Friday, February 29, 2008

The Power of Positive Thinking

When I received an email from the Parent Bloggers Network, talking about a new book by Jennifer Fox M Ed*, I was intrigued. The book is entitled Your Child's Strengths: Discover Them, Develop Them, Use Them. Ms Fox as been an educator for twenty-five years, and aims to change the way that teachers and parents talk about and evaluate children. She is passionate that her "strengths-based philosophy provides the tools to prepare kids for the future in a world that demands greater adaptability and creative thinking than ever before."

It's interesting to me because as a social worker, my agency was making the same changes in order to work with adults, and finding that when you focus on the positive in any situation, it's bound to have better results than constantly focusing on fixing their "problems."

What parent likes to sit and hear about everything that's wrong with their child? It's exciting to me that there is an educator who is taking such a proactive step in re-creating the paradigm, as I'm sure that looking from the strong end of the stick will promote parents to be more involved and open to discussion about their children. Also, it's quite apparent that our current system is flawed. Hopefully a more productive system will entice tax-payers and law makers to ensure that funding is re-directed to our education and social service system in the future.

As for H's school career, I'm hopeful that there will be more and more educators adopting Ms Fox's philosophy by the time H is in school. My husband, J (and I'm not just saying this), is an incredibly bright person. When he was in upper-elementary to middle-school, his brightness sometimes led to boredom, which led to mischief. Not illegal activity, just restlessness. One of his teachers is reported to have smugly told him that he was going to end up in prison...I was really hoping to send her an announcement to his medical school graduation but, alas, did not.

That story has always disgusted me, because I can't imagine telling any child that, especially when you're in a position of power and influence. Even if that child was headed for trouble, would you say it? Would you want to be the person putting that thought out? Wouldn't it have been better to talk to J and his parents about the fact that he was very intelligent and thinking of ways to harness his energy when the workload or curriculum was below him? I hope that all educators understand what an impact they have on the children in their classrooms, and the adults that parent them.

But I digress...

The email asked that we, as parent bloggers, take the opportunity to openly talk about the positive attributes of our children. As my posts are usually full of sarcasm and self-deprecating humor, I thought this may be a challenge. Good thing I have such a great kid to write about.

I know that I've talked about how hard the adjustment has been to staying at home, but there's obviously a reason that I've enjoyed being here. H is such an imaginative and creative boy, and he has really begun to display all the empathy, enthusiasm and other sentiments that you really hope, as a parent, your kids will.

I've talked before about him rocking his "baby" to sleep, and he's constantly making "cookies" or other treats for me out of random things in his bedroom. He's very concerned about other people, asking "You Okay?" when he gets the smallest social signal that they may be uncomfortable, and rushing over to crying babies to ensure that someone is meeting their needs.
We had H's first "Parent and Pike" swimming lesson at the Y yesterday, and it was so much fun. As we do more and more activities together, I'm really seeing where he's inherited (or adopted) certain pieces of my and J's personalities. Like J, H was very hesitant about the whole experience at first. He likes to stand back and observe any new situation, especially groups, before he joins in. I planned to go ten minutes early, so we could be in the water before the lesson started, and he was able to see the other kids his same age being active and happy without it being too overwhelming.

Like me, he was shaking and clinging to me, but with a huge grin on his face saying over and over "I love this! This is fun!" Whenever I was (am) uncertain about something, I just put on that smile and keep trucking along, knowing that it will get better. By the time the lesson ended, he didn't want to get out of the water, so we were able to float around some more before I got him ready and took him to child-watch so that I could do my own water work-out (which made me realize it was definitely the breast-stroke that made the concerning excess of agua mentioned in the prior post; guess I'll be avoiding that move for awhile.)

I could go on and on about all the great things about him, but I must say that I'm most excited to see how he'll interact with, and love, his new little brother.

*(From the biography published on the Barnes and Noble website); Jenifer Fox, M Ed has worked in day and boarding schools, single sex and coed schools, as a teacher and administrator for twenty-five years. She is currently head of the Purnell School in Pottersville, New Jersey. She holds a BS in communications from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, an MA in English from Middlebury College, and an M Ed in school administration from Harvard University.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Testing the Waters (Maybe TMI)

I've been swimming at the Y with regularity for about the last month now. On one occasion I asked my friend Alex, who used to swim competitively, if she had ever had some water come back out of her "area", particularly after a day with lots of breast stroke action. She laughed and reported that she had, in fact, experienced that. I remembered from my college days in the pool that I had sometimes had it happen as well, so didn't worry that it was anything pregnancy related.

Well, today, I swam as usual, took my shower, and was getting ready. I leaned over to put lotion on and stood back up to find a gush of warm water...hmmm. I thought it was a little much, but didn't put much stock in it, as it had happened before.


I leaned to put on my undies, and when I stood up again...more water. Now, this was just getting embarassing. I was next to several 'Silver Sneakers', and didn't want them to think that I was wetting myself as it was now running down my legs, so I tactfully made my way to the toilets.


After I was able to get things under control, I collected H from Child Watch, and called my friend Alex, to joke about my V water incident. She gasped back "Did you break your water?" Uhhhhhh, I don't think so...(in my head; shite! Did I break my water?!) As I am only 28 weeks, I knew that it was not my water breaking, not only because it was far too early, but because if it did, I would be up s creek without a paddle since my nearest relative lives in the mid-west, the rest living in Oregon.


She offered to come to my house immediately to watch H while I went to the doctor. Uh, I had not even called my doctor's office yet, and was driving home from the Y (fine, from McDonald's where I got H a Happy Meal).


I asked if I should even call my doctor, and she adamantly said that I needed to. I felt so dumb..."Hi, I was swimming and a bunch of pool water just leaked out of my camel hump." Alas, after consulting with the doctor, it was determined that I needed to head to the hospital to get checked out. Lame. Super Lame. I knew that it was nothing, but also knew that if it were something, I'd be a giant asshole for not doing what I was supposed to, so arranged for Alex to come over then headed to the big L and D.


On the way, I paged J and when I talked with him I started crying, which I'm sure was very reassuring. I promised I would call him when I knew anything for sure, but that I was certain it was nothing.


After providing my "clean catch", and getting the lube squirted on my belly, I was happily hooked to the monitor waiting for the doctor to pay me a visit. I heard the girl, emphasis on girl, next to me, and began to reminisce about my days at work. I felt silly coming in for a gush of warm water, but this girl and her "chaperone" were debating amongst themselves if she should get an ultrasound since 'you don't even know how far along you are' and had not yet seen a doctor. She thought she was around TWENTY weeks, and had fallen down four stairs the prior evening, followed by bleeding and cramping.


Hmmmm...


The nurse then brought my urine sample and plopped it next to me, stating that we needed to keep our own. I slammed into OCD overdrive, asking several times if she was sure it was my sample, thinking to myself that the last thing I needed was to get my pee mixed up with 'I-don't-know-my-baby-daddy's'. The nurse smiled and assured me it was mine, stating that was why she brought it to me just then. Whew...crisis averted, one less worry about a visit from social services!


So, long story short, all's well that ends well, I'm locked up like Fort Knox, and told the nurse I'd see her in a couple of months. Not only did I feel silly for going in...I felt a little gross because seriously, what kind of a cavern holds that much water just from a 30-minute swim?
P.S. After all this, I forgot to include that today was the first day that I wore my swim cap. Imagine if you will a pumpkin on a log, and you have what my head looked like on my body with no hair to balance it out...maybe the water was my body's way of rejecting the ridiculous cap.

Curtain Call

As I prepare for friends to visit from out of town in a couple of weeks, I was forced to go to a very dark place...well, actually, it's fairly light, but covered in "projects" and their paraphernalia. The loft area in my apartment is where all things C are stored (and also where guests stay on the trusty blow-up mattress). When we were moving, my husband joked that the three c's were left, so it was up to me to pack; Crafts, Cosmetics and Candles. I LOVE to go to craft stores. I really like the look of a finished product, and I actually enjoy being in the midst of a project that's going well. The part I don't like? Probably the most crucial; beginning it. I have bags and bins full of fabric, yarn, paper and other supplies, the finished products of which would most likely boost the GNP of a small country.

With the plethora of projects from which to choose, it becomes overwhelming when trying to decide which to start first. I've decided I'll do at least one project a night, with other projects occupying Henry's nap-time. Sunday, I made a blanket for my friend's baby shower, which is slated for next weekend. This means I have to have the gift completed, wrapped and delivered safely to Idaho by Friday at the latest. I had everything but the binding, which I purchased at my local craft store. While J watched the ever-entertaining Aliens, I tied the quilt, H napped and then I put it all away when he woke up...the last thing I need is a toddler with scissors and pins within reach.


That night, I sewed one side of the binding on at a time, carefully turning the corners to make perfect points. It was running along smoothly until I looked down and noticed that I'd stabbed a pin through my finger, resulting in a spot of blood on the white satin binding! Well, I was already on the third side, so I guess it'll get Shouted Out before I send it on, because I am NOT ripping out the binding for a pin prick of color. J remarked, with his almost noiseless laugh, that I was just putting blood, sweat and tears into the project...when will that boy ever learn?


Well, I got to about 10 inches from the end and the binding ran out, so that project is on hold until today when I can buy another roll of it.


Last night, I decided to make the curtains for our bedroom; the fabric for which I purchased over two months ago. This project went really smoothly, and J walked in from work just in time to see me perched precariously forward attempting to screw a curtain rod in, with my burgeoning belly preventing me from getting as close as I needed to the wall. Crisis averted, he finished hanging them for me.


All in all, two months of having fabric sitting around is not bad considering I still have fabric tied in a neat little bow from a quilt store in Montana for an Underground Railroad quilt that I purchased over five years ago! What? I've been busy. Plus, after my last quilt debacle, I think the queen sizer will have to wait until I can afford to have someone else quilt it together.


Ahhhh...the craftavaganza continues.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Running Mate

Yesterday, as I was heading out the door with H, I balanced two packages to go to the, yes, Post Office. I understand it's a holiday, but I was looking forward to my friend K (that's kiosk to you) helping me send my goods on their way. (Of course, when I got there K had decided to call in sick so I'd shoved H in the sling with precariously balanced packages for nothing but oh well, more time to watch Oprah on the treadmill at the Y.)

After holding H's hand in a death grip to the car in our parking lot at home, I transferred that grip to his handle of the car only long enough for me to set the packages on the front seat. I firmly told him that he needed to hang onto the handle until I could put him in his carseat. The ground was covered in slosh due to the ever changing New England weather and a recent deluge of rain over snow, so I didn't want to put the packages on the ground.

Aparrently in Toddler-ese Hold On means Run Forest, Run because he was off like a shot. I shouted for him to stop, as he was outside of inside voice range already and proceeded to lumber after him. I was not quickly walking, or even jogging...my 6+ months pregnant 5 foot 10 inch frame was running after him. He thought it was hillarious; needless to say, I did not. He was running through our parking lot, heading closer and closer to the area for thru traffic, and I caught him just in time.

I was oh-so-glad that it was a holiday so that our lot was full, and there was a maximum number of fellow residents to witness my poor parenting. You guessed it, I swatted him on the bottom while telling him to NEVER, NEVER NEVER run away from me again around other cars. I felt really great about myself as the tears pricked the back of my eyelids.

My heart was pounding, and not because I'm that out of shape. There have been very few times over the last two and a half years that I've had that stomach dropping sensation due to my child's antics, but this was one of them. I knew that there was no way for me to really reason with him after the fact, or to explain to him why I was so upset, because he doesn't know what it means to get run over by a car, or to die, and I was not about to go there with him. Was what I did any better? I don't know.

That's the fun part about parenting that they don't tell you. Even when you do things without thinking, and still think it was appropriate for the situation, you don't feel good about it necessarily, becase I couldn't really explain to him why I just spanked him, other than that he scared me, and that it is really unsafe to run away from me around other cars. I guess in the future, soggy packages will lose out to smashed child.

I have to report, however, that today when we were walking out to our car, he saw another car pulling in and held my hand tighter as he said "Car not see me." Maybe it did make the intended impression in his mind. I just know that I hope he doesn't need many of those lessons to make it all stick.

Flashing forward to the teen years, I have to say that I'm least looking forward to those hard times when your kids hate you simply because you're making a decision that you know they'll "thank you later" for. All of my parents' missives came flooding back to me, and I know that I'll be utilizing their cliche cache when the time comes.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another First

Today, my friend called and asked if H and I wanted to join she and her family on a trek to New Hampshire for lunch and a movie at Chunky's Cinema Pub, for a show that was starting in an hour-and-a-half. I jumped at the chance, as I had been too tired after sitting for another mom in my co-op until 1am to take J to work this morning in order to have the car. Thus, the alternative was a very looooooooooooooong day with H at home; his third day in a row without planned activities.

Being very relieved that I'd taken a shower prior to J's departure this morning, I hastily flat-ironed my hair and applied a quick swipe of make-up. H, miraculously, was incredibly cooperative in the getting ready process as he usually takes great glee in having me chase him around in my increasingly ungainly romp with his shoes in one hand and clean diaper in the other.


The drive to NH was pretty, and H caught a quick nap. He awoke when I took him out of his carseat into the biting wind of the day, snuggling into my shoulder. When we got inside, the loud pinging of arcade games assured he was awake, and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that admission was only $5.50 for adults and H was free.


We quickly found an available table in the darkening theatre, and I situated H's high-chair next to my plush leather seat, which had been re-purposed as a theatre seat from a Cadillac limo...that's what I call viewing in style!


The lights were dim, and I squinted at the menu...yes, you get to order real food, and have it delivered to your table by prompt and friendly staff. As I was deliberating, I noted that H was enthralled and it hit me; This is his FIRST movie in a theatre! Well, that's not entirely true, as I took him every Monday during maternity leave to the Mommy Matinee at Kennedy School in Portland, but this is the first movie that he was conscious of.


We saw The Water Horse, which was a little more frightening/startling in some parts than I thought it would be, and I worried a little that it would scare him. Of course, it didn't. I thought back to the first movie that I can remember going to and realized that it was Flight of the Navigator which has similarly alien-looking creatures, with loud music and surprises, and I loved it.


After eating his entire lunch, H sat in my lap, resting his head against my chest. It brought me back to the days when I sank into the couches at McMenamins for those Mommy Matinees and H slept peacefully on my chest. A couple of times, C kicked against H's back, but I don't think he felt it.


There I was, with both boys in my lap, and it seemed for the first time to really hit me that it's not just going to be H and I anymore. I find that I'm far more emotional about how H will react to C, than I am about any fear I have about my adjustment to caring for a second child.


Due to J's inevitable career path, we will have more money and security with our other kids, allowing them to have "more" than H does, but he will be the only child who gets us to himself. I hope that counts for something. My wish for H is that he always understands that in the big ways, he is our most important first, and nothing can replace that.


At least I have one certainty; my parents are totally lying when they deny they have a "favorite", my oldest sister has to have that honor...they're just too nice to say.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Another Knitty Project

Yes, I am still knitting! It always seems that when you're pregnant, everyone around you becomes pregnant as well. I have several friends who are expecting a new little one about the same time that I am, so I'm starting my craftavaganza early this time. Here's my first completed project, which was based on a Lion pattern, but tweaked to fit my needs. I knitted this with two strands of Bernat Softee Baby held together, and size 10.5 circular needles; casting on 128 stitches. The checks are created by a simple k10, p10 pattern with a 4 garter stitch border. The first and last 8 rows are simple garter stitch. (I bought 4 skeins, but have leftovers of the 3rd and 4th skeins, so you could easily do a hat and booties as well.) I'm not a huge fan of synthetic fibers but, financially, it's what I generally use, and they're great for durability and washability in baby blankets. The pattern makes this yarn really soft, and I'm excited for Mama J to get it. The sunlight was too bright, so you can't tell that it's a super bright yellow...oh, well. This is a great project for beginners and took me only about 3 weeks of VERY sporadic knitting, probably about 10-12 hours total knitting time. I'm way too impatient to block baby blankets, so this close-up is of the check pattern, unblocked.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

Life Is Like A Box Of Chocolates...

As I was cruising the demolished Valentine's Day aisles at Target yesterday, I was very disturbed in the new trends of chocolate. I went with one specific purchase in mind. A box of chocolates a la Forest Gump. My heart was sinking as I saw box after box of mocha-java-with-a-hint-of-crushed-organic-raspberries, or mint-mojito-in-peruvian-cocoa and many other hoity toity options. Where were the boxes of Whitman's Samplers?

Samplers were the best part of any holiday in my house. As a kid, prior to the age of the coded diagrams, we became very skilled at lightly denting the bottoms of the candy to ensure that our one choice did not result in extreme disappointment. I'm a creme-filled girl, so the caramels always make me sad. If you push your thumb against it and find resistance, put that thing back because you're bound to be heart-broken. If, however, you find that your thumb is sinking in, grab it before the other sisters do, because it's a jackpot. Every once in a while, you'd get a coconut one by accident, but it was still better than caramel.

I wanted H to have the same thrill of choco-discovery, so was searching for the perfect box. I wandered too far, because I soon found myself in the Easter aisle...seriously, folks, can't we let one holiday's commercialism end before setting the next?

I was about to call off the search party when my eyes alighted on a large, lone heart wrapped in red cellophane with the comforting Whitman's label. I was so excited, but vowed that I'd wait until at least 8pm to open the box without J (giving him a fair chance to eat them with me)...they were, after all, his gift from me. Okay, Okay, they were to me from me, but I knew that he'd been at the hospital all day, and that I had the car so was picking him up, thus no stops at the grocery store on the way home for the last of the bedraggled rose bunches. I deserved those chocolates, darnit!

I had just left the Y after my forty-five minutes on the treadmill, so was delighted by the fact that the 300+ calories I had burned would be put to good use! I know this isn't great logic, but I was honestly going to eat the candy regardless, so at least there was a little offset.

H had refused his nap earlier in the day, so by the time we got done grocery shopping and home, we were both exhausted. Time to call for a pizza..yeah, yeah, the calories from the treadmill were long gone by the time the day was over. As it took awhile, H and I chilled out, playing with the bubble wrap that encased the package from his grandparents, and then he ate and went straight to bed without a bath for the first time in months.

When J called for me to come pick him up, H nestled right into me and didn't even stir as I put on his coat. I picked up J and smiled when I saw him carrying the basket of daisies and carnations from the hospital's gift shop, in addition to a card. Then I felt guilty for assuming I'd get nothing and buying a gift for myself, but that certainly didn't stop me from partaking of the sweets when we got home.

J and I settled in for our romantic evening and watched the ideal date movie Gone Baby Gone (please note the sarcasm). This movie was based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (who also wrote Mystic River). Although definitely not a movie to put you in the mood, it is excellent, earning a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, and is Ben Affleck's directorial debut with Casey Affleck playing the lead role. This movie begged so many questions about one's moral compass, the decisions that you make, and the repercussions that are inevitable even when you make the right choice.

Here's the opening line, spoken by Casey's character Patrick Kenzie "I always believed it was the things you don't choose that makes you who you are. Your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in these things, like it was something they'd accomplished. The bodies around their souls, the cities wrapped around those..."

I hope you'll watch it and have a great dialogue. I ended up watching it again today while H napped, in addition to the special features. If you're really honest with yourself, you can argue both sides...even though you may not want to.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Going Postal

Due to my home-based business, and the fact that the majority of my customers live out of state, I am a frequent flyer at the local post office. I am old-fashioned in that I generally go to the actual post office; I've found that some places have a postage surcharge, making it more expensive than the good ole USPS. One of my favorite features that the postal service offers is the self-service kiosk (also, the flat-rate priority boxes and the ability to pay for postage online and schedule a pick-up from your home).

When I have to take H with me on my weekly treks, I often feel reminiscent of my days of raising (and containing) hogs . The last time was during Christmas, and I literally had H clenched between my knees while the woman at the counter was having me tape Priority tape to close the package (the infamous quilt that I made for my parents and shoved into the box), all the while H was sqealing with delight and charming the customers behind us in line. Seriously, a trip to the post office should not be a cardio workout. Thus, my enthusiasm for the self-serve kiosk...I can go at any hour of the day and leave H at home with J.

During my most recent visit, I got to the branch while it was still open, so decided to go the old-fashioned route and have the employee assist me. To say he was less than enthusiastic about being there is being generous. Because I was raised in a small town where cheery chat can defuse any situation, I commented on how much I like the post office, and that the kiosks have been a wonderful addition.

Well, suffice it to say, that was not the thing to say. The Disgruntled Postal Worker (DPW) kind of snuffed and stated, "Yeah, but weah losin' people cuz of it." Me (still not getting the gist): "You mean customers aren't coming here because of them?" DPW: "No. Joabs." Me (tittering nervously) "Oh, that's too bad." Then the DPW goes on to talk about how everyone is in a hurry these days, in fact "too much if you ask me." He continues to talk about how the grocery stores are even taking business, commenting that if teenagers can't get jobs at grocery stores, where can they get them...I wasn't sure where DPW was going with his argument, since he had just contradicted himself without seeming to realize it, so I just nodded sympathetically, secretly wishing I'd not had so many packages that day. Seriously, his sentences weren't even complete; I had flashbacks to the old Chris Farley sketches on SNL when he would just sputter out a string of non sequitors.

When DPW mentioned people being in too big a hurry, I joked that Massachusetts does have the highest accident rate in the nation, (a fun fact provided by my insurance company) and DPW scoffed "Not really." So I said, "Uh, yeah, really." Anywhooo...I decided to just cut my losses and stood there quietly while he finished.

Maybe the reason that people service themselves may have something to do with the fact that the kiosk provides better dialogue than the actual live bodies behind the counter a lot of the time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Growing Pains

As I squinted at the alarm clock this morning after receiving a friendly tap on the arm from darling H, I realized that it was time to get up and go to the Y...well, I had four more minutes to sleep, but decided it was now or never. Any other morning, H would get his milk and settle back into his own bed with no issues. Not so this morning. I decided to leave him in the bed with J, where he was happily drinking his leche, but when I closed the bedroom door to get ready in the living room, he started screaming "Moooommy! I want my Moooooommy!" This, mind you, is while his father is laying in the same warm bed as he, and perfectly capable of comforting him.


The last two nights, H has woken up in the middle of the night, crying for milk. The milk in the middle of the night routine was one that was very hard to break, as I let it go for way too long. I know that when I was a working mom, I let a lot of things slide in order to get the sleep I needed to be a functioning employee.


I reminded H the first night that he no longer has any milk in the middle of the night, and he cried back in his pitiful but assertive voice "Then I want Chicken Nuggets! With Ketchup!" Hmmmmm....maybe he was truly hungry. Thinking back on the day, I remembered that he had eaten an inordinate amount of food, and then I heard his tummy grumble. He drank his milk and went back to sleep for the next five hours, so I'm fairly certain he actually needed it, but who knows?


After getting ready and realizing that H was not going to stop crying, I put him back in his own bedroom, and left for the gym. I could hear his cries all the way down the hall, and felt like a big jerk. It would have been so easy to just chuck it all and lay in bed with him, but this is the first time since I participated in team sports in High School that I've felt REALLY committed to an exercise routine. I know that it's only been two weeks, but I have not skipped a single day that I have scheduled. I have been looking at my prior committments and really working exercise around them, so that I haven't had a chance to back out of anything, or cancel going to the gym at the last minute.


I feel great when I'm done, but I hate getting back into shape. This morning was the first morning that Alex's triathlon training partner was back from vacation, so I met with both of them. They are doing so great, and I feel motivated to keep going just by seeing them work toward such a great fitness goal. I have my eye on completing my first when the next round of triathlons comes to New England next Spring, so need to establish good habits now. Plus, I really want to have a successful VBAC, and that spurs me on in the mornings as well.


I got home with frozen hair (thank you nine degree weather) and a sense of accomplishment, ready to tackle the day. H was awake and I felt ready to be a mom instead of having to wake up for a half-hour or so watching Curious George and Clifford through a bleary daze of sleep. I think that more than anything, just having my own time has been so important. I even get to shower in peace!


Different subject, but this morning H said to his horse that wasn't doing as he wished "I don't caaaaare! That was your chance!" Cool. I like when he says please and thank-you after I've modeled them for him, but the others he can just leave to me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Adjustment Disorder

Last night, J asked me how I was feeling about staying at home, now that it had been just over the six month mark. I thought about it for a minute, and said that overall, I was happy with my decision. I think that the hardest part has been that it wasn't just one adjustment that I had to make. I had more than one of the most stressful life events all happen at once, and I often forget to give myself credit for that; I left a job that I love, my husband started a new job, I became a full-time at home mom and, oh yeah, we moved across the entire country where I didn't know a soul.

The time here has gone so quickly, and I feel like we're in a routine now, so I finally answered J that I certainly don't regret my decision to stay at home. I also don't think there is anything that I could have done to prepare myself for how hard it would be, as it really is just a trial and error job...no books or classes could have helped.

It's comforting to know that if I'm feeling tired, or H is sick, we can just cancel our plans. I got some great self-proclaimed unsolicited advice from a former co-worker who also moved away from Portland at about the same time I did. In short she told me to stop wishing away my kid's childhood with the desire to go back to work. She continued by saying that her youngest (H's age) was walking around saying that he was sick, as she was getting ready for work in the morning, while at the same time making sick-day daycare arrangements. Do I miss that? Of course not!

I realized as I was walking into the Y yesterday, that the biggest adjustment has been that this is a job with very little gratitude or recognition, and no financial compensation. If anything, we're paying for me to stay home. But then I thought forward to a time when H will have memories of me being home and making dinner, or of the Valentine's that we're making together, or even the swimming lessons which we start in a couple weeks that we would not have been able to attend, as they are on Thursdays in the middle of the day. I was the mom who was always annoyed with the weekday aerobics class schedules and other kids activities, and now I get to reap the benefits of them.

Today, H was standing in the living room with his blanket balled up in his arms. I was making dinner, and heard him humming in his little high-pitched voice. I turned to see him swaying back and forth with his head resting on the blanket...he had a small cow from his tractor set inside of it: his "baby". He put his finger to his lips and said, "Shhhhhhhh, be quiiiiiiiiet. My baby is sleeping."

Maybe there is a little instant gratification in this job afterall.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle

Okay, that's the last sad jungle reference that I'm going to make. So, I watched Lipstick Jungle last night and was pleased that they started out at the same point that the book did and I think they also made some really good casting choices. I was very surprised to see that Andrew McCarthy has really not aged much (although I talked with a friend today whose first comment was "he's getting old!" Only to follow up that if he was getting old, she must be also, so it was disconcerting) I think that if the first episode is this promising, the show will only get better, because these writers are amazing at developing characters and making you love them!

Speaking of jungles creatures, my darling H and I went to our local Barnes and Noble which has an amazing children's section with a large Thomas the Train table for them to play at. I met my friend Alex and her son there and we had a nice Starbucks latte while the kids entertained themselves for a good hour. At about that time, H decided to explore the wilds of the kids section (and beyond.) While I was standing right there, I turned to look at a display of Dr. Seuss books and had only time to comment that my Aunt Stella used to read me Horton Hears a Who before another mom said, "Um" I turned to see H at the TOP of a staicase/ladder/book display...how he got there that quickly, God only knows, but I got him down without incident; no harm, no foul.

Next it was on to the Y for some much-deserved mommy time while H enjoyed the child watch. I got to enjoy the discussion of two middle-aged men regarding the SuperBowl and the Patriots, which ultimately ended with on man saying "If losin' means you get to spend time in Costa Rica with Giselle, I wanna be a loosah." "From youah mouth to God's eeahs" was the response of the second man. It was such a funny conversation with a ton of local flavor that my 45 minutes on the eliptical flew by.

H had a great time, and I fit in my time to get fit.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

It's a Jungle Out There

IF I were struggling with whether or not to watch "the next chapter" by the creator of Sex and the City, the casting director of Lipstick Jungle just sealed the deal for me...Andrew McCarthy will be playing the love interest of one of the leading ladies. Ever since the great John Hughes classics, I have been in love with Mr. McCarthy, and am stoked to see him in something again! I was so enthralled by the interviews and clips of the show that my time on the eliptical flew by last night.

I am trying very hard to reserve judgement of the show, but it's hard not to build it up too much. I try to remember that had I seen only the first couple episodes of SATC before I really felt like the cast all gelled, and Carrie was still talking to the camera, I may not have been a huge fan. I have committed to watching it for at least the first full season.

I really liked the book, and I like that the characters are a lot different from those in SATC because they're in such a different place in their lives. It won't be a sad attempt to duplicate, because they're not trying to be Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda or Samantha, they were just the concoction of the same person...what could be better? I'll be excited to weigh in tomorrow morning after watching the premier tonight at 10.

Back to the eliptical; before this week, I had forgotten how much better I feel with regular exercise. My pregnant body is getting to the point that I really enjoy, because I'm truly showing, so don't care if my work-out clothes are fitted to my body, because it just makes it more obvious to prying eyes that I'm not just fat...there's actually a baby in there!

H has been doing awesome, and has consistently taken an afternoon nap EVERY DAY for the last two weeks, no struggle, no craze, just blissfull sleep for two hours every day. My pregnant friends will appreciate it, because they'll actually be getting their gifts on time now! I just submitted my taxes for review by the taxman, so here's to hoping for another year of not getting audited...

Monday, February 4, 2008

Swim Like a Fish (Out of Water)

Posted by PicasaThis morning, I got up at 5am to head to the Y and give the ole lap swimming a try. I have always enjoyed swimming, and have felt myself to be a strong swimmer. I got there at 5:30 on the dot, in order to be done and home before J needed to leave for work.
Problem #1: The pool doesn't open until 6am...sweet. I noted that there's an indoor track opposite the women's dressing room, so I opted to walk around it for 20 minutes until I could get ready for the pool.
Problem #2: As I had anticipated going straight from my car to the locker room, then to the pool, I didn't wear a bra, and had on my sling-back crocs...not so practical for walking around the track, but oh well.
I was armed with my trusty work-out from Swim Plan, which I would recommend to anyone who's either starting to swim for the first time, or just tired of the same old routine...it's an ABSOLUTELY FREE site that provides customized workouts for you, with you inputting the length of the pool, how long you want to swim, the strokes you want to utilize and any accessories.
Once I was changed into my suit and showered, I entered the pool area and noted that there didn't seem to be any Olympians, although they were definitely accustomed to swimming, and even did successful flip-turns. Nevertheless, I felt comfortable, and entered the slow lane where I spent my laps competing with an 80 year-old man whose in better shape than me.
After being in my apartment pool, I had forgotten how long a 'real' pool is. I completed the workout just fine, and felt good when it was over, but realized that I am not as adept or graceful in the water as I once was.
I know that it will just take practice, but it's hard when I spent virtually childhood summer day in the pool and emulating Summer Sanders. I'm just going to keep on keepin' on, because I'm determined to make this baby came out the same way (well, maybe not the exact way) it came in.
I'm going to be scouring YouTube for flipturn videos, and have asked my friend Alex to show me, so expect a post about me drowning in 5 feet of water after my first attempt. Oh, and as I was leaving, I saw proof that Speedos were designed for a reason...I forgot that there are some men out there that can pull it off...maybe that will be my real motivation for keeping up the good fight!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Wax On, Wax Off

As I looked over the schedule for the Y, I realized that the most appealing classes(i.e. those that I would most likely stick with for the duration of my pregnancy, thus eliminating excuses for not exercising regularly) were going to require a bathing suit.

I did several searches for plus size maternity one pieces that did not include a 1920's bathing costume with knee length skirt, and had no success. Fine, my maternity tankini would have to do the trick. Then, a bigger problem occurred to me...I had not been waxed since leaving Oregon! Lest you are imaging Sasquatch, I had not completely neglected the area, it was just not bathing-suit ready.

First, in keeping with my new resolution to try and be more frugal when it comes to hair care and other superficial needs, I purchased a box of Nair pre-waxed strips. That bag sat on the kitchen table for a couple of days. I told J that I would need his help, as there were several issues with waxing myself.

1. It was going to hurt like hell.
2. You need to hold the skin taught, which is not as easy on a 2 bills-plus girl as it would be your average waif.
3. I couldn't see the area very well with a belly blooming above it.
4. It was going to hurt like hell.

J kind of looked at me with that I'll help you if you really need it, but I'd rather do anything else than help you wax your bikini line face, without ever really saying anything.

Two more days passed by, and I realized that my frugal side was not going to win this battle. I gathered up that sad little bag, returned it to Target, and headed to my favorite nail salon, which also happens to offer body waxing.

As I was laying on the table, prepping myself for the pleasure of having hair ripped out by its roots, I remembered that I was going to look into buying a novacaine cream designed for just this occasion. Hmmm...must remember next time.

I must admit, though, it was much less painful than I remembered...of course, the last couple of times that I got it done, I arranged it so that I was having happy hour at the next-door restaurant and had my friends hold my seat for a couple of minutes after the first two lemon drops, so my memory of it was a little dull to begin with...oh, well.

It's not that I enjoy it, it's just not the horribly painful experience that some would lead you to believe. It's just such a relief to my little OCD mind that I don't have to worry about scrutiny and ridicule while in my lovely tankini!

Seriously, what was I thinking that I could do it myself? Totally worth the $30 to have someone else just rip my heart out, I mean hair, for me.