President Who?

Even as a child I was always excited by the thought of getting to vote. I’m not sure why really, because I didn’t fully understand what voting was really about at that age. I knew it was getting to put my opinion into action, in a way, or getting to throw out there my two cents on an issue in a yes or no fashion. However, today, I am dreading next Tuesday.
I am what you would consider “Middle Class.” My husband and I work for a smaller salary each year, but we DO work. We own two houses and two cars. We pay taxes. We consider ourselves to live paycheck to paycheck (although we manage to have a savings account). We pay for our healthcare, our groceries, our clothing.
While I do like President Obama, if stays in office the Middle Class is at risk of being pushed one way or the other; more than likely to Lower Class. I feel like he views America as Rich or Poor… I’m neither.
While I like half of the “Obamacare” initiative, the other half will increase EVERYONE’S health insurance premiums and deplete the payments to doctors from the insurance plans. Who did you think would be paying for all of the medical bills of those who have pre-existing conditions? Them? No.
While I like Mrs. Obama’s “Healthy Children” acts (still part of “Obamacare”), I think it’s ridiculous to act as Big Brother and tell parents that if they send their kid to school with the wrong foods in their lunch the food will be thrown away and they will be given the school lunch (I can list multiple reasons this is bad).  I’m sure red beans and rice for those Hispanic kids do not meet the standards, or curry for those Indian children. 
The other issue is that I’m not too sure about Romney. I mean, he promises things that he probably won’t or can’t keep. He doesn’t seem to project a good presidential vibe. He makes so many attacks on Obama (only half of them are even accurate).
In an ideal world, there would be two Presidents; one Democrat and one Republican. They would each make their cases on an issue and an unbiased party would vote for what is best for our nation. I would feel much more comfortable if this is the case I think.
You may be reading this and think I am naïve. I am. I don’t watch debates really, I don’t have time to read the newspaper this year, and I’m blocked from all websites mostly at work so I can’t catch up there either. I don’t feel that I can talk to people about it because I find that people are strictly and passionately either Democrat or Republican. I don’t consider myself either (although I’m told by a lot that I should be Republican since I’m Middle Class).
Oh, did you know that some people think that politics and religion go hand-in-hand? I’ve heard that Obama thinks he is the Anti-Christ. Man, I’ve heard so much about this.
I want to vote, but I don’t want to make the wrong choice. What if I vote Obama and he adds more to the “Obamacare” crap, or worse? What if I vote Romney and he tries to change too much, too quickly and it all backfires? I just. Don’t. Know.


Emma = Happy, Work = Crappy

It is truly amazing how happy Emma makes me.
Every day for the last two weeks have been awful at work. I keep telling myself that it will get better (whether it’s at work itself or by finding a new career path), but each day continues to be worse than the last. I sit at work and daydream about ways that I might make things better, but daydreaming gets me nowhere. And while I tell myself that I will look for new opportunities when I get home, it never actually happens. Why? Because of Emma.
                As soon as I open my front door all the worries in the world are long gone. There is my baby girl, waiting to greet her Mama with a big smile and sparkling eyes. Normally the first thing I do is gobble her up from whatever she is doing and hold her, squeeze her, kiss her cheek and tell her that I love her over and over.  While it may only be 9 hours away from her while I’m at work, it feels like days.
                As I type this I get all teary. Never, in my entire life (up until a few months ago), did I ever think I’d want to do nothing but stay at home with my daughter. I always said that if I had kids I’d still work full-time because a career is important to me. Well, a career is still important to me, but my current career has taken a path that I’m not enjoying going down and because of it, all I can think about is being a stay-at-home Mom. Or even just a part-time worker. While the thought of not having an actual career kills me, the thought of being with Emma almost all the time fills my heart with such happiness.
                So, since things aren’t so hot, I pray all the time. I ask for signs. I ask for strength. I ask for help to determine what direction I should take. It’s been over a week and nothing yet, but I’m hopeful. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful daughter (not to mention a super-cute dog and a fantastic husband), so good things can happen! Maybe you could pray for me too. J
                Until things get better I will keep going with the flow, and just do whatever it takes to get me home to see Emma again.


Dear Younger Jenni

Dear Younger Jenni,
I know that you have it rough. I know that you go through each day hating yourself and the direction your life is taking. Well I’m here to give you some advice that may make it easier. It’s your own fault if you don’t listen:
-          You shouldn’t be so concerned with what others think of you. Yes, your Mom tells you this all the time yet you roll your eyes. Guess what, she’s right. One day when you’re older you realize this and you are overall happier. So do yourself a favor and get over it now.
-          Quit obsessing over your weight. You don’t lose any. You probably never will. You will, however, learn to love your body in a different way, and some guys will even like it too. Chubby is normal, and eventually you’re actually going to be thinner than a few of the girls you envy now.
-          Don’t give your parents such a hard time about your curfew and your lack of partying. When you turn 21 you party enough for a lifetime, and one day you will be envious of all the sleep you got when you had to be home at 9pm. Go to bed early, and sleep late while you can.
-          Stay in college. Your teachers were correct when they claim almost all jobs one day will require a degree. If you don’t you will end up overworked and underpaid.
-          Quit telling everyone how much you dislike kids. I hate to say this, but one day you will have one of your own and you will be completely smitten. And yes, everything you say will come back to haunt you. So just keep your mouth shut.
-          When your Dad goes to buy you a new car, get the mustang. If you don’t, he will just tell everyone he tried to get it for you but you didn’t want it… so just get it and don’t feel guilty!
-          Learn something special… like how to play a ukulele, or join a Curling team. You’ll regret not having a special skill later in life if you don’t.
-          Come up with some money-making ideas in your teens and try them out. If you don’t, you will always wonder if you could have become a millionaire.
-          On that note, create a website that you can invite friends to join and become part of your daily life by posting what they are up to and even pictures. Call it Facebook.
-          You will meet a man in high school who one day will marry you and love you unconditionally. Here are some tips to avoid the drama:
o   Trust him. He will never, ever hurt you in any way that you think he will.
o   Don’t sweat the small stuff. Yes, he is selfish for the first 8 years (typical man), but it gets better after that. Go ahead and let him go out with his friends without you.
o   He’s a man. Don’t expect him to change. He will change if he wants to and in his own due time. Don’t try to force it either.
o   Enjoy him. Enjoy being married. Enjoy your time together. And quit questioning when it will all end.
-          Don’t let your husband take your car to go get tiramisu. He will make a side trip to a video game store and total your car in the process.
-          At an adult Easter Egg Hunt avoid drinking both wine and vodka. You WILL have your husband call your Mom to come pick you up even though he is very capable of driving you himself.
-          Never take the first salary a new job offers you. Just don’t, no matter how much you want the job.
-          Karma is real, so forgive your enemies and pitty those who bully you (there’s a reason why they are so angry, and it’s more than likely a rough home life).
Overall you will learn to love your life. You will make a lot of mistakes, and you will have a lot of regrets. A lot. But that’s normal. Try to be happy. You are beautiful, even though you don’t realize it until later just how beautiful you were, and you will continue to get even more beautiful as you get older (but it will be in a happy-mommy kind of way).
One day, a little too late in life (because you worry too much), you will realize how great you are, how great your family is, and you will be over-the-top happy. Just realize it sooner for your own sake.
Older Jenni


12 Weeks and Going Strong

Oh sweet Emma, I can’t believe how big you’ve gotten.
So little baby Emma is now big baby Emma. She has officially hit the 12 week mark and is growing so fast. She holds her head so much better, although when she looks around it’s still the quick moving turns of the head. She can fit comfortable in 3-6 or 6 mos clothing. 6 mos is a bit big, but it doesn’t fall off of her so we are wearing them anyway. She’s getting to be quite the little chunker too. J

Hot topic in our household: Eating.
Emma is eating on average 36 oz per day. They say that a baby should eat 2.5 ounces of food per pound per day. I guesstimate that Emma weighs 14 pounds, so that puts her goal ounces at 35. If that rule of thumb is accurate, then we are on track. My friend Beth told me, “If she’s hungry, then let her eat.” And numerous people have told me that a baby this young can’t overeat, so I guess what we are doing is just fine.
I keep getting asked about cereal or oatmeal. I have different thoughts about this:
-          Emma is a big girl, but she doesn’t seem to be eating more than 4oz at a time (except 7am feeding). We’ve tried to do 6oz, to see if she will go from eating every 2 hours to every 3 or 4, but any more than 4oz and she yacks it all up. 4oz is the perfect amount for her I guess. If she ate her 4oz, and then was hungry 30 minutes later I’d start her on solids. *I did think about doing solids for her 7am feeding, but I cannot firmly decide one way or the other. Without a firm decision I will not say yes.
-          You’re probably saying that giving her cereal will help to stretch her time in between meals. However, I read that this is a myth. That solids do not affect time between feedings, or sleep time until they are 6mos and can start to get the “goods” from it. I actually read this a few places, not just one, so I’m thinking it may have some truth behind it.
-          My Mom has Celiac disease. If you’ve not heard of it, it is a gluten intolerance that 90% of the time is from overeating of gluten (wheat) or from introduction to gluten at a very early age. While rice is naturally gluten-free I am still very skeptical of introducing any grains to Emma. I mean, did anyone hear of Celiac 50 years ago? No, probably not. So maybe by the time Emma is grown there will be larger groups of intolerances to more grains than just wheat. I’m very grateful that the formula Em has been taking is gluten-free. J *Side note – Celiac is a GROWING disease meaning that more and more people are finding that they have it… why? Because they put wheat as a filler in almost everything!
I’ve decided to talk through all of my thoughts and concerns about food with Emma’s doctor. In my mind, what I’d like to do is wait until she is 6 mos, and when introducing, do a mixture of rice cereal and veggie (like peas or green beans – not anything sweet). I know nothing about cereal, I know nothing about babies, and I don’t have the slightest clue if I am off my rocker when it comes to all of this. All I know is that we haven’t talked to the doctor about it, and since Gene and I are novices we’ve decided to let the good doctor decide for us (within reason).
Play time:
-          I feel like I run out of things to do with Emma. Even on short nights, when I only get to interact with her for 2.5 hours I find myself out of things to do with her.  We do playmat time for about 30 minutes, crib/mobile time for about 30 minutes, and tv/swing time for about 20 minutes so Mommy can do things like wash bottles. Then what? I have no clue. I normally end up bouncing her around the room in my arms, or laying her on the floor to practice sitting and standing or even some tummy time (which she hates).
-          I like bath nights bc bathtime takes like 20 minutes. so that’s always something to do, but w do bathtime every other night.
-          I plan on going to Babies R Us to buy a “jumperoo” type thing for her to spend some time in, a bumbo seat for interacting without her flattening her head more, a sophie the giraffe and maybe some fun/interactive/learning toys. Idk. (Update: Bought Jumperoo and Walker from Craigslist, have yet to try out, but also bought Bumbo seat and Sophie.)
-          I feel like a bad mom when I get to the point to say “Now what do I do with you?”

 Out in the World:
-          Gene, Emma and I went to the Cardinals Kids Crew Party on 9/29 at Busch Stadium. While the plan was to get some autographs, I think we were too naïve about how easy it would be. We would have had to forgo some events and fun times to stand in line for over an hour for just ONE autograph. That wasn’t acceptable to me, so we skipped meeting the players to do things like go into the dugout and listen to a kids Q&A with Mike Matheny. We went with our friends Beth and Jeremiah and their son Jackson. I had a WONDERFUL time! Did I mention Emma had a pee blowout somehow in the Cardinals Team Store?!?!?! Lol.
-          Gene and I took Emma to the Taste of St. Louis in downtown STL on 9/30.  She seemed to enjoy it. At one point I think she got tired of watching only us eat so she started gnawing on her hands. Lol. I’m sure the hubs and I enjoyed it a bit more than she did, but she did tucker herself out there from looking around at everything, and she slept from the walk back to the parking garage all the way to an hour after we got home. About 2 hours. I tried to wake her as we were leaving, to see a horse, but she wasn’t having it. Lol.
 Other tid-bits:
-          My Mom watched Emma at our house on 9/29 so Gene and I could go party at Oktoberfest in St. Charles. We were gone from 4:30pm until 11pm. We had a great time, but we got home after drinking a bit too much and had to put Emma to bed. My Mom likes to have her sleep on her belly in the living room (so she can watch her), so when we got home we had to wake her, swaddle her, feed her and put her in bed. It’s hard to do after so many drinks and I was so paranoid. Crappy thing is that I passed out at 12 (midnight) and Em got me up at 3am, then 5am, then 7am. Needless to say I was hung-over and hurting.
o   OH! Did I mention that it was supposed to be my night to get plowed? But Gene did so I had to stay somewhat decent. Then, Gene has Emma duty on Sunday mornings, but on that particular Sunday he wouldn’t wake up. Huh, go figure.
o   I am so grateful though that my Mom wants to do things like that for us. It would get old never being able to go out together for drinks and partying.
-          Emma is starting to grab more. I’m not sure when they are supposed to really start grabbing for things and I find myself getting a bit perturbed at the fact that she isn’t reaching out to grab things already. It’s better now, but it’s still almost an accidental grab. I can sometimes see the wheels turning in her head (or so I think) to say “open hand, move hand forward, close hand” though.
-          Em had a case of diaper rash on her 12 week birthday. It wasn’t bad at all, but it was still red. We used Desitin at every diaper change. The reason I’m mentioning it here, is bc I thought it was so cute that she came home after Grandpa watched her, and she was COATED in it. I mean, it was globbed on! Lol. My Dad is paranoid about diaper rash so I think he thought it would be better if there was more on there. I told my Mom this morning to remind him that a little goes a long way. Lol. It was cute though.
o   Back-story: My Dad had a brother who had like 8 kids. They were probably under the poverty line. They would let the kids in diapers run around too long in the same diaper, and they would get such bad diaper rash to where they couldn’t even sit on their tush. He says that the potty scalded them. He said it broke his heart to see those kids like that… and it breaks mine to even type this out. I couldn’t even imagine seeing it. Of course I would NEVER, EVER let that happen to my Emma, but he just goes a bit over-the-top trying to make sure it doesn’t.
-          I made a free photo book from Shutterfly. It has probably 100+ pictures in there of Emma. Lol. While a lot of the pics are poor quality from my ancient iPhone 3GS, I still wanted them in a hard-cover book so that when she’s all grown-up she can have it to look at. I still am amazed at the things we can do today for our kids. J

I’m sure there’s a ton more I could talk about, but I should wrap it up and leave something for another day.

So, Happy 12 weeks Emma. I love you so unbelievably much. You made life better for your Daddy and me. J