Friday, September 5, 2014
Stressed doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling.
I raised the white flag and sadly backed away from as many commitments as I could. First the nonprofit, then my sorority and finally church (mostly). I was still drowning in tasks at work with no help, even when I asked for it. I was doing as much as I could but spending the evenings engaged with my family (and an infant who thinks my laptop is a toy and would scream at me if I left the play area) and fulfilling my household duties left the wee hours of the morning for additional work time.
I burnt out quickly.
Even with the addition of a new staff member in June I had a lot to catch up on. And then with some additional staffing changes at work I inherited more responsibilities and the requirement to attend evening and weekend events – keeping me from my family even more. All with no financial compensation or additional time off. It was killing me that was spending so much time away from home while my baby is growing so fast.
But there’s a happy ending to this story!
Long story short, Dave’s postdoctoral position was coming to an end and he was offered a permanent position at the company which came with the awesome job title of “Laser Physicist” (how cool is that!) and a very nice raise.
This allowed us to finally take the steps to achieve one of our long-time goals…
I get to stay at home with Carter!
I officially quit my job this week and my last day will be either September 19 or 25 (they asked me to stay for a while to help wrap up projects but I also want a solid finish date so things don’t drag out). Either way, I’ll soon get to focus on playing, reading books, and going on field trips with my little guy, plus better supporting Dave in his new position and taking care of our home… and blogging more! I am beyond excited to have this opportunity and so grateful that I have a husband who supports me staying home.
Praise God for answered prayers!
I’m looking forward to this new stage of life and hope you’ll enjoy following along, too. Cheers!
Monday, February 17, 2014
Anyway, today is President’s Day and both Dave and I had the day off of work. We slept in (after an early wake-up from the little guy, but eventually got him back to sleep), had a delicious brunch, hug out around the house for a while and then went to the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose. We weren’t sure how Carter would do, but we read online that there were exhibits for younger kiddos so we figured it was worth trying out. Turns out, Carter had the time of his life!
We started in the “Wonder Closet” which is designed for kids ages four and under. In the baby room Carter had fun shaking tubes and dancing along while an employee played songs, crawling up wavy stairs, banging on a xylophone, seeing himself in a three-sided mirror area and watching lights dance around the room in a giant kaleidoscope.
After that we went to the water play area. We knew he would love this because he loves to splash around in the bath tub and play with the water.
It was so cute that they had “waterproof” smocks for the kiddos to wear. Too bad it wasn’t very effective – C would sink his whole arm in the water and the water would pool in the sleeve and then when he raised his arms up the water gushed out the arm and onto his clothes. Oh well, he still had a blast!
Finally, we went to the bubble area to see how he would react. Let’s just say, this may have been his favorite part of the day…
Carter had so much fun that he fell asleep on the way home with a half-finished bottle in one hand and a little shaker toy/rain stick that Daddy bought for him in the other. Sweet kid.
It was a wonderful day! We loved watching Carter experience new things and learn and play in a new environment. We hope to have many more family days like this in the future!
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
My knee-jerk reaction was "yeah, some people just aren't cut out for this parenting thing"... and then I caught myself...
You see, I've been THAT MOM in Target where everything was going along fine and then out of nowhere my infant son starts screaming at the top of his lungs. I quickly did a sniff test of the diaper which came back clean, nothing was pinching or hurting him, taking him out of the car seat and holding him didn't help, he ate just 45 minutes ago but even so, offering the spare bottle I brought wasn't cutting it. Nothing from my bag of tricks was working. So there I was, trying to walk and bounce my one-month old son in the middle of Target while softly singing his favorite songs, desperately trying to grab the items I needed so I could make my quick exit. Onlookers scowled at me, others watched with pity as I struggled to balance my screaming baby, push the cart, and grab the items I needed. But nobody offered help. I'm sure judgement was passed on me but what those people didn't know is that nobody wanted my son to stop crying more than I did. What they didn't know was that I was out of diapers and wipes and some essential food items and I figured that Target could be my one-stop-shop to get everything I needed and go back home as quickly as possible. What they didn't know was that it took me three days to muster up the courage to leave the house with my baby who needed constant attention from me for fear of this situation happening. What they didn't know was that it took me all day to try to schedule his feeding and nap times around showering, gathering items for the diaper bag, and loading the car. What they didn't know is that I was crying on the inside wishing that this trip would just end.
Even though the parent mentioned int he Facebook comment should have been giving more attention to the fact that their child was in a potentially dangerous situation, I quickly had a change of heart about my friend's post. All of a sudden I was fired up and angry at how quickly they passed judgement on this parent, and I was ashamed I had initially done the same.
When you see a parent struggling you don't know if they have had a rough day/week/month/year and their kid's behavior has left them challenged, frazzled, overwhelmed, frustrated or exhausted. Kids can be energetic and loud and are great at testing their boundaries - especially in public. And we have to take them out in public to apply the behavioral lessons learned at home. Not doing so is like assuming your degree alone will get you a job and real-life experience doesn't count. And Lord knows that you can't really control children, only teach them as they grow. My goodness, if we could so easily control our children this parenting thing would be a breeze! And let's not forget that if the child has a learning or developmental disability (autism, anyone?) then there is sometimes little the parent can do to predict, advert, or manage their child's actions.
I've seen it time and time again on social media, blogs and in real life. Observing a person's one action leads to judgement of their entire life. "That mom is letting their child throw a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store. They're a bad parent!" How unfair and how selfish of us to assume we know everything about a person in just a moment of observation. How awful of us to stand there and watch parents struggle and not offer assistance. I was ready to take action!
In my frustration I wrote this response to the Facebook post:
While there is no excuse for letting a toddler loose in a parking lot, the parent was probably overwhelmed and exhausted trying to wrangle a high energy toddler all day and probably could have used your helping hand to guide their child back near the car. Instead, you stood idly by and now mock them on Facebook. Good for you.But I didn't hit post. It's not really my thing to get into discussions or arguments on Facebook and I wasn't looking to start an argument. Plus, I didn't want to come off all high and mighty because I am certainly not winning any parent-of-the-year awards over here. But I have re-channeled my frustration and resolve to make a change in 2014: I want to be an example of Jesus' love for us, and follow his calling for us to love one another. And I think I'll start with parents.
I believe that we all do our best and that we operate with the best of intentions. Some people only see a blip of our lives and that blip certainly doesn't tell the whole story... where some see a moment of weakness or oversight, God sees the whole picture of who we are. While others may look at a dandelion and see a weed, God looks at the same dandelion and sees a flower blooming. I want to see the flowers, too.
It's time we supported each other in this parenting journey, even if you don't have kids. We're all in this together. Everyone's children will inherit the world we leave them, so why not make it a better place to be?
So next time I see a parent struggling with a tantrum-throwing toddler in the store, a back-talking pre-teen at Starbucks, or a child running loose in a parking lot I will do what I can to be a help and support, not be just an observer. Whether it be a smile and nod letting them know "I feel your pain, hang in there" or physically helping a child make their way back to their parent, I want to be genuinely helpful (and hopefully not creepy).
Maybe you'll join me, maybe you won't. But in all sincerity, if you have some ways that I (or anyone) can be a help and support to other parents in a non-creepy way leave your thoughts in the comments. I'd love to hear them.
Here's to a great 2014 and to making our community a better place for parents & kids, and all who encounter them along the way. Cheers!
Friday, December 27, 2013
Christmas this year was very special for our family - it was our first time celebrating with Carter! We have been looking forward to sharing Christmas with our children for years and it was so wonderful for it to finally happen. And if that wasn’t enough we were also privileged to have my Aunt Pat and Uncle Tim come and visit us from Santa Barbara to celebrate the holiday! They are like a second set of parents to me and a third set of grandparents for Carter and we were honored to have them here!
Pat and Tim arrived on Christmas Eve. We went to church for the Christmas Eve service and then headed out to P.F. Chang’s for a yummy dinner. Carter did well at the restaurant and even enjoyed some cuddle time with Aunt Pat after dinner.
Before bedtime Carter set out some egg nog and cookies and wrote a letter to Santa… well, I wrote the letter but I’m sure it was what Carter would have written, if he could write.
After what felt to be a short night we woke up to find that indeed Santa visited our house!
We caught Carter’s trip from his bedroom to the living room on video (a long-standing family tradition on my side of the family). Checking out the shoes seemed to be more exciting initially, but I’m sure that was because he didn’t know what was in store for him in the living room…
Then the fun began as we showed Carter how to check out all of the loot from Santa in and below his stocking (that my mom, aka Grammy, made for him)!
After this we headed into the family room where our Christmas tree was to open gifts under the tree from family and friends. The tree was certainly packed for only having five people’s gifts under it. What a blessing!
It was really fun teaching the little guy how to open presents and he caught on pretty fast! He’ll be a gift-opening pro in no time!
After opening the gifts under the tree we ate brunch, hung out, did some video calls to family, made dinner, ate dinner, and hung out some more - a pretty wonderful way to spend the day if I do say so myself!
We had a wonderful first Christmas as a family of three and we’re so glad we got to share it with Aunt Pat and Uncle Tim! We hope your holiday was wonderful, too! Merry Christmas!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
While I was working on my laptop Carter was playing on his own just talking away and banging things together. When he wasn't paying attention to me I caught a little of his play time on video - until I was caught!