My paternal grandfather died today. He lives in the Phillipines and I hadn't seen him in almost 20 years. He had been ill for some time, and very ill the past three weeks. I can only think of my father, my poor father. His mom died about 10 years ago, and now his dad is gone too.

I did not know my paternal grandfather as well as I should have. My maternal grandfather died while my mother was young during the war, and my step-grandfather on my mom's side died while I was young. I do remember him vividly. He was always smiling, and even when he was sick he was joking around with me. My maternal grandmother is still alive, and so is my great-grandmother. Yes, my great-grandmother. She turns 102 this year. She is amazing. Mind like a steel trap and sassy as ever.

I have memories of my paternal grandfather, and they make me a little ill. I was not the nicest kid to him. A little bratty, which they attributed to me being raised in America, and kids simply speak and act a little bit differently than they do back in the Phillipines. Respect of elders is part of life back there, much more so than it is here. I remember telling my maternal grandmother once "yeah, I know" as a response to something she was telling me, and she was incredulous that I would say that to her. I also told her "I heard you the first time" when she repeated something to me, and the look on her face was complete disbelief. I remember being in the Phillipines and having a total breakdown. I was sweaty and hot and had a million big bug bites all over me. I hadn't taken a real shower in days, and I wasn't used to the food. My dad's dad said something to me and I just went off. A little 11-year-old, cursing up a storm. My grandfather started laughing. Hysterically. I guess it must have been a site to see - this tiny little girl swearing like a trucker. I remember that laugh well, and I still feel horrible about that episode to this day.

I also remember my paternal grandparents talking to me about my future. About taking advantage of the life my parents were able to give me in the United States. About working hard, and always putting family first. About being respectful and kind to not only my elders, but everyone. They talked to me about studying hard in school so I could get a great job and make a difference and give back to my community. They were well known in their own community. They gave back, a lot, to everyone. My maternal grandmother was a teacher, and my grandfather was a journalist at one point in his life. When I started to really show an interest in writing around first grade, my parents told me I probably got it from my grandpa. He was a great writer. And my father, while a total gadgets guy and an electrical engineer, is equally creative and insightful; he once showed me a stack of cards that he carved out of wood and poems that he wrote for my mother while they were dating. They were beautiful. I had no idea.

When loved ones die, they also take with them the possibilities and hope for better memories and better relationships. I wish I had visited my dad's parents again when I was older and not as bratty, when I could truly appreciate the experience and the love and knowledge they had to offer. My grandfather's passing is hard. My father does not have as much family in the States as my mother does, and those that are here don't live close by. I know he knew this day would come soon, but I cannot imagine what he is experiencing right now. He loved them very much. I wish I knew them better, and I know he wishes the same.

Goodbye, Grandpa. You are well-loved and very missed. I will pass on your history and your stories to my own son, so he can know you through me, and perhaps understand his mama a little better as well. I will take him and my husband to the Philippines so they can see why my family is the way we are, and they can appreciate everything you and grandma did for my own father and for me. We'll come visit you and grandma someday again. For all the lost moments when I should have said it, Salamat - thank you.


Friends and Family: No Comments = I will write about you

I've decided that since friends and family are such a large part of my life, I really need to start including them more in my blog. I think some of them read this blog, which is why I haven't written about them, but since none of the people I actually know in real life ever leave comments, I've decided I am going to write more openly now about those friends and family who don't leave comments! HL, consider yourself saved since you have posted a comment :)

Friends and family, you have been forewarned. No comments from you means I have full reign to write about you because I assume you are not reading this blog. Ha ha ha (she says with a sinister laugh).

To my friendly comment posters: thanks for your always fun comments! I enjoy them very much and if I do write about you will write nothing but good things:-)

Last Day & Boo's New Adventures

Today was my last day at work. Yippee!!!! Very happy, but it's SO odd and a little bittersweet.

Tonight, after I got home (my husband drove, since I think I drank almost a whole bottle of wine at the work goodbye party...and sang a duet with karaoke crazy pal E, who also celebrated her last day working there...), Boo was cute as ever. He kept walking around and patting my drunk head as I lay on the couch, and then walking over to pat my husband's stomach. Just walking around playing here and there. Not super hyper, just being very calm and cute. He is so adorable and fun and loving.

He is starting to talk even more now. Added to his repertoire are: thank you (after we give him something to eat - SO cute!), cup, bowl, bus, and turtle. He loves stacking things that he gets from the cupboards: bowls, tupperware, the plastic salad mixer parts. He also has started to hide things in the kitchen cupboards, which is pretty funny and cute.


I know who the Doodlebops are...

...and perhaps even more disturbingly, I think I like them.

The culture of babyhood and parenthood is a whole different world. Cool, and kinda creepy at times when I really stop to think about it. So now I shall list some random thoughts and observations about things that have changed in my life since becoming a parent 14 months ago, because mommy brain is too tired to be poignant tonight.

Random List of Parenthood Babble

1. I have the Doodlebops theme song in my head as I drive in to work, and I'm ok with that.
2. I now know that I hate Winnie the Pooh. OK, hate is a strong word. I strongly dislike the Pooh bear. First, his name is freakin' Pooh. Second, he's slow and boring and has no real value to his stories. There's not enough character development in the books or the TV show to satisfy me. (I think I just lost 80% of the mom bloggers out there. Sorry ladies, gotta be honest in my blog. I am not down with Winnie)
3. The word "poo," on the other hand, or its more formal version "poop," is used at least a dozen times in my house each day.
4. I know who the Wiggles are, and I don't like them either. Not one bit. Creepy old men dancing around with little kids...something fishy about that...
5. No matter where I am, I always have an emergency stash of Cheerios for hunger fits (Boo's and mine).
6. I now know that the Koala Brothers have a cool theme song too, and they like to help people and have cool Down Under accents.
7. Robeez are the best shoes in the whole world. Note to Robeez: please make some in a size 5.5 W. I like the ones with the monkeys.
8. Getting ready to go requires prep time...to get ready to get ready to go.
9. You really can't ever have enough. Of anything. When you think you do, that's when you'll be SOL in a high-end store with poopy wee babe and no diaper wipes.
10. Organic is awesome, but fast food is equally important to survive.
11. You really do need 8 hours of sleep.
12. You'll never get 8 hours of sleep.
13. Things that were important yesterday are trivial today (or you'll forget about them, same thing).
14. Online shopping rocks.
15. A clean floor is very important. Only because your baby will eat everything that is on the floor.
16. I can move at lightening speed and my reflexes are spot on. Boo is training me well.
17. Baby Einstein is a genius.
18. Learning how to be a human is a really, really complex and difficult thing, and yet babies do it so quickly.
19. Watching a tiny human being learn to be a human being is the coolest thing in the world.
20. Being a parent is the most awesome experience EVER. It is the greatest high, the most satisfying job, the most rewarding and most demanding. It is the most beautiful thing in the entire universe.


Home Stretch/Stepping up to the plate

This is my last week at work. Crazy. So I'm spending my days trying to wrap things up in the office while I'm spend my nights trying to get things going at the home office. Tonight I finally got off my lazy butt and wrote more copy for my second business Web site. In truth, I think it sucks. I write for other people all day long with no problem, but writing for my own business is a whole different ball game.

I'm so excited, but I think it's healthy that some panic has finally settled in. Just a little. We're going from a three-car family to a one-car family, and the cheese that's left standing alone is a beautiful, sleek, super comfy gas guzzler/environmental hazard. It is my biggest personal icon of hypocrisy (can I blame hubby? It was his post-baby present. Wait a minute - the baby was his post-baby present! Rats. He fooled me again.). I really want a Prius, but that's out of the question for now. We'll be fine cha-ching wise (not a lot of cha-ching, but just enough), but it's stupid assanine things like me suddenly wanting to go to Hawaii for a vacation in a couple of weeks that has me worried. Perhaps I am rebelling against my own rebellion. Perhaps I am just really tired and exhausted and in need of at least one night with eight hours of sleep (PS-not due to baby; baby sleeps just fine. Due to mommy-addiction to working).

So I'm finishing up the home stretch at work work while stepping up to the plate for work-at-home work and, hopefully, more quality time with Boo. I do relish the idea of trading conference calls for playdates. I'll still be getting up early and going to bed late. I am so curious to see how different life will be, or how similar. I'm really, really excited about these changes. I think rediscovering myself and redefining my goals is the best thing I can do for Boo right now; if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

What's with me using the word "ain't?" What's with the baseball analogies in this post? I can't stand baseball (except the occasional live game just because I can yell a lot of random crap and drink beer and eat hot dogs. Mmm...beer...awesome NW microbrews...). Must be the misalignment of my worlds at the moment confusing the mommy brain. Off to get another night of not-enough-sleep soon. Night night, Blogosphere!



Today I had the most amazing honor of marrying two of the most genuine, most beautiful people I've ever met. I have not known them for a very long time, but I know that the good they bring to the world as individuals has incredible effect, and together, they can do so much. Standing there, watching them vow their love and commitment to each other, and being able to actually see the beaming faces of their friends and family throughout the ceremony was an awesome, unforgettable experience. These two were not only marrying each other, they were bringing together the lives of so many others they have touched, and thus forever changing us all.

Perhaps I'm in a bit of a dramatic mode tonight, but the events of the day really made me reflect on how everything we do, everything we say, every movement we make truly has lasting effect on those around us. Connections. Paths.

Since the birth of my son, I have come to meet so many new, wonderful people. They have changed our lives and helped us grow tremendously. I've also come to understand that it's ok to let go of those who may not have so much good to offer in my life. We are on this earth for such a short time, I don't want to waste a moment. I want to connect with people who are good and genuine and kind and true. I feel so honored when I am lucky enough to come across those people.

J & D are truly an amazing couple. They have taught me much in the short time I have known them. I hope to pass on what I have learned to my son, who too, will have to make choices about his own life and the relationships he creates and breaks. Today reminded me much of my own wedding day, so lucky to have a solid foundation of friends and family supporting, encouraging, loving us along the way.

I wish all of this for Boo. To be there on his wedding day and be able to see the same happiness, joy and peace on his face as I saw all around me today, and at my own wedding, where special connections were made through a common love.


A quiet night after a sad goodbye

Tonight the house is quieter than usual. There is less movement. There is an odd calm. There is no barking. There is no obsessive butt-sniffing. Time seems to be moving at a slow pace for a change.

Tonight is our first night without our beloved pup Mac.

I have written before about our painful decision to bring her back to the humane society for adoption, and today we finally said our goodbyes. She, playful and oddly serene, with a big puppy smile on her cute lab/border collie face. We, very sad, with tears in our eyes as we drove away. My husband said "maybe she has been trying to tell us it was time to say goodbye for a long time."

There are better parents for her out there. Ones who don't already have another dog (who seems happier oddly enough without Mac around) or a baby (who doesn't seem to notice she is gone). Parents who are active and can take her on a few walks and a jog each day, ones who have more time and energy to love her more than we could. We love her so, so, so very much. But sometimes love is not enough. The child in me hates myself for putting her up for adoption; the adult in me knows it is for the best, especially for her.

Goodbye Mackenzie. We miss you already, and we love you always. We hope you are happy in your new home.

If you are in the Portland area and know of anyone who would love and care for Mac with great time and energy, please visit her at the Oregon Humane Society. Her name is Mackenzie--"Mac", she's 3 years old, is black and white, and very, very happy and sweet. If they decide to post her info online, you will be able to see her here.


My awesome hospital

This is a dual blog post. Perhaps this breaks some obscure unwritten rule out there in the Blogosphere about not posting the same exact post in two blogs, but this fits both my mommy blog and my rant/rave blog. Today I feel compelled to rave and rave and rave about Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital.

A hospital, you ask? Why would you rant or rave about that?

Well good friends, because customer service is perhaps most important in those halls, where the admins, nurses, assistants, doctors, and slew of I-have-no-idea-what-those-people-do people hold not only your lives at times, but your hopes, your fears, your strength, your happiness, your sanity, your entire day's outlook in their hands. And when you are pregnant, you damn well better choose a hospital that is known for having the best customer service around.

In Oregon, that hospital, IMHO, is Legacy Good Sam in NW Portland. This week, I went in for my annual exam, and afterward called my husband to tell him how much fun it was.

"Fun?!" he asked, increduously. Yes, fun! Ok, maybe fun is not how I would describe the exam itself (ick), but rather the rest of my experience there.

Everyone in the office is super nice. All the time. They remember who I am and so many personal non-medical things about my life that we have discussed throughout the years; they ask about my son, my husband, my work; they remember things about my pregnancy from my regular visits there. They talk to me, and really listen. They do everything they can to help. I love it there. I never thought I would ever say that about a doctor's office, but there you go. I always look forward to going. In a way, they are like an extended family.

I learned how lucky I was during my pregnancy to have Good Sam in my health plan. When I would tell people where I was giving birth (I never understood why people always asked that, but now I do -- it makes such a difference in how you feel about your pregnancy and giving birth), so many women who gave birth there and so many men whose wives gave birth there raved about it, saying "it's like the Hilton! You'll love it!"

And love it we did. We loved going to my many, many doctor's visits (my husband was so good and went to all of them with me--he was very cute and sweet). We loved our birthing, breastfeeding and baby care classes. We loved the maternity ward. We loved the kind and funny folks at the lab. We loved (most of) our nurses during the course of our maternity stay. We loved the doctor who gave birth to our son (ours was on vacation - of course!). I loved the lactation consultant who visited me the day after I gave birth, and whom I visited a couple of times later. I loved the baby & me groups they offered afterward. We loved everything about the experience before, during and after the birth of our son. We love our pediatrician and her office there.

Good Sam also has a ton of specialists there that most other area hospitals don't offer. Good to know as I age ;)

I could go on forever raving about this place. Obviously I can't vouch for every single doctor or provider at this hospital, I can only tell you of my experiences, and they have all been fabulous. To me, Good Sam feels more like a spa or hotel or the family's regular hangout than a hospital. Sounds very silly, but it's true. I wish everyone mother would have the same wonderful experience, from pre-pregnancy and beyond.


New poll! It has to do with men and an island

Which John would you most like to be stranded with? John Roberts, John Cusack, John Stewart, John Mayer, The John, or a Jane. Vote now on the poll in the right-hand column of the blog.

Last week's poll resulted in 80% for boycotting War of the Worlds. I am with you. I really would have seen this movie, if Tom CRAZY hadn't opened his stupid mouth. He is an uninformed a-hole who knows nothing about postpartum depression and should just shut up. Oh, and he should stop trading in his wives for younger models (Nicole for Mimi, Katie for Nicole, soon the Olson twins for Katie). 20% of you said it looked stupid anyway.


CBS re-airing of Stay-At-Home Moms story

Tonight 60 Minutes aired the Leslie Stahl story about stay-at-home moms (original air date was last October). In the report, she offers this statistic: a 15 percent increase in SAHM in less than 10 years. I've read the articles over and over for the past year or so, about the trend of high powered professional career moms "opting out" of the workforce to take care of their babies, whether FT or PT.

The story was fine (considering it was a Leslie Stahl story, but I can rant about her later), but the one thing that hit a nerve was the interview with Linda Hirschman, a lawyer, philosophy professor and author (oh please). Hirschman thinks the trend of moms who are opting out is a sign that we're heading back to the 1950s. "These women are choosing lives in which they do not use their capacity for very complicated work," adds Hirshman. "They are choosing lives in which they do not use their capacity to deal with very powerful other adults in the world, which takes a lot of skill."

Excuse me? Now, I'm not a SAHM, and I'm not going to be, at least not right now, but this woman pissed me off! She is so obviously bitter about her own life (she worked like a maniac while raising her daughter, had issues with men in the workplace, blah blah blah), and has nothing better to do than to make people feel bad about their decisions. Their choice. CHOICE being the operative word.

Why can't people like Hirschman just accept that moms like the ones interviewed for this story are choosing what makes them happy? It is obvious if you watched this story that Hirschman is the unhappy one here. And that is very, very sad.

Compulsive Confession

All right. So as balanced and "do what works best for you" as I try to be, I must admit to my own freakish shortcomings. One of them hit home while at a playdate. As the moms got out our lunch items for our wee ones, one mom looked at my tupperware offering and as I lifted a spoonful for Boo, commented "I don't have the patience to cut fruit into tiny little pieces like you. That's impressive."

Hmmm. Impressive, perhaps. Compulsive is more like it. I admit it: I am a compulsive chopper when it comes to food for Boo.

We have a saying at my house: "Choking hazard." It's uttered often, by both myself and my mocking husband, who says it when he predicts I am about to say it and then attempts to beat me to it. Apparently, I talk about almost everything as a choking hazard. I have an overly worrysome fear about Boo choking. On everything. I mean, my god, the boy doesn't pass by anything without putting it in his mouth first. Dog hair. Crayons. Rocks. Grass. Cheerios from who-knows-when that he randomly finds underneath the couch while searching for the remote. And with all of the stories out there about choking being the #1 hazard for children, I give in to my fear and am freakish about doing everything I can to make sure he doesn't choke.

So when it comes to his food, I take extra precautions. He doesn't eat blueberries or grapes at all unless they are mashed into something like yogurt because I know those are two of the top things on which babies choke (along with hot dogs). Everything else I chop up into tiny, tiny, tiny pieces about a quarter of an inch around. I'm a bit fanatical about it, actually. I inspect every tiny little piece to make sure it's not too big, has a weird edge, etc. He hasn't like mashed baby food for a few months now, so this is no longer an option (except mashed potatoes and applesauce), and even the jars of diced toddler foods at the grocery store have pieces that don't pass my test for "under the choking hazard" size. So I just chop away. Fruits, veggies, meats. Tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny pieces.

The upside to all this is that I am pretty sure that unless he decides to down an entire tupperware full of food (not under my careful watch!), he won't choke on anything that I provide. The downside is that it takes forever. I bought a food chopper thinking this would help my cause, but it doesn't work nearly as evenly as my hands and a knife.

So with all of my "do what's best for your own baby" talk and "go with the flow" mumbo jumbo, this is my one big fanatical thing. As far as fanatical freaky Mom things I could do, I guess this isn't such a big deal.


Boo is awake

Boo is not sleeping well tonight. He went to bed around 8 pm and just about 20 minutes ago woke up screaming. We put his binky back in his mouth and he was fine. And then he started crying again. Changed his diaper. Checked room temperature. Checked the fit of his sleeper. Checked for odd noises (damn neighbors). Checked for bleeding, cuts, head injuries, vomit, poop, five new teeth coming in, monsters in closet. All seemed normal. Now he is going back and forth between sleeping and crying. Oh wait. Silence for about 15 seconds. Good sign.

He had a big day today. He's in a super silly/mischievous testing mode. He...oh crap...crying again...why am I still typing? because i know he will go to sleep...eventually...

Anyway, he does this thing where he gets one knee up on the fireplace seating area, looks over at me from the corner of his eye, and waits for me to say "No, No Boo." If I don't say it, he looks right at me, I stare back at him and shake my head, and then he shakes his head while laughing and puts his leg backdown. He does about three or four "testing you" things but I'm too tired to write about all of them now. Bottom line: they are super cute. Maybe someday they will test my patience, but now I am loving those moments. He's learning what's ok and what's not ok, and it's so amazing to me. He's 14 months old, almost. What a big boy. Where's my baby?

Silence from Boo's room again. I hope he sleeps well the rest of the night. I think he woke up when our neighbors slammed their car doors. Hopefully all of our neighbors are now in for the night. 10:30 may be super early for a lot of you out there, but I'm willing to bet none of you have any young kids.


Babyproof This

I've given up on completely babyproofing our home. What the hell. There are a million gizmos and gadgets that cost a billion dollars once you have purchased all of the blind cord winders, fireplace gates, top of stair gates, bottom of stair gates, stove top guards, oven guards, magnetic cabinet locks and keys (keys sold separately, imagine that), toilet locks, door stoppers, doorknob cushions, corner cushions, blah blah blah...

We've plastered our house with outlet covers - the basic ones that work just fine, thank you, and not the three-times-as-expensive-flip ones (that have their own problems). We have a gate at the top of our stairs and bottom. We moved breakables from the bottom kitchen shelves to the top and left the tupperware and acrylic/plastic stuff in the bottom shelves for Boo to play with if he feels like opening the cupboards there. We also bought a bunch of crap that we are realizing will take us three weeks to install and may be used for a total of one week before Boo figures out how to get around them. We tried the cord winders, which quite frankly, are the biggest, cheaply-made pieces of crap ever invented. CRAP, I say!

Here's the ultimate babyproofing in my book: watch your freakin' baby at all times. Like a hawk. Don't leave them in the room alone. You can't prevent every fall or cut or bruise, but you can do your damn best. Buy what you really, truly need. But remember that the baby industry is just that: an industry. An industry that knows how deep the fears of new moms run, and will manipulate you into thinking you need to buy the moon in order to keep your child safe. They have to make moolah and they know you will spend it.

So spend it wisely when it comes to babyproofing. I bet you'll find you don't need as much as the world of "baby experts" tell you that you need.


Funny News

Allow me to travel away from writing about being a mommy for a moment and indulge in some random writing. I'm watching The Daily Show right now, and I just love John Stewart. Loved him long before he became host of TDS. My husband knows all this, and I think he approves because he actually thinks John Stewart is funny and smart (unlike John Cusack, whom he thinks just keeps making the same movie over and over...a source of heated debate around here...who cares if he keeps making the same movie? He's John Cusack!). JS just did a bit about the White House press corps pounding on poor, unprepared Press Secretary Scott McLellan. Finally! MSNBC covered it a bit last night and so did NBC, but I have been waiting to see what TDS would do with it. They didn't disappoint. Too funny. "The White House press corps have been replaced by actual reporters." Oh so good. I kind of feel bad for Scott McLellan, since he obviously is ill-matched for the position of Press Secretary, or at least what the PS should be. The Bush administration made it clear when they hired Fleischer that his job was to be the spanking boy with no knowledge of anything and try to be an even bigger bumbling idiot than the Big Idiot. Poor Scotty. He looked like he was going to throw up while he was actually being -gasp!- grilled by the press. Hooray for the WHPC. They actually do have some balls and, if for one day only, remembered what their jobs are.

JS is also a papa to a toddler or young infant I believe. I bet he's a funny papa. There, I talked about babies a little for my mommy blog.


The Incredible Amazing Boo

Suddenly, it's a circus at my house, and Boo has become the ultimate entertainer. Over the course of the past few days, Boo has truly amazed us. Here is a short list of our entertainment line-up from this weekend:
-Boo starts picking up the phone and actually putting it next to his ear to talk (versus just pushing all of the buttons as he's been doing).
-Boo decides that walking longer distances isn't so bad after all. Up until this weekend, he had just been taking three or four steps at a time before resuming crawling. Suddenly, he just gets up and walks from room to room.
-Boo learns to go backwards to get down from the couch. This is a great trick and I am glad he has learned it.
-Boo starts putting things back instead of just taking things out (toys from the toy box, CDs from the shelf).
-Boo starts using a spoon more at mealtime. Granted, he still uses his hands more, but he's getting there.
-Boo realizes how funny he is. He has done this trick for a week now, where he places one of his small cups between his teeth so that the top of the cup covers his nose, and he walks around with it in his mouth. Laughing hysterically the whole time. He's a ham and a half.

To add to his funnyness, about three weeks ago, Boo started making funny faces through the glass window doors that connect the living room to the home office. He LOVES putting both hands on the glass and blowing faces. That's one of my favorite tricks, and the photo above is one of my favorite ever.

This weekend was also all about dancing for Boo - he would sway to the music in the car, the music playing at the restaurant during lunch today, music from his toys - he just loves to dance! And he is still all about reading. His bedtime book before we go upstairs is Big Red Barn. His naptime book is The Napping House. He also still loves Quack!, I'm a Little Puppy, and So Big (Baby Elmo). He loves all books, but those are his faves this week. (once again, I'm reciting these things really just in case they don't make it into the baby book :)

We are so blessed and so lucky to have Boo in our lives. He makes every day a happy, silly, crazy fun day.


Daddy blogger beat me to my own post

So I was going to post today about my son's latest favorite phrase, which is "uh-oh" and more recently "uh-oh, I'll get it." But as I wandered over to check out my husband's new blog, I see he has beat me to the punch! So in an effort to support his new blogging efforts, I'd like to introduce you fellow bloggers to my husband and invite you to visit his site: Paper Knapkin.

If you'd like to go straight to his post about Boo's "uh-oh" phase, click here.


NO. N-O. My son can say it, and now so can I

If you ever want a bunch of job leads/offers to come your way, then apparently all you have to do is quit your job. The official announcement was made and I sent my own to some contacts and Holy Crapoly, the response made me cry. Amidst the congrats, the take-me-with-yous, and the so-what-the-hell-are-you-going-to-do-for-money calls and emails (mostly from guys, to which my silent response as I smile back at them is FU, Mother F#$@er), were requests for meetings and so-now-can-we-hire-you? emails and calls. I was dumbfounded. I cried.

And the hyperactive, email-addicted, adrenaline-rush-feuled, workaholic mom said NO. I have been learning to say it the past couple of years, and I think I am pretty (kind of) good at it now. NO. N-O. No thanks. No.

I question my decision at times, no doubt. When someone offers you what you are making now for way less work than you do now, you have to stop and at least consider it. But in the end, my response to (almost) all was NO. At least to the ones that would require more time than I wanted to give. The rest, I'll work on later... :)

I got home tonight around 7:45. I opened the door, and there they were: my boys. Boo sitting in his papa's lap, smiling with sleepy eyes, and one of his bedtime books in their laps. They were the picture of perfect happiness. Boo's bedtime ritual is the favorite part of my day, because we all wind down together, and I love how Boo gets SO excited about even the realization that we are going to read his bedtime books. I want to see more of this. I want to feel more of this happiness. I want to say YES to me, to my son, my husband, my parents, my dogs, my friends, my family, my needs, my goals, my creativity, my zen, my life.

So I said no to more work in order to say yes to more life. And I'm feeling pretty damn happy about that. So now I shall do the happy dance. Do do do do...da da da da...woohoo!


Calling it Quits: Tipping the Scale in a Different Direction

So I did it. Handed in my resignation notice. After six years and three months, I am leaving my current employer to go do my own thing...which for the next couple of months, I am hoping will consist mainly of being Mom to Boo, but will also mean starting two businesses on my own. I am incredibly excited to grow and experience life in a different capacity than I have these past few years; I relish change, embrace it, and learn most from it. While being pregnant and giving birth and raising a baby for the first time in my life has been a big change, quitting my full-time job somehow seems to be more for me to take in and get used to, but I know it is for the best.

I've written a lot over the past year about the myth that one can achieve balance between work life and home life, between your time and the time you spend giving to others. I believe there is no balance - just a scale that is sometimes up on one side but then must be down on the other. The scale moves as you guide it to and as life demands, but it is rarely, if ever, dead even. This is how life is, and I believe if we embrace the fact that we honestly cannot juggle all of our responsibilities evenly, at 110% all the time, then we will live a much happier and healthier life. We do what we can. Right now, what will make me and my family happier and healthier is if I tip the scale to spend more time with them, and just as importantly, with me. I love what I do for work; I just need to do it in a way that works better for me and my needs right now.

We all need change in order to be who we are, and to learn who we can become. I truly believe that we control our own happiness, and that if we are unhappy, then no matter what the circumstances are, we can change that. If you do what you love, the money will follow. If you are true to yourself - your core values, your life philosophy, your moral and ethical standards - then you will do more than just survive, you will thrive. Some people call this naive thinking, but it's my way of life and so far, it's worked out pretty well. Sure there are always struggles, but they make me stronger and I learn from them. Yes there are obstacles, but they challenge me to rethink my direction and simply find the right path.

As a parent, it is obvious to me each day that I really have to do as I say. I have these tiny eyes watching every move I make, everything I say, mimicking my words, my motions, my expressions. I am no longer just living my life, I am teaching him how to live his. Which means I damn well had better live mine the way I would hope he lives his.

So off I go, to start new adventures. One of my friends sent me a nice email today saying that she realizes this means I will still be super busy, because I am really just quitting one job out of the three or four I really do. One of my friends said I was crazy, because it will be even harder doing what I plan on doing than what I currently do for work now, but that she believed in me. Sure, what I plan on doing now will take even more hours and more juggling, but it's a different type of juggling and a different type of workload. We all have many jobs in life at the same time. Some we get paid for monetarily, some we get paid for in hugs, smiles, kisses, thank you notes, appreciative nods. We all work hard. In the end, what matters most to me, is knowing I believe in what I do, and believing it will make me a better person and will provide a good example for Boo.

It is always weird to say goodbye to something that has been such a huge part of your life for many years. But it's a great chance to say hello to so many new people and experiences that will help me become the me I need to be at this stage of my life.


New baby pool means mom must wear a swimsuit

For me, summer hasn't meant swimsuit season for at least five years. I'm not kidding - the last time I think I wore one was when I went to Hawaii for work. Each year, they take over the stores and taunt me, but I don't even give them a glance anymore.

Today was a hot day. Today we bought Boo a fun little pool. Today was the first time in possibly five years that I wore a swimsuit. The things I do for my baby...

At first, I was just wearing shorts and a tank top, but after we filled the pool up with water I realized how ridiculous it was that I was not in a swimsuit. So I marched upstairs and opened The Drawer. The one containing about four really old, not-sure-if-they-even-fit-me-at-all swimsuits. I'm actually surprised I kept them this long. So I found the one that was the least revealing, was shocked that it still fit, but then reaized I had some new fat that came post-baby that made the suit fit a bit differently than five years ago. Whatever. In my own backyard, the only people that could run away in pain screaming "my eyes! my eyes!" from the sight of me in a swimsuit would be my husband (who has seen the post-baby body anyway and is still around) and our immediate neighbors, if they felt nosy enough to look down over our backyard from their upstairs windows. Oh, and now anyone who watches the video that hubby took of the afternoon's poolside adventure. Thanks - you were supposed to just shoot video of our son, not me! C'est la vie.

We had SO much fun playing in the pool. Boo LOVED it. He splashed around, played with the pool toys, barked orders at the dogs from the pool, tried to bring grass into the pool. He was laughing and squealing with excitement the whole time. It is truly an amazing experience, to watch my son learn and grow and fall in love with new experiences. There he was: standing in the pool, walking along the sides, trying to drink the water. It was beautiful.

And I have faced my fear of the swimsuit and can safely say that I will likely wear one again and again so I can play in the pool with my kid. I should probably buy a new one for my post-baby body, though :)

Happy 4th of July everyone!

BTW, the photo is of hubby filling the pool with water, and that's Boo in the corner. I'm taking the photo so I don't have to be IN the photo, wearing my swimsuit :)


Halloween in July

I'm SOOO excited. Hubby and I just came up with the perfect Halloween costume for Boo this year. Granted, it's not incredibly unique or creative, but it is perfect. I can't share yet, because I want to go out and get the costume before they are all gone in his size. I'm so giddy I'm giggling. I love being a mom. This photo is him on Halloween last year (Boo, not hubby :)