Monday, August 31, 2009

"I'm going to drug you..."

Iz was a little over a week old. Craig had gone back to work and it was just me and her. I had family and friends coming by to see the both of us so I wasn't without company. But, I felt so alone, so upset, and so absolutely awful for the feelings I had. If someone asks me, I'm pretty honest about the fact that I had a bad case of Baby Blues after Isabelle was born. I would have fits of uncontrollable crying and major feelings of inadequacy.

I remember sitting with Izzy at night while she was up again for a feeding and getting angry at her. Anger - at a baby that was less than 2 weeks old. How awful?!? Anger mainly because this little creature made me feel absolutely inadquate at a job that I was supposed to have been created for.

Motherhood. I was Mommy. I was supposed to know her cries, her needs, know how to make her happy and stop the tears. I was supposed to be her hero and save the day!

But I couldn't. I couldn't stop the tears, couldn't ignore the frustration and anger that bubbled inside me as this little creature cried and cried and cried. I hadn't dropped a deuce (sorry...) in over a week, I had to cut out tons of stuff from my diet since I was breastfeeding, everytime I would look to Craig for a moment of respite - her crying would start.

There was even a moment where I felt regret for having her. Now that sounds awful...but the regret I felt was more so the fact that I think God had made a mistake giving me this responsibility. I was pretty convinced that God didn't wire me to be a mom. Regret that I had brought in this innocent child and I couldn't care for her. Regret that no matter how much I said I loved her, there were moments after another sleepless night that I wondered if I could really - like really - be her mom.

I'd have nights and days of feeling like this...All this work an no reward..that's how it felt...ONE and DONE - no more kids for Craig and just wasn't worth it...

Then around 6 weeks...

She smiled. She smiled when she heard my voice and it wasn't gas! She smiled when Craig would come home. We started to get a routine. We had become a team - I knew her next move and I'd take care of her needs. I started to know her - not just the sweet contures of her face - but know her cries, knew what would get a smile out of her, knew when she was sleepy, hungry...

Fast forward to today. She laughed. A true belly laugh. A giggle that brought tears to my eyes and I know made the heavens rejoice - it was that pure - that fantastic.

We put up her Pack n' Play that was set up in our living room. We would put her in there during the day for naps. The bassinette where my sweet baby spent her first 4 weeks are about to find a new home in the attic. A storage bin is filling up much too quickly with clothes she's outgrown.

Now - it seems like she's a little bit of work and SO much reward. I feel sad for Craig who only gets a couple of hours with his baby girl. He gets home and only gets a few moments of greatness while I get all day to sing songs, giggle, and love on our Izzy.

He admitted to me that he was pretty sad that we were putting up the Pack N' Play and the bassinette. He confided that he couldn't believe how fast time has gone since she was born and how it felt like yesterday that we brought her home. He even admitted that before we know it - we'll be dropping her off for her first day of Kindergarten and how sad he'll be.

I honestly didn't think he felt that way. He's pretty even keel and pretty sensible but his daughter has changed him in ways I didnt' know were possible. Of course I started crying (and didn't stop for the most the night) - and I told him that I was going to be a mess on her first day of school...

That's when he grabbed my hand, squeezed it and said "I know...I'm prepared for it - and I'm going to drug you. Give you Valium to calm you down."

Aw..thanks honey...that's the nicest thing you've ever said to me.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Rite of Passage - Back Seat Cryer

Now that I'm 2 months into this motherhood thing, I've realized there are certain experiences that only mothers of infants can go through. I'm calling these instances "Rites of Passage" because once you've gone through them - you're almost solidified - almost initiated - into the Motherhood Sorority.

The first Rite of Passage was the debacle of trying to get ready with a newborn.

The latest Rite of Passage Izzy has put me through is the Back Seat Cryer.

Izzy is normally pretty good in the car seat. Once, we get moving, she's out and will sleep until we get to our destination.

But, when the trip is particularly long or she's just not having it - boy oh boy....

We've had 2 back seat crying experiences - the first on the way to see Christi all the way in Little Elm (over an hour away from me) and the second was today after Stroller Strides.

Both ended in tears...for Izzy and for me...

We're driving along happily and the fussing starts. The fussing that simply sounds like she's unhappy and wants out of the car. Those little sounds are easily ignored. I figure once I hit the highway and go faster - "I like to go fast!" (A little shout out to my "Talledega Night" fans...sorry - I digress...) - her whimpers will subside.

{insert evil laugh here}


All of a sudden, the fussing turns to cries, the cries turn wail and the wails turn to silence - silence because she's having to take gulps of air between her angry cries....crap...

I check back and look in the mirror and see her little face red as a beet. I see her arms flailing and legs kicking. I can't even see the whites of her eyes because her eyes are closed so tight and tears are streaming down her face. Her sweet, beautiful mouth is now emitting the worst sound ever - the sound of complete and utter unhappiness....

So - I'm super mom, right? I'm gonna fix this even if I am driving down I-20 with 18 wheelers on either side of me, motorcycle maniacs weaving in and out of traffic, and invincible teenagers in their SUV's talking and texting on their cell phones...

I start on the loudest version of the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" - her favorite song that I know will get a smile. I figure the louder I sing it the better my chances are it'll drown out her cries.

Operation "Itsy Bitsy Spider" = FAIL

Ok - plan B. The noise stopper - erm - pacifier is in her car seat! I'll just reach back there, feel for her binky and pop it into her mouth (umm...yes I AM still on the highway....don't even start with me...). I reach back and feel around but all I feel is her tear stained face and arms flapping. Now I've made her more angry...she can feel my hands and I'm pretty sure Iz thinks I'm getting ready to get her out of the car seat.

Operation Binky = FAIL

Alright, this is silly. I'll just talk to her. I start to tell her, "Oh Bug, we'll be home soon. Ten more minutes (really it's 20 - but come on - she's 2 months old). Calm down! You're fine!!"




I'm trying to reason with my 2 month old. She doesn't even know those are words coming out of my mouth...

Operation Reason with my 2 month Old = FAIL

Ok - my only option., drive as fast as I can. Go 80 MPH til I exit then go 50 MPH til I reach home. I start to pray. Not for a safe arrival home - but for a cop who will show mercy on me once I get pulled over for going 90 MPH in a school zone.

I start to think of the scenarios once said cop pulls me over...

- If it's a female - I pray she's a mom - and once she hears my sweet Izzy's crying - she'll give me a knowing look, just wave me a long...heck ...maybe she'll even escort me home..

- If it's a male- I'll start with tears, point to my Izzy and beg and plead with him while repeatedly saying, "I'm so sorry...I'm a first time mom...I don't know what's wrong with her!" Then he'll take pity on me, maybe call CPS, and let me go....

Either one...I'm ready...

At this point, I know the only thing I can do is get home as fast as I can. I turn the radio up to drown out her cries, take a peek back every now and then and see to make sure my Angry Izzy is still kicking and screaming (hey - that means she's still breathing...that's important you know - oxygen and all...), and just drive...

By the time I get home, she's exhausted. I'm exhausted. I pull into the garage, hurry up and open the back door, look at Izzy - and there it is - my little Angel with her tear stained face - tired from crying - but flashing me the biggest, gummy grin that would melt Voldemort's heart.

SEE...I'm her hero...all is right in the world...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

3rd wheel

That's what I feel like these days. It's not really on purpose - and I think a lot of it is in my head.

A 3rd wheel in conversations that aren't with other mothers.

Last night Craig and I went to dinner for his job. He gets schmoozed by agents for all over the nation and when they come to Dallas, they take him and other people from his job out to nice dinners. The best thing is - spouses get to go! WOO HOO - date night - AND it's free - SCORE!!!

I was super excited. I started getting ready at 12:30PM. I showered while Izzy was taking nap #1. Then at nap #2 at 2:30 - I dried my hair. At nap #3 at 4:30 - I got dressed and finished my makeup. Then we were out the door to my parent's house at 5:30 and I was on my way to Dallas for dinner!

We walked into Perry's (PHENOMENAL place to eat!!!) and were greeted by our hosts and Craig's colleagues. The perfunctory "hello's" and "how's the baby doing" came and went and then...I sat in silence sipping on my water. Now....everyone was super nice and great...

Craig talked to me of course. But he had to talk business somewhat too.

I don't know what it is. I am proud and I mean PROUD to be a stay at home mom. I know it's the most difficult job on the planet and quite frankly - one of the most important. I've just been blessed to be able to stay at home full time and I love it, am good at it, and love that this is my new station in life.

I've never felt so proud of my job yet felt so inadequate about it at the same time. When I say I stay at home - it's almost like the person I'm talking to gets a signal in their brain saying "Welp - guess she can't give me any contacts, help me score another account, or have anything to talk about that I want to hear." I see their eyes glaze over as I rave about Izzy's first smile and her latest party trick - talking and squealing.

It's a new world out there. I'm not in the working arena but yet I do all the finances for my home, run a household, multi-task like a mofo, teach my daughter something new everyday, and nurture her soul with scripture and prayer. Yet....

I feel like people look at me and don't think I can carry on a conversation. They act like what I do just isn't as important as someone who works in the corporate world.
And you know what? They're wrong...let me prove it to you.

Conversation topics that I'm well versed in:

#1 - Current events - Did Ed really cheat on Jillian? Why can't Jen catch a break and get a man already? Do you think Sookie will fall for Eric or stay with Bill?

#2 - Healthcare - Did you know that a layer of Boudreaux's Butt Paste and Vaseline works wonders on diaper rash? If Iz nurses for at least 6 minutes - on one side - she'll get the benefits of my hind mind rather than if she dined and dashed for a mere 1 minute.

#3 - Geography - It takes 7 minutes to get to my house to Target. That means if Izzy takes a 30 minute nap - I have 16 minutes to shop and get her home before she starts to wail.

#4 - The Arts - The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Head Shoulders Knees and Toes are THE latest hits in the Hounsel Household.

#5 - Finances - You can get a box of Costco brand diapers for a fraction of the price of brand name diapers AND they're made from the same manufacturer as Huggies...what a bargain!

Maybe it's all in my head and the other people really don't see my conversation skills as subpar. It's going to take some time before I feel that way - but one things for sure - I wouldn't trade my day and night job for the world!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I have nothing to wear

and a closet full of clothes.

I'm working on getting back into shape. And I mean WORKING!

It's hard to fit in 3 hours of work outs a day with a baby.


THREE hours a DAY????? I'm crazy right?

Well, when I was in medical school - I would work out 3 hours a day to burn off some steam...OK - I'm lying - I'd skip class and go to the gym. But, I'd take notes with it kind of counted as studying...

Anyhoo...I was in phenomenal shape. Like bow-chica-bow-wow...

I'd look in the mirror and give myself a wolf whistle ;-)

Really though- I was in great shape and I bought clothes to fit my new form and threw out ALL of my bigger clothes.

Well - pregnancy has done it's job and changed my body. I'm really only 5 lbs from a healthy weight - but nothing fits right. My hips are milk makers are working overtime so they're spilling over everything.....and my tummy - looks like jello. My weight on the scale doesn't phase's more so how much my shape has drastically changed.

Now - I'm not complaining...yes I guess I am. But, I love that I have Izzy. I love that I have these new curves...but I need clothes to wear. I can't be expected to prance around town in workout shorts, nursing tanks and t-shirts all day and night!

I've decided that once I lose the last 10 lbs - I'll re-evaluate my wardrobe situation and see if I need to buy anything. Because I'm frugal - CHEAP even - and refuse to buy anything new. I'll just squeeze myself into my jeans and get lots of flowy tops until then....just have to figure out how I'm going to breathe while I'm wearing those jeans...

Oh well...time to suck it up and suck it in!

**this rant brought to you by the fact that Craig has a work dinner that I'm attending and realized I couldn't wear a Tech t-shirt and soft shorts to dinner...I found a shirt and will SQUEEZE myself into a pair of to follow - we have to get this debacle on film**

Monday, August 24, 2009

Happy times...

The past few weeks we've had a great time with friends and family.
We love hanging with family and watching my nieces and nephew ooh and ahh over Izzy. It's crazy how it seems I was holding Garrett in my arms...and now my nephew is almost 8 years old!!!

Tita Candice came from Lubbock to see Iz!

Garrett, Tita Candice and Izzy's Tatay

Maddie loves Iz!

Garrett loves Izzy, too!!

Cousin Kara - she's 4 months older than Izzy...Iz decided to show Kara how to accessorize and share her hairbows!

We had the chance to meet one Izzy's boyfriends. Christi - my best friend from college - had Caden August 5th after over 27 hours of labor! He's such a cutie and I only wish we lived closer to each other so we could spend more time together.

Caden Wayne! What a cutie!

Last weekend my best friend Stacy and Izzy's best friend (I'm forcing - erm - encouraging this friendship) Charleigh came over to my parent's house. We ate tons of food, played, swam and hung out! Stacy's daughter is such a cutie and I only hope that her and Iz are as good of friends as Stacy and I are! cute!

Showing Izzy how to eat a watermelon the right way!

Friday, August 21, 2009

So it's not all about me...

I've talked a lot about motherhood and how it's affected me. You've read and read about the trials, the fears, and moments of bliss....but I don't think it's fair for me to take all the credit on why Isabelle is as perfect as she is ;-)

Craig has slowly become the Dad I knew he could be.

I say slowly because I really believe it takes men a little bit of time to really bond with their child. Now, I'm not saying there aren't guys out there to who take to fatherhood immediately, but with mamas and babies - we spend a majority of our time with these little ones in the beginning - so our ability to bond with them is almost inevitable.

Craig would get frustrated when he couldn't soothe her at first. He had a hard time when she would wail and wail and couldn't get our little love bug to stop crying. But...he never gave up. When she would cry and it had been awhile - my first reaction was to reach out my arms to her and "help" him. But, he would turn his back to me and say "No, I need to do this. I need to learn how to calm her down."

And within a few minutes - she would calm down.

I think it's our first instinct as mother's to immediately rush in and "fix" the problem. We want to soothe le bebe as quickly as possible. But, I think we need to remember that it's just as important for our little ones to get to know their Daddy's arms, Daddy's hold, Daddy's voice, and Daddy's hugs.

Craig has been to every doctor's appointment she has had. He even surprised us at her 2 month visit. He didn't think he could make her appointment since it was early in the afternoon - but just as the doctor was starting her exam - in walks Daddy and Isabelle's head turned to the sound of his voice and she flashed her gummy smile!

As I deal with the difficulties of transitioning to being a stay at home mom for at least a few months, Craig is dealing with the responsibilities of sole provider. What a huge undertaking! He sometimes uses his free nights and some weekend hours while Iz is asleep and I'm doing my own thing - to work. He has taken on this responsibility and I am so grateful and so proud of my husband.

Now that Isabelle is more engaged, she is slowly starting to steal his heart! When Craig gets home, he gives me a kiss hello and say's hello to his sweet daughter. The moment she flashes her grin - he's hooked. And sometimes, I catch him and her "talking" and having their own private moments.

I can only hope and pray she realizes how much he loves her and finds a husband someday that is a fraction of the man Craig is.

I never knew I'd be so happy and elated to share his heart with another...but Iz has nuzzled her way into her Daddy's heart...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

He even humored me by letting me put on these dang bows!

Baby Bjorn = FAIL!

all his girls

becoming a natural at this!

If this doesn't melt your're a machine.

Stolen Moments...perfect

Craig's little Gunner

That's it....he's hooked!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It's a Wonderful Life!

Who's tired of hearing about Isabelle?

Well - if you're reading this blog - she's pretty much what I'll be writing about. I'm pretty consumed by her and love that my life is all about Iz.

She turned 2 months old on the 19th. We went to the doctor and had a great visit.

Stats: 10 lbs 13 oz - 10th percentile
23 inches long - 75th percentile

So, we still have a long, skinny baby! But, she's growing and that's all the matters.

Iz and I have joined Stroller Strides in Arlington and LOVE it! At least 6 days a week, I know I get to get out of the house, work out and hang with my daughter. We sing songs to our kiddos, walk/run, and do some resistance training. I was weary at first - thinking - "I don't want to walk around and push a stroller for a work out" but it really is a great work out! Plus, I get to talk and hang out with other moms. I've also joined a Mommy group...I haven't done anything with them yet but have my first Mom's Night Out on the 3rd!

I realize now that I really, really, really, love being a stay at home mom. Don't get me wrong, there are days that I look at the clock and watch the minute hand move at a snail's pace until Craig gets home but then there are days where Iz and I have a full day and it feels like we just woke up! I didn't realize how much work it is. My day's start at least an hour before Iz wakes up. It gives me some time to read my Bible and get a plan of attack for the day.

I try to pick up the house a bit or start laundry, I wait for Iz to wake up, I nurse her, change her, and then we're out the door to Stroller Strides.

We leave Stroller Strides and I get home. Nurse and change her when we get home. I try to get a bite of lunch if I'm lucky and then try to get her to nap.

I clean up a little (if Iz is asleep), figure out what's for dinner, do some work (I'm working a little from home - paper work stuff - boring stuff - but getting PAID stuff), maybe run some errands if we need to get out.

Wait for Iz to wake up from her nap, feed her, nurse her, tummy time, song time then maybe back for anothe nap before Craig gets home.

By this time, Craig is normally home - and let's be real here - probably the only things that got done were me feeding and changing Iz. I'm lucky if I get to pick up and clean, get some work done, and get something thawed out for dinner.

My days can be monotonous. It may sound boring to many but it's a full packed day. I wouldn't trade my days of spit up, diapers, and silly songs for the world.

It's a wonderful life...and I'm so glad it's mine!

Isabelle in the morning...still not happy and still running a fever after her shots...but I HAD to take a pic with her sign!

There's my happy girl!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Me vs. F.T.

I didn't know I would love my daughter so much. I didn't think having a girl would change my world. I didn't think that I'd look into her eyes see so much of Craig and fall deeper in love with the man in my life.

Father Time (F.T.) has not been kind to me. He's decided that he's in absolute great health and run a triathalon all over the time with my daughter. He's been a speed demon - making sure that each day passes as I blink and force me to look at Izzy every morning with amazed eyes at the change she goes through every night as she slumbers.

**I shake my fist at you Old Man!!!**

I've realized that I love my little little Izzy. Yes, I know - don't get all preachy on me - I know she's only 2 months old (huh - when did 2 months pass??) - but I love her this little. I love her needing me for everything. I love her sweet little whimpers in the middle of the night so I can rush to her to nurse. I love her sweet sighs as she nurses and watching her little hands wrap around my fingers as we share our special time in the middle of the night.

I love holding up her onesies as I fold them during laundry days and realize I get to love something that small. I love gummy smiles. I love watching her arms and legs flail out as she does her best impersonation of a star fish (doctors call it the "startle" reflex...I think it was God's way of making babies even cuter).

So - yeah - I want to keep her this small. I'm not ready to surrender her over to the days and let Father Time take more minutes and hours from me. I know it's her job to grow - I know it's what she's supposed to do. I know that she's supposed to reach her milestones - smile, laugh, hold her head up, sleep through the night.



BUT!! That' means that my bitty baby will be a toddler before I realize it. That means that I'll be sending my baby girl to her first day of school - pigtails and lunch box in tow - before I come to terms that time doesn't stand still just because I beg and plead (through tears - mind you) for it to. But I want to keep her this small for just Craig and me to love as our little baby girl for as long as possible.


I can't win.

Her cries are different. We have a routine. She slept through the night for the first time last night. She is smiling and laughing and making her Mama tear up every time she flashes her gummy cuteness. She's working out her bitty arms and neck and holding up her perfect little head. She's outgrown her newborn and some 0-3 month onesies. We spend so much time chatting and singing songs. She is starting to love us back! She has long legs now extend past the length of her Boppy. She's a big girl....and it's only been 2 months.

So now - I just try my best to savor each moment. Even her red faced tantrums and her angry fits. It's the seconds and minutes that roll over into hours and days - that I can't stop. I'll eventually come to terms with it - but for now - I'll just enjoy watching my little Izzy and loving my best girl for the little miracle that she is!

"Lady...I'm supposed to grow!" - Izzy

Trying to figure out of she needs a Facebook page.

So strong! What a big girl!

She's wearing her "Skull and Cross Bones Don't Mess with Me" Hairbow

Daddy is soooo strong!

Cutie patootie in her baby suit :-)

This baby rules.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I am THAT girl

I guess I should say "woman" - THAT woman...

**I honestly don't see myself as a woman. A woman is someone who's in her 30s...uh oh...guess I'm gonna be a woman very, very soon ;-) **

I never thought I would be. I even made a vow with myself long ago in my 20s when I would run into women like me.

You know the kind...

The kind of woman that's a new mom and she has diarrhea of the mouth when it comes to her baby.

The kind of woman that divulges intimate details about breastfeeding to the sad schmuck that just happens to sit next to her.

The kind of woman that forces the unsuspecting stranger to look at picture after picture of her new baby on her cell phone...swearing that each picture is different (when in reality - babies only have one expression).

I had this epiphany yesterday as I was volunteering for my mom's health fair. I found myself forcing - erm - sharing details about my new station in life - to ANYONE who'd listen.


The new sorority I've joined. The sisterhood of women everywhere with stories similar to my own. Challenges like trying to shower with with a new baby, triumphs like getting that new baby to sleep more than 4 hours in the night, and women who share the badge of exhaustion we carry proudly underneath our eyes.

I realize now that those women I would smile at in my 20s and allow my eyes to glaze over as they droned on and on about their little ones were just completely and utterly consumed with their baby. It's not intentional. It just happens. I spend close to 24 hours with Isabelle - take out bathroom breaks (which this deserves a post all to partum poopage) and sleep - and pretty much my day and nights revolve around her.

I didn't think I'd feel so different - be so different - and be so incredibly happy with the person I am today. I love that Izzy has made me into a mother, filled my days with her and provided me with stories to share with everyone and anyone that listen!

What a blessing!

 Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker