Wednesday, December 31, 2008

One of My Favorite Songs

That's What Tomorrow is For
By Queen of Hearts

We have a long way to go
on a long journey home
and we stumble and fall and fall short
we're not as good we could be
or all that we should be
but that's what tomorrow is for.

Now temptation and trial may cloud every mile
and the way may seem dark and unsure
but the future is bold and
a plan is unfolding
cause that's what tomorrow is for.

For living for loving
forgiving becoming
more than the day before

For learning our lessons
sharing our blessings
that's what tomorrow is for.

At the setting of the sun
the work left undone
I'm called in at last from my chores
grace will be spoken
the circle unbroken
cause that's what tomorrow is for.

For living for loving
forgiving becoming
more than the day before

For learning our lessons
sharing our blessings
that's what tomorrow is for.
oh, that's what tomorrow is for.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Custard and Mugs

Ok, some asked about my Christmas dinner. I usually list it. This year it was small but still very delicious.
Turkey (deliciously brined) I think it was the best brine job I’ve done in a while.
French cut string beans with shallots and garlic a bit spicy and hot but crunchy and delicious.
Creamed corn First thing to disappear, every year.
Mashed potatoes With the gravy, I could have just eaten that.
My mother’s sweet and sour crunchy pork chops Instead of soup, mom made these yummy 1” thick chops. Mmm good.
Dessert was chocolate cherry trifle. In the words of Joey Tribbiani, “What's not to like? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good! “

Ok, back to the mug. In my last post, I told you how much I love that mug. I love that mug. I truly love that mug. It goes right up there with our wedding invitation mugs. For our wedding invitations, we sent everyone mugs with photos of us during our first communions. We photoshopped them so it looked like we were standing next to each other.
Well, not 24 hours later, I broke the cup. Expletives upon expletives spewed forth as I realized the calamity. I dropped the mug and it shattered into mini pieces of itself as my husband just looked at me with this look that said, “My wife is an absolute klutz. No wonder her Wii Fit age is ‘ancient’.”
I am so disappointed. DH said I would get another cup. So now with the after Christmas sales, I’m hoping to get a replacement cup at a bargain price.
You know, I’ve been stocking up on back ups for items BG has taken a strong interest too. Maybe I should get a back up lovey for myself too. LOL.

Words to Live By

But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. -- Colossians 3:8

1st Christmas Out of the Womb

After all the Christmas crazies, I have a new after Christmas crazy, photos and videos. It was BG’s first Christmas outside the womb and mom couldn’t be happier. I’m still trying to capture videos and photos and will post some as soon as I can. So needless to say, photos will be added to this post sometime soon.
Some old traditions and some new traditions were had.
Instead of Christmas mass, we went to Christmas Eve mass this year. DH and I each read which added to the family togetherness of the season for me and I hope the parishioners. BG was dressed in a red corduroy-like dress with embroidered dogs on the bottom hem. I decided against stockings and dressed her in a white footsie instead. She looked adorable.
As with every year, Christmas Eve was spent with DH’s family. After mass, we loaded the car up and drove up to DH’s cousin’s home. This year, instead of presents for everyone, there was a gingerbread house contest. We didn’t participate but DH, BG and I were judges. 1st place went to SpongeBob SquareHouse. We couldn’t help but choose this as a certain cute and adorable cousin sat patiently awaiting the results.
The drive to and fro was quite scary for me as the fog was dense and the country roads dark but DH’s driving skills assured us we’d get to our destinations safely. Thankfully, we changed BG into her Christmas pjs ‘Mommy’s Little Joy’ at DH’s cousin’s. The weather was milk enough to only wrap BG in her knit cape my mom made for her. And I thought we’d have no use for a cape for a baby. One quick release of a button and BG was ready for the crib.
Christmas morning came and Santa’s elf snuck out to help arrange the presents around the tree and stocking in bed. Santa’s elf was quite tired the night before and didn’t get a chance to help Santa in the wee hours of the night.
I heated the oven for the chocolate croissants and made hot chocolate for DH and myself. DH got a special ‘Irish’ Hot Chocolate. That’s when I saw my present and boy was it an awesome present. On the dining room table was a mug filled with juice. Apparently, Santa must have heard from DH that I love a glass of juice in the morning. The mug had a photo of myself and BG on it with the words #1 Mom printed on it. I love this mug. I can’t tell you how much I love it. I hugged the mug. Yes, I did.
Ok, B.C. (before child), I used to think those mugs that say, #1 Mom or Dad mugs as a bit hokey. Now, I freakin’ love this cup. If I could, I’d carry the cup with me wherever I go. More about the cup in a bit.
BG woke up and decided today she’d start what I believe is my second Christmas gift. She started the morning randomly speaking ‘da da da da da da’ and blowing raspberries. Parents can understand this when I say, I swear she’s talking to me. I know she isn’t saying ‘da da’ as in ‘daddy’ but she is definitely trying to tell us something.
Obviously since I’m still sort of at a loss to what she’s trying to convey my typical response has been, “Really? Tell me more.” Which elicits a smile and another stream of raspberries, ‘ba ba’ and ‘da da’s. I say ‘really’ so much now, that I’m afraid she’s going to say that before ‘hi’, ‘daddy’, ‘mommy’ or ‘poop’.
After some freshening up of all family members, we began our new tradition of Christmas Day together as a family. With hot chocolate (w/milk, shaved chocolate, nutmeg and vanilla thank you very much), warm chocolate croissants, new pjs for everyone (yes, even DH got into it), camera and video camera, we all settled together under the tree to enjoy Christmas together.
BG is pretty young and probably oblivious to what was going on but her mom had a great time filming the festivities while her dad opened her presents from Santa and Grandma S.
Afterwards, we took photos by the tree. Like a complete dork, I put on the Yule log on TV to make the picture complete. Our first Christmas together is not commemorated in a photo of all of us in our pjs by the tree and a tv with a Yule log crackling, BG is on DH’s shoulder with her Santa hat on, I’m to her right with my Santa hat and oversized pjs helps with breastfeeding and DH to her left.
BG took a nap while I made a quick lunch and started the turkey. I prepped most everything on Christmas Eve morning so all that needed to be done was to actually cook and set the table.
Christmas night my family came over and we celebrated with a simple Christmas feast. Text messages from across the US came flooding in and we gathered together to take a photo to send to our CA family.
My mom was very happy although tired. I noticed that she was a bit weak as well and didn’t lift our daughter. I kept an eye out and hoped she would finally get that surgery for her back. I pray she gets it before Chinese New Year. Mom took a nap while DH cracked open his Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle. My brother, the coolest brother in the world, got us the Wii Fit. I’d been wanting this since I was post partum but didn’t want to spend the money on myself on such a frivolous gift. DH, the man who lives at the gym, couldn’t wait to try it out. Mom finally woke up in time to see the hula hooping and jogging games.
Finally on the day after Christmas, DH and BG went to visit his half-sister. I stayed home to get some much needed rest.
All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas. The best part and present for me was being able to spend it together and to start our own traditions. Happiness is definitely hot chocolate, hugs and holidays.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Love Fights Fair

The one thing about becoming a parent that has thrown me for a loop is the increase in fighting that my spouse and I have had. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think this is out of the norm and our fighting isn’t over anything that most new parents don’t disagree about.
Think about it. Sleep deprivation and constant caring for the needs of a newborn/infant will turn two rational adults into two territorial cats in heat.
Fighting is normal but I didn’t expect an increase after the baby was born. Call me na├»ve.
DH and I love each other and we do get through them but in my heart of hearts, I wish fighting wasn’t part of relationships. Nobody feels good about it. Why do we need to fight?
Today’s exercise is to sit with your spouse and draw up healthy ‘Rules of Engagement’. If you’re doing this alone, draw up your own personal ‘Healthy Fighting’ rules.

Here are my own personal rules of engagement I plan to follow:
I will listen and be silent. Fighting is a steam release.
I will let my pride go.
I will determine if insecurities are fueling the fight.
I will not speak until the release is complete. Words do hurt.
In the beginning, middle and end of a fight I will remember our love for each other is more important than whatever it is we are fighting about.

Everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of a man does not accomplish the righteousness of God. -- James 1:19-20

Friday, December 26, 2008

2009: Choosing Life

Terri Camp is daring us. She’s daring us to choose our life in 2009. She wants us to find three words that will shape how we live our life in the coming year.
Here are my three.
Me I’m going to live for me. I’m going to not place my needs on the back burner. This is going to be hard. Don’t call me a martyr. I’m not. I focus on J.O.Y. and don’t value my needs as much as I should. In my mind, if my desires are pushed to the side for the bettermint of the people around me yet my basic needs (food, warmth & shelter) are met, I usually forgo it. Problem is you have to be willing to do it and not expect it of others. You have to be aware that you make the choice and can't fault others for not feeling the same. This is a difficult task. I don't want to stop J.O.Y but for the bettermint of J and O, I need some Y.
Presumptions It makes me think of how Jesus didn’t have any expectations except rejection and persecution. He knew this from the very beginning yet he continued for 30+ years. Sure, he wanted to cocoon himself from it. Remember the garden? He didn't hide though because he loved us. I need to take care of myself and my needs within reason and stop my expectations. Expectations can lead to disappointment or occasional pleasant surprises. I just don’t want to make presumptions in 2009. Anything is possible. It has to be.
Dare I dare myself to be better than I am. I dare myself to be stronger. I dare myself to be a rock. I dare myself to be more silent. I dare myself to continue my love dare. I dare myself to think of myself before others, once in a while. I dare myself to stop presuming and start believing. I dare myself to sit still and still move.
So now it’s your turn. As the year closes, sit and reflect and choose your life in 2009. Make it personal. If you are like most I know, don’t be the mom or a wife for this dare. Be the individual you are and choose your life in 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Equitable Division of the Stuff I 'Like to Do'

BG is 5 months, 2 weeks and 1 day old.
The one line I dislike from my husband is, “But you like this sort of thing.” No honey, I don’t like doing the dishes late at night. I don’t like doing all the Christmas planning and I don’t like trying to figure out how I’m going to cook something to eat after a long day at work. I just do it because it needs to be done.
I don’t help the situation though. When my husband does try to help and offers to help, I brush him away. For example, I needed to prepare the bottles and pump parts for work yesterday evening. They had all been washed but just needed to be packed. Instead of telling him to do it though I told him it would take longer for me to explain it and for him to do it than for me to just do it. Here is the deal: Fill bottles with breastmilk from fridge. Whatever’s left over, put in breastmilk bags, label and extract air. Take loose container of frozen breastmilk and transfer to freezer bag. Take breastmilk bags from fridge and place in loose container and return to fridge. Take pump parts and pack in pump bag. Take pump bottles and pack in insulated bag.
I know if I asked my dear husband to do this, he’d come back every step to see if that’s what I meant. He means well it’s just faster and easier for me to do it. Plus there is the added factor of how there are so many other things he can help me with.
The angel fell off the Christmas tree during a recent move brought about by a new rug in our living room. I’ve asked him several times to put it back up. He finally did while I was putting the breastmilk away.
Don’t get me wrong; my husband does do a lot. It’s just he and I run on different speeds. I think this is a typical situation as there isn’t a week where one of the parents I keep in contact with doesn’t tell me that equitable division of responsibilities is sore spot.
I’m very lucky though as DH does do a lot. Sometimes he needs to pick up the pace though and sometimes I just need to let it go.
It makes me wonder though, am I going to be the type of mom that says it’s easier for me if I do it rather than my daughter? I’d like to think I’d be more patient and more eager to show my daughter. I don’t want to be the mom to a kid who can’t tie her own shoes.
I want to parent by example and if I show partial treatment to my husband, how does that fair in her opinion of men, spouses and relationships?
It’s so confusing.

BG Accomplishments:

She now stares into the camera instead of at us or some crazy toy we're flailing around to grab her attention.

She loves her feet and uses them like monkey paws. Instead of bending and stretching to spin her alphabet wheel, she'll stretch her leg and spin it with her foot. She's also getting pretty good at crunches. She's a Pilates pro.

Am I so uptight I can't enjoy a darn Christmas present?

I have a confession. I’d much rather pick out my own Christmas present than have DH get me one. It’s not that I don’t like surprises. I just think with the current economic situation, I’d probably appreciate a gift I truly want versus something I don’t need.
For example, my husband gave me a very very generous gift after I delivered our beautiful baby girl. It was too generous and frivolous in my opinion. I don’t know when I’ll ever use it and I feel like if I don’t I’ll be wasteful as it’s money already spent.
In hindsight, I probably would have just loved a lovely set of pjs. I know, I’m ridiculously practical when it comes to myself.
I’m trying not to be a grumpus regarding presents but this is not the economy for frivolity. I’ll happily wrap my own present up for Christmas.
Why do I have such a hard time letting go though?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas warms my heart like a nice cup of cocoa

BG is 5 months, 1 week and 4 days old.
I’m so far behind it’s comical. Part of it is being a new mom. Part of it is the economy. Part of it is the spirit of Christmas has not permeated. Usually, I’m an elf in human form, prancing around getting everything ready. This year, the year that Christmas turns into a kid’s paradise at our home, you’d think I’d be more into it but I’m not.
We’re still living in limbo. We desperately need a new rug and the current rug is a makeshift shabby sort. All my furniture has been pushed to the walls to accommodate foam alphabet mats, swing sets, bassinets, activity mats, blocks, mini chairs, you name it. The tree this year is fake with prelit but the adapter they gave me doesn’t fit the lights so it’s only half lit. {By the way, no one knows what type of adapter we need. Hubby went to Home Depot last night for light bulbs but forgot to ask. Guess we’re making another trip again.} My gift wrapping paper is still in storage.
And pretty much the only time I can make my gifts (I’m making them this year) is late at night when BG is asleep, we’ve finished dinner and I’m just about to get my stuff ready for work the next day. Of course, this is also the time my husband gently mentions that I’m not spending enough time with him and that I need to rest for work.
In his mind I make myself go crazy and if I didn’t have to do so much for Christmas then I wouldn’t get so wound up.
In reply, I present the following,
Things I wanted to do as part of my Christmas tradition that I am not doing this year:
1. Probably not going to have the Christmas train around the tree this year. It’s still in storage
2. Reduced the amount of Christmas cards (paper) I’m sending out. 95% is electronic, which is the route I wanted to go but we do have friends and family that are not owners of a computer so we need to send them cards. I’ve reduced this down significantly mostly on my side of the family that lives overseas.
3. Not having a Christmas roast beast this year. This year, we’re having turkey and only 2-3 sides.
4. Not using my fine china this year. Probably not going to use it for a few years with a toddler walking around. I’m trying to go Green but the idea of cooking and doing dishes is too much. Guess, I’m getting pretty paper plates and utensils at Target.
5. Not having my annual Christmas cookie blow out. Every year I make different cookies or treats to mail and deliver to loved ones. I only was able to muster up 1 batch of my crispy cherry chocolate chunk cookies this year, my old standby, and DH ate the entire batch. It also doesn't help that all my baking trays are in storage along with my holiday gift bags and boxes. Remember my husband was gung ho about moving? Guess, I’m going to try to make 2 more batches, 1 divided among the church and vet’s office and 1 divided among the mailman and delivery men. I may not have time to make cookies for gifts for my office and my dinner guests.
6. My husband singing O Tannenbaum and placing the Angel on our tree. This year, he didn’t sing it because I didn’t start it off and I wound up placing the Angel on our tree after numerous requests were not rewarded.
7. Decorating the tree while watching Elf and drinking red wine. Ok, the wine was nixed because of breastfeeding and my copy of Elf is still with my brother. Plus, with the baby spending most of her evenings with me, I had to piecemeal the Christmas tree decoration across several nights. Even then, I really had to force myself to finish the decorating. I hate feeling like such a Scrooge.

To make myself feel better here are some traditions that I am keeping with this year:
1. Baby Jesus does not display in the manager until Christmas Day. He hangs out and watches us until the middle of January.
2. No Christmas presents under the tree until Christmas Day excluding gifts from far away family although I’ll probably change that next year.
3. A new Christmas ornament commemorating something big from the year. This year, it is a sleigh with my daughter’s name on it.
4. A new Lenox Christmas ornament. This year, I hope Santa brings me a special baby’s ornament. Of course, I know this is probably our last year with most of my ornaments displayed for awhile. I plan to stock up on shatterproof ornaments for next year.
5. Christmas mass. This year, we’re reading at the Christmas Eve mass and I hope to also attend the Christmas morning mass but it depends on how everything goes.
6. An car for the train set commemorating something from the year. Again, this year Santa will be bringing my DH a train car. I’m sure you can guess what the commemorated event is.
7. Christmas Eve at my husband’s family’s home and Christmas Night at our home. It may be a smaller gatherings this year but the reason and memories will always be the focus.

There are some new traditions I hope to incorporate into our Christmas festivities.
I want to make my child’s Christmases special and family oriented. I had few Christmases with my family that focused on family time. It wasn’t as if they didn’t try it was just a sign of the times. Here are my memories I’d like to make for my family.
1. Christmas stockings by the bed. We don’t have a fireplace so this seems logical. Prior to our baby, I placed our filled stockings under the tree but by the bed seems pretty magical to me.
2. Christmas morning for our family, mom, dad and baby. We used to have to spend Christmas morning traveling to family but this year I start the new tradition of Christmas morning reserved for us. Hot chocolate, chocolate croissants and being together, whether it’s hanging out in bed together opening our stockings or sitting under our tree unwrapping presents.
3. New pajamas for our baby. Since we will be at our family’s home on Christmas eve, I plan to bring her pjs with us. When it’s time for bed, I’ll change her into her pjs so she’s ready for the crib when we get home. Of course, I could get us all new pjs but I’m not sure my husband is the type of guy who would wear matching pjs although a little piece of me would love to do that just once.
4. Obviously, the obligatory Christmas photo of baby or how can we make our kid look extra cute before they turn into teens/tweens and becomes noncompliant to wearing reindeer antlers.
5. Ok, this when the OCD kicks in, categories I must fill for Christmas for my child: clothing, books, a toy, a keepsake and Santa. Yes, my child will have at least 5 presents under the tree. Clothing as all kids need something to keep them warm like a hug. Books because my father gave me a n appreciation for books. A toy because kids love toys. A keepsake because I’m a sentimental fool. A Santa gift because every child should believe in magic. Don’t ask me why but it’s something I feel I want to do.

Finally there are traditions I’d love to start when my child is older:
1. Santa’s elf. How magical is it to have a special elf assigned to our house to watch over us and to report back to Santa on the daily naughties and niceties.
2. Santa’s cookies and reindeer carrots/hay. I suppose carrots would be easier than hay.
3. Book/Toy/Clothing donation. I’d like our child to prepare for the season by offering to share with others. I hope to do this between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I hope you start your own traditions or reflect on your family’s own. Sure, the Christmas mojo isn’t hitting many of us as hard as it usually does but the meaning and spirit of family and togetherness on Christmas is what truly is important and what you will remember years from now. You won’t remember that you used paper plates instead of fine china. You won’t care if you made a roast beast or had empanadas. What you will recall is the warm feeling in your heart or the smile on your family member’s face when that Christmas magic fills the air.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thank you for let us ride you, the MTA.

Monthly NY MTA MetroCard could jump from $81 to $104 next year wo state bailout. http://tinyurl.com/6ovhgh

Honestly, weren't they talking about a surplus recently? Who are their accountants? I have not seen any improvements to the buses or subways for years. Ridership keeps increasing yet services diminish.

And as a person that took the subway while 8.5 months pregnant and then later with a stroller (and shall avoid this like the plague), the MTA is not a friendly place for those who need extra assistance. Elevators are always down. Escalators are unreliable. There are not enough ramps and the place is filthy.

Anyone else feeling as if we're being violated?

Top 10 Signs You’ve Hired a Bad Accountant - David Letterman

10. You hear him on the phone saying, “Have I ever let you down, Leona?”

9. Instead of IRS, sends your completed tax return to UPS

8. His “short form” looks suspiciously like a cocktail napkin

7. He lets you list your imaginary friend as a dependent

6. Lists every time you laughed at Letterman as “charitable donation”

5. Used to be some kind of financial big-shot in Orange County, California

4. Announced he donated all your assets to O.J.’s defense fund

3. On the 1040, he lists your occupation as “sucker”

2. At least five times, he says “here’s a little trick I taught Darryl Strawberry.”

1. He makes you wear a hospital gown

Keep feeling fascination. Passion Burning, Love so Strong

BG is 5 months and 5 days old.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with my husband lately. I remember the love letters he’d send me. I remember the stolen kisses, the occasional hugs or squeezes and the just because ‘I Love Yous’. We’re both older, more tired, more harried but every day we still say I love you to each other just because. We still hug and squeeze each other. We still kiss.
Once, I asked myself if I’m saying I love you too much. Was I throwing it out there willy nilly? Was it losing its meaning? Then I realized, you can never say you love a person too much. Heck, when I say it, I mean it. Whether I say it occasionally or daily, it still means so much to me that I can turn to my husband and say, “I Love You.”
I wondered if he felt that we say it too much too but I guess not. He texts me, calls me and just tells me daily as well and we both say it to our daughter every day.
Every night after prayers, I remind my daughter how much we love her and every time, just like when I say it to my husband, it means the same maybe even more.
It’s true what they say. Your children in your eyes are love personified. I can’t but smile and my heart grows that much bigger every time I see my child. Every morning, she greats me with a huge toothless grin and my heart grows. Every day when she looks at me with curiosity and excitement/anticipation/confusion/fussiness/hunger, my heart glows.
This kid has me wrapped around her finger and she doesn’t know it. Ok, maybe she does know it.
She is now 5 months old and I am so blessed.
She still doesn’t roll over but she sits a little bit stronger every day.
She drools like a basset hound but her sweet milk breath makes it endearing.
She is becoming more and more vocal every day and can probably hit high octave ranges.
She has graduated to her big girl bath tub, big girl stroller and big girl car seat.
She can even sit in her car seat for long periods of time and not cry.
She has fallen asleep by herself several times. Ok, she has her seahorse and giraffe-ee but everyone needs an entourage.
She grabs her toes and holds onto them like a true yogi.
She can pull down her hanging toys from her activity mat and swing with the strength of Bam Bam Rubble.
She laughs and giggles when we dance.
She loves to swing like a pendulum in my arms.
She watches my mouth in fascination when I sing to her.
She stares at herself in the mirror for minutes and holds expression contests with herself.
Who needs HBO when I have my baby to entertain me.

Love lets the other one win

Ok, I’ll admit, I had a hard time with this one. I’m sure most would. In fact, I failed this one miserably.
I gave in and allowed my husband to win because deep down inside, I knew he was right. I made a big deal out of nothing more than my own insecurities. I won’t go into detail but my insecurities led me to stress out and stress everyone else out. I later became Ms. Negativity and that’s when my husband blew a gasket and let me have it. He scolded me and I just sat there and took it because I knew he was right.
I felt foolish that my insecurities got the best of me and felt deserved of the scolding but under different circumstances, I would have fought him tooth and nail and it wouldn’t have ended pretty. In fact, the whole night would have been shot and we’d probably both feel equally crappy. At least he felt better that he told me how he felt and I didn’t prolong the hard feelings.
Could I do it again? Sure. It would be tough but I think I could. I think it’s important to stop and think why am I feeling this way before reacting. In this example, I was angry because of my insecurities. It wasn’t my husband but me and because I stopped and realized that, I didn’t continue the fight. I let if fizzle out. If I didn’t always get defensive, perhaps things that may have turned into battles will just be discussions. Time will only tell.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hopefully this will bring the Christmas Spirit



Lyrics by Jules Bass
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

You never will get where you’re going
If you never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowing
A fast walking man is hard to beat

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well don’t be the rule be the exception
A good way to start is to stand

Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door

If I want to change the reflection
I see in the mirror each morn
You mean that it's just my election
To vote for a chance to be reborn

Monday, December 08, 2008

Holy Batcave, Mothra is hibernating.

I'm about to say something that is going to throw most off guard.
I'm not looking forward to Christmas dinner.
I know! Usually, I'm planning the feast before Thanksgiving.
This year, I didn't host Thanksgiving. I sort of missed it but was also sort of relieved.
You'd think I'd pull out the stoppers for Christmas night dinner then. Nope. 1) With BG's bed routine starting around 6:30-7, our nights are shot. This year, Christmas dinner will begin at 4pm. 2) With BG's gear in our apartment, I've moved the dining room table to the kitchen annex which means it's pressed against a wall. Therefore, dinner will be buffet style in our living room. 3) I'm being very miserly. The economy is bad. I'm not making a big feast. I'm still hemming and hawwing about it. Do I make a roast? Too expensive? A turkey, maybe a ham? I will make potatoes of some sort, green beans and another side but that's about it.
For my New Year's brunch, I'm thinking simple too. Maybe banana pancakes, chorizo potatoes and honeyed fruit with yogurt.
Listen, the whole Christmas/New Years meal deal is only reminding me of how behind I am in Christmas to dos. I'm dreading cookies this year and will go with the old standby, Dark Chocolate Chip Cherry Cookies. The tree is still not up although I did opt for a fake tree this year as a new baby and pine needles didn't seem like a smart new parent move. I'm overspending for my baby this year, I know it and in a really bad move, I can't figure out what to tell my DH he could get me from TG. We are not going to exchange gifts this year but thought if we really wanted to we can get something from our daughter to each other. Of course it has to be within $25 otherwise the not exchanging gifts to save money would be moot. Oh and I'm not sending out homemade paper Christmas cards this year. I'm making a scrapbook card and sending it out via email to save me time and be a bit more green. I feel super guilty about the fake tree.
Eh. I don't want to be a Scrooge but I'm not feeling very Christmassy yet. I know it will pass but usually by this time, I'm at least in Christmas Mothra gear.

Love Cherishes

It’s very easy to take for granted the ones around us. We see them every day. We can sometimes forgot how special they are to us and we may not express it.
Today’s exercise reminds us to cherish our loved ones. Let them know they matter.
Last week, a good friend of mine told me her sister in law passed away suddenly. She was only 36 and her brother is beside himself with grief. She leaves not only a husband but a child of 7 and an army of loved ones who are in complete shock at her sudden death. My friend told me this in tears. She said she knew that she was in a better place but she didn’t understand why she had to leave them now.
We get so bogged down in the day to day and the small stuff that we lose sight of the bigger picture sometimes. I have become bogged down in the day to day.
So today I tried to show my husband I cherish him and who he is. Usually before church, DH walks the dog but today he was running late and needed to be there on time as he was lectoring. I heard him promise the dog she’d be walked in an hour after mass. He ran to church as I was busily dressing BG for church. It was pretty cold out as snow had fallen. I really wanted to get to church early to speak to the priest and some parishioners who were starting a child care during mass program but decided to bundle BG up extra cozy and grabbed the dog and walked the dog for my husband.
It was a bit difficult with BG and the Z-girl but we managed. I made it to church late but that was ok. When mass ended, I met up with DH and he seemed frazzled. “I need to go home now to take care of Z-girl.” I told him it was taken care of and to go home with BG and spend some time with her relaxing. I then went to do the household shopping and came home and made him some breakfast.
Honestly, I don’t think this exercise reminded me to cherish my husband as much as the tragedy that happened to my friend last week. I didn’t have an answer to my friend’s inquiry. I told her the stock line, “We may never know God’s plan but we must understand that we may never understand.” Perhaps God wanted to remind everyone to cherish. I didn’t know this young lady but through the human link, she has taught me to be aware and appreciative of my beloved.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happiness is contagious. Spread the wealth.

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It’s random acts of kindness week at GNO. Now, I’d like to say that all GNO-ers do many ACKs and do so quietly and without pomp but being this is Christmas and kindness begets kindness (and happiness begets happiness), I will share my ACK for the day.
I hailed a gypsy cab for an elderly lady with a cane. Ok, simple enough, right? Yes it is. That’s the point.
DH had to make it to a gig so I needed to be home early to relieve him of baby duties. Of course this being December in NYC, traffic was horrendous and my bus never showed up. So I hoofed it. I walked 23 blocks home. With each step I felt time ticking down so I did the New York walk, swift with blinders on and goal in sight. I made it 13 blocks when I caught out of the corner of my eye an very small 4’7 elderly lady with a silver cane behind a parked car. She didn’t clear the hood of the car and her coat matched the car making it difficult to spot her but something about her made it’s way through my blinders. I noticed she would meekly lift her cane every now and then. It was rush hour and throngs of people were shuffling to and fro around her not paying her any mind. Something told me to stop. “Are you trying to hail a cab, ma’am?” “Yes, but they don’t seem to see me.”
So I did what any good citizen should do, I hauled my butt in the middle of the busy two way street and stopped a gypsy cab for her and helped her get in. Hailing a cab isn’t fun in NY and during the holidays, it’s even trickier. I helped the lady get in the cab and went on my way.
As I continued my brisk walk I thought about random acts of kindness and how I’ve always believed ACKs beget ACKs. Then I thought about why do an ACK. It used to be because we are human and we all need a little kindness. Now, as a new mom, I have an added reason, so that the world may be a better place for my child. Sure, I can say, that I hope my child learns by example but there is so much more than my child learning through my actions. I want my child to not only learn through example but also see that it can beget change even in a very small way.
How many times have I been uplifted by a simple smile from a stranger or watching someone on the bus give a to stranger a tissue to dry their eyes or blow their nose. That’s the world I want my child to see and live in. It’s a world of kindness and compassion. It’s a world where we’re not insulated and self serving. In a city where we can be total strangers to people sharing a wall with us, you can forget how important it is to be a part of the biggest society out there, humankind.
So I hope this inspires you to do a simple random act of kindness. Hold a door open for someone. Buy the homeless person you see on the train a cup of coffee. Give away your seat on the bus just because. Let that person with 3 items cut in front of you at the supermarket even though she’s paying by check. It may not seem like much but your building a better world for my child.

Love is unconditional

“Love is not determined by the one being loved but rather the one choosing to love.”
In the midst of every day stresses, I sometimes forget that love is not reciprocal to an action or being. Love is something I freely give to my husband. I don’t love him because he puts the dishes away or takes out the trash when I ask him to. Whether he does these things or not does not change my feelings for him.
Yet in times of high emotion, the simple act of forgetting to do something or say something can hurt. I spoke yesterday about how my perspectives changed when I became a mom. Things that meant more to me before have lower value compared to the bigger picture. I need to do that with my husband too.
It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday especially in times of great stress. The simple act of sitting on the couch and checking the mail while the other person runs around packing and dressing and getting things ready for a trip can make the other person feel as if he/she isn’t pulling their weight. During these times I need to stop and ask myself, is this really a big thing? A month from now, is this going to matter?
When I was 9 years old, an Aunt asked me why I loved my mother. In retrospect, I think that is a loaded question but as a nine year old you don’t think these things. I told her I loved my mom because she was my mom but she prodded for another reason. I thought about it and said, “I love my mom because she gives me things. If I need anything, she tries to help me.” My Aunt told my mother my response and I was scolded. I was told that I shouldn’t love my mother because she ‘gives me things’ and that I made her look bad in front of the family. I didn’t know how to react. I recall I was hurt and the incident left a little scar. I was too young to understand why how I loved my mom was wrong and later on as a teenager I was bitter that my mother didn’t know better that a 9 year old’s definition of ‘gives me things’ isn’t just about physical objects. I remember trying to figure out how I was supposed to love my mom but was too young to understand. I suppose I was probably part of some sibling rivalry.
So today’s exercise asks, has my love been based on my spouse’s attributes & behavior? No, it hasn’t been and it still isn’t. I just need to remember that. Love isn’t about who does the laundry or who writes a love letter anymore. It’s about freely giving yourself to the other person just because. No one should ask, why do you love. You love because you love.
The exercise included doing something to display my love is given freely and without reciprocation. I must admit this is hard as I feel like this is something I do naturally every day. Last night, I made some soup especially for my husband. I guess that counts. He said he didn’t want it but I could tell he could use the tummy warming effects of a homemade soup. He’s been feeling under the weather lately so at 11pm, when he arrived home, I had a fresh bowl of soup for him and I let him sleep the night through when BG woke up at 3am.
How do I feel about it? The same I suppose. I mean, even if the exercise didn’t call for this, I would have done it. Sure, I’m tired today. Cooking soup all night and caring for our baby in the wee morning left me a bit harried and tired today but I would do it all over again if I had to. I’m not asking for an award or medal. I do it just because I love him.
Some of these exercises I believe are meant to bring us back and reevaluate our perspective in a long term relationship. They seem a bit simplistic but I think they help us remember what is truly important.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Worker Bee back at the hive

BG is 4 months, 3 weeks and 5 days old.
I went back to work full time on Monday. It was easier to acclimate to work as I was following emails and checking in periodically so I didn’t feel completely out of the loop.
DH made it a special day , like the first day back to school for kids. He woke up early with me and shuttled me off to start the day.
I had a scheduled parent and me get together that DH went to and I’m glad it was on the first day back. It gave DH something to do with our BG and in a funny set of circumstances, the moms in the group inadvertently text messaged me status updates. “Your DH is here with BG. He’s doing great!” “She’s eating.” “He cleaned the changing table for us!”
Ok, the last one is actually pretty humorous. My husband finds the changing tables at public restrooms disgusting filthy breeding grounds. He apparently spent a good 10 minutes scrubbing it down before putting paper towels down, then the changing mat, then our daughter only to find out that it was a false alarm and BG didn’t need to be changed.
After all his hardwork, he came out to the fellow moms and dads and announced that he cleaned the table so anyone who needs to use it doesn’t have to scrub it like he did. This elicited numerous chuckles from some moms.
So how was my first day back? As a worker bee, it wasn’t bad. As an adult, it wasn’t bad. As a mom, it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be, especially since 1) my husband is watching her and 2) DH and BG came to visit and 3) DH kept texting and photo messaging me. Thank goodness for technology.
What still takes a bit getting used to is pumping at work. First, not many women can say that exposing their breasts in their workplace is commonplace. Second, pumping isn’t fun, at least for most women. The first time I pumped, I forgot to lock the door. Big mistake. After I flashed someone in the office, I made a mental note to lock the door before each pump. I’m not putting a sign up because I feel as if it’s declaring to the world that I’m sitting in my office breast exposed. That’s just not me.
The other thing about pumping at work is that the pump I have at work beeps. So it’s not like I can have a conference call while pumping and not attract attention. Lastly, I can’t stop obsessing about my pump schedule. I think subconsciously it’s my connection to my daughter so I feel the need to ensure my pumping schedule is not interrupted.
It’s not all that bad though. It does help me collect my thoughts 3 times a day. Instead of over focusing on something that is minute compared to the bigger projects, I’m brought back down to reality.
I give all women credit for pumping and breastfeeding. It is a tough job and society doesn’t really make it easy for us. Give yourself a pat on the back if you are or have breastfed and/or pumped.
Today someone asked me if I can manage being a mom and a worker bee. I responded, it’s not about if I can manage but how I can manage. Moms are tough cookies and we do what we need to for our family. Many of us aren’t just moms. We’re wives. We’re workers. We’re our own advocates. We’re our family’s advocates.
I told several co-workers that my perspective on life has changed. I’m still OCD but not in a different way. Things that were important a year ago have less value to me. I wear different hats now but I do it because it needs to be done for my family. There is no time nor is there a need to sit and ask why. Things kick into gear and instinctively we do what needs to be done.
I feel all the more better as a human for jumping into the mommyhood realm. I’m a better me. I’m a bit more tired and less fashionable and less hip but I’m better and my family, my husband and society will do better because of such.

On the breastfeeding front:
BG only drank 8 ounces while I was away on Monday. She hungrily ate when I got home. Guess she prefers the milk fresh and from the source.

At work I pumped twice instead of three times and got 4 ounces/1.5 ounces and 3 ounces/1 ounce respectively. I've deemed the right breast, slacker boob for her low output.

On the sleeping front:
She slept well and has been napping at 7pm and going to her full night sleep around (9:30pm. She did protest at 7pm yesterday when we went to bed. She screamed bloody murder so I spent the 7pm nap standing and breastfeeding her until she fell asleep.

I gave up on the cry it out and am trying the Pantrygirl method. The method is the following: 6:30pm get ready for bed: bath, massage/wash up, diaper change, pjs, storytime. 7pm swaddle, lie in bed and breastfeed 'til drowsy. Give lovey and transfer to crib. 8:30-9pm BG wakes up. 9pm diaper change, 2 minute sleepy dance and cuddle, swaddle, storytime with dad, lie in bed and breastfeed 'til drowsy. Give lovey and transfer to crib.

I've also added a flannel blanket to warm up the crib for her. I wrap it over the crib mattress and tuck the sides down. It is a much warmer transition for her than the cold all cotton sheets that we have on the mattress. When it's particularly cold, I'll lift up the bottom part, tuck her in with the swaddle in it and tuck the sides in for safety.

I also keep one of the closet lights on like a nightlight for her. It seems to freak her out when the room is pitch black.

So far, this method has allowed her to go to sleep without protest or a cryfest. I'm not sure if it's the best method but it is working for us and she sleeps until 7am and if she wakes up before she happily stays in the crib entertaining herself until we come get her for breakfast at 7.