Wednesday, September 28, 2011

First Day of School!

On Monday we all got up bright and early and got ready for Lizzie's big day. I got her dressed and did her hair. I had written her a short little "Happy First Day of School!" letter the night before, which I read to her. After I felt like she was all settled and ready to go (and that DOH was okay on his own...he was a little nervous about his baby girl starting school--so cute!), I headed to work. That part sucked. I really felt like I should have been there, but such is the life of the working mom.

Though I wasn't able to be there fore the drop off, DOH (who really has proven this week how truly wonderful he is) took Lizzie out to breakfast (a tradition he's continuing from when I was still in school) and then brought her to school.

Lizzie took to preschool like a fish to water. She was fine when DOH left, happy to see him when he came to pick her up, but not desperate to go home. And when I came home, she was so excited to describe everything she did at school. I know she had a really wonderful time and will hopefully make lots of new friends!

But I still can't believe I am the mother of a preschooler!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Proof That I Was Once A Major Hottie

Would this guy have married me if I hadn't been?

I look at my husband with the soul purpose, sometimes, of reminding myself that I can't be that scary looking if he's still with me.

What a relief :-)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Discussion Between Husband and Wife

Wife: Honey, could you clear off the porch today?

Husband: Sighing Yeah, I guess I can. Just, you know, could you please try to pick up after yourself when you're out there? Most of that mess is yours.

Wife recalls the freeze pop wrappers, dirty underwear, boots, un-rinsed dinner plates, and Call of Duty video games she has been picking up off the floor for the past five years. 

Wife considers punching husband in face. 

Wife resists because three-year-old daughter is sitting beside them, and had recently had a discussion on the importance of "gentle hands." 

Wife: Sure, hun, sure...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

On Whales and Major Surgery

What? A vaguely timely project update? It couldn't be!

Ah, but it is. 

Project Baby is well underway. In my last update, I talked about how I'm feeling a wee bit...whale-ish. Well, I weighed myself this morning and I've lost two pounds in the last week. *Pats self on back*

Hey, it's a start, right? 

Now, on to something new. 

While labor and delivery are way, way, way, way off into the future, Adriel on Mommyhood Memos (wicked awesome/sweet blog that you should check out) has posted a video on "natural cesarean sections." While my end goal, besides delivering and raising a healthy and happy baby/child, is to have a natural birth, preferably at a birth center (versus the hospital)....or maybe....just home? (I don't know if it's a wise/responsible idea to go from having a c-section to giving birth at home, but it's a thought, right?)

Anyway, because anything can happen and a c-section may become necessary, finding this video made me feel loads and loads better about the idea of possibly having another c-section. I did not have a traumatizing experience previously. I had a really great experience, actually, but it still wasn't what I wanted. And I want what I want this next time around, but things happen, plans change, and we have to make accommodations. As much as I don't want to prep my brain for a c-section (because I feel as though that will make the likelihood of having one that much greater), I receive some comfort from this alternative. The video is below and is totally fascinating (though, be warned, the show a c-section being performed, so if you're squeamish, you may want to skip that part).

Friday, September 23, 2011

There Should Be a Dating Websites for Finding Friends

Lizzie starts preschool on Monday (as Elizabeth, since she wants to go by that at school). I think I might die. Of excitement or anxiety, I don't know, but there is potential heart failure in my future.

But I'll update you about school next week.

What I want to talk about is how I don't have any friends. (I've been a bright little ray of sunshine lately, haven't I? No wonder no one hangs out with me any  more.)

Well, that's a lie. I have friends, and their great, but they're friends from high school. Friends who haven't had kids yet. Friends who are wonderful, but don't always get all the "mom" stuff I deal with. And that's okay. They aren't there yet, and I respect that.

But I really want some mom friends.

And with Lizzie starting preschool, I thought that maybe this would be an opportunity for me to meet some moms and maybe, I dunno, make some friends.

Well, today was open house for the preschool, so all the kiddos and their moms and dads and even some grandparents came to check things out. While parents mingled and chatted with one another, all seeming to know each other from somewhere (seriously, all of them knew someone), I stood back and watched Lizzie play with some toys and the student teachers and other kids.

I tried to stand near other moms. I smiled. I said hello. I complimented people's kids/babies.

Someone asked me if it was a gold or green student day (the preschool is at a high school, and the days rotate for the high school students who work at the preschool).

I said no, I didn't.

She looked confused.

Lizzie ran over to me and said, "MAMA!"

She looked really confused, then walked away.

She thought I was a high school student.


I am telling you, without fail, this happens to me any time I go to some sort of parent/child function. I'm either the student worker, the babysitter, the older sister, the nanny. Should I just have "I am a parent" tattooed to my head?!

I'm getting tired of this, and I feel as thought it's preventing me from making mom friends. I don't think they realize I'm the mom or they don't take me seriously as a parent (because, apparently being a young parent means you suck and aren't worthy of friendship or at least a cordial greeting). I also realize that I need to be more willing to step out of my shell and talk to people, but it's hard when everyone else is busy talking to one  another and they don't give you a second glance.

I realize I'm getting super pouty and having a bit of a pity-party, so I apologize. I realize this isn't making me out to be someone who people would really want to be friends with.

But, if you're out there mommy friends, I promise I'm not usually this annoying. I'm really fun! I swear! Really!

Please be my friend?


My last post was a bit of a downer.

We all have off days, as parents, I think. That was one of mine. I chose to blog about it.

I'm still not sure if I should have or if I'm glad I actually hit the publish button after I wrote all that, but I did, and it's been out there for a few days, so I don't see much of a point in deleting in now.

But, in case you were wondering, I'm feeling loads better.

I've been a working mom for a month now, and I think I'm starting to feel it.

I'm very tired. I work a long day, with a lot of responsibility. I love it so much.

And I feel an intense guilt over that.

How can I love my work when I love my child? Somehow it just doesn't seem possible (especially when I can waste time that I could be spending with my family by having major emotional meltdowns?).

I know, at my core, what I am doing, working, expanding my horizons, bringing in a paycheck, asserting my independence as a woman and educator, are all good things. I am the product of a working mother, and there was never a day where I felt my mother didn't love me because she went to work every day.

I also know that my daughter loves her "day care" (it's a lovely, wonderful, perfect at-home set up--I could not have found anyone anywhere who is better). I know that she is safe, well-cared for, and so happy. I know she is happy to go there in the morning, but happy to leave in the evenings

And I know that my husband is happy with and respects my choices as a mom and working woman. He understands that I work hard all day and that things will be different during the school year versus the summer. He is a partner in our household.

So, when I have a crap day, when I feel loads of guilt over being away from home, from feeling just plain bad and cranky, I need to remember what it is I know. And what it all boils down to? I know that I am not a bad mother, and sometimes I've even a good mother.

And that's it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bad Mommy

Do you ever have one of those days where just know you're a totally crap parent. That, 10 or 15 years down the line, your child will tell you that her earliest memories are of you being really, really horrible? And that will frame their entire picture of you for the rest of their lives and they'll hate you and have to go to therapy and not be able to have a positive and meaningful relationship with anyone because YOU screwed them up so badly?

I'm totally having one of those days.

It's been one of those days where I understand why people encourage parents to be older and more mature before they have children.

It's been one of those days where I wanted to crawl under a rock and just die because I feel so badly about everything I do as a parent.

It's been one of those days where mere crankiness feels like it's much, much more and I start to wonder if I belong in a mental institution.

Our day ended with Lizzie asleep in my arms. We had finished getting ready for bed, stories read, songs sung (teeth inevitably forgotten to be brushed, something I only realized after she was sound asleep), and Lizzie was ready to go into her own bed. I told her she could fall asleep in bed with me. As you may have gathered, it had been a tough day, and I just wanted her close to me for a little while, for her to realize that no matter how crappy and grumpy I can be, I still love her.

As she drifted off in my arms, I looked at her. It's so rare for me to just look at anyone and really see what I have. I think most parents believe they don't deserve these perfect, all-forgiving little souls, but I truly do not. I'm still not sure how I won the good Karma lottery when this child was brought into my life. She is so good, so bright, and so beautiful, and yet I don't see all of it as often as I should.

I get caught up in menial things, things so incredibly unimportant, like the state of my  house or the new recipe I want to try out.

I don't play with her enough.

I don't talk with her enough.

I don't look at her enough.

And here I am, prattling on about having another baby when I still have so much to do and grow with in this baby. I still get that overwhelming sense of awe when I really look at her, not believing that this person is partly from me and loves me, even when I'm not all that fond of myself.

I think I need a focus shift, away from the material, which I can become very much obsessed with, more inward--in towards myself and towards my family and my interactions with them. I need to see more frequently (like, all the time) how blessed I am to have my daughter (and DOH) in my life, and I need them to feel that.

Am I the only one who has these kinds of days and realizes she needs to re-evaluate...everything?

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Promise I Haven't Abandoned Ship

Okay, so a little while ago, I did say I would be updating on a couple of projects I have going (Pioneer and Baby related). I  have updated on the Pioneer Project (and will be doing so again this evening), but I haven't had a chance to mention the whole baby thing. Mostly because I'm trying to keep my head above water with work and it's overwhelming and I don't have time for anything and it's frustrating, yet satisfying because I love my job...but...none of that matters.

Because I'm here now.


Okay, so my first project update is this:

See this adorable young woman? That is what I looked like prior to children. 

This is what I look like now:
Obviously not my best angle, but you get the picture. I've gained a little weight since having my daughter. 

One of my biggest obstacles between myself and a normal, healthy pregnancy that will hopefully end without surgery is to lose some weight. 

A lot of weight. 

Problem? I am completely and totally unmotivated. 

Well, that's not entirely true. I do want to lose weight, and I have great reasons (besides wanting to get pregnant). 

I just can't seem to muster the will power to help me through this, to put me on the path to a healthier lifestyle. 

So this is what I'm battling right now (in addition to making sure I take my prenatals). I'm hoping I'll have some sort of epiphany over the weekend and come Monday I'll be on board with some sort of weight-loss program. 

Wish me luck, right?

Next update: Pioneer Project

Cooking/Baking - This part is way easy to nail. Right now I've got a Sweet Potato Dinner going in the oven, which will be followed up by a custard dish, with most of the ingredients coming locally. (Maybe it's all this good food that's thwarting my weight-loss?)

Homesteading - Major gardening project (well, we'll see how major it is, but I'm hoping for a huge transformation) starts tomorrow. My mom and I are looking to make some changes to the garden just in front of our porch in the morning. I will definitely try to remember to take some before and after pictures. I can't wait to get started!

Technology - I don't have time for technology any more... Other than a little bit of T.V. each night, I haven't had much time with my laptop or iPad. I'm almost sad about this. 

Spirituality - We might go to church on Sunday? (I'm trying, I promise.) 

Family - Major fail this week. Epic freaking fail. 

Let's hope for fewer fails this week. (And, again, let's have more pictures next time, kay?)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lizzie: Future Mom Blogger

So, Lizzie comes up to me this morning, pushing her play baby carriage. She has a baby blanket over the stroller.

She tells me: "Kirsten [this is what she calls me when she's pretending to be a grown-up], do you like my baby cover. It helps my baby stay out of the sun. I made it."

I say: "Oh, that's great, Curious [this is Lizzie's grown-up name]! What a good idea."

She responds: "Yeah. Can I use your computer, I need to blog about it."

It's Time to Party!

Now that we're finally really, really settled into our house, I decided that I wanted to throw a little bash.

I have a few close friends who I've known, for the most part, since middle school (in one case, since the 4th grade, when I first moved to Maine), and as of this year, we're all back in the state and mostly back in the area where we grew up. I knew I wanted to invite my old crew for my first "candle-light supper." Expect something like this:

(Side note: My group of my friends and I started watching this show our freshman year of high school. We assigned each other different roles. I'm Hyacinth, the overly prim and proper star of the show. It's funny how I've grown into that role...Ha.)

Anyhow, I'm in the midst of planning the evening. The biggest decision of the moment is the menu. This is really not going to be anything formal, but I don't want there to be more of an air of sophistication (this is my new term, of late). We are, after all, grown-ups now, with jobs or in graduate school, some of us in serious relationships, or getting ready to make big life changing decisions. While I can't turn down a night of pizza, video games, and Apples to Apples, I want to do something different.

So, this is what I have planned so far:

Appetizer - Sweet potato fries topped with pulled pork and cheese with sour cream maple dip
Side Dish(es) -
Main Dish -
Dessert - S'Mores with the bonfire, (there will probably be another sort of dessert dish)
Drinks - Pumpkin Head Ale, Sparkling Cider, Slow-Cooker Spiced Cranberry-Apple Cider

A bonfire; a rousing game of Apples to Apples (some habits die hard :-)); Bocci ball

Table Setting:


Clearly I still have more to plan, and I'll update as a I go along, but I'm really excited about even the little I have here.

I am so pumped for my first grown up gathering!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's Hard to Find the Words

I am a member of a generation who grew up in the shadow of the attacks of 9/11; who had friends who have been shipped overseas to fight the wars these attacks prompted; words like hijack, ground zero, and terrorist bring to mind very specific ideas and images.

 The tragedy of 9/11 is so much more than that horrific day. I was thirteen on the day those planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania, yet the repercussions of that day have followed me into my 23rd year.

There is no forgetting, only quietly remembering who and what was lost that day to our country and facing what is ahead of us on the road that we have been forced to go down.

Today is a day to remember what we have lost and to realize what we have and will gain.

Pioneer Project Update

Here's an update! I would have updated on the designated day (Friday), but there was some major craziness going on on Friday and Saturday, so I didn't have the chance. But here we go!

Cooking/Baking: So, I'm majorly impressed with myself in this area. I made, with local grown and/or purchased ingredients, an apple pie (crust from scratch!!) and two loaves of delicious white bread.
I got the recipe for the crust here.
I got the recipe for the bread here.
And this is the recipe for the apple pie filling off the side of my McCormick's Apple Pie spice jar:
Mix 8 cups sliced peeled apples, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour and 1 1/2 tsp. Apple Pie Spice.

Homesteading: I really need to start taking pictures, because there has been a dramatic change in the landscape of our yard. You see, we had this large swath of what can only be described as the monster plant. These plants sort of had stocks that resembled sunflower stalks, but weren't. There was no real bloom at the top. They were getting as high as 8 or 9 feet tall, and a vine was starting to snake it's way through the plants and up into a beautiful crab apple tree that was at the center of this mess.

Well, the monster plant (well, plants I guess), has fallen. My BFF and I pulled them out and now I have a gigantic bare patch instead of these bizarre green creatures growing in my yard. I love that bare patch. Love it.

Technology: Um...this is an area that currently needs to be worked on.

Spirituality: Does it count that I really realized this week that I need to slow it all down? I'm emotionally exhausted lately and I've really seen that I need to calm down.

Family: The biggest part of this week? DOH and I started leaving each other messages on a little white board we have hanging on the door. What an awesome thing to wake up/come home to! Usually, we'll text each other something in the morning, but because of text messaging fees (it's not a part of our cell plan) and the fact that we'd both like something more personal, we decided the white board was better. We could more quickly say a lot more, it's in our own writing, and DOH even draws little pictures (mostly for Lizzie's entertainment).

Well, that's it for this week. Next week I'll definitely make more of an effort to include photographs!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Project Buttons!

I love buttons, especially now that I've learned how to  make my own! If you're interested in following along and doing your own versions of Project Baby or the Pioneer Project, grab a button and go! Tune in this Friday for a Pioneer Project update and next Monday for Project Baby.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Back in July, I sort of introduced the Pioneer Project. It sort of...didn't happen. At least not as much as I would have liked.

Biggest flaw in this project? The fact that I put myself on a schedule for cleaning. While I like schedules quite a lot and they can be loads of help in keeping me organized and on track, they can also cause chaos. If I put myself on a schedule I have to be on that schedule. I have a hard time drifting from what I've told myself I have to do, but if I do change the schedule in some way, it's really hard for me to get back on board.

What I did like about the Pioneer Project, at least at its inception, was the bigger picture, where I was looking at things like the general health and well-being of myself and my family. When I think about being a pioneer, I think of people who work their very hardest to keep their families as healthy and happy as possible while they worked towards something bigger. That's what I want to do.

So, I'm modifying the Pioneer Project to better fit my needs. These are the areas I'll be focusing on (for now...I may decide to add or take away later):

Cooking/Baking - Try to cook at least one meal/item a week where you know where all the ingredients you’re using are coming from (preferably local).

Homesteading - Do something to improve your home or yard at least once week. It can be as simple as mowing the lawn or finally getting at that dust under the couch or be as big as planting a vegetable garden or painting a new room.

Technology – Try to limit certain technologies (T.V., computer/internet, phone stuff, etc.) to just an hour or two a day. If this is too much (and it could very well be), try to pick just one thing to focus on limiting (for me, it would be my laptop and iPad).
Health - Exercise, in some way, every day. It doesn't have to be a full-blown Biggest Loser workout, but it should be something, everyday. And don't forget about mental health, too. Consider what grounds you and makes you feel happy or at peace with your life.

Spirituality - Take the time to reflect on things bigger than yourself. Go to a place of worship. Meditate. Talk to someone about the biggest questions in life. Go beyond yourself and your little piece of the world and think globally.

Family - Every day, find a small way to recognize your family and everything they do for you. This may seem small, but it adds up

What I'll attempt to do is every Friday give a quick little quip about what I did in each of these areas. I think what I'll realize is that I do a lot of this anyway, but after five years of college and two years of that being mostly education courses, I'm all about documentation. I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing my accomplishments, no matter how small. I also believe a broader consciousness of how you lead your life has never hurt anyone, either.

Now, considering my abject failure to do anything with my original Pioneer Project, you might be leery on my ability to participate in two projects, but I'm about to introduce you to a second thing I have brewing:

Project Baby. (You'll notice how I like to call things "projects"; another by-product of being in education.)

Because I am finally gainfully employed, with benefits, summers and weekends off, DOH and I decided it might be time to talk about when we can get pregnant. We've settled for some time next summer. Why then, you might ask? Number one, right now I want to focus on my job as much as I can. I love where I'm working and I want to be able to give 110 percent. Two, waiting until next summer gives me almost a full year to drop some  a lot of weight. And three, we'll have time to save money and make any other adjustments to our lives in order to bring in a new kiddo.

Maybe it's because Lizzie was such a surprise and we were such bumbling idiots through the first months (okay...years) of parenthood, but there is something makes me want to really, really prepare for baby number two. And that's not to say we haven't put our best feet forward in raising our daughter, but I feel like we parent her much better now than we did in the beginning. I think a lot of our success with baby Lizzie can be credited with sheer dumb luck (like having the perfect infant who never cried) rather than actual skillz. We can't count on lightening striking twice.

So all this leads to project number two, which I'll be updating every other Monday, depending on how I see fit. The basic timeline of the project (as I've set it up for me) goes as such:

Pre-conception: September 2011 through June/July 2012
This will include - Me, trying to not be fat. Eliminating as many chemicals and preservatives from our household and diets as possible. Building a stronger and even better relationship with my husband and daughter (and facilitating a stronger and even better relationship between DOH and Liz).

Trying to Concieve: (Hopefully) July/August 2012
This will include - Taking the necessary steps to be able to conceive again. Maintaining a relatively healthy weight. Speaking with midwives and OB/GYNs and figuring out what's best for me and my potential pregnancy and health.

Pregnancy: (Again, hopefully) Late Summer/Early Fall 2012
This will include - OBGYN vs. Midwife (if that's even a choice). Birth plans and what to expect during a second delivery after an emergency c-section. At the hospital, at a birth center, or at home? Continuing to eat healthfully and remain active (because I'm assuming I'll be doing all these things at this point). Preparing Lizzie to be a big sister and how to most peacefully introduce a new person into our family dynamic.

Birth: Late Spring/Early Summer 2012
This will include - Recovery. Parenting two kids. What I'm doing different this time around. Babywearing (because I'm obsessed). Breastfeeding. Cloth diapering. Woodstock (not really).

So, if you're interested in participating in these projects, please do! I realize my number of readers is small, so the chances of either of these projects taking off beyond myself is quite small, but  it would be cool if others did participate, too. And when I say participate, I mean you can take what I'm doing as inspiration for your own version of either project (or both!).
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