Monday, January 30, 2012

Looking Back...

This time last year I was waiting on a phone call. The phone call was from my current employer. I was waiting to see if they wanted to hire me. I had been on the interview, they liked me (at least I hoped), and I was just waiting.

I had been job hunting pretty much since I had returned from maternity leave. At first I didn't want to look, but I knew it was heading in that direction. I was comfortable at my old job and happy. BUT a few weeks into my maternity leave Kevin was laid off. We didn't know what the future would hold for us at that time but I found myself looking at jobs for me while I was helping Kevin look for jobs.

Thankfully Kevin found a new job within 3 months and all was mostly back to normal. I kept looking. We had suffered a pay cut, my current job wasn't as flexible as I wanted it to be having a new born baby, and I felt like my position was moving towards a place I didn't want to go. I found a few companies I liked and went on a few interviews. They either didn't want me or I didn't want them. Nothing was fitting. Almost a year later I was feeling down and out. I was at a point in my old job where I needed to find something or stick it out for a transition.

The beginning of December 2010 I applied for a Web Developer position at the community college. Then I didn't hear anything back. The whole month ticked by and NOTHING. I was pretty sure that the job was it for me. I had had a feeling about it when I submitted my resume...... I waited.... I gave up hope.

Apparently... I didn't realize that the WHOLE college shuts down after exams and goes on winter break (something I just experienced last month!). No one was there to look at my resume!

FINALLY they called. January 3rd 2011, I got my phone call. I was so happy I couldn't stand myself. We scheduled my interview and I was pumped. There wasn't going to be a preliminary phone interview first, they wanted to meet me. ME!

I had to reschedule the interview the day of due to the classic 1 year old getting sick. I felt awful having to call and cancel. I swore I saw my chance running down the tubes. They were understanding. We rescheduled.

Finally.... the interview. I don't think I had ever been so calm and on point in any interview. It was almost as if all the other interviews were just practice for me. I was there. I was in the moment. It was my job.

So this time last year... I sat at my desk at my old job. Waiting. Waiting for that phone call. I knew they had called my references. I waited. They called.

There was some negotiations, a dance as I reviewed the benefits that worked perfectly for our family, an acceptance, and paper work to be mailed. BUT most of all it was hitting me that I would have to leave my awesome coworkers behind. That was something I didn't think of during all my waiting. I started to get scared and nervous. How could I go on working without them, laughing without them, and going to lunch without them? It felt impossible.

I started my current job on March 1, 2011. The best change my life had taken me since finding out I was pregnant with Connor (not comparing changing a job to having a kid... just the way it felt).

Looking back to the worried Amanda a year ago... I just want to reminder her and everyone else that the best things in life are worth waiting for. BIG change is NOT scary and you can't force things to happen until they are ready. Keep holding your chin up, think positive, what you put out to the universe will come back to you and smile!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Gross Side of Toys

Toys gross? Yes... yes... yes... I'm not talking about the germ gathering factor... I'm talking about the gross looking factor. This will be a poopy blog post.... beware!

April 2011 I found a play kitchen for Connor on craigslist. I got a really great Step2 kitchen and 2 HUGE tubs of play food for $80 or $100 (Mommy brain just can't remember anymore)... Either way, it was a GREAT deal. I brought it home, Connor LOVED it and I went through the play food. I sorted the food into keep, give away and throw out.... then I promptly disinfected the keep and give away pile.

Lately (almost a year later), Connor has really been into playing with the fake food. He wants me to sit at the table and then brings me food to eat. Super cute, I know. BUT now I'm actually looking at this food and some of it just grosses me out. See pictures below.

Burgers... they all look like something I've seen or will see in Connor's diaper

Baked bean... I KNOW I've seen something like this in Connor's diaper

A topping of some sort... looks like throw up.....

The meat on this taco just looks gross....

A chocolate chip cookie that looks like there are large bugs on it...

A pile of peas.... goes with the diaper trend

Nothing like a poopy looking T-Bone Steak!
Nothing like pretending to chow down on some fake food that makes you want to gag! Do you have any toys around your house that do the same thing?!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Running Forward!

I've finally been able to get some running in! On Tuesday the weather was beautiful and I got a great run in as planned. These runs are nice because there is more walking than running! I take time to breath in the nice weather around me during the walking portion of the runs.

I was supposed to run yesterday but it was cold and supposed to rain. It just stayed dreary all day and I didn't pack my running stuff. I curled up with Book 4 and dove into Teddy's childhood during my lunch break. I wasn't too concerned about not running because I knew today was coming....

Today was in the UPPER 50's and once the storm clouds from the morning rolled out it made for perfect running weather. Maryland winter weather this year is really out of whack. One morning we wake up to ice on the ground then a few days later we're hearing thunderstorms on the way into work!

The sky was soooo beautiful at the track this afternoon that I took pictures during my walk intervals as the clouds rolled out. Enjoy!


Found a large puddle to avoid this afternoon.....

The blue skies were trying to peek through for me

Sloooowly and surely.....

TA DA!
Those gray skies were rolling to the other side of campus and out to route 50!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another Side of Me

In my pre Connor days I was very much into the holistic health community. I supported fellow holistic health practitioners, taught Reiki Workshops, had Reiki Clients and at one point taught a Meditation for Children workshop. I loved (and still do) being surrounded doing and being around the energy work. In the last year and a half I haven't done much outward Reiki but I've done a lot of personal Reiki in keeping the mommy stress to a minimum. In the last month the outward Reiki has been creeping slowly back into my life from all different avenues.


Leading up to Connor's birth I was still teaching and seeing clients. It was quite the experience (you can read about it here). After Connor was born, I did teach a few workshops here and there and I also still saw clients. BUT over time.... I started having less free time because Connor's naps were becoming fewer and fewer. I also wanted to start having most of my free time spent with Connor as much as I could. Now a days, it just not easy to have a Reiki client with a toddler in the house. Its not a bad thing really.... Just kind of a hibernation of sorts. I've enjoyed the personal journey thus far but I'm excited to be talking with others about it again. I doubt that I'll be developing a workshop schedule anytime soon but I'm thinking of blogging more about the personal journey. Its definitely something I have been putting on the back burner and haven't been open about in a while.

If you find yourself wondering what is this Reiki stuff I speak of.... check out an article written by Dawn Fleming recently published on Women.com called Reiki Anyone? Reiki for Everyone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wow, I'm a Mom...

There are have been moments where I have to pause and say, "Wow, I'm a mom".

Sometimes is a really loving situation and my life is filled with joy and peace and love.... Like these moments from when Connor was an infant...

So nice to finally meet you...

Can we go home yet?

Infant snuggles....
Then there are times when I'm kissing boo boos, changing diapers, washing tiny clothing in the washing machine or cleaning up a messy face after dinner....
Mmmm Plums...

Green beans....

Pizza!!!
OR there are times like this morning where you say out loud in an empty car, "OMG I'm a @$%*!% mother!!" Let me explain....

I usually listen to the Kane Show on HOT 99.5 in the morning. BUT now that Connor is picking up on words and phrases there are certain things that the Kane Show could teach him to say that he shouldn't. Soooooo I brought one of our sing a long song CD's in the car to listen to on the 5 minutes it takes us to drive to daycare. Well... this turned into to wanting to hear "Row Row Row Your Boat" EVER.SINGLE.TIME. we're in the car.

This morning I drop off Connor, get in my car and half way to work I hear myself singing, "B-I-N-G-O". I had completely forgot to switch back to the radio for my morning show! AND I was apparently really enjoying the kid songs because I had been singing along for 10 minutes.

Thank goodness I didn't look down and find myself wearing mom jeans! Sigh...... and so again... I had a moment where.... yes... I admit.... I am a mom.

Monday, January 23, 2012

This Week on Pinterest!

I actually completed 3 things on my Pinterest boards this week. I'm so proud! Ha!

Let's start with the yummy stuff!

Last week the grocery store had blueberries on sale and I picked up two tubs of them. Well... Friday rolled around and I needed to something with them or they would be going bad soon. Sooo.... I got on Pinterest and looked up Blueberry Muffin recipes. Once I found one that I liked I went with it. I also added some chopped up strawberries and vanilla extract (I add vanilla extract to everything....). They were sooooooooooooooooooooooo yummy! Gone in pretty much two days! Gone so fast that I forgot to take a picture. Ooops!

Now onto crafts....

Weather Chart! Now I know Connor is a little young to be caring about the weather but I saw a weather chart on Pinterest a while back ago and my girlfriend also made one for her daughter that is about 4 months older than Connor a while back ago too and I thought it was neat. I figure each morning (if I remember) I can update what the weather will be and talk about it as we get our hats and coats on before walking out the door. Either way... it turned out cute!

Each Season and Weather Type is laminated and has a magnet on the back.
It sticks right to Connor's dry erase art easel.
Dress Up Snowman! I found a snowman printout on Pinterest a while back ago and with the snow/ice that came our way this weekend I thought it would be fun to color him, cut him up and turn him into a dress up magnet for the easel. Only problem I had was Connor was not interested in coloring at all. He colored a little bit of the snowman but then left the rest up to me. Once colored, I laminated the page, cut out the pieces and then slapped some magnets onto the back of the pieces. Voila! We have ourselves a fun snowman to play with and draw pictures around.

Dressed up the Snowman and
drawing the background

Extra snowman pieces

I run back to my craft room and came back out to finding Connor was tasting the dry erase crayons.....
So that's what happened this week! Looking forward to more crafting and cooking!!

From 29 to 30 - Book 3 Completed!

I completed Book 3, My Lucky Life in and out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke. It was a great memoir and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Check it out!
Book 3: My Lucky Life in and out of Show Business, Completed!

TRYING to Start Over!

Sigh.... I finally got on the ball and ran Week 1 Run 1 last Thursday. It was much needed considering I had taken Connor to the doctors for his 2 year well visit and his 28lbs, 35inches long, 100% cuteness was a hot mess through shots and the "inspection" from the doctor. At one point he ran down the hallway to the waiting room and threw himself on the floor while screaming his lungs out. Sigh.... I won't be doing that alone ever again....

After I dropped Connor off at daycare and before I headed into work I decided to go for the first run. It was 29 degrees.... COLD! BUT I layered up and went for it. I was cold at first but then warmed up to the point that I shed my gloves and ear warmers by the time I was doing my cool down walk. I felt great, the run was great and the stress was gone.

So running on Thursday would make my next run on Saturday. I had a pretty busy schedule for Saturday but knew I would be able to squeeze it in that morning. Until.... I woke up to this:
Ice... Ice... EVERYWHERE!


SNOW AND ICE!! Well it was really just ice once we got out there and started tromping around. So in my book there is no way that I am going to run on ice. Just not happening! I decided that I would wait another day and let the roads get clear.

Sunday rolls around and as I walked from the grocery store to my car my face felt like it had nearly froze over and was about to fall off. Then my decision to run or not to run (I was leaning way towards not running) was made when I got home and Kevin had been called into work. I can't go off running and leave Connor home by himself napping!

So here we are Monday.... I packed my gear to run on my lunch break. Its supposed to rain but I planned to run on the treadmill at the gym to make sure I get my run in. I despise running on the treadmill but I have to get a run in! I walk over to the gym (I work on a college campus), change my clothes and head for the gym.... only to find.... there is a sign that says "Class in Session". I literally had "WTF!!!" dancing in front of my eyes! The Faculty/Staff hours are from 12 - 1... it was 12:15.... Sigh...........So I have yet to get Week 1 Run 2 completed!

Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and in the upper 40's and I plan to run on my lunch break on the track. At this point I'm thinking I might as well start over again. It's much harder to run in the winter than the summer. Less daylight hours, its bitter cold and icy. At least in the summer you can run in the rain because its not freezing cold and if I don't get a run in on my lunch break I can run when I get home because the sun is still up.

Still trucking but feeling like I'm being pushed back by the universe. Sigh.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Starting Over...C25K

Source
I didn't want to start all over again... but I'm coming to terms that I'm going to have to start C25K over again. I wonder how many people complete it and then go on a running break and then have to start all over again? I know I'm not the only one.... the vacation, being sick and holidays just totally did me in. Sigh....

I tried running last week. I programmed my app for a 5min warm up walk, 20 minute run and then a 5 minute cool down walk. I got tired quick but pushed my way through. Around 15 minutes into my run I started loose my breath. Usually I would have slowed my pace a little and let my lungs catch up. This time, I decided to take it as my sign to end early and start the cool down walk. I'm glad I did. I was so sore for days afterward. I was also horrendously sick that evening. I don't know it it was dinner, running for the first time in a month and a half or dehydration or maybe all three but I felt like death.

Kevin also went off track with his running this past month as well. Before he went for his run on Monday he mentioned he was on Week 1. We talked about him starting over again and I started thinking about it.

Before my lunch break today, I started eyeing up the C25K website again. I thought would start at Week 3 or Week 4.... but no... I'm starting from the beginning. Week 1. I can focus on distance and speed this time. Well.... I grabbed my gym bag and went to head to the locker room when I realized I left my headphones at home. Damn. I totally made my very last excuse for not running, grabbed my Nook and enjoyed eating my lunch in one of the study rooms at the college. I'll start tomorrow! So here's to starting over and Week 1!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

From 29 to 30 - Book 2 Completed!

I completed the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson last night. It was awesome! Check out my post!
Book 2: Steve Jobs, Completed!

My eMac from college <3

Friday, January 13, 2012

Me? Emotional?!

Picture for the new momma... she loves elephants
http://pinterest.com/pin/8725792997636323/
I found out last night that mine and Kevin's close friends were at the hospital expecting to give birth to their first baby. After I hung up the phone, I got a little teary eyed thinking of how excited and happy I was for them. I quickly had to wipe them away and deal with Connor who was demanding yet ANOTHER slice of cheese and for me to sit and eat his creations that he was making in his play kitchen AND get dinner made.

Kevin and I had been waiting all morning for a text to confirm the birth of the new baby. Waiting and waiting and waiting. After I got back from my lunch break.... BAM! A text!! Yay!! The baby was born. Yay!!! And here come the tears again. BUT being at work I hold it in and keep on keeping on.

BUT THEN... I get a picture text.... and yep... no more holding it in. A super cute chubby newborn is looking back at me on my phone. I closed my office door and had a good happy cry for my friends. As one of my other girlfriends said, "Ahhhhh! I love him already". He's not even a full day old yet and he has so many people to love him.

I was talking with my mom on my lunch break and I told her about how I got teary eyed last night and how ever since I had Connor I've noticed that I've become emotional. She said, "Amanda... you've always been emotional. Connor didn't change anything". LOL!! She then reminded me and gave examples of how emotional I used to be as a kid / teenager. And then it hit me... I bet if I asked Kevin if I was emotional before Connor he'd say, "HELL YEAH". Hmmm..... maybe I'm just now realizing this about myself. I always thought I held it in but according to other sources I guess not.....

I don't think its a bad thing.... I guess its weird that I'm 29 and just realizing that I am emotional. Hmm.... I'll have to sit with this one for a little bit. Anything you discovered about yourself that others already knew and confirmed for you?

Anywho!! Congrats to our good friends the Beecher's on their beautiful baby boy!! I can't wait to kiss his little cheeks off!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rocking and Rolling

Singing!
Just want to share some of our home videos of Connor and his journey to becoming a Rock Star. Its so fascinating watching him explore instruments, singing songs and dancing. There is no embarrassment... he just explores. No one has told him, "Oh you can sing" or "You look silly dancing" or "That instrument is hard to play". (Anyone who does will get a kick in the butt at this point).

He LOVES to sing his ABC's, Row Row Row your Boat and Ring Around the Rosey. If a fun tune comes on, you'll see him banging his head and shaking his bottom. We love to dance in the car on the way too and from daycare. Now a days if he's heard the song enough times he'll sing the words he knows. Daycare said he was singing parts of "Mr. Know It All" by Kelly Clarkson in the car the other day.

This video is from early summer late spring 2010. He discovered the Harmonica..... I may have even shared this video before. He's just so darn cute!


Next we have him discovering my didgeridoo. When I was in my teens my mom and I went to a holistic health fair and there were people selling didgeridoos. I tried one out and could actually play it. So for my birthday, she bought me one. Pretty cool.... except.... its not like I sit down and play it every day so it now its propped up in the corner of our living room and collects dust. In the past, my friends found it fun to play with after a night of drinking. Now Connor will pull it out from the corner and try to make the sounds that mommy can make.



This boy does love to shake his booty and dance if the right song is on. The other night Kevin put some tunes on and Connor danced while playing with Daddy's guitars and playing the air drums.

And now lastly.... Our little singer.... Aunt Alice bought Connor a plastic echoing mircophone for his birthday this weekend because he's been trying to sing into the tiny microphone that came with his Mr. Potato Head at Christmas.

Lots of videos in this post.... I can't help it! He's growing and exploring and its pretty darn awesome.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Babies, babies and MORE babies!

Babies, babies and MORE babies! Not for me at least!! But suddenly BOOM! My friends are having babies. Round two has started for some and others are starting off on their first. The bellies are getting rounder and soon they'll be cute little infants to snuggle close. I have friends due this month, March and May as well as a few other months.

Baby Showers are happening, bellies are being rubbed (well I'm not rubbing them... I don't want to catch the fever) and the glow is in the air. It also seems there will also be lots of boys being born.

When I was pregnant with Connor, I was pregnant with other friends and we were all within 6 months of each other. Connor was the only boy! Its good to see another round of babies getting started again. Seeing lots of friends pregnant makes me remember my pregnancy with happiness. Connor was such an easy going fetus. HA! I was only miserable up until the end. Heartburn and being as big as a house did me in.

Now all the bellies and remembering is not sparking any desire for me to run off and get knocked up. Don't you worry your pretty little head..... I'm truly happy with just the three of us. Our routine just works. We have just enough time and energy and love to go around. So don't start thinking this post is about me wanting round two.... its not.... it for my girlfriends growing those babies. Keep at it ladies! They'll be here soon enough!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Whatever Happened to....Running!?

Yep! I totally slacked on running since vacation in November. After vacation I got one really good run in and poof! I got sick. When I started feeling better during my winter break I thought about running while Connor was in daycare BUT then decided I should rest just a little longer. Now it's the new year and I'm ready to get rolling again.

I know I'll need to "bounce" back but I'm excited to do so. Running has been the only athletic thing I've done in my life that I've actually enjoyed.I have still yet to run an actual formal 5K and there is one in May that I am eyeing up.

My mom and step father bought me some winter running clothes for Christmas and my dad and step mother bought me a gift card to Under Armour where I bought myself two more running tops. I'm supplied to stay warm and now its time to get out there.... soon.... Stay posted!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

From Book 1 to Book 2!

Don't forget to check out my other blog that is following me in my journey to read 30 autobiographies / biographies / memoirs before I turn 30 on Dec 20th!

I just completed Book 1: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, by Benjamin Franklin. It took me a little longer than expected to get through BUT I'm done and moving onto Steve Jobs, by By Walter Isaacson.

Enjoy! From 29 to 30

The Slacker Mom.... dun dun dunnnnn

Image found at :
http://www.thoughtsthatstick.com/
In the last month I can tell you have Connor has watched more TV than usual and hasn't done as many crafts at home. Being sick and exhausted makes a mommy want to snuggle and veg out when when she comes home from work! Yes we painted picture frames for Christmas and did some coloring but I totally dropped off the Pinterest map for pretty much the whole month of December! I logged in for the first time in several weeks yesterday and I'm getting excited about the winter / indoor learning crafts I pinned this past fall.


I also, decided to get strict with meal planning in hopes of lowering our grocery budget and looking through my crock pot and dinner pins I'm EVEN more excited... .and hungry! Last night I cooked ground turkey to throw in the crock pot this morning and we now have chili simmering and waiting for us tonight. YUM! I totally can't wait to dig in.


With all the "vegging" we must have been doing SOMETHING right because this morning Connor counted to 5 all by himself. I was helping him put his shirt on and doing the usual, "One Arm.... Two Arms..." and then he said, "One, Two, Free, Four, Ive!" LOVE HIM!! Moving from singing the ABC's over and over and over again to now counting. See a little extra TV never hurt anyone! Slacker mommy guilt cleared!

I was messaging with a girlfriend of mine and I mentioned that I had totally slacked off with the extra educational fun crafty stuff the month of December and she agreed that she had too.... BUT really when you think about it.... mommies don't slack off ever.... we just adjust the way we parent to make ourselves the best mommies we can be!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012!

Welp... I'm back. December was a month that started off stressful and made me really sick and then ended with lots of holiday fun and relaxation. I was MIA due to being sick and having no energy and then once I recovered I wanted to enjoy my time off work and be away from the computer as much as I could. Soooo now I'm back and ready to get this year started.

Connor LOVED Christmas and his presents. After each present he demanded that we take it out of the box so he could play with it. After we got it out of the box we would offer his next present to open and he would push it away! Oh goodness. In a few years he'll be tearing through all the presents and asking for more, I guess we just need to enjoy his one track mind for now.

What's that?!

Taking a break from opening presents....
This was the big hit present this year.
After Christmas we switched his crib to a toddler bed. I figured I was off work for the next week and if there were any issues with the transition I could sacrifice some sleep to help him through it. Well besides a few "middle of the night roll outs", he's done awesome. We took all of the toys out of his room so there was no distraction but half way through the week I returned the toy box because he goes to bed when its nap/bed time (***knock on wood***).

Shhhhhh


While work was closed for Winter Break I sent Connor to daycare some of the days I was off so I could get some "Me Time" and catch up on getting myself balanced and better. It was awesome doing nothing.

The new year came and went and we spent the evening hanging with some old friends. Connor did amazing. He couldn't fall asleep at his normal bed time because of everything going on but he stayed up until we left around 10:45 and promptly passed out when the car started moving.

Up passed his bed time....

Connor's birthday was yesterday. He turned 2! He's been so entranced by Toy Story these days we decided to get him the Woody and Buzz dolls along with the movie Toy Story. The dolls were a hit and he insisted on taking Woody with him to daycare. I baked him a cake yesterday and some cupcakes to take to daycare. I lit the number 2 candle and right before Kevin and I sang Happy Birthday, Connor reached up and touched the candle. Thankfully he wasn't burned but hot wax got on his finger. This of course scared him and made him cry the whole time we sang Happy Birthday, he didn't want to blow out the candle AND he didn't want to eat a piece of cake. Thankfully he calmed down and later enjoyed a piece but I thought we had scared him of Birthday cake for the rest of his life.
Buzz and Woody!

Right before the hot wax incident.....

Finally eating cake....