James becomes “The Man” and Liam continues to amaze me

September 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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It’s nearly official – James got the job! He’s just waiting to hear what his start date will be. What a relief that we don’t have to move with this job! He’ll be working from a different office, but it shouldn’t add that much to his commute. He’ll be a supervisor, which is something he hasn’t done before, and will help round out is already pretty extensive resume. Well, extensive within the Immigration branch, anyway. He’ll also be wearing a suit everyday. Thank god I talked him out of buying those Lumburg-style shirts with the white collars. Can I get an “M, kay?”

I am loving this fall weather! Now that I’ve got the kiddo his own perch on the back of the bike, I’ve been going out in the mornings to ride the trail, and I usually go a mile or two and then head back. But Wednesday I felt adventuresome, so I rode about as far as I could comfortably go, all the way to New Hampshire Ave and Sligo Creek Parkway. Almost 5 miles. Liam was snug as a bug back there, not a peep. What I didn’t consider – and this always happens to me – is that the ride was almost entirely up hill on the way back. I was definitely feeling it around mile 2, so we stopped to play for awhile at a playground. I wisely brought snacks, so he was content on the exhausting ride all the way home. We were out for almost 3 hours, and he loved it. I remember when I first put that helmet on him at the bike shop and how much he protested. Now, when I have the bike all set up outside, he marches down the steps, stands next to the bike, and flings his arms up at the seat. Helmet goes on without protest. He sits back there and points to trucks on the road, barks at dogs on the trail, and talks to himself. How is it I got such a cool kid?

My friends with older kids tell me those days are numbered. That soon after he really starts talking, he’ll start having Opinions. Now I decide everything we’re going to do that day, and he pretty much does it. So, because Liam did so well on our 3-hour jaunt, I’m going to take Liam for a ride at the National Mall. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, even before Liam was born, but I figured now it would be too much of a hassle. But as much as he loves riding the train and riding the bike, I think we could do it. And now’s the time, before he starts deciding for himself!


Cloth diapers might end a marriage

June 2, 2010 at 7:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Well, perhaps I’m exaggerating. Sort of.

I mentioned before I was trying out cloth diapers and posting my insights on Tiny Tidbits. You can read my first post here.

Needless to say (and I didn’t mention it there), James is not. on. board. After about a week, we were both disappointed in the cloth diapers. In my second post (coming soon!), I mention trying out G diapers, which are flushable. James is slightly more amenable to them. But only slightly. If I were more die hard about the environment, I might push the issue. But frankly, cloth diapering is pretty gross. And a hassle. And if it means I have to change all of the diapers myself, or hear a litany of complaint at every BM Liam makes, it’s not really worth it. Jury’s still out on the G diapers – they’ve worked better for us, and if I can get some outer coverings from someone for free or for a discount, I may use them along with disposables.

I’ll post parts 2 and 3 as they are published. Stay tuned!

Time to Man Up

May 16, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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On Mother’s Day I picked up a couple of choice filet mignons to grill for dinner, and being the grill-master I am (only by default, as James won’t go near the grill, which resides OUTside the house), I cooked these puppies all by myself. But when I went to turn on our gas grill, the right burner wouldn’t stay lit, and the left burner was burning very high and yellow. The steaks got cooked, sort of, but this definitely needed some looking into.

Today James, to his credit, did do some heavy-lifting, getting the old propane tank exchanged for a new one. (But only after I cleaned off all of the icky spider webs because my man is afraid of them. Gawd, I so wear the pants in this relationship.) But that didn’t fix the problem. We tried one other fairly easy solution, but no dice. Faced with the possibility of not eating charred meat this summer (nooooo!), I rolled up my sleeves, got out some tools, and took the damn thing apart. James, faced with the prospect of getting dirty, went inside to watch TV. Consulting the manual, I took apart the burners, and sure enough, they were all clogged up with creepy crawly residue. A few pokes with a small stick, then screwed back into the main frame, and presto! Ze grill works again!

Yep. I am the man.

Spring has sprung

April 10, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Maryland turned green while I was away. Liam and I walked to his doctor’s appointment Thursday amid scores of flowering trees and raining cherry blossoms. Such a lovely walk for such a stressful visit. No worries – everything with Liam is fine (you can see his stats if you want), but he’s smart enough now to equate the doctor’s office with those nasty needles, and he threw an absolute fit the whole time we were there. And, of course, we ended the visit with shots, just to reaffirm his fears. Sigh. Afterward we played in the park, and you’d never know he’d been so unhappy just 15 minutes prior.

I made a wonderful discovery today. We had a sub for Donna’s Yoga I class at Blue Heron this morning, and it was as if this new teacher was channeling Emily Darling! I’ve been to several studios here in DC, but none has ever measured up to my favorite studio in KS. I’m looking for the right balance of chanting, teaching style, and relaxation, and while I really love Donna’s style and sense of humor, I find that none of the yoga instructors do much with physically guiding us deeper into poses. Kristin, today’s sub, did a wonderful job correcting my poses, and even did a neck massage with Lavendar oil while we were in shavasana. Mmmmm, nice. I had a chat with her after class, and turns out she has a studio in Georgetown called Lil Omm. I figured I’d have to beg James to drive me down there next weekend to check it out, but even better – they offer child care for some of their weekday classes! It’s a little further for me to drive, but would totally be worth it if I could go during the week sometimes. Think I’ll check it out next week.

In other news, I’m officially off unemployment. Penton has offered me some regular part-time work, and I’ve decided it’s too much of a hassle to keep reinstating my unemployment benefits account on the weeks I’m not doing any work. James is getting his big raise in about a month, and it’s high time we start tightening our belts. We went a little bonkers spending our tax refund, but now that sanity has returned, I’ve decided to get organized and open us each our own spending accounts that we’ll use for personal purchases. We’re cutting off the movie channels just as soon as the last season of the Tudors has aired…and maybe True Blood, if we get sucked into that again (pun intended, lol). I’ve also been doing some research on housing prices and closing costs in our area, and it’s frightening to say the least. But attainable, as long as we can build up our savings again. I figure if in another year James has heard zilch about these overseas positions, we should get started on our house hunt. I have a feeling it’s going to take us a long while to find a house we can afford in a neighborhood we like that can fit all of James’s books, lol.

Daddy leaves town, Liam gets shots, and Mommy cries

January 11, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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James left for Dallas this morning…at 5:30 AM. Ugh. I dreaded having to wake Liam up this morning to drag him to the Baltimore Airport, but as I turned on the light, he flipped over, pulled himself up on the crib rails, and eagerly crawled right up into my arms. Through some genetic impossiblity we have a morning child. I was not nearly so bushy-tailed and wide-eyed. Liam and I took a little mini-nap when we got back to the house around 6:30, and ever since he’s been attached to me like glue. James will be gone until Friday, so it’s just Liam and Mommy this week. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. Or maybe that’s just from lack of sleep today.

Over the weekend I bought him Love You Forever. I’d never read the book as a child, but I came across it during my summer job at the bookstore in my college days, and I sat and read it over my lunch break. By the end I was wiping away tears, and I thought, “Waaaaa! I can’t wait to read this book to my own children.” Fast-forward to the present day, and I’m sitting with Liam on the floor reading this book to him as he bangs some plastic toys together. And I can barely choke through the words, I’m blubbering and carrying on so much. (Being a mom has made me infinitely more emotional about anything having to do with kids. Suddenly I find myself bawling over scenes in movies I’ve seen countless times, just because a child gets sick or dies.) I’m sitting there bawling on the floor over this book, and Liam could seriously care less. He’s one, I know, but he’s a boy, too, so I’m resolved to not get hurt feelings if his nonchalance continues into toddlerhood. So when I read this hilarious post by one of my favorite mommy bloggers, McMommy, I couldn’t help but laugh. Yeah, I guess it is a little creepy that the mom brings a ladder to her grown up son’s house, crawls in through his bedroom window, and cuddles him while singing this song. But I don’t care. It still makes me cry.

Liam had his one-year check up today. All is progressing on track, though he’s still our little short round at 21 pounds 12 ounces (35th percentile) and 27.75 inches (3rd percentile). And though it looked like Liam’s eyes were changing, they’re still very much blue, with some hints of brown and green around the iris. Doc thinks they’ll probably stay that way. We’re still on the fence about his handedness — he seemed to be favoring his left hand for awhile, but now that he’s using a spoon, I notice he always transfers it to his right hand. If he settles on his left hand, I think I might start calling him my little genetic anomaly. We ended the visit with four shots, and of course he screamed his head off, poor dear. Then it was just hiccupping sniffles all the way home, and I expect he’ll sleep away most of the afternoon.

New job prospects on the hubby front

November 4, 2009 at 11:46 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Just as I’m throwing in the towel career-wise, James gets some enlightening news. It’s no secret he’s been unhappy in his job, and while the recent transfer to a different department helped ease some tension, he’s still not happy with the work. So far it’s a lot of meetings, a lot of disorganization, and a lot of fruitless work. He’s been hoping something would open up in Refugee Affairs, but with an unofficial hiring freeze, it didn’t look good. Until yesterday. First, a supervisory position in Refugee Affairs opened up, one that didn’t require travel, but has the option for overseas travel once a year. So, if we play our cards right and save up our money, there might be a month-long trip somewhere very cool in it for all of us. Our vacations in Vienna and Istanbul were unforgettably amazing, and I’d love the chance to go back to Europe or elsewhere. Then, the overseas positions James has been talking about for years now opened their list, and he qualified for several of them. This is the first time he’s been in a high enough GS level to qualify. It’s a long shot because they open the list every 4 – 6 months, and candidates basically throw their names into the hat, indicating which cities they would like to be considered for. Then if there’s an opening, and if you’re one of the top candidates, you’ll get an interview. This could take months, years, or could never happen. But it’s something James has had his eye on since he started in Refugee Affairs back in 2005, and I’ve managed to talk him into only applying for decent places. This time he’s putting in for Frankfurt, Rome, and Athens. Once he gets his GS 14 in May, he can apply for London and Vienna. Ah, Vienna. That would be lovely. The job lasts two years, and the government pays for almost everything. It could be quite an adventure…for the three of us. We’ll see what happens.

Weekend Update

September 19, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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All week Liam’s been practicing his B’s, D’s, M’s and R’s, enough so that I even caught some video of it. But this morning while playing in our bed, he clearly looked up at James and said, “Da da!” Put a big ol’ grin on da da’s face. Our boy’s a talkin! We think he’s a teethin’, as well. Probably the top teeth, this time. Poor lil guy was all stuffy and slobbery today.

On Thursday I decided I needed a break from all my freelance business worrying, so I went to see the new Harry Potter movie. The Hench Aussie warned me there were a lot of changes from the book, but I still enjoyed it. It was nice to lose myself in a movie. And eat some buttered popcorn. James and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary this Saturday, so we’re hoping Alice can come babysit. I’m sure we’ll do something thoroughly unoriginal, like dinner and a movie. We’re both too stressed and exhausted to come up with anything romantic to do. We’re both going through a tough time in our careers, and it’s times like these that I marvel at how truly lucky I am to have married my hubby. He fixes what’s broken, even when he’s not clear how. He calms me down when I get overwhelmed. He’s endlessly patient with me when I’m upset about something and I take it out on him. And while, yes, he drives me crazy with all of his book-buying, and he’s about the laziest cook I’ve ever known (I’m the second laziest, heh), I can’t imagine anyone else I want to grow old with.

Speaking of lazy cooking, I’ve decided it’s time we try out Let’s Dish, a service I heard about through one of my mommy groups. I first heard about this concept a few years ago, but it seemed lavish at the time. Now James and I barely have the time and energy to cook dinner each night, and we find ourselves eating out more than ever. At about $5 per serving, we’d be spending about as much as we do eating out, and this food is a lot healthier. I’m still a little unclear about how this all works, but as long as it means an easy, healthy meal each night without the hassle of planning, I’m willing to try anything.

Today I bought a day planner. Yes, I know, how 1994 of me. Blackberries kind of scare me, to tell you the truth. This is all part of my effort to Get Organized (triple underlined and taped to my desk.) I’ve langished the last two weeks over the multitude of things I’m trying to accomplish, and I think planning out every hour of my day will help keep me on track. I’ve been feeling completely ADD lately, easily distracted by incoming emails, IM, phone calls, other, less important, tasks on my list. This book has been immensely helpful so far, and I’ve also got another book all about pricing that will make a very handy reference. Contracts, billing, taxes….it’s enough to make your head spin! But one thing I’ve taken away from my reading is that a successful business isn’t built overnight. I need to take one step at a time. I need to focus on each task at hand and complete it before moving to the next. And while I’m facing the most challenging career point I’ve encountered thus far, I’m also facing an opportunity to attain that life balance I’m desperate to have. One where I’m a mother and a graphic artist, and I have the freedom to choose the time I spend in each of those roles. It might mean less money, but Liam will only be a baby once in his life, and you can’t put a price on that.

Aaaaand Go

September 8, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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First step to creating a new business…overcoming the technological hurdles. Admittedly, when it comes to computers, my frustration threshold is abysmally low. My first inclination at signs of Trouble is to drop the F-bomb and hit the keys Very. Hard. Then throw a little tantrum. Now I call in my IT department (AKA James) whose knowledge of computers may only be slightly above mine, but whose frustration threshold is considerably higher. So he’s calmly opening windows, trying different solutions, and I’m standing over his shoulder fuming. Not at him, at the computer. But sometimes I get a little on him. Sorry, honey. It’s a thankless job, I know.

So that was basically our weekend, setting up my home office in between feedings and naps. Harder than it sounds — when Liam wasn’t sleeping, he was crying and hungry. We caught ourselves a family cold, so that didn’t help matters. When Alice got here this morning, Liam was practically jumping out of my arms at her, like, “Get me away from these people!” Poor kid. I was totally ready for work this morning, too. But after I shot and uploaded this video.

This morning, more hurdles. James and I bought a wireless keyboard a few years ago because, well, how cool is wireless, right? Except that it’s a totally piece of shit…when it stops working, and i can only type every third letter, i want to bang my head against the wall. Plus, this computer I’m using — one James bought for its ultra-light-weightedness — only had four USB ports, and the USB hub I have wasn’t working right, either. So I had to make a dash to Best Buy before my head exploded. How nice is it to just run an errand without any explanations to a boss?

With everything properly set up (and a keyboard that actually works, for only $20. Bite me, expensive wireless!), I got my first business call, yay! And I realized what an utter tool I am on the phone. Seriously, did I just say that? Way to sound desperate for work! Nine years of emailing, IM, and one-way conference calls has left me with little in the way of phone skills. Number 43 on the Massive To-Do List: Work on Phone Skills. Let’s hope I didn’t just talk myself out of my first gig.

A typical conversation

August 12, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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I think the clinical term for my husband’s affliction is “Occupational ADD.” He’s had five jobs in as many years, and he shows no signs of stopping. At least I was able to strike a deal this time…no more cross-country moving. Um, well, I thought so anyway. Here’s an excerpt from our dinnertime conversation:

James: I wanted to float this idea by you…

Me: (eyebrow raised) uh huh.

James: Remember the office in Manhattan where i used to work? They’re breaking it up into suboffices in Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, Nasau County, and such. And each one will have a GS 15 position.

Me: (eyebrow raised further) uh huh.

James: So i was thinking, down the road, of course, that maybe i could put in for one of those. If I got the position in Westchester, we’d be just outside of New York.

Me: Honey, we can’t afford to live in Westchester.

James: Well, we can’t afford to live here, either.

Me: Fair enough.

James: Or maybe I could get the position in Brooklyn and we could move back there.

Me: Hahahahahahahahaha hahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahah haaaa haaaahaaaah haaah haahaaah haaaaahaaaa, woo, hoo, hoo, haaahahhaa hhhaaahahahahahahaa, heh, ok (wiping tears from eyes) woo, ok. You’re joking, yes?

James: It would seem so.

If you don’t get the joke, start at the bottom ofthis page to read the good and the bad (mostly bad) posts about living in Brooklyn.

My motherhood neurosis (the first of many, I’m sure)

July 2, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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My mother worries. A lot. Too much. As a kid, and even as an adult, I tease her about it, but she’s always maintained that once I had my own kids, I would worry about them more than I ever thought I would. Whatever, mom.

Ok, so, she’s right. Liam is finally, blessedly, sleeping through the night once again, but I am not. I find myself waking three or four times a night in a panic, convinced that Liam is in the bed with us, and he’s getting crushed. I’m sure it’s a holdover from when I used to get up with him and bring him into the bed to cuddle him into submission. It always worked for him, but for me I was constantly waking up to make sure he was still securely in my arms. The fact that I’m prone to sleep walking and talking makes matters worse. Now that he’s sleeping through the night, I should have nothing to worry about. But for some reason, my wires have been crossed. Poor James…I punched him awake accusing him of flattening our kid the other night. I think I may have done it more than once that night. Or that’s what he says. My memory’s a little hazy. My bad, dear.

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