Finding the Perfect Job

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it is I’m meant to do in life. I’m almost 30, and I’m still struggling with this question. The thing is that I really don’t know what I want to do. I hate what I’m currently doing. It’s not that the job itself is so bad, but the environment is awful, and on top of that I feel that I’m working 9+ hours a day to make someone else’s dream come true, and doing nothing to further my own.

The thing is that I don’t know what I want out of life. Whatever I do, I’d like it to be in an industry where I can feel like I’m helping people and/or my community and generally just making a difference. I don’t really care about the money aspect. I never have. As long as I can afford to pay my bills and go out every once in a while I’ll be happy. I’ve applied to countless nonprofits for jobs and I never hear back. I’ve applied to the school systems and have been close to getting hired a few times, but haven’t found anything there either.

I’ve toyed with being a Stay-At-Home-Mom. But, we can’t afford it. Even if we had all of our debt paid off, we still could never just live off of J’s income – it’s just not possible on what a NC school teacher makes. So, I’m stuck in what I’m doing. Trying to figure what kind of work will make me happy in my adult life.

I suppose another clincher is that I’m not really interested in going back to school for anything. I’d have to work full time while I went to school and while that would be doable (stressful, but doable) I would never get any quality time with my family the whole time I was studying. And, I’m not willing to sacrifice being with my family for a career choice that may or may not pan out. It might be different if I knew that X degree would make me happy and help me get to my dream job. But, I can justify the money and time when I can’t say what that dream job would be.

I can’t even fall back on the degree that I do have, which is a BA in History. I should never have earned a History degree. It has proved me useless and every month when I make my student loan payment it makes me mad/angry/upset/stressed that I’m paying for something it hasn’t been worth while at all. Even while in college I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I picked a course of study that was interesting to me and followed it. At the time, I was hopeful that people would see that a degree in History means that I’m a thorough researcher, that I had mostly ALL reading, writing and speaking intensive courses and therefore could conduct myself well in any type of job that I landed. But, people just see a degree in History as superfluous and fluff.

I find myself being so incredibly envious of people who have a job/career that they love. Where they’re happy to go to work everyday, or even most days. I look at them and wonder what I did wrong, what path should I have taken differently, and how can I fix the path that I’m on so that I can be like them. But, it all still comes down to the fact that I don’t know what I want to do. And, until I figure that out, I’ll always be stuck.

Dinner

I’m not sure how the household responsibilities are split up at your house, but at mine J usually does the cooking. Cooking helps relax him and keep his thoughts focused and he really enjoys it. As I do not enjoying cooking dinner, I’m happy to let him take over the that task. However, with the start of school and J having after school rehearsals and with competition season and Friday night football games looming around the corner, that means that dinner falls on my shoulders for several nights of the week.

I don’t like cooking. I can do it, I’d say that I’m fairly good at it, but I don’t like the pressure of having to have meal put on the table in X amount of time. It stresses me out and I just don’t like it. So, when I do cook, I like quick, easy and good meals. I found this meal not too long ago doing an internet search and it has been a big hit in my house, therefore I thought I’d share.

Zucchini and Feta Chicken

Ingredients:
2 Zucchinis
1 Lemon
Feta Cheese
Olive Oil
Chicken Breast – however many you need (we usually do 4 or 5 so we have leftovers)

Preheat your oven to 400
Get out your roasting pan, and pour in some olive oil so that the bottom is thinly coated.
Slice the lemon and put half of the slices in the pan. Add the chicken over top of the slices of lemon. Add salt and pepper to the chicken. Place the other half of the lemon on top of the chicken.
Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, and then cut down width – making half moon shapes. Add the Zucchini to the pan. Add a bit more salt and pepper if you’d like.
Drizzle the top with a little bit of olive oil and add as much feta on top as you’d like.
Put in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done.

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I forgot to take a picture when it came out if the oven, but here’s the before.
I usually have a pot of brown rice going on the stove as the chicken is in the oven.

This is a great 30 minute meal – from prep to table, and it tastes really good too. If you try it out, let me know how it goes.

Month 14

Dear Henry,

You’re now 14 months old today!!  This past month has just flown by, and it took me until i got in to work this morning and had a look at the calendar that I realized “Holy Cow!  I have a 14 month old!!

This past month you’ve returned to daycare, and while I know you have fun there and are learning a lot and interacting with other kids and building your social skills, the transition has been hard on you.  You had a great summer hanging out with your Dad, and now that he’s back to working full time, I can tell that you’re really missing him.  In the beginning you would cry most of the mornings when I dropped you off, but that’s slowly starting to get better.  Recently, you’ve started asking for your Dad.  You’ll say “Dada, Dada!?” over and over.  I think it’s adorable, but it is sad when you’re asking for him and he’s not going to get home until after you’ve gone to bed.

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Your vocabulary is increasing.  You can say:

  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Ali (pronounced Allah)
  • Cat (pronounced Tat)
  • Ball (pronounced Baw
  • Up (pronounced Hup)
  • Bye-bye (pronounced BaBa)
  • Pat – as in Patty Cake
  • All Done (pronounced Awe Daw)
  • And of course, we can’t forget “No”

You’re trying to repeat sounds all the time, and I’m sure you’re list of words is just going to keep growing and growling.  You’ve been trying to say “book,” and “block” but those K sounds are difficult for you right now, but you’ll get it soon.

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Speaking of books, you LOVE to sit with books!  You’ll grab a book, open it, look at the pages, say a string of syllables and then turn to the next page to repeat that whole process.  It’s so much fun to watch you!  Your Bubbi went and bought you a bunch more books when we told her about your developing passion, and you’re having a blast with them.  In fact, when we go out of the house, all we have to do is bring a book or two with us and those will usually keep you pretty occupied and content, assuming you’re not overly tired or hungry – then all bets are off.

This summer, your Dad and I really wanted to take you to a body of water and stick you in it.  Thanks to your wonderful Aunt and Uncle who invited us to a lake house, we were able to make that happen!  All 5 of us spent the weekend at a lake house and celebrated your Uncle’s birthday!  I baked a cake for the occasion and you enjoyed that immensely -especially when it was served with ice cream.  We all had a wonderful time relaxing, soaking up the sunshine and getting out on the water on a ski-doo.  You didn’t enjoy the water that much, in fact I believe you hated it.  But you seemed to have fun sitting on the latter and hanging your feet into the water.  It was a great weekend, and we can’t thank your Aunt and Uncle enough for the opportunity.

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You’re so incredibly active right now!  You’re crawling all over the place, cruising around the living and kitchen.  You’ve started to stand on your own for very short periods of time.  The first time you you did it your Dad and I just stood in shock, basically holding our breathe, afraid to move for fear it would distract you.  It was amazing and we were smiling like loons for days after that happened.

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You love to push things around now.  You’ll maneuver the dining room chairs out from under the dining room table and push them to all corners of the room.  You’ll use your small rocking chair to lean on while you walk all over the living room, steering it around the coffee table.  You have toys that are designed to support you while you walk, but you seem much more interested in the ones that you come up with on your own.

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You’re still doing great with food.  You love to eat, and will eat anything that we put in front of you ( as long as it’s not a tomato).  All the teachers at daycare comment on how much you love food and how easy you are during meal times.  Thank you Baby Led Weaning!

Nursing has changed a lot this past month.  You’ve stopped asking to nurse when we get home in the evenings.  You don’t ask at all on the weekends anymore either.  But, we still have the morning and evening nursing sessions, and I honestly don’t think those are going anywhere for quite some time.  Every now and then when you get majorly upset, you’ll ask to nurse, and a few times I’ve had to tell you no.  The look on your face when you hear me say no to nursing just kills me.  You get so sad, you’re eyes get huge like you’re in shock, your bottom lip pokes out and then you start crying uncontrollably.  Although, usually when you ask you’re crying uncontrollably already, but it gets worse when you hear no.  When that happens, I usually change my mind and let you nurse, but I’m not sure how much milk you’re actually getting, but I’m pretty sure it’s more for comfort than anything else.  So, I snuggle you, stroke your hair and tell you I love you while your nurse.  And, you calm down so quickly it’s amazing.  Breastfeeding definitely helps with toddler tantrums.

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We’ve been trying to get more interactive with your play.  We built a big fort last weekend with a blanket and couch cushions, and we had a blast.  Eventually the fort collapsed, but you and your friend Addison had fun climbing up on it and then climbing or sliding back down.  It’s fun to watch you play with other kids.  You’re starting to drift away from just parallel play and are now interacting with other kids.  I love it!  I think this weekend I want to try to make play dough.  I want to make it because I know that you’re going to taste test it, and it needs to be nontoxic.  But, I’m excited to play with it with you!

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I love you so much.  I’m sometimes overwhelmed by how much I love you.  I hope that you can feel how loved you are, and huge impact that you have on everyone’s life.  You’re amazing to me and I would do anything to ensure that you’re happy and healthy.  That’s all I ever want for you in life: to be happy.  You mean the world to me, and you always will.

Keep Growing!

Love,

Mom

Two Questions

So, I’ve got two questions for you all, but I need to precede the questions with a recounting of last night.

Last night, I got Henry ready for bed.  He had a bath, fresh diaper – stuffed to the max for overnight use, he was slathered with lotion, and had his batman pjs put on.  I brushed his teeth,  I handed him his blanket, and then I settled in the rocking chair with him like I do every night and started nursing him.  The first 10 minutes of it went great.  He was a little squirmy, but not overly so.  Then, J got home and came in to give Henry a snuggle and a kiss before he fell asleep.  So, Henry stopped nursing for a few minutes so that J could say good night.  When J handed Henry back to me, Henry was a million times squirmier, and he kept slapping his hand across my chest and face and laughing.  I would sternly tell him no, and grab his hand to get him to stop, but as soon as I’d let go, he’d smack me again and laugh.  I finally had enough and unlatched Henry and put him on the floor and told him “No.”
Usually, when I do that, it makes Henry irate that he’s no longer nursing and he’ll proceed to throw a fit and then tries to get back up in my lap.  Last night, on the other hand, he couldn’t have cared less.  He was zooming all over the room grabbing this, playing with that, getting into things.  I was just amazed that this kiddo had so much energy.  Usually after 15 minutes of nursing at bedtime he’s over halfway to falling asleep.  After a little while J came in the room to see what was going on.  And, he was also amazed that Henry had so much energy.  I mean, this kid was playing with toys, grabbing books, trying to use my table beside the rocking chair as a rocker.  He would crawl to the door at lightning speed and turn around and say “byebye” and wave to us.  He’d then crawl back in the room and play with something else.  But, seriously this kid was flying all over the room for a good 20 minutes last night.
We kept asking him, “Henry, do you want to go to bed?”  and he’d say “no.”  Then, we’d say “Henry, it’s time to go to bed,” and he’d say “no.”  I was kinda lost for a moment on what to do.  I knew that it was getting later, and that he needed to go to bed.  But at the same time I knew that putting him down right now would only lead to a scream fest, and we’d be trying to put him down for over an hour if we pushed it.  So, I let him play for a while.  I was thinking that he had a lot of excess energy that he needed to get out before he went to bed, and if he needs to wear himself out to sleep well, then by all means do it.
On the flip side of all of that, I also knew that the later he was staying up probably meant that he was going to get overtired and then have a harder time falling asleep.  So, I was having this huge internal struggle trying to decide what to do.  Force him to go to bed and listen to him scream.  Let him play, and hope for perfect timing on getting him tired, but not overtired so that he’ll go to sleep easy tonight, and then stay asleep…Or, potentially letting him play too long and then getting him overtired and having him scream because he’s too tired to go to sleep….
After letting him play for close to 20 minutes, J handed Henry to me and he started nursing again.  But, he was still incredibly squirmy, and kept popping off to look at things.  Eventually, I gave up on trying to nurse him to sleep and put him in his crib, kissed him good night and left the room.
Henry was standing up in his crib screaming in under 3 minutes later.  So, I went back in to rock him, and he’d lay his head on my chest, but then pop his head up to point to something and smile.  He’d lay his head back down, but then sit up later to give me a big sloppy kiss and then smile.  Eventually, J came in and was able to jiggle Henry to sleep, and when he put him down, Henry only cried for maybe 30 seconds before going to sleep.
He did wake up sometime in the wee hours of the night.  For the life of me I can’t remember what time.  But, I got up and rocked him for about 10 minutes and was then able to put him back in his crib and he slept until I got him up at 6:30 this morning.
So, here are my questions:
1) how to you handle when your kid is nursing and is smacking you or doing a behavior that you don’t like or want to happen?
2) how would you have handled last night’s situation?  Let him play, or force bedtime on him?  Feel free to go into detail.

Car Seats

We originally bought a Graco “Signature Series Trekko” car seat/ stroller/ travel system thing for Henry. Henry still makes the weight requirement to use this car seat. It holds up to 35 lbs, but he’s growing pretty tall and isn’t fitting that well length wise in it anymore. So, that meant that J and I had to start shopping for a new car seat. Joy of joys….

For this next stage I wanted something that could still be rear facing. Rear facing just seems way safer to me and it makes me more comfortable too. It also needs to be able to switch to forward facing when Henry is either big enough for us to turn it around, or he hits two years old – which ever comes first. I also wanted it to have a high safety rating, but I think that goes without saying. Last but not least, we needed it to not break the bank, as we’ll be needing two of them – one for J’s car, one for mine.

Several people have mentioned to us to just buy one and switch it from car to car as need be. Well, that’s just not practical for us. J and I trade on who drops and picks Henry up from daycare, and I can’t spend 30 minutes unhooking a car seat, and then lugging the behemoth inside (they weight like 40+ lbs). Plus, I’ve heard from seasoned pros that putting them in the car doesn’t really get easier with time and they’ve spent 30+ minutes taking it out and putting it in the car, and we just don’t have that kind of time. So, two it is.

We started off by looking on the internet, but quickly realized that we’d need to go and see them in person to be able to make any kind of decision. So, on Saturday, we took Henry down to Babies ‘R Us, and we picked the salesmen’s brain about car seats for over an hour. We ended up not making a decision in the store, but instead went home to mull over our options.

We were now faced with the question of how long term do we want to use these new car seats? Several of the cheaper options only go until 55 lbs, and as with what happened this time, will probably happen next time. That Henry will meet the height requirement before he ever gets nears the weight requirement. So, instead of dropping a bunch of money now, to only have to drop more money in a year or two we decided to go with something that will hold him for longer. There are several options that would hold a 70 lb child, but with the added weight, comes the added $$.

I mentioned before that I wanted it to be safe, and the salesman told us point blank that Britax makes the safest car seats. He said that all car seats meet the minimum safety requirements, but Britax goes above and beyond, and it’s the only car seat that’s side impact tested and rated. Britax is the only one that uses a steel frame, and it is designed differently than all the other car seats out there – I don’t really remember how it’s designed differently, I just remember that it is. So, immediately, I was turned on to a Britax car seat.

The exact car seat model that I liked was the Britax Marathon 70-G3. It holds up to 70 lbs, and the top extends as Henry gets taller. It has the Britax safety ratings and feels extremely sturdy and comfortable. However, Britax also makes some of the most expensive car seats out there….they are NOT cheap or even budget friendly. Babies ‘R Us list price for the Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible car seat is $259.99….for one. I don’t know about you, but when I saw that price I almost threw up a little bit.

J and I couldn’t agree in the store on what we wanted to do. He was ok with buying a lesser model and presumably just as safe car seat, but the salesman’s spiel had done it’s job, and I wanted a Britax to put my baby in. So, instead of arguing at the store we went home empty handed so we could mull it over more and make a decision.

Once at home, I got online and started looking for Britax Marathon 70-G3 Convertible Car Seats. I ended up finding two that had been opened in the box, but had never been used. So, that immediately dropped the price down by $75. So, we bought those two. All totaled, we spent $375.98 on two Britax Marathon 70-G3 car seats. I’m still cringing inside as I look at that price tag, but this car seat should hold Henry until all he needs is a small booster seat, plus I’ll be able to relax every time I strap him into it and not have to worry that it’s not safe.

I guess an added bonus would be if we ever have a baby #2, that we can use this car seat for them too. This whole thing stressed me out and it still makes me upset about how much money we spent. But, safety comes first, and my bank account will recover….eventually.

“Moo Baa La La La”

Last night I was sitting in the rocking chair in Henry’s room, and Henry was playing on the floor with J.  At one point, Henry grabbed a book (“Moo Baa La La La”) and crawled over to me.  He stood up in front of the chair and holding onto the book, said “up!”  So, I lifted him up and plopped him on my lap and we proceeded to read “Moo Baa La La La,”  (I make all the animal noises) and Henry was smiling and vigorously turning the pages when it was time too. When the book was done, I got hugs and snuggles!!

 
The whole thing melted my heart.  Not only does my son show an early interest in reading, but he sought out ME to read it to him!!  You can’t imagine how happy that made me.  I haven’t quite been his favorite person lately, as I mentioned before, he’s been preferring his father.  So, when he came to me to snuggle and read, it made me so happy!  
 
I cherish moments like that.  Moments where I know that I’m wanted and loved, not just needed.  Especially after the blatant favoritism that he’s been exhibiting recently.  This was a boost to the ego that I drastically needed.  I keep thinking about it and how It was such a nice moment, actually, it’s beyond nice.  It’s amazing and wonderful.  I live for moments like that.