Monday, September 28, 2015


This isn't a very uplifting blog post.  I'll just go ahead and throw that out there at the beginning.  I've been wanting to post about some of the minutiae of our life, but everything seems kind of tainted with this gray cloud of worry.  Finally, I've decided, whatever I'm just going to blog about it.

Most of you probably know that I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years.  Looking back on my childhood, I can see that I was a very anxious kid from the beginning.  The depression didn't come along until high school, but when it did, it superseded the anxiety in mind consuming-ness.  I've never been shy or uncomfortable talking about it because I honestly don't see a reason to be.  It's a part of who I am, but it doesn't define me and I get aggravated when others put pressure on me to hide it away like it's shameful.  It's brain chemistry!

When Cordie came along, she rocked our world and my normal routines.  As a result, I wasn't taking my medicine regularly.  I didn't start to notice until I got dizzy, which is a side effect of coming off of it.  So I talked to my doctor and we decided that I was in a place to stop the medication.  I was all for it and I did.  I stopped at the end of January because I figured if I could make it through February, the worst month of my depression, and with a baby who wouldn't sleep, then I was golden.  Sure enough, things were fine.  The rest of the winter, all spring, and all summer were fine.  Oh I might have an isolated incident of anxiety, but nothing major and nothing that would even be considered outside normal.

In the last two weeks though, I can feel the anxiety level slowly creeping up.  Part of it is just that there is a lot going on.  Most of it's good, but it's still stuff that isn't our day-to-day life, like her birthday party, going to the beach, and our upcoming birthparent visit.  Guys, I hate it.  I hate that feeling of tightness in my chest and the pressure in my throat that makes feel like I can't breathe.  I hate that after months of smooth sailing that I'm second guessing my thought out decision to stop the medication.  Heck, I hate the second guessing of everything in my life!  Am I a good mother?  Am I a good wife?  Am I a good Christian?  Am I heading back down this anxiety riddled path that I don't want to be on?  There is the glimmer of logical thought that says things like "This is the anxiety talking.  No one is accusing you of being bad at any of those things." But it's hard to drown out your own hyperventilating internal monologue.

In a few weeks or months, when I don't feel this anxious, some of this will be funny.  Like me being gratingly peppy to Cordie about going to Kindermusik to make new friends, while I wipe my sweating palms discretely on her car seat cover and force a smile that resembles the Joker's crazed grin.  I KNOW it is stupid ridiculous to be anxious over Kindermusik, but I am!  Some of the anxiety has a basis in reality, like the birthparent visit.  I want it to go smoothly and I am concerned that Cordie won't go to her birthparents because of her separation anxiety.  I would hate to hurt their feelings.  But at the same time, I worry that she will instinctively recognize them as her "real" parents and take her first steps running toward their outstretched arms, thus confirming that I can't provide her with all the love and affection that she needs.  Darned if you do, darned if you don't.

Summing up, anxiety sucks.  If you have anxiety, I am silently saluting you Hunger Games style.  The arena is tough and the casualties are many.  Fight the good fight out there.  If you don't, be so thankful that this isn't your battle, but I'm sure you are fighting something equally bad.  We all are.  Support us, even if it has to be from a distance, we don't want to feel alone.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The 11 Swimsuits of Vacation

(To the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas)
For the first swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: One Orange and Ruffled suit.

For the second swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Blue and Polka Dots with Ruffles

For the third swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Black and White Abstract Art

For the fourth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore: Many Scary Sock Monkeys

For the fifth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Minnie Mouse Tankini

For the sixth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Green-Blue Lace with a Bow

For the seventh swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Floating Pink Monstrosity

For the eighth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Green and Yellow Pineapples

For the ninth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  Pink, Gingham, and Pineapple

For the tenth swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Valentine's Day Ruffled Piece

One the eleventh swimsuit of the trip, Cordie Chloe wore:  A Bikini with Some Stars

11 stars and stripes, 10 hearts galore, 9 gingham ruffles, 8 yellow pineapples, 7 bright pink floaties, 6 pretty bows, 5 MINNIE MOUSE SUITS, 4 awful monkeys, 3 ruffled art, 2 polka dots, and an orange suit to round out the trip!


The beach was great.  Cordie was practically a fishy the entire time.  There were days where we swam three times a day and also got in the ocean.  She loved there being five adults who were pretty much totally focused on her haha!  That is her preferred attention ratio.  

The beach is a totally different experience with a kid though.  Forget those relaxing days of meandering between the hot tub, lazy river, and reading a magazine in the sun.  In beach trips of yore, I would pack enough books to read a full sized novel every day plus a dozen or so magazines.  I read about one book on the entire trip and felt good about my accomplishment!  Cords is so busy and wants so desperately to walk.  I think all of our pointer fingers are permanently pulled out of joint from her using them to steady herself while she walks/throws her body enthusiastically toward a goal.  I told her to go ahead and plan on getting a good paying job, because she will be responsible for the back surgery I'll need from hunching over like that! 

When people would ask why I wanted to be a parent or I imagined what parenting would be like (the good stuff, not the lack of sleep and disciplining stuff), the beach was always a mental scene I would paint.  Last year Mom asked if I thought we would have a little person with us next year and I said no because the adoption process would take longer.  Finally, add in that last year we were driving home from the beach on Oct. 13th (Cordie's birthday) and you get one grateful, happy, emotional Sierra.

Best trip ever.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Grocery Hurdle

At Cordelia's baby shower, a sweet friend was telling me that in a few months I would throw Cordie in the car seat and take her wherever.  At the time I thought she had to be lying.  New parents think that sometimes when more experienced parents tell them things.  When they tell you about the sleep loss you think they have to be exaggerating because if it was that bad people would never have second children.  Then you have a kid and the sleep situation is bad and those same parents tell you that one day it will get better and you and the baby will sleep through the night.  You don't believe them (even though they were right the first time) because it seems impossible.  When my friend told me that, I could not see any forseeable future that involved me being able to leave the house.

By December I was so stir crazy that I had to attempt to go out with the baby.  We went to the library and survived!  Over the next several months I took Cordie to church, restaurants, and family functions.  I became comfortable taking her places even if I sometimes I had to leave quickly, but the place I was still afraid of, the last the major hurdle of every day life was still looming:  the weekly grocery shopping.

Normally Mom keeps her while I do the weekly shopping and any other appointments, but she has a life and can't always do it.  I needed to put on my big girl panties and face my fear.  My big fear in doing the shopping was that Cordie would have some sort of meltdown.  The meltdown itself I thought I could handle, but I dreaded the judgmental looks of the plethora of little old women who shop in the middle of the day alongside SAHMs.  Alas, I wanted to make Ree Drummond's tomato soup and I needed ingredients!  So I girded my loins and went to look for pork loin.  And..

It was totally fine!  Who would have thunk it?  Certainly not I all the way back in November.  I know there will be days when she whines and cries for sugary cereal (which I will probably give her because I love sugary cereal more than an adult should).  There will probably be a time when she has a major tantrum in aisle three and I want to crawl under the shelving in shame.  But for right now, this exact moment in time, I am doing a little happy dance.  It's nice to know that we can do these errands together when we must.  I'm calling it a small triumph and what is life if not a series of small triumphs and failures?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My Shadow

This is my shadow:

She has been sooooo clingy lately.  This was an okay day because she wasn't screaming which is often the case when I put her down these days.  Probably the biggest part of the problem is some severe separation anxiety that is going on.  She doesn't want to be left alone and she knows the best way to possibly avoid that is wrap herself around me like an octopus and scream bloody murder if I so much as lean down.

Yesterday I was so busy.  My list was long and my house was a disaster zone.  I needed her to chill by herself in the play yard or walker or in the floor with her toys-there are so many fun options!  No dice.  In this picture I was trying to strip the bed.  I made a pile of pillows to jump on in hopes of two minutes to get the sheets off.  As you see, the pillows weren't as great as hanging on mom's leg like Spanish moss on a tree.  Heavy moss.  Wriggly moss.  You know what, this metaphor is falling apart.  Hanging on like a 16lb nearly toddler.

I started to get frustrated.  It was just a few minutes and she was in the same room with me!  Why was she being all over me?!  Then it hit me, this is the joy, this is the best portion.  I have always empathized with Martha in the Bible who was running around trying to prepare things when Jesus and His disciples came to visit.  I would have been right there and honestly, I would probably been fussing to Martha about Mary not helping.  I have experienced this in my spiritual life of striving and missing just being in the presence of and having an intimate relationship with God, but I think I'm at risk for it at home too.  There are so many tasks that call for my time and attention that I can easily miss the reason I'm there.  I chose to stay home with Cordie to BE with Cordie.

This time is going so quickly.  Next month she turns one.  In a very short time, not only will she not be hanging on me, but she'll be too busy to play with me.  There will be years and years where I can do laundry without any interruption and all I'll have to show for it is clean sheets.  So we went outside and played with water and sang and swang, because I can have a clean house later, but I can only have this for a little while.  I was so grateful that God reminded me of that.