Monday, August 25, 2014

Becoming Mrs. McCants Part 3

Find parts 1 and 2...

Charlie gets back from Spain, finally, and we make our way to his parent's beach place for Charlie to watching Everybody Loves Raymond marathons so he could acclimate.

After that, things went pretty smooth. Charlie started back at school, I found a job working as a temp at an HOA property management company which turned into a job I would keep for almost 2 years.

Charlie had mentioned in passing that "November was going to be a great month". Charlie and I both have birthdays in November and mine being the last day of the month. So my over analytical mind was assuming that he would propose in November.

Every weekend and event I was on edge that "it was going to be then" that he was going to put a ring on it. Every weekend that is didn't happen I was looking forward to the next, for some reason I assumed it was going to happen on the weekend. The as we got closer to my birthday I would try and set Charlie up, giving him the time/place, for him to propose. Morning coffee walks to the Capitol building, downtown walks in the evening, ANYTHING for him to make the grand gesture.

Fast forward to my birthday. I was FOR SURE confident that it was going to happen, obviously, because it hadn't happened any yet. I'd told people at work, made a big stink of it, so confident.

We go out to dinner, fancy italian place, I'm on edge. We hold hands, talk about our future, so excited about what would be coming. I was waiting, waiting, waiting for Charlie to get on his knee. The wine is flowing (that will be important later) and Charlie had made plans for us to meet up with friends after dinner. At some point, I believe we were back at The Foundation, and I was getting worried things weren't going to happen. So I asked something to the effect of "Umm, are you going to propose to me?" and he said it, I will remember my whole life "I will, but not tonight" CRUSHED.... tears started to flow. And I wish I could say I kept myself together for the rest of the night, but it didn't happen. I cried in front of our friends at two different bars.

The wine + completely disappointment = uncontrollable crying in public. Not my best performance.

I come into work the next morning extremely hungover and bitter. Not knowing what had gone down (or not gone down) a co-worker asked if I'd gotten engaged the night before. More tears. She didn't know but it triggered me again.

So from then on I didn't think anything was going to happen for a while. I went along like normal with the understanding that sometime in the future he would propose but no date.

Friday, December 10: Charlie e-mails me about a dinner date, there is a Christmas meal deal kinda thing and it was for Thursday nights, not Friday. All the while I'm concerned Charlie will think he's getting the deal, and he isn't.

I mention his date night invitation to the same co-worker and she goes "He's going to propose tonight". YES! I hadn't even thought about it! Dinner time rolls arounds, Charlie has brought me some cupcakes before dinner.

Keep in mind I again had proposal in the back of my mind.
First stop was the Busy Bee Cafe for drinks, a restaurant's soft opening we'd gone to a one of our first dates. Next we walk around the blocks a few times and make our way to Cafe Luna for a great meal, lots of hand holding, wine, etc. Next we go back to the bar we'd met out, The Landmark Tavern. I have a few bloody marys (a specialty that I can enjoy at any time of the day). All the while I'm texting with a friend's wife telling her to come meet up with us at The Landmark. After discussions on our future and kids and our life he says "come with me" and we leave abruptly. As we are leaving the friend and her husband walk in the door. Charlie says "Wait here, we'll be back". Now I think something might be up. We start walking to the skating rink that downtown Raleigh sets up around Christmas. It's incredibly windy and cold that night, and Charlie wants to go skating. I tell him I really don't want to, and ask if we can start walking back. As I start to put my gloves back on Charlie says "Wait, before you put your gloves back on" and starts digging in his pocket.

The rest is a blur but involved tears and the next thing we're calling parents and telling them the good news. Of course they all knew what was going on, but were all very excited of course.

We walk back to the bar, I find that everyone knew this was going to happen and we were meeting them all later for a concert of a great cover band The Old Habits.

I wish there were pictures of this, but at the time I didn't have a smart phone or a digital camera and we'd taken pictures on a disposable camera.

OK folks, from meeting in February to December we'd met and gotten engaged.

We would get married the next August and the rest is history

Friday, August 22, 2014

Becoming Mrs. McCants Part 2

We go on our first date which was I'm sure more than Charlie should have paid. Also, on our first date, Charlie introduced me to his best friend Michael, which should have been a good sign.

And then a few more dates, and then Charlie drives a group of us down for the Carolina Cup, holding my hand the whole way (again with the sweetness).

April 24 2009, Charlie and I head to Asheville, NC for the Ray LaMontange concert. We drove up after he got out of work, camped out after the concert and had a great time. At this point, Charlie and I fell in love with each other.

Charlie then convinced me to move from Wilmington to Raleigh. Which also implied I wasn't going to be going to Taiwan (my parents were BEYOND thrilled I wasn't leaving). He found me a job working as a lifeguard at a country club and I found a room to rent in town. Pretty much anything to keep me around.

We wined (and wined and more wined) and dined around downtown Raleigh, with one night in particular at our favorite whiskey bar The Foundation, where among whining I said "I just want to marry you!" Cryptic no?

As our relationship is going along, Charlie and his good friend Matt are planning on going to Spain to walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela it is a month long pilgrimage from southern France to the middle of Spain. Leaving me in Raleigh with no way to contact him but e-mail that he may get to check at an internet cafe.

Right before he left for Spain we went to a good friend's wedding where he was a groomsman. After the rehearsal dinner we all went to the Busy Bee where he relayed a conversation where he'd told Matt if I was still around after the Camino, he would be putting in the moves to propose.


Charlie goes to Spain, I stay in Raleigh attached to my phone for updates and stalking the mailman for postcards.

OK, so part 3 it's the last one, Promise!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Becoming Mrs. McCants Part 1

In honor of our 4th wedding anniversary, I figured it was high-in-time that I re-write (not that things have changed) the story about how Charlie and I met. It's not the craziest story, but it's a good one none-the-less

Let's begin:

Around February/March 2009, I was living in Wilmington with a childhood friend who had been going to school at University of North Carolina at Wilmington. I had just graduated from East Carolina and didn't really know what to do with myself, so I moved to the beach. I had been working at a bank telling job, but that had recently ended (it was around the time all that banking mess was going on) and so I was pretty free with my time.

With all of the free time, I was going to visit with my friend Liz on the weekends in Raleigh and she had recently been hanging out with her mom's co-worker, Will and his friends. I had heard of this guy, Charlie, Will's roommate, who I'd never seen but heard was a really nice guy.

One particular weekend, some other friends from college were going downtown and who am I to turn down a trip downtown.

The night was almost over and I go over to get (another?) drink and who was there but a man in a corduroy blazer standing with my friends. At the break in conversation he says something to me that I'd never heard from a guy.

"You have great hair"

What'sthatyousay? Ohh... thanks :)

We all talked for a little and then made our way home.

Charlie walked us home and gave us all hugs as we were walking up to my friend's condo. A weird memory I have...


The next day Charlie and Will invited us over for beers at Will's house (patterns people, patterns). Charlie and I sat next each other and talked about different things including at least, grandparents, teaching, where we live, parents, etc. If you talk to either of us, we will say that conversation was THE turning point. We both knew something was different about this person.

Charlie then left to get dinner and we left in the mean-time. He was then frantically texting Liz for us to come back over.

I left that night and found that someone had written on my Facebook wall once I got home.

Fast forward a few days and we are talking on (get this) Facebook chat for HOURS into the evening. Poor guy was up until the wee hours of the morning talking to me, and had to go to work shaping young minds the next day. I could just go to the beach or something.

I should mention that at this point I have been talking to some international teaching agencies, I was getting everything in order to go teach english in Taiwan. I am getting documents together to move oversees for the next year.

He would send me e-mails every morning with a different song and a little message (so sweet).

For the next few weeks we chat about meeting in Raleigh for concerts and get togethers. Honestly I wasn't 100% sure, but soon found out that this was going to be THE ONE.

March 21, 2009 We go on our first date.

I think I'll stop there for now. Part 2 coming soon.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rock a bye...NEVER!

Someone told me a lie once, they said "Babies are supposed to consolidate their night time sleep" and, like a fool, I believed them.

Well I'm going to tell you that instead of "easier as they get older" things are not going like that.

V has now decided that she has arms and legs that she would like to move ON HER OWN (gosh, come on...) and that swaddling is her nemesis.

She used to just fall asleep nursing at 7:30 PM and sleep until 11 or 12 then nurse again and fall back asleep for about 2-3 hours and then... maybe... put up a fight at her 4am feeding, but after some swaying and rocking would succumb to the inevitable. No longer my friends, she will fight and fight and then pretend she's going to sleep, but then NOPE eyes fly right back open as she grunts and fights the swaddle.

Some people say that swaddling will make a baby calm down. Where are these babies, and what are you doping them with to agree to that. Because neither of my babies have EVER gotten calmer with a swaddle. It may prevent them from slapping themselves in the face in the middle of their very short sleep, but calm them it will not.

Now, I do know that eventually things will get easier, I mean, thank the LORD MM doesn't sleep like. But at 4:30AM after you've been nursingrockingswayingsucklingsingingbouncingwalking, etc etc etc for almost an hour and a half things start looking super bleak and you kinda don't like your sweet little baby who can do (almost) nothing for herself.

Yes, I said it, there was a time, or 20, between 12AM and 8:30AM this morning that I didn't really like my baby. Said it, it's out there for the world. Now, do I love her, of course, but I don't always (and won't always) have to like her.

At that point I wake the other person responsible for her (Charlie) and let him take a shift because, as with MM, he has become the go-to for getting a baby to sleep. I whole-heartedly know it is because he is more patient than I am, and it rings true again with getting newborns/infants to sleep.

We have crossed some very useful bridges though,  she is tolerating her amazin-a-swing, which she is napping in as I type. Which really has made me feel like a much better mother and woman. I can sit down and have lunch with MM without having to nurse V at the same time or (gasp) clean something with both hands.

Ohh and Happy early Anniversary to my sweet husband. We have been married for 4 years come Thursday. Maybe I'll re-type how we met once I find some free time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BAM! 3 weeks

I believe this is a lot of rambling, but whateve's

Charlie and I were looking back at this time with Mary Margaret and it seems like things haven't changed.  Things were as hard as I think they are.

Last maternity leave I was OBSESSED with Friday Night Lights, I couldn't get enough (still can't) but this time I have much less TV watching time, because you know. Toddler. but when I'm supposed to be sleeping (and V is supposed to be trying to learn to sleep in her bassinet) I'm watching my newest obsession, Scandal.

This may be too much, and I'm sure I'll take it back later, but I since the first episode, I wanted to name our next daughter (because, come on you know we're going to have a gaggle of girls) Olivia. I'm sure it would be too much for her to know her name came from some TV show.  But that should tell you how obsessed I really am.

OK, anyway. We went for our 3 week appointment and our little piglet is a whopping 10 pounds. Auntie Allison was here for the day and then came to our appointment with us, I said less that 9 1/2 pounds, Auntie said over. Of course, she was right. Allison was also the lucky person to take MM to swim lessons this week. MM was cold after the lesson, and this is how I found her.

This week is my week with both girls alone. Say many a prayer for me. Going from being a working mom, to a stay at home mom of two. Tuesday we went for a long walk in the new cadi-stroller. And then everyone took a two our nap. Then Charlie was coming home, so really is wasn't a true first day.  Tomorrow (Thursday) is Charlie's real first day of school... So

My doula(s) stopped by on Sunday and we chatted about the labor and delivery. I mentioned to them about how nervous I am about staying alone with both girls. They gave me permission to not do any housework and just make it through the day. Done. I'll take that.

The fussing is getting better, little by ear busting little. We're getting more awake time, which is great and I'm eager to get a smile but I know like most thing, it will come when she's ready. I don't know if other second-time mothers feel this way, but I never want to deny this little one the opportunity to sleep on me. I know that with MM I was good about letting her sleep in the swing, but since V doesn't like it (she does like the rock'n play most of the time, only if she's already asleep) it's so easy to get her to stay asleep on me. It's a real bad habit to start, but ohh, it's so sweet and easy right now.

Ok, so not me, but Auntie Allison, and the un-likable lamb swing in the background.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Almost 3 weeks in

I've been trying to write this post all week, but someone(s) kept preventing that from happening, three guesses who...

So we've gotten past the Odyssey that Virginia put us through. Honestly, I know it wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, but it was a lot for us.

Let me tell you how having two kids, at least for me.

How do people do this with more than 1 kid?

Yes, that dog beside the chair is wearing a diaper.

To start, having another baby makes me question... WHEN will it get easier??

I think when I had MM, I had accepted that things were going to be super hard (which they were) and I thought things would take forever to get easier (which they did).

But now, things are NO easier but I am constantly asking myself when things will get easier????

Maybe it's maternal amnesia, but I swear MM didn't get this fussy all the time. It seems like V is either sleeping, fussing, or feeding. And when she feeds, she needs to nurse on both sides twice before she is satisfied. Also, for some reason I thought MM was awake and not fussing more than V has been.

I'm 100% sure it is normal, but WHY??? It's so tough!

We have been BEYOND blessed with family and friends coming to visit and HELP. I need to give THE biggest shout out to my mom, because not only did she come and keep MM preoccupied the week before I delivered, then came back and kept her at our house the WHOLE week we were in the hospital, and now this week as Charlie goes to orientation for work. It's SO SO SO amazing.

And MM... she is learning and adapting, but it's going to be a long road. She has been more defiant and somewhat clingy, but only when we're cooking for some reason. Although she isn't the biggest cuddler, she really doesn't want to sit beside me. I'm sure it's more situational than I'm letting on, but it REALLY hurts.

A few nights ago, we had just put MM down (who, I'll also say doesn't want me to rock her and/or sing to her at night anymore) and I was, of course, nursing V. I told Charlie that I don't know if we are doing this right. Like, are we making this transition successfully?

It's going to get better, I know it will. But the very deep and dark bags under my eyes really aren't boding well.

Also, for friends who are coming over to drop foods, or better yet, eating with us (We do like it, promise) please disregard how I and our house look. If it weren't for my mom, I will get into how much of a SAINT she is later, the house would look beyond terrible.

She was here from Saturday until today and was a saving grace while I was caring for the eating machine that is Virginia. She lovingly did the following:

Washed Dishes
Washed Clothes
Mary Margaret's one-on-one playmate
Cooked Meals
Kept us fully stocked on Diet Coke
Let me vent to her upon obvious frustration/worry/inability to handle this lifestyle
Held V while I took showers, slept, etc.

She went home, begrudgingly, this afternoon, that was my diet coke at our last lunch together.

I believe we were watching part of our 2 hours of Steve Harvey we have taken to watching on our leaf. Which is why MM is lost.

Today being Thursday, Virginia had a much better day, lots less constant crying/needing to feed and more awake time which made her resemble more of MM's temperament, and gave me some time to enjoy her.

Please please please let this keep up little V, I would REALLY appreciate it.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Virginia's Birth Story: Thursday/ Friday (5&6 /6)

OK, we're rounding the bend headed for home.

Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4... and I'm going to cut this down to 5 (lengthy installments)

OK, V is working on getting those levels down so we can avoid a lumbar puncture. Yes, that is the plan.

I wake up for her lab draws at 5:00 AM and a good nursing session. I knew that all decisions would be made at rounds that morning, which are about 10:00 AM.

We made it over for a nursing session right around the time of rounds. We had heard from the nurse that her WBC levels were looking much better (23 down from 39) and were praying that her CRP levels had made a good jump too.

Once it was V's turn on stage they gave a little rundown on her and why she was there. The neonatologist hadn't heard the numbers but the Nurse Practitioner told her that her CRP was a 3 (down from 9... when the normal is less than 1) so we were ELATED, as was the Dr. but she wanted to see <1 and that yes, she would like to do one more CRP the next morning, BUT... V would be able to come back to our room with us.


It's a weird feeling when the little baby you bore only days before is given back to you. It seems so obvious that they should have been there the whole time. But when they are locked up in a nursery that little thing, like them being with you, is like the biggest deal in the entire world.

So she came back to the room and we loved on her like she had never been loved on before (in the 4 days since she had been born). It's like we were given a gift we'd not been expecting and we were giddy with excitement.

I think it should be obvious that I didn't put her down for the rest of the day, maybe for potty breaks... maybe not... :)

We had discussed that Charlie was going to give my mom a break from watching MM full time for the last 3 days and would either be back to come pick us up or would just come visit with MM. We had the same dear friends come and visit again, one bringing lunch and the other bringing dinner... we have the BEST friends... one who stayed pretty late to keep me company while Charlie wasn't there.

V was a very good roommate that night, let me get some decent sleep and kept me excited about the possibility of being let out the next day.

Friday, July 25th

5:00 AM labs are taken, which will hopefully be her last lab draw.

Wake up numerous times to happily nurse sweet V from my room (!!) and for some reason, looking back I think V was a much better sleeper in the hospital. Weird? I don't know, I'm really starting to run on fumes these days.

We cuddle and love on each other all morning, while I wait (patiently?) for the neonatologist to come and see us with the news.

10:30 AM, news comes back. They have NO reason to keep us there any longer!!! She puts a little of the fear of God in me that if something seems off, to call the pediatrician ASAP. DONE. I agree to everything she said.

I text almost everyone I know and tell them the good news as I skip my self around the room packing up our lives from the last 5 days. The nurse comes back, knowing the good news and takes V's heplock out and gives us our discharge paperwork.

I summoned Charlie to come pick his girls up, and he informed me that Nana was there too, nice full house for the ride home. We made it home around 2:30 just in time for a late MM nap.