Monday, December 28, 2009

My New Year's Initiative — 18 Weeks, + 6 days

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It's a new year and most people spend this time reflecting on their past year and trying to decide what they are going to do better or differently in the new year. Most folks call this their "New Year's Resolution." They RESOLVE that they will make a change, that from that moment on they will lose weight, or exercise more, or stop smoking ... they make a statement. I don't believe in Resolutions. I think they are a lot of talk and no action. I can sit on my comfy couch and announce to the world that I will be thin, healthy, and athletic, but until I get up and DO something, I am just blowing hot air.

That's why this year I have instituted what I am calling my "New Year's Initiative." An initiative is a little different from a resolution because it requires more than just the first step, it is more than just making a statement or decision, it involves the second step ... actual follow-through. So, instead of resolving to do something, I've gone ahead and just did it.

In a little over 20 weeks (give or take) our baby will be here. It will be new and different and exciting ... but it will also be scary. The baby will demand more time of me than I have to offer, and I will have to oblige, because the baby comes first. So, this year I am taking steps to be more efficient, by carving out my time very carefully. I love my job, but when the choice comes between working or going home to be with my husband, I will choose home. I realize that I will not always have a choice, sometimes work can be like that, but on the days when I make the decision to stay or go ... I go. This applies to school too. I am not taking any courses that aren't required of me, even though I want to take the Technology and Ministry course because I know it will be super easy and it will pad my GPA (I have to make a blog as my final project ... um, yeah). I will not sign up for it, because that's wasted time away from my family. So what if I won't have an amazing GPA when I graduate, I'll have a pretty decent one (still Cum Laude I hope) and would have spent more time with my husband perfecting our marriage, which seems a little more important to me than the sticker on my degree.

Finally, I'm doing more things for me. I will visit the library once a week (and have been) and check out at least two or three cheesy quick read novels or intense nonfiction book to read. I can usually get through one of those in a night or two, and it's important for me to read. I love to read, and I deserve to read more than just my homework books. Carving time out for me will make me a better wife and mother, and I need to do a good job of teaching myself that now. I will not work myself into the ground and then come home and try to be superwoman. If there is anything that being pregnant has taught me it's that I can't "do it all." What's surprising is that I'm okay with that. I know there are plenty of feminists out there shaking their fist and declaring me a traitor for that statement, but really what woman do you know who truly does it all? I still plan to work full-time, I still plan to be a mother to my child, I still plan to be ordained and become a "woman preacher." I think I'm okay with the feminist movement here, but what I'm saying is that I have a choice of where I set my boundaries, and at the end of the day my choice will always be with my family. My husband, my child, my health, comes before anything else on my agenda, and that will be my focus for not only 2010, but for the rest of my life.

I am not ashamed to say that I have stepped back and evaluated and have decided that my needs and my family's needs come before everything else. It's a growth process, and I had to learn how much I could give, before I could learn how much I could take back. So, that's my initiative, to evaluate each circumstance and ask myself, "who benefits from this decision, and what are the pros/cons of making this choice?"

I hope that each one of you will have a prosperous new year and will also take a look at your own lives. What can you cut back, move around, make better so that you can give your time and energy to whatever it is that makes you the most happy?

Upcoming Blogs:

Will Baby Downey give us a peep show? Find out on 1/18/09!

The Love Dare — Martin and I received it as a gift. I have my opinions on it already but I'm trying to give it a fair shake for the sake of the great friend who got it for us!

Monday, December 14, 2009

15 Weeks + 5 Days, End of the Semester Blues

Right now, in this moment. I hate school. I know it won't last. But right now, I'm so over it. I know I have one semester left of this and then I'm finished with what I'm "required" to take, but I'm so so tired. You see, I actually love to learn, but this semester has been hell on me since getting pregnant. I would not change being pregnant for the world (and there is good news on down after this complaining session), but I am way too tired to work full-time and do school online at night and give both 100%. I'm going to make a "B" in my favorite class of the semester. Mostly because I didn't have time to banter stupidly with other classmates on the online post, if I fail the paper I just wrote, I'm going to make a "C." Which, you know, whatever. It's graduate school, getting a "B" or a "C" is not the end of the world, the issue here is that I COULD have made an "A," and pretty easily if I could have just stayed awake a few more nights and pushed through. But, I didn't. I'll probably make an "A" in my other two classes, so it's not like I'm flunking out or anything, I'm just annoyed with myself right now because I have two papers left to write and really, I'm just so FREAKIN' over it!

Okay ... want some happy news? I've been able to feel the baby move. I know this is an INCREDIBLE blessing because most people don't feel this until like 20 weeks for their first pregnancy, but I guess I'm just aware. I've only felt the baby move twice, once when I was listening to "Here Comes the Sun," by the Beatles, I felt a little flutter in my tummy twice in a row, so I knew that was my kid. However, the second time was a funny. I was listening to Jay-Z in the car and the bass came on and it scared my kid to death! I could feel it totally freaking out! I felt a little guilty, but overall I just laughed out loud for like 10 minutes. Oddly enough, as I write this the baby is kicking the crap out of me, as I started the paragraph there was nothing and then patter, patter! : ) I have a very active little one!

Okay, that's the update for now. Christmas in a week! Yay! I'm ready for a couple days off work where I don't have to think too much. I'm ready for this semester to be over with so that I don't have to think at ALL about that! Thanks for letting me vent, I just needed to get my feelings out there and into the open air. Two more papers to write and I'll be finished with this semester, whatever grades I get, I get. At least I know that I always have one Master's to fall back on to pretend that I'm smart!

Monday, December 7, 2009

14 + 5 Days & Christmas

Not too much to report, but I wanted to do a quick update before I started this very, very busy week! I'm feeling a bit better. I think the neasuea is finally beginning to wear off and we are finally getting into the happy "honeymoon" trimester! I have gotten back a bit of energy, which is also good because I have quite a bit of homework to finish up this semester and work is, as always, busy as ever!

Martin and I did our 12 days shopping last night and debated if we should keep the tradition going once there is a child in the picture. We've been doing 12 days gifts for seven years, and to me it seems a shame to not continue it on with our kid. When people find out we give each other 12 presents (plus a large gift on Christmas day) I think they think we are a bit extravagant when it comes to Christmas, but there are a few things about 12 days that I think makes it special:

1. It's the best time to buy Martin socks, underwear, and tees and wrap them up as presents! As a wife I don't pick these items up for my husband and he always forgets. So, at least during 12 days I can get him some practical items that aren't necessarily fun, but needed. I usually buy him these items every year (at least since we've been married).

2. We aren't allowed to spend over $20 on any present. Martin is great about sticking to this rule, me, not so much. I did pretty good this year and only went over my limit once, but it's fun to limit ourselves so we have to think outside the box when purchasing gifts.

3. It's something to look forward to every night. As a kid I used to talk my mom into letting us open one present on Christmas Eve, EVE! I love to open presents, even if it is a pair of socks, so by doing it daily up to Christmas makes it super fun. We usually open presents right at midnight which means I have to stay up late ... and sometimes that's a challenge but it's worth the fun. Now, when we start doing this with a kid we might have to change the rule on that ... but for now when midnight gets here we will be opening presents.

So, for me, it's become a very special tradition and I really think that we can incorporate a kid into the picture without them getting too spoiled. I think Martin and I will have to set some limits (not too many toys or candy) and focus on more of the practical side of things for the kid, but I think we should keep it going!

What about you? Do you have any special traditions you share with your children? Do you think we will be spoiling our kid by buying them 12 gifts? Are we spoiling ourselves? Thoughts anyone?