Monday, April 26, 2010

Four plus

My heart is breaking a little bit. For the past three or four days Sweet One has not been herself. On either side of her two front teeth I can see two teeth coming down very slowly - that makes four in total. But because she only had 4 teeth at fifteen and a half months I figured that there were probably more on their way that I couldn't see. I was right! As we were trying to get a diaper on her after her bath, Big Love looked on the bottom and there was a molar that had broken through. I just hope all the other little fukkers that are on their way hurry the hell up because I hate seeing her so uncomfortable.

Friday, April 23, 2010

I spent my day breathing through a dust mask

With our house being an unknown age upwards of 75 years, there are a shitload of projects that need to be done. One frustrating issue with these projects is that whoever did similar projects before us often had them done half-assed and so my job becomes much more difficult.

One such job is our front porch. Part of if needed to be sanded and painted and another part needs to be replaced all together. Luckily, my stepfather has said that he will help me with the replacement part when he is here next week. Today was the day I planned on renting a sander, being done that stept halfway through the day so that I could prime and get a first coat of paint on the part that was to be painted by the end of the day but oh! no! Something had to go wrong and make what I was hoping to be a slightly smooth ride into more of a mud bogging adventure.

If you think of my porch as an oreo cookie, the sweet delectable inside is a different kind of wood with a shitload of old green paint stubbornly holding on for dear life. It took forever to get it off. To make matters worse, I started with the wrong type of sander. I had used the first sander when I refinished my floors upstairs in the house and it was fine. I really thought it was going to be ok. I did not want to try a drum sander because I was afraid of them (and because I heard my dad's voice telling me I'd wreck the wood with it). In the end, I rented two machines and didn't wreck any wood! The drum sander was much easier to use but the whole round of sanding took until 5:30. Edging needs to get done tomorrow and I hope it goes a little smoother so Big Love can spend a few hours at work. (We also need to get to a friend's house for dinner because she made me a birthday cake that I have to eat tomorrow.)

There is one aspect of this whole thing that I am very happy about and that is the fact that I did not end up lying on the porch sobbing because I had to spend more money than I thought and it took so much longer. When I did my floors upstairs I followed some bad advice and the project did not go as well as planned and I had a few meltdowns. I guess I can call this progress! (Now if only I can turn off the negative chatter I hear every time I start something like this.)

Now I will go and enjoy the first muscle relaxant I have taken since before I was pregnant. These muscles are aching and I'm looking forward to the trip!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

On a day like today....

... I wear a tshirt that has stains on it: A few from before and a few more from my daughter's smoothie. But I keep wearing it because it is so damn soft and comfortable.
... everything feels more unmanageable than it is: the porch that will be sanded down on Friday so it can be repainted and repaired, the rooms that need to be cleaned and prepped for my mother and stepfather's visit, the small daily tasks, the yard and garden work - can I actually get this stuff done without something exploding?
... everything feels different: I find it hard to change my expectations to work more with what is here and now as opposed to what once was
... I feel like the crappiest mother in the world: despite Sweet One's frequent outbursts of frustration, there were so many moments of sheer happiness that I couldn't enjoy as much as I would like to
... I am terrified of the future: will we be able to eventually move somewhere and still own a house in a good area without being completely 'house poor'? will I really be able to handle getting pregnant again and having another child when I feel like I can barely function right now?

And despite being completely manageable on most days, on a day like today these things feel huge and suffocating all because my sleeping was completely fukked last night: 1am-3am and 4am-9am (with a short wake up while Big Love got up with Sweet One). Seriously - does God have it in for me? I feel like I get my ass kicked every time I have a night like that.

But then Sweet One turns her face to me as I give her her teething tablet and then reaches her chin up close for a big kiss. Luckily, I give her two tablets so I get two of these wonderful kisses. And then I know that all I need to do is breathe, take one thing at a time and these all will pass.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Trying to not feel like I'm doing it all backwards

I've heard it said that one half of life is figuring out what you want to do with it. The other, more important, half is finding who you want to be there with you. When I was young it was drilled into me (whether it was intentional or not) that the order of things was University (college, as they say on this side of the border), a career, marriage and then kids. There is part of me that feels like a failure on a regular basis because I am lacking the career. At the same time, there is the idea out there to follow what makes you happy and then everything else will fall into place.

In order for Big Love and I to move to this place so that he could start his career in church music, I gave up a short career in voice instruction and professional singing. I had only been out of school for a few years and I was just starting to figure out what it might take to be able to do more of it. After making the decision to move I truly believe that there would be opportunities for me here. I didn't think that I would be giving up everything. I whole-heartedly believed that coming here had purpose for me. At this point in time I do not know what that purpose is.

I spend my days with Sweet One. Playing with her and doing everything else a SAHM does. I would not trade the moments of watching her learn new things for anything. I want to be at home with her now. But that doesn't mean I haven't had my moments of fear and frustration lately. I am afraid that the longer I stay at home the further I get to ever having a career; I am frustrated that I am even further away from knowing what it is that I am meant to do. I say meant to do because there is a part of me that believes there is something out there that will give meaning to my life and enable me to feel like I am fulfilling my true potential. I have never wanted to spend my entire adult life being a SAHM and I know that should that be all I do I will not be happy.

Perhaps in five or ten years down the road I will look back at my time in this town as a place where we could own our first home and get some debt paid off. With the low cost of living here I am able to stay at home with Sweet One and still have a few small luxuries here and there. (It's also been a place that has taught me, hard and quick, how to live within our means!) For now I will try to focus on that second part of life - who it is I want to be there with me.

This has been on my mind for awhile and I've been struggling lately and so I thought putting it out there might help me sort it out a bit. This post is a bit of a scattered mess and I apologize for that.

Monday, April 12, 2010

After 15 months and 5 days

I've been nursing Sweet One just before she goes to sleep. Because I never used a bottle during the first twelve months of her life, there were moments when I felt like too much was being taken from me, both physically and emotionally. But I was committed to it. I did not want to have to wean her from me and a bottle. I can honestly say I can't remember when the daily feeds came to an end but none of them were difficult. Sweet One simply stopped asking for it, or she wouldn't take any.

For the past month, I've had moments where I've felt that I didn't want to have to nurse before bed anymore but I was continuing because I felt like Sweet One wasn't ready to be weaned from this last feeding. Every night as soon as we left the bathroom for her room, Sweet One would go straight to the nursing pillow and giggle as I lifted her onto my lap. It immediately calmed her down and got her ready for sleep. Lately, I'd be feeding her hoping that soon she would take the lead and show me she didn't want it anymore. I was afraid that weaning her from this feeding would be difficult.

Tonight after her bath she did not go straight for the nursing pillow. She was quite busy combing her wet hair. Following her lead I immediately asked her if she'd like to read books. I was a little nervous that she might change her mind so I read her an extra one and gave her a few more snuggles than usual before asking her if she'd like to go in her crib. She giggled to say "yes, my crib please" and then I kissed her cheek and said good night while she snuggled with her elephant. As much as she's been into full toddlerdom lately, that one feeding gave me my little baby back for a moment. But tonight, I feel like she's a little further from those days. I brushed her cheek with my hand and said an extra "Good night, I love you".

I'm a little sad that maybe I am finished nursing my little girl, but incredibly relieved at how naturally this moment has evolved. My baby girl is growing up much too fast.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gotta love Jamie!

When I first moved to this little town, one of the first major culture shocks I experienced was the problems with obesity. I'm not saying Canada doesn't have its own issues with obesity, but I was somewhat shocked by just how large some people were. It made me sad. I don't know what the actual causes for an individual's obesity but I can only imagine how hard it is to live with the health (and not to mention the emotional) ramifications of it.

The first time I went into a fast food restaurant, I ordered the same thing I would have in Canada - chili, medium fries and a medium diet coke. I didn't exactly get what I had expected. What ended up in front of me was, from my experience, a large fries and large diet coke.

One day I was craving crap food and so I went to the grocery and bought some battered fish, pockets with pizza ingredients inside and a few other things. I was shocked at how little money I spent to buy these items.

Between these two experiences, it was starting to make sense why there is such an issue with obesity. When you don't make a lot of money, buying these types of foods at the prices that they are can lead you to believe you're getting more food than you would otherwise.

I've fallen in love a wee bit with Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. I can not get through an episode without crying. I see a man who is desperately trying to help people be healthier with simple changes that will have drastic effects on their lives. It breaks my heart to see a 17 year old girl tell people that the doctors have given 5-7 years because of her poor liver health. What Jamie Oliver is doing is crazy and yes, it can come across as 'that brit who is trying to tell us how to live our lives', but in the end I personally see someone who cares so deeply about the people of Huntington, WV. I really hope that the Revolution will take and help the community to become healthier.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Yesterday afternoon as Sweet One was walking up and down the sidewalk in front of our house, I noticed Big Love making his way to us. I didn't expect to see him so early but it was a nice surprise. He was halfway down the block and I said to Sweet One, "Who's there?" She let out a squeal as a smile covered her face. She ran (or as close as she can come to running) down the block towards her Dad. He squatted down, opened up his arms and as she was about to run into them, she swerved and kept on going down the sidewalk!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

And on the third day, I felt like a teenager (just for a moment)

The third day we let Sweet One have her nap again in the morning. Trying to keep her quiet and content in the hotel room until it was nap time began to get very difficult. She screamed just for the hell of it on a regular basis and there was no way for us to stop her from doing this. As soon as her stroller was getting pulled out of the closet she got excited and then we were off!As long as we were moving, Sweet One didn't care what we did. We didn't return to our hotel room until about 7 hours after we left. The streets in the French Quarter are lined with such interesting buildings. I absolutely love the balconies. One building had a sign that said it was the site where slaves were bought and so. Definitely hard to imagine as we peered through the glass to see nothing that would ever corroborate that. We watched a few travel DVDs before leaving and learned that a lot of the homes in the French Quarter would have housed the mistresses of the rich men and these mistresses were often black slaves who would have their own slaves. Hard to believe that such a hierarchy existed in this part of history. I can not fathom it.
Later in the afternoon, after eating crayfish and alligator outisde at The Market Cafe while listening to live jazz, we spent some more time in Jackson Square. Sweet One let me hold her while we danced a bit to this Dixieland Jazz Brass Band. They were freakin' awesome. I loved it. I think Sweet One got a little overwhelmed by the noise and so we left but I would have stayed there all afternoon.
In this picture you can see Sweet One beside her stroller. In the cup holder is my 20oz hurricane. According to the bar tender, it contained fruit punch, rum, rum and more rum and came out of a slurpee machine, premixed! I also got a free shooter of Sex on the Beach. This was the strangest feeling ever. I do not remember the last time I had a shot and the last time I was drinking a slurpee with liquor in it did not end well. I felt like a teenager again and then I looked at Sweet One. Lukcily, this afternoon ended well. We searched as much of the French Quarter as we could for pecan pie but couldn't find any, settled for Gelato and then made our way back to the hotel.

The last two days in New Orleans were just what I had hoped the trip would be. I am so glad that we got to go there and see a city that is truly unlike any we've seen before.