January 27, 2012

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I don't think I ever shared my decision on my phone dilemma. And I'm sure you were just losing sleep at night about it. Well rest assured, we ended up making a decision and going with the iPhone. One of my favorite things about it is how clear the videos come out. These were all taken on my phone. Although I do have some cute videos of Finn and my dad on the actual video camera, so I'll need to download those (and proceed to make my sister cry). Anywhoo, here are a few of the more recent videos I've taken:

The Ba-Ba's started a couple of weeks ago. So stinkin' cute:

I was getting ready for a run and turned around to see these two cute boys. Daddy makes everything so much fun:

This was when I came home from work the other day and left Finn in the car seat while I unpacked the car and brought things in the house. As I was putting away some things I hear this silly little noise:

And this was while I was writing this post. Finn was rolling all over (hard to keep him contained to a blanket anymore) and he just starting "Ahhhh"-ing. Must be a fascinating picture book.

In other news, our house if officially on the market. Anyone want to buy a home in Columbus, Georgia? Dog not included.

January 20, 2012

On Parenting

A friend of mine recently shared this article on parenting which I thought was wonderful. The author basically states that while parenting is incredibly rewarding, it's hard work and it's OK to acknowledge that. One day you will look back and miss those moments/years/times, but that doesn't mean that every day you have to relish in every, single moment. Here's a little excerpt:

"I think parenting young children (and old ones, I've heard) is a little like climbing Mount Everest. Brave, adventurous souls try it because they've heard there's magic in the climb. They try because they believe that finishing, or even attempting the climb are impressive accomplishments. They try because during the climb, if they allow themselves to pause and lift their eyes and minds from the pain and drudgery, the views are breathtaking. They try because even though it hurts and it's hard, there are moments that make it worth the hard. These moments are so intense and unique that many people who reach the top start planning, almost immediately, to climb again. Even though any climber will tell you that most of the climb is treacherous, exhausting, killer. That they literally cried most of the way up.
And so I think that if there were people stationed, say, every thirty feet along Mount Everest yelling to the climbers -- "ARE YOU ENJOYING YOURSELF!? IF NOT, YOU SHOULD BE! ONE DAY YOU'LL BE SORRY YOU DIDN'T!" TRUST US!! IT'LL BE OVER TOO SOON! CARPE DIEM!" -- those well-meaning, nostalgic cheerleaders might be physically thrown from the mountain."

I whole heartedly agree. And that, for me, has been one of the surprises of parenting. Not that it would be hard - I figured that much, but I assumed, especially after losing a child, that I would easily be able to relish every.single.moment. Even the tough ones. But ya know what, sometimes I just am tired. Or frustrated. Or overwhelmed. Or all of the above. This was and still is something I struggle with. I'm sure it's typical of most parents to feel this way at some point, but then I have to factor in guilt because I lost a child and should appreciate everything. So if  when I get cranky or stressed, I make it worse by being mad at myself for not being mother of the year 100% of the time. But what I'm learning, and learning to accept, is that I'm not just a mother who lost a child. I'm also a mother of a seven month old who is teething and still trying to decide if he wants to sleep through the night. And I'm learning to accept that it's OK to be tired and be frustrated and that it doesn't change the fact that I love my child more than life itself and it doesn't change the fact that I know, arguably better than some, how precious his life really is. So for now my view on parenting is to try and not get too worked up about things and not take it as a sign of anything other than the fact that I care deeply about my children and my ability to be the best mom I can be, but it doesn't mean being the perfect mom every single second of every single day. And to continue to relish in the sweet moments when they happen. Because they happen all the time. For instance when I was reading this article, sweet Finn was snuggling next to me on the couch. He fell asleep, but then started to stir, so I thought was waking back up. Only his eyes didn't open - he just smiled under his binkie and let out a little giggle, then went right back to sleep. It was as if he was woken up by an ever so pleasant dream. Talk about melting your heart.

January 16, 2012

My Thoughts on the Duggars

Last month I saw a lot of posts and articles on the Duggar family and the recent tragedy they suffered when they lost their 20th child at 19 weeks gestation. I had a lot of thoughts on the matter at the time and still do so thought I'd share.

Just a little background for anyone unfamiliar with the story, the Duggar's have 19 {living} children and at a routine appointment at 19 weeks, the Duggar's learned that their baby girl, their 20th child, no longer had a heartbeat. Michelle Duggar naturally miscarried a few days later. Had this happened just one week later, Michelle Duggar's loss would have been considered a stillbirth and not a miscarriage. The defining line between the two being at 20 weeks gestation.

My first thought was two-fold and maybe, probably, a little harsh of me. But I thought what a shame it was and I felt bad for their loss, but I also thought "I'm not surprised after that many kids!" Maybe that's cruel of me, but I lost my first child. Even now I think my successful pregnancy outcome is only 1 out of 2. So this somewhat jaded part of me knows that it could be worse than 19 out of 21 (she had an early miscarriage several years ago in addition to the most recent loss). But like I said, that's probably a little harsh. And that's the part of me that thinks they are nuts to want/have that many children in the first place, especially with the health issues of their 19th baby who was born severely premature.

But there's this other part of me who thinks big deal! So they want to have a lot of kids? They are decent people and raise children with wholesome values and they just have a really, really strong sense of family. I may not agree with them or their views, but I've yet to see one of their children commit a crime or be a menace to society. They can afford their children and provide for them. So what's the big deal if they want to have a plethora of kids? (obviously there are a lot of counter arguments to this notion)

And above all else, I mostly feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for the little girl who only lived 19 weeks in utero and sorry for the family who loved her, wanted her, and misses her. And I feel especially sorry for the scrutiny they fell under last month over the pictures they took of their child, of little Jubilee.

I read this article and was a little upset with this part:

“It just seems too public and almost seems like, ‘OK, we’re stars, everybody wants to know abut us,’” said Susan Newman, a social psychologist who has taken the Duggars to task for continuing to procreate in two columns for Psychology Today. “From what I know of parents who have lost children, it’s horrific. It’s not something you want pictures of.”

Clearly ole Susie has been fortunate enough never to lose a child. Yup, losing a child is horrific, I'll give her that. But it is something you want pictures of. She makes it seem as if there is something wrong with them for taking photographs of their child. But I think what's most upsetting is her viewpoint is probably a pretty common one in our society. Fortunately part of the article comes to the defense of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, the organization that photographed Jubilee Duggar. I'll admit, when asked if I wanted to take pictures of Cale, my first thought was no. I thought it'd be too hard and that you only take pictures of happy outcomes. I didn't think it was wrong to ask, or wrong to do, but it just didn't feel right. Given the total shock we were in, nothing felt right. But fortunately my nurse took pictures anyway. And I looked at them the second I got home without my baby boy. And have cherished them every day since. And I wish I had more. My two biggest regrets of our time with Cale was that I didn't hold him longer (although forever wouldn't have been long enough) and that I didn't take more pictures of him. I wish I knew about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and I wish they could have captured beautiful pictures of my beautiful son. So I think it's wonderful that the Duggar's were able to do this. I think it's wonderful that they will have reminders of the little life that existed, if only for a short while.

And after reading most articles and comments, I feel good to know that it seems most people, especially those in the baby loss community, are supporting and understanding of why the Duggar's took these pictures and sympathetic to their pain and their loss. In fact, I have yet to read a negative response to any of the articles I've seen. Everyone is certainly entitled to an opinion, but frankly, my opinion on the matter is that if you think there is something wrong with a picture of a lost child, then I think there's something wrong with you.

There is also this good article which also defends their actions and looks at our views on death. I think this paragraph sums it up nicely:

"We live in an age in which we can chronicle every moment of our lives via our omnipresent cameras, yet we shudder at the idea of taking – and sharing – the image of a lost baby. For families who’ve endured the pain of pregnancy loss, though, that image will forever be all they have. Sure, not everybody copes with a miscarriage by holding a memorial and passing around pictures, but who’s to decide that grief has to be private? And who’s to say that what is to some just a “sick” photo of a dead fetus isn’t, to her parents, simply their child? And when it later becomes, as it inevitably must, easy for others to forget a life that never began and a hope that was quickly dashed, it’s understandable why it would be so important for the parents to have something to make sure they don’t. A picture. Something that proves that the child they desired was real. And that, just for a moment, they could hold her hand."

January 11, 2012

Meet Maddox

My sister-in-law Jenny gave birth tonight (also my dad's birthday) to the newest member of the Hidalgo Family.

Maddox William Hidalgo
8 lbs, 19 in

 Jenny was admitted to the hospital at 3:43 and delivered Maddox at 5:04. Labor with both my boys was about ten hours. So naturally I hate her a little bit. Oh and this was her second natural delivery. Sick right? Yeah, I know. Sick. While we're at it, can we talk about how pretty she looks in that picture. Who does she think she is!? In all seriousness, I adore my sister-in-law and am so excited that Maddox has arrived safe and sound. Jenny never took one moment of this pregnancy for granted. She's been an amazing source of support and love for me since losing Cale and has just been someone, who despite never going through what we did (fortunately), has never stopped reaching out and never stopped loving Cale just as much as she loves Finley. She's a wonderful friend and sister and even more wonderful Mom. I'm so excited for the new adventures their already beautiful family will have and I can't wait to meet my new nephew.

January 4, 2012

You're Not Crazy . . .

You won't drive across the country and back with a dog and a baby.

But we will.

And we did. But probably never will again. At least for a long time.

Don't get me wrong, we are actually glad we did and in all honestly the drives were not that bad. Driving allowed us to bring Roscoe and more crap than we possibly needed and ensured we had room for the abundance of Christmas presents my parents got for Finn. We also were able to do more and see more people than we would have been able to had we flown. So it was a worthwhile trip, but I'm sure glad to be home.

Our first part of the trip was a drive out to our future home in . . . .drum roll. . . . .Fort Hood, Texas. <<insert long sigh and facial expression of self pity>> We were really hoping the Army would send us to Fort Carson, Colorado, but no such luck. But you know that annoying saying about everything happening for a reason? Well, there actually are lots of good reasons to go to Texas. For one, it will mean that Miles isn't facing a deployment anytime soon. So of course that is good news. Great news. And for two, we've already got some really great friends out there and some of our family will be moving to Austin (about 45 minutes away) just a few months after us. So, it could be worse. And there is a Target and a Hobby Lobby near by - I've already scouted them out. We had already planned to stop in Texas, but since we will now be moving there it was nice to get a feel of the area and check out some potential places to live.

Texas to Arizona. Texas is FAR too big a state.

After a couple days in Texas we drove to visit my family in my hometown of Tucson, Arizona. While I'd never want to live in the desert long term, Tucson really is "home" for me. I grew up in the same house I left for college. While most of my friends have moved, their parents are still around and not much has changed when I drive around our part of town. So it was really nice to bring Finley to my hometown and introduce him to so many people who knew me growing up. And it's especially nice to spend time with my parents and see them interact with their grandson. Boy is he one loved little guy!

From Arizona, we left for California where we spent the bulk of our trip. Our sister-in-law is due any day now with our little nephew who we can't wait to me. Their oldest son Carson, who is two, is best buds with Roscoe - so it was fun to see them interact (yet for some reason I failed to take any pictures of the two). My favorite moment was when Roscoe came over to sniff Carson as he opened some gifts - "No, no Roc-co, my present." When we'd go out and do something, leaving Roscoe back at the house, Carson would often ask "what Roc-co doing?" - always very concerned about what our pup was up to. That dog has it made. While in CA, we made sure to not only dip Finley's feet in the Pacific, but Roscoe's as well.

While in California I met up with a friend of mine for the first time. Abby lost her daughter Nia in 2009 and really reached out to me after losing Cale. We've become good friends and she was such a lifeline for me during my pregnancy with Finn so it was  really wonderful to finally meet in person!

Meeting up with Abby was also really nice because I missed Cale a lot this Christmas, or at least thought about him more than I even realized I would. I think it's because 18 months would have been a fun age for all the excitement of the holidays. It would have been fun to watch him play with his cousin and to get as spoiled by Nana and Pop as Finn did. There's just so much I wanted for that little boy and each milestone is a reminder of that. But I'm ok with that. More than ok. I want to miss him. I want each milestone to remind me of what should have been because he deserves that continued love and acknowledgment. It's the least I can do for him.

But it was great to get to celebrate Finley's first Christmas, take him to see Santa, show him off, and just love on him this holiday season. I'm so, so grateful for that.

Overall it was a really great trip. Our return trip was the same, but with less time spent at each place. And finally, after 14 days, roughly 5,000 miles, and lots of pit stops, we made it back safely to home sweet home (which was a brisk 59 degrees upon arrival. Inside the house).

January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

(in no particular order)

1. Read more. Read more of the news - be more engaged with what's going on in the world. Read to Finn more and read at least one book a month. Seems very doable, but I certainly didn't read 12 books last year and easily could and probably should have. Got any good recommendations?

2. Workout more. Get more miles under my feet, with the BOB, on the bike, etc. Participate in my first triathlon.

3. Capture memories. I've been pretty good about taking lots of pictures of Finn, but I want to ensure I keep this up. Our little guy turns ONE this year - what the what!? I don't want to miss a second of it. I also have a few scrapbooks that I've been working on for far too long or have yet to start (Cale's album), so need to get busy.

4. Continue to find ways to celebrate and honor Cale. We are moving this year so I know I will make a new garden for him at our new home, but moving means new friends and a chance to tell new people about him. I want to find ways to ensure he's still a part of not just 2012, but a part of our forever.

5. Maintain relationships. Certainly important as we move, but something to always work at. I have some amazing friends. Some in this little online community, some in "real life" and they have helped me through the darkest and hardest times in my life. As my grief gets easier to manage, I want to do a better job at being a part of their lives as they were a part of mine when I needed them most.

6. Be a better wife. If I ever stop wanting to be a better wife, I think something in our relationship is wrong. Sure I want to strangle Miles at times, but he's a wonderful husband, father and friend. He deserves my very best.

7. Travel. We just completed a cross country trip with a baby and a dog (more on that later). While I wouldn't do it all over again right away, I know that trips, especially short ones, are possible with a lot in tow. I want to visit at least a few new places we have never been to and travel to places we have been to see the people we love (here's looking at you Kate)

8. Give. With the transition to stay at home mom and going down to one income, we may not be able to give as much financially as we have in the past, but there are still so many ways to reach out and give to others and support important causes.

I am sure I have a handful of other resolutions, but these seem to be the most important, or all I can think of at the moment. So in closing, I will leave you with this silly picture. Yesterday was not just New Year's Eve, but also the 4th birthday of our beloved Roscoe. Happy birthday spoiled pup, and happy new year to all!