It’s Been Awhile

As many of you know, I’ve been pretty busy for quite awhile.  Having two babies in two years will take a lot out of a lady.  For those that are unaware, Zelda Mae Marguerite was born on August 11 and our lives have been hectic for awhile.

Little Miss Bliss has had reflux issues and currently we are battling eczema all over her face, legs, and arms.  She is crazy happy and smiley despite this, however.  When you kiss her, she closes her eyes as though she is savoring your affections, and she smells amazing, so she gets a lot of kisses.

With a second child comes a lot of guilt.  Originally, when I was pregnant, I had assumed all that guilt would be due to Hazel having to share us.  I felt that we hadn’t given her enough time with just us, and that made me a little sad.  However, now we are in the terrible twos at just under twenty months, and I can officially say I’m not regretting having her be a little less spoiled – though whether it’s making a difference or not I cannot say.  No, what I now feel guilty over is that I’m not giving enough one on one attention to Zelda.  She is so small and sweet and any time I leave her alone in a room on her mat or in her swing I feel just awful about it.  I feel like she is just terrified to be alone, though in reality she probably doesn’t even notice.  But it doesn’t change at all how I feel.  I want to hold her all the time like I did with Hazel.  I want to snuggle the shit out of her.  I want her to fall asleep on me and cuddle into me and sleep with me.  Because I also have this toddler I can’t snuggle, cuddle, or sleep with her enough.  I worry about how this will affect her later down the road.

Being a mom is just all worry though in the end I’m sure.  A constant internal struggle that never goes away.

I can say that I am super in love and I am actually really happy they are so close in age.  Zelda is just so… everything.  I can’t wait for everyone to meet her.

In other news, we are getting ready to host the Garrisons for Thanksgiving.  We will also be doing Christmas with them, I’m assuming on black Friday, so I’m scrambling for gift ideas.  I had the perfect gift for Christina but it was extremely exclusive and the items went on sale at 11 AM and by 11:01 AM they were completely sold out.  I was slightly devastated.  And very annoyed.  So now I’m back to square one.  I haven’t gotten any gifts for anyone other than David and Hazel so I need to get on it.  Especially considering David and Hazel’s gifts will be given on actual Christmas so having their gifts early is not really important.

In other-other news, we are all coming home in March to have a birthday party for Hazel and Danny.  Their party will be March 20 and I don’t have any other details at this time, other than I’m hoping to have it in Champaign since it’s a more central location for our extended families and our friends.

Well this is really all I have time for, so adios ahora.

The Great Bed Bug Debacle of 2014

March 22, 2014 was an incredible day.  It was the day my daughter, Hazel, was born at Methodist Hospital.  I brought all the crap I was instructed to pack for the two day hospital stay, which is probably more than you’d take on a trip to Europe.  (I won’t be making that mistake again.)  I had a duffel bag and my purse, and David also had a bag for clothes and blankets and things of that nature.

Once Hazel was born, we were taken back to our room where I would stay two nights.  We just threw our bags wherever.  We were exhausted.  There was a chair in the corner that pulled out into some half-assed form of a mattress.  This chair was gross.  I mean seriously, really gross.  Think of all the men who have slept on this vinyl glorified piece of trash, all the food spilled on it, all the baby barf that has been spewed upon it.  But David was in it to win it, and he slept at the hospital to get up with the baby because I felt that if I stood up, my uterus might actually just fall out of my body.  It doesn’t even seem that irrational.

The next day, David’s parent’s visited us, so we folded the chair back into its natural position.  When we took off the blankets, there was a lovely dead cockroach between the precious afghan hand made by David’s grandmother and the white sheet we had spread over the “mattress.”  Like I said, this chair was gross, and possibly the whole hospital was disgusting.

The following day was a Monday; we could finally go home.  David noticed he had some red bumps, almost a rash, on his arms, which he thought was strange, but we thought nothing of this.  We were just eager the get the hell out of the hospital, eat our own food, and lie in our amazing bed that is basically a cloud in heaven, so we packed everything up hastily only to wait an hour and a half to get somebody to wheel me out.  Apparently that is necessary hospital policy, though I find it to be bullshit.

The next two or three weeks passed quickly, yet slowly, and I was waking up a few times a night to breastfeed Hazel.  David would sleep in the guest bed on week days so he wouldn’t be disturbed when I would get her up, so it would be just Hazel and I in our amazing cloud bed in heaven.  One morning at about 4:00, I was drowsily feeding her and watching Netflix in bed, and I looked down to see a strange bug that looked like an apple seed.  I was like, “Ew, a tick.”  I grabbed a Kleenex to kill it, and that thing popped like a cherry.  I thought, that’s weird, ticks normally don’t do that.  At some point that afternoon, I was in Hazel’s room changing her diaper.  I saw one of those bugs crawling on her changing table.  I flushed it down the toilet without a thought.

About five minutes later, I had a minor freak out that those were bed bugs, and not ticks.  I’m not sure what put the thought in my head, but after looking at the second one more closely and in the daylight, I felt that it really didn’t look like a tick.  And why would I have two ticks in the house?  So thanks to nifty google, I determined that it was, in fact, bed bugs.  IN MY HOUSE.  IN MY AMAZING CLOUD BED IN HEAVEN.  WHERE MY BABY SLEEPS.

I called David right away.  He, in turn, called Terminix.  They came out the very next day and confirmed that yes, we had bed bugs.  How did this happen?  We hadn’t gone anywhere other than the hospital in the last two-three months, and surely we didn’t get them there?  The kind fellows at Terminix said we probably only had them a few weeks, because they only found two or three and only on our bed, but these assholes of the bug world can multiply insanely fast, as you may know.  We had them spray two days later to kill them all.

Nothing makes you want to rip off your skin more than thinking you have bugs crawling on you all night.  It’s disgusting and in a time where you’re already sleep deprived doesn’t help at all.  We had to sleep with these weird covers on the mattress for three months.  We had to take every piece of clothing and all of our shoes and put them in plastic bags.  We then had to dry them on high heat or freeze items.  We had to clear out our closet to be sprayed.  I had to disappear from the house with my baby and three dogs for like six hours.  What the hell would you do with a newborn for six hours?  We had no place to go, so we sat in our car in an HEB parking lot until they were done.  That was fun.  (Sarcasm.)  We had to pay $1,200 out of our savings to get rid of them, which we had hoped to hold on to for, ya know, they baby we just had.  As it turned out, they didn’t get them all, and had to come back a week later.  They were living in our headboard.  My beautiful headboard I had just made that I could no longer trust to not have bedbugs.  I contemplated throwing it out and making a new one.  But who has time for that?  So I set it aside for like four months: the logical decision.

And it all goes back to Methodist Hospital.  I kept thinking, if we had just been more careful, if we had just set our bags on the table, if we had just burned all of our shit before walking through the door.  The signs were there, David had obviously been bitten by bedbugs when he was sleeping in that terrible chair/bed, but we didn’t realize.  We assumed it was some weird rash, and bedbug bites never occurred to us.  We thought we were safe because we were in a hospital.  WRONG.  Remember all those husbands who slept on the chair/bed before David?  The sloppy ones who spill food and let babies barf on it?  Yeah, they could travel from anywhere and bring anything into a hospital.  How often would you guess Terminix comes into your local hospital and sprays poison onto all the chairs, curtains, and wardrobes?  Probably never.

Please learn from my mistakes.  It’s taken me a whole freaking year to be able to admit publicly that we had bed bugs, but I feel that so many pregnant people should know: don’t assume you are ever safe from bedbugs anywhere.  We are pretty much terrified we will bring them home now, so we are very careful these days about traveling, especially when we stay in hotels.  Oh, and make sure you have a Bed Bug Fund  Emergency Savings Account because you never know what will come up when you’re least expecting it.

Philadelphia and Other Things

So for the last week the Garrisons were in Philadelphia visiting the Kranzes.

I obviously had some anxieties about flying with a one year old, who wouldn’t?  Honestly, Hazel always proves to me I need not worry about her.  She did just fine, and was the best child under five on the way there and back, despite being exhausted.  We did buy her her own seat to minimize stress and tantrums, and strapping her in her car seat was probably a life saver in this situation.  We even let her have apple juice for the first time, probably the last time if we’re being honest.  (We don’t do juice, just water and milk.)

It was great to see Erin and Dan and especially Danny, who has changed so much since I saw him about ten months ago.  He is adorable.  He is Hazel’s opposite in most ways, physically and personality-wise.  I enjoyed being able to see what having two babies will be like, which will be hard but also rewarding.

I learned things about Hazel’s personality that I never really noticed before; She’s nice!  She gave Danny kisses and brushed his hair and washed him in the bath with her washcloth.  She liked to be around him, even if she annoyed him with her constant touching and toy taking.  I think she will make a great big sister.  She is also tenacious.  I’ve always known this, but having her around another child really let me know it’s a part of her personality.  She would find a toy and hold onto it all day, and she was determined to climb the stairs repeatedly.  Even with the baby gate over the stairs, she tried climbing over it until she actually nearly injured herself.  She is somewhat shy, but warms up quickly.  She is hilarious, and likes to make everyone laugh.

Midway through our visit, we had professional pictures taken of all of us, and I hope to remember to post the link on here.

We are certainly glad to be home though.  Hazel didn’t sleep well at Erin’s, which means I didn’t sleep well, and we all were looking forward to sleeping in our own beds last night.  Today was nice to be just Hazel and me.  She was very sweet and I think she missed my one on one undivided attention.

Today I’m twenty-two weeks pregnant.  Baby is growing a lot every week.  I’m looking forward to August, though.  I’m not the biggest fan of being pregnant, but I do like the baby in the end.

Hazel’s new room is almost done being painted.  David should be able to work on it more in the next few weeks when he graduates with his MBA.  He will have so much more time, we won’t know what to do with ourselves.  Anyway, once the trim is painted everything else should come together rather quickly.  Once her room is complete, all I’ll really have to get for New Baby is a double stroller, which I already have picked out, we just need to save for it because it’s rather pricey.

Okay, hopefully I’ll post later in the week or next week about the pictures, but for now I must go meet the pizza delivery man or woman.

Time Is a Resource I Never Have Enough Of

I wish I had more time to write here.  Hazel has been so busy lately; always on the move and napping less.  She is also eating more which can be time consuming because I prepare all of her meals still.

I’m also almost fourteen weeks pregnant, which means I am just starting to feel a little more like “myself” again — whoever that is anyway.  But that really means I am lazy as hell because I am exhausted from making a human being.  So sometimes my brain just doesn’t work.  Many days I laugh because I can barely form sentences when David gets home from work.  It’s as if I don’t know what talking even is.  I talk to Hazel, yes, but she isn’t much for conversation yet.

I’m slightly terrified that I’ll be having another tiny human dictator to care for in August.  There are going to be great moments, and hard moments, and many things I’m probably not ready for.  But I just have to be.  The benefit is that I’m not going to be as nervous to be a mom like I was with Hazel.  I had never even held a baby or changed a diaper, and that anxiety can really take away from the first few weeks of bonding with your baby.  I’m looking forward to already being a pro at all of these things, and having a second chance to breast feed.  If it doesn’t work again this time, I also won’t have that guilt about having to switch to formula and I can just enjoy being able to feed my baby.

So baby number two is something our whole family will be looking forward to this year.  I’m also planning a trip to Philadelphia around April 6, because Erin still hasn’t been able to meet Haze.  This unfortunately means no trips home to Illinois this year, but all are welcome to visit us here in San Antonio.

Anyway, I must go chase this baby around.  Have a great week everyone!

The Basics of Anti-Aging

So this is a skin subject that most consumers don’t really know much about, and for some reason professionals aren’t always quick to educate them.  Well, I’m going to break it down for you, because I care about your face.

I get asked a lot by twenty-somethings if they even need anti-aging.  My answer is always an enthusiastic YES!  It’s called “anti” aging for a reason, people.  If you’ve already aged, there isn’t much you can do about wrinkles and sun spots, is there?  So, what are you actually trying to achieve by using products labeled “anti-aging?”

You want to increase your cell turnover rate.  We shall call that CTR to make my life easier.  When we, as humans, are born, our cells turn over at a rate of approximately fourteen days.  As we get older, this obviously slows down.  To have great skin that ages more slowly, you want your skin cells to turn over every twenty-eight days.  Unfortunately, if you don’t take care of your skin, your cells could be turning over at a rate as high as approximately forty days!  FORTY DAYS.  This, my friends, is the foundation of anti-aging.

The next big question is, how do I get my cells to turn over at a rate of twenty-eight days?  Exfoliation.  Getting the old cells off so new ones can form.  This is a product that should be discussed and chosen with your esthetician to make sure you’re getting the correct exfoliator for your age and skin condition.

Treatments for anti-aging are almost always exfoliators.  They may have different ingredients, but they all do essentially the same thing, just at a higher or more intense rate.  For instance, in your twenties, you can probably get away with a scrub exfoliator that’s light (like Daily Microfoliant), but in your thirties or forties might need to switch to a stronger chemical based exfoliator that features glycolic acid (like Complete Reform).  Again, there are a ton of options out there, so it’s best to get with an esthetician to find out what will work best for you.

Another aspect we focus on with anti-aging products is hydration.  You must keep your skin properly lubricated to keep it at its healthiest.  This is why those with oily skin types typically age better, because they are always naturally lubricating their skin.  In other words, if you’re a normal or dry skin type, you really must focus on hydration.  There are great masks on the market that you can do weekly, and you want to look for ones that are creamy and feature ingredients like Vitamin C or other antioxidants.  Intense hydrators like shea butter are also great ingredients.

And finally, stay out of the damn sun!!!!!!  Seriously.  In my professional opinion, sun spots age people more than wrinkles do.  Use sunscreen every single day.  I have seen more sun damage on the left side of people’s faces just from driving in their cars to work five days a week.  Of course, most of your sun damage is done before age 18 (up to 80%) so please, if you care about your children, slather them with SPF until they are 18 and can decide for themselves what to do.  It’s the greatest gift you can give them.  Well, other than unconditional love and a sense of self-worth and all that crap.

If you are in your forties or fifties and you’ve discovered your sun spots are coming out, get yourself a product with hydroquinone.  It’s an FDA approved ingredient for actually lightening pigment.  You can get it over the counter at up to 2% or prescribed for a product that will work much faster.  And yes, it does actually work with continued use.  (There is a difference between BRIGHTENING and LIGHTENING but that’s probably a whole separate post.)  I have personally seen clients get results with Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum but you must follow the directions to a tee.

I think that covers it!  If any esthies have anything else to add, please do so in the comments, and if you need a recommendation for an esthetician you can always ask me (of course if you’re from San Antonio or Champaign only.)