Saturday, December 27, 2008

Mommy's very own milestone

Kaylee's had plenty of them. Smiling, rolling over, eating her first bite of real food, laughing, making her first masterpiece out of poo.

It's time I had one of my own.

I'm so very proud to tell you that I finished reading an actual book. Not the Goodnight Moon, Guess How Much I Love You, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day type of book. I'm talking an actual grown-up book.

I can't even tell you how excited about this I am! I feel like I've salvaged part of my pre-baby self and it's the best feeling ever!

In my pre-baby days, I was an avid reader. My favorite things to read are fiction books. I love fun books that are easy to get through and are entertaining. I love the Liz Curtis Higgs series that's set in bonny Scotland, and I love authors like Billie Letts (author of Shoot the Moon), Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees), and Fannie Flagg (Fried Green Tomatoes, and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!).

I just love a well-written, witty, entertaining read that paints a vivid picture in my mind of the characters and the setting. If a book doesn't hook me from the get go, I quit reading it. I'm super picky when it comes to the quality of an author's writing. Even though I'm from the Midwest and Southwest, I love books that are set in the South for some reason. I don't know why. I just do.

So, anyway, back to my proud moment...

I had several failed attempts at achieving this whopper of a milestone. I think I've tried reading three other CHAPTER books in my postpartum life. Never made it past the first 15 pages.

But that, my friends, was until I cracked open the pages of Twilight. I will admit, when I first heard about the series, I thought it sounded cheesy and like it was full of teenage drama that I didn't really care to read about. But, I decided to give it a try.

My sister-in-law owns the whole series, so I figured, what the heck - if it takes me 26.3 months to read the first one, at least I won't owe the library outrageous late fees. So, I started reading it, and I've been hooked ever since. I zipped through that first book like it was nobody's business, and I'm now on book two, and I'm totally rooting for Bella and Edward, and occasionally I get all tense and clench my jaw for fear that he just might eat her alive, but so far, he hasn't. Thank you, Edward.

It feels good to read for fun again. Let me clarify - it feels good to read books that aren't about ladybugs, hippos that talk, or Little Nutbrown Hare. It feels good to read a book that's printed on paper instead of a book that's printed on cardboard. Don't get me wrong - I love reading Kaylee her bedtime stories (and I think I enjoy Sandra Boynton's Pajama Time and Let's Dance, Little Pookie even more than Kaylee does...), but dang it, it just feels so darn good to read a book for me again!

Hasta manana - it's time for my storytime...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And this is why we wear hats, children...

So, we were on our way out the door the other day - where we had someplace to be at a certain time, when suddenly I notice this.

Yep, that's squash in her hair, people. (I washed her face so well after lunch. How she managed to do this without me noticing is beyond me.)

Did I have time to wash it? Nope.

Did I put a cute hat on her to cover it up? You bet your bottom dollar I did.

Personally, I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but apparently, Kaylee was rather angry that I would let such a sophisticated young lady as herself go gallivanting around town with squash stuck in her hair.

I think this last look was her attempt to guilt me into washing her hair before we left. Sorry, kid. Not happening.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

He Sees You When You're Sleeping...

So, this year we're starting a new Christmas tradition at our house.

For the first time ever, Dennis and I get to be Santa. Or, I guess he'll be Santa and I'll be Mrs. Clause. Or do we both get to be Santa? Growing up I was pretty sure Mrs. Clause kept her butt at the North Pole and that she wasn't exactly involved in the magic of The Night Before Christmas. I don't think I want to be Mrs. Clause because I want to have fun, too, dammit! Screw sitting at the top of the globe knitting a sweater and making peanut brittle!

Anyway, it seems crazy that I have the ability and privilege to be Santa already! It seems like just yesterday that one of my grade school teachers ruined my day by bluntly stating, "You know it's just your Mom and Dad pretending to be Santa, right?" Stupid bizatch of a dream crusher - what was she thinking? Breaking the news about Santa to such gullable and trusting children. They shoulda fired her ass over that one. But, it was a church school, so they probably paid her to say it. Heh heh.

So, back to what I was saying. I know that Kaylee won't be able to realize that Christmas is anything different than every other day of her life. She'll just carry on and do her thing. She'll eat, fill diapers, open presents, bang her doll's heads against the floor and probably say some variaton of da-da, ta-ta, teh-teh, ga, ba, and ya all the live long day. So, maybe this year Christmas will be a little bit more special for Dennis and I than it will be for Kaylee because we realize how every Christmas will always be a little brighter from now on (I know, pass me a tissue - I'm getting all sentimental here).

We get to stay up late stuffing her stocking, wrapping presents (that are things she is currently using but needed before Christmas), and enjoying some cookies and milk by the twinkling of our Christmas tree before we drift off to la-la land and dream of sugar plum fairies and the like.

No other Christmas will be like this one because we'll never have another "first" Christmas with Kaylee. I can hardly wait to see her reaction to everything. Although I'm 99% sure that she won't give a rip about anything but the boxes and the paper. Oh well.

Before Christmas actually hits, I'm sure we'll talk about other traditions we want to add. One idea I've got is to read the Christmas story out of the Bible before bed.

I'm sure that we'll change and add new traditions as Kaylee gets older, but I want her to have memories of favorite Christmas traditions just like I do. Two traditions that I grew up with are going to church on Christmas Eve and opening one gift that night as well. Although many of my childhood memories of church aren't the greatest, I always loved the Christmas Eve service (even if I hated memorizing my lines for the program). I loved hearing the Christmas story, singing the Christmas hymns, the paper bag full of candy and an apple that all the kids got when we got to the door after the service ended, and most recently, I love the candlelight service at the church we go to now.

After we've sung the Christmas songs and heard the Christmas story, the service ends as we each light a small candle, the lights are dimmed, and "Silent Night" is sung a capella. That's one of my favorite moments of the whole Christmas season.

And every year I'm afraid that someone is going to accidentally light something on fire and ruin my moment of tranquility and peace. Good thing there's a fire sprinkler system. Just in case.

This post is part of Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop Thursday. Do yourself a favor and head on over there to check out the rest of the Writer's Workshop Thursday posts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It Ain't Easy Bein' a Diva

I attempted to have a photo shoot with Kaylee yesterday so we could get our photo greeting cards ordered and printed at Costco. (Yep, I know Christmas is next week - it's just the way I roll this year). We spent a long time taking pictures, and I got some great ones, but our session was cut short when she began to attempt shredding the froofy layer of her dress with her single razor sharp tooth. We promptly ended our time trying to get the "perfect" shot for the Christmas card and high tailed it to the kitchen to fill up on Tylenol, teething tablets and a teething ring from the fridge.

This photo totally captures the essence of Kaylee's diva side. I love it.

Head on over to 7 Clown Circus for more Wordful Wednesday posts from other bloggers. And, while you're bopping all over the blog world, check out one of my favorite bloggers, Jenners, over at Life With a Little One and More. She's giving away at Target gift card. Hello! Who doesn't want a Target gift card right now?

(For any of you out there that regularly follow my blog, this last week has been insane with trips out of town, holiday parties, a stomach bug, and work. I miss my blog and all the happenings of the blog world. I'm back in action, so watch out!)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Road Trippin' Mama

Before I decided to become a social worker, I studied journalism for 3 years. I love to write, and I always have. And I love a good challenge.

These days, a lot of my writing consists of either making lists around the house or writing in patient charts (i.e. "Unable to assess patient at this time. Patient on bedside commode." or "Unable to assess patient. Patient actively withdrawing from cocaine." - lovely...). My blog is such a great outlet for me to write for fun again!

I've come to look forward to Wednesdays because that's when Mama Kat from Mama's Losin' It gives out her Thursday Writer's Workshop assignments. She always gives bloggers a few writing prompts to choose from, and then on Thursdays they're all posted. It's great fun, and it always makes me think outside my little box.

This week, I'm choosing to write about a "new road" I've taken in my life.

So, I'm going to write about the Road of Motherhood, since I'm still such a newbie at it. I'm going to compare the Road of Motherhood to a road trip, so fasten your seat belts, hop on in, and enjoy the ride. Don't worry about hanging on tight - I'm not a speeder - I like to go 5 miles over the speed limit maximum (I appreciate my insurance discounts, thankyouverymuch), so you'll be safe - I promise.

Here are 5 reasons the Road to Motherhood is like an actual road trip.

1. It is what you make it. All sorts of things can go wrong on a road trip, and the same goes for motherhood, but a lot of the time, it is what you make it. Call me cliche, but your attitude will play a big role in how things go. Granted, some road trips are filled with nothing tire blowouts on the freeway, forgotten toothbrushes, and tiny little dogs named Shorty at service stations in the middle of nowhere (where you go to get aforementioned tire repaired) that hump your leg (it wasn't my leg - it was my friend's leg - whatever). Similarly, when you're a mom, some days are filled with nothing but diaper blowouts on the freeway, forgotten coats or mittens (that result in annoying and rage-inducing lectures from a certain Granny Panties at church) and barf on your leg in public (your baby's - not yours...unless of course you were drinking heavily the night before, but that's a whole other issue). Both circumstances suck big time, and you may not be able to laugh about it at the time because, let's face it, those "one thing after another" days are the pits. But, if you can laugh about it eventually, you're on the right track.

2. Ooooh, the anticipation! I always get excited for road trips, and I imagine what kind of adventures will be had along the way. What will we see? What will we do? Will there be shopping malls and plenty of bathrooms along the way? Motherhood is the same. You anticipate it, you hope for so many things, you wonder about a few things, and from the time you are pregnant and for the rest of your life you are hoping there will be plenty of (clean) bathrooms along the way.

3. On the Road Trip of Motherhood, you should always bring food - same goes for an actual road trip. There's nothing like being 2 hours from a service station and not having a dang thing to snack on. Sure, you could just chew gum for 2 hours and trick your mouth into thinking it's getting actual nourishment, but that just makes your temples hurt after a while. Always bring food when you're a mom, too. At first, when all your baby is consuming is either boob juice or formula, bring a snack for yourself. Chances are that once you get to the hell hole known as the Wal-Mart parking lot at 3:15 p.m., you're going to hear your stomach rumble as soon as you put the car in park and you'll begin to realize, "Hmm, I forgot to eat lunch today. And breakfast. No wait, I had Kix for breakfast - sh*t! I had Kix yesterday. I never ate at all this morning! I haven't eaten since dinner last night!" Enough crazy things happen at Wal-Mart, people. We don't need you passing out in the parking lot. Pack a stinkin' granola bar, an apple, SOMETHING in that diaper bag, for Pete's sake. And while you're at it, you might as well make sure you've got a bottle for the baby if they need one, too. Once they start munching on food of the non-liquid variety, you should probably stash some of that somewhere in your bag or your car, too.

4. Lets face it - at some point, you're going to need to call in back-up. If you're road trippin,' that could mean connecting with AAA (if you're on the Road of Motherhood, AA may be a more appropriate connection to make), a backseat driver, or calling your long-lost cousin who actually lives in Booger Hollow, Arkansas (real place, people - I've been there. Don't believe me? Look it up.) to have him tell you where the nearest gas station is. For us moms, if it's not AA, it's probably a mom, sister, husband, friend, counselor, or the person stocking produce at the grocery store. Braving it alone is not recommended in either situation.

5. No matter how much you prepare for your journey, you'll never know what the destination will look like until you actually arrive. Headed to San Diego for a day at the beach? Ha! I hope you enjoyed your 10 hour drive for FOG and RAIN. Maybe next time. See? You just never know. Or, for you "the glass is half full" people (I happen to be one of you - I'm just playin' the devil's advocate here), the odds were perhaps in your favor and it was a sunny 70 degrees with a slight breeze and no stinky seagulls in sight. (Speaking of San Diego, did you know that San Diaaago is Spanish for a whale's... nevermind). Now consider your plans for motherhood. Did you plan your nursery out all perfect ahead of time (and wash and put away each new outfit as it was given to you - even those given to you when you were FOUR months pregnant?) and daydream about this or that? It's okay to daydream! Trust me, I did plenty of it, and it was fun. The beginning of my Road to Motherhood had a few bumps in the road, I ran out of gas a few times (the energy kind, not the hand-me-some-Beano-NOW kind - there was plenty of that!), and I've had to ask for help a time or two (or ten or twenty), but it's by far the most incredible adventure I've been on thus far.

And, you've gotta admit. A diaper blowout is far more desirable than a tire blowout any day. I can change diapers, no problem. Tires? Not so much...

(Thanks for reading all the way to the end. Now march your little booty over to Mama's Losin' It for more fun stuff, or to check out the prompts for your OWN Thursday Writer's Workshop post)

A Little Peace in the Midst of My Chaos...

When I started this blog, part of my intent was to share my struggles during my first few weeks as a new mother. I did more of that toward the beginning - I've talked about postpartum depression, such fun activities as fishing for turds and struggling to have a clean house, and suffering from moments of mommy brain, but there's so much that I haven't shared yet, and today it's time to talk about it some more.

I am so glad Dennis snapped this picture of Kaylee and I. She wasn't yet a month old. Those first 2 or 3 months are pretty much a blur to me, and I don't have a ton of fun memories of that time. Mostly, I remember being tired, cranky, weepy, putting on a happy face when, in all reality, I was freaked out and in way over my head, exhausted, and unable to function in many ways.

I wanted to share this picture because when I look at it, it reminds me that I did have some moments of peace in the midst of all the chaos of those first few weeks. I did have sweet moments with my baby girl. And believe it or not, apparently I did manage to get some sleep here and there.

I've talked to my mom and some of my friends about those first few weeks, and I usually end up in tears by the end of the conversation. I get so sad because I honestly don't remember a lot of what happened, and I feel like I missed out on some really precious time in the earliest days of my baby's life. I truly felt like I missed out on moments that I will never get back, and I think I'll always be sad about that.

In order for you to understand the whole picture, I'll start at the beginning.

I had a normal labor and delivery course, and could have gone home after 24 hours, but we were having trouble getting Kaylee to nurse, so I was encouraged to stay an extra day to get more support with breast feeding. I agreed, but one sleepless night in the hospital turned into two sleepless nights.

I was exhausted from giving birth. I was in awe at this sweet little being nestled in a handmade, white, crocheted blanket in the bassinet next to me, and I couldn't stop looking at her and checking on her as I lay in that hospital bed. I was tired of being bothered all the time so the nurse could check my vitals. I had what felt like everybody and their mother in my room trying to help me breast feed my baby every two hours - seriously, at times there were 2 or 3 nurses in there at once trying to help us. And every time I tried, I failed. I was really, really, really sad that my baby wouldn't breast feed. I felt like a freak - like something was wrong with me - that I couldn't do one of the most basic tasks of motherhood.

And I was in pain. The ice pack and pain meds were wearing off, and I was beginning to realize how much trauma my body had just gone through. Episiotomies frickin' suck - and Kaylee was only a 5 pounder. My body eventually decided that it didn't like the codeine that was in the Tylenol, so I proceeded to ralph up all my pain medication in the middle of the night, and had to wait several more hours before I could get any other form of relief, and from then on my pain was never really under control. That's when things really started going downhill...

When I was finally discharged, the doctor said something about taking Aleve at home. Somehow, I managed not to catch the part about how I should take several Aleve to equal the amount of medication I was getting at the hospital (sleep deprivation, perhaps?) , so I went home and proceeded to take 1 capsule of Aleve. I was on 800 mg tylenol and narcotic pain meds at the hospital to manage the pain, so 250 mg of Aleve didn't even touch the pain once I got home.

I literally could not get in and out of bed - my husband had to get me to the bathroom and back. It was quite possibly worse than the pain of contractions, and my dignity had flown the coop. I was in so much pain I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I wanted so badly to just settle in and enjoy my baby like I assumed every other new mother did, but I couldn't.

We ended up calling the doctor and I was able to get on a regimen that effectively managed my pain, but it took at least a day for it to kick in.

Those first few weeks I know I freaked my husband out. I was not myself. My house didn't feel like my house. I felt like I couldn't enjoy my baby because I was so dang tired all the time that I couldn't function. And, as ready and willing as I was to pump milk for my daughter every 3 hours, that took a toll on me as well. Each time I got hooked up to the milk machine I got sad that I had a damn machine hooked up to my boobs instead of my baby, nursing peacefully. I was happy I could at least provide her with breast milk, but I still felt crappy each time - it was time spent away from my baby and time spent thinking of how I STILL couldn't breast feed her. The day she turned 8 weeks old she decided that it was high time to latch on, and she's been a little nursing pro ever since. Anyway, back to what I was saying...

4 days postpartum I had the first anxiety attack of my life. I'm a relatively laid back person and don't really get worked up about stuff. After I realized what happened, I was determined to figure out what triggered it so it wouldn't happen again. I quickly realized that it all began with food. I couldn't get it out of my head that the nurses at the hospital told me I had to consume between 500 and 1000 extra calories daily to sustain breast feeding. I wasn't really eating like I normally do because, well, I was either trying to sleep, remembering that I hadn't taken a shower in 2 days, wincing through pain, or listening to my baby cry. So, in the back of my severely sleep-deprived mind, there was something telling me that I had to eat A LOT, and I needed to eat a lot NOW. So, I started eating really fast - I felt like I hadn't eaten in days and shoot, if I wanted to breastfeed I had to eat, eat, eat, right?

Suddenly I was having trouble breathing. I was suddenly ice cold. I was trembling. And it was all completely out of my control. I was scared out of my mind and didn't know what was happening to my body. We called the doctor and he talked me through it - telling me that I was having a panic attack. I can't tell you how embarrassed I was, and what a WIMP I felt like at the time. I was mortified that my family had witnessed all that. But, I still remember my dad, standing behind me as I sat in the glider in the nursery. He would gently pat my arm and kept saying, "It's okay, it's okay, it's okay" over and over. And over. And over. Because I told him not to stop saying that. He calmed me down and helped me get through it. I'm sure he was scared sh*tless, too, but he didn't let on that he was.

I'm getting better about it, but I can't even begin to describe to you how much I've beat myself up over the fact that I have had such a hard time adjusting to motherhood. I really didn't think it would be this hard. But it is. Thank God it's getting better, and thank God for medication. I'm slowly learning to cut myself some slack and not be SO hard on myself. A huge part of my being able to get through this is talking to people who have been there before, or who are going through this now. Because I realize that I'm not the only one.

I'm not a freak. I'm not a basket case (well, okay - maybe some days I am), and I don't need to be locked up somewhere and put in a straight jacket (not yet, anyway - although I did have a conversation with some of my mom friends one day and we all informed each other that we would like sparkly, rhinestone straight jackets if someone came to take us away...).

I'm a mom. A new mom. One that loves my baby tremendously and is living a dream that I always wished for. And, I'm wreck some days. And that's okay.

(This post is part of Wordful Wednesday, sponsored by 7 Clown Circus - head on over to check out more Wordful Wednesday work.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Today's Post Brought to You By the Letter M

I love lists. I'm one of those people that has to make a list for everything. To Do lists are the most common lists you'll find around my house, and I'm so OCD about my lists, that if I do something that's not on my list, I'll write it on at the bottom just so I can cross it off. It's pathetic - I know...

So, since I like lists so much, I'm very excited to share a top 10 list with you - this list is in no particular order, though. Jenners over at Life with a Little One and More is playing a fun little game and assigned me the Letter M, so everything on my list must start with the letter M. When you're done here, bop on over to read Life With a Little One and More - Jenners is hilarious and you will quickly become addicted to her blog - I guarantee it. Ok, on with my list!

1. Mashed potatoes.

I friggin' love mashed potatoes. They're just so good. My favorite is when my mom or mother-in-law makes them from scratch and they have lumps in them. And, they've gotta be real buttery with salt on them, too. When I was pregnant I'd eat platefuls of mashed potatoes with brown gravy. Holy heaven they hit the spot like no other. I love mashed potatoes with all my heart.

2. Mom - I seriously don't know what I'd do without her. I'm so lucky she lives close to us. She loves to go shopping as much as I do, so we have fun window shopping or "for real" shopping, and she's just so patient while I try on clothes. She's an awesome Grandma to Kaylee and she's really funny, too. Even though she's 10 minutes away from me, we can still talk on the phone for hours at a time. It baffles my husband and dad to no end.

3. Magazines.

I've always loved to read, and before Kaylee was born, I read tons of books. But, since she's been born, I've found it much easier to read magazines. It's just nice to be able to pick it up and finish a quick article instead of starting a book, putting it down for a week, and then having to re-read a chapter because I can't remember a darn thing I read before. I've got subscriptions to Parents and Parenting, which I love. And a friend lets me borrow her Better Homes and Gardens when she's done with them. My mom just gave me Working Mom and several copies of Natural Living or Natural Health, Natural Something or other - I can't remember. Anyway, I'm a big fan of magazines.

4. Mother-in-law. I feel really lucky to have such a great mother-in-law. She's got some mad cooking skills and many a time I leave her house after lunch or dinner wishing I'd worn sweatpants instead of my fit-just-right jeans. She's also got sweet sewing skills, and is just super supportive, and she's also a wonderful Grandma.

5. Monks.

Yes, you read that right. Monks. A while back Dennis was downloading some new tunes. He chose these Gregorian Chants sung by monks because they're so relaxing. Well, he was home alone with the baby and she was fussing and crying in the nursery. He had just burned the CD and so he took it into her room because that's where the nearest CD player is - he wanted to make sure it worked. He pops in the monks, and silence ensues. Every night since that time, we put the monks on when it's time for bed, and they lull Kaylee to sleep peacefully. They also help calm her down during the day if she's fussy.

6. Mommy and Me. I try to go to Mommy and Me as often as I can at our local YMCA. When I got set to go to my first class, I was convinced it would be total cake. I'm like, "Hmmm, a bunch of moms, pushing their babies in strollers, talking, eh - no problem." WRONG. It was harder than any group fitness class I've ever taken. The instructor is relentless and it seriously feels like boot camp. So, I leave feeling really good - I work my butt off and can usually feel the after effects for at least a day or two. It also provides me with a fun place to go to get out of the house and to chat it up with other mamas. I've met some great ladies there.

7. Mini Me.

I just love her so much. Even if she absolutely refuses to be on any sort of schedule so as to provide my days with some semblance of order, she's such a good baby, and she's so darn entertaining and cute. We are SO blessed to have her.

8. Monkey Bread. Holy Toledo, have you ever had it? Oh my goodness. I think I need to make some. Now. It's SO friggin' good. Especially fresh out of the oven when it's nice and gooey and warm. You make it with biscuits or dinner rolls in a bundt pan and then you sprinkle a concoction of instant pudding mix, butter, cinnamon and sugar over the top and let it bake. I swear it's got crack or some other addictive property in it because it's nearly impossible to stop eating it. One of the best food inventions EVER.

9. Mini Me's Dad.

I seriously have the world's most patient and hilarious husband ever. He puts up with my NON-STOP talking and babbling, and he put up with me in my pre-ABP days - how he ever did that is beyond me. He's an incredible father to Kaylee, and he never, ever fails to make me laugh. Every day. I love him so much.

10. Motherlode Cake from Claim Jumper.

Yes, I realize that a lot of my items are food-related. I won't lie to you. I love to eat. Once you eat Motherlode cake, you never go back. I seriously think it's got 6 layers of chocolatey goodness, and most of the time I get sick after eating it because I eat so much. But, I keep coming back for more. I just can't help it. It will feed at least 5 or more people, depending on how ravenous everyone is.

So, there you have it! 10 of my favorite things that start with the letter M. Wanna play? Leave me a comment telling me you want to play, and I'll assign you a letter.

Friday, December 5, 2008

She Works Hard for the Money

I love the fact that I work 2 or 3 days a week and get to stay home with Kaylee the other days, but on days when I go to work, I often feel discombobulated.

Take tonight, for instance. I go to work, work all day, get off at 4:30, pick Kaylee up at 4:45, go to the store, pick up dinner, and get home at about 6. Play with baby, eat dinner, put baby to bed. Hubby is in bed. Laundry from yesterday is still in the washer and dryer. Dishes are piling up in the sink (HATE that...), and I'm just trying to unwind and not having much luck with it. And I feel too lazy to do the laundry or the dishes. I am out of motivation and out of energy.

Tonight is also the first night I'm "on call" for work. I'm actually training with another social worker to be on call in the Emergency Department. They say you don't sleep well at all the week you're on call, and now I know what they mean. I'm just sitting here wondering if I'll get paged, and I'm contemplating how pissed I'll be if I get paged approximately 4 minutes after I fall asleep. Seriously - I'll be a bit upset. Ok, a lot upset. But then I'll remind myself that I get paid time and a half if I get called in. A little cash money around the holidays never hurt a girl.

I love my job because it's never the same. One day I help an 82-year-old get into the nursing home, and the next day I'm calling CPS because a mother admitted to doing crack on her way to the hospital to have her baby. Today proved to be another interesting day. It's never dull.

First, there was the 50-something alcoholic who said he's trying to drink himself to death (and who, unfortunately, doesn't realize that when you reposition yourself and don't have your hospital gown pulled down correctly and the blanket over you enough, you flash the whole room! Sh*t, people! This is why I became a social worker and not a nurse. I want to be in people's business - not SEE their business. in the hospital...). That was sad, but it was also a vicious cycle that he's been dealing with his whole life. You feel bad for them, but then you realize that in all reality, they'll probably never change (I know, I'm pretty young to be so cynical, but it's true - and yes, I know there's always exceptions to the rule).

Then there was the college kid who was very sick. Mentally. It was heart breaking. It just makes me sad that mental illnesses like schizophrenia and paranoia even exist. I just pray that medication can give this kid a somewhat of a normal life.

My work gives me a chance to step out of "mommy mode." I get to use a different part of my brain and interact with other adults. And I think it's good for Kaylee to interact with another adult every now and then, too. We all need a break. But still, I wonder if I'll ever get a better handle on balancing work and home. It's not easy mixing the two.

How about you? Are you a stay-at-home mom? Do you work outside the home? How long was it before you felt like you had a handle on balancing stuff, or are you like me, and you're still not there quite yet?

I honestly wouldn't want it any other way. I wouldn't want to be home full time, and I wouldn't want to work full-time, but I'm just still not quite sure how to balance both. Oh well.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Writer's Workshop Thursday - 2 Random Pictures

Here's my assignment for this week's Writer's Workshop. Head on over to Mama's Losin' It to join the partay for yourself. All the cool kids are doing it.

The assignment...

Post and write about the 6th picture from (the 6th folder of) your Flickr account and then do the same for the 6th picture of the 6th folder on your computer.

Here's the 6th picture from my 6th folder in my Picasa account (don't have Flicker so I had to use Picasa - sue me, okay?)

Meet Uncle Colin. He loves Kaylee to pieces and is currently away at school. He got to spend an entire day with Kaylee and my mom the day he got back because I had to work. He loves making her face do funny things, and this time around, Kaylee decided she'd repay the favor by rearranging his face as well. We're talking jabbing of the eyes, smooshing of the nose, scraping of the inside of his mouth with her sharp little fingernails - the works.

Now, for the second part of the assignment. This here is the 6th picture from the 6th folder on my computer.

This is the first time Kaylee ever discovered a toy and showed interest in it, proceeding to whack the crap out of it. This little orange elephant used to hang from the handle on Kaylee's carseat and has been fondly named, "Rrrroberto" (you have to do the tongue roll at the beginning or you are pronouncing his name incorrectly). Roberto no longer stays attached because his clip has lost the "spring," so he's been replaced by a musical frog who sings when you press his eyes (that's where she learned how to jab our eyes out...).

Anyway, I remember this day vividly. We were getting ready to leave, and I was in the kitchen doing something. All of a sudden I hear the jingling bell of Roberto, and there is my little sweetie - just batting away at the elephant. Notice how he's the only one moving in this picture. She got so excited that she could hardly stand it. It was so much fun to watch.

I'm so thankful that I get to be home with her part-time because it just makes my heart melt to watch her learn and discover new things. I just love it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Don't Bite the Boob That Feeds You

Dear Kaylee,

My boob is not a chew toy. I mean it, little missy.

Last night I nearly shot through the roof with the excruciating pain that accompanied your attempt to slice off my nipple with your jagged tooth. I know you feel the need to knaw on something, but please - I beg you. Use the cold, wet washcloth that I give you. Use a sock. Use your toes. Use a teething ring, for Pete's sake. Just please, keep your jagged little tooth off of my booby. It still hurts and you bit it over 12 hours ago.

I've been kind enough to open the booby bar 24 hours a day for you. The least you can do in return is NOT BITE THE BOOB THAT FEEDS YOU.

Now, I'm going to have to look this up to verify it, but I'm pretty much 99.99 % positive that my health insurance will not pay to have my nipple surgically reattached if you bite it off. I'm sure the out of pocket cost for such a procedure is not cheap. Your dad and I are not made of money. Not only that, but biting off my nipple will rob your future sibling of the boob, and that's just plain mean of you.

Do you want a cookie? A pony? A puppy? Just tell me what you want, and if you promise never to bite my boob again, it's yours in a heartbeat. Seriously.

Wordful Wednesday

This is Kaylee with my sister-in-law's dog, Mindy. Kaylee is obsessed with Mindy and loves her to pieces - possibly even more than she loves me and Dennis (well, maybe not, but she certainly doesn't get so excited when she sees us enter the room). Mindy is extremely patient with Kaylee, through the tail pulling, the rather hard patting, and all the excitement. Mindy knows she's not supposed to lick Kaylee on the face, but occasionally she'll give her a quick lick on the face (see Exhibit A) and then make a run for it. She howls when Kaylee cries and is very protective of her, which is pretty darn cute. Here's a couple bonus pictures to show you what their little friendship is like.

Exhibit A

Kaylee's Bodyguard

Head on over to 7 Clown Circus to check out more Wordful Wednesdays.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

This White Girl Loves Hip Hop (just don't ask me to dance...)

Seriously. I can't dance to save my life. Even my baby laughs at me when I try to bust a move. Let's just say if someone taught me how to dance, it would have been this guy. That's how freakin' awesome of a dancer I am.

So, I've shared my top secret love of hip hop music with the blogging world. I've also added some new songs to my jukebox, so hopefully you'll get to hear some hip hop jams while you're here. I added some Justin Timberlake with Madonna, some J-Lo, Sir Mixalot, and Fergie.

I had just one little problem, though, while I was trying to add hip hop songs for you to jam out to. Uh, I don't know who sings most of them. I just know that I like the songs, but what they're called and who the arteest is, is beyond me.

So, help a girl out. Tell me some of your favorite hip hop songs, and if I like them, I just might add them to my jukebox. I really wanted to add Lowrider and have the accompanying Tom Cruise in the fat suit dance from Tropic Thunder, but it had some rather objectionable language in it that I didn't want on my blog. But, it's still hilarious - so, if you're bored (and if little ears are out of hearing range) go to You Tube and find the video. You just might pee your pants laughing.