Quick Shift of Season

Here we go. Two blogs in one day. I'm on a roll.

The past few days have been a little unsteady for me. I feel like I'm the only person in the whole world who has ever stared at herself in the mirror and said "Huh?!"

The past couple of weeks when I felt close to normal was a nice break, but as I previously reported, I knew it wouldn't last long. There suddenly aren't enough hours in the day. I can't find enough energy to be productive to my liking. I can't get motivated to do the laundry. I'm having a hard time falling asleep at night. I feel like I will be jobless forever. My appetite seems to have taken a vacation. I'm irritable and scared. Over everything. The auto-pilot switch has been on for a few days and I'm okay with that, for now. The problem with auto-pilot is I feel like I'm not really living, just surviving - kind of like just holding my breath and floating, rather than making headway by swimming. I desperately need a life jacket.

Our situation is far from dire and I know that. I keep thinking about all of the "what-ifs" and it's overwhelming. There are so many to choose from. Anything can happen to us in this vulnerable state and it's terrifying.

I'm struggling. God, I'm struggling. It's been six months, how long will this last? We're in between a rock and a hard place here when it comes to finding a solution: I was making arrangement to get some therapy to get through the post partum crap, but when I lost my job, I lost my insurance, too. Great timing, eh?

As I sit here listening to JJ snore into the baby monitor, my heart swells with love for him and Jerry, and it makes me think that adding a little glimmer of hope to the dreary blogs that find their way to the screen is a good thing. A good thing indeed. We're still getting through this together.

America's Parent Series: Green/Natural Parenting and Our JJ Approach

Jerry and I have always been interested in living greener. My parents are big proponents for green living and having lived on a farm for my whole entire life, I learned a thing or two about conservation and preservation.

Have I practiced any of it since I moved out of Mom and Dad's farmhouse? That's another story.

When I got pregnant, my research on babies revealed two things: how expensive babies are and how significant a baby's carbon footprint is. Since long before JJ was born, we've been conceiving more than a bundle of joy - we've been thinking of ideas on how to save money and be greener.

The first thing that I decided on was making his nursery decor. It was easy after I decided on what pattern and learned a few tricks. Some forward planning was all I needed in order to make the decorations for his changing table, the changing pad cover, the diaper stacker, curtain, crib skirt, letters for his name on the wall, and the door hanging. We even fixed up an old guitar of Jerry's for a wall hanging. I will post pictures later, but the baby is asleep right now... or at least trying to sleep.

I didn't realize until recently of the global impact of my DIY nursery decor. Think about it: have you ever been amazed at the amount of packaging that, well, anything comes in? All of that cardboard for the original box, which is usually shrink wrapped and put into another box for protection. Then that box is put into a large cardboard crate with other units for shipment. Then those crates are shipped, which uses an exorbitant amount of fuel, to the store. Then the store unpacks those crates, outer boxes, and shrink wrap to put those items on the shelf. News flash: most department stores do not recycle those packing materials! The consumer then drives to the store, using more fuel, and purchases the item. Once the consumer gets the item, the packaging is thrown away, usually not recycled. This is the story for every new items you purchase in the store.

Other things that we did not cost packaging on: two borrowed cribs, one borrowed changing table, one old bookshelf that we painted, one borrowed rocking chair. We bought a good deal of our baby gear used, with the exception of the stroller and car seats. We borrowed his jumper and a lot of clothes from a good friend, too.

We also make our own baby food. Think about it this way: from about 6 months until about a year or so, a baby uses around 6 small jars of baby food a day. That's 1080 jars and lids used. Let me reiterate: not everyone recycles, and there is production waste involved with making all of those jars, too! Those jars are also packaged with lots of cardboard and plastic prior to grocery store arrival, who do not recycle those materials!

And think about it: do you really know why baby food doesn't expire for nearly two years? (hint, it's not the pressure cooking) Food manufacturers are not required to list ingredients if the amount is below a certain level of saturation. That is, if in a 2 oz jar of baby food, if the maximum level of a preservative is 1 gram per FDA, the preservative is not listed if the level is .9 gram. Making baby food is a surefire way to know exactly what is going into your baby and it's way cheaper, too. Not only that, nearly everything is available organic now, so that's a plus.

I'll agree that green living requires an adjustment. We're getting way into it now, by replacing our light bulbs, and hardcore recycling. We're unplugging our appliances that we're not using, and a few other things that reduce our footprint.

But... just because we're trying doesn't mean that we're doing everything. For example, I'm not cloth diapering (although I'm very interested in starting soon!) for the simple fact that it just doesn't fit our lives right now. I didn't put much forethought into it before JJ was born, but I'm doing my research and I may figure it out before JJ goes back to daycare. As soon as I run out of wipes, we will be switching to reusable ones, though. I don't want to get into the impact of disposable diapers in landfills, but you can google it if you want.

Other things are pretty easy: using washable bibs instead of those disposable ones, planting a garden (next year, I just couldn't get it together this year!) or shopping at your local farm or produce stand, and of course recycling. Any little thing that can be done to protect the earth is worth it!

Although we're still learning, it's still an adventure, like every other day. And now a cute picture of my kid.


Gross Anatomy

I’m grouchy. We didn’t sleep well last night, so I’m not functioning well today. I fell hard at the rink the other night and now my leg is pretty sore. I’m grouchy.

JJ was in a bad mood today, too. I find much curiosity in how our emotions seem to parallel each other’s. The house is a mess, but do I care? Nope. Instead of cleaning, I took a bubble bath. Relaxing was delightful. It occurred to me in the tub that my body is finally mine again. After more than a year, it’s finally back to normal. Well, almost.

Disclaimer (I’m making a lot of these, aren’t I?): Slightly graphic material to follow. Use your own imagination at your own risk.

Top ten ways I know my body is mine again

-I noticed in the mirror, before I got in the tub, that my stretch marks are finally beginning to lighten.

-The “Linea Negra,” that funny brown line that appears down the center of every pregnant belly, is fading but still there. It’s ok, I don’t mind.

-My C-Section scar is still so sensitive, you can only imagine what my bikini line looks like, but at least the scar isn’t red anymore.

-My period FINALLY stopped after five STRAIGHT months (knock on some serious wood here.) No, I’m not making that up. Nine months of no periods is NOT a free pass – you gotta pay all that back later.

-The baby weight is long gone, plus five bonus pounds.

-All of the strange blood blister-looking-things all over my body have nearly disappeared; only a few linger here and there.

-The “mask of pregnancy” spot is still hanging around above my left eyebrow, but I can tell that it’s shrinking.

-I can wear my contacts again after about nine months.

-My hair has stopped falling out and is now back to it’s normal, frizzy, unruly self.

-The tummy squishiness is diminishing and the midsection figure is starting to return, just in time for bikini season.

After I thought about all of this, I began to feel better about the whole grouchy thing. Then I thought about myself a year ago. About this time last year, Jerry pulled over in front of a church on Easter Sunday so I could vomit my breakfast on their front lawn as they were dismissing the congregation from the service. I’ll admit it one of my better moments. How about the time that I sat outside on the porch at 6 a.m. and vomited into the snow beside the step? It wasn’t long after the March snow last year. OH and what about waking up at 2 and 4 every sing morning because I was starving, only to taste it again when I got out of bed in the morning?

Things that set me off: salsa, smoke, Arm and Hammer litter, coffee, riding in the car, sleeping upstairs (turned out to be the Airwick that was plugged in beside the stairs), flossing, dog and cat food

Things that made it all better: milk and Zofran for 26 straight weeks, until the Hell Fire otherwise known as heartburn kicked in. Then, nothing helped.

Ah yes. It’s nice having my body back again. Many people told me back then it would “all be worth it.” I didn’t see their point. In fact, I wanted to scream when people made any kind of light of the endless suffering that I was going through. I didn’t understand why I had to endure discomfort after hardship after trial after tribulation. Wasn’t this pregnancy thing supposed to be a natural thing my body was made to do? Wasn’t it supposed to be easy?! I HATED being pregnant, and everyone knew it.

Now, I have two words for the past 15 months: Worth it.


America's Parent Series: Attachment Parenting and Our JJ Approach

*Disclaimer for following blog: I am FAR from a perfect parent. Every parent is entitled to raise their child as they see fit. I am not “bashing” or “discounting” any parenting style.*

Since I’ve been a newly designated “stay at home mom,” (at least, for now) I’ve had a unique opportunity to observe other parents and how they interact with their children. I believe I’ve been looking for tips or tricks on being out and about with a baby, perhaps how I can make an outing more enriching or productive for both of us. The answers to my inquiries are far from resolved but I have noticed one consistent thing with all of the parents: Every single one is drastically different. I’m incredibly interested in the many different styles of parenting and will start with my own.

My parenting style is very simple: I do what feels right. I haven’t read a single baby book, I haven’t committed to a single parenting style, and I haven’t ever, EVER ignored my instinct. The mother’s instinct always conquers trouble. I never researched attachment parenting styles until recently and was surprised that a lot of the practices in our home fit in with this particular parenting approach.

I’m only going to address the areas in which I have experience, considering that my baby is only six months old. Much more information exists on a wide array of attachment parenting, most of which I haven't even read.

Attachment parenting encourages breastfeeding
I desperately tried to breastfeed and failed miserably, and it was right for both of us to switch to formula. I did everything I could to keep the breastfeeding going, but all of us were at our wits end and for the sake of all of our sanities, we had to switch. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but we were happier in the end, so that is all that matters.

Attachment parenting encourages co-sleeping
We tried co-sleeping but JJ slept much better without me tossing and turning all night long. Then we tried sleeping in the same room for a while, but JJ still woke with the tossing, turning, and noise that Jerry and I made in our sleep. When I switched him to a crib, he slept like, well, a baby. I am still amazed and very thankful now that he's sleeping in his own crib.

Attachment parenting encourages baby wearing
This one I can do. Other than today, I can’t remember a time when I pulled out my stroller out in public. Sure, I use the stroller when we’re going out for a jog, but when I’m out, JJ is usually in the Mei Tai or the Moby wrap. He loves it and its super comfortable, even for a 22 pound baby. When he gets tired of the baby wearing, or I need to bend or pick up a bunch of heavy objects, he’s in the cart, armed with his seat cover and toys galore. Today was the exception: I injured my knee yesterday and didn’t think that carrying 22 extra pounds on it was a great idea. I felt a little guilty about JJ being in the stroller and missing a lot of the sights, but my knee needs to be healthy for him.

At home, I wear JJ while I’m vacuuming, loading the dishwasher, folding clothes… pretty much anything that doesn’t involve the use of chemicals that he could breathe in, or a lot of bending over. He loves it.

Attachment parenting encourages natural sleep
Just the thought of sleep training makes me cringe. In my opinion, sleep training breaks a baby’s natural cycle of sleep and adjusts it to fit that of the parent. I have quite strong opinions on this: It’s selfish. It’s unhealthy. It crushes a baby’s confidence and trust in mom and dad, even if the training only takes a few days. Its future consequences far outweigh the short term benefits. When JJ is tired, I put him to bed. When he is awake, we do other things. We fell into a natural rhythm of sleeping at night and being awake during the day because we were so close when he was tiny. He’s made his own schedule and I stick to it faithfully. Granted, when he goes back to daycare, it will change again. We will adjust when the time comes.

He never cries when he wakes on his own after confidently getting just the right amount of sleep that his body needs. He falls asleep soundly on his own, because both he and I have learned what to do when he’s tired. We never miss an opportunity to nap. Ever. Even at daycare, the natural sleep cycle prevailed and he slept well there.

Another important thing about sleeping: I always respond to JJ’s calls at night. In fact, I always promptly respond to all of his calls and cries. He feels confident that if something is wrong, I’ll be there to fix it. If he wakes up and nothing is wrong, he goes back to sleep. I did nothing to encourage this cycle; it just happened naturally on its own. As it should. He sometimes sleeps 13 hours at night and usually takes three 45 – 60 minute naps a day. Sleeping is not painful or uncomfortable, so no crying involved.

All of these things worked for our family, so that’s what we have done and are currently doing.

Attachment parenting as potential prevention of Post Partum Depression
This one surprised me. Several resources out there have pointed to Attachment Parenting as prevention and even treatment for post partum depression. The reason for this is that attachment parenting builds confidence in the parent to do the instinctive thing for the baby. I can say from personal experience, a major symptom of PPD is extreme paranoia about unintentionally neglecting your child or not doing the right thing. With increased confidence that communication with your baby is at a premium, the paranoia eventually withers away, leaving a secure baby and parent.

Yes, some parents reading this will think “She’s lucky to have such an easy baby.” I believe there are no such things as “easy” or “difficult” babies. All babies are the exact same when they come out of the womb. They all have the same basic needs (with the exception of preemies, colicky, or other special needs babies, of course.) It’s the parent that makes or breaks the “easy baby” blessing, not the other way around.

Like I said earlier, I am not discounting any styles of parenting, nor am I endorsing attachment style parenting. I’m merely exploring the different types of child-rearing practices, including those in other countries. I’m amazed at the diversity of each parent and with this exploration; I’m hoping to become a better one.


Ladybugs Aren't All Ladies

The invasion has begun. Yes, they're back. Hundreds and hundreds of ladybugs, swarming our yard, covering our back door, squirming into our kitchen window. They're getting in the house somehow, we just don't know how yet.

They're everywhere. Red, polka-dotted, evil, falling into your food/bathtub/hair/coffee, crawling on your ceiling, buzzing into the light fixtures. They're everywhere, and I've had enough.

Just look at that bug. Sinister, isn't it??

Yeah, I know that ladybugs supposedly bring good luck, and they are "nature's crusaders." In fact, a ladybug can eat up to 20 rose aphids a day, which is great news for flower gardeners. Many farmers have ordered ladybugs from distributors in Asia, due to their sustainability and vigor. Most ladybugs live one season, but the foreign imported ladybugs live for many seasons and hibernate during the winter months. Virginia is seeing many of these imported ladybugs.

Great news for farmers, bad news for my kitchen window.

I tried spraying them with water and scooping them into a Tupperware container to get them outside. They resisted. I tried scooping them with the flyswatter, they again resisted. When the masses got the memo and invaded my kitchen, I was ready. Armed with the removable canister from my Bissell Lift Off, I vacuumed them up. All 234,216,997 of them.

The battle may have been won, but the war is not over. They will return tomorrow, and my vacuum and I will be ready.


A Dose of Luck - JJ's First Days

Don't know why I've been thinking about this... I don't know if I've blogged the story or not, but if I have, I apologize.

I know I was still delirious when I asked for my son around midnight and was told that they were bringing him out as soon as they could. I vaguely remember Jerry coming back into the room after he walked with JJ to the nursery. I also vaguely remember my mom-in-law and my girlfriend coming in to say goodbye. I was attached to several monitors and tubes and wires, much like JJ was over in the Nursery Special Care Unit.

We moved to our new room around 1 or 2 a.m. I asked for JJ again, and was told they were bringing him out as soon as they could. I had no idea then of the troubles he was having.

His nurse came in around 4 a.m. and I finally met my son through two photographs:

Seeing those photographs was shockingly different than how I had envisioned our meeting.

She explained that he was having trouble breathing and was not transitioning well, but they didn't feel the need for a ventilator. She said they took x-rays and that his lungs looked good, but the drugs I received before the surgery were taking a toll on his body. I was physically unable to move, let alone go down to the nursery to see him. The nurse assured me that I could go see him in the morning, and they would update me if anything changed.

I stared through thankful tears at his pictures all night, as if I was already bonding with him. I never felt so helpless in my entire life, or so grateful that he was going to be okay. I thanked God for his survival and prayed for continued good health. When morning came, it didn't matter that I hadn't slept (except for a drug-induced nap) for nearly two days. I got myself up out of bed around 11 a.m. and was wheeled down to the Special Care Unit. Jerry and I scrubbed in (a requirement for getting into the unit) and were taken to JJ. I will never forget the feeling that came over me when I saw him. I was detached from my own body while staring at myself - in baby form - squirming and blinking in the bassinet. He was anchored to many wires and an IV, but the nurse didn't hesitate as she lifted him out of the bassinet and placed him in my arms. I held a little peice of heaven as we stared at each other.

Two long days in the unit later, my little boy was in my arms without the tethers and wires:
My baby wasn't a preemie. He wasn't born with a defect or disease. He wasn't on a ventilator, or even on oxygen. He just hit bump trying to get here. It was, and sometimes still is, traumatic for us, but by the looks of him now, you would never know he was ever in any danger when he was born. It's scary how fast things can turn from good to very bad, but we ended up very lucky in the end... which was really just the beginning.



This is all I gotta say about today... he keeps me going.


Paper or Plastic?

I've been reading for many months (make that years) about people who save tons and tons of money on their grocery bill by clipping coupons, catching sales, and working super hard to make sure that every single penny is lined up with the planets in the third sector of the Orion nebula right at the exact moment they scan their frequent shopper card.

Given the circumstances, and the fact that I clearly saw the little dipper on Saturday night, I decided to see what all the hub-ub was about.

I picked up a newspaper yesterday and looked through the circulars with JJ. We found a few good deals, but it wasn't much. I clipped the coupons that I thought might be of use one day, and tucked them away in an old index file I found. It looked like Kroger was having a decent sale, so I looked through the ciruclar and planned my meals for the week off the items that were on sale.

My trip this morning involved both Kroger and Target (I need formula there). Two hours and a very cranky baby later, the results were in:

Total grocery bill (at Target and Kroger): $165.22

Total savings (buying generics, Kroger Card, and coupons): $65.38

Total spent: $99.84

I bought enough groceries that should last about two weeks, and I stocked up on formula (usually a big ticket item) and cereal and bath soap - the things that I had some major coupons for AND were on special sale at the store. I didn't know until now that you can mix coupons with the store promotion - which is the key. I was horribly distracted with the baby and had no idea what I was doing - and still managed to save enough to pay our electric bill. No bad for a first timer, eh?

My thing about all this: I wasn't saving that much money by shopping at Walmart. In fact, I was spending more because more temptation is there! I went to the the store today looking ONLY for the items on my list and ONLY wavering if the deal was really, really good. If I had a coupon for an item on my list, and the generic was still cheaper than the item with the coupon, I went for the generic and saved the coupon for later.

And now the little man has woken from his recovery nap, and we're venturing out one more time (I have two more stores to hit, and was never going to make it!) Yay!


Derby, Here I Come?

Spring has sprung. That is, until this CRAZY Virginia weather decides that it doesn't like spring anymore, and either turns freezing cold or burning hot. Don't worry, Virginia's seasonal mood swings usually don't last very long, and we should return to the normal season soon.

It only took me 10 years to really figure out Virginia weather.

This morning, I had the unique joy of re-experiencing my youth. I went roller skating with my friends, Jen and Sarah. Roller Skating... you know... when you put those funny shoes with wheels on them and stumble and roll around until you can't feel your feet anymore... I have to admit, it was actually fun. I haven't been on roller skates in about 10 years, maybe longer than that, but it didn't take long for me to figure out what I was doing and get going with about half of the decent skaters out on the rink. The last few laps, I threw caution to the wind and skated as fast as I could. I did 15 laps in about 10 minutes and could hardly breathe when I was finished. Go me. Even more exciting than that, I didn't fall but once, when I accidentally tripped over the ledge of the rink.... which I probably would have done without the skates on.

We're going again on Tuesday, and I'm very excited. I hope I'll at least be able to walk by then.

It's incredible exercise and I felt great after we left the rink. I've been tempted to join the River City Roller Girls... but I'm still seriously contemplating. It certianly would be interesting...

I also would like to note how awesome our family is. When times are tough, like they are for us now, I feel so relieved to know that if we really need help, it's there. We're incredibly fortunate to have such great people in our lives, on both sides, because some people are without a loving, supportive family. Take a moment tonight to thank God for the loving people in your life. I know we will.

It's been a pretty darn good day. I hope tomorrow is just, if not more... better? gooder? Sorry... it's late...


Trusting and Waiting

Number of days since I lost my job: 7.

Number of times I've actually missed it this week: 0.

Number of times I've kissed my baby this week: I lost count on the first day.

I know it won't last. It can't. I'm a little sad about that.

Emotionally, I am starting to feel a little drained. Worry over the money situation that is soon to be in our front doorway is leering around the corner. I'm trying to stay positive about it in order to think logically about what we can do for the situation, but it's hard. Very hard. Someone up there has a plan for us, and all we need to do is carefully plan and be patient. Some luck is bound to come our way.
I'm still a little worried about the sudden change in mood. Was my job really the root of my emotional roller coaster, or have we just stopped momentarily to change passengers? Will I slide back, deeper, into functional nothingness as before?

We don't know the answers to the tough questions. Heck, we don't even know the answers to the easy ones. I wish we did. Waiting and trusting that "The Plan" will work out is hard, too. But we're going to get there... wherever "there" is.



Before I begin, here is my latest accomplishment:

370 diapers. $25. I'm so proud of myself that I feel like belting out one of those diabolical laughs every time I diaper my child. MMUUUAHAHAHAHAHAAHA!!! Walgreens had these diapers on clearance for $2.29/package (regularly priced at $8.99). I bought all the size 3 and 4 they had. We're stocked for a while; at least, until I manage to get my first interview. Saving a ton of money rocks. (thanks, babycheapskate.com!)

One more thing before I get into my blog: I've gotten a few inquiries about "hating" my previous co-workers, or "contempt" for my previous company. The answer to all of those questions is no. I don't have any hate or contempt. I promise, I'm not just saying that. The way I see it: From tragedy can only come good. Remember the previous blog I posted on courage and bravery? This is a prime example. More importantly, I have no room in my heart for contempt, because there is a little boy sleeping in the other room that owns every inch of it. I don't have time to stew, I have no energy to hate. I need to concentrate on moving forward, healing my mangled emotions, and getting on with our lives. The mortgage will be paid and the baby will be fed. We'll figure it out somehow.

And... I'm not the one who will have to explain this whole mess one day at the pearly gates.

ANYWAY. On to today's blog.

First, there is this blog that my sis-in-law found that I breezed through the other day... and then got sucked in. This lady is an amazing writer and an amazing photographer. Her story is one of an ultimate test: her youngest daughter was born with Down's Syndrome. I saw today that she's being featured on CNN: http://connecttheworld.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/10/tuesdays-connector-kelle-hampton/.

The article challenges readers with a question: What would you do if you found out your child had Down's?

This brings me immediately to the day when the ultrasound technician found a spot on JJ's heart. He was 18 weeks gestation, and the spot was an indicator of Down's Syndrome or even scarier, a heart defect. Here is an excerpt of the email that I sent out regarding the topic:

"...Today we had our third ultrasound. I never mentioned in the last email out to everyone anything concerning J.J.'s health because I didn't want anyone to worry. During our 18 week ultrasound, the ultrasound tech found a white spot on J.J.'s heart. She also mentioned that his heart was too small to really tell if it was just a spot or a heart defect, so that's why we went back in today. The spot could be an indicator of Down's Syndrome...That day, we went for a blood test for the Down's Syndrome marker. The test also checks for markers for more serious genetic disorders, Trisomy 23 (or is it 21? I can't remember) and Spina Bifida... Just the thought of my son having Downs made my heart sink. I wasn't terribly worried, but of course we couldn't help but wonder what life would be like with a special needs child. I had no doubt that he would be just as perfect and wonderful as we imagined even if he did have Down's. I did cry a little when I thought about the fact that most people with Down's don't live to see their 40th birthday. I don't want that for my son. Three days later, the test came back perfectly normal on all three markers.

... At that moment, all I wanted in the entire world was a healthy baby - something that a lot of Moms take for granted.... God heard my prayers though. Today, our ultrasound went fine and J.J.'s heart is perfectly normal. He weighs one pound, three ounces and is perfect in every way....

When the doctor came in and said "Your baby is perfectly healthy," I was overwhelmed with relief. I couldn't believe how anxious I had become in the short time between sitting in the waiting room and the doc coming in the room...."

I don't have to wonder what I would think or do. I've already done that. I have no doubt there would have been just as many cuddles, kisses, and hugs. I would have had just as much love in my heart for JJ. He would still be my little man, and he would still be perfect.



Look what Jerry found.... MY CAMERA!!!

JJ in his big boy carseat... on the way to Target. The trip took alot out of him... you can see how he ended up by the time we got home...

Yeah, it's been a fun past couple of days. JJ has been taking four (count 'em, four) naps a day. Crazy. Growth spurt, maybe? I have no idea. All I know is that I wish I could take four naps a day.

Oh oh... check this out... can you see the tooth? Yup, JJ is a big boy alright! It seems to me he's growing so much faster than I ever expected...

Our days are filled with play and job hunting... more play for him, more hunting for me:

Yep, I'm glad my camera is back. Off to take more pictures!


I've Been Gettin' Around

Day two: I have things to do!

Vacuum and shampoo carpets in car in attempt to find my camera: done, and camera not there.

WHERE IS THAT THING?! GD-it, I've been looking for that camera forever. I'm about to put out an amber alert for it. It has to be here somewhere. I just don't know where. UGH.

Next on the agenda: I'm getting around to those thank you cards. From five months ago. I'll be getting around to all of the other things I haven't gotten to do lately, too.

JJ is happily bouncing and playing in his jumper. He's been great the past few days. It still breaks my heart that I've been, and will later be, missing all of his daily antics. I'm enjoying every single second with him right now because I don't know when my amazing opportunity will present itself.

Emotionally, I've been okay since Saturday. I haven't felt this good for this long in many months and I'm wondering when, and if, the down will come back. I would be very naive to think that it won't make a comeback and I'm trying to prepare myself for it. Until then, I'm getting everything done that I can get done so I won't feel so guilty about being sloth when the next wave of crap comes.

With that said, I realize that this blog isn't very interesting, but thta's the joy of feeling temporarily normal - there is nothing to report. I'm gonna strap up my kid and get outside!!


Day One: Now What?

Aside from the obvious "Look for a job," I'm sitting here with JJ and thinking to myself... What do I do now? I've already applied to four jobs this morning and now I'd like to do something else other than sit at the computer. But what?

It's a beautiful day outside, but where should we go?

Sure, I have some chores to get done and scrap booking to do and thank you cards that still haven't gotten out and lots of playing to do. Lots of playing. It seems so awkward.

Right now, poor Rosita on Sesame Street can't control her sparkling freckles. It's a shame that can't be my only problem. JJ seems uninterested in Sesame, but more interested in trying to pull the toy clip off the jumper and producing more drool than a pack of Bloodhounds. He needs all that drool to go with his new tooth, apparently.

Since it's so nice outside, I think I'll take the baby out for a walk and then come back and work on those thank you cards. I don't have an excuse for them not getting out now. And since I woke up in such a good mood, and Jerry made it even better by bringing JJ to me to snuggle in bed... I'm going to cash in on all that. It's gonna be a good day.


Oh Suck.

Um yeah.

Not really sure where to start here.

I'll come on out, I guess. I never like beating around the bush on anything. I lost my job yesterday. It was quite the surprise, without substantial reason. And that's all I have to say about it.

Sure, I came home and had my little breakdown. Jerry wasn't here, neither was JJ. I was surprised that it only took me a few moments to regain my composure and go pick up the baby from daycare. I'll never forget how happy I was to see him.

After telling Jerry and having our "OH MY GOD" moment, and after going back to the office to pick up my things, we both lay down on the sofa and stewed. Ok, well.... I stewed.

That was it. That was all the crying and all the stewing. That was everything.

Today, I woke with a sense of relief. It was rather strange, and I didn't pay much attention. As I moved about my day, I noticed I had more energy than usual. I don't feel quite so short with Jerry. I'm far from the verge of tears. I feel good, for the first time in a long time. I feel like myself.

Of course this worries me. Did I secretly hate my job? Is this just a coincidental mood swing? Sure I'm excited about being home with JJ for a little while, but I cannot stay home with him for very long. I will need to return to work sooner rather than later. That's just the way it is. Still, I can't help but think that maybe my job was the catalyst for my depression symptoms and was the root of my unstable emotions.

Either way, we are on the up right now and we're doing what we need to do. I'm determined to find a job that I really love and work happily ever after. I'm going to do it.

I'm going to do it for my sanity, my husband, and my baby. Watch and see.


Let It Shine....

Yesterday I didn't blog. I apologize to the fictitious people out there that anxiously await my blog every afternoon. You were surely disappointed yesterday and I'm sorry. It will not happen again, unless it is for a very good reason.

I'm happy to report that I just found spellchecker on the blog entry window. Yay.

Yesterday I didn't blog because I physically couldn't. Not only did I have absolutely nothing to say about anything, but I was so..... sloth.... yesterday that it took every ounce of reasonable energy I had to even function normally at work. It's not even about just functioning, it's about acting like I'm perfectly fine and happy. It's truly exhausting. Thankfully, I'm not on auto pilot every single day, just a few here and there. I'm afraid to think that perhaps those kind of days are becoming more frequent.

I went home yesterday and put JJ in his jammies and put him to bed. He didn't fall asleep immediately, probably because Jerry and I were trying to have a conversation while I was putting him to bed and he was super tired. When he finally did fall asleep, I had already been crying for a few minutes. It was like a crack in a fish tank - it just kept leaking until the glass finally burst and I was crying for over an hour. Jerry held me as if he was holding my pieces together, which helped tremendously. I suddenly and strongly felt, again, that I was a horrible mother and wife. I felt that I would never live up to JJ's expectations for me as his mom. I can't always be there to comfort him when he cries and it kills me. I worry that he is going to get sick or get hurt somehow. I'm terrified of him slipping in the bathtub. I worry about everything. I feel so inadequate.

I'm not discounting all of the encouraging words that I've been hearing from several caring people. I'm not at all saying that none of that matters to me. It's the exact opposite - I think about all those words when I'm paralyzed at my kitchen sink, washing dishes, and suddenly can't process how to get a mug into the dishwasher. All of those words make me realize that I can keep going.... that I have to keep going.

Over the past week, I've noticed a new strange thing about me, to top everything else off. Have you ever touched an electric fence? I did when I was a kid, and although I wasn't hurt, I felt the electricity stream through my body as it exited through my foot. The sensation that I felt was like nothing I'd ever experienced. It was, literally, and electric feeling throughout my body.

What I'm feeling now, in waves, is similar to that feeling. I attributed it to exorbitant amounts of coffee consumption and cut down to only one cup a day (it's excruciating.) While I'm feeling "electric," I've been very jumpy and even the smallest thing startles me. Thankfully the feeling has never lasted more than a few hours and the cut back in coffee is helping. Still, I can't help but sit back and think to myself... WTF??

Needless to say, I was fairly sure that the sun wouldn't come up this morning. But there it was, right on schedule, shining in the front room window as brightly as sunly possible. JJ woke in a good mood even though he didn't sleep very well last night and I was even more surprised that I woke up in a decently normal mood, too. JJ and I chatted and had a few giggles over getting dressed and eating and it was nice. I love the way we have our own super secret, wordless language that only he and I understand. It makes me feel like he thinks Mommy and Daddy are the coolest people ever, and if JJ thinks that, it must be true.



The Best Part

Got this in an email and thought it was cute. Disclaimer: this post hereby fulfills my obligation for 2010 to complete at least one survey per year.

The Best Part Of....

*Olive Garden...salad. I don't know what they do, but it's the best on the planet.

*going to the movies...cuddling in public. There just aren't enough public places to do this...

*living in the city...things to do. people to see. places to go. knowing you can find probably anything you need somewhere in the city limits.

*spending time with the kid(s)...snuggles. He loves snuggles.

*spending time with the significant other...foot rubs. Aaaaahhhhh....

*being on the phone with your BFF...saying whatever I want and not having to think about it first.

*being married...knowing he is legally obligated to love me no matter what

*having something broken...buying a new one

*going to the grocery store... daydreaming about being Julia Child and becoming a gourmet chef while I browse the aisles of yummy ingredients that could one day be in my kitchen.

*making dinner... feeling domestic.

*spring... more sunshine. I need more sunshine.

*getting dressed... signifies the beginning of a brand new day, which always has the potential to be better than the last.

*crafting...making something with my hands and loving it when I'm done.

*eating at a Mexican restaurant... margaritas with too much tequila

*a pedicure...whole body goodness. when your feet feel good, your whole body feels good.

*having cable... DVR and PBS.

*girls night out...realizing I am SO not the only one dealing with (insert issue here).

*shopping at Target... the baby section. and the wine section. and the seasonal section. and the video game section. and the toy department. and the....

*Costco or Sam's... supersize. Who doesn't love supersize??

*blogging during the day... escaping. Escaping from the work day, obligations, and bad moods. taking a break from reality and writing about whatever is in my head. it's refreshing.

*Walmart... makes shopping at Target much, much sweeter...

*a cinnamon roll... I love breakfast. goes great with coffee.

*a reeses peanut butter cup... fulfilling a requirement for one of the food groups... because... it has peanut butter.

*the past year... JJ

*having a cat... she catches stuff. bugs, pen tops, baby socks, dust bunnies, other critters...

*naps...seriously? Taking a break mid-day to crawl into a warm, comfortable place and shut down and relax and turn everything off for a while and rejuvenate yourself and wake up feeling like a new person for the second half of the day? I don't understand the question.

*gum... relieves stress. It's true! Gum chewers experience 25% less stress than non-gum chewers.

*iPhones... I wouldn't know.

*reading friends' blogs... understanding people better. Sometimes people will put down in a blog information that they won't talk about in real life. At least... that's what I do....



I have no words today. Nothing. I've been thinking all day of a topic and not a single one found me.

Except that I can't wait to get home to my baby boy and my hunny.

Nope. Not a single word.


"Courage... Teach Me to Be Shy..."

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” –Some famous Greek philosopher that died around BC 270. Maybe.

Twice a day.

That’s how much I’ve been blogging. Unfortunately, you have only seen half of the product. The other half is tucked away in an archive, maybe to stay there forever. Maybe it will come out one day, but today is not the day for that. I’m not quite brave enough yet for the world to read every little thing about me.

What I know:

I want to talk about an attribute that I never thought I ever had much of: courage. When I think of courage or a courageous person, I think about a fireman, or a policeman, or a soldier. I think of someone who puts themselves in danger to help other people; someone who puts fear and apprehension aside to do the right thing, no matter how hard. I think of someone strong.

I once ran out into the street to help a car crash victim (actually, I’ve done that more than once.) I once performed CPR on a woman and accidentally broke one of her ribs. I stood up to a boyfriend who was belligerent and disrespectful to me. I’ve gone white water rafting, bungee jumping, and “Drop Zone” riding. I’ve performed in front of thousands of people and made many speeches and presentations. As a retail manager, I tackled a store closing with all of our sanities intact. If all of that isn’t courageous, I don’t know what is.

Parenting is the scariest and most uncertain thing I’ve ever done. I know NOTHING about being a parent. Sure, being a parent requires patience, diligence, endurance… and many other things. It takes every ounce of fearlessness I have to close his door at night after he’s fallen asleep and trust that he’s going to be fine. I dug for every morsel of confidence when I put my baby in the car at 1 a.m., raced to the emergency room, and kept myself together for the following three days.

What they say:

I *heart* Wiki. Yes, yes… I know that it’s not always accurate, but is there ANYTHING that Wikipedia doesn’t know? This is what they have to say about courage:

“Courage, also known as bravery, will, and intrepidity, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. “Physical courage” is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while “Moral Courage” is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement. Courage is the mental and moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand fear, danger, or difficulty.”

Can I get some of this, please? Oh, and can I also get it to go? Wrap it up nice and tight – I don’t want any of it to leak out on the way home…

What I need:

I’m not looking for any comment on the following statement: I’ve been feeling pretty cowardly lately. Really now, how many of us ever thought that being a parent would require such a vast amount of courage? Yet again, here is another topic that should at least be thought about during Prenatal classes. Maybe one day I’ll conduct my own series of Prenatal classes that portray the REAL challenges and joys of having a baby. Or maybe that’s what I’ll write my book about. Who knows.

I need courage. We both need courage. We need bravery because as new parents, we have a lot of uncertainty and insecurities right now. Well, at least I do.

“Courage is simply the willingness to be afraid and act anyway.” Dr. Robert Anthony, Self-help author, Really smart dude


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