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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not Going to Say Goodbye

I realized tonight that I haven't update my "goodbye" letters since before I got married.  I really need to do that.

Next to one of my children dying, my biggest fear is that I will die without the chance to say goodbye to my loved ones.  As we're good Scandinavian/Germans, we don't really express our feelings towards each other so a lot of good things are left unsaid.  Thus the "goodbye" letters.  When I was in my early teens, I wrote a personal note to each special person in my life and stashed them away where they would be found in case of my untimely demise.  I also included a general letter as to what kind of funeral arrangements I wanted.  I updated the letters when I was engaged, but haven't done anything with them since.

You may find it morbid that I have planned for my funeral and death, but it's practicality for me.  Here's why:

1 year old: diagnosed with asthma.
6 years old: stopped breathing completely, was flown via Mayo One helicopter to ICU, was intubated and put in a medically induced coma for 5 days, and was in the hospital for a week.  Because I was so young, I blocked the whole episode up until I woke up in the hospital out of my memory so I only know what my parents have told me.  BTW, if you've heard rumors that people in comas can still hear what's going on around them, it's TRUE.  On the advice of my doctors, my parents bought and played a lullaby tape for me while I was in the coma to soothe me.  When I woke up, I had the whole tape memorized and I knew what my parents and doctors had been saying while in my room.
10 years old: almost stopped breathing, flown via Mayo One helicopter to ICU (where I met a nurse who remembered me from when I was 6!), stayed in hospital for a few days.  Because I was old enough to remember this attack, I started having serious panic attacks every time I saw an ambulance or ran into any other "trigger" that reminded me of the asthma attack.  Still have some issues with this, but since having my kids, I've learned to handle it much better.
13 years old: went into anaphylactic shock at a friend's house after exposure to nail polish remover (which is when we found out that I'm severely allergic to chemicals of any kind), was flown via Mayo One helicopter to the hospital, stayed in hospital for a few days.
15 years old: don't remember many details, but was hospitalized for a few days due to serious asthma attack.
At this point, I started having so many ambulance rides to the ER and hospital that I'm not sure when they all happened.  Some of the attacks were severe, others were mild.  

Between all that was a lot of time spent just sitting (not laying because that makes it harder to breathe) in bed or on a chair taking a lot of nebtreatments and prednisone.  When I was in my teens, I was finally diagnosed with Sudden Onset Asphyxic Asthma.   

Anyways, the point of this is that I've always been very aware that life is fragile and can end at any time.  To be honest, when I was young, I didn't think I would live past the age of 18.  But here I am, alive and kicking and annoying as many people as I can.  Hehe.  I'm not easy to get rid of.  And now that I have two very precious reasons to live, I'm not going anywhere if I can help it.  But if I can't help it, I want to make sure they have some record of how much I love them and want to be here for them.

Don't take a moment of life for granted.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Growing Up

While shopping today, Princess did/said two notable things.

The first happened while eating lunch at Culvers.  Right after we sat down, a soldier in uniform chose to eat his meal at a table near ours.  Princess was awed by the uniform and couldn't stop staring.  I told her that he was a soldier and that he helped take care of us all and keep us safe.  She wanted to go over right then and there and ask him a question.  "Will you help take care of us after lunch too?"  She also wanted to say thank you to him.  I wish I would've let her go, but I was so focused on getting the kids to eat so we could hurry and finish our shopping that I told her she could talk to him when we passed him on our way out.  I should've remembered one thing: that a man eating by himself takes less than half as much time to complete his meal as a very distractable toddler and preschooler.  Princess saw him leaving just as he headed out the door and was very upset that she hadn't gotten a chance to talk to him.  But by then, it was too late.  I had missed the chance to finish teaching my daughter a very important lesson about the value of our military men and women.  She got half the lesson, but I think it would've meant so much more to her if she'd had the opportunity to talk to the soldier.

The second thing happened at Walmart while I was perusing my favorite section of the store, the baby department.  I was gushing over a pair of tiny adorable pink overalls hanging from the clearance rack.  Princess reached over from her seat in the cart to put her hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and with as much sincerity as a three year old can muster, said, "I'm sorry, Mommy.  I'm not a baby anymore"
Please don't remind me.  As much as I love seeing my little ones grow, I miss the babies they used to be.  Little Man started walking on Father's Day and, while crawling is still faster and therefore the preferred method of movement, he seems so much more grown up to me now.  He is turning into a little boy right before my eyes.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just a Phase

One of the most important things to remember about parenthood is EVERYTHING is just a phase.  The good stuff, the bad stuff, the stuff that makes you want to scream and beat your head on a wall...it's all just a phase and it will pass. 

Princess has hit a new phase that she's been in for almost a month now.  A V------ERY LONG MONTH.  Her new behavior consists of:
  • Not taking "no" for an answer.  She can argue until she's blue in the face (and she does, at least 5 times a day!), but I don't change my answer.  This has not stopped her from arguing with me, repeatedly asking the same question, or just going ahead and doing it anyways even though there are consequences for those actions.
  • Being openly defiant.  If I tell her not to do something, she looks at me and deliberately does it anyways.  If I tell her to do something, she walks away or throws a fit.
  • Stealing food from the kitchen.  And by food, I mean mostly candy or food she's allergic to.  Both of which are bad for her.

Yesterday, everything hit the fan.  I was having issues with a customer that ended up taking most of the afternoon to resolve even though I needed to be working on other orders.  Hubby was upset with me for...I'm not even sure what he was mad about, but his mood dragged me down all day.  Little Man was going for a record for loudest, highest, most ear-piercing screech of all time.  My new camera STILL hadn't come in the mail and I needed it for some new orders.  And Princess was at an all-time record for bad behavior.  I honestly don't think she obeyed me once yesterday.  She was her usual huggable self (which is probably a self-preservation technique with the way she's been acting lately), but she was horribly disobedient.

At one point, I was so upset about the issue with the customer who just. wouldn't. let. it go. that I asked Princess for a hug.  She cuddled for as long as I needed it then went back to being disobedient.  By suppertime, everything had built up and I was thinking (and possibly muttering under my breath) some words that should not have been coming out of my mouth or entering my head.  Princess got ahold of a dry-erase marker and scribbled on the tablecloth.  Just about everything inside and out of our house has scribbles on it because this kid WILL NOT stop coloring on everything she can reach.  I completely lost it.  I said some horrible things to my 3 year old who said some horrible things back.  I threw a tantrum.  I yelled.  I hyperventilated.  I finally walked away and got control of myself.  And then Princess spilled her full glass of milk.  Okay, breathe, count to 10, get a towel and clean it up.  Give her some more milk with her supper and move on.  As soon as I set her cup down, she knocked it over again.  And it was not an accident.  Smoke was coming out of my ears and sirens were going off.  Princess looked up at me with concern on her little face and very sweetly asked, "Mommy, do you need another hug?"
YES!  I most definitely needed another hug!  And some chocolate.  And possibly a brochure for obedience school (do they accept three-year-old humans?)

God, give me patience and wisdom with this child you have blessed me with.  And help me to remember, no matter what, that she is indeed a blessing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

And Today's Mantra Is...

Allow me to set the scene:
Enter house with toys and laundry strewn everywhere.  In the background, one child is removing dvds from the shelf and throwing them on the floor.  The other child is on the floor kicking and screaming loud enough for people to hear her across the state line (which although is not that far away, is far enough away that this decibel level of tantrum throwing is highly unacceptable)

In the foreground a frazzled mother clutches a can of Dr. Pepper and repeats to herself:  "I love my children, I love my children, I love my children, I love my children, I love my children, I love my..."

The child on the floor takes the tantrum up a notch, causing the windows to shatter while the child throwing dvds on the floor moves on to emptying the kitchen cupboards.

Mother: *sighs*  "I need chocolate."

End scene

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ab Workout

The baby is 13 months old, and I think it's time for me to come to grips with the fact that the baby belly isn't going anywhere without a lot of help from me.  By the time Princess was this age, I was able to wear fitted shirts without any problems.  Granted the stretch marks had marred the appearance of my less than perfect abs, but at this point I would kill to have that stomach back.

It's time for me to get back on the ab workout.  I have a good workout routine that I did faithfully for about a week last winter, but methinks it may take longer than that to get back in shape.  Finding the time though...

I'm happy with my weight and I got back to my pre-pregnancy weight easily, but Little Man did a number on my stomach.  After some research, it appears that baby #2 does this to a lot of women.  So all you mothers-of-one who are a little smug about how your stomach "sprang" back into shape post-pregnancy, I dare you to get pregnant again.  Because, yes, I too was a tad smug over my appearance after giving birth to Princess.  Little Man has completely stripped me of all smugness, however.

Speaking of Little Man, he has recently started screeching.  Repeatedly, loudly, annoyingly.  It's one of those behaviors that make me want to, well, not like him very much.  I have tried several different methods of teaching him not to screech, but nothing has been successful thus far.  Any suggestions would be VERY welcome.  If you don't have any suggestions, please feel free to send me a pair of earplugs.

Unsolicited Advice: Even if you have hangups over your body image, don't make comments about the way you look in your daughter's presence.  Even young children can pick up on those attitudes and end up having issues of their own.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Motherhood Is Messy

Motherhood is very messy at times. Between the drool, spit-up, vomit, poop, food spills, mucus, blood, etc. it's a disgusting job at times.

So far, in the almost 3 1/2 years I've been "employed" by my kidlets, I've caught puke in my bare hands, picked poop off the bathroom floor, scrubbed smeared poop off a cream colored carpet, wiped runny little noses literally thousands of times, stepped in pee puddles with my bare feet, located Princess by following the trail of drool she left behind, mopped up gallons of spilled milk, washed blood out of hair and off foreheads and little knees, and much more. But what happened this morning topped all the disgusting things I've done and seen as a mother so far. To be honest, I'm not sure it can be topped. Feel free to prove me wrong with your own tale of woe. Just to warn you, this post is not for the faint of heart or stomach. You may want to locate an ice cream pail and stash it under your computer chair if you have a tendency to feel nauseous.

Our toilet is hard to flush. Not for an adult or older child, but 3 year old Princess has a hard time pushing down the handle to flush it. She's supposed to close the lid and shut the bathroom door so Little Man doesn't get in the bathroom to, you know, play in the handy little pool of water that's at just the right level for him. She's forgotten numerous times and so numerous times, I've dragged Little Man away from the toilet just before he goes for a dip. He's managed to get his hands in there a few times, but nothing too serious. Until today.

This morning, Princess was in the bathroom washing her hands after using the toilet and I was in the living room with Little Man. Then I heard suspicious splashing sounds and realized that Little Man was gone. I found him standing next to the toilet in the bathroom and my worst fears were confirmed. He was EATING the poop out of the toilet. That's right. EATING POOP. He had it all over his hands and had dropped some on his feet too. Gagging, I cleaned him up and began trying to clean his mouth out. He's getting 4 new teeth in and wasn't too keen on me swiping the inside of his mouth with a wet rag so I had to fight him. After cleaning him up, I carried him into the kitchen to give him something to wash it down with. I had to carry him at arm's length because his breath was absolutely putrid. He drank half a sippy cup of juice, but his breath still smelled terrible. Mortified that my child had eaten something so nasty and I hadn't noticed until too late, I called the pediatrician who assured me that unless Princess were sick, Little Man should be okay, but told me to call Poison Control just in case. At this point of my mothering career, I have Poison Control on speed dial. They basically reiterated what the doctor had said, but told me to keep an eye out for fever, diarrhea, etc.

As one of my friends said, "Talk about a blackmail story!" This cute little anecdote is going in Little Man's baby book.

Unsolicited Advice: Ummmmm....don't let your kids eat poop.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Revamping the Boutique

I've decided that I'm sick of working for about a dollar an hour. I started my boutique for four reasons...
1. To be able to stay home with my children.
2. Because I LOVE creating functional and adorable things for children.
3. So that people like me who don't have much money can still afford boutique style for their children.
4. To make enough money to be able to afford things. Things like clothing for my kids, medications for me and my daughter, etc. Not to be able to buy fun stuff, but for the basics.

I have to revamp Annalie's Baby Boutique. The first two reasons are not why I'm revamping my boutique. It's the third and fourth reasons. I started out marketing my products to my target audience, who are the people in the third reason. Unfortunately, it turns out that you can't make any money trying to sell things to people who also don't have much money. I deeply appreciate every one of my customers and my Facebook fans. You've all given me the inspiration and energy to keep going even when I've felt like giving up. I would not be where I am at today without you.

I priced my products so low that I'm barely making any money and when I figured my supplies AND my time into the equation, I realized that I am making about a dollar an hour. I just can't support my family on that amount. Also, my time is valuable as it is time I could be spending with my children. I cannot justify giving up large chunks of time with Princess and Little Man for a few dollars.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will be going through my products one by one and determining how much the supplies cost along with the time it takes me to make it. This is not something I just decided to do on a whim. I've been spending a LOT of time and prayer going over all my options and making this decision. Not all of my prices will change. Some things only take me a short time to make so those prices will stay the same or even go down. Other prices will be going up. I sincerely apologize if this upsets anyone, but it's what I have to do or I will have to close down. I will continue to have special deals and giveaways periodically as well as rewarding my returning customers with Loyalty Bucks. I will also hopefully be adding some new innovative products.

Thank you so much to all my wonderful fans and customers, and I look forward to a great future for Annalie's Baby Boutique.
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