Custom Search

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Holiday Plans

Ah, Thanksgiving: the time of year when we stuff ourselves fit to burst, pass out in front of the television, and then wake up at 3:45 AM to get that great deal on a new vacuum cleaner. All while avoiding Aunt Margie's smothering hug or cheek-pinching icicle fingers.

Most years since my husband and I have been together, we've attempted to have Thanksgiving dinner with both families -- mine, in Columbus, and his, in Cincinnati (for those of you who aren't from around here, they are about a two hours' drive apart). And every year, our families have set dinner for the same time or an hour apart. I was mad: at my husband because we always ate dinner with his family first (and therefore ate more with them), and at my mom for not working out a different time for ours -- seeing as it was at our house.

Last year I was on bedrest and we lived in Boston. One of my husband's friends from BU was kind enough to invite us over for dinner. Her husband was a great cook, and they would have been alone for the holiday too, if not for us. They had a car and came to pick us up so I wouldn't violate my bedrest orders.

This year will be a little different. We'll attend Thanksgiving Mass, since we'll be out of town on Sunday. Dinner today will be at my parents' house, and it will be small, as it's been since my grandmother stopped hosting due to my unruly cousins. My mom, dad and grandma (maternal) will be there, as well as my sister and her boyfriend (who will have eaten at his house already -- my mom is so mad). My dad's sister and her husband will be there, and of course my husband, son, and I will too. And that's it.

Tomorrow we'll drive to Cincinnati and have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma-in-law's house. She's been talking about doing a Friday dinner for a few years, so all her children can see their in-laws on Thanksgiving day. This year, she's going with it. We expect to see my father-in-law, his fiancee, her six-year-old from her previous marriage, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and at least two of their aunts and their families (the third lives in New York).

Then on Saturday, we'll meet up with a couple friends of ours in the area, since we haven't seen them in about six months. That evening, my husband's cousin will be having an engagement party. It was supposed to be Labor Day weekend, but he got called back to New Orleans because of the hurricane. He's a firefighter, and he lives there now, since he went to Tulane for school.

Overall, it should be really busy but a great time. Yay for food!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Whaddaya Say, Ya Wanna Play?"

My husband and I spend what is probably an inordinate amount of time in front of the television. We don't not let the baby watch TV, but we don't put on anything specifically for him, since he doesn't understand it yet. Well, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your child is 2 years of age to let them watch. But the AAP also says not to cosleep with your child or put him to sleep on his belly before the age of 1 year, and I'm guilty of both.

We don't always agree on what to watch, either. We have a few shows we're both addicted to: Heroes, Eureka, Smallville . . . oh, and we love Mythbusters, too. Everything else is hit or miss. I like Project Runway, my husband prefers Top Chef. He loves to watch Deadliest Catch -- which I hate -- and I can't get enough of my guilty pleasure, What Not to Wear (and of course he can't stand that).

But one we do agree on is Cash Cab. He doesn't care for Jeopardy quite the way I do -- which is weird, because the shows aren't all that different. We're both pretty good at trivia, and fiercely competitive. You probably don't want to team up against us in Trivial Pursuit.

Ben Bailey's show was a hit with us from the very beginning. The questions are a little less intellectual than on Jeopardy, and a bit more general knowledge and pop-culture based -- although there is the occasional brain buster. And we love the Red Light Challenge questions! When we went to New York to visit my aunt-in-law, we secretly hoped we'd pick the Cash Cab one time. But it wasn't to be.

What's your favorite game show (or shows)? Head over to Parent Bloggers Network to read about some you may love, hate, or have forgotten about entirely. Then read about's Arm Chair Holiday Shopping Sweep. They have lots of great kids' products, and their sweep includes five free items around the site that you can get with any purchased item. Start your holiday shopping early!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Haiku Friday #10: Mommy Guilt

Haiku Friday

Lately on Twitter
I've followed momversation
A panel of moms

Who famously blog
Discussing certain issues
Important to us.

Mommy guilt over working
I also feel it.

Momversation is an interactive vlog between several bloggers from their panel of fairly well-known mommy bloggers. Selected bloggers discuss momversation's topic of the week, which is usually related to parenting and always provocative.

Their most recent discussion really resonated with me: mommy guilt over working. I spent the first nine months of my son's life as a stay-at-home mom while my husband worked at whatever substitute teaching jobs he could find. In that time, he was unable to find any permanent job a contracted position, so he went back to school to get a teaching certificate. Apparently a Master's degree in Education and a Bachelor's in English Lit do not qualify a person to teach English, either at the high school level or as an adjunct professor at the college level -- even community colleges.

With him back in school, I had to get a full-time job just to keep us afloat -- and some months, even buoyancy seems impossible. I'm sure many of you are familiar with this situation. So I applied at a few preschools and day care centers in the area, figuring that as an employee, I would have an easier time getting my son into one, and also would probably receive a tuition discount.

So here I am, working 40 hours a week with other people's kids, rather than being with my own son -- out of necessity, yes, but it's still enough to make me wish I was helping him grow and learn, and witnessing his milestones, not theirs.

Sometimes I wish that I could work from home, that I was brilliant enough to start my own little Etsy shop or something. But from what I hear from work-at-home moms (and dads) is that the guilt is still there -- and it's even harder to get work done, so they often feel like they fall short in both categories.

Here's the good news: I have recently learned of an open spot in one of the infant/toddler classrooms that he will be able to take. All we have to do is fill out the paperwork and get everything set up for him to go. This is such a weight off of my mind. Next semester, my husband will be student teaching, and if there wasn't a spot for my son I would have to quit, just when we're starting to become a little more financially stable. I'd exhausted all my other child care options, too. This is it.

So I'm super excited (and relieved) that he'll be coming to school with me. My mom will still watch him on Mondays and Fridays, since they could only guarantee me a part-time spot for him. But that's okay for now, because she doesn't work those days. I've got daughter guilt about this one, though. I hate that I'll now be bogarting two days every week out of my mom's schedule.

The lesson here? You do what you can with what you've got. And you forgive yourself for needing help. You forgive yourself for needing to work and being away from your kids.

What about you? Any moms or dads feeling the guilt out there? If you don't have kids, do you feel guilty about working for other reasons? Or do you feel guilty about something else entirely? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear what everyone feels about this.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Love, Not H8

This past Saturday afternoon, my husband and I went to a protest of California's passage of Proposition 8 -- for those who haven't heard, Prop 8 is a ban on gay marriage. A lot of money from religious conservatives went into advertising for it. Since it was passed, there have been protests everywhere.

Saturday was no exception: it was a national effort to get the voices of GLBTQ (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transsexuals, and Queers) and supporters heard. Just in the state of Ohio, protests were held here in Columbus, in Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Dayton.

Usually we go to my mom's house to watch the Buckeye football game on Saturdays, but last week we dropped my son off there to see his aunt, grandmas, and grandpa, and we went downtown, umbrellas in hand. It was cold, and wet, and as we left my mom's house I was sure we were going to have a miserable time.

I couldn't have been more wrong. At first, we just felt cold and wet, unable to hear much or see anything over the crowd. But we saw some cool posters, and as people moved around, we moved closer and closer to the front and actually heard people talking on the loudspearker. Cars honked in support as they passed, the crowd cheered, and we ended up lending one of our umbrellas to a couple that had no hats or hoods. We got into conversation with a few different people.

All in all, I'm really glad we went. I'm also glad we didn't take the baby -- he would have hated the weather, and with me bringing home germs from the preschool on a weekly basis anyway, he didn't need the extra opportunity to get sick. But it felt good to stand up for something I believe in -- I haven't done that (outside of the Obama rally in town a few weeks ago) since 2003, when the dining hall employees went a strike at my college.

I don't usually talk too much about politics on this blog, and I intend to keep it that way. I will say my piece, and be done with it. This country was founded on certain beliefs, two of which come into play here: first, the separation of church and state. Marriage is both a religious and a political event, but for the purposes of legality, it is only a civil affair. It is a declaration of two (or more -- I'm not polygamous, but it's none of my business if anyone else is) people to join their lives together -- to have the same insurance, file taxes together, see each other in the hospital, and have the ability to inherit from one another in the case of a passing.

Secondly, the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. We are talking about Constitutional rights that have been violated and taken away from other human beings. I am in a heterosexual marriage, but I still support the rights of other human beings to decide for themselves what they believe, to decide whether or not they want to marry, and if so, who they want to marry. My marriage is not threatened by any other marriage.

Whether homosexuality is right or wrong, taking away fundamental rights is wrong.

Playing With String

One of the facets of my geekdom is my involvement in the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA. Although I've been somewhat less active since I moved away from the group I started with, and certainly since the baby was born, it's still something I enjoy -- partly because there is so much to do within the Society.

Most of the activities I participated in involved "playing with string": knitting, embroidery, weaving, and different ways of braiding to make cords. I also crochet, but that's not strictly within the SCA guidelines because it was done after 1600 AD.

These skills really came in handy a few years ago, when I had no money (student loans are great until you run out of the leftovers at the end of the semester). I made hats and scarves for everyone on my gift list -- I got so good at the crocheted ones that by Christmas, I could make one, start to finish, in under two hours. While watching a holiday tv special.

I will more than likely be racking the right side of my brain again this year, with the exception for the gift exchange at my best friend's house. It's hard to know what to make for someone when you don't know who will be receiving it.

So tonight I'm finishing up this post so I can win a prize from Klutz -- anyone remember them? They make activity books for kids, including art and craft books. I'm always looking for fun craft ideas for the kids at my preschool, and then when my son gets a little older I'll share the books with him.

Plus, Parent Bloggers Network has teamed up with Klutz to get you free shipping when you order $50 or more through the link on this post. You also get a free copy of their award-winning Activity Book. That's a $14.95 book for free, people!

Anyone else planning on going the DIY route this year? Leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite homemade gifts -- given or received.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Haiku Friday #9:Teacher Drama

Haiku Friday

Teaching preschool is
A fun job: the hours are good,
The kids are awesome!

But sometimes there is
"Teacher drama" -- teachers who
Don't get along well.

The other teachers
In my room were so proud: no
Teacher drama here!

Other classrooms have
Problems: teachers switch rooms to
Avoid coworkers.

I almost counted
Myself in their number 'till
A few weeks ago

One teacher in my
Room and I clashed a bit
But things are good now.

But in the next room
There is a new teacher as
Of Thursday morning.

*Deb was moved to a
Different room because of
An old injury.

She can't lift babies
To change diapers, so she was
Moved against her will

She wanted to work
With older kids but now she
Must work fewer hours

Man, this sucks. If you follow me on Twitter, you may remember my mention of a certain passive-aggressive coworker. Well, it took a few weeks, but we settled into a routine, go to know each other a little better, and now our classroom is drama-free once again. Apparently she told the third teacher in our room about me, "I know she must hate me," which is exactly what I said -- I thought she hated me too. Funny world.

But things are not hunky-dory with the class next door, whom we share some of our activities with. "Deb" used to work with 4-year-olds and for some reason they had her in an infant-toddler room this year. Which was stupid, because she has a weight restriction of 10 pounds because of back problems. So she's been having a lot of pain and needing to call off work because they have her in there, changing diapers -- lifting kids up to a changing table who weigh as much as 30 pounds.

So I was glad, if somewhat surprised, to hear that she was in an older room starting yesterday. Until I heard she wasn't given a choice, and was forced into a part-time position so the school doesn't have to pay workers' comp (I am a little confused about this part, since our preschool is one of the few places of employment still hiring people, rather than laying them off). Sigh.

If you can spare a few minutes, send some good prayers/thoughts/mojo her way. She and her husband are still paying off their mortgage and can't afford the pay cut.

*This person's name has been changed to protect her identity and her personal pride.

If you'd like to participate in Haiku Friday today, write your own haiku on your blog, visit A Mommy Story to grab that pretty button, and sign her Mr. Linky so you can read more haiku (and get yours read, too!).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boob Talk

A few months ago, I mentioned that I was trying to start weaning my son. Well, here we are, it's nearly mid-November, and I'm still trying. This is seriously getting old.

Once I decided to stop taking the breast pump to work, neither Adam nor I had a problem with skipping over the hours of 8 to 6 during the week. The weekends -- or my days off when the center was closed for Jewish holidays -- were are another story altogether. If we were at home with no company, Adam noticed that I wasn't nursing him; if we went somewhere else or there were other people around, he was sufficiently distracted. He doesn't seem to mind whether he's drinking breastmilk, formula, or juice, and he doesn't even mind the sippy cup (he refuses bottles of any kind; he must think we're trying to trick him into taking a nipple other than these two). He just misses the sucking, the comfort, the bonding.

At this point, I'm pretty much down to two feedings a day: once when I get home from work, when he's super needy, and once when I put him to bed for about five minutes before I switch him to the pacifier and pat his back until he's asleep (actually doesn't take that long anymore -- and I'll tackle the issues of him falling asleep on his own and in his crib when I get to them).

It's taken this long and still isn't there yet for one simple reason: I'm working full-time. Yes, that's the reason I was actually able to start, since I'm away from him for 10 hours every day. But because I work, I've just been too tired to figure out when I can push feedings back gradually to eventually cut them out -- let alone actually implementing that.

I'm kind of stuck here at the two, but I'm trying. Yesterday I had a painful clogged milk duct at work and was looking for a kind of hot pad to massage it with, and a coworker advised me to get cabbage leaves. Apparently since they're already a nice cupped shape, you just stick them in your bra, and they dry up your milk pretty quickly. So I asked Brandon to pick up a head of cabbage at the store. I'll let you know how it goes.

You may wonder why I want to wean my son, if I've breastfed him for this long. I didn't even mind when he started teething, getting those two little pearly whites on his bottom jaw. He bit me accidentally a few times before his medicine kicked in and he was in too much pain to latch properly. But it wasn't a habit. Well, now that he's got four more teeth on the top as well, it hurts almost every time. He's just so eager to nurse, he sucks really hard and his teeth can't help but get in the way and I end up with bite marks on my precious boobs. Ow. That, and he's also been pinching them when he wants to nurse, or outstretching his hands and saying, "Mamamamam" -- I can thank my mother for teaching him to say that.

Guess it beats "mommy's numnums" or "me eat". I don't think I could nurse this boy to toddlerhood, and I heartily applaud anyone who is brave enough to complete such a journey. Actually, I got the same kudos from that same coworker who recommended the cabbage leaves. She went back to work quite a bit earlier than I did, though. She had this job to come back to; I had to find it and spent a few months doing so.

Ah well. I'll keep everyone posted.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Haiku Friday #8: We Have Some Catching Up To Do...

Haiku Friday

It's been sev'ral weeks
Since I participated
In Haiku Friday

Furthermore, I have
Neglected to post in this
Blog since last Sunday.

Since November first,
I have been spending much time
On NaNoWriMo.

National Novel
Writing Month happens ev'ry
Year: each November

Hundreds of thousands
Of prospective writers try
To write for a month

Fifty thousand words
Of fiction in thirty days
Is a lofty goal.

Okay, seriously, folks. It's 1 AM and my brain hurts. Six stanzas of haiku is plenty, considering I still have quite a bit to say.

So, yeah, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I made a pathetic attempt last year while I was pregnant and on bedrest. Pathetic because I didn't get very far, considering how much time I had on my hands. It's funny how boredom can cause you to feel apathetic about doing something so you don't feel bored. Ironic, that.

NaNoWriMo, briefly, is an annual contest of sorts in which many, many psychotic people aspiring writers set out to achieve that elusive goal that never seems to make it to the top of the priority list: write a novel. The twist? Do it in 30 days. Fifty thousand words in thirty days. That's about 1,667 words per day -- which takes me about 2 hours if I'm concentrating hard and the ideas flow freely.

Last year I logged a total of a whopping 324 words. This year, with an 11-month-old, a full-time job, and a blog, I have written about 2750 or so. You just can't say I don't work well under pressure. Of course, that's far from the goal for winning NaNoWriMo. Anyone who writes a 50,000-word (or more) novel within the time frame is a winner. Everyone who signs up and writes at least one word is a participant. My personal goal this year is to write at least a little bit every day. So far, I've achieved that. I think it's a good start to make myself a bit more disciplined. And easier to work around than the 10,002 words I should have already.

There's also NaBloPoMo, the blogging equivalent (also probably a bit easier) which of course I didn't find out about until the 2nd, and what's the point if you don't do it for the whole month?

In other news, I finished my son's Halloween costume, mostly. I didn't do the red underwear-looking thing that Superman wears over his pants. But he had the blue, the S, the cape, the yellow belt, and red socks, rather than boots. We also went to the pumpkin farm for our jack-o-lanterns last Sunday. I'll post pictures of both of these events soon.

Work's been a bit rough, not because it's preschool, and that many kids will wear anyone out, but because of the "teacher drama". Somehow I thought that it wasn't going to happen, but I'm apparently not immune. And I didn't think anything was wrong until I was confronted . . . but that's another story for another day.

Off to bed so I don't drink my weight in caffeinated beverages at school tomorrow. Happy Friday, everyone! It's good to be back!

Blogger template 'Colorfull' by 2008