The World According to Little F

On Self-Expression:

Little F wakes up crying and both Big E and I go in the check on him.
Me: Did you wake up and get scared?
Little F: No, I just wanted to cry.

 

On Self-Expression, Part 2:

Little F pointing at my back: What’s that?
Me: It’s my tattoo.
LF: Where’s Daddy’s tattoo?
Me: On Daddy’s arm and chest.
LF: We all have tattoos!  Where’s my tattoo?
Me: You don’t have a tattoo.
LF: I have to go to the tattoo store and get my tattoo.

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Back From…

Hm.  I was going to say “abyss” but that sounded too serious.  Then “vacation” came to mind, except the only vacation I went on this summer was for my annual girls’ trip over a month ago.  “Edge” also popped into my mind but that conjured up “Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown” or “Postcards from the Edge” and again, it sounded a little too serious.

I’ve missed having a place to put my thoughts into words, I’ve missed keeping a running diary of Little F’s days.

I did write some posts that were never published during my hiatus (Yes!  That’s the word I was looking for!) and I think I’ll start publishing some of those as I find my blog-legs again.

Saturday is the autumnal equinox.  Change is in the air and in my life, but good changes.  I went to my first Pilates class (ever) today, which was also only the second workout-type class I’ve gone to since Little F was born, almost two-and-a-half years ago.  The last time I actually was practicing Bikram yoga was in 2009.  I made it to one Bikram class on my birthday in 2011.  And now a Pilates class today.  Assuming I make it to class again next Tuesday I’ll have maxed out my class quota through 2015!  Cheers to being an overachiever!

Happy Solstice!

It’s summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  Of course as the sun is setting the clouds are moving in here, which sort of minimizes the effect.  Still, there’s no denying the calendar.

The only people I know who really acknowledge the solstices or the equinoxes are Alaskans and Pagans.

Regardless of which camp you fall under, I hope you’re enjoying the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere.  Happy summer!

What Does This Say About Me?

My recent Google search history includes, but is not limited to, searches for the following:

Diva Cup– I’ve been interested in getting one of these since I got my first post-partum period. I’m still interested but haven’t bought one.  I never remember that I want one until it’s too late for the month.  Then I forget about it as soon as my period’s gone, until the next month.
Cole Slaw– I bought a cabbage at the Farmer’s Market last week and still haven’t done anything with it. But I’m really not a fan of cole slaw so I’m not sure why I was searching for recipes for it.  I’m sure there are other things I’d rather do with a cabbage, I just don’t know what they are yet.  Google to the rescue!
Chocolate Sable cookies, Miette– I got a little package of these cookies in exchange for checking in on my BFF’s cats while she and her husband were out-of-town.  I would do just about anything to get some more of those cookies.  They.were.so.freakin’.awesome!
Bloated, gassy, sensitive to smells– Not just signs of being pregnant, can be signs of PMS too! (See Diva Cup search above)
Exposed to chickenpox, how long for symptoms– Ten days for the worst of the spots to appear, give or take.  We were all at a birthday party earlier this month with a little boy who was contagious.  So far, so good, knock on wood.  I think we’re in the clear.
Chickenpox symptoms– cough, slight fever then the tell-tale spots
Ghost Riders in the Sky lyrics–  I was trying to entertain Little F.  He’s still young enough to enjoy my singing.  And my dad used to sing this song to me when I was little; at least the “yippie-ai-a/ yippie-ai-oh” lines.  Google would have come in handy for him back then.
Big Rock Candy Mountain lyrics– Same as above
Rye Whiskey lyrics– Same as above except I used to sing this song when I was little.  The “kidnappers” sang it to the little girl, Savannah, in the movie Savannah Smiles.  Sigh.  I used to loove that movie.
Positive strep throat no symptoms– Fun medical facts with Google!  You can be a carrier of strep and test positive for the disease but never show any symptoms! 
Yeast infection toddler– I don’t suggest doing a Google image search of this.  Trust me.
Cloth diaper, yeast infection–  I still haven’t figured this one out.  Not that there weren’t sites devoted to the topic, I just haven’t figure out how to get rid of the yeast in the cloth diapers.
Brown roof and gutters, what paint color– Any color you want as long as your husband likes it too.
Bumblebee eating deck– Not a bumblebee, carpenter bees! They are capable of destroying your house!  They will chew perfectly round holes in any untreated wood!  You must get rid of them before your house collapses on itself!  Act now, it can’t wait!  (Hysteria mine)

What does this say about me?  I’m a PMS-y, hypochondriac, whose house is falling apart, and likes to sing old cowboy songs?  Sounds about right.

A Green Theme

On Wednesdays they have a green market set up in the parking lot at my work.  There are a couple of vendors there who are conventional farmers or produce distributors but there are always a couple who are part of a program called New Roots for Refugees.

I always try to spread my money among all the vendors (there are generally only five or so who show up; my work isn’t known for being interested in organic, locally grown food options) but I have to give the New Roots for Refugees farmers some business. These farmers have all come to the United States from other countries in order to start a new life for themselves and their families.  Many of them were farmers in the countries they left, but trying to start a farm, even a small one, in the US is expensive stuff.  Two organizations, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Cultivate KC, have partnered to help these women by teaching them about crops that grow well in this climate, giving them access to a 1/4 acre of land on which to farm, and a marketplace in which to sell their produce.  I often find myself over-buying because I want to buy something from each of these vendors.  This year each farmer has a card with a brief bio and a map of the world with their home country printed in red.  I loved reading about the women who grew my kale and my cabbage.  As much as I want to supply my family with food from our own backyard, I think I’ll always try and support farmers like them.

Another awesome thing about this program: the land they use to farm is located within a housing project and they let the residents have access to a plot of land as well.  It’s such a win-win situation.  There aren’t a lot of forward thinkers in this community that I’m exposed to, but projects like this give me hope.

First visit to the Green Market this summer*!
*Not pictured: zucchini

Ten Things, Part I

I started this a few days ago, not realizing how long and how labor intensive writing this post was going to be.  Instead of holding on to it until I’ve finished the entire list I decided to post it in parts.

Everyone has had one of those days, where nothing you do seems to be the right thing, where you can’t find any relief from the mental or physical weight of your stresses.  We have been having one of those days for the past ten or more days in this household.  It’s nothing and it’s everything all at once.  Nothing that’s been happening (or not happening as the case may be) is of life or death importance, it’s all little things, but it’s the cumulative weight of all of those little things that can send you over the edge.  After all, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, not the other assorted items the camel was already carrying.

Anyway, I’ve decided to make a list of ten things that I can do or can work on in order to regain some control over my situation, to relax, to carve out some much-needed “me” time and to not feel guilty when I take said “me” time.  Without further ado, my list:

1.  Stop reading shelter blogs and DIY blogs
This is going to be hard for me but a very important step.  We are in the middle of renovating a house and it’s taking much, much longer than I originally thought it was going to.  (To give you an idea as to what’s been going on over there, I started packing over the summer in anticipation of our move.  I packed up all my socks and sweaters, things I didn’t need on our 10th day in a row of 100+ degree temperatures.  It’s now November and I’m without socks or sweaters to wear but damned if I’m going to go to that new house and bring a pair of socks or a sweater back to the old house with me.)  Anyway, my point is when I read the shelter blogs and the DIY blogs I want to keep up with the Joneses: I want my house to look like the ones I see on the blogs.  I want to be able to decorate my home for every season and every holiday known to man including Flag Day and Mexican Independence Day, never mind that no one in my family is of Mexican heritage.  When in all reality, I have no desire (nor the means) to live in a museum with thousands of dollars worth of furnishings nor do I have any desire to decoupage place cards with handmade paper for each person’s place setting that also match my tablescape I spent as much time working on as the meal I made from produce I grew myself.

2. Get more sleep

This one is so high up on the list in its importance I would have it tied for number one if I could figure out how to format my list that way.  If I had gotten more sleep I bet I could figure it out.  Little F has been a terror the past couple weeks.  He’ll go to sleep just fine but then wake up and keep waking up.  He wants to nurse and at this time I can’t tell if it’s a want or a need.  A few nights ago Little F woke up about two hours after he went to bed, which is normal for him, and I went in and nursed him.  He woke up about five minutes later and wanted to be nursed again.  I didn’t nurse him since I had just done so and he cried, tossed and turned, cried, screamed, yelled, kicked and punched, then cried some more.  Finally after an hour of that Big E and I went out to the couch and I nursed Little F out there, then we all came back to bed.  I was hoping that I could break the association of nursing in bed with sleep.  Well, we came back to bed and Little F was up for the next hour and a half, playing, crawling, patting us, patting the wall, whatever he could do to avoid sleep.  The next morning I woke up late, Little F woke up with big dark circles under his eyes, and we were all late for work and school.  As far as I can tell he’s not teething and isn’t sick.  Sleep has never been our strong parenting point, but it’s not been this bad since he was a newborn.

3.  One day at a time
Like any good recovering addict could tell you, take it one day at a time.  (I am not a recovering addict but my dad has over 40 years of sobriety, my BFF has almost three-and-a-half, and another very good childhood friend has a little over two years.  I’m no stranger to the philosophies of AA.)  This is how I need to learn to look at things big and small.  This is going to be difficult as Big E is a big-picture person and I’m a… well, I’m not sure what kind of person I am.  Not a forward thinker or a futurist, I guess I tend to get caught up in the little details.  And then the little details become the whole thing and I get overwhelmed. What’s the saying, can’t see the forest for the trees?  That’s me.  Big E, he can’t see the trees for the forest.  The trick will be finding a way our two world views can work together.  Which segues nicely to my next item:

4. Use your strengths
I’m enrolled in a leadership program through the University of Kansas.  We meet twice a month and have gone over several different topics ranging from conflict resolution to networking to generations in the workplace.  My favorite topic by far has been the strengths finder aptitude test.  In a nutshell, we all received a code to take an online test.  This wasn’t the standard Myers-Briggs personality test, this was a fast, gut instinct quiz that timed you out of your answer if you hadn’t made a choice after twenty seconds.  The results were spot on in most cases, and not just for me.  When we discussed it in class most people felt they were accurately represented.  My strengths were: adaptability, harmony, input, empathy, and developer in that order.  I’m heavy on the soft skills, not quite as heavy on the real-life skills as I call them.  (I know, I know, it can be argued that the soft skills are what can make or break you in a professional or personal way and anyone can learn technical skills but soft skills can’t be taught.)  My point is I need to bring some of those soft skills home with me and not leave them at the office.  I need to have them in my arsenal 24/7 not just from 8-5.

5.  Acknowledge which events are cyclical and which are one time only commitments
Glancing at my Outlook calendar for the month of October, I had four working days that I did not have a meeting, presentation, or other type of commitment pre-scheduled.  When you add in Big E’s work obligations you get even more days where our days are a blur.  If you add on to that all of our outside obligations, it’s no wonder I feel like I’m drowning and don’t have any time with my family or for myself.  This month has seen after hour board meetings, birthday dinners, going away parties, dinners with those about to depart, etc.  Some of these things are cyclical; they’ll happen every month, every quarter, what have you and you can plan for them.  Others, like the going away parties and dinners, are one time only commitments.  These are ones we can’t back out of and need to be present for.  We need to be present for all of them, but especially these and we’ve had quite a few commitments in this category over the past couple months.  When you also add taking care of a toddler and renovating a 2500 square foot house into the mix and it’s no wonder I reached my breaking point last weekend.  Looking back at how many of the events that either kept us from each other or kept us from the house and realizing how many were one time only events helps me understand that a) we didn’t really have a choice but to be a part of those events and b) we need to work on scheduling the cyclical events a little better if at all possible.

6.Lower your standards
By this I mean I need to loosen up a bit.  I joked in the first item on this list about making a meal from produce I grew myself, and that part is actually a goal of mine.  Someday.  In the meantime I need to be okay with cooking a box of mac-n-cheese along with some frozen peas and calling it dinner.  I need to be okay with the fact that when Big E does the laundry he may not do it the way I want it done, but it gets done.  I need to be okay with Big E dressing Little F in the morning, even if after checking the weather forecast Little F goes to school wearing a long-sleeved shirt when it’s 78 degrees out and a short-sleeved shirt when it’s 45 degrees.  On second thought, maybe I still need to lay out Little F’s clothes the night before.

Books and Swings

Image

A couple of weeks ago I was putting Little F into his car seat when I found a new book in the seat.  I’m not sure where the book came from, but whoever gave it to him has a sick sense of humor.  Whoever green-lighted the publishing of this book has a sick sense of humor.  Or else I have a sick sense of humor and am seeing things that no one else sees.  I’ll let you judge for yourselves:

Now I don’t know what a Boohbah is, but I can tell you what a Boohbah reminds me of.

Need a hint?  Here’s a different view:

I also received a package from a close relative that same week.  Some hand-me-down toys, clothes, etc., the usual suspects.  Then I found this padded velour vest:

I can just picture Little F on the playground wearing his velour vest advertising that he’s a baby swinger to all the other girls and boys at school.  “Hey, Baby.  Want to come over to my house and look at my Boohbah?  Just leave your keys in the bowl by the door.”