Fear Not the Resolutions!

It’s 14 degrees Fahrenheit outside. That’s -10 degrees Celcius, for my metric-minded friends. That’s cold. At least to me and my intolerant skin, inherited from an ancestry that comes from some of the warmest geography on Earth.

I found out that being physically cold makes me act cold, too. I get snappy, my fuse gets even shorter than it has been with the roller coaster of pregnancy hormones, and all I want to do is hide under a warm blanket and fantasize about my days living two minutes away from the beach. That’s been a recurring fantasy/dream lately, and my new year’s resolution is thusly the following:

– In 2011, I will make a CONCRETE plan for going back to Southern California. Preferably my old ‘hood, for my feet miss shoving off of my road and knowing that they are only minutes away from the beauty, serenity, and memories of the Pacific Ocean.

While we’re at it, why don’t we add a few more:

– I will choose warmth over fashion.
In the name of being proactive and ridding my family of stinky-mood mama, I will layer on the clothes no matter how chunky and unfashionable I look. Take today, for instance.
Background: Years ago, I promised myself, as a student in mercilessly cold Massachussets, that I would never wear thermal underwear or ANY variation thereof underneath my jeans/pants. Or sacrifice looking good for warmth.
This morning: I looked in my closet for thermal underwear, remembered my promise of years ago and the fact that I don’t HAVE ANY, and promptly rummaged in my drawer for the thickest pair of sweater tights that I own.
Then, with no hesitation, I pulled those suckers on, way up high on my waist so that I looked like an encased sausage (or 65-year old man wearing his pants up to his chin), and wore my jeans right on top.
Sausage legs? Who cares. Today, I am warm. And happy.

– I will figure out a way to spend more time at home, and less time working.
No matter what, I will not end 2011 the same way I am ending 2010: Overworked, over-tired, and ridden with guilt about leaving my child to spend most of his time  with other people, and not enough of his time with me.

– I will prioritize myself more, and do things I love/enjoy doing.
It’s no good for anyone when I don’t allow myself to come first sometimes. Doing everything for everyone is not practical, and I need to learn that doing things for myself is OK.

I will be more healthy
Boy is that a loaded one. :) Mentally and physically, I will focus on health, not how I look or how I am perceived.

I will get my PMP Certification
I’m working on it! Test to be scheduled for March 2011! Wish me luck

– I will do more Yoga.
No elaboration needed.

– I will let my family and friends know I love them
I will be more verbal and expressive about that. I promise.

Have a happy and healthy 2011, everyone! May it be a better year for all of us.

All About the Belly

The past few weeks have been all about the belly.

Boys all around me at home, means more focus on the food. I will admit, trying to support a growing life inside my own belly while working more hours than I want to think about leaves me with less than a raging appetite for eating OR cooking. Still, I have my moments where I man up (heheh), put on that apron, and whip something up that I can feel proud of.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been taking many pictures. Here’s what I do have: pictures of my recent adventures in gingerbread! I’ve made ginger cookies before, but not real gingerbread. I typically love ginger-anything, but my tastes have been altered so dramatically lately that I don’t really like much of anything, especially things I typically like.

But when my little one came home one day asking me if we could “PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE MAMA” make gingerbread men, with his big brown eyes swallowing up about half of his face, I said yes before realizing what was coming out of my mouth. The glimmer in his eyes and the “YAAAAAAY!” that escaped his own little mouth were totally worth it.

So, we made gingerbread men. And I think we did a pretty goood job. Wanna see?

A closeup:

In other belly news, we are going to Las Vegas this weekend. Yes, Las Vegas on Christmas. I don’t know if we’re crazy or nuts, but I have a feeling it’s a combination of both, for a number of reasons:
1) We’re driving there. With a preschooler. One who does NOT like sitting still for any length of time, and fights naps with steely conviction. I will fall asleep in the car eons before his eyelids even start to get heavy.
2) It’s Christmas weekend. Which means that normal people will be spending the holiday with family. I.e., they won’t be in Vegas.
3) Everyone in our house has been sick this past week/10 days. As someone observantly noted,
“Mama! Baba’s germs jumped to you because you sleeped next to him in your bed! And den, your germs jumped to ME because you boos (kiss) me!”
Pretty accurate.

Of course one of the most important aspects of going to Vegas is the food, so I’ve been spending the last couple of days researching where to eat. But really, my main concern is: Will I enjoy it? My taste buds are shot from pregnancy and this yucky cold, and my tummy is totally unpredictable from one hour to the next.

I’m determined to make this trip fun, though, so I’ve created an itinerary! It involves monorail rides, volcanoes, sharks, arcades, inside amusement rides, and maybe a massage? Oh, and definitely, food. It doesn’t seem to matter at this point what I am or am not consuming, since Operation Belly Expansion is slowly but surely underway, so I might as well do my best to enjoy it!

Wish us luck, and for anyone celebrating, Happy Holidays!

Projects Done Wrong

It’s been a rough week.

I am deflated, and am fighting feelings of failure, even though I know the end-result will actually be a win for everyone involved, and even though I know I did the right thing.

The background: I’ve been spending endless hours on a project that was supposed to go live this week. I worked really hard on it, rolled my sleeves up and got into the nitty-gritty, and demanded the same level of committment from all the project participants. We built a great working relationship and really had a high caliber of teamwork going on.

Unfortunately, there were things we couldn’t have known until we got into the test environment and really experienced things firsthand. The team was blind to the end-result until it was almost too late.

As someone who’s worked with different software development models, this frustrates me.
This is exactly the problem with development and testing that are not done in an iterative fashion. Not knowing until the end. Guessing. Making judgement calls without having all the required information at hand.

I was the one who raised the red flag and said “No, we are not doing this.” Others were willing to maybe give it a try (in Production!!), and “see how it goes”. I knew instinctively how much of a mess and burning at the stake that approach would cause, and simply could not allow things to move forward.

I presented my case to management, explained the risks of going live with the project/development in its current state, and they agreed with my approach. Relief.

Still, I can’t shake the feeling that a lot of people have spent a lot of time to get things to where they are today, and that I’ve let them down. I know we will have an opportunity to set things right, and that’s what I’m trying to focus on. It’s hard, though, because I don’t like to be in this place.
I like to be winning, making everyone happy, and making projects come alive.

Time to reflect for a bit and turn inwards, so that I hopefully come back stronger and wiser…

Housework UPDATE!

Friday, 5 p.m, work week is done, and I practically throw myself through the front door to check out the state of our home.

Clean.
House.
Courtesy of: Fabulous, newly hired cleaning lady.

Recall, if you will, the dilemma of House + Work = No Housework.

I think I’ve found my cleaning soul mate.

Have yourselves a great evening. I, for one, am sitting in front of the fireplace with my feet up on the coffee table, watching mindless television.

THANK YOU, to each and every one of you who encouraged (or threatened) me to get a cleaning lady!

Preschooler Car Talk – 12/7/10

“Mama! I see a policeman!”
“Yeah, I see him too. Check it out, he has his lights on.”
Little mouth open, watching as the police car passes to our right and makes a sharp turn.

“You know what?”
“What?”
“Today, when I was driving to work, I was going a little too fast, and a policeman caught me! He turned on his lights and I had to stop.”
“He catched you! He went PFOOOOSH! and catched you!”
“Yep. I should be more careful next time and not go too fast.”
“He catched you…”

==========================================================

2 days later, also in the car, with both mama and baba in the car.
Baba on the phone, engrossed in conversation.

“Mama! A policeman!”
“Yep, I see him.”
“Mama! Do police cars have a net that goes PFOOSH! and comes out of the car and PFOOSH! and catches people?!??!!”
“No, sweetie, they don’t have a net.”
“But MAMAAA! You ‘nember you were going SUPER-fast and the police man saw you and catched you?”
Mama glancing nervously to her right, checking to see if baba caught any of the incriminating conversation.
Baba still talking loudly into his phone.
“Umm, yeah I ‘nember. There was no net. Look over there! Do you see that?!”
“What? What mama?”
“Um, look at all those clouds. You think it’s gonna rain?”
“YEAH! And LIGHTNING will go PFOOSH PFOOSH!”

Phew.

Workout Music

So, after 3 days of doing my best to keep my head out of the toilet (lovely image, I know), and getting offended by even the smell of that little plastic cover that goes on top of my cell phone (not to mention the breath of every single human being on the face of this earth), I decided to power through it and go work out this morning at the gym. (Side gripe: Of course that meant waking up at 4 am since I had a 6 am presentation to senior managers. SIX AM?!?!?!? WHO SCHEDULES A PRESENTATION FOR 6 AM?!).

Unfortunately, the selection of music playing at my local gym isn’t always the best or most, uh, recent, and so I usually have to plug in and listen to my own.

Today, however, was an exception! My gym is now following the times, and they blasted a few songs all in a row that were upbeat, more recent than their normal selection, and although not necessarily a sampling of finer musical tastes, definitely got me moving on the elliptical machine. That’s definitely my criteria for good workout/gym music.

One of the songs that played is a song I heard for the first time back in Amman this summer when I was visiting my family. I hadn’t heard it before and haven’t heard it since on the radio waves out here, until this morning! I was excited because even if the song were a total piece of crap (which it isn’t, in my opinion), it holds so many memories of happy times which would make up for any musical/taste deficiencies.

The song is called “Stereo Love” and it’s by Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina. Unfortunately I can’t embed it here, but trust me, it’s worth going to the youtube link.

The other song that’s been getting me moving is the new Black Eyed Peas’ single “The Time (Dirty Bit)”. Really, the best part of the song for me is the funky beat. Makes this old lady’s feet want to forget about aging bones and age-appropriateness, and break out some of her old college dorm party moves.

What? Moves? No you must have heard me wrong. I NEVER went to parties at college, and if I dropped in on one or two by mistake, I always sat meekly and with much reservation in the corner, with my hands folded over my lap, wondering when the torture was going to end.

Mmhmm.

My Boys

During the week of Thanksgiving, I was in Halistic heaven. The reason: I was surrounded by my boys. My crazy, fun, hilarious, food-loving, beautiful boys who make me feel like I’m the Queen of Everything. (They actually gave me a mug that says so, AWWWW YEEAAAAH.)

To clarify, my boys are:  My awesome husband, my beautiful adorable Spiderman (who is quickly developing a pretty awesome sense of humor, if I do say so myself), and my most favorite-est brother in the whole world, Z.  (Ahem, he’s also my only brother, NOT that that should diminish my previous statement at all. ;)

Z visited us from California during the week of Thanksgiving since he had a few days off of school. Just having him with us was such a treat, even though I only got Thanksgiving day off, and he was busy working on assignments and papers.

The best part about his school’s quarter system (vs. semesters)? 
We get to have him come back for winter break in just a few more days! Yaaaaaaaay for free babysitting!
I mean, yaaaaaaaaay for brothers!

And here are some snapshots of what it’s like when we get together. Smiles all around.
(Well maybe except in the first photo where SOMEONE is trying to look all serious. However, nose-picking photo ops are usually a quick remedy to that attempt at sourface, as evidenced bel0w.)


The next picture explains why we were so bundled up:

I predict a great December!

Debut

I realize I may have caused some confusion with the “siblings” picture from my last post. The ultrasound picture in that post is NOT a picture of Baby halistic. I just used it to illustrate a point.

But!
I am now equipped with an actual picture that I can share! We have the exclusive rights to debut this picture of Bambina/o!

As the ultrasound technician turned the screen to show me what she was seeing, she let out a little gasp. “Ooh! That’s a lot of movement! Look!”
I took a look, and sure enough, there was my Bambina/o, doing little baby crunches, up, down, up, down, arms reaching towards legs. In utero Boot Camp! Not wasting any time! That’s how I like ’em.

Except, I could only pay attention for a few seconds at a time since the technician kept pressing on the 32 ounces of fluid that I was ordered to chug one hour before the ultrasound, which were threatening to change the nature of our curteous technician-patient relationship forever. I have never before appreciated the simple bliss of being able to put one foot in front of the other without having to worry about offending the floor tiles.

Since this pregnancy has made me intolerant to the taste of my favorite beverage, water, I probably hadn’t had a cumulative 32 ounces of water over the past 3 DAYS before the ultrasound, so it’s safe to say my system was in SHOCK.

Thankfully, I was able to maintain my dignity and walk away from the ultrasound (although I almost forgot to grab the picture the technician was waving in front of my face) without offending any people or objects. I hope.

Project! (Part II) – The Announcement

So hey, guess what?!

We got the Green light on that project I talked about earlier today here! The project is formally a go, and I can now share details!


Project Introduction:

The target Go-Live date for this project is June 2011, and the project is being called “Operation Siblings”.

Currently, things look a little like this:



Current Status:

This project announcement should explain most, if not all, of the following phenomena:
Hibernation
Coffee Break
Sleep Rehab
Winter Rhymes with Brr (the tummy going topsy-turvy part)

It also explains why my head has been seeing the inside of a toilet much more frequently than I ever would have imagined.

Oh yes, there is much of that going on. I haven’t complained much about it yet, but please be prepared for lengthy descriptions of the ways in which my current superhuman sense of smell makes toothpaste taste like poison. And how I can smell each and every single person or inanimate object around me, and distinguish each of them with my eyes closed.

All I’m saying is, be prepared. I have a lot to tell, and it’s not all pretty.

Except, hearing the baby’s heartbeat today was a moment I will cherish forever. The doctor tried to warn me that sometimes they don’t catch the heartbeat very easily, and sometimes not at all unless it’s with the fancy-shmancy $500,000 machine.
HAH! Was he WRONG, or WHAT?!

As soon as he put his little heartbeat monitor thing on my belly, our ears were suddenly filled with the thunder of a thousand horses galloping in unison. That baby wanted to be HEARD.
“I am BABY, hear me ROAR.”

And we did. We HEARD.
The doctor was considerate and kind enough to read into my desire to keep listening for a little while longer than necessary, even without me having to ask. It made my day, and as I fought back tears, the doctor (mistake of his life) said, “Sounds like a BOY! He’s showing off already! I’m here I’m here!”

Um, ok mister. We could have been friends. This doctor-patient relationship had potential, from the 20 minutes I spent in your office before you started making gender-biased judgement calls.

This doctor OBVIOUSLY has no clue about how the womens in this family are double motivated compared to the mens, ’cause that’s how we ROLL, YO! And, we have an intrinsic need to prove to the world that whatever the boys can do, we can do it BETTER.

And you better believe it.

You keep working that little heart of yours, baby. I don’t care what you are, you know that. I do care that you know I am starting to fall in love with you.

Just don’t make me crave donuts (at least not too frequently), ok?! Deal?! Awesome. Thanks!

Love, mama

House + Work = No Housework

As a full-time working wife and mother, I’ve often been overwhelmed with the demands of keeping a squeaky-clean home, producing appetizing, fully nutritious, home-cooked meals, having the time and energy to engage my son in intellectually stimulating activities, and, above all else, keeping a squeaky-clean home.
Oh, and did I mention keeping a squeaky-clean home? Because that’s really important to me too.

One obvious solution is to hire someone to come clean my home, which would take a huge chunk off of my overflowing plate, and might even contribute to making me a *little* less crazy. (No guarantees, though).

But, similar to my issues with getting a pedicure (why would ANYONE have goodwill towards me if I’m sticking my toes in their face and having them clean, massage, file, and paint while I sit there? Especially since I have, uh, larger than average feet that have been beaten and battered by running (black toenail syndrome, anyone?), which probably makes it infinitely less pleasant for the poor woman trying to keep her face from contorting with disgust and more than a little concern.

Back to cleaning my house.

So, I find that no matter how bad things get, and how busy I am, I haven’t been able to justify (to myself) hiring someone to come clean for me*.
(This is EVEN after my husband explicitly told me: “Let’s hire someone to come clean the house.” What he didn’t say was “Before one of us kills the other one.”)

Part of that is the conflict between the image of the highly capable, perfect wonder-mom that we see on TV shows and movies, and reality.

Ideal TV world: Mom can easily juggle a full-time job, while also being the perfect cook, disciplinarian, fun-loving parent, and sexy, energetic wife who keeps a squeaky-clean home with little effort or complaint.
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