As I prepare to take my first solo travel adventure in a very long time I am realizing a few things. Firstly that I’m terrified to be away from my sweet little love for so… More
Do toddlers really care about the theme of their birthday parties?! OF COURSE THEY DO! Well, in my head they do at least. Which is why I painstakingly tried to choose between Peppa Pig and Mickey Mouse. We landed on Mickey/Minnie Mouse because, well I thought it would be easier. And also birthday party #1 was an overload of pink, so I thought red would be a nice change.
Even for my planning brain this one was a challenge. As you know, we now live in a very remote part of the world, one where birthday parties, or any large celebrations are not common and often banned by the government (Birthday celebrations (Small) are only allowed within the privacy of your own home). So party supplies are not easy to come by and there is no “running out to Target” to grab something you forgot. Good thing I like to do things ahead of time and so I was able to get things ordered in time (thank you Amazon).
My mom set standards high with birthday cakes, so the pressure was on! Luckily I enjoy baking and (as long as it turns out well) find it therapeutic.
Also on the menu – Mickey Quesadillas, Mac n Cheese Cups, Dips, Chips and other snacks.
Kids had fun with the Cookie (= Biccie in 2 year old language) decorating station and went home with fun filled goodie bags (which I failed to photograph) These Wilton icing tubes made things way easier and potentially a lot less messy – I got them in multiple colors.
Little Love had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed having everyone sing Happy Birthday to her. She’s growing way too fast, can anyone make this stop?
I know this happened a while ago but I am yet to to share the joys of my little munchkin turning ONE. I may have a habit of over planning things and of course a first birthday party was going to be no exception.
I don’t think anyone prepares you for all the feels that come with your baby turning one. For me, there was a flood of, “Holy Shit, we made it this far!?” It was also a harsh reminder of that specific night > day > night when my beloved made her slow and challenging entrance into this world (but we won’t get going on that again…). I definitely think that kids birthday parties need to be re-branded as parent award ceremonies or something like that. Definitely anniversaries of the hardest nights > days > nights that some of us have had to endure.
But I digress. My princess deserved nothing less than rainbows and unicorns and sparkles. And that’s what she got.
There was lots of pink and lots of gold. If I ever manage to find the pictures I will share , but rest assured, there were unicorn cupcakes, pink rice crispie treats and so much more! Of course the most interesting part for the birthday girl was the beer tub and eating ice.
With any first birthday, there obviously has to be the smash cake moment. Little Love was mostly sugar free up until this point so I tried my best to come up with something “healthy” but something that she would still eat. I did a banana bread cake with cream cheese frosting. She like it – success.
A proud mommy moment watching my little girl interact and grown and as always steal the show. But it was her show to steal.
Wow … Am I really going to blow the dust off this blog again?
You may have noticed that this is a trend. Motivated and inspired to radio silence and back again. Can someone please continue to give me a kick up the butt to keep this thing going each time I slip!
I miss my writing, I miss my therapy but so much has happened since I last logged off.
- Baby turned 1
- Baby turned 2!
- We moved to Tajikistan! Yes I know … I’ll give you a map…
- I got to experience being a SAHM
- I got to go back to work…
- So many travels
- So many road trips
- So many new friends and new experiences!
I will do my best to catch everyone up and at the same time try not to put you to sleep!
The minute I found out I was pregnant I sprang into action creating Pinterest Boards for the nursery that I Knew my baby would love! I had the idea set from beginning and had planned to keep it pretty gender neutral so that I could start planning prior to finding out the sex of the baby. I also still have residual trauma from my all pink (anglaise) childhood bedroom… Sorry mom!
I decided to pay homage to my African roots and go with a “Chic” Safari theme. I have a guilty obsession with animal print and a not so secret love for Zebras so I was excited to get planning.
Much to my fear and hesitation, hubby decided that he was going to take on the task of painting the room. Me, being just a little OCD and controlling had to really let go (or pretend to) and trust that this would get done (perfectly) at some point before the baby arrived. I definitely had the phone number of the professionals in my back pocket just in case.
I am super lucky that hubby let me run with this nursery and was available to execute whatever ridiculous request I came up with … like when I told him the baby needed a functional walk in closet … I used Rubbermaid Configurations Set and it’s been great.
I knew that a comfy rocker was something I really wanted and also learnt that an important thing to make sure is that you can get up out of it with no hands as most of the time you will be holding baby! Who knew!!
And a little over a year later, mama and baby are still loving this nursery. Thank you to everyone who supported me during my pain-staking decision making process…
I’ve always been a very busy person. Like I discussed here, I have always had a career and that was always very important to me. Then I became a mom and my priorities changed. I still enjoyed working and I could manage being a pretty decent Working Mom (WM), I just didn’t want to spend as many hours doing it.
When we moved to Dushanbe I found myself in the position of not having to work. Not only could I not get a job (hiring freeze) but financially, for the first time EVER, we did not have to rely on a second salary to survive.
And so I gladly accepted the position of Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). Let me tell you that this job is no walk in the park. Entertaining a Little Love for that many hours every day is hard work! But I loved it. I loved our routine and I loved having adventures and play dates and learning things together.
I probably worked more hours per day than I ever have in my life and had to be more focused and attentive to my “client’s” needs than ever before but it was definitely the most rewarding job I could ever have asked for.
When the US Government lifted their hiring freeze I threw my applications in hoping to get a part time position so that I could get out of the house and have grown-up conversations again, but also so that I could also keep some of my precious hours at home with Little Love.
Of course, as fate would have it, I was offered a full-time job in the real world. I really struggled with my decision of whether I should take on this challenge. I was so racked with mom guilt that the when I received the phone call with my start date I cried,
sad tears, for hours.
I debated (with myself) for many hours. Wondering if taking the job was the right thing to do. Would Little Love resent me when she was older because I worked outside of the home? Both my parents had full time jobs when I was little and I turned out OK. I don’t have any harboring hard feelings towards my parents because our housekeeper picked me up from school and made sure I did my homework. In fact that special lady became part of our family and I am forever grateful for the things she taught me.
So I took the job. I started on Little Love’s second birthday (oh boy did that elicit even more mom guilt!). We found a wonderful playgroup to keep her entertained each morning and a very caring nanny to take care of her in the afternoon.
And she’s OK. And I’m OK.
She loves her school and the friends that she’s made. She’s learning Russian, playing games and singing songs. Aziza is her new best friend and she welcomes me home very day with smiles, laughs and “Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!”
I’m using my brain, my skills and my experience. I’m enjoying being my own person and eating lunch without trying to coax a toddler to eat too.
I consider myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to be a SAHM for 6 months and I am thankful for the support I received with my decision to go back to work.
Something that most people have been able to calculate is that I found out I was pregnant right around the same time that I was offered a new job…
I went through some huge internal conversations about whether I should go ahead with the new job or if I should just stay within my comfort zone at my current place of employment.
On one hand, the new job meant better hours and better pay and it would also hopefully open up many doors into a new industry that I was excited about. The old job offered the comfort of working with friends that I’d made over the course of the three years I’d been there. Friends I knew that I’d want around during this whole terrifying pregnancy thing. (Spoiler alert – they were still around even after I didn’t work with them anymore)
But then on the other hand I was thinking about how my new boss would react when I thanked him for the job and told him I would need 3 months off before I’ve even worked there for a year. Of course there’s the whole legal side of things where companies cannot discriminate against pregnant women and they could not retract their job offer. And I technically didn’t have to tell anyone right away, I could start the job and wait the recommended 13 weeks before telling people, at which point they would do the math and realize that I must have known about this at the time of hiring. I knew I couldn’t get fired for not disclosing this information but what kind of impression does this give?
As I mentioned HERE, I was trying to make the climb up the corporate ladder, and reputation is a huge part of that process. Did I want to tarnish that by being “The Pregnant Girl”?
I decided to take the job. I also decided that I was going to be completely honest with my new boss and let him in on my little secret right away. I was really lucky that he was super understanding and offered some great words of encouragement. I was happy, and definitely felt that I had made the right decision and I was excited to jump into this new chapter of my life.
Another side of things that I had to think about was maternity leave. I would not qualify for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) as I would not have been in my position for a year by the time the baby was due. I would also not be eligible for company maternity benefits as these followed the same stipulations as FMLA. Husband and I sat down and ultimately decided that I could file for Short Term Disability and get paid a reduced salary for 10 weeks and we would then be able to survive on a mixture of the small amount of PTO I had accrued as well as some unpaid leave.
Of course we didn’t save as much as we were hoping to during the pregnancy and I now have zero vacation time available but I was able to take the time that I needed to look after my Little Love when she arrived.
Bottom line with this is follow your gut (and maybe your heart). Don’t worry about what other people will think. You are making the best decision for yourself and your growing family.
** Disclaimer – this post by no means reflects my political views or lack thereof. I am not politically minded. I generally avoid talking about politics and for the most part don’t understand most of what people are talking about. **
As the rest of the country (and probably world) sits glued to their various media outlets, I am in my bed, watching Parenthood and feeling somewhat sad.
This is my first election as a US Citizen. I now have the right and duty to vote and I had to dig deep to actually find the motivation to make my mark and pretend to stand behind one of two people. Neither of whom I particularly like.
I feel like I should be excited for this moment. I should be posting pictures of voting with my family. But I’m not. I’m not excited to see the outcome. I’m anxious.
Growing up in a country that has seen more division than any other, this current US election makes me nervous. I feel it goes beyond Democrat vs Republican and I am already seeing a split between people who love each other based on their vote. It is for this reason that I choose not to disclose or discuss who I voted for.
This country will be forever changed tomorrow. Either way. Someone will win and someone will lose. I just hope that everyone can understand that “it’s just politics” and remember that we are all family no matter whether we bleed red or blue.
It’s been a little while since I’ve posted. Truth be told I have a few pieces written and saved on my computer but I’m having trouble pushing the publish button.
Since getting back into blogging I’ve had such wonderful feedback from friends and strangers alike and everyone’s been so encouraging, but for some reason I am once again doubting myself and my boundaries. I know… who knew I had boundaries!?!
My whole goal for starting this blog was to put forward complete open and honest conversation about things that I’m going through in life. But that does mean opening up and being somewhat vulnerable. Some of my planned topics are very raw and do contain somewhat graphic mental images about myself and my life.
So I guess the point of this quick post is to tell myself to suck it up and keep writing; to hold myself accountable to continue to do something that I enjoy.
OK I feel better now… thanks for listening!
As a mom of a 5 month old baby girl I’m constantly getting asked the question, “Is your baby sleeping through the night?” The short answer is No. So why do I feel the need to explain myself? Well no, BUT, we’re getting a lot better; She only wakes up once to feed; Some nights are better than others… Blah Blah Blah! She’s 5 months old! It’s totally normal for us not to be sleeping through the night.
But I’m also surrounded by stories of babies who are wonderful sleepers which keeps me asking What am I doing wrong? I started obsessing about why my baby wasn’t sleeping and what could I feed her before bed to get her to sleep longer? Formula didn’t do anything, a bed time top off boob didn’t do anything. Oatmeal didn’t really do anything either. Why are none of the recommendations and suggestions working for us?! Am I doomed to never sleep again?
Sensing my imminent breakdown a friend sent me this link. This post is so beautifully written by a mom who was going through the same sleepless nights. This mom’s story really opened my eyes and parts of my brain and my heart that had been clogged with unrealistic expectations and warped perceptions.
My rocking chair in the dark used to be a very lonely place for me. I felt like I was the only person in the world that was awake and that no-one noticed or cared. But after reading this, I have started to try cherish my 2am wake up calls. I’ve started to notice that every time I walk into my Little Love’s room at whatever random time she’s chosen I am greeted with a smile and excitement. I started to become thankful for this time with my daughter. I now know that when one day these night time rendezvous’ suddenly stop I will be sad. While I’m sure I will be thankful for a full nights rest and the relief that my little girl is developing and growing up, I will miss my late night cuddles.
I’m not saying that dragging myself out of my warm and comfy bed is all of a sudden easy, or saying that this has suddenly cured my physical and mental exhaustion. But I am saying that in the darkness of every late night or early morning I have my little shining light. That sweet child that will one day not want to be cuddled all night long and that wont call for me when she needs a midnight snack.
So for now I will enjoy my sleepless nights for soon we will all be sleeping through the night.
** Credit and big thanks to Anna Gannon for sharing.
Because I terrified a bunch of my almost due friends with last week’s post I thought I would try be a little helpful with this week’s entry… Hopefully this is Less scary?!
I feel that a lot of the information that is found online is a little less than helpful in preparing for birth and those first days at home with baby. The best advice I received was from moms I knew that had gone through it. They were able to help my brain sort through the mounds of “You NEED to do this” and let me know what worked for them and what didn’t. Of course everyone is different and every birth and every baby is different, so take all of this with a grain of salt and use what you want and trash the rest.
PS – Show this to your significant others (SO) – they need to be in the know here too!!!