in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

momentum

seriously? every time i look at this picture
i start giggling all over again. that hat!
his pose! he looks like he's SINGING!
sometimes just when i feel like i am stuck in a rut, suddenly there's ACTION.

i've been officially unemployed for a month tomorrow. and if you've ever been unemployed and job searching, you know it's a pretty craptastic process. you send out a million resumes, hear back on maybe three, two of which tell you "we've already found a more qualified candidate," repeat ad nauseum.

i've been exceptionally blessed to find that i know some amazing people willing to go to bat for me, so i have that going for me. but as the days poured into weeks, the initial onrush of possibilities slows down and ...  you ... wait ... and wait ...

and then. last week i had a couple of interviews. i have a second interview for one position tomorrow. i have an interview with another company monday. slowly but surely, this process is working itself out. hopefully it won't be too long before i've got a new professional home. (and today i actually believe that. some days ... not so much.)

but through it all, here's the one thing that has helped me keep my momentum going: my family. we've kept the routine for john by keeping him in daycare, and lo and behold, that means routine for mommy, too. and of course my husband's daily life hasn't changed, so we get up in the mornings and have breakfast and go about our business.

and all of that has helped me keep my momentum. it would be so easy to fall into a slump ... except that my awesome family keeps me afloat. i have my icky days, believe you me ... but mostly, these boys buoy me up and keep me smiling, and the fact that they love me makes me know for sure it'll all be ok.

(besides, with a kid who randomly runs into the room wearing that hat above and proceeds to dance around talking about the "cat-a-pill-ah" on his shirt, how could anyone fall in a slump ever?)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

may i have this (happy) dance?

captain undies insists on wearing not
one but two pairs on his head.
last night when we were heading towards bedtime for john, he suddenly became enamored with what had just come on the tv -- dancing with the stars. he immediately wanted to dance with daddy, asking, "where's my tutu, daddy? i need my tutu!"

daddy convinced him no tutu was necessary, and they danced around the living room to the end of the current song. then i got a little spin around the room with my favorite little dancer, too.

maybe the kiddo is psychic, because today we got some news worth dancing about!

a little over a week ago, the maternal fetal specialist sent my blood off to a lab in wisconsin to do a test that is uncommon enough here in the u.s. that only one or two labs do it -- in fact, the hospital didn't even have the protocol for sending a sample to this lab, so they had to research it to figure out what to do, and i went back a couple days later to have the blood drawn. the test looks for free fetal dna in my blood, and can tell if this baby is rh negative without having to do any invasive testing.

and the great news is -- the baby IS rh negative, so there is no chance of antibody complications for this pregnancy! 

basically, we now know that my husband's positive blood type is made up of one dominant positive gene and  one recessive negative gene. john got the positive gene passed along, so his type is positive. this baby got the recessive negative passed along, and combined with my negative that means that this baby's blood is totally compatible with mine.

so now, NOW mama is dancing. we'll still see the specialist at least another time or two, just to keep tabs and make certain all is well, but this test is highly accurate and we couldn't be happier.

would you care to dance with me?

* * *
appropos of nothing, here is a video john made for grammie last night. he's just singing, but for some reason it makes me want to eat him up. enjoy, but please refrain from eating my child.


video


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

john's mom might be crazy

sleeping peacefully despite the MASSIVE
quantity of animals in his crib.
and the santa pjs. shush, they still fit.
reasons i might be crazy: #1
i love to take pictures of john when he's sleeping. don't get me wrong - i don't interrupt him in the night to creepily snap stalker pics of my sleeping love. but if he's sleeping late in the morning, and it's about time for him to wake up anyway, i might just surreptitiously mamarazzi my way into his room for a little peek. he's so peaceful and sweet and still, i just can't stand it.

reasons i might be crazy: #2
since i've been unemployed, i've been seeking out all sorts of ways to save money. one of the obvious places to look was at my cosmetics -- if you've known me a while, you know i use an awesome botanically based product line that's amazing for my skin and that i love ... but like most things, you pay for that quality. "so, self," i thought to myself, "maybe there are some other alternatives out there. let's google."

and google i did, and i stumbled upon a most unlikely solution. it's called the oil cleansing method. you can google it too, if you want -- there's lots out there. basically, it boils down to using extra virgin, pure oils to wash your face. that's right, oils. like ... i'm currently using a combination of olive oil, sunflower oil, and pecan oil. and as crazy as it sounds, it seems to be really doing great for my face. i'm a week in, i've not used any moisturizer (!!) since i started, but my skin is not oily and a lot of my "hotspots" seem to be clearing up. crazy? maybe. but super cheap and so far so good. i'll keep you posted as time goes by.

it doesn't stop there, though. apparently i now make my own shampoo. or at least, i partway make it. inspired by a high school friend whose family makes their own laundry detergent, i went down the rabbit hole and found a castille soap based shampoo recipe with essential oils. and my husband and i have been washing our hair with it for a little over a week, too, and you know what? i think i love it. it'll be a little bit of an experiment for a while, getting the right thickness, etc, but it works really well and again, it's cheap.

and then ... then i found a recipe to make your own castille soap. it's based on oils, too, mostly. so i think that might be the next experiment. make my own castille soap, use it as a base for shampoos, body washes, hand soaps ... 

next thing you know i'll be building a bunker in the backyard and designing a rainwater purification system.

ok maybe not. but this is sort of fun, so we'll see where it goes.

Monday, April 22, 2013

lullabies again

ingenuity: fitting two crackers perfectly
between the tines of your for so you can
eat them at the same time.
john has recently started singing songs with us, instead of just by himself or wanting us to sing them. i think the first one was the til-then-obnoxious "i love you" song from barney. i've always hated that song. but somehow, delivered in a sweet little sincere boy voice, it suddenly is pretty freaking great.

we progressed to the alphabet song, which john can now sing just about perfectly. he sometimes skips t-u-v, but he mostly sings it along with us beautifully. same with twinkle twinkle little star (tho in john's rendition, it's twinkle little little star).

but just the other night, something happened that was pretty amazing for me. john requested, and then started singing along with, one of the lullabies i wrote for him.

it shouldn't surprise me that he has learned these songs, since i've sung then to him almost every single night since he was born. he hears my lullabies at least as much as wheels on the bus and the bumblebee song.

but there was just something dumbfounding to me about hearing the lyrics and melody i wrote, a creation from my brain, sung in that sweet angel voice. 

i'll tell you what: i'm a pretty mediocre songwriter, and my singing skills are decidedly lackluster. but that duet that we sang - which has encored each night since - is the most beautiful music i think i've ever heard. it's awesome.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

i have an idea

mommy, i have an idea!
john ... john is a talker. it's pretty much a running dialogue everywhere we go. he's got something to say, or ask, or point out, about everything. it's actually pretty awesome, and as his vocabulary gets bigger and bigger, he gives us some pretty awesome insights sometimes.

and sometimes less so.

the last time we took john grocery shopping, it was a looooong trip. we bough a ton of stuff, we went all over the store, we doubled back, and he had to be good for SO long. he was a trooper, only a little bit of fussing, and we made it through almost entirely unscathed.

then we were in line at the check out, waiting for the two people ahead of us to get finished so it would be our turn.

very enthusiastically (read: not quietly), john exclaims, "mommy, i have an idea!"

somewhat exhausted, and hoping for a fascinating commentary from the not-quite-three point of view, i asked,"what's your idea, john?"

he lit up. he was so excited! he grinned and looked at me and said QUITE loudly, "TURKEY!"

his idea was turkey. 

i just started giggling. so did my husband. john was delighted. the lady in line ahead of us and the lady working the check out both started giggling too.

"well, i think turkey is a great idea, john," i managed to respond.

"thank you, mommy," came the earnest reply.

turkey.

Monday, April 15, 2013

while we're at it

while we're at it, how 'bout a little baby #2 update?

we saw the maternal fetal specialist on thursday of last week. first we visited with the ultrasound tech, and it was actually way cool - they had brand new fancy ultrasound equipment, so the company's reps were still there showing them how it all worked ... soooooo we got a million pictures of this little babe. i was at 12 weeks 2 days when they did the ultrasounds, so i didn't expect to see much - but with the new equipment, which is apparently pretty high fallutin', we could see all four chambers of the heart beating, we could see the sections of the brain, we could see the bones in the hand and the long bones of the legs and arms. we counted two hands, two feet, and two kidneys, among other cool stuff. (no gender yet, be patient!)

(i am interrupting this baby report to tell a very awesome story: john just came to get me, brought me back to the big boy room - which is still not his room yet - and said, "you play the drums and i play the piano!" and we had our first ever jam session. we played the boat song, the train song, and the car song. i am a terrible drummer but it was freaking awesome. what a cool kid.)

back to the soon-to-be-also-cool kid #2. we even got to see a 3d ultrasound because they were playing with the machine to test it out. the ultrasound tech kept saying things like, "i've never been able to see this on a 12 weeker before!" it was really pretty cool, and pretty reassuring to see the baby developing exactly as he or she should. 

then we met with the doc, and he gave a great "8th grade" version of what we're dealing with in terms of the antibody stuff. seems like our understanding of the situation was pretty much right on. the doc did say he doesn't anticipate that we'll have any significant problems, but that we'll monitor closely and keep tabs on everything.

they aren't going to do an amniocentesis to find out the baby's blood type, because there's an awesome newish blood test that can test free fetal dna in my blood to detect the blood type. it's new enough that they don't even have a protocol for it yet, so they had to get it all set up and i go in tomorrow to give my blood for that test.

so every four weeks we'll see my doctor, and the week after each visit to my doctor we'll see the maternal fetal specialist again for more ultrasounds and more blood tests so we can monitor the titre levels of the antibodies in my blood. basically if the titre number stays under eight, we should be in great shape. (if you care how they determine that titre number let me know and i'll explain it the best i can!)

and just today we got the results back on my first round of blood tests. the titre number was zero, which is awesome news. it means they detected the antibodies in my blood, but it isn't at all at an elevated or reactive level. while this can and very well may change during the course of this pregnancy - that's one of the things we'll be monitoring closely - i think it's a pretty awesome sign that we're starting at zero.

so that's the haps on the new little one. 13 weeks tomorrow and feeling great -- should have more news early may after the next round of appointments!

school days

one cool cat in his daddy's sunglasses
today, i thought i'd give you a glimpse at what school mornings look like for john. we're going to do this in a series of pictures. right off the bat, though, i am going to cheat: that picture above is actually from on the way to a class at church, not technically school ... but the sun was bright, and he asked if he could wear daddy's sunglasses. and then he just looked too ridiculously adorable for me to not snap a pic. so there's john, SORT of on the way to school, looking like the coolest cat you've ever met.

nothing like a little doc seuss to ease
the morning commute
one day last week, john woke up, took a shower with me (a prospect that used to terrify him but he did great!), and then spent the rest of the morning while i got ready not watching his iguy (or fussing to watch his iguy), not playing with his train table or other toys, but reading books in his room. it was so quiet i went to check on him right before we left, and i found him sitting in the chair in his room with a big book on his lap, quietly flipping the pages and studying them intently.

when i told him it was time to go, he said, "i bring my book, mommy?" so of course i said yes, and he "read" all the way to school, too.

but the very bestest school day pic is this one from this morning:

kermit-dee-frog here, reporting from john's
brand new backpack

you see, today was john's first day in the next class up at his daycare. the daycare just accepted a few new infants, so everyone had to shuffle around - normally, john would have stayed in his class until the school year change in august or so.

but last week i got a call that they were moving john and two of his classmates on up to the three-year-old class a little early, if that was ok. and actually, i was really excited about it. i think it's great for john to be in a class with older kiddos. and especially since a couple of his buddies are moving up with him, it should be an easy transition for all of them. we'll miss his teacher ms. meka like crazy, she was awesome, but i know he'll do great.

the hardest part for mommy was, this weekend i had to go buy school supplies. like, big kid school supplies. a backpack, a crayon box, his own paper and glue. so when i put that backpack on him and walked him across to the new building where his new class was, there were tears in my eyes ... my little kid is rapidly becoming a big kid! 

and when i picked him up today, he gave me a big hug and said, "mommy, i had a GREAT day today!" before i could even ask.

so it looks like we have some good school days ahead of us at this rate.


Friday, April 5, 2013

friday dances

video

i love a kid who, before his third birthday, recognizes that fridays are cause for dancing.

this morning we put one of john's "toddler tunes" cds on and he was listening in the living room, but he got tired of it and brought me another cd - the "anxious dog music" cd we tried for buddy back at the height of his craziness.

"mommy, i want to listen to DOG music!" said my gleeful little bug.

so i put it in the cd player, and the twinkly "calming" piano started. and john said, "i want to dance, but i need my red tutu!"

you know i am not a mom built to deny a boy his tutu. so pjs and tutu and all, we danced around the living room for a while. we did spins, and leaps, and bows.

after a little while, i looked at the clock. "mama's gotta go get ready, my love," i said reluctantly. "we have to get you to school."

he looked at me innocently and said, "i wear my tutu to school?"

i talked him out of that plan and into some clothes, and we were off to start the day.

and no matter what this day winds up holding, a day that starts out with a dance in the living room can't be a bad one.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

what a difference a day makes

chipper little fellow.
when i got john out of bed this morning, i asked him if he would hold me for a minute. he said, "but i awake, mommy!" i said, "yes, baby, but mommy just wants to sit in this chair and snuggle for a sec, even though we're awake, is that ok?" and he snuggled up on me and said he loved me. and i knew, right then and there, that thursday would be a better day.

and better it was. first of all, john was in a reasonably good mood in the morning, which is not a given with our not-a-morning-person family. he was a little grumpy to daddy but they made up before daddy had to head to work.

then our ride to school was full of singing songs and talking about what he would do that day (intermixed with requests that ms. meka give him a poptart when he arrives at school). he plonked down for his breakfast with a smile and a goodbye kiss and mama was off to the doctor.

i was oddly nervous going to the doctor - there was no reason to believe anything was wrong, but i guess it's the lingering artifact of the miscarriage that i feel a little short of breath and overwhelmed when i am walking up to the building.

fortunately, though, the news was all good - the baby's heartbeat sounds great, my blood pressure and weight and all that jazz are "perfect," and all is well.

i talked a little bit with the doc about the antibody stuff, and she was very reassuring -- they'll just monitor me closely, it's good that we know this early so we can be on the lookout, and the specialist i'm seeing is THE best when it comes to intrauterine transfusions, so if it reaches that point we're in the best possible hands.

but the most important part came when i said that i knew there was a likelihood that if there were complications, they might want to induce pretty early. my doctor nodded understandingly, and said, "yes, and that's pretty problematic for us." 

what she meant, of course, is that given my goals of natural childbirth and no epidural or medical pain mediation, that's problematic for me. but she didn't say for me. she said for "us." which just reminded me of why i adore my doctor so much. i've never been so convinced that a doctor was so looking out for my own interests, and willing to do her very best to see that i have as close to my ideal delivery as we can medically do. what a blessing she is to me. i assured her that if she felt there was a medical need i wouldn't fight her on interventions, but that my hope would be to lean towards observation -- that i'd come in every day if i needed to! -- and she said we were absolutely on the same page.

so today i was reminded that i have a cheerful kiddo, a wonderful hardworking husband, a healthy baby, an awesomely supportive doctor, and some wonderful friends and family who reached out to me, too. and then i came home and spent 8,000 hours applying for 8,000 jobs and dangit, just one of those is going to wind up working out for me, too.

i'm a lucky lady ... and much happier than i was yesterday. thanks for all the love!!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

grey

had a little too much fun at the zoo.
normally, i'd lead with a too-cute-to-stand picture of john instead of a face-screwed-up-fat-tears picture, but that pic sorta sums up my mood today so i'll run with it.

i haven't written in so long because, frankly, there's just been a lot going on. last tuesday (a week ago yesterday) i went into work to be told that the new owner of the mall had eliminated my position. i had about 30 minutes to clean out my office and i was gone. i had sort of seen it coming -- in my interview with the new company a week before, the lady consistently referred to "whoever handles the marketing," which hardly inspired confidence that that would be me -- but i thought i'd have a little more time before they made any big changes. 

so on a random tuesday morning, i found myself with a lot of free time on my hands.

and surprisingly, i felt pretty ok about the whole thing. i am sad, sure, to leave a place that i've invested a lot of myself and my talent and my time in. and i will miss like crazy the wonderful people that became a part of my life while i was there. but i was promptly inundated by support from personal and professional contacts who were more than willing to reach out to me and help me make connections to find a job. i spent most of last week pounding the pavement, as they say, reaching out to everyone i know and asking them to keep me in mind. and i got more than a few real, solid leads that i've put myself in the ring for. i have mostly felt certain that i will land on my feet, quickly, and in a much better place than i was before.

then we had an awesome easter weekend. how could it not be awesome -- three uninterrupted days of hanging with my family, culminating in a kid who looked like this:
dapper john.
... when we went to church for easter service and then to the camp for an awesome day of crawfish, friends, family, and dirty camp fun.

and i even managed to keep my spirits up through another day of job hunting on monday. busy busy, filling out apps and sending resumes and looking for new listings.

and yesterday was an awesome trip to the zoo with awesome friends and their awesome kids. three mamas brought a total of six boys ranging in age from just a few weeks to not quite six. it was like herding cats, but it was wonderful, to have good company and fun with my little bug, and of course to check out the critters which i love so much.
about to get on the choo choo train, and of
course he has to hold his own ticket.
he's a big boy.

which side of the glass are the monkeys on, anyway?
(not pictured, the littlest boy, who was gobbling
a bottle at the time.)
but today. oh, today. it's grey and rainy and i didn't sleep well, because a certain thunder-phobic dog kept mewling and i had a hard time falling asleep. and i've sort of exhausted the initial on-rush of the job search -- there's more out there, i'm sure, and i'll keep looking, but it will require more digging and creativity and less likelihood of a quick solution. and the reality of filing for unemployment is sinking in, and the tiresomeness of sitting in my house alone all day with little human interaction, and the likelihood that this process will take a little while -- all these things are sinking in and frankly, i feel like crap.

so, to paraphrase my mom, today i am allowing myself to be a bit of a poopoohead. today, i am feeling grey, and i am trying to be ok with that. i won't allow myself to wallow, but i will allow myself to feel it, and to know it's a natural part of this process.

today, i might cry a little bit. but i'll be better tomorrow, i'm sure.