Big thoughts.

Tonight has been full of emotions and thoughts. Big thoughts, big emotions. A dear friend of mine is currently away, on the road to recovery. Recovery from alcoholism. My mind and heart can’t stop thinking about him and how I wish I could be there, in person, letting him know that we’re all rooting for him; cheering him on. I’ve been keeping up with his blog, following along on his journey to recovery, self love and peace.

“Believe in yourself because I do. It will be hard, it will break you down
but it will build you back up to become YOU again. You’ve got this!”

There are few friends in my life that I feel such a connection with. The older I get, the harder it seems to make that close connection so, when someone comes along (over 15 years ago now) who seems to just click, you can’t let them go. Even when they are struggling and you don’t know the reason until they are already on their recovery path ~ and that’s ok. You support true friends; the ones who, as days, months and years pass, you spend less time with but you know that when you’re together again it will all be the same. As if nothing has changed. Although I don’t know the struggle of alcoholism, I do know what it’s like to feel isolated, alone and faking happiness. It was a very long time ago now and I’ve come back from that black hole into a place of love and true happiness.

I wish I could tell him that no one blames him for whatever wrongs he thinks he may have done. Recovery is the road on which he must travel and we are all here on the sidelines, his biggest supporters. I well up with tears when I think of how proud I am that he’s taken this step, to admit there is a problem and then taking action, doing something. I think about how our first visit/conversation will be when we reconnect and how there will be oh so many tears and laughter and hugs, big hugs. Sigh.

One of the best feelings in the world is when you hug someone you care about
and they hug you back even tighter.

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mom.

well, it happened. for the first time in my employment history, i cried in front of my boss. i’m not an overly emotional person and have never been one to break down in front of someone other than my family or close friends, but i did today. i never thought i’d be that person who cries at work, but i crossed that one off this morning.

i went into work for a meeting with my boss about upcoming holidays (i’m hoping to get 2 weeks off, one in July and one in September so that we can have an actual family vacation) and was planning on mentioning my disappointment and frustration with working so many weekends (as of the second weekend in June, i will have worked 7 out of 8 weekends in a row). everything was going fine, and then we started talking about the work schedule and she mentioned that i don’t offer a lot of flexibility so it’s not always easy booking me in (that’s another story). i started to tell her about how the wee man hasn’t been sleeping (for the last 2 months), how he’s sick and teething right now, how hubby is on midnights so it’s just me with the little guy almost every night, how the lack of sleep is draining me mentally & physically, and, add to that, working every weekend, is starting to pile up and is wearing me down. i only have one day a week that i can spend with my husband and son where hubby doesn’t have to go into work (Saturdays). while i don’t expect to have every weekend off (i’m in retail and that’s just part of the job), i also don’t expect to have to work every weekend. i welled up with tears and they lingered there in my eyes for a good 5-10 minutes while we spoke. i told her i’m not normally this emotional and that i’ve just been going through a lot outside of work and it’s all coming down on me. she told me she thought i was going to tell her i was pregnant, ha! i replied with, oh gawd, i hope not. i’m not ready for another one yet.

i don’t want to quit my job. i enjoy where i work. i love the products we sell, our customers are great, and i have fun co-workers. honestly, it’s been a refreshing change after working in the newspaper industry for almost 12 years. and it’s worked out well with it being part time so we don’t have to pay for daycare (which is a little too pricey for us right now).

we sat and talked for a little while longer and she shared some of her personal mom stories and struggles with her 3 kids. we spoke about mom “guilt” and how it has a hold over us in so many situations (when they won’t sleep, when they’re trying to get their way but don’t, etc etc). about taking breaks from our kids, for our own mental health and well being.

mom’s feel like they need to do it all, and take care of everyone and everything. it’s something most of us just do without really realizing it until someone points it out, or until we’re at our breaking point (ahem).

one thing she said really stuck with me and that was that i need to fix myself first and then focus on the little guy. i completely agree. it’s just easier said than done right now.

are you tired? i’m tired.

i was sitting here at my computer sending out an email proof for a photobook (for my friends over at Renaissance Studios) and my mind started to wander, like it tends to do, especially when my toddler isn’t around to distract me. i can see him on the monitor, sound asleep, looking rather comfy in his new grobag sleepsack. it reminds me that i probably should get more sleep instead of the 5ish hours i’ve been getting all week since my hubby started midnights. i feel like my free time lately has been spent doing everything except what i’d actually like to be doing (like working on little man’s halloween costume, or sorting through our closets and storage area, or just relaxing, crocheting something new which i haven’t done in over a year).

i need a rest. a day to myself (mostly); a day where i actually go to bed at a decent hour (instead of sometime between 12:30 and 2am). a day where i don’t check my email (hahahahaha). a day just for me. but then when i think about taking a whole day to myself i feel guilty and i know i’ll miss my son … ok, so maybe i just need like half a day – that would work, i think. half a day for me! it’s very tiring working part time at a retail store, designing wedding photo albums, doing freelance graphic design, keeping our house looking (somewhat) decent, not letting the laundry pile up too high, chasing around my 20 month old son (eep! where has the time gone!), oh and squeezing in some time to spend with my amazing husband. it seems as though my 24 hour day is really only 12 hours, 5 of which i’m sleeping, 2 where my son naps (or should be) and then there’s maybe 5 hours to do all those aforementioned things. i know i may be exaggerating a little but it sure doesn’t feel like it!

being a parent is tiring more than anything. i love my son, a bigger love than i ever thought possible, but i also love my sleep (and really, who doesn’t). and, i need sleep to function a little better than i have been lately. hubby and i haven’t really had much time to ourselves since he started midnights last Sunday (and he worked OT last night, is there right now working and will be working more OT again tomorrow night. long weekend? nah). he’s at work when i’m sleeping and i wake up shortly after he gets home. he sleeps until around the time the little guy wakes up from his nap and then it’s the 3 of us until wee man goes to bed and then the routine starts over. i’m sure things will get easier as he gets comfortable in his new schedule but this first week has been long. add to that me being at work, hubby doing a few photoshoots on the side (check out his work here!), oh and it’s Thanksgiving this weekend too so pile on the turkey, pie and visiting … aaaaaand being with our son, who seems to be a bit of a mama’s boy lately. i don’t really mind this, except for when we’re at the grocery store, like today, for example, when any time i stepped more than a foot away from the cart (2 feet maybe to grab an item off a shelf – don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, it was a zoo! but i didn’t have much choice as our cupboards were looking pretty bare) little man would shout, “mom! mom! moooooom!”. let me tell you, an hour and a half of that, plus him pulling every item he could reach out of the cart wore my patience thin. oh, and add in his defiance towards his car seat. sorry sweetie, seatbelts and carseats are not optional, especially at your age.

i feel like i’m falling asleep while i type this so perhaps i should turn in for the night; or at least go upstairs and crawl into bed and maybe read (or shop around on Etsy, hehe). i miss the days when little man would just cuddle up and snooze on me; where i could crawl into bed and if he fussed just bring him in to sleep curled up beside me. i miss his newborn smell, his little coos and big sighs BUT i love, so much, the little boy he’s becoming. he may not be a baby anymore but he’ll always be my baby.

busy busy, fun fun.

as much as i love blogging (a.k.a. venting, mostly) life has been über busy lately. our little man will be 17 months old as of this weekend. holy crapola, where has the time gone?! i’ll tell you where; to late night nursing and cuddles, to walks with our hound dog, visits with friends and family, learning to sit up, crawling, standing, feeding himself, walking (and now running), talking, playing and learning. and the list goes on. it’s hard to remember what it felt like when he first came into our lives; a tiny little bundle of love; a little babe who it seemed would stay young and sweet forever. i didn’t realize how fast time truly goes by until i had a baby. i fondly remember sitting in the rocking chair in his room nursing him and just staring at those big, beautiful blue eyes (and ridiculously long lashes) and touching his amazingly soft skin. just sitting and cuddling on the couch not caring about anything but this perfect little man … but now, oh boy, now is different! good, but different. constantly running after him, wondering what he could possibly get into while i try run to the bathroom and pee as fast as humanly possible before those sweet little hands of his open the bathroom door and he peeks in to say “pee!”  … keeping up with the laundry, dishes and sweeping (urgh, the sweeping!) picktwo_parentingthat comes with owning a coonhound, not to mention the regular things around the house that need to get done, and that i’d like to get done (say, tidying the kitchen? bedroom? basement?). most of those things get left on the backburner until hubby gets home from work to help parent. which reminds me, i saw this awesome cartoon the other day that perfectly depicted how things are at our house right now (most of the time anyway) with a toddler on the loose … if you have young children you’ll understand why this is so great.

i really should be working on photobooks (for my awesome friends over at Renaissance Studios) and my freelance design right now (check out my facebook page here) while hubby puts the little guy to bed but, i felt the need to blog, vent, etc. i enjoy writing about our son and what’s going on in our lives. i plan to (one day, not sure how soon) print out my blogs and save them in a little notebook/binder etc so that i can look back and remember the good, the bad and the, sometimes, ugly. there are so many things i still want and plan to write about, like last week when our little guy pooped in his kiddie pool, not one, but two days in a row, and one of the days daddy wasn’t home to help clean up, good times i tell ya. about how he runs around the house yelling mom! mom! how he randomly will yell Da! daaaaaddy! while out grocery shopping (and his dad is not with us, but at work) and how he calls grandpa “bap ba” and grandma “mah ma”. how he hoots like an owl whenever he sees any bird (owl or otherwise). and how so many things you never imagined could be “dut” (stuck) or dirty or “dot” (hot).

and one day, i hope my son will read some of these ramblings and be able to get a sneak peek of how things were growing up, the good, the bad, and the, sometimes, ugly.

a day (sort-of) in the life of a stay-at-home mom

i have been tired lately, so tired. mentally drained. i love my son more than anything in the world (as i’m sure i’ve mentioned many times in my posts here) but being his mama (or just a mama in general) tires you out more than any job you’ll ever have. trust me. there are 168 hours in a week … subtract maybe 7 a day for sleeping (if you’re lucky) and that leaves you with 119 hours of being on the job. yup, the job of being a full-time parent. i’m not saying that those who go back to work after their maternity leave aren’t tired, but they don’t put in 119 plus hours per week with their children. it’s long days and (sometimes) even longer nights. my son relies on me pretty much 24/7, and as much as i’m ok with that arrangement, sometimes mama needs a break. even going to the bathroom with the door closed (i wish) or having the door closed and not having a little voice saying mama! mum! and banging away with a random toy would be a welcome change some days.

here’s my day today …

• woke up my son at 8:45am (if i let him sleep as long as he wants he won’t nap in the afternoon and sure as shit won’t go to bed on time, or willingly, or even at a decent hour)
• gave the little guy a bath
• got myself dressed, did my hair and makeup (somewhat) while hubby got the little guy dressed, bum changed etc
• changed the sheets on his bed as he soaked through everything last night
• fed him breakfast
• ate my own breakfast while getting him more to eat during my eating time
• checked email, Facebook and instagram
• paid a few bills
• washed his face and hands and highchair
• put him down to play for a little while
• kept him away from our dog and my parents’ dog ( a 100lb doberman who’s here for the week while they’re away) even though he was insistent on following them around and trying to whack them or bite them while squealing with excitement the entire time
• washed the dishes and all our new tupperware (oooooooh!)
• hubby took the little guy outside while he bbq’d up some lunch so i could finish tidying the kitchen
• swept the kitchen, dining room and living room floors
• brought my son inside and gave him some milk and a snack (his pre-naptime routine) in the kitchen while he played with toys and came back for more snacks, stopping continuously at the patio door to bang on it and yell at his dad who was outside trying to trim the dogs nails
• took him outside and cut his fingernails and toenails while his dad was outside
• brought him upstairs to change his bum and get him ready for a nap
• said bye to his dad and then rocked him to sleep, after fighting it for about 10 minutes, which he does everyday – laughing, playing with my hair, trying to pinch me, etc. good times.
• went down to the computer to finish up some design work on the winner of the free business card design contest that i held on Facebook after hitting 200 fans (woot woot! check out my page here), check emails, Facebook etc
• little man woke up after 30 mins instead of his usual 2 hour nap
• tried to console him and get him back to sleep … after 45 minutes and some tylenol (pretty sure he’s getting his molars so i thought maybe that was the trouble) he finally stopping whining and crying but didn’t go back to sleep
• brought him downstairs and cuddled with him while i finished up my design work for the contest winner
• back upstairs to give him a snack and drink
• swept the floor again (having 2 big dogs does not make for a nice clean floor – at least it’s only for one week!)
• let the dogs out for a pee
• packed up the kid (plus a drink & snack for him) and headed to the grocery store
• while at the grocery store he decided to play with the cinnamon buns in the cart (pillsbury ones, where you just pop the container and put ’em in the oven) … he always plays with the groceries so i didn’t think anything of it, (because it keeps him entertained, even though he has a drink and snack with him, the groceries are more interesting) until the lid popped off and 3 of the “rolls” flew out onto the floor. and of course there were no employees anywhere to be found.
• back home after an hour out and about
• gave the little guy a spoon and yogurt container to play with while i put the groceries away
• tried to keep him away from hitting and chasing the dogs around (again)
• let the dogs out, this time it was raining so i had to wipe their feet, backs, faces, etc to prevent big wet footprints and hair everywhere (mostly)
• stopped part way through putting groceries away to get the little guy started on dinner because he constantly was wanting to be picked up but it’s hard to put away groceries one-handed with an almost 25lb weight on your hip
• finishing putting away groceries
• ate my dinner that hubby made for me before he left for his afternoon shift (YAY!)
• gave little guy more to eat while i tidied up my dinner mess
• cleaned up his hands, face etc and set him down to play while i washed the dishes and swept again (sick of it yet? i know i am!)
• took my son upstairs to change his poopy bum and get his jammies on
• put on my comfy clothes and got the laundry ready to take down
• let the dogs out again
• watched cartoons with the little guy while he had his bedtime snack and we played
• put away his toys and took him up for his nighttime routine (teeth, playtime, bum change, stories, cuddles)
• after little man was asleep, brought the laundry downstairs
• had a little snack
• started the cloth diaper laundry and sat down at the computer to type this, check email, and do some photo book design work (for Renaissance Studios, check them out here!) etc etc

now i’ll wait for my hubby to get home in approximately half an hour when i’ll be exhausted but still plugging away. i turned on the ball game in the background for some noise (and well, i like watching the Blue Jays, what can i say) but now i hear that the washing machine stopped so back in i go to add the rest of the little guy’s clothes to finish washing up.

then i’ll sleep, wake up, and do it all again – with a few changes of course. gotta keep things interesting.

cloth diapering? yup.

i went for a coffee date with my friend Melissa a few days ago (Hi Melissa!) (ooooh and if you’d like to check out her awesome blog, do so here) … we met through a mutual friend many years ago but haven’t really ever had a one-on-one conversation in person (not that we wouldn’t), it’s just the way things happened. well, this lovely lady is expecting her first little one in just 8 short weeks (or less!) and after many a facebook message regarding cloth diapering (and a few other fun mom-ish things) we decided we’d get together to make our conversing a little more personal.

we chatted for just under 3 hours (and likely could’ve rambled on more) but i wanted to get home to see my little guy before bedtime (yes, i still want that cuddle time; i know it won’t last forever so i gotta milk it while i can!). i must say, i had a great time visiting! it was nice to just sit and chat with a fellow mom (to-be) about all the things i found helpful, useful and my experiences thus far in this thing called parenthood. i firmly believe that the more you know going into a situation, the better you’ll feel, the more confidence you’ll have, and ultimately, the decisions you make will be based on your peers’ experiences rather than just facts found on the internet or in books.

let’s face it, we all love talking about our little ones! i love being able to offer advice and suggestions on things that i know worked (or didn’t) for our little family. especially when it comes to cloth diapering. a topic of conversation that can become heated  if not approached with an honest and open mind.

after the first few weeks of pregnancy sunk in (back in 2012), i started to think more and more about cloth diapering and how i eagerly wanted to try it. i had negative feedback and comments from friends, family and strangers alike. ewwwww, really? you wanna put poop in your washing machine? you’re actually going to try that? good luck! you’ll have so much laundry. disposables are easier. won’t it be expensive? i’ve heard it doesn’t work. once they start eating solids you’ll change your mind … the list goes on! despite all this wonderful feedback, i pushed forward. i truly believed that cloth diapering was the best decision for our soon-to-be bub, our wallet and the landfills. our little guy is 16 months old and still wears the same cloth diapers we purchased before he was born.

was it worth it? yes!!!in the beginning it cost between $300-$400 to build up our stash: shells, liners, wetbags, diaper pail, etc. but when you think about the cost of disposables and how many diapers you go through in a week’s time (especially when they’re really little and you’re changing them sometimes every hour and a half) it’s truly money-saving. consider this: for conversation’s sake, let’s say your 3 month old goes through 8 diapers a day; multiply that by 7 days a week and you get 56 diapers, and that’s your MINIMUM. that doesn’t take into account poop blowouts (through the diaper, pants, jammies, what-have-you). so let’s up the number to 10 a day; now you’re at 70 per week. the average package of diapers is anywhere between $20-$35 and usually has 30-40 in a pack (unless you buy in bulk, but still) … so you’ll need probably 2 of those a week. that works out to an average $40 minimum per week. multiply that by 4 weeks in a month; in 3 months you’ll spend around $480 in diapers alone. one article i found said that the average family spends $1500/year on diapers. seems to be close to my calculations … now think back to how i said we spent between $300-$400 on our cloth diapers; doesn’t sound so bad now does it? and let’s be honest, the amount of laundry you do with a baby is ridiculous anyway. bodily fluids will find their way onto anything and everything you (and they) wear. we do laundry usually every 3 days, which i honestly think is pretty good! we obviously have times where we need to do a bit more washing (when accidents and explosions happen), but overall, twice a week is ok by me. and since our little guy started eating solids we added Bummi’s disposable, flushable and biodegradable liners to our diaper routine and things are even better! no more scrubbing poop off of the cloth, just throw that little mesh liner into the toilet and by by poop! yay! (LOL) … plus, the cloth diapers that we chose “grow” with our little guy – from 8lbs up to 30lbs – so he should get to potty training while still using them (which hopefully will be sooner than later!)

another benefit to cloth diapering is less rashes and irritation – after speaking with fellow mamas, i soon discovered that our little guy had many less diaper rashes than the average baby/toddler (he still has them but they’re few and far between). so of course, i went on the googles and did some snooping around (yes, on the googles). what i found was in fact true; babes who are in cloth statistically have less irritation. the biggest reason? no harsh chemicals. if that’s not a good enough reason to cloth diaper i don’t know what is! … now, i will be honest, we use disposables every now and then. what?! yes, we do. i honestly do not enjoy bringing poop home in a bag (especially that of my toddler) so if we’re on an outing, at the park, the mall, away for the weekend at a hotel, etc, we use disposables. we chose to go with PC (President’s Choice) GREEN diapers. not only are they eco-friendly, they’re fragrance-free and super absorbent! AND they’re easy on the wallet compared to most eco-diapers we’ve found … we tried a few different brands before settling on the PC ones. every other diaper we tried gave our poor little guy a rash or irritated his skin, or just plain stunk. hello, big diaper companies? maybe try something different? just an idea.

if you’re considering cloth diapering, don’t be afraid. it’s an investment well worth the time (money) and effort … as much as i love using cloth diapers, i really am looking forward to no diapers at all. well, for a few years anyway; until we decide if we’re adding to our little family or not 🙂

sleep, what’s that again?

you know that feeling, when you’re so tired that you just want to break down and sob? yeah, me too. that’s how this week has been for us. i can honestly say that this has been the longest and most trying week i’ve had since becoming a mother. i used to think that the first few weeks were the hardest and most tiring, but now, that seems like a walk in the park. i knew why my son was waking up throughout the night, he needed to nurse. i was okay with that because i knew i could slip back into a sweet slumber once he was finished.

i guess i can say we’ve been spoiled when it comes to being parents, up until now. my son was always a great sleeper (save for the odd night of craziness). he’s been going to be around 8-ish and sleeping 11-13 hours straight since last spring, and i’m not exaggerating. whenever he’d have a growth spurt we’d know it, because he’d wake up in the night and want to nurse. i was always fine with that. this past week has been frustrating, mentally-draining, and just exhausting. it’s been almost a week now that my son’s sleep pattern has been extremely off and i don’t know why. he went to bed last Sunday, and all seemed to be well until he woke up only 2 hours later crying. we tried to console him to no avail. he’d be happy, sad, angry, then laughing; every emotion you can think of, except tired. he was wide awake. we changed his diaper and tried getting him back down around 10:30, no luck. my husband came in to try. nothing, just a very awake and crazy kid. changed him again around 1am. we tried leaving him in his crib with toys and leaving the room, that lasted 5-10 minutes before he stood up sobbing and wailing. we tried sitting in the rocking chair while he was in his crib with toys, same results. we tried just leaving the room, same. i was getting extremely frustrated and cranky (because, hey i was tired too) and i held him away from me and said, listen you need to stop it and go to sleep! mommy is very tired and so are you, this isn’t fair!! i firmly set him down in his crib and he started to sob; that scared and upset cry. i picked him up and held him close and i started crying. a lot. after about 15 minutes i set him in his crib while he played with some toys and i quietly sobbed in the rocking chair beside him. i didn’t want to wake my husband up as he had to be up at 5:30 to go to work. i ended up picking him back up and rocked with him until around 3:30am when he finally fell asleep. i’ve honestly never broke down like that. i was upset because i scared him; because i was so tired; because i couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t sleep. because everything in my heart was telling me that he was fine but it just didn’t seem like it was. sleep deprivation isn’t good for anyone, especially an already worn out mother.

he stayed asleep until about 10am the next day, which was fine i suppose, but then was a miserable, cranky baby most of the day because, why? you guess it, not enough sleep. he went down for a 3 hour nap (which was awesome for me) and i thought maybe that would help him. that night we did the usual routine again. and again he fell asleep, just the same as always only this time he woke up about an hour after he initially passed out. the night before repeated itself with him finally falling asleep around 3:15am. i was losing my patience throughout the night. i normally wouldn’t be frustrated with him until probably an hour or more of farting around but i was at the point where after 15 minutes i was irritated, ready to snap. it was starting to wear on me because i couldn’t figure out what was wrong. my husband brought home a beautiful bouquet of flowers to cheer me up (they really are beautiful and still going strong) and told me that i was doing a great job but that i needed to take a break.  he put our son to bed that night and miraculously the wee man slept for the whole night through! with only one wake up for about 15 minutes (i’ll take it). i thought, thank you! yes!! the next evening (Thursday) we had plans to go for dinner and a comedy show with some friends and my sister was coming over to babysit. she said the little guy was great and he only woke up once before we got home. awesome. hubby and i relaxed on the couch until about 11:45 when our son woke up. surprise surprise. up we went. changed his bum and this time we were up with him until between 3-4am. my hubby was amazing. after i tried and tried he came in and told me to go get some sleep and he’d try. i felt so guilty because he had to get up to work but he kept insisting. my hubby sent me a text Friday morning to tell me that he cancelled his overtime for Saturday so that i could get some rest. he told me to go out that night, do whatever i want and not come home until whenever, or stay out all night.  what a guy. i am so thankful to have such an amazing and supportive man in my life. i did go out. i went and had my makeup done (just for fun because a friend of mine is a very talented makeup artist who works at MAC), then went out for dinner with a long-time friend to a tasty little restaurant called Ben Thanh (yummmm) and then did a little grocery shopping before getting home between 9-9:30pm. i went to bed a few hours later and the little guy didn’t wake up once. he slept 14 hours straight! holy crap! i guess he was catching up on some much needed rest.

we looked up some info on sleep regression as a friend of my husband’s suggested maybe that’s what was going on. i hope it doesn’t last 2-6 weeks like a few of the articles we found said it could. i understand that their sleep patterns/habits can get thrown off when they’re learning new things but honestly, i never expected it to be like this.

last night was another one for the record books. he slept for maybe 20 minutes and then was wide awake until 1am when he passed out in my arms. he stayed asleep until just before 6am. i changed and rocked him and he was back out by 7-ish and stayed out until 10am. he’s napping again right now (hubby just got him down).

I should’ve wrote this in the middle of the night when i was awake and frustrated and at my wit’s end. maybe it would help for the next time this happens, because i’m sure this isn’t the last.