December 4, 2012

Navigating*

I'm feeling a little lost these days.

Like I don't quite have all my shit together.

In the past, I have prided myself on being organized, although slightly messy at times. Right now I am just a total disaster, inside and out. My house is a fucking mess. Laundry happens when I run out of clean underwear & showers are few & far between. Lucas being on the move, as awesome as it is, creates a whole new set of obstacles. I can't just plop him down somewhere while I get something done. The only reason the living room is in decent shape is because that's where he spends all his time while we are home, so it HAS to be baby friendly. But dear god ... if you come over, do NOT open the doors.

It will not be pretty. You might actually get lost.

I know that this is all a good sign of me being a good mom (at least I hope it is) that my priorities are with Lucas & not focused on other things, but being a good mom & a good wife & a good employee is hard. I really don't know where the balance is, or how to even TRY to find it. Something is always suffering. And that, my friends, is frustrating. My husbands job does not help. He is out the door at 5am every morning, so EVERY MORNING I am on my own trying to get up, get showered, get ready for work, get the baby ready for the day and make it to my job in one piece. Every day something gets forgotten, or time just runs out. And lord help me if Lucas decides that 5:30 is the time that he wants to be up for the day. Showers? Apparently a thing of the past.

Then there is baby number two. Do we? Don't we? I don't feel I am at all ready to go down that road again. I know that we had things pretty easy the last time around as far as our infertility treatments were concerned, with our first IUI being successful, but there was a lot of heartbreak to get to that point. There are so many "what if's" that come into play on top of that. Yes, I know that it may not come to that the second time around. That I may get pregnant on my own. But then I would sort of feel like a traitor to a community that is so awesome & supportive. But what if it does come to that again? Emotionally, I am not sure I can handle the ins & outs of trying & not succeeding every month. Going in for another IUI is an option for us right away (without the disappointing baby dance every month) but do we want to go THAT route without trying on our own first?

Can we even handle a second child? Right now, M gets home from work around 7pm every night. Lucas goes down at 7:30. So from the time that kid wakes up in the mornings until, basically, he goes to bed at night, I am solo. The Army has made me a hypothetical single mother (more or less). Except I'm a "single mom" who works full time and has to find that balancing act that I don't really seem to be finding. M is completely helpful when he is home, and I know that the situation can ALWAYS be worse. But on top of that, M has gotten pretty serious about submitting his Warrant Officer packet, which means that should be be accepted (finally) in the first half of next year, then we are facing 11 months of him being gone. Financially, it  makes more sense for me to stay put, keep working & get the house ready for a possible PCS. If he DOESN'T get accepted, then we are facing a deployment the second half of next year.

Can I do that pregnant? Or with a second child? While working full time? I don't know.

As it stands, I really don't know what I want. I know that M truly wants a second child and I know that if I said no, one is enough, he would go with it because he loves me. I know that we would be happy as a one child household. Lucas is AMAZING and truly the light of our lives. That kid brings both of us so much joy & happiness. But I also can't see myself taking any time away from him right now. I am not sure if I am ready for that yet. And then again, I'll be 32 in just a matter of a few weeks (eeek.) so time is kind of ticking.

I just don't know. Right now, nothing is pointing me one direction or another. I don't know what I want, and I hate keeping M waiting on me to figure it out.

All I know is that right now, my life is a huge clusterfuck of clusterfuckery. And I have NO CLUE which direction to turn. Not having my shit together? Beyond frustrating.

Eight Months & Thanksgiving*

Exactly on Thanksgiving, my baby turned eight months old.

It was a great day, spent with great friends. I know I'm a little late on this post, but that really seems to be the story of my life this day. Lucas came down with a wicked stomach virus that sort of started Thanksgiving night, and pretty much spawned from there. We've been fighting it ever since and it looks like yesterday was the first truly successful day of no sickness.

I am seriously knocking on wood here, because I don't want to jinx that. At all.

Month seven was pretty awesome. The kid is moving more and more, and I am confident that by the time he is nine months old, he will be walking. WALKING. All he wants to do is move, and crawl, and pull himself up. I'm pretty sure that my little chunky baby is growing up & thinning out as a result of all of his movement. I'm missing his bit fat belly already!



We also said hello to a couple more teeth, which puts us at five now. FIVE. I am constantly amazed at how advanced this kid seems to be. Maybe it's just a mom thing, thinking that my kiddo is pretty much the greatest thing ever (isn't he??!) but I do feel like this kid is growing & learning at such a crazy rate. Every day he does something new that blows me away. He truly is impressive.

As I mentioned, we closed out the month & began the new on on Thanksgiving day. I am so grateful to have an amazing friend in Lauren & we had a blast spending the day in their home. The food was amazing & the company was even better. I wouldn't have had it any other way. Marshall & I really  are lucky to have such wonderful people in our lives & I am in total denial that in just a few months they will be leaving us for bigger & better things.


Shhh. I don't want to talk about it.

The holidays are upon us and I am simply trying to keep up. We are leaving for Seattle in a couple of weeks & I cannot wait to get back to the West Coast & spend some quality time with family.

Happy Holidays!


*photos all courtesy of Lauren over at Not Just An Army Wife. I jacked them without asking. Sorry friend!!!

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving*

I just want to take a moment to say Happy Thanksgiving to all my blogger and internet friends! I hope you are all happy and healthy, and enjoying your day with loved ones.

As a Military Spouse, it's been quite some time since I've spent Thanksgiving with my family. I miss them every year and look forward to the phone call when I get to talk to everyone. But, with that said, I am forever grateful for the adopted family that we have found while living here. Every year is a little different, but the people don't really change. This year we will be spending our holiday with Lauren & her husband, and two other individuals from his unit. I am looking forward to a low key day full of good food, good friends and good (hopefully!) football!

One of the hardest things these past eight months, and through my pregnancy as well, has been the lifestyle change that comes with having a child. It's not hard in that I regret it ... it's hard in that I simply don't have the time to be the wife, mom, friend, sister, cousin, employee that I want to be. My days are spread pretty thin, especially being a working mom, and finding the time to dedicate to my husband, child, job and myself is hard enough, let alone trying to fit in being everything else. I know that with time, things will get easier. Lucas is eight months old today and he is at an age where he is pretty demanding. I love that time with him and when he wants snuggled, or is sick and needs to stay home, I'm going to do it. Because if there is one thing I have learned this year is that time goes way too quick and it is very, very precious.

With that said, I am incredibly blessed to have some amazing people in my life [both here and far!] who understand this and accept the fact that I simply cannot do it all. I can't be everywhere and everything to everyone. I do what I can, when I can, but priorities have changed. Don't get me wrong -- there are aspects of the old life that I miss [as does every parent out there I am sure!] but I wouldn't trade anything. I am forever THANKFUL and grateful to those in my life who accept who I am and what I can give. Being far away from family, especially during the holidays, is rough. I am so blessed to have met so many amazing people through simply being a military spouse. Friends that have become family and will be a part of our lives forever.

It's easy to forget the people that aren't flesh and blood sometimes. But being a military spouse, sometimes they are all we have. I love them, and I love the ones who roll with the changing tide. So thank you for being there, whether I know you in real life, through this blog, through twitter, whatever. You all mean the world to me! And today I am grateful to that my family is spending the day with some of our best friends!

Happy Thanksgiving all!

November 15, 2012

Seven Months*

So, my kiddo turned seven months ... uh ... a while ago. October 22nd to be exact and he turns eight months old next week.

Whoops.

I wasn't kidding when I said that this blog had taken a back seat to things going on in our life. We currently have two family members battling cancer -- my Grandpa and my Father-In-Law -- and a very good girlfriend of mine was in a very serious accident at the beginning of October. We have been trying to figure out how best to deal with everything we currently have going on, and what to do to move forward.

So, I sort of stopped writing for the simple reason that I didn't have the energy.

BUT, I want to get the seventh month information down for the simple fact that all of these are going into a book and I don't want to forget. So here we go :)


The seven month milestone was a big one! Lucas started crawling at six months, one week, and by the day of his seven month "birthday," the kid was pulling himself up to thing. PULLING UP. M and I are both completely amazed by how advanced this kid is, and how eager he is to grow up already. I think a large part of this is because he spends his days with another little boy who is bigger and stronger and older (although who only just turned one in August). He wants to be just like Jackson and is doing what he can to keep up. Of course, this is speculation, but his sitter and I are both convinced this is a large part to why he is advancing so quick.

That and he is just a rockstar kid.


We also said hello to tooth number three, which took it's sweet time making it's way down. Top teeth are no joke. Our kid is pretty resilient, and has been a trooper through all of it. The only incidents we really have had were a couple bad nights when I'm guessing the teething pain was pretty uncomfortable, but it hasn't been anything that some tylenol and some good snuggles can't handle before bedtime.

I am constantly amazed at how fast he is growing. I was going back through some old photos from when he was born, and he just continually surprises me. He is changing every single day and I am loving watching his little personality blossom. He is funny, and adorable, and the love of our lives.


November 8, 2012

Williamsburg, VA*

This past weekend, M, Lucas & I were able to participate in a Strong Bonds Marriage Retreat, courtesy of the Army. There are a lot of things I don't particularly like about the military, but there are a lot of good things, too [depending on who you ask.] We have been very lucky to be a part of a battalion and have a chaplain that truly believes in the power of working on marriages. Being married to the military is a tough, tough job, and with the incredibly high number of deployments that our guys have gone through in the last 10 years, it's no wonder that marriages suffer.

So whenever we have an opportunity to attend a weekend workshop and strengthen ours, we jump on it. This one took us to Williamsburg, VA. It was an incredible! M had never been before, and I had only been once -- a trip that included four other boys and a trip to Busch Gardens, which most definitely did not involve any sight-seeing -- so after our morning session on Saturday morning, we took the opportunity to head out with the stroller and check out old Colonial Williamsburg.

 
It was gorgeous! Truly remarkable. We wandered for hours. At one point we stumbled upon a wine & cheese shop -- two of the GREATEST things ever -- and indulged in probably the best cheese that we have ever had for our lunch. It was glorious. The glass of wine that we got most definitely helped as well.

Word to the wise -- pack comfortable shoes when planning on doing lots of walking. I KNOW this, but yet I didn't do it anyways. My zebra stripped flats from Target? Yeah ... not so much. CUTE. Just not very functional.

Saturday night we were able to indulge in a date night, child free, thanks to the nanny service that the Battalion hired for during the sessions. We were able to sneak away for a few hours to a very yummy and swanky restaurant, indulge a little more, and enjoy actual adult conversation. This does not happen very often.



Sunday, after our morning session, we took off for Jamestown. M wanted to see the big ships, and we took some time wandering through the Settlement Museum. It's amazing to see so much history. Our country started here and while we are still a relatively new country, it's amazing to see how much had changed. Monday we had to head back, but not before taking a quick spin through  Yorktown. We wanted to visit all three towns, and I am glad we did. Who knows when we will ever make it back, and while Williamsburg was definitely the highlight of the trip, all three places are equally important in our country's history. It was fun to see.


But more importantly, free trip aside, it was so good for M and I to learn some new things about each other. I would be lying if I said that children don't make marriage harder than it necessarily has to be. With both of us being full-time working parents, it adds an extra stress to figuring out how to spend time together as a couple. Our nights are full and busy, and by the end of the evening, we are too exhausted to really even spend some quality time together. This was a much needed weekend away, as well as some good family time with no additional stresses thrown our way. The sessions were amazing and were very eye opening to our personalities and how we need to adapt to each other for this point in our lives!

All in all, a successful weekend.

November 1, 2012

Halloween*

These past couple of weeks have been bananas, and I have seriously slacked on the blogging front. We have gotten bad news after bad news it seems in the past few weeks, and I sort of hit a wall where I couldn't really deal with it. So I needed to take a break from some things and regroup. I've been avoiding twitter for the most part, and blogging hasn't been a priority as I dealt with some things.

But. I'm working on some posts to get back up an running, to include our seven month update that I completely missed last week, some cloth diapering posts and our experiences with Baby Led Weaning so far. So as of now, we will resume our regularly scheduled programming.

Yesterday was Lucas's first Halloween! Obviously, at seven months old, he doesn't really know what's going on, or why he's wearing the crazy outfit that mama made him wear. But I gotta tell you, I think I had the cutest lion around:



Our Halloween was, for the most part, pretty low key. Lucas did some crafts at the sitters while also getting some costume time in with the other two kiddos. Afterwards, we headed over to another friends house where I strapped him into the carrier and we walked the neighborhood with her and her kids. It was nice and relaxing, and also perfectly cool (weather wise!) I can't wait for the next couple of years, when he really understands the concept of "trick-or-treat" and I get to watch him run all over the place, knocking on doors.

I can't believe how big this guy is getting, and my  heart melted a million times over seeing him dressed up in his adorable costume. I am looking forward to all the memories we are going to create going forward!

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween!



October 19, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

It's Friday! YAY!

Man oh man, this week has been long. We are very much looking forward to the weekend with lots of great things planned. As a working mom, I think I am most excited about the potential of sleeping in tomorrow morning, as well as getting some extra snuggles. And sweats. Lots and lots of time with my sweats!

What are your plans for the weekend?

ANYWAYS! We have a winner for the Bravo Tango Tee's giveaway! Thank you for all that entered and welcome to all our new followers! This giveaway was fun and I really do love this product, so I am excited about the winner and hope that she shares with me what she gets!

And the winner is .... LAUREN!


Congratulations lady! Enjoy your new tshirt from Bravo Tango Tee's! I will get in touch with you on how to claim your prize!

Have a great weekend y'all!

October 18, 2012

Princess Bride: 25 Years Later*

A girl that I work with just told me that she has never seen The Princess Bride. Granted, the movie is older than she is [and I do love her dearly] but really? Who has never seen The Princess Bride?! In my opinion, it is hands down one of the greatest classics of my [our?] generation. I don't know many people who would argue that.

I don't know where this photo came from [it is circling the webs and I snatched it from facebook], so if you know the origin, please feel free to let me know in the comments and I will credit accordingly, but gah! AMAZING. The Princess Bride cast 25 years later. I simply adore this photo & love that they included Andre the Giant & Peter Falk, despite them being no longer with us.

One question ... Fred Savage?? Where is he??

Regardless. I adore. And now I must watch.




Random Updates*

Don't forget about our giveaway with Bravo Tango Tee's! Only one more day to enter! Winner will be announced on Friday!  

Hi friends.

WHEW. What a week this has been. And it's only Thursday? Eegads.

We have been battling some sickness in the house the past couple of weeks. Lucas came down with a pretty nasty bronchial virus, and three weeks later the virus is gone but we are still dealing with the repercussions. The poor kid is still congested as all get out, but at our follow-up appointment on Tuesday, our pediatrician assured us that he is on the mend & the worst is over. I will admit, this cold did not stop little man from doing his thing. I mean it when I say that I have the happiest baby in the world! He never stops being himself.

In the middle of his cold, I got a cold. So that was fun. BUT, the worst of that is over as well. I have a feeling this is not going to be a fun winter.

I don't have a ton of updates, but was feeling like needing to get some things down. I have started on a new direct sales adventure with Jamberry Nail Shields, so that's the biggest news I have right now. I promise this site won't become a place where I plug my side business, but do check it out and let me know if you have questions! It's a pretty cool product & brand new -- I'm excited to be in on this from the ground level. Lots of possibilities. I think the best part is that in less than a week, I have already made back my investment in commission. So that's an excellent plus. I was bored -- needed something new to challenge me and give me something to focus on -- and it seems to be working out pretty well.

Other than that -- I have nothing. I am diligently working on finishing up my cloth diapering post. Holy cow I can't believe I let so much time go by without posting the second half of that. I really do not know where the time goes, but I have a LOT of writing to do this weekend for this blog and some others, so that will be my focus during nap times on Saturday & Sunday! I plan to have part two posted on Monday (if you missed part one, make sure you check it out here!)

That's all I got, folks! Make sure you sign up for the Bravo Tango Tee's giveaway! (Link up at the top!) I'll be announcing the winner tomorrow!

October 9, 2012

The Mom Stays in the Picture*

Don't forget about our giveaway with Bravo Tango Tee's! You still have plenty of time to enter! 

Last week, an article started making it's way around the internet, titled "The Mom Stays in the Picture," by Allison Tate. It's a great article that made me tear up a little, discussing the fact that as moms, we should make a better effort to include ourselves in more photos with our kiddos:

"Come take pictures with me, Mommy," he yelled over the music, "in the photo booth!"
I hesitated. I avoid photographic evidence of my existence these days. To be honest, I avoid even mirrors. When I see myself in pictures, it makes me wince. I know I am far from alone; I know that many of my friends also avoid the camera.

It seems logical. We're sporting mama bodies and we're not as young as we used to be. We don't always have time to blow dry our hair, apply make-up, perhaps even bathe (ducking). The kids are so much cuter than we are; better to just take their pictures, we think.

But we really need to make an effort to get in the picture. Our sons need to see how young and beautiful and human their mamas were. Our daughters need to see us vulnerable and open and just being ourselves -- women, mamas, people living lives. Avoiding the camera because we don't like to see our own pictures? How can that be okay?

This has been my struggle lately. Hating the way that I look and not wanting to be in the picture for fear of bursting into tears upon seeing myself. I can shamefully admit that this is the heaviest I have ever been in my life & most days, it makes me really sad. Not to mention that as a full-time working mom there are days where sleep becomes much more important than the way I look, something I am also not proud of, but most moms in general know that 15 extra minutes of sleep makes all the difference in the world.

About a week before I read this article, I had the same internal conversation with myself. That I needed to make more of an effort to document my time with Lucas. It is important, and he needs to be able to look back and see that even though I'm disheveled pretty much all the time, that there is a lot of love there. Reading this article sealed the deal for me.


As a photographer, I am so used to being behind the camera. I need to spend more time in front of it. So I am making the effort, even if it's just a quick shot with the point and click, which I am also making an effort to keep charged & in my purse at all times [because let's face it -- my big ass camera is a pain to carry around every day!]. The photographs in this post make me want to cry. I am ashamed by them and by how much I have let myself go, baby or not. But, I need to put my pride aside from time to time for the sake of my son.


But with that said, I am turning a new leaf. Today I am heading to a local gym to see about a membership. Part of the reason I don't work out more often is because it's effing HARD to find the time. By the time I get off work, pick up the kiddo, get home, get him taken care of, fed, ready for bed, make dinner for M & I, and sit down to breath, it's time for bed. Not to mention the fact that those couple of hours between home and bedtime for Lucas are precious.

But, he needs me around and he needs me healthy. So a couple days a week I am going straight to the gym after work. M has offered to leave work early those days to pick up the kiddo, something that helps me out immensely. The gym is also in close proximity to my office, which means on nights I can't go after work, I can go on my lunch break, and at the very least get on the treadmill for 30 minutes.

Because I do not want to go home at Christmas looking the way that I do. I am hoping, that by Lucas's first birthday I will be at the goal size that I have in mind.

This is my plan. I do not want to be ashamed of taking photos with my child. My husband. My friends. Ever again.

October 4, 2012

Bravo Tango Tees Giveaway!*


I am so excited to be offering this giveaway to my readers! As a military spouse, I am always more than happy to help promote other military spouses and their businesses, and Bravo Tango Tees is just that -- a businesses started by military spouses to help others show their pride!

From their website:

At Bravo Tango, we make that shirt that you reach for when you know you’re going to have an awesome day. Whether you are showing off your pride as a military spouse, your fight against adversity, your love for charity or your tenacious female spirit, Bravo Tango has the shirt for you. We create all of our designs in house – or with the help of guest designers.  They are as unique as our customers, and each one is a work of American made art. Our printing is done by professional screen-printers.When you grab a tee-shirt and pull it on, it should give you comfort and confidence. As soon as our 100% cotton, super soft material touches your skin, you will be ready to tackle the day, asserting your personal pride through our chic designs.
And let me tell you, their styles are adorable. We all know that some of the military t-shirts out there can be a little cheesy or boyish. But Bravo Tango Tees have something for everyone and their designs, and as far as I am concerned they are original and stylish!



They also make adorable baby stuff. As you can see, Lucas is modeling his Baby Dog Tag Onesie! An Army Brat already! His daddy would be so proud.



So, because I love you all SO MUCH, Bohemian Transplant and Bravo Tango Tee's are giving away one free tee of your choosing as well as a $25 coupon code to use for somebody else [or another tee for you!] There are SIX ways to enter. Each chance counts as one vote [giving you six chances to win!] Here's how:

  1. Follow Bohemian Transplant via google friend connect on the right hand side of the page. Leave a comment HERE saying you did so! (If you already follow, that counts! Leave a comment saying you already do!) 
  2. Follow Bohemian Transplant on Facebook. Leave a comment HERE saying you did so. (If you already follow, that counts! Leave a comment saying you already do!)
  3. Go to the Bravo Tango Facebook page, like them and leave a comment there saying that Bohemian Transplant sent you. Then leave a comment HERE saying that you did just that. (If you already follow, that counts! Leave a comment saying you already do!)
  4. Sign up for the Bravo Tango Newsletter. Leave a comment HERE saying that you did that.
  5. Tweet this link to the giveaway. Make sure to include @BravoTangoTees and the hashtag #BTgiveaway. Leave a comment with the URL to your tweet here. [Daily tweets are fine & encouraged, although only your first one will count]
  6. Do you already own a Bravo Tango Tee? Take a picture and post it to your facebook, twitter or blog linking to Bohemian Transplant and the Bravo Tango Facebook page. Make sure you use the hashtag #BTGiveaway. Leave a comment HERE saying you did that. 
Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will be announced on Friday, October 19th. You will be notified via email, if your email address is provided in your comments.

Good luck!

**Note: While I was not compensated for this giveaway, I was given the Baby Dog Tag Onesie to try and keep for Lucas. I promise that my opinions are my own! Also, all BTT images are from the BTT website! They are not my own. Except the one of the cute kid. I take full responsibility for that one. 

**Update: Make sure you leave ONE COMMENT for EACH THING YOU DO, giving you six comments left on the blog total. If you do not [and you mention everything in one comment] it will only give you one entry total. I have adjusted for a couple but won't do it going forward. Thanks! 

October 3, 2012

Crawling*

Well, it's official.

My kid is mobile.

We had been preparing for this day for a few weeks now. Lucas had been able to get up on his hands and knees for some time & had mastered the art of rocking pretty well. Eventually he got to the point where he figured out that in order to go forward, he needed to figure out what to do with his hands. Mostly, this resulted in him plopping down on his belly in frustration when it didn't work.

But this past weekend, at six months & one week, he figured it out.

Witness [and PLEASE ignore the heinous cackle that comes from my mouth at the end]:




And now he is on the move. The other night, he was doing laps around the nursery, chasing my mom on FaceTime. There is nothing half-way with this child. When he figures it out, he goes and doesn't stop! Needless to say, I will be spending this weekend baby-proofing the house to the best of our ability!

September 26, 2012

Photos Featured on The Wise Baby!

Eek! I am so excited that some of my photos have been featured over at The Wise Baby. If you have not checked out this website before and you are a new mom [or a mom to be!] you absolutely should! Lindsey runs an excellent site with lots of great advice and tips for new moms, as well as product reviews. Plus, her site is gorgeous [I'm a sucker for a well-designed blog!]

The photos featured are of a maternity and a newborn session that I did earlier this year. They are some of my favorite photos that I have taken & I am honored that Lindsey has shared them with her readers! Make sure you visit her site!


September 25, 2012

Six Months*

Another day, another post where I tell you that my little kiddo is growing up too quickly. This past weekend, we hit six months. Half a year old! It really is hard to believe.

Lucas is growing with leaps and bounds these days, although apparently just out, not up. At his six month check-up yesterday, he weighed in at a whopping 21.6 pounds, landing him in the 93rd percentile. However, this kid only grew 1/8" in the past two months, landing him all the way down in the 20th percentile for height. I'm hoping for a growth spurt between now and his next checkup, but if we have a little shorty on our hands, that's ok, too.

This kid makes me laugh on a daily basis. His smile is so infectious, as is his laugh, and I look forward to coming home at night and spending time with him. M has been working late a lot these days, so Lucas & I get some good quality time together in the evenings after work, snuggling and cuddling on the couch and working on his crawling. Which, speaking of, he is SO CLOSE. I mean, really, really close. The poor kid gets so frustrated because he can get up on his hands and knees and rock back and forth, but hasn't really figured out what to do from there. Soon. Very, very soon.


We've also introduced solid foods. I wrote a while back about introducing rice cereal and oatmeal, but we didn't really stick with that. There is some conflicting information out there about when to introduce food, and we decided that waiting until the six month mark would be best. Avocado was the first food of choice, and the kid loved it. LOVED IT. He likely ate more than the recommended amount each night, but I wasn't going to tell him no if he was wanting more [and he was!]. We are working on squash and sweet potatoes this week -- we've chosen to go the Baby Led Weaning stage, where Lucas essentially feeds himself. We've done some spoon feeding, and when breakfast time comes, may introduce oatmeal again in the mornings, but he seems to understand that what is on the tray goes to his mouth -- but I also think that he thinks EVERYTHING goes to his mouth! We will see how this works for us, and go from there. Obviously, formula is still our main source of nutrition for him, so the food at this point is just for fun & learning.

Also, if you can't tell, we're big football fans around these parts :) Which gives me so  many amazing reasons to dress up my kiddo for Sundays. I'm looking forward to plenty of family photos in all our football gear in the coming weeks! Luckily, little man is not really opinionated enough yet to care about what he's wearing -- we're getting him started early in cheering for the right team! Go Cowboys! :)


September 21, 2012

Autumn Has Arrived!*


I'm happy to report that Fall has finally landed upon us here in North Carolina. While the weather is still tipping into the 80's during the day, the nights have progressively become cooler & cooler. It's been glorious. I hate the heat. The extreme heat, at least, which is anything I consider above 80 degrees.

I'm from Seattle. A born and raised Pacific Northwesterner. Which means that when it hits 70 degrees, we busted out the shorts & t-shirts and basked in whatever sunshine we were lucky enough to get. That's just the way it was. Living in North Carolina, though, I've become slightly more acclimated to the warmer [blistering hot] temperatures of the summers. I don't like them one bit, but I've adjusted. Of course, I still complain about the heat. And the humidity. And pretty much everything about North Carolina in general [a post for another day!] but this cooler weather we are getting is making me happy.

I love opening the doors in the morning to let the dogs out and feeling that chill that comes from the cool morning breeze. It's nice to feel like I need a sweater when walking out to my car in the mornings. It doesn't last long, but I am looking forward to the days when the chill doesn't go away by mid-afternoons. I love sweaters. I love boots. I love jeans. I love warm, comforting food that fills the belly & warms the house. And I love football. Which, doesn't really seem relevant, but it's just not football Sunday in shorts and flip flops.

Now that the cooler weather is here, we are looking forward to getting out and doing more things as a family. Typically neither M or I have had a problem braving the heat for a little fun, but toting along a new baby isn't very feasible [or responsible] when it's 90 degrees outside. We have a trip planned to the Carolina Tiger Rescue sanctuary in a couple of weeks, and I am hoping that we can go hike our favorite trail without the fear of nasty summer bugs before it gets too cool. Cooler weather means for fun for our family & I am looking forward to the adventures we plan to get ourselves into!

September 13, 2012

Our Date with the Cardiologist*

When Lucas was born, aside from things like his cord being wrapped around his neck, swallowing massive amounts of meconium and having to be on anti-biotics right away, his heart rate was also a tad lower than what the doctors and nurses wanted to see in those first couple of days. While we were still in the hospital, he had an EKG ran on him (scary, but not really). It came back fine, but we were advised to follow up with a children's cardiologist just to make sure everything was ok.

We had an appointment with Duke Children's here in town, but I screwed up and got him enrolled on Tricare prior to our appointment, and because Duke wasn't "in network" we didn't actually get to be seen. It was annoying. BUT, we were finally able to get into another doctor, and last week we got little man checked out.

Safe to say, everything is good to go.

They ran another EKG on him just to make sure that everything was ok from that perspective, and it all came back perfect. Although, trying to keep an almost six month old baby absolutely still for a short period of time was difficult. It took both M & I and lots of shhsshhh'ing to make it happen. It was determined that Lucas has a very teeny tiny heart murmur -- not at all surprising considering I have/had one as well as almost everybody else in my family. His is so tiny, the Cardiologist said, that most GOOD doctors wouldn't even be able to hear it. They did an ultrasound on his heart just to double check & verify that everything was ok (it was -- a perfect little heart, they said!) and then sent us on our way.

Not before little man decided to take a nap on the table, much to the pleasure (and humor) of the ultrasound technician. 


If you don't know much about heart murmur's, I don't really know how to explain them other than it's a "whooshing" sound that the heart makes. From my understanding, they can definitely be worse than what Lucas's is (and what mine always was) so we are lucky from that perspective. I lived a perfectly normal, healthy & active life growing up so this will not impact him in any way.

And because his is so minor, no follow up or course of action is needed. It's just something that we are aware of, something that is in his records and we now go about our merry little way.


We are so grateful that things were not more serious, but never for a second doubted that they wouldn't be.Everybody loved Lucas at the Cardiology Office and I never get tired of hearing how healthy, happy and adorable my child is. It definitely makes for some proud moments. And there really was nothing cuter than the little guy passed out on the ultrasound table.

September 11, 2012

Changes*

As you can see, things look a little different around here. And I have to admit -- I am liking it :)

The always and amazingly talented Shay Bocks whipped up a new design for me. She did my original layout back when she was just getting started so I was thrilled to work with her again on this new design. I think she captured ME perfectly and I am loving the way things are looking. If you are in need of some blog designs, I highly recommend her.

Aside from the look, you might notice a lot of other changes, too. While my little blog started off as a way for me to vent about our infertility struggles, we are not at that point in our lives anymore and things have definitely taken a turn for more family related posts. Infertility is still a huge part of who I am, who WE are, and is not something that I will ever forget or ignore. I still am very much involved in the community and have many close friends who still struggled with this disease every day of their lives. I still very much hope to be a voice for those people when it's right and when it's needed. But, I also need to be true to what we are going through in our current lives, and this is a way to do it.

You'll notice some labels over there on the right. I would love for this site to become a resource for new moms (or just moms in general who have questions!) I have some posts scheduled in the coming weeks in regards to cloth diapering, from my perspective as a pocket diaper user, and from friends who use prefolds and all in ones. My goal is to share what we have learned about all things baby in multiple aspects, but also continue to publish recipes and my photography. A little hodge podge of sorts.

You'll also notice up at the top that I am also open to submissions! Do you have something to share? A product? Are you a photographer that takes amazing photos? A crafty mom that has some wonderful craft products? I want you. And I want you to share your goodness with my readers.

I still have some work to do to get this place to 100% but I am working diligently to make sure that everything is where I want it to be and that this place will be as much of a resource for you as it will be for me! I am so excited about the direction that I am planning on taking this, so please bear with me as I continue to to make some more changes. The bulk of it is done (yay Shay!) but I have a few little odds and ends things that might pop up here and there.

But I hope you stick around and share the love. I can't wait for things to come.

September 6, 2012

Red Potato Salad with Bacon*

I post the occasional recipe on here, usually one that I have found somewhere else and attempted at home. But the truth is that I love to cook, and I love coming up with my own ways to cook things. My own meals. My own dishes. Most of the things that I come up with aren't that original, and I am sure there are various other recipes out there similar. But I love my time in the kitchen. My husband makes fun of me because even though I'm whipping food around our tiny kitchen and making a huge mess, it is oddly calming for me to cook. Baking? No thank you. But having the freedom to mix and match while trying to create something yummy -- I love it. With my website about to take a massive overhaul (did you notice the direct domain?? YAY!) one of my goals is to post more original recipes and meals on here.

So, why not start with something simple? Whenever any type of cookout happens with us or our friends, one of the number one requests I have is to bring my potato salad. This recipe started off as wanting a healthier, lighter version so I wouldn't feel so guilty about inhaling massive amounts of carbs. Don't get me wrong -- my mom's old fashioned potato salad is still one of my favorites. But the massive amounts of mayonaise (I'm pretty sure there is a whole jar involved) is enough to pack on 10 pounds just looking at him.

This is by no means "healthy" (did you see the word BACON in the title?) but it's not as heavy, either. It is quick and simple. And very, very good.


Potato Salad

Red Potato Salad with Bacon

Ingredients

  • 6 cups red-skinned potatoes -- cubed with the skin left on
  • 1/2 packaged of thick sliced bacon (about 5 or 6 strips)
  • 1 cup chopped bell pepper (I always use green but any color combination would work) 
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions (about 3 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of mayonaise
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of dijon mustard (I use horseradish mustard sometimes. Try it!)
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions
Place the red potatoes into a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, boiling for 8-10 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and set aside to cook.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet until crispy. When cooked, set aside on a paper towel to help soak up some of the grease. When cool to the touch, chop into small pieces.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mayonaise and mustard with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.

In your serving bowl, gently mix the cooled potatoes, bacon, onion, bell peppers and scallions. Pour the dressing mixture over the potato salad, tossing gently (you don't want to break up the potatoes!) Cover and refridgerate for four hours or serve at room temperature.

August 31, 2012

Live & Die*

I just really needed to pass this song along to all of you. The Avett Brothers have, over the years, become one of my favorite bands. They are easily up there in the top five. Their  music has definitely evolved over the years into something much more so I was excited when NPR Music had their new album up for streaming before it comes out. My ears have never been happier. And I love this personal, live version of "Live & Die."

I promise that I am getting no gain from posting this -- I just really love their music that much and I completely support you heading over to NPR and taking a listen. The whole album is hauntingly beautiful. Do it. You won't regret it.


August 23, 2012

Five Months Old*

Lucas turned five months old yesterday! And what a month it has been for our household. I wrote last month about how much I thought he was becoming more of a little person and how I was amazed by the growth that happened between three months and four months, but it's nothing compared to what has happened with him these past few weeks. All of a sudden Lucas is rolling over from back to tummy, sitting up all on his own, reaching for things like crazy and I swear, is on the verge of crawling. He has no problem getting his little legs up under his butt and I know it's only a matter of days before he figures out how to flip himself from tummy to back, and not long after that before his attempts at scooting actually take him somewhere.


I am constantly amazed at how quick he changes but I have just been plain blown away this month. As much as I want my little squishy baby to stay small, I am loving how developed he is becoming. One of my biggest fears as a full-time working mama was missing milestones. I have actively prepared myself for the fact that my kid may crawl for the first time with our wonderful sitter, or that his first steps will come chasing her little boy, J. So it warmed my heart that it was a lazy Saturday morning when he decided he wanted to roll over for the first time with us sitting right there. I know I can't be there for everything, so I'm taking it all in while I can.

Aside from the sleep schedule, which we are working on diligently, Lucas continues to be amazing. I mentioned the other day the struggles that we are having with his sleep, but he seems to have worked his way through it and in the past couple of nights has gone back to an almost normal schedule. It's amazing how you can adapt to survive on such little sleep a night, but I am not going to lie, I very much look forward to the day he sleeps longer. I am diving heavier into my Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby book, and am hoping that it will give me some advice on how to get back to the good routine that we had before. I'm also putting our sitter on Operation: Wear Baby Out.


We started some grain cereal this past month, although I haven't been super strict with it. A couple of times a week, Lucas gets some oatmeal cereal (he most definitely was not a fan of the rice. Nor was I. Ick.) and for the most part, does pretty well with it. We do not have a schedule with it, and mostly it's a "when there is time in the evenings," we give him a little. Two to three times a week seems to be where we are at now. We are definitely thinking about what to do when we start a more frequent rotation of solids next month, but I am thinking that Baby Led Weaning will be what works best for us, our lifestyle and our baby. I have a ton of questions for our pediatrician at next month's appointment, and in the coming weeks will do some more research about BLW. But when it comes down to it, we will do whatever little man wants to do.


It can be easy to lose perspective with being a new mama, but I promise you that I am not. If you read my blog, or follow me on twitter, I do an awful lot of complaining. Most of it is due to lack of sleep, or time, or both & bad days definitely do happen. But when it comes down to it, there are so many worse things that we can be dealing with, and have dealt with. A healthy, happy baby who loves life so much that he doesn't want to nap or sleep through the night, who wants to live and learn as much as he can ... well ... I'll take it. Any day. Every single day, I am grateful for what we have as a family. It can always be easier, but it can always be worse. We are blessed to be where we are.

August 17, 2012

Sleep Woes*

I got cocky, everyone.

My baby is awesome. 

We have no sleep problems. 

He only wakes up once a night. 

He goes down wide awake and rarely fusses. 

Yeah. About that.

All the sleep training that we have done since Lucas was about 8 weeks old has pretty much been tossed out the window the past couple of weeks. Almost two weeks ago now (sheesh), Lucas decided that he wanted to roll over. YAY. This was awesome! He had been on the verge for a couple of weeks, and I finally decided to stop swaddling him because I KNEW it was going to happen soon. So one Friday night, I just stopped swaddling. We had done the one arm out thing for a while, but this time I went all in.

And wouldn't you know, that next morning, he rolled. Back to front. Just like a champ.

Waking up at 4am is fun. Or not.
But then the sleep issues started. At first it was rough. I mean, really rough. I think those first three nights, Lucas was up 3-5 times a night. This was going from ONCE a night. Lucas had been only waking up once a night since he was 8 weeks old. So to go from once a night to three, four, five times a night was a rude awakening (literally). There was one night where he was up every two hours, like clockwork. It was like having a newborn all over again. Except I didn't have the day after to lounge around my yoga pants, take naps and recover from the tough night, because, you know, work has to happen and I have to be a contributing member of society!

The problem, initially, was that Lucas would roll himself over and startle himself awake. Then he would get mad, need to be consoled, go back to sleep, and the whole process would start over again. He would sort of wake up, remember that he could roll, startle, scream. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I had so many friends who told me "My baby rolled then didn't do it again for a month or two." NOT MY KID. Damn overachiever. He was proud of his new trick, and wanted to show it off, much to the expense of my sleep.

After a frantic night where I had been trying to get him to go to sleep for well over an hour, I caved and asked the twitter universe for some frantic advice. The advice was simple: If he wants to be on his stomach, put him there, sooth him that way, and walk away.

*gulp*

I know that most of us grew up being put to sleep on our tummy's as babies, and we all turned out fine. The whole "back to sleep" movement is relatively new, but definitely important. We followed it and kept to our pediatrician's advice, so when it came time for him to want to sleep on his stomach, it was a hard pill to swallow. In fact, I am pretty I checked on him more times than I can count through out that night. Even when he was not awake, I was up, running into the nursery to check on him and make sure he was, you know, still breathing. Lucas has EXCELLENT head control, and has since he was still itty bitty (really. It was impressive!) so I really had no reason to worry. And slowly but surely, it got easier putting him to sleep on his stomach every night (well, put him on his back, but he immediately flips to his stomach).


Rock-A-Bye Baby
And, the sleeping has gotten better, but not anywhere near where it was. We are still up at least twice a night (which, I know ... is still not bad at four-ish months old! Again. We were lucky). Sometimes its as simple as giving him the pacifier and he will go right back to sleep. Other times it's not that simple. Naps during the day have also become difficult. Thirty minutes tend to be the norm, no matter how hard our sitter tries to get him down. I have taken to rocking him to sleep the past couple of nights (something we NEVER did before!) because I just don't have it in me right now to listen to him cry for an hour or more every night. I'm not quite ready to cry it out with him. I love that he's moving and that his tummy is where he wants to be, but I just wish he wouldn't get so frustrated about it.

And I have no answers to how to fix it other than to just deal with it. I am hopeful that the day will come when he can roll over tummy to back, and that fix's some of our problems. Until then, I'm trying my best to not make every night a struggle, but at the same time, if he wants to sleep on his stomach, he needs to figure out how to actually go to sleep there on his own while still awake.

How have you dealt with sleep woes with your baby?

August 8, 2012

Baby Elle*

Social media is a wonderful thing. In all honesty, I really do not know what I would do without it. My husband makes fun of me for being on Facebook and Twitter ALL THE TIME, but the fact of the matter is that I have met some really amazing people through both avenues. Women that have helped me through some tough times. Women who turned from virtual friends to real friends. This is strange to some, but I honestly don't know what I would do without these people in my life!

Lauren is one of those women who I met through twitter! It took no time at all to find out that we were pretty close, were seeing the same RE and were both pregnant from the same method. So when Lauren asked me to photograph her sweet baby girl OF COURSE I said yes!

And the results are beautiful! It totally helps that her child is gorgeous and squishy and so very, very cute. Check out this doll!




ajdf;laksjf

August 1, 2012

Florida Vacation*

This past weekend, M & I decided to get out of town and get some much needed family time in. Things have been so hectic around here as we have figured out how to live life with two working parents while still getting some quality time in together. It's rough, let me tell you, but I know many of you understand this & can relate. So we decided to take advantage of a family beach house owned by my uncle & we took off to Satellite Beach, Florida, for a nice, long weekend.

Initially, I was worried about making the drive down. Lucas isn't the BIGGEST fan of his car seat. 98.3% of the time he does totally fine in it. But the kid get's antsy. A nine-hour car ride wasn't something that I was sure I could prepare for, but it had to happen so we did what we needed to do and made it work.

And let me tell you, that kid is a CHAMP. I rode up front with M for the first couple of hours until we needed to stop for our first diaper change. After that point, I decided to crawl into the back with him so I could feed him (totally grateful my child is bottle fed! This made SUCH A DIFFERENCE in our driving time!) & I ended up staying there for the remainder of the trip. It was so much easier to be able to talk & play with him then to worry about when he was going to start a melt down because he was hungry while we tried to find a place to pull over. This was a win-win situation for all involved. Baby was happy. Mom & Dad were happy.



The house that we stayed at was GORGEOUS. We were only a few blocks from the beach, and while it wasn't completed, the house has a pool that we completely plan on utilizing next time around (it was being filled as we were leaving town!) I was worried (again with the worrying!) about how Lucas would take to the beach & the ocean water, but again, my kid surprised me in total champ-mode. He loved it! I thought for sure he would erupt in whimpers and screams when he got wet (bath time hasn't always been our friend) but instead he just stood there and took it. I am constantly amazed at how chill our kid is. He is so low key and so easy. It's impressive.



If we weren't at the beach, we were watching the Olympics. It seemed silly to drive 700 miles to watch the Olympics, but I promise it would not have happened if we stayed at home. You know. Laundry. Cleaning. Grocery shopping. Errands. All the mess that gets in the way from truly relaxing. So it really was great to spend a weekend doing absolutely NOTHING and just spend time together as a family. It's something we haven't had a lot of quality time with lately so it was very refreshing to our needs. 




Our last full day we spent with my uncle as well as my AMAZING cousin Jessica and her family. I had not seen her since she was pregnant with her sweet little girl, who is TWO now! Totally unacceptable. She is one of the only people on that side of the family that I communicate with, and so it was so great to spend so much time with her and for our babies to meet and see each other (even though Lucas has no clue what was going on).


All in all it was a fabulous weekend. Neither of us were ready to make the trip back on Monday. The Florida sun was good to all of us (Lucas slept through the night all weekend!) and we enjoyed the time together. I definitely see more trips down there in the future!

July 24, 2012

Four Months*

Lucas turned four months old over the weekend. For the first time I really, truly believe it, and am excited about the growth that has happened instead of sad that he is not my soft little squish anymore. I cannot imagine my life without this little guy in it, smiling at me every single day.


There have been SO MANY CHANGES this past month. I really feel that in these past few weeks, he has gone from a little tiny baby to a little tiny human. His personality is bigger than ever and his progress continues to amaze me. His laugh is getting bigger and louder, and he will often spend quite a bit of time doing nothing but laughing and talking to himself. In fact, I had the pleasure of listening to him squeal and giggle at nothing for 30 minutes this morning. It would have been even more adorable if it hadn't been 3:30 A.M. but it was cute nonetheless.

We still struggle with tummy time -- it continues to be one of his least favorite things to do. But where he lacks in that, he is excelling in so many other things. He is so strong and can often push himself up from sitting with some support from mommy & daddy. He isn't quite rolling over yet, but I blame that from the kick-stand that is his arm. If he would ever take his hands out of his mouth, he may be able to get over just a tad farther. But we are working on it, and it will happen in due time!

Lucas is so curious all the time. Within the last week even, he has started to reach for objects. He is fascinated by what his hands can do and will explore whatever he can get his little fingers on, whether that's any of his soft plush animals or mamma's lips. Of course, as soon as he gets his hands on it, it's straight to his mouth. He tries so hard and you can see the determination in his face when he tries to master something new. I think he takes after mom on that one!


We also took a huge leap and moved from the bassinet to the crib this past month. This one was not quite my doing as much as it was pressure [but not really] from M. I don't know why I felt the need to keep him in the bedroom with us for longer, other than for completely selfish reasons. His nursery is right next to our bedroom so even having him in the crib doesn't mean a much farther walk. But it meant he was getting bigger, and you better believe that as soon as I put him to bed that first night, I may or may not have burst into tears. He, of course, slept most of the night with zero problems.

Since then, we have started the unswaddling process, and are currently dealing with one arm out. The first couple of nights went off without a hitch, but the past two have been a little more difficult. I am hoping that this is a quick phase and we can get him unswaddled before he starts rolling over. Again, swaddling him this long was mostly selfish [it REALLY helps him sleep longer stretches at night] but he also enjoys it. The big goofy grin that shows up when I start rolling him like a burrito does not lie!


We did also venture into rice cereal this past week. Little guy is eating a ton, but whether we give him four ounces or six ounces, he still wants to eat every two hours. Which gets old, really fast. We have tried spoon feeding him a very runny version of rice cereal, but the two times we have done that, he wasn't quite that interested. I'm not in any rush to start spoon feeding him, since he JUST turned four months old, so we will likely wait a long while before we try that again. Besides, all he wanted to do, of course, was put the bib in his mouth.

However, on the advice of our pediatrician, we are doing a formula/rice cereal mixture in his bottles. Hopefully we can find a mixture that works well for him and helps spread out his feedings to three or four hours apart. I definitely know my amazing nanny/sitter would appreciate it!!


This week we venture off to Florida for a much needed looooooong weekend away & a mini-family vacation. We will be staying a couple blocks away from the beach but will also have the pool at the house, so I can't wait to introduce Lucas to the water and see how he likes it! I am continually amazed by what a beautiful, wonderful blessing we have with Lucas. He is the perfect baby and every day I am in awe of how much he changes. I love this kid a little more every day, and every day I shock myself with how much love there is for him. Life is a surprising, exhausting and exciting roller coaster.

But life is so good because of it.



July 20, 2012

Call Me Maybe: Marine Style

I am a sucker for cleverly done videos by people who are bored and have absolutely nothing better to do [and I maintain that the one done by all those fabulous gay boys to Miley Cyrus's Party In The USA is still my absolute favorite!]

This one is definitely up there at the top. Done by a USO branch in Afghanistan, it's a very clever video done to a very popular song. One that I, for whatever reason, have not gotten sick of yet!

Enjoy!


July 18, 2012

Your Maternity Leave. Your Choice.

I typically try to stay away from the controversial stuff here on this blog, and try to maintain a light and fluffy sort of atmosphere. Because that's more fun. The heavy stuff is just that ... heavy. For my sanity, I try to keep the peace as much as possible.

BUT. This article has me a little fired up. So, I'm breaking the peace pact for just a bit. Hang in there with me, mmm-kay?

If you don't want to click over, here is the run down. Marissa Mayer, a former Vice President at Google and the 20th employee that the company hired in it's start-up days, has officially become the first pregnant woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She has made the switch over to Yahoo!

She is also pregnant.

A woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company! This is IMPRESSIVE. Something that we women should be celebrating. But this is not what people are talking about. Yes. She is pregnant, and while there is some huffing and puffing about hiring a pregnant woman, the bigger issue is that Ms. Mayer has expressed that she will only be taking a few weeks for maternity leave, and will most likely be working through it as well.

HOW DARE SHE.

Wait ...

Last I checked, it was a woman's right to chose how she would like to spend her maternity leave. For the life of me, I cannot understand how the author of the open letter linked above thinks that it is her business to tell Ms. Mayer [or any other working mother who CHOOSES to take a short maternity leave] why she should reconsider, how she should spend her time, and how she is making the rest of us look bad by choosing to go back to work so soon after having her first child. But she does so anyways.  The author of the open letter states:
Would it be so bad to spend a couple more months in the comfort of your home, un-showered and wearing sweats like the rest of us? I know you're used to working long hours. But "all-nighter" takes on a whole new meaning when you become a mother.

Give yourself a break. At least see how you feel when you're a mom before deciding -- very publicly -- that you want to go right back to work. There are plenty of working moms in this country who struggle with maddeningly short maternity leaves -- out of financial necessity, not by choice. And I know you didn't annoint [sic] yourself the new poster-mom for "having it all," but you're not exactly helping their cause.
I highly doubt that Ms. Mayer made it to the top by sitting at home in her yoga pants, being a post-baby fat ass like I was during my 12 weeks off [because I won't lie. I was!] The woman is motivated. She has drive. She did not get where she was without that. And as working women who also happens to be a mother, I completely commend her for being where she is. Achieving what she has achieved. For pushing past all the men and making it to the top. THIS is what we should be celebrating. Hooray! She is pregnant and bringing life into this world! What an amazing thing for her and her husband. But I am also pretty damn impressed with her resume and the things she has accomplished in her life. The woman wants to work through her maternity leave. Yes -- she will realize that it is hard. But she is also 37 years old. I think it's safe to say that she has plenty of people around her who have children who have told her all of these exact same things. But again, this is her choice.

She did announce her plans publicly, but does that require us to tear her down? I do not understand why there is this need to do just that -- to her or other mothers out there. The decisions that we as mothers make never seem to be good enough for someone else. If you, as a mother, decide to stay home, then you are a slacker and are giving other woman in this world a bad name because you're choosing to be the care-giver and rely on your husband to bring home the bacon. But if you decide to work, then you are seen as a bad mom for not spending 24/7 with your child. These "mommy wars" need to stop. Instead of tearing each other down we need to lift each other up. We need to support each other, and realize that decisions are completely personal. I know that not everybody is lucky enough to have a full 12 weeks [or longer -- damn you, Canada, and your lovely one-year maternity leave! Get with it, Uncle Sam!] of  maternity leave like I did. And not that it's anybody's business, but because I started a new job four months pregnant, mine was unpaid. So we planned and we made it work. But I know that not everybody can do that. I get that.

But let's be honest here. Even I, in my measly little non-CEO for a non-Fortune 500 company checked my emails and conducted the occasional business while I was on leave. I honestly do not know a woman who has NOT done this. Did I do it every day? No. But I also know women who had their laptops in their recovery room and were handling business just hours after pushing out their kid. And you know what? WHO CARES. Is my child any worse off because I am not home during the day, Monday through Friday? No. He is in amazingly awesome hands during the day and I know he is growing and learning every single day. In fact, he is probably better off with her during the day than he was with me. I love my kid. I miss the shit out of him during the day and I do my best to provide for him by working as hard as I do, but sometimes those Storage Wars marathons suck you in, and the next thing you know, four hours have gone by and you're still on the couch. It's not my fault. It's also irritating as hell when somebody else tells you what to do, or how you should feel, or that you will change your mind when your mind is made up. I speak from experience on this one [as most working mothers, I'm sure, can attest to as well].

The bottom line is ... lay off. Let the woman do what is best for her and her family. Because at the end of the day, that's all that matters. If you do not know her personally, you do not have the right to speak on her behalf, or tell her what she is/isn't doing right. It's her child. Her life. One that I am assuming she worked very, very hard for. And if she, by choice wants to take the minimum six weeks of maternity leave and get back to the grind then let her. Because nobody elses opinion matters.

So to Ms. Mayer -- I say KUDOS to you. Thank you for being an inspiration to those of us woman who work our asses off and are working our way up the ladder. Thank you for busting your ass and being a landmark individual. Being a new mom is HARD. Extremely hard. But I am sure that you will continue to be amazing and impressive in both motherhood and your work life. Your choices are your choices. Don't let the man [or the other woman] bring you down.

Update 7/19: I misread some information. She is the first PREGNANT woman to be named CEO. She is currently the 19th female CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but the first woman to be CEO while pregnant. My apologies on that. HOWEVER, it does not change the way I feel about what was written! My points still stand.  

Still Figuring It Out*

Y'all, let me tell you, life has been busy. Instead of apologizing for my lack of posts [which, I am sorry], we are just going to dive right in, mmm-kay?

The week of the Fourth of July, my father in law popped in for a visit. Two weeks earlier, he had decided he wanted to fly in from Oregon and spend some time. It was a little last minute and to say that it was a disaster is a huge understatement. I won't go into details for multiple reasons, but it was beyond stressful that week. I was grateful to be at work most of the time, but worried the rest about the time he was spending with Lucas. I wish that the relationship I had with my father in law was different, but when your own husband isn't thrilled about his dad being there, you can understand the stress.

BUT, we made the best of the situation and moved on. I am leaving it at that. And then were extremely grateful when our house was our own again! 

Life in general has been very busy these days. And exhausting. Lucas decided about a week and a half ago that 4am was an appropriate time to wake up for the day. This would be great if I could do the whole "nap when baby naps" thing during the day, but I'm a working mamma and that's just not possible. As much as I would LOVE to crawl under my desk at lunch time, I'm pretty sure they would fire me. That, most definitely, would not be good. So things have been a little hectic. It was also about a week ago that our sitter's ten-month old came down with hand, foot, mouth disease, leaving us to fend for ourselves for a couple of days. Due to the lack of sleep and an overall feeling of not spending enough time with my child due to my work schedule, having an extra day off to spend with Lucas, just the two of us, was great. And I am forever grateful to amazing friends who helped out on day two when I couldn't stay home again.

That feeling of missing Lucas has been plaguing me for a while now, and it's been very hard to handle. We had been in such a great routine the first 10 weeks of his life, and I will even admit that coming back to work felt REALLY GOOD. I was so happy to be productive and feel like I was contributing to the world again instead of sitting at home in my yoga pants [dear yoga pants: I miss you.] But somewhere in the past few weeks, that forward momentum of feeling like we had a good routine came screeching to a hault. But damnit, I miss my kid. Something fierce. I fully realize that I made the decision to come back to work. I am grateful that we are in a situation where had I wanted to stay home, it would have been an option for me. And I know I have discussed in the past about my choice to come back and why I came to it. But missing your child is tough. I might be able to blame my extreme lack of sleep for my raging hormones these days, but I am very protective of what little time I have with the guy during the week, because it is so limited. M and I are working on a schedule to make sure that all parties involved are happy at the end of the night. I am finding that making everyone happy has become one of the hardest things to deal with at this point in being parents.

Because I am perfectionist. I want to do it all right. And I want everyone to like me and love me and lord help me if they are even slightly disappointed in me! GASP.

But convincing myself that I cannot do it all is hard. My husband, my child and my job cannot all be my number one priority, because logistically, it does not work that way. Because we rely on my income, I need to kick ass and take names at my job. But my child is also MY CHILD. Important. He needs me. He cannot feed himself, change himself, tell me what he wants in a non-crying way. He relies on me in more way than one. And then my sweet husband ... how do you tell your life partner that you cannot put them first? How do I juggle all of these thing that are beyond important in my life? I haven't quite figured it out yet. There is this overwhelming fear of failure. Of screwing up. Of not doing something right and again, DISAPPOINTMENT. This, I cannot handle. But I am trying to find a balance. To make things work as best of my ability. And let me tell you, folks ... while I am figuring it out, there are a LOT of tears. I am overwhelmed with finding a way through this. I am so lucky that I have such a great husband who will do whatever it takes, and I need to learn to reach out more. I cannot do it all myself. I know this. But I want to. Asking for help seems like a weakness to me, but I am, again, trying to get rid of that notion. I know that somewhere down the road, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We will get there. I will get there.

In the mean time, I am beyond grateful for those who understand and are holding my hand through this transition. I am a lucky girl. This whole new mom thing opened up my eyes to a lot of things. It's amazing how major life changes will show you people's true colors. And the ones who have stuck around and supported me, even when going through their own personal shit, are forever on my list of people I owe big time.

Has anybody else out there felt like they have hit a wall in the beginning of new parenthood? Should I expect this to happen frequently in the next 18 years? Was that pretty much the stupidest question ever? Don't laugh too hard ....

July 3, 2012

Newborn Baby Girl*

Excuse the lack of posts around here lately! My father-in-law is in town visiting us from Portland and will be here for a couple more days. We've been busy trying to entertain, as well as beat the ridiculous heat that we have had down here in North Carolina the past few days. Needless to say, sitting on a couch with a warm laptop has not been very ideal! It's been an interesting few days with the FIL in here. I don't really write on family things too often (aside from myself and the kiddo) so I will leave it at that. But we are trying to be the best hosts possible.

I did, however, get to meet an adorable baby girl yesterday! Just one day old, this sweetie [who still does not have a name -- blame her indecisive mother! I can say that because she's a friend!] looks just like her daddy and is as tiny as can be. I am hoping to showcase more of my photography on here, so I might as well start with this!! I am wanting to wait to do too much before the new site launches, but because that's still two months away [eek! I can't wait!] I can't stop blogging all together!

So meet this beautiful mama and her gorgeous baby! B is a very good friend. Our husbands are in the same unit, but it was our infertility treatments that brought us together and over the past couple of years, she has become an amazing friend of mine. She went through six rounds of IUI before getting pregnant on her own with this baby, two months before her scheduled IVF. Although, her last IUI was cancelled due to overstimulation, so we are convinced she has SO MANY follies that they just kept right on coming, and one got lucky.  I will have more photos to come! [And if you want to follow my facebook page, go here!]