Sunday, February 27, 2011

Awkward Motherhood: I'll take my shampoo dry.

I don't know what morning routines are like for my other moms. Most of my mommy friends are SAHMs, but even though I imagine they have all the time they need to get through their daily routines, I doubt that's actually true. I for one, am a mess in the mornings. Don't get me wrong, the morning is my favorite part of the day—I work evenings so it's the only time of day I actually get to spend with Lydia—but I always have more I want to do than time to get it done (I still have a box of Christmas decorations I need to put away!). So my beauty routine is hardly a priority.

While I've never been the type who had to look flawless before she left the house—and you should have seen me in high school!—I still try to pull myself together each morning. I don't want to give up and wear that beat-down mommy uniform, but with a baby in the house, it is tempting. Let me be frank, I consider it a good day when I have enough time to shower, so I'm kind of a sucker for anything that will shave time off my morning routine.

My latest discovery is dry shampoo from Suave.
It was only a couple bucks at HEB, so I figured I wouldn't be out too much if it didn't work. So far I have to admit it's been exactly what I hoped. Basically it's like baby powder in a spray can; you spray it on the roots of your hair and it soaks up the oil. If your daughter spits up in your hair, this is not going to help. Still, not having to wash and dry my hair so often probably saves me 30 minutes a week. That's not extreme, but that's an extra load of laundry!

Hopefully, this suggestion might help one of you get a few minutes back, too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Grateful For: The year I was 30

I turned 30 a year ago. If you're good at math, you can figure out how old I'm turning today. Turning 30 was exciting, but this birthday is slightly…anti-climactic. It's a lot more fun turning 30 than just being in your thirties. But I'm grateful for this last year with all it's ups and downs

February. I started the year with the most amazing party ever! My friend Jen arranged the most beautiful event—dinner followed by a night-time garden party at her house. My husband booked a band and hired them to write a song about me! The police came! Green came! My sister got tipsy! It was great!

March. We found out that the little Peanut Butler I'd been carrying was a girl and decided to name her Lydia. Then we moved into our new, suburban house. It was huge and empty and inspiring. I had dreams of how I would decorate it. I had dreams of our Lydia as a teenager running up and down the stairs with her friends. I also had the uneasy feeling that life was too good to be true and mentioned that to Peter as we fell asleep on the last day of the month.

April. On the first day if the new month—April Fool's Day—I was laid off of work. Nothing really more to say about that. I wasn't incredibly happy at UT, but I liked what I did and wasn't ready to stop doing it yet.

May. I got offered a contract job and then had the offer revoked when the employer realized just how pregnant I was. I was disappointed, but too tired to fight it.

June. A former co-worker gave me a contact that led to a job doing freelance editing from home. Easily my favorite job ever. Perfect for that last, miserable stretch of my pregnancy.

Peter and I travelled to Corpus Christi for a babymoon that our closest family and friends had arranged for us. It remains a favorite memory of all time.

July. I had a fight with a very close friend. That's all I remember about July.

August. My daughter was born! I became a mommy. I felt like I was reborn as a new person. A person who can push a baby out of her, a person who considers sleep optional, a person who loves abundantly without any need for love returned.

September. Peter and I celebrated our second anniversary. He took me hiking in Bastrop State Park; it was exactly what I wanted.

October. I started working as a contract employee at Apple. It's not easy work, but I enjoy the challenge and love working near Peter.

November-December. I'm writing off the whole holiday season. It was just…ugh. The house did look pretty sweet, though.

January. Peter and I went out on THREE dates! Not just dates, but amazing dates. We went dancing, we saw a band, and we ate a very fancy pizza at a super classy bar on 6th street.

February. So grateful for my valentines—the special ladies who haven't forgotten me as I became a mom and have forgiven me as I totally flaked on them: Jennifer, Heather, Cindy, Jen, Mom, and Sonnet.

To everyone who has gone through this year with me, thank you.

Hiking at Cedar Breaks

Peter and I got to spend a couple days together last week. Unfortunately it was because he was on bereavement leave; his grandfather passed away on Monday. I don't think we've had a single day off together since New Years when he was sick. Peter was obviously pretty down because of his loss, but it was still a special time.

The weather on Wednesday was humid, but mild, so we decided to get outside while we still could. I had just been talking to my friends about how I feel I spent too much of my twenties trying to get caught up instead of actually experiencing life. Instead of going out on my weekends, i spent my time doing all the chores I hadn't gotten done during the week. Well, no more! Although I had plenty of things that desperately needed to get done (Has anyone cleaned the bathroom since Lydia was born? You haven't? Me either.), we decided to savor the time together. Who knows when we'll get this chance again.

We decided to go hiking, but didn't want to go too far. I knew I'd been hiking on a nice path in a park along Lake Georgetown, but that was back in 2005 and there are several different parks along Lake Georgetown. I had no idea which one I'd gone to. We decided to try Cedar Breaks park, mostly because it's right off DB Wood road. It seemed like the easiest to find and I figured if that was appealing to me know, it probably would have been six years ago as well. (BTW, it's been six years since I lived in Georgetown?!)

At the gate of Cedar Breaks, I told the attendant, an elderly lady named Mildred, that we only needed a day pass. While he pulled out his wallet to pay the enhance fee, Peter leaned over to the driver's-side window and asked, "Are there any good hiking trails here"?

Mildred turned and grabbed a clip-board, then said, "Put your money away." It turns out that hiking is free there.

Peter walked Lady on her leash and tried to keep her enthusiasm in check. I had Lydia wrapped to my chest. Lydia was so happy being out with us! She sang for over an hour as we walked. When my hands got anywhere close to her pudgy hands, she grabbed my fingers and stuck them in her mouth to chew on.

It turns out this was the park I'd visited before and it was a great hike! Obviously, a cedar forest is nothing dark and mysterious, but it did provide shade on our walk, and honestly the walk was not that easy.
It wasn't too intimidating, but it was challenging and definitely made us work. And the view was gorgeous. Maybe any view looks beautiful on a good day, but I found myself thanking God for the experience and resolving to do this more often.

It was a perfect family day. It was the kind of day that when I was single I daydreamed of spending with my family. After all the rough days (and weeks and months) we've had to work through lately (no offense Lydia, but you don't make things easier), this day felt like our reward.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Awkward Motherhood: Diapers everywhere!

This morning I woke up to a clean stash of diapers! ^_^ Joy! I washed diapers last night and threw them in the dryer before bed, so when I woke up today, I had a pile of clean diapers spread out on the living room floor! I can say without any sarcasm that this was a great start to my day.

I normally hate doing laundry, but for some reason diaper laundry is one of the parenting chores I cherish. Maybe it's just because you don't have to worry about diapers getting wrinkled, but I think there might be something else to it. There's something about drawers filled with clean diapers that makes me feel secure.
I imagine surrounding myself in cottony riches—stacks of diapers everywhere—like Scrooge McDuck did with his gold.

I know it's silly, but I love knowing that I have more than enough diapers to make it through the day. I guess that says more about my issues with trusting in God's provision than about the value of reusable diapers.

I voluntarily admit that this is a difficult area for me. I mean, one of the major reasons I went back to work after Lydia was born was because I didn't want to test God's provision. I believe God will take care of us, but. . . I like having a little wiggle room in the budget. This has always been a weakness of mine, but having a child to take care of only exacerbates this problem.

This is definitely an aspect of my character I should work on, but for now, I've got my clean piles of diapers all over the house and I'm happy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Grateful For: My Smart Phone

I'll admit I'm a little bit of an addict. My phone has become something of an appendage.

I'm going to try not to get all fanboy here, so I'm not even going to mention the model, but here's a picture of it:
I remember when Peter first asked me if I wanted a smart phone in 2007. I thought the idea was crazy! I just wanted a thin flip phone—not a smart phone. What would I use it for? I just used my phone for making calls, taking a few pictures, and playing Tetris. The only reason I agreed to let him give me one for Christmas was that I discovered it was thinner than the Razor.

Holy cow! How naive I was! I had no idea how much it would change my life. First of all, my phone is my primary computer. My phone is the only calendar I use, my only address book, and my only iPod. I read the news on my phone, I read the Bible on my phone, I take pictures and video on my phone, and I view my friend's pics on my phone. I use my phone when I'm wandering around downtown and need to remember how to get to my car. I even use my phone when I'm checking on my daughter in the middle of the night (it's my flashlight).

And I realize this is nothing special; we all use our phones like this now. But I'm amused when I think back four years to how useless I assumed a smart phone would be. And I'm grateful that I had the chance to change my mind.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Resolved: To become hip. . . Resolution: FAILED

I only had one resolution this year. It was a fairly small one, but still I've failed so far.

My resolution was to get hip. Specifically regarding popular music. I've never been caught up on the current music scene. (Are these even the right phrases to use? Somehow I sound like I'm 68.) When I was a kid, my parents were very protective of the cultural influences they allowed into our home, so most current secular music was not allowed. Current Christian music was allowed, but growing up in Weimar, there were no radio stations nearby that played this music, and in the days before iTunes recommendations, it was hard to stay current while so isolated.

In my early twenties, I was of course free to listen to whatever I wanted but had no room in my very responsible budget for music, and being a rule follower, I wasn't about to use Napster. By the time I was in a position to indulge in music purchases, I felt so out of the loop that it seemed pointless to start following bands and artists at that point.

I felt too old. If I tried to start following bands and musicians now, I'd just be a poser, right? *shudder*

Sure,I have a few songs I've taken from Peter's library, but I haven't purchased a song or album in several years. My iPhone is mostly full of podcasts where people sit around discussing technology, parenting, or religion. It was actually one of these podcasts that inspired me to this year's resolution. I started listening to the Relevant Magazine podcast. In this particular podcast, people sat around and discussed music. I have to admit, as they discussed new bands I'd never heard of and how they compared to old bands I'd never heard of, I became quite jealous.

Obviously this is their job—to know music inside and out—but they're talking for the benefit of their subscribers, which means that someone else out there understands and, even more importantly, cares about these discussions...I want to be that person! For once in my life, I want to be plugged in. I want to be hip. So this year I had one resolution: to be exposed to, pay attention to, purchase, and ultimately listen to good, modern music. Wanna know how many times I've so much as turned on my radio all year? Zero.

What can I say? I'd much rather listen to people talking about music than actually listen to music. I'm going to continue trying to broaden my horizons, but I'm done trying to deny who I really am. I'm never going to be a hipster, but if I try, maybe I can be a nerd with a little good music on her phone.