Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Baby Douchecanoe Summer Photoshoot

Guys, all I mean by that title is that this outfit makes my kid look like the kind of guy that's named Sammy, likes to skateboard on the boardwalk, says "dude" unnecessarily as well as unironically, and might not be the most respectful boyfriend you've ever had.
It's cute though because at least in this instance I have a chance to raise him to be the best boyfriend you've ever had. And just ask Haley, Ander's a great boyfriend already. He's not afraid to absolutely scream goodbye to you in a public place, he's all about that innocent PDA, and he likes it best when you're having fun.

Shoes are from Walmart, Tank and Booty Shorts courtesy of ye olde Goodwill.

I was honestly stunned to open up my blog dashboard and see that the last time I even opened blogger was back in January. It's been three solid months since I even thought about blogging. While the majority of that hiatus can be attributed to our moving, [still ongoing] renovating of three separate housing "units", and just being busy in general, the last almost month I've really struggled with how to talk about and deal with a very unexpected personal tragedy.
I literally just sat here for a good minute debating whether it constitutes using the word "tragedy" or if it will come across as facetious to give the event that much credit. And that's been my inner battle. Treating it seriously enough to deal with the emotions, but rationally accepting that it's not the worst thing that could have happened.
To avoid beating around the bush any longer, we'll just get straight into it.
Around the first week of March I took a pregnancy test and finally got the positive result I'd been coveting since late Summer of last year. It was a cheap test from Walmart so Mark was hesitant to believe it. So I bought digital ones, and they concurred with the first positive. We were pregnant! Finally!
I was barely 5 weeks along but keeping secrets is not my strong suit and I had always said that, "if anything were to happen I'd rather people knew so that I could have a support system," because that's what you say even when you don't believe that that supposed "anything" will ever actually happen to you.
So we told family, I bought Ander a couple of "Big Brother" outfits to wear to choir, our close friends knew, everything was great.
Right before bed about a week after our announcing, I got a little blood when I wiped after going to the bathroom. My heart skipped a beat, but I knew spotting was a thing, so I just slipped in a small tampon and went to sleep.
I woke up in the wee, dark hours of the morning significantly aware that I had bled through the tampon, through the period underwear I had put on "just in case", and through all of my pajamas.

Having read a lot now I know that my behavior following this instance was probably the first phase of grief: Denial. I talked myself down from the ledge of panic constantly until my OB's office opened so I could call and ask. Even after I heard back from the on-call nurse (as I had just left a message about the bleeding) and she flat out said, "well it does sound like you are having a miscarriage," I still told myself I would go in, get the vaginal ultrasound, and I would be one of those rare cases where the yolk sac is still nestled snugly in my uterus and all would be fine, my baby would continue to carry, and I'd have my Thanksgiving Baby.
All was not fine, my uterus was glaringly empty, in a most hurtful betrayal of my trust, and I left the office only to drive to a gas station and sob as I filled my car and avoided looking in the eyes of the strangers who blatantly stared at the crazy crying lady.

I think I managed to remain fairly dignified and rational as I rescinded our announcement to those that knew. And I was glad that I at least had people I could tell without having to start the conversation as, "so I was pregnant."
But again, having read through many an article, that was during my Numb period. I had cried, mostly in private, for a few days and now I was able to remind myself that there hadn't even been a heartbeat, I'd barely been pregnant or even known for hardly a week, and that it wasn't a big deal. And I truly believed it at the time. I think.
But then time kept moving, and the buzzing black cloud surrounding my head hummed with the constant reminder, "I should be pregnant right now." Yesterday my calendar chimed in that it was supposed to be my 8 week ultrasound appointment and here I was still putting in tampons and waiting to feel just normal again.
I think the most difficult aspect is being unable to bring myself to let other people know about all this without feeling guilty that I seem unable to simply "get over it" like I think I should, or like I think other people think I should. There's this automatic assumption that people will roll their eyes and judge me for being so affected and sad that I lost an embryo. I want to be perceived as strong, and sensible, and right now I feel so far from strong or sensible.
I feel weak, I feel emotional, I feel foolish.
I feel isolated, lonely, and vulnerable.

I don't know what phase of grief I'm in now, which makes it difficult to know what would be the best course of action. But I woke up this morning, got my kid dressed in a funky, cute outfit and took him outside with the dog to take some fun pictures. And that made me feel great.
Even in the midst of all my confusion and general despair, I can name one shining silver lining from this trial which is that it has brought me so much closer to my dear, sweet son. I appreciate him so much more, I am usually more patient with him, and I take more time out of my day to just sit and spend time with him. His spunk and humor and his squishy, happy face heals me.
So I'm sure someday that will translate to gratitude. I look forward to that day.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The heck are the Douglass' even doing right now?

Are you as lost on what is even going on in our lives as we are? Not to fret, I will now quickly and concisely lay it all out for you in a beautifully organized and prompt manner.
I'm also a huge liar.

No, but seriously. There may have been leaks and drips, but we haven't really taken a moment out to "announce" our current life decision the way you would normally expect a life decision such as this to go. Mostly because it's such a long-run based endeavor that it's kinda hard to figure out when exactly that "announcement" phase has arrived.
After we moved out of Rialto, our first obscenely large home, Mark began concocting a plan to increase, er, *ahem* create a stream of passive income. The idea is to, loan contracts permitting, accumulate rental properties and be landlord moguls. As best as I can understand it, that is.
It basically means we'll be moving once a year (ish) for the foreseeable future.

We hit our year mark in our current house around November, and we're hoping to move into our new place come the end of January.
But first we've had to put in some work to spruce the place up a bit. Without getting into great detail (of which there is plenty), we'll just say some renovations needed to be re-renovated due to questionable quality of work, as well as ridding the smell of cigarette smoke.
Thus far we have...

  • Removed commercial carpet tiling [much wailing and gnashing of teeth]
  • Removed kitchen cabinetry
  • Pulled up kitchen tile
  • Trashed pony wall
  • Knocked down kitchen soffits and superfluous walls
  • Carted the toilets (ew) and bathroom vanities/sinks outside
  • Purchased new kitchen cabinetry second-hand (and subsequently moved the entire set like, a billion times) (literally)
  • Sponge-mopped every wall with a vinegar solution
  • Scrapped the vertical blinds, ceiling fans, and baseboards
  • Rerouted kitchen wiring and plumbing
Honorable Mentions: Mark found a perfectly laid out rat skeleton in the attic and tried to preserve it to show me, but it crumbled into a pile of bones when he moved it. Alas.
And I shaved 20 years off my vitality by pruning the jungled forest of California Palms in our front yard. There's technically three of them with trunks wider than my waist (which is notably girthy) but they've gone so long undeterred that there are two mini offshoots that are practically their own shrubs now. 
Pro-tip: trim them while they're green. All the fronds at the bottom of the trunks that had died out since they were shaded so thoroughly by their sibling fronds (frondlings?) were basically like sawing through concrete. And we don't have a chainsaw, nor would I use one if we did, so I was left with my own sheer muscle power. Which isn't saying much. And it was nighttime. And snowing! Uphill both ways! Nope, too far.

We are, however, hiring out quite a bit for this project. We did our own painting in Rialto and I swore it would never again be a thing I told myself I could do. Mark was still complaining of patchy spots when we moved out of that place. #peskymemories
Turns out, efficiently and confidently managing a contractor schedule is sup totes tricksy. Still...
  • Repair garage roof
  • Remove popcorn ceiling
  • Retexture and install drywall
  • Carpet
And then we can move in!
At some point in there we will be installing the cabinetry in the kitchen, but we're doing that ourselves. And a great many other things that we're doing ourselves. 

The drywall guys come in the next day or two, tile is scheduled for next week, I'm thoroughly panicking about all these invoices and receipts that are piling up, so really, everything's going exactly as planned.
This endeavor would be completely impossible and nonexistent without Mark. I am continuously in awe of how much knowledge he has in such a vast array of subjects, and I'm so grateful he can impart such wisdom onto our own children. I only hope they soak it up better than I do. I'm lucky enough to recall the difference between a reciprocating saw and a jigsaw, let alone operate one and skillfully build a base for a railing. Cuz that's a thing Mark can do. 
Not to mention the leaps and bounds in our growth as partners as we learn and struggle together. I mean, who needs marriage counseling and therapy workshops, just gut and rebuild a house with each other. Team-building exercise on steroids.
But also like, therapy is irreplaceable. Don't take me or these blogs seriously. 100% do not recommend. 

So basically that's where we are right now. I've been struggling with the line between including people in our lives and not making a big deal about it since it's kind of an unconventional situation. It's not your typical facebook announcement from the newlywed couple that are finally getting out of their one bedroom apartment and into their first house. Like, I don't need to make an instagram post of us holding the keys by the front door, but also maybe I should tell people what we're doing? So this here's my compromise. 
We did/are doing a thing, it's a cool thing, and I'll share pictures when we're done. TBD.