Sunday, October 28, 2012

I will survive.

To work or not to work is THE million dollar question.

This post has been-a-brewin for awhile now.
It's long, full of emotion, and scattered.
And I'm aware that everyone's thoughts and *strong* opinions on the matter are completely unique.

But here are MY thoughts.

This topic is what has consumed my brain and heart.
Since August 19, 2012 to be exact.

The funny part is that I never ever thought this would be a topic up for debate.

Because I'm a psycho-planner, I was just sure this was exactly how my life would play out:

Finish my masters in education.
Get a teaching job.
Get pregnant when we were ready.
Go back to work after baby (possibly even early because I would go stir crazy).
Become the world's greatest teacher.
And the world's greatest mom.

I've learned full well God tends to laugh in our faces when we have a "perfect plan" for our lives.
We were reminded of this the moment we found out we were first year of teaching.

But life continued of course.
I taught.
And enjoyed it.
And dreamed of the future.
With my baby and career co-existing.

And then,
Baby Lyla was born.

Oh my.

Suddenly, my dream bubble burst
as my little family became
the center of my world.

I mean.
I did not even know it was possible to love something or someone so much.
It's ridiculous really.

Something inside me changed.
I developed a deep desire to stay home with my baby.
I cannot imagine leaving her.
Or missing out on all the exciting firsts.

Unfortunately, there are several obstacles and circumstances that are currently keeping me from this new-found desire.
At this exact moment in time, staying home is not even an option.

And as my maternity leave is very rapidly coming to an end,
I'm praying that God will give me the strength and peace to leave my babe and go back to work.

Sounds so dramatic, right?
I'm aware I sound obnoxiously whiney.
And I know thousands of women, most women, go back to work after having babies.
And most suffer greatly through those first weeks back at work without baby.
And most women do just fine.
And thrive even.

So I am quite aware that I'm not alone.
And I'm also aware that we are often products of the choices we make.
Ahem, going back to school and subsequently going into debt.

And I hate to complain because I truly do love my job.

*I just love my Lyla a teensy bit more.*

Plus, I had no clue that I'd want to stay home with my babe. Was never even on my radar. And to be perfectly honest, I would ideally LOVE to have the best of both worlds: be at home with my baby AND still work in education somehow. I mean, I did give up a fabulous career to go into teaching. But I don't even think there is such a thing as part time in education.

And while I'm opening my heart...
I've had a down-right bad attitude about the whole situation.
I feel so envious of other moms.
All but two of my friends with young babes either stay home or work part time.
I would give anything...

But you know what? In time, the right door may open. And it's important for me not to just stand by and wish for time to pass until the right situation comes along. I must strive to "be content no matter what the circumstances." - Phil 4:12 And savor every moment with my little sugar and enjoy the time I do have with her.

I was reminded of this while reading this article via blogger Em's thoughts on women having it all.
I was particularly drawn to the following idea:
"We want life to have meaning, we want fulfillment, healing, even ecstasy, but the human paradox is that we find these things by starting where we are, not where we wish we were."


Wake up call, Angela. Don't let life pass you by while wishing for a more perfect situation.

I've got things pretty good.
A supportive husband.
Happy, healthy daughter.
My mother-in-law is our child care.
And I get summers off. *Sort of*.
I really do love my job.

Given the ambiance of this post, it may be hard to believe, but I really do wake up every morning and thank God for all the blessings I have. And who knows? Maybe I'll get into a groove and love being back at work. Or maybe a part time position will fall in my lap, and I'll get the best of both worlds.

Only time will tell.

I truly apologize for all the boo-hooing.

But it feels so good to get it out.

And I know *many* of you can relate.

But let's be honest. Would YOU want to leave this mohawked sweetie every morning? ;)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Week-9-In-Review: Big Girl Things

Week 9: 10/14/12 - 10/20/12

This week was full of big girl things.

You turned 2 months. 
You hung with adult friends.
You got your shots. 
You *nearly* found your thumb.

Big week, Chunkin.

Then again, every week is big when you're only a couple months fresh from the womb.

You are *still* obsessed with your hands. You use them whenever you get the chance: swatting, batting, grasping, sucking, and you even like to hold them together. I can remember being little and adults lovingly teasing me because I "talked with my hands". I think I did it for dramatic effects. Will you be like that? And I swear you're going to start sucking your thumb any moment. Not sure how I feel about that. But, if it makes you happy, then I'm happy. *Plus, your Auntie Abi started sleeping through the night once she found her thumb. So, by all means...

You soaked up time with your Auntie Laur. It was SO wonderful having Mommy's very best friend in town. That girl and I go way back. I mean, we learned our ABC's together. Not to mention, we went to the state spelling bee three years in a row. I'm sure your wish is to be that cool, Chunkin. ;) But she is one of the few people who is just as energetic, silly, and goofy as me. I truly pray that you are blessed with friendship(s) like the one I have with Auntie Laur. Makes life a whole lot more fun. 

** Take note of this picture of three *grown* adults on the floor. We had your Auntie Laur and her mama (Nana Fulmer) over for dinner. We put you on the floor next to us for tummy time. Laur immediately had the brilliant idea for all of us to do tummy time with you. Then a photo session ensued.
Your Auntie's silliness - case in point. :) 

Just like your daddy, you thrive on being outside. Sadly, the weather is starting to get colder. But we get you out anytime it's nice. You get all cute and perky the moment we step outside. Daddy actually hung out with you on the back patio for 2 hours the other day. He just plopped you right next to him while Mom was at conferences. You happily stayed awake the entire time. Makes me wonder if you'll like hiking and camping like Dad too...

But your most favorite? Morning time. Oh my goodness. We could have had the worst of nights. (We have one or two of those a week). But the moment morning hits, you are back to smiles magoo. Every morning is the same: Mommy wakes you up. You get in a nice loooong stretch. You try to get out of your groggy state. You make eye contact with Mom. Your entire face lights up in smiles. 

Morning makes my heart melt. 

You had the *dreaded* two-month shots this week. Oh Chunk. This was one of those not-so-fun experiences. At first, you did GREAT. You waited patiently in dad's arms for your shots. The nurse poked you. You cried for about 10 seconds. Then you went back to sucking your paci. Then fell asleep.

And boy did you sleep. ALL DAY. 

You only awoke to eat. *Surprise, Surprise*. 

Then, we brought you home at around 8:30 from a friend's birthday party and got you out of your carseat. 

You woke up SCREAMING. And you continued to scream. And scream. Louder than the fence incident. 

We tried everything to console you. 

Rocked you. Shooshed you. Cuddled you. Sang to you. Massaged you. *Tried* to nurse you.

You wouldn't even eat. So I knew you were in pain. 

And you had actual TEARS.

My heart was broken.

Finally, after about 45 minutes, we got you calm enough to give you your reflux medicine, some tylenol, and a good feeding. 

But you whimpered in your sleep all night. 

Talk about wrenching my heart. 

But you better believe you got LOTS of extra cuddles. And trust me, Mommy and Daddy didn't mind. In fact, not so sure who enjoys cuddles more...

Luckily, you were back to your smiley self the next morning.

So aside from those yucky shots, you had a great week. Looking forward to next! 
*Can you even handle all the cuteness in one photo? 
Yes. My entire family is obsessed with wiener dogs. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Traditions are my fave

I have always been a sucker for sentiment.

I used to beg my grandma to tell me stories of her childhood... over and over.

I've kept every note/card I've ever received.

I go back and frequently look at the thousands (possibly millions) of pics I've taken over the years.

My favorite gifts do not cost anything at all. They're the homemade kind.

I drink pumpkin spice lattes. Simply because that's what you do in the fall.

You get the point.

So. It's no surprise that I am quite glamoured by traditions.

And you better believe I'm giddy to continue and begin traditions with our little family. Especially Christmas.

But, we recently participated in our first little family tradition.

Going to the pumpkin patch. Walter's Pumpkin Patch. So.Much.Fun.

Of course, it will be even more fun when Lyla actually understands what's going on and why Mommy and Daddy dress her in silly Halloween outfits and constantly plop her on the "perfect pumpkin" for the "perfect photo op".

Who am I kidding? She'll never understand those things.

But the traditions will live on. Even if they are only to humor Mom. :)

Can't wait to add more to our list of family traditions!

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Men in My Life

Happy Happy Birthday to my two main men.

To my # 1 Man: Happy 28th Birthday.

Gabe, So happy you were born. It's been a great year. So many changes, yet still feels the same.

Cheers to another WONDERFUL year. Love you more and more. ;)

To My Man #2: Happy 6th Birthday

Sweetest Baby Boy Samson, We are so happy you were our first born. Thanks for always making us laugh and for welcoming Baby Ly with such love. We love you. Happy 6th birthday, Little Buddy.

My handsome birthday boys!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two Months

Happy Two Months! 
One day late...

10.12 pounds and 24 inches long 
*97th percentile for height* - tall like Daddy ;)

Rolling over from tummy to back
"Talking"...a lot 
Reaching out for things
Direct eye contact
Connecting sounds to their sources
Smiling...with a purpose and all the time :)

Not a fan of:
Reflux medicine
Kisses (still working on this!)
Mommy's cold hands in the mornings
Sudden loud sounds

Wubba Nub Paci
Morning time
Your changing table (your favorite thing ever)
Sitting up on the couch/bed
Hanging out on Mom and Dad's bed
Being outside
Chibarashka - your Russian toy 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Week-8-In-Review: New Discoveries

Week 8: 10/07/12 - 10/13/12

Oh what a fun week we've had!

This week has been all about discovery.

You have really started to take notice in things besides the walls. You actually study people (besides just mom and dad), Samson and Sienna, toys, and your hands. And you totally understand the fact that if you smile at someone, they are going to get ridiculously excited, smile right back at you, and possibly get emotional (ahem, Daddy.)

The whole sleep thing? Eh. We take one step forward and two steps back. You actually had your longest night yet - 7 1/2 hours. And you're *sort of* getting a little more consistent in at least sleeping for 4-5 hours at a time. But then, we have a disaster night that leaves Mommy a total mess. I'm starting to just accept the fact that you are who you are. And I must be patient.

Because no matter what kind of night you have, you wake up giddy. You can't wait to start your day. And you continue to have this attitude all day long. Even when you protest naps.

Sooner or later, Chunkin.

For now, we're going to focus on how much fun we had this week.

You have become quite the chatterbox. I can't believe I just used that expression. Grams used to call me a chatterbox, and I remember not having a clue what a chatterbox was. Still don't. But that's what you are. You talk and talk. I mean, they are really just coos and "ahhhs". But it is your super cute way of expressing language. Mostly to Daddy and Me, your toys, and Samson. Talk about adorable. And I swear you're on the verge of a laugh any day now. Oh. And I'll just be sitting here waiting. Cannot WAIT.

Your hands are your new best friends. You discovered your hands within your first weeks of life by sucking on them. But now, you are just so intrigued by them. You love to hold them together, suck on them, and use them to reach out (and sometimes even grasp for a few seconds) different things. You especially like to reach out for Samson and hold onto your paci. You guard that thing with your life. Oh. And you've definitely discovered my hair. Ouch!

You love to just intently look at the world around you. It has been so fun to watch this skill develop. You just stare and study everything around you. And you're starting to put sounds with different objects. Like this little rattle we play with. Or your favorite little animal from Uncle Jeff in Russia. And now you really look at the pictures in the books we read to you. But my favorite is how your smiles have changed. You actually want to smile. Every morning when you wake up and I put you on your changing table, it takes you a second or two to find me, and when you do, your entire face lights up. And you smile over and over. And you smile some more. I tear up every time.

And you made Daddy a bundle of emotions last week too. He said it will be a moment engrained in his memory forever. It was just you and him hanging out on the couch. You looked up at him and really smiled. Over and over. And you would use your hands to cover your face like you were being shy and *gulp*...flirting. (Good job, Chunkin. You now and forever have your daddy wrapped around your finger).

Your favorite thing to do is hang out with people. You really love hanging out with Dad and I on the back patio. Of course you love hanging out with Samson. And you got to hang out with your boyfriend, Cal some too.

But this week was *super* special. Your Auntie Laur came for a visit all the way from Kampala, Uganda just to visit YOU. Her very first niece. She held you for hours, played with you, and of course sang you silly songs. Auntie Laur and Mommy have been best friends since kindergarten. I truly pray every day that you find a friend like her.

We started our very first fall tradition. We went to Walter's Pumpkin Patch. And I feel like this one deserves a post of its own. ;)

Another big week in the books, Lyla Beans. 
Lovin' every moment with you!