Tuesday, January 15, 2013

To Blog or Not to Blog...

... that is the question.

Of course, according to my blog over the last few months, not to blog has definitely been the answer.  My last post was in October, a short one commemorating my 30th birthday.  Before that, I'd taken some time off, too.

I've thought about blogging, a few times, but not nearly as much as I used to think about it.  Before, I would store up thoughts and stories and pictures to share, but recently, those thoughts rarely cross my mind.  I even got out of the habit of posting monthly updates on the Peanut, which surely should have been my motivator.  Life just has been.... going.  Being a mom, teaching full time, supporting Husband while he works full time and goes to school, well, it's time-consuming.  And so things that are not "required" fall by the wayside. 

But I'm realizing that some of the "non-essentials" that are over there on that wayside (where ever that might be) are things that are really good for me, that help me to be a healthy person.  You know, being intentional about quiet times, getting some exercise, sleeping enough hours, hanging out with people I care about.  Those kinds of things.  They are over there on the wayside, which isn't really a good thing.

And today I started thinking that blogging might be one of those wayside things that actually, was something really healthy for me to do.  Today our pastor posted a link to another friend's blog, a post she'd written a couple of years ago.  In it, she shared the story of when she first allowed Jesus to be hers, to be her healer.  I was blessed enough to be a part of that story, to get to walk with her through that time, and to this day it remains one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  She'd referenced my blog in her story, and so I clicked on the link and began to read one of my old posts.  From there I read another, another, and another, soaking in the stories, the truths, the life I have lived over the last few years. 

And I realized that one way I consistently processed and made sure I was learning and growing was by writing on this blog, by processing externally, by having a place to record my thoughts, to process.  Some of my most meaningful posts never made it to my journal, and still aren't making it there.  And if I'm not writing, then I'm not getting quite the same good stuff for me as I have before.

But I'm hesitant to say I'll start blogging again, because life IS.  And I don't want to start and not mean it.  I don't want to get consumed by followers or comments, or the lack thereof, in my case.  I don't want to focus on wishing for more recognition or blog-building.  If I can't blog because it's really just good for me, then I don't think blogging is really good for me, after all. 

I'm not sure what I think, just yet.  I see how blogging (among a few other key things in my life) can be and is often what I need to do for me.  But I also see how it isn't.   I'm not sure I'm back, but it feels right to put this question out there.

To blog, or not to blog..... I don't know yet.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Today I am thirty years old.

I've been looking forward to this day for a couple of reasons. 

First, for years I've been told I don't look old enough to be a high school teacher, much less to have been teaching as long as I have been.  "You're so young," has been a popular statement among my co-workers, friends, and even complete strangers.  Those statements began tapering off with pregnancy and mommy-hood, but now I'm 30.  Yes, that's young when you consider the big picture, but no longer am I fresh out of college, new to my job, new to marriage.  As one of my students said the other day, "anyone over 25 is really old."  Yes! I'm old! (But not out of touch, hopefully.) 

Second, I have full expectations that my 30s are going to be better than my 20s.  My 20s haven't been bad; on the contrary, there has been a lot of really incredible stuff.  Graduating college, getting a job, becoming a better teacher, finding my man, marrying him, being best friends with my sister as we both are grown up, having my first baby. 

But they've also been hard.  Marriage is really hard, did you know?  Mommy-hood and parenthood is really hard, too.  Both of our families have gone through a lot in the last few years, and it's been a challenge at times. 

But I hope in the One who gave me this life, and I know that as I continue to grow, my 30s are going to reflect that and (hopefully) Him.  Which means that although I am sure there will still be some lots of hard stuff, I'm going to consider it joy and look forward to the opportunity to become the woman I long to be. 

Today hasn't been a particularly great day, so far.  We're in one of those difficult seasons.  But I choose to look forward to this next decade with anticipation, with joy, with delight in the things to come.

Oh, and as for my 30 before 30 list, well, I'm amending that to a "30 before 31" list, okay?  It's my birthday, I can do what I want. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oh, Hello.

Taking a quick minute to let you know that yes, in fact, I am still alive.

Last night (or should I say this morning), we finished up Homecoming Week.  As the Student Council Advisor, I have spent the last month or so planning, organizing, and preparing everything for the week.  Countless hours have gone into it, and finally, the week arrived.

Each day held a different spirit day with different dress-up clothes required.  We put on a huge bonfire, held a Powder Puff game where (only) three girls got (minorly) hurt.  We spent hours transforming the gym into a "theater" for an assembly, the likes of which you've probably never seen.  We then spent even more hours re-transforming the gym into a dance floor and the cafeteria into space, complete with a huge 3D moon, MARS rover, and hundreds of stars hanging from the ceiling.  And then we spent one hour cleaning it all up and putting it all away.

It was an AMAZING week.  My kids did an incredible job.  There were tons of students dressed up each day, hundreds at the bonfire, and at least 1,000 at the dance.  Many said the assembly and dance were the best of their high school career so far.  I'm so proud of my team.

Needless to say, I'm pretty tired.  I barely saw Will all week, but I am happy to report that he and Husband connected a lot and that things went well overall.

In theory, I might have a little more free time now.  You know, time to actually get on the computer and/or even blog.  What?  Impossible, you say?

Well, it might not happen, but I'm going to try.

To hold you over until I post Will's (overdue) 6 month update, here we are last weekend at his first big football game.

I'll be back (soon, I hope!)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dear Blog,

I know, you're feeling awfully neglected.  It's been weeks since I've visited you, checked to see if you had any comments for me, wrote you a message, or visited any of your other blog-friends.  You're wondering if I still like you, or if I'm mad at you, or if I just don't care about you anymore.

I DO like you, I'm NOT mad, and I DO care.  I know it's cliché to say this, but please, don't take my neglect and absence personally.  I'm just busy.  And I know I've said that before and have made promises to be a better friend, to write you more often, to stay in better touch, but seriously, this is a whole new kind of busy.

My mornings are spent quickly getting ready and getting Will dressed, fed, and out the door as close to on time as possible (which is laughable - on time now means a few minutes late).  My planning periods, where I used to take a few minutes to visit you, are now used down to the last second with grading, planning, and StuCo stuff.  I hurry out of school as quickly as possible to go pick up the boy, and we play, eat, and be together.  And after he goes to bed, I have to grade or plan or do online work or something, and then I have to get all the baby stuff ready for the next morning.

Simply put, I just can't seem the time to visit and do the things I need to do.  It's not that I haven't had things to tell you - I've written you a dozen messages in my head.  They just haven't made it to you.

Know that someday (hopefully sooner than later) I'm going to get it together enough to re-establish our friendship, because you and all your blog-friends are important to me, and I miss you.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Joining Leagues and Orders

Clearly, you can tell that the school year has begun, because once again, I have dropped off the face of the world.  Well, the blog world and other computer-related world.

What better way to try to get back into things than a Five-Minute-Friday post?  I have class in 20 minutes and have to make sure I'm ready to teach those 30 lovely high schoolers, so I really can only afford 5 minutes, anyways.

Today's topic?  Join.

Here goes.

It's the beginning of the school year.  This is the part of the year where connections are made.  Connections between myself and my students, connections between students and students, connections between "real life" and "work life" or "school life."  Everyone here is joining something.  Joining a new class, a new group of friends, a new idealogy for what life is going to be like this year.

Me?  I've joined the League of Moms Who Work Full Time.  Moms whose babies spend more time awake during the week with their daycare provider than their mommy, Moms who leave work on time (a first!) to go pick up and snuggle that baby.  Moms who love their jobs,  but love their babies more.  Moms who learn to operate on not-enough sleep, becuse there is no way to get everything done without staying up a little later and getting up a little earlier.  Moms who teach themselves to be disciplined and orgazined and think ahead, because otherwise the normal 5 minutes late out the door in the morning is 25 minutes late.   

I've joined the Order of Women Whose Husbands Work and Go to School.  Women who try to support and challenge and be there for their men.  To encourage, to edit, to do our own work while they do their homework.  Women who try to put meals on the table around their husband's class schedule, who stay up later to make sure they get to have a good conversation with their man, who want to do everything possible to help Hubby be successful.

I want to write more, but my five minutes are up, and I don't have time to "cheat" and expand on my thoughts, anyway.  So here's to joining Leagues and Orders and being the woman God would have me be, okay?

Lastly, today is my little man's 5 month birthday.  As a present, I took him to the doctor and got him an antibiotic for his very first ear infection.  Yeay!  But seriously, isn't he cute?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How to Make a New Working Mom Feel Bad... and What Will's Doing for DayCare

Note: This post is a little snarky, or maybe a lot snarky.  Please don't take offense at it. Be sure to read my commentary at the end.

How to Make a New Working Mom Feel Bad:

1. Assume she isn't going back to work.

2. When you find out she is going back to work, make an "oh that's too bad" face or comment.

3. Assume she found a "desirable" daycare situation for her baby, like family, or friends, or, at the very least, an in-home daycare. 

4. When you find out the baby is going to a regular old daycare center, make an "oh that's too bad" face or comment. 

To really hit this one home, say something like, "Can't your parents take him?" or "My friend is using this website to do background checks on home-care places.  I could get it for you."  or "I bet if you ask around, you could find a home-care place.  I knew a lady who only took teacher's kids."

5. When you find out the regular old daycare center isn't a fancy special one, but just a Kindercare, make an "oh that's too bad" face or comment.

6. Offer platitudes about how it will all work out to try to make her feel better.

Okay, so, first, please note that most of my actual friends have not said these things to me, as they've been in the loop on the situation the entire time.  It's actually mostly been acquaintances and near-strangers who've commented.  And if you are my friend, and you have said something like #4, know that I know that you weren't trying to hurt my feelings; you were just trying to be helpful.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing I've discovered in the last week as I've prepared to go back for work is that somewhere over the course of the last several months, I have learned to believe that by sending my son to a daycare center, he's not in the best situation he can be in.  When people ask me "who is taking care of him?" I respond with "He's just at a daycare center."  Just?   No, not just.  It's a very nice facility, with a staff that seems lovely and well-trained and very caring so far. 

I shouldn't have to feel guilty for going back to work.  I'm not here just because we need the money, but because I love my job.  LOVE it.  Being a SAHM wouldn't work for me, although I admit that I could probably go part-time if the finances allowed. 

I shouldn't have to feel guilty for putting him in a daycare center.  I asked around.  I put out feelers for a home-care situation.  Nobody I knew was able to recommend someone to me, and I just wasn't comfortable finding a place online, regardless of how well it was rated.  So I visited a few centers near school and home, and picked this one based on several factors.  It's not just a daycare center.  I'm not going to let myself say that anymore.

The reality is, I'm a full-time working mom.  I love my job, and I love my son.  I love my son more than I love my job.  I wasn't going to put him somewhere that wasn't good for him.  We'll see how this goes, and if doesn't work out, I'll find somewhere else.  But for now, I'm happy with it.  He's doing okay, he's getting adjusted.  And I don't want to feel badly about my choice.

I guess I'm saying that it's really not all the fault of the people who've made those faces and comments, because I've set them up to say them by saying he's just at daycare.  I've believed that family or friends or home-care is best, too, and I've felt guilty.

But I'm done with that, okay?

From now on, here's what I'm going to say:  "Will's at a daycare center really close to our house.  So far, the staff seems really lovely.  I really like the directors, and the lady who is with him most of the day is this Bosnian-grandmother type who clearly loves babies and wants to take really good care of him.  He's only been there a few days, but he seems to be adjusting pretty well - I think he really likes watching the other babies and can't wait to be able to sit up on his own and play, too."

So that's that.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

4 Months

Will officially turned four months old onTuesday, the 24th, the same day his Great-Grandpa Bob turned 97 years old.  Grandpa Bob loves being with Will, so we made sure to go over to my parents' house for Gpa's favorites: spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, and carrot cake for dessert.  Grandpa gave Will lots of kisses, and Will got lots of attention (as always).  I'd say it was a very successful "birthday" for both!

Development:  We went to the pediatrician on Thursday (whom, by the way, I absolutely love.  We actually see the PA in our office most of the time, and she is just incredible.  The doctor that is technically ours was also my childhood pediatrician, but as she is super in-charge of the whole medical group, she doesn't work too many days a week and is harder to schedule) for Will's four-month Well-Child Check. 

Will weighed in at 13.5 pounds, three more than his two-month check up.  He's still in the 30% for weight, but that's okay, because he's been consistent in his growth all along.  His height moved up to the 35% percentile as he has officially reached two-feet tall, being exactly 24 inches long.  No wonder he doesn't fit as cozily anymore!

In other developmental areas, this was a big month for Will.  He's learned to roll onto his side, so I bet to his tummy isn't too far away.  He can see you from across the room and smile at you.  He discovered his voice - the first few days of that were non-stop cooing.  And, in the last week, he's started reaching for toys and is fascinated by their bright colors and fun textures.  We didn't really have many toys, just a clip on elephant for his carseat, but a friend sent a package that had some fun little squishy blocks that crinkle, so we're set.  His little legs are in constant motion - we have no idea where he thinks he's going, but he's apparently going to be a sprinter, cyclist, or swimmer based on his movement.  And he's working really hard at taking the pacifier out of his mouth and putting it back in on his own.  After a while of not quite being able to get it, he usually sticks his fingers right in, which brings me to the drooling.  Yes, we've started the slobber-fest that apparently indicates pre-teething.... but no signs of any actual teeth yet.  Thank. Goodness.

Personality: This little boy wants to be a happy little boy, he truly does.  Sometimes, when he's starting to get unhappy about something, he'll still smile at you even in the midst of his tears, before he gives in.  He is a very smiley baby and is content much of the time.  He likes to be social and visit with others, and he drinks in the world around him.

But when he's unhappy, well, he is unhappy.  As in screaming.  Usually it's because he has a problem of some sort and thinks we should be able to fix it instantly, and when we can't, he tells us about it.  He tells us all about it.

Sleep: Right after our three-month update, Will moved from our room to his own room.  We'd been sleeping in the basement, due to the fact that the smoke from the Waldo Canyon fire kept us from being able to open the windows and cool off our near-90 degree house, and when we moved back upstairs, it seemed silly to re-set up the pack'n'play.  So to his room he went.  He's really adjusted quite well, I think.

The other big change, and again, this only in the last week, is that we've stopped swaddling him.  He was too big for the swaddle we had and was continuously "busting out" of a blanket swaddle and waking himself up.  A friend gave us a Woombie, which we love and would still be using, except for the fact that it's been so hot in his room when he goes to bed that I didn't feel right about it.  He was sweating and crying and just seemed miserable, so we decided to tough it out and let him learn to fall asleep unswaddled, as well as to put himself back to sleep if he wakes up.

It's going.  There have been some rough moments, some "this is breaking my heart" moments, and a couple of "I should just go get him" moments.  But overall, he's been doing really well.  In the big scheme of things, he doesn't cry as long as I have heard many babies do, and he definitely is getting it.

The first night time sleep lasts anywhere from four to six hours before I feed him, and then the second one has been getting longer, also.  I'm hoping we're getting to a place where he's going to be on a good schedule for the school year.  Naptimes are less regular - he still is only a cat-napper, so he takes several little naps throughout the day.  The pediatrician said that might be in his favor when he starts day care - many babies who are long nappers have trouble taking their regular naps in that setting and get over-tired, so he might be in like already being a cat-napper.  We'll see.

Overall, I feel pretty good about where we are sleep-wise.

Eating:  Still doing the pump-to-bottle thing most of the day and nursing at night, with some nursing or formula during the day, depending on the situation.  We're trying to stock up on frozen breast milk for day care.  He's slowly starting to spread out his eating times.  By that I mean he can now wait two and a half or three hours to eat, instead of every two.  None of those four of five hour periods for us.  I was afraid he might be eating too much as a result, but since his weight gain was consistent and good, I'm not worried anymore.  He'll eat as he needs it, I think.  We're not quite ready for solid foods yet - maybe in a month or so.  Husband did let Will lick a banana though; my-oh-my was his facial expression hilarious.  Total disgust.  His mama agrees.

Likes/Dislikes: Will likes his scrunchy-crinkly blocks.  The elephant on his car-seat.  His Graet-Grandma Harriett, who got him to giggle a lot while she was here last week.  Doggies (his new fav!).  Apparently, watching the Olympics. 

Actually, there isn't much he actually doesn't like, except being hungry, being tired, and having tummy troubles.  Really, who can blame him?

Milestones: His first "road-trip" up to Estes Park.  Many of the aforementioned developmental things, like noticing toys, sleeping in his own room, more and more control of his head, and even pulling himself up almost towards a sitting position.  Noticing his first baby, his cousin Henry.  His first hike, his first trip to the pool, his first rodeo (all chronicled in this post).


Mommy Update: I'm doing pretty well.  Gearing up to go back to work, and mostly excited about it.  I know leaving him is going to be hard, though, so I'm trying to prepare myself for that.  Weight and health-wise, I'm not doing too much better, but I'm also not doing too much worse.  Getting into meal-planning and grocery shopping to assist my eating habits and hoping to get to do some exercise a couple times a week once we establish good bedtime routines with the new school schedule.
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