Thursday, June 11, 2009

Making the Transition

I haven't posted a thing here in over a year and a half. To prove it, the Bear was 6 months in my last posting, and now he's almost 2. Scary.

So here's the short version of what I've been up to:

Worked my keester off for the world's largest specialty coffee company for over seven years. Went on maternity leave for four months when I had the Bear, went back to a workload that was totally different than my job description was designed to handle. Hated the work and the corporate dysfunction. Then got laid off (on my birthday, no less) in February 2009.

And getting laid off was The. Best. Thing. That's ever happened to me.

Spent four months looking in a totally hideous Seattle job market for some sort of project management position. Didn't find a thing.

Looked at our household budget, determined that we could (just barely) make it on one income. So as of June 26 (the Bear's last day at our wonderful-but-expensive Montessori daycare), I will officially bear the title of Stay at Home Mom. SAHM. A job title I never, ever thought I'd see on my own CV.

You know what I'm learning about myself? That looking fear dead in the eye and saying, "Yeah, so what?" really is the best feeling in the world. I've always been afraid of the finances of being a single income household. I've wondered if I have the chops to stay at home full-time with a wild and crazy toddler. And now I'm going to get to do both of these things.

Fear, take that!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Daycare Rocks

Bear loves his daycare. The gals are superfantastic to him, he gets lots of cuddles and snuggles from Miss Joanna, and he loves taking his powernaps in his superfantastic crib.

The crib also happens to be the designated Emergency Crib, which means that if the building is burning down, then all the infants in his room will be thrown into that crib and wheeled out the door in a mad dash. Which means bodes well for Bear making it out in one piece. It's his crib, after all.

Bear is still getting over that nasty cold. The snot factor has been huge with this cold, and mucus combined with snot running down a small person's face is not my idea of fun. Mothering a sick person is a fascinating experience. Someone actually wants me to comfort them. It makes my heart all mushy just thinking about it...sigh...

I have recently determined that Montessori is Italian for "we don't do boogers." Not that I blame those ladies one single bit. With the temp soaring in that infant room, nasal passages get dried out quickly. Keeping the babies warm means also keeping noses and faces dried out. And for Bear, it has meant some monster boogers this week. Nasty. He comes home with rosy cheeks and bats in the cave, and then he squaks like a banshee when I have to get rid of them. Fun, fun, fun.

On the work front, I think I am finally getting the hang of how to get out the door by 6:20AM. Thank goodness for small miracles.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Routines Are Good

My evening routine has morphed a bit.

Since joining FlyLady some four years ago, I have learned the value of a good evening routine. Getting bits and bobbles put back where they belong, putting dishes away, thinking about tomorrow's calendar, packing a lunch. Evening routines are what make the workday morning manageable. They are the launching pad for a successful tomorrow.

DH and I are re-writing our evening routine. It's very cool to have him on board for the whole evening routine bit. Before, DH had his own items to deal with, in no particular order. He is always fastidious about cleanliness, so he silently managed all the hot spots throughout the great room. Now, he's actually coming over to my Control Journal to look at the checklist for the Evening Routine. Here's what he sees:

1. Put away all dishes, wipe down the sink and set out a clean dish towel.
2. Pack lunches for tomorrow.
3. Pack bottles for Bear for tomorrow.
4. Take evening vitamins.
5. Set out all breakfast items and vitamins.
6. Set up coffee and auto-brewing.
7. Set out Bear's clothes for tomorrow.
8. Set out my clothes for tomorrow.
9. Nurse Bear.
10. Get into bed by 9:30pm for quiet time.

And while he can't help me with #8 and 9, everything else is up for grabs. In the two weeks since I've been back to work full-time, DH has had several nights of handling most of the list all by himself. One evening, I saw him using the red vis a vis pen to put check marks next to his accomplishments. (Doesn’t everyone love ticking off “DONE” on a checklist?)

Getting read for Tomorrow takes up our entire evening, it seems.

On another note: We are keeping ourselves entertained with Season 1 of “30 Rock.” I gave the set to DH for Christmas because he loves “The Office,” and I figured he might enjoy getting into another award-winning comedy. We watch one episode per night after dinner. It’s amazing how a 30-minute TV episode gets consolidated down to like 23 minutes when the commercials are left out. Yikes.

I love Tina Fey. That woman knows how to make me laugh! Smart, funny and zippy little show, that one is. Alec Baldwin gets some of the best lines.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My New Life

Well, I never have time to blog any more.

Since getting back to work, I've reaqauinted myself with the old routine of reading 150 emails a day and talking about coffee. (After all, that's the gist of what I do for my away-from-home work.)

But everything else has changed.

Now, my 1 ½ hour each way commute is spent decompressing from the long day. Thinking about all the work that’s in my inbox and wondering how I’m going to feed Bear and DH and me before 10:30pm at night. Then, nearly panicking when I think that this is my new life.

I have to give some major snaps to DH, who has been an incredible gem during this heinous transition. (I say “heinous” because I like the word and because I am being hard on myself.) Heinous because I am crying on a daily basis now. My stress tolerance has fallen to virtually nil; everything seems to set me off. And watch out, I am also caffeinated, so everything that starts out heinous gets way worse once I get my hands on it.

This, too, shall pass.

For now, I stare at my wallpaper on my laptop at work. Bear is looking like such a big boy now. He's off at Montessori figuring out how to be the Big Man on Campus while he schmoozes the teachers in his room. All this, and he's only 4 months old! Waah ha!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!

Happy New Year!

It was a quiet evening in our household. We had my family's enchiladas for supper, fed the Bear his second serving of rice cereal (he loves it!), and tucked ourselves into bed at a very respectable hour. We still practice the sleep-when-baby-sleeps approach, and neither DH nor myself had any interest in ringing in the new year. How terribly boring of us.

It's a new year...a fresh sheet of paper, a new start, a year with no mistakes in it...yet. Here's to a wonderful new year!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Bear has been Dunked

Bear was baptized in all his naked glory on Saturday, December 5 at approximately 5:55pm PST.

It was an amazing moment for me and DH. The angels seemed to sweep down from Heaven as Father held the babe above the holy water font to dunk him three times in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. And then, the pastor held naked Bear up, Lion King-style, to show him to the congregation. I was so verklempt I could hardly see Father to thank him through my tears.

Life is full of big moments and little moments. I love the little ones, but thank God for the big ones. When I hear the angels sing and I know God and community are paying attention, it humbles me to the core. Life is lived in Ordinary Time, but thank goodness for the Sacred.

We had a kick-butt party for about 45 of our favorite folks. The food was a hit, the Mexican Coke flew out the fridge, and everyone left happy and stuffed.

Meanwhile, I was ensconced in the nursery for practically the whole party with a very tired Bear. Turns out, he doesn't really like wearing dresses and having all manner of stinky annointing oils smeared all over his head, chest and shoulders. While the Church explains the annointing as "keeping infants slick and slippery from the grasp of evil," Bear would have been happy to go without the balsam scent and drippy viscose of that stuff.

Bear has a cold, I've been exhausted, and I haven't posted all week. We have to run to Bear's new Montessori school now, it's time to do the meet-and-greet with the teachers and get him used to the new place. Will post photos of the baptism when I have time, but for now, suffice it to say that we're all very, very happy and still very, very tired from celebrating Bear's entry into God's kingdom.

Life is good.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Party Prepping

It's beginning to look festive around our house.

Mom arrived from the Bay Area yesterday, and we've been decorating the house for Bear's baptism party tomorrow night. There are four (!) trees up in our house now, the greenery is up on the mantle, and the mistletoe is up.

The food we're bringing in tomororw night is from our favorite spot on Beacon Hill, El Quetzal. Juan and his wife Elena serve Mexico City street food, and it's out of this world delicious. DH and I have been eating at Juan and Elena's joint since they opened two years ago, and we dig their food. The huaraches are magnificent, and the tortas are to-die-for delicious.

The Coca-Cola we got for the party is from Mexico, too. (Coke conisseurs insist that the Mexican variety is the best because it's made with actual sugar instead of the high fructose corn syrup that Coke bottlers in the US use. We'll find out tomorrow if my friends and family agree.)

We're off to Juan and Elena's place to eat supper and pay for tomorrow's feast. They'll deliver it to the house while we're still at mass, so my brother-in-law and sister are gladly skipping Communion so they can come here and let Juan set up in the kitchen before everyone arrives. (Aww, taking one for the team...ha ha.)

I must away...there are swags to be hung and lights to be lit and pine needles to be vacuumed up!

And tomorrow, there will be a baby to dunk!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

I Don't Get It...

Admitedly, I have not read the book. So I prop myself up with ignorance on this one, but I just don't get it.

I watch Oprah every once in a while. And for the second time, I saw this Elizabeth Gilbert lady talking about her book, Eat Pray Love. I haven't read the thing, idea what the big fuss is. I just find it odd that this woman is achieving near-guru status. What's that all about?

Now I'm wishing I had not opted out of my book group the month they read this book. I think I may be the only woman on the planet who has not read this book. Whatever.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Crock Pot Recipe: Chicken Paprikash

DH gives this a 10 out of 10. It kicks some serious booty, and I puffy-heart anything that bubbles in a crock all day long. It makes me hungry all day long when I'm at home with a simmering crock o' deliciousness. No wonder I snarfed all those Trader Joe's Peppermint Candycane Joe Joe's for lunch today. AACK.

Chicken Paprikash
Serves 4

1 lb. chicken breast, sliced into 4" long strips
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 square containers of cremini mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 small red bell pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. paprika
3/4 tsp. salt
pepper, to taste
1/2 c. chicken stock
1/2 c. sour cream
1 Tbsp. flour

Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Sear the chicken strips. Put them in the crock. Using remaining oil in pan, saute veggies, garlic and paprika for about five minutes. Add the salt and pepper, then put it on top of the chicken in the crock pot. Add the chicken stock and let it simmer on low for five to six hours. Just before ready to serve, mix the flour into the sour cream. (This will prevent the cream from curdling in the hot liquid.) Add the sour cream mixture to the crock, then heat on high for about ten minutes until the liquid thickens.

One of these days, I'm going to try this using smoked paprika. Mmmm...

Serve over some buttered egg noodles, or just put it into a shallow bowl so you can slurp it up like DH does. :)