Speaking of gigs, I started my new job the week after Thanksgiving! Man am I lucky. Right now I work Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8-5; that gives me Tuesdays and Thursdays at home with Austin, and keeps me active in the land of marketing and advertising. I can't say enough great things about this company. Aside from the fact that my commute is now shorter than it was just to get to the highway to drive to Ashland, I have a wonderful office, challenging but highly interesting clients, and co-workers who just "get it." I've already gotten to work on three website development projects, and there are four or five more in the pipeline. Web work was one of the big things I wanted to learn more about, and here I am just two months in and already learning (and enjoying) so much.
The days I'm at work, we are so lucky to have family members watching the baby. Kristin, Jim's cousin, and my Mom have been such huge helps (and mentors!). It's neat to see their take on his routine and habits after they've spent a full day with him, and their insight has been helpful.
And now, purposely buried many paragraphs into this entry is the one admission most parents might hate me for: Austin has been sleeping through the night (anywhere from 8 to even 12 hours straight!) for just over two months now. This is not a joke. In fact, I have gotten more sleep with a four-month-old baby across the hall than I EVER have before. Seriously. In high school and college, and even post-marriage/pre-baby, I was always the last to go to bed for some reason. I'm a "sleep when you're dead" kind of thinker, I guess. But this kid is turning me into a more relaxed, and yes even punctual (in most cases!), human being.
The truth is that I have never been happier in my life than I am right now. I used to get so worked up just thinking about how I could make it all work--baby, career, romance, me time ... stressing about how my work stress and ridiculous commute might affect Austin's development ... worrying about which doctor would be on call the day Austin decided to make his grand entrance ... dwelling on the fact that my baby was stuck in the NICU. But now I think back in shock and awe at how everything has fallen into place.
Naturally, nothing happened the way I expected--it turned out better. I had no morning sickness whatsoever. I didn't experience caffeine withdraw one bit (if you know me well, you should be surprised by this too!). Of course I didn't expect Austin to show up so early. And although I have wondered if the constant commute influenced his early arrival, I truly believe everything happened for a reason. Then, when it came to finding a job more suited to my new family, you can only imagine the relief I felt to find something so close to home AND so fulfilling.
Yes--I now think of even the NICU experience as some sort of hidden blessing that helped us ready ourselves for this life-changing experience. Not that I didn't have faith in us becoming new parents, I'm just very thankful for that time with those nurses, getting to watch and learn while Austin too "learned" how to eat.
All things considered, no one should be this lucky.
I know many of my close friends and family members have heard me say these things on more than one occasion, but I seriously think about them all the time. Still shaking my head in disbelief. So much in disbelief in fact, that I started this post almost two weeks ago, sitting in my living room, past my bedtime, just sinking these thoughts into the keyboard when I was overcome with emotions. I still wanted to talk about how much fun it was to have Austin around for the holidays, but I couldn't get over the unbelievable, simple joy described above. I went to bed with the intention of finishing the post the next day, but every time I sat down to type, I still found tears in my eyes.
A couple of people have already said, "enjoy it now, because your second kid will be awful." Meaning, he/she will fuss constantly, not sleep through the night until age 2, etc., etc. And to them I say, the odds would agree with you. But, the experiences with Austin have taught me what I think I'd need to get through the "2nd kid shenanigans." Besides, we have plenty of time before we even begin to think about another baby. Plenty. Did you hear me Grandmas? I said Plenty.
Ok, I think it's time to lighten this up. Let's talk Christmas! I have never been so excited about the holidays as I was this year. Usually Jim is singing carols by November 1. The combo of that and black Friday hype just annoys the crap out of me. So much so that he usually calls me Scrooge when we get in the car and I don't let him listen to certain stations. Whatever. This year was different. Of course I was excited to give and receive gifts with all of our families, but just carting the kiddo around to family gatherings with us, and opening presents for him was really cool. Some toys, like the really neat toy drum and other instruments my Aunt Patsy and Uncle Jim bought him, won't be able to be played with for some time, but it was a great feeling to get excited for him. And, to know that by Christmas next year, he'll likely be running around and ripping open his own presents!
And finally, I want to share what should be the end of our nursery decorating story. One hefty post-holiday nursery-cleaning spree gave us the time we needed to tidy up Austin's room and decorate the rest of the walls. Thanks again to my Dad for making the adorable wooden AJD letters and giraffe, and to cousins Bob & Regan for the festive animal/safari rug. We love this room, and Austin even loves staring at everything to take in the colors and see what's all there. I know we will enjoy it for years to come.
That's about all for now. I'm hoping that Austin isn't crawling by the time I write again. YIKES!