“WE were ON a BREAK!”

Could this BE any more hilarious?

Could this BE any more hilarious?

 

If you know me in real life, you know that “Friends” is one of my favorite shows ever (Erin, are you reading this? You better be).

Just kidding, I needed a reason to find this dude because I LOVE HIM

Just kidding, I needed a reason to find this dude because I LOVE HIM

Sometimes a break is the best thing you can do for yourself. Hey, look at the show. They end up together, don’t they? Ya never know.

I’m going through a tough time right now. I feel like I always seem to have something stressful going on, but this is a pretty big one. I don’t want to go into detail because I’m still figuring things out myself. But hey, if you believe in prayer, throw some my way as often as you like!

I’m the kind of person who “stress eats” when I am stressed out. Makes sense! But when I go through really hard times, I have a hard time eating. When I pull myself out of the funk and actually start eating, I still lose weight. That’s becomes the point where I think “Oh hai…you are stressed out like WHOA and need to figure things out. Life isn’t that bad! Get it together and it will be okay.”

I guess I’m the same way with writing. I may go long periods without posting blogs, but I’m still jotting notes, tapping ideas into my iPhone, spinning tales in my mind.

I’ve lost it all because I’m too sad.

One day I won’t be so sad, and one day I’ll write again. But this time, I’ll start with the journals, the notes jotted for me and me alone, the comfort of knowing that it’s okay if others read the words I write.

Until then, thank you. Thank you for always being faithful, for leaving comments that always made me smile, and making me feel that maybe, just maybe, I was good at this writing thing.

I know I’m a good mom, but when I’m this stressed out, I worry it will affect my Boo Boo. She is amazing! In fact, I’ll leave this melancholy blog on a happy note! You’ll get a picture of Baby Anna, and the lyrics to one of my favorite songs ever. It’s the kind of song that makes you happy and sad and seems to apply to your life at random times.

I dress her in pink, people still think she's a boy. I think she's beautiful.

I dress her in pink, people still think she’s a boy. I think she’s beautiful.

 

“Of all the things I still remember, summers never looked the same,

Years go by and time just seems to fly, but the memories remain,

In the middle of September we’d still play out in the rain,

Nothing to lose but everything to gain,

Reflecting now on how things could have been,

It was worth it in the end.”

~ September ~ Chris Daughtry

 

Nothing is forever, but thank you for giving me something to aspire to come back to.

~Jen

 

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Here’s a Few More of My Favorite Things

Did you sing the title in your head? Good job.

I’ve always liked doing “review” blogs, where I tell you about some awesome products and then judge you if you don’t immediately buy them.

Kidding, kidding. But now that I have a baby, I welcome suggested products and try to share the good news when I can. And with Amazon’s Prime Shipping, baby goods keep mysteriously appearing on my doorstep…

Baby nail scissors

31YjIw5Fk7L._SL500_SS500_I was convinced that I’d be one of those moms who just never groomed her child’s nails. I was that terrified of using nail clippers. When I was 14, the family I babysat for brought home Baby #2, and I watched as Mom cut her while trimming her nails. The baby cried…I mean, babies cry. But Mom? She was a mess. Apparently, 17 years later, the memory is vivid enough to terrify the bejeebus out of me.

Thank God someone came up with this. It’s almost impossible to cut the baby because of the rounded ends, and even when I did “get her” one day, she didn’t bleed or even react. Seriously, if you have a baby and you don’t have these, you’re doing it wrong.

Nose Frida

Sorry, I would have taken my own picture but all the gagging left me tired

Sorry, I would have taken my own picture but all the gagging left me tired

A close second to “Never grooming child” was “Do these freaking bulb syringes even work?” I felt like the biggest moron on the planet while trying to operate that thing and Anna was still snotty and congested. Then I read online if you cut one open, you will find it filled with mold because there is no way to properly clean. No thanks!

Then I found the Nose Frida! Okay I have a confession with this one. I don’t think I could ever actually do it. I hold Anna in my lap, attempt to keep her head still (which is a bit of a joke) and let the husband do the sucking. I turn my head and gag the whole time, even though the snot doesn’t come anywhere near your mouth. If you’re a single parent with a strong gag reflex, pay a friend to do it. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Battery Nose Aspirator

31wUFBZoJpL._AA300_If you tried to bribe your friends and $20-per-snot-sucking still isn’t enticing enough, just buy this. I actually have both and feel that they fix different problems anyway. The Nose Frida is great for the really thick, nasty stuff. The battery one is better for looser, clearer leakage. Just take out a small loan now because there are several items left on my list.

Frog rug

Could she BE any cuter?

Could she BE any cuter?

If you have pets and a baby, you know it’s a bit harder to adjust to a routine that works for everyone. Fred loves Anna, but he also thinks he can lick her entire face (and inside her mouth, gross) as much as he wants. We keep him extremely clean, and I’m not a germ-a-phobe, but I still don’t plop her on the floor. At one time, Fred has been plopped on every single inch of our living room carpet, and he may be dragging in dirt and other-things-we-won’t-think-about on his paws.

We found this on Amazon after I saw a picture on Facebook. This thing is great! It’s soft and his giant frog head is a nice pillow so Mommy can lie on the floor with Anna. She sleeps in her crib, so this is the only time we are ever lying down together, and it’s nice. She smiles at me, rests her hand on my face, and I feel like a million bucks.

I think she likes it

I think she likes it

Bath sponge

Not Baby Anna

Not Baby Anna

I don’t know if this is common for new moms, but I was pretty anxious about bath time. The first time they get a real bath, they are still so little and fragile. We were given a few baby bath tubs and could have just used one on the dining room table. However, I’m all about establishing the long-term routine early on, and I didn’t want to do one thing for a month and then be scrambling when she was in between the baby bath tub and the big girl bath tub.

My husband has a knack for research, and he found this! It was amazing for that first newborn bath, and is still great for the now squirmy-infant bath. Also helpful if you are a klutz like me.

Essie glitter nail polish

122211-essie

Stop. No. Do not put this on your baby. This is the section devoted to Mom, aka Wonder Woman. I read a lot (too much…) online, and since I had Anna, most of what I read is baby-related. In my opinion, moms don’t take care of themselves enough. I am a firm believer that I am a better mother when I take the best care of myself.

Everyone has different tricks to feel confident, and having a nice manicure is one of mine. However, they only last for a week tops and cost $12 a pop. As much as I would love to have the time and funds to make this happen every week, I don’t. I’m also pretty terrible at painting my own nails.

Essie is my favorite brand anyway, but did you know glitter is magic? If you mess up your nails before they are dry (taking the baby out of the swing because she woke up after 10 minutes instead of her usual 2 hours is a fine example), it’s glitter. It’s already an imperfect finish, so who cares?

Not my pic, but this is my new favorite color

Not my pic, but this is my new favorite color

In situations where your little one actually lets you complete a full manicure, here’s a tip if you are a klutz like me (have I mentioned this before?) and still manage to find ways to destroy your hard work; paint nails, apply a lot of top coat (the secret to a lasting manicure!) and jump on the treadmill. I find that I’m motivated to walk longer because I want that manicure to last.

If you don’t have time for a manicure and marathon-drying-session, try these. Alex calls them “Lee Press On Nails,” but they aren’t, I swear. They are nail covers, are easy to apply, actually stay on but are easy to take off, and protect your nails. Mine always feel stronger when I take off a batch.

Well, there you have it, friends. I hope this has been helpful and somewhat educational.

Why aren’t you on Amazon yet?

Evil, Stinkin’ Mommy Guilt

If you have a child and you work, you have Mommy Guilt. If you have a child and you don’t work, you have Mommy guilt.

Maybe you formula feed and have Mommy Guilt. Maybe you breastfeed and have Mommy Guilt because you can’t give as much attention to your other children. Maybe your child has colic, and you have Mommy Guilt. Maybe everything is going relatively smoothly and you still have Mommy Guilt. Sound familiar?

Moms are amazing. This is a pretty well-known fact, but it’s reiterated when you actually have a child. Men start to see it in the mother of their child, and women start to feel it after they carry and nourish another life, and then continue to nourish that life.

So why do we beat ourselves up? This has been on my mind for a while. I feel that, at almost 15 weeks old, Baby Anna and I have settled into a good routine. She randomly sleeps through the night (yay!), only gets up once a night if she doesn’t, eats like a champ but still has her slender, girlish figure, and is the happiest darn baby I’ve ever known. She is my traveling companion, my partner in crime, and my biggest reason to take care of myself, because I want to do my best at taking care of her.

But sometimes at work, I get a familiar pang and wish I could see her right. now. Not when work is done, not after I sit in traffic to go to daycare. Now. That thought almost always leads to, “You know, you really should just be home with her anyway.”

Wow! Where did that evil nugget come from?

Here’s some background; I have a good job. Actually, a really good job. My boss is flexible and doesn’t micromanage. He lets me leave early often and I pretty much run the schedule myself. Even if we could afford for me to stay home, I would be crazy to let go of a good job that pays well.

Plus, I remember the last few weeks before I returned to work. I was tired, overwhelmed and majorly lacking in vitamin D.

I have a chronic pain condition. It hurts to get out of bed. Carrying around my little pork chop takes a toll on my back. If I don’t have a reason to leave my house, I won’t…especially in winter. I also think I deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Truth

Truth

I’m a better mom because I work. Having a reason to set the alarm early means I feel better because I’m up early. Returning to work has helped me get (almost) back to my normal weight range, and sometimes it’s refreshing to be outside in the cold (don’t tell my husband I said that).

Yet, I still beat myself up for the things I don’t do. When Angel passed away, I did the same thing. I sang the “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda’s” and cried until I practically made myself sick. It took a conversation with a friend to point out what we did do for Angel. Her last memories weren’t of a shelter, or abuse, or a cold, wet floor. They were of love, a warm and comfy bed, good food, and the best fur-brother anyone could ask for.

Fred is a good helper when it comes to organizing laundry.

Fred is a good helper when it comes to organizing laundry.

Maybe we all need to do this more when it comes to our kids. Feel bad because your husband works  longer hours so you can stay home? Don’t. You’re home with your child. Feel bad because you’re at work and your child is at daycare? Don’t. You’re providing for your child. And if you’re blessed enough to have a similar situation to mine, you have an awesome day care and your little one loves going.

Healthy and happy...must be doing something right!

Healthy and happy…must be doing something right!

So stop beating yourself up. Creating a child, delivering a child and raising a child is a pretty big deal. Odds are, you’re awesome at it. Heck, maybe the most anxiety-ridden moms really are the best, because the crazy voices in their head make them try harder.

Wouldn’t that be nice? Shoot, I would deserve a medal.

Five Question Friday and a Shout-out to Dayle

I stole this from my friend Dayle, who has committed to blog every day in 2013. I realize blogs like this are meant to give regular bloggers a break, and I’ve had a break for…um….well a while now. But hey, I have to get back into the habit of writing, so I’ll jump at this opportunity.

Check out Dayle’s answers here.

 

Answer the questions in the comments or on your own blog (but leave a link)!

 

Five Question Friday

1. What holiday do you wish did not exist?

Valentine’s Day. It’s a silly Hallmark holiday, in my opinion. If you’re single, you’re depressed. If you’re married/in a relationship, you feel the need to do something special…but doing something special means spending more money than is reasonable. Dinners out are more expensive, the price of flowers is ridiculous, the menu is usually limited and you are crammed into your table, surrounded by a bunch of strangers who are entirely too close to your elbow.


2. What is your favorite romance/love movie?

I Love Trouble. It’s not a traditional romance movie, but it’s still a love story.

3. Do you make a big production out of celebrating Valentine’s Day?

Not at all. I would rather get flowers on a random day. And chocolate is pretty much a staple in my household.

4. What is something weird you did as a child? (or even now!)

Oh goodness. How much time do you have? To follow Dayle’s example (because this story is too funny not to share), I had an imaginary friend named Judy. When I went to my grandparents house, I always played behind one of the chairs in the living room. One day I came out from behind the chair and announced that Judy had died from drinking too much wine.

5. What makes you love your husband, really LOVE him, you know since Valentines is coming up?

He is my best friend and always makes me laugh. We have a goofy, silly relationship, which I never had before. I thought I wanted the traditional romance, but realized that everyone’s definition of romance is different. He makes me feel secure and safe. He cooks, cleans and never makes me feel like I have to do everything myself.

The family, minus Sir Frederick

The family, minus Sir Frederick

Love ~ Hate ~ Summer

It’s no secret that summer is my favorite holiday. Summer means trips to the beach, but it also means flip-flops and tank tops. Now that I’m 6 months pregnant, I’m getting a lot of sympathetic comments like, “Oh, I’m so sorry that you’re pregnant all summer!” I usually laugh and respond that I have handled the heat well, mostly because I can walk around in leggings, tanks and flip-flops and not be judged. I actually sympathize with those who are pregnant all winter, because their life consists of long pants, sweaters, coats (*shudders*) and closed-toed “real” shoes.

Bonus ~ only in summer can you can dress like a giant blueberry and accent it with a white cardigan and white pants!

Because, let’s be honest! I’m going to be sleep deprived, and if you’ve ever met me, you realize just how scary the beginning of this sentence really is.

Plus, my handsome Fred is definitely done with the itchies. As much as I love the warm weather, this dry season has made him quite miserable. I already spoil him rotten, but the added maternal instincts and hormones make me want to shake my fist at what causes his pain. Unfortunately that means summer has to leave us eventually.

 

“Nooooooo more itchies!”

For now, I’m going to enjoy the end of summer but actually look forward to the changing seasons. The end of summer, which usually brings sadness, is bringing the hope of something new…

Teehee!

…the joy of finishing a baby room…

…and the anticipation for our own little monkey.

And my husband is ready for football.

He’s a Redskins fan, shhhh….

Just . . . Stop

I am a self-proclaimed-crappy-journal-writer. When friends post blogs and pull lines or pages from previous journals, it makes me sad. Sometimes I can’t even read the blog. I have a few journals with scattered thoughts, tucked away in a box somewhere. But I do not possess notebook upon notebook. I have more than one, but only one or two that has actually been filled. Instead, all my thoughts are crammed into my head, and it’s no wonder I have a hard time shutting off my brain.

For background, I started out at a young age, writing anything I could write. I copied definitions from the dictionary, just to feel the pen or pencil glide across the paper. I started silly stories, wrote down the things that made me angry, and scribbled other nonsense that only an eight-year-old can dream up.

My scribbles were found, read and scrutinized. My stories were mistaken as a reflection of my real life, my angry ramblings were criticized, and my nonsense was taken out of context and almost ridiculed.

It was hard for me to write again, for a long time. And even though I have worked through a lot of the issues (although, not with the person who gave me the issues), I hesitate to journal.

I know my husband won’t go through my things or read my words, but someone else might, someday. What if I am brutally honest and write the things I am feeling while being pregnant, and my child reads it one day? What if I’m gone, and my words are found, but I can no longer defend my feelings or choices?

I was 14 when my aunt passed away, and her parents read her journals. I remember my mom telling me how upset everyone was by her words. That only increased my fear and anxiety.

I carry my journal in my purse but rarely try to fill its pages. I ache to write more, and the more I write little nothings, the more I want to write blogs, or dabble with the two main books in my head, or try to find a “real job” where I can write (in addition to, not instead of, my current job).

Yesterday I started to write more. It was glorious. I had started lugging my laptop to work again, but I know this will not be feasible when my stomach prevents me from seeing my feet. Sometimes I’ll send myself an email, filled with blog ideas, book excerpts or quotes I want to expand.

Maybe I should email myself my journal. Maybe that will help squash the fear until it’s completely gone. Will it ever be gone?

I won’t know until I stop being afraid. If I wake up every day and tell myself, “You are not afraid of your words being read,” perhaps I will start to believe it. Maybe it’s the same principle as “Choose to be happy, and you will be happy.” My inner snarky self is already laughing at me, knowing it’s hard for me to change.

I’m going to try anyway. I want to write about everything. The beach, working in bridal, basketball, being pregnant, my dogs, my loves, my life. The things I want read and the things I want to keep hidden. The good and the bad, the issues and the triumphs, the family who stayed and the family who flew away.

So I will. If someone reads it and gets offended, oh well. I will never be truly happy with all these thoughts in my head.

And maybe these darn headaches will finally give me some peace.

Some Things I Can Never Say

Dear ____,

You are unaware of this, but I am pregnant. And hormones are even nastier than you. Since I can never say this to your face, maybe one day you will stumble upon this blog and know it was for you.

If you have an appointment and you call five minutes after that appointment started to say you are late, you cannot get angry at the doctor if he doesn’t wait for you. Especially if this doctor is a surgeon and frequently gets called to the hospital.

Telling me you are a contractor and get paid “by the hour” holds no water with a doctor. Does he get paid to sit around and wait for you? Lady, he doesn’t get paid for a vast majority of the crap he does. People think doctors make so much money, but as a scummy lawyer, I am 100% sure you make more.

Speaking to me in that tone of voice only reiterates the fact that we shouldn’t have given you such a good price for that procedure. Kiss that discount good-bye!

By the way, when did you attend medical school? Saying it is “physically impossible” for him to do his job in the 15 minutes allotted for your appointment is insulting, to him and to me. It’s plenty of time if you are actually here for the appointment! Maybe you should come work here and run my schedule, since you are clearly an expert at time management.

Threatening to call the Better Business Bureau is a joke. What are you going to tell them? “I was late for my appointment and the doctor didn’t wait for me?” Are you kidding me? Let me know how that goes. I’m sure this is the first time in the history of the world that a doctor was late or missed an appointment.

Speaking of that, it’s not the first time it has happened in this office. I’ve had five patients in my waiting room and received a call that the doctor wasn’t coming. The best part? They were a lot nicer than you. So kiss my tush.

Perhaps you should find a doctor who isn’t a surgeon and have him perform that surgical procedure. Try to not die.

I pray the letter I’m sending you terminating the doctor/patient relationship arrives in a timely manner.

Sincerely,

Me