Monthly Archives: March 2010

Early Bird

For the first time in my life, I’m living up to the name I no longer go by. My maiden name is Early. Let me clarify, I may not always be on time, but I love waking up before the birds… and my baby.

Babies wake up early. Not in the way that old people wake up early, chatting at the breakfast table over dark black coffee and oatmeal; no, more like children on Christmas morning when they know there is an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle under the tree. (You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.) Once Micah is awake, everything gets set aside until nap time because he is a tornado with dimples, a swirly widows peak and a double tooth. He requires 152% of my undivided attention and I might be able to wash a few dishes while he sits in his high chair using both hands to shove massive numbers of Cheerios into his cheeks.

Engrossed with the TV remote.

Because I like to eat Raisin Bran in silence (go fiber!), read my Bible without tiny hands threatening to rip out the pages, and get showered and dressed before noon, I have been determined to turn myself into an early riser over the past month or so. Oddly enough, I have discovered that I like waking up before the sun comes up. It’s peaceful, and when Micah does wake up, I am ready for him in every sense of the word. My whole day falls into place.

One of the perks of being up early is the way it opens doors to have more fun during the day. It’s amazing how much you miss out on when it’s 11am and you’re still in your pajamas. If a friend calls and asks you to do something, you have to say, yeah, but give me an hour to get ready. There goes an hour of fun! And if that friend is inviting you to a time-sensitive activity, like a matinee, there goes all your fun! Why not be ready to do anything at a moment’s notice? Staying up late? You end up looking for something to do when everyone else is going to bed. Unless you’re living in a college town, there’s nothing to do after nine except to check Facebook or watch everything in your DVR. What’s the fun in that? (Disclaimer: no fault in Facebook and TV, that might actually be the perfect night for someone else, but not me.) When you wake up early, you can do things like go grocery shopping before all the good deals get snatched up, go out for breakfast with your friends, finish up your tasks before lunch and relax the rest of the day guilt free, and catch the good sales at the mall, just to name a few. Early bird gets the worm, right?

6:39: my baby just woke up. I’m dressed and my tummy is full of raisin bran. And I got to talk to you guys. This day is off to a good start.

4 Comments

Filed under Home

Photoblog: Playtime

The whole house is his playground…

1 Comment

Filed under Family

Taking Our Time

My Mom said something this weekend that really stuck with me. She said that this season of life, parenting young children, goes by too fast, and it can go by even faster if we are too busy and too distracted to take in every moment. TV, activities, housework, errands and all the other urgent things of life can take our focus away from the things we’ll miss the most: their cute habits, their curiosity, their words, their play… everything that makes up who they are and everything that defines childhood in all its slow-paced, joyful wonder.

Leisurely eater...

What a cute little mess on the window!

Micah definitely doesn’t have any problem living in the moment. In fact, tonight I remarked to Eric that Micah is always bound to the present moment and all its emotions, good or bad. Whether that means being overcome by the anxiety of hunger or the pain of a bump on the head or the hilarity of his mom blowing raspberries on his belly, Micah only lives in the present. He only knows what he feels right now and he feels it and knows it to the fullest. It’s easy to upset him terribly, then again, it’s always easy to distract him from his misery with something new and exciting. He can shift from sobs to laughter and back to sobs in seconds.

Death of a tuna sandwich.

(Tangent: As adults, I think we should continue to focus on the moment as we did when we were children, but with an anchor dropped firmly in the presence of God. Though we should take everything in with full appreciation, absorbing all the details, we should also resist the urge to let our emotions be ruled by our present circumstances. We have an awareness of what is beyond the here and now, and even more than that, we have the knowledge that our loving Father is in control and has our best interests at heart. Hunger shouldn’t terrorize us when we know of God’s promise to provide. Pain shouldn’t cripple us when we look up to see God’s open arms reaching out to comfort our souls. Fear shouldn’t keep us from living when we stand before a God that is much bigger than even our biggest enemy.)

So today I crawled with him on the floor and looked at everything he looked at. I watched his expressions closely and wondered what was going on behind those deep blue eyes with the endless eyelashes. I left the TV off and listened to him babble all day. I noticed that his chatter is beginning to sound a lot like our conversations – as though he was narrating everything he was doing. After his nap, I took him for a walk along the river and watched his reactions to everything. I tried to take note of what caught his interest the most. (People, ducks.)

Love those little ears!

I began to realize that this cute little baby I’ve come to love so much over the past year is so much more than a pair of dimples, tiny feet, a fuzzy round head and high pitched-squeals. He is a man. Maybe not now… but he will be. He is a full fledged person that God created, with his own life ahead of him. He was a part of  me once, he is so close to me now, but he is separate from me, with his own personality, quirks, hangups, talents, passions and tendencies. That realization has driven me to really get to know him in his own right. I want to resist the urge to project my own experiences, expectations and emotions on him, and instead help him to discover his own identity. We can learn about who he is, what he likes and doesn’t like, what he wants to do… together.

Taking our time - a walk along the Rock River

I’ve been living milestone to milestone, but as his first birthday approaches, I want to continually remind myself to enjoy every moment with him. I know that in the blink of an eye, I’ll be passing on my mom’s advice when he discovers himself holding his own child. Take it slow, it goes by fast. Stay home, turn off the TV. Enjoy each other.

5 Comments

Filed under Family

Where Did Those Blue Eyes Come From?

He has his Grandma's beautiful blues!

1 Comment

Filed under Family

My Frustrations With Health Care

This is one of those topics that is really difficult for me to write about, simply because I feel so uninformed. Health insurance and all things related are way over my head. I do my best to read and understand the fine print, but the important big picture question, “what should I do?” is the one that stumps me. I just don’t know. I read about all the controversy about this health care reform bill and I wonder, “how will this affect my situation? Will it even help me? Will it be too late?”

Four years ago, I had great coverage. I worked for Walgreens and my insurance (Blue Cross Blue Shield) covered everything with a very small copay. My decision to leave that company was complicated, and because ties haven’t been cut altogether, I really shouldn’t delve into it, but as a result, I lost that incredible coverage. My next job was at a small company that could not afford to provide group insurance. (Moving to a job without group insurance was probably my first mistake.) My husband worked at the same company and was still a student. At that time, we decided to look into private insurance. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on insurance, so we chose a plan with a large deductible through Assurant Health. The premium was still $175 or so each month with a $5,000 deductible. We tacked on maternity coverage since we planned on starting a family.

A few months later, my husband got a new job which provided group insurance. I chose not to apply for his policy at that time because we were told I would have to pay my own premium – that his employer did not cover the whole family’s premium, only his. The coverage was considerably better than our policy at Assurant, so naturally we assumed it would be too expensive.  My premium at Assurant went down to $120 a month. Midway through my pregnancy with Micah, we reconsidered (I can’t remember why – I think we planned on reorganizing our budget) and I tried to enroll with his insurance. I was denied because I was coming from a private insurance policy. Apparently I could have been added if I had applied in the first 30 days of his employment, but that was my only chance under current circumstances. I wasn’t about to get fired just to get insurance. I immediately regretted my decision to go with private insurance. Would I have been better off uninsured at that point? It’s possible but I’ll never know, I suppose. The next blow came when we added Micah to Eric’s policy and realized his paycheck stayed the same. So… we weren’t being charged extra for additional family members? Were we misinformed or did we misunderstand? I still don’t know. The third blow came when we got the bills from the hospital. Everything was charged on separate accounts, meaning the $5,000 deductible was barely met and Micah’s treatment costs were applied to a separate deductible. Some pregnancy/delivery related treatments were billed as non-maternity. Essentially, our “insurance” covered next to nothing. We racked up nearly ten grand in medical bills. I looked back on the thousands of dollars in premiums I had paid and wondered, ‘what was the point of all that?’ Nearly a year later, we still haven’t paid Micah off (though I’m hardly worried he’ll be repossessed, hehe).

Last month, my policy with Assurant was due to expire and I had the option of renewing, but at a 68% increase in premiums. Given our current financial situation, I had no choice but to not renew. Considering how much that insurance helped me, I did not mind dropping it. Especially because this past time around, I would have been better off as a self pay because I would have gotten those discounts. As it stands, I am currently uninsured. I’m not necessarily worried because I’m healthy, but we want to have more kids and can’t afford to take on any more medical bills at this point. Even if we could come up with 8-10K, if I ended up needing an emergency c-section, the bills would devastate us. I’m not sure how long it would take to recover from that. We would probably not be able to afford a third child then, and that would break my heart.

At this point, my only shot at getting insurance is through Eric either getting a new job, or his employer buying a brand new group policy with a different company (and even that is not a sure thing, I suppose). There is no way we can afford private insurance. Any plan that we can afford will end up costing us more than not having any insurance at all.

Why must affordable health insurance (that is worth anything) be tied to a job (at a larger company) and why is it so hard to get? Why are there so many exclusions? What are people like me supposed to do?

7 Comments

Filed under Family, Finances

Molar?

Last night, after I logged off, I went downstairs to show Eric the pictures I took yesterday. I wanted to show him a couple in particular, in which Micah was making these ridiculously funny faces, like this one:

"Mom, I'm like, freaking out here!"

“Wait, what’s in his mouth?” I asked.  We zoomed in.

“That’s a tooth. He’s got a molar,” Eric replied.

NO HE DOESN’T!!

Wait… I think he does. When did that happen? I have no idea. Except that for the past week I kept telling people, he’s cutting another tooth (evidenced by the night-waking and drool) and yet, I never saw which tooth was cutting through and I began to doubt myself.

Now I understand how he's been able to chew up foods like chicken tenders so well...

Now I’m going to be searching his mouth when he wakes up so see if there are any others way back there. Hopefully he doesn’t gnaw my finger with all those CHOMPERS! Really? He’s not even a year old yet and he has so many teeth.

*edit*

So this morning I braved up and stuck my finger in his mouth. The gum is really tight and stretched, but the molar has not actually broken through yet. It sure did look like it had in the picture. I think I have not seen the worst of this teething episode, I’m afraid.

2 Comments

Filed under Family

Photoblog: Grass is Fun To Play On

Amanda (Abigail’s mommy) said she heard there might be snow on Saturday. I could cry!

Leave a comment

Filed under Family, Home