Monday, September 22, 2014

Why I'm taking (at least) a 30 day break from social media


Boy, it sure has been a while since I've written. Life gets busy when you move, and have a toddler and are pregnant. And even busier when you have TWO! But I will tell you this, I would much rather be busy with my two and never blog than be bored with my one and blog all the time (I think we can ALL agree on that one!)

They say that something funny happens when you have kids. Suddenly, people that were once a major part of your life are no longer around, and you feel incredibly lonely. And it's true. The friends I had before I had Little Dean are pretty much nonexistent these days. Maybe it's because I can't go out and party night after night. Maybe it's because I'd rather talk about what my kid did than talk about drama, and maybe it's because I've "changed" because I'm a Mom now. Whatever it is, well, whatever. It's happened, and there's not really anything I can do to change that, because I'm certainly not getting rid of my kids (although, I won't lie, some days I wish I could!).

But you know what I CAN change? I can change who gets to watch my kids grow up and who gets to hear about my kids through social media.

We live in a day and age where people would rather sit behind their computer and read about their friend/family/acquaintance than pick up the phone and call them. We live in a day and age, where we don't want to hang out with people because we can quickly catch up through facebook and instagram and twitter. We live in a day and age where even when we DO hang out with people, phones are still in hand checking out what's going on "out there" rather than what's happening right in front of them.

Am I the pot calling the kettle black? For sure. FOR SURE I'm on my phone more than I'd like to admit. FOR SURE I use facebook to keep up with friends more than I should. But, I'm admitting it. I have begun to make a more conscious effort to put my phone down when anyone is around, including my kids. I want to teach my children that yes, social media can be a great and wonderful thing. I can keep up with my beautiful family in North Carolina and South Carolina, and friends from West Virginia. Prior to facebook, we couldn't keep in touch as much or really know what the other one was doing day in and day out. Now they are just a click away rather than an 8 hour drive. I love it. But you know what is more important and wonderful? Face to face interaction.

Isn't it so amazing to just sit and talk to people around you? To look in their eyes, and see into their soul? To see their emotion, rather than read it?

This leads me to say that I am about to soon embark on a journey of 30 days (or more) free of social media. ((Enter 'HASHTAG First World Problems' Here)) I want desperately to stop being so worried about what's going on on facebook, how many people "like" my status or picture, who's doing what and when, and worry more about my kids. And what they're seeing and learning. I want desperately for people in my life to think about me and pick up the phone and call me rather than search my name on facebook. I'm tired of people being able to watch my kids grow up through the internet rather than see it in person. I'm tired of reaching out to people in "real life" and instead only be responded to on facebook. There is a real reason my children won't be allowed to have a cell phone until they're 16 and even then will have rules that go with it. That reason is this: Look out your window at the beautiful world around you, because one day, you're going to miss it. Stop looking at the white and blue world on your phone, and enjoy the people next to you, not on the other side of the internet.

Friday, February 14, 2014

It's all in the Perspective

It's been like two weeks since I've blogged last. Mainly because I didn't know what I wanted to write about, partially because I've been so exhausted and didn't want to even lift a finger. 

And then, I saw a specific meme and quote running around Facebook and it really kind of angered me. Enough so that I wanted to write about it. 

Today, is Valentine's Day. 

The day of love and romance. 

When you're a kid, it's one of the best days EVER getting cards and candy from everyone in your class. 
Then, you move onto middle school and the cards stop, and couples begin. And it starts every girl's (because, seriously, guys could care less about Valentine's day) dream of having a perfect Valentine's day with the perfect guy and the perfect date, and so much romance your butt falls off. 

Up until 2007, I never had a "Valentine". Ever. 

And of course, it was upsetting, because that's the "most important thing ever" when you're at that age. Even when you get older. It's upsetting to have an entire day dedicated to love and romance when there isn't a specific person in your life you share love and romance with. 

So when I saw this meme on Facebook, shared by multiple people, it REALLY made me mad. 

This type of talk comes up frequently in today's society.

"You think YOU have it bad..."

Why? WHY in the world are we trying to take people's pain and make them feel as though it's stupid to feel that way? Why are we taking that away from people? 

What is this even saying anyway?! 

Some people don't have a mother on Mother's Day or a father on Father's Day....
As in people that have lost their parent suddenly compare their loss to love and romance on Valentine's Day. I'm don't know about you, but in the hundreds of years from now when I lose my parents (and I say hundreds of years because I never want to think about that) I WILL still celebrate that day. Not for me or my husband. But for my parents. Who brought me into the world and raised me. Just because they're gone doesn't mean I can't celebrate them. 

Saying something like this is like saying to a man who has just been kicked in the testicles "oh you think THAT hurts, well try giving birth!!"

It's COMPLETELY unrelated!!

Suddenly, because a man has never given birth, means that it shouldn't hurt when he's kicked in the most sensitive place on his body. NO! 

It's all in the perspective! 

In my raging pregnancy hormones, and after some mortifying moments with my toddler, I BROKE DOWN crying alone in my living room. It's SO hard having a toddler, that you're trying to teach to listen to you, and is constantly pushing his limits, and has started hitting and punching other children. This is the HARDEST thing in my life. 

But you know what?

I'm going to laugh at myself when I have TWO. Because suddenly that will seem like a breeze compared to constantly juggling two kids. 
But right now, in this perspective of my life, it's the hardest. And no one can change that. 

Maybe the most depressing thing some people are going through in their lives is not having a valentine on Valentine's day. And who are YOU to tell them they can't be sad about it?

So go on girl! (Or guy) 
Be sad! I'm sad for you too. 
My Valentine for the past 7 years has worked 6 out of the 7 Valentine's Days we've had together (and I'm sure with where he works, the trend will stay the same). I've learned that even though it may not happen ON Valentine's Day, there's still a special day we can (and usually do) celebrate our love for each other. 
((((AND PUH-LEAASSEEEE DO NOT get me started on the whole 'Valentine's Day is stupid, we love each other all year round!' Crap!! My husband and I love and show love all year round. Does that mean that it's not nice to have an extra day to celebrate it every year?! No. It's a fun day. Stop being so freaking bitter about it! Shut up and let people be mushy and happy and more in love for one day a year. Who's it hurting REALLY?!))))

So remember. The next time you want to compare apples to oranges or "one up" someone as it's commonly called, remember that it's all in the perspective of that person's life. What may seem simple and silly and stupid to you, may mean the world to them, so stop belittling someone's emotions. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

One of my Number 1 Rules in Being a Parent

I had a confusing childhood. 

I was a happy kid. I was raised with beliefs and values and morals. 

For a long time, I was spoiled. My sister and I got everything we could've ever asked for and wanted. I never went without. 

Then some things happened, and we got less. Did I ever go without eating? No. Did I always have clothes on my back? Yes. Were they the most stylish or designer or name brand? Certainly not. 

My parent's worked and worked hard for the money they made. It wasn't easy on either of them when they divorced. I specifically remember one Christmas my Mom being upset because she wanted to give my sister and I more than what she could. 

But you know what? 

I wasn't upset in the slightest. 

It was the first time since my birthday (which is in March) that we got anything that wasn't a necessity. The same went for my sister. We didn't get toys or presents or games or even clothes throughout the year. Our birthday and Christmas were it.

And I was happy. 

I learned to appreciate the things I have, not the things I wanted.

To this day, I rarely buy things for myself. My husband can attest to that. I'll go weeks, and months before I buying something I've had my eye on. 

Why? Because I don't NEED it.

I refuse to have my children raised to think that material things are what it takes to make you happy. I would rather my children be raised to be creative and happy with one toy than a room full of toys where he never has to use his brain and doesn't appreciate the little things,

Do we spoil Baby Dean?

Absolutely more than we should. 
The kid has more toys than he could play with. Of course it's fun to buy him the things he wants, but what is that teaching him? 

It teaches him if he wants something, he gets it. 
And that's not the real world. 

We're a family living off of one income. It's impossible to think that he will always be able to get whatever he wants. Is almost 2 years-old too young to start these lessons? Is it too young to teach him that the stove is hot or he can't play in the toilet?

Especially with another baby on the way, he needs to understand that the world doesn't revolve around him. That he can't have everything in the world.

And to be honest, it may be harder on his parents and family than it is on him.

Monday, January 27, 2014

What can I say? I'm Obsessed.

Today I had my first OB appointment here in MD.

Can I just say that transferring gynecology practices half way through pregnancy because of a move is probably the MOST stressful thing a woman can go through?

For people that know me, and "understand" me (which is very possible it's only my husband, and thats ok) know that pregnancy, labor and delivery is very important to me. 

As a stay-at-home Mom, my priorities are taking care of my child, my house, my husband and basically EVERYTHING in the world (or so it seems). Seldom, I have down time. VERY SELDOM. But when I do, the majority of my time I spend reading and researching and learning. 

About what you might ask?

About birth. 

I'm weird! I know! But it's something in my life that I've honestly become passionate about and hope to continue to pursue professionally. 

Being passionate and well educated also means that I know what I want and what I don't want when it comes to my birth and labor. 

I'm preparing in ways I didn't the first time around. I plan to do things this go around that I didn't with Baby Dean. I'm looking to God and nature, and I didn't when I was pregnant with Baby Dean.

One of the ways to achieve the birth I want is by having a medical provider that understands my wants and is willing and even encouraging of those desires. Plain and simple, facts show that using a midwife when you desire a more natural birth, will help you get what you want. 

Ever heard of The Business of Being Born? You can watch it on Netflix for free. I encourage everyone to whether they've had children or not. It's important to get the word out on how birth has changed over the years. 

Anyway, when I lived in WV I had a group of midwives that, while I didn't have the best experience with one while laboring with Baby Dean, I did have a vaginal delivery. And I didn't have major tearing (I had to get half a stitch just to be sure I didn't get an infection, less than 1 degree tearing). And both my child and I were healthy.

So when we moved to MD, I knew I had to start with where I wanted to deliver. Once I had decided that, it was just a matter of finding a midwife group that had rights at Mercy, and I would be happy. Sounds simple enough.

Well. It's not.

I called places, I cried. I called more places, I cried harder. 
I finally had to suck it up and just pick a place. 

It took a lot for me to do this. To pick a place that I wasn't sure I would get what I wanted. Obviously, the most important thing is that both my child and I are healthy at the end of the day, but anywhere you go can't really guarantee that. Part of the reason people fear birth so much is because up until the baby is in your arms and you're going home, there is so much unknown that could or couldn't happen. Because of that very reason, birthing in America and all over the world has changed dramatically. (Again, see Business of Being Born)

So I went. And the first impression of the place wasn't the greatest. The practice's office is actually in the hospital. So there's parking garages, and getting lost walking trying to find it. I had to ring a doorbell to get into the office. There is one single bathroom for ladies only that is small, and not the cleanest, and doesn't have a changing table. I had to wait 30 minutes past my appointment time just to get into the room (mind you, when I got there, I was the only one there and everyone was on lunch until 1:40. My appointment was at 1:30.) I had to wait in the room for the OB to come in for another 30 minutes. The room was tiny (and SUPER ugly!). But everyone was nice. The nurse was even telling me that her nephew was Dean and so was her brother and her Dad. We laughed at how it was so random and neither of us had met another family with the family name being Dean. When the OB did come in, she was really really nice.

She took her time, and talked to me. She explained to me that there were 5 OBs and 5 midwives in the practice. That almost all of them had had natural births themselves, so they would be more than willing to support me in that. There is always an OB and a midwife on call. When a patient goes into labor,  She said that as long as everything was in the normal/average range, the midwife takes care of the labor and delivery. If something happens where the patient or baby are in risk, the OB takes over. The hospital requires intermittent monitoring (which I'm fine with) but otherwise I can be up and walking around or in the tub.

She made me feel confident in her and the rest of the physicians in the practice, and that's a big deal for me. I need to have the support of everyone in the birthing room. I need their encouragement. I don't need people that laugh at me, or tell me to just give in to meds. I need people that will tell me I CAN do it, not that I shouldn't.

I need to add, that I say all of this fully knowing that plans are just that. Plans. Plans change. You have to be willing to change and go with the flow and do what's necessary to achieve the end goal. All of this is important to me, but not as important as my child's health and mine. I will do whatever it takes to  achieve the end goal, but I won't be talked into things or told things I know simply aren't true. I will follow my gut and listen to it more this time around. I'm confident in the hospital I've chosen, and while it's going to take more than one office visit to make me completely confident in the practice I've chosen, I think we're on our way to getting there. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

How Did We Get Here?

I've been struggling with what to write for this week's blog post for the past week. 

First I thought I'd give a run down on how I'm feeling at 20 weeks pregnant, but then I realized, I feel different everyday. How in the heck could I summarize how I'm feeling for an entire week in one blog post?!

Then, I read this story. And it made me sick. And it made me think. And the comments on it, made me think.

You see, I KNOW what I would have done to that woman. I'd do to her exactly what she did to that innocent child. 

I can't say or even pretend that I've been the best and most perfect parent or that I will be from this point on. Yes, there were (and still are!) times that I had to just put Baby Dean in his crib or pac-n-play and walk away to catch my breath or clear my mind. Did I leave him there all day and night? No. At a max, it was 5 minutes. And these instances happened when I knew there was nothing I could do to settle his tears (not hungry, cold, hot, didn't need a diaper change, didn't want to be cuddled, etc). Do I believe in spanking? Yes. Beating a child with a broom? No. Disciplining a child over a bathroom accident? Absolutely not.

The comments I read were something I had heard before. Not in those exact words, but similar to. One comment read, 
"When we as a society began to validate killing the child rather than giving it up for adoption as a demanded "choice" for women to make, we set up a spiral effect of dehumanizing children. When we as a society began to view children as a burden rather than a gift, and pawn the daily raising of those children off to hired strangers, we set up a spiral effect of not knowing the normal behaviors of children and how to properly deal with them. When we as a society began empowering women by emasculating and negating the necessity of men/fathers we set up a spiral effect of men abandoning women to single parenthood.
It's a tragedy all around, and it goes back generations to choices made with horrific unintended side effects."

Beautifully true isn't it?

Then, there was a comment that read, 
"...until this country stops making welfare and cash assistance a CAREER option, these people are just going to keep popping out kids they don't want just for the money. I work in an OB/GYN clinic in a very poverty stricken area of Michigan. 50% of my patients come in with repeat pregnancies, don't take care of the kids they have, smack them, scream at them, abuse them, just because they get free food, cash and healthcare from our government. And the sad part is that most of these "women" make more in welfare and cash assistance that I make and I work full-time and go to school full-time along with being a single mom of a 6 year old. They come up with every excuse in the book as to why they cant work. Until this country stops giving hand outs to people who just don't want to work and pop out kids they don't want so they get more money every month, this will never end..."

We've all seen these people before too. This isn't new information for you.
Not every person that gets government assistance falls into this category, so please don't mistake me for 'THAT' type of person.

So why? Why do we continue to fall into debt as a country to support these type of people? And that woman that killed her child, we now get to pay for her to live even more! There are good and honest people that go hungry and divide up their food for a week to make sure they have SOMETHING to eat daily. People that work, and work HARD for a living, and barely get by and yet, if they were to ask the government for help, they wouldn't qualify. 

It sickens me that I raise my son and soon to be daughter in a country that will help the lazy before it helps those that work for a living. A country that cares more about forcing people to buy health insurance than it does about the schools losing money or people living out of trailers for months and years after natural disasters. A country that will put murderers, rapists and pedophiles in jail for their crimes, yet feed them three times a day, give them cable to watch, hot water to shower in, clean clothes to wear and activities to participate in. 

A country that cares more about how a man put to death for kidnapping, raping and murdering an 8 month pregnant married woman suffered because a new drug was tried on him, then the reason he's being put to death in the first place. A country that orders a hospital to take a pregnant woman off of life support before her child would be viable outside the womb, so not only one person dies in a terrible tragedy, but two. A country that forces businesses to pay for contraceptives for their employees when their beliefs would prevent them from doing so. A country that has mass shootings constantly, and now, mass shootings that take place so close to home, it gives me anxiety. 

Where are our priorities?

How have we come this far and beyond in 50 short years? Heck, even 30 years? 

How have we gotten here, and how do we get back to the way it use to be?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

You Know You're a Mom when...

So I didn't write on Friday. But I'm making it up today.
Friday got busy with a terrible grocery shopping trip, naps, friends visiting, a husband home from work, and hanging things on walls. 

So this morning, before Dean went to bed for work tonight, I was doing some hard core cleaning and some things started popping in my head. Things that I would've never thought of until I had kids. 

So here is my list of 

You Know You're a Mom (or Dad) When...

you're searching for a new home, and the first thing you think about is where all the toys are going to go (the second is how many baby gates you will need to keep your mind at ease)

you're preparing to go out to family dinner and you make sure to pack enough toys to keep all parties happy until the end of the meal

you're scrubbing the bathroom and you sanitize bath toys first

you light candles, you place them on surfaces that little fingers can't reach and continually say "HOT! HOT!" out of habit

you get more excited about baby things than things for yourself

you think more about how you want to decorate the nursery and when you can start than anything else

you randomly hear children crying when you're in the shower (and it's never your kids)

you forget things for yourself when you venture out of the house for the day because you were so concentrated on everything your child may need or want while you're out

more things are mounted/attached to the wall than you thought possible

you suddenly start planning your weekly meals based on how likely it is your child will eat it

you know what children's shows are on and when and what channel

you look forward to the same two times of day everyday: nap time & bed time

you know how to get just about any stain out of any material and any mark off of any wall

you see safety hazards before beauty

you don't remember the last time you went to the bathroom alone or someone didn't wave "bye bye" to your pee

you hide candy and cookies where little eyes can't see them and beg for them all. day. long.

I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting. But that was something fun for today. 

Happy Sunday all!

What are some thoughts or things that made you realize YOU are a Mom?

Friday, January 10, 2014

We're Having A ...... ??!!!!!!!!!

So before I get into this whole big crazy announcement that everyone seems to look forward to most in pregnancies, let's back up a few days. Remember how I said in my last post that we were moving? Well that happened. And then if you're friends with me on facebook, I asked for prayers so the move day went smoothly with no injuries. Here I was thinking in my head that we needed prayers for the men doing the heavy lifting so no muscles would get pulled or backs thrown out. I was NOT expecting I'd need prayers for myself and my unborn child.

Everything was packed, we were loading ourselves in the cars and about to make the trip to MD. I had one last thing to grab out of the house and since Baby Dean was packed in the car and quickly falling asleep, I went in to grab our 'kee kee' (our cat Bella). As I head out to pack up and follow the truck to MD, I took one step on our sidewalk (which was nothing but ice, and I had been very careful on the whole day leading up to that point) and both feet flew out from under me. I landed flat on my back and tailbone. I had never felt pain like that before. For anyone that has been through childbirth, imagine the biggest, strongest contraction but it lasting for a solid 10 minutes with no break and all in your back/tailbone. I was thriving in pain, and quite frankly scared everyone who saw it (luckily Baby Dean slept through the whole ordeal). Once I gathered myself together, my husband helped me into the car and my MIL drove me and Baby Dean to our apartment. 

The whole car ride I was in some pretty bad pain but only in my tailbone. I did have cramping but none that hurt. I could feel it, but it wasn't painful. The day went on, I sat and watched as the men unloaded the truck and brought everything in. Once all was said and done my cramping had gotten more frequent and more painful, and I knew I wanted to ease my mind so I decided it was time to go get checked out. 
With flu and cold season in full swing, and a child that cannot get a flu shot, I knew the last thing I wanted was Baby Dean in a place where LOTS of sick people go. Dean was willing (and exhausted) so he stayed home while my very good friend took me to be checked out. After a run around at one place, we found ourselves at the hospital. Apparently telling the front door nurse that you are 17 weeks and having bad cramping will get you an express pass to L&D (cramping at this point had gotten much more frequent and painful). 

Upstairs, the nurse had me undress, give a urine sample, and answer some questions. First thing she did was try to find the baby's heartbeat using the fetal monitor. Now, those things are meant for full term, big babies, so I didn't really worry when she couldn't find anything. Next she pulled out the doppler. I was fully expecting her to find and hear the baby's heartbeat right away since just a week before it was so easy to hear with full clarity at my midwife appointment, but that didn't happen. She fished around for what seemed like forever and never heard a "definite" heartbeat. She kept finding mine instead and because my mind was racing, so was my heart. A sonogram was ordered, and the waiting game continued.

Finally the sonographer came and the fun began. As soon as she put the little stick on my stomach, there was my precious baby. Heart beating just as it should in the 140 range. The sonographer took all of the baby's measurements and said the baby was exactly measuring how it should. A little 7 ounce peanut that I had been worried about all day, was there waving. When I joked about finding out the sex, the sonographer said she could tell without a doubt and asked me if I wanted to know. So. Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing 

Adelaide Carolyn Larue Pennington

Our first baby girl! I'm excited, Dean's excited (and a little scared, AND a little upset he just sold his shot gun) and our family is SO excited. 

Nothing relieved me more than actually seeing my little girl moving all around, punching and kicking (even though I can't feel it half the time) and already taking after her older brother with her hands all around her face.

The kids are going to be sharing a room while we live in this apartment, and I've gotten some funny looks about it, but I think it's weird people think it's weird when the kids are this young. Like, Baby Dean has no idea the differences in girls and boys yet, and by the time he does, we will be in our forever home. 

So, here we are. Week 2 of 2014, all moved into our apartment and knowing we have a little girl on the way in June. Dean and I will be heading to WV and our first home for the last time ever today. We go to closing at 4pm, and while it's definitely been a journey getting here, and we WILL miss our first home, we are excited to forever sever the ties to living so far away. It makes me really sad thinking that that isn't home anymore, and that the house we brought home Baby Dean to isn't ours any more, but it just means we are one step closer to finding a place to spend our forever in happily.