Holy Hurriquake!

On Tuesday afternoon I was eating lunch with a couple of co-workers in Downtown Norfolk when all of a sudden the floor started moving.  It was really vibrating for a couple of seconds and then it was smaller shakes for almost another minute.  It was one of the strangest feelings ever.  One of my co-workers wondered out loud if it was the new light rail was causing the earth to move.  I remembered a small earthquake when I was in college and automatically thought of that.  We didn’t really have time to figure it out when we saw people evacuating from the federal building across the street from the restaurant.  Uh oh.  Cell phones wouldn’t make any calls out and the internet on smart phones was down.  We walked outside (you know like all stupid people do in the movies) to see if anyone knew what was going on.  Not even thinking that if it were an earthquake that an aftershock (or the real deal) could hit at any time.

Being that I took two semesters of geology, I am basically an expert of the subject.  I knew that basically anyone in the country (or world for that matter) can feel an earthquake.  There are fault lines everywhere, hence the continents and their locations, so my first thought was that is what we felt.  By the time we got back to the office it was confirmed that we had a 5.9 magnitude earthquake.  Pretty tame in the grand scheme of things, but the biggest in over a century in southeastern Virginia.

On Wednesday evening Chase’s nose started to run, he was coughing and sneezing like crazy.  At first I thought it might be a summer cold, but as the late afternoon turned into night and sleep was SCARCE I thought that maybe at 10 months, twice as long as his other friends, if maybe, maybe there were actually some teeth hiding up in his gums.  As a baby I didn’t teethe until I was nearly a toddler, so I wasn’t expecting them to show up when they did with everyone else, but that doesn’t mean I was looking forward to it.

Since then he constantly chews on his fingers, drools like a faucet, has had a low grade fever and still hasn’t been sleeping well.  When he will allow me to look at his upper gums (a feat similar to opening a cat’s mouth) he screams and throws a tantrum that I’m sure will rival those in a year or so, but I can see two very small slits where his two front teeth will allegedly show up.  If his orthodontics mirror mine, who knows what is going to show up there.  It could be canines or molars.  He is become clingy like he has never been since he was born and holds onto me with both of his arms so I can’t put him down.  It has basically been a nightmare since Wednesday and since I can’t see what’s going on in there, who knows how much longer it will last.

Today, Hurricane Irene is bearing down on us..  Chase, Foster and I made our way over to my parents’ house to weather the storm mainly because they have a generator for when we do lose power.  So far we still have it and have only dealt with a lot of wind and rain.  We have a while to go before it “hits” us.  If Chase were sleeping on some semblance of a schedule, this whole adventure would be a lot more fun, but no such luck this week.

Thankfully Mom and I have been drinking moscato slushies (and it is just now noon), you know, to better weather the storm.  We will eventually make our way back to our house to see if we have power and to access the damage.

For those of you paying close attention, you have probably realized there has been an omission to this whole post.  Brad.  Ever heard of him?  He is out in Oregon and has been there since Sunday and won’t be home again until Monday.  Then he’s leaving again on Wednesday to be gone for 6 more days.  As I told him yesterday he owes me a very nice piece of jewelry.

Note the devastation

Reporting live from Virginia Beach, this is Beach Tink…

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That is my size these days and it depresses me.  I’ve still got five to ten pounds more to lose worth of baby weight and damn if it isn’t near impossible.  I have gotten down to about 7 pounds away, but that’s as close as I’ve been.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, I had gained about 20 pounds before I even got pregnant and I’m not quite sure who or what to blame for that.  I do know that I need to lose that weight too.  Could it be laziness?  A new job that requires I have to be at work half an hour earlier and stay half an hour later?  Or work where eating out is encouraged?  Or age?  Could it be that I think my metabolism has slowed down tremendously and my crappy eating habits have not?  Can I blame my motivation lasting approximately 2 hours?  I don’t know, but I’ve got to do something.  I’m not supposed to be a large and I’m getting dangerously close to wearing out the excuse of “I just had a baby…” especially since he will be 10 months old on Monday.  So, let’s get down to it.

I am running a half marathon next weekend (pending the weather and “devastation” from Hurricane Irene), then I’m hoping to run another half in the middle of November, I’ve already signed up for a half in March and I would really, really like to do a full marathon next November.  I am hoping that I may actually lose some of the weight with all of the training and running I plan on doing.  The key word here is plan.  Considering I signed up for the half way back in April, I haven’t really done such a great job at training.  Part of that has to do with the fact that I do have a 10 month old.  He does not make for a very predictable lifestyle.

I’m a big fan of running in the morning, so is Brad.  So we have to schedule things.  My running days are Monday and Friday, his are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  We do our long runs on Saturday or Sunday depending on my trusty running companion, Ashley.  But some Mondays and Fridays Chase is up at 6:45, and some Sundays and Thursdays Chase is up in the middle of the night, and some mornings I have a stomach ache or a headache.  And some weekends it is raining.  Or Brad doesn’t want to run.  Or we have a huge wildfire near by that creates an awful, smoky atmosphere.  Or there is a HURRICANE!!!  Or Brad is out of town or has a 4am flight.  Or, I use any and every excuse to avoid running.

There has only been one point in my life where running and I tolerated each other.  It was while I ran cross country in high school  and I literally weighed 45-50 pounds less than I weigh right now.  Which is disgusting.  I was 18.  And hadn’t just had a baby J.  Since then I am just not a fan.  From the first stride until the last I dread it and can’t wait for it to be over.  I got close to that tolerance back in 2007 when I was training for my first half and I would love to get there again.  I am hoping that I can’t escape it with all of the races coming up.  I can’t even us the excuse that Chase is too young for the jogging stroller (because he really isn’t).

I’m not 18 or 20 or 25 even more.  I am getting older, my metabolism is slowing down, I am busier and have more going on with my job and my personal life, I do love to bake, but I do know how to lose weight.  I need to stay motivated.  I need to eat better.  I need to be consistent  with my exercise.  I need to honest to goodness train.  I need to use others to help me.  I am not getting any younger or any skinnier.

Enough with the excuses.  Let’s do this!

A Funny Thing Happened in North Carolina

One of the biggest worries that I’ve had for the past three months is that Chase wasn’t babbling. Trust me, when you become a mom not only do you become competitive about everything from teething to eating and sleeping habits to fingernail growth, but you also become an obsessive worrier. Thank about it, your parents still probably worry about you today, don’t they? But I am not the most “on top of it” mom. I don’t read the books like I should and I feel to some extent that ignorance is bliss, so I try to avoid knowing all of the milestones and just playing it by ear. When I was told that babbling was one of THE THINGS a 7 or 8 or 9 month old should be doing, I still kind of brushed it off. Then when a friend with a baby a day younger than Chase said, “whatever you do, don’t google ‘a baby that doesn’t babble at 8 months,’” I started to worry.

That’s the other thing about becoming a mom. There is a lot of information on the internet. An infinite amount actually. The majority of that information has no source, no bibliography, no sense and no basis. A lot of it is written by ordinary people, like you and me. What most of us fail to realize (or remember) when we are looking to the internet for information is that people are stupid. Yet, we fall for it time and time again. So I googled it. That led to articles about autism, developmental delays and ultra super moms who claimed their children were babbling in the womb. Awesome.

I reassured myself about it all. Chase is way too interested in moving around. He army crawls around the house, wants to always be “walking,” has started cruising recently, and active babies don’t necessarily communicate when they should. His father didn’t say a word until he was one. He was six weeks early, so if he isn’t babbling by x amount of months, then I will really worry. And so on and so on.

I tried to forget everything that I read and knew that the pediatrician would have the solution. We were about to visit her for Chase’s 9 month checkup. When the same friend who told me not to google anything gave me a promising update from her pediatrician, I felt even more confident going to my doctor. After all Chase makes a ton of noises and coos and oohs and aahs and his pediatrician is super laid back and is always happy with the progress he has made thus far. When we went into his appointment all smiley and happy and she went through her list of questions and we answered “yes” to all of them, I started feeling really cocky. When she got to “And does he babble? You know, ‘mama,’ ‘dada,’ anything like that?” and we said “no, not yet,” and she said, “Really? Nothing?” I really started to feel like we were actually in trouble. Then she did the whole, “well you know, he’s really like a 7 ½ month old baby” routine and I got really disheartened. She had previously told us that he was all caught up, and I wasn’t used to going in the opposite direction. I just knew she would brush it off, so I started to get depressed when she went that route.

That was on Tuesday. Yesterday we were in North Carolina visiting my grandparents and Chase was crawling over to me on the floor when I moved away and he got frustrated and started to cry. At the end of the wail, I swore I heard a “ma.” Nah. But I tested him and put him down to crawl and then moved away a little bit. He started to cry and this time I heard him clearly, “MAMAMAMAMA!!!!!!” inside of his cry. Hallelujah! By the time he woke up from his nap he was “mamamama” a lot. Then by the end of the day there was even some “bababababa” and “gagagaga,” even “rararara.” The funny part? All of the stupid books that I started reading when the babbling wasn’t happening basically say, “don’t expect them to say mama first, they all say dada.” Aunts and well meaning strangers have told me, “well you know, he’ll say dada first.” So I didn’t even practice “mama” with him, I tried everything else. And that adorable, wonderful, perfect child said “mama” first. As if I couldn’t love him even more.

Hold tight. I’ll have something new to worry about tomorrow, don’t you worry!

The SAHM Project, Take 2

So we are at the end of the 48 hour experiment known as The Stay At Home Mom Project and truly, I am sad. Really. I was not expecting that at all. A couple of weeks after I went back to work after being on maternity leave for 12 weeks, Chase came down with a cold, so I stayed home with him. He was 15 or 16 weeks old and I nearly died. He was sleeping a lot anyway, so with a cold he was sleeping even more, and I spent the entire morning on the computer working and wondering what on earth I was going to do with him when he woke up. Mere days earlier I had relished in every minute we were together and would check one or two things off of my “To Do” list in an entire day. At 3 I called my mom begging her to come and relieve me. I didn’t expect this, I thought I would be a better SAHM than this was turning out to be.

A couple of weeks ago I had to come home during the day to watch him for a couple of hours because our babysitter had to go to a funeral. Again, a near death experience for me. We “walked” around the house a little bit. We read a couple of books. We played. And it had been 10 minutes. Finally, he took a nap. Rhonda picked him up. I went back to work. The end. I told my boss that she would not have to worry about me ever quitting my job to stay at home because I wasn’t cut out for it.

These two days are the longest time that it has just been the two of us since I went back to work. I found my swagger. Yesterday afternoon we went to the pool with some friends. Then I baked cookies. This morning we brought those cookies to the NICU where Chase spent the first 10 days of his life. I worked out (again!), we played around the house, I made dinner for our family and a friend’s family. We had another playdate with a 2 ½ year old and an 11 month old. And I still had time to play on Facebook. I almost became domestic. But tomorrow, it’s back to reality.

I wonder if I were to not work would I really stick with the expectations I set out for myself. Would I eventually end up in the rut I sometimes find myself in at my job? Would I resent having to sit at home and have the same things happen every day? Or better yet would I resent my husband having somewhere to go everyday while I sat at home with my grouchy/teething/sick/sleep deprived/or even perfect kid? Would I turn into one of those women on Facebook that gripes about their kids all day? Am I a better mom by working? Or have I already turning into one of those nightmare parents that breaks all of the rules on the weekends and expects the babysitter to get their out of control child back into a routine? And then justify it because “that’s what we pay her for”?

When I was still undecided about having children I always fought with the notion of whether or not I would work once/if I had them. I still have that internal debate often. I don’t think that there is a right or a wrong answer. It seems to me that those who work wish they hadn’t and those that don’t wish they had. I read something just recently that (finally) made me feel better about my current situation. This woman said that although it was a big sacrifice for her to work while she had small children, she did it so they could afford the life that she wanted for her family. They were able to go on vacations, she could put healthy food on the table and live in a nice, safe neighborhood. The unfortunate (?) part is that right this second, I can’t afford to not work. Maybe in a couple of years when we have a house in a part of town where we want to live and our car is paid off, then I’ll really consider it.

There is also something to be said about my job. 90% of the time I LOVE it. I love what I do for a living, I love the company that I work for, and I love the people I work with. I love interacting with adults every single day. I love getting “dressed up” for work. I love putting on makeup and having somewhere to go. I enjoy not having to rely on someone else for income. I like having a 401k and contributing to it. I love going on nice vacations. I like spending money at Target on something stupid and not really thinking twice about it. Dare I say, I enjoy working? So given the opportunity, I am still not sure I would take it.

Whatever side I am wavering towards today or tonight or five years from now, tomorrow I will be at the office bright and shiny and regale everyone with my story of once upon a time being a stay at home mom.

The SAHM Project

That’s Stay At Home Mom for all you youngsters out there. So our daycare provider (also known as my Aunt Rhonda) had the nerve to go on a vacation. In the summer. During the work week. And has stranded me with my own child. I know, how dare she. So now for two days, I am a stay at home mom. My mom was a stay at home mom and it was always my dream to be a stay at home mom too. The economy/housing market/life got a little bit in the way, so instead I am a career woman, and I’m ok with that. I know if/when they throw me out of the company where I currently work, then I will re-evaluate this decision, but as for now I will continue to do what I do.

I have a lot of pipedreams when it comes to being a SAHM. For example, I would be skinny (duh) because I would have time to workout! My husband would come home to a delicious, nutritious dinner every night! We would go to the zoo, the aquarium, the beach, parks, pools, museums! I would become an extreme couponer and spend $5 a week on groceries! We would go on hour long walks every day! I would devote my free time to baking/blogging/writing! We would have playdates all of the time and my son would be most popular kid in town! I would raise a child who would already be walking and talking at 9 months and reading by a year! I would be supermom and a domestic goddess.

In reality I know what would really happen. I would spend the majority of my day obsessively checking Facebook and e-mail and spent every other waking moment watching television. I know this because I did it for 12 weeks. I realize that half of that time I wasn’t allowed to exercise or go out in public and I was only getting sleep in three hour increments, but still. When I was awake and Chase was asleep, I did nothing productive.

So I have been quite surprised that the first seven hours of the “new” (and temporary) me, I’ve done well. I ran 3 miles during his morning nap (my treadmill is in the garage, don’t turn me in for child abandonment). We ran an errand to BJ’s and we’ve kind of stayed on a schedule. He’s had one good nap and is working on another one AND we have a playdate in less than an hour. I emptied the dishwasher and have cleaned up after myself all day. And I plan on baking some cookies tonight to, wait for it, drop off with a friend whose husband just had surgery. And, I’m (obviously) working on my blog too.

Tomorrow should be just as busy. Chase has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning and then we have another playdate scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. So there is hope after all.

Ok, I get that this is just a day so far, but, this is progress people!

Now, on to tomorrow : )

One

Over two years ago I saw a woman appear on Oprah (who coincidentally had the same name as me) and she made a living off of advertising on her blog.  I was going through a very tumultuous time in my life and I thought to myself, I have enough compelling things going on, I should start a blog.  When I really started thinking about it though the only interesting thing happening was just how miserable I was in my job and the blog would have been an outlet for my venting.  It would have sounded the same every single day.  “I hate my job,” “nothing is fair at work,” “I am absolutely miserable,” “how soon can I get a new job,” and finally “what do I want to do for my life/career?,” so I never started writing.  There wasn’t much that I could have done.  I worked at one of
the best companies in the city where I live, was making pretty decent money despite my
lousy performance and the economy was one of the worst in decades.  In hindsight I should have started writing because the next year of my life was pretty damn exciting and it hasn’t slowed down much since.

Three months after that episode of Oprah I was called into one of the big boss’s offices
late on a Thursday afternoon.  Knowing I was going to be fired, I was actually moved to another team, started to performed very well, which continued into the following year.  Then March of that next year (2010), I got pregnant and gave birth to our son six weeks early at the end of October.  Had I known all that would change I would have loved to have documented it. Thankfully, I am a pretty consistent journal writer, so I was able to
record some of it.  Oh well, you live and you learn.  Not much I can do about it
now, except start a blog once and for all!

This blog will be more or less a blend of what is going on in my life.  My effort to lose the baby weight (I’ve got 11 more pounds to lose and he’s 9 months old, not to mention the 25 pounds I put on before I got pregnant), in conjunction with my extreme love (and skill) for baking and of course the never ending adventures into parenthood.  I will try to keep it light and optimistic, but sometimes life does get in the way of that.

So enjoy and I will try to post at least something a couple of times a week.