Monday, March 30, 2009

Identity Crisis

I am not sure where to go.

I think I have fairly well established that domesticity is not entirely for me. I like aspects of it like seeing minuscule changes in my children the moment they happen, trying out new recipes, and shlubbing around the house in my pajamas if I feel like it. But overall it is not fulfilling to me. I honestly wish it was, and I admire women who make staying at home seem effortless and inspired. My sister is one of these supermoms who bakes her own bread, gardens, and is the den mother for the cub scouts. But I am not, and I am pretty sure I never will be.

So what then? Do I go back to school? Maybe. I spent a lot of time today looking into programs and requirements and deadlines. It is all very overwhelming and it shakes my confidence. Many of the programs seem insanely competitive, and I am hesitant to spend the time, money, and effort on something I think is a long shot. Plus, I am just not sure what inspires passion in me at this point. And I feel old. I know that's silly, but I picture myself in my mid-30's surrounded by all these fresh-faced 23 year olds.

Do, I go back to TV? I am not convinced I want to go that route either. It is such a demanding career path with long, odd hours, weekends, and holidays. It makes family life tough. And even if I decided I did want to go in that direction, it's not like TV stations or any employers for that matter are opening the door to a stream of new employees.

So I am stuck. It all makes my mind whirl like a bike down a hill without brakes. I just want to know now what comes next. I want to have a plan. I don't want to wait and see what happens. That is against my nature. It makes me wonder if I should have put off marriage and family and solidified my career first. But what if that made having a family harder later? Should we try to expand our family now or wait if I want to try a different career? Should I just suck it up and stay home and consider myself lucky that I even have that opportunity? Will I ever be satisfied whatever I do??

Maybe that's the real question.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pain in the neck

Really. I woke up with a shooting pain in my neck Monday. It started up near my hairline and snaked down the left side between my shoulder blades. I spent the next two days stiffly turning my entire body just to check my blind spot or to glance at the kids.

You don't realize every tiny move that requires your neck until it fails you. It was that nerve-y, spasm-y feeling. I still have the same sensation in my lower back over my right hip. Clearly my spine has some major issues. I am considering having it removed.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Do you fondue?

T and I dipped into a little slice of heaven last night. I picked him up from the airport for his final trip out to Wisconsin (thank goodness). We decided to go out to eat with the kids and on the fly chose The Melting Pot. It's a fondue restaurant, and it is quite tasty.

Q loves dipping things (and generally just licking off the dip and not actually eating the dipped object), so we figured it was his ideal restaurant. He did love it, and R wasn't terribly bad, but I would not recommend this place for kids. The meal took two hours, and Q stuck his hand directly on the burner at one point.

We got the main meal which was an Italian theme. That included a cheese fondue with several types of cheese, pesto, and garlic. We dipped bread, vegetables, and apple, though I could have just eaten the cheesy concoction with a spoon. A caprese salad followed and then our main entree of veggies and meat dipped in a broth. The big finish was the oozing dark chocolate and a cornucopia of sweet things to submerge in it. Q was in heaven during this segment, though we all were really. T and I were painfully full after the feast and several glasses of wine.

I highly recommend it for a fun night out, though next time I will leave the kids at home and just order the cheese and chocolate.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Feeling a little crafty

I have never thought I was a crafty person. In fact, for awhile there I thought I was anti-craft. To be honest, crafts just intimidated me. Why would I want to make something when I could buy it? Why would I want to spend hours messing with paint and glue and paper to patch together something someone else could make much better?

When I had my first child, I convinced myself I had to make a scrapbook for him. It would be a wonderful thing for him to look at some day and for his kids and their kids to enjoy. So, I buckled down and worked on the thing, seeing it as a chore and feeling relieved when it was up to date. Friends who said scrapbooking was a stress reliever made me laugh. I found it to be the source of stress!

When my second son came along, I was growing into my craftiness a bit. I discovered it looked good when you made the pages symmetrical and dedicated two pages to a theme. (The result is R's book will look much better than 2/3rds of Q's book, but that's another story)

I have been working on both kids' books while here in Wisconsin with ample time on my hands. I was browsing the scrapbook store the other day, picking up Christmas decals and brightly-colored card stock when some handmade cards caught my eye. I picked them up and turned them over in my hands noticing the bits of ribbon and patterned paper. I decided I could do that and felt a burst of inspiration.

I loaded my arms with different types of St. Patrick's paper, ribbon, and two kinds of glue. I picked out orange and green outfits for my boys (who happen to be half-Irish), and my mom and I spent most of one day chasing them around trying to get a good picture.

I was able to use the skill I do have to write a quirky little poem for the inside of my card and set about cutting, gluing, and folding. My mom does possess the crafty gene (which is not fully expressed in me apparently), and she helped me make envelopes and print my poem on vellum paper to paste inside. The cards turned out pretty stinking cute, if I do say so myself, and now I am on a crafting roll. I finally get what those annoying crafty-types have been talking about!

I recently finished balloon-shaped invitations for a balloon-themed first birthday party for R. As with my evolving scrapbooks, I imagine my crafting skill will grow, and I will eventually look back at my initial attempts with distaste. But now at least I am enjoying the journey instead of chalking it up to another annoying chore.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Working it out

I am itching to move out of my parents' house for many reasons, but there is one big thing I will miss. Their workout room. They have a top-of-the-line treadmill and elliptical, a weight machine, free weights, an exercise ball, a BOSU ball, and medicine balls. To complete this perfect set up, is a wall-mounted plasma screen TV with digital cable and Tivo. It's so great. Tonight I watched the Celebrity Apprentice On Demand as I used the elliptical for 45 minutes. I have been working out almost every day since it is such a great little workout room. Soon I fear my habits will drastically change. I'll be lucky if we have a spot to squeeze our own treadmill when we finally have a place to live.

Another thing that revs up my workout routine is new workout clothes. I got two new outfits yesterday and was itching to try them out. I can't handle working out in a ratty T-shirt. I need something cute. It's a good incentive and non-guilty shopping.


R is making leaps and bounds! I am proud but feel that tug of sadness to see him growing up. He is now a speed crawler and crosses the floor in a flash when he sees something that catches his eye. (Most often the dog's water or an electrical cord) This week he also started waving and pulling up on things. Sigh. Soon he will be asking for the car keys.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mama's boy

R is almost 1 and is rapidly outgrowing his baby stage much to my dismay. He is crawling like a champ and starting to pull up on things. He has four teeth and four more coming in. He babbles constantly and is growing like a weed.

Soon I will wean him from nursing and start to transition to whole milk. I was more than ready for this stage with Q. I was anxious to leave behind my days of pumping in the handicap bathroom stall. Now with R I am not pumping so I am not necessarily itching to wean. Besides, it's a strong bond between R and me.

R is a mama's boy through and through, and I just love it. I don't want to him to grow out of babyhood and nursing and lose his devotion to his mama. I love how he crawls across the room to pull up on my jeans. Or how he strains and squirms to look for me when he hears his voice. Seeing his face break into that snaggle-toothed smile when he sees me makes me melt. You absolutely can't beat it.

We have a special connection that no one else can tap into. I hope it is not limited to these early years and is a lifelong bond. I just don't want to breastfeed that long.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Not a coed anymore

Madison is a college town. That attracts me to it but also turns me off a bit.

We are constantly reminded of the giant university entrenched in the city as we search for apartments. As we drive around looking at houses for rent suddenly we are among fraternity houses and stopping to let backpack-toting students cross the street. I would love to live amid the nightlife and culture in the city's downtown, but I certainly don't want to end up stuck in a scene from Animal House.

We went to Chipotle on State Street for dinner last night and were definitely the oldest people there. And our kids were by far the youngest. Where did the last ten years go so quickly?

T says the college atmosphere makes him feel energized. I don't exactly feel the same, and I'm not sure why. Maybe it makes me feel old. Those college days are far behind me now and to the 19-year-old kid in the booth next to me, I am middle-aged mom. Maybe they just seem so excited and full of promise, and I feel sort of stuck and in limbo as I end one career and try to figure out what the hell I am going to do next. I'm a little jealous I guess of the carefree, fun life they still lead.

Though if I really think about it, college wasn't quite the party I remember. It had its wild times of course, but I had many stressful nights and was more than happy to leave the studying and test-taking behind.

Maybe some of those earnest college students look at me with my family and wish they were already out in the real world and not still just preparing for it. Maybe.


My mom accompanied me to look at apartments last week. She asked a manager to use the restroom. The boys and I waited with the manager in the living room. Q turned to her and said, "Grandma's pooping." They can be so charming, can't they?


Monday, March 9, 2009

Germs, dogs, and bargains

The boys are getting over bronchitis. Between my bout with strep throat, my infected milk duct, and their congested lungs, we have had about enough of bacteria in this household thank you very much. They are now on amoxycillin as I was a week ago. It seems to have made them feel almost immediately better though. R is mercifully sleeping through the night again. It was a rough few days for all of us.


We are having a tough time finding a place to live in Madison for ourselves, our two kids, two cats, and a dog. The dog is the main problem. We asked T's parents if they would watch her for a year, but they declined. I briefly considered giving her a way to make our apartment hunt easier, but I just don't think I can do that. She is a sweet, cute dog, and Q loves her. So, now we are wading through the small pool of dog-friendly apartments. I know we will find something. It just might take us a bit longer than we had hoped.


T is back for a week. It is amazing how much better life is when you have a helping hand. Last night he took the dog out and changed diapers. He fed the baby and read books to Q. It was a nice respite. I was starting to go a little batty.


Mom and I went shopping this past weekend. I got $300 shoes for 85% off. It doesn't get better than that.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hunt for a home

It has been a looooong day.

I spent the day in Madison looking for a place to live. We still own a house, which we are trying to sell, so we will be renting for awhile. I have this picture in my head of a downtown, modern apartment where we can walk to coffee shop or cafe. However, there are a few problems with my dream home. A lot of other people have this idea. So, the apartments are few and far between and the ones that are out there are expensive. Especially if you still have a mortgage.

We looked at a few beautiful ones that were way out of our price range. I shouldn't have even gone inside. The gigantic closets! The hard wood floors! Marble counter tops! Stainless steel appliances! Not to mention the parking. If you want underground parking, it's at least $125/month. Above ground in the snow: $75. Per car. But still, it would be so cool to live downtown.

All those challenges aside, I think I did find a semi-affordable place downtown with a coffee shop close by. It doesn't allow dogs and of course we have one, but that is another headache altogether.

One of the places we looked at was a trendy little loft carved out of an old industrial building. It was a neat concept with high ceilings and brick walls. It was hard to picture though, because the one we looked at was trashed. I mean trashed. The tenant was there at the time, and we awkwardly walked around trying to look past the pile of dirty dishes, the ring of black in the toilet and the trash and clothing strewn everywhere.

I was absolutely floored. First of all, how can you live that way? Second, wouldn't you be ashamed when people came to look at the place? I just don't get some people.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Back to the rat race

I'm looking for a job. I have only been a stay-at-home mom for a month, and it's not even my own home, but I can just tell this is not for me. However, I also don't think working in TV is what I am looking for either.

I want a nice 8 to 5 job that will challenge me but not demand all my time and my blood, sweat, and tears. I had applied for a few jobs online, and we'll see what happens. Maybe we will settle into our own place in Madison and I will completely change my mind and decide to stay home again. I doubt it, but it could happen.

I am keeping my options open and not ruling anything out. But at this point I am guessing the workforce is for me. I need deadlines and urgency. I need something to have me racing around to get ready in the morning. Otherwise, I just waste away the day playing with the kids and putting off brushing my teeth. It's just not good.


In more exciting news, R is crawling! He has been close for several days, taking a few wobbly crawls and then flopping on his belly. Today he put it all together and was scooting right across the room making a beeline to splash in the dog's water. It's going to be a whole new world with two mobile children.