Monday, January 30, 2012

Mommy-Levin weekend!

Levi and Lucas headed out of town for a few days, so that left me and baby all alone! I was a little sad to not be going with them, but staying in a quiet house for a few days sounded like pure bliss to me.

I got to spend nearly three whole years giving Lucas my undivided attention, and it sometimes makes me sad that Levin doesn't get that same luxury. Granted, he does get a larger percent of my attention these days because of his young/helpless state, but it's definitely not the same. Lucas and I had years to bond and I sometimes wish that Levin and I could have that same opportunity. Not to say that we haven't bonded, it's just a different relationship with the second baby due to time constraints and attention sharing.

So I really took advantage of our time together. We've had three entire days to ourselves and I made every attempt to love on him when I could. I only did school and housework when he was sleeping. (But don't let me fool you...I didn't even do near as much as I should have!) We stayed in our pj's, cuddled lots, and even slept in the rocking chair together one evening. I haven't done that in a long time! Geez, I'm starting to miss the newborn phase already. He's definitely growing into his own and becoming more independent by the day.

I miss Lucas, but I really enjoyed this special alone time with my littlest. It was a short reminder of how life used to be with just one!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The juggle struggle

The busy hustle and bustle of my life puts me into a situation where I am forced to prioritize, manage my time most effectively, and ensure that my attention is divided equally between my husband and my children. Some days I feel confident with this juggling act, other days I feel like a failure.

I have always been able to maintain my home, care for my children, uphold my status as a 4.0 student, socialize, and even squeeze in some solo couple time with the hubs. But ever since nursing school began, time seems to slip between my fingers and my patience constantly feels stretched thin. I have extremely high standards for myself and I am beginning to realize that I cannot do it all. It's just not possible.

Levin was sick all of last week and I had two extremely large exams. Studying with two children is hard enough in itself, but attempting to study with a sick and needy baby and an extremely hyper toddler is just impossible. I was finding myself overwhelmed, stressed, and downright exhausted. My house was a disaster and that in itself was causing my OCD to run ramped.

So what did I learn through all of that? Life goes on! The mountain of laundry sat for a few days and then once I finally got around to folding sat for a few more. There were dishes in my sink and toys scattered everywhere. Even though I wasn't able to clean up the disaster zone until the end of the week, it did finally get done.

This business of prioritizing has proven to be much harder than I imagined. I'm still struggling to find that happy medium, but I'm beginning to learn to let things go. It's not imperative that my home be in tip top shape. It's okay if the laundry waits. My kitchen isn't going to catch fire from being a little messy. Everything can wait. I find myself rushing to do tasks as soon as the baby is down, but that can no longer be my progression. Studying takes precedent over everything else and I must utilize any and every opportunity to squeeze that in. Like I mentioned before, I am at the biggest disadvantage in my cohort. I don't have the luxury of studying for solid stretches or getting everything done on my own terms. My children dictate that for me and the only thing I can do is accept that notion.

I must say though, I've done really well learning to let go of the housework. Where I still struggle most is dividing my attention between my family members. Levi takes care of the kids a great deal when I need it, and this is just something that I need to be okay with. It makes me sad to see them preferring daddy at times, but I know that they are his children too. For some reason I go into mama bear mode and don't want to let go. But I am learning. Slowly. But I'm making progress.

All I can do is accept that I am not wonder woman and learn to take it easy on myself. I think that I beat myself up for not keeping to my standards, but I have to keep telling myself that this is all temporary. Nursing school will be over before I know it and I will look back in awe of my accomplishment. I'm no longer striving for precision. I'm striving to do the best that I can. And if that's not top notch over the top perfection...then that's completely fine. My family is going to love me just the same.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


With the start of school and my insanely busy life, we decided that it was time to find Maximus a home that could better care for him. This was an extremely hard decision to come by and it took me a long time to actually follow through with it. But I am confident that he is being well cared for and in an environment more fitting with his personality.

After advertising, I spoke with a number of interested parties and I believe I found him a great fit. He is now the center of attention and able to live the quiet and happy life that he so much deserves. Between his depressed state in the winter and the dogs who never seemed to leave him alone, Maximus seemed unhappy. Having children has lowered his status on the family totum pole, and it wasn't fair for him to receive as little attention as he did.

Maximus was just a teeny tiny kitten when Levi and I got him and now he is 6 years old. He was the first pet we got together as a couple, so giving him away was harder than I expected. I feel like he has been with us since the infancy of our relationship and a part of our expanding family. I hate that he had to take the back burner to our dogs and our kids and I constantly felt guilty for not interacting with him more.

Lucas had a hard time when the new family came to pick him up and he cried that he missed him for a few days following. But I've checked in to see how the transition was coming and they told me he is happy and adjusting very well. They sent me a picture of him playing with his new toys and informed me that he was renamed to Lucifer!

No matter where he is, he will always be my Maximus. I already miss his obnoxious water obsession and middle of the night meowing. But I know that this situation is all for the best. Max is happy and getting plenty of lovin'...and that's the most important part of all.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

5 Months!

Oh my, Levin is now FIVE months old! Really? Already? How on earth did this happen? How is half of his first year almost already gone?

A little delayed, but I finally made it in for his well-baby checkup. I forgot the exact numbers but he is still somewhere in the 18 lb mark, and is 26 inches in length. Doc said he was still hanging out in the 90th percentile range for weight and 75ish for height.

So what's new? Well, he is now sitting up on his own! I think all that extra chunkiness helps him in that department.

He is also (finally) taking a bottle semi-well. Daddy has had to administer quite a few since I've begun school and he is getting much better at the process. Apparently he does not like to lay down. The only way he'll drink it is if he's sitting upright. He's a stubborn one already.

He is also spinning around and rolling over like crazy! I usually lay him on his tummy on a blanket surrounded by toys, and he spins around to play with them all. I've even seen him spin a full 360 in less than a minute. Pretty impressive!

He wants to crawl so darn bad, but he's still got to figure out the whole arm and leg coordination part. But that sure doesn't stop him from trying!

He is more verbal than ever and babbles his little heart out...particularly when he's sleepy and fighting to stay awake!

I'm certain he's still teething with all the drooling and chewing he's been doing, but we have yet to meet the little tooth. Lucas didn't get his first until 8.5months, so we shall see.

He still loves his jumper and car seat, but is no longer a fan of the swing. He's also taken interest in the Baby Einstein video's, so we plan to make them more of a routine. I think they made a tremendous impact on Lucas' development and I know Levin would benefit from them just the same.

One of my favorite physical features about him (besides his eyes and adorable smile!) is his fuzzy little head! I can't believe how fast his hair is growing. He honestly has more hair now than Lucas had at a year. Insane! But it's so incredibly soft and Levi and I both find ourselves rubbing our cheeks all over his head. Sounds funny when I type that out, but believe would too!

I guess I'd better start planning something exciting for his half birthday next month!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Unprompted affection

I absolutely relish in the moments that my boys interact with each other, but lately I've been so warmed by witnessing a number of acts with entirely unprompted affection from me. Nothing warms my heart more than watching them reach out for each other to hold hands for a few seconds. The moments don't always last long, but the passion behind them live on forever. And not to mention they make me one happy and proud mama!

I've listened to Lucas read stories to his baby brother...all of his own doing. And I've even listened in to his conversations over the baby monitor. I love watching the bond between them strengthen each and every day and I am so thankful that they will have each other to lean on as they grow.

Just yesterday I heard Lucas say, "watch this Levin. I'm gonna teach you tricks for you to do when you get bigger!" I'm not sure if this is a good or a bad thing! Levin is so observant and intrigued by everything that his big brother does. Merely seeing Lucas causes him to smile!

Lucas even begged me not to put Levin down for nap this morning. When I questioned why, I half expected something along the lines of him not wanting to play quiet, or a desire for us to go somewhere. But nope...he said that he'll miss him too much. Super sweet!

I know there is going to be lots of sibling rivalry and jealousy as they age, but I have no doubt in my mind that they are going to be close. Their bond is apparent in so many ways already and I can't wait to watch it strengthen.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodbye, social life...

Looks like I survived the first two intense weeks of Nursing School! No, I didn't drop of the face of the earth. I've just been sucked so far into my books that I haven't been able to do much surfacing. Between juggling my family and my schooling, there doesn't seem to be much time for anything else. Especially a social life.

I attend classes Monday through Thursday on campus. This is a big change for me considering I have primarily taken online courses since Lucas was born. This first trimester is all lecture based, but that will change in a few short months when we begin our clinicals. I'm really looking forward to actually working with patients and integrating myself into the professional setting.

I am taking Pathophysiology, Nursing Informatics, and Foundations of Nursing. In just these two short weeks I've already taken 3 quizzes, completed a large concept map, started a paper, and done a number of assignments. I have two extremely large exams next week so even my weekends are spent studying. The readings alone are enough to drive one mad. I live nursing. Every aspect of my day is comprised of fitting study/assignment time in whenever and wherever I can.

Sadly, I feel like I am at the greatest disadvantage in my cohort. There are approximately 40 of us students that will go through the entire program together and only a small handful of us have children. Not only do I have two of them, but I also have the youngest baby out of the group. There is a reason most of these students haven't started families yet. Nursing school is very intense and consumes all of your time as it is. I am nervous, but optimistic that I can prioritize and juggle accordingly. Thank goodness my husband has been so supportive and really stepped up into the primary parent role.

It has been quite an adjustment not only on me, but for my entire family as well. To be honest, I was a tad nervous leaving all of my boys alone. And when I say tad, I really mean stressed beyond belief! But my husband has done far better than I could have ever imagined. Not only has he taken charge with his new primary daddy role, but he's done a fair share of work around the house too. I think this has been a valuable experience for him to truly see what I do on a daily basis. Juggling kids and life is a challenge! But he's been wonderful. Truly wonderful.

I love seeing the bond between the three of them grow, but I feel somewhat left out of the loop now. Levin's connection to his daddy is stronger than ever and there have even been a few incidences where he wanted Levi over me. I'm not going to lie...that broke my heart just a little. And I've had to turn down Lucas' play invitations a number of times while concentrating on important work. Nothing makes me feel worse than saying no to my child when he actually wants to play with me. Nursing school is a huge priority in my life, but I hate feeling like I have to push my kids aside at certain times. I know that it isn't going to get any easier, but I also know that these next 18 months are going to build a strong foundation for my career, and ultimately my family.

That being said, I am also very thrilled about this experience. I have been a stay-at-home-mom for over 3 years and I feel like the mother role has consumed my identity. I absolutely love my children and being a mommy, but I sometimes feel like that is all I am, and all anyone perceives me as anymore. I am still my own individual person and getting out of the house to focus on something for myself has proved more rewarding than I imagined. I may be stressed, overwhelmed and even over-consumed with my studies, but it is still something that I am doing for me.

So although Nursing school has proven itself intense and absolutely life changing in my circumstances, I am really proud and honored to be where I am. I am only a year and a half away from a life-long and rewarding career that is going to ultimately better our lives. I apologize now for the distances that this is going to create in all of my relationships, but rest is only temporary!

Monday, January 9, 2012

4.5 Months

The 23rd of this month snuck up on me and I didn't get to blog with all of the holiday commotion. But my baby Levin is now a whopping 4.5 months old and surprising me each and every day.

Talk about one happy baby! Levin is almost always sporting a smile and is so attentive to the world around him. He's beginning to recognize certain individuals and even reach for me when he wants picked up. Melts my heart each and every time!

Levin is quite the chunk still, too! He weighs in at 18lbs 4oz and is 26 inches in length. I had to bring out the 9 months clothing when we returned home. My goodness! But I love his chunky/squishy little self. Perfect for keeping me warm!

He is now grabbing and pulling on absolutely everything in sight. Apparently he thinks every item belongs to him and must go straight into the mouth! (It also seems that he is beginning to teeth too...poor guy). He loves to stand up tall and be as involved as possible. He's definitely not content laying on the floor by himself anymore.

He is so incredibly verbal these days and I love listening to him babble! He wakes up in the happiest mood and just chats up a storm until I grab him. This is a huge difference from Lucas who still wakes up grumpy to this day! It's hilarious watching/listening to him talk to Rori too. She's so great with him.

Levin is a super jumper! He absolutely loves to be in his bouncing toy going a million miles a minute. He bounces for the longest time. He's even jumped himself to sleep on a few occasions...

Since beginning to teeth, his sleeping patterns have taken a turn for the worse. He is no longer sleeping well at night and seems to be in a lot of discomfort.

But I still adore watching him sleep. It's such a beautiful sight!

He is still not taking a bottle well and honestly doesn't nurse much. It's a surprise to me that he's as chunky as he is. His coordination is astonishing and I have witnessed him turn his teethers around prior to chewing on them. He sure is developing fast!

Although he says 'dada' about 500 times a day, he did say 'mama' once! I know he was just babbling, but I'm counting it!