Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mama Confessions #14

Motherhood means giving up things.
Obvious things like... Your flat, smooth, sz 4 tummy. A sleep schedule. Rooms of your house and the back seat of your car to baby stuff.
It is the less obvious things that I wasn't expecting and kind of resent.
Things like... that last delightfully crusty corner of bread that you set on the side of your plate for your last bite... and then your toddler sees it and starts pointing bellowing until you hand it over.
Things like... clean water, as waiters can't seem to get a child's cup to the table at the same time the adult water glasses, and of course the kid must have a drink NOW and doesn't know how to drink without spitting backwash and floaties in your glass.
Things like... all the yummiest bits of chicken from your Chipotle burrito bowl, because you know Dad's not gonna share his, and you are not going to buy a separate burrito just for the kid who only wants the chicken and maybe a few beans...
You have to give up your food.
You hand over choice pieces to chubby hands that will pass it back and forth a few times then often throw it on the floor with a smirk. And you stare at that morsel you were planning on--looking forward to-- consuming now on the floor... and you remind yourself that you are thankful to be a mom.
But really, you wish you could also be thankful for that last bite of delightfully crusty bread in mouth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Meeting Santa

It's one of those moments, almost a milestone in your child's life. It's Christmastime and the first time they will meet Santa. This meeting can really go one of two ways. Your child will be delighted and coo happily at the jolly man, or they will scream in terror as you try to hand them off quickly enough to snap an awkward photo of them with a strange man in red. While we hope for the former, we prepare for the latter. We knew it could go either way.
We were nearing the front of the line and the three kids in front of us were of the screams of terror variety. Samuel looked on intrigued, giving no hints of what his response would be once his turn arrived.
We stepped up to Santa. Santa smiled. We handed him our baby, and I don't know if I was prepared for what happened next...




Santa made exactly NO impression on our child. Sam studied him for a moment, then stared straight ahead, expressionless, kicking his feet until a picture was taken and we went to collect him.
That was that.

I think I'd have been less disappointed if he had screamed? At least then we'd know where we stand on the Santa issue... This particular experience was... anticlimactic?
Well, until next year, Santa... Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Making Spirits Bright by Keeping Expectations Low

A brand new family of three.
You may or may not recall that last year we had a baby a week and a half before Christmas. Holiday celebrations were... understated. I was pregnant, and/or in the hospital, and/or hormonal and recovering from childbirth throughout the festivities all month long. Once Sam was born I was was excited and determined to make my baby's first Christmas perfect and memorable. I had plans for pictures with Santa, handmade ornaments, sweet christmasy birth announcements, and nothing but happy, glittering, beautiful memories of this first perfect holiday as a family.
None of those things happened.
You want to know my memories of the holiday? Being scared and huge and uncomfortable. Crying in the back bedroom as the rest of the family ate and celebrated. Feeling guilty and inadequate that I had made nothing significant happen for my baby's first Christmas.
Not exactly... what I planned.
Sweet baby bundled up on Christmas

On this side of things... I am disappointed with myself. Not because I didn't complete holiday crafts, but because I had far too many unreasonable expectations. I wasted the holiday, and wasted the moments I could have had with my family frustrated that they didn't look blog-worthy. I beat myself up about it for months. Kinda disgusting, huh?
Earlier this year-- like, June-- I started thinking about and dreading the idea of another Christmas. All the traditions I wanted to establish, creative endeavors I wanted to accomplish, and expectations I would surely fail to meet. Sigh. It made me feel stressed, overwhelmed, and miserable. I saw myself in the back bedroom crying and punching a breastpump again.
I didn't want that.
Santa Baby 2011
 So I sat down and made a list of the things that were important to me to accomplish for the holiday season. It was a long list full of all good and wonderful things, rich traditions and fun memories. And then I (and this is a big thing, pay attention...) forgave myself in advance for not accomplishing every last one.
Then I crossed about half the things off the list, so I had just the most important things on the short list in front of me. And I felt like if I got those things done I would be very happy.
Then I put stars by about three things that were most important on the short list. And I decided I would focus on those three things, and if the rest of the short list didn't happen, I would be okay with just the short short list.
You know one of the things that made the short short list? Enjoy my family.
Already I have failed to accomplish things on the long list. And... I am falling behind on the short list too. My living room has been cluttered with storage boxes for an entire week becuase I can't seem to find time to finish the decorating in between all the other stuff going on. I have already had to tell people 'no' to festive holiday events I would have enjoyed being a part of. And despite my efforts to do 'on the side' work for cash, I don't have the money for the special surprise I wanted to buy for my husband.
But Sam and I watched Charlie Brown Christmas the other day with hot cocoa (for me, warm formula for him, but still!) and he smiled and giggled and my heart was warm and memories made. My dad is building a magnificent gift for Sam that we have spent a lot of time creating and collaborating on. He gets giddy just talking about it, and it makes my heart happy to see him enjoy it so much-- for my Dad, the anticipation of Christmas morning and giving this gift is nearly unbearable. Which is so much more than any department store Santa could give us. My husband works all day, and comes home to a wife who is content and happy to see him-- and not stressed and angry over what has not or cannot be accomplished. The Grandmas got the sweet Baby's First Christmas ornaments that I started last year this time-- only a year late, but still cherished. The short short list.
2012 Christmas Traditions
I'm already happier with the way this holiday season is going. I decided to be realistic, and keep my expectations low, my house clutter at a normal level, and my stress level around 6 (which is kind of my normal functioning level, so that's good! ha!). I'm focusing on the short short list:
My family
I'm forgiving myself for the times I will undoubtedly fail. I am calling a truce with myself over all the lovely christmas ideas on pinterest that will not happen. I'm keeping my plans few and my expectations low...
Except for expecting this year to be worlds better than the angry, regrettable, hormonal mess that was last year.

Okay, you're right.
(Deep Breath)  
Valerie, I forgive you for last year, too.

Happiest Holidays to you and all your loved ones!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thirteen point freakin' one

I just thought I would throw that up there at the top so you wouldn't be in suspense until the end.
I did it. I completed a half marathon. Before the 6 hour time limit. In an upright position. With a smile on my face.

Thursday night we went to the airport to pick my sister up. She was coming in from NC to run with us, and I was so excited to see her! It had been a long time since she was home! Sam even made a sign for her, because he was so worried Aunt Melodie would not recognize him-- he's so big!
We had a little fun at the airport.

Friday morning Sam and I headed over to my parents house for a running super-food breakfast of pancakes! Then we got to spend the day shopping and playing with the family before heading downtown and checking into our hotel. (My parents got us a room downtown so we wouldn't have to get up so early the next morning.) We crammed 5 adults and an infant in a pack and play all into one room!
Sam gets fitted new running shoes... :)
 Then we went to packet pick up and the expo. This is the first race i have ever been a part of that actually had an expo! It was interesting walking around and looking at all the junk people wanted to sell you... we bought sparkly headbands! And we grabbed wristbands for our pace groups. Then we went out to dinner. We attempted the pasta place but it was over-run with racers... so we went a little further and found a better option... SUSHI!
So good.
Early morning pre-race shot
Z had to work all day, so he joined us at the hotel that evening, and we tried to sleep... but I was so nervous-- I think everyone was-- that it was difficult to get much rest. We got up at 6 the next morning, got dressed and headed down to line up. The race started at 7:05 and it was COLD out.
I kept debating what pace group I should join-- or if I should join one at all. I had some pretty significant differences in my training times and my race times from the 5k and 10k I had recently done... and i just didn't know how to gauge it for the half marathon. I decided to join the 2:40 group, even though I was pretty confident I could do better than that. But I stood there in the cold chit-chatting with the other runners in that pace group and trying not to waste precious energy shivering.
It was the biggest race I have ever been a part of, and my pace group was so far back that I couldn't even hear any kind of starting gun... we just heard a cheer go through the crowd and saw the first runners sprint up the hill about a half mile ahead of us. Oh boy. So we walked up to the starting line, took a big scared breath, and started it at an easy jog.
Liberty Memorial behind me

I quickly knew I was in the wrong pace group. I tried to stay with them for the first mile... but it quickly became a challenge... they were so slow! I was wasting more energy staying with them than it was worth... so I ditched them. And fell into pace with another runner who suggested we try to catch the 2:35 pace group, and we did before the 2nd mile. The third mile was a beast-- running up the hill by the liberty memorial! At the top of the hill I caught sight of the 2:30 pace group and I was all, I'm a rock star! And then Bam!, another hard hill by the hospital. And... I never caught them.
But that's okay.

I ran along at my own pace. I enjoyed the scenery. I enjoyed my own company. I talked to myself the whole time, a little amazed that I was actually doing this-- that I was actually enjoying it!
I loved turning from Westport toward the Plaza down this canopied street of beautiful fall colored trees. I loved the bands they had along the way playing music all morning for the people running. I loved the energetic church choir that was running the water station at mile 8, they were my favorite. at the 11 mile water station the marathon leader passed me (sigh) but he had a police escort and they were playing dramatic music as he (at mile 24 of his own race) went breezing past all of us half marathoners gutting it out at mile 11 of ours. Passed us like it was nothing. Jerk. Not really. He earned it.
It was my secret goal not to let the marathoners beat me accross the finish line. Obviously that didn't happen. But I am happy to report the marathon leader (who came in at 2:320000000something?) was the ONLY marathoner that beat me. Ha!
Me being awesome.

I picked up my pace a smidge at that point and tried to run it in pretty hard. Before the race I had a friend tell me-- the first three miles and the last mile are all run on pure adrenaline, so you really only have the 9 in the middle to worry about, and you've got 9 miles in you. haha. She was right, though. That last mile was all adrenaline. I was close, I was almost done, I was... I was amazing, you guys. You don't even understand. I felt so good, so proud. I was smiling and waving at everyone. I rounded the last corner and could see the finish line and started sprinting in. I was scanning the crowd along the sides for my family-- I wanted to hear them cheer for me, but I really wanted them to see me cross that finish line. I wanted Z to see me cross the finish line with this smile on my face.
And I was yards-- feet-- from the finish line-- and there they were-- and it was awesome.
And I did it.
Crossing the finish line (the clock is wrong...)

Two hours, thirty-four minutes, and forty-seven seconds. Thirteen point freakin' one miles.
I did it.

I couldn't stop smiling. My family met me and hugged me and I thought I might cry for a minute-- I was so excited, so happy, so proud. Four or five months earlier when I first said I wanted to do it, I didn't honestly believe I would follow through. But I did, for once in my life I stuck with the program and gutted it out to the end. I had my family with me-- encouraging and helping me along the way, and yelling for me at the finish line as I accomplished my goal.
It was awesome.
Half marathoners!

(I'll share a number breakdown soon... for anyone who cares.)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's Different This Year

I can't believe it's been almost a year...
...Since I quit my full time job to be a stay at home Mama.
...since my little man was born, and melted our hearts forever.
...since the last holiday season came and went!
And now it's almost here again. If you are one of those people about to go all nutso on me for mentioning the holidays in october... cool your jets and wait a month to read this, deal?
Actually I've been thinking about holidays and birthdays for months... because I know everything is going to be different this year. Going from a two income household of two, to a one income household of three has made a significant change in our financial situation. (Shocker, I know.) But that is also going to make a significant change in how we celebrate the holidays this year.

When I worked full time, I didn't always like my job. I worked with some over the top 'characters' and a typical day played out more like an outrageous workplace sitcom than your every day office. Some days it drove me nuts, some days it amused me to no end, and some days I was bored to tears-- but with as crazy as the work environment was, the owners of the company were always very kind to me and very generous. Every year at Christmas especially, they would give a very generous bonus, and that bonus check was one of my favorite parts of Christmas each year.
That sounds bad-- it was my favorite because I never counted on it being there... I went about my holiday as if it weren't coming so that it truly was a bonus--surplus-- when I got it... then I would take that check, cash it, and go spend it all as fast as I could buying toys, food, and clothes for an 'adopted' Christmas child. I loved that lavish, guilt free shopping spree so much. Truly, it was one of my favorite parts of Christmas every year.
And this year... it's going to be different.
Because obviously I am no longer working at that job, and my current job doesn't pay in cash. ;) I am not getting a Christmas bonus check this year, and that is so disappointing to me because even though finances are tight-- I don't want to have to 'cut back' to exclude that part of our (okay, my) holiday traditions.
Soooo... I've been working for months on several little side projects trying to squirrel away enough money for us to adopt another kid or two this Christmas.  I sold a bunch of Sam's baby clothes, I'm going to have a booth at a holiday market selling handmade accesories, and... I spent hours upon hours this fall picking, cleaning, peeling, cooking, and canning fruit that I am selling. So far I have been successful in making about half of my goal amount... which is exciting!
I also talked to my extended family to get them on board, with the suggestion that we cut back on the extravagant gifts we give each other and in place of that... help someone else out. They agreed (some of them begrudgingly--cough-Dad!-cough cough) and we are going to hopefully be able to adopt a larger family this year and go on a family Christmas shopping spree... which I am actually looking forward to.

So things are different this year. Not... different bad. But different. But it kinda feels even better. Because this year I've been working through it and thinking about it for months. I have been planning and saving and already praying for the family we will 'adopt' this year. It's different... but maybe even different better?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mama Confessions #13

It has been nearly a year since I was pregnant and I still have a couple maternity tops in regular rotation in my wardrobe. They are just sooooooo comfy, I can't give them up. They are a guilty pleasure, a bad habit.

I try to justify it...
They don't look maternity. 
Flowy blouses are a thing, right? 
No one would know if they didn't check the tags...
Whatever, Mama, you are rockin' this look like childless early-twenties-something. 

Um... Don't judge me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mama Confessions #12

My child is better looking than yours.
Oh, don't judge me. You think the same thing.
Look, I am not saying that your child is unattractive. When I told you she is adorable and beautiful, when I told you he is handsome and charming... I wasn't lying. You know I'm a horrible liar, so it's true, I believe those things I said about your child.
But lets just go ahead and fess up here and be honest about the fact that every mother, while capable of recognizing beauty and attractive qualities in other babies, will always believe that her own are the most attractive. And when we see other children-- even exceptionally cute children that we need to comment on out loud... we are still in our head thinking, wow I'm glad that my kid is even better looking than that kid!
See I'll prove it to you...

This is a cute kid. You can't deny this is cute. I dare you to find bluer eyes, longer lashes, a sweeter smile with little teeth poking out...
You just imagined a picture of your own child in a similar-- but cuter-- situation, didn't you? See? Guilty.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mama confessions #11

I still feed my family grain.
I do.
And I know some of you are thinking SO? and some of you are thinking... don't you know, that's the sure ticket to obesity, sickness, and death!
Look, some of these trends in healthful eating are just that-- trends. And I have consistently stayed several trends behind.
I try to feed my family a balanced, unprocessed, (mostly) organic diet. So I am on that wagon. We do pretty good, but sometimes we have fail days. Regardless, I feel pleased with our eating habits, for the most part.
I have yet to find reason to restrict gluten in our diet, and I am convinced the husband would revolt if I did. He has a love affair with wheaty, gluteny goodness that rivals any I have ever seen.
I've done some research on the topic, and though I recognize there are benefits, I am still not convinced Paleo is right for our family either. I know, I know...  I am opening myself up here for a lot of unsolicited info from all my 'Paleo' friends. I know there are a lot of you that sing the praises of it, and can't believe that with the obvious benefits and information available lousy moms like me still choose to consume and serve my family grains.
Let me say though, I am proud of you-- and impressed at your dedication if you have selected this for your life and for your family. I just can't. I am not there yet. I am not convinced. And on top of that-- I am pretty sure our financial situation limits us even further from venturing into that realm. And sometimes I feel a little judged-- a little out of the loop-- a little not trendy-- a little worried that what I am doing is not right.
But I see the generous supply of good foods on our table, in our pantry. And I look at the chubby cheeks, and round belly of my little man. He is strong, healthy, and thriving. I am doing my best to provide the best possible sustenance for my family, and we are doing well.
Even eating grain.
So we're going to keep going on that train for now... until I have good reason to change our course.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


We are nearing the end of the training program, and the end of the training means the start of the race and I am more terrified the closer we get.
But the start of the race also means the week before the race-- that special week that may possibly have been the motivation for this whole plan to begin with. Guilt-free carb-fest all week long. Can I get a woot and a wooty-woot?!?! I have been planning the last week of training before I started training 10 weeks ago. And as scared as I am for this race... hullo carbfest! It's going to be EPIC. And you know how I feel about that word. I use it seldom and judiciously, so you know I mean it.

Anyway... I've come far. Did you know I ran 22 miles last week? 22 miles in a week is intense for non-athletic me. Double digit mileage runs. Running for more than 2 hours at a time. Running-- and not just to the nearest cupcake store, you hear me? I have come so far that now I get to go back. Well, a little at least... after building and building mileage it's time to start tapering so I am 100% for the race in... OMG a week and a half?

This is all really mind boggling, and even more boggling that I am the one doing it. Sometimes running is an out-of-body experience and I see myself running down the road and I am all-- who does she think she is?
And I feel sheepish going into the running store to ask a question about my shoes, because I am not a 'real' runner. And Z says-- that's crap. You are a real runner. You run. You stuck to a training program, you are about to complete a significant race. You are a real runner. You do better than most people in this country.
Bless him, for playing the 'You're less lazy than average america' card.

Anyway. I don't have impressive running stats or times to impress you with. In two weeks I am running a half marathon and people keep asking me what my projected finish time is, and I keep saying-- well, they open the streets back up after six hours for the marathoners, so I hope to cross the finish line before then.
I have also been joking that I plan to collapse at the finish line and never run again-- but thats a lie too, as we have another race scheduled the following month.

I know it's going to be a real physical and mental challenge for me to complete the race. But I feel like I can complete it. I have nearly completed the 12 week training program, and I don't think I have ever committed and stuck to ANYTHING for that long-- other than pregnancy, probably. But that's different.

Anyway, here we go... wish me luck. And if you want to cheer me on at the finish line? I should be completing the 13.1 miles somewhere between 1 and 6 hours!

*We were in Iowa at the beginning of the month visiting family, and my MIL took these pics of Z and I getting our training runs in around the cemetery. At first I thought it was weird to run around a cemetery, but this one is pretty big, and it was beautiful too. And then I thought it was weird to think a cemetery is beautiful-- but it was. Very fall-ish and peaceful. Lots of trees and hills and lovely paths and scenery. Just so you know, cemeteries aren't weird.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mama confessions #10

I hide the toys that light up and make noise. I told people not to buy them for us, because I didn't want them cluttering up our house and my brain with their horrible electronic renditions of nursery songs... GAH. Anyway, that might make me a mean mom, but whatever, I'll take the ridicule along with my sanity, thank you.
Even still, there are a few that found their way into our house, and I hid them in the far back corner of the closet. I hid them so that I could take them out on days like... yesterday.
After a hard run I was so tired and so exhausted and so in need of a shower. And Sam was being so sad and so clingy and so if-you-put-me-down-you-will-regret-it. So I set him down in his crib [screams] and fished that little blinking singing piano toy out of the closet and handed it to Sam [more screams]. Then I pushed the little button and it started blinking and singing [awe-filled silence]. And he sat silently pushing the button over and over again for the next 15 minutes while I took a bubble bath in the next room and tried to ignore polly-wolly-doodle-all-day spewing forth from the new 'magic' toy.
And that is why I hide the noise making light up toys; Because sometimes Mama needs a little magic up her sleeve to make it through those days. Woe is me the day my son is de-sensitized to the magic. But for today, the magic is hidden away for another desperate moment.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Daddy's Rhymes

Z started reciting nursery rhymes to Sam the other night during his bath. I listened quietly for a few minutes, then encouraged him to continue... well, becuase it was just so darn entertaining. Here are a few nursery rhymes, Z style:

"Slickery, dickory dock.
Alice jumped off the clock.
uh... Bat mobile lost a wheel.
Or something. The end."

"Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet,
eating... I don't know, cottage cheese? I think.
The wolf came down, and passed it around.
uh... 98 bottles of beer on the wall."

"Old mother Hubbard sat in her cupboard...
whats this even about? I don't know." 
He would laugh after each one, and eventually I would tell him the correct words to the nursery rhymes, and he would usually respond, that's kind of terrible. Which he's right. Nursery rhymes are disturbing mostly. So maybe we'll just stick with Z's versions.
Tell me our kid is going to have a normal childhood. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012


Cookie Monster

There's this episode of the office when Micheal Scott goes to the accountant to find out the financial status of the Michael Scott paper company. Upon receiving bleak news, he asks the accountant to 'crunch those numbers again', and the accountant is all-- 'It's a computer program, it's not gonna change anything...' and Michael says, 'Just crunch them again!' And Pam steps in-- 'He just wants you to make the sound'
So the accountant pushes a button on this keyboard and says 'crunch' and then they all look hopeful and Michael asks 'any change?'

I kinda feel like Michael Scott in this scene when I look at our bank account.
Just crunch those numbers again-- maybe it will look different.
It's in a bleak state right now. And I know that we are blessed and have so much, and we have family helping us so that we can do this right now. I cannot and should not complain. We are blessed.
But I want to cry every time I look at the bank account-- every time I 'crunch' those numbers-- and know that we don't have money for groceries this week. Every time I crunch the number and I report to my husband-- hey, no spending money this week-- but it's the same report every week and it's frustrating that even though we will 'be good' and not spend a dime-- our account will still overdraw before the next paycheck hits. Every time I crunch those numbers and the number is red. Always red. Never black.
 And we are taken care of and we have plenty to eat and we are getting by-- by the grace of God and generosity of others. But it's humbling and frustrating and tiresome to worry over those numbers that never crunch in our favor.
The last few months have been the worst, but even as we've hit the bottom, there's a small hopeful light. I mean, it's SMALL. But it's there. September marks our last payment on all the hospital bills from last December. The last one. Once that is paid off... we can roll (most of*) that monthly payment into knocking out these student loans one at a time. It still seems overwhelming, but it will be exciting to have completely paid off that first debt.
*I say most of-- because some of those funds I would really like to use to pay for at least a portion of our own groceries.

In the mean time, we are trying to be creative about using our talents and resources to add to the family budget. Like... I have some home-canned organic pears and applesauce for sale-- if anyone is interested. We are selling and/or consigning excess... like some drum equipment, and a bunch of Sam's clothes. I am hoping also to sell some little boy bowties and suspenders that I make at various holiday/craft fairs this season. And of course Z is picking up as many extra hours at work as he can.

So I know we are on our way, but this financial season has been a tough one for me. I am learning about trusting God, humility, and that green monster of greed and discontent that can disguise himself so innocently. And then my little miracle bats his lashes and bright blue eyes sparkle at me, melting me. And say have to say thank you, God. Thank you for right where we are. Thank you for where we've come from, and where you are leading us to.
And thank you for blessing and caring for us. Thank you for your perfect way-- that so rarely looks like our way-- of 'crunching' those numbers in our favor.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mama Confessions #9

Sam found the Dog's toy box today.
Obviously, I don't want my child playing with the dogs toys.
But upon further inspection of Sam's new obsession... I decided that I am a pretty lousy dog mom. The toy basket consisted of several chewed up plastic water bottles, a destroyed frisbee, a tangle of yarn, and a service bell. Sigh. No wonder the dogs are obsessed with the kid's toys.
We do occasionally purchase real toys for our dogs, but Charlie could care less, and Winston completely obliterates them within 30 seconds. But he really enjoys and savors a water bottle when he can sneak one... so whatever. The service bell they used to ring when they wanted to be let out, but now we have a dog door, so that was just tossed in the basket, and the yarn? I have no idea.
So anyway, excellent and safe toys. Pointy, chewed up, plastic stuff and Sam is fascinated. And the dogs are much too happy to share.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Losing ground

Nike FreeRun+ 2
Only the most amazing running shoe I have ever put my foot in.

Coming back from our vacation in CO I was excited about what a week of training at high altitude could do for my run in flat Kansas. It was definitely a challenge working out in in the high altitude... whoo oxygen! And nothing was flat... running up and down hills mountains was no easy task, but I felt good about putting in the work out there, and what that would mean when we got home...
Cue the sad trombone... WOP WOP.
I missed my (5 mile) long run the sunday we returned because of poor scheduling with my husband... but i was going to count my losses (I had only missed one day, that can't completely throw a training plan, right?) and hit it hard the next week. I got in my normal tuesday run, and was feeling pretty good... and then disaster hit.
Disaster in the form of a very sick 8 month old. Who then shared his sick with mama. And it knocked me on my butt for a few days. So I missed my normal training run, my long run, and did no cross training all week.
I attempted to get out one day for a run but only made it about a half mile before a coughing fit, a screaming child, and a rainstorm forced me to head home. Because sitting on the couch had me gasping for breath through restricted airways, my husband suggested I just take a few days off until I was healthier.
Fast forward to today... where I decided I was healthy enough to hit the road.
Oh crap.
It's amazing how much I lost in a week. Also not idealy the week I lost was the one where mileage starts to pick up... urgh. I was biting it hard on an easy three mile run this morning and trying to swallow and choke back the last remnants of this cough/cold that tore me up. How frustrating! I feel like I have lost a lot of ground that I have to make up now... and I wasn't feeling all that confident about my running at this point anyway.
Plus also vacation+sick week+birthdays= I gained back all three of those pounds that I shed so slowly doing my running. So frustrating!
Z says I am at my wall... I just need to push through it... mentally and physically I need to get past this barrier that keeps me comfy only to about 3-4 miles. It's so hard and it sucks and I am tired of setbacks and excuses and I am trying to push through... but dang it, it sucks right now.

Monday, August 27, 2012

On being another year older, but maybe not wiser.

Twenty seven.
That's right, kids. We're in our late twenties-- wha-WHAT?
I am a huge fan of birthdays. I always have been. I have never been sad about getting older, and have never really understood why people get all worked up about birthdays... or their age... or whatever. Maybe I am not old enough yet, but I have always thought age was something to be celebrated, not mourned or ashamed of. Meh, I don't know.
I asked Z last friday (on his b-day) Do you feel like a 29 year old man? He just shrugged. Then said something to the effect of you are only as old as you decide to act... which I think is true and valid to some extent. We have a nice life, a social life, a busy life. We are active and try to stay healthy. We surround ourselves with lots of family and friends and try to balance everyday life with fun, spontaneous, or a little goofy occasions. I think some people would say that keeps us young-- others (probably other younger and unmarried) would say that makes us old.
But I only occasionally feel old.
I spent some time with my oldest best friend the other day. April and I have been friends for... 27 years. Yup, since the day I was born. We have met so many significant milestones together, school, college graduation, marriage, and even having kids. We were sitting on the floor with our kiddos playing together on my birthday, and we laughed at each other asking-- when did we get so old? When we are together it still feels like we are goofy little kids, it's so strange that we have goofy little kids now. :)
Being a mother has definitely made me feel older. I would like to say it has made me wiser as well... but I bet most parents would agree if there's one thing that parenting teaches you-- it's that you don't know crap. About anything.
We are learning. We learn all kinds of things every day, but the more we learn the more I am aware of the vastness of things I don't understand and maybe never will.
But maybe... that in itself is wisdom-- knowing that you don't know.
And probably having a healthy respect for what you don't know, and a good amount of grace for yourself at the same time.
We can't stop time, we can't stop aging... but we do have control over growth. I hope in this 27 year to keep growing. Keep moving, learning, growing, celebrating, and loving through all life brings to me.
Late twenties? Pshh. Bring it.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy Friday

Why is it happy you ask?
Because Daddy will be home.

Cheers, Mama! You survived another week!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mama Confessions #8

I'm pretty sure my kid hates me.
He's fine when other people are around, but as soon as grandma and grandpa leave, or daddy goes to work-- he screams inconsolably.
I chocked it up to teething or a wonky nap schedule the first couple of days, but it has become a very consistent pattern of happy and content around everyone (the kid doesn't know about stranger danger) and wailing miserably when left alone with Mama.
I'm a nice person. Really. I am trying very hard to be accommodating to your needs, and comforting to your fears... and patient and loving even though I am tired and heartbroken.
But all I get is anger and tears and gnashing of teeth.
Well, there would be gnashing of teeth if there were more teeth to gnash.
I am still holding out hope though, that this might all have something to do with the aquisition of teeth and not as much with an innate hatred for a small one's maternal parental unit.
Sigh. Tough break.
I tell you what.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mama Confessions #7

I signed up for a local bible study because they offered insanely inexpensive childcare.
I mean, I am sure I will get benefit out of the once a week bible study too-- but it was really the childcare thing that reeled me in.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Mama Confessions #6

I talked about poo on my blog.
I swore I never would, and I did. Be it ever so briefly, it's there. Making me one of those moms.
This is my public confession and apology.
I swear I will do everything in my power to keep such things from happening again.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mama Confessions #5

If the boy is taking a particularly long nap, I sometimes panic. I hold my breath and tiptoe into his room and try to push out of my mind all the possible ways he could be maimed or harmed that happened while I was doing other things. I arrive at the side of his crib and lay one hand on his back to check his breathing, then finally start breathing again myself.
I know I am completely neurotic, but I refuse to believe I am the only mother who does this.
Often my prayer is, Dear Lord, please don't let fear and doubt keep me from being the mother Sam needs me to be.
Then I remind myself of 2 Timothy 1:7, and I try to live my life there.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Just the Before

WARNING: This post contains graphic images of a bare, flabby, post-baby midriff. Proceed with caution.

I only do this because it's horrifying.
I am hoping to horrify myself into action. It's time.
Remember when I told you about my goal? Well today was the first run of a 12 week training program getting to the KC half on Oct. 20th. My run today wasn't bad (it was a easy run day! Thanks for the positive start, training program!), And when I got home I was feeling pretty good about myself, until I took my shirt off, and then I was like... ew.
This has got to stop.
I have always struggled with self-image. I've never been heavy, but grew up in a family that dieted constantly, which I think fueled my dissatisfaction with my body. In high school and college I struggled with anorexia, and just liking myself in general. And while i have come to a much healthier place with eating and loving myself-- those demons are something that are always with you.
Remember how I had a kid 7 months ago? Remember how I was particularly extra huge and delivered a 9 lbs kid? My body has never recovered. I mean, I gained 40 lbs in 9 months, and lost 38 in the 9 weeks following birth... But everything is... different now. And I am trying to be okay with that. I understand my body is different now, and it should be after having a baby.

My body is different now.
My body is different now, and that means I can't do the same things I used to and expect to still look fabulous in a teeny bikini. I need to eat different and exercise different. I mean, really, I need to exercise period. Something I have never consistently done before.
So it's time to make that happen. Hence my goal. And... the purpose for this post. It's not just to tell you the sad story of the demise of my once smooth flat belly... but to share with you where I'm starting. Sooo... this is the first day of training... and this is my before, brace yourselves:
See all that doughy squishy-ness? I am ready for it to be gone. To make it happen, along with my half-marathon training (cardio), I will be doing some strength training, and trying to make consistent, better choices in the food world. Nothing extreme, no diets or INSANITY workouts... just 12 weeks of doing better. And hopefully... results. (and maybe I should get a tan.)
So this is just the before. I hope I have something better to show you in twelve weeks. Cheer me on?

Full Disclosure: This is the most terrifying thing I have ever posted on my blog. I cringe a little doing it. I mean, who wants to post unflattering pictures of their weakest parts in a public space? But I feel like it's really important to be vulnerable and honest here, to force myself into some action. Please be kind.

I lied.

Remember when I told you this was the best sound in the whole world?

Well, I lied.
Because, actually, this one is the best sound in the whole world:

You may notice after my little boy looks right into my eyes and says so sweetly 'Mama!' my voice is noticeably absent from the celebration. I was excited, yes! But also stunned, and giddy, and overwhelmed. There is nothing like hearing Mama for the first time from the lips of your baby.
There is just nothing like it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Mama Confessions #4

My son has been sporting a faux-hawk all week. I think it's hilarious and adorable.
Full disclosure: I may have trimmed his hair to make the style work.
Also, Cetaphil makes an excellent infant styling wax. 
Now you know.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mama Confessions #3

I don't keep a baby book for my son. You know those cute little thingies where you write down all those milestones for posterity sake.
So someday you child can shame their children by saying-- I took my first steps at 11 months, so it looks like I was a lot more advanced than you are.
My child will not be able to do that. And that might be a little bit sad for him-- but who the heck has time to write stuff down in a frilly little book?
Sorry buddy.
I can assure you, however. That you are developmentally on-track, and healthy and happy as can be. And you are 7.5 ish months old right now. How's that for a baby book entry?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mama Confessions #2

You don't get 'sick days' from being a mom, and that sucks.
It's hard to focus on being there for someone else when you can barely drag yourself out of bed to make a run for the toilet bowl-- for the 16th time today. And just add the guilt of not giving your family your best to the rest of those nasty feelings you have when you are sick... and being sick sucks even more.
Last time I was sick I made my husband get up with Sam in the morning because I told him 'I don't have the energy to be mom today'. My husband told me that was a horrible thing to say. It might be, but it's also honest. Some days it's just hard to make it all happen.
I don't think that makes me a horrible person, though.
I think it just makes me a person.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mama Confessions #1

The other day I was shopping with a friend (and Sam) when the little man who had been sleeping so contentedly suddenly awoke and was hungry. I dug around in my bag to discover I had no bottle in his diaper bag. We were nearing the end of our shopping so I tried to keep him happy with little swigs from my water bottle, because he finds that fascinating. But that was a short lived distraction. We got up to the counter to pay and my son was wailing uncontrollably. I dug through my bag and had not even a toy to distract him with. I was defeated, and felt like a horrible mom as people judged me waiting in line to purchase some jeans while my infant screamed and I did nothing to feed or appease him. SIGH.
I had purchased a simple pair of foam flip flops at the store and this finally occurred to me on my way out, so I grabbed one (A brand new, never been worn, clean, foam flip flop) and handed it to my son. I am sure you know, it went directly to his mouth.
We had one more stop to make, just to grab dinner before heading home... but here I am walking into Panera with an infant chewing happily on a flip flop and everyone looking going, is that child eating a flip flop?
IT'S CLEAN! IT HAS NEVER BEEN WORN! SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO! I wanted to yell at the store. But I didn't. Because the flip flop was quickly losing it's magic and he was crying again, and we purchased our food and bolted outta there before someone could call child protective services.
That day, I was mortified and felt like a terrible parent. Every day since then, when thinking about it I have giggled... and I only wish I had taken a picture of my son chewing on that flip flop because it was just such a strange and unexpected toy for an infant. Ever since then I have done a much better job keeping my bag (and also my car, you know, just in case) stocked with a clean bottle and toy.
But just add that to the list of reasons I am not winning mother of the year award.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


This is a few months old, but I finally got it edited and uploaded. This is Samuel's Dedication on Mother's day.
It's a two part video, (and sorta long-ish) the first is his dedication at church, the second is the family blessings. I don't know if this video is significant to anyone else, but it's very special to me.
The second part makes me laugh because it's so... us. Donnie cracking jokes about husbands, dogs running in and out, teary grandmas, the oven beeping incessantly in the background, and Sam sleeping through the whole thing. And through all this chaos that is our quirky family, we were trying to create a special moment...
Watching it all again, I think it's all the chaos and the quirks that made it special... it was us unedited, I love that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


My troubles started when I married a runner.
This was troubleome becuase I am not a runner.
My husband is naturally athletic and motivated.
I am none of these things.
But I am a great follower. And if the majority tells me running is cool, then I am bound to try it.
Okay, maybe it was not quite that simple to sway me... but with some encouragement from My husband, my Dad (who has recently really gotten into road races) and some great running friends...
I got myself a pair of shoes, a jogging stroller, and a goal.
Making myself do this has been a difficult journey. I am not the kind of person who naturally enjoys activity. I am much more comfortable in my kitchen, or sitting at my sewing table than I am at a sporting event or running around the track... But I've been doing the bare minimums to maintain weight and health for long enough, and the bare minimums aren't cutting it anymore.
So... I'm running.
I'm running, and no one is chasing me.
And that's likely a good thing because I run quite slowly.
But I'm running and thats a start.
I hesitate to put this out there... because I have a goal that I hope to accomplish that I might not accomplish. And making your goals public makes them all official and whatnot. I said to Z last night-- what if I can't do it? What if I get halfway through my training plan and find out I am not a long distance runner? That I don't have the body, the determination, the self-dicipline to continue?
He said, Then you made it that far, and it's farther than you are now, and farther than all the people sitting on the couch.
Yes, but won't you be disappointed in me?
Nope, I'll be happy that you gave it a try.
Really? You won't judge me for being a quitter?
Nope, I know you'll do your best.
Dang it. The "I know you'll do your best" speech means I can't really quit, huh? Because quitting isn't my best, and he knows that and I know that. Sigh.
So I'm running. And I'm TRAINING. Doesn't that make me sound official? And I have a goal.
I am training to run a Half Marathon with a 2:35 pace group on October 20, 2012.
So there it is.
Now I've gone public, and you know, and I know and we can all judge me if I don't make it.
Or we can all be kind like my husband and believe I will do my best and not be disappointed if my best is not the same as my goal and that's okay, right?
Lets go for option 2.
Soooo... if you need me, you are likely to find Sam and I running in circles around the park because we *want* to. Go team.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Not the Mother of the Year

I haven't been writing as frequently as I used too. Part of that is just that being a full time mama keeps me dang busy, and I don't have the thought or energy at the end of the day. Part of it is that I am a new mother... and nervous about posting to much mommy junk you don't care about, and/or being judged about the stuff I do share.

I was talking with my mom the other day, and sharing with her about how well Sam sat and played in his chair allowing me to do all the dishes, scrub the floor, and make dinner before he started squawking. And then I said-- i may have left him in there too long though. I wonder if he is getting enough stimulation? I wonder if he is getting enough tummy time? I wonder if he is held enough, played with enough, fed enough, learning enough... What I was really saying is I wonder if I am enough?
My mom just shook her head. You are a great mom. You are doing a fantastic job raising a happy, healthy, balanced child.
Even still I feel doubtful. I wonder and worry if I am doing things right, and choose not to share my fears or engage in conversation with other moms, becuase you know what? Moms are mean. They can be the snarkiest, most judgemental group of people. And everyone has different opinions and methods and ideas for raising children, and are quick to judge the opinions of those different than their own.
You know who are the worst though? The breast-feeding nazis. Man, they can take a mom down with no effort at all. Well, I choose to breastfeed because I want to give my child the best possible nutrition and nurturing experience. Good for you. But that statement, while not explicitly accusing, implies if you happen to be a person who couldn't or chose not to breastfeed, all of a sudden you are providing your child sub-par nutrition and no love. Awesome.
I tried. I did. I tried so hard. For three months we tried and tried and tried. But Sam had medical conditions that made it difficult, and I had medical conditions that made it difficult and breastfeeding for us wasn't meant to be. But I cried. I wanted so bad for it to work. I wanted so bad to give my child the best. I cried and I cried and I grieved and I suffered the judgement of the breastfeeding nazis who made me feel like an inadequate woman and mother. And I was was scared to talk to anyone about it.

There are things I am certain has happened to every parent at one time or another that they feel horrible or embarrased about. Z smacked Sam's head on the glass tank at the aquarium... Sam rolled and fell off the bed while I was folding clothes... we forgot to change Sam's diaper one day for 5 hours while we were shopping, and he got the most horrible rash. Not getting the parent of the year award for any of those moments. But you know what? the kid recovered. Even still we're not proud of that stuff and we feel guilty and we are scared to talk to anyone about it.

We have made some different parenting choices than our friends. We started a family shortly after getting married, we cloth diaper, we let him 'cry it out', we are okay with vaccinations, we are trying self-feeding. There are people out there that disagree with us. People would tell us our child isn't going to have enough [fill in the blank] because of the choices we made. I feel myself get defensive when people start asking me about my son-- should they disagree I need solid arguments and evidence for my decisions. I try not to post pictures on FB that are telling because I don't want people to tell me Sam is too young to be eating that pickle, or that their child was crawling at Sam's age, or that I should be breastfeeding him til he's two-- wait what?! You're not breast feeding??? I have recently become interested in photography and had someone criticize me for posting a picture in which I had edited a scratch off my kid's face. Apparently editing your baby is not loving and accepting who they are. And that's why I am scared to talk about being a mom.
I have enough self-talk telling me I am not enough. I don't want it from others.

But I am writing this today, because I want to challenge myself and all the moms out there. And all the dads and grandparents and aunts and friends and nurses and bloggers and facebook posters and casual onlookers...
Parenting is tough. It's super tough. Lets not make it tougher on each other. Let's encourage, and not judge. Support each other, not tear each other apart. Speak honestly, and not take passive aggressive jabs at each other. Listen and love and comfort and celebrate with each other.

Because I am ready to share. I want to share with you. Sam is an awesome kid, and I think he deserves some blog time, in spite of my parenting choices.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A random list of stuff about me:

(because it's been a while since we've done this and you are dying for random little nuggets of Valerie-ness in your day-- aren't you?)

1. I prefer to drink milk from a nice heavy coffee mug.

2. I kinda love it when my dog curls himself around my feet when I am laying on the couch.

3. I can't grow indoor plants. Outdoor plants (flowers, herb, and vegetable gardens) thrive for me. Indoor they shrivel at a mere glance from me.

4. I am not overwhelmingly fond of Red Velvet. I know it's a trendy cake/cupcake/cookie/icecream/anythingtheycanpossiblycomeupwithtostickitin flavor right now... but most of the time it tastes like bland-ish chocolate and food coloring. I mean, it's OKAY... But I would totally choose white, lemon, strawberry, german chocolate, and regular chocolate (in that order) and possibly variations on those flavors, before red velvet. If my choice is red velvet cupcake or no cupcake... I'd definitely take the  red velvet cupcake, but that's more about my stance on cupcakes than my feelings toward red velvet.

5. I spend a lot of time searching for recipes I know I will never try to make or feed to my family because my husband would refuse to even try it, and I would cry. Z and I have been in more arguments over food and eating habits than anything else in our marriage.

6. Sometimes I look at my son and go, oh crap, I'm a parent. I hope he turns out okay.

7. Papers, receipts, bills, and mail cover my kitchen table on a regular basis. I hate this. I cannot seem to prevent it, or come up with a workable system of managing it. Thoughts?

8. I lost 9 months of baby weight in 9 weeks! Yay! The problem now is a completely new distribution of the pre-baby weight. Oi.

9. I have an hyper-sensitive nose. Which most of the time is just super annoying.

10. My Grandmother passed away Jan. 2010. I think about her daily. I miss her so much. I cry regularly over the pain of that loss. I don't know if that will ever lesson.

11. I like to take pictures of food. Not in a-- I am a food photographer kind of way. But in a-- lets order a dessert to see if it's pretty... It is! Let's take a picture! Kind of way. A lot of times I text pics of food to my former roommate. I think she appreciates pretty food. (I think?!?!) My dad does this too, only one time contact numbers got crossed in his phone and the thought he was texting pictures of desserts to my sister and for weeks they were going to a nice, but thoroughly confused lady at his church. That story always makes me laugh. I think I would be excited to receive random food texts from acquaintances.

12. My favorite picture this month:
Sam finds surprises in his Easter basket!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On "Christian" Music

I've been writing this post for a while in my head... and then the other day I came across THIS, and I was all YES. that's exactly how I feel.
But let me back up a little bit... You know how I grew up in a christian home, we attended church regularly, we sang the songs, we performed the songs, we listened to christian radio, I attended youth group, youth rallies, screamed for the christian rock stars, and wore the christian t-shirts. I was into it.
And somewhere during and/or shortly after high school, I was all... wait-- there is a whole world of --GASP-- secular music out there I have never explored. And once the dial on my radio flipped to the "not-christian" radio stations, I don't think it ever flipped back.
As you can imagine there was much controversy in my 'christian home' over this decision of mine. My parents would ask if this was a christian song-- or what the song was about. "I don't know, mom. I just like the music." I would say with a giant eye roll, and my mom would tell me that thought process didn't fly with her and the words you put in your head become your truth, so you should carefully consider what you are filling your head with. Even to this day, when my mom gets into the car with me, or hears me singing a song, or talking about a band I like her first question is always-- "Now, is that a christian band?"
And my response is usually something snarky like-- "Well, I haven't recently spoken with the band members about the status of their salvation, so I can't say for sure. But it's not necessarily NOT a christian band." But the question she is really asking is-- are they played exclusively on the christian station? Can I buy their CD at the christian book store? Becuase only those artists are acceptable listening material, apparently.
Which brings me to this concept that I have struggled with since high school-- what is the difference between "christian music" and "not-christian music". Because (as beautifully stated in the post mentioned above) I kinda think that music itself is neither-- that it's neutral. That it can be a tool and a vehicle for our thoughts and worship, but the music itself as no bent either way. That being said-- I always wanted to ask my mom-- can a 'christian' sing 'secular' music and still be a christian? Can a 'secular' artist sing a song to God?
Recently my husband changed all the radio stations in our house to the local christian music station. I was pretty resistant at first. I haven't really listened to christian radio since jr high. I feel like so much of the music played there is cheesy, of poor quality, or really bad theology and people are okay with that because "It's for Jesus"
But I listened in on my husband rocking my baby boy listening to the radio the other day telling him that not all music is good just because it's "christian", and not all other music is bad just because it's not. Yes. Then after a pause he added that likewise not all people who claim to be christian are good people, and definitely not all people who claim not to be are bad people. YES.
That being said, I have kept the radio station where Z set it and have been listening for a couple weeks now. Some songs have grown on me, and I wake up with their truth in my mind, and I like that. Some of the songs really frustrate me, because I disagree with the theology, or I just think they make no sense (hey-- let's throw a bunch or random ambiguous worship-y sounding words together with a good musical hook, and they'll play it over and over again on the radio stations and we'll be millionaires! Okay!) and I turn the radio off when those play. There is one that is theologically pretty offensive to me that I have been ranting about for a couple weeks. The other day, I was spending time with my mom and she happened to be humming that very song-- I stopped her. "WHAT are you singing?" Oh, that song on the radio... "UGH. I hate that song, Mom. The theology is just terrible."
And my mom replied, "Oh, I don't really know what it's about... I just listen to the music."
Whoa. Throwback and a role reversal.
The words you put into your head become your truth, Mom. No matter what the label-- christian, secular, or otherwise, pay attention and think carefully about what you are letting become truth in your heart.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Put the baby down, and no one gets hurt.

When you have your first baby there are a lot of myths that you believe that are absolutely outrageously untrue. Things like...
You are a bad, neglectful parent if you let your child cry.
Wait-- you didn't believe that? Just me? Crap. Well, I believed I was a bad neglectful parent when my child cried. If Sam was crying... I obviously needed to be holding him and comforting him. Crying means there's something wrong and I should fix it. And my intense belief that I could and should comfort my child at all times made for both a very miserable mama, and miserable child for several weeks. I was doing nothing but holding him all day long. I would set him down and he would start crying again, and I would dash to the bathroom and feel guilty the entire 23 seconds I spent in there peeing and washing as fast as humanly possible before I went back in to grab him so he would stop crying. His cries played upon my insecurity as a new mom and loudly announced my inadequacies to anyone within earshot.
It got to the point where I couldn't even lay him in his crib to sleep at night.
Needless to say-- I wasn't showering. I wasn't eating. I definitely wasn't sleeping. How could I while hold a baby?
Then I got sick. And I was on the phone with a friend crying over how exhausted and miserable and guilty I felt. And she gave me the most amazing advice I have received since having a baby. She said: You won't be able to take care of anyone if you aren't taking care of yourself. Put the baby down.
So... I did.
And he cried. And it was brutal. I cried too.
I put him in his crib and I got in the shower-- and he wailed.
I set him in his chair and I ate yogurt-- and he screamed.
I laid him down in his crib to sleep-- and he fussed and cried. I resisted the temptation to pick him up, but rubbed his tummy and sang to him softly and he finally... FINALLY settled down.
The next day I took  deep breath and tried not to feel guilty and did it again.
By the third or fourth day, he started settling down faster. And these days? He's totally chill.
Every morning when he wakes up, I feed him, then put him back in his crib and he stays there cooing at his mobile and fists and entertaining himself for about an hour while I shower and dress and usually do a little laundry. Then I go in and get him and we go downstairs where he sits in his chair and we listen to music while I eat, then I feed him. We do all manner of activities throughout the day, some of the time, I hold him and snuggle him, some times I sit him in his chair next to me while I work, and sometimes I put him in his crib and leave him to nap alone. At night time I feed him, swaddle him, and lay him down, and he goes right to sleep. I don't go back in 6 times to pick him back up and try to rock him while he screams.
My son is well cared for. He is loved and snuggled and played with and given tons of time and attention and kisses. I am pretty sure he knows how much he is loved, that he doesn't feel neglected or abandoned as I used to fear he might. He is healthy physically and emotionally, and is smart and growing and developing appropriately. And I am happier and healthier emotionally and physically, and not battling unnecessary guilt.  So as it turns out-- putting the baby down didn't actually hurt anyone. And it didn't make me a bad mom. In fact-- I dare say it may have made me a better mom. I seem to enjoy my time with my son a whole lot more since I started putting him down so I could take care of both of us.
It was really the simplest solution. Oh, we have so much to learn!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Freedom from things that don't matter

There are things in life that aren't bad things but are just things that can start to consume time and bog you down. They aren't important things, but for whatever reason they start to take time and attention from important things. And it's silly.
In my life, those things today were facebook and blogs. I like facebook. I like keeping up with friends, looking at friends pictures, easy access to the goings on in people's lives. But I would spent a lot of time reading stuff on face book that I didn't care about from people I hadn't talked to in years, and probably would never again have a face-to-face conversation with. And I thought-- this is silly. My time is more valuable than this.
I had 223 'friends' on my list. Wow. You'd think with so many friends I would have a busy and fulfilling social life! Yeah... not so much.
Before you shut down here, I am not on a 'facebook is bad' or even 'give up facebook for lent' kind of rant here. I mean, if you are into that kind of thing, go for it. But as previously stated-- I like facebook for a lot of reasons. But that 223 was starting to irritate me. I started deleting people... at first I almost felt guilty. But lord knows why! I didn't owe those people anything, and it is not as if they were investing in my life. The further I went the easier it got. I started asking myself-- have I had a conversation with this person in the past 6 months? Do I want to or intend to have a conversation with them in the next six months? Does this person post content that is interesting or relevant to my life?
Unfriend, unfriend, unfriend.
And without really being incredibly brutal in my cuts the list was quickly narrowed to 145. So I have 145 'friends' on facebook. Which is still a tad out of hand, but I have less than half the content coming through my 'feed' now. Less time wasted wading through stuff I don't care about to get to the few nuggets of info from people I do care about.
And it felt freeing.
So I turned to my blog list. Like facebook-- I like blogging. I read many blogs on lots of different content from lots of different authors. Some personal friends, some acquaintances, some just interesting content I found while surfing the web or looking for specific things. But listen, I had 86 blogs in my blog feed. 86! I looked at that 86 and saw time I could be spending running, rather than reading the running blog. Making dinner, rather than reading recipes my husband would never eat. Spending time with Sam, instead of feeling guilty for not being the 'super-mom' like that lady on that blog there...
Is this content interesting? Helpful? Relevant? Worth the time I am giving it?
Delete, delete, delete.
And... I cut the number of blogs I follow in half. I like blogs. I like a lot of the authors of blogs I read. But now I spend less time sifting through things I don't care as much about to get to the things, topics, authors, content I do care about. And that felt freeing too.
Freed up my time and freed up my brain to think about things I care about...
And what do you know one of those things is starting to fuss to let me know naptime (and therefore mommy's blog time) is over. Looking forward to a free afternoon with the boy. We're gonna go for a walk... do some laundry... bake banana bread...
It's gonna be great.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Playing catch up...

Hmmm... I've been gone a while. Lets catch you up to speed...

I got really exceptionally fat.

We had a baby. His name is Sam. He's incredible.
(You can read about his birth here.)

Then it was Christmas and there was a lot of family and celebrating.

After recovering from the holidays, we took a road trip to St.Louis and IA to meet family and friends.

Our baby boy is already 6 weeks old!
And starting to charm us with his heart-melting smiles.
(Read about Sam at one month here)

People keep asking us if we are sleeping...
...the answer is not much. But we are hoping that gets better.

Are you wondering how the original boys are dealing?
They still get lots of love and special treats.
Charlie especially seems to be fond of the baby, and steals a spot on the couch near whoever is holding him whenever he can.
Winston is especially fond of diapers. But enough about that...

We are just taking life one day at a time.
 Our precious baby boy is learning and growing and keeping us on our toes. 
Being a new parent is no joke, but we are figuring it out and easing our way into it.