What’s up?

I have spoken about our neighbors before, and how generous they are. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to be invited to see Mama Mia. I of course accepted, and hubby was nice enough to stay home with Elliott. It was great and I had a blast. I love musicals, and this one was exceptional.

We are also preparing for our first out of town trip with Elliott. He will make his first airplane voyage at just over 8 weeks old. Wish us luck. In the last few days, he has begun to smile. I am having a hard time capturing it on film, but I keep trying. It is melting my heart to see. He is growing up so fast. *sniffle*

I also found out that COBRA will cost us $591.69 a month. So, I am looking into how much it would cost us to be added to Jeff’s insurance, and then I need to verify that we can keep our current medical group, etc. Ohh, the joys of the medical bureaucracy.

I heart Craigslist. I am addicted to it. I am never buying anything new again, without first looking on craigslist to see if I can buy it used. Yesterday I bought a snap and go stroller for $10!!! Last week I bought 2 Maya Wrap slings for $20. Just with these two purchases alone, I saved over $125.

Public Speaking

I was the kid in grade school who when the teacher asked a question to the class, and was looking around for someone to raise their hand, or worse yet to call on randomly…I intentionally would not make eye contact, and try to look like I was looking for the answer. I never wanted to be called on in class, not even if I did know the answer. I would rarely raise my hand. When we had to read from our books out loud, I would count the number of kids in front of me, and count the paragraphs so I knew which one I would be reading. Then I would read and re-read it to myself, so I could be sure I read it well aloud. I never heard what the other kids read, because I was too busy ‘preparing’ for my oral performance. I would get very nervous when it was my turn, turn all red in the face, and hope that I did well and didnt pronounce any words incorrectly. I was relieved when my turn was over, and could finally relax and breathe easy.

This anxiety carried over into Junior High and High School. In Spanish class, I would dread having to recite Spanish words out loud. I would be mortified if I pronounced the word incorrectly. It was humiliating for me to not know the vocab words, and forget having a Spanish conversation…I just couldnt do it.

In college, I was a Cultural Anthropology major. I transferred in as a Junior, so most of my classes were upper division courses. As such, many of them were very small classes, some as few as 8 students. These classes were a double edged sword. You got the rare opportunity to truly learn from a professor and not use a syllabus. These were Professors whose work you very much admired. But, you also were often required to talk in class. These classes were a huge contrast to classes such as my Human Anatomy class, which had 850 students in it, 12 teachers aides, and it was recorded just in case you didnt make it to class that day.

One class I took was an upper division course with Brian Fagan, who basically wrote the basic Cultural Anthro book that many Universities and Colleges use. The class was one of those awesome classes, with just 8 students. I was in awe of Dr. Fagan. I loved his teaching style, I admired his work as an Anthropologist, and he was remarkably easy to talk to. After a few classes, he laid out the quarters coursework… The whole class grade was based on 4 oral presentations, memorized, 15 minutes long. He didnt want to have to read or grade anything. I was in agony. I needed this class to graduate. I was on a tight schedule, if I wanted to graduate in 6 quarters. I couldnt drop the class, and find another take its place (it was too late in the quarter).

I cried. I went home and cried. When it came time for me do my first presentation, I went into Dr. Fagan’s office and cried. Yup, it is true. I cried in his office, explaining my absolute fear of public speaking. He was very kind and listened attentively, and seemed to understand. But, he was not flexible on the requirements. I gave my speeches with note cards, and for that I received a B in the class.

I have always had this fear of speaking out in public settings. I am by no means shy. I am very outspoken and have pretty strong opinions about things. I just dont like to give prepared talks in front of people, or being called out in public. I am afraid that people will think I am stupid. Yup, that is the truth. I am afraid of being judged by others.

My FIL is involved in Rotary and as such gives speeches with ease, and often. When my hubby was little, he and his Dad prepared a speech (I think it was about Abe Lincoln) that was so good they were asked to go around to all the schools and perform the speech. They both speak publicly with ease. My MIL is a teacher, no problems speaking there. My Uncle is a musician…no problem speaking in public there either. I even suffered from anxiety speaking at my own wedding!

Last year, I scheduled an interview with my now boss. He explained that the job required someone who understood and could train users on our software and could integrate companies business model into the training. Industry knowledge was a given. Also required was the ability to talk in public…duh! Anyone who is a trainer needs to have the ability to speak in front of a group. I didnt tell him about my fears. I figured that I would use this to strong arm me into becoming more comfortable with my voice. I was successful in forcing myself to become comfortable in this environment, and more at ease with speaking in public. It is also easier to do when you know what you are talking about, and have given the same talk over and over.

I still struggle however when I am put on the spot, and with speaking in public depending on the scenario. I have been forced to think about why I have these long standing issues is as a result of a conflict I am having with my hubbys best friend. We have a communication problem. The problem is that he asks very direct questions (often ones that are about my feelings-argh!), and these questions put me on the spot. I immediately feel embarrassed and defensive, and I get nervous. He doesnt mean to make me feel this way of course, although he is a teacher in real life. I think he is truly curious about my answer, and hopes to get to know me better as a result.

Because I am already nervous about being asked a question that I havent thought about before, or know how to answer…I cant think quickly. I already suffer from the inability to think and process things quickly. I need TIME to sort through my feelings, and consider all the variables. For me, it can take weeks to come to terms with some things, and be able to articulate my feelings. Hence the reason I blog. I can take however long I need to to formulate and write out my thoughts and feelings.

Anyway, I always answer the questions. Because if I didnt I would feel stupid. However, the answers aren’t really how/why I feel about the question. They are spontaneous replies, and not at all how I would answer had I taken the time to think about it. But, for fear of looking stupid and not knowing the answer –I always say something. This conversational habit we have gotten into has left me feeling uncomfortable talking with this person. And over time I have become bitter and angry towards this person. Of course, this has caused a lot of strife for both me and my hubby.

I would have liked to have realized earlier that the cause of my grief was simply my inability to say-hmm, let me think about that and get back with ya. But, again…I am slow processor of info and feelings. I felt powerless in the conversations. I could have also just explained that I dont like being put on the spot…blah blah blah. But, that would have been too easy. I had to complicate it. Silly, really the whole thing now looking back.

What fun it is going to be to try and move past this one…

Part-time Mama

My bosses, reluctantly, approved my request to work part-time when I return from Maternity Leave. Woot!

I feel pretty relieved to be able to be home with Elliott 2 week days, and only have to work 3 days. Hubby will also be taking off 1 day a week to be with Elliott. The other 2 days we will have a nanny come to the house and watch him. I feel like this is the best decision for all parties.

If I would have stayed home, and not gone back to work…I suspect that I would have resented it. More directed towards my husband than anything. Just over the last few weeks, I have noticed and observed some behaviors and feelings that I didnt think would permeate my thought cavity. For example-if my husband is the sole financial provider…he would be under a lot of stress top provide for us, and need to work all the time to feel comfortable and confident that he is doing just that. I would become resentful that he is working too much, and not spending enough time with his son and I. He would then feel more stressed out, and not be any fun to be around. Thereby perpetuating a vicious cycle of disappointment and anger. Another scenario would be one where I am home all day with Elliott taking care of him, and doing household chores. Once my husband came home from work, I would expect to get a break from kid duty. But, if he was tired too, or had to work late, or wanted to go out with the boys or to a game…I could become bitter and resentful at being ‘stuck in the house’. Neither of these situations speak to the stressors that are associated with not being a financial contributor anymore either. There are an entirely new set of worries that I dont even want to think about.

So, being a part-time professional and a full-time Mommy seems to be the best thing for me and my family right now. The time that I am away from my career and the work force in the grand scheme of my working lifetime is minuscule, and the impact will hopefully be small. But the impact of me being home with Elliott I think is going to be grand.

There are some practical things to work out of course. Since I will not be working more than 30 hours, I no longer will qualify for medical/dental/vision insurance. So, they will have to offer me COBRA, which we will pay out of pocket…at the low, low price of $500 for the 2 of us. Yikes, is right. But, either I pay it, or hubby pays it. Either way it has to get paid. Then, when I go back to work full-time, the company will pick up the cost again.

We also have to budget for the loss of my income and the nanny’s salary. Plus, should we ever want to go out sans kiddo, we need to factor in childcare costs.

The benefits to the company are that I will likely not need to take off too much work to attend doctors appointments and the like, since I will be home 2 days a week. I can schedule most of those things on the days I am home. And since I will only be in the office 20 odd hours a week, I will be forced to be efficient and very time conscious. That can only be good for the company!

So, I have been communicating via email and phone conversations with my bosses, and while they want me to wait until the end of September to commit to anything (I imagine for fear of committing and then changing my mind…), I am already starting to plan in my head for my return (boo hoo only 5 more weeks). I put my re-start date on the calendar and the nanny’s start date on the calendar for the week prior.

Things that I have to prepare or get ready before I go back:
a new budget
a pumping schedule for Elliott and for my donations
Elliott’s schedule (as soon as he has one…add that to the list too)
Lose 15 more pounds so that my work clothes fit again (lose another 30 after that to look good)
keep training for the Mud Run so I dont look and act the fool at the race

2 month check-up

Elliott had his 2 month check up today. It was a little earlier than originally planned, due to the fact that he needed to get his vaccinations before we travel to SF at the end of the month.

He did a great job handling the shots. He cried for wee bit right after they were injected, but then settled down pretty quickly. I breastfeed him right away, and then he fell asleep in the sling and subsequently the car seat. I think it caused his Dad and I more stress than it did him.

He also got a stellar report card from the pediatric doc. He is at or above the 95th percentile for all things-height, weight and head circumference. All his reflexes are in line. She also put our worry to rest that he was gaining and growing to quickly. She said they look for steady growth over time and showed me the chart they plot it on. She also confirmed that he looked very healthy, and to keep up the good work. Big yippee- she signed off on me being able to donate milk certifying that Elliott was healthy and not wanting for milk.

All and all, a very good visit.

Weekend Update

Another weekend is coming to a close. Which means another week of my maternity leave has slipped by. And that ultimately means that Elliott is another week older. He is 7 weeks old today, and he is growing so quickly *Sniffle*!

It is a double edged sword. I get excited every day they he makes a new noise or facial gesture, and yet I know that it means that we are one day older than the day before. *sigh* His hair is turning strawberry blond, and he has the cutest orangy colored eyebrows. He has started to make like squeak sounds, and is cooing. He loves to take baths, and hates to have his clothes changed. We have our 2 month check-up on Tuesday, which we aren’t looking forward to.

We went to our first of many baseball game on Friday night as a family. Elliott was decked out in Padre gear, and slept through the entire game in the sling. What a rock star.

Thank you Thursday

Hubby and I were talking yesterday about how lucky were are to have such great friends. We are also amazed at how generous people can be, without ever asking for anything in return. I think we are exceptionally lucky to be surrounded by such awesome peeps. So much so that I want to share a few examples.

Hubby and I were recounting the weekend, and how on a moments notice our friends from home opened up their homes to the 3 of us and the bup-scout, prepared us a delicious meal, gave us glass after glass of tasty homemade beer, and cancelled their existing plans to hang out with us. Now that is coolness.

The reason we went home was for my best friends 33rd birthday. Ever since I can remember we have celebrated our birthdays together. So, this year with the babe and all- and the 3 hour drive home (turned 5 hours this trip due to traffic), we thought we were going to miss out. But, hubby thought it would be a great idea to surprise him and drive home. We did just that, and surprised him alright. We also crashed what was planned as a family b-day party. Oops. But, since I have known the family for 18 years…they allowed it. Food, friends and fun. Again, a great time.

We were also remembering how endlessly generous some people are. Hubby has a couple of friends that live in the hood. These folks are always stopping by with wine, inviting us over for dinner and drinks, and offering to watch the little man. In my mind, they also did the nicest thing for us after the baby was born–they baked a HUGE lasagna and dropped it off. No visiting required, no questions asked. Just a wonderful homemade meal, ready to be baked and eaten-now that is awesomely old school.

Our other friends stocked our fridge with Bar Mitvah leftovers so that when we returned from the hospital we had food to eat. They also decorated the house, and made it festive for our return.

Our neighbors across the street are always stopping by to see if we need anything from the store, or Target, or if we want to come by for dinner or drinks. An endless amount of generosity from people we just met a few months ago.

I am also grateful for the incredible amount of baby gifts we got in the mail AFTER Elliott was born. I also had no idea that when people came to visit that they would bring such wonderful gifts.

These are just a few of things I have on my mind today that I am thankful for. I am feeling an overwhelming amount of gratitude for the people I have in my life.

Cleared for takeoff

I had my 6 week post-partum follow up appointment with my Midwife yesterday. All is well, my incision is healing nicely. I am clear for exercise and sex. My breasts and nipples look good, and (drum roll please….) they didnt ask me if I had help at home. Maybe by now they know that I dont.

I also decided to have an IUD placed, so that for a bit I am safe from worrying about getting pregnant again. Even though, if I am exclusively breastfeeding, I should be pretty safe…you can never be too sure. What a process the IUD placement was. Apparently my cervix is oddly placed, and it took the midwife and an assistant both working down under to get a clear sight path. All the while, I had Elliott on my chest trying to pacify him (he was a crank pot yesterday), trying not to move so they wouldn’t botch the procedure.

I also sent the email to my employer to request a part-time gig. My immediate boss wrote back and said that once he discusses it with the 2 owners, he will call me to discuss. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

I have been milking (no pun) the whole 6 weeks no exercise thing, and havent really done too much in the way of physical activity. But, since I now have no more excuses as to why I havent lost all my pregnancy weight (30 pounds down, 15 more pounds to go)…I got off my rump and went for a 2 mile walk this AM with the kiddo and pooch in tow. We walked often when I was pregnant and recovering. But, now I have to get serious.

It was a good feeling to be out and about again, and it was still early enough that it wasnt too muggy. The humidity here is a killer lately, and we dont have AC. Part of my motivation is also the fact that in October, my work sponsors us in the Mud Run. We are competing against our times last year, and for every minute we finish faster than our time last year, they will pay us $100!!! Last year I completed it in 95 minutes, and made $550 (the prize last year was $50 per minute). This year I dont have any hopes of beating my time, but I am still going to walk the 6.2 miles and finish the race. Since I havent put my running shoes on in 9 plus months, I am going to keep my goals reasonable. Plus, they have already secured me a spot, and a T-shirt!

Elliott is doing great. He is adorable and of course I am falling more and more in love with him every day. Hubby is taking a day and half off of on site work each week to be with him. So, for the first time today, I left during this time. I only went to the grocery store, and was back just as he awoke from a nap and needed to nurse. But, it felt good and liberating to be able to leave and know that he was in good, safe hands and to still be able to nurse him.

I am still pumping every morning to control the over-active let down, and occasionally in the middle of the night (depending on how long he sleeps and if we get to nurse on both sides), but the breastfeeding this has taken a very positive turn. And I also am getting a nice supply built up in the freezer. I am still uncertain how much he eats for each meal, but I am going to guess its about 3-4 ounces. Every time we go to a breastfeeding support meeting, his has already eaten and is napping on and off so we cant get a true gage of actual ouncage consumed.

My friend, who works here suggested that I pump and donate my extra milk. I am going to get screened for it, and see if I qualify. No sense in letting the over-supply go to waste. Thoughts?

Part-time proposal

I have to be logical. Although, it is extremely difficult given the amount of emotion I have swilling around in my heart. I can hardly think clearly about this subject, because I love Elliott so much it clouds my decision making ability.

I am going to propose a part-time schedule to my employer. If they accept, I will go back 3 days a week, hubby will be home a day and a half and we will have a Nanny 2 days a week. If I decide that part-time work isnt for me…well, then at least I tried.

If they dont accept my proposal and say that full time is the only option…then we will have to decide if we can afford for me to be a SAHM, or if I should go back to work full-time.

Here is my email so far:

I am extremely excited to be returning to work in October, once my Maternity Leave is up. The last few months have been an amazing time of transition with my new family, and I love being a Mom. But, I am looking forward to returning to work, and adding back the balance in my life that only my professional career can bring. I miss my clients and co-workers, as well as the daily conversations about the ever changing mortgage industry.

I would like to discuss options as to what may be the best way for me to re-enter my position at XX come October and long term. Prior to my Maternity Leave taking effect, I reviewed possibilities with Boss Man and the idea of me taking one day off a week was discussed. It was determined that I would need to use vacation time for any time I took off and once my vacation days were used up I would need to return to work full time.

As I look towards the future and my new role as a Mom and professional, I would like to re-visit these possibilities. I want to be available to my son for his first critical year, and I would like to consider the possibility of coming back to work part-time, and modifying my salary accordingly. I would like to review this possibility with you, in hopes of establishing a part-time work week upon my return.

I am open to ideas/suggestions/thoughts as it relates to hours, days of the week, and commitments that would need to be addressed and considered for this option to be successful and beneficial to XX. I would also like to note that should we encounter an exceptionally busy week, with some advance notice, I could make myself available for increased hours.

I hope after you have had some time to consider this option, that you will approve this request. However, I do understand if this isn’t feasible and am open to exploring other options with XX.