Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My #2 is 2!

My baby turned 2. I've been reminding myself lately how teeny tiny she used to be. She was born a little over six weeks early but was such a strong preemie. The nurses and docs in the NICU couldn't believe we had my due date right. They were certain she was at least two weeks older if not more because she was doing SO well. But I had been charting when I got pregnant and knew exactly when I'd gotten pregnant.

Link to Sarasota trip here.

Babies at 33-34 weeks gestation aren't supposed to know how to suck from a nipple or bottle. But Evie was ready to nurse before I was! She never needed a breathing tube and only spent ten (long) days in the hospital.

Now she's my big girl. Not my biggest big girl but she's not a baby anymore. She does still poop her pants, that's a given. But she can sin her ABCs and Happy Birthday. She can run and climb and dance. She loves taking care of her babies, pretending to cook in her play kitchen, look through books on her own for hours, and adores her big sister. She'll yell at me if a Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber song comes on and I don turn it up immediately (we'll work on her musical tastes I promise)

It's bittersweet when your last baby turns 2. But I'm really excited to see what tricks she and Claire will learn this year.

Love you girls!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Too excited to sleep!

I could have slept in this morning...but I'm too excited to sleep!!! (I always think if that Disney commercial with the little boy in bed whenever I say that). It's my baby's birthday party!

Eves having a Finding Nemo themed party for her second birthday. Pinterest made me do lots of things but I didn't make myself crazy like I did last year.

See, I just Love planning and hosting my kids birthday parties. Especially when they're this little. The planning and crafting and shopping are really good distractions for the crying that I'm trying to avoid. They're happy tears but also bittersweet because my baby's not gonna be a baby anymore.

So family is coming out to our neck of the woods for lunch at a Caribbean themed cantina called Flip Flops. It looks like Jimmy Buffet just had an orgy in there so I don't need to so much decorating. They're setting up a small buffet and we will get to visit with everyone.

Ill take and post more pictures later, but I HAVE to tell you about the cake. THE CAKE! My amazingly talented friend, Charlie, from The Happy Bakery made is the most extraordinary cake sculpture.

Check this out!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

$h*t just got REAL!

The delay since my last post has been due to the fact that MAJOR life decisions have been happenin' up in herr. The decision I was freaking out about? (and honestly, have been for over one year now) has finally been resolved.

I did it.

I quit my full-time non-profit job at an agency I just love and have decided to make the switch to working for myself!

I'm a business owner! A Mom-treprenour. (There's no way I spelled that correctly)

That's right! After countless years of working as a social servant, I mean, social worker at many highly rewarding and proufoundly impactful but very low paying jobs that require long, demanding hours I've demoted myself to part-time private therapist / part-time stay at home mom! I couldn't be happier. Since I gave my 4 weeks notice at work, I've been in the BEST mood and have been so productive. It's like a weight has been lifted.

I wouldn't have been able to consider making this move now if Mike hadn't worked his @$$ off to get a great job with a significant raise. Plus he's been SO supportive. He's helped me crunch the numbers, talked me off the ledge, encouraged me, asked good questions, helped me find some answers and been an awesome partner, friend and spouse. Thank you Mikey.

I went into work after having a nice, long holiday break determined to finally have a talk with my boss about reducing my hours. I didn't want to have this convo though. I may or may not have given myself the runs multiple times just thinking about it.

Since I was at a management level, I knew that would include a demotion and restructuring of my position. I was prepared to work part-time and mostly that was because I didn't want to let the agency down or any of the clients I'd been seeing. Turns out, work wasn't able to modify the Grant my position is funded by (this can be common) and ultimately decided I'd only be able to reduce my hours down to 4 full days a week. That wouldn't work for my future plan so this week I gave my notice. Didn't necessarily see it coming, but now I know it was the right decision.

I wouldn't have been staying for logical, financial or schedule-related reasons. I would have been staying because my heart, guts, sweat and mostly tears live there. Safe Connections helped me become the skilled social worker and therapist that I am. They gave me a promotion before my first anniversary and I became a Manager right before I got pregnant with Eve. They've taught me a TON about leadership and management and coached me through hiring and firings, sent me to awesome trainings, fostered the confidence in me to present at state-wide conferences on subjects like trauma, art therapy and healthy sexuality. Financially and emotionally supported me during a complicated pregnancy when I was on bedrest for 5 months. I've grown immensely with this agency. And now this bird is ready to fly the nest.

I'll be focusing on private practice. www.elizabethlowder.com can tell you all about it. I'm really pretty proud of myself. And I haven't said or thought that in a while.

Counting down to Feb 5th y'all!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Claire is super anxious about going back to school tomorrow. Mike tucked her in under protest while I walked a whopping 2 miles on the treadmill (better than zero miles right?) when I came upstairs to take my Epsom salt bath (no I'm not a geriatric I just feel like one) she was sobbing her eyes out. Had grabbed Kleenex out of the hall bathroom and was wiping her eyes. She'd also grabbed her little pink plastic trash can and placed it on the side of her bed by the wall like we do when she's throwing up sick.

I tried talking to her about it "Why are you scared? Grammy gets to pick you up from aftercare. What do you want in your lunch?" But that didn't seem to help. Which really bothers me by the way - that I still can't rationalize with her. Can you tell I'm a therapist?

I finally just told her she could read for a while until she gets sleepy. That was 45 minutes ago as she's still up. Reading out loud with her finger pointing out the words. I can vividly remember doing this a a kid. I was a voracious reader and would read until late late at night because I couldn't sleep or the book was just to damn interesting. (I mean have you read Little House in the Big Woods lately? It's riveting!!)

I just feel bad for her. I must say she comes by the anxiety issues honestly. I need to have a hard conversation tomorrow at work that I've been dreading since my last day before holiday break.

I've been giving myself diarrhea over it. I just need to bite the bullet and do it. Because once I say it I can't unsay it. And then it's out there and I have to live with it.

You would think I was getting ready to tell someone I had a fatal disease or liked R Kelly's music (negatory on both btw).

It's not even necessarily a 'bad' thing. It's a GREAT thing for me and my family. But I'm so fuggin worried about disappointing other people. And this is a convo I've been putting off way longer than mid December.

I'm freaking out before I even know if I have anything to freak out about. And in college I was notorious for coining the term FOBFO = Freaking Out Before Finding Out. As in "Mary don't FOBFO because your period is twenty minutes late. Why don't we go to Walgreens and buy a test?" Or "Emily, you probably aced that exam. Stop FOBFOing and keep passing the joint." (Puff, puff, give!)

Will someone please tell me to stop FOBFOing. Because its totally a thing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Prize

I've taken a blogger's holiday but I'd like to get back into the swing of things again. Holiday recap? Well don't mind if I do...

Sister, Leah took the train in from Chicago for the holiday. Me and the kiddos were super happy to see her and spend a lot of time with her. We started it off with a wrap-a-thon for a full 2 1/2 hours in the basement. I went a little anal and had a system going. Everything from Santa with one type of paper, everything from us to C in one color paper, everything from us to E in another type of paper, different families in different paper. It made things a LOT easier when we were packing presents when leaving everyday. Nothing was forgotten this year.

Xmas #1: cooking red sauce and meatballs for the Stallone family celebration. Eve had a lot of fun opening presents and really got into it. My niece and nephews were presh and I think everyone had a great time.

Xmas #2: We started out the day catching Rise of the Gaurdians. Well, most of us did. Eve spent most of the movie walking around the theater with Mike and I taking turns escorting her little chubby self around while she hugged the cardboard display of The Croods. Then we had Christmas Eve at the Lowder's. My bro-in-law Joe made a traditional cuban dinner with pork shoulder, fried plaintains, yuca and black beans and rice. I'd never had any of it (instead of pork obviously) before but I really, really liked it! And I appreciated something different versus turkey or ham with potatoes. Eve got a baby doll she just loves from her Uncle Gary and Aunt Jen and Claire got a bunk bed for her AG doll and Butterfly doll (Cracker Barrell knockoff).

Xmas #3: The Real Deal. Mike was actually anxious that we didn't have enough to give the girls this year. I thought that was crazy! Between ALL four of our families the girls get spoiled. But we didn't have one BIG "WOW" present and I could tell that was really bothering him. I reminded him that C's "big" present was that we were redecorating her whole room to a 'big girl' room. New comforter, pillows, curtains, posters, clock, memo board, Justin Bieber calendar, etc. But I don't think he was convinced. C loved it all though. She was psyched to get rid of her 'baby' stuff. By Christmas morning Eve was over the unwrapping of the presents. She couldn't be bothered. She would literally start crying and fussing if we showed her another gift to unwrap. So honestly, some presents were left unwrapped this year for her.

this doll actually has more hair than Eve
Xmas #4: Mike's mom's family celebration at their house that afternoon. It was much quieter with just the two brothers of their 4 girls, but nice after all the chaos from the previous two days. E got an Ariel babydoll with short red hair and blue eyes...just like her! She loves her! It's so friggin precious to see her love and take care of her dolls. I could watch it all day. We got a 20 movie gift card from redbox that I'm looking forward to using up because we love to watch some movies while pigging out and sitting by the fire. We picked up the new Total Recall on the way home. Ah Colin Farrell...

Dec 26 and 27 we had a couple of chill days. C had a sleepover with Grammy. Mike and I went clothes shopping at Kohl's and had some delicious mexican food at Senor Pique. I got to take a nap. The girls got to play with most of their toys. good times!

After work on Dec 28 we drove out to CoMo for Xmas #5: the girls got adorable matching velour Hello Kitty track suits. I got an infinity scarf knitted by my cousin Mary. We had Imo's and played Headbandz and visited until Eve started getting punchy and hyperspastic, literally bouncing off the walls. My mom and sister took care of the girls in the morning and let Mike and I sleep in which is AWESOME of them! We took the girls bowling with their cousins and had a lot of fun. C bowled her first STRIKE (in real bowling, not Wii). My stepdad made homemade authentic italian speidini, not the fake poser kind of most of the italian restaurants in St. Louis. The read deal holyfield Grandpa Stallone variety. So delicious.

Leah came back to the Lou with us and we entertained her with a trip to Costco, yummy dinners like quiche lorraine and chocolate gingerbread cake, big fat snowflakes, more fires in the fireplace and a low-key NYE. The best part? She majorly helped me clean out my basement. I'm talking numerous trash bags and multiple bags full of items to donate and TONS of cardboard boxes...anyone moving? Seriously, come over to my house. I'd like to make the downstairs a more livable playroom so we'll hopefully be able to work on that this month. I won't dwell on the fact that Mike has at least 4 boxes FULL of cds. FULL. of cds. I also found a present that he forgot he bought for me! It's this amazing screenprint of two koi fish. I just had a birthday, and obviously we just celebrated christmas - we didn't buy gifts for each other, just stockings. So he had two prime opportunities to give it to me. He just forgot. Either way I LOVE it and think I will hang it up in our bedroom or redecorate our bathroom around it.

Ok if you're still reading you get a prize. Email me for details. Sorry for the lengthy post y'all!