Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

I used to forget what I did on holiday's past until I started blogging about them. Now I can remember that last year we did this and in 2008 I was 7 months pregnant so we went to a movie and made great food (ahh the freedom to see a movie on a holiday without kids)!!!!

Today I planned food and entertainment to be as follows:

Breakfast - last night I made a Peach Coffee cake, topped with fresh peaches and it turned out to be the best I've ever made!
After breakfast we went to the beach, slightly later than I had planned but still managed to get iced lattes on the way and the last parking spot!!! I was holding my breath until we found it, seriously, on a holiday here people are maniacs for the beach.

It was a red flag (rip currents), purple flag (sea pests like man-o-war) kind of day and with the giant rocks in this particular beach it was even more frisky waves but the breeze was incredible.



Looks like a postcard! Maybe I should make it into a postcard and send to friends and family, bet that would surprise them. When is the last time you got a card outside of a major holiday?

We came home to a cold pasta salad made the night before. Yes I was a mad chef last night whipping up all these treats! The pasta had a white Fettuccine sauce with roasted red peppers and blackened chicken bits. Incredible.

But that's all I got planned for the day. Husband's trying to get little girl to take a nap and I might go catch some zzz's myself.

Hope y'all have a wonderful Memorial Day and wave a flag for all our troops working so hard to protect our freedoms. Regardless of if you support their end destinations, it's important to appreciate their fight for our freedoms!

PS. the day would not be complete without a flag photo and patriotic colors worn!


Healing

Pardon me for a small detour from regularly scheduled events such as work, beach and random thought matters. I heard a message on healing and wish to recap it because it touched on something aching in my life.

I've been a Christian for 10+ years but I'm not what I'd consider a super Christian. I go to church on Sunday's, I don't volunteer, I don't do daily devotions but for the past year I have recently incorporated prayer into my daily life so if you ever want me to pray for anything please feel free to leave me a message. If I read your blog I'm probably already praying for you and your family because I believe God answers prayers, but this past Sunday I learned a little more about how and why he answers them.

How does God heal? There are 3 types of healing:
  1. Natural Healing
  2. Medical Healing
  3. Supernatural Healing
  • Matthew 8:16 When evening had come, they brought Him many who were demon possessed, and He cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. Matt 9:35, Matt 12:15 are more verses with healing where he healed ALL who were sick.
So the question remains for this day, if Jesus is the same today, yesterday and forever and he healed so many while he was here on earth and through the apostles after going to heaven, why do we see so few miracles these days?

My pastor had the following four points:
  1. Some of us are not healed because of personal sin. II Chronicles 26:1, Uzziah was 16 and made King instead of his father. He reigned for 52 years, won every battle and became very arrogant in his own abilities to the day he went into the temple to light incense. The temple was strictly for priests and they begged him to leave but he refused and became angry with them. So God smote him with leprosy and he was a leper till the day he died. Very sad story, he never repented. Numbers 12 Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses for marring an Ethiopian woman and they got leprosy but they repented and were made well.
  2. Don't assume now that someone who is sick is living in sin! Some are sick because we are living in a fallen world. Apologies, my notes are a bit light on this point and I don't have any verses.
  3. Sometimes we are not healed because Satin has power. Luke 13:11 A women was bound by an infirmity for 18 years.
  4. We don't always see healing because of the Sovereignty of God. It is about the works of God being revealed through man. At this point the pastor played an audio of a pastor who had lost his voice for 3 years and could only speak with a raspy whisper of a voice. He had stopped speaking for a period of time but his old Bible school group begged him to come back and speak to them. He was scheduled to speak on the subject of healing and the study material had been in place for 8 months. We listen to the audio as he's speaking about healing and while he is speaking his voice is restored, he is healed. It was unexpected and precious.
It's hard for me to explain the Sovereignty of God, I understand it in my own way but don't know how to justifiably explain it to someone else. I know from my recent life example of praying for my 2nd twin to live I was surrounded by many wonderful people who supported me through prayer and words of comfort (Christian and non-Christian, all were a blessing to me). I took strength from their words and remained very focused in faith praying that my son or daughter would be healed (I was 13 weeks pregnant). The baby died two weeks later. I sometimes wondered in the darkest of places, was it from not having enough faith? I learned today that God doesn't sit on a throne with arms folded looking down, shaking his head saying not enough faith, not going to heal. There is a verse that says with faith the size of a grain of mustard seed, mountains can be moved.

It was point 4 that hit me the strongest, that God in his Sovereignty chose not to heal my child and the reasons may not be revealed until I get to heaven but I do rest in the knowledge that he knows what is best for my life and I trust him.

This period in my life brought so many people "out of the woodwork" - an old expression. Comments from people I grew up with who I didn't even know cared or still thought of me. Prayer has a way of bringing us to our knees in compassion for our friends and family, it brings us closer to God.

A year ago I was praying for baby Stellen, a child who was living with a near fatal heart problem; his mom wrote a fantastic blog detailing the unfolding events and there were readers from around the world, thousands of people in prayer. I asked my bible study leader - what difference does it make when one more person prays? Is God more likely to listen? She said no, it's not the amount of people praying, it's that prayer changes each person to be more compassionate about the world and people they are praying for. She said Stellen would not be the only one seeing change but that I would be a changed person from praying for his healing. It's true, I do feel changed from a year of praying. Stellen survived and was healed.

Losing a child has given me insight into the grieving of women who lose babies in pregnancy and afterward. I recently finished reading Angie Smith's book "I will carry you", it's about the loss of her daughter. I have to admit that prior to losing a child, I didn't understand this grief - I can't say I'm grateful to be part of this club but maybe someday having this knowledge, this compassion will allow me to minister to a mother going through the same thing I went through and maybe that's part of his Sovereignty in putting me in the right place and mindset to help someone else.

Finally I want you to know that I love praying for people. I want you to know that I take all requests seriously and will take your burden to the one I call Savior and Healer so please feel free friends to let me know if there is anything I can pray about in your lives.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oh really Twoager?!?

This morning started out sweet - until I wiped Charlotte's mouth and applied some baby orajel to her hurt lip (accident yesterday exiting a stool caused a bloody lip). Somehow in the scuffle, she requested a "baa", her word for everything, and I misunderstood what she was pointing to. Upon putting her down she threw herself on the floor, kicked heels and cried. So I put her in time out, closed the door.

5 minutes later - open door, she screams at me.

5 minutes later - open door, she screams at me.

5 minutes later - open door, she screams at me.

5 minutes later - open door, she screams at me.

5 minutes later - open door, she screams at me.

Finally I just open the door and say come out when you are ready. I leave, enter the kitchen and hear her bedroom door slam shut!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Notable Notes

I've recently been wowed by my parents generation for their writing and personal style. Take my friend J's dad who is now on LinkedIn. I saw he was connected and sent a standard form invitation to be connected that simply said "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." He wrote back a personal message to my actual email account that said:
"It was very good to hear from you and I look forward to keeping current with you. Should you ever find yourself in the need of a trusted friend or advisor, of someone to bounce ideas off of, or someone to just listen...I am your guy! We all miss you and can't wait till the next time we can spend some time with you and yours."
This totally made my day!

Recently I noticed my mom wrote something on Facebook that was really sweet to an old friend of hers who had sent her a "you are never alone heart" icon:
"This makes me feel so special to receive this from Phyllis Kelley.
It's moments like these that make me pause and consider my digital output into the world. Do I write meaningful comments and emails? Do I rush responses in an attempt to get through as much digital communication as possible in one day?

With Facebook, LinkedIn, personal email, work email and blogs I go through a tremendous amount of content per day and regardless of it being work or personal, I'd really like to slow down a bit and participate in meaningful exchanges.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts


This fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out her way cool graphics.

Last Friday I had an ultrasound with "Risky Doctor" and learned the baby boy is 3lbs 8oz and there are no concerns so I don't have to come back for 5-6 weeks. I laughed and said I'd probably have him by then! I had my first at 35 weeks so she's bringing me back at 34 weeks for measurements. Small security, I wake up every day and pray I'll make it till July! My actual due date is August 5th so I think any time in July would be "okay". I just really hope we can skip the NICU this time!!!

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I'm proud to say I've been consistent with 2 mile morning walks at 6:30am to avoid the morning heat but it hasn't gotten me to work any faster, take this morning, it's 8:30 and I'm still writing this blog. This means

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Why is our condo complex so quick to chop down dead trees but they take forever plant new trees?

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My mom's on Facebook and it's fun to get her reactions. Just yesterday her retirement fund manager friended her on Facebook - ha! I guess it's more than just a Friend thing, it's a place for people to promote their businesses.

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Why is when we give full attention Charlotte it's never enough?

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I love how Charlotte has learned to put her plush SpongeBob behind her on the couch while she watches TV.




Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why?

Why do I continue to torture myself with weekend outings when the result is screaming, screaming and more screaming?

Why?

Primarily because I read Grit's blog and her determination to put triplets into nature every single day of their lives or something of the home education variety has me permanently inspired to make the most of our weekends.

Lately the scorching heat has become a major factor in outdoor time problems. In a toddler's opinion, here is the worst of today:

1. Sunscreen - does anyone know how to apply sunscreen without eliciting screams? I apply a cream to the face and spray her body with a sun spray. It's over in 2 minutes flat but the anger and rage in those two minutes could fuel our car ride to the beach.

2. Car Ride - slightly too long for preference, sorry daughter, we live 30 minutes from the beach due to affordable housing issues.

3. Heat - after 30 minutes in the sun (and I do provide shade but she chooses not to stay there) she has a total melt down. Fine, we can leave - just have a little patience while I wrestle with the umbrella as it's flipped inside out with the wind and you climbing on my back screaming NO NO NO is not helping to speed my ability to wrestle it the opposite way in the wind.

4. Shower - she's on a bench watching me rinse off and screaming her head off about the water droplets hitting her. Clearly by this point the heat has just taken over all sense of civility or she's concerned about her own upcoming shower experience.

Finally done with the shower and in dry clothes we explore a small part of nature - presenting local cacti and coral rock.






Remaining unfortunate detail for mom - she naps on the way home which means it will be really hard to get her to take a 2 hour nap later in the afternoon. Soooo, still confused on why I do it? Is there anything in there for me?

Yes - for a small period of time there was a gorgeous wind on the beach that cooled everything down, the sound of the waves and the beauty of the ocean that made me incredibly happy. Also, the thought of staying in the house or just going somewhere local like the park or mall made me depressed so in the end I say it's worth it.

Maybe next week we will go earlier - like at 8am when husband leaves for work rather then lolling around the internet for an hour while Charlotte watches SpongeBob. I realize now that I wasted important toddler capital = awake happy time!!! Don't waste the "awake happy time" parents! It's more precious then gold.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday


Are you the Mom you thought you would be?
(this blog topic hosted by Julia and Lisa)

In retrospect, I spent no time thinking about being a mom in high school, college or the following years in my early career. I secluded myself in Florida, far away from friends and family who were busy building their families. My husband and I moved to California for 2 years then back to Florida and in eight years post college I traveled to Asia 8 times. I was vaguely aware of friends having babies but they didn't share much with me - they must have been crazy busy or I was just that isolated, probably the latter.

2006 was my best year for travel and work. It started with a one month trip to Asia followed by a one week trip to London. It was a challenging and exhausting but I had so many great experiences.

Later that year I started reconnecting with close friends who were becoming or were already moms starting with friend J who had sworn she was never having kids so I always considered her my ally in a kid free life. We were career women, not bound by children - until she wrote mid-year to say she was pregnant -- deliberately no less! I was shocked and something snapped, suddenly I started wanting children too but had no idea when or how to fit it into my schedule.

In August I combined a trip to see a close friend from high school who had just given birth to a two week old baby girl with a visit to another friends costume wedding. Here's an awkward photo of me holding the baby.
See how limp my arms are, I didn't know how to hold a baby. My friend just placed her in my arms and started taking photos.

At the costume wedding my friend was marring a guy with 3 kids and I spent the weekend playing with the girls, doing their hair and make up (I think they were 5 and 8), these girls were adorable.

In October I was back in Asia for another 3 week trip at a luxury hotel with dinner on the roof every night next to the hot tub, watching old episodes of Coupling - which even had the main couple having their first child by end of season!

By December I visited friend J and her newborn son and I was finally hooked but still puzzled on when to schedule a baby!

In 2007 I went to Asia three times - January for 3 weeks, April for 3 weeks and finally October for 2 weeks; work was feverishly busy that year with taking on new licensees, building new product lines and setting up a new Hong Kong office. I worked hard that year but personally I was tiring of putting 100% of my energy into a job, working 60 hours per week and not having much personal life to come home to.

I came back from the last trip and told husband I was ready for kids immediately and I got pregnant on the first try - much to my surprise! Throughout pregnancy I didn't give much thought to being a mom, I stayed focused on the present of being good at pregnancy, getting all the exercise and eating right, I still had no idea how we'd fit Charlotte into our lives and schedule.

I guess it's obvious by now that I hadn't given any thought into what kind of mom I would be. I watched my friends, read lots of blogs for advise and received counsel from my mom and mother in law.

So to finally answer the question - Am I the mom I thought I would be? My answer to this is finding balance between work and home life and I can honestly say I'm finally pleased with the balance I've achieved between work and daughter but it's really with the help of my awesome husband who's a stay at home dad and helps smooth all the edges.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pregnancy Update

The 3 hour test on Friday went better than expected. I didn't pass out from lack of food, water and 4 blood tests! In fact, my body went into auto pilot and I made the time go fast by commenting on every Facebook friends posting of that morning and started reading "I will carry you" by blogger Angie Smith which totally made me cry with every chapter. I had to set my phone timer so I'd know when the nurse was ready to pop out to take blood again - stop reading, blow nose, collect self, etc. It's a story about the loss of her daughter at birth and probably not something I should read while pregnant but I find her story to be so compelling and beautiful with the lessons she's learned about life and God.

Today I got the test results which are NEGATIVE! I don't have gestational diabetes!!! Just another negative in a long list of "worry" checks. A month ago there was a bright spot on his bladder that hasn't grown in size so they are no longer concerned, then two weeks ago there was extra fluid around his heart and a week later it was gone. On one hand I'm tired of all the speculation but also incredibly grateful and thankful that my little guy is doing okay. I know the doctor's are just being extra careful and checking every little thing. I've read enough blogs and heard friends stories to know of women going through "really serious" issues and to have each thing check out negative is an incredible relief and gift. I'm humbly thankful for my health and little guy's health.

Although, I will say that spending the entire weekend thinking I might have diabetes has encouraged me to drink more water and eat less sweets. Maybe it was that nasty 10oz glucose drink but I haven't been able to even look at dessert, must less eat it. I did however have some fantastic pancakes strawberries, whipped cream and maple syrup on Saturday morning - I was worried it might be my last for awhile!

And finally, the nurse said it may have been the latte I was drinking pre-test that made me fail the first test so if you are 26 - 28 weeks pregnant don't stroll casually into the glucose appointment with latte in hand!

Disclosure - my doctor said I CAN have 4oz of coffee per day and I don't exceed this.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Things I'm looking forward to this summer

  1. Hurricane season starts June 1st - strange thing to look forward to but I'm looking forward to meeting this milestone head on - with all necessary preparations behind me.
  2. My mom is coming to visit the first week of June!
  3. My mother in law is coming to visit the weekend of Charlotte's birthday.
  4. June 19th - Charlotte's 2nd birthday!!!
  5. As many days at the pool and beach as possible before baby boy arrives.
  6. July 13th - my 10th year wedding anniversary!
  7. Eating lots of seasonal fruits like Mango's, Strawberries, Peaches and Avocado's!
  8. Eating salad - it taste better in the summer.
  9. Taking Charlotte on her first canoe ride.
  10. Seeing how big my belly will get - wonder if I'll exceed the 45" I got to with Charlotte???
  11. August 5th - baby boy is due, looking forward to meeting him and being done with pregnancy for the summer
  12. Getting my braces removed - sometime around the point baby boy is due.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pregnancy Update

I got the dreaded news that I did not pass my 1st glucose test meaning I have to fast from midnight forward and go back to the doctor's office at 8:30am to take the 3 hour test where they take blood every hour. Bummer.

Not sure what I'm more concerned about, lack of food or getting blood drawn 3-4 times!

28 weeks along - little guy is presumably 3lbs, not sure if he will come 4 weeks early like his sister but they plan to monitor me weekly for changes/signs.

I haven't been to prenatal yoga for a month; I've been skipping it to go to the beach.

I don't think I'm drinking enough water, probably eating too much sugar, only walking one mile a day. Not living up to my expectations these days. Need to kick self into gear.

Goals -
  • drink 64oz of fluid a day
  • walk 3 miles a day - probably need to add another 20oz of water to compensate
  • do 1/2 hour of yoga every day
  • eat better balanced diet of 3 miles and 2-3 snacks a day

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Elena Kagan

I'm angry at journalist today for the ongoing critic of Elena Kagan's appearance and assumed sexuality. Or I should say I'm angry at entertainment news because this ridiculous criticism does not qualify for the distinguished term of "journalist".

As a full disclosure I must admit I consume entertainment news every day through E! News every day at noon, Extra TV at 4:30pm, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 2pm, the Colbert Report at 2:30, TMZ news bytes on my iPhone and my absolute favorite Pink is the new Blog (Trent is an awesome blogger, he only reports on entertainment news and does not post a bad opinion about anyone and I love him for this). We have DirecTV at work so these may not represent my choices but are on daily at work for no other reason then to give us something to rant and rave about.

I bet your image of me has just been dimmed/diminished/destroyed. I'll try to make up for it with an angry rant about the destruction of women in the following paragraphs.

President Obama has chosen U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan as our next Supreme Court justice and the entertainment world is critical of her appearance. She's been compared to Chaz Bono and Kevin James from "King of Queens" based on a few unfortunate photos taken from below that emphasize a masculine appearance and resemblance to these two fellows (well Chaz did recently complete a transformation to be a man so thus the plural). She has short hair, is 50 and not married so the news is accusing her of being a lesbian; friends are rallying to confirm she is straight.

What is my point? I'm furious and disgusted at the attention being paid to her appearance and assumptions of her sexual preference - neither of which have any baring on her ability to judge Supreme Court issues. She should win the greatest judicial seat based on career performance.

This criticism of appearance and assumption of sexuality is personal with me. In my freshman year of high school I was bullied by a preacher's daughter for being an assumed lesbian. One day in choir class, I was staring out the window, she thought I was looking at her. She started a whisper campaign against me. Later in the day she was also in my Foods 1 class and got another bully to sing "I'm a girl watcher" to the tune of Wheel of Fortune - this same bully rode my bus and sang it every day until I flipped out and told him my brother would kick his ass if he ever sang that again. I thought I couldn't get away from this girl but finally she left mid-year, transferring because her pastor father had been moved.

I thought these things were left behind in high school. How can women come this far only to face brutal criticism for not matching societies preference for beauty? Elena Kagan has experienced the highs and lows of women rights. She's seen the Equal Rights Amendment pass in the 70's and she's now seeing the end results in the 10's that it doesn't matter how equal you are, you will still be judged by entertainment news for your appearance and assumed sexuality.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekend Highlights

In the office, the first question of the day on Monday is how was your weekend - in this case, how was your Mother's day? I told them I was glad to be sitting safely at my desk with nothing to do but work at a computer. Here are my weekend highlights:

PUBLIC NAKED TIME!!!
Saturday we went to the beach for one hour in 88 degree weather (heat index 99). My rule is one hour in the summer, any more seems like a plan to dehydrate everyone and induce possible heat stroke.

We tried a beach that used to be FREE but they've installed a fancy solar powered credit card machine that cost $3.00 per hour. That may also be inspiration to stay one hour.

We swam for most of that hour in beautiful calm clear ocean water - daughter clung to me for dear life. Just earlier in the week she let husband drag her back and forth in the surf on boogie board until falling off into the waves so I guess she's being a bit cautious now.

Following our swim was a long walk up sandy hill to reach shower. Not_doing_this_beach_again - overheated, really tired from climb and fortunately got daughter to walk most of it. Reached showers, dumped gear, showered quickly while she scanned the area looking for trouble. Grabbed her, removed diaper, showered naked girl as quickly as possible until she made a quick escape running back down boardwalk buck naked with pink sandals. Brief pause as I consider grabbing a camera but she's going fast so grab towel instead and recapture offspring in front of an audience of maybe 10 or 12 people. Seriously out of breath now, manage to wrangle new diaper on her bottom and terry cloth dress over body and cajole her into walking to the car.

MOTHER'S DAY
Started out nice with husband making breakfast burrito's and writing lovely things about me in the post below. Unfortunately he had to work and left me behind with best wishes. In the next hour Charlotte managed to wiggle out of her Sunday dress, lose a sandal, throw her cheerios into the air, make a furious bid for the broom as I cleaned her mess, threw herself on the floor when I didn't cooperate and threw my new candle sticks down the hallway that husband made for me. But none of that could dim the shine of Mother's day so off we went to church. Even her refusal to ride in the stroller meaning I had to carry her in 90 degree heat a very long distance from parking lot to building did not dim the glow.

Post service I collect Charlotte from the nursery and she happily agrees to walk by my side. We stop to take photos of her new dress which looks a bit like a ruffled flapper gown -

Then it's up and down the stairs for 15 minutes until I decide it's time to go home because I'm becoming desperate to eat lunch - 7mo pregnant and all that! She throws a giant fit and I carry a kicking screaming girl to the car, shovel her into carseat, plug in a binky and drive home - still glowing!

At home she wages a campaign to end the afternoon nap by climbing everything in sight - coffee table, dining table, changing table until inexplicably falling flat on her back between couch and dog kennel which resulted in horrible cries leading to a nap.

I do what any sensible (pregnant) unreasonable adult women would do on Mother's day - clean. Sweep the floors, wash bottles, load laundry, clean stove, clean cat vomit in garage that has covered my lovely white pantry and finally sit down to read some blogs. I should have rested - would have if I'd know the rest of the day would be worse!

1.5 hours later, more climbing, yelling, harassing the dog and general wild behavior. Finally at 4:30 I thought it time to go for an outing - I needed peaches and a 2nd lunch. So we went off to Whole Foods - she spotted a fruit strip slip into my purse on the way out the door and screamed for that. She screamed most of the way to WF. Once there she refused to sit in the cart.

On the way back to the car I gave her a bag to hold and half way while crossing the road she threw it on the ground - I stoop down, off balance from giant basket ball in front and 20lb daughter on hip, grab bag and hold it too close to her reach, she makes a wild grab for the bag, I move it to the other hand, she counters screaming and flailing both arms throwing me even more off balance as I literally growl her name under my breath, flip her into a football hold and muscle her off to the car.

Fortunately I was able to buy a nice African Violet plant so my plan for mother's day flowers was complete. There was chocolate at home and a plan for a memorable meal. The day still had hope and when husband came home and took over it was a truly blessed day.

Question to future Charlotte - was it really necessary to test my parenting skills on Mother's day??? I expect pancakes and strawberries in bed when you are older.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day (post written by my husband)

To My Wife

My wife is a great mother. She works hard as the primary wage earner yet still tries to come home with enough energy to spend time with our daughter. She is a great balance to me when it comes to raising Charlotte. She also has the primary thing that mothers need to have when raising a child, a desire to care for them.

Before we started a family, we recognized that she made more money than I did. For us, putting our child in a daycare was not a desirable or practical solution. While she would have loved to take a leave from her work to take care of our child, it was just not an option. My salary alone couldn't sustain us. The most logical solution, from a monetary standpoint, was for me to reduce the hours I worked to just the weekend and have her work during the week. As a new mother, she wants to be with her child. For the past two years, Monday through Friday she only has had an hour or two in the morning before she goes to work and the hour or so after she gets home (if she can get home on time) to spend with our daughter. Even wiped out from work she still has energy enough to relieve me of Charlotte for what's left of the evening.

After having spent a day with my daughter, I sometimes feel she needs more discipline/manners/etc. As I start to rant and rave about how we should teach her to be a better member of society, my darling wife comes over and takes my daughter. With great patience, she deals with her tantrums and screams while changing her diapers or clothes. Our discussions have drawn the line on some things. She has taught me by example that no matter how bad things get, we still have to be patient with our children. If it wasn't for her, my toddler may already be in military school.

My daughter fell against something and started to cry. We've learned a variety of cries since she was born. This was the cry of shock, pain and anguish. I was getting ready for work when my wife brought her to me. I look up and see a little blood on her lip. I immediately go into action. Identify why she is bleeding, console her, and clean her up. I check her mouth and figure out that she just bit her lip. I clean her up and calm her down. When I finally switch back to getting ready to leave, I become aware that my wife is sniffling. She started to cry when she realized what Charlotte had done to herself. By this time our daughter was off onto something else, pain forgotten. It really touched me knowing that my wife was sad enough to cry for no other reason than our child had gotten hurt. This tells me that she doesn't want anything bad to happen to our children because she cares for them. To me, this is the primary trait a mother needs.

No matter how tired she gets, every second with our children is to be treasured. She has the patience and understanding needed to raise a child. She cares for our children and doesn't want them to come to harm. For this reason, I'm glad to be raising children with my wife. I think she is the perfect mother for my children.

Happy Mother’s Day

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Disaster Preparation

In the past 5 months this country has seen several major disasters - major oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, floods in Nashville and a bitterly cold winter with repeated blizzards terrorized much of the country. Even South Florida got an unreasonable cold spell that killed off thousands of local plants and animals.

Right now I know the oil spill is a big concern but the flooding in Nashville has me more worried and saddened for all the families who have lost everything. A fellow blogger, Lindsay Ferrier of Suburban Turmoil is there and fortunately lives high enough that her home did not sustain damage. She's done a tremendous job of highlighting stories of the victims from the two day rain siege and has provided some links for donations. Please stop by and check out her blog and if you have the means to do so, please donate to the families who have lost everything.

This is all very sobering news for a South Floridian dweller. I remember too well the 2005 hurricane's that thrashed South Florida and that was also the year we watched Hurricane Katrina destroy New Orleans and Mississippi.

These recent events along with our upcoming hurricane season starting June 1st have me working on our evacuation plan this weekend - refining all the details, planning for transportation of 3 cats, 1 dog, 1 toddler, husband + necessary gear - all while in 3rd trimester of pregnancy! My husband and I believe in refining our emergency procedures annually because a family can never be too prepared. Here are a few of our tips that we recommend following regardless of where you live in the country - these steps can be very time consuming to assemble so don't wait till the last minute:

Computer
- we do a monthly back up to a small device that is only slightly bigger than my iPhone. I consider computer crashes a major "disaster" so this is good preparation for anyone. I also do a weekly back up onto a thumb drive of the files I use on a weekly basis.

Notebook
- my husband likes to keep an old-fashioned spiral bound notebook containing printed information of the following:
  • Important telephone numbers
  • Record of bank account numbers
  • Inventory of valuable household goods
  • Record of credit card account numbers and companies

--> Safe
  • Copy of will, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds
  • Copy of passports, social security cards, immunization records
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Back up of computer
This covers the most difficult items to reproduce following a disaster. In later posts I'll demonstrate other helpful tips. And if you are suddenly inspired to learn more about disaster preparation I recommend going to FEMA's website where they have a very helpful manual. This link is 21mg so takes a few minutes to upload.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday - Career Change

Happy Cinco de Mayo! It's time for another Working Mommy Wednesday, brought to you by "Work, Wife, Mom Life" and "This Mommy Works"!!

What would you do if you could change your career?
Before I got into the toy industry 10 years ago I was very passionate about green design. I read Victor Papanak and a multitude of green designers, put a ton of research into job opportunities and found it to be a very small field of established professionals who didn't have enough budget to bring in someone "green", right out of school :(

Immediately after graduation I was offered a position in a small toy company and I've stayed for 10 years. I've tried throughout these 10 years to introduce green design into plush toys and found it to be cost prohibitive. The cost to produce a green product is about double the cost of a regular plush and therefore the cost in the market is almost double and the average customer is not willing to pay the additional cost. A vast majority of plush toy makers need to join together to buy only "green" materials, then cost of materials will come down and the prices of green toys can be affordable to the average consumer.

If I were to change career's it would be a shift into green design, finding solutions to product development and not relegated to toys. Meanwhile I'll keep looking for ways to change my current industry!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts

This fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out her way cool graphics.

Just for fun, insert your name into the following sentence -

"Rachel feels very comfortable talking about current events. She loves sushi and is very concerned about the leaking oil and she knows exactly where Afghanistan is on a map."

Sources close to Kim Kardashian said above quote in the context of getting more involved with politics - with Kim's name of course.

This made me giggle continuously today imagining various friends and bloggers saying this - like Grit or any of Grit's daughters :) - all bring increasing snorts of laughter!!!

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Lately I've become obsessed with McDonald's $1.00 hot fudge Sunday's. Seriously they are delicious, filling and cheap! It's the only thing I like on the menu and I will go out of my way to get one.

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SpongeBob has become a phenomenal hit in our home. He is Charlotte's first recognized licensed character. She delights in saying "ponge bob" and upon visiting my office gathers all the ponge bob's in sight and brings them to me. I haven't brought any home because I'm a little nervous at wearing down her interest and delight. For purely selfish reasons - I've purchased the first season and use it whenever I need to make dinner or turn an angry face upside down. I fully submit to the program that has made it possible for me to have a little "break", even if it's something as pointless and silly as SpongeBob.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Five Question Friday - on a Sunday

1. If you could, would you go back to high school?
Only for specific things:
A. I'd work harder to get straight A's so I could get scholarships and not have college debt STILL hanging over my head 10 years after graduation - sheesh!
B. I'd have tried out for sports. It wasn't until college that I realized I love exercise and am very competitive. Wish I'd tried out for Track.
C. Wish I'd done more after school clubs like that business club my friend Jessica did; she had so much fun going to events with other schools and such. I guess I never saw myself as a business woman and here I am director of R&D (product development)

2. If a genie appeared and granted you two wishes, what would they be? (And, no saying “more wishes”.)
A. 1 million dollars - yes that's all, I'm not greedy, it would pay off all debt and let us live wherever we want for a good long time while allowing us to work non-profit jobs and visit family more often.
B. 1 year trip around the world with my family, all expenses paid

3. What kids show do you secretly like?
SpongeBob, Sid the Science Kid, iCarly, Dinosaur Train - and it's no secret! I love these shows!!!

4. What is your beverage of choice?
Water

5. What is something that you would change about yourself (or are working to change in yourself)?
I'm trying to get more organized about my schedule so I can spend more time with family and friends.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Toddler on Airplane

I consider Charlotte a seasoned traveler with 6 flight round trips under her tiny belt before the age of 2 so anxiety for a 2.5 hour flight home to Maryland was at an all time low.

I worked a full day in the office, had husband pick me up on the way to airport, even had him take a security badge that let him walk us to the flight so I'd have less pregnant time of juggling daughter through security. Stopped for dinner, ate quickly before boarding, stopped at bathroom - I had met all of MY NEEDS! She was with her father. Grabbed daughter to board flight with carefully packed bag and the second I sat down ALL HELL broke loose!!!

It's like someone replaced my little seasoned traveler with "one of those" horrific toddlers who screams with unearthly murderous rage! I was in shock as we sat in the aisle seat next to two other travelers who looked on in fear. Everyone around us clamored for their headphones and told each other it was going to be a long flight. I broke out into a cold sweat as I battled to get her to just sit on my lap while I quickly prepared a bottle, got her into a horizontal position and actually drinking the bottle when guy next to me decides to find a new seat. I finally had her calm and DRINKING A BOTTLE!!! I was like seriously - you need to move NOW???  Fortunately his move gave Charlotte a free seat so thank you dude!


Toddler Agenda

A toddler's agenda is formed around the parents choices and is purely reactionary to events they cannot control. Today Charlotte made the following decisions - following my lead.

post breakfast - bounce excitedly around mom dawdling on computer and poke her with stuff to encourage her to pack up and go somewhere.

in car, behave calmly while mom drives around looking for the latest People magazine with story of Sandra Bullock's new baby - was it really necessary to stop 4 places??? By 3rd stop had to throw a giant fit to show displeasure.

finally at beach - too tired to enjoy it much, don't want milk, don't want goldfish snacks, hot, humid, sticky, windy - time to pick on mom, leap on her back, tear magazine and scream to show extreme displeasure.

mom leaves early with another 40 minutes on the meter - oh wait check out these lovely stairs! Throw self out of mom's arms to climb up and down stairs.

mom sits down to watch - take opportunity to tackle another set of stairs, dash quickly around corner and into men's restroom.

mom comes screaming after daughter into restroom, fortunately no men in sight!!! That may have been too shocking for all adults.

mom careens daughter into outdoor shower section and waits for her to fill diaper. Quick diaper change then it's a sprint back to the men's restroom - captured just before entry.

take off to woman's restroom, hear mom grumble "that's ENOUGH"! Make a quick dash down boardwalk in a bid to return to ocean but mom swoops in from behind to carry screaming child back to car, mouth drawn in a grim line as child thrashes wildly.

five minutes into car, daughter falls asleep. Mom regains some semblance of serenity.

Scrambled Brains

(trip to Maryland with toddler + return to work)1 = scrambled brains * 47

It all started with major plane delays on Monday, I had planned to return in the morning and work from 12-8pm but major storms in Ft. Lauderdale caused a shut down to all entering flights. I finally walked into work at 4pm hoping to grab my computer and work from home but encountered a room full of freelance designers and meetings happening and had to jump into the fray.

Tuesday - see below post, grumpy day :(

Wednesday - I can't remember much except coming home to rework taxes because I had forgotten to deduct sales tax so I continued to stare into a computer screen after an entire day in the office and hopefully did it right because I should be getting an additional $143.00! Then at 3:30am I remembered a doctor's appointment the following morning for 7:30am!

Thursday - made it to the appointment with Chick-Fil-A sandwich and juice in hand, baby boy is an astonishing 2lbs 10oz and I'm only 26 weeks!!! That's 1lb 5oz gain in 3 weeks!

Work was hectic as it was boss's last day in office before 2 week trip to Asia, again full house of freelance designers but I have a standing commitment to leave at 5:15pm for yoga. Yet I was feeling desperate to spend time with husband and daughter so went straight home to collect them and back to the beach for the evening. It was really the perfect decision because afterward we had dinner at our favorite restaurant where Charlotte behaved beautifully and learned to use a fork!

Friday - another long day of work but finally caught up from the 2.5 days of vacation!

So there's my week in summary and apologies for not posting regularly; should be feeling back to normal after this weekend is over!