Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why “mom time” is important

This topic has been on my mind quite a bit these past couple of weeks for several reasons.  Mostly because of some comments I’ve recently read in social media, as well as things I’ve been told by friends that have left me scratching my head, so to speak.  For example, I had a co-worker tell me the other day, “I just saw your blog for the first time.  I wish I had that kind of time on my hands”.  I wasn’t too sure how to take that… Then there was the picture I posted a few weeks ago of a crafting projects I’m working on.  This picture prompted a friend to comment, “you’re lucky Grace let’s you work on all these projects”.  You have no idea how many times I’ve been told things like, “my kid just demands too much of my time to have hobbies”.  And then there are the comments we’ve all read other bloggers write that sound something like, sorry I’ve been away from my blog for so long, I have been focusing my time on my children and family, etc.  I know that when things like this are said, they’re not meant to come across as personal jabs or backhanded compliments, but sometimes they do come across that way.  I’m not sure why, but when I read or hear things like this; it always makes me feel a bit defensive, like I need to defend why I make time for myself… Why I blog or why I organize some days to fit my crafty stuff in.       

The way I see it – we all have our hobbies, whether we realize it or not.  Some of us choose to play golf on the weekends or go shopping and get our nails done on a regular basis.  Some of us like to spend free time working out or attending/watching weekly sporting events.  Some of us enjoy spending our alone time further developing skills like gardening, photography, playing sports or just reading.  And then there are people like my wife who love electronics and use their “me time” to play computer games or do other geeky tech stuff.  My point is, we all do something (well, hopefully all of us) do stuff, just for us.  We do things that we enjoy, things that relieve stress or simply allow us to “check out” and relax for a bit.  And as much as this is true, it doesn’t always keep parents from judging each other for what we each individually choose to make time for.  I guess my question is, why does it have to be that way?

We’ve all heard the term “Pinterest Mom”.  This term is used to describe an over achieving – everything has to be perfect kind of mom.  A “Pinterest Mom” is one who tends to be more crafty than most and channels her inner Martha Stewart frequently.  The truth is, when a mother is called a “Pinterest Mom”, it’s not usually meant to be a compliment.  Having said that, I’ll admit that I’ve been called a Pinterest Mom on more than one occasion and I’m okay with it.  I’m okay with it because I enjoy it.  I enjoy crafting and blogging so I make time for it and that’s ok.  Do I always do these things when Gracie is asleep, no, I don’t.  I am here to admit that there are times that I set the Bean up with a snack, a movie or an activity so that I can work on some “me stuff” and I have no problem admitting that.  Here’s why – I feel it’s important for her to watch her mama do something she enjoys too.  I feel it’s important for her to understand that sometimes she needs to have patience and use her brilliant imagination to keep herself entertained for a bit.  I feel that by allowing my daughter to watch me do the things I love, one day she may love doing the same things and then we can do them together.  My gal doesn’t always need to be at a play date or in a toddler class of some sort when I catch up on my blogs or scrapbook or do anything else really.  Do I try and do most of these things when she is napping or in bed for the night – yes, but not always.

I guess the point of this post is to tell other mamas (and papas) that it’s okay to carve out some time for YOU.  It’s okay to be a “Pinterest Mom” if that’s what you truly enjoy or to do something just for you and it doesn’t have to always come after you’ve done every possible thing for everyone else, because guess what -- you deserve to make your happiness a priority too.  As a mom I know this doesn’t happen often enough but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and make your own “mom time”.

When I sit down with Gracie and show her pictures and video posted on our family blog or flip through her scrapbook that I’ve made page-by-page, she squeals with excitement!  She LOVES looking at these things over and over and that’s just one of the many reasons I do it.  It makes me happy, and as a result, it makes her happy. :)

5/52: Mike Wazowski!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

And she’s not even 2…

Umm, where did my perfectly well-behaved baby go?  Has anyone seen her?  She pops her head out every now and then, but my lord is this kiddo becoming her own person, more and more everyday.  It’s unbelievable.  These days we hear, “no mama!” and “no mommy!” on the regular… So that’s something we find ourselves addressing daily.  She’s also still pinching and when she does, it’s usually on the cheeks and it hurts!  Thankfully she doesn’t hit or pinch other kiddos (just her moms) but still, it’s something we’re working on.  Right now our course of action is to make sure she understands that pinching hurts and apologizes anytime the pinchers come out.  She usually takes it a step further caressing our cheeks while saying, “gentle” or “soft touch”.  It seems she’s slowly getting the idea.

I’m noticing a big change in her diet as well, as in, she will only eat what she wants to eat and even if you put a bite in her mouth – she WILL spit it out if she doesn’t want it.  We’ve been extremely lucky in the eating department thus far because the Bean really does eat everything and she LOVES veggies and fruit of any kind.  This was the case until about 6-8 weeks ago anyway, right around the time she decided to start letting her opinions be known and it appears she has lots of opinions about most things. ;)  At first we thought she was picking at her food and not eating as good because she was sick over the holidays.  Fast-forward nearly two months and still our meal times are just not as easy as they used to be.  There are evenings when I find myself throwing half of Gracie’s dinner away and sometimes she doesn’t even eat half.  On the flip side of that, I have friends who have told me stories of their kids launching plates full of food across the kitchen or going on 3 day hunger strikes so I know it could be way worse.  I also know it’s possible I’ll be writing a post about Grace launching her plate full of food across the kitchen in the near future, so I’m just going to change the subject rather than jinx us…

As I wrote in a post last week, we’ve transitioned Grace to her big girl bed and at first she did amazing.  I’m talkin', in her bed and asleep within minutes day and night – zero issues.  This lasted a few days but by Thursday, the excitement of the “big girl bed” wore off and today marked day three of the battle of the naps.  We put her down and she gets right back up.  Yesterday, we had to put her back in bed 6 TIMES at naptime... The Bean eventually won that round and we gave in.  Today looked to be a repeat of yesterday but then I remembered reading a blog post from 30 Fingers, 30 Toes a few months back, where my fellow blogging mama, Spring, wrote that she laid on the floor next to her sons beds when they transitioned and without talking would just sit up and put them right back in bed anytime her boys would crawl out.  I decided to give it a try and it worked!  I’m sure Grace was wondering what the heck mama was doing laying on the ground next to her bed, but when she climbed out, I put her right back in and laid down.  I had to do this twice but within 13 minutes she was passed out.  Yes, I time these kinds of things, lol.

As G and I were getting ready for bed last night, I told her that I felt like we scolded Grace a lot during the day (because we did) and I just hate that feeling.  On the one hand, I know that it’s our job to teach our daughter what is and is not acceptable behavior.  We’re the ones who have to teach her how treat others and how to get along in the world.  On the other hand, I have to remind myself that she is only 22 months old and having to learn and digest new things every single day.  I imagine that on some days, that must get exhausting for these little ones.

It seems that just when I’m at the height of frustration, tired and ready to give myself a time out, Grace will reach her little arms up and say one of her many adorable phrases like, “hold you mama”, which means, please stop what you’re doing and hold me mama.  It’s always on the days when I’m feeling like she’s pushed all of my buttons and I’m worn out when she will do or say something that will leave me in awe of just how smart she is or what an incredibly sweet little girl we have.  As a mama, I am so very thankful for these sweet reminders.

“you will never have this day with your children again.
tomorrow, they’ll be a little older than they were today.
this day is a gift.
breathe and notice.
smell and touch them;
study their faces
and little feet and pay attention.
relish the charms of the present.
enjoy today, mama.
It will be over before you know it”.
~ Jen Hatmaker

Monday, January 20, 2014

Gracie’s 1st Soccer Practice!

This past weekend Grace had her first soccer practice and I’m pretty sure it was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  Georgia and I have been looking for activities to enroll the Bean in that will allow her to have more socialization with kiddos her age, but that’s tough when your little one isn’t quite two years old yet.  Our local community center has weekly karate and toddler tumbling classes that we’re dying to put Grace in but you have to be 2.5 years or older.  The same can be said for the art class we’ve looked into at our local museum and the aquarium learning group.  I’ve got to say, I was pretty surprised to find that there are so few things for little tykes to do around here.  After a few weeks of searching, Georgia finally came across an activity that not only allows toddlers to start as young as 18 months, but encourages parent involvement as well and with that, Gracie's first SOCCER season officially began!

After we registered Grace for the season and in the days leading up to her first practice, I started feeling super nervous.  I was nervous to see how she would do being around that many toddlers, without any familiar little faces for the first time, but I was also nervous to meet other parents!  I even asked G a few days before the Bean’s first practice, “do you think the other parents are going to like us?” lol!  She of course laughed at my question but this was going to be our first parents meeting other parents situation and I know it’s silly to be nervous about something like that but it felt like we were preparing for our first day of school or something. ;)  

Turns out that we I really had nothing to worry about because the parents and other kiddos were all very sweet.  The hour was filled with various games that focused on listening, balance and just generally running around in the same direction as a team, which was the funniest thing to watch.  Grace was the smallest little kiddo in the class and when the team sat down for circle time I was surprised by the questions the coach asked each of the kids.  Everyone was asked to share their name, favorite color and to show the team their favorite flag on the wall.  Grace did pretty good sharing her name but didn’t answer the other two questions.  Turns out that Georgia and I put our little gal in the wrong class… she spent her first practice in the 2.5 to 3.5 year old group rather than the group she was supposed to be in, 18-24 months, LOL.  Once I realized that she was able to do almost everything the kids a year older than her could do, I was even more proud of our baby girl!!

We signed up for 10 weeks so we’re so excited to see everything our gal will learn over these next couple of months!  After just one practice Grace has talked about soccer several times and has pulled her soccer ball out from behind the couch to “practice”, so I’m sure she’s going to love it! 

In other exciting news, we transitioned Grace to her “big girl bed” this weekend.  It’s something we intended to do weeks ago but following several weekends of trying to find the perfect bed rail to no avail, we finally bit the big one and decided to just put pillows on the ground beneath her crib per the suggestion of several other IG and blogger mama friends.  I'm happy to report that it worked out great!  When we brought her in the room to see her big girl bed for the first time she yelled, “OH, I LOVE IT!” before immediately diving in, haha!  We made a huge fuss about what a big deal it was that she had her very own bgb and told her that when bedtime came she would need to stay in her bed or we would have to take it away.  It would appear that our threats worked like a charm because in two days, two bedtimes and two naps, I’ve only had to put her back in bed once.

It’s funny how we as parents can build something up in our minds and think it’s going to be incredibly difficult and then it turns out to be no big deal.  I love when that happens.

I’m not sure if it’s the daily explosion of verbal development we’re getting from the Bean, or that fact that she’s now on a soccer team OR that she’s officially sleeping in a big girl bed but my gosh, she seems to be growing at a rapid speed.  Can someone please tell me how to get her to slow down a bit?

Here’s a little more cuteness from family brunch following Gracie’s first practice and our nephew’s basketball game.  She sure does love her cousins and Nani!

The cutest little soccer player I ever did see. :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

IUI #1 = BFN

I had it all planned out and it was going to be perfect.  I quit smoking.  I went to weekly fertility acupuncture appointments.  My insemination took place the day following Christmas so it was obviously sprinkled with Christmas magic.  My sister, who only visits once a year was there for the insemination and so was Gracie, making the experience all the more special.  I tracked my ovulation and as you can see in the picture below, the timing seemed to be perfect.  I rested with my hips elevated for over an hour and did the other post IUI recommended activities, (of which I will not mention here).  I took the damn progesterone suppositories, day and night, and yet it didn’t work.  How is it even possible that it didn’t work?

The Scorpio in me wants answers because things aren’t adding up.  The non-emotional and more logical side of my brain knows that getting pregnant on a first try is the unicorn of artificial insemination.  It’s an urban fertility myth, as in, it happens, but it’s an experience that is reserved for the lucky few.  So why am I still so surprised?  Why am I so disappointed?

::We can’t leave out the legs in the air pic::

I guess I subconsciously convinced myself that I was super fertile, that I was the unicorn.  I really believed that if I did everything “right” it would work and with the encouragement of my mom and wife, (the two most optimistic people on planet Earth), who were both sure that I would get pregnant right away; I started to think so too.  Then I took a test on day 5… and another on day 8… then again on days 9 and 11.  I got my last BFN this morning, day 14.  I guess it took 5 no’s for me to realize that it’s "game over" for this round and it's time to move on.

I get it, but it still sucks.  It sucks bad.   

I was texting back and forth with my BF around day 10, telling her that I didn’t think it was going to happen this time because every test I took showed a blaring negative in mere seconds.  She was, of course, supportive as always.  I told her about my phantom symptoms and how my aversion to chicken, matched with my early bedtimes and cramping, convinced me that I was pregnant, but I feared that I wasn’t.  We talked about how much hope goes into conceiving but also what a financial risk it is for same sex couples.  I hadn’t really thought about that side of things before our chat but once it started to look like it wasn't going to happen, the investment part was also disappointing.  She was shocked when I told her that even with insurance, by the time you factor in the purchase of the sperm used in the IUI, the cost of my trigger, the co-pay for my meds and insemination and the ultrasounds (3 in this round), we are talking $800+ for this ONE try.  Nearly one thousand dollars for a maybe… 
Her response, “No joke!  Damn!”  

Don’t get me wrong, as a mama I know that the purpose and possible outcome behind this type of investment is worth much, much more than the money spent.  Still, it feels like a dagger in an already opened wound.

So here we are… Day 14… BFN.  I’ve promised myself that next time I’ll do a few things differently.  First, no early testing!  It just made me crazy and once I started testing, it’s like I couldn’t stop myself.  Second, I need to chill the F out.  Not every sensation in the stomach region is an early sign that a baby is growing down there.  Third, stay healthy.  This time around I took the IUI to mean – eat whatever you want – you might be growing a baby.  Fourth, don’t tell everyone you talk to on a regular basis that you’ve been inseminated because guess what, if you get a BFN, you then have to un-tell everyone who is excited and thinking you’re going to get knocked up.

Anyway, what’s done is done and we’re fine.  We’re disappointed, but fine.  Thankfully, everything we went through with G and our journey to make Grace toughened our skin a bit.  I don’t cry as easily and I definitely wasn’t as upset with this initial BFN as compared to our first with Georgia.  We’re just trying to think positive thoughts and with forward motion, we march on.

How cute would this picture have been in a BFP post?  Alas, that’s just not our story.  

Our story is still being written.       

2/52: Little "Artist"

Saturday, January 4, 2014

1/52: Glow bath!

Tonight Grace had what was undoubtedly her most fun bath EVER and all that fun only cost her mamas one dollar!  G bought glow stick bracelets for Gracie’s stocking this year, so I threw a few in her bath tonight and tada – glow bath!  I would highly recommend you try this with your kiddos.  They will LOVE it and so will you.  I’m not sure who had more fun, G or Gracie. ;)

It’s a new year, which means it’s also the start of Project 52.  If you’re interested in joining in on this photo project in 2014, click here for details.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013: The Highs & Lows

I am going to be very honest here and say that I am not at all sad to see 2013 go… It’s not that it was a bad year; it’s just that it wasn’t all that great of a year either.  I do realize that coming off of 2012, any year would pale in comparison… Our previous year as a family began with baby showers and tons of celebration as we prepared to become mamas for the first time!  We were lucky enough to spend 3 whole months together in our nest at home with our beautiful daughter following her birth and it was, in a word, magical.  Watching her learn and grow from a tiny infant to a baby with her own unique personality was beyond amazing.  2012 was a year I will never forget. 

I feel somewhat guilty comparing 2013 to 2012 because I do realize that while 2013 was not one of my favorite years, there was some good in there.  We were all healthy and mostly happy.  We had the comfort of a home we love, a family that loves and supports us and we had each other.  I do realize that these things alone are more than many families can say they were blessed with this past year.    

In thinking back on 2013, there are a few highpoints that seem to stand out.

* We were finally able to LEGALLY wed in our home state of New Mexico.  We have now been married 3 times, in 3 different countries. :)

* Our family was featured on the most watched news station in NM in a piece focused on gay rights legislation in the state.

* We celebrated the first birthday of our beautiful little girl in a Circus themed extravaganza that she really seemed to enjoy.

* DOMA was struck down and LGBT rights were extended in various ways to states across the US.

* And most exciting of all, we officially began our TTC#2 journey with my first IUI in December and we are absolutely giddy at the thought of giving Grace a sibling!

The significance of these things is not lost on me.  I am so thankful for each and every blessing we experienced.

Having said that, there were also the things that made 2013 a tough year…

* As many of you know, I lost my job unexpectedly and was out of work for 5 of 12 months this past year.  I was laid off one month before I was scheduled to have my first IUI pushing IUI #1 back 6 months.  This was especially difficult during the holiday season as I watched several friends announce their pregnancies knowing that had we inseminated when we planned, even if it took several IUI’s, there was a high likelihood that we too would be making our big announcement.  Face.book was not my friend during this time. :(  I believe that everything happens for a reason but it was still the most challenging 5 months I can remember having in my adult life. 

* It was an expensive year and coming off of 2012 and all of the medical bills we had finally paid off, this was the last thing we needed.  From January to December, we had many unexpected expenses.  First our washing machine washed its last load and had to be replaced followed by the death of our dryer just a few months later.  G finally had to break down and replace all 4 of her tires and I had to replace my breaks.  Our air conditioner literally imploded and caved in resulting in damage that was beyond repair and I broke our beautiful sleigh bed that is only a few years old… $3500+ in unplanned expenses in one year can take it’s toll, especially when you’re operating on one income for half of the year.

* We didn’t get to take a big family vacation, like we’ve done every summer since me and G got together, due to finances.  I know that may sound trivial to some, but as someone who grew up traveling quite often with my family, it’s something that I’ve always wanted to carry on with our kiddos.  I’m hoping we can finally take Gracie to visit my sis in Vancouver, BC this year.

* G and I experienced some growing pains together as parents and had several really tough months that we had to work through.  Thankfully we did and things are much better now.

* Lastly, we purchased a used Jeep following G’s car accident only to find that it had MANY issues that we weren’t made aware of… heating/cooling problems, the check engine light blinking constantly, non-functional lights, a leaky roof, etc.  The Jeep looked beautiful and we purchased it from a family friend so we thought we were in good hands… not so much.

I write these things not to wallow in self-pity, but rather as a reminder that no matter how shitty a year can seem, you get through it.  I’m fairly certain that this will happen again several times during me and G’s life together.  Some years will be amazing while others will be years that do nothing but teach us life lessons.  I’m hopeful for all that has yet to unfold in the New Year.  I’m hopeful that my body can do what it was designed to do and make us a baby.  I’m hopeful that things will continue to get better at work in my current position and that I will eventually get my groove back.  And I know that we will make new and wonderful memories with our beautiful little gal over the next 12 months.  So see you later 2013 and HELLO 2014!!

I know that most people tend to be very anti-resolutions when it comes to New Year's but not me!  I think of a resolution as a goal and nothing more really. My New Year's resolution this year is to have more focused family time.  To do this, I am going to put my cell phone in our room every night when I get home from work and I’m not going to bring it out until after we put Grace to bed.  I LOVE my iphone but I can see that it’s a huge distraction that I really want to eliminate when I’m with the bean, especially considering the limited time I have with her in the evenings now that I’ve re-entered the workforce.  This isn’t going to be easy for me so wish me luck!  If you are a resolution maker, what is your New Year's resolution?  I always love to hear the things people come up with. :)

And now I’ll leave you with our New Year's baby!  

Happy 2014 friends.

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