Thursday, September 27, 2012

Task Oriented

Just over a week ago, I aired my dirty secret, and I made a list of tasks to complete.  So far, so good, in fact, I added to my list.

So far, the accomplishments off my task list are:
  • Update Banner on Blog Site
  • Update Aidan's photo on Blog Site
  • Organized my recipe books
  • Drop off Goodwill Donations
  • Organize the Pantry
  • Clean the master bathroom shower (Using blue dawn and vinegar made this task easy)
  • Clean the master bathroom toilet
  • Mount Bike Seat on my Bike 
  • Bake Pecan Pies
  • Bring alcohol wipes to work
  • Put Tide pen in my purse
Okay, so I should have taken a picture of my recipe closet before I organized it so you could see the mess, but I thought of that midway, so I threw all the paper recipes back in so you could get a feel for what it was like.

The recipes were definitely messier, and some of the books were just thrown on the shelf, so I organized by most likely to be used being the most accessible...which would be the Southern Living Cookbooks.  Anyway, I decided since I pinned some many items on Pinterest, that there was no need to keep a lot of paper recipes lying around when I have 400+ recipes I want to try that are easily stored on the internet.  No paper mess, sign me up.

Crappy story about the bike seat I bought super cheap at a neighborhood yard was missing necessary hardware to safely connect it to my bike.  Not bolts and nuts, but formed tube steel or perhaps aluminum that needed to connect to my seat.  I had the parts for bike seat to mount to the frame, but you have to have it all!  So instead of the bike seat, I searched for a used bike trailer on Craigslist, met the guy, tried the trailer out with and without Aidan, and bought the trailer.  Besides, I learned that if the bike tips over, the trailer doesn't.  No, I didn't fall, but the bike doesn't have a kick stand, and it tipped over at my truck while the trailer stayed horizontal.  Good idea.  I think not having a hard mounted bike seat to the back of my bike since I have had a crazy bike wreck that really has no explanation.  I ran into a tree off a paved path, and the last thing I need is Aidan attached to my seat.

And an organization project in process is organizing all of my cards. I had originally planned to do something that bound the cards together based off of a pin I found on Pinterest: Christmas Card Books.  However, after looking at all of my cards, I could not punch a hole in them; I do not want to damage my cards.  So I found a plastic container on Amazon that I could use to organize my cards.

 I am not a hoarder, but I keep all of my cards. Birthday, congratulations, Christmas, thank you's, wedding, random, etc...I keep them.  I have since I can remember, and it's always fun to read back through them and try to remember who people were that gave the cards to you.  It was also neat to read all the thanks I received from parents while teaching them how to swim or for the charities I helped out that I had long forgotten about.  I also liked seeing if I had matching cards and laughing at my friends who decided to pick out the most obscure cards, so here's a sampling of my cards:
Lots of Dog Cards for my Birthday

Lots of Penguin Cards - Anniversary, Birthday, and Random Thinking of You

21st Birthday - High School Friend and my Sister

Great friend from High School - She knows know how to make me laugh

10 years apart, but very similar Birthday Card

A Handmade Card from one of my first crushes, ya know, 1st grade crush. haha

Graduation Card, I forget what these girls are called, but still, I love a funny, off the wall card.

Alright, so I organized MY Cards, but not Aidan's.  I am not sure what I will do with his cards, maybe collect them in a box and see if he cares for them when he is older.  If not, I will keep them. Anyway, I sorted the cards by type, then attempted to put them in chronological order.

 So I feel like my motivation to clean and become more organized is going well a week into it.  I figured if I keep updating that I will keep up with my tasks.  In addition, every night, I have spent 20 minutes every night either cleaning or organizing. 

Wild Boy

 I don't quite recall when the switch was flipped, but within the last month, Aidan went from calm baby to wild boy.  It was around the time he started taking steps and realized he could take pillows of the couch, take some steps, and crash into the pillows.  He takes his push toys, and runs circles in the house, chases after the dogs, and runs over your foot.  He'll hit a wall, pull the toy back, and keep going - nothing seems to slow this boy down.

He runs over to his toy boxES, throws everything out, and then kicks it around.  He will help pick it up, but let's face it, AJ and I clean up 97% of it.  Silly, crazy boy.  Of course, we only encourage him - he is a toddler, and unless he is endangering himself or others, he should be having fun, even if it means picking up 100 blocks.  

The dogs have learned to run and hide when Aidan is using his push toys because I SWEAR he is chasing after them.  Though Bo is not so smart, or maybe he loves the attention, but he stands in front of Aidan wagging his tale.  Bo and Aidan seem to have bonded quite well.

Anyway, to update you and for my memory's sake, Aidan went for his 1 year appointment on September 5th.  Aidan was 27.2 LB and 32.5" long, supposedly 90% for each category.  In addition, he received two shots, though I now forget what they were.  Aidan did not react well to the shots, a few days later, he refused to eat, and if he did, he threw up.  This was our first experience with a reaction to the shots, and of course, it fell on his birthday party weekend.  Poor kid.  Though, still a wild boy, just not eating.

Aidan is currently wearing 18 month, 24 month, and 2T clothes.  Most 18 month shirts cause his belly to stick out or fit tight, so we moved up to 24 month clothes.  Big kid...future linebacker right?  Or maybe a drummer?  He loves music.  Fussy kid? Put on the country station and he starts to dance.  Hopefully this trick continues to work as we tread carefully in the world of toddlerdom.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Dirty Secret

I have a secret...and I'm ready to confess.  Maybe you'll help hold me more accountable once you know my secret.

You know all of those amazing (I can add that, right?) things I do - ya know - cloth diapering, making Aidan's food, trying new recipes, running 5K's, playing softball, and getting up at 4AM to work out? Weeeeell, it comes with a sacrifice. Sleep is already sacrificed. So what else? How about keeping a clean, organized house. I know, I have a toddler, but the toddler did not throw crap all over the master bedroom or pile paperwork, boxes, and other randomness in the office. The toddler was key in helping me convince AJ that it was time to purge the old VHS tapes - but Die Hard and Rambo are classics! Great babe, get them on DVD or watch them when they come on television. So after sharing my embarrassing mess the office is, and it only became worse as Aidan's birthday approached, I figured it was time to be pro active about organizing.

Since I am being honest here, the real truth is the clutter began not long after I started my Masters program, and it continued until I completed by PE license since they were back to back. So almost 3 years of a bad habit made it easier to fall out of my neat, organized routine I once had. Let's not talk about cleaning...yikes. There was a short period after my PE license and before Aidan was born that I knocked out a lot of house projects, cleaning, and organization. Anyway, on to the mess we live in.

First stop is the Master bedroom. Before, After, and Now. So before the organization, immediately after, and the living situation less than two weeks later. How about a B for maintenance effort...okay, C +??? Be generous. I worked on several other rooms in the interim, so it was clean the bed room, okay, now focus on the worse mess.

The second stop is the Office. Before (YIKES) and the Work in Progress

I know, you wonder how it gets like this.  You open the door, drop whatever it is that you want to hide or do not have time to put away, and close the door. QUICK, else the guilt of laziness sets in.  Really, the office became one big storage closet.  In fact, several instances while typing this blog out, I wrote "closet" instead of "office".  Obviously, the mentality had seeped into my brain.  But I am here to tell you, I am stopping such non sense. I hope
My plan is to spend 30 minutes each night after Aidan goes to bed cleaning, organizing, and working on my "To-Do" List so that I am not overwhelmed Friday and never get anything in order.  It's working so far.  I use to push laundry out until Friday, but instead of leading a load of diapers sit in a laundry basket, I stuffed, folded, and put them away.  I felt like I had accomplished something by being productive instead of lazily surfing the internet or watching tv. I downloaded an App for my phone to put my "To-Do" list items in it, and I can set a due date.  We'll see how long it lasts, but at least I have goals written down and will hopefully feel guilty if I keep pushing them out.
Also, since fall is here, it's time for the fall purging, so it coincides well with my want to get organized and cleaned.  Though I dare you to ask me in a couple of months how this new effort is going.  Hopefully well...hopefully.
I will hold myself accountable, and you can, too.
Here's my current list:
  • Grocery Shop
  • Mount the Toddler Bike Seat to My Bike
  • Drop off Goodwill Donations
  • Organize Office Paperwork
  • Place Tide Stick in Purse (incident with white shirt and coffee led to this, and yes, I need a task to remind me to do something so minuscule)
  • Write Clutter Blog
  • Make a book for Aidan's first year
  • Order Aidan's pictures
  • Bake Two Pecan Pies
There will be more items on the list, I'm sure of it, but this was the first day of making my list.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Aidan,

As much as I want to, I can't.  I can't bring myself to cry or be overly emotional on or near your birthday.  You are such a blessing, and I am too happy to even shed a tear. I cannot imagine my life without you.  I couldn't cry at 12:12 PM on 09/03/11, but I could smile and feel so much joy.

Just like yesterday, I remember rubbing my stomach and walking around the house while daddy slept peacefully.  I remember washing your Clemson blanket and packing the hospital bag.  I even jumped into a hot bath because you were causing so much lower back pain.  I cannot remember the book I attempted to read, but I remember so well how much I felt you. Ahh, the pain baby boy.  In a weird way, I enjoyed it.  I enjoyed walking around feeling those contractions and even the the sciatic nerve pain because I knew I was going to meet my wonderful baby boy soon.  How could any pain trump the joy I would feel when I met you?  It wouldn't.  I relive those moments...daddy and I driving in the truck on the way to the hospital, the excitement we felt when I was admitted, and the relief I had when I gave in to the epidural.  All of a sudden I was at 10 cm and it was time to push you out.  In 20 short minutes, I saw you. I was in love; daddy was in love.  Baby boy, you have been such an awesome blessing. I love you, I love you, I love you.

8 lbs 9 oz, 21.5 inches long...committed to memory.  It helps that I am a numbers persons and can recite all of SSN's, my driver's license, and any pin number someone gives me.  Your stats are a permanent sktech in my brain.  I cannot believe how fast a year passed.

Just yesterday we were trying to squeeze you into a newborn outfit when clearly you were already too long for it.  We couldn't button the entire outfit, but it was all we had, so we let it go, put you in the car seat, and wheeled us to the truck.  Daddy loaded you up, and he helped me into the truck.  We were going home a family.

Once you were home, we learned what mom should and should not eat.  We stayed up late, watched football, and rocked you all night long.  You were a champ at breastfeeding, and daddy loved to encourage you to clamp on like a snapping turtle. At first, I experienced pain, but it was a wonderful bond. I enjoyed that time I spent with you. 

Then mom had to return to work, and that's when I had my first real cry. I loved every hour I was able to spend with you, and I could not fathom being seperated from you.  But I found my routine, and I enjoyed my time that much more with you.  I love my career, and I love my family.  We all adjusted, and that's when daddy and I found out that we needed to temporarily share our bed with you.  You did well with us.  Then at 6 months, we needed to break our bad habits.

It was hard on me to put you back in your crib, 30' away from me.  I cried more than you cried baby boy.  I was heartbroken.  No longer would I start my mornings seeing you before work, but mom adjusted.  I found changing my computer screen pictures to the latest, adorable photo of you got me through the day.  You put a smile on my face when the days were rough.

At 8 months, I decided I could no longer continue my relationship with a breastpump, and you easily transitioned to formula.  It's like you knew what to do to help mom.  I love you for making the transition easy on me; I needed your help desperately.  At 9 months, our latch was no longer needed, but we found other things to connect.  You started crawling up to me (thanks to tubes) and shortly thereafter, you were giving your kisses. Gosh, baby boy, you know what mom needs after a long day of work.

You fought all of the major viruses and diseases with a smile on your face; I know how much fight and willpower you have in you, and I hope you get that from me.  Why be sad and sick, when you can smile and cough through it? I loooooooove your personality so, so much, baby boy.  Please keep your happy go lucky personality.

Did I mention how proud I was when you had your first hair cut and behaved so well?  It was such a wonderful family moment to enjoy, and you did so, so well.  All these milestones make me so happy.

Can I say how amazed I was when you took your first steps?  I remember the following day being so excited to pick you up from day care so we could temp you to take more steps.  The excitement was like having butterflies in my stomach!  After you took a few steps, you turned into a wild boy. Pulling pillows off the couch to dive into, trying to stand up in your rocking chair, and throwing toys around to get to others.  Your energy level has skyrocketed, and it is so much fun to watch you become so excited. 

While I will miss your gummy smile, I look forward to those teethy grins now that you have some descending.  You managed the pain so well, even though you were bombarded with many teeth coming in at once, but that's what happens when your teeth wait so long to come in.  Guess daddy and I will have to be careful with your mouth so our fingers aren't bitten. :)

So here were are, you are one year old. One year, one year, one year. 9 months pregnant, one year raising you...what did I do before you ever existed? I didn't know living until you came into this world.  Really, baby boy, I love you so much.  I have so much love to give you.

Okay, maybe I can cry.  I was strong until I wrote you this letter, and all I can do is wipe the tears streaming down my face.  Beautiful boy, you are my life. I love you so much it truly hurts. Please know how much mom loves you.  I cannot believe you are a year old; this has been an amazing journey, and I am so happy you chose to share it with me.

But what's next baby boy?
Daddy and I want to build our forever home.  You'll have the chance to grow up in the country, enjoying 26 acres of freedom.  You'll hopefully be a big brother and grow up enjoying the outdoors.  I cannot wait to teach you more about swimming, and I am sure daddy will teach you hunting and fishing.  We have so much to look forward to, and I hope the next year goes by slowly and we can enjoy it without it surprising us when you are 2!

So enjoy your cake. Take your time walking. Think about what you want to say first. And love your dogs. Love Bo, Love SoCo, Love Cuervo, and most of all, Love us so much. Give us your hugs and kisses. Share your food, gosh, baby boy, just love, love like you do so naturally.

Mom needs a box of tissues.  I never knew how much I could love someone until I met you. Love, love, love.

Love you baby boy,


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Reflecting on the Beginning and Motherhood

38 W 6 D, Last Picture
A year ago, there was an office pool with bets on what day and what time I would give birth to Aidan.  I voted for Wednesday because I KNEW I would have him early...just knew. Plus, there was no way I would bet that Aidan would come on Saturday because it was opening day of College Football, and I KNEW that I would be watching all the games.  I also KNEW that my doctor would strip my membranes at Monday's 39 week appointment which would jump start labor. Take all that I KNEW and throw in it in the trash.

On Monday, August 29th, I had my regular weekly check up, 0 CM dilated and the no softening of the cervix. No progress whatsoever. No stripping (of the membranes, because I certainly had to strip down and get into a lovely gown).  Bets for the birth pool were also closed on Monday so that I didn't have any special insiders information. I didn't want to be all Martha Stewart and spend months in jail over knowing a few extra details when it came to betting.

On Wednesday, August 31st - No baby,no signs of baby, there goes my bet.  And yes, I only bet one day because I KNEW Aidan was coming, so sure of it.

On Thursday, August 1st - I had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, which was a first for me.  I tried different positions, with pillows, without pillows; I tried sleeping on the couch and sleeping in the reclining couch chair.  No luck.  I probably slept a good two hours before going to work. 

On Friday, August 2nd - I noticed anew kind of pain in the pelvic area.  I had been zipping around all pregnancy long, but Friday morning was tough.  Friday at work was tough.  It felt like there was a mile between the printer and my desk,and luckily, I only had to work a half day.  Also, work was having a luncheon for all the workers before the big weekend, and I was excited to eat the delicious cheeseburgers they serve, so I had to work until lunchtime.   I remember leaving work and knowing it would be months  returned, so it was bittersweet.  I remember napping and being interrupted by Anthony because his truck ran out of gas.  I was not a happy pregnant lady, but I couldn't leave him stranded on the side of the road in order to finish my nap, right?  Dinner, football, sleep.  Wait,sleep?  No, I do not remember sleeping.  Turn the football game back on. No idea who won, which is unlike me to not know who won a big game, but hey, those details were forgotten in the flurry of excitement to follow.

Sometime Saturday in the wee hours, August 3rd - Back pain, closer contractions, and leg pain.  Laundry,books, bath, packing the hospital bags.  Waiting. Playing on the internet.Waiting. WILL MORNING EVER COME? Walking, breathing, birthing ball, holy crap my legs are on fire. It's time to go.  I wake AJ and tell him he has to take me to the hospital, no joke hun, wake up.  Feed the dogs, put orange clothes on, grab a cheese stick, out the door, text the neighbor that I can't watch the dogs today. I want the pain in my legs to stop! Arrive at the hospital, oh please admit me, please.Put the gown on, hook up the monitors, check for dilation.  4 cm,you're admitted!  Call the parents, endure the pain, greet the parents.I want sleep, I need sleep, please make my legs stop hurting. Epi? Um,um, um...yes, give me the epi. Relief, sleep, oh, the rest of the family is here. Water breaks. Turn me over like a pancake to the other side, now you're 10cm, time to push.  20 minutes later, 12:12 PM, Aidan is here.Feed Aidan, celebrate, eat, sleep, football.

Feels like yesterday, it really does. Sounds corny, but time really does fly.  My baby boy is almost 1, and yet, it seems like yesterday there was the adrenaline rush of "we're going to meet our son" today. 

Here's the link to the original story. Several times, I thought about going back and adding to it or correcting grammatical issues, but you know what, I wrote that story in the hospital,and that's the way it's staying.

Today, September 1st, 52 Saturdays later, I am watching the opening college football games.  Something I gladly turned off to meet Aidan, though I did see some games.  I cannot even tell you who Clemson played September 3rd or if there were any upsets, which is crazy to me.  Last season was a blur, a good blur.

Training Deck is all mine at 4:30 AM!
The journey into motherhood has been interesting and rewarding.  There are times when I miss my pregnancy, and there are other times I am happily settled into my routine.  It took almost a year to get back to my routine and feel human again. I am a mom, but I am also Diana and I need my work outs.  I need to sweat out the stress and push my limits.  But I also need Aidan's hugs, his smile, and his discoveries.

Whether I talked about it or not, maternity leave was stressful.  I didn't have my identity and being in the house a lot drove me crazy.  Yes, I enjoyed my time with Aidan, but at the same time I knew staying at home was not for me.  With a second child, I will likely take the 12 week leave again, mostly for the baby's health. Yes, there will be a second, but no, I am not pregnant. Also, the leave helped with breastfeeding, and if you remember my initial goal was 6 months, and I think I will stick to the same goal.  Pumping at work is stressful.  Cleaning the parts, finding the time, and worrying with output was stressful.  Carrying in a lunch bag, a pump bag, a diaper bag and a baby is tough. Trying to find time to eat was tough.

Tomato Sauce made just for Aidan
I know there were many nay sayers about cloth diapering and being a working mom, but I found time to wash, dry, stuff, and fold the diapers.  I am stubborn, and I will find time to do what others say I can't or will give up on.  But it was stressful, no doubt.  In addition, I made (and still make) Aidan's food.  The reward is knowing exactly what is going in his mouth, but making his food is also stressful.  Sunday morning was spent at the stove for hours - steaming, processing, and dividing food.  My knees hurt from standing so long, but the reward was worth it.

Finding Time for Softball
The second hardest challenge was changing jobs.  I knew the high stress, demanding job that was working a way out of a job (project end!) was not the fit for my family.  Updating a resume, interviewing, and negotiating are not without stress, frustration, and confusion.  I interviewed with 4 companies, turned down two, and declined a follow up interview with a 3rd.  I dealt with hostility at my former employer's place, and I stressed out about my decision.  But in the end, I did what was right by my family and career.  My quality of life is a hundred times better than before, though the job right now isn't as challenging.  Though I will get to use my PE, and I am so excited for it.

The hardest challenge was accepting that Aidan needed tubes in his ears.  I couldn't cry when he was born, I don't cry when he gets hurts, and I don't cry when he cries.  But I wanted to, but held strong for Aidan, cry when Aidan was in the sound booth and not responding.  I don't want my baby boy to be hampered by his ears like I feel I have been.  Inherit everything else, but not the ears. Talk about stress of being a mom and dealing with the anger of having given your son bad ears.  I mean, my fault, right? Maybe, maybe not, but I was hard on myself right at the time I was trying to change careers.  Crazy, crazy stress, but we made it through it.

I did not get a chance to mow the lawn for almost a year!
The journey to being Aidan's mom has not been without its stress, but with the stress comes the first smile, the heart melting laughter, the excitement of the first step, and the fun of sharing your cooking.  It also means teaching your son touchdown!, how to pet a dog nicely, and words.  I really do not know what I did before Aidan besides study for a Masters and a PE. What did my free time consist of?  What did I look forward to when I the work day was over?  Never have I been so excited to get home so I can play with my son and see what limits he would push today.