Friday, March 29, 2013

Military Wife, Adoption, and Working from Home

I cannot tell you how much I admire this woman. They made the decision after lots of prayer and desire for a child to adopt. They are such a testament to the power of love, prayer, and putting family first.

I think that SO many people are:

1. Curious about adoption (especially for all my military friends)

2. Wondering about the process in your heart and effects on marriage and career

This is a GREAT read. Congrats to Marcus and Maureen on their growing family :) We miss you guys and trivia night!!

Here's Maureen's story:

I'm Maureen, and I'm happily married to my hubby Marcus, who is an Air Force officer. Our 12-week-old baby, Maxwell, is as cute and can be, and we're half way through the process of adopting him. We were blessed to be at his birth, and we love being new parents.

I both stay and home at home with Max and work. I'm working from home as a Financial Counselor teaching people how to handle their own finances by getting out of debt, budgeting, and saving/investing. On a side note, I have always appreciated when people have asked me about this as follows "Do you work outside the home?" It's a small thing, but it's made an impact on me every time I've heard it. It just seems kind and respectful over a delicate issue, especially for the 2 years that we were married without kids and I wasn't regularly employed outside the home.

Those two years were tough. When I married a military man (and moved right away), I knew that it was highly unlikely that my law career would go anywhere, so I made the decision to find another field and job that interested me and would be flexible with my hubby's constantly changing location and a hoped-for family. I considered all sorts of things - some related to law, some not. The base where we were stationed was on a hiring freeze, and I wasn't licensed in the state we had moved to. Moving right after getting married hasn't helped in general - I left my job, friends, our church, and felt rather alone in a new place and growing in a new marriage.

It took me about a year to land on Financial Counseling, but so far it's been a really great fit. It was weird to be back in "school", but I love the work. I find it practical with broad implications, and therefore fulfilling. I love that I can take it anywhere (even overseas!) and I can do it after my morning cup of tea or during Max's naps. I can take on more work or less as my schedule allows.

Is this the best choice for my family? So far this arrangement seems to work. I spent a long time in school - B.A., M.A., J.D. - and I've always been the goal-oriented, active and involved type. Maybe that's why, in theory, we're going to have 6 kids. In theory. I wonder sometimes if I'll still want to - or have time to - do Financial Counseling with a passel of littles (or bigs, as they will become). I wouldn't be surprised if I do want to continue it since I enjoy the challenge and the work. Even now, I find that the time focusing on putting someone else's financial affairs in order energizes me when I need to return to baby care. It probably has a lot to do with the satisfaction I get from completing a task or project.

Being a mom is a long and wide job with few landmarks along the way. Calculating how much someone needs to save to meet their retirement goal gives me a completed task with useful information in a couple hours.
More than number crunching, I just love being Max's Mama. The transition for us has been different from most since we're adopting Max. But I also think that our struggle to have a family makes us appreciate the blessing of it more - and perhaps more importantly, focus more on the fact that our baby is a blessing rather than bemoaning all of sacrifice and adjustments that come along with children. Sure, taking shifts on the living room couch because baby sleeps best on our chests and changing a poopy diaper at 2 am after JUST changing a diaper and having warm, curdled spit up flow down the front of your shirt and into your unmentionables when you need to leave the house is all annoying. I have definitely grunted in frustration and moaned aloud at getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Perhaps the kicker is that my time is no longer my own. Or at least it's thrown in my face now. That one hurts. But I know, deeply know, like it fills my whole being know that what I am dong here - what hubby and I are doing as parents - is eternal. It's not just poop, pincer grasps, and play dates. I am charged with caring for Max's soul. In humility, I hope that I am able to show Max every day that I love him because I've been so loved by Jesus. This is a heavy and exciting task, so it requires much of me, but I desire so much - so very much - to do this.
Important days with big questions and important talks will come, but right now, my favorite thing is insisting to Max that he's a genius. Really, though, Max has just started to laugh, so I tickle him a lot. I also like to smell his little baby head and rub my cheek on his soft baby hair.

I've found so much support in friends who have kiddos and work hard to raise them. This may be the biggest surprise of parenting for me - the great importance that my fellow traveler's companionship on the journey is. I've always been a "I'll figure out what I need to know and do it myself" kind of person, but parenting doesn't seem to lend itself to this approach. So I enjoy the time spent with these ladies. It's refreshing. But if I were to spend a day away from Max, a spa day is at the top of my list - lavender oil and lots of time wrapped up in towels, please!

I think - and hope! - that my choices to parent and work from home will positively affect our kids. I'm still early in this whole parenting thing, but the plan is to perfectly communicate to my children that they are very important to me without pandering to them or inflating their egos. So maybe taking time to work is good because they have to learn that Mama won't always be there for every little thing. We'll see how that turns out. Regardless, I know that I'll mess up, but I hope that my kids will have learned the importance of forgiveness so that our relationship doesn't suffer.

Regarding the hubs, he is wonderful beyond reason. He works hard and provides for our family. I support him in his career, he supports me in mine. It does not escape me that staying at home with Max is a luxury, and I'm grateful for it. Without a doubt, a great strength of my parenting is that it's really our parenting. We get that we both have a 100% responsibility to parent our small ones. Marcus gives Max a bottle not because he's doing me a favor, but because he's Max's dad. Knowing that we're doing this together gives me confidence, peace of mind, and, you know, even a sense of freedom. Don't think it's perfect! We, ah, disagree, sometimes emphatically, and I tend to over-express my emotions. But the transition to parenthood has been made easier for me in seeing that Marcus has taken on fatherhood enthusiastically.

Why is there such a big stay at home mom vs. working mom debate? I don't know - it's weird to me. I mean, I'd give moms - at home and at work - the benefit of the doubt that we all want to raise our kids well and give them good things. Maybe there's some elusive idea of giving them "best" things, but everyone defines that differently, so then there's no basis for comparison. So maybe that's what the fight is over - my best vs. your best. Is there an absolute best? Regardless, any choice we make to do something is simultaneously a choice not to do something. Opportunity cost, people! I'm not working as a lawyer, and if I were, I wouldn't be home with the kiddos all day. There's a loss on either side. I don't think it's valid or fair for me to become defensive over my choice or continuously bemoan the thing I gave up. That, lovely people, was a lesson long- and hard-learned. I spent many a day sad and sometimes mad over my job-less state and then many a day sad and sometimes mad over my baby-less state. As I was plunging headlong into bitterness, I learned that the only way out was to be grateful.

I had made a prayerful, thoughtful, and informed decision when I married a military man and decided to not practice law. So the best thing I can do is be thankful for the choice I've made - the good and the bad - and be glad that I had the freedom to make it. You're probably thinking it - trouble getting pregnant was not my choice. But I wouldn't trade what I've learned about God's goodness in the midst of sadness. Once, that sadness was overwhelming, but it becomes so small in seeing that, all along, Max was meant for us and we for him. So, yes, that is me with a baby on my lap, drinking a latte and getting a pedicure at 1:30 in the afternoon. And I'm enjoying every minute.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Severe OHSS Resulting in a Paracentesis

So on saturday, March 16th, all was well. Troy, Kristen (who was visiting), Avery, and I went to a family appreciation day at Creech with Troy. There was a tour of the new facility that his squadron is moving into and a BBQ, complete with bouncy castles and sunscreen (because is was 90 degrees that day).

Everything was peachy. In fact, here is a picture of us, all looking normal, and Avery looking adorable.

Kristen and I went and saw "Safe Haven" that night, because, hello?? Whenever we're together, we always go see a movie with man candy (in this case Josh Duhamel).

On sunday morning, I woke up around 430 in some pretty bad pain. I went downstairs and got comfy in one of the recliners and watched Pitch Perfect. When I got up to go take a shower and get ready for church, I looked like this...NO kidding:

We were all shocked. I looked about 5 months pregnant. I gained 11 pounds overnight. I wasn't in a super amount of pain, BUT I was more worried about what I looked like and answering questions about "when are you due?" and "wow, are you having a boy or a girl?" That seemed like the cruelest part of the whole deal. I looked pregnant and wasn't.

Kristen and I went and got pedicures after church, which turned out to be a great decision, because I ended up spending a HUGE amount of time in a hospital gown/with swollen feet/getting ultrasounds in the next week.

I started getting uncomfortable, having more pain, and having a hard time breathing with all the fluid build up in my abdomen. So, sunday night, Troy and I headed to the ER at Nellis. I got an abdominal ultrasound, a pelvic ultrasound, a heart ultrasound, and a chest xray. Part of the danger with OHSS is the dehydration of your body while it pumps fluid into your abdomen (trying to heal your ovaries) and then your blood thickens up and you can get a clot (in your heart, lungs, brain, etc). My blood levels weren't looking great. My ovaries were 10cm and 12 cm (almost 5-6 inches each) and I had a bit of fluid around my heart and lungs. Ughhhhhhh. They sent me home with pain meds and a follow up the next morning with my fertility specialist. They had given me morphine while I was there for pain. I threw up in the street for about 5 minutes when we got home. No more morphine for me. We are not friends.

I got up monday morning and got ready for work. I weighed myself. 6 more pounds... and went to my appointment. They gave me a note to be on "light duty" at work. I gave my note to my boss and she took one look at me and sent me home. I wasn't allowed to work until this was resolved. Awesome.

I kept getting bigger and bigger. I gained 8 more pounds by tuesday.

I kept eating my high sodium and drinking gatorade. It was awful. The electrolyte drinks were all so sweet and syrupy. I tried the Pedialyte. It was SO gross. All the pain medication, salty food, and high protein was making me so constipated. I seriously started to feel like I was dying. And I felt this feeling of SO much hopelessness. I felt like I was NEVER going to shrink back. My skin hurt SO bad.

I couldn't pick up Avery. I couldn't hardly eat because my body was so swollen that there was no room in my stomach for anything. And I wasn't peeing. AT ALL. Like downing fluid, and NOTHING. All fluids straight into my belly. I could feel like skin stretching every time I ate or drank anything. I couldn't sleep because my belly would flop over and pull all my organs over. It is SO different than pregnancy, where it's all hard and baby. The pressure was building and my kidneys were getting CRUSHED. My lower back was killer.

The swelling started to spread. I wasn't allowed to wear pants. Troy was rubbing my back and he said I looked like Quasimodo because the fluid was pushing my back out at the bottom. It was CRAAAZY. My hips, butt, thighs, and knees tripled in size and none of my maternity clothes fit.

Wednesday night was the worst. WORST. I woke up around 11pm DYING. Like pain worse than labor. Crying. Screaming. Writhing in bed. Troy holding me down. Me punching him. He loaded me in the car and we went to the ER. Again.

We walked in and they thought I was in labor...I was that big and uncomfortable. Until we told them what was going on. Some of the same nurses/doctors were there from sunday night and they remembered us. They immediately gave me an IV and loaded me up with dilaudid. Thank you Jesus for dilaudid. And Zofran. They redid the pelvic ultrasound to see if my ovaries had changed (same size) and look at my abdominal fluid (there was way more). They sent me home with percocet and zofran. And another follow up with my specialist. My lab work was worse. I was taking the max dosage for pain meds every 4 hours and it was not helping.

On thursday, my fertility doc told me to wait it out through the weekend and if I was not getting better by monday, he would recommend the paracentesis to drain the fluid.

Needless to say, it was not getting better.

Sunday night, Troy told me that I was bigger that night than I was the day I delivered Avery. He was helping me in and out of bed, on and off the toilet and with showers. It was awwwwwwwful.

This is Sunday night. I was SOOOOOOO swollen.

This is me, the morning I went to Nellis for the paracentesis. And up 31 pounds in a week.

We had to wait for a bit. The doctor who checked us in at Nellis was like, "I do this procedure all the time, hold up a second and we'll have this done in a few minutes." He was contracted and didn't realize Nellis procedure for performing a paracentesis and we had to wait on the interventionist radiologist to do the procedure.

I was feeling like SUPER poop and Troy was trying to make me laugh. They told me my liver enzymes were not so great from taking all the pain meds and I needed to stop taking anything with tylenol in it. So no more percocet.

We finally got everything in order (6 hours later) and were set up in a small procedure room in the ER for the paracentesis. The doctor was WONDERFUL. He ultrasounded my belly to looked for an area where he wouldn't poke bowel, ovary, stomach, or liver. He used lidocaine to numb my skin (OUCH) and then put in the catheter to start draining the fluid out of my belly. He guessed he would remove about 2-3 liters. In the picture below, you can see where the needle is in my skin, how he pumped out the fluid manually, and then the bag (which is a 2 liter bag). The bag was emptied twice and he had me roll onto my side to move more fluid towards the drain. He ended up removing 4.5 liters of fluid. SURPRISE!!!

The hole WOULD NOT plug. I had fluid in a constant drip coming out of my belly from about 3 pm until I went to bed at 10. SO MUCH gauze. They sent us home with gauze, tape and absorbent pads for leaking. Gross.

That night, we were worried about leaking all over the bed, so Troy fashioned me an absorbent diaper. Luckily, during the night, the leaking stopped and no damage was done to our mattress or sheets :)

Since the procedure, I have been feeling 100000000% better. With WAY less pain. My abdominal muscles are trashed. A human body shouldn't go from normal to 10+ mo preggo in a week. I'm lucky I made it out with no stretch marks. I'm so vain. I'm also lucky that my friend, Kristen was here and Troy's parents were here to help with Avery. Ughhhhhh. I have an appointment at Nellis next week for another draining. They are guessing the fluid will come back. I hope not. I started having increased kidney function. So hopefully I'll just pee the fluid out now.

What are the odds of this happening? It happens to a 10th of a percent. A TENTH OF A PERCENT. Very uncommon. Odds were not in my favor. Or were they? Should I buy a lottery ticket? Or avoid skydiving?

My mom is here now because I'm still supposed to be on bedrest and I can't pick up Avery. Poor baby doesn't understand :( Love her.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Military Mom in Germany

I met Shana about 3 years ago in Dover. At the time, all of the officers in Troy's squadron fell in 2 categories.

1. Young lieutenants who were single/married without kids.
2. Older Officers with older (read high school or older) kids.

Shana and Donell fell right in the middle, with kids in middle school. Most of our "CGO Ghetto" friends living in the lieutenant area on base were just freshly married or just starting families. So Shana and Donell were a mystery to me for several reasons.

1. They had got married young and had kids young.
2. They were really cool.
3. Shana was a stay at home mom and I was planning on being a working mom.
4. She was freaking smart and witty and involved in everything.
5. They made choices that were best for their family, making no apologies about doing the right thing, no matter if you agreed with them, or thought it was difficult or mean.

How can you do all of those things and keep your head above water?? Shana tells all here. They live in Germany now and their kids are thriving and doing great over there traveling around Europe and living it up. Ahhhhhhh, I yearn for an overseas PCS...

Here's Shana:

My name is Shana, and this is the quick look at how I became a stay at home mom. Let me start out a long time ago in northern Michigan. For the first 5 years it was just me and mom, but by the time it was all said and done, I was the oldest of four kids. We were poor. Not the reduced lunch kind of poor, but the government cheese, one bath a week kind of poor. My parents worked multiple jobs just to keep us fed, and by the time my baby brother was born (I was 12) I had to miss school the day he came home from the hospital because mom had to work (it was an unexcused absence, but I digress) and she needed me to babysit. That was also the year I got my first paying job stuffing envelopes for an advertising agency. I would not be poor.

Flash forward to high school (mind you, still pretty poor but doing better). I am smart. Like, really smart. I got advanced classes, dual enrollment for college, even a scholarship that covered almost all my community college, but not quite enough. When I got pulled in to the guidance office, I had to tell them what I was going to be. “Housewife” was never on the list as an option, and I'm told to "pick something else." I do, and I worked hard, at school and at jobs. Sometimes working two or three jobs at a time, all while involved in cheerleading, band, and advanced classes. I fell in love. He had his own plans, and he was a year ahead of me, and he enlisted in the military. We got married, and I stayed at my parents’ home while I tried to finish college. But, their finances were still not much better and they were moving…without me. It was time for me to move to my husband’s apartment four hours away from my scholarship and make a home with him.

I got a job, then another one. At 20, I was offered an assistant manager job at Domino’s Pizza (I was still planning on going to college and “being something” at this point) and when the Domino’s owner found out I was a military spouse, he rescinded the offer because “I wasn’t going to be around long term.” This was the exact moment in my life when reality kicked me in the butt. I was not going to be able to be one of those successful women who had it all. I was going to have to choose, and the worst part is that I didn’t really get to make the choice, it was decided for me by denied opportunities. I worked two more years before we were sent overseas. It was a perfect time to make my break from being a wage earner to housewife. We moved to Alaska and I went back to college and tried to get pregnant. I did get my AA but what I didn’t get was pregnant. Turns out, getting knocked up wasn’t as easy as everyone around me made it look. We got extremely lucky and there was a fertility program at our base, for which we qualified and several tests and rounds of drugs later…I was the mom of two kids under the age of two.

I thought I was super mom. I had this thing locked down! They slept all night right away, everything was easy! I wasn’t tired, I wasn’t stressed, I had plenty of “me time.” I was happy. I had my hobbies, my husband was as eager to be with the kids as I was. My kids were happy, everyone was happy. This was working! Money wasn’t plentiful, but we wanted for nothing. I was surrounded by other SAHM’s (we were overseas, it happens a lot). I could be happy even without doing what I had been groomed to believe I was to do. I didn’t need a career. This euphoria lasted for about 5 years. As soon as the kids started school, there was "a shift." Not in my home, but in my neighborhood.

By this point, my husband had finished college (which was a miracle of co-parenting, creative solutions, and money magic, but that is a different story) and we were back overseas, as an officer’s family. That was when I started getting what my family calls “the look.” That is the way women, particularly Active Duty and college educated women, would look at me when I answered their “and what do you do?” question. They thought I was a modern day Peg Bundy, eating bonbons and watching soaps. That I couldn’t work because I was uneducated (which is true), and unable, and dumb. At one gathering, I was chatting about politics and my husband’s commander, a single mom who had previously given me “the look” when she said to me “Wow, you are smart?!” And when the kids were in school, I was constantly asked, “When are you going back to work?” I'm not done raising kids just because they are in school. One time, I caved to the pressure and enrolled in pre-Pharmacy classes. But the universe is unwavering in it’s signs. Things would block my way and show that it was not right for our family at the time. Women still give me “the look” but they can’t see that the choices we have made were the best for our family. That we decided even though I could do great things, the greatest thing I could do for all of us was raise two children as if it were my life’s purpose because now, it is and I am GOOD at it. I mean really, really good at it!

This is where I have to confess something. My version of good at it, doesn’t look like how I thought it would. I thought our schedule would be scripted like a day in pre-school. Breakfast, creative play, snack, read stories, lunch, recess, nap: Repeat. It didn’t look like that. It was “oops, we should eat lunch” and “we can play after I get all the laundry and shopping done.” The photos show that my kids were in onesies for most of their diaper days. And there was that one time that baby Brandon escaped the house. He was a very crafty child, very accident prone, and small. Yes, the Air Force investigated us for "failure to thrive,” which is code for neglect. We were cleared by a civilian agency. With the crisis averted, I went on raising amazing kids, exactly the way Donell and I had planned.

"The shift" was not just in my working contemporaries attitudes. I also saw a shift in my fellow SAHM’s attitudes. Some called me lazy. Yes, to my face. Because I am a SAHM, raising my kids not as if my life depended on it, but as if theirs did. What the other mom’s see is that I don’t do laundry, I don’t clean bathrooms, I don’t do dishes, and there are even nights I don’t cook. I don’t pack lunches and I don’t check homework. These are things Donell and I feel were important the kids could do for themselves. The quality of their life depends on these skills. I think they need me home more now than they ever did as toddlers. They need me to model a great loving and working relationship with my husband, they need to see me doing things that I love, and supporting our family in my own way. They need me to be there for them, every day and wholly present. They need dinner at the table every night, and life as usual when the military takes Donell away, or moves us to foreign countries. They need me to be the parent that drives them to the mall, or does their nails, or teaches them the electric slide before the big dance. My job is to release into the world two capable, stable, respectable adults and I’m not done until I am done.

Monday, March 18, 2013


So Troy found this app on his phone called "Fatbooth." You take a picture of yourself, line up some lines/dots with identifying features (like your nose and bottom of your chin), press enter and it pops out an image of what you would look like if you were fat.

We definitely were able to entertain ourselves for about an hour.

And since we were so entertained, I decided to share our masterpieces with you all. Lucky lucky you!

Here is me looking SO hot:

And of course, we couldn't leave Avery out of the fun:

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA - I'm dying. SO funny.

And here's Troy:

And because he coudn't just stop at one:

We were all having so much fun, we went ahead and let Optimus in on the fun...OH YES WE DID! It didn't work so well for him, in terms of "fatting" him up, but funny all the same:

I hope today's post made you smile!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Stay at Home Mom of Twins!

I've seriously dropped the ball on the mommy posts lately. But we've been a little busy. Between all the fertility stuff and traveling/visitors this month, my normal 15-18 posts a month average is currently in the dumps for March. My friend Kristen got here LATE last night and will be here for a week and then Troy's parents get here tuesday. So I should have lots of report...if I can find the time to actually sit down and write :) Or you can find us on instagram at barnesdailycircus.

If you want to follow along or read any of the other mom/dad interviews, you can click the label at the bottom for "the mommy chronicles," which I will also link here.

Here is another military mom. She and her husband have twin girls and are expecting another set of twins in september. They were busy from the start with twins and it doesn't seem like things are going to slow down! You better believe if I wind up having a litter, she'll be the first person I call...seriously, Jenn, get ready, I'm gonna be blowing up your phone. She has such a laid back and realistic attitude about parenting. She just makes me want to pick her brain. We can all learn something from her...

Here's Jenn:

Are you a home engineer (SAHM) or do you work?

I work as a SAHM

Why is that the best choice for your family?

Well, we have twins, so part of it was just the impracticability (cost) of putting two infants in daycare. Part of it was also that we could afford for me to stay home, and that’s where I wanted to be.

What is your favorite thing to do with your kiddo(s)?

This is hard. I guess taking them to the park. They love the swings, and the slide, and running in the grass. They’re so adventurous, and I love to see them try new things.
What do you love about it? What do you hate about it? (being at home or working)
I love watching them interact with each other. For a while when they were younger I wasn’t sure they even noticed each other, but now they dance and hold hands. Seeing the way they care about each other and ask where the other one is when they’re both not in the same room just melts my heart. I love putting one of my girls down for a nap. It takes patience, but if I just stick it out I can watch her fall asleep, and it’s one of the most precious things I’ve ever seen.

I hate that I’m home, with the kids, all the time. When I find things to get at the grocery store just so we can leave the house, because I can’t stand the idea of reading Wheels on the Bus one more time. I love the idea of playdates, but sometimes it’s just as trying, only there are more people to watch you go crazy. You’re trying to have an actual adult conversation, but then you see one of your kids unplugging an air freshener, or running a toy vacuum over another kid, or they trip and you have to go comfort them.

If you are a stay at home mom, what do you do for "you" time? What do you do to recharge (since really, you work full time)? How do you get adult time?

My time to myself is their nap time. I’ve been blessed with kids that nap really well for the most part *knock on wood*, so I usually have a solid couple hours to do whatever. If I feel like spending two hours on Facebook, or doing chores around the house, it doesn't matter, it’s my time. As far as adult time, I rely on the phone mostly, and playdates occasionally. I love to call my mom. She loves to hear all about me and my girls, and we can share ideas back and forth. I need to work on getting out for some actual face to face adult time, without kids.

Are you worried (in any way) that your choice (no matter what it is) might affect your child? In what way?

Of course I’m worried. I think parents will worry no matter what. My girls are super attached to me, and I think it’s because unless they’re sleeping, they really don’t spend a lot of time without me. I don’t have them in daycare, and they get some interaction from each other, but it’s not the same as playing with other kids outside of their twin. I’m also worried that sometimes because I’m with them all the time, I don’t think of super fun actives because I get bogged down in the everyday wake up, eat, get dressed, you want to watch Rio, it’s time for lunch, nap, etc.....

If you could have a day away from your kids, where you could do anything, what would it be and where would you go?

Fantasyland - I’m with Katie, give me a beach with some sun and a bottomless cup.

Reality - I’d be happy with a repeat of my last mothers day gift. A morning at the spa and lunch by myself at Panera Bread.

What have your kids done to embarrass you?

I guess the most embarrassing thing for me so far has been a grocery store experience. We were in the check out line and one of them just started throwing a fit. Like, she threw her toy, and was standing up in the cart even though she was buckled in because she's half contortionist. I could just see the eyes of the checkout lady saying ‘It sucks to be you.’ I could barely let go of her long enough to pay she was fighting me so hard.

What does your husband/family do to support you? What do you wish he would do (wish upon a star my can be anything)?

My husband tries to give me a break and he always says to take time if I need it, but he always says that when I don’t need it lol. I wish he could be better at saying ‘Honey, don’t cook tonight. Let’s order pizza and just hang out.’ or ‘There’s a Mom’s of multiples meeting you keep trying to go to, I’ll watch the kids while you go.’ Nothing really grand, just simple stuff.

In regards to the stay at home mom vs. working mom debate, why do you think there is so much controversy?

Like other people have said, it’s insecurities. It’s people saying ‘I’m doing the best I can, and what do you mean you don’t think my best is good enough?’ Everyone is being the best parent they know how to be. There are certainly days I wish I could get dressed up nice, like not my pajamas, and go to work to engage my brain and social skills, but there are plenty of working moms that want to stay in their pajamas at home to read to their kids. You’ll never really know how hard it is to be on the other side of things unless you try it, and I think a lot of people haven’t taken the time to really see how hard both jobs are.

Plus I think a lot of people are nostalgic for the Leave it to Beaver mom who cooks all day and is always the perfect wife at home, but women who have fought to make their place a mans world don’t want to see that effort go to waste either.

Also how is motherhood different from what you expected? Exactly what you expected? Are there things you swore you would/wouldn't do that you have changed your tune about?

I knew from the beginning that I would have kids and then a career. When some of my family asked what I was going to after college I would say ‘make babies.’ It’s not all playing at the park, and curling up on the couch with a bag of popcorn for a movie night. I think I had an image in my head of life with kids when they’re a little older, like what I can remember about my parents. I wasn’t really prepared for being up every three hours for 5 months with screaming, inconsolable newborns, or how foreign your body looks after you have kids. Plus, I was not prepared for the experience of twins, and the ridiculous things people say to you everywhere you go. That’s a whole other story. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting the backpack leashes. I always thought those parents were horrible before I had kids, and now that I have two that want to run and explore, I can totally see why they have them.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Grand Junction, Junction, What's Your Function?

Song anyone? 10 points to the first person who knows...

If you follow me on instagram (barnesdailycircus) you know that we were traveling last weekend. Despite all my concerns and fears, Avery was a freaking CHAMP on the plane. She flew as a lap infant and our flight was direct to Junction. It was only about an hour and fifteen minutes, but it gave us a good indication of how Avery will do when we fly to Florida next month for my sisters wedding (5 hour flight, 2 hour layover, 1 hour flight).

We went to visit Kyle and Rosa. They are recently engaged (CONGRATS!!) and have been to visit us 4 times since we moved to Las Vegas in August. It was DEFINITELY our turn to go out for a visit. We were pretty pumped.

We got there about 5 on thursday afternoon. Before we lost the light, we headed up to the Mesa and went for a drive. It was gorgeous. Apparently, they (the town) are waiting on approval for Independence Monument to be approved as a National monument. Ain't it purty??

Here's a picture of Avery, Troy, Kyle, and Rosa looking over the Mesa. Good looking group, eh?

That night, we put Avery to bed and had a BBQ on the back porch (bratwursts with grilled onions, peppers and asparagus) and sat out on the porch with a nice, comfy fire.

Friday morning, we got up and went for a short hike (about 2 miles) to go and see the Colorado River.

Then Troy veto'd anyones vote for lunch with Chick-fil-a. There isn't one in Las Vegas and Troy has been going through extreme withdrawal for some. He was SO excited. He double fisted. He got a sandwich and nuggets. With sweet tea. And fries. And he larged his order. Fatty. Just kidding, honey...LOVE YOU!

After lunch, we headed back to the house so Avery could nap. We hung out and chatted and then headed out to dinner at a local restaurant/brewery that has really cool/unusual pizzas. They gave Avery pizza dough to play with while we waited. She LOVED it. It made me think that she might be ready for playdoh soon. As long as she doesn't try to eat it.

That night, we went back to the house and watched a movie on Netflix and chatted.

Saturday morning, we woke up and the weather was pretty yucky. Well, pretty. But yucky for any outdoor activity that we were planning. But we saw some snow.

Then we headed to this indoor kids place called Bananas. It cost 8 bucks for Avery to "jump" on any of the indoor inflatables for an unlimited time. She was definitely one of the smaller kids there and I was FREAKING out about her getting knocked over or hurt. But she held her own and figured out some of the mazes and slides by herself!


She caught some serious air. She liked to jump up and then just throw herself onto the ground.

We kind of had a hard time with directions. She wanted to climb up the slides and slide down the ladders.

Rosa couldn't go with us to Chick-fil-a the day before because of work, so she suggested we go again. Troy was all, "DO YOU EVEN HAVE TO ASK?!?!?!?" So, off we went again.

This time, Avery got to meet the "Eat Mor Chik'n" cow. I thought she would be super scared, but she did GREAT!

So I took video. She signed "thank you" to the cow for his milk. So funny.

We headed home to put Avery down for a nap and when she got up, the snow/rain slushy was done and we went for a walk around their neighborhood/town.

The next morning, Kyle suggest that we drive to Utah to check out some of the parks and scenery. It was gorgeous. Unfortunately, I started feeling a little carsick from the looking straight up from inside the car thing, so I only got a couple pictures. It was GORGEOUS.

And my first time to Utah.

And here are some of the formations.

We left later that afternoon and had an easy flight home. YAY AVERY!

Thanks Kyle and Rosa for hosting. We had a great time visiting with you guys! Can't wait to see you again!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

And NOW My Ovary is the Size of a Grapefruit...

Here's another fertility update. WARNING: Contains girly info and a kind of awkward picture...

So I finished my second round of Follistim. I had 5 mature eggs and Troy and I decided to go ahead with the insemination this round. My whole cycle went PERFECTLY. No weird spotting or random problems like last time.

So now we are in the "waiting" time frame of my cycle. Where we have done everything and are just waiting for the pregnancy test day. LONGEST DAYS EVER.

As a new development, I now have developed Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Basically, during fertility cycles, especially ones where gonadotropins (like Follistim) are used, there is a 10% chance of the ovaries going a little bonkers. I am one of those 10%. As a result, I am in excruciating pain when I bend, sit, lift, stand, move suddenly, or pretty much do anything.

Here comes the awkward picture of my stomach. I'm laying down, so you can see how big my ovary is when gravity is actually holding it inside my body. It's HUUUUGE.

I talked to my doctor about it and I am now on a high sodium/limited water diet. One of the scary things about OHSS, is that if you intake too much water, your ovaries hold onto it and you can gain 2+ pounds per day. As a result, I literally look about 4-5 months pregnant right now. Isn't that just a cruel joke?

As a bonus, I am already a desert creature and don't require much water, AND my doctor was like, "eat as many potato chips, french fries and, and gatorade as you want, but almost NO water." So pretty, much I get to eat like a 13 yo old boy. Which lets be honest, is AWESOME. I mean, it's practically prescribed to eat unhealthy!

So I just want the swelling of my ovary to go down. As much as I love yoga pants and scrubs...sometimes I just don't want to wear pajamas. I also feel disgusting. As much as a high sodium diet appeals to me, it also is making me swell all over. The sodium is supposed to draw the fluid out of my ovaries and into my blood stream where my kidneys can filter it out.


please please please please please God let me be pregnant this time so that I don't feel like I went through all this for nothing. pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Optimus Gets Pretty. And Avery Gets Sad.

It's starting to warm up here again. Fall/Winter/Spring lasted about 4 months. It's been 70 the past 3 days. CRAAAAZY. As a result, poor Optimus is VERY confused about what his fur is supposed to be doing. If you remember, he went through a stressful fall, which involved the crazy shedding and medical testing. So to avoid him getting too hot, we decided to be proactive and went ahead and shaved him down.

Here's Sir Optimus and his mane before and after getting cut:

Avery thought that he wasn't coming back when we dropped him off at the groomers. I didn't realize how many nicknames we had for Optimus until this happened. We started walking out the doors without his and she was like "NOOOOOO PUPPERS!! PUPPERS!! PUPPPPPPPPPEEEEEEERS!!!!"

And instead of comforting her, what did I do? I did what any good blogger does!! I taped it.

She's SO melodramatic. Apparently it's a girl thing. But she wasn't upset enough to stop shoving crackers in her mouth....