Thursday, January 27, 2011

Confessions on a low self-worth.

Today, I'm having one of those "man, I'm not worth much to anyone and everything is my fault" sort of days.

I just realized that I place a lot of my self-worth on whether or not my husband is home spending time with me.

Jake works hard. He works 14 or more hours a day, four or five days a week. He is very geared toward a strong financial future. I am more focused on relationships. Always have been. I grew up without much for money, but I had a really close-knit family, including aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and of course, my immediate family. I lived that way for 27 years now, and so trying to switch my focus to making the most money we can right now just doesn't work.

Jake and I don't fight often, really, and we usually agree on most things. But when it comes to this work v. time at home thing, well, we've always disagreed. Not that he doesn't want to be home, because that's not it, he just has a higher standard for making money. Like, he has to make "enough" per day to justify taking his day off off every week. And if he doesn't, he works on his day off instead of being home with Spencer and I.

I appreciate his willingness to work, but I find that when he prefers to make a bigger paycheck every week than spend that extra day home with us, that I feel pretty worthless.

Today, he is working to make up for lack of sales or missing customers on Monday and Tuesday. I was looking forward to a little time for myself this morning, which didn't happen, before he left, and before he left, I started feeling really bad about wishing he'd be home, and wanting time away from he or Spencer in the first place.

I mean, come on, we fought for this baby, and he's what we wanted to so badly, and yet I want to be away from him every week? More than one or two hours once a week even? Man, I felt like a bad mom.

Anyway, back to this dissension. When we have the discussion that always starts out with me wanting Jake home more, and ending with if I want that to happen I have to make more money, but yet, we both feel like I should raise our child, so I am doing that instead, which means Jake will be gone all the time and I just have to deal with it... I always end up feeling like crud.

I know I shouldn't place any value of myself as to whether or not my husband is home, but yet, I do. I try to stop, and I can't. I don't know how. No matter how much I pray or give it to God, when this conversation happens, I fall right back into being not worth his time away from making money.

I don't know that we'll ever find a balance, and that scares me.

No one is at fault, but I tell you what, I always blame myself, which makes it feel even worse. I'm not mad at Jake, and I don't blame him for doing what he feels is best. I just don't always agree. I feel like even if we were to end up debt free in five years or less, we've still missed out on 4 years of time together since we were married, plus the time that he's away now. But what do I do? Do I give up on raising our child for a higher paying job, seeing as how that would be the one thing it seems that would bring my husband home before 10pm every night?

I don't get hardly any sleep. Neither does Jake. And it's not totally because of having a baby, though that's part of it. During the day, I don't/can't find time to nap, and then I stay up until he gets home because Spencer is awake a lot of the time waiting for Jake to get home, and also, if I'm not awake when he gets home, there's a good chance I wont' see him.

And then I feel really horrible, because I want him to spend time away from us in his free time, but I don't. I love that he's doing lights at church, but at the same time, I'm selfish and wish he was here for that extra two hours. But will I ask him not to? No. Will I blame him for doing it? No. It just boils down to the fact that I wish we had more time together as a family during the week.

So, here I am, home while he's working on his "day off," and my baby is crying in his bouncy seat, and instead, I'm sitting here writing this blog. I guess I should get my priorities straight.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


My husband is an amazingly hard worker. He is great at what he does. He's so great at what he does, that he is in the highest bracket of sales, and won a four day, expenses-paid trip to Coronado, California. (Jake is a Schwan's Route Driver, by the way.)
It was REALLY hard to leave home, I will admit, but because I wanted to support Jake in his hard-earned achievement, and I really would (have) benefit(ed) from a vacation, I boarded the plane with him at 6:15am on Thursday of last week. I will admit, I cried the entire way to the airport, most of the first plane ride, and a good chunk of the second, and then at the hotel, and then cried myself to sleep. Yes, I was a fountain of tears.

But, overall, it was a great trip. Jake was amazing, supportive, and caring as I wept randomly throughout the four days. Though he admittedly didn't really understand how I was feeling or what I was going through, he tried, and he was not mad at me for being sad at times. At first, I was worried that he would be so sick of me being emotional that I undercut him and wouldn't even try to express in words what I was feeling, though by the end of Thursday night, I opened up, and it really helped.

Anyway, here's where we stayed:That's the Hotel del Coronado, apparently one of the oldest all wooden hotels in the country, or so said the Historical Marker plaque thing out front. Anyway, it was huge, gorgeous, and right on the beach, so I mean, who could complain about that?

On Thursday, after we arrived, they had Schwan's flip-flops and beach towels for us, as well as t-shirts, and random information that we picked up at the beach, and then had brunch on the beach. Totally cool. Jake and I then decided to nap in our hotel room (which had 2 queen-sized beds) before venturing out for the evening. We went on a walk down Orange Ave. and had sushi for supper at a joint called Yummy Sushi. It was pretty fantastic! That night, we went for a moon-lit walk on the beach and took in the sounds of the ocean.

On Friday, we had a Schwan's lunch in the garden area in the center of the hotel. It was delicious, and gorgeous outside. Following lunch, Jake and I went to the beach again for a quick visit, and saw a man there building a remarkable sandcastle. You can see his work at Following, we had a business meeting, and then a break before we boarded buses to the night-time sky-line cruise. We were aboard the Inspiration Hornblower for supper and the awards banquet.

On Saturday, we had the day free, so Jake and I went down Orange Ave. again and bought some souveniers for my mom and sisters who were staying at our place with Spencer and Wendell. We had ice cream at MooTime Creamery (much like a Coldstone), and lunch at Bistro d'Asia. We spent even more time at the beach, and watched the sunset over the Pacific. We wrote messages in the sand to photograph for my family and Spencer, and then we got ready for the celebration dinner that was held at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

At MCAS Miramar, we were able to get up-close and personal with some of the military aircraft. Truthfully, I don't remember which they had on display but we were able to climb in and out of them and tour them. Jake could probably tell you more.

Then we had dinner inside the hangar, followed by some random entertainers. Then, the big surprise entertainment was revealed... Chicago! Yeah, the band, the one that plays trombone, flute, trumpet, drums, etc. The big-shots with all the hits. I was excited, and also kind of disturbed at the choice, but overall, it was pretty fun to see them live. Jake took video on his cell phone as we didn't remember to bring the camera to the event.

We didn't leave Coronado until the afternoon on Sunday, so Sunday morning we once more walked Orange Ave., and visited a park, then stopped for coffee at Starbucks, and brunch at Bruegger's Bagels. We visited the beach one last time, taking pictures of the massive waves and the sandcastle progress as it stood.

Sunday was a really long day, as we spent five or so hours in the San Diego and Denver airports (not a piece, luckily), plus the time on the flights. Spencer was asleep when we got home, but at 3am the next morning when he woke up screaming with extreme hunger, I still got a few big smiles from him amidst the tears.

It was so wonderful to see him fully awake on Monday. He smiled at everything I said or did for hours on end.

Man, I missed him.

But I was glad I went on the trip too. It really was wonderful to spend quality one-on-one time with my husband. I had, truthfully, forgotten what it was like. It was really strange to realize that. And, since I hadn't been away from Spencer for more than an hour while I was awake, it was really hard to leave for four days for the first time, but it was worth it, even if it was hard and I cried my heart out at least seven times.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time stood still.

It's been 78.5 days since Spencer was born. Over the past few days, for some reason, I have been reflecting back to that day, over and over, and over again. It's like my mind is in some sort of time warp.

My mind, apparently, was in a time warp that day, too. I suppose that is to be expected.

As I have been sitting here recalling the day that my son was born, it's like I am watching a movie. Everything still seems so vivid and clear. I almost hear the nurses voices, or Jake's as he "bounced" around the room with excitement and anxiousness. I remember the visitors and doctor visits, the pain, the excitement.

It feels, to me, that the world stop spinning that day. I don't recall if I felt that the day was moving really slowly while I was in labor, but looking back now, I feel that it went by super quickly. I wasn't have strong contractions until 10:00 or so that morning, and he was born at 7:34pm. I only pushed for about an hour. I know the act of pushing felt long, but it really didn't feel like I had been pushing, taking a break, and doing it again for an hour straight. Time was really strange that day. I had no concept of it.

I was realizing I only know how I feel, or what I experienced that day, really. I mean, Jake was with me, and I saw his emotions and experienced things of that nature, but I don't really know what was going through his head or what he was feeling, or what he saw, remembered, etc. What did he do when he would leave the room? What conversation did he have with his brother, or mother, or father, or step-mother, or our friends, when he wasn't near me? I just don't know. I wish he'd tell me. I asked, and he sort of laughed.

And then I wonder... what was my mom's day like? What did my dad do that day? My siblings? My friends? Jake's family? I remember his step-mother talking to me on the phone the Saturday before, asking if I wanted them to wait to come visit until after we were home, and I said they could come whenever. Her original plan was to wait until Tuesday or Wednesday, after Spencer was born, but she and Jake's dad were there waiting while Spencer was being born. Obviously, there must have been some excitement and anxiousness in their lives... but what did they experience? What happened in their lives that day? Jake's mom and twin also visited before Spencer was born. And our friends, Robert, Jillian, and Grayson, were waiting there as he was being born too, to meet him.

I know the world didn't stop turning, time continued on, and all sorts of things happened, maybe even some of great importance, on November 1, 2010. But, it's so crazy to me to not be able to recall any of them, to feel like I was plucked out of the world into this seemingly alternate reality, where the only thing going on was the labor and birth of our son. To me, there was nothing else.

But I wonder... what else was there?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We love Mud Butts!

It's official. We have a favorite cloth diaper in our family, and it won with a unanimous vote (we count Spencer as agreeing with us, of course, since he can't really "talk back" yet (and hope he never does, but that's wishful thinking, I'm sure)). Jake exclaimed it to me from Spencer's room at 1:14 this morning, "It's official, the Mud Butts are my favorite!"


Yeah, this post is about cloth diapers.

Mud Butt Cloth Diapers are made by a Work at Home Mom (WAHM) in Minnesota. Here's her website. Feel free to order some for us. Haha.

Anyway, here's why we love the diaper:
  • You can design your own, it's custom! You pick the diaper color, and the snap color. FUN!

  • You can order a pocket or an All-in-Two (AI2). We order the AI2. It's super cool. You can use it as a typical pocket diaper and stuff it with an insert, which is stellar, but the primo option is the snap-in inserts. When your baby wets, you can just yank that right out (well, gently, of course) and toss it in the laundry, and then snap a fresh, dry one in it's place. You can order the inserts separate too. We've been able to use ONE diaper up to 3 times (because we can use it with two snap-ins, and sometimes I stuff a pocket insert in there too, for the third time. It's rare, but I've done it).

  • It's very absorbent. Due to the fact you can customize the stuffing so wonderfully, we've never had a leak problem and he's worn it overnight for up to 8 hours when we forgot to change him. Yeah, we're bad parents sometimes. But they were so absorbent that it didn't even bother his cute little tushy.

  • They're really easy to wash, like most cloth diapers, of course. Toss them in the laundry and throw them in the washer, and wash and dry as usual!

  • They're trim. His butt doesn't look totally bulky, even when they're snapped to the smallest settings, he doesn't get a fluffy rear. Fantastic!

  • They're affordable!

  • Customer service is EXCELLENT. Seriously. Probably one of the nicest sellers out there. I'm not saying that to suck up. I didn't know her at all before I purchased a diaper, and she was there to help me through technical difficulties with internet on my phone, answers questions about anything I come up with cloth diaper related, and has all sorts of tips. And she works hard and quickly, and your diapers come in a very timely fashion!

  • Thigh savers. This is the only cloth diaper I have found that comes with extra snap-on circles for the inside snaps on the diaper. When your baby grows, the inside snaps can press into his/her thighs, and this prevents red marks and welts or what have you that other diapers can leave from the exposed snaps digging into baby's thigh. Genius!
I honestly can't think of a reason I don't love these diapers.

We have four brands that we're using now that we've purged out those I don't like as much: Fuzzi Bunz, Thirsties Duo, and Charlie Banana. I like them all too, but I love the Mud Butts the most!

(Even our doctor commented this morning how awesome these diapers were, they're SO cute!)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

T minus 14 Days.

In a little less than two weeks from right now, Jake and I are boarding an Airbus headed for San Diego.

I have some very contradicting feelings about this entire rendezvous.

It is a "free" trip, that Jake won through work. The highest selling Schwan's men in the country all go on this "convention" type trip. It is fun, and it is boring, too. We go to a super ritzy resort/hotel (this year the Hotel de Corona, I think, last time it was the Wynn in Vegas) and stay on Schwan's tab. Totally cool. But, we also have to sit through what seems to be countless hours of boring business meetings (sorry, Schwan's, but they're not exciting) and try really hard to focus and stay awake. It's hard to do, I promise.

We get free time, occasionally, but most of the time is occupied with Schwan's focused meetings and dinners. But, we eat most of our meals for free too, so score.

I am excited to go and very proud of Jake for winning the trip again this year. I really am. He worked HARD for this. So, naturally, I want to go in support of him.

But, I really am dreading leaving. Spencer won't even be three months old when we leave at 6:32am on Thursday, the 20th. I have only been separated from him for a matter of hours since his birth. It's going to be a huge punch in the lungs when I arrive in San Diego, baby-less, and want nothing more but to see him, hold him, and cuddle him.

Yes, we'll "get to" sleep through the night, but will I be able to? I can't say that I will.

I'm afraid I'll be spending the entire trip sad, missing him, and just in a hurry to get home.

Luckily, my mother is coming to stay with him at our place, so we don't have to pack him up and transport him elsewhere, but I worry for her, a little bit. What if he's super cranky the whole time we're gone? It's going to, I would think, be very hard on him too.

So, we leave Sioux Falls around 6:32am on the 20th, and return to Sioux Falls around 11:13pm on the 23rd.

It's going to be so hard to go.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Today, I turned in my resignation of employment at Citibank Family Center. It is an event of paradoxical emotions.

I have been a woman fortunate enough to have loved each of her jobs since becoming a college student. I know that a lot of people cannot claim that for their own careers, but, luckily, I can. This is also somewhat unfortunate, seeing as how I've been through quite a few jobs now, and yet again, have resigned. I've never turned in a resignation feeling great about it, feeling a huge relief, no remorse, no regret, just elation at getting myself out of a job. Nope, I've loved them all for some reason or another, yet, I have had to resign for various reasons, mostly due to location and moving.

At CFS, I was blessed to be the afternoon teacher in the Hedgehog room, which is a room for infants. I had two other wonderful teachers in the room with me, and over the past nearly-two years, I have built, what I consider to be, a good friendship with both of them. I had grown so familiar with seeing them every day but two, on average, of every week of the year, and talking with them about anything and everything going on in my life, that when maternity leave began, I was thrown for a loop. I was home alone with my newborn son who slept a lot, and my dog. Neither talked to me. They listened, but it wasn't the same. The internet and my cell phone were nice fixes for the silence, but it still wasn't the same.

I was given the most wonderful opportunity by my dear friend Jillian, her husband Robert, and their son, Grayson, while I was on maternity leave. They invited me to do in-home daycare with Jillian at their house.

It's basically a perfect opportunity for me. I have the benefit of working and making income, with the benefit of built-in childcare, plus the benefit of raising my own son, so I'd be like a stay at home mom, too. But, it obviously comes with the cost of resigning from the Hedgehogs.

Needless to say, while it sounds like a shoo-in "yes!" to their offer, my resignation didn't come without... well, resignation, from myself. I have spent many hours crying over the thought of leaving yet another job I love. Not only the job, but my fellow Hedgehog teachers, and the Hedgehog families, past and present, and those I was excited to have back in the room in the future. I was leaving the other teachers on my wing, and those in other wings, too. Those are a lot of relationships to leave, again. And, I hate leaving.

When it boiled down to it, though, I knew the right decision was to take them up on the offer. I mean, really. Jake and I struggled for 3.5 years of infertility while married, months and months of heartbreak, thousands of my tears... before having Spencer be given to us in our lives. To leave him for someone else to care for him, day in, and day out, was just really not the right option to choose.

So, it came down to the fact that I loved my job and all the people in it, but I loved my son more.
But I tell you what, I'm still sitting here, crying, knowing that when I go back to visit the Hedgehogs, it's going to be from time to time, not day to day, and I am really, truly, sincerely, going to miss walking through the doors on a daily basis to see my friends.