Thursday, August 19, 2010

Holding On To The Memories

I am blessed to have an extremely tight knit family that extends to my aunts and uncles and to my grandparents. I grew up surrounded by all of them and will never forget the things that each of them has taught me. You don't really realize how much a person has shaped your life until you sit down and think about it.

My grandmother has demensia. So, I've been thinking about memories quite a bit lately.

She's my mom's mom and we call her Maba. It started when I was little. Very little. Maybe a year old? Up until a certain point I think she referred to herself as Grandma, but I could be wrong. She loves teddy bears. She had dozens of them. One day she told me she was the "Mother of the Bears" and asked me to say it. It came out "Maaa Baaa" and it stuck.

I don't remember how the demensia started, but I think it was caused by mini strokes that went unnoticed. (It's all, unfortunately, a blur to me because while my mom was dealing with my grandmother, I was going through a nasty divorce and custody battle.)

All I know for sure is that my mom brought Maba out here to Phoenix in the summer of 2008 and we moved her into an assisted living facility.

When she first moved out here, you could barely tell there was anything wrong with her. If you hadn't known her before, you probably wouldn't know at all.

A few weeks ago, she fell. My mom was concerned that she had suffered another stroke. The doctors just confirmed yesterday that my mom was right. Maba is currently in the hospital and has been there since Tuesday.

We brought her to dinner at mom's house last Sunday and that's when it hit me:

She's gone.

I obviously don't mean physically gone. I don't even mean that she's mentally gone because she's still able to hold a (somewhat) intelligible conversation. She just doesn't have a very long attention span and her short term memory is all but gone, but she'll talk to you about what she can see. She still knows all of us. Sometimes she can't remember names, but she knows how people are related. (She introduced my brother-in-law as "my son-in-law". She knows he "belongs" to Vanessa but she can't remember his name. It's the same with Roy and the kids.)

She's still here, but she's just a shadow of the woman that she once was and it makes my heart ache.

My kids will never know the truly wonderful woman that she once was. It's up to me to tell them and make them understand what great stock they come from.

She came from practically nothing. She was born in the middle of the Great Depression (1932) which turned her into a pack-rat. . . Her garage was a disaster. I'll never forget the day I was "helping" her and my mom clean out it out to get ready for a garage sale. She had cases of soda and cleansers and mouthwash. She stumbled upon an old box of photos and showed me one of her as a very little girl outside of a very run down house. It looked (to my 8 year old eye) like a shack. I said something along the lines of, "Wow, you're house was old!"

I'll never forget her response.

She stood up tall and her eyes flashed proudly. "It was old. And it was small. But it was always clean!" I was so young, but it made an incredible impression on me. To this day, I think about that when I start to become a little envious of my friends and neighbors.

She married young and in her parents' living room. They couldn't afford a large wedding (and I seem to remember something about him being Catholic and her being Protestant, but don't quote me on that). The picture and newspaper article is in her apartment somewhere right now. I stumbled upon it when we were unpacking all her boxes. She was so beautiful. And so in love!

She moved away from her family and Pittsburgh across the state to Philadelphia and worked her tail off to help put my grandfather through medical school. She helped him run his practice and gave him two kids. They worked incredibly hard to raise their children together.

Just when they were to the point where they were close to retirement and enjoying grandchildren, my grandfather was diagnosed with brain cancer. He died right after my first birthday in 1987 making her a widow before the age of 55.

I don't know if I would have emotionally survived all of that.

I have so many fond memories of her. . .

She'd take my sister and I to all of the Disney movies when they came out. We made quite the production out of it. We'd spend the night before at her house. The three of us all slept together in her bed and listened t talk radio until we fell asleep. (I remember feeling so grown up listening to talk radio even though I had no idea what they were talking about.) We would get up in the morning and get ready to go and eat breakfast while we looked at movie showtimes in the newspaper. We'd go out through her garage (grabbing a can of soda from one of the stacks of afore-mentioned cases!) and head to the drugstore where we'd pick out candy and snacks and hide them in her purse. We'd always get to the movie theater a half hour early and sit all the way in the back ("Because," she'd say, "you get the best view when you're eye level with the screen!"). There we'd set up our sugary feast and chat until the movie started. I still sneak candy into the movie theater. And I still sit in the back.

She was the person who got me interested in French when I was about 9 or 10. We always talked about going to France once I learned the language so I could take care of speaking for the both of us. I took four years of French in high school but by the time I was done she was in no shape to travel internationally. I still want to go to France and I will get there someday. All because of her.

One night when I was a little girl I was spending the night at her house. I was lying on the couch with my head on her lap watching TV. She started scratching my back very lightly. So lightly that it tickled and I started giggling and squirming away. She told me it was like a game with myself. She told me to imagine a candle flame in my head and when I thought I was going to laugh just to focus on the candle flame until I didn't want to laugh anymore. It became one of my favorite games because it was mind over matter. I used to have my sister tickle my feet or my back. It got to the point where it relaxed me because I instantly shut my body off and just focused on one thing. That trick became something I'd use over and over again. I still beg Roy to "tickle my back" sometimes because I can't shut my brain off.

She took a bus trip across the country one summer and sent Vanessa and I post cards from a ton of places. At that point, I had never left Pittsburgh (except to go to Florida at Christmas time when I was very little) so a post card from Salt Lake City seemed incredibly exotic.

Every Halloween, a local radio station would broadcast a show with a medium in a haunted house and she'd call me to remind me to listen to it that night when I went to bed.

She'd take us to the Carnegie Science Center all the time and she always watched the History Channel. She gave me a love for word puzzles and brain teasers. She came to all of my school plays and dance recitals.

When I was in second grade my sister had chicken pox over my birthday so I couldn't have a party. But Maba came up for dinner and contracted shingles in the process. I know she'd do it again in a heartbeat just so a little girl could have a birthday party.

She loves teddy bears and knick-knacks and antiques. She had an entire house full of antique tools and household items and could tell you what every single one of them had been used for.

She had no patience for people without common sense (she still doesn't), but she had all the patience in the world for her granddaughters. There was nothing but unconditional love for us from that woman.

From stories that I've heard and things I remember I know that she didn't lead a perfect life. She made mistakes. Big ones. And sometimes people that she loved suffered because of them. But, that's no different than anyone else. She wasn't a saint. But she was one of my favorite people in the world.

She was a perfectionist and a smartass. She was proud and tough on the outside even when she was screaming on the inside. She was methodical in the way she did things. She was incredibly intelligent. She had a knack for language and a love for grammar. I see a lot of her in me everytime I look in the mirror.

I could go on for hours. . .

She's been in the hospital since Tuesday. My mom says she's worse now and she probably will have to go to a memory unit or a nursing home when she leaves the hospital.

I have spent the last 3 days crying about how quickly things can change. Thinking about my own mortality and how I don't have a will. I've worried about what would happen to my kids if something happened to me. I've cried myself to sleep every night thinking about the family back home that I haven't seen in over six years and thinking about the $3000 it's going to take me years to save to get back there.

I'm grateful for work everyday because that's eight and a half hours that I can forget the world outside.

My kids and my husband feel helpless because I just cry at random times. I can't verbalize what I'm feeling, even though and I'm usually able to easily put my feelings into words. It's just a crippling feeling of overwhelming loss and sadness, even though she's still here.

I'm taking this harder than I've ever taken anything before. This has hit so incredibly close to home and completely rocked my world.

I've known for two years now that her mental state was going to deteriorate. I told myself I was prepared.

I wasn't.

And it's only going to get worse.

So, what will I do? Exactly what she did over and over again. Stand up tall and tell the universe that it won't break me. I'll enjoy every day.

And I'll remember. Always.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

101 in 1001: An Update

I just spent the morning taking my last two final exams for  awhile. I'm taking a break from school until the Monday after Thanksgiving and I'm very excited about it. That gives me 15 weekends free! Yay!

I'm thinking of working on my 101 in 1001 list. I pulled it up today and realized I'f accomplished quite a few things that I forgot to check off!

#2: Get a job that allows me more time with the kids.
My original goal was to get a part time job that allowed us to break even from where I was when you calculated in benefits, etc. I ended up getting a full time job that will bring in more money but ultimately will allow the kids to spend less time at daycare and more time with mom and dad. Woo!

#21: Join a gym.
Done. However, I should have been more specific. I have yet to actually go. But, I made the first step!

#23: No fast food for a week.
This has been a more recent accomplishment. Recent, as in, the last week. But, I did it!

#80: Get a joint checking account.
Finally! No more bouncing bills between two accounts!

#97: Try two new recipes in one month.
This was actually fun! And I've well exceeded my goal. We hit about 12 new recipes in the last 3 weeks. Most have them have been a hit!

Now, what to fill the next 15 weeks with?

I think I'm going to start with a lot of painting. Roy doesn't know it yet, but we're painting the family room next weekend. I'm sure he'll figure it out when I come home with rollers and paint trays...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dear Reflux, I Hate You

The pediatrician is 99% sure that Lily has silent reflux. For anyone not familiar with it, that basically means that she has acid reflux, but never throws up. Most of the time babies just cry from the burning (think: heartburn multiplied by 100) but she coughs. And coughs and coughs and coughs.

Nathan had reflux. He threw up all the time. But, since he wasn't losing any weight, the doctor didn't treat it. That little tub of lard was well over 20 pounds when he hit 6 months. (Looking back, I probably should have fought him on that, but I was young and had no idea.)

Nathan threw up on everything until he was about a year old. He was what they now call a "Happy Spitter." There was no pain or discomfort for him at all. When he suddenly grew out of it, I prayed that I would never have to deal with that again.

Be careful what you wish for, Amanda.

Lily never throws up. In fact, she so rarely spits up that when she does we are usually caught without a burp cloth or a bib to clean her up. It just never happens.

But she coughs so hard sometimes that her face turns white and her cheeks get splotchy. She cries when she coughs because her little throat is so raw. She has not choked in her sleep yet, but I'm afraid it's only a matter of time.

The doctor says to let her sleep upright, but all that does is piss her off.

We've only recently determined it's reflux. She's been coughing for over 3 months now. After countless trips to the doctors and trying everything from Albuterol to Amoxicillan, we finally put our foot (feet?) down. Roy took her to the doctor (I was stuck at work) with a list of things we were worried about. RSV, Valley Fever and Whooping Cough topped the list.

The good news? The pediatrician sent her for an x-ray last week which came back clear as a bell. I was very happy to hear that seeing as how she would have already infected her entire daycare and the children of all of our friends not to mention my elderly grandmother.

The bad news? We're running out of ideas. The pediatrician never even mentioned reflux until we brought it up. Apparently, in their world, fat babies don't have reflux. Luckily, I have enough mommy friends to know that's not true.

She needs to have a test at the hospital to confirm reflux. The hospitals are scheduling the test 3-4 weeks out. In the meantime, she's still coughing. It might be my imagination, but I think she's getting worse by the day. Or maybe it's just my mind finally finding a pattern to the coughing now that I have an idea of what it is.

Right now we're managing one day at a time. Cereal in her bottle doesn't help at all and I can't get her to sleep upright for the life of me. But, I'm still packing the cereal in her bottle and giving her non-acidic baby food to try and help for now.

I called the doctor today to ask for a prescription of Zantac or Prilosec or anything to help her until we can have the test done. I called at 9:30 this morning and never received a call back. I was also promised a call back today with my appointment date and time for her test. I didn't hear about that, either.

They have until tomorrow at lunch. Then? No more Mr. Nice Mommy.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Letting Go

Nathan's first day of preschool is tomorrow. He's been going to daycare for over two years now but this is very different. Daycare is playtime with some snacks and naps sprinkled in. Preschool, on the other hand, is for the big kids. Part of me (the mom part) refuses to believe that my son is a "big kid."

He'll be riding the school bus from his daycare to the elementary school down the road 4 days a week for 3 hours a day. I reminded him today that he'll be riding the school bus tomorrow and the response that I got was something of an excited squeal that was cut short by an uncontrollable, almost hysterical, fit of giggles.

Yes, he's that excited.

And he should be. Nathan loves to learn new things. He's going to thrive there. I will not be surprised if he starts reading soon. I was writing his name on his backpack tonight and he stood next to me naming each letter as I wrote it and then proceeded to tell me that "N-A-T-H-A-N spells Nathan" in a very matter-of-fact way.

(Here's where the mom thing kicks in.)

The obvious response is, "That's great! You know your letters!" Which is exactly what I told him. But, inside, I was secretly wishing that I could shrink him back down to baby size, change his diaper and rock him while I fed him a bottle.

I was reading a friend's blog tonight and it hit me: this is what the rest of my life is going to be like.

A series of emotional highs and lows all rolled into one. It all starts at birth and the first few milestones happen quickly. Smiling, laughing, rolling, crawling, walking. The milestones slow down after that, but it seems that the further apart they are, the bigger they are. The first day of school, first birthday party, first sleepover, first girlfriend, driver's license, first job, graduation, college, marriage, babies. . .

And the emotions only increase exponentially with each child you have. When Lily rolled over I didn't just watch her roll over. In my mind, I watched Nathan roll over for the first time, too. When Nathan put his backpack on, I had an image flash through my head of Lily in curly pigtails striking the same pose three years from now.

Only a parent can understand how bittersweet it is to watch your child grow up. The overwhelming joy and sorrow that you feel when you realize that a page has turned and things will never be the same again.

I look at Nathan and I know that he's ready for more. I know that I can't hold him back. It's not fair to him. So I will smile tomorrow and be excited with him and find comfort in the fact that he is ready.

That's all we can do as parents, isn't it? Make sure that they're ready. Ready for whatever comes their way. We find a way to guide them gently without taking the reins. We even learn how to let them fall sometimes and, harder still, learn how to sit back and let them pick themselves up.

He's not a baby anymore. I know that he is ready for this. If I hold him back to satisfy my own maternal need it will do him more harm than good.

It's not "just preschool." This is his first adventure without me there beside him. But, I will be there at the end of the day to hear all about it.

He's ready. And, like it or not, so am I.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Confidence is Key

As I mentioned last weekend, Monday was Day One of my "Fresh Start In Life".

I discovered (again) that it's much easier to give yourself a pep talk and describe exactly what you plan on doing than to get up and do it.

I got ready in the morning with butterflies tickling my insides. That's pretty normal (or so I hear) for anyone to feel on their first day of a new job. I dropped the kids off at daycare and made my way down the freeway to what is going to be my second home for a very long time. As I pulled into the campus and made my way around the building to the parking lot the nervousness starts to creep up from my belly and lodge in my throat.

I'm not going to lie. I sat in my car and seriously contemplated calling my old boss and begging her to give me my job back. Anyone who knows me (and my boss) knows that I'm way to proud for that, but I entertained the idea for a minute or so. After about 10 minutes of Facebooking (yes, it's a verb), e-mailing, and texting I told myself I would count to three and by the time I got to three I would be out of the truck walking into the building. I even mentally separated the steps:

One. Phone in purse. Lip gloss checked. Turn off ignition.

Two. Seat belt off. Door Open. Feet on ground.

Three. Lock doors. Walk. Keep walking. Breathe.

As I walked into the building a feeling of semi-familiarity came over me. I'd done three interviews here and, when the security guard sent me to the same waiting area I had been sent to before I couldn't help but think, "I got this." And then I opened the door.

Previously, I had been the only one in the a fore-mentioned waiting area. When I walked in there were 3 men waiting in there and another woman was close on my heels. As I checked in, more and more people came in. The room was filling up fast. (I would come to find out, there were over 25 people in there.) As I sat there I became more and more nervous.

Smile, Amanda. Smile, damn it.

People (Roy) tell me that I have a tendency to give people dirty looks without realizing it. Usually it's because I'm lost in thought and, apparently, my "thinking face" is also my "pissed off" face and my "don't talk to me because I'll chew your face off" face. Nice.

I also have the idea that I'm dull and irritating burned into my brain and I can't shake it. When I meet someone I immediately start thinking of all the things I said or did that would make her not like me and so I convince myself that she doesn't want to talk to me anymore. Because of that I don't make the effort to talk to her, either, so she probably feels snubbed. If it weren't for my silly over thinking things would probably turn out great more often than not.

Anyway, as I sat there willing myself to smile at nothing in particular (because there was no way on earth I was making eye contact with strangers) I stopped worrying about myself long enough to realize that everyone else seemed just as nervous as me. That made me feel so much better.

I took a deep breath, counted to three and introduced myself to the girl next to me. Hmmm. That wasn't hard at all. Another girl took the seat in between us and I introduced myself to her, too. Go, me! Two out of two!

Let me back track for a moment and explain something about myself to you: I judge people. I know, it's terrible. For example, women who let their kids run around the store screaming? Bad moms. Pacifiers at 3? Bad mom. Pretty women who dress nice? Snotty. Women with designer handbags? Rich snobs. Logically, I know that those are terrible generalizations that are almost never true. But I can't help it.

However, I promised myself I wasn't going to judge anyone at this new job. Everyone got the benefit of the doubt from Amanda. It's something I'm trying to do more of in all aspects of my life, but let's be realistic. I need to start small. So, for now, work it is.

You may be wondering why I told you that. Well, remember when I sat down in the waiting area? Two girls walked in and I immediately pegged them as being stuck up, rude and not worth my time. I caught myself and pushed that thought to the back of my mind. I stayed true to my plan of not judging anyone.

They both turned out to be pretty awesome and not stuck up at all.

Day one was awkward because no one wanted to really open up to a room full of strangers but, after day five, we all get along pretty well.

I'm pretty proud of myself. Here's to next week!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Fresh Start

I have an irrational fear of meeting new people. And I've had it for as long as I can remember.

I remember being in Kindergarten and my mom asking me if I wanted her to drive me to school on the first day. I remember telling her no and marching my happy little 5 year old self out the front door and down the driveway. I walked to the end of the street and rounded the corner. There, at the bus stop, were about 15 kids. Big kids. Sixth graders. I stopped dead in my tracks and stood there for what felt like a 10 second eternity and then sprinted back to the house and told my mom that I changed my mind: I wanted an escort.

Seventh grade was similar. I had moved across country that summer and was starting a new school in a new state and had yet to make any friends. My mom helped me find my homeroom before school started and I made her stand there with me until class started because I was afraid of the other kids. I'm not sure what I thought they were going to do, but I was shaking.

I never went to parties in high school because they were outside my comfort zone. I never went to any dances (except Junior prom) for the same reason.

Even after high school, parties made me feel self conscious and awkward. The idea of going to college and living in a dorm terrified me, so I didn't go.

I was afraid to go to a bar when I turned 21 because I had (obviously) never been to one and I had no idea how to act there.

Of course, in all of the above situations, once I crossed the starting line I realized that things weren't nearly as bad as I had made them out to be in my head and everything always proceeded smoothly from that point on.

It isn't normal. Some people feel awkward in new situations, but this paralyzing fear isn't experienced by many people. Head shrinkers call it "social anxiety." Call it whatever you want, it makes it very difficult to function at times, especially when you're stubborn enough to refuse medication because the medication makes you feel numb.

Things have gotten a lot better over the last year. Roy has helped me to become comfortable in my own skin and helped me realize that people like me. I'm a genuinely nice person and I'm smart. (Hear that? It's my horn tooting itself.) I know that I don't give myself credit where credit is due.

I'm getting better at meeting new people and experiencing new situations without any anxiety leading up to the event and, in some cases, I've found myself getting excited!

Tomorrow I start a new job and I can already feel some of the old anxiety creeping back.

I left my old company on Friday after 5 and a half years. In those 5 and a half years, my job was my rock. I started when I was barely 19 years old. That job has seen me have a baby, go through a terribly emotional marriage, get divorced, go through an emotional healing process, and (in the last year) fall in love, get married, have another baby and finally find true happiness.

The last year of my life has been the most peaceful since graduating high school. There were times, prior to that, when I literally felt as if a hurricane and come sweeping through my life and nothing was as it had been the day before. I would walk into work and instantly forget everything. It was 8 hours of emotion free bliss. When I could count on nothing else, I could count on the reassuring repetition that waited for me everyday after I clocked in.

I gave up that reassurance on Friday. It's time to leave that all behind. All the bad memories that I supressed while I worked all those years. All the days I came to work and had to be the best because it was the only place that I felt appreciated. It's time to move on.

Tomorrow I walk into a new building for the first time. In the book that is my life, the prologue has come to a close. It's time to start Chapter One. A clean slate that hasn't been scarred by my past. A blank page waiting to be written on.

But, I can't help the anxiety. It's there. And it's worse than ever because I haven't felt it for so long. However, I have a new strategy. Tomorrow I am determined to not suppress these thoughts and feelings. I am determined to embrace them and push through them.

Determined to talk to people and make the first attempt at friendship. Determined to show who I am and what I'm made of.

This is me.

And I'm scared.

Friday, July 16, 2010

My Anniversary

There are certain times in a person's life when they should reflect on the past. I do every year on my birthday and my kids' birthdays and at the holidays. . .

Today is my first ever wedding anniversary.

And I'm reflecting.

A lot.

My life has changed more than most people know. In the last five years, not only have I gone from a childless teenager to a mother of two beautiful little children, I've also gone from being belittled and broken by a man who didn't deserve me to being treated like royalty by my husband.

My husband loves, respects, and cherishes me. He is the man I was meant to be with and I'm so grateful that I found him.

Happy Anniversary, babe. I love you!


Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's Been Awhile

It's been over a mont since I last posted a blog. Oops.

Things got a little busy between work and school and these two little angels I have.

Occasionally, I am reminded of what a wonderful husband I have. Saying that he's an improvement from my first is an understatement.

This week I came across a girl on a message board that I frequent who has a stepson and literally can't stand him. The reasons she gave were things that were beyond his control but instead of helping the little boy and getting him out of an unhealthy situation (living with his mother) she chooses to treat him like a filthy mutt and hose him off in the garage when he comes over.

If you are a single parent and are currently in the dating game, please find someone who loves your child as much as you do. It is possible. Is it easy? No. But, you owe it to your child to find someone who will treat him fairly and lovingly.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Barrette Holder: A Tutorial

Lily has a good two inches of hair on her sweet little head. As a result, she looks adorable in barrettes.

However, they were scattered all over the top over her dresser. So I decided to make a simple, yet effective, place to store them.

You will need:

          1. Ribbon (I got mine from the dollar section at Target)
          2. Hot Glue
          3. Scissors
          4. Straight Pin (with pearlized head)

Gather your supplies:

Cut two lengths of ribbon. Tie one into a bow. (I angled the ends of mine because, well, it looks cute.)

Glue the bow on top of the other length of ribbon. (Careful not to burn your fingers!) Then hang on the wall with the straight pin. I had a hard time getting the decorative pin I was going to use through the drywall so I took a pin with a flat head and a hammer and tapped it through. Then I removed it with a pair of pliers and the decorative pin slid right in. The pearl looks so pretty!

Cute and functional. And it only cost me a dollar since all I had to buy was the ribbon!

If you make one, or if you've made one in the past, show me yours!

I'm Addicted

I have a problem.

I'm addicted to blogs. Not bloging, per se, although I enjoy that, too. But, I love looking at other blogs.

I've spent the last hour roaming through blogland. It all starts with one of the blogs on my Google reader. Someone has a cute idea or interesting information and I start reading. Then, I notice that they've linked to another blog either in the blog itself, or on the sidebar. That blog looks interesting. Repeat this step at least 15 or 20 times, and you'll find yourself in a blog by someone in Thailand who loves to decorate as much as you do and is just as terriible at it as you are.

*sigh* It makes me feel better about myself.

But there are also a ton of other decor ideas out there...I have a lot of  "Hey, I could totally do that!" moments.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

My Mother's Day Gifts

My head is spinning...I've got about 150 different ideas for what to do with these!

Roy picked them up at a yard sale for $10 each and he "just knew I would love them."

I love my husband!


Monday, May 3, 2010


Today was my first day back to work after 12 gloriously long weeks of maternity leave.

It was rough.

First of all, I work in customer service in a call center. If you've ever worked in a similar environment you know that policies and procedures change on a daily basis. So, I spent the first part of my morning trying to catch up on e-mails that I had received when I was gone. My company has a habit of sending out an e-mail update and then sending out a correction to the previous e-mail and then sending a final corrected copy. And then your manager and peers all forward you the same e-mail just to make sure you received it...anyone seen Office Space? "Did you get the memo?" That was my morning. Every e-mail I received was resent at least three times by different people.

If that wasn't tedious and boring enough, I kept thinking about Lily.

Today was her first day of daycare. I was going to try taking her a little bit at a time starting at about 8 weeks, but they won't take a baby until she's 12 weeks old. She did awesome when I dropped her off. She was talking and smiling and cooing. And when I called at noon they said she had eaten for them and had been a great baby all morning.

Mommy, on the other hand, was not doing so hot.

I was in the bathroom crying at least three times. Not because I don't trust the daycare, because I do. Nathan has been there since he was 18 months old (going on 2 years now) and I have never had any reason to think that they mistreated or neglected him. I just missed her so much. (Yes, I missed Nathan, too, but he's a big kid. He likes playing with his friends so school is no big deal to him!) All I wanted to do all day was scoop her up and snuggle her and smell her hair.

I'm sure it's just normal Mommy guilt. Nathan was with my mom the first time I went back to work after he was born. And I handed in my two week notice that day and stayed home until he was 10 months old. When I did go back to work, my mom watched him until he was 18 months old. She sent me a text at least once an hour telling me what he was doing and sending me pictures...

I felt so disconnected from my baby today. She's not old enough to be independent. She still needs me. The last time I sat in that chair at work I had her safe and secure all snuggly inside of me. It just felt wrong not being with her today.

People keep telling me that it gets easier. I sure hope so. I can't imagine it getting any worse. My heart was literally aching today. I just hope tomorrow goes by faster that today did. I can't handle another torturous 8 hours like that again...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thankful Thursday

I've seen this on a few other blogs. I think it would get a little redundant to do it every week, but once in awhile can't hurt. Most people only make a list of the things they are thankful for at Thanksgiving, if they do it at all.

That is an excellent idea, but I think it puts you in an optomistic mindset if you remind yourself regularly that there are awesome things in your life. It's easy to let the stressful things overwhelm you, and we all need a gentle reminder that life isn't as bad as it could be.

When asked what they are thankful for, most people have a standard list: my kids, my husband, my family, my friends, my get the point. I urge you to delve beyond that generic list and sit down once every month or so and make a list of two or three "extra" things that make life just a little bit better. They can be related to the things listed above, but try and be specific.

This is my (current) list:

1. In-laws that wouldn't dream of treating Nathan differently than Lily
Roy's parents didn't have any grandkids when we met. Nathan was the first and he was spoiled rotten from the second they met him. When they found out that we were pregnant with a little girl I thought his mom was going to die from excitement. I'll be honest: I was a little worried that Nathan would be forgotten once Lily was born. After all, he's not a blood relation. His parents came into town three days after Lily was born and any concerns I had went right out the window. Lily, being three days old, slept all day. Nathan was outside playing, riding bikes, going for walks, at the grocery name it, he was with them. It was the same when they came for Lily's baptism and when we went to visit them last weekend. They love him so much and I have no idea how to explain to them how much that means to me.

2. Music
Not just any music. The kind of music that makes you crank up the radio, roll down the windows, and belt out the lyrics at the top of your lungs. Because, for those 3 and a half minutes, the car payment isn't due, the kids aren't sick, there aren't a million things on your "To Do" list . . . you can forget about the drama that is your life and just let the music swallow you up.

3. Tony, the Target Pharmacist
So, aside from being really cute he's also extremely helpful. Whether I have questions about prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, infant medications, First-Aid or if Nate should still be taking toddler vitamins or "big kid" vitamins he answers them all. Did I mention he's really cute?


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Time for the Living Room

I've been bitten by the craft bug. HARD.

My living room is first on the list. I'm hoping to paint this coming weekend.

Here is my color scheme...I'm excited! (The brown is the color of my wooden furniture.)


Sunday, April 18, 2010

101 in 1001

The trend recently has been to create a bucket list. Basically, you make a list of all things that you want to do before you die (a.k.a. "kick the bucket") and as you complete those things you cross them off of your list.

Another trend that I find slightly less morbid is to make a "101 in 1001" list. That is, 101 things that you'd like to accomplish within the next 1001 days. That's approximately two and a half years, so there is plenty of time to accomplish a lot of things!

I finished my list and I intend to keep up on it.

You can view it HERE. I also hope to add a tab to my blog so it will be listed here, too.

Readers, I encourage you to also make a list. I found it inspiring!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Homeless Shoes

My shoes are homeless.


We don't wear shoes in the house. So, this has accumulated inside the front door:

These are the shoes we wear most often. Except the royal blue flip flops. I have one outfit that I wear those with - and I wore it today. I assume the Hot Wheels are there as some sort of Home Alone-esque burglar deterrent, but you'll have to ask Nathan to be sure.

My closet (OK, our closet) is even worse. I just counted and, between the two of us, we have over 40 pairs of shoes.

The left side:

The center (In case you're wondering, all the little dangly things are the ties from my halter tops and empire style tops/dresses. Apparently I have quite a few.):

The right side (also known as "Roy's side" but Nathan has helped me put shoes away so often that my shoes are all over the place):

(By the way, did you see these in there? I lurve them! They're my sexy dancing shoes.)

You see my situation. The worst parts are:

A) The shoes in the living room always slide under the couch so I am forever crawling on the ground before we go anywhere.
B) The closet floor is in desperate need of a dusting/sweeping/mopping which only happens once every eight weeks or so because I'm way too busy too lazy to move 40 pairs of shoes every time the floors get mopped.

Sure, I could buy some cheap shoe racks that will break in a year or two, but I want something a little more study.

Here is my inspiration. I really don't want to pay these prices, so I'm going to see what I can find in the way of thrift stores to get the look I'm going for.

I like this one for the entryway. It would fit right next to the couch inside my door. Plus, the top would be great with a tray to act as a catch-all for keys, sunglasses, etc.

As for the closet, I'm thinking something simple. I have to be able to house 40+ pairs of shoes, after all.

This would be adorable on my side of the closet. I could put my 18 pairs of shoes that I wear most often on it. The rest could go on racks like the one below.

A good majority of my shoes are flip-flops, and they would work nicely on a rack like the one on the bottom. I could set them on their sides next to each other. I bet I would only need one or two if I got the clothes tree. . .

Stay tuned. Hopefully I'll have something to show you in a few weeks!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Why Mommy Talks to Strangers

February 2007: A young mother (20 years old) is standing in the checkout line early in the morning at Target waiting to buy a can of formula for her five week old baby boy. The only cashier is doing a price check and the baby has decided that he is hungry. Now. He's screaming. The diaper bag is in the car, but it wouldn't matter if it wasn't, because she is completely out of formula. She needs this can to feed him. Money is tight and she managed to stretch the last can until payday, but he only had enough for half of a bottle this morning.

What is taking so long for this price check, anyway? She's trying everything she can to comfort him. Rocking him. Bouncing him. Shushing him. Forget the fact that everyone is staring at this screaming baby, her son is hungry and she can't do anything to help him feel better and it's breaking her heart.

A woman behind her in line gently taps her on the shoulder and, sensing the young mother's desperation, gives her this gem of advice: "Lay him on his tummy in your arms and swing him from side to side. It'll help hold him off until you can get out of here."

Willing to try anything, she rolls him over in her arms and starts swinging. He calms down almost immediately. Five weeks of sleepless nights, fussy days, dirty diapers, overdrawn bank accounts and now this. An overwhelming sense of gratitude hits her all at once and she is overcome with emotion. Turning to the woman with tears in her eyes, the young mother is speechless. The woman simply smiles and says, "I have five of my own. They're grown now, but that was my favorite trick."

I've always been a nice person, but I never truly appreciated the impact that kind words or selfless gestures can have on the recipient until that day. I never saw that woman again, but I will never forget what she did for me.

I now make a point to be a little friendlier. It's great to be nice, but even better to be truly friendly.

Example #1: The woman behind me in line at the grocery store the other day had on killer heels. And I mean killer heels. They were super sexy, but were not meant to be worn while wandering the aisles at the grocery store. I had a huge cart full of groceries. She had some French bread, some milk and a few other smaller items, so I said to her, "You're feet look like they're killing you. Why don't you go ahead of me?"

Example #2: I was leaving the post office last week carrying Lily in her carseat and holding Nathan's hand when a woman who had stepped out a few minutes before me dropped a huge stack of envelopes. She wasn't elderly or handicapped and I'm sure that she could have managed to pick them up on her own, but why? So I stopped and helped her. The best part? Nathan helped, too. That one was a two-for: I helped someone and taught Nathan a life lesson all at once.

I'm not trying to toot my own horn about what a wonderful person I think I am, although I'm sure it could be seen that way. Trust me, I have my weaknesses. I get very frustrated with people sometimes. Especially people who don't know how to drive . . . but that's a blog post for another day.

I'm just trying to illustrate how easy it is to make a difference in someone's day.

One of my favorite quotes: "Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” - Leo F. Buscaglia.

It's so true.

Why have we become a society that is afraid to be kind to one another? Whatever way you slice it and regardless of your religious beliefs, we're in this together.

I am making it my personal mission to restore a sense of brotherhood to all those I come in contact with. Will you join me?


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wherein I Cook Dinner...And It Doesn't Come From a Box

I'm going to let you in on a little secret:




Dinners around here usually consist of frozen pizza or something from a box.

I can bake like there's no tomorrow. But baking requires zero creativity. You pull out a recipe, measure the ingredients, mix it up as directed and bake. Easy. Cooking requires a little something more...

I like to pretend that I can cook, though. I even go so far as to make something "from scratch" (spaghetti sauce from a jar is as "from scratch" as I get) invite people over for dinner and, being good friends, they choke down what I serve them.

After Lily was born I decided that we (as a family) needed to eat healthier. My husband and I could both stand to lose a few pounds and I want to set a good example for the kids. That means home cooked dinners with as many fresh ingredients as possible.

As of right now, I don't have the budget for a chef and my husband (who is an awesome cook, by the way) doesn't get home until after 6:00 PM. If we want to eat before midnight, dinner is my responsibility.

A few weeks ago, a friend turned me on to THIS BLOG. My favorite part is that she gives you nutrition facts for all the recipes that she posts and Weight Watcher's points (which is very helpful since I'm on Weight Watcher's).

After browsing her blog I decided that I could try a few of her recipes. I started with (of course) a baked good. These Black Bean Brownies are amazing! Seriously. I know the recipe sounds weird, but try it. Worst case, you're out $3.00 for the ingredients. (Hint: Don't tell the less adventerous types what is in them until they try them.)

When that recipe was a success I decided to take the plunge and make real food.

I was absolutely terrified.

OK, maybe not terrified, but I wasn't looking forward to it.

I decided to start with Cilantro Lime Shrimp. Here's how it went down...

The ingredients.

And a recipe printout, of course.

Step One: Rinse the shrimp under cold water for 5-10 minutes to defrost (per directions on package). Leave it in the sink to drain.

Step Two: While the shrimp drains, chop up the cilantro...

...and the garlic...

...the recipe says to "crush" the garlic but, as I am not usually one to cook, I don't have a garlic press. I decided to mince it and pray that it worked. You want to make sure that you mince it so that it's fairly small, otherwise you risk getting a mouth full of garlic at the dinner table.

(Also, the recipe doesn't say this, but you need to pull the tails off of the shrimp. I gathered this from looking at the picture on the website.)

Step Three: Heat the oil in a pan and add the shrimp.

This is where I panicked a little. The recipe says "Season with salt and
 pepper". Um, can I get a measurement? A teaspoon? A tablespoon? OK, deep breaths...

I just poured some salt in my hand and sprinkled it in until it seemed like enough. Same with the pepper. That was a big step for a "non-cook" like myself.

Whew. That wasn't so bad...

Step Four: (Sorry, no picture...) Let the shrimp cook for a few minutes. Flip it and add the garlic.

This doesn't seem to be so hard, after all.

Step Five: Remove from heat. Add cilantro and lime.

Serve hot.
I served it over minute rice. The picture isn't the greatest, but I'm not a photographer, either.

Honestly, it turned out great. I was afraid there would be too much garlic, but it was perfect. Next time I may add something to spice it up a bit. My family survived, my husband actually said it was delicious. And my brother-in-law, who only eat chicken nuggets and the occasional steak, absolutely loved it. I'm calling it a success!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Keeping It Clean

Women (and a few men) know that it is no easy feat to keep a house clean. The level of difficulty increases exponentially with each child and pet you add to the mix. You have to come to terms with the fact that your house is never going to look like it belongs in a magazine because you actually live in it.

Clutter happens.

The mirror you have on your coffee table is going to have fingerprints on it 90% of the time. Said coffee table will also have rings from sippy cups and bottles. The magazines stacked oh-so-nicely underneath will be scattered by someone trying to add his favorite books to the pile. The baby wipes will find a permanent home there as well because, to be honest, the living room is where all the diaper changes happen.

I give you Exhibit A:

I can shamelessly post this picture because I know that there are plenty of homes out there that look very similar to mine. But, clutter is tolerable. Dirt, not so much. (And, no, I don't consider fingerprints and water rings "dirt".)

We have a few simple rules that everyone in the house must live by:

1. No shoes in the house. My husband thought this was a silly rule until we tried it for one week and then I had him sweep the entire house. He was shocked at how clean the floors stayed when the shoes were left at the door.
(Most of you in Canada or on the eastern coast of the United States will be shocked to know that, here in the Valley of the Sun it is not common practice to remove your shoes when entering someone's home. I can only assume it is because it doesn't snow here or rain often so native Phoenicians never saw the need. Therefore, I feel uncomfortable enforcing this rule when we have guests. I just make sure to sweep after they leave.)

2. When you're done with it, put it away. This includes dishes to the dishwasher (or at least in the sink) and clothes in the hamper. No stray socks or cups need to be left around.

3. The house gets a nightly pick-up. As everyone in my household (myself included) is human and nowhere near perfect, there are times when Rule #2 isn't followed as strictly as it might be. So, every night we go through the house together and pick up all the toys, bring any cups to the kitchen and just generally neaten up. There is nothing better than waking up in the morning to a (mostly) clutter-free house.

Those three rules tend to keep the house as neat as possible. But, you ask, what about the actual cleaning?

I give you Exhibit B:

(Try clicking on the image to view it larger)

I made this for myself to try and stay on top of the cleaning. To be more specific, I made this for myself last August. I am not embarrassed to admit that I didn't start putting it into practice until I was on maternity leave.

In February. 

My original plan was to come home from work, start dinner, and do the chores on the list for that day. Instead, I would come home and convince myself that I was too exhausted and that I would rather relax after work and then do the cleaning on the weekend.

Boy, was I wrong. Having kept up on it the past few weeks, I have been able to truly enjoy my weekends with my husband and kids as opposed to sending them outside to have fun while I clean the house.

I am pretty proud of this schedule. It's very organized well thought out. Even when bi-weekly and monthly chores are added, they go hand in hand with the chores already scheduled on that day so it doesn't feel like there are many extra steps at all. Feel free to copy it if you think it will help you!

There are a few reasons why I enjoy this chart:

1. I am a lover of lists. They keep things nice and organized. A chart like this one is just a list that is spread out over the course of a week.

2. I never feel overwhelmed. I know that I only have a few things to do every day and then I'm finished. I don't feel guilty if I don't pull out the canisters and the microwave to clean behind them each night after dinner because I know it will get done every Friday when I do a deep cleaning in my kitchen.

3. It's flexible. If, for example, I have a day filled with doctor's appointments or we are going to spend an entire Saturday at the zoo, I can easily take the chores from that day and spread them out between the day before and the day after

Yes, I know there are only 24 hours in a day, but each day I spend about 30 minutes getting it done. I prefer (now that I am on maternity leave) to get it done first thing in the morning. That way I don't have to think about it for the rest of the day. But, those 30 minutes could easily be used any other time during the day. Right before you get in the shower for the night, or right before your favorite television show comes on. (At least you would have an incentive to get it done by a certain time!)

When I go back to work in May, mornings will be hectic around here and I will have to find a different time of day to get it done. I'm thinking I'll use the time that Roy is giving the kids a bath and getting them ready for bed. That way we'll be ready to tuck the kids in together and we can both enjoy our evening after all is said and done.

Granted, the chart isn't perfect, and it may need some tweaking as time goes on. For example, once Lily is mobile the floors will need swept every day. And I doubt I'll be able to go a week between mopping once she's feeding herself and most of it ends up on the floor. But, it's a place to start and it's keeping my family and me sane.

Friday, March 26, 2010

She Smiled At Me

I have yet to capture it on camera as she hasn't quite mastered it, but Lily smiled at me today.

Just as I was beginning to doubt myself as a mother . . .

Just when I was beginning to think I was a terrible person for not feeling a bond with my child . . .

Just as I was starting to resent this little creature who demanded that I feed and change her dozens of times a day without so much as a "Thank You" in return . . .

Just as I felt that my head was going to explode if I had to button the snaps on her sleeper in the dark at 2:00 AM one more time . . .

Just as I picked her up to get her dressed for the day . . .

She smiled at me. And she melted my heart.

One smile. One sweet, toothless, goofy smile that lasted only for a few fleeting seconds.

Only when you are at the end of your rope, can one smile mean so much.

Only when you begin to question if you are actually cut out to be a parent, can one smile make the world stop spinning.

Only when you wake up to a crying baby and think that you won’t last another day, can one smile give you strength.

Just one smile says, "I love you for the diaper changes.

I love you for the milk in my tummy.

I love you for the cuddles, the kisses, the late night snuggle sessions.

I love you for helping me grow big enough and strong enough to make it this far.

I love you for my snuggly jammies and my warm bed.

I love you for holding me when I'm scared and playing with me when I'm happy.

I love you for keeping me safe.

I love you for taking care of me.

But mostly, I love you for loving me."

One smile. . .


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Closer Than Yesterday

Today started out like any other Wednesday.

I was gently nudged awake by the sudden sound of a screaming baby on the other end of the monitor. I stumbled my way down the hall and into her room. As soon as I walked in she calmed down (slightly) and the wails turned into the whimpers of someone with an incredibly soggy rear end. Scooping her up in one arm and grabbing a diaper with my free hand we blindly made our way to the kitchen. I made a bottle and we settled in on the couch. A quick diaper change and she was more than ready to eat.

As she gulped away at her bottle I reached over to my laptop and brought up my Facebook page to see what was going on. The first thing I noticed on my page was a posting from Weight Watchers. The Weight Watchers page on Facebook frequently posts ideas, recipes and inspiration to help keep followers motivated. This morning, the post referenced the following quote:

“You may not be there yet, but you’re closer than you were yesterday.”—Unknown.

I could easily see how this quote would help inspire me to reach my weight loss goals. But, as I watched Lily look up at me with wide eyes and milk dribbling off her chin, I realized that it meant so much more to me than mere weight loss. I have a family that depends on me and when I get discouraged I do them all a huge disservice. I held her to my shoulder and patted her back to work out a burp and mentally ticked off my "To Do" list.

1. Buy a home

We are currently renting our home right now but the owners want to sell and we want to buy. What are we waiting for? A few things. Roy works on commission. While he's been with his company for almost 5 years he has only been on this pay scale since July 2008. The only way to get approved for a mortgage is if he is able to show 2 years worth of pay stubs proving that his commission is stable. My income would be beyond helpful in our quest for home ownership, but a lack of much credit to begin with and an ugly divorce means my credit is in the crapper.

We're also trying to pay down any debt that Roy has in order to make his debt to income ratio as low as possible, and it's a slow process. But now? Every time we make a payment I’ll think:

“You may not be there yet, but you’re closer than you were yesterday.”

2. Fix My Credit

This is actually tied very closely to #1. If we can manage to buy our house our monthly payment will drop between $400 and $500. With that amount of money freed up every month we will have that much more to put towards paying down the rest of Roy's debt and paying off all of mine. After that, the plan is to get a small credit card in my name and make purchases and pay them off to build by credit back up. We can't start working on #2 until #1 is complete so, in the meantime, I'm focusing on saving where I can to make as many payments as possible.

I love to shop. And a good sale is hard for me to pass up. But now? When I walk past the clearance racks I can chant my mantra:

“You may not be there yet, but you’re closer than you were yesterday.”

3. Graduate College

I am slowly but surely working my way towards an Associate's in Business Management. The process is painful. I can only manage 2 classes at a time because there just aren't enough hours in the day. Because of the class structure at my college I am able to take 4 classes a semester (full time status) but only take 2 classes at a time.

Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel because life is so much easier when I don't have classes and homework to worry about. But now? Each time I turn in an assignment my own personal theme song will ring in my ears:

“You may not be there yet, but you’re closer than you were yesterday.”

4. Lose Weight and Live Healthier

This is obviously what Weight Watchers was hoping to inspire with their quote. Anyone familiar with Weight Watchers will know that they tell you to aim to lose no more than one or two pounds a week. This shows that you are losing weight the correct way and making the appropriate life changes. While it makes sense logically, it's not what you want to hear when you have weight to lose. Especially when we all know that you will not lose that one or two pounds every week and you may even gain weight some weeks. I have 37 pounds left to lose. Knowing that it will take (at the minimum) four and a half months to lose it is frustrating, to say the least. (I'll be skinny just in time for swimsuit season to be over. Great.)

It's hard to make the right choices everyday but I try to make little changes where I can. It's easy to drive around the parking lot at the grocery store until I find a closer spot. But now? As I park in the last row, grasp Nathan's hand, and lug Lily in her infant carrier (25 pounds, all together) up to the door I will tell myself:

“You may not be there yet, but you’re closer than you were yesterday.”

I looked down and realized that Lily had fallen back asleep. Feeling motivated and ready to enjoy an early morning cup of coffee in peace, I had just laid her down when I heard Nathan shuffle his way down the hall to the kitchen. I'll admit, I was irritated. I can't remember the last time I had 10 minutes to myself in my own home and it looked like it wasn’t going to happen this morning, either.

But, as he rounded the corner, I noticed his pajamas weren't covering his ankles anymore. And his mannerisms have recently become that of a little boy. He's no longer a baby. As he curled up next to me on the couch and proceeded to ask twenty questions about what I was doing and why I was doing it, I realized that I couldn't imagine a better way to spend the morning. Children have a tendency to grow up faster than their parents can imagine and someday mine, too, will be grown and gone and I will have to enjoy my early morning coffee on the couch alone. That is a “someday” that I can wait for.

“You may not be there yet, but you’re closer than you were yesterday.”


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

But First, An Introduction

When the going gets tough, the tough start a blog.

That seems to be the trend these days. Not one to be left behind, I decided to jump on the bandwagon.

I tend to catch on to most online trends long after everyone else. I was in my 20s and already a mother the first time I set up a MySpace account. That lasted a few years then, feeling a little more mature one day, I closed that down and started a Facebook profile in February 2009. I think the 8 year old down the street had a Facebook profile before I did.

Blogging is no different. Everyone has a blog now. (Please reference afore mentioned 8 year old down the street.) That means it's my turn to try it out. After all, how hard could it be? (I hear seasoned bloggers chuckling at me already.)

So, here begins my attempt to squeeze one more thing into an already packed life.

I like to think that I am an integral part of my family and that, without me, all would crumble around them. In reality, that's probably not true, but it makes me feel important so I'm going to continue to pretend like it is. I am the definition of a control-freak. I have to know every detail possible about everything that affects me or my loved ones. (I scour the Internet for websites about child development, parenting techniques, illnesses . . . you name it, and I’ve Googled it.) There is not a patient bone in my body. I live life in fast-forward and I have to constantly remind myself that most of the world is living for today, not for next Tuesday.

On the other hand, my husband is probably the most patient man on the face of the earth. Job has nothing on him. I kid you not. Roy could watch moss grow without being discouraged by how long it is taking. This tends to drive me absolutely crazy. He is never in a hurry to do anything and that, as much as it frustrates me, is one of his best qualities because it carries over to his parenting. He is teaching me that kids are just kids and I can't force them to fit into the neat little compartments I have arranged for them. Through him, I'm learning to enjoy each moment as they come and to let the kids just be themselves instead of mini-adults.

And speaking of those kids, just who are they, exactly? It's hard to sum up each of them in just a paragraph, but I'll try. Hopefully, you'll get to know them better as I write more about them in the weeks and months to come.

Nathan is three years old. Roy isn't his biological father, but he's the best Daddy the kid has. He does see his father, but he doesn't have much of a relationship with him. Roy has taught him to have a love for all things Craftsman. His favorite stores are Sears, Home Depot and Lowes because "they have tools." He learned to work a screwdriver at the age of two and "helps" Roy in the garage every weekend. He could spend all morning at the library and all afternoon cuddled up on the couch having you read to him and then "reading" the books back to you. Nate also loves to sing and to dance and make his little sister smile. On the flipside, he has recently discovered the little adrenaline rush achieved by pretending that he doesn't hear Mommy and Daddy when we ask him to do (or not to do) something.

Lily was just born this past February and is only about 6 weeks old. She already has us all wrapped around her teeny little finger. She just started smiling within the last week and every day we get more and more smiles from her. Each night is an adventure, as she isn't sleeping through the night yet. She has been sleeping in a bassinet in our room since we brought her home. However, that bassinet only holds up to a 15 pound baby. Upon weighing her last week and realizing that she is almost 14 pounds I decided we better make the transition to the crib sooner, rather than later. We started putting her in her crib in her own room this week and it has been a success so far. She will still wake up every 3-4 hours to eat, but she has no problem sleeping in there alone.

Aside from my family keeping me busy, I am also a full time student. I take online courses and am working toward an Associate's Degree in Business Management. If anyone tells you that online classes are the easy way out, they obviously have never taken one. I struggle with finding a time when the house is quiet enough to get the required reading done. Usually I am interrupted every 3-5 minutes by a fussy baby or an inquisitive preschooler asking, "What are you doing?" for the tenth time. (Never mind the fact that I have not moved since he asked me the last time. He is sure that my activity is going to change without me notifying him, so he has to keep checking in.)

Since Lily was just born 6 weeks ago, I am still on maternity leave. My company gives 12 weeks paid, so I am expected back around May 3rd. I'm doing a pretty good job juggling the house work, the kids and my homework right now, but once I go back to work all bets are off. I'm a little scared, but also a little excited for the challenge.

Balancing all of these aspects of life at once is not easy and some days are a little more challenging than others. The title for this blog actually comes from these personal challenges I face. I am learning to be more patient. Patient with myself. Patient with my kids. Patient with my husband. Patient with humankind in general. After all, I have to be the kind of person I want my children to be.