Friday, August 28, 2009

500th Post



Three years.

Five-hundred posts.

Too many pills, injections, and dates with the Vag Cam to even begin to count.

So many angels.

So many failed cycles.

So many tears.

So much heartbreak.

So much hope.

So much excitement.

So much joy.

If you have been reading from the beginning. . . Thank you.

If you joined during my IVF cycle. . . Thank you.

If you came on board when I was pregnant. . . Thank you.

If you followed along when Will was a newborn. . . Thank you.

If you have ever commented or just been a lurker. . . Thank you.

If you have sent an e-mail or "friended" me on Facebook. . . Thank you.

For being my sounding board, my support, my endless supply of advice, my holders of hope, my readers, my friends...

Thank you.

I couldn't have survived everything without you.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Birthday Wrap Up

What a weekend! What a party! I am ridiculously tired after all of the festivities that Will's First Birthday brought to us.

We had weekend guests, dinners out, and, of course, the BIG party. Somehow, it all worked out, and I am pretty sure Will enjoyed his first birthday from start to finish.

The party went well, and I am fairly certain it was due to my over-zealous planning. In the end, however, it was all about Will and he had a great time, so that was worth it.

My advice for those of you still planning the party is as follows:

1) Keep it moving.

Serve food (if you are having it) right away. And then do the cake for the birthday honoree and gifts right away. A lot of people with kiddos are going to have to leave for naps and such, so get the main events out of the way so people can leave when they need to.

2) Have it someplace other than your house.

We chose a park and it was perfect. I wasn't worried about people spilling on my carpet or too many people in my crowded kitchen. When it was over and Will was tired, we didn't have to worry about people lingering too long. We stayed a not-rude amount of time (2 plus hours) and then left when the Birthday Boy got tired.

3) Don't bother with games.

I planned for a pinata and sidewalk chalk, bubbles, etc. No one used any of that and the pinata pretty much went to waste. Unless you have a lot of older kids, I wouldn't bother, as it felt like a waste of time.

4) Don't cook, bake, make, or prepare in any fashion. Time is money.

I did pizza. I had it delivered to the park. It was perfect. I ordered based on two slices per person and had some veggie and fruit trays that I bought pre-made from a grocery store. I also had two liters of soda, bottled water, and juice boxes. I think we spent about $100 for food for 45 people. No making anything and no picking anything up. I loved it and it took a lot of stress off of me. I guess I could have saved some money by making things myself, but I do believe that my time is worth something, and I don't think that I could have saved a lot.

5) Remember the point of the party.

I'm not going to post about it here, but there was some drama. Family crap that is not worth wasting my time here on. I started to get worked up, but then I looked at my little boy's face. He was eating his first bites of pizza, playing with his balloons, and charming the pants off of his party guests. I realized that all of the other stuff didn't matter. M hugged me close and I felt the miracle of everything overtake the minutae.

Here are some pictures of the party for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One Year

My Dearest Baby Will,

On the eve of your first birthday, there is so much that I want to say to you.

Looking back over the course of the past year, it amazes me to see how much you have changed. From that tiny little baby that was first placed in my arms, to the squirming toddler that now barely sits still in them, you have grown into such a little person. And though there have definitely been challenging moments of sleepless nights, first tantrums, and occasions when I feared I was failing you, I have loved every single second of you.

Each stage of your life so far has brought us so much joy. When you were a newborn, and nestled so sweetly in my arms, I thought, "It can't get better than this."

And then it did.

When you were six weeks old and gave me your first smile, I thought, "It can't get better than this."

And then it did.

When you were three months old and started laughing your deep, baby laughs, I thought, "It can't get better than this."

And then it did.

When you were six months old and started eating solids with great zeal and taking two naps a day, I thought, "It can't get better than this."

And then it did.

When you were nine months old and saying Dada and smiling your outrageous toothy grin, I thought, "It can't get better than this."

And then it did.

Now, I cannot imagine that life with you could be any better or any sweeter. You fill each day of my life with your smiles and laughter, each moment of my life with greater meaning than I ever thought possible. I am so proud of the little boy you are becoming. You have the biggest heart, the sweetest little soul, and the kindest spirit. Yet you have determination, know what you want, and aren't afraid to let us know about it!

I know so many things will change. I am wistful to leave behind your babyhood and yet so excited to see you continue to grow into a toddler. There are so many wonderful things in store for us as a family and for you. I really don't think it can get any better than this.But I know it will.

Happy, Happy Birthday, my Little Monkey. May all your dreams come true.

Love always,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cold Feet, Cold Sweat, Cold Calling

I was pretty spoiled in my last two sales jobs. I was given a protected territory with customers that needed my services and were expecting me to show up. It was sales, but it was soft-sales, based on relationships, account management. This is a totally different type of sales than what I am doing now, which is the cold-calling, get in-get out type of sales.

Just as there are different types of sales, there are different types of sales people. Some people love the get in-get out type of sales, the immediate gratification of getting the sale and then no hassles with having to follow up and manage an account. Others prefer the slow burn of the relationship sale, where it takes days, weeks, and sometimes months to make the sale. Or, you have to keep making the sale once you've made it. I definitely prefer the latter method of selling. I like getting in, getting to know the customer, bringing value to their business, and then getting the sale. I am patient, it doesn't have to happen today.

I am now in the former, cold-calling businesses to have them purchase advertising space in a print and on-line news publication. I am expected to make between 50 and 100 cold calls today off of completely cold leads. I have done cold calling before, when I worked for an insurance company, booking appointments for an insurance agent. It was a tough job. I still loved the challenge of it though, and obviously, it got me hooked on sales. I just went on to what I viewed as a "kinder, gentler" form of sales and found it even more enjoyable.

So, yesterday morning, I joined in on our first training call. We were given some basic information about the ads, pricing, and such, and then were told to make 20 plus calls so we could discuss those calls on today's call.

I received my lead sheet and put Will down for a nap. I knew that I now had a couple of uninterrupted hours to make calls. I took a quick shower first and then sat down at the computer to begin my work.

I felt my heart beating faster. I felt my palms getting sweaty. I felt a little rock in the pit in my stomach. These were feelings I hadn't had in a long time.

I had to give myself a little pep talk, but I picked up the phone and made my first call. Then my second. Then my third. When I hit 20 calls, I kept going. When I hit 50, I stopped. I stopped mostly because Will woke up from his nap (early, the little bugger!), but also because I hadn't made any sales and I wanted to get more training before I "wasted" anymore of the leads. It got a lot easier to make the calls, but I didn't really feel as if I got any better at making them.

When M asked me how my morning went, I told him that cold calling is only fun when and if you sell something. It is frustrating when you spend an hour of your time calling people and nothing comes of it. I would say it's frustrating being new. Like anything else, it takes time to get used to selling a product, to gain confidence, to get into the rhythm of something new. Kind of like Will was a newborn!

It just takes time and patience. How I wish I had more of those things!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Date Night

Last night, M and I had a date night. Our close friends and neighbors watched Will for us while we went out to an early movie and dinner. They have a two year old and Will is around them a lot, so it's just like another playdate, only minus me.

It is still so foreign for me to go someplace without Will. I can only compare it to leaving the house with a case of OCD. I am constantly feeling as if I have forgotten something. I keep going through a mental checklist. . . where is my cell phone? Keys? Wallet? Sunglasses? Oh, I have all of those things? What am I missing. . . oh, yeah, my baby!

Then a whole new checklist begins: Did I leave his jacket with them or is it still in the car? Will five diapers be enough (to last four hours, one should hope so!)? Did I leave enough food (believe me, there was enough to feed ten Wills)? Will she remember he can't have dairy (again, a very close friend that I talk to every single day who certainly knows that he can't)? Is my phone on vibrate AND loud ring?

It was finally after a drink and part way into our meal that I was finally able to start really relaxing. It was nice to sit and talk with M, even though our conversations drifted towards Will. We did talk about other things as well, and I think it would be weird if we didn't talk about our son at all!

After our dinner, we went out to a movie (though I did have to turn the cell phone to vibrate only). It was the first movie we had been to since I was in the second trimester. I got too uncomfortable to sit for that long as my pregnancy progressed. I was like a little kid as we settled into our seats, almost giddy with the excitement of actually being in a theater. We even held hands and shared some movie candy. It truly began feeling like a date!

I was eager to get home to Will, but he didn't seem that excited to see us. It was clear that he had a wonderful time with his friend. They even had Will's favorite (spaghetti) for dinner! He finally crawled over to me for a hug, then wanted to give his daddy a hug, but then wanted down to play again. He was so tuckered out after his afternoon of playtime that he went straight to bed.

It was a very nice evening out and we have decided to make it a monthly occasion, with us taking their son the first Saturday of every month and them taking Will the second Saturday. I think it will be good for all of us. I think the only way I am going to get over that slightly panicked "What did I forget?" stage is to do it more often, to get out and enjoy some adult time, and let him have some indepent time as well.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

T Minus 7 Days

Will is turning a year old on Thurday. Yeah. I know. I can't believe it, either.

I feel a sense of denial, surreality, excitement, and nostalgia about the whole thing. I keep remembering this time last year, when I was feeling pretty much the same things, just in a different way. I was definitely in denial, as it will never seem real that a baby can possibly be coming out of your body until it does. It was definitely surreal, as I couldn't believe that I was about to have my very own RLB. Excitement goes without saying. There was some nostalgia, a tiny twinge as I thought about changing from a duo to a trio, as I realized that it was the last time for just M and me to be a twosome, together.

So, now, present day. I can't believe my baby is turning one. I am excited to experience all of the wonderful growth and changes the next year will bring. But I am also finding myself unexpectedly very sad and prone to weeping over silly things.

I have also been doing a good job not getting all crazy stressed about his party. But as the days dwindle, I am finding myself starting to get worked up. I am nervous that he won't nap that morning (he is transitioning from two to one nap and each day is a guessing game) and be tired and grumpy by showtime. I am a little edgy that our families will all be together for the first time since our wedding, six plus years ago (and there is a reason we don't get them together very often). I am fussy about the house, because it's just not clean enough for guests and I don't know when I am going to find the time to clean it. Also, since my parents and their three dogs are going to be staying with us for a few days, it honestly feels like a waste of time to spend too much time cleaning it. No one else should be at our house but them and perhaps my in-laws.

The party is at a nearby park. It's supposed to be 80 degrees and sunny that day. That's good news, except the park will be really crowded and parking is limited, so I find myself nervous about people finding enough room to park. I worry that there won't be enough food, or too much food, or that people won't like the food! LOL!

I am trying to keep a calm head about all of this. I know it's just a kid's birthday party and that he won't remember anything and no one else will care. But I will remember it and I care, so I do want it to be a nice party.

I will gladly accept any and all party advice as we head into the last seven days of planning and stressing!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Because Life Was Getting "Boring"

When I submitted my resignation from Johnson & Johnson back in February, it was with very mixed emotions. Not only did I wonder what would become of us financially, but I worried how I would feel about giving up my alter-ego-career-woman personality.

It turns out that I didn't miss working as much as I thought I would. I did miss some of the coworkers that had become friends in my time with the company, but I didn't miss the politics and the superficiality of wearing this suit with those shoes and that necklace to the big meeting. I missed my wonderful customers, I missed the feeling that I was helping people, I missed that exhilerating charge of landing a new contract, but I didn't miss the piles of paperwork and BS justify-my-job stuff we had to do.

And as for the financial stuff, we certainly aren't starving and we have more than what we need to get by. There are days when I wish we could go out to dinner and I get tired of clipping coupons, but we do get out at least once a couple times a month and I get a teeny little rush from watching the totals fall after my coupons are applied at the register.

I really loved dedicating myself to Will in his first year. I wouldn't trade that for the world.

But we are on a schedule now. He naps for several hours a day, the house isn't immaculate, but it's back up and running, with laundry folded, refrigerator stocked, and the cobwebs mostly at bay. I am exercising daily, the dogs and cat are no longer ignored, and life has a certain predictability to it that made me start feeling as if I should throw a monkey wrench in it all again.

A few weeks ago, I decided to look for a parttime, work-from-home job. I didn't want anything that would have been on a strict schedule, require any traveling, or customer face-time. I wanted to do it all from home and with some flexibility in case Will was having an off day and needed a little extra mama time.

I applied for all sorts of jobs. Man, it's tough out there. Not so much getting a job, but trying to figure out if it's a scam. In the end, I was offered many so-called work-from-home "jobs," but most of them were not real "offers," but rather get-rich-quick scams. I finally feel as if I have been offered a decent job. It's decent in that, if I make my quota and actually sell, it will pay off. I have a signed contract and a good commission structure, and I only have to work a few hours a day. I am hopeful that I can find a way to make this all work. Wish me luck!

Also, as an aside, I am considering taking my e-mail off of my profile. I have been getting a lot of not-so-nice mail lately and it has kind of turned me off of blogging. Rather than give up here altogether, I think I am just going to take that contact option off of my blog. It pains me, as I always wanted to be available to those that needed help, but I don't deserve to be a punching bag, either. I am going to give it a few days, so if you want to keep in touch via e-mail, make sure to take note of that soon. Thanks!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Um, About That Last Post?

First off, thank you for the kind responses on my last post. I was just starting to come to terms with this new Boob-Free phase of our lives. After all, there are many benefits to weaning, including guilt-free binge drinking. Cuz, yeah, I do that so much. Oh, yeah, and rampant narcotic usage. Oh, wait, I don't do that, either. Still, there are benefits. Like not travelling with a breast pump if I am away from Will for a night. That is definitely a plus, even though I have only left my baby twice overnight. Okay, so maybe I wasn't really coming to terms with it, but I was trying.

And then Will gets sick.

Like all men, the minute Will gets sick, he returns to his newborn state. He is now all about The Boob again. The nice part is that I get a brief reprieve from the End Of Boob and am really enjoying what I am calling our Swan Song. The bad part?

If history has shown itself to be an accurate predictor of the future (and it has), the second Will is feeling better, his renewed romance with The Boob will cease. This will leave me with very confused Boobs that just ramped up their supply again (because we are on day two of this sickness and constant nursing) and make the weaning process harder on me in a physical sense. Not that it really matters. I will do whatever he needs to help him feel better now and to wean him when he is feeling better in a few days. It just kind of sucks (literally) that I was down to one feeding and now have been almost constantly nursing him. And, yes, we tried a bottle, a pacifier (which he has never liked, but it was 3 AM and I was desperate), teething rings, a sippy cup, Daddy holding him, and it was useless. He wanted Boob and he wanted it NOW. I don't generally indulge Will in that fashion, but a sick baby is a different story.

And, man, he is sick. So, whatever. I can't complain when he doesn't want The Boob and then complain when he does. Well, I guess I just did, but you know what I mean.

Now, my question remains: What we will do the next time he is sick and there is no longer The Boob option at all?

Friday, August 7, 2009

This Is It

From day one, Will has been about one thing: FOOD.

It used to be that he was all about The Boob. I remember at three months, when he was still eating every 2 - 3 hours, thinking, "This kid will never give up The Boob." However, he found out that there was Big Boy food, and his love affair with The Boob was history.

It happened slowly.

At first, he made it through the night without a feed.

Then he dropped an afternoon feed.

Then a morning feed.

Then the last feed of the night.

Then another afternoon feed.

Soon, we were down to just one feed. It was the morning nurse that he still had to have. He was happy to see M when he came to get him out of his crib in the morning, but he was looking over his shoulder for me. Well, The Boob, anyway. I could give him a quick good morning hug, but it was really The Boob that he wanted.

Two weeks ago, as I was happily nursing Will, M asked, "So, when are you going to be done with This?"


This is such a small word that encompasses everything that nursing has come to mean to me. Now, please do not get me wrong. I totally get why nursing just doesn't work for some people, whether physically, emotionally, logically, or otherwise. I make no judgments on whether or not someone breastfeeds. I, myself, went into it not knowing how it would all go and vowing to make it until six weeks and then stop if it wasn't working out. We did the occasional supplemental bottle, especially in the early weeks when we were dealing with his jaundice, so I am all for formula.

But, as I have discussed ad nauseum here, nothing else about procreation, pregnancy, or childbirth came "naturally" to me. Nursing was the first time that I got to experience this whole baby business without drugs or needles or a doctor standing by. It was a quiet time of bonding with my son. Even on a day when I felt like an absolute failure as a new mom, The Boob always helped, both him and me. Nursing was as much for me as it was for Will.

I have been sad each time that he has dropped a feeding, and through the occasional nursing strikes. I have always came to the same conclusion: Let him be the guide. He'll tell us when he's done.

So, that's what I said to M two weeks ago. He was a little discomfited by that, as our agreement had always been that we would be done at a year. I discussed it with my mom friends and they were supportive, but also said that I needed to figure out when I was done, in case he never was.

I worried, stewed, and fretted, knowing that I would probably not be done for a very long time. I will admit to a brief vision in my head of nursing him right before kindergarten- okay, maybe not, but I didn't know when that magical time would come for me when I was ready to let go.

Turns out, that I didn't need to worry about it. As usual, Will is leading the way, showing me what he needs. The past few days, he has shown little to no interest in his morning nurse. It's been the same pattern every time he's dropped a feed, so I know what's coming.

This is it.