Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Meeting Colin on His Vast Veranda

So, I know my last post was rather heavy, and my mood has improved since then, mostly because my husband took me to see Colin Meloy, the lead singer of the Decemberists (he's on a solo tour), last night in Milwaukee. I love Colin, and thank goodness Aaron is man enough to watch his wife drool her way through a 90-minute concert. Some images:

Sing it baby...

He *says* he's singing about his girlfriend, but I KNOW he is singing about the girl sitting in row L, seat 8 (that would be me)...
Ok, I'm done.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Not the Aztec kind, in which a warrior's still-beating heart is ripped out of his chest to pacify the gods of rain...

I'm talking about the kind in which a working mom's heart is, metaphorically speaking, ripped out of her chest to pacify the corporate gods...

Does every mom who works outside of the house go through this? Recently, I was offered a new promotion at work, and along with the (little bit of) extra money and snazzy new title comes a whole shit-ton of extra work. Hour-long lunches are a distant memory. Two Saturday mornings a month are spent at work rather than at home snuggling with my kiddo. Sneaking out of work a couple minutes early to savor a few extra moments in the evening with the family is out of the question. Nights spent watching toons with Gracie are less frequent than nights I spend in front of the computer running reports.

What does a mom do when she HAS to work outside of the home? She works, and she does the best she can, and because of that, she is recognized and rewarded with a promotion. And then she suffers, because her real, most important job suffers.

Sacrifice means different things for different people. In the corporate world, you sacrifice precious family time to go above and beyond at work. It's just expected of you. You miss out on Saturday morning cartoons and donuts so you can make money for The Company. You drag yourself around, exhausted and dazed and frustrated, just to do it all again tomorrow. And, your heart breaks when your baby wakes up in the morning, hoping she will maybe get to spend the day with you, and you have to tell her, "Mommy has to work again today."

Or, you don't work or don't take the promotion and you sacrifice all of the extra stuff that you're used to. The new clothes. The vacations. The new lap top. The concerts. All of the fun stuff that you couldn't afford if you didn't work. Is that stuff all that important? I don't think it is...

I talk to working moms all the time that tell me they LOVE to work and travel and hang with the boys and I wonder if I have an unhealthy attachment to my child. Is it abnormal for me to want to spend at least half of my time with her? I'm starting to wonder if it is.

I think I know what I need to do, but I am afraid. Afraid if I turn down the promotion, I will lose respect among my coworkers, and worse, my job. Wondering if I should suck it up and soldier on. Deciding which sacrifice will be less painful and hoping I have the balls to make the right decision.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Our reception weekend can probably be summed up in one word, especially since we included a brewery tour in our festivities, and the reception was at a brewery in Brew City:


More pictures to come very soon!

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Rare Moment of Calm

This morning, the day before The Reception, on the way home from my last spray tanning session before the big party (no UV for this girl, no way)...

Driving past the school that Gracie will be attending in the fall, watching parents walking their children into school, seeing smiling faces and excitement, and imagining how it will be dropping my baby off on her first day of school, all smiles and excitement...

Watching a plane take off over our house and thinking to myself, "It will all be ok when I fly in a couple of weeks. I know it will. So just chill out." And really knowing, for a few moments anyway, that things WILL be ok.

Walking into my quiet house this morning, seeing all of our wedding favors ready to go, remembering how Aaron had a plan for how to get everything ready for the reception, stress-free, knowing that--even though he didn't say it out loud--he made that plan for me because he loves me and doesn't want me to feel overwhelmed, and feeling SO excited that tomorrow night I get another chance to celebrate our wedding and the deep, all-encompassing love that I feel for my husband.

Sitting here, anticipating seeing my beloved family and friends tomorrow, tearing up at the thought of seeing my grandparents again after many months, and feeling so blessed that it's almost beyond words.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Math vs. Magic

This morning, Grace and I had our very first subtraction lesson. Grace knows that I pack two cookies in her lunch for school, and this morning, she asked if she could have two cookies for breakfast. Knowing that she would be eating breakfast at school in less than 30 minutes and not wanting to condone cookie eating for breakfast, I decided to argue that if she had her cookies right then, she wouldn’t have any left for lunch. Being the clever kid that she is, Grace then asked if she could have just one cookie right now, but the problem was that she thought that if she had one for breakfast, she would still have two left for lunch.

So, I attempted some math with her. I told her that if she has two cookies and she takes one away, she will only have one left. I even used some toys that were on the coffee table to illustrate my point. She thought about this for a moment and told me that I was wrong, and that she WOULD still have two cookies at lunch even if she had one for breakfast. Hmm. I asked her how this could happen, and she looked at me like I had two heads and said, “It’s magic, Mama.”

Can’t argue with that, I guess. At this point, I used my mighty powers of redirection and got her interested in some pop tarts instead.

So, we are at T minus 4 days until our reception, and the diet has gone just ok. I’ve managed to lose a few pounds over the past couple of weeks, and after discovering some very tasty and satisfying fiber bars at Target that I can snack on during the day (gotta love Target), I’ve been on the straight and narrow this week so far. (The only downside of these bars is that they are SO loaded with fiber that if you eat too many, you end up with some major intestinal problems later in the evening. Trust me…I found this out the hard way.) I’m hoping to lose a couple more pounds before Saturday so I don’t feel like a sausage in my wedding dress. Although, come to think of it, feeling like a sausage would fit in well with the German-style buffet that we’re serving at the reception.

And, I'm considering it a bad thing that I spent most of the afternoon at work today, during down time, munching on chocolate and listening to sappy Chicago songs. The stress must be getting to me...

"Just say you'll love me for the rest of my life..."

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pulled In a Million Directions

My blogging has been suffering as of late, mostly because I have been so busy with a full time job that has suddenly evolved into an almost 55-hour per week job, final preparations for our wedding reception that's coming up in a week (gasp!), and the normal day-to-day duties of motherhood and wifedom (both of which could qualify as full time jobs in and of themselves). I feel as though I am being pulled in a million directions and at the end of the day, there's not much left of me to go around--so much so that a couple of nights ago when I found a spare minute to check my Facebook account, I put my head in my hands and started to cry because I had all of these messages from my friends that I haven't had a chance to answer. So, needless to say, I don't have the abundant time that I once had to be able to sit down and write a decent, well thought out, blog entry. Sorry. I am hoping things calm down a bit once the reception is over and I have a chance to breathe. We'll see.

Anyway, a few random happenings from this week that I found to be noteworthy:

-Today while I was standing in line at my local BP station paying for my gas and cursing Big Oil, a rather attractive man that was behind me in line asked me if I drive the Lexus that was parked outside in the parking lot. I looked at him, bewildered, said, "Um, no, I drive a Saturn," and he smiled and said, "Oh, you look like the Lexus type." What the hell does that mean? Was that a compliment? Was it a come-on (and a rather lame one at that)? Eh, either way, I guess it's all right that I at least look as though I have enough money to be driving a Lexus around. Apparently the gentleman didn't notice that I was wearing a second hand jacket that was stained with something that Grace ate weeks ago or didn't hear me complaining to the cashier about gas prices while digging through my wallet for pennies to make exact change.

-Apparently I have earned the reputation for being a tyrant at home. Last night when I was rushing home from work to pick Grace up and whisk her off to swimming class, I called Aaron and asked him to have Grace fed and ready to go by the time I got home so we could leave right away and make it to swimming in time. When I finally made it home spotted Grace on the couch finishing her supper, she burst into tears for no apparent reason as soon as she saw me. After calming her down and asking her what happened, she blubbered, "Aarie said you were going to be mad at BOTH of us if I didn't finish my supper!!!" Well, I wasn't mad at Grace, that's for sure. At least I can chuckle about it now.

-Looks like I'm going on another business trip in a couple of weeks (this time to Hagerstown, MD), and I'm gonna have to fly. Ugh. I booked my trip today with my boss, who is coming with me, and instead of having my choice and flying on Midwest nonstop from Milwaukee to Baltimore, we're flying Northwest out of Milwaukee with a stop in Detroit. Double ugh. For those of you who don't know, I am an EXTREMELY nervous flyer. The trip is more than two weeks off and I have already launched into panic mode. I'm trying to talk myself down off of the edge by reminding myself about how safe I will be and how quickly the trip will go by, but hearing recent news of airlines cancelling flights due to safety concerns certainly isn't helping matters. I think I will definitely try to take some sort of anti-anxiety medicine when I fly this time--I have resisted it in the past, because I have been traveling with Grace or for other reasons, but I think that this time I'm gonna go for it and see if I'm able to be calmer.

-The big news in Milwaukee is a measles outbreak that has occured among three children that attend the same day care on the south side of town. These children have not received the MMR vaccine or were too young to have been vaccinated. Concern is such that the city of Milwaukee is holding vaccine clinics for people to vaccinate themselves if they haven't already done so. When Grace was younger and we went through her first several series of childhood vaccinations, I was well aware of the claim that vaccinating your child can heighten their risk of autism, and I, like many parents, had my doubts about taking the chance and letting our pediatrician inject her with all of this stuff. I was listening to Larry King Live last week, and Jenny McCarthy was on the program, talking about her autistic son and arguing that his vaccinations were part of the reason that his autism emerged. She said something that stuck with me. She said that parents would much rather have their children contract measles than live with autism. I don't know. Obviously, no parent would want their child to have either affliction, but would I ever let the fear of the possibility of having an autistic child trump the idea that I should safeguard my child against potentially deadly diseases? I wonder if the parents of these three Milwaukee children who now have the measles wish they had decided to vaccinate their children. I know that I am breathing a sigh of relief knowing Grace has been vaccinated.

-Where in the hell is Spring? Seriously. I am so ready.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sweet Home Wisconsin

Well, I am back home from my trip to Tennessee, and I gotta say, it's great to be back. It was surprising how much I missed Grace and Aaron--sure, I knew I would miss them, but I didn't know that I would MISS them. By the time I got home really late on Wednesday night (actually, early Thursday morning), all I could think of was snuggling up with a sleeping Aaron and surprising Grace when she woke up in the morning. Good stuff. And, as soon as Grace woke up in the morning and noticed that I was home, she jumped out of bed and ran over and gave me a bear hug. This is the child that normally rouses in the morning at a snail's pace and is grumpy for a good half hour or so after waking up. I guess she missed me, too.

One thing I learned on the trip: I need to get over my fear of flying. I decided to drive to Tennessee when I found out that it really wasn't THAT far and justified it by telling myself that road trips are totally cool and that this would be a fun adventure for me. Well, it was really THAT far and road trips are only fun when you can share them with someone (and, when you can share the driving with someone). Next time I have to go on a business trip (which will be later this month), I'll take some Valium, suck it up, and fly.

In other news, Grace has officially graduated from her parent and child swimming class and last night, she started a child-only class. She wasn't overly receptive to the idea of being in the pool without me, so to help her get used to it a bit, I took her to the pool about a half hour before her class started and told her I could stay in the pool with her for a while. When it was time for her class, I got out of the pool and Grace started looking a little sheepish, sucking on her fingers and slouching down (Grace's non verbal ways of saying "I'm scared"). I sat close to the pool with her until her teacher took over, and soon, she was splashing around with the other kids, laughing and having a grand ol' time. She did well in class, except when it came to bobbing in the water. The kid doesn't like getting her face wet, and certainly that will become an issue when she really starts learning to swim. And, she didn't do a great job of keeping one hand on the pool wall while the teacher was working individually with other kids. (The teacher kept yelling at the kids to stay at the wall and not splash each other. That killed me...these are preschoolers. Yeah, right lady.) But, all and all, I think she'll do just fine in this class.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hey Y'all

So, I know I have neglected my blog for the past few days, but that's only because I'm kickin' it southern style in Tennessee.

Ok, that sounds a lot more fun and interesting than what is actually going on. Actually, I am in Johnson City, TN on a business trip. I drove from Milwaukee down to Tennessee, and here are some observations from my trip:

-I am not nearly as young and nimble as I used to be and therefore road trips are no longer as fun as they used to be. When I arrived at my destination last night after a 12-hour drive (stupid Chicago traffic), my back was aching, my butt was hurting, my legs were cramping, and I was just about in tears.

-On the way through Gary, IN, I noted a sign on the side of the road that said, "HELL IS REAL." Yes it is, and it's located in Gary, IN. Sorry, folks, if any of you live there or are from there or have family there. I can't think of a place that is more dreary and reminisent of the "gray ash heaps" that F. Scott Fitzgerald talks about in The Great Gatsby. Again, sorry--I only saw the part of the city that's right around the interstate, but it was pretty sad.

-Even though I have an entire king sized bed to myself in my palacial hotel room, I still sleep on the same side of the bed that I do when at home in my queen sized bed with my hubby. I didn't venture over to the other side of the bed at all last night.

-Room service rocks. So does expensing your employer for your room service usage.

-Even though I am enjoying a leisurely breakfast, savoring a good cup of coffee, and watching CNN uninterrupted, I would much rather be at home rushing through my breakfast, taking my coffee to go, and watching "Pee Wee's Playhouse".