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


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


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


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...
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