Monday, December 31, 2012

My Year

It is 2 p.m. on December 31, 2012 and I am drinking a Coke. I rarely drink Coke, or any soda for that matter. Occasionally when I'm out to lunch, I'll get a diet with a splash of the real stuff as a treat. Once in a blue moon, I'll get a real root beer. But usually, I don't drink soda.
 
Why am I drinking soda today? Because tomorrow, I cannot. For tomorrow starts the diet.
 
Yes, I'm about to embark upon a familiar quest, pursued by many and completed by few. Weight loss. Raise you hand if you are as over this whole "I'm On A Diet Again" rollercoaster as I am. Broken record. Old news. Same book read and re-read. How do I expect a different ending to this tired story?
 
My sweet husband thinks that is my weakness. That I'm ready to throw in the towel after 20 years of saying, "I'm gonna lose weight" and subsequently not doing that. That I'm cautious about hope. That I'm not quite sure what is so different this time.
 
But that's what I need to get a hold on. It has been so long since I've had true hope in success. I lost faith in myself a long time ago, long before Grace, long before Dave. I need to find it again. I need to believe that this time it will be different. That this time I will lose the weight, that I have so many great reasons to lose weight. Grace deserves a good role model, yes. Dave deserves a healthy partner in life that actually may live long enough to grow old with him, yes.
 
But what it really comes down to is that I deserve it too. This fat has been symbol of the way I have felt about myself for so many years. "I'm not worth it." "I deserve to feel ugly."  "I deserve to breathe heavily doing regular tasks." "I deserve to feel out of control when it comes to food." "I don't deserve normalcy."
 
I want to hug that naysayer and softly tell her, "Yes. You are worth it. You deserve to feel beautiful and move with lightness. You deserve to feel sane around food. You deserve to be in control, and you deserve to feel normal.  You do. You really, truly do."
 
I deserve to feel good about myself and feel proud of myself. As a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, human being. A first step is taking control of my health. Getting on that elliptical a few times a week and working it out. Breathing through strong cravings to bury myself in pizza. Choosing a smoothie over fried eggs, bacon, and toast.
 
Can I be happy in a world without unhinged indulgence? Without pasta piled high, cheese in vast quantities, bottomless bags of Cheetoes?
 
Clearly, I'm not happy living WITH unhinged indulgence. So it is time to see how other people live, to see what a life that isn't consumed with thoughts of food moment to moment feels like. I deserve that chance.
 
I will find faith in myself, and then I'll find my health. Not sure about the moving with lightness as I'm a natural clutz, but you get the idea.
 
2013 is my year.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Who's a Helicopter Parent?


We went on a fabulous 5 day trip to Charleston, where among the playing in the sand, dashing into the ocean, and savoring of the salty air, we realized that we are helicopter parents.

You know.  The kind of parent that hovers over their child constantly so as to do The Heroic Thing and keep said child out of harms way.

Question is: is that a good thing or a bad thing?  Or is it just a thing?

I suppose it's all about the situation.  When we were playing on the beach, one of us was next to G at all times.  G is 15 months old.  G also has no fear.  An ocean and a fearless toddler makes for impending doom unless carefully monitored, in my opinion.  The three of us went for a twilight walk along the beach with the tide waaaaaay out.  We started up by the grass and as soon as G realized that the roaring sound to our right was the ocean, she ran as fast as those little legs could carry her right to the water.  She would have preferred to go right INTO the water, except we were there to prevent it.  Situation: helicopter warranted.

Another situation is all of us in my brother's completely fenced in back yard.  It was a backyard picnic with several people milling about.  Not much for her to get into, and yet we were tagging each other in and out as if the ocean were right down the way.  Situation: helicoptering not so much needed.

When it was pointed out that maybe we should just freakin' chill out and let her play, we took that as an opportunity to be self-observant.  Are we being too much?  Too little?  Where is the line?

Different for everyone.  For us?  Yeah, I could learn to relax a little bit, especially when so many people have her eyes on her in an enclosed, safe environment. I do tend to relax when going over to a friend's house for a play date.  The kids are all corralled in a living room where I'm free to sip coffee and talk while G goes nuts.

At home, alone, I don't like to plop her down in the living room alone with the TV or some toys and walk out of the room all morning.  If we're watching TV, I want to be with her.  With just toys, she's shortly on my heels anyway. But sometimes, she's just playing and I'm just sitting there watching her, waiting for something to happen.  Not really a great way to live.  

So, yes, I do need to let go a little, for my own sanity, for her health too.  I'm working on walking away to do coffee and breakfast while she's in the living room.  
I imagine, as she gets older and capable of doing more things on her own, it'll get easier.  She can go outside and play, sit at a table and color and do crafts, do some make believe in her tent.  Right now, she's just not at that level.  

So until then, I shall hover a bit while exploring a bit of freedom on my own.  Sometimes I have to wonder: do I hover for her?  

Or me?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Doubting Thomas: A Ridiculous Post

Much of what we hear of and learn about is based on trust.  You must trust your source in order to believe it.  That's why we all believed Columbus was this Italian fellow who discovered America and was warmly welcomed by the natives.  Right?  Right?

Right.  So I will admit to you now my doubts about known facts.  Some of these are downright ridiculous, but really... if you haven't been to China, HOW DO YOU KNOW IT'S THERE.

1. China.  Lots of my stuff claims to be made in China.  I've read about China.  My brother in law and mother in law have both been to China.  And yet there is a small part of me that says, "Really?  China?  Who says it's just not some ocean or pit to the center of the Earth?  How do I know Google actually photographed it?  Is this where the real NFL refs are banished until the contract disputes are resolved?"  China.  Pfft.


2. Angelina Jolie.  I just read that Julie Bowen likened seeing Angelina Jolie to the sighting of a Unicorn.  How do I know she really exists, photographic evidence aside?  Photographic evidence THAT CAN BE FAKED.  She could be a cyborg.  Or a cardboard cutout.  I mean, who leaves a life of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll for a stroll down "UN Ambassador/mother of 6/fiance to Brad Pitt" Boulevard?  Brad Pitt portion aside, not many people.
Unicorn.  Source.


3. My grandparents, father in law, uncle, and Judy.  On the flip side of doubting a celebrities existence is the unreal feeling that someone I love isn't on this planet anymore, and I don't mean in a NASA way.  A fabulous lady named Judy died 22 years ago.  I saw the aftermath.  I keep in touch with a couple of her daughters, one being a dear friend of mine.  I know she's gone.  But there is a part of me that is convinced that she's still here, only I haven't talked to her in awhile.  Same goes for my grandmother and father in law, my dear grandfather, and my estranged uncle, all who died in 2008, 2009, and 2010, respectively.  A small part of me thinks that my grandmother will randomly call me to talk to me about the weather again.  A part of me really thinks my grandpa is still at a home, lost in his own mind and only coming to lucidity once in a blue moon.  I keep thinking every time I walk into my mother in law's home that I'll see Jerry in his spot downstairs, smoking and sipping a scotch and water.  And as I sit here softly crying at these memories, I know the reality is that these people are gone.  Perhaps it's just the dreamer in me, to want to ignore death and pretend everyone is still here.

Earth would be rather crowded though.  I'd be okay with that.

4. On a lighter note, New Babies.  My brother and my sister in law welcomed the newest member to our family, their wee son.  I have not met him.  I've seen oodles of adorable pictures, but the nut part of me goes all TomKat on it and wonder whether or not the peanut is real or fake.  It's a new life.  I mean, NEW.  Brand new.  Bry and Amanda made it themselves, home baked and everything.  But even I have to pinch myself about Grace.  I really made that girl with Dave?  REALLY?  I carried the munchkin and I still can't wholly believe.  Babies are surreal to me.  Every person that I knew pre-baby, I still can't believe you are a parent, despite every pound of evidence to the contrary.  As for my new nephew?  I'll know in October for sure.
Grace and Bisquick.  OR IS IT.

5. Funnel cakes.  I can't say I've seen one, let alone tasted one.  Let the "OH MY GOD YOU HAVEN'T HAD A FUNNEL CAKE" comments commence.

Source.

The reality is China, Angelina Jolie, my nephew and my daughter do exist and my passed loved ones only exist in our minds and hearts.  Another reality is that all my sources (except Grace) are from Wikipedia.

Funnel cakes' existence, however, remains dubious at best.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mom's Day Off

Saturday was my day off.  From the moment I woke up to the minute I fell asleep, Husband and I agreed that I could choose what I wanted to do without reservation.  No G, no him, no dogs or cat.  Just me.

A day off.

Whatever I wanted to do, I could do.

What did I do with my day?

BEHOLD:

7 a.m.: Grace slept in until 7.  I awake refreshed and startled that she didn't get me up before 6 a.m. like she normally does.  We make some coffee, watch some cartoons and Daddy joins us a few minutes later.  We all spend the morning together.  Why just not take off?  Because I wanted my morning to be with my family.

10 a.m.:  Grace takes a nap, so I take off.  I listen to my book on CD as I drive up to the Cherry Creek area where I'll be meeting a friend for sushi.

10:45 a.m.: Settle in at Panera with a coffee and read.
11:30 a.m.: Get into car and listen to CD of book.
12:15 p.m.: Meet Kari for lunch.  Giggle over aji and other sushi delights.
1:15 p.m.: Meet Selena in parking lot to exchange Pack n Play for cake pans.

Spend the afternoon at the following stores:
1. Ross Dress For Less for athletic equipment.  Find none.
2. Pop over to DSW next door for shoe shopping.
3. At Dardanos to see if they sell Tieks.
4. Try Nordstom Rack for Tieks or Toms.
5. Drive back to Parker to spend $10 gift certificate at Kohls for a work sweater.
6. Go to Bed Bath and Beyond to wander around.  Get foot cream, fly swatter, Spanx knockoff, and shower grippers.

I am home by 5:30 p.m.  I miss my girl, I miss my man, and I sort of even miss the pets.  I am relaxed as we sit down to a steak dinner Husband cooked up, put G to bed, then watch Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol with my man.

I am asleep by 10 p.m.  Happily.

Mom's day off = success.

Monday, September 17, 2012

What Grace Eats

Feeding Grace?

Yes, that is a donut.
 It has not been easy.

I don't know why.  It sounds easy, but when I have high standards for my kid (much higher than my own) I tend to make things more difficult.  "High standards" means as whole and organic as possible.  Sound snobby?  Well, I'm not an extremist and her father has a heck of a sweet tooth.  My daughter has already had cookies, ice cream, and tiramisu. 

But I bring to my toolbox as a mother a mild paranoia of my daughter growing up to mimic me in the food department.  I desperately want her to have a normal relationship with food and not be like me; I really want her to be free.  A part of me realizes that there is only so much I can do, and the husband definitely helps regulate my insanity regarding food and Grace.  So it'll be interesting to see how she turns out.

So what does she eat?

Here are some breakfast breakdowns:

1. Fruit.  Almost always, Grace has strawberries, grapes, mango, melon, etc cut up and served for her consumption.
2. I nuke an egg scramble-style and cut it up for her to eat.  The texture comes out firm but spongy and she likes it.
3. Pancakes, out of "Feed Me, I'm Yours."  I sub flaxseed meal for the egg and use whole wheat flour vs. white.  I make small (2-3" diameter) pancakes and freeze the extra.  This morning, Grace toddled around snacking on 2 of these.
4. Weelicious has a ton of great ideas, and I tried this muffin:  http://weelicious.com/2012/03/02/rise-and-shine-muffins-and-cookbook-giveaway/ with a bit of substitutions.  Almonds and walnuts for the pecans and pine nuts, flaxseed meal for the eggs, and unsweetened applesauce for the oil.  I made 12 large muffins and 36 mini muffins.  The mini muffins were perfect for her to hold in her wee fist and eat. 
5. Mommy-Gracie omelette: I scramble 3 eggs with a splash of milk, onion, and kale/spinach and melt a stick or two of string cheese int he mix.  She gets a third of it to finger eat, and I get the rest.
6. Smoothie.  If it's just her, I mix up to a half of a banana, handful of spinach, and about a half cup of whole milk in a blender/Magic Bullet and spoon feed it to her.  If it's for the both of us, I use a whole banana, a cup of frozen fruit, almond milk, and more greens.  Depending on thickness, sometimes I have her use a straw instead of spoon feeding it to her.  Regardless, she loves it and it's beyond healthy for her.
7. Pouch foods.  I love almost every version of pureed food that comes in a pouch.  Like Plum Organics.  Whoever came up with the idea to cross jarred baby food with Capri-sun pouches deserves his/her wealth.  I'm a lifetime buyer.  Their portability and the sheer ease of feeding Grace fruit fast is worth the price.  She ate two pouches this morning as I was running around doing the Monday Morning Spazz Dance.

Lunches are even harder.  I don't mind occasionally relying on mac n cheese, grilled cheese or pb with Wonder Bread, etc, but I really don't want to have her diet based on faux food.  So I buy ezekiel bread for almond butter and organic raspberry jam sandwiches, buy Annie's Organic Mac N Cheese.

Point is: I'm trying.  Does she have the occasional sweet/faux food?  Yes.  Do I want her grandparents to have the freedom to give their granddaughter whatever they want to give her to eat, regardless of nutritional value?  YES! 

Do I feel like a good mom with this approach?  Yes.  Every family is different, each with their own ideas about food.  I think Dave and I were both raised similarly - faux food in moderation - and that's what I want to do with G.  Our method is good for us so far. 

Question of the day: what do you feed your mini-humans?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Loricious Creed


I believe in Freedom.
I believe in taking responsibility for one's own actions.
I believe in woman's rights.
I believe in an unborn child's rights.
I believe that the life of an unborn child supercedes a woman's reproductive right.
I believe in giving a person with a different opinion the benefit of the doubt.

I believe in equality.
I believe in respect.
I believe in the goodness of people.
I believe in helping people.
I believe in helping children, especially.
I believe that the government shouldn't make me help them.
I believe in making my own choices.
I believe in accepting the consequences of my choices.

I believe that Barack Obama is a good man.
I believe Mit Romney is a good man.
I believe that Biden and Quayle are comedic relief... but still good men.
I believe that we haven't had a good president in a very long time, and that we won't for a very long time.
I believe that power derails the best of people.

I believe that, despite the media onslaught and the deluge of opinions on FB with the upcoming election, my creed will not change.

I believe in trying to live up to my statement of beliefs.

I believe I am not alone.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Quick Trainer Update: The Battle

It's only a matter of time before my friend and I head off to the Zoo, so I thought I'd give a wee update on my first personal trainer meeting last night.

It was a bit underwhelming and yet hopeful.

As  connoisseur of dieting, there is little I don't know about dieting warfare and the associated tactics*.  Not to my surprise, he didn't offer any illuminating information on losing weight.  In sum, it's the basis to every method of weight loss: eat less, move more. Yeah, got that.

However, I remained polite and attentive because I am utilizing these 4 free sessions for him for his knowledge of fitness, something I am definitely an amateur in.  Oh, I know the mechanics of machines, can use almost any cardio equipment you throw at me, but the finer details of fitness?  Not a clue.

This guy blew my mind in this regard.  We had a very light workout, primarily showing me how to use foam rollers to work out major kinks.  Otherwise, next session is Monday evening and I'll give you a better update then.

Last: it definitely set the stage for today in terms of eating.  I had a really great breakfast of overnight oats in almond milk, a tablespoon of almond butter, and a cup and half of blueberries.  I'm sipping down a pseudo iced latte made with almond milk.

The best start to a day I've had in a very long time.

So it begins: my war on fat and temptation.  LET THE BATTLE BEGIN!




*Not that I have actually and successfully implemented said tactics.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

42

I was recently challenged to think of what I really want.  Like Want.

No: WANT.
No, no: WANT.

Like from Life, The Universe, and Everything.  So the answer, while awesome, would not be a cookie.  Great hair.  Long finger nails.

No.

What do I want from the Universe?  What do I want out of Life?

Talk about heavy stuff.

How do you answer that?

Moreover, it was brought to my attention that one gets from Universe/Life/Everything only what one puts into U.L.E.

So that begs the question: well, what have I been putting into U.L.E.?

Good question.  I don't think I've ever thought on it.  Ever.

Considering I'm really not sure what I've been putting into U.L.E., one could compare my U.L.E. energy expenditure to someone lost in a car in a parking lot.  I mean, you'd think I'd know enough about my wants and needs to get out of the parking lot.  But until now I've really just wasted gas unless I do want to spend the rest of my life in an empty parking.  Fun at midnight when you are a teenager.  Not fun when you are a 30-something mom.

Not to say that I feel like I've lived a crap life.  No, my life is good and I've put good things out there, I've created good things (Hello, Gracie!), but it's mostly been crap shot.  Lucky.  But I've also felt incredibly lost at times, which if you consider I really haven't been working at putting good things out into the Universe, it's not a shocker.  I'm personally a fan of Fate/God/Destiny, so if someone is indeed in charge up there, I sense they are sighing a whole lot, dropping my good luck into my lap because I'm meant for it, not because I've earned it.  I wonder what I could earn if I just tried, just a bit.

Anyway, I really haven't figured out the answer to my question, and I know I won't for some time despite daily meditations on it.

But I wonder: have you ever thought on this?  Have you ever questioned what you want from the Universe, and what you've been giving to it?  What are you putting out there for U.L.E.?

What do you really want out of life?

If you sit and think about it like I have, I bet you'd find the answer isn't so easy.  Such a simple question, such a complicated journey to get there.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Simplify


I realized yesterday, after I was scrambling to get home, scrambling to get dinner on the table, scrambling to get G in bed with a bottle, scrambling to get to the gym while I had a million other things to get done to prepare for today and all with the support and help with my husband to decrease the amount of scrambling needed, that I was going to cry. 
 
/begin tangent
 
I realize at this moment that, with writing all the scrambling, I'm reminded of an egg.  And one can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.  BUT LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO THE COOK.
 
/end tangent.
 
This morning I remembered, as I was running out the door and I put out all the recycling on a non-recycling pick up day and I put on my sneakers with my work outfit and forgot to switch them to something office appropriate and Grace didn't get breakfast and the roofers came and needed us to move cars so they can proceed with roofing stuff all the while with Dave helping me every step of the way, I was supposed to cry yesterday so maybe I need to cry this morning.
 
But I didn't.
 
Instead I had an epiphany.  The warning shots came yesterday with me being overwhelmed with diapers and the work involved with them.  I was actually considering giving up my beloved cloth diapering in lieu of an easier route.
 
Today I decided that wasn't a bad thing, at all.
 
That it is okay to let go, especially for the sake of sanity.  I'm no longer a full-time SAHM.  And with that comes the need to reexamine my priorities.
 
My first priority is my sanity.  Without it, I can't be good for anyone, least of all myself.
 
So what threatens my sanity?
 
Stress.
 
What causes me stress?  

Complications.
 
The diapers are a good example. 
 
Another?  I tried emeals.  Good meals, great in theory, poor in practice for our family.  Dave doesn't eat fish and loathes a non-meat option, and I want healthy stuff on the menu.  Emeals either offers great, healthy meals with some vegetarian and fish options thrown in, or processed food menus.  So I'll keep the recipes as ideas, and I decided to simplify the process.  7 general ideas that can fit into any day: 
1. Meat and potatoes
2. Salad
3. Sandwich
4. Crockpot
5. International
6. Stirfry
7. Leftovers
 
And that is just it.  Nothing specific, nothing fancy, no need for fancy recipes or funky ingredients.  Just basic meal planning and I already feel a weight getting off my shoulders.
 
Another source of stress?  Believe it or not: clutter.  This is a new revelation.  I keep re-organizing my kitchen in hopes to magically get everything to fit, but what my real problem is that I have too  much stuff for the space and I need to weed out the little/not used items in the cupboards. 
 
For this, I'm taking a 3 phase approach:
1. Get rid of the fancy bar glasses, like martini and margarita glasses.  I love them, but we never ever use them.  So they'll go to a good home.
2. Get rid of the tuperware free-for-all in one of the cupboards and replace with 1 uniform set. 
3. Get rid of duplicate cooking utensils and consolidate to one drawer (we have two/three of 'em), and eventually replace with one, high quality countertop set.
 
This is all leading up to a point in the future when I'm less stressed by STUFF. 
 
Simplify. 
 
Simplify meals, simplify routine, simplify environment. 
 
Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cleaner Cleaning


It is no secret that I fall somewhat short of the title "Domestic Goddess."  However, I have made an effort to transition our house that was formerly full of Clorox wipes, kitchen degreasers, shower cleaners, and Windex to a cleaning arsenal of baking powder, vinegar, and water.

I am on the cusp of shortening even that list to just water.

A month or two ago, I attended one of those typical house parties (not of the St. Norbert variety).  You know, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, that sort of thing.  This time: environmentally friendly cleaning products.  I sat through the demonstration with my momma lady friends impressed but skeptical.  So she cleaned a dirty mirror with a cloth and water.  So the dusting mops are unbelievable, if my friends floors are to be believed (and my god they are beautiful, clean floors).  So they all claim that their glass shower doors are hardwater/soap scum free with little effort.  Whatevs.  That stuff is expensive, and we can't afford to spend $15 on a cloth.  Reusable, yes, but still.

Then came the complaint of my dear husband, that after I clean the bathrooms they smell like vinegar.  Alright then, I'm getting the basic package of a window cloth and a regular cloth to clean with water.  Can I have $30?  Yep, so long as he doesn't smell any vinegar.

AND WOW.  I have never had streak free windows, especially my patio doors.  My dog nosed, Gracie schmooied, filthy patio doors.  They are brilliantly clear now.  Not a single streak.

And my TV screens.  And my mirrors.  I just ran around and cleaned everything with a reflective surface with the window cloth and a spray bottle of water.

And the bathroom?  I use one cloth, starting at the vanities and sinks and end wiping down the toilet.  WITH WATER.  And the whole bathroom is clean.  Like CLEAN.

I want more.  I want to dust with the dust mitt.  I want to clean my floors with their mops (Which works like a dream on dog hair.  And we all know practically nothing works at all on dog hair.)  I want the uber cloths for the kitchen that my friends promise will cut through the grease like a hot knife through butter.  And I want that spira-thingy that will finally get my shower door shiny and new again.

Care to join me on this obsession?  I'm going to host what is called a catalog party.  Check out this online catalog http://jenellm.norwex.biz (or take a peek at http://www.norwex.com/).  Try something (especially that window cloth...because I haven't washed it yet and it keeps my patio doors, mirrors, and windows spotless.  And my TVs.  Seriously.)

I know it's expensive, but when you think about how much cleaning products and paper towels/microfiber cloths cost, the window thing will pay for itself.  And it's all antibacterial in the Old School sense.  Like silver compounds or something.  A very brief explanation is on the website; ask Jenell (my friend and Norwex expert) for more info.

For me, I don't have to stress out about cleaning with my kid around, which is huge.  I don't have to store chemicals.  I don't have to stock up on paper towels or microfiber cloths (that irritatingly never worked at all).  Most of all and most unbelievably: it works.  It actually cleans.  I may not be a Domestic Goddess, but by gum these suckers will make one of me yet!

I'll leave the party open until August 1st.

Anyway, check this stuff out.  If you live by me, ask me for the window demonstration.  I love showing off my purple window cloth.

Ok, I'm done peddling the goods!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Writing it out

I needed to make sure that I had a schedule for Gracie written out for our day care provider.

I was a bit nervous and I told her as much: we really don't have a schedule.  I just sort of... wing it.

But now that I'm writing it down, I do notice a pattern.  I am not as chaotic as I think.  Although the following is certainly NOT the rule (today she woke at 5...), and as I've been mentioning sometimes  she takes 2 naps and more often now she cuts one of them out, it is a regular enough of a pattern that I can write it out.  Go figure!


Grace Schedule, June 2012

Days with no play dates:
5:30-6:30: Wake.  6 oz bottle of formula upon waking.
6:30-7:30: Play time.  Probably another 4-5 oz of formula.
7:30: Breakfast.  Oatmeal mixed with pureed prunes and applesauce.
8:00-9:30: More play time or going out for a walk.
9:30-11: Nap time.  5 oz bottle before nap time.
11:00-1:00: Running errands.  Go to the store, maybe the library.  When on errands, she usually has a couple of graham crackers and a pouch of food.
1:00-2:00: Play time.
2:00-3:30: Nap time.  5 oz bottle before nap time.
3:30-5:30: More play time!  Maybe some outdoor time, going to go play in a different room.  Another 5 oz bottle during this time.
5:30: Daddy arrives home and he plays with her while I finish up dinner.
6:00: We all sit down to dinner together.
7:00-8:00: Sometimes bath time, bedtime by 8 p.m.  5-6 oz bottle to go to bed.


Days with no play dates:
5:30-6:30: Wake.  6 oz bottle of formula upon waking.
6:30-7:30: Play time.  Probably another 4-5 oz of formula.
7:30: Breakfast.  Oatmeal mixed with pureed prunes and applesauce.
8:00-9:00: Play time before we leave for a play date.  For example, if we go to the zoo, we are in the car by 8:30 a.m. To get to the zoo when it opens.  She usually sleeps in the car.
9:00-1:00: Out and about on our play dates.  She'll have at least 1 bottle (5 oz) and a pouch of food or some finger food while out.
1:00-2:00: If the play date didn't let her get out of the stroller much, she usually needs some exercise before she conks out again.
2:00-3:30: Nap time.  5 oz bottle before nap time.
3:30-5:30: More play time!  Maybe some outdoor time, going to go play in a different room.  Another 5 oz bottle during this time.
5:30: Daddy arrives home and he plays with her while I finish up dinner.
6:00: We all sit down to dinner together.
7:00-8:00: Sometimes bath time, bedtime by 8 p.m.  5-6 oz bottle to go to bed.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Squeezing in New Adventures

I've decided that Grace's and my goal, along with Daddy, will be to visit as many Colorado state parks we can this summer.  We received an annual park pass as a gift from Gram Gram over the holidays and we will use it!

Yesterday we did the paved part of Castlewood Canyon with a fellow mom and her tots.  There is also a more rugged trail that we have yet to do; I'll need Dave along with some water and a carrier for G because we don't have an off-roading stroller.  Wearing G will be more fun anyway.

There are 42 state parks in Colorado.  We won't be able to hit them all as some are clear across the state, but here are the ones that I think are doable this summer:


  1. Castlewood Canyon (CHECK!)
  2. Chatfield
  3. St. Vrain
  4. Eldorado Canyon
  5. Golden Gate Canyon
  6. Cherry Creek
  7. Roxborough
  8. Barr Lake
  9. Spinney Mountain
  10. Eleven Mile
  11. Mueller
  12. Cheyenne Mountain
Those are in the immediate area with a low amount of drive time.  Grace is good in the car, but not THAT good anymore.  

We've actually been to Cherry Creek and Golden Gate Canyon before, but a revisit to these awesome parks can't hurt, right?  

Right!   

Here's to a summer of adventure!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

More Change Afoot

I've been purposefully balking at posting because the thing I've been thinking about most I haven't been ready to share.  It's intensely personal, but now that the wheels are in motion, Grace is still napping (wake up!  wake up!), I've cleaned some, had lunch, did some filing... I'm getting bored by my procrastinating.  So I suppose it's time.

I'm going back to work.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, 9-4.  The job I left for stay-at-home motherhood came calling about a month ago asking if I would be willing to come back, and after a lot of thinking and talking and thinking some more, I decided to go for it.  It just became unofficially official (the right people had to sign off on my schedule), and it will happen.  When is still up in the air.  Paperwork still needs to get filed, I need to be reinstated.

I'm still working on finalizing the whys, and I'm sure I'll share my thought process eventually.  For right now, I think this is a good move.

So...there you go.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Confessions of Motherhood

I have this image of me, this ideal me, always at the back of my mind.  She's organized, prepared for everything, startled by nothing, always knows what to say and how to say it, knows how to read her audience, has boundless energy to keep a flawless house, walk the dogs, play with her daughter, cook gourmet meals, do all kinds of crafts, remembers everyone's birthdays, and in amazingly great shape.

You may laugh, and most days I do, but deep down it really isn't funny.  Because this is who I measure myself up to, this Imaginary Me that does not exist except to haunt me every day.

My name is Lori, and I'm a perfectionist, and, therefore, a masochist.

Motherhood has been the most emotional ride I've ever been on.  I've never felt such highs and lows, such unbelievable love and such horrific hopelessness.

All because of her.

Let's back up.

The beginning days of parenthood is a wonderful mix of adrenaline, fear, happiness.  Glad that you finally met the wee one that you anticipated for so long.  An "oh!  So that's what you look like!  Nice to meet you!"  and "Holy crap!  What is that!  Is that ok?"  And "does she really like to be wrapped up like that?"

Then...  then the exhaustion starts to set in.  This is where I had my first crack in my image of perfection.  Every parent knows it, but I just didn't get it, how fucking tired you get.  How unreal the exhaustion is.  If you parented, you know this.  But for some reason, I didn't believe it.  And to an certain extent, I didn't think it really existed, because all my friends and family really didn't complain about it.  And I'm sitting here going, HOW THE HELL DID YOU NOT SCREAM TO THE WORLD THAT YOU WERE HOLY SHIT TIRED.

Clearly, I did not handle this part well.

Then, because you are tired, you make other mistakes.  I dropped glasses, forgot to pay bills, yada yada.

When I quit the professional life, a clearer image of who I was supposed to be started forming in my mind, but I knew right away (and perhaps this was my downfall) that I could never be that person.

By gum I had to try!

I did.  I failed.  Everyone knew better, and everyone was nice enough to not say I told you so.

However:

I.
Was.
Devastated.

I shattered.  This was a very tough time, trying to accept that I can't be that Ideal Mom just like I'm never going to be a  5'10" 110 lb supermodel.  She's just not me.

So I had to think about who I really am, and what mattered.  First, I knew that even the dumbest, most irresponsible and selfish people in the world manage to raise children.  And I was not in that group.  I gave myself that much, at least.  If a crack head can raise a kid, then I can.

Second, I knew that I needed to use my quirkiness to my advantage.  To stop trying to change who I am and work with it.  Can't fight the tide, so you gotta just go with it.  So lately, I've been a much happier person by loving who I am and working with who I am instead of trying to change myself.

In the end, what really matters as a mother is that Grace loves me.  I can do no wrong (until she's a teenager).  She loves me.  I'm perfect for her, because no matter how crappy I feel about myself, I love her and she loves me.

That Ideal Mom is still back there in my brain.  I don't think she's ever go away, because there will always be those moments when I wish I could be better for Gracie before I realize that I am already the best for Gracie as I am.

I look back on my first 10 months of being a mom, and I do smile (believe it or not).  I just want to hug my exhausted, melodramatic self and tell her to hold on tight, that she'll have revelations that will change her outlook on life, that the Ideal Mom truly does not exist, and that she's doing a wonderful job.

Luckily, I didn't need to, because my mom did that for me. My mom hugged me, talked to me, encouraged me, ensured me that the Ideal Mom doesn't exist, and she always always always told me I was doing a wonderful job.

What a kick ass mom, right?  At least I have a great example to follow.  In my own way, of course.

Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there!

Trust me: if you doubt, you are doing FINE.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

No Snacks For You!

No pictures!
The Confession:  It's been a long plateau on the scale, my friends.  To be frank, I'm trying to beat down emotional eating and that process has kept me at the same weight for about 2 months.

It does not bode well for fitting into my wedding dress come July 1st...


But I suppose that's ok.  This whole journey isn't about fitting into a wedding dress, but into a future with Gracie and Dave.

What has been going well?  Walking.  Aside from my flu that sidelined me for about a week, I've been getting out several times during the week for walks.  Yesterday it was 2 miles.  Today I'm headed out to a park with friends and hope to squeeze in a couple more miles.  When the weather is this good, it's almost impossible to not want to walk.

What hasn't been going so well?  It was pointed out to me that maybe, just maybe, I was taking advantage of the Weight Watchers Points Plus (WWPP) system.  WWPP has this little gem in it's program, that all fruit and veggies are free.  I admit I abused that.  I still firmly believe that it's darn tough to get fat on fruits and veggies, eating a pound of bananas every day might hinder weight loss.  Just a bit.

So for the last week I've been trying my darndest not to snack between meals and only when I'm actually, genuinely hungry (not bored or procrastinating).  And when I am hungry, have a single serving fruit instead of indulging in a 5 pound fruit salad.

Result:  It's made a difference.  The scale is heading downward again.  I worry about the next true stress to hit me (because that's when all hell breaks loose), but I feel that practicing not mindless snacking on seemingly harmless foods will help me when the time comes.

Anyway, my darling G decided her nap is not going to be long.  Signing off!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Knocked Down

Back in February, I had my annual head cold.  This year it was thankfully not as bad as previous years where codeine and antibiotics were necessary.  No, just a steady stream of Alka-Seltzer Plus seemed to keep it all at bay.  Other than that, I haven't been immobilized by sickness during Grace's life.

I came close this week.

I still don't know what I have, but I'm hopeful by feeling significantly better this morning that the worst is behind me.

It started on Monday after lunch.  I had worked out in the yard for her nap time and had not eaten a whole lot (yay dieting!).  I initially thought that my nausea and headache and body aches were a combination of too much sun and not enough to eat.

So of course I made myself a nice lunch, ate it, and then felt worse.  Drank some water.  Still not feeling good.  Went out for errands.  By the time we got to the library, I felt I shouldn't even be driving a car.

It wasn't painful.  I was just inexplicably exhausted, dizzy and lightheaded, nauseous, and weak.  (Nope, not pregnant.)

The rest of the day swung from feeling a bit better to feeling much worse.  1 step forward, 2 steps back.  Dave had to come home and hold down the fort after I felt like it just wasn't safe for Grace to be alone with a mom on the verge of throwing up or passing out.  Or both.

It scared me.  With my February head cold, I was at least functional.  Pleasant?  Hardly.  But functional.  This one... I was afraid to drive.  I was afraid to hold her.  I spent Tuesday and yesterday alternating again between feeling a bit better and then lying down on the ground to watch her play because I simply didn't have the energy to do anything else.

Today my head is still a bit muddy and my tummy still a bit weird, but I had a real breakfast this morning.  2 eggs and a bit of oatmeal.  This breakfast yesterday would have had me running to the bathroom.  Can't even consider coffee.

She's down for a solid nap, after which we will head out on the town to do botanical shopping.

Makes you wonder... when you are 1000 miles away from family, what do you do when Mom is sick?

You have that conversation with your significant other, and he reminds you that he has your back.  And that feels great.  I'm a lucky gal.

Now off to prep for our time out!




Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adventures in Dogsitting

Or "how to drop the f-bomb 50 times in 5 minutes."

The Background

1. When Gracie dozes off in the car and it's around nap-time, we do everything in our power not to disturb her fitful slumber.  We quietly open the doors of the car and leave them open, prop open the door to the house from the garage, and keep the dogs outside as we gingerly unclick the seat and tiptoe upstairs to her bedroom.  This does work sometimes.  Sometimes it does not.

2.  Burton, our dog-sitting charge, is a big, warm, fuzzy lug of a nut from across the street.  He's a Burmese mountain dog, and not a small specimen.  And he's still got a lot of puppy in him.

3. I do not love dogs.  I like them okay, but it isn't my pet of choice (trivia: what is Lori's pet of choice?  See end of post for the answer!). Mild diversion from main topic: my dear friend and former roommate Jacque decided to get a dog when we lived together in our first apartment in Greenfield, WI.  During the two weeks the dog lasted at our home, we only managed to name the dog "F-cking Dog," because that's what you call a dog that leaves "gifts" for you at the bottom of the stairs after breaking out of the kennel in the kitchen.

The Adventure
I brought Burton over this morning for some play with Moose and Hailey and left him there as we left to do morning errands.

I came home from attempting to attend a library story time, which was abandoned because the start time was right around Grace's nap-time.  True to form, she dozed off.  Enter situation #1.  I get her successfullly upstairs.

This is where the adventure began.

I managed to get Moose and Hailey inside, and I went outside to bring Burton back to his house across the street.

I realized my mistake soon as we came to the front yard and Moose and Hailey were there to greet us.  I left all the doors to the car open and the door from the house to the garage ajar.

This is the conversation that followed:

Me: Moose, Hailey. STAY.  (I walk across the street where Burton is waiting to go inside the house.  I walk to the side gate to the yard, because that is where he stays during the day.)
Me: Burton. COME.  (Moose comes barreling across the street.  Burton does not come.)
Me: No.  Moose.  STAY.  (Both dogs freeze.  Then start playing together.)
Me:  NO.  BURTON.  COME.  (Both dogs come.)
Me: NO!  STOP!  BURTON COME!  MOOSE STAY!  (Both dogs pause, come, and then decide to stay.)
This continues for a while, as my voice gets louder and angrier, and the f-bombs start dropping
Me: BKSLEIRHFII!  I HATE DOGS!  (I stomp into the neighbhors backyard where I want Burty to go, both dogs come inside, then I exit and quickly shut the gate when Moose follows me)
Me: I HATE DOGS I HATE DOGS I HATE F-ING DOGS!

Then I get to the garage where Hailey has sequestered herself in the backseat.
Me: Hailey.  Get out of the car.
(She attempts, but then decides to stay put.  She is in the backseat behind the driver's side.  I walk over to that side and open the door.)
Me: HAILEY.  Get out of the car! (She moves into the front passenger seat and sits.  I close the backdoor and go to that door and open it.)
Me: HAILEY!  GET OUT OF THE F-ING CAR!  (She moves back to the backseat.  I'm turning purple by now.)
Me: HAILEY!  GET OUT OF THE F-ING CAR RIGHT F-ING NOW!  (She moves back to the front seat.)
Me: (take a deep breath, and walked back to the front seat and opened the door)  Hailey (I say with great restraint).  Would you please get out of the car?

And that bitch gets out of the car.

Lessons Learned


1. The dogs that I know of do not differentiate between what command is for whom.  They hear stay, regardless of the name that precedes the command, and stay.
2. Some high and mighty queens must be asked nicely and NOT commanded in order for them to "obey" (or in Hailey's case, deign to acquiesce to your request).
3. One must remember that dog's barking and slamming of car doors are not the only things that wake up babies.  A nutcase, at-wit's-end mother screaming profanities at dogs can also rouse a slumbering child.  Dammit.


So what is the answer to the question "What is Lori's favorite pet?"  Fish.  They seem to be the only animals that bend to my will.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What I've Been Doing

Protecting us from the sun..

Pushing G on a swing...

Making pacifier tethers...

Watching my devoured rose bush return from the dead...

And dryin' diapers.

You know, a little of this, a little of that.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Baby Food Post

I use 4 resources to come up with baby food recipes:
1. The Best Homemade Baby Food On The Planet
2. Feed Me, I'm Yours: http://www.amazon.com/Feed-Me-Im-Yours-Revised/dp/tags-on-product/068402862X
3. Friends and family
4. Common sense

I waited for G's pediatrician to say, "hey, start trying solids" before I started her on solids.  And I mean "mush" when I mean solids, because solids came later.  And those are quickly mushed or dissolved solids.

We did the whole "introduce 1 food at a time" for the most part, with the occasional foray into the abnormal.  We did a bit of turkey on Thanksgiving and Cheerios and yogurt bites way before recommended.

She survived.

I have to admit: it's stupendously easy.  I can get that, when you are a working mom, finding 2 seconds to do anything is hard.  So take this all with a grain of salt because, frankly, I have a bit more time to focus on this because it's sort of a part of the job description.

Here are some tips:
1.  I buy organic for her, and it's honestly cost effective because she simply doesn't eat very much.  I bought a small bag of frozen organic garden peas over a month ago and I haven't even finished the bag.  I've made about 20 cubes of peas for her, and she's been through 2/3rds of them.
Quick recipe: 1/2 c frozen peas with 1/4 c of water, cover in microwavable bowl, nuke for 5 minutes, forget about them for hours, remember, nab from microwave, blend in any way you can (add water if too thick), pour into ice cube tray and freeze.  Pop out into ziplock and keep frozen until needed.
2. I blend in a variety of ways.  I have a hand grinder, a Magic Bullet, and an immersion blender.  But I use a fork most often.  A fork makes mush of a great many items, including bananas, avocados, potatoes, and carrots.  They just have to be soft enough.
Quick recipe: Cut off 1/3rd of a banana.  Mash with fork.  Give to child.
3. I prep the food in a great many ways.  Bananas and avocados I do raw.  I bake potatoes and sweet potatoes.  I steam carrots.  I boil fruit.
Quick recipe: Stab russet potato many times, pop in 450 degree oven for 60 minutes, set out on counter to cool, forget about it, remember it, then cut up into cubes for finger food.
4. Sometimes I get fortunate and find organic canned food ready to throw into cube trays.  I got 15 oz cans of sweet potato, pumpkin, and squash (all organic), all pureed and ready to go.
Quick recipe: Get can of pumpkin.  Open.  Spoon into ice cube tray.  Freeze.


Aaaand, my sick little darling is calling for me.  Please feel free to contact me with questions or anything.  And be sure to use your family and friends if you can't afford the books.  People are wonderful resources.

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What I do with insomnia.

This has happened twice now in the last week: when I go to bed, instead of being blissfully and immediately whisked away to dreamland I am caught in a whirlwind of thoughts.

Nothing special or earth-shattering.  But little niggling thoughts nevertheless.  Sleep robbing, pesky thoughts.

About dinners this week.  Of cleaning humidifiers.  Of play dates.  Of the library and unreturned items.  My new African violets that are terribly wilted.  Of pasta.  Of Gracie.

Of course.

So I got up, took some allergy medication (because I was also suffering a bit of the sniffles).  Ran the dishwasher.  Set up coffee for the morning.  Made a to-do list for the week.   Sent some pictures to smugmug.  Check Words With Friends.  Consider playing boggle, or a bit of an MMORPG.  Research this week's dinner recipes (might try this one...http://www.crockpotchicken.net/crock-pot-chicken-teriyaki.html).

Then I look at the clock and decide that a quarter of 11 is late enough.  And I call it a night.

Good night.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Because it's too long for a FB status

Grace is napping, and I was sitting here thinking about a quick status update to write out when I realized that I have too much little bits and pieces I want to share.  Hence, a blog post:

1. Heading out soon to do our first of our weekly 4 mile and a lunch walks with our dear friend Selena and her adorable son Jonah.  I'm very excited; it's the longest in our series of daily walks, but we split up the 4 miles by picnicking 2 miles in.

2. The weather here is unbelievable.  It'll be 70 by the time we go for our walk.

3. I just emailed a stranger on Freecycle to score a set of African violets.  I've never tried to keep them, but I want to try.

4. I sprayed Bobbex on my plants to deter animal munching.  It smells so bad that I almost threw up during application... it just had better work.

5. I transplanted my succulent (mother in law's tongue) back into a tiny container.  Apparently transplanting it to larger container and using Moisture Control Miracle Gro is a sure fire way to kill this hardy loves-dry-soil-and-tiny-spaces-plant.

6. I got a philodendron.  A tiny, wee one for $2 to add to my lush forest I'm cultivating inside my house.

7. I got Grace her Easter outfit all bought, budget be damned.  Not like I went out and got those ridiculous $170 dresses (oh yes, they do exist) but a jaunt to Target and Babies R Us was enough.  She is going to look soooo cute.

8. I may or may not have purchased $1 bunny ears for her too.  May or may not have...

9. We've changed her formula, and our formerly OHMYGODSTOPCRYING child has become normal.  She's only crying now when she's tired, hungry, or when she's trying to crawl but ends up going backwards.

10. She has her first tooth!  I can't believe she cut her first tooth!

11. I gained some weight during the last couple of weeks, and this last week has been about re-engaging my motivation.  The weather has helped me undo all the damage, and I'm proud to say I'm back on track.

12. I've lost a bit of my baking mojo.  The last couple of baking attempts have been lackluster, but I remain vigilant!  *fist pump!*

So there you go.  12 FB posts, condensed for your enjoyment.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Kindness of Strangers

The whole illusion that I'll be Stupendous Mom and get everything done and have enough time left over to bake, do yoga, and read has long since been forgotten.

Although I was called a Super Mom by a teenager, and I coulda hugged him.  I'll take Super Mom.

I was at Staples, getting ink cartridges, recycling old ones, and bringing in a box of paper work to shred, because heavens knows I don't have time do that crap at home.  My math tells me that shredders + curious babies = CPS and a Lifetime movie script.

So I'm juggling the box, and the cartridges new and old, and some other things like spiral notebooks and hand sanitizers, all with Gracie strapped to my front and my backpack containing my wallet slung over my shoulder.  This kid looks at me with a fascinated smile and asks, "Do you need any help?" and, honestly, I didn't, so I smiled back and said, "Nah, I got it."  He was like, "Man, you are like THEE Super Mom."  And I grinned.

Goddammit, I AM.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Domestically Crafty: The Sewing Project

The Materials: Cute fleece, zipper.

The Inspiration: The $20+ sleep sac by Halo.

The Tool: the 50-60 year old electric sewing machine.
 I'm going to be honest: I have never really ever used a sewing machine.  I'm a Liquid Stitch girl.  Or, if I'm feeling particularly sassy, I use Stitch Witchery.  The whole concept of learning how to use a sewing machine scared the bejeesus out of me.  But, as we are trying to save money and considering my grandmother's sewing machine was up for grabs, I figured I'd give it a whirl.

So of course I messed it up immediately.  I had to email back and forth with Sewing Goddess Jess in order to troubleshoot why my machine wasn't working.  Turns out I put the needle in wrong.  After getting that straightened out, I was a go!

Using the Halo sleep sack as a pattern, I cut out my fabric with about an inch or two extra.  It looked great!  I sewed the two together immediately:

And what I should have done was sew on the zipper first.  What followed was a sad attempt at getting the zipper on:




...
Note that there is no finished product I'm showing off.  Oh, it is technically finished, my friends.  But done well?  Unfortunately... no.  I feel the need to rip out everything and start again, this time sewing on the zipper before I sew the front and back together.

Despite my minor difficulties, I would highly suggest this to anyone who wants a simple sleep sac and doesn't want to pay $20+ for one at the store.  I paid about $7 for the yard of fabric, a few bucks for the zippers, and I had a ton of thread at home.  Clever use of the Hobby Lobby coupons could reduce the cost even further.  When I had originally purchased the items, it turns out I could make 2 of the sleep sacks for less than the price of one at the store.

Bust out those sewing machines, ladies.  It really isn't that hard to do a "well, good enough!" job.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Things I've Learned So Far: 2 months

I've been at my job a little over 2 months, and I've learned an incredible amount of lessons about being a mom, being an older mom, and just about life in general.

1. I'm not alone.  I can't express to you how mindblowing this was.  When I first went into this stay-at-home experience, it was very easy for my melodramatic personality to honestly believe that (a) I am the only person EVER to go through what I'm going through, and therefore (b) no one can possibly relate.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  With the outpouring of support from family, friends, and my moms group, all calmly assuring me that I am not the only person in the world to suffer from baby-induced sleep deprivation, I learned that my experience is hardly unique.  It has helped me cope with the late nights, early mornings, bleary eyes, and ridiculous amounts of caffeine I've consumed.

2. I am not a patient person.  I always thought I was, but as the months have slid by, I realize that I'm a bit of a control freak and when Gracie does not follow The Plan (ah, the lesson I'm still learning...Don't Plan) I spazz the hell out.  Case in point: lately Grace has decided to tweak her nap schedule without consulting me first.  This leaves me baffled as to why she didn't go down for her first nap between 6:45 and 7, and instead fell asleep at 7:45.  I had a minor breakdown, but then after she finally began her nap, I had time to call my mom, have her tell me everything is going to be ok and that I need to chill out.  Wise words from a wise woman.

3. Books still don't really give me anything but A Plan, which I shouldn't have.  I gave back all the sleeping books back to the library, and shelved my Babywise and my first year guide.  I found that if she wasn't making a milestone, I would sit there and obsess over it and completely ignore the caveat in every book that states that "this is just a guideline, every baby develops at its own pace."  So in order to help me just let her be her, I needed to put them away for now.  As my mom told me, people have been having babies long before literacy was popular... so we should be fine. 

4. I did not turn into a Cleaning Goddess.  Those of you who had the fortune of living with me in college may find that statement in the "Well, Obviously" category.  But I really did think I could get all that cleaning stuff done and have time to spare.  While our carpets have never been vacuumed more, the shower is cleaner than it has ever been, and our toilets are darn spiffy, we still have dust (GASP!), my cursed tile counters are ever-crumbed (THE HORROR!), and I just haven't been able to keep up with the doggie nose prints on our patio doors (DEAR LORD CALL CPS!).  In reality, I try to tidy up every day, vacuum a couple of times a week, keep up with the dishes and laundry, and make the bed once in a blue moon.  And that's ok.

5. I have a lot less time than I thought.  This is building off of #4.  In my spare time, I like to write, catch up on email, and browse Facebook.  Luckily, the latter two take 2 minutes to do at a crack so doing so really doesn't take any time whatsoever.  Writing (like for this blog) takes a bit more time (YAY NAPTIME!) and also cuts into tidying responsibilities.  But since I consider writing one of those few things that qualify as Me Time and since I don't spend an hour doing it, I don't regret a single stroke of the keys.  As with #4, if I don't get every last bit of Official Business done (like filing) in favor of writing or taking a shower, so be it. 

6. I'm getting used to it.  I did not come home to stay and then have angels come out of the heavens to provide the soundtrack to a life full of sunshine and rainbows and perfection.  I've honestly mourned my professional life hard.  Not that I didn't want to stay at home with Grace, but I still look at my last job as the best I ever had until that point.  I had great colleagues, great rewarding work, and a great schedule.  I still feel like I let my bosses down, and I loathe to let anyone down.  The saving, heh, grace is, well, Grace.  I look at her and I can't believe how much we've woven each other into one another's lives.  She's beautiful and charismatic and goofy, and it's something that I want to soak in each day.  As silly as it sounds to some, but I'm a firm believer in Fate/Dessssstiny.  I was meant to be at home with Grace and it's turned into the new best job I've ever had (hooray for cliches!), and if my old job is miraculously available when I'm ready to head back into the work place I will pounce on that sucker with zeal.  But for now, I'll continue to adjust to this new life I'm carving out for Grace and Dave and me, and enjoy the present. 

So there you go, a small list of big lessons I've had the fortune of learning so far.  Now I'm off to get ready for that group play date...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

F--k Yeah!

When I was a kid, the highlight of the summer was going camping with my cousins and occasionally some family friends.  We will call the family friends "The Tuttles."

Legend has it that one day, the youngest Tuttle, a boy of about 6, was caught swearing.  After being chewed out by Mr. Tuttle, Mr. Tuttle turns to my dad and goes, "I don't know where the f--k he gets it from."

Hm.

Here we are, 20-25 years later and I find myself in a similar situation.  Many of my conversations with Grace go like this:

"Grace, go the f--k to sleep."
"Oh sh-t, Grace."
"You rolled over!  F--k yeah!"

Anywhere I can possibly enhance my speech by the high brow use of cuss words, I do.  And it will soon catch up with me, especially if Grace's first word is "f--k."  My dear husband is likely to ring my neck because he doesn't have the colorful vocabulary around Gracie like me.

So perhaps I should start substituting the following words when the urge to cuss falls upon me:

  • Shizz
  • Bizzo
  • Biznacho
  • Freakin'
  • Frellin'
  • Frakkin'
  • Heck
  • Darn
  • Curses!
  • Son of a gun!
  • Great golly whoppers!
And yes, I have used them in the past.  I bet some of you have done the same.  

Ah, my darling awakens and the library calls to our soul.  So I must be off.  Wish me luck as I endeavor to clean up my language...  I'll need it.  :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Dealz!

When you are only bringing in one income after living for several years on two, it sort of goes without saying that one might want to start paying attention to bargains.

Getting acquainted with some money saving websites and ideas will totally help a newbie (like moi) get started on frugal living.  Here are just a few ideas that I've gotten into:

Craigslist
Not just for a kitchen table!  My first purchase ever on Craigslist turned out to be a lot of 6-12 ounce cans of Gerber Goodstart formula for Grace.  They retail for $12.97 at Walmart, so I saved more than $25 even before taxes.  I stalk Craigslist for cloth diapers too.  So actually my first purchase, sort of, was a bunch of brand new, never used One Size premo cloth diapers (bumGenius and Happy Heiney) for like $10 a pop from a business that was going under.  I actually bought directly through her shop, but I did find the deals on Craigslist.

Freecycle.org
It's a listserve that you sign up for your area, and people post things they want for free or what to give away for free.  The cool stuff gets snapped up really fast, but so far (after about a week of being on the listserve) I got 3 pieces of clothing for free, and was able to give opened formula for free (shelters don't take anything opened).  I missed out on a stand up freezer and some Pampered Chef stoneware, but 's all good.  Every little bit helps.  Likewise, I'm going to also unload a manual treadmill and 2 cases of cat food that Fozzie used to like but then started barfing up. 

Other items received: coupons for Gerbert Good Start and a brand spankin' new Snugli carrier. 

Unfortunately, you may run into some situations where the person doesn't put the stuff out for you to pick up, or someone else swipes it.  Recently happened to me, but then again... I got a frickin' Snugli for free.  Can't complain.  Free is good, especially when you are on a super strict budget.  Like me. 

Sharing with friends
Being a brand new mom has also opened me to the generosity of others.  A friend of mine has two children, the youngest 6 months older than Grace.  She's offered a bumbo AND a swing to me (plus anything else I can think of... I can't) that I can have on permanent loan until she decides to have another child.  And if she doesn't, I can keep it for my kids then pass along the items.  That's over $150 of savings!  Sharing baby stuff is a brilliant idea; kids are only in clothes for a tiny bit of time, and eventually everything becomes useless. 

Rummages/Garage Sales
Gosh I love a good rummaging morning.  I can't tell you how many outfits I've found this last summer for Grace, all for about $1 a piece.  The savings are priceless, even with the pieces that may have some stains on them.  She's now 6 months old; I'm pretty sure she's not going to notice.  I've also scored a sling, the changing table pad, bibs, toys...  and I'll be going back for more this spring.  Sometime people over price their items, which is fine.  I just won't buy from them.  So do your research at your department stores or whatever, get the retail price of the items you are on the look out for, then when you are perusing people's garage sales, you know exactly how much you are going to save by purchasing a used item vs. the full price at a store.

Coupons
Sometimes.  I find that the store brand at the grocery store is even cheaper than the big brand with a coupon.  But when you just can't get yourself to go off brand (disposable diapers and wipes immediately come to mind), then looking for store deals and teaming them with coupons is the way to go.  I recently stocked up on the next size up of disposables, a case of wipes, and some super brand paper towels at Babies R Us (BRU) for about $80 to $90, but I scored a $20 gift card to BRU for spending $75.  AND I used coupons on top of it.

Store Deals
Half of my bottles are wonderful and cheap and available at any store you can imagine.  The other half are the stupendously expensive Tommee Tippee bottles.  Luckily we got many of those bottles for our baby showers.  However, something I didn't think of: babies grow OUT of size 1 (slow flow) nipples and need fastr flow nipples when they get older.  Not wanting to waste good bottles, I went to BRU for the next size up.  They were there... AT $2.50 A NIPPLE.  *sigh*  Logic would dictate that maybe I shouldn't have gotten the bottles in the first place, but they are awesome.  So I wait for a deal and my BRU rewards to come out.  I had two $5 coupons to use at BRU, plus Tommee Tippee items were Buy One Get One 50% off.  In packs of 2, I bought four size 3's for $5, a savings of $15.  Store deals are key, whether for babies or for the grocery store or department stores. 

I'm always open for more suggestions and ideas.  One can't save too much!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Miss Clean

One of the first things I started researching on ye ol' Internet when realizing my iminent career change were alternatives to cleaning products.  I've used vinegar in my Manly Bathroom (it has a black sink and toilet...screams manly man!) for cleaning the ridiculously hard to keep spotless black sink and toilet.  I once used a baking soda and vinegar option to clean one of the toilets upstairs.  But, honestly, I've never incorporated home made solutions into my cleaners, mostly out of convenience.  Foaming cleaners, handy wipes, swifter dusters....But now that I find myself re-imagined as a homemaker, I can look into really making these things.  Not only would they be healthier for my little girl and the pups, but aside from an initial investment, it should be a heck of a lot cheaper to clean the home as well.

Google provided a plethora of sites that outlined numerous options:

http://organizedhome.com/clean-house/pantry-recipes-homemade-cleaning-products
http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm
http://www.diynetwork.com/decorating/homemade-cleaning-products/index.html
http://www.ecocycle.org/hazwaste/recipes.cfm
http://beingfrugal.net/2008/01/29/save-money-by-making-homemade-cleaning-products/
http://www.diylife.com/2010/05/04/home-ec-7-homemade-cleaning-products/
http://archive.blisstree.com/live/25-safe-non-toxic-homemade-cleaning-supplies/

So I formulated a list of supplied that I needed:
1. Baking soda (already have)
2. Vinegar (already have)
3. Borax
4. Spray bottles (bought 2 more)
5. Lemon juice (have some for cooking)
6. Squeegie (already have 2)
7. Essential oils (already have 3 wee bottles of lavendar, tea trea, peppermint*, and lemon oils)

Also, we do have some liquid dish detergent that'll come in handy.  Looks like Borax is all I need.

What about dusting options?  For the floor, I already have a microfiber mop that looks like a Swifter dust mop on steroids, but I only have one sheath for the "mop."  So I tend to reuse it a lot before washing, but I suppose if I'm dusting the floors every other day, it shouldn't get so dirty so fast.  In theory anyway.  We'll see if that works.

I have been taking to using Endust for the el-cheapo, finished "wood" furniture and just a damp cloth for the unfinished or real wood.  When we bought our dining room table, we were strongly encouraged NOT to use Endust or anything like that, because the ingredients have stuff that coats your wood in order to repel more dust, inevitably ruining the finish. 

In the meantime, I'm trying to use up my other chemicals while she naps.  Today I tackled the shower with KABOOM!  Heh heh... that name just makes me giggle.  It works fine for some regular cleaning (not deep cleaning) of our shower.  I also have 2 bottles of Scrubbing Bubbles to get through. 

Also looking to use up: Windexes, tubs of cleaning wipes (although how wonderfully convenient), toilet cleaner, etc.  I have "green" versions of this stuff too, but, again, to save money and to keep it simple, homemade seems to be the way to go.

*I wrote the bulk of this post like 2 months ago, and have since busted my vial of pepperment oil.  Bathroom still smells minty.  :)