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Got my answer

I was mulling and wrestling with whether or not to go back to work. Last Friday, I received my answer. From the end of March until last week I hadn’t received any sort of reply from my manager, director or the HR coordinator for my department. And then I received an email to phone in regarding my employment at the Company. It felt ominous.

Well, in short, I got laid off. In part because policy changes no longer allow for remote workers, and because there really wasn’t much left for me to do. Even before going on this mat leave, 85% of my work was getting automated. Which is why I asked for part time, but I guess it’s cheaper to give the little I had left to someone already there.

It feels…..weird…for lack of a better word, to have this decision made for me. As I mull over it however, I realize it’s a gracious answer to prayer. It’s a clear answer. And, because this comes with a severance package, I’m getting much more than I would’ve if I made a decision to resign. It’s bittersweet though. Last Friday was also my 12th work anniversary date with the Company. I even received a card congratulating me on my years of service from the CIO. Haha. I’ve come full circle. Twelve years is a good run.

What’s next? Not sure yet. It’s a whole new chapter.

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Dang it Graves. Hello again.

I’m almost 10.5 months postpartum, my cycle is back and I thought I’d check on the thyroid since my body is nearing pre-pregnancy normal. Well, the TSH levels tell me I’m hyperthyroid again. D@mn. I’m not feeling symptomatic yet, so perhaps it’s still early stages of relapse. Some symptoms I’d feel when full blown hyperthyroid include:

  • shortness of breath such that singing or conversation leaves me gasping for air
  • fast resting heart rate, above 90 bpm, and I can hear it pulsing in my head all day long
  • muscle weakness in arms and legs
  • rapid weight loss, like 14 lbs in a couple weeks
  • incredible hunger towards meal/snack times and a voracious appetite (I can out eat my husband)
  • trembling hands
  • insomnia

I still feel strongly about trying to manage this as naturally as possible (read: No radioactive iodine to permanently disable my thyroid). This hyperthyroid condition is a symptom of an autoimmune issue. While some treatment to manage the symptom may be necessary, the main focus is supporting and improving my immune system. When I had relapsed after having Nessness, my naturopath advised three main things to do to best support my immune system:

  1. Avoid dairy and wheat products (in addition to just eating less processed foods). These two things probably cause the most immune/inflammatory issues for most. While I don’t have anything that western medicine calls allergies, or even intolerance, to either of them, I know I develop dry itchy patches on my body when I start to regularly eat dairy (namely cheese and ice cream in my case).
  2. Sleep before 11pm and get at least 8 hours of sleep. Why the timing is important is because the body naturally starts to detox the liver from 11pm to 3am, so for immune support, my body best be resting and allowing this detoxification to happen. I count myself blessed that I can get 8hrs of sleep usually, but getting those hours starting at 11pm is HARD. As I type it’s already 1am.
  3. Exercise daily. For it to count I need elevated heart rate and be starting to break a sweat. Vacuuming or mopping will almost do this for me. This is probably the hardest item for me because I’m not naturally active and it’s hard enough to get downtime much less find time (and energy) to exert myself on purpose. This is important however because physical exertion gives stress a way out of the body.

I bet anyone who does these three things regularly will enjoy improved health. But it’s. So. Hard. To. Do. But I will try. And I will try hard before losing an organ (to RAI). I appreciate all prayers and positive thoughts! Thanks Friends.

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To work or not to work?

That is the question.

My first day back should be July 4th….American Independence Day. Not sure if that’s a sign I should actually break free from the yoke of employment (and daycare drop off/pick up schedules) to be the primary influencer and educator to my young children in these highly formative years.

Why do I want to go back?

For the pay…to maintain our comfort. Except after paying for childcare, I’d be netting what we spend on food each month. And we’d likely have to find two day cares since the only one near us that takes both Nessness and Obiwan’s age groups already told me before Obiwan was born that there’s no chance he’d get a spot. That’s TWO drop offs and pick ups to coordinate. So I’d be paying a lot of late fees. I bet someone will always be sick as well. I guess there isn’t a lot of comfort in that sense. Plus in the 12 hours that the children will be awake, I’d only see them for three of them. An hour and a half would be used in meals. Thirty minutes in driving. Leaving one hour of real “together time”. The thought makes me sad.

And also for the “work from home” job. It’s been a god-send and a very enviable position to have. Short of having a home business, it’s not likely I’ll find something like this again. But going back to work so I can say I work from home isn’t exactly logical either.

Then Ms PR sent me this article on “Ten bad reasons to get a job” and well, I don’t really have a reason to go back to work. If I found my job thoroughly fulfilling and enjoyable then I can justify returning…but that’s not my case…so why is it so hard to decide? Even though the author gives me permission not to work, there remains a nagging voice that a modern, university-educated woman like myself should continue to work. Am I just waiting for my husband to affirm my inclination to dedicate this time to raising our kids?

Meanwhile, I talked to my manager and requested returning on a part time basis. Historically no one’s gotten this before. He said he’ll take it to the Director and HR. Will see what happens. And I will cross that final work/no work bridge when I get there.

Did you go back to work? Why/why not?

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Nursing top hack

Maternity clothing stores make a killing. And your choices are limited. I never like to buy something I can only use for one season unless I really need it. I only bought 5 pregnancy tops (on sale) for my two pregnancies. Thyme Maternity sells nursing tops for $35+ and I thought I found a deal on Amazon for $18-$24 until I realized I can hack my own using clothes I already have.

If you use the nursing bras that have the front clips, as opposed to the pull-aside kinds, then you take any spaghetti strap tank top, pull it down to your belly without putting your arms through the straps, then loop the straps around the part of the bra that unclips, throw whatever shirt you want on top and Voila! nursing top! You can lift your shirt to feed without exposing your midsection to drafts or stares. And in my case, my tank is now long enough to hide how I still can’t button some of my pre-pregnancy pants, resorting to the elastic band trick or a belt to hold my unzippered pants up.

What other clothing hacks have you tried?

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Day in a Life with Two

When Obiwan was 3 mo

0700 – nurse Obiwan, put him down for nap
0800 – wake and get Nessness washed up and changed
0900 – feed Nessness breakfast
1000 – nurse Obiwan, put him down for nap
1100 – do breakfast dishes, prep lunch
1200 – feed Nessness lunch
1300 – nurse Obiwan, put him down for nap
1400 – put Nessness down for nap, wash lunch dishes
1500 – sweep, laundry, shower…or try to nap
1600 – nurse Obiwan, prep snack for Nessness when she wakes
1700 – read/play with Nessness briefly, prep dinner
1800 – prep dinner and feed Nessness dinner
1900 – nurse Obiwan while trying to eat my own dinner
2000 – bathe kids, get Nessness ready for bed, tuck her in
2100 – pack leftovers, do dinner dishes, remember to put clothes in dryer
2200 – play with Obiwan
2300 – nurse Obiwan, try to put him to bed
2400 – sleep
0200 or 0500 – nurse Obiwan, sleep after

Now when Obiwan is 8 mo

0800 – get the already awake Nessness changed and washed up, nurse Obiwan after
0900 – make and feed Nessness and Obiwan breakfast, do breakfast dishes
1000 – get out of the house (Strong Start program, library, grocery run, mall, etc)
1130 – prep lunch
1200 – feed Nessness and Obiwan lunch
1300 – nurse Obiwan
1400 – put Nessness and Obiwan down for nap, wash lunch dishes
1500 – sweep, laundry, shower…or try to nap
1600 – nurse Obiwan and put him on the jolly jumper
1630 – prep snack for Nessness when she wakes
1700 – read/play with Nessness briefly, prep dinner
1800 – prep dinner and feed Nessness and Obiwan dinner
1900 – still eating dinner
2000 – bathe kids, get Nessness ready for bed, tuck her in
– meanwhile Daddy is bottle feeding Obiwan and getting him to bed
2100 – pack leftovers, do dinner dishes, remember to put clothes in dryer
2200 – Netflix, icecream, wine (if it’s been a rough evening)
2300 – Netflix or other time wasters
2400 – pump milk for tomorrow
0100 – sleep and kick myself for staying up so late

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Words I Parent By

Don’t start a habit you’ll need to break later.
Start the way you mean to go.

The principle came from BabyWise which I found totally made sense. If I want my kids to sit through a meal at age 6, then I expect them to sit through a meal at age 3 and likewise at age 1…at restaurants and at home. If pulling things off someone else’s bookshelf or coffee table isn’t okay, then it’s not okay at home either. If taking my keys or phone without permission isn’t okay at age 16, then it’s not okay at age 2. It’s unfair to a child to not set rules or expectations at home but then impose them when they’re in a different environment or age. It boils down to being consistent.

Credit Card Parenting: Either you pay your dues now, or you pay it later, but plus interest.
Win the early battles.

Raising little humans is hard. That’s an understatement. There were so many things I wanted to just let go because dealing with tantrums is just not my idea of a good time. But I kept telling myself, if I don’t deal with this now, and correct or modify the attitude/behavior, then it’s just MUCH harder later when they’re a few more years set in their ways. And lippy. And heavier.

Mean what you say, say what you mean.

I saw this quote on a poster in church once. Words mean a lot to me so this stuck with me since as a mantra to live by. It’s particularly impactful when talking to little kids because their brains are making incredible connections that sounds can make words and words mean something and now they can communicate. The few words they have is so important to them. They also take what I say at face value. Do I want to teach them that my words are not to be taken seriously? No. So if I say, “Finish your fruit or we’re not going to the library” then I must mean what I say. This requires really thinking about what threats I can follow through on. Little kids also don’t have concept of “later” so the consequences must be fairly immediate. I’m also trying to be careful about saying exactly what I mean. “Touching public toilets and then touching your face is really gross” as opposed to “You’re so gross.” See the difference? I still say the wrong things but am trying to live by this because I want my kids to believe my words, to take what I say seriously, and to not have to guess at the meaning. I also don’t want my words to wound them. One day, soon, I hope they will be people whose words are true and meaningful as well.

Make parenting decisions centered around your End Goal.

This is a harder one to do. Without an End Goal in mind, it’s easy to just react to whatever situation/crisis/episode my kids unleash on me. My reaction could just be to get them quiet and make it through grocery shopping/church/car ride. But what does that teach them? I can get what I want by making a scene. Mere behavior modification isn’t enough either. Kids are smart and can put on a convincing performance to get their way too. In reading Sacred Parenting (not done yet), I’m challenged to raise kids with good , Christ-like character. Character and behavior are two different things. Character includes attributes like patient, kind, honest, brave, integrity, endures, faithful, etc. This is much harder for me. But that’s my End Goal, so it gives a frame of mind for me to check if my response to my kids will be helpful in moving them towards the End Goal. It helps me make decisions about what to do or not do. This has been a three steps forward, two steps back kind of progress.

What are some words you parent by?

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Learn it. Do it right. Do it faster.

I’m an INTJ. Competency and efficiency are KPI’s for everything in my life. Did I do it the best way possible given the circumstances and resources available? And can I do it better and/or faster next time?

I’ve brought those concepts into teaching Nessness (2.75 yrs old) life skills…like how to feed herself (with spoon, fork or chopsticks). How to clean up her dropped/spilled food. How to clean up her toys and books. How to put on her boots/runners and take them off. How to floss and brush her teeth. How to go potty by herself (the wiping is sketch but she can do it.) How to sort clean cutlery from the dishwasher. She’s mostly at the “do it right and faster” stage.

The next learning items we’re working in the “learn it, do it right” stages on are dressing/undressing herself, dustbusting around the house, wiping her table, putting dirty clothes in hamper and making her bed.

Sometimes, okay most times, it’d be a lot faster if I just did it, but that robs her the opportunity to get hands on learning and to build confidence when she does it. That said, I need to work on not getting frustrated with her when she decides to get silly and totally not do it properly. I tell myself she’s not even three. But I’ve seen when she does it really well so I know she’s capable. And so I push.