Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1850

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Exactly What I Was Thinking

I did send Christmas cards this year (albeit fewer than in previous years) but, I admit, writing our family holiday letter seemed a bit difficult this year because I think most people know all there is to say.... We've got the website, the blog, and the Facebook accounts. So, when I read an article on Shine, I thought, "yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking." (I'm also thinking, "why can't I come up with this stuff on my own?")

I should be....

... doing a million other things to get ready for Christmas. I have done a few productive things this morning but I've just poured the last of the coffee from the pot and decided to sit down at the computer. Not the smartest move given my lengthy to-do list but what I am doing none-the-less. In perusing some of the blogs I have begun following I came across a poem that has really helped evoke some of my Christmas spirit. You can read it here if you'd like.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thought for the day...

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's Almost Christmas







Our tree is finally decorated. I use the term 'decorated' loosely though since this year we only decorated the top of the tree in an attempt to keep baby and and miscellaneous cats from removing the ornaments. Our tree is also surrounded by a baby gate further detracting from it's appeal. At night, though, when the tree lights are on and the living room lights are off, it is still a pretty sight. Most of our Christmas decorations didn't even make it out of the basement this year (and believe me we have a lot of decorations in the basement) but we are slowly trying to find the Christmas spirit. We had a snow day yesterday with all three of us "stuck" inside together.
It is a pretty sight, looking out the window, and
we're hoping all this white will stick around for Christmas;
it's hard to believe it's only 3 days away!






Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm too tired to be original...

At least that must be the case because instead of an original thought popping into my head, that I feel I really must write about, I'm instead reading other posts, articles, etc. that make me think hmmm... other people should read this. That's what happened when I read a recent blog post by Holly of Fussy Baby entitled Babies Are Boring. I could keep writing but that would be original. So just go read someone else's post.

Someone Else's Blog

Another blog I read linked to this post and I liked it:
Currents and Tides

Friday, December 19, 2008

Feminist?


This morning I was reading a blog post by Kirsty (Other Stories) entitled, "Why is 'feminist' such a dirty word?" and it got me thinking... how do I perceive the word feminist and those that claim to be one? I'm sure I've written papers on feminism in the past - I know I've written at least two on works by Camille Paglia so there had to be some discussion of feminism in there somewhere - but I guess I never really thought about whether or not I consider myself a feminist. I always sort of analyzed the subject of feminism from the outside looking in. If you were to ask me, any time prior to this morning, if I consider myself a feminist I think I would have answered, "no." After reading Kirsty's post, though, I believe I've changed my mind. I am a woman after all. I believe in women's rights. No, I don't feel I've been slighted or denied my own rights because I'm a woman but I certainly don't deny that it happens to others. So why is it that feminist holds such connotations? Why is it often seen as extreme for someone to claim they're a feminist? I think I am one; I just never knew it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Desired Things"

My parents had a plaque hanging next to our front door, for as long as I can remember, of the Desiderata - what I might call a poem about how to live life. (Although our plaque claimed that it was written by an anonymous author and found in an old church circa 1692, it turns out it was actually penned in 1929, in Indiana, by Max Ehrmann.) Shortly after my dad passed away, a friend, who had never been to my parents' home, gave me a gift of a plaque with the same saying. I now have both plaques and have my parents' version hanging next to our mudroom door. I walk past it numerous times each day but today I stopped to actually read it again. I thought it seems so appropriate to life right now:

Desiderata
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blog Chain Letter



So there is an online/blog-version of a chain letter going around and I was tagged by Jenni.


Here's the tag:

1. Go to your sixth picture folder and find the sixth picture.

2. Pray you remember the details!

3. Post it on your blog.

This picture is Johnathan checking out the remote control at about 6.5 months old.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Yum, Yum, Yum!

I made this for dinner last night and it was great! On a side note, I realized part way through prepping that I did not have the can of condensed cheese soup so I substituted a bit more cheese and most of a can of Cream of Chicken soup. I would also recommend spraying the crock pot with cooking spray first; despite getting the can of Pam out as a reminder, I forgot to do this and had to soak the pot overnight and scrub it this morning.

Paula Deen's Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cup (about 10-ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8 ounce box isn’t quite 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions
Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Ease of Preparation: Easy

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

My Grownup Christmas List



Lyrics

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Favorite Holiday Memories

In no particular order (with a few links thrown in):
  • Getting up early the Saturday after Thanksgiving to go out for breakfast and then to pick out our tree at Dank's (sp?) Tree Farm. I loved that it was cold and I got to wear my gloves. We would search for the perfect tree then tag it to pick it up in a couple weeks. We'd go back around the second weekend of December to cut it down and enjoy some hot cider or cocoa and a little bit of Christmas Craft Shopping.
  • Christmas PJ's: Every year, on Christmas eve, I was allowed to open one gift before bed. You guessed it... it was always a new pair of pajamas. I plan to carry on this tradition for Johnathan.
  • Visiting Santa (even though I was always nervous and shy)
  • My Advent Calendars
  • Putting up Christmas lights with my dad
  • Skating in the various Christmas shows
  • The La Jolla Figure Skating Club Christmas parties... who else, but figure skaters, have a party before 6am?
  • Waking up Christmas morning and going to get my parents
  • Christmas dresses and patent leather shoes.
  • The Hotel Del with Angie (see previous post)
  • In Cahoots Christmas party
  • LJFSC Secret Santa
  • Watching the holiday decorations appear at the mall
  • Looking for Santa (and listening to the Santa Watch on 760 KFMB-AM radio)
  • John Ruff's Christmas party
  • Christmas Mass with my family
  • Later.... Midnight Mass that my friend Judy agreed to join me for.
  • Day-after-Thanksgiving shopping with Judy (and breakfast, too)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Marching in the La Jolla Christmas Parade
  • Christmas on the Prado
  • Ice Rink at Horton Square
  • See's Candies Santa Boxes
  • Wrapping Presents
  • Christmas Music
  • San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
  • The Chipmunk's Christmas Special
  • Peanuts Christmas Special
  • Laura's Cookie Exchange
  • Christmas dinner (after Christmas) on Honeycutt.
  • Watching the Hollywood Christmas Parade on TV
  • Our family's New Year's Eve pajama party complete with appetizers, hats, and noise makers.
  • Skating on "dead ice" on Christmas eve until the wee hours
  • Christmas eve dinner with friends followed by a trip to In Cahoots
  • Y2K at Bamburgh
  • First Christmas with Mike
  • First "married" Christmas
  • Johnathan's First Christmas
  • Looking forward to the first Christmas Johnathan will actually enjoy (this year)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What if?

What if you could do more to help various charities? Would you?

I was reading an article about a small boy struggling to overcome a cancer that, upon his diagnosis, had very limited treatment options. The boys parents decided to do something about the lack of funding for research of childrens cancers and founded Cookies For Kids Cancer which raised over $400,000 with its first bake sale. The article has a footnote for how to have your own cookie sale or how to order from their site to give as gifts. It got me thinking....

Every year, my husband and I say we wish we could donate more to various charities and causes that are important to us. Financially, we just can't give as much as we would like. As we are quickly approaching Christmas, and the gift-giving season is well under way, I wonder: what if we were to purchase gifts only from these charity sites? We could continue to give gifts to the family and friends on our lists while, at the same time, supporting important charities. Do you think it might work? Even a few gift would help I think.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas at the Del


Hotel Del Coronado
Originally uploaded by FrogMiller

I've been retrospective about the holidays lately. Perhaps motherhood does that to one. You begin to reminisce about all the things you did while you were growing up. More recently, I remember going to the Hotel Del with friends to see the amazing tree, have a Christmas drink and listen to some wonderful music in the lounge (this prompted my search for the attached photo). It figures that AFTER I leave San Diego that they add an ice rink to their holiday celebrations.

Stay tuned for more holiday memories....

See more: Holidays at the Hotel Del Coronado

What would you ask Santa for?

I'm stealing this topic from Turtle:
http://turtlepress.typepad.com/insidetheshell/2008/12/dear-santa.html

Dear Santa,
Please help the families who are missing their babies this year to be able to find some comfort and joy during this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One Year


Today was Johnathan's first birthday. I'm so excited for him and also a little bit sad. People have always said, "it goes so fast" but I really had no clue exactly how fast it really does go. It seems like we just brought him home from the hospital. It was a snowy day today; similar to the day he was born. As I'm glancing at the clock right now, I realize it would be just a bit more than an hour before he was born at 11:37pm. What a long day that was.....

He had us (ok me) up at around 4 am. We were checked into the hospital around 7:30am and, only about 16 hours after that, he finally made his entrance into the world. Crying and pooping. Some things never change. :-)

A year full of firsts...
smiles
laughs
tears
rolling
crawling
walking
babbling
loving

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Time for Good Cheer?

It's December 1st. The holiday music has been playing on the radio for several weeks already and the biggest shopping weekend of the year has come and gone. People are getting ready for the holiday when Christians celebrate the birth of their Savior and family and friends share good tidings and cheer (isn't that the way some song goes??). So why is it that shopping for this holiday has gone from fun and cheerful to absolutely horrible? I made a quick trip to Target today to pick up a few things for Johnathan's party. It truly amazes me how rude people can be; how they seem to think there is no one in the store but themselves. Can giving really feel good when you're that uh, rude, when you're shopping for gifts to give? I used to LOVE holiday shopping; it put me in a cheery mood and officially kicked off my holidays (yes, the day after Thanksgiving). Of course, back then, it used to be the first time of the season that Christmas music was played and the holiday decorations hadn't been out since October. Probably close to ten years ago I was at Thrifty drugstore in mid-November, holiday decorations just beginning to hit the shelves, when I heard a toddler ask his mother, "why are we skipping Thanksgiving this year?" It struck me then and I've remembered it every year since. I'm all for planning early, and not waiting until the last minute but c'mon....

This year I'm determined to remember how fun it is to get ready for Christmas. Fun because you're spending time with family and friends, listening to Christmas Carols, and most important (for me) celebrating Advent in preparation for the true reason for the season. Perhaps I should take more advantage of technology and visit the cyber malls where I can shop from the cozy comfort of my home, while enjoying my family, my favorite holiday music, and maybe even a delicious cup of hot cocoa.



Side Note: How much is a bargain worth? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27955316/

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wow!






I realized Johnathan's first birthday is officially LESS than two weeks away. How did this happen? The time has gone so fast!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Escape Artist

So, yesterday I get Johnathan up from his nap and put him in his fenced off section of the living room so I can go make his bottle. For those of you that don't know, whe have a super yard opened to close off a good amount of the living room for him to play in and there is a "window" in the wall between the kitchen and this space so we can see him if we need to make dinner, etc. At any rate, I'm in the kitchen getting his bottle ready when in comes this crawling, giggling little boy. Cute as it was I was horrified and thought, "I'm just such a horrible mother; how could I have not remembered to close off the gate???" A few hours later, Johnathan and I are playing in this same space when, apparently, he'd had enough of Mommy. He crawls right over to the end of the gate, pulls it open and crawls out. Right in front of me! Little stinker! Needless to say, things are being re-configured today.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hmmm....

I like the idea of blogging but am finding I don't know what to blog. When I do write something it tends to be when I'm trying to work things out. I've been that way my whole life; my diaries and journals are full of all the complaints of life and the few happy thoughts are really quite poorly written. I don't think I'm alone in this. I think a lot of people find writing/journaling to be theraputic and probably find the same thing true of their own diaries. So the question remains, can I change this habit? It's not the first time I'll be trying, of course. There is one thing I'd like to point out, though, and that is by venting (whether it be written or oral) I'm not looking for anyone to "fix" things. I'm just venting. Sometimes it feels better to get things out, doesn't it? Sometimes, too, you realize after a vent that the problem you thought existed in the thoughts festering in your head really isn't much of a problem after all; and doesn't that feel better?
vent

Monday, November 3, 2008

Adventures in Motherhood



Johnathan was officially 11 months old yesterday. I just can't believe how quickly the time has gone. It seems like we just brought him home from the hospital. We've had a bit of a rocky road, the two of us. We're still figuring each other out but we've come a long way. He is such an independent little guy; always has been since the day he was born. He likes things done his way and NOW. We're planning his first birthday party and while exciting it's also a little bit sad. In some respects I feel like I've missed so much and that I wish I could have a do-over. Shoulda, woulda, coulda as the saying goes. Of course, that's not possible so I'm instead trying to enjoy life's moments more now and going forward. Sometimes that's easy. Sometimes it's just as hard as day one.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Update

9/19/08
In case you're wondering how things are going since my first post, here's the quick update. Things continue to get better slowly. I'm still medication free and just starting a few therapy sessions to help work through everything. Little by litte I'm adjusting to this new role of motherhood.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stand Up to Cancer

8/21/08


SU2C


My Story:


My mother died from colon cancer, when I was 16, after a remission and a subsequent six year battle. Not until the very end did she ever let me see the suffering she was going through. She fought not just for her life but for her husband and daughter. 8 years later, my father was diagnosed with methoselioma and died just 3 short months later. He tried to hang on but it was caught just too late. I have always found comfort in the fact that at least they're together again.

Stand with me on September 5th.

Don’t be a statistic. Stand Up to Cancer.

I’m taking a stand. Will you?

The end of cancer begins here.

Stand Up To Cancer
é

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

It's More than Just the Baby Blues

  • I have postpartum depression. There. I said it. I initially tried to hide the fact from everyone around me (except my husband) but it’s too exhausting, not to mention counter-productive, to keep doing so. After all, isn’t the first step to recovering from anything admitting its existence? I’m sorry if this makes you feel awkward. It makes me feel awkward, too. Yet I’ve come to realize that every time I tell someone about my PPD, I feel just the slightest bit better. (And here’s a little tip for you: you don’t have to know what to say or how to respond. Usually I’ll speed right along into another topic. I’m not asking you to fix things; I’m just giving you an honest update on how I’m (we’re) really doing.) You know what the most difficult question is? It’s the “are you just loving motherhood” question. No, I’m not. But that’s ok because it doesn’t mean I don’t love my son; I love him immensely. Don’t feel guilty for asking. After all, society has trained us to do so. I’m sure I’ve asked the same question tens of times before.

    My depression is mild compared to some and I have to be thankful, not only for that, but for the fact that I allowed myself to recognize I was suffering, and for a very supportive and encouraging husband and doctor. My symptoms actually started about two months before the birth of my son. In my gut, I knew what it was but tried to brush it off as normal anxiety about becoming a new mother. During this time I’d get what I could only describe as a “twinge of sadness” most every time I felt the baby move (essentially any time I had a physical reminder that I was pregnant).

    My son’s delivery was difficult. There was meconium present when my water broke so we knew that this technically classified us as a high risk delivery. Four and a half hours of pushing later (I’ll skip the other details), my baby was whisked away to be suctioned so that none of the meconium could make it into his lungs. My husband didn’t get to cut the cord and I didn’t get to hold my baby, or even really see my baby for probably twenty minutes. Yes, I know, that’s not an eternity but it affected me, immensely, and only contributed to my feelings of sadness. Something just didn’t feel right.

    We brought baby home and, as in the hospital, nursing was difficult. He was tongue tied and more interested in sleeping or screaming than latching on. I cried every night. No, make that sobbed every night, for weeks. We had his tongue fixed and he eventually picked up the nursing thing but I kept crying. The lack of sleep was literally painful and exhausting yet I often had trouble falling asleep when baby would sleep and would frequently only begin to finally drift off just as he would awaken.

    I went to my six week postpartum appointment and told my doctor that I had been having a difficult time but, at this point in time, really felt that I was better and that I just had a really bad case of the baby blues. Johnathan was nursing great and I was learning to get through the day even though he was immensely fussy (we’d recently found out he had reflux and would later find out he fits the definition of a “high needs” baby). I know she was skeptical but she didn’t push me to admit I had anything more. She just gave me some good advice, not only as a doctor but as a mother of three, and a reminder to call her anytime I felt I might be sliding backwards emotionally. Later this week, my son would decide, literally overnight, that he didn’t want to nurse anymore and would scream every time we tried. By the time he was about two months old I was back at my doctor’s getting a prescription for anti-depressants.

    I spent about four months on the medication before I felt well enough to wean off of them. I don’t like taking any medication unless I absolutely have to so I was anxious to come off the meds. It has been about a month since I took my last pill. Am I well? No. Am I better than I was? Yes. Sure, I wanted to believe that as soon as I was done with the pills I’d be normal again; that I’d instantly enjoy motherhood and be this happy, well-adjusted stay-at-home-mom. I’m not there yet. The key word here is yet. I’m learning that recovering from PPD is a process. It’s a process I’m learning more about every day. I’m educating myself, talking about it, and (as of this moment) writing about it. I’m confident I will recover. I don’t think I need to go back on the medication but I do know that every day is still a challenge. Some days are good; some days are horrible; others are just in-between. Perhaps the strangest thing is that while having PPD probably means I could use a little extra help around the house or with baby or that I should be leaning on friends and family more, it also makes it more difficult to ask for help or to reach out. I think about my friends and family every day. Sometimes I pick up the phone but can’t dial. I hope they have the patience to accept that reaching out, and re-connecting, is difficult for me even though they don’t understand why. Of course, I don’t really understand why either; perhaps it’s too much of a reminder of how I used to be.

    I’m learning to remind myself every day that having PPD does not make me a bad mother or a bad wife. It may make mothering more difficult but, who knows, maybe in the long run I’ll be stronger for it. This isn’t easy on my husband either but he’s doing the best he can to understand and support me. (Even when he’s out of white socks because I haven’t figured out how to fit laundry into my day for a week and a half.) I’m continuing on the road to recovery and I know I’ll get there. I don’t know yet what tools I’ll need as I go through this process but I’ll figure it out along the way.

    PPD Quick Facts (some snippets of info I've read along the way)
  • PPD affects 30% of mothers (probably more since many go undiagnosed) and can even affect fathers and/or adoptive parents
  • PPD is really an extremely generalized term encompassing many different mood disorders - most of what you see on the news is extreme, known as post partum psychosis (e.g. the mother who drove her car into the lake). Just because someone has PPD doesn't mean they want to do harm to themselves or their baby (in case you're wondering, NO, I never felt the need/desire for either; thank God) and even for those that think it, most wouldn't act on it.
  • PPD depression doesn't occur because of something the person does or did. It's likely hormonal and there is often depression in the person's family somewhere.
    It's curable when acknowledged and treated (treatment options will depend on the person)