Sunday, October 2, 2011

A day without kids, a day with kids...

Recently, I've had the chance to experience two very different days. First, last Thursday was parent-teacher conferences, so I had to stay at work until 7:30PM. I returned home to the quietness of two kids in bed. Although I had seen the baby that morning, my toddler had still been asleep when I left. So strange. In some ways, it was refreshing... the quietness, the lack of demands for my attention. It reminded me of the old times when we were kid-less. We stayed up late, drinking wine and watching TV. But though I enjoyed it, it wasn't as full. It seems cliche, but somehow these little boys have added some extra dimension to my life that I need to be complete. I went to bed that night very thankful for my little ones.

A few days later, I got the opposite experience... my husband needed to be at school for some meetings, so I took the day off to and got to experience life as a stay-at-home-mom. I had so much fun playing with the boys, but wow, was I worn out! And the house was covered in toys by the end of the day! For most of the day, I had only one boy at a time, while the other napped. Those times were awesome! When both were awake, however, it was a quite a challenge! The hardest part was keeping the toddler entertained (and quiet) while I nursed the baby. At some point I realized that we'd all be happier if I pumped and then bottle fed! In the end, I survived.

I'm thankful that it's my husband and not me that is home full time right now. The baby's cries and refusals to nurse definitely bring out my postpartum depression. But I am also thankful that I will be the one home next year. By then the baby will be drinking cow's milk from sippy cups and running around with his big brother. I'll have the time to play with them. I'll have the time to make our new house (or apartment) a home. And maybe I'll even cook more. Because, surprisingly, I enjoy cooking! We even have some homemade chicken noodle soup to prove it =)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Music

I have been a singer for as long as I can remember. Always a song floating though my mind and half the time being sung under my breath as I go about my work. I didn't realize the depression had changed this until recently.

About two weeks ago my husband was cleaning up the basement and decided to burn all our CD's to the computer and then box them up. He kept a few of my favorites out for me and put them in my car. He even cued up the CD to play one of my favorite songs as soon as I started the car the next morning. Since then I've been singing along to a song on the way to and from work. (It's only a five minute drive, so one each way is all I get!) Some days I find the songs bring me to tears and give me a great God moment right there. Other days I find the song sticks with me and I'm singing it all day long.

And today it hit me - this is perhaps the first time I have been back to my old ways of singing all the time since before the kids were born. And I think that speaks volumes about my mental state. And I am so grateful.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to work!

It's been a while since I have posted and that is mostly due to the fact that I am now back at work. This year of teaching is certainly a busy one! I teach 6 of 7 periods and have 5 different courses to teach! Thankfully I've taught all the courses at least once before, so I'm familiar with the content. The biggest challenge is having time to plan my lessons, grade papers, and make photocopies. Because I'm a breastfeeding mom, most of my plan period and all of my lunch are spent pumping. I love that I can do this for my son, but boy does it squeeze my time! I also try really hard to leave work right at 3:20 and not take work home so that I can be fully present with my boys and husband. So that is why there are no blog posts! We'll see if I get back to blogging... maybe tomorrow or maybe not until next year when I've retired from teaching to be a stay-at-home-mom!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Haircuts

I got my haircut last week for the first time in over a year. Yes, that's right, it had been more than 12 months! I tend to avoid getting haircuts because I'm never really satisfied and end up just pulling my hair back every day. But my ponytail was getting too long and heavy so I had to go for it. I got a recommendation for a stylist from someone with great hair, so I was feeling confident. The haircut went great. The stylist was nice and relaxed and seem to fully understand what I was going for. My hair came out looking great!

But then the next day came. And I did what I always do... shower and just let my hair air dry. It looked terrible. After complaining about it for most of the day, I decided to buy a round brush so I could try to properly dry it the next day. I even dug up some hair mouse I had from a while ago. It took me a while because I'm pretty uncoordinated when it comes to blow drying hair, but the result was pretty good.

In the end, I have to come to grips with the fact that great hair is something that you have to work for. It doesn't come naturally to most of us. If I want this haircut to live up to its potential, I'll have to put in the work each and every day. And what a great parallel for most things in life. It's so rare that great things just come to us. We have to work before we can reap the rewards.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Amazon, Color, and Gender

I love shopping on Amazon. You get free two-day shipping with Amazon Mom plus huge discounts on things I use all the time, like diapers! We've had so much luck with Amazon that we now use it for everything that we would otherwise have bought at Target. It saves us time and money. However, it does have some downfalls. Take pacifiers for instance. My toddler bit a hole in his and needed a new one. So I ordered one. The trick, though, is that "colors may vary. You will receive either blue, green, orange, or purple". No big deal I think when ordering. He only uses it for naps and night-time, so color is really a non-issue.

But then it comes and it's purple. And so I hesitate to take it out of the package and use it. Why? Because I associate purple with girls. On the surface this may seem like a perfectly natural thing. After all, lots of things in our society associate color with gender. But I don't like to think of myself as having these gender stereotypes. After all, I'm a woman who loves science and math, majored in engineering, and now teaches engineering to high school students! And I know the studies that show that gender stereotypes prevent women from going into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. I know how important it is to expose everyone equally to things, regardless of gender. Give everyone trucks, building block, and dolls. But give my son a purple pacifier?

Yes. Yes, I think I will.

And a purple & pink sippy cup. Thanks Amazon and your "colors may vary" ;)


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Routines

One of the hardest things about newborns is the lack of routine. They nap at different times on different days and sleep for different amounts of time no matter what you do. They also are completely unpredictable. Was it the noise machine that made him sleep better? Or the massage? Trying to replicate what you think worked, almost never does. Each day and night is just completely its own entity.

At 7 weeks now, our baby has developed two consistent things. First, he always wakes up at 6:10 AM. No matter when he went to bed or when he had his last feeding. 6:10 AM. The other consistency is a rather strange one... if he sleeps for more than 5 hours in the first chunk of the night, he will sleep terribly for the rest of it. If he sleeps less than 5 hours in the first chunk, the rest of the night will be smooth. I have no idea why this makes sense. So now it's crazy how we've now begun hoping for only 4 hours of sleep! He seems more likely to sleep only 4 hours if he goes down earlier, so we try for as early as possible. (This is doubly good since he wakes up at the same time each day!)

I'm really hoping we can develop a bit more of a routine before I go back to work... less than a month, now. Here's hoping!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Introduction

I'm a 20-something (OK, almost 30!) wife, mother of 2, and high school teacher. I love to read blogs. I spend at least 30 minutes a day doing this. I particularly enjoy blogs about the everyday lives of ordinary moms with their kids. It's my way to connect with other moms, since working and spending time with my own kids leaves little time for cultivating friendships.

My love of blogs makes it seem almost natural that I would want to write one. However, I'm not the best writer and find often find myself over-analyzing every last word I write! But I've had the desire to blog for quite a while now and it's time I at least try it out!

In 2008 I registered the blogger address. I had just gotten married and moved to a new city. My husband and I had never lived in the same place before and I had never lived so far from home. Then I almost started to write blog posts in early 2010 when I went back to work after my first son was born. I was on the borderline of postpartum depression and had a lot of thoughts in my head that I wanted to write down. But I never did.

So here we are in mid-2011 after my second son was born. The postpartum depression is a bit worse this time and I want to refrain from taking meds if at all possible. So the doctor says I need at least 1 hour a day by myself to do things for me. I think I'll try to use this blog as my outlet - a way to reflect on the struggles and triumphs of being a mother. Here goes nothing!

FYI: I picked the title of the blog back in 2008 (Oh, The Places You'll Go*), but think it's just as appropriate now. In case you don't recognize it, it's a Dr. Seuss book that I love. You can get the full text here, but I'll leave you one stanza that I love and that I think aptly describes me.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

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*Author's Note: The title of the blog was changed in March of 2012