Trying To Survive And Thrive

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October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. You’d imagine it would be a big month here on TMM, but I haven’t really talked about It much. In fact, I’ve been a bad blogger all month. I haven’t been taking pictures, writing, sharing. I’ve been working and trying to get through, get to bed time, get everything done, the same thing that we all do. Trying to survive and thrive.

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This time of year is always a tough time to get motivated. This is my 6th October in Chicago, and it’s kind of a depressing month for me, each day that ticks by might be the last day we see the sun until spring. One day soon the clouds and the grey will roll in and it will be one long slog through Winter.

This year it’s particularly hard to keep in good spirits, as Copley has, inexplicably but not unexpectedly weaned himself at 16 months. Without my daily dose of oxytocin I’m having more trouble than usual perking up and engaging. I was having trouble sleeping, and started self medicating with a couple of Benadryl and a glass of wine or three to get some sleep. I was eating poorly, getting no exercise, and in the course of a couple of months I generally ran myself into the ground.

I was having what I thought was a lot of anxiety, and finally went to see a doctor, a really hard thing for me to do. I’d like to tell you that it helped, but it was a really bad appointment with a really bad doctor. It was all of my worst fears about going to the doctor realized in one excruciatingly long appointment, I won’t rehash it because I just don’t have the energy, but I cried the whole way home and certainly won’t be going back. Two good things came of the appointment though; I got my flu shot, and started thinking that what I might be feeling wasn’t in fact anxiety, but mild depression. I’ve never suffered from depression before, with exception of a few weeks of baby blues after Cop was born, and I didn’t recognize it.

Keeping in mind that I would reach out for professional help if I felt like I needed it, I started doing some research about what I could do to help myself. I’m not an expert, but I can Google like a sun of a gun, and here are the small things I started doing.

  • I talked to some friends about how I was feeling. It helped. One of them even made the connection between weaning and the onset of how I’ve been feeling, a correlation I would not have hesitated to point out to anyone else, but couldn’t see for myself.
  •  I made inventory of my responsibilities and tasks and one by one started doing things, even if I didn’t feel like it. I found that by completing these tasks I began to feel a bit lighter.
  • I quit drinking myself to sleep. I like drinking, I enjoy wine and cocktails, but this wasn’t drinking for enjoyment, it was self medication, and probably not very healthy.

I’m not sure if it’s really helping yet, but I have been able to fall asleep, and that’s a good start. Now I’m focusing on making some more small life changes. I am trying to do things that I know I enjoy, even if I don’t feel like enjoy them very much right now (like wearing my boy). I’ve been knitting and weaving, and I am going to make an effort to pick up my camera and get outside and shoot. I need to find a way to incorporate some exercise into my day. Truly, with my schedule and work hours I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I would like to find a way.

I’m starting to feel like I can turn it around. Joy, hope, and optimism are all defining pillars of my life, and without them I’ve felt lost. I want to feel like myself again. I think I can get back there.

Cop at 16 Months

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I am trying to get a picture of cop every month so I can watch him grow.

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He is getting so big!

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He can sit up all by himeslf, although he does it by way of this funny split move that I know makes his PT cringe.

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He looks at and soaks in absolutely everything.

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He is very outspoken, in his way. He doesn’t make words or word sounds yet, but he yells at us until we submit to his will.

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He is very silly, he loves to play patty cake, he will grab my hands and clap them all day. He delights in being tickled, and love it when we pretend to gobble him up.

Vacation, Sort Of

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On a Tuesday last week Josh and I found ourselves on a signature Eisenberg one-day vacation.
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With 3 dogs (yes, we got a third dog, I can’t believe I haven’t introduced him yet), 2 cats, 4 chickens, and 2 kids it’s not really easy to go away. I mean, it’s easy for us, we ran away with smiles on our faces and didn’t look back, but it’s not easy to find someone to stay home and take care of the menagerie. So we take a day here and a day there and we are happy to get what we can.
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We walked on the beach, hand in hand. So romantic.
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We are definitely October beach people. No crowds; jeans, sweaters, bare feet.
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The we found a bar with a good menu and a great beer list and parked it for the rest of our trip.

And that suited us just fine.

Top Five…

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Coming back to work after vacation is such a bummer isn’t it! I’m groggy, I miss my kids, I miss my sweatpants…

But instead of focusing on the negative, I’m choosing to look on the bright side today. Here are the Top five Reasons I’m Glad to be Back at Work After Vacation

5- Schedule, routine; I thrive on it. I’m way more productive in my home time AND my work time when I’m working my regular hours.

4- Current Events! Without my daily dose of NPR during my morning commute I’m pretty much out of the loop. So…. Ebola huh? Awesome.

3- I suppose my fingers could use a break from all the knitting and weaving I did in the last week…

2- Hydration, I don’t drink enough water at home, opting instead for wine.

1- I bet when I get home from work today everybody will be really happy to see me! Hugs and kisses for mommy!

365 Fridays

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On Fridays I’m linking up for a 365 hosted by Sarah @ Nurse Loves Farmer, Mindi @ Simply Stavish, and Stephanie @ Behind the Camera & Dreaming.

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You guys, I’m such a cliché. It seems I’ve fallen off the wagon for my 356 project. I haven’t even been consistently taking camera phone pics.

You know what I’ve been doing? I’ve been knitting. I finished 2 sweaters in September, and I’m on track to finish a third (for Hen) this weekend.

There are only so many hours in the day! I can’t knit all the things and take all the pictures… and let’s not even talk about my poor neglected looms.

However, I did get out and shoot couple of times in the last few weeks.

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Because I don’t have enough on my plate, I’ve started volunteering for the South Suburban Humane Society as photographer.

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And of course I dragged my camera to the beach when my girlfriend Bree came to visit.

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With only three months to go, I really need to get with the program! Hopefully I’ll be able to take pictures AND knit AND weave next week because I’ll be on vacation!

Impulsive, Decisive, Zen

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If you’ve been around reading for a while, you know that Josh and I met, fell in love, and got married in about 5 minutes. When people learn this about us they often comment that we must be impulsive. I AM impulsive, but marrying Josh has never felt like an impulsive move to me, I always think about it as decisive. Some people say when you know you know, I say I didn’t know, I chose. I made a decision, and it was a good one.

A couple of months ago we were driving back from Milwaukee, and stuck in the car in traffic for hours while the kids slept. We’d been talking a lot about our family plan, three children, and the more we talked about it the more we both felt ourselves moving away from it. We have a very happy life with two incredible kids. We both were starting to feel comfortable with the idea of not having any more children, despite the plan, but we hadn’t really made any firm decisions about it until I blurted out “I don’t think I want any more kids” and Josh agreed.

Yesterday Josh popped a valium and I drove him to the doctor, and 20 minutes later, no more Eisenbergs.

I anticipated I’d feel sad, but I feel free. I’m so ready to start our next phase. The one where I don’t have any more debilitating HG pregnancies, no more newborns, no more babies coming out of my vagina. No more months on end with no sleep, no more starting over.

And now I seem to be experiencing some sort of reverse-nesting. I want this baby shit out of my house NOW. And while we are at it, I’m feeling the urge to declutter, clear out, be zen.

As Zen as I can be with two small children.

But there have been some fun and motivating projects in my orbit lately. The first is my Project 333 capsule wardrobe. I’ve been living with my minimalist wardrobe for a few weeks now and I am really loving it. Not just the space in my closet, but the space in my life not taken up by clothes.

And yesterday I started the 31 Day Purge. It is such perfect timing, as I am highly motivated at this point in time to clean house!

Next week I have vacation coming up. Josh and I are going away for a night, but the rest of the week we are spending at home, with our children, and zen is on the agenda. Mmm, Fall Cleaning. Delicious!

Weekend Action

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Some weekends are relaxing and rejuvenating, and some are non-stop, jam-packed, get it while you can action. This one was all action!

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As always I wish I’d taken more pictures, but I guess I was having too much fun, and I can’t complain about that!

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Farmers market, zoo, balloon animals, wood fired pizza, smoothies. Saturday started out as a perfect autumn city morning.

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Dragged Josh and the boys out to lunch at Navy Pier with friends from out of town- don’t get me wrong, Navy Pier on a Saturday is like my personal idea of hell, but it was so worth it to see (and meet for the first time) good friends.

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Group shot madness! Sorry for cutting off your baby @Naptown Organizer!

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(This is a total non sequitur, but doesn’t my gorgeous friend make you want to run out and chop all your hair off?!)

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On Sunday (I was slightly hung-over and I think I look it) we went to the Walk to support Down in the Southland, a local Down syndrome group. It was so fun and high energy. It was great to be with so many families.

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15 Months

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With every month that passes I’m growing a little more delinquent on these monthly pictures. But look at my boy grow!

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This is the month when he stopped looking like a baby and started looking like a little boy.

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Copley loves sitting, but hates using his legs, we are always working on it in PT. He loves to eat just about everything, but beans are still his favorite. He thinks his brother is the funniest person on the planet- and I hope that’s always true. He gives the cats gentle pets, and throws Murphy’s toy to fetch. He loves to be held only slightly less than he loves to be worn, this boy is a snuggler. He has 4 teeth now- two top and two on bottom, and he’s getting his teeth in the typical pattern, just delayed.

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We had his 1 year evaluation for EI last month, and I never wrote about it but I should. I should tell you how much it sucks to sit in a room with people and talk about all the things your child can’t do. It sucks to read the reports and evaluations that enumerate his faults- only 30% delays in cognitive and adaptive, but almost 70% delays in motor. It sucks. It sucks because our whole parenting philosophy is at odds with tracking milestones, rating and measuring shortcomings, and focusing on the can’t dos. Thank goodness eval day only comes around but twice a year. Because once it’s passed we can go back to talking about all the things he can do.

He can do 3 signs (maybe 4, I can’t tell)- more, dad, and eat or mom, it’s tough to tell, I think when he is doing the sign for mama, he accompanies it with some sounds, and eat is silent.
He can roll and slither around lightning fast.
He can tell us when he is sad, mad, happy, amused, bored, in pain… I could go on and on, but the kid has adapted to what his body can’t do, and found a way to just be.

And that’s my son. He isn’t his disabilities, he’s an entire universe of ability.

Capsule Wardrobe

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I have a group of friends online, we are mostly babywearers (though some awesome nonwearing friends have got in on the action) and together we’ve discovered Personal Color Analysis, Kibbe style, proper bra fitting, and Curly Girl Method. It’s been fun and frivolous and frankly, I think all of us are coming out the other side feeling good about the skin we are in. One surprising side effect of all this beauty introspection has been a great simplifying of my beauty routine. Sounds counterintuitive doesn’t it? Spend lots of time obsessing but end up feeling lighter and simpler? Let me explain, now that I know what colors are right on me, I don’t waste time on the wrong colors. Now that I’ve embraced my 2B waves, I don’t waste time straightening and fighting frizz. Bras fitting better = feel better about my body. Kibbe is still a mystery to me, but my take away has been: not everything is going to look good on me, don’t waste time trying to force it.

I woke up last week to find it’s now dark in the morning. Fall is here and it’s time for a wardrobe shake up.

How’s this for a shake up?

33 items
3 months
Project 333

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I read the rules and started at How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe

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My needs are a little different from her needs (2 bracelets? Who wears bracelets?) so I set about personalizing my list.

Work
5 shirts
1 jeans
Pants
2 jeans
1 leggings
Tops
1 sweatshirt
2 light sweaters
3 t shirts
2 shirts
2 cardigans
1 sweatshirt
1 Dress
1 Skirt
Accessories
1 sunglasses
2 necklaces
1 purse
1 camera bag
2 scarf
1 Coat*
3 Shoes

*I need a winter coat. I’ve been wearing my ratty busted maternity coat for 4 winters now! I really need to pull the trigger this year and make it happen.

Through the course of this project I hope to dress simply and chicly, I want to identify the real staples in my wardrobe and use this opportunity to replace any shabby items with quality pieces. This isn’t really a no-shopping challenge for me, I rarely shop now, instead I want to take a cue from what I actually find myself wearing and decide where to spend wisely.

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365 Fridays- Week 36

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On Fridays I’m linking up for a 365 hosted by Sarah @ Nurse Loves Farmer, Mindi @ Simply Stavish, and Stephanie @ Behind the Camera & Dreaming.

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I’m a bad 365er this week, I took more iPhone photos thatn anything, you can find more of this week’s pictures on Instagram.

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Still Life with Buttermilk

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Love shooting wraps for Pavo Textiles.

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We don’t feed our kids a lot of sugar, but it really is fun watching your kids get super excited about a treat.

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drool…