Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How ya' feeling?

For those of you who don't know, when you're pregnant, everyone becomes concerned about how you're feeling. Sometimes the extra attention is nice and you wait for someone to ask so you can tell them the joy of feeling the little baby swirling around in your tummy. Sometimes you're a little bothered to explain to the 20th person that day that you're doing fine, at least as fine as a pregnant lady can be expected to be. And sometimes you're a little creeped out by the total stranger touching your belly and asking all kinds of personal questions.

So, without any further ado, here's how I'm feeling...

1) Tired. Yes, this is the biggest issue I've had to deal with for both pregnancies. While I am very thankful that this is the worst thing I have to deal with, it is something I have to deal with. And this time around it's a little different. With Chaselyn, I could take a nap after work from about 5-6 any day I wanted to. Also, on weekends I could sleep in to my little hearts desire. That doesn't happen too much this time around. Stanton is a trooper and gets up with Chaselyn on Saturday's when he's not totally exhausted. But, some weekends, I have to take my turn.

2) Full yet hungry. This time more than last time, I'm having to budget in smaller meals throughout the day. I feel full much more quickly than before, and yet I'm still hungry. How does that happen?

3) Sugary. I cannot control myself around sweets. I gobble them up. I am a notorious salty snacker. I know not to buy potato chips because I end up eating the whole bag in a day. But now, I find myself eating whole bags of candy. We bought a dozen cupcakes to announce the gender of our baby to our life group. Only 3 of the cupcakes were eaten. I ate the other 9 between Wednesday night and Saturday night. And no, that wasn't my only sweet indulgence for those days. Now that I've recognized I have a problem, I'm trying to manage it much better.

4) Big. Jacob seems to be holding true to the old wives tale that says boys carry lower than girls. I'm having to move into the fat pants much earlier than I did with Chaselyn. It didn't help that I went to get measured for a dress last week and my 5 month pregnant self is a size 8 in the bust, a size 12 in the waist, and a size 14 in the hips. I'm not too surprised by the ratio of sizes (Although generally, my waist is the smallest of the measurements), but I've never been this big. Well, never this big and had to see the actual numbers to go with it at least. I can't complain about the waist, I mean hello, that's where the baby is. But I'm not very comfortable with the enlarged chest. Above all, I can't stand the idea of my already large hips growing even larger. I guess I can be happy that I have good child-bearing hips. But, I've got another 4 months to go. Maybe if I get a better hold of #3, I can slow the expansion. :) Oh yeah, did I mention that the bridesmaid dress is for my brother's wedding?! I'm super excited about the joining of two lives (especially the two that are being joined), but being in a wedding 2 weeks after my due date is a little scary in the dress department.

5) Blessed. Obviously, we're super excited about our new addition. But I'm also extremely happy that I haven't had to deal with some of the typical pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness and swelling. (I'm also a little sad I don't get serious cravings. I haven't made Stanton make a single midnight run to go pick up something tasty.)

In general I'm feeling good. Not too different from usual. I can say that I feel a little different this time than I did with Chaselyn, but I can't figure out how to explain it, it's just different. Maybe it's the little male hormones inside of me. Maybe it's that I have a better understanding this time around as to what it all means. Who knows?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The end of a dream?

So as many of you know, I've been wrestling with trying to figure out the life I want to lead. Am I career woman who balances work and family seemingly with ease as I publish papers, teach the masses, raise the kids, make a loving home for my family, bring home the bacon and fry it in pan? (Mmmmm...bacon) Or am I the stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) who knows all the latest and greatest innovations in child rearing, home-making, and recipe cooking? OK, realistically I knew I wasn't going to fit in to either one of these categories, so where do I fit in?

Up to this point in my life, I've been a drifter. Whenever the end of one era of life came along, another door that seemed logical seemed to pop right open. At the end of high school, college was the logical step, and while others were paining over the decision of where to go, I really only had one choice. Sure I applied to a handful of other places, but I knew I belonged at the U of A. After undergrad, I really had no prospects. School seemed fine, I wasn't burnt out, and the 9 month schedule with great time off was real nice. So, when the math department told me that they needed more graduate students to fill their assistantships I went along for the ride. Teaching and keeping up with my own work wasn't too hard, and like I said, there was always plenty of time to go to games, spend time with the hubby, and sleep. (It was during my first year of grad school we discovered I have a thyroid problem. Apparently sleeping 14+ hours really isn't normal, even for a college student.) Then, as we were closing in on the end of my master's program some guy came up from Baylor to talk to me about pursuing a doctorate. I accepted the lunch date figuring at least I could get a free meal. And then he offered to pay for my husband and I to go to Waco to check out the campus. Seeing as how we were racking up some student loans and had great parents who took us on family vacations, we hadn't gone on a road trip just the two of us since our honeymoon (and even that was more of an air trip). So we decided that an expenses paid weekend away, even in Waco, would be a nice little trip. Still having no intentions to carry on my education or to move nearly 7 hours away from family. But then the guy who bought me lunch and paid for the trip also put Stanton in contact with a fantastic researcher who had found a way to combine mechanical engineering with some truly meaningful and impactful ideas. And so, we both enrolled at BU not too much later. And then just as it seemed our time was up here in Waco, we stayed. Sure I had another very enticing job offer back home at UAFS, sure we had no idea exactly where $$ was going to come from in the near future, but we knew we were right where we were supposed to be. And before long, Stanton was indeed pulling in a pay check and I was able to grab up a post doctoral position in the stats department where I was already so comfortable.

And now, before you know it, it's two years later, we've got one kid, another on the way, and we've purchased a house in Waco (Hewitt technically). And in May another chapter closes for me. The post doc ends. Naturally when I saw that the BU stats department was posting a tenure track position starting Fall 2010, it seemed like another beacon calling me. So I applied. And then I thought about it...and then I prayed about it...and thought...and prayed...and let that cycle repeat for way too long. Once I came to the conclusion that I would let the search committee make my life decision for me. If I was offered the job, then it was meant to be and I would jump at it. If I wasn't offered the job, then it was meant to be and I would just be a SAHM. That appeased me for about 2.3 hours. Then I realized that I needed to be more aware of the direction that my life was going. I needed to make a decision and not let someone else make decisions for me. And more than that God was telling me that for my own sanity I needed to be more in tune with where he was guiding me.

And so I wrestled...I was already feeling overwhelmed trying to balance research, teaching, and Chaselyn how could I take on an even heavier workload and devote time to another child? But being a SAHM is a daunting task as well. What do I know about what kids need to know? What tools they need to develop properly? Can I be at home with 2 kids all the time? I love kids, but do I love them that much? Can I really just forget about the past 8 years of my life that I spent laboring to learn and grow as a statistician and be comfortable with only being called Mom? And before too long I was beating myself up from both ends. "You'll make a horrible SAHM." "You want someone else to raise your kids?" "You're failing miserably at your research, just give it up."

And I finally just had to say enough is enough. The truth of the matter is that I cannot physically, mentally, or emotionally trudge on in a job like the one I have now, much less one even more demanding. I am constantly bombarded with a feeling of defeat in all areas of life. I'm not living up to the job description for the post doc. I am not living up to be the mother I want to be. I am not the wife I want to be. And the more I try to fix one area, the more another fails. And I appreciate so much those people around me who have stepped up to accomodate my short comings and those who have supported me all the way. It's because of all the support and love that I have felt that prolonged the whole meltdown in the first place. If you people would just stop being so confident in me, I would have given up long ago.

But on Friday, I finally told my advisor that I wouldn't be able to handle the tenure track position. That it's just to much for me and my family right now. A tenure track position would mean lots of sacrifice, and if any part of my family is going to sacrifice, it's going to be me, not my children, not my husband. And just in true supportive advisor fashion, he said that he totally understood. He was so happy that his wife was able to stay home with their young children and that there were no hard feelings. He was so much more understanding and supportive than I deserved. I shouldn't have expected anything less, but for some reason I did. And as I talked with him, I realized that there was some relief of finally letting the cat out of the bag, but I still had this underlying feeling of disappointment. It obviously wasn't coming from my advisor and I know that I'm doing what God wants, so why do I feel so down?

A friend suggested that I was grieving the end of a journey. It may not have been my life long dream to be a statistician, but I have worked hard over the past several years to make a go of it. And I achieved something only the top 1% of Americans achieve, a Ph.D. And beyond that, only a fraction of these people have an article published in a scholarly journal. And now, essentially, I am turning away from that journey. I do hope to stay involved in the community of statistics, working on publications when I can and possibly doing some teaching now and then. But in general, my choice to leave the field now all but guarantees that I will not pursue a tenure track position in the future. And without some real extra effort, I will most likely be relegated to teaching lower level courses when I can pick those up. And there's nothing to say that a person can't be sad over the ending of one era while really looking forward to the next. So, I allowed myself to grieve and to give respect to the accomplishments I have made and commit to doing the best darn job possible over the next couple of months I have left.

But, that wasn't all. I still had this feeling of disappointment. And it wasn't until Sunday afternoon when I pegged it. I had admitted defeat. By going to my advisor and telling him that I couldn't handle it, for the first time in my life that I can recall, I said "It's too hard. I give up." And that is not my nature. I have never been pushed so hard that I felt like I had to break. And I feel that I've done a lot of things in my little life. And this 28-year-old woman felt like a small child who decides the bumps and bruises aren't worth the freedom of a bicycle ride. I failed. I failed. I failed. I'm not the golden child. I'm not the one that people are going to say..."Look at her, she found a way to do it all, surely you can too." And I wanted to be that person. More than being a successful statistician. More than being an outstanding mom. I wanted to do both. I wanted to make it work. But I'm not that person.

I'm the person who has to admit that she is only one person and I can only handle so much at one time. And I am glad to say that I can admit defeat. I believe that is what I was really wrestling with. I was wrestling my pride. My innermost feelings of being the one who has it all and can do everything. I give it up. I'm not that person.

I'm the person who is happy to have finally been broken and shown what true pride there was in her heart. I'm the person who will never be upset that she gave up on the dream of being the perfect woman who does it all to just be the mom who is there for her kids. I'm the person who will (try to) remember always that any time I feel like I gave up on myself or missed out on my dream that I am indeed living the dream that God has planned which will far surpass any silly little idea I ever had.

So, that's where I am today. Still living the dream, just a different version of the dream than I thought I was living. I needed to write this blog, not for you, but for me. So that future me can come back to this post and re-read the wisdom that I feel I have right now. The clarity of perspective as to what is going on in my life right now. Because I know I'll need to be reminded repeatedly of what in the world I am doing with my life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It's a BOY!!!!

Read about our baby boy's name on Stanton's first entry into the blog world.

My thoughts exactly!

As a mom of a sweet baby girl, I am often disgusted at some of the things written on t-shirts for baby girls. Add my aversion to anything mentioning how Chaselyn is a "diva in training" to my dislike of pink and frilly, and the wardrobe possibilities are quite reduced. Which I often over compensate for by purchasing anything cute in purples and greens.

Anyway, I saw this article today that pretty much pegs my feelings on what Chaselyn will not be wearing in the near future.

Monday, January 18, 2010

14 months

Chaselyn is over 14 months old now, and what does she like to do? Well of course Mommy has already trained her to help out with the laundry. Another wonderful benefit of the front load washer and dryer. Not only does she enjoy helping load and unload, but she also likes to just watch. It's very cute. (Note: This blog post has been delayed for 2 days waiting and retrying to upload the video. I've decided to carry on with the post and catch you up with the video later.)

Some other new favorite activities include watching the local weather station. She grooves to the smooth relaxing music and really appreciates the graphics and bright colors. She is still expressing her love of music all the time. She likes to dance and is amazed by singers too.

She's also learned to spin around in circles. She can usually only make it around two and a half times before falling down, but she laughs the whole time.

Chaselyn is far more expressive than she was just a month ago. On the way home from Christmas, she was making totally different noises and gestures than she made on the way too Arkansas. And she definitely grew too. She's so much more mature looking and acting.

This past month she has exposed her true girly side (scary for me to think about). At Christmas, she loved the few clothes that she got. She loves playing with her clothes too (doing the laundry is a special treat). She has also expressed an affinity for Mommy's sparkly shoes and purses. She loved to pick out clothes while Christmas shopping too. We could take her to a rack and she would push items out of the way until she found something she liked. Well, at least that's what she appeared to be doing.

But no worries, she's got brains to go with that beauty. She's made big progress in figuring out some shape sorter toys. And she loves to play with her farm. We're still working on animal noises and parts of the face. Her favorite songs are "If you're happy and you know it" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider".

Unfortunately, she spent the last few days of her 13th month sick at home with a stomach virus. But with some help from Ducky she made a full recovery and was back to tip top shape to welcome in month 14.

Monday, January 11, 2010

There is hope for me yet...

Still wonderin’ why I’m here,
Still wrestling with my fear
But oh….He’s up to something,
And the farther on I go, I’ve seen enough to know that I’m not here for nothin’

He’s up to somethin'.

I never slow down or so it seems, but singing my heart is one of my dreams
All I gotta do is hold on tight

There is hope, for me yet
because God won’t forget all the plans He’s made for me
I have to wait and see,
He’s not finished with me yet,