Sunday, October 26, 2008

And a lovely time was had by all...

I'm so sad to go back to work tomorrow. I had a 3-day weekend after several weeks in a row of working Saturdays (not my normal schedule) and it was pretty awesome. Friday dawned cool and clear, with a snap in the air that is normal in other parts of the country this time of year but a treat in Vegas. J and I spent a lovely day together, shopping for necessities like a big pumpkin and Halloween candy, hanging out with Mimi in the backyard, and painting. That kid loves painting. I bought him a huge pad of paper 2 weeks ago that is already 3/4 used up. Then on Friday evening we carved a pumpkin for the first time ever.

J was very excited to go on the "commuter" with me to look up patterns to print out for our pumpkin. "Not scary face, Mommy" he told me several times. "Happy face." He wasn't too sure about the guts of the pumpkin--he seemed a little icked out by it--but by the end he did touch a few pumpkin seeds.

The look on his face when we took our pumpkin outside and lit the candle was PRICELESS. We could tell he had absolutely no clue what pumpkins were about until that moment. It was great.

Then on Saturday we headed off to the Southern Highlands Fall Festival and Charity 5K, which was So. Much. Fun. J was so excited to see me off at the start of the race, waving and yelling, "Run, Mommy! I run, too!!" and running around on the sidelines. As cheesy as it sounds that really got me pumped up and gave me all the wind I needed in my sails to finish that race. I know to more experienced runners 5K is pretty paltry stuff, but this was only my second 5K, almost a year later than my first one. Let's just say for a few months after we bought the house I fell off the running wagon for awhile so I had to start training again from scratch for this race. I was pretty proud of myself at the end, because I accomplished my three goals: 1) Finish the race. 2) Finish the race running, not walking. 3) Finish in less than 35 minutes. I was actually surprised that I accomplished #3. TH must have been surprised, too -- the only disappointing moment was when he and J were not at the finish line because they were fooling around at the Festival, and as TH told me later (rather sheepishly), "I thought you would take way longer." Thanks, honey:) The Fall Festival itself was alot of fun. It was everything a good Fall Festival should be -- pumpkins, rides, a bounce-house, slides, hay, music and a bunch of small children attempting to "square dance," cotton candy, balloon was really one of the best family outings we've had yet.

(You know how when you're running, you feel all long and lean and athletic, and then you see a picture later and realize that no matter how long and lean your tell yourself you are, you're still only 5'4" and still pretty stumpy, even in long black pants? Yeah that's me right now looking at this picture. My legs are so short LOL.)

(It's a sword, people, get your minds out of the gutter.)

The weekend wrapped up with another great day today. We got up too late to make the early service for church, but instead of lazing around at home we went out to breakfast, then went to the mall, and then finally made it to the second church service. J was a little chatterbox all day long, reviewing the weekend's events with us via his new favorite phrase, "Amember? (Remember?)" As in, "Mommy, amember the pumpkin I made it, with the seeds, and I got them with a spoon, and we put in the candle outside, amember? Amember we were running outside, and got the cotton candy, and I was dancing, amember? Amember?" So freaking cute!!

After a weekend like this, I'm really really really glad that I changed jobs two years ago so I could spend more time with J and TH. It was a pretty significant pay cut, but a pretty significant change in my quality of life, too with a 4-day workweek and reasonable hours (most of the time). Sometimes, especially now when money seems alot tighter than it used to, I'll have materialistic fantasies about all the things we could be doing and buying if I hadn't left that job. But then I'll remember the 60-hour workweeks that came along with it, and the days when I first came back from maternity leave when I only saw my infant son maybe 1-2 hours a day awake. And then my now 2-1/2-year-old son will say out of the blue while we're scooping out pumpkin innards, "I like Mommy stay home with me today," and I know it was the right choice.

(These last 2 pictures are from a different pumpkin patch we went to last week. Fall is so much fun!!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Elusive Skunkakitty.

After realizing that Halloween is next Friday and thus I only have this weekend to throw together a costume for J, and frantically thumbing through various catalogues (One Step Ahead, Lillian Vernon, Target, etc.) to get inspiration from (code words for "copy"), I decided to go to the source. On the way home from daycare I started questioning J about what he might want to be for Halloween. Being 2.5 years old, he doesn't have much, if any, grasp on what Halloween is, or what a "costume" is, for that matter. His first response when I asked him what he wanted to be for Halloween? (As he looked out the window at a garbage truck) "A garbage truck! I wanna be a garbage truck!" Hmmm, ok, not quite getting it yet...

"J, on Halloween do you want to dress like a fireman?"

"No, a firetruck!"

"How about a policeman?" No. "A football player?" Nope. "A doctor, a monster, a dinosaur?" No, no, and thinking about

"Do you want to be an animal?"

"YES!! I wanna be a animal!" Bingo. I shoulda guessed, a boy after my own heart.

"What kind of animal? A doggie?" Firm no. "A horse?" Uh-uh. "An elephant?" Totally blank look. Then inspiration struck me. "Okay, how about a skunk, or a kitty?"

"Yes! A skunkakitty!!"

"No, J, a skunk or kitty. Which one?"

"A skunkakitty!"

"No, you're not understanding. Do you want to dress like a skunk, or do you want to dress like a kitty?"

(Now talking to me as if I'm the one with limited verbal skills). "Noooo, Mommy, not a skunk or dress like a kitty. A skunk-a-kit-ty." That's right, he sounded it out slowly in case I was still too slow on the uptake.

This morning I tested him to see if this whole idea held up overnight. "Hey, J," I slyly asked. "Tell Daddy what you want to dress as for Halloween." With no hesitation: "I wanna be a skunkakitty!"

Okay, then. If my baby wants to be a skunkakitty, then a skunkakitty it is. If anyone needs to find me this weekend, I'll be at the fabric store.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Decorating ideas - help me out??

I had the embarrassing realization this weekend that we have now lived in our new house for 7 months (!!) and we have not decorated a thing. Well, we did paint one wall of the living room and hang some pictures upstairs, but that's it. I feel kind of bad because at our old house, J's room was decorated from top to bottom. I spent so much time on that room! I had several prints of baby jungle animals that I ordered from an art website 5 months before he was born, and those were my "inspiration" pieces. The walls were painted -- I'm talking horizontal stripes and hand-stencilling. The rug, bedding, and artwork all coordinated well. I even busted out my sewing machine and made a cover-up for a little niche in the wall, complete with velcro tabs and piping.

J's new room? Sad. Just pitiful. Plain white walls, plain baby furniture which is looking more and more babyish the older he gets, no pictures on the walls, no curtains, etc. So my next project is to decorate J's room. Our new house has 3 bedrooms, and right now the 3rd bedroom is the playroom. However because it is the bigger room, we'd like to turn the playroom into J's "Big Boy" bedroom, with new furniture, and some type of decorative theme. It only seems fair that if (when) we have another kid J should get the bigger room, you know with seniority and everything.

So here's what I want: A more grown-up room but I don't want it to look like a teenager lives there. I like color within reason (i.e. primary colors = ok on the bedding, not so much on the walls). The furniture will likely be medium-toned wood such as oak, maybe a little darker. I like coordinating stuff but not "matchy-matchy." Not counting furniture I'd say our budget is about $300. I'm willing and able to paint, put up chair-rails, etc.

I'm not going to post a picture of the room as it is until I have a good before and after; there's not really anything to look at. Neutral carpet. Off-white walls. Hideous vertical blinds. Heinous plain white sliding closet doors (I may replace these with folding doors). Just big enough for a twin bed, a dresser, a desk, and some type of storage.

Here's some bedding I like, mostly it's the colors. I think we're leaning towards a dinosaur theme. Any ideas? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? (by ideas I mean maybe a pic of your own kids room, ideas on wall or window treatments, or point me towards a good website or store that has good quality but affordable stuff...).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sometimes I wish I did something else for a living (this one's depressing).

I'm not saying that *most* days I don't love being a vet. I do love it. I have weeks were I'm literally euphoric about my job -- patients are doing well, clients are happy with me, the clinic is making money, I'm saving lives and taking names. But there are some weeks, like the past one I had, that are full of all the things we vets don't enjoy. Namely euthanasias. It's a part of the job, I learned to deal with it a long time ago, usually it's for the best, blah blah blah. That doesn't mean that it's "easy," or fun. I actually counted this morning, and I did seven (SEVEN!!) euthanasias in the past 5 days of work. Just call me Dr. Death -- my techs do. (Last month I was "Dr. C" -- maybe 3 out of 4 patients I saw ended up diagnosed with cancer. One of my receptionists brought her dog in and actually told me she wanted the other doctor to see him because if I touched it, it would turn into cancer. Thanks!)

It's one thing when it's an old pet with loving owners who are providing a final respite from suffering. It's another thing altogether when I'm euthanizing animals for totally preventable reasons -- lack of vaccinations against infectious diseases, or the worst offender, Neglect. I can feel the weight of it on my shoulders at the end of the day, and it eats away at me in the middle of the night. Why why why do people have pets they can't take care of? I love my profession and think it's a valuable one, but even I understand that having a pet is somewhat of a luxury. No one HAS to have a dog or cat. I'm not saying you have to put Gucci collars on your dog and push it around in a "doggy stroller" (welcome to Vegas), but you know, some basics are required. Food. Water. Vaccines. Seeing a vet every once in awhile. Attention. Love. You'd be amazed at how many people pull up to my clinic driving Hummers or even a Bentley (yes, I said a freaking Bentley) and then complain about paying for a twelve dollar vaccine!! Then when their pet is dying of parvo virus (parvo vaccine = 100% effective, people), they tell me they "can't stand to watch" and run out the door while I put their poor dog out of its misery by myself. It's a blessing and a curse when you're in this profession because you really do love animals. Unnecessary euthanasias make my heart heavy because I'll remember all of the animals, even if their owners forget them 5 minutes later.

sigh...okay I feel better after that little vent. Maybe tomorrow will be a better day, and I'll get to play with cute puppies and kittens all day and save a life or two. Maybe.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The force is strong in this one.

Now I understand how parents end up pimping their kids out to be in commercials. Having a cute kid with you is almost as good for "greasing the wheels" as palming someone a twenty dollar bill. Especially if said kid has mysterious Jedi-like powers of persuasion, like J apparently does. Yesterday we were at Fresh and Easy, my new All-Time Favorite Grocery Store, and there was this older lady who kept staring at J while we were in the bakery aisle. To his credit, J was being unusually chipper for an After Daycare shopping trip, pointing at things and exclaiming in a very cute I'm-So-Young-Everything-Amazes-Me voice: "Lookit all those cakes, Mommy! It's a birfday!" or "Mmm-mmm I love all this store!". Of course this was followed up by whining about wanting cookies and me hissing at him to drop it about the cookies already, we have cookies at home!! When I looked up from our little argument the lady was gone...or so I thought. After we checked out, she appeared out of nowhere and handed me a small box of the cookies he'd wanted. Then she proceeded to tell me, "He is the most precious thing I've ever seen. I mean, he's really special." (I know you're not believing me at this point, but I swear that's what she said word for word).

On the one hand, the whole exchange was a bit...creepy. On the other hand, I was oddly flattered by her compliment--as if somehow I'm responsible for J's cuteness or specialness or whatever. I'm not really a fan of putting little kids in the spotlight, so it's not like I'm going to run out and hire a talent agent. However...if I can find a way to use J's powers for good (like getting a good table at a restaurant or friendlier service at the DMV), then I'm all for it!

Is that bad?

Friday, October 3, 2008

So I went ahead and joined the cult last night.

I finally caved to their catchy commercials and clever marketing scheme, and once I got to the meeting I was overcome by their overzealous leader and his story of a changed life and long-term success. Add to that a certain 3-digit number that almost made me vomit in my mouth a little bit and I had no choice. Resistance is futile, as they say.

I joined Weight Watchers. So far, not too bad. You know, for one day. It at least makes sense to me on paper, which is good. We'll see what happens. I'm not brave enough to put "before" pictures or my (shudder) actual starting weight on this blog, but I'll be sure to post updates about this little adventure occasionally. If it's successful, that is. If it's not successful...pretend we never had this conversation.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I guess guilt comes with the territory.

Thanks to our wonderful economy and extremely slow business yesterday, I won a paper-rock-scissors with our other doctor and got to leave work early yesterday. I saw my last appointment at 1pm and then I was free. Normally I pick J up from daycare around 5:30pm, so to have several free hours stretching before me was a real treat. Like most moms with a working guilt gland, however, as soon as I left work the inner conflict began. My immediate thought when my boss let me leave early was that I would pick J up early and find something fun to do. This was quickly followed by a different idea -- have the free afternoon to myself, which is really, really, really rare. I work 4 days a week, and on the other 3 days I'm home with J. Some weeks I work weekends, too, so like most moms I don't ever have real "days off." Sure, when we're home together I'll run to the store or workout or get my hair done, but it never feels fair for me to leave J with TH all day when it's his weekend, too. So I end up feeling guilty about that on top of everything else and I never have my extravagant "Me Days" that I'm always planning.

I decided to swing by TH's office and we had lunch together with just the two of us, another really, really, really rare occurrence. By the time we were done, I knew that even at daycare J would be taking his nap, so I headed off to get a pedicure and my eyebrows waxed, something I haven't done in months. But I couldn't help but feel guilty the whole time! I kept wondering, which is worse: Leaving your kid at daycare when you could have picked him up early, just to do something as trivial as a pedicure, or never taking time for yourself? My days are full from sun-up to sundown of things that need to get done for other people: feeding, cleaning, working, taking care of sick animals, driving, getting things ready for the next day, etc. My only true "just me" time is when I can scrounge up enough energy to go work out. It's a classic case of trying to be Supermom when I'm just a regular person.

Bridget wrote a great post the other day about a certain celebrity's completely unrealistic view of what is to be a mom these days, spouting off about how wonderful and fulfilling her pampered and assisted life is and how if we just try hard enough we can all be like her. I bet she's never wracked with guilt about leaving her children in someone else's care for a couple hours (or a couple days) so she can sneak away and relax with her feet in bubbles, reading Us Weekly and drinking wine. I bet when she's getting her eyebrows waxed, she's not tensely watching the clock thinking about how much she's been working lately and how her kid was the last kid picked up from day care every day last week and if she wasn't so selfish she would have picked him up an hour ago and they'd be happily skipping along eating ice cream cones with him happily proclaiming "You're the best mommy ever!!"

So I still managed to race over to daycare an hour before usual, and was super proud of myself that J was The First Kid Picked Up this time. Of course when I got there J had just gotten up from his nap and was cranky, throwing his cup in the car and screaming all the way home about "NO JUICE!! I WANT CHOCKA MILK!!", and then later I almost threw my back out overcompensating for my guilt and wrestling around with him in the living room. Darnit. I should have added a massage onto my spa package.

At least when TH got home he noticed the eyebrows.