5 years ago

5 years ago tomorrow, my husband and I took a leap of faith.  Surrounded by our very closest friends and family we committed ourselves to one another.  8 years we’ve know one another, 2 adorable sons, and an entirely different life than the one we started with. 

Happy Anniversary my love. 

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Striving for more or never satisfied?

It has been said, by several people including my husband and my best friend, that I am never satisfied.

I never took this as an insult.  In fact, I always approached it as a positive part of my personality.  I think that striving to be better, constantly wanting to improve on what you are, and working and looking towards future goals are all very admirable traits to possess.

I understand however that it isn’t meant as a compliment.  What they are really saying is that I am never happy with what I have and I cant ever be satisfied or appreciate the present.  I am unable to stop, and be thankful.  I can rarely be present because I am too busy looking ahead. I focus on what still needs to be done and not what has already been accomplished.

There are several parts about this situation that are difficult to address. The first is the basic differences in world views.  How do you resolve something so ingrained in your personality with your spouse or loved ones? Being raised with HUGELY different parenting styles we both have traits and characteristics that compliment one another and also challenge one another.

My MIL is a role model for positive behavior.  She has a knack for speaking only positive things, for making the best of each situation and for never vocalizing the negative.   While it is often difficult to know how she really feels about something-it is very enjoyable and pleasant to spend time with her.  My Mother on the other hand, has a special ability to be honest and forthcoming.  She always speaks her mind and you know where you stand with her.  She doesn’t often take things personally and has a tough skin.  Of course, her honesty is one sided, and can often hurt those who are more sensitive than she is.

So when resolving a marital issue–do you ask the other person to change (assuming that a person can change) and moreover is it fair to even ask them to?  Do you accept this as part of their personality or do you work towards a common goal or compromise and if so, how and what?

Is this simply about perspective which can be resolved with a word choice. Is this about manipulating the words to affect the desired result.  When you are comfortable speaking your mind, is it worth taking the few extra moments to pause and think about what you are going to say and how it will perceived; and potentially alter the phrasing.  Or is that compromising your true self to satisfy others who have more fragile personalities.

In disagreements where both sides feel they are justified —  who is ‘right’ and how do you decide?

All of these are subjective, I know.  Each relationship is unique and one can not possibly advise on how to resolve a situation like this for another person.  I realize that I am asking questions that can not be answered by any another except the parties involved.

I also realize that when our words are hurting people we love, regardless of how or why, that we need to alter the phrasing and delivery.

So, what I am asking is that you provide suggestions for how you ‘make the best’ of situations even if they aren’t going as planned.  How do you see and vocalize the positive when the first thing you see is what is wrong, not what is right?  How do you keep your mouth shut when something goes wrong, and look on the bright side?  Is there a way to offer suggestions without sounding like you are criticizing the progress.  For the ladies–how do you power through hormonal periods of your life and still remain positive and upbeat?

I hope that like parenting, if my arsenal is full of suggestions and ideas, then I can be better prepared to handle the pitfalls challenges when they arise.    Being prepared is a good place to start.

Virtual Valentines Day

As you all know, we are on a tight budget since I was laid off in November.  We don’t typically celebrate these types of holidays with gifts or lavishness anyhow, but this year we decided on a very different kind of celebration.

We decided to exchange virtual gifts.  So, we would still shop just like we were really buying the other person something special, but money wasn’t an issue.  We would put it together with the same excitement of a real gift, and we would exchange them on V day.
My gift to my hubby was a new macbook, with pro-tools on it.  He liked it.
My hubby’s gift to me was this:

Happy Valentine’s 

Day 2009

To my wife  –

As we have decided to give virtual gifts this year, I have created you an electronic document that lists all of your gifts in sequential order.  Enjoy.

1.        Breakfast with Matthew – I thought it would be nice to have Matthew McConaughey make you breakfast since you like him and he would be fun to have breakfast with.

2.    Then, you would be escorted by limousine to Coronado for a spa treatment. FUN and UBER relaxing.

3.       Then, you would come back to the house and we would head out for a walk through Torrey Pines State Park with Elliott and Whiskey.  Since it’s virtual, dogs are now allowed at the State Park.  J

4.    We would probably be hungry.  Good thing…  because Colin Melloy will be at our house fixing lunch for you.  After lunch, you get a private acoustic performance in the living room and a kiss on the cheek from your “other” boyfriend.

5.       Then… it’s off to a $1000 shopping spree at Fashion Valley.  Elliott and I will follow you around in a shopping cart while you go crazy!

6.       I hope you worked up an appetite, because we are going to Bombay for dinner.  MMMM…  Delicious Dizzy Noo Shak!

7.       And when all is said and done… we put Elliott down and you get to snuggle up to me for some sweet lovin’ (pictures too graphic to post)!  What a great Valentine’s Day.  You must certainly love me!  Happy Virtual Valentines.  

       Now, is my husband awesome or what? 

        



The Five Love Languages

I am slightly embarrassed to say that I have been skimming this book. I say skimming because I have been trying to avoid the religious underpinnings, and go straight for the meat. The gist is that there are 5 languages of love:

1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch

Hubby and I have identified our primary love languages. He is a #1 and I am a #4.

The idea is that by examining the way you and you partner display and understand love that you will be able to communicate your commitment and love to one another. What committed couple couldn’t benefit, right?

Bear with me as I am processing this and trying to put it into action. It is a logical idea, but seems somewhat insincere because according to these ‘rules’ for me to understand love, my husband must show me acts of service. And for me to show hubby that I love him, I must show appreciation. It makes sense, but it seems like we will get stuck in a love vortex.

Part of the draw of this theory is that over the years hubby and I have had a couple of conversations (after we recovered from the argument portion) about how we don’t feel loved by the other person. While expressing these feelings it often came down to hubby saying he needed more affirming and positive words. And me saying that I need him to show me love in his actions and commitment to the collective we. Hmm, interesting.

Now, extend this idea to family. If I feel loved by acts of service–then, it makes huge sense why I feel so let down by my family. If 2 love languages were allowed, I think Quality time and Acts of Service would just about sum it up. I have lived in SD for going on 6 years. Some of my family has never been to visit outside of major events like our marriage or the birth of our son (quality time) and they didn’t take an active roll in helping at either event (acts of service). And maybe that is because they don’t understand my love language, nor I theirs.

I have started to practice this idea with hubby. It feels weird for me. It isn’t easy for me to express appreciation to hubby for doing things that I expect (like chores). Which is why it is so important for me to keep working on it. Because if hubby is doing all his chores as a way to make me happy, and I am not acknowledging him and showing him the love he needs then we aren’t doing everything we can to make the other person happy. And that will not make either of us happy!

First Tumble for my toddler

My sweet, beautiful boy took his first tumble yesterday. He was walking with his clacker and leaned a little to far to the left, the toy tipped over, and my boy fell face first onto the handle.

I waited just barely a moment, watched his body to see if he was going to get up and how he was going to respond and then in that instant knew that he had injured himself. I picked his slumped body off the clacker, drew in a breath and pulled him into my arms.

His mouth was full of blood and I couldnt tell where he was bleeding from. I took him to the kitchen sink and poored cool water into him mouth attempting to rinse it out. We were both coated in water and blood. I held him until he calmed down and his mouth stopped bleeding. It only took 10 or 15 minutes, but it felt like far longer.

He still will not let me look in his mouth or touch his lips at all, but after he calmed down I was able to observe when he was sucking on his pacifier that it was his upper inside lip that was cut and not his gums or tongue. Phew.

What a terrifying experience. I was just him and I at home, hubby was at work. I was always a cautious child and am now a catious adult. Until my C-Section–I had never so much as had a cut needing stiches (unless you count getting a mole removed or a wisdom tooth pulled). Anyway, seeing blood flowing from your babies mouth, running down his chin–well, it was heart wrenching and I think for a moment I was actually in shock. I didnt know what to do, or how to respond.

Within the hour, he was back to normal. Back on the clacker, walking around. As for me…my nerves are shot.

A long awaited dinner out…

We finally did it! It took just shy of 7 months, but this past Saturday night hubby and I hired a babysitter and went out sans kidlet.

To avoid any hyperbole, we actually asked a friend to babysit, and she accepted. I couldn’t let a stranger come over yet. I am still working out my trust issues.

But, boy was it nice to get out of the house for a couple of hours. Eat a leisurely dinner, have a couple of drinks and more than anything–just talk and laugh with my hubby.

This week: a new challenge. We decided to enroll Lil E in a home based daycare, instead of having the Nanny come to the house 1.5 days a week. It was a big decision for us (is he ready, are we ready, are we acting too quickly, etc., etc., etc.) because we wanted to wait until he was 1 year old, but this opportunity was too good to pass up.

And of course, how could I post without a picture!

Yes, we are still alive!


Phew, what a crazy month or more it has been. Hubby was sick, sick, sick for most of the month of December and some of January. Requiring 2 visits to Urgent Care and a doctor visit, several antibiotic Rx’s. 2 sets of blood work, one chest x-ray, and almost a lumbar puncture. Yup, you heard right.

They don’t know what was wrong with him still. They think he has a sinus infection that went haywire. But, who knows. He still isn’t 100%, and needs to go in next week for a third round of blood work and tests. Like I said, Phew!

Having to parent for so long semi-solo was a HUGE challenge for me. I don’t have that much patience or energy, coupled with the holidays; I was drained. I started to seriously stress out with regard to work and the daunting task of trying to keep up with it all.

Hubby and I are both highly organized (some say to much so), and like our house to be in a particular order. Trying to live up to our standards almost put me (and frankly hubby too)into a panic attack. I finally had to let go of certain things and convince hubby to do the same.

We both had to let go and allow our house to be in disorder for a while. We have a small child, and in order for us to enjoy him and be present with him we have to let go of trying to control many of the things in the periphery. As such, we are happier and less stressed. Three cheers for being aware and willing to change.

Speaking of change, Elliott changed before our eyes over the holidays. In the matter of a couple of days he went from not sitting up on his own at all, to being able to sit up unassisted, both hands free. He also started to become highly aware of his surroundings, making direct eye contact and responding with a laughs and smile. Formerly we would have had to solicit his smiles and chuckles, now when he sees something funny–he lets out a belly sized laugh and full face grin.

On his 1/2 year birthday we started him on rice cereal. He is a natural eater, and hasn’t had any issues thus far with any food we have given him. Along with rice cereal he has eaten bananas and sweet potatoes. This weekend we are going to try avocado or maybe pears. He seems to want to feed himself. Every time the spoon comes to him mouth, he reaches with both hands and directs and controls the spoon himself. SO much so that I can not extract it from him hands until he is ready for a refill. We also introduced the sippy cup with water in it. More than the food, watching him try and manipulate the sup into his mouth is endearing. But, when he succeeds and gets a sip of water-the look on his face is hilarious! He keeps going back for more, so I can only assume he is acclimating to its new flavor. But it facial expressions were any indicator–you would think we were trying to poison him.

Hubby and I are working on letting go a bit. We are trying to teach/allow Elliott to fall asleep on his own, rather than need to be rocked to sleep for every nap and bedtime. Lil E will fall asleep in the stroller or car seat on his own, and often times put himself back to sleep when he awakes. So, we realized that perhaps by always rocking him to sleep, we aren’t allowing him to learn to fall asleep on his own. The experiment is working well, and he seems to be learning quickly, all with little to no crying. Neither hubby nor I are the CIO type of parents.

Our 6 month appointment went great too. Elliott is in the 85-95% for all things. He is growing normally and according to the doc has great hand eye coordination and is a very social baby. He weighed in at 21.2 lbs and is 27.5 inches long. No teeth yet and he hasn’t rolled over…but that time is soon coming!

I have so many other things to say, and share but have run out of time. So, this will have to do for now. Be well!

Almost 5 months old!

Sheesh, the time goes so fast! I have been wanting to post a few updates about Elliott, and have been mentally banking them for a later post. He is changing and growing up so fast that I can barely keep up. I am going to bullet point the items just to be sure I get all of them in (while he is still sleep and before I have to work).

  • pre-teething began about 2 weeks ago (drool, sore gums, finger and the whole hand when possible is the mouth, crankiness, etc.)
  • which lead to his first cold (which he is still struggling with)
  • and during both –to chomping and chewing on my nipples while feeding (more on this saga later) due to being stuffed up and having sore gums.
  • he has been tired earlier so we have been giving him his bath at 5:30pm, he eats at 6pm and is asleep before 6:30pm, then I feed him again before I go to bed at 10pm
  • Last week–he slept from 10pm all the way until 4:30am straight through!!! And I think he would have slept longer, but I was so freaked out that he didn’t wake up in the middle of the night to fed that I went in to check on him and woke him up…
  • He seems to be working his way up to sleeping through the night. Typically he sleeps until 2am, eats and then wakes up around 6am. But every few nights he will sleep until 4am (rather than the normal 12am or 2am) without waking.
  • The best part of this is that regardless of what time he wakes up in the AM-he is waking up playing in his crib, laughing, cooing and smiling. What a joy to be greeted by that smiling, happy face. It melts your heart (even at 5:45am!)
  • While the overnight routine is in flux, he seems to also be working out his daytime nap schedule. We have not done too much sleep training. Instead we trusted and have allowed him to decide when to nap and when to go to bed. That is not to say we haven’t helped him along! But, more so we watch for sleepy signs, or excessive crankiness and then follow his lead. That being said, he has had a consistent bedtime since he was about 10 weeks old. And now it seems that the daytime naps are starting to get a little more solidified. Whoo hoo! They aren’t set yet, and vary in length, but they are becoming more consistent. Baby steps.
  • He hasn’t rolled over yet, and doesn’t seem to be showing much interest in it. He is content to lay on his back and occasionally roll to his side. He will play on his tummy for 5 or 10 minutes, but then starts to fuss signaling that his tummy time is over. Maybe we need to leave him there longer and not rescue him…but, i cant watch him struggle for too long before my sympathy kicks in and I need to flip him back over. He will figure it out in his own time. I am not in a rush, as crawling ensue soon enough!
  • He is extremely alert, attentive and interactive. He loves to read books, and play on his play mat. Bee is his favorite toy to swat at and put in his mouth.
  • His hand-eye coordination is excellent. He is very good at batting his toys, sometimes with both hands simultaneously and often times with his feet too.
  • Everything goes in his mouth! What a funny and interesting way to explore your world.
  • He had his first diaper rash over the weekend. It lasted 2 days and then resolved itself.
  • Bath time = Bliss for little Elliott. He LOVES being in the bath. As soon as his tushy touches the water, he melts. We call it spa time because he just sits there, all of muscles relaxed not moving, letting his Dad wash him, and pore warm water over him. Hubby bathes him every night. What a treat to watch the two of them play together and love one another.
  • He is pretty fearless already. He isn’t jumpy nor do loud noises scare him. He seems to like adventure and surprise.
  • He loves being outside. If he is fussy or cranky, we just take him outside. It is like an immediate calming force. While strolling around the neighborhood he just chills in his stroller observing the trees, sky and scenery. When he was sick, I took him outside at 4am just to calm him down (the neighbors probably didn’t appreciate it…but it soothed him immediately).
  • If I prop him up on the floor, he can sit up for a short time before toppling over onto his side. His muscles are getting stronger and soon enough he wont need to be held all of the time, or for matter want to be held all of the time. *weep* My little boy is growing up so fast!
  • I am looking forward to this day because he is so big and heavy, but I also want time to slow down!
  • We haven’t left him with a sitter yet, but I finally feel comfortable enough to consider hiring one for a weekend night. Woot! This will be the first time hubby and I have gone out together with out him. Drunken Saturday night here we come!

Ohh, sweet little boy, do I love you! I occasionally struggle with feeling overwhelmed, over tired or just over taken from…but most times, just a cute little laugh or smile from you is all I need to get me out of my funk and back to reality. Both Hubby and I work hard to be present every day, making sure we are making you are our first priority (he is far better at it than me)! Being present is harder than it sounds (for me anyway). I can always tell when I am not living in the moment, because caring for you ‘seems’ harder. But, when I do a reality check I realize that I am worrying about this or that and not paying attention to the here and now. This is a big challenge and learning opportunity for me. I am still working on it, I am growing to be less selfish and more patient and am WAY better than I was before you were born. Thank you for being patient and allowing me to grow and learn along with you. I love you son.