Friday, March 25, 2011

Act of Kindness Friday: Three Years

Three years ago a woman that I did not know passed away before she could hold her baby girl.  A few months later, I stumbled across her husband's blog while I was home on maternity leave with L.  That little girl and L were only one month apart and I was touched by her husband's grief and willingness to share his sadness, joy, and apprehension about the future.

Through Matt's blog, a group of strangers friends connected to help him get through that first year.  We made sure he had cards on his birthday, on father's day, and support on the first anniversary of Liz's death.  Matt then decided to take that kindness and turn it into something that could help others.  The Liz Logelin Foundation is still new, but it's growing every day and helps many people cope with the loss of a life partner.  The stories are amazing and the inner strength of the applicants never ceases to amaze me.  On a personal note, the people that I have met through my work with the Foundation have become some of my closest friends and I cannot imagine my life without them.

It's not often that you see kindness blossom and turn into something this big, but I know that where there are people who care, there will always be hope.  Seeing how a group of people came together and helped someone they didn't know showed me the power for good that the internet could become.  I am so glad that I am a part of it.

Matt has written a book that is coming out next month.  A portion of the proceeds will go directly to The Liz Logelin Foundation.  It is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Would you like to join in? Write about an act of kindness!

Monday, March 21, 2011

All of the Little Things


It wasn't long after we had L that people were asking "when will you have another?"  When we had E people backed off because when you have kids 16 months apart people tend to leave you alone due to the crazy, sleep deprived look in your eyes.  Our grace period appears to be over, however, and now a few people have asked about having a third.  Three is a popular number for kids these days, and it seems that many of our friends have three. It seems so surreal to even examine this question because, in some ways, it seems like we just had our first.  It seems almost selfish to ponder considering how lucky we are to have two. I haven't forgotten the stress of that first year, either.  My answer is always that we're done.  We have one of each, they are healthy and happy, and we're done.  My heart freaked out (that's the technical term) after I had E, so we're done. I would need a lot of monitoring and progesterone support, so we're done.  M is ten years older than I am and won't be able to retire if we have a third, so we're done.  We can't afford it, so we're done.

Those are all good reasons, right?  I know that they are, but when I sat in my OB's office last week for my annual exam, the question about more kids was brought up once again.  I told her I really thought we were done.  She looked at me for a second and said,

I just don't feel like you believe that, yet.

I was a little taken aback.  I hadn't really examined my feelings about being done with having kids because of the logical reasons behind it.  She was right.  I can't believe it, but she was right.  I do think about having another baby.  I think about being able to finally do the things I wanted to with L and E - a VBAC, more nursing, less stress about buying a house, and more time to really enjoy that brief period when they are so little.  Do I just want a second chance to appreciate all of the little things that are already gone? Is that a good reason to want a third child?

All of the emotional reasons aside, the real obstacle is money.  I think that M would be open to having a third.  I think the kids would love to have a little brother or sister, but the reality of paying for three college tuitions and daycare and preschool and schedules.......  It means that one of us would have to get a really big promotion or we'd have to win the lottery. So, here I am with this little tingle in my heart for just one more.  I'm not really sure what to do with it or if it will ever go away, but it's there.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Act of Kindness Friday: Spring Break

When I left teaching, I also left behind the holidays that went along with it.  It was a tough transition, at first.  It seemed so odd to be working all year long.  It's been almst six years since I was last in the calssroom, soI've gotten used to it now.  I've learned to enjoy the small breaks that I get here and there.  My  mom works for a school, so she decided to come and visit us for a few days while she was on Spring Break.  The kids adore "Nana", so it was win-win.  We usually take turns and have her stay home with one kid at a time so that they each get a day with Nana.

The other great thing about having her here is getting to go OUT.  M and I went out every night she was in town and it was so nice.  It was nice to have help in the evenings and in the morning.  It was nice to have someone to help make dinners, fold laundry, and change diapers.  I know that the chores we do everyday aren't the fun part of having grandkids, so I am very grateful for the kindness that my mom bestowed upon us by helping us this week.  I feel like I got a spring break, too, and it made all the difference.

I can't believe you people

Have you seen kindness this week?  Please blog about it and join our project by using Mr. Linky at the bottom.  Suzy and I would love to hear about your acts of kindness!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Act of Kindness Friday - Just Plain Sick

A wave of sickness has been going through my office.  First my boss, then one of the assistants.  One had stomach flu, the other a bad case of bronchitis.  To top it off, L is sick again, as well.  Since I still have my immune system of steel from my years as a teacher ::knock on wood:: I have somehow managed to avoid the sick.  When I came to work on Tuesday I had two messages telling me that I would be the only person in HR that day.  To top it off, my co-worker was supposed to be organizing an awards ceremony.  She called in a panic asking me to reschedule and worrying about her job.  I told her I would take care of it.

I guess the act of covering for a sick co-worker is kind, but really, it is about all of the kindness that people showed me when we went through our terrible winter last year.  The kids were sick one after the other and M couldn't take off from work because of a contract re-bid, so I was the sick nurse.  I remember breaking down after the second ear infection/fever in a four week period and really thinking that I was going to get fired or passed up for that promotion.  However, my co-workers were kind and understanding and they put me at ease.  It may have seemed like a small thing to them, but it meant a lot to me.

Pretty much everyone that supports the space program is worried about their job right now.  I can see it in the faces of our engineers and the administrative staff.  Getting sick can make everything worse.  When I heard my co-workers voice on the phone, I remembered how I felt and, really, how could I not help ease her mind a little? Kindness breeds more kindness, whether it's the next day or the next year.

Have you seen kindness this week?  Please blog about it and join our project by using Mr. Linky at the bottom.  Suzy and I would love to hear about your acts of kindness!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Acts of Kindness

Today is Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, depending on where you live, which means that tomorrow is the beginning of the Lenten season.  When I was growing up, I always thought that Lent was only a Catholic thing, but I soon found about that many different branches of Christianity practice it in one form or another.  It is viewed as a time of reflection and sacrifice.  The flowers and decorations are taken down, the holy water is removed and the music becomes minor.  I have observed Lent for many years, always giving something up like fries or soda, but in the last few years I have tried to make it more meaningful by putting something into practice, as well.

Lately on Twitter I have seen several people talk about receiving acts of kindness from strangers, mostly in the form of free coffee at a drive through.  As much as I complain and lament about the difficulties of working full time, being in grad school, and having 2 small children, I know that for every inconvenience I have a gift or a blessing.  So, I will be giving up chips and crackers for lent (that's gonna hurt) but I have also teamed up with the wonderful Suzy to post about Act of Kindness Friday.

Every Friday the participants will post about acts of kindness that they participated in, received or observed.  They can be big things or little things.  The point is to help you notice that kindness really is all around you if you take a moment to notice.  While Lent is a Christian observance, I think that kindness is a universal concept, so there is no belief requirement to join in.  I would love to see everyone's experiences, whatever you do or don't believe.

So, how about it?  Could you use a little kindness in your life?

Join in and sign up on Mr. Linky so we can all visit each other.  Feel free to spread the word, too!  To get the button you can grab it on my sidebar or go and visit Suzy.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

February Update


Oh, February, you kicked my ass.

It was a month of fun things and not so fun things.  We had the Superbowl and L's birthday, which were very fun.  In the other category, we had potty training and both kids being sick.  The thing I struggled with the most was food.  I rejoined Weight Watchers and am having a hard time adjusting to the new Points Plus system.  I know that I can go back to the old way, but I want to try to make this work.  I still don't like it, but I am going to keep trying.  I bought a new scale because the old one gave out, and the new scale added 2 lbs to my weight.  I went back anc changed my weigh-in weights so it measures correctly, but seeing that higher number didn't do much for the old ego.  I also saw a photo of myself that was taken at L's birthday party and it was not good.  So, I am going to recommit to eating healthy and really try to identify my bad snacking patterns, which is what gets me every time.  So, as of the last weigh-in I have 12 lbs to lose.  Yuck.

My other big goal is to be more patient.  I find that my level of patience is directly related to the level of stress I feel.  I know that the stress won't be leaving anytime soon, so I really want to try be better at taking a breath and not letting everything get to me.  This will be a big challenge.

I wrote about my frustration cycle yesterday and I am looking forward to the upside of the cycle which should be coming SOON.

My Goals for March:
Start C25K again - didn't quite get to that last month
Clean out my closet
Track everything I eat
Make my annual physical appointment for April (Well Woman is in March)
Post to my Tumblr blog at least four times
Be more patient

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Frustration Cycle

Rocket From the Back

L got rotavirus.  Somewhere in his infancy I must have flaked or been too tired and scheduled his check up too late and he missed a vaccine.  Let me tell you, I wish I could go back and get that shot because this is not fun.  There was no fever or throwing up, just lots and lots of poop.  It has totally set us back in potty training. He has a terrible rash and is asking for diapers.  Not good.  Even before that he was still having one accident per day. His friends are transitioning to the next classroom, but he can't join them until he gets potty training down.  I'm so frustrated with the situation and I feel so badly for him.  The doctor gave us some prescription probiotics, so I am hopeful that they will work.  If I had known that probiotics came in prescription strength, I would have asked for them a long time ago because this virus has taken over our life and I am tired of thinking about poop.

I have a theory that everyone's life goes in cycles of frustration.  There are times when we are chugging along, making progress, and generally having a good time.  Then, there are the other times.  There are the times like the last few weeks, when everything is a struggle.  Everyone is in a bad mood, doesn't feel well, and is generally not happy.  I know this is normal and is expected when you are raising toddlers, but what I struggle with is the feeling that I hit a wall and that all of a sudden nothing works.

I just need to keep going.  What else is there to do?  The hard part is not to compare your frustration cycles with others.  When someone is on the upside of their cycle and planning a vacation that does not involve seeing a relative when you know that you're not going get a real vacation for years, it's hard not to compare.  When you are still living with tons of boxes, your oven is broken, and your dishwasher can't be used due to plumbing issues, it's hard not to look wistfully and someone else's neat, fully functioning house, and compare.

The really hard part is accepting that life isn't like Parenthood.  Wouldn't it be nice to live in a beautiful college town in Northern California with tons of family around to support you and problems that seem to either resolve themselves or at least take a break after an hour?  Wouldn't it be nice to look pretty when you cry and have witty, rapid conversations with your spouse while cooking a big meal in a gourmet kitchen?  Yes, it would. Instead I hear M's voice yelling "HELP!" from the bathroom and then I wish I had a bio-hazard suit to take the underwear that L just soiled out of the house.

The good thing about the cycle is that it has to come around to the upside eventually.  I just hope that the cycle moves quickly because I'm running out of hand sanitizer, bleach and patience with the universe.