Good People Still Exist

Good People Still Exist

We are bombarded every day with people hurting other people, committing crimes, people who want to do harm to others, people disrespecting every type of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, and a president who represents xenophobia. 

It’s hard to remember sometimes that there are good people in the world.  It’s hard to focus on kind deeds the people who really do hold this country together do, and the people who make this the best place in the world to live. I have seen remarkable kindness, especially in the last year that I would like to share. 

These such kindnesses have been overwhelming.  As a new mom, as someone who has struggled with postpartum depression, with someone who has had a preemie, someone who lost her job, someone who is in a constant state of financial worry, and someone who has had one really, really, trying and tough year, I’ve been able to keep my head above water because of the kindness I’ve been shown. 


Family has been tremendous. Truly coming to the rescue on so many occasions. 

What surprises me most is how virtual strangers have come through to help. Tons of moms have come forward to help another mom in need; another mom struggling.  Not only do I have 2 wonderful groups of women who I met this year, some only virtually, who offer comfort and advice and encouragement, but they’ve also been so generous. Moms in Facebook groups I’m in, who don’t know me at all, giving me bottles or toys or sending gift cards. I’ve gotten bags and boxes of clothes, jugs of formula that weren’t going to be used anymore, a jumperoo and so much more!

I’ve been helped by organizations that are dedicated to assisting new moms who are struggling, offering free support in a variety of ways from diapers to therapy to even some free shopping fun. 

My therapist who is amazing!!! is now out-of-network with my new insurance which has a $6K deductible. She has offered to only charge me my copay so I wouldn’t have to find a new therapist. This meant THE world to me. 

People that gave away their moving supplies. I got about 40 boxes, bubble wrap and foam wrap for free. Saved me not only money but time going store to store asking for their boxes. 

A landlord who knew of my struggles and why I had to move, who let me out of my lease early with no penalties and an offer of a reference for the future. 

People offering to review my resume, keep their eyes peeled for positions for me. 

People offering to babysit while I unpack our new place, or go for an interview or if I just want some “me time.”

When there was an issue with my WIC check at the grocery store and an older gentleman in line behind me offered to pay for my baby food. 

I truly believe there is still good in this world. You sometimes have to search for it or be present enough to notice when it’s happening, but it is there. And it is not just in big gestures but the smallest of kindnesses that need to be acknowledged. 

I wish for a day when the news is filled with more good than bad. When the media decides to focus the shift from celebrities and killings and just the most ridiculous stories to things that matter, acts of kindness, people saving one another, and true American heroes. 

I do partially blame the media for this intense negativity that seems to just bombard us from every direction, on every social platform, every TV station, every magazine you open; it’s everywhere. Seek out the good stuff. The stuff that makes you smile. The stuff that encourages you. The stuff that makes you believe in humanity. So I wanted to do my little part to remind everyone that there are good people in this world and to have faith. 

Tech and Older Generations

Tech and Older Generations

Watching my parents trying to get the hang of texting was hilarious.  I’d get everything from unintentional one word texts (where they wanted a space but hit “enter” instead) to misspellings galore (couldn’t figure out the backspace key) or all CAPS.  Trying to explain how to order something online was a whole new test in my patience.  When they first joined Facebook, I had to give them a tutorial on how to do everything from comment on a post to adding a photo.  I will never forget when my mom asked me “There’s this person, I can’t figure out who it is, who keeps asking me what’s on my mind.”  After trying to figure out what she was referring to without any luck, I had her show me.  Here’s what she was referring to:

status bar facebook

 

I couldn’t suppress the bursting of laughter that followed her pointing to the screen.

I’ll sit at the computer at my parent’s house figuring something online out for them and they will sit near me in awe at how fast I can navigate 5 pages at once.

I have to point out that both of my parents are highly intelligent and not completely un-tech savvy.  My mom especially has worked a computer, a fax, a multi-line phone system and more, so she knows her way around an office.  It’s just the “new” technology is SO new to them both.  I definitely give them credit for tackling it.  I know some people of my parent’s generation who don’t even own a computer and still have a flip phone.  The internet terrifies them.

Having not yet owned an iPad, Kindle or similar products, I’m sure I’ll need some crash courses on how to use them.  I can only imagine with the technology kids today are growing up with how much more advanced things will be by the time I have kids.  It will be my children’s turns to roll their eyes, laugh at me and push me out of the way to take over because I’m sure I will be as far removed at that point from most things tech as my parents are now. 

TUber Cherry Popped

TUber Cherry Popped

Tried “TUber” for the first time despite being completely skeptical of the service. I’ve heard stories of fake background checks, overcharging and crimes taking place. Not a ton, mind you, but enough to scare me away until today. I was with a good friend so I figured “If I’m going to be kidnapped, I’m happy it’s with her.” We needed several rides throughout the night so I said “What the hell” and threw caution to the wind. 

I will say it’s a cool service. You know upfront how much you’ll pay, who is picking you up (complete with photo if you’re searching for a hottie), the car they’re driving and how long it will be until they arrive with real-time updates. So far I was impressed. I struggled a bit looking for a big “Yes, I want to use this car and now” button in the app, realizing I already selected a price and that was all I had to do. Tricky tricky, TUber. 

I was entirely too excited with the live updates counting down the minutes until our chariot would arrive. And then there he was. At least we were pretty sure. Without the big “taxi” light on top and decals covering the white/yellow car it was hard to tell for sure that this guy was ours. 

So we hop in, I verify with a quick glance that this is in fact our driver as pictured. He already knows our destination.  He is ready to go. The car is clean, smells good, nothing odd (as I scan for duct tape, plastic sheets, axes).  I watch too many horror movies. So far so good. 

But then I start to freak out a little and my mind, never disappointing, starts spouting off one concern after another. Thanks mind; it’s too late now. You could’ve spoken up BEFORE I inadvertently ordered the car. 

– What if he’s a terrible driver?

– What if he has been drinking?

-What if he’s high?

– What if he’s a stalker and now he knows where I live? (At which point my friend said, let’s use an address near you. I didn’t know any. She suggested looking one up on Google Earth. I decided I could live with a stalker.)

– There aren’t child locks on these doors right?

For real though, I’ve seen like 200 horror films. 

I take a deep breath and hope for the best. We survive. He did careen down that one full parking lot aisle and I was just waiting to be called as a witness to a reckless driving charge after he hit someone walking to their car. But again, we made it and I don’t think any turtles trying to cross the road were harmed. 

But wait, have I paid the driver? How do I add a tip? Do I just walk out of the car now? The answers are: yes, still don’t know, and yes. This feels so odd. Just leaving without paying even though we did pay. 

I did at least know that you review each other. I was hoping I was a good passenger but who knows what good passenger standards are. “Did I stumble into some bad lighting?” (If you get that reference btw, you are a rockstar.)

Would I use TUber again? Yes. Would I use it alone? Nope. Unless I was downtown, it was pouring and I was desperate. Maybe I’m old school but that’s fine by me. 

Company name changed so I don’t get sued for libel. 

My Little Man: What I’ve Learned in 6 Months

My Little Man: What I’ve Learned in 6 Months

It’s truly incredible the overwhelming feelings you have once you become a parent. Everyone talks about the love, how you would do anything for them. You think you get it but until you are looking into your child’s eyes, where you feel like you are seeing into their little souls, you have no idea. It’s an all-encompassing, all-consuming, deeply felt, overwhelming love. A love I had never felt before. Beyond what I feel for anyone and I didn’t think that was even possible. You would truly do anything to protect your child. Anything.

I’ve discovered I’m stronger than I ever realized, conquering so much stress, bad life events, depression. It has not been an easy road but I’m still here.

The littlest things about motherhood crack me up. Hearing moms jokingly call their kids little terrorists, assholes, PITA, monsters. I love it. Because you know what? Sometimes they are. Doesn’t mean you love them any less. It was refreshing to hear quite honestly.

Being a female, figuring out my son’s boy parts has been a funny and interesting journey. From circumcision care (that damn foreskin just doesn’t want to stay detached) to the ridiculous peepee teepees. Cute idea, really. But like all moms know, they just fly off the second the pee starts. It’s a fun game to see how far they can go across the room.

There is always stringlike material from the wipes that gets attached that you have to carefully remove. And all the crevices! Good lord. I find myself with my face directly over that one-eyed monster trying to clean everything, forgetting he could shoot pee directly into my eye at any second. So far so good.
The cooing and babbling has begun. The smiles are turning into laughs. It’s cuteness overload. Something about it just pulls at your heart and you get warm and fuzzy each time. My cheeks often hurt from smiling at him so much.

You’ll do just about anything to get them to sleep when you are on the brink of collapse from exhaustion. Sound machines, shushing, running the vacuum, the dishwasher, the faucet, the dryer, trying the swing, the floor, the crib, the bouncer, the rock and play, the playpen, your bed, you sing, you sway, you bounce, you feed them yet again, you hold them while they sleep and you sleep, taking them around the block for a walk, driving, calling your aunt to come for an hour so you can nap, and on and on it goes. You pray for an hour, will settle for 30 mins and usually only get 15.

Shower? Ha! Shave? Haha! Makeup? Hahaha! Hair? Hahahaha! Your baby scoffs at these mere suggestions. I swear now that I’ve been through it I can spot a new mom a mile away. The hair is greasy, uncombed and in a ponytail. No makeup, tshirt, leggings, flip flops with toes in need of a major pedi, looking drugged and zombielike, slight belly leftovers. It’s hilarious. I think I’m going to give these people random hugs when I spot them from now on.

“He’s wearing what size?!” is heard constantly. You just cannot keep up with their drastically growing bodies. Just when you have all the next size clothes washed for the first time, folded and put away, they’re in the next size. And the sizes are sorta accurate but kinda not. Notice how confusing that sentence was? Yeah, that’s how the sizing is. It’s all a big guessing game.

Speaking of clothes, every shirt should contain neck snaps and stretchier arms. It’s like they think our babes are Gumby. No they are not that flexible, and do not bend that way.

How many chins can one baby have? I think there were 4 at last count. How do they get so much gunk between their fingers, toes and under their nails? What’s with the obsession with lights?

Seeing a baby react to a strong gust of wind is pretty funny. They don’t know what to do when it hits their face. They gasp, blink and flail a bit. Soon they will learn fresh air is a good thing.

Once they begin to babble, there are few things cuter in this world. They have stories galore to share. Their completely incoherent babble makes complete sense to them. Their eyebrows furrow, they look stern, then relieved, then happy, then confused. They squint, stick out their tongue, kick , wave their arms and drool, all to help embellish their tale. They are telling us about the drama over their parrot sister who wasn’t listening to dad, how they wanted to poop so badly but it just wouldn’t come out. How their morning bottle was too cold and how their mobile animals danced and swayed. How they wanted Mr. Bear to cuddle with at naptime, how much they love their outfit and how uncomfortable their shoes are.

At 6 months my little man is absorbing the entire world around him. It is amazing and enchanting to watch him take it all in. What must he be thinking with each new discovery? Especially since he spent so much of his early months in an incubator then indoors, sheltered from the outside world. He’s going to grocery stores, meeting other babies, playing with toys, flirting with the ladies. In the coming months he will have his first dip in a pool, cheering at his first soccer game, celebrating his first Halloween, tasting his first food.

I just love watching him learn. It is as if you can see the wheels turning and see the eyes widening.  He learns how to grasp a plastic ring in his hand, how to roll over, how kicking off his blanket makes mommy laugh. He has discovered his tongue and his thumb.

These first 6 months have been a roller coaster for so many reasons but I wouldnt trade it for the world. I look forward to seeing all the new milestones in the next six months!

Welcome to Pregnancyland

Welcome to Pregnancyland

I’ve been a little busy with my first trimester of pregnancy, but it is time for me to return to my love of writing!  And hopefully I can keep writing even post baby.  Needless to say, once you find out you are pregnant, your entire world immediately shifts.  Ours was a bit of a surprise only because we weren’t really trying anymore.  It was kind of like if it happens in the next year, then it was meant to be.  If not, we’re done.  Alas, it was meant to be.

Baby in womb

I was one of the very lucky ones.  I had no morning sickness.  My primary symptom was exhaustion.  And a bit of nausea.  But the vomiting is what I was most concerned with going into it, working in an office environment.  There isn’t an easy way to quietly vomit in your cubicle if you won’t make it to the bathroom.  I had some interesting other things happening because of some polyps I had pre-pregnancy.  There was regular spotting, and mild period-like cramping for just about my entire second month.  The few times I had moments of freaking out, I’d have an ultrasound and the baby would be just fine.  I even had some stabbing pains all night once and insisted on coming in.  Sure enough, everything looked okay.  I also had some odd tissue come out of me (noticed it after going to the bathroom).  That was crazy.  The first time it was small, like the size of a quarter.  The second time it was much larger, like the size of an Oreo.  That freaked me out too.  I was like-is this my baby?  What on earth came out of me?  My doctor thinks it may have been one of my polyps.  But again, the baby was just fine.

My advice (because I’m an expert now, duh) to newly pregnant women is try not to freak out right away.  All the books and blogs and even legit websites will scare you into thinking cramping=bad news, or bloody tissue=bad news.  I can tell you I’ve had my fair share of it and I made it to week 16 so far.

Other than not being able to do more than walk from the couch to the bathroom to the bed, the first trimester went well.  I genuinely cant complain because I thought it would be 1000x worse.  Now I’m into my second.  My energy has returned, thank goodness and I can once again be productive.  My boobs hurt all the time.  And I pee every 30 minutes.

The ultrasounds have to be the single coolest invention of all time.  I had a co-worker joke with me that in her day, “you didn’t get to see the baby until it was done cooking in the oven.”  Technology has come such a long way and we are so lucky to be able to take advantage of it.  Hearing the heartbeat is the first thrill.  Seeing the baby wiggle is awesome.  On another visit the baby kicked off the side of my uterus and flung itself back like it was having a party for one in there.  We sat there with our mouths hanging open like WOW.

I had gone off all my medications the second I found out I was pregnant, including my anti-depressant and anxiety pills.  It’s been okay until recently.  I’ve been having bouts of depression that come and go, and it’s becoming more frequent.  It’s incredibly frustrating that I cannot control it.  That I’ve only been off my medication for 2 months and my mind is already regressing.  I always worried about passing this on to my child.  It’s the last thing I want her or him to have to deal with, knowing what a struggle it has been most of my life.  I’m seeing my therapist (who is a godsend) this week so I’m hoping that helps a bit.  I’m also looking into light therapy:  buying a lamp that gives off the right kind and amount of light to help depression.  I’ve never been diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder but I know I hate the winter because of how dark it always is, and I always get worse.  So I want to give it a shot.  Going back on a medication is a last resort for me and I’m hoping like hell I can avoid that route.  But if I get to a breaking point, I have to take care of myself in order to take care of the baby, and be able to function.  Of course that gets me thinking to postpartum depression and breastfeeding.  I know because of my history of depression, I’m more susceptible to postpartum issues.  My gut tells me the second the baby is born, I will be going on my meds which means no breastfeeding.  But there’s time still to sort all that out and I have to stop my mind from worrying about it prematurely.

On the topic of breastfeeding…I knew very little.  Almost an embarrassing lack of knowledge.  I started to read up on how often you breastfeed, how you know when the baby is done, what supplies are needed, where the bottles come in, when to pump and so on.  All I can say is, that is a fuckton of work.  And that is the only word to adequately describe how much work it is to breastfeed.  I honestly can’t imagine trying to recover physically-whether it’s a healing vagina/rear or stomach recovery from surgery and dealing with all the crazy hormones, and lack of sleep and then tacking on a baby to your breast who you have to keep alive via said breast 10-12 times a day.  Just wow.  I’d love to say I’m up for the task, but I’m sweating just thinking about it.  I think I’d like to try it and see how I do and see how it goes but have some formula as a back up just in case.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that most people love the pregnancy news.  Even complete strangers light up and shower you with congratulations.  That part has been fun.

Many things we’ve read say to start looking into daycares.  I know millions of kids get taken care of by someone other than their parents, and they get along just fine.  But man is it scary to think of handing your child over to someone every day and hoping for the best.  And the baby isn’t even here yet.  Can you sense my intense worry wart propensity?!

I told myself I would not read about anything having to do with labor until the 3rd trimester.  I’ve always been petrified of giving birth.  I’ve also never had surgery.  So either prospect is enough to give me a panic attack.  Again, I have to remind myself that millions of women all of the world give birth every single day.  I’ll get through it.  Or so I will tell myself until I’m blue in the face, and remain blissfully ignorant until I absolutely have to know how things go down at birth.

An idea I got a while back talked of a dad who created an email address for his soon-to-be baby and wrote to him/her on a regular basis.  Kind of like a diary or journal of what dad was thinking, feeling, going through along his journey as a new dad.  I just adored this idea and thought how special of a gift would that be to give to your kid.  So we stole it.  I created an email and both my husband and I occasionally write to our bean sharing everyone’s reactions to the news, what our plans and hopes are for him/her and more.

We are about a month away from doing the 3-D ultrasound and finding out the sex of the baby.  I cannot wait.  I’m so excited to see the baby up close and personal and start calling the baby he or she.  Until then!

HBO’s The Newsroom

HBO’s The Newsroom

The Newsroom has come and gone, but I’m playing catch up.  I love this show.  This show pushes for excellence in journalism, a long lost trait of today’s journalistic stories and sensationalism.  It demands better political candidates and via a news program showcases all the ridiculous behavior and words that come out of candidate’s mouths.  It does not hold back.  It challenges what it means to be a Republican or Democrat.  It breaks down stereotypes.

This show takes real world, not-so-distant past events and breaks down the story in a newsroom setting, showing how a broadcast is developed and what stories make the cut and the consequences of those decisions.  As someone who once wanted to pursue journalism I find it absolutely fascinating.

Over and over, Will McAvoy, the head news anchor, stands by his Republican beliefs.  He also is the first to point out absolute nonsense spewed from a Republican candidate’s mouth.  He challenges them.  He questions why they get to run for office.  He defends his ‘Republicanism’ and at the end of season 2 gives a speech that sums up elections today so clearly it is pure brilliance.

“I call myself a Republican because I am one.  I believe in market solutions and I believe in common sense realities and the necessity to defend ourselves against a dangerous world.  That’s about it.  Problem is now I have to be homophobic and count the number of times people go to church.  I have to deny facts and think scientific research is a long con.  I have to think poor people are getting a sweet ride and I have to have such a stunning inferiority complex that I fear education, intellect, in the 21st century.  The biggest requirement, really the only requirement, is that I have to hate Democrats.”

In defending his News station’s reporting of Republican candidates saying outlandish things:

“If Republicans do 14 crazy things in a month, does that mean the unbiased thing to do would be for us to concoct 13 additional crazy Democrat stories?”

Valid point Will.

I often wonder how Republicans feel.  Do they feel that pressure to conform to a stereotype?  It seems like the candidates definitely do.

Aaron Sorkin has developed and written some incredible shows and films in his day including The West Wing, A Few Good Men, The American President, Moneyball, and The Social Network, but this has to be by far, the most thought provoking and smart show he has ever done.

One-offs: Two Movies to Check Out

One-offs: Two Movies to Check Out

I have 2 movies I enjoyed so much I wanted to recommend them briefly.

Tammy starring Melissa McCarthy and Susan Sarandon:

I am admittedly a huge fan of Melissa, but even I was skeptical about this movie.  It was such a pleasant surprise.  It’s kinda corny, very funny, heartwarming and just might make you shed a tear.  The characters are all vulnerable in their own way and it makes for an endearing storyline.

Bad Words starring Jason Bateman:

Truly hysterical in its ability to toss around harsh digs and undeserving bullying, this movie is both a journey of discovery, friendship, and a bit of revenge.  The meanness of the main character is done in such a way that even though you deep down would die if it was your child, you are so busy laughing it does not phase you.  There is one scene in particular that crosses such a line and yet I never laughed harder at a scene in a movie.  And it all revolves around a Spelling Bee.