Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Project 365 - Day 120

Monday, April 29, 2013

Project 365 - Day 119

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Project 365 - Day 118

Monday, April 22, 2013

Color Me Rad Recap

From my 101 in 1001 list: Complete a 5k.  We did the Color Me Rad 5k on Saturday.  We arrived at around 9 for our 9:20 start time.  We would have been there earlier, but traffic was awful.  They actually split up the waves because during the first wave, there were bottlenecks on the course, so they actually did a 9:10, 9:20, and 9:30 split, and then split the next wave up into three waves, and then the next.  So there were almost always new runners entering the course.  They asked for walkers to stay to the right and runners to stay to the left.  We stayed to the right.  My foot has been really bothering me for the last few days, so we decided not to try to run.

The course was set up with several "color stations."  As you ran through each one, volunteers threw color at you.  Sometimes the color was wet (sprayed or dumped from a pitcher) and sometimes it was powder that they threw at you.  We got through orange and green and Jon hadn't gotten much on him at all, so when we ran through purple, some guy had a handful of powder and just nailed Jon right in the side of the face with it.  He got the stuff in his ear and down his shirt and everything!  We also watched someone pour an entire gallon pitcher of green over someone's head.  The people participating were very interesting.  There were all kinds.  It was clear that there were some "color run" hardcore fans there.  Some were wearing tutus, some had wings, and some guys were wearing white body suits.  I'm sure they got hot before it was over!

There were families with children, dads pushing strollers, people who have never run before (like us) and people who were obviously runners.  There was music playing the entire time, and a guy was on stage entertaining people as they crossed the finish line.
We actually did really well, although we just walked.  We finished in under an hour and didn't feel fatigued or sore afterwards.  We held hands and walked at a fairly rapid pace most of the time, and talked a lot while we progressed down the course.  The weather was beautiful, and we had some great quality time, which I think was so important for us.
As we approached the finish line, volunteers handed everyone a packet of color and we were directed to the stage.  There was a countdown, and when we got to 1, we all threw our color at each other.  We got two free color packets each from a promo I found after we registered, so we each had three to throw at the end.  Jon used all his on me and I used mine on him.  It really was so much fun.

I would certainly do it again, and maybe I can even convince Jon to do it.  We had several friends and family members participating too, but we didn't actually see them.  I was sad I didn't get to see anyone else we knew, but it was still a great time.

Me at the finish line!

Colorful Hubby!

Project 365 - Day 112

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dear Nathan, (7 months old)

Dear Nathan,

You get more and more fun every single day.  And more adorable.  You suck your thumb now, but you still like the paci when you are trying to go to sleep.  Speaking of sleep, you've been sleeping through the night pretty consistently lately, so that's awesome!

You still love your Puffs and have gotten really great at getting them into your mouth!  You feed them to the dogs sometimes, but that's okay.  They love it.

Your favorite foods continue to be fruits, as well as carrots and sweet potatoes.  We are watching you closely because we think we may have discovered an allergy to strawberries.  We are not sure right now, but it's something we are being very careful about.  Just in case.  Sadly, you love the taste of strawberries, so I'm really hoping you are not allergic to them.  You especially love your strawberry apple puffs.  You're not too sure about the vanilla ones, although I personally love them and could eat them as a snack!  We just got peach and apple cinnamon, and I can't wait to see how you like those!

You are starting to get more and more active, and it won't be long until you are completely mobile!  You are still trying so hard to crawl but haven't quite got the hang of it yet.  :)  You lunge forward and sometimes plant your face on the floor.  It's not funny... but it kind of is.  You have the stance down pretty well, though.  It's just a matter of time before you're zooming all over the house.  And then, all bets are off, I guess!  Time to start baby-proofing!  Funny story - that ball in this picture was one of your Easter gifts and the first time you saw it, you were terrified of it!  The thing moves on its own and sings songs and talks to you, and I guess that was worrisome to you, because you cried and cried when we turned it on the first time.  And the second time.  I had just about given up when we decided to try one more time.  You loved it the third time and now it's one of your favorite toys!  Other favorites include a plastic box with plastic shapes that go into it.  There's a lid with cut-outs for each shape, so you can drop each shape into the box through its cut-out.  You currently just enjoy taking the lid off and dumping everything out onto the floor.  You usually laugh hysterically when you do that and then look up at us to make sure we saw you.  You're so proud of yourself when you do things like that!  We love it.  :)

Speaking of proud, you're hitting all your milestones early or right on time.  We are so proud of you, that you are healthy and happy and developing at a good pace.

Oh, and you have said your first phrase.  Sort of.  You've been saying "babababa mamamama" when you're hungry.  If that's not a phrase, I don't know what is!

Never forget that we love you so very much, sweet baby.


Project 365 - Day 110

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Project 365 - Day 107

Our "Rad" swag for Saturday's Color Me Rad 5k.
First 5k for both of us!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Project 365 - Day 106

First time in a shopping cart!
I stopped by the Cuties because he's MY cutie.  (cheesy mom is cheesy)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Project 365 - Day 105

No pictures, please.

Salad in a Jar

I've been seeing this around Pinterest and the blogosphere and I thought it sounded like a great way to have a ready-made, healthy lunch.  So this weekend, Jon and I decided to get all the stuff to try it this week.  I give you... our Salad In A Jar Adventure!

First off, I've seen lots of posts and pins about this, and I was sure someone recommended the Quart jars.  When we saw them, however, they looked huge, so for our experiment we tried Pint jars.  We got the Ball Mason Jars, with the thought that if they ended up being too small, we can use them for preserves and pickles when our veggies and fruits start growing.  We picked ours up at Wal-Mart, but I think you can get them most places - I even saw them at a dollar store a few weeks ago.

We wanted to keep it simple the first time out, so we bought romaine lettuce, spinach, cucumbers and carrots.  We also bought ranch dressing, since it's the one dressing we both like.  Not light ranch, though.  That stuff is nasty!

We decided not to put the dressing in the jar - that was my choice, because I was a little afraid of how it would do and wanted to try doing it without the first time.  Which is funny because we both left the house without our containers of dressing and had to go buy some!  So yeah, next time it's going in the jar where it belongs.

We layered like this: cucumbers, carrots, spinach, lettuce.  Jon also grilled some chicken breasts on our George Foreman grill (because it was storming outside) and we tossed that into the jar at the end, so it was on top.  Normally, that would probably go on bottom because it's a heavier ingredient, but it didn't seem to cause any trouble, at least for Day 1.

We made 10 jars of salad, one for each of us for every day this week.  Don't they look pretty?  This pic is without the chicken because it was still being grilled at the time.  I told him we needed to put a layer of something between the two green layers, just to make it prettier.  He looked at me like I was crazy, as usual.  Hey, part of the fun of this little experiment was how pretty my lunch could be!

We did our assembly-line style, where I chopped up one ingredient and put it in, and he went behind me and did his.  It worked out pretty well, and we got all 10 jars finished in less than 20 minutes.

So, of course, the burning question on everyone's mind is, how did it turn out.  I was a little worried when we started packing the jars that there wouldn't be enough salad.  But when I poured it out onto a plate today, it was more than enough.  Since I had to go buy dressing anyway, I also bought some cheese and garlic croutons, which will stay at my desk for the rest of the week.  I think one bag will last the entire week without any trouble at all.  So that's it - our Salad in a Jar Adventure.  We shall see by Friday if they stayed fresh enough to eat all week.  For now, though, my tummy is full and I feel great about having a healthy and delicious lunch.  So I'm calling it at least a partial win.  If we end up having to do half the week on Sunday and half on Wednesday, that's still better than making a sandwich every morning, in my opinion!

So my final thought on this Pinterest project is - try it.  I think it's going to change everything for us - or at least it will change how we prepare lunch!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Project 365 - Day 103

"I'm ready for my closeup"
Nathan at almost 7 months old.

You Can't Take The Yarn From Me

So the story is this.  Back in 2002, a little show aired on the FOX network.  That show was called Firefly.  It gained a loyal fan base in less than one season, before it was unceremoniously cancelled by FOX.  The fans were not amused.  This brilliant creation by Joss Whedon needed to live on.  And it did, after the fans insisted, in a movie called Serenity in 2005.  But that shouldn't be the end and the fans know it.  For more than 10 years, the fans have kept the signal alive by creating their own symbols of the show.  One such symbol is the Jayne hat.  This hat is made and worn by loyal fans in their everyday lives, converting people into new fans when they ask why someone would wear something so hideous... err.. cunning.  But now, that fanchise is threatened.  FOX, in its usual, greedy way, has decided that even though the show wasn't good enough for them, the money made by these hand made hats certainly is.  They are shutting down small businesses all over, especially on etsy, for selling these "licensed" products.  Ugh.  Really?  For a show that hasn't been aired in 10 years, that was cancelled before they even got a chance to air all the episodes?  FOX, you fail again.  Thank you for showing us that you don't care at all about your viewing audience.  That you only care about how much money you can poach from individuals who are just trying to share their love for a show you cancelled.

Here is some additional info on this situation and what fans are doing about it.  http://youcanttaketheyarnfrom.me/

And here is me doing my part.  You can't take the yarn from me, FOX.  I will knit this hat for my son every time he grows out of the previous one.  And I will knit one for everyone I know.  You have enraged the Knitters - and the Browncoats, FOX.  You Will Be Sorry.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What I Never Knew

I understand why a lot of women say they love being pregnant.  It's the last time you are truly taken care of and don't have to worry about taking care of someone.  If you have a husband like mine, you are doted upon during your pregnancy like you never have been before.  I literally never had to lift a finger during my pregnancy, even when I wanted to.  He took such great care of me.  And the feeling you have - that you are growing another person.  That you are the incubator for this new life that will come into the world and will be extraordinary in some way.  That there is a person growing inside you who will have thoughts, opinions, talents, strengths and weaknesses... it's all very special and amazing.  You want to meet this person so badly.

And then the moment comes. It's time for them to come into the world.  The moment you've dreamed about for a large chunk of your life if you are like me, or at least for the last 8 months or so, has finally arrived.  And maybe it goes exactly the way you wanted it to go.  And maybe it doesn't.  Either way, when it's over, you have this person in your arms.  And he is beautiful.  He smells like promises.  Even his sweet little baby cry is beautiful, because he is using it to communicate with you!  You think about all the things you've seen on TV about this moment, and all the things you've read about this moment.  You look into his beautiful face.

He opens his tiny mouth and begins to wail like a banshee and you think... what in the world have I done??  And what do I do now?

Welcome to motherhood... sucker!  ;)

If someone is telling you that motherhood is all flowers, butterflies, sweet baby snuggles and lullabies, they are feeding you a spoonful of lies that looks and smells like pureed turkey and vegetables.  Have you ever smelled pureed turkey and vegetables?  It stinks.  Not as much as a dirty diaper, but pretty close.

Want to know the truth about motherhood?  The stuff they gloss over?  It's HARD.  Worth it, certainly.  But REALLY FREAKING HARD.  I know, I know... I'm hardly the first person to tell you that.  But I'm the only person with my particular experience, and since this is my blog, I'm going to share it.  It only took six months for me to feel comfortable doing so.  So I'll share with you the things I never knew about being a mom.

I never knew I wouldn't have time to clean myself during the first few weeks.  Within days, our house had been completely turned upside down.  I had no time to shower, brush my teeth or even brush my hair.  It went into a ponytail the moment I got out of bed every morning.  The only time I even tried to look presentable was when someone had a camera or when someone came over.  Which was actually pretty rare.

I never knew being a mom had a learning curve.  As the days went on and I learned how to do all the things you learn how to do as a new mom, I realized it was, in fact, a learning experience. Nobody just KNOWS how to be a mom.  If they do, they are extraordinary.  You have to learn the things that will calm your baby.  You have to learn his eating and sleeping schedule.  You have to learn how he prefers to be held and what songs he likes you to sing.  The only thing that was instinctive for me was the love I felt for him and the need to protect him from everything.

I never knew breastfeeding was SO HARD.  I took for granted that I would be able to do it.  I wasn't.  We tried a bunch of tricks and tips, I had a lactation consultant in the hospital, but nothing really got my supply where it needed to be.  We ended up supplementing with formula and then going to exclusive formula feeding after about two months.  It was devastating to me, but at the same time, it was a relief.

I never knew three months could be so short.  Maternity leave needs to be longer in this country.  That's all I have to say about that.  Three months was not enough time to spend with him, not enough time to learn everything I needed to learn and to bond the way I wanted to bond.  And then, it was over.  I got a job offer with a company I was really excited about and a job that sounded perfect.  Maternity leave ended three weeks earlier than expected because they wanted me to start right away.  It was probably better that way, actually.  I didn't have time to sit and cry about how my maternity leave was going to end in 3 weeks... 2 weeks... 1 week.  It just ended.  And I started this new job and loved it!

I never knew I would be insanely jealous of the stay at home moms I know.  While still truly enjoying my job and wanting to go to work.  It's crazy, the contradictions being a mom can cause in your own mind.  I enjoy the work I do and I like the people I work with so much.  But still, it feels like leaving part of me behind every morning when I left Nathan at my mom's house.  Every. Single. Day.  I leave my heart behind and go to work.

I never knew I wouldn't care about the things I cared about before.  I lost a lot of who I was before becoming a mom the moment the line showed up on the stick.  I was actively involved in theatre, which takes up a huge amount of time.  There won't be time for that for many years, so I've put it out of my mind for now.  And I don't actually miss it.  I have different priorities now.

I never knew I would miss some of the things I cared about before and don't have time to do now.  Crafts, playing computer games, going out to eat with just my husband.  Having friends.  These are things I miss about my life before Nathan.  I know those things will come back eventually.  Right now, though, it seems like I have no time for anything I want to do.  I mourn that a little.

I never knew I could function on so little sleep.  Yeah, that's something we all learn when we have a new baby.  I go to bed fairly early these days, when he goes to bed.  That way, I have a few hours of sleep before he wakes up hungry.  He did sleep through the night for awhile, but recently we've regressed and are waking up once a night for a bottle.  So now, I feel like I'm constantly pulling "all nighters."  Like I'm back in college, only 10 years older.  Someone pass me the Redbull, please!

I never knew I would suffer from post postpartum depression.  I wasn't diagnosed or anything, but now that I'm climbing my way back to the surface of it, I can look back and see that I really was depressed.  And really still am to a degree.  I'm sure I've been a "joy" to live with these last six months.  I think my personality has even shifted.  I was such an extrovert for so long, and now I'm more a homebody.  Almost antisocial.  It's like I want to be in my little bubble - my home - with just Jon and Nathan.  I don't care too much about seeing other people and I don't seek out social situations anymore.  Part of me feels like I have all I need, right there in that bubble.  While another part of me longs for friends and fellowship.

I never knew I could feel this much love, pride and joy.  Holding him, playing with him, watching him sleep... I feel so much love.  When he reaches a milestone, I'm more excited than I would be if I had reached it myself.  When I felt his first tooth last week, I got tears in my eyes.  He had been working on that thing for so long and there it was!  Being with him fills me with the most complete happiness I've ever felt.  The purest joy.  When I look into his eyes, and I know he's looking back into mine and he KNOWS who I am, it is the most amazing feeling in the world.  I can't even describe it.  When he puts his little hand on my cheek, my eyes well up a little.  When his face lights up with a smile because he sees me after I've been at work all day... it's the sweetest thing in the world.  And now that he's "giving kisses," well... that's just the most awesome thing ever.

I never knew that being a mom was the most life-altering, mind-altering, relationship-altering experience a person can have.  I mean, I knew things would change.  I didn't expect ME to change.  I didn't expect to fall in love with Jon even more because of what a wonderful father he is.  I didn't expect our names to change from Anita and Jon to Mommy and Daddy quite this soon, but they already have.  I didn't expect to be so fiercely protective of my family that I would do anything to protect them.

I never knew how much I didn't know.  How much I hadn't felt.  And how much I still have to learn.  I can't wait to keep learning and growing and becoming this new person I'm becoming.  And I can't wait to see the person Nathan is going to become in the process.  And to love him even more with every passing day, with every milestone, with every smile.

Project 365 - Day 102

Herb and Veggie Garden progress!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Project 365 - Day 98

What do you say?

We all face tragedy at some point in our lives.  We lose people we love - sometimes grandparents, parents, or even children.  We hear devastating news - illness, injury, test results we were not expecting that will change our lives forever.  We go through periods of depression.  Sometimes for a reason and sometimes for no reason at all.  Relationships end or become difficult.  Stress becomes the most prominent factor in our lives.  We are not sure we can move forward at all.  What happens when we are going through these times?  Usually, well-meaning friends and family members try to say or do something to "make it better."  I remember when I was going through my divorce, surely one of the most difficult things a person can go through in life, people said all kinds of things.  The most important things people said to me were the quiet "I'm here if you need me," statements.  Someone reaching for my hand, but not imposing too much on my grief.  Someone understanding that I would come to them and tell them what I needed, when I needed it, as long as they opened the door.  That is what I appreciated.  And that is always how I've responded to people who were going through difficult situations in life.

But is that the true way to respond?  I've watched several friends go through unimaginable difficulties in the last few years.  I've seen suffering and great strength.  And I've done for them what people did for me when I most needed someone.  But is that enough?  I've been questioning that a lot lately.  Should I have forced myself on them and done things they didn't ask me to do?  I've always been a "call before you visit" kind of person.  Adhering to etiquette is important to me.   But is it true that if someone needs your help and you've left the door open, that they will, in fact, let you know if they need something?  Or is it better to just do something for someone, whether you know they need it or not?

It's something I've been struggling about lately.  I see no clear answers to this one.  And that drives me more than a little bit crazy.

For now, all I can do is what I've been doing - offer myself for whatever anyone needs.  I'm here if you need me.