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Monday, January 25, 2010

I met some real live bloggers!

My first week as a SAHM was TOUGH!

We started off the week with Michael having a temperature of 102, so we took a trip to the pediatrician on Monday. Turns out he had a sinus infection. We started him on antibiotics, which I knew would clear up the problem, but I was so concerned that he would still be feeling sick at the end of the week. It was a big week because my baby brother was getting married!

Here's the happy couple...

Aren't they gorgeous? And check out that ring. Baby brother did good!

Anyway, we had family come from Puerto Rico and Ohio to participate in the festivities. One of my cousins arrived first, on Monday night. He stayed with my parents, but came over on Tuesday to visit and to meet Michael. I was a bit stressed that day because Michael was still very sick, and we just noticed that morning that one of his eyes was swollen. We thought maybe he'd hit himself with one of his toys, but weren't sure if it was something more serious that we needed to be concerned about.

But it was all good because you know what? My cousin is about to graduate from medical school and got here a few days before the wedding so that he could interview for a residency to specialize in pediatrics! Can you believe it? We got our very own house call! My cousin assured me that the swollen eye was most likely due to the infection and should be cleared up with the antibiotics. One of my sisters, who's a Physician Assistant, also called and instructed me to use the antibiotic drops that we'd been prescribed after Michael was born and had an issue with his eye.

I was so thankful that God had made so many arrangements so far in advance so that Michael could be healthy and happy by the day of the wedding. And I was also thankful that Michael didn't get sick until after my last day at work so that I could concentrate on him and not have outside distractions. Sometimes the kindness that God shows me and my family is almost too much to bear.

So the week began with some stressing and very little sleep, but I had an invitation for Tuesday night that was a nice reprieve. I'd been invited to a dinner for local bloggers, arranged by Missy and Amy. I was so excited to meet other bloggers, and I can't even tell you exactly why. After all, I'm a classic introvert and would usually prefer to stick needles in my eyes rather than meet a group of strangers. But maybe I was excited because I love the whole blogging thing and want to start taking it more seriously? Or because I was starved for some interaction with other moms? Or because I needed to escape from the house for a little bit? All valid reasons, for sure.

I almost didn't go so that I could take care of my little one. But my husband was so sweet to insist that I get out of the house for a while and let him take care of the baby. So I went to the dinner and enjoyed good conversation with some neat ladies. Here's a picture:

I'm the one in the front that looks like a sumo wrestler.

Kind of makes me look back fondly on these days:

This picture was taken about seven months ago. At least back then I looked pregnant for a reason.

The other ladies, on the other hand, all looked great. Here's a list of who's who in the group picture (stolen from Missy's blog).

Top row:
Julie/Elisharose News, Amy/Mom's Toolbox, Beth/Not a Bow in Sight, Ashley/Life Beyond the Pink, Lindsee/Lindsee Lou, Missy/Barefoot Family, Amanda/Baby Bangs, Kristin/Kiki's Crowd

Bottom row:
Missy/It's Almost Naptime, Callie/Smith Live, Heather/Step Inside, Debra/One Girl, Kristen/We Are THAT Family, Sumo Wrestler, Allison/ It Feels Like Chaos, Michelle/ Usr/bin/mom.

After the dinner I went home to relieve my husband from baby duty. By Wednesday, Michael's temperature was consistently normal, and by Thursday the swelling in his eye had pretty much disappeared. Just in time to party with the family!
We're about to start a new week...will this be a "normal" week? Is there such a thing?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My dream has come true!


That's pretty much what I texted to my husband last Friday as I walked out of work for the last time. Over the holidays my husband and I decided that it would be best for our family for me to resign from my job and become a stay-at-home mom. Because, in case you didn't know, being a working mother is JUST A BIT HARD. I won't bore you with all the gory details of what a nightmare it's been to try to be a good wife and mother while working for a company that only paid lip-service to employee work/life balance. So I'll bore you with only a few details: massive stress, lots of tears, exhaustion, and barely surviving.

I'm stressed out and exhausted just writing about it.

(shaking it off)

SO ANYWAY, my experience as a working mother was not a good one. I'm not going to say that it's more difficult than being a SAHM. I'm also not going to say that being a SAHM is more difficult than being a working mother, although it seems like I hear "Being a SAHM is the hardest job in the world" every time I turn around. My (pretty worthless) opinion is that people that say that are usually making a veiled jab at working mothers (the words "passive aggressive" come to mind). And I'm sure that's born out of the belief that SAHM's are not valued or appreciated. The bottom line is that every situation is different and we shouldn't judge someone until we've walked in their shoes and don't judge a book by its cover and i before e except after c...I think I lost my way there, but my very long-winded point is "Being a parent is the hardest job in the world" and I'll leave it at that.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG.....I'm so excited to finally be able to focus on my family. I've got plans. Big plans. But I'm trying to rein myself in by focusing on a few important things:

  • Spending time with my husband. Garrett and I have been in Survival Mode for far too long. Before I resigned from my job, every minute of my day was spoken for. We hardly ever went on dates anymore. And even just laughing over silly things had become a rare occurrence because I was always too stressed to relax. But we are committed to changing that and making time for each other.
  • Spending time with my son. Even though I worked from home a lot, I needed to turn care of my son over to a nanny so I could, you know, WORK. I can't tell you how it broke my heart to hear him laughing and having fun during the day, and then being too tired/stressed/exhausted to play with him for the little bit of time I had him before bedtime. That in itself was enough to keep me in a constant state of depression.
  • Making home a sanctuary. It got to the point that the only time the house looked presentable was when we were expecting someone over. Which meant that a lot needed to be done to make it that way. Which meant that I had an all new reason to be stressed and to stress out my husband. I want better for my family.
  • Getting healthy. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes fifteen extra pounds. Then comes a baby in a baby carriage along with a few more pounds. The stress and downright lack of time has not aided my efforts at weight loss. Ask Dr. Oz. He'll tell you.
  • Deepening relationships. Survival Mode does not include meeting friends at Starbucks, taking a walk with a neighbor, or even going to Bible study. If I don't get friend time, and soon, I'll have to create imaginary friends. And there's no guarantee that they'll even like me.
  • Becoming a better follower of Christ. I put this at the end of the list to show that I've let it fall to the wayside lately. And I hate that. I won't be able to do any of the things above if I don't stay connected to my Savior. And, quite frankly, I miss Him. I still pray and cry out to Him and have felt His comfort and guidance, but I've missed all of the focused time I used to spend on my relationship with Him. I need that back. And my family needs for me to get it back, too.
I do plan on contributing to my family financially by doing some type of part-time work eventually. But Garrett and I have agreed that I need at least a couple of months to get my bearings at home and get into some sort of rhythm. And did I forget to mention that baby boy is teething? And has had a nasty cold? And started crawling at five months? And hasn't stopped since?

It's a good thing he's so cute.

In the meantime......need financial advice? Contact my husband, Garrett, at! (Hey, gotta keep the lights on, you know?)

Friday, January 1, 2010

By the way, I'm not fishing for a compliment

"I can live for two months on a good compliment."
Mark Twain

I orginally intended this post to be about resolutions I would not make for 2010, but who needs to begin a year with such negativity? And, quite frankly, Michael doesn't nap long enough for me to create a list of such length.

So, instead, I would like to share with you one resolution that I will make: I hereby declare (echo echo echo) that 2010 (echo echo echo) shall be The Year of the Good Compliment ! (echo echo echo)

In my very humble opinion, we don't hear enough nice and sincere things about ourselves. In Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts says about the words people say to us, "The bad stuff is easier to believe." When I first heard that, I felt a bit heartbroken because I knew it to be true.  But I submit to you that Good Compliments can dim the memory of ugly words. The more I think about it, the more I think that giving a Good Compliment is one of the kindest and worthwhile things that I can do.

But a compliment is not kind and worthwhile if it's just flattery. The difference between a Good Compliment and flattery is veracity and motivation. If I say, "My hair is all jacked up" because I see copious amounts of frizz and random pieces sticking out like twigs in a mudpie, but my husband responds with, "No, it looks great," I know that he's just saying that to get us out the door and in the car. It's not kind because if I went out like that people might start looking for a tin cup to drop money into. And it's not worthwhile because I would just give him a dirty look and sit back down to get to work on my tossled tresses.

(By the way, my husband has never done that.)

(At least I don't think so.)

Good Compliments are easily recognizable and remembered for months and maybe even years. For example, about four or five years ago my sister Julissa complimented me after a Sunday School class for not skipping over the topic of fasting in our study of Matthew and doing my best to make it interesting. Notice that I remember the details of the compliment and not just that she said a nice thing.

So I resolve that I will do the same: look for a positive thing to say about someone, compliment them on it, and follow up the compliment with an explanation. An example could be, "You are such a good mommy. I can tell that you put a lot of effort into preparing for your son's birthday party. The invitations and decorations were just adorable." Or, "You are a great friend. You could have been doing a million other things during your free time, but you chose to stay and keep me company."

Those are two real-life examples of good things about people I know. But here's the sad part: I told the first person only half of the compliment, and didn't give the second person the compliment at all, even though I thought it. Why is that? Why can it be so difficult to tell people nice things? Does anybody have any thoughts about that? Please share in the comments.