Gifts

Saturday morning was cold and crisp, with a clear blue sky and glorious sun. It was colder than any of us would want for late March (come on, spring, where are you?) so my dad and I decided to take advantage of Mother Nature and go skiing. 

This is my first winter skiing in over 15 years. It was something I did with my parents and sister every winter when I was growing up but haven’t done at all as an adult. Now that Littleman is old enough and has started skiing lessons, I decided it was time to get back onto the slopes. 

I skied two other days this year and rented equipment both times. My old gear somehow disappeared from my parents’ basement over the years (and, anyway, would have been totally out-of-date). Today, I decided to try some demos in the hopes of buying new skis during the end-of-season sales. 

I tried four different pairs of skis and, I have to say, it felt amazing. First of all, I’d only skied on crappy rental skis so far this year. And then, there’s the new technology. I felt, at first, like the man was handing me kids skis because they were so short (I vaguely recall skiing on 175s or something in the past). As it turned out, the short skis felt so great. I was skiing really well. 

My dad and I spent a couple of hours skiing together at the nearly-empty ski hill near our farm. I guess people have given up on skiing for the season since it’s the end of March because we pretty much had the slopes to ourselves.  It felt wonderful to get some exercise and fresh air, without worrying about looking after the kids (they stayed at the farm with D and my mom). It also felt really good to spend some one-on-one time with my dad. We get to see my parents a lot when we all spend weekends together at the farm, but everyone’s focus is always on the kids. 

When I had finally chosen my favourite skis, my dad bought them for me. It was such a nice gift.  But thinking about it afterwards, I realized the real gift was getting to spend time with him.  As I get older and life gets busier, it’s more important than ever to make time for things like that. I hope that my renewed love for skiing gives us the opportunity to spend more time together and strengthen our relationship. I love my dad and I know how lucky we are to have him in our lives. 

MIA and IOU

I realize that I appear to have totally dropped off the face of the earth and I owe you an update…

I’ve almost made it through three weeks of work and life feels like a total whirlwind.  If D is working, he’s gone before the rest of us wake up in the mornings.   On those days, I rush to get myself ready before the boys wake up.  I nurse Bo when he awakes and throw some clothes on him.  Then I pester Littleman to get dressed and rush him through his breakfast (he is sllloooowwww).  I bundle us all up (will be so happy when we can drop the winter clothes for good!) and strap Bo into the stroller.  We walk to daycare as quickly as Littleman will allow (again, so slow!).  It breaks my heart to leave them there so early, but I pretty much have to drop them right when the daycare opens if I want to get to work at a decent time.  By the time I’m on the bus, I feel like I’ve already worked an entire day and it’s only 7:45am.

On days that D isn’t working, we have a bit more flexibility.  I can leave whenever I’m ready and the boys can take their time getting ready for daycare.  These days are so much better.

Work itself is going ok.  I was promoted while I was on maternity leave so I’m trying to get my head around my new responsibilities and getting to know my new employee.  I also have a new boss, so figuring out all the “people stuff” (i.e. personalities, working styles, expectations, etc) is the biggest challenge.  The actual content of the work is fine – I’ve been doing this stuff for a long time.

After work, the evening craziness begins with the commute home.  The boys are always tired and hungry after daycare so I try to get them as early as I can.  Then it’s dinner prep and eating, baths and bedtime.  The thing I’m hating the most is the fact that we just don’t get much time to hang out and play together.  I miss that.

I also miss writing here.  So much has been swirling through my head in the past few weeks as I try to reconcile the fact that my baby is one, we just passed the two-year anniversary of our miscarriage, I’m now a working mom again and we’re quite certainly having no more children.  I’m hoping that I’ll find a better balance soon so that I can ensure I’m able to find time do the things I want to do (play, write, read) instead of just things I have to do (work, laundry, cook).

That being said, I’ve been reading my favourite blogs as much as possible (the upside of all that time spent on public transit?) While I haven’t had a chance to comment much, please know that I’ve been thinking of you all through your ups and downs, good news and bad, celebrations and losses.  You really do help keep me sane.

My bubble

Starting back at work after a year-long maternity leave is tough.  I survived the first week and am trying to wrap my head around the fact that this life is my new normal.  One thing I’m starting to realize is that maternity leave was a bit like a bubble.

At the beginning of maternity leave, it feels like you’re living inside a brand new, tiny bubble.  The walls of the bubble are thick and there isn’t much room in there.  It’s ok, though, because you don’t need much room.  It’s just you and your new baby, really.  Sometimes dad or older siblings make their way in, but for the most part, it’s just mom and baby.

As time goes on, your bubble grows.  You start leaving the house again and seeing friends and family.  More people fit inside your bubble and the walls get a little less blurry.  But still, you’re separated from real life by a pretty thick film.

The bubble grows some more as your baby gets older and more independent.  You may actually get to leave the house without the baby (gasp!) and you start doing more activities.  You go out for coffee with other moms and babies.   At this point, you start to notice the rest of the world carrying on with work, commuting and all the other regular things that real people do.  Still, though, you aren’t really doing it yourself.

Then, no matter how prepared you are, that bubble suddenly bursts.  Your baby is separated from you, at daycare or with another caregiver.  You find yourself standing on a subway platform waiting for your train.  You’re wearing make up.  And nylons.  You shuffle along in a sea of other people on their way to work, like the march of the penguins.  And then, there you are, sitting at a desk with a huge, blinding computer screen in front of you and a bunch of fresh pens.  An IT guy hands you a blackberry that you can’t remember how to use and mumbles something about remote login.

It goes without saying that returning to work after having a baby is hard.  It’s a different, bigger, louder world than what I am used to.  Everyone has been saying, “in a couple of weeks, it will feel like you never left.”  They are probably right.  But for now, I miss my bubble.Photo 2014-07-04, 11 48 11 AM

One

Our sweet little baby boy turned one a week ago and he’s growing up everyday!

I’m so proud of him and the amazing kid that he is becoming.  He started daycare a few weeks ago and has been a champ when it comes to getting settled there.  He clings to me when I drop him off, but he’s happy as can be just minutes later.  He’s eating well and napping decently, which is all I can hope for right now.

At home, he’s become a bit of a mama’s boy, which I suppose is probably normal now that we’re separated all day long.  I’m not complaining, though!  My older son has always favoured his dad, so it’s nice to be someone’s first choice for now.

Eating

We’re still working on offering a variety of foods at home.  Bo is slowly losing interest in the purees, which is nice.  He accepts a larger range of textures now and shows interest in new things when placed on his tray.  He LOVED his birthday cupcakes.  Let me rephrase that, he LOVED the icing on his birthday cupcakes.  He licked them clean!

I’m still breastfeeding, but pretty much only twice or three times a day.  I feed him first thing in the morning and right before bed a night, with a quick feed right after daycare some evenings.

Sleep

The most amazing thing happened when Bo started going to daycare all day… sleep!  For the past couple of weeks, he has been sleeping 11-12 hours straight at night.  This is incredible.  For most of the last year, he woke at least twice per night, sometimes more.  My older son didn’t sleep through the night consistently until close to age two.  I know things can change with the drop of a hat, but my goodness, this is just dreamy.  I will take any bit of sleep I can get!

Development

There’s been lots of babbling going on around here.  My favourite, of course, is “mamamamama” but there is also a lot of “babababa” and “nanananana”.  No other real words, although he’s let out a few “uh ohs” and “wows” at appropriate times.  He’s finally showing interest in standing and will pull himself up using a couch or chair, but not too much in the way of cruising yet.  His crawling is very fast and effective (especially if he knows the fridge or dishwasher is open!) so he doesn’t have much incentive to walk right now.

He has six teeth with one more that looks close to breaking through.  His hair is pretty full and he’s even had a haircut (by daddy) already.  His big brother was still shiny-bald at age one, so this is new for us!

Personality

Bo is a sweetheart.  He’s easy-going and happy most of the time.  He’s not really a crier, but will whine a bit when he starts to get tired.

He is really starting to enjoy playing.  He actually pushed a car across the floor the other day and I heard him mumble, “vrrrooom!”  He is even happier when he’s playing with his favourite person in the world – his older brother.  There is nothing better than listening to my two boys laughing together.  It’s the best.


One Year Stats

Height: 30.5″
Weight: 22lbs 13oz
Teeth: 6
Clothing size: Tops/onesies/sleepers-12 months, Pants-9 months
Sleeping: 11 hrs per night, plus two 1-1.5 hr naps per day
Eating: breastfeeding 2-3 times per day, plus breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner (including homo milk in cup)

Nerves

It’s back to work for me tomorrow and the nerves are really starting to set in.

I’ve done everything I can do to get ready.  The freezer is stocked with meals.  The fridge and pantry are full of fresh food. My work friends have planned lunch for my first day, so I don’t need to worry about bringing something to eat.

Laundry is done.  I cleaned out my purse.  I packed a bag of shoes (for those who don’t live in a cold climate or take public transit, this is because I have to wear winter boots for my commute!)

Mom took me shopping for my birthday and bought me a new black suit, as well as a great dress.  Along with the few things I bought at the outlet mall in Florida, I’m feeling pretty good about my back-to-work wardrobe.  I tried on a few combinations so I know I can get through the first week without having to do much thinking about getting dressed.

I found a MAC gift card in my wallet (from who knows when?) and got myself a new lipstick.  My nails are painted.

So, that’s it.  There’s nothing more I can do.  Except worry, of course.  I worry about my boys.  Being away from them sucks.  I worry about having so little time together.  I hate knowing that our evenings are so short and that our time together will always feel rushed.  I worry about work.  I feel like I’ve lost some of my spark and I’m just not as sharp or quick on my feet as I used to be.  I worry that I’m not going to be able to keep up with the expectations that my new bosses will have.  I worry about not being able to keep the house organized.  Laundry, cleaning, cooking…

All of this, of course, is nothing new.  Moms go back to work after having children all the time.  I’ve done this before.  I know it will be hard and I also know that I will get through it.  I know that I will have moments where I suck at being a mom and I suck at doing my job.  But I also know that I need to go easy on myself at first because it will get easier.

Deep breaths.

A frantic finish (and some lovely lunches)

This is it. The final days of maternity leave. Now that Bo is doing full days of daycare, we are filling our days with shopping, cooking, organizing and purging. The realization that I’ll never have free time at home like this again (or at least in the foreseeable future) is making me a little panicky. 

One thing I really want to work on is being more prepared when it comes to meals. I already stocked thd freezer with dinners but I’ve always been terrible at taking my lunch to work. There are lots of places to buy my lunch where I work, but I know I don’t need to be spending so much money (or eating so many calories) so I’m aiming to bring my lunch at least a couple of days a week. 

In preparation for this morning’s cooking session, I threw five chicken breasts and some broth in the slow cooker overnight. When I woke up, it was ready to be shredded. After dropping the boys at daycare, I jumped right into making wraps to freeze for lunches. 

I found a recipe for bean and veggie burritos that I wanted to try and they turned out great. 



I also decided to make a few other variations including ingredients like the shredded chicken, refried beans, black beans, quinoa, corn, caramelized onions, cheese, salsa and sour cream. I made a few meat-free in case I felt like a change. 



Once I had filled and rolled all the wraps, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. I labeled some large freezer bags and packaged them up for our chest freezer. 



We tested out a couple for lunch today and they were delicious!  Now I have something I can grab and take to work for easy reheating at lunch time.  



Life is going to get a lot trickier in a few days but hopefully these little things will help make it a bit easier.