Friday, July 31, 2015

all you ever wanted to know (but felt too awkward to ask) about my lazy eye

I've got a lazy eye. Yep, it's true. If you've met me in person, you probably have already noticed that. If, however, you're one of my internet readers who I've never met, that little factoid might be new information. So here's all you never wanted to know about what it's like to have a lazy eye.

why does it do that?
Hmmm... let's see if I can make this super long story into a short one. I was born with a condition called "Strabismus," which basically means that I was permanently cross-eyed. Cute on a baby. Not so cute on an adult. The problem with having your eyes always crossed is that your brain gets two different images instead of one to blend together when you look at things. So, being super efficient, the brain learns how to shut off the "feed"coming from one eye.

When I was about four years old, I got two separate surgeries to align my eyes. However, my brain had gotten so used to only using one eye at a time that it forgot how to use both at the same time. So I developed what is called "Amblyopia." Which sounds like a magical fantasy land, but really just means that whichever eye I'm not using tends to do whatever the heck it wants--unbeknownst to me. Hence: Lazy Eye.

can you see two things at once?
Man, I wish! I'd love to get all Mad-Eye Moody and be able to look around with one eye while I concentrate on another thing with the other eye. Sadly... no. I only see what the non-wandering eye sees. Lame, I know.

so you can't see with both eyes, ever?
I can actually totally use both eyes at once... it's just doesn't happen automatically. I have to concentrate on using both eyes. But general looking around? Nah. I'll just use one eye at a time. Way easier.

does it affect your vision?
Not much. The only difference, really, between what I see and what the average Joe sees is that I have a less developed depth perception. Using two eyes to see something gives you two ever-so-slightly different angles on an object. That's what allows you to see it in 3-D. Only using one eye at a time takes that ability away. Which means I run into things a lot more, suck way worse at sports involving quick-moving balls, and often pour my milk right onto the table instead of into my cereal bowl. It's really more entertaining than anything, really.

Also, I do have a slight lack of peripheral vision on one side just due to the fact that I'm only using one eye. But... I've never not had this problem, so I don't know any different.

can you drive?
Yep! They don't test your depth perception when you get your driver's license... only your vision. So I was all set! I tend to be way more cautious when I drive, though, since I have a harder time judging distances.

does it bug you?
Nope!There was a time in my past when I really hated it and just wished I could be like everyone else... but I came to terms with it. Now I love that I'm unique and not just like everybody else. And the people who know me best don't even notice it anymore. 

It also doesn't bug me a bit when people ask me about it. As long as they're nice. The only time it's annoying is when I can tell it's making other people uncomfortable. That's no fun.

There you have it! Everything you ever wanted to know about my lazy eye but felt too awkward to ask. :) You can read a more in-depth description of the issue here.

Friday, July 24, 2015

it's time for a little link love!

Hey everybody! Just wanted to let you in on some of my favorite reads this month! Check them out and enjoy!

When Did I Last Wash Your Hair? from Hannah Help Me
This one tugged at my heartstrings and prompted a sudden round of snuggles with my cute one. And by "snuggles" I mean tickling him with kisses all over since my little dude never slows down or stops moving long enough to snuggle. Love that little wiggly boy though!

On Beauty and my Postpartum Body from Silver Lining
Brooke is one of my all-time favorite bloggers. She has a way of telling stories that just plain cracks me up. This post is from about a year ago, and I still remember it and go back to read it whenever I need to remind myself that even though my postpartum body has its imperfections, it's also such a huge blessing!

A Tale of Two Birth Plans from Coffee and Crumbs
So much love for this post. I mean, seriously. My birth story went nothing like I planned, and it turned out to be beautiful and raw and wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for anything. This post reminds me of that on the days when I feel like I failed.

Things You Shouldn't Say to Someone Going Through Infertility from Gabe and Alexa
So I've been incredibly blessed to be able to say that infertility is not something I've struggled with so far, but I've known people for whom it is a very real trial. I never know what to say around them because I know I have no idea what they're going through. This post really opened my eyes to that experience and helped me know what to say to those friends. Such a beautiful post.

Jennifer Lawrence Gets Her Own Post from Sierra's View
I love this post for so many reasons. One big reason is because I seriously am loving Sierra--I'm a new follower to her blog and have no idea how I missed her before now. Secondly is that I love Jennifer Lawrence--pretty much like everyone else. But this post is another post about how we just need to give our bodies some credit and stop beating ourselves up for not looking like Victoria Secret models--particularly difficult sometimes when you've got post-baby flab hanging over your belt. So go. Read. Love. Follow Sierra. You won't regret it. :)

Monday, July 20, 2015

that one time on my honeymoon when i almost drowned

Once upon a time, Husband and I got married. It was a grand ol' time full of lots of "hold that kiss right there for three minutes without moving" photos and getting my dress stepped on way too many times. Best choice I ever made was to marry that guy.

Once the nuptials were over, we headed off on our honeymoon--a fantastic cruise to Key West and two islands in the Bahamas.

So we are in the Bahamas soaking up the sun and basically loving life when Husband and I decide to go down the beach toward where the waves look a little more intense--because half the fun of the beach is bouncing around on the waves, for sure.

So we dash across that gorgeous white sand and into the crystalline water. A wave crashes toward us.The anticipation builds. This looks like a good one! We both get into our best wave-resisting stances. Husband's stance is somehow awesome and he stays on his feet. Me, on the other hand... well, my stance apparently sucked.

I'm standing there, gearing up, and that wave hits my legs with a lot more force than I expected. And not only that, but there's a strong undertow. Before I knew it, that wave had picked me up and threw me heels over head in an instant. I was underwater doing somersault after somersault with no idea which way was up.

Gulping in water as the undertow pulled me over and over and over, I flung out my arms in a desperate reach for shore. My hands grasped the sandy bottom just as the wave receded and freed me from its deadly grasp.

I finally got my feet under me and rubbed the salt and sand out of my stinging eyes. "Woah," I said, stumbling around blindly.

But that was all I managed to say before yet another wave grabbed hold of my legs and pulled them out from under me once more. Tumbling and tumbling, over and over. I was half enjoying the ride and half scared out of my mind that I was going to die. Funny how often those things go together, isn't it?

This time, when the wave receded, I was left on my knees facing the shore with my swimsuit bottoms halfway down my legs completely full of sand. I hurriedly pulled the bottoms up, hoping none of the other beach goers had seen anything.

I barely had my bottoms pulled back up when another wave toppled right over me and pulled me under again. I felt my swimsuit bottoms come down yet again and prayed to heaven that I wasn't mooning the entire Bahamian beach right now. And also praying I wouldn't die.

I was watching my life flash before my eyes... the time I'd locked the keys in a running vehicle in the middle of nowhere... the time I fell asleep at the wheel and annihilated a mailbox... the time I nearly peed all over our car... the time I dyed spaghetti sauce blue...

It was then that I decided that I desperately wanted to live... if for nothing else but to have cooler things to remember next time my life flashed before my eyes.

So the next time the wave receded, I finally used my brain and got the heck outta the water (whilst pulling my bottoms back up again). My head was throbbing and I was sopping.

I decided that next time I'll just keep to the milder waves--I apparently am no match against undertow.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

an open letter to the mom who doesn't like breastfeeding

You are not alone.

I know you feel alone. Everywhere you look, there are all of these happy, smiling moms nursing their babies and talking about how "breast is best." They all say how wonderful breastfeeding is, how it creates such a bond with their babies, how it is their favorite time of the day.

And then there's you.

You feel like an outsider. Like the broken one. Like the bad mom who must not love her baby as much as those other moms love their babies.

But those moms? Those moms are not the only moms out there. There are moms out there just like you.

Moms who cringe with toe-curling pain every time their babies latch. Or moms who just want to sleep and let someone else feed the baby for once. Or the moms who hate dealing with the hurtles that come with nursing in public.

There are moms out there who, just like you, just don't get how it's so gosh-dang amazing. Moms who feel guilty because they don't just adore having a tiny human sucking on them 6-12 times a day. Moms who hang their heads and cry because they just want to quit.

You are so, so, so not alone.

I've been there. Heck, I AM there. Currently still breastfeeding my eight-month-old, and even though I'm loving the stage he's in I'm secretly counting down until his first birthday when I can be done breastfeeding and I can keep my shirt on for more than six hours at a time.

I've felt guilty about it just like you. Had people tell me how lucky I am that I can make enough milk for my child. I've looked at the moms who just wish they could breastfeed their babies, and felt like the most ungrateful person in the world because I can and yet don't want to sometimes. And I, like you, have wondered what kind of horrible mom I am.

Now that my baby is older and breastfeeding has become so much easier than it used to be, it's easier to not hate it. But when my baby was new and everything was so hard? Sometimes I don't know how I made it through.

I remember the months of 90-minute-long feeds every three hours and the never-ending state of being overwhelmed because no one but me could feed him. I remember cringing and crying in pain while I waited for my nipples to get used to the abuse. I remember resenting my rocking chair and dreading the next feed. I remember breaking down sobbing once when my husband said, "I think he's hungry," and I just didn't have it in me emotionally to do it again. I remember how I thought about quitting every single day.

And now, eight months in, it's gotten so much easier than it was back then. He feeds in 15 minutes and only 5 or 6 times a day. I can't remember the last time it hurt. He sleeps through the night most nights. It's a downright pleasant experience.

And yet I still do not love it the way I always thought I was supposed to.

But now it's easier for me to see that whether or not I like breastfeeding says nothing about my quality as a mother. Just because I'm not frolicking in fields with my baby in a nursing sling suckling sweetly at my nipple does not mean that I am the world's worst mom. Just because I don't jump with joy when my baby starts smacking his lips and clawing at my shirt doesn't mean I am a failure. I am not a bad mother.

And you aren't either.

Whether you breastfeed or formula feed, you are a good mom. You are a wonderful mom.

Stop beating yourself up. It's okay to not like breastfeeding.

The number one thing I've learned over the past eight months: it's different for every single mother. Don't hate yourself because things didn't turn out exactly the way you imagined. You are a superhero.

Liked this post? Check out the letter I wrote to my c-section scar here or the letter to my pre-childbirth self  here. You can also read about the seven things I still suck at after seven months of motherhood or you can check out my own experience surviving a puppp rash.

Monday, July 13, 2015

babies don't really care about the government

There's so much going on in the political sphere right now. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you've probably been living under a rock. And if you are living under a rock, I'm kind of jealous of you in a lot of ways because the last week has been really crazy with all of the hate from both sides.

But anyway. This post isn't going to be about that because I'm super non-confrontational and even though I have my opinions, I recognize that most people have already made up their minds on the issue and me saying what I think is only going to spark a debate I don't feel like having. Plus also, I'm totally the type of person that takes everything super personally. And I'm kind of prone to crying when people say mean-ish things. I'm an ugly crier, so we're just going to avoid that altogether.

This post isn't about politics, it's about our day in Washington D.C.!

Yay patriotism and stuff!

We were super excited to visit the nation's capital. I'd never been there before, and I was so stoked to see all of the things I'd only seen on television. Monuments! Museums! Abraham Lincoln, oh my!

So, to sum up our day:

Once upon a time, we drive into DC with big dreams of this awesome day we are gonna have. Baby Bug is going to love historical monuments and museums and he's going to nap in his stroller like an old pro and he's going to breastfeed discreetly wherever we are without having a spaz attack about having his face covered and it is all going to be awesome.

We get into DC. The sun is blazing down on us and the air is thick with humidity. Why am I wearing long pants again? Wait, why are we even wearing clothes? The sun hates us.

We drive around a zillion million one-way streets, barely avoiding thick masses of pedestrians as we search for a place to park. We spend a good amount of that time trying to figure out why the heck there are so many people around. You know, besides general big-city stuff.

Oh wait. It's the fourth of July this weekend. That's why there's no parking. Why didn't the fact that it was the fourth of July occur to us? WHY DID WE NOT REALIZE THIS BEFORE WE GOT HERE?!

Finally we find a parking garage. It's only a mile and a half from the National Mall. No biggie. We'll just walk. In our flip flops. Across the city. With a hungry seven-and-a-half-month-old. It's gonna be great! We get points for optimism, at least.

Welp. The baby's crying. There's nowhere to breastfeed him. Not unless I want to sit in the middle of the sidewalk.

We press on. Quickening our pace. Must. Find. Place. To. Feed. Hungry. Baby.

Somehow we make it to the National Mall and find a nice spot under a tree to breastfeed. Life is just. For a minute. Then the baby decides he hates the blanket I'm trying to cover up with. I don't really blame him, either. It's friggin' 100 degrees out here. Baby fights me until I finally give up and ditch the blanket. I'm never gonna see these people again anyway.

People stare as they walk by. I try to ignore them. They can't see anything--I'm being super careful that my shirt is covering everything except what's in the baby's mouth--so I don't get what the big deal is. It's HOT people! You try drinking warm milk under a blanket cradled up against your sweating mother in 100 degree humid weather! Not a picnic!

Baby finishes breastfeeding. Baby is still mad. Where's that banana? I swear I packed a banana! Dump out entire contents of diaper bag. Locate banana. Feed baby.

Baby is now all red and sweaty, and we haven't even seen any monuments yet. Except... wait, is that...? Yes! Yes, it's the Washington Monument! Yay, we saw a thing! We can go home now!

Just like in the movies!

We start heading toward the Lincoln Monument because we don't want to be the lame people who went to DC and only say the Washington Monument. And not even up close. So we're going along and I realize that I left my sunglasses back under that breastfeeding tree. Husband takes screaming, sweaty, hot baby (who is now leading a strike against all strollers everywhere) to go find my sunglasses while I stand in line to buy water because with all of the sweating we have been doing we have basically no moisture left in our bodies. Plus have you ever tried making milk while dehydrated? Not easy.

Husband returns with my sunglasses. Except someone stepped on them and now they're broken. Yippee. Hey God up there? Do us a favor and send down some cloud cover before my eyes are burned out of their sockets. Mmkay thanks.

I buy us lunch and we sit under yet another tree to eat. I'm happily guzzling down my bottle of water when "SMACK!"

Great. Now I've been pooped on by a dumb bird. That jerk.

I use baby wipes to try to get the bird poop off. We finish our food and try to coax Bug into his stroller. He wants nothing to do with it. Still leading that boycott, I guess. We try singing him songs as we push him down the path toward the Lincoln Monument. He hates our singing, and the million Fourth-of-July tourists are looking at us like we're psychos.

So the baby ends up in my arms while Husband pushes the empty stroller. Bug has made it VERY clear that he wants nothing to do with Lincoln or his dumb monument. He just wants some air conditioning and a nap. I'm starting to agree with him.

But we keep going. Because we can't leave DC after only seeing the Washington Monument and the backside of a bird. That would be so lame!

So we hoist the 22-lb baby and stroller up the steps to look at Lincoln for about two minutes. And then we leave because we want to see as many things as possible before this baby's lack-of-nap turns into World War III.

My favorite part about this monument was that it was in the shade.

We check out the Korean War monument. Take a wrong turn. Find our way back. End up at the World War II monument before we finally admit to ourselves that there is no way in heck this overheated, overtired baby is going to let us go on that tour of the Capitol Building or into any of the Smithsonian museums like we planned.

Cool Korean War Monument.

He does, however, seem to like the WWII monument. Because water. And splashing.

He kept trying to dive in. Which was totally understandable considering how stinking hot we were.

Then we lose the binky and run out of water on our way back to our car. I force the poor, screaming child back into his stroller where he carries on without stopping until we get back to our car. We even stop by to see the White House on our way, but the baby does not stop screaming.

 Look closely. Yep. He's crying.
Stole... I mean BORROWED... Husband's sunglasses.

We know it's hot, little buddy. We want to scream too. But it's less acceptable for grown adults to do that, so we contain ourselves.

We get back to the car and get out of DC as fast as we can. It's clear that DC in July is not a place for babies.

Baby falls asleep as soon as the air conditioning in the car starts working and we all live happily ever after.

So there you have it. Our day at DC. We got to see a couple of cool things, I got pooped on by a bird and my sunglasses got broken. But all jokes and sarcasm aside, it was actually really neat to see all of these places. I told Husband that we need to go back sometime. But maybe not til our kids are grown.

There are a lot of places in this world that are great to take your babies to. Washington D.C. is not one of those places.

Happy Fourth of July!