Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Much thanks

What a difference a few years can make! Instead of going out and getting schnockered on Thanksgiving Eve, I am sitting on the recliner, watching Planet Earth, and trying to pre-make as much of the dishes for tomorrow as possible. The teething baby is asleep an hour early, the dogs are curled up around me, and I am going to pour a glass of wine. I know my friends are all out, and I may be a teensy bit jealous, but life is good. :)

In that spirit, I wanted to do my "30 Days of Thankful" (or whatever they call it) that others have been posting on Facebook all month. Except that's way too much to remember for me every day, so I'm going to do it all at once.

I know no one really reads this blog, but maybe one day April will read these and know how much her mama loves her. Enough to miss Thanksgiving Eve, dammit!!

1) I am so thankful for my husband Rob. Saying he's my best friend and better half are both cliches, but so true. He rounds me out and has a way of making me calm down and not take things (quite as) seriously. I'm so happy we're in this together.

2) I am obviously ridiculously thankful for my beautiful daughter April. She is getting so bit and it is absolutely a blast to watch her learn and grow. I was so blessed to have her at all, it seems almost an embarassment of riches to have gotten such a sweet, easy-going baby. I love her so much and am amazed at the joy and love she has brought us in a few short months. I can't wait to watch her grow.

3) I am thankful to have had such wonderful, supportive parents. I'm so glad we're so close (in both relationship and distance!). And they provided such a great example of a lasting relationship, that when I found one myself, it felt familiar. They do so much for us and I know I'm so lucky!

4) I'm thankful for my sister and best friend. Funny how much we fought as kids and how different we were until a few years ago. The obvious fancy-pants cheerleader vs. nerdy alterna-teen stuff was certainly there, but we were oil-and-water in a lot of other ways, too. It's pretty amazing how close we are now.

5) I feel so lucky to have a few friends that have been in my life for the majority of it! I don't easily make new friends, and these girls know me. Like, no bullshit know me. :) I love that we can go a while without talking but pick right back up.

6) I'm also so lucky to have such a strong, loving, amazing woman in my life as my Memere. 92 years young! Such a role model for me. One of the many reasons I felt such pressure to have a baby was so that she could meet my Mem. And it warms my heart to see how close they are.

7) I'm grateful for my huge extended family. I have a billion cousins, and even though I don't always get to see them, we have such a blast when there's a big group of us.

8) I love my house and know how important it is to have a home. This place rocks and I love it. Even all those weird old-house things, like the metal cabinets and slanted bathroom. The huge windows and porch make it more than worth the quirks.

9) My first babies - my dogs. They keep me company under the covers when Rob works nights. And they're so good with the baby, surprisingly taking it well.

10) I love my career, and even if my job hasn't been all I'd hoped so far, I'm very thankful to have it!

11) I'm thankful to be able to rock my beautiful daughter back to sleep in a rocking chair that belonged to my Pepere. You just can't buy moments like that. (I just had to do that, hence the timing of that item!)

12) I'm thankful for the way babies smell. For the most part, if you catch my drift. ;)

13) I appreciate Rob's job, even though they work him too hard. He has a job, which is obviously huge right now, but they're also flexible when it comes down to it. Like letting him work remotely so he could fly out to Kansas City with April to meet me on a work trip.

14) I love living in a place with four seasons. Even though I'm not a fan of winter. The spring, summer, and fall are so perfect that the cold weather is worth it. Thinking of that first perfect spring day...

15) I'm thankful for the technology that helps me record memories, like this blog; keep in touch with far-flung family, like Skype and digital photos; connect with old friends, like Facebook; or be supported by people I've never met in person, like chat boards.

16) I am grateful to Rob's family, although we get to see them too rarely.

17) Food. I'm making cranberry bread pudding, brussel sprouts with pancetta, and carmelized onion dip for tomorrow. Not in one dish, heh. But I know how lucky I am to have such a bounty. And I love cooking, I appreciate being able to do that and share with people I love.

18) Isn't DVR friggin' awesome? Thanks for that!

19) Thanks to whoever controls these things for the health and happiness of my family and friends.

20) Neil Patrick Harris. (watching How I Met Your Mother on DVR, can you tell?)

21) All the things that make having a baby easier, like the Bumbo, jumparoo, Ergo carrier, that little seahorse thing that lights up and plays lullabies, baby monitor...

22) The medical technology that allowed me to be a mother.

23) Wine.

24) All the women I "met" on the infertility chat boards. I don't know how I could've gone through it all without them. And I cry every time one of them gets pregnant or has a baby. I can't think of a more deserving group of women. One of my biggest wishes is for all of them to get the child they want so badly.

25) That my body allowed me to breastfeed April. I was worried about it letting me down, as past experiences had dictacted. But it's still going well! April isn't really cuddly, so it gives us time to take a minute together. I love doing this for her right now.

26) Spending time together as a threesome. With our opposite shifts, it doesn't happen enough. It's my favorite! We don't even have to do anything really, but I love playing with April together, or taking the dogs and baby for a walk, anything. I hope I never take that for granted.

27) Little holiday dresses and tiny Mary Janes.

28) Finding the cord to plug in a baby monitor base after having to constantly rotate and recharge batteries for a few months.

29) Books. Both the paper kind and the e-kind. I love to read. I am also thankful for magazines. I know so much random stuff!

30) Thanksgiving! A holiday to spend with family, chow down, and reflect on how awesome life can be. Perfect.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Cheers! Happy 1/2 Birthday!

So my baby is more than halfway to one! It is truly amazing how quickly these six months have flown. I love looking at the newborn pictures - how she has grown and changed so much, but she still looks like herself. Before I had a baby, I kind of thought newborns were like aliens that morph into humans that look 100% different. I guess I never paid attention to every little detail of a newborn's features before. :)

It becomes apparent to me that I have a giant baby. I heard the 70% percentile numbers from the pedi without actually processing the reality that this number means she is larger than 69% of other babies. And in some cases, WAY larger. Everywhere we go now I see babies her age, or older, who make her look like the Jolly Green Giant. Seems like even more to me, actually! Add in the fact that her pointy little butt (just like I had as a kid - confirmed through embarassing nudie kiddie photos, not in a gross way - but no longer visible under my trunk junk) ends up looking a bit Kardashian-esque under cloth diapers, and whoa. Hulk Smash! Someone actually told Rob that she was the biggest 6-month old she'd ever seen, which I think is a bit of hyperbole!

I faced my first true working mom conundrum last week. On a Thursday afternoon, I was told they really, really wanted me to attend a training for a new contract we're starting any minute now. I've been excited about this contract, it actually will involve me using my degree and experience!! I had been really worried I made the wrong professional decision, as nothing I've worked on here has played to my strengths or interests...so me being involved, and hopefully running, this project is huge for me. So of course, I said "Oh, sure! Travel is a little hard for me right now, with Rob on nights and April being still young, but I'd really love to go..." And then the details were laid out - it started the next Tuesday, ran for 4 days, and was in Kansas City, Kansas.

Wow, thanks for the notice! They also said they understood if I couldn't go...but reading between the lines, I knew saying no would be a huge issue. Plus I wanted to go! But it meant scrambling to work something out overnight for April, and dealing with pumping on the road, etc. My employers apparently felt bad for the short notice and asking me to leave the baby, so they offered to fly someone out to stay with me and watch her during the day so I could be with her at night!

I was able to cobble something together for April and the dogs, and Rob was able to compromise with his job to be able to come for two nights. So April had her first plane trip! I flew out Monday night (missing her first Halloween. Big giant tears for this mom fail), had two nights without her (one she stayed at my parents', the next my sister stayed at our house), then Rob flew with her Wednesday. We all flew home together that Friday. Logistically challenging to pack and check her gear and book the right flights, but we prevailed!

Sure, I almost exploded my business boobs (not "fun boobs" per Rob, all business) drinking Mothers' Milk Tea, and had to run out of the class the first day to pump, but we did it! And my husband is an amazing man for flying alone with her (and getting delayed on the way). I love him so much for making it happen. The two nights without her were tough, but I am so grateful to have only had to have two nights away!

Kansas City, Kansas is super lame, by the way! We went out one night in the Missouri side, which was somewhat better, but jeez. My training was great and interesting (dork alert!), and I know it was the right thing for me professionally. I have some residual guilt. I mean, how much does it suck to feel pulled in the two directions? Work vs. family. I feel like family should always win, but reality doesn't always allow that. Plus I love what I do professionally. It's a career, not just a job. And I'm there over 40 hours a week - so I have to have some satisfaction there, too. I know this won't be the last time I have to make this decision.

So here's a picture of my baby having some barbecue with us in KC. :)