December 29, 2010

My goals for 2011...

It's Working Moms Wednesday and time for my weekly post.

For some reason I'm a wimp when it comes to sharing my goals and resolutions with others. I think it's because I'm afraid that, God forbid, my actions will be held accountable (my Bible study group knows how much I hate that word... accountable... just typing it sends shivers up my spine). But, for the sake of using this blog to better myself, I am rolling up my sleeves, putting on my big girl pants, and taking the plunge.

Here are my hopes and dreams and goals for 2011...

1. Lose Weight. This is on my list every year but this year it truly is something I need to do, not just for my vanity but for my health.

2. Use at least one new recipe every week. We are just a few pasta or casserole nights away from a family vacation to the local psych ward.

3. Take time for myself. I need to get over the guilt of taking time for myself. In fact...

4. Stop feeling so guilty...about everything. And while I'm at it...

5. Stop comparing myself to others. Although it's healthy to want to become a better person or mother or co-worker I don't gain anything from making myself feel like crap because Suzie cooks gourmet meals and my family regularly eats frozen pizza. In the end, we all put our pants on one leg at a time.

6. Have fun! Life isn't about stress and dirty clothes...it's about first spending time with loved ones and enjoying the beauty of my surroundings...and then squeezing in time to fold that last load of laundry.

7. Continue to read my Bible regularly. The holidays have slowed me down a bit but I plan on getting right back to where I started. In fact, I will start tonight! Why wait?!

8. Teach Rachel to love the outdoors as much as I do...and then enjoy them with her!

9. Smile. I was told once that I don't smile enough. The truth is, I hate my smile and I hate the way my fat cheeks fall together around my nose when I smile but still...it probably wouldn't hurt to smile more.

10. Remember that I wrote this list AND actually stick with it.


okay...who is next?

December 27, 2010

There's a first time for everything...

Perhaps we were a bit more excited about Rachel's first Christmas than she was...



Helping her make a gingerbread house...




Look at her, excitement is just dripping from her cheeks...





Opening her presents from mommy and daddy, still super excited...





We needed a picture of someone with the doll house





Her favorite gift was....the wrapping paper, of course.




The view from my office...

The morning was crisp, and white, and beautiful.


I know that not everyone was mesmerized by the surprisingly snowy weather but the peace and calm was certainly a welcome break from the post-travel toddler tantrum that filled our home this morning.


The view from my office this morning...



December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Picture this...

A little 11-month old girl in a beautiful red dress and adorned with a big red hair bow.
A husband and wife wearing matching smiles and ridiculously fancy sweaters.
A snowy background scene lit with soft Christmas lights.

And then I hear the alarm clock and realize that it was all a dream and I, in fact, did not have time to write a letter or get a nice picture taken. Rats. However, I love ALL of my readers so very much and wish you all a Merry Christmas....even though I couldn't send you all a gift or a thank you or a picture or a letter please know that I appreciate all of you!

And now, raise a glass (or two) and let us all toast to the completion of a wonderful year and the excitment of another one on the way!

Happy festivus...

I love Love LOVE the holidays. In my opinion there are 4 seasons...Spring, Summer, Football, and Christmas. I love everything about the holidays. I love the cold and snow and the music and happiness and the family time and I especially love the way we all turn into giddy little children. It's just fabulous.

This year I'm also celebrating Festivus, which is ironic because it was created to be a holiday for "the rest of us"...those who don't like the holidays and the commercialism that has turned Christmas into "Santa's Day." The reason I'm typing a Festivus blog entry is quite simple, it produces good writing material. Although we will not be putting up a Festivus pole or practicing the Feats of Strength I DO want to air my grievances, "I've got a lot of problems with you people".....not really but would any Festivus be complete without a quote from Frank Costanza?

My Grievances:
1. I hate that time goes by so quickly.
2. I can't stand the fact that our living room smells funny.
3. I am not a fan of being covered in baby puke at the beginning of an 8-hour drive.
4. I wish my pants would fit. I'm not fat enough for my fat pants (thank God!) but I'm too big for my "normal" pants. I have less than 3 weeks to get into those things.
5. I don't drink enough water anymore and that makes me a horrible person.
6. I drink too much coffee, which also makes me a horrible person, I'm sure.
7. My feet hurt, my lips are dry, and I need a hair cut.
8. I need a new purse, and thanks to my pal Melissa...I'm going to buy one.
9. I want a break from the crazy of life. Last night I was so tired I threw-up and went to bed at 7:00.
10. Christmas should last longer.

December 19, 2010

My christmas list...

Is it sad and perhaps just a bit pathetic that I don't really have a Christmas list this year? Don't get me wrong, there are lots of things that I need and several things that I would love to have but I can't bring myself to make a list for several reasons...

1. The husband and I can't afford gifts for each other so unless Santa is real there isn't a reason for me to keep track of all of the things I wish I had. That's a depressingly long list folks. But, I keep telling myself that this too shall pass and one day he'll finally be done with school and we'll both have jobs and all will be right with the world.

2. I pay the bills and usually balance the checkbook every week so I see all of our expenses. So, even if we could afford gifts, what fun would that be?
Me: Honey, what did you buy for $54.95 at the jewelry store?
Husband: Nothing dear
Me: Really? Nothing?
Him: Well....it was going to be a surprise but...
Me: I found the receipt in your wallet.... thanks for the hrt-shapd nklc
Him: Yeah, um, Merry Christmas.
See...it just wouldn't be fun for either of us.

3. Every day I write lists- grocery lists, to-do lists, and reminder notes. Why would I want to associate list writing with my favorite time of the year? yuck.

4. I still need to write my Christmas letter and wrap presents. I don't have time to make a Christmas list....unless it includes things like clean house, finish laundry, and pick up that one last gift.


Speaking of one last thing to do..... I'm not sure if I'll get another post written before Christmas so just in case I don't have a chance to say this later, MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone!

December 16, 2010

5 words about me...

It's Thursday. I love Thursdays for two reasons:
1) Tomorrow is Friday. 2) It's time for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop!

Describe yourself in 5 words…

1. Clever
2. Demanding
3. Comical
4. Trailblazer
5. Writer


Choose 1 and write a poem…

To a Clever Working Mom:

You can reconcile a budget, and compose a confidential letter;
You can design a website, and make an office procedure better.

You can attend meetings, and coordinate an event;
You can make major purchases, and get an order sent.

You can serve on a committee, and offer your assistance;
You can complete HR functions, and work against resistance.

You can help design a course, and contribute to student satisfaction;
You can assist faculty with their teaching, and develop a plan of action.

And every day you leave your job and I am happy to report;
All of your success is possible because of good support.

Thanks everyone!

December 15, 2010

Vera the cat...

The other day I was late for work. Earlier that morning I had been running almost ahead of schedule so I decided to spend a few moments petting our cat Vera. She is plump and slow and awkward and can't successfully complete a jump over the baby gate at the bottom of the stairs so she spends most of her life upstairs, alone. How sad.

After petting her I decided that I too deserved to have a little something special so I sat down and painted my toe nails. I'm the only one who will ever see them this time of year but isn't that a wonderful thought? Only I get to see the bright fun nail polish that is hidden under my winter socks. Just me and no one else.

Jake told me that he helped Vera over the gate the other night so she could spend some time with the rest of the family. Apparently it wasn't as fun as she thought it would be and soon she was sprinting for her life from a busy little gal who just HAD to pull that fluffy tail. Vera was so focused on getting away from Rachel that she momentarily forgot about her lack of abilities and leaped over the gate to safety. Interesting.

I found it fascinating that the thing that had inspired me just a few days earlier was actually a lot like me: neither of us want to miss all the fun, we don't like to "jump the gate" on a regular basis, and we're both afraid of children.

December 13, 2010

I may not have been completely correct...

No, this is not a post about coming clean about any deep dark secrets and I’m certainly not admitting to any major wrong doings. I am, however, willing to set aside my pride for just a bit and admit that, perhaps, my accuracy regarding a few issues might require a bit of tweaking…

The other day I whined about how cold it was outside. This past weekend old man winter sat me down and we had a conversation that went a little something like this, “Angie, you’re a wimp.” Now, we can’t wait for it to get back up to zero. I hate winter, I really do.

It will always be a struggle for me to make decent cookies. I hear my dad’s voice running through my head right now saying something like, “Sitting in church will no more make you a Christian than sitting in a hen house will make you a chicken.” That loosely translates to watching a cooking show will not make you a cook. Use a timer. That’s all I’m saying…

Annual Christmas letters are just as easily viewed online as they are in hard copy form. I always swore that I would never email my Christmas letter- that a real one comes by mail. Oh man, was I wrong or what? This Christmas, if I even find time to actually write the letter, you better believe it’s coming through email. I don’t believe that I will ever again find time to address over 150 envelopes. Yes, I am a schmuck and will forever feel guilty for falling prey to the email gods. Unfortunately, we have to pay for things like diapers and formula instead of extra stamps and copies. The times they are a changing.

December 8, 2010

Everything i need to know...

Once in awhile I get the chance to participate in the Working Mom's Network Weekly Writing Prompt and today is one of those days.

So, what have I learned about children that I would have been shocked to know a year ago...

1. Children really do grow fast. "They" are not kidding...kids grow so fast.

2. Having children does not make you happier. It adds purpose and meaning and a feeling of accomplishment but it does not necessarily make you happier.

3. No matter how much stress you're under a child's smile will almost always melt all of your worries away.

4. Oh my goodness, all of that crap that everyone says you need is a bunch of hooey. You can survive perfectly fine with just the basics. This includes passing over "essentials" like a bumbo chair, a special diaper pail, coordinated room decorations, a walker, 50,000 onesies, and a changing table. I'm not saying that no one needs these things but the next time you tell a new mom to purchase the latest "must have" item try to hold yourself back. They'll discover it soon enough...if they REALLY do need it.

5. During meal time, if your child is so sleepy that all they can do is cry, take the opportunity to shove food in their mouth whenever it's open...no matter what noise is coming out (I've said it before and I'll say it again...don't judge).

6. The U.S. military could take a hint from children and make their tanks out of the same materials that a child's head is composed of.

7. Some children will never be good nap-takers.

8. Just because they would/would not eat it yesterday doesn't mean they will/will not eat it today.

9. Sometimes blue eyes stay blue.

10. There will be days that she just doesn't like her mommy. ouch.

December 7, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside...

Yes, I know...I choose to live in Iowa and have most likely given up my right to complain about the weather. But, in my defense it's quickly getting colder around here and, quite frankly, I'm just not ready for it. So, you ask, how might one know when it's too cold? Well, you're in luck...

1. It's too cold if you're walking across campus and can see your building but still feel an overwhelming desire to lie down and die because you just don't think you're ever going to make it back to your warm office.

2. It's too cold if your eyes fill up with tears and freeze to your face because of the wind.

3. It's too cold if you're walking around with snot hanging out but can't feel it because it too is frozen to your face.

4. It's too cold if you have to say things like, "I'm sorry, I didn't recognize you with only your nose poking out through that scarf wrapped around your face."

5. It's too cold if, in your rush to FINALLY make it into a warm building, you smack one of the nation's leading defensive linemen in the face with the door and don't think twice about bulldozing him over to get to warmth.

P.S. I tried to apologize but I don't think he heard me through his fur lined hood. Now, that's how you know when it's cold....when even the football players are wearing winter coats.

December 3, 2010

What's going on...

The Latest Happenings at our House…





This is how Fall ended at our house. Doesn’t she look thrilled?




I believe they’re discussing how best to detect gravitational waves, which require extremely precise measurements




My first Thanksgiving feast. If anyone left hungry it was their own fault (I hope).




We always put the tree up the day after Thanksgiving. It seems to be a little empty underneath. Grandparents, I’m looking at you…




Jake and his lights…think “Christmas Vacation”ish





He always has an audience. This year it was a little girl banging on the door…





…with her cat. At one point they were both standing with noses to the door.

December 2, 2010

I'm sorry, so sorry...

After almost 10 years of working for a state institution I feel that I owe an apology to the taxpayers who are footing the bill for my salary...

So....

I'm sorry I spent the majority of my afternoon eating cookies and watching the lights blink in our office. It wasn't my fault though. The electricians couldn't figure out which wire went with which thingy so they had to turn our power off and I didn't have anything else to do. I can definitely tell you that, according to "Steve", the blue wire was still on...

Please accept my apology. :)

P.S. The renovations are scheduled to be completed by March so I believe that means they'll be done by next Thanksgiving...we can only hope.

November 30, 2010

5 minutes with God...

A few weeks ago the folks in my Bible Study decided to challenge ourselves to actually go beyond the "admitting to failure" stage and move onto the "action" stage when it comes to reading our Bible regularly. I asked each group member to set aside a little time, just 5 minutes a day, to read our Bibles.

So, what now? Who cares if I have been reading my Bible more? Have I come across any earth shattering wisdom or memorized any new verses? No. Did I learn anything new? Nope, not yet anyway. So why keep it up? Why not go back to watching TV for 5 more minutes or completing one last task on my to-do list? Here's why...

1. During those 5 minutes I don't have to chase a child, fold laundry, or pay a single bill.
2. I can read whatever I want....action, drama, romance, history- it's all there, in one book.
3. When I'm done reading I don't feel stressed or guilty for having a few moments to myself.
4. The only other time I'm alone with my thoughts is in the shower and when I'm reading my Bible I don't have to look down and see all of those extra pounds I've been meaning to get rid of.
5. Quiet time. Alone. With God.

If you're not already reading your Bible regularly and you keep admitting that you should read it more I would like to pass this challenge onto you. Just 5 minutes a day.

November 28, 2010

Is it really that time of year again...

I dread a lot of things...spring cleaning, having a sick child, driving in snow, finding a dead mouse in the bathroom cupboard (yep), etc. But, none of them compare, at all, to the dread I'm feeling as we begin these last few weeks of the semester.

Jake has two tests this week and after taking a quick inventory of the rest of his schedule we have concluded that I probably won't see him again until the end of finals week. I'm not kidding either. He promised to be home in time to take me out for my birthday dinner next weekend but other than that I'm pretty sure we'll be doing most of our communicating through emails and phone calls. I hate that. Just thinking about having to be a single parent for the next few weeks makes me tired and anxious. Plus, I can forget about getting any help with the housework. I just keeping telling myself that this too shall pass. It better anyway.

The other thing I'm dreading is the fact that "after Thanksgiving" is actually here. How many of us put off work-related projects, meetings, etc. until "after Thanksgiving"? We all do. And then, it happens...Thanksgiving comes and we celebrate our joyous four-day weekend and then not only do we have to go back to work but we also have to go back to all of that crap we were putting off until December. Where has the year gone?! How can it possibly be this late already? I thought I was busy before. That was peanuts compared to what's in store for me over the next few weeks. ugh.

So, you can see why I'm rubbing my eyes and biting my lips in frustration. Work is going to be crazy busy. Home is going to be crazy busy (and lonely). The weather is getting colder. Crap. Snow is already in the forecast. Yuck. Oh well...

"How could it get any worse? We're at the threshold of hell..." - C.W. Griswald

November 22, 2010

Are you okay...

I'm no idiot. I knew going into this parenting thing that I have no idea how to raise a child, and I really didn't show very much interest in it until about 10 months ago. I never played with dolls (except to put Barbie in a suit and send her off to work) and I very seldom squealed in excitement when I saw a new baby at church. But, I was kind of hoping that the minute I saw my baby I would feel the blood of motherhood flow through my veins and my brain would magically re-wire and turn into, well, a mom. Ummmm...yeah...not so much did that happen.

I love my little Rachel bug but I can't seem to shake that nagging feeling that I made a horrible mistake when I decided to become a mother. I'm not cut out to be a teacher. I freak out at the site of blood and snot. My nerves (and quick mouth) often get the best of me when I'm stressed. I don't handle difficult situations well. And, I take everything personally. So, after holding a sobbing little girl last night (nightmares) for 45 minutes I started to think, I may not be the best most knowledgeable mother, but at least I'm out there. And because every mom needs to hear positive things once in awhile I have decided to list the things that DO make me a good mom.

1. My child lives in a clean home, wears clean clothes, and drinks from clean bottles.
2. She always has plenty to eat, although we're both still working on the actual content of her meals (I keep forgetting to give her more than just formula and baby food- I have to remind myself that she CAN eat crackers and cheerios, etc too).
3. I love my little girl so much.
4. I don't care what time of day or night it is, I will always pick her up and snuggle with her when she needs to be snuggled.
5. As much as I hate to do it, I am not afraid to say, "No" to my child.
6. I really need to go shopping for a new wardrobe but I put my child's safety first and bought a new "big-kid" car seat.
7. Rachel may not think we have the coolest toys but any toy can be fun when mom and dad join in and play too.
8. At first I didn't decorate her room because I just didn't have the time (or the money) but now I'm waiting until Rachel is big enough to give her input on the decor.
9. I'm pretty sure she's the most perfect child. Ever.
10. I am very aware of the fact that I don't know what I'm doing and I'm perfectly willing to ask for help, and that's the best thing any parent can ever do for their child.

Yep...I have no idea what I'm doing but I'm pretty sure that we're all going to be okay (I hope).

November 18, 2010

Please help me, i'm falling...

Time for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop!

I have a problem. I can't ask for help. It's not that I won't ask or that I don't have time to ask its that I can't actually bring myself to say, "I....Need...Help."

This morning as I was getting ready for work I had an entire speech rehearsed and I even ran my plans by my husband, who seemed to agree with me. I envisioned myself walking into my meeting and telling people that not only do I feel like I'm drowning but I am also quickly losing hope that things will get better with my work load. I was going to divide my work up and even had selling points to get everyone on board with my ideas.

Instead, I left the meeting with only one project dumped off and by Noon my head was swimming with more new work that had shown up. How can one little innocent email requesting permission to buy a used typewriter turn into a stress headache and two hours worth of unplanned budget work?

To combat my stress I decided to shut my door and write a blog post. Maybe I should also invest in a mini-fridge. hmmmmm.....

November 16, 2010

The 10-month bear picture...

Either I'm getting old and slow (which is quite possible) or my child is getting faster (also possible). Either way, it's getting harder and harder to take the monthly picture with her teddy bear.

The Story of the 10-Month Bear Picture...

The first one was pretty good.

So we made the (amateur) mistake of trying for just one more...

First she got really hyper...

Then she got funny...


After awhile she was just not interested...
At one point, this was the best we could do...

Until...

FINALLY...

We got another good one...

And then...

Everyone was done..


Until...


Next Month!

November 15, 2010

Picture this...

You should have seen the absolute mayhem that was going on in our living room yesterday afternoon. It was little R's 10-month birthday, which meant it was time for another picture with her bear. I'll try to post pictures later but for now, picture this....

2 Parents who were trying to take a nice picture (parents, you see where I'm going with this, don' t you?)
1 hand-written sign stating the date (it ended up in shreds)
1 10-month old little girl- who is walking and has therefore determined that being still is no longer necessary...at all....ever.
1 cat- don't feel sorry for him, he could have left the room at any time.
1 little teddy bear, who seems to be getting smaller and less photogenic every month

I think we have one picture where both the child and the bear were seated, the cat was entirely out of the way and the camera flashed quick enough.

Afterwards, my knees were killing me, I was dizzy from running in circles trying to collect everyone and my poor husband, the photographer, couldn't hear anymore because he had an ear full of advice from yours truly.

Did you picture a child-shaped tornado sprinting in circles around a cat and a teddy bear in the middle of a living room lined with shreds of what's left of a paper sign?

"Welcome to our home...what's left of it"

November 11, 2010

Confession day...

It's Thursday and even though I should be working on the stack of stuff sitting next to my keyboard I have decided to start this day with a post for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Confession day....

1. Sometimes, when I'm REALLY pressed for time I skip brushing my teeth and just use mouthwash. Don't judge.

2. I have never, and will never, be able to successfully get my cart to load on the downward escalator at Ikea. Ask my friends...there has been many a catastrophe with that thing. I hate it. (and my leg is still in a lot of pain by the way).

3. I fully believe that I am a confident, successful, smart woman even though my actions might sometimes point to the contrary (see #2). I would also like to think that I'm a normal person and not one of those slightly crazy ladies.

4. I am jealous of anyone who can do anything better than me. I'm not that competitive but I hate to think that I am potentially missing out on an exciting experience, opportunity for growth, or just good old fashioned glory.

5. Sometimes I eat food that people bring to work out of pity, not because it's really that good (or even that I'm hungry) but because I feel bad for them. Who wants to think they, or their food, isn't well liked?

6. I tell my dentist that I try to floss once in a while but that loosely translates to when it's done in my dentist's office or after a meal of fresh corn on the cob.

7. It kills me when Rachel cries upon my arrival to pick her up from daycare. I'm glad she's happy there but....ouch.

8. Not a day goes by that I don't worry about finances. There is a reason I didn't go into accounting...I hate money. Actually, it's probably more honest to admit that I hate not having the amount of money that I think we should have.

9. I keep used Kleenexes in every purse or jacket pocket I have. You never know when you're going to need a tissue and there's ALWAYS room for just a little bit more use.

and finally...

10. I am terrified that I'm running out of good blogging material. yikes!

November 10, 2010

Time keeps on ticking...

I remember the good old days, you know....when I not only had time to blog regularly but I also had the ability to process words into full sentences that fit nicely into coherent paragraphs and formed somewhat entertaining blog posts. Now, I'm lucky if I can type my password correctly on the first try.

I love my new job, I really do. I love the doors that its opening (especially the door to my office with a window, of course) and I appreciate the fact that I have been given the opportunity to meet so many neat people and become involved in a number of exciting things that are going on around campus.

The thing is....I'm struggling. I really am. I can't seem to get my head above water and I would estimate that I spend at least 50% of my week sitting in meetings, commuting to meetings, or scheduling more meetings. I have piles of projects that I need to be working on, my house is a wreck (OK, I'll be honest, it probably isn't that bad), my weight is sky rocketing out of control and I am exhausted. Yet, all I can think about is, "Oh BEEEEEPPP I still haven't started the budgets," and they're due on Monday...all 6 months worth.

I have tried closing my door, scheduling time for myself, staying late, putting off other tasks...but nothing seems to work. No matter how hard I try I can't seem to get to those blasted budgets. ugh! Every single time I try to start them, something crazy stupid happens. Take today for example, I had scheduled myself to do nothing but budget work this afternoon. I didn't get into my office until 11:00 (after attending 2 early morning meetings) and was ecstatic to discover that not only was my email box full but one of the messages was a notice that the electricity to our entire building would be shutting off at 3:30. Are you kidding me?! Really? They couldn't have discovered the deadly oil leak yesterday when I actually left for the day around 3:00? sigh.....

Until I get those things done I won't be able to concentrate on anything else. I'm going...to.go.INSANE. The good news about that is that I will then possibly have more free time, and perhaps even more good material, to blog regularly again.

November 4, 2010

When I grow up...

For my own sanity, I'm MAKING myself take a lunch break today and I'm participating in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

"If you had made a career out of whatever you were passionate about when you were ten... what would you be doing?"

I would be busy...

I might be directing a choir full of stuffed bears and dogs and monkeys who would be stuck at choir practice all day because I am too lazy to drive them all home.

I might be delivering the news or weather or sports on the local TV station...and probably not wearing pants (because I heard that's how they roll).

I might be working as an interior designer. Although, I'm not sure who would hire me. Do they even sell Kirk Camron or NKOTB posters anymore?

I might be an actress and I'm pretty sure that every single child everywhere would want to be just.like.me.

I might be the most famous singer the world has ever known- and probably the most beautiful one too.

I might be a teacher, and I would probably be the one that everyone hates because my tests are so hard (it's funny for me to watch the faces of those who fail- don't judge).

I might be a banker who just sits at a desk and pushes papers around in between phone calls. hummmmm...that's pretty similar to what I do now anyway. That's odd.


But, you know what the funny thing is? I never pictured myself as being a mother. But then again, I never pictured myself as making more than $10,000 a year. Oh the innocence of a child....

November 1, 2010

Have a good day...

Yesterday I went shopping in the Chicagoland area with some friends. I have to tell ya, I feel kind of bad for those gals- they were such troopers through the whole thing. They didn't run away in embarrassment when I tripped over some randomly placed ill-designed cart rail thing. And, they even volunteered to put my cart on the cart-escalator for me (so it wouldn't tumble the whole way down again). And when I got my feet stuck in the handles of a shopping bag and danced across the drive to keep from falling on my face they laughed with me, not at me (at least I think that's what they were doing).

Despite, well...me, it was still a good day and we had a lot of fun. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a single topic of conversation that we didn't cover and some of us (not me) even came in under-budget at the check-out lines. It was a good day.

Jake called me at Noon to inform me that our 9-month old "baby" had just walked across the living room and was currently dining on a cracker, which was also a first for her.

Yep, a good day indeed.

October 28, 2010

The heat is on....

Last night I worked late. I was sitting here typing, with gloves on, almost able to see my breath, when it occurred to me just how ridiculous the situation was. My little Pooh Bear was all snuggly and warm and ready for bed and I was sitting in a cold fluorescently lit office miles away from her.

Tonight I'm taking her trick-or-treating and this morning the heat finally came on in my office...all is right with the world again.

October 27, 2010

I missed something...

Don't get me wrong, I love my new job but there are a few things I miss....



1. I miss blogging. I hardly ever have time to take lunch breaks anymore so my blog life is suffering greatly. How dare my professional career impede on my social blog life, right?



2. I miss heat. My office is new and they're not done with the renovations yet so the heat can't be turned on. It's 40 degrees outside but we all have our windows open because it keeps the place warmer (you think I'm kidding or exaggerating here, but I'm not....that's the crazy thing).



3. I miss common sense. I hate feeling like I don't know anyone or anything and I'm tired of having to ask questions about everything. I'm a true know-it-all kind of gal so having to admit that I'm not? Well....that's tough.



4. I miss having time to walk over my lunch break. I'm getting fatter again. My normal-person jeans fit for about 2 weeks and the other day I tried to put them on and actually heard the button scream for mercy? Do you know how awful that sound is? It's worse than a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant (extra credit goes to those who know the reference here).



5. I miss my old co-worker. I like my new co-workers but none of them sit right across from me and can't share stories about flying poo or have the ability to chat about all the things we have in common.



6. I miss facebook. How will I ever know what everyone is up to?! And, what if I miss "liking" the newest hip hop happenin thing?!



7. I miss the staff discount at the hospital cafeteria. Did you know that people on this side of the river actually have to pay full price for the food they buy at University eating establishments? Gasp!



8. I miss filing cabinets. Mine on are back order and should be here in 4-6 weeks. Oh holy cow.



9. I miss my wireless keyboard and mouse. My computer lost the connections with those things all the freaking time but at least I didn't ever have to fight with cords. Plus, it just really ties the room together (more movie-line extra credit there) when cords aren't present.


10. I miss flavored coffee. My new co-workers and I share the coffee costs but no one else will drink flavored coffee so I either have to make an entire pot just for just me or suffer in silence.



But, on the bright side I don't miss my old job, my old boss, my old building, my old desk or my old duties.....and an office with a window isn't so bad either.

October 20, 2010

I know I'm stressed when...

Let's celebrate Working Moms Wednesday!

There is a small handful of people who might find some irony in my previous comment...you know who you are.

I know I'm stressed when...

I realize that my diet consists mostly of junk food, Diet Coke, and coffee.

I cry.

I make other people cry.

The thought of taking a vacation makes me tired.

I refuse to look at my to-do list because there is just too much to do.

I find Jake's socks in my drawer, Rachel's diapers in our closet and my coat hanging on the back porch.

All of my conversations begin with, "ummmm...ahhhhh...."

I can't sleep at night because my brain won't shut off.

I find myself praying that the Domestic Fairy will come along and fold my laundry, take the trash out and cook meals....and I catch myself actually thinking that such a thing could possibly exist.

I throw everything on my desk into one pile so it appears to be less overwhelming (since it's taking up less desk space).

and...of course....

I blog when I should be working.

October 19, 2010

It's one of those days (again)...

Today is one of those days....you know the type... I can't seem to shake a horrible feeling of guilt because I know that my daughter sees our babysitter more than she sees me. I hate these days. I usually have some guilt eating at my soul (like I've said before, you name it and I probably feel guilty for not doing it, thinking it, or even knowing what it is) but today the guilt is just a little bit harder to carry.

The other day, out of concern that I was missing some sort of pivotal piece of information on raising a child, I got out one of the many (worthless) parenting books that Jake and I bought and sure enough....my hunch was correct....I'm a horrible mom (or so I feel). Okay, so maybe I'm not horrible, after all, I can't possibly be the worst one (the same thought process is also applied to doctor's visits and annual pelvic exams), but still, I can't help but wonder how one person can possibly miss so many cues. Duh...she's not eating well because she's ready to be moved up to less squishy food. And those "words" she says like momma, dadda and grandpa...she's actually SAYING those, she's not just spouting off a string of consonants and vowels anymore. And teeth...more of those are on their way.

This past weekend I finally found the nerve to put away her 6-months clothes and I actually found some newborn stuff that I had obviously resisted packing earlier (yes, they're in storage now; I put on my big girl pants, grabbed a box of kleenexes and shut the lid on the storage container). We just took her 9-month bear picture and we're already making plans for her big one-year birthday party. Really? When did all this happen? Where did all the time go? And, why is this little girl choosing to crawl to Jane (our amazingly wonderful babysitter) instead of me? Ouch.

Oh well....I do know one thing...I know this winter is going to be difficult. She already refuses to wear socks and knows how to yank shoes off. Oh child.....sigh.....

October 15, 2010

So, how's it going....

My first week at my new job is coming to a close and I have to say, it has definitely been interesting. I was expecting to have some problems getting my email moved over and I wasn't surprised when I called at least 3 people by the wrong name and flat out embarrassed myself when I mistook one of our Directors for a student employee. However, I have to admit that a few things have caught me off guard...

1. My office is freakING cold. I don't just mean a little chilly. The gal next door wears a blanket and uses a hand warmer to keep her blood flowing. I opened my window to let in the warm fall air.

2. Meetings. It's not that I hate them, in fact some of them have been rather informative and almost enjoyable. But...when do people get their work done? Which leads into my next point...

3. I get here by 8:00 and leave around 5:02. Last night I almost tripped over the printer trying to get out the door because everyone else was long gone and the lights were all off. My thought was...huh? When do people ever find time to get things done?

4. I am exhausted. My feet are killing me. This afternoon I am putting my comfy shoes on because, in my opinion, running shoes DO match dress pants quite nicely.

5. Moving into a recently renovated office is heaven. My desk drawers aren't full of anyone else's crumbs and I can order new office furniture. In fact, who needs Christmas when your new 3-drawer lateral filing cabinet is on it's way?

6. I am working with my brother-in-law. Not really but there's a guy here that reminds me so much of my sister's husband that I can hardly remember his real name. I keep having to stop myself from calling him "Crazy-uncle Jeremy."

7. Steps suck. We're on the 3rd floor, which doesn't sound too bad until you see the amount of steps it takes to get up here. All of the ceilings in this old building are about 50,000 feet high so it's really like we're climbing 6 flights of stairs. And no one...takes..the elevator. ugh! I would die before I become "that person"...you know...the one that is perceived as being too lazy to walk up the stairs.

8. There are only 2 women's bathrooms in this building and neither of them are on my floor (insert complaint related to the previous point). But, I really can't complain. The men only have one restroom and it's in the basement. (evil laugh coming...hahahahaHAHAHAAH)

9. Who needs water when the coffee pot is just across the hall?

and finally...

10. You can have a Ph.D. AND a sense of humor. My new supervisor has both.

October 14, 2010

This is me...

I might be struggling to get things done but there is always time for Mama Kat's Weekly Writer's Workshop entry.


This is how I see myself...


Last year at this time I looked like this:


But secretly, I wanted to look like this:

Some days, this is a pretty accurate picture of how I feel
:

But, I should probably look at least half this good:


I am almost positive that this is NOT what my family sees because....

This is me...

October 13, 2010

When work seems overwhelming, I...

It's Working Mommy Wednesday and I have to admit, it's hard to even find time to take a moment to eat lunch and write this blog post. But, I need to. I need to hear nothing but the tapping of the keys and the wind blowing through my window and threatening to push my plant off the radiator (I love old buildings).

Today's "assignment" is quite fitting seeing that I'm only on day three of my new job and already I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. I hate starting new jobs. I hate being the new person and I really hate having to ask so many questions (I like to think I know it all already). But, when work seems overwhelming there are a few ways that I deal with it, both good and bad.

I give up. No, I don't just throw my hands in the air completely but I actually force myself to look at the project, see where I need help and (gulp) ask...for...help.

I take a walk. I should do this every day anways (espeically since my pants are feeling rather tight again). However, on those really stressful days, the ones where I should be glued to my computer all day, I rip myself from my desk and go outside to get some fresh air so my brain can breathe again.

Caffeine, Chocolate, etc....you know the drill.

I cheer myself on..."Come on Angie, just get through one more email or one more mundane taks and then you can go home and enjoy an evening with your family."

I cry. And now that I have an actual office I can shut my door and sniffle in peace.

That all being said, aside from not having email access or a published phone number for a few days, I am getting along very well and have, so far, enjoyed every minute of my new job.

October 11, 2010

Day 1...

So I started my new job today. Aside from my email being down and my phone not working I think it has been pretty smooth sailing so far. I got my boxes unpacked this morning (where did all of that junk come from?) and was surprised to find that I have more food than actual work-related items. Is that considered pathetic or being really prepared?

Oh well, either way....I'm here and trying to begin work in a job that was just created in an office that just moved into a newly renovated space where over 90% of the employees have been here for less than a combined 14 months.

Is it 5:00 yet (or 4:30 or whenever it is that I decide to leave for the day)?

October 8, 2010

It's so hard to say good-bye...

Is it though? Is it actually hard to say good-bye to a job that I’m glad to be leaving? It’s hard to say good-bye to good friends and co-workers but not really the job.

I have so many thoughts and emotions (mostly fear and anxiety) running through my head right now that I can not even begin to type a coherent blog post. So instead I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes and hope for the best…

“When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it.”
-Bernard Bailey

October 7, 2010

I never...

Its Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop day. Hooray!
Describe a job you absolutely would never want to do...

I grew up on a farm and helped wean pigs, bail hay in the middle of the summer and clean out manure pits.

In high school, as punishment for bad behavior, my mother got me a job at a local bakery that required me to be there by 5:00 AM every Saturday morning.

I worked at a cheese shop even though I absolutely hate cheese.

I over-excelled in a college math class and got stuck tutoring an underachieving schmuck.

Before the days of DVDs and Netflix I worked in a video store in a Spanish speaking part of town and couldn’t read any of the titles or communicate with the majority of our customers (but I got all of the free gum balls I could ever possibly want).

I worked at the Wal-Mart Service desk. Worst job ever.

I cleaned hotel rooms during one of the hottest summers on record when the AC was being renovated and couldn’t be used.

I packed containers to be used for shipping donated eyes in.

I worked in a clinic that was designed to accommodate 200 patients per day but quickly grew to over 300 visitors/day on a regular basis (imagine the wait times for those happy campers).

I worked for a woman who went through 8 secretaries in 10 years and never had children because she didn’t want to ruin her figure.

I won’t go into my current job….which ends in just two days by the way…. and then I’m onto bigger and better things.

BUT...

I could never imagine and will absolutely never...

Ever be...

A stay at home mom.

Do you know how hard that job is?!

October 6, 2010

Harvest time...

This is why we moved back to the country.


Testing the Corn with Grandpa


Still no socks....we're in for a tough winter
Working into the night...

October 5, 2010

Farm animals and belly buttons...

Like all other parents, my husband and I have no doubt that our little girl is in fact the most precious child ever. I’m pretty sure she was by far the cutest newborn I have ever seen and I am convinced that whenever she smiles God feels just a little bit better about himself for creating her. Yep, she’s perfect.

The last few weeks have been rough for us. Jake’s schedule has kept him away a lot so on top of working full-time at work and home I have also been dangerously close to living the life of a single mother. God bless those people. It’s not unusual for me to get up at 5:15 and start working and not stop until 10:30 at night when I can finally sit down. I am exhausted but my baby’s tummy is full and her eyes are shut tight, my laundry is folded (but probably not yet put away), my bills are paid, I have put in a full day’s work and still found time to breath (at least a little bit). It’s about that time that I also start feeling guilty for being relieved that our little jumping bean is finally in bed. Her level of energy makes me tired.

But, all is not lost. Just when I was on the verge of having a small melt down the good Lord sent me a horrible headache. Last evening my head hurt so badly I couldn’t walk straight so I reluctantly asked Jake to please help me take care of Rachel. I felt guilty for asking for help. I felt guilty for taking up his study time. I felt guilty for feeling grateful that I didn’t have to run after my child all evening. But, then it happened….

Last night, for the first time ever, Rachel stopped running and about 30 minutes before bedtime she sat quietly while I read to her. It was amazing. We read the same two books over and over and over again and it was marvelous. All of the guilt and frustration and weariness melted away as I lay next to my little R and told her all about farm animals and teddy bears and jackets and hats. I can’t wait to do it all again tonight.

P.S. Did you know that we wear jackets to cover our backs, long-sleeves to cover our elbows and shirts to cover our belly buttons? I hope she remembers that when she’s 16.

October 4, 2010

Good deed for the day...

I might be new to blogging but that does not mean I have the power to avoid the inevitable lapses in regular postings. However, unlike my counterparts (other bloggers) I have a lot of very reasonable excuses (I mean explanations)…

I’m so freakin busy right now. I haven’t taken a full lunch break for quite awhile and since that is when I do most of my writing I can’t seem to ever catch up.

No amount of writer’s workshops, weekly prompts and daily happenings can ever protect me from severe cases of writer’s block.

Does anyone really care what I have to say? P.S. My husband is banned from answering this question.

Its baby Rachel’s fault. She is supposed to be my inspiration and frankly she has been severely lacking in the “funny or crazy moments” department lately. She did laugh so hard that she fell over yesterday, which was pretty funny but probably not worth writing an entire post about.

The other major portion of my writings comes from my job, hence the “working mom” part of my blog. Since I’m switching jobs next week I can’t seem to muster up enough good material because, well….who cares about this place? I do…a little bit…I guess.

My pants don’t fit right. Yes, this counts.

I’m so happy that people enjoy reading my blog and I feel really bad for letting them down when I write a boring post so on those days I choose not to write anything at all. I’m a nice person like that plus I get to count that as my good deed for the day.

September 30, 2010

She's just not that into you...

This week’s entry from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

Signs that your little one is just not that into you anymore…
(She’s 8-months old going on 16)

On weekends she doesn’t nap because we’re so boring we can’t even make a baby tired.

She squeals in joy when she sees a kitty, when she sees us she speeds off in the opposite direction.

She laughs at us but it’s pretty obvious that she’s only mildly amused by our childish noises and ridiculous antics.

She was not born a snuggler; she will never be a snuggler.

Weekends are just as long for us as they are for her.

She acts super cute at church so others will hold her during the service.

She is learning to climb steps and hot wire cars so she can make a fast get-away.

She snorts when she laughs really hard (OK so maybe this has nothing to do with the topic, but isn’t that hilarious?).

P.S. Day 7!

September 29, 2010

Working mom wednesday...

It's Working Mom Wednesday and this is my first time participating in the weekly prompt. I think this week's is quite fitting seeing that I'm a mom and I work full time AND I'm getting ready to start my new job.

Does having a career/job make me a better or worse mother?
This one is easy....Better. I don't think I'm cut out to be a SAHM. Don't get me wrong, I love my daughter and would love to be able to spend more time with her. However, I also need adult conversations, clothes that don't get covered in spit-up every few hours and the ability to leave the room without lugging my 20-pound child with me for safe keeping.

If anything, I wouldn't mind keeping her in daycare full-time so I can work part-time and then come home and actually get housework done. What a novel idea...a clean house...interesting.....

Anyway, for those of you who are keeping track (or care), today is day 8!

September 28, 2010

9...

Less than 2 full weeks until I start my new job. Unfortunately I'm spending so much time trying to get ready that I can't seem to find time to blog very much. Rats.

We're taking family pictures tonight. I can't even begin to imagine how they'll turn out. R can't sit still, Jake doesn't really like taking pictures and I'm fat. What was it that Cathy cartoon used to say? Ugh?

September 27, 2010

10...

As you may have read earlier, last Friday I turned in my 2-week notice. I got a promotion and will be working in another part of the institution on "the other side of the river", which around here is almost as different as the North is from the South.

When I started here almost 10 years ago I worked with just a filing cabinet that I pushed around to different desks, then I graduated to a reception area before moving up to my present cubicle. It only took me 10 years to do it, but I have finally earned myself an office with a door, and possibly even a window!

As excited as I am to be starting a new job I'm also just as terrified. I hate starting new jobs. I hate feeling like a idiot and having to fumble around like a old lady in the dark. My "first-day-lunch" has always been the same one...a peanut butter sandwich. Why? Because who wants their first question on the first day of their new job to be, Where is the kitchen?

So, keep checking back to see how things are going for me. On Wednesday I will get keys to my office, which I can't wait to see (don't I sound like the most immature teenager ever?). I'm nervous and still trying to figure out what has possessed me to think I can take on another huge challenge this year (because apparently moving and having a baby weren't enough for me).

But, ladies (and gentlemen?) the new countdown has begun!
10.....

September 24, 2010

10 reasons why I love my job (continued)...

The other day I didn't quite finish my post on the top 10 reasons why I love my job, but I eluded to a possible exciting ending.

Here's your number 1 reason folks...

1. I just turned in my 2-week notice.

Ode to single parents...

I love Fridays, who doesn’t? I love them mostly because Friday evenings are literally the only family time we have this semester. The rest of the week I don’t see my husband and the only time he sees poor little R is when we’re dropping her off at daycare. In fact, this morning I confessed to my husband that I’m so used to not having him around that when he is home I almost can’t handle having him in my space. I’m not sure how he felt about that.

Though this past month has been difficult I can honestly say that it has been a good learning experience for me and a real eye opener. I have learned to manage my time better and have given up on my quest to become the bestest mom EVER. I have also developed a new appreciation for single parents…how in the world do they do it?!

My ode to single parents…

My hat goes off to you, those who do it all;
You take care of your children, and catch them when they fall.

Your role is that of mom and dad and also money maker;
You work hard every day and still are not a taker.

You give and give and give some more, and do it all alone;
I believe that God is storing for you extra jewels and a throne.

And through it all you have managed to raise your daughter and your son,
To be the best children ever because you are NUMBER ONE!

September 23, 2010

10 reasons why i love my job...

This week’s entry from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

10 reasons why I love my job…

10. I can honestly say that I’m thankful for this job.
9. I get to design announcements/invitations and (sort of) plan menus for upcoming events.
8. Never a day goes by that is dull.
7. I really do enjoy (most of) my co-workers.
6. I don’t work in a service area and rarely get phone calls.
5. We get pretty nice Christmas presents.
4. My boss travels a lot.
3. My boss’ office is located in a different building.
2. My office boasts a very child-friendly attitude.

And the number 1 reason why I love my job…
wait for it…..wait for it…. (drum roll….)
1.

Don’t hold your breath folks. My most favorite part of this job is yet to be determined. But stay tuned, it just might get exciting….. (I’m not kidding)

September 22, 2010

Messengers from God...

Contrary to popular belief, planning ahead and being detail oriented does have its drawbacks. For example, I am paranoid…a lot….about everything. I’m sure it’s normal for mothers to be a little bit worried or somewhat scared but I go over the top when it comes to being fearful of bad things happening. I’m not borderline needing to be committed (yet) but now that I have a child I find myself thinking up the worst possible sceneries for just about every situation…

1. Winter driving season is fast approaching and every time we meet an irresponsible driver on our morning commute I immediately assume that one of them is going to crash into us because they’re going 95 mph on an icy road.

2. This summer we got pretty lucky. It rained a lot but we actually didn’t have very many tornado warnings, which was quite unusual for this part of the country. That’s probably for the best anyway because whenever red shows up on the radar I picture us huddled in the basement, fighting to keep killer mice (who suddenly appear in our basement) off of Rachel while the winds destroy our home and fly our cats to Canada.

3. I hate stairs. If we could move to a ranch-style home that would be marvelous. Rachel recently discovered stairs and loves to try to climb them. Last night I swear I was only gone for 10 seconds and when I came back into the room I looked over and she was half-way up to the first landing. I instantly screamed because I couldn’t see her making it off the stairs without breaking her neck and landing me in jail for child neglect. It finally occurred to me that I could safely remove her myself and will purchase baby gates this weekend.

4. What if my child looks perfectly healthy but indeed has some kind of scary life-altering disorder or disease? Or what if all of the sudden she stops progressing and never learns how to walk? Sometimes she sits on the floor with her legs crossed and flaps her arms; we think she’s REALLY excited about something but what if she’s actually trying to tell us that she can’t breath or her finger is about to fall off? All valid concerns people.

I’m telling you…my mind wonders and these kinds of thoughts roll around in my brain ALL DAY. When I was younger (and probably less responsible) I would simply have a cold adult beverage to dull my scary thoughts. What do moms do?

Apparently one of our office phone numbers is very similar to the local Psych Department because every so often we get a caller who needs to speak with someone in Psych….perhaps they’re actually messengers from God who are trying to tell me to take a hint.

Interesting……

September 21, 2010

Lord please bless this shopping list...

Often times when I start making lists in my head a song from my childhood comes to mind.

Lord please bless my shopping list…

Lord, I need to talk to you there’s so much on my mind. So many burdens (something something) it’s (something something something).


Okay, so maybe I can’t remember the entire song but the point is that we often ask God for so much that we don’t realize how crazy we sound. If I was asking God to bless my shopping list this is probably how it would go…

Lord,

Thank you for all of my friends and family and my job and my home and my safety and my general satisfaction with life. It’s really nice that you have given me all of that stuff but here’s what I also want:

I would like to have more time with Rachel in the evenings and more time to get things done after we put her to bed. I don’t want to go to bed any later than 10:30 so please try to work within the parameters of a regular 24-hour day and bless me with more time.

And by the way, we didn’t get to take a vacation this year. That’s not fair and I would like to insist that next summer we go on a really great vacation to make up for the one we missed this year. And no, a two-day trip to the in-laws does not count as a vacation.

Lastly, here are a few things I need: new car, TV for our bedroom, telescope for Jake, clothes for Rachel to wear next spring/summer, a wooden swing set, a week where we don’t have to buy groceries or spend any money at all, and a size 10 pair of jeans that my thighs fit into.

Amen

September 20, 2010

Rainbows and unicorns...

I have been trying to avoid writing about three certain topics for several reasons. First, I’m not sure if I want to be held accountable or if I just want to vent. Secondly, I’m not sure what to say. And finally, I’m afraid no one will care and I’ll lose my small (but very loyal) fan base. However, I can’t put it off any longer…

Guilt is eating me alive. I feel guilty about everything…not cooking enough meals or having my weekly menus planned, piles of laundry that seem to appear in every room of the house, missing obvious “parental must-do’s and must-haves”, weeds in my flower beds…you name it and I feel guilty for not having it, doing it or addressing it. I compare myself to other mothers and bloggers and tell myself, “If they can do it, so can I.” I figure that the time will finally come when this mind set gives way to a more rational thought process but until then….I’ll eat my guilt with a side of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Perhaps I should have mentioned earlier that another thing I feel guilty about is my weight. I’ve been using the “I have a newborn” excuse for entirely too long. My child is no longer a newborn and winter is coming and I have nothing to wear. I want to fit back into my pants and be a hot mom but I also want to eat, and more often than not that means grabbing a bag of chips to munch on while I keep my child from climbing the stairs or sitting on the cat. I have good intentions but I also have a distorted hope that my body will feel bad for me and decide to drop the pounds out of sheer sympathy. That alone should be enough to get someone committed.

And lastly, I don’t want to blog about why I blog. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and last week I even had a chance to write about it as part of Mama Kat’s weekly writer’s workshop but I avoided the topic like it was a dead skunk. I like to tell myself that I blog as a journal to myself and happy unicorns and rainbows and nice things blah blah blah….The truth is, I think I blog because I want to be one of those famous bloggers. Am I self-centered, craving attention or just bored? Hmmm…that’s a tough one.

September 17, 2010

Higher education...

I may have a college education but my daughter provides more learning opportunities than any high ranking institution every will. Just this week she taught me that:

1. A little bit of snot never slows a child down…
2. Neither does a lot of snot.
3. The best way to check for new teeth is to turn the child upside down and make her laugh.
4. A child, who previously was not a “naked baby”, can easily turn into one and be completely happy wearing nothing but a smile and a determination to make it to the toys on the other side of the room.
5. God gives us beautiful evenings so we can take LONG walks.
6. It is really tough not to cry the first time you see the “pouty face”.
7. Pants are optional…
8. but only for babies.
9. Sweet potatoes and apple sauce are almost impossible to remove from hair.
10. All a baby really needs is a mirror and a smile….

September 15, 2010

Proper foot care...

This week’s Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Entry:

Sometimes I trick myself into believing that I can plan for and anticipate almost any kind of situation that might arise and be able to handle it accordingly. I like to think that since I’m really detail oriented nothing will get by me. Last weekend the cosmic universe put me in my place, again.

Anyone who lives in this community knows that autumn Saturdays are for sporting the local team’s colors, regardless of your age or gender. Poor little R is no exception to this rule so before we left for the grocery store I changed her diaper and stuffed her into an appropriately colored outfit. Just as we were about to walk out the door I looked down at my bundle of joy and realized that she looked an awful lot like a little boy. My actual thoughts- “Crap, this kid looks like a boy. She’s so stinkin cute that I can’t imagine we’re going to make it back home without the entire store telling me how beautiful my baby BOY is. Ugh. Hey look….a little clip-on bow was carelessly tossed on the kitchen counter. How perfect. I’ll stick this in her hair; people will see the bow and know that I am, in fact, carrying the cutest girl ever to have been born.” It all made perfect sense to me and I was very proud of myself for being to thoughtful.

I was turning the corner by the dairy case when an elderly gentleman spotted the little green bow bouncing up and down. He came over and immediately began a fairly in-depth conversation with her. I, trying to be a little bit funny, announced “Yes, she’s a HAM.” The poor fellow immediately quieted down, looked at me in shock and proclaimed that since the child was wearing a bow he just assumed that he was talking to a little girl. It took me awhile to realize that he thought I had said “HIM”. Imagine the awkward conversation that followed as I tried to explain to the now disgruntled visitor that it was, in fact, a girl and I had said “ham” while trying to point out that she’s cute and she knows it. Yes…I looked like quite an ass.

This awkward conversation reminded me that it doesn’t matter how much you plan ahead, if you were born with your foot in your mouth it will always be hard to speak clearly.

Sigh…..

September 12, 2010

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (the working mom version)...

Everything happens for a reason; good luck trying to figure out the perfect balance.
A time to be pregnant, a time to work at shedding the baby weight;
A time to fix a real meal, a time to throw a frozen pizza in the oven;
A time to cry in frustration, a time to laugh with joy;
A time to keep everything organized, a time to just not care;
A time to stay up with a sick or grumpy child, a time to rest;
A time to clean, a time to live in filth so you can spend more time with your baby;
A time to go to work, a time to take a sick day and stay home to sleep;
A time to clean the snot off, a time to let it stick to her face;
A time to hold her up, a time to let her fall and bonk her head;
A time to use cheap diapers, a time to spend the extra money and buy some that you trust;
A time to dress her in a cute outfit, a time to let daddy pick the outfit;
A time to force her to wear shoes, a time to let her go barefoot in the grass;
A time to update the baby book, a time to make a note on the calendar and write it down later;
A time to spend the evening with her, a time to call a babysitter.

September 10, 2010

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under the Heavens.
A time to be born, a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, a time to cast away;
A time to reap, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silent, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.

September 8, 2010

My single/childless friends...

This week's entry from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

List the things you no longer have in common with your single/childless friends...and why you love them anyways.

1. Their conversations don't start with the words, "I know this makes me a horrible mother but..."

2. Their vacations cost more than a tank of gas (there and back).

3. They actually have time to sleep in, exercise regularly and cook real meals.

4. Not only do they know what's playing at the movie theater but they can even tell you what is worth seeing.

5. Going out involves a drink and/or a fun outfit.

6. They own a fun outfit.

7. They can tell you what the sermon was about last Sunday.

8. Their facebook picture albums are titled "Chicago July 10" and "Fun things I did last weekend" instead of "spring/summer 2010".

9. They don't get up at the butt crack of dawn to wash bottles, fold laundry and get tonight's meal into the crockpot.

10. They remember what they did yesterday and can tell you exactly what they will be doing tomorrow.

We might not have as much in common but I still love them...especially because they think it's fun to buy stuff for the baby.

September 7, 2010

Mom zombie...

Jake loves zombie movies and I have to admit that ever since I met him I too have developed an odd taste for them. The overly dramatic gore and ridiculous scripts make me laugh every time, regardless of whether or not they are supposed to be funny. It occurred to me this morning that perhaps the real reason why I’m beginning to like them is because they remind me so much of… well…me.

Zombies and new(ish) mothers actually have a lot in common. We’re both dead tired and would do anything for a quick meal. Plus, we walk around in a daze and find ourselves in strange locations without being able explain how we got there. In fact, really the only difference between a zombie and myself is that zombies chase people to kill or maim them but I chase R to prevent her from being killed or maimed. And man can that kid move.

Some of my loyal readers (thanks guys) may remember that about a month ago I wrote about being sick. Guess what…I’m still sick and now I’m also losing my voice. I am convinced that if I could just sleep for a few extra hours, eat a decent meal and get in a good heart healthy dose of exercise I would feel much better. I know better though. I know that’s not going to happen. So, instead I will stick my arms out, moan like an old lady and hope no one runs in fear when they see me coming.

September 2, 2010

Words of wisdom...

My life really wouldn't be that different (I don't think) if I was given a chance to do it again. There are, however, a few small things I would tweak if given the chance.

To my 16-year-old self:

Don't quit piano lessons. All of your friends are going to give senior recitals and you're really going to regret not being up there with them. Plus, deep down you enjoy playing and will miss it.

Don't buy the purple dress for your junior prom. Trust me.

Don't buy the "silver" dress for your senior prom. Seriously, trust me.

Contrary to what you claim (in a childish rant aimed at your business teacher), you DO need to learn how to use a computer, type and run a 10-key keypad. Also, the Internet isn't going away. Learn what a search engine is.

Take chemistry in high school. Otherwise, you're going to waste an entire summer in college sitting in a smelly classroom with a broken air conditioner.

While you're at it, take Advanced Literature too.

Get a job you bum.

Red is not your color. Keep it out of your hair and off your lips.

Don't train for volleyball by jumping rope on cement. Duh, you should know better.

Seriously, the purple dress, don't do it.

September 1, 2010

If i could save time in a bottle...

I'm catching onto how stressful this parenting thing is pretty quickly. This morning was so crazy that not only did I forget to pack my lunch but I'm also pretty sure I left a half-eaten banana sitting on the couch. I can't wait to smell that one later.

What did I do with my time before we had a baby?

Before:
Got up in the morning and leisurely got ready for work, showed up 20 minutes early fully dressed, wearing makeup and a smile.
Now:
Get up and work my tail off before the child wakes up, get ready for work and, if it's a good day, put on some makeup and pray that my clothes match and show up for work just in time to hear the 8:00 whistle blow (if it's a good day).

Before:
Came home, exercised, ate dinner, sat on the couch, fell asleep watching TV and went to bed
Now:
Come home, try desperately to get my clothes changed before the child starts screaming for supper, eat something from the cupboard in passing, spend a good portion of the evening chasing after a very inquisitive child, participate in the "putting to bed" fight (and win), work on my to-do list and sit down just in time to watch the 10:30 episode of Seinfeld.

Before:
Woke up on Saturday morning around 9:30 and lounged around for awhile before doing some cleaning and laundry, finished my work around 2:00, and waited for Jake to come home from studying so we could catch dinner and a movie.
Now:
Wake up at the same God awful early-bird time I always do, clean like mad so that Jake can watch Rachel before he leaves to go study for the day, spend the rest of the day wondering where my sanity is and fall into bed around midnight, starving because I haven't eaten a meal since lunch on Friday.

Before:
Put up stockings for the cats so that Santa Cat would bring them something nice.
Now:
Look forward to spending my favorite time of the year (except for football season of course) with my favorite little gal.

August 31, 2010

Dear oprah...

This week’s Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Entry. Today’s assignment, write an open letter to a celebrity…

Dear Oprah,

I’ll be honest. I don’t watch your show and frankly, can’t stand you. The fact that one woman has the ability to manipulate society is almost frightening. However, the truth is, you have a lot of power and money and seem to really enjoy helping people. I think it’s safe to assume that you don’t expect everyone to like you and surely not everyone you have ever helped was a fan. In fact, we’re both adults, I have full confidence that we can get past the disgust I have for your show and dive into the heart of the matter here…me.

I’m a new mom. I’m tired and stressed, I could use a manicure and I need to lose about 40 pounds. My house is clean right now but I can tell that it’s on the verge of utter disaster and I can’t seem to keep up on my laundry so I could really use a maid and possibly a stiff drink. I work full-time and my husband is a busy student so when I get home I still have another four hours of work ahead of me. You know, the kind of work that only a mom can do. I love my little girl very much but I find myself looking forward to her bedtime so I can sit down for a few minutes before I go to bed and do the whole thing all over again the next day.

I’m not asking for much. It’s not like I need a new house (we probably can’t afford the taxes anyway) or a new car (although I could use something a little newer than the 1998 SUV we drive). I just need my sanity back. I feel a little silly writing to you, almost like a kid who is writing to Santa Claus but you probably wouldn’t be caught dead in a trashy sleigh on a cold December night would you?

So anyway, if you decide to help me out then maybe, just maybe, my opinion of you might change. If not, that’s fine too. You would feel all warm and fuzzy from doing another good deed and I would benefit from your generosity. So, really it would be a win-win for both of us.

Thanks.

P.S. You probably don’t remember it but my friend ran into you on an elevator once in Chicago. She says hello.

August 30, 2010

Mom, i'm a mom...

A few days after Rachel was born Jake looked at himself and then at me and asked, "Does it mean that I truly am a father now? I have baby poop on my shirt and didn't even notice." Poor guy.

What an interesting thought though; at what point do you realize that you’re a parent?

1. When you see a little plus sign and immediately feel queasy from the joy (but mostly fear)?
2. When you start shopping for great deals on baby stuff instead of booking next year’s vacation?
3. When you clean out your office to make room for a crib?
4. When you buy an extra Christmas stocking to use next year?
5. When you’re thrilled to experience labor pains, needles and hospital food?
6. When you find yourself driving at a grand speed of 35 mph because you're carrying precious cargo?
7. When “date night” actually means grocery shopping?
8. When you realize that previously disgusting things like green poop and umbilical cord stumps are really quite exciting?
9. When you actually try to stifle obscenities from leaving your mouth after stepping on a toy that was carelessly tossed in the middle of your living room floor?
10. When you can’t wait to see a little toothless grin at the end of the day?

August 27, 2010

Sweet Caroline...

In loving memory of Caroline Jennifer
August 27, 2009

Thoughts and prayers are with Derek and Nici today.

August 26, 2010

Make em laugh…

I love to laugh. It’s one of my most favorite things to do and I love to surround myself with people who make me laugh or laugh with (or at) me.

What makes me laugh?

1. Myself. Sometimes I think I’m pretty funny. This is, of course, debatable.
2. Jake. Everyone should be married to a scientist or at least have access to their odd sense of humor. Sometimes Jake has to explain his jokes and that makes me laugh even harder… at myself.
3. Rachel. Sometimes I feel bad for the hamster that is working overtime in her developing mind.
4. Sarcastic witty remarks that include little bits of honesty.
5. Photos showing people or animals in a unique position that is virtually unexplainable.
6. Other people’s mistakes, strange goals or ridiculous ideas.
7. Cats. If only they knew how stupid they really are...
8. Infomercials selling truly unnecessary and outrageous merchandise.
9. Being able to cleverly slip quotes from Christmas Vacation into a conversation…“That's all part of the experience…”
10. Life. It's funny.

August 25, 2010

The foot-long noodle...

I remember reading a book last year that listed all of the different types of friends a new mother should have. At the time I thought it sounded outdated and ridiculous but I have been taking a mental inventory lately of my friends and have discovered that perhaps the author was right. Perhaps it is good to not only have a wide variety of friends but I think it’s also a good idea to acknowledge some of them. The list below is not all inclusive and I would love to recognize everyone, perhaps in future posts.

So, ladies, you know who you are…

1. The Single Friend- I have several of these and I love hanging out with them because it’s relaxing and they have a great perspective on life. Plus, they don’t ever have to compare schedules with their spouse or look for a babysitter.

2. The Childless Friend- I also have several of these but the first one that comes to mind lives far away. I’m not sure that she’ll ever have children and I love living vicariously through her and her stories. Her and her husband don’t do a lot of traveling or spend money like crazy so I think that if Jake and I didn’t have Rachel we would be a lot like them. She’s good for me because she makes me laugh, is well educated and is honest and open, but not too pushy, with her opinions.

3. The Possible Future Mom Friend- OK, this gal lives even further away. I love telling her horror stories about my pregnancy but I know that if she ever decides to have children she’s going to do just fine and will make a wonderful mommy. She puts ideas into my head and is great at thinking outside the box.

4. The Experienced Mom Friend- Thank God for these people. I am lucky enough to have surrounded myself with lots of experienced moms and am so glad that they encounter situations first and then pass the important stuff onto me. Having them around is like being covered by a union that doesn’t require me to pay fees but makes sure my paycheck keeps coming.

5. The “Seasoned” Friend- Because I entered the workforce at a fairly young age many of my coworkers have been a lot older than me. In fact, most of them have children my age. I can not stress enough how important these people have been in both my professional and personal growth.

6. The Work Friend- Out of all of the coworker friends I have ever had I can not imagine life without my current work friend. We have so much in common that it’s scary to compare our almost parallel lives, and in the fairly short amount of time that we have known each other we have been through a lot of work and non-work related stuff. If we ever get other jobs I hope we stay in contact because if I’m going to spend this much time away from my actual family I need her to always be a part of my work family.

7. The Best Friend- She lives far away and I miss her dearly (Am I seeing a pattern here, why do my friends feel the need to live so far away?) but she is always just a phone call away. She knows me better than anyone else, is very resourceful, has a great eye for deals, gives sound advice, is goal oriented and always seems to have the right words in every situation. And if you ever meet her you should ask her about the foot-long noodle….

August 24, 2010

A kodak moment...

My first Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop Entry…

Our house has an enclosed front porch that would be used a lot more if it wasn’t always collecting junk. It has been turned into that space; you know the one….the place where you store stuff when you have no idea where else to put it or are too lazy to discard of it properly. Every time we clean it off it immediately starts filling up again, almost like it can only survive in a state of perpetual crappiness.

In July Jake painted the porch and for two whole days it was beautiful. Then, mom showed up. She had cleaned out the closets in my old room and since I didn’t have a place to store boxes of high school jeans and childhood toys they were quickly moved out to the porch. I finally sorted through them last weekend and was a little surprised at some of the things I found.

When I was 13 I spent the summer traveling with a musical ministry team called King’s Kids. That was quite an experience and I can’t believe how much it changed me. Last weekend I found all of my King’s Kids stuff and was reminded that I have almost no pictures from that life altering trip. Back in those days (how old do I sound?) you had to actually put film into a camera if you wanted to take pictures and my camera was particularly difficult to load. One night, at the very beginning of the trip, I was standing on a dock wrestling with my camera when a boy pulled me into the lake, camera and all (see, boys are nothing but trouble at that age). I tried to dry it out and hoped that it could be salvaged. It couldn't.

I may not have any pictures from that trip but I remember it like it was yesterday. Sorting through those old memories reminded me that if I continue to stand on the dock while everyone else is enjoying the water I can only hope that someone loves me enough to pull me in.

August 23, 2010

The countdown begins...

I can not believe summer is almost over and another school year has already started. The last time a semester (spring semester) had just begun we had a five-day-old baby and were living in a condo in town. By the time the school year was over we had moved to a house in the country, planted our garden and I had returned to work. And now here we are, our daughter is already able stand for long periods of time (while holding onto furniture), my garden is tilled and ready for winter hibernation and Jake is starting his junior year for a second time. huh?

Yep, that’s right. Jake is starting on his second junior year. The last time he made it to this point in his “professional student” career his conscience caught up with him and he realized that he could not continue studying accounting so he switched his major to physics and astronomy. And if you’re wondering, hardly any classes transferred from one degree to the other.

The only good thing about the start of another school year is that we’re making progress and Jake is just a little bit closer to being done with school. I know a lot of mothers love it when school starts but I’m not one of them. I hate it when classes start, no matter what time of year it is, because that means for the next 16 weeks I won’t see my husband and Rachel will be raised by one frazzled parent, except on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. Those days are sacred to us because Jake works really hard to keep those designated days as “family only” time, which I really appreciate.

December 17 and the close of finals week can not come fast enough this year. In the mean time, I will continue blogging to keep my thoughts organized, Jake will keep on keeping on and Rachel, at the rate she’s growing, will probably get her driver’s license.

August 20, 2010

If at first you don’t succeed…

I was in labor with Rachel for over 34 hours. It was awful. And the nine months that preceded that were no picnic either. For being such a trooper I deemed myself worthy of a new purse and even found one on the clearance shelf. The first time I used it the zipper broke and I can still remember gasping in horror and disgust. Clearly a second attempt at a proper reward was necessary.

I had high hopes for yesterday. I planned to get a one-hour massage and then go home and do nothing or, if I so desired, work on a few fun projects. I envisioned myself sitting at the dining room table with a cat on my lap and another one at my feet while I typed away in an otherwise silent house…for two whole hours. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? I think so.

Here’s how my afternoon went instead:

1:58 PM: My cell phone rings, it’s Jake. “Honey, I got off work early. Can you come get me when you’re done?”
Me: “ugggghhhhHHHHH. Really? Can’t you just wait and come home later as planned?”

A few choice words later I agreed to pick him up as long as he promised not to talk at all until 5:30. That didn’t actually happen but he tried his best to be extra sweet for the rest of the afternoon.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Pure bliss except, of course, for the two chatty ladies who were parked right outside the room for 30 minutes.

4:45 PM: After running some errands and collecting all of my supplies I finally sat down to enjoy what was left of my "reward" day.

The child came home 45 minutes later and my heart sank because my perfect afternoon was officially over. Perhaps my two semi-failed attempts equal the satisfaction receieved by one perfect one.

Sigh…..

August 19, 2010

Stop to smell the roses...

This afternoon I’m getting a 60-minute stone massage. I have no idea what that is and honestly I don’t care. If it involves a massage over the period of an hour I can't imagine it won't be marvelous.

I will get home two hours earlier than usual and R and J will arrive at their normal time. Nice.

I love roses.

August 18, 2010

The auctioneer was going about a mile a minute…

Jake and I have moved three times in the five years we have been married. I hate moving. There is nothing worse than packing up our crap, moving it down the road and living out of boxes for a week. The long list of people I have to contact with our new address is almost revolting, and just when I think I have everyone crossed off we get another letter in the mail with that dreaded “forwarded address” sticker on it. Ugh.

The only good thing about moving is that it forced us to examine everything and determine whether or not it really needed to be packed, carried to and from a pickup and then unpacked. I was surprised to discover how unnecessary my extensive vase collection became after I realized the amount of weight they added to a box destined for an upstairs trek. Because of our recent move (and purge), I am comfortable with the amount of stuff we have. So far, everything has a place and almost everything has a use. I worked really hard for that hallowed status.

Last night, while rummaging through things at my grandma’s sale, I started thinking about all of the stuff Jake and I have accumulated. Will any of it be important to Rachel or anyone else in the family? Which memories will be sold to the highest bidder? Will our cherished items be grouped into boxes and sold for $1? Which pieces will be considered junk and end up not selling at all?

For the first time in my life I actually bid on things last night. As we got closer to the first item my knees got weak, my heart raced and my head spun. How high should I go? How do I know I’m bidding on the right piece? What if I accidently pick my nose and buy a $500 vase? All valid concerns. As it turns out I knew when to stop (thanks to my poker skills), I didn’t bid on anything I didn’t want and I left with my dignity.