Thursday, December 29, 2016

12/29/16- Cover Tease and Happy New Year!

I'm too excited to not share the mock up of the cover for "Annie Aardvark, Mathematician" (please excuse the low quality paper that I printed the mock up on)!  Annie is coming January 2017!

I wish you all a very, very happy New Year!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

12/17/16- Holiday Activities with My Two Year Old

The holidays are upon us, and I am much looking forward to a week off between Christmas and New Year's.  Poor Jack got sick this week (3rd cold/virus this fall/winter) and then he slipped off of a stool.  I caught him, as I was standing right next to him, but not before he bit into his lip.  We took him to urgent care, and luckily, he only needed a butterfly band aid.  But phew, what a week for our little guy.

Leading up to this week, we been having some fun, doing various holiday activities.  He's a little too young for some holiday activities and traditions.  For example, that sharking hammerhead "Elf on a Shelf."  Bobby and I never remember to move the darn Elf, Jack wanted to touch it the first day, and Jack has completely lost all interest in it.   I didn't want the Elf in the first place because I knew we'd never move it, but it made Bobby excited.  I can't crush Bobby's holiday spirit; I'll never get the presents wrapped without him. ;-)

Here are the holiday activities that we are doing with our two year old in no particular order:

1) Phoenix Zoo Lights-  Jack enjoyed seeing all the  lights.  The line for Santa was short at the event, and Jack hammed it up for the photo.

2) Holiday Baking- Jack has always been interested in cooking and baking, so we let him mix the cake and cookie batters. He also gets to cut the cookies into shapes and put sprinkles on said cookies.  He also enjoys this.

3) "Elf on a Shelf"- Jack doesn't care right now (and Chaps thinks it's a chew toy).  Maybe next year.

4) Disney Tsum Tsum Advent Calendar- Jack likes opening the door and seeing which Disney toy he gets, but then all interest is gone. It's also on the kitchen counter, as he wants to open all the doors at once. This activity is the one that caused him to slip out of the stool.  Perhaps we need to put it on the ground for the door opening. :-/

5) Painting and Coloring Paper Holiday Placemats-  Jack and our 4 year old godson/"nephew" Colton have been enjoying coloring and painting these paper holiday placemats that I bought at the Target after Christmas sale last year.

6) Decorating the Tree- Of course he got the paper, plastic and cloth ornaments to put on the tree, and those are the types at his level.  I'd say he enjoys taking the ornaments off of the tree more than he likes putting them on.

7) Reading Holiday Themed Books- His favorite is "I've Seen Santa" by David Bedford.  We read it at least twice a day, and he is now exclaiming "Santa!" every time we see a Santa.

8) Seeing the Lights in Our Hood- We walk the dogs around the block almost every evening, and Jack likes to point out the various Christmas Lights and blow ups.  "Baby elephant!" "Snowman!"  "Mickey, Minnie!" "Yoda!"

9) Shoe String Decorations- Another Target find (we may shop at Target it a lot, and they aren't paying me to say that, although I'd totally take a gift card Target for endorsing you, cough, cough). Jack gets the string through one hole, says "I did it!" and then takes another string and wears it as a necklace. I'll save the kit for next year.

10) McCormrick Railroad Park- this activity was great to do with him last year (at age one), so we're doing it again this year.  Lights, Santa, hot coco and riding trains, does it get any better as a kid (maybe your birthday party tops that)?

Of course we'll go to Christmas Eve church service (to be honest, the only time I enjoy church), and I'm sure take turns chasing him like we did last year.  Then we'll have to two big "roast beast" feasts with our family in Tucson and our family in Phoenix.  And get together with friends through out the week to celebrate our friendship and another year.

Leave a comment on the activities and traditions you do with your family for the holidays!  I'll be taking a little blog break for the next couple of weeks, so until the new year, Happy Holidays and May Your Cup Be Overflowing in the New Year!  xoxo!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

12/8/16- One, Two, Eleven and Twelve

Yay! Woo hoo!  It's been 1 year (plus 3 days) since I started writing this blog.  Happy Birthday blog! It's also my friend Carrie's birthday, Happy Birthday Carrie! Life is full of wonderful ups and horrible downs, but all I can say is hammerhead, isn't it grand to know your life can be forever captured, in binary form on the Internet?  Ha!

As I look back at my first ever post: The Intro, I've learned I need to continuously improve my editing skills.  I've also learned that writing is not a mundane job for me.  Here it is a year later, and I'm still posting on this blog and planning to release a picture book (Annie Aardvark, Mathematician coming in January 2017)!  I've attended a children's writing conference and critic groups- I have learned so much about the children's book industry.  It's been exciting (not boring at all).

It's also been 2 years since I've returned to work from my maternity leave.  I've learned that the feelings I had returning to work, well those feelings never really left (Separation Anxiety), just the reason for those feelings has changed (so much more fun to hang out with Jack than do my day job). I've learned though that I don't have to suffer through my boring job.  I can change my job situation-- either with a new job or a new career.  Personal change is coming, and it will be good for me (the country's change in January, I'm not so sure will be good).

The other anniversaries that I'm celebrating this month are my work anniversary.  It will be 12 years at the same old, same old job on December 13.  And then it will be 11 years since Bobby and I had our first date. December 22, 2005 was our first date, and part of it involved going to the Phoenix Zoo Lights (the other part was having dinner at Lo Cascio).

Jack with the Santa at Zoo Lights 
(Bobby and I didn't capture the fateful moment because it was before the time of selfies)

We recently went to Zoo Lights with Jack, and it was nostalgia at its best.  See 11 years ago, I told Bobby that wanted to ride the carousel (during our date at Zoo Lights), and Bobby was game. He was willing to have fun despite looking like a fool. It's one of the qualities I love best about him (if you keep a list of qualities I want in a potential spouse, make sure willing to have fun while looking silly is on there).

So we rode the carousel 11 years ago, and it was magical. It was even more magical riding it with Jack last weekend. Nothing like reliving your first date experience with your child (see told you it was nostalgia at it's best). Tear.

Anyway, happy anniversaries to me! To quote Jack, "I did it!" 1 year of writing, 2 years of being a working parent, 11 years of dating Bobby, and 12 years as an engineer in the industry. I'm totally having a glass of champagne this weekend! I hope you'll join in me in toasting to your own life's milestones.  Because if we can't drink to our accomplishments, then shark it all, I don't want to live forever in 1's and 0's!  Cheers, here's to us (and our digital immorality)!

PS: The it's been one year since I started this blog, triggered this song. You're welcome.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

12/3/16- Separation Anixiety

You'll hear it from your doctor, your daycare provider, your friends, your family, and random stranger- that your child will go through periods of separation anxiety.  What some people may neglect to tell you is that you might also experience separation anxiety.  Of course, if your child is throwing a tantrum of epic proportions, dropping the child off at daycare is a little easier (at least for me).

But then there's times when the child is so sweet. Lately Jack and I have had such fun playing together before work and daycare, that I get really bummed after dropping him off (at daycare).  A chocolate croissant from Starbucks helps ease the transition a little, but once that's eaten, all that is left is a a snoring Pug and engineering tasks that have been the same since 2010.  I much rather watch "Captain Jack and the Neverland Pirates", shouting yo-ho and waving empty paper towel tubes around (as swords) with Jack.

That's how this week has been for me.  Days filled with all things Jack.  He had croup and had to stay home from daycare Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  And of course last week was Thanksgiving, so no daycare then.  In October there was Disneyland and another cold, so my cup runneth over of Jack (in a good way).  Going back to the reality of my monotonous (all though well paying and stable) job was blah.  I kept thinking about the fun I could be having, and so, I felt sad and empty at work this week.  I just didn't want to leave Jack at daycare.

Of course this week wasn't the first time I've experience separation anxiety (from my kid).  Going back to work after maternity leave really taxed me.  Those 12 weeks with a new born were not all happy and pleasant, but returning back to work after just 12 weeks felt like the leave was cut short. It was way too short of time (for me). And Jack, he was so little.  He was just shy of 3 months.  All the other babies were 5-6 months.  It felt way too soon. Like someone (cough, cough, place that I worked) had ripped my baby from me.

Look how little he was! 

I cried every day for that first week back at work, and I know I cried the weeks following that first week (just not every day).  Ugh, and the dream I had about returning to work is still vivid.  In the dream, I return to work, and then they tell me because I was gone, they're going to lay me off (they were laying other people off in the dream too, but the reason they chose me was because I had been on leave).  I told them, "shark, no! You don't make me come back before I'm ready just to lay me off!" Then I demanded a 6 month severance package, and they gave it to me.  At least I got a small victory in the dream, and of course 2 years later, I'm still working there, but that was the level of my separation anxiety back then.

The separation anxiety I feel now, isn't necessarily that I need to be with my baby (not like the one I felt 2 years ago). It's that my child is way more fun than my work, so I much rather be with him. Sure it doesn't help that he gets upset when we leave for daycare, but as soon as we're at daycare, he finds the toys or morning snack, and it's see ya later mommy.   Jack's separation issues also seem rooted in don't interrupt my fun.  But at least when he's at preschool, he's having a good time (see exhibit below).  I, on the other hand, am not having a good time at my job.

Happy as a calm climbing on the jungle gym at daycare

I do plan to change that though.  I think a new engineering job, either within my company or external, could bring on challenge that I need. Something new would break up the monotony of what I currently do (seriously I've had the same exact tasks for at least 5 years now).  I think also the release of "Annie Aardvark, Mathematician" will also bring a new exciting adventure to my work life.  And of course, if all else fails, I can take a sick day and play with Jack.  The point is, I don't think I will be stuck in a rut and feeling sad every time my child leaves for school because there are exciting things on the horizon for me.

I believe I can change these circumstances.  I've done it before, and I can do it again.  That's the thing I know about myself-- that I'm a dreamer and a doer, so my dreams can come true. (Sidebar alert-- I got Campaigner from this personality test, You should take it; you didn't need to work/watch child/sleep today anyway.)  Let's just hope the dream that comes true is not one the one with a lay off (although I'm sure if I really wanted that dream to happen, I could, haha).