Thankful the bitterness is gone

meandKIt’s time for the official what makes me thankful Thanksgiving post! And for me, every day, I am most thankful my son has erased the bitterness that used to sit in my heart and eat away at me, especially around the holidays.

I was always indifferent about having children. Take ’em or leave ’em. But mostly just take them far away from me. The day I found out I was pregnant for the first time I was more shocked than excited. It was a sudden life change I didn’t think I was ready for. And then slowly the idea grew on me until I was excited. I bought books, signed up for websites, started prepping and then it all came crashing down when I started cramping in the middle of the night. And then suddenly that baby and all our family plans were gone overnight. And then the bitterness set in.

We didn’t start officially trying for another year, but by then I was already avoiding baby showers and hiding all my friends on Facebook that were happily posting cute baby pictures. Christmas cards that were just pics of children went straight in the trash. Birth announcements were like little daggers in my heart. Over the next seven years we went through charting, fertility drugs, IUI and finally IVF. Over that span of time I missed out on celebrating my friends’ births and taking an interest in their children because it all just made me sad. I got tired of people asking and just started telling everyone we didn’t want kids. I was a big liar.

Trying and failing for so long, and going through a monthly rollercoaster of being excited and hopeful, then sad and depressed really takes a toll on a person. And even when you try to stay level-headed, you still go a little crazy. It’s why I started my original blog Stop Telling Me to Relax. I needed an outlet and writing has always helped. And through that I connected to other people going through the same thing. I’m thankful for those people as well. It makes me incredibly happy when I check back in on them and see another one has been able to move out of that place of hope and despair.

I’m a different person now. I smile when I see baby announcements. I enjoy baby showers. I love seeing pics of my friends’ kids on Facebook. I️ reactivated all those people I hid years before, went through their photos and caught up on their lives. Having a child was, and is still, such an amazing huge heart-healing experience for me. It’s like that little black cold angry part of my heart just melted away. And it always reminds me of the Grinch, and how his heart grew three sizes that day. That’s how my son makes me feel every day, and I will forever be thankful for that.

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And now I know why they do that…

If you like to skip to the end for the answers, it’s because they’re kids. And no matter what my mother says, they are all little monsters at times. It’s possible my mom got off easy and I was actually the quiet little well-behaved angel she describes. But she set the bar pretty high with the way I judged children. And of course now every one of those judgements is flying back in my face as complete crap while I watch my son run from room to room squealing and whacking things with a stick.

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That time our friends came to visit and their two sons managed to disable our TV remote, break a wine glass and grab our toothbrushes of the counter? I get it.

That kid I saw dragged off the playground today screaming at the top of his lungs? Been there.

Also that time I just couldn’t understand why our 4 year old cousin grabbed a hurling stick and just started bashing it on the ground until it busted? Well I have seen that reenacted right here at home.

So all these “awful” things that had me horrified about these unmanageable crazy children…well now I realize they were just being children. And every time I realize that, I feel a little sheepish for my previously uninformed judgements. I don’t even question the crazy anymore. I understand now it’s just some childhood instinct that kicks in and they act insane. I also understand that it is just going to keep happening no matter how “good” anyone’s parenting skills might be.

Because they’re kids. And That’s why they do that.

 

I had a baby and now I’m squishy

I’ve been working really hard on getting my body back to “normal” since having my son. Normal for me has always been pretty fit. I started at around 130 lbs. and went up to 180 in my last cake-obsessed month of pregnancy. At least, 180 is when I stopped looking at the scale. After I had my son, my normally size 4 self was hovering around a 12/14. Nothing fit. I wore my maternity shorts for the entire summer and raided my husband’s wardrobe for t-shirts because mine were all too tight.

It’s taken me two years but I recently got back to somewhere near my pre-baby weight. I managed to get the scale to budge after joining a gym with the glorious incentive of free child care. I also recently shot photos for a local Jacksonville magazine for their Best of Jax edition.

So imagine my horror when I see one of the raw pics, where I am leaning forward and my belly is squishing out the bottom of my corset. Because yes I still have some squish. It made me think of Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl performance where everyone was focused on her exposed belly pooch. So see, it doesn’t matter who you are, if you are wearing something tight on the bottom and bend a certain way, stuff squishes or pooches!

I was relieved to see the art director fixed it before publishing. He said he wasn’t sure if he should because some people are sensitive about Photoshop, but I was like, oh hell no, Photoshop me all you want! It’s not like we were shooting family photos and going for realism. I was dressed as a circus sideshow Strong Woman. I don’t feel like my character would be squishy.

Original photo on the left, published photo on the right with artfully placed text box.

As for me, I’m headed back to the gym to keep working on this squishy thing. But if it’s always there? Oh well. Every bit of squish was worth it. My belly did an amazing job of expanding to accommodate my growing son. It’s pretty amazing what the body can do! And pretty amazing the way it bounces back as well, with a little effort of course.

 

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It’s Halloween! Carve ALL the pumpkins!

One of my must-do Halloween activities is carving pumpkins. This year Vita For Home sent me their stainless steel Pumpkin Carving Tool Set to try out. I’m happy to say, I was impressed with the durable tools!

I started my pumpkin project by making a Pinterest board for ideas and tips. So thanks to Pinterest, I decided to paint my pumpkin black to make it look cooler during the day. I really like the contrast of the orange showing through where it’s cut.

The kit came with a nice metal scooper, small carving saw and wedged shaped etching tool. I needed to use a larger knife to cut around the stem and remove the top piece, then went to town with the scooper/scraper. The metal scoop worked way better than the spoon I usually use. I was able to scrape the sides really clean and smooth. It even had serrated corners for digging out chunks.

After the pumpkin was all cleaned up, I drew my design on with chalk. My son had a smaller pumpkin and I let him draw his face on with a sharpie so I could cut it out for him. He wasn’t into scooping out goo and too little for a knife, so it was a good way to get him involved a little. He enjoyed sitting in my lap while I was carving my design.

The carving saw worked really well. I will definitely be adding these tools to my carving collection. So many pumpkin kits come with those flimsy knives that bend unless you poke them in just right. This small saw was very sturdy. My only complaint is that I wanted more! More tools like a larger knife for big parts and a poker for making small holes. This is a great starter kit for basic carving, and you can always raid the kitchen and get creative with basic utensils.

I was really happy with our pumpkin family results:

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If you’d like to try out the set, you can get here: www.VitaPumpkin.com and save with this 20% OFF COUPON CODE: RR6J3XMB

And then when you finish your masterpiece, be sure to post on Instagram and tag @VitaForHome to enter the pumpkin carving contest with a chance to win a $200 Amazon gift card

Pumpkin Carving contest rules:

1. Must be a pumpkin (of course!)

2. All entries must either be published to Instagram with @VitaForHome tagged and hashtags:
– #VitaForHome
– #CelebrateWithVita
– #CarvingContest
OR the contestant can email their submissions to hello@vitaforhome.com
3. The winner will be announced on November 20th
4. The prize is a $200 Amazon Gift Card

It’s so hard, To say Goodbye, To Yesterday…

baby sleepingEspecially when yesterday your toddler took a 3 hour nap! I hate to say this, but I think nap time is coming to an end. I’ve been dreading this day and it’s hard to accept.

Our first year so tough. So tough. We took baby nighttime shifts and slept in the guest room so the other person could get sleep without hearing the screams on the monitor. I don’t think either one of us slept more than two consecutive hours for a year and a half.

And then suddenly he started sleeping all night. It was magical. And then the 30 min nap turned into a 2 hour nap. And then it became a 3 hour nap and I was SO thrilled. It was good times. I started getting stuff done.

But now, it’s going away. Nap time is becoming a fight and it keeps getting later and later and is messing with bedtime. We’ve skipped it some days and he did fine, and even went to bed a little earlier. 

I am mostly hanging onto it because naptime=metime. I’m not ready for it to go away! I was really hoping it would last until he started kindergarten, lol. I keep trying to tell him, one day, you’ll appreciate a good nap! I know I do.