So, We Went Camping

When I look back at my postpartum experience, what stands out most to me is how incredibly high the highs were and how painfully low the lows were. Camping was kinda like that.

The pictures are going to show you a series of carefully curated, picture-perfect memories, so I’m going to tell you the story that the pictures don’t tell.

We timed our departure from home so that we’d be packed and ready to go by nap time and Charlotte could sleep in the car. Charlotte did not sleep in the car. Not one wink.

We arrived and set up camp, which basically means one of us unloaded the car and set up camp while the other chased Charlotte around the campground and tried to keep her from choking on the acorns she kept picking up and shoving into her mouth.


We holed up in the tent for a little while because Charlotte was absolutely exhausted by this point, but all an hour of nursing, singing and rocking got me was a toddler who was flopping from one air mattress to the next giggling like mad. We gave up, slathered her in sunscreen, and took her to the beach.

After the beach, she could barely hold her head up. We got her clean(ish) and dry(ish) and this happened:



At 3pm.

Nothing good can come of a 3 pm nap. We holed up in the tent with her while she napped, and we let her sleep until 4:30.

Once she was up, we decided to take another stroll down to the beach to catch the sunset. The kid had napped, and we were watching the sunset together in one of my favorite places in the world. Life was good. For about an hour.

We returned to camp to cook dinner only to discover that the propane pressure regulator for our camp stove was broken, which rendered our stove completely unusable. At this point, the sky was rapidly darkening, and that’s when I also discovered that we hadn’t packed a lantern. All we had was a crappy battery powered LED one that barely lights up the table, let alone giving us enough light to keep tabs on Charlotte, who was running clumsily around the camp site like she was both drunk and high on something.

Tempers flared as we were trying to sort out how we were going to cook macaroni and cheese on an open campfire while keeping tabs on our wild child in the dark.

I think this was around the time that we discovered that we’d also forgotten the plates. They had been sitting right on the table where we were staging everything to pack, and somehow neither of us packed them. Great. (Upon returning home, we discovered that the plates had been conveniently relocated beneath an ottoman in the living room—thank you, toddler—which explains how they never got packed.)

I don’t know what time it was when we went into the tent to try to get Charlotte to bed, but I know it was well past her usual bedtime. Once again, the tent became a fun house for the kiddo. All she wanted to do was bounce around on the air mattresses and giggle. Frustrating, yes—but also pretty damn adorable.

Charlotte didn’t pass out until after 10 pm. More than 3 hours after her bedtime. She proceeded to have the worst night of sleep she’s had in ages. She tossed and turned and cried and fussed almost all night long.

At 6:30 am, Charlotte sat bolt upright in the tent and started WAILING. We’re talking inconsolable, panicked, angry, scared SCREAMING at the top of her lungs. In a tent. While the world around us is still trying to sleep off the tequila they were up drinking until the wee hours of the morning.

Nothing worked. We couldn’t calm her down. We ended up locking ourselves in the car to muffle her cries until she eventually calmed down. I don’t know how long she cried, but I can tell you that she hasn’t cried like that since she was an infant.

After that, Charlotte ran around throwing herself on the ground and screaming for reasons discernible only to her. Overtired toddlers are no joke. I cooked oatmeal on the campfire and tried not to light myself on fire in the process. Catch stared glassy eyed at our camp site and started mentally packing us up to go home.

We fought over that, too. She wanted to leave. I wanted to stick it out. In the end, Catch gave up and we went back to the beach.

Fog had rolled in overnight, and the beach was covered in patches of mist.

We left the beach when Charlotte had reached a point where she was so overtired that she couldn’t even function. Could we get her to nap? No. Another frustrating hour in the tent trying to get her to sleep, and it just wasn’t happening. We decided to take a break from the campground and get in the car and drive up the coast a bit. Charlotte was asleep before we even got out of the campground.

We drove for an hour and a half so she’d stay asleep. We ended up at a Walmart, where we were able to buy a new valve for our camp stove as well as a propane lantern. By this point, we were starving and ended up at the Olive Garden out of sheer desperation after the first restaurant we tried was closed.

Thankfully, all of us felt better after our little excursion. When we finally made it back to camp in the late afternoon, it felt like we might just survive this trip.

Charlotte made friends with the girls from the camp next to us, and our Grinchy hearts grew three sizes as we watched them play.

We hit the nature trail for another stroll, and ended up back at the ocean.

Charlotte was once again overtired and tantrum-y at this point, so we settled back in at camp. We were still full from our late lunch, so we decided to just pull up some Elmo on our phones and let the kiddo have a pouch and a granola bar by the fire before we put her to bed.



A few minutes before 7, she kissed mama goodnight and we headed into the tent. She fought like a banshee—screaming and thrashing as I tried to nurse/rock/sing to her—but by 7:05, she was sound asleep in my arms. I was able to put her down and slip back out of the tent to enjoy the rest of the evening by the fire.

She slept SO much better the second night. I slept like crap because the people next to us were up being obnoxious half the night, but I felt better knowing that Charlotte was at least asleep.

The morning was a whirlwind of pancakes (on our functioning stove!) and packing. I’m usually pretty sad when it’s time to go home, but this time I was more relieved than anything.

I think I’m glad we went. I mean, we certainly had some adventures, and got some great photos. I knew going in that this wasn’t going to be easy. I knew she was going to have trouble sleeping, but I didn’t know it was going to be quite this bad. Obviously, Charlotte has never done this before, and she had no idea what was going on. It shouldn’t have been surprising that she didn’t understand how she was supposed to sleep in tent.

Much as I hate to say it, I think the only solution to the misery of this trip is to go camping with her more often. I’m just not mentally prepared to think about that right now!


I’ve been off of Facebook for a week. Here’s what I noticed from my little social media experiment:


  • My anxiety and stress levels have been greatly reduced. Being removed from the constant stream of politics and news (and the comments on those things!) has obviously helped my overall mood.
  • I’ve been more productive at work.
  • In my down time, I’m spending more time doing things like knitting—last night, I even picked up a real book.
  • I actually sat down and created/ordered a photo book from our pumpkin patch visit. (I am SO BAD about doing anything with the zillions of photos we take.)


  • I really miss my people. I miss seeing what my friends and family are up to.
  • Similarly, I miss sharing Charlotte with my family. Facebook is the only way much of my family gets to see her, and it’s important to me that I can foster some kind of connection between them.

That said, I reset my password and signed on this morning for the first time since last Tuesday. The first thing I did was unsubscribe from Scary Mommy, the Huffington Post, and my local news station. Even so, as I started reading, I immediately felt that familiar low level anxiety wash over me. I felt pretty overwhelmed by all of it, so I walked away. I tried to go back to it all a few hours later, but it felt much the same way.

While I ate my lunch, I left a bunch of groups, and culled my list of friends. It’s a start, I guess.

I’m really glad I did this. I learned a lot about why I’m drawn to social media and it’s forced me to really think about how I’m using it.


I’ve been hesitant to take Charlotte anywhere exceptionally crowded because she is really difficult to contain these days. She despises her stroller. If she’s in her carrier for longer than 5 minutes she starts freaking out—leaning over and trying to pull herself out. She wants to be able to roam free, and I get nervous about that in crowded places.

On Saturday, I put my fears aside and paid a ridiculous amount of money for admission to a huge Fall Festival at a farm about 40 minutes from our house. I never would have considered taking her here if I hadn’t heard so many rave reviews from friends. I had no idea what to expect from Charlotte though. We’ve never taken her to anything like this before and we had no idea how she’d react.

I am so glad we took the chance. We had so much fun.

When we arrived, we were just in time for some pig races. On their first lap around the small dirt track, Charlotte yelled “Dog!!!!”


After that, she tried her first bit of pumpkin pie. You can’t tell from the look on her face in this picture, but she was a big fan.


Next, we took her to see the farm animals and bought tickets so she could go into the small petting zoo. She had an absolute blast running all over and checking out the dogs—er, animals.

From there, we headed to the pumpkin patch with the good camera. I was hoping to get some frame-worthy shots of her. It’s been a long time since I bothered with the good camera! I really need to bring it out more often, because it really does take great pictures.

We spent a LONG time in the pumpkin patch. Charlotte ran around from one pumpkin to the next, “Ball! Ball! Ball!”


She was absolutely terrified of the scarecrows. She really had no idea what to make of them.


It was over 80 degrees outside and the sky was bright blue when we left the house to go to the farm. We were both worried that Charlotte would be too warm in what she was wearing, so we packed shorts and a tank top just in case.

As we were taking our pictures at the pumpkin patch, dark clouds rolled in from over the hills, and soon the wind picked up. Before we knew it, the sky was dark grey and Charlotte was rubbing her ears because the wind was bothering her. Her hands were like ice. And naturally, moms didn’t pack a jacket for her because it was freaking HOT when we left the house!

We ended up leaving much earlier than we would have liked and missed out on a lot more fun. Lesson learned—always bring a jacket for the kiddo! Even when the diaper bag is full of shorts and tank tops!

Catch is leaving this morning for a school retreat. She’s going to be gone until Thursday—it’s the longest she’s been away since we had Charlotte. I have mixed feelings about it. Taking care of the kid, the dogs, and the house by myself for four days isn’t going to be a walk in the park, and I know it’s going to be a long four days. At the same time, I’m looking forward to the one on one time with my little munchkin.

Lastly, some Halloween costume progress…


I am ridiculously proud of this.


At the baby shower I attended last week, there was a blank book on the table that we were supposed to fill up with advice for mom.

My mind was blank. Partly because this is her second baby (her first is 6), and I feel like she has more parenting experience than I do, and partly because I just don’t like giving vague parenting advice—let alone putting it in writing.

I opted not to participate.

Naturally, this morning as I dragged my exceptionally tired ass out of bed I realized what I should have written:

That thing you’re thinking right now—the thing about how it’s been really nice since baby stopped/started doing XYX—STOP THINKING IT RIGHT THIS SECOND because babies are assholes who can read your mind and will start doing the exact opposite the moment they sense you getting comfortable with their pattern.

Take Charlotte for example.

Last night, we had a really difficult time at bed time. It was very unusual. Normally, bedtime is a piece of cake. She nurses, we read a few books, into the crib she goes, we sing a song, we say goodnight and within a few minutes, she’s asleep. That’s been the routine every night since she was 6 months old and it works like a charm. Some nights it takes her a bit longer to fall asleep, but she usually just plays with her lovies in her crib until sleep takes over.

So as we crawled into bed last night, Catch and I discussed how unusual our difficult night had been and how grateful we were that we at least had this one aspect of her sleep under control.

Naturally, that lead me to start comparing her sleep patterns now to her sleep patterns 2, 4, or 6 months ago. I closed my eyes and thought to myself that although she still wakes up several times a night, it’s easy to get her back down again and the process is relatively quick and painless. I reminded myself how much worse it used to be, and allowed myself the realization that I’m actually functioning pretty well these days with her current pattern. I mean, it’s not ideal, but I’m making it work and I feel pretty peaceful about it. It doesn’t stress me out like it used to. Someday, she will sleep through the night, but this is not that time, and I’m okay with the status quo.

Do you see what I did?

Do you know what’s coming?

Cue Charlotte crying on the baby monitor at 2 am.

No big deal, I tell myself. She’s always up around 2 or 3. I get up and head to her room to nurse her.

She cuddles into me and nurses for a bit before falling back to sleep. Yes, I can handle this a few times a night. It’s really not so bad.

I hold her tight in my arms, stand, and walk the few steps to her crib. She starts kicking and flailing her arms. I set her down in her crib and she sits bolt upright clawing at the straps of my tank top. She starts screaming.

OK—let’s try this again.

I scoop her up and cradle her in my arms just like when she was a newborn. We rock in her dark bedroom. I close my eyes. She closes her eyes. I feel her body relax as she drifts back to sleep.

Once again, I put her down in her crib. Once again, she sits up and starts screaming.

I tried singing the song I sing her at bedtime every night. No go. More screaming.

I’m scooping her up again and trying to reason with her (hahahah—it’s 2:30 am at this point—cut me some slack) as Catch walks in to see what’s going on.

Things didn’t go well from then on. There was a lot of crying. A lot of rocking. There was even quite a bit of babbling/giggling/silliness.

We did not succeed in getting her majesty back to sleep until around 4:20 am. She was up for over 2 hours.

It’s murphy’s law of parenting. STOP THINKING THAT THING YOU WERE JUST THINKING. Just stop. Take it back. You didn’t mean that.


As of 7 am today, our plan was to go camping this weekend. It wasn’t the ideal weekend to go because Catch can’t take Friday off, but we really wanted to go camping so we were going to suck it up and deal with it. We also had a really lousy site, but it was all we could get if we wanted to go to our favorite campground.

Then, miracle of miracles, I got an email about an hour ago that a camp site came available for NEXT weekend. 1) Catch already has next Friday off, and 2) the site is INFINITELY better than the one we were going to be stuck at this weekend. It took us all of 3 seconds to decide to go next weekend instead. Now it feels like this trip was meant to be rather than just something we were trying to force to happen. I love it when a plan comes together.

Unfortunately, it means I have to wait another week to be here, but I think the wait will be worth it.

We have a small park with a small playground walking distance from our house. We’ve always felt safe there because it is literally the back yard of our police station, library and city council offices.

Naturally, our “safe” feeling was too good to be true.

The other day, Catch was at the playground with Charlotte after work and she heard yelling. She stood there and watched as the ice cream truck parked outside the entrance to the playground was robbed by a group of idiot kids.

The ice cream truck.

You could have tripped over that ice cream truck and fallen into the police station, so I am absolutely floored that these idiots were so brazen. Nothing is sacred.

Although it’s still 90+ degrees outside, we’re trying really hard to get into the fall spirit around here. On Sunday, Catch interrupted our Sesame Street marathon (it was just one of those days) for some outside craft time. It was hot, so little miss got to paint in her swimsuit and clean off in her kiddie pool afterward. I am so grateful that Catch forced us to move from the den and do something. And now I have more fun things to hang in my office.

My mom sews, and she made every single one of my Halloween costumes when I was growing up—and even a few as an adult. My costumes were always fantastic. As a result, when I am thinking of Charlotte’s Halloween costumes, I put a lot of pressure on myself to make them rather than buy them. There may come a day when it’s not possible, but I will always at least try.

The trouble is that I don’t really sew. I mean, I can sew a few squares together and make a pillow, but that’s about the extent of it. So my options are fairly limited unless I want to send my daughter trick or treating as a throw pillow.

I can, however, knit. I’m not crazy enough to knit her entire costume, but I am knitting an integral piece of it… and bonus, she’ll be able to wear it for other purposes.

I just have to get it done, which is the real problem.

(I’ll give you one guess what Charlotte’s going to be for Halloween.)


Speaking of getting things done, I am taking a break from Facebook starting today. Rather than deactivating my account, I had Catch change my password.

I have a lot of reasons for taking a break. One particularly glaring one being that it is the ultimate tool for procrastination, and given that life is a bit full right now, I don’t have time for procrastination.

Also though, I’ve come to realize that Facebook rarely makes me feel good these days. I love to see bits of my friends lives and share in their every day—that’s the happy part—but that’s the minority of what’s in my feed lately. It’s been taken over by (bad) news and politics, both of which really only serve to increase my blood pressure and add to my already troublesome anxiety.

Normal people can shrug that stuff off, but I’ve always been incredibly sensitive to it. I internalize things. Facebook has become toxic for me in a lot of ways, and until I find a better way of managing that, I need to step away.

So there you have it. That’s the news from this neck of the woods. Hope you’re all doing well. Happy Tuesday.

Thank You Universe

Catch brought Charlotte to visit me at work late yesterday afternoon. It was great. She was in a fantastic mood and she ran around the office smiling and charming the pants off of everyone she met.

After about an hour, Catch took her to a restaurant downstairs for dinner and I went to a work baby shower.I left the shower early claiming that I had to get the boobs home for bedtime (I probably could have stayed another 30 minutes, but eh.)

As I was sitting in stopped traffic, Catch called. It went like this:

Me (happy): Hey!


Catch (panicked): GET. HOME. NOW.



Traffic: still stopped

Me: P! A! N! I! C!

After a few minutes I was able to get Catch back on the phone with an explanation…

Charlotte was projectile vomiting all over the house and Catch was literally up to her eyeballs in it and was freaking out. Understandable. No one was going to die though, so I could stop driving like an asshole at least.

By the time I got home, Charlotte was in the bathtub with a glassy-eyed, half-naked Catch huddled over the tub (her puke-covered clothes were piled in the kitchen). Once she got out, she cried until I let her nurse and then we put jammies on and put her to bed so she could sleep peacefully while we zoomed all the way in on the baby monitor to make sure she was still breathing.

As you do.

This morning, the kid was bright eyed and bushy tailed and absolutely 100% FINE. Catch, on the other hand, is scarred for life.

Meanwhile, I am thanking my lucky stars for that baby shower I didn’t even want to go to because I missed every last second of puke-fest. All I had to do was mop the floor. THANK YOU UNIVERSE.

Bonus Material:

While I was cleaning up, I was texting my mom who said the following: “You threw up on me more times than there are rags in the universe.” I’m sure my payback is coming–just not last night.

Weaning off of Domperidone

I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of Domperidone since two days after Charlotte’s first birthday. “They” say that you should wean slowly off of this drug because it has some yucky withdrawal symptoms. I took that to heart and followed the recommendation to drop 10 mg per day from my dose each week.

Before weaning, I was on 160 mg per day, so week one was 150 mg, week 2 was 140 mg and so on.

Things were going great for several months. I kept lowering my dosage, but my supply didn’t take a hit. I felt absolutely fine. Everything was rolling right along according to plan.

Unfortunately, in the past 10 days or so (I’m at 50 mg per day now), there’s been a noticeable shift. My supply has decreased very noticeably and along with that has come some severe anxiety—comparable to what I was dealing with a few months postpartum when I was genuinely afraid to leave the house with or without my child.

I’m no doctor, but if I had to guess, I’d say that this is all hormonal. The Dom was helping to keep my hormones where they needed to be for milk production, and now I’m at such a low dose that the hormones are crashing and so is my sanity.

It sucks. I have spent the morning sitting at my desk at work wound so tight that I can’t think straight and feeling like I need to eat and/or shop. #unhealthycopingmechanisms

The silver lining is that I know this won’t last forever. I am grateful that I can recognize it for what it is, and try to deal accordingly. I’m hopeful that my body will adjust to its current hormonal state in a week or so and that the piddly dosage I’m still taking won’t really be much of an issue from here on out.

Fingers crossed.


Things are… well, things.

I wrote a post yesterday that was a downer in every possible way, so I decided not to post it. I’ve been struggling with some crazy anxiety this week, and it’s rocking my boat and making me feel totally inadequate in every way. And I do mean EVERY way.

I’m going to try to find some silver linings to focus on, though.

  • Catch and I toured our first choice preschool this morning. It is basically exactly what I had as a child, and I have nothing but happy memories of my preschool experience. There are farm animals (goats, chickens, cows, bunnies, tortoises, an aviary…), vegetable gardens, tricycle trails and a swimming pool. The kids were all happy and engaged and the teachers all seemed perfectly at home with their kids. Best of all, lunch and snacks are provided, so I don’t even have to pack lunches. SIGN ME UP. We submitted our application and fee on the spot, and now we just wait 11 more months until she actually starts. (Hah.)
  • WE GOT A CAMPING RESERVATION. I have been trying RELENTLESSLY for the last month to get us a weekend site at our favorite campground. I finally got a notification that a site opened up and I pounced. It’s not the best site, but it’s ours. So we’re taking Charlotte on her first camping trip on October 14th and I am ridiculously excited. I am even going to bring the tripod and try to get our Christmas card photo taken while we’re there because there is no way we can afford to get a photographer after Rolo’s vet expenses last week.
  • Speaking of Rolo, he’s doing really well. He was an absolute wreck after his little surgery, but he bounced back pretty quickly. We got a call from our vet yesterday and the cause of his nose troubles is NOT cancer. He has a combination of two different very aggressive bacterial infections which will be treated with a (freaking expensive) special compounded antibiotic prescription. BUT THEN HE WILL BE ALL BETTER! No more ouchie nose pain, and no more tooth pain. Such a relief. Ever since we got his teeth taken care of and got him on regular pain meds, he’s been a different dog. RELIEF.

That’s all I’ve got, folks. I’m all ears if you have any tips for taking a one year old camping. I’m freaking out about everything from warm enough clothes (we have none) to how I’m going to get her to sleep in a tent.