Tuesday, July 13, 2010

the (sort of) new me

I have a new hobby. Exercising. Okay, I know it is not really a hobby, more like a necessity, but I am secretly starting to like it. Every night at bedtime I dread that I am going to get up when everyone else is still snoozing to go sweat. But then I go and do my thing and, shock of my life, I feel great afterward! Ick, am I becoming that girl? The one who looks forward to exercising? The one who can expound upon the virtues of sweating and a good sports bra? Surely not.
I have never been a person who feels entirely comfortable in my body. As a 5 year old, I knew that I could not wear a bikini. In the third grade I despaired that my jeans were so tight on my waist. During back to school shopping in the 8th grade, I cried in the dressing room. I remember the exact moment my freshman year during German class that I discovered I had cellulite. My whole life has been one long battle between my mind and my body. Looking back, I cannot believe that I thought I was fat. I have no idea why I had such a screwed up body image. In pictures, I am not the skinniest 4th grader, but I am certainly no where near the biggest in my class. In dance class I was so self conscious of being in a leotard I would always wear a tee shirt over it. Even when I was at my skinniest as a senior in high school, I still felt like the fat girl in the group. I know I am not alone with my screwed up body image. Probably most woman I know don't truly see what they are when they look in the mirror. I know I don't.
Having a baby helped me to realize that my body can be pretty darn useful. With all the birthing and nursing, it is pretty amazing what the female body was made to do. However, all those good times come at a price. My newly useful body is also a hot mess. I was no model pre-baby, but holy cow. I had no idea what carrying a child would do to me. I won't get into the details. No one needs to know what is going on under the clothes, but it ain't good. I only gained 18lbs with the lady baby, but I am a firm believer that half of that went to my inner thighs. Why did no one tell me that could happen? The other half was in a lovely tire around my middle. Oh 18lbs, you are now gone, but certainly not forgotten. Though the scale tells me you have disappeared, the mirror tells me otherwise.
The need to do something about all the extra me that I am carrying around led me to this new thing I am trying called exercise. I have also gotten to know exercise's good friend, healthy eating. I am on weight watchers and suffering through a mere 24 points a day. Thank god for those activity points I get from working out. Twice a week I do pilates with a class and at least twice a week I run/walk with some neighborhood friends. And, gasp, I find myself enjoying it! I always thought I could not run, that my body would not let me do it. I am by no means yet "a runner" but I am slowly teaching myself how to be one. I am hoping that unlike every other exercise regimen that I have attempted in my life, I will continue to work on this one and continue to improve instead of abandoning it the minute it gets too hard or boring. I started slow--walking a block then running a block. I am still the slowest in our group, but I am doing it. And I am giving myself room to be mediocre so that I can eventually be really great. I don't want to quit, just because I am the snail in the group or because I need to walk more than everyone else. In pilates, I forgive myself for shaking when I do hard moves, or having to vary mine a little because I am still the new kid in class. I continually tell myself that just by getting up and going, I am leaps and bounds ahead of where I was three months ago. I used to say the only reason I would run would be if someone was chasing me with a gun. The old Thea is chasing me, with a bazooka loaded with lbs.
So now I have put it out there, and others will read it. I now have to try and keep my new "healthy lifestyle" going. I have set myself up to refuse to give up for fear of everyone knowing that I have abandoned healthy T. I am starting to like her more anyway, even if she does talk about how great her morning workout was and how important fiber is, and how many points are in pizza. I have to give a little shoutout to my wonderful husband who gets up extra early to do the baby wrangling while I am out finding my skinnier self. He is okay with no starch at dinner and extra veggies and chicken 4 nights a week. He even understands that I don't want him to get shaped up with me, becuase I want to be skinnier than him again! (He is the annoying type who can get on a treadmill and run a few miles after months of sloth, and will lose 10 pounds in just a few short weeks of working out. Workout Thea hates workout Tony.)
When I look at my sweet girl I pray for her to love herself despite her faults, and I throw in a little extra prayer for a nice flat stomach for her as well. No reason not to give her her a little help, what with all the genetics she has working against her.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Big Move

I have been absent from the blogosphere of late because we recently moved. Moving is exciting, in a stress-filled, so much to do, lets have a fight in the front yard about how to pack the truck, kind of way. We only moved two-ish blocks from our old house, but two blocks or two states, it's all the same. You still have to put everything you own into boxes, load it into a truck, drive it somewhere, unload the truck, and unpack the boxes. It doesn't sound really complicated--it is a straight forward process. However, there are always things that come up. Like when Anthony went to pick up the truck, there were not any available--despite having made a reservation. All of Alice's toys and blankets got packed so she had to lay on the floor on a towel. I made coffee the second morning of the move only to discover the mugs had all been packed. We realized after we moved our large leather couch that was recently professionally cleaned that the cat had peed on it, yet again. Fortunately most of it we could laugh about (except for the cat pee, that enraged me.) I try to subscribe to the "you won't go crazy if you can laugh" theory which serves me pretty well especally during things like moving.
Anthony's parents and his sister and her family came to help us move and we really could not have done it without them. They are a very organized bunch, so things moved along very nicely. His parents have moved quite a few times, so they are the closest thing to professionals we could afford (translation--free). Moving with family has the possibility of being a disaster, much like a cross-country car trip, or a family therapy retreat. Thank goodness that was not the case for us. We had a basic game plan and started a few days before everyone got there on the breakable stuff that is tedious to pack. Everyone got along and worked hard and we got 90% of our stuff moved in one long weekend. There were very few arguments (mostly between Anthony and me over important things such as where in the new kitchen the spices should go) and very few tears (mostly from the 2 and under crowd). It was actually great family time and we had some laughs along the way. Also booking a hotel room so 6 adults were not sharing a bathroom did not hurt morale either. Owning a one bathroom house taught me an important lesson--the number of bathrooms has a lot to do with the level of stress. The less bathrooms, the higher the stress levels. Hence, paying for an extra bathroom for guests that comes with a bed and free breakfast can only help.
We are well on our way to getting everything settled in the new casa. I love it and cannot wait until we have the deck and master bath addition (please refer to the previosuly mentioned bathroom/stress correlation). There is still a lot to be done and a lot to be bought, but those things will take time and money, respectively. Our good friend Nathan helped Anthony move the last 10% of our junk, which is appreciated because it would have been very Abbot and Costello if it had been me and Anthony doing it. I have a problem that surfaces everytime I move--the silly giggles when something is heavy and I am close to dropping it. The condition worsens the more irritated Anthony gets. So, hats off to Nathan for preventing that debacle. My mom is on her way here as I type to help me with phase two of moving--cleaning the old house for the buyer and finishing the "decorating" of the new house. We may fit in a trip to Ikea and there will definitely be a Target trip or five in the next 8 days. Bonus- she is even going to throw in a little babysitting for free.
While moving is a stress filled endeavor, a little help from others makes it a lot easier. Thank god for friends and family who help do the dirty work. I am looking forward to making our new house our home and having family and friends back to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Travelin' baby

We used to be the kind of people who went somewhere almost every weekend. The beach, the mountains, concerts, games. You name it, we went. We had packing for the weekend down to a science--two bags, shared toiletries, done. Since the wee one was born, the times they have a'changed. Just running errands involves packing a bag that needs to be carried by a Sherpa on our trek through Target. For awhile we could not even go to the grocery store without 3 changes of clothes, 5 diapers, 3 toys, extra socks, Tylenol, and antibac. As I gotten used to this mommying gig, I have discovered that for a morning of errands you don't need a snot bulb, fingernail clippers, camera, or umbrella (unless rain is actually called for) and only one change of clothes is necessary. While I have scaled back, I still feel that I am over-carrying. The diaper bag is so full I loose me keys and or my phone at least three times an outing. Thank god it is summer so we can get away with just an extra onesie if a blow out occurs. Forget cute pocketbooks. For now, those are a thing of the past. At least I have my sassy Kate Spade diaper bag. Now if I could just get Alice to carry her own bag, then we would really have a good thing going.
The first time we went away for the weekend there was less luggage on the Titanic than there was in our car. The sad part was, I felt that I had packed efficiently! I had enough clothes for the little lady for at least two weeks and was prepared for any weather front that blew through Savannah. I realize now it was a little over the top. My parents do have a washer and dryer, last time I checked. Certain things are unavoidable to pack like diapers and bottles and a few outfits. But looking back we didn't need four blankets and every toy she has ever played with. She will chew on her hands for hours and be perfectly content. The husband pointed out how nice it is to visit people who have kids. When we stayed with my friend Jenn last night, who has a little dude around Alice's age, I had a bag for me and a bag for her (I have obviously come a long way in 4 short months!). I learned the hard way you don't need quite so much stuff when staying at a house with a baby-in-residence. Don't tote toys because other people's toys are always much more interesting. Everyone with a baby has a pack n' play, so that is not needed. You can mooch wipes and repay when the friend comes to your house, use their changing table, and their baby bath tub (or the sink). I have found how much better it is with a child to not make things harder than they need to be.
I think the fear of the unknown is what keeps us mommies stuffing things in the suitcase long after we have everything we could possibly need. That old enemy of travelers everywhere, Mr. What-If, pushes you to keep piling things in the back of the SUV, just in case. I have discovered once you have the necessities, less really is more! We don't need to look like we are headed out West on a wagon train for a four day trip to the Outer Banks. And as my father often points out to my mother, who travels with her own mirror, fan, and coffee maker, if you don't have something you need, we can go buy it. This is America, where there is a Wal-mart in every town and a Walgreens on every corner.
Hopefully I will continue to hone my skills for traveling with the baby. We are going to the beach this summer, and I can foresee the packing getting out of hand very quickly. I am going to try to remember the following old adage: "Keep it simple, stupid." Four outfits per day are really unnecessary when the majority of each 24hrs is spent either in pj's, a swim diaper or a bathing suit (or if she is anything like her Mom as a toddler, her Birthday Suit will suffice as beach wear). It will be hard work, as packing light does not come naturally to my family. As previously mentioned, my dear mother goes with the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach to vacation preparedness. There are only two people traveling in their Volvo SUV, and it takes a few hours of strategic packing for my dad to be able to see out the back. We brought my Grandmother home from the beach last year and she had no less than 12 tote bags, 4 baskets of various sizes, 8 grocery and shopping bags, and 2 coolers. All for a two week stay in a completely furnished house. So now you understand the kind of genetics I am working against. But I will press on, working hard to only pack what is needed and nothing more. I will keep in mind that we are only going to the Topsail for a week, not to Mount Everest for an extended stay. And after all, if I don't have something I need, one of overly prepared family members will!
As far as little A is concerned we are going to try hard to keep her on the move so she will be adaptable and happy to go and do. As of today, she is happy to sleep in a pack n' play, crib, car seat, sun shade, or my shoulder. I just pray this means she will keep it up. Traveling in the family unit has proved to be more challenging than as a duo, but we will make it work! It will just be with a few more bags than we used to have.

Alice playing in Grayon's jumperoo.

Alice and Grayson napping at Merle Fest.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sleep is the word...

Sleep Sleep Sleep. This is the buzz word for mommies. "How is she sleeping?" "Are you getting any sleep?" "How many hours does she sleep at night?" Sleep is the number one most talked about thing when it comes to a new baby. It makes sense though, because if baby ain't sleeping, ain't nobody sleeping.
In our house the world revolves around the little lady's sleep cycle. I always swore I would never be one of those moms whose world turns around their baby's schedule. Of course, that was before I actually had a baby. Now I understand why there are sleep nazi mommies out there. If the baby does not sleep then life is chaos. On days when Alice decides napping is no fun, I am miserable. I count on those sweet minutes of peace to get as much done as possible. When she does not sleep I am at a loss because then that time gets used for bouncing, swaying, and shushing a crying and tired baby. I don't get it. I know she is exhausted. She knows she is exhausted. Yet she tries her best to not sleep. She fights and fights, falling asleep in my arms then those little eyes snapping back open as soon as I lay her down. We joke that she is a combo of us--afraid she will miss fun like Dad and grumpy when she is tired like me. Bad mix for those trying to put her to sleep. The more we try to lull her to sleep the angrier she gets. Then right when you think she may never sleep again, she puts her hand over her eyes, does a few grunts and is out.
I should not complain because my sweet girl sleeps basically all night long. A few times a week she may wake at 6am for a quick snack then right back to sleep, but most nights she is down for the night by 8 and sleeps until 7:30 or 8. And it is wonderful. Having a full night's sleep makes all the difference between crazy mommy and sane mommy. That being said, are two 45 minute naps a day too much to ask for? Just those short little naps enable me to get a lot done in a little bit of time. Sometimes I think I am breaking world records with how fast I can do things when I know I am borrowed time.
When I talk to other mommy friends sleep is always one of the main topics. It is hard not to be jealous of those who have nice long two hour naps in the middle of the day. I daydream of everything I could get done if that happened at our house--long showers, hours of work, nails painted. Yet, those same moms I envy for naps probably envy me for full nights of sleep. I will just count my blessings in the form of nighttime hours slept and stop comparing my baby to every other baby in the world! One must appreciate the good things in life--and nothing is sweeter than seeing my girl sleeping soundly with her arms thrown over her head and a smile on her little face.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Let go...

For many years I worried over every little thing, and a long time ago I decided that was no way to live. I try to literally live the idea of "don't sweat the small stuff." And I think I do a good job of that. I try to focus on the positive, of what I can do, instead of sweating the details that are either out of my control or really don't matter. I find it it better for me to focus on the big picture. Because the way I see it, life really is about the big picture. In 30 years we won't remember if the floors had been vacuumed, or if the dog needed a bath. Granted, I try not to let those things go for too long, or we would be wading through pet hair and have one stinky dog! But I try not to let those kinds of things become the most important things. No matter how messy the house is I think it is more important to hold my baby for a few extra minutes than it is to dust the blinds.
We only get this one life and this one chance to be in each others lives. I don't want to spend my time stressing over things that I cannot control. I would rather know that I gave enough hugs and saw as many smiles as possible, because that is something I can control. Often if feels like our lives are being controlled by others. We have to wait on other's decisions to move forward in our own lives and that is incredibly hard. Who wants to feel that their life is not their own? We have to wait on decisions from bosses, doctors, and neighbors. We also have to depend on others to help us through life. Waiting on the person at Panera to make our sandwich, depending on the dry cleaner to get the dog pee out of the comforter, counting on the exterminator to rid us of the ants that love our pantry. I have tried to let go and let others worry about their "stuff." If it is not in my job description, then I let someone else take care of it. I have my own things to worry about--I can't worry about the things you are supposed to be taking care of. I have a little girl, a husband, a house, 2 cats, and a dog to worry about, not to mention a part time job. I would prefer not to tack on things to my worry list that are someone else's responsibility. If they fail, that is obviously another issue, but I can't walk into a situation expecting failure from others. If I can't trust others in their abilities, how can I ask anyone to trust me to be capable and intelligent? I trust my husband with the lady baby because he is her dad and wants the best for her, and he is not a moron. I expect him to trust me because I am her mom and want the best for her, and I am not a moron. If you don't put a little faith in others you cannot ask others to put a little faith in you. It is hard to help a person who gives the impression that not only do they want you to do it their way, but they could do it better if they were doing it. If there is something that you really don't trust someone else to do, then do it yourself. Otherwise, let go. I put my faith in others everyday so that I don't have to worry about details that are beyond my control. I depend on others with the hope that they will depend on me.
I am not saying you should not be an active participant in your own life. I believe that our lives are our own. We have to own our decisions no matter how bad or good. But there are things that are beyond our capabilities and also things that really don't matter in the grand scheme of life. It is a true art form to learn to tell the difference in what is important and what is not and there is a steep learning curve. So I will continue to try to not worry over the little things as well as the big things that I have no control over. I will believe that as long as I do my best at living a good and honest life, I will continue to be the best person I can be for not only myself but my family and friends. I will continue to put my trust in others to help me get through life so I can let the small stuff go and concentrate on what I think is the most important job I have--raising a happy, healthy family who knows I love them more than I love a clean floor.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Childhood is Wasted on the Young

This morning my child woke up, ate for 15 minutes, and is now asleep again. This leads me to my latest epiphany--childhood is wasted on the young. I think someone famous has a quote out there about this and I have heard people say this before, but I never really thought about it. Now that I have a baby I realize how true it is!!! She sleeps whenever she wants, eats when she's hungry, and has two adults to do her bidding. We are basically her staff of two--maid, cook, butler, and clown all wrapped up in mommy and daddy. Don't even get me started on wast management duties. Do you know what I would do just to get one of those at my disposal? (Not the clown, clowns freak me out.) I have always thought I would want the cook the most, but these days I think it would be the housekeeper. Lucky Alice has no worries, she flies by the seat of her diaper. What a great way to live. So this is my point--she doesn't even appreciate it! Ever since she has been alive--12 whole weeks--her every need is met in a hot minute. Sure she may have to scream a little to get someone's attention, but who doesn't occasionally have to shout at the help? She definitely has it down to a science already. She gives us a 30 second window of whimpering to give us a fighting chance to get whatever she needs before she launches into her full on tirade. Since 99.9% of the time it takes me at least 30 sec just to stand up, then the real demands start in the form of angry frowny face and shrill shrieking with some deep gasping thrown in for balance. This will make you hop to. Anything to stop the noise that the wee one makes to make sure we understand that she is not pleased with our performance as her employees. She is constantly reminding us very vocally that we need to get a move on when she needs something. Fortunately she will occasionally give me a hint of what she wants--fist biting (think Dorothy on Golden Girls) when she is hungry. Screaming while covering her eyes, while seems like she cannot bear to look at such incompetent house staff, actually means she is sleepy. So we do what she wants and live to make the Lady Baby happy. This is precisely what I am talking about. I would like for a staff of 2 to make me happy whenever I demand it! I would like to eat when i feel like it, sleep when i am tired, and someone to spread my toys all around me when i would like entertainment. (In my case it would probably be moving the remotes where i can reach them and bringing me a stack of books!). To top it off, she gets assistance to work-out. As her personal trainer, I help her sit-up, make sure she is positioned the most comfortable way possible so she has plenty of room to wave her arms and legs like a maniac, and lay her on her tummy to make that neck and shoulders nice and strong. I wish a trainer would do all that for me!
Sadly for little Schmalice, she will not remember being catered to constantly. She will not remember that we did everything in our power to make her life perfect and stress free when she was baby. Not to worry though, I will constantly remind her as she grows up. I will also make sure she knows that she can return the favor once I am an old lady and will need some help to eat and someone to bring me a blankie when I am cold. I figure she will really owe me after the good job I have done as her personal assistant of life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Who does she look like???

The husband and I spend our days, and nights, saying things like "whoa she is gassy, just like you" and "your daughter won't stop screaming-- she is angry, like you." The "you" depends on who is making the statement. For what ever reason, I blame everything bad on Anthony, and he does the same for me. Usually it is pretty funny. Occasionally, if I am feeling especially tired or cranky, it is not so funny. But that is neither here nor there. My point is, why are we so quick to pin everything on one of us? Every quirk, every grin, every fart. We think it is straight from us, good, bad, and otherwise.
The first time you see your baby, it is amazing that you are holding this person that you helped create. According to science its technically half mom and half dad. Of course, some kids look exactly like one parent or the other, which always seems kind of funny to me--to see a baby that looks exactly like the adult. A true mini-me. When it is not so cut and dry, when the wee one is a little more of a mix, there is constant conversation about who she or he looks like. I ask everyone who they think Alice looks like. We get a mix--lots of people say she has my eyes and nose and Anthony's coloring and hair. I love hearing that she has something of me in her that people can actually see. Why do I love that? Why is it so important for people to see a little bit of me in her? Partly because I worked so hard to get her here. Then, I carried her for 9 mos (and 2 days) and labored for a good many hours to bring her into this world. There really is something beyond amazing about bringing another person into the world and having her carry a little piece of you around in her, whether it is her round nose, the way her little finger has a crook in it, or that one eyebrow arches and one is straight (all things she gets from me!). It is like mother nature reminding us--this is your baby. You made her and she has some of you in her always. What could be more life affirming that that?
I am so eager for her personality to really start to emerge. Will she be clever like her Daddy and quick to laugh like me? Will she love to organize things like him, or be messy like I am? I truly hope she gets the best of both of us. Because that is what we really want for our kids, for them to be the best versions of us. While I would love to able to see myself in her in every way, it is not only unrealistic, but would not make her the best she can be. The world already has one of me!!! It would do the child some good to get her Dad's good money sense and confidence. And maybe I will have given her some of the things I like about myself--my positive outlook or my creativity. But however she turns out to be, no matter what what she gets from who, she will still be our perfect daughter. Perfect in the sense that she is exactly the way she was meant to be. Even if she gets some of the things that are what make us less than perfect, like a poor sense of direction or clumsiness, that is okay too. Heck, we have been living with them for our whole lives and can share a little bit of wisdom about it! The munchkin will grow up to be herself and there will also be things that did not seem to come from either of us. Maybe she will play the trumpet or love volleyball. We will love the whole package, however she turns out!
I will keep asking friends and strangers alike who they think she looks like. We will always blame each other when she has an impressive dirty diaper or barfs all over us yet again. I will continue to look for little glimpses of myself in her, but I also will take joy in all the ways I see her Dad in her. I fell in love with him for many reasons, and what better way to remember that than to see all the great ways his little girl takes after him. I have always said that I would love for her to have his hair, but even more than that I would love for her to have his strength and determination.
Our child is a shining example of how much we love each other and that family is the most important thing in our life as a married couple. However A and her future siblings turn out, whoever they take after or look like, they will be perfect and loved. And it certainly won't hurt anything if Alice has my sense of humor, lucky girl.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Smile

This morning when I went to get the wee one out of her crib she was wide awake. I sleepily put her on her changing table and started taking off her sleep sack. Usually she does not like the process of changing her clothes and fusses a lot. So imagine my surprise when she looked at me and gave me the biggest open mouthed grin followed by a giggle-coo. I stopped dead and just soaked that grin and laugh in. It was the most beautiful smile I had ever seen and it totally made my day. Even though I was sleepy and didn't want to get up when I heard her in her room waking up, seeing that grin made all that grumpiness vamoose.
The instant change that smile had on me got me thinking about how important it is to smile in general. Think about it...isn't it nice to get a smile by someone you pass in the grocery store or when you are out taking a walk?Doesn't that feel better than someone hurrying past you with their head down and shoulders up? I try to be a smiley person, though often I find myself caught up in the business of life, rushing around and being annoyed by humanity in general. However, I am now in possession of a smile inducer. I find when you are traveling with a very cute munchkin even the coolest customers get a goofy grin on their face. Babies cause smiles, wherever you go. Over the weekend we went down to Savannah and on the way stopped at a Cracker Barrel for a break and to feed Miss Alice. We got no further than the hostess station before the ooh's and aah's started. I think our waitress Eunice spread the word amongst the staff that the cutest baby in the world was at table 15, because her cohorts Bonnie, Priscilla, and Cindy all came by to smile and coo at my girl. It was so sweet and I could not help but appreciate all the compliments. When I took her to the bathroom to do a diaper change, it was like we had a waitress magnet on us, because they all came out of the kitchen to bask in her glow as we walked by. How can you not smile when 20 different women smile at you within a span of 50 feet? And that is only one example of the effect babies have on people. It happens everywhere we go. These days I find myself a bit put out if people don't look at little lady baby and smile. How dare that clerk at Walgreen's photo counter look past her? Why did that man at the Teeter not realize he was a mere foot from the most perfect child ever? How can anyone be impervious to that beautiful face and jazzy mohawk? Then I remind myself that maybe they are having a bad day or are extra busy. So I give them a smile instead and hope that it makes their day a little better. I definitely get enough these days to dole a few extras out. At the very least, it will improve my karma a little.
All day I have been trying to make her smile and laugh a little, but she is being stingy with the big smiles. She will give me half smiles and talk a little, but not another one of those big gummy smiles. So I suppose I will wait impatiently passing the time by sharing my own smiles with whoever I can. Even though it may sounds cheesy, try it. Smile at that grumpy old man at the bank, grin at the haggard lady beside you at the stop light. It will lighten your load and who knows what it will do for those people you share it with. It will probably make them feel pretty good too. If that one grin from my number one girl can change my day entirely, then maybe a grin to a stranger can at least improve that five minutes of their day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Motherhood with a Side of Guilt

Now that I am a mom my life is fraught with guilt. They forgot to mention this issue in baby class. I think guilt is one of those things that no one talks about, but everyone deals with. As mothers, we feel that we have to do everything, and do it well. There is so much pressure out there to be the perfect mother and we give ourselves little room to fail.
There is guilt associated with everything--nursing, sleeping, holding, educating, even diapering. The pressure to breast feed is immense and there are numerous opportunities for guilt to take over. The current climate encourages mothers to think that they are bad or selfish if they choose not to breast feed for what ever reason. Yet lots of people our mother's age believe breast feed babies are not getting full or getting the right vitamins. Then there is the cloth diaper/disposable diaper choice. Guilt over all those diapers going to landfills, versus the horror of having to put dirty diapers in my washing machine. Then I hear about people having a family bed which leads to the question is cosleeping better than putting her in her crib? Does she feel unloved or lonely if she is not in our room? I flip flop between the worries that I am either holding her too much, or not enough. Should I feel guilty when I let her just lay on the couch beside me? Is it bad to hold her for three hours straight? And of course you want your baby to be smart. Does she have enough stimulation? She could be getting too much or is it making her cranky. Should I teach her sign language or read to her more? All of these things, plus about a million other things, can be guilt ridden decisions no matter which choice we moms make.
Babies don't come with instruciton books (serious mistake in my opinion) so we look to all these other ways to educate ourselves. There are books, DVD's, websites, support groups, and classes, all to help us be better moms. The amount of theories out there on how to raise a happy healthy child are overwhelming. A baby nurse told me when A was first born that Americans are over educated. I am starting to agree. I have looked to lots of different resources to help me help the child. Lots of these resources (especially the books!) serve up plenty of guilt with their advice. I know a lot of moms who swear by these books--The Baby Whisperer, The Happiest Baby on the Block, Baby Wise, etc. I think they have good ideas, but I can't help but feel that maybe I should trust myself a little more and look to the "experts" a little less. I think other Moms are actually the best resource, because their advice is practical and they will tell you what they think are the good parts of the theories, what really works. By being positive support for each other, maybe we can do away with some of the guilt that is so free flowing. If I know someone who is supplementing with formula, then i feel a little less guilt over giving my child formula. When another new mom tells me that she wears yoga pants all day, I feel a little better about my dread in having to wear pants that actually button. I think for Lent I will give up the guilt. I need to learn to trust myself and kick the self-doubt to the curb. I am a good mom, and my heart knows it, but my brain does not always believe it. With so much information out there it is easy to lean on what everyone else thinks instead of what your gut is telling you. So I say, NO MORE. I will make my decisions and stand by them. I will try hard not to let the guilt take over and to remember that I am a good mom. I will remind all of my friends that they are good moms too. We all need support to avoid the guilt that is always right there on the surface, waiting to rear its ugly head. And remember, the babies won't remember the time we forgot to give them a bath for 4 days or care that we bought generic diapers. They be just fine whether they get formula or the boob. Our babies will grow older knowing they are loved, and that is the most important thing. That I can do guilt-free.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!

I think Valentines Day gets a bad rap. Everyone calls it a manufactored holiday, one that the card comapanies made up just to make money. So what? In Valentine's defense, its fellow holidays Christmas and Halloween are about as commercial as they can get. So why does everyone pick on V-day? I love a holiday that celebrates love. So many people say, "Why do I need a holiday to tell someone i love them?" Simply put--you don't. But isn't it just a little fun to get a Valentine card? Doesn't it make you a little more warm and fuzzy on the inside to have a special person tell you that they think you are pretty special too? I love Valentines day because I think it is nice to take a special day to celebrate love in all its forms. Love for the husband, love for the little lady baby, and love for my extended family and friends. How can I put down a holiday that allows me a chance to remind all the people who are special to me that I love them?
So everyone, please give Cupid a break. No one is out there saying that Butterball has commercialized Thanksgiving, or Hershey's is ruining Halloween. So quit picking on Hallmark you Debbie-Downers. They are just giving us all a chance to tell people that we love them and that they are important. What is wrong with that? Just tell one person happy Valentines Day, I dare you. I bet the smile it puts on their face will have you feeling the love.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A grownup life

Yesterday I turned 31. I am no longer dipping my toe in my thirties, I am now up to my waist. This birthday got me thinking about what it is to be a grownup. I suppose grownups have kids, a mortgage, and pay taxes. I do all of those things, but I still don't really feel like a grownup. About a week ago, my friend Jenn and I were talking about how much our lives have changed in such a short time. Eight years ago we were backpacking around Australia, hitchhiking in Tahiti, and skydiving in New Zealand. We were partying all night long without a care in the world. Now we are married with babies and jobs and bills. The only late night partying I do these days is the party Alice has at 3am every night which really is less of a party and more of a screamfest until the bottle is ready. Where does the time go? Have I become a grownup and didn't realize it? I have a daughter, a husband, a home, a dog and two cats. I even have Subaru for god's sake. I clip coupons, shop at Home Depot on the weekends, fall asleep during Jeopardy, and have to check my calendar before I commit to anything. Holy crap, I think adulthood has snuck up on me. When did this happen and how did I not realize that this epic transformation was taking place?
Don't get me wrong, I have welcomed all the changes that brought me to this point in my life. I don't regret no longer being able to stay up past 10 because I have to get up with the baby at 6. I don't miss paying rent instead of a mortgage. I certainly would not trade married life for the dating scene, or quiet evenings with the fam for the bar scene every night (though once in a while it is still nice!) I did my own thing in my twenties--I went out and conquered the world. I was fortunate enough to be able to travel, party like a rock star, and spend time living with my girlfriends. And it was a blast. I do occasionally miss the carefree feelings that come with being young and single and out in the world. The fleeting memory of sitting by a pool all day with the no other goals than getting tan, drinking beer, and playing Skipbo floats through my head and I remember how nice that was. But that is no longer my reality, and that is okay. My reality is spit up and dog hair and coordinating who is going to pick up the groceries. And believe it or not, that makes me happy! I did not come to this point in my life by surprise--I will not wake up one day and wonder how my life ended up like this. I made the conscious decision to live this life and I am proud of that. I did not get married on a whim or get pregnant by accident. Ever since I was little I have known that having a family was what I was meant for in this life. I have always known that I am not career oriented and I have always been okay with that, because I knew that my career would someday be just what it is now. That is not to say that I won't have other jobs, heck I am about to start working for pay again on Monday. But my career, the thing that I choose to devote my life to, is my family.
I have enjoyed every turn of the wheel--my childhood, full of playing and reading and school. My teens, when i thought high school would be the most fun i ever had. College, where i learned who I was and who I wanted to be. Traveling, which allowed me to discover life outside of America, meet interesting people and expand my horizons. Early married life, when i learned how to be a we instead of a me, and began to understand what love really means. And now motherhood--having the amazing responsibility of caring for this little person who depends on me for everything in life and who I love in a way I didn't know was possible. Realization time--I think that is what makes me a grown-up. I am embracing my life in my thirties for exactly what it is--a time to start my family and enjoy being a mom and wife. I will not spend this time mourning the girl that I once was and being afraid to be the grownup woman that I have become.
Being an adult is not your age in years, or being serious all the time, or paying bills. It is the realization that you are no longer just responsible for yourself and your own happiness. It is recognizing that we are all responsible for each other and that what we do affects many other people in many ways, whether it is your family, your coworkers, or your friends. It is being okay with who you are and looking forward to the person you are growing into.
So hello grownuphood. I embrace you, even though you snuck up on me. I look forward to all you have to offer. Hopefully you will be good to me, not giving me too many wrinkles and allowing me to avoid the fashion pitfalls that happen to many others when they embrace you (mom jeans, sensible shoes, and bubble hair). I am a grownup and it is great that I don't actually feel like one. Even though I am letting you in, please recognize that I will never be serious all of the time. I will never forget how to let my hair down and have fun. And I will always keep a part of me as that girl who stayed up all night to see the sunrise in Fiji.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Party of Three

Everyone said life would change after a baby. I can truly say I didn't really believe that it could be all that different. Hah!!! Boy was I a fool. What was I thinking? Though I do think it is the type of situation that you can never really understand until you are on the other side.
Anthony and I have a been a party of two for so long. We have been together off and on (mostly on) since 1998. I was a college freshman and he was a sophomore and we met through a friend on a random Friday night and the rest is history. It still makes me laugh that we went from flirting at a party in a dirty college apartment to being married with a baby! If only I had known that my life was changing that night, I might have had a little less vodka and worn a cuter outfit. I guess it all worked out in my favor. We have been married for 6 years this month. For 5 long years it was just the two of us. We did what we wanted, when we wanted. Dinners out every week, weekend trips, concerts, lazy Saturdays. We were a little family of two. When we got pregnant I told Anthony what I was most worried about--having to share him with another person. I was so used to having him all to myself and I worried that our marriage and relationship would change once we added a third party into the mix, especially one that would be so high maintanence for roughly the next 18 years. Then Alice came into our lives and everything became a little different, but not in the way I was worried about. It is different because we no longer put ourselves first. We are more apt to help each other without complaining and eye rolling. There is more love in our house than ever before. We both love the baby in a way that we did not realize was possible, and that changed our love for each other. The minute I had Alice I loved Anthony more than ever for helping me to create this perfect little person. I love seeing him be a daddy. Listening to him talk to her is hilarious and seeing her sleeping peacefully in his arms reminds me of why I fell in love him. It is funny how having a baby alters you. It doesn't change who you are or what your core beliefs are, it alters you in little ways. Parts of you become softer, now that you are so emotionally connected to another human being, and parts become tougher because you have to protect that little person. Those changes carry over into other relationships and make you a better person for it.
I am glad for our relationship that we waited so long to have a baby. I am not saying this is the right thing for everyone, but it certainly was for us. I wanted a baby so bad those first few years, but it was never the right time. Thank god for small (and big) favors. Sure, being married is more complicated than being single. But is really just like gaining a roommate who you say "i love you" to and share a tube of toothpaste and a bed with. Life as you know it basically stays the same. We have discovered the real changes happen when you bring a baby home from the hospital. No more spur of the moment movie and dinner dates. No more meeting friends for a beer. The world now revolves around a 7lb baby who has no idea what havoc they are causing. The sleepless nights alone are enough to cause marital strain. Add in endless laundry, colic and projectile pooping, and things really start to get dicey. Fortunately through it all we have remained a team. We have repeatedly said since Alice arrived that we are so glad we waited a few years. We worked out all of our new marriage kinks and are comfortable with each other. No matter how much you love someone when you get married, there are things you learn post-marriage, and every year of being married adds to that knowledge base. You discover what drives you crazy about your spouse, like how they squeeze the toothpaste (Anthony), or that they leave their drawers open just a crack (me). You figure out the best division of labor--who likes to clean the bathroom (me) and who is best at cleaning the floors (Anthony). We agree that had we started with babies straight out of the gate, before we had our marriage stabilized, we may not have made it through these first stressful weeks without losing it on each other. Sure there are still fights--I leave the wipes container open and he leaves bottles everywhere. There will always be times when one of us has just had enough and loses it, but hopefully they will be few and far between. As long as we remember why we started loving each other then we will come out the other side intact. Our time as a married couple has made us stronger parents, and being parents has made our marriage stronger. Win-win situation.
I certainly don't think this is true for everyone. There are plenty of parents out there who started their marriage and parenthood at the same time and have incredibly strong relationships. I also know plenty of married couples who love each other in amazing ways that have no kids, and never will. Every relationship is different and we all have to do the best for our own lives. We all live and love differently and what works for some does not work for others. What worked best for us was getting settled into being a party of two before we expanded our number of seats at the table.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sick and Tired

Today my lint is sneezy and stuffed up. Guess there was just not enough going on in my life, having a one month old and all. Now I have a nasty cold. And the real icing on the cake is that because I am pumping I cannot take any medicine because they all dry up breast milk. So here I am in a sea of crumpled Kleenex, flailing in agony. I absolutely hate not being able to breathe. Anytime I have a cold I load up on cold medicine. When the guy at the Target pharmacy told me i must suffer with no medicinal support, I seriously wanted to punch him in the face (sorry, that is the sinus pressure talking). I don't do sick well, especially when my treatment options are limited, so I decided to try some alternative medicine. I purchased a Neti Pot (FYI--they qualify for flex spending) and some Ocean Nasal Spray (vacation in a bottle to squirt up your nose). If you are unfamiliar with the Neti Pot, let me explain. It is a little plastic teapot that comes with packets of a salt solution. The packet gets mixed with lukewarm water in the teapot and then you use gravity to swish the solution around in your sinuses. It is so strange--you pour the solution in one nostril and then it comes out the other. It basically goes against the laws of nature and everything your mother ever told you not to do. We spend our whole childhood keeping water out of our nose in the pool and listening to our moms tell us not to put things up our nose. At first I was doing it wrong and half the solution was running down my throat, but I finally got it all worked out. The whole process is actually quiet enjoyable. Probably not on a regular day when I have a little more going for me, but today it was the highlight of my miserable existence. I highly suggest a Neti pot for anyone with a cold or general sinus issues. I imagine if you are permitted to use it in conjunction with some high powered Tylenol sinus and cold, then you would be back to normal in like 3.2 seconds...goodbye what ails you. As it stands, I will just have to muddle through, Neti Pot in one hand, remote in the other. If you want to see a hilarious demo that includes rockin' background music and a lovely retro bathroom--check out this link. Trust me, it is not as horrible as it looks. I think it was probably discovered by the same guru who came up with ear candle, but much more effective. You can get Neti Pots most anywhere these days. I purchased mine at Walgreens, because Walgreens is my jam and on my list of top 5 places I go most often. But if CVS is your jam, or maybe Rite Aid, they have them too I am sure (though if you are not shopping at Walgreens you are not really living my friend).
Wish me luck. Pray for me that I survive this cold and don't perish from inflamed nostrils and lack of sleep. Not to worry friends, I will press on to blog another day.

I live three hours at a time

Funny thing about life, you tend to live it in certain increments of time depending on what your situation is. Always thinking, when I get past this certain time, then the rest of my life will start. When I was in college I lived by the semester. You plug along studying your tush off, partying hard, all the while just trying to make it to the next semester. Each semester you live through puts you closer to graduation day. When I was engaged the looming date I lived for was the wedding day. Life as I knew it would change as soon as February 21st, 2004 had come and gone. Then the rest of my life would start. Once we started trying to have a baby, I started living month to month. Each month was divided into a set calendar by mother nature when certain things would take place. Often when I was scheduling things I would figure out the possibilities of whether or not I could be pregnant for said event and how far along I would be. Once I got pregnant there were two big timetables at play. The trimesters and the due date. Some doctor somewhere took the liberty of setting up a schedule that you are forced to be on that revolves around the growing baby. When I was pregnant I would eagerly look at how she was changing each week, and wait with much anticipation for every doctor's appointment. Then of course at the same time you are living for that magic day when your baby arrives. Only 4% of women deliver on their actual due date, but who cares. Having that date gives you a much needed goal. It lets you look at the calendar and say "my life will change forever on this day." Needless to say usually when that day rolls around you have a few more to go before the bundle of joy actually gets here and the life changing really commences. Your due date turns out to be less of a magic day and more of a cruel reminder to a very pregnant woman that she is overdue.
These days I live in three hour increments. For some reason the great higher power has programmed infants to work like little egg timers, set to go off every three hours. It is so strange, but I can practically set my clock by my little egg timer. She lives by the three hour rule. It is like there is an alarm that goes off in her brain and she starts fussing at every three hours like clockwork to eat. After she gets filled up, she hangs out for a bit, then back to sleep. And it is this same thing every three hours from about 6 am to 11 pm. During those nighttime hours she will sometimes go a little longer than three hours, but often it is as if someone has wound her clock and she sticks to the 3 hour rule. I spend half my day counting out the next three hours so I can figure out how in the heck I am going to get things done. Three hours seems like a long time when you are taking a car ride or watching a movie. However, when you are trying to wrangle an ornery infant and keep her happy, three hours goes by in the wink of an eye. I swear I get up at 6, feed Alice and change her diaper, watch one DVR'd episode of Sex and the City and it is 9 and time to feed her again. If you don't stick to the schedule it angers her highness greatly. When I have tried to push her a little past, she has certainly voiced her disdain to being made to wait. Yesterday, when trying to plan for my shower, I was literally counting on my fingers to figure out which three hour period would be most conducive to showering and actually getting to dry my hair and put on deodorant. All without having to do a feeding somewhere in the middle. Funny how life changes. In my previous life as an office manager at a medical office, I lived for the weekend. These days Fridays are basically the same as Tuesdays, which has taken some getting used to. No longer do I dread Sunday evening because I have to get up and go to work the next day. My job is sitting on couch in her boppy pillow staring at me on Sunday evenings, and I have to rise at the crack of dawn no matter the day. Fortunately while the pay is a little shoddy, the benefits are awesome.
So i will happily continue living my life three hours at a time until my egg timer tells me it is time to go more. Gosh, what in the world would I do with 4 whole hours between feedings? I guess that gives me a new day to live for.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Labor is Easy

I cannot believe Alice is 4 weeks old as of yesterday. Wow. Having an infant makes time travel at warp speed. I guess when you can't ever remember what day it is, that makes them run together more than usual. So now that I have a little distance on my labor and delivery, I feel it is my obligation to share my birth experience with others. Before you panic and throw your computer across the room, I want to preface all of this with the following: this will not include details of the ACTUAL labor or anything gross for that matter. It is more of an account of how things happened for me and why I am of the notion that labor is easy.
Before you get angry and start composing a hate email to me about how labor is not easy, it is hard and hurts, blah blah blah, I know that. Don't get me wrong, the physical act of labor is less than pleasant. Let's face it, there are some design flaws in the whole process. Things that are small should be bigger, and things that are bigger should be much smaller. Think mouse in a drain pipe, as opposed to Saint Bernard in a key hole. Get my drift? What I mean by easy is that it is not near as scary and awful as i imagined. I want to be the girl that everyone can say, hey I know a girl that had a super easy labor and no real problems. Please don't see this as me bragging. I am doing a public service for future mothers. The entire time I was pregnant everyone had a friend or an aunt or a cousin or a sister or coworker who had the most awful birth story. I heard about epidurals going the wrong way or not working at all, people going a month over their due date, and women who gained 75 pounds. I heard about babies being born too early and women's water breaking in the grocery store. The world is not lacking in horrifying tales of labor and delivery. Just today I was watching The Baby Story (i am on maternity leave, don't judge me) and this woman was screaming and panting and crying and ended up having a c-section. Recently in the news that crazy lady with 18 kids had her baby super premature with tons of complications. Heck, even when you go to baby class, they show you videos that are like war movies for parents-to-be. After the first class I decided I was in no way interested in going through what I had just watched. This baby was going to stay in forever as far as I was concerned. These "educational" movies were filled with women who were naked (of course I inquired if that was the norm, because i was not down with that) who seemed to be going through the most excruciating experience possible to bring their child into the world. Even the husbands looked like they were in pain, though that was probably because their ears hurt from the screaming and moaning at high decibels. Doctors and nurses were scurrying around and ice chips were being eaten and massaging of the back was happening. So naturally, after being inundated with this type of birth story from all sides, what else could I expect? I thought for sure there would be crying and screaming and some of that heavy pant-blow breathing. So at that point, no hurry to get her out...hwy would I want top put myself through that?
Though I said i wanted her to stay in forever, my tune quickly changed as soon as I got to about a month left. By the end I didn't care if they used a jackhammer to get her out, I just wanted her to vacate my body ASAP. So I waited and I paced and I complained. I bounced on the yoga ball and ate pineapple. I did things I choose not to discuss on my public blog. I did everything, short of castor oil and those weird herbs, to get her out. And then it was time and the day after my due date my water broke (which i was very worried was actually just me wetting my pants. thank god it wasn't). Of course, never being able to be easy, i was not having contractions or dilating or anything that is actually necessary to have a baby. I got an IV of Pitocin which kick started contractions, and can i just say, Ouch. So i then got that magical concoction that goes by the name of Epidural. If you are on the fence about natural childbirth, I would say that is crazy talk. Now, I am not downing anyone who chooses to go natural. It is really admirable and I am in awe of your strength. After two big contractions I was crying like a baby and my labor had just really started at that point. So as you can see, I am not the brave type. I choose comfort over valor every time. But after that epidural, things really were easy. I could feel some sensations but no real pain, just pressure during each contraction. When it was go time, I could tell when it was time to push, but there was none of the screaming and writhing I had come to the hospital expecting. We hung out between pushes and chatted. Anthony had snacks, I drank Gatorade, and we cracked jokes with the midwife. The fact that I was only able to move one of my legs didn't bother me at all. I actually thought it was hilarious when the dead one fell off the bed because the nurse let go of it. And those stirrups we hate and think we don't want to use? They were really helpful. I pushed for an hour and a half and then there was baby Alice and all was right with my world. I would have moved heaven and earth and gone drug free if I had to in order to get her here. But thank god that was not the case.
Again, I am telling my story because I feel like there are not enough positive birth stories floating around out there. I don't want easy labor to a myth or an urban legend. There is nothing less miraculous about birth if you get drugs or have an easy time. It is still a win. We all get to go home with a baby. So spread the word, tell your friends. It is possible for labor to be a positive and easy experience.

Friday, January 29, 2010


I knew when Alice and I came home from the hospital that my life would be different now that I am a mom. Someone would be depending on me for everything. I now have to provide food, shelter, love and entertainment for another human being. The first two weeks my mom was here and life was pretty cushy. I did baby stuff and she did everything else. The next week the husband stayed home for his paternity leave. Again, life is very manageable when both mom and dad are home to baby wrangle and do household stuff. Last week, Alice and I became a two woman act. Anthony went back to work last Monday and I started my new job as mother of one and household engineer. Lets just say getting things done became much more challenging. That leads me to my new found abilities as a multitasker. Sure, I thought I knew what multitasking was. At work I would have a few things going at once. But I had no idea of my powers of 'getting it done.' When you become a mother, you find this whole untapped well of love in your heart that you did not know existed. However, being a mother also brought forth abilities as a multitasker that I never used because life was just easier when there was not a 7 pound person attached to me for 8-12 hours a day. I now understand why my mom was always the busiest person i knew. She always had 35 things going on at any given moment, and it used to drive me crazy that she would not relax and enjoy being lazy. I have a new found respect for her now that I understand the juggling act we call Mommyhood. When there is a 20 minute window of calm, when the little one is sleeping or happy on her playmat, the opportunity must be seized. I know that within approximately 15 to 30 minutes I have to change her, feed her, and then keep her sitting up for 20 minutes to avoid spit-up. Not to mention find 10 minutes to pump, probably change her clothes, and bounce on the yoga ball to relieve gas induced screaming (Alice, not me). So that 20 minutes becomes much more important that any other 20 minute window in the history of the world. I have discovered how much can really get done in 20 minutes, or even in 5 or 10 minutes. I have become a multitasking force to be reckoned with. A typical flow of events would be: Wash bottles and feeding accoutrement and put on speically designed bottle drying rack. Start washer, walk to bathroom to get clothes to put in washer, use the bathroom, put hair up, clean toothpaste out of sink, gather up clothes, walk back to washer and dump clothes in. Walk outside to let dog out with full diaper genie bag for trash can and wait while she does her business (she insists we must be present for potty breaks to happen, otherwise she sits at the gate and stares inside). Back inside, remember I did not put soap in washer so do that, then go into kitchen where I trip over the dog who is waiting patiently for her treat since answering the call of nature is certainly something that should be rewarded each and every time. Dispense treat, then realize I am hungry. Grab Little Debbie and fix water. Set on counter to have right after I get baby clothes out of drier that have been finsihed since yesterday, and throw on bed to fold at later time. Peek at baby who is starting to get squirmy but still has eyes shut. Decide to get bottle ready to be prepared to silence screaming which will surely start promptly upon the Lady of the House waking. When open refrigerator to get out milk, realize nothing in there will remotely pass for dinner, so open freezer and get out something prepared by one of our mothers to thaw. Pray that 3 hours is enough defrost time for said dinner otherwise, PB&J (again). Fix bottle, then get distracted by my waiting snack. Open Swiss Cake Roll, only to then remember the bottle needs to go in the warmer to be effective baby plug. Do that, then back to my snack. 1 gulp of water and 2 bites and I remember I did not collect the bevy of cloth diapers that litter our home now that we live with a mini-volcano, so run around the house and grab them all and stuff into washer. At this point realize i have to pee again, so back to the bathroom. Right before I sit down, baby screams like someone threw cold water on her to rouse her from a coma. Pee faster than when I am at a concert and realize as I go into the stall that they just started playing my favorite song, the one they never play live that I must see. Go in and release baby from her swaddle prison and the 20 minute window firmly slams shut. Sit down on couch with baby and bottle and the only burp cloth that didn't make it into wash because it was wrapped in baby's swaddle by accident, and feel quite pleased at all that was accomplished.
It amazes me that I can do most anything now while holding Miss Baby. Feed the dog, check my email and type one-handed to answer them, fix dinner, load and unlaod dishwasher. The other day i even dusted and vacuumed. Guess those two broken arms (not at same time) in my childhood were just training to prepare me to only have use of one arm once I became a mother. There really is no other choice other than to be a multitasker. Otherwise, nothing would get done and I would still be in my pajamas with breakfast sitting in front of me on the coffee table when the husband gets home for lunch, maybe even still at 5 pm. And I am sure there will be days like that, but hopefully not too many. I wish that someone was here to see how very productive I can be and to tell my that I am amazing--no mother has ever done so well. Maybe even give me a pat on the back or a little reward. Then, I look down and see my reward, who has spitup running out of her nose, a poop stain on the back of her onesie where her diaper has slid down, and hair that sticks up like she recently visited a mad scientist for a little shock therapy. She rolls her eyes at me and stares at the ceiling and i realize that she is my prize and how lucky i am to have such a great reason to multitask sitting in my lap.

A Thankful Mommy

Today my lint is happy. I have decided it is all about the little things when you have a new baby.
Yesterday I swear Baby smiled at me (remember--she is extremely advanced).
She took good naps that allowed me to get some stuff done. I actually did several loads of laundry, put on mascara, and tried on 4 different cocktail dresses (we have an event this weekend).
We took a walk in the beautiful weather and the stroller and the dog did not conspire to kill me, which was my concern. Initially there were issues. I used the fancy Bob stroller, which Anthony had not shown me in detail how to work, so i had to figure it out by myself. I made the mistake of putting her in the car seat and the car seat in the stroller while still in the corner of the dining room. Trying to get around the table and then through the kitchen and out of the house was like the scene in Austin Powers when he is trying to turn the golf cart around in the hall. So note to self, put baby in seat inside, then attach car seat to stroller outside. Getting out the door was a small victory. The walk was lovely, especially after I remembered that the front wheel needed to be released so it could pivot and take the bumps. While it sounds like I was a hot mess on the walk, once we got it straight the three of us toodled happily around the neighborhood. Ripley taking the lead to protect her baby, Alice snoozing and occasionally doing her patented wink/eye roll that she has perfected, and me bringing up the rear, panting only slightly while navigating the cracks and curbs of Lindley Park. We only strolled for 30 minutes, but that was enough for us considering I was sweating and Ripley was tired of getting bumped in the hind end by the stroller (it sticks out a lot farther in the front than one would think).
I am also amazed and thankful by the outpouring of love, support and gifts that have been showered on us since Miss Alice arrived. We have received cards and gifts in the mail. People have visited and oohed and ahhed over her beauty. But the best, or I should say most helpful part, has been the food. I am not much of a cook and I often daydream about having one of those services that delivers your food everyday. (Not Meals on Wheels, but a fancy one like the rich and famous use in LA). People don't realize how much a meal can mean to a frazzled mommy who can't cook on a good day, much less when she has spent 8 hours dodging squirting poop, changing an angry newborn's outfit 3-4 times, and trying to email the same message for 6 of those hours. So that food is a godsend. If you are ever on the fence about what to take new parents, take them food. Even if it is just a bag of bagels, some cream cheese, and a bag of coffee. It is not about getting a perfect full cooked meal (though that is awesome and always welcome, even once she has turned 18 and gone to college!). It is getting something to help make your life easier because then breakfast, or lunch, or whatever, is one less thing to think about. Also appreciated--things that can go in the freezer. Then you just whip them out to defrost and you have at least one meal, if not leftovers as well.
And this very minute, I am most thankful that her highness let me get a decent night's sleep last night. I will not pretend that we are over the sleep issues, but this is a step in the right direction. It felt luxurious to sleep until 6:45! And for those of you who are familiar with my sleep habits (they are akin to a bear's during hibernation season) I never thought i would say that 5 hours felt amazing and wonderful. So thank you Alice, for making me a happy and refreshed mommy! And thank goodness I am rested, because today your are making up for it and refuse to lay down in your crib. So thank you even more for keeping me on my toes.
Last, I am pleased to have discovered the wonders of the yoga ball. Baby girl loves it when I bounce on it while she is screaming (it stops said screaming) while at the same time strengthening my core. Double thankfulness for double duty.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Late Night Issues

I would like to use my new forum to discuss an issue that has recently presented itself to me. Since becoming a person who stays up all hours of the night skulking about my house in the dark and trying to stay awake so as not to endanger the life of my child, I have discovered the sad state of late night TV.

I now thank god I am not an insomniac and I will only have to deal with this awfulness until my child can sleep through the night (next week i am sure...she is very advanced). There is really nothing on unless you are interested in a workout program that can be purchased in 15 easy installments or a cleaning apparatus that comes with a second of the EXACT SAME THING for free. Obviously, I am not in a place where I am aggressively working out (am i ever? simply stated, "no.") However, I am a complete sucker for all the work out programs because those people that have lost 172 lbs doing the ab swinger or the stripper work-out are inspiring. However, my husband would never let me order one. I know this because a few years ago I passionately wanted Yoga Booty Ballet and that was quashed with one eye roll and firm head shake. So I try not to watch the workout infomercials because at the end of the day they just make me feel bad. There is always a 735 lb girl who was a size 53 and is now a 4 who stands in her skimpy workout bra and biker short set and says "If I can do this with the ab-core flexorama, anyone can." And of course she is either a) holding up her big girls pants or b) in front of a huge picture of herself in a bathing suit at a water park as her former large self. So this leads me to to think to myself that I should really do a few sit ups at the next commercial. Unfortunately by then I have forgotten and use the commercial to refill my coke and get another cookie. So obviously, I avoid the workout infomercials at all costs.
So that leads us to the other genre of infomercial that runs constantly--the "as seen on TV" cleaning supplies/small kitchen appliances. I find the hosts' dedication to their products amazing and the fact that they whip their audience into a frenzy over something that no one really needs is beyond admirable showmanship. I think these hosts are previous cult leaders who can hypnotize with their eyes. I always wonder if the people in the studio audience are paid or do they spend their days hoping from set to set to cheer for shammy cloths and mini blenders. This however does nothing to deter me from my love for "as seen on TV" items. Like the audience I get hypnotized and start to believe my life is not complete until I get a Shark Steamer. And as of this Christmas I know that my life was not complete until I got my Shark Steamer. But that is neither here nor there, because really these infomercials are just praying on those of us who are just sleep deprived enough to think that a combo french-fry/salsa maker is something that not only will make my family and guests awe-inspired by my cunning in the kitchen, but will also make me happier in all aspects of my life. Those with insomnia and new mommies everywhere are probably getting their mail and occasionally there is a mystery package of something they have ordered while sitting in front of their TV's with their eyes glazed over and their fingers dialing 1-800-whatever with their brain completely unawares. So I move to save these people from themselves and cut out the infomercials. The networks have a captive audience with us night owls, so why can't they take advantage by showing us quality programming? It is not like we have anything else to do. I can only Facebook so much, and i need two hands to play Bejeweled Blitz so that is not possible with a crying infant. Give us what we want and keep using regular commercials to pay your bills you money hungry TV people. I would love some old school sitcoms, and I don't mean 5 straight hours of Frasier (sorry Mom). I would like some Golden Girls and Friends and 90210. Now maybe these things are out there and I just have not come across them yet. All I am finding are Proactive commercials and the the skinny freaky guy with the headset selling knives and car wash equipment. So because of this quandary of what to watch to stay awake so i don't drop the bottle and anger Alice, I look to my lovely DVR. I have become a hunter during the day, looking for things to tape so that i can stay occupied late night. And it works, but it would be more satisfactory to just be able to turn on the TV and have a bounty of quality programming to choose from. So if anyone knows someone in programming at a network please pass this plea on to them. We night people are a crazy bunch and need your help to maintain what little sanity we have left. Give us a break and play a little Cosby Show or some Facts of Life. I would even take some Perfect Strangers. Thanks.
ps> i would really love the Magic Bullet for my birthday. Available at fine retail stores everywhere.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day one of cleaning the Lint Trap

Let me start by saying this blog is not my idea. It is my dear sweet Aunt Holly's idea. She is either a) crazy, or b) thinks for some reason people may want to read what i write! We shall see.

I am calling it The Lint Trap. By definition it means this--

Lint:minute shreds or ravelings of yarn; bits of thread
Trap:any of various devices for preventing passage of something often while allowing other matter to proceed
(it goes on to read..."especially :a device for drains or sewers consisting of a bend or partitioned chamber in which the liquid forms a seal to prevent the passage of sewer gas" which i find especially telling about some of my musings!)

Yup, you guessed it--the name came to me while I was doing laundry this morning. On a similar note, if anyone can tell me how to keep my child from peeing as soon as her diaper comes off, please send me an email. So as I was saying, the trap is my brain, and the lint is all the weird stuff that gets clogged up in there, preventing me from doing things that are productive. Welcome to my dumping ground of threads of thoughts, yarns from my daily life, and occasionally sewer gas that is trapped in there and stinking the place up.

So basically i will talk about the lint that gets stuck in my proverbial trap. I say talk instead of write, because i feel like blogs are people talking about things, ideas, etc. and I try to write like I talk. Sadly, when i talk for real there is no delete button and i can't use grammar check. I like reading blogs, though the ones i read are crafty ones. Mostly to get ideas that i will more than likely never actually try and to say things like "i could totally make that" even though i probably won't. So this blog is a little bit of an adventure for me because i don't read other people's blogs about general stuff like how they are feeling or what they want for lunch or how they think about what happened last night on Lost. And since i got pregnant and had a baby, I don't even read the craft ones. Though I can't blame that on the child because our computer got stolen and all the ones i had saved in favorites are now being read by a robber. I hope he is in his crappy apartment learning the secret ingredients to amazing banana bread and how to make gloves out of old sweaters. Jerk. So obviously I am too lazy to go search those blogs back out and I can't seem to figure out favorites on our new Mac anyway. So no blogs for me. Ummm, wait a minute. I just realized I do occasionally read Go Fug Yourself. Those girls are hilarious and I thoroughly enjoy an occasional dose of snarkyness, especially when directed at the beautifulness of those who are famous (hey, if you don't like it, don't put yourself out there in a see-through lace dress with a feathered headpiece and UGGs).
I am also hoping this blog will be an outlet of sorts for me, because I am no longer out there in the workforce, being social and chatting. Because lets face it, that is what I devoted quite a bit of time to (though in a purely professional manner, I promise). Though I do have Alice to talk to and she is a very good listener. In her defense she does not have much choice because she has yet to figure out how to get up from a prone position and walk away. She just sits/lays there (depending on where i have propped her up) and stares at me. Quite a case of stare-itis for this little one, much like her mommy. But she pretends to be interested in how I feel about the ridiculousness of Martha Stewart and her "good things" and she feigns excitement (eye rolling and tooting) over the fact that Sonny just shot the illegitimate son he didn't know he had on General Hospital. Together we laugh that the Baby Whisperer book says she should stay awake for 45 minutes after eating. And she loves it when i sing to her. Or maybe she stops crying as a silent protest to the pain I am causing her emotionally and physically with my warbling. The jury is still out on that one.
So welcome to The Lint Trap that is my brain. I will try to keep it more "yarns and threads" and less "sewer gas" but some days will be better than others.


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