Thursday, January 31, 2013

Everything to everyone

Holy cow!  I had no idea I would get such a response to my last post.  Thank you for all of your comments and input.  I know I, as well as T, truly appreciate them.  And to those of you who do not have children yet...please do NOT let that post deter you from having kids.  They change your world, no doubt, but the experience of being a parent is so worth it.   Not everyone has the same experiences, so do not let my account make you think that is how it is for everyone. 
I kind of like this being "real" thing.  So today's's another one of those.  See, I am a part of a church group called Ministry of Mothers Sharing, and we meet weekly to reflect and talk about the ministry of being a mother, the trials, the blessings, the shared experiences.  I'm one of the newest moms there, so they all kind of chuckle when I tell them my worries because they've all been there.  But I get so much out of it, and I love it. 
Last night's topic was on spirituality.  And one of the discussions was on who you "minister" to in your life and who "ministers" to you.  I could answer the first one very easily.  But not the last one.  I minister to my husband, my daughter, my family...friends, my community.  And my immediate response of who ministers to me was obviously my husband.  He does so much for me.  He runs the finances, he keeps the house standing, he helps raise our daughter and take care of her.  But aside from that?  Do I let others help me?   I had a hard time answering that. 
We went around the room and said said what our "ministry as a mother" meant.  It came around to me to answer, and I was asked to describe my role in my family and basically in general.  I had written something down, but rather than read that my gut reaction was "I'm everything to everyone."  Before I knew it, things just came pouring out.  I had no idea where it came from, but it did. 
It's true.  I don't put myself first.  Hardly ever.  I put other's feelings, other's thoughts, etc. first.  It's what I have been trained to do.  Growing up, in my family dynamic, I was the good one.  I know my brother who reads this might laugh, but really...yeah, I caused trouble as a kid, but as I went through junior high and high school, it was just expected for me to be independent, good, have my "shit" together.  Every family has its dysfunction, and my family is no different.  I don't want to go into the dirty laundry that is my family, but sometimes I feel like I'm the glue that holds the dysfunction together.  I am the punching bag.  When I call others in my family, rarely do I tell them how I'm doing or how my day is going.  I listen to their problems.  And I absorb them and want to fix them.  It is what it is. I do things to please them not because I want to, but because I know it'll make things easier on everyone, it'll make peace.  And when I don't, when I speak out and say how I truly feel, I feel absolutely awful. 
At work, I'm the boss.  I run the agency.  I write the grants to make sure we have money to keep our doors open, I am the person who people come to with complaints - employees, board members, disgruntled clients or volunteers.  But I really don't have anyone to talk to about it because I'm the boss.  I can't break that dynamic.  I'm kind of alone in that respect.  It can be hard.  I don't always have the answers everyone needs.  Our agency's funding is tight.  I have to make tough choices.  It all is on me.
When 4:30 hits, my hats change, and my focus shifts.  We get Aubrey, we drive the 45 minute commute.  We get home, change Aubrey, I rush to unload our lunchboxes, wash out her bottles from the day, make her bottles for the next day, make dinner, make our lunches for the next day, make sure she's fed, be sure that I'm being attentive both as a wife and as a mother.  It usually involves me stressing out, feeling like I'm doing too many things at once, and it almost always ends up in me being mad at T for not stepping in.  But I don't ask him to step in.  I just do it.  Occasionally I'll ask for help, but it  normally comes out of pure frustration and doesn't come out the way it should.  And results in a fight.  But I can't help it.  I lose it because it feels like all too much.
We eat, usually trying to entertain Aubrey with a Play with Me Sesame show.  I shovel the dinner in, and I'm pretty much always done before T, cleaning my plate and the dishes from cooking dinner.  We take turns bathing Aubrey and putting her to bed.  I come downstairs, clean up from her mess, vacuum the floor, Swiffer the floor, put away her toys, make our smoothies for breakfast for the next day. 
By the time T and I get to relax, it's 8:00 or 8:30.  I have so much I want to do, so I try to do it - write my blog and work on Mary Kay.  But it's just two hours from when we hit the hay, and I feel guilty.  Am I paying enough attention to T?  Should I be?  Man, I suck as a wife.  I shouldn't be focusing on the computer.  But when else will I get this done?  How am I going to pay off my Mary Kay inventory if I don't put the work in?  But I shouldn't be doing this and ignoring him, right?
It's a lot of bitching, I know.  But this all just kind of came out.  I told the ladies that a perfect example of me trying to be "fine," to not need help, was when my Grandpa died before Aubrey was born.  T was trying to take care of me, be my support, and was doing a great job but I still was trying to be the strong one and be "fine."  No help needed.  We get in the car after the funeral, T looks at me and goes "Are you okay?  And my response is, "No.  But it's okay, I'm fine."  One of the ladies asked me what that meant really.  And I said "well, I mean, I was high risk and 10 months pregnant.  Everyone kept telling me to not let the stress get to me.  I had Aubrey to put first.  So I had to be fine.  It would be dangerous to her to fall apart." 
Before we left last night, one of the ladies who leads the group came up to me, gave me a hug and said "you know, it's okay to ask for help every now and then."  I know she's right.  But I just don't do it.  It's like I need a white flag or something, wave it in the air and go "Um, everyone?  I need a little help here!" 
Maybe it's time I let others step in and minister to me.  Maybe it's time I get it through my head...or at least one day I will.  I can't be everything to everyone.  Any of you out there have this same problem? 
There I go being all honest and shit again.....

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Change, the truth, and what real love is

Some time before Aubrey was born, I recall writing a post about all of the unsolicited advice I was receiving from a specific individual, and one of these pieces of advice was that my marriage was going to suffer as a result of having a child.  I was irritated by it because I thought "what?  Not possible!  A child is a blessing.  Surely, a child couldn't cause any problems in a marriage. That person is just trying to bring me down." 
And I'm not here to say that a child causes issues in marriage.  A child is a blessing.  A gift from God in every way.
However, change and adjustment to change?  That's a whole other story.
We're quickly coming upon Aubrey's 1st birthday on February 15th.  This year has been the craziest of my life - so many blessings, so many amazing things have happened.  We have this beautiful little girl, someone WE created, someone who never ceases to amaze us every single day.  This year has also be a crazy one, full of moments of "what the hell are we doing?"  or "is this the right thing?  Should I be doing something differently?"  "Am I a bad parent?" 
This year, I'm not going to lie, has also been the toughest year in my relationship with T.  It's something that has gone unspoken by both of us, but it has.  We're not giving up, we're not calling it a day, but we still are having our moments, our fights, our struggles. 
The five months of sleep deprivation were hell.  It's truly hard to be cordial to someone you are around 24/7 when neither of you is getting anything more than two hours of sleep at a time, seven days a week, for months on end.  Words are said.  Things you would never say to that person in a million years or at least words you never would have thought would come out of your mouth.  But it's out of pure exhaustion and overwhelming stress.  You keep hearing "oh it gets easier," and you want to physically hurt the person telling you that. does get easier.  Sleep does come eventually, and slowly you work back to being nice.
It's stressful.  It just is.  Our ability to come and go as we please is gone.  We no longer can just pick up and go.  It involves packing up what seems to be the entire house and planning our outings around her feedings and nap schedule.  Going out to dinner alone is something planned months in advance, and going out to dinner as a family involves constant distracting of the baby so as to not irritate other customers around you when she fusses.  It's being needed by another person 24/7, someone who can't help themselves, and somewhere along the way, it's all too easy to put that little person first before yourself and before your marriage. 
T and I still work to find that balance.  Before Aubrey came into this world, there was "us."  And when Aubrey moves out onto her own someday, there will be "us."  And we need to focus on that.  "Us."  We don't lose sight of that, and we constantly work on it.  But it hasn't been and isn't something that just clicks automatically when that baby is placed into your arms.  It's a learning process, and well....we're still learning. 
I read an article recently that said most people focus so much on the wedding day and the happily ever after that they don't realize what marriage really is all about.  It's about work.  It's about putting that person before yourself at times.  It's about sacrificing your selfish needs for the betterment of your marriage.  Throw a child into the mix, and it's a whole other ballgame.  Actually, more of a juggling act. 
It's a lot of change, and change is hard.  Everyone responds to change in different ways.  Some people roll with it.  I envy those people, and I know T does, too.  We both happen to be particularly headstrong and stubborn people.  So change for us isn't automatic.  But we're being smart about it and talk it out.  And recognize when that change needs to be addressed. 
I know we both fear what happens to so many couples.  We see it all around us.  Having a child changes everything.  It doesn't "fix" things.   It simply changes the dynamic.  Some couples forget to focus on each other as well as the family unit, and they become roommates.  They become parents who work day-to-day on taking care of a child, mindlessly shuffling around each other in a house they share.  They lose that communication and intimacy. They lose each other somewhere along the way, and by the time they realize what has happened, it is far too late.
It's affected someone I love and someone close to me recently.  My brother has gone through something more complicated than just that, but it's also quite similar to what I described.  After almost sixteen of marriage, the union he thought would be forever no longer is that.  Somewhere along the line they lost each other.  And for him, looking back, it's hard to see exactly when that happened.  Or why it happened.  It just slowly happened, and before he knew it, it was gone. 
I vow to do all I have in my power to ensure that doesn't happen.  This morning, as I was driving to work, Jason Mraz's song "I won't give up on us" came on, and I listened to the words more closely than I do any normal song.  "I won't give up on us.  Even if the skies get rough.  I'm giving you all I've got, and I'm still looking up." 
I'm not normally this open and this personal on my blog, and I'm not going to lie, I didn't run this one past T.  So I may possibly take it down if asked.  He and I are strong.  He and I are resilient.  Aubrey is the one of the best things that has happened to us, but before that, something even better happened to us.  We met each other; we became one.  That is the best thing that ever happened to me.  Saying yes to his proposal was hands down the easiest question I have ever answered, and I would still say yes as quickly as I did if asked today.  As I look back on this last year as parents, I smile.  I smile at all we have learned, how far we have come.  I don't focus on those bad times.  Because all couples have them.  I look ahead to what the future has in store for us, and I look at all we have worked for.  I'm giving it all I've got, and I'm still looking up. 
God bless you, Aubrey, for every blessing you have brought into our lives.  You are our miracle, our little monkey, the best part of the two of us.  I can't wait to see the amazing adult you will be.
And God bless you, T.  You are hands down the best thing that has ever happened to me.  Though I snap, though I'm anxious, though I start fights over the dumbest things out of stress and exhaustion, I love you more than you will ever know.  I won't give up on us.  I'm giving it all I got, and I'm still looking up. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Motivation Monday!

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday!  I need some motivation this week.  I'm not going to lie, I didn't do much last week.  I thought about typing in another four letter word, but don't want to offend anyone.  But I didn't.  I was lazy.  I worked out Monday, and that was it.  Miss Aubrey decided that waking up at 4:00 a.m. would be a good idea each day last week.  I'd set the alarm for 5:30, and yeah, when that time hit, no freaking way. 

It's a pity, too, because I was so pumped after Sunday when T and I went shopping for new work pants for me, and guess who fits into size 4 pants now?  This girl!  I mean, one week of not working out won't kill me, but I probably could have maintained that momentum.  But....

T and I did go out for a date night, as well, on Thursday.  And since it was a date night, and we never ever get a date night, I went for it.  The dessert, that is.  I was good all day, relatively good for dinner, but that Ghiradelli brownie with vanilla bean ice cream?  Oh. My. God.  I haven't had something that good in so long.  I swear, it was one of the best things ever. 


I need to get back on track  So that's just what I intend to do this week.  Unless this cold/bug thing that I have gotten (writing this on Saturday), derails this. 

But we are going to hope that isn't the case!

What motivation do you need this week?  Here's to the start of a productive and motivating week!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Week recap

Regular posting has not been happening with me this week so much, but it's just been one of those weeks.  Hell, it's currently one of those "months."  We've been crazy busy here at the Nain/T household, and I am thankful it's the weekend, even though I have stuff planned this weekend so there will be very little "relaxing" going on this weekend.  Regardless, here's a rundown of our week:
Monday - I had my agency's annual free legal clinic "Talk to a Lawyer Today" event.   I had arranged eight sites in seven counties, done the publicity, gotten volunteers, you name it.  And it went very well.  Three sites has few customers, but several were insanely busy.  We had an all-time high of helping 106 people that day.  That's 106 people who received free help with their legal questions.  To me, that's just absolutely awesome. 
Tuesday - T and I took Aubrey to her ENT appointment, and yep.  Tubes.  She will have tubes put in on February 7th.  The part that kills me is it is surgery, and she will briefly be under general anesthesia.  It'll only be for 20 minutes, but that is 20 minutes I'm not there with her.  But apparently tubes will make a world of difference, and she won't have to undergo the pain that comes with all of the ear infections.  In the end, that's all I really want for her.  Tuesday, T and I were home for the day, as I had a dietitian appointment where I was told I reached the ultimate goal weight (5 lbs below what my official goal weight was to give some leeway), and I needed to stop losing weight.  So that's a great thing, right?  The tough part - part of me was like "Eh, I could lose just five more pounds..." but I'm sure I should take this professional's advice.  They would know better than me, after all.
Wednesday involved traveling out of county with our new attorney in our office and helping her in a court hearing.  I remember those days and how nervous I got.  I still get nervous, if we're completely honest, and I didn't have the help of someone whispering advice or questions I should be asking.  So I am more than happy to offer the support.  I also went to a group I have joined at our church called Ministry of Mothers Sharing (M.O.M.S.), that I attended in the evening.  I love meeting women in our church and sharing our experiences.  This week's topic?  Stress.  Huh.  I don't  relate to that at all.  Nope, not in the slightest.
Yesterday?  It was a day.  That is all I will say about that.  Some stuff happened that is going to affect T and myself, but we are ready to conquer it.'s private. But it sucks.  Sucks majorly.  We were able to relax and take some "us" time, though, with a date night.  I have to say, it felt pretty nice going to a restaurant without having to wipe the table off with wipes, remove all objects with a toddler's reach and constantly entertain or feed puffs to the child to keep them from fussing.  I even broke the diet and enjoyed a bottle of wine with T, a nice steak and a heavenly chocolate dessert.  It was like crack to me.  Man, it was good.  Man, I miss eating chocolate that good.  But it was so worth it, and I so did not feel guilty one bit for enjoying it. 
Today I'm working on finishing important work and watching the clock anxiously awaiting for 4:30.  Ready to go pick up my girl and snuggle her for a bit.  It'll be a full weekend so I'll take all the alone time with her I can get.  Tomorrow, Miss Aubrey and I will be spending the day with Grandma, while T gets some well-needed "man" time.  I'm not sure what this entails, but I think it involves putzing around in the basement.  God knows what men do.  And Sunday I'll be doing a Mary Kay on watch for a post on that coming soon!
Have a great weekend, everyone!  And I promise to post more next week! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mrs. Clean

Second Blooming
This week's Spin Cycle, brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming, is on the subject of "clean."  I gotta say, the topic of clean has taken a whole other level these past 11 months.  Oh the things I have cleaned.  I write this on Tuesday night, as I stare at a white spot still wet from Resolve spray and Clorox wipes from where poop from Aubrey's blowout got on our floor.  Resolve has become my best friend.  It's amazing.  It cleans up all sorts of bodily fluid. Aubrey has really tested it, trust me.  So yes, cleaning...oh, cleaning...
Cleaning used to be one of those once a week things, and yes, we do our "cleaning" of the house once a week, but I find myself cleaning pretty much daily now that we have a 26 lb little one crawling around, wreaking havoc in her wake.  Hurricane Aubrey leaves debris and tragedy in her path.  Elmo, strewn across the floor, the alphabet blocks tossed everywhere.  H is nowhere near I.  God knows where M or N are.  She has discovered the magazine rack I have so carefully hidden from her, but apparently not carefully enough as pieces of magazines are discovered.  I discover a puddle of spit-up near her ball table.  A booger near her tub of toys that has been capsized, spilling its contents everywhere.  Blankets pulled off of my quilt rack.  Diapers pulled one by one out of the diaper bag. 
And then there is the kitchen.  The high chair.  Thank God the seat cover comes off, and you can wash it.  Cheerios and puffs are scattered across the floor, as well as the crumbs from where T or I have accidentally stepped on them.  Then there are the crumbs that have stuck to your sock after stepping on said Cheerios and have transplanted to some other location on the floor.  Puddles of sweet potato.  And used bottles.  Everywhere. 
Our nightly routine has become cleaning up this hot mess.  We manage to do it every night, because T and I are the type of people who can't stand messes like this.  Things must be put away before we go to bed.  Sure, things could slide, I'm sure, and as Aubrey gets older, it won't be us that is taking care of this mess.  Or hell, the mess will be somewhat controlled.  I hope.  But anyway, after we put the little monkey to bed, we find ourselves stooped over, picking up toys, vacuuming and Swiffer wet-jetting all over the place. 
My least favorite "cleaning" activity....arriving at Aubrey's daycare, peaking in the classroom window to discover "hey, that's not the outfit we put her in this morning!"  "Oh wait, what's in that plastic bag in her basket?"  And then there's the sinking realization.  There is poop in that bag.  It's the policy of her classroom to just take the dirty clothes, not scrape any of the "stuff" off, and just put it in a bag for the parents.  You pick up the bag, move it around to see if you can get a hint of what is it bad?  Just a squirt?  Or a total disaster?  And I swear, opening that bag has to be one of my least favorite activities, especially if that bag has been sitting there all morning. 
I am a Mom, and I clean.  I clean because I'm a Mom.  And I swear to God, I will remind Aubrey of this some day as she is older and complains about having to clean after herself. 
So cleaning has changed for sure.  And perhaps I have gotten better at it.  It's an art, I tell you, an art.  But that is what the word "clean" brings to mind. 
So what do others have to say about cleaning?  Maybe they don't talk about poop as much as I do, but what's more fun than talking about poop? Anyway, stop by Gretchen's blog and see what other spinners have to share!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Motivated to serve

Motivation Monday

It's Motivation Monday, folks!  Not super happy the weekend is over, but only because I want a redo.  Our weekend...well...kind of sucked.  It started with Aubrey getting the stomach flu early Friday morning (nothing like cleaning up vomit at 12:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m.), and then T got the stomach flu the next day.  So I spent all day on Saturday Lysoling the house and caring for the sick ones.  I wasn't feeling so hot myself on Sunday either so sucked.  So anyway...enough bitching, and on with the motivation. 

I'm going to not talk about the normal motivation this week, and I'll get back to that next week.  Today is all about a much more important motivation.  Given the day and the meaning behind it, I feel something is much more important. 

‎"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today, across the nation, we are celebrating the life and service of an amazing man.  Our agency is honoring him through a day of service in each of our counties.   My agency offers legal services to those who cannot afford them otherwise, and one method of doing this is through direct referrals to attorneys who take these cases completely free.  However, not every attorney can take on a case due to contractual obligations or time constraints.  So every year, pro bono districts across Indiana hold free legal clinics where any person can get free legal advice in brief consultations.  Attorneys sign up for two hours sessions and give free legal consultations to whoever calls or comes into that county's designated location.

Last year, I was able to set up locations in each of our counties, which included five.  However, last January, we took on three additional counties.  So this year, I've set up eight locations covering seven counties.  We have about three attorneys volunteering at a time in each location.  I can't be at every location, of course, but I'll be at two of them.  And having staff at the others.  I just think it's wonderful that these attorneys are being so giving of their time, and I truly hope we can help as many people as we are able.  And I hope that all of the other districts in the state are able to do the same.  So that's my motivation today and this week.  Well, in general considering what I do.   But that is my motivation. 

What's yours?  Have a wonderful Motivation Monday, everyone, and a wonderful Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Distaste of winter

Second Blooming
So this week's spin for the Spin Cycle with Gretchen at Second Blooming is winter.  Oh, winter.  I am so not a fan of winter.  Hate the cold, hate the snow, hate driving in the snow....See, I'm from Huntsville, Alabama, originally, and it was rare when we got snow.  When we did, it shut the city down for days.  But up here in Indiana?  No, you have to go to school/work, whatever.  Sure, that white stuff is just beautiful falling from the sky, but that is only if you don't exit the house, let alone get behind the wheel and venture out on the road. 
I have my reasons for the distaste of winter driving, so it isn't without justification.  Part of one of my past jobs was to travel the state to hold trainings.  All over the state, including the northern corners of Indiana.  I had a training pretty much near Michigan one day, and being the genius I was, I Mapquested it, thought "sure, it's snowing, but I'll still get there in the same amount of time," and headed up I-69 in a snow storm.  I get about 30 minutes on my way, and I spin off the Interstate.  Not going fast, mind you.  No, we were crawling at 35 mph.  (Yes, we could have gone slower, but I was just following the people in front of me.)  I spun off along with the person in front of me and behind me.  Doing a complete 360 turn on a normally busy Interstate and going down into a ditch isn't fun.  And I, in my great stubborn wisdom, thought "I can still get there" and proceeded to try to drive my 2004 Saturn Ion back up the hill onto the Interstate.  Fail.  Needless to say I had to wait a bit for a tow truck to come get me and that work trip was cancelled.  And ever since I have been petrified to drive in the snow. 
Growing up in Alabama, we never learned your normal "winter" sports or activities either.  I have actually never been sledding.  Ever.  In fact, I bet the first time we take Aubrey sledding is the first time that I go sledding.  Ice skating?  Only if I'm holding onto the wall the entire time.  I tried skiing once in sixth grade on a class field trip.  I couldn't make it down the bunny hill once without falling on my face, and then I couldn't figure out how to get back up.  So I laid on the snow, spread eagle until one of the instructors came to get me.  (It was rather traumatic, as you can tell.)
I would be perfectly fine with skipping winter all together.  The only good thing about it now is Aubrey's birthday is in the winter.  But other than that, I'm totally good with it being spring.  Any day now....
Let's see if other Spinners are a wee bit more positive than I am about this season!  Stop by Gretchen's and see what others have to say.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

11 months!

Today Aubrey is 11 months old. Eleven months...we're almost to that one year mark, which, to me, is unbelievable. Eleven months ago, this is what I wrote. We had just gotten the c-section date, and I was wondering how much larger I could get. We were worried that Half-pint would arrive early...dreading the weekend of the Superbowl in Indianapolis, absolutely certain that she would arrive that weekend and we'd have to take an ambulance to the hospital. So much has changed from then until now.

For instance, my little girl who I thought was just SO big inside of me is 26 lbs and 1 oz. I couldn't have even imagined it back then. And she's mobile, too. The little bugger is crawling all over the place, finding holes in all of our baby-proofing in the house. She's babbling away, saying words like "mom" and "dada" when she sees me and Tim. She's mimicking motions and sounds we make. She's eating solid food. She's pulling herself up. So many things have changed. It's just absolutely crazy to think about it.
Like I said, she's a crawler. She's a late crawler, but like her Mommy, she does things on her own time, not when others want her to do them. If she wants something, she gets it. She'll find the most random things and go after them. Oh, that pen on the coffee table, way out of her reach. She'll spot that and try like hell to get to it. That TV remote behind me as I'm leaning up against the couch? She'll crawl over to me, climb up and snuggle me, get me all "sweet baby, I love you," and then she'll reach of my shoulder and get said remote. Little stinker.
She's such a little person, and every day she's getting more and more of a personality. I love watching her develop and discover. It's exhausting chasing after her, but it is still so worth it.
Anyway, aside from all of that, since this has turned into an Aubrey update post, we will be taking her to an ENT next Tuesday. She's had ear infections a great deal of her young life, and it seems every time we go in, she has fluid in her ears. On Sunday she wasn't herself and was tugging at her ears, so T stayed home with her Monday to take her in. Double ear infections. So it looks like we'll be getting tubes. It's not certain until after next Tuesday, but six ear infections in 11 months is a lot. It freaks me out because it's surgery. Routine surgery, but she still gets general anesthesia and will be in a room away from me having surgery. I don't like that. But if it's what is best so she's not in pain like this all the time, then we must do it. But don't think for a second I won't be pacing around, tears in eyes while we wait.

We're in the planning stages for her party, holding it on February 16th for family and some friends. I debated the idea of doing a Sesame Street theme, but given her nursery theme, I've decided on monkeys. She is our little monkey, after all! But man, it's so crazy to think I'm doing this already!
Where did all of those months go?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Motivation Monday

Motivation Monday

Oh wait, it's Monday again?  Did I mention how much I'm not a fan of this January?  Oh, because I'm not.  Now I did manage to keep with my motivation last week.....I had a crazy amount of things to do, but I wrote out an organized list, broken into subcategories on what needed to get done, and slowly, but surely, I am getting those items checked off.  I'm trying at least.  And I'm trying to delegate what I can, but honestly, after looking at the list, nothing can be delegated.  Or maybe it can, but someone is too much of a control freak to let go of a task. 

So that motivation is kind of continuing this week.   That list isn't going anywhere.  And last time I checked it was still unfortunately January.  Bah.  So I must say motivated....must...keep...going....

This week, I'm motivated to work hard on my Mary Kay.  Why?  Tax season is approaching!  And I must finish my 2013 inventory and my information to submit to the accountant.  It's a pity, too, because I had this awesome spreadsheet worked out and everything.  And then my computer crashed.  And I didn't back up the information.  So....I lost it.   Plus the software program that had all of my other information on it.  Poop.  This might involve some weekend work and evenings.  But nothing motivates you quite like the tax man, right? 

Still on the move with the weight loss, but now it's more of a weight maintain.  I've reached my ideal weight, and I'm still going down.  I'm actually 30 lbs down since September.  Of course, I ate like crap this weekend so I'm sure that's back to 25 but still.  I still do the food journal every day, though that is getting just a little old.  But I did do my first run outside since the fall the other day.  And it felt damn good, and I must say I ran quite a bit of it!

So what motivation do you need this week?  Join me and write a motivation post and link it up here!  And everyone, have a fabulous week!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Color me bad

Second Blooming
This week's Spin Cycle, brought to you by Gretchen at Second Blooming, is one of those abstract ones.  Which means that it's a tough one for me because I'm totally not abstract.  It's on color.  Open-ended, anything about color.  Not sure where to go with this one, honestly.  So...we'll go random. 
My favorite color is red.  Love me some red.  Go IU, Go Bama and all that jazz.  Granted, it's funny because my favorite color is red, but pretty much every piece of clothing I wear is black.  So would that make my color black?  And every car I've driven besides my current one was blue.  But I think that was just pure coincidence.  Or just my Dad's preference.  But the rental car I had when I was in my accident was red.  And did you know that police cars target red cars?  And insurance companies have been known to spike rates if you drive a red car? Because it's sportier or something like that.  Weird. 
My favorite color on Aubrey is purple.  Every color is adorable on her, but I particularly love the purple.  I do wish I had a picture to show you but...broken photos...dammit. 
Back in middle school, I loved to wear the mood rings.  You know, those rings that changed color supposedly with your mood?  Why did mine always stay blue?  It meant "happy" but I swear, I totally wasn't always happy.  God knows I wasn't always happy back in middle school. 
T and I are working on painting the house, bit by bit, and that involves picking colors for each room.  I'm drawn to brown/tans.  How boring is that? 
Let's see....
I prefer my wine red.  Dark red.
I prefer my beer black.  Guinness black.
I take my coffee like I take my men.  Strong and black.  (sorry, Airplane!, not racist, it's a movie reference)
What else can I say about color? 
I gotta say.  I'm tapped out.  And yes, I swear that was a movie quote.  From the best of movie of all time, thank you very much. 
Stop by Gretchen's and see what other bloggers have to share about color because I'm sure theirs may 1) be more interesting or 2) make sense.  Or both :-)
Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Yes, I am a real attorney

Okay, vent time...
In the course of my daily work, I come across instances where individuals apply for legal aid assistance and then withdraw their application, stating they have hired a "real attorney" and no longer need our help.  When I worked for the Department of Child Services, I got this a lot, too.  "Do you think you will quit DCS and become a 'real' attorney?"  Or "oh, he didn't use a public defender. He hired a real lawyer."
Let me be clear about something. 
Legal aid attorneys, public defenders, prosecutors, attorneys representing the government (i.e., Department of Child Services)...ARE real attorneys.  Yes.  We, too, have legal degrees, and we have also passed the bar exam.  We go to court in front of real, live judges and perform legal work.  Sure, we do it for less pay.  (Often significantly less pay.)  But being a lawyer doesn't require you to make loads of money or work in a law firm.  Numerous attorneys work outside the private practice.  And believe it or not, they do so voluntarily.   And they are "real" attorneys, too.
I don't mean to be lecturing here.  Trust me, as a reader, I have no doubt you would never dare say this to someone in my position, but it's my blog, so I'll vent if I want to.  I find myself writing this after coming across another one of those statements.  Each time I hear or read it, it's like a slap in the face.  So I may be coming across as a bit heated.  But this is more of the "in the heat of the moment" posts.
I love what I do.  I chose to do what I do.  Similarly, I stayed on with the Department of Child Services voluntarily.  I wasn't under a contract to work there for a period of time.  I worked there to protect the lives and rights of children who were abused and neglected and had no voice in the legal system.  I terminated parental right of parents who should have never under any circumstances procreated.  These children lived through and witnessed things that no child should.  Innocence was something that was a pipe dream.   I like to think I gave these children a better life or at least I sure tried.  Sure, I worked for the bureaucracy, and there were aspects of my job that I despised.  But the underlying purpose behind it?  I was passionate and still am passionate about.  I chose to leave my job for a less stressful position due to health not because I didn't think I was doing real legal work.  I made next to nothing, yes.  I could have made much more than I did.  But I was still an attorney.  A real one, too.  I assure you, nothing about what I did was easy or fake.  In fact, my caseload was quite large, and my job very demanding.  And emotionally draining.  But I was a real lawyer. 
Now, working for a legal aid services agency, I love what I do.  It is a passion of mine and has always been to provide legal access to people who don't have a voice.  People who can't afford to hire a private attorney.  People who are being taken advantage of in a very difficult situation.  People who are scared, facing a legal proceeding.  It's part of my oath of attorneys I took on October 20, 2006.  I swore "I will not encourage either the commencement or the continuance of any action or proceeding from any motive of passion or interest; I will never reject, from any consideration personal to myself, the cause of the defenseless, the oppressed or those who cannot afford adequate legal assistance; so help me God."  And I meant what I said. So that is what I do.  And it doesn't make me any less of an attorney merely because I do not charge for my services or because I do not work for a private firm making money. 
Some of the best attorneys I know out there are public defenders and government attorneys.  It's hard work what we do.  But it's rewarding. 
So I guess I would just ask the next time someone says "well, he hired a real attorney rather than using a public defender" or something along those lines, stop and think.  Because it's just wrong.  Everyone deserves a "real" attorney, even those who can't afford one.  And there is no such thing as a "real" or "not real" attorney.  I am an attorney.  Plain and simple. 
So now that I'm off my soap box, onto lighter subjects of being an February I will be speaking at Aubrey's daycare in front of a kindergarten class about being a lawyer.  The letters of the month are K and L, and I volunteered to talk about my job since it starts with an "L."  I don't think I'll be using the above speech to explain what I do.  I'm thinking a little online research on explaining what I do on the level of a young child is warranted.  Ideas anyone? 
Thank you for listening to me complain.  Hope I did not offend anyone.  Or well, if I did....too bad :-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Oh, parenthood....

I think parenthood is making me duller.  Or odder.  Or both.  It's amazing how things change once you have kids.  There are moments now where I'll say or do something in the normal course of the day, and either T or I have to step back and ask "really?  Did we really just do that?"  Oh what happened to us?  When did we 
I can't think of them all, but here are a few instances recently,,,,
Watching an episode of Sesame Street we've seen maybe twenty times, I find myself talking about a character on the show, Chris: "You know, he used to irritate the crap out of me, but he's really starting to grow on me. You know. Chris?" 
Speaking of Sesame Street, once Aubrey was watching "Play with Me Sesame" and fell asleep while T and I were getting ready.  Not wanting to wake her, we laid around watching TV.  The sad thing?  We kept Sesame Street on. 
Elmo's World - I find myself humming the tune to the beginning of that song throughout my work day. 
Driving in the car, Elton John's "The Circle of Life" comes on. T says, "when Aubrey turns one, I am going to stand up on a table, blast this song and hold her up in the air."
Aubrey has a V-tech Alphabet Pal that is a bug that has 26 legs for each letter of the alphabet.  One of the modes plays a different song for each letter corresponding to the letter's sound.  T actually looked up online what songs were all included.
Further, we even got T's Mom into it.  When they stayed with us, T's Mom got interested in the whole "Mr. Noodle" thing on Elmo's World.  (Personally, I find it odd that a stranger, older man hangs outside the window of a kid's room, but that's just me.)  So when she gets home from staying with us, she looks up the career history of Mr. Noodle.  And then emails us the information she found.  And we actually find it interesting. 
I don't think anything was more telling than New Years Eve.  Staying awake until midnight?  Unlikely.  Wanting to really do anything?  Eh, I could give or take the fact it was New Year's Eve.  All I care about is taking any opportunity I have to shower and relax in quiet.  Of course, as soon as my head hit the pillow on the couch, I'm out.  Wild and crazy nights here at our house.  Look what parenthood has done to us. 
Man, when did this happen?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Motivation Monday!

Motivation Monday

Seriously not wanting to get back into it this week.  Seriously don't.   My "to-do" list is a mile long, and deadlines are looming.  It's annoying.  But nothing I can do about it.  So my motivation this week is to keep my focus and keep my sanity.  Must...get...everything..done.

I'm not really good about this during the day.  I come into the week with high hopes, sure.  I'll make my lists of what I need to get done that day.  But then I'm distracted very easily..."squirrel!"  Oh, shoot, I need to email this person.  So I'll start the email, come up with one other thing I need to do, stop the email but leave the window open and do the other thing.  It's exhausting.  And confusing.  And I get nothing done. 

So this week, I need to be a little more self-disciplined.  Focus that motivation that I give towards my weight loss and do the same with other stuff.  Work, specifically.  There are only five days in this week, and I really would rather not have to drag work into the weekend.  Because that's no fun. 

But in all seriousness, I really would rather this past weekend continue.  It was a fun one, spent with friends and just relaxing, playing with Aubrey.  No stress, just fun.  And who wants to come back from all of that? 

Here's another blogger who could use some motivation this week!  Ali @ A Coffeeqween's Life

Friday, January 4, 2013

Home improvements

Over Christmas break, T's parents came to visit us and helped with various projects around the house.  Since we have lived in our home for almost two years now, we've decided it's time to start painting.  Of course, we're doing this a room at a time.  Aubrey's room was first, and we decided the next two would be our downstairs half-bath and our dining room.  Honestly, T's Dad did all of the work.  He's one of those people who constantly have to be working, and I think he's happiest when he's doing home improvement projects.  The man needs his own HGTV show.  I'm pretty happy with the results, and he did an awesome job at making our rooms look amazing. 

We decided to paint the bathroom a kind of country blue.  I forget the name of the paint, but I really think this adds a lot to the room. 

I wanted a darker color for our dining room in order to make it a little more formal, so we chose this caramel color.  I absolutely love the final look.  It really makes the room stand out.

Lastly, T's Dad installed a back splash for our kitchen counters.  This is hands down my favorite improvement done that week.  These tiles are glued on and put into place by grout.  The tiles by the sink are a little higher to cover the entire wall behind the sink, which makes it really easy to clean.  Love, love, love this.  And yes, that chili in the crock pot was very tasty, too.

After they left on New Year's Eve, T and I ventured out to Target, as I had plans for our fireplace mantle once Christmas decorations were put away.  That wall was empty, and I hated the way that looked.  So we bought this mirror with some gift card money, and T hung it.  I moved around some pictures in our house to change what was there before, and I added a few items to give it a different look.  One of the pictures up there on the right is artwork Aubrey did at daycare.  It's her footprint, shaped like a bee and is labeled "Busy Baby Bee Aubrey."  Of course, we had to display it prominently on the fireplace!  It's our best work of art in the house.

We don't have the time or funds to keep going with the painting, but my next projects involve our guest bedroom and Aubrey's bathroom.  We have nothing really in her bathroom, and I'd like to do a rubber ducky theme in there.  The guest bedroom is basically where we put everything that doesn't really have a home.  I'd like to make it a little more of a guest bedroom.  I mean, guests don't want to look at random pictures of my college friends and all of the paperback books I have that I don't know where to put.  So this winter, I'll be redecorating.  Of course, when I'm not taking care of Aubrey, spending time as a family, doing Mary Kay, know, with the spare time I have? 
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Back to life, back to reality

As a kid, I absolutely hated this time of year.  You look forward so much to Christmas break, and then there's that dread that comes over you as you near the end of break.  Because, let's be honest.  The rest of winter just sucks.  I don't mind the snow during the Christmas time but in January and February?  Totally not a fan.  And with my job, January brings a busy time - lots of grant deadlines.  Work, work, work.  So both T and I, on Tuesday night, were reliving that feeling from our childhood as we approached that time when things went back to "normal." 
For those of you not from the Midwest, winter in  It's gloomy.  No sunshine, just gray skies.  When I lived in Alabama, I remember getting sun and days when you could go outside for a bit and get a little of that Vitamin D.  Last winter I was spoiled when I was home with Aubrey with the warmer temps, but I have a feeling that this winter is going to make up for what we didn't get last year.  I hate the gloominess.  Bah.  (Bitch, bitch, bitch...sorry :-)
It was so nice to just spend time with T and Aubrey.  The day after Christmas we were snowed in, just the three of us, and I had a blast just getting to play with Aubrey and relax.  I hated having to bring her back to daycare on Wednesday.  All during the day, I kept watching the video I posted on Wednesday.  I counted down the hours until 4:30 when we got to pick her up.
In a way, it's good to be back to normal.  Aubrey needs to get back on her daily routine and schedule, as do T and I.  While work is never fun, it's a necessity.  And unlike previous winters, we do have something fun coming in the future - Miss Aubrey's 1st birthday!  It's so hard to believe we're coming upon that.  It seems just like yesterday that I was going to weekly NST appointments, anxiously awaiting her arrival.   And now she's this big girl, standing up on her own and just itching to walk, babbling away and eating solid foods.  It'll be fun planning Aubrey's party, and every Valentine's Day from here on out will always have a different meaning for us. 
So I guess that is my silver lining.  But I wouldn't mind being back home in my warm house, on the floor playing with Aubrey and listening to her giggle. 
I think I'll watch that video once more. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Good bye 2012, hello 2013!

Happy New Year, everyone! 
Side note:  I had intended to write an extremely detailed "end of the year" post with pictures and everything, and then I realized that...well, yeah, my pictures are on my computer that is now fried, so...yeah."  T has them backed up, but that would require too much effort.  (Sorry!)  So instead, you'll have to enjoy a written recap.
The year 2012 was an extremely full and blessed one for us.  We began the year wanting time to go by quickly so that we could get to February and the arrival of our little girl.  January was full of weekly doctor's visits and non-stress tests, getting the nursery ready, me rushing to get everything ready to go at work so that I could go on maternity leave.  Before we knew it, the month had flown by.
February brought us our biggest blessing ever and the best Valentine's Day gift I will ever be given.  Aubrey Leona came into our world on February 15th, and life will never be the same again.  If I had to pick a defining moment where everything shifted and the focus of my life changed forever, that would be it.  We spent every moment we could treasuring our little miracle.  I was fortunate to get to spend the rest of February and all of March at home with her.  She and I hung out, watching basketball, celebrating St. Patrick's Day, sleeping (well, her...not me.)  T and I learned firsthand what it meant to truly be sleep deprived.  We celebrated Aubrey's first Easter, my first birthday as a Mother, first Mother's and Father's Days.  We took Aubrey on her very first family vacation as we braved a three hour drive with a five month old to St. Louis.  It was hot, but we had such a fun time on our little adventure. 
Fall brought trips to the apple orchard, cheering on Mommy and Daddy at the Wine at the Line race, and trick or treating with our own little monkey.  Aubrey and I cheered on Daddy as he completed a mini-marathon in November.  We traveled even farther in the car, driving five hours, up to Michigan to celebrate Thanksgiving with T's family. 
We had so much fun with Christmas preparations for Aubrey's first Christmas.  She met Santa and Mrs. Claus at school.  We celebrated Christmas Eve with my family, but the best part of all was celebrating Christmas Day at home, just the three of us.  Getting to see Christmas through Aubrey's eyes is going to make the holidays so much more meaningful than they already are. 
I would say that 2012 was an extremely blessed year for us.  And an eventful one at that.  We were married in 2010, built a house and got pregnant in 2011, and we had our first child in 2012.  I think we're going to go easy in 2013.  Maybe redecorate a room.  Paint.  Take a weekend trip.  But no big life milestones this year.  Let's just go easy on this one...
Happy New Year!!!