An update for April 2020

Today was a beautiful day.  ☀️

I am writing this post on my phone while I sit in bed. Jack has been fed and is sleeping in my lap on his Boppy. The weather isn’t as cold as it had been recently and the sun is peaking through the clouds. It’s a nice day and I plan on taking a walk with him before the sun sets.

But that’s all I can do with him outside of these walls.

I can’t say I’m completely feeling the effect of this pandemic or the lockdown because I’ve been out of the loop for so long.

Once I had Jack, I was in a fog of exhaustion and feeding. I finally started taking him to baby classes when he was 10 weeks old. That was late compared to the other babies there. We were both shy about it and I tried a few classes until we found what we really enjoyed. Jack started to look at other babies with curiosity and would coo at his playgroup instructors. (He was also the star of the show at my first Weight Watchers meeting since becoming pregnant.)

Then it was all taken from us again.

Steve started working from home as well so he’s in a semi paternity leave again. He gives Jack bottles during conference calls and luckily our house is big enough that he can work without us (me, the baby, the cats, and the dog) getting in his way.

It’s such a relief to have him home though. Not only because I don’t have to worry about him getting sick, but because I have company in the daytime.

Mothers will tell people without children how hard it is. It’s all true and then some. While I do have feelings of isolation that doesn’t mean it necessarily has to do with lockdown. I was alone after Steve went to work and imagined a red X marking off the first day of my prison sentence. How was I going to go anywhere with this baby? Did I have the energy? Why is the pram and car seat so fiddly? Is it even worth going outside in the first place if we’re only out for an hour?

At first I slept sitting up with him and worried about it constantly since you’re not supposed to do that. Then I tried the GroSnug and had him swaddled. Low and behold, he slept in his cot for five hours so I could sleep lying down in the bed. Eventually I decided I didn’t want Jack to sit at home like a bump on a log all day. Also, supposedly those classes were for moms not to go insane from lack of adult human companionship.

I went to a few classes, enjoyed them, and realised how out of shape my body still is because I can’t crawl in the floor with my bad knees. But I felt better. I had a schedule of things to do with Jack, some days to visit the library with him for Bounce and Rhyme and even afternoon tea with the librarians.

Then the pandemic happened. Even before the lockdown I decided not to go to the library to visit anyone. I stopped going to the classes that were cancelled days later anyway. Steve started working from home earlier than most and we just went back to being together in the house.

I took Jack to the park before the one hour of exercise and don’t drive to a destination was enforced. Now all I can do is take him around the block or to the river walk.

The weeks have been tough. I am on duty 24/7, trying to be Wonder Woman and finally broke down and told Steve I needed help with the baby because I was mentally and physically exhausted.

Jack’s gone through what I presume is a growth spurt because he’s been eating every two hours and won’t sleep from 12-5AM like he had been.

I’ve gone back to sleeping and holding him. I don’t know if I should still be using the GroSnug or not.

I’m so full of worry about him when it comes to sleep safety that I think he’ll have to be 43 before I stop worrying. Maybe. I won’t count on it.

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An update for February 2020

Saltwell Towers

Jack has arrived!

Our boy was born on the 29th of December and I’ve been in a whirlwind of baby ever since.

Right now, I’m holding him with one hand and trying to type with the other. Motherhood will make you learn to improvise all sorts of things, I’ve noticed. (Eating with one hand. Sleeping with your hand in a cot. Having your husband hold the baby while you go to anywhere other than the bed because, otherwise, the baby cries when you set him down. Etc.)

Aside from trying to keep the baby’s weight up, which is ironic since my whole pregnancy was devoted to worrying about what a big baby he was, I have been trying to get out and about and stay active. This photo was taken during our first walk at the park.

Now, since I am pretty much stuck to the house and can’t really do much more than watch TV while I feed the boy, I have plans on how to keep myself sane during my maternity leave.

First: exercise. The easiest thing to do now, aside from sitting in bed all day, is to walk with the baby in the pram. I try to find places to take him during the week while Mister P. is at work, so that the day differentiates to the night.

Second: writing. Now, this is tricky because I can only type one handed at the moment (Jack hates the baby bouncer I have in the computer room, otherwise, I’d let him sit in there for a few minutes and give myself typing time.) So, its going to have to be me taking the laptop to a café and letting him sit in the pram.

I’ve decided to start with the basics, such as the blog (ta dah!) and maybe start some Medium stories. I was planning on writing something in draft form for Wattpad but I’ve also discovered Substack and Scribophile. (Has anyone used either?)

Third: bullet journal. This may not seem important on one’s list of to-dos but I dearly miss it. I’ve tried to grab snippets of time when I can use both hands for a quick weekly spread, or a list of TV shows to watch (because that’s pretty much all I do these days). But without the zen-like ability to quietly sit at my desk while I find the perfect washi tape, or look at tutorials on YouTube for making great Valentine’s Day doodles, it’s just not as fulfilling as it could be. Still, I’m grateful for whatever time I can use for organization and preparedness.

Fourth: reading. Well, this one does have options that I’m pleased about. I have the Kindle app on my phone, so I don’t have to go digging around for my Kindle or the book at the side of my bed. The trouble is, I’m only going to read a page at a time before I either get distracted by the baby or I start to nod off. Still, plenty of time to read for a few minutes when I’m said somewhere with the pram.

And those are my main objectives for the next bunch of months. Nothing new and nothing out of the ordinary. I suppose they’re resolutions of sorts but all of them take the back seat when it comes to being a mother and focusing my attention on Baby Jack.

But with that said, I hope everyone had a fab Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Update before Christmas 2019

Christmas trees outside of the library.

We’re now 3 days away from Christmas and I’ve been on maternity leave from the library since the 14th of December. I spent my last evening at a work Christmas party so I wasn’t as melancholy about being away from my regular people as much as I could have been. However, it was insanely weird to not be at the library on Monday and not be expected to be at work all last week. I got listless and bored quickly, but being as heavily pregnant as I am now (only 1 week and 3 days left until my due date) I am way too tired to even consider being on my feet in the office or the library anymore.

For example, today I took two naps and it’s not even 11:30PM.

But everything is fine with Baby Pick. He is estimated to be 9.9lbs according to our last scan/ultrasound, so once we speak to the doctor on Christmas Eve, we’ll have a plan as to what to do as far as delivery is concerned. I think they’re gunning for induction the week of New Year’s, which I’m not keen on, but we’ll see what they say.

While I’ve been home, I’ve gotten a lot of Christmas wrapping done in case I’m otherwise engaged at the hospital or something. We bought all of our groceries last Friday so the house is full of snacks and everything we need for a traditional Christmas dinner (turkey crown, turkey gravy, rolls, parsnips, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, carrots, pigs in blankets, stuffing balls, and brussel sprouts). I haven’t done anything really and I feel incredibly bad that Mister Pick has had to do all the things to get ready for Baby and the holidays. Fingers crossed I recover quickly after Baby arrives. I miss walking the dog in the mornings.

Now that I’m off work and have some waiting around time, I’ve picked up The Cheerleaders as my current Kindle read. I also want to get back to writing and I’m itching to start crafting a project. I have the idea that I’ll just write all the books and so many authors who are writing all genres of YA and MG just make me all the more motivated to get back to the task of creativity. It’s something I really do miss.

And it’s not like I don’t have tons of ideas and topics I’ve jotted down over the last year to keep me busy. The idea of flexing and toning those muscles of creativity really is true and when you get out of the groove of it because of life and whatnot, it’s even more daunting to get back to it.

With Baby on the way and New Year’s approaching, I’ve also been in the mindset of setting some goals for 2020. I admit that it’s all very traditional: be a good mom, be a good wife, get back to a healthy weight, run my 5K again, write all the books, and things like that.

So hopefully during my next post I can update everyone on how that’s going and maybe Baby Pick will have shown up in the world to give me a little more motivation and a little more understanding of what’s most important in the world. Until then, Merry Christmas!

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October prepping and returning from vacation

Photo

It’s October! We’re back from our holidays and went from 35C/95F temperatures to 8C/48F. It’s appropriately autumnal in Newcastle with the fog and the rain, as is expected. While we were away it only rained maybe a couple of times and we spent two glorious weeks in Disney, Universal, and Cocoa Beach.

What I took home from the trip were a couple of bags of flavored coffee, some Christmas ornaments (because this year will be quite special), some baby onesies, and a cold. So going back to work this week with jet lag, a tiredness that comes from being six months pregnant, and a stuffy nose has not been that pleasant. However, after sleeping a lot this weekend, I think I’ll be ready to take on the next 10 weeks of work before my maternity leave.

Ten. Weeks. That’s all I have left. I think that freaks me out more than labor and delivery at this point, as well as being off of work for a whole year. I keep being assured that I won’t care about the goings on at the library while I’m away, but I’m a control freak and have severe FOMO, so if Baby Pick supersedes all of that, I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

What I noticed about holidaying in the Central Florida area is that Disney is just so much better than the other parks. I know I’m a Disney fan girl and all, but the amount of rude staff we came across during our one day at Volcano Bay water park and the severe lack of organization we encountered at Sea World just proves that Disney sets a higher bar for customer service.

For example: Preferred Parking at Sea World costs $35 and regular parking costs $25. Everyone was parking in the same rows in the same area so we wasted $10 on that. Plus, the queue to get in was miles long, including the self service kiosk, so it would have taken ages just to get into the park. I investigated buying the tickets online, but unlike Disney, it didn’t tell you up front before you paid, what dates the tickets were valid for. It’s not until you leave the tickets in your cart and you get an email later saying, “Don’t you want these tickets that let you go into the park three days after purchase?” If I had bought them and tried to go into the park the next day, as we intended, I would have been even more disappointed because we tried to go over on our last weekend in Florida.

Mister Pick was bummed out about this because he wanted to see the new Sesame Street land, the Halloween events, and experience the beer festival, but I think that was the reason so many people were trying to get into the park at the same time. Other people in our parking row did the same thing we did, got to the gate then realized it wasn’t worth it, and turned around and went home having wasted $25-$35 on parking. (We did sent an email to Sea World about this and we got a parking pass for next year.)

With Volcano Bay, Mister Pick went as far as to write an email of complaint about the rude staff. A lot of the time there was no please or thank you, there was no finesse or love for their job that you see at Disney. There was, “You need to move the line here!” or even having rafts for the rides thrown at customers. What irritated me the most was the couple of bits of wrong information we received. I specifically asked at one of the lunch cafeterias if the park unlimited drinks cups could be used at the adjacent hotel, Cabana Bay, where we were staying. We were told, “yes,” only to find out that was just wrong. Also, when we left the park, there was a staff member blowing bubbles (because that makes it seem fun to be there!) and she didn’t stop when I approached her, then gave me wrong directions to get back to the hotel.

It wasn’t anything major, and we did enjoy our time there. I loved the wave pool and Mister Pick had a fine time on all of the slides, especially the lazy river, but it was just that little attention to detail when it comes to customer service. As someone who works in customer service day in and day out, I can tell you full well how high expectations result in higher quality treatment of customers.

Aside from that, everything was good. We did experience the drunken nightmare that is EPCOT Food and Wine Festival on a Saturday and I can safely say I will never do that again. People just loud, shouty, and making a point to draw attention to themselves. I even saw two women cursing each other out in a line for the ladies’ toilets, children in tow, all because they were off their face at two o’clock in the afternoon. It was so busy and so hot and if you go there just to enjoy the park, a weekday is your best bet because, wow. Those Florida Passholders treat that like a bachelorette/bachelor party on a weekend. (Most importantly, not a time to bring children unless you want them to experience brawls and lack of security.)

Other than that, it was great. We saw a lot of my parents who are doing well (except my dad caught my cold, poor guy). We went to Galaxy’s Edge (!!!) and saw the new Toy Story Land. I didn’t go overboard with the eating because I had my glucose test when I came back home (still waiting to hear results of that), but I enjoyed cake and (low carb) ice cream on my birthday. I wasn’t in the mood for a lot of shopping either, but I managed to bring back the essential snacks, and souvenirs for my co-workers, as well as my own gifts mentioned above.

Oh, and I didn’t spend too much at Michaels. I was very proud of myself, considering that I was in Happy Planner Heaven and would only have that chance once.

So now that I have all of the planners, including my Academic Passion Planner that’s on the way, I’ll be prepped for some time with Baby and being at home for, hopefully, some creative time. I’d love to do even 25k words for Nanowrimo this year, but the more I don’t write, the more daunting it seems. I keep hearing about people on social media who are fast typers and they write a book in a month anyway. I used to do that but they weren’t good and it was the editing that was more frustrating than anything. That means I’d like to have a more organized approach to what I’m going to work on and at least have some sort of plot structure in place before I try to work through the story.

But October is here! Soon it will be Halloween, with Thanksgiving around the corner. I don’t look forward to the frost coming in because I’m terrified of slipping and falling as it is, let alone being ungraceful and pregnant, but I’ll take precautions and take it easy.

In the meantime, I hope everyone is choosing their costumes, reading spooky books, stockpiling their candy and having a fab month so far.

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Author podcasts and finding Baby’s gender

Bee on flower

Well, we’re having a boy!

I’m sure it will thrill our son that I’ve already shared our pictures on Facebook, so to spare him the further humiliation, I’ve not posted the prize-winning scan photo on my blog.

It’s not long now until we head to Florida for our holiday. I am so ready for this. I’m sure it’s the pregnancy hormones, but I get so overwhelmed during the day with the running around, the people, and the being up for over 8 hours.

So, I have four months left until Baby arrives. I sort of seems like plenty of time and it also sort of seems like it’s coming up very shortly.

In order to prepare for my upcoming maternity leave, I’m working on being prepared for getting a book done (at least one) while I’m spending most of the time at home, not sleeping. The ways that I’ve done this are taking notes on my phone, setting up BookFunnel, and listening to my author/writer/creative podcasts.

Here’s a list of what podcasts I’ve been listening to:

  • Create If Writing
  • Stop Writing Alone
  • Don’t Keep Your Day Job
  • The Creative Penn
  • The Writer Files
  • Write Now
  • Write-Minded
  • Writing Excuses
  • Smart Podcast, Trashy Books
  • You’re Welcome with Hilary Rushford
  • You’re Booked

I commute a lot so having lots of options for motivation and inspiration is a big plus when the rest of the day is spent on the day job. What I find so helpful is that all of these podcasts have little gems of insight into how you want your author brand and writing to work. If one isn’t fitting your mood or your needs for the day, you can always go to something else and come back to the episode later.

I love music, but having a little bit of chatter in the background breaks the monotony. Plus, it keeps your brain interested in your creative endeavours even if you can’t sit and work on your current project.

We’ve also been in our house for over a year now. That flew by, but we’re still in love with the place.

Pick Manor is being slowly transformed into a place for a child to live. We have paint, we have nursery items, we have lampshades, and we have a new kitchen sideboard for bottles and baby feeding items. I still don’t know how we’ll be ready as I’m starting to feel like I’m training for a marathon.

Steve has been working overtime and I’m exhausted all the time, so it limits our daily excursions. Still, the nice September air has crept in this morning, so I feel autumn is upon us.

I hope everyone has a fantastic September. See you in October!

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