What’s in a Name?

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That is my Squeaker, at one day old, eyes still not opened and mostly arms and legs. She’s my youngest child, his youngest child, and the youngest of five children all together. Between the two of us, we have a 16 year old (mine), 13 year old (mine), 11 year old (his), and a 7 year old (his). And obviously, together, we have her.

Clearly, I didn’t name my youngest child Squeaker; that’s just one of her many nicknames (Chunk, Princess, Grumplestiltskin- to name a few) and the only one she’s had since the very beginning.

But what’s in a name?

I realize, of course, that anyone friended to me on Facebook or Twitter will know what her first name is and more than likely, what her last name is. But, I choose to use her nickname online for a measure of privacy. Just as I won’t readily name the first names of my kids or his. Mine, you’ll know, and that’s fine. But, if I can provide some measure of protection for my kids, great.

So, why Squeaker? Simple. When she was younger, for roughly the first two months or so, she would get hiccups two to three times daily. At that time, she sounded like a squeaky toy. When I was still pregnant with her, she would get the hiccups three to four times a day during the last trimester. I was always amused by that and even more so after her hiccups continued after she was born. She still gets hiccups, just not as frequently as she used to. But, the nickname stuck.

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My Koala Baby

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Squeaker can be clingy, particularly since she turned 6 months old and I believe when she started showing signs of separation anxiety. Granted, to that point (and currently), she was usually on my hip or in her carrier. I would prefer it that way, to be honest. I enjoy having her close because she’s only going to be this little once. Even when my left arm starts to fall asleep and I start to feel aches in my shoulders and lower back. I still wouldn’t trade the feeling of having her close for anything, because she’s my baby and I think that she needs to be with me.

In some ways, she’s my koala baby- attached and always with me. But, in some ways she’s not. Thankfully, she’ll go to her dad willingly, and unless she’s hungry she won’t cry or push him away. In that same sense, she’ll also go willingly to her grandparents and other familiar adults.

Is that a sense of secure attachment? From what I’ve read, yes it is. I didn’t approach my pregnancy with Squeaker with any sort of parenting style in mind. Yes, I’d read plenty about attachment parenting, natural parenting, gentle Christian parenting and a few other styles that slip my mommy brain. But, I wasn’t going to strictly adhere to one or the other. Rather, I wanted to find a happy medium that was going to work for her, me, and her dad. Initially, she did share the bed with us, but she doesn’t on a regular basis anymore. It was more of a convenience for me when she was still waking up every two to three hours to nurse at night. Some nights she still does that, but more often than not she ends up back in her bassinet.  And that’s another issue that needs to be addressed, she can’t stand her crib but she’s also getting too big for the bassinet. I’ve brought up the subject with the s/o and as of this moment, we’re debating if we want to bring her crib into our room or set up the pack & play in our room. But, more on that later… when we actually get around to it.

My B was also clingy, while V was not. But, then again, I was at different stages of my life with each of them. Another set of stories though, for another day. Perhaps when it’s their birthdays or just when I need to have something else to talk about.

I digress.

She can be clingy, she can go through phases of separation anxiety, and more often than not she’s with me in some way or another. When she’s playing, I’m usually sitting close by; either encouraging her to play independently or modeling how to play properly with a toy. Or, she’s in my lap so we can sing songs or read a book (Sheep in a Jeep is a huge hit with her) or try out new foods. That’s not to say that she’s always with me. She’s finally gotten to the point where she’s taking naps by herself, though there are days that I’ll happily give up an hour or so to take a nap with her snuggled by my side. We have two strollers (an umbrella stroller & a larger, more traditional one), but whenever we go out for walks I grab my Ergobaby carrier without a second thought. With short errands, or around the house, she’s seated neatly at my left hip. Maybe she’s put down for a minute or two in her highchair so I can prepare breakfast, but when she’s in a particular koala baby mood, back to the hip and mommy she goes.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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A Mustard Seed

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Today, I went back to church for the first time in two years (give or take because I honestly can’t remember the last time I went to church). And going to church was something that I was apprehensive about. The church I attended to day is a Lutheran Church, of the ELCA variety. And I knew, from reading various articles on the website, that certain aspects strongly resembled Roman Catholicism. But still, I wanted to keep an open mind because it didn’t seem too Catholic that I would be put off by it. I’d previously attended an Episcopal church and could only take the one because it reminded me far too much of the Catholic mass. I wasn’t baptized Catholic, but I remember attending Sunday mass with my father and grandmother during the summer. Without meaning to insult any Catholics, I remember the basic format for mass- sit, stand, pray… sit, stand, pray. Or something to that effect. Whatever the case, I remember doing this. Never against my will, but to an extent with some sort of obligation because I knew that it was something my grandmother wanted. I also had numerous issues with the Catholic church in general, but that’s another post, for another day. Perhaps for another blog altogether, but I digress.

While there were some aspects that certainly reminded me of Catholic mass (hymns, responses), I wasn’t overwhelmed with a sense of boredom. My mind wasn’t straying from the service at any point, like it would when I attended mass with my grandmother and father. I felt goosebumps after entering the church and finding a seat. I would try to brush this off, but I know that I can’t because I feel that it’s significant. Maybe I’m wrong, and I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I almost feel as if it was God’s way of telling me that I belonged there.

I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ; I have a plate with the Lord’s Prayer engraved on it and in the entry way of the house, there’s a plaque with the end of Joshua 24:15 (As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord- NIV). I identify, readily, as a Christian. I say that without hesitation and I will until my dying breath. I did not grow up as a Christian, but as a spiritual individual always in search of something. However, in the back of my mind, I always held true to the belief in God and in Jesus. So, even when my faith in Jesus was small, perhaps even as miniscule as a mustard seed; it was still there.

I reference this parable because it was brought up in the sermon at church. Romans 8:31 was also referenced (What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?- NIV) and that was something that also stuck with me. For as many times as I may have strayed from God, He has never strayed from me.

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And how awesome is that? That kind of revelation is amazing. No matter how far I’ve strayed, no matter how far I’ve wandered; God has always been there.

I was almost moved to tears during the service today, not by anything profound but just by the welcoming presence I felt. Not just by members of the congregation or the Pastor, but a sense of belonging that I hadn’t felt in a church.  I won’t make up my mind just yet, wanting to give this a few Sundays to decide. But, I believe I have finally found a church where I belong.

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A Journey Begins

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In September, I will officially begin another stage of my learning journey: I start classes online as an Honors Student at Mercy College. Of course, I’m only starting with four courses for twelve credits, but I have to start somewhere. And for the most part, the courses seem pretty easy. I say this now, but I may just change my tune later. I’ll be taking a Communications class, a psychology class, a history class, and a computer class. I say they seem pretty easy because I have a general grasp on the course knowledge for each class. I’d want to think though, that I’d still have a challenge. I thrive on having a challenge and especially in the academic sense. Obviously, another challenge will be balancing duties as mom, girlfriend, and student. I’m fortunate to have a very supportive boyfriend and one that doesn‘t mind doing household chores. Between the two of us, he does more of the housework at this point in time. However, I also have a clingy seven month old to deal with during the day. I do fully intend to contribute equally to housework, since we already equally share cooking duties.

But I digress.

I’ve taken online classes in the past, but I’ve never taken every class online or at least not a full course load over an entire semester. One semester at Maria College, I did take two summer classes online (Positive Psychology and Personal Finance) but that was considerably different. I’m fully aware of the time management and planning involved in taking online classes. But, I think that almost works to my advantage. I like to plan, though my time management skills could use some work. Of course, I also have to take into consideration that I have my little one at home with me. I’m a student yes, but I’m a mom first. Still, I know that I can do this and I’m confident in my abilities to do so. I look forward to chroniciling my upcoming journey and seeing the progress that I make.

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Blogs, Social Media, and Me

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I recently became aware of how many blogs I follow when the subscription updates come pouring in every morning. I also realize how many of those same bloggers I follow on Pinterest, because I tend to see the same stuff that I saw in my subscription update. I don’t mind that at all, sometimes it’s a nice reminder to visit the blog to go see the new  goodies and/or article of interest. I use social media a lot. If I’m not on my phone, then I’m on the computer using one of my accounts (generally Facebook or Pinterest, though on occasion HootSuite for Twitter and Google + will make it’s way into my day.) at some point during the day. I don’t want to say it’s everything that I do, because it’s not. I have kids, they have needs. My kids will always come before the latest and greatest news that I hear about on social media or that recipe that I just have to pin on Pinterest. Recently, I also created a new board on Pinterest for myself related to blogging. The majority of the boards I have on there are homeschool related, even though my Squeaker won’t be a year old until December. For that matter, the majority of the blogs I frequent are related to homeschooling in some form or another. The others are faith based and while I do know of several autism blogs (as I follow their FB pages), I tend not to frequent those. But, that’s another story for another day.

I guess my point is this: blogging and social media go hand in hand. I can’t deny this fact. I have my own blog synchronized with my Twitter and FB page. But that wasn’t why I created this blog. It wasn’t to gain internet fame, it wasn’t for hits, and it wasn’t to generate some sort of income online. This blog, though infrequently updated as it is, is for me. While yes, I will still diligently use social media to promote my little corner of the internet- it’s not the ultimate purpose. I’m still getting there (the purpose of the blog) and who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll find it. Until then, it will remain a mish-mash of randomosity and mundane every day life- much like myself because at the end of the day; the blog is about me.

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Blogging with Purpose

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I realize that I’ve got a serious case of blog-envy when I see the high-traffic blogs with 1k+ followers on Facebook and/or Pinterest and/or Twitter. And I’m also realistic enough to realize that I probably won’t hit that tier and I’m perfectly okay with that. That’s never been my goal anyway and to delude myself into thinking I can be like that? I’d drive myself nuts. But, what I can do (and what I have learned) is that I should blog with a purpose. At first, I’d wanted to keep this blog just to blog about anything and everything.. a general mish-mash of family life, recipes, venting, every day adventures in parenting… well, I’ll stop there.

Then, I got the bright idea that maybe putting sub-domains for different aspects would be better (ex. Autism, homeschool preschool, etc.) and then I also realized that it would mean logging in and out of multiple wordpress blogs just to update. Something that I could just as easily do on the main blog but sort with categories. I didn’t completely trash that idea because I’m choosing to keep the Autism blog mostly static while I’m still debating whether or not I want to follow through with the homeschool preschool blog… I might (and by might, I more than likely will once I choose a proper subdomain name, layout, etc.).  I have a few other ideas for sub-domain blogging but that’s another post for another day.

However, that leaves me with a general question of what direction to take this blog. Do I remain with my general mish-mash of everyday life or do I try to focus it to just family stuff? Ultimately, I’d want the blog to be a reflection of the domain name- justanothermom. To me, that would imply parenting and being a mom. But, I’m also more than just a mom. Will I blog about everything that goes on? More than likely not. I’d like to avoid being a drama llama because, personally, I can’t stand people like that. The occasional rant/vent is understandable but not on a daily basis. Or, at least, that’s not what this blog will ever be about.

I digress.

As it stands, I feel as though I’m  blogging without a purpose when I should/could be blogging with a purpose.

Now, to figure out what that purpose is.

Graphics by Irene

Graphics by Irene

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Plans for the Fall

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I received my acceptance letter & welcome e-mail from Mercy College today for the Fall semester. Because they’re a New York school, I can get more financial aid and with the cost of college; anything extra will definitely be a big help. So, having this in mind means that I can start making tentative plans for the fall because that’s what I do- I plan. I’m a planning type of person, I like things to be organized… even if I’m not the best at always following through on the plans that I make.

For example, my youngest (Squeaker) just turned six months old yesterday and I’m already planning for when she’s old enough for Tot School. Yes, I realize there’s still quite some time for this but I don’t care… I need to plan. I have downloaded tons of free printables, bookmarked curriculum to purchase (for printing and laminating) and I already have themes planned out. And yes, she’s only six months old and I more than likely won’t be doing any of this stuff with her until she’s at least fourteen months old. But I’ll be ready and prepared to start when she’s ready.

Anyway, I feel like I need to make some updates to the blog… general things like expanding the ‘About Me’ page a bit, possibly adding a few more static pages, and maybe start reconsidering the short navigation menu across the top area. I also have delusions of working on the family website and eventually getting the Autism website more in tact. But, before I do that; I need to plan. Without that plan in place, I lack direction and without direction I’ll never get anything done.

Unrelated to everything mentioned above, as far as online education and Squeaker go, my mom will be signing over the house to K and I. This is huge and we’re both petrified at the idea of actually being homeowners. Yes, we’re both over the age of 30 and yes, we’re both adults but still. We know that there’s a lot of work that still needs to be done on the house and we’re prepared to do that (again, with plans because K- like myself- also plans). Aside from the work being necessary, we’re also thinking long term for when we sell the house. That won’t take place until Squeaker is older (and ready to enter middle school) because while I’m okay with sending her to a local elementary school… middle school and high school are out of the question. Up until kindergarten, Squeaker will stay home with me… but that’s a different post, for a different day. Once we start making more improvements to the house, I’ll be happy to share pictures. Just to give the blog a little more of a ‘home’ feel to it.

With all of that said, I’m taking my weekend break from blogging. I hope that you all have a lovely weekend!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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Blog Blah Blah- 6/5/14

I’ll have an entry with a bit more substance, other than answering a meme prompt, sometime tomorrow (and after I’ve waded through the massive amounts of comment spam since my last update).. Anyway, being the slacker blogger that I am, I knew I would need all of the help that I could get to stay on track. If you’re like that and want to have a gentle push in the weekly direction: Divine Secrets of the Blah Blah Bloggerhood just might be for you.

Our prompt this week is “I wish I knew then…

Hmm, if I could write a letter to my past self or to today’s youth (or maybe a text would be more appropriate? Or a tweet!) I’ll pretend that I’m tweeting this from my personal twitter (while completely ignoring the 14o character count because that drives me nuts). But, in short:

Pay attention.

While those words might seem simple, they can apply to so much in life. In school; pay attention to what your teachers are saying and to what other students have to say. You never know who you’ll really be getting the bulk/heart of the lesson from when you pay attention to what’s going on around you and especially in an academic discussion. To loved ones; family and friends won’t be around forever (even if we want them to be) so as  tempting as it might be to say, “I’ll call them later” or “I just need to watch this, hold on please” … you never know when your last moment will be with that person. Even if it’s just a few minutes or a few words, giving your time to someone else is priceless and precious. And who knows how many memorable moments you might create just by paying attention. To nature; taking a minute to soak up nature is soothing for my soul. There’s just something I can’t quite put into words but I feel at peace. Just paying attention to the smallest details (wind in the trees, birds, buzzing of insects so I know when to run) opens my senses and grounds me. I feel more aware of myself and my surroundings by just listening to what nature is trying to tell me. To yourself; your body is trying to tell you something every day if you’d bother to listen. I’m guilty of this.. I ignore those hunger pangs, dry mouth (that means I should be drinking more water), need for sleep (because of course I’m capable of staying up for 36 hours straight!) and I could go on. I also tend to ignore the more spiritual side of me or the side that wants to be challenged by something other than Facebook games. Whether it’s reading a religious book about Celtic Christianity and it’s roots to pre-Christian Europe or researching for an article that I might want to publish on my Hubs; those are things that I enjoy doing that I don’t do nearly enough of.

There are many moments that I won’t get back because I chose to do something else instead of paying attention to what someone or something, whatever the case may be, was trying to tell me. No longer will I do that. I’d rather make more moments and memories than more ‘would have, could have, should have’ opportunities.

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Online Learning- Part Two

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Blog Dare Prompt- 1/20/14- So far, so good

While I haven’t exactly been on the up and up with consistently posting, I’m happy at least with some progress that has been made. The blog got a makeover as did the Facebook page. And speaking of Facebook, the Facebook Friday Hop sponsored by Bloggy Moms has been wonderful. I didn’t participate last week but the past two weeks have helped me tremendously. I would definitely recommend checking this out if you haven’t already.

Moving on.

As it relates to the title of the post, online learning, I’m following up from a prior post (read here) regarding my search for college options in the fall. Before my daughter was born, I was considering options online and in person but ultimately decided online. I was, and still remain, quite impressed with St. Leo University in Florida. However, after looking further- I’m adding a few more possibilities. University of Maryland University College, University of Florida and Penn State University. Obviously, I would be paying for out of state tuition with University of Florida while Maryland and Penn State have set tuition rates.. Penn State also has a flat rate for 12 credits or higher.We’ll see what happens after the application process and how many of my prior credits are accepted. I think I’ll apply to all four, if not three. At this point, I’m leaning more towards University of Florida and Penn State. I was also exploring options for Master’s degree work and/or graduate certificate options.

But that’s another post for another day.

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Following Christ

Adventures in Church Shopping- Part One

If I could take a screenshot of my internet browser right now- you’d see the following tabs: WordPress Dashboard, The Blog Dare, First Lutheran Church of Albany, First United Methodist Church of Delmar, Presbyterian USA, Delmar Presbyterian Church, Albany Episcopalian & The Cathedral of All Saints. Aside from the first two mentioned, what do these tabs have in common?

A seekers journey back on a not so traveled path. I’m following Christ as best I can.. I’m not perfect & would never claim to be, but before I digress- read on.

If you’ve read my about me, you’ll know that I consider myself a Christian and on my personal Facebook page I’ve proudly declared my religion as Christian (but without a church to guide or hinder).  And I’ll explain that now- I believe in Jesus Christ, I read the Bible (I’ve read the Bible from cover to cover once- and hoping to do it again), I pray, I believe in the trinity.. I could go on.

[Read more...]

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