Posted: September 8th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Guest Post, Sponsored Posts | No Comments »
One thing that parents seem to look forward to with a new baby, is the big First Birthday. For us, it’s not as much about the kid, as it is about surviving that crazy, sleep deprived, year full of other firsts. With the twins, we went a little above and beyond what we would normally do (we went on a horse-drawn hayride), with Judah we just chilled at our house and had a BBQ with family. Whether you are planning something simple or lavish, I think we can all relate to this guest post!
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Posted: July 28th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy | Tags: HG, Hyperemesis, Hyperemesis Gravidarum | 2 Comments »
On Friday, I had the earliest ultrasound I have ever had. My due date was moved back two days, I got to see our teeny tiny, and hear a little heartbeat. It was awesome.
I’ve been sinking into that constant nausea that slowly takes over and envelopes every movement, every breath, every second of the day. I have that tell-tale sickly sweet taste in my mouth that I can’t get rid of, and I’m starting to lose interest in eating and drinking.
I hate this part.
It’s coming, I know it is. I just want it to get here and not be sitting in endless nausealand. As much as Hyperemesis sucks, vomiting brings temporary relief. I’m going to ask for my prescription for Zofran tomorrow, but that doesn’t touch the nausea, so I know it won’t make a difference at this point.
Yesterday we decided, at the drop of a hat, to take the boys Up North to take our annual photo of the boys walking down the road to the lake. I’ve taken this photo every year, and I wasn’t going to miss this year. We usually stop and take pics with the Walleye in Garrison, but the breakwater is undergoing some construction and the Big Fish was moved to across the road and had a big plastic sign tied to it. We skipped that photo op this year.
After we got home from our whirlwind roadtrip, I pretty much went right to bed. And I stayed there all night, and most of today. Thank God Yogi Dad is as awesome as he is. I feel terribly guilty for taking the time to rest and be horizontal, but I may as well do it when I have the chance.
The fact of the matter is, Hyperemesis is the one thing that has held us back from adding another kid to this family until now. It’s pure hell, and I would be lying if I said I had any clue how we are going to get through this. The first time, we had no other obligations other than work. I could lay on the couch all day and it didn’t matter. The second time, we had a nanny. The boys hadn’t yet been diagnosed (hell, there wasn’t even an inkling that anything was going on) so there was no school or rehab or Day Treatment. There was always an extra pair of hands to help. This time around, we have a full schedule of places to be, every day. No extra hands.
But, we’ve been through it before. We can do it again. I’m not quite sure how it will work if I need to go in for IV fluids, but we will figure that out as it comes. I might have to *ask* friends for help! I’m not good at doing that. Again, I will cross that bridge when we come to it.
Bottom line- we are having a baby, and we are excited as hell!
Posted: July 20th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting, Pregnancy | 9 Comments »
35 is tricky. At least it seems to be for me.
On one hand, we are finally in a house, feeling settled.
On the other hand, my body is starting to rev up for the big change. Or so I thought.
Apparently the ladies in my family all have biological clocks that expire in the early to mid thirties. I know this because when I was 29 and just starting to contemplate having a kid, my mom warned me I might not have as much time as I imagined.
So, although I was shocked and saddened to find Shark Week popping up every 21 days out of nowhere, I wasn’t surprised. I hoped it was caused by the stress of moving, but my brain was just screaming “YOU ARE 35! THIS IS IT!”. It felt like a big, red, flashing, light over my head, and Google was never very helpful at easing my fears. (Is Google EVER helpful at easing fears?”) I pretty much cried my eyes out for an entire weekend.
I made an appointment for my yearly exam, and I noted that I was having some big irregularities with my period, and they allotted for extra time to discuss that and run tests with my midwife. And then I waited. And then my appointment got cancelled because she was at a birth (first time ever in 9 years, so I can’t complain). And then I waited some more.
While I waited, I promptly freaked out. Big time.
Our original plan was to start trying to conceive in September, and all of a sudden it felt like my uterus was abandoning me. Closing up shop. Right when things were just as they should be. What a cruel twist of fate this was.
Never being one to sit around and let nature take it’s course, I switched gears. What was 2 months in the grand scheme of things?
In my mind, it was a done deal. My chance was gone. The sand had emptied from the proverbial hourglass.
No more babies.
So really, what did we have to lose?
Throw the plan out the window. Make a new plan!
We pulled the goalie.
And then I calmed down a little bit. Whatever happens, happens. What will be, will be.
I started testing on July 4th. That would have been the first day to get a positive test if my cycle was still in fact, short.
I tested on the 7th.
On the 11th I was playing around with my phone, adding apps, and I clicked on the My Days app and it suggested I might be pregnant. With no sign of my interloping aunt showing up, I went downstairs and took the last test.
Fast forward to yesterday, and me explaining to my midwife that the Peri-menopause discussion was off the table for the time being. In fact, I needed a pregnancy test.
You guys! I just jumped off the deep end.
Posted: June 14th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Living in the City, Stream of Consciousness | No Comments »
Well, it’s been awhile.
I have to say, there were many days when all I wanted to do was sit down and write, but time was just not on my side.
Here are the high (and low) points:
We bought a house! We closed on the 31st and have been in full-on moving mode ever since. Which mostly means painting, packing, and spending all of our money at Home Depot.
Moving with three toddlers is harder than moving with two toddlers and an infant. I think we are still 90% in boxes here. As hard as it was to pack, it’s proving to be just as difficult to un-pack and organize. We might be living out of boxes for the next 6 months. Maybe the next 6 years.
We have a lot of stuff. I *thought* I had made a dent in our possessions when we purged three van-fuls of clothes, housewares and home décor over to Goodwill. I was sorely mistaken. As we unpack and organize, we will once again be giving everything a long, hard look. Or, in my husband’s case, just tossing everything, including the gorgeous hooked rug gifted to us for the boys room. I pulled more than a few cherished items out of the trash last week. So, I suppose I will be doing the unpacking/ organizing/ purging. Anyone want to help?!
We went on a date! At a normal time! At a respectable, hip place! On a Saturday night! On MOVING DAY! It was one for the record books. It’s been awhile since we made a reservation for after 6pm.
All of my electronics conked out on me at the same time. Our desktop took a turn for the worse and was skittish at best, throwing up the blue screen of death at it’s worst. A certain 4 year old spilled a glass of milk on our laptop rendering it almost completely useless. My phone decided that it would no longer hold a charge for more than 6 minutes and seeing as we are up for new phones in July, I am trying to make it through the next few weeks with minimal phone use. So, basically, if I was online at all, it was while tethered to the wall by my phone charger.
Care Cab took our boys home to our old house. Pretty sure the old guy across the street who sits on his porch and watches the neighborhood all day thinks I am up to something after I paced up and down the sidewalk with a half-naked toddler for 45 minutes while we waited for them to show up at the right house. I have no doubt that it was an honest mistake, the driver has driven them many times before and it was the first time she had driven them since the move and just went to the old house. There was no way she would have left them there, they just got an extra long ride home. She probably suffered the most as Wyatt and Lincoln told her in no uncertain terms where they wanted to be: The three five one five house!
The school year ended. We are mostly surviving with just 3 hours of day treatment each day. It’s hard to tell where the craziness is coming from, the shortened day, or the new, unorganized house. I’m hoping we can get into a routine here soon. I’m also hoping that things will be easier once our fence goes in. I. Can’t. Wait.
This house is locked up tighter than Fort Knox. Four locks plus alarms on the exit doors? Yes, please! Everywhere you look there is a lock, latch, or safety device. I know it seems excessive, but containment is our number one priority with these kids, and for once, I don’t want to have to worry about leaving the room and coming back to find they walked out the back door.
New furniture for everyone! And the beginnings of Pinterest worthy rooms! Aside from Home Depot, we have been to Ikea about a dozen times, Target, and Amazon are seeing lots of action. We held on to cheap furniture from college and when we were first married because we wanted to wait to replace things when we bought a house. Let’s just say that tearing apart old flat-pack was insanely satisfying after all these years. It is so nice to start fresh and new!
I am failing at using my CSA shares. We just have fallen apart when it comes to cooking. Pretty sure we have eaten out at least once a day for the past month. I am so ready to be cooking again. Thankfully Wyatt is on a “healthy snacks” kick and the boys are devouring fresh fruits and veggies by bowlful, even if they aren’t our CSA veggies, and even if we aren’t getting healthy meals in. Sunday is the start of a new week, a fresh start for everyone and everything!
Wondering what happened to our landlord and his many hats? When we checked out of the old house, he sort of apologized for “only thinking of himself” when he gave us the boot so unexpectedly. Things obviously worked out in our favor. We bought a house we love in a neighborhood we are excited to be living in. That said, his “apology” doesn’t erase the douchbaggery. He ended up taking his house off the market after a couple of price drops, so they won’t be moving into the rental we were in after all. Of course.
That’s probably enough for tonight. Pictures will come once we get more settled. Right now it’s just toy soup and box city. Pretty sure you all know what that looks like!
Posted: May 1st, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Living in the City, Parenting | Tags: Cleaning, Moving, Terrible Twos, Toddlers | 2 Comments »
Right now I am sitting at my dining room table, trying to figure out how in the world I am going to get this house packed up. I can’t get the dishes done without Judah running out the backdoor, let alone do work where I need to be sorting and organizing and getting rid of things I don’t want or need to take to our new house. He makes the smallest task next to impossible.
On Monday I was in the kitchen, doing dishes (which are endless when you don’t have a dishwasher) and he went outside to the backyard. I had him leave the back door open so I could hear him, but not 5 minutes later, he was nowhere to be found. John and I both kind of freaked out. Our yard is fenced, but it backs up to an alley- could someone have taken him from the alley? The worst things go through your mind.
After about 10 minutes of running around like crazy people (our neighbor across the street helped too), we found him. He was in the garage, which we both thought was locked. I had my phone in my hand, ready to call 911. It was scary shit.
I cannot take my eyes off this kid for a second. Which means I get absolutely nothing done until after the boys go to bed, and by then I am completely exhausted and ready to put my feet up and drink a beer and cruise Facebook.
It’s frustrating to live like this.
We move in a month, so adding extra locks and alarms to our doors is silly. Telling him “no” is useless. Putting him on time out is laughable. We have taken away toys and privileges and everything we can think of, it doesn’t stop the naughtiness. And honestly, I can deal with all of those things as long as I am not having to worry about his safety. Within 30 minutes of getting up in the morning, he has escaped to the backyard. I don’t have time to deal with that when I am trying to get the boys out the door to school.
So back to packing- I have no idea how this is going to get done. I feel like we need a few kid free weekends where we can get the majority of it done, because staying up until midnight, packing by myself doesn’t sound like a good time!
The countdown has started- we close on the 31st!
I’ll be in the corner, distracting myself with paint chips and Pinterest, trying to forget that I have a laundry list of things to do.
Posted: April 18th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Stream of Consciousness | 1 Comment »
I seriously need it to be Friday. And I need Friday to be GOOD.
This week we had…
Monday, which brought clarity to the fact that you should never trust someone who switches between his landlord, investor, and businessman hats so frequently. Also: people who think the phrase “I’m putting my (fill in the blank) hat on” somehow softens the blow, are kidding themselves. Also: anyone who evicts you so he can have a place to live when he sells his house is kind of an (insert choice word here). At least those were the sentiments of all the people who read my post on Tuesday.
Which brings me to Tuesday. Tuesday had me bringing Judah in to have an “unofficial” evaluation/ observation to rule out any red flags for Autism. If you’ve been down this road, you know how difficult that is. Thankfully, he is just crazy busy and challenging, no red flags found. Also: we toured, made an offer and had our offer accepted on a house. We are (cross your fingers) going to be home owners. Finally!
Wednesday I had two IEP meetings scheduled back to back in the afternoon. IEP meetings usually come with a lot of anxiety for a lot of parents. I generally welcome the chance to chat with the boys teams and make plans for next year. This year, I figured there would be issues with the transition/ transportation between the boys day treatment and school. I was correct. We are pretty much up shit creek a this point and we are seriously contemplating pulling them out of school and just doing day treatment. The alternative does absolutely nothing to serve our boys- it only serves the two different facilities. It’s funny that after the last 10 days of agonizing over keeping them in this school district, how easily I am willing to walk away from their current school. I’m hoping I can get past this annoyance in the coming weeks and I hope that we can come to a better solution. I still can’t believe that *this* is what we have to quibble over each year.
Thursday, well, Thursday brought snow.
It’s April 18th. This is the third snowfall we’ve had in a week. I know that non-natives think Minnesota is under snow for 300 days a year, but I’m here to tell you, this is not the norm. I am officially ready for Spring!
Also, with the craziness of the week, my house is a crazy mess. Dishes are piled in the sink, the laundry room is filled with moving boxes and laundry, the dining room and living room are an inch deep with toys and tools. Judah won’t stop escaping out the back door and he pooped on the floor TWICE today. Because of all of this, I have a short fuse. I feel like I’m constantly yelling and screaming and I just want to crawl into bed and wake up to a clean house. But that isn’t going to happen. I will be up hours after they go to bed (they will still be up at 11, mark my words), trying to get some semblance of order and I will wake up exhausted, and crabby, and start this whole thing over, with a shorter fuse.
So, Friday…our INSPECTION day! It seriously better be a good one. At least this weekend won’t be lost to driving around looking at houses!
Posted: April 16th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Living in the City | 5 Comments »
It has been a really, really, really, exhausting and LONG 10 days.
Two Saturdays ago we were informed that our neighbors were putting their house on the market. It’s totally gorgeous, in a desirable neighborhood, in a seller’s market, so it of course sold in about 16 seconds. Our landlord emailed us letting us know about this. Also that he was “just brainstorming” and wondering what he could get for our place. Yogi Dad, trying to make sure we would not be homeless, asked if we could change our lease to a 1-year (we hadn’t signed one yet and had been toying with the idea of looking for a house later this year). Our landlord said no, apologized for needing to put on his “investor hat” and that was that. The clock was ticking. How much time we had, we still didn’t know.
We kind of went into panic mode and immediately sought out a mortgage broker that did not work for Wells Fargo*. Within 24 hours we were approved for a mortgage and were on the hunt.
Naively, thinking that he has a vested interest in getting us into a house so he can sell this one, we hired our landlord to be our realtor. Our parents were all kind of giving us the “are you sure you want to do that?” talk, but up until this moment, we hadn’t had a bad experience with our landlord, and anyways, he kept telling us he wasn’t going to “kick us out”, so we figured it was a win-win. He was available at a moments notice for showings, which is really helpful when there are 6 houses for sale and 9,784 people trying to buy them. This is a seriously bad market for buyers right now.
We took our list of houses we had to choose from and would drive around, culling them based on location- busy streets, no driveway and being next to a crack house, an auto shop, or train tracks were all deal breakers. On Monday (or was it Tuesday?), I went and looked at 3 houses with Judah.
One house stood out and after John and my dad looked at it, we put in an offer. They countered, we countered back, they wouldn’t budge, then a new TISH report showed a laundry list of problems we didn’t want to deal with. We talked it over, we talked it over with our landlord/realtor. He offered to let us live rent free for 2 months and guaranteed our deposit back to give us more cash up front. The kicker was we had to get out by June 2nd because him and his wife were thinking our house would be a perfect place to come home to with their newborn twins (they are selling their house as well).
June 4th is the boys last day of school, no way am I moving them out before then.
It was at that point I kind of lost it. I needed a break from the pressure- no one buys a house in week one after looking at 3 houses. We walked away from our offer the next morning, and that was that. John made plans to look at houses in a different part of the city on Sunday while I was at my moms with all my aunts and girl cousins and our kids. He was given the hard sell on a house we both had absolutely no interest in. I was really starting to losing my patience.
That night, or landlord/ realtor asked what I was looking for in a house.
So I told him:
If I’m buying an old house in the city, the dream with be a Victorian or a Tudor. After that I would be happy with a 1.5 story built in the 40’s or 50’s- still charming in it’s own way. Wood floors throughout are at the top of our list- if there is carpet, knowing there are hardwoods underneath is enough for me. Safety things that are top of mind because of the flight risk with the boys- not a busy street, not immediately adjacent to a busy street, fenced yard, a driveway is incredibly helpful but I know it’s not the norm in most neighborhoods. At least .12 on the lot and if there is a claw foot tub, that would be icing on the cake.
We didn’t hear back until the next morning.
When were informed, by email, that we had 60 days to vacate our house as per the terms of our lease. Also:
I am sorry to “spring” this on you, but in order for me to be able to possibly sell it/re-rent it**
or live in it…it needs to be empty…
After much thought and discussion with my wife and business partners***/friends, it is in my best interest
to make it official.
I completely understand if this situation makes it difficult to work with me for a potential home purchase,
so I am willing to cancel the representation contract that John signed on Friday morning…there is and was never
any compensation for this representation contract.
My head pretty much exploded at that point. I don’t think I stopped crying for more than an hour at a time the whole day and our world was pretty much turned upside down. Did I mention Judah was being evaluated for the red flags of Autism today?**** Yeah. It was not the day to mess with me.
Yogi Dad hired a new realtor about 10 minutes after getting this email while I hyperventilated in the bathroom.
Fast forward 24 hours and we are currently knee deep in an offer on a house in a neighborhood near our old stomping grounds. We are up against one other offer and the ticking of the clock definitely has us on edge.
I understand that it’s “business” and he had to put on his “investor hat”, but nothing about this situation is ethical- it’s like he saw what we were looking for, realized it probably wasn’t going to happen before June, and threw in the towel. He needed a place to put his family when he sold his own house, so we were going to be out in June come hell or high water.
I’ve had a lot of anger the past 2 days, I don’t know when that will subside. You can guarantee that all of the professionals we are working with are aware of the circumstances of our situation, and I just have to think, Karma is a bitch.
In the meantime…any good thoughts, prayers and crossed limbs are welcome! We have 12 days to have an offer accepted to be out on time. (I realize that is a completely ridiculous request considering my statement about Karma, but SERIOUSLY!)
Also: I am LOVING our new team- they came highly recommended and are taking great care of us, which is helpful considering my completely emotional state right now.
UPDATE: As I was writing the title of this, we got the call, our offer was accepted! We bought a house! In the city! In NORDEAST! So many things are exciting about that for me.
*It took Wells Fargo over 6 weeks of jumping through hoops over the holidays to deny us a loan- it was an experience I don’t recommend to anyone.
**I actually just noticed that “re-renting” it is an option…why would he kick us out to re-rent it- SERIOUSLY?
***Interesting, considering he told yogi Dad the night before that one of his business partners told him to stop freaking out his tenants with his “brainstorming”.
****He is fine-not showing any signs. Just high strung and crazy/normal.
Posted: April 5th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Autism | Tags: Autism, Autism, Autism Awareness Month, Early Evaluation, Support Groups | 13 Comments »
1 in 88.
1 in 54.
1 in 50.
These are the numbers that have swirled around the Autism community for the past year or so. That 1 in 54 is important to me because it most closely represents us- 1 in 54 boys will be diagnosed with Autism. At least that is the finding from a study of 8-year-olds in 2008.
That 1 in 50? That is from the most recent study.
1 in 50 kids has autism, according to a 2012 study. Of course, this study, along with all of the other studies, has it’s detractors. But really, 1 in 50 doesn’t seem too out of the ballpark to me.
So, what can you do?
Well, for one, if you have an infant or a toddler, and you have a nagging feeling that something is up- even if it’s “just” a speech delay…do me a favor and call Early Intervention.
If you have a friend who is worried about their child- let’s say he isn’t acquiring language at the same rate of his peers. (I’m using language because it’s usually the thing that triggers and evaluation, yet most people blow it off.)
Please, do NOT say any of these things:
– Boys talk later than girls
– He has an older sibling/ twin who communicates for him, it’s OK
– You always meet his needs for him, he doesn’t *need* to talk
– He was premature, he will talk later
– My cousin’s uncle didn’t talk until he was 4 and now he’s a lawyer…
Instead, LISTEN. I have a son who was a late talker and I have twins who lost language and became non-verbal. The gut feeling was completely different. The fear and worry was different. I knew pretty quickly that something was not right with the twins, and I didn’t worry at all with my youngest. It’s different.
If you have been in this place of worry, if you have ever called Early Intervention, if you have ever had a child diagnosed with Autism or another special need- please, SHARE your resources. Support a mom or dad when they have worries, do not blow them off. You should be their first shoulder to lean on, you have been in their shoes!
It is a really isolating place to be when the mothers around you abandon you in your greatest time of need. Telling someone not to worry is the equivalent of telling a mom to sit down and shut up. Sometimes things are not OK. Sometimes things warrant a professional opinion.
Why are we so quick to tell moms that everything is fine? Is it because we are afraid we are missing something with our own kids? Is it because their fear is also our fear and we desperately don’t want to peek behind the curtain and deal with what might be waiting for us?
Don’t wait. Don’t tell others to wait. Resources are available and completely irreplaceable. You do not want to “wait it out”- waiting is just wasting time. The only thing we have in this fight is early intervention, the key word being EARLY.
And one more thing- if there is a mom you know who is taking steps to figure out what is going on with her child, don’t tell her that she should stop looking. Don’t tell her that she can instead fix her child with oils (or herbs, diet, a warm bath before bedtime and spinning around 6 times upon waking up in the morning)- it only serves to prolong the inevitable, which in some cases takes away free and affordable supports.
This isn’t going away.
Posted: March 12th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Parenting | Tags: parenting | 4 Comments »
There are few things that irk me more than when a pregnant woman complains of morning sickness and someone tells her to eat a Saltine before she gets out of bed in the morning.
Is there anyone in the world that does not know this trick? If you have read a book, seen a movie, or watched television with a
sick pregnant woman in it, you would know that the number one piece of advice given to pregnant women to stave off morning sickness, is a cracker.
Seriously- everyone knows about the damn crackers (not to mention the ginger, the ginger ale, and possibly the Seabands). Let’s stop with the obvious advice- this is 2013, this is advanced parenting here people- we have the internet!
Sorry, I had to get that off my chest.
Wanna know what sparked it?
I was on Pinterest the other day and I saw a pin for “How to have a Napping House”. Sounds good to me- I want to know! What is the secret? I have a 2-year old who is refusing to nap, and I am in hell. I want a Napping House!
It must be something REALLY good.
Tranquilizers in sippy cups?
But seriously- what is the secret? How do I make my two-year-old maniac take a nap? He obviously *needs* a nap. I know *I* need a nap (or at least I want one). At least I want time by myself with no kids to tend to- at least for an hour, more if possible.
So, what is the secret to having a napping house?
You heard me.
Like, put your kids in their rooms and tell them they don’t have to sleep, they just have to play quietly…because it’s “quiet time”.
Are you effing kidding me?
That’s the secret?
I never thought of that. Actually, yes, yes I DID think of that. And so did every parent, ever, in the whole world.
How to have a Napping House my ass.
Anyone have a different way to approach this? Because seriously, momming a two-year old who doesn’t take naps suuucks.
What is the piece of advice you roll your eyes at because it’s so obvious?
* Tell your kids no; tell your kids yes; kids will eat when they are hungry; put healthy snacks out for them to choose from; play outside; play inside, etc. etc. etc…
Posted: March 8th, 2013 | Author: Erin Clotfelter | Filed under: Breastfeeding, Reviews and Giveaways | 9 Comments »
I used to host the Breastfeeding Blog Hop and every Thursday was my night to sit down and dish about the ups and downs of nursing. I handed the reigns over to the lovely ladies at Sisters n’ Cloth and Life of Wife, Mummy, and Nurse this past summer but I still get a hefty amount of traffic regarding breastfeeding on a daily basis.
I was recently asked to review a new line of nursing covers and being a one-time connoisseur of nursing covers, I figured it would be fun to go back in time and revisit all of the things I learned while nursing my boys.
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