Sunday, August 20, 2006

August 24, 2006

I've been trying for a couple of days now to get some new photos up on the blog: the girls, Devin, the girls' room (a work of art from Todd), etc, but is having problems getting my photos uploaded. So, until then, you'll have to bear with just words. :)

Devin's Doozie

For the past couple of weeks, Devin has been talking about something that he sees out of his window on our next door neighbors' roof. Two or three times a week, he calls me upstairs after we've put him to bed to tell me about whatever it is he is seeing.

Last night, I got the usual call and I met Devin at the top of the stairs. I asked him what he wanted and he said, "There's that thing on the Kuklas' roof. It's sticking out and wiggling around!" Of course, I have no idea what he means, but I go to investigate anyway.

As I proceed down the hall, Devin runs ahead of me and disappears around the corner, chattering the whole way about the subject at hand.

As I round the corner, he's standing at the door to his bedroom, waiting for me. I asked him, "Now what is it you're seeing?"

"It's a thing on the roof and it's popping out and it's freaking me out!"

On a completely different note

Just when we thought life had finally calmed down for the Pruetz family, we were dealt another tough hand. On Monday afternoon, USAA decided to pull the plug on the position they created for Todd only two months ago, leaving Todd without a job. No severence, no opportunities elsewhere -- nothing. Just, "Pack it up and thanks."

Needless to say, we're freaking out. It's pretty hard to live on zero income. Todd's got some good leads from Accenture, his former employer, and we're hoping that one will pan out ... soon.

If you have any suggestions, we're open them. We're open to anything right now.

And one last thing...

We still haven't figured out what it is that Devin is seeing each night out of his bedroom window. So, to placate him, I have named this unknown (and unseen to Todd and me) object a "flootenschpiel."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

August 17, 2006

Extolling the virtues of the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

It happened again. My wonderfully talented and artistic son took ink to furniture this morning. This time it was indellible marker (not a Sharpie, but one of those big, round, encased-in-aluminum markers with big, fat, felt tips -- you know, the ones you can smell from a mile away) on my mother's antique hutch. I have a number of things of my mom's since her death in 2003, but this hutch is my favorite. It was one of her favorites, too, as it always held antique family photos and knick-knacks. I used to love to open the glass doors and look at the pictures of my mom and dad as little kids or read my grandmother's diary from the 1930s.

Needless to say, I went berserk. He was sent to his room, while I cried for a few minutes. Then I went upstairs, told him in quite a few loud words why he was in trouble and then took every toy out of his room. Even his rocking horse and pillows went. He's been on his bed now for about an hour and I just served him his lunch of crackers, a slice of American cheese and water. Now it's nap time. I'm not foolin' around here -- he needs to know just how much trouble he is in. I think he's getting the picture.

Once I calmed down, I Googled (as my friend Meg said, "I can't believe Google is a verb!), "Getting marker out of finished furniture," and the first site that came up was Thrifty Fun. I found a posting that said that someone had had a similar experience with their kid and had gotten the ink out with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.

I had one under my sink downstairs, but thought, "This will never work." But I gave it a shot and wouldn't you know it -- the darn thing worked! Every last bit of ink is gone!

So, for all of you with kids or spouses who act like kids, these things are worth their weight in gold. They clean everything! Run out and buy some today (hint: Target has their own brand for about 50% of the cost) and keep them around for everything from smudges on your floors to ink on your furniture. You won't be disappointed!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

August 16, 2006

Devin's Doozie

Boy do I have a good one for today. In fact, barring any future ridiculous words coming out of my son's mouth, this one may take the cake as the funniest of all toddler sayings.

But first, you'll need some background.

Recently, we've had a lot of talk of Jesus in our house. We try to talk often about God and Jesus and the very basics of Catholicsm and Christianity, but in recent days, there's been more talk than usual, due to the girls' Baptism. We've talked about Jesus' love for us and how the girls were Baptised into His church just like Devin was when he was a baby. He's very interested in it all.

There's also been a lot of talk about weddings lately. I recently pulled out our wedding album and Devin is very taken with the special clothes and food and flowers and such. He's commented on the tuxedos, the bridesmaids dresses, the flower girls' dresses and my wedding dress.

Finally, Aunt Jill was in town last night. Jill is Todd's sister who is a professor of Anthropology at Iowa State University. She spends half of her time teaching Anthropology up North and the other half of her time teaching a field school in Senegal in Western Africa. Needless to say, we don't get to see her very often and when she is in town, it's a big deal. Devin just loves her (we all do!) and he had a great time playing with her last night. After spending the summer in Senegal, she's headed back to Ames, Iowa today to start the fall semester.

Okay, all of that being said, I can get on with the story.

Devin took a shower with me this morning -- it's his new ritual. When we got out, I wrapped my towel around me in the usual female fashion: under the arms, covering from underneath my shoulders down to above my knees. Devin asked if he could please have a towel wrapped around him in the same fashion.

So I grabbed Todd's towel and did the same for the munchkin. He took one look at himself and said, "It's like a wedding dress!" I agreed and we talked for a minute about weddings. I asked him who mommy is married to. His answer was pricesless:

Aunt Jesus

Have a great day!

Monday, August 14, 2006

August 14, 2006

It's the first day of school in San Antonio -- at least in the Northeast Independent School District. So all of my neighbors' kids have gone off to their respective educational buildings. They range from their first day of Kindergarten up to their second year of middle school. One started her first day of middle school in the 6th grade today and left the house in nervous tears.

It gets me thinking (as it would any mom): How am I going to deal with this in two years? Ugh...the thought of my little boy being big enough to go to school is enough to make me want to crawl in bed and stay there all day. I just want him to stay little for the rest of his life.

And what about when I have to say goodbye to two at once? And return to an empty house? Devin will be in the 3rd grade when the twins go to Kindergarten. I'm going to need a job.

I'm already having a hard time with the fact that Devin is now signed up for pre-schooler religious education classes at church. I just can't believe he's old enough for this. Time goes too quickly.

But enough of that. I could "what if..." this until I'm blue in the face.

We're all doing very here in Pruetzland. The girls are doing so well, especially sleeping at night. They consistently go six or seven hours each night -- that's HUGE for babies who are technically only three weeks old (it's call correcting back -- gestationally, they would have only been born three weeks ago. They'll always have a two month grace period for their development). All of this makes for a much happier Erin.

Devin is doing well, too. We nearly had potty training down before I entered the hospital in April, but he reverted back to diapers before I got home. Our doctor suggested a month or two with the babies at home before we tried again, so we're just now back to going to the big boy potty. I thought it would be like starting over, but he seems to have a pretty firm grasp of what to do. In fact, in the time that I've been typing we've made two trips to the potty -- one for tee-tee and one for poo-poo. I think we're well on our way.

The only real roadblock we have is that when he gets to playing with his friends or running around outside, he doesn't think about the sensations and has accidents. Any suggestions on getting over that?

So there is the excitement from our neck of the woods. It's not exciting stuff to the rest of the world, but it sure is good stuff to us.


PS - So my blog has become eligible for an advertising campaign. Hence the ads at the tops of the pages. They'll stay small for now, but depending on how successful they are, they may get bigger. Ignore them if you want to. Click if you want to. I hope you don't mind.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

August 8, 2006

Ugh ... I am so annoyed. I started this very long post yesterday, but didn't get to finish it. When I returned to it later in the evening, it was somehow lost. That'll teach me not to save a draft!

So here I go again...

If I can get it all into one post, this'll be a long one. So get comfy, folks.

Friday was my appointment with Dr. Harden to talk about postpartum depression (PPD). She walked into the room, looked at me and said, "Not feeling well, huh?" My response was, "I have everything in the world to be happy about, yet I'm somehow miserable." She told me that this is classic PPD, that my body and brain have been through a lot and the adjustment is just taking time. She said, "Let's treat you." I emphatically agreed. A prescription for Zoloft, along with one for Xanax was given to me and I was out the door. No spilling my guts, no crying (for once!) and no justifying my needs. Just an understanding ear and someone who believes me. Why didn't I do this sooner?

I started on the meds that night and by Saturday morning, I was already feeling different. There was no euphoria or giddiness. In fact, I still have all of the same stresses. I still worry about the girls eating enough and I am still annoyed by Devin's incessant need to start every sentence with, "I want." But I'm coping with those little annoyances much better. I'm more patient, I'm less agitated and I'm all around nicer. I forgot what it felt like to feel like this. It's good to be back.

But onto bigger and better things.

Sunday was the Baptism day for Faith and Grace. I'd been anticipating this day for a long, long time. I was ready for them to be a part of our faith.

I knew the Mass would be special and I knew that Monsignor Fater would mention the situation with the girls and their miraculous entry into the world. But I had no idea it would go the way it went. I figured it would be the processional, the opening prayer, the Liturgy of the Word (readings from the Bible), Homily (sermon) and Baptism, Liturgy of the Eucharist, final prayer, final blessing and recessional. Bada bing, bada boom.

Boy, was I wrong. The Mass was totally about us.

Before the processional ever began, Monsiger reminded the congregation of the annointing he did on me and the babies back in March. He spoke of the healing power of Christ and how our prayers aren't to ask God to do soemthing for us, but to ask for faith that we know He will give to us what we need. Monsignor then asked Todd and I, along with the girls and their Godparents, Sylvia and Morris and Tyler and Linda to the font at the back of the church. He asked the standard question of what do you name them (although he asked, too, that we explain why we named them what we did) and what do you ask of the church today (that they be Baptised into the faith).

Then we sat down and the processional began. We jumped over the opening prayers, went straight to the Gloria (Glory to God in the Highest! Sing Glory to God!) and then into the Liturgy of the Word, where we read from the Old and New Testaments and from the Gospel.

The Gospel was on the Transfiguration of Christ. It was the time when Christ was visited by is apostles and as He prayed, His clothing turned to pure white and He was illuminated by Heaven. It's a big part of the Catholic faith.

After the reading of the Gospel, Father Fater spoke from the pulpit for a moment about Christ's snow-white clothing and the symbol of such in today's Baptisms (the girls wore Todd and my Baptismal gowns). He then talked about how Faith and Grace were only given a 30% chance of survival and how abortion was something that was suggested to us. Over and over again, he talked about the faith that Erin and Todd showed and how we are an inspiration. At one point, I wanted to crawl underneath the pew. It was a little embarassing, especially since I'm as much of a doubting Thomas as anyone else is.

Then, again, we, along with the Godparents, were invited to the font for the Baptism. I climbed the steps to the font and with Tyler and Linda's hands on my shoulders, I leaned Faith over the bowl. Monsignor whispered to me, "Which one is this?" and I had to laugh. I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't tell them apart. :)

Then, the water was poured over Faith's head three times, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I sobbed. I couldn't help it.

After the Baptism by water, Monsignor held Faith high above his head as the entire congregation sang, "Alleluia!" What a moment!

I stepped down from the font and the same process was done for Grace, with Todd holding her and Sylvia and Morris touching Todd. The water was poured out in the name of the Trinity and the crowd of witnesses singing Alleluia. Yes, I cried then too.

Then, on the steps of the font, both of the girls were annointed with the Chrism (holy oil) and the God parents were given the Baptismal candles lit from the Pascal (Easter) candle and were given the charge to be lifelong examples of faith to our girls. We sat down and the Mass continued.

But every part of the Mass made some metion of us. The Prayers of the Faithful were about the Pruetz family. The music was chosen by us (thanks to our wonderful next-door-neighbor and band-director). The blessing was over our family (we were asked to the altar for it, in front of everyone) and we were the recessional. It almost made me uncomfortable. I loved having so much attention showered on our girls, but it made me worry that the focus of the Mass, the Eucharist, may have been lost. But maybe it was just me. I was a little more wrapped up in it all than the rest of the congregation.

After Mass, we were greeted by dozens of friends and even some strangers. It took us a full hour to get out of the church! They actually turned the lights out on us! During it all, a woman approached me and said, "You don't know me, but the story and the Baptism touched me. Thank you for letting the community be a part of it."

It was so worth it. All of it.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

August 3, 2006

I've been debating for awhile whether or not I'd post about this subject. The truth is, it's not easy to talk about. In fact, it's downright embarassing if you are the person going through it and for weeks I've thought to myself, "This is my own, private issue. Why do I need to invite the rest of the world to hear all about it?"

Then, of course, I realized that if I'm going to write a blog that is about me and my family, I'd better be open to putting it all out there. So here it goes.

Postpartum depression.

Depression as a whole gets a bad rap. It's one of those illnesses that you can't see -- nothing is outwardly, physically wrong and nothing will show up on an x-ray, MRI or CT Scan. So, if you can't see it, there's a possibility that it may not exist. Right?

Well, yes, I guess so. But there are zillions of things we can't see but that we know exist. Air, for example. We can't see it, but we're sure it's there.

So then you put a qualifier on depression: Postpartum. What does that mean? That having a baby can make you depressed? Even in the time in your life when you should be the most happy?

Well, yes, I guess so, again.

But, again, it's all about believing even when you can't see it. And the truth is, depression exists. I am here to tell you that postpartum depression exists for sure.

Life here hasn't been peachy keen. I'll start out by saying that I am enormously happy to have my wonderful husband, my precious son and my darling daughters. I always wanted this life and I've got it. I am happy underneath it all.

But this cloud has been hanging over me since the girls were born. It seems that I just can't pull myself out of a funk. If I'm not worried about ridiculously huge medical bills, then I'm concerned about college funds and 529 plans. And if I'm not out driving my mini-van around, then I'm at home wondering why I ever bothered with a college education from SMU.

Sadly, the girls are sometimes a reminder to me of how different life has become. I wouldn't use the word resentment, but I would say that I sometimes mourn the loss of my once-life.

Before the girls got here, life wsa perfect. I had a part-time job for a great company. It gave me a perfect balance of being an educated career woman and a mommy. I made great money, as did Todd, and Devin and I got tons of time together. We were really bonding.

Devin was just getting to the potty-training stage and he was really becoming fun to take places like the zoo or museums or Sea World. Life seemed perfect.

But now, here I am, starting at square one again. Diapers upon diapers. Not really being able to go anywhere. A schedule that changes from day to day (I'm a slave to a schedule and I like things to go in the same order each day). Colic. Sleeping on the couch. Breast pumps and diaper bags just to go next door. Days when I never step foot outside the house.

I thought I was done with those days.

At first, it all seemed fine. I could deal with two kids crying at once and one toddler pulling on my leg. Right?

But as time went on, I noticed I was losing it more and more. I was lashing out at Devin and even grumbling hard words about the girls. What kind of mother was I being? I knew something was wrong, but like I said before, it's an embarassing thing to admit and I wasn't ready to say I needed help.

The past few days have really been what have pushed me over the edge, though. For some reason, I just haven't been able to cope. The constant crying is like nails on a chalkboard. I never get time alone and that makes me irritable. My house is a mess and that makes me jittery. I've taken it out on Todd and have sparked some pretty colorful arguments. I'm mean. I'm nasty. I'm just not the person I want to be. I'm not the person I know I am.

I woke up at 3:00 this morning to feed the girls and as soon as I realized I was awake, I started to cry. Sleep is my only reprieve from this life-that-I-always-wanted-but-somehow-hate and I wasn't asleep anymore. I was having to face it all. Again. I fed the girls through my tears and then paced the downstairs of the house.

I stared at the front door: Should I stay or should I go? Right now, in the dark of night, I could walk out that door and never return. I could walk away from all of this and start over.

I stood for 15 minutes or so between the front door and the staircase and thought about the decision I had to make. Walk out now and never return, or go upstairs, wake up Todd and tell him how I feel.

Needless to say, I went upstairs. In the light of day, I know I would have never walked out the door. But at 4:00 a.m., it was a real possibility.

I woke up Todd and sobbed and sobbed until I was out of tears. I told him everything -- that this is not at all what I expected and that I wanted to walk out the door and never return. I told him that I love my kids with a burning fierceness, but that they're making me miserable. I told him that I feel guilty for all of this and believe that I am not worthy of having such wonderful blessings if I'm just going to turn my nose up at them.

Finally I told him, "I need help."

He cried along with me. You see, Todd suffers from clinical depression, which isn't situational like mine, but rather caused by a chemical imbalance. He knows the depths of sorrow, despair and worthlessness that comes with depression. He commiserated with me on my feelings and my darkest emotions. He was my rock, as he as always been.

So, this morning, I called my doctor and left a message for her nurse, Monica, who I love.

Monica called me back and took my feelings very seriously. She said, "Erin, I know you are busy, but this is serious. Postpartum depression is a very real, very painful thing and untreated, it can do awful things to you. Please don't go another day without coming in. Can you come in today?"

I was going to Yoakum to pick up Devin, but I set an appointment for 8:30 tomorrow morning.

Whew. I said it. Take it or leave it, this is me. Postpartum depression does exist and it can make your life miserable. I have been so reluctant to get help or even talk about it because I thought the world would think less of me.

But then I thought about my friends who have sought help for their own psycological issues and how brave I thought they were for doing so. If they could be brave, I can be brave, too. I owe this to Todd, to me, to my kids and to my family.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


PS - On a completely different note... My cell phone is on the fritz and apparently has been for weeks. It won't charge and on the off-chance that it does, it won't hold the charge. It's also been withholding my messages and I have an untold number of messages waiting for me. If you've left me a message in the last five weeks or so, but I have not returned it, please don't think that it's because I'm ignoring you; it's because I didn't know you called. Try me at home if you need me.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

August 2, 2006

Good morning!

Once again, things are going well here in San Antonio, TX. I took my first real adventure by myself with all three kids on Monday.

After getting up and having breakfast, we all piled into the minivan and headed off to the thriving metropolis of Yoakum, TX where Todd's parents live. The DVD system kept Devin happy for the hour-and-forty-five-minute drive while the twins slept most of the way. We arrived at Grandma and Grandpa's house around 11:30 and had lunch together. Dorothy and Orville spent time cuddling the girls while I enjoyed having people there to give me a break from the constant holding and rocking that I do during the day!

Around 3:30, the girls and I packed it up and headed home, leaving Devin to spend three nights with his grandparents. He wasn't exactly despondent at my leaving. He all but said, "Don't let the door hit you on your way out, Mom." Well, at least I know he's happy and having a good time. I talked to him twice yesterday and he was eager to tell me about their trip to Dairy Queen and how he pet a baby cow at cousin Ronnie's house. Oh the life of a toddler...

So things are relatively quiet around here. The girls are doing well, but have become pretty colicky lately. Around 5:00 each day, the crying starts and it usually doesn't end until 9:00 or 10:00. I hope this phase is over nerves are pretty frayed!

I got the following email from my high school friend, Christi, last week. I asked her if I could share it on my blog, as I thought it was one of the funniest things I've ever read. She perfectly captured the essense of mommyhood with little ones in tow.


The life of the our family is hilarious to an outsider and an exercise in humility and futility! Let me tell you what I have done today.

Got up at 6:47 because the 2 year old has somehow gotten into bed with us and now at first light is AWAKE and hungry and wants to watch Dora. All of this is told to me in a loud voice, luckily not quite loud enough to wake the baby. Dodged a bullet, there!

Baby and husband awaken about an hour later.

Baby is handed to me smelly and starving while Mr. Wonderful hops in the shower (hmm, what's a shower? Sounds nice...) Just after one clean bum is managed, I notice a leak from the older child's bum. EEKKK!

Our goal is to hit the gym at 11, so where are my gym things?

Time for baby's cereal and down he goes for a nap at 10 - just enough time to clean up the toys and do last night's dishes. Oh, yeah and get dressed, pack a diaper bag, and a backpack with enough supplies for the childwatch at the Y.

On our way to the Y, the 2 year old thinks it will be fun to change his sippy into a big boy cup and the baby says no thank you to a bottle. The handoff at the Y is good for the baby, but the toddler cannot believe that I would like to get away from him. He cries, I feel bad but leave anyway.

I log into the gym, but find that I have not been there in so long that they have deactivated my settings! Wasn't I just here, oh wait no I wasn't.

But, back on the elliptical since "fat is NOT the new skinny" for fall! It will take 24 hours for the reset. Oh well, I work out anyway managing about 50 mins of cardio before almost collapsing in an unfit heap on the floor.

Home again for lunch and NAP! Today was an excellent nap day for everyone so I have no complaints about that! I love good nap days about as much as Christmas.

AACCCKK. Older child just informed me that baby likes oranges in his hair and is eating Chex mix--is that gagging sounds I hear from living room? Better investigate..