Easter Bunny Madness

Last Easter my brother in law and his wife were visiting to see our son, who was nearly 2 months old at the time, and while they were here we decided to go to the mall on a rainy early spring day. When we got there we realized we could see the Easter bunny, which wasn’t something that was on my radar at the time but funny nonetheless so we did it.

Julian was gracious enough to wake up long enough to see a big furry creature holding him and look in the direction of the camera and that was that. This year we decided we should probably go see the Easter Bunny again because he’s older now and it might be more fun. Right?

We were wrong. Apparently now that he’s older and wiser he’s come to realize the Easter Bunny is terrifying and scary. So I set the increasingly upset toddler on the poor Easter Bunny’s lap and stepped away far enough to get a few photos and that was that… Within minutes after we left he calmed down and today he happily toddles around the house talking to the dogs, watching cars out the window and being generally happy.

I guess the fact that it’s a creature unlike ourselves is a little scary, or as my mom said maybe when he realizes the Easter Bunny brings candy and goodies he’ll change his tune, but either way I have to admit this year’s Easter photo is pretty funny and although I was hoping for a smile or at least not a terrified crying photo, you don’t get to choose.

Julian meeting the Easter Bunny 2017
Julian & the Easter Bunny 2017
Julian meeting the Easter Bunny 2016
Julian meeting the Easter Bunny 2016

WIDN

Whether you want a baby or not waiting for the results of a pregnancy test takes literally forever. My husband and I stood in the hotel bathroom waiting for the results anxiously and once we found out I was pregnant we were so excited, shocked, overjoyed, horrified, elated, scared, you get the point.

The first few months flew by but soon I realized I was going to have a newborn baby and honestly as much as becoming a mother excited me, I knew the newborn phase could be very dangerous. And what’s worse, we’d just gone through the winter from hell in New England and my son was due (and born) in January… I worried about the double whammy of postpartum depression and seasonal affective disorder.

Every excited parent prepares for their baby, I know my husband and I researched high chairs, carseats, cribs, sheets, linens, playpens, strollers, etc… and in addition to that we researched how to introduce your dogs to the new baby and made sure we had enough of everything (onesies, jammies, socks, blankets, bottles and so on) but on the topic of postpartum no one ever talks about preparing for that.

My midwife was great about discussing postpartum and the baby blues and at every appointment said she would always support her mothers if they ever needed anything but I wanted a plan. I thought there’s got to be some tips or tricks I could use just to make sure to keep my spirits up. I know postpartum can happen to anyone and isn’t really avoidable, but I also wanted to be ready. I didn’t formally write anything down, but along with picking out all the stuff we needed, I also prepared for my postpartum.

I started with a few tips, I started saving shows and movies on Netflix to watch during my maternity leave and then I added to it that I was mostly/only saving happy and funny shows. I knew if I started watching Fargo when I was tired, maybe feeling down and emotional that it could easily bring me down into a sad spiral.

I shared this tip and my others with a few other new moms and got some positive feedback. That led me to creating my postpartum action plan. I’m still working on it an adding to it but basically I’m thinking it’s a workbook that expecting moms can go through to plan their postpartum, or at least prepare for it, since it’s so much more than sleep deprivation, feedings and diapers.

My other project is a streamlined baby book. I got a baby book for my son and it doesn’t have space for me to share the things that I actually think are important, like baby’s first steps, first overnight trip away from home, visitors, stuff like that. There are 2 pages devoted to writing your baby’s schedule… Which is confusing because newborns don’t have a schedule and when they do develop a schedule it never lasts so I had an idea for a monthly picture and a few pages devoted to each month. BAM! Easy, streamlined, minimalist and so much better than stupid questions you don’t want to fill out when you can’t even remember your name because you’re so sleep deprived.

In a nutshell I’m pretty excited about my postpartum plan and minimalist baby book. More to come on that later.

Yoga Challenge Update – January 2017

I decided on New Years Eve that I wanted/needed to challenge myself to do yoga everyday. It was spur of the moment but I knew it was for the best. I did yoga pretty much everyday September through most of November and it felt great and I knew I needed to get back into it so what better opportunity that the new year?

I don’t make resolutions because I don’t think you have to wait for a new year to make life changing habits but this just happened to work out so I went for it. I set a few rules, I knew there would be days when I’d rather die than do a single pose and on days like that I decided even one pose would meet the quota. I also decided I would post a photo everyday on Instagram of me doing said yoga to keep me accountable.

So having said that here’s my roundup of January.

I did yoga everyday, except for January 27th. I had a horrible, awful, no good, very bad day. It was a day I decided to throw in the towel and go to bed early, without even doing some goodnight poses to keep my yoga goal. Having said that I decided to keep up with my challenge and decided I needed to get my yoga in before noon everyday. I realized my chances of doing yoga after about noon or 1 go down by about a million percent. So my bad day helped me workout what’s best for my practice and take it more seriously.

Other than that I did yoga everyday and what’s funny is that on days when I thought I forgot to do my yoga I realized I had done yoga throughout the day. I’ve started integrating poses into my daily life, aside from my actual practice. If my hip hurts I do a few hip openers, if my back hurts I do some a staff pose or a few other stretches.

I think that’s my favorite part of this challenge is that it is already changing my daily life and I do feel better, I have less aches and pains and I feel good. I’d also been having chronic wrist pain and my yoga even seems to be helping with that.

So far so good, I’m excited to keep going with my daily practice and to see what other benefits I reap from it in the next 11 months to come.

Be stronger than your strongest excuse.

img_7739
Yoga Day 5, can you see the pure joy in my worried face?

Cell Phone Ban

Cell phones have been banned from our living room as of 1/27/17.

After having a complete shit day including doctors appointments, running late, canceling a brunch, being made to feel like a drug addict/dealer/all around bad person and an escalating diaper rash I’d had enough on 1/27 and lost it.

I got Julian to bed and crawled into my bed to bawl my eyes out, which trust me, is not something I typically do.

After getting it out of my system I went downstairs to be with my husband and after about 5-10 minutes of talking we both ended up on our goddamned phones. I intended to have this conversation with him where we talked through the day, we worked through the things that were upsetting me and then we would snuggle on the couch and maybe watch a little something on Netflix before calling it a day.

But literally our phones took that from us within minutes. Within minutes I felt alone, disconnected and crappy again! I realized that I own my cell phone, not the other way around so Justin and I talked and we both acknowledged the iPhones in the room and we agreed to a phone ban.

The ban has also been extended to iPads and Kindles, unless you clear it with the other, so yesterday we were dying to know who an actor in a show was so I asked Justin if he’d mind if I looked it up, he didn’t mind and once we had the info I put my phone away. I was doing yoga in the living room and Justin wanted to read on his Kindle so he asked if that was ok with me and I agreed.

It’s still kind of weird, and honestly my hands don’t know what to do sometimes, they grasp for things because they’re so used to the phone but I know in time that will go away and I know it’s for the better because not only do Justin and I feel more connected but I realized we’re setting a way better example for our kiddo, which feels good too.

So, if you want to reclaim your life or living room from your cell phone I’d recommend the following steps:

  1. Acknowledge the phone problem with your entire family, bring your kids, spouse, dog, hamster, anyone who is affected.
  2. Have a conversation, ask them how it makes them feel when you’re on your phone while watching a movie. This will get the conversation flowing.
  3. Ask if they’d like to banish cell phones to the kitchen, dining room, mud room, bedroom, wherever.
  4. Set some ground rules. Are you allowed to read on your Kindle? If you’re dying to know the name of that one actor in that show can one of you agree to look it up? After 9pm are cell phones allowed? Can you have your cell phone out to help with homework or bills? Do you designate a time for social media?
  5. Know now that it’s going to take some adjustment, and know that you’re going to have to call people out because they’re going to forget, but do it playfully because you’re going to mess up too.

Being on your phone  doesn’t seem like a big deal but once I told Justin how alone it made me feel, he admitted he felt the same way when I was on my phone and we realized just how big an impact our phones had. We’re still reclaiming our phone freedom but so far it’s been great and I’d like to encourage you to be cognizant of your phone time.

Remember, you own your phone, not the other way around.

Water into Wine

A message keeps coming through to me lately, it’s that I need to turn my weaknesses into strengths.

Writing for me is a weakness. It’s something I’m drawn to, something that I know I need to cultivate but I keep putting it aside. When writing is added to my “to do” list it’s the last thing I work on and it always/usually gets ignored.

I know why I ignore my writing, between assuming that I’ll never be good enough, thinking I have nothing to say and my fear of judgement (specifically in written format) this isn’t easy for me, but I know the more I do it the better I’ll become and the better I’ll become the more confidence I’ll have to get my novel published.

For a long time I fought writing. I never even thought of it as an option much like most blind people don’t paint and most deaf people don’t listen to music (let alone compose it) but writing kept creeping up in the back of my head that I’ve got stories to tell, and I love figuring out how the pieces of a story fit together so here I am. Reviving my personal blog and working on the 2nd draft of my novel.

I wrote my novel last year, and casting aside my fears and doubts I let my husband read it. He has an MFA in screenwriting so he knows a few things about story and he ripped it apart. I mean that in the best possible way, his few edits exploded my story but they also felt like a guide showing me the forest for the trees. It was great, however I’ve lost some steam, which is why I’m being sent the message to continue turning my weakness into a strength.

I need this message now more than ever and each time it comes to me it feels like a smack in the forehead because it’s so true, a weakness is only that if you do nothing to fix it. And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Networking for Introverts

 

No matter how badly you need a job or how hard you try, if you’re an introvert the quicker you accept the fact that networking is extremely draining and difficult for us the better off you’ll be. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean we can’t do it, it just means it will never be something that comes naturally.

Fortunately, like any other weakness, it’s only a weakness until you acknowledge it and do something about it.

The most important thing to note is that you only have so much social energy in a day (less than extraverts) so if you’re going to a networking event don’t spend the morning running errands or meeting up with friends, spend your time before you network alone so you don’t use up your social energy. It sounds like a video game (and that’s kind of how I think of it) but it’s true.

Once you arrive at the event but before you go in find a private mirror (in your car, using your cell phone in a bathroom stall, etc…) and smile to yourself genuinely and think about how great you are. It doesn’t matter if you believe it or not (but I hope you do), this is going to psych you up! If you think you’re awesome the chances are good that others will think you’re awesome too!

Once you get in, survey the room, look for a kindred spirit, someone who is maybe shy or nervous and talk to them, it will build up your self esteem and theirs. I’ve found that complementing people helps me talk to just about anyone. It’s a way to get them to open up and get the conversation started. Another added bonus is that it also makes the other person feel good.  From there you can ask the other pertinent questions like “What do you do?” or “What brings you to the XYZ Networking Event tonight?” and move on from there, which is ultimately your goal.

I met one of my best friends in college at our school’s orientation, where she and I knew no one.  She was wearing a really cool pair of Pumas so I complemented her on her shoes. From there we started talking about the fact that we were both going to be freshmen in a month, and how scary/exciting/etc it was and the conversation progressed from there.

This brings me to my second point. I remember when I complemented my friend on her shoes she looked relieved that someone was making an effort to start a conversation with her, and at that moment she wasn’t completely alone at the orientation anymore. She and I both finally knew someone.  After all, isn’t being rejected or ignored ultimately every person’s worst fear in a new social setting?

By letting the conversation flow with strangers at a networking event you pretty much can’t lose. Think about it, best case scenario- you and the “stranger” have a lot in common so you’ve just made a new friend. Worst case scenario- even if you don’t really have anything in common with the “stranger” for a few brief shining moments you and that person are not alone at your awkward networking event which is also a win-win and gives you the confidence to strike up yet another conversation.

Once you get home maybe make a few notes or set a few reminders for yourself but be done for the day. Chances are good that you’re exhausted, accept that, watch some Netflix, eat some bad food and relax the way any good introvert would. Then be sure to follow up on those calls, emails, texts, etc… promptly tomorrow.

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This question has been haunting me for quite some time. I’ve always been surefooted and known what I wanted. In high school I wanted to go to college and study art history. Then I wanted to get my masters in architecture and become an architect. My plan was as simple as that.

I graduated college with a degree in art history and decided that I wanted to work in a museum. I started applying, but soon found I needed office experience. I took a temp position working in an office and was shocked to find out that I was actually pretty good at my job. I was promoted (twice) and really enjoyed managing people to help them meet their full potential and gain new skills.

I enjoyed working in management so much that I even thought about going back to school to get my MBA. I kept telling myself that it might not be a job where I get to be creative, and I might not love working in the mortgage industry, but I like the people and I liked being a manager. I could totally do this for the next 40 years. Right?

Wrong. Not long after my last promotion I started to get the itch to be creative. I did all sorts of things, redesigned my bedroom, worked on logos for my dad’s company, brochures, and I even tried to teach myself Adobe Flash (still working on that…) I realized that if I wanted to change my career now was the time. I’ve got no kids, no mortgage, hell, I didn’t even have a lease on my apartment.

I decided to leave my job and pursue a different career. I keep reading that my generation changes careers all the time so I thought this would be easy.

Turns out it’s not as easy as I thought it would be to find “Your Dream Career”.  A month ago I thought maybe I should become a teacher, for a while I was sure I’d go back to school for architecture. Currently I’m enjoying graphic design, but I’d also love to get into interior design. I also thought HR or becoming a career counselor would be fun…

See where I’m going with this?

It’s tough to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, and although it’s easy to get pigeon holed into a position that’s not right for you the reality is that people aren’t expected to stay at the same company their entire professional lives, let alone stay in the same career.

In the meantime I’ll give graphic design a shot, and if that doesn’t work out I’ll try something else. Either way I figure as long as I’m learning new skills, networking and striving for happiness in my career I’ll end up on my feet and in a career that fits my personality and makes me happy.