Thursday, May 31, 2012

Life and Other Acts of Management

My heart is beating strangely today -like that excited thumping, except I’m not excited about anything- and I’m so very tired. I feel like something is about to happen. Just took my blood pressure (106/59) and pulse (66), so that’s all fine. Maybe it’s just indigestion…
Some bullets because nothing exciting is going on over here:
·         Continuing to work on my audition piece. Haven’t fully decided whether or not to follow through with the audition, although I will perform the piece for my Florida people and get their notes.
·         I won free tickets to the NC Zoo! We are taking the kids on Saturday. I can’t wait to see the giraffes!
·         I ran nine of the past ten days! Yay, me! It’s not far, just a mile, and takes me 20 minutes to complete. But I’m doing the whole thing without stopping/walking, so I’m calling that one victory. It’s gotten to the point that I look forward to it and do everything possible to not miss out. This is so unlike me and I’m loving it. J
·         R and I had a weird day/night yesterday but all has worked out. We are rarely out of synch so it’s especially tough when we aren’t on the same page. I was so grateful that we were able to talk things out and go to bed in harmony last night. Now if my stress pimples would clear up!
·         I had my annual exam last week and have some symptoms of hypothyroidism (cold hands/feet, fatigue, steady gradual weight gain, lengthening menstrual cycles). I’m having blood drawn tomorrow to test my cholesterol, TSH, and glucose levels.
·         Preparing for Little K’s summer in Florida. I’m going to miss her terribly but I know that she will enjoy spending time with her stepsister and many, many cousins. Not to mention both sets of Grandparents! They are sure to have a blast.
·         And I get a mini vacation! I will be in Florida for four days/three nights. I can’t wait to lay by the pool, spent time with my friends, eat some delicious food, and see some houses!
·         One more – Coworker A had her baby on Sunday, a beautiful girl with a full head of dark hair. I was so concerned through the last two weeks of her pregnancy (decreased amniotic fluid, low lying placenta, transverse and breech) from the baby loss blogs I read. It was a WONDERFUL relief to hear that she was born safe and sound. Welcome to the world, little one!
So, there’s the life of dspence right now. Some fun stuff, some tough stuff, but overall just life.
How are things in your world?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blog Maintenance

Just a heads up on the administrator email change for this blog. Everything is official with donatinghopeblog(at)gmail(dot)com now. However, this effectively cancelled all of my blogger subscriptions. Boo! So, although it may look like I’ve stopped following you, don’t despair! I am in the process of re-subscribing to everyone. Look for Donating Hope in your follow box!

Heartbreak, Auditions, and Mid-Week Goal Check

First of all, the bad news:
WHEN (the third pregnant coworker) has miscarried. The baby’s heart stopped sometime over the past two weeks and she had her D&C on Tuesday. She was 11 weeks along. It’s a heartbreaking tale, especially given how uncomplicated all of her other pregnancies have been. I have heard more than one person comment that “at least she has three healthy boys” but that doesn’t make it better. She and her husband wanted this child as much as the first child. Prayers for her and their family are appreciated.
Audition News:
The choreography is done. Woo-hoo! It’s been interesting watching it evolve over the past few days but I think it’s finally smooth and natural. So exciting!
The rehearsal calendar was released and OMG. Rehearsal every weeknight at 7:30 PM and at 2:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Rehearsals seven days per week?? That seems extreme… R and I spent some time discussing the schedule and weighing our reaction to the decrease in together time. We’re still going to go for it, with the understanding that, if I don’t get a named role, I will respectfully decline the show. It may seem like a diva move, but it’s what works best for us and our relationship. We just aren’t willing to give up our two months of alone time for a part in the chorus.
The good news about the schedule, though, is that the rehearsals drop to one night per week by the time Little K comes home. WOOT! I love knowing that I won’t be missing out on too much time with my girl.
Mid-Week Goal Check:
I have to say, I’ve been kicking it so far! Yeah! Let’s take a look at the stats, shall we?
Little K’s homework: No homework this close to the end of school for Kindergartners. Yay!
Prepare at least four planned meals: I cooked on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and have dinner in the crockpot for tonight. I did it!
Prepare Lunches: So far, so good! I’ve been making lunches for two days at a time on Sunday and Tuesday nights. Tonight is the last one for the week!
One chore each evening: Monday – Sweeping, Tuesday – Glass Tables, Wednesday – Straighten family room. Planning on dusting tonight.
Run at least twice: Ran on Monday and Wednesday with plans to do it again on Friday.
Yay, dspence!! I’ve also managed to do my vocal warm-ups each morning and found an upper arm workout that I’m starting tonight to tone up the flab. Looks like M-W-F will be running and T-R-S will be arms/abs. Excellent!
I have to say, ya’ll, that I am surprising myself with all of this. I’ve also had a ton more energy and a generally more positive outlook. It may just be excitement for the show but I can see improvement in each of my problem areas (energy, eating habits, exercise).
Let’s keep it going!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Change, Progress, Vision, and Goals

My apologies for the silence over here. Our extended family received some big news last Monday that I hope to share with you all soon. As always – for honesty, I am thrilled for the family but got a little down for me. Blargh. I pulled out of it, though, with this wonderful discovery:
Auditions for a musical!
I was notified on Friday of the upcoming show. Auditions and rehearsals take place while Little K will be in Florida and the show runs the last week of August/first week of September. Perfect! I spent the weekend rehearsing my audition piece and running through choreography. Little K now has the first verse of “Take Me or Leave Me” memorized (whoops…) and R is becoming an excellent critic. Heh.
We actually had a very musical-ly weekend. Little K is obsessed with Tracy Turnblad and Cossette, so I downloaded both movies for her. She has been watching the 2007 remake of Hairspray and the 2010 Live Concert of Les Mis pretty constantly since Friday night. She even insists that we dance to “Hey, Momma!” and is working on her own choreography for “Good Morning, Baltimore!”
(I said it to R so many times yesterday and I will say it again – I love that my girl loves musicals! Now to find a local production of Les Mis so she can play Cossette and I can take up Fantine…)
R is fascinated by his performing wife! The last show I was in was way back in 2002, so this prep-audition-rehearsal-perform version of dspence is entirely new to him. I have asked him to offer criticism and notes and it turns out that he is very good at noticing the good/bad in a performance and offering suggestions for improvement. Who knew?! He may not be musically inclined but he gives excellent direction. Just goes to show that you don’t always have to be professionally trained to recognize a good performance!
And you know what? I wouldn't be able to even consider doing the show if I was pregnant or had a newborn. See? Progress!
It’s amazing how things snap into place when you have an objective. My objective: be cast in named role in a fun musical where most characters are rather scantily clad. In order to accomplish this I need to:
1                     Get back on vocal warm ups every week day (vocal strength, agility, and range)
2                     Continue to work my audition piece and choreography (comfort and fluidity)
3                     Start working out (breath support, rehearsal endurance, comfort in costume)
The plan is to start running each day after work as well as situps, pushups, and upper arm toning. If I get the part and depending on rehearsal time, I will either join a gym near the theater or just figure out a route to run near my office after work.
This also impacted my grocery shopping over the weekend. I had already completed a lot of research on healthy eating, trying to change my mindset from dieting to eating a healthy diet. I am now the proud owner of a pantry and fridge stocked with planned meals that emphasize fresh vegetables, high fiber, and lean protein.
I also used a helpful little checklist from a nutritionist I met two weeks ago to locate a sweet that fits the requirements she gave me: less than 200 calories, able to eat only a single serving at a time, giving fiber and protein, and giving 20% of any needed vitamin/mineral. It turns out that Ciao Bella’s Vanilla Frozen Greek Yogurt and Blood Orange sorbet fit the bill perfectly! A quarter cup of each together in my bowl satisfy my sweet craving perfectly.
And, if my lunches each day include two Mint Milano cookies, so be it. I can eat just the serving size and get that sweet/indulgent taste that I crave after a meal while the mint taste closes down my appetite for a few hours. Hey, it works for me! And keeps me from the vending machine in the afternoon.
So what are my goals this week? I have to say that it’s hard to focus on anything accept preparing for the audition. I do, however, want to stick with my original parameters: practical and attainable; focusing on health, parenting, or housekeeping. Here we go!
Continued from last week:
Complete half of Little K’s homework before Thursday.
Prepare at least four of the planned meals.
Prepare lunch each evening for following day.
One chore each evening: Glass tables, dusting, sweeping, laundry, or countertops.
Run at least twice this week.
Here's to a productive week!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother Daughter (and Granddaughter) Tea

I’ve tried explaining to Little K that it’s called a Mother Daughter Tea, since Mom (Nonna) and I are the mothers and Little K and I are the daughters, but she just doesn’t get it. *sigh* Six year olds…
I can’t quite remember how it happened, this tradition of having tea together. My first memory of tea with my Mom is actually from 1999. She and I traveled to Switzerland as part of a singing group and stayed for an additional two weeks traveling around Europe. Our last stop was London, where she and I had tea at a little shop and at Harrods. Since then we have done tea during the Christmas season and for special occasions, like bridal and baby showers. We hosted some tables for a handful of Mother Daughter Teas at church. Brina and I took Mom to the Grand Floridian Tea Room for Mother’s Day when Little K was six months old, big hats and all. Brina and Mom even managed to have tea twice at the Royal Hawaiian.

It isn’t something that we can do regularly, now that Brina and I live out of state, but we still enjoy it when we can.
Although there is a great tea within a one hour drive, this one will be held at my home. We will be sending the boys to the movies and setting out the pretties as only girls can. I have a coffee service for my china rather than a tea service but it is the china I received from Mom, who received it from her Grandmother, so we will use it anyway. Each of us is making a little something special to bring to the table:
·         Little K: I-Heart-Mom Cookies
·         Mom: Individual Baked Brie with Apricots
·         Dspence: Mini Raspberry/Marzipan Tarts
And we will all pitch in with mini palmetto cheese (grilled cheese for Little K) sandwiches.
The big question is what kind of tea to serve? I love black teas while my Mom is more of an herbal girl. I took off to Teavana earlier this week and found the perfect tea with just the right blend of traditional tea flavor and fruity aromatic notes. It smells divine!

And I’ll have to think of what to serve Little K, since she does not care for tea at all. Hmm.

I can't wait to share pictures - especially of the craft I have planned for the tea party!
What are your mother-daughter traditions?

What traditions do you hope to have with your children?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Different Like Me

I was sad yesterday when I was driving to work and saw the bandit signs supporting NC Amendment One. “But,” I said to myself, “I have already voted and, no matter the outcome, tomorrow the signs will be down.”
When I saw the signs again today, I was angry.
I have made it clear on this site that I am a Christian. You may have noticed in the About Me section that I am also a supporter of the LGBT community. For me, this subject falls under the same heading as the ALI community.
Without getting into a discussion about being born gay vs. choosing to be gay (or born infertile vs. becoming infertile due to age or disease) it comes down to this:
Something about [the community being addressed] is outside of what is considered normal and is being persecuted because of that difference.
To me, it really is that simple.
As I saw the signs again this morning, I remembered Hapa Hopes’ post about Interracial Marriage. At one time, it would have been illegal for me to marry R.
Just because we would have been different.
I hope that one day I can look back at how, at one time, these issues of same-sex marriage and reproductive assistance were once attacked but are now protected by the government and local community.
If we are all different in some way then that makes us all the same.
“[The greatest commandment is:] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday, Monday

So many things! Let’s take it one at a time…
Remember when I was offered my dream job? There have been several ups and downs that relate to this opportunity over the past two weeks. The ups have centered on my excitement about finally doing what I love and the possibility of moving back to my hometown. I’ve been having conversations on and off with the owner about ways I can support the company. I have my first assignment this week and I’m hoping to have additional conversations this coming weekend. I’ve also been in touch with a realtor in my hometown and have showings set up during my next visit, just to get an idea of the local market. So much fun!
The downs have been, well, down. The problem with a two-income household is relocating when only one person has an offer lined up. The good news is that an honest talk yesterday really cleared the air; we both had the opportunity to talk about our thoughts and I think we are back on the same page. The trick is seeing this as an opportunity for our family, rather than for an individual, and trust God with the timing/provision, knowing that the opportunity for R won’t be revealed until it’s time to pull the trigger.
More than anything, we re-affirmed that a job is not worth our marriage. It may seem like a no brainer but it is an insecurity that came up and was important to address.
This turned into a discussion about how we can begin functioning more as a couple rather than two individuals. Being married holds us together but how is that lived out? When you look at our lives, each of us parents our own child and each of us pays our own bills. We do our own thing on the weekend, we do our own thing each evening… How are we making our relationship a priority? How are our lives united?
Some of this is unavoidable. R works from home (yay!) but that doesn’t equal time together. His work requires him to work until 7:00 PM three nights per week plus 10-3 PM every other Saturday. Little K’s bedtime is 8:00/8:30 plus bath and homework. We also have to fit in dinner and my shower, plus a reasonable bedtime for the adults (unless we want to be zombies the next morning). We don’t have the resources set aside for a weekly or even monthly date night.
So what’s a modern couple to do?
We discussed opening a joint bank account. Although we resisted the idea when we were first married, it now feels like an important decision. Besides looking at our finances as WE instead of ME, this will make us more accountable for our spending. We are committed to paying off our debts within the next 30 months, taking the pressure off of R and opening the door for relocation, if and when the time comes.
The other things are up in the air. We did manage to spend some additional time together yesterday afternoon when R joined Little K and I for a puzzle. And I made sure to put Little K to bed on time to maximize my alone time with R. I will be asking if we can recommit to going to church each Sunday for adult time, although putting Little K in children’s worship is certainly a challenge.
I am still struggling with the idea of date night. On the one hand, I know it is important to make our relationship a priority. My parents were committed to date night and I never felt rejected when they would leave for the evening. On the other hand, our finances can’t support babysitters and/or outings especially since we are working on paying off our debts. And we do have Winter/Spring/Summer break without the children, when we can do whatever we want without paying for childcare. I just don’t know.
Maybe we just need to realign our priorities. Like, I could make a point to do my errands only on the Saturday when R is working and keep the other Saturday’s free. There are low-to-no cost weekend activities that we can explore, like heading to the library which has a playground for Little K and books for SSA. Maybe that is something to consider? The one drawback being that these are family activities and not couple activities…
Related to above:
It is also important for me to make it clear to Little K that R is a priority for me. I need to consider the best ways to communicate this while affirming her position and the importance I place on our relationship. This one will take some more thought. Again, it is so easy to make her a priority during the school year and leave the breaks for couple time.
I just don’t know. Summer is right around the corner, though, and then we will have two months for the adults.
Finally started spotting, so it looks like my hormones and body will be back to normal shortly. Thank goodness! This cycle has been rough on my weight and energy, so I’m really looking forward to getting back on track.
My parents are coming up for Mother’s Day weekend! Mom, Little K, and I are planning tea for Saturday while the boys see The Avengers. I can’t wait to share the menu with you and bring down the china!
And goal setting. I didn’t do too bad last week. We completed half of Little K’s homework on Tuesday, I cooked two of the planned meals, and ate the fruit salad every day (although the cookies did sneak in).
This week:
1)      Homework: Continue to complete half of Little K’s homework before Thursday. Add completion of at least one AR book this week.
2)      Prepare at least three of the planned meals: Apple Curry Chicken (CHECK-last night), Island Pineapple Chicken, BBQ Chicken, Slow Cooker Carnitas (Friday). [Yeah, we eat a lot of chicken.]
3)      Control my snacking: only one sweet per day. This should be easier now that my period is starting.
So, there’s the weekend and the goals for this week. Other things on my mind, feel free to share your thoughts on any of the above and/or below:
Are you planning to vote tomorrow? I wasn’t going to but changed my mind this morning. I am now in possession of my sample ballot and my voting location. Hitting that tomorrow before work.
How are you planning to recognize Mother’s Day? How will you bring special attention to infertility on Sunday? How will you honor or comfort the infertile person (people) in your life this weekend?