Friday, January 31, 2014

Hard Day

Today is a hard day. As I type this, Mike is moving our dog, Bauer, down to his new home in Omaha. Getting rid of Bauer is a decision I've been struggling with for a while now, and I finally made up my mind about a month ago.

Bauer is such a good and patient pup. He is only 11 months older than Connor, and when that baby came home from the hospital, Bauer instantly outgrew his naughty puppy phase and stuck to that baby like glue. Bauer is present in most of Connor's baby pictures.  He tried to lay on Connor multiple times, which led me to believe he thought of Connor as a litter mate :)

Although he's not quite as attached to Bryce in his older age, he lets that boy crawl all over him, tug on his lips, and pull his tail. I never once worried about him snapping at my kids. He is so sweet-natured.

The problem was us. Bauer is a Black Lab/Springer Spaniel mix. Black Lab + Springer Spaniel = Lots of Energy. A dog like that needs to get out for walks every day. He needs to be able to run and play. Bauer didn't get that with us. He is big and strong and difficult for me to walk. Walking him with a stroller was pretty much out of the question. With Mike and me working opposite schedules for the past year and half, there was even less time for Bauer. Without proper exercise and attention, Bauer's anxiety caused him to bark constantly and drive me (and all the neighbors, I'm sure...) insane. He started doing some naughty things he hadn't done since he was a puppy.

As Mike's work travel schedule intensified, so did my frustration with Bauer. He deserves better than to be ignored and yelled at. He deserves to be appreciated, and for me he was just one more mouth to feed and one more thing demanding my attention. My patience these days is thin, and unfortunately, our sweet dog got the worst of me.

My wonderful sister, Molly, and her husband Brett have been thinking about getting a dog anyway, and volunteered to take Bauer. They don't have any kids yet, have a nice fenced-in back yard, and genuinely WANT a dog. They can't wait to get him in shape so he can go running with them. Running!

I know it's going to take a while for poor Bauer to adjust to his new home, but I really think it will be better for him. I am feeling really sad today, because not only did I fail as a pet owner, I caused my husband and sons the pain of losing a pet. If it were up to Mike, Bauer would still be ours. It was 100% my decision, but Mike supported it because he wants me to be happy. I appreciate that so much, but today is still a hard day.

I never would have given him away to someone I didn't know, and I truly believe Bauer will be happier with Molly and Brett in Omaha than he was here. We will also be able to see him anytime we go down to visit. Here's hoping he adjusts okay. We'll miss you, Bauer boy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

I'm Ready....

It's official. I'm ready to go back to work. I know I'm fortunate to have this time with my kids, but I am at the point where I feel like I'd be a better mother if I wasn't with them all the time. I need time to miss them. I need to appreciate my time with them. I know there are so many mothers who long to be in my position, and I feel horrible, but it's not for me. It's not even the kids, it's the staying home. I feel claustrophobic and bored.  I miss being around my colleagues. I miss having time to be just ME instead of MOM. I feel like I've lost a big part of my identity. I know I'm the world to those two little boys, but don't feel like much outside of these walls.

I was looking through old posts and found this one from last May. I was already itching to go back to work back then. Here we are almost a year later, and most days I feel like I'm just in survival mode. It's heartbreaking, because I feel like I'm not the happy, complete mom they deserve to have.

So why don't I just go back to work? Because we literally can't afford for me to go back to teaching right now. Until at least one of the boys is in school (out of daycare), we'd be worse off than we are right now. With the cost of preschool and daycare, we'd have less money than we have right now, and that can't happen. It's pathetic how little teachers (especially parochial school teachers like me) get paid. It's pathetic that someone can want to work so bad it hurts, but can't afford to work. How backwards is that?

In order to get back to work, I'm also considering working in a different that would pay better. BUT, I feel like teaching experience is so unique I'm not qualified for any other kind of work. The thought of working in an office or corporate setting is so foreign to me, it's scary. I've always said if I did any other kind of work I'd want to be a trainer (the corporate kind, not the physical kind...haha) or a retreat leader of some kind....a position where I could use my teaching and speaking skills. I have searched for these types of positions, and don't seem to have the experience they are looking for....although many do list Education as an acceptable degree.

If anyone reading this works for a company or corporation with a training department and could maybe help me out in this area, I'd appreciate it. It would be fun to try something new. I feel like this would be the perfect time to do it, when I don't have a teaching job I'd be giving up.

If the right job comes up, I'll have to see what we can do to work it out. If no good opportunities present themselves, I'll have to survive another year and a half at home. In fall of 2015, Connor starts kindergarten and Bryce will be in preschool five mornings a week, so child care will become much more affordable. In the meantime, I'm just praying for answers. Praying a job opportunity will come my way. Praying we'll find a way to make daycare, preschool transportation, and preschool tuition work. Praying I will find fulfillment in whatever situation I find myself in.

I know that this time with little ones is hard and doesn't last forever. I know that things will get easier. I know I will long for these days when the boys grow up. Right now, though, it's hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel. I appreciate this blog space as a way to "let it all out". Thanks for allowing me to vent.

Stay warm everyone! This winter has GOT TO GO!
xoxo, Julie

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Surgery Success

It's been a month now since Bryce had his eye surgery, but with the craziness of the holidays, I haven't gotten around to blogging about it.

His surgery wasn't scheduled until 11:30 a.m., so we started the day with me pumping him so full of jell-o that he was spitting up orange....he couldn't eat solids, but was allowed jell-o up until 8 am, so I made sure he had plenty of that!

He was such a happy boy at the hospital...he thought the crib they put him in was a play pen, and he loves getting attention, so he was a happy guy. Here he is, pre-surgery:

He remained happy the whole time before surgery, although about an hour before he kept signing the word "eat". He had just learned the sign a couple weeks before...just in time to break my heart because I couldn't give him anything before surgery!
Mike and I decided we didn't want to be with him when they put him would just be too hard to see him that way. The anesthesiologist's nurse just carried him down the hall. He doesn't really have separation anxiety, so he didn't even cry; he just kind of looked at us like, "are you coming??".
The surgery took just long enough for us to grab some lunch in the cafeteria. The doctor came in and said it went perfectly, and that the muscle was HUGE like it had gotten lots of exercise. Bryce is such an observant kid, those eyes are always moving!
Between the anesthesia, morphine, and Tylenol they gave him, it took a while for him to wake up. He needed to prove he could hold liquids down before we could leave. We finally stirred him enough to have a bottle of juice. He was trying so hard to be his normal, happy self, but then he would get a druggie-look on his face and drift back to sleep. Here is all drugged up:

He slept the rest of the day and woke up the next morning looking great. On the second day after surgery, the swelling set in and had me a little worried. The doctor didn't say much about swelling, just redness. Here he is at the peak of the swelling:

Notice how straight his head is already, just two days after surgery?? It took him a few days to re-adjust his vision, but it was so rewarding to see results almost instantly. I am so thankful we did the surgery while he was still young and resilient, and before it had any lasting affects on his neck and/or vision. He recently had a post-op visit with the opthamologist, and he said he couldn't ask for any better. Everything looks great.

I am so thankful that Bryce had a knowledgeable physical therapist who recognized that his head tilt was NOT torticollis, but ocular in nature. I'm so thankful he had a knowledgeable doctor who was able to pin-point the problem and correct it so well. I'm thankful I have a happy, easy going baby who made the day of the surgery as painless for Mike and me as possible. And most of all, I'm thankful for a baby who can finally hold his head straight!

He has been developing like crazy lately, but that's a whole 'nother post. Stay safe during this bitter cold spell, friends!

xoxo, Julie