Sunday, July 30, 2006

Pregnancy Brain

My brain is so far gone after being pregnant for two years, it isn't even funny. Here is a prime example...

This morning I was driving home with the boys from having breakfast with my parents. I had been stopped at a four way stop sign for quite some time when Evan piped up from the back seat and said, "Mom? Why are we sitting here for so long? I think you can go now." And I said, "I'm waiting for the light to turn green." Lord! Evan, who is developing a hilarious sense of humor said, "Well, I guess we'll be here for quite awhile then." It was only then that I realized that THERE WAS NO LIGHT.

Friday, July 28, 2006


Yesterday I had a phone conversation with our life insurance guy. We wanted to make some changes to Jeff's policy, and when he asked why I mentioned baby #3 being on it's way in December. His reply was, "Boy, Jeff is really a tiger in bed, isn't he?" I was speechless. I am still not used to people making these weird comments to me about the babies being close together. The general public feels it has the right to comment on my sex life. What in the world do you say to crap like this? "You know what, he really is. I just can't be near him without him jumping me." I never know how to respond. When Jeff told someone at his job about the baby, they said "Can't you leave her alone?!" (Interesting though, isn't it, that everyone places the blame on Jeff?) How about "Congratulations!" Charlie had his six month check up earlier in the week, and I told our pediatrician that Charlie was going to be a big brother and God bless him, he did say congratulations! One more reason I think the kids' doctor is a saint, and I would follow him anywhere.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Political Angst

This morning I woke up and by a wonderful miracle, both boys were still asleep. I made myself a cup of coffee, and I was able to sit down and enjoy a leisurly breakfast with a good book. How blissful! I love my kiddos, but I am starting to look forward to work a bit to get my injection daily of adultness, and feeling like I am someone besides just Evan and Charlie's mom. I would SOOOO love to stay home with my guys, but sometimes I get these little niggles of doubt about whether or not my sanity would stand it. Sometimes I get so depressed about not having time for me or anything that I enjoy.

While I was feeding Charlie his breakfast, I was catching up on the morning news with Evan, and a commercial came on for Ben Nelson. It was one of those negative political attack ads that are always being shot around. Evan just cracked me up when he said, "Well for goodness sakes! What I am supposed to believe here? One says he's bad, one says he's good! How am I supposed to know who to vote for?" He was so cute! He acted just like he was going to head out to the polls in November. How insightful for him to pick up on the same stuff we adults wonder about. Who to believe? I just love this age. He is becoming so aware of the world around him.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pine Beach

We got home on Saturday evening from what was THE BEST trip/vacation that I have ever taken. Evan, Charlie, and I went with my parents and brother Ben to a place in Northern Minnesota called Pine Beach Resort. We had originally intended to take one van up there, but once we started loading up Saturday morning, it was immediately clear we weren’t going to fit everything plus passengers in one vehicle. So, we loaded up my parents van too. The drive up there is about 10 hours, and I was very proud to drive 8 hours up and 8 hours back (my mom took a turn at lunch time so I could nap a bit). That is the farthest and longest I have ever driven, and I was just fine! The rest of the time, my Mom hung out in the back with Charlie. Charlie was a SAINT on the way up! He didn’t cry one single time in 10 hours. He was doing better than I was! 6 hours is about my limit in the car, and then I start to go buggy.

We arrived about 5 o’clock on Saturday evening, and we drove up to an adorable little yellow cabin. It had a deck in the back that was filled with lawn furniture, and it was RIGHT on the beautiful sand beach and about 6 feet from the crystal clear lake. The cabin was not luxurious, but it was cute, comfortable, and clean, and had everything we needed for an awesome week. The boys and I shared a room. There was a double bed that Evan and I used, and Charlie slept in a pack and play that the resort provided. It was so cozy to settle down for the evening with my kids around me and the sound of the water right outside our window.

The first night we got there, it was the middle of the heat wave. When we arrived it was 105 degrees outside, and since the cabin had been closed up all day, it was 120 inside(I am NOT exaggerating). Minnesota NEVER has heat like this, so they don’t have air conditioning. It was so hot inside you couldn’t stand it. So, we headed out for the lake and swam for a long time. We almost turned right around and came back home, but luckily we didn’t as the heat spell broke the next day. For the rest of the week, it didn’t get over 83, and at night it got down into the low 50s. It was sooooo nice. The water temperature was actually warmer than the air temp! We also made a trip to the local Pamida the next day to buy some fans, and we were very comfortable after that.

Evan had the best week. The resort had about three to four different activities every day that kids could participate in. He went on a hayrack ride, to a water balloon fight, painted a mural, and fed the animals that live on the resort (goats, rabbits, guinea pigs). The animals would come and eat right out of the kids’ hands! We had wanted to do the marshmallow roast and a sand sculpture contest as well but we spent one day at a neighboring lake called Leech Lake where my Aunt Julie and her family were staying. He’s also hoping next year to take some water skiing lessons that they offer throughout the week. There was a playhouse and swing set right behind our cabin and also a rec room that had a TV, some video games, board games, pinball, table tennis, etc. that wasn’t too far away. By Tuesday he felt comfortable going to these by himself, and it was so nice to see him feeling comfortable going places on his own, and to develop some independence. When we are at home, he won’t even ride his bike to the corner unless I am with him, so it made me so happy to see him venturing out on his own. There wasn’t any TV in the cabin, a shock to Evan’s system at first, but it was really nice. We spent the evenings sitting outside on the deck while Evan played in the sand and built sand castles while we watched the beautiful sunsets. Once it was dark we came in and had a card tournament, mostly Kings in the Corner, and Evan became quite the competitive player. It was nice to spend family time without the TV in the background.

Charlie also had an eventful week. He cut three teeth in 2 days, for a total of 6!! He celebrated his 6 month birthday; he started crawling, got constipated up to his eyeballs, and restarted an ear infection he has been battling since the last week in June. I ended up taking him to a doctor in Park Rapids, who prescribed an antibiotic for him on Friday. Despite it all, he warmed our hearts daily with his smiles. He loved having Grandma and Poppo around all the time, and he really loved the lake. He would get really excited first and kick and splash, and then he would get so relaxed that he would fall asleep in my arms. I even fed him his bottle in the lake, with him sleeping in my arms, a couple of times when the teething got particularly bad.

I loved being with my family, taking time out to relax, and being with my boys. I didn’t have one single migraine or heart episode the entire time I was there. I am not sure if it was the weather, the time I could spend just reading or in the water, or not having to do absolutely everything myself that did it. It was truly the best trip I have been on. It was pretty tough to come home. Evan was pretty disappointed to be headed back toward Omaha, and woke up in tears the Saturday morning we left. We had such a good time, my parents would like to make it an annual event, so I am thinking we will be heading up next year too. Probably not so relaxing with an 18 month old, and a 7 month old, but I guess that’s life. I don’t want Evan to miss out on his time just because of his brothers. I can’t wait to head back!!

It was also a time for me to have some reflection time. Things have been rough lately for Jeff and I, and I wanted some time to sort things out. The first 2 days, I just missed him like crazy. Then I began to see the other families around us. In the cabin next to us there was a family with 4 little boys, and they all trailed after the dad the entire week. It was adorable, but when I saw this I got incredibly angry. Usually when I start feeling like this I try to make excuses for Jeff, and I find a way to make it my fault or explain it away (not healthy I know...and one of the things that worry me. For some reason I have fallen back into some old patterns I established with Dan, and I hate it. I really want my self esteem and confidence back!!) But this time, I just let myself be furious with him. I deserved to have him there, and so did the boys. We all deserve to have a husband and a father, but as usual, he was opting out to be by himself. After I was angry for awhile, I calmed down a little and realized that no matter how much we love him or want him to participate in our family, I can't make that choice for him. I can't make him want to be with us, and I can't make him like having us for a family. What I can do, is try to protect myself and the kids from getting hurt from that behavior. I want to give him time to make that choice to love us, but I can't just let us get hurt forever. I did that with Dan, and I let my brain and my heart be at the mercy of someone else despite how unhealthy it was for me. I came away a completely damaged person but I pulled myself together for Evan. I was so proud of the work I had done to get myself back afterwards. It just kills me that I have let it happen again through my behavior. Don't get me wrong...I am NOT saying that Jeff is hitting me or is anything like Dan. I know in his heart he loves us. But I do think to totally pull away from people and act like they are invisible is damaging too.

The day I got back was our 1st wedding anniversary. I was excited to see Jeff, and to see if he had missed us. When we got home around 5 o'clock, he wasn't even home. He had cleaned the whole house, so that was really nice, but I guess I was hurt he wasn't there to meet us. He finally arrived at about 6:30. When he came in he just said hello and how was the trip. No hug, or kiss. He was pretty quiet the whole night. After the kids went to bed, he spent some time alone on the deck, and then he watched a movie. I was pretty tired, so I just gave up and went to bed. I was hoping that the time away would show him what a great thing he has going, but I think he just enjoyed the time alone. Yesterday night was much of the same. He always comes home from work and no matter how much I try to engage him in conversation, he just keeps to himself. I can't live like this. I wanted someone to be my partner, to support me, to love me. I feel completely invisible and taken for granted. I feel like Alice on the Brady Bunch. I take care of the house, the kids, my job, everything, but I don't get the support of anyone. It's really draining on me. He does come and kiss and hug Charlie and totally interacts with him. I am so embarrassed to feel jealous of my own child and the attention he receives from Jeff. I know all of us need to be in therapy, but we can't afford it, so I guess I am using this blog as a tool for getting it out and working through it. Today he came in and was just loving on Charlie, and I just started crying. I had to come downstairs to let it all out. I know Evan feels bad too, since he has made some comments lately. He is so excited to see him when he comes home and asks about every 5 minutes when he will be there, but then Jeff will just say hello to him and that is it. He always asks why Jeff doesn't like him. I wish Jeff could see what a great kid he has in Evan, and what a great wife I would like to be to him. Today we saw a friend who was asking Evan about the trip, and then she said, "I bet Jeff missed you bunches! I bet he gave you a huge hug when he saw you again." Evan looked at me, and then he said "No. Jeff never hugs me." and then these tears just started to fall down his face. I know my quilting friend felt so bad, but why wouldn't you assume that someone would be glad to see their family and hug them when they got back? It just made my heart break that much more.

I am working really hard to realize that while it affects us, this is Jeff's problem, and it is one I can't fix for him. He needs to decide to do that for himself. I also need to keep in mind that I am an okay person, and that I am not causing him to make these choices. I also need to protect myself, and most of all my kids, because they can't do that for themselves emotionally right now. I am just not sure how to do that yet.

In more bad news, we heard while we were in Minnesota that the lab results had come back from my grandmother's surgery. The tumors in each breast were from separate cancers. The one on the left, which we were waiting to hear about, was an extremely aggressive kind, usually genetic. She had a bone scan and a CAT scan done yesterday to see if it had spread to the bone, since they found cancer cells spreading in all of the tissue samples they took. She is having a second masectomy done on Thursday, and will then have to have radiation and chemo. Not what we wanted to hear.

Friday, July 14, 2006

In Hot Water

Yesterday morning as Evan and I were driving to Wal-Mart to pick up some things for our trip, a commercial came on the radio about the AIDS virus. Evan, ever the worrier, immediately began to worry about whether or not he had AIDS. So, I began to explain, in what I hoped were 7 year old terms, about drug use and unprotected sex. I even stuck in there that although not everyone choses to, sometimes it is safer for your health to not have sex until you are married. (Evan has already had some detailed birds and the bees discussions with the arrival of all of these babies. Because he asked, and was interested, I told him exactly how things work. I was never sure until yesterday how much he understood of that.) He was quiet for a few minutes, which is always a bad sign, and then he said, "Then why did you have me when you weren't married?" Yikes! I always knew this day was coming, and that I would look like a hypocrit to him, but I never thought it would happen when he was seven years old. At the same time, I was impressed that he made the jump all by himself from a brief talk about safe sex to his own birth situation. So, I got into the conversation I have been dreading since he was conceived about his dad and I's terrible relationship. It helped that Evan has known for a long time (from his own experience) that his dad is nutso, and we have always talked about how he has a sickness in his brain that makes him treat people meanly, and that this is why he left us. I told him about how we were engaged, and that I thought we really were getting married, and how I have always treasured that my relationship with his dad gave me him. By the time we got to Wal-Mart I was in tears. Who would dream you have to talk about this stuff with your about to be 2nd grader? I always pictured him as a teen ager asking this. I also think he has been mulling this over for awhile, because during the last month or so, he has been TERRIFIED that I am going to leave him. I'm talking he gets nervous if I am in the closet getting some shoes, and he doesn't know it. We talked about that too. He said he was nervous that since his dad left that I will too. It just broke my heart. It does drive me nuts sometimes when he wants to keep close tabs on me at all times, but to get a glimpse into this terror that he feels constantly took my breath away. I am not sure how to prove to him that I am here to stay. Maybe there isn't a way, and we just have to live through this stage. I am sure the people at the store thought I was crazy, but then again, aren't a lot of the people you see at that store? I guess I just fit in.

We are leaving bright and early tomorrow for a stay at Lake Bel Taine in Minnesota at a place called Pine Beach. I am hoping some fun in the sun is a major distraction for him and he can do a little bit of healing while we are away. It is more than a little depressing to realize that although Dan is physically out of our lives, he will never really be gone, and that we will be dealing with his negative effects for forever.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dr. Phil

I was driving Evan to tutoring this morning, when Evan, my sweet little thinker and champion worrier pipes up from the back seat and says, "Mom, I think you need to go and see Dr. Phil." I was thinking about how we were running late for our 10:30 appointment, and noticing that the van desperately needed gas, so I wasn't quite following and said, "None of our doctors are named Phil, Evan. Who do you mean?" And he reminded me, "You know, the doctor on TV who fixes everyone's problems?" So, a little warrily I replied, "Why do you think I need to see Dr. Phil?" He was quiet for a second, so I knew this was something my little guy was thinking about seriously, and he said, "I think he could help you and Jeff fix all of your problems. I'm worried about you arguing all the time." You could have knocked me over with a toothpick at that moment. I really felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. What am I DOING to this poor child? I have the stupid audacity to give him a biological father who is one of the poorest excuses of a human being I have ever encountered. That situation made him go through enough. When I finally bring a father into the house for him, I am dumb enough to let him hear some of the things Jeff and I have been having trouble with lately. I am sooooo disapointed in myself. I know my parents disagreed about things when I was growing up, but only ONE TIME did this occur in front of us kids. I felt so safe and secure in their relationship, their love for each other, and hence, their love for me. I was very concious of this effort on their part as an older teen and young adult, and always told myself that I would do that for my kids. Where is my head? My seven year old does not need to deal with this adult stress. Ugh!

I went to the doctor today for my third appointment. I am 18 weeks this week. I had a lot to tell her while I was there. I have been having terrible migraines, and haven't been able to take my usual Imitrex or Ibuprofen, so she gave a prescription for something safe to take during pregnancy, bless her. I found out my AFP test, which tests for neural tube defects like spina bifida in the baby came back normal. I told her about my extreme exhaustion, which some days has been so much worse than regular pregnancy tiredness that I haven't been able to get out of bed, and I have had to call my mom to help with the kids. They did some extensive tests on my thyroid, so we'll see how those turn out. I also told her how bad my tachycardia (rapid heartrate for no reason) has been the last three weeks. It was so bad this morning before leaving the house that I was almost afraid to drive, because I was dizzy, and feeling terrible. She is sending me to an internist to have some tests done on my heart, and I am under strict orders to take it VERY easy and keep my feet up. Okay....this wasn't too hard to do when I was pregnant with Evan, but now that Evan and 6 month old Charlie are around? Who can put their feet up then? What will I do with 30 kids in my classroom in a couple of weeks? I can just picture myself saying, "Just a minute boys and girls! Mrs. Kleffman needs to put her feet up!" She also told me that I have a heart murmur. This would make sense I guess since both of my boys have one too. She said when I am my normal self, it probably is so slight you can't even detect it, which is why no one has noticed it yet. But when you are pregnant and are pumping around 40% more blood volume than usual, it can make small problems worse. She said many people have heart issues detected in pregnancy for this reason. She isn't sure this is what is causing the tachycardia, but I guess we will find out. The baby is also still measuring 3 weeks farther along than he should, so they told me to expect another BIG boy like Charlie. Sheesh! I sure can grow 'em good, huh!

In Charlie news, he popped out his 3rd tooth today. Top left front tooth. He was chewing on a toy today, and all of a sudden he screamed bloody murder. A little while later, I noticed it had popped through the gums!! He will look so cute with his top front teeth in! I can't wait until it comes further down.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What Kind of Sports Car Am I?

I'm a Dodge Viper!

You're all about raw power. You're tough, you're loud, and you don't take crap from anyone. Leave finesse to the other cars, the ones eating your dust.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Yucky Weekend

Just wanted to update things on my Grandma Rose...she had her surgery on Friday. The right side was in fact malignant, and had matastisized to her lymph nodes. We are waiting on the tests from pathology to hear what stage of cancer it is, whether or not it is estrogen sensitive, and how agressive it is. On the left, the tumor was to small to biopsy right there, so they had to send it away to a different lab. They are assuming it is cancerous, but are not sure if it is a separate tumor or a matastisis. So, on the right side she had a full masectomy, and on the left, a generous lumpectomy. As they weren't sure about the left side though, if it tests positive, she may have to go back in a month for further surgery to get the lymph nodes and the masectomy on that side. Just the thing an 85 year old needs! She will probably be doing radiation treatments as well, but because of her age, no chemo, which I am relieved about for her sake. It was so nice to be at the hospital, as I got to see her twice before she went in to surgery, and also when she came out. My aunts were so nice too, and took me out for ice cream while we were waiting to make sure at least some part of my birthday was festive.

My weekend continued to be stupid on Saturday afternoon as the following conversation took place at our house. Jeff had teasingly used the duster to tickle Evan in the face while he was dusting his room. I said, "That's probably not a good idea, because it can realy set off asthma attacks for him." Jeff said, "Whatever. He can take it. I am so tired of your crap." I said, "I am not trying to be bossy, but Evan and I are allergic to dust, and it can really make our asthma bad. That's why we dust frequently." And then Jeff said, "One more week! I can't wait!" Referring to how the rest of us are leaving on Saturday for Minnesota and he is not. Which hurt my feelings on so many levels. It confirmed my suspicions that he doesn't want to come because he doesn't want to be with us. And of course, who wants to be told that others can't stand to be around you? Many people, especially men have told me that I am terrible to live with. I guess I am a complete failure at this wife thing. It has barely been a year, and my husband wants to get far and fast away from me. I also was hurt that he would say such a thing in front of the kids. I don't think that's healthy. I really don't know what to do.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

(Pre) Happy Birthday to Me

Sorry about what is going to be a long post...I haven't written anything in a long time because I guess to be truthful I have been avoiding it. I am not sure if can I express what I have to say without sounding like an ungrateful whiner, so if that is how it comes off, I apologize in advance, as that is not my intent. Yesterday, Jeff and I went in for our second ultrasound. We were sent to Methodist Hospital and the perinatologist program there. My brother Ben was born with birth defects that are genetic, so they have us do a level 2 (3-D) ultrasound so they can check carefully on the baby. We got to talk for an hour with a geneticist, which was interesting, as she also had some suggestions on the familial breast cancer worries we are having right now. Then we went in for the ultrasound where we found out we are having another boy. Here is where I am going to start sounding stupid. As soon as the doctor said the words "outdoor plumbing" I started crying. I continued crying for another two hours. I thought I was prepared to find out that it was another boy, and I really thought that I hadn't hoped too hard for a girl, but I was REALLY wrong about that. With my first two, I guess I always told myself well, maybe next time. Only now there is no next time. The realization that I will never have a daughter hit me like a ton of bricks. It makes me cry right now to think of it. There are so many things that I have always dreamed of doing with my little girl, like putting her hair in pigtails, talking about boys, seeing her in her dress at her wedding day, baking Christmas cookies, sharing a pregnancy. Who will I pass my quilts and recipes and jewelry on to? I am just so completely, utterly sad about this that I can't even explain it. I then had this weird dream last night where I was having a miscarriage. In all the mess, I found the body of a baby, dressed in frilly pink girl clothes. I just held her for the longest time, and stroked her hair, and I knew this was all I was going to get of my baby girl. I know that is so morbid, but I think it was my mind's way of dealing with things. I woke up sobbing, and I couldn't go back to sleep. To Jeff's credit, he kept his cool as his crazy hormonal wife cried her way out of the hospital and into the parking lot. He even took me out to lunch. I felt a little better afterwards. We even decided on a middle name, John, after both of his grandfathers. I hope we decide on a first name soon. I so need something like that to help me start bonding with this baby. I feel even more disconnected from it than I did before, and I really need to get into this before too much longer. I am so scared about having two this close together that my thought for a long time has been...if this is a girl, it will all be SOOO worth it. Now what? There is of course, the logical part of my brain that says I have so much to be thankful for. The baby is healthy, we are lucky enough to be able to get pregnant (a little too easily though), and we are so blessed with our wonderful family. I LOVE my Evan and Charlie, and my relationships with them. But sometimes, I guess the heart and feelings rule over the brain.

I called Christi last night to share the news, and it was so nice to tell someone who understood exactly how I felt. Then, this morning, she completely made my day. Christi and Alyssa came to kidnap me and the boys and we escaped to one of my favorite places, Harlan. There is a restaurant there called Mickels (or Wickies, as we call it at my house) that I LOVE. It is adorable...all the decor is yellow, orange, and green from the sixties. The food is unbelievably yummy down home cooking, and this is where we were treated to lunch. I have been craving grease like you wouldn't believe, and so for lunch we had fried cheeseballs, fried chicken, the most amazing hot rolls (also greasy), mashed potatoes and gravy, and salad. Charlie ate his first round of mashed potatoes ever. It took him awhile to get used to it, but then he went to town and ate almost all of one of my scoops. I am so proud he did it at Mickels! Then we headed over to her parent's house, who are the sweetest people. Jeff's dad lives across the street, so we waved to Grandpa John's house. It was actually Charlie's first trip to Harlan, and I am so glad it happened on such a fantastic day. Christi gave me a tour of downtown Harlan, and then we headed home. The drive back was so nice, since all three kids drifted off to sleep, and we got to just relax and talk. When we got back to Omaha, Christi and Alyssa joined us for a trip in the hot tub. It was the most perfect birthday gift slash pick me up. I am feeling lots better and more in perspective about things. I thank my lucky stars all the time that I have a friend like Christi, but especially after times like today. She always knows exactly what to say or do to make something better.

I am kind of considering today my official birthday, as tomorrow my grandma is having her double masectomy surgery. Jeff was a sweetie patutie husband and took the day off of work so that I can spend it at the hospital. What a way to turn 29! This morning I was thinking about everything that has happened to me since my last married, had a baby, got pregnant again, got a van, got a new house. One of the most eventful years of my life. Probably THE most eventful. I am hoping for a more peaceful 29, but with three boys to keep up with, my guess is this won't happen.

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