Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A few Ways I can help others

I support charity. I was instilled growing up that we should help others. In high school I was a part of the Anchor club. We made an effort to work with senior citizens to bring cheer and recognition to them through delivering bags of goodies and hosting an old fashioned senior’s prom in our gym.

In College, I joined Gamma Sigma Sigma a sorority dedicated to service through various activities such as helping the Humane Society, Kid’s Identification programs etc.

All through my youth, my church Youth Group participated in events such as Prisoner Missions etc.

As an adult, I gave back for several years through Animal Rescue mostly with horse rescue through NCERL and then USERL. In addition, I would donate to worthy causes (sponsoring Marathon runners/walkers, Angel Trees, Toys for Tots campaigns). Every stage of my life, has involved a new way to give back based on what my current priorities and involvements are.

While it is nice to have one cause near and dear to your heart (for me animal rescue will always be a priority) I think its also important to help out any time you get the opportunity. With my current focus on fitness, leading an active life and teaching my son the values of activity and charity, I’ve decided the best thing for me is to participate in 5k’s. Not only does it keep me motivated and moving but it helps out a good cause.

I’ve found that not only do I help myself and charities but I motivate others to get active as well as raise money. What better way to help than to get my friends and family healthy and motivated, promote community and activity, and raise money for beneficial organizations?

What will you do this year?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ruffley Birthday Dreams

My birthday has slipped into obscurity. Seven years ago, my nephew was born the day before my birthday. Since then my birthday with my family has been celebrated with a card and a Happy Birthday while attending a child’s party.

Last year, my son was born the day before my birthday (he share’s a birthday with his cousin now). A balloon and a piece of cake from the Hospital Kitchen were my birthday recognition. My son is the best birthday present I could ever receive but I know the future does not hold any individual acknowledgement for my birthday. Especially this year since my birthday falls on Easter Sunday.

The family will have a traditional Easter Lunch following a Saturday of rushing from one Birthday party to another. Where would there be time to fit in something special for my birthday in a crazy weekend like that? It’s fine. Now that I am getting older, I half don’t want to acknowledge my birthday anyway.

More than anything this year, I just want to FEEL pretty and active for my birthday. That’s not something that can be wrapped and given over a dinner. I would love to be able to don a new Easter dress complete with Ruffles and pearls. Something super frilly and feminine that actually looks good on me.

I would like to have achieved goals and feel successful for my birthday. These are things I can give myself and I am actively pursuing those feelings. I am walking. I have signed up for two 5K’s. I’m eating healthier. One will be the weekend BEFORE my birthday and one TWO weeks AFTER my Birthday.

I hope to have my Nikon before my birthday and be actively taking nature walks and documenting my activity while practicing photography. Maybe, just maybe, I will have toned up and lost enough weight that I can buy a pretty frilly Easter dress to make my birthday wishes come true.

My son the Masseur

Have you ever been in so much pain you can’t think? Every time I yawn, I get a crick in my neck. My back has so many knots that a boy scout troop could earn a maritime merit badge.
Every night I go home and lay in the floor begging my son to use me as a jungle gym which he usually happily obliges. It’s amazing how good twenty pounds of pressure on little hands and knees can feel on knotted muscles. The kneading euphoria is well worth the goldfish crumbs in my hair and the drool running down my face. It may not be a tranquil spa like atmosphere with Enya assaulting my ears but high pitch squeals and giggles, hair tugs and the sound of the evening news are a blissful lullaby in an aching momma’s world. He’s even pretty handy with the vibrating hand massager as he runs it along my back with a “Vroom Vroom.” If only I could train him to enjoy the game for more than three to five minutes…like an hour would be great.
Maybe my son has a future in massage therapy or maybe I’m cruel for using my sons loving exuberance to benefit myself, but really if we can’t manipulate our kids at an early age we have no prayer when they become teenagers. So I will take any little bits of joy (and reimbursement for bodily labor damage) I can get! Ha ha. What do you do with your kids that benefit you more than them?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weigh to Walk

So I have been struggling with losing my weight since going back to work. With the recent addition of new medication to help with PPD, my weight has become stagnant bordering increase. Since I have signed up for my first 5k walk in March, I've become very motivated to walk...and walking I have done. Everyday at work and at the park this weekend.

My friend Beth and I have agreed to meet at area Parks to walk as often as possible and do several 5k's together through the year to keep us motivated. I'm very excited about this new adventure and plan or recording "every step of the way" through pictures and my blog.

This new adventure will not only open endless possibilities of friendship, photography and family time, but also teach my son an active lifestyle and charity. Join me in being active, in being healthy and for the stories of our chosen causes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Peace In the Mundane

I haven't been writing. I've been breathing.

I've been living.

I've been taking care of a sick baby.

I've been calming myself.

I've been spending time with my son, consumed by love.

I've breathed deeply through anger.

I have posts and pictures, but I took a break.

A time to reflect. A time to center myself and play online without feeling pressure.

Today, I came home and felt pure joy playing on the floor with my boy.

I saw a bright future.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Dark PPD Secret

I’ve seen atrocities committed against animals in my day and I’m not talking about on TV. I’ve been in the lower level of a two story barn that had horses in manure up to their knees, manure built up so high they could not lift their heads or they would hit it on the ceiling. Horses who have spent their entire lives starving in a stall of manure who have never seen sunlight.
I’ve snuck around property in the dead of night to film horses and dogs, skin and bones, eating insulation from a mobile home because there was nothing else to eat so that we would have enough evidence for a judge to grant a warrant for removal.
I’ve cried tears over animals we couldn’t save despite our best efforts because we rescued them from hell too late.
Having spent years fighting against the cruelty to animals and the pathetic laws we have to punish animal abusers, I should have caught it sooner. I should have realized something was wrong with me when I could not control my temper for the smallest infraction of my dogs.
I excused myself over and over because it is true that the more advanced my son progresses, the more my dogs act out for attention, but that doesn’t excuse my behavior. I have cried and begged my husband to get rid of the dogs because I don’t want my son growing up thinking its okay to abuse animals. I’m embarrassed that I have stood on my porch screaming at my dogs knowing the neighbors can hear me. I’m ashamed that I have struck out at them, kicking them away as they swarm in like vultures for the smallest amount of food my son drops. I’m horrified at my negative feelings toward them, the hatred I feel towards these creatures who only want love and affection.
I look in the mirror at the end of the day and I see a monster. How could my son possibly love this ghastly face that stares back at me? And still I would feel uncontrollable rage building up in my chest like bile as my son fights sleep and the dogs bark at every shadow jerking his eyes awake once again. I know its wrong, but it’s like watching me from outside my body as I pick up a crate with a dog huddled inside it and throw the whole thing out on the porch in the cold and rain. These pampered pooches that have ruled their kingdom and known basic discipline are now subject to the wrath of an ogre.
When I leave the house and drop off my son at daycare, I cry and sob because I want to hug my dogs and give them treats and for a few days we are good. I play in the floor with them and give them extra time in the yard. Then Cody (who is obsessive with licking Matthew in the face) accidentally knocks Matthew down as he tries to eat the crumbs directly from his mouth. As my son begins to cry the ire of the banshee emerges and I scream and rail at the dog causing both of them to flee to their crates in pathetic trembles.
What must my son feel from me when I’m choking on my own fury. It’s amazing that he even calms down when I scoop him up as I’m bellowing at the dogs.
Even if he knows my anger has nothing to do with him, I don’t want him thinking its okay. I don’t want him growing up remembering to be afraid of his own mother. I’m not a happy person when my anger consumes me. I have NO Reason to be this angry and it’s not like me. A temper? Yes, I have that but this deep controlling consuming seething rage that takes over? It isn’t natural and its certainly isn’t me! I don’t want to be this repulsive and hostile person anymore. I want to be loving and sweet and in control of my own body and emotions.
I failed to catch it even though it was right in front of me. I have become one of the most vile things I can think of, abusive. Being what they are, they forgive me. (sometimes over and over again).
As I sat on the floor last night with my son and his snack on the coffee table, the dogs drooling beneath him, I breathed deep and let it go. There are worse things then bits of roast beef being licked off the carpet. My son is at the stage where he thinks its funny to feed the dogs and feel their tongues on his hand so he is often sharing with them (even eating after them which I find appalling but I can’t stop it all the time) staring over the side of his highchair and purposely dropping food to them and laughing. They are performing on instinct and I can’t fault them. I can’t begrudge them anything given that they will lay there and let my son yank their ears into the position of a Joan Crawford Face Lift. Cody is already becoming Matthew’s shadow, constantly trying to play with him. When Matthew crawls to their food bowl while they are eating, they both back away and sit knowing he has priority and they would gladly share their food with him.
I love my dogs (even though they aggravate the crap out of me with some of their antics and have the most horrible breath on the planet) and I know they will be great playmates and loving with Matthew as he grows. I have no idea why my wrath has centered on them (not just on them) and I will have to continue to work on controlling my anger. They deserve better than me but I can make it up to them. If the meds do nothing else, I hope they ease my anger and my house becomes loving and peaceful again.
I am so revolted by myself in this, that I didn’t even want to write it but I have to admit it. I have to get it out because I’ve hidden too much from everyone, from myself. I have to face it in order to correct and move on.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My War Isn't Over; My Fight with PPD

Infertile people are often self-righteous and selfish. We think after going through years of struggle, loss etc. that our battles should be won. We succeeded; Our war is over. We have to qualify any complaints or pass them off as tongue-in-cheek jokes. "I gladly throw up ten times a day for the joy of being pregnant, but if I see one more dry cracker I'm going to punch something." Why do we do this to ourselves? We won a battle but that doesn't mean we can't complain because our leg got blown off. What sense does that make?

And while we admit to the world that "no one should have to suffer from morning sickness or PPD" etc. we really mean "we shouldn't have to suffer from any of those other things because we have suffered enough." It's entitlement at its best.

Then there are some of us who really feel like we are not entitled to complain about anything because we DID succeed where some of our friends are still struggling. We shouldn't draw attention to ourselves because how many issues can we honestly have without looking like an Attention Whore. Will people think we are real if we have every issue under the sun? Will people believe us if we keep crying wolf?

But it happens. There is no rhyme or reason for any one person to be afflicted with infertility, miscarriage, morning sickness (though mine wasn't that bad) and Post Partum Depression. We can pretend, we can fight, we can hide it so as not to draw attention to ourselves or more importantly not to face the truth. If I pretend it doesn't exist I don't have to feel like I have failed AT EVERY SINGLE THING involving parenthood.

I failed to get pregnant for four years. I failed to bring my first child into the world. I failed to push my second child out after four days of labor. I failed to breastfeed him and had to supplement. I fail everyday in being supermom because I fight to be strong and to not admit I have anger issues, sadness, physical pain, a sickness deep in my gut over certain aspects of my life. I plaster a smile on my face and tell the world I'm fine, just tired, and play with my son.

And then it hits me. I'm not okay. I add it all up and face the music. Face the drugs the Dr. tells me to take so I can be okay. So I can be a better mom because I am failing my son the way I am. I continue to fail. Can the drugs wipe that out? Can they make me succeed? Hopefully. Drugs helped me succeed in getting pregnant. Drugs helped me succeed in getting him out (Bless God for the invention of an epidural and Csection). Maybe just maybe if I give in, drugs can help me control the anger, the sadness, the neurosis, the hormonal imbalance that plagues my house.

Hello. My name is Krista. I have survived Infertility and Miscarriage. I WILL conquer Post Partum Depression.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Toddler Drugs

Statistics show that any TV under the age of two is inappropriate. They site very impressive sounding studies about children’s inability to process the information therefore belying any affects even the educational shows may have (yay, points for not watching DORA!) etc. etc.

I get that. We watch too much TV in my house and I don’t want my child developing those bad habits (which is going to be interesting since I have to first CONQUER my husband’s bad habits!) Let’s be realistic though. A child is going to notice the TV at some point or the other, just like they notice a moving bright colored ball, or a ceiling fan. So if they have a 5 minute attention span, why not let them enjoy something that makes them smile or they respond to.

Occasionally, a 10 minute break for mom and dad so they can finish putting their pants on correctly in the mornings before work is just as much a necessity as coffee and after work baby snuggles. In that spirit, we tried a Baby Einstein DVD. Matthew didn’t look at it for even a second.

Along came the Gigglebellies. Bright pastel animals and overblown backgrounds that make your eyes bleed with jaunty little tunes. MY SON IS OBSESSED. I swear he inherited some iffy genes from my husband’s drug days because obviously the people who came up with this shit were hardcore tripping on acid.

I can’t believe my son likes these little 5 minute clips (nor that a 30 minute video costs $15.99!) but so far, they are the absolutely only thing that captures his attention as far as TV goes and he will happily sit still for 30 minutes and watch every second of that floating purple and pink elephant if we let him. Due to the obsession potential we keep it to a minimum of one or two clips every few weeks. Gigglebellies: the early gateway drug.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Creepy Creepy Toys are Sneaky

In a previous post about toys, I mentioned the little V-Tech ball. This thing is creepy yo. A brightly colored ball with all kinds of fun educational buttons to teach you animal sounds, numbers, colors, shapes and all in a little high pitched voice. It vibrates and rolls and talks and tumbles…even when you aren’t playing with it.

That’s right. When the short attention span of a child loses interest in this little wonder and crawls away to attack a Chuck the Truck, the ball rolls around, taunting in a sing song voice “come play with me!” Sometimes it succeeds in attracting his attention and he may crawl back for a moment but mostly it just scares the cat.

Every night, when I pick up the toys after he has gone to bed, I place that ball in a basket hoping it won’t get pulled out again. I turn it off. A few days later, its on the floor amidst an avalanche of toys, rolling around, taunting me.
Could we convince V-Tech to reduce the creep factor, just by a little. Seriously.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Amber Teething Necklace

He Rocks It with Sass and says “Plllbbbbbbbbb” to you if you disagree.

I’m the first one to introduce my daycare to the amber teething necklace. (I know right? Me…the conservative country career girl, most non hippy person you know).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

If My Parents Only Knew....Blog Dare

I always suspected that my parents knew I smoked but I always had a ready excuse handy. Looking back I feel bad for lying and continuing that deception for years. I think I finally lit up in front of them in my mid-20’s after a decade of smoking.

The look in their eyes shamed me. They were hurt and disgusted. I had never done anything that had so disappointed them than puffing that cigarette. I never smoked in front of them much, but when you work on a farm all day, and are exhausted, your craving finally gets the better of you.

My sister and I both smoked and were married/engaged to smokers. My parents have never smoked. It created an odd dynamic. I quit a few years later (I’ve been smoke free for three years) when we prepared to have children. (Yep, that's me on my wedding day, lighting up after saying my vowels....looking back it makes me so ugly) My husband quit as well so we have a smoke free house now and even have friends who don’t smoke. There for awhile it seemed everyone around us smoked. Now we surround ourselves with nonsmokers. It’s easier to manage those haunting desires and better for Matthew.

If my parents ever knew without a doubt that I was a full time smoker when I was in highschool they never said and never tried to punish me for it. I don’t know what would have happened if I had revealed it then. I still live with the shame I saw in their eyes and I was an adult. I can only imagine it would have been more traumatizing for me as a teenager who was seeking their approval at all times to see the disgust but maybe I would have quit (I was a pleaser back then).

I’m happy our relationship is back to respect and enjoyment. I no longer get the cutting looks when I slip outside at family gatherings. Every now and again, our previous habits are mentioned and that disgust filters into the tone of voice. I wince but focus on the praise for our quitting.

Sometimes we aren’t always what our parents expect us to be. I wasn’t that bad looking back, but the few things that would have ripped their hearts out, terrify me looking to the future with my son.

8 Month Letter (a month late)

Because I'm backlogged on posts and pictures, I'm just now posting this one. OOPS.

Dear Matthew,

I can scarcely believe you are 8 months old. Day by day I watch you rush headlong into boyhood and leave the baby traits behind. I know it won’t be long before you no longer want to be rocked to sleep, cuddle into my neck and touch my face.
I wallow everyday in your sweetness; trying to store the memories up, for when you’d rather play in the dirt than sit in my lap. For now, you are content to interact with us but growing up too fast. You started crawling a few weeks ago and haven’t stopped or slowed down since. In the past few days you’ve been standing and pulling up. You have even walked while hanging on to my hands, the sofa, and the table.
I glow and encourage each new achievement and while I’m thrilled for each new phase my heart hurts at how fast you are going to leave me behind. Since becoming a crawler, you have graduated to the big boy tub where you crawl and splash and giggle happily every night.
You are enjoying a whole world of new foods and blends, cookies, snacks and crackers. You are still sensitive to textures so you are not crazy about even coarsely mashed adult food, though you are glutton for Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie and my coffee.
You have started sleeping in your own bed for at least part of the night on most occasions. While I know you need your own space and our bed is quickly growing too small for all three of us, I still enjoy your warm body curled into mine, your breath on my cheek and your little hand gripping me as you dream limitless possibilities.
I love you so much, words can not even say. It seems impossible but my love grows everyday, and while I know you are going to be a great toddler, I can wait for you to get there if you’d like to slow down and be a baby for just a little longer.

For now, you are splish splash baths, frozen waffles, stuffed tree frogs, chasing Truffles the cat, giggles under blankets, open mouth slobbery kisses, toothy grins, and deep hugs.

You are dreams come true, magic and snuggles, peace and Christmas spirit. You are everything good that daddy and I can give you. You have the best of us always in your heart.

All my love,


Bathtime=Boyhood and Booboos

I’m conflicted. I noticed bruises on my baby last night. Slightly purple spots around the knees, a scratch on the shin. Marks of a rambunctious body struggling to stand, fall, crawling to keep the pace…rushing into boyhood with exuberance.
As he splashed happily with those squeals and gurgles that still sound so infantile, it was hard to reconcile those sounds with the bruised knees and shins. How can my baby be showing signs and marks of boyhood already? He’s existing in limbo between sweet infant and no holds barred toddler poised to leap and leave babyhood behind, embracing boyhood wonder.
Soon it won’t be raspberries and face pats. It will be head-butts and Tonka trucks across my toes. I’m looking forward to digging in the dirt, dogs and toddler romping, little red wagons, and tricycles. I’m already missing the new baby smell, the quiet moments of breastfeeding; milk drenched gummy grins, and naps on my chest.
I never realized till I had one of my own how fast this transformation happens. (Kind of understand why the Duggars stay pregnant!) I look back at pictures taken just a few short months ago; when weather was warming to spring and temperatures were not unlike they are now. It’s hard to remember him that small. He has grown so fast and is such a joy, conquering each new thing with confidence, its hard to remember when he couldn’t sit up or say mama.
But oh to have one more chance to hold him so small and wallow in his newness. There are never enough memories. Never enough time to relish and hold onto those moments before they are gone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Best Toys Don't Make Noise

Today we are bombarded with toys of every shape, color and size imaginable. Loud noisemakers that carry on by themselves when no one is in the room (seriously that Vtech ball that rolls around and says “come play with me” in a scary high mechanical voice is effing creepy ya’ll), toy centers the size of a walk-in closet, and remote control everything for 1 year olds! I’m glad to see that it’s the simple toys I remember fondly from childhood that my son prefers.

The toy rings on a stick that everyone including cavemen (I’m sure it wasn’t made of plastic but once the wheel was invented I can guarantee they had this toy!) has enjoyed growing up. Since the introduction of plastic, even the colors remain the same. A simple device that attracts the young, enhances motor skills and brings a tear of nostalgia to any parent’s eye.

The moments sitting on his bedroom floor, after his evening bath, while he is fresh and clean with damp hair, sleepy eyes, and a cherubic smile, will be treasured forever. In each of those memories will be the sweet little rings clasped in a chubby hand as he meticulously tries to get it on the stick. His achievements cheered on by this proud mama who melts when he looks up at me with a toothy grin and claps his hands in response to my “yay! Good job!”

It’s not the loud flashing lights, bells and whistles, high-tech toys that we will remember, but the same simple toys from our generation and the generation before that capture our childrens’ hearts and are held on to for our grandchildren.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Party on a Budget

I have extreme champagne tastes but a beer budget. I also have a penchant for hostessing parties and am addicted to Etsy and Pinterest (so you can see the delimma with the beer budget).

While I would love to just be able to buy any old thing I like, I rather enjoy taking cheap/bargain items and turning them into something fabulous.

Today was a lesson in baby shower planning, but I think its going to come together nicely. With the help of one of my best friends, some creativity and a lot of planning, I think we will pull off a lovely, creative and maybe over the top party without breaking the bank.

A morning with my son, planning/shopping with my BFF, an afternoon with inlaws who bought dinner, and making a cake for a friend all adds up to a pretty good damn day.

I hope you are enjoying all the little things today. Happy 9th monthday to my little boy!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

In the Red

Sometimes you need to feel bold, sassy, classy and even vintage. A mint-condition classic being lusted over by robust gearheads as you parade out a slick coat of fresh paint.

I’ve never been a lipstick wearer. I’ve always worn makeup but once my lipstick was chewed off for the day, I never refreshed. It never crossed my mind. When I started feeling like a frumpy whale wearing the same clothes day in and day out during the end of my pregnancy, I started wearing lipstick as a boost to my self esteem. When I fixed my hair, and “dolled-up” I felt a little more in control. If I was too heavy and swollen to have that pregnancy glow, I could at least give it to myself with the stroke of a bronzer brush.

After Matthew was born, I never applied lipstick. I was too busy smooching him to worry with such things and once I got to work, I didn’t think about it until the evening. I knew better than to put it on just to go home because the first thing I do when I pick him up at Daycare is kiss his face. What kind of mother would I be if I left lipstick on his dewy skin?

I quit wearing necklaces and dangling earrings because the baby tried to rip them off. I was beginning to feel frumpy and plain.

With the New Year, came a new attitude. I’m done breastfeeding. My boobs are back in their supported underwire which means some of my clothes with lower cuts can be worn. I’m taking control of my diet again and I needed a boost in the confidence department. So I decided to be bold and change up my look from smoky eyes and nude lips and sparkling chandelier earrings to natural eyes and bold red lips with a splash of pearls. I’m not sure I quite pull it off but at least I feel like I have the finishing touches applied.

Be bold. Be Sassy. What’s your current make up style? Trending with the Kardashian’s with their Heavy lined cat eyes or busting out a vintage classic? Smokey eyes or Red lips?

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What I shouldn't Have Bought-Blog Dare

I think we all do it and we all end up with it at some point, especially during the Holidays. We overspend, get sucked into marketing gimmicks, and end up with buyer’s remorse. No matter how hard I try, when it comes to the holidays, I overspend. Or more accurately, I give into my husband who overspends. I try to make sure everyone has something, and I stress myself out where there is often no need to do so.

Rather than one particular gift or item this year, there are a number of mistakes I can pinpoint. I shouldn’t have made so many trips to Starbucks. Not only did all those Peppermint Mochas blow the budget but they contributed to the 5lbs I didn’t need to gain. It’s those unexpected small purchases that get me. (Out later than normal, stop and pick up dinner…bam, grocery budget is blown).

I have a very bad habit of feeling guilt over what I own when times are tough. When faced with a credit card bill, I immediately wish I had not gotten anything for Christmas. As if those few purchases my husband made for me, would make the credit card bill vanish. The thing is…what I had under the tree would make very little difference but when I had a legitimate excuse to take something back (the Teflon was scratched), I didn’t exchange it but got the money back. So then I hurt my husband’s feelings but I just get so overwhelmed with the money issues.

I’m not quite sure he really understands how much the money matters stress me out. Maybe it’s because I’m the one that has to do the budget. I pay all the bills, buy the groceries, pay the daycare, and watch the bank account like a hawk. So I see how much money goes out, and how much we aren’t saving, aren’t putting towards a new deck, paying off the loan on the new roof. I literally make myself sick over money all the time, but I feel like an ogre when I say NO on a purchase and usually give in so that I suffer in silence when the pressure of the bills gets to me.

We do okay, but I would like more security in the form of a more diverse portfolio, a higher amount in savings, etc. etc. This is actually the first year we have used credit cards for Christmas in the past 5, and I’m definitely regretting that decision as I know things always come up and our plan to have them paid off within two months will never work out. I second guess myself all the time and regret decisions that are already done.

I used to be a secure person, quick decisions, confident. I’m not sure if it’s the addition of a child/household/etc. but I seem to become less decisive and more intimidated by my own decisions as time goes by. Thus adding to my stress when it comes to the finances. Maybe it’s because I have so much more to lose now. It used to only be me; now it’s my husband, child, house, cars etc. All the responsibility that requires money is overwhelmingly weighing on my shoulders.

So when looking back at the Holiday’s, I have many regrets (none of which involve my son’s gifts) most of which are out of my control or silly. The lesson I have learned though, finally, is to spread the gifting out through the year, save more specifically for the Holidays and go back to making some gifts homemade. I never regret the ones that take more of my time than money. I have this fear that if I don’t get to shop between Thanksgiving and Christmas for gifts, it won’t feel like Christmas. I think its time for new traditions: watching silly Claymation movies with my son, decorating cookies, going to a local church’s Christmas pageant and writing letters to Santa. There should be way less remorse that way when the Holidays are over.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bucket List 2012-Blog Dare

I don’t have a Bucket List per say. I guess everyone has one in their head, the things they say they will do one day (like visit Ireland) but are not on a priority list. I tend to live in the now, planning for the next thing as it comes my way: plans for weeks, months, the year at the most.

I’ve done the typical New Year’s resolutions of dieting, getting fit, exercise, etc. but this year my goal is to get organized. If I could spend less time trying to clean up, find things etc. I could find more time to actually do things (like exercising etc.). So in that spirit, I’ve made a Bucket list for 2012 of things I want to accomplish in my new organized life:

Turn Drink Boxes (lord knows we have enough of them) into Can organizers as seen on Pinterest for my Pantry.

Develop a plan (and stick to it) for accomplishing mundane chores to leave more time to enjoy my family (rather than spending the majority of the weekend cleaning!

Downsize our THINGS so there is less to clean (and clean around). Simplicity is the key to an organized and clean house I think.

Decorate for Valentines Day-I’ve never spent much time on Valentine’s other than preparing my husbands favorite foods or a fancy dinner. This year, I think I would like to do some simple decorations and have a date with my husband: GO OUT TO DINNER and splurge on a babysitter (My how things change when kids come a long).

Lose the baby weight. You know, that 22-25 pounds that stubbornly hangs on. I want to fit in more time to work out and be a more active family period.

Throw a magnificent Babyshower for Tonya-As my friends get older and all settle in, I have fewer and fewer chances to throw bridal showers, babyshowers etc. so I seize the opportunity anytime I am faced with it.

Successfully pull off a fun 1st Birthday Party for Matthew. Yes, I abhor over the top children’s parties because how much does a child remember or appreciate it? Well, they love it on the actual day but who are we kidding? This is all about me and my penchant for party throwing. Any excuse to deck my walls and order invites from Etsy…mmkay?

Finally get my NIKON DSLR (and learn how to use it) so I can start taking decent pictures with all these wonderful ideas I have and snitch from Pinterest. My kid is adorable….I need good pictures without going broke paying professionals all the time!

Take a vacation. Even if it’s just a weekend, at the beach. I want to go somewhere with my husband (and kiddo) to see something new and say “WE went HERE on our 2012 Vacation”.

Throw my traditional July 4th Pool Party this year. Last summer was a bit off but I’m determined to make this one a fun and active one for Matthew (as well as myself).

Successfully Continue Craft Night through the year- so many things I want to make and try plus I would love to have an almost entirely homemade Christmas next year (buying only toys for the kids). In order to do that, I need to work on things all year long so to keep my motivation and encourage the use of Pinterest—Craft Night at my house every few weeks!

Start my Business.-I’m an entrepreneur from a long line of entrepreneurs. My family has always owned businesses and latched onto ideas for profit: Building caskets in the basement, building sawmill machinery, farming, horse boarding, catering. You name it, someone in my family has probably done it or tried it. I know I am destined to own my own business and I have a lovely idea but I am in the beginning stages of formulating my business plan, creating samples, checking into license infringement and patents. It’s hard to be gung ho about something and have to wait through a drawn out process. Hopefully my momentum won’t fizzle under a mound of paperwork.

Make a Homemade Christmas for our House: Stockings, tree skirts, runner for entertainment center, Christmas pillows and cushions for bench, housecoat and apron for me.

Keep my Garden pretty and weed free this year. Last year I was heavily pregnant during the time to prepare garden and had a wee infant through most of the season, so my garden was the worst disaster it has ever been. This year, I’m hoping my toddler will enjoy playing in the dirt and that I will be able to tend my garden and can foods again as I have truly missed my home canned goods this winter.

Use my pool. It costs on average: $437.50 per month to keep our large in ground pool running and clean. Last year, I got in it a total of FOUR times. No one came over. None of my friends that I offered it up to took advantage of it. It was always raining on the weekends. So basically we spent a crap ton of money for a pretty blue pond to look at from the dining room window. I vow to use it this year-someway, somehow. My son ADORES the water. He loved being in it last year when he was but a wee thing that could barely splash. Bath time is his favorite activity of the day. I will make sure he gets plenty of pool time this year!

Stay on top of the yard work. Our yard really got away from us last year. At different points, we hired two different yard guys to help us manage but that gets expensive and only covers the basics. I know Matt won’t be old enough to allow for major landscaping work, and Stephen is still in school so time is still limited but hopefully we will manage to keep it neat and tidy because the stress of worrying about it was nearly my undoing last year.

Most Important: WALLOW in my family time. Enjoy every second of watching my son grow. There will never be another summer of exploration and newness like this one for him. There will never be another year of firsts when he’s so eager to try things and yet still likes to curl into my lap for a nap. I want to remember to enjoy every second I have with him as well as being together as a family.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Keyboard is Mightier Than the Sword

Sometimes I am not funny but come across as cruel, weird, or even slightly off in the head. I get that. Words are powerful tools and the arrangement of them can be an art.
A particularly clever arrangement presented by a charismatic speaker can win political offices, stop and wage wars. A passionate monologue can bring audiences to tears. A speech riddled with the right amount of zeal and anguish can persuade the poorest of people to donate money to absolve their sins. Professional communicators have long been orating with twisted tongues, pretty prose, and vivacious vernacular to achieve position, power and notoriety.
With today’s penchant for social media, anyone can scribble a coherent sequence and make it available to the world. Some become instant internet sensations through witty banter or appealing opinions. Others will vanish into obscurity despite their best efforts to allure the masses.
Of more concern to me, is that with the social media frenzy, even by those with the most rudimentary writing skills (text speak to pen whole tweets or blog posts…oh the horror), communication skills seemed to have deteriorated. You would think that as technology has permitted a whole generation to become humanly disconnected while staying “involved” (I’m sorry but if you never leave your bedroom or mother’s basement, it doesn’t matter how much of a web sensation you are, you are still a social degenerate/hermit, written communication and literacy would improve but that does not appear to be the case.
This self-absorbed lax interaction style is now trending into business communiqué which is a whole new level of disturbing. I am guilty of dashing off one line ditty’s to my boss in response to a question, and frankly he expects it of me now. I hear him snigger from his office and/or get a humorous reply. Corporate etiquette? Not at all. I try to refrain but when the opportunity presents itself for a quip my fingers often transmit my comments before I’ve even finished thinking it.
And while my occasional blog posts, board posts, Facebook status etc may not come across as intended, I’m very careful about my corporate correspondence adhering to proper business etiquette and communication rules aside from the occasional retort to my boss who appreciates my demented sense of humor (and even then its only an infinitesimal sampling of the gibes I think up on the spur of the moment).
I, however, have seen numerous exchanges sent to multiple recipients that make me shudder at the improperness. I have recently been on the receiving end of hateful remarks that were later explained off as “trying to be funny” of which my superiors admonished the offender for. Nothing like the level of awkwardness, when I have to sit here while a department head apologizes to me for their inappropriate attempt at humor.
My whole point to this elongated diatribe is to appeal to people’s sense of respect and conscience. Please separate your social language from your business speak to avoid unsuitable corporate exchanges.
Maybe this was what those businesses foresaw when they fought against casual dress codes—the complete flaccid frame of mind of the modern employees (of which we can all be guilty even with the best of intentions.)

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” ~Edgar Allen Poe.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Social Media Maven-Blog Dare 2012

Sometimes I want to give it all up: blogging, twitter, Facebook, email. Just disconnect from the world. The people I’ve never met, the friends who have become faceless names behind computers because IRL interaction is apparently a thing of the past. It just seems so impersonal.
Other times, I think I want to delve into it with wild abandon so I don’t feel so closeted off. Outside of work my entire world is my family. It seems I have time for nothing else hardly. Then I realize that being a social media mom has made me completely self absorbed. I don’t mean to be. I try and make efforts to hang with friends etc. but then I realize it has been awhile (of course they haven’t made an effort either so they are probably in a self absorbed state as well.)
I don’t have much computer time but my blog is set to automatic twitter updates-so basically I only tweet my posts most of the time- SOCIAL MEDIA FAIL
I blog and read other blogs but I don’t comment due to time and a Google Glitch (as in Google hates me and won’t let me do it on blogs that don’t have other options)
I text about my kid but rarely just a how are you. I know how you are… I read Facebook.
I make obnoxious comments about my life, post pictures, read status updates and exit Facebook…no need to contact anyone now…thanks Facebook.
I notice people don’t meet for coffee anymore. They sit alone and use social media…(so why bother going to Starbucks?)
Political Pundits have become rampant regurgitating trash based on fiction rather than truth.
People think they are more informed thanks to social media but they are more misinformed than ever.
On days I disconnect, I feel full of life, but I feel isolated. On days I tune in, I feel social but guilty about undone chores and less time with my baby.
Where is the balance we once had? It’s no longer 8 hours work, 8 hours play, 8 hours sleep. It’s 1 hour commute, 9 hours work, 3-4 hours home chores and family time, 2 hours errands, 2 hours preparing for the next day and 5 hours of sleep.
We are losing social bits of society by hiding behind computer screens because of our workloads. Not to mention we tap in on the go with our I-phones, tablets etc. People have a false sense of feeling connected. They know what’s going on with their friends but no longer finesse relationships that precipitate 2am emergency crying jags in person when in need of comfort. Now people boot up and pour their hearts out to chat boards or private Facebook groups.
Where are the comfort, the skin to skin contact, and the love and affection? Even kids are resorting to online lives with cyber bullying, Facebook cliques, and chatting. What are we teaching our children? Will the next generation be a society of non reproducing narcissistic hermits? Will the internet be the eventual end of human society (or at least the free world version that embraces everything unfettered and controlled)?
And yet in 2012, I wish to embrace technology by using the tools: Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Blog Groups, etc. to test my writing, explore options, and connect with moms like me who I might not meet otherwise. I would like to attract more readers, more relationships, (more parenting advice!) and (gasp) maybe even an advertiser or two so I can develop my online personality. (See not only am I self-absorbed but an oxymoron as well! That’s talent folks!)