Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Coming up for air

Awhile back, I opened up and wrote about my struggles with post partum depression.  I felt so touched by all of your support and feedback, and it really lifted me up to know so many out there could sympathize with what I was feeling. 
I am feeling better.  I take it day by day, but I am.  However, I have my moments.  I'm probably too hard on myself.  It was only just six months ago when Aubrey was born, but I'm the kind of person who expects a miracle overnight.  I should be fine by now, right?  How much longer does this go on?  When will I stop feeling that immense sadness wash over me at times?  When can I consistently concentrate at work?  When will I stop feeling so bad about myself?
Just putting this out there, but if there are any of you who have an answer to this...do share.
The truth is, I'm struggling.  I'm having an extremely hard time juggling the work-life balance.  I'm a mother, but I am also the director of an organization.  I'm the boss.  The buck stops here.  And not only am I the director of an organization, but one that is going through an extreme funding crisis.  And it's legal work, which is in and of itself, inherently stressful.  I'm somewhat of a newlywed.  I have this new life to take care of and nurture, someone who depends on me for everything in this world.  I have just come out of a high risk pregnancy, ten scary months of "what ifs."  And I'm struggling.   
I don't like admitting that.  Because I am super woman, right?  I should be doing it all
But I can't. 
This past weekend, it was just me and Aubrey.  T was on a work trip, and these work trips he has to go on are super intense.  I can go days without getting to speak to him, only through text.  My brother came down and kept me company on Saturday, but Sunday was hard.  Aubrey was particularly fussy, and I had work I had brought home with me.  I always have work to bring home with me.  I chose not to do said work because I had other stuff to do, as well - laundry, cooking, preparing lunches for the week...washing bottles, constantly changing Aubrey.  (Not sure if this is a solid food thing, but the kid poops a lot now.  A LOT.)  And constantly moving her from sitting with me, to the bouncy seat, to a blanket on the floor, to her play mat, because she gets bored quickly.  By the end of the day, as I gathered through text messaging T that I wasn't going to get to speak to him, I just wanted to cry.  In fact, I did. 
Our vacation was my break, but that is now over and gone, no time off in the near future.  I feel so guilty if I bring work home with me because I should be nurturing my relationship with T and spending time with Aubrey.  But if I don't bring work home, I'm stressed during the day.  And I don't have time for my Mary Kay business.  Or my friends.  Or my family.  I feel like I'm letting everyone down, and more importantly, I feel like I'm letting myself down.  I am the hardest person to please, you know. 
I still have those moments where I will be working away and all of a sudden something triggers it - that sadness.  And then I'm done.  Some days I feel like I'm just a walking zombie getting through my day.  We'll get home from Columbus, and I wonder how I managed to drive us home. 
And I am still receiving some treatment for all of this, but honestly, I thought the post partum was only supposed to last a short time.  Once those hormones leveled off, right?  It should be quicker than this, right? 
Sorry for my ramblings...but this sure was cathartic.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Keeping up the motivation

Motivation Monday 

Happy Motivation Monday, everyone!  Hope you all had a good weekend, and hope you're off to a good motivational start to your week.  Personally, I despise Mondays with every fiber of my being, but...T comes home Tuesday night so I'm actually happy about this Monday.  Because it means one more day until he's home!

Anyway, I've been pretty good at following my working out goals and eating right.  I have managed to work out one way or another for at least five days a week, running about 3 of them.  If T runs in the morning, then I do Taebo when I get home.  And Aubrey watches and just thinks it's hilarious.  Oh Aubrey, yes, Billy Blanks is hilarious :-)  I'm getting really into this running thing.  I've only run outside once because it's been ungodly hot out, but I've done pretty well on the treadmill.  I can now walking for for four minutes, run for six, walk for four, run for six, walk for three and run for seven.  I'm trying to slowly increase my running increments so that eventually I can run for a mile straight. 

At the same time, I have a mini marathon to walk in just over a month.  Yikes!  I think I'll get there, but finding time to do long walks is tough.  I did an hour and fifteen minutes this weekend, and I'll try to go even longer next weekend.  I'm guessing my time for the mini will be something over three hours, and I managed to do it before so hopefully I can do it again.  But...it'll be interesting.  I do want to sign up for a mini in May next year so that I keep myself motivated.  Who knows?  Maybe I can run some of that one!  (Not the one in September, mind you...)

And the eating healthy thing, I'm working on.  Cutting down my alcohol intake, I've started drinking soy milk at night, eating salads for lunch and less sweets and carbs.  Sure I'm hungry a lot, but...I think my biggest problem is snacking when I'm bored or stressed at work.  Mind over matter, right? 

I won't tell my actual post-baby weight, but....I have lost about 3 pounds!  So that's progress, right?  My ultimate goal is to finally put away those maternity pants.  I refuse to buy new dress clothes for work.  So I'll get there...slow but steady wins the race. 

The biggest thing I really need to work on?  Drinking more water.  I bring three bottles with me to work, and I rarely get through even one.  I get so busy, I just forget to drink, which could be part of the reason why I'm starving.  T is always on me to drink, so that's something I will be working on this week, in addition to keeping up the progress. 

So that's my motivation this week...what about you?  Join in on the fun by writing a motivational post of your own, including the link to this meme and then copying and pasting your link to a comment on this post.  Super easy!  I think it's been ages since I've gotten some good motivational participation so jump on in! 

Have a good Monday, everyone...or as good of a Monday as you can!

Friday, July 27, 2012

In the end, you just have to laugh about it

Second Blooming

This week's Spin Cycle, brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming, is one on comedy. I, unfortunately, don't have any jokes to share. However, this week I'd like to share with you something that happened to me in 2008. It was one of those situations where it was only funny after the fact. But now, I find it downright hilarious.
It has to do with guinea pigs. And why I will never ever own one again.
Back in 2007, I read this article that said people who have pets live longer and are less lonely. I was living on my own at the time, so I decided to get a pet. I didn't want to jump into the commitment of having a cat or dog, so I chose a guinea pig. I had hamsters when I was younger and a guinea pig in law school so I figured I could handle it. So I went to Pet Smart and picked a black and white guinea pig. The teenager who helped me checked the boy/girl area and determined she was a she. So I named her Ruby. I brought her home in hopes that she would make my apartment just a little less lonely.

Well, she didn't really do much. She just sat there, was never really active. So at the suggestion of a friend, I got Ruby a roommate. I went to Pet Smart again, and a different teenager helped me and gave me another female guinea pig. I named her Pearl. I happily took her home, and I quickly introduced her to her new BFF Ruby. And as soon as I put Pearl in the cage, Ruby chased her down and immediately got on top of her. I, of course, freaked out so I called my brother, who had guinea pigs of his own. "Is this normal? It seems weird." I told him. But he reassured me that it was totally normal. Ruby was just establishing her dominance. So I took that advice for what it was worth and life went on as normal.

Pearl began to grow and got a little chunky, but she was so young when I bought her so I thought nothing of it. That is...until....
Easter evening, when I came home from my parent's house, I entered my apartment and took a quick glance at the cage. And I saw them. Three little balls of fur. Sitting there all huddled together in the cage in a corner. What. The. Hell. I ran over to the cage, and sure enough, baby guinea pigs. How in the hell did this happen? I frantically called my brother, and as soon as he answered the phone, I let him have it. "You said that Ruby was establishing dominance!" He told me to calm down and asked what was going on. "Babies! There are babies! You said that Ruby was just establishing dominance. But they were doing it! They were doing the nasty in my living room. Right in front of me. God!" He started laughing, and I told him that this was no laughing situation. "Balls of fur! Balls of fur every where!" He continued laughing and said "well, it's an Easter miracle!" "This is an Easter disaster!" I yelled. I kind of freaked out not remembering what species of animal ate their young shortly after birth. Did guinea pigs do that? How much longer did I have? So he asked, well, which one is the male? You need to get him out of there. Which one was showing maternal instinct?  "I don't know which one is a he. They're ignoring them.  Britney and Kevin are just sitting over there in a corner away from their children. No one is being maternal!" "Well pick them up and look." "Hell, no, I'm not digging around their junk!  That's disgusting!" "Well, put your hand in there, and the mother should go to her children." I reached in there, and instinctively, Pearl moved my direction towards the kids. So it was Ruby. Ruby was a he. Ruby was a Rudy. Or a Ruby was sexually confused. I didn't know.  AndI didn't have a cage to put him in. So I quickly ran and got a trash can from my bedroom, threw out the trash and put him in it. "Dammit, I have to go. I have to get something to put him in." So I hung up on my brother and rushed out the door to buy supplies. Food, an extra cage or something to put Ruby/Rudy in and food. I'd figure out the details later.
I found a plastic Rubbermaid thing I used to keep Ruby/Rudy in. I put him next to the other cage so he and Pearl could share prison visits but no conjugal ones. The next day I called a vet's office to ask what I could do. Apparently, you have six weeks to keep the kiddos with their mom because they still nurse off of her, but you best be getting rid of them at six weeks because then the boy kids will start having some Oedipus complex and will start procreating with the mother. Gross. So I took the entire cage to the vet, as well as a picture of them to see if the vet staff could help find homes for them. I can't recall which ones were boys or girls. I didn't really care so I named them Marsha, Jan and Cindy. One of them had a bit off ear, probably when the mother was "giving birth" or whatever guinea pigs do. So I figured that one was Jan. "Poor Jan." I managed to find homes for the babies. Thank the Lord.
So some time passed...well, a few weeks, between Easter and my birthday in late April. I had plans to go out with friends and my siblings so my brother and his wife came over to pick me up. My sister-in-law picked Pearl up to play with her, and she started feeling around and said "Hey, Nain? I think she's pregnant." No. No, no, no. Did you all know that guinea pigs don't waste any time getting it on after they have a baby? In fact, if you don't catch them as soon as those babies are out, they'll get preggers again. And that's what happened. That little slut got knocked up again. "Pearl! You whore!" I whispered to her. Sure enough, she had gotten chunky again. I thought it was just that weight you gain after a baby. But she got big this time. I mean REALLY big. Like softball size big. So I feared there were more than just three babies in there this time. And I was correct.
A short while later, I came home one day and my fears were confirmed. There were five now. Five. I mean, don't get me wrong...these babies were cute. But five? Holy cow. I quickly named them - Jermaine, Tito, Jackie, Marlan and Michael. And again, I headed back to the vet's office to determine sex. At this point I was so over the guinea pigs. I momentarily debated just letting them go into the wild. But I did have a heart. So I managed to somehow find homes for them yet again. However, I did have some stragglers. Ruby/Rudy was still in his cell, and Pearl and another baby were in the other cage. (A girl baby, mind you...I wasn't making that mistake again.) Did you know how much poop six guinea pigs can create? Seriously, I was cleaning poop every other day. Like I said...I was over the guinea pigs.
I did end up finding homes for Pearl and the other baby. My brother's friend had two children, and one is autistic and was so excited to have the two pets. So I knew they'd be going to a good home. I did keep Ruby/Rudy until the end. But I swore...never again. If Aubrey ever says "Mommy, can we get a guinea pig?" That will be responded quickly with a resounding NO. No freaking way. They are little sluts, those guinea pigs.
So while this may not be a joke or comedy...well, it may be a comedy. It's one of those situations where you can only look back on and laugh. And learn. Never again.

So stop by Gretchen's blog and see what other spinners have to share. And be careful with those guinea pigs, people!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I love you

I remember the first time T and I told each other I love you. I remember it as clearly as if it were yesterday. I think deep down we knew it for awhile before we actually said it. I was more hesitant than T because I had gotten my heart broken so many times before I said it. But I knew it.

More than anything, I remember a moment before we said those words. I'll always remember that moment. It was mid-September of 2008, which is ironic because our wedding anniversary is September 18th, 2010. We had gone downtown that day to the Irish Festival. I was volunteering that day there, and he met me after my shift was over. We had dinner with a good friend of mine, and it was her first time meeting T for that required "best friend approval." We headed back to his apartment for the weekend. I always liked staying at his place...not sure why, but I always felt more at home there. I was sad about something at the time, and we were sitting out on his apartment balcony just talking about it. He pulled me onto his lap and reassured me that what I was sad about was fine and not to worry. As I sat there, I looked deeply into his eyes, and he looked right back at me. His expression quickly changed, and I could see it in his eyes. It was like he had this moment of clarity, an "aha" moment. But whatever it was, I saw something in his eyes change. I, of course, got all self-conscious thinking something was up, and he said he could see something in my eyes. I asked him what, and he just said "something." I knew what that something was because I felt it too. I so wanted him to say it, though. For a brief moment, I wanted to say it, but I stopped myself. There was no way I could say it first. What if he didn't reciprocate? What if I said it and things would go really well and then we'd break up just like had happened so many times before? So I didn't say it. But I felt it in my gut.

T tells me to this day that was one of those special moments he'll always feel in his heart. Me, too. I still get that feeling in my gut when I look into his eyes today. I felt it the day we were engaged. I felt it the day we were married, standing up on the altar saying our vows. I looked so deeply into T's eyes, I could see my reflection in them. I felt it the day Aubrey was born as I lay there on the surgery table and held T's hand as he told me it would be okay.

We're so busy, and we're new parents so I have to admit, we don't always take the time to appreciate moments like those. I know there are days where we go without looking into each other's eyes like that. We're too tired, too busy, too distracted. I know it happens to so many couples. And some of them never get back to that feeling. And I vow to never become one of those people.

From that moment on, I have always known I would spend the rest of my life with T. I felt it in my gut. I still do. I love him more every day, and seeing him as a father to my daughter and seeing that look of love in his eyes when he looks at her, too, just makes me fall in love with him that much more.

I am not sure what made me want to tell that story. I'm not sure why I've never shared it on my blog before. T's away on a business trip right now, and he will unfortunately be gone for five days. My heart aches that he'll be so far away, and I know he'll be missing both me and Aubrey. So, T, I know we may not get to talk every day these next few days, but this post is written just specially for you. I love you more than words can say. Come home soon. We miss you...



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You know you're getting old when....

On Sunday, as T and I were cleaning our house, I was hit with a huge sense of "Oh shit."  It was somewhere around the point where we were almost done cleaning the bathrooms, and I got this huge feeling of accomplishment and, dare I say, excitement about having a clean house.  "What happened to me?" I asked T.  I used to be that girl who would be able to out-drink her male companions and dance on bars.  I used to go weeks on end without cleaning and not really care.  Hell, I used to never be at my apartment.  Here I am, enjoying cleaning?  On a weekend?  Really? 

You know you're getting old when you purchase a Swiffer Wet Jet at Sam's Club and say to your husband "this is totally going to revolutionize the way I clean our floors!"  And get giddy when you finally get to try out the product and use any excuse possible to use it nightly. 

You are old when purchasing items in bulk excites you. 

You are getting old when all you want to do on a weekend evening is going to bed at nine because the idea of sleep is what excites you.  (Actually, this could mean you're old OR you're a parent.  Or both.)

Or you get excited about using a food processor for the first time to make your own baby food.

You're old when, in doing my grant reporting, looking at dates of birth for children in these cases, it always amazes me at the year where a "child" is no longer a child legally.  And I think about how old I was at that point in time and what I was doing. 

You're old when you can't drink anything caffeinated past noon because you'll never fall asleep that night. 

Or when you're talking to someone about the Olympics when you were a kid, and you find yourself saying something like "oh, I loved that skater from East Germany."  And remember a time when there was an East and West Germany. 

Or when you only listen to the 80s and 90s station on XM because, to you, all of the new pop music sounds exactly the same. Or it's some cookie-cutter teen from Disney.

Or when you're walking with your husband at a tour of the Budweiser brewery, and the tour guide points out a building that was constructed in 1982 and some punk next to you points at it and tells his friend, "wow, 1982?  That's like 30 years old.  That's old."  (And yes, I wanted to punch him.  Hard, too.)

Or when your nephew, who was born when you were 15 years old, is learning to drive.  And you remember him "driving" around his toy train when he was just two years old. 

Or when you're writing a post about how old you are....

Either way, these days, I'm feel a little bit older.   Is it 4:00 p.m. yet?  Time for the early bird special?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Can I have it all?

I recently read an article by Ann-Marie Slaughter on Why Women Still Can't Have it All.  I'll admit it...the title of it stuck out to me.  Mostly because of my recent post about the whole issue of daycare and being a working mom.  So is it possible?  Can I have it all?

The attorney in me is going to give a typical attorney response...

It depends. 

It depends on what your definition of all is. 

I think I can have it all.  I want to have it all.  I just think...and this is the part of where I still struggle...I need to adjust what my expectations of "all" are. 

I aim for perfection.  If I do something, I better do it correctly.  And perfectly.  Flawlessly and no mistakes.  If I'm going to be a working mom I'm going to be the best mom ever and the best executive director ever.  I'm going to do everything expected of me and more.  And the truth is? 

I can't.  I simply can't. 

What has happened from these high expectations, this standard of "hell yes I can have it all - just watch me!" is biting me in the butt.  I'm stretched too thin.  I'm taking on entirely too much.  We've had to make staff cuts at my agency due to funding reductions, and once the specific staff person left, her responsibilities then became my responsibilities, in addition to the full-time ones I already had.  And I keep volunteering for more and more things.  More deadlines come up, and I find myself working all the time - the 8 hour work day, doing work while T drives us to and from work in our 45 minute commute, I work after we put Aubrey to bed, I work during the weekends...I think of tasks and what to do while in the shower and on the treadmill...and it's still not enough. 

I'm now doing work events in the evening, too...grant interviews, public outings to publicize our agency...and it takes me away from Aubrey and T.  And I hate that because I only get a good two hours with Aubrey in between daycare and bed.  I get home, and she's in bed, so I just get to peek in and see her sleeping peacefully.  But no interaction.  So I want to spend all the time I can during the weekends with them but also, at the same time doing my Mary Kay, making sure the house is clean, exercising...preparing for a mini-marathon in September...

I'm nearing the breaking point.  However, I don't want to give up all of it.  I do still think I can do it all.  I just don't know if I can take on as much as I am with each job.  Something has to give.  I have to adjust my expectations of what all of it is.  Do I need to do it all myself at work?  Or can I delegate?  Or can I prioritize?  Why am I looking for perfection all the time? 

And am I being a good enough Mom to Aubrey even though I can't dedicate all of my time to her?  Does she know that I love her enough?  Am I being as good as all of those awesome moms I see on Facebook all the time, making their own food, going to Mommy and me classes, documenting every waking minute of their child's life?  Am I doing this well enough? 

So I guess, in my rambling here, the answer is yes, I can do it all.  Can I do all of what I'm doing at this current moment in time, juggling everything and trying to be everything to everyone?  No.  But can I have a career, friends and a family and lead a healthy and happy life?  Yes.  I just need to find that balance. 

In my spare time, that is...


Monday, July 23, 2012

Motivation Monday!

Motivation Monday

Happy Motivation Monday! I have to say, I'm feeling pretty good about my motivational goals from last week because I really am meeting them.  (Go me!)  Last week I actually worked out every week day for 30 minutes, running for 4 of those days...well run/walking but still totally feeling good about it.  And staying on task at work?  Done.  I have made a point of not getting on blogger or Facebook during the work day, and it's amazing what you can get done when you're not distracted by social media.  And that's a very good thing because I have a ton to do, and I have to stay focused.  (This kind of just furthers my wondering if getting off Facebook permanently is a good thing...)  Anyway, my first big motivational goal is to keep it up.  Let's do this, Nain!  Two weeks in a row, baby!
The only sticking point I see coming up is I will be acting as single parent starting Thursday this week.  T is leaving for a work trip on Thursday and will be gone until Tuesday so it'll just be me and Aubrey.  But I think I can still keep up the exercising.  If I get up early enough and take the monitor with me to the basement, I could get a good run in before she gets up.  We'll see how this works.  She does enjoy watching me do Taebo, too....she sits there in her bouncy chair laughing at Mommy kicking and punching.  I'm sure it looks quite hilarious. 
I've also been pretty good at not snacking and eating healthy.  This is taking some huge will-power on my part.  I've started bringing yogurt and salads as my lunch and cutting on the carbs.  I've also signed up for a program that will be beginning August 20th.  I really want to lose some weight to help 1) with my self image and esteem and 2) my health, mainly my heart.  If I drop some weight, I will also lower my blood pressure without medication, which is what I truly want.  So my big motivation is to keep this going.  Week one was good, let's see it through another week. 
I do miss my junk food, though.  Ordering something at a restaurant and saying "can I substitute a salad for the fries?" is hard.  Because those fries look pretty darn tasty.  And my pregnant self totally could have gotten away with that.   But no longer.  Stay strong, Nain, stay strong. 
So that's my motivation for the week...what's yours?   It's easy to join in...just write up a blog post telling everyone what motivation you need this week, link up to my blog through the cool button on the right of the screen and leave a link to your post in a comment...and voila!  You're linked up :-)
So let's get this week started...right!

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Last week, I was reminded of a fact of life that, well, just kind of sucks.  Life is so fleeting.  It really is.  You should never take your life or those people in your life for granted because you just never know.  Life is so fragile. 
Last Thursday, my office lost a wonderful coworker and friend.  She was an employee of mine, and although I didn't get to know her for a long time, I felt so fortunate to get to know her when I did.  It was so sad.  She was only 63 years old.  My mother is just two years younger than that.  She passed away from a heart attack, and she was later diagnosed with congestive heart failure and renal failure.  Ironically, those diagnoses are what took my Grandpa.  She had a vacation to Reno, Nevada, planned.  She hadn't gone on vacation in years and was so excited for this adventure with her friend.  The day she got there, she was hospitalized with symptoms that were later discovered to be from a heart attack.  We've been waiting these past few weeks for her to come out of her coma, but it was her time.  And my heart just aches for her family.  I'll miss her smile and her happy spirit in our office. 
On Saturday, I received news from my brother that his and his wife's friend passed away suddenly from a brain cyst.  She was only 36 years old.  She was just fine, and poof, she was gone.  Not expected, no one knew she was sick, and before you knew it, she went home to be with God.  She has three children who will grow up without a mother, and my heart just breaks for them.  It's so hard to understand. 
And the tragedy in Colorado...those people were just going to a movie.  They had no idea what situation awaited them.  So many victims, so many injured...all senseless and just awful.  The youngest victim was 4 months old.  That's so close to Aubrey's age.  While she survived, thank God, I can't imagine the fear her family experienced in that moment. 
I'm a spiritual person, yes, and I have no doubt that all of these people have gone on to a better place and are in the Lord's hands.  But all too soon.  And you never know when it'll be that time for those you love.  So don't waste a second taking anyone or anything for granted.  Hug those you love extra tight and tell them you love them.  Appreciate the beauty of today because you never know what tomorrow will bring. 
My prayers go out to the families of all of these wonderful people.  And I'll be holding onto Aubrey and T just a little bit tighter tonight.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Guest post!

I have spoken about my critique girls before, and while I am taking a hiatus from my manuscript, I do stay in touch with these fabulous ladies.  AND one of them is a new mommy just like me!  She took interest in the post I wrote awhile ago about being a new mom and being selfish with your time with your family, as she has had the same issues in her first few months as a new mom.  So I asked her to share a little bit about her experiences journeying into "mommyhood."  So without further ado....here's Christie Koester
15 Things I've Learned in the Three (short) Months I've Been a Mom

1. Your life changes in a major way and you can NEVER prepare for it.

I was reading seven (yes, SEVEN ) books when I was pregnant to prepare myself for labor, motherhood and taking care of our baby. I talked to all my girlfriends with babies. I took classes about babies. I blogged about preparing for our baby. I thought I was beyond ready. Wrong. That first month after I brought our baby home was the hardest month of my life. Yes, some of the books helped with a few tricks here and there but nothing, and I mean nothing, could've prepared me for the way my life was about to change. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

2. Breastfeeding can be HARD

I’ve been fortunate enough to breastfeed, but one thing I learned was not all babies and momma’s click immediately. I dreaded every feeding that first month because I felt like a broken feeding machine. It took over 15 minutes to get a good latch. I’d sweat. I’d cry. I’d bleed. Then I’d have to pump. And then feed him an ounce from a bottle. And in a short hour later, I had to do it all over again. And up to 12 times a day. I never gave up. I was determined to make it work with the help of my doctor, a lactation consultant, and the support of my husband and many girlfriends who were strong advocates of breastfeeding.

After the fourth trip to the pediatrician to make sure our little guy was gaining weight, the hard work finally paid off. I was officially a successful breast feeder.

Do I think breastfeeding is simple now? No, not really. But I’m still at it and totally look forward to every three to four hours so I can bond with my little guy. It’s one of the best moments of my day.

3. A smile makes up for all those lost hours of sleep

Week one - I was clueless and scared out of my mind. Week two - I was ready to bury myself in the Kohl's clothes rack when my mom forced me to leave the house. Honestly, I didn't want to go back home! I remember having a sinking feeling in my stomach when I thought about all that waited for me there - the responsibilities seemed endless and so overwhelming. I wanted to run all the way back to my old life where I could easily catch up on sleep. Week three - I was crying at everything...commercials, songs on the radio, things my husband said, the fluids leaking from my body. Everything! Week four - I was ready to crash and explode. I had expended all energy in every form. The 14 hours of sleep I was going on FOR THE ENTIRE WEEK had caught up to me. The constant wake-up calls at 1, 3, 6 were killing me. And then...just as I was about to scream, "I can't do this anymore!" Our son looked up at me and smiled. My heart grew about twenty million sizes bigger and sleep didn't matter much anymore. My son loved me.

That was enough.

4. Communication is huge...even if it's uncomfortable

Week four my perfect husband and our perfect relationship had a major hiccup. The wonderful marriage we once had was slipping through my fingers and I couldn’t do anything about it, or at least that's what I felt at that moment. I learned I get a little dramatic when I’m sleep deprived. There were no more dinners for two, or wine tasting Fridays, or hugs and kisses after returning home from work, or nights snuggling together reading our books until we drifted off to sleep. I missed him terribly. He could’ve been in the same room, but everything was different - I felt we were miles apart. We were both scared sh*tless and VERY TIRED. VERY. We stopped talking. We held our frustrations in. We grunted at each other in passing. And one night we both reached our breaking point, letting every bit of emotion out in one big blowup. I cried. He cried. And after that, things got better. We hugged it out. We talked from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. about everything. From that point on we were honest with one another. We forgave when we needed to. And we never stopped talking!

5. Multi-tasking takes on a whole new level

That first week I brought our son home, I was relieved if I could take a shower. Going into week thirteen I'm back to cooking, blogging, working, cleaning, running errands, and all the other things us moms/wives do. All I can say is you need more than two hands to get everything done in a day. Soon you will be embracing your feet. They are excellent at picking up burp clothes, pacifiers and rocking your baby to sleep.

6. Always ALWAYS listen to your gut

Don't mess with women's intuition and instincts - there's something to be said about this. If something doesn't feel right in your gut, LISTEN to it. You'll save yourself a ton of worry, sleepless nights and time. And time is something you don’t have a lot of, so just open your ears and heart to what’s going on inside and listen. Very few will understand the exact feelings going on inside you but they are there. Listen to them. You will know when something isn’t right.

7. Mom friends rock

The very few people who will understand what you’re going through are your mom friends. I would've NEVER been able to make it through the first few months if I didn't have my mom friends. These are the people you can text at 2 a.m. with questions like...Is it normal my baby has neon green poop? Why do I want to scream when everyone gets in my baby's face? Why am I up right now and my husband is sleeping? Google will only take you so far. You need friends like these to help keep your sanity. And if you don’t have any, sign up for Early Family Childhood Education (ECFE) classes or support groups through your hospital. These moms are there to remind you that you are normal. You are amazing. And you can do it. They've been there. They've been through it. And the good ones will NEVER judge you.

8. You need thick skin, and thick skin forever

Be ready for almost EVERYONE wanting a piece of your baby. It’s nice to know your baby is so loved by so many people, but sometimes it gets a bit overwhelming. You might get to the point where you want to escape. But sometimes you can’t go anywhere. Instead, you’re cornered by opinions and judgment. And more times than not everyone else’s way always seem to be the better way (according to them) because that’s the way they did it (insert how many years ago here). It's annoying. It's frustrating. And a lot of times it's hurtful. If you let it. Or there’s the beloved guilt trip where you’re forced to tote baby around every place under the sun. Soon weekends are taken up, nap schedules slip away and you’re more tired than ever because you have to play catch up and be there to pick up all the pieces. Be an advocate for you and your baby. Set boundaries. After all, you are pretty much the only one getting up in the middle of the night. What I was taught is to remember that most of these people are just trying to help. They love your baby and they want baby to love them. But you have the precious gift of being the parent and will ALWAYS be. I step back and keep doing what I do best - loving my son. And that feels like I accomplished something major.

9. The human body is a miracle.

Every day I look at myself in the mirror and then at my little man. I can't believe I (ahem, my husband too) created such a perfect human. I had an idea in my mind how I wanted my labor to go, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Keep an open mind. Embrace the miracle happening inside you and be ready for your mind to be blown away no matter the outcome. There really isn’t any great way to quite describe the moment when you meet your baby for the first time. It’s a whole new level of love.

10. You’ll always be late

I hate being late. I think it’s disrespectful and rude. But I don’t know how else to fix this. I can get up an extra hour earlier and I’m still always 10 to 15 minutes late. Baby either spits up, poops or is taking an extra-long time feeding. The good thing is most people are understanding.

11. Worry takes on a whole new meaning.

I worry about everything now! Who will he become? Is he growing like he should? Should I be doing more? Is he eating enough? Should he have more of a routine? What if something happens to him? Has he been in his car seat too long? How will he do on a five-hour car ride? Every day there are more worries. What I need is faith. It's what gets me through. I need to trust everything will work out according to God's plan. As a mom, I really wish God would let me in on that plan of His so I could just let go and let my son be and know I have nothing to worry about... This is where faith comes in. I must have faith to let go a little at a time.

12. Going back to work is hard

I don't know how to sugarcoat this. I go back Thursday (today). I'm dreading it. I don't know how I'll survive it. I will cry and I’m sure I’ll be mad at the world. I just know leaving my baby is going to suck. He is my world and has been with me every second for a full year now and I’m leaving him! I’m thankful I have a job but just when I got used to being a mom, I have to now become a working mom and learn all over again how to balance even more. Didn’t I suffer through enough change for one year? Can't I just win the lottery and call it a day?

13. You develop a new appreciation for your own mom

I look at my mom in a whole new light. I know now what she went through, all she's endured and I know I can count on her to be there for me when I go through every new stage. Now I know why my mom never made it down to the pool to sit in the sun when we'd vacation in Arizona but my dad could. Or why her cushion on the chair at the dinner table was the only one not worn out. Or why our house wasn't always picked up perfectly. Or how she loves us no matter what we do. I get it all. And it makes me lover her even more.

14. This is the hardest job you'll ever have… but also the most rewarding

Parenthood is hard and I'm only on month three. Yet, this has also been the greatest experience of my life. I love my husband more because of it. I love myself more because I can't believe what I've been able to take on and concur. And I love my son more than words can describe. I never knew I could love this much. And that makes life awesome! It’s almost like each day is a little more brighter.

15. Take each day...day by day

I start to panic when I look into the future. I get overwhelmed when I realize what I’m going have to do when our baby starts eating, crawling, walking, talking… The list goes on. I remember walking into the baby aisle at Target and getting dizzy at all the brands of bottles out there. “I’ll never be able to get these all down,” I told my husband. “I’m never going to be able to take all this on,” I told my mom. “How will I know what to do and when to do it?” I admitted to friends.

You wake up every morning. You take each day as it is and you never ever take a second for granted. Some days it’s minute by minute, some it’s hour by hour…and some is day by day. I can’t look further than that. And I’m thankful for this. I have finally slowed down and smelled the roses. Life is more beautiful than I remember but each day brings a new challenge. And if you were to ask me if I’d do it all over again. I’d say, “In a heartbeat.” (Even the 38.5 hours of labor.)

I couldn't agree more with all of this advice!  Thanks Christie!

Stop by and check out Christie's blog and also check out Christie's author's site at:  http://www.christiekoester.com/


Thursday, July 19, 2012

It's my favorite

Second Blooming

This week's Spin Cycle, brought to you by Gretchen over at Second Blooming is on favorites.  What an awesome topic because I have so many favorites.  In fact, dare I say, this is a favorite topic of mine?  Well, one of them.  So anyway, let's get on with those favorites...

Favorite people:

My favorite smile...always love her smile...

My favorite holiday

My favorite place ever:  The Guinness Storehouse

My favorite beverage:

My favorite moment in time...

My second favorite moment in time:

My favorite movie of all time:

My favorite room in our new house:

My favorite thing to do in my spare time and my favorite skin care/makeup line

My favorite toy as a kiddo (My O'Jenny doll house)

Favorite piece of jewelry:

So those are just a few of my favorites...I could go on and on and on...I should probably also note that my favorite time of the year is fall.  Gotta love the fall, and let me tell you...I am SO ready for that season to begin any day now.  Cooler weather, apple cider, the good, dark beers and football?  Yes, please! 

So stop by Gretchen's blog and see what other favorites people have to share!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I promised and promised that I would post vacation pictures, and I always hold to my promises, so here they are! 

So we left late morning on Thursday and headed to St. Louis.  I have to admit, I was a little nervous about how Aubrey would do in the car, but she did pretty well on the way there.  In fact, she pretty much slept the entire way.  So by the time we got to the hotel, she was ready to party.


We hit the pool as soon as we got there.  It was super hot, and this was Aubrey's first time in the pool.  I absolutely love the little suit she has.  I'm not sure how she felt about the pool, though.  She was a little fussy when we first put her in the water.  However, I think a big part of it was the heat and the fact that there were noisy kids everywhere. 

Our hotel was part of the St. Louis Union Station.  The lobby was so pretty, all old and ornate.  We definitely loved taking it all in when we got there.

On Friday, we had big plans of walking from our hotel to the Arch.  We left the hotel and started heading towards the landmark in the distance, but, after walking about two blocks in the 100 degree heat, we quickly changed our minds.   So we went back, got the car from the valet and parked closer to the Arch.  However, the five minute walk from the car to the Arch just about killed us and poor little Aubrey was sweating, so we took a few pictures and went back to the car.

Trust me, it was ridiculously hot out there.  But we got our pictures, so that's all that matters, right? 

So we nixed the idea of doing anything outside and headed to the St. Louis Science Museum.  I think everyone else had the same idea we did because the place was absolutely crawling with kids.  If I didn't have a kid of my own, I would consider this my own version of hell.  Who am I kidding?  It was my own version of hell.  But  since T is all Mr. Science and Aubrey loves observing things all around her, it was a fun time.  When we got there, Aubrey was immediately drawn to this massive ball machine thing (I know there's a technical term for this, but...).  She just sat there, her mouth open, eyes just watching the balls go around.  It was the cutest thing ever.  I think just that part of the museum would have been enough for her.

I couldn't even get her to stop looking at it long enough to eat some lunch....

We walked around, checking out all of the exhibits.  T's favorite part was the space section.  They had all of these promotional items and toys involving space.  I was so stoked to find a Space Muppet Babies lunchbox, and T was all giddy to see a set of space Lego's he had as a kid.  They also had some scale that would compute how much it would cost to send you into space, so I wheeled Aubrey onto the scale  to see just how much it would cost.  Better start saving now!

It was even hotter the next day so we decided to stop by and check out the Budweiser brewery.  Yes, we took our daughter to a brewery.  What can I say?  It was indoors.  And free.  However, it did take all I had in me to expose my daughter to such crappy beer.  But we couldn't really get tickets to Dublin on such short notice, so....

Here we are enjoying our free samples of crappy beer!

The tour was kind of cool.  It was inside and outside, and there were certain spots where I sat inside with Aubrey while T checked out a part of the tour but I was okay with that...crappy beer, you know?  The first part was pretty cool getting to see the Clydesdale's.  So pretty!

 It was a pretty cool tour, and it ended with two free pints of beer.  Crap beer, but free beer.  I mean, it was nowhere as cool as Guinness, but.....okay, I need to stop this :-) T and I then hit the gift shop where we each had to buy a crappy beer t-shirt.  T got himself a Natural Light one while I chose the Busch Lite t-shirt.  Hot stuff!
In between activities, we took Aubrey back to the hotel and let her stretch out and play.  It was hilarious sleeping in the same room as her again.  Well, not funny in that we had to go to bed super early, but she was so stubborn with not wanting to sleep.  At one point I had to take away a toy from her pack and play because she wouldn't settle down.  And she talks/babbles during the middle of the night.  We must not hear that when we're at home with her in another room, but it was too funny.
So it was a great vacation.  I know I'm not hitting all parts of the vacation, but these are the highlights  Over all, it was a fun time, and it was a great first vacation with Aubrey!  One of many more!  Where to go next year....Dublin?  Anyone?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Aubrey's First Fourth

I cannot even believe that it has taken me so long to post pictures from July 4th or our vacation, but better late than never, right?  It's hard to think back to the 4th, but I was looking through the cute pictures yesterday, so there was no way I couldn't share. 

So T and I started our July 4th off early by leaving work early so that we could go to Aubrey's daycare and see their Red, White and Blue parade.  They were going to have it on the track outside, but since the temperature was somewhere near 100 degrees, they did it inside in the school hallways.  It was loud.   Very loud.  A whole bunch of toddlers and preschoolers with noise machines.  Ironically, the infants were the quietest bunch there. 

So we had bought Aubrey an adorable outfit for her day.  Cutest dress ever.  Of course I think every dress she wears is cute, but I really liked this one.  Here's Mommy and Aubrey before the parade.

They were supposed to put the babies in these buggy things, but they didn't have enough to go around, so we marched in the parade.  Aubrey weighs somewhere around 19 lbs now so T got to carry her through the hallways.

Family picture after the parade....

The next day we got up bright and early because T was running a six mile race that morning.  It was hot, but at least it was early.  After wishing T luck, Aubrey and I went to the start line to cheer him on.

"Run fast, Daddy!"

Here we are showing our pride for our country at the start line.  It took me a few tries to get Aubrey to hold that flag properly.

We went inside this place called The City Market while he was running so we could stay cool.  I took Aubrey up to the second level which had a balcony looking over the first level.  We were sitting there looking over the stores down below when she decided to spit out her pacifier, and down it went to the first floor.  I had to flag down some worker down below to get it for me.  Of course, that thing got sanitized as soon as we got home.  Silly, Aubrey...

She couldn't make it through to the end...by the time we hit the finish line, the poor girl had passed out asleep.  And it was hot.  If you can't tell by T's appearance, of course....

Afterwards, we braved the heat for one more stop - we had to go to the place where T proposed to me three years ago.  This time we were a family of three.  This wasn't the easiest picture, but I had to get one to celebrate the occasion.  We'll try to make it there every year because that truly is the place where our family started.

The rest of the 4th was spent inside packing and getting ready for our big trip, since we were leaving nice and early the next day.  We relaxed, had a cookout and just spent time together just the three of us.  I would say Aubrey had a good first 4th of July!

I promise I'll be back tomorrow with actual vacation pictures!