It started with a cough, my cough. But I trudged through it thinking that it was from lack of sleep. Within a week Sarah started coughing so hard that she was throwing up in her bed at night. 24 hours after that Norah was coughing. By Wednesday, we were all feeling so rough that all three of us went to the doctor.
I had a sinus infection. I started antibiotics and some awesome prescription cough medicine and was feeling better within 24 hours. It was deemed that Sarah and Norah both had viral infections and that with time and patience they would resolve themselves. Sarah took Benadryl at night and was just fine.
Norah, however, started getting progressively worse. By Friday night she was running fever, unable to eat and crying this low, steady whine for all but 2 hours at night. Any time I would lay her down she would cough uncontrollably and wake up crying. So we stayed in the recliner and she slept on me. By Saturday morning I was in tears. Sleep deprivation had kicked in, yes, but Norah’s slow and steady whine of pain was breaking my heart and had me in tears. I waffled on whether or not to take her back to the doctor, but ultimately decided that things had gotten worse, not better and it was time to act.
Fortunately our pediatrician’s office has a few Saturday morning hours and we were able to get there quick. The doctor checked her ears and immediately saw that they were full of pus. However, there had been a case of RSV in Norah’s daycare class, so they swabbed her for that just in case. And wouldn’t you know it, it came back positive.
For those of you unfamiliar with childhood diseases, RSV is a virus that infects your lungs and airways. For adults and older children, it’s not so bad. It just manifests itself as a cold and moves on. For babies though, especially babies under six months old, it can be very dangerous. I know three babies personally who have been hospitalized with RSV.
So when the doctor sympathetically told me she had RSV, I felt panic start to grip my chest a little bit. The doctor could see it written all over my face, I’m sure. But he was so great. He told me that he listened to her breathing and she didn’t sound bad. As long as she was having four wet diapers a day and breathing ok we could treat it at home.
Fortunately my sister has a nebulizer, so we borrowed that from her and we’ve been able to do breathing treatments at home. Norah is such a champ about them, mesmerized by the buzzing noise it makes as it turns the albuterol into breathable steam. It hypes her up some, but it makes her feel so much better and her breathing and coughing ease for a few hours after doing a treatment.
My mom picked Sarah up Saturday and kept her overnight so I could devote my attentions to the baby. And we spent most of the day and evening Saturday in the rocker so she could sleep upright. Fortunately though, the breathing treatments started easing things for her so she was finally able to get some good rest in her own bed that evening.
Since then she’s been back and forth, sometimes having moments of feeling better and we get to see the occasional smile. Mostly though, she just wants to be rocked and doesn’t want to eat. She did wake up without fever for the first time this morning though, so that was a great sign.
Our biggest concern is now is keeping her hydrated. She won’t eat much because her nose is clogged and her ears hurt. And when she does get some down, her stomach is so full of mucus that she often throws it back up. We have trouble keeping the medicine down her too for that reason. I have to keep reassuring myself, she’s making enough wet diapers that she should be ok. The middle of the night is when she does her best feedings (of course), so some milk is staying down.
The doctor said this will likely be a 5-7 day run of illness before she gets truly better. I never knew how much becoming a mother would turn me into a big ball of empathy, feeling everything they feel 10 times worse. Please keep us in your prayers as our little girl continues to heal.
My Norah girl is five months old and seems to be settling into her personality. She is all giggles and snuggles, often letting out loud, squealing laughs.
She’s big enough for her bouncer now, and loves sitting in it and looking at all the toys around her. I love watching her try to (usually successfully) reach and grab items that she takes an interest in. She can now also reach out, grab and hold on to toys… and also hair. Ouch!
This past month Norah experienced croup for the first time. She developed labored, strider breathing and terrified me. Fortunately though, she snapped out of it withing 12 hours of starting a steroid.When we took her to the doctor she weighed in just shy of 15lbs. She’s in a size 3 diaper and 6-9 month clothes.
She also experienced her first “snow” day this past month from inside the house, but I think she enjoyed watching her sister run around outside in it.
She is a master at rolling front to back now, and has started making attempts to go back the other direction. She can also get her knees up under herself when she gets a mind to, and move herself forward ever so slightly.
She loves to reach out and grab chins and ears, rubbing our faces and smiling. She loves kisses on her cheeks and forehead and always lets out appreciative laughs when we give them to her.
Norah forever has her fingers in her mouth. She’s getting better at popping her thumb in when she’s tired and doing a bit of self soothing.
She has stopped sleeping through the night, however, going through an awful sleep regression phase. At one point she was waking up at 11:30, 2:30 and 5:30, but seems to just stick to the 2:30 wake up now. She wants to laugh and play when she wakes up and it takes a while for her to get back to sleep. I am absolutely exhausted from all this business.
She absolutely loves tummy time, and when she gets bored she likes to lay on her back, kick her legs and squeal. She’s starting to “stand” more and more when we hold her.
Norah also had her first Valentine’s Day this past month. Mommy and Daddy gave her a book and a little stuffed frog. She made a Valentine with her feet at school.
Norah girl is definitely our little snuggle bug, always happiest when she’s laying on someone, or someone is talking to her. She especially loves watching her sister and cousin run around and play. She can’t wait to get in on that action.
She’s a sweet little spirit with a gentle personality. And besides that whole not sleeping thing, gets so much more fun and lovable every day.
Oh how I love my little Norah girl. There is nothing like rocking my sweet baby to sleep, even if it is at 3:00 a.m.
Oh hi! Remember me? It’s ok, I barely remember my own name these days.
Let’s start with this precious begonia.
Remember how I told you that she started sucking her thumb and was sleeping for 12 hours straight? Too bad that was just a fun, short break. Now she’s entered what Google has informed me is the four month sleep regression phase. Long story short, she startles herself awake at least three times a night now, wakes up, starts chirping like an overzealous bird and refuses to go back to sleep. This means that I am averaging about three hours of sleep a night, with no chance to nap because I’m back at work again. Fun times!
I mean it’s really a very good thing that she is oh so adorable… even if that does mean she starts laughing at me somewhere around 3 a.m. when I start pulling my hair out.
Speaking of pulling hair out, I have entered that joyous post partum phase where all of my hair is falling out. I brush it once and suddenly my hairbrush has been transformed into a pathetic looking chinchilla. My hair has gotten so thin that I’m starting to wonder if I have any strands strong enough to hold on. I’m thinking about giving it a good chop and letting it start over.
In other fun news, Norah caught croup from school, struggled to breathe one morning last week and gave me a panic attack. I took her to the doctor and they started her on steroids right away. They fixed her up in a matter of hours and she was thrilled to ride that sleeplessness side effect into every single night she was on the steroid.
We also had Sarah’s first “snow day” last week… which meant we had a pretty neat ice storm with accumulation. I know I have friends who live up north and may laugh at this, but we residents of the deep south are not equipped for such things, so schools were canceled and I got to stay home with my girls and slip slide across the icy backyard with my poor, confused dogs. Sarah enthusiastically declared, “Mama! It’s Frozen like the movie!” Poor kid, that may be the closest she ever gets to a real snow. We don’t even own gloves. I had to take a note out of my friend Susan’s book and put socks on her hands.
And me? Well besides the fact that I’m not sleeping and all my hair is falling out, I seem to be holding up moderately well. I joined a book club with a friend locally, and I get one day a month to go out, have a drink, eat and talk about books with friends. And these folks have extremely different reading tastes than I normally do, but it’s been great because it has forced me to read books out of my default YA zone. And the first book we read, while it had a boring start, ended up being a really interesting read. (And we got to discuss it while I ate a sweet potato pancake, blackberry grits and enjoyed a mimosa!)
We are also getting ready to replace half the floors in our house. We initially thought we were going to pay someone to install it, but Mark and I are just too cheap. When we learned the install price was double the actual floor cost, we decided to tackle the project ourselves. And by we, I mean Mark. He has been demoing our current floors and prepping them so we can install the new. So on top of mountains of princess toys and legos, we now have concrete and dust. All in good time!
And speaking of Mark, I’d like to just take a moment and tell you how proud and thankful I am for him. The man has been my rock during this whole sleep regression thing, and even had an awesome daddy-daughter day with Sarah last weekend so I could make an attempt at getting some extra rest. They colored with sidewalk chalk and walked to Dairy Queen to get ice cream cones that they enjoyed on the patio. Because, yes, even though we had a snow day Wednesday, by Sunday it was 75 and perfect patio weather.
I hesitated to share this story because it makes me feel like a terrible mother. But like all stories that fall into that “terrible parent” category, sometimes sharing them will help someone else.
Two nights ago, after visiting with my friend Susan who was in town from Biloxi, I headed home late with two tired girls in tow. When we got home, Sarah told me she needed to go to the potty. She’s gotten very good at going on her own, so I left her to it. About two minutes later I heard a very loud crash.
I knew, deep down in my gut, that it was her dresser. I cannot even explain the sense of terror that filled me at that moment. She hadn’t started crying at that point and the worst possible thoughts were filling my head. When I was halfway down the hall running to her, she started crying and screaming.
When I walked in the room, I saw the dresser tipped over, with her legs underneath it. But, we were lucky. The drawers slid out and caught the dresser from falling flat on her. But she was laying there crying with her legs from the thighs down pinned under one of the drawers. I immediately pulled her out, still thinking that we were about to make a trip to the emergency room. I started asking her what hurt, expecting her to say her legs. Instead, through tears, she managed to tell me her shoulder hurt. Sure enough, she had a big scratch across her left shoulder. Her hip was banged up too, already bruising.
She continued to cry, pointing to her dresser and shouted, “No no dresser! You hurt Sarah!”
I should also probably mention that she was naked. I later pieced together that she had gotten her panties a little wet when she went to the bathroom. She took them off and attempted to get to a top drawer to get clean panties. To get to that drawer, she opened the bottom drawer and used that to climb up to the panty drawer. That is what tipped the dresser.
Afterwards she was able to get up and walk on her own without complaining too much. She really just wanted a band-aid for her shoulder. It was bedtime, so I gave her some ibuprofen and put her in bed.
The next morning we got her up and sent her to school. That afternoon I got a phone call from school that Sarah was walking funny on her right foot and screamed when they tried to take her shoes off or touch her foot. When I picked her up, she wouldn’t let me touch her foot. I finally convinced her to point to where it hurt – a spot between her big toe and her arch on the bottom side of her foot. It wasn’t bruised or swelling, but I still decided to get it checked out.
We went to the doctor’s office this morning and she got a full inspection. They did verify that she was injured, but after pressing on it and feeling the foot, the doctor said it wasn’t broken and would likely heal up on its own.
You better believe that Mark went to Lowe’s this morning and promptly secured her dresser to her wall. I gave the thing a good tug to make sure. We are also securing Norah’s.
I think Sarah must have a very exhausted guardian angel tailing her most of the time. We were very very lucky.
So please, take it from me, even if your kid has never attempted to climb your dressers, go ahead and secure them to the wall. It took Mark about five minutes to do so this morning and it could save a broken bone, or even a life!
One of the best parts of Sarah’s developing vocabulary are the things that come out of her mouth. Some are endearing, some are hilarious and some are downright embarrassing. She’s getting so big so fast and I don’t want to forget some of these jewels.
Here is a sampling of some of my favorites.
Me: “Sarah, what do you want for Christmas?”
Sarah: “Mama, I’m Mary, Daddy is Jofus, Sister is Baby Jesus and Leela is the camel.”
On Sunday we were at my parents house and Sarah took a baby doll into my parents room. She climbed into their bed, covered up and “fed the baby like mommy feeds the baby” (if you know what I mean), and then laid there saying, “I’m so tired. I’m so tired.” Which was a very accurate portrayal of her mother.
After getting in trouble at school for disobeying the teacher:
Sarah: “Uh oh, Sarah’s in big trouble.”
While helping me pick Norah up from her classroom at school:
Sarah: “Mama, I want MORE BABIES!”
Filling out an “About Me” sheet at school:
“I have a sister and four brothers.” (Um, what?)
My Birthday is: “Sarah’s birthday!”
Sarah: “Mama, I want purple eyes for my birthday.”
Upon watching the “Let It Go” scene from Frozen:
“Mama! Princess Elsa has boobs!”
And my very favorite:
While at school one day, Sarah accidentally got her dress in the toilet water and they had to change her. While she was standing there in her undies, she looked at her teacher and said enthusiastically, “I’m naked like daddy!”
Having a second kid is kind of strange. On the one hand, it’s a lot harder to have to figure out how to split your time between both of your children, how to make sure everyone is fed and happy, and don’t even get me started on the effort it takes to get everyone ready to go and out the door.
But on the other hand, it’s so much easier. I have done this all before and I know I will not only survive it, but I’ll do it pretty well and be prepared for the many other disasters and illnesses that loom on the horizon.
With Sarah, she would run a 100 degree fever and I would be frantically calling after hours at the pediatrician’s office, texting my doctor friend Susan and my nurse friend Cassie, and then grilling people about how in the heck they combat these fevers.
With Norah, she spiked a 102 fever in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago, and even though I felt that little panicky edge in my stomach, I immediately went into action with Tylenol, stripping her down and laying a cool rag on her head until I was happy with her 100 degree fever.
With Sarah, I would run and hide in back rooms when I nursed her, and felt like I constantly had to justify why I was still nursing her when she was older than six months. This time? I cover when I nurse, but I don’t usually leave the room (unless I need a time out). That’s lonely and, I think, was a contributor to my PPD last time. And you won’t hear justifications this time – it just is how it is and we roll with it.
And my husband? I’m even more proud of him this time around. When we first had Sarah, he had a hard time being alone with her. Granted, a lot of that had to do with her staunch refusal of bottles, but more of it had to do with uncertainty. This time though, he’s a changed man. Norah has been running low-grade fever after getting her shots yesterday, and he volunteered to keep her home with him while he worked so she could rest. And he handles both girls with such ease now. He let me get some extra rest last weekend and when I got up the three of them were huddled together on the living room floor playing.
Are there still worries? Of course. I think worrying and guilt are inherent to parenthood. The difference is that I know it’s going to be ok (eventually). We certainly aren’t perfect and we have a lot of trying moments and days, but we will get there and we will do it together.
Mark and I were talking this morning, and as I gazed at my smiling, sweet baby, I said, “If every baby came out acting like they do at four months old, I’d have a ton of ‘em.”
Norah, at four months you are so much fun! You are aware of your surroundings now, and can lock eyes with us across the room. You love to smile. All it takes is for one of us to grin at you, and then your whole face lights up. You smile with your mouth, yes, but also with your cheeks, your nose and your crinkly eyes. And you let out the cutest little quiet laughs. It’s like you’re keeping your laughter a secret between just the two of us.
You are also constantly sticking your fingers in your mouth. When you’re sitting up and awake, it’s your pointer finger and your middle finger, but when you’re sleepy or sleeping it’s always your thumb. Both make you happy, so we leave you to it.
You absolutely ADORE your older sister. Any time she comes across your line of site, you stop and stare at her, giving her a megawatt grin. She obliges you on occasion, kneeling down next to you, grabbing your hands and “dancing.” She wants you to join in with play time so bad. Just last week while Mark and I were in the kitchen, she picked you up and carried you to her picnic table for a tea party… not realizing that when she sat you down you would roll under the table. We heard your cries and came to your rescue. It wasn’t a far roll and it was on the carpet, so you were fine. And I have to admit that I found it completely adorable that your sister took matters into her own hands so that you two could have a tea party together.
You coo and talk and blow bubbles all the time. Your dad and I can’t get enough of it. He claims that you are going to be a daddy’s girl, and I’m starting to believe it. You love it when your daddy hold you and talks to you.
You also absolutely love “patty cake.” Playing patty cake elicits your best smiles and giggles. Just this morning when we were getting everything ready for school, we looked up to see your sister playing patty cake with you. You both loved it. Mommy also sings “Do Rei Me” from The Sound of Music to you and you think it’s fantastic. Sarah constantly refers to the two of you as “Princess Elsa and Princess Anna,” the princess sisters from the movie Frozen. She also sings “Let It Go” from the movie to you on a regular basis.
You can now also grasp and shake things, like your caterpillar rattle, and you’re starting to put things, like your lovie blanket, in your mouth.
You are doing so well at school! I was so worried about you not taking bottles, but that worry is a thing of the past. You down six ounce bottles like it’s your job, then sleep like a champ at school (way better than your sister ever did at both, I must say). Your teachers seem to really love your big smiles, and are impressed by your extremely loud screams.
You sleep through the night 3-4 nights out of the week, but still wake up some when your ears or tummy are bothering you. Speaking of tummies, you still will only sleep when we lay you on your tummy, but for some odd reason you hate tummy time. You have rolled from tummy to back twice – both times in your bed when we weren’t there to witness it.
We are so glad that evil colic is a thing of the past. I feel like once that finally went away we were able to finally see the sweet girl you truly are. You are so much more content and happy now, wanting to observe and interact with the world around you. Four months is a wonderful age and I’m still shocked to find that you’re already so old!
We love you our sweet Norah bean.
Although I’ve been working from home for a while now, yesterday was the first official day that I returned to the office. This meant it was also the first day that Norah went to daycare, or, as we like to call it, school.
Let me back up and tell you about the first time I dropped Sarah off at daycare. It was bad for all kinds of reasons.
1. Sarah was my first, precious baby and in my mind not a soul could care for her like I could, therefore no one else was worthy to care for her.
2. Sarah refused to take a bottle, so I feared my baby would starve herself.
3. I had post partum depression and anxiety, one of the symptoms of which made me want to hold my baby in a dark room and not let anyone touch her but me.
4. I didn’t know anyone at the daycare, so I was leaving my baby with strangers.
5. The baby teacher at the time was good and capable, but not very friendly and I wanted someone who would reassure me. The office staff did, but they weren’t the ones with my baby all day.
And so I cried a lot when we took Sarah to daycare and my depression deepened into full on crazy. This lasted for several months and, although Sarah blossomed at daycare and eventually caved to taking bottles, I wasn’t well for a long time.
Flash forward to now, or, Sunday really. The night before I was a big, giant, anxious mess. I kept thinking back to how things were with Sarah. And like Sarah, Norah hates bottles. But I reassured myself because I know all the teachers and staff now (and the teachers are much friendlier this time around). And, so far, the PPD has stayed at bay. I was trying to make sure we had all the things ready for Sarah and Norah to go to school (thankfully they are both in the same place). Norah must have been picking up on my anxiety, because she refused to go to sleep and screamed her head off for two hours until 11pm. As a consequence, both of us were getting more and more worked up. The next morning Mark and I were so busy hustling to get it all together that I didn’t dwell much on the whole dropping Norah off part.
Side note: You should just SEE how much stuff we were carrying. We seriously looked like we were preparing to vacation for a week.
We got there and took Sarah to her room first. We don’t have trouble with dropping her off at all anymore. She has an amazing teacher and loves going to learn with her and spend time with her friends.
Then it came time to drop Norah off. I did so well with the emotions until I walked in that baby room, then I immediately started tearing up. The thought of being away from my baby for the most of the day, combined with the guilt that motherhood inherently brings with it anytime we think we might greatly upset our kids, combined with the thought of Norah not taking bottles, starting getting to me. I held it together until I got into my car, then I had a good cry and got all that anxiety and emotion out of my system. After that, I pulled it together and went into work.
And guess what? Everything was just fine. My coworkers welcomed me back with open arms and chocolate. I called and checked on Norah throughout the day and no one at the daycare made me feel even remotely bad about that. She did refuse her first bottle, but took her second and part of her third (girl doesn’t want to miss a meal). And yes, she fussed and had to be rocked asleep in the office for a while, but I don’t think any of those ladies minded rocking a sleeping baby. Overall, it was a bit emotional, but a good first day back. I even got to listen to one of my audio books while I worked and felt like a little piece of myself was coming really and truly back.
Today is day two and I was feeling much more confident about things… that is until Sarah woke up with a fever that meant she couldn’t go to school. All our carefully laid plans of Mark dropping the girls off quickly got scrapped. He volunteered to stay home with Sarah while I took Norah on to school – and while that worked, it also mean that I was 45 minutes late to work on my second day back. I was worried about drop off again, but guess what, it was just fine! Norah’s teacher embraced her and made me feel better immediately. I walked out of there shedding no tears, and when I called to check on her mid-day, she had taken her bottle and was napping.
So now we are embracing the normal, and I’m happy to say that it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
It’s time for my annual rundown of books I read in 2013. I always love going back over my Shelfari list and remembering (or trying to forget) what I read over the course of the year. I read a lot leading up to Norah’s birth, then things slowed way down after that. But I still managed to read 56 books this year, and that makes me happy.
Instead of my top 10, I’m going to list them a little differently like I did last year. So, let’s get to it.
My favorite new Young Adult (YA) author: Rainbow Rowell
I read all three of her books this year and absolutely loved them. Fangirl was probably my favorite, but Eleanor & Park was a very close second. And Attachments was pretty dang fantastic too. They all cover awkward young people at crucial moments in their young lives and manage to tie in great, nerdy things like Dungeons and Dragons, comic books and fan fiction. I also love that her characters and not perfect. Their hips are too big and foreheads too long. They are normal people with flaws, but most of them are easy to love.
My Other Favorite YA Author I Discovered This Year: John Green
The Fault in Our Stars is definitely one of the best books I read this past year about two kids with cancer who fall in love. It’s so sad, but so wonderful. Looking for Alaska was also quite good. ( And they are both only $3.99 in the Kindle store right now).
Speaking of YA, I read a lot of it. And they are almost all done in trilogies. Several of those trilogies came to a close this year. Which leads me to:
Worst Ending to a YA Trilogy: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
I loved the first book in this series, Divergent. But after I finished reading Allegiant, I stopped, erased what I had just read in my head and made up my own ending, then shared it with my friend Susan. We both agreed my ending was better.
Best YA Trilogy: The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel / Clockwork Prince / Clockwork Princess) by Cassandra Clare
Forget that whole Mortal Instruments series Cassandra Clare wrote, The Infernal Devices books blow that out of the water. Not only is the writing better, but the story and characters are wonderful and it is one of the few YA trilogies I’ve read that actually ends well.
Worst Book That I Knew Would Be Bad and Still Felt Compelled to Read: Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
The conclusion to the Sookie Stackhouse books was absolutely terrible, but I had invested so much time in them I needed to know how they ended. Again, I probably should just write my own ending for that one too.
Most Disturbing Book: The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
I love warped fairy tales, and this is a fantastic one, but there is a scene with the huntress in this book that played on all my childhood nightmares and I still try not to think about it before I fall asleep sometimes.
Best Non-Fiction Read: Wild by Cheryl Strayed
This book made me want to get up and hike up mountains in the snow. My original review: “A great emotional, spiritual and physical adventure of one woman who chased away her sorrows through the amazing Pacific Crest Trail, walking over 1,100 miles. I’ve seen many people fault the author for being unprepared and an idiot, but I love that she owns her mistakes, chastises herself briefly and moves on. I love that they all lead up to her great accomplishment. A great read that makes me want to go backpacking again.” (Also only $3.99 in the Kindle store right now).
Best Epic Fantasy: The Lions of al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
I love that most of this author’s books are mostly single volume tales with an insane amount of world building and loosely based on real historical events. If you have the time and energy, pick this one up. The main female character is especially impressive.
Craziest and Most Awesome Book About the Rainforest and Fertility : State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
I have a whole new respect for doctors who do c-sections after reading this book. But there was this crazy, immersive, magical quality to this book that makes me want to read it again.
Best Sci-Fi Classic That I Finally Read: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
I got on a sci-fi kick this year and read quite a bit of it, including a bunch of older titles that have won Hugo Awards, but this one was still my fave. This one about a boy who is basically bred by the government for his strategic war brain and the path they put him on really captivated me. (Also $3.99)
Best Book About Messed Up People That They Made Into a Movie: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
I loved the crazy characters in this book and their weird weird story. Please read this before you watch the movie. The movie is great, but it’s much more feel-good than the book. And the book keeps one of the most important parts a mystery and the movie blurts it out right away. ($4.99)
Best Fantasy Adventure: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
You know how I feel about Neil. If you don’t, then you should know he’s my favorite. I was thrilled that he released a new book last year and it was everything I hoped it would be made of: good writing, great story and an insane imagination.
Most Disappointing Read: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
I’ve read a lot of books that have taken historical moments or tales and imbued them with strong women and mysticism (The Dovekeepers and The Mists of Avalon, for example). This one did that but fell short. This is the story of the wars of the Plantagenets who ruled before the Tudors. I expected a lot more plot and drama. Instead, I felt like vast swathes of the story were skipped over and accepted for what they were.
Best eBook Sensation: Wool by Hugh Howey
Dystopian society living inside a silo buried in the ground. The worst offense you can do is ask to go outside. They fit you with a suit, let you out long enough to clean the lenses so everyone can see the outside world, then you die from the harsh outside environment. But there is, as with all good dystopian reads, something the higher ups aren’t letting the general population in on. This book grew in popularity when it was released only as an ebook. Howey has since released two more, but I haven’t picked them up. Still, a good read!
Best Book About Clairvoyants: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
This is apparently the first book of seven planned. I loved that is was something different (even if it was wrongly compared to Harry Potter). I think it was also a bit over-hyped, but I really loved the story about clairvoyant people being outlaws and collected and made as slaves to a crazy alien race, so I’ll forgive.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker – Magical realism about a golem and a jinni living and surviving in a more modern New York. A bit long, but good.
Under the Never Sky ($2.99) / Into the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi – YA dystopia, but better than most I’ve read. And the final installment comes out this month!
Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce – A girl goes missing and comes back many years later claiming to have been secreted away to fairyland. Is she telling the truth, or just insane?
Across the Universe trilogy (Across the Universe / A Million Suns / Shades of Earth) by Beth Revis – A floating spaceship full of people who have been cryogenically frozen and the people who maintain the ship. All of a sudden the frozen ones start getting killed…
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – Beautiful writing about several college boys who play baseball. It actually made me care about baseball, but was way too long.
Shadow and Bone ($2.99) / Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo – The first two books in a very cool trilogy that taps into mythology and magic. Loved reading these.
Note: I don’t get paid to do this (I wish!) But if you click and buy, I do get a few pennies to spend on buying myself more Kindle books. I’ve also noted where some of them are on sale for awesome prices in the Kindle store.
As I was looking back through photos from this past year, I found myself in awe over just how big my Sarah girl has grown. She looked like such a little baby way back in January, but now she is a big, talking, silly little girl. I’ve seen a lot of people complaining about 2013, but we, mostly, had a really fantastic year.
I typed up a pretty lengthy summary, but feel free to skip all that and just watch the video.
In January we found out we were expecting another baby, which changed our whole world. Sarah would no longer be an only child, and my yearlong obsession with getting pregnant again came to a close. We let our families know we were expecting by allowing Sarah to walk into their homes proudly wearing a “Big Sister” shirt.
In February we took Sarah to her first Mardi Gras parade – the animal parade downtown. We missed the others we had planned to take her to thanks to illness. She also got sick on Valentine’s Day for good measure. We also got to see our little bean on the ultrasound for the first time that month too!
In March I quickly discovered that pregnancies show much faster the second time around. We spent a lot of time playing outside and going to friends’ birthday parties. We spent Good Friday at the pediatrician’s office after Sarah landed herself with croup. This meant we couldn’t go to church for Easter, but Nana and grandaddy were willing to let her come around them, so we visited there and hunted down a few Easter eggs.
In April Sarah turned two and we celebrated with a Alice and Wonderland themed “Mad Tea Party” in our backyard. Friends and family came and jumped in the bounce house and ate homemade cupcakes. A few days later my nephew Jacob turned two and we celebrated at his construction themed party. Sarah also got to meet her “Italian granny,” Sr. Martinette Rivers, while she was home for a month.
May was super exciting! Not only did we learn that we would be having another little girl, but we took Sarah on a big vacation that included her first trip to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We hit up the aquarium and ate lots of great food before heading to the beach in Florida. We stayed there with Susan and her family and had a great time in the sand and water. Sarah still talks about the beach all the time. We will have to plan another trip in 2014!
In June my friend Tammy and her daughter Kiri came down for a visit from Indianapolis. I also got a new, bigger, family- sized vehicle that month to replace my tiny, but wonderful, Honda Fit. I also went to my conference in Denver in June with my friend Becki. In addition to the conference (where we won a big award for our magazine!), we ate at a lot of Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurants, went to the top of a mountain and checked out some campy museums. That was the longest I’d ever been away from Sarah!
In July our cat Sam ran away and never came back. We held out hope for a long time without any good news. We also went to Austin in July to visit our friends Dana and Scott. We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool with the kids, and I loved the comfort the pool gave my growing pregnant body. Mys sisters also threw me a “Baby Sprinkle” in July, where close friends and family came and brought lots of goodies for baby #2, including some much needed diapers!
In August I started having excruciating pain in my right side that lead to several rush trips to the OB’s office and lots of tests. A GI doc finally figured out that I had a bulging ligament that was pressing on a nerve. When the baby would move a lot, she would hit that spot and it would get inflamed. It was horrible! We also went to Baton Rouge in August to see my Aunt Amy get married and I had a great time with my whole family and spent more time in the pool!
In September my coworkers threw me a baby shower and we started preparing ourselves for Norah’s scheduled c-section on September 23. Due to some horrible problems with Sarah knotting up her hair, we took Sarah to get her first haircut. On September 11 I was rear-ended and, for the sake of my 9 month pregnant baby, was taken by ambulance to a hospital where I stayed overnight to make sure we were both ok. I also had a false labor run on my sister’s birthday, and then went into labor for real on September 20, three days before my scheduled section. We welcomed Norah into the world at 12:38 p.m. and were immediately in love with our beautiful little girl.
I started October off by turning 29! Cassie came to visit from Pittsburgh and helped us clean and paint our house while she was in town. October is also when we began the long, hard road of dealing with colic. Norah kept us up every single night screaming hour after hour after hour. It quickly unfolded into months of sleep deprived torture. Mark and I learned the true meaning of being a team and worked out a way to take shifts with her all night long. It was terrible. We also took both girls trick-or-treating in October. Sarah went as Olivia the pig and Norah as Minnie Mouse.
November gave us no relief from the colic, but we learned that Norah loved the Moby wrap and we put her in that often. Sarah also learned to start sleeping through the long nights of screaming. We also took Norah to meet her great grandparents who live an hour away. We celebrated Thanksgiving at my parents house.
In December we started counting down until Norah turned 12 weeks – the magical age when the doctor and several friends said colic usually stops. At 12 weeks and 4 days old, Norah slept through the night for the first time because she found her thumb. We rejoiced! We took the girls to meet Santa (Sarah hated him, Norah liked his beard). We decorated for Christmas and then celebrated it with our families. It’s also the month Norah got her first honest to goodness cold – the same cold the whole family managed to share just in time for the holidays.
A new baby, a couple of big trips, a new car and a lot of love. You were good to us 2013!
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