Friday, September 28, 2012

Perspective

With this week marking my return to work, my husband offered some perspective that made it easier; don't get me wrong, it was still hard. 

As we were talking about my return to work the day before, he provided some things to think about I hadn't really considered. 

I was sharing how sometimes I thought I was selfish for wanting more money for our family and things when I could be cutting way back and spending my days with my kids.  While I would love to, Keith made the point that the money I bring in helps us to have opportunities not only now, but for the future.

My additional income allows for us to plan to help our children pay for college, which is something important to me.  It helps us save for retirement.  It provides us additional security and savings we wouldn't be able to afford without me working.  

Seeing how having too little money later in life can impact families I'm more confident in my choice to go back to work. 

And helping our kids through college is something I find very important too, and me working will give us more options to help them. 

I've prayed a lot about returning to work, and I have faith we're making a good choice. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Returning to Work

As I return to work today, I want to reflect more on some things about myself. 

I've grown in my faith during my maternity leave, but it's something I hope to continue to grow once I return to work, but it will be harder.

I've realized I don't always like who I am when I'm working.  I've not always carried the best attitude with me about work.  It's easy to get frustrated and angry with the days happenings and tasks, and I let them bring me down.  I can get caught up in the complaining and gossip.  It's time that can certainly be better focused and more positive.

As I return to work, my goal is to like who i am at work too, and that will mean making some changes, mostly to my attitude.  

The other thing about returning to work will be keeping up with my household chores and focusing on the kids before their bedtime.  It's easy to be tired and cranky when i get home from work, but I need to make my drive home about letting go of work and focusing on family time to make that time of higher quality.  That limited time with my kids is precious and I don't want to waste it being grumpy and tired from work. 

I know I'll have days where tiredness, complaining and grumpiness will get the best of me, but I want to do better.  I've seen how good it can be now that I've spent 12 weeks at home, so why should my attitude and dedication change because I'm working again?  The simple point, it shouldn't.  I can change my attitude, and I plan to do just that. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

3rd Anniverary

Keith and I have been together for 5 years, and today we are celebrating 3 years of marriage. 

It was supposed to be my first day back to work after maternity leave.  However, we've never worked on our anniversary.  We take a vacation day to spend it together, which I something I plan to continue every year.  Our marriage is something to be celebrated!

This year we'll be spending it with our kids and a lunch out together.  

August 2007 - The first photo of us together.

September 2007 - The first trip Keith made to visit me at College.
Spring Break 2007 - England
Graduation 2008
Summer 2008
May 2009
September 2009 - Our wedding day.
September 2009 - Our honeymoon.
May 2010
Thanksgiving 2010
May 2011 - Walt Disney World
Easter 2012
I love you Keith.  I'm looking forward to many more anniversaries and adventures with you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Maternity Leave

My 12 weeks of leave was not long enough, not even close.

I'm not a big dreamer.  I have visions of the future of how things will be.  I focus on reality, and while I hopes of how things turn out, I don't have concrete plans.  God has a plan, and his will always trump mine anyway.  My pregnancy was no different.  I couldn't imagine life with a baby and the boys, but not that I have these three precious kiddos, I couldn't imagine my life without them. 

Maternity leave taught me a lot about myself.

I can accomplish a lot if I put my mind to it.  I've never been very good at sitting still, even in school I was always busy and participating in lots of extra curricular activities.  Not that I'm an adult, I still keep busy all the time, the activities have just changed.  I have a very difficult time resting if I know there are dishes to be done and laundry to be done or trash, you name it.  I try to go to bed every night with the house picked up and mostly in order.  I think this will be a big help to get us all out the door on time in the mornings!

My faith has really grown over my time on maternity leave too. Since I've taken on a role in our church that requires me to be there every Sunday, we've been much better at getting out the door every Sunday morning.  I'm glad we're doing it.  It's something I'd always tried for, but it was so easy to let the devil sneak in and allow us to be lazy on Sunday mornings.  That is no longer an option.  And with Keith working lots of Sunday mornings this summer, I've been managing to get the three kids to church solo.  I've started reading a devotional and the recommended selections from the Bible.  I'd like to say I'm committed to it every day, but I haven't managed that yet.  But a few times a week I'm spending time with my Bible and reading, and that is good for my soul. 

I've learned a lot about my husband too.  His experience with a baby this time around is much different than his baby experience with Caden and Caleb.  When I was pregnant I found comfort in knowing he'd done this before, but there were so many things that we both felt like we didn't know what we were doing!  Keith doesn't like to stay home for long periods of time.  He gets antsy if he doesn't leave the house for a whole day.  I on the other hand, could stay at home for days and not mind at all.  I suppose in that matter he's good for me; maybe I won't become a hermit this way!  But the most important thing I've learned about my husband, he loves us.  It's been amazing to see him grow and expand welcoming Elinore into our family and developing that bond.  As a daughter, who is a Daddy's girl, I hope for nothing less than that wonderful relationship between Elinore and her Daddy.

I've learned a bit about our marriage too.  I admit, I was somewhat naive about how having a baby would impact our marriage.  I mean we already had kids and were raising them; we already had established a lot of our thoughts on parenting and discipline, etc. so we shouldn't have to figure that out again.  While that may still all be true, the things we've learned about our parenting style are not yet relevant to our sweet little Elinore.  Our style focuses on older kids, and boys; I think we'll be making some adjustment to our little girl's personality too.  While we disagree about some things, we're working them out and getting along just fine.  I now have a better understanding why I've read so much about continuing to focus on your marriage after children, and I am very conscious of that in our actions.  It's something we talk about together and something I hope continues, 'til death do us part. 

I've learned a lot about being a mom to Caden and Caleb.  I've learned to include them in as much as I can with Elinore.  They love their sister and are very interested in what she's doing and what she can do at this age.  I learned to plan an activity for them each day, it can be something simple, a tent for the swing set fort, baking cookies, coloring a picture for someone, just so long as there is something in the day they can look forward to doing.  That has helped us all for the days they are home all day.  They weren't used to be home without our kids around them and things to do all day when they stayed home with us for the summer.  They are growing and learning and I loved being able to see more of that as they spent the time home with us before kindergarten started. 

I've learned kindergarten was a bit adjustment for Caden and Caleb, and Keith and I too.  It is one adjustment I think we're still working through.  One that will probably take us longer with my transition back to work as well. 

I think it goes without saying I've learned a lot about babies.  I'm so glad I've found the blogging world and so many websites to read about things.  I'm constantly reading to learn more about different people's opinions and studies about raising children.  I love the availability to it and the flexibility it affords us to pick and choose what methods we want to use for our family. 

And of course, I've gotten to know Elinore.  I know my baby, and I know it's going to be hard to leave her later this week when I go back to work.  Your first day at the babysitters will be another first for your baby book. 



Monday, September 24, 2012

Why didn't you tell us that?

The boys are inquisitive as ever.  The questions never stop.  The older they get the harder the questions get.  So hard in fact there are questions daily I can't answer.  For example, one day they asked me, "how do they make paint?"  When I thought for a bit and answered with a "they mix some chemicals together and put it in a can" it wasn't good enough for them.  What kind of chemicals?  How do they mix them?  And on and on. 

I love that they want to learn, but man, I'm having to Google things all the time.  The only problem is I can't Google and drive, which is when most of the questions arise.  Usually it's something like "what's that thing over there?"  Which also means, I usually have no idea what they're talking about.  I certainly can't peel my eyes off the road to look around for everything they might possibly ask about.  Yet when I ask for more detail about what they're pointing at, I usually get an annoyed, "that's thing mom!"  In my head I hear them finish that off with, "duh mom."  (I'm sure one of these days it will happen for real. 

The other thing that tends to happen is they get an answer that they really like to their question.  Then they get upset with us for not having told them sooner.  Usually it comes with a "why didn't you tell us that!?"  In a how could you have kept this from us!

For example when they told me, I wish we had pine cone trees in our yard, and I answered that we did, they decided they wanted two of them.  I proceeded to tell them about the half dozen pine trees in various places in our yard.  My explanation was met with a "why didn't you tell me that?!"

I had no idea it was so important to tell you!  Clearly, my children think I'm keeping secrets from them.  Including about the pine trees in our yard. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Thumbs and Pacifiers

Since very early in your life Ellie, you'd liked your hands near your face.  We often hear you sucking on your hands and various fingers. 

We waited a long time to introduce a pacifier due to breastfeeding, and when it was brought up, usually by Daddy, I was against it.  Although as you've grown, and breastfeeding was well established, I've been considering it. 

You see, you're commonly with your hands or fingers in your mouth still, and just in the last day or so you've found your thumb

While I'm not excited about that discovery, I'm proud of you for figuring it out, and finding something that comforts you.  

I'd rather have you take a pacifier than your thumb.  You see, we can take the pacifier away, but we can't take your thumb away.

Over the last few weeks I've tried the pacifier with you and most of the time you're not interested.  We have 3 or 4 different kinds of pacifiers, and I've had the most success with two of them, which happen to be identical.  Even when you do take the pacifier, you don't keep it for long.

I'm sure there will be more to come on the thumb and pacifier front, but now I think I'm comfortable no matter which way you decide to go and we'll leave both options there for you.

We love you Ellie.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Elinore's Two Month Check-up & Flu Shots

Caden, Caleb and I took Elinore in for her two-month check-up this morning. 

We were seeing the nurse practitioner today instead of our regular pediatrician, and I really liked her.  Elinore checked out well and is growing right on track in about the 15th percentile for her height and weight.  You are growing!

She weighed in at 10 lbs. 8 oz.  She's 22 1/4 inches long. 

She cried through her vaccinations, all 3 of them.  She was experienced with the oral medication, so she did well with that one!  Afterwards it took some time to calm her back down, and after her screaming slowed to a whimper I nursed her, and she went right to sleep. 

You'll find me snuggled with my baby the rest of the day from those tears and shots.  I think she's doing just fine though after a long nap and another nursing session, she's full of normal smiles and wiggling all over the blanket next to me!  That sure makes it easier on mommy!

While we were there they also had this year's flu vaccinations in and recommended them for everyone else in the house since Elinore isn't old enough for one.  Since today was an off day for kindergarten with the boys, they were with me, so they had their flu shots today too.

Caden was able to have the mist so he was happy. 

Caleb on the other hand required the shot.  Since he had an inhaler and some respiratory illness this spring he wasn't able to have the mist.  He was not so happy with me.  As they were listening to us talk, I started getting some not so nice looks from the boys about vaccinations.  When I told Caleb needed a shot today he was upset. 



The boys asked if they needed shots like Elinore on our way to the doctor's office.  I said no.  While that turned out to be a bit of a lie, I think it helped Caleb not having to think about it and get really anxious for it.  We made sure he was first so he didn't have to worry about it for too long.  I held his hands and it was over so quickly.  He felt much better about it afterwards and was right back to normal!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Not Finger Foods

Meal times can sometimes be a challenge.  I have a running list of items that I've had to remind my boys are not finger foods. 

  • Rice
  • Cereal with milk
  • Soup - I think this one tops the list of unusual items.
  • Oatmeal

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Do Nothing

Thursday evening I was driving the kids into the fairgrounds for the last night of the county fair and they saw a sign for the Army.  They've asked questions about it recently and learned about people that choose to be a solider when they grow up. 

That night they started talking about being whatever they want to be when they grow up, which I encouraged.  Then they continued to say that they could be soldiers or policemen or firemen, or be nothing, like mommy

I think I might have choked on my spit, or giggled or sat silently in shock for a moment. 

I may still be on maternity leave for another week and a half, but I certainly haven't been doing nothing.  So I asked a few questions to which they clarified their point.

Yeah, we can go to work all day and do nothing like you. 

Awesome.

I tried to explain that I'm an underwriter, but I went through a formal 14 month training program and another 9 months of on the job training before I handled my own territory and I still  didn't really know what I was doing in the complicated world of insurance!  How on earth do you explain that to a kindergartener!?

I'll be making more of an effort to talk about what I do now.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

10 Running-Related Personal Questions

Although I'm currently on a running hiatus, I do plan to return to running.  I hope soon, but I'm having trouble tearing myself away from my baby to get back on the road.  So, I've adjusted my plans to to the treadmill, although I still haven't stepped on it since Elinore was born.  At the start of 2012, I set a goal for myself to run a 5K after my baby arrived, so I need to get my legs moving! 

Anyway, I read this post from Another Mother Runner this week and wanted to get my mind back into thinking about running.  What better way than to participate!

1. Best run ever: I can't decide between two, and they are the best for completely different reasons.  

In August 2010, I ran a two mile race.  I didn't feel great about my run, and the next night, a Sunday evening, I took off on a run from my house.  For the first time in my running adventure, I didn't want to stop.  I kept running.  I felt strong and energized and just kept running.  I took a different route than I'd ever run and just ran.  Without focusing on how far I was going or what time it was, I just ran and it was amazing. 

Last fall I was training for my first half-marathon with my friend Lisa.  It was a cool early October Sunday morning and we were meeting for a 12 mile training running starting in our town and running a giant square through the next town over and around our town.  It was my longest ever run and it felt great.  It was quiet, a beautiful morning with great company.  I felt so ready to tackle that race after that training run. 

2. Three words that describe my running: Sporatic.  Average.  Challenging. 

3. My go-to running outfit is: I pair of Adidas shorts I picked up on clearance.  They're tight and Bermuda length and comfortable and one of my workout tank tops.  Although, with the dramatic changes to my body from pregnancy, I'm guessing I'll be on the lookout for a new go-to running outfit.  

4. Quirky habit while running: I am the first house on our street, but I can't start running or finish running at my driveway.  I have to walk to the crossroads and start at the intersection, and I always run to the intersection to finish my run too.  

5. Morning, midday, evening: I've always preferred morning run; I'm hoping with our new schedules, I can still manage that on the treadmill.  With my husband now going to work around 6, outside runs are out.  Which isn't so bad since I won't run outside in the dark. 

6. I won’t run outside when it’s: dark; unless I have a running partner.  Since my running friend moved away, I stick inside unless it's light outside.  

7. Worst injury—and how I got over it: In my short running career, I've been fortunate not to have many running injuries.  I suffered from shin splints when I first started running.  I adjusted my running stride and rested a bit to get through them.  One thing that helped too was temporarily stopping wearing high heels to work. 

8. I felt most like a badass mother runner when: I found out I ran my half-marathon 6 weeks pregnant.  I didn't know I was expecting at the time and was so disappointed with myself after the race.  A week later when I found out I was pregnant, it changed my whole perception of my race!

9. Next race is: still to be determined.  Hopefully a 5K yet this year to reach my 2012 goal.

10. Potential running goal for 2013: I don't have a goal other than to get back into a running routine.  I don't plan to expand my mileage much past a 5K so I have more free time for my 3 kiddos.  Time is so precious as a full time working mom.  

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Facing the World

One of Elinore's favorite places to be is me holder her on my hip with her facing the world while I'm walking around.  It is almost always an easy way to calm her down.  I love that she's close to me and gets to explore the world around her.

It's comforting for her.  I know it's probably because the pressure on her tummy helps relieve some gas, but I have a different thought to it.

When she's grown, I hope she faces the world head on, explores her surroundings and takes action.  I want to be able to look back and say, Ellie's been ready for the world from the beginning.  As a baby she loved to be on my hip facing the world ready for all it has to offer.  

My girl will leave a mark on this world.



Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Two Month Review - Elinore

This past month we've watched you grow and change.  While I love watching you grow, it makes me sad how quickly time is flying.

You've moved up to size one diapers over the course of the last month.  You still fit in your newborn clothing but some of the pieces are starting to get a little snug and we're moving onto some of the larger 0-3 month clothes in your drawer.  It's nice having a slightly larger pool of clothes to choose from to dress you!

You are your happiest in the mornings.  You wake up smiling and content.  Even when you're not smiling, we can tell you're happy just by the look on your face.  Your beautiful blue eyes say it all.  I'm a happy girl!

You love having your diaper changed.  Your happy face is almost always out when your diaper is being changed.

You've really started looking around more with wide curious eyes.  You love exploring your surroundings.  In fact, one of your favorite places is sitting on my hip facing out to look at the world with my arm wrapped tightly around you.  Most evenings it's one of the only positions you're comfortable in.  You take notice of the mobiles hanging from you swing and your pack-n-play now too.

Speaking of evenings, you are sleeping through the night, but your night starts much later than what mommy and daddy had in mind!  Midnight is your standard bedtime with occasional variations in either direction.  You wake up then sometime between 6 and 8 to eat and usually go back to sleep until around 11.  This makes for a tired mommy and daddy since your big brothers are usually up around 6 for the day, and they are long past the days of napping!

Most of the month has consisted of that later bedtime, but in the last week or so, mommy and daddy have learned some new tricks to get you to sleep earlier!  So far they've been successful.  We're still trying to figure out a schedule though, because we got you to bed around 9 one night, but that meant a 4:30 wake up, which doesn't work out so well with our morning routine, because it meant mommy was up for the day at 4:30!  We'll figure it out.

You've learned how to stick your tongue out.  It's adorable.  You really stick it out during bath time trying to get the water. 

You had your first bottle this month when you were 8 weeks old. 


Monday, September 03, 2012

Santa is Magic!

Christmas talk has already started around these parts. (Not by me, I'm not ready for that!)

One thing I do listen to though is what my kids say they want for Christmas. I can use the ideas, if not for myself, then for when all our family members want to know what they want for Christmas.

I have one problem, our what will be a problem if he doesn't change his mind before Christmas. 

Caden isn't telling anyone what he wants for Christmas.

He has stuck to this motivation for about a month now too. 

His response when you ask. You'll see what I asked for when Santa comes this year!

He's telling no one, but Santa knows, because he's magic. He's been telling everyone it's a surprise we'll see when Santa comes!

(Makes it hard for mama!)

The Best Yes

A dear friend of mine had been recommending I read The Best Yes  by Lysa Terkeurst for some time before I actually picked it up.  I was hesi...