You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2013.

When I lost my job in public relations it felt awful. I left a job and people I loved in the not-for-profit world for one in consumer electronics because I thought it would advance me in my career. It was close to home and paid much more than I was making, and so, after much back and forth, I took it.

The problem was, I wasn’t very good at the new job. The passion I held for the museum I left could not be replicated in the consumer world. I felt timid and confused and spent a better part of a year hoping to not be put on the spot, afraid it would reveal the truth.

Despite all that, getting fired was terrible. Although a part of me felt relief that I could just go, I still felt awful about my performance. It wasn’t the right job for me, but it was still my job. I should have worked harder. Done better.

My current gig is one I am passionate about. Being a mother brings me both joy and a sense of accomplishment. I’m good at this job, most of the time.

Lately, though, I feel like I’m slipping into the failing zone, and while no one can hand me a pink slip, I’m still aware I need to do better.

Two and a half is a challenging age. Owen argues with me, is defiant and fresh. He refuses to nap, pushes boundaries and tells me “no” all day long. At 6 months, Ryan is a happy little thing, until he’s not. Lately I spend my days more frustrated than happy. I feel burdened and unappreciated by my two small people. I am grumpy and annoyed easily and on top of that, I yell.

I could hear myself yelling more than I should, but when Owen called me out on it, I knew it had to stop. After getting out of bed AGAIN to go potty (he knows he can get out of bed for that), I snapped that it was ENOUGH.

“Why are you yelling at me, Mommy?” He asked.

“I’m not, bud,” I said, backtracking.

“Well, you were…”

Ouch.

I’m afraid that I’m so caught up in the endless minutiae of the every day, that I am missing the good stuff. I don’t want to miss a funny quote or a big cheesy grin because I’m mad that I tripped over a stray toy for the 10th time. I don’t want my kids to remember me as a grumpy mommy who yelled over nothing. I want my words and tone to mean something.

I don’t like the mother I’ve been lately, but unlike my previous job, I’m going to do something about it. I need to take a deep breath, calm my blood pressure and start a new. One day my house will stay clean and no one will be fighting me over a nap, but that also means my babies will have left the nest. I need to focus more on the now and appreciate this time while they are still little.

And so, I have an opportunity to change the way things are. This time I can, I WILL, do better.

At least you can have an occasional drink at this job.

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(He’s laughing at me. I lose.)

- I finally took the Christmas decor down last week and now it is glaringly obvious that there is nothing hanging on the unpainted walls. My living room is basically a sterile environment. If you don’t count the Cheerio crumbs and dog hair. I started to pin ideas for the room so if you follow me on Pinterest, I apologize for the recent onslaught of photos of mantels and gallery walls. I would also love to paint, but the room is big and neither Michael nor I likes to paint. Hiring someone isn’t in the budget right now so either we suck it up and do it ourselves, or continue to live in the vast whiteness.

- Anyone remember when we watched my mother-in-law’s crazy dog last year? I swore it would not be a repeat thing, and yet, here we are one year later and about to embark on 13 days with Lucy. Last year she was skittish and whiny and afraid of men. Which meant that any time Michael would come into the house…she would pee. And then, to add icing to the cake, she freaked out and expressed her anal glands in my kitchen, and I’ll just take a moment to let that sink in.

Expressed her anal glands. In my kitchen.

That smell is burned in my memory and so help me, if she does it again I am shipping her off to Florida so my MIL an deal with it. So, SO gross.

- Speaking of my MIL, she bought a cow. Not a whole cow, not even half of a cow. She bought something like a fourth of a cow so we could split it between us. Only, we don’t really eat that much red meat. Maybe once or twice a month. She was insistent, however, so now the entire bottom half of my freezer if filled with beef. Because even splitting up a fourth of a cow is still hundreds of pounds of cow. I’m not kidding when I tell you this meat will last us a year, maybe more. There’s just so.much.beef. I’m going to have to host a beef party or something just to put a dent in it.

Except a beef party sounds disgusting. No one would come if I cordially invited them to a beef party. Or they would, but they would think it was an entirely different type of party with a whole different kind of beef, if you catch my drift. And that would be awkward.

Dear Ryan,

Today you are six months old. Hard to believe it, little boy. Six months is a fun age because you do stuff now. You sit like a champ, though you still topple over. But when you do topple, you roll onto your belly and play. You “talk” and mimic and grab onto our faces, holding them close while flashing us your gummy smile.

You are such a happy baby, save for the past few weeks where you were such a grump. I blamed it on teething (because I always blame this stuff on teething), but you woke up from your afternoon nap today all smiles and giggles and started to blow raspberries — something I haven’t seen you do yet. Was that the skill you were working so hard to master that was making you so angry? Raspberries? Well, you’ve mastered it now so let’s keep Happy Ryan around.

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I could spend my whole day staring into those big brown eyes of yours. Your eyelashes are unreal, kid.

Right before I went to sleep on New Years Eve, I checked on you and found you sleeping on your stomach. After that, it was Roll City. You like to rock yourself back and forth to move around the living room and the changing table has become a playground. As soon as I get you on there you start hurling yourself over, doing anything in your power to flip. You find this hilarious and laugh right at me as I try in vain to get your diaper on while you audition for the Olympic gymnastics team. You are trying SO HARD to move. You can almost get yourself up on your knees and I can see how much it pains you not to be able to just take off after your brother. I would not be surprised if you crawled and/or walked early.

You are my cheeky one, Little. With your sparkly eyes, big smile and infectious laugh I know you’re going to sucker me out of getting into trouble. You’ve got that “who me?” look down pat already.

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You are already a blankie/lovie kid. I don’t let you sleep with one yet for fear of you smothering yourself, but during waking hours the easiest way to calm you is to pass you a receiving blanket or a burp cloth and you are good to go. You always have one in the car to snuggle and suck on.

You’ve tried rice cereal a handful of times, but unlike your brother who literally “mmmm’d” his way though his first tasting, you could take it or leave it. Granted, it’s boring old rice cereal, so we will introduce you to some veggies soon, but it may be a few more weeks before you’re truly interested. Your cup, however, brings you much delight, and while you’re not really drinking out of it, you’ve gotten pretty good and putting it in your mouth. You’re also really good at banging it on the table while shrieking with delight.

Your four-month sleep regression was nothing more than you fussing a little more at bedtime and waking around 1 rather than 4 or 5. Thank you for that, kiddo. I really do appreciate it. You continue to be such a great sleeper — most nights waking just once and some nights not at all — and I love that I can put you down for naps and bed wide awake and you will put yourself to sleep.

Owen remains your very best friend and the two of you are so funny together. You laugh together and you always want to be touching him. You watch him wherever he goes and you love tagging along to his story hour and toddler dance class. You will mimic his voice and kiss his face and in turn, he showers you will love. I couldn’t have asked for a better pair.

Sure, you have days where I’m ready to put you out with the bath water…

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(Sure am!)

…but I think we’ll still keep you.

I love you through and through, Little.

Love,

Mama

Despite the fact that it’s 60 degrees here today, it really is winter and winter food means all things hearty and warm. I’m a big fan of lasagna, but I’ve never been big on assembling it. All the components take a while to make and it’s messy to layer and then if we don’t finish it right away, it tends to get soggy in the fridge.

Enter: Lasagna Soup. I’m pretty sure this is one of my earliest pins, and also one of my favorites. It has all the things I love about lasagna, but half the work.

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Tomatoes, meat, noodles, spice, cheese. And then some more cheese. Nom.

Lasagna Soup – Adapted from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

Check out the link for the full recipe, but here are the changes I made:

- I don’t like too much onion flavor, so I used just half of a large yellow onion, not 3 cups. I found it to be plenty.

- Omitted the bay leaves because I never have them on hand.

- I was out of chicken stock so I used water instead. I have made it both ways and to be honest, I haven’t noticed a huge difference in flavor. If you don’t have stock, water will do!

- In my most recent batch I added a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach and wilted it down before adding the liquid. It’s a great base to sneak in some extra veggies.

This soup is a winner in our house and is really customizable to your taste. If you would put it in a standard lasagna, put it in your soup! I happen to like the spicy sausage in it, but a ground beef/chicken/pork would work just as well.

 

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Mmmm, look at the goodness right there. Serve with crusty bread because, why not?!

Happy eating, friends!

Find me on Pinterest!

 

Wow, I had no idea so many of you were in the same swaddling boat we were! Darn kids and their sleep habits. So who won?20130111-094614.jpg

Congratulations to Erin! Here’s hoping baby #2 gives you many beautiful nights of sleep!

When Owen was a baby he would bust out of the swaddle so often that I decided he must not like it. I stopped swaddling him early on and he was never a great sleeper. When Ryan was born I decided he would be swaddled, no matter what, and had great success with the Miracle Blanket. Of course I can’t attribute all the sleeping highs and lows with swaddling, but I know it helped significantly.

By the time Ryan was four months old he was such an excellent sleeper, but he was starting to wake himself up breaking out of his swaddle. I tried all the gradual weaning techniques to no avail. I even tried going to a sleep sack cold turkey and he completely lost his mind, unable to settle and sleep until I swaddled him again. We needed a new solution and quickly.

As I poured over parenting forums, I kept coming across the mention of a blanket called the Zipadee-Zip. It got great reviews, so I had to check it out.

The Zipadee-Zip is a blanket that helps ease your baby gently from swaddling to using a blanket. The starfish design allows the baby to have their arms free, but gives just enough resistance to keep them feeling snugly. There’s no need to worry if the baby rolls over, because unlike with a swaddle, they would be able to use their arms.

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Designed by Stephanie — a mom looking for a solution to her own swaddle-weaning problem — each blanket is handmade to order and comes in both stretch cotton or fleece. See how it works here:

Our Zipadee-Zip arrived just as I was getting Ryan for bed. I figured it was just as good a time as any to try it, so I nursed him, zipped him up and hoped for the best.

He slept 10 hours before waking up to nurse, just like that. That was the entire transition. There was no fighting, no crying. Just a happy, un-swaddled baby. Each night was the same, and even his naps got better.

As per Stephanie’s suggestion, I started with a small Zippy to make the transition as smooth as possible. I like that it covers his hands while he sleeps keeping them warm and his face free of scratches. Ryan takes comfort in sucking on his hands as he falls asleep, so I have to wash it a little more often than I might otherwise, but  I’m ok with that. If he’s fussy, he immediately calms down as I zip him in and he wakes every morning with a huge smile on his face. To say I love the Zipadee-Zip is an understatement. As a matter of fact, I just ordered the medium today! Eventually I will wean him from the Zipadee-Zip as well, but from what I’ve read that usually happens without a problem.

Do you want a Zipadee-Zip?!

Here’s your chance to get one! Stephanie has graciously offered up a free Zipadee-Zip to one lucky reader. If you don’t have kids yourself, it would make a great gift.

To enter, leave a comment about anything you want. Easy, right? I will randomly select a winner next Friday, January 14th.

Good luck!

 

 

Dear Owen,

There’s been a couple of stages during your life that I declare your current age to be my favorite. This is one of them. You can still be willful and stubborn and frustrating as you continue to grow and assert your independence, but something changed in just these last few weeks. It’s hard to articulate, but you are such a KID now. I know, I know. Every letter I write I tell you how you’ve grown so much, but really, trust me. This time you have. You’re not just two, you’re two and a HALF. Halves make all the difference.

You crack jokes, including your first toilet humor. You changed a word in a song from “super” to “pooper”, then collapsed in a fit of giggles. I of course couldn’t NOT laugh at your nonsense, so you repeated it over and over until it was no longer amusing and I had a pretty clear view of what life with a 10-year old boy will be like. I’ve started writing down all of your best quotes so I never forget them. Like just the other day, when I mentioned I wanted go to Starbucks and you told me you didn’t want to go, you wanted to play, and I should “go in the kitchen and make your own coffee, Mommy.” Well. Ok, then.

You want to do everything yourself, even if it takes twice (or three times) as long. You are essentially daytime potty trained, but actually wake up most mornings dry as well. When you go, you want privacy, telling us to “go in the living room” until you are done. Which is fine by me, because you can already stink up the bathroom like a grown man. Yes, my love. I put that on the internet. Consider it advanced payback for the first time you stay out past curfew.

Currently your favorite things are your toy animals, pretend food (you go shopping and cook “just like Mommy”), any of the wooden blocks/Kinex variety, and of course, vehicles of every kind. You also enjoy our weekly trips to kid/mom dance class and story hour.

Ryan is your best friend in the whole world and watching the two of you together brings me so much joy. You love to play with him and make him laugh, and I have to tell you multiple times a day that while it’s incredibly sweet, he does not need to be kissed and hugged quite that much. You’re going to squeeze the stuffing out of him.

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You still think Daddy is the coolest guy on the planet (I get it. I do too!) and on his days at home, it is All Daddy Everything. On those nights only Daddy will do for bedtime.

You still nap, though it takes a while and some gentle reminding that it’s time to settle down and go to sleep. You have always been a grumpy waker from your naps, though, but I have to be honest and tell you there’s a part of me that doesn’t mind. After your nap you usually wake calling for me. It is then you call me Mama, not Mommy, and want nothing more than to bury yourself under my chin and be held. You are always on the go now, slowing so infrequently, that I cherish the moments when all you want is to slow down with me.

Tomorrow we are touring the preschool you will attend in the fall. It’s just a couple hours a few days a week, but it will be a huge change. For all of us. I know it’s still months away, but it doesn’t feel very far at all. You, my ever-growing boy. How did you get so big?

I guess you’re not This Little Toddler anymore. What do we call you now? This Little Kid? Yeah, I think that sounds about right.

I love you through and through, Mister Mister.

Love,

Mommy

 

I turned 30 on New Year’s Eve. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this birthday. The Big 3-0 comes around and people feel pressure to have completed something: careers, families, etc. I may not have done everything I had hoped to accomplish by my 30th birthday, but I’ve come pretty close.

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Those two right there? That’s the best thing I’ve done in my 30 years. Hands down.

The last few weeks have been an endless celebration — first the holidays and concluding with an amazing surprise birthday party. Together with family and friends, Michael threw me a party I will never forget. And believe it or not, I was 100% surprised. I had NO clue!

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I say goodbye to my 20s with mixed emotions. It was a good decade, filled with some of the biggest events of a lifetime. Jobs, marriage, children, homes, loss, love. It all happened in my 20s. I look forward to what this next chapter has in store, though. I promise this 30-something blogger will have some good stories to tell.

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(30 in age; kid at heart. )

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