Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why my work is A-okay

Returning to work after having Parker has literally been the hardest thing I've ever done. I feel more sorrow leaving Parker when I go off to work then I did when I had my miscarriage. (Which is probably the second saddest I've ever been.)

So when people ask how or why I do it... the why is obvious. Necessity. But the how isn't as obvious. I manage to do it because I work at a GREAT place.

I have a boss who on my first day back said, "Try to make it in sometime today, anytime today. Just find an hour or so when Parker is asleep and come in." When we returned from vacation and Parker was still out of sorts for Monday morning, I called my boss explainging the situation and she said, "Okay, take today and I don't want to see you tomorrow either." Anytime she asks me to do something, whether in my normal job description or not, she'll say, "But of course your son comes first." Or if she gives me a deadline, "But if your son needs something..." And when I've had something rough or emotional happen she'll instruct me, "Go home and see your family."

Where I work takes "family friendly" to the extreme. Taking vacations is highly encouraged and we get an overabundance of paid time off. Not to mention all the federal holidays plus the week between Christmas and New Years. We make our own schedules because we do the coordinating with the families we visit. I haven't worked a 40 hour week since I got back. Not even a 30 hour week. Working from home is highly encouraged.

My Mondays typically go something like this. Leave the house after I put Parker down for his first nap. Go to a training that I attend every other Monday on how children learn to talk. Come home, nurse Parker, then take him with me to the Staff Meeting so that Mark won't be late to school. (Parker can come to almost all meetings with me, but of course not in the homes of the families I visit.) Tuesdays Parker goes to my sister's and I usually have quite a few visits scheduled. Wednesdays Parker's back at home with Mark, and in between scheduled visits I try to come home and feed Parker so I can pump as little as possible. Thursdays Parker is back with my sister, April. Where he always enjoys watching her little girl, Autumn who is a year older than he is. I take Fridays off, and Saturdays I visit my families that work during the week and usually get them all done within the time of Parker's first nap.

Since I'm a social worker that serves to strengthen families my own family gets strengthened in the process. Not only do I have visual and physical experience with the families I serve, but we get to attend cool trainings on things like how kids learn to talk. Some other trainings I've been to since I've gotten back are on early warning signs of autism, how maternal depression effects child development, risk factors for cutting and self injury, gang related behaviors, helping kids learn to sleep through the night, dealing with challenging behaviours with kids who have special needs, coregulation vs. time out as discipline. I could go on and on about all the FASCINATING things I learn and get to put into practice in my own home and in the homes of families in this community.

So that's the HOW behind how I manage to work and be a Mom. For me, it couldn't be done any other way. Even with all these bonuses its still too hard and my heart yearns to be home.

I just wanted to add a note about why my work is this way. Its because the work we do is very intense, emotional, and draining. The agency practices with the belief that if things are not right with your own family, then you certainly can't help another family. They try to provide as much respite for our mental health as possible. This agency is a rare find in the social service field, especially non-profits. Most places are just trying to earn enough money to stay afloat that they cannot offer their employees such benefits.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Welcome to the "Big Box"

(It's been a few weeks since this happened but it still cracks me up, so I hope you enjoy!)

Christy and I decided we could save some money if we got a Costco Membership. They tried to upsell us to the premium membership but if I wanted that kind of treatment, I'd go to a normal grocery store.

Anyway we filled out the application and gave the lady our ID's. After paying our fee we were taken to the end of the counter to take pictures. Christy was first and nothing funny worth mentioning happened. Then we did the baby swap and I got into position. Then before she takes the picture this dialogue occurs:

Lady: "So your name is Marla right?"
Me: "Um... no, It's Mark."
Lady: "Oh, I was going to say that's an interesting name... I better fix that."

So while I stand there waiting for her to fix my name another worker comes over and sees me and the notorious "wrong name" card still in the printer. She takes my picture with me unprepared then asks the orginal lady what I was waiting for. (Clearly this could have been done in a different order)

(Lady2 takes picture)
Lady2: "What was this guy waiting for?"
Lady1: "His name is wrong on that card."
(Lady2 picks up the card and reads the name)
Lady2: "Oh... Dorff?!"
(Lady2 laughing)
Me: "No... that part is actually correct."
(Lady2 stops laughing)

We laughed at it for a minute, took the real picture and went on our way to Big Box store heaven but I keep laughing at this because my whole life it seems people respond to my last name like it's a question "Dorff?" just to make sure they heard it right. Some of you can relate and others have the same problem but it's just another reason to laugh through life.

Christy says that if I want comments I should end with a picture of parker. So for all you Parker lovers out there here are a bunch of great pictures "Aunt Amee" took of Parker when she came to visit "eat your heart out"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Service Oriented

I've always loved when I'm in the car and I see people in their cars laughing, singing, playing air guitar, or air drums. It ususally puts me in a good mood for at least the duration of my drive.

(I remember right before Mark's mission, I had just dropped him off at the airport. I was thinking about not seeing him again for two years and I was crying so hard I almost couldn't breathe. But at a red light I looked over and saw two older ladies (that looked like best friends or maybe even sisters) just crackin up. Whole hearted... I mean something was really funny in that car. It made me laugh out loud and then made me think about all the people I had in my life that I would be able to have fun with while Mark was away.)

Anyway... so today I completed a small act of service. I raced down the 202 singing my little heart out to Across the Universe . Oh, I was feelin' the beat and everything.

So to all those who traveled down the 202 Westbound with me... YOU'RE WELCOME.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not blogging...

I've been busy reading this:

This is one of the books I stumbled across in grad school and promised myself I would read once I finished school.

Its truly fascinating but, a hard read! It reads kind of like a textbook. It took me four days to read the first seventy-five pages.

Its full of FASCINATING facts about US History and why there is such disparity in assests between racial groups. My FAVORITE part is that I can be like, "Hey Mark did you know (somethig interesting I just read)." And he'll say,"Huh... nope." That never happens! Mark always knows!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The fate of the "Big Three"

I know this isn't as cute as looking at parker but I'm looking for a little help; I'm undecided on the merits of saving the American auto industry. As congress debates about what to do I wonder myself the best action to take.

Here are some reasons I have heard in support or opposition of the bailout of the big three. I don't necessarily agree with them but they are being said.

Support it reasons
- 3 million jobs could be on the line
- They could be rebuilt into green companies and bring new jobs
- Support millions of people who survive off the company’s pension funds
- "It's to big to fail" - they are backbone to American manufacturing economy
- "Ok they might have seen this coming but nobody thought the economy would blow up like it has"
- Do we really want to be completely dependent on other countries for our cars?
Oppose it reasons
- Its Protectionist, its biased against foreign companies who build cars here
- Should companies who can't compete stay in business on government life support?
- This will continue the snow ball with industries going to the government for money
- These companies are filled with overspending and inefficiencies
- They are struggling for cash yet spending millions lobbying congress for a bailout

The value of GM is now under 2 billion, down from nearly 56 billion in 2000. Lehman Brothers was once worth nearly 47 billion but missed the lifeline by the government. AIG was deemed "to big to fail" because of it's broad reaching business.

Even though the asset value of GM has been completely erased the big three (GM, Ford, Chrysler) combined still influence nearly 3 million jobs. The loss of which would clearly drag the us economy into a very prolonged recovery. Adding to the 1.2 million jobs lost already the last 10 months.

It is much more complicated in real life but I generally believe negative growth is a recession and massive unemployment is a depression. While I believe the loss of the big three makes more economic sense to make room for something better, I can't help but wonder if letting it go starts a point of "no return". I look at different economic models all day but there has to be more to this than the numbers.

Anybody else have any ideas? I'm all ears...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taco Tuesday!

Happy Veterans Day to our Veterans! We celebrated by enjoying our weekly "Taco Tuesday" at Del Taco, where you get 3 crunchy tacos for $1. However as you read on it was not all fun and games. Here's what happened...

Mark didn't have school and Christy didn't have work so we thought we'd have some old fashion family fun.

I rode this.

Christy and Cannon did this.

And Parker watched it all doing this.

After we had enough fun riding in circles in our parking lot we decided to go to the park. Christy was having so much fun I told her she should ride the scooter to the park and I'll drive behind with Parker and the Dog.

The park was fun we walked around for a while and did this.

and this...

After the park we thought it would be fun to stop by our friends Jenny & Mike who lived around the corner from the park. Well they weren't home so we decided to leave to get the taco's but then.... It's almost to horiffic to type. Christy made a bad turn and was head for a parked car. She wasn't going too fast but she was trying not to stall, then she couldn't stop and ended up laying the scooter down and rolling on the street. She got pretty banged up and she might have sprung her wrist. (I pulled a similar stunt back in january so I know it hurts a lot) Here is part of the damage.

But christy got even with the scooter here.

Needless to say Christy says even though she was having a lot of fun up tell then she's now done riding the scooter for good.

Feel free to ask for more details, Christy will now take your questions :)
Mark's sister, Evaly, had a link to this blog with a post I found very interesting. There's this letter from Kevin Hamilton (???) outlining why Prop 8 passed in California. (Where Mark's family is.) Just thought I would pass it on incase anyone is being shaken up by whats going on there.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

As a newborn Parker displayed a certain characteristic:

It disappeared for a few months:

And now is back with a vengeance:

He is always sucking on his bottom lip!
As you can see, even if you make him smile
the lip doesn't come out.
I think its endearing and don't want it to stop.

Monday, November 3, 2008

If only the browns matched...

Only one person guessed Parker's costume. An ACORN!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not afraid to Dream

After waiting nearly a month to reveal my vote, Christy found out this morning and as she asked me why I made that choice, I told her I would post briefly the main reason here. So please vote your own conscience but for those interested here is my reason for why I voted for Barack Obama.

After tirelessly listening to the two different campaigns, I became increasingly dissatisfied by my choices and very seriously considered writing in “Ron Paul” for president not because I wanted Ron Paul to make a comeback but because I wanted a founding father, a president that would cradle the constitution and restore its strength at home and abroad.

It wasn’t until I decided that a president could be something more than a father of the constitution that I changed my mind and left the virtue of the constitution to the battle in congress.

I know very little about JFK or the policies he stood for, who he was as a man, or a father. Yet I know he was not afraid to dream… His dreams took us to the moon and back and gave us a vision for the future of America that was brighter and stronger than we could have ever imagined. People wept at his murder and responded by working with there minds and hands to make those dreams a reality. His life marked a change in vision and leadership.

I may disagree with some of Obama’s policies and may be very critical of his decisions as they relate to economics and social policy. However, I do see a quality in him that reflects a brighter and stronger future for every American that will live beyond his candidacy, a generation, or a lifetime. Obama is NOT AFRAID TO DREAM and neither am I.