A New Hobby

I’ve found a new hobby. Rich has been telling me I need one and he was right. I realized this when I sunk to a new low; I had downloaded Candy Crush Saga on my Kindle Fire. I knew I had traveled into serious boredom and dangerous obsession. I knew I needed something.

I drove to Michael’s and bought a pair of bamboo knitting needles and a ball of yarn. I checked out a couple of books on knitting from the library and went home full of hope. I began to knit.

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It didn’t go so well. I read up on types of yarn and size of knitting needles, but I thought that was just  guidelines, nothing that I had to worry about. I made the decision to drive back to Michael’s and purchase yarn more suitable for my needles, and, after a few false starts, I got the hang of garter stitch and began knitting my grandmother a scarf.

But what to do with that ball of yarn I had originally purchased? It was more suitable for crocheting and I knew nothing about crocheting. My interest was piqued when I saw some pretty cool crocheting projects online.

I made another trip to Michael’s. At this point, they recognized me from the last two trips I’d made in the last two days. I went home thinking I’d probably wasted money on crap I would never use. I was wrong.

My first attempt and I created a beautiful, stylish infinity scarf for my sister. Oh lawd, it was awesome! Now I’m hooked.

I’m going to crochet a scarf, hat, beer coozi, blanket, guinea pig sweater, oh the possibilities are endless!!!

I’ve found a hobby. I am going to be a Master Crocheter.wpid-20131218_114559.jpg

A Few Words About My Husband

I can say that he is tall, dark, and handsome; intelligent and observant; loving and tender; loyal and devoted. He speaks from his mind and shows affection at all the right moments. He lifts me up when I am down and holds me when I feel like I’m losing myself. He knows what to say when I need honesty and praises me when I do something right. He treats me with respect and loves me without bounds.

I can see that he means it when he whispers, “I love you.” I can see his tenderness toward our son and his concern for Big Tiny. He exudes confidence, intellect, and capability to do anything he wants. He is unassuming and understanding, never leaving the room without taking some of my heart with him.

I can hear him murmuring sweet words to Rylan, teaching his son how great a fatherly love can be. He sets an example for others to follow and represents the strength needed to be a leader, a lover, and a father.

I love this man, my man, my husband. He is my heart, my soul, and my whole world. I know that I am lucky and I am reminded of it every day when I wake up next to him.

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Time To Move On

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Have you ever been at a party and felt like you were the only one not participating? Some days feel like that to me.

A few years ago, I was at a New Years party with a group of close friends.  The night was filled with electricity, the kind only felt among people that know each other better than they know  themselves.  You feel it at the birth of a child or the wake of a good friend. That night I was separate from that energy and I stood apart from my group.

I couldn’t find the excitement for the closing of the year or the beginning of a new  one. The kinship was gone; the feeling replaced by a need to move on. A restlessness settled in me and my mind wandered. The people in the room looked foreign and strange, their smiles unfamiliar and uninviting.

The clock struck midnight and I left the room. I walked out of the house and out of their lives.  I’ve seen some of them since, but it was never the same after that night. I don’t feel like I know them anymore.

I get that feeling more often than I used to; I’m not part of the party, but a observer instead. This should be unsettling, but it isn’t. I know I should be more involved and social, but the desire to make an effort has disappeared.

I watch as the party goes on around me and I stand apart. I drift among my friends and feel no kinship. It is time to move on.

Trying to Catch Up

I haven’t written a post in the longest time. I haven’t posted pictures or thought of a new recipe. My time has been spent doing things I feel must be done daily, such as dishes, cleaning, and other household chores. There’s a never ending list of things to do, but lately I have asked myself how any of those “necessary” things have improved upon my life.

I read an 800 page book recently; that is an accomplishment I am proud of. I made the effort to find time to read. Yes, that took away from my time entertaining the baby, but do I really need to spend so much time playing with him? Choosing to spend some of my free time reading isn’t negatively affecting my relationship with Rylan. Then why have I not spent any time writing a post or begun making the handbag I’ve been dreaming of?

I’m determined to find time for myself from now on. I’m going to write more often, read more often, and try more recipes. At 6 months old, Rylan has learned to play on his own and I am going to take advantage of that time to reassert my priorities. I know doing this will improve upon my life and I’m looking forward it.

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Let Me Introduce Myself: I Am Mrs. Tina Collier

The day came and went, and it was the best day of my life! I am officially Mrs. Tina G. Collier. I am now married to the most amazing man I have ever met and I couldn’t be happier.

I look back to the days leading up the the wedding: the planning, the stress, the overwhelming feeling that I was going to forget something incredibly important. Planning the event was made easier by the great venue we chose, Island Time Cruises, because they did most of the set-up for us. They also found a caterer and provided alcohol. Coordinating guests was the difficult part, but everyone made it on board and we sailed on time.

I mentioned that there was stress leading up the wedding. Juggling the baby, catching up with family, and entertaining the guests was not the easiest task. With Richard’s help, and the assistance of various friends and family, everyone was taken care of. Rylan seemed to bask in the attention and the only hang-up we encounter was during the night. He roomed with us and none of us slept well. I guess I was spoiled at home, I was getting approximately 6 hours of continuous sleep. That was not the case in our rental house, as I was waking up every 2 hours to feed or change the baby. This made for a very exhausted bride.

Now, to get to the part that I forgot, The Vows. Yes, ladies and gentleman, I forgot to write my vows. This realization stole upon me during the drive to the boat the day of the wedding. I’m not sure I can stress the extreme nervousness I felt during the minutes leading up to that moment. The irony is that I told Richard to write his down and proceeded to hound him over it. Luckily, I’m an experienced bullshitter and, according to the attendees, my vows came out well. I am looking forward to watching videos of the ceremony to be reminded of exactly what I said, because that entire part of the evening is a blur.

To sum up my wedding, it went splendidly. I felt like a princess! I was the star of the show and it was a hit! I can’t begin to describe the happiness I felt on that boat or the continued enchantment I’ve experienced since then. I finally feel complete. All the issues and stress before the wedding are overshadowed by my special day and I’m excited to see what comes next.

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Planning a Wedding is Not Fun

Planning a wedding is not fun, for the most part. I remember being a little girl and, in my mind, a wedding was this grand event where everyone is smiling and the bride gets treated like the guest of honor. All of her wishes are fulfilled, she gets doted on, and she is utterly stress free; I always thought it would be like a Fairy Princess Disney Movie. Boy, was I naive!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited to be getting married. Unfortunately, planning the wedding has been a pain in the butt. For instance, finding a wedding dress, which is supposedly one of the most important aspects of the wedding, was a total disaster. I had a baby about four months ago and I am definitely not in Destination Wedding shape. I ended up finding a knee-length cotton dress with some lace detailing that looked impeccable on me, even with the extra thirty-five pounds (with the help of some very tight Spanx.) I avoided going into a Wedding retail store, since I knew that I would end up getting a dress way out of budget and more formal than I would like.

Regarding the budget, if you are planning a wedding, good luck sticking with your spending plans. Our expenses quickly doubled, and then tripled, and we haven’t even paid for catering and alcohol yet. I’m afraid to itemize how much we have spent so far, because I am truly nervous to find out. Each time we think we have everything covered, we realize that we’ve forgotten an important aspect. I’ve determined the best way to deal with wedding cost is to close my eyes and just let it happen.

A large factor in the budget is the number of guests that will be attending the event. Some weddings are quaint, with fewer that 30 guests, while others go well into the hundreds. We will have about forty people, including us, at the wedding. This is a manageable amount, but it can feel like a much larger number some days; especially if some of the guests don’t get along. Rich keeps assuring me that all parties will behave accordingly and respect our special day, but I have this  sinking feeling that someone will pull a diva moment. I’m trying to determine if I want to approach the potential diva(s), or if I should stop worrying and let the natural course of events progress.

Rich and I decided that we would take a week vacation for our wedding to allow us time to prepare, as well as, relax. This may be my favorite decision so far. We have rented a house with a boat slip, which has allowed us to bring our boat with us. The house also sports a hot tub and pool. A couple of our friends and my sister will be joining us, and we will be very close to where the Wedding party will meet to climb aboard our Paddle Wheel boat. Oh, did I mention that we are getting married on a giant boat? Both our families are nautically oriented, and Rich and I have spent a lot of quality time getting to know each other on boats. Also, if anyone attempts to steal my thunder or have a diva moment, we will be able to pitch them overboard.

I actually am very excited about the wedding. Some of the preparation has been stressful and the details are endless, but I know the Wedding day will be special and fun. It may not be perfect, it may not go according to plan, and it may be completely different from what I have imagined, but it is MY day. Well, Rich and my day. I hope everyone else enjoys it too, but that isn’t as important. The greatest time of my life has begun and the Wedding is only one day in many.

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Island Time Cruises in Key Largo, FL

Breast Milk versus Formula: What a joke!

Breastfeeding is the healthiest and best way to feed your baby! But you shouldn’t breastfeed in public, supplementing with formula is a bad idea, you’re baby’s digestive issues are caused by your milk, you’re baby isn’t gaining enough weight due to your lack of milk, you don’t breastfeed enough, you breastfeed too often, blah, blah, blah, blah…….

Obviously breast milk is beneficial to a new baby, but breastfeeding is nearly as hard as the delivery. Rarely does a new mom receive the support needed to breastfeed and society makes breastfeeding in public taboo. A stressed out, exhausted, sore, and inexperienced mother is expected to nurse like a pro immediately; but I can tell you from experience, it isn’t easy or pleasant to nurse, (in the beginning.) After time, lots of practice, and some mistakes, a breastfeeding mom can finally call herself a pro. That is, if she is still nursing and hasn’t been discouraged by the sore nipples, engorgement, night time feedings, colic, baby’s constant hunger, endless feedings, inability to pump, leaking breasts, desire to spend more than a couple of hours in public without the need to nurse, etc. I could go on for hours describing how incredibly difficult it can be.

Once optimal breastfeeding has been established, it is the easiest way to feed a baby. No bottles to wash, no formula to prepare, no heavy supplies to carry on long trips; it’s fantastic. But there’s just a little problem: where is a woman to breastfeed when on extended outings, events, or trips? Some department stores, like Nordstrom, will provide a lounge, while others will gladly make room in their largest and most comfortable dressing rooms for mom’s and their little ones. Most places are nothing like these department stores. In one instance, I approached an employee at Target and asked if they had a family room or private seating area that I could us to breastfeed.The young girl looked at me in confusion and said they had a family bathroom I could use. I asked if the bathroom included a chair; her reply, “no, it just has a toilet.” My point is, shouldn’t breastfeeding, the most natural way to feed a baby, be as common as using a baby changing station? Why don’t most places provide a private area for women to feed their babies? Is this a ridiculous request?

I realize that I am able to throw a blanket over the baby while he is nursing, but the looks a woman gets while breastfeeding in public range from understanding to outright disgust. It is easy to tell a mother not to worry about what other people think, but some women tend to be more modest than others. And have you ever tried covering yourselves with a blanket while trying to wrestle your breast out of your nursing tank and holding a squirming baby in a public setting without being completely obvious? All I’m saying is that I would love to be able to run errands and know that I will be able to find a private and comfortable place to nurse my son. Is that too much to ask for?

I have overcome establishing my milk supply, created a convenient feeding schedule, and become proficient at nursing in the car, fitting rooms, my friends’ and families’ homes, and some public places, like the above mentioned department stores. The rest of the time, I have supplemented with formula. Formula has become the best and most efficient way to feed Rylan while on outings and it also allows for Rich to feed the baby when he is home from work. The decision to use formula was not an easy one. Just the thought of one feeding a day with formula made me burst into tears. I can attribute this ridiculous emotional response to hormones, another great side effect a breastfeeding mom gets to endure.

Most of the literature I’ve found online regarding supplementing with formula stated that it would have a negative effect on my milk supply. My milk supply has decreased slightly, but I don’t find that negative since I still produce enough for Rylan. Since we began supplementing, he has slept through the night nearly every night (usually from 9pm until 5am). If I discontinue the one formula feeding a day, he wakes at least once to nurse between 3 and 4am. I am able to take my baby with me to do errands and not worry about  where I will nurse if he is hungry. A huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulder in that regard. The guilt of not exclusively breastfeeding, though, has not abated.

So to all you exclusively breastfeeding mothers out there: Great Job! For mothers that are only able to nurse for a short while or only occasionally: You are amazing for being able to breastfeed even a little. And to those women that are not able to breastfeed and had to use formula from the beginning or chose to use formula: There is no shame in it at all. I grew up on formula, my friends have raised their children on it, and formula has only gotten better with time. The importance of loving your baby and keeping him healthy outweighs what anyone says about breastfeeding versus formula. Care for your little one and care for yourself, everything else is secondary.

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