Friday, December 24, 2010

It's Starting to Look a Lot Like Christmas

We made the trek home to Arkansas on Wednesday. It was actually quite the trek...I felt a bit like Santa on his cross-country flight! The Hubby, LMH and the dogs drove to Arkansas on Wednesday. I would have driven with them except 1) I had to work (minor details) and 2) one of us had to take Hubby's dad to the airport for his 6pm flight.

Rather than us all driving together after dropping him off at the airport, we split up and conquered things separately. I got off work (near Dallas Love Field), drove home (35 minutes north), took Hubby's dad to the other airport (DFW 40 minutes east), back to Love Field for my own flight, landed in Little Rock, did some Christmas shopping and then finally home to Hot Springs 40 minutes east. Whew! Makes me tired just writing it!

Once we got here, Hubby FINALLY told me what he wanted for Christmas. Can we say late much? He suggested the following: a new suitcase, noise cancelling headphones, one of those "e-reader things." Hubby went WAY overboard for Christmas this year, so my budget for him is not terribly large. The suitcase he's had his eye on (360 degree wheels and an ergo handle)  is too expensive, as are Bose noise canceling headphones. That leaves the e-reader.

Ironically, my mom is also getting an e-reader for Christmas from my dad...a Nook Color. Hubby will be getting a plain Nook. Mom should enjoy the tablet-PC "light" features of her Nook Color. But, Hubby, who has a smartphone, desktop and laptop should appreciate having a dedicated e-reader. Well, at least that's my hope. I was a little worried that it might be a downer for one to open the fancy Nook Color and the other to open a plain Nook. But, I think that they both serve each others' needs perfectly. Plus, they can lend each other books.

Santa will be bringing LMH a bunch of "sit up and play" toys as he is soooo very close to being able to sit up like a champ. Well, and Nana has some awesome surprise for him that she won't let me in on. There's a Laugh & Learn Kitchen under the tree for him and a My Pal Scout. I can't wait to see him interact with Scout. I think he'll be able to do that right away, though the kitchen may take him a bit longer to get the hang of.

As much fun as I have planning the perfect gifts for my family, it's the Christmas traditions that make it perfect. Tonight is our annual trek to Mama & Papa's for Christmas Eve festivities. The first of many Christmas traditions that we get to share with LMH this year. Christmas Eve sugar cookie baking, reading our favorite Christmas stories, opening one present (an ornament) before going to sleep, waking up and waiting for the okay to head downstairs. No matter how old I get, I still take such joy in these traditions. This year, it's so much more meaningful. I've already started to contemplate what traditions we'll be starting just for LMH...Christmas Eve PJs are high on the list.

Soon our Christmas locale will switch to our home in Dallas, instead of my parents. I'm excited for the change, but I'll miss Christmas' here, too. Christmas is all about coming home for me, all about being a kid again, all about giving and sharing. It's such a joy and a blessing to share all of these things with LMH this year. A year ago, I could hardly believe that he was actually baking away inside me. This year he's here in all his perfection.

I'm in awe of our blessings...despite all of the fun in giving and receiving, baking, stories, family, etc., in LMH I'm reminded of true meaning of Christmas. Thanks be to God.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Santa Goes High Tech

This weekend we completed a right of passage: LMH's first trip to see Santa. I was concerned that it might not happen, though...or at least that Daddy might not be joining us. You see, The Hubby hates line. No, actually he despises, detests and HATES lines. Long lines tend to aggravate his anxiety. And, since no one wants that, I end up despising lines, too.  The trouble is that I like the things that happen at the end of long lines...like Santa.

I had been contemplating how we were going to accomplish this might feat for awhile now. So long that we ended up waiting until the week before Christmas to make our first attempt. Probably not the smartest plan. There are two malls near us with "traditional" Santas. I figured that I could wait in line with LMH and call Hubby when our turn was near. Effective, but not exactly fun for anyone.

There were two other options, though. Northpark Mall in Dallas has a ticket program (think FastPass for Santa), where you go when the mall opens, get your ticket and then hang around (or come back) when it's your time period. That seemed like a good option except for two things: 1) It's a bit of a trek into downtown Dallas from our BFE north suburb, 2) we're not exactly the "be at the mall at 9am" type.

The next option was "The Big Guy" at The Villages at Allen. The Villages do something truly ingenious! They have an online queuing system for Santa. You go online to their website, check the overall line time, enter your cell number or e-mail and your done! They send you text or e-mail updates as you get closer to the front of the virtual line. When there are 15 people ahead of you, they tell you to head back to the North Pole.

At first, I wasn't 100% sold on this idea because "The Big Guy" isn't in full dress regalia...he's what I refer to as a"workshop" Santa. He wears Christmas shirts that his wife sews for him (yah, his real wife, not Mrs, Klaus) with suspenders and his normal red pants with white puffy trim.  I got over it, though, because I started reading reviews from past years online. He's the most realistic, genuine, kindhearted mall Santa I've ever seen!

And, come on...the no line thing! We were so there! Why on earth don't more malls come up with better Santa systems.  It seems to me that more shopping gets done while your waiting for your turn than if you were waiting in line. Oh well! It's their loss. We've found our family Santa!

As for how Harris did with his first Santa visit? Well, there weren't any tears, but there weren't any smiles either! I was pleased with how the pictures turned out, though. His expression is priceless!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Giving Back One Dollar at a Time

Last week, a friend and coworker who is on the longest bad luck streak I know--multiple health problems in the last two years and two upcoming surgeries in the next two months-- comes home from her pre-op appointment to find her house ransacked, her granddaughters' Christmas presents stolen from under the tree. My coworkers and I could not sit idly by and do nothing. We organized an impromptu raffle and, this week, presented her with a $530 giftcard.  Her grandkids may not have their original Christmas presents, but at least they will have a Christmas. And, my coworker has some good luck to break her streak.

Giving back does not have to be difficult and even little efforts make a big difference.  In my coworker's case, for example, ,so many employees chipped in just a dollar or two.  But, in the end, we raised over $500 in only two days. It's amazing how much big hearted people can do even when starting with very little!

GiveBack.org is a perfect example of that philosophy!  GiveBack is the easiest way for you to donate to all of your favorite charities through your very own foundation! I signed up this evening and within 5 minutes, I had already given my complimentary $5 to my charity of choice...The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.  Who will you give your first $5 too?

And, what happens after you spend that first $5? Easy! The more you shop at GiveBack Partner Merchants, the more you funds you raise to give back to your favorite charities. It's really that easy...you raise money for your favorite charities just by buying things you would have already bought!

It doesn't end there, though. By givingn through GiveBack, you're able to draw attention to all of your charities through Facebook. Show others that you donated just a little at a time to a great cause, or through buying great items from Partner Merchants, and you encourage them to give back, too!

Sometimes the smallest thing can take on a life of it's own and become a movement.  I won't go so far as to say that my coworkers and I created a "movement," but we certainly rallied colleagues to the cause of helping a fellow employee. Take a few minutes to rally your friends around whatever cause you support. It's fast, easy and fun with GiveBack.org.


This post was written in conjunction with a One2One Network member contest hosted by GiveBack.org. All thoughts, opinionns and experiences expressed are my own.

A Christmas Orange in a Cookie

I'm guest blogging over at Sweet Jeanette today! Come join me there!
Sweet Jeanette

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Perfect Moment: A Christmas Surprise

I was in the middle of working on a completely separate Perfect Moment post when The Hubby bribed me to go put the bottles in the dishwasher.  That seemed innocent enough.  We were both exhausted last night and neither of us felt like washing them by hand. 

I walked into the kitchen in a half-sleepy state.  I turned on the water to start rinsing the first bottle and absent-mindedly reached down to open the dishwasher.  The handle didn't feel right.  It was old, something must be wrong with it.  I finally got it to open and started to put the first bottle on the top rack.  As I lowered the door, I noticed some blinking lights and thought "that's odd."  I didn't remember there being any lights on the dishwasher. Then, once it was opened, I noticed that it had a stainless steel tub.  Even then, it didn't click that it was a brand spanking dishwasher in there!

Only after I closed it and opened it again did I squeal with delight, "HEY, It's a new dishwasher! At that point, Hubby burst in laughing, holding LMH.  As it turned out, the dishwasher had been installed Sunday morning while LMH and I were on our way back from our weekend trip to Missouri.  He wanted it to be a surprises (he is, after all, the king of Christmas surprises!), so he waited for me to notice.  Him and his dad had placed bets on how long it would take. 

Truth be told, had Hubby not bribed me to wash bottles last night, it might have been another day!  I HATED the old dishwasher with wild abandon! Pretty much every time we ran a load, another rusted tine fell off.  I never felt like things really got clean.  And, I didn't want to wash bottles in there very often because I was afraid they, in particular, wouldn't get clean enough. The new dishwasher has Sani-Rinse (perfect for bottles), 1 hour wash (perfect for everything else), turbo clean and even a status bar that indicates where in the cycle it is. I couldn't be happier!

A new dishwasher may be the most practical of gifts for Christmas.  But, a state-of-the-art new dishwasher was the perfect gift for Santa Hubby to bring this year. I love that he knows me well enough to know that a dishwasher was a homerun Christmas present and not a practical present dud (as some people might think). And, the fact that he, once again, took the time to surprise me only makes me love him (and it) that much more!

(Check out the other Perfect Moments, and add your own, at Write Mind Open Heart)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, I woke up feeling just like any other during the two week wait.  I had no sneaking suspicions, no preconceived notions. I knew I wasn't pregnant.  Why would I think anything otherwise? Doctors far and wide had told us that it wouldn't happen on our own, and we were set to start our first IVF cycle the next month.  As a matter of fact, I was going in to sign the paperwork on Monday!

As a rule, I did not test.  I'd much rather just see AF rear her ugly head than to see the absence of a line or, even worse, a glaring "NOT PREGNANT" staring back at me.  After all, I had seen AF appear for the better part of 20+ years. It was no big deal.  Being reminded, however, of the ridiculously low odds (3% or less according to the RE) of us conceiving naturally was just to painful to bear.

This particular day was a little bit different, though.  This was the day of my company holiday party...an affair known company-wide for it's fabulous open bar.  For that sole reason, I pulled out an internet cheapie and absent-mindedly tested.  I almost went back to bed, since it was ridiculously early for me to be waking up on a Saturday morning.  But, something forced me to get back out of bed within the 10 minute testing window.

In my half asleep state, I barely noticed that there was the faintest of a second line.  Could it really be true?  I didn't believe it.  But now I just had to take another.  I took five ICs that morning, all positive, before realizing that they had expired a month earlier.  Now, convinced that they might be giving me false positives, and desperate to see "PREGNANT" on a digital in order to believe, I raced off to Walgreens at 7:30am.

By this time, The Hubby knew that something was up.  As if it wasn't strange enough for me to be up at 7:30, now I was getting dressed and going somewhere?  Yep, something was definitely up.  He just smiled and waited for me to continuing on with my confirmation process.  At that point, I still didn't believe there was any chance that this was really happening, certainly not enough of one to get his hopes up.

As luck would have it, his dad had been in a car accident the previous night.  The Hubby needed to take him to the accident site, car dealership and insurance agent that morning.  Of course, that meant I'd be doing all of the confirmation on my own, and on the down low.

I got back fro Walgreen's with three more tests, two regular and one digital.  All three were positive, and "PREGNANT" appeared on the digi in mere seconds, plain as day.  Even then, though, I didn't believe. 

I knew that our RE was open until noon on Saturdays, so I called to get their advice on what to do next.  I was really hoping they'd let me come in for a blood test and not make me wait until Monday.  Thankfully, they got me in for a blood test ASAP, so I booked it across town for the blood letting...happily! But, it would be a long few hour wait until they called with the results.

The first time I saw The Hubby after the positive digi was in the parking lot of a shopping center.  He had just enough time in between dropping his dad off for some errands that we could share a hug and a few tears of disbelief.  Maybe this was really happening. Still, just to be safe, we didn't want to share the news with family until we had the HCG results.  I was on pins and needles.

A couple hours later, I met The Hubby and his dad for lunch.  I was mentally counting down the hours until when they said they'd call with the results.  It should be any minute.  We couldn't stand it any longer, so we told Hubby's dad what all the fuss was about, and he waited with us. 

It wasn't too much longer before the phone rang. I handed it to Hubby. I just couldn't bear to hear that it had all been a dream, a cruel figment of my imagination. He listened to the nurse and a big grin broke across his face.  Only then did I finally allow myself to start believing that LMH was really baking in there.  The next few weeks were probably the longest of the entire pregnancy...the wait between the positive and our first ultrasound.

But, for this one afternoon, I let myself believe that it would all be ok. That our miracle had happened.  That in August, I would hold our miracle in my arms. Even then, though, I don't think I could fathom him being four months old.  Even now sometimes that's hard to believe! 

So today, a year later, I'm feeling rather nostalgic.  I'm marvelling and just how much things can chnage in a year, at just how fast he grows, at just how lucky we are...how blessed.  And, I'm thankful beyond words.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Morning Smiles

Every morning, there's a moment when the sound of baby babble gently rouses me from a deep sleep. He's the best alarm clock there is! Sometimes it's just some mutters and a stir; other mornings he's in a full on scream by the time I get myself out of bed and into his room.  Regardless, as soon as I open the door and say "Good Morning," the room gets quiet. And, by the time I turn on the light, turn off the monitor, and look over the crib, he's grinning back at me with the most perfect smile.

When I was on maternity leave, we'd take things easy...feeding, read a book, play a little. And, I could soak it all in. Every smile and coo making me feel that much more blessed for my miracle baby boy.

Since I've been back at work, it's that morning ritual I miss the most. Now it's go, go, go, with very little time to stop and savor the moments. I try to be the one to feed him every morning, just so I can add a few precious moments of LMH time to my day. Then it's off to the bouncer or the exercauser why I hurriedly get read and then out the door...after more than a few goodbye kisses.

But, now that I'm back at work, it's that "I hear my mommy" silence, and that first smile that get me through the day. It's a moment just for mom and son, no one else awake yet but the two of us. My morning starts with a smile that echoes his. And, no matter what the day may hold or how poorly I slept the night before, that perfect smile reminds me why I do it...why I juggle the insanity that is being a work away from hom mom, why I stay up late to spend more time with him, why it's worth it that I might be a walking zombie at work, why I feel so blessed to see that smiling face every morning.

Read about more Perfect Moments and share your own at Write Mind Open Heart.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Confessions of a Nutella Addict

Hi world! My name is Lin and I'm a Nutella addict.

Seriously, I'm beginning to have a problem with Nutella!  I had it when I was a kid, I'm sure of it.  But, for some reason, Nutella hadn't found its way back into my life until the past few weeks.  Actually, a friend's status update on Facebook sparked the obession.  Since then, it's been a mainstay on the weekly grocery list.

So far, I've had Nutella on toast, bagels, croissants, graham crackers, Wheat Thins (YUM!), bananas, Nilla Wafers (little Nutella sandwiches...have I mentioned I have a problem?)...and, most recently, Nutella banana pudding. I've even filed away a recipe for Nutella shortbread.

Actually, when I originally bought my first jar of Nutella in a few weeks ago, it was to make that Nutella shortbread.  I'm on my third jar and it's been gone so fast each time that shortbread has yet to be made. The Hubby now loves the stuff, too, so that's not helping matters any!

I'm afraid Nutella will soon go the way of peanut butter in our house...can't buy it, or I'll eat it by the spoonful.  The only type of peanut butter we buy around here is the particular nasty all naturally, extra oily kind so that the dogs can have it with treats and pills, but I won't touch the stuff.  Unfortunately, there's no nasty all natural, extra oily Nutella.  It's just yum in every spoon ful. *sigh*

So, what's your favorite way to eat Nutella?  And, what's your secret food obsession?  The first step is admitting you have a problem...

It's Say Hi Sunday!

Hi all! :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

And Now We Wait...

And I try my hardest not to check my e-mail incessantly.  It's not working so well so far, I'm afraid.  I've got my browser open with a Gmail tab front and center, constantly glancing up to see if my new messages number has increased by one. When it does, my heart skips a beat only to find it's junk e-mail from one company or the next.

What am I waiting on?  Why, my DisneySMMoms confirmation, of course! Yesterday's registration was, as DVCMom aptly put it, internet hilarity.  Though, I think internet insanity may be even more appropriate!  Registration opened at 2pm EST and while no one knows exactly how many people tried to register, we do know that Disney's servers had a hard time handling the rush.  Registration opened with this tweet from @DisneySMMoms:

But I wasn't feeling any magic...

I watched the "orange spinning circle of doom" for about 35 minutes before finally seeing the registration form, others for over an hour, and still others never even got to the form at all before Disney closed registration for the year.

When so many of us were staring at the orange spinner we began to wonder if anyone was getting in at all:

At that point, I began to panic a bit that I wouldn't even get the chance to register! But, luckily did finallly get to shortly thereafter.

Later in the evening when the DisneySMMoms team was heading home for the evening, registration e-mails still unsent, we heard this:


And, this morning a very Disney-esque tweet:


So, we wait. The Twitterverse is still abuzz as all of the DisneySMMoms hopefuls wait on the edge of their seat, obsessively checking e-mails and the newly formed Facebook Group...myself included. But, while I appreciate all of the updates from the DisneySMMoms team, I still feel the same as yesterday...a criteria for "acceptance" is fine. Just be open about it, if there was! It's frustrating to know that I may have gotten my hopes up even though Ididn't meet the unspoken criteria from the start.  That said, I am completely supportive of a "verification" process to make sure that people who registered actually have active blogs, etc., and aren't just in it for the Disney vacation of a lifetime. I'm still hoping that it comes down to when you registered and not how many followers you have. Everyone starts somewhere, and us "small fries" can benefit from the experience just as much (if not more) than the "large fries."

No matter what happens, though, I have "met" so many other truly wonderful bloggers (and fellow Disney fanatics) in the last few days as we geared up for DisneySMMoms registration. I'm hopeful that I'll get to meet them all in a few months at Disney! In the meantime, I'd like to share some of their blogs with you:
Sippy Cup Mom at The Life of a Sippy Cup Mom
Carrie at Carrie with Children
Maykit Myway at MomTrek
Deb at Just Short of Crazy

Friday Blog Hops

My Wee View  BoostMyBlogFriday

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's DisneySMMoms Day...Plus a Blog Hop!

I admit it...I have butterflies today.  Remember last year when I had the amazing chance to go to Disney World and call that work?  Well, moving into 2011, one of my goals is to expand my presence in the blogosphere. I'm still in the process of defining exactly what that means for this blog, and my new one, but I'm looking into many things...product reviews, vlogs, monetization, sponsorships, etc.  These are all things that I would benefit from attending a blog conference to learn more about. So, I had already added that to my personal bucket list for 2011.

And then, another of those surrendipitous moments came to pass...perhaps, another chance to attend a conference at Walt Dinsey World.  But, this is not just any conference. This is the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration! Let's face it, every event Disney puts on is AMAZING, so I can't think of a better conference to start with.  I know that I'll learn so much more than I ever thought possible and meet other amazing women there too soak in the knowledge and experience, as well.

There's just one problem.  Last year, DisneySMMoms was a first-come/first-serve event.  And, astoundingly, tickets were on sale for a few days before they sold out.  This year, though, the word is out...everyone knows how awesome last year's conference was and wants in, too!  Understandably so!Disney is asking a bunch of marketing questions (pageviews, followers, etc) at the time of registration, which is calling into question whether or not DisneySMMoms will again be a first-come/fist-serve event.  I'm obviously biased, because I don't have the massive traffic of many other bloggers in the mom blog arena.  But, even they started somewhere.  In fact, I know that a few of the really well known bloggers of 2010 began their rise to "fame" after DisneySMMoms '10. 

Shouldn't we all have such a chance?  That's why I hope that Disney continues to make SMMoms an equal-opportunity affair....so that we all can have a chance to add a bit of Disney magic to our blog and lives.  We're not all so lucky to be able to go to Disney World every year (last year's conference was my first trip back since our honeymoon), but that doesn't mean we love it any less.  Likewise, pageviews and followers aren't always an accurate representation of passion or willingness to learn. 

So, we'll see how today goes.  Not getting in because I didn't register in time is one thing.  Not getting in because it has become an elitist affair is another entirely.  So, we'll see how this afternoon goes.  You know where I'll be at 1pm CST.

After that, I'll be visiting blogs on the Thursday Friends and Giveaways & Thirsty Thursday Blog Hop! Check them out!
Obviously MARvelous

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In the Spirit of Giving...Heart of Haiti

While your planning gifts for all your friends and family this year, it's always nice to give a gift that gives back.  Macy's Heart Haiti program does just that! Heart of Haiti is helping Haiti through "trade no aid." 

It's like that old parable "Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today.  Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.  Heart of Haiti is doing exacly that by giving Haitian villagers the tools they need to rebuild their lives and their livelihood, rather than a one time donation. Each item is designed by a Haitian master artisan and produced by hand in Haiti from recycled materials such as oil drums, wrought iron, and paper maiche.  - The Heart of Haiti collection has already led to employment of 350 artists in Haiti and has provided some financial benefits for an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people in the country. 
The Heart of Haiti collection is an array of handmade products for the home -- quilts, metalwork, ceramics, and paintings -- created by Haitian artisans. Most items range from $25-60 with some as low as $10.  So, please take a look at the Macy's Heart of Haiti website and see if you an give back while giving to those you love this Christmas season. 

No, seriously...take a look, then let me know what you favorite items are!

Disclosure: I am writing this post to spread the word about Heart of Haiti through a Mom Bloggers Club member program and I will receive a Heart of Haiti pendant as a thank you.

Let's Bring Christmas to a Wounded DFW Police Officer's Family

On Monday, a good friend and colleague at work checked her text messages and let out an audible gasp.  She didn't breathe and turned a certain shade of pale.  After a few seconds, just as we were about to ask if she was ok, she "There's an officer down. He's okay, but anytime I see "Officer Down," I get worried."

Rightfully so. Her husband is a Dallas PD Officer. And, ten years ago, he was shot in the line of duty, as well. We talked for a bit about what she knew about shooting, if she knew the officer or his family, etc. I admit that after that conversation passed, I don't think I thought about the officer or the incident again.

Flash forward to tonight. I was just getting ready for bed when I got an e-mail from the organizer of a local playgroup LMH and I had recently joined. Her husband, also a DPD officer, is the partner of the officer wounded in the shooting.  His name is Officer Richard Whitt.  He has a wife and three children between the ages of 3 and 10.

Now I can't stop thinking about The Whitt Family.

Officer Whitt has already undergone three surgeries and is not out of the woods yet. That alone,with three kids, right before Christmas would be devasting enough, but their situation is even more dire. DPD has recently undergone a number of leadership changes, furloughs and paycuts.  Since Officer Whit is a rookie, he oped to forgo healh insurance for he remainder of the year in favor of more take-hom pay for his family his year. Surely, in this economy, we can all appreciate that.  However, this means that DPD will be paying no more than their legally required workers' compensation.

Officer Whit's family is in danger of losing their home, not being able to put food on the table, and not having a Christmas for their hree small children. Officer Whit is a hero and an inspiration. We have him and the many other officers throughout the country for our safety.

I wan to do something. I feel like I'm being called to do more...the two connections to this story that randomly (or not so randomly) appeared in my life this week cannot be a coincidence. I want to do all I can to make sure htat Officer Whit's family has a wonderful, blessed Christmas.  But, I don't know where to start. 

Please help me brainstorm ways to harness the power of Facebook, Twitter or the blogosphere to deliver hope, love, and thankfulness to the Whit Family this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So you want to join the Tweeple?

Sounds very mysterious, huh? Twitter+People=Tweeple, or people who tweet.  Twitter doesn't have to be mysterious or confusing...read on! Last week, I started sharing some of what I’ve been learning as I navigate the world of page views and monetization for a new blog project I’m working on. Perhaps I should call this series “Teach Me Tuesday?” Anyway, this week, I’m going to share what I’ve learned so far on my whirlwind tour of Twitter!

I consider myself to be a fairly technically savvy person. After all, I surf, blog, Facebook, even Stumble. The one thing that I didn’t do was Tweet. Truth be told, I’ve had a Twitter account since December 2009 (How on earth do I know that? Because there’s a site that tells you what your Bwitterday is!), but only started actually using it a week ago. And, I almost gave up on the first day.

Twitter is ridiculously easy once you get the hang of it, but at first glance it’s sort of like walking into a party with 75 million guests and not knowing a single one. It’s hard to know where to start. Here’s what worked for me:
1) Use a Twitter Application such as HootSuite, TweetDeck, Twittelator or SocialOomph. And whatever you do, don’t start with (or even bother using) “the New Twitter.com.” This tip might make the single biggest difference to whether you stick around the Twitterverse or not. I’ll be honest, twitter.com just isn’t intuitive to me. And, “the New Twitter.com (which they’ll prompt you to switch to when you log in…just click no) is even less so.

Adventuroo pointed me in the direction of HootSuite and it made all the difference! Here’s why. Part of what makes Twitter fun is getting mentions and direct messages (DMs). It’s a lot more difficult to catch those on twitter.com. However, with HootSuite, I can have one column (stream) with ongoing conversation from people I follow, another column with tweets I’ve been mentioned in, another with direct messages, and still others with all of the hashtag streams I choose to follow. It’s just so much more intuitive! Plus, you can also manage multiple social media accounts in HootSuite…more than one twitter username, a Facebook profile and so on.

2) Check to see if the bloggers whose blogs you frequent are on Twitter. They’ll usually have a Follow Me on Twitter button, or something similar. For example, you can follow Mel of Stirrup Queens fame here, Lavender Luz of Write Mind Open Heart (formerly Weebles Weblog) here, or me here.
Now you know at least three people in the Twitterverse! And, the cool thing is that once you know people, just look for the people they’re talking to (watch for @username in their Tweets) and friend those people, too.

3) Find a niche. There’s probably a hashtag for your hobby. Start following it, and you’ve made almost instant friends. Wait, you say, “What’s a hashtag?" A hashtag is the word preceded by # that indicates which category your tweet should be grouped into. You check a directory of hashtags to see if there's one for your interests...if there's not, you can always create one!

Hashtags, in my opinion, are what make Twitter even more powerful and interesting than Facebook. Your posts aren’t limited to only those people in your Facebook Friends list. Instead, anyone who’s following the hashtag you entered sees your post! For example, let’s say I had an awesome customer service experience flying Twitter Air last week and I wanted them to know about it. I might say, “Had a great experience on Twitter Air my flight to Houston last week! #TwitterAir #custserv. Now, anyone who’s following #TwitterAir or #custserv sees my tweet….which opens up even more network opportunities!

Since I’m interested in going to at least one blog conference this year, I started following many of the conference hashtags (#blogher, #RR11, #Relevant11, #typeaparent). The ladies at #DisneySMMoms are active and wonderfully welcoming, so I’ve settled in there and made a few new friends!

4) Have fun at Twitter Parties. Twitter Parties are an awesome way to meet new people, get exposure to brands (for future sponsorship opportunities) and win cool prizes. The best Twitter Party schedule I’ve found is at TweeParties. They have a great Getting Started Guide.
The single best tip on the TweeParty site is to use a Twitter Aggregator. I recommend TweetGrid. Twitter Parties are fast paced. TweetGrid just makes it easier to keep up. Depending on the size of the party you join, it may still be hard to keep up. Don’t get discouraged. Just add your two cents where you can and click the Stop/Pause button, too, if you need to catch up

Hopefully these tips will help get you started if you’ve been on the fence about joining Twitter. Honestly, if you thought Facebook was addictive, you haven’t seen anything yet! Twitter is just so much more fast paced, and the audience so much more diverse. As adventuroo so aptly put it, Twitter really is like a cocktail party. And, if you dive in head first and embrace the mingle, you’ll do just fine! Be sure to say hello next time you stop by my part of the Twitterverse!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Making Friends Monday Blog Hop


It's Making Friends Monday! It's nice to "meet" you! I hope everyone had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend.  Please check out my post about our Thursday night movie/babysitting experience.  See you at your blog (or the other blogs listed below) soon...

Babysitter Bites the Dust

As part of his Christmas present to us, my brother-in-law, Chris, offered to babysit LMH on Thursday night so that The Hubby, his parents and I could go see Harry Potter (because, of course, Chris proclaimed in disgust that he was "not going anywhere near a Harry Potter theater"). Though not so good with adults, he is great with kids. Perhaps they’re on a closer wavelength or something? But, seriously, he’s always been great with kids. I knew LMH would be in good hands.

Before we left, I got bottles ready, set out his wubbanub, showed Chris how the swing worked, setup the playgym and all of LMH's other favorites so that the odds of it being a great night for both of them would go up a bit. We left for the movie at about 6:15. A little after the movie started (probably still during the insanely long previews), around 7:30 maybe, The Hubby got a text from his brother: “I can’t get him to stop crying. Any suggestions?” At that point, I realized the one thing I had forgot to tell him…LMH can get downright cranky right before bed. He gets so tired that he screams out of sheer exhaustion. There’s not much you can do when he gets that way except walk around with him or, in a pinch, let him cry it out. Nine times out of ten, I’m able to calm him down just by doing laps around the house, but occasionally he’s just over stimulated and needs a break. I neglected to tell Chris that, but I thought that once he got the text reply from The Hubby that all would be well. Back to the movie…We didn’t hear anything else, so assumed walking had done the trick.

A little after 10, as we’re leaving the theater, my mother-in-law checks her phone. Turns out that she missed a couple of texts…one at 7:30 (same one Hubby got) and another at 8:30…in all caps asking for someone to call him NOW. She hadn’t felt her phone vibrate when either text came in. We called…All was well. LMH was asleep, but Chris was mad…that whole not so good with people thing again.

In the end, all he had to do was let LMH cry it out in his crib. He said it took less than fifteen minutes for him to cry (er…scream?) himself to sleep…that was after an hour of frustration for both of them. I fully believe that babies can sense when their caretakers are upset. And I’m sure that, as LMH got more and more upset, so did Chris. It was a self-perpetuating cycle up until the point that he put LMH in the crib so they could both catch a breath.

Up until recently, I had trouble with the whole cry it out philosophy. It’s only been in the last two weeks or so that I’ve been okay with letting him cry, although still not more than 15 minutes or so. He’s gotten very good at self-soothing and it just seems like sometimes the only thing that will calm him down is the absence of stimulation—calming or otherwise. So, I would have thought I might have been upset that Chris ended up letting him cry it out. But, as it turned out, I almost wished he’d put him in the crib earlier…it might have saved a ton of stress for both of them! I think we all learned something that night...
1) Bedtime rituals are an important thing to tell the babysitter
2) Don’t call my mother-in-law in the middle of a movie if you need something urgently
3) Mom is okay with CIO, in moderation

I very much appreciated Chris’ Christmas gift of babysitting. And, now that we’ve learned what works for both of them, I’d definitely let him watch LMH again. I’m pretty sure I won’t be getting the chance anytime soon, though. His first LMH babysitting experience is probably his last for a very long time. Silly Uncle Chris…babies cry, didn’t you know?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Turkey Troubles of a Different Kind


Daycare sent this lovely Thanksgiving craft home in LMH's bag.  So, what's wrong with this picture?

His name isn't Joshua...they sent us home with another baby's turkey!  What to do?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bloggy Bling: Blogger Plug-ins to be Thankful For!

Since I came back to blog world, I’ve been trying to figure out my place in it. You might have noticed quite a few changes around here lately. I’ve been doing a lot of things that are meant to both increase traffic and make it easier for you to get around once you’re here. Right now, I’m using Our Someday Family as a testbed for a lot of the new techno-stuff I’d like to incorporate in my new blog (which, by the way, the lovely Alison of Giggly Girl Blog Designs will be designing for me). Once the new blog is up and running, OSF will be my more personal, private corner of the blogosphere, while the new blog (naming still in progress) will be a more public face with reviews, giveaways and the like.

I’m struggling a bit right now because I’m straddling the fence between too communities, ALI (Adoption, Loss, Infertilty) and mom blogs. When I started this blog, it was just an outlet for me to vent about our struggles with infertility. I found Stirrup Queens when I was researching male factor infertility and was immediately welcomed by the ALI community. I honestly think I would have gone insane last year if it wasn’t for these lovely women. I hold my breath and cross my fingers each month as many of them wait to hear if their new journey is just beginning, or if they’re gearing up for another month on the roller coaster that is infertility

Meanwhile, I’ve been lucky enough to find my way off that ride, if only for now. I’m half in the land of ALI blogs with a toe in the world of mommy blogs. It’s been eye opening. Given the nature of ALI blogging, your goal isn’t exactly for the whole blogosphere to find you. A small group of loyal followers was more than enough…it is a close-knit sisterhood.

In the mom blog world, though, it’s all about visitors and pageviews, and that’s especially true if you’re trying to monetize or work with PR at all. Increasing pageviews and visitors means I need to learn lots about plug-ins, widgets, gadgets and blog organization, SEO (search engine optimization) and so much more! I thought some of you might be interested to learn about all this new fun stuff, because (regardless of which community your blog sits in) these add-ons make your blog more enjoyable for the reader. And, I don’t know about you, but when my readers enjoy my blog, I enjoy it more in return.

So, here are some of the fun things I’ve learned about spiffying up a Blogger blog, plus a few other things about blog networking:
1) Intense Debate (ID). I have always preferred how commenting worked in Wordpress…the way bloggers could reply to their commenters with comment threading, rather than just replying to their own post. ID allows you to login for commenting via Wordpress, OpenId, Twitter, ID's own profiles, or Facebook (though I haven’t installed that feature yet). If comment moderation is something you’re interested in, ID also provides lots of great options to make that easier. ID also sends me an e-mail each time someone comments on my blog with a link to their blog.  So far, I really like it!  I'm curious how you feel about it as a reader/commenter, though...please let me know! 

But, the best part about ID is that it includes…

2) CommentLUV! I LOVE CommentLuv! I started noticing that on lots of mommy blogs, when I commented on on their blog, it would show a link to my most recent post under my comment. Not only does that help other visitors find my commenters' blogs, but it makes it even easier for me to head over to my commenters blog to share to spread the bloggy love! I think of CommentLuv as a way to give back to my readers, because it will hopefully increase their readers, too!  (Note: You don't have to install Intense Debate to get the CommLuv plug-in.  You can get it separately at the link above.)

3) LinkedWithin. Ever notice how, on some blogs, at the end of their post, there are links to a few other posts you might be interested in? They’re using LinkedWithin. It’s an awesome way to expose your readers to posts they may not otherwise have seen. As a blogger, I like that people are more likely to click to another post if I make it easier for them to do so…kind of like how stores place gum right at the checkout line. But, from a reader’s perspective, I also think it’s fun to click around and see what I can find out about my fellow blogger. Plus, LinkedWithin makes it easier for me to find out more faster than if I searched around their site.

Intense Debate, CommentLuv, and Linked Within require a wee bit of coding to add them to your site.  However, all of the sites offer very user friendly instructions, or there are tons of sites to help you through the install with a quick Google search. 

I’ve been learning so much lately that I’ve got much more to say, so look for posts on awesome blog networks, why I'm sticking with Blogger, Twitter (did you see notice my new "Follow Me on Twitter" button?), and more soon…

Monday, November 22, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Full Circle

Thumbnail image for Perfect Moment Monday: It’s baaaack!Growing up, my family was sort of “holiday religious.” We didn’t necessarily go to church every Sunday, but when holidays rolled around; we got dressed up and headed to church with the rest of the extended family. Prayer circles were sort of that way, too. Though the extended family didn’t necessarily pray before every meal, when we were all together we always prayed in thanks and for safe travels home.

This past weekend was LMH’s first extended family Thanksgiving. There were so many perfect moments to choose from, but it’s the prayer circle that stands out. LMH was actually just about asleep in his soon-to-be new cousin’s swing when I picked him up so he could be a part of it. I held him facing outward, so he could see everyone. And, since my uncle and cousin, on either side of me, couldn’t hold my hand (because I was holding LMH), they held his foot and hand. He happily gripped them (or kicked them) back.

By the end of the short prayer he was cranky. I had disturbed his nap, after all. I didn’t mind, though. He had been there. He had shared that one perfect moment with three generations of our family, just like I remember sharing it with the three generations that came before him.

My mom, LMH’s “Nana,” brought a baby’s first Thanksgiving onesie for him to wear. But, I really wish there was a onesie that said “Mommy is thankful for ME.” Things were just so different a year ago and I’m beyond thankful that we have these moments to share now. Saturday’s prayer circle was one of those moments. Last year I was praying for him; This year I’m praying in thanks.

Please head over to Write Mind, Open Heart to share your Perfect Moment.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Hubby was Sleeptalking Again

This was my phone call to The Hubby after picking LMH up from daycare last night:

Me: Hi sweetie. Just wondering why LMH is still in the sleeper he went to bed in last night.
The Hubby: Oh, I thought you said you got him dressed.
Me: No, I change his diaper when I get him up, but I thought the plan was that you were changing him and  
getting him dressed before you left.  Did you feed the girls (i.e., the furbabies, Gracie and Audrey)?
The Hubby: No, I thought you did.
(long pause)
The Hubby: I think I was still half asleep when you were talking to me this morning.
Me: (laughs) Apparently!

I couldn’t help but laugh. It was pretty comical. Especially since he distinctly said “okay” to each of the things I had listed off as being done/not done. To his defense, generally he’s still asleep (in between snoozes) or only half awake when I leave the house. And, I had been running behind yesterday morning so didn’t do some of the things I usually take care of. That said, I’ve only been back to work for two weeks. This weekday morning schedule/plan is still in the formative stages!

This is a rough outline of our morning schedule so far:
5:15ish (although it really needs to be 5am sharp!): Wake-up, put bottle in warmer, let the girls out to go potty, feed the girls, sometimes I pack bottles for The Hubby, too
5:25: Brush teeth, shower, etc.
5:40ish: Wake-up and change LMH’s diaper
5:45ish: Feed LMH
5:55: The Hubby’s first alarm goes off
Fix my lunch, grab piece of toast, etc.
6:05 ish: Leave for work

So, the point at which I’m downloading all of what I did or didn’t get done in the morning, The Hubby is still trying to catch his last few minutes of beauty sleep. I get it. I’m doing the same thing an hour earlier! But, our morning schedule isn’t working for three reasons.
1) I’m not waking up early enough. And, I absolutely HATE it when I oversleep, because I get less time with LMH!
2) There’s too much left for both of us to do in the morning.
3) Can’t expect The Hubby to remember stuff that he’s half awake to hear.

Clearly, we need to tweak the morning routine. I’m thinking about a marker board near the front door. And, the idea of a “chore chart” for the morning routine makes me giggle a little! 

So, humble readers, I’m curious about your morning routines. How do you juggle it all and still make sure that what needs to get done actually gets done?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Out of the Dark


Arwork availabe at http://deloresart.ca/
 What would you do if you found out that you had only two months left to live? That’s the question a dear family friend is struggling to answer this morning. He went to the doctor a few weeks ago for pain and today he’s reeling with from the worst news of his life: cancer. They gave him 2 months to 2 years to live. I’m still a bit in shock. 

Just as my mom was sharing this tragic news with me about one of our family’s oldest friends, I was reading this post over at Memorable Moments on “11 Things to Achieve before 11.11.11.” My first thought was what would you want to achieve if you had even less time than that. I really can’t imagine being given a life ultimatum as dire as two months. Would you fight the cancer? Or would you throw all of your time and effort into having the best two months you could ever imagine?

In the end, I guess it comes down to hindsight, right? If it turned out that you beat the cancer and lived for another ten years, fighting it would have been the right thing to do. If, on the other hand, you spent two months fighting and died in three, perhaps it wasn’t the best idea. The problem is that we don’t have the benefit of hindsight when we’re forced to make those excruciating life decisions. Faith and personality would end up being the determining factors, I think. I think my faith and my personality wouldn’t let me give up. Then again, who knows what I might think in that particular moment.

Thankfully, I’m blessed to stand at a far different moment right now, which leads me to my second thought upon reading the “11 Things t Achieve Before 11.11.11” post. By 11.11.11, I’ll be 30 years old. I’ve feared turning 30 for the last nine years. To me, 30 always represented a mid-life checkpoint moment….have I achieved the things I intended to achieve by the time I got here? Up until this year, many of those things were left unfulfilled. I think that’s why 30 has always been such a sore spot for me.

As I move closer to the 30th year of my life, I fear it less and less. My younger self had two distinct criteria (and many more nebulous ones) for success by age 30.
1. Two kids, and family building completed, by the age of 30.
2. Successful career, preferably having received the coveted “manager” title.
Now those requirements look kind of silly…a benefit of hindsight, of course. No, we won’t have our two kids by the time I turn 30, and now I know that there may not even be two kids in our future at all. But, I have my one perfect baby boy and if he’s the one child God planned for our family to have then so be it! A year ago, when were up to our necks in infertility testing and it all felt so insurmountable, I felt so much pressure about having at least one child by 30. LMH is such a gift that I feel beyond blessed to have had one child by 30, let alone worrying about not having had two!

As for that second requirement, I’m not sure I’ll have it fulfilled by 30 either. But, I’m more and more okay with that. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m striving towards a better work-life balance now that LMH is here. Perhaps it’s the fact that I love my job as is, and I know it’s moving in that direction just not necessarily on my timeline. Perhaps it’s the fact that I feel confident that the company I work for is the perfect place for me, if I choose to stay in Corporate America. Or perhaps it’s that I’m actively seeking new outlets that could lead me in an entirely unexpected direction (like my soon to be announced new blog project). Whatever the reason, I’m okay with not being a manager by June of next year. In fact, I might be okay with not being a manager at all….a younger me shudders at the thought!

So, as I read Sonal’s post, I realized that I don’t know what I want to achieve before 11.11.11. I need new goals, because my old ones seem so shortsighted. I want to be a better me…a me who’s at peace with where and who I am. I want to take a more active stance in our community, reach out to new people, make lasting friends in our hometown. I want to define the direction that I will take for the next decade of my life. It’s interesting that when I started my 20s I wanted to be doing exactly what I am now, working at a successful airline (so I can check off that goal). But, as I begin my 30s, I’m not sure that I want the same things.

It’s time to do some soul searching. What might I accomplish in twelve months if I tackled it with the gusto of someone who’s just been given two months to live? While I’m struggling to answer that question, I pose it to you, as well…. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Blog Tag Question

My Tag Cloud has gotten unruly.  I had been needing to spruce it up since even before my blogging hiatus.  Now that I'm back, it seems in desparate need of some reorganization.  I just don't know where to start.  I don't necessarily have a better way of organizing things and I'm not fond of having to go into each post and retag it.

So, bloggie friends, what's your tagging philosophy? And, have you ever gone in to reorganize your tags?  Any tips and tricks?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NaBloPoMo...FAIL!

Yah, so obviously NaBloPoMo isn't going so hot since I've been back to work!  In theory, I have more time to blog since I've been back, believe it or not, but I think I just haven't got back in the groove yet.  I've had a post in my drafts for a week now, but it's not quite ready for air yet. 

Meanwhile, so far I'm doing ok with work life balance....as long as everything goes according to schedule, that is.  This week, we had some extra drama thrown in when Gracie started having a severe allergy attack.  Within just a few hours on Sunday, she had scratched a giant sore on her neck and chin.  And, by Monday night, when I went to pick her up, it was almost like she was having a seizure.  She was all contorted and still frantically trying to scratch.  I was literally in tears, it was so hard to watch.  So, with that, she was off to the emergency vet. 

The Hubby took her so that I could stay home with LMH, but things were just a little "off."  I was worried and Audrey was whining constantly because she missed her big sister.  Gracie knows how to be alone since she was a only-puppy for a year before we brought Audrey home.  But, Audrey has always had Gracie, so she's pretty dependent on her big sister.  Audrey's reaction just made it tougher on me, because I felt bad for her...but it also reminded me of how much I love my sweet Gracie!  Long before LMH was here, back when we were still naive semi-newlyweds, Gracie taught us how to take care of someone other than ourselves.  She showed us that we could handle more. She was truly our first baby.  And, I dread the day...no, dread is stronger enough...I am terrified of the day when we have to let her go.  Thankfully, that decision will be saved for a much later date.  A few hours later, my Gracie was home.

She seems so much better already this morning.  Those steroid shots take action pretty quick.  Unfortnately, they also make her super dehydrated and upset her tummy!  We'll probably be dealing with an upset tummy in a few days.  But, at least for today she's feeling better!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Musings on Returning to Work

 * I thought this might get easier over time, but now I'm not so shure.  More used to it, yes...easier, no.  That said, I only went back to goodbye 3 times this morning (instead of 5 yesterday) and no tears yet.  It's never going to be easier to sit here at work rather than spending my days with him.
 
From iParenting.com
* Meltdowns expected.  I was prepared to be a puddle of tears all the way into work and have to pull myself together before walking in.  Instead, I was a puddle of tears on Sunday night and did remarkably fine on the way into work.  I think my new schedule (6:30-4) is a huge help. I had him picked up and us home by 5:10 last night.  Harris is a night owl right now, so that gives us a lot of nice time together in the evening.

* It wouldn't matter who he was staying with (daycare or family) this would be hard.  I had originally wished that he could stay with my MIL.  And, while that would be nice, it wouldn't make this process any easier.  I felt remarkably good about the care he was receiving at Warren yesterday.  I wasn't upset so much about that.  I was upset about missing things, and that would be the case regardless of where he stayed or who he stayed with.

* I always want to be the daycare picker-upper! For one thing, I can't have my new schedule if I were the dropper-offer.  Plus, I think I'd be  a mess if I had to drop him off, any time soon at leat.  But, the biggest reason is that he smiled at me when I picked him up...and he usually just sleeps for daddy on his way to daycare!  I LOVE that smile..something to look forward to during the long days...

* The Hubby doesn't do so hot with making outfit choices in the morning.  I started washing LMH's 6-9 month clothes on Sunday since he's starting to transition into some of the smaller 6 month things.  Our morning routine is that I feed him, but The Hubby gets him dressed.  Well, I left out a few of his current outfits for Hubby to choose from.  Seemed easy enough, except that I apparently left a 6-9 month outfit in the pile unbeknownst to me.  Here's where it gets funnuy...The Hubby happened to pick that very outfit (out of 4 in the stack).  Did he notice that it was GINORMOUS on LMH?  Of course not!  So, when I picked LMH up yesterday afternoon, his pants almost fell off and the daycare teacher laughed and said "yah that's been happening all day."  I just said "Daddy dressed him."  LOL!  Silly Daddy.  And silly Mommy...now I'll only be leaving one outfit for the day! Lesson learned!

Counting down the hours today...Already just 5 to go!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Cookie-licious Christmas

Photo from TastyKitchen.com
I always try to get a little something for Christmas for coworkers on my team, or others that I'm close to.  This year, though, that was going to prove a little difficult since we've been sans my paycheck for about two months now.  Luckily, I've also been doing a lot of baking while on leave and the two topics collided into what promise to be yummy coworker Christmas gifts!

Mostly, I've just been making box mixes and doctoring them up a bit.  But, yesterday, I had a bunch of candied ginger to use up from my last trip to Central Market.  I didn't really have any specific recipe in mind for it, but it just looked interesting.  That, my friends, is the exact reason why Central Market is so dangerous...too both my pocketbook and my waistline.  I rather love shopping there occasionally, though.  Just kind of warms my soul (spoken like a true closet foodie)!

Anyway, I went on a search for something yummy to do with this pile of candied ginger.  What I found was these Gingered Orange Shortbread cookies.  Shortbread was already on my "list of baked goods to try making someday," so that worked out rather well.  Luckily, the shortbread baking experience went soooo much better than my attempt to bake french macarons last month.  That was a big fat FAIL!

No, the shortbread was the exact opposite...easy, cheap and DELICIOUS!  Seriously, I highly recommend it.  Just a handful of ingredients that you probably already have on hand, less than 20 minutes to mix, 20-25 minutes to bake and...Voila! Delicious cookies that taste much more complex and difficult than they really are.  I even made them sans the white chocolate and they're still fabulous!  And, what's even more awesome about shortbread...once you have a basic recipe, you can change get as creative as your heart desires with the flavoring ingredients!  Shortbread is a yummy blank canvas!

So, it looks like I'll be baking  quite a few batches of these little gems for Christmas and packing them up with the Story of the Christmas Orange.  Perfection!

The End and The Beginning

Today was the last day of my maternity leave.  Technically, I guess Sunday is the last day of my leave, but weekends don't count to me...I'd have the weekend off anyway.  I handled it better than I thought I would.  Though, I'll admit to quite a few "it'll be ok" and "remember this" moments throughout the day. 

Part of me, though I don't want to admit this, might even be a tiny bit excited to go back to work.  I am afraid what I'm going to find on my first day back!  I mean, I can't even imagine what 3 months of piled up work looks like...or how I'm going to get up to speed after someone else took care of a few of my projects for 3 months.

Three months...so long and yet so fast.  Today also marked the beginning of Harris' third month with us.  Three months ago today, we were rushing to the hospital for an emergency c-section.  Three months ago today, I held (and saw, though not necessarily well) my perfect baby boy for the first time.

I find it interesting, or perhaps ironic, that one end marks another beginning.  I'm reminded of my high school class song..."Every new beginning is another new beginning's end."  Couldn't be any more accurate.  And, I just have to keep looking at it that way.  Today wasn't really the end of anything, it was just the beginning of something new, and not necessarily worse, for all of us.  One day at a time is my mantra right now...one new beginning at a time...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Day...

...new state of mind!  I actually posted this on my Fa.cebook Wall this afternoon...

Picked him up and now he's fast asleep! I really do love Warren...everyone is so sweet and he's very well taken care of! Please remind me that I said this on Monday...

It would seem that my psyche is better off taking him to daycare because it reminds me of what a great place it is.  I'm not 100% convinced that daycare is what I want for him long-term (but I also don't have any other option right now).  But, as far as daycares/preschools go, Warren is top-notch! 

We got up this morning bright and early...seriously, I am SO not looking forward to doing that everyday again.  Ugh!  Anyway, I got up about 5:50 and started to get ready.  My goal was to have him at daycare by 7am.  It was a test run for the days that I'll drop him off in the morning.  Unfortunately, We got there about 7:20.  I was kind of shocked!  There's really not much else I could cut out of the morning routine.  All that's left is to wake up even early...good thing we did the practice run!

When we got there, it was just him and one other baby.  Looks like he'll get lots of personal attention from 7-8/8:30 when most of the rest of the infant room gets there.  According to his daily sheet, he was there 5 hours and was barely awake for 2 of them.  I'm amazed at how much better he naps there than he does at home!  When I picked him up around 12:30, he was mid-nap...again!  I'm glad he sleeps better there, and I'm glad they're stimulating him enough to tire him out so much!

When I went to pick him up, most of the babies, including him, were asleep.  Just a couple were awake and they were getting one-on-one time with one of the teachers over at the floor mirror.  They helped me pack his stuff up and get him in his carseat without waking him up.  When I was there on Tuesday, I watched the wipe away one of the baby's tears with a tissue.  That just struck me as going the extra mile. 

So, all in all, I just feel really good about Warren.  This all brings me back to that post from a few days ago where I realized that it's the fear of missing things that's my problem.  That's still very true.  But, at least I feel better today....just going to have to take it one day at a time for awhile!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Skip

I suppose this is a placeholder post.  I don't want to skip my third NaBloPoMo post, but I'm exhausted and am planning on getting up early tomorrow morning for a daycare morning practice run.  Have just been feeling kind of down today.  Can't believe that three months has already boiled down to just the next four days....

Trying to figure out how to make the most of them without feeling like it's the last of everything, because that would be silly. And yet, that's how it feels at the moment.  I'm grateful for the Lexapro I got earlier, right after he was born and we got the bad news about my vision.  I think it will be useful over the next couple of weeks.

I asked the hubby if I was going to feel any better about this soon.  He said he thought I'd feel a lot better about everything by the end of next week.  I think that's wishful thinking.  I'm hoping I'll feel a bit more sure about everything in a month.  I figure I'm going to feel like crap most of next week.  Lovely positive thinking, huh?  Part of the problem next week will just be sheer exhaustion.  Being tired doesn't exactly help my mood too much to begin with.  I am very grateful that next week is my flex week...only have to make it through four days before I get to spend Friday with LMH!  Four days..surely that's doable!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pause Button

We survived transition day one.  And, it wasn't awful.  We got there about 8:30 and I hung out with him until about 1, left to run some errands, and then came back around 3.  I can already tell that he's going to have a great time.  There are three other babies right around his age, give or take a month or two, so he'll be able to grow up with them.  And, the Infant room teachers are so wonderful.  They've both been there for years (definitely a rarity in the daycare world) and are great with the babies.

I know he'll be very well taken care of and I know he'll enjoy his time there.  And, to top it all off, he takes WAY better naps there than he does at home.  So, why do I still feel so crappy?  I'm pretty sure it has little to do with the fact that this morning was the first time in months that I've actually woken up, stayed awake, and gotten ready before 7am.  No, that's not the cause, but it can't be helping. 

Remember that movie from a year or so ago-- I think it was an Adam Sandler flick-- where he had a remote control and could fast forward, pause and rewind his life?  I wish I had one of those life remotes right about now.  I'd like to put the brakes on this week, but speed through next.  Of course, I don't think I ever saw that movie, but I'm pretty sure that last statement totally negates the whole moral of the story...life is in the details, good and bad, blah, blah, blah.  I'm so not in the mood...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Transition

Tomorrow is our first "transition" day at daycare.  I'm grateful for the chance to transition, because it might make leaving him there all day starting next week infinitesimally easier.  I'll take whatever small bit of "easier" I can get. The Merriam-Webster definition doesn't do much to make me feel any better about this either...

Transition (noun): passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another.  See also: change.

What new "state" are we passing into?  It's not so much the idea of me going back to work that bothers me, or even the fact that other people will be caring for him during the day (although the fact that he'll will essentially spend more time at daycare during the day than with us doesn't make me very happy).  We picked an awesome Montessori daycare/preschool, so I know that he will be well taken care of.  No, on the surface it's not either of those things troubling me tonight. 

It's really all about the fear of missing things.  More accurately...the fear of missing everything.

What are the odds that his firsts are going to happen between the few hours he's awake in the evenings after we get home or on the weekend?  The odds aren't really in our favor.  I've never been that good with change.

The hubby has mentioned that if I really want to stay home, we would find a way to make it work.  We'd have to change our lifestyle quite a bit.  But, we have managed to survive the last two months of my leave without a paycheck.  I don't actually believe that we could make it long-term without my paycheck, but maybe we could. 

The truth is that I never thought I'd be a very good stay-at-home-mom.  I really like my job.  Some days, I even love my job.  I need projects.  My brain needs challenges...and not so much the "what's causing that particular cry" kind.  I really love the people I work with and the corresponding adult interaction.  I've even felt a little isolated at times during the last few months.

So, as much as I don't want to go back, I do want to, too.  And, I don't know what that says about me as a mom or as a woman.  In a perfect world, I could work from home...come up with some brilliant new product or business idea and go from there.  But, the truth is that I have no such ideas.  Apparently, I wouldn't be a very good entrepreneur either!

What I do know is that I'm a great mother.  I love my little man with all my heart and want nothing but the best for him.  I just don't know yet whether that means me at home or me at work.  Both answers scare me...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaBloPoMo & Halloween

What better way to jump back into blogging than to dive in head first with NaBloPoMo?  What's NaBloPoMo, you ask?  Why National Blog Posting Month, of course!  Essentially it's a challenge to write a post every day for 30 days during the month of November.

So, join us...can you blog 30 times in 30 days?  If you're up for the challenge, you can sign up here at NaBloPoMo central or with Suzy at Not a Fertile Myrtle.
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It's Halloween and here in Texas apparently we trick-or-treat on Halloween, even when Halloween falls on a Sunday.  Not really sure what to expect by way of trick-or-treaters.  Last year, Halloween was on a Sunday and we hardly had any stop by, so I'm thinking the numbers on a Sunday will be even lower (read nonexistent).  It really strikes me as odd, though, since we live in a very family oriented area/neighborhood.

We're planning to get H dressed up in either his puppy or little devil costume (will have to post a pic of the little devil...too funny) and hang out on the patio and wait for the kiddos.  Gracie and Audrey (the fursisters) bark like crazy when a doorbell rings, so it's just easier to avoid the doorbell and dispense candy from the patio!  I hope that we have at least a few trick-or-treaters...it is LMH's first Halloween after all!

I also just remembered that I was planning on making a Halloween themed dinner.  Would have been nice if I'd remembered that before the hubby left for Wal-Mart and was even nice enough to ask me if I needed anything.  Well, yes, as a matter of fact, but since he just pulled into the driveway, I think LMH and I will be headed out to the store a little later.  I'm thinking mummy dogs are on the menu!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Little Man H!

I've missed blogging and I've missed all of you!  For some reason, I really just needed to take a break near the end of my pregnancy, but I never really planned on disappearing completely.  I needed a break, but I didn't know why.  Now, I do.  For awhile there, blogging made me feel somehow ungrateful and guilty.  I didn't how to straddle the line between fertile and infertile.  Blogging here, in particular, made me feel guilty...but, feeling guilty made me feel ungrateful for our miracle.  It's not that straightforward, though.  I know that now.  Reading blogs of people who had come out on the other side gave me so much hope during those darker days.  Maybe our story will do the same.

I always planned on coming back once he was born.  The latter end of our pregnancy had some unexpected complications, though...H came about a month early and I was unable to use the computer for a week or so before he was born and about a month after due to issues with my own vision.  I spent so much time worrying about him that I never really stopped to worry about myself.  In the end, he was perfect and I had the lingering issue....


So anyway, I've been waiting all this time to post, because I wanted to wait until I had his birthstory written...but, I'm still working on it.  In fact, I have writer's block.  It was such a time of emotional extremes...sheer joy at his birth and sheer terror at the thought (and reality) of not being able to see him.  It's been difficult to relive it in order to write it down, but I feel that I need to do it so that I can truly process it all.

H is FABULOUS!  He's an absolute dream baby!  Honestly, I can't imagine a more perfect, adorable baby boy and I already can't imagine what we did before he was here.  Our life and family just feel complete now...perfectly how it's supposed to be!

So, here are a few pics of his first fabulous, amazing, wonderful (I could keep going, but I digress...) three months with us.  I hope we're back now...I plan to be back.  I feel the need/urge to blog again now that our life is settling into its new normal.  I go back to work in about a week and I'm sort of terrified.  Real life is already much more complicated than my wonderful three months in a bubble with LMH were!  *sigh*


So, we're back!  I'm not sure what the blog will look like now, but Little Man H and I will be here for sure!  And, come on...how can you resist THAT face?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Belated ICLW Welcome

This is a much belated "hello and welcome to my blog" in honor of ICLW!  I ended up getting sick with a nasty sinus infection and pretty much slept for the better part of the last few days.  The sinus pressure was insane!  In the end, my OB prescribed some antibiotic on the premise that the infection was much worse for baby than the meds.  Sure enough, the antibitoic worked like a charm!  Gotta love the Z-pack!

Nothing much new going on here.  I guess I just don't feel like I have many interesting these to say these days.  We're formally in the second trimester now!  So, we also formally announced to our colleagues at work just this week.  We're at 14 weeks and got a lot of "why did you wait so long" responses.  It's a pretty personal thing!  I hung on a little longer before telling everyone because I was dealing with the fear of the jinx and not wanting to cause anyone else to feel like I did when others announced pregnancy news.  However, I finally realized that we deserved to celebrate, too...and that I would do my best to be considerably more tactful than many of my colleagues last year were.  Posting to Faceb00k, though?  I still haven't quite worked up the nerve to do that yet.

There are a few semi-exciting things going on this week, though...

1)  I looked in the mirror today and for the first time, I saw more bump than pudge!  I don't think that anyone else would possibly notice it through clothes.  But, I was just so excited to see it!  I don't expect there to be a noticeable bump for awhile, but I was excited to see it progressing...slow but sure!

2)  On Thursday night, Hubby and I are going to a giant consignment sale at the convention center for all things baby, children and maternity.  They've got everything from baby clothes to maternity clothes, cribs to toys. 

Much to my dismay (I've been on this soapbox lately), my company doesn't provide short-term disability.  We're determined for me to be able to take the full 12-weeks off, but it means that 2 months of it will be unpaid.  We've been budgeting and saving like crazy trying to make it work. 

One of the things that I've had to change my mindset on is nursery furniture.  I would've loved for us to have been able to buy an awesome, new designer crib from a boutique or something, but it's just not feasible.  And, my hope is that we'll be able to get something of higher quality by buying gently used than new.  The bottomline for me is that time with Beaker before I go back to work is certainly worth getting a bit creative with the furniture situation.

I'm hoping that we'll be able to find a crib, dresser and rocker at the consignment sale. Plus, the newly appearing bump requires that I do some shopping for maternity clothes, too!  Should be a good time, if Hubby can survive the onslaught of pregnancy hormones from all the women at the convention center!  LOL!  I'm hoping it's both fun and productive! 
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