Saturday, February 22, 2014

Staying at Home with a Stinker

Since Porter was born, I have been a stay at home mom. Prior to his birth, I worked as a Title I Para at an elementary school. When I went on maternity leave, I also ended my position because we knew we were PSCing over the summer. I have my license for California now, but the jobs are few and far between here. California is ranked 49th in student:teacher ratio (and also in test scores...go figure), so there just aren't a lot of positions to be had. I applied for a lot of listings, but was disqualified from many because I do not have an English Learners Authorization--a CA specific certificate.

At this point, I have accepted my position as a Stay at Home Mom.

Which is absolutely 100% okay with me.

My husband and I have mutually agreed that this is fine, as we just don't trust people we don't know to watch Porter 5 days a week. There are too many stories. Too many broadcasts. It's just not something we want to do.

However, although I love being here and watching my son grow up every day, I find that I also miss work.

Maybe I'm a rare breed of people who actually LIKE their job, but I really do love my job. It's fantastic. It's hard work, and it comes home with me, and it takes a ton of time and energy. But I love teaching. And I'm finding that being a stay at home parent, though it has great rewards, is often a thankless job. Friday's...are just like any other day. There are no "lunch breaks" or "weekends" or feeling great when you finally finish a big project and can move on to your next project. It's a very monotonous 13+hr work day, 7 days a week. My husband is great and is fantastically helpful in the evenings and the weekends, but he also gets to leave one job and come home to something completely different...where as mine is the same. All. The. Time. Plus, I feel bad spending any money on myself because I'm not making any money. I might need to go do something for myself on occasion, but I don't because I don't want to pay for it.

But I don't want to work because I don't want to miss anything that Porter is doing. When he wakes up we can calmly hang out in bed for awhile for him to nurse and then, of course, climb all over my face. I love playing with him all day and making him laugh and singing to him and laying him down for nap and going on walks and watching him learn new things on his own and figure things out and hit new milestones (it would kill me if he did his first roll over, crawl, wave, pull up, steps, etc. and I wasn't around for it). I absolutely love hanging out with my kid. Being a mother is absolutely 100% what I was meant to do with my life. I've never felt fulfilled in life like I do now.

So, to be clear, what I want is: to go to work sometimes, but also for Porter is just sleep for the entire time I'm at work so that I don't miss absolutely anything.

This is totally doable, right???

I know this is an endless struggle between the stay at home moms and the working moms. The grass is always greener...or maybe there are green patches on each side instead of a full luscious lawn.

But I think I'll stay on my side. Because I just love this kid too much!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Labor > Pregnancy

I know this story is coming very late, as Porter is already 7 months old tomorrow, but I think it's about time it was shared!

Porter (P for short) was born on March 29th (unless you live on the East coast, then it was March 30th) at 40 weeks and 3 days. As a little background, I should mention that my pregnancy was horrible and not even slightly enjoyable. I was sick over half of the pregnancy--not "nausea," sick--and...I'm just not one of those people who enjoys being pregnant, I discovered. In addition to this, my mom had decided to come stay with us for 2 weeks so she could be around at the hospital for his birth and to help out a little while after.

At 37 weeks, I went in for a check and was making great progress! 37 weeks is technically full term and they don't do anything to stop labor at that point as they are satisfied with the maturity of the baby, and the progress made me really hopeful for maybe having a delivery a week or so early. Either way, it was generally established that I likely would not go passed my due date.

At 38 weeks, I went it for a check and was really excited to find out what kind of progress I had made. ...nothing.

At 39 weeks...nothing, same.

At 40 weeks and nothing, I begged for help. The doc did a quick membrane sweep, scheduled the induction I asked for, and sent me home.

The whole week I was really uncomfortable. Sore, exhausted, hard to move, everything felt very "on the verge," which was different from any other week. I firmly believe that if I hadn't gone in for the induction on the morning of the 29th, I would have gone into labor that day or the day after.

This was further confirmed when I was checked before the induction and had gained 2 more cm and full effacement.


At this point, I didn't go in with a "birth plan." My plan was simply this: keep your options open. I had never had a baby before, I had no idea what kind of pain I was or wasn't in for. I manage pain well on a normal basis--maybe I could take it, maybe I couldn't. But, I sure as hell wasn't going to keep myself from the meds to control it if I wanted them.

The pitocin started at 830ish, and I think in my mind I was pretty sure I'd make it to 6-7cm before I thought I would ask for anything. At about 4cm they broke my water. Up until this point, it was pretty easy and smooth sailing. After this, I got up and went to the AWESOME jacuzzi tub for awhile.

Where I couldn't use jets. And it was cold. And not useful at all.

So I went back to bed and asked for meds. They gave me the option of using an IV drug to take the edge off and I tried it--it did nothing for pain and just left me totally unable to focus on anything. So, epidural it was. By the time it came I was 5cm, so I felt okay being close-ish to 6. Epidural's, my friends? ARE AWESOME. At first, it really bothered me to not have control over the whole lower half of my body. But, it was much preferred to the labor pain. Within an hour I was 8cm, and didn't even noticed when I hit 10! The doc was home and on call so it took her maybe 25 minutes to get in, and it was show time!

After an hour and ten minutes of pushing (which was felt, epidural wore off) and twisting, because P decided last minute that he was going to change directions so he could stay in a little longer, this was born:


They put him on my chest for a moment, but he didn't cry right away and they were a little concerned about some possible meconium, so they took him to the warmer on the other side of the room and checked him out, weighed and measured, cleaning him up for me and brought him back when he was cleared as a perfectly healthy baby boy!


And we had a baby boy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

On Raising a Baby in the Military & Why it Doesn't Suck

My little man is now almost 6 months old. 6 months! Can you believe it? I've been thinking a lot lately about the pros and cons of raising a child in a military family lately, and I feel as if I never read any blogs or posts that say this:

Raising a Baby in the Military Does Not Suck.

In the time he has been alive, P has met two grandma's, one grandpa, one cousin, and one family friend. None have been around even 2 full weeks. When he was born we lived 18 hours from all of our family. When he was two and a half months, we moved 16+ hours FARTHER from them to an area where we know no one and have no family and have never been to before. We've been here 3 months and are still working on making good friends.

Up until now, you're probably thinking "and this doesn't suck because..."

It does not suck because we are a fantastic family of our own. We have no help, no one to run to, no crutch to fall on. We have each other and our child (well, and Google). We are only dependent on ourselves. When we got married we instantly moved away from all of our family. We argued, fought, and had our typical tough times as newlyweds and we had no choice but to work it out. We only had each other. I believe we are so much closer as a couple than we ever would have been at this point if we weren't a military family. Even when people do come to visit, we love having them but it's become very clear that we are each other's best friend and, given the choice, we'd choose to hang out with each other over anyone else every time.

Now that we have a son, this still remains true. Sure, there were times (and still are on occasion) where it would be nice to have some help from family, and we haven't been out together, without P, since he was born...but because we don't have these resources, we figure out how to do it on our own--we know we can do it on our own. We're new parents and we are learning how to navigate the world of children, but we are doing it together beautifully. We are fantastic parents and we love our kid so much, and we are doing it alone--with each other.

Even though the military can really mess with our lives sometimes, I credit it for the wonderful family that I have. I wouldn't change our military life for the world. We are the closest and the happiest we've ever been.

It Doesn't Suck.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Forget the Myths and Follow Your Dreams (Guest Post)

As a military wife, my career in education has taken a back seat to my husband's military career and I'm okay with that. I often have a difficult time finding work, and didn't personally know about many of these resources available to me until I read this fabulous article by Emma, a fellow military wife writing at Smile as it Happens. Since many of my readers are also military wives, this post about how to bust some of the myths around working and being a military wife may come in handy!




Forget the Myths and Follow Your Dreams


Two-income families are becoming more of a necessity, but you may come across a unique set of obstacles when trying to provide for your family as a military spouse. The obvious setback is that your location is always changing, along with other misconceptions that are easily disproved with a little preparation. Once these myths are taken care of, there will be nothing to stop you from following your dreams as well as providing income to the nest.


Myth #1: I just moved here and the only thing that matters is who you know.
Yes, networking is very important in pursuing a career, but there are always chances to become familiar with the right people- and for the right people to become familiar with you. As soon as you settle down in your new location, search for in-person networking events and take advantage of social media. Make sure to keep your location updated on social media platforms so that people of similar interests can find you. Use keywords coupled with your location to search for events related to your career interests. In no time, you'll become connected to the pulse of the job market in your new location.


Myth #2: There aren't any employment assistance programs for military spouses.
There is a national program that was recently created just for military spouses. This newly formed program, Joining Forces, provides resources that help military spouses stay career-ready. Joining Forces promotes license portability, where a military spouse's occupational license is no longer restricted to just one state. Joining Forces also has a Travel Industry Coalition, which partners with airlines and other transportation companies to provide thousands of job opportunities to military veterans and their spouses.


Myth #3: Job-seekers who change jobs often are frowned upon by potential employers.
Employees remaining at their first job until retirement is becoming more and more uncommon by the day. Many more are focusing on gaining new skills and advancing their career; many times not just one company is able to handle the modern day worker’s broad range of capabilities. It’s a common occurrence for military spouses to change locations more often than a civilian, so your changing of jobs because of this is not likely to raise any suspicion with potential employers. When writing your resume, however, be sure to only list the former jobs you have held that relate to the position that you are applying for to keep things streamlined.


Myth #4: Most companies don't care enough about applicants to make exceptions.
This may have been true a few years ago, but companies are grasping the advantages of hiring the cream of the crop and will make adjustments to make sure that they do just that. In an effort to streamline the application process, many companies have started to partner with platforms like JIBE, a mobile recruiting company. These services utilize mobile apps on your smartphone or tablet and allow you to apply for jobs, upload job-related documents and connect with references while on-the-go.


Armed with these truths, you'll feel ready to enter the workforce. When it comes to following your career, a little knowledge along with some patience and preparation will get you what you and your family deserve!

Emma is a mid 20-something year old with a passion for life, love, fitness, and helping others. She loves to be active and get involved in as many sport and community activities as possible. Emma is currently studying to become a Career & Life Coach, and loves to network with people from around the world! Check out Emma’s blog at Smile as it Happens!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Which Baby Carrier is Right for Me?

Due to the million baby carriers I currently own, I thought I might do a little review on them! (Oh, by the way, I had a baby...I promise I will blog about that soon but I had a sudden urge to do this review post). I do want to precede this post by saying no one is paying me to do these reviews, I didn't get any of them as an incentive (sadly) and I bought all of them myself. But having a good review of these carriers would have been helpful for me in purchasing them before P was born, so thought this might be helpful for others! Each has benefits and drawbacks, as I've found out in the last 5 weeks and P's hatred for his carseat for walks has made carriers very important.

In this review:
Moby Wrap
Ergobaby
Baby Bjorn
Seven Slings

Moby Wrap: Best for the newborn. Best for use at home.


via

GOOD


BAD


This is one of my two favorites. In fact, P is currently hanging out in this while I write this blog (cranky pants). This is the best one I've found for a newborn. It's easy to manipulate, it's really not complicated (really, even though it looks it), and it will hold P's head sideways against my chest when he falls asleep rather than flopping around--which he ALWAYS does in carriers. This allows you to keep baby's legs up in the fetal position (aka curled) and as baby gets older his legs can hang down as well. It's also much less bulky than the Ergo and there are a billion different holds. The major drawback in this carrier, in my opinion, is the complete lack of head support for an awake infant. When P is awake, pushing his head against my chest and trapping it there with the fabric will piss him off to no end. He has minimal head control as this point but when he's awake he likes to lean his head back to look at my face as we move around. There is nothing to hold the back of his head up in these instances, so I end up having to hold it up, which completely cancels out the use of the carrier since I don't have free hands that way. Since I'm not going to put him in the carrier to do stuff around the house if he's ALREADY asleep, I end up having to deal with this until he does fall asleep and then doing the things I need to do. It also seems like it will become uncomfortable pretty quickly once baby starts weighing more than an watermelon.

Ergobaby: Best for the infant with head control. Best for use out and about.


via



This carrier is great for being out and about for long periods of time. P is comfy in it, it has support for the back of the head so he can look at me and I don't have to hold his head up, and it's VERY sturdy. I LOVE the "hood" on it, because we only go on walks when it's sunny and I don't like the sun hitting him in the face so as soon as he falls asleep I put the hood up (and this is easy to do by yourself) and immediately the sun is out of his face. Favorite. It took a few tries to get a hang of how to operate the Ergo, but it's now super easy. I love that it has a large weight capacity, and can be used on your back too when baby gets bigger. If you have a squirmy baby like mine, though, the infant insert can be a challenge because their butt is supposed to "sit" in the bottom of the insert. P does NOT take this lightly, so he often squirms out of the bottom of the insert and other than for head support I'm not actually sure it's making any difference for him at all. My major qualms with this carrier are few, but important. First, when P DOES fall asleep (which we've already established...he will), his head falls forward and headbutts me in the collar bone because he doesn't have enough head control to let it go slowly. He spends the entire time he's sleeping trying to get comfortable because it's hard for him to turn his head sideways enough to lay correctly on my chest, so he just keeps headbutting me. I hate this, because my chest is boney and it can't possibly feel good. It's also very bulky, so wearing it at home in order to get things done is pretty useless because you can't see what you're doing. Lastly, it's very hot. There are often warnings about infants in carriers overheating, "especially in canvas carriers" so...just be very careful with this is you live in a hot area. Which we are going to moving to in a month.

Baby Bjorn: Best for a quick fix. Best if carrier isn't used often.


via

I don't use the baby bjorn. We have one, it was the first carrier I bought, but it doesn't do it for me. I find everything I need is really taken care of by the other two wraps, and this one this isn't that impressive. It's a lot lighter than the Ergo, though, which is a definite plus. It's also much simpler to use than either the Ergo or the Moby, and is much less constrictive. Some issues with this: it's NOT ergonomic. Recently I've read some articles about the dangers of keeping a baby in a carrier like this very often because it allows their legs to fall straight down rather than go around your waist, which is very bad for their hips. I do not have any background to support this, but I'm guessing if you don't use the carrier all day every day this won't make a difference, but if you live in the city and walk everywhere and use it all the time it can harm the baby. It also has the same issue as the Ergo with head support, where it has it for the back of their head but isn't very conducive to baby's forehead when it smacks into your chest. I don't even have a photo of me using it like the others because we simply don't use it. For something you aren't going to use often, which I wouldn't suggest with this, it retails for somewhere around $80 and is a little too expensive (I got mine second hand, never been used for $10 so I'm not that mad).

Seven Slings: Works if you have no boobs.


via

I followed the sizing chart for this and picked the size they said I would fit into. I tried to use it when P was 3 weeks old, and was completely unsuccessful. Between the sling, him, and my boobs he was not going into it, and was even harder to get out (like squeezing into a dress that is really just too tight for you). I packaged it up and sent it to my sister in law (who I don't think has used it yet). This is the cheapest sling I've found--as long as you DO NOT pay for the sling!! There is always a coupon somewhere online for a free sling, just pay shipping, which I think is $11.95. Seriously. If you pay for this thing, just go ahead and punch yourself in the face. After I had issues putting it on I googled images of people using it and looked at their website and realized that every single woman was boobless. I...am not. No go. I would imagine this sling would be easy and convenient, though, for around the house especially--IF it fit you right.

Hope any of this helps. I have actual photos of us using the ergo and moby, but it seems P hates life right now so will have to fight will it later!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Never Coming

Although I'm 39 weeks now, I'm horrible at remembering to take photos.

So here is 38 weeks, the only picture I've taken since our 30 weeks maternity photos!



Early hope of a possible early delivery was squashed by 3 weeks of completely zero progress so...at this point I'm pretty positive this child is never coming.

So, see you at 48 weeks ;)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Reality of Pregnancy

This pregnancy was planned (really, really hard). I read the "What to Expect BEFORE You're Expecting" book at the beginning of last year and followed every single piece of advice in the book. I stopped my birth control months before we wanted to get pregnant, changed my diet to be as fertility friendly as possible at about the same time, and started prenatal vitamins 3 months in advance. I didn't take any medication for anything. If the book said a food was fertility friendly, I ate it--no matter how much I despised it. If the book said something was good for B to do to help him, he did that too. With pressure :)

The first 6 weeks of my pregnancy were great. I was tired as hell, but other than that things were great. I kept my list of "things to eat daily during pregnancy" around and made sure I had 2 servings of this and 3 servings of that every day.

Then I puked. For the next 10 weeks straight. I lost 10lbs, and eventually just figured if I wasn't going to keep the food down anyway then there wasn't much point in me trying to eat "healthy" crap.

So I changed my focus to "MUST EAT ALL THINGS HEALTHY AND FABULOUS" to "MUST EAT ANYTHING THAT WON'T REAPPEAR." Things I found that USUALLY accomplished this were never healthy. Donuts, McDonald's chicken nuggets (just the nuggets...not the fries, and no ketchup), a plain roast beef sandwich from Arby's...nothing good for me.

But, I decided that feeding my child something, be it overly nutritious or not, was probably better than failing to actually get him anything.

And I never looked back.

The 6 week morning sickness plunge=a pregnancy reality check!

Almost 34 weeks now, hospital bag was JUST packed, and I at least found the instruction manual for the installation of the carseat. Maybe next weekend ;)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Maternity Photos!

A couple weeks ago we went "home" for a visit with family, and had some wonderful photos taken by the lovely BD Photography! They rocked, but I won't put 98239230 pictures up here--so here are a couple favorites!






Sunday, January 27, 2013

Baby Boy's Nursery

I realize I haven't made a post on here in 4 months. Sorry! Been very busy around here...so, let's just pretend that's a viable excuse.

We found out back in October that we are having a BOY! I had horrible horrible morning sickness until about 15 weeks, when I started a new job. Now it's gone mostly, just normal pregnancy pains now as I'm well into the 3rd trimester. Heartburn is the biggest killer right now! And we won't talk about the bowl of cereal I just ate...at 10:30pm.

Since finding out we were having a boy I've been very busy in the nursery, as I decided I couldn't find a boy bedding set that I liked so I decided to make my own. Great thought...THOUGHT. It's all done now and, granted we are missing a few small things now (although less than we were when I took these pictures), it's pretty much completed. I'm really very happy with the result, even though I CURSED it the entire time I was making it.




Most of the things in the nursery were DIY projects, but some were bought. Some don't even go in the nursery, we were just too lazy to move them!

DIYs: Curtains, book bags, name sign, tent over crib, changing pad cover, pom poms over crib, octopus painting, ribbon on crib, blanket, and glider (we didn't build it, but I painted and reupholstered it!)
Crib: Walmart
Dressers: IKEA
Lamps:IKEA
Mirrors:IKEA
Lanterns: Party City

He now has a mattress and a lime green organic sheet for it, but I was too lazy to take another picture! Most of my personal projects were inspired by nurseries I found around the web that I no longer have links for, but were simply adorable. I think it turned out well!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Growing!

We, and apparently everyone else in the world right now, have a little announcement to make here in blogland!


We knew we wanted a spring baby, so we planned accordingly!

Baby Nemo (just keep swimming) will be making his/her appearance around March 28, 2013!

I should have made this official announcement quite a long time ago, but didn't. I'm 14 weeks now and SO happy to see the second trimester! I always thought I would be the kind of woman who enjoys being pregnant but, even though I'm excited for the arrival of little Nemo, pregnancy has NOT been glorious thus far. My morning sickness has been super rough and I've lost quite a bit of weight since becoming pregnant! I'm still fighting the remnants of it, and get sick occasionally, but I think I've stopped losing weight and am officially putting some back on--still not back up to pre-pregnancy weight, but at least I'm not losing!

But, because I've been losing weight everywhere else and gaining a human being, my bump has been out since 8 weeks! I always told myself when I got pregnant that I would take cutesy pictures and make a cutesy memory book. Mmm...so far my concern isn't great for that ha!

But, here's a random 9 week photo. Not cutesy, and too lazy to attempt it without just using the mirror (and excuse the color, because my phone went haywire!). 5 weeks ago...


And big sister Cleo is CLEARLY excited...


But we certainly are!

We WILL be finding out what we are having! Hopefully at the end of October :)