Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One of Those Days

It's been one of those days.

It began at 5:45 a.m.

No, wait, 4:00 a.m.

Wait, no, 3:30 a.m.

Oh, hell, I suppose it really began at 12:30 a.m.

But I didn't actually go turn on the coffee maker until 5:45.

Both boys have colds. Monkey's started on Saturday night. He went to bed like usual, then was up every 45 minutes crying for seemingly no reason. I knew something was going on, but he didn't have a temperature and he wasn't throwing up or having to use the bathroom. He just kept waking up crying.

The next morning he woke up with a full-fledged cold - runny nose, watery eyes, projectile sneezes, and a lousy attitude.

I tried to keep him from touching all of the baby's things, but, really, who was I kidding?

I decided to lay low on Monday. No music class, no grocery store, no trip to Target. We just hung out around the house. I did some laundry. Monkey got a great nap. He seemed a little better. Budsy was doing fine.

Until 12:30 a.m.

Before I even picked up the baby, I could hear him snorting and sniffling. As he tried to eat, I could hear his little nose wheezing. Every few seconds he would pull off, whimper a bit, and then try again. Poor guy.

At 3:30, he was worse. Even by the tiny changing table nightlight, I could see he had a runny nose. I tried to suction it, but that really pissed him off. After that, he never really went back to sleep. Not deep, restful, sleep. And neither did I.

So, at 5:45 a.m., I stumbled downstairs and turned on the coffee maker. I knew I wouldn't be going back to sleep, no matter how much I wanted to or needed to. Everything felt like it went downhill from there.

Throughout the day, Budsy slept for a grand total of 90 minutes, split into 3 very short naps. He flipped out every time I tried to wipe his nose and by 3:00 in the afternoon, he was so clingy I couldn't put him down for more than a couple of minutes. Monkey had multiple breakdowns, mostly because I was paying so much attention to the baby. I was tired, cranky, short-tempered, and felt totally out of it. I felt like I accomplished nothing today, even though I had a long list of things to do.

By the time my husband got home, I was done. I needed to get out of the house. I needed a break. I needed to be alone. Where did I end up? At Toys R Us, buying stuff for the kids. Oh well - at least I was by myself for a bit.

And now, after a 17 hour day, I'm ready for bed.

Oh, wait, there's the baby.

Like I said - it's been one of the those days.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


March spilled into April by a week, so that's why I haven't written anything in awhile. However, since I'm sure you're all just dying to know, here are a few updates on my life...

We're still busy. Duh, I know. But we just finished up with back-to-back weekend trips and Passover and Easter are behind us, so I think things may calm down here soon. At least until the end of the month when everything gets crazy again!

Potty training has been a success! It was a matter of 4 days stuck in the house, five days of very short outings, and then we were off and running. Diapers are a thing of Monkey's past and I'm so proud of him. And, I'll admit, I'm a little proud of myself too. We still have overnight training to tackle, but I'm really not too concerned about that...

I'm now entering my 5th week of Weight Watchers and it, too, has been a great success. I've lost 12.5 pounds as of this morning. My initial short term goal was to lose 15 by the end of May, but I'm on track to accomplish this before the end of April! I now have only 15 total pounds to go to reach my pre-pregnancy weight. Yay me!

Budsy turned 4 months old at the end of March. He's adorable, but still not sleeping that great. Newest accomplishments - smiling at anyone, laughing out loud, rolling over from tummy to back, getting up on all fours(!), and chewing on absolutely everything. He went in a swimming pool for the first time this weekend and has discovered his feet. He also talks up a storm. Oh, and he's pushing the scales at 16 pounds and has added over 6 inches since he was born. Now that I see it all written out, no wonder he's not sleeping - he's a very busy kid!

A few more minor updates - we have officially registered for preschool, my husband only has 8 more weeks of his ridiculous schedule, and I didn't win the Mega Millions lottery even though I really, really wanted to.

I think that just about sums it up.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Here's to April!

March has been a jam-packed month for us - I'll be so happy when it's over.

We've had doctor appointments, dentist appointments, hair appointments, preschool tours, sports classes, music classes, Master's classes, visitors, and visitings.

I'm tired. I'm cranky. I'm hungry. I'm going crazy listening to the whirring engine of the "moving Thomas" that went under the couch where I can't reach it - 2 hours ago!

Budsy is still doing his weird wake-up-every-couple-of-hours thing, so my sleep is sporadic. We're working on it, but sleep training has it's own set of frustrations. Lack of sleep, of course, leads to my crankiness...

We have almost no food in the house. I am not exaggerating. Our fridge is so sad right now - four containers of yogurt, fixings for quesadillas, and half a bag of salad, but no salad dressing. We ran out of milk at dinner... I desperately need to go to the grocery store, but it's really difficult to do a full shopping trip with both kids, one of which is in the middle of potty training. So I have to wait for the husband to get home and then I get to drag my tired, cranky butt to the store at 9:30 at night.

And despite all of the craziness that has been our month, I feel bored...

We try to do something everyday - usually something that should take about an hour - but somehow it's all I get done all day! I don't know how it happens, but it does. I swear. We're not out of the house until 10:00. It takes a half hour to get anywhere and everywhere. We stay for an hour or so, then head home - another half hour. Now it's 12:00 and time for lunch. After lunch it's nap time. By the time Monkey is up from his nap, it's time to start dinner. After dinner, Budsy goes down for the night. Then it's Monkey's turn. The next thing I know, it's 9:30 at night and time to go to the grocery store!

Enough already! I'm ready to get out of this rut...

I know things will be better as soon as we get a handle on the potty training and I'm confident enough to really go out and about again. Meanwhile, it's just hard. I miss my friends. I miss going to the park. I miss Target.

So, here's to April... may it bring me a bit of sleep, some time with friends, and a regularly stocked refrigerator!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Potty Training *gulp*

Monkey has been ready for potty training for some time now. He's been verbally ready for over a year. He's been physically ready for a good eight months. We've been using the potty on and off for about six months. The hestitation has been on my part.

I didn't want to mess with the mess. The wet pee clothes, the disgusting poop underwear, the constant need to ask if he needed to go... I thought diapers were, well, easier.

He was probably truly ready back in September, but there were already big changes happening in his life. First, we went from a toddler bed to a big kid bed. Then, we were going to be going on a couple of weekend trips. Then it was November and the baby was coming. The timing just wasn't right...

And now, here we are. Diapers are no longer easier. Trying to wrestle a 32 pound, kicking, screaming, wriggling, defiant toddler out of and then back in to a diaper should be an Olympic sport. Plus, I'm already changing 10ish infant diapers a day. I don't need any additional diaper duty.

I decided to work with the momentum of a weekend around Monkey's cousin D. D is 9 months older than Monkey and Monkey basically wants to grow up to be D. Seriously. If I want Monkey to do something, I simply tell him that D does it. Luckily, D is a potty-using rockstar. So, when Monkey said he wanted to use the potty on Monday, I went with it and made my most recent major parenting decision.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 - remember the date. The start of some serious potty training.

So far, it's been a 2-steps-forward-1-step-back kind of journey. We've had a few pee accidents, but they seem to have subsided (for now). We had 2 days of pooping in the potty. Then my biggest potty training fear materialized. Yes, it was gross. No, thank God, we weren't really out and about - we were at my very understanding sister's house. Yes, I had to give him a bath. And now, we haven't had any pooping AT ALL for 2 days. *sigh*

In just 5 days, I've run a gamut of emotions.

Pride, joy, elation - he finally did it! This experience has reminded me how everything is new and exciting for a child. Monkey was so happy with himself on Tuesday, I wanted to cry...

Frustation, anger, irritation - he was just doing it! This has been a huge test of my patience as a mom.

I can only imagine how Monkey feels... One minute he's racing to the bathroom with a grin on his face, yelling about having to go pee pee, and then the next minute, he's throwing a fit because I won't put a diaper on him. His life as he's known it for the last 33 months has changed. Majorly.

For now, we're taking it one day at a time. I know this is the only way to do it.

I also know there's no turning back.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I'm exhausted.

I know this isn't unusual for new (again) parents, but it's really hitting me hard this time. Maybe it's because I'm older than last time. Perhaps it's because I had just gotten used to a full night's sleep again. Or possibly it's because I'm handling a toddler and an infant 14 hours a day.

I don't know why. I just know I'm exhausted.

Budsy is 16 weeks old now and at 15 pounds is physically capable of sleeping through the night. Yet he's still up every few hours at night and insists on nursing. It's driving me insane.

On average, I'm getting about 6 hours of sleep a night. Of course, this isn't 6 straight, restful hours of sleep...

I'm in bed at 10:ish. Asleep around 10:30.

He cries at 12:ish. I stumble down the hall, nurse him, change him, put him back to bed. Put myself back to bed. Asleep around 12:30.

He cries at 3:ish. I stumble down the hall, nurse him, change him, put him back to bed. Put myself back to bed. Asleep around 3:30.

He cries at 4:30ish. I stumble down the hall, pop the pacifier in his mouth, pray that he falls back asleep. Put myself back to bed. Asleep around 4:45.

He cries at 6:ish. I groan and kick my husband - your turn. I listen to him cry while my half-sleeping husband struggles to change him. I listen to his cries get louder as my husband brings him down the hall. I contemplate pretending to be asleep, but realize that it's a lost cause. I sit up and nurse him.

By 6:30 he's asleep again in our bed. I fade in and out of sleep while I try not to roll on the baby. My husband gets up to get ready for the day. Just as I convince myself that it's ok to grab 5 more minutes of sleep, I feel Monkey climbing up on the bed. *sigh*

I'm exhausted.

Monday, March 19, 2012

One on One Time

My mom graciously took Monkey for a day last week, giving me some quality one on one time with Budsy. It was really nice, but it got me thinking about a couple of things. First, I had completely forgotten how boring it is to entertain an infant all day - it's time to haul out the baby toys. And second, it really hit me that I won't have any significant one on one time with Monkey for another 9ish months and it kind of bummed me out.

For 2 1/2 years it was him and me together - day in and day out. The arrival of Budsy changed everything.

I rarely have focused playtime with Monkey anymore. All activities seem to be combined with baby care - nurse the baby while playing trains, burp the baby while reading stories, rock the baby while singing songs. I even front pack the baby during sports class! Budsy is old enough now to be put down for a while, but I'm still splitting my attention between both boys.

Play with Monkey while the baby sleeps, you say? Well, Budsy is a cat napper, which means he only sleeps for about 45 minutes at any given time during the day. One nap is during breakfast, one usually takes place in the car, one is during Monkey's nap, and one final, short nap is usually while I'm attempting to get something that passes for dinner on the table. I can catch about an hour of Mommy-Monkey time between Budsy's bedtime and Monkey's, but it's an exhausting hour for me and I wouldn't necessarily categorize it as quality time.

Part of the problem is that, by choice, I'm exclusively breastfeeding the baby on demand and that means that I have to be available to him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even as he gets older and doesn't nurse as frequently, I'll still have to be there for him throughout the day. It will be like that until around Christmas when I'll start to really wean him. I can throw a bottle in there every once, but those of you that have nursed a baby will understand that I can't really miss more than one feeding.

This all adds up to mean that I can only spend limited one on one time with Monkey. I won't get an entire day for more than an entire year. And that really bums me out.

Monday, March 12, 2012

His Busy Life

It's been a busy 6 months and it's not going to stop any time soon...

Last Fall, my husband was given the opportunity to participate in a Master's Degree program through work. We talked it over, weighed the pros (free Master's from UCSD, educational advancement, potential career advancement) and cons (we're going to have a new baby in the house, extra work, less time at home), and decided that it would be better for him to participate now than in the future when we have an even crazier schedule and, possibly, more kids.

As a result, he now has his full time job working 40+ hours a week AND his 16-32 hours of class time, depending on the week AND ever-changing homework time commitments AND individual finals due every 4 weeks AND group finals due every 4 weeks! Throw in his commute time and as you can imagine, he's not able to be home very much right now...

When he is home, there are bills to be paid, finances to update, honey-do lists to tackle, kids to play with, and a wife to steal a hug and kiss from.

This ridiculous schedule will not calm down until June, when his classes are over. And things will not be back to "normal" until September, when the Master's program is complete.

Meanwhile, I am with the boys. A toddler and an infant. All the time. By myself. *sigh*

There are days at a time when he only sees the boys for an hour each morning. There are days at a time when he doesn't see them at all... I know it's been hard for him. I know it's been hard for me. And I know it's been hard for Monkey. Budsy's too little to know the difference.

I'm trying really hard not to bother him with extra stuff or ask too much of him.

I'm trying really hard not to feel resentful of his "freedom" on my tough days.

I'm trying really hard not to make him feel guiltier than he already does about not being home.

Had we known what we were really getting into, would our decision have been different? I don't know...

I just wish he was able to be here more. I wish he had more energy to play with the boys. I wish he could have a break. I wish I could have a break.

We keep reminding each other that this will ultimately be what's best for our family... But it's really hard right now.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Million Kisses

If I Only Had a Million Kisses - A Poem

If I only had a million kisses
I don't know what I'd do
How do you stop at a million kisses
When you have children two?

You start with them each morning
You end with them at night
You offer them all day long
Because that's what feels right

You dole them out with each hello
You add them to each goodbye
You hand them out for bonks and bruises
They are the remedy for each small cry

A million kisses would be gone like that
Most likely sometime before noon
A million kisses would be gone in nothing flat
Definitely too soon

You give them out for love
You give them out for fun
You give them out to soothe a soul
You can never give just one

You can place them on a little foot
You can place them on a hand
You can place them on a little cheek
It really makes no difference where they land

Kisses offer comfort
Kisses show you care
Kisses make things better
Kisses mean that you are there

If I only had a million kisses
I don't know what I'd do
How could you stop at a million kisses
When you have children two?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Preparing for Preschool

Monkey will be 3 in May. Three years old. Wow...

You know the saying? The days are long, but the years are short? All too true.

I've been lucky enough to be home with Monkey since he was born. I've been there to witness his first smile, first laugh, first food, first tooth, first word... I've kissed all the little boo boos and bonks. I've played countless hours of trains, cars, and blocks. I've read hundreds of stories out loud.

I've seen my son grow into an awesome little person. He talks proficiently and is quite articulate. He knows his numbers up to 20 and the alphabet all the way through. He knows his shapes and colors. He can throw a ball better and farther than some adults. He has a sense of humor and a sense of compassion. He understands more than I would have thought possible for a 2 year old.

I think I've done a pretty good job at my job of being a mother. But, now it's time for the next step.

Preschool. Wow...

He'll learn to follow directions, share, and make new friends. He'll learn to listen to a teacher, take turns, and be patient. He'll learn how to write his name, color within the lines, and cut with scissors. He'll bring home art projects and eagerly tell me about his day.

We've been touring preschools this week to see where he will best fit in come September. There is a lot to take into consideration - Two days or three days? Half days or full days? Church school or private school? Montessori or Piaget? Of course, from Monkey's perspective, he just wants a fun playground with lots of balls.

I'm excited for him to experience the next step of his little life. I want him to go to school and learn all these things. I know he's ready. And, believe it or not, I'm ready too.

Monday, March 5, 2012


There have been a lot of really tragic stories in the news over the last year involving children. I try to avoid reading or watching these stories, because they are so upsetting to me. It especially breaks my heart to think that a person, particularly a parent, could do something to hurt a child.

Each time a new incident is in the news, it makes me redouble my effort to be a loving parent to my children. Here are some things that I wish all parents would do...

Always tell your children you love them, every day. Yes, even when it's been a tough day.

Always take the time to play with your kids. I mean really play with them.

Always learn the words to their favorite songs and the names of their favorite characters.

Always listen to their stories, even if you've heard it before. It's important to them.

Always be willing to give out hugs and kisses. It costs you nothing, but can mean everything to a child.

Always offer them comfort when they're sad, hurt, or mad. They need to know it's going to be ok.

Always smile with them when they're happy. Share in their joy.

Always laugh with them when they're being silly or goofy.

Always encourage them to help others. It will teach them compassion.

Always try to exercise patience. They are young and don't know any better.

Always offer guidance, but let them ultimately choose their own path.

Always enjoy the cuddles. There will be a day when they pull away.

Always cherish the quiet moments.

Always take pictures and videos. They grow up so fast.

Always support them in their endeavours.

Always encourage them to try new things and do their best.

Always be a good role model. You are their first and most influential.

Always tuck them in at night, kiss their foreheads, and tell them you'll see them in the morning.

Always remember that you are their parent and that they look to you for all these things.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

When I Grow Up...

Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a mom. And a stay-at-home one at that.

I started babysitting when I was about 10. My dear aunt actually trusted me with my baby cousin! From there I went on to watching the kids of neighbors and family friends. By the time high school hit, I was funding all activities, clothing purchases, and gas money with weekend babysitting gigs. During college, I nannied over Summers. And even before I got married, I started thinking about the day we would be ready for a family.

What I never really thought about, was what I would do with myself in the meantime.

I majored in History in college. It was a subject I really enjoyed. Plus, it came easy to me and I knew I could ace the classes. It never dawned on me that I would have limited job options with "only" a B.A. in History. So I decided to pursue teaching. What else do you do with a history degree? Then, 2 months before graduation - my acceptance to a teaching program in hand - I decided I didn't want to be a teacher.

Now what?

My parents have never said anything, but I'm pretty sure they were worried about me. Four years at a private university, thousands of dollars of debt, and no plan!?

Luckily, they didn't have to worry long.

My dad was actually the one that got me connected with my first job interview. His boss's friend's boss (got that?) was looking for an entry level analyst at her environmental consulting firm. No experience necessary. Perfect.

And so, two months after graduation, I began my first real job as an Environmental Analyst. I was making $14.00 an hour and I was ecstatic! I had no idea what I was doing, but still!

It turns out that I was pretty good at being an Environmental Analyst. My major actually prepared me pretty well for this line of work - I knew how to critically analyze documents, I knew how to write in a way that the general public could understand, and I was great at doing research. All very useful skills in evironmental consulting work. I caught on quickly and got to be involved in a lot of really neat development projects during the boom of the 2000s.

After getting married, my husband and I decided to move to be near his new job, which meant I had to quit mine. It was the right thing to do, but it was also really hard. I liked my job. I liked my co-workers. I felt guilty for leaving a company that had taken a chance on me, even though I had no experience.

Plus, I had no idea what I was going to do next.

I tried to find work at another environmental company, but nothing panned out. Months went by and I was really getting discouraged. I finally started putting in applications at local cities hoping for a position in a Planning Department. I also enrolled in an extended education class on Urban Planning - anything to boost my chances of landing a job.

Finally, after being out of work for 8 months, I got the call! Entry-level, Planner I at the City of Oceanside. When can I start?

I worked at the city for 3 1/2 years before I had Monkey and I loved (almost) every minute of it.

The work was interesting and challenging. I felt like I was also doing something important for my community. Once I got the hang of it, I actually enjoyed the public speaking involved with Planning Commission and City Council meetings. It was rewarding to know that I was helping citizens with their housing projects and businesses. I learned how to manage a project team, how to manage my time, and how to conduct meetings. I found ways to balance the best interest of the public and the goals of developers. I discovered city politics. I met many, many interesting people and I made a lot of friends.

I believe working at the City of Oceanside had a lot to do with my "miss to ma'am" transformation.

As a result, one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make was whether or not to return to work after my maternity leave was up. I had always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but I had found a job, a career, that I loved. I had NEVER thought about being in that position.

In the end, I knew that I could always return to the work force one day, but my children would only be children for a short time. It was with a truly heavy heart that I told my bosses that I had decided not to return to work.

I think about going back to work sometimes, but hopefully not anytime soon. I'm enjoying my time at home with my children. So for now, I just think of what I may want to do in the future. What will I be when I grow up some more? Will I go back into planning? Back to environmental analysis? Back to school to try something different?

Only time will tell.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Never Say Never

The most important piece of advice I could offer to a parent-to-be is "never say never".
It is something to embrace wholeheartedly as a parent. I promise that if you do, it will save you hours of frustration and guilty feelings. Never say never, because you will most likely be eating that word, along with a big piece of humble pie, at some point in your life.

Before becoming parents, my husband and I were notorious for being the "We will never..." couple. Not that we would ever say anything to an offending parent directly, but we definitely discussed the "never" scenarios with each other. We were going to be perfect parents, raising perfect children.

Well, I prefer my humble pie a la mode.
We will never let our children use a pacifier. It's a bad habit!
Ha! That idea flew out the window before the end of day ONE with Monkey. He just wouldn't stop crying in the hospital and after I had tried feeding him 6 times, changed his diaper 10 times, and rocked him for what felt like hours, I finally gave in to a pacifier. It worked like a charm! He quieted right down, was happy, and fell fast asleep. Lesson learned.
We will never order off the kids menu for our children. It's expensive and a waste! They can eat some of whatever we order!
And on the same note:
We will never let our children scream in a restaurant. It's so rude to the other customers - especially those without kids!
Guess what? I have a picky eater, a.k.a. a toddler. He doesn't want to eat my food. He wants his own food. And right now, all he eats is grilled cheese. I don't want to eat grilled cheese every time we go out. I want my own food. Plus, if I'm going to get through the meal without the screaming, I had better just order the dang grilled cheese!
We will never let our children run around like banshees in a store. It's ridiculous that people can't control their kids!
I promise you, I try really hard to not be "that mom", but there are times when it is flat out IMPOSSIBLE to keep Monkey still and anywhere in the vicinity of where I want him. Add the whole infant situation and there's no way I'm going to always have control. I try, I really do. But Monkey is smart. He figured out within days of Budsy's arrival that there are certain things I cannot do when I have the baby in my arms. Like run after him or grab him out from under a display table.

And this one is a doozy:
We will never threaten or bribe our children to get them to do or not do something. It's all about authority - who's in charge? You or your kids?! Teach your children to follow directions!
Wow! We were so naive!

There are a few things we've learned since becoming parents regarding this one:

First - When kids are toddlers, THEY are the ones in charge. Even if it's not apparent on the surface, believe me, they are. As a parent, you should try really hard to not let them know this. And, regarding directions, the saying is true - trying to get a toddler to follow directions is like trying to herd cats. Try it. You'll see.

Second - It's perfectly legitimate to NOT give a child dessert if they refuse to eat their dinner. It's acceptable, encouraged even, to go straight home if your kid throws sand/sticks/rocks one more time. And sometimes going to bed without books and songs might be just what a kid needs if they're throwing a temper tantrum at bedtime.

And Third - Regarding bribery... *ahem*... we try to limit the treats to a few a day. Now, don't worry, treats aren't necessarily candy and other sweets. They also come in the form of fish crackers, 5 more minutes, trips to the toy store (to play, not to buy - I'd be broke!), and episodes of Thomas the Train. But I tell you what, it's nice to have a few tricks up my sleeves to get Monkey to do things like put toys away, or get dressed, or stop whining because his train fell off the tracks yet again.

These were just a few of the "never" statements that were made over the years prior to having our kids. Over the last couple of years, I have luckily learned to live by my own advice - Never say never.

Who knows? I may even invest in one of those child leashes one of the these days...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Diet Starts Tomorrow!

It's no secret that pregnancy wreaks havoc on a woman's body.

You put on weight every where and in the oddest places (fingers? ankles? nose? I didn't sign on for this!). You can barely sleep. Your skin reminds you of being 15, in a bad way. Your hair goes through a bad hair 9 months. And your back aches likes nobody's business.

Then you have the baby and you think, thank God, now everything will go back to how it was before.

And that is where the big secret lies.

Your body doesn't go back to those pre-pregnancy days. Certainly not right away. And in some ways, never again.

For me, the biggest challenge with both my pregnancies was the weight gain. I knew I would gain weight while pregnant, but I wasn't prepared for how much weight I would put on.

With Monkey, I gained somewhere around 65 pounds. I'm not sure what the final number was, but at my last weigh-in a few days before he was born, I clocked in at 207! I'm only 5'4" folks! Obviously, I took the whole eating-for-two thing too literally. I had kept up with gym appointments the entire pregnancy, but it wasn't enough to counter the cravings. Apparently a slow walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes, three times a week, doesn't burn the number of calories in a large milkshake from In and Out - who knew?

I lost 20 pounds right off the bat, but after that everything stalled. I had always heard that breastfeeding helped you lose weight and I was counting on that being true. Well, this is true, but only to an extent. After 3 months, I was only down another 5 pounds. It took 4 more months to drop another 5 pounds. I found it to be really difficult to diet with a new baby in the house - I ate what I could, when I could. And forget about the gym - I couldn't stand the thought of leaving the baby for an hour, even with Daddy. I also found that my child hated the stroller and as a result, it wasn't at all enjoyable to go on walks.

After an entire year and very little progress, I knew I needed to actually start working at losing the weight. We were talking about having another baby and I dreaded the idea of putting another 60 pounds on top of the 30 extra pounds I was still toting around. So I dragged myself back to the gym and started Weight Watchers. Best decision of my life - I lost 20 pounds in three months!

In the end, it took me almost 2 years to take off the "baby weight". It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. But, I'm proud to say that I actually ended up in better shape than I was before getting pregnant with Monkey.

So, when I got pregnant with Budsy, I was determined to do better. I really watched what I ate and I tried to keep up with exercise. I kept my cravings in check as much as pregnant-humanly possible. I didn't do great, but I did better - I put on 50 pounds.

Again, I lost 20 pounds right off the bat. From my previous experience, I knew that with breastfeeding I would lose about 5 more pounds during the first 3 months. So I decided to give myself that 3 months and not worry about actively losing weight - I would just try to eat as healthy as possible and not over-indulge.

Well, Budsy turned 3 months yesterday. I've lost 26 pounds since he was born. Now it's time to get serious. I have signed up with Weight Watchers online and I am determined to lose this weight. My short term goal - 15 pounds over the next 3 months. My long term goal - back to pre-pregnancy weight by the end of summer.

Wish me luck! Diet starts tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Chores, Ugh!

I hate chores. It's bad enough when it's just you that you're picking up after. But throw in a couple of kids and a spouse and things start to get out of hand.

In our house, the laundry is never ending. Dishes can magically fill the sink between bedtime and breakfast. Shoes and socks litter the floor like wrapping paper after Christmas morning. Meals must be prepared, served, and cleaned up - at least 3 times a day. There are 3 beds to be dealt with, one of which is a crib. There are 2.5 bathrooms to clean, one of which belongs to the kids. In the course of a day, my living room can go from spotless to looking like an episode of Hoarders due to the sheer number of toys that make their way out of the bins. Even with a house cleaner helping out every other week, I never seem to be able to get a handle on it. And don't even get me started on our poor little, neglected backyard!

When you're a little kid, you do chores because you want to please your mommy and/or daddy and you think it's fun. Hooray! I put the blocks away the fastest! Did you see me, Mommy?

Then you come to your senses and start to resist the chore requirements. This typically leads to parents forcing kids to do chores through 1) threats (ok, fine, "consequences") - you can't go play until your room is clean - or 2) bribery - here's your allowance for doing x, y, and z.

Then you eventually move out of your parents' house and chores become something you do to prove that you're responsible enough to have moved out of your parents' house. For example, you vacuum and dump the trash before your parents come for a visit. Or it's something you do before a party. For example, you flip a coin with your room mate to see who has to clean the bathroom.

Then, one day, you realize that you've made a significant transition regarding chores. You make your bed, without realizing it, before you leave for work. You load, run, and unload the dishwasher without arguing with your spouse/room mate about it. You find yourself wanting to vacuum so your carpet looks nice. Your clothes are clean, folded, and put away. You may even have a houseplant or two that are still alive.

Welcome to adulthood!

It's not that chores become any less, well, chore-y. It's just that after 20 plus years, the tasks that you have despised since you were a kid have finally become just part of your day. And, like it or not, you've come to realize the importance of doing these chores. I know that it's gross and unsanitary to not clean the toilet. I know to vacuum my floors so I'm not walking around on dirt, hair, and who knows what. I know that if I want to eat off clean plates, I have to wash them. And I know that laundry doesn't magical fold or hang itself up.

And now that I'm not just an adult, but also a mom, I know why kids are assigned chores. One less bed to make, one less room to pick up, one less table to set or clear, one less load of laundry to put away, one less bag of trash to take out. I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

To Blog or Not to Blog?

People write blogs for many different reasons.

There are blogs that are professional, political, psychotic.

There are blogs that are meaningful, meaningless, moronic.

People blog to share information, insight, infatuation.

Some are for gossip, some make you laugh, some make you cry, some make you think.

Most are personal. And all of them mean something to someone.

Yes, there are many different reasons to write a blog.

The authors of blogs can write exactly what they wish they could say out loud. They can tweak their drafts until the words are just right. They can give real, deep thought to their arguments before advocating an opinion. They can pour their souls out on to the Internet as a form of free therapy. They can write whatever they want without giving much thought to how someone reading it will react. There are fewer social restrictions on the Internet.

And there are many reasons to read a blog.

It's where you can get professional, political, and psychotic information.

It's where you can get meaningful, meaningless, and moronic information.

People read blogs to gain insight and get the latest gossip on the latest celebrity.

But most blogs are personal. And I believe that there is one main reason people read personal blogs - pure and simple curiosity.

Reading someone's blog is like being handed the key to their diary. You're able to read about a person's trials and triumphs. What they dream about, worry about, love, hate, and hope for. You can learn about their relationships, past and present, with spouses, kids, boyfriends, girlfriends, family, and friends. Personal views on politics, money, and religion all come out. It's not like talking or listening to a person in person. It's so much more.

Readers can come and go as they please, virtually undetected. There's no social obligation to laugh, comfort, or offer advice to the author while reading a post. If you do want to leave a comment, you can write whatever you'd like, even if you use words you would never say out loud - nice, mean, or otherwise. Or, you can just read about the author's life and move on with your day. The only one you're really answering to is yourself.

I write for therapy, a creative outlet, and perhaps because I'm a bit narcissistic.

You read out of curiosity.

Simple as that.

Monday, February 27, 2012


Bedtime at our house has gotten ridiculous. There. I admit it.

It all started when Monkey was 5 months old. See, as a new mom, I read every bit of child-rearing mumbo-jumbo there was. So when it came time to actually get some sleep again, I decided that we needed to train our baby how to sleep. After a lot of reading, I settled on a modified version of the "cry-it-out" method of sleep training.

It worked great! Within 1 week, Monkey was falling asleep on his own. Within 2 weeks, we had cut out night time feedings. Within 1 month, he gave us 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

It boiled down to routine. Nurse, bath, jammies, books, songs, sleep. Same time, every night, no exceptions (within reason, of course). Start to finish, he was sound asleep in 30 minutes.

Flash forward to today and we still follow the same routine, minus the nursing.

Bath, jammies, books, songs, sleep. Same time, every night, no exceptions (within reason, of course). And it was working great.

Until Monkey hit the "terrible twos" in all it's glory.

7:00 - Monkey, it's time to get ready for bed.

"I want to keep playing with my trains... No, I don't want to pick up my trains... No! I don't want to get ready for bed! I want Mommy to put me to bed!"

7:10 - Ok. Yes. Go ahead and use the potty. Yes, you'll get a sticker. Ok. Come on, get in the bathtub.

"I want the Thomas bubbles in my bath! No! Not like that! I want Mommy to put the bubbles in!"

7:15 - Hold still. We need to wash your hair tonight. You have food/sand/sunscreen in it.

"I don't want to wash my hair! No! One rinse and we're all done! I want Mommy to give me my bath!"

7:25 - Lay down so I can put your overnight diaper on. Monkey! Come on!

"I want to pick my jammies! No! Not those ones! I want Mommy to put my jammies on!"

7:30 - You can pick 2 books.

"I want lots of books! No! Not those books! Long books! Two more because I'm two years old! I want Mommy to read to me!"

7:50 - Ok. Get up on the bed. Time to turn the light out. What songs would you like tonight?

"I want lots of songs! No! Not those words! Two more because I'm two years old! I want Mommy to sing to me!"

8:00ish - Ok. Time to go to sleep. I love you. I'll see you in the morning.

"I want more cuddles! I don't want you to leave!"

Monkey, I have to go do some things. I'll come check on you later. I'll be right downstairs.

"I don't want you to go downstairs!  Leave the door open! Wider! You go downstairs and do the dishes and then come back and do more cuddles! I want my mommy!"

I love you. Goodnight.

"whine/cry/pout/kick at the wall/mess with the blinds"

8:30 - Finally he's asleep. *sigh*

Did you notice the theme?

Despite everything we have tried, Monkey refuses to have anyone but ME put him to bed. He can sense my presence a mile away, so unless I'm far, far away, he throws a fit until I go up to his room. You can imagine how difficult this is when we have the demands of an infant too. Between the two boys, bedtime has become a 2 hour plus ordeal. By the time I get back downstairs, I'm exhausted and ready to put myself to bed. But, of course, I still have other responsibilities as well - dishes, laundry, general pick up. If I'm lucky, I might get in a little time to relax. If I'm really lucky, I might get to have an actual conversation with my husband.

10:00 - Time for me to get into bed. Finally.

10:30 - Lights out.

12:30 - First cry from Budsy. *sigh*

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Am A Mommy - Part 1

I have two boys. Let's call them Monkey and Budsy. I have to say that for the most part, I L-O-V-E being a mom. Of course this is extremely hard to remember when I'm trying to get home from the park and the baby is crying because he's hungry (didn't I just feed you?), the toddler is crying because he apparently doesn't want me to drive on the freeway, and the CD of annoying children's songs has started over yet again, but, yeah, overall I love being a mom...

I believe it is impossible to forget the birth of your children. Monkey let me know he was ready to meet us at the crack of dawn on a Friday. I felt the first twinge of a contraction at 4:00 am and immediately sat up in bed.

This is it! Today's the day! Wake up the husband! Get out the watch! Start timing frequency, duration, and tolerance levels! Call the grandparents! Come quick! The baby's coming!

I had taken the classes, practiced my breathing, and mapped out every conceivable route to the hospital. I was ready. This labor thing wasn't so bad. I would make it through without the epidural, just the way I envisioned.

Then everything stopped. I felt bad. Everyone was sitting around my living room. Staring at me. Waiting for something to happen.

What did I know... He was my first child - I had no idea what to expect.

Finally at 5:00 pm the contractions started again. By midnight, I felt like I needed to go to the hospital. I clearly remember thinking "surely I'm close to the end". Contractions were 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, and had been going like this for 1 hour. 5-1-1. It was in the book. I was still in high spirits and tolerating the contractions pretty well. My plan was falling into place.

Call the doctor! Call the hospital! Get the bag! Get in the car! Make the light or go right through it! Are we there yet!?

What did I know... He was my first child - I had no idea what to expect.

After checking in at the hospital, they checked my progress. Two and a half centimeters.

Wait. What? That can't be right. I'd been laboring for hours! Two and a half centimeters?! What the hell?!

They hooked me up to all the monitoring equipment. Poked my arms a million times trying to place an IV. Made me lie in the bed to get a good reading on the baby's heartbeat. The contractions kept coming. They were getting stronger and closer together. My water broke. I couldn't concentrate on my breathing. I couldn't get a handle on what was happening. Holy crap! Isn't this over yet?!

What did I know... He was my first child - I had no idea what to expect. I can tell you this - Nothing truly prepares you for childbirth.

I finally gave in to an epidural at 8 centimeters. I had been up for 24 hours. Laboring for 12. I was exhausted. I couldn't tolerate it any more. I felt defeated, guilty, sad. I had failed. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't been so hard on myself. After all, he was my first child - I had no idea what to expect.

Finally, after 17 hours of true labor, our Monkey made his debut on Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 10:45 am. I still tear up when I think about that moment. My husband got to announce that it was a boy. I immediately started crying. I had never felt such joy in my entire life! He was perfect. Ten little fingers, ten little toes. Dimples from the first cry. Big, beautiful, blue eyes. My heart nearly burst from the love I felt for this new little person.

Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 10:45 am. I became a mommy.

From Miss to Ma'am - The Beginning

So, here I am. Finally. Or, regrettably. I suppose only time will tell... Now then, where to begin. Well, I've been toying with the idea of writing a blog for a long time and figured that now is as good a time as any. My ultimate goal with this blog is to have a place to share my thoughts on life in general. I don't claim to be a writer, but I'll try my best to use proper grammar and keep my posts interesting. I'm sure they'll be ranting at times. Hopefully endearing. Perhaps a little amusing. I promise to write from my heart, as long as you promise not to trample on it through comments. There will be times when you agree with my posts, and times you adamantly disagree. And probably a few times when you find yourself so bored, you go back to doing whatever productive thing it was that you were taking a break from in the first place. Please just bear with me as I dive into this unknown territory.

So, let's get started. I'm a married, 30-something, stay-at-home-mom to two young boys. From the outside it looks like I'm a pretty typical adult.

I own a home, pay bills, go grocery shopping.

I do the laundry, run the dishwasher, and pay the house cleaner to vacuum my floors.

I wake up way too early, even on Saturdays and Sundays, and stay up way too late every night.

I drink coffee - lots of coffee... Did I mention I have two young boys?

So, yeah, from the outside, it looks like I'm a pretty typical adult. But when did this happen? At what point did I make the shift from a "miss" to a "ma'am"? It certainly wasn't when I graduated from high school. I don't think it was when I graduated college. I'm pretty sure it wasn't when I got married - believe me, many childish things have occurred since then. I know I became a Ms. when I started working. It's possibly linked to the first time I was called Mrs. W at the grocery store when I was 17, but then again, the cashier probably mistook me for my mom per the borrowed Rewards card.

When did this happen? I don't feel like a "ma'am", but I think that's what I am. Then again, I still have many a "miss" moments. Oh, I think this is going to be fun!