strawberry milk, (which he wants every day). I have to change everybody, sit the toddler on the potty. Eat breakfast and get ready myself, which is probably the biggest challenge. Showering has to be quick and I’m usually getting out soaking wet to move the baby back to his toys.
9:00 The daily chores
Every day I make the bed and do dishes. And then I have one chore assigned for that day of the week, like laundry or bathrooms. Sometimes I get them done before the baby’s nap. Most of the time I don’t.
10:30 or 11:00 Casey’s Nap
I put the baby down and then play with Jack, but I let him pick what he wants to do.
12:00 or 12:30 Lunch
I wake the baby up. Which always feels mean but worth it to get a mutual nap from the kids later. We have lunch together and if my husband is home we’ll go out somewhere fun.
I call this time Recess in my mind. Pfft. That’s probably dumb. But mostly it’s just where I let the kids play rough and tumble for the last little bit before they sleep. During the blistering Arizona summer, I pull out the plastic slide and try to make a fun play place inside.
2:00 Both kids Nap
This eclipse is everything but it’s so hard to navigate. Jack first and then Casey. If I’m lucky I can get about an hour to myself. I *try* to reserve this time for writing, but honestly a lot of the time I’m so tired I end up sleeping!
4:00 Variable. Usually screen time
Whenever the kids wake up I try to keep it chill. I don’t have a set time for this, but every single day I try to have a reading time where I just read the kids books for a while. Right now, Jack is loving “Pajama Time”
I learned the hard way that dinner has to be as early as possible or the kids get GROUCHY. I’ve started meal prepping and it’s honestly SAVED MY BUTT. I can feed the kids when I need to and there is still a meal for Daniel when he gets home, I don’t have to worry about staving off the kids until later.
6:30 Some kind of adventure
Okay, so… here I just try to do something fun. Swimming is a good option right now in the heat and I prefer sunset swims because 1) Not as hot 2) Shade. Don’t have to sunscreen the kids! 3) For some reason, we get the pool to ourselves at that time and 4) THE SKY IS SO PRETTY!
If we don’t feel like swimming, we go to the play place at the mall. In the cooler months, we’ll go to the park or something.
They grow up so fast. Literally nothing else they can do fast. Putting on shoes. Picking out what they want for lunch. You know, walking. But growing up… I swear sometimes I look over at them and feel like they look more grown-up than they looked AN HOUR AGO.
So anyway, in honor of my mommy nostalgia I decided to make a list of cute things that I don’t want to forget about how they were at this stage of life.
#1 Jack refuses to call hearts by their real name, he insists they are “farts”
#2 Casey’s favorite song is “Skidamarink”. No matter how hard he is crying, he will immediately stop if you start singing that song.
#3 Jack calls grandma and grandpa “grampens”
#4 Every time we go out everyone comments on how happy Casey is
#5 Jack has a major obsession with hats
#6 Casey loves to put toys in his mouth and turn them into actual whistles
#7 Jack has to point out every single cactus he sees… and we live in Arizona
#8 Casey eats his entire weight in blueberries… every day… like at what point does he turn into Violet Beauregard?
#9 When Casey crawls around on the floor, Jack joins in because he thinks they’re “playing doggies”.
#10 Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s beautiful. Sometimes it’s just going through the motions and you don’t catch these little moments. But it’s always big love and big rewards.
It’s that time again! The time when I randomly throw you for a loop by changing the basic format of this blog. Yay! …
No, but for reals. 2019 is going to be WHAT’S UP!!! I am so excited for this schedule NO JOKE. You should be too! It’s basically a whole year of story time and a TON of craziness.
So each season has its own theme. Here they are as follows:
JANUARY & FEBRUARY: THEATER HIJINKS AND SHENANIGANS
What you can expect this season is lots of mishap stories from my years as an actress. I LOVE live-theater-gone-wrong stories, so I’m dedicating a whole two months to it. You might also see a cameo from a stage play writing sample of mine.
MARCH, APRIL, MAY: TALES FROM THE SCHOOLYARD
Basically what the name implies. Here you’ll get lots of childhood stories. I’m going to talk about my family and how I grew up. And I’m hoping to put in some writing samples from the single digit years.
JUNE, JULY, AUGUST: SUMMER OF LOVE
I don’t know why whenever I write “Summer of Love” I get “Jungle of Love” stuck in my head… like that’s not even the lyrics, but okay.
My five year anniversary is coming up so I felt like I wanted to be annoying and talk about that. To offset the cheesiness I’ll also throw in embarrassing stories, “Crush themed” of course!
SEP, OCT, NOV: ALL THINGS CREEPY AND CRAWLY
So next fall you’ll read about my experiences with ghosts and the paranormal. How I make a fool of myself by being scared of everything. Chilling writing samples (obviously!) And whatever crazy thrills I can think of.
DECEMBER: A SURPRISE…
This may or may not be a surprise to me too. But I have some pretty cool ideas…
This year is special because I’m gathering tons of outside crazy stories from others and hope to do a “collective storytime” at least once a quarter. And then regularly I will give you updates on my life, my little boys and my authorly efforts. Feel free to subscribe to be notified every time a new post comes out.
It was two weeks before my due date. I kept waking up all night to go pee like fifty billion times. I just had a TON of pressure. Daniel snoozed his alarm for work and as we were laying there I was like, hmmm… actually, these are contractions. Regular contractions.
I slapped Dan’s arm and was like “Hey, I keep having false labor contractions.” Haha, so let me go into this: when I had Jack he came a week late. So I FULLY expected to deliver much later. Like I was seriously looking into an elective induction if the baby was going to go longer than his due date. My mom had bought an airplane ticket to arrive ON his due date and then stay the next couple of weeks after. Soooo “denial” is going to be a strong theme here.
Because my mom wasn’t coming for another two weeks, I was majorly stressed out about who would watch Jack in the event I had to go to the hospital. My dad had GENEROUSLY offered to hop on a plane moments notice if it came to that but Hey Man… I had better been pretty dang sure I was in labor before telling my dad to drop everything and fly to Pheonix. So as you can imagine I was preggy stress crying about it. Dan talked me down. He texted my dad just letting him know what was going on and then I sent him to work, telling him that it was “probably nothing”.
I took a shower and ate breakfast *just in case*. I still wasn’t super convinced that they weren’t false contractions, so I decided to lay on my side for a minute to see if they would go away. They most certainly did not. They were ten minutes apart and every other one sucked worse than the last. I called my dad because I was about to have a friggin’ panic attack on whether I should tell him to fly to Arizona or not. He said he had already looked into flights. (He was obviously more convinced than me.) My dad told me to call the doctor to see what he thought. I was super unsure about doing that, because OBVIOUSLY the doctor would just say, “Yeah? How about wait until they are five minutes apart lasting one minute for a whole hour and then just go to the hospital. Why are you bothering me with this?”
I decided to call the doctor and waste his time anyways. At first I got the emergency answering service which I thought was really odd because it was past nine and that’s normal business hours. The conversation went like this:
RECEPTIONIST: And what’s the purpose of this call?
ME: I’ve been having contractions all morning. They’re ten minutes apart. I just want to know what the doctor thinks I should do.
RECEPTIONIST: Okay, but is this an emergency?
ME: … … Um, I’m in labor?
So they send the page out and my actual doctor’s office calls me back. I told them I was contracting every ten minutes and they countered with hey, go to the hospital. I was floored. They told me it was likely I was laboring during the night since I had pressure. My doctor was already at the hospital doing a surgery so they told me I might as well go in and get checked.
I called Daniel at work like Hey I know you’ve only been there for an hour but come home and drive me to the hospital. Then I called my dad and told him we would soon know whether it was real or not.
So we get all checked in. I’m totally calm and like whatever, not even in any pain or anything. I was totally sure I was only a one. I packed my bag SO half-a$$ed because I was like oh, they’re just sending me home anyways. Like I didn’t even pack underwear or a hairbrush. So when they told me I was at a three, I was like… wut?
Me: Am I having a kid today?
Nurse: Let’s just keep you for a while and see…
At 12:30 she came back in to check. I was still at a three which was like, oh good, send me home I want lunch I’m friggin starving. But she kinda hesitated and was like you know what let’s just have you walk around for like an hour and see what happens.
(I should also mention that we had Jack with us this whole time. He was such a good kid! I was really impressed with him. I thought that he would be somewhere between being bored or traumatized, but he was super excited to be out of the house and playing with Daddy.)
We were given the green light to walk around the hospital and I immediately waddled my fat butt down to the cafeteria. Look. When you are at the hospital in labor, they don’t let you eat anything for a long time… and that’s rough because I’m a pig. So oink, oink. That’s what I chose to do, okay! I was SUPER big and pregnant in nothing but my flimsy hospital gown and socks walking through the cafeteria trying to decide what I was going to eat. It’s fine, I’m sure everyone knew why I was there and that I didn’t have anything contagious. I mean, only my husband could have given them what I had. ANYWAY I chose to eat a fruit cup, because even though I was starving this labor thing was getting pretty real and I knew that things would get intense later that night.
But I was wrong. Not about the fruit cup, but about things getting intense much later. Things got intense RIGHT THEN, REALLY FAST and REEEEEALLY painful. The walking just like dropped him down or something I don’t know, because it hadn’t even been ten minutes out of triage before I was feeling like I was about to die.
We ate quickly and I could barely even make it back to the room. The labor was insane. When I was in labor with Jack, I was having contractions that lasted five minutes a piece instead of the conventional ONE. Well. Yeah. That was happening again. When the delivery nurse came in to transfer me she took one look at my face and walkie talkied for the anesthesiologist to meet us in the delivery room. Which I was super glad about… well sort of.
WARNING!! If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you may want to skip this section of the birth story and just start reading onwards from 5:30. Horror story ahead.
So here’s another comparison to my first labor and delivery: with Jack my epidural was AMAZING. I didn’t feel it at all. It worked perfectly. It was like the golden standard of epidurals, really. With Casey. Holy balls. This was the worst thing about the whole entire delivery and when I say horror story, look, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
By the time the anesthesiologist came in, I was in full blown labor. I had escalated from a 3cm dilation to a 5… IN HALF AN HOUR. Things were nuts! I was like hysterical. It was crazy. I mean, ME, I was crazy. Daniel had left to take Jack to a babysitter out in the parking lot and I was bawling out of control saying stuff like, “Please don’t do anything until my husband comes back. I want my husband, I’m so frightened. I just want my husband!” He came back in, but the hysteria didn’t go away. I felt delirious. Like, I felt like I wasn’t even myself and I was trapped in this painful body watching myself go bonkers. They were trying to give me specific advice on how to sit and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t tell right from left, the pain was just so overwhelming. I even remember yelling at the nurse, “I’m hurting so much that I can’t even comprehend what you’re telling me right now!”
They attempted to put the epidural in but it DIDN’T GO. I actually felt it stab me in the spine. Like I know what it feels like to have your spine STABBED from the INSIDE. It was a horrific pain… on top of an already horrific pain. Looking back, I don’t think that it was the doctor’s fault. I think it was because I was so out of it with the labor and like having a panic attack and stuff that I just couldn’t sit well enough for them to do it correctly.
It took 35 minutes for them to get my epidural in. They may not seem as bad as it is, so try to imagine this: You are having one of the most generally recognized worse pains in the world cramping your body for full minutes at a time and making you hysterical… while at the same time someone is behind you, literally stabbing you in the spine the same area where most of your nerve endings are. Okay, THAT is what it was for 35 FREAKING MINUTES. Like… an entire episode of The Office is 20 minutes. You could finish watching Diversity Day and I would STILL be getting poked with a needle on a hospital bed for ALMOST ANOTHER EPISODE MORE with tears dripping into my husband’s helpless arms.
But I will say this… Even with how painful that medieval spinal tap was… IT WAS STILL WORTH IT BY FAR. So I hope that tells you something about how hard it is to deliver a baby. And I also hope that you give your mother a phone call today.
After I got the epidural, things were calm, borderline boring. Jack was gone and well taken care of. My dad was on his way from the airport. Dan was working on projects, of course, because residents ARE SLAVES. If I had been delivering at his hospital, they probably would’ve made him do some rounds while he waited. Nothing too eventful happened here. I took a little video and hung out. I was basically paralyzed I was so numbed up, my back was still sore though.
At six or maybe even later, the doctor came in and broke my water. I was at a nine by then. The nurse said that they were going to wait until I could absolutely no longer take the pressure anymore and then they would have me push. She said it would be worth it to hold out as long as possible because then I would have to push less. So I just kinda sat there wondering if I was going to be able to feel it if a baby started coming out of me.
I felt the pressure pretty soon afterwards. They checked me, I was a ten. I remember the nurse said, “Yeah, there’s no more cervix.” Gnarly. I had the shakes so bad. They were like violent. I wasn’t hurting, but I was shivering like crazy.
MORE SEMI HORROR MOSTLY JUST GROSS DETAILS HERE. You can skip this paragraph too if you want. So I had to puke so bad. And this exact same thing happened when I was pushing with Jack. I was told that the before the baby comes out, his head rests on a nerve that makes you super nauseous. You don’t feel the pain of it because of the epidural, but the pressure wants to make you barf. Well I was trying so hard to hold in my DANG FRUIT CUP. And honestly, you know when you are trying not to throw up like you can’t even move or talk or breathe or anything. Finally, my nurse said, “Just go ahead and do it, it will help push the baby out anyways.” Hahaha! So I was like, yup, I’m there, and I let it all out. And she was freaking right, dude! I literally felt the baby get pushed down when I puked. You use the same muscles to throw up / push a baby out. ANYWHO. Not sure why I felt the need to include all that, but there you go. All the honest and disgusting details of birth.
So they get me ready to push. They basically had to hoist my BUM LEGS into the stirrups because I was so dead down there. I did three sets of pushing during contractions. (For your information, in between contractions is hilariously awkward. I was sitting there all spread eagle while my doctor stands at my hooha, hands on his hips talking about “how he knew I would beat the gal in nine because it’s my second time.” It’s all casual and every day for them. For me, it’s all naked and life-changing and this big medical trauma.)
That was a tangent. Hi! Okay, back to Casey.
Three sets of pushing and he was out. POP! It was like ten minutes of pushing. Maybe five. With Jack I remembered sobbing and being SO melodramatic and yelling, “My son! My son!”. With Casey, I was still in so much shock at his early arrival that I just stared at him with a stupid look on my face, feeling super confused at how the whole day went.
He was so pink and had lots of hair and chubby cheeks. He is this easy-going lovey-bug! And I couldn’t be more thrilled to have him as an addition to our family.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but… I think I might have just stepped over to the Pinterest side of me that I didn’t even know I had. I started doing something new with my son, not having any idea of how it would turn out. And let me tell you, it was a BIG HIT.
Let me introduce you to “Sensory Bins”.
My sister has often mentioned the importance of sensory play. She’s a preschool special education consultant, so any advice she has to offer in way of cognitive development is going to be pretty valuable. It kept coming to my mind because I’ve been dying to try to find things for Jack to do. It’s too hot to play outside (other than swim) and this toddler NEEDED something new. BAD.
I started looking up sensory tables, knowing how ridiculous I was being since 1) I cannot afford to buy a sensory table and B) where the heck would I even put it. After some research, I found a new love. Which is sensory bins. And OH. MY. GOSH.
They are SO easy. You can find EVERYTHING you need at the dollar store. The only expensive problem is that I have too many ideas and I wish I could put together one for every week of the year. Seriously. I love these things. And not only do I love them, but you know who else does? MY TWO-YEAR-OLD.
He asks to play with them Every. Single. Day. As soon as he’s done eating breakfast he’ll walk over to the hall closet and point. “Bin! Bin!” When he plays… honestly, it’s actually quiet. Like NAP TIME QUIET. I am so obsessed with these, I don’t even know where to begin…
I guess I’ll start with the bins themselves. What the heck is a sensory bin? Basically, all it is… is a shoe-box sized container filled with some kind of material that a kid can just stick their hands in and feel! Texture is important. You can also put little treasures and toys in. Scoops, funnels, anything that will let them play around and experiment. It’s basically a miniature sandbox. (Actually, you can totally use sand!)
Is it messy? Yes. But isn’t everything else that a toddler does? Yes! In my experience, it hasn’t been bad at all and YOU are the one who controls what kind of a mess it is. YOU are the one who decides what kind of a bin it will be. You don’t even have to do it inside if you don’t want to!
So with that, let me show you what I put together, so you can get an idea:
I found these colorful packing peanuts. So fun. Despite the fact that he was the one who picked out the Styrofoam peanuts, this is actually Jack’s least favorite bin. I’m not too worried though because I think he’ll like it more as he gets a little older. I’ve hidden wooden numbers in there, which will be fun when he starts to learn how to count.
3 bags of packing peanuts: $6
Plastic shovels: $1
ALL IN ALL: $9
I reeeeally love this one. BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING DINOSAUR THEMED!
Red kidney beans $1
White beans $1
Dinosaur play set $1
Plastic shovels (shared with the other box!)
ALL IN ALL: $4
This is my most recent one, I put it together for the fall time! Take note of the messiness in the background.
Corn Kernels: $2
Fabric leaves: $1
Set of Dump Trucks: $6
ALL IN ALL: $9
This one is the holy grail of sensory bins for my toddler. Honestly, he’s kind of obsessed… THE WATER SENSORY BIN. And okay, I know what you’re thinking. Yikes! But here is what I do. Knowing that I was going to try out a water bin, I got a towel from the dollar store (bonus! This one is a cool round shape!) I set it out in the kitchen and put a bath mat ON TOP of that. Double protection. Then I have Jack sit with the bin on the bath mat. We’ve had a bunch of spills but it was no big deal with this set-up. I will say though that the first time he did this, he got pretty soaked himself- so that’s something to think about!
As you can see, I started to switch it up by putting in a tiny droplet of dishwashing soap and giving him one of my slotted spoons. He adored it. He likes to throw in glass aquarium pebbles, stir them around with the spoon and scoop up bubbles. This has been a massive hit at our house. In fact: Tantrum Warning – may cause a lot of tears when putting away!
Aquarium rocks $1
Spoons and dishwashing soap: On hand
ALL IN ALL: TWO FREAKING DOLLARS
Today he also decided that he wanted to “wash” everything in my baking drawer. So prepare yourself for this kind of discovery/shenanigans.
I’ve been having way too much fun. I found an easy recipe to make fake snow. I think I’ll be putting together a winter bin in a few months!