Monthly Archives: January 2012

I’ll be there…

This week has been a exciting/trying time in our home.  I was so excited to have my mother come visit from Texas and it was so helpful as I wanted to finally get some kind of start on decorating our new home.  We’ve been in this house going on the better part of a year, but with a brand new baby around, you really don’t get much done besides just cuddling and nurturing that babe.

It’s been trying as the early part of the week was spent getting Lucas and I in recovery mode from some horrible colds, but it only progressed into Noah getting a horrible flu.  He hasn’t been eating, barely gets out of bed and just tries to sleep all the time.   This bug was the first ‘go around the family and bring the family down’ one.  I hear they are pretty popular when you have a baby.  Bleh, I’ll pass on this being a common occurrence.  And what’s more hilarious, you would think the ‘man’ of the family would be the toughest; they end up being the biggest whimps on either side of the Mississippi.

But I put on my ‘mommy/caretaker’ hat and got everyone to stay on track.  We went off the rails a bit today as this mama is just exhausted from spreading myself out, but oh well, I keep a pretty good stock of wine in the house so I’ll find a way to cope.  Hey, all people have their vices; I consider a glass of wine here and there to be the lesser of the evils.  If it makes my eye stop twitching for a bit, I’LL TAKE IT!

On a side note, as many of you might have noticed, I got around to getting my own podcast going.  It’s called Momodcasts and it is a cast for the modern mom.  Please take time when you have it (I totally feel ya on that one) and get a listen. I’m always up for topics to discuss and I do want to have other moms guest host with me, both near and far.  If you see a post on here that has ‘Momodcasts’ in the title, it means there will be a link to the latest podcast and I will have links to both iTunes and the non-iTunes feed.

Back to the matter at hand, I FINALLY got the ‘man’ to eat after days of missing out on food and he did book an appointment for the doctor.  Why is booking a doctor’s appointment like the worst thing that happens to a man?  I’m pretty certain making them do anything is just like giving birth in their eyes; just the most painful thing EVER!  If anyone has tips on getting their man conned into something, I’m all ears!

All pissing and moaning aside, I would never change these characters in my life.  They make it the perfect family for me.  They are why I get up in the morning (though I usually need toothpicks to hold my eyes open), they are why I push through all the crap my body is going through post-giving birth, and why I know what love is and is really all about.  I love our little family in all of our dysfunction and I will always be there for them…

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What Life Is Really Like-Momodcasts

What it really sounds like at the Marner house! ( For iTunes users ) Also, topics for further discussion: Pediatrician vs Family Practitioner, Vaccinating, Family Near or Far & tell me about your kiddo situation!

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I can’t do me all by myself

For a long time I didn’t know where I stood in life.  I didn’t know my place, I didn’t know what I had to offer and I just felt so ambiguous.  I still don’t feel 100% but I definitely feel like I have a grip on things.  I always thought I would figure this path out on my own; that I didn’t need anyone else to explain it to me or make it right but I got a subtle awakening in June.  After waking up from a haze of no sleep as I was a very new mom, I found out I was married.  It’s surprising how refreshed I felt when I woke up on the morning of June 24th.  I felt like I had awaken from a very long sleep, like the world was new and in the palm of my hand.  I’ve pretty much treated it that way ever since.

While it was a long decision between Noah and I for me to stay home with Lucas, for us, I feel like it was the best decision we’ve made next to getting married.  I felt weird and locked away from the world by staying home; I really just felt like I was contributing to society anymore.  I had worked since I was 15 and staying at home made me feel lazy.  I found my place maintaining our home and caring for our son, but I always felt like I needed more.  It came up while we were in the middle of our house hunt and surprisingly Noah was all for it.  Putting myself out there to maintain and build client’s social media presence has really been quite interesting.  But I decided to take this all to a different level and build my own online presence.  Here comes my latest project: Momodcasts.

It’s going to be a podcast for the modern mom.  Why I say ‘I can’t do me all by myself’ is because everyone I know makes me, me.  And I want to incorporate that into my podcasts.  My fellow moms, my husband and occasionally I’m certain you’ll hear my kiddo.  When people mention that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!  But it also takes a village to keep my head on straight; I’m not shy to admit that and I absorb that concept whole-heartedly.

If you didn’t catch the introduction post, click here and get yourself a very little taste of what is to come.  I cannot wait to make you all apart of the village that makes me function!

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Introduction to the Momodcasts

Here’s a new project I’m excited and passionate about: a podcast for the modern mom.  This is just an introduction to it all and I’m working out some technical details, but please click here to get your welcome.  Please comment below on some topics you are interested in discussing further or finding more information on.  I can’t wait to get started on this with you and have some guest hosts!

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If only he could be with them everyday.

When you think of grandparents, what is the first trait that comes to mind?  I always think of those cartoons that show grandmothers baking cookies and grandfathers giving the grandkids all the things the parents won’t give them.  Those scenarios are usually followed by a ‘don’t tell your parents’ or if the grandparents are actually caught by the parents, they say ‘sshhh, go away!  They can have whatever they want!’.  Me, personally, I could not wait for these things to happen.

With Lucas becoming more interactive, his grandparents just eat it up!  They do everything with him, give him everything and they wish they had more arms to squeeze him.  The only down side to all of this is how often it gets to happen.  We knew when we moved away from Indiana in 2007 that we would be sacrificing time with our families; yet we never knew that it would be sacrificing so much when Lucas came into our lives.  He really only gets MAYBE two months total in a year of time with them.  It is definitely not what I had envisioned the life for my child would be like.  I remember my grandparents being a very big part of my life growing up and I had hoped the same for our child.  While it’s not a reality at this time, technology has a way of putting a band aid on this ouchie.

Between Facebook and Skype, Lucas knows, and will always know who his family is, near and far.  He gets such a big smile on his face when he sees the laptop get set up for Skype.  He actually doesn’t know what to do when he sees those family members in person!  While I’m not completely certain how I feel about that, it’s truly the only way he can remain close and connected with all his family at this time.  Maybe one day our options will be different, but at this time, we work with what God gives us.

As some of you may know, I lost my father when I was 12 (that whole story will be for a different post) and while it was painful at the time to lose him, I’ve never completely understood the loss until I would hit different milestones.  While my mother has since remarried (to a great guy and a great fit for our family), I still occasionally wish my father could have met my husband and my son.  This post will hopefully be a reminder to those who have your family close to not take them for granted.  They are such a treasure and so helpful that you will hopefully absorb all the time you have with them.  If they offer to help in any way, take them up on it.  You’ll never regret them being there and being apart of your child’s life.

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A Mother’s Tale. Part 3: All you need is love

This may be hard to believe, but there is someone else besides you and your baby.  It was pretty shocking to me as well.  There is your partner and they need you as much as you need them.  To some, this may be an understood principle, but when you have reached a new level of exhaustion and discomfort, being intimate in any sort of way (yeah, the 6 weeks waiting time won’t phase you specifically cause of all the grossness) is almost out of the question.

I definitely didn’t feel like even smooching Noah as he got to see things that even I haven’t seen myself do.  I was also so exhausted from waking up all night and barely napping all day due to breastfeeding (and being the most crazed cleaning lady I have ever seen).  And what I found surprising in all of this, my midwives constantly asked about how I was taking care of my husband.  I was like ‘are you people nuts?!  Who has the time?  The man just watched me get ripped and sliced AND had to clean my tubes out every 2 hours with junk that was almost as bad as what came out of me while I was giving birth!’  But really, Noah needed me just like I needed him.

While I’ve mentioned before, Noah and I had come to terms on what our relationship was when Lucas was originally heard of and that we were gung ho crazy for each other.  I will NEVER recommend anyone having a child to better their relationship, but that’s what Lucas did.  He sort of became our AA sponsor.  We stopped drinking, we stayed in together, we talked about life goals and dreams and just got to know each other on such a deeper level.  That 9 months was the rehab we and our relationship needed.  We needed to bond to help each other in the greatest new chapter of our lives.

After Lucas arrived and all the family had left, it was pretty cool to watch us become our own family.  The way we just understood who took care of what and Noah really stepped it up as a man and a father when I got sick.  While we were gross from lack of sleep, lack of regular eating, constantly in and out of hospitals and doc offices, we still loved being together.  We didn’t get angry with each over petty things and we gave each other a break when one looked more frazzled than the other.  We took turns going out so we could have escapes (if you have family around, try to get in date nights.  We didn’t get our first one until Lucas was 4 months as we waited for my parents to visit) and took turns doing ‘me’ things like reading or playing video games.  Gone are the days of doing cool stuff like that together; somebody has to watch your little babe.

I’m not going to discuss intimacy in detail as everyone has their own take on that.  But remember, to your partner, you haven’t really changed except you may be a little more tired.  They may even fall more in love with you after they watch you become a parent.  Just keep in mind that as much as you need all the support you can get, so does your partner.  They may not have pushed the baby out(or had their body hacked open), but they are still recouping from trying to help you out.  Having a baby is all sorts of difficult, but keeping your partnership alive, loving and well is AGAIN a whole different beast.  You’ll find your own way of making it all work, nobody can tell you what works best.  It’s your love, your life and your family; you know best!  (You’ll hear that a lot in this new adventure; your gut is suddenly a know-it-all)  Congrats and Best Wishes on your new chapter!  Remember: it’s not life changing, it’s life altering.  You will just do everything you did before a little differently.  Much love….

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A Mother’s Tale. Part 2: The Life at Home

I’m not certain how many of you watch the show ‘Up All Night’ but there is an episode where the arrival of their baby is the focus.  At the end of the episode, they show them being discharged from the hospital and the nurse walking them out to the car and checking over their car seat situation.  Once that’s done, the nurse leaves them so they can head home.  My favorite part in this scene is when Christina Applegate says ‘That is very irresponsible of them!’ meaning the nurse staff just leaving them to figure out the rest of the trip.

And this is where the safety net drops out and all that you ‘planned’ to do with your baby as parents comes into play.  We were very fortunate as when we left the hospital, we came home to the grandparents still visiting.  We had a few extra hands helping us the first couple days.  If you can get that sort of help, DO IT!  Don’t try to be a champion and power through it.  Especially if you have had a c-section; you need to take it easy, mama!

When you think about how tough the job of a parent is, think about the life of a newborn.  They really do have it the hardest.  The world is so bright and unfamiliar; they kind of know who you are by sound, but really, they are among strangers.  Their bodies are doing weird things like breathing, digesting, ‘going to the bathroom’, itches, twitches, hearing strange new noises, seeing, and just trying to handle all these things we don’t even think twice about anymore.  Yeah, babies sleep a lot, but it’s because they are overwhelmed by everything.  Lucas cried all the time for a very long time as he was just one of those babies that did not adjust well to life on the outside.  I had to learn how to walk away from him to keep my sanity!  I was told ‘If he’s fed, changed and safe, but still crying, it’s ok to leave them in their bed for a couple minutes so you can have a few moments to yourself’.

Don’t forget about all the crying you are about to do.  Your hormones are the stuff of a daytime soap!  All the crying could easily win you the ‘Best Drama’ award at the Daytime Emmys!  Oh and the leaking.  EVERYTHING LEAKS!  Yeah, totally gross, but eh, it’s another reality.  Not only are you gross, your baby is gross and your partner is gross.  Everyone is trying to keep up with each other, running on fumes and adjusting to this new life; that’s a smell you don’t get rid of!  And don’t get me started on the Hollywood makeup/design disaster your body is going to look like….

This household had a horrid start as I was back in the hospital two weeks after giving birth due to a pretty nasty c-section infection.  (It truly was my fault as I tried to be the champion I warned you about and put way too much stress on my worn out body)  I had to have vacuum tubes surgically put in to my incision for a week; we were back in the hospital from a Tuesday-Saturday and Noah had to be my nurse when we got home and clean out my tubes until the following Tuesday when they were removed.

So, aftermath not really what you thought it would be?  Me neither!  Lucas may be my first child, but he was not the first kiddo I’ve watched, cared for or been around.  But, man, when they are yours and they are in your care 24/7/365, that, too, is a whole different beast.  I hear many first time moms state they have been around kiddos their whole life… WATCH OUT!  That will come around to bite you right on your rear.

While there was a lot of things I didn’t anticipate, I truly love being a mom; especially to Lucas.  Your child will be your perfect match.  While I was so tired, feeling gross, hungry and in some strange haze, I didn’t want to be anywhere else.  I wanted to be right there, tubes and all, giving Lucas all the love and attention he could ever want.  Sure, I was pretty beat up that I got a crying, colicky baby (hey, we tried the 5 S’s; I think we needed the doc himself for Lucas), but he was mine and he was Noah’s and he was ours.  Nothing could change that and we didn’t want it to change.  Don’t wish away any of this funky time.  It’s a miracle so many people dream of (shocking, right?!) and some cannot have on their own.  Love every moment and just absorb being a parent… CONGRATS AGAIN!

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A Mother’s Tale. Part 1: The Arrival

It’s amazing what information the internet shares about anything you can possibly think up.  I probably only notice this topic rising because I have Lucas, but wow, baby is on a lot of people’s brains!  Some hot topics: labor choices (before, during and after), baby care and values/disciplining.  I’m truly fascinated by what I’ve been reading in blogs, facebook posts and twitter posts.

I am truly loving how ‘back to the good ol’ days’ a lot of women are heading towards when it comes to the labor process.  A good deal of women are looking into home or water births and a lot want to skip the meds.  A lot of women are switching to midwives rather than doctors and a lot are developing their own birth plans.  Now here comes Chrystal’s take on that….

I was once that crazy.  I did at least stick to seeing a midwife, until a doctor had to intervene.  I wanted to avoid the meds and just power through it all as I understood I had a high pain tolerance.  I was no match for 13 hours of labor and hardly dilating.  It took a full 24 hours for Lucas to actually arrive, but 13 hours was spent battling scaring from a surgery that was to botch my chances of having Lucas. So after extreme exhaustion(yeah, I didn’t know what that was until there was Lucas) and thinking Lucas was going to rip me in half if I dilated or not, I finally gave in and went for the epidural.  Not apart of my birth plan, but boy was I happy and ready to push!  (They told me to just go to sleep as the show wasn’t going to happen that night… LAME!)  Now, 8 hours later, we wake up to a midwife informing me it was go time!  And just for the curious ones, yes, I had a lovely bowel movement in all of this.  It happens; bask in it as it’s the only time it will be ‘appropriate’ to do it in front of your partner.

Then Lucas was not recovering very well when it was time to push.  Ruh roh, here comes a doctor.  This doctor shows up after an hour and a half of me pushing and the midwife was looking pretty worried.  That wasn’t in my birth plan!  Neither were the 20 people who showed up in my room to sweep me away to the ER for an emergency c-section.  C-SECTION??!!  THAT WASN’T IN MY BIRTH PLAN AND NO ONE IN MY FAMILY HAS HAD ONE OF THOSE!!!  Now, as I lay on the table and I notice in the ridiculously bright surgical light over my head, I see what doesn’t even match a gory horror flick.  And I think to myself “I even considered having him at home?!  This looks like it could be a cow slaughter!  And as much as I love cleaning, I don’t want to clean THAT up”.   My birth plan had failed me and everything I had learned in all the classes hadn’t matched what I was going through.

The only thing that made all of this chaos wonderful was my man looking down at me and he had the most beautiful expression on his face that will never be matched.  Noah looked down at me (I’m sure he was ridiculously terrified) and he looked like he was ready for anything and he had everything under control.  See, Noah has had his fair share of time spent in a hospital with his kidney transplant so he had a better grip on the whole situation; this action plan freak was losing it!  And the split second before Lucas arrived into the world, I’ll never forget how crazy in love I was with Noah in just that moment.

We weren’t out of the woods yet.  Lucas arrives and he’s not crying.  Um, what?!  Where is this glorious ringing I’m supposed to hear?  Come to find out, from all the stress of labor, meconium was all over him and the nurses were holding him off from breathing so he wouldn’t get meconium aspiration.  Noah’s sister had this and she was in NICU for 2 months.  All of a sudden, I overhear someone talking to the NICU and they are whisking  him away to make sure he’s ok.  He was taken there for an hour and a half for monitoring, but Lucas was a-ok!  Even through all the pain, drugs, no birth plan working, no class practices working and a lovely trip back to the hospital 2 weeks later from a HORRIFIC c-section infection, Lucas is a super happy, healthy and smart little guy.

The lesson in this part of my series is that no matter the route you choose, it may not work and don’t beat yourself up over it.  I was afraid everything I was choosing in the heat of the moment was going to somehow hurt Lucas and I was dead wrong. I’m glad I opted for the hospital as even though I was considered ‘low-risk’, I turned ‘high-risk’ very quickly and was given immediate attention.  Obviously, every single person and every single birth experience is different (even within the same families), but I can only speak from my own experience.  I’m not here to ‘bash’ or ‘hate’ or ‘put down’ on anyone’s idea of what they think is the right route for them, I’m just offering up another ‘pamphlet’ or research tool for those who have not yet experienced giving birth.  It’s a whole different beast no one is ever ready to tackle.  And this post is not up for you to criticize my path.  If you have given birth before, you understand the plight I was put in to and you can only go off of what is set in front of you.

I want to say congrats to you if you are expecting as it’s the biggest miracle around!  I know as it took almost 5 years for our miracle to arrive.  That little one is going to be your greatest treasure and as their parent, you are the greatest being they will ever know so respect, appreciate and just love that little one as often as you can!  Lastly, your family is your greatest support team.  Do not overestimate that and absorb all the time you get with them and all the time they offer to help!

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“To catch a husband is an art; to hold him is a job.”

(The title quote is from Simone de Beauvoir)

I never really had any concept as to what a husband would be like.  I don’t believe in fairy tales and I don’t believe in making up my ideas based on other people’s lives.  So, again, no concept.  When it came down to putting a serious ‘title’ to Noah and I, that just was NOT going to happen.  Why?  Because neither of us wanted to get hurt.

We both had our falling outs in love and just wanted nothing to do with the word.  But misery loves company.  Our relationship for a very long time was a series of circumstances.  Circumstances kept us together.  But what neither of us understood was that was the way the universe works.  Circumstances (or as I like to believe, God’s plan) put the right people together.  Yet, our circumstances were not fun.

We had a rocky go at it for years.  Mostly fueled by alcohol, but we weren’t too worried.  Twenty-something seems to have a drinking stigma to it.  Not a good one, but we weren’t going to judge or change it.  When the day came that we found out Lucas was on his way, we decided (after letting weeks go by to let the news sink in) to finally own up to being in love.  We always knew we were, but we are not that great at sharing these sorts of things.

I never really thought about what the actual ‘falling in love’ was going to be like, but wow, when it happened, it hit me like a drunk girl thinking I was hitting on her man (just not so bitter).  I felt like I had come out of a dizzying fog and there was this glow around Noah and he was going to make everything right.  All my thoughts suddenly made sense and being with Noah seemed so effortless.

It’s not always roses and rainbows; being in love and being married is a job.  You really do have to work at it, but it’s a job you both are willing to work at.  We’ve only been married for little less than 7 months, but we’ve been together for a good number of years.  Marriage was definitely like that job offer you’ve wanted since you knew what you wanted to do with your life.  I somehow knew domestic life was a right fit for me and Noah is able to give that to us as a family.

If I have to share anything in all of this, it’s be sure to hold out for the right partner.  No matter your beliefs, sexual orientation, or race, love will indeed be effortless and it will feel a lot better than getting hit by some drunken weirdo 😉 .

Remain Grateful In All Times

Today, as I sat listening to another Sunday sermon, a person brought up a common story in these troubling times and this particular one seemed to strike me.  A person of the congregation mentioned attending a community dinner on Wednesday and wanted us to pray for a particular person she met there.  The person’s name was ‘Lynn’ (not certain on her particular spelling) and she was homeless, living out of her truck in the Renton Wal-Mart parking lot.

Lynn is at her fringed ends as her and some other people with her were officially kicked out of the parking lot.  Lynn was unable to leave as her truck was inoperable.  It’s stories like this that a) remind me to be grateful in all times and b) I’ve come a very long way in a decade.  It was less than a decade ago I chose to live in my car rather than let anyone know I was homeless.  I wasn’t shunned by my family, I just had too much pride to go ask for help.  I eventually got my life sorted out and got my own place, but it took a humbling experience like that to remind me, I am a very blessed person.

I was lucky in the fact I wasn’t confined to my car for long; some of these people live this way for years.  We should always note that even though we may not be able to afford the best cars, food, clothes or house, we are EXTREMELY blessed to have any of those items and have them in a functioning manner.  We are blessed to be in good health and to live in a society that doesn’t try to constantly oppress us.  (I know some of you will disagree with that, but really, we are a very free country.)

From today on, please take a moment each day to be thankful and grateful for all that you have and all that you are.  Every day is a miracle and everyone around you should remind you of that.

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