30 April, 2012

The Sleep Saga

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you know that my daughter has been having the worst time going to bed the past few nights.

It really sucks.

We've got a bedtime routine that I've been sticking to like glue, but for whatever reason the past two nights Shannon has decided to add two hours of relentless screaming to the agenda. If any of you have been up for hours with a screaming kid, you understand my frustrations.

It's like this....

Just kidding.

Shannon got her shots last Thursday at her 2 month check-up. Her doctor said she looks great, and she's gained a bunch of weight (she's 9lbs 9oz now!). We decided to give her 2 of the 4 vaccines that she was supposed to get at the appointment. My reasoning was this. Most babies are more than 9lbs at their two month checkups, I didnt' feel comfortable pumping my girl full of meds, when, to this point, she's had nothing in her system other than breastmilk. I felt that it was too much at once for her tiny little body to handle, and I'm glad that I made that choice. She got the most important vaccines Thursday, and we are going to go back when Mike gets home for the other 2. I didn't give her any Tylenol directly before or after the visit, because I wanted her body to be able to adjust to what we'd just put in it, and I wanted to see how she was going to react without it. In my opinion less is more when it comes to medication, and it was really important to me to know how she was going to handle things, so I would have that information on hand in the future.

In all honesty it wasn't really as horrible as I thought it was going to be. We got home, and she took a nap on my chest for a few hours. When she woke up and stretched for the first time, however, she started screaming. I'm sure that her leg was pretty sore. I nursed her, and took her temp. It was 99.3* which isn't super high in babies, and she had just been napping on my chest under a blanket for the past few hours. Her thigh was swollen, and a bit hard, so I decided that Tylenol would be a good thing. I gave her the proper dosage, and just waited it out. After 20 minutes or so she calmed down, and regular dosage after that kept her happy.

This is where we started to run into issues.

Two days prior (with the help of my AMAZING mother!) I started putting her down in her crib in her own room to sleep at night. I found that the key was to let her sleep on her tummy. I put her down that way for her two naps earlier in the day, and kept a close eye on her while she slept in her pack n' play in the living room. On multipule occassion she would move her head from one side to the other in her sleep, and that reassured me that she'd be fine sleeping on her stomach.

*I know it's not for every baby, but I'm just sharing what works for us.*

We start her bedtime routine with nakey time on her changing table, then a nice bath, more nakey time, then I nurse her on both sides. She normally falls asleep while I nurse her, so I unlatch her, do up my business, and rock for another 10 minutes or so to assure that she's asleep. I put her down in her crib and leave the room.

The first two nights she did fuss. I let her fuss for 5 minutes, and then go and pick her up, rock her until she falls back asleep, then put her back down. Easy peasy. When I say fuss, I mean grunt and groan (she's the grunting-est baby on the planet) and do a little bit of crying. I don't let her get worked up into a full blown wail. She was asleep right away, would sleep until about 2 in the morning, wake up to eat, and go right back down within a half hour.

After she got her shots on Thursday, she will NOT go down for her mid-morning and afternoon naps without sleeping on somebody.

I blame this in part on our swing. I put a lot of thought and research into the thing, and I can honestly say I've never been more disappointed in a product, or their customer service. We've only been using it for two months, and right from the start it's the most unreliable thing that we have. And we have a puppy... just sayin'. Sometimes it'll swing for hours and that's great, but 75% of the time, it'll swing for 20 minutes or so and then stop. Some mornings it won't even turn on. Not what you need when you have a fussy baby. When I called tech support because I figured it was a motor issue, and again, it's only two months old...., all the advice they could give me was, just un-plug it and plug it back in. Yea, if only that would solve everything. I got NOWHERE with them, not even an I'm sorry the swing isn't working. The sales lady even told me that I shouldn't even bother because she could hear the baby screaming in the background and it wasn't going to fixed with the swing. I'm going out today to purchase a new one, and I will most surely never purchase a Graco product again. I understand that not every one is going to work perfectly, but pony up and offer to replace it, or at LEAST give me better advice than 'un-plug it and plug it back in.'

End Rant.

Anyways, in order for her not to be overtired, she needs two good naps during the day. When I say good I mean 2(ish) hours. I gave her some leeway on Thursday and Friday because she wasn't feeling well. Then on Saturday, we went to a party at my Mom's house for my Mimmie's birthday. It was loud (as is per the usual in my family) and we left at around 9. I could tell that she was getting overtired, and it was time to go.

We came home, and she woke up starving after the car ride. Not wanting to let her scream through a bath, I went upstairs, put her in her jammies, nursed her, and tried to put her down. She screamed for TWO hours. I ended up just rocking her while she screamed. She was fed, had a dry butt, and was just plain overtired. Ugh.

I called my Mom around 1030, and she suggested starting the routine over from the beginning. We did that, and she screamed for another half hour after I nursed her and then passed out. It was around 11 and she slept straight through until 6.

Yesterday was the same story. My mom said that she screamed before her nap, then passed out for almost three hours. She woke up happy and smiling, which leads me to think that she just over exhausts herself. I have the same problem. I fight it so hard that I'm not tired anymore, then I get cranky.

Last night was the same. I gave her a bath, put her in her jammies, nursed her, and then rocked her until she fell asleep. I put her down and she stayed asleep, so I went downstairs to feed the animals, put the dog out, run the dishwasher and the laundry, and clean up the house a little bit. After about 20 minutes she woke up and was SCREAMING right away. I said goodnight to Mike and picked her up. We rocked for about a half hour, she fell asleep so I put her down. Insta-scream. I picked her back up, rocked her for another hour and a half before she calmed down again. I put her back down and she woke up screaming after about 5 minutes of quiet.


I was so beyond frustrated with her. I didn't know what to do. She had a full belly, gas drops weren't helping anything, and her butt was dry.

I picked her back up and rocked her some more. My ass was seriously numb and I'm going to have some awesome thigh muscles from all that rockin'!

She screamed and screamed and screamed. She was just that tired. Don't ask me how I know, but I can tell the difference in her cries, and by how she loses all control of her neck/head. Plus she won't open her eyes and doesn't cry tears. I finally reached the point where I couldn't take it anymore.

I put her down and did something that I always swore I'd never do.

I just let her scream.

It was miserable, but I knew she was in a safe place. I just couldn't handle it anymore. I was in tears because I was so overtired and frustrated. I wanted my husband to be home to help, I wanted Shannon to just sleep already, I wanted the dog to stop hoarding my left shoes, and I REALLY wanted a glass of wine.  

After about 10 minutes of screaming, she fell sound asleep, and I felt horrible about it the whole time, but as soon as the thought

I seriously want to scream at this kid.

popped into my head, I knew I had to put her down.

I love her to death and I only want the very best for her, and the very best is not an over-tired, over frustrated Mommy.  If Mike had been home, I would have been able to hand her over to him, but that wasn't the case. In this instance the best thing for both of us was for me to put her down and walk away.

I hated it. I'm not proud of it. I hope that I never have to do it again.

Having Mike gone, and dealing with a new baby has been one of the most stressful things I've ever delt with in my life. My nerves are shot, I sleep like crap, and I'm so beyond thankful for my Mom and all her help.

Hopefully tonight will be better!

She's obviously isn't handling it too horribly...
I had to add this gem of Dixie too... because well.. now you all know what I'm dealing with.
And because my husband will get a kick out of it.

25 April, 2012

The Little Horse That Would

If you ask any equestrain, there is always that one special horse that sticks out to them. It may have been the pony that taught them how to ride, the patient schoolmaster that carted them around their first walk/trot class, the first horse that they trained, or even their current partner.

I've had a ton of horses come and go throughout my career. I started riding when I was 7, and have probably sat on hundreds of horses in the years since then. I've learned something from each and every one.

Buster, the huge QH that I learned to ride on, who taught me how to pick myself up from the dirt.

Jazz, the pony that really taught me how to start my own horses, and deal with all the problems that could arise.

Vinny, the schoolmaster that quietly packed me around courses of various heights, giving me the confidence to tackle fences of any height and width.

Mia, who taught me to deal with any kind of stupidity that arises like it's not biggie.

Misti, who taught me how to sit a buck that matched that of the best bucking bronco.

Poika, who taught me that proper turn-out safety is a must!

I could go on and on, but today I realized that there is one horse that really sticks out in my head. He's not a huge, blue-blooded warmblood. He's not an FEI Level dressage star. He's not a Grand Prix Jumper. He's a 15.2 (ish) hand, chestnut QH gelding named Skippy.

When I first started working at Frog's Leap a few years ago, my jaw dropped when I walked down the barn aisle and saw stall after stall of big (usually bay), beautifully bred warmbloods. Each one was more astounding than the next.

(Seriously... if any of you big-wig riders and trainers are lucky enough to stumble across this... you need to call B. She breeds BEYOND amazing Danish horses.)

Then at the end of the aisle was Skippy. He was all tucked into his little stall, snuggled in his purple blanket (it was February when I started with FLF), making this noise that I can only describe as similar to prisoner banging his cup aganist the bars of his cell.

B told me that I'd sit on him in the spring, when it came time to start into a lesson program. I was a little put-off. Here is this barn of amazing horses, and she was putting me on the little chestnut who was attempting to make my ear drums bleed. I wasn't so sure about this whole thing.

As winter turned into spring, and I got ready for my first dressage lesson (former hunter/jumper kid here) on Skippy, I was still a little skeptical. I was cocky, I knew what I was doing in the tack (so I thought). I wasn't some beginner who didn't know inside from outside.

While I tacked him up, that crafty little bugger threw every trick in the book at me (and still does to this day!). He wiggled, he waggled, he held his breath, he refused to pick up his feet, he held his breath some more. I stopped and looked at him at one point, and raised my eyebrow. Maybe this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought.

My lesson progressed with no real issues, and I was lucky enough to go on to ride a few different horses in the barn, including B's FEI schoolmaster, Wonder.

I still thank Skippy for opening up this wonderful world of dressage to me, and I'm forever in his debt since he packed me around so quietly while I muddled through things those first few disasterous lessons. He was always patient, always challenging me just enough without pushing it too far. He's the one that really made me fall in love with the sport, and strive to do better. When I was asking him the right way, he floated, just like all those big warmbloods. When I wasn't, be patiently waited for me to get my head out of my ass and get with the program.

When he got tangled up in the fence last year, the whole farm was devastated. Luckily his owners (who are an amazing couple themselves) went the extra mile, and after un-wrapping, flushing, applying ointment, and re-wrapping daily for months, we all jumped for joy when Skip was allowed to go outside and enjoy life.

As spring is upon us this year, I've been honored to be the one to pilot Skip during his (exactly 10 minute) re-hab rides, and after taking over 9 months off to have a baby, he's the only horse that I'd sit on my first day back. He took care of me like I was made of china for our walks around the arena, and his second cookie was always well deserved! Now that I've gotten the thumbs up from my doctors to be back in full action, I'll be getting Willow started for show season. I'll still take Skip on his walks for as long as I'm lucky enough too, and hopefully he'll be back in action before too long as well.

He's even in love with Shannon, and snuggled with my belly often while I was pregnant. I would fill his water bucket and he would gently lay his nose against my belly and whuffle it. Shannon would kick, and Skip's ears would come up and he give my coat a big 'ole lick. When she was born, I held her up to see him, and he (just as gently) held his nose to her teeny tiny little face and whuffled her in the same way. She gave him a huge gummy smile. How does that NOT melt a Momma's heart?! I went into the tack room and he tried to follow us. His owner had to stop him from walking all the way through the door. It's really adorable.

I know that when it's time for us to move away, I'm going to miss walking in the barn to Skippy's 'music' of teeth raking his stall front, laughing at his misshapen water bucket, watching him babysit the young horses in the field, and sitting on him when I need a good ass kicking from B to go back to the basics.

He'll be 21 on May 5th, and you can bet I'll be bringing lots of cookies!

So here's to Skippy! The little horse that would!

The cookie monster himself!

24 April, 2012

From "M"

My take on Shannon's birth The week leading up to Shannon’s' birth was quite interesting.  The week prior to Shannon’s' birth I had gone to work on Monday.  About 7:10 a.m. my wife called and said she had called the OB, who said she was in pre-term labor and could go at any time.  Luckily for me I have a very family oriented Chain of Command and I was able to go home to take care of my wife.  I worked from home for the rest of the week, and took care of C as much as possible.  We even went to the barn twice, I think.  She did the water buckets and grain, while I cleaned the stalls.  She was quite the trooper, and didn't want to shun not going to the barn.  Also, I think getting out and being active really helped her during the pregnancy. 
Finally on Sunday C's contractions were bad enough that the OB said we could come into the labor and delivery room.  They put the labor and delivery room at the very back of the hospital, with no direct elevators going to it.  You have to take two seperate elevators to get to the back of the hospital.  Luckily, our room was huge, and it had a great view of the lake and New York.  C's mom arrived just as we did, and we got settled in for the night.  Everybody was really nice.  The time did seem to drag on, since there wasn't really much that I could do.  I walked with C for a little bit around the "block" of the floor, and then switched out with her mom so I could get a coffee.  The nurses came and checked C, and she had dilated more, so we were going to be spending the night. They told her to sleep for a little bit and they would be back in two hours or so.  C could not sleep, not that I blame her.  We made our way into the bathroom where there was a tub with shower head.  There was also a big yoga ball that C could sit on.  The hot water really helped, and she was able to calm down a lot.  She had been holding it together really well, but Shannon was wedged into her back.  The position sitting on the ball, and the hot water, really helped soothe her aches.  We spent almost the whole 2 hours in there.  We came back out for the nurse to check the dilation, and there had been improvement.  Soon people were coming into our room to set C up with a epidural.  She hates needles.  Absolutely hates them.  At the OB she would jerk away from them when the nurse tried to get blood.  I would have to hold her still and make sure she didn't look at the needles.  I was concerned how she was going to do, especially since I didn't want her to be jerking herself around when a needle was going into her spine.  We got her all set to go, and all the needles and tubes were lined up on the bed ready to go.  Luckily C didn't get to see that stuff, since her back was turned to it.  The nurse doing the epidural started to do her work, and I held onto C as she was facing me.  She didn't even move.  I don't even know if she felt it go it.  The nurse was really quick and did a great job.  There was almost instant soothing affect to C's contractions and finally she was able to relax once the nurses had left.  She left for about 2 hours after the nurses left.  They came back at a little after 2 a.m. to check how the dilation was going.  It was a relief to hear that it was time to get things started.  While they were prepping the room, one of the nurses took a long hook that looked exactly like a crochet needle, and broke C's water.  She did it so easily, I was pretty amazed. Within about 45 minutes, labor had begun.
C got positioned, and I held one leg while her mom held the other.  The OB and nurses were all in their places and everybody was really calm.  C was pushing during tractions, and OB was really good at giving her directions when to push.  C was hooked up to a contraction monitor, so we could all see when they were coming.  Most of them were spiking off the chart, and then came back down to normal, only to spike right back up again.  At one point they had to put an air mask on C's face because she wasn't getting enough oxygen from holding her breath while pushing.  It was quite an experience watching Shannon being born.  I didn't get queasy once until I saw her head come out, then get sucked back in.  I admit, I had to look away for a moment.  I was really concerned about Shannon not being able to breathe, and seeing most of her head come out, only to go back in, I was really concerned.  It seemed like once Shannon’s head came out, the rest of her just fell right out.  Well, the OB pulled, but she came right out with no resistance and no more pushing.  She wasn't nearly as messy as I had thought she was going to be.  And I was really worried because she hadn't started crying when she came out.  Even after the OB gave her a good tap on the butt, she barely even fussed.  They used a little squeegee bottle thing to clear her mouth and nose.  Then I got to cut her umbilical cord with some really dull scissors.  I felt like I was pulling on her, and on C, to cut the thing.  But it finally cut.  They gave her to C to hold and within a few minutes Shannon pooped everywhere.  To this day, she still has huge, explosive poops that you can hear across the room. Eventually the nurses took her over a bed with a heat lamp and cleaned her off.  She just laid there and didn't even fuss or cry.  The biggest thing that stuck out to me was that her head was really egg shaped.  I could understand why, coming out the way she did, but I wasn't expecting it at all.  I was asking the nurse all kinds of questions about it, what to do to get it back to being round, if we had to rotate what side of her head she laid on, that kind of just random stuff.  Looking back, it was an odd thing to be concerned about. 
The next 12 hours went by really smoothly.  We were moved down to the after delivery section of the hospital.  They told C to sleep, but kept coming in every 30 minutes to check her vitals.  Neither of us slept.  Shannon stayed with us the whole time, and she fed and pooped a lot.  C was great the entire time, and never complained.  I held Shannon for a few hours and actually fell asleep holding her on my chest for about 3 hours at one point.  C also got to sleep.  The nurses came in and out and were really good at not disturbing C, while just checking on Shannon.  Although Shannon was a bit small, she had progressed so much and was doing so good that we were allowed to go home in less than 24 hours after her being born. 
She barely even fit in her car seat she was so small. 
The ride back was really uneventful, she was quiet the whole ride.   Since that ride home it's been quite a ride.  Some nights she is on a good schedule and wakes up on the hour every few hours on her own to feed.  I get up, change the diaper, then give her to C to feed and then go back to sleep.  Sometimes I'll stay up and hold the binky in once Shannon is fed and back in her crib.  She loves to suck on it, and bit it, and try to spit it back out, but then gets really mad when it's not put back in. 
Overall she's a great, beautiful, and very smart baby.  She's always laughing, talking to herself and any shadow that will listen.  She can lay on her play mat for a while, or on the couch, and just hang out.  Other times she just wants to be held and is perfectly content to just hang out on our lap.  I'm so proud of her, and happy that she is mine.  I can't wait to watch her grow up.  C is an incredible mom, and deals with my work schedule really well, and takes excellent care of Shannon while manager to laundry, dishes, and other house stuff.  I try to help out where I can, but when I get home I'm pretty much hanging out with Shannon.  It's such an awesome feeling to have her in our family now.

21 April, 2012

The Death Of The Ducky

It's offical. My kid is growing up.

I went to put her in my favorite outfit of hers, a yellow bodysuit with a ducky on the butt, and it's too small.


I was so sad. I wanted to stuff her into it for one last hurrah while we were out at breakfast with my in-laws, but she can't even straighten out her legs. Then she spit up on it. Point taken.

R.I.P Ducky 

The past two days or so we've really started to get into a good rythem with this whole 'being dad-less' thing. It's making the nighttime easier, and I'm getting more sleep, which means less mood swings, frantic text messages to my husband, and the cat hardly gets shut in the fridge anymore.

In my defense, he's the one that crawls in there. It's not like I put him in there on purpose. Sheesh.

I get up around 630-7, but the dog out, feed the animals, get the coffee started and get some small chores done. Usually the litter box, sweeping, and sometimes the dishes.

By 730, Shannon is up and I change her diaper and she nurses while I drink my coffee, enjoy a Clif Bar, and watch an episode or two of HIMYM.

She's awake and we do tummy time and play on her play mat until about 9, then she goes in her swing and sleeps in there from 9 until about 11. I use that to have some quiet time for myself. I get caught up on laundry, try to get a blog banged out, shower, do other small chores.

She's up from 11 until between 1-130. She eats again, has more playtime and if I have any errand running to do, I usually try to set out at about that time. She'll fall back asleep until about 3 (sometimes) and that makes it a good time to go grocery shopping or anything else I have to do out of the house.

She's up and at 'em from 3 until about 9. Usually we squeeze in a walk and my uh-mazing Mom will come up. We have a bath at 8, more playtime, then I nurse her and try to put her down by 9. I talk to Mike while I wait for her to fall asleep. The whole house is usually asleep by 10.

We're up again at 11, 1, 3, and 5. Ish. Some nights she skips the 3 am feeding, which is much appreciated.

Rinse. Repeat.

Dixie has continued to prove that she was a great choice when we were looking to add another member to our family (if only having more kids were as easy and enjoyable as adopting a puppy) except for one thing. She's annoying as all get out when she wants attention. If you start petting her, you'll be sorry when you stop because she nips at your fingers, paws at your arm, and crawls upsidedown into your lap with her legs flailing. I know a lot of it has to do with being a puppy, and I'm trying to work through it by pushing her off with a firm 'no', but she's a pretty stubborn thing.

All the research I've been doing about her breed mixture (Jack Russell, Corgi, and I think a bit of Border Collie...it's those eyes) says that they are stubborn, bossy, and smart. She is all those things, no questions. I put an e-mail into the trainer that Elmore gave me to use as a resource, and her solution was to say 'no' and then offer a toy. It's not really working out so well. She could care less about the toy. She wants to be petted, and she wants to be petted NOW thank you very much! I'm staying as consistent as possible with my repremanning, but her favorite time to do it is when I'm nursing the wee one. Jealousy much?

Anybody have any ideas?

I also got some much needed barn time yesterday. I really do love cleaning stalls, and my boss makes for great company. Our stall cleaning conversations usually have me cracking up, and it's nice not to have to worry about the dishes or laundry or a dirty diaper. I didn't have time to hang around and play with Willow, but there is something really nice about leaving a clean barn full of happy horses.

It's getting to be about that time of year where a group of them goes to live outside 24-7. That really is the best place for them to be, and as long as they have a shed to get out of the weather, I'd love for Willow to be living outside as much as possible! The Omega-3 in the grass is so amazingly good for them, and I've noticed in the past that the guys living outside are usually more personable, have coats that shine up easier, and are just happy horses all the time. I'm a huge advocate of turning the foals out after their weaned and letting them live outside in a herd as long as possible. Nothing is better for babies then fresh air, sunshine, good equine role models, and lots of grass. It's how nature intended them to grow up, and we always get compliments on how our babies look. They grow up great!

I'm really getting excited for summer... and have even started working on memorizing Training Level Tests 1 & 2. Our first outing will be Intro A & B to get our feet wet and make sure Miss Pilly-Pants doesn't kill me, but I really want to qualify for Regionals, and you have to be showing at least Training. We'll see if we get there, but that's my equine goal for the summer. Hopefully our first show will be early June. CDSS puts on great schooling shows, that have inexpensive class fees, are usually just a day, and are great to get your horse going! I love them! Hopefully if the June show goes well, we'll be able to go to Vermont Dressage Days, where you can qualify got Regionals over the weekend. I'm showing open (!!) this year, which is pretty exciting. I missed show season last year, and that made me pretty sad. Having a baby gives me an excuse to buy a pretty new dressage coat though... since my old one won't strech over these awesome new boobs my excess baby weight shrank in the wash. ;-)

We're off to meet the in-laws for breakfast, then do some shopping with my Mom.

I'll keep the credit card in check, love.

Umm... yea. That's my awesome kid. <3

This is seriously the story of my life. I love it!

19 April, 2012

Road Rules

Now that it's offically almost kinda summer, I've been seeing a ton of people out of hibernation. They're walking, running, biking, or walking their dogs/husbands/children. I think it's great that everybody is so excited to get in shape for the warm weather, but it'd be even more great to do it safely!

I was walking the dog last night, and passed a few people that got my wheels turning about writing a post about getting in shape outside in a safe way.

I try to get to the local sports center as often as I can. They have a nice paved bike path, a track, and a bunch of sports fields, it's all fenced in and really safe. With a 2 month old though, sometimes it just doesn't happen. My life works around her schedule, and if we're having a fussy day I sometimes end up walking the dog by myself while my amazing Mom comes up for some quality Nana time. We live in a pretty rural community, so sidewalks are few and far between. I came up with a list of the things that I do to keep everybody safe on our daily walks. It seems like common sense to a lot of people, but I see a ton of people around here playing with fire.

  • I expect Dixie to behave when she's on the leash. I'm more strict with her when I'm pushing the stroller. She's expected to walk quietly at my left heel, and we don't stop to sniff every single piece of grass. If we have to stop to cross the road, or for any other reason, I tell her to 'sit' and 'wait'. She doesn't move until I say 'ok'. We do our potty buisness before and afterwards. Nothing makes the neighbors more angry than a dump and run. I stay consistent with the rules, and she picked it up really quickly. We went on a few family walks with my husband pushing the stroller so I could focus on working with her. She also has a good 'recall' and I wouldn't take her with us if I didn't know that she would come right back to me if I were to drop the leash. Bringing your dog with you is a great way to get them the daily exercise that they need, but if they can't behave in a way that makes them managable don't risk it. You don't want to chance them getting hit by a car, or even worse, pulling you and the stroller into traffic or a ditch. I recommend this harness. We use it with Dixie, and it's worked wonderfully. Just make sure that you adjust it properly.
  • On the days that are too hectic to bring the baby to the sports center, my Mom ends up coming up to watch the baby so I can get the dog out, and it's usually around dusk. It's a beautiful time of the day to walk. There have been a ton of people disappearing lately, so I forgo my normally hilly route, for a more populated area. There are houses on either side of the road, and no long stretches of nothingness, unlike on my usual route. I'm about 5'2 and I weigh 120 lbs. I'm not exactly a ninja master, so any type of fight would be pathetic. (My husband and I used to wrestle all the time, and he was a GREAT teacher when it came to teaching me to wiggle out of any restraint, but when I got pregnant we stopped.) It makes me a pretty easy target. Staying in a populated, well traveled area is the safest option for me. I have had a handful of people stop to try to talk to me while I'm walking with the dog. I just ignore them and keep walking. 9 times out of 10 they drive off, but if they do stick around I make sure to stay aware of the type of car they are driving, liscence plate number, and the person themselves. I wouldn't hesitate to call the police if I really felt that there was a threat, and I always carry my phone with me. No exceptions. Ever. With the press of two buttons, my husband is on the line and I trust him to make the proper decision in any type of emergency situation, even if he's 1,000 miles away. Listen to your gut, and don't fall for any smooth talk.

  • We have a great wildlife population in the area. It's fun to watch the deer in the fields, or see all the different types of birds and cute little chipmunks. I've also seen a bear. I carry pepper spray with me on every walk for that reason. (I talked to one woman who carries a small handgun, but I don't feel comfortable with that. If anything were to happen with another person, it could be easily wrestled away, and used on me or my daughter. I've been sprayed with pepper spray twice and it really sucks. Like really, REALLY sucks, but I'm confident that I'd be able to work through it.) If you were to see a bear, or other dangerous animal while you're out walking don't chase it. Most of the time they are more afraid of you then you think. Jump up and down, scream, make obnoxious nosises. They'll probably run. Call your local police station or game warden, report the sighting, and make your way straight home.

  • The cars on these roads usually travel at a pretty high rate of speed. We don't have a local police station, and while the State Troopers are great about having a presence in the area, speed limits are usually just a suggestion. I walk into oncoming traffic and stay as far on the shoulder as possible. It's easier when I'm walking with just Dixie as Shannon is still too small for our jogging stroller so I have to load her in the 'mall stroller'. I also wear highly visible clothing. Bright colors are your friend. When I walk Dixie closer to dusk, I usually steal one of husband's reflective belt things and Dixie's leash is also reflective. I see SO many people with just the reflectors on their shoes, or bike spokes, beboppin' around at night. It's not enough people! I'm sure I look like a fool wearing that giant yellow(ish) belt like a prom queen sash, but I think I'd look even worse with my face caved in. Maybe I should get a light up tiara to top off the outfit. I also have reflective tape that I put on Shannon's stroller. She doesn't come with us on our dusk walks, but better safe than sorry. Unfortunatly accidents still happen but take all the precautions that you can to be visible. If you're driving and see somebody on the road, slow the **** down! Taking the time to slow 10-15 mph down is so much eaiser than the guilt of hitting somebody.

  •  I love to listen to music when I work out. In fact I can't exercise without it. I blast it in the gym, and at home (when the baby isn't sleeping), but I don't blast it when I'm on the road. I can't hear cars coming up behind me, other people walking or biking, animals, or if the baby starts crying. I'm not a hard core runner. I walk/jog to get cardio into my workout routine in a way that I can include the dog, and get the pumpkin out in the fresh air. When M is home, its a great way to spend time as a family. I don't need to have music blasting as a way to motivate myself to pump out that last mile, like I do when I need motivation to bust out those last 10 Russin Twists. Keep the music at a reasonable level, or keep one earbud out. I also don't text or make phone calls while I'm walking. I will stop (when it's safe) to take a picture or two, but I'm always aware of cars and I take my earbuds out.

  •  I don't talk to people that I don't know on the road. I have a wicked cute dog, and an even cuter baby so more often than not people want to peek into the stroller, or give the dog a scratch. I don't stop. I'll flash a quick smile, or wave, but I keep the same pace. It makes me feel like I'm making less of a target of myself. That and it gets really annoying when people are constantly sticking their face in my kid's face. I don't know if you're sick or not.

I know that this was a pretty long winded post, so if you've made it to this point... go you! I feel really strongly (now that I'm a Mom) that precautions should be made when you're exercising on a road. I want to set a good example for my daughter, and I want to be around for her! It's a wonderful way to get out, but I beg you to be safe!!

17 April, 2012

Stop Humping My Throw Pillows!!

I just had to yell that at the dog about 18 times and I was at a loss for a title for this thing.

I have the worst time coming up with headers for these posts, it's often the last thing that I do before hitting the publish button. I probably should make proofreading the last thing that I do, but alas.

Last night was brutal. Shannon was wide awake and ready to party from 9 until about 3 in the morning. We bounced, we rocked, we nursed, we swang, we went for a drive, we tried EVERYTHING. The kid just refused to sleep. I was so frustrated, over-tired, and sick of the whole mess that when the dog cried to go out this morning, I just booted her out of the room. I didn't even care if she peed on the floor. I was that tired.

Shannon was beat this morning too, and slept for a while in her swing. I love that thing. Maybe a little bit too much. I probably should have cleaned my house or done some other productive thing, but I just made a cup of coffee and reveled in the peace and quiet.

It was such a beautiful day outside, that I thought it would be nice to enjoy my coffee from the front porch, so that the dog could do her thing in the yard, and I could still hear the baby cry. It was a nice thought. I got all cozy on the steps when the wind picked up and the front door slammed shut behind me. I jumped up to open it again, and discovered that it was locked.

Holy shit.

If you lock the handle, it stays locked until you turn the little knobby job from the inside. We normally never lock it, for that exact reason, but since M has been gone I've wanted to be extra careful at night, so I lock both the deadbolt and the handle.

I figured that it would be no worries, and I could just crawl in through the kitchen window. I bent the screen almost in half trying to get it out of the window, but I did so only to discover that the kitchen window was locked too. I cursed myself for being so careful at night. M is constantly telling me to lock the windows, lock the doors, etc... and I never do. Except for last night.

I circled the house but all the other windows were up too high for me to reach. I started to panic then. I had no phone, no keys, and not even my shoes!

I finally swallowed my pride and knocked on the neighbors door. Luckily she was still awake, and when I explained what had happened she was more than willing to let me use her phone. My only issue, I had nobody to call. My husband and his keys were about 1,000 miles away. I told her that I was going to have to call 911, which I didn't want to do since then CPS has to get involved.

Just what I needed. Stupid wind.

She then asked me if my slider door was open to my back porch. Turns out they have a porch that's just like ours.

I ninja-ed (that's not a word I know) my way from their porch to ours. It was totally mission impossible. If I hadn't have been so freaked out about having locked myself out of the house, sans child, I would have been wicked impressed with my mad skills.

I managed to get in, safe and sound. Shannon slept through the whole thing. All was well in the world again.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. My horse got her feet done, and was a brat for my boss and the farrier. She's was feeling what little bit of Thoroughbred heritage she had. After I dropped the munchkin off to my mom, I went back and got to watch Skippy's owner ride him.

I've been at B's for over 3 years now, and I've yet to see her right. It was a delightful sight. Skippy is so enamoured with his Mommy. It was nice to see him take such good care of her, and to also watch the progress he's made from the ground. He looks wonderful. :-)

Willow was up next, and she was her usual hot headed self. She's 17h of hugeness when she's in one of her moods. It's a little intimidating to say the least, but I'm getting much more comfortable around her. She got spun around on the lunge line, and we trotted the stupid right out of her. I love lunge lines. I'll tell you what though, when that beast gets a topline...watch out world.

I ended the day with the baby at my Mom's (I got there right as she had fallen asleep) and I got to come home to catch up on my laundry, dishes, and get my house picked up a little bit. I feel like M would be extremly disappointed if he'd walked in this afternoon. The place looked a little bit like it exploded.

I'm off to try and get some sleep, but from the sounds of the fussing going on in the crib upstairs, it might not happen right away. Here's hoping!!

16 April, 2012

2 Months!

2 posts in one day!


Shannon is two months old today!!

I really can't belive how quickly time is going. You never believe it when people tell you that your kid is going to grow up so fast, but it's really true. You never really understand it until you have one of your own. Trust me.

She's getting more and more alert, sleeping longer stretches, and really starting to develop a personality. It's amazing.

She's getting bigger too, she's outgrown ALL her preemie clothes, and some of her newborns are even getting a little tight. We have our two month check up next week Friday, and I'm excited too see how much she weighs.

We are LOVING our gDiapers, although I discovered that I didn't need to buy 8 covers. I went a little bit crazy because they are just so darn cute. When she grows out of these I'm only going to buy a couple of the next size up. They stay SUPER clean, and I love that they keep her butt from getting all red. I'd use them again in a heartbeat, and when we go the next size up I'm planning on getting the cloth inserts for nighttime.

Speaking of night time, her sleep schedule is still fairly erratic, and we had a pretty sleepless (I don't want to call them bad) night the night before M left for training, but she'll sleep for 3-4 hour stretches. She sleeps in her cradle next to our bed, but if she's really fussy I have no problem cuddling her in our bed until she falls into a deep sleep. I think that she just needs the closeness, I'm happy to provide, moreso now that big Daddy is gone.

Breastfeeding is going really well. I'm a pro at wipping it out just about anywheres, and we just nurse away. M is still a little on edge about me nursing her in public. He doesn't want to make a scene and then have to jump in to resuce me. Breastfeeding in public is entierly legal, and I do cover up for my own modesty. I found that it's easier to use just a regular blanket than those stupid nursing covers. It attracts more attention when you're swearing at the thing because it's choking you so hard you think your eyeballs are going to explode out of your head and hit the bald guy at the next table over. I wear tank tops under everything so nobody can see my 'excess', and off we go. Easy peasy!

We spent her 2 month birthday running around. I had a doctor's appointment and we went and hung out at the barn for a while, since it was such a beautiful day.

Willow is getting ridden for the first time tomorrow. I'm wicked excited! I exchanged her bridle for the next size up, and she got a new bit. We're going to try her in a 5 1/2" 3 piece (french link) loose ring and see how that goes.

My Mom was awesome enough to come up for a little bit so that I could get the dog out for a walk. It's been looking like it was going to rain all day, and the air feels really heavy and wet. I didn't want to get caught in a storm with the baby, so my Mom had some 1-1 time, and the dog and I went for a interval run. 2 miles of alternating sprinting and walking tires Dixie out very quickly. Her legs are only about 6 inches long. She needs the exercise though, she's MUCH better behaved that way.

On our walk I learned a new skill that may or may not come in handy some day.

Leaping 10 feet in the air mid-stride while shrieking, compliments of this thing...

I hate, hate, hate snakes. Dixie and I were just running along, I wasn't paying attention, then all the sudden... this thing. I screamed and lept into the air. Like really lept. Over the dog, into a ditch. My husband would say 'you got ups.'

Cereal ups husband. Cereal.

If you don't read this honey... I just said cereal (twice!) and anybody who reads this thinks that I'm freakin' nuts...but you understand it. :-) Love you!

We also passed the 'haunted house'.

I never see anybody there, it always looks the same, and I swear that it's the perfect setting for a horror novel. I say that to M everytime we pass it on one of our walks. It gives me shivers.

Now I'm off to recuse my kid from the horror that she's convinced is her swing, and were going to snuggle on the couch and watch some How I Met Your Mother on Netflix. This show is totally getting me through this month. I'm sucked in. It's bad.

It seriously don't get much cuter... :-)

Yea... he's mine. I'm one lucky Momma!!

We made a video for Daddy this morning too.

Your girls love you and miss you lots honey!



Damn You Murphy!

I was reading an article a while back that said it was Murphy's Law that as soon as the man of the house leaves, something is bound to break, fall apart, or some other obnoxious thing will happen that will force his wife to deal with it.

Murphy is dirty rat bastard.

Within the first 24 hours of M being gone my skill of holding down the fort is being stretched to it's limits.

We woke up on Saturday morning and the water in both toilets was brown. Nasty sewer color (and smell). I freaked and tried to flush them, but the water level just got higher. Almost like it was clogged. I stood in the bathroom squealing, "don't overflow, ew, ew, ew, don't overflow!" 

How's that for crisis managment?

I decided to just leave it for the time being, sent M a text, and tended to the baby.

M's reponse was that they were probably flushing the pipes in Fairfax and to hit it up with the plunger. I plunged the hell out of the upstairs toilet and after a few flushes it was back to normal. The water still looks a little funny colored, but it smells normal. Phew!

We had a pretty laid back morning, went grocery shopping with no incident, came home and suited up for a nice walk. We had a great hilly 5k walk! When I got home, I put the dog out on the back porch (we leave the door open on nice days to get fresh air moving through the house) and she started barking like mad. I went out to see what she was barking at this time, and almost swallowed my eyeballs.

The people with the giant house behind the condo complex had a bear in their dumpster.

Cue screaming.

Dixie didn't stop barking, and I remembered what M told me to do if I ever saw one in the woods. I started jumping up and down and screaming like an idiot. The bear took off into the woods, I dragged an extremly overexcited Dixie back in the house, and called the police.

Another text to M.

Everything managed to stay in one piece and Mom and I went to watch my sister and my Dad perform at a local resturant. They are freakin' amazing... so seriously check out their videos.

Freaking amazing huh?!

I think so.

It was the middle of the night when Murphy really showed me what he meant with his silly laws.

The dog normally needs to go out at least once in the middle of the night, so when Shannon gets up for her middle of the night feeding, I put Dixie out, feed the baby, then bring the dog back in.

I put her out, as usual and she started barking like a mad thing right away. We live in a condo community type thing, and I'm sure nobody would be pleased to be woken up by a barking dog at 230 in the morning. I opened the door to call her in and she did her best impression of a dog blatently ignoring me. I was just in one of M's big tshirts and a pair of underwear, and the damn dog was out at the end of her line.


I looked around, then darted out to reel Dixie's happy ass back in the house. When I looked up, not 3 feet away from us was a big mother of a skunk. I squealed, grabbed the dog by the collar and we hot footed it back into the house. On the way in I was so focused on the stupid wildlife that I didn't notice the nice fresh pile of dog poop.

Yup, you guessed where this is going.

Bare feet...meet pile of dog poop.

There is no sensation like that of warm dog poop squising through your toes at 230am. It was less than glorious.

I unhooked the dog, hopped to the paper towel rack, cleaned my foot off with the first spray bottle of cleaner I could find and then ran back upstairs just in time for the baby to start screaming. I got her nursed, got the dog settled back down and tucked the three of us in for the night.

5 minutes later all I hear is growling.

The orange devil cat who has a personal vendetta aganist the dog for no reason had snuck into the room while I was de-pooping my toes. I climb out of bed, grab the flashlight that M insists on keeping next to the bed (thank you honey! I understand now), and proceed to wiggle under the bed to haul the devil child out. He was so focused on his hatred for the dog that when I grabbed him, he immediatly launches himself at me, firmly attaching his claws into my scalp.

Dixie gets overly excited at the thumping, hissing, and swearing going on under the bed and starts barking.

Cue baby screaming.

I managed to drag happy feet out from under the bed and chuck him in the most undelicate way out the door with more profanities that I care to admit.

I get the baby calmed down, the dog settled, and everybody tucked back in.

5 minutes later I hear a pitiful little meow from the floor next to the bed.


Lucca managed to squeak her way in, and wanted a snuggle. Dixie didn't agree in the least. She jumps off the bed and proceeds to chase Lucca 'round and 'round about the room. The baby wakes up again. I grab the first furry body that runs past me (Dixie) and shut her in her crate. I dragged Lucca out from under the bed by her tail and chuck her calico butt out the door.

I get the baby calmed down, the dog settled, a pitiful text message sent to M, and tuck everybody back in. By this point, it's almost 5 AM.

Baby wakes up at 515 starving.

Damn you Murphy. Damn you.

14 April, 2012

Saying Goodbye...

Wasn't really as hard as I thought that it was going to be.

I managed to keep myself together when I dropped M off at the office, and didn't turn into a hot mess. I was pretty proud of myself. I figure that my job isn't to make him feel bad about leaving, it's to let him focus on the task at hand.

He unloaded his stuff, gave Shannon a kiss goodbye, gave the dog a scratch, and I got a hug and a kiss and then off we went. I didn't stick around, I didn't make things longer, and I didn't look in the rearview mirror to watch him waving goodbye. I managed to hold my bologna until I left the parking lot, then let myself feel bad about the whole thing. I still managed to not break down and make people in the cars passing me wonder what the hell was going on. I'd be lying if I said that there weren't tears though.

When we got home, it was really really quiet.

Luckily I had just enough time to nurse the baby, change my clothes and turn right back around to head to the barn. I dropped Shannon off to my Mom and went to soak up the sun at the barn.

I've been rehabbing Skippy from a leg injury, so I got to sit on him while my boss gave him a look over. She said that he's doing really well. He still has a lot of muscle to rebuild, but he's looking better than when we started. My job is to keep him walking forward, encourage him to really stretch and get that leg under himself, and help him to balance. His owners are really pleased with how he's come along. I believe that the vet comes out next week and is going to look him over as well. Go Skippy! It's been almost a year long process since he got tangled up in the fence, and I'm lucky enough to have been a part of the team that helped bring him back to where he is now. I'm a pro at hock wrapping. ;-)

I also worked Willow for the first time in a week, since it's been raining like crazy. She was really good. She was very, very forward, but mostly listening. She didn't pull any stupid stunts, and her ground work is improving by leaps and bounds as well. I have to get the bridle that we bought for her exchanged before I get on her next week (!!!), since I was a dummy and didn't read the tag.


After I got done at the barn, I went and picked the munchkin up at my parents, had a slice of pizza, then loaded her up in the car to head home and thats when I lost it.

The whole time that we've been preparing for M to leave, I've been nervous about dealing with the nights by myself. I won't lie, I have a horrible time waking up. Like really horrible.

I think that heading home from my parents really solidified that I was doing this all by myself, and that I had no other options. The feeling of being overwhelmed hit me like a ton of bricks and I sobbed all the way home. It was a bit pathetic really.

I walked in the door, let the dog out, took a deep breathe and decided that I was going to tackle things one at a time.

I'm not going to lie and say that it was easy, but last night wasn't as bad as I thought that it was going to be. Shannon slept from 9-11 then was up for an hour and finally fell back asleep until almost 4. That's four hours of sleep, which was a good thing since she decided that she did not want to go back to bed, no matter what I tried. I finally dragged her happy little butt into bed with me, and she conked out until almost 8.

Good baby.

I decided that I'm just taking this thing one day at a time, and really throwing myself into making progress with Willow, and enjoying spending time with Shannon. I'm not looking at a calender, or counting down the days. I don't want to focus on the fact that he's gone, or obsess about the day that he comes back. I miss him like whoa, but life isn't going to come to a screeching halt just for me and my self-pity.

You can bet your dollar that there will be a lot of the Kardashians on in this house though.



12 April, 2012

Easter Sunday & A New Family Member!

So I guess I've been pretty horrible about keeping everybody updated. We've been super busy preparing for M's impending leave to SC for training, and that's meant us spending a lot more time as a family, than us spending time on our computers.

Prepare yourselves for photospam...my family is just so amazing I can't help it.


Easter Sunday we all got dressed up (well kinda) and went to church with my Mom. Sunday service has always been an Easter tradition in my family, and while I've slacked a few years in a row, I have a family of my own and I want to keep it going. M is less than thrilled about the whole thing, but he put on his game face (and a tie!) and went with us. Shannon did GREAT and didn't lose her marbles until about 20 minutes to the end. M scooped her up, did the walk n' bounce by the door and crisis was averted.

Doesn't he look so handsome in a tie!? Shannon, on the other hand, just slept. Silly goose.

Before we went to church, however, my motivation switch got flipped and I set out on a tortureous lovely run. I had my new shoes on for the first time and this happened....

It brought me back down to a walk, and I was REALLY discouraged, but I just kept reminding myself that anything was better than sitting at home on the couch. I huffed and puffed through 2 miles before calling it good.

Hot shower + raw blisters = Screaming Cate.

Sunday night, we finally got the okay from our landlord to get a dog.


I've been wanting one since we got married, but he made it quite clear that we weren't allowed one in our rental agreement, so M said no everytime I asked.

I finally pestered him enough that he agreed we could get one as long as the landlord said that it was ok.


We looked on Petfinder for hours Sunday afternoon arguing about what kind of dog that we wanted. A friend of mine had found both her dogs at the Elmore SPCA so I decided to check out their website and see what they had going on. In the meantime M found another dog that he liked so we decided that we wanted to make a day trip over to NY on Monday.

Bright and early Monday morning we loaded up the baby and off we went!

Our first stop was a small shelter in Plattsburgh to look at a German Shephard x Rottie that both M and I agreed that we loved. Unfortunatly he was an 80 lb puppy who loved to jump, and the idea of dealing with both him and a new baby at the same time was really intimidating to me. The last thing I wanted was to be coming through the door with the baby and have him knock me over. He was a sweet, sweet boy, but just too big and too excited about everything.

M really liked him though, so we put in an app for him anyways and went to check out Elmore while we waited for it to be processed.

I had seen a Jack Russell x Cogi on the web site that I fell in love with, but M argued that she was too small and he HATED Jacks. I begged to see her anyways, and when they brought us outside I instantly fell in love with her. All the other dogs were barking and going nuts as soon as we opened the door, but she just ran over and sat by the door to her pen. Her tail was going a mile a minute, but she wasn't barking like a fool.

We brought her inside and she flopped over on her belly for some love, then very carefully sniffed Shannon in her car seat. When she licked Shannon's little hand, and Shannon started grinning the deal was sealed.

We had been told that another couple had come in and put in a application for her, but they hadn't been able to get ahold of them since.  We made it known that we were ready to put in an app of our own and wanted to take her home that day. Within twenty minutes she was all ours! As we were walking out a lady pulled in and said that she was there to pick her up.

You snooze you lose.

So without further ado I present to you Ms. Dixie J!

She's hit the ground running with us, including taking a 4 hour round trip to NH to get M's liscene renewed and hitting up my sister's lacrosse game, and settled in perfectly. She sleeps in the room with us, and has already decided that the best place for her to sleep is by making a nest in our dirty clothes pile. She has a crate with a fluffy bed, but we haven't used it yet.

She has some little quirks. She really has something aganist the bed that we got her. Instead of sleeping on it she 'attacks' it and then starts humping the begeezues out of it. She is really pretty smart, however, and learned sit, lay down, come, and drop within the first 24 hours that she was home.

Milo is having some serious issues, and can't be within sight of her without getting all puffy and hissing. It's caused a few fights of the two cats ganging up on her, and Lucca tried to climb up my leg once. I was not so pleased about that.

Dixie loves 'her' baby, and usually isn't too far away.

Her favorite job is supervising tummy time, and keeping the cats away from her.

We had a few moments of peace yesterday...

But it didn't last very long. Alas.

Today we took advantage of the nice weather and went on a great three and a half mile family walk.

Yes. I am in a down jacket, and my husband is in a t-shirt. He's a freak of nature. :-) He sure looks great pushing that stroller though.

We live in such a nice area, with some great places to walk. I'm glad that we took advantage of the weather, and went exploring. I found a nice, safe route to take when it's just me, the dog, and the baby which was the most important thing to me. The views were beautiful to boot and the route has enough hills to make me feel like I'm actually accomplishing something, without killing myself. It was a great way to spend our last day together as a family for a little while.

Unfortunatly I've had NO barn time so far this week, because this is the first day that we've had that it hasn't been raining. That means that Willow has made no progress at all. M has a video of her, and I'm trying to figure out how to upload it off his phone. Mine was in the barn at the time. He's got one of those Andriod deals, so I'm at a loss. It's a totally different set up than my iPhone.

Oh well.

I'm off to go get the baby ready and we're going to get haircuts. My Mom is coming over to watch her so M and I can go out to dinner tonight. He leaves early tomorrow morning so the date night is much appreciated. I have the best Mommy!

Enjoy some pictures of the munchkin!