Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Crazy Little thing Called Life.

Life lately:

To say that life has been challenging lately would be an understatement. I spent the past two months suffering from postpartum depression.  It’s something I don’t talk about, and something almost no one really knew about. I can count on one hand the amount of people who know about this… At first it started as a subtle feeling. I thought perhaps I was just feeling a little down, perhaps a little overwhelmed at just having had my third baby and balancing my new life as mother of three boys, but then I started to notice other things as well. I noticed that each day I felt extremely overwhelmed and all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed and disappear; something not really possible with 2 young boys and 1 new baby.

I started to realize that I wasn’t feeling the same sort of enjoyment in things I normally enjoyed doing. The thought of doing something crafty no longer appealed to me. I didn’t even bother to pick up my camera to take pictures of my children, something I formerly enjoyed. I never wanted to go out. I found it nearly impossible to make simple decisions such as: ‘What do I want to eat’.  I withdrew from others, isolating myself and sinking deeper into depression. The more I ignored it and busied myself with duties of motherhood the worse I felt.

 Finally after confessing to my mom about how I was feeling she encouraged me to speak with my doctor. My doctor confirmed that what I was experiencing was normal. She gave some helpful suggestions for things I should be doing. On that list were things like: “me” time—where my goal was to do something that only made ME feel good and wasn’t beneficial to anyone else, ‘date nights’—easier said than done with the whole Z feeding every 2 hours thing, ‘spend time away from my children’-- more specifically she suggested child sharing (taking turns rotating kids with friends who had children my kids’ same age)--  I felt guilty about this advice until she explained that every mother needs a break from her job in order to return to it feeling more refreshed and better able to handle things, and Vitamin D supplements—as we don’t exactly get enough of the natural form here.  

I left my doctor’s office for the first time in months feeling better about myself. I no longer felt like I was alone. Of course, having the knowledge of the gospel I know we are truly never ‘alone’, but I had spent the better part of the past two months feeling like an inadequate mother and worthless human being. To hear from my doctor, statistically speaking, that it is common for many mothers to suffer from PPD, made me feel normal. For once I felt like it was okay to cut myself a break. I knew I needed to stop focusing ALL my attention on keeping everyone else happy and ask myself, ‘What makes ME happy?’

At first it felt weird; I have spent the better part of the past 5 years caring for my kids, who demand everything from me. Physically you are stretched beyond limits you never knew were possible, mentally you’re put to the test through countless trials of patience—and just when you think you’ve mastered things in this department your kid flushes his underwear down the toilet. Honestly, I spend so much of my life taking care of my kids and dealing with their problems that I forgot what it was like to do those things for me. When my kids are hungry they ask for something to eat, when they’re tired they go to sleep… sometimes in the busy life of a motherhood these simple tasks get forgotten.

I started with a basic goal: exercise 3 times a week. At first I dreaded going down to our gym, but as I continued to go I felt a little better. Mostly it felt good to just listen to music, not worry about anyone, and zone out. Eventually I started to feel the benefits from regular exercise and it wasn’t such a burden to go down there. Tyler and I attempted the ‘going on dates thing’, which was nearly impossible for a while because Zayden wanted to nurse so frequently. Now that Z is almost 5 months and eating rice cereal I think we will be able to actually go out for more than a couple of hours. And as for the whole ‘spend time away from your kids thing’, well that’s easier said than done too, but I AM working on it.

Not only was I experiencing PPD, but things were extremely stressful in our living situation.  I spent a good 9 months fighting with our apartment management trying to get something resolved with our awful neighbors. After being harassed by them, constantly breathing in their cigarette smoke, and making countless phone calls to our security patrol to complain about their music being too loud, I told Tyler we HAD to move. For my own sanity I refused to live in those apartments a day longer than we had to. Since we were locked in by our stupid lease and breaking it would result in US paying $1500 to THEM, AND forfeiting our security deposit, we decided we would get out the end of August. We continued to look for a house to buy, but nothing was happening. The few times we found a decent house we liked (and could afford) we were quickly outbid before we even got a chance to put an offer.

It was extremely frustrating to say the least. I constantly felt like I was in prison. Each day I could feel the tension and anger that was caused from our neighbors threatening to drive the spirit from our home. Tyler and I continually prayed that we would be guided to know what we should do regarding our housing situation. Finally July rolled around and after fasting about it we both felt that moving out of our apartments was the right thing to do. Okay, one answer received, now the bigger question was: WHERE TO? I spent HOURS each day scouring the internet for housing options: homes for sale, homes for rent, townhouses for rent, duplexes for rent, etc. Each time I would find something we liked it would go faster than we could act on it. Finally mid-July we found a couple of townhomes we liked, but they were only available RIGHT THEN. We knew couldn’t break our lease. It seemed like a hopeless situation. I honestly felt mad about the fact that we received the inspiration that we should move, but that we weren’t finding anywhere to move INTO. Many nights were spent with Tyler reassuring me, things would work out—though I know he had moments of weakness and frustration in this process. After he would tell me this I couldn’t shake the nagging doubt in my head that asked, ‘But will it? Will I ever be happy again? Will I ever experience the same joy I once had? Would we really be able to get out of this nightmare?’ Each day I felt entirely trapped by our living situation and the only thing I wanted was to escape. We were managing living in our 880 square feet apartment, but as a full time stay at home mom, with no car and three ACTIVE boys I was feeling the strain of not having a space for our boys to run around in.

 July 30th came around and we received a notice in the mail from our apartments that our lease was ending and we needed to give our 30 day notice, re-sign another lease, or go month to month at which point they would up our rent 200 more dollars. At this point I was calling DAILY to try and find something for us to move into. Each time I tried to get a hold of people I had no luck. I only managed to leave countless messages which remained unreturned. I felt like I was in a race against time and desperately losing. We were able to see a townhouse in West Linn, in a small community of 80 units, with a pool, rec center, and reserved parking, but it was at the top of our rent budget putting us over $1000 a month for only two bedrooms. Ultimately it wasn’t something we wanted to do, as we were hoping to go somewhere we could save until we found that perfect house. We went back and forth about this townhouse trying to decide if it was what we were supposed to do. Neither of us had a strong confirmation that it was the right thing. Again, I thought, ‘Okay God, this is in Your hands; I’m trusting in Your plan, but if possible could you please let us in on it?’  We still felt that we were supposed to move, but without any idea of where we were going to go it was difficult to want to give our 30 notice.

 Tyler went to work Tuesday July 31st; halfway through the day he sent me a text that read: 3br 1.5ba duplex for rent, wsg included, fenced yard, garage, $900, with the phone number. I called the number, thinking this will just be another dead end, as all week I hadn’t had any luck in getting ahold of anyone during the day. At first the number was busy… I thought ‘Oh good, at least someone is on it, granted this is the right number.’ The second time I called I spoke with an older woman, Judy, who gave me the exact street address and I scheduled with her to look at it THAT night—hoping that Tyler would get home at decent hour so we could meet with her on time. After texting Tyler this back he told me he didn’t even know what it looked like. WHAT?!? Immediately I thought, ‘Great it’s probably in the ghetto for that price.’ I told him to Google map the address and tell me if he wanted to proceed so I could call her back and cancel if necessary. After Googling it he said if looked okay.

We met with Judy and her husband Chuck, a nice couple somewhere in their seventies, later that night. Upon driving up to the duplex we felt pretty good about it. It was in a nice little neighborhood full of other duplexes and although close to major streets was not actually ON a busy street. The duplex was very spacious and we couldn’t help but drool over the idea of having a FENCED backyard for the kids. Immediately we told them we’d like to fill out an application.

We parted ways and I felt for the first time in MONTHS, hopeful. I asked myself, ‘Is this going to be it?’ It sort of felt too good to be true, it was everything we were looking for: In our rental budget (check), more square footage and/or bedrooms than we currently had (check), yard (check), close to Tyler’s work (check), and the fact that utilities were included and it came with a garage were just a bonus for us.  I felt like all those months of praying and crying out to God to help were finally being answered right in the nick of time. The following 24 hours later we ran into a few hiccups. They called to get our rental history, which our current apartments wouldn’t release because we hadn’t officially given our notice (which I quickly went down and did—although I hesitated for a nano-second at giving our notice and not really KNOWING if this duplex thing would pan out I relied heavily on faith that even if this place didn’t work out that SOMEWHERE would), they also needed to verify Tyler’s income and his boss was on vacation (this took lots of phone calls, but Judy was  finally able to work things out with Tyler)… after many phone calls they told us that we were in, IF we could move in by the 15th. Hmmm… we weren’t planning on moving that quickly, but we knew it was too good to pass up. We accepted and went to sign a contract with them on the following Sunday. After a chaotic next 2 weeks I was able to pack our apartment in preparation for moving.

We LOVE our home! Although we know we aren’t going to be here long term, it is EXACTLY everything we need at this point AND it’s month to month, SO when we do find the right home we can easily move there.

Honestly, I know this by now, but it was just reconfirmed ONE more time that God does answer prayers, he provides us mini miracles, and all we need to do is have the faith—because FAITH precedes the miracle. It isn’t really easy to step into the darkness, not knowing where you are supposed to go, but once you have the faith to do so is when you realize that God has a plan He is going to reveal to you. I feel better than I have in months, happy. It feels like I’m slowly recovering from the weight of depression, my boys are happy to have more space and a yard, and Tyler’s happiest of all.
We are blessed.  
(Don't mind my outfit, I was halfway changed into my pajamas.)
And now, for the important part... the part you've all been asking for.... pictures of our new place:
Living room:
I love that we have a fireplace... although they said it doesn't work well as a heat source for the whole duplex, it is nice and cozy. Oh and I'm working on getting new photos into those frames, especially that big one in the middle. :) 
I'm proud that I put this IKEA bookshelf together all by myself, without and instructions and not having seen Tyler put it together the first time. It took me an hour. lol
The wire on our big mirror broke. Luckily it broke when Tyler and I were both holding it...a trip to Home depot, and some stronger wire later....
And it's up! Plus I found some old pillow shams and decided to convert them to throw pillow cases (the purple ones).
Our dining room... don't mind all that junk in the corner. We still need our tools as we're hanging things up. :)
Our kitchen:
I love that I have that big bottom corner cupboard for my pantry. Finally a place for all my canned goods.
Our main bathroom (looking into the hall)
Main bathroom... again, finally more stroage.
Our master bedroom:
It's huge!! 
I'm sure Tyler appreciates that his golf clubs aren't shoved in a hall closet anymore. :)
Attactched half bath to the master room... and there's a pocket door behind this door on the left that leads to the main bathroom. 
Zayden has his own room! No more play pin and no more sharing a room with mom and dad. Yippeee!! I think this photo picture frame wall turned out pretty good. I still need to get pictures of HIM in the frames... that's baby Q in that picture. 
I hate that Z's curatins are floods, but we've always lived in places with baseboard heaters and so they're a fire hazard if I put them lower. Someday I will make them longer. Also I'm working on putting up a shelf above this changing table for Z's baby stuff needs. :)
 The boys' room.:
They love having more space to play. I've worked out a new color theme-- sewing curtains, throw pillows and new covers for their euro pillow shams. I think the yellow, gray, and white thing looks nice.

 I love the new colors. I bought the yellow and grey leaf fabric from Goodwill (originally from Target) and turned the flat sheet into a curtain.The gray and white striped fabric was originally a twin deuvet cover from Target, which I got at Goodwill for a fraction of the price. The color scheme isn't necessarily one I am drawn to, but it's nice and neutral and warm.
 The curtains.

And finally the outside. The landscaping is just things that were here when we moved in and I just pruned up. We love having a front yard!
 If we had moved in sooner I would have loved to get flowers in these beds.
 Our front deck:
 A nice little retreat just outside our front door.
(Ps. I know it's hard to tell, but I scored that cute little bistro table for FREE out of the garbage in our old apartment complex. Yippee)
 And the last part.... the best part in our boys' point of view. The backyard. At this point there isn't much back here, just grass and some juniper bushes in desperate need of pruning, but it's our boys' little oasis.
We love our new home.

We hope you get to visit us in person, as we have lots more space to entertain now! :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Welcoming Home Scotty.

Hard to believe 2 years has flown by! My younger brother Scott just returned home from the Tempe, AZ Spanish speaking mission. It was great to see him again and crazy to think that I have a whole other kid that he has never met in person.
 It was a little emotional for me to see my brother hug my mom, both with tears in their eyes, as I know that I'll be experiencing that same thing THREE times with all my boys. I know it will be hard for them and for me, but I'm eager to see them return home and give them big hugs just like this.
 Holding baby Z for the first time.
 The whole gang at the airport.
 All my siblings home and together for the first time in 2 years.
All in all it was a great weekend spent with my family.

Zayden's 4 month Stats

Height: 25" long (72%)
Weight: 16 lbs 8 oz (80%)
This age is probably my most favorite of baby stages...
Zayden can now:
--Hold his head and chest up supporting himself on his arms.
--Scoot in a semi circle when on his tummy, in addition to rollowing both ways from stomach to back. He is working on rollowing from back to stomach and can already get half way there by himself. He can also scoot forward a foot or less when motivated to get an out of reach toy.
-- He smiles and laughs LOTS. In fact almost any time you make eye contact with him and give HIM a smile he will INSTANTLY return one to YOU. I LOVE this! He's so happy and flirty with people. I constantly hear what a cutie pie he is. Clearly there's no dispute that he's most definitely cute. :)
--He was given permission to eat rice ceral and is now eating it three times a day. He loves it. His first go with it was a little unsure, but he now readily opens his mouth for a bite. swe are going to start him on baby food soon enough now that we've moved.
--He is also, as a result from the rice cereal eating, nursing less often-- another reason this age is my favorite... a little more time allotted for mom to get things done. However, he has become incredibly distracted by his surroundings, making ti extremely difficult to nurse because all he wants to do is look around at stuff or flash me one of his flirty smiles. Bittersweet, this nursing business. :)
--Like mentioned above he's becoming more aware of his surroundings, turning his head in the direction of a sound to see what is over there, looking into mirros to admire himself, demanding more attention and entertainment from mom. He's really starting to see there is so much going on and doesn't want to miss any of it.
--Is going through a phase where he doesn't want to be held to sleep. He wants to be wrapped up, given his binky and laid down in his crib. In fact I can offically say that he's now sleeping his own room in his own crib --freedom!!-- There is a part of me that misses the closenss of him in our room and rocking him to sleep, or snuggling him at bedtime, but it's really a blessing that he's going through this 'lay me down and leave to be' stage of his own free will.
--Has one of the cutest little laughs. We call it the Piglet laugh. It's sort of throaty and a higer pitched quivering laugh... it just remids me of Piglet. I LOVE hearing him laugh and his older brothers are quick to try and get a giggle out of him when an opportunity arrises.
Overall my Zayden is just a happy little guy. I'm so blessed to call him my baby.

August Random pictures...

Every year Tyler has to volunteer at a local Damascus event called Day in Damascus. I look forward to this part:
 The books! We got all of these for a total of $4.00! And there were some good classics in there, too!
 Afterwards we hit up Dairy Queen for the free kids' cones from DQ's mascot "Coney". Perfect treat after a long hot day.

 My mom read this book to me and my brother's when we were little kids and I had a **full circle moment** when reading this book to our boys and doing Miss Viola Swamps voice. It's the little things...

 We also spent time doing more boy stuff... taking a walk down to the tram stop and watching them zoom by.

 We also took the boys to the park to play some baseball. Braxton had his first encounter with an angry bumblebee, which he was hitting, who stung his thumb. Needless to say it was traumatic and proved mom's point: bees don't like to be hit. I don't think he will try that again.

 Dad gave haircuts... Before: (I'm positive I said DON'T buzz it)

 After: (Yep it looks buzzed and he looks bald.... oh well, at least it's summer and it'll grow)