Tuesday, January 29, 2008

We Have Made It This Far

This year marks 10 years that Ben and I have been together.

A decade. One-third of my life. It is something (accomplishment? impressive statistic? miracle? fluke?) that is hitting me very deeply. I find myself thinking a lot about our relationship – where it's been, where it's heading, why it is the way it is – and the only thing that is clear to me right at this moment is that neither he nor I are the same people we were 10 years ago, nor is our relationship the same.

This is not a bad thing. It is actually a wondrous thing to me, that we have managed, despite a lot of changes and hurt, to not just be together this amount of time, but to still be so invested in each other.

Ten. A decade. I keep rolling that figure over and over in my head, as if it was some magical number, as if missing pieces will now start falling into place and our life together will suddenly get easier, as if this seemingly large amount of time will protect us: we are too together now to ever be apart.

I don't really know if making it to 10 means anything, not in light of what some of those 10 years have been like. The hope I have, the thing that keeps me believing, is that we are better now - as a couple and as individuals - than we were five years ago, so very much so.

Still, right now, this thing, this 10, is very present in my mind. I think about all that lies ahead of us - the expansion of our family, the balancing of finances, the big decisions about so many different things - and I hope that this 10 has prepared us, taught us, fortified us.

We have come so far. We can go farther still.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/29/2008   | | | links to this post

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm Here to Give You Money (Whilst Drowning in a Sea of Busyness)

Oh my gawd, peoples! This poor little blog has been so abandoned! For the first time in like 3 or 4 years, I am so freaking busy (on top of the whole motherhood thing, I mean), that I simply have not had time to write. I have little notes to myself everywhere with reminders of things I want to write about, and they're piling up.

This all makes me think it's time for some clarifying/confessing: I started a new job in December, one that is a major step up in my career and that I'm totally loving, but is requiring 3 times the effort and attention I've had to put into a job in ages now. So I've been really occupied adjusting to these changes and dealing with all these feelings about how my career has unexpectedly gone somewhere.

Anyway. On to my main reason for popping in. I heard of a neat giveaway (and by "neat" I mean, MONEY!), but the contest ends soon, so, you know, a break in usual programming to share this info with you.

Here's the deal: you can win $25K to renovate any room in your house, courtesy of Kimberly-Clark (and by "you can win" I mean, IF YOU WIN, I WANT YOUR MONEY! Just kidding. Maybe.)

Now, how to win this money to prettify your home? You can enter the sweepstakes daily by going to the Room-a-Day Giveaway website. That's it. Seriously.

Kimberly-Clark will award 16 winners from January 28 to February 15: one winner will be announced on The View each weekday and win $25,000 to renovate any room in their house. The final contest winner will be announced March 21st on the Room-a-Day Giveaway website.

If I owned my house, I'd be all up in that website every day. But I don't, and so what's the point? My loss, then, is your gain. Or something like that.

If you win because you found out about this here, though, you should totally consider giving me some money. Or bringing me on as a design consultant. I excel at that too. I know, I never cease to amaze.

Posted by Tere @ 1/26/2008   | | | links to this post

Monday, January 21, 2008

Answers to Your Tax Questions (Not Answered By Me, Since I Know Jack About Taxes)

I don't get stressed about tax season because I basically ignore it and leave it to Ben to handle.

Still, I know it's a nightmarish time for many, so I thought it was kinda cool that Turbo Tax is offering a tax-related freebie through the end of January.

Want the details? They're right here.

Oh yes, I've resorted to teasing you. And you love it.

Posted by Tere @ 1/21/2008   | | | links to this post

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Randomness of a Saturday Morning

Linky Love

The blogroll has been updated to include three new blogs:

Cuba in Mind
Culinarily Adventurous Girls Club
Green Mom Finds
Restaurant Gal

I like them all and feel they are worthy of the blogroll and my recommendation.

Do As I Say

Speaking of recommendation, I've got a new post up on Haz lo que Mami Dice... Porque Sí. If you're into eating healthy and proper nutrition, this one's for you. Also: free samples! If you can't resist the lure of a freebie, this is for you, too.

Resolution

Much to my relief, the murder has been solved. That was quick, huh? It was not a random thing; the suspect knew and lived with the victims, which makes me feel better about the whole thing. Not that there's anything good about this, but - oh, you know. There's no crazy fool running around randomly murdering people.

Had My Coffee, All Is Good

I've got a long weekend ahead of me, and I'm very happy for it. Don't have many plans, and that's what I like. I'm pretty sure Max's nanny won't be working on Monday (I should know by now, shouldn't I? I fail at communicating), but Ben is off, too, so we're planning on something fun for him. And by "fun for him" I mean, something that will keep the two of them busy and out of the house so I can sit on my butt and watch TV all day long.

Posted by Tere @ 1/19/2008   | | | links to this post

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Murder in my Neighborhood

I stepped outside this morning to greet my favorite kind of day: gray, cloudy, slightly cool. But it was also quiet, eerily quiet. There was a moment as I made my way to my car, Max in my arms, where my mind registered that the silence was unnatural. Usually, no matter what kind of day it is, there is the constant buzz of lawnmowers, cars, voices and music.

I drove the five blocks to Max's nanny's house, and as I turned the corner and parked, I saw ahead of me, just a block up, the yellow police tape. There were three or four residents standing just on the other side of it, by a police car that was parked horizontally to prevent anyone from driving through. Further up the block was the large CSI truck, and I knew, from watching every episode of The First 48, that the truck's presence meant one thing: a dead body.

Inside the nanny's house, we discussed what could have possibly happened. She hadn't heard anything at any point in the night, but word was circulating that there were three dead people, all murdered.

Turns out, it was two people: one found dead, shot up on the porch of a house, the other found on the street a block up, where witnesses say he ran, begging the assailant to spare his life.

We live in a safe part of town. We live in an area where crime is rare and, when burglaries or robberies occur, non-violent. Outside the most dangerous parts of town, violent crimes tend to be targeted, personal, the result of familial or romantic feuds.

I remind myself of these things to help me cope with the proximity of this crime. Right now, there are no answers, no indication as to whether this was random or a drug deal gone bad or what. In the absence of answers, all that I know is that two people were shot to death in my neighborhood, and the killer is out there somewhere.

I had planned to spend the afternoon in the backyard with Max. But as the day has worn on, I've reconsidered. We'll just play quietly indoors, where I can protect him.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/17/2008   | | | links to this post

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Boy on the Potty

The thing with this boy of mine is that he gets deeply infatuated with certain new things, only to lose interest after - I don't know - a week, a month, or four.

Such is the case with the potty, I fear. We quietly put this potty in his room months ago, with no other intention than to have him grow used to its presence. There was one random day when he peed in it, but we could tell it was a fluke. This child, he's nowhere near ready to abandon diapers.

He has a tendency to do things he's not supposed to do (biting, throwing, and quite possibly peeing all over himself), always with a mischievous gleam in his eye and a smile, because he's just one of those kids for whom the word "no" or "bad" or "dangerous" is an invitation to keep going.

In this case, he began peeing whenever we would open up his diaper to change it. And it wasn't like we had bad timing; we could hear him grunt and force the pee out.

Two things became quickly evident: he was beginning to understand that you can control your bladder, and there was no point in reacting to this new trick. The second or third time he did it, I just sat him on his potty and said, "Si vas a hacer pipi, hazlo en el potty" ("If you're going to pee, do it in the potty"). And that became the new rule: diaper gets changed, or he's about to go into the tub, he goes on the potty before he starts trying to pee all over us.

Turns out, he loves it. He loves it so much that whenever we mention a diaper change, he pipes up with "pipi en the potty?" and starts crying when he say it's time to put a new diaper on and/or it's time to get off the potty.

So I should be happy, right? He's off to a good start on the road to independent peeing and pooping, right? Possibly so, but to me, this reeks of being nothing more than a fun game on his part, a novelty that will wear off any moment now and leave me with a child who wants nothing to do with the potty.

There have already been a few times where I've tried to help him transition from "fun game" to "part of growing up" where he's very defiantly refused to have any part of it. Which is very typical of him: being contrary for the sake of it.

Luckily, I'm getting smarter at this parenting thing. I'm learning the way to handle him when he's a challenging pain in my butt. Yes, mami's getting the upper hand and it's just a matter of time before I'm in full control, calm and collected and confident.

Crap, I've just jinxed myself, haven't I?

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Posted by Tere @ 1/14/2008   | | | links to this post

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Sounded More Depressed Than I Really Am

"More" being the operative word, because I don't even feel depressed.

I've written here a bit about my feelings lately about my parenting, my introspecting, my trying to recover from what was generally a bad year. My post over at GNMParents offers another view of this, perhaps more condensed.

But reading it just now (I wrote it before the holidays) - wow, I sound like I'm about to enter an inpatient mental facility or something. Makes me realize that what I'm thinking doesn't completely match what I'm communicating.

Which is fine. I'm writing my thoughts as I identify them, I'm sorting everything out in my own way.

O.k., I'm tired of this topic and the general blah-ness I've cloaked over my blog. Done. Over it.

I'd much rather share Max's new obsession with the potty. Stay tuned.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/10/2008   | | | links to this post

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Had a Baby in December? A Contest Just for You!

You or someone you love could win a $5K savings bond if you win this contest TurboTax is running.

Details here.

Posted by Tere @ 1/06/2008   | | | links to this post

I'm Happy. Seriously.

I've been thinking a lot about the comments in my last post (see below). I'm touched whenever someone tells me something kind, in this case, to be good to myself. I appreciate that. I really do.

One of the things that I've been thinking is that I've been a real downer on this blog for a while now, and I'm sorry for it. The truth is, while I was mired in my problem (which was a large part of last year), life really was rough. Now that it's all over, I look back and think, wow, this thing really affected me. It ate at me and affected my attitude, my mood, everything.

But like I said, it's over now. And you know how sometimes you get so deep into something that you begin to believe it'll always be that way? So that even after it's all over with, you can't really accept it and actually feel good once again? I think I've been struggling with that. I'm free but haven't left the cell.

And in the frame of mind, the challenges of being a full-time working mom to a two-year-old who does not stop have just been amplified. Not that I'm blameless: I get easily frustrated and tend to snap when I feel like I've been patient and easy-going and am faced only with willful misbehavior. But still, I can't deny how that problem affected my attitude about parenting, and I've been struggling to readjust.

I feel like I fell into this pit of gloom, and now that I have no real reason to be in it, I'm wondering how to get out.

But honestly, I want to get back to my own brand of normal. Despite the general moodiness of this blog these last few months, life is good. Most days are very good, and it's a shame that I fail to chronicle those as much I do the bad ones.

That's a life-long habit I'd love to break. I'm not very good with happiness - my general feeling about it is that the minute I accept and embrace it, I will lose it. That's the way it's always been, so I get why I'm so skittish. Still. It's no way to live, and it's one of those things I privately work on very, very hard to conquer.

I'm looking at 2008 as a fresh start in so many ways. And, you know, we'll just have to see how it goes. I can only guarantee that I'm going to do my part.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/06/2008   | | | links to this post

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

If It's Neither Deep nor Meaningful, Is It Still a Resolution?

I'm not into "New Year's Resolutions" (see last year, all of which I failed at, pretty much). But no matter how much I tell myself that this nothing but a big bunch of b.s. and that people would be better human beings if they made personal resolutions on a regular basis as opposed to this big dramatic proclamation once a year (that they will break before the month is up), I still find myself on Jan. 1 wondering what my resolutions will be. I think it boils down to the extreme Cuban/Catholic guilt that weighs on me, which causes me to repeatedly ask myself, what kind of person am I if I don't resolve to be or do better?

I had some quiet time while I was driving to my sister's today (aside: I can confirm that Max loves Magna Doodle enough to play with it longer than 2.3 minutes, which is nice for a change) and my mind wandered into this very topic. Honestly, today was not a day for me to feel the what's wrong with me and how can I fix it? that I carry with me on a regular basis; I just didn't have the energy or presence of mind for it. It just felt very backwards to start the year out by mentally listing all my failures and then vowing into the nothingness that I would change it all.

So instead, I asked myself, what would I like to do that's different and interesting and fun and challenging and will ultimately boost me bit just because I tried it? And it was then that I admitted to myself that I'm frustrated with how my old hobbies have disappeared from my life, and not from a lack of interest on my part. I love cooking (not throwing dinner together, really cooking) and some specific crafts that, while I'm not very skillful at them, make me feel relaxed and accomplished when I work on them. But with work, motherhood and exhaustion, I've just let them go. It's been hard to justify sitting down at the table to do a craft project (all of which always take up a lot of time for me) when there is just so much to be done.

But I'm not happy about this; I don't want my life to be just about work and my responsibilities as a wife and mother. Right now, my only outlet is writing, which is very good and all, but it's only a priority because I have made it so and find the time to do it, even if it's at 11 p.m. like it is right now. The thing is, writing is not enough, not right now, not for whatever artistic/creative ideas are inside me.

So I want to resolve to be more creative and experimental with my cooking, to use the cookbooks sitting on my shelves and trying a new recipe a couple of times a week. And I want to resolve to get back to my other creative interests as a way to reconnect with myself and relax.

The question is, where do I find the time? How do I justify these things when there's just so much to be done? How do I find the energy after my long days?

Perhaps I should just try. Even if I can't do it as often as I'd like, perhaps I should just try to do whatever I can, whenever I can. And I will. I'll try. And just see where this goes.

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Posted by Tere @ 1/01/2008   | | | links to this post