office expressions.

musings from my experience at the home/office.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nativity

This is probably going to be my last post of 2012! New emails to the inbox have steadily decreased as Christmas letters to the mailbox have increased. There are no more meetings on my werk calendar and I am werking on my packing lists for our upcoming Christmas travels to see family. We are flying this year, and a few legs of my trip will be just me and baby...so I need to pack SMART. It's a lot different than just cramming things into the jeep and hitting the road, that's for sure!

Along with pumping extra so I have bottles for the plane, I'm trying to find the perfect pair of little black maryjanes for baby's Christmas outfit(s)...and I am waffling between which toy/book/etc. will provide the maximum amount of entertainment on three different plane rides. In the back of my head, I know that our seat companion and the drink napkins will probably win out in the end...

In other NEWS...our sweet babe began to crawl this week! I predicted a few months ago that Lexi would be the reason why she starts crawling and walking...maybe even talking. She adores Lexi and finds her to be extremely entertaining...and around 11:30pm one night this week, baby was wide awake and playing on the floor when Jake noticed she was getting up on her hands and knees. He grabbed the camera so that I could watch the moment with him later. Sure enough, a few tugs and scoots across the living room floor, the sweet babe had made her way to Miss Lexi and received a big wet kiss on the face. Our world is about to completely change again! Time to dig out the outlet covers and reassess our home from the eyes and hands of a 7 month old mover and shaker!

I have often found myself remembering how I was feeling last Christmas, while well into my second trimester. I was comfortably pregnant, we had just had our 18 week ultrasound where we did not find out the sex of the baby (despite the temptation!), and I was bracing myself for weird comments and belly rubs from a host of friends and family in Minnesota. I was also finding myself identifying with the Virgin Mary more than any other time in my life. The knowledge of a beautiful and terrifying miracle growing within you, the incredible feeling of growing and glowing into motherhood, the anticipation of experiencing the greatest and deepest love you have ever known.

While my condition was far from Mary's, and I and I my belly were nestled quite uncomfortably on an air mattress, surrounded by those I love the most...I was and am so very thankful. The gift of life in any form, human or eternal, is the most overwhelming and humbling gift to participate in and to receive. That sweet little Jesus coming to earth as a baby, so that many would know the love of God forever...it's a story and a truth that I will always treasure, and I can't wait to share with my own sweet babe as she grows. This year, her understanding of the nativity is limited to the hard rubbery qualities of the Little People manger scene under the tree as she cuts her teeth on the Angle of the Lord's golden hair and wings...but someday, I hope she knows the same deep joy and love that can only come from the Divine.





Wednesday, December 5, 2012

SIck Day

Well, aside from my slightly reclusive home.werker lifestyle of leaving the house for church, shopping, or to visit friends...I really have NO clue how or where I picked up the nasty horrible no good stomach bug that violently took up residence in my body on Monday. I might stop shaking hands in church and I might start being more careful about wiping down the carts at the grocery store from now on.

Goodness knows, I never again want to be tossing my cookies every time I stand up or every thirty minutes, or whatever comes first. I also have a new appreciation for women who struggle with morning sickness, and especially mom's with kids who are pregnant again and struggling with morning sickness. I also wish I lived closer to my mom or my sister. You know, the precious few people who can see you in your worst state, your house in a state of chaos, and lovingly tell you to go to bed because they've got it all under control?

Unfortunately, my flu bug hit in the precious few hours when Jake was awake after sleeping off his night shift, and before he had to go to werk again that evening. Tossing my cookies with one hand on the babe on the changing table and the other hand holding the garbage can is not a talent I am looking to perfect...especially since I think it scared the babe!

The biggest thing I realized is that moms do not get sick days. No matter how crummy or incapacitated you are, your babe still needs you. The other big thing I learned is that even my 6 month old gave me a lot of grace on Monday. She took longer naps than usual, entertained herself without demanding that I play with her constantly, and gave me small and sweet little looks of concern and sympathy (I think!) when I most needed them. She could tell mom wasn't quite her normal self and quietly allowed me to werk through the worst of it.

Now we are just praying that bleaching the whole house and washing all of the sheets will keep babe and Jake healthy!
Now here's a guy protecting himself from the flu in style!

Monday, November 26, 2012

10 years

Aside from Thanksgiving and getting the house ready for Christmas, a significant event happened this past weekend...my 10 year high school reunion. During this event on Saturday night, I was a very comfortable 1,700+ miles away...although Facebook still kept me uncomfortable and curiously close to the event.

I dated my best friend from about 9th grade through 11th grade, then I dumped him the summer before senior year because I didn't want to go off to college in a serious relationship. Ever the planner, I gave myself the entire senior year to get over him.

Which, in turn, resulted in me checking out of everything at school except the 5 studio art classes I had carefully planned into my schedule, and a handful of good friendships. Although, those friendships were often more isolating than healthy, as my friends still wanted to do normal high school things like go to parties, prom, and the sr. class trip...which I had absolutely no interest in. It was a pretty lonely year, pining for my future to begin in St. Paul, MN as a freshman at Bethel.

I had given up field hockey, slowly started to gain a little weight, and rushed home every day to sleep a few hours before dinner. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I was mildly depressed. Graduation day was the happiest/saddest of days, as I finally felt released into my future but lamented the loss of people who had 'known' me since I was in kindergarten. That community of close to 1,000 people would never be together again, and there's something kind of sad about that.

Fast forward 10 years= 4 incredibly awesome years of college, life-long friends, world travel, marrying my best friend, two crappy jobs that led to one incredible job and life in CO, and don't forget the dog and our sweet babe! Sitting in my home.werking.chair this morning next to the Christmas tree, still in my PJ's, I have a lot I am so happy about and incredibly thankful for.

But it's the vain things like the weight I have gained since high school, wondering if anyone would want to talk to the intense girl they remember from senior year, and the fact that I have literally stayed in contact with 2...maybe 3 people since graduating...that makes 1,700 miles of distance kind of a weird thing. I honestly doubt I will ever make it to a high school reunion, I always rejected the pressure of having to prove myself in high school, and I'm pretty sure that's how I'd feel at a class of 2002 reunion...mixed with spanx shapewear, nervously applied makeup, and adult beverages.

There are some people it would be fun to reconnect with, but I'm thinking high school reunions, much like prom, are not my scene. College reunions, on the other hand, couldn't come soon enough!

Give me a few hours in the end zone at Bethel's homecoming game, and I'm pretty sure I'd lose my voice from chatting with everyone. And if that's how some people feel about high school reunions...by all means, enjoy it for me! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grateful

As the holiday season descends upon our house, I want to take time to reflect on this past year and the many 'gifts' we have been given...
-The healthy pregnancy, delivery, and new life of our sweet girl. Words often used to describe her are 'bright eyed', 'happy', and 'content'. What more could a mother ask for? I am filled with such true joy when I realize that her happiness is contagious. I have had so many strangers come up to me in a park or at a store and tell me that her smile 'made their day'. What a blessing to be around someone who has the ability to brighten someone's day with a look or a smile...that's my girl!
-My werk situation...to remain employed with a part-time-werk-from-home arrangement is something I never would have dreamed possible a few years ago. I am so grateful for my employer and their desire to keep me on board while I step back a little to care for our family. I try not to take a single day of this opportunity for granted.
-My husband...a sensitive and adventurous friend, a silly and nurturing dad, a hardworking and diligent nurse. He cares for our family with such depth, intention, and love...I feel so fortunate to be sharing life with him.
-Our physical and financial health. These are two areas which make our day to day life less stressful and give us the ability to focus on other things. When I hear of some of Jake's patients and what they are going through, it helps me stop and remember how grateful I am for the physical health of my family. The fact that Jake and I are able to werk in jobs that have purpose, but also provide well is a rare blessing in this difficult economy.
-Last but not least...Lexi! she has transitioned into life as a 'big sister' pretty well, and is learning how to share our affections a little better every day. She turned 4 last week, and it's so hard to remember life before we had her...her antics, unconditional love, and aggressive snuggles are daily gifts to our family.

Well...the babe is sleeping so I better keep decorating...I've been sneaking in Christmas decorations here and there while she naps this week!

Happy Thanksgiving!




Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Christmas Preview

I am working on our family Christmas card, and while they said our photo was too low res for great printing, I went ahead and ordered 1 as a sample before spending more money on a complete order...Here's a sneak peak:

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Remote Office

There are many words you can use to describe my werk situation, some are 'HR' terms and others are just easier to use when talking to family or friends: remote office, regional employee, home office, telecommuter, werk from home.

I have a lot of flexibility in deciding where, when, and how I get my werk accomplished. Because of my regional employee status, I am trusted to use my best judgement. Well, combine Jake's elk hunt yesterday, with our sweet babe and no time to find a sitter, and a meeting from 9-10:30am...and what do you have?

A nervous home.werker pushing a stroller down the Cherry Creek Trail for an hour and a half praying for the following:
-a VERY sleepy baby who doesn't make a peep from 9-10:30.
-a VERY quiet trail with no barking dogs, loud traffic, or rushing rivers.
-a VERY clear memory of the web designs we were discussing with IT folks since I had no computer in front of me.

Aside from a little sunburn and some tired feet, I think most of my prayers were answered. I'm still not sure how much background noise from the trail made it through the phone line, but no one commented on anything so it must have been bearable.

Werking from behind my jogging stroller while on a conference call is not an ideal situation, but in a pinch yesterday, it werked well and baby slept the entire time. I'm pretty sure I would call that divine intervention...unfortunately, Jake wasn't quite as successful on the elk hunt. Maybe next year!
My 'mobile' office!


 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Hunting

Well....the hubby is off an an elk hunting excursion today! I'm excited that he gets to go this year, last year was just way too busy with school for him to get away. There are a lot of ways that being married to Jake has completely changed me or my perspective on things, and I honestly have to say, hunting is one of them.

I didn't know any hunters growing up, guns were a concept related to gangsters in the city, and I purchased my meat (if I ate any) at the store. I couldn't even tell you where to purchase camo or blaze orange ANYTHING...

Fast forward 10 years, and I'm sitting on my couch wondering and hoping for a reason to clean out my freezer so I can make room for those lovely little packages of elk meat. All of that lean, hormone and anti-biotic free red meat...last time Jake got an elk we didn't buy red meat for a year and a half!

I am an animal lover and I did cry the first time I heard Jake shot an elk. But I also know that he is a good shot, it was a clean kill, and the majority of the animal was processed into meat to feed our family. It wasn't a cruel or senseless act, but one that served a purpose. At least I think I believe that, but I know I couldn't be around an witness the actual 'hunt', and I will still probably cry if he is able to shoot one of those big beautiful animals for us.

I guess I'm torn...because nothing tastes better than an elk burger on the grill or some elk chili in the winter! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

I have voted in the past three presidential elections. I have survived the nasty campaigns during the past two elections...but this time, I am feeling extremely harassed.

Every day for the past two or three weeks, we have gotten a minimum of 5 disgusting postcards embedded with fear tactics, slander, and hopelessness. I could literally wallpaper my bathroom with the amount of advertisements we have received in the mail. The funny thing is, I am a registered Independent this time around, because I was so offended by the way the RNC treated me during the last election I couldn't handle being affiliated with them or any other political party. I thought that by choosing to be an independent voter the RNC would leave me alone...but they are chasing me down everywhere I turn!

The next awful tactic is the endless robo-calls from the extreme right to my land-line. Yes, I have a land-line for my home office and that's really the only purpose it serves. However, we have deleted at least 40 messages from these robo-callers off of our machine in that past few weeks. It's always from some random girl named Chloe, spewing some form of audio junk into the atmosphere of our cozy little home right around dinner time. I really don't want to even hear about Romney, Planned Parenthood, or Obamacare while I'm eating dinner with my family, thank you, robo-Chloe.

I have signed off of Facebook for the day, because people in my newsfeed are one of two things on there today:
a) excited that they 'voted' (cool, I really am glad you did).
b) extremely ugly and rude, hostile and ridiculously opinionated in a way that is neither productive nor effective in winning someone over to your point of view. It's hurtful, and in my opinion, it's just not the right platform for these discussions.

I have a wide variety of friends in my life who fall all over the political spectrum on many issues, and I really do respect those of my friends who can communicate their point of view in a sensitive and intelligent manner...but I am so weary of this campaign and all of the negativity that has accompanied it. It's just time for it to be over so we can all move on and stop being so offensive to each other.

So, as a registered independent living in a swing state who participated in early voting...bring on the Christmas ADS!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Next Step...

Well, my part-time position has been approved for at least the next 6 months. After 6 months, my boss and I will meet to determine if this is still a mutually beneficial arrangement for us...but from now until April, I'm guaranteed to be werking part-time! I'm thrilled about this because:
1. I love my child.
2. I love my job.
3. Werking part-time will enable me to feel better about my commitment to my job and will free me up to really focus on our sweet little lady with a greater sense of balance and peace of mind.
4. My boss rocks. Seriously, I keep pinching myself that this arrangement is even available to me...I'm definitely not taking this opportunity for granted!
5. This will make coordinating my werk schedule with Jake's werk and sleeping hours much easier!

In other news...Colorado is expecting snow tomorrow! However, we are still very much in the full swing of Fall. I have decided that every animal probably has some sort of camouflage...and Lexi's is ideally suited for this time of year:


Monday, October 15, 2012

Textiles

A recent project of mine has been redecorating our bedroom. Despite the fact that I was literally rolling out of bed this morning as Jake was climbing into it after a night of werk, there is still something to be said about having a cozy and comforting sleeping atmosphere.

I used some of my birthday money to purchase a slate grey pintuck duvet cover from West Elm:
I REALLY wanted to get the cream and grey windowpane blanket and sham, but they are WAY out of the budget. :(
Next, I purchased some grey and cream quilted damask shams on clearance at Target, along with some deep red flannel sheets (these are their Christmas sheets and they were on sale for only $24.99 for a queen set!).

I also went out to JCPenny yesterday and got these curtains to complete the look in our room (they were on clearance for $15/each!):


The only downside to these beautiful curtains is that they let in too much light while Jake sleeps during the day, so now I'm figuring out how to pin some darkening sheets behind the curtains. I like them too much to return them for something heavier. Plus, we rarely actually open the curtains in our room, so having a dark fabric pinned to the back of them won't really matter functionally.

Now I'm contemplating painting our nightstands a high gloss white, and painting our lamp bases a fun metallic grey. I also am hoping to find some fun black/white artwork for the walls.

Our bedroom has never received ANY decorating attention from me during our 2 years at this house. The only time we spend in that room is while we are sleeping, so it wasn't high on the list. But now that I have some fun birthday $$ and a few classy pieces of the puzzle, I'm going to get this figured out.

Also, this look is just for the winter months while we have our down comforter on our bed. When it warms up again, we have a cream and tan coverlet and brown curtains for our room that I will probably switch over to unless we find we want to change that up as well. It's fun to decorate for the colors and textures of a season, I definitely wouldn't have chosen so much slate/charcoal or dark red for a year-round look!

Monday, October 8, 2012

teething

Our sweet babe is teething. Our little beam of sunshine is in pain, and it's hard for her to sleep, eat, and play without fussing. She goes between shortened feedings and restless naps during the day, and is waking more frequently at night...she had been sleeping through the night since about 5 weeks old.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this nap will last a long time so I can change out of my PJ's, put away dishes from this weekend, and maybe get some reading done before my small group tonight.

Fingers uncrossed...she's up again!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Part- Time?

Today is the day...I find out in 30 minutes if my position has been approved to be reduced to a part-time role. I proposed this to my boss two weeks ago, and he was very supportive...we have been working together to get this approved by his boss and HR so that I can stay connected to my werk without having to commit myself full-time.

This would be the ideal of all ideal werk scenarios...and it was pretty nerve wracking to ask for it...because I already feel extremely blessed by the flexible nature of my werk.from.home gig. But, with Jake going to work full time on the night shift, and it being a priority that we are our Babe's primary care providers...something had to give. And it wasn't going to be Jake's sleep!

Plus, if money were no issue, I'd love to be home full time until our family was 'complete' and all the kiddos were in school...alas...we're not *quite* there yet financially. Our needs are met and our bills would be paid, it would just feel a little tight.

Also, considering I'll head back to the full time world at some point in my life, it feels better to keep my feet in the water. It gives my resume more street cred, instead of a gaping 'professional' hole. Unfortunately, it doesn't look very good to have a line on there that says "stay-at-home-mom"...although in my opinion, it should!

So...werk from home about 20 hours a week and have my husband watch our Babe in the mean time? We shall see...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sound Proof

Quick...where is the most sound proof place in your home?

In the midst of back-to-back phone calls and conference call meetings, I quickly learned that if I wanted to be worry free about baby background noise, I needed to set up the home.office in a sound proof spot. ASAP.

The last few days, a nosy neighbor would have spied me trekking to and from our Jeep carrying a notebook and pen, laptop, and cell phone...and camping out in the back seat. My home office during conference calls has started looking more like this:

Perhaps if we had a basement I would hole up there...but for now, this gets the job done and keeps up the 'sound' of professionalism on my end of the line. 

I used to picture myself werking out of coffee shops like 50% of the time, but I have survived enough brutal calls with co-werkers who are camped out next to the steamer or noisy customers in Starbucks...that background noise is not conducive to a clear phone connection. I'll stick with Pedro the Laredo for the time being. ;)

 

Friday, September 7, 2012

1 year later

My oh my. It's been one whole year since that little '+' showed up on my at home pregnancy test! It's hard to believe that after 40 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy, 7 hours of labor, and 3 1/2 months of living...our lives have completely been transformed by our sweet babe.

My littlest nephew was also born a year ago, so September 7 is apparently a very 're-productive' day in our family:). I remember my sister begging me to tell her my news (I had been telling her I had a hunch I was pregnant for a week or so), but I refused to announce it to the family on Luke's big arrival day...our news could wait at least a day to give Luke his grand entrance to this beautiful world of ours.

There's nothing like skyping into your sister's hospital room, meeting your nephew over a webcam and letting everyone know you're going to be adding to the family as well! I remember when we called my dad, he sounded as if the White Sox had won the World Series...and my in-laws were so excited they forgot to hang up the phone so Jake and I got to listen to their screams and cries of joy a little longer than they knew.

On a day like today, I wholeheartedly believe that Life is such a gift.


Meeting Luke on Skype
Proof of life!












Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Day

Why is it that the Tuesday after Labor Day feels so distinct? It smacks of 'new beginning' more than any other Tuesday-after-a-Monday holiday. Perhaps because my subconscious is dredging up all of the first day of school memories, with a new back pack on my back, a carefully chosen outfit, and a bleary-eyed snapshot of me by our mailbox on Merion Drive. First day jitters would always bubble beneath the surface, caused by a new routine in a new classroom, with a new teacher and classmates...funny how it usually only took a day or two for those jitters to completely disappear. There's just something for me about having a bit of structure, and once I've made sense of it and found my place within it...I'm off to the races!

This Tuesday there's also a slight sense of mourning, as we say goodbye to summer and welcome that cool bite of Fall in the morning air. This summer was the most incredibly life changing one I've ever had. It was also the most unstructured...waking and sleeping with our sweet babe, pushing laundry loads through the cycle on demand, and coaxing smiles and laughs out of the little one with no concept of time.

I'm starting back to werk full time today, and I am incredibly thankful for the past three months, but also kind of sad that our blissful little world of uninterrupted bonding time is having some boundaries placed upon it. I have so much peace of mind knowing that Jake is providing care and love for her, as I'm confident my heart would break in half if I had to place her in daycare. This mama's just not cut out for that.

So, here goes nothing. As many head back to school today, I head back to werk. Maybe if I had actually changed out of my Pj's, I could've taken a picture by the mailbox for old time's sake. Sorry, Mom! :)
slightly wrong season...but this is my childhood home. From my first day of preschool through the day I left for college, this is the backdrop of many-a-first-day-of-school pictures!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Four Hours

four hours...that's the average amount of time I have been werking each day for the last six weeks. My return from maternity leave to a part-time schedule was really wonderful. Although my pesky all-or-nothing personality trait had a hard time ignoring the werk emails and phone calls that came in during the time I wasn't werking. And there were definitely some days where I just focused on mountains of laundry, hours of breast feeding, and sneaking in a shower. Hence, my use of the word 'average'.

i'm sitting in the home office, listening to a webinar and patiently waiting for the roofers next door to finish working on our neighbors house...roofers aren't really conducive to conference calls. Neither is a barking Lexi (at the roofers...who can blame her?), or a crying baby. Thankfully, the crying baby factor isn't really an issue most days. Our sweet little girl is a happy camper and usually only gets fussy when she's winding down for her nap. And Jake is doing an incredible job taking care of her while I transition back to werk.

I'm thankful for the three day weekend ahead, because next week it's back to full time for me and I'll probably be making my first journey back to the.land.of.cubicles since April. My nerves are a little frayed and sometimes I notice a slight case of the jitters when I hop off my conference call or after time reconnecting with co-werkers. It's a big thing to climb back into the proverbial werk saddle after 3+ months of  focusing on my little family unit. I'm sure it'll feel like normal in no time...but sometimes I wish I lived in a country like canada that allows for 50 weeks of paid maternity leave...if only!


slow progress being made on the roof next door...


Saturday, August 11, 2012

B's

Burping the baby...
Breastmilk is thrown up into my hair, curds deep into the
Braid that hasn't been washed for two days.

Bumbo, sitting up all proud and happy one moment, the next...a major
Blowout explodes from her diaper, up to her neck.
Barking is the dog at the cat in the tree, incessantly.

Blessed beyond all measure, I find myself with a half naked
Baby, laughing with tears of joy in the closet.
Because I am daily
Baptized into this journey of motherhood
Becoming someone who I sometimes doubted I could
Be. I find myself to
Be so ridiculously happy.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stains

I have become a stain fighting machine...and I am winning most of my battles!

When we first brought our sweet babe home, I knew a little about baby poop, but not a lot. I just knew that meconium was the dark tar-like stuff that came with their first BM, and then it should get a lot more liquid-y and more yellow in color as the days wore on.

My very first outfit I purchased for her while I was still pregnant was a super cute long sleeved onesie that has a cream background and little red tulips all over it. It was during the days of not knowing her gender, and me day dreaming about what it would be like to have a little girl...so I caved and bought this adorable onesie from Violet Moss online.

Much to my dismay, she had one of her first major blow outs in this outfit, and since it's also the outfit we brought her home from the hospital in, I really wanted to keep it in good condition for sentimental reasons (or if we have another girl someday!).

In the midst of my recovery pain, the small bits of sleep, and the many visitors, I carelessly threw this onesie in the washer and dryer, thinking that breastfed babies have poop that doesn't stain...it's water soluable so it should come out in the wash, right?

Wrong. And here we are almost three months later, and I can finally say I have attacked this 'washed and dried' stain with all my might and it's gone! How did I do this?

1. Hit the stain with cold water.
2. Hit the stain with dishwashing soap (I use 7th Generation, so I wasn't worried about using weird chemicals on her clothes). Rub stain vigorously with fingers and fingernails, working into a good lather.
3. Hit stain with more cold water, and repeat 1 & 2 a few times if needed.
4. Spray "SHOUT- advanced gel for set-in stains" on the area, and rub in a little, then let sit for 5 minutes before washing in the machine. After the washing machine is done, if the stain is still visible, do not put it in the dryer. Soak the garment in cold water, then repeat steps 1-4 again.
5. If the stain is gone or almost gone, let garment dry in bright sunlight. Sunlight will help bleach the rest of the stain from the garment...it's magical! If you don't have ample sun available, stick to the dryer.

This method has also worked for my clothes.  As a new mom, I am often trying to eat with one hand while caring for baby with the other...often food ends up on my clothes, too! I usually just go straight for the SHOUT gel and let the garment sit for a while as I gather the rest of my laundry.

Interesting? Maybe not. Helpful? I hope so!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Part-Time

Well, my first 9 weeks of life with baby...virtually uninterrupted by thoughts or communication from werk...is slowly coming to an end. My incredible boss is allowing me to resume life as the.home.werker at a graciously slow pace, however. I'm returning to werk part-time for the next 6 weeks. So I'll put in about 20 hours a week, from home, and continue to enjoy my flexible routine of nursing/cuddling/playing with our sweet babe the rest of the time.

A few things I have experienced that I always heard other moms talk about but never understood:

-the incredible endless flow of laundry. We used to go two or three weeks without doing laundry...now it's almost every other day.
-it's really hard to find uninterrupted time to do creative things like write blog posts. For example...during this post I have already stopped three times...once to check on baby, once to use the facilities, and once to bring Jake his phone so he could take a super cute picture of something super cute that baby was doing.
-cold food is a new normal...hot meals are a thing of the past. As is sleeping for 8 uninterrupted hours at a time. Because if baby doesn't wake up hungry, mama wakes up needing to use her breast pump so she can continue to sleep comfortably!
-you will never know how deeply and completely and unconditionally your capacity to love is until you have a child. it humbles me and energizes me every day to see her smilely little face and know that I'm her mama. It's simply.the.best.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hiatus

Sorry for the long hiatus from posting! We have been on the go, and arrived back home late last night. We bravely ventured off to the land of 10,000 lakes with our 5 week old baby, our golden retriever, and some bags under our eyes after the temperature remained a sticky 90 degrees inside our home for a few days in a row. Denver was having quite the heat wave, a majority of the state seemed to be on fire, and we do not have air conditioning. We were hoping to make a trip to MN later in the summer, but we realized that my maternity leave and Jake's graduation/passing the nursing boards left us with no excuses...we could hit the road and spend some time cooling off in the lake and the air conditioned homes of our friends and family.

We were amazed by a few things on our trip:
1. When you are first time parents, a lot of 'firsts' seem intimidating and you have no guarantee how your baby will react...but in the end, you live your life and make decisions for the family, and just go for it! Our little one was a rock star on the drive to MN, and thanks to a breast pump adapter that fit perfectly into our jeep's cigarette lighter, we were on our merry-bottle-fed-way. She did have a major blowout once we arrived at grandma and grandpa's house...but that's better than in the car seat, right?
2. A lot can change in 2 weeks for a newborn! She is now responding to us with smiles, has perfected an adorable and heartbreaking little pout where she pooches out her lower lip, and is making new noises all of the time. She also loves looking in the mirror (especially with Grandpa Max), really digs my Jose Gonzales Pandora station, and generally seems to enjoy being around lots of people (she didn't really have a choice on this trip, and she did really well).
3. Lexi is really growing up and adjusting to her new role of 'big sister' in our family. She graciously curled into a tiny ball in the back of the jeep, next to the stroller and extra luggage. She patiently waited for her turn to go potty at rest stops, and is still very proud of her little sister whenever people are holding her...she likes to kiss those little hands and feet just to show how much she loves her.
4. The more time you have with your child,  the more you learn how to communicate with each other. We now have a better grasp on gassy cries (usually high pitched and accompanied with kicking legs), hungry fists near her mouth, tired stares when she just needs to be quietly held with no one in her face, and her adorable morning routine of smiles, wiggles, and cuddles. Oh, and she really loves the little lady bug that hangs on the handle of her car seat...she kept staring and randomly smiling at it on the drive home. Adorable.
5. She has grown so much! We left wearing newborn sizes and are already fitting perfectly into 3 month sizes. Some of her 3 month footy PJ's may not last much longer, since she loves to stretch her long legs and they are already a little short on her.
 6. Amazingly, we have yet to spend money on clothes for her. Our friends and family have been incredibly generous and she has been outfitted with the most adorable clothes. We couldn't be more thankful, since we started out with very little for her due to not knowing her gender before she was born. I am continually humbled by the generosity of others.

Miss Lexi, in her element in Forest Lake. I just love the color of her fur in the sunlight!


Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Art of Being a Mom

Lately, I am learning that I need to master a new way of living, a new set of skills, so that I can begin to say I understand the art of being a mom. Here are a few:

1. How to enjoy a cold meal and a lukewarm drink. My child seems to know when my meal is hot and my mug is frosty...and that's usually when she needs to eat.
2. How to identify 'productive' body noises before I find myself doing poopy laundry the rest of the day. 
3. Applying concealer to portray a 'refreshed and well-rested' look. Sometimes I think it's unfair that men don't get to use this miracle cosmetic.
4. Walking the dog, while carrying baby in the Baby Bjorn, to return a library book to our library that is 4 blocks away. I didn't actually read the book, but I did manage to pick up dog poop without ripping any stitches!
5. Rocking the smell of sour milk as my new perfume. Oddly enough, I almost threw up when Jake had to dump a carton of sour milk down the drain this morning...for some reason, that bothered me!

More to come, I'm sure. :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Home Werker

When I first created this blog, I wanted a name for it that could potentially follow me in two different directions: one, my career and adventures of werking from home.  and two, my journey into the land of staying at home with my baby.

Well, our little one has arrived, and I am now entering week three of motherhood and my leave from werk. Although the 'werk at home' has not slowed one bit! It's amazing how bringing our little addition home has changed the pace of our lives, the order in which things get done, and how many times I start a task only to forget what I was doing and start something else.

I am a mom, and I love it. Some observations from our first two weeks I thought I'd share:

1. Nothing is more intense or amazing than staring into your child's eyes for the first time.
2. For the past two weeks, my priorities have been greatly simplified...is our baby eating? sleeping? peeing? pooping? does she need a bath? and then...am I eating? sleeping? peeing? pooping? Good lord, I need a shower! Life has been stripped to the basics, and it's still pretty busy!
3. The word 'bilirubin' has never put me on edge before, but I'm glad our baby's levels have evened out and we're not worried about jaundice.
4. I have definitely giggled a lot at the places and spaces I have been puked on.
5. We do a lot of laundry.
6. I don't know how to ask for help from other people very well, but when people show up and take charge, I'm very good at letting them take care of me. I'm really thankful for all of the meals, cleaning, and loads of laundry that have been taken care of for us in the past two weeks.
7. Some people are more uptight about how to care for your baby than you are. But that doesn't make you a bad parent.
8. ALWAYS stock up on thank you notes and stamps before the birth of a child.
9. As parents, Jake and I have learned that we have good instincts and need to ask God for a lot of help and wisdom.
10. Lexi is a very understanding and sweet 'older sister'...I can't wait for the day when our baby and Lexi can play together more!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Luncheon

Yesterday I was fortunate to get out of the home office for a luncheon downtown. Many of my co-werkers from the.land.of.cubicles had to make the trek to Denver...I only had to scoot downtown! It was a good opportunity to get out of the house and throw myself into a crowd of people. Not something I get to do very often these days. It's funny, I'm always surprised by how my spirits are lifted after being around people...I really shouldn't be surprised by that anymore. I think it's just easy to get in a rut, hop on calls, answer emails, and do my day-to-day stuff around the house.

Even though I was pretty grumpy at first about having to:
1. find 9 month+ maternity clothes that were business professional
2. squeeze my poor fat and swollen feet into something besides flip flops
3. drag my tired self through a parking ramp and across a convention center

I'm glad I did. I got to meet some new acquaintances, randomly caught up with an old college friend, and enjoyed a nice message from a keynote speaker.

Granted, I did need a nap by the time I got home!

Happy Friday!

Monday, May 7, 2012

stiff neck

I was able to call into a monthly all-day team meeting today, instead of making the trek down to Colorado Springs. With my approaching due date, I figured it would be best to stick close to home and the hospital. That said, I just made it through a good 6 hour conference call with success...and a bit of a stiff neck from being on the phone that long. Whew, I don't think I've been on a call that long since high school!
I've always wondered how Michelangelo's neck was while he was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lunch Break

It's been a while since I've journeyed over to my favorite park for a mid-day walk, mostly because the 2+ mile loop seems rather intangible these days. Today I flexed my home.werker muscles a bit, and met up with some girlfriends for a little picnic and time with their kids. All four of my friends have boys: 2 two year olds, one 16 month old, and a 5 month old. It was great to sneak in some time with these 'new' moms before becoming one myself, and to just connect with their own journeys into motherhood, starting with the labor and delivery of their boys.

It's amazing how incredibly different every mom, every pregnancy, and every birth is. In some ways, that gives me confidence, knowing that the birth of our baby doesn't have to be like anyone else's. In other ways, that makes it a little harder to be at complete peace with the unknown that lies ahead of us.

I am so thankful to have this group of moms in my life, and was really touched when they prayed for me, Jake and baby before parting ways this afternoon. It was a perfect break from the home office today!

(fun side note: the ladies are guessing that our little one is a girl!)

one of my favorite spots in the park.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Splitting Hairs

Split Hairs - to argue about small, unimportant differences
Origin: Shakespeare used this expression in the 1600s in one of his plays and "splitting hairs" has been widely used since.

I know about 'split ends' from a girlie point of view, it's when you need to get your hairs cut. Too much product, heat styling, and wear-and-tear on your lovely locks can cause the ends to literally split. In the world of good hair, this is a bad thing.

In the world of marketing, I have come to believe that sometimes the worst part about being a marketer is werking with other marketers. We tend to split hairs with the best of them!

A Marketer is: marketer - someone who promotes or exchanges goods or services for money

In order to promote or sell something to someone, you've got make it appealing to people, give them a reason to want what they don't have (or have enough of). Some might call this putting 'spin' on your message, tailoring your pitch to your specific audience because you 'know their needs'.

The hard part about being a marketer and werking with other marketers is that you are constantly putting spin on things, trying to sell the other person on your idea or view point. Particularly when there is a difficult situation or political landscape to navigate, the splitting of hairs, word play, and use of semantics becomes quite a grey cloud of smoke.

Pet peeve of the day: asking for a concrete answer and getting a vague response (that is sure to bite you on the behind later, despite your most proactive efforts to seek clarity).

Sometimes I really miss a corporate culture that is direct, and doesn't take time to sugar coat or insulate things. Let's just get to the heart of the matter and figure things out. Diplomacy and tact are great skills, but I will always prefer a forthright co-werker.

Monday, April 30, 2012

belly bane

the bane of my existence in the home office these days is this lovely antique bronze printer's drawer handle. as you can see, the placement of this little handle lines up exactly with my 38 week preggo-belly. As much as I love my pottery barn furniture for the home office, this little piece of metal is pushing me toward werking from the couch more and more...


Cinnayum

It has been 9, almost 10 months, since I've been able to indulge in unlimited cups of coffee on a groggy Monday morning. It wasn't until about month 7 or 8 of my pregnancy that I actually allowed myself one small cup of regular coffee on occasion. Sometimes, that warm mug and distinct coffee aroma are simply irresistible. I know many women don't limit their caffeine intake much during pregnancy, but I haven tried to scale way back and only allow myself a small amount of caffeine as the occasional indulgence.

Last night I was awake and trekking to the bathroom every 2-3 hours, so this morning is definitely on the rough side for me. I'm about to head into an hour-long 'IT requirements gathering' meeting for a website I'm trying to develop, and I need to be sharp.

So, although Jake is currently starting his 'night' of sleep after working the night shift yesterday, I decided to make a pot of coffee. Normally, we make a fresh pot we can share. The best trick I learned about making coffee came from Jake...add a dash or two of cinnamon to the grounds before you hit the 'start' button, and you've infused your java with some tasty spice that only adds to the warmth and comfort of your morning cup.

Yum.


Friday, April 27, 2012

How are YOU doing?

Lately, most of my meetings start with what one co-werker admitted was a very loaded question: How are YOU DOING?!

When you read between the lines, it's asking things like, are you in early labor, having contractions as we speak, has your water broken, or your due date been moved up? All very personal things that can only be asked in a werk meeting setting as: How are YOU DOING? (I just started hearing Joey from 'Friends' when I typed that...)

To answer the question, I am wondering if we'll make it to May (I'd like to order some sort of Mother's Day gift for the Grandma's, possibly with Baby D's birth stone in it)...and when in May Baby D will arrive.  No physical changes in this pregnancy yet, aside from storing water in my cankles like a cactus. So far, I feel confident we'll have a May baby, but I did start packing my hospital bags last night...just in case.

I woke up at 4am realizing that although I packed my breast pump, I had left the actual 'attachments', tubing, and bottles in the cupboard. This isn't a huge deal since most people have told us we probably won't even need the pump at the hospital, it's more of a 'just in case'. During my 4am wake up call, my 'What to Expect' email also told me that due to decreased levels of choline in my body, my brain cells have actually shrunk during pregnancy and they should bounce back within a few months of delivery. A medical reason for forgetfulness during pregnancy...not sure if I'm relieved or more worried that there's a legitimate chance I am forgetting a lot of other important things! Oh well!
Guess my swollen legs could be worse...



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Netflix and Baby Center

Lately, my mornings have started anywhere from 2am to 7am, when I literally roll out of bed wide awake wondering what to do. usually this involves making myself some breakfast and tucking myself into the couch to watch an episode of my latest netflix addiction. Last week it was the tv show Army Wives...this week, I've moved on to Sons of Anarchy. Don't judge my tv show selection, I grew up without cable and sometimes I just need to indulge my sense of adventure through tv...since the biggest adventure I am physically capable of these days is a waddle around the block holding my belly up.

I have been lax in posting the last few days. as I told a good friend, I have tried to start a post a few times, but then my wandering mind just ends up googling random pregnancy topics...like: what to pack for the hospital, will my swollen cankles ever go away, and something my mother-in-law told me about...lightning crotch. I'm not going to tell you what that is, you can google it for yourself on babycenter.com if you wish:).

Werk has been going smoothly the last few days. My meetings are slowing down (this is very intentional on my part) and I'm trying my best not to start any new projects from this point on...there's no point in leaving something hanging for 2 months unless I know I've got someone lined up to handle it in my absence.

The drama and tooth-pulling of dealing with Human Resources continues. My new plan is to compose a guide to having a baby for exempt employees at our organization. Instead of chasing answers down via unanswered emails and angry follow up calls...there should be a step by step guide for expectant moms to follow, in writing. Seriously, people.This is not rocket science.

On a bright note, I get to end my werk day with our weekly prenatal appointment. I'm not sure what this appointment will involve aside from the weigh-in, blood pressure check, measuring my belly, and listening to the baby's heart beat. But listening to the heart beat always makes my day!
baby center...everything you ever want (and don't want) to know. 



Thursday, April 19, 2012

down to the wire

Life is really interesting these days. With Jake entering his final month of his nursing program and graduation on the horizon, he's got a TON going on...not to mention his three consecutive 12-hour night shifts at a local hospital. How's a guy supposed to sleep, work, do school work, eat, and breath at the same time? I'm not sure...but we're counting down the days until things slow down for him a little.

At the same time, I've got a lot going on with major projects at werk and different shifting dynamics in my job...all while I've got one pinky toe out the door on my way to maternity leave. We went to the midwife yesterday and learned that I'm measuring at 40 weeks, even though we're only 36 1/2 weeks along. In some ways, this was a big wake up call that we need to be ready for the baby any day now...but in other ways, it's not super surprising that I'm measuring far ahead because of my short stature, a potentially large baby, and the fact that Baby D hasn't 'dropped' yet...so my measurements could even out a little once the baby drops.

I mentioned this 'any day now' reality in a conference call this morning and I might have panicked a few co-werkers. Perhaps not seeing me every day makes it easier for them to forget how far along I am in this pregnancy. Perhaps it's hard to remember that family trumps werk, especially when it comes to a new baby arriving in its own time. I feel like I've got 90% of things lined up and ready to go should I have to step out on maternity leave soon...but for Jake's sake, I hope we can make it to May so that he can really indulge in his first few weeks of fatherhood.

We shall see!
this is how they measure your fundal height.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No Mas

I have journeyed down to the.land.of.cubicles four times in the past two weeks, and I'm officially drawing a line in the sand and saying, 'NO MAS!'!! I just can't do it anymore.

That's 400 round-trip miles added to Pedro the Laredo's odometer, and 400 round-trip miles added to my third trimester road weary body. I actually think I experienced my first braxton hicks contractions on one of those drives, because sitting in the driver's seat for that long simply was not comfortable.

I'm also starting to get a little paranoid about how close my belly is to the steering wheel, and often find myself thinking through 'what if the air bag went off?' scenarios...and then say an extra prayer for safety as I hit the road. Short legs and a big belly aren't exactly conducive to keeping a safe distance from the wheel these days!

I've got less than a month to go until the due date, so I should be able to manage everything for werk from the home office from this point forward. Including mid-day waddles around the neighborhood and my soon-to-be weekly pre-natal appointments!

this isn't me...but it might as well be!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Disability?

There is a reason I don't work in a human resources role. There is a reason I never pursued law school beyond purchasing LSAT books on a whim one summer, and never opened them. While I can be a very 'concrete sequential' person at time, I absolutely loathe legal-ease, financial terminology, and pretty much any technical speak that is created to cover a large company's behind and confuse the masses.

I thought I was in a good spot, because my organization just began providing a 'maternity leave benefit' for the first time in its 60+ year history. That's right, it's 2012, and this 'benefit' has only been around for about one year. Before then, it was up to the mom to cash out all of her sick and vacation paid time off, and if she wanted more time at home with her child, it was unpaid leave. Thanks to FMLA laws, moms weren't at risk of losing their position in the company or health benefits during these twelve weeks, but that's pretty much the silver lining of that cloud.

Now that I'm exploring my 'maternity leave benefits', I'm beginning to understand that not much has changed in that last year except this: I am eligible to collect 6 weeks of Short Term Disability Insurance, where I am paid 2/3 (pre-tax) of my regular pay check from a private company. Post-tax, my paycheck will look more like 55% of my normal rate. This is provided in place of taking un-paid leave.

First of all, it disturbs me that pregnancy and the birth of a child falls under a classification of 'disability'. I have tried to be open minded about this and accept the 'benefit' for what it is, but really, I would never call this situation a disability. It's a fairly misogynistic label and I'm not comfortable with it.

Second of all, I know I should be grateful that I can at least collect part of my paycheck from this 'benefit', but if it were a true maternity leave, I believe I should be able to collect 100% of my typical earnings. Why are my wages being garnished because I have a 'disability' and need to take a short term leave?

Thankfully, I have been able to max out my sick time accruals during my time werking from home, so I'm not concerned about tapping into that reserve of time once my disability benefit runs its course. I'll also return to accruing PTO and receive my full pay again.

As the sole income and benefits provider for our family, this entire process has been degrading and heart breaking at many times. I am feeling pressure to give up my precious baby's first weeks of life in exchange for being able to provide for our family more fully. I know I am in a privileged situation to even be complaining about this, but I just don't think that parading 'maternity leave' jargon around the office is acceptable in this situation, when really it feels more like a punishment to leave werk and bring life into the world. The very fact that it is labeled 'disability' speaks loud and clear to me.

I'll be thankful for the time off, and we'll figure out a way to make paychecks stretch during those six weeks, but the concept behind a short term disability leave masquerading as maternity leave still seems pretty bogus to me.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Day Off

Werking for a religious organization, I have tomorrow, Good Friday, as a holiday. While many other people don't get this day as a holiday from werk, I'm glad I do. I just wish I would have thought ahead a little bit more and planned a get away with Jake.

Now I am brainstorming options for a stay-cation or day trip we could do tomorrow that would be fun for both of us (maybe Lexi, too), and wouldn't poop me out too much as Baby D gets heavier by the day.

Unfortunately, sleeping in and drinking a whole pot of coffee aren't really tangible ways to spend a day off anymore. Sleeping in involves waking up at 8am, and the coffee would have to be decaf if I were to consume more than one cup.

As for Easter plans this year, I'm looking forward to attending the Easter Sun Rise Service at Red Rocks Amphitheater with some good friends (and a thermos of decaf coffee)!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Labor

Yesterday I attended quite a doozie of a meeting. I actually hung up the phone and thought to myself, " I hope I go into labor soon".

Now I clearly have no idea if I would actually prefer giving birth over the angst experienced in this meeting, but the thought of being able to turn off my werk brain and forget about everything for a blissful few months sounded quite appealing to me. As I begin feeling and acting more and more like a mom, all I want to do is focus all of my attention on our little one, and our family.

I'm sure it's just the natural order of things, but of course, as I am trying to wind down my involvement with werk commitments and hand them over to others for safe keeping, things keep piling up. The intensity dial is getting cranked on, and my days feel busier than ever. Of course, werk related anxiety does nothing to help with my pregancy insomnia...and of course, I found myself wide awake at 4am today...pondering if I should play another game of Sudoku or turn on Netflix to occupy my time.

Thankfully, I eventually fell back asleep...but have been glued to my computer for the past two hours, furiously trying to cover the cracks things seem to be falling through.

If anything, all of this just makes me excited to get my bags packed for the hospital. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

+1

I journeyed down to the land of cubicles yesterday for our monthly team meetings, and my wonderful team also took me (and baby D!) out to lunch for a little 'baby' celebration. My team is composed of all men, except for one woman, so it was really thoughtful of them to pull a little celebration together for me. Plus it was great to hear them each share an embarrassing 'new parent' moment from raising their own children.

During my two and half years werking at the.land.of.cubicles, I have been a part of many baby showers, which typically include sitting in the empty lunch room with cake, punch, and playing slightly awkward shower games with a random mix of co.werkers.

I'll take my baby celebration from yesterday over that, any day!

Before we started our team meeting, one my dearest friends and co.werkers decided to announce the following: "There are 8 people in attendance today, but two of them are in hiding!". He was referring of course to Baby D, and our team assistant's baby who is due a few months later.

I love werking for an organization with people who honor the little life of Baby D, before they have even met him/her. As our due date approaches and I continue to get things lined up for my maternity leave, I'm trying to be very intentional in letting my co.werkers know how much they mean to me. While there are both good and bad days, I really do believe I werk in a special place and I have lots to be thankful for!
To see more ridiculous maternity pictures like this, go here:http://www.ivillage.co.uk/36-embarrassing-pregnancy-pictures/131697#6

Friday, March 30, 2012

Another post about Lexi


As Jake and I were planning out our day this morning, Lexi came and sat in between us like she usually does, making the most out of her opportunity to have two people petting her at once. She's the very definition of an opportunist, especially when it comes to any sort of love or affection from...well, anyone.

We've had Lexi since she was 8 weeks old, and she has taught us a lot about ourselves, our relationship, our 'puppy parenting' styles, and how fun it is to have a dog in our lives (despite the constant shedding and tracking half the backyard into the house with her every day).

As I look ahead to the next few months, I'm wondering how she'll transition into her role of 'big sister' for our baby. Lexi will likely be getting less uninterrupted snuggle time, and she'll have to learn how to deal with crying, baby messes, and all of the gear that comes with the baby. Normally Lexi tends to be jumpy around new things in the house; grocery bags on the kitchen floor or box that was shipped to the house tends to send her straight under Jake's desk until things are restored to normalcy.

However, with the baby stuff, like the pack 'n play, car seat, and multiple shipments of gifts to our home, Lexi has adjusted really well. Sometimes we need to coax her to come near the new item at first, and usually she'll wag her tail, give it a lick, and be on her way. So far, so good. She hasn't even tried to steal any of the baby toys that look a heck of a lot like dog toys.

I'm excited to see how Lexi handles this transition. I've naturally had to pull back from some of my 'babying' behaviors with her as the bump has grown...it's a lot harder (impossible) to take afternoon naps on the ground with her or even go for long walks. She doesn't get to sit in my lap anymore since getting down on the floor is quite the activity for me, so she gets most of her attention from me by sitting/laying as close to me as possible and positioning her head under my hand. She's still the opportunist, what can I say? I love her for it and think she'll make a great big sister to Baby D. Pretty soon, she'll probably be Baby D's golden shadow, napping by the crib and not letting the little one out of her sight. At least, I'm hoping that's how this goes...

For dog lovers out there, here's a book I'd love to recommend: The Art of Racing in the Rain. I usually avoid books about dogs because they are usually tragic and sad and the dog always dies and leaves me heart broken. While this book is definitely an intense and serious read, it's also a beautiful portrayal of the role of a dog in the life of a family.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

'Material'

I recently organized two baskets that sit on top of my desk. They landed there about a year ago when I set up my home office, and I used them to house portfolio werk from past projects, binders from seminars and conferences I'd attended, and a variety of other miscellaneous resources that seemed important at the time.

A year later, a lot of those resources/binders/etc. are quite useless to me. I haven't referenced them, I haven't even thought about them. All of the copious notes I'd taken at conferences were simply gathering dust, along with the project management intro class materials I'd taken 4 years ago. It's hard to part with that type of material when it's still new, because there is usually quite an investment of time and money to obtain it. You think you'll reference things when you get back to werk, but usually, my mental filing system is where most of that stuff takes up residence.

So, out of the binders (we saved those!) and into the trash can they went. Perhaps it's my nesting instinct kicking in, but I'm just not in the mood to be surrounded by stuff I know I'll never look at again. The less 'stuff' I have to file/store/pile around me, the more free I am to move forward and pursue things in front of me.

Next office purge victim on my list? My filing folders...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Little Dutch Boy

I had one of my more realistic discussions with my boss today about my upcoming maternity leave, and while he is very flexible and just wants to know what I'm thinking, he touched on the fact that I am already feeling torn. He's so right!

Right now, I feel like the little Dutch boy with his finger plugging up the whole in the dyke, preventing the North Sea from crashing in and flooding his country. Don't know that Hans Brinker story? You should, it's a good one, especially if you're Dutch.


In a few weeks, I am going to have to hand over my responsibilities to other people and trust that they will take them just as seriously while I am out. Because, quite frankly, I don't want to even think about werk for the first month or two of being a new mom.

I know there will come a point at the close of my 6 week 'short term disability leave' that I need to make a decision about how fast/completely I return to werk...or whether I continue to cash out my paid time off hours. And honestly, I just won't know what I want to do until that day comes...so much is up in the air for our little family right now, the one thing I am focusing on is being thankful for a job with benefits that provides for us, supports such a flexible werk environment, and allows me to make decisions in the best interest of my family. Until then, I'm working up my contingency plan for whose finger will do the best job preventing an all out flood in my absence. (Sorry for the weird analogy...but it totally makes sense to me today!)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Word of the day: Webinar

I enjoy following the content on 'Q' and find a lot of interesting posts/videos/webinars to fuel my thinking about church, culture, and how to engage with both. Sometimes this content is very relevant to my werk, other times it's just one of those info sources that keeps me loosely tied to the evangelical 'sub-culture' and aware of big events and emerging ideas.

I attended a webinar today by the head guy at 'Q', but found myself tuning out as it was tied very directly to those working in churches as leaders and pastors. Interesting thoughts, just no major take aways for me. Maybe besides this doodle where I intended to take notes. Oh well!


Monday, March 26, 2012

March Madness

I don't care for basketball. I really could care less about college basketball. And I am totally over March Madness.

Maybe it's because I didn't go to a D1 school for college, or perhaps it's because the only sport I've ever tried out for and not made the team was basketball. All of my field hockey friends were trying out for the basketball team, how hard could it be? What's a 'lay up', anyway??

Regardless, March Madness has been the topic of some meeting conversations at werk lately and I have nothing to contribute, and really just don't care about it for any personal reasons. I'm always happy for people who find it interesting or have picked a good bracket...but please excuse me if I tune out while you banter with one another over which team is going to win the final four.

I'm cranky today. I was wide awake at 4am and the first email I got was from a pregancy resource, and the topic of the day was: Insomnia. Go figure.

I'm glad it's almost April:).

In what world are these hideous yellow uniforms OK? I guess this is the one thing during March Madness I have a strong opinion about.



Thursday, March 22, 2012

bumpin'

I've got company...and it's not just Lexi! The past few weeks of werk have been full of bumpin', rockin', and rollin' from Baby D. I'm often amazed at how active our baby is, all day and all night. There are some times that are more quiet than others, but the movement is getting stronger and more consistent to be sure.

I never imagined what it would be like to get kicked in the ribs and punched in the pelvis at the same time...or to have a pointy knee/elbow run across your belly while on a conference call. These feelings are truly incredible, impossible to ignore, and often make it hard not to squeal or shout a little in the middle of a meeting. So far, I've managed to keep my reactions to myself when I'm on calls...but it's very nice to be werking from home and have the freedom to smile, shift around or poke at the baby bump without inquiring eyes of co-werkers wondering what in the world I am doing.
I always thought these pictures were weird, and now I totally understand them. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Feng Shui

Growing up, Saturday was chore day at the Ridder house. You didn't get your weekly allowance if your chores weren't completed, and there's a good chance Mom/Dad were slightly annoyed with your laziness and lack of motivation to clean your ridiculously messy room, among other things. My chores also included scooping poop in the back yard, cleaning bathrooms, dusting and polishing furniture, and sometimes mopping the floor to the backdoor. The chores changed over the years, but the motivation to get them complete always stayed the same: make parents happy and get your allowance. Plus it was nice to actually see the floor of my bedroom on occasion.

When my room was clean, and all of the clean and dirty clothes had found their homes again, I was often inspired to rearrange the furniture in my room. I would sketch out the basic layout of my room and draw up 3-5 different arrangement options, keeping in mind where the outlets were, as well as windows/doors, and the older I got, the less I wanted to have my pillow on the same shared wall as my parents because of my Dad's snoring. I love rearranging furniture, it makes you feel like you gave your room a mini-make-over...and would often help me keep my room clean a little longer so I could enjoy my time spent in there before the 'newness' wore off.

As we prepare for our baby's arrival, our house is quickly approaching some state of feng shui chaos. We sold our full sized bed and are looking to get a bigger bed. Our bedroom is currently a mix of random bedding items on the floor, and the mismatched dressers we have collected over the last five years of marriage. We have been sleeping in the guest room/my office, which is on the smaller side considering I have my large desk and chair taking up the majority of the room. We also have Jake's office to consider, since he is almost finished with school, but will still need a quiet study spot to prepare for his Nursing Boards after the baby is born.

Moral of the story, we have three bedrooms...one bed (right now), two desks, and need to decide how we want to live in our house for the next 3-6 months as we prepare for baby's arrival and my maternity leave. Especially since my need for an office will change on maternity leave, and having a nice nursery space set up, along with re-doing our bedroom space with a new bed will become top priorities.

My biggest obstacle? Our home has really old windows that crank open on the top half, and our home gets really warm in the summer with no AC. The only window in the house that you can prop a fan into is in our bedroom, and I want to give Baby D one of the coolest places in the house to sleep...which would mean our massive master bedroom would do double duty of bedroom and nursery...at least for the summer months. 

I think I need to start drawing out some floor plans...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

almost there

I can't remember if I've blogged about this before, excuse the pregnancy brain if I have.

When I have events in my life that I am looking forward to, I have a unique way of 'counting down the days'. I didn't realize this was unique until some point in my adolescence when I was discussing my countdown with my family and I could not even begin to convince them that we were counting down to the same big day. We were, but just in different ways, apparently.

We are going to our first baby shower this weekend, being thrown by our moms/sisters. We head out tomorrow, and I can confidently say, we have no more days to go! Today has already been checked off, because I woke up and we are in the middle of it..and there's currently nothing standing in between today and tomorrow that I know of....so, no more days to go!

Apparently this is too optimistic for some people, but I love counting this way. I have no more days of werk waiting for me to attend to, because tomorrow, we go. 

Sometimes this can cause extra stress if the event you are counting down to is not exciting or something to be dreaded. But you have options: you can count down to the event like everyone else (apparently)...or you can stay optimistic, that the dreaded event is almost here and it will soon be over!

Either way, we're almost there.
My nephew made a paper chain like this one to help him count down the days until his extended comes for a visit!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Foot Warmer

I have the best foot warmer ever. Everyone should get one of these:
This is Lexi around 8-9 weeks old sleeping on a throw pillow. Now she joins me in the office and sleeps on top of my feet most of the day. It's one of the most therapeutic parts of my day. 

Yesterday we took her to the vet for a routine check up and some vaccinations. As a puppy parent, my heart was bursting with pride...and I couldn't help but laugh a little at the look on her face as she flinched when she got her 'temperature taken'. Poor thing.  There is no way I would give unconditional love to someone putting the thermometer where the vet tech did, but Lexi has more love to give than almost any being I have ever encountered. She truly amazes me, and honestly, inspires me a lot of times. 

She makes friends wherever she goes, because she loves first and doesn't know how to contain her happiness. That bumper sticker 'Wag more, Bark Less' totally applies to Miss Lexi. 

Although I can't justify the $500 the vet quoted us to get her teeth cleaned (seriously?!)...I'm so thankful for my office companion, who keeps my feet warm and fills my day with golden retriever smiles without restraint. 

(Yes, I love my dog).
 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rest and Drive

"There is an energy that comes from being rested that is different from the energy that comes from being driven." -Ruth Haley Barton

An interesting quote, because I know the energy that comes from being driven. I am often described that way by my co-werkers: driven, tenacious, ambitious, 'makes things happen'. People often joke in meetings that it's better to be on my side than not. I'm glad people take me seriously, because I approach my werk with passion and importance, but I also try to do it in a way that will earn others' respect.

The energy that comes from being rested is something I'm continuing to explore. As I gain more experience I have realized I truly don't need to be everything to everyone. I don't need to participate in certain activities to prove that I am a good person to other people. If sitting in my backyard staring at the sky for an afternoon is something I can do, I'll do it.

My boss once asked me why I'm always smiling, and if there is ever a time that I'm not. In some ways, that comment caught me off guard because I don't want to be interpreted as someone who only 'smiles' at life, when there are times to be more serious. I guess I also didn't realize how much I was smiling, and that made me a little self conscious. However, I am at a place in my career where it is easy to get perspective when I need it, and just as easy to dive into the nitty gritty details. I love being able to live in both planes, I guess it makes it me smile.

I also find rest and drive in both places, which is something I am very thankful for.

Now...it's 70 degrees, lunch time, and Jake and I are headed out doors to have some grilled salmon for lunch. There's some 'rest' for you!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

chasing daylight

I cannot WAIT for day light savings time this weekend. I feel like a new person when the day light lasts a few extra hours, and I don't have to dread the sun slipping away at 4pm. I love the sun, I love warm weather, I love that I live in a state that boasts 300 days of sun a year. If there's one thing that is easy to get used to, it's sunny days.

Apparently my dog feels the same way. She managed to find the one slice of sunlight in my office and park herself right underneath it. Go Lexi, get that vitamin D!