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Friday, December 20, 2013

Blog Hiatus/Life Update

I took some time off from blogging, I've been stressed out! Oh, silly stay at home mom, what is there to be stressed about?!

Well basically, I have a baby/toddler who just never stops crying and whining. I took her to the doctor a few different times and she's always fine, so basically I was scraping by each day, completely burnt out by evening. But of course, it's in my nature that once she gives me a smile (or goes to bed), I forget all about the day's challenges and feel like I can face another day.

However. I just took her to her pediatrician for her 15 month well child visit. She, like many kids her age, is not a huge fan of strangers sticking their face inches from hers and poking and messing with her. So when I was explaining that she's very cranky, not walking, not cruising along furniture, and will only stand up on her terms, the doctor tried to get a look. That didn't go over well, and I joked that maybe if she came to our house, on Lena's turf, it may go better. That's when she recommended a home visit from Early On to have someone assess her and hopefully get us in the right direction.
She can get into things...but can't always get out.


I put in a request at Early On, and as soon as I clicked submit, Lena started cruising along the couch. Taking just a step or two. That was 3 days ago. Today, she's climbing the stairs (just a set of 3), crawling to the piano, standing by the bench and reaching for the keys. She's climbing into Charlotte's little chair, and today I taught her how to scoot down the stairs! You guys. Since she's been moving around more, she's been SO much happier! I feel like a new woman, and I'm sure she's happier too.

I may not be able to get up here on my own, but I've already composed 2 sonatas.
When Charlotte was Lena's age, she was doing all kinds of crazy stuff, and I was 3 or 4 months pregnant at the time. She seemed like such a big girl to me. The thought of having a baby 5 months from now is quite horrifying to me, but if she keeps getting happier...perhaps a new conversation will be had. :) or not.

If she keeps up with this easy-to-manage streak, I may just update a little more frequently. or not.






Monday, October 7, 2013

It All Balances Out

Yesterday was my birthday (Hint: my age rhymes with schthirtybun) and I had a fabulous weekend celebrating!

On Friday night, Marcus threw a wonderful party it was so great to see so many friends in one place! Some highlights include a friend trying to convince me that she ate her placenta and another friend accusing me of having a conversation with my Latin lover right in front of my husband. The assumed lover was my brother. I also discovered that many people are vehemently against taking selfies.

Saturday night I headed to the casino with my neighbors and was somewhat of an 11th wheel, because my husband stayed home with the kids so we didn't need to get a babysitter 3 nights in a row. I sat down to play Family Guy slots and within a couple of minutes I won a bonus game!
I chose Chicken. And won $75!
Since I won right off the bat, I just walked around awkwardly, waiting for my friends to win/lose enough to be done.

And to cap off the exciting weekend, Marcus took me to see Jersey Boys on Sunday night. We saw it in Chicago when I was about 4 months pregnant with Lena and I was so tired from shopping/growing a human, that I dozed off during the show for a little bit, so I was glad I was given a second chance! I loved how I could tell Marcus was trying his darndest to keep from singing the songs out loud. It's not so much that he's such a theater nerd, he just likes Frankie Valli. 

But like all good things, they must come to an end. And that brings me to today. I needed to get groceries. It's normally not that big of a deal. I don't love taking the kids, but it usually goes just fine. But today? Murphy's Law took over and was determined to crush my spirit.
Everything was just pissing me off. From the drivers in the parking lot, pulling out in front of me and taking the spot I was driving towards, to Charlotte getting out of the van and splashing into a giant puddle.
We walked in the store to grab a cart with the attached bench, but the woman in front of me with her seemingly capable 5 year old took the last one. *deep breath.* So we walked to the other side of the store to see if there was one there. There was not. We walked back. Every single regular cart was dripping wet from the rain. I wipe it down with my shirt sleeves. 

As I'm trying to navigate the produce aisles, it feels as if there was maybe an retirement home's day out because all these octogenarians are standing around shootin the shit like what else would you be doing by the grapes, pears, berries, and bananas. 

Ok. I get it. It's not everyone else, it's totally me. I know I'm the one with the problem today, but I don't think I was looking for things to be annoyed by, the annoying things were pushed up into my face.
Parallel walkers down the aisles? don't set your cruise control and just putz along beside me. Either pass or stop. Am I the only one who finds it really awkward to be walking carts side by side in the same direction? Just STAHP IT.

Then. THEN. This. Everywhere. 


Had I known that Mondays at 11am were the times when every shelf is being stocked, I may have reconsidered my timing. 

The one redeeming and slightly embarrassing factor of the trip was Lena trying to keep things interesting by going wild.
One of the more inappropriate versions of "Where's Lena??"
Since she doesn't like to be "messed with" I often don't bother with a onesie beneath her outfits, but I guess if we're going out in public, maybe I should consider it next time.

Over all, the kids behaved pretty well even though we didn't have the bench for Charlotte to sit on. She rearranged the salad dressings and would sit down on a shelf or the floor anytime I took a little too long deciding what to pick out. And to end the trip, we always have to ride the penny pony. Fortunately that was in working order, otherwise we all may have ended the trip with tears.

Oh, and as we're walking out, Charlotte starts whining because look:

Carts with benches. Charlotte's fave.
Of course it was pouring as we were leaving but I ran out of all craps to give while I was shopping. Lena kept slapping her own face with delight when she was getting rained on and Charlotte prancercised all the way to the car, so we all made it through just fine.

So what it comes down to is that if I have a *too* wonderful weekend, it will indeed balance out for me.







Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall Fun

The weather here has been so nice the past few weeks! They say it's "unseasonably" warm, but the last several years it's stayed warm into October. The polar bears love it.

We've been trying to take advantage of the warm weather and smaller crowds now that everyone's kids are in school, so our schedule has been jam packed.

I'm trying to just accept the fact that I have an uber cranky baby and just move forward with my life, but each day poses as an opportunity for Lena to spaz for no reason. I've found that taking her out and getting into the nice weather is usually the solution to this problem. I've also learned that if things are going well, I just need to let sleeping dogs lie and not call attention to myself by taking pictures of her or letting her know that I still exist.

There's a little farm down the street from us that has some fun fall activities and animals that you can feed. They have a little shop in their barn that is mostly creepy but I got a bunch of honey crisp apples for way less than the grocery store, so I guess I can handle this watching me as I shop around:

She has reverse vitiligo on her face. 



We also visited the zoo, had lunch while we watched airplanes take off and land at the airport, checked out Art Prize, and had the time of our lives at the Grand Rapids Oktoberfest.


Lena surprisingly loved the loud music and dancing!

Lottie made friends on the dance floor and they copied whatever the other was doing.

Charotte was so excited about "going dancing" and she danced for close to 2 hours. When it was time to eat, she would boogie with tears streaming down her face saying "just wanna dance!" It was awesome.

In unrelated fall fun stories, this morning Lena was wailing about nothing in particular when I realized she had called a neighbor (and friend - so it's not completely absurd) on my phone. I grabbed the phone from her and promptly disconnected without checking to see if my friend was on the other end. Well of course, she immediately calls me back. Since it was morning and I hadn't yet had my coffee or whatever other excuse I can find, I was having a hard time putting words together as I tried to explain that my shrieking 1 year old didn't dial her because of an emergency. But it probably wasn't that convincing  because I couldn't form a coherent phrase. I believe the first thing I uttered was "sorry she called me."
I hadn't gotten much sleep because of the unknown metamorphosis my baby is undergoing so I sounded like an idiot. Imagine getting a phone call at 7:30 am and hearing a baby shouting at you on the other end. That's no way to start the day. So for that, Kim, I apologize. And also welcome to my life.

Okay really. Will the crabbiness ever stop? We've had a couple good weeks here and there, but she is persistent in letting me know that this will be her personality for the rest of her life. 
Did you have a cranky baby that morphed into a gentle butterfly of a toddler? Make up a story if you have to.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Immunizations for Cranky Pants

Last Friday, I took the girls to the doctor for Lena's one year visit and surprise, they both got immunizations! Charlotte got the Flumist nasal spray flu shot and Lena got 4 bad boys in her pudgy arms. We've never dealt with any major side effects after shots besides an occasional low grade fever and extra sleepiness.

Because of that, I didn't expect this round to be much different. Well, if you don't recall, I am a fool.
Saturday evening my mom watching the girls while we were away and she mentioned the Lena had been crying on and off for a few hours after 10pm. That's not normal, and if it does happen, I know it's not magically going to stop once I bring her home. She was up early and absolutely freaking out. I got up a few times before I demanded  asked nicely that my husband get up and take a turn. He got her back to sleep after about 20 minutes, and shortly after she woke again. It was about 7am, and since we were out pretty late, neither of us was too thrilled to begin the day. Lena didn't seem ready to be up since she was so angry. I'm talking arching her back, trying to throw herself out of my arms angry. I'm trying to soothe her, doing all the things that normally work, when suddenly my husband comes into her dark room singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider. I thought maybe he was sleep walking or on drugs, but evidently that's how he got her to chill an hour earlier. It didn't work this time around. I convinced myself at one point that she was having an adverse reaction to her shots and that she was going to have to stay in the hospital and our lives would forever be changed. But then I sat with her outside in the cool weather and she finally chilled. (HA GET IT?)

We went back inside and she sat down and played like she wasn't just possessed for hours.
This has happened twice since yesterday morning. She's been up 5-6 times at night, and taking crappy naps. I blamed it on the shots, but after she skipped her afternoon nap today and freaked out instead, I called the doctor (mostly so I could tell them that I hate them). They did explain that since she got two new ones that she hasn't had before, that could explain it. She also said she just talked with a mom who said her one year old was cranky for a week after her shots.

On top of Lena's crankiness, Charlotte got a high fever (103*) yesterday and was moaning and whining and had a runny nose. So thanks Flumist for wrecking my Sunday recovery day from our fun night out.

Speaking of fun night out, we were guests at the Metro Health Hospital Foundation dinner. It was a black tie event so we got all dressed up like we were important people.
she looks like one of those rap guys' girlfriends.

I actually rented my dress from Rent the Runway and highly recommend it! If you do end up needing to rent, you can get $20 off by using that link, by the way. :) I definitely don't have any use for full length gowns in my closet, and even if I did attend more fancy events, we all know I wouldn't wear the same dress. 


Do your kids get cranky after they have shots or are you a good parent who chooses to not poison your children? 




Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lena is ONE!

Just like that, our little squishy, dimpled baby is a year old.

But it wasn't "just like that."

It was year that was not a walk in the park. I mean, we took walks in parks. And I took pictures like omg look what fun! But it was not always fun.

From the start, Lena proved that if she was one thing, it's inconsistent. We would have great weeks and even months, where I had her figured out, and then something mysterious would occur where she'd do a 180 and cry and whine about everything.

She's always been quick to smile, she's always loved to snuggle, and I've always been her favorite. These things haven't changed.


I look forward to things becoming easier, and I hold onto the hope that they will, but I do look back on her days as a small baby fondly. There's something about having another kid that makes you realize how quickly they actually do grow up, and suddenly I'm sounding like the old church lady that tells you to "just enjoy every minute because it goes so quickly". So although it was one of the more challenging years of my adult life, I do remember the sweet moments too.

People had told me that when your kids are close in age, that first year is a blur, and it really was. With Charlotte, I could look at any picture, and tell you exactly how old she was. I knew the activities and the milestones that occurred in each of her months.

I DON'T HAVE A CLUE this time around. In all honesty, I'm glad Lena doesn't do much because I wouldn't remember when she reached her epic milestone. What I do know is that we've all made it through unscathed and I'm ready for our next year with her, because it definitely gets more fun now.
I mean...it does, right?



While I will miss those soft newborn cuddles, I am more than ready for the next year. 




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tough Choices and Child Abandonment

Several weeks ago my husband and I made plans to go away for a long weekend with friends up north. Sans children. We arranged for my parents to watch the girls and the dog, and we originally thought we'd bring them over Friday late afternoon and pick them up Sunday. Then we find out that we could technically leave sooner, like Friday morning. So I ask my mom if that works. It would. Then, one couple was so enthusiastic, they wanted to leave Thursday evening. I ask my mom again, and she was fine with it. I think I was more nervous about leaving than my mom was to watch them, but it was our first trip away since Lena was born, and she's not exactly the easiest baby on earth.

On Wednesday evening, I hear Lena cough a little bit over the baby monitor. Offfffff course she gets a cough before we're supposed to go away. Her cough was really loud and barky. She slept fine through the night but around 5:30 on Thursday morning, she wakes up and she has the most horrible wheeze I've ever heard.
She's pretty worked up, so as I'm trying to calm her down, I called the pediatrician's answering service. I'm waiting for like 10 minutes, and saw screw it, I'm taking her to the emergency room. I knew it sounded like croup, but it was taking so long for her to calm her breathing. I took her outside, but it wasn't cold enough to change her breathing. Marcus convinced not to take her to the ER, she was calming down, just give it a little more time. Her lips weren't blue, but her face was quite pale. As she coughed again, the whole routine started over again. Once she was calm again, I called the on call doctor again, got a hold of him right away this time, and he said I could either go to the ER or wait until the office opened in a couple of hours. Since Lena had fallen back asleep, I decided to just wait. I had taken a video to show her doctor in case her breathing was completely fine by the time she had her visit. Knowing that I had plans to go away, I wanted to find out how serious the thought it was and if it was still ok.

video
That's not crying, it's breathing. Scary sounding, no?

Of course when we went to the doctor's office, she was much better sounding. They did prescribe her a steroid and I don't know if they would have done it based on her current condition or based on what she sounded like, but I am SO glad they gave us something. The doctor encouraged me to go away for the weekend, and the croup is much scarier sounding than it is, and my mom would be able to handle it. 
So not only was like "hey mom, watch my kids. watch them sooner. wait now watch them even sooner. here's my sick kid! oh and my dog too!"

Turns out, everything was fine! My mom told me that Lena did great, slept all night was mostly chipper. 
She told me she wasn't lying either. I was able to get away for a nice long weekend without feeling *too* guilty about it.

So basically this is a PSA for new moms whose kids haven't been sick yet. This is what croup can sound like. Ask for a steroid and you won't be terrified. Because I know everything there is to know about all babies and all respiratory illnesses.

Would you still go away if your kid got sick in the last minute? Am I horrible mother?!


Monday, August 5, 2013

I am That Mom.

My kids are those kids.

We have arrived!

Today I needed to head to Target to pick up a couple of things and just get out of the house. Lena has been taking a super short morning nap the past two days, and if we don't fill up the time, we all start going a little crazy.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I saw a woman putting away a cart and told her I'd take it from her. She saw me loading up my kids and said "oh wow! you have your hands full!" I replied "Oh, I only have two! ...But I guess I only have two hands, so yes. My hands are full." But I was upbeat and positive, because my kids are just so doggone sweet and angelic and darling and polite.

We walked into the store, and Charlotte was bee bopping around, Prancercise style:
video


She pranced her way over to a Disney Princess shopping cart and was completely fascinated with it. Normally, she has no problem with putting a toy back at the store, but she wanted to push it around. Instead of dealing with a potential spazz attack now, I decided to let her push it around the store while we shopped and then we could put it back later. (I am an idiot.)



At this point, the only mischief she was getting into was bumping into my cart and saying "Cheers!"
Any time she sees two like-objects, she clinks them together does a small toast. It's especially great when she bumps shoulders with Lena in a matching outfit.

I found the items we needed, which included some giant storage containers for their outgrown clothes. The cart was pretty full, and I had the lids of the bins on the rack beneath the cart. It was time for us to check out, which meant it was time to put the beloved princess shopping cart away. 

As we turned down the aisle, Charlotte saw another toy shopping cart and needed to clink them together and shout "cheers!" and while she was putting the less-loved cart back, I secretly took the princess cart and put it back on a high shelf without her noticing. 

A look of panic washed over Charlotte's face as she saw her soul mate-toy went missing. She was calling out for the cart as if it would come wheeling around the corner like her trusty dog. When it didn't appear, she went back for cart #2 and decided that one would do. 

I explained to her that she already has a shopping cart at home. 
<sobs>
I asked her if she brought her money (like $1.25 in change), because she needs money to buy it.
<says no, sobs more>

I was holding Lena during this time since she was sick of sitting in the cart, and I had to put her back so I could reason with the terrorist. A strange lady approaches and actually helped by playing peek-a-boo with Lena while I attempted to talk Charlotte off the ledge.

And miracle of miracles, Charlotte got up off the floor (did I mention she was sitting on the floor? Her latest protest position) and we continued on. About 10 steps later, she decides she is not quite done mourning. She throws her body down onto the floor and starts crying some more. 
Lena continues to cry in the cart. 
I'm crouched down trying to get through to the toddler. "I remember when I was little...."
(This gets her attention EVERY time.) 
"...I would go to the store with my mom. You know, Grandma."
<stops crying>
"It was so hard seeing all of those fun toys at the store without taking them home. But Grandma told me about all of the fun things we could do at home with my toys....." and more lies and more lies and more lies.
<gets up and starts walking>
Ten steps later, she begins to wail again. A crabby old woman looks at me and I tell her that I'm just living the dream. She told me that she had two girls "10 and 3/4 months apart". Instead of getting into the nitty gritty of that, I just said "then you know how it goes." And she agreed and went on her way. 

At this point, Charlotte's face is blotchy and red, she's got drool on her shirt and snot dripping down her face. She shoved the cart so that all of the lids to the bins went flying out and scattered across the floor right near the checkout. I'm doing my best not to lose my shit, and I'm getting my items out of the cart to buy.
I was laughing to the cashier about how I just need to get out of there and as she totaled up my items, I realized I didn't have my debit card. The one that was in my pocket last night. The one that I held and said to a neighbor "I really need to stop putting this in my pocket. I'm just going to forget about it." The one that I put on the counter instead of in my purse "so I would remember it". 

Yes, people. This is my life. I asked if she could suspend the order or whatever so I could run home (thankful, once again, that I live a couple of short miles away). She was able to do so, and I got the whole thing figured out, but seriously.

I'm afraid that this is becoming the norm, as Charlotte has had meltdowns just about everywhere lately. 
So if you have any coping mechanisms, please do share! I could use all the help I can get. 





Monday, July 22, 2013

I'm BAAAAAAAAACK

Hey 35 readers!

It's been a while since I've documented the thrill ride that is my life, so I figured you're pretty much just dying to know just what on earth I've been up to lately.

Summer is going really well. It's not nearly as hot as last summer and I'm not 8 months pregnant like last year either, so that right there makes it better. We've been staying pretty busy and the girls are being pretty fun.

This week we are staying (on and off) at the family cottage, and over the weekend, Marcus and I ran in a 5k that took place a couple miles from the cottage. I didn't train even a little for this thing, but figured since I've been doing TurboFire (a cardio-heavy dvd program) 6x a week, I would be juuuuuust fine. I mean, it's only 3.1 miles. I should be able to do that in 30 minutes easily, and I exercise for at least that long every day. Certainly since I ran cross country 13 years ago I should have no problem whatsoever with running a measly 3.1 miles. I ran a 5k in March after doing a teensy bit of training and I completed it in 31 minutes and it was like 20 degrees outside. Today was comfortably warm, not too hot, and I have lost 10 lbs since March. Obviously, I will win this 5k. or at least get some sort of award for my being so laid back about it.

Well, "comfortably warm" is like 80* at 8:00 am. I somehow convinced my husband to run with me and not stray, and he took the glory by pushing the double stroller with the kids. It's probably 35 lbs without kids, and another 50 with, so it's not exactly a breeze. However, he was having a hard time running slow enough for me.

We started off in the back (stroller rules) and had to zip around some of the slower people so we could get in a good groove. I almost started yelling swears at Marcus because he was a good 25 feet in front of me and I couldn't keep up. My heart rate monitor wouldn't stop beeping at me because I was above my target range. I figured it'd balance out once we found a good pace. Well that didn't happen. I was frickin huffing and puffing the whole time and I couldn't believe it. My body felt pretty good, other than a sore knee, but I was so out of breath, running a 9:40 mile. I was pretty disappointed in myself for not feeling stronger than I did. I had a little bit of juice left at the end so I pushed it to the finish and people were cheering "GO STROLLER GUY" and I died a little inside. Like really? Do they not see how fit he is? Do they not see the struggling mother who BORE those adorable little children? WHAT ABOUT ME, PEOPLE. I hit start on my watch as soon we crossed the line, and our "official" finish time was exactly one minute later than that. I'm going with my time since I really wanted to beat 30 minutes.

I'm glad I didn't have to walk (for more than about 5 seconds at the top of a hill), but am disappointed that I was as out of breath as I was. Sometimes denial is better than the truth.

We checked our times later in the day and this is what I found:


FIRST PLACE. FEMALE OPEN WINNERS.
I left without my MEDAL!!!!

Then I look closer....



Do you see that? "5K Walk"??? Marcus registered me for the WALK? WALK.
The other thing is, no one else was registered in the walk. It's like they created a special category just for me. Oh, that poor girl. Let's let her get first place by creating a division that no one else can sign up for. That will make that poor mom's day. That poor mom. She looks like she tries hard. She just needs to be recognized. Her husband is so strong for pushing that stroller. He probably gets so much attention because he's so cute. She just needs some extra love. We'll give her first place. IN A WALK.

The interesting news is that when I scrolled up to look at the age results for the run, I would have come in 5th place (which wasn't last place, jerks) and poor, pathetic fat and slow Marcus came in SECOND TO LAST in his age group. So I will always have that nugget to cherish, even if he was running 3 minutes slower per mile just to stay with me. He's a keeper, that one.

The first and last picture we're ever get like this because I'm so over it.

Do you like organized races or do you prefer gym training/classes over running, like me? 
I'd rather do 2 hours of Insanity than run in a stupid race, but I know that won't stop me in like 3 months when I do another 5k I didn't train for.






Sunday, June 23, 2013

What Am I Doing Wrong?

Over the last few weeks, Lena has been more unpredictable than a newborn. At 9 months, I really thought we would have this kid pegged. After all, from what I can remember, Charlotte had gotten much easier around 8 months. She started crawling, had teeth, slept great, very predictable.

Why wouldn't my next child be identical to my first? Don't people always talk about how every kid is the same? Wait...I think I've got that wrong.

We had a really great thing going. She'd wake at 7, nap around 9 & 1, bedtime between 6:30-7. She might be crabby every now and again, but whatever.
Me? Crabby? Noooo.

Then she suddenly started sleeping in, sometimes until about 8, and then quietly playing plotting to ruin my life until she called for me. I enjoyed the quiet in the morning, since Charlotte is a late sleeper too. Until I realized it meant her nap would be an hour later than normal, and then the afternoon would be all screwy too and omg I'm suddenly losing all control and I won't ever know what she wants when she wants it.

She thinks I'm sleeping, but I am just one step closer to crushing her spirit.

We've gotten to a point where if she's happy, I can't make eye contact with her. On any given day, you might see me peek around a corner and dart back if I feel she looked in my direction. I've even stood as still as possible with my back against the wall, waiting for her to bring her attention back to her toy. If she is distracted, I quietly sneak past her and fold laundry in another room.

Nap and bed time have gone to complete crap. She was a great self soother at about 4-5 months. I'd plop her down in her bed and say peace out, sister. Now she's been known to cry for up to 2 hours. I don't just leave her in there to cry, I try all sorts of things, but I really don't want to create bad habits either. ("bad" being things I won't feel like doing when she's a year old.) 
Also, when she wakes, a pacifier no longer does the trick. She'll cry for several minutes after you pop it back in. 
She's not crawling, standing or pulling herself up yet. She has no signs of teeth. I will blame her sleep disturbances on those things. Once she figures out how to be a little more mobile, she'll be more tuckered out, less fussy during the day, and hopefully it will solve all of our problems. 

I've got her where I want her. She's like putty in my pudgy hands.

She had her 9 month doctor appointment this week and she looks healthy, despite her odd dimensions. She's pretty much as fat as she is tall. She's in the 10th percentile for height, but the 75% for weight, and the 90% (!!) for her alien shaped head. She's just so different from Charlotte and I need to stop comparing them, but I refuse to believe that my two children will be so different.
I mean look at them, they're practically twins. 

Yeah, they're almost 2 years apart, but their heads are the same size and they almost weigh the same too.

I'm hoping whatever crap phase we're currently going through will pass soon, but in the meantime, I'm thankful for warm weather where I can pour a glass of wine and sit outside for a few minutes while she figures out that she needs to go to sleep without her mother doing 15 simultaneous soothing rituals.

In all honesty, I think we sometimes expect too much of her and forget that she's still a little baby. But her time is running out. She's got 3 months until she's no longer considered a little baby. So live it up, baby. Because soon? I will be in charge again. Right? omg. RIGHT?







Friday, May 24, 2013

Rules for Babysitting

In the last several months, we've branched out a bit and had a few "strangers" babysit the girls. Of course I learned a bit about them and asked lots of questions before we had them watch them, and so far it really has  been good for us.
The girls who have helped out have been between 18-22. About two years ago, I had a neighbor's daughter come babysit Charlotte as an infant. The babysitter was 12 (ish). She came over with a little binder with questionnaires and a list of phone numbers for me to fill out. I mean, this is big time, people. She's going to take over the biz.

Here are some things that the 18-22 crowd can learn from the tween.

  1.  Ask me questions.  Let me know that you're paying attention to my instructions and if maybe I've missed something. It's likely I have. Even if it's "do you have a wifi password?", the answer is yes, but you'll have to figure out which one is the right one because we can never remember.
  2. Play with my kids. Act like you like them. Especially when I'm still at home looking for my lip gloss and dusting off my high heels. I don't like silence while I'm trying to figure out what this crust is on my shirt and if I should change before I leave. Most of the time, the babysitters are good at this. But there have been a couple who seriously don't know what to even say to a two year old. How about "hi!"
  3. When I ask you a question, like "are you comfortable feeding the baby baby food?" I don't exactly expect you to say no, but if you've never done it before, don't lie. I'll give you more specific instructions, like "put on a bib" or "the food goes here, in her mouth. not in her ears where I'll find it tomorrow if you're lying."
  4. If you have rules, speak up. You charge your own hourly rate? Let me know right off the bat. You have a minimum amount of time that you see as "worth it"? Tell me. Sometimes I only need someone for an hour, if that's not something you're interested in, tell me first. 
  5. It's always a good idea to check in after the kids are in bed and all is well. I often let the sitter know that I'll be sending a text around 8:30 just to make sure bedtime went smoothly and help out in case something weird is going on. (Charlotte getting upset because the wrong button was pushed on her sound machine and now it's ocean waves instead of static. 2 year olds can be very specific in their white noise needs.) If you can't figure out the remote, text me. I don't want you to get so bored that you start snooping.
  6. CLEAN UP. This is something that some people are really good at, and others just don't get it. It may have been messy when you arrived because two kids were awake and pulling out every toy and book. But after bedtime is the perfect time to tidy up. How awkward would it be if I was like an actual employer (or just a mom, i guess) and I said "I will pay you after you clean up these toys and wipe the baby food off the table. Go ahead. I'll watch." Nope, just do it first and we'll avoid that situation.
  7. When I come home and ask how it went, "fine." is not an acceptable answer. Tell me how much you love the little nuggets, even if they were sort of naughty. Tell me if they were naughty. If the baby cried, you can tell me, that way I'm not surprised. If you say she didn't cry, can you tell me your secrets? Let me know if dinner went well, tell me a funny story, act like you're in it for more than the money, because FYI 18-22 year olds? You're getting paid more than our date cost. 
Yeah, maybe these rules are stupid or asking too much. 
But I just had a brilliant idea. 
In the spirit of celebrating today's technology, the babysitters can unlock "badges" for tasks they complete. A lot like four square or some other hip thing that I know nothing about.

Keep kids alive: $5/hr
Complete bedtime routine (wash face, brush teeth, comb hair, story): bonus $5
Check in with mom to say all is well: bonus $2
Clean up after the kids: bonus $5
Fold kids' laundry: bonus $5 
Unload dishwasher: bonus $5
Tell me how much you love my kids and how they are the sweetest little girls you've ever watched in your life: bonus $150. (okay, not really.)
Based on a 4 hour night out, this is $47 where over half of the hours the kids are asleep. I mean, you could get $20 for the bare minimum, but don't you feel special when you unlock badges? I do. That's why I track my food on My Fitness Pal. 

But nothing beats having family babysit. They love the kiddos, they clean up so I don't blog about them later, and they're usually free. :) 

What would you add the list? Am I asking way too much?
I babysat a lot in my youth and usually made $3-5/hr for full days, watching 3 kids. Walked uphill both ways to school. Barefoot. I had to use AOL Instant Messenger to talk to my friends. The horror. 


Ultimate Reset

In the last 3 weeks (plus 2 days), I've started and completed the Beachbody Ultimate Reset. Basically, it's a 21 day detox/cleanse with a supplement program and meal plan of whole foods.
It was one of the more challenging things I've done as far as discipline and self control goes. I did this with two of my neighbors and we were all successful with sticking with it and getting great results.
While weight loss is definitely a benefit of the program, it's mostly about getting your body to the healthiest state it can be by eliminating a lot of the garbage that we put into it.
When we started, it was definitely a shock to the system. There was so much food prep and planning ahead. It become somewhat second nature by the second week, but I think it was a good thing. I got used to planning and preparing a good lunch instead of sharing a box of macaroni and cheese with Charlotte.
And adding bacon to mine. Or whatever.
I don't need to get into all of the boring details, but it was actually a much more positive experience than I anticipated. I thought I'd be a lot crabbier, when really I felt the best I ever really have. I expected to be STARVING but I never was. The biggest challenge was not cheating when I really wanted chocolate or crackers. Turns out I really, really like crackers. mmm triscuits.

I didn't miss dairy really at all, and I was totally fine without meat. But the cracker part of my  food pyramid was definitely left wanting more.
Both of my neighbors and I reported sleeping better and having a lot more energy. I didn't have a lick of caffeine and didn't miss it. Of course I've had a little coffee both yesterday and today because it's just a nice part of my morning and I enjoy the taste. I didn't go into it thinking it was a "lifestyle change" because frankly, it's not. I think it's a good kick start to some really healthy habits which I will likely maintain, but to say I'm a grain-free vegan now is the stupidest claim I could make. We don't live in a community where that's an easy lifestyle. Community = my house. I would get kicked out.

I don't have any before and afters to share and if I did, I probably wouldn't share them. I'm selfish like that.




But I will tell you that I did lose some weight, and since I last stated my commitment to getting fit (late March), I have lost 13 pounds. That? is something I'm pleased with. I just did the math and I was really surprised to learn it was that much. My quest still continues because I'm having a 1/3 life crisis and when the youngest anyone mistakes you for is 29 when you're 30, I MUST FIGHT IT. Aging gracefully is for the weak.

I'm not exactly sure what my goal is. It's not like I have a race coming up (I don't enjoy running that much) or have anything approaching where I need to fit into an evening gown for judges to rate me.

But yeah. The Ultimate Reset was really worth it. If you don't think you can do it, you can't. It's pretty much that simple. But having the accountability of my friends was the biggest help, and if you're interested if giving it a try, just click here and you can get started.
Or click here and just enjoy life.

Oh, and I got paid to talk about this.*

*no I didn't.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Picture Post Because I'm Lazy

I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I last wrote. For being told I talked too much as a youngster, I just don't have much to say these days.

There's plenty that has been going on. A lot, really. But with my frequent facebook picture posts and instagram, it seems that people already have a pretty good idea of what's been filling up my time.

THIS. 

My normal abundance of patience is wearing thin as Lena has spent about 85% of the last week crying about being cute, fed, warm and loved. I don't know if she's getting a tooth or just preparing me for being crabby for the rest of my life, but it is getting exhausting listening to the whining. She is usually very content when she's within smelling distance of me. Seeing me isn't enough, she needs the essence of mom.
But when she's happy, it sure is fun. 

I took about 50 pictures today of Lena trying to take Charlotte's cookie, and Charlotte subsequently sharing it and then kissing her on the head. Where she learns this sweet behavior, I do not know, but I will take credit for it.












Now that summer is approaching and it's going to getting hot, I want to get in a good routine to pass the time and enjoy the summer. I've been feeling somewhat burned out and maybe getting into a new season with new activities will get me out my rut. 

What are your favorite warm weather activities with your kids? (or places to cool off when it's too hot?)


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lena Lately

I was starting to feel guilty that the last several posts have nothing to do with Lena!
Lena (rhymes with ballerina, for those of you who can't seem to figure this out) is 7 months old already!
She is a good kid that has an emotional streak. She's at an age where she still isn't doing much, but it won't be long until she'll be on the move.
She sits up and plays with toys, and scoots backwards when she's on her tummy. She really prefers to cuddle given the opportunity though. Charlotte was never much of a cuddler, so I mostly enjoy it, but it can be tough to get things done sometimes.
She is soo smiley, but pretty much refuses to laugh unless it's her little grunt/cough combo. She demands high brow humor so she'll have to move out if she wants a good laugh.

Considering starting a line of infant brassieres. Babisieres. 

Lena has been doing well with sleeping for the most part. She takes 2-3 naps, all of which are quite short, but I'm getting used to it, and as long as I can get a 30 minute nap overlap with Charlotte's nap, I'm a happy camper. She goes to bed anywhere between 6:30-7:15, and doesn't wake to eat until about 6am. I think we're over the worst with the frequent nonsense wakeups, and today she even put her own pacifier in, which is truly a game changer.

goofball

It's funny when I compare Lena with Charlotte at the same age. They are really different, but mostly I think I'm different now too. I was always looking towards the next big (and little) milestone with Charlotte, and now I just keep thinking that Lena is my little baby. It doesn't occur to me that she'll probably be crawling in the next couple of months. With Charlotte, I thought she'd crawl any moment for months. I documented every.single.thing she did. 


Charlotte and Lena are buddies, but it is only a matter of time before Charlotte starts getting really territorial over her toys. She even yanks Lena's toys away and shouts "DARBY NO!" Then she tries to correct herself and say "Lena, no" but by then, she's over whatever toy she wanted and she moves on. 

Courtesy laughing.

Lena loooooves food, just like Charlotte did (does), and that makes meal time a little more enjoyable because she pretty much will eat anything that is offered. I made some broccoli and sweet potato, but so far, that's the only food she wasn't interested in. I don't blame her. It didn't taste that good to me either.

Photo courtesy B Modern , a friend of mine for 15 years!

In their Easter best
We had Lena baptized last week and she was grunting and fussing a majority of the time up in front of church, but I was happy that there were 9 other kids being baptized that day so all the ruckus took any attention of Lena. 
Baptism day. Matching outfits will never get old for me.
We definitely had a few rough months getting used to a baby in the house, but overall, Lena has been so good. She's so happy, cuddly, and easy going. There are many days where I tell myself "no more babies", but as she gets older, I can already tell I might be going back on my word. I should have written more during those "rough months" so I can remind myself why a 3rd little person in this house might be a bad choice. Or an absolutely adorable, squishy, smiley choice. Hmmm....

What's your favorite age for your kiddos? I think it just keeps getting better, but I'm a glass half full kinda girl.


Friday, April 26, 2013

Lottie Lately

It's been a while since I've posted anything and it's mostly because I just don't have much to write about!
Then of course, I remember that the original point of the blog was to document even the mundane for me to look back on one day.
So the mundane is actually sort of exciting for me. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that we started potty training Charlotte. I'm somewhat proud to say that we haven't quit. The first few weeks were hit or miss, almost literally, but then this week it just totally clicked for her.
We went from excitement about the potty, to sheer horror at the thought in the matter of days. I completely stepped back and left it up to her, and she continued her interest. After asking some friends about what I should do about the tantrums, a few people suggest that I just stop altogether, and it just didn't feel right.
I would ask each day if Charlotte wanted a diaper or undies, and we'd go ahead with what she chose. Most days she'd tell me if she had to go, and I would have to undo her diaper and everything, but she would always sit and go.
Last week she wore only diapers, but kept them completely dry except during naps and nighttime. This week she chose undies and has not only had zero accidents, but she's used the bathroom while we were out to lunch twice this week! She's no longer scared of the big toilet, which apparently happened overnight, and she does better at bath time too. We had a few weeks of struggles because I think the warm water made her have to go and she sorta freaked out about it.
We've made great strides in a few short weeks and I'm really excited about it. This will save both money and time doing laundry. I imagine there may be setbacks in the future, but I'm hoping that I won't have to worry about that.

In other news, the weather has been very unpredictable here lately. We've had a few nice days, but some record setting flooding too. We've been fortunate to be dry, but we can't say the same for some of our family. It's starting to warm up, and I hope that it stays warm now!
Our neighborhood has a couple of small parks and whenever it's sunny, Charlotte demands that we visit the park. One day, the "baby park" was flooded so instead of the small slides and climbing structures Charlotte can manage easily, we headed back to the big structure right on our street.
By the time I had Lena on the bench, Charlotte was off to explore. And I had to talk myself out of a panic attack.
Deuces, mom. I'm outta here.



NBD. 
You have to pump your legs, Lena. 

The weather warmed up on Monday, so I took some laundry outside to fold, and Charlotte just lounged and enjoyed the warmth.



I'm probably not doing her any favors giving her outdated toys like the etch-a-sketch. But she played with it for almost a half hour outside.




 She's now referring to herself solely as Lottie and my husband usually calls her that now too. It might be sticking.
I do feel like I should pinch myself because boy, this little kid can be sweet. Her little sister is pretty nice too. I'll write more on her next time.