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Monday, January 30, 2012

What I do When my Husband Works the Night Shift

While having nights alone isn't always fun I also look at them as a distinct advantage in inserting randomness into my life.  As I find myself sitting up near midnight listening to dubstep whilst the movie Titanic is playing on my television I had to run down the bizarre list that made up my evening and brought me to the chaotic noise that is filtering through my living room. Then I realized that nights like these are pretty typical once Emily falls asleep and I am left up to my own devices.

So here is a perfect example of how bizarre my evenings without Shawn can be, because tonight I...

Made a homemade pizza
Read more of the Hunger games trilogy
Did some weight lifting and aerobics 
(and here is where my night went on a bizarre tangent)
Researched that Ferris Beuller Sequel Teaser (its for a car commercial btw) 

Watched bizarre music videos on YouTube like this one...

Discovered dubstep
Discovered my little sister hates dubstep
Watched Titanic
Listened to dubstep while watching Titanic (it goes well with the sad string quartet solo, oddly)
Had a dance party that the dogs joined
Realized it was midnight and I needed to get my butt off the internet and go to bed

Shawn would think I had gone out of my gord had he been home.  Chick flicks, dubstep, dancing.  Its not exactly how we spend our nights together when he's home, but that's why I love these nights I get to myself.  I still get to be as weird as I want without a care in the world. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Bragging, a Little

Okay.  I may be 100% bias, but I have to say that little miss Emily may be one of the cutest things I have ever laid eyes on.  Just thought that I would throw that out into the universe.  I don't really have anything else to add beside this picture to back up my statement.

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Can Only Nurture One Thing at a Time

Just a couple of days ago I discovered something that really saddened me.  I found my beloved ivy plant shriveled and brown.  Many times before I have come so very close to killing it, but its always bounced back.  However, this time it is surely dead.  Crispy, dried, and dead.  Its a tragedy...

Not only is it embarrassing to kill a plant that is almost as hard to kill as a cactus, but this plant meant quite a lot to me.  I've had it for twelve years and care for it since I was in middle school.  When I was fourteen and working as a busgirl at an upscale restaurant I helped work a baby shower.  The mom-to-be gave out baby ivy plants to all her guests to care for.  The idea was that while she was caring for her baby all her friends and family would have a sentimental plant to care for instead.  At the end of the shower, while she was collecting her gifts, there was one plant left.  I was cleaning the tables when she came over and offered the last plant to me.  With a big smile she insisted I take it, care for it, and help it grow.  My fourteen year old self beamed at the gift and excitedly carried out the duty of keeping it alive, if not thriving, for over a decade.  The plant went with me from Maryland to college in Vermont, lived in my dorm, traveled to Maine for a summer, lived in my cabin up north, and then came here to the Upper Valley where thus it wilted and died under my lack of care. 

Perhaps its only fitting that while I raise and care for my own child the plant I took care of for years would wilt away.  It was given with the intention to be cared for instead of a child and now that I have a child of my own the plant has served its purpose. 

Or maybe I am just being too sentimental and suck at caring for plants.

I think its the latter. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Newest Angry Bird Addict

Hi, my name is Emily and I am addicted to Angry Birds.

Nothing seems to make little miss Emily flail in excitement more than watching her father play angry birds on his iPhone.  She absolutely loves the game and jumps with excitement as each bird flies through the air.   Sometimes she even tries to touch the screen herself.  Perhaps its the bright colors of the game or the funny sound effects, but she can't get enough of it.  Shawn doesn't mind.  Now he can play Angry Birds and entertain Emily at the same time. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This Sunday Morning

There isn't much going on at my house this morning.  Its the kind of morning where its too cold outside to do anything except snuggle up inside where its warm.  There's currently a fight for the chair that sits near the pellet stove.  So far there is a three way tie.

Other than that there's nothing too exciting around our house until the football games begin this afternoon.  Then, this house will be filled with excitement and possibly shouting since I am a displaced Ravens fan living in the heart of New England. 

These are the days that make life worth living.  No errands.  Nowhere to be.  No people to please.  Just family, a warm home, and the added bonus of football rivalry.  Yes, please! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Baby Bits

There is so much going on, as always, that I barely have time to write a proper post, let alone read others' blogs, so I decided to do a little justice and talk a bit about the baby to update everyone.  

How old is Emily now?
19 weeks and 4 days

How big is she?
13 and a half pounds!

Is she sleeping through the night?
Nope.  Although, she does often give us a five hour stretch followed by two hour stretches until 6am.  Unfortunately that five hour stretch begins at 7pm when its not appropriate to go to sleep just yet.  I am anxiously awaiting a full nights sleep someday

What is her latest accomplishment?
She's just starting to roll over!  Often she likes to spend time hanging out on her side. 

Does she have any sort of schedule?
Not in the least.  Everyday is different with Emily.  Some days she will nap for two straight hours at three different times throughout the day.  Other days she may close her eyes for a total of a mere twenty minutes.  She is hungry at varying times, too.  The one consistent thing with her is that the hour preceding bedtime has been dubbed her "cranky time".

How was her VCG?
The test to see if she had urinary reflux happened last week and it was negative!  She now has a completely clean bill of health and doesn't have any greater risk of a recurring UTI than any other baby.  That means no more antibiotics and their horrible side effects.  Wa-hoo! 

What's her favorite thing to do?
Sit naked, except for a diaper, on the couch and play with a plush, fuzzy blanket.  Its the simple things!

What is she eating?
Formula is still the main staple of her diet, but she's started taking some rice cereal every now and then.  The spoon is quite the perplexing object to her!

How are Shawn and I adjusting to being new parents?
Its still incredibly hard to find time to be adults together.  In fact, we haven't had any time together and alone really at all since Emily made her debut.  We are long overdue for a date night, or day, or lunch hour.  Ha.

Any Photos?
I've been horrid with sharing photos of her on here.  Months ago I had ambitions of sharing weekly photos, but even that small commitment fell through the cracks.  Even so, I still take photos when I can, even if I don't share them frequently.  

I know I am not always the most prompt with celebrating milestones or updating everyone on things, so if there is anything else you'd like to know or are wondering about let me know!  Often my days (and nights) are a whirlwind of activity and, frankly, sometimes I choose to ignore the digital world, my blog, and everything else in general.  Instead I'd rather spend time making noises with Emily and giggling, which I'm sure you can understand!

Monday, January 16, 2012

It Amazes Me

That I birthed a red head. 

With blue eyes

Recessive genes for the win! 

Before a baby is born we spend so much time wondering and imaging the features, the hair colors, who will she look like?  Its amazing to see the combination that is the result of the genetic lottery when life is created.  Now I just am waiting to see if she inherited the curly hair that both myself and her father have.  If anyone ever doubted our Irish heritage I'll point to Emily!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again

Last night marked my return to the ambulance after about a six month hiatus due to the arrival of Little Miss Emily.  With motherhood and my new Monday through Friday job it hasn't been easy to orchestrate my return, but finally I made it happen...  On Friday the 13th, during a snowstorm, and at night.   

Actually, my shift was quite uneventful with only one call that really didn't warrant an ambulance in the least.  Since it was not an actual emergency I opted to drive and let the younger EMT chief the call.  The roads were bad and our call was far off the beaten path, as they always seem to be when the weather is bad.  I was grateful for my decision to be behind the wheel since my years of driving an ambulance in the throes of winter more than tripled my partners. 

There wasn't anything to mention, nothing exciting happened, and we traversed the snowy, icy roads just fine.  However, in true Jen fashion, I of course proved to have very little tact over the radio.  

"Ambulance 2 to dispatch"

"Go ahead to dispatch"

"We are off at the hospital"

"Ambulance 2 off at the hospital.  What is your ending mileage?"

-- silence --

"Ambulance 2.  What is your ending mileage?"

"Uh... sorry dispatch I don't have any mileage."
Next time I will remember to set the odometer when we leave the scene!  Ha.... 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Instilling a Sense of Adventure

Before Emily's arrival Shawn and I were known to pick up and head off to destinations hundreds of miles away without so much as a half an hour's worth of planning and preparation.  We flew by the seat of our pants.  If we wanted to go somewhere and do something then we did.  I have no intentions of changing that now that Emily is here.  When she was three weeks old we stuck with tradition and drove to the peak of Mount Washington for our third wedding anniversary.  She's traveled to Maryland and back with me in the car for her first Thanksgiving.  We've made countless trips to our old home to visit our family in Island Pond, which is over a hundred miles away.  So, when Shawn suggested that we head to Maine for a day I excitedly agreed.

Maine is actually closer than you'd think to where I live so its not a huge stretch to do in a day.  Actually, its about as far for us to get to Portland Maine as it was for us to go from our old home in Island Pond to Burlington, Vermont.  That was another trip we frequently went on before Emily's arrival.  However, this time Shawn wanted to visit the giant Cabela's store near Portland.  Our sole reason for the drive was so Shawn could prepare for ice fishing, which begins this coming weekends.  I, lover of long car rides, didn't care what the purpose of our drive was.  Just heading out on the road and seeing the countryside was enough for me.

Despite all our little troubles with Emily's health and her inability to sleep through the night (she still wakes up at least twice a night) we have been blessed with a baby who loves to travel.  Emily will happily sit in her car seat, occasional chatter, play with toys, and nap the entire time.  We, of course, take pit stops to take her out, give her a bottle, and play.  I know several parents who's children can't tolerate even an hour car ride so I am thankful that Emily continues to love our road trips.

So, off to Maine we went.  The drive was uneventful and pretty. Barren brown landscape was punctuated by lakes dotted with ice fisherman (the season is open in New Hampshire and Maine already).   We listened to the radio, chatted about life, and pointed out nice camps while wondering what it would be like to own a piece of wilderness there.  Just for fun we even took the long way, without highways or interstates, to get there.  I'm a fan of back roads like that.

After shopping at Cabela's and a few other nearby stores Shawn was set for ice fishing season to open.  Meanwhile I looked at a map and realized just how close we were to the ocean, mere minutes.  There was no way I was going to be that close to the ocean and not see it, especially when Emily had not been to the ocean before!  Nothing beats making "firsts" everywhere you go, like never before seeing the Atlantic. 

We found a side street in Old Orchard, a summer resort town that was literally abandoned this time of year, and parked our car.  The wind off the ocean was chilly, but considering it was forty five degrees the weather was balmy for January.  Shawn and I, with Emily in my arms, strolled out onto the sand and headed to where the waves crashed upon the shore.  The tide was out and the sun was starting to get low.  The light was actually pretty amazing.  We took a couple of photos and took in the sights before the chilly air began to get to all three of us.

It was peaceful just standing there watching the waves and looking down the beach, which was devoid of almost anyone except for a few people walking.  Seeing the sand so empty was definitely a treat.  Emily seemed indifferent to greeting the ocean, a moment she will have no memory of beyond a photo to assure her that she did make the trip, but she was happy just the same.  She's happy where ever we take her and with whatever we show her.  It seems that our mission of instilling a sense of adventure is fairly successful so far.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Haiku Monday

Winter's icy shore
Bare trees and thickened ice
Perfectly untouched

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sweets of the Week

This week flew by.  It was a mush that included a holiday and a three day weekend.  For some reason I don't feel like I got that extra day this weekend, but just because I am exhausted and tired doesn't mean there weren't great things about this week.

1.  I have exercised every single day to some capacity this entire week.  Go me!

2.  Emily is starting to giggle!  I can't wait to illicit more laughs from my little munchkin in the days ahead.

3.  I've finished two books on my kindle already.  Its awesome to finally be able to read so frequently and so easy. 

4.  This was the first week that I can remember where Emily didn't have a bit of illness or discomfort of some sort.  She's been a completely happy, cheerful, awesome baby.  

I couldn't ask for a better baby when she feels well.

5. It snowed.  Okay... so it was barely a dusting, but any sort of white precipitation this winter is noteworthy!  I will not mention my lack of snowmobiling so far this winter (every single snowmobile trail in the state is still closed) because that is not something 'sweet' at all. 

6. I cleaned out Emily's room.  For a four month old she sure has a lot of stuff!  What she's outgrown and what we don't use I've packed up and put in the basement for friends who are expecting much later in the year.  

7.  Downstairs in the basement we've started to set up an office! The floor is concrete, the walls are just white painted drywall, and the ceiling is bare, but its going to be a great place to work on my photos. 

8.  And here's a picture of my cat in front of our pellet stove, just because. 

Its a warm and cozy kind of day!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why I Don't Regift

The topic comes up every year around the holidays... to regift or not to regift?  Its always the questions, because every single one of us always has some bizarre gift given to us by one of our relatives or friends that we really have no use for.  However, I will never regift thanks to my mother and what happened when I was in the seventh grade...

I went to a small school where it was customary to give your teachers a little gift for the holidays.  That was back before gift cards were everywhere(God, that makes me feel old!).  You actually had to buy gifts and picking out what to get your teacher was never easy.  It had to be something nice, but not too personal.  As a kid I always left the responsibility of shopping and selecting a gift up to my mother.  My only part in the entire ordeal was trucking the nicely wrapped package to school and not tearing the paper before gifting it.  

So, one year when I was in seventh grade my mother must had forgotten that it was the last day of school before Christmas.  I asked her what she had picked out for my teacher when her eyes widened in horror.  The bus was going to arrive in a few minutes so she began dashing around the house.  Moments later she emerged from a closet with a very odd bird feeder that was still in its box.  I recognized it from last year's Christmas.  It was a colorful duck, with real life features, size, and coloring, that was hollowed out in the middle where you could put bird feed in it.  In all honesty it was quite the bizarre and unattractive feeder, but I knew that my grandmother, had picked it out last year and given it to my mom.  Immediately I began to protest her choice for a gift.

"We can't possibly use that for a gift, mom!  Your mom gave it to you for Christmas!"  I exclaimed.  She just seemed annoyed, as if she couldn't understand what the issue was, but I was horrified.  All I could think about was the time my grandmother spent picking out that feeder.  My twelve year old self had visions of her carefully selecting it with hopes of it hanging outside a window and drawing in countless colorful birds that her grand kids would lovingly watch through the glass.  How could  my mother do such a thing to her gift?  

This is a pretty close example to the bird feeder, at least how I remember it. 

She hastily wrapped the feeder in shiny paper, handed it to me, and gave me a stern look that signaled I better take the gift and head to the bus stop without further objection.  The entire bus ride I sat and thought about how the gifts that I had diligently picked out for my parents could be re-wrapped and sent off to other people without so much as a thought.  I was consumed with sadness.  How could someone do such a thing and had someone done that to one of my gifts?  The whole idea of gift giving was tainted in my middle-school mind.  

As I arrived in class other students had placed their gift on the teachers desk in an uneven pile.  I added mine to the stack and took my seat.  Near the end of the day the teacher unwrapped all her gifts.  When she got to mine, broke through the shiny paper that revealed a duck bird feeder, she look at me with a smile and said thank you.  All I could think about was how my grandmother's gift was going to my seventh grade teacher.  I managed a smile, but it was a superficial one.  

For all I know the teacher went home and regifted the same bird feeder to someone else.  It certainly wasn't a real practical gift, but the experience has still lived with me.  Every year I have a faint mound of sadness inside when I think about the possibility of my gifts being regifted and I never ever regift anything given to me.  It really is the thought that counts, not the gift that matters. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How Being a Working Mom Works

Okay,  I am no expert at being a working mother just yet.  After all, I've really only qualified as a working mom for the last couple of months, but I am succeeding at it.  I also might add that its getting much easier as the weeks go one.  Heck, I've even been able to throw in an exercise routine and time for reading now that Emily is feeling much  better!  While I may be new to this role I'd say that what I am doing is working and all I've done are a few simple things...

1. Do not take work home.  One thing I never ever ever do is bring work home.  No matter what I leave undone or important thing sits on my desk that is where I leave it at the end of the work day.  It is a firm rule I've laid down from the first day and no one questions it.  I don't get paid to work from home.  When I am with Shawn and Emily I am with them and not working. 

2.  Its okay to leave some chores undone.  I frequently leave the clean and dried clothes in the dryer (who cares about wrinkles) just so I don't have to stare at a pile of laundry some nights. Instead of dirtying dishes I've been known to order takeout some nights.  

3.  Share the load.  Shawn is amazing at carrying an equal load.  Some nights he will cook dinner while I put Emily to bed.  Other times he will wash dishes while I am folding laundry.  It is also a huge help that Shawn is sometimes home during the week when I work and able to pitch in when Emily cooperates.

4.  Shut off the phone.  It is so important to "unplug" for a portion of the week.  If its important they will leave a message and you can call them back.  No one needs to feel they are constantly connected and weighted down by other people, especially to work.  

5.  Don't schedule too many things.  Even scheduling time with friends and nights out can stress a person out.  Its easy to get over zealous with friends making plans one night after the other to keep up friendships and connections.  However, nothing feels more freeing and enjoyable than knowing you having nothing plan, can come home, put on sweatpants, and relax.  Of course, don't underestimate the importance of a night out every once and a while. 

So, that is what I've learned so far about being a working mom, especially a working mom in a supervisory healthcare position where there is never technically a day or night off.  Its not an easy title to bear, working mother, but it can be done, and happily at that! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Almost Forgot!

Despite actually celebrating the beginning of the month (which is also the beginning of the new year) I completely forgot about it being the first of the month and the start of a new photo assignment!  So, I am one day late in announcing the winners from the last assignment and introducing this month's assignment "Doors and Windows", but at least its up and running now!

Check out the winners from the last assignment and I will add submissions as soon as you guys share your photos in the Assignment Pool!  

Here's a link to the contest page (or you can click the photo assignment tab at the top of the page)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions Inspired by my Three Month Old

1. Take time to play everyday.

2. Cry if you need to.

3. If no one is listening then get louder.

4. Smile.

5. If you don't succeed at first try again. And again. And again.

6. Sleep all you want, when you want.

7. Accept the poop in life as it comes.

Thanks for the inspiration, Emily!