Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working Mom Wednesday: I Resolve...

Finally, now that I'm back on my blogging wagon, I can link up with my girls at Working Mom Wednesday for my favorite blog prompts.

Of course today, we're discussing New Year's Resolutions. I'm of the belief that you shouldn't need a New Year to make a fresh start, but it's definitely easier for people to spend this week reflecting on what they did last year and what they would like to be different.

Mine is simple. I just want to be BETTER.

While I have surprised myself by discovering that I am a pretty dang good mama, I could always be more patient, more willing, more compassionate to my little guy. So I want to be a better mom.

I know I could be a much, much better wife this year.

I have mastered one part of my new job, but this year I'd like to master the other half as well so that by the time next year's resolutions roll around, I'm looking at the possibility of a promotion (again).

And of course, I want to be a better woman of faith. I feel that 2010 brought me a much better understanding of how much God has provided me with, and in the coming year I really need to honour that by being a living example for Him.

Monday, December 27, 2010

This Proves My Legitimacy, Right?

You know, a legitimate wordsmith, reader, literary soul?

Two things: number one, I got a book reader for Christmas. How exciting is that? My mom just bought it for me without asking, and when I opened it she said "have you ever thought about getting one of those?" Well, not really, because they're so ungodly expensive that I just figured that was not something I would put on any list to ask someone to buy me. But now that I have it, I'm so excited for the possibilities.

It would have helped me avoid the debacle I currently find myself in. The one where I'm sitting at work, alone, for 2 hours because we got 8" of snow and apparently I'm the only person in my office that A) has a 5-speed Mazda that can handle anything, B) didn't make the boss' list of people to call to inform we were on delay, and C) didn't feel like digging around to find the emergency voicemail number to find out for myself.

Also, my secret plan was to escape for 2 hours by myself and read one of my new books (or a tabloid mag) at Barnes and Noble, Starbucks bought with a giftcard in hand. I really mean this was my plan, to show up at work, see if anyone was there, and then backtrack 2 miles to B and N and just enjoy my own company, ALONE, after the hubbub of the past 5 days.

Except that sitting in an iced over parking lot, phoning the bookstore to find out they didn't open until 10 threw a wrench into that plan, so that didn't happen either. Oops. So you get a long overdue blog post, totally on the fly, instead.

*Sidenote: to anyone who was actually reading my "12 Days of Christmas" posts, I do still intend to highlight a charity each week from now until I've run out of places to give my money to. I just assumed that no one was reading it due to lack of comments, and also my life exploded with work stress and Christmas prep all at the same time, so I kind of just lived blog-free for a while.*

But the second reason that proves I am bookworm? My son has my genes. Through and through. After receiving a myriad of presents, most of which light up and sing to him, including a mini 4-wheeler and a life-size tool bench, he cried at bedtime last night over one toy. A Book. My dear, sweet, 16-month old budding wordsmith cried because I would not let him take his new favorite book to bed with him.

It may have been the proudest I have ever been as a mother.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Because I'm Married to a Miracle

There are 598,376 reasons the March of Dimes is near and dear to my heart, some more personal than others. Some I can share, some I cannot. Did you know that my husband was born at only 32 weeks gestation way on back in 1976? He's a miracle. Back then, that was unheard of. Nowadays, he's nice and broad, but back then he was, as his family likes to say, "the size of a skinned squirrel".

Thanks to the March of Dimes, nowadays we have stories like
this one of Penny and Isaak, who were born around 25 weeks. I have followed their parents' wonderful blog since before they were born, but that will be a story for another day of Christmas. This is them a few days after birth:

Pennyand here is Isaak

And thanks to the miracles of medicine, funded by the March of Dimes among others, here are P&I now at nearly 7 months:
There's really not much I can add to that adorable picture other than, if you want to see more of these miracles, PLEASE go donate. Or consider signing up for a March for Babies near you. Even at my maximum current state of laziness, I can say I have done a March for Babies, and it was so worthwhile. (Plus I got a hot dog afterwards, but really, let's go back to the babies and ooh and aah some more!)

On the 2nd Day of Christmas...

A plea.

Simply this: if anyone you know is planning to adopt a pet for Christmas, please encourage them to adopt a shelter pet. I know you are just one person, and how much difference can that really make, but trust me, it does.

I have a college friend who works here: and while I don't agree with some of their more far-fetched political lobbying, I do believe in the work they do to stop tethering, puppy mills, and other forms of animal abuse and cruelty. Feel free to donate to them, or google your local chapter of the SPCA and donate.

My local SPCA (check out this cutie who I daydream about bringing home to keep my high-maintenance, neurotic 4 year old mutt company) has a Black Dog and Black Cat club. Until I started donating to pet causes, I had no idea that black dogs and cats were the least likely to be adopted out. If I was a good, prepared Blogger, I would include a picture of my girl here, because one look (or cuddle) with her and you would be wanting your own black shelter dog today.

(Edit: I couldn't resist throwing her on here after I got home from work.)

I know some people are all about their AKC-certified yappy lapdogs or whatever, but I can honestly tell you that any pet you get from a pet "store" or flea-market stand is likely to come from owners who only care about whoring out their mature animals to make money. That is just not right to me. I have seen enough of what happens with pet overpopulation to ensure that any pet I ever adopt will be a rescue. Use caution when answering craigslist or newspaper ads for "puppies" as well. While a lot of those are legitimate, make sure you visit where the pets are actually housed to ensure this is not someone who consistently allows their dog to get pregnant so that they can sell the litter. If you have to pay anything for a dog or cat, it should only be the adoption fee from a certified rescue shelter to cover their vet bills and operating costs. NEVER pay money to someone selling a littler of puppies at a roadside stand.

And finally, as Bob Barker always said, once you bring that lovable lovely home, PLEASE spay and neuter your pets!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The 12? Days of Christmas

This morning as I stopped to get my biscuit-and-iced-coffee combo that I can't seem to resist this time of year, I found myself wishing I could do more for people who need it.

Let's face it, at a time when work has more pressure, days seem to fly by at warp speed, and money is, well, inflating at a rate so high that I wonder sometimes when we need to seriously consider selling our home and buying a smaller one just to keep up, doing good just seems to fall by the wayside.

So from now until Christmas, I will try to use my blog to focus on what little good I can do, and pay it forward, hoping to inspire my 100 or so readers to do squeeze a little more do-gooding out of those hard to reach places. (And then in January, I will be very excited to give you guys a terrific giveaway that will get you laughing and be the perfect antidote to the rush and/or doldrums of December, wink wink. Sorry in advance, it's not chocolate.)

Today, I will share with you two people in my life that inspire me to do more. Both of their names start with B, but only one is "out" on the internet, so I'll refer to the first as simply "Belle". Belle works in a daycare, which is inspiring in and of itself, has a son close to the same age as mine, but she also volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House frequently (I guess she can't get enough children...we should all take a page from that book!) I cannot tell you how much this amazes me. As a working mom, I struggle all the time with how much time I have to spend with my son. I cannot imagine giving up any of my precious time with him to go care for other families, but then on the other hand don't you always see me talking about how easy I have it? These Ronald McDonald House families do NOT have it easy. (Except at the RMH, of course).

And then my other friend, "Blair" (I'm sure y'all have probably heard of her, she's kind of a big deal. In my eyes, at least) has also worked with RMHC and even has a page of her blog dedicated to them. She inspires me because she runs 5Ks. I mean, she inspires me because she runs at all, but especially doing it for charity. More than once. (And she inspires me because she ate a salad at lunch today and convinced me to order one, too, and then she didn't even finish her fries. She's practically a martyr.) She was the first person who pointed out to me that those convenient little boxes right under where you pay at the Mickey D's drive through actually collects money for RMH. Der. I don't know what I thought they were for before, but now every time I drive by I make sure to dump my change in there, and even if I'm not paying cash that day, I at least check the console and wallet to see if I have spare change lying around.

So, today I am paying it forward. I can't do much. But I can darn sure throw my spare change in a jar, and if all 100 of us did that every time we go to McDonald's in 2011, I'd be willing to bet that we could pay for the electricity in one of those beautiful houses for a month. (Well, if y'all go to McDonald's as often as I do, we could.)

Please consider donating time or money to this wonderful organization. I hate to think of it, but if I EVER have to put my dear, precious child in a hospital, I want to know that I can stay nearby and be there at the crack of dawn, freshly showered and fed, and stay until they kick me out. If nothing else, click on my links for RMHC and maybe you'll be inspired to do something worthy with that loose change you hate finding in the floorboard. These families need a little joy and inspiration not only at Christmas, but the whole year.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I'm a "Clever" Girl.

So, I realize that I took a week off (again). I can't help it...Thanksgiving, sick child, busy work week, new employee to train, and errands to run during my usual blogging lunch breaks have just left me with no time to devote here.

But I'm back, and I have some exciting news: first, I applied and was selected to join the Clever Girls Clever 1000. I'm still not even totally sure what that all means, but basically 4 women who have a life living in Northern Cali that makes me slightly jealous, have banded together to create a social media marketing collective that uses blogging and social networking to reach women, the real consumers with power. And despite my lack of Twitter-ese, I am good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like me. So I'm in.

Here's my cool new badge:

Pretty exciting, huh? So, as my first official act with this group, I am linking to a GIVEAWAY for you guys from "Yummie Tummie". Now, I have never tried their product, but anything to mask this jiggly baby belly that my husband and I have affectionately nicknamed "What Lies Beneath" would be a nice bonus to my Christmas. And Yummie Tummie is not only giving one of us our very own beautiful Glamour Embellished Tank,
but they are even giving one away to you AND a friend. I've entered, now I encourage you all to. If I win, I will definitely have to consider making some New Year's plans!