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.