Friday, December 31, 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

Another year in the books (almost) and along with most of the other folks I know I am looking back at the good, the bad, and the ugly of 2010 and looking forward to 2011 and hoping and praying that it will be a great year for my family.
Some of my highlights of 2010 -
Fisher had no nose surgeries in 2010. He was scheduled to have several but I struggled with deciding to do more or not. He had four nose surgeries in 2009 which opened his nose up enough to breathe, and then the ENT totally it up to me to decide if we should do more. He said I was the one that was around Fisher all the time and understand his breathing more than anyone else. So I brought in 2010 by canceling a nose surgery and then sitting on pins and needles for weeks wondering if I did the right thing. I am glad to say, I did! Though he will likely need more surgery in the future, he did awesome without it this year and is a truly happy, healthy, thriving, little boy. I think going with my gut and making this decision helped me get my parenting wings and I am a more confident, more self assured mom now going into 2011.
Shawn also came into his own as a dad. He matured and grew throughout the year and learned a lot in the process. Shawn had his first experience being alone for multiple days with Fisher early in 2010 and he did great. Since then I have taken many, many work trips and came home to two happy guys each time.
We also found out this year that we will be moving to Knoxville for my job. We are excited about living in Knoxville but have been busy and stressed getting our house in Kentucky ready for the market. I am happy to say that it is now officially listed but I will be even happier in 2011 when I can say it is officially sold.
In 2010 I also said goodbye to my Nana, I still have a hard time thinking about living in Knoxville without her there. I know we will miss her a lot in the coming year as we can established down there.
So what does 2011 hold for me and my family? I pray 2011 brings good health for me and my entire family. 2010 we have dealt with miscarriages, leukemia, heart problems, and multiple other ailments in my family. I hope that 2011 is a much healthier year all around! And I hope that sometime in 2011 Shawn and I will have things stable enough to try for our second son or daughter. We hope to have two children (though I seriously want three, but we can't really afford it) and would like them to be close together in age. Plus we aren't getting any younger :) So we will see. We have to get this move behind us and Shawn needs to get a teaching job in Knoxville. I guess that is why people like the New Year - there is always the hope that this year will be a great year. A year of health, happiness, and fruitfulness. I hope all of my friends and family have exactly that and even more.
Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Randomness

I am in the mood to write. Probably just a last ditch effort to procrastinate on working on the house, but whatever I am going to roll with it for a few minutes.
Speaking of the house. Oh my goodness, I feel like getting this darn house on the market has been drug out for years. In reality it has been drug out for about a month and a half thanks to our neighbors and their junk. The good news is, the junk is cleaned up! The bad news - our house is not ready - we need to put all the Christmas stuff away, super clean again, clean the carpets and the sun room. Which we can hopefully get finished today....if I get off the computer and get my butt to work!
But first -
We had a nice Christmas. It was definitely different doing Christmas at my own house and not at the farm with my parents and sisters. Having a toddler this Christmas as compared to a 3 month old last Christmas is about one million times more fun! Even though he doesn't really understand all the Christmas happenings he does understand opening presents and he did get excited about each one. He also ripped into a few of his presents early, which of course we just thought was cute. Fisher did get sick on Christmas day. Actually, he started getting sick a few days before Christmas. I noticed on Christmas Eve,Eve he was pulling at his right ear. I called my sister (a nurse practitioner) and she said that even it if was an ear infection it was probably viral and we probably needed to wait it out. Fast forward to Christmas day. We noticed after lunch he was a little warm and started giving him some tylenol. By five he was even warmer and I decided I better run to the only drugstore that was open and get him some ibuprofen too, just in case. I am glad I did because we battled a 102 - 103 fever all night long. It was a really rough night, he was up every hour or two screaming inconsolably. He slept with us for a couple of hours and then woke up burning up. I monitored his temperature all night, telling myself that as long as he didn't get to 104 then he was ok. Thankfully, he didn't. On Sunday I called my sister and she said that having a temperature that high was not normal for a virus and it was probably bacterial and I needed to get him checked out. So we went to urgent care and sure enough, he has an ear infection in his right ear. This is his first ear infection and I have to say - I am surprised how sick it made him!
I guess my random time wasting should come to an end. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and an even better New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas First.

It hit me today, that this is the first Christmas in my 31 years that I have not been at my parents house. This year we did our traveling to visit family the week before Christmas and met up my sisters at our parents farm the weekend before Christmas. We did all of our usual family Christmas traditions (eating Chinese food on our "Christmas Eve", the full Christmas meal, presents, etc) just a week early. Which means that Shawn, Fisher, and I are own our own at our own house this Christmas. Which is actually really nice in a lot of ways, we had the most relaxing Christmas week ever, since all the stressful last minute shopping for family, for food, traveling, etc was behind us. Ironically, I sprained my ankle and then got a virus, so I spent the majority of the week resting and recouping. I am so glad that we had the traveling behind us, there is no way I could have traveled this week being as sick as I was.
Anyway, I digress....so it is Christmas Eve and it is the three of us for the first time. We hung out and watched some Star Wars movies, which Shawn says is our new tradition - we will watch Star Wars movies on Christmas Eve, if you know Shawn you know he is always looking for an excuse to watch Star Wars movies. I made steak for dinner and whole wheat chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Then we played some music and we danced. I love to watch Fisher dance, he cracks me up, I could watch him dance all day!
After Fisher went to bed we put together his toddler 4-wheeler Santa got him and now we have cleaned up and are ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow we plan on opening presents (of course), making Christmas dinner, and spending the day in our pjs again!
Part of me likes doing the Christmas thing, just us. But part of me misses the familiarity and comfort of the Christmas traditions with my parents. However, I know that we will develop our own family traditions and that is exciting to me.
I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Busted week ahead :(

I just got back from a 10 day trip to Arkansas and Western Kentucky visiting my and my husband's families. I was excited to get back home and get moving again on the 30 day shred and I was planning on resuming my Coach to 10K program. So this morning I wake up motivated to get my day rolling - I dash outside to start my car and hit a solid sheet of ice on the top step and twisted my left ankle royally and fell down the 5 stairs into the snow. I knew immediately that I had hurt my ankle, and stayed in the snow for a few minutes imagining trying to get the house on the market and taking care of a 15 month old on crutches. Then it hit me that I was laying in wet snow and I very slowly and gingerly got up. I could put weight on my ankle, but every time I did I got nauseous. Not a good morning. So I ended up getting it xrayed, and very thankfully it is not broken. Seriously, thank God for that! It is majorly sprained in a couple of places, so I have an ace bandage and air cast on it, and I am suppossed to be off of it for about a week, and then slowly get back to "normal". Crap.
So I not be doing the 30 day shred for at least another week. However, I am going to make sure I eat well this week. No eating out (which should be easy, since I am actually HOME for a while!), eating clean, etc. Except for Christmas, when the hubs and I are making a couple of casseroles, mashed potatoes, and rolls. ;)
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope everyone has a great Christmas and week!!

A big shout out to @christidarty for being SOTW this week!!

I hope to see everyone tonight at Mamavation TV at 10pm ET, this weeks guest @tribalenergy4u. Two winners of the carnival will win a Tribal Energy Cardio DVD.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Feeling the Mamavation!

This was a great week as far as eating healthy and working out goes! I made both a priority and it feels great!
I started the 30 day Shred with several other Mamavation moms over twitter. This has been a lot of fun and I am so glad I joined in. I did the shred 4 days this past week, which I am proud of because I have of course also been working and preparing our house to sell. I definitely needed a day or two break because after a break, I felt so much stronger and was able to really push it. This is a an awesome workout for those of you under a time crunch. And having the other moms supporting me through twitter was awesome. I looked forward to doing my workout each day just so I could post it on twitter :)
We ate clean most of the week. The one exception was on Saturday when we ate typical football food. I had more energy this week and was less hungry.
I will do my official weigh in in the morning and post my results. I am hoping I lost a pound or two. I lose really slow as I have a thyroid disease - either way I feel great and I am proud of myself.
This week my goals are to - Shred 5 days, eat clean, and drink more water.
I am going to be joining Mamavation TV Monday night to talk about yoga. I am excited about this, because I have always wanted to get more into yoga, maybe this will inspire me.
Also, I would LOVE to win some Earthfootwear shoes!! They help you tone and are oh so awesome looking. I really like the Central boot.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Like I don't have enough to deal with...

I am so frustrated right now. Shawn and I have been working our asses of to get our house ready to sell. We have been working on the house all day, every day - organizing, decluttering, packing some things, moving stuff around, spiffying up, working outside, and fixing any tiny problem that surfaces. We are very close to having it ready to go on the market, which to me is a pretty awesome considering all the work travel I have been doing, Shawn teaching, dealing with his own graduate classes, and taking care of our own personal 14 month old tornado.
And now we are held up...
One of our neighbors that lives directly beside us are in the process of getting foreclosed on. A few weeks ago they had a yard sale and their crap is still on their front porch! It looks awful. They assured Shawn and I that they were going to clean it up, but they have recently moved out of the house and apparently abandoned the mess. It definitely brings our property value down - it looks awful. I know when we are looking for a new house, we always do drive bys and check out the neighbors and the neighborhood.

I took this picture with my phone, it doesn't show enough detail to do it justice, there is trash over in front of that yellow car (that apparently is a junker, they left it and it is also chock full of crap).


So I talk to my real estate agent and she really thinks we need to have their house cleaned up before we try to sell in this market. I agree and understand - but then, what do we do? I am afraid to just go remove the stuff, which is what I really want to do. However, I would not put it past these people to try to get us for stealing or something. So, I called Code Enforcement and they sent someone out to take a look at it. They are giving the folks 10 days to clean up. They put a note on their door and also tried contacting them by phone. The note was put up yesterday and it is gone today, so someone has been over and removed it. Now we wait....and we pray that they actually clean it up. I don't know if they will or not, since they are in the process of losing the house and aren't even living there.
I am not sure what we will do after 10 days - but I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it. All I know is that this process has been hard enough without this extra stress. And I know that I have to be in Knoxville for my job April 1st - whether we have this house sold or not. I am hitting my frustration tipping point.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Healthy Holidays to you!

Did you know the average person eats crap during the holiday season? Cakes, pies, chocolates, fudge, gravy, and candied yams sure taste amazing but don't give your body much nutrition. Did you know that the average person has less time to work out during the holiday season? All of the shopping, parties, presents, and eating can really put a dent into the gym routine. This contributes to the average person gaining weight during the holidays and starting out the new year with a little extra pudge and a little lack of cardiovascular ability. Of course when I say the average person I really mean....ME! Not this year my friends! I.will.not.do.it. I will not take the next four weeks as my eat-anything-and-everything-I-see-total-free-for-all. Because you know what? I have done it before...actually 3o times before, and where did it get me? I ended up having sugar crashes, starving all the time, and oh yeah - a little post holiday pudge. So, no I am not doing it this year because I have been there, done that, so what is the use of pretending like I have never met a chocolate cookie before or that I never will again? I don't plan on abstaining from all Christmasy goodness I do plan on being smart about it and keep myself well these five ways....
1. It is ok to eat Christmas food and goodies ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS. These special occasions include our big family Christmas dinner and maybe an office party. Special occasions are not every night between now and Jan 2nd. The temperature dropping below 30 degrees is not a special occasion and therefore does not call for baking cakes, cookies, and hot chocolate. Other than the true special occasions I will proceed as normal - eating clean, low sugar, and lots of protein. I will remind myself that this is how I feel the best and feeling good is very important to me. Almost as important as that homemade cinnamon roll that tastes awesome but makes me nauseous after I have a sugar crash.
2. To combat the We-are-so-busy-with-Holidays-there-is-no-time-to-cook-so-I-will-grab-a-pizza disease I will preplan meals and most of those meals will involve a crockpot. It is super easy to throw something in the crockpot in the morning, work all day, pick up Fisher at daycare, and then chow down. It is almost as easy as stopping and getting a Hot N Ready from Little Caesars, and actually tastes much better!
3. Before holiday get togethers or going places where I will be assaulted by holiday goodies, I will make sure I eat a snack and I am not starving. Hunger makes me do insane things, like down a whole loaf of banana bread. So hunger will not be allowed to the parties and dinners. When I am not hungry, I can make informed decisions and if I chose to eat something super processed (pigs in blanket anyone?) or super sugary, I will be able to eat a reasonable amount.
4. To combat the We-are-so-busy-with-Holidays_there-is-no-time-to-work-out disease, I will do a 30 minute exercise routine every day from my computer. I have already started actually! I am doing 30 days of Shred (Jillian Michael's DVD) and I am on day 2. Since it is on my computer and I take my computer everywhere I will have the workout with me on the go. And 30 minutes? I spend more time facebooking every day than that :)
5) And finally - my fifth way to ensure a healthy holidays- is to laugh. Laugh, laugh, laugh. Laughing is a great way to workout the body and the mind and is guaranteed to counteract the stress and the frustration that can come with the holidays. When stuck in a traffic jam on the way to my parents house - I am going to turn up the radio and sing and dance with Fisher - it never fails to end in laughter. When great aunt Grace starts giving me a lecture on what is wrong with the young people of the world today - I will laugh it off. I will take the holidays as a time to hang out with my family, laugh about old stories, and create new memories.

What do you do to stay healthy during the holidays and counteract the stress?
Whatever it is, I hope you have a very happy, healthy holiday season to you and yours!

"I wrote this blog post while participating in the Bookieboo and Earth Footwear "All's Well That Ends Well" blogging program, making me eligible to win a pair of Earth Footwear boots. For more information on how you can participate, click here."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mamavation Monday

I just the Mamavation Sisterhood at the craziest point in my life to date. Work is insane, we are trying to get our house on the market immediately, we are traveling, taking care of a 14 month old, and trying to plan for the upcoming move out of state. We have been eating crap and not working out. Today on my four hour drive I listened to several podcasts including a few of Pete Cohens and the one where he interviewed Leah. Doing so inspired me to get serious and make steps in the right direction and to put my health as a priority. Several things that were said inspired me - but what makes the most sense is when Leah said she started her weight loss/get healthy lifestyle by trying to lose 5 lbs. That is such a manageable number; not overwhelming. Even right now in this crazy time, I am going to take a deep breath and try to keep things in perspective -
- I need to be healthy and make healthy choices no matter how busy things are.
- Until we get the house on the market, I need to eek out at least 30 minutes a day to exercise. Not only do I need it physically, I also need it for stress relief.
- I need to stock the house up with healthy foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables and meals that can be prepared super fast and easy, but are healthy!
- I need to remember that while I do not have control of so much in my life right now, I do have control of what goes into my body.
-I will not get overwhelmed, but focus on my goal of losing 5 lbs.

I am joining some of the other Mamavation Moms in doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, it starts tomorrow and I am excited! It is a workout I can do from home and is only 30ish minutes, so I have no excuses!

Hope to join Mamavation TV to see what Dr. Lynn has to say about sex ;)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving thanks in a new way

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. It is usually the only time each year that my entire family that lives in several different states can get together. As my sisters and I have grown up, went to college, got jobs, etc it has been harder and harder for everyone to get together. But we all make a concerted effort to be there at Thanksgiving. At Nana's house. Nana was the matriarch of the family. She loved to have everyone at her house and made sure she had each person's favorites - frozen waffles for Emily, peppermint ice cream for Jonna,sausage balls for Shanna, orange juice for me. Each year she welcomed us to her house with a big Nana hug and an even bigger smile. Thanksgiving was a blur of family, stories, laughing, food, and usually a trip to the Smoky Mountains. And each Thanksgiving we made an official Thanksgiving picture. Everyone has their "places". Each year we all centered around Nana, each in our particular spot.

This will be our first Thanksgiving without Nana. While I am definitely looking forward to seeing my family I know things will be different. In fact, we are making things different this year on purpose. I don't know if it will make the void created by Nana not being there better or worse. But I do know that Nana is up in heaven smiling and thrilled that we are all getting together at her house. I know she also expects us to get into our "spots" and take our annual Thanksgiving picture. Her spot is a huge hole that will never be filled. But do you know what? This Thanksgiving I am thankful to have had 31 years and a lifetime of memories with a Nana that is that irreplaceable

Monday, November 22, 2010

A day 14 months in the making.

Today was a big day for me. A day that I have been dreading, putting off, ignoring, and avoiding for 14 months. Today I had a meeting with a lawyer involving Fisher's birth trauma and injuries. I was hoping that if I avoided the issue it would go away. We would pay the medical bills, Fisher would be fine, and we could move on. Alas, that hasn't happened. So I met with a lawyer today just to see if we have a case. I know that things went wrong at Fisher's labor and delivery. I know that my medical records are not representative of what happened - but what I don't know is why things went wrong, why my medical records aren't correct, why Fisher had to suffer. I didn't know if we had a case or if was just the proverbial "one of those things."
So today I took all of my medical records, all of Fisher's NICU records, his Ear, Nose, and Throat records, and pictures of his birth injuries to a lawyer that specializes in birth injuries. I told a very brief overview of Fisher's story. Just the bare bones basics. Explained that his medical records and mine do not match up. His NICU records describe all of his injuries in detail and why they occurred - my records describe me going into labor, Fisher being vertex presentation, I didn't progress, and therefore had a c-section. This is entirely not true. I wish it were the case, I really do, because if that was what happened then I wouldn't be seeing a lawyer today. Unfortunately, putting it in my records that way does not explain the days in the NICU, the four surgeries he has had, the trips to specialists and Children's hospital out of state, or his future surgeries. I said all this to the lawyer who listened patiently...and then I pulled out a few pictures of Fisher's first days that I had brought with me. As soon as he saw the pictures the lawyer said "Unbelievable, we will definitely look into this. This is entirely unacceptable and inexcusable." My sentiments exactly. Just knowing that I have not been overacting and that an actual birth injury lawyer thinks what happened to Fisher is ridiculous and was unwarranted was so empowering. Hearing the lawyer say those words was an extremely emotional moment for me.
So what's next? The lawyer is going to review my case in more detail. He is going to talk with a medical expert and they will get back to me soon to let me know if they decide to take the case. So it isn't definite he will take the case, but from our discussions, I think he will. Even if he doesn't, I am so glad I went today. I healed a little. I took a little piece of power back that I have been giving to the OB for the past 14 months. I feel a little stronger and a little braver and a little less like a victim. It is a step in the right direction for so many reasons - to get my medical records corrected, for Fisher, and for me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Overwhelmed

Excuse my whining but I am completely overwhelmed. I just got back from being gone for work for two weeks. I return to a house that needs to be on the market right now, but isn't close to being ready to list. I want to have it looking perfect before we list it because I want it gone!
I want to be able to concentrate on the house and get it ready but that is proving to be impossible with a toddler whose middle name is Destructo. Combine that with Shawn being super busy with school work as it is the end of the semester (in other words, he is no help!) and going out of town AGAIN on Wednesday for Thanksgiving and the amazing amount of work for my job that I need to be doing and I am feeling more overwhelmed than I have been in my whole life. I keep walking in circles. I walk into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee and I notice the pile of dishes so I start loading the dish washer, go rescue Fisher from whatever eminent danger he has gotten himself into, go back to the kitchen, realize the milk was left out, put it in the fridge, get side tracked by the banana on the floor, set the milk down to pick up the banana....you get the idea. Basically I never do get my coffee!! I feel I need to be super productive this weekend and I have gotten absolutely nowhere.
On top of all this I am meeting with a lawyer tomorrow about Fisher's birth injuries and I think that is adding to my stress. I am just a mess of emotions and frustrations which is not helping me get things done.
I wish I could just have one week alone in my house to get things ready but that isn't going to happen. My family all has their own stuff going on, so there is no help there. So I will just continue feeling sorry for myself until Fisher takes a nap and then I will bust my butt, probably running around in circles getting too little accomplished.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I suck at traveling

I really do. Well, as far as being healthy while traveling - I really suck at it. Unfortunately I travel a lot. And this time of year it is nonstop.
I left my house one week ago and will not be home until this Friday - so that is 13 days of eating out. So far on the trip I have been about 50/50 on my eating. I eat breakfast at the hotel which consists of whole wheat toast (that I bring) and some rubbery eggs they provide. I take a snack of an apple and/or a Lara bar. For lunch I eat a sandwich I take out in the field with me. Dinner has been my shortfall because it consists of eating out at restaurants and beer. Mmmmmm beer.
Oh and water - yeah, I sucked at that this past week too. In my defense - I am raccoon trapping and last week I was trapping a city park. With no bathrooms and lots of people there....while the guys I work with can sneak away and "talk to a tree" I don't have that luxury without my big white booty hanging out for the world to see...so last week I didn't drink nearly enough water.
So I have things to work on this week....eating better in the evenings, drinking more water, and I suppose less beer. boooo!
On the positive side of things - I get a great all over body workout trapping raccoons. We don't hike in too far to set and check traps, but we do set 30 traps and walking to each trap includes climbing up and down hills, over logs, etc. And having a raccoon in a trap and carrying it back to the truck is a serious cardio blast!

Congrats to @MMScarlett for being the Sista of the Week!! Awesome job!


I would love to win a copy of Belly Beautiful Workout. Though we aren't trying to TTC right now (wish we were lol!) I sure hope to have a beautiful pregnant belly again sometime soon!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

My shadow

I have always been an independent person. While I don't consider myself a loner, I definitely enjoy time alone and doing things alone more than your average bear. Hell, my husband and I didn't even live together full time until we had been married three years! (because of job/school situations, we had to live in different states and see each other on weekends).
In comes Fisher - the 14 month old mini person that wants nothing more than to strip me of my independence. When I go to the bathroom he does too. When I unload the dishwasher, he climbs up on the door and helps by grabbing dishes and throwing them to the ground to see how loud of sounds they make. When I go out to the laundry room he follows and has learned to put clothes into the dryer. And then the highlight of his laundry experience comes when he gets to slam the dryer door! Oh the excitement! You get the picture - and if you have ever had a toddler you have probably experienced it. I officially have a shadow, a mini me, a partner is crime....and for the most part it is pretty cool! I have fun doing mundane things with him like grocery shopping. I laugh at him when we are out and a stranger says "Hey buddy give me 5!" and he furiously shakes his head left to right and says "NOOOO". It isn't all fun - like when he wants to type on my keyboard as I am.every.single.time.I.get.on.the.computer.
But I have gotten used to it and adjusted my life accordingly. I automatically wait at the door of the sun room for him to catch up so I can help him down the step to join me. I grab the knives out of the dishwasher first thing when I open it. I absolutely can not go grocery shopping without a list or I will end up leaving without the necessary toilet paper as nothing distracts your shopping like a toddler grabbing at anything that comes within a 5 foot radius.
Just one of the many ad hoc things we didn't really anticipate as parents.
Today I leave to trap raccoons out of state. I will be trapping Monday through Friday for the next 5 - 6 weeks, which means I will only see Fisher on Saturdays and Sundays. While the long, unrushed showers will be nice - I already feel a little lost without my shadow. And I can't help but wonder how he will change over these next weeks. I already miss him, my little partner in crime, because doing laundry is not nearly as much fun when you have to shut the dryer door on your own.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Memories flooding in...

I have dealt with all the situations, problems, scares, and fears surrounding Fisher's birth and the few months after so differntly than I have ever handled anything in my life. My normal way of dealing with things is to take them at face value, process them, reconcile them in my mind, and move on. However, I have found that I am doing the exact opposite with Fisher's birth, injuries, and surgeries. It seems that I dealt with things the best way I knew how at the time, just to get through it, but never really processed it. It also seems that as each "one year ago" event comes around I am finally dealing with them, thinking about them, processing them. And to be completely honest, it sucks. I would much rather be able to handle this as I have ever thing else in my life, but I can't. I feel the sadness, the fear, and the anxiety. I have learned from going to counseling that I haven't processed these memories, feelings, and experiences yet and I need to do that so I can move on.
The year anniversary of Fisher's first nose surgeries are no different. The last few days I have been thinking about this over and over. I can honestly say I am in awe of how Shawn and I handled things last year. We were so calm and matter of fact. We took things as they came, without really questioning or getting too mad. I know now that we were totally in survival mode. I was dealing with lots of health problems myself, was in continous pain, and was worried about my own body recovering from the birth. But that was definitely on the back burner, I was very worried about my 6 week old son. We realized that babies only breathe through their nose and they do not have the ablity to breathe through their mouths yet. Fisher's nares were very, very small from scar tissue as a result of his birth trauma. His nose flaired in and out and made a raspy sound with each breathe. It seemed to take too much effort to breathe. The Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor was obviously concerned about this and asked us many times if we had noticed his lips or finger nails turning blue. I racked my brain, trying to think if we had ever noticed a blue tint. What if I had missed it? What if he turned blue when I thought he was sleeping? Would my son be forever damamged from a lack of oxygen? Would he stop breathing at night? My brain had continious questions going through it, but I never vocalized them. I just answered the ENTs questions as best I could.
Then the ENT asked if he seems to have trouble nursing. Does he stop latching and gasp for air? Again - I didn't think so, but this is my first child. I hadn't really paid attentiont to babies breastfeeding before. Did he do it right? Was he having trouble breathing while eating? I remember wanting to ask the ENT to watch Fisher breastfeed to make sure I wasn't missing something. It was torturous to be a new mom, definitely at the bottom of the learning curve and being asked questions that I honestly wasn't sure about. I didn't have the confidence to know that I was doing everything ok for a healthy baby - much less a baby with problems.
I was so worried I was going to miss something because of my inexperience.
The ENT decided that Fisher needed nose surgery to try to increase the size of his nares. He scheduled the surgery for a Monday, which was about a week away. However, the ENT himself called me back that night after we saw him and said that he would rather do the surgery as soon as possible. He said he couldn't live with himself if something happened to Fisher before his scheduled surgery day. So we had Fisher's surgery done the next day. It was scary to have Fisher go under anesthesia at six weeks old, but at the same time it was relieving, because I felt like once his first surgery was over I could breathe a little easier.
Fast forward to yesterday....I was in the doctor's office with Fisher for a routine childhood sickness (coughing/wheezing). We were waiting in a room to see the doctor and in and adjacent room a little boy was inconsible. I could tell by his screams and cries that he was much older than Fisher. It shook me to the core. It was like I was sent back one year ago when I was in the waiting room waiting on word from the doctor that Fisher's nose surgery was over. Before I saw the doctor, a nurse came running up to me and said "Are you Fisher's mother? Follow me, he needs you" On the way to the recovery room she explained to me that he was inconsible and there was nothing anyone could do calm him down. She said he needed his mama. I could hear him from a long way off crying in a way that I have never heard, it was absolutely frantic. I was nervous because I didn't know what he would look like after surgery. On the walk to him I was almost in tears myself, but as soon as I got to him, Mama Mode kicked in. I took him in my arms and held him, talked to him, loved him, and I did not shed one tear. He needed me right then, he needed me to be strong, he needed me to comfort him first, and not worry about my own fears and feelings. And I did, I held him, I nursed him, I loved him, I tried to warm him up, and he slowly starting calming down. He then went to the Pediatric ICU for the night to make sure he was stable after surgery. From that first surgery for the next 6 weeks he had 3 additional surgeries, many doctor's visits, and the whole time I was afraid to sleep. I was afraid his nasal stents would get clogged while I was sleeping and I wouldn't hear him. But we trudged on. Most people never knew how worried I was. They never knew that I would lay awake exhausted but listening to Fisher sleep because if they asked me how I was doing I would say we were doing good. I would say how awesome Fisher is, and how he takes everything like a champ. Becuase he was and he did.
But now, one year later I am in a doctor's office for something so minor and all the memories came flooding in. It is my opinion that we did what we needed to do to get through the tough time. But I guess we still have to come to terms with everything personally, and in our own way. Writing definitely seems to be helping me process everything, come to terms with what happened, how I felt then, how I feel now, and how I hope I feel in the future.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Healthy reminders

First of all - I am now a Sista in the Mamavation Sistahood! Woo hoo! I am really enjoying reading about and learning from ladies from all walks of lives. I am still getting my feet wet in the Sistahood, but learning every day.

This week I tried to get back to eating clean/whole foods, eating little processed food, and little sugar. Within 24 hours of this lifestyle I was reminded how awesome it makes me feel! By Wednesday I was feeling pretty good and wondering why I ever fall off the wagon and let the crap creep back into my diet. By Friday I was reminded why I let the crap creep back in - I am soooo freaking busy! This is the busiest time of year for me in my job, a week from tonight I will be in Tennessee trapping raccoons for several weeks. To counteract the "I am so busy, I am just going to stop and grab dinner for our family" I have made a meal plan for the week and already went grocery shopping for it. This is the plan -
Monday - Pork roast and sweet potatoes
Tuesday - Whole wheat pasta and veggies
Wed - traveling, will eat Subway
Thursday - traveling will eat healthy
Friday - Pot roast and veggies
Saturday - Chicken stir fry

Working out...another thing that has been hard to fit in lately. However, I am going to make it a HIGH priority this week!! I am going to start the week off by going jogging as soon as I take my son to daycare tomorrow, before I start working. If I don't get my workouts in then, it just doesn't happen. I am going to do the same thing on Tuesday and Friday (Wed and Thurs I will be traveling so won't be able to).

As far as weight goes - I just bought a new scale tonight (my son drenched mine and it shorted out) so hopefully next week I can post a loss!

Until then I am going to continuously remind myself how the choices I make - eating healthy, working out, drinking plenty of water - make me feel so much better!



Subway designed a new series of reusable lunch bags around each one of their Famous Fans and their specific athletic talent. My biggest inspiration is Lance Armstrong. He makes me feel like anything is possible when it comes to overcoming obstacles.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Our next adventure - Knoxville here we come

It is almost official, things are starting to fall into place...
We are moving! We currently live in Eastern KY and are going to be moving to Knoxville, TN for my job. I am currently the Kentucky Rabies Wildlife Biologist but for the past few months I have been serving as both the Kentucky and Tennessee Rabies Wildlife Biologist because the TN biologist took a new job. It has been decided that covering both TN and KY is going to be a permament job duty for me and logistically it makes more sense for me to work out of Knoxville, TN than where I live now. I have been driving down to Knoxville (5 hour drive) at least every other week and will be spending the majority of Nov and Dec down there. If we live in TN I will have less travel and will be home a lot more.
There are many positives to the move - I love Knoxville, I went to undergrad there, we have friends and family that live there. I look forward to spending time in the Smokies, hiking, fishing, camping, aaahhhhh. Right now we are having to drive 2 hours to Fisher's nose specialists, so hopefully when we move to Knoxville that will be much easier. And there is this whole issue that we want more children but we sure as heck aren't going to have another child where we had Fisher. I was planning on driving 2 hours to Lexington the next time we get pregnant, which I wasn't looking forward to.
I have to admit though, the idea of moving is bittersweet. There is this tiny thing that we own and must sell....our house. That is super scary to me. The cost of living is higher in Knoxville and I am worried about having to find Fisher a new daycare. His daycare he is at now is such a great fit! I also really love working in Kentucky. I love my coworkers here and my supervisor, I wish I didn't have to change that side of things.
And the hardest thing is that my Nana lived in Knoxville and she passed away just 2 months ago. The first thing I thought of when it became "official" that we were moving was "I can't wait to tell Nana!" because Nana would have been more than thrilled. When the idea of moving to Knoxville started getting tossed around Nana was in the hospital and we were thinking that she would be going to a nursing home. I was excited about the possibility of visiting her at the nursing home once a week for dinner. I could imagine Fisher looking forward to our weekly visits as much as she did. I think that this move becoming official has resulted in me greiving for Nana. I really miss her and I am sad for all the future memories I won't have with her.
But I am hoping and praying that a year from now things will be settled down. We will have sold our house in Ashland, bought a new house in Tennessee, Shawn will be teaching, and Fisher will be adjusted to his new day care. Knoxville has always felt like home to me and I am excited about living there with Shawn and Fisher. There is so much to do, so many people to meet, so many trails to hike. I never thought I would have a wildlife job in a state I wanted to live in (TN or KY) much less an awesome town. So bring on the adventure, let's see what Knoxville holds for our family!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mamvation Monday - I am pledging!

I discovered Mamavation two weeks ago and I have enjoyed reading the blogs and tweets from all the encouraging and positive women. And now I am pledging to become a member of the Mamavation Sistahood because I want to continue being encouraged by all these great women and I want to offer my encouragement as well.
I want to be held accountable for creating a healthy lifestyle for my family. A lifestyle in which we eat healthy and are active - we know that is the best thing for us, but it is easy to get busy and start eating out and letting the exercise go. I also know that in the past when I was working out five or six times a week and eating clean, I felt amazing! I want to feel like that again.
This past week we have been slowly transitioning back into the healthy lifestyle that we lived prior to having Fisher and falling off the wagon. We ate at home all week, except one day when my husband and I went on a lunch date. I have been trying to drink more water, but definitely can improve on that. My scale is broken (my son drowned it) so I have no idea what I weigh, but my pants are fitting a little looser, so that is awesome!

My goals for this week -
Drink at 96 ozs of water (4 of my water cups full)
Eat at home - except when I am going on out for lunch at work on Tuesday, when I will be smart about what I eat.
No sugar! I feel so much better when I don't eat sugar, but it is hard at first.
Work out four times at the gym.


MAMAVATION TV: Join us Monday night at 7pm PST/10pm EST on Mingle Media TV.

SISTA OF THE WEEK: And a BIG congratulations to April of @GAFlygirl for being the Sista of the Week!

BLOGGING CARNIVAL: This week’s blogging carnival is sponsored by SUBWAY. SUBWAY is giving away a $50 gift card to Lulu Lemon, a green Gaiam gym bag and yoga mat. All you have to do is mention the Commit to Fit Campaign and Jared on their Mamavation Monday post.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The mundane life

Life has been so busy lately - traveling back and forth from Knoxville, taking Fisher to day care and then working frantically all day, spending the weekends out of town, it feels sometimes like the only times we are home is to do laundry and set off again. It makes me appreciate the normal, boring life we have when we are home. I love our little schedule - we pick up Fisher from day care and then come home and Shawn, Fisher, and I spend some time outside in the yard together. We play in the sand box, in the leaves, or just hang out and talk in the front yard while Fisher chases the neighbors cats. Then we come inside and I make dinner and we eat, then it is bath time for Fisher. The last thing we do at night is go up to Fisher's room and let him play in the floor for a few minutes, read him a book, and then he is in bed.
Tonight as we were going through these motions I was so thankful to be doing them. To be home with my husband and my son, to be cooking dinner, cleaning up, giving a bath, all the things that most people aren't thankful about most days. But the last little bit has been so crazy, it was nice to have a mundane "boring" evening, just the three of us. Just what the doctor ordered!

Friday, October 15, 2010

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Wow - this is hard to get out, so I am just going for it.

I have had way too many close, dear friends and family members suffer the loss of a child the past few years. Some friends lost their babies early in pregnancy and some lost them after they were born. I have cried with them, prayed for them,felt helpless to help them, and hoped and dreamed for them. I also know I most likely have friends who have suffered a loss that they never talked about, that I don't know about.

Anyone that has lost a baby please know that your babies are not forgotten. We remember your pregnancies. We remember the joy and excitement of when you told us. We remember going to buy baby things. We remember the anticipation of wanting to know if you were having a girl or a boy. We remember the excitement over finding out you were having a girl or a boy (like there are any losers there!). We remember talking to you about your baby and hearing the love in your voice. We know that those babies are loved so much and are missed today.

We also remember and acknowledge the heartbreak. We know you are not "over" it. We know you have continued on in life, maybe have had more children, but we know you still miss and long for your loss. One of the many things that I have learned over the last year is that everyone handles trauma, heartbreak, and hard situations different and there is absolutely no right or wrong way to deal with it. So if you would rather not talk about it, that is fine. There is nothing wrong with that. However, if you feel the need to talk about your loss, your baby, or your trauma, that is also fine and you really should. Please know that I (and many other people) have an open ear and an open heart. We are here for you, whether it is today, tomorrow, or twenty years from now. We have not forgotten your babies. We love them and we love you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Have cloth, will travel.

We travel a lot. Weekend trips, multiple week trips, and everything in between. I have to admit, sometimes I get lazy and buy disposables for trips. Especially trips that are more than 4 days, as that is about how long our stash lasts. Sometimes I wash diapers when we travel, sometimes I don't. But usually if our trip is less than 4 days we take cloth. Honestly, Fisher is so long and lanky, his clothes fit much better with cloth on. With disposables his pants won't stay up, they just slide right down the plastic! Traveling with cloth diapers is not a big deal. We use mainly GroVia diapers - which are excellent for traveling. We use Grovia's All-In-Two diapers, which consists of a waterproof shell and an insert that you can change out when it gets wet. This way I only have to take 6 or 7 shells with a bunch of soakers. When Fisher pees, I just unsnap the soaker and snap in a fresh one. When he poops, I switch out the shell and the soaker. It is as easy as that!
For nightime use I pack a couple of fitted diapers and a few covers. And then I always end up putting one or two of my favorite "cute" diapers in, entirely for show off. This time I am taking an owl print All-in-Two from Itty Bitty Bums (http://ittybittybums.com/) and a bird All-in-Two from Cow Patties (http://cowpattiescloth.blogspot.com/). Both are extremely well made and very affordable as well as stinking adorable if you are interested in some unique and great prices on diaps :)
I also take a large wetbag for stashing the diaps until we get home and a small wetbag to take on outings.
My traveling stash -


It kind of looks like a lot, but I can fit it all into a small duffle bag.



Nothing to it! It takes about as much time to get everything together as it does to run to the store and buy disposables, and it is much cuter :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Early bedtimes

OK, One year ago I sure didn't think I would be complaining that my son sleeps too much! And I guess I am not really complaining, but chalk it up to one more thing I didn't quite expect.
Fisher's bedtime has gotten earlier and earlier! He is now 13 months old and goes to bed at 6 pm. His bedtime used to be 8, then we backed it to 7:30 because he seemed to get sleepy earlier. When he started daycare we moved it to 7:00 because he only takes one nap a day there compared to two naps he took at home. Then we moved it to 6:30, because we could tell he was worn out. And then while I was on my work trip Shawn started putting him to bed at 6:00 as he was tired that early! And when he is tired he is miserable and nothing makes him happy, so the early bedtime seems like a necessity. He does sleep through the night until about 7 am, so I am DEFINITELY not complaining about that. If babies were born being able to sleep through the night I might have a whole quiverfull myself, so I guess as far as population control goes - it is probably good they are so rough those first few months. Anyway - so this is our day. Fisher wakes up at 7ish, I get him ready for daycare - take him usually about 8 and then pick him up by 4. We bring him home, he eats a snack, we play outside, then he eats dinner at 5ish, then bath, then bed. He goes right to sleep, no fussing or complaining. Again, I am not complaining about that - I love that he is a great sleeper, but I miss him! I only have about 3 or 4 waking hours with him a day, so I want to pack it full of fun and snuggles.
I try to get finished with work as soon as possible so I can go get him and enjoy our time together. I do know that he really is loving daycare and gets so happy each morning when he sees his little friends. But I also look forward to the weekends when I get him all to myself all day long!
I am sure sooner than later he will start fighting bed time and I will think relish these days of early bedtimes with no fuss. And believe me if we have another baby I will definitely be counting the days down until they sleep through the night. But for now, I have to admit, I walk up stairs at night and watch him sleep. I sometimes hope he wakes up so I can cuddle him back to sleep.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mamavation Monday....er Tuesday?

I think since yesterday was federal holiday and I was off work then it is quite alright for me to do my first Mamavation Monday post on a Tuesday. So here we go...
I have noticed the hashtag #mamavation on twitter some over the past few months but it wasn't until today that I actually took some time and read about it. Oh.my.goodness. I am so excited! What is mamavation? It seems to me that it is a bunch of women online who are supporting each other and encouraging each other as they make their lives more healthy for themselves and their families. How cool is that? I took some time and read over many posts and the positivity and love is contagious. So I have decided I am going to join the Mamavation mamas and work towards a healthier lifestyle for Shawn, Fisher, and myself. In the coming months look for me to be posting Mamavation Monday posts where I outline what we are planning for our family and what works and doesn't.
So here I go -
This first week I am planning on not eating out at all! Coming off of a 10 day work trip where I ate out the whole week, I look forward to making meals and eating healthier.
I also plan on drinking 10 - 12 glasses of water a day. Also due to the work trip, I feel super dehydrated and gross.
I would like to make some working out/fitness goals but I am feeling quite crappy right now. So if I feel better, I will add those in!

Looking forward to getting to know the Mamavation mamas!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Home!

I am home from my work trip! I ended up being gone only 10 days as things went ahead of schedule. Overall things went great and were much easier than I expected on all fronts. On the home front - Shawn did AWESOME and did not even call me or complain one time that he was tired, needed a break, etc. I am sure he couldn't say the same thing about me if the roles were reversed for 10 days. Fisher did great too. Shawn said they really had a great time and I think it was good for all three of us.
On the work front - things went awesome too! This was a unique situation - I am the Kentucky Rabies Wildlife Biologist and the Tennessee Rabies Biologist recently took another job so I have stepped in and been heading up the TN rabies duties for the last few months. The vaccine bait distribution that I was gone for was in TN, so I was stepping in and heading up something with people that aren't used to working with me. However the guys down there were awesome and treated me great and things went very smooth. We got all the rabies vaccines out (we were driving around distributing rabies vaccines coated in a fishmeal block that is attractive to raccoons) in all of the TN cities that are too populated to fly and drop vaccines on. More info found if you are interested.
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/rabies/vaccine.html

So I am home and I swear Fisher grew! And he walks backwards as well as forward now. That is something he figured out in the past 10 days. He was definitely excited to see me and has been my shadow since I got home. He is also officially weaned. Which wasn't too bad on either of us I don't think. He was down to nursing once a day, so I didn't get engorged while I was gone (thank goodness) and he seemed to do fine in the transition as well.

So we all three made it. And I think it was good for all of us. I think it was good for Fisher and Shawn to be on there own for a while - there relationship is continually developing and changing. I also think it was good for me - everytime I remind myself that I really can do this - travel, work, and be a mom - I feel so blessed and happy with my life.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

This one is for the dads!

4 days into my 12 day work trip.....

So far so good. The days are so busy - we are up at 6ish eating breakfast and then out working by 8. After a long day we usually don't get back to the motel until 6 or so and then it is time to shower, eat dinner, and then go to bed. Even with the busy schedule I am still constantly thinking at 7:00 - I bet Fisher is waking up now. 11:00 - Fisher is eating lunch, and so on. He and Shawn are never far from my mind.
I am so thankful that I have such a great husband who coincidentally is an amazing daddy. I am so thankful that I can be gone for 12 days and not worry about Fisher. I hate when people gasp and say "I couldn't leave my child for that long" because it isn't like I am leaving my son with a teenager or a felon. My son is with his dad and I really don't think he is any less of a parent than I am. Sure, I made sure all the laundry was done before I left (laundry is really the only household chore that is "mine"), I went grocery shopping before I left (another duty that I usually do), and I tried to leave Fisher and Shawn in a way that would make this next two weeks as easy on both of them as possible. And I have to admit, I was a little worried when I left because SURELY my son would miss me and be inconsolable at times, right? I am his MAMA! And BTW - call it cruel or what - but he is simultaneously getting weaned from breastfeeding during the trip (though he was down to nursing one time a day, on his own). But no, when I talk to Shawn on the phone Fisher and him are outside playing, or he is feeding Fisher, or they are watching HBO family together, or he is telling me how long Fisher slept for a nap I realize that Fisher is just fine without me. He is happy and healthy and doing his normal things....with his daddy.
Shawn is a proud daddy. One of his facebook friends posted something about not liking babies and called them aliens and parasites and Shawn took it personally. Which I thought was awesome, because in all honesty, I would take it personally too (Aw hell no, I know you just didn't call me son an alien!! lol). Shawn told the girl that he thought it was wrong of her to make such a blanket statement and that she wouldn't say something like that about a particular ethnicity, gender, or nationality so he didn't understand why she could declare hatred for an entire segment of our population.
So the moral of the story is - I am impressed by the dad that Shawn is and is becoming. Over the past year he has impressed me over and over as I have seen him in a different light than ever before. He went from being my best friend, husband, comedian, antagonist, cheerleader,and partner in crime to being all that plus Fisher's dad. This new role is pretty awesome because I already loved my best friend, husband, antagonist, cheerleader, partner in crime - but by adding Fisher's daddy to the mix I get a whole new reason to fall in love all over again. So thank you Shawn.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The dreaded runny nose

Fisher has his first runny nose and cold. No big deal,right? Well, this is something we have been dreading since he was born over a year ago. Fisher has very small nares (nose holes) because of scar tissue built up from his birth injuries. He has had four surgeries to try to increase the size of his nares. The ENT put stents in to stretch out his nose holes - it was not fun to say the least trying to take care of an infant that had plastic tubes sticking out from his nose. Anytime anything touched them (a shirt, toy,etc) he was in immediate pain. And would cry in a way that I haven't seen him cry since (thank goodness). There was no way he could take bottles with the stents in his nose, as the nipple would hit his stents. Luckily I was nursing him and had learned to nurse him in a way to protect his nose when he was first born. There was no nursing in public or snoozing while nursing Fisher with stents - I had to be very aware of everything or I would hurt his nose. And then there was the fun part of having to suction out the stents every 2 hours...day and night. Glad that is over for now and certainly dread doing it again in a year or two.

Fisher with stents



Within 48 hours of removing the stents the scar tissue around his nares shrunk back and now he again has very small nose holes. They are slightly bigger than they were before the first surgery. We discussed putting stents back in after his nares shrunk, but he was 13 weeks old and by this time most babies can breathe out of their mouths some (not solely). Did you realize infants are not able to breathe out of their mouths? I didn't. I quickly learned and spent many hours worrying about Fisher's nose and counting the days until he was 12 weeks old (the time when most babies can mouth breathe some). I think I exhaled for the first time when Fisher was 12 weeks old. By six month most babies can breathe out of their mouths like adults. That was another important "milestone" for us. Anyway - during all this time Fisher's doctors made it very clear to us how dangerous it would have been for Fisher to get sick. Even a runny nose would have put him in the hospital. Needless to say our plans to put Fisher in daycare were delayed. We only took Fisher into public for doctor's visits and even then we often kept him in the car until he was able to go into a room (some other day I will have to write about the time Shawn about punched a guy at a doctor's office who got mad at us for waiting out in the hall instead of the PACKED waiting room full of sick children in the midst of the flu outbreak last fall. We did not go back to that doctor and ended up going to a better one anyway!). We ourselves avoided public as much as possible because we were afraid of bringing something home. Not exactly the fun time showing off our new baby as I had envisioned, but I wasn't thinking along those lines at that time. We were just doing whatever we could do to protect our little guy. And I a happy to say it worked! Fisher was healthy his entire first year. By the way - after Fisher was 12 weeks old we slowly returned to a "normal" life and we enjoyed the little things like going grocery shopping as a family and eating out.
And then we started Fisher in daycare....no shock that he has his first cold complete with runny nose. And though I am very thankful that he is old enough to breathe out of his mouth and I am not worried about his safety - dealing something as mundane and simple as a runny nose has been no walk in the park. His nares are small to start with - just to give you an idea, the bulb syringe that you use to suck snot out of babies is about two times too big to fit in his nares. And when someone has a runny nose, their nose tissue swells - which is something that most people don't notice or realize. Since Fisher has small nares to start with - his nares are now even smaller. His pediatrician explained that we need to keep his nasal passage as moist as possible, so we have been trying to use saline. However, his nares are way too small for the applicator on the saline bottle - so I end up trying to shoot the saline up his nose and it seems to go anywhere but his nose. Did I mention that Fisher FREAKS out anytime we get within a foot of his nose with anything - a washcloth, saline, tissue? Not fun. All weekend long I have been fighting him to wipe his nose and then squirt saline up there. I am pretty impressed that Fisher can put up such a fight against someone several times he size!
While this weekend has not been fun to say the least - I am so thankful that this did not happen a year ago. I am so thankful that his runny nose is an inconvenience and not dangerous. And in a weird way, I am kind of relieved. This has been something we have dreaded for over a year, something that his pediatrician and pediatric ENT both admitted they weren't sure how Fisher's breathing would be affected by him being sic. So I guess I am relieved that the big unknown isn't unknown anymore.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daycare rocks!

When I was pregnant we planned on putting Fisher into daycare when he was about three months old. However, because of his birth injuries his doctors instructed us that is was very important we keep Fisher healthy and day care was not an option. Not to mention he wouldn't have been able to go to daycare while he has nasal stents in his nose (that really sucked BTW). So Shawn and I have been juggling Fisher for the past year and it has been wonderful in many ways, but stressful at the same time. We were finally able to start daycare this week and he loves it! I am so happy and relieved. Even the teachers can't believe how easy his transition has been. He hasn't cried when I left yet and when I come to pick him up his is playing happily and then sees me... And for those of you that send your kids to daycare you know how awesome it is when they run up to you smiling and give you a hug. Makes my heart melt!
Since I am sleep obsessed (I admit it) I was very worried about him being able to nap at daycare. You see Fisher is somewhat of a sleep diva. He sleeps in his room, in a crib, with a fan running, usually a humidifier, in a house with plaster soundproof walls. I am sure this contributed to him being a very light sleeper and only wanting to sleep in his crib. He is not one of those kids that will fall asleep in the stroller, or on your lap, or anywhere other than his crib. So yes, he is a sleep diva (I know I created that, but hey - it works for us!). I was concerned about how my sleep diva would do taking a nap in a room, with other kids and distractions, and on the FLOOR! With no crib to contain him.
Day one - I got a report that he sleep 25 minutes. On the mat, on the floor. I am stunned.
Day two - He sleep 35 minutes. Again, I am stunned.
Day three - he sleep one hour and fifteen minutes! Woo hoo! I am impressed and happy and relieved.
And the best thing so far about daycare? He comes home SO happy! He is happy to see us, see his cats, eat dinner, play with his toys. I know he is tired but he isn't fussy at all. Shawn and I have enjoyed our afternoons and evenings with him and then he goes to bed with no problems.
And me, well I have been able to go to the gym and workout THREE DAYS IN A ROW! That is huge. And I feel a lot less stressed about work. While Shawn and I were juggling I would often have to work after Fisher went to bed to make up for time I couldn't work during the day. So I felt like I was always working and never got a break. Now, I am completely finished working by the time I pick up Fisher from daycare and the rest of the evening is mine to do what I want with it.
So I am going on the record saying daycare is not that bad. In fact, I have to say that for Fisher it is great. He seems to be having a great time, comes home a happy boy, and his mama is so much less rushed and stressed all the time. Other than the cost, I think it is a win win situation!

Monday, September 20, 2010

So many firsts!

In the past week Fisher had his first birthday, his first birthday party and went to daycare for the first time. That is a lot of firsts for any mama to handle!
I took off work on Sept 14th to properly spoil Fisher on his first birthday. We went to the park and then met his Daddy at McDonald's for Fisher's first Happy Meal. He loved his nuggets and didn't dig the fries. After a nap we took Fisher to Toys R Us where he picked out his own birthday present and then my husband decided that we needed to take Fisher out for his first steak dinner. Because every one year old deserves a steak on their first birthday right??? Well, we happen to have a one year old that is a human trash compactor and will actually eat a steak on his first birthday. So we went to a steak house and ordered him steak tips. Because he was wearing a shirt that said "Babies first birthday" the waiters came and sang for him. He clapped. We smiled. We ate steak. Good night.


Fisher's first birthday party was Sunday. We had such a good time hosting friends and family at our house. Fisher loved the balloons and spend a long time running around the house with his cousin Emerson playing with them. He also enjoyed opening presents and was genuinely excited about each one.
I decided a few months ago that I was going to make Fisher an owl cake for his birthday. Not for him, for me. I love owls so I figured since Fisher is too young to ask for a specific cake, then I got to make the choice. I think the cake turned out pretty good - it was a first me me to try to make a cake. It was supposed to stand up, but I ended up laying it down because I didn't feel like it was sturdy. Regardless, Fisher loved it and tore into it.


And today...Fisher had another first. He went to day care for the first time. No, I didn't cry...and neither did he. He was pretty excited about having the chance to play with other kids. I set him down in his room and walked away with no tears shed on either of our behalves. Though I did wonder what he was doing all day and I was tempted to call and check on him more than once. When Shawn and I went to pick him up he was happily playing and we got a great report from his teachers. Like everything else in life, he seems to be taking daycare in stride.

I am finally sitting down to relax and breathe. His first birthday is over, the party is finished (though we still need to finish cleaning up!), and he seems to really like his daycare. I am a happy and proud mama tonight :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Fisher!

If you know me, you know that I am very rarely at a loss for words. But I am now. There really are no words sufficient to express all I am feeling today on my son's first birthday. What a rollercoaster of a year - so many highs and quite a few lows. I don't think most people realized how low some of those lows were - I had a lot of fears that I didn't express too often to too many people. But the highs, I loved sharing the highs with everyone like only a proud mama can do!
So today is Fisher's first birthday. He was born at 2:47 am on Sept 14th 2009. Born to parents that loved him and wanted him so much, but had a lot to learn! We did it though - together the three of us learned and grew. We survived the first year as parents and Fisher survived his first year having us as parents.
Fisher is now a happy, healthy toddler. He walks around smiling and pointing at almost everything. When he wants to know what something is, he grabs my finger and points at it. He loves cats, dogs, balls, and his cousin Emerson. He giggles and runs from you when you chase him. He has added something to my life that I didn't even know was missing (hence waiting until I was 30 to have my first kid! lol). Happy Birthday Fisher! As Shawn said, we look forward to celebrating many more birthdays with you in the years to come!




Sunday, September 12, 2010

The impact of September 13th 2009

One of the things in life I have always looked forward to was going into spontaneous labor. There are so few surprises in our world and not knowing when you are going into labor just seemed so cool (and it was!). I enjoyed that every time I called my family or friends right before my due date I had to answer the phone with "I am not in labor."
One year ago from today I got my moment of excitement. My due date was 5 days away and I had been walking a lot to try to get things going, naturally. It was working - I was having tons of Braxton Hicks contractions and had found out at the last several OB appointments that things were progressing. On Sunday morning, Sept 13th at about 4:45 am I woke up because my water broke. It wasn't a gush, but I had NO doubt that is what it was. It was weird to be so sure about something you have never experienced, but I was. So I got out of bed, didn't wake up Shawn, and went to the bathroom. I just took a moment for myself and had a HUGE smile on my face - this was it!!! I was soooooooo excited, I was suddenly more awake than I had ever been and kept thinking that our lives will never be the same. I walked back into the bedroom and said to Shawn "My water broke!" He wears a CPAP mask to sleep and was mumbling with the mask on. He was so out of it and so asleep and he kept talking through the mask, I finally said "you might as well take your mask off because we are having a baby!"
I remember all the details so vividly from that morning - the excitement in our voices as we showered and got ready to go to the hospital. The moments we relished before we called our family, knowing that we were the only ones that knew at that moment our son was officially on his way to make us a family of three. I remember forcing myself to eat a little breakfast on the way to the hospital because I knew they had a no eating policy (so stupid) and I also knew I needed energy. When I think back to these seemingly insignificant details I can still feel the rush of excitement and joy in all of our moves.
Though I remember the good things and the excitement, I can't help but be reminded that one year ago my precious,perfect baby boy was getting the crap beat out of him and no one knew it. With every contraction I had his face was being smashed and crushed into my pelvis. Instead of his chin being tucked against his chest and his crown presenting (coming first), his head was flexed and his forehead was coming first. And no one knew it. Malpresentations (presentations other than crown first - such as breech) occur in less than 4% of labors. And the brow presentation is the rarest of all the malpresentations. So in reality there is a 0.001 chance of having a brow presentation. As rare as it is, the consequences of brow presentation going undiagnosed can be dangerous as we soon found out. And at the same time I feel so incredibly blessed because with the way my labor was managed Fisher could have fared much, much worse.
I look at my son today who is one day shy of turning one year old and I am so impressed by him. He has taken everything in stride from even before he was born and just seems to deal with the cards he has been dealt. When the doctors and nurses told us that he wouldn't be able to eat and would most likely need a feeding tube - he proved them wrong. When the nurses explained that he probably wouldn't breastfeed after his nose surgeries - he didn't listen. When the doctors told me that he would likely be delayed on some milestones due to us having to restrict his movement the first four months - he taught us to not underestimate him.
So many factors that have been apart of this first year of Fisher's life were set for him on Sept 13th, 2009. The day before he was actually born. While Fisher will most likely have a few more surgeries in the future, I pray that his birth injuries will be completely behind him before he is old enough to really remember the surgeries. But me, I know for the rest of my life I will think back to Sept 13th 2009 and be flooded with memories - both the good and the bad. Hopefully as the years pass I can focus more and more on the good, innocent memories of walking into the hospital in labor, holding my husband's hand, feeling the cool fall air, and hearing the birds greet us, knowing that when we walked out of that hospital our lives would forever be more full and rich.

Monday, September 6, 2010

What a difference a year makes

As Shawn and I creep closer and closer to Fisher's first birthday I am reminded more and more how different our lives are from one year ago. Actually, this entire past year I have thought over and over again "This time last year I was doing...." I heard "having a child changes everything" ad nauseum. But like many of things that I grew tired of hearing while I was pregnant, I have learned for myself that this too was true.
So this time last year I was very pregnant and very excited about meeting Fisher. He was strong and healthy kicking away in my belly. Shawn and I were relishing the last few days of just the two of us by watching lots of college football. We were hoping that Fisher wouldn't make his appearance until after the first football Saturday. Which he was nice enough to oblige to. He actually waited and let us enjoy two football Saturdays before starting his long and dramatic entrance into this world on a Sunday morning.
Shawn ended up getting really sick and I had to take him to the Emergency Room in the middle of the night the week before I went into labor. I will never forget sitting in the ER with Shawn having the strongest Braxton Hicks contractions I had ever had worrying that I was going to go into labor and Shawn was going to be in the ER. That didn't happen - again Fisher obliged and let Shawn get healthy before his appearance.
A year ago I woke up whenever I felt like it. I got up and did what I wanted without considering anyone else. I would pack for work trips in 15 minutes and take off without thinking twice. Being gone for weeks at a time was no big deal. A year ago my daily schedule didn't include being at home for nap time. I would go work out whenever I felt like it. I was able to fit everything Shawn and I needed for a weekend into a duffel bag - now when we go somewhere for a weekend we fill up the trunk.
This time last year I knew that I would love being a mom. I knew that I would love Fisher. A year ago though - I had no idea how much.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Parents say the darndest things....

Sometimes I say things to Fisher and even I can't believe they come out of my mouth. And what I find the funniest is that I say them completely calm and rational and then it hits me what I said.
Today I have had a few gems of ridiculousness. The following things have come out of my mouth (directed at Fisher - who incidentally enough is only 11.5 months old and hopefully has no clue what I am saying)

"Don't pull your penis off, you may need it one day."

"I am sure there are many babies in Africa that would love to have a clean diaper."


In other news - Fisher is now a walker. I have found from my own experience (n=1) that there is a gray area between the first steps and when the kid is a walker. When I was calling around to daycares the last few weeks they inevitably asked me if Fisher walks. And there was this awkward moment and then I said "yes...well, kind of" because he was walking, just not all the time, or even most of the time. As of today I have decided that that awkwardness is over and he is officially a walker. He still crawls some, but he is definitely preferring the walking and has actually just spend the last 30 minutes parading around the living room showing off his skills.

And Shawn just said to me "You ought to write in your blog how you have a good husband that cleans the house." And so I did.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Driving....

I drove 9 hours round trip today to pick up one raccoon. Not very efficient but it needed to be picked up (to be tested for rabies). I drive a lot for my job as I work in both Kentucky and Tennessee and log many miles in those two states. I have found that driving through the mountains in Eastern Kentucky especially is very cathartic to me. Most often I am driving on curvy two lane mountain roads where I have to actually pay attention to the roads and not zone out completely like I do on interstates. I have noticed that this time I spend driving really centers me. Lots of times I listen to NPR. I am such a dork I always try to have NPR podcasts on my Ipod to listen to when I drive. I have been doing my current job for three years now and I have come to really look forward to my drives. When I am not in the mood for NPR I will play some tunes from my ipod and sing along. All of this driving time is time for my brain to not think about a million things at once, I can't check my email, or make phone calls (no cell service in most areas where I go). I really need this time to decompress and just let my brain rest for a bit. I have noticed that when I am not trying to do many things at once and just drive and listen to music I can often calmly and rationally think out situations and problems. If I feel stressed or angry about something, calming down and thinking things through is usually just as simple as getting in my truck and hitting the road for a few hours.
Today I planned the next month and a half in my head. I planned a trip to Knoxville next week for work - figured out how Shawn and I would juggle Fisher and then went through everything I need to do in Knoxville for work and to visit my grandmother. Then I planned out all the cleaning I have to do this weekend to get ready for Fisher's first birthday and then planned and set up his party. I went through several more things coming up and came home from the drive in a good mood, feeling somewhat refreshed. And then I walked into my house with dirty diapers waiting to be washed, emails needing to be read and responded to, dinner ready to be cooked, Fisher wanting some Mama time (which I love!), and Shawn needing to run some errands. So relaxation is over until the next Eastern Kentucky drive.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Laundry Life

When I was in graduate school I remember living in my first apartment with a washer and drier. Every Saturday I would do two loads of laundry, put it away, and then I was done with laundry for the week. Holy crap - I don't even believe it myself, and I was there!
I still in my head like the idea of a laundry day...but now I have a laundry life. I do laundry all day every day (or so it seems). I am continually throwing clothes into the wash, towels into the dryer, and then....piling them in my bed room. I don't mind the actual washing that much, but I never, ever seem to get a grip on putting them away. And.it.drives.me.crazy. Adding to the problem is that we bought an adorable cottage-style house that was built in 1941. Everyone that knows anything about building remarks on how great the house was built and that "they don't build them like that anymore." However, among the great structure, the plaster sound proof walls (that really rock now that we have a baby because we don't even have to try to be quiet while Fisher is sleeping), the arch doorways that give the house so much character there is something missing.....closets. Our house is a testimony to how much more CRAP we have than families had 70 years ago. Of course when we bought this house it didn't seem like that big of a deal - I mean, come on it has arch doorways! But now, well now, it is annoying and adds to the laundry life. There just isn't enough space for all the clothes, the towels, the sheets, the wash clothes, the unpaper towels (aka old rags),etc. And it is frustrating!! Next time we buy a house I am going to make sure there is a ton of storage and closets.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Nana's legacy of love




My Nana passed away today. Nana was a one of a kind person. She melded a sweet,loving personality with just enough spunk to make her a riot. Nana has been sick for a few months and I have spent a lot of time reflecting on her and the impact she has had on my life. And it all comes back to love.

Nana and Granddaddy were high school sweethearts, married, and had three daughters. They moved frequently because Granddaddy was a Methodist minister and his church assignments changed every few years. Through the years, moves, children, grandchildren, and all the things life throws at you they stayed in love. Granddaddy died 20 years ago (I can't believe it has been that long!) but even his death did not change her love for him. When Nana spoke of granddaddy I swear you could see that 14 year old high school freshmen with a gleam in her eye talking about her first love. I used to love to ask her stories about Granddaddy just to see her glow. She always wore her wedding ring and every year in our yearly family picture she made sure that our whole family was situated in a way where Granddaddy's picture was in the shot as well.
Even as a young girl I saw something in their relationship that I knew I wanted in my own one day. They had so much fun together and their love and respect for each other showed in ways that you can't fake.

Nana was everyone's Nana. If you met her, you called her Nana. And she was a hugger. That is just how she was. Because I went to college close to where Nana lived I had the opportunity to take many friends over to Nana's house. I so enjoyed introducing my friends to Nana because many of them had grandmothers they did not get to see often or that had passed away and Nana would be more than happy to share the Nana love. She never forgot ANY of my friends and asks for updates on every single one of them.
She also welcomed her grandson-in-laws into the family with the widest open arms you can imagine. Except she would never refer to them as in-laws - Shawn, Kelly, and James are her grandsons and that is the only way I ever heard her refer to them. This was especially meaningful to Shawn and myself as his own parents and grandparents are deceased. I loved that there were no "in-laws" and we were all just her grandchildren.
And I will never forget the way she welcomed her only great grandson into this world. When I went into labor early in the morning on Sunday, Sept 13th last year her and my aunt Teresa got in their car and drove six hours to where I lived to be there when Fisher was born. Of course, things didn't exactly go as planned and they had to leave without even seeing Fisher or holding him. But Nana and my two aunts Teresa and Jonna turned around and drove BACK the day after Fisher got out of the NICU just to meet him. And that has always meant so much to me. So even though Fisher will not remember the times he spent with Nana, we have pictures and most importantly I will never forget the truly unconditional love she showed to me, my family, and my friends. I am sad that Fisher will not grow up getting Nana hugs but he will benefit from the love that Nana taught me and he will benefit from that his whole life.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Battling Ammonia - Erin 6, Ammonia 4

What a week of battling ammonia. I think I have gone about 10 rounds with Fisher's diapers but I am declaring myself the victor.

For about two weeks I noticed an ammonia smell when I changed Fisher's diapers. Because I have never had any build up or stink problems I didn't think too much about it. I even looked up why a baby would suddenly have an ammonia smell to their pee and found some sites saying that he might need to drink more fluids and that this can just happen sometimes. Then we had two different nights where I put Fisher to bed at his normal time and he was up within an hour screaming. He never wakes up crying so we knew something was wrong. Both times when we checked on him, he had peed and his booty was red and there was an ammonia smell :( Both times I put him in a disposable and then put him back to bed and he went right back to sleep. So I finally (yes I am slow!) realized that I was having some ammonia build up problems with my diapers. I use Rockin Green Classic Rock to wash Fisher's diaps so I rocked two overnight soaks. Still had ammonia smell after Fisher peed. I have since soaked his diapers in blue dawn twice overnight, soaked them in vinegar, and sunned them and I think we are back in business! What a pain! But I guess on a positive note, I have been using cloth diapers on Fisher since he was born (11 months ago) and never had to strip them or had problems until now.
We had Fisher in disposables for about a week while I was soaking, rinsing, and trying to figure out what in the world was going on with his diapers. And now he has a rash from the disposables. Boooo! Fisher has really sensitive skin and whenever we have had him in disposables he always ends up with a rash. So I am so happy to have him back in his cloth diapers and even happier that they are fresh, clean, and no ammonia smell!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Green Mamas Blog Hop!



This is the first blog hop I have participated in - though I have discovered some great blogs by visiting blog hops in the past. Join the Blog Hop or take a moment and peruse some of the blogs listed.
Have a GREAT Friday!



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Healing

I have been to therapy three times so far to address the trauma surrounding my son's birth. And I really do think it is helping. The therapist explained to me that my brain has not processed the trauma surrounding Fisher's labor and delivery and therefore it keeps trying to process it, which is why I have anxiety about it and reoccurring thoughts, images, and dreams. She is going to do a treatment to help me reprocess it and she really thinks the anxiety and other symptoms will go away. I know it sounds a little kooky, but I figure - what the hell? It sure can't hurt. And even though we haven't started the actual reprocessing part yet - I already know that I am healing. Just understanding why I am dealing with the things the way I am has helped so much. For instance - I have totally been ignoring and putting off dealing with the incorrect medical records and talking to a lawyer. While I had rationalized ignoring these things for many different reasons (mainly being so freaking busy lately!) - my therapists mentioned that some people ignore things as a way to avoid that issue because it causes hurt, anxiety, or pain. And I know that is the real reason I have been putting it off. It scares me to deal with it because it is like pouring salt on a wound. I have been much more aware of why I feel the things I feel and most of all - I know that it is normal. It is all normal. And I am not ashamed or embarrassed...I just am. Those who know me know that I have a very analytical, scientific brain and having someone explain to me the science behind why I am dealing with things the way I am has been priceless. Now that I understand the biology behind my reaction and I know that it is absolutely and totally normal I am so much more peaceful about the whole situation. I realize now that I had a ton of guilt just because of my anxiety and anger surrounding Fisher's birth. I thought that the "right" way for me to be was to be happy he is alive and here with us, and not care about any of the other stuff. I was told many many times by many people that all that mattered was a healthy baby and I didn't understand why I couldn't just be like "everybody else" because though I of course wanted a healthy baby - I also want to know what happened, need to understand why it happened, I feel anger, feel sadness, feel anxiety, etc.
But I am not like "everybody else." I am me and my brain is my brain and like all parts of our body do - my brain is trying to heal itself. It might not be doing it in a way that pleases everyone, but it is doing it the only way my body knows how. And I am happy that I feel like I am moving in the right direction. Towards healing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Blessed to be a Working Mom

Yes, I said it. I am officially 11 months into this motherhood thing and though I love it more than I even imagined I still *gasp* love my job. Last year while I was pregnant I spent way too many hours reading forums, baby boards, working mother websites, etc and the general consensus seemed to be working is horrible when you are a mom. I don't know how many times I have read "I am blessed to be a stay at home mom." And I wondered - after I had Fisher would I suddenly do a 180 and not want to work the job that both Shawn and I have sacrificed for? We have moved several times so I could be a wildlife biologist, got married though we were living in two different states, and lived apart for three years. I can honestly say that I was a little concerned about having a baby and then not wanting to work anymore, because financially that is not an option. So I am almost a year into this thing and I can honestly say that I am blessed to be a working mom! I love my job as much as I ever have and I love my son more than I ever realized I could. I know now that there is room in my heart for both. And in my life. I am truly blessed to work for a great agency that was very supportive during my pregnancy and all the complications that followed labor and delivery. Looking back at that time I can not imagine having to deal with all we were dealing with and have to be worried about my job on top of everything.
I know that having an incredibly supportive husband that also happens to be a pretty great dad makes this possible. I love that I can travel for days at a time (and in the very near future I will be gone for 10 - 12 days!) and not worry about Fisher. And I also think that Fisher's mellow attitude helps out a lot as well.
So there it is - it is now on the internets so it must be true - It is possible to be a mom and love your job. Anyone else feel that way?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daycare....hopefully the third time is a charm!

For the third time Shawn and I are trying to get Fisher in daycare. Fisher could not go to daycare early on because of his nasal stents (they were a bear to deal with) and then because his pediatrician and Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor insisted that we do everything within our power to keep Fisher from getting sick until he was at least six months old. Did you know that babies can not consistently breathe out of their mouths until they are six months old? Yeah, I didn't know that either - until I had a son who has micronares (small nose holes) and was told that if Fisher got a cold or congestion he would have to be admitted to the hospital. Not cool. And then when Fisher was six months old his doctors said that he if we could hold off on daycare any longer that we should. So that is what we have done. And it has been exhausting. We juggle him between the two of us and our schedules. When Shawn is gone during a work day for me I work while Fisher is taking naps and then work again after Shawn gets home or after Fisher goes to bed. I try not to complain because I am very very thankful I have a job that allows me to do that.
Fisher is almost 11 months old and both mine and Shawn's schedules are about to get very insane with work and school so I am hoping the third time is a charm with getting Fisher in daycare! I have called around and there is one that I definitely feel more comfortable with. They are suppossed to let me know next week if they are going to have an opening for him in the near future. I guess if they don't I will have to get him in one of the other ones. But my intituion is telling me that this one in particular is the one to go with - so I am crossing my fingers.
For the record - I am not dreading Fisher going to daycare. I am actually excited about it. I think he is going to love it!! He loves playing with other children and he just doesn't get to do that very often. And thinking about the amount of stuff I can get done in 8-9 hours without Fisher is pretty exciting too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

First steps

Fisher took his first unassisted steps yesterday. I was incredibly impressed; he didn't even realize he did it. He was standing with his cousin Emerson (who is 4) and she walked away and he followed for a second. He did it again later that night when we were at home. Shawn was looking out the window - which is one of Fisher's favorite pastimes. I guess he wanted to join Daddy at the window and he took off towards it. I was so excited I screamed at Shawn "LOOK!!" and Fisher stopped in his tracks and fell. Oops, my bad.
Anyway - Fisher is very tall and lanky and we have been thinking he would be on the later side of walking in order to get his balance under control, so I really wasn't expecting him to take his first few steps at 10.5 months. He still has a long way to go and a lot of balance to figure out but it is a start.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Work, smerk

So far I have been posting a lot about Fisher and baby stuff, because honestly when I sit down in front of the computer that is usually what is on my mind. However, work has been crazy lately as it is getting to the busy part of my year. The time when we do a bait drop (drop vaccines from planes to vaccinate wildlife for rabies) and then follow up with several weeks of trapping to see how effective our bait drop was. This year the person that normally is in charge of the TN side of things took a different job so I am stepping in and covering both TN and KY currently. So add the normal craziness of this time of year to me covering two states at once and WOW. I am running around like a mad woman (ha ha - rabies joke). I wake up in the morning and get right to work (one of the benefits of working from a home office is not wasting time getting ready for work and driving to work!) and the last few days I have been working until about 5 pm and then stopping for a few hours to play with Fisher and then after he goes to bed I work more. I hate the feeling of being behind and overwhelmed and I feel both right now. In the past I probably wouldn't have felt that way, but having a 10 month old added to the work mix is a whole new dimension. While working from home is great in a lot of ways, it is also hard because it is hard to having a definitive stopping point to the day since I never leave my office. Regardless, I am happy to have be a mom and a wildlife biologist! There are far too few women that do both :)