My first week back

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tomorrow marks the end of my first week back at work from maternity leave. I was bracing myself for a much worse week, honestly. I was anticipating a lot of meltdowns and tantrums...maybe some from my kids too.

I've been able to get up way before them for all three days. Joaquin wakes first at around 8; Sofia wakes a whole hour later. I've been getting up somewhere around 6:30/45, and it gives me enough time to actually have a quiet breakfast, journal and read my Bible, and get grounded for the day. I even have time to shower (GASP!) and BLOW. DRY. MY. HAIR. I know... how long can this possibly last? I haven't yet put exercising into this whole mix, but it will need to get in there somewhere. I already feel really bad posture and secretary's butt coming on.

It's been a wonderful week back though. I didn't realize how much I missed my co-workers until I was actually back (when you're running around with two kids all the time, it's hard to think about much else). It's great to be a part of a team and such a great team at that. I've been there for around eight years now, so yes, there has got to have been some kind of bonding happening during those years, right? I've felt so loved, appreciated, encouraged and high-fived as soon I walked in the door. It's really awesome to be able to collaborate and build something together with people who are all working hard towards the goal. It's a shame when that doesn't happen.

I think that I'm going to have adjust my working hours back an hour because I feel like from the moment I start my day until I put the kids to bed at 9, I am running non-stop. If I want to make this a sustainable way to live, I am going to need a break and chill at some point in there. Plus! When it's summertime? I am not going to want to waste my evenings. BUT, we'll try that next week. Maybe I'll start backing it up by a half hour first. I come from a long, long line of night owls. Gotta be gentle. Waking at 5 am is not appealing to me - in theory it is... in practice, a whole different story.

Work/Family balance. It's a hard one to strike. I'll keep posting whatever I figure out. Love to hear what any one out there has got on how to survive the psycho working-and-got-a-family-life-thing (hint, hint - leave a comment!).

Joaquin // ONE

Friday, March 25, 2011

Joaquin, you're one? Really? How come you didn't warn me?!

Wallpaper // God is good

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A wallpaper for you, if you please.
One size // 1920 x 1200

Staying Sane with Two Children

Friday, March 11, 2011

In the next couple of weeks my second born will be turning one. The year really has gone by so fast. I feel like I say that so much, but it's true. It's probably because there are many days and nights that bleed into each other since being a mother means being on call all of the time.

I have been a mother of two children for almost a year now, and I can't tell you how many times they have pushed me to the edge. I am convinced that there is nothing else in life that can help refine my character as much as children will, since they regularly put me through FIRE. If I do not prepare myself with a good night's sleep, a little quiet time for myself in the morning, I lose my temper and feel defeated more easily than if I had. Sure, I suppose life would be a lot easier if I would just leave the television on all day long to babysit them, but I will not resort to that. However, I am happy to say that coming up to this one year mark, I have it under control more often than not.

There are a few things I've learned that really help me keep my sanity and be a mother that my children want to be around:

• Get a good night's sleep.

Joaquin has been sleeping through the night from about five months. I worked really hard to get my baby to sleep through the night. That meant feeding him as much as could at meal times (babies sleep through the night once they receive enough calories during the day, they won't need to be fed in the middle of the night) and trying my best to figure out any thing that would prevent that. And Joaquin sure is sensitive. At one point he was waking because he was too cold. Babies aren't known for keeping blankets on, so I had to dress him in a onesie as well as a flannel sleeper. And then another point he started waking again and I discovered that it was that he felt wet so I had to try different types of diapers until I found that worked. I even had to figure out an optimal amount of formula to feed him before he went to bed: enough to keep him satisfied 'til morning, but not so much that made him overflow his diaper. It can be so frustrating though - ask any parent - when you can't figure out why they just won't stay sleeping. Finally we've hit a good spot.

• Help your first born understand

It occurred to me that perhaps my three year old doesn't comprehend all of the implications of another baby in the family. I'd find myself in a situation where I'd have Joaquin crying 'cause he was hungry and then Sofia would go to the bathroom and need me to help her "finish the job" and she'd be yelling and he'd be screaming and I just want to go close myself in my room. Those moments are inevitable. When we'd start bumping into these times, I found myself starting to explain to her that "Mommy's only one person." I think sometimes we unknowingly expect little ones to understand what is going on, but really, they need to be taught everything.

• Be flexible

I am the kind of person that if I don't get anything done that I was planning on doing I get really bummed. Like, low-energy, almost depressed, kind of bummed. I have had to learn to just be okay with getting it done later - like on a whole 'nother day. It'll be okay.

• Communicate and Plan

This one is the other side of the coin of "Be flexible". Some things are non-negotiable. Especially if you're a working mom. I have been working a little bit during my maternity leave and there are deadlines. I still have to meet those. How do I do this with as little stress as possible? First, explain to those you work with that you have a few more variables going on at home now, and whenever possible if requests could come to you as soon it is possible to allow as much time as possible this would be ideal. It's amazing how people will comply to help you out. And then this also means sometimes to make sure I can do the best job possible, I'll do a task late at night when it's quiet (details are hard to pay attention to if I've got one baby chewing on my ankle and another asking to put on a dress over the skirt she has on already), or wake early to get something done. This way, I do not have far too many things competing for my attention.

• Time for myself

Every day I make sure I have time for myself. Not just a time to zone out, but I mean quality time. Quality time for myself means that I learn something, grow something or work on something that is good for me: reading a book, knitting a present, writing in my journal, reading my Bible, exercising or something along those lines. Not playing Angry Birds or Facebook stalk for the hour and half that I have the silence I need. This also means that only on desperate occasions do I take a nap. I find that napping makes me want to have a nap the next day too even if I have had a good night's rest. Sleep then starts to take over my life and that makes me unproductive and THAT makes me very unhappy. (Sorry if I sound totally insane).

• Step back and remind myself

And ultimately, whatever is going on, I have to just step back and remind myself, "SOFIA IS ONLY THREE" and it's amazing the patience that will suddenly flow through my being. A lot of my frustration comes from me expecting far too much from her. I think it's partially her fault since she really speaks quite clearly and expresses herself really well, but then can't feed herself her meal from beginning to end, or put her Lego away. And well, Joaquin is a baby so I don't expect much. :)

Being a parent is unbelievably challenging, but it is the absolutely most rewarding thing I have ever done. When I think that my child is on the cusp of going to school for the first time, I can't believe that she is ready to do that. What an incredible responsibility and awesome privilege it is to prepare another human being to succeed in the next step in life.

I just look into their little faces and think, wow...and I almost decided against this whole idea.

Obviously many days go by that are less than perfect. I lose my temper much more than I'd like to admit. But every day I try hard to be a patient and understanding parent, so I know that I'll be adding more skills to the list that I live by now. What are some of the ways you stay centered in the midst of pressure, whether you have kids or not? I'd love to hear them!

A new direction

Sunday, March 06, 2011

One thing that I'm really looking forward to is designing a lot more. My maternity leave is up at the end of this month and it's really hard to believe that a whole year has passed me by. Again. My latest baby is nearly 365 days old. I look at him and think, really?

Anyway, I'm getting ready to be back at work and since I'm itching to get back, I've started designing some websites for a couple of friends and I'm excited about how they're turning out. I treat each leave as some kind of sabbatical, where I can assess my work: step back, look at my style, my technique, my skills -- where do I want to improve? Where can help others? When I'm return to working life this time, my newest area is going to be designing websites that are online portfolio-type websites. Like, for artists, designers, musicians, etc. I am NOT a programmer, so I can't do fancy database driven stuff. Just websites that let the world know, "Here I am, and here is what I do." I know that there must be a niche for those who can provide a website that is attractive but isn't going to be charging a zillion dollars for. That's gonna be me. :)

I'm building up my portfolio and am looking forward to seeing what I can generate. As they get completed, I'll be letting you all know.

A Glimpse into the Near Future

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

I'm so really happy right now.

February 23 came and went and I completely forgot that I was supposed to register Sofia for school. COMPLETELY FORGOT, despite the fact that we were looking forward to it for the last two months or something. Fortunately, for the internet, I looked up the info for what to do now and it was fine, and totally normal and that I was to call and arrange an appointment to get registered.

Hubby has been on my back to call the school to set up an appointment and so I did today. The secretary (or whatever they call them these days) asked me to pick up a package for registration to prepare for the appointment. And she added, "Are you available now?" So, I excitedly asked Sofia if she wanted to visit her school and well, of course she wanted to. So we walked there ... okay, I walked there, and Sofia RAN there. She ran all the way all the while saying under her breath, "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" which eventually became "I'm getting tired, I'm getting tired, I'm getting tired..."

We get had to buzz to get into the school (times have sure changed since when I went over 25 years ago!) and went straight to the office. I looked for the secretary and she made eye contact with me and said, "Oh, are you the lady I just spoke with?", looked down and said, "Oh! She's a cutie!" I'm beaming and SO EXCITED THAT MY BABY IS GOING TO SCHOOL. She walked me through the package and set me up with an appointment and then said, "Hey Sofia, do you want to see your classroom?" Sofia nodded and the secretary took her by the hand and walked across the hall to her future classroom where she met her future teacher.

The whole experience was ridiculously positive. I have only heard amazing things about her school and I'm excited that just the vibe in there is that they really care about the students. It feels so warm and friendly. What else could you ask for?! THANK YOU, LORD!