A case of the Sundays

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What is it about Sundays?  No matter how many things I check off my to-do list I seem to have at least as many more to complete.  I never actually get to the end of Sunday feeling prepared for my week and I am always wondering what else I should have gotten done.

Today I managed to get create a meal plan, throw dinner in the crock pot, make a grocery list, run to the store (and back twice … sucks to forget your wallet the first time around), put said groceries away (obviously), pay bills, cleaned an ugly mess from a leak in our pipes, made breakfast for the week, pick out A’s clothes for the week, get her in her jammies, brush her teeth, pack breakfast and lunch for us, and get some crocheting done.  I am working on this mother daughter matching boot cuffs project I am so excited to finally finish.  And 6 pm hadn’t even rolled around yet.  And right now I have a loaf of bread going in the bread machine.  I should have felt like that was a productive and full Sunday … but now I am thinking about the list of things I have left to do.

I might actually hate Sunday evenings just a little more than Mondays.  I feel like Sunday night really determines my success for the week with all of my goals and objectives for the week and I am either unprepared or tired due to lack of sleep.  I always look forward to Sunday as a resting day but it seems to turn into a mad dash to completing all the little tasks the rest of the week is too busy for – and I find myself right back here feeling like I missed a whole list of to-dos, I didn’t spend enough time with the daughter and by the time the husband gets home from work – I am ready to let him take over.

Really there has to be a better way to get everything done and still have some quality family time without feeling like something is being compromised.  I am all ears if you have any suggestions.

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One Year Later

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Already one year has come and gone.  It’s so cliche to receive a message of congratulations on one year since starting my blog, but it is a great time to look back at post one.

Of course the post was about Thanksgiving and Black Friday.  Now Black Friday 2014 has come and gone and allowed me to finish most of my Christmas shopping.

While a lot has happened in the past year we more or less seem to end up in the same place by the end of each new year.  We have had a flooded basement, a tree fall on our house, a shed collapse, had to put down a dog, and a host full of other crazy ‘life’ events.  But still I have just finished another round of feasting and shopping.

Sure I am a year older, a year wiser, and a year full of experiences.

As this year comes to a close, I seem acutely aware of how precious time is and precisely how important is to keep focus of those things which matter most.  Here is to the last month of the year and a happy, healthy, and productive new year to come.

Thankfulness

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Per the time of year I find myself seeing the silver lining in most things.  I shared with you the journey my family took with Lucy.

I wondered an worried about A’s memory of Lucy and wondered how we explain to our almost 2 year old that her dog wasn’t coming home.  The picture above is a photo I had put on a travel coffee mug.  I happened to be using it today and A saw the cup.  She pointed to it and said ‘Lucy’.  Three months later my now two year old recognizes photos of her old friend.

I think almost more telling to me was her next question of ‘Lucy home?’.  Telling her Lucy wasn’t coming home was bitter sweet – even though as an adult she is unlikely to remember her first four legged friend it is nice to see that she remembers her now.

It also solidifies that our decision to add Paris to our family was the right choice.

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While it hasn’t been easy, our little girl often tells Paris ‘I love you, too’.  It warms my heart but knowing that Paris is likely to be her friend for the next 10 – 15 years and to provide companionship, loyalty, and responsibility is beyond words.  Some day we will inevitably experience the same struggle with her and Paris and will once again be thankful for a teaching moment to help her navigate the ‘real world’.

So this Thanksgiving I am so incredibly thankful for my family, friends, and health.  But I am also so taking the time to appreciate the blessings our four legged family members bestow on our lives.

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate – flu

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Yesterday morning I woke up to a pretty intense news feed about vaccinations.  Nothing bothers me quite as much as these attacks primarily because very little is based on fact.  We are mostly spending time calling each other stupid and uneducated and accusing others of putting their children at unreasonable risk.

Why is it that we have this amazing body of research and the ability to get it at our finger tips on demand but don’t seem to use it … instead we rely on these half backed anecdotes that may or may not take into consideration all factors.

This particular news feed was arguing about the use of the influenza vaccine.  Some common arguments:

  • Vaccination is ineffective:  This argument was centered around 2 things 1st that the vaccination includes the strains they predict to be common for the year and 2nd that the virus mutates and could become unrecognizable to the antibodies the vaccine created.  Both true.  The vaccine includes the most common or most likely strains and viruses mutate.  Both are things that are minimally in our control.  Vaccines and bacteria mutate but we can only protect against what we already know to be out there – just because we can fight all battles doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wage war against the ones we can win.  In 1994 this study was published showing that in the elderly in the Netherlands the vaccination approximately halved the incidence of flu.  Not great odds but better than nothing – I guess I’ll take the 50/50 over zero protection.
  • Significant side effects:  This particular news feed was started by a story about a boy who had Guillain-Barre Syndrome after getting the vaccination.  This is a none and listed potential side effect of the flue vaccination.  In 1979 the American Journal of Epidemiology published a study conducted in New Jersey that showed a 1 in 100,000 case attribution of Guillain-Barre Syndrome to the flu vaccination.  Increased risk existed for 9-10 weeks after vaccination with concentrated risk in the first 5 weeks.  Guillain-Barre Syndrome is clinically defined as acute peripheral neuropathy causing weakness.  It is triggered by a bacterial or viral infection.  That being said, a person who develops Guillain-Barre Syndrome post flu vaccine may have developed it after having the flu anyway.  This isn’t the fault of the vaccination – just a product of the individuals genetic make up.  A study published in Drugs in 2004 suggests that incidence of death from Guillain-Barre is approximately 10% with incidence of significant and lasting disability being 20%.  Bottom line – if you were unfortunate enough to develop Guillain-Barre from your vaccination it doesn’t mean the vaccine is unsafe … it means you were at risk all along.
  • Death from flu is unlikely:  This is actually true – if you are healthy and don’t suffer from additional complications or concurrent illness based on your decreased ability to fight off infection when you are already fighting off influenza.  A 2014 article in The Journal of The American Medical Association reports that 18,449 deaths were laboratory confirmed deaths due to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.  I don’t know how much you know about laboratory confirmation but it costs money and if there is no course of treatment (death isn’t reversible at this point) the test may never be preformed.  That means we are likely looking at a much high number of deaths from the H1N1 strain of influenza.  To compare of the 32,796 adverse reactions to all vaccines given in the US 191 resulted in death according to VAERS.  Note that this is across all vaccines given in 2009 and not just the flu shot.  That is not to say that there were not other serious complications due to vaccine (or due to contracting flu for that matter) but statistically I would take make chances on the vaccination.

I don’t really know what the answer is – to vaccinate or not.  Are there risks?  Yes.  Are there known toxins present in vaccinations?  Yes.  The mercury content was another hot topic on the news feed – but does that mean you avoid fish too?  The reality is everything comes with a risk … including something as common place as taking a quick shower.  I mean you could loose your balance, crack your head open, and bleed to death.  It’s all about risk management.

If you choose not to vaccinate yourself or your children that is your right – but please research before you make your choices and don’t judge me for making mine.  Based on the data I have available in addition to personal experiences I think the bigger risk is allowing my child to contract a preventable virus with fairly minimal side effects because I think it is my child’s best shot (see what I did there?).  Just because you don’t agree doesn’t make my choices silly or invalid.  If you choose not to vaccinate, well I am not likely to agree with you unless you have medical reasons, but I will respect it as your choice – we are all just trying to do what is in the best interest of our children.

Big decisions – 5 wishes for my daughter

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Should you buy that new car?  Move to that new house?  Take that trip?  Pursue that pie in the sky dream?  Should you risk it all on that one in a million business idea?  These are common big decisions most of us face.  And they seemed so much easier to make before a little human started ruling every decision I could possibly make.  It got me wondering if it is really that hard … and what would I tell her if she was a mommy to her own beautiful little girl?

Here are the top 5 things I came up with:

  1. Happiness – whatever brand that may be and whatever it takes to get there.  Being a daughter myself I understand the deep desire to never let your parents down.  I don’t know if my parents knew this when I was younger but there is nothing worse than hearing ‘I am not mad, just disappointed’.  Seriously, knife to the heart and twisted.  But being a parent, I also know the insane tendency to ‘plan’ your child’s life.  You think you know what is the best path for them to happiness … what will be easiest and most fulfilling.  News flash – this is not your job.
  2. Empowerment – I want my sassy little girl to be as empowered when she is in her 20’s to make decisions and take leaps of faith as she is today.  What is the saying, nothing wagered, nothing gained?  I don’t want her to be reckless but I do want her to be daring and bold.
  3. Trust – in herself.  As much as I like to think no one in the universe will ever know her better than I do, she already does. Have you ever seen a 2 year old melt down?  It isn’t pretty right?  But that 2 year old is melting down because they know what they want and just don’t know how to communicate it.  The world seems to spend a lot of time trying to teach us what we want out of life, but have you ever quietly watched a little kid from an unseen corner?  They are getting along just fine, because they know their own hearts and desires.
  4. Security – in the choices she has made and the family she has both been born into and has made around her.  Whether that includes friends, coworkers, or her own children.  I hope she knows that no matter what she does and no matter what life brings, she has a place among those people that is full of love.
  5. Respect – I want my little girl to above all else respect herself.  I am not talking lovey dovey looking in the mirror and telling herself that she has self-respect and self-love.  I mean I want her to have such respect for herself that she stops the negativity in her life.  When someone is causing more harm than good, walk away.  When things are too stressful – reach out for help.  Just a basic respect and consideration we teach our children to have for others.

And while I am wishing on a star here is a wish for myself and my husband when our little girl is now only a little baby in the imaginations of our memories:

  1. Peace of mind – not that she will always be okay.  She is going to screw up, make mistakes, and life is going to get complicated and messy – but I hope that we will have peace of mind knowing that we have given her all the tools she needs to get through.  I hope that we know her tool box is overflowing with everything she needs to navigate this world. We won’t be able to teach her everything, but if we can give her the basics she can build a life full of beauty and wonder.

… And a bottle of wine – I hope there will be a bottle of wine nearby, I am not sure parenting at any age is for the faint of heart.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – already

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I am in the middle of my heaven on Earth right now.  From October clear through to January 1st I am about as happy as can be.  I absolutely love love love Christmas and bonus it happens to fall the day after my birthday.  So much to celebrate, so much time with family and friends, and so much cheer and excitement.

And let’s not forget to mention how wonderful all of the candles and bath stuff smells during this time of year.

But I also have some fairly strict rules about these things and mother nature just doesn’t seem to be following those rules.  Neither are the 3 houses I have already seen this year with Christmas lights not only up but lit nightly … before we have even made it to Thanksgiving.  Rules are simple and straight forward – save your outward Christmas decorations/celebratory traditions (Christmas music within ear shot of the general public) and peddling of Christmas gear for the space between Black Friday and New Year’s Day.  Clearly I won’t be convincing Target to pack it up and keep it under wraps until then … but if we could wait until we don’t have orange and black mixing with our red and green … well I just think that would make everything a little sweeter.

Here is the deal – I love the holiday and the decorations and the music, and the candles.  But I also love the process of getting there.  Between local retailers already filling their stores with ‘Christmas’ and the lights, and my daughter’s odd obsession with Curious George’s A Very Monkey Christmas (seriously, we have been watching that movie for months already), I am missing out on all the fun leading up to the holidays.

I am a planner at heart, I like to have an idea of what is going on and when.  I like to plan and throw that annual party, I like to plan the way I will decorate and what we will put under the tree.  One year I went overboard and wrapped every gift in complimentary wrapping paper with beautiful bows.  If I wasn’t so sentimental my christmas tree would be that one you see in the movies with all the red ball ornaments the crystal clear lights, the classy garland and a bright shinning star on top.

Now just because I like to have a plan doesn’t mean I execute well on that plan … except the cooking – that I do at least as well as most.  If we could all just take a giant step back and remember it isn’t only about the destination but the journey, well that would just make my Christmas.

Blessed moments – basement update

Sometimes I think we all have a moment in life where we say ‘I am truly blessed’.  Where, while things may not be as planned, things turned out better than you could have hoped.

This weekend we totally had the privilege of that feeling.

Our basement has been a wreck and even though we had plans to get it back together ASAP life happened.  My husband was so sweet to make arrangements to get thing started this weekend – and even more amazing, one of his long time friends agreed to help.  I really hate imposing on people but I cannot tell you enough how blessed our friend stepping in to help out has really made me feel.

Things have changed in our lives, a baby and house for us, new relationships, jobs, and just the general passing of time for our friends and it is easy to start to feel disconnected.  Most of the friends we have in our lives today were friends my husband had pre-us.  And sometimes that feels a little strange – and the disconnect I have been feeling the past few months has made it just a little more stressful.

But, that being said, my husband’s friends are not just friends – they truly are part of our family.  They were there when we met and when we moved into our first home together, when we bought our house, when we married and when our daughter was born.  Things change and it becomes easy to get caught up in life, but it is so important to have those people in your lives.

While I feel guilty that my husband’s friend gave up his weekend I know that we are going to enjoy our home that much more thanks to the memories.  As if I need to have a bigger bonus, his friend has managed to find a really great woman to share his life with, and after 2 years I was finally able to have a proper conversation with her.  If your reading this – sorry about the over shares … wine will do that to a person.

I started my weekend on a high note having a mommy daughter date at a sit down restaurant just me and A (first ever) and I get to end it on an even higher note knowing that we have people in our lives that will always be there.

My last toast of the night goes to good friends and even better [chosen] family!