Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Thank You, 2009

As I have said before, 2009 was a trying, stressful, amazing, wondrous and pivotal year for me. The end of a life-changing decade really. For it was in 2000, that I met Craze and the rest is crazy history. Here we are in our little house in Chicago with a gaggle of furry children and one real boy. Wow! Who would have thunk it?

This time last year, I had fallen head over heels in love with my Little Mouse, a barely-one-month-old cheerful, robust and amazing child with a broken arm (from his "I AM STUCK!" arrival into the world). We were broke yet cheerful. Unsure of most things but sure in the fact that everything would, eventually, be just fine.

"Everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds," I kept reminding myself. And so it is.

The end of the year finds us richer in so many ways. . .financially better off, a stronger, more honest couple, parents who actually know what they are doing, warm and happy, looking forward to finding ways to better ourselves and our family in the year ahead.

I might not have won the MegaMillions, but I remind myself daily that in so many ways I have won the lottery. A handsome man I actually like hanging out with who makes me laugh often. A healthy, happy child born at my advanced maternal age. New-found career opportunities that have kept us out of the poor house (and, miraculously, allowed me to work from home and see my child almost all day, every day). A cozy and warm place to rest our heads. A wealth of blessings, indeed.

I guess that leaves me with only two wishes for the New Year. Firstly, that every child can be loved by someone as much as I love my child. And secondly, that those who are still suffering from the bad economy or other unhappy events, can share in some of my good fortune in the new year.

And I mean it when I say, "Happy New Year" to one and all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fast Approaching: The Great Purge of 2010!

While my mom-in-law may be losing it in the brain department, I, thankfully, continue to "lose it" in other ways. Having started Weight Watchers the week before Thanksgiving, I actually lost 2.6 lbs over Christmas, bringing my total loss so far to 8 lbs.

Hurray for me!

I have a lot to lose but I've decided that my goal is just 5 lbs. If I can lose 5 lbs (only 2 lbs more to go until I reach my second 5-lb loss!) again and again, that seems much more doable than trying to chip away at a giant number. And ever 5 lbs is a reason to celebrate. . .and then set a new 5lb goal.

My husband asked me my weight-loss goal today and I told him, "five pounds." He looked at me kind of funny and then when I explained my rationale, he told me that sounded pretty smart. I also told him that my ultimate goal is to be able to get up from the floor without feeling like I need a crane for assistance.

Yes, here it comes people, the GREAT PURGE OF 2010. We're going to be purging pounds along with pounds of miscellaneous stuff. Streamlining all around. And I'm pretty excited about it.

Let's see: 365 days, a big old bunch of weight to lose (100lbs+), and nine rooms, six closets, a basement, an attic and a garage full of stuff to sort, sell, donate, repurpose or toss. Can she do it?????

A 100 lb loss seems a little overly ambitious for one year (almost 2lbs per week, every week). But I'd be willing to commit to 50 lbs off in 2010 and all the unnecessary stuff gone.

That's a big job. Is she up to the challenge? Stay tuned to find out!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Was Challenging. . .

Christmas was challenging. Think mom-in-law might be losing it a bit. She's on new dietary restrictions that clearly mean that none of us are allowed to eat either. "I'm not making dressing or gravy for Christmas dinner." "Why do we need bread (i.e. a loaf of 100 percent whole grain bread I asked husband to pick up at the store)? I can't eat bread."

Uh. . .maybe because the rest of us would like a sandwich once in a while?

Oh, but while bread is OUT, it's ok to eat a big old stack of buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup. . .AND THEN just start eating MY PANCAKES while I am feeding the baby (and it should be noted, hadn't had the opportunity to eat anything yet, all day, and it's 2 in the afternoon!). I am so glad to hear that pancakes and maple syrup (as well as pancakes belonging to others) fit into your new low carb/low sugar regime.

"It's time for the baby to nap again? Well, will he sleep tonight?" Yes, he always takes two 1-2 hour naps each day. He'll still sleep tonight. "Well, I'm not sure about another nap."

Huh? Oh, I'm sorry. I've only taken care of him every day for the past 12 months and 26 days. How would I know what's appropriate napping for my own child?

"Maggie, do you want to go for a walk?" (After I got up early and took care of babe while every one slept in for two-three more hours) No, I just really want to take a shower and wash my hair and get dressed. "Don't you want to take a walk and then take a shower?" No, I really just want to take a shower. I haven't washed my hair in five days. I really want to wash my hair. "Oh, let's go for a walk."

I should also mention that it was 27 degrees outside and icy. No, I don't want to take a walk. This sent me a little over the edge. No walk was taken by me. I showered, laid down and took a three hour nap, leaving husband to deal with his mother and the baby.

She has also become anti-dog. "Are they going to get in the window, Maggie? Because I don't want them near my curtains." "The curtain looks slightly parted. Was the dog in the window?" To dog, "Get out of the kitchen, Bug!" (puts Bug in Living Room). Two minutes later. . ."What are you doing in the living room, Bug? Get in the kitchen!"

Poor dog didn't know where she should be. After a few days of this, the formerly stinky, big-headed former foster dog made a break for it and ran out the front door and jumped up to try and get into the car as if to say "Can we please go home now?"

Yes, Stinky Big Head, I'm right there with you. Time to go home.

(And it should be noted that the dogs have only once done anything bad chez inlaws. And that was when mom-in-law insisted that the two dogs be sequestered separately and Bug scratched at the door while we were gone in an effort to be reunited with Stinky Big Head. This Christmas, they were perfectly behaved. They just couldn't do anything right.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Making Hay While the Snow Falls

Pretty behind on all this Christmas stuff. Work finally wound down. Am planning to pass off store-bought organic cookie dough as homemade treats (don't feel the least bit guilty). More wrapping to do, bed to be made, oil in car to be changed for trip to inlaws, packing clothes, baby and dog stuff, some cards still unmailed. Yeah, yeah. . .getting to it. Not going to stress out over the whole deal.

Nanny is here, so plan to make hay (you know the rest). . .but in my own sweet time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

So Much Time Gone By. . .

So much time has elapsed since my last blog entry that I actually forgot how to log into this thing again!

What to say? My little newborn is now one year and 17 days old. He is a funny, chatty, expressive little wonder. And I wonder daily what I ever did to deserve this amazing (and amazingly blond) little babe. (Said his dark-haired mother.)

I did finally get three job offers. I turned down the "big" job with a fat paycheck, fancy title and big office in downtown Chicago in favor of working 3-4 days per week for a consulting firm where I can continue to work from home. I think it was a great decision. I have a nanny now on my working days, but see my son often during my work day and never feel like I've missed something important. And my job doesn't own my life. I still own it.

Working more frequently while caring for a baby has been a big adjustment, but we are in a much better financial place now. So, much better than last Christmas when we were broke and I used my holiday gift cards on diapers and formula and prayed at Christmas that I would keep finding ways to scrimp, sell or earn in order to cover the mortgage.

Nevertheless, with our new-found income, we have continued to be pretty frugal. Paying down debt accumulated in leaner times and hitting the yard/garage sales like crazy this past summer. I'm still amazed at how well I can do buying lots of things second hand (baby stuff especially). Better financially and better for the environment. A real win-win.

We are still living in that little, sometimes drafty, almost 90-year-old house in Chicago. I'm still thinking of replacing the kitchen floor and redoing the downstairs bathroom and, lately, with a crawling-trying-to-walk baby around, thinking of getting the hardwoods covered with less injurious carpet. But none of the above has been done. My frugal nature insists that I get rid of remaining debt before incurring new costs. So, new kitchen floor and living room carpet in 2010? We'll see.

Craze and I are still going strong. Next June marks 10 years of togetherness. For a guy who seemed to have no interest in kids, he has proved to be a committed, funny and tender dad, who never shirks a diaper change and loves nothing better than the sound of his son's laugh and his beaming little face.

Our animal family is still here, too. Bug, who is mostly terrified of kids, loves Henry. She is so very good with him. The formerly-stinky-big-headed-foster-dog who became our dog is still here, too. He is, however, the most expensive dog of all time (at least in our experience) because of his hip issues and previous leg break (was hit by a car years before we adopted him), but we love him and he loves us and now, at least, I'm actually making some money to pay for his care. And who needs a beach vacation when instead you've got a 70-lb golden haired boyfriend who likes to try and sit in your lap most days? And the Alley Cat and Grey round out that little pack. Both are purring along, soft and sleek and lovable as ever.

I am still heavy. Yeah, I lost the baby weight, but was pretty big to begin with and it's all still there. I'm the frumpiest I've ever been, but mostly zen about it all. On a whim, I had a bunch of my long hair cut off a couple months ago into an impossibly high-maintenance hair cut that made me look like a scarecrow if I didn't straighten it daily. The bleach blond peek-a-boo highlights didn't help. Needless to say, I looked like a scarecrow post-cut most days. Thankfully, two months of growth and a ten-minute hair color session has made me look more presentable (no more peek-aboo!) and I'm looking forward to more hair (along with other changes) in 2010.

I joined Weight Watchers just before Thanksgiving and have lost 5.4 lbs in five weeks. Not bad considering this has included Thanksgiving, baby bday party (and homemade chocolate cake!) and run-up to Christmas. And frankly, while it would be nice to break out of the frump rut, I am more committed to just being in better shape. I would love nothing better than to be able to sit on the floor and play with my son and get up from said floor with ease. It's the "ease" part that I need to work on and Weight Watchers is a first step in that direction.

Not to mention, I have a cute, thin husband who still manages to love me even though I look pretty awful most days lately. Looking and feeling better certainly couldn't hurt in the relationship department.

And like myself, my house is sort of frumpy, too. Aside from the old, chipped kitchen floor, crummy downstairs loo and lack of living room carpet, the onslaught of baby toys and gear has made our clutter issues seem so much worse (and I think caring for a little one has made it a lot easier for the clutter to pile up and stay piled up). My wish for 2010 is that I can streamline myself and my stuff and make my home more livable and easy to clean/maintain in order. It's time for a big purge, all around.

All that said, 2009 was a financially stressful year and the lack of sleep from 7+ months of night-time feedings/baby not sleeping through the night made it harder. But at the same time, it was really an amazing, pivotal year in my life. Having birthed my babe last December, 2009 is the year when I really became a mother in caring for that little boy every single day. It has been the most amazing gift of my life. And even with no money coming in and sitting up for those 4 am feedings, I remember sitting in the dark in his room and reminding myself to cherish every moment. And I think I will remember those middle-of-the-night hours spent nursing and quietly singing to him, looking outside at the snow quietly falling or the shadows on the wall, wondering what this little person would grow to be, for the rest of my life.

And I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude. That my child is healthy and happy, tall and bright. That we still have a warm, cozy roof over our heads. That we find a reason to laugh at least once a day. That I have met new people who shine a light into my life through their own faith and selflessness. That I have founds ways to give back to others who have less.

So, I guess really 2009 was more about riches than anything. I may be frumpy, but I'm sort of fantastic as well. And I guess that's pretty great.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Working Mama Maggie?

I actually have a job interview on Tuesday. Not just any interview. . .a breakfast meeting. . .FANCY!

We'll see what happens. I'm in two minds about the whole thing. On one hand, I'm excited about the prospect of making good money again (pay off the credit cards and not have to worry every month about how to pay the mortgage!) and having interesting work to do. On the other hand, I'm not relishing going back to the daily downtown commute and being away from my baby during the day.

Clearly these are issues that most working moms have and find ways to overcome, but it just seems SO hard. Couple that with the fact that at five months, I have never left baby Henry with anyone but my husband and you have a mom with serious separation anxiety. I feel sad about being away from my little babe.

What to do?

I'm hoping I can work part-time three or four days a week (and if four days, maybe one day working from home). That would make the whole thing more do-able for me. More palatable.

I miss my baby already (and he's only in the next room taking a nap!).

Aside from that, this work-from-home-for-the-past-four-years-often-in-my-PJs woman needs to tart herself up for Tuesday. This afternoon sees a haircut. I already colored my grey, grey roots a couple of days ago. Next, I need to figure out what the hell I'm going to wear!!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


It was happened! Fingers crossed, the jobless wasteland of the past 12 months is beginning to evaporate.

Last week, I got a call about not just one long-term job, but TWO. AND I got some consulting work to boot. Not a ton, but enough hours to pay a good chunk of my mortgage this month. Hallelujah!

It still remains to be seen if either of the potential long-term jobs will really materialize, but I'm excited that things seem to be turning a corner.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Maggie's Trying to Get Greener!

I'm excited about Earth Day. I'm reminded of even more things I can do to help the planet and create a better world for my little child.

I encourage you all to look for ways to be greener, too. Recycle, obviously, but there are so many simple and fun things you can do. Plant some veggies in your garden or containers. I'm planting herbs, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and maybe some snap peas, too. Mend something or get something repaired instead of buying new. I LOVE mending things! I really do feel great when I've put something back in order or given new life to something that otherwise might have been discarded. It makes me feel useful and clever.

Buy used instead of new. This is fun and saves money as well as the environment. Many of my babies clothes, toys and baby "stuff" have been purchased on craigslist or at yard sales for a pittance compared to the price of new and most just require a good washing or two to be good as new.

Use fabric napkins and dish towels instead of paper ones at home. I had tons of fabric napkins I never used until about two years ago when I decided to use them for meals instead of paper ones. I'm sure I've saved a lot of money and a good bit of landfill space.

We don't buy plastic poop bags to pick up after the dogs any more. It suddenly occurred to me last year that I was discarding perfectly good "poop" bags in the form of plastic bags that I get with loaves of bread, produce, etc. Now when they are empty, we just fold them in a drawer with the dogs' leashes, ready to pull out for the next dog walk.

I'm thinking of cutting up old laundry detergent containers to make some colorful planters this year (cut off the top and put holes in the bottom for drainage). I think I'm also going to make the move from disposable diapers to washable, re-useable ones. The modern ones look really easy to use and will really save us money over the next few years while Henry is still in diapers. I feel guilty every time I stick a disposable diaper in the trash and that's something I can change.

Hope you join me in trying to get greener!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Surprising Reconnections

This past week has been somewhat amazing in the reconnection department. Not only have I found one, but two old friends. One, my best friend from the ages of 4-8, found me on Google and now she's coming for a visit in June. I'm so excited! We lived next door to one another and I can't remember my mom ever having a better friend than my childhood friend's mom. We went to kindergarten together, caught butterflies, egged each other on to see who could eat the most sour gooseberries from the bush in the garden, listened to "I Think I Love You" one too many times and watched Speed Racer every afternoon. Such happy memories of carefree days!

The other found-again friend is a kooky guy from college who I lost touch with years ago. My friend Joan and I have often wondered what became of him and finally I was able to track him down through a friend of a friend on Facebook. He's still living in California where I last heard from him and, thankfully, doing well. He's hanging out with celebs on occasion in the swanky LA hotel where he works as the hired muscle should any security be required.

And if two reconnections weren't enough, I'm actually having lunch with a third old friend, this one from junior high, this Friday. She was my friend for only a short time until we had a falling out over religion (how 13-year-olds fall out over religion is sort of beyond me now). I think it all happened when she fell into the grip of an evangelical group and started telling me I was going to hell for this, that and the other thing. Even at 13, that was enough for me! Anyway, she tracked me down on Facebook and told me I was one of the best friends she ever had--which to me was quite surprising, though nice of her to say.

She had an unfortunate accident several years ago and is now confined to a wheelchair which is very sad for one so young. Also, Ms. Right-Wing Christian now practices Islam--if you can believe it!

Anyway, I didn't have a burning urge to see her, but she wanted to see me and meet Henry, so it felt like the right thing to do.

How is it that sometimes just when it feels like the world is getting smaller and smaller, something happens and a new world of possibilities seems to open up. I feel like that's happening now. For a while now, my circle of friends has been diminishing but now old friends are reappearing in unexpected ways. And it feels nice.

It makes me happy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Too Tight for Tea and the Sea Creature Next Door

Ahh sweet mother. . .there is nothing better than a piping hot cup of latte in the morning. Even my own, cobbled together with non-espresso coffee and microwaved milk. Delish!

A friend from out of town is in town and I met her and another "friend" (acquaintance now, really) for tea at the Four Seasons on Friday afternoon. While I do love high tea, it was hard to enjoy it because I knew it's really just too expensive a thing for me to be doing right now. Over fifty bucks including downtown parking, for teeny sandwiches and cookies just slightly bigger than your thumbprint. Kooky, really.

But what's done is done and I must try not to live in perpetual financial regret.

Today we're actually meeting these same friends for lunch. This time Craze is coming and we're going to an Indian buffet, so hopefully we can both have a good meal without doing too much financial damage. I really do look forward to eating out nowadays since it's been relegated to the "not now, maybe later" list of things we put off until the day when we have more household income.

I have a call with a company next Friday about some consulting work (it got postponed from last week). I'm really crossing my fingers that they need help. Oh, how I want to work and bring in the cash again. I do not enjoy being SO cash strapped.

In other news, my gypsy (and I mean REAL gypsies!) next door neighbor, just got colored contact lenses that make her look crazy. She is very olive skinned with dark, dark eyes but suddenly now has light, aquamarine eyes that make her look like the love child of the Man from Atlantis and some kind of Sci Fi Channel creature. Weird! So weird in fact, that it's hard not to look at her face without staring at those crazy eyes. How can she possibly think this is a good look for her?

I'm dumbfounded, really. The other thing I find surprising is that she's an unmarried mother of three with no job who lives (and has always lived) with her parents. How can she justify the expense of colored contact lenses when her parents are supporting her and her three kids? Grandma is a waitress at a local diner and grandpa has not one but two blue collar jobs to support all of them (plus their 30-something son who also never works).

I guess if I remind myself that Ms. Crazy Eyes is the same woman who I regularly saw outside smoking last summer throughout the duration of her third pregnancy, I shouldn't be very surprised. . .

But still I am. . .

The older I get the more I realize that people and their behaviors are a never-ending mystery.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Magic of Neosporin

Okay, a little warning: My post today might seem somewhat gross, but I have to share. Here goes. . .

Ever get one of those things in your nose, like a scratch or cut that just won't heal. Often after a bad cold and clearly made worse by winter's dry air? Well, I had such a spot just inside my left nostril for months. MONTHS I tell you. Three at least, maybe four. Every time I'd move my face in a certain way or wriggle my nose, I'd feel it. Uncomfortable. Abnormal.

I tried saline spray to keep the area moist. Didn't help. Figured time would heal. Still, nothing.

Then I had to go to the dermatologist recently for an odd-looking mole and while in the office, I hit him with my nasal issue. Peering inside my nose with a light and a little wooden stick, he said, "Have you tried putting Neosporin on it?"

Huh. . .no. Indeed I had not.

Well, it was like a little miracle in a tube. Two applications of generic triple antibiotic ointment with a Q-tip over a 2-3 day period and my little problem is completely healed. COMPLETELY HEALED. After 3-4 months of waiting for it to heal otherwise and feeling the daily discomfort of this annoying nasal thing all I needed was a couple little dabs of neosporin. Wow. I really am amazed.

Now I'm wondering. . .do you think it will have the same affect if I just sort of smear it on other parts of my face or body every now and again. Beginnings of crow's feet. Bam! Baby-making stretch marks. Pow! Come on Neosporin. Do your best!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wasted Easter

I'm so annoyed. Today has been an absolute waste of a holiday.

The one thing I said I wanted to do today was go out to eat. I told my husband this repeatedly in the past weeks. The one thing he wanted to do was watch hockey. Live. At the stadium.

I told him we didn't have $60 or $100 laying around for him to go watch a hockey game that he could watch on TV. And besides, if we had any extra money, it seems to me that it's more fair to use it so we can both go out to eat since that's something we never do anymore and guess who's the person at our house responsible for ALL the cooking ALL the time. Yes. That would be me.

So as it's ending up, my husband didn't go to the game. But my requests to go out to eat were repeatedly ignored. It's 6:10 pm and unless I choose to make dinner right now, we won't be eating anything today. And for some reason, on the holiday, my husband has taken a mad fit in his head to run around in his underwear cleaning the house. Cleaning the house. In his underwear. On Easter Sunday. Huh. . .

Could have been done yesterday, when he did absolutely nothing (except watch more hockey), but no. None of our families decided to include us in their Easter plans today and it seems that goes for Craze, too. It's no wonder I just decided to give up on the day a few hours ago and go take a nap when the baby went down.

I'll be glad when this day is over.

Hippity Hopping Baby Bunny

My key priority this morning was to dress my 4-month old in a hand-me-down Easter outfit complete with fuzzy white and pink bunny ears. Henry looks like the cutest, most charming little bunny you have ever seen! Have I learned nothing from The Christmas Story?!?!?

Am I going to end up being one of those moms?????

I think I can't help myself. At the moment. Maybe I'll be able to stop before he turns say. . .eight?!?!?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Don't Cry for Me, Mr. Tax Dude

Tax day was REALLY taxing since we ended up having to pay both the federal and state governments as I was behind on my self-employment taxes. Oh brother!!!

Just what I need when I'm broke. . .another big bill. Thanks, IRS. It really depressed me. Also, my tax people confirmed my worst fear: since I'm self-employed, I can't apply for unemployment in the state of Illinois. I almost started to cry right at Mr. Tax Dude's desk (but I managed not to--thank god). That pretty much put the rest of the day onto a downward slope. Even baby Henry was in a somber mood.

But today I'm pulling myself up by my bootstraps! I need a more positive attitude if I'm going to find a solution to our financial problems (i.e. I need to get some work!).

So, I'm being thankful for what I have, not stressing about what I don't and touching base with people I haven't talked to in a while, i.e. opening myself up for the universe to give me a hand here. I actually have a call next Thursday about a job opportunity--so fingers crossed!!!! Double crossed, in fact!!!! Even some consulting work would be a HUGE break for us at the moment.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

So Taxing. . .

Tax day is fast approaching so today I must make valuable use of all available baby-napping time to get all our tax stuff together. Baby Henry and I have an appointment with the tax gentleman tomorrow. Off I go!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A Secret Told on the Breeze?

Some days, like today, I feel sort of lost. I look for purpose in feeding the baby, cleaning the kitchen sink, loading up the dishwasher. General tidying. Trying to do what needs to be done and putting things in order. There's a momentary sense of rightness in seeing things cleaned and put away. In knowing that my baby is content and happy and that even when he cries endlessly in his cranky teething mode, I am good and patient and calming with him.

But I still feel out of place. Neither here nor there. A stay-at-home mom but not, since I really need to find a job to make ends meet. A career woman who knows she would rather be at home cleaning the sink and singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider even for the 78th time. Stuck in the middle.

My husband tells me to get out of the house, but there are few places to go that don't require spending money. I guess now that the weather is better that I just need to get into a walking habit with the baby. Fresh air and blue skies might blow away the cobwebs and help me get over the post-pregnancy frumpiness I feel. Maybe the breeze will tell me something I need to know. Let me in on the secret that holds the key to real contentment. Help me feel confident again. As a career woman AND a mom. As the woman I long to be.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Here He Is, By the Way

April Already? Time Flies When You're Not Sleeping

Oh, how long it's been, dear blog. That's what happens. One day your little babe is just a little over a week old and suddenly fast-forward and he's four months and five days old already. And you wonder where the time went. . .well, it wasn't spent sleeping. That's for sure. Especially when you're still getting up for those middle-of-the-night feedings. . .

I guess time indeed does fly when your a new, first-time, now 44-year-old mom.

My little one continues to thrive. His formerly broken arm is pretty much as good as new. In fact, my almost three-week-early "little" babe is something of a giant now. 27 inches long and 17 pounds at the four-month mark. He's pretty much outgrowing his 6-month size clothes already. And he's an early teether--been teething already for weeks. Those bottom front teeth are about to pop any day and, oh boy, are they making him, my usually sweet and flirty little boy, a crank monster.

And me? Well, it's a mixed bag. Still no work, so money is a constant worry. And I'm torn. I love looking after my child and my home, but my husband doesn't make enough for me to stay at home full-time. Hopefully, I can find something part-time, but any job is hard to come by at the moment. I've been in touch with long-time colleagues in my profession to see if they have any openings or know of any and I've been surprisingly totally blown off for the most part. I find it hurtful and quite staggering. People that I know very little, acquaintances really, have been the most helpful in my job search. I guess it just goes to show that you can never really know some people. People are often not, in reality, who they lead you to believe they are. Well, never mind.

If I wasn't so broke, I might actually say that this was one of the happiest times of my life. Heck. I'll say it any way. This is one of the happiest times of my life.

I have a little miracle child and every day I find more reasons to be grateful. Grateful for my wonderful, hard-working, funny husband who clearly loves being the father of his child. Grateful that the sun is shining on my back and spring is finally coming to still-cold Chicago. Grateful that I can be honestly content with what I have. Grateful that even in these hard times, we will find a way to get by. This I know.

In the end, everything will be really fine. Better than fine. Possibly great.