Friday, July 31, 2009


Today, I joined the ranks of the millions of other Americans whose jobs have been axed due to the economy...I got laid off.

As you might remember, I decided to take an extended leave of absence after my maternity leave ran out on May 19th. My plan was to take the entire summer off so that I could stay home with Grace and Harrison, and then to return to work in September when Grace starts school again. Harrison would go into day care, and I would return to work full time. That was the plan.

However, plans change. Today I got a call from my former employer...telling me that volumes are down at work and that I had two options. I could extend my leave indefinitely and technically remain an employee (who doesn't actually work) and then if a position opened up (highly unlikely), I could apply for it. Or, I could just be laid off and be in a status of "eligible for rehire". I went with the second option--at least in a lay off, I can claim unemployment.

I can't say that I am too surprised about all of this. I mean, the economy continues to suck, and my former employer has had to make cuts just like everyone else. And, I am super excited to be an official Stay At Home Mom. I plan to volunteer at Grace's school during the week--something I wouldn't have been able to do while I was working. And, I can rest assured that I will be able to witness all of Harrison's firsts that I might have missed had I been at work. I can't think of a more wonderful or fulfilling undertaking.

However, I can't help but feel a little disappointed about all of this as well. When I was working, I worked my ass off...there was rarely a night when I wasn't checking emails or doing other work long after Grace was asleep. I cared about my job, about my reputation at work, and about my rapport with my client. I cared so much, in fact, that the stress ended up affecting my health and the health of my child during the last few months of my pregnancy. I thought that I was an invaluable employee and that my employer would be so thrilled and relieved to have me back from leave. I thought that all the hard work I put in would somehow matter. I thought that the fact I did care so much would count for something. I thought it would matter that I was sticking it out and working even harder so that I could prove that I was still a valuable employee even though I was eight months pregnant and working from home.

But I'm not special. I'm not exempt. It didn't matter.

Come to think of it, I guess I'd rather spend my days with those who truly need and appreciate me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Harrison--5 months old

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Advanced Degree in Motherhood

On Friday, I traveled with my parents and the kiddos to LaCrosse to watch my younger sister receive her Master's degree in Education. I'm so happy for her--she worked hard, she sacrificed a lot, and as I watched her receive her degree on Friday, I couldn't have been prouder of her.

It's funny...I always thought I was going to be the first in my family to earn an advanced degree. After all, I was the first to earn a Bachelor's, and while I was in college, my long-term goal was to earn a Doctorate in Spanish and become a college professor. My plan was to teach for a few years and earn my Master's while I taught, and then when I had saved up some money, I would go back to school and get my PhD. Then I would find a job teaching Spanish at some university somewhere, travel all over the place, write books, and finally retire to a tiny fishing village in Mexico.

But sometimes things don't turn out as planned. Life happens. I tried teaching for two years and ended up not liking it much at all. Instead of starting coursework for my Master's, I decided to go down another path--take the LSAT and apply to law school to study immigration law. I took the LSAT, placed in the top 10% in the nation, and applied and was accepted to the UW Law School. Before I started, though, I decided to become a mom instead. Soon, I had Grace and became a single mother, and I was more focused on earning a living than I was about furthering my education.

There are times when I think about going back to school, and I probably will after Harrison starts kindergarten (to pursue a degree in Nursing), but right now I just can't imagine trying to keep up with all of the housework and the kids and possibly a full-time job while heaping schoolwork on top of it all. My long-term goal is now a distant memory, replaced instead by the reality of raising children and managing a household.

My mom asked me on Friday if I was sad at all that I didn't have my Master's yet. After all, she knows better than anyone that, at one point in my life at least, I couldn't earn it fast enough. But, as I looked at my kids I knew for certain that I wouldn't have things any other way. I am a mom, and I can't imagine doing anything more important than that. I may not have the alphabet soup behind my name, but I have more treasures in my life than I ever imagined I would have. Happiness is my reward.

But I'm still planning to retire to that tiny fishing village in Mexico...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Veggies, Apples, and Roller Skates

We didn't plant our garden this year. We had the best intentions. Really. We started a ton of seeds indoors and Aaron even mapped out how he wanted everything planted once the threat of frost was gone. But, the seeds we started inside were started a bit too soon and they ended up dying before we could get them in the ground. And, as much as we thought we would just be able to plop Harrison in his car seat and plunk him on the ground while we planted, one of us (or both of us) would inevitably end up on baby duty.

So, this year we decided to try something on a smaller scale, and so far, so good. We decided to plant a salad table in which we would grow some greens and we would get the rest of our veggies from our CSA. Aaron made our salad table from scratch using some lumber, mesh wire, and duct tape, and he even made Gracie her own little salad box so she could plant and care for some veggies of her own.

Our salad table (we planted beets, spinach, lettuce, and radishes):
Grace's salad box (she planted lettuce and peas):

We also received two plants from our CSA this year. The first is a rosemary plant, and the second is our only tomato plant, which (happily) is already sprouting some nice looking tomatoes:
Our nicest gardening surprise of this year came from our apple tree. Last year we decided to purchase and plant an apple tree in our back yard, but because we weren't certain whether or not the tree was self-pollenating, we weren't sure the tree would ever produce apples. But, Aaron noticed something on the tree a couple of weeks ago and called me over to show me...we have apples!!

And, this has nothing to do with gardening, but Grace wanted to me to take a couple of pictures while she was roller skating--her newest undertaking. Literally one second after I snapped the first shot, she took a pretty nasty fall:

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

4th of July Weekend in Pictures

We had a fantastic 4th of July weekend--here's a peek!!

Grace jumping around in one of the inflatables at Summerfest (this pic cracks me up--maybe because Grace just barely made it into the frame of the shot):

Harrison at his very first parade, being held by one of his proud grammas:
Aaron and Harrison and part of one of the famous Racing Sausages (only in Milwaukee do people get so excited about grown men dressing up as tubes of processed meat) at the Humboldt Park Neighborhood parade:
Grace marching for the first time with the Tippe Twirlers, her school's baton twirling group:
Harrison, decked out in Daddy's sunglasses and the ubiquitous nookie at the South Shore Farmer's Market:

Gracie, wearing my sunglasses, at South Park in Oshkosh (we were there visiting my parents):

A great weekend, capped off by Aaron and I having a chance to watch four old episodes of "Lost" uninterrupted--always a wonderful thing!

It just struck me that I am not in any of these pics. Someone's gotta be behind the camera, I suppose...

Monday, July 06, 2009

Spoke Too Soon

From last post:

"And--I'm almost afraid to say it because it's too good to be true and I don't want to jinx it--Harrison is sleeping 6 to 8 hours at a stretch at night. He usually has his last bottle of the evening between 8:00pm and 9:00pm, and then he falls asleep and generally doesn't wake up until 4:00am or 4:30am. We'd love to see him stretch that to 5:30am or 6:00am, but hey, I'm happy with this for a while."

It would appear as though I spoke too soon. For the past week, H has been up at least twice a night, sometimes more. If I'm not mistaken (or perhaps I'm hallucinating from lack of sleep), H has a couple of little tooth buds appearing under the surface of his lower gums, so that would explain this recent, unfortunate turn of events. Or, it could be that the little dude is just plain HUNGRY, despite the fact that he continues to eat more and more each day--another reason to perhaps bring on the solids. Either way, we've come back to the fog.


On a happier note, we had a fab 4th of July weekend, and I will be posting photos soon!!