Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am Thankful For...

I am thankful for so many things in my life right now. After a great day with family it reminds me even more of why I should stop and remember to give thanks. Here are a few of my favorite things:

My Family- First and foremost I am so thankful for my beautiful healthy, Reese. I am so glad she is here and no longer inside me, although I wish she would've waited a little longer, I am so glad she is here now so that I can enjoy every minute of her. I am thankful for her cute little lips and her "o" mouth that she has when she strains. For her brown eyes and beautiful lashes. For her sweet coo's and her soft fuzzy hair. I am thankful that, despite her prematurity, she is healthy and mostly happy. Secondly, I am thankful for my husband. He is so loving and caring that I cannot even describe what he means to me. I love that he high 5's me when I win at games even though I just beat him, that he does the dishes after dinner, and that he still comes over to sneak a kiss when no one is looking. Above all those things, I love the father he is. Even when we're up all night and running on empty, he grabs that baby and holds her close to tell her how beautiful she is and how happy he is to see her. My cup runneth over....

My Extended Family- I love all of my family so much. I love that I still have my grandparents, on both mine and Dustin's side. They do so much for us, each call us often and make sure to say I love you before getting off the phone. We are so lucky to have them. Our parents are both great examples of what marriage should be and we are lucky to see people who genuinely love each other and are great role models for us. Our sisters, they are fun, funny, and loving. They are loving aunts and will each bring a new personality for Reese to see and grow by. And of course, Mags. The cutest little 6 year old who loves her new baby Reese more than anything in the entire world. She even bought her Llama Llama Red Pajama just because she wants Reese to love it as much as she does.

My job- I'm thankful I get 8 weeks off for maternity leave. I'm thankful I get paid every month, I'm thankful I have amazing retirement. Right now I have an amazing class full of respectful, kind hearted children who are so loving and sweet. I work with some of the best people I know and I am so thankful for a career that is rewarding and that I love every day.

My friends- Now more than ever I am thankful for my friends. Each friend brings a new "mommy" voice to my life. I can call each of them for advice and each will tell me some anecdote of what to do when or solve the problems of life. Talking to my friends has kept me sane and helped me in so many ways. I always have loved the phrase, "I get by with a little help from my friends" by John Lennon. Today I believe it is true more than it was 10 years ago. The older I get the wiser I get and I know that friends are there to bring casserole when your life is turned upside down. I think that's the best way to sum it up too, if you have a friend who loves you enough to bring you food than you have a friend for life.

I have so many other big and little things that I am thankful for; my house, my dogs, my TV that keeps Dustin occupied, my cooking ability, my car, I could go on and on. But the point is, I appreciate the life I have. I love each day whether it be good or bad because I know I have the kind of life that people dream of having.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve

For as long as I can remember Thanksgiving Eve has been the night to party. Everyone comes home and goes out and it is an absolute blast. I always look forward to Thanksgiving because I get to see so many people who I miss other times when I go home and because it is usually the drunkest night of the year. Thinking back I can remember not being able to get up and eat turkey the next day. I have puked in my grandma's bathroom minutes before sitting down to eat dinner. And yet, each year I look forward to this night more than any other night of the year.

This year however, I am spending my Thanksgiving Eve in a slightly different manner. Right now I am watching an NCIS marathon and thinking about painting over my nails that got smudged. I gave my daughter a bath in her whale tub only to take her out and watch her pee all over me. I had a bowl of ice cream and am in my sweats dreaming of bed time. Not quite the festivity of the past.

I wish I could say that I don't miss it, that this is so much more fun than getting drunk with all my BHS friends. But that's not entirely true. I log on to facebook and see all the posts of people getting ready to head out and I feel very envious. I would love to go see everyone and catch up. I would love to have a few beers, I would love to pass out and not get up until 10:00 tomorrow.

Gosh it sounds like fun, but for this year anyway, I think I'll pass. And right now, jealous though I may be, it really was fun to give Reese a bath. When she peed all over me, I laughed and really enjoyed cleaning her up. I loved cuddling her and reading "Who's In the Jungle" and I don't want to give that up to anyone just yet. So, there's always next year, but if you went out tonight and took part in the holiday season, I hope you thought of me as you drank your beer and caught up with old friends. Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reese Kamry Neal

Here are a few pictures of Reese's first few days!!


Finally, my beautiful daughter got to come home!

Having a child premature scared the ever-loving life out of me. No buts about it, it scared me to a place I don't think I knew existed within myself. Going through the night she was born, I feel lucky to have survived that kind of fear and the days afterwards did not do much to help me otherwise. What if God gave me this perfect little gift and then took it away? Well, it was too much for me to imagine.

Now, I said no buts of course but there is usually a light at the end of the tunnel. Eventually, she got better. One day her light bulb came on and the little girl took off. She began slugging down ounce after ounce of formula and she ended up gaining back her birth weight. God doesn't really give you anything you can't handle, and about the time I got to my breaking point, here we came around the bend.

So now, Reese Kamry Neal has finally blessed our lives, our home, and whether they think so or not, our dogs. We just couldn't be happier to have her here. I thought Dustin might start shaking yesterday he was so excited. We had no grand pomp and circumstance, no special outfit (nothing fits anyway) no door decorations, just a small little family walking in to our life. It was a really special day for us.

We didn't sleep much last night, she has to be woken up every 3-3 1/2 hours to eat and since we are new to this we had flip lights on to get the bottle room temperature and to find the snaps on the sleeper but we did it. We sat and debated about the habits we wanted to start so we made sure we didn't put her in our bed or hold her in our arms through a whole nap but we did it and she is no worse for the wear.

I never thought I'd really think about where I could find a hand held mirror so I can check for breath, or that I'd ever forget to read a book to my child before bed(I am a teacher, I know better than that!) but I do know now that the color of the sky is so much bluer and the first snow of the season is a little more special. When you wake up one day and become a mother, the world just looks a little different and I am so glad it does.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The first one out

I did it, I had my first beer! And let me tell you, it was everything I hoped it would be. Earlier in the day as I contemplated whether or not I would be a horrible mom and have a beer or if I should just do without, I talked about it with a friend. The conversation went something like this;
Me: "I'm kind of thinking about having a couple of beers tonight."
Kelly: "I hope they still taste good for you, after I was pregnant they tasted funny."
Me: "Oh dear, what if I lose my love of beer?"
Kelly: "Wait, I forgot who I was talking to, you're an Olinger, it's just in you, isn't it?"
Me: "Oh yeah, I forgot, you're right, I'll be fine."

And, I was. It still tasted like beer, and lucky for us we had a few frosty mugs in the freezer. I was actually pretty surprised too because I had 2 and I figured I'd have a little buzz, but I didn't. I do have to say though, it felt surprisingly normal. As if 9 months hadn't gone by, like every weekend for most of my life I've been having a few beers with Dustin, and pregnancy never happened. It's weird to me how fast the crapiness of pregnancy fades away...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm Ready

It's been nearly a week, oh my!, and I have yet to blog about my experiences of labor and new motherhood. Earlier I had so many words and no place to start, and a little later I had so many tears and no way to channel them....but now, I'm ready. So here goes, my journey of motherhood, week 1.

All during pregnancy I had the fear of being "that mom." I hated to call the doctor because I didn't want to harp on them constantly with silly questions. So, in some ways I ignored my instincts, telling myself that I was being silly and that all this was normal, pregnant behavior. Now looking back I wish I'd been more assertive about what I was feeling because, in all honesty, I had the premonition that something was going to happen, and by golly, it did.

Halloween weekend I finished up Christmas shopping, I made soup and froze it, I did piles of Reese's laundry in an effort to keep up with things...can you say nesting? I didn't sleep all week, I was in pain, I was waddling and to be honest I felt 40 weeks not 34, I should've spoken up. I went to the doctor on Thursday and tried to express without sounding hokey, that I was in fact miserable and please understand that all this doesn't feel "right."

I went to the store and people stared at me, I even got a "whoa" from a little boy. I got home and lost my mucus plug. Hmmmm, my body was crying out for me to listen. I called the doc and he gave me his condescending, "well, lots of people think they've lost it." I KNOW my body, I am a smart girl, I lost the damn mucus plug and I was only 34 weeks, listen to me damn it! But I went about my night thinking, "I am not making it to the shower this weekend, something is not right."

We packed our bag for the weekend and laid on the bed to have some snuggle time, I scratched Dustin's back and felt a gigantic kick. I even commented on it right before the flood started. Little did I know that what I really felt was the bag bursting. Water went everywhere, immediately I was soaked and so was the floor, a pair of pants and a couple towels. I changed clothes and laughed with Dustin about how unprepared the planners were. We didn't even pack a bag, who knew what we were going to need? The baby was premature and wasn't going to fit in anything anyway, so why bother right now while I was gushing anyway?

Off we went, scared, excited and clueless. We ran some tests and found out she was breech, my worst nightmare. Why oh why does God do this? Premature and breech, 2 of my biggest concerns were happening and happening so fast that I didn't have time to process it. Immediately my room filled with people, lab techs, nurses doctors, everyone from everywhere and before I knew it Dustin was dressed and we were wheeling down to surgery. And I was terrified.

For those of you who know me, you know Dustin is my rock. He is my calm in a storm and I needed him right then, and do you know they make the dads stay in a room alone while the mom gets an epidural. I didn't and the whole time I was shaking and crying and so scared because I couldn't find him. It was horrifying! Thank goodness for Charlotte, our nurse, she was unbelieveable.

Our doctor was okay, you know the one from earlier who disagreed on the mucus plug, but when he asked me if my tears were tears of joy I would've just as soon slapped him than look at him, did he not realize how scared I was? But the surgery went well, Dustin and I both got pretty queasy but we made it. Reese did well too and didn't need oxygen right away so off she went to the NICU while I recovered in another room.

It was all so scary that I can't even put it all in words. One of my worst nightmares had come true, we lived and did just fine but I promise I will never ignore my body like that again. I will never let the matter of feeling silly come before what I think is best for my baby. God doesn't give us anything we can't handle, I know this, but there were a lot of curve balls at once and I don't want to do that again!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Orange Shoes

Today during library lesson we heard a book called Orange Shoes. Nova is gonna kill me because I can't site any important information about it just that it was a wonderful book. Basically the book was about a little girl from long ago who had to carry her lunch in a pail and walk to school on dirt roads with no shoes. It's like the famous, "And we walked to school, in the snow, uphill both ways..." saga. Her family had to choose between shoes and tires and when they found out the school was having a fundraiser using shoe boxes and that the kids needed shoes to participate the family decided to buy 2 tires instead of 4 and some new shoes for their daughter.

The kids in my class were just in awe of this story; they even clapped at the end. They couldn't believe that someone could go to school with no shoes on. And it really made me appreciate how far we have come as a society in some ways.

I get so discouraged with manners of others; people don't open doors for one another. I get on my soap box a lot about the way people treat others and often forget to find the good in what other people do for each other. When was the last time you saw a student head out to school walking, uphill, without shoes (in the snow)? I bet it's been awhile, and honestly I bet most of us have never seen it.

So, our society is doing some good. We make sure these kids are clothed and fed each day. They are offered 2 free meals a day. Some kids get backpacks full of food for the weekend or are given the opportunity to go to a place to pick out new clothes so they don't have to wear ratty stuff or things that are too big or small. Kids are provided coats, hats, gloves, even Christmas presents if they are really in need. And although we don't meet the needs of every kid all the time, we do try. We work to make the world a little bit better one kid at a time.

As a teacher, I've never accepted the "you can't change society" excuse. In my opinion, we do. Each day we make a kid smile, we teach one more thing than the day before, and little by little we shape and mold tomorrow. Taking the time to look at our school, I am proud to be part of the fact that each kid wears shoes each day, no one walks cold and alone to school, kids are fed and sent home with food for the weekend. And don't you think they will remember that? Don't you think society is a little better because 1 child gets to eat? I do and that's why I do what I do.