Monday, October 26, 2009

The "Other" Post

So. . .

Will has this book.

I highly recommend this book and flash cards. We do flashcards (I found mine here for $1 a pack - but they were hidden, you might have to ask where they are) at mealtimes and just because.

He loves them. Really, I am not just saying that. He asks for "cards," and I love to indulge him.

I can also say that his latest word is courtesy of the book. For some reason, Will has always been fascinated by clocks. Only he called them circles. I was proud that he said circle, but I wanted him to know the real word. So, I got out the trusty book and showed him the picture of a clock. His little face lit up as I carefully pronounced the CL- O - CK.

He tried to say it back and it came out jumbled the first few tries.

But he eventually got it. He was so proud of himself. I was so proud of him. I mean, clock?!!? That's a Big Boy Word.

And now, he says CLOCK every. single. chance he gets.

Only problem?

Well, he doesn't exactly say CLOCK. He says. . . do I even need to tell you?

Yeah, I want to make sure that the picture is fully painted, google be darned.

He says, "Cock."

And he says it a lot.



Fred Meyer (that's Kroger to some of you).

Dinner out.

The library.

Yes, the library.

And he is quite insistent on telling you that there is a clock nearby.

Several times.

In loud voice.

That's my boy!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Through My Son's Eyes

I had heard people say what a joy it is to see the world through the eyes of your child. To be honest, I always figured that it was more of an expression, but I didn't know that it really meant that you would see things that you never even noticed before.

Will's latest word is clock (only it doesn't quite sound like clock, but that's a whole other post). He sees clocks everywhere. Sometimes, it takes me quite awhile to find the clock, but I always do. His eyes never miss one!

He does the same thing with bird. Once, we were at a craft fair and I was looking at some lovely jewelry and homemade soaps. "Bird! Bird!" he kept insisting.

I looked around, but couldn't see a bird (and we were indoors), so I said, "Will, I don't see a bird."

The owner of the booth we were at started laughing and pointed at a booth six over and partially hidden by a rack of homemade diaper bags where there was a small painting of a bird. I had to squint to see it from where we standing, but he never wavered in his certainty. Like I said, he never misses a thing.

He certainly does make me see the world differently. I literally stop and smell the roses now. I stop and pick up a red leaf that is different from the green ones that he had just gotten over his fascination of (and now they are red, so it's a whole new level of interest). I stop to explain rain drops, airplanes, cars with loud mufflers, the list goes on and on.

So many of these are things he is seeing (or at least trying to understand) for the first time. I love being the one to teach and explain the world to him. I love being the one to see the dawning of comprehension on his face. I love being the one that gets the joy and privilege of exploring things with him and watching the every day become new and different.

I know there will be times when stopping to look at a frog or explaining what thunder is will be trying. There are a million things to do, a zillion places to go, but I really hope that I will stop and take even a few seconds to continue to see the world through Will's eyes each and every day.

I have a feeling the world would be a far better place if we all did so.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clarification & Apology

I want to apologize to anyone that I might have offended with this post.

I was not trying in any way to say that one decision is better than another. I believe that the decision that we've made for our family is the best decision - for our family and our family only. I do not pass judgment on anyone else. Choosing to work outside or inside of the home is a personal matter and can only be made by the individuals who are at stake in the decision. Many factors, be it emotional, financial, physical, and too many more to mention here, must be taken into consideration.

I wrote that post from a place of hurt and anger, from a position of being tired of the judgment that I was feeling from others. I probably shouldn't do that as it clouds my judgment and leads me to post things that may not be taken in the spirit in which I meant them.

For though I didn't mean it to be offensive or judgmental, I have had a chance to see the post through another's eyes. I figure if one person is brave enough to bring it to my attention (albeit indirectly), then there are probably many others that felt the same way.

I want to make it clear that the post was not to be an attack on any group of moms and/or dads. It's hard enough to be a parent without having to defend your position from another one. So please know that while my wording might not have been perfect, my intention was never to be mean or to try and define a "best" or "right" choice. Because it's impossible to do so when it comes to this situation.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life Today and Hot Apple Fritters

Lots to report.

Will has an outer-ear infection.

Probably because he has an inner-ear infection and has been worrying (poking, rubbing, scratching) the ear. This most likely led to the outer-ear infection, which is hallmarked by a tomato-red ear and constant crying.

Oh, and no sleep. Ugh.

For Will or for me. Double ugh.

Anyway, the inner-infection is typical and not even a reason for antibiotics since he doesn't have a high temperature and hasn't been apparently ill for over a week. The outer-ear infection is quite another matter. It is basically a skin infection from some random pathogen. They are more concerned with this skin infection, as in young children, these can go from not-much-to-worry-about to something-very-serious rather quickly. The doctor even said that if the ear did not get better by today to come back in, as we would have to be admitted to the hospital.

The hospital?!? Yeah, apparently, it is taken that. seriously.

Well, anyway, we are taking the oral antibiotics and the ear looks a little less red and irritated already.

Big sigh of relief.

In other news, toddlerhood has hit our house with a vengeance. What does that mean, exactly?

Well, it means that Will is being defiant (saying no when I ask him to do something simple such as hand him a toy) and not eating worth a darn (I don't know how this kid survives on nothing to eat all day). It means that my patience wears thin on a daily basis.

And yet. . .

It also means that Will give kisses and hugs because he feels like it, which melts my heart. He says Mommy, rather than Mama. Also melting my heart. He walks like a pro. He says things like, "I love cheese" and barks like a dog. Woof! Woof!

Heart. Melts.

He is becoming more of his own person, each and every day. He melts my heart more, each and every day.

Oh, and I made these this morning. My friend told me that she was going to divorce her husband so she could marry me. I highly recommend them. They aren't much work, but oh....

they are so. freakin. good.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hey, This Isn't Food Network!

I am not going to turn my blog into a food blog, promise.

That being said, I love everything food. I love meal planning, grocery shopping, making meals and desserts, and I especially love eating the results. Even more than actually eating them myself, I love cooking for my family and friends. I actually get a little bit of a "chef's high" from making an especially delicious creation and seeing my friends enjoy it. When they get that "look" of pure enjoyment, I get all happy inside. Yesterday, I made apple butter in my crock pot. The house smelled like what heaven must . . . all fragrant with cinnamon, cloves, and apples, simmering away. I then made fresh drop biscuits to spread the yummy goodness on. That tasted like pure heaven on a plate. One of my friends actually requested a "moment alone" with her treat.

I know most people have a preference of baking (cookies, brownies, bread, etc.) or cooking (more of the meal part, if you will) and if I had to choose, I would say that I ultimately prefer cooking. With baking, you have to be pretty precise or things do not turn out well. With cooking, you can be more creative. I rarely use a recipe after the first time making something. I get an idea of the basic recipe and then just wing it in the future. But you can be creative with baking, too, so long as you get the basic ingredients, most specifically any leavening agents, correctly measured, you can usually add and subtract other ingredients, too. See? I really love both. So it's a good thing that I don't have to choose!

I have learned most of my recipes from watching food shows, asking friends for their favorites, scouring through cookbooks, and reading through my latest addiction. . . food blogs! I love, love, love food blogs. I feel as if I have found "my people" when I go to a food blog. I don't like the heavily commercialized ones, but I do love the ones where an honest-to-goodness foodie is at the helm, putting their amazing recipes out for the world to see. We are a meat and potato, noodle and sauce family. Most of the recipes and sites that I am attracted to and make fall into that category.

My latest true love is this blog. This is where I got the recipes for both the apple butter and the drop biscuits. The drop biscuits were so easy to make. The apple butter was not difficult but it was very time consuming. Trust me when I tell you it so worth it. I can see it being an economical, fun gift to give out at the holidays to neighbors and friends.

What is your food style? Are you more of a baker or a cooker (is that even a word)? I asked for a recipe share a few weeks back, and got quite a few good ideas, but if you have more standbys, please feel free to leave one in the comment section. I am always on the prowl for a new favorite!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Good Morning

Okay, so last week, I talked about ways to save money. One of the biggest ways that I have found to do this is to make portable breakfasts that my husband can take on-the-go. He has to leave so early in the morning that sitting down for his breakfast is pretty much impossible.

Along with most Seattle-ites, he has a long commute, so these are a great portable breakfast treat. They are also very versatile. You can change up the meats, increase or decrease the veggies, add or subtract cheese, use egg whites, or a milk substitute. If you need help tweaking the recipe, just let me know.

Savory Breakfast Muffins


Muffin tins, greased (enough for 16 muffins)

1-8 count can of refrigerated biscuit dough (I use store brand to save money, but no matter the brand, choose the GRAND or biggest size).

8 strips bacon, cooked (I usually do this in the oven - 400 degrees at 15 or so minutes, until crispy). Crumble into pieces.

8 sausage links, cooked (any variety, brand, meat, etc.) - I use the microwave type, so 2 minutes in micro until done. Chop into small pieces.

1 TBS Butter, margarine, or vegetable oil.

Mixed veggies, diced 1 1/2 cup (that you would like in an omelette: onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc.).

4 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup sour cream

1 cup shredded cheddar (or whatever variety you prefer ) cheese


In a saute pan, melt the butter, margarine, or heat the oil and saute the onions until soft and brown.

Add any other veggies that you would like (if using peppers, add to onions at start, other veggies need less time). Cook until tender.

While veggies are sauteing, in a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, and milk until well blended (think scrambled eggs).

Take the biscuit dough and separate each biscuit from tube. With a sharp knife, cut each biscuit in half.

On a well-floured surface, take each half and roll until 1/8 inch thin (dust the rolling pin with flour to make this part easier).

Place each piece of rolled dough in a muffin tin, pressing down so edges of dough come out over the outside of tin. Leave these flaps out, arranging each circle of dough so the edges don't overlap.

Place an equal amount of sauteed meat and veggies in each muffin tin (on top of dough). Top with a sprinkle of shredded cheese.

After all meat, veggie, and cheese mixture has been placed in each muffin cup, add the egg mixture until it is has been evenly distributed among all 16 cups (about 3/4 muffin cup filled).

Take edges of dough up and twist together, making a "bag" or "pouch". The egg mixture will ooze out of this, that's okay. It doesn't have to look pretty, either.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until dough is browned and egg mixture "set."

Allow to cool in pan for about ten minutes, then remove from pan and serve warm or allow to cool and then freeze.

These freeze really well. I usually freeze them in sandwich bags of two, since one isn't quite enough for a serving.

When you are ready to eat, put them in the microwave for 1 minute, flip the bag over and microwave for another 30 seconds to a minute until warmed.

M likes a splash of hot sauce on his, I like some salsa, but they are good just plain. They are easy to eat on the go or make a nice side to a breakfast at home. I am not a huge egg fan and these are still very tasty.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Always Remembering

I have a few IRL friends who know that I blog. They understand that back in the infertility day, I needed an outlet, a resource, a place to put everything, and to try and make sense of it all.

What they have trouble understanding, what I sometimes wrestle with myself, is why do I still blog? Will is 14 months old. He is everything that I dreamed a child, my son, could be. I would love the opportunity to have another child, but if it doesn't happen, I am content and so blessed with him. We might try a FET, we might look into adoption, but we might just decide that one amazing little boy is more than enough. I never want him to feel as if we were lacking somehow because he is an only child. Whereas being a childless couple was not an option for us, and we were ready to do whatever it took to have a baby, whether it was a biological or adopted one, we could be perfectly content being a one-child family. In fact, there are some advantages to being a one child family.

But that is why I blog. Right there.

Because in my heart of hearts, I do not just have one little one. I have seven angels in heaven. Seven little souls, seven little beings that came and went so quickly, but still symbolized so much hope, so many dreams, and an immense amount of love. I can't say that I only have one child, because my heart is so filled with the memories of the others that I have loved as only a mother could.

On this day and every time I blog here, I remember them. I honor each of them and what they meant and continue to mean to their father and me. I am able to keep reaching out to others and lend support. I want to continue to offer a beacon of hope and promise to those still in the trenches. I want to share the love and laughter and blessings that can come after so much loss, so much devastation, so much hurt and pain.

To my angels, to my babies, to my children, this day means so much. This blog means so much to me because it is my way to continue to reach out to others, to remember and honor all that I carry in my heart.

Remembering today and always . . .

Angel Baby #1 "Piglet"
January 31, 2006
Lost at 6 weeks
Angel Baby #2
March 30, 2006
Lost at 4 weeks
Angel Baby #3 "Poco"
July 31, 2006
Lost at 7 weeks
Angel Baby #4
August 25, 2006
Lost at 5 weeks
Angel Baby #5 "Gummy Bear"
December 12, 2006
Lost at 11 weeks
Angel Baby #6
September 13, 2007
Lost at 4 weeks
Angel Baby #7
May 18, 2009
Lost at 4 weeks

The Very Worst Thing

A terrible thing happened yesterday.

A good friend of mine is 36 weeks pregnant with her second daughter and third pregnancy. I have written about her here before, as she and I both suffered first trimester losses a couple of years ago.

She has not feeling well for the past few weeks of her pregnancy. She has had a bladder infection, lots of contractions, and feelings of intense pressure. Her doctor put her on bed rest last week. She went in on Monday for some tests, including fetal monitoring. Everything looked okay with the baby, but she was contracting and dilating. A lung maturity test indicated that it would be best for the baby to have a few more days in the womb, so they sent her home.

She called me yesterday morning because she hadn't felt the baby move in 24 hours. She felt silly calling the doctor after just having been in for all of the testing a day before. I told her to err on the side of caution and call in.

She called me two hours later.

The baby died. She was going to be admitted last night and induced. I haven't heard from her yet today.

I am at a loss as to what to say or do. If any of you with later term losses can chime in, I would really appreciate it. Obviously, I want to do everything that I can to be there for her, but I don't want to be overly intrusive either. I appreciate your advice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Yes, Yes, Yes

Does it ever hit you. . .

that you're a Mom?

Do you ever think about all that you went through. . .

to be a Mom?

Do you ever think about those that are still waiting. . .

to be a Mom?

For me, the answer is yes.




Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How We Make It Work

Beth asked a great question when commenting on my last post. I thought it might be helpful to others to know some of our "tricks" to surviving in this economy, living in Seattle, on a single income.

To be honest, most of how we make it work started long before we had children, before we were even married. I worked in sales job that I didn't love, but I did it for the very simple fact that I made good money. We could have had a gorgeous home, lovely things to go in it, fancy cars, dream vacations, blah, blah, blah. But we didn't. We kept our eye on the prize.

Instead, we bought a modest, but perfectly fine home in a starter neighborhood. We didn't ever buy anything on credit. We purchased cars and paid them off. I had a company car, but when we paid off my husband's commuter car and bought a "family" vehicle, we put the little commuter car in the garage and kept it for two years until we had to give up the company car. We paid off any debt we had (student loans, a very small amount of credit card debt of my husband's, etc.) until we only had a mortgage. We had a mortgage that was far less than what we could afford on both salaries, but easily affordable on just my husband's. We socked away extra money whenever and where ever we could. We have a full year of my husband's pre-tax salary in the bank as a safety net.

My husband worked his arse off, getting promotions at work, and made it very clear in every single performance review what our ultimate goal was and what he needed to be making (which started out as a sizeable gap and narrowed over the years). He asked for extra responsibilities, projects, employees to manage, etc.

As you can see, by the time it came for me to resign, we were in a pretty good position. And then. . .

I remember laying in my hospital bed, cuddling newborn Will, and watching the news about the economic "slump." I continued to watch the news a lot last fall, since Will was a hungry boy and I was often nursing and stuck on the couch. I watched as the "slump" became a "downtrend" and then a "recession." When we looked at the salary, the company car, the benefits that I was walking away from, we both got cold feet. I wasn't just walking away from a career, we were walking away from a safe, sheltered lifestyle with economic security and the ability to provide Will with a very comfortable financial future.

That's when I started posting here about our "BIG DECISION." Suddenly, everything wasn't so cut and dried. It was no longer a guarantee that if I walked away from this job, I could just go out and get another. I looked at our precious son and wanted to give him the world, or at least a college fund and braces. Was it selfish of me to want to soak up his babyhood and possibly shortchange (pun intended) his future? There were nights that I couldn't sleep, days when I couldn't eat, because it all seemed too much to give up, too much to risk.

Obviously, we came to the conclusion that it was worth it, however, because I did resign in February. I gave back the car, the corporate Amex, the benefits, and the paycheck. We took a deep breath and walked off into the financial abyss, not knowing if it will be the greatest decision or biggest mistake of our lives.

To be honest, we still don't know. What we do know is that I have enjoyed so much getting to spend all of this time with Will. I can't imagine leaving him in daycare, even though I know that he would be fine, I am not sure I would be. My job wasn't your standard 9 - 5. I travelled extensively and would have missed a lot of his growing up. It would have been very difficult as my husband also works long hours and we would have spent a lot on extended hour daycare, cutting into the financial benefits of me continuing to work.

So, what do we do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to stretch the dollars we do have coming in?


We have all of our monthly set expenses on a spreadsheet. We include groceries and a small amount of spending money in this. Every month, after M pays the bills, we look over the expenses to see if there is anything we need to adjust.


Every Tuesday (in our area), we receive the store ads and coupons in the mail. I also buy a weekly Tuesday and Sunday newspaper with the extra coupons. I go through all of the ads and see what's on sale and each store. I do not go from store to store, but I might visit two different groceries stores in a week to get the best deals from each. Once I have figured out what's on sale, I make a menu for the week ahead (ex: if hamburger is on sale, we're probably going to have tacos, meatloaf, and spaghetti this week and I will buy extra to freeze).

I take advantage of buying bulk. Lots of groceries stores are offering great deals when you stock up, but you have to buy 20 of something. Luckily, you don't have to buy 20 if the same things, usually, there are mix and match opportunities (boxed side dishes, canned fruit, frozen veggies, for example).

I do have a geeky little coupon envelope with my coupons organized.

I bring a calculator with me when I shop and add up my purchases as I go.

I do not shop hungry and I bring snacks for Will so that I don't have to buy him something to eat.

I STICK TO MY LIST (this is huge for saving money).


I DO NOT LET MYSELF GO TO THE STORE between shopping trips. No, not even for "one little thing," which turns into a dozen things and $60 later.


We use a credit card that has a rewards program. We get "points" that we then redeem for gift cards. We had a ton of points and got about $1000 in Tar.get gift cards right before Will was born. We still have a little less than half of that left. We put everything on our credit card that we can and then get the rewards points. We do not pay an annual fee for our credit card and we make sure to pay it off immediately so that they do not make any money on us.

There are many such programs like this, but we stick with one and put all of our efforts so that it really does pay us back to use it. We found that when we tried to do two or three at the same time, it never amounted to much of anything from the individual cards.


This has been an area of opportunity for us, to be honest. We are not big "eat out" people, but we do love take out like pizza and chinese. We got into a bad habit when I was still on paid maternity leave and Will was so little. It was so much easier for M to just pick something up and we had the money, so we did it two or three times a week! Not only did that make it really hard to lose the baby weight, but it also made it really hard when the money stopped coming in to make our food budget. We have made a once a week rule for any type of food purchased outside of the home. This may sound like a lot, but this includes fast food, going out with friends, etc. Some weeks are easier than others. This is a hard one for us to stick to, but we are trying. My girlfriends often make fun of me, but I always pack food for Will where ever we go during the day. I always have fruit, string cheese, crackers, a water cup, and usually, more substantial things, too. I hate paying $5 for a kids meal that he might take two bites of, so I bring meals with us when we go to restaurants and let him also eat off our plates. It's a pain sometimes, but it saves money.


I regularly call our phone, cable, and internet companies to ask what better promotions they have going on right now. If you don't pay attention, those sneaky people will raise the rates on you and not offer anything to lower them. I am sweet as sugar when I make those calls and it doesn't always work, but there is usually some sort of promotion going on where I have saved us everything from $5 to $50 a month on a service. We have been long term customers of all our major services and I think this helps my cause, but usually I say things like, "My husband wants to cancel our service because it is too expensive. Is there anyway you can help me out? I love your company and don't want to have to go to the competition."


Everytime anyone asks us what we would like as a gift for an event, we answer gift cards. Then we use those for fun stuff. My personal favorites are Star.bucks and for pedicures, so then I don't feel so guilty about my guilty pleasures.


I will probably lose a few folks on this one, but it is extremely rare that we buy anything new. From toys and clothes to Will to clothes and toys for M and me, we just buy it all secondhand (not underwear or shoes, however, I do have to draw the line someplace). Will has a very impressive playroom, but with the exception of gifts from family and friends, it is all second hand things. I have to usually launder, power wash, or soak in bleach water (or all three) whatever it is that I get for Will, but end the result is that he doesn't go without and I pay a fraction of the price. Craigslist is best for specific things (if you have a brand you must have, for example, or you want something in particular, like a train table), but you will pay a bit more. I bought my Ergo baby carrier on craiglist for less than half the price of a new one and it was still in the package. Garage sales are great if you aren't as specific about what you are looking for. We also sell old things that we don't want on craigslist to make some extra spending money. My only rule is that I never meet people at their homes or have them come to us. I always meet in public spots - safety first!

I am also friends with a lot of other mommies with similar age children and we all beg, borrow, and steal shamelessy from each other when we need to. My girlfriend takes my Ergo tailgating, my other girlfriend borrowed my amazing umbrella stroller (a craigslist find) to travel with, and I borrow my girlfriend's carseat when we need an extra rather than buying a second one. I could give a lot of examples of our trade system. Usually, what I do is just do a Facebook status update, letting someone know that I need to borrow whatever it is and I usually have two or three offers within an hour or two. Most of Will's clothes are hand me downs and we pass his clothes on when we are done with them, keeping only things that we would be sad if they didn't get returned to us. I use a fabric marker to mark the tags, but I also know that it's quite possible that some things will get lost or stained, so if it's a special outfit, I set it aside and don't care about the rest.


This is a big one for us. M and I often review where we are at financially. We have done this since we were married. M does pay the monthy bills, but I still know what's going where, how much we are putting away in savings, putting into Will's college fund, etc. We usually do this right after M has paid the bills biweekly. We also discuss any major purchases (for us, it's anything over $100, even if it's something for Will or the house). We look at the spreadsheet, see if there is anything to cut back on or add to and that's it. Because we have been doing this so long, it's rarely longer than a ten minute conversation.

#9. FUN

Of course, we have to have fun! We still do go out, we still have times when we make silly purchases, and we are planning our first big family vacation for the wintertime. We just make sure to budget for it and have a realistic expectation that we might not be able to do it up as we would in the past. Maybe we can't stay in the nicest place or go out to the best restaurants, but we do still go have fun.

We have a family membership to our local children's museum. We actually got this as a birthday gift from Will's very generous Aunt, but it wasn't really that expensive when used over the course of a year ($75). We go at least once a week (we've already gotten her money back and more in the time we've had it) and Will has a blast. Zoos, acquariums, and things of those nature usually have similar memberships and there are often other advantages (early admission times, discounts at food courts and the gift shop, discounts for guests, etc.) to buying them.

I scour the internet for great, free family things to do. Usually, you can just do a google search for local things to do with kids for your specific area. For my eastside Seattle readers, you might like the Ruby Slipper Guide. Not everything is free, but most things are, or are very low cost. I also use my local county website to find free family things to do. Public libraries also have story times, concerts, puppet shows, arts and crafts sessions, and it is usually all free. City-sponsored recreation centers usually have the cheapest deals on swim and athletic lessons.


Again, I use coupons for just about everything if I have to buy it new, I at least am going to get a discount. I love the following resources for saving money.

Thrifty Northwest Mom is one of my favorite sites, since it combines free stuff, grocery store reviews, and coupons all in one spot (this is northwest specific but also has good nationwide resources, too).

Coupon Mom and are two great coupon resource. So is Smartsource and this is a free 14-day trial for the Entertainment book online. It's only a 14-day trial, but if you are sneaky, you can enter different people in your household so that if you have a vacation or specific going-out need, it can save some real money. Use it for restaurants, site-seeing, hotels, and more.

If I am buying something on-line, I check first for a discount or coupon code. There are tons of sites like this (just google search coupon codes) but here is an example.

Do you like Old Navy? Check out their weekly site where you can search for coupons up to $75 off a $100 purchase. Those are rare and hard to find before they run out, but the site refreshes every week and there are usually other good coupons to be had (15% off is usually always on there and it's better than nothing).

Wow, well that was longer than I thought it would be. I hope some of it is useful to you. Please share your own cost-saving advice in the comments sections OR make a post of your own and I can link to it off of this one. Then, link back to mine so we can get the word out!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fact vs. Fiction

I have technically been a SAHM for over a year now (I was on maternity leave for six months of that, but still full-time at home with Will), and I have to say, I encounter a lot of misconceptions and myths about being in my line of work. It is frustrating and demeaning to have what I do taken so lightly and with less consideration than what someone might do outside of the home. So, I will attempt to debunk some of those myths right here and now.

MYTH: Nap times are my time for eating bon bons.

FALSE. Nap times are not my downtime. Nap times are my times to get things done. Things like laundry, cleaning the house, dishes, paying bills, etc. I might take a few minutes for myself to take a shower or have a quick bite to eat, but for the most part, I am busier during naptimes than when Will is awake.

MYTH: SAHMs just play all day.

FALSE. While I am not going to lie and say that I have never have fun and just play with Will, I will say that only a small part of my day is truly spent "playing." It is a lot of hard work. I am not trying to say that it isn't fun work, it isn't fulfilling work, it isn't important work, because it is. It's just not all fun and games. Like any job, it has its good days, its bad days, its ups, its downs.

MYTH: My husband must make a ton of money and/or we just "lucked" into my being able to stay home.

FALSE. Okay, here's the thing. My husband doesn't make a ton of money. We live in one of the most expensive areas of the country in terms of housing and grocery costs. And WE MAKE IT WORK. It took planning, saving, prioritizing, and doing without some things in the past when I was making a salary. Now that I am not bringing in any income, it takes budgeting, clipping coupons, and having discipline. I do consider myself so blessed to be able to stay home with Will, but it didn't just happen.

MYTH: SAHMs are frumpy and never shower or put on makeup.

FALSE. I encounter this one quite a bit. People are always so surpised to see me wearing makup or cute shoes or trendy clothes. Again, this does take effort, but it's important to me. I do know lots of SAHMs who don't make an effort in this area, and that's fine, but for me, it is one thing that I have never sacrificed. I do get a shower every day and have every day since Will was 5 days old. If I leave the house (and most days, I do), I make sure to have at least some makeup on and my hair in decent condition. I don't wear sweatpants unless I am working out. I put on jeans and cute shoes. My husband has never once come home to find me still in my pjs. Even moms who do stay in their sweats all day still know how to clean up for a girls night out or to work a part time job. Being a SAHM doesn't mean that you let yourself go or stop caring about your appearance. Some mothers don't seem to care as much about this, but those same women probably wouldn't care as much if they were working outside the home, either.

Look, I get it. Before I was a SAHM, I had an entirely different vision of what it would be like. I thought I would have more free time, more time to relax, but it just isn't true. Being a SAHM is a job without weekends, time off, sick days, or retirement. There are no excuses, no one else to step in and do the dirty work, no switch hitters or substitutes - just like a mom who works outside of the home - it all falls on our shoulders.

I do not judge people for working outside the home, in fact, I almost made that decision myself. There are days when I miss working outside the home, the financial security that it brought us. Although I believe that me being at home is the best thing for our family, I know it's not the same for everyone. I think that is what is bothering me most of all. The fact that other moms are the ones that seem to judge and find the role of the SAHM lacking the most.

I worked a very difficult job for 10 years before being a SAHM and you know what? Being a SAHM is just as difficult, but without the paycheck, positive feedback, and RESPECT that it deserves. I know there are challenges to being a working mother, too, and they have my respect for what they face day-to-day. I know it isn't easy, because I don't think being a parent is easy, whether you are working inside or outside of your home.

What is your greatest challenge as a SAHM or WOHM? What myths do you want to debunk about either experience?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Something To Talk About

I hadn't heard about this until today, but I think it's a great idea.

Infertility may not be something to celebrate, but surviving it certainly is.

I now "get" to celebrate Mother's Day, but it's not without a heck of a lot of survivor's guilt. I cannot fully enjoy such a "special" day, knowing so many of my dear friends are still "Waiting Parents."

But this? This I can celebrate (each link with THIS goes to a different site, for your reference).

It's a ways off, but something I will definitely be remembering, and I thought it appropriate to reference this day on my blog. It's something we can all celebrate.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hitting It Right On the Nose

Something that I didn't share from my post earlier about our weekend at my parents, is that it started out with a bang. . . literally.

I had borrowed a cookie cutter from a neighbor a few days prior. As we were packing up the car, she texted me and let me know that she needed it back. I got it and went over to her house to return it. We often borrow things from each other and we just leave the items on each others' porches.

So, I went up her front stairs, and as I neared the top, I slipped (it had been raining and the wooden steps were wet). I reached out to stop myself, but didn't manage to, and slammed my nose into the banister. I heard a horrifying pop, which I am still not sure if it was my teeth slamming together or my nose breaking, either way, it HURT.

Well, actually, at the moment I did it, it didn't hurt at all. To me, the worst injuries I have ever gotten are those that don't hurt right away. I think the flight or fight mechanism and all that kicks in to play. I calmly set the cookie cutter on her front mat, walked back to the car, and got in as if nothing had happened.

I might have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for the very small fact that my nose was puffing up like a biscuit in the oven and M noticed it right away. "Oh, my God, what did you do to your nose?"

You know how when someone reacts to an injury you haven't seen yet, it almost makes it worse, because you imagine it looking AWFUL? Well, that's kind of what happened to me right then, only I was too scared to look. At this point, my body's defense mechanisms were no longer protecting me from the pain and it had really started to hurt. I also started to feel a little light headed.

Now, the car was packed. The house was locked up. We were actually on time for our departure to my parents' (this is practically unheard of). We had a three hour drive ahead of us, an overtired Will who had been kept up in the hopes that he would sleep for this drive, and two eager-to-go dogs in the back seat. M ran in to get me some ice wrapped in a towel. I finally managed to look at myself in the mirror and was pleasantly surprised. I thought I would look terrible, but honestly, with the exception of a red, swollen spot on the left side of the bridge of my nose (the impact point), I didn't look that bad.

M wanted me to go to the urgent care clinic, but I didn't want to waste two hours of our day. I knew that if it was broken, there was nothing they could do for my poor nose, anyway. I texted a friend of mine, who is an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and asked him if he thought I should be seen. He asked a few questions (Did I have clear fluid coming from my nose? No. Were my eyelids puffy? No. Could I breathe out of my nose? Yes.) and then said to take some Tylenol, apply ice, and try to enjoy the weekend.

I took did as he instructed and felt pretty miserable for the drive down. However, it started to feel better by the afternoon. Sleeping that night was kind of uncomfortable and I would say it was more swollen when I woke up Sunday morning. I am definitely a little congested and my left eye is a little black. My nose doesn't look that bad, though, and I have never really liked my nose anyway. I figure if I end up needing some sort of reconstructive surgery down the line, it will be a bonus, right? Well, maybe not quite, but I am trying to be positive.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Parenting Safari

Thank you for weighing in on the flu vaccination yesterday. While I am not sure it really helped me make any decisions (each of you make such compelling arguments), at least I know that I am not alone in my confusion regarding what decision is the best.

Parenting sure is hard work, isn't it? Wow, that's exactly the kind of comment that would have irritated me when I was struggling to have a baby. I would have thought, "Duh. It's hard work. That's what you sign up for when you have a baby. Now, stop complaining about it!"

I am not complaining, but parenting is challenging. And it's not the expected problems that really knock me for a loop. It's the things like this that you never really think of that really hit you hard. When you are dreaming of having a baby, your toughest questions are "What color should I paint the nursery?" not "Should I vaccinate my baby with an untested, potentially ineffective strain of flu?"

It's just one of the many unexpected dilemmas I have faced since becoming a mom. It sometimes feels as if I am on this African Safari, without map or guide, just friendly locals (other moms and dads) to help along the way. There could be a perilous turn this way, but you don't know it. You just use blind "logic" and something called "your gut." You hope for the best, you do your best, and you sometimes make mistakes and just pray your kid(s) don't pay for it.

Good luck to all of us on this parenting safari!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Turning To You Again

Okay, kids, let's play another round of "What Would My Blog Readers Do."

I am really, truly, and completely unsure of what decision to make in regard to Will getting the H1N1 vaccination. Normally, I am 100% in favor of vaccinations, but this one makes me a little nervous. Several prominent members of the CDC have expressed concern about the safety of the vaccination and voted against its release.

Our pediatrician is advocating it, and I do trust her opinion. However, it just seems extra scary to give Will such an unproven medication.

What are you going to do? Please direct me to any reading materials and sources that have helped you to make your decision. If you are also still trying to make a decision, here are some resources that I have found along the way.

WHO Says Vaccine Safe
Some Say No to H1N1 Vaccine for Kids
Local Doctor Answers H1N1 Vaccine Questions
CDC Site: Q&A on 2009 H1N1 Vaccination
Government to Intensely Track H1N1 Shot Side Effects

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Nice Weekend

I have posted many times on this blog about my relationship with my mom and how she has been less-than-enthusiastic about Will. In an interest to show both sides, it's only fair that I report on this past weekend and how wonderful it was to spend it with my parents and have them both take an avid interest in their grandson.

When we arrived on Saturday morning, my parents both rushed out the door to meet us at the car. My mom had lunch on the table, Will's little booster seat already set up, and plate just for him with kid-friendly foods cut up into small, kid-friendly bites.

My dad sat on one side of Will, M on the other and they fed him lunch. My mom smiled at him from across the table. Will's latest word is "Grandma," so I think that furthered his cause. How can you not be in love with a thirteen month old who can say your name? Will also charmed his grandfather, because although he cannot say Grandpa, he called him Papi, I think because it's close to a word he has been saying for a long time, puppy. But there is a distinct difference in how the two sound and he only said Papi when prompted to say Grandpa.

My little brother also showed an interest in him, which was a nice change. He got out some of his old cars and played with Will for a little while. At one point, one of the dogs started growling at another dog, and my brother picked up Will and moved him out of the way (previously, he has never held Will in any fashion, even when asked to). He was rewarded with Will toddling after him, calling "Wobby, Wobby!" SO freakin' cute.

Will was so well-behaved this weekend that I couldn't help but be so proud of him. He slept all the way down to my parents (a three hour drive) and then was an angel in the restaurant where we celebrated my dad's 60th birthday party. It's not a fancy restaurant, by any means, and kid-appropriate, but service took awhile and I got nervous. We were there for two hours. Will sat in his booster seat for all but the last twenty minutes, happily eating several new foods (olives, white bread with butter and jam - my mom was shocked he's only had whole wheat, and his first bite of vanilla ice cream). I don't mind him having treats when we are out, because that is how I eat. I try to be healthy and eat well at home, but when I go out, I like to have things that I normally wouldn't. The last twenty minutes, he sat happily in M's lap. He didn't cry, fuss, or make a scene and I got to sit at the table for the whole dinner.

Will slept the whole night through in his pack-n-play and my mom made a huge breakfast in the morning that he gobbled up. She loves cooking for people and Will is an appreciative diner. He even threw in an "ooooooh, eggs!" for her special breakfast quiche, which earned him another serving!

It was just so nice to see my parents enjoy their grandson, and even nicer to see Will have such a good time with them. It made me wish that we could spend another night while we were on a roll, but perhaps the old vaudeville saying is true. . . "Always leave 'em laughing and wanting more."

We were in town for just barely 24 hours. There was no drama, no hurt feelings, no tears, no disappointments. I was sad to leave, which is a first in a very long time.

It was a nice weekend.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Facing My Past

Yesterday, I did something that I have't done since February 2008.

I went to our fertility clinic.

Don't worry, I haven't been leaving you out of anything exciting, we are still on hold for when to start our FET cycle. I just needed to pick up some paperwork and donate some old medications that expire in a few months.

When I pulled into the parking garage, I could feel the tension start to build in my stomach. As I got Will into his stroller and gathered our things, I could feel my heart beating faster. We headed up in the elevator, and I got a vague sick feeling that was all-too-familiar.

There are so many memories in that building, and most of them not good. Nearly every time I went there for two years, it was a bad experience. I was either going for a painful test, or going for a beta that wasn't good, or having a conversation with Dr. M about yet another failed pregnancy or cycle.

I know so many people that are blessed with amazing REs, that they feel an insane connection to them. I was not so lucky. Dr. M is a talented doctor and I will be forever grateful to her for giving me the gift of my son, but I cannot say that I have any feelings for her beyond that. She is a very straightforward, no-frills doctor. There is nothing wrong with that, but it kept me as a straightforward, no-frills patient.

I never sent pictures of Will to the office, I had never been in to visit before today. Part of that is that I hated it when people brought their babies in (even if I knew they were IF babies, if I was there on a really bad day, it was stillin the wound) and the other part is that it's not convenient to get there and I honestly didn't think Dr. M would give a hoot.

Seeing as she walked right by us in the lobby and didn't stop and say hello, pretty much confirms that thought. To be honest, I don't care. I was trying to get in and out as quickly as possible, given the fact that I only had a half hour of free parking ando, ourse, the fact that I had Will with me and I didn't want to cause anyone in the waiting room any pain.

The receptionists remembered me and were excited to meet Will. They were eager to find out when we would be back to "claim" our embryos. They gave me the paperwork and when another couple came in behind me, I made my great escape.

As I stepped off of the elevator into the parking garage, I started to cry. Nothing bad happened. I got my paperwork, I was in and out of the office in less than 15 minutes. But all of those memories. . . all of those feelings. . . I have tried to shut the door on infertility, to leave it where it belongs, which is in my past.

I realized something yesterday.

I am ready for another baby.

I am not ready for what it might take to have one.