Thursday, December 27, 2007

Thursday?

It's Thursday, right? These holiday mid-week manage to eliminate any tenuous grasp I have on remembering what day it actually is. I'm fairly certain it's Thursday. If it's not, I'm in trouble, because I have plans on Friday. Going shopping with my best friend. I need clothes for work, so we're going to take a trip to the Auburn Supermall- a wonderous place with a Gap and an Ann Taylor Loft outlet. I've been buying clothes at Target and Ross, which is fine, but they tend to fall apart after one or two washings, so I'm going to try to spend slightly more money, in the hopes of getting slightly better quality clothes.

Speaking of clothes, I'm blatantly ignoring the fact that the washing machine and dryer are both silent, since this indicates that I should get up, remove one load from the dryer and put another one (the 4th or 5th of the afternoon) in the dryer. But I dont want to. I spent the early afternoon sorting through Ethan's closet and trying to figure out where I'm going to put the bags of clothes that we inherited yesterday from my relatives and all the new clothes that we got as gifts this weekend. Fortunately, I have a girlfriend who I can pass the extra things on to, and we're getting ready to have a clothing swap at church, but I still have lots of clothes to somehow cram into the closet and dresser.

I also spent the morning being incredibly annoyed at the fact that baby clothes sizing rivals women's clothes sizing for confusion and inaccuracy. My baby is concomitantly wearing 0-3 month clothes, 3 month clothes and 6 month clothes. And dont even get me started on how confused I am by trying to figure out the difference between 6 month clothing and 6-9 month clothing. Apparently one should be worn up UNTIL the baby is 6 months old, and the other BEGINNING at 6 months of age. Ugh.

Okay, okay, I'll go finish the laundry. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It is SO good to be home

We're home from Canada. I survived a pretty good, but very long 4 days with my in-laws and assorted other Chinese people in Canada. I understood only about 10% of the conversations the whole time, since most of them were conducted in Cantonese. I ate a vast amount of Chinese food, which caused my baby to produce more dirty diapers each day than he normally produces in a week. I caught a cold Friday, so felt pretty awful for most of the trip.

But- we got lots of gifts on Sunday night (I LOVE presents!), had fun with Daniel's parents, and learned a lot about Daniel's family. And we got some nice family pictures on Monday. And we finally got the photos for Ethan's Canadian citizenship card- it's too hard to do that in the US, as the Canadians are VERY VERY picky about the pictures. So, overall it was a very successful trip.

I am so tired. I never want to leave home again. Now I'm just hoping that Ethan might decide to sleep through the night tonight. It really is a shame that 4 month olds cant be bribed. He could probably get a car for sleeping well tonight.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Playing "party chicken"

My friends and I played a game of "party chicken" today. It's like the game when you ride bikes toward each other and whoever veers away first is the "chicken". "Party chicken" is similar: 1) friends plan a visit from out of the country and suggest that a group should get together 2) everyone agrees on a day when people are free and decide that we'll discuss details when the international visitors arrive 3) everyone ignores the fact that we have no details set until the morning of the planned get-together 4) someone finally caves in on the day of the planned party, in early afternoon, and offers to host the party. I lost.

Actually, I don't mind hosting the party at all. It's kind of fun to have people over at this time of year, and since we're heading to Canada tomorrow, we're not having any Christmas festivities here. So it'll be fun to turn on the Christmas music and lights tonight, and have friends over to eat cookies and drink apple cider and mulled wine. And, as I'm learning quickly, it's so much easier with a baby to have people come here than to go to other peoples' houses. I actually stand a small chance of getting Ethan in bed tonight at something approaching bedtime.

So, it's been a crazy day, packing for our trip, cleaning for tonight and shopping for food and drink for tonight. I think I'm almost ready for everything now- thanks to Ethan's great afternoon nap. Christmas party and travel, here I come!

Merry Christmas to you all!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Performance anxiety

Ethan has a bit of performance anxiety these days. We keep telling people that he finally rolled over (front to back), and keep trying to show people, both in person and over webcam. And nothing. Ethan just lies on his stomach and screams. Thank goodness I got it on video once, so I know I didn't hallucinate the whole thing.

My silly little boy has developed a new, fun trick. This usually takes place when he's in bed, falling asleep. He pulls the paci out of his mouth and waves it around in the air, all the time screaming because he has no paci in his mouth. Then Daniel or I come in the room, give him back his paci and he's quiet and happy. Repeat at least 6 times before sleep. In general, he's losing interest in the paci except at nap time. Mostly because he likes to talk. All the time.

I've had a couple of encouraging experiences in the last 24 hours. At the women's dessert last night, there was a really good speaker who talked about a number of things, including anxiety. I've been dealing with a bit of that lately, as I try to juggle my old life and my new life and all the challenges and responsibilities that have come along lately. And today at our new moms' group, our pastor's wife visited and shared with us about things she learned in regards to how to allow her husband to find his place as a new dad, and how to support him in that process.

Then I got home and discovered that the cats had been digging in our bathroom garbage can (eeew!) and they later decided to knock over the diaper pile. Clean diapers, fortunately. But it was still a good day, and I'm glad to have had it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Resurfacing- briefly

It's been a busy week around here. A bunch of projects went into hyperdrive at work, with everyone scrambling to get reports and work products and everything but the kitchen sink out the door before people start disappearing for Christmas and New Years. I've worked 15 hours already this week, which is a little overwhelming, given that it's been done mostly from home, while trying to entertain Ethan at the same time. I think things are going to slow down a bit now though. I hope.

Tonight I get to have a fun evening though, I'm off to a women's dessert at my church. Even though I'm scared of talking to people I don't know, I think there will be quite a few friends of mine there, so I should be able to hang out with them and have a good time. And dessert is involved, so it has to be a good evening :)

Also trying to get ready for heading to Canada on Saturday morning. We'll be up there until Christmas Day. Staying with my in-laws in their tiny condo. I'm not sure how that's going to go. They did come down this past Saturday for the day. We met up for lunch at a Chinese restaurant, then they followed me around the Asian grocery store and around Trader Joes, while I shopped. You haven't lived until you've tried to shop, while being trailed by your husband, baby, mother/father/brother in law, and their friend.

We ended our day on Saturday by wandering around the very very crowded Best Buy and Target. Where we lost my father in law at one point, and their friend at another point. I actually found my father in law, and had to try to explain to him (his English isn't the greatest) that he needed to stay with me, while Daniel rounded up the rest of the family from where they'd gone off looking for my father in law. It was pretty darned entertaining.

I think Ethan's nap is going to be a short one, so I better wrap this up and get some things done around the house.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Prayers please

Prayers please- not for me, but for a friend of mine from my church. She's 33 years old, married just a few years, and has stage 2 breast cancer. It's one of those very terrifying cases- no family history, physical exam a few months ago that showed no problems, now she has breast cancer, and it's already spread to her lymph nodes. She's starting chemo on the 26th. Please pray for her and her husband. I cant imagine what they must be going through right now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Apparently not showing up for work is a good thing for me!

I got my annual performance review yesterday. Best one I've ever received, hands down. 99% of the comments from my project managers and coworkers were positive. They raved about what a great job I've done this year. Which is amusing, given that I haven't actually gone to work since the end of July, and I barely did anything while I was there. I'm afraid that I'm just going to screw this up when I actually do go to work :)

So, I've had to start changing the baby's diapers in the crib or on the floor, since on of our cats has taken over the changing table. Since she's been very upset about things lately (and showing it by peeing on things), I have elected to let her win this battle and have the changing table. She'll lose interest in it soon, I hope.

Ethan's still coughing, but seems to be otherwise doing pretty well. The cough sounds bad, but the doctor assured me on Monday that he was fine, so I'm going to trust her for now. And keep an eye on it.

And I'm in the process of trying to find a cheap, used Bumbo or Bebe Pod chair for Ethan. I've seen those discussed on other blogs, but didn't think we needed one. Then we went to PEPS today and Ethan sat in one. And now we have to buy one. Such a cool idea!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Reflections on self esteem

I've been thinking a lot about high school lately. High school wasn't a bad time for me, just not the best part of my life to date. My friends and I were kind of in the middle of the high school popularity totem pole- not the super nerds, but not the cool kids either. We were in a lot of classes with the cool kids, and they seemed to like us, but we definitely were not part of their group. We just kind of existed in our own little middle world. I think high school was uncomfortable in some ways for me, just because I was very unsure of myself. I'm a bit of a late bloomer- didn't really figure out who I was until my mid-20s. Then I really started to like myself and develop some self-confidence. Or so I thought.

Then a couple of things happened. One of those things is Facebook. I've been having fun messing around on there, and finding old friends from way back when. Yesterday I located a girl that I babysat for when she was 5. She's turning 18 next week. I'm trying to not think about how old that makes me. I've found a lot of other people on there, including people that I went to high school with. And I find my old insecurities popping up. I sit at the computer and think "oh no, I cant send that person a friend request, they were cooler than I was in high school." And I don't send the request!! This morning I actually got a friend request from one of the cool people, and it totally confused me. I found myself thinking "there has to be some sort of mistake, she couldn't have wanted to add me to her list."

The other thing that's been causing me to revert to my high school level of self-confidence is my PEPS (a Seattle Moms' group) group. Don't get me wrong, I completely like and respect all of the women in the group. They've been a fabulous source of support and information for 3 months. But being at the group makes me feel like I'm back in high school. Most of the women in the group are back to their pre-baby weights, they all wear very expensive clothes and drive very nice cars, and live in houses about 10 times the size of mine. As I've said before, we're not poor, but we're having to cut back a lot right now,so my lifestyle is very different from theirs.

So I go to the group, and I just sit there feeling insecure and adolescent and poor and fat. And that's kept me from making friends in the group, and that makes me frustrated, because I feel like I missed out on a good opportunity.

When do we actually get past our teenage images of ourselves? Why does it pop up years after we thought that it was done away with? How do I get back to seeing myself with a more realistic perspective?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hi, me again

As most of you know, we had some serious flooding here in Washington State last week. I've not mentioned it here because I've been relatively oblivious to the extent of the damage. We live in the city, where the weather tends to not affect us much, and I dont really watch the news, since it's generally depressing.



So I was shocked to read Daring Young Mom's posts on the topic and realize just how bad things are, so close to where I live. Go read what she has to say.

4 months old. Wow.

My little sweetie is 4 months old today! To celebrate, he got to go to the doctor this morning to be poked and prodded and immunized. There is nothing harder to a mom than seeing the look of pain and shock on a baby's face, after some nurse has interrupted his nice morning by sticking a needle into his thigh. I have to say though, the front desk people move MUCH faster to get you out of there when your baby is screaming at the top of his lungs :)

So, Ethan's napping now. After his 2 month shots, he was a nightmare, so I'm glad he's not reacting so badly this time. He needs some sleep. Everything else looked good at the appointment too. Apparently the congestion that we've been hearing in his chest isn't lung congestion, but is related to him not keeping up with my milk supply when he's eating, which results in the milk going down wrong and rattling around and making scary noises. I am supposed to prop him up more when he eats, to prevent that from occurring. Hopefully it'll work!

It's been quite a 4 months. Ethan is a sweet baby- and I've never enjoyed getting to know someone more. He's at a fun stage now where he'll just stop whatever he's doing and stare at me. Like he's trying to memorize everything about me. He's so amazing. I'm so blessed.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday

Ethan is definitely going to be quite a talker when he gets older. He's sitting in his bouncy chair, carrying on quite the little conversation with himself. Occasionally he sneezes, which still scares him. It's all pretty funny. I would so love to know what's going on in his little mind.

Thanks for your nice comments yesterday. Daniel and I had a long talk about the whole daycare thing (long conversation #2056 on the topic), and we're still confident that we made the right decision for us. Working from home really isn't an option for me for much longer. Ethan needs me to be spending time with him when I'm home, not putting him in his swing or bouncy chair and begging him to let me work for just a few more minutes. Working from home also has the unfortunate effect of making work time drag on all day and evening. I need a clear line drawn. Daniel and I also decided that when I go back to work, we're both going to be more intentional about not getting drawn into work stuff in the evening. No more "I need to just check one email", since that inevitably turns into 30+ minutes of working.

In other news, we have snowflakes again this morning. Apparently the weather didn't get the memo that this is Seattle, and we don't do winter. Doesn't look like much snow though, so we're heading to church.

I don't know if you all saw this news story. I'm sad, because YWAM is a great mission organization, and I know the kids that were training there have hearts to serve the Lord and other people. It's always tragic when lives are cut short so young. Pray for their families and friends in this tough time.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ugh.

This is a sucky Saturday.

We looked at our finances for the last month, and realized that we're going to have to start sticking to a really strict budget. Which is no fun. I know lots of people have to do that, but we're already extremely frugal, so cutting more corners is going to be hard. There arent many things left to cut back on.

The decision to enroll Ethan in daycare is not so popular with some in our family. To say the least. So I'm discouraged about that too.

I was up late last night worrying, and that was even before the whole budget/upset relatives thing came out today. So I'm tired. Which doesnt help my being able to deal with other stuff.

Anyway. Anyone have any good cost-cutting tips for me? Other than never setting foot in Target again? :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Since everyone else is writing about Santa


My stocking is the one on the right. The empty one. Now, I realize that in this case, "Santa" has a demanding job in the technology field, and is especially overwhelmed with work since all of his employees were stuck in their homes for part of the week with no electricity and no way into the office because of flooding, but still. I do not like the empty stocking. It just looks so sad.
A bunch of people are blogging about Santa this week and what to tell their kids. Read here, here and here.
Neither Daniel nor I was raised believing in Santa. In my case, we didn't even celebrate Christmas. At the time, the church I was attending believed that Christmas was mainly pagan and should be avoided. My parents still don't really celebrate Christmas much. I've embraced it to a certain extent. I like the presents and I like Christmas Eve services. It's a great time to worship and I always enjoy the sermons and music. Daniel's parents were more of the "why give Santa credit for things we bought" school of thought. And they were in Hong Kong when Daniel was little, and I'm pretty sure Santa isn't really a big deal over there. His parents still don't do Christmas very well. Last time we were up there we went to Christmas Eve service, and that was it. Gave each other gifts that no one opened in front of anyone else. It was kind of strange.
But now we have the little one, and he's going to have friends who believe in Santa. Even though I was raised not believing in Santa, my parents were careful to teach my brother and I to respect others and to not explain to our little friends the "error of their ways". And we just smiled when people asked what Santa was bringing us that year. I'd like to teach Ethan to do the same, to respect others' beliefs, even though we don't plan to have him believe in Santa as a person.
I really hope that we can manage to keep Christmas as a religious holiday in our family, and not make it all about the presents. I'm the present-fiend in our family, so I'm actually the one who most needs to be reminded about that. :) And I know that presents are going to be more exciting to Ethan for quite a while than church services and the Nativity story are, but we can do our best to keep the holiday focused on Christ.
But I still want some presents to hurry up and show up in my stocking.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

All registered!

After an afternoon and evening of talking it over and weighing our options (for the eleventy billionth time) and doing a whole lot of praying, Daniel and I decided to go ahead and register Ethan in daycare for this coming February. I dropped off the paperwork this morning and saw the infant room again. It's a nice room with nice people taking care of the babies. And lots of toys and things to do! I think Ethan's going to have a blast.

So I'll start working 3 days a week in February. But I'm going to work from home the first month, so that I can run over to the daycare whenever Ethan needs me or I need him. The latter is a whole lot more likely to happen.

I think this is the right thing for our family. Not the easiest choice, but I think the right one. And, as someone commented on yesterday's post, we can always change our minds later if it's not working for us.

Nothing else of interest going on here. Ethan and I stayed home from church moms' group this morning, since he woke up with a stuffy nose and a cough. The cough he's had for a few days, the stuffy nose is new. Hopefully he'll feel better soon, I'm starting to go a little stir crazy.

Looks like the munchkin has fallen asleep in his swing, so I better go put him down in his crib to nap.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The first hard decision

We got a phone call from our first choice daycare today- Ethan has a spot in February! I'm glad, but also feel like crying. This is hard.

Here's the dilemma. 1) I'm not very good at just playing with Ethan and spending time doing baby activities. I get distracted by the computer and my work email. I spend my day running back and forth to the computer when he's napping and rushing to get work done, and getting annoyed (very wrongly so) when he wakes up from his nap before I finish my emails/edits to the manuscript/whatever else.

2) This daycare is two blocks from our home. It has Spanish lessons and music lessons and field trips to Seattle Center and to the local retirement home. It's very highly thought of.

3) But Ethan is my baby. How can I leave him.

I hate these situations when there is no right choice. And I know that this is just the first of many hard decisions that Daniel and I are going to have to make as parents. I'm not ready for this.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Things that make me smile

As I've posted about before, one of my biggest struggles with my new life as a stay-at-home mom is the lack of socializing and the loneliness of being home with only a baby and some cats for company. I left the condo this morning for the first time since we got home from church on Sunday afternoon. And that was just to take out the recycling. I still put on makeup :)

One of the ways that I survive the days is fantasizing about 8:30 PM, when I'm done with Ethan's last evening feeding, and I can have a glass of wine. Or two. Another way I survive is by reading people's blogs. Lots of blogs.

One of the blogs that I read often is "Mommy Needs a Cocktail." This woman writes great posts, and has ADORABLE merchandise that reflects how I feel many days. And she has contests quite frequently, which are fun ways to vent about life as a mom. She has another contest going on right now. Go take a look- the website is located here.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Singing in the rain...

Okay. Not singing. More like sighing and quietly complaining to myself about the gigantic volume of heavy precipitation that has been falling from the skies for the last three days. It has to stop eventually, right? I'm trying to not remember that I was in Hawaii, basking in the sunshine, on this day last year.

So, today I decided to do a fast. Not from food, but from TV. I've gotten really bad about the amount of TV that I watch lately. It seems like it's usually on in the background. And Ethan's to the age where he not only can see the TV, but he is drawn to it. Daniel and I keep laughing that when we put Ethan in his exersaucer, no matter what direction he's facing in the beginning, within less than a minute he's turned himself to watch the TV.

And the TV is having a bad effect on me as well. I keep saying that I don't have the time to read my Bible or devotion books or do the praying and meditating that I should be doing. But I watch re-runs of the Real Housewives of Orange County for hours. This is not right.

Unfortunately, I ended up swamped with work today (I know, I shouldn't be blogging), so I probably wouldn't have watched TV anyway today. So I may have to continue the TV fast another day. We'll see how long I can make it.

I think that, when I get done with work and make it to my Bible-reading time, I'm going to have to start with the sections on Noah building an ark...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Snow!!!


Normally when the weatherman/woman forecasts snow for Seattle, we all get very excited and stock up on milk and bread, then no snow actually falls. So, I was very surprised when I looked out the window of the gym yesterday and saw big snowflakes falling. Lots of them. By afternoon, we had a pretty good coating of snow on everything in Seattle. We enjoyed the view out the window and went and took pictures with Ethan outside. Then the snow seemed to go away by late afternoon, so we felt safe heading about 20 miles north to our friends' baby's 1st birthday party.

So, we loaded up in the car and started to drive. Crossed the bridge to the Eastside. Snow was falling, but it was mixed with rain and didn't seem to be sticking to the roads. Drove a few miles further north. Noticed that snow was starting to stick to the interstate a bit. Kept driving north. More snow sticking to the road. I'm starting to get nervous. We made it up to the exit where we were going, and found most of the roads with quite a bit of snow. Continued towards our friends' house, and I'm starting to really worry. Having an accident with Ethan in the car is one of my new greatest fears. He's buckled in well, but I still don't want to test the system. Daniel knows how to drive in snow, but a lot of the other drivers in Seattle do not, and it can be scary to be out when it snows here.

By the time we made it to a mile from our friends' house, we couldn't see the roads or the street signs (making it challenging to find their street!), and other cars were slipping and sliding a little. We ended up finding our friends' house, finally (it's too new to show up on our GPS), and Daniel hopped out, gave them the birthday present, and we turned around and went home. Unfortunately, because of the way the interstate runs around here, the best way to get back to Seattle was to drive further north about 5 more miles, which was a little scary. But, eventually we made it back to Seattle, where it was still just raining.

Daniel says he would have stayed a little while at the party before heading home, but I was just too nervous (and annoying) for that, since the temperature was dropping rapidly, snow was falling heavily, and roads were freezing as the temperature dropped. I still feel really bad about missing the party, as Daniel rarely gets to hang out with his friends anymore and he was looking forward to spending some time with them. But we're home and safe, and that was the most important thing to me.

We have a rare and highly unusual quiet afternoon at home today. With NOTHING ON THE SCHEDULE!! I'm so confused- I have no idea what to do first! Don't be too jealous :)

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Almost all well again

Daniel's still hanging on to the last bit of a cough, but other than that, we seem to be all recovered from our various illnesses. Ethan's fever lasted just Thursday evening, then he was cranky yesterday, and now he's back to normal. Right now he's in his exersaucer, taking his new friend Monkey for a ride. Monkey is a Baby Cozy from North American Bear Company and is Ethan's new best friend and new favorite chew toy. The only problem with Monkey is that he's small, and I'm in constant fear of losing him when we go out. So Ethan's going to get another Baby Cozy for Christmas, just so we have a backup.



I'm on my own again this morning. Daniel actually made it to men's group at church today, which he hasn't done in months. I'm glad he got to go, and told him he could go, but then whined about being left on my own with the baby again. Thankfully Daniel just ignores me when I do that. He should be home soon, and then we'll go do our big weekly grocery shopping and other errands, before heading to a 1st birthday party for the daughter of some friends. Should be fun.

I've discovered Ethan has another part of mine and Daniel's personalities. Yesterday he was fussy most of the day, but seemed to be feeling well in the evening, so we bundled him up (think the kid in Christmas Story) and headed out to Seattle Center when Daniel got home from work. Ethan didn't make a peep between the time we left the condo and returned a couple of hours later, just sat in his stroller and looked at the people and the lights. I think he gets cabin fever just like his parents do, as he seems to be happiest when he's out and about. That's our boy.