Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Random Thoughts Wednesday

So I just remembered that my sheets are in the washer still. Now I have to wait for them to dry before I can go to bed. Why don't I just put a different pair of sheets on the bed, you ask? Because when Dan and I got married, we had two sets of sheets: one gorgeous set that we got as a wedding gift and one slightly-less-nice set that we bought ourselves. Well, Dan left our gorgeous wedding gift sheets in the washer for a week where they proceeded to grow a particularly resistant strain of mildew. Even my mom couldn't fix them, so into the trash they went. (Dan will say that I left them in the washer but that is not true. Don't listen to him if he ever tries to tell you the story his way.) So now we have one set. I wash them and then put them back on our bed regularly, so I normally don't care about our lack of sheets. But this is one time where I do care. I should probably go buy another set so this doesn't happen again.

Anyway, here I sit, bored with what's on TV and with a bunch of random thoughts bouncing around in my head. So I figured I'd start Random Thoughts Wednesday, where I share with my adoring public my random thoughts that are too short to make a full blog post out of. And since I simply adore comments on my blog, I'll open it up to my readers to post their random thoughts in the comments section. Everyone needs an opportunity to share their random thoughts!

- Why are popsicles so delicious? I'm convinced that Kroger puts some sort of addictive substance into their IcePix popsicles. I could subsist for at least an entire weekend on IcePix popsicles alone and I'd love it.

- I have a few weddings to go to this summer and I want to get a hot dress for them because I plan on being at my goal weight with some hot, toned arms to compliment my skinny bod. I am willing to spend a little because it's something of an investment piece, but I have no idea where to look. Victoria's Secret has this awesome dress that is like 7 dresses in one. It's pricey, but I really like it. I'd probably get either black or purple. What do you think?

- Dan and I decided to do a version of The Total Money Makeover starting in March and I'm excited. We want to get our debt paid off in 4 years (minus our mortgage). I think it's really awesome that this is actually something that is attainable for us, and I'm glad neither of us ever got into the pit of credit card debt. Student loans are plenty, thank you very much. And note to our friends: we won't be fun for the next four years because we won't have any money to do anything since we're doing the debt snowball. But after four years, we will be SUPER fun because we'll have like half our income freed up. So hang in there with us and we'll be fun again soon.

This concludes Random Thoughts Wednesday. Not as exciting as I thought it would be, but maybe they will get more interesting! Now you can share your random thoughts with me!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Baby Mama

I have always known that I wanted kids. I, like most little girls, loved playing mommy to my baby dolls. I saved all my First Communion money to buy a Crimp'n'Curl Cabbage Patch doll, who I promptly named after the bus driver who took me to and from school each day (Beth Anne, for anyone wondering). I did go through a brief phase in college when I decided I didn't want kids, but that faded pretty quickly.

At my wedding shower, we played a type of Newlywed Game. Dan was asked questions about me prior to the shower, and I had to guess what his answers were (not what mine would be). One of the questions was how many kids I wanted, and Dan and I both accurately answered "four to five." Some people weren't surprised, but I think the majority reaction was "Say what?!"

When I got pregnant with Lucas, I was pumped to be getting started on number one of four to five. I actually really liked being pregnant and had an easy pregnancy (even though my poor body is still reeling from the experience 3.5 months later).

Then Lucas was born. Mothers of older children fawned all over him, telling me how much they missed the newborn stage. And I sat in my hospital bed (and on my couch, once we were sent home), shell shocked and wondering what the h-e-double-hockey-sticks they could possibly miss about the newborn stage.

If you had asked me in the first two weeks (ok, month) when we were going to have our next baby, I would have straight-up laughed in your face. "NEVER," I would have shrieked. And then I would have started crying. In those first long weeks (the longest of my life), I wondered in all sincerity how and why anyone would have more than one kid.

And I'm not even concerned about the physical birthing of the child. I got lucky and had a pretty wonderful birth experience. Except the actual pushing part. At that point, I was so tired and in so much pain that all I could think was "Never mind! I take it back. I don't want to have this baby, I'll just be pregnant for the rest of my life." But by then, the only way out of it was to push through it (haha get it? push?).

No, the physical labor and delivery is not what put me off kids in the first few weeks. It was the actual motions of parenting that did it for me. And if I'm being honest, perhaps off-the-wall hormones had something to do with it as well. That first month is grueling when it's your first baby. It's probably hard when it's your second or third too, but when it's your first you have absolutely no idea what to expect or how long each phase will last.

That was what was hardest for me. The simple fact of having absolutely no idea what to do or what to expect. I worried that everything I was doing was wrong. I worried that I would neglect to do something that would ruin my baby forever. I didn't know that you were supposed to do "tummy time" until Lucas was about a month and a half. After learning that, I had visions of Lucas as a 21 year old, his head flopping all over the place because he had never learned proper neck control as a result of my neglecting to do tummy time when he was 3 weeks old.

After the first four weeks, I turned some sort of a corner. The baby blues began to dissipate, and I fell into a semi-routine (as much of a routine as you can when you have a newborn, anyway). Then when Lucas was 8 weeks old, I stopped nursing (well, pumping, since we never got the hang of actual nursing), and I started to feel more like myself. It was easier to take Lucas places, and I could be away from the house for long periods of time without having to either a) rush home to pump or b) haul my pump along with me and find some place private to pump.

Then Lucas starting growing and developing, and he began to flash smiles that melted my heart. And then one day he actually giggled. I thought I was going to die from happiness. There is no way to describe how thrilled I was with that first baby giggle. My heart felt so full that I never knew it could hold so much love. I was actually relieved, because I did not experience the immediate falling in love that so many women describe when they first meet their baby. With that giggle, I knew what it was like to fall in love with my baby.

By that point, I had already decided that it wouldn't be so bad to have one or two more. I figured I'd just power through the newborn stage, and that it would pay off when my kids were older. And then a few weeks ago, I was browsing through some pictures of when Lucas was first born and I realized that I was turning into a mushy pile of love, reminiscing about how little he was, how he used to fit perfectly on my chest, how he used to fall asleep on my shoulder. And then I "accidentally" stumbled onto the maternity section of, just so I could see what cute new maternity fashions they had. And then my uterus began to ache a little.

And then Dan and I did our budget and we saw how much Lucas was costing us and decided to wait a couple years for another one.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend Update

Well, yesterday was my weigh-in day. Down another 2.5 pounds for a total of 11.5 lbs in 4 weeks. Now I have 27.5 to go. That sounds like a lot, but if I keep going at this rate, I'll get there.

It's been a mixed bag. After 4 weeks of WW, I'm definitely starting to see what reasonable portions look like. I'm also actually thinking about the food I eat. Example: Valentine's chocolate (those amazing chocolates with stuff in the center) have 4 points in 2 pieces. I used to eat 4 pieces of chocolate without even thinking. Now I stop myself and think about whether I want to use up 4 points of my daily 24 allotment on 2 little pieces of chocolate. Yesterday that answer was yes. I had those 2 pieces of chocolate and they were amazing. Instead of shoving them into my mouth all in one bite and barely even tasting them, I ate them slowly because I wanted to savor what those 4 points tasted like.

On the other hand, after 4 weeks, I'm getting a little tired of having to plan every bite I take. I miss being able to go out to dinner with Dan and just ordering whatever I wanted. Granted, that's what got me 40 pounds above where I should be, but I miss it. Now if we want to go out to eat, I have to save the bulk of my points for that meal and not eat much for the rest of the day. I also have to plan and look up the restaurant's nutrition information on their website. This is annoying because I'm now finding out how bad all my favorite dishes are for me! It's also annoying because the average "cost" of a restaurant meal is in the neighborhood of 20 points.

But, I plan to hang in there until I get to my goal weight. If I continue to lose at this rate, I'll be there by June. Just in time to wear all those cute summer clothes. And then, I'll be able to buy a bathing suit without crying in the fitting room.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Book Club

I went to a book club meeting tonight in an attempt to branch out and meet fellow moms who are also Catholic. (I've been going to a mom's group at our church, and one of the women who is in that group with me invited me to the book club. The group only runs for 9 weeks total and is more than half-way over, or else I would just stick with that group for now.) I'm very happy with the friends I have, but if I let myself, I will just keep my life on cruise control and never really make new friends, so this was my attempt to put myself out there.

All the women that were there were very nice, very friendly and very Catholic. And I don't want to say this was a problem, but they were all older than me. A few seemed to be around my mom's age (which I'm not saying is old, but it's older than me) and the rest I would guess were in their mid-thirties. (Again, not saying this is old, just older than me!) Their kids are all older than mine, and I got the impression that most, if not all, were finished having kids. And if I'm being honest, I really didn't hit it off with any of them. So now I'm wondering what to do. Should I keep going and see where it takes me? Is it really possible for me to form the kind of friendships I'm looking for with women at such significantly different points in their lives?

I got home and talked to Dan about it, and he said he thinks the main problem is the age difference. I agree, but I also think it's more than that. I'm looking for people I can be myself around, and that seems to be really hard to find. I think that's what everyone wants in a friend.

When I was driving to the book club tonight, I heard "Jane Says" by Jane's Addiction, which brought me back to the beginning stages of Dan's and my relationship. When we first started dating, we would drive around for hours and hours just talking and laughing, and, for some reason we would always listen to Jane's Addiction. I don't really know why; I don't love Jane's Addiction. But anyway, the point of this tangent is that it made me think about the reason I ended up knowing that Dan really was the one for me.

Everyone knows I broke up with Dan frequently before we were married. He even took to calling the time period from mid-September through mid-November "break-up season" because that's usually the time of year when I'd start thinking about our relationship and decide we needed to break up. ANYWAY (man I'm on a roll with the tangents here), the reason I ended up realizing that Dan was the one for me was because I could really be myself around him. I could be goofy, crazy, sarcastic, angry, sad, happy, whatever. I could be all these things and he still loved me.

I'm not expecting to find a friend to whom I feel as close as I do Dan. I don't know if that's possible, or even something that would be a good idea. I guess I just want someone in a similar place in their lives, around whom I can be myself and who gets my sense of humor (now that's a tall order).

Dan said I should Google "how to find friends," but I think I'll save that as a last resort.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Judgy Wudgy Was a Bear

I'll admit that I'm not the most confident of women. My feelings get hurt more easily than they should, and try as I might, I still can't shake the desire for the approval of others. I'm much better than I used to be, though. In high school, I was a total wreck. I did and said things solely because I knew other people would agree or think better of me, not because it was how I really felt.

It's not that bad anymore. I'm not so afraid to express my opinion anymore, and have mostly come to the realization that I am who I am, take me or leave me. At the very least, I no longer pretend to agree with people if I really don't. If I don't have the guts to say what I actually think in the face of someone who holds opposite views, I just stay quiet instead of nodding and acting like it's pure genius (yes, I unfortunately did used to do this when I was younger).

However, I am in no way immune to the judgment of others. I still get squirmy when conflict arises. I'll sometimes go over and over something I said that I thought was stupid, long after the conversation is over and probably forgotten by the person I spoke to. And I still feel uncomfortable if I sense disapproval from someone. Granted, I don't feel uncomfortable with all disapproval. But disapproval from people I respect or people I wish would like me does not make me happy.

If you are like me, being a parent makes things a lot harder because suddenly you have a living, breathing example of who you are as a person walking around. A baby is a SUPER easy way for family, friends and strangers alike to judge you. Even when their behavior is not your fault, it can negatively reflect on you. Sometimes you can just see the disapproval in people's eyes.

My baby is only 3.5 months old, yet I already feel judged and disapproved of. Case in point: I'm afraid our daycare lady is going to fire us. Lucas has been uber fussy the past two days and he also just happened to be at daycare the past two days. Dan thinks I'm overreacting but hear me out.

The first time we met our DCP (daycare provider), one of the things I liked most was how friendly she was. We totally clicked, which was something that was missing with other DCPs we interviewed. The first few times I dropped Lucas off, she was the same - friendly, easy to talk to, happy to see us. (I'll just call her Brenda which is nowhere near what her real name is because it's not her fault my kid is a hot fussy mess so I don't want to incriminate her or otherwise negatively reflect on her.)

Ok so Lucas was with Brenda Wednesday and today this week. When I dropped Lucas off on Wednesday, Brenda was a little quieter than usual, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I called a little after lunch that day to see how Lucas was doing and Brenda said he was doing good - a teeny fussy but nothing big.

Then this morning when I dropped Lucas off, I got nothing. I said hi, she said hi and then she said nothing. I said, "Well he's having a bit of a rough morning." She then said in a flat voice, "Yeah he had a rough day yesterday. I jinxed it when I told you he was being good because he completely melted down after that." I was caught totally off guard because I don't pick him up in the afternoons (Dan does), so I had no clue that he'd had a bad afternoon. Basically, Brenda did not seem happy.

I unhooked Lucas from his car seat because he was still having fits of screaming, and he stopped crying. I had to leave for work so I handed Lucas to Brenda. He started smiling and laughing to her and she didn't even react. No smile or anything, which I think is kind-of impossible when my kid flashes his adorable grin (though I might be biased). Then she said, "Oh so you're happy now." I decided it was time to high-tail it out of there before Brenda changed her mind, handed Lucas back to me and told me I had to take him to work with me.

Dan had worked the night before, and he always calls me when he's on his way home from work. So when he called me I said, "I think Brenda hates Lucas." I expected him to tell me I'm crazy (which, let's face it, he's usually right). Instead he said, "Yeah, she was kind of weird when I picked him up yesterday."

My heart picked up speed and I said, "What do you mean??" He told me she was pretty quiet when he'd picked Lucas up yesterday and that she'd mentioned how fussy he was. This did it for me. If Dan noticed something, I decided there was definitely something going on. I was so afraid she was going to fire us that I didn't even call to check in on him because I really didn't want to know how he was doing. Based on how he was this morning, I knew the answer. I knew she'd tell me that she was certain I was Satan's mistress and Lucas was his spawn.

When I got home from work today, the first thing I asked Dan was, "Are we fired?" He said no but that Lucas was indeed a horrible ball of fuss today. In fact, Brenda told him that Lucas had started being happy for the first time all day about 15 minutes before Dan arrived to pick him up. Ack.

And now I have to face Brenda again tomorrow. I pray that Lucas does a 180 and is an angel child tomorrow. It took us forEVER to find Brenda and I really don't want to lose her. Because really, what kind of terrible sign would that be? Getting kicked out of places at 3 months. Not a good start as a kid.

And I don't really feel like having my first kid be a juvenile delinquent. If I'm going to have a horrible child, I'd rather it be one of the middle kids. That way I can say, "I don't know what happened, it can't have been our fault. Look at our first child! He's perfect." So memo to Lucas: you must be perfect. End of story.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I miss sleep

It's no secret to anyone that having a baby means you will sleep less. In fact, it seems like the one thing that everyone reminds you of when they find out you're pregnant. I could pay Lucas' way through college if I had a dollar for every time someone told me, "Get your sleep now because you won't get any when the baby gets here!"

I wish that were possible. If I could bank sleep, I would have banked it like it was my job when I was pregnant and then I'd be sitting pretty now. Only got four hours of sleep last night? No problem, just take two or three from the bank and you'll be good. Man, do I wish.

Never did I wish that more than today. I have been fighting a cold since last Friday, and Dan had to work. I put Lucas to bed at 8:45, 15 minutes earlier than usual but no big deal. I went up to bed at 10:30 and would have gone right to sleep but made the mistake of turning on the Olympics. Men's figure skating was on, and even though I don't like the men's skating as much as the women's, figure skating is one of my absolute favorite events of either Olympics, winter or summer. So of course I watched the skating until midnight.

Big mistake. About one hour after I fell asleep, at 1:15, Lucas started fussing. I went into his room, put his pacifier back in and sat there for a few minutes to make sure he wouldn't spit it back out immediately. Went back to my room, fell back to sleep. Repeat at 2:30. Repeat at 3:15. Repeat at 3:45. Repeat at 4:30. At that point, I tried to give Lucas a bottle, of which he took maybe an ounce. By then, my body was like, "What?" so it decided to revolt and stay awake for an hour or so. I laid in bed, feeling a sense of dread that any mother will be familiar with. If I go to sleep now, will he wake up 5 minutes later? I wanted to sleep so bad but I'd just as soon stay awake than fall asleep only to be woken up minutes after I dozed.

I eventually drifted off, and woke up at 6:15 to Lucas fussing once again. I had successfully ignored my 6:00 alarm, and when I woke up to the sounds of whimpers turning to full-out wails on the monitor, I looked over at the dog like, This is not happening. He looked at me like, You brought this on yourself, now go make that kid be quiet.

I dragged myself to his room, willing him to go to sleep after I put the pacifier in his mouth so I could get ready for the day. Instead, he was wide awake and hungry. I managed to shuffle my way through the rest of my morning routine, even succeeding in getting a bit of make-up on my face so I wouldn't look so exhausted. I somehow made it through the day, and now I'm going to bed in hopes that tonight will be a better night. And if it's not, I can at least take comfort knowing that Dan will be off work tomorrow night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eye of the Tiger

Today is one of those days when I'd love nothing more than to be home with Lucas, watching Ellen and The Price is Right. It's been snowing all morning, starting with those big, fat, fluffy flakes that make you want to curl up in bed or on the couch with a hot cup of whatever floats your boat (tea, coffee, cocoa, bourbon) and just laze the day away with a good book or your favorite show on DVD.

Alas, this is not possible for me today, so here I sit, blogging on my lunch hour because it's cold out and I don't feel like going outside and getting the hem of my too-big (more on that later) and too-long pants all wet. Want to know what I've done today? While my boss was in a meeting in his office, he asked me to sit on the phone holding for him because he had a question to ask whoever he was calling. Want to know how long I was on hold? An hour and a half. I'm not even kidding. And my boss had been holding for half an hour before that. So we were on hold for a collective two hours before he finally told me to just hang up. Yeah, I had to hang up. No one ever came to the phone after TWO HOURS. My ear hurts.

So, not to give myself a major pat on the back, but my pants are too big. "Why is this?" you might be wondering. They are too big because I've been on Weight Watchers for 3 weeks and have lost 9 lbs. so far! I'm really pumped, and am starting to see why people who do WW tend to keep the weight off after they reach their goal. It's not because it's easy, but WW teaches you what an acceptable amount of food is. Seeing what I've been eating on WW compared to what I used to eat when I thought I had been "good" on any given day makes it painfully obvious why I am so far above my goal weight. So, 9 lbs. down, 31 to go (cue Rocky music).

On a related note, I somehow now enjoy exercising. I don't know where this came from, as I used to despise working out. And actually, now that I think about it, despise is a really mild word for my feelings towards working out. Abhor? Detest? Loathe? All those words seem so inadequate, but I guess they'll have to do. Anyway, some switch must have flipped when I was pregnant with Lucas, because once he was born, I was chomping at the bit to be cleared to exercise.

I started out with the 30 Day Shred, but once Level One was taken off Free Exercise TV OnDemand (and Level Two made me want to cry), I moved on to Walking for Weightloss, just to keep myself moving. I liked it, but it was a bit too easy. Now I'm doing the Couch to 5K running program with my friend Theresa. The only problem is that we have nowhere to run while it's cold and nasty out! I'm trying to find a gym that has a super-cheap monthly membership fee, but as of now no such luck. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day

I was lucky enough to get a snow day today. Since I work for the teacher's union, if all three of the districts I support call off because of snow, my boss can close the office for the day. Yesterday at work we were all talking about how today would probably be a snow day, so I had a feeling that I wouldn't be working today.

Lucas must have had a feeling too, because he decided to play a little game with me last night. Except for this game was about as fun as a round of Bloody Knuckles. We had gotten into a really good pattern - bed time around 9:30 or 10, and he'd sleep until 6 or 6:30, which is just about perfect. But last night, Lucas decided it would be a barrel of laughs if he went down at 9:30 and wake up at 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, etc. I finally got tired of going into the nursery to put his pacifier back in and took him out of his swing to come sleep in bed with me. (I know, I know, HUUUUGE no-no, but whatever. Keep reading.)

So Lucas settles down next to me with my arm under his head and I doze off. Right as I fall into a nice peaceful sleep, Lucas starts squirming around. And then we went another 40 rounds of spit the paci out, put it back in, each round spaced out with enough time in between for me to reach almost-sleep. So instead of getting the desired result - sleep - I ended up laying in bed half-awake, cursing the day Dan decided to work nights. So see, all you anti-bed-sharers, the punishment fit the crime. So it was a good thing I had a snow day today because I am doubtful that I'd have had the energy to make it through work after such a terrible night.

And now, I'm going to sign off and watch a movie with my husband who has not been off work since Sunday and had not been off before that since Thursday. More scintillating and fantastically well-written blog posts to come later!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back to Work

I have so many things to say and not enough time to say them! For right now I'll just say that the purpose of this blog is twofold: first, to give myself a forum to talk about my experiences as I attempt to figure out how to navigate life as a working mother and wife; and second, to give the people what they want (namely, concentrated amounts of the zillions of thoughts that enter my head at any given time during the day). So lucky you!

Also, I'm not really sure how these blog-thingys work. I was going to make the title just a working concept and change it later since I'm 67% sure I unintentionally stole it from an already-published book. However, since I've already created a domain name using this title, I guess I'll just have to stick with it and send my apologies to the author I may or may not have plagiarized.

Hopefully I'll get more time later today to publish the first official post of this newly-launched blog, but if not, just stay tuned. I'm bound to crack sooner or later, and I'm going to need a place to unpack all my frazzled thoughts.