This summer has been stressful with all kinds of privileged problems. I say privileged because really, I had a great summer with some overarching annoyances, and there are bigger, more serious problems in the world right now which I’m totally ostrich-necking into the sand. So don’t even ask me about the insanity that is domestic & world news right now because Tina Fey’s sheet-caking sketch hit a little too close to home and, as I discuss below, I’ve already got a clothing fit problem. Not to mention the current hurricane season which is literally hitting too close to home.
That said, the season kicked off with me starting my first period since pregnancy while on my first beach vacation in over a year. Sorry if that’s TMI, but man it really was not cool. And then my kitchen renovation was totally mismanaged and a project that should have taken three to six weeks took almost four months instead. And throughout, and currently, none of my clothes fit properly at all, everything I own is either too big or too small, so if you see me & think “what in the world is she wearing?” or “didn’t she wear that last time I saw her?” the answer is “I don’t even know anymore,” and “probably,” respectfully. Bonus points if I look like I’ve actually washed my hair in the last week. Plus, I definitely should have signed Libby up for more camp days because I was constantly needing a break so very bad, and my parents, newly retired, also had a very complicated summer, so leaning on them was not straightforward.
All this means I’ve been very very tired pretty much all summer and probably not my best version of myself as often as I’d like.
Since it’s been an incredibly long time since I blogged, we’ll start with a catch up. This will take awhile since each of these headings probably should have been it’s own post. I’ll try to keep it mostly pictures so I don’t lose you all in the blah blah blah…
Visiting Papa John & Nana Shirley.
I took the girls to Cleveland, TN to spend the weekend with Papa & Nana (Brian’s father & his wife). We had a great time! Libby’s favorite thing was playing baby dolls with Nana Shirley in the baby doll room. We need to plan another trip to Cleveland, not only are Nana & Papa fun & welcoming, but Libby is old enough to really love the Chattanooga Aquarium & Maggie is old enough to be delighted by a lot of it too.
Libby did her first public Easter egg hunt at McCabe Community Center. It was a big zoo of an event but Libby had a blast! We’ll probably go again next year, especially if they keep it free 😉
Then for Maggie’s first Easter Sunday, we took the girls to Omaha. This was also the first year the Easter Bunny hid eggs in the yard for Libby. On the way home, we made time to visit Grandmother Claire as well, so they got to see both their Great Grandmas for the holiday!
Mother’s Day Strawberry Picking.
I think this is going to be a tradition. We had a great time again this year! Although Libby & Daddy did most of the picking because picking strawberries with a baby on your back is hard hard work.
Maggie Eats Solid Food Now.
Maggie hit the six month mark & she started eating solid foods. She is full on eating anything we’ll let her have now, plus she has four teeth!
Plus, she had her one & only bottle. I despise pumping, so I procrastinated like crazy with this one & we never even introduced a bottle until she was almost six months old. Then we went to her six month pediatrician appointment & her doctor said “Time to phase out the bottle and switch to sippy cups!” so there we were.
More adventures in food…
The Beach Trip.
We took Maggie to the beach for the first time. I was a bit of a stress case, not helped at all by the whole aforementioned period issue. Two babies under three at the beach is a lot. But it was fine and I got to put my toes in the sand & get in the water once or twice, plus I got to indulge in a pedicure & massage while I was there.
Maggie of course tried to eat the sand, and liked the water okay. It took Libby awhile to be convinced to get in the water which surprised us because we all remembered last Thanksgiving where we had to chase her down to keep her out of the water! But I guess she learned fear in the meantime. Overall, I think the girls had a fun time at the beach. There are a lot of things I may plan differently next time. Like I might actually pack clothing for myself. Yes, Brian & I packed up all the stuff for Libby & Maggie and we did grab our swimsuits, but other than that we both arrived with just the clothes on our backs. So there was a Target run at the top of the week to hit the clearance racks & clothe ourselves.
The Kitchen Reno.
We made the mistake of going through the West Nashville Lowes. “It’s all listed out at the beginning” we thought, “fewer costly surprises because it’s all picked out and paid for,” we thought. Don’t do it. Their project management was inept. The contractors themselves who were sent were not terrible, in fact, we got their number so we can hire them directly for the next thing we do. It was Lowes – they showed up to the pre-construction meeting without the up-to-date scope in hand so we lost a day sorting that out, they sent the wrong microwave over, they sent the wrong faucet over, they didn’t notice the light we picked out was out of stock, they forgot to include cabinet pulls… Basically, their communication skills were non-existent & it was like they were totally asleep at the wheel. And we’re still not done with them! They never wrapped the window properly on the exterior & there’s a whole foot-kick lighting issue (long story, and not an interesting one) that has never been resolved. So never ever again. Like I don’t even want to shop there anymore. I’ll just go to Richland ACE on Charlotte. Or Home Depot in Bellevue.
During this project, we were living in my parents’ Brentwood house. Poor Libby asked me every other day when she was going to get to sleep in her room and play with her toys again. I think it was pretty stressful for her & I felt like she didn’t sleep well all summer. Maggie didn’t seem to care at all.
However, despite all of this, I love my new kitchen. It is a vast vast improvement to my life. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. (Sorry to not have any before/after pics… only pics I have are of punch list problems! Will clean the kitchen & post in a future post)
Libby went to Camp Westminster this summer and she also got to do one day of Camp MyGym. Of course she liked Camp MyGym better. Camp Westminster was not as exciting because it was at school I guess. But I didn’t have my act together to enroll her in Camp MyGym early enough to get into all the days. And they did do a lot of fun stuff at Camp Westminster. They played outside every day on the playground with sprinklers and water tables. They got popsicles and lemonade. Libby got to touch a real snake!
And Mommy got a few days with one baby instead of two.
…which brings us to August. The first week in August, I sent an email to Lowes listing all the stuff that was still left off and telling them I was taking the key out of the key lock so they would need to call me to schedule it because I had to move my babies back into my house. And I did. It’s still a big mess, I still have a lot of shifting stuff around to do. Maggie still doesn’t have her bed room set up – at ten months, she still sleeps in a pack and play every night, she has never slept in a proper crib. Libby’s room is over-run with stuff because all of Maggie’s clothes & stuff are in her room at the moment. There is still furniture that is displaced. I feel like it’s going to take until Halloween to get everything right.
Libby had her third birthday party on August 26th at MyGym and it was adorable. The kids had a great time & all I had to do was bring cake & a couple snacks. The MyGym people did the entertaining. Oh and I brought goodie bags too because I can’t help myself. I blame Amazon Prime.
Then we had Parent’s Orientation Night on Monday where Brian & I got to meet Libby’s new teachers & see her new classroom, then Visitation Day on Wednesday where Libby got to meet her new teachers & see her new classroom, then came Thursday.
I thought, we’ve had a really busy week, and Libby’s first day of school AND third birthday are tomorrow, plus it’s supposed to rain all day… let’s just stay home. So we did. Libby opened her present from her Great Aunt Anne Lytle that came in the mail & played with those, we baked a pretend cake out of Duplos, I let her eat some of her leftover birthday cake from the party & watch Daniel Tiger & Wonder Pets. Then we hit dinner time & I realized I had to go to the grocery store if I wanted to feed my children something other than eggs (which we had eaten for breakfast) or peanut butter (which we had eaten for lunch). So I loaded the girls up in the rain and drove down to Publix. When I got there it had gone from kind of raining to pouring rain & I decided I just couldn’t even and I turned course to the Chik Fil A drive-thru. Once back home, we all ate chicken fingers, fries & fruit. I also tossed some leftover peas at them to assuage my guilt for serving a fast-food dinner, which Maggie actually seemed to like better than the fries.
When I was almost done eating, Libby finished then got up to go to the bathroom. Maggie had no food left on her tray either, and seeing her sister up, she started rocking in her seat & making noises to indicate she wanted out too. So I took her out of her highchair, set her on the floor, took my last two bites of food and got up to go help Libby in the potty. And that is when Maggie face-planted into a Duplo block.
By the way, Maggie is full on crawling. She is excellent at it. Her current challenge is pulling up on everything, climbing stairs, and this thing where she tries to crawl on her feet instead of her knees. And she likes to try to do all of this while holding objects of course.
So I don’t know if she was holding the Duplo, or if the Duplo was just sitting unnoticed on the floor in the exact wrong spot, but it got her right in the space between her upper lip and her nose. Blood all over, deep cut, I’m thinking it’s cut all the way through. Maggie’s freaking out because it hurts, I’m freaking out because I don’t know what to do, Libby comes waddling down the hall with her pants around her ankles all “What happened?” I told her Maggie face-planted on a Duplo block.
“What’s face-planted mean? I’ll get Maggie a toy so she’ll be happy. And Mommy I’ll make you tea.”
Maggie and I are crying with blood all over us and Libby is this calm rockstar going “I can fix this. Here are my ideas.” I’d already called my mom immediately and incoherently asked her if she was coming over (she was supposed to have been there already to pick up some stuff for Libby’s birthday dinner the next day) and she was on the way, so I washed Maggie’s lip off with cold water to try to look at it better, took a sip of my pretend tea, and called the pediatrician on call.
I was advised that since it was that little lip spot, Maggie probably needed stitches. She advised me to go to the pediatric ER at TriStar Centennial instead of Vandy because there is often no wait at all. I put Maggie in her car seat, still screaming, and Libby gave her a little lovey to hold and as soon as my parents got there I was off in the rain to find the Centennial Pediatric ER.
The on-call pediatrician was right – I pulled in and had my choice of right-at-the-door parking, so I parked in the closest spot that wasn’t marked for emergency vehicles or doctors. Maggie had cried herself to sleep – it was, after all, almost her bedtime at this point – and when I opened the back door to get her she was clutching the little lovey so tight. That’s also when I noticed which lovey it was – this totally inappropriate Adult Swim character that Uncle Drew gave Libby last year. It’s an angry blue man who’s missing an arm & foaming at the mouth. If she wasn’t clutching it so hard, I might’ve attempted to replace it with Libby’s zebra that was on the floor board so as to feel a little less likely to be judged for the toys I allow my child to have. But I let that one go & walked into the building.
We were taken right to a room. The doctor looked at it, said stitches were a good idea to try to prevent or at least minimize scarring especially since babies are constantly messing with their mouths. Then they cleaned it and put numbing gel on. This was the hard part: I had to hold her & keep her from ripping off the numbing gel swab for a full hour so it could work. She was miserable! Now you guys know I’m technologically impaired and I don’t keep kids videos or games on my phone, plus I didn’t have any time really to think, “hey I should double check the diaper bag for baby distractions” so I was trying all kind of improvisations. I sang. I played videos of Libby singing. I played random music from my play list. I sang more because she rejected my music taste (fair enough). I got up. I sat down. I played more videos of Libby. Finally they came back in. They took the numbing gel off, they gave a her whiff of some sort of baby laughing gas so she wouldn’t wiggle quite as much (which I felt totally guilty about, but the thought of not giving it to her made me feel worse, so we went with the drugs), swaddled her up and they started. It was pretty terrible. I closed my eyes. I had to hold her little hands in the swaddle. Three stitches. Then we were done.
They gave her Pedialyte and she guzzled it! Like it was the only thing that calmed her down afterward – I had even nursed her & she liked that Pedialyte better. Even when the cup was empty, she refused to let go of it.
They told us they were dissolvable stitches, so we needed to keep it completely dry for at least 2 days, and for a week after that, keep it as dry as possible and don’t put any balms or lotions or creams on it. They got our discharge papers ready & we were off.
Well, trying to keep a 10 month old baby’s face dry, much less her actual upper lip, for a full 48hrs is practically impossible. She basically licked the stitches off. If she wasn’t licking, she was touching them, and if she wasn’t licking or touching them, she was rubbing them against her sheets, my shoulder, the car seat… Those stitches were all but disappeared by Sunday morning. Since it was a holiday and all, and it wasn’t infected looking or bothering her, I waited until Tuesday to call & go into the pediatrician’s to have them look at it and reassure me that it was okay. The verdict? She does not need additional stitches, and we won’t know whether it will likely be a permanent scar or not until she’s two years old. The doctor (not our normal one actually, she’s in Florida… hope she’s planning on returning prior to the predicted Irma landing…) told us to wait until Friday, then put Neosporin on it after bath time for one week, then sunscreen on it every day for pretty much the next year. And then we will have done everything in our power to prevent scarring.
It was a fitting end to this summer. Not that we didn’t do a lot of fun things – I didn’t even tell you about visiting the Adventure Science Museum, or how it snowed in March, or The Ice Cream Crankin’, or Maggie’s pulling up on everything, or 4th of July, or Sarah & Dante coming to visit, or the fun birthday parties we got to go to other than Libby’s, or Libby’s actually birthday surprises…
I’ll have to put more pictures of that stuff (and our day-to-day moments) in the picture gallery later.
Right now, though, I am ready for fall!
AHH! So I had this all typed up, but I saved it as a draft because it was late & I thought I should probably proof read before submitting all y’all to my ramblings. THEN YESTERDAY LIBBY FELL AND MADE HER HEAD BLEED!
You guys – I did not do well. We were actually early to get to her to school and parked in the lot & I read her a book in the car since we aren’t allowed to drop them off earlier than 8:45a for the 9a school start. Then it was time to get out and she has been practicing getting out “all by myself” so I watched her do that & she did great, except at the last minute she lost her footing on some loose concrete and fell on her bottom. But she caught her head, so I was all “oops!” and bent down to help her up when for whatever reason, she decided to wham her head back. Like maybe she was going to arch her back up? Or refuse to get back up? I have no idea why she did it, but she popped it right onto one of those loose pieces of concrete (aka sharp rocks) and blood just went everywhere. All in her hair, all down her back.
I pick her up – I have not even consumed a cup of coffee at this point in the morning and I am foggy & practically hyperventilating. She’s sobbing, I’m trying not to sob, I think “I need to clean this blood. How am I going to clean this blood? I need to go inside. I can’t leave Maggie in the car, Maggie has to go inside with me. I’ll put them in the double stroller.” So I do. Libby is has stopped crying and is now repeating “I want to go to school” over and over because I’ve said out loud at some point in my freak out that we will need to go to the doctor. I wrap her head in a swaddle blanket I had in the car. I head toward the school & realize that I have no idea how to get a stroller into this school because it is under renovation & the entrance I used last year isn’t open. So I’m aimlessly standing there, and literally the first mom I see I say “Maybe you can help me? My daughter fell and the back of her head’s bleeding and I don’t know how to get a stroller into the building and I don’t even really know if that’s what I should be doing? Can you help me?” Just like that. And this mom was awesome & kind & she looked at me & looked at Libby’s head & said “You need to just turn around and put them back in the car & take her straight to your pediatrician.” And I said, “Yes, yes, they are right down the street, they open at nine, you are right thank you…” and walked away repeating “Why today? Why is this week so stupid?” over and over.
Straight to the pediatrician we went, they took us in and a nurse cleaned Libby up (who is of course her rockstar self & totally calmly following all the nurses instructions) & then a doctor came in & looked at her (our doctor is out of town this week, obviously because that’s the kind of week this is) and of course it was the same doctor we had just seen the day before to follow up on Maggie’s stitches. I’m like “Hello again,” and am pretty much feeling like a failure of a mom. Which he must’ve picked up on because after telling me Libby did not need stitches, nor did she appear to have a concussion, he said “This stuff happens to everyone, granted usually not all in the same week, but it’s a part of childhood. I know I’m not your normal doctor, and I’ve just met you yesterday, but you seem to be a very good mom. And it seems to me you need to hear that today.” And I said “Yes. Thank you,” and tried really hard not to start crying again. He said clean it & put Neosporin on it every morning & every night for three days & it’ll eventually heal.
Then we left and went to the Starbucks drive-thru and I got myself a damn coffee.
You are amazing in every way. I love reading these blogs and feeling all the feelings from you that most people hide or put through a rose color glass! You are real and beautiful. Love you from afar- well, from Hermitage!
Thank you Layne, love you too!