Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Price Tag

Over the weekend, I watched the movie "Up In the Air." I had heard good things about this film, and I was anxious to see it. The movie itself was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it. One line stuck out to me and had me thinking the rest of the day.

"How much did they first pay you to give up on your dream?"

This line resonated with me as much as the character that George Clooney said it to. And just like that character, I immediately knew the answer.

They paid me $37,000 a year. Plus benefits. And a sweet discount.

And I didn't think I was giving anything up at the time. I thought I was getting a sweet deal. I had just gotten back from my wedding and honeymoon, and the summer was turning to fall. The thought of beginning a job search to find a job in my field seemed daunting and somewhat pointless. We didn't know where my husband's job was going to lead, and it seemed like the right thing at the time.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. In retrospect, I gave 5 years of my life to a company that didn't give a tiny rat's ass about me as person, as an individual. I made beautiful, wonderful friends there. I got great experience there. But it was clear, from the beginning that I was not following my dream. I was not happy, not truly happy. I gave up a job in a lower paying position in my field that might have been just what I needed. I passed up the opportunity because someone was offering me a flashy price tag.

A few years, I fortunate enough to get an out. The company I worked for started showing their true colors in my mind, and I realized that my dream was not to move forward with this position. I wasn't going to be a store manager, I didn't want to be a corporate person. I didn't want to spend my life or frankly, one more minute that I didn't have to. So began the search for something that would let me follow what I really wanted to do, what I knew in my heart would make me happy.

And you know what? It was HARD. That 5 years made it HARD to get back on the track I wanted to be on. And it was because of that price tag. It was because we were used to that paycheck, and frankly needed that paycheck. Any less would make life harder. And I am not saying that I don't need to pay my dues, because I do. People who think that just because they went to college, they deserve their dream job right away, make me stabby. People that don't think they need to work to acheive what they want. I believe in lucky breaks, sure. But I also believe in hardwork. I am starting a few years later than I should have.

Again, I was fortunate to fins a new job that paid me better and would allow me to get back on track. 3 years later, and I feel like I am finally get a sense of what I truly want, and where I want to be, what I want to do with my life. And it's a struggle. It's not coming easy, especially in today's economy. The competition is fierce and my decisions are not only limited by finances (still) but also by how it will affect my son. I am not willing to compromise his stability or his schedule at this time. That is a personal decision that we made as a family. And it isn't one I am going to retract on.

At this point in my life, I know I live with the choices I made. Of course there are things I would have done differently, money I would have saved, decisions I would have made differently. But ultimately, I know I made the best choice, seemingly at the time. I finally feel like I can getting back to the point that I dreamed of being at, the job I envisioned, the life I wanted.

But that was how much I got paid to give up following my dream. Was it worth that? Nope. You can't put a price on that.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Yesterday Isaac and I spent the day with Auntie Karen and Auntie Gail. We started with our usual date at Olive Garden (ooohhh have you tried the zeppoli?!) and did some shopping (correction, I did some returns, they did some shopping. Oh, water, water everywhere....) before leaving the mall and heading to Golden Gate Park. We usually end up somewhere where little boo can run around like a crazy fool, his reward for watching us shop without causing too much disruption and damage. I specifically packed some bread so he could feed the ducks and let's be honest. The bread sticks from Olive Garden are too good to save for the waterfowl. :)
Anyway, Isaac clearly had a blast. He's such a curious and adventurous little boy, I don't even try to hold him back from the dirt and falling down anymore. He loves to climb and run and shreik. And he got plenty of all three!
By the end of the day, he was screaming for the "dah keees" and quacking. :) He fell asleep on the car ride home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

On the beach with Nonnie, very overexposed, but I still really like it. :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Half of My Heart

This morning, Isaac woke up on his own. He has been so tired lately, he is going to bed earlier. I wanted him to be in a good mood for as much of the day as possible, so I put him down at 7:45. He was rubbing his baby blues and saying he was "sweepy" around 6.

He woke up in such a good mood. I can always hear him wake up. He plays in his bed for a while, mostly ripping stuffing out of the big blue bunny that I keep forgetting to sew up. When he is ready to get up he starts to call us. "Mom! Maaaaaaa-ma! Helllooooo! Mom! Daddddddddeeeeeee! Hellooooo! Kit-teee!"

He was all smiles and excited when he sat down for his breakfast of scrambled eggs and cheese, mini pancakes, and blueberries. We don't usually eat breakfast at home on daycare days, but this new daycare doesn't serve breakfast and doesn't open until 8. We have extra time now. He even got to play a little. We brushed our teeth together. I am positive he was thinking this was going to be a mommy day.

I told him it was time to go bye-bye. He said no and ran away from me. I turned off Ma-mo and he turned it back on. I turned it off again and held out his coat. He threw himself on the floor and cried. I scooped him up and got his coat on. We cuddled for a minute. He walked himself to the car, maybe now thinking that we were just going to the store like we do some mornings.

We drove the minute (seriously, it was one minute, if that) to the new daycare center. I parked the car and watched a little red haired girl get out of the car with her mommy. She was younger than Isaac, maybe only 9 months old. I turned in the car to look at him, he was also watching the little girl, being carried in by her mommy. He looked at me with sad eyes, seeming to realize what was going on.

I got him out of the car, and gathered his bag, blankie, and papers. We went inside the sunny house and said hi to everyone there. We sat down and took off his shoes. He climbed all over me like a monkey. Everytime I put him down, he climbed back up. We played with the office setup for a few minutes. We looked at the fishies. And then...then, I had to hand him over and leave for work. And then, the screaming began. The thrashing. The tears.

I choked back my own tears as I walked from the house to my car, watching him screaming in the window, Miss S waveing goodbye. I cried all the way to Starbucks and then for about 20 minutes in the parking lot before I finally was able to wipe my eyes and go in for my Dark Cherry Mocha.

I cried because I left half of my heart behind, sad and scared.

I know Isaac will be happy at the new daycare. I know he will love it and learn and make new friends. He will have fun. I know it is the best decision for him, for me, for all of us. I didn't cry because of those things. I didn't cry because I was leaving him somewhere where I didn't think he belonged.

I called a few hours later. He was fine, Miss S said. He fed the fish and played with the Guinea pig. He unpacked his things into his cubby. He stood by the door, watching for mommy before starting to play.

I have to go pick up the other half of my heart now.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


On Friday, Isaac will start at his new daycare center. This is the bigger daycare center right down the street from our house. He is going to be going there on Fridays until November, when he will start full time. (The other two days he is playing at Miss C's house, who has him 3 days right now).

Anyway, I am feeling all kinds of anxiety about taking him there. Not really bad, but...anxious. I don't know how to accurately describe it. I filled out the thick packet of paperwork, signing forms, filling out phone numbers, copying vaccination papers. And as I was signing the form that waived liabilty of the center to pay any medical expenses that Isaac may incur while in their care...I got all...anxious. Not that I think that Isaac will incur mass medical expenses and I need to have my proof of medical insurance, etc. But that here I am for the third time in his little life, entrusting my precious baby boy in someone else's care and leaving him there.

This is the third stranger he has to meet. The third new house he has to learn and adapt to. The third new group of kids he has to learn to play with, share with, get along with.

It just seems really unfair, that I am putting him through this again, just when he is getting so happy at Miss C's. I know he is young, and he adapts so easily (so far). He is social and friendly. And I am sure he will be absolutely fine.

I feel like I am being selfish. Like I should have planned better before and while I was pregnant. I should have saved more and payed more bills, so we would be in a better position for me to stay home with Isaac. I should have done something, ANYTHING differently, because I just feel so...anxious about it. Like, maybe I should have agreed to leave him at Miss C's until November and make another clean break for him. Maybe I should have agreed to take him to a different place that was available for full time right now, instead of waiting for this center.

Maybe I should not feel like I need my job in my life, like I need that part of my old life in my new life as mom. The truth is, 9 days out of 10, I relish the 8 hours I am at work and doing what I am good at. I like having this bit of my life that doesn't really revolve around me being a mommy. That makes me feel guilty. I don't like feeling that way.

Despite how I feel today or tomorrow, inevitably, on Friday morning, I will pack up his diapers, wipes, extra clothes, extra medicines, blankie and cup, and drop my son off at his third daycare. His third daycare in 19 months.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The End of the Pup-as as We Know It

Isaac loooooooves dogs. Loooooooooves them. He loves Dozer, my BIL's dog. He loves any dog, anytime, anywhere. And for the longest time, he would call them "Pup-as" because he couldn't really say "puppy." We all knew what he meant. He would scream it in delight whenever a dog was in sight or even when he heard barking. He thought the sea lions at Pier 39 were "pup-as" because they were barking (insert science lesson from Mommy here). He can pick them out on TV and plastic ones in the store, photos in books, drawings. He loves the "pup-as."

Last weekend, I heard something that made me very proud and broke my heart at the same time.

"Pup-pee! pup-pee!"

Somewhere, some time, my son had learned to say "Puppy." Gone are the days of "pup-as." We are strictly a "Pup-pee" family now. Like I said, I am very proud of him, and the progess he is making in his development and learning. But at the same time, I cling to these relics that make him my little baby, and uniquely him.

When he stops calling Mickey Mouse "Ma-Mo" I think I will cry for days. Seriously, he knows how to say "Day-zee," "Goo-fee," "Meeen-eee," "Down-ol," and "Plew-tooo." So I know my days are limited, and I am busting out the video camera every single chance I get to record these precious moments.

Sometimes I think he still says "Ma Mo" because he knows we love it, kinda like kids saying they still believe in Santa Claus to humor their parents (or to mooch extra gifts for a few years). It works, because Isaac is swimming in Mickey paraphenalia and is going to Disneyland for Christmas.

Ah, my sweet baby boy. Can't you stay itty bitty a few days more? Why must you grow up so quickly?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My BlogHer'10

I was really going to try to go to BlogHer this year. Like, I was seriously all gungho about it, and waiting to purchase my ticket. My husband said I could go if I kept my cost under $500-$600 and I figured out how to do it.

Well, obviously and sadly, I did not end up going. And not for change of heart, because I really really REALLY still wanted to go, both for the experience and I wanted to meet my friends.

After deep conversation with my husband, we decided it best for our family that I do something else (and by deep I mean I was probably annoying him and to shut me up he said "Look here...pick one or the other because I don't which but we aren't paying for both).

Remember how I am a science geek? Well, to enhance my geekness, I decided that I wanted to get my Professional Wetland Scientist Certification. This means hoop jumping and writing and applications...and my favorite: Classes. I love science classes and I would take them all day, every day. Sadly, these classes are only about 2 days on average. But I still love them.

I don't love the hefty price tag said classes come with. I didn't really pay for my undergrad and grad degrees, so I kinda got sticker shock when I had to register through a local college of extended learning. Ouch. And my classes are actually cheaper than credit hour classes.

Sooooo....yeah. It was kind of a decision between spending the money on my hobby and emotional outlet, or on my career. I opted for my career this time. Boy, oh boy, do I wish we had the money to do both, but we don't. Isaac needs diapers. And we need a house to live in.

Damn adult decisions. I was way sad (and still am) that I didn't get to go to NYC and meet my bloggy besties and idols. :)

Anyway, two classes were in June and one class is tomorrow and Saturday. This class is all about plants! and is hopefully my last class that I need to apply for my professional in training (still have work experience to do), fingers crossed and knock on wood. I make great friends and professional contacts in these classes, as well as learning and advancing my career.

Tomorrow begins my BlogHer, I guess. Or concludes since I took some classes earlier in the summer.

And now, I have a seperate savings account for BlogHer next year in San Diego, which will be way more affordable for me, unless of course I have done so much professional development that I land a kick @$# job on the East coast and I am in the same boat again.

With that, I leave you another photo of my little Science Geek Boo at the GG Botanical Gardens with the "Squirrel Kitties" that I was terrified he would actually catch because they are so tame and used to people, and get bitten by said and most likely rabid and diseased "squirrel kitty." (Yes, he thought they were kitties, but by the end of the day he was saying "querrrrlllll!")

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

from the San Francisco Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park, my flower child. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

In the Middle of the Night

I am a troubled sleeper. I can NEVER fall asleep on my own. And I never sleep undisturbed, even the slightest noise wakes me up (Note: After about 10 years, my husband's snoring no longer wakes me up even though he sounds like a drunken bear with a chainsaw). I long ago turned off the baby monitor. Seriously, Isaac is in the next room over, and I hear him. I hear EVERYTHING. I hear the cats jump on and off the bed. I hear stuff fall in the kitchen. I hear animals outside. I hear the toilet make funny noises.

Isaac very rarely wakes during the night. I will hear him stir, and sometimes whimper a bit. But he seldom wakes up in the middle of the night unless he is RAVENOUS or has a diaper blowout or one of the @$%hat cats has managed to get into his room and jump in the crib (Another Note: I long since took down the crib tent prevent said @$%hat cats from leaping into the crib. Isaac is big enough now to sense when one of them is in his bed. And half the time he thinks it is hilarious).

Or he has a nightmare. Like last night.

At about 3am, I hear him SCREAMING. No precursor whimpers. No small cries. FULL BLOWN SCREAMS.

Thinking some crazed kidnapper or axe murder has busted through the wonky Dr. Suess windows in his room, I rocketed out of bed so fast, the cat sleeping on my head flew across the room. Flinging open his bedroom door and adjusting the dimmer on the overhead light, I see my baby laying face down, clutching his big blue bunny pillow. SCREAMING.

No axe murders, child molesters, or crazed maniacs were in sight. Nor was the other cat.

He didn't lift his head when I came in. He didn't look up when I spoke to him. He laid there and screamed.

Immediately I am thinking he has watched too much Air Jaws and I have passed onto the MomFail side.

I rubbed his back, and finally he looked up at me, or squinted at me and lifted his arms up. He laid his head on my shoulder and SCREAMED. I sat on the floor with him, only to have him start writhing and screaming louder. We stood up and rocked back and forth. We went to the recliner and rocked, still SCREAMING. My husband woke up and came out to see what was happening. Isaac reached for him and I went to get his milk, thinking it might help. He grabbed the cup and clutched it to his chest, still screaming. My husband took him to our bed and turned the TV on for a little light. SCREAMING. We laid next to him, thrashing and SCREAMING. At about 330, he was calming down, so I put him back in his crib. A few minutes later, he was back to snoring softly, screaming subsided and I was looking down at my peacefully slumbering angel.

When I returned to bed, Ben commented that it didn't seem like Isaac was ever really awake, but stuck in his nightmare or whatever he was screaming about.

I have known parents who have kids that have night terrors.

Is this what is happening to Isaac? This episode was not the first...I would say it happens about once a month, maybe less. And if so, should I just be leaving him in his crib to cry it out? I didn't really try to wake him up. Just to soothe him.

It kills me to hear him scream that way. Especially that I can't get him to stop. What should I be doing?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mommy's Little Science Geek

I am a science geek. I have been for many, many years...pretty much since freshman Biology in High School. I went to undergrad and got my degree in Biology, concentrating in Marine Biology and then onto grad school where I got my Master's in Biology concentrating in behavioral physiology and conservation genetics. Now I work as an environmental biologist and water quality specialist for an environmental consulting firm and I am pursuing a professional certification in Wetland Science. This means every few months, I get to take more classes. I occassionally do peer reviews and my journal articles are finally getting published (knock on wood, fingers crossed, holding my breath). I read Scien.tific Amer.ican for FUN. I love, love, love do stats.

See? Totally science geek.

I also love Shark Week. Sharks are just seriously cool. One day I would love to go shark diving. Sans cage. Anyhoo, this week was Shark Week on Discovery Channel. HEAVEN!

Early in the week I was folding laundry while Isaac was taking his nap. I was folding it in the living room because the TV out there is so much better and sharks are always better in HiDef. Isaac woke up and I turned the TV off, and went to get him. We did our after-nap routine, and I put him loose to run around the house while I put the laundry away.

One of Isaac's many talents is turning on the TV (and ordering movies, but that's another story), which he did once he made it into the living room (he pretty much checks out every room of the house after his nap, I think to make sure everything is still the same. And maybe to scout the cats, again another story for another day.) Almost instantly, I hear him start exclaiming.

"Mama! Mama! Ooooohhhh! Big fishie! fishie! Oh wow! Oh my! Mama! Do you see him? I see him! Mama! Whoa!"

I run into the living room to see him watching "Air Jaws" and there is a massive Great White flying through the air with a seal in it's mouth. And of course they have those killer slow motion cameras, so Isaac can really take in the action. He was laughing and smiling, not realizing that when the water turned red, that meant the seal was um...sleeping. Eh, well.

It was one of the proudest moments I have had as a mother, watching my baby love something that I love. He's going to be a little science geek like his mommy. This is a sign. :)