Advent- on Hold

>> Monday, November 30, 2009

Advent is upon us. It is my favorite season of the year. I love the carols and traditions and the beauty of the richness and intimacy of this time. Last year, I really got into making this time of year especially meaningful for the boys- starting traditions and planning activities for the family. I had big plans for this week, this first week of Advent. However, my plans have been a bit derailed. My Hubby was sick over Thanksgiving, all but ruining any family time we could have had. Total bummer. Well then, the boys both started running fevers on Friday when we were out trying to give Daddy a quiet house to get some sleep. I took them both to the doctor today and both boys swabbed positive for influenza. (Probably not H1N1, just influenza A, but we'll know for sure later this week.) So my plans for the first week of Advent are somewhat on hold for a few days. We did get the tree *mostly* up tonight and we have our Advent calender and wreath out. We have been reading our favorite Advent and Christmas books and talking a lot about the season. I just still feel a little behind in terms of where I wanted to be in my Advent prep and celebration. We are just two days in. I guess I need to cut myself some slack. I had high hopes of being done with Christmas shopping and travel plans and decorating so that I could focus on my soul and my boys during these next weeks. I am almost there, but now I feel like I am playing a little bit of catch up.
Regardless, taking care of my sick boys is gonna take priority this week (and trying to keep healthy myself). Add in a few Advent readings and maybe a craft or two and I'll be happy with that. I did get to go to church on Sunday (alone actually, which was heavenly and the perfect way to start Advent) so I feel like my soul is in a good place. A good place to keep my mind and heart in Advent while I give Motrin and Tamiflu.

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What I am Thankful For- Wordful Wednesday

>> Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Savior- His grace and mercy and extravagant love

My Hubby and our 10+yrs. together and all they have brought our way. Really, all of it. Even the things that I wished would have been different, it is all part of God's plan for us and I am trusting Him to use it ALL for His glory and our greater good.

My boys, Micah (above) and Lucas and Caden (below)- words are truly not adequate to express how much they are my world.
My family- my parents and sister (above) and my in-laws (below)

The beach and my Gators- two of my passions and things that make me who I am. The beach is where I feel the most like me. I feel connected to my inner self there. On the beach, I am whole.

I am also thankful for my amazing friends and my job and my church family (I just don't have pictures of these things).
I am thankful for the blessed life that I have. Even the moments when I feel knocked down, like the wind has been taken out of my sails, I am still so very lucky and blessed to have a family that loves me and all my basic needs met.
I am kinda at a crossroads in my life. I am done having babies (99% sure), getting close to weaning Caden, taking a new job,... I am figuring out what my life post-grief/post-child-bearing will look like. I am figuring out who I am in this stage of raising my boys and focusing a little more on me and trying to enjoy every minute. And in this moment, I feel SO VERY thankful.

I pray all of you have a very blessed Thanksgiving, full of love and gratitude.

For more Wordful Wednesday, visit Angie at Seven Clown Circus.

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Eye, Eye Matey!!

>> Sunday, November 22, 2009

I seem to have this unfortunate inclination towards eye injuries.

When Lucas was just a little older than Caden is now (September '07), he was playing with blocks on the floor and pitched one at me. The block hit me just under my right eye and left me with a pretty serious shiner and a fractured cheek bone. I had a black-eye for just about a month. It hurt like crazy, took forever to heal. But just one of those things right...

Well, this week I experienced eye injury round two. I can't really blame this one on the kiddos, although it was in the evening and both boys were in full toddler-meltdown mode which significantly contributed to my frazzled state-of-mind. I leaned over to pick up a piece of trash off the kitchen floor. I misjudged a box sitting nearby and the corner of the box went right into the corner of my left eye. OUCH!! It immediately started to throb in pain and was totally swollen shut within an hour or so of the injury. I didn't go to the doctor until the next day when my vision was totally blurry in that eye. The opthamologist said it was a one inch long scratch on my cornea and another scratch on the underside of my eyelid. No wonder it felt like sand-paper was in my eye every time I blinked. He put this little "patch strip" in my eye and then a patch bandage over my eye as well (no pics this time... but trust me, I looked ridiculous!). I had to go back the next day to get another internal patch and I have to go back two times this week for the same thing. Eye injuries are NO FUN. Let me repeat, NO FUN! When I had the eye bandage on, I though Lucas would think it was SO COOL seeing how he is so into pirates these days. However, when he saw me, I asked him if I looked like a pirate. His response... "No mommy, you don't have a sword." Oh, well.
It is starting to feel much better, although my eyelid is bruised and I still have blurry vision in that eye (mostly now due to the ointment and drops I have to put in). What is it with me and eye injuries! Raising boys is a contact sport, I suppose. :)

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Mother who works or Working Mother?

>> Saturday, November 14, 2009

Let me start by saying, I miss blogging. I miss feeling like a regularly could process my thoughts and life here and get feedback from my fellow moms. I miss reading blogs and commenting and being part of your lives too. I really hope to get back into my blogging groove soon. Don't give up on me yet. I value you, my blogging (and RL) friends.

Thank you to all of you who chimed in with some great advice and encouragement on my last dilemma. It was so helpful to read your comments as I tried to decide if I should let my little getaway be the time for weaning Caden or try to hold on to nursing for a bit longer. As it turned out, I did pump twice a day while I was gone. Caden did great with no nursing (and no bottles either, the stubborn little fool) for the almost 5 days we were gone. Then when he saw me, he picked it right up as if we had never been apart. In fact, he wanted to make up for lost time. I do think that my milk supply and hormones were affected by the break. I have some further evidence to that end that I won't share here. TMI. But, Caden is still nursing and I am glad he is. But I didn't let the pumping get in the way of our fun. We had a fabulous time celebrating a big Gators win and our 10yr. anniversary.

With that dilemma behind me, I move on to the next.

I am a nurse part-time in a cardiac interventional lab (angioplasty, etc..) . I love my job, I love what I do. I worked really hard to get here and so I feel good that I am keeping my foot in the door and keeping my skills and knowledge current and using my hard-earned degree. Not to mention that the extra $$ helps our budget tremendously. We would have to live MUCH tighter without my income. And although I only work one day a week, I have always thought that once the boys got a little older and in school, I would probably increase my hours a bit.
In an unexpected turn of events, I am now faced with a work-decision that I didn't expect to have to make for several years still. I am being asked by some of the MDs that I work with to join a fairly prestigious sub-specialty team within my department. It would be a great move for my career and I am very honored that they want me. It would also mean more $$ and a few other perks too. No brainer, eh? Not so fast.
The rub of this new job is that I would have to work Tuesdays and Thursdays- Lucas' preschool days. I currently work Tuesdays and my mother-in-law drops off and picks up Lucas from preschool on those days. To take this job, I would have to give up MY day of being involved in his preschool life AND I would have to find someone I trust to pick him up and watch Caden while he is in school. I would be able to take Lucas to preschool. This new team is so determined to have me jump on board that they are willing to let my work day start after I take Lucas to preschool. And Hubby gets home from work around 1pm so the boys would be with Daddy in the afternoons (which is awesome!). But still...
I chose this preschool for Lucas because of how caring in involved the teachers are. The pick up process is very experiential with the parents having to come and stand next to their child and the teachers coming to each mom to tell them something their child did that day. It is great and I would miss it.
Beyond the added stress of finding childcare that day and not being involved in Lucas' preschool life, I feel like this is a mental shift that I was not prepared for. I feel like I am going from a "stay-at-home mom who works one day a week" to a "part-time working mother" which feels WAY different.
I can tell myself I would be doing it for them, for the family. More money to pay off all our debt and be able to do more things as a family. But truthfully, it is really about me. It is MY career and wanting to do this for ME. Which isn't a bad thing. Not at all. But I am really feeling the tug. I am torn. I do want to take this job. I would have a hard time turning it down. And yet, I want to be there for Lucas and be a part of his preschool experience and not miss a minute of his life. He won't be 3 much longer and I have the rest of my life to work.

AHHHHH!!! What should I do?

Honestly, I am leaning towards taking the job. If. If I can find a childcare/preschool pick up solution I am comfortable with. If I don't chicken out. It would mean some stressful weeks for me as I am trained and learning this new specialty. I would have to spend a fair amount of time outside work studying to be at the top of my game. But that's not bad either, right. Some priorities would have to shift. Things would change a little around here if mommy works 2days a week and needs to study when I am home. The good news is, my days/hours are only fixed until the end of the spring. After I am trained, I have been told I can work whatever days and hours I want. I just have to figure out a way to make it work in the meantime.

I know this is a spoiled problem. In this economy, there are people who need work worse than I do. And I know that my children are well-loved and nurtured and cared for- even if I had to put them in daycare or something one day a week. But spoiled or not, this is weighing heavy on my heart. I just want to make the right decision for myself and my boys.

I know God will help me make the right decision. And as we try to put the pieces in place, I am hoping it will become clear whether or not this is the right thing for our family. Your prayers are, as always appreciated. :)

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Gotta Get a Boba

>> Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Being somewhat of a babywearing aficionado, when I hear there is a new carrier on the scene I MUST try it out. Otherwise, I may always wonder if it is maybe that one perfect carrier that will meet all my carrier needs. (Truthfully, my ring sling is probably that carrier but it never hurts to check out all the others too.) So when I learned that my beloved Sleepy Wrap was coming out with a soft-structured carrier, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Introducing, the Boba carrier!!

The Boba is structured carrier similar in style to the Ergo or the Beco. It has the wide body, the buckle waist belt with safety strap, back-pack like shoulder straps, and the chest strap buckle. However, there are some cool features to this new carrier that set it apart from the others.
First of all, the Boba carrier is made from 100% organic cotton. Even the lining. The fabric is super soft and, even though I can't put my finger on why, somehow it makes me feel better that the fabric touching my baby's sweet skin is all natural and organic. The shoulder straps of the Boba are nicely padded, just the right amount. I am not a huge fan of padding, actually. I love my ring sling and woven wrap and mei tai. That has always been one of my biggest complaints with the Ergo- the straps are a bit bulky and awkward. But the Boba straps were comfortable and not at all too bulky. I also like that the carrier body is longer and comes up higher on baby's back. This gives that extra bit of support and makes babywearing more comfortable for mama and baby.
Another totally cool and totally new feature that you won't find anywhere else is the leg strap feature of the Boba. It helps ensure proper leg and spine positioning and gives your toddler a place to rest their feet. I tried putting Caden's feet in the straps and it took a little bit of playing with it to figure it out. And truthfully, for someone his size it isn't really necessary. But, I can see the benefit when carrying a larger child for an extended amount of time. It would take the pressure off the nerves running through the pelvis and reduce any pressure on their spine. Either way, I think it was a very ingenious idea and am impressed with their forward thinking. I love seeing the babywearing world progress and respond the the needs of moms and kids out there.
Another major difference between the Boba and other SSCs is that they are marketing themselves as a carrier meant for age 1 and up. The Ergo has to have an insert in order to wear an infant (again, bulky) and the Beco Butterfly has the built-in insert (which is wonderful and a great way to do back carries with smaller babies). So there is really no need for Boba to try and grab a piece of the infant carrier market. They have their stretchy jersey wrap, the Sleepy Wrap, that is meant for newborns and infants. (BTW~ I really love my Beco Butterfly and my Sleepy Wrap. Both great carriers that I recommend all the time!) The Boba is meant for use with kiddos 15lbs and up and can be used through age 4 (45lbs). So it is meant to be used later and longer.

Overall, I really like this new carrier. The Boba is soft, organic, not too bulky, and very supportive for both me and my passenger. It comes is several very earthy, organic colors. It is a great option for carrying your 11+ month old on either your front or your back. And while it probably isn't that one perfect carrier for all my carrying needs (again, that's usually my ring sling), it is still pretty great and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a comfortable 2-shoulder carrier for toddlers and bigger kids.

Let me know if you have any questions about this or any other carrier. I am always happy to share my passion for babywearing with those who are interested. Blessings to y'all!

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