Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Brunch

You may have surmised, from my last few posts, that this whole two-kid thing is difficult.

Let me clarify.

It is the hardest thing I have ever done.

Okay, now that we have that cleared up, I am ready to celebrate a beautiful morning.

Andy woke up with Jack and took care of breakfast (a cookie for each of them) and entertained Joey until he said that he was hungry, at which point Andy brought the wee babe into bed with me and I snuggled and nursed and listened to Andy and Jack laugh and talk about Dora's latest adventure.

When I finally got out of bed we all played on the living room floor. Andy kept one hand busy bouncing Joey in his seat and the other tickling Jack. I laid on the floor in the midst of the sweet chaos and participated in the classic Jack sandwich game with Andy.

Then I made a shopping list and Andy took Jack to the store to get ingredients for a yummy Sunday brunch (because a cookie does not cut it), as well as coffee to fortify us for the day ahead.

As I made vanilla french toast with homemade blueberry syrup and whip cream...

Prior to going to the store
Andy and I had a long
heated conversation
about the merits of
whipped cream
cool whip.
He reviewed my list before
leaving, in case he had any questions
and when he got to the
"whipped cream"
he said,
"You mean Cool Whip?"
As if the two were interchangeable!
Despite his arguments that
Cool Whip is the greatest invention of all time
he brought home whipped cream.
Can you imagine desecrating
a beautiful fruit topped french toast
with COOL WHIP?!
Thankfully the Aichele house did
not witness such an
atrocity today.

Jack sat on the floor and read a book to himself (he has been doing this almost every day and it makes little bursts of joy bubble up inside of me)

Did I tell you that when
I was pregnant with Jack
my first totally out-of-control,
happened when I was home alone
one night and I started thinking
about Jack as a little
I got a vivid picture of him in my head
talking to Andy and saying,
"Dad, can you ask mom not to read to me anymore?"
And I burst into tears!
I have always looked forward to reading
to my kids
and the thought
(though totally imagined)
of him not wanting me to
was crushing.
So, now that Jack loves to be read to
and to read on his own,
I am truly delighted.

... Back to the story of this morning.

As I made french toast and sipped my iced coffee, Jack charmingly entertained himself and Joey rested peacefully on Andy's chest. The house was quite, in a restful, soothing way and my kitchen smelled delicious.

It was so many simple and small pleasures, rolled in to one 30-minute window. I felt refreshed by the break from the frantic, sleep-deprived fog that has seemed to hold me captive for the last month.

I realize that later this afternoon there is a good chance of the fog rolling back in, but that is why I put my baby down and let Jack run around unattended in order to capture the moment in writing.

When I look back on these difficult days, I will see that in totality, they have not all been painful or exhausting. Tender and delicious moments have peppered themselves throughout. And some day soon, the sweet will begin to overtake the sour and once again, I will find myself smiling at the prospect of each new day.

And now, Joey is frantically screaming to be held or fed, or some mystery something that I don't know about... so, back to the order of the day... but at least with a full tummy and a calm heart.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

On my way

Okay, so I realize that my life, and therefore the content of this blog, is suddenly very small.

The first few weeks of bringing a baby home are so consuming, and so emotional, and so taxing in a variety of ways.

But that is what I am living right now, and I am determined to survive it with at least a smidgen of grace and beauty.

And by beauty I mean internal peace. I can't even attempt glamour at this point. I won't bore you with my self-esteem woes at this point, but friends, woe is me, at least my self-image!

Despite my weight, despite my eyes that refuse to stay open and are perpetually red rimmed and watery, despite my daily ride on the emotional roller coaster... I can say whole heartedly that each day is better than the last.

I can see windows of opportunity to spend time with each of my boys individually. I can see progress in my understanding of who Joey is as a one-month-old and how to bring out his best (meaning, get him to sleep longer at night). Jack is mellowing out, after a very aggressive and moody couple of weeks and I am learning to better edit my emotions.

With each dip and rise in the day, I am learning to listen to the true thoughts and discard the fears and guilt and stress that wander through my mind as side-effects if sleepless nights.

I am discovering new strength as I trust the Holy Spirit to guide my decisions and I am reveling in small accomplishments. I am learning to weed out needless work and to pour the energy I have into the elements of my life that really matter.

Each day I remind myself that I'm going to be okay. That my husband will still love me even if I'm a little crazy right now. That my children will not be ruined for life if I am not capable of anything more than turning on the TV and preparing frozen meals and that at some point, I am going to sleep for more than an hour at a time.


At this point Jack unplugged the computer (Actually there were about two more paragraphs following this, but they didn't get tucked away with the autosave). My momentum was lost and I have no idea what I was going to say. I can't think of a clean way to wrap up my thoughts after such a long break (I started at around 10 and it is now 4) so, just know, that I'm surviving.

I'm not quite to thriving, but I expect that I'm on my way, and that is a wonderful feeling.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I'm Feeling Optimistic

I successfully handled two different issues with the Insurance Company.

My living room, dining room and kitchen are clean.

My house is quiet and peaceful.

Dinner is in the crockpot.

I caught up on email correspondence.

I have half of a grocery list done and most of a menu for the week.

I'm about to take a shower... BEFORE noon.

I feel like a human.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It's Mine, All (Almost) Mine

Today marked a very special occasion.

I took myself out for my first, post-labor run/jog/walk. Mostly walk.

It felt sooooo good. I did a long route, knowing that I would be slow and sort of lumber along, which I did.

But I didn't care. It just felt good to move!

It also was wonderfully soothing to my spirit to be totally alone for an hour and to have my body to myself. My dear husband kept both boys and cheerfully sent me on my way.

I'm not sure if he was so cheerful about sending me out because I had been a total brat a few hours earlier and he didn't want to deal with me, or if he was so cheerful because he knew that I would come back a much more pleasant person. Probably a healthy dose of both!

I'm celebrating the accomplishment of getting out alone as well as getting active. I definitely feel like both are worth celebrating, as they take a lot more effort that they ever had before.

In order to leave Joey home, I had to pump a bottle for Andy to have to feed him. Have you ever had to pump? If you have, you know that is one of the worlds most awful activities.

Except when it means
that you can look forward to a
full night of sleep
(minus having to get up and pump)
because your darling husband
said, "If you have bottles for me
I'll get up with Joey tonight.
I think a full nights sleep would
be good for you."
Ohh... sleep. How I have missed you!
After effusive thanks, I said,
"Wow, I must have been acting
so terribly lately for you to offer
to get up in the night!"
Yes, it is true.
I have not been my most charming self
the last few days.
So sorry honey!

Okay, another side note:
One of the things I love
the very most about Andy
is how quickly he forgives.
I am not always nice
or perfect.
Each time I mess up and have to
apologize, he treats the
offense like it is no big
deal. He forgives me
and moves on with life.
What a gift!
I learn so much from him!

DISCLAIMER: If you are a man, I suggest you stop reading at this point. Not that I anticipate any men read this, but if you are a man and you do happen to read this, come back tomorrow for a more gender-friendly post. The following uses words like "lactating" and other referrals to breast milk and breast feeding. I'm pretty sure you don't even want to know...

Only slightly more awful than pumping, was my experience with purchasing a sports bra to accommodate my lactating self.

Earlier this week I went to get a new sports bra. I took about a million, okay, it was only four - because that is all that they had in my size, options into the fitting room (as well as a million pairs of black workout pants, which is not much of an exaggeration).

I made my selection for pants and moved on to the top-wear. The first bra option was pretty good. The second was a pass. The third... oh wait. I can't try on the third one because milk is POURING from my chest.

I didn't even know that could happen! Despite having recently fed my wee child, somehow my breasts decided that in the fitting room of Sports Authority was an appropriate time to gush fluid.

I'm so sorry if that is gross to you. It IS gross. But it HAPPENED. Don't worry, I checked all the garments to make sure I hadn't sullied any of them. I quickly dressed myself and covered my spurting chest. I took my pants and the bra that was adequate, and left the store.

While it took a little extra work and embarrassment to get ready to run, it was oh so worth it! I'm sure my legs will be tired tomorrow and I'm sure that it will continue to be a struggle to make exercise work, but Oh! I'm willing to do the work!

And now, with that happy reflection, I am off to another happy part of my day, resting my head on my pillow, with the freedom to keep it there the next time Joey calls for me...

Andy, I really do love you. Thank you!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I forgot how much work a newborn baby is.

And I had no idea how difficult two children would be.

Don't get me wrong. Joey is incredibly sweet, and I am excited to see how Jack develops as a big brother. It is just that right now the needs for my involvement in both of their lives is incredibly intense.

Joey requires lots (as in almost constant) of feeding and burping and soothing and diaper changing.

Jack requires lots of supervision around Joey, affirmation that he is still my baby too, as well as lots of feeding and diaper changing.

Jack is giving me
more and more
cues that he is ready for
potty training.
I can't even begin to
fathom how to go about
that process.
Oh dear! We're in for a fun
couple of months,
that is for sure!

To cope with the new pace of my life I've shut off my thinking for a few weeks.

I'm not sure if it is a good tactic or not, but so far it seems to be working. It allows me get through each day without an excessive amount of tears or guilt and a reasonable energy level for the next day.

At some point, I realize that I will need to return to making intentional decisions about parenting, housework and all the other components of my life, but for now, I think I'm allowed to coast.

I have had a few meltdowns at random points.
Andy has been INCREDIBLE
as a support and encourager.
My favorite part of becoming
a four-person family has been
seeing Andy develop as a husband
and dad.
In each new season of our life
I realize anew what
a valiant and godly
man I have married and
I am

I think the biggest thing that stretches my emotional capacity and causes me to freak out - meltdown - overreact - whatever you want to call it is the feeling that I had just got myself and my life and my child in order and now I have to start all over.

I felt so confident with Jack and had a system for most things: showering, planning meals, spending quality time in God's word, bedtime... but now everything feels upended, like I need to reconstruct each component of my world to accommodate or make space for our new little bug.

The task seems daunting.

But I keep reminding myself, it took almost two years to get to that point as a mom of one, I can't be hard on myself if it needs to take that long with two children. The reality is that two years goes by amazingly quickly when you are talking about kid years.

So for now, I will go about my days, not thinking too hard, or being overly critical of what I can or can't do. I'll remember what I'm moving toward, but be content if my steps are small. I'll smile as often as I can, try and say "no!" to Jack as little as possible, and extend Grace to myself and those around me.

My life will never be the same, but that doesn't make it any less sweet.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Baby Joey has arrived!

He made his grand entrance last Friday, February 26 at 6:08 pm.

Despite being a week early he outweighed his big brother, weighing in at 8 pounds 2 ounces and stretching a grand 20 inches.

I've had a couple of freak outs, which I figure are expected when you're living in a constant state of sleep deprivation, but besides that, I feel like this whole two-kid thing might be totally doable.

Sleep Deprivation Side Note:
Contractions started in the middle of the night
on Thursday.
I knew I couldn't sleep any more
so I got up and read and had a bowl of cereal
and sprawled out on the couch
making plans for Friday
because I KNEW these were the real
contractions and that Joey was coming soon.
So, I was up all Thursday night.
Then, after Joey was born I was up all Friday
night in the hospital
because you know they come and poke you
or take your blood pressure or
randomly come in just to make sure you
aren't getting any sleep.
Anyhow, I was on two nights in a row
of no sleep and a day of laboring out a baby.
On Saturday a nurse came in to ask more questions
and do more pokes and tests
and who knows what else.
I had several close friends visiting and just prior
to the nurse's entrance we had
all been getting very silly.
You know the kind of silly that only happens
when you are really tired?
Yes, it was that kind of almost hysterical silly.
So the nurse comes in and I am wiping away a tear
of laughter and she asks me my name
and our last name
and all the while I am answering questions
my party of friends and Andy are still laughing.
Then the nurse asks me the baby's name.
I say, "Joseph."
Then she says, can you spell it?
"J. O. . uh."
All my friends stop laughing and look at me.
Long pause.
"No. Actually, I can't spell it right now. Ask my husband."
Andy: "J. O. S. E. P. H."
Sometimes you just reach your limit, you know?
I didn't know I named my kid
a name that is so difficult to spell out loud.
Sorry Joey!

Joey is remarkably calm and seems content to have joined this world. He is also a champion eater, getting back up to his birth weight in less than a week. My baby, the over achiever!

Jack is totally enamored with this bitty brother. Randomly throughout the day he will run up and kiss or hug Joey. Very sweet, but also quite scary, as his (Jack's) giant head often ends up totally covering Joey's entire face.

Today Jack was eating peanut butter out of the jar - its a Sunday! A day for relaxing and watching cartoons and eating peanut butter out of the jar! When he was done with his snack he put his spoon in Joey's hand and set the jar of peanut butter in the bouncy seat with the babe. He said, "here baby!"

All in all, life is sweet. Andy is a trooper of a husband and family and friends have been feeding us well. I feel so pampered and so supported! Joey is in for a great life with all the folks who are celebrating the start of his days!

Now on to planning Jack's 2nd birthday. I'm just waiting for our birthday club party planner to come in the mail. I hope it gets here soon; I need that checklist!