Tag Archives: work

All Grace Abounding

27 Oct

IMG_20151013_151122On my way to the grocery store while Travis was in Colorado for eight days elk hunting, I realized that sadly, his being gone actually didn’t feel that much different than his being home (in terms of how much I do taking care of the house and girls). He’s been working so much that it feels somewhat odd when he’s not working; when weekends are spent doing non-work things, like hanging out, running errands, chipping away at projects; when I actually see my husband for more than an hour or two at a time.

His work schedule has been so crazy for the last I-can’t-even-remember-how-long that instead of waiting for Travis to go do fun stuff like the zoo, corn maze, and pumpkin patch, I’ve just started doing those things without him. I’ve stopped expecting him to get off work at a certain time. I’ve (mostly) stopped hoping he’ll spend time with us in the evening. I’m still disappointed when Travis mentions that he has to work for a few hours, especially on weekends, but overall, I’ve adjusted my expectations to be that Travis won’t be hanging out with us.

Do I think that that’s the ideal way to handle this situation? No. I believe strongly in the importance of a husband and father spending quality time with his wife and kids, so I will fight against Travis’ absence being a long-term normal thing. But let me tell you, adjusting my expectations in this way has been a heck of a lot easier – on both me and my marriage – than feeling constant disappointment and unrealized hopes. Doing fun things with my girls and staying busy helps me cope with the ache of a heart that craves more time with my husband.

Travis doesn’t like working this much. He would cut his hours back to a simple 40 in a heartbeat if he could. He’d take more vacation days if he could. He’d be thrilled to spend his evenings and weekends with me and the girls instead of clocking hours in his office (which we’ve nicknamed the Chateau D’if) if he could. “Things are crazy right now, but they should get better soon” has been the echoing refrain of this past year.

But I’m starting to think through the possibility of things not getting better soon, the possibility of this being the reality of our lives for the foreseeable future. (Because that is a very real possibility.) It would be easy to let this situation drift indeterminably while optimistically thinking it’s temporary and have it end up altering what we consider to be our “normal” – that we’d get used to doing things without daddy and it’d no longer feel strange for him to not be there. Indifference to his absence would replace our hope for things to change.

Often, it takes the possibility of a situation not being temporary to make us realize how challenging the circumstance actually is. It’s like, as long as the spark of hope remains that you’re almost to the other side of the trial, you can stay strong and keep trucking. But once you realize that “the other side” might be a long way away, that spark of hope dies and you give up.

It reminds me of Florence Chadwick, the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways. In 1952, she attempted to swim from Catalina Island to mainland California. She had been swimming 15 hours, was physically and emotionally exhausted, and ended up quitting only 800 meters (1/2 mile) from shore (which to any seasoned swimmer is practically nothing!). “All I could see was the fog. I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it,” she said the next day at a news conference. {source}

Like Florence, I often stop swimming because I can’t see the end. I’m stubborn and determined so I survive for a while by hunkering down and gritting my teeth through trials, willing myself to stay strong until it’s over. “Just get through this. It’ll get better.” But rarely do I make it to the finish line before my resolve gives out. The tipping point is almost always caused by something that, on its own, is small and inconsequential – but added to the heap of stress, fear and pain that has been brimming underneath the surface of my life, it’s the last straw. The dam breaks. A flood of pent-up emotions comes rushing out.

But just like the rainbow that appeared when the waters receded after the great flood of Noah’s time, each flood of my own emotions brings with it with the blessed awareness that once again, I’ve been trying to survive life on my own strength. As seeing the shoreline would’ve most likely given Florence the influx of strength and motivation she needed to persevere, so also seeing the big picture will also strengthen and motivate me.

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What is the big picture? Surely it is not that this trial of Travis’ working so much will come to an end sometime – because that is not certain. Rather, the big picture that gives me hope is that God is sufficient in all things. His sufficiency in being, and providing, everything I need is the way through this trial, and any trial for that matter. For those who work multiple jobs, make minimum wage and still scrape by, this stress of working is a constant reality. But we all find joy in trying circumstances the same way: by looking to God.

Jesus says:

“The thief [of this world] comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (John 14:1)

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9-11)

Joy in God amidst earthly strife is possible – Jesus says it is. He tells us to trust Him, abide in His love for us, and focus on the end – He has already overcome the world. We cannot see the end ourselves; we are stuck swimming in the fog. But God sees the end. And it is by banking on His future promises and His current provision of grace and strength that we can persevere and not give up.

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:8)

The apostle Paul knew what it was like to persevere in the face of trials. In 2 Corinthians 6:3-10, he writes, “We put no obstacles in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.”

In chapter 11, he continues, “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” (v. 24-28)

“For we do not want you to ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:8-9)

“But [the Lord] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12: 9-10

Paul welcomed his trials and hardships as opportunities for him to learn and live out dependence on Christ. As anyone who has been pushed past their capacity or strength knows, that’s often what it takes to break our attempts at self-sufficiency and get us down on our knees before God. In that spirit, I am trying to fight against my natural tendency to grit my teeth through this and instead, embrace this as another opportunity for learning how to live fully in a trying circumstance, trusting God to use it in our lives for our good and His glory.

So Travis and I have been discussing, “If this is our reality for the foreseeable future, what changes do we need to make to live well right now?” Not surprisingly, the changes we are trying to make address the issues that have caused the most problems between us:

1. Communicate in a helpful way.

When Travis has to work in the evening and I am disappointed, I have often expressed that disappointment as anger – because frankly, I’m mad he has to work. But not mad at him, just at the situation. However, he perceives my anger as being directed at him because he is, after all, the one who has to work. The helpful way to communicate my disappointment (according to the man himself) would be to say, “I understand you have to work, but I’m disappointed we can’t hang out.” Duly noted.

To Travis’ credit, he has done a pretty good job (after learning the hard way) of letting me know about his additional work demands a day or two in advance. It helps me to know what to expect. When I have time to process, I can respond better than I can when the situation is sprung upon me at the last minute.

2. Have family time free from the 3 P’s: phones, projects and the paper.

This one is mostly for me, because one of my love languages is quality time. Since we don’t have as much time together as a family as we want, we need to maximize the time we do have. And in my opinion, it just isn’t quality time when the whole family is doing their own thing. Our biggest distractions are our phones, the newspaper and “small, quick” house projects. So, from the time that Travis gets off work to the time that Annabelle goes to bed (which is usually 1-2 hours), those distractions are off-limits.

3. Prioritize date nights.

This is something we’ve (I’ve) been lax about because it’s my job to find a babysitter and I just haven’t put the time or effort into it. But now that Annabelle is 7 months old and can eat some solid food, we wouldn’t have to bring her along, so it would be a true date night! That would be awesome. I need to get my butt in gear and work on this. Our goal is one date night every month.

4. Be generous, but realistic.

There have been numerous good or fun things that we’ve had to say no to because they would have just stretched us too thin. It’s definitely a balancing act to know how much to serve and help out, or when to enjoy time with friends, and when you need to pull back and focus on your own family – but it’s a balance worth striving for. My natural tendency in hardship is to focus all my resources on myself and my family – because in my selfishness, my problems seem the biggest – but that kind of self-preservation usually just ends up magnifying the problem. It nurtures my soul to serve and love others, even when I’m experiencing a hard situation.

This also applies to my marriage. Hunting is an annual sore subject for us, just because it takes so much time – there’s packing, setting up stands, sighting in guns, target practice, traveling, then the actual hunting, and if they’re successful, meat butchering. The selfish part of me thinks that it’s just more time spent away from me and the girls for a “stupid hobby.” But the loving part of me knows that my husband loves hunting and since he spends the majority of his time providing for his family, he could use some time to relax and recharge doing something that je really enjoys (and almost his whole family hunts so it’s also time spent with them).

More and more, I am learning that the balance I need in life is only achievable through the power of the Holy Spirit. As a mere human, I am only capable of swinging from one extreme to another. In this case, from staking my heart on my expectations and demanding my own way to leaving expectations behind in a wake of indifference and cold-heartedness. But with the Spirit’s power and presence, I can continue desiring more time with my husband without that hope smothering our marriage, and I can be content with the time we do have together without losing hope that that time will increase. That balance is possible only when I am staking my heart first and foremost on God. God alone is sufficient in all things.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency [or contentment] in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

When Your Husband Travels for Work

11 Mar

Like Murphy’s Law, it seems that the Law of Your Husband Traveling is that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Back in February, Emma and I were playing in the basement on the second night of Travis’ 4-day work trip. She went around the corner where the stairs are. Being pregnant-lazy, I didn’t follow. Thirty seconds later, I hear her tumbling down the stairs. I race over to her and luckily she’s ok, just scared. Momma is not ok however. That quick movement made my pelvis and hips hate me. If I was moving at a turtle pace before, I was now moving at the speed of a beached whale. Luckily, the pain went away after a few days. Later that night, Emma slipped in the bathtub and bit her tongue, but thankfully it wasn’t bad enough to need medical attention.

Last week, right after our babymoon, Travis went out of town for a work trip. 5 nights, 6 days. Sunday night, I ate a couple of Tums before bed (which I do a lot these days) and hit the sack. A few minutes later, I felt like I was going to explode on both ends. Thankfully, that lasted for only about 10 minutes, I did some business and felt better enough to go back to bed instead of sit in the bathroom. But I couldn’t lay down without feeling awful so I watched an episode of Parenthood and then I could at least recline enough to sleep.

Monday, I still felt off but good enough to venture out to MOPS. (Whenever sickness prevents me and Emma from going to our normally scheduled activities, the week DRAGS by.) I felt mostly fine all day until nighttime came.  I was so miserable that night, I literally got up and drank a cup of coffee at 12:30 to see if it would get things moving, then took a shower and watched a couple episodes of Parenthood. When I finally did get to sleep, it was propped up against the wall in bed.

Tuesday, I had my prenatal appt and my doctor said it didn’t sound like anything to ‘fix’. Since Emma was at daycare and I felt awful, I spent the whole day on the couch. Then Tuesday night happened, which I will elaborate on shortly.

Wednesday, after talking with my mom, I started to think my problem might be acid reflux and not constipation. So I started avoiding trigger foods (citrus, tomatoes, caffeine) and by the end of the day, I was feeling significantly better. Thursday, I felt fine. Acid reflux is a nasty thing!

So Tuesday night. Ugh. I had just fed Emma dinner and was going to give her a bath right after I took the dogs out to go to the bathroom. But somehow, I
got locked out of the house — with Emma locked inside. After unsuccessfully trying to coach Emma to unlock the door (it’s a latch on the knob) and checking for a key in the garage and front door area, I started sobbing and decided my only option was to run to the neighbors’ house to use their phone, even though it meant leaving Emma, who I could hear was crying on the other side of the door. Of course it had to also be the day that we got 6 inches of snow and I was only wearing loafers. Luckily Travis had left a jacket in the garage or I wouldn’t have had one of those either!

Imagine a woman 35 weeks pregnant waddle-running in 10 degrees through snowy, icy roads and down 2 driveways that haven’t been plowed. That was me.

Luckily, my neighbor was home. I called Travis first to ask if we had any spare keys hidden. Nope. They were all in the house. He suggested calling 911 and having the fire dept come out. So that’s what I did. I didn’t want to spend time researching locksmiths. My wonderful neighbor loaded up her 8-month pregnant self and 3-year-old son to drive me back to my house.

When we got back, I went to the front door where we have a window and pounded on it to get Emma to at least come where I could see her. But she wouldn’t. I could hear her screaming hysterically and that made me cry even harder. I decided to head back to the door between the kitchen and garage (where Emma was). I took one step down the front stairs and ended up on my tailbone. I just kneeled in the snow for a few minutes, bawling and thinking,  “Could this night get ANY worse? Please let the baby be ok. OMG, this is so painful. And I’m cold. Travis is never traveling EVER AGAIN!”

The fire dept showed up around 5 minutes later but it felt like an eternity. They tried picking the lock but ended up using an axe between the door and jamb to open the door. Little Emma was fine — shaken up but not hurt. It seemed like she got over the trauma as soon as I picked her up.

Wednesday, I went to the hospital to be monitored just to make sure baby was ok. I wasn’t concerned since I had felt the baby move plenty since my fall but better to be on the safe side. Everything checked out.

Thankfully, the rest of the week was uneventful. I was so happy when Travis finally got home!

He traveled again this past Monday just for a (19 hour) day. Emma had developed a cold over the weekend and had very labored breathing so I took her to the doctor. They prescribed an albuterol nebulizer 3x a day, antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection, and steroids for inflammation. Poor girl! I swear, every time I’ve taken Emma to the doctor for being sick, Travis has been out of town.

Now you can see why I’m scared to have a newborn to take care of too, right? Travis is done traveling for the next couple of months though. It’ll be nice to have him at home.

Adding My $.02 to the Age-Old Debate

20 Nov

Since everyone and their grandma has opinions on the working vs. stay-at-home mom debate, let me throw mine into the mix.

I went back to work 3 days a week when Emma was about 4 months old. I was blessed to have such a long maternity leave – I think both Emma and I needed that time together. But even though I was a little nervous at the thought of someone else taking care of Emma, I was ready to go back to work. I needed some structure to my week and was looking forward to having a reason to shower and get dressed nicely.

I enjoyed working 3 days a week. Having 3 days at a computer allowed me time to think coherent thoughts and feel accomplished in a professional sense. It also enabled me to send personal emails, schedule appointments, and play fantasy football (haha) during random downtimes. Even though getting bottles ready, pumping and commuting an hour each way made those days a little hectic, it was nice once I got to work to be able to breathe and have a break from baby stuff.

Working those 3 days also made the days I stayed home with Emma extra special – we stayed in our jammies until noon, did random stuff around the house, ran errands and hung out with friends. I felt more energetic and creative as a mom when I was with Emma as a result of having the time away from her.

When we moved to Minnesota, I stopped working. My employer had already made a special concession to let me go down to 3 days – I doubt they would’ve approved working from home on top of that. I wasn’t sure I wanted to stay anyway. On top of no longer working, we lived 10 minutes outside a town of 300 for 3 months. Talk about a huge shift.

I knew that I couldn’t judge what being a stay-at-home mom is like based on those 3 months, so even though I wasn’t *loving* it, I was patient. I have now been a SAHM with Emma for about 9 months – equal to the time I was a working mom. Emma and I have gotten involved and have a fairly regular weekly routine, so I feel like I have a fairly accurate idea of what being a SAHM is like. And I can say that I prefer working part-time. Don’t get me wrong. There are many things that are great about staying home full-time. I like the ability to get things done during the day instead of taking care of them after work or on the weekends. I like cooking dinner at a reasonable hour. I like seeing Emma grow and learn new things, and being the one taking care of her. I like going to playdates and MOPS and spending time outside.

But just like working outside the home has its challenges, so does staying home. You don’t get a break. You have a little needy person (or persons) with you constantly. It’s impossible to get anything done without being interrupted and some days, you need an extra gallon of patience that never seems to arrive. So sure, hypothetically you have all the time in the world to bake and clean and craft and Facebook, but in reality, you’re just chasing a kid around all day, keeping them from injuring themselves, drawing on your furniture or yanking on the dog’s tail.

More than that though, I miss the personal fulfillment of working. When I gave birth to Emma, I became a mom, but I didn’t stop being me. I am happier and more myself when I have a creative outlet, a personal goal, time to think and accomplish things without a little person tugging on my leg or the worry that naptime will be over soon.

That’s me though. I am not a natural ‘kid person’ and never have been. Some people are, and that’s great. Some moms love staying home, and that’s great. Some moms love working, and that’s great. There are tradeoffs, sacrifices, challenges and benefits of each way. I truly believe that every family needs to do what is right for them. Travis and I are fortunate to have the financial means to make the choice freely. I know other families do not have that option.

What I would like to see is for women to stop picking sides and declaring which way is ‘right’ or ‘better’. Just the other day, I read a supposedly objective essay on this debate, and the author was clearly biased toward staying home (because she happened to be a SAHM). Just because you do things one way doesn’t make it the right way. And let’s be honest, fellow SAHMers – do we REALLY want all of the college-educated, intelligent, driven women to check out of the workforce once they have kids? Do we REALLY want a society run by males? We do not! Women are a crucial part of the workforce.

I realize that I may come across as slightly hypocritical by saying that, since I am not currently working outside the home. Even though I would prefer to work part-time, I have found that the number of professional part-time jobs out there (especially where I currently live) are virtually nonexistent. I know plenty of women who work full-time, but I personally would prefer not to (and I’m blessed to have that choice). So that might make me a hypocrite, but so be it.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the age-old debate of working vs. stay-at-home mom. Neither is easy. Both have challenges. Both have rewards. All moms love their kids.

In the Swing of Things

9 Nov

One of the hardest things about moving back to Minnesota was the ‘stalling’ of normal life. We spent 3 months living in a town an hour away from where we knew we were moving, so it was very impractical to get involved in anything, in either place. Our lives were essentially on hold – especially, it felt, for me. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first time since being on maternity leave. I didn’t have a house to manage, decorate or organize. I didn’t have any activities or obligations. I was floundering.

God used that season to test my faith, and stretch me beyond my comfort zone. I was reminded that growth never comes from doing what’s easy or comfortable – only from being pushed beyond what we think we can handle. That said, I’m glad that season is coming to a close!

Emma and I finally have some semblance of a ‘normal’ weekly schedule. (With Travis’ crazy work schedule, our family’s schedule still isn’t normal, but hopefully it will be more so by the beginning of next year.)

I joined MOPS, which meets about 2 Mondays a month (some months only 1).

I enrolled Emma in an Early Childhood and Family Education class, which I attend with her, called Time Together on Thursdays. We do crafts; learn animals, songs and sign language; and play with other kids.

We have been going to the same church for the past month or so. We’re not ready to commit to being members yet, but we like what we’ve seen and heard so far. And we’ve met a lot of great people, which has been so nice.

I’m in a book study with 3 other ladies on Thursday nights. We’ve been reading The Home Experience by Devi Titus and while she’s very southern and some of her suggestions are impractical for mothers of preschoolers, it has been a great encouragement in this season of staying home to study how being a wife and mother is a valuable, worthwhile calling, and how I can bless those around me by taking it seriously.

And finally, starting next week, Emma will be going to daycare one day a week on Tuesdays – so that Mommy can have a break and pursue her dream of writing a book!

It is very nice to have life starting to look more ‘normal’ again. I’m glad, though, that it has taken as long as it has, because we have been able to be intentional about what we’re filling up our weeks with, instead of just adding stuff for the sake of being busy.

Now if my husband were just able to stop working so much, we’d be set!

In Honor of My Last Day…

13 Mar
It’s my last day of work and thought this post would be fitting. Enjoy!
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Originally posted on August 24, 2011
As a person with a work history mostly at small non-profits, I have noticed that things in Corporate America look a little bit different.

You know you work for a big corporation when…

  1. You wander around for 5 minutes after work trying to remember where you parked your car that morning.
  2. You don’t work in a building; you work on a campus.
  3. Your office location is 6 digits/letters long, with designations for building, floor, wing and hallway.
  4. You don’t know what 99.995% of the people do who work there.
  5. There are thousands of people working at the same company you’ll never even see, much less meet.
  6. Your campus has its own coffee shop, cafeteria, fitness room and conference center.
  7. You have co-workers in 12 different countries.
  8. There’s a person for everything. (No odd jobs here!)
  9. The marketing department actually has (and uses!) a brand manual and AP style handbook.
  10. Rebranded assets include company cars, conference rooms and hallway signage.
  11. There are indoor walkways connecting each building.
  12. You have 7 different bosses (did you get the memo?).
  13. Your company has its own softball league, no outside participants needed.
  14. You need a security badge just to go to the bathroom.

Do you work for a big corporation? Any insights you’d like to share?

The Life of a Working Parent

21 Nov

WorkingParentsChart{source}

The question Travis and I have been asking lately is:

How do other parents do it?

How do other parents find time for everything? Specifically for working dads*, how do they find time to work full-time; take care of the yard, house and cars; exercise; spend time with their kids; help around the house; hang out with friends; and make their marriage a priority?

As a former full-time worker, I know it’s easy to feel that it’s all you do. And I don’t want Travis to feel like he doesn’t have time for anything else.

I also know that it’s a blessing that I get 2 days off that Travis spends working. I can exercise, run errands, do chores, get together with friends and spend quality time with Emma those days. Travis still has to fit all those things in after work and on the weekends.

The problem we run into is that when Travis gets off work, I’m ready for him to spend time either with us as a family or watch Emma so that I can have a break. And I end up feeling frustrated when he spends time on the weekend raking our yard or cleaning our cars, because I view those things as non-essential (though I do understand why Travis thinks they are important). I’ve had to re-prioritize since having Emma and accept that some things just won’t get done at all or as often anymore. So in my mind, anything ‘non-essential’ should not be getting done.

There’s a How I Met Your Mother episode after Lily and Marshall have a baby where they talk about how when they keep score of who’s done what and how much, nobody wins. And I agree that “keeping score” per se, as in “I’ve done more than you!”, isn’t helpful. But there should be a balance. I think one of the secrets of making a marriage work – with or without kids  – is encouraging your spouse to continue doing the things that they enjoy. For me, that’s running, reading and writing. For Travis, it’s hunting, fishing and hockey.

So how do you make that happen? Enter the #1 thing Travis and I have learned since having Emma: the importance of communication. We were married for almost 6 years before Emma came. Yes, we learned about communication during those 6 years, but we also kind of did our own thing most of the time (perhaps a bit too much). A baby has taken communication to a whole new level.

I feel a little like the overbearing wife when I ask Travis to ask me if it’s ok before he goes and does something, leaving me to take care of Emma. But it helps me. Because even if nothing is different than it would be if he just went and did whatever, I feel noticed, cared for and appreciated. Instead of feeling like he has the freedom to do whatever while I’m “stuck” taking care of Emma (which is what it feels like sometimes, not gonna lie!), we decide together that I’ll take care of Emma so that he can get x and y done.

I guess this is especially top of mind for us right now because we are working on getting our house ready to sell, and a lot of the projects that need to be done are Travis’ area of expertise (like drywall, gutter/soffit/fascia repair, caulking, etc.) It’s not that I couldn’t learn to do those things, but someone has to take care of Emma anyway, so it might as well be me.

Honestly, I think it will get better (for me) when I’m no longer breastfeeding. Often, I don’t leave to go do something because Emma will wake up while I’m gone and she’ll want to eat, and it’s just easier to nurse her or take her along than have Travis give her a bottle and I pump later. Regardless, Travis and I are trying to balance the ‘Emma load’ a bit more evenly. We also found a couple at church who we’re going to trade date nights with, so that we can get some time just the two of us. But then, those are just more things to add to an already overflowing plate and it brings me back to the initial question:

How do other parents do it?

So I’d like to hear from all of you parents reading this, whether it’s you who works or your spouse. How do you both balance it all? 

……………………..

* I say working dad because that’s the situation we’re dealing with, but I realize that moms who work full-time deal with this conundrum also, in equal –  if not greater – amount.

Colorado Baby Shower

15 Mar

My friends threw me an amazing baby shower last Saturday! I felt so loved and blessed.

Because of the snowstorm, we moved the shower from our church to my friend Carrie’s house. The roads weren’t bad at all, which made me happy since we had been unsure of whether to postpone the shower until the next day.

All of the decorations were so cute – and my friends made them!

IMG_4303 (Large)There was more food – I just took this picture before everyone had arrived.

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Is that not the coolest cake you’ve ever seen? LOVE IT.
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They even bought us Biscuit books, since that’s what we call Emma.

We played 3 games:

1) Guess the number of jellybeans in the bottle. The best part about this game was that I got to take the bottle home! Mmm… sugar.

2) Guess how many ounces of water a newborn diaper will hold before leaking. I guessed 9 oz, and the answer was 10. I ended up winning that game! (which I kind of felt bad about, since I was already getting so many gifts! but they insisted… and I could tell the gift was Toblerone and who am I to turn down chocolate?)

3) Tear a baby out of paper. I got to choose the winner. There were a lot of great choices, but I had to go with Sue’s baby because she included a teddy bear:

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Once again, Travis and I were so blessed by the generosity – we got more baby bath/hygiene stuff, soft pillows and blankets, pictures for the nursery, crib and pack n play linens, books, adorable outfits… the list goes on. We even received a few gifts after the shower from people who weren’t able to make it. I plan to post a nursery tour soon and you’ll get to see a lot of the great stuff people gave us then – and how I re-purposed the shower decorations too! 😉

The wonderful ladies:

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So much fun!! Thanks everyone for celebrating this special time with us!

The blessing continued yesterday at work – my co-workers threw a small shower for me (aka, ice cream cake in a conference room) and gave us the stroller we registered for! I am very grateful for everything, and really overwhelmed by how generous people have been. Emma is a very blessed little girl already.