Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tipping the Work-Life Balance Scale in my Favor

After five months of working full-time and attempting a frustrating and tiring balancing act, I'm happy to say the scale is tipping in my favor. Effective January 1, I will be a part-time attorney at my firm! I feel so fortunate to work for a progressive firm that makes it possible for women to practice law while working part-time. Mostly, I thank the Lord for directing my steps and softening the hearts of all the decision makers.

I know the debate over being a SAHM and a working mom is a very real one and emotions (and tempers) can run high. I believe that the decision is a personal one, and I think it is very disrespectful for someone to impose their opinion on the matter on another person. Each mother and each family has to do what works best for them, but none of it should be to the detriment of the child(ren). I know many women who work full-time and lead very successful and happy lives and their children thrive. I know other women that aren't that great at striking the balance and/or are miserable doing it. To each her own.

For me....I have not enjoyed the non-stop treadmill I've been on the past five months. And the scary thing is I haven't been working as hard as I would otherwise have to due to the economy slowing down legal work. Even still, my days since returning to work in August have increasingly become more challenging. I have hit a point of feeling inadequate in every area of my life. Again, I'm speaking for myself. I feel inadequate as a wife, as a mother and as an attorney. I feel like I give each role in my life "just enough" to get by. If I'm honest, my role as a mother is probably where I succeed the most, but it's still not as much as I want to give. And I feel like I have absolutely nothing left over for myself. No time to exercise (but that's a different story altogether), no time for adequate personal maintenance (I really miss having time to pamper), no time for personal quiet time with the Lord (where is my Bible by the way???), no time to spend with friends or keep up with them by phone, no time for blogging (hence the huge time gaps on this blog), and no time to just do, well, nothing.

In my new role as a part-time attorney, I will only be working Tuesday through Thursday. I'm excited to have two more days at home with Zoe completely focused and engaged with her. I think she needs this right now. And I know I need it because she's growing so fast. Trevor has been home with Zoe Tuesday through Thursday, so this arrangement eliminates the need for any form of child care. For that we are both extremely thankful. I used to think I was okay with the thought of child care, but after holding Zoe for the first time something inside of me changed. I just couldn't (and still can't) imagine someone else caring for her. No one will ever care for Zoe better than Trevor and I will, so why even go there?! I know we are very blessed to have the ability to arrange for Zoe's care in the manner that we have. Perhaps that's why I'm so resolved about not putting Zoe in daycare or hiring a nanny....because we have a choice and we don't have to use those options. I recognize not everyone has this choice.

This arrangement is not without its sacrifices. The most obvious sacrifice is financial as I'll take a cut in pay, but it's absolutely worth it. The most significant sacrifice, however, is the sacrifice of time as a family since Trevor is now working weekends. It's tough accepting the fact that we can't live our lives as most families. No weekend birthday parties as a family. No church as a family. No Sunday dinners as a family. In fact, most of what we do as a family is crammed into three weekdays that are also filled with work for me. But it's all worth it. For now. Eventually, as Zoe grows, we may feel differently. But for now the scales are tipping in my (our) favor and I couldn't be happier! I hope this change will help me feel a little more adequate as a wife, mother, and attorney. I'm not so confident that it will help my personal well-being as it's only two additional days and I'll be alone most of this time with Zoe, but we'll see. One day at a time. Here's to a new (more effective?) balancing act.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Zoe's First....

....pigtail! After giving Zoe a bath recently, I was combing her hair and realized how long it's gotten on top. The hair on the sides and back are still trying to catch up. I thought it would be fun to see how a lone pigtail looked on Zoe. I think she looks darling. See for yourself:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful Indeed

I have plenty to be thankful for this year. Plenty. But what I'm especially thankful for this year is my beautiful daughter. I'm so blessed to be her mommy.



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Zoe's New Discovery

While Trevor was doing dishes one day and holding Zoe in the Mo.by wrap, Zoe discovered her Daddy's chest hair. It was quite hilarious (to me) and painful (for Trevor).

video

To distract Zoe from her new discovery, we added some protection for Trevor. Look close. It didn't quite work out, but we tried. Ha!


In a League of His Own

**Apologies for the awful format...Blogger is giving me editing blues**
Where did the time go?! Trevor took three months off to stay home with Zoe upon my return to work. I'm so thankful that between the two of us we were able to provide for Zoe's care for nine months. What a blessing!
Trevor did a fantastic job with Zoe! It was beautiful to watch the two of them bond in a special way, especially since he spends a lot of time on the road when he works.
From a personal perspective, having Trevor home my first three months back to work was great. In the early days, particularly when I was extremely emotional about leaving Zoe to return to work, Trevor's presence was a saving grace. He brought Zoe downtown to have lunch frequently, and when I got home from work each night, he took care of dinner so I could be completely engaged with Zoe and reconnect with her. That meant so much to me. He's amazing! And added bonus was getting three months of living like a normal family. Again, because of the Trevor's job, he's on the road a lot, so it was great to live like "normal" families do.
In terms of Zoe's day-to-day care, Trevor picked up where I left off with the good and the bad. Unfortunately, I was extremely unsuccessful in getting Zoe on a schedule while I was on maternity leave, so Trevor inherited days full of erratic sleeping. I was also bad about introducing Zoe to the bottle, so the first several days (okay, all three months actually) were a transition as Trevor tried to get Zoe used to the bottle after she had exclusively nursed, with a few limited exceptions, for 6 months. He handled it like a trooper!
Trevor faithfully took Zoe to her weekly Gy.mb.oree play classes even though he was usually the only daddy there. I think I was the envy of all the women, and in some respects I think Trevor was the envy of a lot of the dads. One of the moms, whom I befriended while I was on maternity leave, e-mailed me once to rave about how lucky I was to have such an involved husband. I couldn't agree more. Trevor was also diligent about doing educational/developmental things with Zoe such as her color, first words and shapes flash cards and reading books to her.
Most notably, Trevor accepted one of the Gy.mb.oree moms' invitations to go on a "play date." It was pretty hilarious, but in the end he enjoyed it. They went to the Dal.las Arb.oretum, which I hear is beautiful...I can't wait to go with Trevor and Zoe one day.
During their time together, Trevor subjected Zoe to lots of sports programming! He's convinced that she loves golf and football now. I cringe at the thought. :-)
Trevor, thank you for being such a fabulous husband and daddy. Zoe and I are extremely blessed to have you in our lives; we're lucky to be your girls.
We love you!
On Their Playdate (and yes, Trevor put the bow in Zoe's hair!)



Watching College Football (yawn!)

Celebrating Climbing Up the Stairs (Daddy thought this was a good idea...)


Friday, November 6, 2009

9 months

***This post is very late coming, so I'm posting it for the benefit of family and friends. 10 month post coming very soon...before Zoe turns 11 months. Novel idea, huh?***
**Sorry about the bad formatting and spacing. Blogger isn't working for me tonight.**
Dear Zoe,
You're 9 months old, pumpkin! 9 months...wow!!! You've officially been in our arms just as long as you were in Mommy's belly. I can't believe it. After I gave birth to you, I really missed having you in my belly. While I don't miss it quite as much anymore, there's still part of me that wishes I could turn back the hands of time even if for a minute because I've almost forgotten what it felt like when you used to kick me or twist and turn inside of me. Those were some precious moments between the two of us. But there's nothing like holding and kissing you now, hearing your sweet little giggles or being greeted by your excited and loving smile. Both experiences (then and now) are equally amazing; I'm so blessed.
The big event this month is that you're officially standing on your own while holding on to things!! Yay Zoe!!! This development was so exciting for you that you practiced it at bedtime for about two weeks. It used to be that when Mommy laid you down in your crib you would roll over to your tummy and sleep. Not this month. Instead, you would roll to your tummy, which apparently triggered something in your brain to then sit up, which in turn triggered an impulse to stand. And once you were standing you didn't want to be in your crib anymore which led to whining and crying. Some nights we "fought" for over an hour. Whew!
To Mommy and Daddy's dismay, you learned to pinch this month. OUCH! You love pinching us and you have a knack for finding the most tender spots to pinch such as our faces, our arms and Mommy's breasts (for you, the closer to the nipple the better....oh my). I hope you outgrow this soon. You also discovered Daddy's chest hair this month and you love to pull it with all your might.
You've started making lots of silly noises. The newest, which is pretty funny, involves you clicking your tongue on the roof of your mouth. You love doing this.
Mommy and Daddy are still making your food. This month we introduced pumpkin, asparagus and bananas. Bananas have proven to be quite the adventure because even one tablespoon constipates you. And I'm talking bad constipation. One morning you grunted so hard and for so long that you couldn't even sleep and all the grunting made you weak and fussy. Mommy and Daddy felt so badly for you that we called your pediatrician for help. After loading you up with a lot of fruit you finally had a good poo, but it took some time. We have decided to remove bananas from your diet.
We started giving you real baths this month. After graduating from your portable baby tub, Mommy and Daddy started showering with you. You love, love, love showers with Mommy and Daddy, and we love them, too. However, we don't want to rob you of the childhood fun of baths, plus we think allowing you to sit alone in the tub will help you get used to water for purposes of your swim classes. So far so good. You seem to enjoy your baths. Mommy and Daddy try to make it a lot of fun for you. You're such a big girl!
This month you've developed full-blown stranger anxiety. You do not enjoy meeting new people, no matter who they are. We spent a lot of time with Nana this month after her surgery and you would not go to her for quite some time. You have to warm up to people before you'll allow them to hold you. Mommy and Daddy have mixed feelings about this stage. Although we don't want you to have a terrifying fear of new people, especially family and friends, we do want you to have a healthy fear of strangers for your own protection. It will be interesting to see how this all develops. For now Mommy and Daddy take your anxiety seriously and respect it, thus we do not force you into uncomfortable situations. If you're not comfortable, we just hold you and reassure you; that's what Mommy's and Daddy's do. We love you, pumpkin. Just take your time.
You're very playful, Zoe. You absolutely love playing peek-a-boo. You just love it! You also enjoy when we ask you to find Mommy/Daddy. It's so touching to know that you definitely know who we are; we love seeing you search for us when prompted to do so. You love clapping hands, but not your own. Rather, when asked to do so, you will clap Mommy's or Daddy's hands. It's so cute and you love doing it. Nowadays your favorite toys aren't toys at all. Instead, you love playing with the dishwasher when we have it open (you love to unload it as we're loading it), you love door stoppers (you love hearing the springing noise they making), you literally attack our laptops (which is one of the reasons I'm so behind on blogging...we can't use our laptops in your presence), and you love exploring closets (you especially love playing with Daddy's shoes).
Zoe, every month with you has been and continues to be magical. Mommy and Daddy love you with everything we have!
Love you to pieces,
Mommy
9 month photo
Zoe's Favorite Toy

Zoe's Other Favorite "Toy"

I LOVE THIS GIRL!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Zoe's First (and prayerfully, last) Car Accident

Yesterday was one of my most frightening days as Zoe's mommy. She was in her first car accident. Poor thing! Trevor, Zoe and my mom came downtown to have lunch with me. As they were dropping me off after lunch, I had a strange feeling come over. I can't explain it, but I had a moment of fear that something could happen to my family. The feeling was so strong that I made a point to stress to Trevor to be careful driving home. In response to that admonishment, my mom said a quick prayer for "travel grace and mercy." I said "amen", kissed my family and went back to work. Not more than 15 minutes later my mom called and told me they were just in an accident. My heart sank. The background was eerily quiet, so that scared me. My first question was if Zoe was okay!? My mom assured me that she was. Next I asked if Trevor was okay. Thankfully, he was. And finally I asked my mom if she was okay. Thankfully, she was also okay.

The accident was on the highway and it was a 5 car pile-up; my family was car #4 in said pile-up. Thankfully, traffic was starting to slow down, so no one was traveling as fast as they could have otherwise. Shortly after the accident, Trevor started having a bad headache and pain in the middle of his neck; my mom recently had major abdominal surgery, so she was in pain from the pressure of the seat belt around her waist and she was having neck, shoulder and back pain. Both Trevor and my mom ended up in the ER; both were released with a clean bill of health. Thank God! We took Zoe to get checked out by her pediatrician; she, too, got a clean bill of health. Again, thank God! As a safety precaution, we bought Zoe a new car seat today. We'll worry about getting the car fixed next week.

I'm so thankful my family is okay. It scares me to think of a car, or a truck in this case, ramming the back of our car where precious little Zoe was sitting, completely defenseless. But I'm so thankful that a sovereign God protected me family in their time of need. Thank you, Jesus!

Pumpkins!

We took our little pumpkin to her first pumpkin farm on October 17. It was a first for Trevor, my mom and me as well. I was disappointed that there wasn't an actual pumpkin "patch" at the farm, but it was a fun outing nonetheless. The funny thing is that Zoe was not impressed with the pumpkins in the least. I thought she'd like seeing something new. Nope!
The farm smelled, well, like a farm. There's no way I could live on a farm! The pumpkin farm had a petting zoo; Zoe actually wanted to feed the goats. She kept trying to touch one of the goats that my mom (Nana) was feeding; it was cute. There were some longhorns on the farm, which was apropos since we went on the day the Longhorns beat the So.oners. Trevor accompanied Zoe on a tractor ride, which was so sweet. We look forward to future visits to the pumpkin farm as Zoe gets older.



Feeding the Goats

The Family


"Look, Zoe, a pumpkin!" (Zoe: "wow, look at the grass!")

"Look, Zoe, two pumpkins!" (Zoe: "wow, more grass!")

Farmer Zoe, Playing on a Tractor



Tractor Ride with Daddy (I don't know who had more fun?!) Trevpr gets daddy of the year for cramming into this TINY cab!


I Love This Picture (Zoe is so affectionate)





Multitasking? (LOL...actually, this happens sometimes when Zoe tries to suck on her fingers...she's not really picking her nose (yet!))

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The View From My Office

I've been working from home this week because my mom is at our home recovering from a recent surgery. Today, while preparing for a conference call, I heard a tap at the office door. Below is what I saw. This is far better than the view from my 42nd floor downtown office.









On the topic of me working from home, it's amazing how much harder it is to work from home when Zoe is in the next room. When I go to my office downtown I feel guilty being away from Zoe, and I miss her like crazy, but being home is more difficult because it seems cruel to separate myself from my baby girl. Sure I take short breaks to nurse her, play with her or just snuggle with her, but some days, like today, I have to cut all of this pretty short when I have a lot of work to do. Today I just felt like Zoe must have been thinking "don't you want to play with me, Mommy?" And I DID want to play with her! I missed her so much when my day was complete. It's amazing how much you can miss your baby even when you're under the same roof. So very sad. It sure is tough being a working mommy, but I'm thankful that I have the flexibility to work from home occasionally. Although it's not the same as spending an uninterrupted day with Zoe, it sure beats the alternative.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Too Busy to Sleep

In the last week Zoe learned how to do two very exciting things: sit up on her own and pull up to the standing position against objects (she used to do this frequently while holding our hands). The result: a baby that is too busy to sleep. Once upon a time when I laid Zoe in her crib after her bedtime routine she'd roll to her side or stomach and continue sleeping. That is no longer the case. Now when I lay Zoe down she immediately rolls to her stomach and something goes off in her head that says "hey, stomach equals crawling and then sitting", and that's exactly what she does. And then she comes to herself and remembers "hey, I also know how to stand up now, so there's no better time than the present to practice my new skill." A few seconds later she remembers she was actually sleeping before all of this activity started and then she gets upset, so an abbreviated bedtime routine follows. Getting Zoe to sleep takes extra long these days. I look forward to the days of putting her to bed easily. For now I'll stop and enjoy the season we're in because I know it'll be gone before I know it, and in a strange way I'll actually miss it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

G.I. Zoe

Zoe's on the move! Zoe started combat crawling on September 26 and she had it mastered by the next day. Now she's trying to figure out how to crawl on all fours. This is exciting and sad at the same time. Our baby girl is growing up so fast! :(


The Combat Crawl


video

All Fours? You decide....

video

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Michael Who?

Zoe started swim lessons at the end of August. She's in a Water Babies class for infants 6 months of age and up. Her instructor is Ms. Sarah. Trevor and I want Zoe to enjoy the water, but more importantly, we want her to begin learning important life-saving skills at an early age. Zoe got off to a slow start because the pool seemed a bit overwhelming to her. She's doing really well in the water now. She's even gone under water for two seconds without a single tear...just lots of fun, splashing, and smiles. 6 weeks down, 13 weeks to go.
Watch out 2028 Olympics, here comes Zoe Alexis!! She's sure to blow Michael What's His Name?'s 2008 record out of the water! (No pun intended...)

Isn't she lovely?

Look, Mommy....I'm floating!

Taking a break

Whew, what a workout!

Balloon Festival

The city we live in has an annual hot air balloon festival. Trevor and I have never attended, but this year we had a special reason to check it out. The balloons were inflated and launched twice a day for an entire weekend, so we took a blanket out to the festival grounds and enjoyed a Sunday evening launch. The weather was perfect. Zoe enjoyed watching the balloons momentarily, but she especially enjoyed the fresh air, rolling and crawling around on the blanket and playing with her two favorite people in the whole wide world, Mommy and Daddy.







Tuesday, October 6, 2009

8 months!

Dear Zoe,
You're 8 months old! What a fun 8 months it has been.

Guess what you're doing now?! You're CRAWLING baby girl! And you've also figured out how to pull yourself up to the sitting position from your belly or from the crawling position. Back to crawling...initially you started out with a cute combat crawl and one day you figured out how to support your body weight on your hands and knees (well, one knee). Your crawl is absolutely darling. Instead of crawling on "all fours", you're crawling more like on 3 1/2's because you drag yourself forward on your left knee and right foot. It's so cute! You're so cute! In addition to crawling, you're pulling up on every thing! You really love standing. Daddy is convinced you'll soon be walking; I'm not ready for that.

You love blowing raspberries, Zoe. And you especially love to blow them with a mouth full of sweet potatoes, peas, oatmeal, you name it. I try not to laugh when you do this because I don't want to encourage bad behavior while eating, but it's hard not to laugh. Even when I have peas speckled all over my face. Speaking of food, this month we added butternut squash, sweet potatoes, prunes and peaches to your menu, all of which you love. Daddy and I really enjoy making your food. It's wonderful knowing that you are getting healthy, organic food without the preservatives found in jarred food. And it's homemade especially for you with lots of love.

You're still taking your swimming lessons and you're doing well at it. You continue to go under water without any trouble and you've even started to kick your legs a bit when "swimming" toward Daddy.

Your personality is starting to come through more and more. You've become somewhat tempermental and you seem to yell at us sometimes when we're not moving fast enough for you or when we don't pick you up on demand. I hope this is just your frustration at not being able to talk to us to tell us what you want as opposed to something that will remain.

You give the sweetest kisses, Zoe. Mostly you kiss Daddy and me when asked, but you often will surprise us with spontaneous kisses. Mommy likes to jokingly say you give "french kisses" because you like to kiss mommy by sucking on my bottom lip. It's pretty funny and oh so sweet. I could kiss you forever. In fact, I will kiss you forever, even when you all grown up and think it's embarassing. :-) Okay, maybe not...

Zoe, you're developing object permanence. When we hide objects under things like throw pillows, you will start looking for the object we hid. Mommy and Daddy recently played a game with you where Mommy was hiding behind Daddy. You were trying to look over Daddy's shoulder to find Mommy. Although it sounds simple, that really warmed our hearts.

This month Daddy and you went on your first playdate together. You met up with one of the Gy.bore.e mommies and her daughter, Sasha. The four of you went to the Dallas Ar.bor.etum. Daddy reports that you all had a great time. Hopefully this will be the first of many playdates for Daddy and you.

Zoe, your two favorite people in the world continue to be Mommy and Daddy. That works for us because you're our favorite little girl! You also still enjoy being held a lot. While some parents would find it burdensome, we love cuddling you because we know that one day you'll outgrow it and we'll miss these special moments. You've developed stranger anxiety in the last month, so you cling onto Mommy and Daddy extra tight when unfamiliar people are nearby. Although we want you to have a healthy awareness of strangers, we hope you'll soon outgrow some of this.

Zoe, we love you so much! Not only are you adorable, but you are lovingly adored. You make every day special and better. We love you!

My love always,
Mommy

8 month photo

(these pictures are getting more difficult to take now that Zoe's so active)


Random Photos


Monday, September 21, 2009

7 Months

Dear Zoe,

You're 7 months old! Months feel like days now that you're here. Mommy and Daddy are having the time of our lives with you.

During the last month your personality has started to shine through more. You are such a happy little girl, Zoe, and you love to smile and laugh. Your smiles melt our hearts. You are very ticklish just like Mommy, so we love hearing you laugh when we tickle you. I truly don't know if there is any part of you that isn't ticklish.

You started eating solids a few days after your 6 month birthday. With the exception of cereals, all of your food will be homemade with love by Mommy and Daddy. Also, all of your food will be organic. Daddy was so impressed with the first batch of food Mommy made (peas) that he decided he wants to share in the fun by making your food as well. So far you've eaten brown rice cereal, oatmeal cereal, peas, avocado and green beans. Avocado was an adventure (we'll have to try again), but you have taken well to everything else.

You still love to blow raspberries, even in the middle of church and while eating peas. Who cares if you do it at the most inopportune times?! You're only a baby once, right? :-)

You're sleeping much better these days, and you're even taking naps a little easier....emphasis on "a little". It's a work in progress, pumpkin. Also new this month is that you enjoy sleeping on your tummy. Sometimes you even hike your butt in the air as you sleep. It's pretty funny.

On a big developmental note, you finally decided to roll both ways. This makes your play time even more fun, and you're all over your crib at night. Mommy and Daddy are convinced that you'll soon be crawling, but we're not rushing it because that means we have to baby proof the house (yikes!).

Zoe, we are so honored to watch you grow. We don't take it for granted, not for one second. You are such an amazing miracle in our lives; we are in awe of you. Thank you for lighting up our lives with your sweet presence. We love you so much, sweetness.

Love always,
Mommy



Adventures in Eating

Cereal - not too bad


Peas 1 - Zoe 0

Avocado - YUCK!


Modeling her new shoes

Will the shoes pass the taste test?

Zoe attended her first wedding....she was a complete doll! Here she is with Mommy and Daddy.




Bottoms Up! (Zoe getting her sleep on)