Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Working Mommy Wednesday: I AM a Good Mom!

So the prompt I will go with today from my friends at the Working Mommy Network, since I can't do the picture thing from work, is a good one: Does being employed full-time make me a better or worse mother? about thought provoking. I've had to sit here for a few minutes (my accompanying Smart Ones Vegetable Lasagna, the best lunch TV dinner EVER, doesn't hurt) gathering my thoughts and contemplating how I really want to answer this question.

My first instinct was: HELL NO. I would be SUCH a better mom if I were able to Stay at Home with Jacob. But the more I've sat here and really examined myself head to toe, including my history, the more I've decided that, in fact:


This is honestly a very refreshing revelation. I think most of us working moms worry about this question frequently! Here is why I feel this way:

I am more patient with my son because at 5:15 I can't wait to start my commute and know that he is on the end of my drive, ready to smile and say mama and let me tickle his belly and stick his finger straight in his eye when I ask him to 'show me your nose'. If I were at home, by 5:15 I would be counting the minutes until my hubby got home so I could pass him the baby and say "your turn, sucker" while I frantically tried to finish dinner.

I think I actually do more housework as a working mom than I ever imagined. Trust me, there are still "how will this ever get done and be presentable?" moments, especially when it comes to stuff like hanging pictures (another reason I can't show you my house, there are 10 frames stacked against the wall waiting for us to hang them...they've been there since Mayish) or vacuuming the stairs or cleaning out the baby's closet. But I know if I were home all day, I'd likely be in pajamas until J's nap instead of doing all the things I say I would do, like going to the park or mommy playgroups or library story time. Then while he was napping, thinking I have all the time in the world as the hours until Daddy gets home stretch before us, I would be at the computer or in the recliner watching Bravo's marathon of America's Next Top Model. So I'd end up doing most of the housework after J's bedtime anyway.

The best benefit I can think of as to why working makes me a better mom is that I work really hard at what I do now. With my family as a solid purpose behind why I work, I do my absolute best to keep my job and keep moving forward. I try to employ the organizational and prioritization skills I use at work in my home life, although sometimes I fall short. I try to be as empathetic and understanding as possible with my co-workers, employees, and clients, so being a mom makes me a better employee, too.

In the end, the other thing that makes me a better mom as a full-time employee is that my son gets the BEST MEDICAL BENEFITS I could ever ask for. Seriously, it's awesome. And I'm sure he will appreciate it one day.

Please feel free to participate in our little blog hop: check out Julia's page here, where you can link to other like-minded moms as we work out our work/life balance. Stay at home moms feel free to read it too, so that we can all get past out "grass is greener" syndrome: maybe reading about our struggled will help reaffirm your decision to stay home with your precious babies!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

And the Winner is...

Posted at 9:06AM on September 21 by auncango:

"I think I need the black and white heart hair barrettes."

Well, they're yours! Congratulations on winning the Katie's Kreations giveaway!

I will set you two up with each others info ASAP so you can do some happy shopping.

And for the rest of you, don't forget that Katie is doing her "Buy One, Get One Half Off sale!" I know I have my eye on a couple of items that I will definitely be ordering soon. I should also mention that Katie has a more sophisticated line as well that can be found here: 55 Maple. As if I haven't tempted you enough...

Thanks for your support everyone, and please vote for me on Picket Fence blogs if you like what I'm putting out there! I enjoy reading all the other mom bloggers out there, and I hope you enjoy reading mine.

I have two more giveaways lined up for the next couple of months, so keep watching!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Most Expensive Vacation I Didn't Take

Or alternatively titled, It Is God's Plan, After All.

We made it to Mt. Airy Friday night and a couple of times on the way, my hubs complained about the clutch getting "stuck" halfway to the floor after he shifted. We thought, "hmmm" but didn't do much about it until we left the festival to go to the hotel Friday night. It stuck at least 3 times in the 2 miles to the hotel and each time he had to stick his foot under it to lift it back up. We decided we would get it to a shop first thing the next morning, and went to bed happy.

Easier said than done: although there were three car shops within view of our hotel, none belonged to Mazda, only two were open, and only one (the sketchiest looking of the bunch) had a mechanic who could do more than the basic oil change. At this point, it was freaking me out to drive the thing b/c it was stalling all over the place. The mechanic at the Snappy Lube or whatever said it would be TWO HOURS before he could even look at it to tell us if he could fix it or not. So instead we spent nearly an hour on the phone with our insurance carrier trying to weigh options for a tow, a dealership, and a car rental. The news was not good. All would cost an arm and a leg, and with it being noon on Saturday none were getting the car looked at before Monday. With a rear-facing infant seat and being 35 miles from civilization, our options were considerably decreased.

So I did what any girl would do in this situation: I called my mommy. And she is all kinds of awesome, so she drove 2 1/2 hours to pick us up and take us back home to get a rental car while our car was also being towed to a dealership near home (yeah, that cost more than we were planning to spend on our little weekend vacation).

This may sound like a really crummy weekend. But it gets worse. Last night before J's bedtime, he was burning up and cranky (he had been running a low grade fever earlier) and I checked his temp and got 103.5. YIKES! We luckily were able to keep our cool heads and gave him a tepid bath and some fake Tylenol and his temp dropped 2 degrees in an hour. The nurseline said to call if it dropped less than 1 degree in an hour, so we were safe, put him to bed, and his fever continued to drop overnight.

When we were getting ready to turn in, we noticed that a leak was coming through our living room ceiling. It's right under the master bedroom, but we hadn't used the shower since yesterday morning. In any case, we put a bucket under it and went on to bed. Luckily, it seems to have stopped despite the crazy rain we've been getting, so it's likely a pipe in the bathroom that we will have to call (and pay) someone to repair. I can't even process that right now, so we're just going to use the guest bathroom and schedule someone to come Friday morning. At this point, it's almost comical.

But here's the next bit of news: a little while ago, baby boy tripped and busted his lip on a toy truck, and you know how those injuries bleed. So, I gave him the cool compress as long as he would stand for it, put him down for an early nap, and called the pedi. Between the fever, the mysterious bug bites on his legs, cheek, and arm, and the busted lip, I'm just going to feel better if he sees a doctor.

Now I'm online researching the Hyundai recall and trying to argue with the car rental place about whether our rental car is part of this recall, and why I was told if we needed to extend it we would receive the same ultra-affordable rate, but when I called to extend it the rate is 3 times what we're paying now.

Sometimes, you just have to lean on God and know that there's something he's trying to teach us out of all of this, like maybe we should be thankful that we have amazing family willing to loan their hotel room to us on a hot afternoon or drive 300 miles to pick us up, great bosses who don't bat an eye when we say "I know I am already taking two days off this week, but I also might have to leave early another day to take care of some stuff" or a hubby who is there by my side through all of it. If the worst thing we get is a busted lip and some repair debt, we're doing ok.

For those of you HOPEFULLY having a better weekend/week than me, why not extend your good fortune by entering my great giveaway? It's the last day to enter, although I doubt I will have the time or energy tomorrow to select a winner, but I will announce by Wednesday who the lucky person is!

Friday, September 24, 2010

100th Post: Free Movie Friday!

Well, guys, I made it to 100. Wow.

For Free Movie Friday this week, I'm keeping it light in case you are in need of comedy. Now, I wouldn't say that Hot Tub Time Machine is the funniest movie evah, but for a free rental, it hits the spot. Especially if you can remember the 80's (which would mean you were born in the 70's like me).

Now, I have always loved me some John Cusack, but I have to admit he seemed this movie. Like, he has aged sufficiently where I can finally tell that he would definitely be too old for me, but he's still John Cusack. Craig T. Robinson was so funny. Comepletely different from his character on the Office, and his character in the movie was so uncomfortable, it was hilarious to watch him squirm because he's usually so confident. By far, though, the most laughable person in this movie was one Rob Corddry. That guy played the funniest character: put it this way, his opening scene showed him almost crashing a Trans Am (or other similar retro sports car...they all look like Trans Ams to me) into his own garage.

Overall, the premise was completely stupid and silly, but sometimes you just want to watch a stupid, silly, slapstick comedy. And this one hits the spot. The exploration of '80's stereotypes was particularly nostalgic and amusing for me. And there are a few scenes that make the weaker spots worth sitting through. Oh, and PS: if you like watching Chevy Chase in Community, you'll get a kick out of him here.

So grab a bowl of popcorn, someone else that would remember rolling (or pegging, for the more sophisticated of you, in the South it was just "rolling") their jeans, huge shoulder pad sweaters, and mullets being cool, and grab this DVD for free at any Redbox at a Walgreen's with the code: DVDATWAG.

I'll have to do some digging to find another code for next week. Until then, I remind you (yet again) to enter my giveaway and win some cool stuff!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's Almost Friday!

Well, this week is full of new things...first my GIVEAWAY (go enter, hint hint) and now my first Blog Hop with Family Friendly Frugality's Almost Friday Blog Hop. That's a lot of capital letters.

In any case: it's ALMOST FRIDAY. And while I usually look forward to Fridays for so many reasons, the least of which being time to relax with my family, this weekend the excitement is ramped up even more. I am heading for the hills tomorrow, literally, around 3PM.

Let me tell y'all, I may be Southern but I am not a redneck. However, my weekend begins tomorrow with an overnight stop at the Mayberry Festival in Mount Airy, NC, visiting my mother-in-law as she helps her boyfriend regain his title of State Champion Pig Cooker. I am not even kidding...

Then we will continue on to Boone so that I can try out my new Ergo on Grandfather Mountain, exploring the mile-high swinging bridge and wild bear conservatory. Jeans, tennis shoes, and highs in the 70's are where I am AT this weekend! We even decided to splurge and get a suite hotel, mostly because my toddler is such a good sleeper that he needs his own room, and Mama and Daddy didn't want to be turning in for the night at 9PM. This is vacation, right?

So, while I wish I had more for you today, I am trying to wrap things up at work and skipping my usual lengthy lunch break in order to skip out early tomorrow.

I hope everyone will check out my giveaway...Katie will make you guys very happy with some new stylish bling.

See ya soon! Hopefully I will have a new Free Movie Friday code to share tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Have Foot-in-Mouth Disease

Although prompt number 1 on Working Mom Wednesday is the popular one today, and I have enjoyed reasing everyone's "you know you're a working mom when..." lists immensely, I could write a BOOK about prompt # 2:

2. A time you said something inappropriate (a bad joke, a snarky remark, a comment to your boss, etc.)

Well, y'all, I just have to admit...I am FULL of these stories, but I guess I will let you in on a work-related incident not too recently to still be embarrassed about.

We had some marketing changes that had to be updated by a certain date, and were promised an email with some "schematics" that we could follow to ensure it was put up properly. 10AM that day came and went, and nowhere had we heard anything at all.

Finally, around 4PM on a Friday, we got an email from my boss' assistant with the instructions and an URGENT! message saying it had to be done that day. Now, in my defense, my boss' assistant is the person who interviewed and made a hiring decision on me three years ago, and we've always been close. She uses me to vent (and laugh) and I have used her for the same in the past.

However, the email I fired back without even having time to think was something like "well, nice that we FINALLY have it and have an hour to put it up". Okay, it was almost exactly those words. I think it was about 30 seconds after I hit send that I followed it with this response:

"I'm so sorry, that was not directed at you, and it was entirely inappropriate." And some other things, but the gist was that I didn't want her to think I thought she was falling down on her job...that girl is crazy good at what she does, and the last thing I need is to offend my bosses boss' assistant.

Whew...I think that as I am travelling through motherhood these foot-in-mouth instances are shrinking. Let's hope!

Oh, and please check out my giveaway this week!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A For Real Giveaway This Time!

So, does everyone remember way back in February when I did my first ever blog giveaway? Probably not, considering 2/3 of you have joined me since then, but this time I am actually having a for-real, not just something I bought but something that someone else who makes beautiful, whimsical, unique, girly things has offered to let me surprise y'all with.

Her name is Katie, and she makes quirky jewelry and thi
ng-a-ma-bobs for girls, tweens, and stylish women of every age alike. Here is her Etsy shop. Go there! She does a buy one, get one half off sale all the time. I can personally vouch for her work and her customer service, as I have bought gifts from her before.

Here is something for the little babes:

Or how about something for the tweens in your life?

Or maybe, like me, mama wants something for herself, like my personal favorites:

Who doesn't love the idea of these unique rings? And at only $5 to $12, and extremely reasonable shipping, you almost can't afford NOT to treat yourself. I know I am sure to get a compliment when I wea
r one of these:
Now, the exciting part: one of you is going to win a $10 credit to Katie's Kreations. You could get something for yourself and a friend (I mean your kid, of course). I will leave this open until midnight next Monday (technically Tuesday) so you have almost a full week to enter. You only have to do two things to enter: become a follower of this blog, and visit Katie's page to let me know the most irresistible item you can find.

If you would like to gain extra entries, you can do that by spreading the word for this giveaway by linking to your own blog . Did you notice my two fancy new buttons? You can also win extra entries by giving me my very first votes as a member of picket fence blogs! Feel free to vote (and leave a comment) each day of the giveaway. Leave a separate comment for each action you perform, and I can't wait to give something back to you guys!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Temporary Change

I'm just going to be honest, this is not my favorite (or permanent) look.

But hopefully, those of you using Firefox will now be able to read my blog without having to highlight the text.

Monday Menu

Y'all, I want to participate in Mama Insomnia's Mom Friendly Meals Monday so bad...but I am swamped today and want to enjoy the rest of my leftover Chili's queso and salsa lunch. I wish I had more to say, but tonight we are having sandwiches.

Before you say I'm copping out and not participating, let me tell you about the sandwich I am making:

Yummy whole grain bread, the kind with poppy seeds and sesame seeds on the edges. Love it. Oven roasted turkey, from the deli, along with the most yummy cheese imaginable: Boar's Head Horseradish Cheddar. Our favorite condiment: Napa Valley Honey Mustard with Orange and Ginger (it makes ANY sandwich). Top that off with some arugula and the last of my dad's tomatoes, and this is sandwich ART.

So, while I don't have anything fancy prepared, I do have a solution when you are having those "FML" nights and just want to make something easy. It takes 10 minutes at the grocery store, even less time in the kitchen, and dinner is served!

And Tomorrow, I will have my first real giveaway!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Frugal, Fickle, or Felon?

You know those chicks in movies, magazines, and Hollywood who have a "signature smell"? Like, "I've been wearing Chanel No. 5 since 1986"? Not me. I like change, I like new, I like to be different and unique. So I wear different perfumes frequently.

And I have high standards for perfume. Nothing floral, it just smells like old lady on my skin. I go for the citrusy and clean scents in the summer and something a little more heady and sensual in cooler weather. I like the idea of smelling exotic or sexy. But, perfume changes over time and 4 hours later (or even 10 minutes later) smells completely different than when you first spritzed it on. Because of this, I always have to sample before I buy.

This used to entail going into Sephora and spritzing myself, then doing the rest of my mall shopping before deciding what I wanted to buy. (I buy perfume like once a year, don't get all excited thinking this is my Carrie Bradshaw shoe equivalent and I have a vanity covered in fancy perfumes bottles. I don't even have a vanity. I have a bookshelf leftover from college that just happens to fit in the space between my bathroom counter and the wall; that's where my girl crap gets stored.) But this didn't work well, because I usually couldn't commit after just one day. Perfume is, after all, a long term commitment, and that would be like moving with a guy you just met at a concert the night before.

So one time I asked if they had a sample, and lo and behold, the Sephora lady pulls out the drawer underneath the display and ::hallelujah:: there are thousands of tiny spritz bottles in there just waiting for her to fill with any of the hundreds of perfumes they carry. The first time, I didn't feel guilty.

But yesterday, after quietly asking "do you guys have samples?" for oh, I don't know, about the sixth time in three years, and then getting two to go, I did feel a little twinge of guilt, like I was ripping them off. (You can, too, all you have to do is ask nicely.) So, I'm considering buying Lavanila Vanilla Coconut if I get any money gifts at Christmas. It's quite lovely, actually, warm and sensual and I feel special when I wear it. That's what a good perfume should do. I highly recommend their smells a little sweet out of the bottle, but give it a little while to settle in and it's not quite so cotton candy. It blooms very nicely. They also have a baby line...I'm thinking of trying it.

So, it's not stealing if they offer it, right? And to my credit, I always buy my perfume from there when I do decide to take the plunge. Hope this is a useful tip for any of you who have perfume-commitment issues like myself!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WMW: Working Life as A Mom

I'm an internet failure. Just saying. This blog needs some work. And I promise a massive overhaul soon, but mommy needs some free time to get online and research things like html codes and designing my own webpage instead of using Blogger's templates. Here is why: I suck at pictures. It's a pain to add them through Blogger, they always end up at the top and I have to drag them down to where I want them. That's why you rarely get any from me, and also why I don't post snazzy LOLCats or participate in any kind of blog hop requiring a badge to be made. Sad, I know.

It's also because if you use the Mozilla browser, apparently my page doesn't load right and you don't get the nice dark grey background that should be behind these words, making it extremely difficult to read and nearly impossible to find links or comments. Oopsie. And lastly, because while I'm at work I cannot post the badge for Working Mommy Wednesday, so a link will have to do. Count the days until basketball season, ladies. I will have 5 free nights all to my own while hubby is supporting our team (so, by November 13 I should have a new look).

I guess that means today I'm answering number 2: Working Life as a Mom versus a Regular Human.

Obviously, there's no question that life is more fulfilling now. But, in it's own way, life was very fulfilling pre-husband-baby. And working full-time was easy. I have to work Black Friday? No problem. I can work the 6AM shift and then already have my parking space at the mall. Two weekends a month? And at least two closing shifts a week? Awesome: that means 4 days I get to sleep in. Plus, there's nothing I quite enjoy like going to the $1.50 movies by myself at 2PM on a Thursday. When you work retail, that's a typical schedule.

Now? 5:10, I'm out the door. I've got a smiling, bubbly, sweet little blond that wants to hurry up and get home so that he can request (in words, now) "yogurt" for dessert. Nothing can beat that, which is why I work a "normal" career in an industry that keeps banker's hours. I gave up my high-paying, exciting, flexible, creative, and enjoyable career in retail management to work at a desk doing various paperworking activities all the live long day.

That doesn't give my job enough credit: I actually enjoy it very much, look forward to the challenges of work, and feel that I am in a good position to figure out where I really want to go from here. I have learned a ton in the four short months since my last promotion and can't wait to see where it takes me. I just don't get paid enough to feel that working more than 40 hours in a week (or on a Saturday) would ever be justified. And it is a struggle to leave that sweet boy at daycare every day, even if he loves being there.

But still, if this is what is has to be, I will suck it up and love it. No questions asked, I was always made to be a working mom. I'm just still trying to find the balance.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mom Friendly Meals Monday

All right, I'll bite. Literally. I love a good recipe, and lately I have felt like my head is not screwed on straight. I'm sure you can tell by my "tone" I seem stressed out? Overwhelmed? Pushed to my limit? I'm trying to calm myself down, realize that life ebbs and flows, and this is a phase I will soon conquer just as we conquered low milk supply and sleeping through the night.

My cute friend Mama Insomnia is someone who I know without a doubt I would make fast friends with if she didn't live somewhere in the middle of the country instead of being an East-Coaster like myself. And she is starting up a Monday service to the poor, crazy, stretched to the limit working moms like myself where we share an easy, fast, stress-free recipe on Mondays. Because honestly, who wants to go home and cook on a Monday?

Since I wasn't prepared today, I will rattle off my go-to recipe for busy weeknights and those chain email "recipe exchanges". (This used to be what hubs and I made when we wanted to spend dinner on the couch. It fits in one bowl, and a beer fits nicely in hand number two while you are on your way out of the kitchen.)

What shall we call it? Chicken and Apple sausage. Shopping list: a package of chicken and apple sausage (found somewhere in between the breakfast meats and hot dogs), a vidalia or other sweet onion, and an apple. Granny Smith or gala work fine for us.

Cut everything into discs (sausage) or strips (onions and apples). Saute the onions in a little butter or canola oil. And when I say saute, I mean caramelize, which basically consists of putting the heat on about 6-7 to start, and only stirring when the onions have sat enough to start browning. In this dish, you want those nice "burned" bits. Eventually, you will add the sausage and continue to cook (the sausage is usually pre-cooked and needs to be heated). Towards the end of the caramelization, you'll throw the apples in and cook just until they get soft. Spoon a generous portion into a nice bowl, add a fork, and voila.

Feel free to spend the in-between stir times like I do: feeding the dog, and chasing the baby around the house while he drags every single toy he has from the living room to the kitchen.

Enjoy! And please link your recipes to IMO:FWIW blog!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Free Movie Friday

So, you know those weeks where you have all these great blog post ideas and get all excited to post, but then Monday is a holiday and you're tired, and on Tuesday your company sends a reminder about non-company-related Internet usage, and it's really busy at work and you end up only getting on Blogger during your lunch breaks and oh-my-Gawd, I have only read like 4 blog posts this week anyway (and if you only read one, you have to read Kelley because she can even turn a Get-to-know-you post into all types of hilarity) and deep breath: that's the kind of week I had.

But I won't leave you hanging on Free Movie Friday. I know you need to get your romantic Redbox date on after the kids are in bed. So, go rent "Up In The Air". It's quirky, it's romantic, it's a little bit of the fantasy life we all wish we could lead sometimes, and it has George Clooney in it. I'm pretty ambivalent about George Clooney in the looks department. I think it's one of those things where because everyoneelseisdoingit, I don't want to, so while I do find Clooney attractive, I don't swoon all over him like I would if a pro hockey player were to knock on my office door right now. Plus my mom and mother-in-law both think he's hot, and so that means he's kind of untouchable.

His acting, skills, however, are still grossly underrated. I can't figure out quite how he hasn't racked up Meryl-Streep style Oscar nominations yet, but I guess he's a late bloomer. His subtle comedy skills are fantastic, and just as effective as the gross stupid boy-comedy skillz of the likes of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly (although I LOVE me some Ricky Bobby, y'all!)

The supporting cast is just fantastic: Anna Kendrick reminds you of that girl in AP Chemistry who just got EVERYTHING right but gloated over it so much that no one could stand to be around her. And Vera Farmiga played that exotic, mysterious, intriguing leading lady that every woman wishes we could be. Also, Melanie Lynskey is so cute and I wish she were in more movies, and I've had a crush on Jason Bateman since the 80's (and apparently, they are remaking Arrested Development as a movie...I am so excited)!

The story is excellent, and the script itself is very tight, with no time to feel bored or let down, but also not the edge-of-your-seat tension that some movies have. Overall, it's the perfect movie: interesting, it holds your attention, but you don't have to try to hard to "get it".

And you can get it free if you use this code: BREAKROOM

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday: My Morning Commute

This is fast becoming my favorite weekday routine (Working Mommy Wednesday, not the morning commute). I have all but ceased scheduling lunch out on Wednesday because I know I will have something blog about so I just eat a sandwich from home and blog surf. Is it sad that this is one of the highlights of my week? In fact, Wednesday is about to become a favorite day when Modern Family and Cougartown return to the fall line-up.

So today's topic: What do you do on your commute to work - listen to the radio, enjoy peace and quiet, etc.

My morning commute say the least. My entire commute, including dropping Jacob off at daycare, used to be 7 miles and take roughly 20 minutes each way. Until I got a promotion and started working in the :big city: as opposed to the :Big Country: where I live, as Mema used to call it. Now, I carpool Monday-Wednesday and sometimes more with my husband, which means my one-way commute is now an hour long and over 30 miles. To some people, that's not that much, but to me it is sooooo looong. Some days I love it, some days it's torture, and some days it's just right.

Before I accepted this position but knew a change was imminent, I was actually looking forward to the commute. I felt like I had no time to myself at home, spent some of my lunch breaks visiting my baby, or grocery shopping, and had few lunch choices in the suburban town I live in. I thought it would be nice to listen to more of my favorite morning show (G105 Showgram Shout-Out...Woooo) or talk to my friend in Texas (Jenny McCarthy shout hate me for that, I know). I also knew I could get Indian food at the buffet around the corner and finally meet my favorite bloggy buddy BA for lunch. And for a while, this has served me well.

But today I am tired. Tired of the grind. Tired of not getting home until 6:30PM every night and only having a homecooked meal if I spent an hour preparing it the night before after JTD was in bed. Seriously...last night DH and I did not even sit down (except to eat) until well after 10PM. I made a lasagna that we can just bake for 15 minutes tonight, he steam cleaned the carpet, we moved furniture, cut up fruit, made bottles, did laundry, etc. I could literally fall asleep at my desk right now.

In fact, I actually DID fall asleep on this morning's commute. (While my hubby was driving.) I'm sure that was a lovely sight to my fellow I-40 traveller's. I'm considering making it part of my daily commute.

On the way home, however, especially on the non-carpool days, I LOVE commuting. I put on a good CD, one that I can belt at the top of my lungs to, and before I know it I'm at daycare ready to pick the little man up. I love Thursdays. So tomorrow if you see me shouting along to some Foo Fighters, you know I'm loving the drive.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'm Not Much For Country Music

You wouldn't believe it by hearing me speak, knowing my family, or seeing the farmland that lies within a mile of my neighborhood, but I didn't even listen to country music at all (well, other than the Charlie Pride 8-track that I used to catch in my Mema's car when I was little) until well into high school. And only then because a boy I liked was a fan.

Even now, my "love" for country music ebbs and flows like the tide. Some days I like it and it gets me jazzed, some days I think it sounds like a bunch of redneck trash and I just want to hear David Gray or Pearl Jam. But yesterday, country music saved me. Not from anything big, just from a little despondentness. (If that's not a word, it should be.)

I don't know if it's my monthly friend, my breastfeeding hormones continuing to wane, or just being worn down from the daily grind, but I was feeling really down Sunday night. Like, bordering on depression down. It was a long weekend; I got to see family, sleep in, hang out with my baby, spend some quality time with my hubby, and I should have been feeling good and rested and loose Sunday evening, knowing I had a whole other day off work. But instead, I felt like I was still working. I was tired, worn down, emotionally drained, and just feeling like I hadn't really gotten a rest yet.

The worst part of feeling this way for me is the guilt that accompanies those feelings. I have friends with children with major health and developmental issues, who have suffered debilitating PPD, who live 1000 miles from any family or friends that could help out and give them a much-needed break now and then, whose marriages are suffering, who have been searching fruitlessly for a job for over a year and who may have to sell their home, and the list goes on and on (this is not one friend but several, just in case you were confused by my misuse of possesive and tenses). I have a home, a little piece of land, a stable (if sometimes a little too volatile, I mean, passionate) marriage, a supportive family, two incomes, and an amazingly healthy child. I am lucky. I have NO RIGHT to complain.

But sometimes, y'all, the loss of control I feel over my life gets to be a little more than I can handle. And I try to rely on good friends and my husband to bring me through that, but occasionally it takes a little more to escape that drowning feeling. And yesterday, driving along with Jacob babbling in the backseat, I happened to flip to the country station and Trace Adkins "You're Gonna Miss This" started playing. And I lost it. It was just what I needed to break out of the slump I've been in this past week and get. over. myself. Life is hard, right? Some days I need to suck it up and just be thankful for what I've got. Even if that means I have too much laundry to sort, too much paperwork in the office that needs to be filed, and a lack of focus on the details of my life (like where Jacob's shoes may be).

So here's to shrugging off the shadows and focusing on the bright lights in my life. Because if it were not for those dark moments, I wouldn't be able to realize how much joy I get when that little boy grins at me. Or how amazingly successful and together I felt when the first shopping trip with my new Ergo was pure fun, even if people were looking at me like a crazyhippie mama while I talked to my son the whole time I was picking out veggies. I can DO this, y'all!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Free Movie Friday!

So, I'm sure a lot of you know this already, but the certain free-standing movie box that you find outside of some grocery and drugstores publishes free codes occasionally. And I am purposefully not naming the retailer b/c I don't know at what point I step into some kind of crazy legal territory here. I am not any kind of paid advertiser or endorser. I just know some trade tricks.

I figure that as of right now, I have enough codes to get us through 3 weeks of movie reviews, and after that, we'll see. Here goes my first foray. It will be brief...I only have 9 minutes of a lunch break left...

By far, the single best movie I have seen in the last, I don't know, maybe 5 years? Maybe since Forrest Gump? Or Magnolia? That would be Crazy Heart. (Okay, actually that would be Rachel Getting Married, but since that is not yet available in the box of crimson that I speak of, I can't really include it in Free Movie Friday. But if you are a Netflixer, put it in your queue now!)

The Jeff Bridges hype is REAL. I was lucky enough to see 3 of the Best Actor nominated performances of last year, and this performance blew even the talents of George Clooney and Jeremy Renner away. He made every part of that role believable, right down to the idea that a late-20's-something gorgeous woman could fall for an old, on the edge of losing everything alcoholic. And his performance wasn't the only thing of note in this movie: the story, the music, the cinemetography, the performances by every actor in the movie; all of it was perfection, right down to the closing credits. It was like a gritty, less-polished, more real version of Walk The Line.

It doesn't matter if you are a fan of drama, comedy, country, rock, or Texas. This is a FANTASTIC movie. You will not be disappointed, although you will be moved. You may even cry. I bawled buckets, right in the theater and on the way to the car, but that's because the story touched a very personal nerve about my own family. In fact, I'm not sure how this film wasn't at least nominated for Best Film.

And if you'd like to see it for free this weekend: here is your code: DVDONME

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tag...You're It!

So my friend Ingrid (and I can say that...we've totally Skyped) over at her adorably pink blog Avery and Me tagged me in a fun bloggy-buddy game to "get to know your fellow blogger". I think today is the perfect time to respond, since I'm kind of busy and emotionally drained. It's a quick recharge for me and I don't have to come up with a topic!

So here goes:

1. What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? I am complicated. It changes from time to time, but I will admit that twice in the last 6 weeks I have had a double scoop of Ben and Jerry's Bonnaroo Buzz and Chocolate Therapy. I think Chocolate Therapy says it all.

2. What was the worst job you've ever had? Although I'm cheesy and think every job is a learning experience, it would have to be selling Cutco Knives. You know, like, the door to door presentation/referral based business. It was kind of high pressure and cultish, and they didn't pay me my last commission check, which caused me to literally flip my lid in front of my brand new college suitemates. After that I became known as "the one who kicked her shoe through the window."

3. Best vacation you ever took? My honeymoon. Best decision we ever made was to stay stateside and visit San Fran, drive up Highway 1 along the rocky beaches, cross over to Napa and Sonoma, and end up in a very high end boutique hotel in Sausalito. AWESOME vacation, and we're considering a repeat for our big anniversary next year.

4. What's your dream job/career? My dream career does not exist. I would LOVE to be a wedding planner/florist/decorator. I would be SO AWESOME at it. I deisgned and made the flowers for my own and my sis' wedding. But unfortunately, I gave up working weekends long ago and I don't know many brides that want to get married Monday-Friday b/t the hours of 9-5, so it really is a dream job!

5. Who was your favorite teacher and why? I had some really great elementary teachers, but I have to say my high school drama teacher, Doug Patterson, made the biggest impression on me. He took me to the big apple for the first time and introduced us to really cutting edge theatre (back then) like Rent and Stomp. I directed a full-length play in high school with minimal faculty participation and just had a wonderful experience. I learned a lot about myself.

Now I'm supposed to nominate some people to participate. I'm going to go out on a limb here and actually nominate a NON-MOM-BLOGGER!

1) Melissa from In The Short Rows (if you want a glimpse into the life of a real farmer, here it is.)
2) Also, my newest reader who is responsible for introducing me to the Working Mommy Network, D from Dearinger Diary
3) Finally, Christine from A Mama Stork Knows, b/c OMG! You guys HAVE to click and go see this pic of 10 month old Rosemary...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Hardest Part of Hump Day

Thought that title might get me a few google-link views.

Just kidding...It's Working Mommy Wednesday!

And since I'm all reciped out (although I may let the hubby guest blog his INFAMOUS baked bean recipe sometime soon) I guess I am going with topic number 2, the hardest part about being a mom. Wow. When I've managed to escape what I feel the real tough tests of parenting are (sleepless nights, PPD, developmental issues, major illnesses) it feels like of asinine for me to complain about any part of parenting. After all, I signed up for it. I knew going in what to expect.

But what I could NEVER understand, despite the millions of warnings, are how fast time would fly. It's been a week since his first birthday and I have a walking, pointing, sort-of talking toddler (to brag for a moment, his pediatrician told us that his language skills are well past a typical 12-month old's). It seems like just yet=sterday that we had a snow day in February where we all sat around in our pajamas until 3PM and the baby took a 1 1/2 hour nap on my shoulder.

The most difficult thing about this time-flying-phenomenon is how as soon as I get used to the "normal" of one stage, it seems we are on to the next, and our whole parenting philosophy, routine, and feeding style changes all at once. Like, when I was home on maternity leave and I wished for just one nap a day where I could put the baby in his crip instead of holding him. When I finally got to the point where I relished soaking up all his loving cuddles, he decided that he would rather put himself to sleep alone in his crib after all. All those months I spent wishing for a self-soother, and just like that I had one, with no more mid-morning naps in my bed. And now I would give anything to hold my two month old for a day and smell his sweet smell and just do nothing but love on him.

For now, I have learned my lesson. Despite the difficulties, I will enjoy each stage we're in at the time, because I now know that as soon as I get used to the independent distance and tantrums, he will flip the switch and be climbing into my lap and saying "I love you mama," and it will be even sweeter