Long time no blog!

I went to the office last Friday. I took Josh with me- which was an ill-fated decision. He was adorable for the first 20 minutes as ladies in the office toted him around pretending to be grandmothers. Then, all hell broke lose. He began to fuss and then cry and then scream. He was over-stimulated from seeing all the people. Between a diaper change and swaying, it took me about half an hour to soothe him to sleep. Which left me about 15 minutes to work. Aside from seeing a few people and sending one email, it wasn't really worth my time or effort to go. Then, to top things off, Josh cried in his car seat all the way home- except the last 3 minutes.

We took Josh with us to see a drum and bugle performance in Arlington. The idea was good on paper but not so in reality. Mostly it was due to heat and a cranky baby. I put a cute hat on Josh to shade his face from the sun, but I think that over heated him. It took us a while to cool him off with water sprinkled on his shirt and head. By the time he was cooled off, he was hungry then sleepy. We spent a majority of the performance taking care of Josh (no surprise to me). He fell asleep for maybe 30 minutes at the end then awoke as we were leaving. He then cried all the way home. I think he was hungry earlier than we excepted him to be. Even though I fed him in the bleachers at the stadium, he needed to be fed again prematurely. As soon as we got home, I fed Josh and he was all smiles. The performance was 3 hours long and with baby care, heat and high stress moments, we were exhausted by the time we got home.

Joshua's personality is really starting to show. Whenever Josh sees a baby in the mirror, he gets all happy and excited, smiling and even "talking". Perhaps this is a sign that Josh will be outgoing. He also loves to watch images on the television. I try to shield his view whenever possible, but I suspect I'll lose that battle eventually.

Not all new music is rubbish. Despite being disappointed after watching MTV and VH1, I have discovered a few songs/artists that I otherwise would have missed had I not attempted to stay current.

Today was my first attempt to completely rid the home of my Mary Kay inventory. I was burping Josh Monday afternoon and realized I could sell my Mary Kay products on eBay for a little money and that would open up some space in our kitchen cabinets. So I got busy this week making a list of what I had and how much it cost, making a flyer for friends and neighbors, and setting everything out. Today I sold over $119. However, I have at least $980 of products still left.

In the last couple days, Josh has picked up a new suckling techniche wherein he somehow bites my nipple. This of course results in a gasp and a yelp from me. Sometimes this happens when he gets hyper and distracted and starts turning his head away then back on again. It's as if he's telling his feet and legs that he's eating and will play with them later. But he'll do this repeatedly. If I try to put things away and lift him to burp, he complains he wasn't done yet. ah-vay!

This brings up a lingering fear of mine. Being that Rusty and I are both hyper people (he's ADD, I'm hyperactive), I would be shocked if Joshua doesn't become hyper as well. He was hyper in utero always kicking me and moving around. Now he's still always kicking and moving around. When I've tried to feed him in public, he waves his arms and kicks his feet making it nearly impossible to be discreet. Having a hyper child comes a certain type of parenting style in order to maintain control and prevent drugs. I've done some reading on parenting techniques for hyper children. I think we'll be able to handle him when he gets older by offering rewards for good behavior and timeliness, helping him break down difficult tasks into manageable steps, being specific about expectations and staying consistent. But what to do with a hyper baby and toddler may take some new strategy. Sometimes I think he'll walk before he crawls at the rate he's going.

It's a funny concept. I still don't feel like a parent although I obviously am one. I still think of myself as the same ol' Sarah now with baby. My perception of parents are the people who are always managing the house and constantly repeating things like "Don't do that, sit down, stop that, what did I tell you?, come here, come here, come here, stop that, be quiet, don't do that, come here, what did I tell you?, stop that, be quiet..."

Tetsuo (The Iron Man, 1989) is an effed up Japanese film. In a nutshell, it's about the "transformation of people into grotesque hybrids of flesh and metal". The use of over-exposed grainy black and white film style hides the cheap effects and costumes and lends a sense of stress during the many gruesome scenes. I can't quite figure out what the movie is supposed to be about. I'm not sure it has a plot really. Sound effects and flashback scenes plays an intregral part in making the film surreal.

I've never been stoned. I tried a couple times and it just wasn't for me. But for those of you who can or do, next time order up this movie. It will not let you down if you are already feeling a little whacky. P.S. If you have a problem with violence or feel squeemish watching sex in a movie, viewer beware. It's not totally graphic, but it is there.

Josh's baptism went very well. I was nervous that he would cry, kick a lot, or spit up all over the place. He was fussy all the way up to the moment we walked up in front of the congregation. Then (like a miracle or, more likely, a distraction) he calmed down and was Prince Charming. Until we sat down again. Rusty changed his diaper and swaddled him then I ended up swaying him to sleep during most of the sermon. We'll have pictures later this week.

Afterwards people went to Rusty's parent's house for sandwiches and pictures. I think I held him once for five minutes the whole evening. That was a nice break. With all the excitement of Saturday, he slept almost all night:
Sleep 8:40
Wake 2:00 AM
Sleep 2:15
Wake 5:00
Fed: 5:10
Sleep: 5:30
Wake: 9:30 AM

Incidently, he seems to be sleeping longer periods in the night. Which is GREAT! :)

It's funny how people can travel hundreds of miles only to get lost in the last stretch of their trip. My grandmother drove from Corpus Christi to Dallas. As soon as she passed downtown Dallas, all my directions that were so direct and well thought out were completely disregarded. She called for help, but it was soon apparent she was like a mouse in a maze. There was no reasoning to her driving around. She turned when I told her to pass. She went left when I said right (or straight). She entered highways no knowing what road it was, where it was going or how to get back. After 5 calls, several wrong turns, and much frustration for her (not me, I thought it was comical) I finally got her to park near a coffee shop. It was easier for me to meet her there then let her follow me to my home than try to direct her for another half hour.

Moral of the story: no amount of directions will help if you don't follow them.

Bollocks to my mom!

I'm so frustrated with my family right now. My dad is MIA somewhere in Texas and hasn't contacted me once since a day after Josh was born. My mom was supposed to be here for the baptism on a date she committed to then backed out of yesterday after I called her. My aunt already came for a visit so she's done for a while.

Rusty's family, by contrast, is much more participative. Both his parents and one set of grandparents are coming for the baptism. I have ONE family member coming. My grandmother from South Texas who is the mother of my biological mother- the one I want nothing to do with. So seeing her (my grandmother) always stresses me out.

I don't think my family values "family". It became important to me a couple years ago when I realized how little family contact I had. I was hopeful that Joshua's addition to the fam would encourage everyone to get involved. But that hasn't happened. I hate to say this because I would never, never, never, NEVER wish this, but what if something tragic happened to Joshua? Car accident, SIDS, debilitating disease or sever mental disorder. My dad has never met Joshua.

Why should I carry the burden of bringing relatives together? I feel like I'm always the one calling on them. I initiate calls to my dad (100% of the time), my mother (80% of the time), my cousin, my uncles, my aunts (not Laura), and my grandparents. What would happen if I stopped caring and stopped calling? How long would it take for each person to eventually call me?

My mom gave me three reasons why she couldn't attend the baptism that was scheduled around her busy schedule. That's what set me off. One reason would have been an excuse but three reasons feels like a validation. I feel let down and disappointed. Even with everyone else being busy and not involved, it meant more to me that at least she'd be there. And now even she can't. Or won't. She might as well have never committed to visit at all and just saved me the bitterness. I realize she may have had three perfectly good valid reasons to prevent her from coming, but that doesn't change my feelings.

I feel like an unsuccessful mother these past couple days. I can't say I'm a bad mother because I haven't done anything wrong or damaging (that's my quick definition of a bad mother) but unsuccessful seems to fit. I can't seem to soothe Joshua every time like I could last week. And he fusses when breastfeeding which is most frustrating.

That frustrates me because 1. I don't feel like he's gotten a full feeding, 2. I feel like I should be doing something different to make him less fussy (whatever that is), 3. I want to keep my milk supply up so that it's there when he is ready for a full feeding, and 4. It's not expected for him to not feed well. That's probably what gets to me the most. I have this funny thing with expectations. Once I have an idea about how something should be then it's suddenly not that way, I get very frustrated. For example, if we're planning a trip to the beach (not that we have a beach closer than 340 miles) but if we're planning a trip and I check the weather and the forecast calls for wind and sun, I will start imagining how this trip will be. We'll have a pic-nic, fly a kite, I'll lay in the sun, make sandcastles, fall asleep to the sound of the waves, feed seagulls, etc. When we get there, let's say there's rain that came in unexpectedly. That one thing, change in weather, will ruin my mood because I will not have my expectations met of what the weather should be like. It won't matter to me that there may be plenty to do in doors or around town, my expectation was to do the beach stuff.

Same here. He' supposed to wake up, have his diaper changed, feed well, burp and spit up a little, make happy cooing sounds in his rocker while I eat breakfast and/or check email, then fuss a little as a sign that he's ready for a nap. But when that routine goes haywire, it throws off my expectations of what the morning should be like. Dorothy, mother of two grown kids, tells me, "Kids never do what you want them to do." She also tells me that sometimes babies lose their appetite and it doesn't mean anything is wrong. That's reassuring.

So why can't I just accept that maybe he's not hungry? Why can't I just let go of the idea that he's going to forever change and grow into a thriving boy who will eventually not need anything from me? That my expectations of what should happen next will always gradually change in all situations? To quote Bad Boys II, "wooo-saaaw, wooo-saaaw".

I got the back bumper fixed thanks to the kind parents of the guy who hit my car last week. The parents were very friendly. They offered me a drink, helped out with Josh when I needed an extra hand, paid for my gas, offered to replaced my crumpled license plate. Basically the repairman knocked my bumper back into place (it was protuding slightly on one side) and painted over the scratches. Overall, the repair was miniscule.

What was interesting was the relationship of the people involved. Jo-ann (the mother) married Robert (the father). His ex-wife's brother owned the repair shop. Apparently in the Dominican Republic it's not uncommon for exes to stay in the family. Jo-ann is close with her husband's ex-wife and the family's have merged. That's weird to me coming from a very vengeful and grudge holding culture. Not a single divorcee I kn0w is on any terms with their ex, except in the case of child custody. And to befriend the new wife is really weird.

Today was a very challenging day handling Joshua. He cried and complained and fussed and wined and even woke up in a bad mood for some reason. Poor lil' dude even pooped three times today, though I doubt that had anythinbg to do with his fussiness. He cried when I tried to feed him. Cried when we put in his lounger chair. Cried when we held him. Cried before sleeping. Cried after sleeping. Cried after feeding. Cried in the car. Cried in the stroller. Cried in the mall. Cried in the car again. Cried, cried, cried.

By the afternoon I was completely wasted. Tomorrow I plan to nap when possible and do whatever I can to prevent him from being as fussy as he was today. They say you cannot spoil a baby under 6 months old. I believe this to be true even if I feel like he's got me wrapped around every single tiny finger.

Experiments with babies: Tip #11- Don't let your baby take a long nap in the evening, unless you want to be up at 4:00 AM. If someone else puts the baby to sleep early, make sure they experience the fun with you at 4:00 AM.

We're going to Portland- YAY!!

Rusty got his verbal approval in the elevator during my lunch visit. On Fridays, I take Josh and join Rusty for lunch in the cafeteria at Countrywide. Sometimes we walk around afterwards to say Hi to his coworkers who want to see Josh. It helps to have a wife and baby on hand when asking for time off. I mean, how can one say No when faced with the possibility of hearing disappointment from the person's other (better) half?

It also reminds his boss that there is indeed life after work and on the weekends.

All I can think about is Portland. Rusty is going to ask his boss for a few days off, even though he's not eligible for time off yet. I keep planning out the trip in mind. What to bring, how to get around, who we'll see, what the party might be like, what my cousin's house is like, what the weather might be like. I get like this with almost all our trips. I get so excited about getting out that I over think things and plan and daydream and get worked up. I just hope Rusty's boss is generous and says yes.

I got rear ended today. That sucked. Here's what happened...

I was headed to the store to grab a small waste basket. Getting out was actually an excuse to entertain Josh because he was starting to be fussy. Car rides usually sedate him. So I headed out and got to the first major intersection up hill from our neighborhood at Marsh & Frankford. I'm usually an overly cautious driver when it comes to pulling out into traffic such as making a left without a light or pulling into traffic. I was about to make a right into traffic then spotted a car in the middle lane. I stopped to let that car pass so I could swing into the left lane, but that's when the Blazer behind me bumped into me. I think he thought I was going and didn't look in front of him when he started to go. Like many of us, he predicted a move before it happened. Unfortunately, one still must look forward when driving forward. And it was not a difficult angle, to reference "Snatch". This was such a minor bump- maybe 5 mph at most.

We pulled into the bank parking lot at the corner and started to swap information. Come to find out, the young didn't have his license or proof of insurance. Oops! I called for police to come out to make an official statement and mentioned to the dispatcher that the driver was empty handed, so to speak. I read off his car make, model and plates just in case. We waited for what seemed like forever for the cop to show up. He did his usual questions, wrote down information, issued the other driver a court date and me a statement number for my insurance company.

Oh yes, and what of the insurance? Turns out, the guy was driving his mom's vehicle which did have insurance (but again, not in the vehicle). He asked to borrow my phone to call his mom. After they talked for a few moments, he handed the phone back for his mom to talk to me. She read off their insurance info and we swapped numbers. Then she called back 10 minutes later with a proposition. She offered to have her brother's auto shop fix whatever needed to be fixed free. Ultimately she wanted to avoid having the insurance companies involved. Apparently her son had been in a hit-and-run accident recently where he was rear ended in a Jeep. I told her I'd call her back.

I felt bad for their situation knowing he made a simple mistake. Well, three to be exact. Whether they fix my car's bumper or Geico processes electronic paper work to have someone do it, doesn't matter to me. I don't pay for damages and my insurance rate doesn't go up either way. Rusty suggested a good middle ground. Let them take care of the problem and if anything doesn't seem right, make the claim and go some place else for repairs.

Joshua, meanwhile, was pretty cool about the whole thing. He was upset at first but not because of the bump but because the car stopped moving. It was as if he was complaining about interrupting his ride. He didn't like being in a non-moving car so after I was done talking on the phone and we were waiting for the cop, I held Josh and stood in the shade. He liked watching traffic and being swayed. Luckily the weather was clear (it rained yesterday) and we had a nice breeze. Until at the very end when we were about the go home did he break down crying. All things considered, I got lucky having a quiet, patient baby. And thank God he wasn't hungry!

Ya know, it's just frustrating. I haven't had the car more than a year and already it's had hail damage and now a minor collision. This poor car is going to be beat up in no time at this rate!

I sent this letter to Mazda regarding my thoughts about their customer service- which is poor:

"Normally I don't bother complaining to companies because managers do not listen to customer feedback. I feel compelled to say something this time because it's difficult to ignore.

First, I love my Mazda car (Mazda 3- 5 door). I've had so many compliments and people ask me about how it handles, the mileage, if it's comfy. It holds everything I need, it handles wonderfully on the streets and I feel safe driving. I would recommend my car to anyone looking for a similar vehicle type- especially as an alternative to the huge SUV's and tanks on the road today.

That's where my love for Mazda ends. Our sales guy was the first and last great service we’ve received since buying our car last Fall. Customer service is crucial to keeping your drivers loyal, not only for repurchases but more importantly for word-of-mouth marketing. My former car was an Acura which offered terrific service, such as a rental during long repairs, a complimentary wash after service, extended service hours, weekend repairs, multiple service technicians to handle customers, a nice waiting room with cable, computer terminals with internet, and complimentary coffee, tea or sodas.

My dealership does not have a single one of the above mentioned perks. There are no rentals, no complimentary washes, no weekend hours, only two or three technicians that I’ve seen, and no waiting room except mingled in the sales area. I’ve received poor service from people over the phone as well. One lady was noticeably impatient with me when I inquired about my new license plate, as if I had interrupted her time by calling with a question. Another person sent me a letter requesting I mail back my registration sticker (because the dealership put the wrong year on my car) that had an incorrect number to call and was packed with grammatical errors. Finally, routine check ups are free with an extended warranty at other dealerships, but not with Mazda. It makes sense to make them free (at least initially) because that encourages your drivers to care for their cars. And if those vehicles last longer, they stay on the road, thus instilling confidence, loyalty and the perception of quality.

Perhaps it’s just my particular dealership that fails to impress me. Or, for all I know, it’s all of Mazda. After all, one could assume that my dealership is par for the company. I could drive 30 miles to the next nearest dealership, but even then, how do I know I’d get treated any better? My inference at this point is that Mazda does not value their drivers (read: customers, future sales and advocates), only its vehicles.

So Mr. Romano, Vice President of Marketing for Mazda North American Operations, what are your thoughts for improvement? Does Mazda see room for improvement, or is this “good enough”? Will Mazda compete with other car companies for service and dealership perks? Or will I be doomed to forever endorse the car and not the company?"

I doubt this letter will do anything, but at least I feel better getting it off my chest.

Ahh the weekend! A time for extra rest, two extra hands to help with baby and an opportunity to do something fun or different. Speaking of different, we have a spare cake thanks to a baking error Thursday night. I was making an upside-down pineapple cake and forgot to add the pineapple juice to the batter. Instead, I added plain water like the directions called for. Rather than take defeat and proceed with a normal cake, I bitched and moaned for five minutes, ran to the store for a new box grabbing dinner in a bag on the way home, baked the first cake as a normal cake while I got busy making the upside-down cake- with the pineapple juice. And yes, my cake came out very nice. Both of them.

I ended up donating the normal cake to Melissa. She always has company over or is doing something with people.

I spoke to friend last night that gave me some very good news. Then that person said they would tell others later, effectively meaning not to blurt it out to the world yet. I know a few people that couldn't keep a secret if it was chained to them. So I won't say any more other than, "Iknowsomethingyoudon'tknowWeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

Josh was so pleasant all day yesterday. He hardly cried, hardly fussed. Then I stepped out for a few moments to run to the store and, according to Rusty, all Hell broke lose and Josh cried cried cried. I mostly feel sorry for him having to handle a fussy, crying baby. But not completely.

An at-home mom needs to get out every day at least once and at least for a little bit. Today is lunch with Melissa and her sister. I'm really looking forward to meeting up good company and having an opportunity to eat a good lunch for once. (i.e. non-microwaved, non-processed, not from a package or able to fix with one hand) I just hope Josh will be charming like he has been all morning.

I don't think I mesh with other moms in the Plano area. I and eleven other moms from the group were invited to a mom's home to chat, play with our babies and basically connect. It was refreshing to talk to other moms about their trials and to see their babies play. One mom asked the group, "Who had a natural birth?" I raised my hand with one other lady. I mentioned I had given birth with a midwife at her birth center, while the other lady named her hospital. There were surprised looks saying 'Wow'. Then the questions, moms wanted to know what it was like going without the epidural.

Interestingly, most of the questions and attention was focused at the other mom instead of me. I wanted to share my story with the group because I felt it was fairly unique compared to what 90-some-odd percent in the Dallas area experience. I even felt a little outcasted in being passed over on this topic. It kinda bothered me all day. Not like depressed or angered, but more like a perplexed feeling.

I relayed this to Rusty last night. Then he said something gave me an ah-ha moment. "Maybe they see you and think, 'Of course she had a natural birth. She's one of those types of people.'" As if to say I have a label on my forehead that explains it all.

He's probably right. They probably do see me as "one of those" people- whatever that is. It doesn't bother me if that's the case, but it certainly makes me feel less connected with the suburban moms around me. I do feel younger in age and spirit than the group at large. So do I try to fit in or just go about my own way?

I think the answer is plain enough: I gotta be me because no one else will! I don't care enough about the demographics of Far North Dallas to conform entirely. My mode belongs someplace else, where ever that is. Maybe a more liberal location with women who don't feel the need to drive tanks and live in small mansions. A city that isn't overly planned and uniform.

Rusty & I have a plan to move in five years to a new city. I'm holding him to it this time.

Here's how last night went:
Josh slept from 8:30-12, 12:30-3, then up for roughly 15 min. around 4, 5, 6, then awake for good at 8.

This popcorn style of sleep makes me feel like a zombie. Today is supposed to be an action packed day. From 1-3, we hang out at a member of the mom's group's house. Then home until Rusty's mom comes to babysit, where I then proceed to Main Event to join others in games and laser tag. Then home again in time to take care Josh and put him to bed again.


I got shorts today! Yay!
I got my pedicure! Yay!!
Josh didn’t cry during my appointment! Yay!!!

I'm going to bed because I didn't take a nap and now I'm exhausted and have a long day tomorrow and need to keep going. It never stops. Being a new mother never stops. You're always going. Always going.

night night

Weight, Weight

So much for shopping with baby. He cried the whole time yesterday. Instead I waited until Rusty came home to watch Josh for a few hours so I could try again.

I hate this in-between size. I'm thing in the arms, neck and lower legs so people say, "Gosh you look great for just having a baby!" They assume I lost all this weight or something. Little do they know that I was a bit underweight prior to being pregnant then packed it on in the thighs and boobs. So just about everything I once wore is too tight. I have four skirts I rotate and a handful of shirts. And now that it's August and still 100 degrees outside, of course none of the stores carry shorts. It's stupid! They had them in March and April, when I didn't need them because it wasn't summer yet (and I happen to be big as a house). Now that it's the middle of summer, no one wants to sell them anymore. And they don't even have Fall stuff yet. Stores are just selling crap until Labor Day.

So I've got some baby weight to lose. I started out at 119 lbs. last year. Now I'm at 148 lbs. I'd like to get back to the 120's. I did some research on weight earlier this year. I was curious about where I was in relation to where I should be. There is no consistent message on what a tall, small frame should weigh, but most sites I found estimate my ideal weight to be, well, what it is now. For example...

This chart
says I'm right where I should be, in the 140's.
This calculator estimates my ideal weight at 142.
This page puts me between 156-171. That’s too much.
This chart places me between the 130’s - 150’s.

You may be thinking, “Hey, all these sources point to a normal weight, why bother losing weight?” If I could get on the lower end of normal, I'd be happier. What’s “normal” in these charts is a linear concept that doesn’t make sense to me. It assumes a taller person can, and should, weigh more. That’s ridiculous. Just because a person is tall does not mean they are amazon-sized and should be big all over. Not so. Not in my life anyway. So, 20 pounds is my goal.

Revenge of the Rut

Before I head to bed, I thought I’d sneak in a quick post.

Today has been a good day overall for a Sunday. Only one thing frustrated me- Rusty’s ability to find leisure time. For the record, before I get started, he’s done nothing wrong at all and I don’t condemn his free moments used to play a game, read his books or watch a TV program. Everyone needs time to themselves to mentally relax and release stress. Especially him. He practically works two jobs- one at the office then as Dad at home.

My gripe is actually that of jealousy. I wish I could make more time for myself to care for myself than what I do. I spend my short extra moments cleaning up messes, making a meal, preparing for the next round of baby’s needs, or blogging. Keeping a journal (aka creative writing) has become my leisure thing for now because I can pause it whenever I need to and it’s never the same thing. And it's a therapeutic vehicle for relaxation and stress release.

My jealousy has motivated me to stop being frustrated and take revenge. I must revolt against being run over by a routine and lack of indulgence. I will get a pedicure this week for example. I will go shopping for a nice outfit to wear for Josh’s baptism. I will find a babysitter sometime this week to giv me a break. These are things that I enjoy doing. I’d like to do some painting, but that is a larger time commitment than I can afford. Maybe next week. I will prepare a nice dessert/snack for an upcoming pot-luck (because I enjoy making treats, not because I feel an obligation). I will avoid some of the nagging "I should do that" things until Rusty can watch Josh. Then I won't be rushed or sacrificing a would-be-leisure moment.

So there! Take that!



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