Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Year Later

I decided to take a pregnancy test a year ago today on a whim after watching the episode of Life Unexpected where Shiri Appleby's character found out she was pregnant.  Something about her symptoms struck a cord with me.  I had been feeling off but didn't think much about it. Imagine my shock when I took the test (alone since Chris was at work) and it was positive.  (I took 3 more before it was over it just to reassure myself.)  I read the directions about 5 times to make sure I was reading the test right and then I took a second one to make sure.  It was so hard not to be able to share my excitement with Chris once the initial shock wore off.  Trying to sleep after learning that news was awful. I could barely wait till he got home the next morning.  I called him as soon as his shift was over to see what he had to say about the numerous texts he had received over the evening.

I was always on the fence about becoming a mother but I feared I would miss out if I didn't at least try.  I wasn't sure if I had what it took.  I have surprised myself.  I love that little boy more than I could ever imagine I would.  I'll admit that I had a tough time at first when I found out I was expecting a boy. I wanted a little girl so badly that my heart broke a little.  But then he became real to me and now I can't imagine it any other way.

After I found out Jackson was on his way a year ago today, I couldn't wait to meet him.  I wanted to know who this little person was going to be. I worried something would happen to him every day of my pregnancy.  I worried through my delivery and now I worry every day.  I can't wait to see the man he will become.  But for now I will snuggle and love on him while he will still let me.  I miss him when he is not around and I realize my life would not be complete without him in it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

4 Months

This little guy is four months old today!

Some days it is hard for me to believe that it has been that long and some days it feels like he has been a part of my life for much longer.  I am having such a fun time with him right now.  He is really starting to interact and react to us.  I love his smiles and laughs.  Knowing those are waiting for me when I get home gets me through the day.  According to his check up this past Tuesday, Jackson now weighs 15 pounds and 5 ounces and he is 26 inches long.  He is pretty much average (50th percentile) for weight but he is on the tall side (86th percentile).  Not sure how my kid ended up tall.  We will see if that lasts.  

I realized I didn't do a 3 month update so I will cover some of those highlights here as well.  J started daycare just over a month ago and has done really well with it so far. I get a little jealous when I see him snuggling with his teacher, Miss Jordan, but it makes me feel better that he is comfortable and in a good environment.  We dressed him up as Robin for Halloween to go along with his big brother's Batman (the Adam West version) costume. I don't know that he really got much out of Halloween but he sure did look cute dressed up with his tiny cape.
He also started rolling over a couple of weeks ago.  That has been funny and frustrating.  Since he isn't much for being on his stomach (not a fan of tummy time!), he will roll over and get stuck and then start screaming until we flip him back over.  He is scooting a bit once he gets to his stomach so I suspect we will have a crawler pretty soon.  Jackson can also sit up with a little help and loves to stand up and dance.  I think his favorite place right now is sitting in his Bumbo watching TV and playing with his ball.  He also likes me singing to him (even though I can't sing very well).  I am just so glad we have a happy baby who loves us very much.  If we never do anything else right in this world, Chris and I definitely got this one right.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Finally Someone Gets It

You won't find me talking about stepparenting on here very often for a variety of reasons.  I am concerned that things I say might be taken negatively when they are intended to be as well as the boundaries of discussing a child that isn't mine on the internet.  I know as Jackson's mother, I wouldn't want him being a topic of conversation on the internet by someone else.  I can only hope that Sean's mother feels the same way.  However, there are times when I will lift the censor long enough to address something I really feel like I need to share.  This is one of those times.

A couple of weeks ago, someone posted a link to this post on Twitter: This is not a Bonus Mom.  Obviously my curiosity was peaked so I had to check it out.  And boy, was I glad that I did.  For the first time since becoming a stepmom (and even while we dating/engaged), I felt like someone actually got it.  This is what I had been trying to explain to Chris this whole time.  I am not Sean's mom.  And as mean and harsh as that can sound, it is the truth not only in the fact that I didn't give birth to him but as in the fact that he doesn't want me to be his mom.  He knows that I am not his mother and he has a mom who he has a relationship with even though it is limited due to distance and her own lack of attention.

Early on, Chris expressed a desire for me to fill the role of mom in Sean's life.  It has taken several conversations to get across to him that I cannot fill that role.  I will love him and care for him but mom I will never be.  Chris doesn't understand this completely because he will never be in the same position I am in.  Nor will he ever understand that at times I have to put a bit of a wall up because it is hard raising someone else's child as your own and knowing the whole time that child would rather have someone else standing in your place.  I think the best way to look at it is that I am part of the village that is helping to raise Sean.  One day he will understand what all has been done for him.  But until then, he is just a child who wants his mother and that just breaks my heart.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Me On Cooking

My last post talked about our crazy busy days which led me to thinking about cooking for my family.  Now, I am not one of those people who hates cooking.  I won't say I love it but I do enjoy it.  However, I don't cook a lot.  Chris does most of the cooking in our household, which is actually quite backwards.  But he does it because he is the one that is home.  Because of my hours and commute, it is almost 6:30 each night when I get home from work.  If we waited till I got home to start dinner, we would either eat junk or not eat until it is time for Chris to walk out the door for work.  There are nights that happens but we try to keep that down to a minimum for the sake of both our waistlines and our pocketbooks.   Instead, I text Chris on my way out of the office and he starts dinner so that it will be close to completion when I get home. If there is still stuff to do when I get home, I will help out.  Otherwise, I save most of my cooking for the weekends.

For this reason, I tend to pick out simple, quick meals for us to have during the week.  While Chris was on nights, the crock pot was our friend since he could set it before going to sleep for the day and dinner would be mostly ready by the time he got home from picking Sean up.  The day shift really cut into our crock pot opportunities as I left too early and arrived home too late for most of the meals to work.  I am excited about being able to use it more now that Chris is back on nights.  But for the most recent past, we have been struggling to find decent meals that can be completed in 30 minutes or less. (Don't get me started on Rachel Ray either.) That is why I will look at recipes and decide it is too complicated just based on the number of ingredients.  Five ingredients or less and we are good to go.  Between five and ten and that will be a weekend meal. More than ten, probably not going to happen except for a special occasion and I have to be feeling ambitious.

Call me lazy if you want but that is what works for me.  I have been having a blast on Pinterest pinning recipes that look fantastic but then I will actually look at the recipe and determine it is something that I will most likely never make because it has too many ingredients or too many steps and I would much rather spend my time doing something other than standing in the kitchen trying to complete this meal.  I will say that I have found quite a few recipes on Pinterest that fit my criteria that I am looking forward to trying.  I think I just need to split up my boards a little better so that I don't keep scrolling through the same recipes trying to find one that will work. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trying to Catch Up

I have so many things that I want to blog about right now (Penn State, Halloween, step parenting) but I am having a hard time finding the time to squeeze in blogging.  Our days are just insane.  And, every time I say something, I feel like I am whining because I know I am not any busier than anyone else.  Please know that I am not trying to complain. This is just something I feel the need to talk about.  We are completely running ourselves ragged right now and I am praying it will stop soon.  How is having 2 kids so much harder than having one? Is it because Jackson is still a baby and needs our full attention?  I finally realized how much I needed a break today when I was talking to a coworker about some upcoming events at work and she mentioned how tired I looked. Suddenly I was in tears for no reason other than the fact someone noticed and told me I needed to take a day to myself.  Something has to give.  I am just not sure I can figure out what that something is.

One thing that has been a major factor in the last nearly 4 months (gah!) since Jackson's birth has been Chris's training.  We found out in June that Chris was getting picked up for patrol starting July 1.  As excited as we were about this change, the timing couldn't have been worse with me due to have the baby at anytime.  The entire three weeks Chris was in class, his instructors were waiting for a phone call that I was in labor.  I ended up being sent to the hospital the 2nd day of his last week in class.  Plus, this effected his FMLA that had already been approved on the corrections side.  We were lucky that his patrol sergeant allowed him to take the first 4 weeks of my maternity leave off so that he could be home to help me with the baby.     

Where things have gotten complicated is the set schedule we were used to no longer exists.  Instead of 9:45 PM to 6 AM night shift on corrections, the midnight shift for patrol is 9-7.  Not a major problem since the boys both go to bed around 8 but I am supposed to be at work at 7:30 in the mornings and Sean cannot be dropped off before 7:15. Oh and have I mentioned my 45 minute commute to work recently?  Fortunately my boss has been great and wonderfully understanding about our time constraints and has been OK with me coming in late.  In turn, I typically work through lunch so I can still leave at 5:30 Monday-Thursday and 11:30 on Fridays.  (That is also where part of the exhaustion comes in.) Chris just started this shift, which will be his permanent shift, last night after 3 months of changing shifts from evenings to days.  The changing shifts has been difficult because it is not the norm for us and now I am used to having him home at night and on the weekends, things that never happened before.  It wasn't till I went to bed last night that it hit me.  The nights Chris works we will see each other for 2 hours and those will be 2 busy hours of feeding and bathing kids and preparing for the next day.

So why didn't we try for a different shift, you ask? Well, days are nearly impossible to get as a Rookie even though Chris's day sergeant wanted him on the shift because he thought he'd be a real asset to the shift.  That left us with midnights or evenings.  Truthfully, none of the shifts really work well with the schedule we have but midnights is the most doable.  The true upside to patrol is the 4 10-hour shifts a week versus the 5 8-hour shifts on corrections.  This gives Chris a little more time at home.  Plus patrol rotates weekends every month.  Four weeks Chris will work during the week with weekends off and four weeks he will switch.  So, in essence, we will get more time together.  It just doesn't feel like it right now.  Soon we will be adjusted to this new way of working and this will be the norm for us again.  In the mean time, it is stressing me out.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Roll Tide Roll

So, there's this football game this weekend that it seems pretty much every college football fan in the nation will be watching.  No, not the one that will take place in Austin between Texas and Texas Tech.  Not even the Aggies and Sooners are garnering this much attention.  It's the Tide and the Tigers.  Alabama and LSU that is.  A game that will surpass all other games this year.  Number 1 versus Number 2.  Anyone who knows me knows which side of the ball I am on.  I have tried to be very careful about what I have said about this game.  I will admit that I am nervous.  I want Alabama to do well.  I want to see them win but I don't want to do a lot of smack talking and have it come back to bite me in the end.  So instead I will just support my team and wear my colors proudly and say what I know to be true, "It's going to be a good game."  With that, I will leave you with an article I read this morning.  I can't say that I disagree with the article.  I do believe that Alabama is one of the best teams to ever play the game and not just this team this year but every year through the good and the bad because of the history, tradition, and legacy associated with being part of the Alabama Crimson Tide.