Friday, November 29, 2013

Gobble, Gobble!


I trust that you all had a delicious Thanksgiving and are gearing up for round two today… Thanksgiving leftovers are one of the best parts of the holiday, after all!  So far we’ve had three feast days.  The first was last Sunday with my side of the family because they’re spending the holiday out in Dallas, TX for the Cowboys vs. Raiders game (Cowboys totally kicked butt yesterday by the way)!  This was my first ever Thanksgiving away from my mama and I did pretty well.  I think it helped that we got together before they left.

Me and my bro-in-law, Dean (aka Brother Bear)


This year we hosted our first BIG family Thanksgiving for G’s side of the family and the turn out was great!  I think we ended up having around 18 people over and given the fact that our house is 1600 square feet, it’s a wonder they all fit comfortably but they did!  The menu was about 90% gluten free and much to my surprise, everything was still delish!  I was a little worried that our meal would taste like cardboard but thankfully, I was wrong.  Gracie’s Uncle Chris has Celiac disease so he has had to maintain a completely gluten-free diet since he was a teenager.  Because he lives everyday with so many restrictions to what foods he can enjoy, we decided to make a Thanksgiving meal that he could eat without worrying that it would make him sick.  I think it meant a lot to him that we put so much time into finding tasty and safe recipes just for him. :)

Papa and Uncle Chris

I made my mom’s legendary cheese balls with a bit of a Thanksgiving twist… Cheese Ball Turkeys!


It was so great to have Gracie’s Uncle Dean and Uncle Chris home again.  The last time they were in town was 8 months ago for Gracie’s 1st birthday so a visit from the Guncles was long over due! 


As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, my fam is partying it up in Dallas Texas this week.  As much as I missed them on Thanksgiving, they are all having an absolute blast so that makes me happy!


My cousin J (sitting on the right), lives in Dallas so she joined in the fun and then there is my other cousin N… the only Raider fan in the family.  He wasn’t so happy when the Raiders lost, lol!



I hope you all had a happy turkey day!


Friday, November 22, 2013

{Our 2013 Family Photos}


So, it’s been decided.  With the ridiculous amount of pictures I take of our kiddo and our little family, we’re going to limit professional family photos to once a year.  Between the blog, Instagram, Facebook, birthday pictures and our annual family session, anything more feels like a bit much… and coming from a picture addict like myself, that says a lot!  My parents had professional pictures taken of me and my sibs 2-3 times a year growing up.  I have yet to figure out how in the heck they found the time or money for that… So until I do, once a year it is. ;)


The wife and I both LOVE the Fall for so many reasons.  Because of this and because Christmas (and Christmas cards) fall right around this time, it looks like November will likely be our family pictures month from here on out.  Is it weird that I’m already excited for the years of photos we’ll have to look back on?  Pictures taken in the crisp cool air with leaves changing color all around us.  The thought just makes me happy.


I am in love with the location our photographer Lindsey chose for our shoot this year.  We went with a downtown, city theme complete with tall buildings, busy streets, brick walls and alleyways.  I got an amazing deal on Gracie’s outfit, which I had originally purchased (at half-off), because it was adorable and looked to be something she could wear during the holidays.  We liked it so much that we dug through our closets and found black and white outfits that were complimentary and with that, our color scheme was born!


Grace took a long nap and was in great spirits the day of our shoot.  She even took a big poo right before we left, which made this mama so very happy!  Have you ever tried changing the poopie diaper of a toddler wearing tights, boots and a tutu?  It is no easy task my friend. 


Our gal has become increasingly shy with new people in recent weeks so it took a few pictures for her to warm up.  Once she did, she lit up and as our photographer said, “framed her own photos and smiled on queue” from then on.  Grace can be such a ham and definitely knows how to make her moms happy.  Thank you sweetness!


During our shoot, I thought about the fact that this could be our last time taking holiday pictures as a family of three.  Because of this, I am so glad that Lindsey captured mama and me & mommy and me pictures of each of us with Grace.  As much as I adore photos of all of us together, I had yet to have a picture taken of just me and my girl.  Not professionally anyway, and I know it’s something Georgia and I will treasure forever.  There is a picture that was taken of my mom and me when I was around 3 years old that hung in our living room when I was growing up.  It was my favorite and I’m so happy that Grace and I have one now too!


It was amazing to see how much Grace has changed since last year’s family photos.  She looks like the same baby, just so big and full of even more personality.  Thank you so much Lindsey for capturing these memories for us.  We will treasure them always. :)




Tuesday, November 19, 2013

During this month of THANKS

I am MOST thankful for…

My health.  When you are healthy, it’s easy to forget what a gift good health really is.  To be able to walk, to run, to breathe on my own and pick my daughter up off the ground is a blessing that I do not take for granted.

My family and what makes us unique.  I come from a BIG, loud, always-in-your-business family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  My mom is constantly trying to get us together and while the gatherings and time commitments can be cumbersome, I’m so glad she does it.

The everyday experiences of motherhood, both the best and the most trying of days.  Grace was not a surprise.  She was 100% planned and sought after.  We wanted to be mamas, we dreamed of being mamas and we appreciate the day-to-days of motherhood that we have been given.  To say that we are lucky to hold this title would be a huge understatement.  This we know and appreciate.

My wife, my supporter, my best friend.  If I were able to create my perfect match, I still wouldn’t have the ability to make her just exactly as she is.  She knows all of my faces and what they all mean.  She has my back but also pushes me to grow and be the best version of me that I can be.  She is imperfectly perfect and I thank God everyday that he brought the two of us together.

Our home and how it reflects who we are as a family.  Bright colors, tons of photos on the walls, comfortable furniture (covered in toys) and inviting d├ęcor makes it the perfect place for us.  Do I wish it were bigger – yes.  Would I like a backyard makeover – umm, yes… But do I feel incredibly blessed to live where we live and own the home we own – absolutely.

Gracie’s grandparents who care for her when her mamas are at work.  To know that we are fortunate enough to send our little gal to a place where she is taught to love the outdoors, to learn new things each day and to grow in a safe environment where she is the center of the universe, well it’s beyond amazing.

New Mexico, the place we call home.  The place that gives us four distinct and beautiful seasons each year.  The place that is surrounded and protected by the majestic Sandia Mountains.  The place that has such an amazing and rich culture and sense of tradition that runs deep in every family.  It truly is the “Land of Enchantment” and I feel so blessed to call this place my home.

And then there is this little stinker.  I mean seriously… Getting to play peek-a-boo with this silly girl everyday… The blessings are abundant!


What are you thankful for?


Saturday, November 16, 2013

A SAHM’s Farewell

Farewell to being home with the bean, that is.  Monday was my first day back at work and it was a busy and exhausting week.  It’s so sad to see what 3 rounds of layoffs does to the morale of an organization.  It just feels like a completely different place.  I’m working on a post about my return so that will be coming soon.  It was a doozie.

About two weeks ago, I began the return to work countdown and it sounded a little something like this… “This is my last time making Grace lunch as a SAHM”… “This is our last lazy Sunday before I go back to work”… “Only one more play date before I’m no longer home with my girl”… etc.  You would have thought I was returning to work out of state or something, lol.  Even G made fun of my overly emotional sappiness.  It was a little ridiculous.


For our “last Friday home together”, we joined my BF and her daughter for lunch and an afternoon at the museum.  This was Gracie’s first visit to a museum and she did great.  I thought that there was a chance she would be scared of the giant dinosaurs or that she may be too little still to really enjoy the museum, but I was way off.  Not only was she not afraid, she had no hesitation touching the fossils and growled at the dinosaurs as we went from room to room.      


The girls had such a fun time together sharing snacks and Gracie's dinosaur cart, which they took turns climbing in and out of.  They are such cute little buddies!  I honestly can’t think of a better way to have spent my last Friday as a SAHM. :)


Oh, how I love these two.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

46/52: Acupuncture


I’m back to being a human pincushion… 
and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Year Four

Happy 4 year anniversary to the person who makes me smile every single day.  It’s crazy to think that you and I have been together for more than 7 years and here we are celebrating our 4 year wedding anniversary!  I remember the conversation we had in Cabo San Lucas the day after our wedding, making plans to come back to Mexico for our 5 year anniversary.  Here we are, just one year away from that.  It’s amazing how busy our lives have become since that conversation, and while I doubt we’ll be heading back to Cabo next year (because hopefully I’ll be knocked up), it’s still a nice thought.  One day I know we’ll make it back.  In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for a pretty fantastic life here in New Mexico with our beautiful little gal.     

Happy anniversary babe.  Thank you for making me a wife and mother.  I am a better person because of you. 

Cheers to us, xo

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Here’s something I never thought I would say…

I am returning to my former employer.  I think I’m still in shock over recent events considering I had given up all hope of ever returning.  I really didn’t think it was going to happen, so I forced myself to begin applying for jobs a little over two months ago and in the mists of my job hunting hell, I received a call from my former director letting me know that he opened a new position and wanted to bring me back.  I have been very honest in my writing about what a struggle the layoff has been for me and my family these past 4 months.  With that honestly in mind, I will admit that I broke down crying when I got the call and I’ve had my share of emotional moments since.  I just feel so incredibly thankful.

When I was laid off in June and learned that there was a very small chance that I could come back, I made a pro/con list.  I make lists often for lots of things but this one was pretty important.  I wanted to really think about what it would mean for me to return if given the opportunity.  I wanted to make sure that I made the decision for the right reasons and not just because I needed a job and the opportunity presented itself… So here’s my list for all my fellow list lovers. 

Thankfully, the “pro” side is longer.

Pro’s
Con’s
1.     I would once again be employed and right before Christmas.  That’s kind of a big one.
2.     I really do love the people I worked with and the fact that the organization is LGBT friendly.
3.     I would be able to retain my tenure, which means 5 weeks of paid vacation + sick time would still be available to me.  This is what allowed me to stay home the full 3 months of mat leave with Grace and I had hoped to do the same with baby #2.
4.     The new position is secure so I wouldn’t have to worry about being laid off a second time, or so they tell me.
5.     I would have less responsibility than I did in my previous role, which means less stress and that’s ideal when TTC.
6.     I’ve held a similar position before.  I enjoyed it and I was good at it.
7.     My new schedule would have flexibility making attending acupuncture and RE appointments much easier to manage.
8.     One of my closest friends would once again be my boss.
9.     AND I would get to work with my beautiful wife again.  This is the biggest pro!

1.     I would be coming back in a new role that is considered a demotion from what I was doing when I was laid off.
2.     I would no longer have the title it took me 5 years to earn and 3 additional years to develop.
3.     My annual salary would be cut, and while it would be a cut of less than 8%, it’s still a few thousand dollars that could have gone toward baby making expenses.
4.     I would lose a lot of the autonomy I grew accustom to in my previous position.
5.     There is zero opportunity for advancement with the company in the foreseeable future.
6.     And the biggest con, I would very much miss being a SAHM and spending all that time with my little gal. :( 

This also means that TTC #2 should be back on track within a month or so given we can get appointments set with our RE.  It chokes me up just typing that.  I had come to the resolution that I would have to work someplace new and thus put off TTC for at least 6-12 months for insurance and FMLA reasons.  To now know that there’s a chance we may inseminate before the end of the year makes me want to sing from the rooftops.  When I called today to schedule my fertility acupuncture appointments for the next two months, it was such an amazing feeling.  I still just can’t believe it. 

At the same time, I’m very sad that I will no longer be home with Grace.  The funny thing is that those first few weeks at home made me crazy because I wasn’t used to it, at all.  As the months rolled on, I grew more and more fond of my new role as a SAHM and it is definitely something I am going to miss.  I’m going to miss morning cuddles with Grace as she drinks her milk next to me watching Dora.  I’m going to miss our routine when it’s naptime and seeing how excited she gets to bring the doggies in for their nap too.  I’m going to miss planning and preparing her breakfast and lunches each day and listening to her say “yum!” as she eats.  I’m going to miss the middle of the day hugs I get that I wouldn’t get if I were at work.  I’m going to miss our evenings together waiting for G to come home and seeing the absolute joy in her face when she sees her mommy at the door.  I am also going to really miss our weekly excursions together, just the two of us.  Whether it was going to the grocery store, a play date, or just down the street to the mailbox, I loved the extra time with her.

Looking back on the past 18 weeks, I’m proud of all I was able to accomplish during my time at home and with a toddler, no less.  For the first time since moving in with G (6+ years ago), all the closets in the house have been completely cleaned out.  So have the kitchen cabinets and the drawers throughout the house and even our cluttered and filthy laundry room is now nice and organized!  In total, I believe I’ve taken around 8-10 garbage bags full of stuff to Goodwill and man did it feel good to do that!  Gracie’s things are all nicely organized and packed away as well.  All the clothing we wanted to save for future kiddos are now stored away and the things we didn’t want to keep were given to a teen mom who is a friend, of a friend.  I finally made G’s pregnancy journal photo album and another for Gracie’s 1st birthday, in addition to starting her baby scrapbook.  Prints of the professional pictures we’ve taken over the past 2 years were ordered and a new entryway picture collage is now complete along with updates to framed photos around the house.  I finished and packed away the bean’s birthday wish box while squeezing in time to sew her Halloween costume and both Georgia and I got a lot of work done in the yard.  Amongst all of this, we somehow managed to plan and take a few trips and squeeze nearly all of our summer bucket list of activities into the past 3-4 months.

That’s a lot of shit, right?!  Making the best of a bad situation, I guess.

More than anything, I wanted to write this post to thank all of you out in blogland who have given me support and encouragement throughout this ordeal.  Your comments and kind words have picked me up on my worst days and I feel so blessed to have this community and all of you.  I also wanted to thank my amazingly supportive wife as well as my dear friend Michele and my in-laws for everything they have done for me.  It’s amazing how so many of us have experienced the same hardships in life, or just hard times in general, and just hearing someone say, I’ve been there and it gets better has made all the difference for me.

I appreciate you all more than you know.

On to the next chapter.

This quote made me laugh.  It definitely fits my situation.


Monday, November 4, 2013

“Go away!”

Yup, it’s happened.  Our daughter has begun to assert her need for alone time and I don’t like it one bit.  She told me to “go away” for the first time last week.  She was working on a big poop of the painful variety when it happened.  She typically prefers privacy while using the bathroom, which I do as well so I can’t blame the poor girl.  Well, on this day, she was having a hard time so I felt the need to at least hold her hand because it was breaking my heart to see her in pain.  As I approached, she held her tiny hand up at me in a STOP right there motion and said in the sternest voice, “GO AWAY”!  I couldn’t believe it.

My first reaction was to say, “excuse me”, to which she replied, “go away” again!  I backed off a bit to give her some space to do her thing but my feelings were hurt.  It’s so funny to even admit that my soon-to-be 20 month old hurt my feelings but she did, even though she obviously didn’t mean to.  She has told us to go away a few times since.  Once when I was attempting to stop her from climbing behind the couch and another time when G was trying to keep her from getting into something else.  I don’t even remember what it was. 

The irony in all of this is that as parents we try our best to teach our children about feelings.  We teach them new vocabulary everyday and how to best communicate and express themselves.  Then when they use those words to communicate to us just exactly how they are feeling, we’re shocked!  Especially when the feeling they are trying to express isn’t, I love you mama… it’s I need some alone time… 

We’ve tried explaining to Grace that there are other (more polite) ways to ask to be left alone but who are we kidding.  She’s not even two years old yet and just barely learning how to make these kinds of personal requests.  And even with that being the case, here’s the thing that baffles me.  G and I are in no way perfect parents but we also don’t tell each other to go away – ever.  I’m still trying to figure out where she learned it.  Who knows…  

I’m not really sure what to do if she keeps telling us to “go away” because while it’s not the worst thing to come out of a toddlers mouth, I still don’t like it.  I’m sure I’m overreacting but I would still like to hear from my fellow parents who have experienced similar situations.  Any tips?
   

Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick-or-Treat!

Hey Little Mermaid, happy Halloween!  And what a happy day it was, from beginning to end.  I have a feeling that much like your mamas, Halloween is going to end up being a favorite holiday of yours.  Considering the fact that your moms let you indulge on junk food all day long, it’s no wonder you had such a great day.  Now we just have to wait for those sugar withdrawals to kick in…


Before heading out the door to begin our Halloween adventures, we lit the pumpkins we carved on Halloween Eve and left a big bowl of candy by the front door with a note.  Our note asked that everyone grab a handful of candy and guess what?!  They did… every last piece.  Mama was just glad that her Tupperware was still by the front door when we got home!


I love the picture of mommy cracking up, haha!

You started the day visiting mommy’s work for some trick-or-treating.  Can you believe you were the only little trick-or-treater that visited the office!  This meant that you were spoiled even more than usual.  You visited each office several times and mama had to eventually cut the candy palooza off because she knew that the more sweets you came home with, the more sweets she would end up eating!


After mommy got out of work we headed to your auntie and uncles for a Halloween potluck.  You had so much fun with all of your cousins and best of all – you WON the costume contest!  Your prize for winning was a Mickey Mouse Club.house music mat.  Mama was beaming with pride as you collected your award. :)


In all of the Halloween chaos, your moms forgot to have a family picture taken of the three of us, so this is as good as it’s going to get.  At least two out of the three of us were looking at the camera. ;)


We ended our day with a visit to your auntie A’s house.  All of your cousins were there and they actually waited to go trick-or-treating just so they could see you in your costume!  When we walked in the house you were ambushed with kisses, hugs and there were plenty of oohs and ahhs to go around.  All in all, you made out like a bandit.  So after today, no candy for a month (or two)!

What a difference a year can make! Happy Halloween little stinker. :)





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