Monday, March 25, 2013

From Bacon...Road Trippin'

It's less than a week until the Bacons and the Ketchups are ALL together...for the first time EVER!!!!!!! (The Ketchup littles have yet to meet my littlest.)

Saturday, March 30th, Hubs and I will load up the 2 year old and 8 month old and start the 1300+ mile drive to the 'Ho (Idaho.)

It's an understatement to say I'm nervous. Scared? More accurate. Terrified? There ya go!!!

We're splitting the trip into four days (6ish hours driving a day) to break it up into more manageable bits.

Anyone have any hints or tips for a car trip with a busy toddler?

And stay tuned for loads of posts and Instagrams of all the fun the Deannas and families will be having!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

From Ketchup…The House Hunt

The hubs and I have been married for nearly 10 years. And for about as long as I can remember, long before the hubs even, I’ve wanted my own house.
We learned very early on in our marriage that we could make a home anywhere. The hubs enlisted in the Marines a year into our marriage and we spent the next 4 years in Oceanside. After the Marines we moved to the OC and from there to Idaho where we currently live.
We’ve moved 8 times in the 10 years we’ve been married. So I’d say we’ve become somewhat of professional movers and let’s be honest. I’m sick and tired of it! I think I pretty much hate moving more then anything else in the whole world…and no that’s not dramatic at all!
Well I’m excited to announce we are officially on the hunt for our very first home! Squeeeeeeeeee!!! I can’t even explain the excitement this brings me. I know owning a home is a lot of work and I’m not dilusional enough to think it’s all going to be rainbows and butterflies but to have a place we call home that is truly ours and not some rent collectors sounds utterly dreamy!
And guess what?? I can paint the walls whatever flipping color I want and...and...I can buy a fridge! A nice fantastic fridge! I know…I’m crazy. Woohoo!!! I might have an appliance envy issue.
So we found a pretty fantastic little home with an amazingly huge lot in a great neighborhood. Of course it needs some work but the floor plan is awesomely perfect for our little family. We put our very first-ever-offer in late last night and now we wait. The seller has until tonight at 7pm to accept, reject or counter. And just by the way this waiting business SUCKS! It’s all a little surreal, considering I feel like this is the longest coming part of our ‘master plan’! I’ve got all fingers, toes and eyes crossed.
But now we wait…and I begin the search for the perfect fridge…french door, freezer on top, freezer on bottom, side-by-side oh my! Frigidaire, GE, Kenmore, KitchenAid, LG, Samsung, Whirlpool, and more! Any suggestions??

Friday, March 15, 2013

From Ketchup…Messy, Tragic, Confusing and Dumb

So I’ve been MIA from the blog for some time now. Faaaarrrr too long…
There are many little reasons why but one HUGE one. I felt like I really couldn’t write about anything until I took the time to write THIS post.
It’s not going to be pretty but it needs to be…to be written. I need to get it out, just put it out there and be done.
So on with it! First…a little history… My biological mother suffered from alcoholism, chronic drug use, and mental health issues for most of my life. I haven’t had a real relationship with her since I was twelve. It was a messy childhood but my Dad and stepmom (who I call Mom…because basically she’s been the only ‘real’ mom any girl could ever have) did an ok job, at least I’d like to think so…I turned out pretty good. Right?
So my full sister and I pretty much shut her out of our lives. It was just easier that way. Every time we tried to let her back in our lives she’d relapse and it’d be a hot mess disaster again.  She was in and out of jail, mental hospitals, rehabs, you name it she tried it. Our little hearts couldn’t handle it. Well, because we weren’t allowing her to be apart of our lives we sacrificed getting to spend time with our other two half sisters and the rest of our family members from that side. They all gave us our space and we periodically met up at graduations and special events without any real consistency.
When I had my boys, especially Hunter I felt like my wall with her went up even further. I desperately wanted to protect them from all things. Especially, the unknown. I didn’t even tell my bio mom that I was pregnant for fear that she would just show up at the hospital while I was giving birth. I know to some this may sound ridiculous and heartless. But this was the only way I knew I could protect my family. Although I do believe she had good intentions she was erratic and unpredictable.
On the flipside I always wished there was some way we could connect but I was afraid. Afraid for my family and afraid for my own heart. I truly hated that I couldn’t share my life and family with her. It would eat me up if I dwelled to long on it but I knew ultimately it was a sacrifice that I had no choice but to make.
When Hunter got sick I reached out to her for blood samples. We have been trying to do genetic sequencing for all the immediate family members to see if we could get some answers and find a link. She graciously helped when she could. We started talking more regularly, every couple of months…a tiny window of communication had begun. Our conversations weren’t very long but it was a beginning. Another beginning…one of many we’d had in the past…but I was holding out hope. Maybe things could be different.
She was well, had a part time job, and was on meds that seemed to be working. But as anyone who knows someone that suffers from an addiction it’s a rocky road.
So on December 12th I received a phone call from her. She wanted our new address so she could send the boys Christmas presents. We had a pretty easy conversation and then she told me that she had been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. It had grown very quickly and had spread. She was currently undergoing chemo and was nearly done with her round of treatments. She said the cancer was responding well to the chemo and the docs were hoping that they wouldn’t have to operate at all. She said “don’t worry, I’ll be around to meet those grandbabies of mine one of these days.” And then she chuckled in that crazy raspy cackle.
I was completely blown away by her news. Utterly shocked…I didn’t believe her. The woman has lied so many times and as much as I was heartbroken for her I was skeptical. I immediately called my other two sisters and my ex-step dad (is that a thing?) and left messages. I wanted to confirm the information I had just heard.
I decided not to tell any of my immediate family members. I didn’t want to tell my sister or my parents until I knew the news was true, especially so close to the holidays. I finally got a FB response from one of my sisters, 4 days later, that confirmed the news and said the best person for me to talk with was my Aunt, as she had been going to the doc visits with my bio mom. My sis said she’d pass along my phone number to my Aunt so she could call and give me all the details. I wanted to know if the type of cancer she had was a type that had the genetic link. My bio mom had all girls (4 of us) and there was also all her own sisters. I thought it was an important question to have answered.
On Christmas Eve, around 1pm, I was taking a shower and I heard my phone ring. It went to voicemail. I saw that my Aunt had called and left a message. I finished getting ready. We were due to be at my parent’s house for dinner at 5. After I finished getting ready I listened to my voicemail and called my Aunt back. This was the first time I had talked to my Aunt in at least 12 years. And then she said, “Deanna, I hate to be the one to have to tell you this and especially on this day but your mother has passed away.”
Silence…I nearly dropped the phone. I just stood there, I didn’t know what to say. Then the tears fell. 
She explained to me that my mother hadn’t died from cancer…which was my immediate thought. Like so many times before, no one had heard from her for a little over a week. So they went to check on her and found her dead. It appeared that she had hit her head and had bled out. The medication she was on for the cancer had thinned her blood and escalated the process. And she was drinking, there was an open bottle of vodka on the counter…dammit!!!!
After speaking with my Aunt I hung up the phone and told my husband. We decided not to tell the rest of my family until after Christmas. We didn’t want to ruin anyone else’s holiday and I knew telling them at that point wouldn’t change anything, so I decided to wait. I went to my sister’s house the following Wednesday after she returned from vacay and told her and then told my parents on Thursday. 
Because there was some uncertainty on the cause of death, and to rule out any foul play, the city of LA performed an autopsy. The coroner determined it was blunt force trauma to the head and overall poor health that was the cause of her death. They believe her death occurred on December 13th, the day after we last spoke. If I’m truly honest then I’d confess that I fear she was drinking that day because she was overwhelmed by the fact that Christmas was rapidly approaching and she was dealing with sorrow and regret for how things were and how me having those feelings of guilt are sometimes completely and utterly overwhelming. I wish so desperately that things could have been different. Better. But I also know in my heart that they couldn’t haven’t been. It’s a tough place to be emotionally. And I’m still working through it. Honestly I may always be.
So my mother is dead. Well the person that grew me in her belly and brought me into the world is gone. All that just to get to this point. I’ve been dealing with a huge mixture of emotions and much like our relationship has been over the past 30 years it comes in waves. I also have a huge sense of relief. I’ve struggled over the past few months to try and feel O-K about feeling that way. She no longer has to suffer and even through all the ups and downs I do believe she found the Lord. I pray that she has found peace. True, real, warm peace and that gives me comfort. She lived a very, very hard life, I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it was for her. I have regret for not having a better relationship with her and especially for never giving her the chance to get to know her grandchildren. But, it’s over now. No more second guessing. I can not change the way things ended.
More then anything I needed to get this all out. I’ve been dreading it. Reliving it all over again, but I know for me I need to. This is why we started this blog. Life isn’t always pretty. It’s messy and tragic and confusing and dumb.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

From Bacon...Sleep H-e-l-l Progress

It's been a while since I last reached out for HELP regarding the sleep hell we were in with Gavin.

Initially, I was digging deep to be a hard a$$ and make him sleep in his own bed. Most times, he would fall asleep on the couch and we would gently move him to the toddler bed in his room. Then, he'd wake up 3-5 times a night. The first few times we'd put him back in the bed and sit next to him until he fell back asleep. Around 3am, we were too tired and would just scoop him up into our bed.

Napping like a king in mom and dad's bed
This turned into just letting him sleep in our bed. The hubs is gone two sleeps at a time for work and it was easier for me to just leave him in bed with me rather than run back and forth all while trying not to wake Madden, who was also in our room (in the pack and play.)

The old nightly routine when the hubs was home
Co-sleeping wasn't that bad. G slept right near/on his daddy and I barely realized he was there (until he'd wake up during the wee hours begging to watch Skrek!) Eventually, I just started to feel like G was running our lives. He would watch tv in our bed until falling asleep and then the hubs and I would watch our shows and have ice cream...except, sometimes he WOULDN'T fall asleep. Ugh. He'd be up, goofing around until 10pm (aka MY BEDTIME!)

So things changed.

Ketchup suggested we try moving his bed into our room. It really didn't appeal to me but it was my only option since I suck at the whole "tough love" thing.
G's new digs in our room
Four-ish weeks ago, I moved the toddler bed to our room and M to his own room (M is soooo much easier.) The first night I laid him in his bed and he was not happy. I convinced him to stay there and sat next to the bed until he fell asleep. It took 45 minutes. He slept until 1am. I went through the same routine and it took him TWO HOURS to fall back asleep. It was brutal but that was the only bad night we had ::knocks on wood::

It's still a work in progress. Naps are pretty inconsistent (now sleeping one hour instead of 2-3 hours) and he now wakes up between 6 and 6:30am every morning (instead of his previous 7-8am wake ups.) He wakes up 0-2 times a night but goes back to sleep pretty easily. More than anything, I'm so grateful to have time with the hubs again. We put G down and watch our shows and have ice cream together in the living room and we can talk freely because we're not worried about waking G.

The ultimate goal is for him to be comfortable and confident alone in his bed and then move him to his room when the hubs finishes his big boy (twin) bed.

We'll see...baby steps.

Monday, March 4, 2013

From Bacon...Mayhem Monday

Things have been busy around these parts.

*** There have been 1-2 doctor appointments weekly lately. Between regular preemie appointments, the family sickies, my surgery and multiple specialist appointments for Madden, we've been a the doctor's a lot lately. We have 2-3 appointments a week through March now too!
Keeping a toddler entertained at the doctor's

*** Madden is a growing chunker now! The tiny, not even 3lb, fragile baby I met in the NICU nearly 8 months ago, now weighs 17lbs 11oz!!! He's rolling over and spending lots of time jump, jump, jumping (and sometimes falling asleep) in his bouncer.
Getting to wear some of the fave jammies
(worn by Ketchup's littlest, G and now M!)
Hanging in brother's new recliner, getting ready
for a family walk and sleeping in the jumper.
 
*** M still spits up a lot because of his reflux and recent diagnosis of tracheomalacia so we're trying a different round of meds, we add cereal to his bottle and we're doing a bronchoscopy (procedure to view past his vocal cords to properly diagnose tracheomalacia or any other culprits.) M is also scheduled for surgery (to repair his inguinal hernia, do his circumcision and do the bronchoscopy) on the 11th. I know he'll be fine but I get really sad if I think about it too much.

7 months old (almost 8 now!)

*** Gavin just turned 2 (on the 28th)!!!!!!!
Then and now
Park fun for my two-year old!!!
*** We had a party for G this weekend. It was only a family party (22 adults + 3 toddlers + 1 infant) to limit the germ exposure for M but the two families with the other two toddlers cancelled at the last minute. I was so upset. It ended up fine though.
Party Jamberry nails, white chocolate dipped marshmallows,
"Fire Extinguisher" waters and fire truck treats
Table set up, drink station complete with fire hydrant
sippys for the two party poopers and G's party table

Party shirts for the boys

*** The hubs is also in school for a certificate that will get him a 12% raise so that's been keeping him quite busy (read: I'm getting less help when he's home.)

*** He's also starting to apply for fire departments in Washington/Idaho so we can move closer to the Besties (the Ketchup fam!)

*** This kid...

Toddler selfies on my phone
...is trying to potty train himself! No, seriously! He woke up one morning and said "potty." We put him on the toilet and he went! Now, he asks to go and does!!!  He doesn't always ask to go but I rarely ask him so I take what I get. He's also gone #2 by request. It's the least he could do since he tortures me by not eating or sleeping consistently.
 
*** And, and...no more bottle!!!

*** Oh, oh!!! The best mayhem is planning our visit to the Ketchup household!!!! That'll be happening in 27 days!!! Woot woot! We're driving (please pray for us!) from Los Angeles to Eastern Idaho at the end of the month and staying for 2-2.5 months! Woot woot again!!!
 
*** These two munchkins keep me go, go, going!!!


Top Left: G got to M before I did after nap one day.
He climbed into his pack and play and laid with him
waiting for me. M having a Bumbo sink bath.
G "helping" make frosting for his birthday party cupcakes.
G trying to teach M to roll.