Friday, January 28, 2011

Luthien is one

So much of everything in life is mindset. I think had we gone into parenting thinking, “this is going to be awful and will ruin our lives,” then it might have. We very much went into parenting thinking, “ we have no idea what we are doing, but we are going to figure it out, and dang it we are going to have a good time.”

Sometimes the fact that we didn’t exactly plan on having Lu when we did (yeah, something like, “HOLY CRAP! I’m pregnant!), helped us be more chilled out parents. We knew we still had lots of stuff we wanted to do in life, so we incorporated her into our lives, rather than stopping our lives to raise children. She is part of us, we adjusted our lives to fit her, but we didn’t end them. I made a pretty big career change, but ultimately I think that change is for the better. We constantly remind ourselves that life with Lu is about adjusting so that we don’t feel smothered and she is well cared for. “Adjusting” being the key word here. We don’t’ end or change things in our minds, we adjust. My career has been adjusted to fit Lu, Andy adjusted his work schedule to fit our lives as a bigger family.

One of the best pieces of advice I was given for Lu, was from a very old friend of mine who now has a two year old son. She told me, “Trust your instincts,” I know it’s kind of a cliché, but new parents are often told so many crazy, hard-lining things, that this piece of advice really stuck with me. Of course lots of people have good pieces of advice, and we have asked for it before, but so many things parents just have to do what they think is best for their kids and for their own sanity.

I wish someone had told me that. Again I suppose it should be fairly obvious, but all this parenting stuff was pretty new for us, and it can be tough to know what to do.

Luthien has become the third puzzle piece in our little lives. We keep growing to love her more as she gets older, and we come to know her better. She is a spunky, energetic little girl, who loves to meet new people, and climb anything she can find. This past year has been blow-your-mind-awesome. The fact that we have managed to raise a little person through her first year of life is overwhelming and so encouraging. Happy late Birthday Luthiemonster.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Working out!

As I mentioned I made the most cliché new year’s resolution ever this year—I intend to get in shape. Since graduating from college I’ve been pretty hit or miss in the exercise department, which is actually a little strange for me, since I was in cross country, swimming, and Frisbee during high school and college. I thought post being pregnant I have extra incentive to start working out again to lose whatever baby weight hung on, but, well my baby weight just kind of fell off the first few weeks (I know, I know, boo, hiss). I had a hard time keeping weight on in order to breastfeed. Then we moved, we got married, and exercising just didn’t happen.

When we got back from vacation we decided to get a wii fit. And I have really been using it! I’ll admit when the wii fit came out I laughed at it…who needs a video game to work out? Well me apparently. You see I’m a cold wimp. During the warm months going outside to run is a lovely experience, but in winter with things like snow (I’m from California so snow is a little intense for me) and just general freezing weather keep me pretty happily indoors.

Since the wii fit though, I’m been working out several times a week, and it feels so good to finally use my neglected muscles again. And I must say, my arms are pretty dang buff thanks to carrying our big (almost!) 12 month old around!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

On working and baby raising…

The day before Lu was born Andy was promoted to a salaried position at his company. We knew it was probably going to happen, but it was a comforting blessing to have it happen the day before she was born. When I went into labor that night, in the back of our minds we knew that now I could stay home with the baby if I wanted to. In fact, it made the most sense for our lives for me to stay home since childcare cost so much.

During those first few weeks I was so excited that I didn’t have to go back to work, but I knew that at some point I would probably get tired of being home all the time. I had always admired those industrious stay at home moms who seem to make home and children a lovely, exciting full time job. However, I had never envisioned myself as a stay at home mom. I enjoy little of domesticity (although I have come to enjoy some aspects of the home) and I’ve always liked having a traditional job.

So after we moved I started looking for a part time job. I looked into a few different things-realty, coffee shops, freelance writing, etsy, I even had a bad stint with a survey company that had me getting telemarketing calls for months after. Nothing really fit me or our lives. I applied to lots of jobs, but applying to jobs online has always felt a bit like entering the lottery to me.

In mid-October, I got an email asking me to interview for a technical writing job. To this day I have no memory of applying to the job, although I did finally find a copy of the add in my email, so I know I did apply to it at some point. I got that email on a Tuesday and was doing work for an IT company by the following Monday. It has been an amazing job. I’m still part time but working up to full time, and it is all working from home. I am learning so much about the technical community and improving my writing skills for the niche.

However, I have definitely had to adjust to being a double working mama. It’s true, baby raising is truly a full time job, one that Andy and I share, but during the day while he is at the office, I am Lu’s main caretaker. And now, I am also logging 20 hours a week in my other job—technical writing. So during the day I work a little on my laptop, chase the baby, make her some oatmeal, write a little more, and swap again. It’s a delicate balance, and I struggle sometimes to pay full attention to my work. I am slowly getting better at it. She now goes for long 20 minute stretches happily playing by herself, and I use that time to focus more intently on work.

It has also been interesting working at home in general. This is the first time I’ve had a work from home job, and it can be difficult to separate home from work, and work from home. I tend to be distracted by home type work, sorting, cleaning, dishes, while I’m working and distracted by work problems when I’m doing house projects. I’m slowly learning how to separate the two. I structure our days as well as I can with an 11-month-old’s whims to answer to. In the morning I focus primarily on work since Lu tends to be pretty happy during that time. Around noon we make lunch, and then Lu usually (theoretically) takes a good long nap, while I go get in a work out with the wii fit (side note, the wii fit has been amazing in helping me begin a work out regime after a long absence). After Lu wakes up, I usually spend some time just playing with her, do a bit more work, then around four I let myself do house work—cleaning, maybe a little laundry. I find that for me housework tends to take over if I start. One project leads to another and sucks up my day.

So if you read this long post, well that’s amazing. I just have not found much out there in the realm of double working mamas so I thought I would share some of my experiences so far. Definitely a huge part of making it all work is Andy as my teammate. He has taken on more of the house related work since I’ve been working keeping me from feeling over committed. I like that we share in all of this—raising Lu, taking care of our house, earning our income, and support each other in each area. Me working has helped us be a team in each area of our lives.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year! (a little late)

Happy new year to you all! We are officially back from California. It was a great trip, lots of family, good food, presents, humor, and a ridiculous amount of travel. Lu handled the travel like a champ, although by the end of the trip she seemed pretty tired of all the moving around. The last day we were there my parents let Andy and I go on a date in Pasadena, which was super fun. We dressed up, had a nice long dinner, and got to be all hipster in LA.
And now it’s 2011! Crazy! 2010 was an eventful, stressful, and joy filled year for us. Here’s a quick list of the GIANT life events we have experienced in 2010.
• Luthien was born. We made it through birth, the first few crazy months, and have settled into a pleasant rhythm of parenting as she approaches her first birthday!
• Andy and I finally married, twice actually (I don’t like the term “got married” because I have an English major’s grudge against the word “got”, so we’ll go old fashioned on this one). Our first first anniversary is in a couple of weeks.
• We bought a house in Front Royal. We love having a nice big space, especially after our studio. It’s so neat to see Lu running around in it, getting bigger.
• We revamped our car situation so that Andy has a sweet commuter ride.
• Andy got his current job the day before Lu was born, allowing me to stay home and us to get a house.
• I quit my old job to do child-care, but found a sweet gig writing from home in October.

Andy and I talked quite a bit about our goals for this year, the biggest one being, peace and calm. We are content where we are, and since both of us tend to be ‘make things happen’ people, we are helping each other learn to enjoy the present time. We are very happy about the big changes we made in 2010, and 2011 will be about adjusting to/enjoying those changes. We are hoping this is a less tumultuous year. However there are some small things we would like to work on:

• I know it’s cliché but I want to start working out again. I’ve been a runner my whole life, but I’ve been quite a slacker since the small one was born. It’s time to get back in shape.
• We started doing night prayer together during advent and want to keep going with it in the New Year.

That’s us for now. The new and expanded Horners of 2011.