Monday, August 27, 2012

Little Boy, Little Man

Jackson is working on his molars right now and I swear those things are going to be the death of us.  Teething has turned my happy baby into a fussy, clingy mess.  And I'm secretly happy for it.  You see, even though it was exhausting at times, I got my snuggly baby back at least for this weekend.  Now that Jackson is a toddler, he no longer wants to snuggle with me.  Bedtime consists of a sippy cup of milk and then straight to bed where he will either go right to sleep or fuss until he falls asleep.  I try to snuggle a bit and get him to settle down but he has no interest in it and squirms until I put him down or take him to his room.  Sunday morning Jackson fell asleep in my lap and I didn't want to move because I already miss all the times that he fell asleep on me and I just loved holding him.  I look at him now and I see him growing up so fast right before my eyes.  He isn't my tiny baby anymore.  He is curious and into everything.  He's a bit of a dare devil but he's still mommy's little boy when he isn't feeling well. This weekend I really got to see the little boy coming out in my baby.  First it was the mischievous little grin I got when he was trying to pull the toilet paper of the roll in the bathroom.  Then it was watching him stand with one hand on the tub and the other holding his sippy cup while he down a glass of milk.  And then there is this:
Just chillin' out on the couch, watching some Veggie Tales, drinking some milk, and holding Larry.  I was sitting next to him right before I snapped this picture but had to get up to get something from the kitchen.  And when I came back, there he was all grownup sitting by himself not missing me at all.  Who told him it was OK to grow up?!?

Monday, August 20, 2012

13 Months and a Toddler

A couple of months ago (before his birthday), I received an email of baby tips for my toddler and I refused to believe that Jackson could be considered a toddler at that point. He wasn't walking yet. He wasn't a year old yet. In my mind, Jackson was still very much a baby. Chris disagreed with me. I even went to Twitter with the question of how to determine if my baby was in fact a toddler. Most agreed that I was OK to still consider him a baby. (He will always be my baby.)

Well, that is all changed since my two criteria for defining a toddler have now been met. I first started getting reports of steps from daycare about 2 weeks ago. Then I saw 4 steps myself that Saturday morning as J shuffled toward me. He would have gone further but Maverick created a roadblock by laying on the floor in front of the couch where I was sitting. Since then, we have seen a few tentative steps here and there. Not enough to call him a full on walker yet but we know we are just on the edge of chaos. I have also figured out that my child can walk when he really wants to get to something. He showed us that at Snip Its the other day when he toddled over to the table to get the plastic bear he had spied.

As of today, Jackson is 13 months old.  We started the transition from formula to cow's milk after his one year check up.  I am happy to have that chunk of my grocery bill back.  Even with the samples and coupons received through out the year, formula was easily a third of our weekly grocery budget.  We are also down to 3 bottles a day basically with meals.  Fortunately for us, J does not need a bottle to sleep.  He usually fusses a bit when we lay him down but he is normally out in a matter of 5-15 minutes.

My baby is growing up!  He doesn't snuggle with me much anymore which makes me sad.  There are days where I feel like he doesn't need me or want me but then I walk through the door from work each night and he fusses until I greet him.  I will be spending my first night away from him in a few weeks and I'm not looking forward to it even though he will just be home with Chris.  There are just some things I am not ready to let go of yet and trying to keep J tiny as long as possible is one of them.  Truth is I probably need my baby time more than he needs his momma time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

In a Rut

I am in a rut, a wardrobe rut. Every morning I throw on a pair of jeans, a shirt of some sort, shoes that somewhat match, and I head out the door. That is my uniform and there is very little variation to it. My office is casual so this attire is perfectly acceptable there. However, dressing this way makes me feel unprofessional. I also think it makes me appear younger and less experienced than I am which sometimes causes people not to take me seriously.(I once had a co-worker tell me he thought I was 22 which is why he was shocked I had a master's degree. I was 32 at the time.)

So I am trying to figure out a way to get out of my rut. I think that requires a history of my wardrobe post college. My early career (1 year post graduation...we will skip the 2 jobs before this) landed me doing bookkeeping work at a local CPA firm in Mobile. I worked there 4 years before leaving to finish my degree and move to Texas. It should come as no surprise that a CPA firm had a pretty formal dress code. They relaxed it a bit in the summers but I still don't remember ever being able to wear jeans except when we worked weekends during tax season. So dresses, suits, hoses, and heels filled my wardrobe. I loved dressing like a professional. It made me feel like an adult and no longer like a college student. This wardrobe continued over the next couple of years as I continued to work in other CPA firms even after moving to Texas until I decided I needed to make a change because I hated working in CPA firms.

That is when I got into government contracting. I was initially hired to be an assistant to a friend of mine who was writing proposals for the company (I had interviewed for an accounts payable position but was passed over for someone who later became my coworker). Two weeks later the comptroller pulled me into her office and asked me if I'd be interested in the accounts receivable position. A job in my field and higher pay, heck yeah! Now, this company was still a little more on the formal side. They had moved to Texas from the DC area and the DC companies were known to be more put together so to speak. So our CEO was trying to bring the DC atmosphere to Central Texas. I am not sure it worked so well. They moved back to DC a couple of years after I quit (and after the CEO died). It was during my time at this company that things with south in my marriage and I decided I needed a change of scenery.

Enter Austin, Texas. If you have ever been to Austin, you know it is a pretty laid back city and many of the business here carry that attitude over into their atmosphere. So a casual workplace is more the norm. The company I worked for when I first moved to Austin was pretty casual (we could wear shorts). However, the BusOps team, as those of us who weren't engineers were referred to, was expected to dress more professionally. Our CEO expected us to look the part since we were the ones who "ran" the company. Imagine my shock when I left that company and showed up for my first day at my new job in a dress only to be told I was overdressed. Instead of looking professional and trying to make a good first impression, I was just embarrassed. My wardrobe has only gone downhill since then. Throw a pregnancy in then and shifting to my maternity wardrobe and now I just feel like I have lost all sense of style.

I have been enjoying EBJ's posts about her wardrobe. Her "uniform" idea is fantastic and many of the outfits she wears are ones I can see myself in. Now if I can figure out how to make something similar work for me than I would be set. Can I have a wardrobe that consists all of houndstooth and crimson?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Jackson's First Birthday

At 8:10 AM on July 20th, I tweeted, "Y'all, my baby is one today.  I cannot even process this thought!"  Later Chris pointed out that Jackson wasn't officially 1 until 10:33 that evening but still.  Jackson is 1!  He is a toddler, not a baby.  He is standing on his own and trying to walk.  So of course we had to celebrate this occasion, not once but twice.  We were in Alabama on Jackson's actual birthday so we had a party there with some of my family and our close friends. (Remind me to never again plan an out of town birthday party, particularly one that involves assistance from my mom and aunt.)

My great aunt and uncle with my mom and me

Jackson with our neighbor
Jackson and my dad
Jackson with my brother and nephew
The smash cake with Larry and Bob candle

The decorated high chair

Jackson really just wanted the candle
He wasn't so sure about the icing or the cake
 The weekend after Jackson's birthday we were back at our house in Texas hosting our local friends and family to celebrate little man's special day.  I was smart enough to use the same theme so I didn't have to come up with new decorations and buy more stuff.

The food spread
The banner we made
The cake table
Everyone singing Happy Birthday to the Birthday Boy
Chris and Baby J "blowing" out the candle
Cousin Blake enjoying some of J's new toys post party
Jackson probably would have been happy with a box of tissue paper

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sweet Home Alabama

We spent the week of Jackson's birthday in Mobile with my parents.  I wanted to make sure they got to share J's birthday with him and, since my mom really can't go anywhere right now, we decided to bring the party to them.  As with every trip home, a certain amount of nostalgia comes into play.  I miss home.  A part of me will always reside there.  But I'm not sure I want to live there anymore.

Chris and I seriously discussed moving while we were there this time.  I think I feel the need to be home more so now that I have Jackson and I want him to be close to my roots and because of my mom's condition.  I struggle with this because I want to be there but my life is in Austin now.  We would have to start over on everything if we moved back to Mobile.  We would both have to find jobs and a place to live.  We would need a vet and a doctor and schools for the kids.  And we would need to find friends.  I am still in touch with some of the people I hung out with when I lived there but it's not really the same.  Things have changed and life has moved us in different directions.

Plus there is something that just seems backwards, maybe old fashioned about Mobile.  That's part of it's charm but also part of why I'm glad I'm not there anymore.  It all factors into why I decided not to move home when I got divorced 5 years ago.  Little things I didn't notice or let bother me before I moved away are now very obvious since I've had the chance to step away from them.  Living in/near a bigger city has allowed me to see that there is more out there.  And this is all coming from the girl who never wanted to leave her hometown.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not trying to insult Mobile or Alabama.  I still love my town and my state very much.  I'm just not sure they are the right place for me at this point in my life.  I keep thinking that one day it will happen and we will return.  I'm just not sure when that is going to be.


I turned 35 on the 11th. That in and of itself may not seem like a big deal. However, 35 has always been a cut off for me. A line in the sand if you will that said my childbearing days were through. My mom had me 2 before she turned 36 and had her tubes tied during the c-section. I'm pretty sure that's where my magic number came from. 35 and it's time to stop.

Chris and I talked about children a lot when we were dating. At first, we were both on the fence. He wasn't sure he wanted more kids and I wasn't sure I wanted any at all. I told him I would know if I was supposed to be a mother if I had a baby before I turned 35. If I wasn't pregnant by then, I wasn't supposed to have kids of my own. Jackson was born 9 days after I turned 34.

All while I was pregnant, we talked about the next baby. I enjoyed being pregnant for the most part so the idea of having another baby wasn't a crazy one. But then the delivery was so rough that I wasn't sure I wanted to go through it all again even knowing I wouldn't be put through the same thing again. There would be no induction. Just straight to a c. So I decided to give myself a year. A year to recover and raise my baby.

Well, that year has come and gone and we are no closer to deciding to have another child. There are so many reasons not to. Money is tight which would make affording another child tough. We don't have enough room in our house for another person and all its stuff. Those are just the practical reasons.

But then there are these other reasons. Do I want to share my love for Jackson with another child? If I had a girl, would I show more affection to her than to my boy? I know that sounds crazy but those are the thoughts I have. I really believe I couldn't love another baby the way I love Jackson. In reality, I know that wouldn't be the case but I struggle with that idea. And never would I want to feel like I was slighting Jackson in any way because we brought another baby into our lives. It would devastate me to think he might feel less loved or like he had to share me.

And then there is the fear. What if I can't get pregnant again or if we struggle unlike the last time we tried? What if something happened to the baby or if something was wrong with it? How would we handle that? As I get older, I know I would face a higher risk of complications. It almost doesn't seem worth putting my body through that.

So it is with a sad and heavy heart I say that we are going to be one and done. No more Short babies. Just the 4 of us and Mav. We haven't taken any permanent measures yet but we will start planning for them soon. I know I am always going to wonder what would have been if we had tried again. But I will have to be satisfied knowing that I have one perfect, happy, healthy baby boy and that is enough to make my life fulfilled.