Friday, June 14, 2013

I just.....AM!

Just a couple days shy of 36 weeks and I've reach ::that:: point.  I am big (although not really all that big), hot, and most of the time, generally a few notches closer to completely annoyed than not. Poor husband and son are dealing with this unhappy momma by spending lots of time at the park, outside, or pretty much anywhere I'm not.  And me...well I'm spending as much time as I physically can where it's cool {almost cold in fact - and yes it's perfect fine if it's so cold I feel the need to wear sweats and a long sleeve shirt..THANK.YOU.VERY.MUCH} and I can manage to find a comfortable position to be in.

As we prepare for baby boy to arrive I've been doing all that I can to get prepared, which mainly consists of digging up books and washing baby clothes.  But I'm also trying to figure out how to soak up these last weeks - last because he will be here soon and last because I don't plan on having any more kids.

It's a heavy place to be.  Realizing that this will most likely be the last time I feel this uncomfortable because there is a 5 lb baby in my belly kicking my ribs continuously. That's it's likely the last time I'll be preparing a nursery. Or even wearing these stupid maternity clothes. It's a double edge sword that I am looking forward to putting behind me but also beginning to miss in some ways.  I think it's because of that I find I'm even more off.  So in short I just am what I am.  I'm not sure what that is or how to feel. Or for that matter what I'm really suppose to feel.

I don't really have a point today - just felt the need to put it out there.

And now, it's time to focus on the special men in my life!  Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there!  Hope you and yours have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

What I Wish I Knew....

Being a First Time Mom

Being a practical, black and white type of person, my journey into motherhood wasn't something that was really ever up for debate.  Once I got past my wild college days of carefree fun, I knew at some point I'd bite the bullet and have kids.  So in the time leading up to my first child being delivered I read and researched everything I could about babies and kids.  And while I quickly figured out which bottles were the best (seriously, whatever you baby likes if that is your choice), which parenting style worked best for me, and the fact that you really don't need all the gadgets (honestly, they aren't lying), many of the sources failed to address some of the more real aspects to parent.  You know, the junk that no one really wants to cop to.  The really ugly stuff.  But for me, that's the stuff I want to hear and read.  I want the REAL dirt.  So here are a few things that I wish I knew as a first time Mom.

1) Once you get that first "positive" test, you might be overjoyed or overwhelmed.  If you are like me, you have a "Oh Sh*t" moment.  Although in my case that moment lasted for a good couple of months. Whatever your emotions are - they are ok.  I remember being blasted on a discussion board once for have the nerve to post that I was struggling with being excited and happy - after all how day I NOT be excited when so many other women tried for months or years to get pregnant.  But the reality is, that every one of us take a different path and whatever you feel is complete OK!  So if you feel scared or sad (even if it was planned) it's OK!  I wish someone had said that to me because once I moved past the scary early months I felt shamed and guilty for not feeling excited early on.  (*NOTE: if you're lacking excitement and feeling down or depressed, please talk to your doctor.  Depression is a very real thing that many expectant mothers feel and your doctor can help!)

2) Not all first time moms deliver late.  I had so many people tell that there was no way I would go early, that all first time moms went late, blah blah blah, that I was actually convince that it just wouldn't happen.  So color me surprised when my little bundle of joy came screaming into the world 2 weeks early.  Thankfully we lived very close to the hospital so our lack of car seat installed or very loosely packed hospital bag wasn't a big issue, but in reality it can, and does happen.  The last month of pregnancy really is just a big waiting game, so be prepared.

3) For those working moms - don't put off putting together a thorough maternity plan.  Again - convinced I wouldn't be having my first son early, I actually took home a bag of work and planned on working on my maternity plan 2 weeks before my due date - the same weekend my son was born.  And for a work-a-holic like me (or at least) I just rolled with it and worked through those first couple of days, but it's not ideal and a lot of things slip through the cracks when that happens.  So my advice is plan early!  Communicate often and begin paring down your work at least 6 weeks out.  The 2nd time around, I'm now at 33 weeks and planning out my maternity plan this week.  Over the next two weeks I'll be doing the initial transition discussions and meetings.  Beginning at 36 weeks I start creating detailed task sheets at the end of each day for the following day and week for each of my backups.  Yes - this is a lot of work, but it also ensures that if I go into labor at any point, some one can step in and figure out exactly where I was with something and what else needs to be done.  These are especially helpful if you also include any necessary passwords and file locations!

4) Post delivery sucks!  You'll read that everywhere, and it's true.  The healing process is no joke.  Just prepare for it.  Expect the worst - then if it's not that bad you're just a lucky one.  Oh and take all the underwear the hospital gives you.  You'll ruin them and it's OK!  Also - take the stool softeners they give you religiously and keep taking them when you get home.  The first couple BMs are horrible.  Nightmare worthy in fact.  Having been through this rodeo once before, I can tell you have I no fear about birth but seriously am already dreading that part.

5) Graciously accept any and all help you can get.  People seriously don't care if your house is a mess, if you haven't showered in a couple of days, if you're grumpy - they really just want to help.  So take it!  And when a friend offers to come and rock the baby so that you can enjoy a hour long shower if you want, DO IT!  You'll have plenty of days where a 5 minute shower is a luxury and the entire time you're in there you will swear the baby is crying (trust me - even with a monitor this happens), so take the opportunity!

6) In those early post-partum days, it is extremely easy to get comfortable in your home, but do yourself a favor and get out!  Whether it's sitting on a deck for 5 minutes, taking a walk down the street, or running out to pick up lunch - just get out!  Load the baby up and go.  Why you ask?  I mean it's not like you've got oodles of energy to spare - right?!  But the reality of it is, fresh air does everyone good!  Mentally, physically, emotionally - just changing your environment is a positive thing.  Do it.  Ask your friends to hold you accountable.  Yes it's hard - but you will feel better if you - this I can promise.

7) It's totally OK to wear your maternity clothes after you have the baby.  I don't exactly know why I didn't know this the first time, but I guess I just expected that after delivery everything would magically fall back in place.  News flash - it doesn't!  So unless you've got buckets of money sitting around and can afford to buy a new wardrobe - wear your maternity stuff a little while longer.

8) It's ok to get frustrated with your spouse, partner and even baby in those early days.  Don't beat yourself up if you find your patience running thin or you catch yourself thinking "Can't you just stop crying for a few minutes." Everyone in your house is adjusting to this new person, and this new person is adjusting to their new world.  It's a lot to take in.  So take it easy and relax.

9) Finally, remember that even the "perfect" moms - you know the ones I'm talking about, perfect hair, perfectly dressed, kids are neat and tidy, with the fresh baked basket of muffins, yeah those - they may look perfect, but 9 times out of 10, if you scratch just a little below the surface, everything isn't perfect.  So don't hold yourself to impossibly high standard.  Be proud of what YOU'VE accomplished, even if it's as simple as getting dressed in something other than yoga pants and a t-shirt and hold your head up high.

Is there anything you'd add?

Until next time.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Things I Wish I Knew.....

My First Job(s)

Recently some conversations about "new" workers, i.e. young kids fresh out of college, and even to some extent the whole of 20 somethings, got me thinking about my career, the path I've taken, and the things I wish I had known when I started working.

But first let me start with my history.  I grew up in a divorced, middle class home.  Both of my parents worked, and both of my parents had spent their entire careers at the same companies they started with.  Money was tight, but my mother sacrificed a lot to ensure my sister and I had everything we needed, which a few extra things here and there.  So as a teenager, the choice to work was based 100% on my desire to purchase things that I wanted.  If I wanted the name brand jeans, then I had to save up.  If I wanted to go to the movies, it meant working a few extra hours.  At 16 I had 3 (yep that's right, 3, actually 4 if you count the random babysitting jobs I would pick up) jobs.  I worked at the library shelving books a few hours a week.  I spent every afternoon at a local law office filing and retrieving court documents or doing research. And I spent a few evenings each week working at a local pizza place.  I was busy.  But those early jobs instilled me a few lessons that have paid me back 10 fold as an adult.  So without further delay, here are the few things I wish I had known (or in some cases kids these days should know) about my first adult job.

1) You are the low man on the totem pole.  Acting like you're not will only create a bigger problem for yourself.  I thought I was hot stuff at my first job - I knew what I was doing and everyone should listen to me.  After all, I had a degree in management.  Looking back I can't believe how stupid I was and I can also see the drama I created with my poor attitude.  Being humble and understanding that, yes, you may have a lot to give, but you also have a lot to learn really is key to starting your career off on the right foot.  Plus - no one wants to work with a "know-it-all," so just don't be that person!

2) Being on time is important!  Thankfully this one was I never really had to learn, but I see it so often it's worth the mention.  While I'm not advocating the old advice of showing before everyone else and leaving after everyone else (unless you have enough work to keep you busy) being on-time or even a few minutes early shows you have respect for your employer and fellow employees.  And yes, I hear your whining all the way over here, "but so-and-so always shows up 5 minutes late, or takes an extra 10 minutes on lunch, and no one says a thing to them."  Well guess what - here's the truth - if you notice, your boss probably does too.  As does the other people they work with.  Sometimes those things are overlooked because they've worked late or are on call or maybe they've made other arrangements.  Either way, don't assume anything and trust that if they are truly slacking, sometime is taking note.  And when the opportunity arises to assign a special project or give someone a chance, it will always be those employees who have proven their dedication that will get the chance.

3) You are NEVER, let me repeat that, NEVER too good, above, senior, whatever, to do the basic things.  Part of the key to my success, is that I was always willing to help out, regardless of whether or not is was part of my job.  Sometimes that meant running errands, making copies or even, yes, unclogging the toilet in the shared bathroom.  Gross, yes.  But I quickly earned a solid reputation that I was dependable, reliable, and willing to get the job done.  I was rewarded through earning the respect of senior management and in return given responsibilities and access to information that most in my position would not have been given.  Even now, when it comes down to handling the little stuff, I'll step in and do it.  I've stuff envelopes, cut fliers, stuck stamps, and a host of other "low level" tasks more times than I can count.  But I do so willingly because when you work in an office environment, helping out each other only helps everyone in the long run.  Plus you catch a lot more flies with honey than you do vinegar.

4) Last, but certainly not least, don't be afraid to ask for help when you don't know the answer or need help.  You're young - no boss of yours will expect you to know everything.  So admitting you don't know or need help isn't a sign of weakness.  In fact, it's truly a sign of strength.  It shows that you care enough to want to do the task the correct way, the first time.  But, and this is a big one, it's not enough to say "I don't know." Those that get ahead are the ones that say "I'm not really sure, but I'll do some research and see what I can find out" and then go do it.  And if after that, you still need help, ask!  The exception to this is if you've been instructed multiple times and have failed to listen.  Instructions should only have to be given twice at most.  If you're not getting something, asking during the training.  And keep asking until you understand it.  Don't just assume you'll figure it out later.  Because often you won't, and when you have to ask for the 3rd or 4th time, you're boss will start to wonder whether you're just dense or lazy.

Which brings me to my last tip....

5) ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have a pen and note pad with you.  I don't care if you're popping in for an update, taking a training course, or simply walking around to socialize.  Carry a notebook - big or little doesn't matter - with a working pen with you.  Just trust me on this!

So there you have it.  What about you?  What are the things you wish either you knew or that your new employees knew when they started working?  Anything I forgot here?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The State of our World

It's been a little while since my last post.  I've had just a few things going on - namely moving and working through Easter at a church - so my already hindered mental capacity has been at an all time low.  However, I've been dreaming up some posts and hope to get back on a regular posting schedule soon!

All that to say, the last 24 hours have given me so much material I felt I need to just write out my thoughts.  Firstly, the Oklahoma tornadoes.  I purposefully avoided the news last night because I simply  couldn't handle the heartbreaking stories that I knew would be shown.  By God's grace, the count of those who had passed as a result of the storm has come down, but even still a considerable number of people lost their lives, including a number of children.  In the overly hormonal state I currently find myself in, I am finding that avoiding the news, pictures, videos is helping me stay focused on what I can do - which in this case is a constant and intentional state of pray - as opposed to playing the "sorrow game."  My heart breaks for those impacted, but I do myself no good by pouring hours into reading all the reports and looking at all the pictures.  Because what I've found is that when I do that, I begin to put myself in position of those impacted.  I begin wondering "What if this happened here?" "How would I feel?" " How would I respond?" and that path only leads to state of panic, worry and ultimately a self-centered distraction.  Instead I am focusing my attention on God and prayer.

And in the midst of this tragedy today I am ran across a somewhat controversial TED Talk that got me thinking even more....

As I listened to this talk by Dr. Jay, I found myself nodding in agreement with many of her assertions.  20 somethings of today are taking a pass.  They aren't taking life seriously, because they have time.  Time to figure it out.  Time to make mistakes.  Time to life seriously.  And maybe they do.  I was raised to take every day and use it, learn from it, and make the next day even better than before.  I didn't spend my 20's dating the wrong men or working in a job that meant nothing.  Yes, I approached my 20's with a learning mindset, but I also had the amazing guidance of my family, that taught me that everything we do is a learning experience, but wasting time results is nothing more than wasted time.

I count my blessing that this video is something I strongly agree with, as opposed to feeling condemned by.  I struggle to see the other side of the coin in this instance, where floating through a period of my life without direction or intent could be beneficial or even enjoyable.  Which then brings me back to the tragedies in Oklahoma.

We don't always know what tomorrow, or even the next hour may bring.  I doubt any of the victims yesterday woke up knowing that they would not be returning to their families or friends.  I would bet that everyone of them had something planned in the days and weeks ahead, that sadly they won't be making. Events like yesterday are what make me what to grab hold of every person - 20 something or not - that says they've got time and shake them.  To tell them that by God's grace maybe they do, but maybe they don't have 5 more minutes or days.  So don't waste today.  Seek to move forward, to impact someone, to change something.  If not for yourself, for those who no long have the opportunity too.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday Mom Confessions

Wow, the weeks right now just seem to fly by for me.  I have several other posts in the hopper, but getting the precious few minutes needed to do final edits {or in some cases just finish thoughts} has escaped me.

I unfortunately don't have a ton of confessions this week, but instead have just one big one.  Despite the fact that we begin moving into a big, beautiful new house in less than 4 hours - I am NOT excited - not even in the littlest bit.

Wow - could you feel that?  I think a thousand pounds just lifted off me and yet all at once hit me in my ever-swelling stomach.

The process of purchasing a home is one that is filled with a wide range of emotions.  Most people stress about the decision and money BEFORE they commit.  Now don't get me wrong, I get my ducks in a row before walking down a path of this magnitude, but until the dollars and cents are finalized, I don't get stressed.  It's not until it's time to actually write that check do I start to panic.

For me, money has always been a big issue.  Like most married couples, it's probably one of the things we discuss most often and probably the one thing I obsess about on a regular {read: non-stop} basis.  How much we've saved, how much we've spent, and how we can earn more.  Growing up, I was by no means poor.  Even after my parents divorced, we lived in beautiful homes and while I never had the best or newest gadgets, my mother did an amazing job of providing what we needed with a few extras here and there.  She also taught me the value of hard work and the importance of managing your money.  Only NOW, after I've "grown up" and started to see just what it really takes to run a household can I appreciate the sacrifices she made for me and my sister, but more importantly I can begin to see the strength she had to weather the storm of stress and anxiety she must have faced.

I know that I am blessed, beyond measure, with the worldly gifts God has given me.  And throughout this entire process I have felt God's hand guiding us.  Everything in fact, came together far better and easier than I could EVER have imagined.  And yet now, I find myself questioning if this was the right decision.  It's going to make the budget tight - real tight.  And with baby #2 on the way, I worry if this was the wrong decision and I just thought God was leading me this way.  I lay awake at night worrying about the bills to come.  Not because the money isn't there, but because of the sacrifices I have to make to ensure the money is there.  Many of which are selfish, self-serving sacrifices, like my penchant for eating because I simply don't want to cook.  

There's a reason that Jesus is recorded talking about money more than anything else, second only to the Kingdom of God.  Even more than Heaven and Hell combined.  And that's because as humans, even thousands of years ago, money had the ability to take hold of us and Satan uses that lure as a way to continue to distract us.  I've found myself praying even more than normal over the last few weeks about money in particular.  Because right now, money is the reason why I'm not excited about moving.  It's the black rain cloud that prevents me from enjoying the path God so patiently and lovingly forged for my family.  And to make it worse, much of my stress in self induced.

I worry about not being able to afford grabbing dinner with my girlfriends, instead of seeing this as an opportunity to open my home and heart to my friends in a real way.  I worry that my husband will resent our decision when he can't freely spend money on things he wants {even if I hate those very things, like cigars - YUCK} and will feel like a failure as a husband and provider.  I worry about the day to day "misses" instead of the joy that will come with a new baby and space to actually enjoy each other's company.

And at the end of the day, that my friends is the real the problem - because I worry about everything that the devil wants me to worry about - perception, image, other peoples opinions - instead of remembering that God has my back.  That he laid this path and made it possible for everything to come together.  That for every "sacrifice" I make now, he has an even greater plan for me in the future.  So while I may not be jumping over the moon about our impending move, I am praying hard that with this move our family can continue to share the love of Christ with those around us and that through our sacrifices we may bring joy to others.

I saw this image posted on Facebook yesterday and felt it was all too fitting for my mindset lately.  It's a hard lesson to follow at times, but one I know that is worth it!

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Monday Mom Confessions

Maybe a little late.  I have to admit, I thought about it yesterday, but yesterday was one of those days.  I was just in a funk and if I had written anything, it would have reeked with disdain and likely brought a big black over you as well.  Pregnancy hormones do weird things to you and yesterday was a low day.  So without further delay, below are my Mom Confessions from this past week.

Confession #1 - I have eaten a serious amount of my kid's Easter candy.  In my defense, he's 2, almost 3 {OMG that breaks my heart just typing it!}, and is seriously affected by sugar - as in screaming wilder beast who gets grouchy and even mean.  So we avoid giving him too much of anything heavy in sugar for everyone's sanity.  And what better way to get rid of it, than to eat it myself.  Mind you, I have my own Easter basket {yes, my mother still fixes one for me too!} overflowing with goodies, and my scale tells me to QUIT, like now, but so far neither of those facts has stopped me from digging into the kiddo's basket first.

Confession #2 - I often deal with things by simply forgetting or avoiding.  When I feel overwhelmed or stressed, instead of getting into the moment and dealing with it, I will delay, delay, delay, until it all comes crashing down on me.  Because after all - if you ignore something long enough it will eventually go away, right?! {I'm only kidding with that last sentence - this is NOT a good way to deal with things, but certainly helps me keep my Southern Belle coolness in pressure filled situations}.  However, as we did our final walk-through of what will be our new home in less than a week{!!!}, the gravity of all that I still have to do in our old home {namely - packing} hit me.  Where I wasn't worried before, now I'm suddenly panicked and have even more stress about how it all get done. Thank you Lord for my amazing husband, because without him the great moving debacle of 2007 {Summary: a large 2 bedroom apartment full of stuff, and only 3 boxes packed the morning everyone showed up to move us} would be occurring again next week!

Confession #3 - I sometimes have a hard time believing when people say they "feel" the presence of God with them.  Sorry that's kind of a heavy one - but it's been on my mind a lot this last week as I've found myself praying like it's my JOB.  I am a woman of strong faith {most of the time, but hey, we all stumble from time to time} and believe in the power of prayer.  I've even felt the emotional weights be lifted {albeit, usually after a good nights rest or some time} but I don't know that I've even really "felt" God with me.  It's an interesting concept, because I truly believe he is with me, but actually feeling it is something totally different.  IDK - I'm curious if anyone else feels this way or has actually experienced Him with them.

And....that's all I've got this week.  It's a little sad, but my poor, pregnancy fogged brain is working on overtime right now.  I daydream about cuddling my pillow and sleeping for days on end right.  Hopefully this fog will pass soon - because I've got too much stuff to do to just be laying around sleeping!

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. For all the southerns out there - aren't you LOVING this weather?!  Granted, 80 degrees in April could be a really bad sign for the summer to come - but after what felt like a super long winter - I'm LOVING it.  Even sent the kidlet to school in shorts today!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Mom Confessions

Eek - I'm sort of behind today, which is fitting considering everything we've had going on lately.  I haven't publicly shared (so not even my FB friends know) that we sold our house and are moving.  It's not that I don't want to share, but up until today, there were too many "what ifs," and I didn't want to share the news and then have one or both of the deals fall through. But thankfully, the last 20 days of stress have been worth it and all is now official!  We're moving!  2 weeks from today in fact.  And I haven't really even starting packing.  So the next 2 weeks are going to be crazy, nuts, insane - pick your choice of words!  Exhausting is what I'm already calling it.

But anywho, onto the good stuff.  Since Easter was yesterday, I have a just a few Easter related confessions.

Confession #1 - Despite my {always} good intensions, somehow I always end up doing things last minute.  This year's Easter basket was no exception.  But that's not my confession.  Being just 2 days from Easter, I quickly dashed through Target trying to find the perfect basket {or my case, cloth organizing box, because all the baskets were sold out, and if I was going to spend the money, it might as well be useful - can I just say thank goodness 2 year olds don't know the difference!} fillers.  Mind you there was limited supply of just about everything.  And since I don't give my kid chocolate or sweets beyond an occasional treat, I had to get creative.  So as I'm standing in line, the mom in front of me has a whole shopping cart full of things and as she starts to unload it, it becomes abundantly clear it's all Easter basket related.  So when her total rang up to $150, I had a good {silent} laugh to myself.  $50 bucks a kid {I counted 3 baskets, so I'm assuming 3 kids, a yes, thank you very much, I know I am very nosey} is insane I thought to myself. total came in at a $45 - for ONE little guy.  I wiped my my smug little grin and silently sent an apology out for judging another mom, even on such a silly thing.

Confession #2 - After said escapade in Target, I went home, and promptly put all the basket fillers into the closet, knowing full well I should have just put the basket together right then.  However, I didn't, and I forgot later than night and Saturday night too.  Come Sunday morning, wouldn't you know it, my little darling was already up and ready to eat breakfast before it even dawned on me that the basket was "ready." Oops!  I quickly pulled it together {again thank goodness 2 year olds don't know there is suppose to be fake grass and all that junk} and surprised him after breakfast.  Just another mommy fail here!

Confession #3 - So growing up Easter was always a time where my mother would dress our whole family in matching outfits.  My sister and I had matching dresses.  Mom's dress always matched as well.  And my dear father, bless his heart, went along with the game and always had a matching coat/shirt combo to blend with us girls {yes, he had every pastel color sports coat you could imagine, including pink}.  It is, after all, a very southern thing to do.  In my family though, well let's just say the Easter tradition is a little lost.  I do good to get my kiddo into a polo.  There's no way a shirt/tie/jacket combo is going to work.  And besides that, getting matching outfits takes planning - something that I obviously need to work on anyways.  So for us, we go to Easter service, looking pretty much like we do every other Sunday.  In the end, I figure Jesus doesn't really care what we wear, as long as we're there.  AMEN!

Confession #4 - Speaking of Jesus...let me just say, I love Easter and I love the real reason why we celebrate the season. To give thanks and worship what our Lord did for us in rising from the grave and overcoming death.  I think it's possible to celebrate both the real reason for the holiday and the "commercial" holiday {with bunnies and egg hunts, etc} without losing the meaning.  But what I truly don't understand are those folks who have such an issue with anyone, but especially Christians, being able to celebrate both.  I have a dear friend who honestly refuses to say "Happy Easter" or even acknowledge "Easter'.  They call it Resurrection Sunday and give Resurrection Baskets, but don't allow mention of bunnies, eggs, or any of the traditional Easter stuff.  I have no real opinion on the matter other than I simply don't understand it.  Can someone help me out here?

Confession #5 - So I have to say that during my first pregnancy I was pretty disconnected.  After suffering through months of morning sickness {and frankly wishing I were dead because it} I never gained that "maternal love" that mothers talk about.  I remember people saying "oh, once the baby starts kicking it'll be great!  You'll just love them even more" and I guess for some that was true.  But not me. In fact, it took me months after the baby was born to really feel connected.  And while it seems sad, all throughout my first pregnancy I really didn't worry much.  If I didn't feel kicks for a few hours or even a day, it was mostly a relief, and not really a reason to worry.  So the second time around, I wasn't sure what or how I'd feel.  However, what I've found that while I'm still not "connected" with my baby {I do think I'm just one of those people who needs to actually see him and hold him to bond} I do get freaked out far more than I did the first time.  Case in point - this child has been a wild one for weeks now.  I've been feeling strong and consistent kicks since around 20 weeks.  But this weekend this baby decided he was going to take an extended nap, despite the insane amount of sugar I consumed, and I have been on edge for 2 days now.  Thankfully, this little guy decided to finally wake up, but for a few hours I was a crazy Googling fool {bad, bad idea ALWAYS}.

I hope you're Monday is going well and you and your family have come down off the sugar high from the weekend!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Why I don't wash my hair!

Yesterday I confessed that I have bucked the tradition of washing ones hair everyday, in favor of the once or twice a week routine.  Here's the link in case you missed it.  And while I know lots of people who are completely grossed out by this idea, I wanted to share my point of view on why I do it and how others can embrace it as well.

The most common question I get asked is "Doesn't it smell or get greasy?" And the short answer is sure - after 5 or 6 days, but generally not. did at first. Like all elements of our body, we get used to a routine, and our hair is no different.  If you wash it every day and strip all the natural oils out of it, it's going to create even more oil.  Don't wash it for a day or two, and you're in grease city.  But, if you stop doing it every day, gradually your body will begin producing less oil, allowing you to go for longer periods of time.

So how I did get started on this whole process - well it's really very simple.  I hated washing and drying my hair.  That's it.  In my teens it would take me a full hour to wash and blow out my hair.  Now of course, in high school even the hint of grease would incite all sorts of comments, so no self-respecting {wanna be cool} girl would ever dare go a day without washing - lest someone assume that gasp  you didn't bathe either!  However, once to college, I discovered that really I could go two days without really anyone noticing.  And at that point, 2 days was about my limit.  But once I began working, and missing my sleep, I began stretching it.  First 3 days, then 4.  Maybe go 5 if I didn't have any weekend plans.  Over the course of the last year I've finally made the switch to once a week.  I referenced Rosie's article in my post yesterday but wanted to share a few extra tips that I thought she left out.

So behold - a Southern Belle's secrets to NOT washing your hair.

  1. Find a shampoo and conditioner that work for you.  My stylist (and all the other stylists I know) hates it when I tell her I use Pantene but literally I've used the stuff for years and my hair is healthy and looks good.  Use whatever you want that works for your hair!
  2. Find a good conditioner that doesn't weigh your hair down - and echoing Rosie's recommendation - DO NOT put a lot on your roots.  In fact, I avoid my roots all together and focus on the mid-shaft and ends.  The roots are the first place that will get the natural oils, so you're just setting yourself up for extra grease.
  3. Consider if your hair style will support this.  Similar to Rosie, I have long hair cut in various layers, so extensive styling is not a must.  If you prefer a very styled look - honestly - this probably won't happen for you easily!
  4. Reduce the number of styling products you use. For me - I don't use anything other than a little bit of straightening serum in the summer when it's humid.  I may use a little hair spray if I curl my hair, but it's sparingly and often the lightest, flexible hold I can find.  (No Aquanet here, unless it's for a special event.) By reducing the products you use, you also reduce the amount of build up that happens, which can make your hair look dull, flat, or greasy.
  5. Remember, it takes time. I promise, unless you have super course or really thick hair that's naturally dry, you won't be able to go more than a couple of days at first.  But have faith - it does get better.  And if you make it to day 3 and your hair is an oil slick, then wash it!  This process is suppose to make your life easier, not cause more stress.  Even now, there are weeks, where by Thursday, my hair is looking rough, I'll either rinse it or do a full washing.  No big deal.
  6. Learn to keep your hands out of your hair!  This is a biggy and was very hard for me because I was always fussing with my hair during the day.  The more you touch, the more oil you transfer from your hands to your hair.  So hands off!
So there are some of my top tips.  But what's my routine?  Well, here you go.
  • Sunday - typically my wash day, because my evenings are calmer.  If I know I want to wear my hair in curls that week, I'll take the extra time post shower, to blow dry it and curl it immediately!  If not, I'll usually just blow dry the roots and let the rest air dry, then hit it with a flat iron the next morning.  This is the time to style it though.
  • Monday - style as normal.  If I've curled it the night before, I may touch it up in the morning, but usually it's just a quick comb (wide tooth or pick style to not break up the curls too much).  If I let it air dry the night before I'll straight it with a flat iron.
  • Monday Night - My hair creases, so I don't do the bun or pony tail like Rosie does, but I'll give it a quick brush with a natural bristle brush to help distribute the oils.  (Not the 100 strokes many of our mothers believed in though!)
  • Tuesday - Usually it's holding the style from Monday pretty well.  I may touch up some areas with the curling iron or flat iron if needed.  Typically my hair on Monday and Tuesday looks the same.  Quick brush at night again.
  • Wednesday & Thursday - Again, quick touch ups when needed.  May pull up the front or sides if it's starting to look flat.  I generally try to avoid the pony tail early in the week if I can.  Sometimes mid-week I'll rinse my hair - meaning just stand under the shower, no shampoo and maybe a little (and I mean very little, like pea size) conditioner on the ends if they are rough.  But usually this is more because I just want to stand under the water than because I need to wash my hair.  Style as usual. 
  • Friday - If I can keep my hair down I will, but most of the time by Friday I'm exhausted and struggling to just get out of the house, so a nice bun, braid, or pony works great.  I may use a little bit of dry shampoo  (the spray kind works great - I don't have a favorite brand, just whatever is on sale when I need it) if I have some areas starting to look bad.
  • Saturday - Ponytail day.  Keep it simple.
  • Sunday - For church, I usually just pull it back into a nice bun or sleek pony. Nothing fancy here.  Ready for another wash. 
And that's it.  Don't believe me that's it's possible - here's a picture three days in!

I hope this helps answer some questions you might have!  If not - please ask!  For me, it saves a ton of time each week and makes my morning routine so much simpler!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Mom Confessions

Well it's Monday {again} which means another installation of Monday Mom Confessions, so let's just jump right in!

Confession #1 - I actually had some really great blog posts ideas, some of which I remember, but most of which I don't.  Trying to be a little more intentional about writing down my ideas when they hit - or even more shocking - actually writing the posts!  Blogging is a lot harder than it seems!

Confession #2 - Several years ago, there was huge uproar when Phaedra Parks - Real Housewives of Atlanta - couldn't remember {or lied depending on what you read} how far along she was in her pregnancy.  I remember, myself being pregnant at the time, that it seemed crazy to me that she won't know when she was due, being it was her first baby and all.  At the time I could tell you down to the hour how pregnant I was and thought "what mother doesn't track how far along she is?"  Flash forward to last week, when going in for my usual OB appointment, my doctors begins by saying "So you're at 23 weeks now..." and seriously, I kid you not, I just nodded my head because I honestly, couldn't not determine if she was right or not.  No Joke!  I can tell you the due date without hesitation and I would have guessed somewhere in the correct range of weeks, but really couldn't have told you with 100% certainty whether she was right or not {she of course was}!  Even in the moment, it made me laugh so hard, because this time around, I haven't kept track.  Don't really care to either.  I attribute it to the fact that in my mind I know it's going to be a long wait and counting down the weeks doesn't make it go by any faster.  That and having a busy 2 {almost 3} year old and trying to pack and move a house, while working full-time {are you exhausted after reading that? YIKES!} really is a full plate right now.  I guess that's the difference between baby 1 and 2 (or 3 or 4 for that matter).

Confession #3 - I've said it before, but being pregnant for me is a necessary means to an end.  It's not something I particularly love going through.  So it really is no surprise that this weekend the "OK I'm over this, I'm done being pregnant" mood struck.  Thankfully I've got a lot to keep me distracted between now and July.

Confession #4 - I don't get March Madness.  The trash talking, the betting, the general craziness that surrounds it...I just find it all a little annoying.  Where I'm from, college basketball is king, and I'm a proud alumni from a school with one of the best (if not the best) basketball programs in the country.  I wear my designated college colors on game day {at the insistence of my husband} and cheer when we watch the games, but that's the extent of my "fandom".  However, when I see all this craziness, it just makes me scratch my head a little.  I mean seriously, people are getting into fistfights over the performance of a bunch of kids! KIDS!  18 & 19 year old boys!  Crazy!

Confession #5 - So when I read Rosie Pope {Maternity Guru and star of Bravo's "Pregnant in Heels"} blog post a couple of weeks ago, I knew I'd have to share my confession.  I case you missed it, Rosie came out of the closet {hair closet, that is} and shared with the world that she only washes her hair once a week!  And like Rosie, I too am a once {maybe twice on a busy week} hair washer too!  And it's wonderful!  Rosie walks through her weekly routine in her blog, but there's a few things I think she left out.  So I've started on a post with my steps and tricks too.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping this week!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Monday Mom Confessions

Another week, another round of confessions to share.  I've got to admit that doing this is a bit like therapy - I feel better {hopefully you do too} by just sharing the random crap that I think!

Confession #1 -  By Thursday morning I was already willing myself up out of bed by the promise of a LONG Saturday afternoon nap.  Seriously?!  How sad is that?  Even sadder, looking back, that my sweet child decided Saturday was decidedly NOT the day to take a nap {or any day that is part of the weekend apparently}.

Confession #2 - I grew up with a mother who REFUSED {yeah seriously in all caps} to leave the house without her hair perfectly fixed and make-up applied.  No surprise living in the south, but somehow that "need" missed me, especially after having kids.  My kid, nor my husband, love me any more or less with make-up and fixed hair, so my weekends are typically deemed "make-up" free.  And honestly, sometimes even shower free.  So much for a proper Southern Belle.

Confession #3 - After a lovely chat with a fellow preggo this week, I was starkly reminded how much I absolutely loathe being pregnant.  My friend on the other hand loves it.  To each is own I suppose, but seriously, the weird junk that happens and the general discomfort sucks.  It's a necessary means to a v. happy end, but still the process sucks.  {The same goes for working out in my book.}

Confession #4 - The one good thing about being "with child" {yeah that phrase bugs me too} is that I have a free excuse to wear leggings any day I want.  And I plan on taking advantage of that benefits as much as humanly possible!

Confession #5 - I had several other funny things to share from the past week, but it seems I've forgotten {probably as a result of daydreaming about my Saturday afternoon nap} so maybe next week I'll do better!

Until then!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Big Reveal

So a little over a week and half ago we found out what this little bebe in my belly in was.  I talked about my preference for a little girl here.  I wanted a girl, point blank, and when the ultrasound technician announced that we were having not the baby girl I desperately want, but instead a sweet baby boy, I felt like a ton of bricks had hit me in the chest.

So how did I feel.  Honestly?  Really, really crappy.  I laid on the ultrasound table, thankful that my baby was healthy, but dreadfully sad that he was indeed a he.  I even cried.  Yep it was a bittersweet moment.

I managed to pulled myself together to get through my doctors visit, but spent the rest of the day in fits of tears, trying to keep it together as much as I could.  And finally that night,  I let myself fall apart and truly cried my eyes out for a solid 30 minutes.  It was difficult.  I honestly felt like I had failed my family, who all really wanted a little girl.  And really, I felt like I was being punished.  I wasn't getting what I wanted.  And everywhere I looked, everyone was having their perfect boy/girl family.  It wasn't fair.

But like all disappointments, there comes a time when that disappointment fades.  The next day the cloud began to lift, and I finally began to believe all the things I had been trying to convince myself all along.  My son will have a brother whom he can wrestle with and be rough with.  They will be able to play with the same (or at least similar) toys and occupy each other.  They will have each other.  And I am already totally stocked to dress a little boy.  Having another little boy might not be so bad after all.

I also starting looking for blogs of other mothers with a pair of boys.  Reading what other mothers had felt and experienced and the joy they have gotten from their boys, really helped put things into perspective.  And while it doesn't completely take the sting away, every day is easier and easier to envision that my son will be here in a few short months.

So at the end of the day, I did see blue, and was blue for a couple of days, but for those mothers who are going through this, I just wanted to say you're not alone.  In fact, I was shocked when a fellow mother told me that she had the very same feelings, except she was wanting two boys!  {Imagine my shock that someone would actually want that!}  The truth of the matter is that we all have underlying expectations, whether we want to admit it or not, and there's nothing wrong with being sad when our dreams don't exactly happen as planned.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Mom Confessions

So part of who I am, and how I'm strangely wired, is that I L.O.V.E lists.  Any lists really, but especially funny or random ones.  So today, in honor of my quirk {and who am I kidding, my need to just tell random things about myself} I present my top 5 Mom Confessions from the last week.  If you, like me, love reading other funny (or sad, or true) mom confessions, and happen to be a Tweeter, I would also strong encourage checking out the hashtag #momconfessions will also give you hours of enjoyment.

Confession #1 - Because a) I didn't want to wash extra cups and b) I really hate having to put together the straw cups for my toddler, I washed and reused the same sippy cup all weekend.  (Don't worry I cleaned it!)  He doesn't care, but my mother and grandmother would be absolutely mortified if they knew.

Confession #2 - When my dear son decided he wanted to play with the metal rake this weekend, I directed him to our weed infested flower beds and told him to have fun.  Win Win!  Most of the weeds got pulled and all I had to do was watch and catch a few rays!

Confession #3 - After dragging my poor child around the city for two days of house hunting, I "accidentally" forgot to set the alarm this weekend to get up and go to church.  We all needed the extra sleep!

Confession #4 - I seriously debated giving up my precious lunch hour to run to the grocery store so that I wouldn't have to navigate it later tonight with the toddler.  I ultimately decided against, being that it's poring down rain currently and I really didn't want to get out, a decision I know I will be repeatedly kicking myself over later this evening as I fight the after-work grocery mass with a hungry and tired 2 year old {probably in the rain too}.

Confession #5 - {Climbing on my soapbox now} As a working mother, I'm a huge advocate for work/life balance and companies taking a stand to support women (regardless of their "mother" status).  But few things bug me more than when super wealthy {and successful without argument} women, such as Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, publically vocalize how "easy" motherhood is or how women should just "lean in rather than pull back when facing [career] obstacles".

Before you jump on me for being judgement, or pick up the pitch fork as well... let me explain this one a little.  I think their underlying message is overall a good thing - that the more women who stand up and take on leadership roles, the greater the likelihood is that companies will have to start evaluating policies to support women, including equal pay.  It's a natural progression.  But their "just get out there and do it" attitude is what rubs me.  As a working mom (who thankfully has a wonderfully supportive husband, with a relatively flexible job) I don't always have the choice as to whether I can "lean in" as Sandberg advocates, because unlike her, my child is in daycare.  A daycare with set hours and set fees if I don't pick him up on time.  So while there have been times in my career where I was able to seize those opportunities that maybe required me to work late for a day or week {with major thanks to the husband}, that isn't something I'm able to do on a regular basis.  And unfortunately, it's those moments - the late night conference calls or the weekend work sessions - that often end up making the difference between being flagged as a go-getter or just another mom.  I also, don't have have the luxury of having a private nanny and nursery in my office, a la Mrs. Mayer, so that I can visit and cuddle my sweet baby anytime I please.  Please understand, I get that they've made significant sacrifices over the course of their careers to get where they are, and I certainly don't begrudge them of that, because at some point they will have (or have had) those "mommy guilt" moments but expecting that all women should simply "accept" those sacrifices as normal not only bothers me, but makes me really question if they understand what being a parent is all about.  With out any question, I could and would work my tail-end off if I was bringing home an annual income of approximately $30 Million, as Sandberg does, or having the earn potential of $71 Million over the next 5 years like Mayer, but the reality is there are months where paying all the bill and putting a little bit into savings is difficult, and for many people, even making all the bills on-time would be a dream!

The reality is being a mother is hard work, and working outside of the home only adds to that.  So when people who can afford to simply say "Sorry I'm leaving and you can't stop me" or "Hold that call because I need to take a couple of minutes to cuddle my baby" marginalize the struggles we face day in and day out, it just sets me off. {Ok - Off my soap box now! Sorry}

So there you have my top 5 mom confessions for this week.  Can't wait to see what this next week brings!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Because So Few People Will....

...I'll just say it.  Yes I have a preference, and I want a little girl. There it's out there. {not that it's really any secret to anyone who knows me}  Being that I'm approximately 19 weeks and few days pregnant, and on the eve of the big ultrasound, I'm nervous.  I know most parents are excited and ready for their big day to find out what their little bundle is, but me, I'm super anxious and nervous.

I guess I should explain.  With my first child, my husband got to pick if we found out or not, and he decided against it.  I was bummed for a while, but by the end was really enjoying the not knowing and the ultimate surprise that came when he was born.  Now I'm not going to lie.  I honestly was a little bit disappointed when the nurse first announced that he was indeed a HE.  But that quickly faded {as it always does} because who can deny how cute and lovable their little one is?  Occasionally, as I would see if my friends with their little girls, I'd find a hint of jealousy would arise.  {Because seriously, those ruffles and bows are just too cute.}  But I always quelled my feelings by knowing that there would likely be a baby #2 and all hope was not lost.

But now I'm here, and on the eve of baby #2 and the big discovery day, all my fear and anxiousness has come back with a vengeance.  I've gone back and forth on whether to find out or not, because this time around it's my choice.  One minute - yes - I must know. I can plan better and deal with all the emotional crap well before the baby arrives, either way.  Yet the next minute - no, definitely no - because regardless of the gender, I love this baby just as much and will not be all that worried about what gender he or she is once they arrive.  And then I'm back to yes, because honestly I don't know that I can deal with the stress of not knowing for another 5 months.  So today, I'm sitting firmly on the fence, knowing that more than likely I'll bite the bullet and find out in the morning.

I've tried to be proactive.  Researching and researching, trying to figure out how to deal with this onslaught of emotion, and thankfully, I've come to terms to how I think I'm going to feel and react if tomorrows outcome has me seeing blue again {pun intended}.  But what really bothers me is all the posts and comments I've seen from other moms saying that these feelings are wrong, horrible, indicative of a bad parent...blah blah blah.  {I would channel Jennifer Lawrence and her elegant hand gesture from the post-Oscars, but that just wouldn't be very lady like.}  I know for those mothers who have suffered through infertility, the ability to just have a baby - any baby - is a blessing.  And I don't think any mother out there would disagree, that in the end a healthy baby is all that really matters.  However, just as I should respect their feelings about what they've gone through, so in turn should they respect that my feelings are just as valid and just as real.  We just have difference perspectives.

I don't really have a point to all my rambling, other than to say to other moms - if you're going through this, you're not alone.  Gender disappointment is REAL and is valid.  Afterall, we all have dreams and sometimes those dreams work out and sometimes they don't.  This is just part of that dream that we don't have control over.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day.  And regardless of the outcome, I probably won't share right away until I have come to terms with the results myself {and told the family!}.  But in the end I know it will all be fine.


Monday, February 25, 2013

I Took A Break.....

...a very V.E.R.Y long break.  Why I don't know, probably because I forgot.  Or maybe because life happens, but recently I've been itching for a place to just write and talk about all the junk that builds up in my pretty little, well coifed head.  So here we go, I'm back!

And to kick off my return with a bang {yeah not really}, I had to start with last night Oscars.  So I'll admit it, I didn't watch.  {Honestly, didn't care to either - really.} Not that I don't love the fashion or the pomp, but frankly, I can see all the highlights a few hours later, and avoid wasting hours on nonsense.  So instead I caught up on my Real Housewives of BH drama {just as full of nonsense but totally engaging} and caught some early z's.  It was amazing.

Even more so when I woke up to find out the Jennifer Lawrence, a lovely southern girl, hailing from Kentucky, won the Best Actress Oscar.  I love her 'realness' and willingness to say whatever is on her mind.  Her post-win press conference just topped off my day.  I imagine if I were ever to become famous, I'd probably be much the same.  So for today, enjoy this gem!