Birth Announcement: It’s a Blog! (this is big news, please read this post)

After three solid weeks of labor, support and advisory of countless friends, mind-numbing hours of web design, and a long night of pushing….PUSH…PUSH…out popped my brand new blog (and brand), Mom on the Range. That’s right, the new site I promised you three weeks ago has finally arrived, and I couldn’t be more proud. She just couldn’t wait until the morning, she’s ready to meet you now! She has ten little fingers, and ten little toes, and has her mother’s eyes. Oh wait, we’re talking about a blog here. I’m not having baby #3 urges or anything…

Some of you have been there with me since the beginning, and have seen this blog grow from its humble beginnings at perfectlydiscontent.blogspot.com, to catpoland.wordpress.com and now, at momontherange.com. That’s right, the new blog has a new name. It will redirect from catpoland.com, so no worries if that’s the way you’ve been reaching me. So, why Mom on the Range? Because it fits me. It captures my experience as a mom living with two young daughters in the middle of a Kansas wheat field. And it will allow me to further explore and engage the parenting blog community. Yes, I’ll still blog about non-parenting things (for those of you who want to read anything but a typical “mommy blog”).

And even though the new blog is fancier, and will (hopefully) feature a few tasteful, non-gaudy sponsorship displays, I want you to know one thing. Content is queen. I’ll be telling “rich stories from fertile ground,” just like I always have. It’s been an interesting process, taking this blog to the next level. Part of it feels so natural, because that’s what I used to do for a paycheck (build brands and create powerful communication strategies), but part of it feels so unnatural. So much of this is just so personal.These stories are real, but sorting through them all again felt a little surreal.

Most of all, though, I’m excited. Thrilled. And exhausted. This has been a labor of love. I’m proud of this new venture, and am eternally grateful to all who offered their assistance when my knowledge or patience ran out. Here she is. Brand spanking new. Enjoy!

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Email Subscribers: Please, please, please, if you’re currently an email subscriber, take a few moments to sign up again on the home page. Unfortunately, these subscriptions can’t transfer over.

Work in Progress: I’m still working on getting all of the images moved over (ohmygosh, this takes forever!), so if you see something strange, let me know! I’ll also be launching a Facebook Page soon, so stay tuned!

Preschool Today, Presidency Tomorrow

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She wants your vote in 2044!

Right now, my daughter is sleeping. Her blond hair is tousled from erratic tossing and turning, and she’s probably still clinging to her chosen cuddle object of the moment—a wiffle ball bat. Her Little Mermaid jammies are too snug, but she insists on wearing them, for fear that they’ll be handed down to her baby sister once she’s officially outgrown them. Right now, she is blissfully unfettered. Her imagination runs wild, never having been tamed by the four walls of education, until today. 

In a few hours, my daughter will enter “the system.” Two years of preschool will be followed by twelve years of “big kid” school (as she calls it), and then….who knows? She’ll be out in the world. Will she attend traditional college? Will she go on to get her Master’s? Her PhD? Or will she immediately start a family, or travel the world, or even join the military? (I think she’d rather like being a drill instructor.) 

Will she go on to accomplish great things? Or will she live out a happy, but nondescript life? Will she run for office someday? Will she run for president?

These are the questions running through my head this morning. While I know I’m racing far ahead of the day at hand, I can’t help myself. My little baby is maturing at the speed of light, and being in school is only cranking the wheel faster. I know one thing’s for sure. She’s SO excited about preschool. She has been practicing wearing her backpack around, and when she saw the sentimental look on my face, she assured me, “Don’t cry mom. I’m just going to put books of learning in here.” 

Books of learning. And art projects. And notes from your teacher. And someday (hopefully years from now), notes from a boy. There I go again, taking it too far. Just like last night, when I was tucking her into bed. I scooped her up in a bear hug, repeatedly kissed her sweet head, and told her, “I just can’t believe you’re starting preschool. You’re all grown up!”

She pushed me aside (who wants hugs from mom?), looked me in the eyes, and said, “MOM! I’m just a little kid.” Yes, honey. You’re just a little kid. And this is just preschool. And I’m still freaking out a little.

To Rachel On Your Wedding Day

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May you always be this happy. May he always sweep you off your feet. Or at least sweep the kitchen floor. That’s pretty darn romantic, too.

 

To my dearest cousin Rachel, 

How I wish I could be with you today. To see your glorious smile in person as you walk down the aisle and start the next chapter in your life. Fondly, I remember the many days and nights we spent together at Grandma and Grandpa’s, spying on our relatives, giggling until tears fell, and performing three-act plays in the living room for innocent bystanders. 

I hope your future husband knows how lucky he is. You’re a catch, to say the least. You’re beautiful, intelligent, funny, and have a heart big enough to accommodate countless friends and our entire amazing family. I’ve always admired how you’ve lived life to the fullest, dancing with your head in the clouds while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground. 

Having forged the path of marriage several years before you, I only have a few words of wisdom. Marriage, as wonderful and glorious as it looks in the movies, isn’t always a picnic (this message goes along with the gift I got you). Here in a couple of months, or a couple of years if you’re fortunate, his jokes will start to be less funny. You’ll know all of his “back in the day” stories by memory (and correct him when he starts telling them wrong). His underwear left in the middle of the bathroom floor will no longer be mildly annoying, but will send you into hysterics. “Doesn’t he love me? Why can’t he just do this one simple thing?!” Then, if you decide to have babies someday (gorgeous babies from the looks of both of you), you’ll see a whole new side of him, one that will make you fall in love all over again. He’ll tenderly hold your newborn, and look at you with awe and complete respect. And as much as your hearts are forged together even more than you thought possible, a whole new set of challenges will arise. 

You’ll both be exhausted. Babies will do that, you know. Between feeding, changing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and all of other responsibilities, you may feel like you’re growing apart. But eventually, that baby will begin sleeping through (most of) the night. You’ll get a night away, and then a weekend away. You’ll reconnect, and be stronger than ever. Then you just might decide you’re crazy enough about each other to do it all over again. 

When the times are hard, and they will be, hang in there. Lord knows you’ve seen your parents go through hell and back after losing your sister, but they stayed together. That’s no small miracle. Marriage isn’t always easy, but it’s worth it, so worth it. I’ve seen my husband grow and change over the years, and our bond has been made stronger. 

It’s obvious that you and Kurtis are head over heels for each other. The way it should be. Enjoy this day. Savor this moment. Remember the rush. I love you, and I miss you. 

If Something’s Gotta Give, Let It

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Need a good scream? Go ahead. Need to let something go? That’s ok, too.

“Something’s gotta give. I don’t know how much more I can take. I’m at my breaking pount… AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!”

When I saw this status update from a dear friend today, my heart ached. Not only because I care about her, but because that could have easily been me a mere six months ago. I feel ya sister!

Not very long ago, I was at my breaking point. Friends were worried about me. Family was worried about me. My boss was worried about me. I was an empty shell, floating back and forth between work and home, the hours, days, weeks and months passing me by. I was physically, spiritually and emotionally exhausted. Something had to give. And not just something minor (those things had already been given up). Something major. 

I was faced with three choices. With the flames roaring and threatening my soul, I had to turn off the burner to one of the three biggest irons in my fire. Work. Marriage. Children. Although the choice was difficult because I loved all three, it was obvious. 

My marriage wasn’t going anywhere, and neither were my children. I tried to slowly let go of my career by choosing to step down from my director position. But turning the heat from “high” to “medium high” doesn’t do much for you if the pot’s boiling over. 

So, I turned it off. Let it cool down, and removed it from the range. And contrary to what I expected, the world didn’t end. Life went on. Things weren’t the same, but that’s ok. And you know what? Guess what I was able to move to the front burners? My marriage and children. Right where they should have been. And the back burners have been opened up for some new opportunities, ones that will bring in a little income, but won’t be all-consuming.

Sometimes, I miss my coworkers, my fast-paced career and the sense of fulfillment. At times, when I’m going through the motions of mundane domestic tasks, I even miss the heat, the pressure of keeping so many irons in that fire. But looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. 

So, if something’s gotta give, let it. It may not be as major as what I relinquished, but even a minor change might make a big difference. When your hands are full, how can God bless you with anything new? 

 

I have several friends who’ve had babies recently, and I’d like to help them a little by “educating” the general public about new mom etiquette. :-) (This was written shortly after I had my second daughter.)

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See? I told you she was cute!

Ten weeks ago I gave birth to a delightful baby girl named Erica June. Double motherhood is exhausting, but she’s totally worth it.

I’m not sure if I didn’t notice it as much the first time around, or if I was even more sleep deprived than I am this time, but people say annoying/insulting/ignorant things to new moms! I’m sure they’re well meaning, but I thought I would come up with a list of things you probably shouldn’t say to or ask a new mom (unless you’re just feeling mean spirited).

1. Is he/she sleeping through the night?
Um, just look at these dark circles under my eyes. And the fact that I just swerved into that wall while walking down the hallway. Do I look like I’m getting sleep to you? Do I?! Sorry, I’m just a little on edge.

2. Are you breastfeeding?
Nonya…

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