Let Go

I suppose April 17th was bound to be one of those kind of days.

It was a Wednesday.

Wednesday meant I had a 9:00 class and 9:00 classes make for rushed mornings—with showers, breakfast, lunches, and school for the kiddo—and little time to do anything before class in an effort to get there with a few minutes to spare. So I was off to a difficult start.

When I opened my laptop to take attendance during my morning class it was was completely unresponsive. Just a black screen and a refusal to greet me with its warm comforting glow despite my efforts to revive it.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

Turns out I had a blown graphics processor and while I was able to retrieve my hard drive and get all of my holycrapIdidn’tbackthoseupyet files, my laptop was inoperable. Spectacular.

And because I now had no laptop, I missed an email regarding a meeting I needed to be at that afternoon.

A meeting that would make my broken laptop look like a broken fingernail.

I ended up in that meeting 2 hours after it was scheduled and it was there that I found out I was losing the job I had been at for nearly 13 years.

Fuck.

Needless to say my emotionally unstable self cried hard in that meeting. And after that meeting. And in front of my students at the class I had that evening.

It was ugly.

I was stunned. I had a feeling the meeting wasn’t going to be necessarily sunshine and unicorns but I was not expecting to lose my job and all that came with it like insurance for the kids, Josh, and myself.

I needed to process what just happened.

There was no way I could teach my class that night.

I’m so thankful that class was an upper-level course comprised of a small group of women that had me as an instructor multiple times in the past. When they saw me cry as I told them I would get them started in the lab but had to go due to a personal issue, they that didn’t look at me like I was some sort of freak. Instead they stood up one after another and hugged me.

That may have made it even harder.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been finishing out the quarter knowing I would soon be unemployed from a job that was so much more than just a job. It was my career and the people within that institution had become family. I kept that my notice of unemployment to myself with the exception of a few family and friends. Sure, people knew—I was not the only one to find out that day they were getting laid off—and word travels fast but I chose not to publicly share my fate. I didn’t tell my students since finals week was just days away and I wanted them to keep their minds focused on the their present task at hand not my future.

May 3rd was my official last day.

I have no idea what is next.

I’m both exhilarated and terrified.

 

Presents For My Boobs

Photo 1198

I feel like I owe my boobs an apology.

They have been work horses for years and I’ve provided them with very little support.

Literally.

When I was nursing my first son I knew nothing about good quality nursing bras. All I really knew was that my boobs were bigger and I needed something that would allow easy access for my sweet nursing baby. Regular bras were not going to cut it for very long. It is really awkward to try to get your breast out of a regular bra in an attempt to nurse your child. And not wearing a bra at all is definitely not an option for me. So weeks after G-tot was born—with breastfeeding firmly happening and working out well for the two of us—I went to buy nursing bras.

I was completely clueless. I had no idea what size I really needed. My budget was limited. I was a tired and probably a bit overwhelmed by the fact that I was a first time mom. Somehow I ended up with were two nursing bras that came in an ultra-generic size “large”.

They were the worst bras ever.

But I wore them for 17 long months.

My poor boobs.

When I had Huggy Baby I was determined to get better bras and burn the unsupportive rags I had with G-tot. Months went by and I still had nothing. At home I would wear my maternity tank tops just to avoid having to wear one of those bras already in my possession.

Then the marvelous folks at Leading Lady swooped in and saved my poor unsupported hard-working boobs with their fantastic bras. With their Find Your Fit assistant I was able to get a few nursing bras in my size with underwires, good shoulder straps and glorious support!

Not only are they supportive and in MY size—I mean seriously, what was I thinking buying a bra in a large?—they are pretty. The Black Lace-cup is totally sexy which is a huge bonus in a nursing bra. The square neck nursing bra cami would be perfect for summer. And I absolutely love the little printed pattern on the Baby Sees It bra.

I feel like these bras were kind of an “I’m Sorry/Thank You” gift to my boobs from me. They have been nothing but amazing when it comes to me having the opportunity to breastfeed my children. My boobs deserved better nursing bras .

And they finally have them.

Now I just need to grab some lighter fluid and burn those old bras.

*Disclosure: Leading Lady provided me with nursing bra samples. All opinions are mine.

Climbing Out of My Hole of Depression

I have been suddenly and unexpectedly overwhelmed with a knock-down case of depression. I’ve wept every day for an entire week. The sick feeling in the pit of my stomach has left me barely interested in eating. I lost 4 pounds last week alone. That probably isn’t a good thing.

I just cannot shake this horrible sadness. It has consumed me.

So very sad.

And helpless.

I cannot feel the foggy veil of depression lifting. I don’t know how to make it go away.

This is the first time since March that I have felt like I might need to see my therapist.

It was just one year ago this past week that I had my second miscarriage and had to re-evaluate the idea of taking anti-depressants because therapy didn’t feel like it would be enough.

I stopped taking Prozac when I found out I was pregnant with Huggy Baby in January. Three months later I stopped going to therapy.

Sure, the pregnancy was at times stressful but I was doing okay. I had my support system in place and for months I didn’t feel like I needed therapy—or drugs—to feel “right”.

Then a couple of weeks ago it started creeping in. A week ago it hit me hard and full on.

I wrote that six weeks ago.

I’m better today. Not perfect. Just Better.

I think I was trying to stuff my feelings and pretend there wasn’t anything wrong. Talking about it? Talking about it would inevitably lead to uncontrollable tears.

Tears that embarrass me in my inability to turn them off.

But addressing that there was problem despite the tears has been a really important step towards healing for me.

What I’ve come to realize is that I need to be open. I need to be a better communicator. I need to learn to nurture myself.

I have no idea how to do that.

Beginning the Journey of Baby’s First Year

24 days old.

24 days old.

I have a new writing gig over at Babble. Now that Huggy Baby is here I’m done writing for Babble.com’s Being Pregnant blog. Makes sense, right? Now I’m writing for their Baby’s First Year blog. I’ll be writing about life with baby number two and the ups and downs of parenting in general. It’s going to be fun.

Here’s what you missed so far.

I make my introduction in The Second Son.
Talk naps—or lack there of in I’m Supposed to Sleep When?.
Boob Pain. It’s real. And it hurts. Oh My Aching Boobs
How much has this baby grown in a month? Checking Up—One Month
One day at a time. Finding Our Normal
I really should get the ball rolling on these things. Especially number one. Five Things I Still Haven’t Done Now That I’m Not Pregnant
Seriously considering learning how to make these. DIY Fleece Childrens Hats

I’d love it if you joined along in my journey.

Babbles, Boobs, and Baby

It’s 11:22 a.m.

If all goes well and some moron doesn’t set themselves on fire or blow off any of their fingers “celebrating” Labor Day weekend, by this time next week we will be a family of four. I could be in my room eating a post surgery meal and basking in the love of my three guys.

I’m still in shock that we are so close to the end.

I’m also completely unprepared when it comes to having “stuff” for the baby.

I have my boobs.
I have a pack of diapers.
I have some clothes.

That’s good enough, right?

Speaking of boobs, I wrote a letter to mine this week. I also discussed whether or not a porn star should be able to breastfeed in public.

I probably won’t get that pregnancy massage but I will be in for one as soon as I can after giving birth. Along with some new tattoos.

The hospital I’m delivering at has a kick-ass cafeteria. That may be what I’m looking most forward to during my hospital stay. Well, besides the baby of course.

I wonder if they could send wine in one of these care packages?

And these? These make me think I should get to designing some birth announcements sooner than later.

Oh, and since some of you have asked, yes we have a very small registry.

Blood Samples and Gestational Diabetes

About a month or so ago I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. I’m less than excited about the fact. But it is my reality right now and I thought I would share just how that experience works for me on a daily basis.

Check out the video below. I’ll show you my supplies and how I sample my blood—I promise you won’t pass out. I’ll also show you the chart I made because I’m a bit obsessive compulsive about not pricking the same finger over and over again. If you want a chart of your own I’ll even provide you with a link to print some out (click on the image for a letter sized version).

And please be gentle, this is my first attempt at vlogging. Also? Why does my voice sound like that?!?

Monitoring Your Blood Glucose Levels.

diabetes_hands

Growing Older and Growing Bigger

35weeksToday I turn 35.

Today I am 36 weeks pregnant.

Today I am thankful for both of those things.

I will not be celebrating with cocktails this year. I didn’t on my 30th birthday either. Somehow I managed to be pregnant on both my 30th and 35th birthdays. I will not be repeating this trend for my 40th.

I also won’t be celebrating with my traditional key lime pie made by my mother. The one I eat slice by delicious slice with a cup of coffee over several days. Gestational diabetes has other plans for me this year. I’m guessing eating an entire pie by myself would be frowned upon by the dietitian.

How will we celebrate? I really have no idea.

And that’s okay by me.

BlogHer at Home Blog Hop

Picture 5Hello to all of you stopping by today for the BlogHer@Home Blog Hop! My, you are looking lovely. ;)

For those of you that read me on a regular basis, big sloppy smooches to every one of you.

I thought today I would just sort of introduce myself a little for those of you that are new to ArtistMotherTeacher.com.

I’m Holly and this is my little space on the internet. I am an artist, a mother, and a teacher—hence the name of this website. Clever, eh? I teach graphic design at a small college in Northwest Ohio. I love creating things with paper, experimenting with type, and taking lots of photographs. My husband is a full-time musician. We are far from a typical family. For our family portraits recently we wore fake mustaches. It was fabulous We have a 4 year old son and another on the due in just about 5 weeks!

Besides this website, I write for the Curvy Girl Guide—an amazing online magazine for real women with real bodies (whatever that shape may be) and for Babble.com’s Being Pregnant.

I run a little Etsy shop called Bird Doodle and in honor of BlogHer@Home I’m offering 10% off anything in my shop through August 12th with the coupon code BLOGHERATHOME11. I’m also giving a couple of handmade items from my shop away in one of the many fantastic giveaways from BlogHer@Home. You should go enter.

Of course you can find me pretty much all over the internet and if it fancies you go ahead and click on the Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. buttons over there on the right to connect.

1 Year/100 Recipes

I love to cook. I’m not afraid to experiment in the kitchen and even better is that I’m actually pretty good at it. If I have no real plan and I’m not sure what to make for supper? Let me see what we have in the refrigerator and the pantry and I’ll whip something up with what is on hand. Chances are it will be tasty.

There aren’t too many things that I don’t like to eat either. Bologna? No, thanks. Olives? I keep trying but I just don’t like them. Head Cheese or tripe? Not a chance. But for the most part I’m willing to try new things.

New recipes included.

I hate to get in a food rut. I don’t want to make the same stuff over and over when there is a world of delicious food out the to experience. Mmm…food.

So…I set a challenge for myself.

100 Recipes in 1 Year.

That might be a little enthusiastic with a baby on the way and life in general. But, it is just about two new recipes a week on average. Plus, I like the way it sounds. It sort of rolls of the tongue. One year, one hundred recipes.

Over the next 52 weeks I will attempt to make 100 new to me recipes—entrees, sides, salads, marinades, drinks, desserts, etc.—in order to broaden my arsenal of awesome eats. Anything goes. I’m pushing through the stacks of recipes I’ve cut out over the years and never made. I’m finding a ton of yummy looking new ideas and pinning them on my Pinterest boards to try. I’m modifying them as I see fit and I’m using my family as guinea pigs and taste testers.

I’ll share the results—and the recipes—with all of you.

I started this little venture on June 30th and have tried 6 new recipes so far.

  1. Shish Tawook Chicken with Garlic Sauce (6.30.11)
  2. Cheesy Ham & Hashbrown Bake (7.1.11)
  3. Homemade Butter (7.4.11)
  4. Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette (7.8.11)
  5. Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken (7.10.11)
  6. Homemade Barbecue Sauce (7.24.11)

It’s going to be a delicious adventure.

Where I’m From

I am from a cul-de-sac full of kids my age, from buttered Cheerios and ATVs (with 3 not 4 wheels).

I am from the house that backed up to the big open field, modest and blue with a playhouse in the backyard that was anything but small.

I am from a vegetable garden that gets bigger every year and feeds my family and friends with its bounty. I am from tulips—purple and white—wrapped in a thick silk ribbon and carried on my wedding day.

I am from a new ornament for the Christmas tree every year—given on the day we decorate.

I am from Cindy and Walt, an artist and a hunter who taught me ceramics and how to shoot a compound bow.

I am from overnight stays at Gam’s where we would eat Ballreich’s potato chips with french onion dip and drink Country Time lemonade from a cup that said “Beer By The Glass” in blue and green type while we watched Golden Girls.

I am from sitting next to space heaters, my body wrapped in an afghan, and from family gatherings where everyone brings a dish to share.

I am from “fight your own battles” when dealing with the neighborhood kids and “I love you” at the end of every phone call from my mom, dad, or grandparent.

I am from a family that never went to church and never spoke much about their religious beliefs or lack there of.

I am from Northwest Ohio, within a 10 mile radius of every move I’ve ever made. I am from cut-out cookies, from homemade french fries—skin on and cut from russets—and fried perch caught with a line and hook.

I am from boxes of photographs—black and white, color, 35 mm and Polaroid, from big cedar hope chests and older chests that look like they belong on a pirate ship—full of posters, trinkets, and bits of ephemera from my youth. The items that remind me of who I am and where I am from. The baubles and bits that I will tell my sons about. The things I just can’t throw away.

This gem seems to be making its way around the web. If you want to do one too, check out this prompt to get you started.