Saturday, January 31, 2009

Show & Tell #26

This is going to be a Tell instead of a Show. This morning, my husband let me sleep in (I have a nasty cold and I have been up most the night the past couple of nights). When I got up, I came downstairs. My husband was playing with Willow on the floor. When Willow saw me--she CRAWLED across the room to me. Purposely with her tummy off the floor and her knees and arms moving. It was her first time crawling, and my husband, my son and I got to see it together!



Show and Tell

Friday, January 30, 2009

Flippety Flop

Today is officially my last day. It is officially the last day for 4 others here.

I am lucky however. Last week my boss asked if I could stay another month to clean up the mess. Well, he did not say that specifically—basically I will not be doing my job anymore. I will be gathering up the files and integrating them from the various empty offices. When I am done, so-and-so’s office will have no files. No life. I am The Filer of Death!!

Today my stomach is going flippety-flop. Missing people who are still here (who have no idea that I have a reprieve); missing my job that will be gone soon.

My stomach is also flipping because I got a call from the agency. They have a temp to perm job that might work for me. Lower pay. Good hours and 10 mins from my house. There is also a message on my machine (so my husband vaguely tells me) about another position. (I cannot access remotely our new answering machine—ARGGH!). Could either of these prospects actually turn into anything? Or are they just a high point on which I will fall down as I ride the roller coaster of the job hunt?

My stomach is also growling. Our company is going to do one last hurrah. Get a pink slip –get a free lunch!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment #1:

I haven't given him a bath in a while. I usually draw his bath, maybe wash his hair. But he is bigger now. Almost 10 years old. So, I usually let him wash himself, while I go off to do the many other tasks at hand. Last night, I wanted to spend time with him. Just me and my son. So, I scrubbed him down. We talked about how the Romans used spoons to dig out the dirt, instead of sponges. We talked about how perfumes were used in Egyptian times. Somehow Spongebob was quoted. In other words, a typical discussion with my son. He has gotten so big. He barely is contained in the bathtub now--his legs have to bend a bit so that his feet touch the end of the tub. I marvel at this child, this boy, who has grown from a small baby to this wonderful boy.

Perfect Moment #2:

This morning, getting ready to leave the bedroom. She is in her daddy's arms, getting ready to be dressed. He has just taken her off the bassinet/changing table in our room. He puts the bassinet part back on with one hand, while holding her. As he talks to me, I see her. She is trying to grab onto the bassinet, but she is not close enough. It is just out of reach. While talking to him, I push the bassinet closer, just enough so she can grab it. She grabs it, and as she does, she gives me a secret smile.



Go visit other Perfect Moments Here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Show & Tell #25

Yesterday, our friend Ana came over for a visit. Not only is she great with kids, she also is great with animals. She has a German shepherd puppy, named Rykka (reeka). Ana brought Rykka and her German Shepherd Grandmother--Jule (yule-lee). Jule is a care dog, specially trained to be taken to nursing homes, etc. Which means she is really gentle and can stand pokes and prods.

Ana had just had the dogs out exercising, so they were both tired.

And the kids enjoyed hanging out with Jule.



Willow checking out Jule's paw. (Yes, animals have fingers and toes too!)


Willow likes to pull hair--we are trying to teach her to pet our cat, but at the moment, hair pulling wins out. Jule doesn't mind at all. Michael is snuggling Jule. He closed his eyes and was sleeping with her for a few minutes before we brought Willow in...


Pictures taken by Ana's cell phone camera.


Show and Tell

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Tale of our Television…a story about the economy we live in

About 5-6 months ago (before the collapse of Wall Street), when things were only “pretty bad”, we decided to buy a new television. Okay, we didn’t decide, our old television did. Anyway, we went to Circuit City and bought a 40 inch television. The brand name was Polaroid, who was filing for bankruptcy at the time, hence why it was a little cheaper. No problem, we have a service contract and warranty (and my feeling on things like Televisions/DVD players—as long as it’s a brand that you have heard of—its all the same stuff). So, New Years Day—the television blew up—sparks and everything. Calling Circuit City, they said they would have a repair guy (a subcontractor) come out and pick it up. A week later, we called and the repair man said that he was waiting for a part.

Today he called. Well, Polaroid is gone. Circuit City is shutting down. The part to repair the television is not forthcoming. The repair man said that we will be getting a refund. I am not sure from whom, but they assured us that we will get a refund. Because Circuit City will not do exchanges. Because like almost every company in the U.S.—they are going out of business or in trouble.

Once we get our money back, I guess we will go to one of the few stores that is doing well right now---Target or Walmart.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Rollercoaster

One of my favorite scenes in movies is from Parenthood.

[Gil has been complaining about his complicated life; Grandma wanders into the room]
Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Gil: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.

That pretty much sums up my feelings about life in general and being a parent specifically.

But, I have found that there are some Roller Coaster rides that I don't like. The Roller Coaster of infertility and IVF, with the injections, tests and dreaded 2 week wait. That ride I could have done without.

And now I am on another Roller Coaster ride that I do not like. The job hunt. The perpetual wait for an interview, a call back, a rejection letter. A wait for more jobs to open up. The giddy-ness of finding a job that you think would be perfect, only to sink to depression when the job is taken by someone else (or made into a Part Time job only!) Add to the fact that the economy sucks, everyone is laid off...ugh--I have only begun the ride and I am feeling sick...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Book Tour #16: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Time once again for a Book Tour...

Book: An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination
Author: Elizabeth McCracken

This was a tough book to get through, as the subject is about a still birth. Other than loss blogs, I have not read very much on this subject, so I was especially struck by the straight forwardness of the author, as well as the ocassional humor throughout the book.

Onto the questions:

I was so moved by the writing and emotion in this book, and I wanted to pass it along to many people just because it's a great book, but I realized that a dead baby book is an awkward and probably inappropriate gift for most people. While reading, was there anybody that you wanted to give the book to? Why? Did you pass it along to anyone? If not, what held you back? Is it more appropriate for a woman who has lost a baby to give out a loss book than a woman who has not? What about a woman who has lost a baby, but the loss is unknown to the recipient -- does the gift expose her secret? Would you give the book to a woman that you know has lost a child?

I did not think to pass it along. Partially because I have never had such a loss, partially because I almost feel that this is a book that is most appropriate for people who have experienced such a loss. I would give this book to a woman who has lost a child. I think that, just like the loss blog community, it would be a great help to read someone who has experienced such a loss.

My favourite line of the book comes on page 103: "Closure is bullshit." In your opinion (whether or not you have experienced pregnancy loss yourself), is this true or false?

If I could, I would have a bumper sticker made saying that. It is so very very true. I do think that there are some things in life that you can never have closure on. I think death is one of those things where the living often feel like they would like to just talk to the dead one last time, or see them one last time, etc. That is a longing for closure. But there is no closure and can never be.

McCracken states that her only regret regarding Pudding, was that she didn't hold him. Would you hold your baby in the same situation?

That was one of the few things that I could not relate to was her decision not to hold him. I have never dealt with such a loss, but if I had...I would have held him and they probably would have had to rip him out of my arms. I mean, I held him in my body for months on end--why would I not want to hold him then? I very much would want that tangible something to remember him.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Show & Tell #24 - Introducing - Pepi!

First off, I would like to thank the many people who have left comments and sent me e-mails concerning my lay off at the end of the month. I am luckier than most, and one way I am lucky is to have this community to give me encouragement and strength. After the many years of struggling with our secondary infertility, I thought that the last couple years things were finally looking up. And while they are still not bleak, it is a blow to lose a job that I have had for almost ten years, especially in these times.

Onto Show & Tell...

Two S&Ts in a row about our pets!

Michael's birthday is in February...but he has gotten an early present from us...a green Iguana, which he named Pepi (pronounced Peppy).

Pepi eats green vegetables and squash, fruits and berries. (He can also eat crickets if we so choose).

Why an Iguana, you might ask? One reason is that none of us are squirmish with any lizards or reptiles. Another, my husband had a pet Iguana (named Bananas)when he was Michael's age. Third...um, I guess because he is cute...

Pepi and Michael











Show and Tell

Saturday, January 17, 2009

And this is why I love him...

As I was working today (a very weird affair, the day after the lay off announcement--half the company will be leaving at the end of the month), I suddenly felt that someone was behind me. Still seated, I turned around--and right in front of my face were a dozen roses. Being held by my husband. Who then hugged me and said "Everything will be alright." And then he left.

After work, he came home--with chocolate cake!

Here are some pictures he took with his phone of the roses (that I brought home) and cake.





And, now, just for fun, some more photos he has taken with his phone recently (well, more like during holiday break).





Friday, January 16, 2009

Ode to the End of Breast Feeding

See Mom’s Breast

Moo. Moo. Moo.

See Mom Rest.

Boo. Boo. Boo.

See Mom get up and feed

Moo. Moo. Moo.

At every hour that you need.

Moo. Moo. Moo.

Now you have grown

And will not even have known

How often your mom

Drew out her breast

For you to feast,

All I can say

Is that cow’s are not the only

Ones who go

Moo. Moo. Moo.*



*While I will acknowledge the many benefits of breastfeeding**, I must say that I never got the whole “thing” with it. Two kids later, I am happy I did it for each of them as long as I did (1 year for oldest, 9 months for youngest), but I was not entranced by it. It was a means to an end, sometimes rewarding, sometimes annoying. While I will miss it in the sense that it is yet another baby milestone I will not experience again, I will not be crying over ending it. Do I end on a pun? Oh, why the hell not—Thanks for the Mammeries!

** Please don't take this as an invitation to discuss how bad a mother I am for not breastfeeding anymore. It was a mutual choice between me and my daughter, as is it your choice to continue (or not).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Apprehension - Update, or Irony is Pretty Ironic...

ap⋅pre⋅hen⋅sion   [ap-ri-hen-shuhn] –noun
1. anticipation of adversity or misfortune; suspicion or fear of future trouble or evil.
2. the faculty or act of apprehending, esp. intuitive understanding; perception on a direct and immediate level.
3. acceptance of or receptivity to information without passing judgment on its validity, often without complete comprehension.
4. a view, opinion, or idea on any subject.
5. the act of arresting; seizure.


I have been a bit apprehensive lately. I think a lot of it has to do with the unknowable future of my job. My office is currently going week by week (literally), so before each pay check, I hold my breath to see if my pay has been cut, only to let that breath out with a sigh of relief---ah! Not yet! (But soon. But soon.)

UPDATE: So, um...I guess I am also psychic. Because today I was pulled aside and told that as of January 31, 2009, I will be out of a job. I am loving this year so far, oh yeah.

I am also worried about the future of the country. I want this President to do well. I worry that there are so many expectations and hopes riding on him that he cannot but fail. Our country is so divided and torn and desperate. It needs healing and help. I hope that this will happen.

Another bit of worry: without very much research or planning (very atypical of me), we have purchased an Iguana for our son (its an early Birthday Present). I have no idea how to take care of an iguana (and yes, supposedly this is going to be Michael’s responsibility). Good news—my husband had one when he was a kid. I think this apprehension will go away soon. (Pepe (or is it Peppy?) is a cute lizard—I will have pictures for Show & Tell)

I am also apprehensive about Michael’s Birthday Party. I have my usual jitters about whether anyone will show up, but I am also worried because this is the most expensive party we have ever done. And its Michael’s last themed party (he can't be really turning 10 Years Old--No way!!). And I want to make sure it goes off okay. And I might be laid off by the time it happens (next month).

Oh…and there is the leak in the upstairs bathroom (the downstairs bathroom ceiling is showing the water marks, but we do not know where its coming from—I think the bath tub). We are getting ready to call the plumber (it’s a slow leak—but it’s a leak nonetheless). UGH.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Goals for the Year

I am not one to make New Year’s Resolutions (Okay, I think they are crap. Just like I think Valentines Day is a Hallmark Holiday meant to make a huge part of the population miserable. Yeah, I am a cynical, cynical woman.)

But, I do like lists! And organization. And having my life not in a free fall like it has been a lot of the last year (mainly for good reasons).

So, if not for anyone else but for me, here are a list of “goals” for 2009 and beyond.

• Eat healthier (i.e. not as much eating out) and get back into my exercise routine (thus losing that “baby/PPD/dealing with newborn” weight)
• Get my husband to eat healthier and exercise (not an easy goal)
• To not get laid off (okay, an impossible to control goal, but one I can try to strive for nonetheless) Okay, amending to say to deal with the possibility of being laid off the best I can.
• To enjoy as many of Willow’s milestones as possible and to not needlessly worry about whether she is meeting them at the “right time” or not. Teeth grow when they grow. Children do eventually move around and nobody enters kindergarten in diapers.
• To enjoy Michael, even when his idiosyncrasies drive me crazy.
• To enjoy those mornings when Michael has snuck into our bed to snuggle close to us. (How long before he won’t do this anymore?!)
• To get back into Scrapbooking. (more than once every 3 months!)
• To enjoy my life and the people in it.
• Keep up my current pace on my book reading (I’ve read 3 books since the beginning of December)
• Think before I get angry. Learn patience. Be a role model.
• Keep having family meetings. Make a chart for chores. Get Michael more involved with this process.
• Praise for a job well done or remembered. Please and Thank you.
• Read every night to Willow.
• Let Michael be more independent.
• Baby proof, but do not over proof.
• Re-institute the Nature Trail walk every weekend during spring, summer.
• Let little things go.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Show & Tell #24

I thought I would share some photos of another family member. Our cat, Gabrielle (Gabby for short).

Some of the first pictures of Gabrielle. We got her from a shelter in New Hampshire. We were actually at a gaming convention, and one of our friends volunteers at the shelter. The Sunday of the convention, about the time we were getting ready to head home to Massachusetts, Michael and I went to the shelter to look for a cat.




Her name comes from Xena the Television Show. Gabrielle was Xena's sidekick.



Thinking back on when I bought her, I remember there were subtle thoughts that I kept to myself. We bought her when were in the midst of the worst part of our struggle with Secondary Infertility. We had not started IVF or adoption processes yet. But we knew something was wrong. I remember thinking that, at the very least, if I could not give my son a sibling I could give him a companion.





Since then, things have changed. Gabby has gotten fatter. She has become part of the family.



She is a very social cat. She loves to be where people are. She loves to be petted. She will find the room with the most people and sleep there. She is protective. She is curious. And she is loved.



And she has accepted, albeit wearily, the new addition to our house. This picture is her trying out Willow's crib before Willow was born. Now Gabrielle likes to sleep in the abandoned bassinet in our room (we still keep it cuz it converts to a changing table). At night Gabrielle sleeps there beside us--another life that has added so much to our family.




Show and Tell

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bedtime Routines – Under Construction

Willow is 8 months old and we are still trying to work out the kinks on our bedtime routines with the kids.

I think there was a period of a couple months when all ran smoothly, probably around the time school just started. Both kids went down about 8 – 8:30 p.m. I thought that was that. When Michael was 2 months old, he went to bed at 7:30 – 8:00 p.m. every night and slept through the night…a routine that has not varied that much in 9 years.

BUT kids are individuals, and my girl does not like going to bed early…oh no.

And, then, well, things got complicated.

Willow got a growth spurt and had a teething episode (no teeth yet) which made her fussy to put down and we had troubles getting her to bed before 11 p.m. (or later) Luckily that was only for a week—but after that time, she has not gone to bed before 9:00 p.m. The good news—when she is finally to bed, she sleeps through the night (she’s been doing that since 3 months).

Then, Michael had some troubles getting to sleep at night. He would wake up and not easily go back to bed. I think he was having a bit of stress over starting 4th grade, he was starting a new ADHD medication that caused wakefulness, etc.

Finally, the last few weeks before the holidays we had gotten them down to a somewhat better routine. Michael would go to bed between 8:00 – 8:30 and Willow would go to bed around 9:30 – 10:00 p.m. But that was EXHAUSTING. Especially when you add in cleaning up the dinner dishes, house hold stuff, packing Michael’s lunch/snack for the next day, maybe, maybe relaxing a bit before going to bed. (Oh, and maybe talking to one’s spouse for a bit about things other than the kids)

Complications to our bedtime plans abound. Michael has to go to therapy every other week and the week that he is not doing therapy, its Cub Scouts (also recommended by the doctor as a way to get him to be more social). Then there is the homework issue. A typical 4th grader after school with homework—that is tough. With Michael, getting him to do his homework in a timely matter is like herding cats (I love that phrase). And then I would like to spend some quality time with my son…and also feed him dinner, etc.

We decided that over holiday break we would get Willow used to a routine getting her down at 9 p.m. Umm…well, we got her down to 9:30 p.m. The funny thing—she is not at all fussy. She is just happy and wants to play and play and play. (Oh and eat). And its not like she sleeps a lot during the daytime. Nope, both my children run on Parent Power (they drain our energy and use it, thus sustaining themselves with very little sleep).

We are working on getting the routine down, but it seems that we get sabotaged (sometimes by ourselves).

Last night was a typical night. All things were going well. I was getting ready to say that Michael should go to bed (it was 8 p.m.) and my husband, who had come home later than us (just in time for dinner) and just wanted to spend some time with his son, said “why don’t we watch ____________”. So, ½ hour cartoon program later, we now try to get Michael to bed. Which means he goes to bed around 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, my husband, the Baby Charmer, gets Willow to sleep and I put her up in her crib. Her eyes open (its 9:05). But, she sucks her thumb (so CUTE) and turns over. She will go to sleep. I creep down the stairs. A few minutes later, we hear her cry. We know that if we let her cry, she will be asleep in 10-20 mins. I go to the bathroom. As I sit, I hear on the upstairs ceiling---pitter patter pitter patter (my son’s feet). He goes to the bathroom upstairs. I hear him flush. I hear the baby still crying. And then I hear my son take the baby and bring her downstairs. Cuz she was so cute and crying and maybe we did not hear her.

So…the kids got to bed at 10 p.m. last night.

Parents went to bed at 1 a.m. after unwinding for an hour.

The struggle goes on….

Oh, and just for fun, here's an obligatory photo--from last night, Willow eating dinner (see the sleep in her eyes? Nope, neither do I!)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Gifts

As she ran her hands through my hair, the soothing comfort of it made me drift.  As she pulled and rubbed at my scalp, I drifted off to sea on an imaginary wave.  As she touched my face and pulled and stretched and rubbed, I relaxed and closed my eyes.

___________________________

As she pulled strands of my hair as hard as she could, I could tell she was pulling herself backwards (I am a natural bungee cord!).  As tears come to my eyes, I hear her giggle.  As she put her whole fist into my mouth to explore my teeth and tongue, I gag a little but let her do it anyways.  The pokes and prods elicited smiles and wide brown eyes.  I nuzzled her tummy and heard her explode with giggles.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Show & Tell #23

The kids Christmas morning...untold stories...


Michael loves to have Willow come sit next to him. His relationship with her is growing and it
is so wonderful to watch as they slowly come to see each other as individuals. She lights up when he comes into a room. She lets him clumsily carry her over to the couch to sit with him.




Stories underneath the photo: Michael has lately started to use our afghan as not only a blanket, but HIS blanket. It started after Michael and I had a day off together and watched Madagascar2. A character has a security blanket named Foo Foo. So, now Michael has a Foo Foo. Willow is holding the first book I ever read to her, a Cat in the Hat book for nursery age children..she LOVES to put it in her mouth. Both my kids hair is out of control no matter what I do.






Show and Tell

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year -- Botana and Boom!!

So, we started the New Year off by lazing around the house. I made my husband's favorite, a botana (like his mom used to make)


I think this will become a traditional thing.*

We put away the holiday decorations and tree, my husband and my son both disappearing every so often as they did not want to put them away. (Hmmm..I am always ending up putting the decorations away).

My son had gotten us involved in the annual Twilight Zone marathon and we were enjoying the day watching black and white and ironic endings.

The evening was wearing down and we started getting the end of holidays/vacation blues (even though Michael and I had Friday off). Our friend John came over and we were starting another Twilight Zone eppy, when SNAP, SPARK, BOOM. Our four month old 40 inch t.v. went Ka-Boomy.

T.V. repair coming on Monday--until then, we get a hint of the old days--the old 19 inch t.v. from upstairs. (It was a bit unnerving to watch my son laying in front of the old t.v. with a black and white television show--like a flashback to my youth).

*Its really simple:

Layer corn chips (no salt), refried beans (just spoonfuls all over), and shredded cheese. Add more cheese to the top layer.

Microwave until the cheese melts.

For toppings, chop up:

1 onion
2 avocados
2 tomatoes
1 can of chopped green chillis
(obviously you can make it hotter by doing jalepenos, etc.)

Add a dolop of sour cream.

Since my husband and I have differing tastes, we wait until we have our individual servings before we top it with above ingredients.