Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Park Ettiquette-lesson number one

As a first time parent and someone who considers herself 'aware', I often have moral, ethical and parental debates after returning from a play group or interaction with other kids and their parents.  Today the incident was at the kids park in our 'hood.  It is semi gated, and we left the stroller and the dog (we stopped by the dog park first) on the outside of the park.  There were a few other people at the park--2 Mom's with their daughters on the swings and a Dad with his son and their unleashed dog in the sand area.  Can you see where this is going?  

Elliott loves animals--and hasn't learned yet that some (most?) animals aren't fond of small children.  Particularly the kind of kids (like Elliott) that pull their ears, tail and fur. Along with the ear piercing screeches of joy.  Luckily I intercepted him before he so lovingly attacked this dog.  I was verbally coaching him about how you have to ask the owner if the dog is friendly and if you can pet them first, all of the things you read about in the parenting books.  

The Dad and dog owner was intuitive and saw where I was headed and told me No, in fact the dog wasn't friendly and was a bit temperamental.  He went on to say that the dog often growled at kids and was very protective over his son.  All the while the small dog was offering E a guttural growl and a nervous demeanor.  I carefully extracted my kid from the dogs periphery and said calmly to the owner--perhaps then, it would be a good idea to put your dog on a leash, particularly while you are in a kids park.  

I felt bad about it after I said it--typically I am not confrontational.  If you are a reader of this blog you will know I am opinionated.  But, usually I voice my thoughts and feelings here--and not to peoples faces.  The dog owner didn't say anything to me in response.  We both just separated.  But, I noticed that he did in fact leash his dog shortly thereafter.  

What I wonder is why he felt it was ok to bring a temperamental dog to a kids park and allow it off leash?  Was I wrong to say something to him?  Did I over step my bounds?  Am I being to snooty?  Would I have said the same thing to another Mom?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My favorite gift ever

My sister had just gotten out of a drug and alcohol rehab.  I had offered her a place to stay after she graduated the program and she accepted.  I was so proud of her.  She had made such a mess out of her life, but had managed to get herself clean and sober.

I spent several weekends painting, cleaning, and making the 'room' special for her.  It wasn't much really, but it was hers and contrary to the rehab--she had a door and didn't have to share it (except when we needed to access the laundry area).

My sister has always been hard working, and high strung.  She didn't have a car, and back then I lived out in the boonies.  So, she would commute with me to my job in a mall.  She found a job working at a food service place, and moved up quickly.  The owner took a liking to her, and saw she had potential.  In short order, she saved up enough money to buy a car.  But, before she did the holidays were upon us.  We all were tight on cash, but she hadn't seen many people in our family for several years and she seemed to want to make a good impression.

But, being prideful, she wanted to buy her own gifts for the family.  We shopped around, and nothing seemed to fit the budget.  So, she decided to make her gifts.  She decided to make dream catchers for everyone.  Neither then nor now would I call myself a fan of dream catchers.  But, my sister made one for each member of our family, printed out a special message in each, and wrapped them up.  She once again had carved her own path.

This was and still is the most treasured gift I ever received.  The sacrifice, the heartfelt sincerity, the genuine love and purity behind the dream catcher makes it irreplaceable.  I still have it hanging in my bedroom window-12 years later.  

Each time my sister is struggling, each time she is contemplating a bad decision, each time I want to tell her how much I respect and admire her--I can show her the dream catcher and know that we share the same feelings and memories.  

The dream catcher symbolizes, for me, what the holidays are meant to feel like.  

A few months later, my sis saved up enough money to buy a car.  And shortly thereafter moved out.  We still talk at least once a week, and I will always love her unconditionally regardless of her decisions.


Yes, I am still spoiled

I am embarrassed to admit-- with all of the complaining and whining I have done over the last year or more regarding our budget that we still have a housekeeper.

However, just today I came to the realization that we should suspend her services.

For the record--we cancelled the gardener, we cancelled most of our cable services and all unneeded phone services.  We stopped eating out with special occasions as the exception.  I sewed a pair of underwear the other day--yes, you read that correctly.  We have energy and water efficient appliances.   We recycle, compost and conserve water and electricity.  We don't have a heater or AC.  I cancelled my gym membership, several magazine subscriptions, and stopped renewing for friends (sorry!).  I started shopping at second hand stores for toys and kids clothes and accessories.  I accept all hand-me-downs from friends and family, and do my best to pass along lightly used items to those who may need them as well.  

So, keeping our housekeeper didn't seem like a big deal with all of the other sacrifices I felt I had made.  Plus we LOVE her, and she has been with us for 5 years!!!   ...except that Elliott still goes to daycare 2 days a week.  And, as much as I love my free time, I don't really need THIS much of it.  I am bored.  Today, our housekeeper is scheduled to come (she comes every 2 weeks), but I am finding myself cleaning and doing laundry because I have the time, energy and I AM BORED.

Now, if the stars align in my favor I will be getting a hedge trimmer and maybe even a blower for the BIG day.  Our gardener works through the end of year--and then it is all me with the yard work.  I don't have any idea what type of job I am taking on.  But, I am certainly not afraid of manual labor (just spiders, oh and any insect).  I will be certain to complain about this soon.  Look for a post about the first week of January.

I will talk with hubby about this, and see what he thinks.  But, if I am going to make 'a go' of staying at home--I should do my own cleaning, do you think?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What is free time, really?

I am sitting in a coffee shop in a neighboring city. I have just dropped my son off at daycare, and don't really have much to do. I mean, there are things I could be doing--cleaning my house, gardening, laundry, etc. But, nothing that doesn't normally need to occur. I always looked at 'free' time like this as a time to catch up on chores that I couldn't do with my toddler, or because I was working.

Now that the grief period is over, I have been wondering how to structure my days and effectively use my free time. I have been slowly taking on more parenting time, and trying to ease the load on hubby. I struggle though with giving up what I perceive as my 'free' time. Such a silly concept when you have a family.

I have never been in a position like this before, so it is an uncertain time for me. I have been working since I was 14 years old. I worked my way through college (3 jobs). I have always worked. I am unfamiliar with how to structure my days, how to prioritize myself, and what to fill my days with that would be considered productive and constructive activities.

The first week I did crafts that I wanted to work on for a long time. I made some holiday cards, I made some magnets that I want to give out to family as gifts. I baked bread and granola. I cleaned up the closets and completed my filing (6 months worth!!!). We again paired down our budget and I canceled those service providers. I have made a pact with myself to be reasonable about how often I will search for a job. Hmm, what else can I do?

The second week I tackled the yard. I cleaned up some waywardly placed items. I raked the leaves. I bought a trunk full of wood for the fireplace. I turned the compost. Hmm, now what?

I would normally relish in this free time by spending it at the mall. The mall is always where I want to go when I have all of my check boxes checked. It is relaxing for me to be outside, wandering around with no immediate goal. Even when I don't buy anything, I feel happy just wandering around letting the consumer environment fill me with ideas. The difference is that 'before' we had money to spend on small indulgences. Now, I would feel guilty even looking lest I be tempted to buy. Plus, I have no self control so all I would need to be is tempted and then I would be unable to control myself. The mall is out.

I canceled my gym membership to save money months ago. Otherwise I could be pursuing my lifelong goal of becoming a trophy wife. I could exercise outside, after I drop the little man off at daycare. But, that goes against my comfort level. When I get up in the AM and get dressed for the day--I am dressed for the day. It would feel exceedingly uncomfortable for me to get dressed, drive to daycare, then come back home, change into exercise clothes, get sweaty, then shower and change again. Seems like such a waste of time. Additionally, I like taking Elliott with me on a long walk in the late afternoon. It relaxes him after a stimulating day and it helps us spend/kill that difficult hour before dinner. I guess I could get dressed in my workout clothes, do drop off, then go home and exercise. I could also hike after drop off somewhere closer to daycare. All ideas that I will try.

The take home message here isn't that I am inflexible (which I am)--it is that I am confused with how to spend my days. I thrive on order, schedules, and clear expectations. Having so much flexibility is not something I can easily get used to. I am certainly trying though. I am grateful to be able to spend this time with my family, and hope to be able to enjoy it soon enough.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

If I dont work am I still smart?

I am done feeling sorry for myself. My grief has run its course. Friends, you need not worry any longer that I will call and harass you with my sorrowful words.

I have vowed to spend 3 days a week/ 1 hour each day looking at the job boards. I will apply to jobs that meet my basic criteria (as required by EDD), but will only accept the **perfect** job.

I discovered that my career fed a large part of my self worth. When I lost my job I felt lost and embarrassed. I felt like if I was unemployed people would think less of me. I worried that they would assume I was less smart than them, and most importantly I wondered if they would respect me less. Why does our job or career so often attempt to define us? Why is the first question that acquaintances ask is what you do for a living? When did what we do for money become what we are all about as people. Curious.

The truth though is that since I lost my job I have been more relaxed, happier (as in I actually smile and laugh), less stressed and have had more time to learn and explore my world. Thereby making me feel smarter, stronger and overall more jovial.

I don't need to work to prove to anyone that I am a highly intelligent, independant woman I simply need to feel good about not working and the rest works itself out. It sounds so simple now that I have accepted it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER CHECKLIST

How quirky are you?  From the looks of this list, I am a high maintenance human being.  How do you rate?


ADOLESCENT / ADULT SENSORY PROCESSING DISORDER CHECKLIST
SENSORY MODULATION:

_X __ bothered by clothes; certain materials, tags, seams, pantyhose, ties, belts, turtlenecks, have to wear shorts, skirts, or pants exclusively, etc.
_X __ bothered by "light touch"; someone lightly touching/rubbing your hand, face, leg or back
__ __ excessively ticklish
_X __ distressed by others touching you; would rather be the "toucher" than the "touchee", difficulty "snuggling" with your partner
_X __ have to fidget and "fiddle" with things all the time; change in your pocket, your keys, a pen/pencil, paper clip, rubber band, ANYTHING within reach
_X __ often touching and twisting your own hair
_X __ very sensitive to pain, especially as compared to others
__ __ don't seem to notice pain; get shots/cuts/bruises and hardly feel a thing
__ __ dislike the feeling of showers or getting splashed
_X __ difficulty going to the beach; the sand blowing on your skin or getting on your body
_X __ avoid touching anything "messy"; if you do, you have to go wash your hands right away and/or only touch it with your fingertips
__ __ can not wear new or "stiff" clothes that have not been washed or soaked in fabric softener
_X __ hate to be barefoot or hate to wear shoes and/or socks
_X __ frequently get car sick, air sick, motion sick
__ __ a thrill seeker; loves fast and/or dangerous rides, leisure activities, and sports
__ __ difficulty riding on elevators, escalators, or moving sidewalks
__ __ avoid amusement park rides that spin or go upside down
__ __ seek out fast, spinning, and/or upside down carnival rides
__ __ will often rock or sway body back and forth while seated or standing still
__ __ frequently tips chair on back two legs
_X __ restless when sitting through a lecture, presentation, or movie
__ __ constantly chews on ends of pens and pencils
_X __ smokes cigarettes (smoked for 7 yrs, quit when I was 21)
__ __ difficulty eating foods with mixed textures, or one particular texture
_X __ prefer foods with very strong tastes and flavors
__ __ prefer very bland foods, dislike anything spicy
_X __ has a diagnosed eating disorder or has major eating "sensitivities"
__ __ constantly biting nails or fingers
__ __ bites lips or inside of cheeks
__ __ frequently shake your leg while sitting or falling asleep
_X __ love to sleep with multiple or heavy blankets on top of you
_X __ seek out crashing and "squishing" activities
_X __ cracks knuckles often
_X __ loves crunchy foods (popcorn, carrots, chips, nuts, pretzels, etc.)
__ __ frequently have gum or hard candy in your mouth
__ __ has an "endless" supply of air fresheners, scented candles, odor masking sprays, etc.
_X __ becomes nauseated or gags from certain cooking, cleaning, perfume, public restroom, or bodily odors
_X __ identifies objects by smell, have to smell everything, judge whether you like something or someone by smell
_X __ becomes overstimulated / over aroused when people come to the house or in crowded places
__ __ very high or very low energy level
__ __ avoids crowds and plans errands at times when there will be fewer people
_X __ overly exited/aroused in group settings
_X __ hides or disappears when guests come over
__ __ substance abuse
_X __ drinks excessive amounts of coffee or caffeinated beverages
_X __ notice and bothered by noises other people do not seem bothered by... clocks, refrigerators, fans, people talking, outdoor construction, etc.
_X __ sensitive to loud sounds or commotion
_X __ easily distracted by auditory or visual stimuli
_X __ can not attend certain public events or places due to excessive noise

Optimism

Again, this morning I was feeling pretty down about being laid off. I ran through my mental Rolodex of who I could call that would listen to me complain, again. While it still stings, it comes as no surprise that most people don't want to listen to me rant, whine, and wallow in self pity. Hurph.

I was lucky enough to talk with a friend who gave me some much needed optimistic advice. She reminded me of all the times I called her regarding my job, of the many conversations we had about me quiting work to stay home and be a full time mom...etc., etc., etc.

I acknowledged that it was true, I wasn't always 100% happy with my former job. (But, I wanted to be in control of the decision!!!) She reminded me again, that I was getting paid to be unemployed. And while not a whopping sum of money--I didn't have to put up with clients or my formers bosses to get it. Its freeeeeeeeee--and all I have to do is look for work. Which, mind you doesn't take too long since 1) there aren't many jobs out there given the new recession news 2) there are fewer employers looking for part time employees 3) there are close to nill part time jobs that pay anywhere close to my salary requirements that would make it worth giving up unemployment pay 4) there aren't any jobs that are part time, with my salary, that would benefit from my skill set since the mortgage market is totally locked up by the lack of credit.

This was further evidenced today by my phone interview with the Unemployment Office. Apparently my file was flagged because they thought I was trying to get paid for full time benefits, and only look for part time work. Her words were something like--How much do you make per hour? And, how many hours did you work? Hmm, most full time employees don't get paid that much. Uh huh, yes, you might need to lower your salary requirements a bit to get a job in this market.

Thanks for the reality check. I needed someone to knock me off my high horse today. I had only just remounted earlier that morning. Yes, you have a great day too.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dont get your hopes up yet

As you all know, I lost my job 2 weeks ago. I spent the first couple of days pretty reflective and depressed. I decided not to search for a job until the new year. I wanted to spend the holidays relaxing with my family. I was feeling dejected and was questioning my self worth.

As a result of these feelings, after only a couple of days I created an account with Monster.com, updated my Linkedin Profile, and filed for unemployment. I also started looking for jobs on Craigslist. I found THE perfect position for my skill set--as a software administrator for a mortgage banking software! How much more perfect could my timing be! I immediately emailed my resume and a cover letter, and the next day the IT director replied requesting an interview. We scheduled the interview for the following Monday, 9am. I knew I wouldn't be unemployed for long! I started to feel less loser like, and more like the over confident person I pretend to be.

Monday morning, I got up, showered, shaved all areas that hair grows unwanted, blew my hair dry, got all dolled up in my interview clothes, and checked my email. I had a feeling.

Good thing I trust my intuition these days. The IT director emailed and said this: I had to make some changes in my schedule and cannot meet with you this morning. I will follow up with some alternate options. Thanks.

I replied and said that I was leaving for the holiday weekend later that day, and would return on the following Monday should he wish to schedule an in person interview for then. Otherwise, I would be happy to do a preliminary phone interview. No response.

I sent a follow up email over the weekend asking if we could reschedule our meeting. He replied and said this: Unfortunately, It was announced that BIG Mortgage Bank would be winding down its operations effective 12/24. Thanks.

Bummer for everyone.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You are the World


You are the World


Completion, Good Reward.


The World is the final card of the Major Arcana, and as such represents saturnian energies, time, and completion.


The World card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves). The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. It is indicative of a complete circle. Everything is finally coming together, successfully and at last. You will get that Ph.D. you've been working for years to complete, graduate at long last, marry after a long engagement, or finish that huge project. This card is not for little ends, but for big ones, important ones, ones that come with well earned cheers and acknowledgements. Your hard work, knowledge, wisdom, patience, etc, will absolutely pay-off; you've done everything right.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Dont say Duh

I am 34 years old, and just today realized that Madonna's song Papa dont Preach had abortion subtext. I know all of the words, and knew what she meant. I just never thought about it in real life.

Yes, I am dense. It just goes to show that I really do take things very literally.

Please dont leave duh comments. I already feel silly enough.

My world without email

Not having a job has stirred up and shifted many things inside the pit of my existence.

The first is that I am (make that was) addicted to email. Many times through out a day I will think, Hmm, I should check my work email. Only to realize that I don't have an employer therefore I don't have any work email to check.

Bummer.

Therefore, I am going to refocus all my emailing efforts on this blog, flickr, facebook, twitter, linkedin, and my personal email.

That will show them.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Magic 8 Ball says...

I consulted the Magic 8 Ball today, and it said 'all signs point to yes'. Well, it was correct. I got laid off today. Really no surprise given the market.

The good part is that I had time to prepare myself. Wen my boss emailed me asking me to clear my schedule 30 minutes before my work day ends...I kinda got a hollow/sick feelings in my stomach. Then, when I voiced my concerns over the email to my co-workers they disclosed that a Fedex came on Friday from our HR company with my name in the subject line. They were going to put it on my desk, then decided to let my boss know. Both bosses work off site, so one came into the office to retrieve it. Again, not a certainty, but more evidence.

Then I logged into our HR website, and lo and behold--my final paycheck was posted with my vacation time paid out with a pay date of today. See what happens when you lay off your skilled workers! They forget to hit the "hide" button on people's final paycheck and instead disclose the fact that I am getting the ax...

So, during the day while I should have been nervously working...I was instead packing my boxes, clearing out any personal emails, backing up my contacts to a flash drive, and surfing the EDD website to find out how to file unemployment.

When my boss arrived to deliver the news-one look around my office and he knew that I knew. We had a casual banter about the emptiness of my office, he asked how I knew. i asked a few questions about why they decided on me, would I be reeligable, and the like. Then, I said goodbye to my co-workers and went home to my family.

I don't mind so much getting the boot (there is the normal drain on your ego and self worth)--I have certainly had to make and carry out these kinds of difficult decisions time and again over the years. I do wonder why it was me and not someone else. But, the suckiest part is that the economy is so bad, that the likelihood of me getting another job, with my salary range, part time, and close to home is slim to none. Not to mention doing something I really loved.

The other part that bites is that since I graduated from college I have worked in the mortgage industry. I have had a part in all aspects from docs, funding, post-closing, processing, secondary, underwriting, escrow, to mortgage banking software to management of all departments. I don't really know another industry. So, finding a job in another field will be a big change after 10 years in this line of work.

The good part for us is that we have been slowly making lifestyle changes to slim down our monthly budget. We are in a better position than we were a few years ago. But, no one is ready to loose all of their income (there is unemployment insurance of course!).

I plan on taking until the beginning of the year off (while still searching for a job passively). At the start of 2009 I should have a new resume and a formalized game plan for how to tackle the next phase in my life. Wish me well!

Monday, November 3, 2008

I was weaned

I have spent the last week reflecting on my breastfeeding relationship with Elliott. The difficulties that we experienced in the beginning. The massive amount of pain that came the first few months. The overflowing milk supply a few months later. And the joy and comfort we both experienced as a result of this wonderful bond. Truly amazing. In fact, maybe, the most selfless thing I have ever done.

For many reasons--I always dreaded weaning Elliott. I couldn't imagine that the day would come. I never wanted to deny him the thing that comforted him the most. I didn't want to end something that allowed me so much joy and happiness.

So when my 16 month old, sweet faced little man shook his head right to left and pulled my shirt down when offering him the breast-- I was heartbroken and felt rejected. I thought it would pass and that once he wasn't nauseous any longer he would resume his nightly feeding.

Nope.

We are officially broken up. We are no longer a breastfeeding pair. He is no longer my nursling. *Sniffle*

It has been over a week. How long until my breast stops being so swollen? Today I had to massage it in the shower, and when I got out it was dripping milk. I felt like I was a new Mom all over again. Totally unjust.

Inside my head I was thinking that it wasn't fair to physically punish me for this. I didn't decide it--it was decided for me. Something I never considered (yes, I am naive).

My rational, less expressed side is relieved. I feel slightly freer. I feel a little more autonomous. I feel almost back to myself again. If only the pain in my boob would subside. Perhaps me and a cabbage leaf will get friendly. Something outta reap the benefits, right?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dont cry over spoiled milk

The little man has had the stomach flu since Friday AM. Up until this point we were down to one nursing session a day; right before bed. However, since he has been sick he hasn't wanted to eat or drink anything. Getting him to drink water has been a struggle.

Friday night I was able to get him to nurse. However, Saturday night I offered the breast to him and looked at me like I was trying to poison him. Sunday morning the same thing. He actually pulled my shirt DOWN and wriggled away. Ouchy to the mommy ego. Sunday night I couldn't even pull the pacifier from his mouth.


During this time, I suggested to my hubby that I try on the other breast. I had been nursing on the same side/once a day for several months.


My hubby then said to me, in all seriousness-- Maybe your milk has spoiled.


Hmmm.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Graduation from Babyhood

As parent you are acutely aware of the shifts in your child's behaviour or abilities. For Elliott, Friday was a marked turning point. It seemed to me that he had made a breakthrough from what I perceived as baby to active toddler.

He has been walking for a month. He still was crawling with frequency, but Friday he didn't crawl the entire day. He also no longer wanted my help with anything. He was set on doing things himself, and when I offered to help or made the mistake of helping he would get frustrated. He also has started to play independently and imaginatively. To elaborate--he would take a toy truck and make truck sounds while pushing the truck around the house. He did these things singly prior to this, but Friday he started to put all of them together. He also took books from the shelf and sat and read them. Usually he will bring them to me, sign book and then sit down waiting for me to read them to him.

I mentioned his new found independence to hubby, who confirmed my observations on Saturday.
We had been planning on getting him a haircut for several weeks, but I couldn't bring myself to think that those gorgeous golden curls would be no more. I didn't want to let go of his babyhood. I didn't want my little boy to grow up, as if somehow I could prevent it. His long bangs had started to irritate his eyes and he wouldn't let me cut it. So, we made a decision by default.

Elliott is very sensitive and was very upset while getting his hair cut. So, Dad held him in his lap where he sniffled insecurely. It took a bit for him to recover. Hopefully he isn't traumatized.
The odd thing about the haircut is that I feel differently about him. I feel like he is now a little boy, and not a baby. And with that comes different feelings about what he is capable of. It is odd timing for sure, since Friday already marked a transition for him. The haircut corroborates and solidifies my feelings.

Later that day, hubby wanted to take him to the pumpkin patch. I didn't see the value in it,
since he wouldn't likely remember and we had already bought several pumpkins for the house. Occasionally my nickname is the Enemy of Fun. But, if this picture captures even an ounce of the joy and happiness he felt--then you can see how wrong I was.

He had a wonderful time. Watching him explore brought little tears to my eyes. I felt so much love for him. It is crazy how we can relive so many feelings by watching our children.
When we were driving home from the pumpkin patch, he was sitting in his car seat with his boo bear that his Nana sent him and his sippy cup of water. When I looked back he was kissing his bear and giving him water from his cup. Again, tears of pride and overwhelming love welled up in my throat.

Elliott was afraid of the petting zoo animals. But, was still very curious about them. Notice the handful of hay? He is waiting for them to come close, before he runs away.

The day closed with an early dinner at Soup Plantation. Like his parents, Elliott loves ice cream. I made him and I a bowl of vanilla soft serve to share. But, he wouldn't eat it from my spoon, and instead wanted to eat it like you would ice cream from a cone. Several times I lifted the bowl to him mouth. Then, I decided he should have his own mini-cone. He was overjoyed.

It was adorable to watch him hold the little cone, lick the ice cream, and then eat the cone. I was emotional watching him, as it was another sign that his babyhood is gone. He doesn't need his Mommy to help him anymore. Sniffle. I love you and welcome you my little boy, farewell sweet baby boy.

The Five Love Languages

I am slightly embarrassed to say that I have been skimming this book. I say skimming because I have been trying to avoid the religious underpinnings, and go straight for the meat. The gist is that there are 5 languages of love:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

Hubby and I have identified our primary love languages. He is a #1 and I am a #4.

The idea is that by examining the way you and you partner display and understand love that you will be able to communicate your commitment and love to one another. What committed couple couldn't benefit, right?

Bear with me as I am processing this and trying to put it into action. It is a logical idea, but seems somewhat insincere because according to these 'rules' for me to understand love, my husband must show me acts of service. And for me to show hubby that I love him, I must show appreciation. It makes sense, but it seems like we will get stuck in a love vortex.

Part of the draw of this theory is that over the years hubby and I have had a couple of conversations (after we recovered from the argument portion) about how we don't feel loved by the other person. While expressing these feelings it often came down to hubby saying he needed more affirming and positive words. And me saying that I need him to show me love in his actions and commitment to the collective we. Hmm, interesting.

Now, extend this idea to family. If I feel loved by acts of service--then, it makes huge sense why I feel so let down by my family. If 2 love languages were allowed, I think Quality time and Acts of Service would just about sum it up. I have lived in SD for going on 6 years. Some of my family has never been to visit outside of major events like our marriage or the birth of our son (quality time) and they didn't take an active roll in helping at either event (acts of service). And maybe that is because they don't understand my love language, nor I theirs.

I have started to practice this idea with hubby. It feels weird for me. It isn't easy for me to express appreciation to hubby for doing things that I expect (like chores). Which is why it is so important for me to keep working on it. Because if hubby is doing all his chores as a way to make me happy, and I am not acknowledging him and showing him the love he needs then we aren't doing everything we can to make the other person happy. And that will not make either of us happy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ranting ahead

Some things I want to get off my cyber chest are:

I have been suffering from migraines lately. Out of the blue I starting getting vomit inducing, cant see or think straight, certainly cant function headaches. I cant seem to find a cause or a pattern. But, they are occurring at a clip of 4 or so a month. Not enough for meds, but enough to give me pause.

For about 2 years, maybe longer I have been having nightmares. I don't know what else to call them. While laying in bed on the brink of falling asleep I will experience a feeling of anxiety (although perhaps it is paranoia). It isn't a physical feeling. It is more like I start thinking about something, most often Lil E. And then I imagine something bad that could or might happen, although highly improbable. Then I get all freaked out and worried about it. Other times, I will start to think about something totally crazy and demented--and it will take over my brain. The only way for me to clear the palate is to open my eyes for a moment. Refocus on reality and then commit to putting it out of my mind. Yuck.

I don't understand why I weigh 10 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant, yet I still wear the same size clothes. I know that muscle weights more than fat...but come on!

Today was the first day where I thought that maybe I shouldn't be trying to get pregnant -- right now anyway. Life is starting to normalize with Lil E, I am sleeping with regularity and so is he, I feel comfortable in our routine, and I like my job. The economy is stressing me (and most people I know) out, I worry about money, bills, and our household spending. I wonder if we could afford another child. What if our economy keeps getting worse, and money gets tighter. What if I get laid off, or hubby's company's starts to tank. My rational mind knows that no matter what we will make it work, but I like to run all of the options through my head just so I feel prepared. Yes, I know that its a false sense of security. But, let me have my fake safety net.

I could stop trying to get pregnant, which is really just a way of thinking about it anyway. And instead, just let nature take its course. If I get pregnant...well, then coolio. If not, I never think about it since it wasn't something I was trying to do anyway. Kick ass, I love Jedi mind tricks. Especially ones I can play on myself.

Now that I am proof reading this post...It sounds like maybe I am a bit stressed out and that perhaps I am suffering from some anxiety. If I could only get a massage and not feel guilty about spending the money.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

All dressed up?

Is too much money to spend on a dress I don't have an occasion to wear? (thanks hubby for correcting the typo).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Co-op and Budget updates

I haven't ventured out to the food co-op yet. I suck.

But, I decided to only shop at TJ's and Whole Foods and skip the grocery store all together--for good. I feel way better about our food choices already.

I also made the decision to not buy any beauty products with parabens in the ingredient list. Its the small things, right? One decision at a time.

I managed to also eliminate another monthly debt from our expense list--the Gym. I didn't go that often, Elliott hated the daycare center, and it was $45 a month. Plus, whatever I did at the gym I could certainly do at home. And, if I wanted to attend a class I could just pony up the $10 and go.

I also changed our netflix subscription from 3 to 1 at a time. Not a huge cost savings, but every bit counts when your working towards being a full time mom.

Milestone-Walking

Elliott's daycare provider said early on that she thought he was the type of kid who observes and watches, all the while storing little bits and pieces in his mind for later use. Then, when he feels confident that he has all of the information he needs, he breaks out with a new talent.

This last week it was walking. A week ago, Saturday (9.20) he let go and walked across the room. Since then it has been non-stop fun (and energy).

He doesn't walk all the time, since crawling is still much faster, but he is walking 25% of time assisted by Mom or Dad's hand and 20% of the time of his own.

I love watching him become more and more independent. He is a very expressive and communicative child. He is very certain about his decisions, and has the ability to sign his needs rather clearly. He is becoming a little boy while we watch (and age simultaneously).

Friday, September 19, 2008

parenting has its struggles

There has been so much on my mind lately that I cant keep up with the mind race.
The state of the economy is my primary worry. But, so many other things are swirling around in my brain.

I am trying to keep up with all of the blogs I read. And I am especially moved by 2pinklines recent posts. Please visit and send her a heartfelt cyber hug. Sometimes life dishes out bounty and love in divided and complicated ways.

I have been trying to get pregnant for several months. I keep trying to convince myself that when it happens--that I will realize that the time was perfect. And until then...the time just wasn't right. But, every month that passes where I am not pregnant is small, temporary blow to my psyche. My personalty is such that--once I get something in my mind, there is not a way for me to let it go. I get fixated on the results, blinded often. Waiting for something like a positive pregnancy test month after month is not something that digests well with me. It doesn't fit into my "I want it now" mindset. It does force me to be patient, to trust the universe, and to keep looking towards the future. Darn you- logical mind.

I spoke with a girlfriend yesterday who has a new baby and was reminded of how steep the learning curve was in the early months and continues to be. My girlfriend was worried that her baby wasn't sleeping as much as she should (all her other friends infants sleep longer or through the night), she was worried about her milk supply (was she producing enough, is her baby eating enough), about all of the decisions and responsibilities you inherit with parenthood. All of the normal new parent worries couched with a lack of sleep and impaired decision making abilities as a result. The part that made me the most sad was that as Mom's we should be supporting other Mom's, we should be helping them, we should be closer and more accepting. I am saddened by how often new moms are uncertain of themselves (myself as the primary example). It feels like we lack a fundamental piece in the parenting equation--confidence. I don't know if this is something that is inherent in people who grow up around babies and younger siblings or if you just need to grow into your roll as a parent. What I hang onto is advise that a good friend of mine gave me that went something like this--The great part about parenting is that if you are informed and your decisions are made with love—there are no wrong ones for you or your family. If only we could all digest and live this in the early months.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Outta shape

Can you say outta shape? I once ran a marathon--yup, 26.2 miles. This past weekend we went for a 2 mile walk/hike at Cabrillo Monument and I am still sore 2 days later. Pathetic. The take home message for me is that I need to be a healthy weight AND Fit. One can not function without the other.

Dogs

Have you noticed that dogs and their owners often share the same dominant personality traits? Think of a dog you know. What is the dog most glaring personality characteristic-aggressive, mellow, passive, energetic, insecure, pushy, lazy? Do the owners possess this same characteristic? My observation is yes.

Hmm...Interesting coincidence or do our dogs pick up on our personalities?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dear Nana


Dear Nana,

Thanks for the rad tank top from the motorcycle rally you attended a few weeks ago. I get many comments on the "my grandma's a biker and so am I" logo on the front. I thought you would get a kick out of this picture.

I love you.

Lil E

People's Food Co-op

I finally ventured to our local food co-op. The location of the co-op has biased me since its in a community I don't care for. I have been struggling trying to balance our households food needs. I go to 4 different stores to get all of the items I need.

Costco for soy milk, 2.5 gallon jugs of water, and too many other things I don't need.
Whole Foods for spelt bread, tortillas, hot dog and hamburger buns. They sell the best ones.
Trader Joe's for nuts, kosher meats, and the rest of my groceries.
Target or the grocery store for diapers and incidentals.

It is mentally exhausting. But more importantly, I end up spending alot of time reading labels and price shopping. HFCS, artificial sugars, pesticides, refined grains, low fiber, saturated fats, highly processed, trans fats. You could drive yourself crazy worrying about the food you ingest. I certainly do.

What I didn't realize before, and am kicking myself about now is that the food co-op does the thinking for me (of course this isn't always a good thing). But, at least someone has put some serious thought and consideration into every item they put on their shelves. The time savings of knowing that I don't need to investigate each product is a big relief for me.

So, starting this week I am going to make my first official shopping trip. I will let you know the verdict.

Toddler notes

I have so many things to report about my little toddler. I want to be certain to get all the details before they escape my memory.

He is an amazingly curious kid full of energy and smiles. He loves animals, the zoo, being outside, watching birds and chasing our cat and dog. He loves to try to pull our cats tail while he is chirping 'words' at her. The dog runs in the opposite direction as soon as Lil E even looks at him. He can identify the sounds that a cow, cat, dog, duck, sheep and goat make when we look at their respective pictures.

His favorite activity is being thrown in the air or being chased by his Dada. He loves daredevil activities and squeals and giggles with delight when he is scared. When he is around his friends at daycare the provider says he is reserved and more of an observer--she says he watches the kids from the outside before joining in with play. But, as time goes on he is tries more and more to keep up.

Lil E is a great eater-he will try most things we offer to him. Today he tried garlic hummus-he's not a big fan. He eats most fruits and veggies we serve him. Although lately, he has started to throw them off his high chair tray. He can even find the smallest piece of broccoli hidden under a piece of cheese and pick it out. The dog is eating well.

His first word aside from Momma and Dadda was-uh-oh. He says a few additional words-bye bye, moo, pop, book, woof woof, meow, buppy (that is what we call the dog) and baaa. He knows a handful of signs-milk, eat, more, all done, bath, bird, cat, fan, book, shoes, pacifier, brush hair and teeth, and flower. What more would a toddler need?

At his 12 month visit he got a great review. 31.5 inches long 90-95% and 24.15 lbs 80%. He is cruising around and using his walker toys non-stop. But, he hasn't ventured a step alone yet. He seems to be a tentative developer--I don't so much wish him to grow up faster...but, my arms and back are kinda tired from carrying him so much!

Family Challenge--results

Hubby and I won the family challenge-kinda. We lost the most weight-I lost 7 pounds, but we (and by we I mean hubby) forgot to bring the scale to his parents house.

This was a good thing for the other family members ** you know who you are ** that didnt lose any weight, or in some case may have gained some weight thanks to the Las Vegas buffets.

This was a personal test for me. Often times when a challenge arises I intentionally sabotage myself. I think the heart of the problem fear and the possibility of trying and failing. My flawed logic in my head is if I dont try-then I cant lose. But, if I do try and lose then I will feel bad about myself. So, just dont try and act like I dont care.

Well, this time I did try and I did care. And I won (in my mind anyway)! Yeah for me. Now, if only I would have collected on the $50 prize!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Loose ends

I have been thinking about my sporadic posting patterns, and feel bad for not tying up some long overdue loose ends. So this post is a random smattering of unfinished business.

1. When Elliott was 5 weeks or so old, I was still experiencing extreme pain while nursing. I went to a LC and she diagnosed me with Raynaud's phenomenon. I followed up with my Midwife, who gave me meds to try. I took them for 1 day, and stopped due to other symptoms worse than the nipple pain. Over time, the condition and Elliott's latch improved until the pain no longer occurred. A fluke, the weather, whatever--It is gone for now, and he is still happily nursing several times a day. Our only issue these days is that each time a tooth breaks the surface (he is working on 8), it takes him a week or so to adjust his latch to the new tooth. The result is my nipples get sore for a while, and then once he figures it out--viola-no more pain.

2. We tried CSA from Seabreeze Farms here in San Diego, and weren't overwhelmed. The cost was high ($67 every two weeks), but we were willing to pay for locally grown, organic produce. But, the consistency and quality wasn't good either--some fruit was rotten, items were missing or not substituted, and they left the bag smack-dab in the middle of our sun laden (and not terribly secure) porch. So, I cancelled with this farm. I am going to try a few of the other ones as well. I will keep you posted on that.

3. Hubby and I were toying with the possibility of me not working. We were testing out the budget to see if it would accommodate our lifestyle on one income. And while we could manage with one income--it would come at a cost to our happiness as a family. We wouldn't have any money left over, even with major lifestyle adjustments--and during our trial 2 month run--that left us feeling more stressed than work does. In addition to that, I think that Elliott likes daycare. He comes home happy, he looks happy while he is there, his schedule is the same at home or in daycare, and he gets to socialize with other children his age. Lastly, I don't know that I have the patience to be home full time. I enjoy working on many levels, and I receive fulfilment from it. Plus, once the kids were in school I would likely want to go back to work, and re-entering the workforce would be difficult at best, after 5 plus years off.

4. The family challenge is going as expected for me. I have lost 5 pounds so far--which is about 3.5% of my body weight. You do the math.

5. I read the book that was suggested in this posts comments--I found it very moving. I also felt empowered by the honesty and courage that the authors exhibited. I have been trying to be more forthcoming and honest with myself as a result. Thanks for the suggestion!

6. Homemade household products have not yet happened. While I want to do this--I haven't found the motivation yet! I am slowly (again) moving out products that contain known carcinogens, and (again) considering an organic household. With the abandonment of being a SAHM, we can afford this route again. I am constantly torn between saving money by looking for products that offer the same quality as similar, but more expensive options and organic, environmentally sound products that cost more. The saga continues. I have not purchased any new household cleaners, and we are slowly slimming down out pickins. I have been researching uses for Castile Soap--and bought a large bottle of Castile Soap in the hopes of transitioning some products out and it in. If you have any suggestions or unique uses-please let me know!

7. Of the 5 pregnant women I know--2 have had their babies, and 3 are still pregnant. We had the honor of meeting one of the new babies this past weekend. With the exception of being exhausted ALL the time, newborns are awesome and retrospectively -- easy! I was WAY too anxious and over protective, and know that with #2 (whenever that happens), I will be very different and more confident.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

First Tumble for my toddler

My sweet, beautiful boy took his first tumble yesterday. He was walking with his clacker and leaned a little to far to the left, the toy tipped over, and my boy fell face first onto the handle.

I waited just barely a moment, watched his body to see if he was going to get up and how he was going to respond and then in that instant knew that he had injured himself. I picked his slumped body off the clacker, drew in a breath and pulled him into my arms.

His mouth was full of blood and I couldnt tell where he was bleeding from. I took him to the kitchen sink and poored cool water into him mouth attempting to rinse it out. We were both coated in water and blood. I held him until he calmed down and his mouth stopped bleeding. It only took 10 or 15 minutes, but it felt like far longer.

He still will not let me look in his mouth or touch his lips at all, but after he calmed down I was able to observe when he was sucking on his pacifier that it was his upper inside lip that was cut and not his gums or tongue. Phew.

What a terrifying experience. I was just him and I at home, hubby was at work. I was always a cautious child and am now a catious adult. Until my C-Section--I had never so much as had a cut needing stiches (unless you count getting a mole removed or a wisdom tooth pulled). Anyway, seeing blood flowing from your babies mouth, running down his chin--well, it was heart wrenching and I think for a moment I was actually in shock. I didnt know what to do, or how to respond.

Within the hour, he was back to normal. Back on the clacker, walking around. As for me...my nerves are shot.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Family Challenge

The in-laws (Grandma, Bobbotz, SIL, BIL, and cousins) hubby and I all saw one another this past week. They came to town for a few days to visit and enjoy our wonderful town. We went to LegoLand, swam in the hotel pool, and overall just chilled out (most often with a cocktail).

As we were consuming food and drink the conversation kept coming back around to wanting to lose weight and be more healthful overall. I have struggled all of my adult life with managing my weight and consequently my self image.

When I was younger, I was thin and healthy. I didn't worry about my weight, although as a tween and teen I thought I was fat. What teenager doesn't, right? But, by the time I was out of the teens and into my twenties, I did have a weight problem. I didn't know how to eat in moderation, what foods were good for me, or how to eat a balanced diet. More importantly, I didn't know how to cook.

Looking back in time, I was likely 20 pounds overweight. When the diet drug fad hit, I jumped on the bandwagon! I lost all of my extra weight and then some... Not long after I lost the weight, the diet drugs I was on were banned, and the lbs crept back on. *sniffle*

When I moved in with my hubby, 5.5 years ago, I had been on Weight Watchers for a year or 2 and managed to lose 20 pounds. So, for me, I was at an all time (drug free) low. I was also running 10-20 miles a week. I ran a handful of 1/2 marathons, one full marathon and then decided to hang up my running shoes for a while. I had plantar faciatis in both feet and was tired of getting up at 5am on most weekends.

Hubby and I started to eat out-A LOT! We had a large monthly spending budget on the company credit card that was designated exclusively for entertainment. Whoo hoo! The 2 years of drinking and eating took their toll, and by the time I waddled down the isle on our wedding day I was the heaviest I had ever been.

A year later I managed to loose 15 pounds and was down to a reasonable weight. That was when I found out I was pregnant. During the course of my pregnancy I gained...wait for it...55 pounds. I stopped asking my weight at the doctors office and I certainly wasn't going to depress myself by stepping on the scale at home.

When I came home from the hospital I got on the scale and had only lost 6 lbs!!! My son weighed 8.1 lbs. The next several months consisted of non-stop breastfeeding and caring for a newborn--the pounds melted off. I ate anything I wanted and kept loosing weight. I am now at my lowest weight since my diet drug days.

The reason for this diatribe is to help me understand my eating habits and feelings about food. As well as to reveal my insecurities and reservations about food. I feel good right now and I want to make sure that I continue to eat good foods, that I can maintain my weight and most importantly I want to be certain that I am setting the best example I can for my son.

So, as a result of our debaucherous weekend we came up with this--

The Biggest Loser internal family challenge. Here's the rules (as created by hubby)...

1) Weigh in using the scale you plan to use on 8/9/08. Send your results via email to the group. There is no embarrassment and no cheating - we are family after all..

2) The winner will be determined by the combined percentage of body weight lost between now and 8/9/08. The winning family will receive $50 from each of the other two families for a combined $100 prize. Here is an example of what I am talking about.
- Assume hubby weighs 100 lbs. on 7/16/08 and loses 10lbs by 8/9/08. That would be 10% of my total body weight.
- Assume wifey weighs 50lbs and loses 10lbs by 8/9/008. That would be 20% of her total body weight.
- Combined, this would be 30% lost.
- Get it? Good.

3) Good luck out there. If you have any complaints or concerns, please feel free to put melted butter on them and eat away. It only helps out my cause. :)

We are all officially weighed in and ready to rumble. My hope is that I don't sabotage myself, as I often do when faced with competition. I suspect that I afraid of losing (no pun).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fresh from the farm --delivery 3

This week fresh from the farm is:
Lemon, sweet lettuce, salad mix with edible flowers, pink or white grapefruit or corn, garlic chives or French sorrel, bok choi or purslane, Chioggia beets or red radishes, cucumbers or green (or purple) beans, summer squashes and bouquet of flowers. Sugar Baby Watermelon, plums, peaches, Dorcett apples, apricots or oranges.

I sent a message via their website to get clarification about what was being delivered and how their substitution policy worked. As we don't seem to be getting everything they post on the web.

For example this week--we didn't get garlic chives or french sorrel, or bok choi or purslane. So, perhaps we made it up in some other item. I don't know, but I feel frustrated since it costs a fair amount.

I haven't heard back from anyone yet, but my renewal came in the mail yesterday...so I hope to hear soon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Response to Shame

In my previous post, I included a link to a blog I stumbled on by accident. However, I wonder how much of life is accidental and how much is fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it (lets leave the likes of divine intervention out of this). I don't know the answer to the fate question, but I do wonder about it.

Anyway, I have been really thinking about the post. I have been wondering why people who are molested, raped, or sexually abused feel ashamed of what happened to them. I was thinking about how being abused shouldn't be a source of shame or embarrassment. But, how often it is. How most crimes like this go unreported and the victims never see justice or closure (not that closure is even possible). It really got me thinking, but more than that it got me feeling.

So, I wanted to free myself from feeling shameful or embarrassed (thanks Grace!). A little side note though: I don't want to talk about this with anyone. I am posting it here to free myself from it. But, unless I bring it up, I don't want to talk about it. I have effectively put this behind me, but want to acknowledge that it happened.

I was sexually abused by my step brother when I was 4 years old. It was a brief period of time, and most of it I hardly remember. But, I do remember enough to know that it happened. My sister told my Mom about it a while later, and I remember my Mom asking me what happened. I was flooded with feelings that couldn't be expressed and words that had no way of being vocalized. After all, I was only 4; it would be impossible to express what I felt or thought at that age. Almost 30 years later I can remember feeling powerless and afraid to be alone with my step brother. Yet, I can hardly express my feelings now--I just don't have the words.

My Mom left this husband, but not because of the abuse. I don't think she knew about the abuse until after she left anyway. We spoke of it that one time, and neither her nor I spoke of it again.

I often wonder what sort of effect something like this has on peoples lives. I don't honestly think you can know the answer to this, since life has an innumerable number of variables. But, I look at my life and wonder how things may have been different for me if this event had not occur ed. I don't spend much time thinking about it, since there is no way to change to the past. But, I do feel saddened by the fact that it happened. I feels like I was robbed of a piece of my childhood, of my innocence. Something was taken from me during that time, something that can never be replaced or given back.

Just like all of the books say--now that I am a Mother, I have been thinking about my childhood and my youthful experiences in more depth. I am often in awe at the fact that my Mother was able to raise 2 girls essentially on her own. My Mom didn't attend college, but was a highly intelligent woman (I will explain the use of the past tense word 'was' later). She has an amazing vocabulary, has a razor sharp wit and tongue, and has never been afraid to express or stand up for herself. On the other side of the coin, it kills me to think that someone who was so intelligent could allow herself to get involved with man after destructive man, marriage after marriage. How could someone who appears so self assured need a man like my Mom does. It is difficult to not place blame when I think about all of the fucked up things that have happened in my life under the tutelage of my mother (many of them while she was under the influence). And, just when I am filled with resentment and bitterness--I remember that she did the very best she could. I hope that every decision that she made was out of love, and not selfishness. I long to believe that she always put us first when a difficult choice was needed. Many days I doubt it, and that forces a irremovable wedge between us. But, some days I can forgive her and I love her more than myself.

So, there you have another tid-bit of my history. All of the pieces that make up my life and make me who I am today. Are you glad or sad you know?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Linkage

Today I read a powerful post by another blogger, and felt that its power should be shared. Click here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I love having farm fresh produce delivered to my door!

This weeks delivery includes the following vegetables and fruit! I cant wait until it arrives!!!
Avocado, red potatoes, medley of summer squash, beans or cucumbers or corn, radishes or turnips, chives or basil, Seabreeze salad with edible flowers, leeks, Valencia oranges, tat soi or purslane and bouquet of flowers.
Grapes, grapefruit, peaches, Fuji apples and fresh picked and frozen mulberries.

Parenting lessons

I love being a Mom, and cant wait for my girlfriends (I have 3 close friends and 2 other girlfriends pregnant all at the same time!!!) to have their babies so we all can feel the joy and love that having a child brings. I also cant wait for them to become parents so they can experience for themselves the decisions, struggles and challenges that being a parent inherently comes with.

What I struggle with lately is that parenting requires a level of communication that I don't currently possess. And trying to work through all of the variables is exhausting. Making sure you are setting good examples, guiding their decisions, averting danger while still allowing exploration, showing love and tolerance...etc., etc., etc. Again, I love being a Mom and every ounce of energy expelled is worth it. But, when my closest girlfriends are all in the (first) pregnancy faze--I can scarcely relate my struggles and challenges to them. Nor would I want to spoil any of their joy and expectations.

More accurately though--I don't think they can relate (sorry gals if you are reading this) to how difficult it is to a Mom yet. I will share this example with you to make my point. Before I had a child I was naive enough to tell my MIL that my kid wouldn't be allowed to have toys. Uh huh, yeah right. When I said this she just smiled at me with a knowing look and kept her mouth closed. All the while knowing that I was nuts.

If I could take my MIL's lead and not say anything when similar exchanges occur between me a pregnant friends I would be much better off. It is a struggle for me to listen to my friends say and do things that I suspect (from experience) will turn out different once the child is born. Moreover, it is excruciating for me to listen to people who don't have kids yet give me advise about how to parent my son.

So, my goal and lesson this week is to learn how to be more tolerant and accepting of other peoples feelings and opinions on the matter of parenting. I don't want to be known as the the 'know-it-all' preachy friend--so this is critical. I also need to learn how to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself so that others can learn from their own experiences. But most important is for me to learn how to say what I feel and know is best for my family with more conviction.

Several times over this weekend I should have spoken out about things I wasn't comfortable with as it relates to raising my son, and I didn't. I should have stood my ground on my beliefs and just said that I wasnt comfortable with something. But, for some reason I didn't and regretted not speaking out when I had the chance. I am still sorting this one out, and will let you know what the result is soon.

Phew, I feel better having shared my feelings. It was weighing heavy on me. Now, I can more easily move to the action phase. Comments always welcome.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Update on the Milk front

Elliott is a rock star. I know, I know, enough gushing and running on and on about my wonderful kid. But, alas I am his Momma and I cant help but ogle over him (and truth be told--most of my readers are here for him).

A couple of weeks ago, I selfishly decided that I was done pumping milk at work. So, after much agony and mental debate--we switched him over to plain organic soy milk. He loves it. After the first week on soy, we also stopped offering him a bottle, which he didn't seem to miss at all (except when the little girl at daycare is drinking hers--then he tries to steal it from her).

I am still nursing him at least 3 times on days I work, and more on days I stay home with him. I think it is currently the best of both worlds and he doesn't seem fazed one bit.

I cant imagine a time when I wont be nursing him...but I can now at least forecast it.

Our Bounty


This is our CSA bounty. I have made use of most of the items delivered this past week--some of which I had to google to find out what they were. Like tat soi, who has ever heard of it? Anyway, once I deciphered what veggie was what--I began chopping and preparing a huge veggie stir fry --which was delicious!!!

I am excited to see what comes next week. We are every other week, but scheduled for this week is: Medley of summer squashes, beans or cucumbers or broccoli, carrots or radishes, scallions, baby celery, sweet lettuce, salad with edible flowers, basil or arugula or French sorrel, tomatoes and bouquet of flowers. The Fruits are: mangos (I am allergic, but the family should enjoy), frozen mulberries (too delicate to send fresh-just picked), avocado, bananas, peaches, and strawberries.

With the exception of the strawberries everything sounds wonderful. Ahh, you ask what my aversion to strawberries is? I bought a basket at the farmers market a year or more ago. Usually, I just wash them and eat them. No need to hull them when they are bursting with red juicy goodness. Well, let me tell ya...it is a good thing I waited. I decided to hull and slice them for consumption later. I sliced open one berry and out came a whole family of worms. I will never eat another strawberry again unless its sliced open first. And that also ended my organic shopping at the farmers market. This time around--I am soaking and washing everything very thoroughly to eliminate any sort of pest from ruining my mental palate.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Milestone

Today, my sweet boy slept in until 6:30am (Woot!). When his Dad and I went in to greet him and say good morning, he was sitting up in his crib (a new development in itself)--all smiles.

When he saw us, he grabbed a hold of the side of the crib, pulled himself to his knees and then stood up with the support of the crib side. He has never practiced pulling up. But, he did it like he had been doing it every morning for months.

Hubby and I just beamed at him all the while showering him with praise. Adorable.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pictures!

uhh hi, could I be any cuter?

I have two teeth in this picture (as you can fuzzily see), but today a new top tooth erupted!

Hubby says it is mean to dress up the dog, but he looks like he is smiling to me...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Nostalgia

First time swimming at Grandma and Bobbots newly rebuilt pool.

And my Mom says she doesnt like kids...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Organic produce

I finally did it! I signed up for CSA, and my first delivery comes next Thursday. Woot!

Month II

Month two of our new budgeting is much better than month one. It always takes a while though to get into the swing of new things.

And, with the extra cash flow we received last month it certainly helped us to pad our bank account a little bit. We were even able to splurge a bit on a few plants and gardening supplies for our back yard.

Lil E's 1st birthday party is coming up at the end of this month. I have been planning it in my head for a while and trying to think of creative but inexpensive ideas. After too much research on 1 year old party themes hubby and I just decided on what motif to use. I ordered the party gear on-line-which as all you mom's know--isn't cheap! But, I just ordered a couple of things to set the mood.

And in light of our slim budget we decided not to go crazy on a bunch of disposable paper plates and what not. So, I decided to spend the same amount (actually a little less) on plastic plates, cups, bowls and silverware from Ikea. That way, we can reuse them year after year. I don't know if the plastic vs. paper environmental argument holds up--but the money argument sure does.

poison thoughts

I have so many things to say these days--but, I dont. I have been keeping a lot of feelings bunched up inside of me--and I think they are poisoning me.

Tell us, you say, oh so loyal blog readers? I simply must first tell the people these feelings are directed at. And then, hopefully, I can share my feelings on the matter.

As I learned in a earlier post--I could run the risk of hurting some unsuspecting friends feelings and of seeming passive-agressive. Which would not serve my cause at all.

Why am I keeping these feelings bottled up inside of me? I think I am afraid of the outcome. If I dont share--I can stave off the inevitable. Flawed logic, of course.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Breastmilk vs. soymilk vs. formula

Grrrrr. The amount of information on the Internet is amazing and wonderful, yet staggering and lets face it--occasionally down right confusing.

Elliott is still breastfeeding or drinking expressed milk 5-6 times a day. He hasn't had a drop of formula yet. I want to stop pumping at work-but I don't want to stop breastfeeding. So, I have been trying to research the best options to make the transition from breast milk to 'other'. And to perhaps kick the bottle while we are making the switch.

Elliott was sensitive to dairy products when we first introduced them--yogurt in particular-- but his gut seems to be adjusting to the gradual introduction of cheese (and his taste buds love it!). I have never given him anything to drink besides breast milk and water, and like I said he has never had any formula. So, I don't know how he would tolerate these items. However, since he is only 11 months old--all of the books say not to give your child milk until they are 1 year anyway. This is the first area of confusion. Why is it OK to give your child cows milk products but not cows milk? And why the arbitrary age of 12 months? Does your child's digestive system miraculously on their 366th day say-bling--you can tolerate cows milk? Or is simply a timeline for when most kids can tolerate it and avoid the potential of allergies later? Or, more poignant--is it suggested to avoid the possibility of parents giving their kids cows milk in place of formula as a cost saving measure?

Well, if I cant give my babe cows milk--that leaves formula or a milk alternative, right? Wanting to research all of my options, I looked on the label of the free can of formula we received in the mail last week and the second ingredient is corn syrup solids. Uhh, no. I cant in good conscious give that to my son because I don't feel like pumping any more. Caveat: I don't judge formula feed babies, or a Mom's decisions to feed formula to their wee ones. I simply can not justify my decision since it is based on selfishness. Aside from that--formula is expensive. The second area of confusion is that the formula can says the age range is for babies 9-24 months. Well, does that mean my baby needs that sort of nutrition until they are 24 months old? Or, is that just a marketing tool to get me to think that feeding my babe formula is the most nutrition option? Or...? Who knows what I haven't thought of or considered.

That leaves a milk alternative. Our household drinks soy milk. I don't care for milk, and my husband doesn't mind soy. So, to save space, money and waste we both drink soy. Can I give my 11 month soy milk? Does it have all of the nutrients and vitamins necessary for his age? Can I replace 5 bottles a week of breast milk with sippy cups of organic unsweetened soy milk? And if so, why is there such a cultural tendency towards cows milk? If I give my baby soy am I forcefully subjecting him to my pseudo-granola lifestyle? Am I giving him a sub-par option? Am I a bad Mom for not offering him REAL (cows) milk?

All of this worry and it doesn't even touch on the topic of weaning--which I dread the day Elliott decides he isn't interested in breastfeeding or worse yet--I decide I am not interested in it anymore. If you have experience, advise or suggestions for the best way to navigate this milky pitfall--please comment or email me.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Friendship

Today, and several times over the last few months I have been analyzing my friendships. With this analysis, I have come to realize (through the lack of verbal conversations, emails and phone exchanges) that some of my friendships are lopsided--where I consider the person more of a friend than they consider me. This is where I get my feelings hurt. Ouch.

Month one part II

The second half of operation budget cut went better than the first. We got some money randomly in the mail. If you are thinking...hmm, that is odd. You can assume that we were thinking the same thing.

Apparently, in 2004 during one of our refi's we overpaid for our Title Insurance. This was unbenouced to us--and since we don't like to argue with found money--we swiftly and quickly deposited the money in our account.

Then our tax return was deposited into our account, and just a few days later the economic stimulus money was deposited. WooT!!!

So, this half of the month was much better than the first half. I did manage to deposit all of my paycheck and then some into savings. Plus, we have enough for a little (and I mean little) fun. With my part of the fun--I bought us a colorful outdoor umbrella. And with Jeff's part of the fun he is moving forward with our first real home improvement project--the front fence.

Global food issues

With all of the horrible events that are happening worldwide--the cost of food both stateside and abroad-the number of people in need of basic supplies (food, clean water, medical aide)--the cost of oil and gasoline...it has got me thinking.

Why do we ship food from the US to regions in need? Why dont we buy the food closer to the area that needs it? We can save on the cost to ship it, we can help to stimulate local economies, and it will be food closer the diet of the region.

I realize that this often isnt possible with regions that are suffering from draught--where crops and food are simply scarce or similar events. But, in some areas it is possible. We just dont do it that I can tell.

So, it really has me wondering and thinking. If you have any insight or thoughts, please dont hestiate to share.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Month one

The first half of operation budget cut didn't go as well as I would have liked. I was only able to put 1/3rd of my paycheck into savings. After groceries, a trip to Costco, 5 family b-days for the month of May (of which we have only bought for one so far-eek), 3 mothers day gifts (none purchased yet-another eeeeek!), and a bachelorette party from last month that I still owe for I am still trying to find my saving stride. We are slowly getting into the mind set though, and that is a start.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

What happens at home

While we were on vacation last month in Washington State, we spent 3 nights visiting friends while staying in a vacation rental on Orcas Island. Our friends have a daughter who is almost 3 years old. I was talking about day care, parenting, and that sort of thing to my girlfriend and she said some things that have stuck with me.

She said that mostly due to financial restrictions and partly due to their own desire to expose their daughter to a wide range of people --they send their daughter to a less than optimum daycare (totally safe and free of danger of course). While they may be able to afford a slightly more expensive daycare--this one offered many of the things that others didn't in the form of language and cultural diversity. She also felt that this daycare fit their needs the best with regard to location.

She said that her and her hubby have almost weekly discussions about the daycare-ranging from why they pull her out today to why this care arrangement is the best for them and their daughter.

The bottom line for both of them was that its what your child learns at home that matters most. Even though they spend a lot of time un-teaching their daughter undesirable habits or behaviours she learns at school, they felt that it was time well spent. They felt that it was a great way to teach valuable life lessons. Now, both parents are elementary school teachers (kindergarten and 2nd grade), so I am more inclined to trust what they say having the experience with kids that they do. What do you think? What have your experiences been in this arena?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

When Good Enough isnt enough

I am struggling. There I said it. I want to be a full time Mom. But, many days I still love my job. The days I don't love it however are out numbering the days that I do. And last week I actually cried because I was feeling ineffective and worthless. Yup, worthless. Not a good feeling for an employee who feels she is doing her absolute best to get the job done. Also not a good feeling for someone who has high standards and expects herself and others to live up to them.

I have been digesting all of the reasons I went back to work, and re-thinking them. Money, personal fulfilment, boredom, pride, not wanting to be a servant to my husband and kids, I could go on and on. But, you get the idea.

Hubby and I have been actively nesting our funds away, and slowly paying off all of our debt. We have finally freed ourselves from credit cards, student loans, car payments and all other revolving debt. What we are left with is a hefty house payment and household bills (gas, electric, water, cable, phone, groceries, fuel, pet food, etc.). The awesome part of all of this is that we could make it with hubby's income only. We would have to cut out all extras however. There would be a VERY small pad, and we would have to watch our spending. We would also have to learn how to budget better and have to learn how to say NO to outings, or at least set spending limits on them.

Hubby and I are terrible at saying No and even worse at setting limits. We often feel like we 'deserve' it, so we treat ourselves. We have made a commitment over the last couple of years to reign in our spending and have obviously done a good job. But, there is that last bit of frivolousness that we still enjoy and currently can afford. We would have to look at things in a new light, and allow ourselves a fresh perspective on frugal life.

I have been trying to look at this like a challenge to myself. At work I set goals. So, why not look at staying home like a goal--I challenge myself to stop spending money on things I don't need (I shouldn't need to stay home to accomplish this...but we all need goals). I challenge myself to accept and appreciate what I already have. I challenge myself to come up with new and creative ways to re-use the items I already have; give them a second (or third!) life. I challenge myself to learn how to shop, cook, and maintain a household on a slimmer budget.

This next month we are going to give it a test run. I am going to move my paycheck over to savings, and we are going to try and live off of just hubbys income. That will give us a feel for what it will be like. I will keep you posted on the results of the trial run.

I also want to use these challenges as a way to keep my mind working at problem solving. I worry that if I quit working that I will turn into a babling idiot who can only talk about her kids and poopy diapers. I want to ensure that I am challenging myself, keeping up on current events and aware of the world around me. I dont want to turn into the SAHM at the Mom's groups that I dont like.

We also want to have another baby. We have talked about it many times over the last 10 months, and are both so happy as parents that we don't see a reason to wait. If we space them close together they can play with one another, I can reuse many of their toys and baby items, they can share a room, and the time commitment needed will be condensed into a shorter overall commitment (of course it will be multiplied three fold in level of difficulty...but who factors that in). Plus, maybe we will want more than 2 children...maybe we will want 3. Hubby so NO WAY, but you never know. So, if we were to ever consider 3 kids, we should get a move on! I dont want to be categorized as 'elderly' in maternal age (they use this term when you are pregnant and over 35-can you believe that!!!).

So, here I am again. Deliberating my future. Except this time my future is the future of my children (is this wrong?); I am not even factoring in my career goals. They just don't seem to matter to me much anymore. I want to refocus my energy on my family, and I just cant seem to allow/permit myself to be good enough at both. I need to be great at one. I want to be great at one.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Homemade Household Products

I want to start making my own household cleaners. I have been doing some sole searching (I want to be a full time Mom) and budget searching (in order to justify the loss in income, we would have to save money elsewhere) and have decided that household cleaners are just way to expensive. Many are also toxic to humans and animals, not to mention destructive to our environment.

So, I am going to test out my creative (and chemistry) skills. If anyone has any suggestions, advise or recipe's--please let me know! From the research I have conducted thus far, it is a simple as this ingredient list. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dog gone crazy

While we were on vacation we hired a dog sitter for a our dog and cat. We could kennel the dog, but then we would have to pay more, and inconvenience a friend to come over and look in on the cat. So, for less money for us and less stress for the animals we hire a dog sitter.

This gal has been dog sitting for us for a few years, she love dogs, and works full time at our local dog wash and pet store. She stays at the house most nights and works just a few blocks from our house.

There have been a few odd occurrences while she watched the house and the dog in the 3 plus years she has been here. Once the towel rack in the bathroom was broken. Another time the house was kinda messy when we returned. All simple manageable things.

This time she couldn't get into the house, and we had to call a friend over to come and help her with the front door. Granted, we have an odd front door-that gives us issues occasionally. But, the most random thing that I discovered was that she tried on one of my dresses. You are probably wondering how I know, right? Well, let me expose how anal and neurotic I am about my clothes.

On Easter, I wore a floral dress to a party. All of my dresses are in the garage in a wardrobe. If you have been to our house, you will know that it is almost 100 years old, and the closets have not be renovated. And if you have been in an old house you might remember that closets are the size of match boxes. Ours is no exception. The only exception is that my husband has a lot of clothes too. So, we split the closet 50/50 and both store coats and dress clothes in our garage.

Back to the main topic. The dress was hanging in our room still, because I hadn't found the inclination to walk it back outside to our detached garage, open 2 locks to get in there and hang it back up. When we returned from our trip, the dress was still hanging in the same place, but the zipper was down.

Now folks, I will say again how anal I am about my clothes. I always hang them the same direction, I fold them immediately to avoid wrinkles and I always zip them up. I rarely loan them out, and like to keep them clean and neat. So, I can only assume that she tried it on, and given her past behavior of leaving our house untidy, didn't zip up the zipper.

All and all, not that big of a deal. The animals are happy, the house wasn't robbed, nothing was stolen or damaged. But, to me...its a bit of an invasion of my privacy. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Mind Blogging

I have been blogging in my mind so much lately that I feel fulfilled, all the while I haven’t written a thing. I will think of something I want to write about or share, then mentally walk through what I would say, how I would phrase something, and what the title of the post would be. Then I file it away in my brain to type out another day...Well, as you can see that day hasn’t come yet.

Instead, today I want to share a few great things about my son-before they disappear from my terrible memory all together.

He goes in for his 9 month appointment this week, and I cant believe how much he has grown. He is developing an amazing little personality-after witnessing my own kid I am a firm believer that children are born with their own personalities, and that while we may be able to nurture some aspects of it, they are hard wired. Luckily, he is a pleasure to be around with smiles abounding. While he still hasn’t had any inclination to crawl, pull himself up, or walk...he is very curious about things around him and is often craning his neck from side to side to make sure he isn’t missing anything. He is extremely expressive both with his facial expressions, bodily gestures and vocal sounds. He sits up like a pro and rarely falls over-he is also rolling around from side to side, and he pivots is a full 360 degree circle on his tummy.

He is still nursing often, upward of 5 times a day, if I am home with him. However, he still wont take a bottle from him daycare provider, and he wont take one from his Dad very often either. He is particular about the source of his milk; I guess he wants it straight from the tap. I dont worry since he is certainly not wanting for calories, and if gets thirsty enough, he will drink from a bottle.

Also, what seems like all of a sudden his appetite has dramatically increased. He was eating 1-3 jars of food a day, and now is eating twice that on most days. I try and make most of his food, but I still end up buying jarred food for many items. There are some things that just don’t turn out the same as jarred food.

Looking back over the last month I was trying to analyze why I haven’t written to much and I realized that I was tired and drained. Beginning on March 5th, Elliott started waking up with more frequency. He had contracted Bronchiolitis on Super Bowl Sunday and was sick again after that for a bit, and he was getting tummy aches from eating dairy (which we have temporarily eliminated). Come to find out he was also getting his two bottom front teeth simultaneously. The night waking's were just the start, as then it turned into hourly night waking, then shorter day time naps, cranky baby all day, and then outright nap refusal. The only way either of us could sleep is if I slept with him on the couch all night. Which, of course, for all of our own sanity I did for many nights.

Then, to my own horror and shock...I picked up the Dr. W book which suggests that to 'help' your child learn to sleep independently you need to let them cry it out. I had never entertained this idea in the past. I thought it was cruel, unloving and mean. I looked down on people who suggested it, and I sneered under my breath at those who espoused it as bad parents.

I didn’t know what else to do, though. We had tried everything on the Internet to soothe him and to help him sleep, all ending in sleepless nights and horrible days for all three of us. So, after some careful (albeit sleepless) thought, I decided to give it a try. It was only a couple of days that he would have to suffer and I felt that a few days of crying were unlikely to cause him long term emotional damage.

Well, let me say that my son is nothing if not persistent. The first night, he cried for 2.5 hours before falling back asleep for a few hours only to wake and cry again for 2 more hours. This pattern went on through the night. The next night was similar, but less crying and so on. By the time we left for our trip 6 nights after starting the CIO, he was waking less and sleeping more. On the 7th night we put him down at 6:30pm and he sleep solid through until 5am!!!! (I will not make a joke about how on the 7th day he rested...)

Our entire vacation consisted of him sleeping soundly (with a few stirs in the wee hours lastly 5 minutes or less). The best part of all was that in addition to him sleeping superiorly at night, he also took marathon naps during the day-most days consisted of a 1.5 to 2 hour morning nap and a 1-1.5 hour afternoon nap! Hubby and I still aren't conditioned into sleeping through the night again, but hopefully soon we will back into our own sleep groove too. Although, who knows how long this sleeping bliss will last! If there is one thing I have learned about parenting it is that nothing stays the same for long.