Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What do you want to be when you grow up?

We are all asked this question as kids and we give our honest full answers without knowing how much school will be involved, how much money we will or will not make, and how much work it will be to reach our dream jobs.  When asked this as a kid I remember saying that I wanted to do hair.  I loved being creative and making people pretty.  Fortunately, I was able to follow this dream after high school and work in a salon for a couple years.  I loved doing hair, loved my coworkers, loved the challenges that were brought to me and best of all I loved making people happy.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to keep this job because the hours were poor and so was the pay and lack of benefits.  I needed something different and needed it fast.  So, I ended up as a secretary.  Set hours, nice pay, great benefits.... yet all my happiness flew right out the window, but I had money and security. 

We make sacrifices in our lives to make the best situation possible for ourselves and our families.  I am sure there is a happy medium out there somewhere, but I can't seem to find it.  I am constantly searching for that piece of me that is missing... that job or career... or maybe to be a stay at home mom.  I am praying that it will find me because I honestly don't even know where to start to look to find it.  I pray often that I will just find happiness in what I do and from time to time I find that happiness, but it doesn't stay.  It disappears quickly and is hard to get back.  Why is happiness so hard to hold on to? 

I knew that I couldn't go back to being a hairstylist because that would mean a pay cut, hours that are not reliable, and besides that... I am getting older and people want young out of college stylists.  So, instead I went to school for psychology.  I figured I would still be able to help people and that would be extremely satisfying for me.  I finished my bachelors degree right before I had Ethan and swore I'd go back for my masters so I could find a job as a therapist or counselor.  Well... I never went back.  After having Ethan I realized that what I really wanted, more than anything in the world, was to be a stay at home mom.  Something that would be so rewarding, so challenging, so enjoyable, and would give me a better reason of self; however, this is impossible.  Our life situation does not allow for me to leave my full time job with nice pay and great benefits and set hours...

When do we draw the line?  Why do we sacrificing our happiness just to "make it through life"?  Isn't life supposed to bring us happiness and joy?  Why are there so many people that hate their jobs and hate what they do, but they do it anyways to have what they have?  I don't want all that stuff anymore.  I don't want an expensive house with tons of bills.  I want a simpler life.  Why is it so hard to go back and find simple after we've made it to complicated?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

17 Weeks, Mariah's High School Orientation, and Other Stuff...

I am 17 weeks pregnant today. Baby and I are still doing wonderfully and I have been feeling a lot more movement! I have been working out every day and loving it! We are only 9 days away from finding out the gender of this baby! We are very excited about that and can't wait to pick out an official name and figure out how to decorate Ethan and baby's shared room.

Last night we went to Mariah's high school orientation.  There were a lot of 8th graders and their parents at the high school.  There are about 930 kids that attend the high school, not too big and not too small!  They talked about all the required classes and electives.  They have four 9 week sessions per school year so the kids take 4 classes at a time equalling 16 classes per year.  I think that is a much better idea than trying to balance 8 classes at a time.  Mariah seems really excited about high school.  She is also excited about taking DRIVERS ED the second half of her freshman year... YIKES! 

Mariah is very involved in dance and cheer leading.  She is on the Junior Broncos Dance Team which is for 6-8th grade girls and helps prepare them for high school dance.  Dance replaces the pom-pom and cheer leading teams at the high school.  They are very competitive and are a year round sport.  If Mariah makes the dance team then she won't be able to join any other sport.  She is pretty confident that she will make the team, but still nervous about tryouts.  Freshman dance tryouts take place this April during Mariah's 8th grade year.  We think she'll do great! 

Mariah's dance team performed at the high school this past Friday night during boys JV basketball.  Here are a couple pictures.  Afterwards we went out to dinner to celebrate all of her hard work with the dance team. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

16 Weeks

Baby and I are 16 weeks along today!  I will have to say that life has been so busy that so far this pregnancy is going really quickly.  I can't believe we'll be finding out in 16 days what the gender of our little baby is?! 

I've been feeling a lot of movement from baby lately.  I had felt flutters before this, but since this past Sunday I've been feeling the baby shift, roll, and kick it's little legs and arms!  I think this is one of the best parts of being pregnant.

I have been feeling really well lately.  I have been working out on my elliptical at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes each time and it is really helping with my energy level and my over all mood.  Hopefully I can make this a daily habit soon. 

Well, I was feeling good until the custodian that thinks he needs to talk to me daily... just told me I am getting fat.  Seriously what is the deal?!  When I was pregnant with Ethan a different custodian said to me "oh you're pregnant... I thought you were just letting yourself go?!"  Who in the heck tells these people that they are free to say whatever they'd like to others?!  Are they that miserable and bitter?!  Now he just came back and said "I meant that in a good way...".  Umm yeah... because I called you an ass and chewed your head off?!  I haven't even finished my coffee yet people... URG!  Okay, another 30 minutes on the elliptical would be good right about now. 

Anyways... I took a picture of myself this morning at 16 weeks.  I am wearing similar clothes from my 10 week picture so I am posting them side by side below for comparison.  I really don't think I am showing much at all yet.  These next 4-6 weeks will make a huge difference though.  I will try to take weekly pictures over the next couple weeks. 

                 10 weeks                                                                 16 weeks
16 weeks with my sweater on :-)  

Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Ethan!

(yes, cake for breakfast!)

Wow, our baby boy is 3 years old today!  It's hard to believe that these three years have gone by so quickly.  There have been so many magical moments over the past couple years with watching Ethan grow from a newborn, to a baby, to a toddler, and now to a little boy!  Yes, I know he's still technically a toddler, but there are days that I look at him and realize how grown up my little man actually is!  He has compassion for others, a strong opinion of his likes and dislikes, he has a gentle heart and always seems to know exactly what to say.  The other day he turned to me and said mom, you're my wowie zowie.  I seriously have no idea what that means, but he looked at me and said it with a smile and then hugged my arm.  He also tells Cory and I that we are his best friends.  It is amazing how a three year old can know so much, have so much love, care, concern, and trust for all of us around him.  Truly heartwarming. 

Ethan also loves and admires his big sister, Mariah.  When Ethan first started saying Mariah's name it would come out WaWa.  So, instantly that is what we all started calling her.  Then one day he switched it up a bit to Wawy, then My Wawy, and now it's just Wuw... once in a while he'll use her real name and shout out the most pronounced version of Ma-ri-ah.  Mariah has been a huge part of Ethan's life and is an excellent helper.  On her own she'll get him a snack, put his pajamas on him, read him a story, bring him his favorite stuffed animals, and offer to play trains with him in the basement.  I think that Ethan made a positive impact on Mariah's life just as much as he's made an impact on Cory and my lives.  Truly blessed to have two amazing children.  I love you both with all my heart!

I hope and pray that the baby I am carrying now is just as wonderful (and I am positive baby will be!) as my first two children.  I can't wait to see how the three of them interact together in the future, learn from one another, support one another, and love one another.  Even now Ethan has started expressing his love to the baby in my belly.  He often comes up to me and talks to the baby, kisses my belly, and asks the baby questions and then tells me the answers that baby told him. 

Children are truly amazing.  I am so blessed.  Happy 3rd Birthday Ethan James Bartlett.  We love you with our whole hearts and are constantly amazed by your personality.  You are an amazing little boy and will grow up to be a strong and loving man.   

With Love Always and Forever,
Mom, Dad, Wawy (Mariah), and Baby

Thursday, January 6, 2011

14 Weeks 2 Days

Cory and I went to our 14 week pregnancy check up today.  Everything is looking wonderfully with baby and I.  My blood pressure is staying steady around 117/75 and I've only gained a total of 3 pounds so far!  We got to hear baby's heartbeat for the first time today which was EXTREMELY exciting!  Dr. V was able to find baby's heartbeat right away which was beating perfectly at 155 beats per minute.  Absolutely heart warming. :-) We also schedule our gender ultrasound appointment for February 3rd!  Can't wait to find out if we are having a boy or girl!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and New Years!  I know we had a lot of fun and enjoyed some much needed quality time with family and friends.  It was so nice to surround myself with loved ones over the past 10 days and completely escape from the daily hustle.

This was a laid back holiday season for us.  We had family over on Christmas Eve, went to the 11pm church service with the kids (Ethan fell asleep during it), and then spent Christmas day with more family.  It was very nice and relaxing.  Then we enjoyed the week off of work, school, and sports and hung out as a family.  We did a day shopping trip up to South Ridge where Mariah went to all of her favorite stores and Ethan and Mariah rode on the train inside the mall. 

On New Years Eve we had a couple friends and their toddlers over.  We watched the kids run around and take over the basement, we played a couple games on the xbox, ate lots of wonderful food, and watched the ball drop at midnight with the toddlers!  They all managed to stay awake! 

2010 was a pretty good year!

Mariah began confirmation classes at our church and is really reaching her goal with all the requirements. She has almost completed all of her community service hours towards confirmation requirements.  Some of the community service she's done is a car wash for her dance team, a Christmas performance at a local VETS home, she helped build a fort in early December for a little boy that passed away last week from cancer at the age 11, she's also done a walk to raise money for food for the hungry. 

Mariah also has been very involved in a local dance team called Junior Broncos.  This is a dance team for 6, 7, and 8 graders.  It helps prepare them for tryouts for the high school dance team, which is pretty competitive.  If she makes it on the dance team in high school she will not be able to join any other sports.  I believe tryouts for the high school dance team happen within the next couple of months for 8th grade girls!  Speaking of high school... we get to go to freshman orientation on Jan 17th.  I can't believe we are preparing Mariah for high school... where did the time go?!

Ethan has also been an active little man.  In May we potty trained him in about 2 days!  I was really worried about potty training him and thought this would be a huge challenge, but to my surprise he caught on instantly and has been doing wonderfully ever since!  Makes him seem so grown up! 

In March we moved Ethan from a church based daycare to an in-home daycare.  I was so nervous about making this move because Ethan loved the daycare and the teachers and had spent his first two years of life with these wonderful people and children.  We didn't move him from the daycare because there was anything wrong with the care, we moved him to give him a more one on one type of care and to allow us the financial flexibility to be able to have another baby!  Well this moved worked out very well all around.  Cory and I are expecting our 3rd child in July 2011 (as you've read in previous posts) and Ethan's in-home provider is willing and happy to continue watching Ethan and the new baby once I return to work when the baby is 12 weeks old.  Ethan is really enjoying his new daycare situation.  He really loves Ms. Melissa, her husband Mike, and their three kids Mason, Parker, and Sophie.  I hope this next baby loves it there just as much!

Cory decided to pursue his bachelors degree and started his first online class in October!  He did wonderfully and finish the class in December with a 98%!  He starts his next class in a couple days.  If all goes well he will have his degree in 4 years.  So proud of him! 

Cory also rewarded himself with a big treat this year... he bought a snowmobile!  Scotty joined a club in the area and asked Cory if he wanted to join too (this was before the snowmobile was purchased).  Cory thought this would be a great "man" thing for him to do and jumped right on board.  However... since the purchase of the snowmobile... we've had very little snow... Last Sunday Cory and Scotty took a drive over to Monroe County and spent the day snowmobiling.  Cory learned a lot about handling his new machine and he said he loves it.  The guys had a great time and can't wait for more snow.  I on the other hand... can't wait for summer. :-) 

Okay, it was easy to write a little something about the rest of my family from this past year... but now to write about myself.  Well, I am 14 weeks pregnant!  I am tired, but starting to get a little bit of energy back.  I am loving watching the kids grow and learn new things on a daily basis.  I am proud of my family and their accomplishments.  I am still in the same job that I've held for the past 2.5 years and in February I will be celebrating my 11th year anniversary with this company.  Earlier in 2010 I had registered to go to school for my masters degree.  I got 2 days in to school and decided it wasn't what I really wanted at this point in my life.  Instead I am continuing to work my "mom job" as I call it and spend the rest of my time with my family and friends.  I enjoy my job because it gives me set hours, great benefits, and flexibility as needed.  Also, we close down from Christmas to New Years so that is all holiday paid time off!  Definitely a great benefit! 

Cory and I have been working on projects around the house as always.  My creative mind is always going!  We added a magnetic chalk board to the side of a cabinet in the kitchen.  This has been a perfect place to display fun messages and artwork and accomplishments from the kids.  We finished the trim in our master bathroom after having our tile shower redone due to previous leaks, we also finished the trim on our island in the kitchen ~ which looks beautiful ~!!  We started putting trim up in the basement and hope to finish the rest of that in 2011.  Also hoping to finally finish our fireplace during this next year!  It is such a wonderful feeling to put the finished touches on our house.  It has been a project in the works for over 5 years now. 

I think that pretty much sums up 2010.  I am sure I am missing a lot of great details, but I can't write about everything in one post.  :-)  Cheers to an amazing 2011 for everyone! 

Here are a couple recent pictures.  Enjoy! 

Ethan playing xbox:
 Ethan watching his tractor closely:
 Daddy and Ethan snuggling at the 11pm Christmas Eve Service:
 Ethan and daddy watching trains:
 Ethan with his new Buzz Lightyear:
 Mommy and Ethan cuddling:
 Ethan in the caboose:
 More train watching:
 Mariah and Leah watching Alannah dance with xbox:
 Mariah and Ethan on the train:
 Kitchen Island BEFORE:  
Kitchen Island AFTER:
  Bathroom before trim:
Bathroom after trim: 
Me and my baby belly at 14 weeks pregnant!  :-)