Wednesday, May 25, 2011

All Wrapped up with a Pretty Little Bow

So many things are coming up and even more things are coming to an end. This is a time for change in my family. The school year is coming to a close, meaning that in just a few weeks I will get to spend every minute of my day with my amazing son! I can't wait to wake up to a calm, quiet morning, go for long walks, take trips to the park and the zoo, play in the backyard with Maizy, and visit Joe at work. I absolutely love my job, but being a teacher would not be possible without the, much needed, time off. During the school year it is like having 100 sons and daughters, who have "other" parents as well. Although there are days where teaching is exhausting, every day is also extremely rewarding.
Just yesterday I was able to praise a student for doing great on a project, who I think may have never heard the words "I'm proud of you" before. The look of shock and then excitment that crossed his face was priceless and I will never forget it. I have had many moments like this throught the three years that I have been teaching, but this particular moment is so important because I have worked so hard this year to be better at what I do. Every year I learn so much more, and every year I grow as an educator. I'm proud of what I have become and who I have helped.
I'm also very excited for a mini-vacation that we are going to take with some friends. It will be so nice to get a change of scenery for a few days. It will also be nice for Liam to socialize with other little ones (not that he doesn't at daycare). I hope that the weather holds out and that it is as relaxing as I am hoping for. I'm also excited because a good friend of mine is going to have a baby! We are so excited for them and can't wait to meet the new addition to the posse. Another little one in the group! We are growing so fast! Pretty soon there will be so many of us that we could start out own football team (which I'm sure the dads would enjoy).
Things are going well at home as well. Joe and I are one payment away from paying off one of our student loans, we are eating healthier than ever, going on regular walks with Liam and Maizy, our families are all doing well, and I'm experimenting with a few possible hobbies. We are making it a point to expand our comfort levels: with food, activities, interests, etc. We have been in a bit of a rut for a while. Eating the same things for dinner, watching the same tv shows, even siting in the same places day in and day out. Now this may not seem like an issue, but we are tired of being boring! This doesn't mean that we are going to be on the go all the time, or that we are now going to go the opposite way, we still have a 1 year old at home and a very limited budget, so things will still be low-key. Just new and different!
I plan to take a few classes at the Y this summer. Luckily I have a few co-workers and some neighbors who have been trying to motivate me to do something active. During the summer, when I won't feel so guilty about leaving Liam for an hour or two, is the perfect time to get started. There are also big changes with Liam. He is now a confident, consistant walker. His personality is definately coming out more and more each day. He is turning into a kid! I can't believe how fast time goes and how quickly they change. So right now, CHANGE is my word, and change is good!

Monday, May 16, 2011

I'm Lucky that I'm already Bald!

Life is stressful for everyone. We all have times where we feel like our world is falling apart and we don't know how to fix it. The past month or so has been this time for me. There are so many reasons why I have been worried, exhausted, and on the brink of tears non-stop. I pride myself on being a strong person, who deals with things on a daily basis that others can't imagine. Don't get me wrong, I know everyone has issues, but mine are out for the world to see and sometimes the world seeing is all that I need to feel uncomfortable and sad. But I have moved past those feelings and have come out of it a very strong, self-aware person. I also know that I am a good person, who works hard to be caring and thoughtful of other people and their feelings.
But lately, knowing all of these things isn't enough to keep me together. I have been feeling pressure from so many places, that it is hard to even keep track! Because I am a third year teacher and budget cuts are looming, I don't know if I am going to have a job next year. With a one year old son at home and a degree that puts me into a very limited field (that isn't doing well anywhere) this is putting a great deal of stress in my everyday life. I'm so worried that I won't be able to support my son. There is a bright side to this issue though. If I make it through this year, I should be fairly secure. Also, if I am laid off then I always have subbing, and with being a teacher in the district for so long, I don't think that it would be difficult to find jobs. But the job security and steady pay checks are what I need now.
Also, I have had a great deal of personal stress associated with the relationships that I have. I have grown into a different person in the last year and so have a great deal of the people around me. Someone who I once thought was a dear friend, has said very hurtful things about me and my family and when I try to talk to her about it, she ignores my pleas. I just want to move on, but she has been holding me and my feelings hostige, by spreading hurtful words and then refusing to talk about it. I still stand behind every action that I have taken in this situation and I trust in my heart. I can only do so much, at some point it is up to her.
I still care about this person a lot, but I care about myself and my family more, and that is why I have given up on any change by her. I have to move on with my life and be a parent, a wife, and a friend to those who want my friendship. I can't worry about those who don't. I have realized in the past couple of days, how close to that black hole of depression I am and I refuse to go down it. I have decided to speak to a counsilor and work through the things that I can't change.
One thing about stress is that it can cause physical issues as well as emotional ones. In fact, alopecia has been directly related to stress. For this reason, I am so greatful that I have already lost all of my hair, because I am sure that I would be bald by now anyway. When I get really stressed I can "feel my hair falling out". My scalp teangles and I just know that my body is reacting. I have felt that a lot lately, but lucky for me, there are no effects!
I need to start thinking about the wonderful support group that I do have. The many friends that have stuck by me without judgement and do not cause drama. I need to surround myself with people who are with me through the long haul, not just when I follow their directions and do what they say. I need to pour every ounce of energy that I have into the students that I serve and my family who is the only reason that I am sane. I love you all and thank you so much for all that you do!

Monday, May 9, 2011

A True Mother's Day

Being a parent is the greatest gift I have ever been given and I love every second of it, but I have also realized that not everything is hugs and kisses, love and happiness. Yesterday was my second Mother's Day (however, Liam was only 2 weeks old last time and I really can't remember a thing about it). So this year's Mother's Day seemed far more "real" to me. When I went to bed, I imagined suprises, love, and fun. Although the love was present, the rest was more realistic than I had imagined.
Joe and I were woken up many times that night, because Liam is teething again and couldn't sleep. If you have never been around a teething toddler, they are not quiet and are hard to make happy. Then Liam decided to wake up (for good) at about 5:30. This was not what I expected! He then hit me in the nose with the remote control and laughed when I cried out in pain. My husband made me a delicious breakfast and gave me gifts. They were not much, but we had agreed to that and the flowers that were sitting on our kitchen table and the card (that Joe never gives) was so sweet it made me cry!
The weather wasn't great so we were stuck in the house most of the day. We then went to my mom's where I helped my sister work on her senior project until Liam was so crabby that we had to leave so he could take a nap. Once home I took a relaxing bath and Joe tried to take a nap. But the second that I got comfortable and so did he, Liam woke up and Joe became the crabby one. Later that night we went to dinner with my family. This was the best part of the day! Beind surrounded by people who love me and who I love back, was a wonderful way to end the day.
So even though the day was no fairytale or cheesy commercial where the mom sleeps in and is brough breakfast in bed, gets fancy jewlery and is wisked off to get a mani pedi, who cares?! I had a real mother's day. I earned this and I am happy with it. I do have some hopes for the future, but I couldn't ask for anything more than to have an amazing husband who cares about me more than I ever thought possible, the most adorable son who everyone loves, and family and friends who make me feel good about myself, even when I find it difficult. Thank you to everyone who was a part of making my mother's day a true day about being a mom!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Purging and Gaining at the Same Time

Joe and I have been talking about our priorites a lot lately. Since getting pregnant, they have changed a lot. However, some of our actions have not changed to fit our new priorities. The major area is spending "quality" time with our son. Being a new parent is a huge change and it isn't always easy to make it as quickly and painlessly as we hope. Before Liam was born and even still today, Joe and I are TVoholics. From the time we get home, until we go to bed the TV is on. We are not always watching it, but it is on. When we are bored we turn on the TV and flip through the mindless channels until we find something "interesting enough" to watch.
We want Liam to grow up being active and feeling like we want to interact with him and sometimes we don't know if that is the message that he is getting. My beloved internet is also been named as a distration from what is truely important to us. I spend hours a day on Facebook and here on my baby blog. No matter how much I love these sites and the interactions that I have with people on them, it is no substitute for time spent with my baby boy, who is growing up far too fast.
Once we agreed that watching tv and the internet should not be as much of a priority as it is, the only solutions that seemed worthwhile was to get rid of it. When you are addicted to something, the best way to quit is cold turkey. Because of this, we have canceled internet, cable, and our home phone hoping that this will enhance our lives by refocusing our goals, lives, and actions. This is also perfect timing for us to make this kind of decision as there has been a lot of stress associated with my online social interactions lately and we could always save some money here and there.
I'm extremely nervous about this, which tells me that it is the right thing for us to do. When you fear not being able to spend hours staring at a screen (either one), then your daily life may need a boost. I thought this morning about the idea that when I look back on my life, I won't say that my best memories were watching CSI or posting a meaningless comment on Twitter, so why should I let those things take up so many of my hours?! I may be back soon, but I hope not. I hope that this is a learning/growing experience for our whole family and that it brings us memories, better relationships, and more moolah in the bank account.
I really hope it isn't as bad as I think it will be!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Itchy Eyes and a Healthy Diet

Liam had allergy testing last week to see if there are foods as well as other allergens that he should stay away from. I was not suprised to find that he is allergic to something, but I was surprised to find that it is eggs. I'm allergic to almost anything in nature (except, thankfully, food). I expected to find that he was allergic to dogs, cats, pollen, grass, trees, mold, or almost anything! But I was not prepared for eggs.
It is very frustrating to see my son when one of these reactions occur. He is so uncomfortable and I know exactly what he is feeling. It is also frustrating because I did everything in my power to make sure that he wouldn't have any allergies and especially not to food. I nursed exclusively for six months, only adding food to his diet when told they were no longer an issue and one at a time, I continued to nurse (w/o using formula) and am still currently nursing a few times a day. My son didn't have milk until after his first birthday (yet it still seems to irritate his eczema) and we never gave him eggs exclusively. This amazing considering that Easter was the weekend before the tests were done!
The only time that Liam has been exposed to egg at all, is through me and when mixed in a recipe like bread. Now we know that his reactions cohensided with eating those foods that contain egg in the recipe. Because Liam is allergic to eggs and seems to have issues with dairy, his diet is extremely limited. He is already very small and is only in the 8th precentile for weight. All of these things make me very worried about making sure that he has a well-rounded and healthy diet. We know that there are a variety of specialty foods at stores like Whole Foods and New Seasons, but our funds are going to be limited and we really need to find a sustainable way to get him all the nutrients that he needs without breaking the bank. Obviously, we will do whatever we need to do to make sure Liam has what he needs, even if this means no extra money and/or finding a little something extra during my summer breaks. But again, sustainability and a well-rounded, healthy diet are what we are looking for.
We have recently cut out all un-needed expenses: stopped putting money into our 401k, are in the process of canceling comcast cable, phone, and internet, and are trying to pay off a student loan that will free up a little bit of money on a monthly basis. We have also talked about putting in a garden to help with grocery bills and have cut our eating out and costly activities to a minimum. We are not "hurting" for money, in fact right now we are doing just fine. But I will be 1/2 time next year so things will already be a bit tight. I hope I don't sound like I am complaining! Because I am NOT! I'm so excited to be able to be home with my son more and it's a choice that we made as a family, but it will be an adjustment.
So if you have egg/dairy allergies and have any suggestions for us on how to make sure Liam has a healthy diet or know of some good deals, we would love to hear about them!