Swim fail x2

4 Jul

Over Memorial Day, we got the opportunity to introduce Annika to a pool, and she loved it. We actually tried twice in Germany, but both times she (had gas attacks? and) cried before we could even get her in the water and continued to be inconsolable until we left.

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Look at me!

I decided to sign us up for a local parent/baby swim class, hoping it would teach me some ways to introduce her to the water. It is at an indoor pool at a gym. Our first session was last Monday, and aside from being the last to arrive right at 5:30 on the dot, it started out fine. Of course the instructor said “don’t feed them an hour before you come,” and I had just pumped her full of 2-4 oz (I don’t remember how much) of tube feed, so I was nervous she would puke in the pool and ruin it. The first 15 minutes were fine. She was middle of the pack (of 3) in terms of age, size and participation. Then I’m not sure what happened. She started fussing. Which turned to crying. Take note, we always tell everyone “she rarely cries unless something is really wrong.” I felt a few toots so maybe it was gas pains. That’s all I can assume. So we got out, got her pacifier, and sat wrapped in a towel watching the last half of the class and I mentally took notes.

iPhone selfies tend to calm her down

iPhone selfies tend to calm her down

Wednesday we went back for class #2 (of 4 total.) We were already starting off on the wrong foot–she had fought napping all day so while I managed to get her fed at 4, she fell asleep at 4:45, so I had to wake her up to take her. I mean that’s always a recipe for good times, right?

She started crying as soon as we stepped into the pool room. I don’t know if she was having flashbacks, if the echoing was bothering her (unlikely, since there were even fewer people in the room than last time,) or if she was just cranky because she wanted to sleep and didn’t feel like swimming, but we made it so far as me wading in with her on my hip, trying to soothe her for a few minutes, and eventually just leaving.

I admit I was really disappointed. I know she would enjoy it if she would just give it a chance. She loves water and she enjoyed the pool before (I have taken her over to the neighbor’s pool in the last month too.) I was just weirdly sad that she didn’t want to go. We ended up running an errand afterward and she was relatively fine–a little clingy and didn’t want to sit in the cart the whole time, but generally okay.

We go back on Monday for class #3. I am going to do my best to get her fed and rested well before the class so that hopefully it will be a success. If not, I don’t see much point in going to #4 and I guess I will have just wasted some money. (It was only $32, so it could be worse.)

And now for some good news

23 Jun

After 3+ months, we have finally found some comparable syringe/tube supplies for Annika’s NG tube that we can get from our insurance company. We will get new supplies delivered to our door once a month, which is amazing. No more using “single use only” syringes for 2 months!

We finally have a standing babysitter for when I go to work on Tuesdays. The best part is that we don’t have to pay her for the first 24 hours per month. We are authorized 24 hours free through the respite program for families with special needs (mostly due to Annika’s NG tube…honestly I wasn’t sure we would get approved since it’s not like she’s difficult to care for.) It’s good for a year, when she will be re-evaulated. Until then, our sitter will come every Tuesday. Once we use up 24 hours, we have an agreement that we will pay her out of pocket. It’s nice because today I had a few cancellations. Rather than stress about paying a sitter for hours when I’m not making any money, I’m not worried at all. (Especially since we are only starting today and there is no way we will use all 24 hours this month.)  I still don’t have a full Tuesday, which is kind of frustrating, and Jason still wants me to start working Thursdays as well. I can’t really argue with him; while I don’t really want to, I do want to eat out more often. But I need to fill up Tuesdays before I can justify working Thursdays too.

Annika is putting on weight. Yesterday she was 19 lbs., 15.5 oz. SHE ALMOST WEIGHS 20 POUNDS, GUYS.

Jason tentatively put his truck up for sale. I was not pushing it, because I know how much he loves it, but it leaks when it rains and takes 4-5 gallons of gas a day for his commute. It’s just not practical. Well after 2 days on Craigslist, a guy put down a deposit today and is seeking financing. This may be a record for the shortest time we have owned a vehicle (we got it last April.) We haven’t decided whether he will get a cheap commuter or I will suck it up and drive him to work the days I need the car (ugh that sucked in Germany) until he leaves in the fall. He will be gone for training for a few weeks before then anyway, so it wouldn’t be completely awful. We’ll see.

Fell asleep watching TV with Daddy

Fell asleep watching TV with Daddy

Potpourri

31 May

Potpourri is a category in Jeopardy for random questions. This post is a collection of random thoughts.

I took Annika for a one mile run (I use the word VERY loosely) last Saturday in the jogging stroller. She cried the entire time. Neither of us enjoyed it. However, I did negotiate keeping the treadmill, and yesterday I did a whopping 1.5 mile run that went much better. Obviously it’s easier when it’s not humid, the ground is flat and moving for you, and you aren’t pushing a stroller. Annika still cried for 1/3 of my run, but it was less miserable. I am hopeful that I can find the motivation to start running more. Next time I need to not do it when she is ready for a nap and likely to make me stop because she is crying.

Annika loves when Mommy exercises.

Annika loves when Mommy exercises.

We took away the pacifier for the most part. The speech therapist suggested it and it wasn’t difficult at all. I still keep it in the diaper bag and give it back to her when she is fussy in appointments (for example, this week when she had to sit through an hour or so long ultrasound, then another 1.5 hour appointment with the developmental pediatrician…) I also still use it at night in bed, but overall it has been painless the rest of the day without it. She should start reciting poetry any day now as a result of not having it in her mouth.

She learned to pull to stand in her playpen and broke 19 pounds!

I think for now we have seen most of the specialists we need to for awhile. Since we got to NC the last week of March, we have seen the pediatrician, nurse case manager, GI specialist, GI X-Ray, a GI ultrasound (three separate one-hour trips to Raleigh/Chapel Hill, mind you…), a developmental pediatrician, an orthotist, the ophthalmologist, the neurologist 3x (including an EEG, which was normal), the county early intervention program, Army special needs program, plus Speech, OT and  PT which will all continue multiple times per week. I have a referral for a nutritionist but I’m not in a huge rush. Oh and we see the audiologist (to rule out stuff–another waste of a test, I’m sure) later in June. The neurologist referred us to genetics (to try to determine a potential cause for her delays) but they can’t even see us until November, so that’s barely even on my radar. Side note: Tricare kicks ass. We have paid exactly $0 for all of this.

While we STILL haven’t gotten the syringes for her feeding tube, I realized the extra ones I had actually do fit, even though they aren’t really the same system. They don’t twist to lock together, but they don’t leak when we use them, so I call that a win. We are increasing tube feeds because she needs more liquid intake. She is still refusing a cup, meaning we are still nursing. I just don’t know what else to do. The OT said she isn’t really ready for the cup I thought might work, but I have already ordered it from Amazon and I am hoping it will be a success. We start speech next week with a feeding-qualified therapist, so hopefully we can make some progress. It comes down to a combination of oral sensory issues and underdeveloped muscles in her mouth. I just wish we could get her to take a cup so we could look at pulling the NG tube and weaning.

Therapists and doctors have made suggestions for toys for Annika, so if anyone is looking for birthday gifts for her, let me know.

We are planning to visit Jason’s family in Reno later this summer, and I can’t wait. I’m still stalking the plane ticket pages. As much as I want to kind of take a chance with bringing her as a lap baby (even though she will be 2 weeks past 2 years old, so that’s against the rules,) it’s an expensive risk to take. If they demand a birth certificate/passport and we don’t have one, they could force us to buy a ticket on the spot, which is going to be ridiculously expensive, I’m sure. Never mind the fact that she looks like a 1 year old. Annoying. Of course Jason’s leave couldn’t be BEFORE her second birthday.

We are still using the “it takes a village” method of childcare for when I work. This week my friend Jaime gets the prize. Keep your fingers crossed that the other girl gets back to me this week (saying she isn’t moving, but really an answer either way would allow me to start moving forward with seeking someone consistent.)

The stay-at-home conundrum

26 May

I started writing this post in August 2014. The title was “Today is my Friday! Just kidding; I’m unemployed.” At that point I had a slightly disdainful opinion of my position as a stay at home mom. It’s changed since then…so we’ll see if I can have it all make sense in one post.

I didn’t plan to stay home. But moving to Germany six months pregnant, where the job market is slim to begin with, meant it just kind of happened. I could have applied for a short-term contract position as a counselor (multiple times,) but since Annika didn’t take a bottle, I didn’t even bother looking into it. Then we started having more appointments for her–we typically have three or more a week. This was another reason to continue staying home. Besides, Jason actually made better money when we were stationed in Europe, so I didn’t feel financial pressure to work either.

Things I love about being a stay at home mom: I don’t have to get up early (after getting shit for sleep the night before…I love my baby but sleeping is not on the list of things she is good at), and I get to spend all day with her. However, despite not having a paying job, I also haven’t had a “day off” since July 2013. Weekends aren’t much different than weekdays to me–in fact I do more household chores & cooking on weekends than I do during the week because Jason can sit with Annika and I don’t feel like a neglectful mom ignoring her in favor of the laundry. I can literally count on my hands how many times I have left her with anyone. I even rarely leave her with Jason, but that’s more because we tend to do things together than anything else. The other night I left them to go grab hamburger buns for dinner. You know, glamorous things.  He is on leave, so he stayed with her the last three Tuesdays (including today) while I worked. (More on that later.)

I didn’t miss working. I didn’t miss doing my job. I missed making money and contributing to our household income. For a long time, I felt lazy and worthless. Yes, worthless. This is not a plea for people to tell me, “you are doing the most important job in the world! Yay you!” This is just me emotion-vomiting all over my blog.  Shut up and let me talk.

I do almost everything around the house. It’s not because Jason told me I have to–it’s because that’s just the way things have pretty much always been with us. He has always made more money and worked longer hours, so I kind of took it upon myself to take care of everything at home.  But in Germany, I wasn’t working, while he got up at 6 every day and was gone for 12+ hours at work. I was home. I don’t think it’s fair for me to expect him to come home and do laundry or clean. I just don’t. Some people may say that’s old fashioned but he has already been awake and worked all day, while I slept until somewhere between 8 and 9:30, and either played with Annika at home or ran errands/went to appointments with her. Some days are busier than others, but overall I have more time to vacuum or clean the bathroom. That’s not to say he never does anything, but I do most of it. (Not always well. One day we will be millionaires and I will have a cleaning lady.)

I think that’s why I was so insanely, deliriously exhausted and overwhelmed in the first weeks/months after Annika was born. I tried to do it all. I used to go to bed, wake up every hour or two (side note, she still wakes up about 4 times a night on average, even if just to latch onto me and go back to sleep. We’ve got some work to do but we are still cosleeping.) then got up with Jason at 6, made him breakfast, and stayed awake the rest of the day in a haze, trying to nurse her 18 times a day (I used to keep track, that’s how often she wanted to be fed), never being able to put her down without her crying, which of course I never want her to cry, so I never felt like I could put her down, while cleaning up after 3 (shedding & shitting) pets, cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, oh shit, I need to shower today…I have never felt so overwhelmed. The whole “making J breakfast” ritual died out when Annika and I went back to the States for 3 weeks in April 2014, and luckily never picked back up. Sure, it cost more money for him to eat on base every morning, but I got to sleep later after waking up all night (as long as Annika sleeps in the bed with me.) I’m okay with that trade off. Now that we are back here, he can eat even cheaper at the DFAC. And the multiple nursing sessions have been replaced by feeding her at the high chair every 3 hours, either with baby puree (she still doesn’t eat anything more substantial and can’t self-feed) or a tube feed. So it’s a different kind of exhausting.

I think the reason I felt so lazy and worthless is because I felt like working moms do more. They work 8 hours a day AND manage a household. So when you say, “you’re in charge of the home! Making sure everything runs smoothly!” I think, “I did that before. While holding down a real job.” Granted, I now have a little 18-pound (!) “job” to take up my time, but I didn’t feel like it was the same. I was not impressed with myself by being a stay at home mom–especially for one child. I guess I might have felt differently if we had two at home right now. I feel like if she is my job, then I should be attending to her 24/7. But that leaves little time for myself. So this rambly paragraph just told me that I am simultaneously thinking “you’re not doing enough” and “there isn’t enough time for me to do everything.” Good times.

I felt more validated and needed once we started all of the appointments for Annika. We had physical therapy twice a week, the Army early intervention home visitor once a week, then frequent pediatrician weight checks/lactation consultant (due to her not gaining weight)/other specialists. Not to mention the frequent phone calls to make arrangements for said appointments/referrals.  Now we are doing OT and Speech every week too, in addition to sporadic specialist appointments. I am trying to stack appointments so we only have them two or three days a week, not four or more. This week and last week, we have at least one appointment every day except Tuesday, the day I went to work.

We came back to NC, and my old job wanted me back for whatever hours I could work. For now it’s one day a week, though Jason is pushing me to do two. It could probably be done, but first we need to figure out childcare. My girlfriend Emily came to the house (with her two kids) the first two weeks. My friend Jaime’s mom watched Annika the third week. Jason was off the last three. After that we still need to figure it out. Ideally I wanted someone to come to our house, but that’s more expensive than most alternatives. It doesn’t cancel out my working, but it certainly makes a dent in my income. It would be hard for me to think about going to work when half the day I was just making enough to pay for childcare. An in-home daycare is an alternative I am looking into, though it depends on a myriad of factors (Annika gets overstimulated with noise/chaos; it has to be close to the house/my office; will they allow her to come once or twice a week.) We qualify for free “respite” care through the Army special needs program, but only for 24 hours per month. So far 3 out of 5 have said they live too far away, and I’m still waiting on the other two. We are considering paying whoever we choose out of pocket for the additional weeks each month, but that may not really work if I go back to work two days. I have thought about posting a job on a babysitter website to see who responds, but they are asking for more per hour than I feel like I can justify. It’s frustrating when an in-home daycare costs less per week than I would have to pay someone for two days to come to the house (based on their requests from the website.) I mean I feel like an asshole saying I don’t want to pay someone $10 an hour to babysit my precious baby, but that gets expensive when we are talking 1-2 days a week, all day long. But most in-home daycares only want to take on kids full time, which is understandable. I may look into paying for full time and only sending her two days. Annoying, but more cost effective.

Have I mentioned I don’t even really WANT to work two days a week? When I said that to Jason, his response of “two days a week” made me realize how ridiculous I was being. It would help us out financially (twice as much income, imagine that!) if I would just suck it up and take on another day. This is especially helpful after days like last Tuesday when two out of my six clients canceled on me.

So the moral of this story is that I went from not wanting to be a stay at home mom, to loving it but hating myself, to really loving it, to feeling like I should be working more than I really want to.

I don’t have a nice way to tie this up. I will have to report back on what we figure out. I wish my mother lived close by. Then all my problems would be solved.

SOMEONE PAY ME TO STAY HOME WITH THIS PRINCESS! Thank you.

SOMEONE PAY ME TO STAY HOME WITH THIS PRINCESS! Thank you.

Purge

16 May

Last weekend we finally went through the two upstairs bedrooms and opened every box we had left from the move. There were probably 40 boxes up there. Some of them were opened and then shoved in the storage closets to be dealt with later, some were emptied and the stuff actually put away (or close to where “away” will be once all is said and done), and the rest was put in boxes for donation. I found a local place that gives away what it collects to people in need. No worries about whether things are worthy of sale (socks that we don’t wear, but are in perfectly good shape; an old laundry basket that still works fine…) Everything is given to people who need it. As I was dropping off, a woman was there whose house had burned down the night before. I’m sure she would take a used laundry basket that we no longer need. Though the majority of stuff was in excellent condition (excess dishes, decor, a printer), so I am hoping they bring happiness to someone else that can use and appreciate them on a daily basis.

This house is slightly smaller than our last one at around 1425 square feet. That sounds like a lot, and it is. But at the same time, it caused us to really evaluate what we own. We had too much stuff. Too many glasses, plates, shoes, clothes, books…everything. Then there was just stuff we didn’t need anymore. Vases, picture frames, old CDs, empty three-ring binders…stuff you just collect over time. We ended up with (I think) 7 huge boxes of stuff to donate, plus two bags that I donated to one woman specifically. We still aren’t finished yet, as I said we still have some boxes that need to be looked at more closely. But I feel a lot better about what we did get rid of.

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Side note: we were allowed by the Army to have 14,000 lbs. of belongings moved from Germany to the US, based on Jason’s rank. We had about 6500. And we still had too much stuff. I have heard of people going “over weight” in a move. I’ve got news for everyone: you have too much shit. I include myself in this, as we are still paring down. But seriously? We could have had more than twice a much stuff. And plenty of people do. And higher ranking people are allowed even more. YOU ALL HAVE TOO MUCH SHIT. What do people own?!? It just blows my mind. I admit that I wish we had another few hundred square feet–maybe 200 or so. Just because we are still in negotiations as to whether there is space for my treadmill. (Did I tell you I “fixed” it? I forgot there was a master power switch I had turned off when I didn’t use it for a long time.) For now it’s sitting on our porch, all Southern classy-like. Jason claims (rightfully) that I don’t use it, but I might. And this is precisely what leads to hoarding, but it’s a treadmill, not my 6th grade report card, so get off my back. Where was I?

I am working with a client who has a goal to organize a room, and he is reading a book about “decluttering.” Then I read another story about it online, and now I plan to read it myself. The plan is that if something doesn’t “spark joy,” then don’t keep it. I like this, but there is also something to be said for necessity. Plenty of things I own don’t spark joy–but I need frying pans and Jason loves this damn couch. But overall it’s a good plan. If you are keeping something because there’s nothing wrong with it, but you don’t really like it that much, that’s the wrong reason. I hate to imagine all the wasted money I spent on things, but I try not to dwell on that and just appreciate that someone else will benefit from owning it. (Unless it’s our 52-inch TV we are trying to sell. Sorry, I’m not donating that.)

Tomorrow is my Christmas

3 May

While I did a pretty good job of packing stuff in our small early shipment (if I do say so myself), I really miss having a whole household. We are tired of sleeping on an armatures and only folding chairs and a desk (serving as a coffee and dining table).

Tomorrow, after 8 long weeks, we will get our bed,  nightstands, a dresser, a vacuum (hardwood floors and 3 pets), more clothes, flip flops and shorts (we didn’t pack any–it’s been in the 80s some days), more dishes and silverware (no more hand washing!), a couch, a table, floor tiles for Annika to play safely, more pots and pans so I can cook a wider variety of meals, a TV for our bedroom, and everything else. You really don’t realize how much you need on a daily basis until you don’t have it. I can’t tell you how many times we have wanted or needed something and I have said, “we have it, but it’s not here.” I hate buying stuff we already have.

Unfortunately I have to go to work the next day, because of course I would rather stay home and spend the day unpacking, organizing and decorating. But I don’t care–I am so excited to finally have our stuff and make our house feel more like home.

Things that annoyed me today

16 Apr

I started emailing people here about a month ago, giving them a head’s up that we would need supplies for Annika’s tube feeding ASAP. I didn’t realize until about a week before we moved that the longer we used the syringes, the harder they get to use/push. By then it was too late to get some mailed to us from the hospital. So I was trying to be proactive.

We still don’t have the syringes.

So that is annoying enough. But the other frustrating thing is that they can’t get what we need. Our system is by Utah Medical Products. Apparently they don’t have a contract to get that brand in this region for our insurance. So they have ordered me “something comparable.” We will now have to pull and replace her NG tube (uncomfortable for her) because the new stuff won’t have the same male/female connections as this one, which is frustrating. I told them this is fine for now, but once we get it I’m going to (probably) throw a little fit and say it’s not going to work.  The one we currently have is 40 cm. long.  At first I thought it was too short, but now I realize that anything longer would just be excessive and would get in the way. The one they are sending me is 55 cm. That’s about 7 inches extra. Where are we supposed to put 7 extra inches of NG tube? Wrap it around her ear like Princess Leia? Tape it to her back? Then the lady on the phone tried to say she wouldn’t send a catheter–“You can just attach the syringe directly to the NG tube.” No, that won’t work. I can’t expect Annika to sit still while I push 2 ounces of Pediasure through the tube–that takes about 10 minutes or so. It can be faster, but that’s not ideal for her tummy. Granted, 7 inches extra gives us a little wiggle room, but not really. Right now she can go on playing in her playpen while I just have 3 feet of catheter between the syringe I am pushing and her face. I want my Utah Medical Products. Harumph.

They also told me that they can get insurance to pay for Pediasure. This would have been fabulous to know two and a half months ago, before we spent hundreds of dollars on it. A 6-pack costs $10+. On a “bad” day (when she is refusing food–which has happened a lot) she can take 12 ounces of Pediasure a day, which is 1.5 bottles. That means a 6-pack lasts 4 days. So if we have a “bad” month, it could cost about $75 to feed her. I was told at the hospital that insurance didn’t cover “nutrition,” and while I was annoyed and disappointed, I didn’t fight it. I’m glad we are getting it now. However, I am going to shame the company, because the paperwork they sent me today said they are authorizing Annika 2 bottles a day (just to round up, which is fine) at $10 a day. Um, where are you guys shopping? And why are you being assholes and ripping off the insurance company? It does not cost $10 for two bottles. It costs $10-$12, $13 at the most, for SIX bottles. Rest assured I will be trying to make someone explain why they are trying to overbill my insurance company. Greedy bastards.

I am tired of the whole weight ordeal. She was up, she was down, God knows where she is right now, but she has had the tube since February 3 and she has gained less than a pound. Granted, it probably would have been much worse when she was sick if we didn’t have alternative ways to feed her, but still. She threw up almost all of what we fed her during her stomach bug sickness anyway. She is still throwing up a lot. She didn’t throw up  before we got the tube. They want us to increase volume but all that means is increasing the amount of laundry I have to do. Today she ate well (baby food), so cross your fingers this keeps up. (She is getting over bronchitis, by the way. Did you know coughing can lead to throwing up with her? Good times.)

I have a cold. Annoying.

I will spare you the details, but after specifically (neurotically) reminding Jason not to let the gas cap fall off after he pumped his gas, (and being mocked for reminding him), he drove off with it on his roof. It’s $47 for a new one.

I can’t wait for our stuff to get here. I want a bed, couch, nightstand, dishes so I don’t have to hand wash them all, and to make our house our HOME. I am hopeful that by the end of the month we will have it.

On a positive note, I got to hang out with my friend Jaime today. Also, this face:

She puked out her tube yesterday. But look how ADORABLE!

(She puked out her tube yesterday)

So many thoughts

15 Apr

We went to the neurologist yesterday. They emailed me some “patient portal” thing. They marked Annika as white, so I tried to edit.

1. There are HUNDREDS of choices. Duckwater? Brotherton? Georgetown? WHAT? I am just so confused and overwhelmed (and apparently unaware of other races?)

2. You can’t select more than one, so I guess she will stay white.

3. WHITE. I mean not even Caucasian. So bland. Yet someone (more in tune with their heritage) can select”Fort Independence.” MY HEAD IS EXPLODING, HOW IS THIS A RACE?)

 

That’s all.

The cars, the house, and America

4 Apr

Two things will make you feel like you are just hemorrhaging money: an international move and a 1988 Land Rover 110. Lucky for us, we are experiencing both at one time.

The truck isn’t that bad. It’s just minor things that need to be done, but since we didn’t have it for so long, they are all happening at once. Between Jason knowing a thing or two about cars and our friend Mathew who is a mechanic, it’s just about 100% fixed. We do have AAA though, just in case. Because it’s a 1988.

The view from the backseat, which is weirdly higher than the front seats. Annika was in a mood so sometimes she gets backseat company.

The view from the backseat, which is weirdly higher than the front seats. Annika was in a mood so sometimes she gets backseat company.

We finally got my Volvo on Thursday. Since we didn’t receive it in Europe and register it there before bringing it back (we considered it, but there was no guarantee it would get there before we left, and then we would have done it for nothing and had to deal with getting it shipped without us being there), we had to pay taxes on it, which was 3% of the purchase price. If we had registered it in Germany first, we would have been capped at $150. DAMMITTTTTTT I hate when I could have saved money and I didn’t. However, we would have had no running vehicle for the last week, thus renting a car anyway. And then we would only have one car until the Volvo took 4 to 6 weeks to get here on a boat, whereas instead it was shipped directly from the factory to us here and we didn’t have to wait as long. Still annoying though.

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It’s great. It’s big enough for me to put lots of stuff in the back-end, unlike the Mini. (Remember about spending money on this move? It’s in the form of multiple trips to Target, Walmart, Pet Smart, the PX, and Bed Bath and Beyond. So far.) But it’s not so big that I get anxiety about driving and maneuvering it. However, it is equipped with a lane departure system, and I shit you not when I say during a 25-ish mile round trip to a restaurant the other day (to be fair, it was out some narrow two-lane roads), I set it off like 30 times. Jason always told me I rode the center line, but my car literally tells me every time I do it. It’s annoying. I was actually trying to maintain my lane, and apparently I suck at it. I also love it compared to the LR because to use Jason’s words, the LR is more “agricultural.” As in, it’s like a tractor with a roof. A smooth ride for a tractor, but still a tractor. On the other hand, I can lock my car using my iPhone. So fancy. 

I’m still figuring out the house. I’m sure the neighbors thought I was trying to send an SOS the last two nights, when in fact I was just trying to figure out which switches turn off the lights. The dogs love the yard, which is fenced around the front and back, plus on the other side of the garage. They have a lot of space to run around (so I don’t feel like an asshole for not walking them.) I’m just so ready for our stuff to get here so we can actually move in. DirecTV comes Monday to install and we aren’t even positive where we are going to put the TVs, because we don’t have furniture to see how things fit.

We also survived our first vomit-that-got-on-the-carseat incident in the convertible car seat. We had to take the entire damn thing apart, and then the manual said DO NOT MACHINE WASH, which is a waste of technology, but I was grateful for the sink in the laundry room. More to come, I’m sure. I think she’s just going to get a bib every time she’s in the car from now on.

Things I missed about America: the waitress coming over immediately, taking your drink order, and getting things started right away. They bring your check without you asking for it. Food is cheaper. There are so many more options for Annika’s baby food–she’s getting new flavors every day. (She is also showing readiness for real food…I gave her small pieces of very cipebanana today. Now if she would only feed herself…) We have gone to Target like 3 times, but it’s never for fun stuff. It’s for Dawn, Clorox wipes, toilet paper, diapers, cat litter, and ALL THE OTHER THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO LIVE YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU MOVE FROM ANOTHER CONTINENT. I want to buy lamps and rugs and decor [that I don’t really have space for.] (The closest Target is in Fayetteville, which ends up being close to an hour away. This is unacceptable and I will be writing a letter to corporate soon.) The other day I preheated the oven (!) and it did so quickly (!) then cooked our food in the time it said it would on the package. Amazing. I can wash a load of clothes so quickly. Parking spaces are huge. FOOD. I can tell I am gaining weight, because we have been eating out a ton in the last 3 weeks. Yet I haven’t had the urge to go for a run yet. I’ll wrap this up with pictures.

Burger Queen (healthy breakfast)

Burger Queen (healthy breakfast)

She likes to sit like this (at Red Robin)

She likes to sit like this

More of the same

1 Apr

April 1, 2013, we flew from the US to Germany. April 1, 2015, we moved into our new house in NC.

It went smoothly today. We managed to fit 2 adults, a baby, 2 dogs, a cat and her litter box, plus a suitcase in our rental Nissan Sentra. (The Land Rover is still under the weather. I don’t want to talk about it. I’m just grateful it didn’t shit the bed on our drive back from Virginia.) My Volvo is FINALLY available for pickup tomorrow. We were waiting on some customs paperwork or something. It was really annoying because I don’t feel like the guy working at the local Volvo dealership wants to be nice or go out of his way to help us. I kind of suspected he was hoarding the papers and pretending he didn’t have them yet, but we will never know. Anyway it came just in time because we have to return the rental tomorrow.

So today we received delivery of our UAB (Unaccompanied Baggage–the early shipment I sent on February 24.) It had an air mattress, half my kitchen stuff so I can cook, linens, a playpen, high chair, stroller, and a few other random things. Then we also got our NTS (Non-Temporary Storage.) This was stuff we put in storage before we went to Germany. 110-volt appliances (KEURIG!), some random small furniture, and a lot of crap we should probably get rid of. There are also a lot of knick knacks–some sentimental, some not, books, our washer and dryer, and lawnmower. I wish we had sent our HHG (Household Goods–the majority of our house, which was packed up March 13) first, utilized the temporary furniture available in Germany (not available here) and sent our UAB last. Lesson learned. Now we have to sleep on an air mattress and use boxes as nightstands for a month or so.

IMG_8466

IMG_8467

We have also done one appointment for Annika and have a few more lined up. The great news is that she is eating like a champ. Today she has already eaten almost 16 oz. of baby food, and has ZERO tube feeds to meet that. I’ll probably give her one before bed. It used to be like pulling teeth to get her to eat 12 oz. of baby food a day. (And no, she wasn’t significantly smaller, so that’s not the answer.) I have hopes that we will be able to permanently pull the NG tube and completely table the G-tube discussion in the near future. I was worried that the stomach bug (that led to her throwing up once a day or more for ten days) was really going to set her back, but maybe it somehow gave her a jump start to catch up.

IMG_8465

Perfection.

 

We have caught up with one set of friends, are working on doing so with another, and just found out some good friends from Germany will be tailing us this summer. I meet with my old boss next week to discuss me coming back to work once a week, and/but I need to figure out childcare for Annika. Luckily the office is only a mile away, so if I can get someone in town or to come to our house, I will feel comfortable knowing I am physically close.

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