Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1/11/11 and Fears

It just seems like days like today, 1/11/11, can make people scared or nervous or conspiracy theorists. I guess it goes back to New Year's Day of 2000...remember Y2K and all the paranoia over changing to the new millennium? Today most of the feeds I see are people having fun with it. I'm sure there's lots of weddings happening this random Tuesday.

Anyway...it got me thinking about my phobias, fears, and anxieties. What makes me afraid? My top ten:

1) Driving at night or inclement weather - self-explanatory, right?
2) Getting into a cab at night while on a business trip alone - I am a master at cabs, thanks to the travel I do for work. But there's something about how alone and vulnerable I feel especially at night getting into a cab. I always think about the opening scene from "The Bone Collector" with Angelina Jolie. I like to be on the phone or texting info about my whereabouts to my husband during this time.
3) When my kids sleep late - because my mind immediately thinks they must not be breathing.
4) Carbon monoxide - I should probably just have a detector installed in the house. I'm terrified we'll get poisoned, and my big fear is that I wake up woozy realizing this is what's happening and I'll be the only one that survives. Wow. Heavy.
5) Taking both kids in public by myself. Yep, 11 months later and I'm STILL nervous about this.
6) Flying - always. It's easier now, but not completely relaxing.
7) Being the closest cubicle to the front door at my office - I'm always afraid some lunatic workplace shooter will come through the door and I'll be first. I'm moving cubicles in a few weeks though, so yay! Although now I'll be further from the door and any escape route...
8) Cold calls - for anything. Sometimes even to order food.
9) Driving underneath bridges or overpasses - call me crazy but I feel like if they're going to collapse I have a much better chance at survival if I'm on the overpass versus underneath. I nearly have a panic attack everytime I get stuck underneath one.
10) Open Water - While I loved Hawaii and I loved the snorkeling in calm, supervised waters, my dad had a real near-death experience with the powerful ocean and I also did not like AT ALL snorkeling out in the open water. Drowning, sharks, jellyfish...all big fear. I cannot watch "The Perfect Storm" without wanting to throw up.

So a common theme in my fears is death and death of my loved ones, right? I figure that's probably everyone's fear.

Things I'm NOT afraid of: clowns, the dark, heights. Among other things. When I started this post I really thought it would be fun and light (spiders, casseroles, etc.). Huh...guess not.

I will say that I've calmed down A LOT on my conspiracy theories and my fears about random crime and bad things happening since I stopped watching any "Law and Order" episodes. My husband and I made a deal that he would stop cussing if I would stop watching "Law and Order". Let's just say I held up my end of the bargain while I'm patiently waiting for Colt to yell the f-word when we miss a red light.

I still watch "Criminal Minds" but that's about it. Cutting those shows out of my life helped more than I realized they would. I sleep better at night, too. Anyway...would love to hear other's fears!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's a good thing, huge opportunity, but I can always find something to complain about!

So, today my husband put in his 2-week notice at the job he's worked at for 8 years, since we were first married. We've been talking for quite a while about what was best for him and our for our family, and a new opportunity came up just in time. He's been through a lot in the last several months, as the economy and restructuring are themes in all pockets of employment these days. And I'm excited for him, but of course nervous for us.

We've grown accostomed to the flexibility and the trust that being a long-term employee brings. We have both worked at the same places for our entire marriage. Which means that while our personal and family life did a complete 180, full of tumultuous and joyous seasons of change, our professional life has been steady and reliable. We've both enjoyed different positions within our respective companies, promotions and the like; but pretty much the same.

This new job also means a dive into more training on his new company, their policies, his position. And it means he will spend 6 weeks in training in Dallas in the near future. I am pretty grumbly about this period of time away. I think that is an extremely long time to ask employees to be away from their families and I'm especially sensitive because we have very small children who are very attached to their dad. So, I am grumbly. Even at my busiest travel seasons I'm not away more than 2 nights at a time.

He will be home on the weekends, but that's not enough to make me feel any better about it. Now, I realize that some people (military spouses in particular) can't feel bad for me. They deal with their spouses being away with NO break for a year or more at a time. I cannot even imagine! I know a lot of people are dealing with tough economies, spouses working miles and miles away permanently. Commuting between cities.

But I've really thought about this for a while, and I don't think it makes my experience or my discomfort any less real or crappy. Just because someone has it worse than me, doesn't mean that what I'm going through is any better for myself. I see a lot of people saying things like "my kid is always sick with step, but so-and-so has cancer so I can't complain". Not that I want a world of complainers, BUT I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to talk about your problems or vent your frustrations. It is a fact in life that someone ALWAYS has it worse than you do. Period. I realize that, and accept that.

I've been making a point to tell that to my friends when they're expressing their frustrations and then suddenly feel guilty about it. "Yes, someone has it worse, but that doesn't make your experience any less valid". I know it can get annoying when people complain all the time, but I also think it's ok to talk about what you're struggling with.

Sigh...just me trying to justify my frustration with John being out of town for so long, I guess. We'll get through it, my sister is practically moving in and my mom and in-laws are ready to help as needed. So I am blessed and will have it much easier than most! This is stemming from a GOOD thing, a great opportunity. And when he returns, he'll be going to a job he LIKES and that hopefully treats him well.

We should all be so lucky.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


You make me:
Smile like the sun,
Fall out of bed,
Sing like a bird,
Dizzy in my head,
Spin like a record,
Crazy on a Sunday night.

You make me:
Dance like a fool,
Forget how to breathe,
Shine like gold,
Buzz like a bee,
Just the thought of you can drive me wild.

Oh, you make me Smile.

(lyrics by Uncle Kracker)

Friday, January 07, 2011

The tough stuff

This week has been on the rough side of parenting. Two mostly sleepless nights with Colt have made it hard for this girl to function. But just when I thought I would lose my mind after the 5th time of Colt waking up last night, something pretty amazing happened. It was about 5:30a and so John ended up just bringing him in to lay with us before my alarm went off at 6:00. Colt laid next to me, his forehead pressed against mine, rubbing his blankie through his fingers with one hand, and rubbing my cheek with the other. He was quiet, and just lovingly stroking my face.

2-year-olds are full of words and thoughts and expressions and though I can tell what he's saying more now than even a month ago, I still can't understand a vast majority of what he's communicating. Trying to understand pain or discomfort in a 2-year-old is very difficult. I know his throat is still hurting from last week, but it took 6 hours of writhing and screaming on Wednesday night to determine the pain meds he was on were "backing him up" and his tummy was cramping big time. Then last night, after all the waking and sleeping it wasn't until he was laying next to me that I figured it out.

"Baby, what hurts? Is it your tummy?"
"No, Mama."
"Does your throat hurt?"
"Your ears?"
*shakes his head*
"What is it, Honey?"
Finally, he pats his cheek and says "Owie".

His teeth. Sure enough, pearly white molars, the last of his baby teeth, are popping through.

So it's been a mix of frustration and (sadly) anger on our parts the last few nights trying to figure out what he doesn't know how to tell us. And then, this morning, complete pride and accomplishment that - sure enough - Mama can understand what's going on and how to make it better.

On a similar note, I often find myself in a strange place of what to blog. I love sharing the highs of parenting, the silly and fun and adorable things my kiddos do. But as we all know there are some real low points. Times I lose my temper, times I can't stand the word "no" for one more minute, times I'm desperately wishing a grandparent would come take them for a sleepover so I can just sleep in already.

I hesitate in sharing these moments, not because they're not real. But because even after 2 children and more than 2 years...infertility is still raw to me. And I'm afraid to "complain" about my kids or being a mom for fear that people will think I'm not grateful.

I remember thinking "I'd give anything to be kept up all night by a colicky baby" or "I'd love to have stretch marks if I had a baby" and getting very angry with people who complained about such things. Time marches on and lives change. But I'm not sure when I'll be able to really, really let go of that part of me that wanted something SO desperately. I got it - and sometimes it still feels unreal to me.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

I wasn't prepared for this

UPDATE: Colt is fabulous after his surgery! Thanks for all the positive thoughts and prayers. More on that at another time.

Today I want to write about the OTHER little man in my life, Owen. The tiny squishy baby that has turned into a BOY overnight. A lot has been spoken of his older brother lately, and that will probably happen a lot because Colt is loud and showy and doing saying lots of cute 2-year-old sayings.

But somehow, while we were trying to keep up with Colt, Owen quietly and quickly grew up.

It hit me like a ton a bricks after taking the first photo below two weeks ago. He's been pulling up, standing, crawling for over a month now, but two weeks ago when I was dropping him off at school I caught this moment and I couldn't stop staring at how much he's changed. How TALL he is, his sweet facial expression, even how long his hair is growing.

I realized that I had never once imagined what it would be like when he started walking. When he turned one. When he grew up. I have always, always pictured him as my BABY. In my mind he's forever 4 months old.

I feel a mixture of things. Of course I'm grateful that he is growing and accomplishing milestones and developing. But the speed at which these things are happening seem to be so much faster than with Colt. I spent so much of my time with Owen just reveling in his babyness - enjoying my maternity leave, holding him longer, not sharing him as much, and pretty much putting aside WORRYING. No more first-time mom worries and trying to do things by the book. And it was (is) wondrous and joyous.

But it's making it that much harder to let go and let him grow up. He doesn't eat baby food at all. He's almost off bottles. Not a paci boy. Nearly walking. Not a night cuddler anymore. Not really a cuddler at all these days since he'd rather be down and exploring (I know this will pass as Colt is in a phase where he cuddles a lot). He's closer to climbing out of his crib than Colt is.

This is our last baby. And no matter how much he can do or how old he gets, as long as I'm living my baby he'll be.

Owen - slow down. Come fall asleep on Mama's shoulder once in a while! I love you SO MUCH, my Sugar Bear.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

New Years Goals

You know, 2010 was a pretty great year for us. I'm sad to see it go, in a way. I really don't have anything to complain about except maybe medical bills and the cost of diapers...but not even that could damper a year that we welcomed our sweet second son, my work provided some awesome new challenges and responsibilities, our extended family stayed safe and healthy, I lost weight, our children were blessed, we're employed.

Next year I have a few goals. Simple, specific and beneficial.

1) more one-on-one time with owen at bedtime, specifically spent reading. Colt is not so into books and I'd like for at least one of my kids to love books like I do. I feel like owen is my best shot at this stage!

2) make it a nightly habit to brush colt's teeth. Right now it's just if we remember.

3) meal plan and cook more meals at home. In the last few months we have eaten dinner at home more. Really for no other reason than the kids are prone to epic meltdowns near their bedtime. And I noticed something...they eat SO much better when we're all there, at our table, eating off our plates. They get excited, even over Hamburger Helper. So goodbye to the regular expense and "convenience" of take out. I'm not committing to healthier meals or a large variety or even a certain number of days each week. Just simply more meals at home, together.

4) watch my portions and make better food choices. Say no. I'd love to be down another 15 pounds by the time I'm 30 in April. But I'm not going to stress about it. Out of financial necessity I'm dropping my membership to weight watchers in January but I haven't been following it to a T for a while and I haven't gained any! So further better choices should help knock the pounds off! Plus owen pretty much only eats fruits and veggies, in mass quantities, so that should help my snacking options!

5) be a better wife. I'm quick to anger, quick to become irritated, and I operate in a "what's fair" mindset. All have taken a toll and I don't like the kind of nagging personality it makes me. So I want to work on being fun and supportive and helpful as a wife, not just as a mom.

There are other things: be a better friend, watch my attitude, spend more time with family, potty train Colt. But I'll worry about those as I go. For now, my top 5 goals for 2011 are above.

Happy New Year!