This Blog ENDS Here

My dad always told me to be careful what you put in writing because it can come back to bite you in the butt. Well, consider my butt bitten.
In my quest to have a space of my own where I can write about how I truly feel about things, I have crossed the line. The things I have written have caused a backlash, of sorts, and I no longer feel safe writing about my personal trials and tribulations.
I have always been a journaler, and those who journal know that you are typically moved to write when you are going through a tough time. For me, writing about my stuggles helps me process what I am dealing with and moves me into action to make the necessary changes. As I have written on this blog, my writing has evolved. I know that my content has been on a more serious note lately because I feel like I have hit a hard time in my own life, and I am trying to work through it the best way that I can.
And for those who know me personally and through this blog know that I am an open-book with my life...the good, the bad, and the ugly. I am not embarrassed of who I am, where I am from, what I do, what I have, or what I am feeling. I have lots of good things in my life for which I am thankful...and I share those things openly. But I have never been one to paint my world as picture perfect...because it's not. I have chosen to share the not-so-good moments of my life, too, because my life isn't perfect, and nobody's life is that way. Life is messy and chaotic and confusing at times. And my hope was that by being honest and real in what I am dealing with, I could find comfort for myself while at the same time helping someone else feel that they are not alone.
However, in sharing some of my issues in an open forum, I did not take into account how it would affect those closest to me. While I don't mind being open with my business, it's not fair to put my hubby or child or other close relatives in a situation where they have to explain what I am writing. The things that I write on here are MY reality...whether or not people agree with my version of reality. We all have different perceptions of what truly is, and my depiction of life is just my version of things. It is not right to put my loved ones in a position where they have to explain or try to justify what I am writing or to be embarrassed of the things that I am putting out there. For that, I am truly sorry.
So I have decided to let this blog go. It has caused too much drama and that is the last thing I need right now. Whatever issues I am dealing with and going through right now need to be handled privately and not in an open forum. I need to protect myself and those closest to me.
I know, however, that I do have some people that like to follow along to see what has been going on with the baby. For those who read my blog because you want to see updates on Quin, home improvement, the dogs and how we are doing in general, I have created a new blog just for that purpose. It will be a family blog to keep relatives and friends that are far away in the loop of our daily life. So go HERE and add that link to your favorites because no more posts will be added to this blog! (And if I am on your blogroll, please consider deleting Stinky Times and adding the other...only if you wish!)
So, adios Stinky Times! It's time to move on! You've been good and served your purpose, but I need to let you go!

Wishy-Washy Weaning Woes

Good gracious! If I could only make up my mind sometimes! I think I've made a decision about something, feel good about that decision, and then BAM, I start second-guessing my decision! It's tiresome to be me some days! Seriously!

So here is my latest wishy-washiness when it comes to decision making.

Before I was ever pregnant, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my child. There are so many benefits to the baby that the list goes on and on and on as to how a baby can benefit from being breastfed. And the mother benefits, too. (Click HERE for articles on the benefits.) It's such a natural thing for a mother to do with her baby. It is amazing to think that I can provide and produce all of the nutrition my baby needs from my own body.

And when it came time for me to breastfeed, I was lucky. Breastfeeding came pretty easy and naturally for me, and Baby Q seemed to latch right on (no pun intended)! I didn't have a lot of the issues many new mothers have in the beginning when trying to get breasfeeding going. My nipples never hurt or got sore; my milk supply came right on in; Q took to it immediately. And I haven't had any real issues with breastfeeding other than one bout of mastitis and a slight case of thrush.

My goal in breastfeeding has been to do it through the first year of Q's life. It seemed like a doable and reasonable goal to me. Besides the most important benefits to Q and the comfort I get from doing it, breastfeeding is really, really economical. I figured I could transition Q from the breast to cow's milk once he hits the one year mark. Since I knew I would be returning to work, I made sure that I had my breastpump equipment ready to go before Q even arrived.

For those who have never had to pump their boobies, let me tell ya, it's an interesting thing to do. I first started pumping at home during my maternity leave to build a supply to freeze and use later once Q started daycare. Besides my nipples and boobies being sucked into tubes making them look really enlongated and feeling like a cow hooked up to a milking maching, pumping was easy enough to handle. was easy enough to handle at home.

Pumping your boobs at work is a whole other ballgame. It's not fun! And I hate it! I really, really hate it! I am sure that for some mothers, pumping at work is no big deal. And it wouldn't be a big deal for me if I had my own office where I could close the door and truly relax. But I am in a job where I don't have a real office, and I am at a different school every 1.5days. And did I mention how heavy the bag is and how much of a pain in the ass it is to carry around the pump and it's related parts (especially when I have to carry my office with me since I am in a mobile position)? It's a lot of work. It's stressful!

I started to notice that my supply seemed to be diminishing during the time I was pumping at work. To be able to produce enough milk to pump, you have to be relaxed and let go so that your boobies will let down and produce the milk to be pumped. It's hard to relax when you're at work and away from your baby. It's hard to relax when you're doing it in a bathroom and nothing seems really clean. It's just hard to relax. Period.

And along with the difficulties of pumping at work, there is also the added dimension of having to keep up with all of the various parts. There are quite a few small parts, and these parts have to be cleaned and sanitized after each use. So each evening entails a great deal of time washing and sanitizing the pump parts to get them packed and ready to use the next day. It's exhausting!

About 2 weeks ago, I decided that I needed to wean Q off the boob and switch him to formula. I felt my supply wasn't keeping up, and I was just tired of all of the difficulty and stress created by the pumping. I made a plan to start introducing him to formula and to wean him off the breast, so that I was completely done with breastfeeding by the time he is 6 months old (3/22/11). I felt good about the decision. I felt relieved! I was relieved that I wouldn't have to bother with pumping or cleaning the parts anymore.

Last weekend, I fed him bottles of formula during the day (as if he was at daycare). And when I did pump (because the boobies get so full), I started pumping less so that my boobies would think they didn't need to make as much milk. The weaning process was in full effect.

It was going well until...I went back to work this past Monday. As I sat in the bathroom listening to the loud pumping noise of the machine and the milk dripping into the bottles, I started questioning my decision to wean him. Why? Why am I really doing this? I like breastfeeding. Q likes breastfeeding. It makes me feel close to him after being away from him all day. It's comforting for both of us. Breastmilk is so much better for him than formula. Why am I being so lazy about the pumping? My goal is to pump for a year. Why am I giving up so easily on this goal? All these things were just swirling around in my head. And the decision that I thought I had made was no longer made at all.

As I came out of the bathroom with all my pumping baggage, I briefly mentioned something to the school psychologist. She sat me down and really encouraged me to keep perservering if breastfeeding is what I really wanted to do. She said that I could use her office when I am at that school. She helped me realized that I could keep doing this if it was important to me. And realistically Q is going to start weaning himself from the boob naturally as food is being introduced.

With a few words of encouragement from a person I barely knew, I knew that I had to change my mind about my decision to wean. I wasn't ready to do it. I was forcing myself into something that didn't feel natural. I let my own selfishness get in the way of what my goals were when it came to breastfeeding. I was being selfish because I didn't want to keep lugging around the pumping bag, or stopping work to take the time to pump, or cleaning the parts each and every single night. And it just didn't feel natural that whole weekend I was feeding him formula when I could have been breastfeeding.

So just like that I changed my mind and returned to breastfeeding. Q deserves nothing but the best from his momma. It may be hard work, tiring, and time consuming, but he is worth all of it! I feel so much better and more confident in my decision to continue breastfeeding. I am not complaining about the pumping anymore, but instead, I am embracing it. This pumping is only temporary anyways! And I can do it! I really can!

Seriously, what were you thinking Momma? Give me that Boobie Milk!

How Did We Get Here?

Okay! Here goes another post on money...on our money! Woe is me! Alright, not really! But since I already put it out there about our financial trials and tribulations, I thought I would just expand on it. Afterall, this is a journey, right? And I invited you to come along!

I've been thinking a lot about why our situation is the way it is right now when it comes to our finances. What did we do wrong? What could we have done differently? What can we do differently? How can we assure ourselves that once we make it through this bump in the road (aka being broke) we won't get back to this place with our finances? I, mean, I have to be hopeful that things are going to get better, right? What is life without hope for the future?

As we all know by now...we are not rich, and we're never going to be rich (barring a big lottery win)! My hubby is a teacher, and I am a social worker. Those in helping professions just don't profit; these are not lucrative careers we have chosen. But that's okay! Because we have good health insurance (free), a steady paycheck, good working hours, and an excellent vacation/holiday schedule. A price can't be placed on those intangible benefits! did we get here? And by 'here,' I mean living on the tightest of budgets. I can basically narrow our current financial woes down to 4 things: (1) my maternity leave; (2) 2 giant hospital bills; (3) transitioning jobs; and (4) daycare expenses.

I took 12 weeks maternity leave when I had my son. I couldn't have imagined it being any shorter because that time flew by way too fast. And I am truly thankful for that time I had to bond with my baby. It was the most special time in my life. But my maternity leave was a sense. It was only paid by the amount of vacation and sick leave I had accrued prior to going out on leave. And I was lucky to have accrued enough leave to cover almost 10 weeks of my maternity leave. But that left our home without one full paycheck (I won't get into all of the logistics to the timing of the paychecks because it doesn't really matter). But not having that paycheck was okay (alright...not really) because we had saved money prior to my maternity leave to cover the fact that I would be missing a pay while I was out. It still sucked not to have that pay and to have to dip into the savings...but you do what you have to do.

So at the end of 12 weeks, I returned to my old job. I had to work a little bit before the paychecks started rolling in again because there is always lag time between time worked and time paid. And just as I returned to my old job, I decided to put in a notice of resignation (which was a good thing). So we waited for me to get paid for my time worked. I got one full pay and then a partial pay. Therefore, I did not get a full month's worth a pay that we needed to keep us on track. And as I went to start my new job in January, the start date got delayed because of inclement weather. So there I was waiting a whole week to start my new job (and making money). So my maternity leave coupled with changing jobs has left me with not having a regular, steady, full paycheck since early December (and here we are at the end of February). We are a 2 income household. Period. So my dips in pay have definitely affected our situation.

Along with the lack of regular pays comes into the play the fact that we have had 2 big hospital bills. We anticipated the bill from labor and delivery...we knew it was coming, and it would be big. And while I thought the bill was rather hefty, I had a natural birth with limited medical interventions, so in the grand scheme of things my will to feel the pain probably saved us quite a bit of cash. But we then got slapped with another huge bill a month and a half later when Baby Q was admitted to the hospital for an overnight stay. I will always err on the side of caution when it comes to my child, and do whatever I have to do and pay whatever I have to pay to make sure he is healthy. But, DAMN! It really doesn't do a budget good to have over $3000 in out-of-pocket hospital expenses in less than 2 months.

And finally...we are paying a crap ton of money for daycare. Not because we chose an extraordinarily costly daycare but because it is the going rate where we live. And by "going rate," I mean we are paying over $300/week in daycare expenses. You do the math. It's a lot of money...more than we pay for our mortgage each month! And we started paying the daycare expenses a month earlier than we anticipated in order to secure the spot at the daycare. So we started paying the daycare expenses right at the time when my income was stopping. Perfect timing!

Sooo...that is a bit of a breakdown of how we got broke down. I think I am going to post later about what we could have done differently to avoid these hard economic times, and what we are planning to do to get ourselves back on track. But, for right now, I am tired of thinking about money. It's Friday (woot!), and I need to take a mental break for the weekend!


I just noticed the picture of myself on the sidebar is not the most flattering. Is that what I really look like? I, mean, I did take it at the end of the long day after work and mommy duties, but still. Why did I post that picture of me? Maybe I should update it with one I've taken first thing in the morning. I'm so vain!

Perspectives on Hopelessness

No, I haven't written much on my blog lately. Yes, the things I have managed to type on here have been somewhat gloomy and not uplifting. As we all know by now, I am going through some sort of funk. I am in a weird space in my life right now. It's not a constant state of funkiness or depression, but I have definitely had my share of bad days lately. And I guess I have stayed away from writing about it because there are some feelings, thoughts, and experiences that are hard to put in writing...hard to convey through words. Because no matter how hard I try to explain to my hubby or to my friend or to my mom how I am feeling or what I am thinking, I just can't seem to get across the state of affairs in my own mind. I cannot seem to adequately express on the outside what it is I am feeling on the inside. And maybe that's because I am not sure myself. Maybe I am trying to figure it out, too. But what I am going to do right now is to try to get it all out...kind of in a free association I can move on and quit dropping cryptic messages on my blog.

First and foremost, a lot of what I am feeling has nothing to do with my role as a mother. I love being a mother to my son. Period. But being a mother does play into my current mindset and way of thinking because it has completely changed my view on life, and even more, my perception of myself.

There is no question that I have always wanted to be a mother. And I feel lucky and blessed to have been able to conceive a child with so much ease. But even though you want something so badly, you never know how the reality of it is going to affect you until you're in the midst of it. And that's where I am. In the midst of it. Trying to sort things out.

I've never been one of those people who likes to live in the past. I try to enjoy each stage of my life as it is, and when it's time, move onward to the next. And when I reach that next stage in life, I look back on where I've been and what I've done and feel glad to have had those experiences and to have grown and moved on. I did the college the fullest extent possible. I lived on my own as a young independent woman who could take care of herself. I fell in love with a boy. I moved in with my boyfriend and started a life with him that led us down the path of marriage. And for 3 years, we enjoyed being 'just married'...just the two of us. And I enjoyed each of those stages; each experience. And so it was time for a baby. It was our time. We decided. So here I am now...a mother; the next phase of my life (and a phase that I know will last the rest of my life).

But for some reason, the transition from all of that other stuff...from the previous life stages...into that of motherhood has not been so seamless for me. I have found myself going through somewhat of a mourning process (for lack of a better term) as well as an identity crisis. I am not saddened about being a mother; I take quite delight in being a mom. And I am not uncomfortable with the role of being a mother; I think I do it pretty well. So what am I trying to say here, then? This is the part where it becomes hard for me to put into words my exact thoughts and feelings.

I guess my struggle lies in going from doing pretty much whatever I please whenever I please to being at the beck-and-call of another person 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I've never in my life been needed so much. I never knew what it was like to be needed...for everything. And I love the fact that I am the one who can provide what this little person needs. It gives me pleasure to be able to satisfy my little guy. But providing all the needs for another person means that some of my own needs (and wants) have to go unmet or be put on hold. And that's okay...for the most part. But at some point...those unmet needs (and wants) creep back up and nag at you. And for any person to be functional and to feel good about herself as a whole human being, she has to give into those needs and wants every once in awhile. And that is where I am trying to find the balancing act...between my baby's needs and my own personal needs and wants...and to not be selfish in the process...and I also have to figure in the fact that my hubby has his own needs and wants, too, that are separate from family and home. I just keeping thinking in my head, "How am I going to make all of this work? I just need to give something up. Afterall, you just can't have it all. You can't have your cake and eat it, too, and have every one be happy all of the time. Something has got to give."

And coupled with the ongoing challenge of trying to meet my own needs along with the demands of baby, hubby, dogs, home, friends, family, and work, comes the added internal struggle of figuring out who I am as a mother and an individual outside of being a mother. Can the two ever be separated? the short answer I have found to be true. So how do I come to terms with being a mother and being an individual with needs and wants and desires and dreams and goals that are far beyond that of just being a mother. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being "just a mother." I know that being a mother is the most important thing that I will ever do in my life. And I take being a mother very seriously. But I am also a woman of the 21st century...a girl who was raised to become a woman with dreams and goals and a career and a home...and my goals and dreams in life shouldn't stop or be forgotten because I've brought another human being into this world. Shouldn't I be setting an example to my child that dreams and goals are a lifelong pursuit and don't have to end because of a change in life or circumstance? I seriously believe that I should not live my life through my child but with my child.

And I have found that since I have had a baby, I don't know how to interact socially anymore. I, mean, I've always been a bit socially awkward. But my awkwardness has moved up several notches. I often find myself crying after social gatherings telling my hubby that I feel like I don't belong anywhere anymore and that I don't quite fit in. All the things that I thought made me interesting pre-baby just don't seem so important anymore or I just haven't had time for those things. And a lot of the things I enjoyed pre-baby don't quite bring the same enjoyment to me anymore. But I have found new joy in staying at home with my baby and with my hubby. That is where I am most comfortable and most me. But a girl needs to get out in the world break free from the everyday humdrumness of life. So when I venture out into the great world (or just out to dinner with family or friends), I feel alone in a lot of ways. I feel like I have nothing to add to the conversation. Afterall, how many stories of baby poop and spit-up does someone else want to hear about in one sitting? No one cares about my baby and his happenings more than me and my hubby. It's just not that exciting for someone else. (Come on...let's be know what I am talking about when you've had to listen to someone else obsessively talk about her own child. Ugh!) And a lot of times the conversation feels a battle. The other party thinks that all I want to talk about is baby so they keep asking questions about baby, and all I want to do is talk about something other than baby to feel wholesome and interesting; but the truth is, I have nothing to talk about other than baby. So there I am...stuck in a gridlock.

So while I have all of these things that I am questioning and sorting out about myself, my identity, etc, etc, there is also another heavy burden weighing down on my little family. And this burden is constantly swirling around in my head...while I am awake and while I am trying to sleep. It is constant. It is always "there" wherever I go, whatever I do. And the burden I am speaking of is one of finances. I worry constantly about money; about our money and our financial health. We all know this. I talk about it quite regularly.

I don't even know where to start with my worry and concerns when it comes to finances. But what I will say is that we are struggling. Yes. That is right. We don't have a lot of money. I've never been one to put on a show or pretend like I have something I don't. What you see is what you get. I have no need to impress anyone with my worldly belongings (or lack thereof). And I am not going to pretend like everything is hunky-dory when it isn't. And I am not going to try to "keep up" with others when there is no possible way our financial situation would allow us to do that without doing some real damage.

I just get down sometimes because my hubby and I are hardworkers. We put in our time each week and make an honest living. We have been able to pay all of our bills and have never had to make a late payment, and for that I am thankful. But by the end of the month, we are literally scraping the bottom of the ol' proverbial barrel. There are no leftovers to go have some fun dinner or a movie. There is no extra cash for me to go get some new clothes or shoes. Hell, there usually isn't any extra funds just get some of the basics. And if there were to be a crisis (oh, I don't know, let's say a car breaks down or an appliance goes out)...well, we would kind of be up shit creek. Yes, we could always use credit, but we have worked our asses off to not have credit card debt (even though some does exist).

I am not trying to have a pity party (okay, maybe I am having a little one) nor am I trying to solicit any funds. I just get so sick and tired of spinning my wheels when it comes to our money and never getting anywhere. It just seems that things never get better. We are not frivolous spenders. I can't remember the last time either of us went shopping for clothing (with the exception of my thrift-store shopping where I spent a whopping $20 on clothes) or for random do-dads or for anything for the house (like some nice picture frames to display baby pics). Everything we have is what we have...nothing new has come into our household for quite sometime...except for the absolute basics needed for survival. And with the basics, we use coupons and shop for the deals, and that gets tiresome sometimes.

I am just tired. Tired of thinking so hard about our money. We work hard for our money. We want to enjoy our money. I just feel like we are always going to be living on the edge of financial crisis. I feel like we are one paycheck...away from financial disaster. Don't get me wrong. I am thankful for what we do have and what we can afford. And by most standards, we live a pretty darn good life. But I seriously just want to recall what it was like to want something (like an outfit or kitchen gadget) and to be able and go out and get it without thinking about it. I am in no way materialistic or find my worth in materials that I possess, but, damn, I just want to have a little extra breathing room.

So, yes, I have a had a lot weighing on my mind. And I have found myself in a dark and desparate place at times leaving me to feel down right hopeless about life. But, at the end of the day, I want what is best for me, for my baby, for my hubby, and our little family. I think it is okay to have that feeling of desparation or hopelessness or sadness if it can be utilized in a way to propel my life forward in a positive way. I don't want to wallow in those feelings forever, but I know myself well enough to allow me the freedom to wallow in it just long enough so that I get agitated and start making movement to change things. I chose to let these things get me down. But I also choose to move on. I will continue to struggle and to feel burdened and to question myself, but isn't that part of the journey of this life? My goal is, and has always been, to do the best that I can do each day that I am here...knowing that some days I am going to be more successful at "life" than on others.

There. Done. Out. Over.

Quotable Quote of the Week

Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. ~Robert Heinlein

....A simple I love you means more than money.... ~Frank Sinatra

Always remember there was nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name. ~The Avett Brothers

Happy Valentine's Day, Folks! Yup...that is about all I've got to say in reference to this ol' holiday! My hubby and I decided to skip the cards this year, and we never do gifts on this holiday anyways. We figure we don't need one day out of the year to say 'I love you' to one another. We strive to show our love to each other every single day. And yes, some days we are more successful than others at showing our love, but the effort is always there...on Feb 14 and any other day of the year.

Quotable Quote of the Week

Isn't it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity. ~Vaclav Havel

There are no hopeless situations; there are only men who have grown hopeless about them. ~Clare Boothe Luce

I've been feeling a little hopeless these days. I don't know if it is a funk or what. But I need some inspiration. I need some help refocusing because I feel all out of sorts. It just feels that each day is a struggle, and the stuggle is beating me down and winning right now. I don't know. I just don't know, anymore!