The latest things

So I’ve really been sucking at keeping my blog updated lately, but I guess you could say I’m just not super motivated to write a lot these days. At first, Russ was changing at a pace that was – while certainly impressive – still enough that I could afford to take time to jot it all down. Now, it seems like he’s just blazing through all the latest developments at such a pace that I can’t even wrap my head around it before he’s gone on to the next thing.

It’s humbling to realize that I don’t matter in this equation. My only purpose is to be the mother that he deserves and to help nurture and teach him and develop him into the amazing little boy (and one day, grown man…whoa) he’s going to become. I’m not saying that I literally don’t matter, but you know what I mean. I hope. I’m of quite minimal importance, and that’s okay with me – actually, I freakin’ LOVE that!

I think a lot of times, people don’t stop to consider and then clarify what statements like that can sound like, especially to those who haven’t experienced parenthood for themselves yet. So I don’t want to leave any gray area here. I used to hear people say stuff like that and I’d think to myself “What the heck are you talking about?! Of COURSE you matter! What a ridiculous statement!” I’m going to hazard a guess that there are some moms out there who mean that statement quite literally – usually the ones who go days without brushing their teeth or hair, who are still wearing their husband’s pajamas five months postpartum (during the daytime…out to lunch…at a Golden Corral), and who think working out is for selfish SOBs who must not love their children if they don’t spend 24 hours a day with them. That’s such crap. I’m sorry, but that really sucks!

The truth of the matter? In order to be a fully involved, efficient, healthy, and happy version of yourself (and yourself as a parent, especially), you can’t completely lose yourself. Lose yourself if you will in how wonderful your child is, how beautiful this time in your life is, how spectacularly selfish your life may have been before you had this kid to depend on you in every way. But you have to maintain some semblance of what makes you who you are and what makes you happy. I mean…ya know, unless your name is Charlie Sheen, you’re a lifelong addict, and what makes you happy is using the word “winning” all the time, poking Playboy bunnies, and doing massive, epic amounts of cocaine. Then…you probably want to consider changing things up a tad.

But in my case, one thing that helps me maintain my sanity in all this new parenthood craziness is hitting the gym a couple times a week or doing some sort of exercise at home. I also am really enjoying cooking and baking. And sometimes, when nothing else will do, putting the baby in the car seat and heading out for an aimless drive through the Dark Corner countryside is something that will almost always quiet my mind and comfort my heart.

But enough about me.

Lately, Russ is just changing so much, so quickly. I look at him, and then at the calendar that is now two days shy of my 27th birthday and 13 days shy of his six-month birthday and…I blink.

I’m just in disbelief. Wasn’t I just 14? Wasn’t I just 20? Where’d it all go? Most of all, isn’t there some way I can go back to September 1st and start this whole amazing thing all over again? But then again, Russ is just now becoming soooooo much fun. I mean, the newborn baby stage is AMAZING and divine and heart-wrenching and perfect and beautiful. It’s all that and a box of Girl Scout Cookies. But now, at five and a half months old, he’s HILARIOUS.

In the mornings, I pull him into bed with me and cuddle him under the comforter and he says “MA-MA-MA-MA-MA-MA” over and over again. And he will scarf down a container of baby food prunes or sweet potatoes with such fervor that it’s almost hilarious – he even “yells” at us if we take too long shoveling them into his open trap. He’s starting to flirt with little baby girls (already…) in the gym daycare nursery. No kidding! I came in to pick him up after my short workout yesterday afternoon, and he was giggling and smiling and jumping around in the exersaucer while staring at a little girl named Naomi (but pronounced “nigh-oh-me,” which I just LOOOOOOVE) who was wearing head-to-toe pink. He’s got such a personality on him, it’s hilarious.

And things are going so well for our little family. In a beyond-crappy economy where we really should be struggling like crazy, we’ve somehow managed to keep it all together and we just feel so blessed. Jonathan’s job is chugging along and he’s doing really well there. He has a great group of people who are not only professionally supportive of him, but who were a huge network of support as we welcomed Russ and got used to life with him. And we’re starting to talk about how we’re going to move forward in our family’s life together, what matters most to us, what doesn’t matter, etc. One thing we’re surprised by is how our house plans have changed over the past two years. This isn’t especially well known info, but I guess it’s fine to put it out there on my own blog…

Two years ago, Jonathan and I were completely rehauling our current house in order to try and sell it. We went on the market a week or two before the real estate market bottomed out and our house never sold, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We were going to buy or build this great house – I mean, this really gorgeous, custom, 2800 square foot Craftsman style place. And one day, when our kids are teens, we’ll probably build a “dream house” of some sort. But we’ve completely changed focus. Now, all we’re going to need – and not for another 4 or 5 years at least – is enough square footage and bedrooms to accommodate the 3 (or 4) kids we’re hoping to have. We don’t care if it’s “custom,” or if the flooring is brand new, or if there’s a pool. We just want to be out near Travelers Rest or Greer, raising our kids, with a place that we can improve upon. We’ve dropped our eventual budget for that move by thousands of dollars, and we couldn’t be happier with the move to a simpler way of life.

The goal here is to focus on what’s important. I think Dave Ramsey calls it “deferring pleasure” until you can actually afford it. The less we spend on a house, the more we can save towards our kid’s college fund(s), our retirement, etc. The house and all that will take shape as the time becomes appropriate. But for now, we’re going to continue cramming our family into the house we currently own. It’s a great house. We did all the work on it, and we’re proud of it. It will be a tight squeeze when we have a second child (and all the toys and trappings of small children) in a few years. Then it’ll be time to think about making a move to a bigger place. But we’re going to time all of those decisions with what is right for the kids, and we’re not going to worry so much about how stylish things are, or whether the house is “move-in ready.” Our kids won’t care about that stuff. Why should we?

Anyhow, that’s my attempt at forming some coherent thoughts for the day. I’d say it’s completely possible that I might log back in after a few hours and continue rambling. I’m just not that put together right now. My mind is mulling some stuff that I had posted about recently, but then decided to take that post down. Because it’s still not quite figured out just yet. But we’re happy and doing well, and that’s all I can ask for. Well, actually, with my birthday coming up Friday, it’s not. I’d also like a new nursing bra and a pedicure.

Such a far cry from the birthdays of my early 20s…:-)

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