Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vacation Redefined

We just got back from our first family vacation. It was fun to see all our family and friends. It was fun to get a break from the normal routine for a few days. But I'm not sure I would call it vacation! Tony and I would count things every time we changed buses, cars, or airplanes. Three bags, two backpacks, stroller, carseat, one baby. It was definitely a learning experience!

When I was little, vacation was about going different places, seeing new things, and visiting family. Becoming a teenager meant vacations were about sleeping late, staying up late, and hanging out. My twenties found vacations full of entertainment.....wherever we went, there had to be something to do. Now, well, now, vacations are least for now. Having a one year old on vacation means life doesn't change, it's just in a different location. No sleeping in, no break from responsibility, not much relaxing. But the time spend with family and friends took over focus and all was enjoyable.

I realized that maybe vacations don't have to be trips out of state. Maybe they don't have to be planned outings that take up an entire day. Rather, if I change my perspective, I can have a vacation every day. I can take a vacation in the quiet car while I'm driving Dakota around so she can take a nap. I can enjoy vacation for the three hours I have to myself every Tuesday morning. Dakota can join me for vacation when we walk to the mailbox. The possibilities are endless this way! I can vacation in bed every night for an hour before I go to sleep!

As with most things, awareness is key to my newfound escapes. Realizing I have these times will allow me to enjoy them. Appreciating what is there only makes it better. Opening up for the possibilities that God can bring every better than vacation.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Rambling Wishes

Whew! It's been quite the time lately. The last two months have passed by quickly and with many emotions. What else is new? It feels like I have less and less time and more and more to do. Dakota's teething, walking, and in the middle of everything. In other words, I spend more time now worrying that I'm being a good mom and that my little girl is learning to be "good", whatever that means. Dakota demands so much attention that I tend to ignore everything else. I get up when she does, and I go to bed right after she does. It's purely survival tactics. I don't even usually get out of my work clothes until after I eat dinner and she goes to bed. Good thing scrubs are comfy!

I'm happy with so much and yet there's so much more I want to work on. God has stayed by my side the last two months, even though the time I have spent with Him has lessened. Noticing my stress and frustration level increasing, I've made the conscious effort to spend more time with Him through music, reading and prayer. It never feels like enough. I wish I had more time to study the Bible..........I wish I had more time to learn......I wish I had more time to build stronger connections with people that God has recently placed in my life (more on that later)......I wish........I wish........I wish......I wish I felt ok with being the person I am right at this very moment. I am so thankful that God is always there and loving me each and every moment. I pray that He lead me not only in my actions, but in my thoughts. HE gets me through each day.....HE is the shining light in my baby's eyes......HE is the only one.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Center of a Blur

This is the first week in almost a year that I'm working outside the home for a full week. That's right - 5 days in a row. Basically from 8 to 5:00 every day, some days earlier, some days later. I'm already a little nervous (ok maybe more than a little) after finishing day one. Things were going great at work and then the phone call came.........Mary had an accident and thought she might have broken her jaw or gotten a concussion. Could Tony please pick Dakota up? Let the Daddy Duty begin! :) Tony only has two more weeks before he goes back to school, so I'm very thankful that he was around to go pick her up. Mary's doing ok, but we haven't heard whether day care is open for business tomorrow or not.

The afternoon was a blur at work we were so busy and short staffed. I got home to a screaming child who wouldn't eat for Daddy and a husband who was ready to run out the door. I pleaded for two minutes to use the bathroom and then took over dinner duty. And five minutes later Tony was out the door to "de-stress". Dakota's really teething today so her teeth didn't want to let her took a lot longer to get her to sleep tonight.

And we get to do this all over again tomorrow??? As a wise friend said, "tomorrow is a new day". He grants us that every minute, every day. Every minute is full of new possibilities. Just because today was like a zoo doesn't mean tomorrow will be. But in the middle of it all, peaceful or not, He's there with me. I don't want to forget to look up every once in a while to remind myself. It gets so crazy that the focus is on the crazy and not the true focus. Lord, help keep me centered by keeping you at my center!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Accept and Appreciate

I've wanted to write for so many weeks and now that I have the chance my mind just went blank. My mother in law has been with us for almost three weeks now. As if keeping an 11 month old entertained wasn't enough! In the past I've often had a challenging relationship with her. My husband was a true momma's boy. Notice I say was? :) It was amazing to see Tony's center of life change once Dakota came along. Suddenly his family was first and foremost in everything.

Anyhoo, I prayed for weeks before she arrived, and since, for help in accepting and appreciating her. That's been my main desire. I don't think we'll ever have a warm fuzzy relationship like I see others have - and I've come to accept that that's ok. It used to be that whenever she came for a visit I would end up in tears numerous times. She doesn't realize it, but she's a very demanding person. Another factor is that she also acts about 80 even though she's only 62 due to some medical issues she had right after I met Tony. So I feel guilty whenever I get frustrated with her.

God's been by my side -- I've only been in tears once and she's only here for two more days. And our once a week outings where it was just the two of us were actually enjoyable. I know that it is only through Him that I have been able to get through these last three weeks and not have a heavy burden on my shoulders. I've been able to sit back, do what I need to do, and let her do whatever she needs to do. I still have guilt issues "Are you sure you don't want me to pay for Molly Maids?" or "I could've made a wig from all the dog hair I got when I dusted the end table." but I've been able to feel it, and then move on. In the past I felt it, hung on to it, and let the next one pile on top of it.

And I definitely have appreciated her this trip. Neither Tony or I have hardly cooked in the last three weeks. The dishes are always done. We didn't pay for groceries for two weeks. She's good with Dakota and wants to do anything and everything to help her. Sometimes her good intentions aren't the most helpful, but she always means well. I have to come up with a creative way to let her know that I really did appreciate all her help while she was here.

So in a few days I will have easier access to the computer and get reconnected to the world a bit more. Although by having her here staying in the guest room where the computer is actually made me spend more time with God. Now that can't be anything but a good thing!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

God is Great!

I don't have much time right now but wanted to post a few things I'm oh so thankful to God for.....
  • making Dakota feel better after being sick the first time
  • putting Mary in our lives to take care of Dakota (and us too!)
  • my Mom for teaching me how to communicate and care for older people
  • helping me hold my tongue rather than make matters worse
  • placing me in the right job with the right people at the perfect time
  • God being there for me always so that I'm never alone
  • the strength to do whatever I need to do each day to get through it
  • my husband for making sure we're always safe and secure
  • God reaching out to me and bringing me in closer when He knew it was right

He gets me through each and every day. Whenever I feel uncertain or doubtful I turn to Him knowing He is ready to listen at a moments notice. Thank You Lord for all Your Love!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Jesus In, Jesus Out

Remember the saying "You are what you eat?" I've got a new one with the same idea - "Jesus In, Jesus Out". I've been trying to make a conscious effort to focus on God more in everyday life. For a while K-LOVE has been the only radio station I listen to, but there are lots of other areas awaiting improvement. Dakota and I take walks on the weekend and whenever I'm home in the morning. I have a specific point in our walk (where the sidewalk turns flat) where I talk to God. I give thanks as well as put in my special requests.

The biggest area I've noticed change in has been my reading material. The last two or three months I've started reading again. Usually about a book or so a week. I had some books by Christian authors I hadn't read and really enjoyed them. Then I picked up a trashy romance novel or two and zoomed through those. They were fun, but didn't get much out of them. Then I picked up a few more Christian fiction books and wow, have I noticed their impact! The positive characters full of faith and love that these authors create are so much more meaningful than any Danielle Steele novel (and who hasn't read those?). Some of the discussions they have with God make it seem like the author knew what I was thinking.

Regardless, I know this is another way God is reaching to me. I've been able to be more patient with Tony and Dakota lately. A little less irritable.....or maybe I'm just getting better at focusing on the important stuff. I'm ashamed to say that I don't read the Bible as often as I should. But I honestly feel like that's what is coming next. God is preparing me for something. Thankfully He's doing it one step at a time. I already know His timing is perfect, so I just have to follow His lead wherever it takes me. For now, I'm enjoying seeing what comes next.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Getting In the Groove

Alright, I think we're getting this new schedule thing down! (Now that I've said that something is destined to come up!) Tony is stepping up a bit more picking up Dakota from daycare and even feeding her dinner. We've got Dakota down to nursing just first thing in the morning and taking a bottle to go to bed. I'm figuring out which things are easier to take care of the night before. Things like Dakota's clothes for the next day, figuring out what's for dinner, collecting anything I have to take to work with me.

Dakota is doing so well at daycare....which makes it a little easier to breathe. She's learning what music is...she now dances anytime she hears music...and sometime the music is just in her head and she dances anyway. She rolls around on the floor more playing without getting fussy as fast. We are so blessed to have Mary in our lives!

Although difficult, I think going back to work has been really good for me too. I miss my baby and talk about her all the time. But I can't tell you how much more valuable each minute that I spend with her is. It shouldn't be, but it's different now. I actually wanted Tony to stay home Sunday morning so I could take Dakota to Babies R Us all by myself!

Tony started teaching summer school today, but his schedule shouldn't change ours too much. This is starting to work out......this whole family-schedule-work-no rest thing. And I'm liking it!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Settling In

Well, it's our second week of Mommy working and everyone is surviving so far. It's going to take us a few weeks to get used to new schedules and figure out what we're really doing. My guilt is starting to creep in a bit when I think about the fact that Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays Mary sees Dakota more than I do. So I try not to think about it. And yet I seem to actually have more patience with Dakota now that I'm away working. I know someplace in there it makes sense. And yes, I have another dose of guilt knowing that I'll also be taking her to daycare for a few hours on Thursdays, my day off. But I need time too! Right?

The job is going great. I'm enjoying the work and the people very much. Which is a huge relief that I don't have to stress about that part of life right now. My fixation now is getting myself, my husband, and Dakota used to a new schedule. And next week Tony starts teaching summer school for a month. And the week after that my mother-in-law comes to stay with us for THREE weeks. Arg, it's a bit overwhelming! I need to suddenly let go of some of the smaller things that in the grand scheme of things don't make that much of a difference. (What do you mean it was trash day and you didn't empty all the trashcans before you took the trash out?!) Breathe....Jesus loves me, this I know.........

Thursday, May 31, 2007

All In A Day's Work

Boy am I tired! After nine and a half months, I started back to work yesterday. It's a good tired. I think God definitely put me in the right spot for what I need. The people are wonderful, patient, and very helpful. The work is busy, but without a lot of stress (at least for now). Of course that doesn't mean there's no stress completely...................

Ten minutes after I got to my new job on Wednesday, my phone rang. It was day care...Dakota was sick with a fever. Yikes! She had a fever the day before but we chalked it up to teething. So a flurry of phone calls coordinated Daddy going to pick her up, giving Daddy a schedule to work with and setting a doctor's appointment. The office manager instantly offered to let me go for the day, but I couldn't do that on my first day! So I told her it would do Daddy good to take care of Dakota and we'd be fine. Of course that didn't stop me from constantly thinking and worrying about the situation. So I finally asked if I could just leave after lunch and she thought that was a grand idea. Family friendly! Yes, I am blessed!

So I met everyone at the doctor. No ear infection as initially thought, just a stuffy cold. Ok, we can deal with that! But the fever meant another day at home with Daddy. Uh oh. This was going to take some smooth talking. We got Daddy calmed down with a feeding schedule, lots of reassurance, and a quick trip to the casino to relieve some stress.

Daddy did great! And Dakota did too. I knew they would. But Tony had to find out for himself that he could do it. Maybe there was a plot somewhere in Dakota's getting sick. Anyhoo, they ran errands, went to McDonalds, took a walk, played and napped. I came home to lots of smiles. Tony said it was the longest day of his life. (Now he understands why we go shopping everyday!)

Everyone worked really hard and everyone survived. I feel slightly guilty for enjoying going back to work. But I feel very fortunte that no matter who Dakota is with - me, Daddy or at daycare with Mary - she is truly safe and happy. Next week starts my full schedule. I'm at 30 hours so that means Thursdays off and Tuesdays half days. More work next week figuiring out how dinner, bedtime, and everyday things like grocery shopping are going to get scheduled. But that's just the details. For once all the big stuff is in order. All in a Day's Work.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Am I missing the boat?

I've been praying so hard lately for the right job to find me. Not just a job that is right for me, but also for Dakota and our family. Suddenly there were so many more things to take into consideration. What time would I have to get up to get Dakota and myself fed and ready to go? How long would I be without her each day? Are they going to throw a fit if there's a dr. appt or day without daycare? All these new factors were tiring within themselves. But I went on a few interviews and kept sending out resumes knowing that something would stick.

I prayed and I prayed that God bring the right job to me. I knew in His time everything would work out and I was ready to take whatever time it took to find the right situation. But then I got a call back from a dentist office wanting a working interview. And my heart indicator that it really wasn't what I wanted. But it's not just me I'm looking out for now, so I agreed to it. The call I really wanted was from the eye doctor's office. They were so nice at the interview, admitted to being family friendly and were willing to let me start part time and work up to full time. I agonized over and over the dentist office in my head. I finally called and canceled my daylong interview. I knew in the end that if I wasn't going to be happy myself, then chances are it wasn't going to work out for them or Dakota either. But was I turning down an opportunity that God had placed in front of me?

And then it happened....the eye doctor called back! Yea! I actually start next week. They're working on the schedule, but it sounds like I will be working 4 days a week. I have this feeling in my heart that this is where I'm supposed to be. Never mind that it's 40 minutes away, doesn't offer health insurance, and I'm taking yet another pay cut. sure do I feel about this again? But I prayed right? Yep, but how do I know I'm hearing God's answer?

Just to confuse things more, the day after I accepted the position, another place called wanting an interview. A place that is a half mile from my house. A position that probably offers health insurance, my own office, and a chance to actually use my degree. Arg! Did I miss it? Did I misread God's opportunity for choosing what I wanted? I kept going back to the joke that the little boy told in the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness". The jist of it is that a man who is drowning waves two rescue boats on by because he says God will save him. The man drowns and asks God in Heaven why He didn't save him? "I sent two boats," God replies.

I so want to do the right thing by choosing the right job. I'm scared to go back to work for various reasons. I've gone round and round with myself, with God, trying to figure it out. Am I missing the boat? How do we know which signs are for us? For know I'll continue to pray that I'm going the direction that God wants me to take. That will most help my family. Because suddenly it's not about health insurance and offices anymore.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Carseat is Empty!

I spent three hours at the mall yesterday with my friend Lauren -- three hours! And all without a stroller. Dakota was at daycare for most of the day. It's weird after all this time to keep looking in the rearview mirror and thinking I forgot the baby because she's not there. Or thinking that she's sleeping because it's so quiet. So instead of feeling foolish for talking to myself (Dakota is my main source of conversation), I called others while I drove to keep busy.

Lauren and I had a leisurely lunch......what, I don't have to scarf my food down just in case someone starts to get fussy?! Then we walked around the mall, browsing, buying and returning. I had to carry my own bags though, couldn't put them in the stroller. And I couldn't keep a drink handy in the stroller's cupholder. Of course I also had use of both of my hands for the entire afternoon!

So while it's nice to have some time to myself for a change, it's also taking some getting used to. I think it's a good lesson in striving to enjoy the moment I'm in. Enjoy the time I'm with Dakota, because she's cute and fun and I miss her when I'm not with her. And then enjoy the free mommy time because she's cute and fun and I miss her when I'm not with her.

Ok, I have to run a few more errands and go fill the carseat!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

It's Daddy's Turn.....Almost

I finally convinced Tony to start sharing in Dakota's bedttime routine with me getting ready to go back to work. Tonight was the first night and it was kind of funny to be the one in the other room overhearing things for a change. It started by my getting out Dakota's pajamas and putting them on the changing table. Then I left. Then I heard a lot of laughing and "Daddy's not very good at this." Apparently Tony thought he would just take Dakota's shirt off like he does his own -- just lifting her arms and trying to pull it off all at once. Ha! Then I heard "Mommy!". Which meant she had pooped. Daddy doesn't change poopy diapers. (Well, he really doesn't change any, but he WON'T change poopy ones unless stranded on an island) So we got that taken care of. I smiled as I watched Tony pick up the pajamas as I left the nursery -- he was turning them up and around trying to figure out which way they went. It took a few rounds of snapping to get it together right and we were on our way!

Dakota has two teeth that we just started brushing, so I told him tonight I would do it so he could see what we do. He laughed when Dakota opened her mouth on her own, ready for our toofies to be brushed. Storytime! Another 5 minutes I can scoot out into the kitchen and clean up. "Mommy! What ones do I read to her?" Well, you read all four that are on the stool and then you let her pick one of those four to read a second time. Ok, so I like to stretch bedtime out and she really can pick one on her own. It's pretty funny to watch. But his response was funny too. "ALL of them?" Yep!

So next time (Tuesday) Daddy will also be brushing teeth and trying a bottle. All of his questions and little goofs reminded me of everything I did with Dakota when we brought her home. Ok, so he's nine months behind......but I can't tell you how monumental it is to get this far. He told me today that he's still scared at the thought of taking care of her by himself. Which that admission in a calm voice is also pretty impressive for him. I realized after my mom left to go back to Michigan when Dakota was three weeks old, I had to figure things out on my own. There was no one to teach me. But I could do something better for Tony. I could help him learn how to take care of our daughter. The trick is to not let him know I'm doing it.