2013 and PROGESTERONE and ALL THE HARD DAYS

so, i just finally made myself post this week's portrait project. i usually do so on sunday mornings, or even on saturday. i had taken the photo earlier this week, and i knew it was the one i would share, but there was a part of me that didn't want to admit that there were less than ten weeks left in this year. not when i can so clearly remember posting her first portrait. not when i feel that i have so much left to accomplish... 

this year has been one of my favorites with some not so favorite stuff mixed in... like a favorite meal that your mom hides vegetables in. it is mostly good, but you can still feel those bits in your mouth and they make it just a tiny bit difficult to fully enjoy. despite my joy over all the good things, there have just been those little bits that have nagged me and made it hard for me to really clear my plate, even though it is one of my favorite meals.... 

this analogy falls apart here.. and it might have gone on too long. i apologize.

this past week christian and i realized that my body just isn't on the schedule it should be for me to get pregnant again. we had a hunch about this for a while... but i guess i didn't want to pay too much thought to it. however, periods that come too soon, last too long, and seem to debilitate me in a way that i think is rather ridiculous, are hard to ignore, especially when you are hoping for a pregnancy. then there are all the other bizarre and random things going on with my body that i have been chocking up to being "old" (weight that won't go away no matter how i change my diet or exercise, a lack of energy, itchy and scaly skin that has weird bumps all over it, hot flashes and sweats, and some anxiety that no amounts of yoga or mediation can help). when i started reading about luteal phase deficiency, which means that you get your period too soon, i felt like what i was reading described exactly what i was going through. when you don't have a long enough luteal phase, which is kind of an important time for a fertilized egg that is looking to implant, you will often have a hard time getting pregnant and often miscarry. 

and then i read about the cause of luteal phase deficiency... low progesterone. and when i read about the other side effects of low progesterone, my jaw just about dropped. all the silly things going on with my body that i have been blaming on my age, could just be due to a hormonal imbalance.... then i remembered how i got pregnant with chloe - i had messed up my birth control. which means i probably had enough progesterone stored up in my fat (that's where it lives), to get me by until the placenta started making enough. which might explain why i never quite felt like i went back to "normal" after having chlo... why i just haven't quite felt like myself. it is so easy to just think that you just changed a bit, that you body changed, and you just need to get used to it...  change is a normal part of life, and sometimes it can be a little difficult to adapt, but eventually you figure it out. you think you are stressed, or just not eating healthy enough, or you blame it on not drinking enough water... when you actually might have something going on that there might be a remedy for.

so, now i finally have some non-official answers. answers that need to be confirmed by a doctor.. and hopefully a solution that will be easy, and quick, help me get pregnant, and maybe get me back to feeling like my old self. 

i spent a lot of time this year just trying to focus on all the good things and not let the silly little stuff ruin it. i have relished in the second year of my daughters life, and my third year of being married to my favorite man. i have embraced becoming thirty. but the anxiety, and the infertility, and the feeling of unease with this other version of myself have plagued me the whole time. i have withdrawn, become bitter, and i have been so tired. 

this past week i had a really bad day. it was the first time that i can remember crying in front of chloe. she was acting up... more than she usually does. i was exhausted and sore, and overwelmed but also comforted knowing that there might be an answer for what was happening to me. i cried because i don't think she knows who i was before i had her - the version of me, that felt like me (i think it was a funner and more carefree version of my current self). i cried because i was happy to have some hope, and at the thought of having another child. i cried because i realized that even my hardest days have some hope, and a whole lot of love. 

chloe walked over to me while i was piling up books that were thrown all over the floor. books that she had thrown all over the floor during a fit. she got two inches from my face and smiled. smiled her goofy little impish smile, right in my face. then she sat on the floor on the books, in her t-shirt and diaper, and continued to smile at me. it was right to be there, that minute, that day, this year. i was in the perfect place right then. and i wouldn't trade any of this, any day.




PORTRAIT v. 43


"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."


 
one of my favorite moments from this past week. chloe and i were sitting in my bed, playing with the jewelry box and it's contents, and i was asking her questions. i asked her where her daddy was,

"at work", she replied.

"where does your daddy work?", i asked.

".....", she looked at me for a second and then resumed running her fingers through a tiny pile of mismatched earrings.

"chloe, your daddy works on a fire-truck", i told her, knowing that fire-trucks are, at this point in her life, one of her most favorite things.

her eyes lit up, and she made some sweet siren noises, and i was letting her sweetness fill up my heart until i thought it may burst. i was smiling so big that i thought i may never frown again, and i feared i might melt into a huge puddle if i didn't share that moment right then. i pulled my phone out to call my husband, and as i did she starred out into space, and she said, "wow."



joining in with jodi this week.


PORTRAIT v.42 (plus a few)

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."
















this week i decided to take a mini road-trip with chloe. fall is my favorite season, and well, sometimes our neighborhood walks can become a bit mundane. but plhiladelphia is surrounded by state parks, many less than an hour drive away. so i packed us some peanut-butter sandwiches and we headed out. due to government shut-downs the state parks were not "open"... or rather the visitor centers and parking lots were not open. luck would have it that there are a few churches located on the park, which had no problem allowing us to park for a few hours. we didn't walk very far, but chloe did enjoy exploring the small part of the park that we did cover. 

she gathered acorns, rolled in leaves, spent the majority of the time poking around the daughter's of the revolution monument. the fields were very overgrown, the grass too tall to walk through. she found some cotton seed pods along the edge of a field that were full of and covered with stink bugs. she looked at the pods and exclaimed "wook mama! dose bugs, dey eat dat food!" sometimes i am surprised by how quickly and intuitively she is learning about the world around her.

i think we will be making more little road trips like this in the future.

and since caught a few more pictures of this day that i like too much not to share...
































yeah, we'll be going back.

for sure.

how could we not?


joining in with the lovely jodi this week.





PEANUT-BUTTER AND THE MOON


she hates being woken from a good nap. but when she fights her nap until four in the afternoon, i am forced to wake her before six so that she will still be able to get to bed at a reasonable hour. i slowly open her door and peek at her cherub-like frame. i say her name softly a few times and stroke hair from near her eyes as she stirs. she fusses and blinks... she rolls away and rubs her eyes with her clenched fists. i tell her softly it is time to get up... she tries to doze off again, but she is unable to.. the spell has be broken, and she almost seems angry that i have awakened her. slowly she pulls herself up to sitting, and then looks at me and stretches her arms out to signal that she is ready to be picked up. i have learned to be patient and not force her to wake abruptly. instead, i wait at her bedside and watch her. i talk to her softly and when she is ready, i pick her up. sometimes she will snuggle and sometimes she already has a task that she has thought of, that she must attend to.. since she is awake you know.

today i carried her down to the kitchen where the oven was heating up for dinner. acorn squash for me, french fries for her. i sat her on the counter and observed her face. she still seemed upset about me waking her up. i knew what would resolve it: bread. a piece of bread, perhaps with a little butter, if she is in the mood , usually pacifies her moodiness and restores her spirits. i cut her a slice of bread i had baked this weekend... and she just looked at it. so i reached into the pantry and pulled out my jar of peanut-butter. my jar of peanut-butter has maple syrup mixed into it. i took a knife from the drawer and spread a bit on the bread, and once again offered it to her. she instead reached into the drawer, above which her feet dangled from the edge of the counter, and she pulled out a spoon. she dunked the spoon into the peanut-butter, then took her index finger and scooped a bit off the top edge of the spoon, and brought it to her mouth. "mmm-MMM-mmmm."

she reached the spoon towards my face. i smiled and partook. she again exclaimed, "mmm-MMM-mmm".

my grumpus was once again happy. she sat on the counter and pointed out the screen door. she talked to me about bugs, the dog next door, the stars and the moon. she didn't stop for a second, or mind a bit when i grabbed my camera to snap a few photos of her. 

i want to remember her like this always. the bead-headed, grumpy baby who can be cheered up with peanut-butter. the little girl in a t-shirt and training pants who loves to discuss bugs and dogs. my little one who is always looking for the moon.










have a lovely week friends.




PORTRAIT v. 41

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."


looking out the window, after her morning bath, basking in the morning sun. she is always checking the driveway for the dog who lives next door.



favorites from this week: this equally mischievous and delightful smile, and these simple but stunning portraits of three siblings.



joining in with sweet jodi.

BANANA!!!


 You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging. — Brené Brown


last week i took chloe to the playground. not one of our usual playgrounds, but one that is a bit further away, near a thrift shop i know of, and a starbucks with a drive-through window. when we have a free morning this makes for a perfect little trifecta of events. first the thrift, followed by the star bucks drive-thru, and then the park. i do like this park, and chloe does too. it is big, with many large trees, and therefore plenty of shade. there are a few play areas which range from baby-sized to pre-teenager sized. and then there is the swing situation: the swings are perched in pairs along the outskirts of the play areas, but not close to the entrance or exit, they are perfectly spaced and placed to allow lots of room to swing, but not so close as to interrupt the flow of the playground. this design is genius! i love not needing to worry as much about her running too close to the swings (at our local one i am the mom always running after her kid as she approaches the swings!). i love that the park is big enough to seem spacious but small enough to be able to see everything with one glance. there are even pavilions near by and benches sprinkled among the play areas. chlo can run from one area to the next with me following not too far behind.

it was a saturday, and there were some older kids at the park that day. as a parent, i used to worry about the older kids being too rough with chlo, but i have found that they are usually very gentle and might even baby her too much for her liking. i'm mostly watching that she is behaving, not being too rough, and playing nicely with the other children.  she loves to run with them, play with them, and be included, even if she doesn’t know what they are playing or how to play their games quite yet. i was swinging her when she noticed three boys, probably about age six, playing in the smallest play-area. they were running and jumping on and off the platforms not really chasing one another, but just running wildly. chlo continued to allow me to push her on the swing as we watched them… and then one screamed: “BANANA!!!!!”. 

then another, “BAAAA-NAAAA-NAAAA!”

and then finally the third one as well, and then all of them together “BAAA-NAAAA-NAAAAA!!!!!”

a smile rose from chloe’s face as she wiggled and looked at me “ i ged down, i ged down!” so i stopped the swing and helped her out. once she was free she immediately ran over to the screaming boys and i looked on. she jumped up and down, and screamed:

 “BAAAA-NAAAAA-NAAAAA!”

i giggled a little bit and watched on to see what would happen. the boys just looked at her, a bit taken back. she screamed it again, and again… as they looked at her and at one another, and then started to disperse from their little game. i smiled at chloe and she smiled back at me as the boys left. then she ran to the next play area with a slide.

i told christian about the little episode when i got home. he and i had a good laugh about it. chloe had understood what they were saying, and was so eager to join them. i imagine the excitement she must have felt at finding a group of rambunctious boys who appreciated bananas just as much as she did - how fun! christian asked if she was upset when they walked away, and i was happy to report that she didn’t seem too affected by their polite, but undeniable rejection of her attempt to join their play-group. i eluded to the playground being representative of the world we live in, and said something to the effect of hoping her spirit won’t be crushed by it's cruelty.

because we have all experienced, at some point, something like the playground in our own lives. wanting to be included, but being excluded for whatever reason. of wanting to belong and instead being rejected. of going out on a limb to be noticed, of trying to connect with someone, or a group of someones and not making the cut or being ignored. whether it be on the playground, in middle-school or high-school, when sending out college applications, falling in love, asking someone out, asking for a raise or promotion, creating an internet dating profile, letting an estranged family member or friend know you are still thinking about them…. we have all set ourselves up for rejection at some point.
this week i downloaded a bunch of TEDtalks to my iphone before taking a short, but solo drive while christian and chloe stayed home. i am very impressionable when i am alone, and so each one i listened to really sat with me while i drove in the otherwise silent car. i let the words sink in as i made my way down the highway. i came to the conclusion that i must eat less meat, be more compassionate… and not be afraid of being vulnerable, and to teach and allow chloe to be vulnerable too (as well as that i am extremely impressionable!). if you have a few minutes i urge you to listen to the episode featuring Brené Brown, entitled, “the power of vulnerability”.  the episode brought me back to the week before when my little one had so fearlessly joined the group of children and tried to become one of them. the thought that vulnerability, often thought of as being a weakness, is actually a courageous act... and i couldn't help but to think about those events when listening to brené talk, and i ruminated on her words...

little does chloe know that this desire to belong with others will stay with her, to some degree, for the rest of her life. that she will repeatedly be faced with situations where she can keep to herself, stand back, and allow life to continue in front of her, or she can take a step, be the first to speak, say hello, show kindness, ask a question, tell someone how she feels.. and know that it might not be accepted every time, but to do it anyway and to expect that it will. i want her to grow up expecting that those who she reaches out to will in return reach out to her. i want her to feel that she belongs, that she has a right to belong, even if someone may try to tell her otherwise. i want her to be comfortable being herself, because she likes herself.

not that she won’t realize she has her flaws, not that she will be disillusioned and believe she is perfect - i don’t want that for her. i want her to be aware of these things, and to still believe that who she is, is good enough. and not just good enough, but is really good. that she doesn’t need to hide who she is, or change what she looks like, talks like, or acts like, in order to be liked. i hope that in teaching her this, that she also grows up knowing that she doesn’t need to change anyone else - that she can like them, love them, for being them. that she can take risks, that she can put herself out there, that it is good to be vulnerable. 

and for me to raise her this way means not trying to make her any “better” than she is, but loving all of who she is… allowing myself to be vulnerable and knowing there will be times when my love is not met with acceptance. it means placing my emphasis not on what she can do, but on who she is. yes, i will be proud of her ability to play piano, read aloud, ride a bicycle, play soccer, and whatever else she might do, but my work is in making sure she knows she is not loved for these things, but that she is loved for being herself - flaws and all… and hoping she is never afraid to show that to the rest of the world.

i think that is what the world needs - more people who know who they are, who know they are loved... and who are then capable of seeing others for who they are and loving them. 

oh, to be one of those people, and to raise more of them...







POTTY-TALK


just to be clear, that is an apple on the floor up above, and i am not writing about potty training because i know a good deal about it, in fact, i am writing about it for the exact opposite reason - we are horrible at it over here!

earlier this summer i wrote about how we were trying to, but it just wasn't going too well... so we held off for a bit. it was clear that chloe had no interest and was much more excited about, well, about anything else other than the potty. when i would mention it to her she would quickly change the topic ("a bug? a bug! wook, a truck and a bug!). i couldn't even bribe her with small treats, and the big kid underwear was not sufficient enticement. in fact she would demand the treats, make me believe she was going to sit on the little plastic chair, and then trick me and refuse to use the toilet! she has been brought into the bathroom with me since she was an infant and could be trapped - i mean, seated in the bumbo seat. she understands that people do go potty, on the potty, but she just was not into it. and because she is only a bit over two, and it's not like she is going off to college anytime soon, i figured we would try again another time.

well, we would try again a couple weeks later, and then again a couple weeks later. she never would go on the potty, and when i would talk to her about the accident it looked as though i were smashing a bit of her soul every time. she would "uh-oh" and give me a look as though she was going to break into tears at any second, and i just couldn't bear to make her go day after day like that. so we would instead do half-day potty training.

half-day potty training was an idea i got from a parenting website (don't remember which one, sorry!). it allowed us time to potty train, either before nap, or after nap, and have fun, run errands, and relax the rest of the day. since neither of us like to be cooped up for entire days at a time (i get cabin-fever very very easily and she enjoys getting outside and going to the park), this arrangement worked well. except, she never actually went on the potty. but at least i didn't need to make her feel like a failure all day long - so i considered it not quite a win, but not a loss either. 

until recently when chloe decided she was no longer going to wear a diaper... but didn't decide she was going to use the potty either. primarily this happened when she was in her bed. she would go to bed wearing a diaper and some pajamas or a pair of underpants on top of her diaper as well as a t-shirt, but when we would get her up in the morning we would find her naked and soaked. same thing during nap time. and eventually she started taking off the diaper around the house... sometimes having an accident as well.

i guess this is her way of telling us she is ready. for the past couple days we have been doing all day potty training, only putting on the diaper (which continues to be a futile maneuver) during nap-time and bed-time. we have had a couple successful potty trips (yay!) and some incidents. we like to start the day by attempting to use the potty, and then i set a timer and every half hour i will try to make her sit on the potty for a few minutes. if i notice she is a bit antsy then i will encourage her to try. we reward her with small treats.. a lolly usually, and we cheer for her. often during the day i make "potty-forts", or "castles" as she likes to call them, and stock them with books, toys, and a potty, to entice her.

the hardest part has been staying inside all day long instead of going to the park/playground or running errands, but it has led to saving some money that i probably don't need to spend, and working on stuff for the little shop


i know everyone says that it is better to potty train in the summer when you can let them run around without much clothing on, but cold and rainy days (which are in our forecast this week!) seem to be perfect for this around here, and this summer was perfect for a lot of outdoor fun where we couldn't be bothered with staying in for the potty. also, i have heard of parents (and recently met one) who started potty training very young... under a year young. i never thought it made much sense to start that early (i imagined following a naked and barely-toddling child around the house with a plastic toilet and i wasn't into the idea). however, now it is making sense to me - the earlier you get them to understand using a toilet instead of in a diaper, the better. it took a while for us to get chloe to understand it, and maybe doing this would have helped - just as long as you aren't expecting them to learn it overnight. 

so, if you don't see us at the playground and if you notice a few new items popping up in my shop - it's because we have barricaded ourselves in the house with a bunch of lolly-pops and toddler training pants, and i am doing four loads of laundry a day and scrubbing carpet every half an hour!











she will be potty-trained before college.

right?






PORTRAIT v. 40

"a portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013."



chloe : running with a plastic bug in one hand and a balloon in the other, sans clothing by her own choosing, escaping from her papa's snuggles.



this week i smiled at these portraits of these two children- also shirtless and happy, just like my chlo. i admired the concentration and light on the faces of these two misses.



joining in with lovely jodi this week.





JUST BECAUSE....

some random photos from around my little house, because my blog has been neglected, because my husband generously gifted me a new camera lens and it was begging to be played with... a few photos from around our home.





and because while i was editing these, i came across this... and i just couldn't resist.




hope you are having a great week!





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