Thursday, February 28, 2013

Apprehension is normal, right?

Eeek! It's getting closer! Quite frankly, it makes me really nervous.

The milestone we want to achieve before TTC is a financial one. And thanks to Dave Ramsey, it keeps getting closer & closer. The way things are right this very minute, we'd start trying in just a few short months.

But... because we're doing so well on the program, making extra payments, etc... it's likely to be even closer than that.
Eeek

We talked about it over the weekend. We both have concerns because our marital problems did start soon after Jena was born. Will another child be another stressor to our lives that we have difficulty overcoming? Both individually and together?

I worry about being able to handle another child, considering I currently do 95% of the childcare, and 90% of what-little-housework-manages-to-get-done.

Of course, we both worry about how Jena will adapt to not getting all of the attention, not only from us, but from grandparents, aunts & uncles, etc (she's the 1st grandbaby on my side, and the only one in town - and the 1st girl born on Jason's side in 2 generations, and the only child under the age of 15). Let's just say she may not be spoiled in material goods, or lack of structure/discipline, but she is definitely spoiled when it comes to the amount of undivided attention she gets.

If I'm being honest, I do go back & forth.

Between my brain... and my heart.

Because in my heart I do not feel like our family is complete just yet. I feel like there is somethingone missing.

I don't want to make any stupid decisions, but at the same time I don't want to end up at 50 yrs old, deciding NOW we can handle it, still feeling this ache in my heart, only now it's too late.

I think it is time. And I imagine most of our apprehension is normal. Right?

Anyway, we did toy with the idea of waiting a bit longer to start TTC, even if we reach our financial milestone before then. My reasons are heart-reasons. Jason's reasons are mind-reasons. Typical, I know, LOL.

In the meantime, I'm preparing. I go for my yearly at the Ob soon, and will be discussing it with him, including anything I might possibly be able to do to avoid the difficult L&D experience of last time. I plan to bring up the idea of a scheduled C-section. Although not usually a fan, I do understand that there's a chance that will be the safest route for me & (hopefully future) baby.

I've quit my endocrine meds cold turkey, due to side effects. I don't see him again until next month to discuss alternative treatment options. Honestly though, as long as my endocrine levels remain normalized, I'd be okay with not going back on anything, especially considering we may TTC in the near future (the meds I was on I would have to quite a full 60 days prior to TTC to avoid birth defects & other complications).

We even gone so far as to discuss whether or not Jena would attend school while I'm on maternity leave. I say 'yes'. First of all, to give me some time to adjust to baby #2, and secondly because she won't really be in "pre"school anymore. She'll be at least in kindergarten, and that would be a lot of time to miss from "regular" school.

We've also discussed the financial impact. How this time we can start saving as soon as we TTC, or before, how we have a better idea of what to expect (not just financially either!), how our new insurance actually covers more maternity costs, how since I'm now a permanent employee I can get paid short-term-disability, etc, etc, etc. We were in a pretty good place financially before. But this time we will be in a much better financial place.

So much so that I should be able to take a full 12-week maternity leave without serious repercussions to our budget.

Which is good, because I'm planning to. Six weeks may be enough for most some, but it definitely was not for me. And no, not in a I-don't-wanna-leave-my-baby way, but in a medical- and emotional- preparation way, due to medical complications & Post Partum Depression. I'd rather plan for 12 weeks off, not need it all, and end up with some extra home-with-baby time, then plan for 6 weeks, then end up needing more time, like happened before.

So I guess... that's where we are right now. A bit long, I know, but thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

She needs a mirror, I think.

We discussed this for a good 15 minutes or so. She insists they look exactly alike.

Cracks me up. We finally compromised by saying they looked alike because they're both beautiful.

I love that kid.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

We are not guaranteed tomorrow

My friend passed away early yesterday morning.

While they believe the cause to be a brain aneurysm, the family has requested an autopsy to confirm cause of death.

Please hold her family in your prayers. I am particularly concerned about her daughter. She is roughly 10 yrs old, and to the best of my knowledge the father is not in the picture at all.

Enjoy yourself. It's later than you think. -- Chinese proverb

Friday, February 22, 2013

Got it?

I got word last night that a friend of mine (extended family, really) in her 40s was found unconscious in the bathroom at her work. They suspect a brain aneurysm, and believe she is brain dead.

But they are transporting her to a different (ie more advanced) hospital. So there is hope.

Of course there is hope. We know there is hope. Although drugs are not believed to be involved, the similarities between her & my nephew are easy to see. So of course there is hope.

But there is also worry, fear, anxiety, stress, sadness, worry, worry, worry.

I would just like to say, for the record, that I am ready to be done with death, near death, critical health care issues.

We have had way too many the past year or so, and I'm ready for everyone to be healthy and whole.

Got it?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I really should probably make that appointment with my therapist.

All this talk about having another baby someday, even though it's a "hopefully", and it's in the future, and we're not even TTC yet... well, I've been having flashbacks to my L&D experience w/ Jena.

This morning's was especially bad. I could feel the pain.

Oh, and now remembering the remembering I can feel it again... oh my God!

I ended up bawling my eyes out in the bathroom over the pain.

It wasn't the pain of the contractions, or of pushing, or of her actual delivery... it was after she was born.

When the nurses were pushing on my abdomen trying to get my uterus to contract and Lord it hurt so bad and I was crying and crying and crying and the poor nurse kept apologizing and telling me she had to do it to control the bleeding and I was like "I know you do" but it hurt sooooooooooooo bad

And the last thing I remember is looking at my mom's face as she came in to be at my bedside and then they gave me something to render me unconscious because they couldn't control the pain.

I've always said that if I ever get pregnant again I should probably see a therapist to help me prepare for L&D, but with the way these flashbacks are coming, I'm wondering if I should go ahead & start.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Valentine Cookies

Well, one of my goals for 2013 is to learn to make pretty cookies. You know, something like this:




 
source
  Seriously, I am apparently lacking in the cookie-making department. I don't know why, but it's a struggle for me. I try, especially at Christmas time, to make pretty sugar cookies, but to no avail. And so that is one of my goals for this year.

My first attempt was at Valentine's Day. My goal was simple: ice pretty hearts on cookies. These are some of the better ones -

 

Honestly, about half of them came out with pink blobby-looking circles on them.

But my friends told me they were still yummy, so I guess that's something.

Looks like I need some more practice!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Product Review: Firmoo Glasses

I recently had the opportunity to try a pair of Firmoo glasses.

If you're not familiar with Firmoo, they are an online eyeglass store, selling prescription or fashion eyeglasses, as well as sunglasses.

Now, as someone who recently had Lasik, I was a little hesitant. Clearly I don't need prescription glasses anymore. But I decided I'd give the idea of fashion glasses a shot.

I picked out a pair that I loved (seriously, almost made me wish I didn't have my eyes fixed, LOL) and ordered them. They arrived in about a week, along with a hard case, a soft case, and a cleaning cloth.

The glasses themselves are sturdy, and appear to be excellent quality, same as you would get from your eye doctor.

I know, you probably want a picture, right? Well, a little disclaimer before I post.

Ya'll know that I'm completely fashion-stupid, right? And have no idea how to dress my body, right? Well, apparently the same goes for my face.

I still love them. Still think they're about the coolest pair of glasses I've ever owned, I just don't care for how they look on me. But put that on me, 'kay? Not the company's fault I picked a dud.

Or did I? I don't like my hair short either, but so far I'm the only one. Maybe it'll be the same with the glasses.

So, without further ado... me in Firmoo.


So, what say my readers?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Guest Post: The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Mental Health

As my regular readers know, both substance abuse and mental health are issues near & dear to my heart, so I was understandably excited to get this guest post from Reginald Guerrerro.

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The Relationship Between Substance Abuse and Mental HealthBoth substance abuse and mental health issues are serious problems that people face daily. Neither of them is a joke, and individuals can be seriously hurt by the consequences of these conditions. When we talk about substance abuse, what exactly is its connection to mental health? Read on to find out!

Deterioration

Substance abuse can often lead to a lot of problems with a person's mental health. The addiction to a substance, whether it be alcohol or a drug, does not only have to be physical, it can also be mental. In a person's mind, he or she might truly believe that the substance is a driving force that gets him or her through the day. As a result of these beliefs, one's mental health can really take a downward spiral.

Perception

Substance abuse can also change the way that a person perceives him or herself, as well the surrounding environment. As a result, one's mental health may be changed. It's common to distrust family and friends, or think that everyone is trying to harm you. Body image problems are common too, and its common to eventually feel like there's no use participating in beloved activities or anything common to general society as a whole.

Therapy as Treatment
Therapy is a way of strengthening one's mental health, and substance abuse is no exception to this rule. Yes, medications or rehab might be used to help wean a person off of drugs or alcohol, but an underlying problem might cause one to participate in these dangerous activities in the first place. Simply speaking with someone before a problem manifests can often ensure  that it's nipped in the bud.

Simultaneous Treatment Programs
Now, just because a person has a mental health issue does not mean that he or she abuses drugs or alcohol. Likewise, an individual who abuses one or more of these substances does not necessarily have a mental health issue. However, sometimes these struggles do go hand in hand. As a result, many treatment programs seek to address both of them. Through a variety of methods, trained professionals are able to lead those who suffer away from this darkness and into a better place, by addressing both of these issues at the same time. Therefore, the two often have a close connection.

The relationship between substance abuse and mental health is very complicated. Furthermore, a substance abuse program is not always indicative of a mental health issue - other factors could be the cause. Despite these facts, a connection is often found to exist, and it's important to recognize and understand the issues. With knowledge under your belt, you can truly live life to the fullest and move on from your problems.

Reginald Guerrerro writes about health and education. A substance abuse center administrator, he loves to write about the best online MHA programs.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Toot Toot Tootsie GoodBye


We have said good-bye to our beloved Tootsie



She's been sick for two years, but in the span of a few short weeks her condition went downhill very quickly, deteriorating ever-rapidly her last three days.



The growth on her side continued to grow. Quickly. Within three weeks it went from tiny knot on her side, to a growth nearly 6 inches in diameter. She couldn't sit or lie down without rubbing it.


But she was hanging in there. But her last two days she was suddenly unable to get up. At all. Not even sit up. She had no strength. We had to bring food & water to her, clean up after her, etc.


It was time.

There was no doubt, no question. We knew her heart condition was incurable.
We suspected her growth to be cancer. We knew her age was at the maximum expected life span for her breed. It was time.

And so, we had her euthanized.
It doesn't take away the feeling of loss, but there is comfort in knowing that she is not suffering any longer.


Stupid dog. Making me cry.

Goodbye Tootsie. Big Dog #2. The momma of the pack. Brown dog. Daddy's dog.

You are missed.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Words & Answers

Listening: to Strawberry Shortcake on Netflix
Eating: chicken wrap

Drinking: water

Wearing: frilly blouse, skinny slacks, boots

Feeling: tired

Weather: beautiful, unexpected, snow

Wanting: time, money, & skill to finish a few projects around the house

Needing: nothing at the moment

Thinking: about next week - what needs to be done, what wants to be done, how to work things around to manage

Enjoying: leading our small group. I generally feel completely incompetent in re: leading the course, but we have a great group and I enjoy the discussions each week.

Loving: my family
*****************
this post inspired by this post

Friday, February 15, 2013

Sure is nice, isn't it?

Today Jason is taking Jena skiing & tubing. No need for me to get her clothes out, make her breakfast, argue with her over getting dressed, fight with her about fixing her hair, no drive to preschool, no drop off, then another drive to work.

I enjoyed a few extra minutes of sleep. Folded a load of laundry while watching Netflix, and after checking the time, allowed myself to finish the show once I was done with the laundry.

I finished getting ready for work, and when Jena cried because she wanted cuddles with Mommy, I crawled into bed next to her, shoes already on, ready to leave, and held her & talked with her for a few minutes. Then I kissed my family good-bye and headed out the door.

What a blessed morning. Extra sleep, chore done, leisurely watching a show, cuddle time with my daughter... and still early for work? Who could ask for more?

With all that extra activity, but minus having to do any child care this morning, I got to work 30 minutes early.

On the drive, I let my mind wander to my husband, to my male co-workers. No wonder so many of them get to work early. No wonder Jason can roll out of bed & be out the door in 20 minutes. No wonder so many of my male co-workers start the day early. They, too, can roll out of bed and be out the door in no time, as their wives, being SAHMs, can take care of the children for them. It makes a little more sense now, how they seem to do so so very easily.

And I decide, as I'm walking across the parking lot, that if any of them make a remark about me being early (which is sure to happen), I will remind them of how blessed they are.

Before I could even sit down got a comment from one of the men I work with, someone I generally like very much, but who, as I mentioned in a previous post, has a wife who stays home with their children and while he is one of the more sympathetic ones, really doesn't understand the idea of a working mom. And while he is typically very sweet (seriously, he's great & really is one of my favorites), he also can have a bit of a holier-than-though judgemental streak at times.

"Wow! You're here so early I had to check the clock to make sure my morning wasn't slipping away!" he says in that judgemental tone he does so well.
"Well, it's not every day that I have a spouse to handle my child care for me. Sure is nice, isn't it?" I say, smiling sweetly at him.
Silence. He doesn't even respond. And while we usually have friendly banter throughout the day, he hasn't spoken to me since.

I think my point has been made.

I don't know for sure what he's thinking, but his silence tells me he is indeed thinking. And I hope that it's not just thoughts about not judging your co-workers, but I also hope his mind wanders to how much his wife does for him, how much she really does to take care of their children & their home. And a part of me is hoping that he brings her a dozen roses tonight, just because he's had a subtle reminder of how blessed he is by her.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I really do like our plan as it is

Sometimes I think the universe, nature, fate, God - somebody wants me to have a baby, like NOW.

Now, yes, I want another baby. But since Jason came to me with his announcement, we have a plan. TTC is still a few months away. I'm good with that. I feel that the plan is what is best for our family.

But these things keep happening, and I can't help but start to feel like maybe we're missing the hint giant flashing billboard.

First, there was the whole IUD-expelling-itself thing. That was big.

Then, there was the whole patch-came-off-unexplicably, thought-I-might-be-pregnant thing.

About a month or so after that, I went to get my next month's supply of patches, and the pharmacy informed me I had no more refills, and would need to see my doctor to get a refill.

Except... I wasn't due for my yearly for another 4 months, insurance won't cover it before then, and why didn't I have more refills?!? My Ob writes the script for 12 months at a time!

Pharmacy said their hands were tied, they couldn't do it.

I called my Ob and confirmed that I should have another 4 months on the prescription. They called it in for me, and we scheduled my yearly, & I picked up my birth control... 2 days after I should have started it.

Three months later... I go to pick up next month's supply of patches, and the pharmacy informs me that the insurance isn't paying anything on it, so I owe $90. They say the insurance company didn't deny it, but it shows as processed with a benefit of $0 (they normally cover over $70). Neither Jason nor I want to pay $90.

So I finally figure out that apparently January 1st my pharmacy benefit changed and now we have to use the on-site pharmacy at work (which is pretty cool). The insurance will only cover "emergency" call-ins to other pharmacies, and for no more than a 30-day supply.
When I called my Ob about the Rx, I gave them the number for the on-site pharmacy, but my old pharmacy which was on file, so the insurance covered it, but only for 30 days. When I realized this (which took me about an hour of digging thru my policy, since I can't find a freakin' phone number to call the insurance company directly), I called the on-site pharmacy and asked them to have the Rx transferred there. With any luck this means we'll only be one day late on starting the next cycle of patches, and chances of getting pregnant will be slim to none.
Assuming I'm right on the "why" that is...

I don't know about you, but I'm just really starting to feel like all these things are lining up to push our plan up a few months. Or as soon as possible.

I guess we'll see what happens, but I really do like our plan as it is.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Old Clothes

I weeded out some clothes recently.

Old clothes. Clothes that I haven't been able to wear since before I got pregnant.

I kept a couple of my absolute favorites. The rest have been boxed up to be placed in the yard sale we plan to have this Spring.

It's time that I faced it. When the time comes that I do fit into those clothes again (and I will... someday), they are already at least five years old. When I am that size again, they may not fit my body the same since having a child, or I may no longer like them on me. When I am that size again, they most likely will not be in style, considering they are already at least five years old.

So, yard sale it is.

I also began the task of sorting thru Jena's old clothes. I haven't done a total purge since we moved into this house over two years ago. Mini-purges to keep it under control, but not a major one.

So I'm washing all of them, and sorting them. My absolute favorites go into a storage bin in the case we ever have another girl. The rest are being boxed to go to Once Upon a Child or be distributed to friends who have little girls younger than Jena. Anything not taken will end up in the same yard sale.

And yes, a few of Jason's things found their way into the yard sale box as well. Not sure that he even noticed.
It feels good. This purging, cleaning. Feels new. Fresh. Good.

As always, thanks for checking in.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Surroundings

I keep thinking about my previous post, and the related one following, and my thoughts have led me to the topic of the people with whom we surround ourselves.

It seems like something that most people don't put conscious effort into, yet maybe we should. Because the truth is that the people who surround us do have a direct effect on us personally.

If we spend enough time with someone, they often rub off on us, good or bad.

And of course there's the obvious fact that everything we do affects others, so it is even moreso for those with whom we spend large amounts of time.

I keep thinking about my first post, and I do think it's straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back sort of thing. After nine years of not "fitting in", it was just too much. I broke (I'm better now, no longer irritated by it at all, thanks for asking :)

And isn't this true of everyone we allow into our lives? Sometimes they break us.

The friend that just takes too much energy to be around, eventually gets to be too much - a drain.
The relative that constantly complains, is repeatedly negative, never anything good to say - a downer.
The spouse that betrays our trust - a heart breaker.

Eventually, we break. The more we've let them in, the more broken we are.

Likewise, there are those who lift us up.

The friend who quietly trudges along in her workouts, and her body transformation comes to mind every time we drag ourselves to get some more exercise - an inspiration.
The relative who always has a kind word, is always happy to hear from us, no matter what - a solace
The same spouse, who does tasks that we don't - a helper.

Can we avoid being influenced by those around us? No, I really don't think so.

But we can guard our hearts and our minds. We can be aware of how others influence us.

We can gently speak to those who upset us, trying to ease the burden of being with them. We can choose to back away from relationships which repeatedly drag us down.
We can be appreciative of those who influence us for the better. We can choose to spend time & effort building up relationships which leave us feeling lifted.

But maybe more importantly, we can look inward. We can examine our selves, our lives, and make a conscious effort to be an uplifting, encouraging, positive influence on those around us. We can be someone's refuge, someone's joy, someone's friend. We can be the good influence on the world.

And isn't that what we all should try to be anyway?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Out of the mouth of FireGirl

I took my shoes off because it's a great day & I want my feet to feel the grass.

No! Don't be a grown up! Be a kid! Like me! Grown ups are boring!

Mommy, can I marry you? and Daddy?


I know why kids are bad. Because their mom & dad never taught them to be nice.

The sunset is so beautiful! It's amazing! Only God could make something like that!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It means a WHOLE lot

Last night we reviewed our monthly budget.

The financial targets we (Jason, LOL) want to hit before TTC are on schedule to occur within the year.

In fact, with some funds we are expecting to receive in the next few months, it may be in nine months or less.

This makes Jason nervous, LOL.

Me too, actually.

We briefly discussed what we would do to prepare financially once we TTC. Minimum of 10 months to build up additional savings (prior to that we will be hammering down debt).

We also briefly discussed the feasibility of me staying home after #2 (hopefully) comes.

I'm not gonna lie... as excited as I am at the prospect of adding to our family, I'm also very anxious. But with regards to our marriage, the fact that Jason is talking about having another child... well, sometimes I think him being willing to discuss it actually means more to me than the fact that he said 'yes'.

Just knowing that he was open enough to the idea to listen to me, to strongly consider something I wanted so badly, without just dismissing it without consideration... yeah, that means a whole lot.

And the fact that he's come around? Well that's just awesome.

Thanks for checking in.

Friday, February 8, 2013

And when she was good, she was very, very good...

... But when she was bad she was horrid.

How in the world did Henry Wadsworth Longfellow know my child?!?

My mom reminded me of this poem (nursery rhyme?) the other day. She said Jena reminder her of it. Regularly.
There was a little girl, who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead,
And when she was good, she was very, very good,
But when she was bad she was horrid.

She stood on her head, on her little trundle bed,
With nobody by for to hinder;
She screamed and she squalled, she yelled and she bawled,
And drummed her little heels against the winder.

Her mother heard the noise, and thought it was the boys
Playing in the empty attic,
She rushed upstairs, and caught her unawares,
And spanked her, most emphatic.

-- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Yep, that 3rd & 4th line fit my baby to a tee.

Because there is very little middle ground with her.

When Jena is good, she is very very good. She's an angel. She's gosh darn near perfect. Seriously. She's sweet & kind & generous and all kinds of good things.

The last time she went to the babysitter, the sitter told me that she should be paying me to watch her, because Jena is so sweet & well-behaved & helpful. We hear this regularly from care givers, teachers, other adults, etc, etc, etc. We experience it ourselves. When I say my kid is awesome, I really mean it. I honestly have never seen a better behaved child in my life.

Except...

when she's not.

When she's bad, well, she's horrid. She screams at the top of her lungs, kicks, hits, spits in your face. She is stubborn as her momma a mule and twice as strong. She will throw tantrums, lie flat on the floor (in public) throw things, and if all else fails (or she just wants to make it interesting) she will try to outsmart you. And make no mistake, my child is very, very smart.

Oh, yes... when she is good, she is amazing. But when she is bad, well, that's pretty amazing to see as well.

There is very little middle ground with this child. It is rare for me to say "oh, she just threw a little fit today". Nope. Either she's good or bad. Never just okay. Never just a little misbehaving. It's very very good, or very very bad. Period.

"And when she was good, she was very, very good.
But when she was bad she was horrid"

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Inside the Mind of Depression

This article articulates so well what I have been unable to. The following paragraph particularly speaks to me, and my past experience with depression.

"Everything is irritating. Work is boring and unbearable. Any activity takes many times more effort, as if every movement requires displacing quicksand to make it. What was challenging feels overwhelming; what was sad feels unbearable; what felt joyful feels pleasureless—or, at best, a fleeting drop of pleasure in an ocean of pain."

Read full article here.

Everything was irritating - yep

Work was boring & unbearable - I myself struggled to understand why a job I once loved suddenly became so dreadful. In tears, can barely force myself to go dreadful

Any activity took many times more effort - oh my goodness, yes

What was previously challenging felt overwhelming - can I get a witness?

What was previously sad felt unbearable - check

What previously felt joyful felt pleasureless - numb was more like it

It is only with the hindsight of healing that I can look back on the 2+ years I spent under the cloud of depression that I can see how the depression itself colored my world.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Exacerbating Discontent

So my earlier post reminded me of something that had been on my mind before.

The part about how I work in a culture where the vast majority of the wives (because I work with primarily men) are SAHMs / housewives.

There have been times in the past when I was lamenting about having to work (particularly when I was struggling thru my depression), when it did occur to me that what if part of the reason I was unhappy in my situation had more to do with the people I was surrounded with, than with my actual situation.

Does that make sense?

Because for 40 hours a week I am surrounded by men who do not seem to comprehend the idea of a wife  (especially a mom) working because her family needs her income.

Now, if I were a high-powered career woman, maybe. There are a very few men here who are married to executives at other companies, doctors, lawyers, etc.

But a "low" paying (it's decent pay, but I'm saying from their perspective) job, not a career? Unheard of.

They simply do not comprehend the struggles of a working mom. They can't. Not only are they not working moms, their spouses aren't either.

These are people who have SAHMs who put their kids in daycare and have a cleaning lady.

The idea of a mom who works full time outside the home, is the primary caregiver of the children, and who handles the household chores is not in their realms of comprehension.

Oh, they know it, as in they know it on the surface. But they have no real understanding of it.

I've been told that leaving to pick up Jena from daycare (because I refuse to leave her there for 10 hours on a regular basis) was at first perceived to be a lack of dedication to my job. Until I explained it to them.

I don't have a spouse or paid nanny to pick up my child. Leaving work after putting in a full day is what I have to do, it's part of my life. I'm not lacking in dedication to my job, I just have a stronger dedication to my child.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've sometimes wondered if I instead worked with a group that was primarily working moms, would my outlook be different? Would I feel more support, and therefore be happier with my situation myself?

In the end, while I don't think you can fully explain my dissatisfaction at working FT outside the home by the co-workers I am surrounded with, I do think it's an environment that exacerbates existing discontent.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm good with that

The other night, as I was walking to my car after work, I was thinking about paying bills, and sending Jena off to big kid school in a couple of years, and blah, blah, blah, and how our next child would be our last.

One more and done.

And not a moment later, I realized it's the first time I've ever so much as had that thought "... and done"

And... I'm content with that.

I guess this is what people mean when they say they knew they were done after such-and-such a kid. I've never had that feeling before, I've always felt like we weren't done, and I knew I'd be lucky blessed if Jason ever even wanted just one more, but I always felt like I would want even more than that.

First time I've ever, ever even thought "... and done."

And I'm good with that.

For a couple of reasons.

Not only does it feel good to be on the same page - he's good with having one more kid, I'm good with only having one more kid, but...

In a way I feel like with some of the anxiety I've been having lately over whether or not we should have another child (considering the complications & such with our first), well, I kinda feel like this resolves some of the anxiety. Not that I don't need to be concerned, talk to my doctors, take pre-emptive steps to prepare and try to prevent what complications we might possibly have any control over, but...

I kinda feel like this is confirmation that yes, one more child is supposed to be, one more child is what my heart was created for, one more child is who I was called to be a mother to.

And that gives me peace, peace that yes, this is good, we are on the right track, we are making the right decision.

Yep. One more, and done. And I'm good with that.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I'm Mad at a Luxury Vehicle

I'm in a funk. Actually, I'm really irritated about something. Something stupid. But I haven't been able to shake it, so I'm writing about it here in hopes to get it out of my system.

One of my co-workers bought a new Lexus. And it ticks me off.

For no reason at all. I mean, why should I be in a funk because someone else bought a car? Makes no sense, right? Exactly! That's why I have to get it out my system. Hence, the writing.

This is not an unusual development. Stuff like this happens all the time. So maybe it's just a straw-broke-the-camel's-back sort of thing.

For the past nine years, I've worked with people who make (in my perspective) a lot of money. Co-workers just one level above me make about what Jason & I make combined. And it increases the higher on the totem pole you get. Understandably.

And since I work with a lot of men, this means that with few exceptions, their wives are all stay-at-home-moms. Most of them live in nice houses in nice subdivisions and drive nice cars. They wear name brand clothing (Polo Ralph Lauren seems to be the brand of choice). They go on vacations that are on my "dream" list. With few exception they all belong to a gym. The children attend private schools and take dance / gymnastic / karate classes at expensive private studios. Many of them have cleaning ladies that come weekly. Because I am friends with several of the wives, I know that they shop for... whatever... pretty much whenever they feel like it, with little worry for the budget. They buy ridiculously expensive dogs from "breeders". They pay for doggy day care. The list goes on & on.

And for the first time, possibly in my life, this bothers me (see camel-back reference above). I don't know why it bothers me, I can't even tell you how it bothers me. I wouldn't classify it as jealousy (the obvious answer), or resentment, or... anything but just being irritable about the whole thing.

I have worked with these people for nine years. I like them. We are friends. Some of them I consider almost as extended family. I know their wives & children. We hang out. They are nice to me.

But when I pulled up to my co-worker's house, and saw the brand new Lexus SUV sitting there, it pissed me off. I knew he was trading in his vehicle. I kind of assumed maybe for a minivan, since they recently had another child. But a luxury SUV?

I think in a way it's a feeling of being left out. Maybe.

Because in my group, in the 50 people sitting nearest to me, I am the only one not at this financial level. Sometimes it feels like an exclusive club to which I will never belong.

I don't want to come across like I'm whining, although maybe I am. It's just... like I said it's like they all belong to this club that I just can't get into. When it comes to anything financially speaking, we just can't relate to one another. Nine years later, this is one area that we cannot connect thru.

At best, I stand there and smile during their conversations, pretending like I know what it's like to have problems like "having" to replace all the furniture in your house because you moved into your brand new custom built giant house and now nothing "goes".

At worst, I've actually manage to end conversations by saying things like how we altered travel plans because of the high gas prices. Why? Because this would never occur to them. And now they feel bad. And then I feel bad for making them feel bad. And... insert awkward silence until someone has the presence of mind to change the subject.

And I don't want it to seem like I think they don't deserve it, or anything. I am not a punish-the-rich type of gal. I'm happy for them. I'm glad that they have that type of financial freedom. I know them personally, so I know that they've worked for it. Hard. They've gone thru add'l schooling, all of them have bachelor's degrees, many of them have their masters. They put in long hours. They spend numerous nights away from their families. They have earned every dime.

I just... I just feel like an outsider whenever these things come up, and I'm tired of it, and Jason & I work hard too, and maybe I want to buy a luxury vehicle without sacrificing our mortgage payment or not have to argue about whether or not we can afford the YMCA or maybe I freakin' wanna be able to buy one stinkin' outfit without worrying that I'm busting our budget!

I'm sorry. This is such a long & rambling post. Maybe I thought about deleting it. Maybe I decided I won't because surely someone else out there can relate. Maybe I think everyone can relate at some point in time, not necessarily about the money issue, but about another way they feel like an outsider and they can't break thru and it just gets to be too much.

So that's my long rambling post about being mad at a luxury vehicle. Thanks for checking in.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Parenting Advice from FireWife

Never change your clothes before bath time. Always after bath time.


If your spouse / other parent / responsible adult is home, lock the door during your shower.
Take the key with you, to prevent your better half from barging in. Not that he ever has. Ahem.



Hide the cookies. Eat them only after the kiddos have gone to bed. Same goes for popsicles.



Do not wipe the diaper cream off on your pants.
Some creams stain some clothing.
I haven't figured out why some & not others, so just don't do it.



Always send a spare outfit to daycare / preschool. Always. Even after they're 100% (ha! ha!) pottytrained.


When teaching your kids about brushing teeth, don't ever tell them that if they don't do it their teeth will fall out.
Because then you will find yourself in an endless loop of trying to explain that they have baby teeth which will fall out, and that's okay, but you still have to brush your teeth, and... OMGoodness, just don't say it!


Memorize which restaurants have play areas.
So whether you want one or not, you won't be surprised when you arrive.



When your kid starts school / preschool / daycare, buy shirts for holidays ahead of time.
I recommend solid colors that they can wear again, but the facility will ask them to dress for the holidays, around age 3 your child will care if you don't do it, and if you wait too late even WalMart will be sold out of everything green the night before St. Patrick's Day. Trust me on this one.



 Remember that for every kid, what they are living is "normal"
Like how Jena sometimes asks why Daddy is coming home, but her friend couldn't believe that Jena's daddy was working on a Sunday (Father's Day, no less).

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Things I Did Before I Was a Parent

- returned the shopping cart to the cart corral. Always.
Sorry, cart retrievers. Nothing personal. Just depending on my parking space I may not be willing to leave my child unattended in the car. And you try to keep a preschooler in the cart until you return it when she's ready to get out.
side note - I feel guilty every. single. time.

- I worked overtime whenever I was asked, without a second thought
With a small child, and a husband who's often gone, it's just not possible now. Overtime must be planned in advance. And no, I will not leave my child in day care for 14 hours because you, as my supervisor, did not plan ahead.
I do make exceptions for the rare emergency. But I have a pretty strict definition of emergency, and it's only happened once since Jena was born (earthquake & tsunami in Japan - we had people there when it happened that needed to be located & their safety confirmed)

- I We had more sex
We still manage to do pretty well in this department, but the fact is that middle-of-the-afternoon, just-because-you-feel-like-it just doesn't happen anymore. Pretty much ever.

- We took more big trips
We still put a priority on vacations, but with a child there's extra expense to a budget that's already stretched, plus the factor of traveling with a child and finding things to entertain said child, so... we aim for more smaller trips now. And all but one (our anniversary trip) tends to be centered around a certain preschooler.

- We ate worse (yep, it's possible...)
Not only am I conscious of what I feed Jena, the fact is she like fruits & veggies, more than any child I've ever seen. So we're constantly stocked. She inspires me to eat healthier.

- I was more self-conscious
Oh, I still have my moments. But when I'm with her, it's all about her. If me acting like a big goofball makes her happy, so be it. If she wants or needs me to do something that probably makes me look like an idiot, so what? it's done.

- I was more judgemental
I've actually always tried to be very non-judgemental, but the truth is that I'm a work in progress. And having a child has helped me understand, empathize, and sympathize with others (not just parents)  in a way that I just could not before.

- I hated my body
Oh sure, I know my body could be in better shape, I'd like to lose weight, etc. But before I had a kid? I despised my body. Even when I weighed less than I do now, it was never good enough. Even though I was healthy, and anywhere from 10 to 30 lbs lighter than I am now... I never liked it. Now... sure I have some trouble spots, but now I see a mom's body - the body that carried & bore our daughter. And I'm good with that.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Quotes Worth Repeating

"It's all about not being stupid."  (re: parenting)  -- my manager

"People talk different in Kentucky than talk in Ohio." -- Jena

"You know corn poo-poo? You should NOT pick out the corn and eat it."  -- Jena
while I'm thrilled that she knows this, I'm terrified why she knows this

"Anyone who can't tell you why they're angry with you, isn't really angry with you. They're the ones who have done something wrong and either they're mad at themselves, or they're trying to find a way to bring you down to their level. Don't fall for it. Think about it - if you had actually done something wrong, they'd just tell you what it is, wouldn't they?"  -- my sister

"Freaking out does not help!"  -- our pastor
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