Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The princess

I never got around to writing a birthday post for the princess, but I wanted to take a minute to capture this time in her life.  Everyone talks about the terrible twos, but we never really hit that stage.  As she neared three, the drama became a bit much, as did the whining, and tantrums.  I thought we were headed to the terrible threes.  But I was wrong.  Sure, she's dramatic and she can get very whiny, but that is normal toddler/preschooler behavior.  This kid is amazing!

If I could videotape every single second of our day, I would.  I feel like there is so much I forget and do not capture on film or in pictures, and I want to remember all of this.  The princess is only three, but if you sat down and talked to her, you would think she was five, maybe even six.  98% of what she says is intelligible, she has little of that "toddler speak", and really she has not had that since she was 2, maybe 2 1/2.  Her vocabulary is just astounding - she uses big words, and uses them correctly.  She can conceptualize and understand most everything we say, including sarcasm!  She understands how to sound out words if we do not understand what she says the first time, and she knows to speak louder and more clearly to be heard.  Her speech is just phenomenal. 

The princess is a joy to be around.  She is smart, funny, sweet, caring, and loving!  She gives running-start bear hugs to everyone she loves, and will hug almost anyone she has played with for a few minutes.  We recently went to a wedding, full of people she did not know.  Instead of shying away and clinging to us, she found some girls to play with, and at the end of the night, she went around hugging everyone goodbye.  She is not shy at all (thank goodness - this has been my life's biggest struggle!).  She is a natural born leader, stands up for what she wants and what is right, and rarely follows just to follow.  She likes to play games, run around, scream, and be crazy, but can also sit for long-periods of time "reading" to herself and doing puzzles.  She would rather figure something out on her own than have us help her. 

She must ask why at least 100 times every day.  As annoying as it can be, I see the value in answering because she actually takes the time to listen, repeat what you said, ask more questions, and then repeat what she has learned later to someone else.  Or even weeks later, she will bring up what we discussed and it is clear she remembers the conversation and heard what I said. Her newest "thing" is asking how to spell.  She wants to know how to spell everything.  She practices writing letters all the time - in the air, with her finger on the table, etc.

The princess is also very independent.  Every morning when we wake her up, she gets up, and goes potty by herself - including using her step stool to turn on lights. Then she picks out clothes to wear and understands when we tell her something does not match (usually - though there are plenty of fights about that!).  She likes having her "things" and responsibilities.  She even helps me sort the laundry by getting her underwear and sock baskets and filling them with the appropriate clean laundry. 

She is extremely caring.  She took to her baby sister right away and has become her protector, her best friend, and her translator (much to our irritation - the munchkin does not talk much).  The munchkin hates "fuzz" of any kind, and as soon as she starts whining about it, the princess comes running over yelling "I'll get the fuzz!".  She helps the munchkin get toys, comes up with games to play, helps teach the munchkin words, and almost always includes her in what she is doing. I hope they always share this special bond because it is a very awesome thing to watch.

I do not mean for it to sound like my kid is perfect.  She whines, she has tantrums and drama, she gets on my nerves plenty often, but she is amazing.  She is wild and crazy, but also calm, cool, and collected.  She lights up my life!

So, happy 3 and almost 1/2 birthday, princess.  You Rock!

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Selfish Mom

I read this post a while ago (cannot remember where or I would link to it) about how mom's can easily find themselves saying "no" too often and how selfish that is.  This resonated with me so much that I have changed how I do things in my life.  I found myself saying "no" a ton - mommy, can I help you with the laundry? "no", mommy, can I help you make dinner? "no".  Sure it can be frustrating to try and make dinner with someone underfoot, especially after a long day of work and stuff.  Doing the laundry with a toddler in tow means she will find a toy downstairs, maybe bring downstairs things upstairs, or something else equally as insignificant.  Does it really add that much time and frustration to allow her to get involved?  The answer is "no".

So, over the last 6 months, I have made an effort to say "yes" more often.  To ask the princess if she wants to run the store with me if I have to make a quick trip.  If we both get up early on Saturday, we will go to the store and get sugar cereal or pancakes, while my husband and the munchkin sleep.  She enjoys helping me cook.  She loves to help me sort the laundry!  She will bring down her underwear basket and her sock basket and help me sort out those things, which is actually a big help.  It is great for both of us to let her get involved, and she is learning about housework!  It is a win-win!  Sure, there are times it is more annoying than helpful trying to cook multiple things at the stove with a chair in the middle, and there are times I do say "no" because we are short on time.  But, I remember that post I read and I try to say "yes" more often than not. 

I have learned a lot about the princess by saying yes more often.  I think this is especially true now that we have two kids (not a kid and a baby); these outings with just the two of us are a good way to connect without me getting stressed about the whole two kids, one parent with stuff to do situation.  I recommend all mommies take stock of how often they say "no".  You might learn something about your kids! 

Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The race is done

We have been busy lately.  Overwhelmingly busy.  Really, not just "lately", but for the last two months.  I can barely remember when it started, and honestly, the past two months are like a blur for me.  It all started when I took on my first proposal.  I am a government contractor and have always worked the "40-hour a week" government contracting jobs.  In August, my company asked for my help on a proposal. 

And so a new addiction was born.  That is a bit of an exaggeration, but it is really cool that I am part of this team and understand this new language and have these opportunities.  Proposals are awesome because they stretch the brain, make you think bigger and outside the box, and require an amazing amount of time and effort.  I spent days working my "regular" job, then would come home, cook, eat dinner with the fam, and jump right into the proposal - often working four or more hours at night, only to jump in bed for 5 or less hours of sleep before restarting the cycle.  It was both tiring and not tiring - the adrenaline rush of doing this and being part of this team kept me going.  When the proposal was over, I definitely crashed.  Unfortunately, I did not have much time to recover before the next proposal kicked off and I was back to the crazy hours! 

In addition to my regular job and the back-to-back proposals, we also had a week long vacation and two out of town weddings.  Writing it out here just does not make it seem as tough as it has been.  But it was tough - I was literally doing work until midnight Saturday night before we left for vacation.  We drove home late that Friday, unpacked the car, went to bed, and were up early Saturday morning to get the kids to the in-laws and head up to the wedding.  We got back Sunday night and I found out I had to work Columbus day.  And we worked - 20+ hours...I arrived at the office around 6:30am and did not leave until 3:30am the NEXT day!  The week that followed was one of the busiest I have had here at my "regular" job, complete with a surprise briefing to the big boss. 

This past weekend we had our other out of town wedding.  We had a fantastic time, and a great weekend.  I enjoyed this weekend more than most we have had, and it was not because this wedding was better than the previous.  They were both fantastic weddings.  But, this Sunday I took a different approach to life.  We decided to totally forget about the clock (except to check mass times and try to find one that fit OUR schedules).  We slept late and let the kids watch cartoons (for the second time in their life) in the hotel room.  We had a big, fairly expensive, breakfast in a local diner.  We took a sentimental drive up to see my grandparents' old home and all the sites of my childhood. We stopped at a Farmer's Market on the side of the road and picked pumpkins.  We got home when we got home and found time for church.  We ate a bucket of KFC on a tablecloth in the family room to ignore the mess in the kitchen.  It was RELAXING.

I went to work Monday morning with a whole new attitude.  Knowing my brief was over and my inbox was relatively cleaned out, I had all week to get stuff done.  I have no weekend plans from now until mid-November and plan to keep it that way, which leaves plenty of time to get to the housework and laundry and other various projects.  As a result of all this empty time stretching ahead of me, I feel lighter!  happier! more refreshed!  I cannot believe I let our schedules get this out of whack, but I am glad I did.  I have learned that I can live on less sleep, that I have a fantastic work ethic, that my kids understand when mommy has to work late, and that it is okay to use these opportunities to teach them about working hard.  But most of all I have learned that piling too much on - even if it is all "fun" - weighs me down.  It literally depresses me.  Once we "crossed the finish line", I immediately felt happier and my energy level soared.

Yesterday I picked the kids up and drove out to my parents house for dinner - something I orchestrated from the parking lot of daycare just because I could.  Tonight maybe we will go to the park or the library.  Or maybe I will go home and clean the kitchen and try a new recipe.  Doesn't matter what we do, we have so much time ahead of us to get it all done! 

*Sorry if this was the most boring post I have written.  I needed to write this to remind myself to slow down, stop committing to everything, and just relax.

Thanks for listening!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

does anyone still follow this? please do not unsubscribe!

I cannot seem to blog with any regularity, which is disappointing.  I read so many blogs, and I love all of them.  Maybe I read too many and have no time to write?  Maybe I am just boring? 

In any case, I am going to try to blog with more regularity once again.  In honor of that, I joined Twitter.  Something I said I would never do.  But I did and I freaking love the thing!  Join Twitter!  Follow me @crackinguperin

That is it for today.  Baby steps, people. 

Thanks for listening!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Us!

My husband and I celebrated our fourth anniversary last week.  While this is no big milestone, like passing the 7-year itch phase or hitting 25 years, for me, it feels like a major anniversary. 

When we first got married, I moved in straight from my parent's house, where I lived after graduating college.  I had never lived on my own, managed tons of major bills, bought my own groceries, etc.  My husband had done all of these things, but quite frankly, not that well - he usually paid bills when the pink slips hit!  Our first year of marriage was quite a rollercoaster.  It was blissfully awesome to live together and do fun things, go out to eat, set up house, and all of those fun, new experiences of owning a home and being newlyweds.  We found out - SURPRISE - we were expecting only three months into marriage, and were overwhelmed with joy and with our families joy!  Of course that meant there were plenty of hormones my husband had to contend with that first year.  And then there were the fights.  In our first two years of marriage we had some real knock-down (not literally), drag out fights where we yelled and cursed and threw things (not at each other!) and slammed doors.  Eventually one or the other would come crawling over to apologize and life would be good, but the fights were ugly.  I can even remember at least one, if not two or three fights, where we threw out the "D" word!  Then, as my daughter was turning a year old and we were approaching our second anniversary, we found out - SURPRISE! - we were pregnant again.  Both pregnancies were welcome and exciting events!  When baby number two joined her toddling older sister, life became crazy busy; in sometimes stressful, but mostly awesome ways.  There is no way to prepare for the jump from one to two kids, it was certainly (at least for me) more life changing than the jump from zero to one kids! 

Maybe this is some relationships downfall - you have more kids, you grow apart, they get older, and you are left with nothing.  But, I am blessed to be able to say this is not true for my husband and me.  In the last two years, we have grown closer than I ever thought possible.  We have so much more respect for each other, our roles, and our contributions than we did before.  I think all of those huge fights allowed us to better our communication.  The fact that we were each willing to apologize (him, more so than me - something I am still working on today), gave us the trust to know that we would always be there for each other.  I can honestly say I cannot remember the last fight we had.  Every single day I feel 100% content in my life and I feel secure in my husband's love in every way.  I used to look back on our first year of marriage with happiness, but also some discomfort; now, I look back on those first two years fondly, not just for all the fun, but also for all the bad times that brought us closer together and made us the couple we are today.  I cannot wait to see what happens next!

So, happy anniversary, Jon!  I love you - forever and always :)

Thanks for listening!

Friday, May 21, 2010


Reading is my favorite hobby! I try to read a little every night before bed, but obviously since having children, my nightly hour of reading is down to a few pages most nights. But if the kids are in bed and my husband is watching a show I do not care about (or, worse, working late), I'll head to bed early and cozy up with my book!

My favorite author of all time is: Jodi Piccoult
I own every single book she has written and can barely contain myself from heading to the store the day a new release is on the shelves.

My favorite book of all time is Pillars of the Earth
I really like most everything Ken Follett writes, but this book is my favorite. I used to think it was because my dad gave it to me and said "this is my favorite book", but have since discovered a lot of people consider this a favorite!

My guilty pleasure is romance novels. I also own almost every book (because seriously, she has written a LOT of books) by Nora Roberts
My other guilty pleasure (in the romance, comedy, mystery section) is the numbers series by Janet Evanovich

What I am reading right now...Lowcountry books. I have been a fan of Pat Conroy for years. I just discovered his wife, Cassandra King, is also an author! And, my mom just discovered two authors I am obsessed with right now: Dorthea Benton Frank and Mary Alice Monroe. If you do not know about Lowcountry books, they are fictional novels based in South Carolina low country (marsh, beach area), and are generally interesting, romantic, historically based, novels about family, life, love, and generations.  I have read about 5 of their books so far and plan to read as many as I can this summer!

If you think I am kidding about my love of reading, ask my husband about our honeymoon. Some people packed handcuffs and other such fun "honeymoon" toys; I packed 10 books. And read about 6!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Question: Who has more time? Answer: No one!

In yesterday's post about balance, I mentioned that I work full-time. I want to clarify that I do not think a SAHM would necessarily have any more balance than I do, though if she does, kudos to that mom!

I have a group of girl friends that I love dearly.  This group includes two working moms (one is me), one SAHM, and two working single women (one is my sister).  I know the two working single women often feel as if the rest of us think they have more time and less responsibility.  While it may be true the lack of children gives them less responsibility, I do not think their lives are easier at all.  First off, I get to share all my chores, my issues, my everything with my husband.  Single people do not have that luxury.  Even if you have a roommate, she is not co-invested in your life the way a spouse is.  Secondly, they are career women.  I consider myself to be a career woman as well, but my focus is split between my career and my home.  My sister works so many hours doing so many things to advance her career and build her network, I totally think she deserves a cleaning person and a cook as much - if not sometimes, more - than I do.  And lastly, most single people are looking for a spouse.  This is no futile effort.  I think if I were single right now, I might drive over to a convent and sign right up, because watching my single friends do this dating dance disaster thing is frequently more awful than awesome.

I have been thinking about staying at home lately (another post for another day), and imagining this amazing world in which my house is clean, my laundry is done, I am an amazing cook, and so on.  Obviously I know this is not the case.  I do think if I stayed home I would have more time to do those things because I will not be commuting or working all day.  But, the reality is, I would not get up at 5am and use the 3 hours before my kids are awake to be productive; I would be sleeping too.  I might not work 8 hours a day, but I would be taking care of my children 16 hours a day.  16 hours a day is a LONG time.  I like my kids, but I also like time away from kids and happily send them off to daycare - there are weekends when Sunday night cannot come soon enough for me.  I read a blog post by A Shorter Mama about time and balance as a SAHM - she recently went from a working mom to a SAHM and thought all these same things I did/do.  But, the truth is, her days are just as busy, but they are busy with different things. 

Sometimes I think working moms have it easiest.  Because of work, my days are naturally routine and scheduled; therefore, adding laundry and cleaning to schedule is relatively easy.  If I go to the store on Monday night, I know I will not have time/energy for other stuff, but if I make extra for dinner Monday, I know that I can use dinner prep time to clean on Tuesday.  If I were a SAHM, there would be nothing pushing me to this type of schedule because for the most part any schedule we would have (with the exception of scheduled activities) would be self-imposed and easily changed. 

In the end, I just have to realize while the grass usually looks greener on the other side, it is important to stop and realize that my yard is just how I want it to be.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I quite one of the most irritating conversations with my mother a few weeks ago, so irritating in fact, that I am still stewing over her words! We were chatting and I was telling her all about our weekend. We did whole bunch of things - saw family, played with friends, went to new playgrounds. I thought it sounded like a really great weekend. But, then my mom asked "when do you get your laundry and cleaning done?" I half-jokingly said "never", but then clarified and said, "at different times, sometimes Saturday morning, sometimes through the week, and sometimes it does not get done." So, then she says in her mom tone of voice that means I am saying something nice and normal but it is mean and hurtful: "It is great that you do not care if your stuff is done. That would really bother me, but it sounds like you do not mind if your house is not clean and your laundry is not done. That is great."

My feelings were hurt. Really hurt. Does she really think I do not give a hoot if my house is unclean? Really? Of course I want my house to be clean. I want my family to have clean clothes. I want, I want...But the reality is, I am a mom. I have to manage the kids, the household, chores, bills, etc, and I work a full work week, which requires me to commute 37 miles each way. I want a lot of things, but mostly I want the energy, time, and motivation do them all!

The truth is I feel guilty all the time. I feel guilty about my messy (and sometimes dirty) house, the lack of clean clothes, the lack of folded put away clean clothes, the numerous unfinished or even unstarted house projects, and the disorganization of so many storage areas. I also feel guilyy about only working my 40-44 hours a week. I am frequently the person in my group who works the least number of hours - I am more efficient than most of the team members, but quantitative data does not reflect my productivity in those 40 hours. I feel guilty every time I leave work early for a kid's doctor appointment or school show, and I feel guilty that I take more sick days because I have to stay home with my sick kids. I also feel guilty that my kids have to go to daycare. My toddler thrives there, and honestly, I would send her there even if I did stay home - provided we could afford to do so, but the baby I think would do better at home for a while. I feel guilty when I am home with my kids for one hour and get so fed up I want to send them back to school!

So, the guilt. It is always there. Sometimes it is crushing, sometimes all these guilt inducing things balance each other out and I feel fine. But I am okay with this. While I may feel guilty a lot, while I may never find a "balance" (aka, nirvana), I do feel content 90-95% of the time. As long as I maintain that 90-95%, I am okay!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crazy Work Life!

I am really organized at work. My home, not so much (at all!), but at work, I am all over organization. I make to-do lists and I LOVE crossing stuff off my list. To the point that if I do something not on the list, I will write it down on the list just so I can cross it off the list! A few years ago I started using colored flags to color code e-mail into groups. This system was AMAZING.

And then I started my new job. For one thing, Outlook 2007 does not have colored flags - gasp! scratch my head! shake in fear! I thought I may need therapy. Then I discovered categories, and I was back on track! Now, I have all of my e-mail categorized into colored blocks. But, the flags were not the only problem at this new job. The MO of this organization is crazy. Almost daily I find myself saying "the circus is in session" to a co-worker. Everything is top priority. Everything on my to-do list is overcome by events. I went from creating a new to-do list every Friday to creating a new to-do list once a month, or whenever the paper had too many random notes scribbled in the margins to make any sense. My order here is all out of whack. And the worst part is, I cannot fix this system. I am as organized as I can be; I just do not have the time to get on top of these little things I want to get done!

I wish I could say I have a plan. Or that I know how to fix this. But, in reality, what I have is so much better. I have learned to accept that I cannot control how things work in this organization. I cannot worry about my to-do list because if those things were important, I would get them done. I do my job well and am rewarded for a job well done. It is okay to let my list go. My colors, though, I will never let go!

One thing I do like is that I work the early shift (6:30/7-3/3:30) - so I can get the girls from daycare earlier (my husband does the drop off). Getting to work in quiet hours of the morning gives me time to sort through e-mails and read documents that are too difficult to focus on during the loud, crazy time of day. By the time the office starts filling up, conference calls start going, and the volume rises, I can jump into the circus post-caffination. Because, really, morning coffee is all that matters! Now if only I could figure out how to organize my home life. I read about a home management app for the iPhone, but sadly, my blackberry does not get any app love.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Creighton Model

A while ago I wrote a post about NFP. I still stand by the awesomeness of the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility and the website fertilityfriend. In that post, I mentioned that we may try the Creighton Model. We decided to do it about two months ago, and I am really happy we did; I am definitely a convert to this method! If you live in the Northern Virginia area, look at Potomac Fertility.

The two major benefits I see to the Creighton Model over the sympto-thermal method are the focus on mucous alone and the personalized approach to learning. I always found the temperature to be an issue with the sympto-thermal method. If you drink alcohol, your temperature changes, if you do not get a good night’s sleep, your temperature is affected, if your baby wakes up in the middle of the night, your temperature changes, etc, etc. How can you chart effectively if your temperature is impacted in so many ways??? So, I took the advice of my friend and ditched the thermometer in favor of mucous and internal cervix checks. This is effective, but can be difficult to read. The Creighton Model takes all the difficulty out of that – or at least in my opinion it does! For starters, there are no internal checks, so you do not have to worry about figuring out what your cervix is doing as it shifts position throughout the day. The Creighton Model only looks at external mucous. The sympto-thermal method allows you to write your own mucous descriptions – there are guidelines, but it is all very subjective and you use your own words. This seems good in theory, but how do you know that what you considered stretchy last month is what you are seeing right now? You don’t! The Creighton Model has very specific rules about charting your mucous, so you know exactly what to write down. Obviously, it is subjective in that you are doing the checks, but if your mucous stretches ‘x’ amount, you write down ‘y’ and there is no question about that. I find this specific nomenclature very reassuring. Also, unlike every other natural family planning resource I looked at, the Creighton Model has very specific rules for determining fertility while breastfeeding that can be applied no matter how you breastfeed - ecologically, on a schedule, pumping, etc. This is huge and I cannot wait to see how that goes...when we get pregnant a couple time soon :)

My favorite thing about the Creighton Model is the individualized approach. You have a Creighton Model teacher, who you meet with regularly. At first, it is every few weeks/once a month, and then you go longer periods between meetings for the rest of the year. At each meeting, the teacher goes through a booklet of questions, quizzing you on how/when you are checking, how you are using the stamps (they are used to show periods of fertility/infertility), and makes notes on things you know 100% and things you are still learning. At the next meeting, the teacher will review the things you were not 100% about last time to ensure you are 100% confident in your use of the Creighton Model. Then, the teacher goes through your chart, asking about your notations, marking it up with a red pen where you put a stamp incorrectly or forgot to record something. To ensure you know how to use the nomenclature properly, the teacher brings along a “Picture Dictionary”, which may seem like TMI, but really, when it comes to charting your fertility, is there such thing? This is super helpful! I reviewed it the first time, and then kept that in my mind to help with the charting. During our second appointment, I was able to use the picture dictionary to look for a mucous reading similar to a confusing one I had. It was a great reference. So far, I found the method to be easy to learn and I feel very confident in our use. I would recommend this to anyone. Again, we use Potomac Fertility in the Northern VA area.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Chatty Toddler

Holy S! the toddler is talkative.  I realize I should be grateful for every minute of this - but seriously, it is a blessing and a curse.  Maybe even a double curse because with the amount the toddler talks, the baby has no need to get vocal and then we get frustrated because she cannot communicate her wants.  I love love love hearing my toddler's voice and I love her curiosity and amazement with the world.  Hearing her voice her every thought definitely gives me an interesting understanding of how she views the world and the things she sees when she looks around.  It is truly amazing.  She is amazing.

But, wow, there are a lot of questions.  Going to the bathroom last night..."mom, what are you doing?  mom, where are you going?  you are going to the potty?  why am i not going?  why do i not have to pee?  why does the baby pee and poop in diapers?  did the baby poop?  baby, you did a stinky poop!  mom, do you need my potty seat?  mom, what are you doing?  did you pee?  did you wash your hands?"  I took me minutes to go to the bathroom and yet, she managed to get out at least twenty questions/statments.  It it like this ALL the time.  I do not know how one person can have so many thoughts!  And be able to voice every one of them!  WOW! 

So, yeah, I love my toddler.  I love that she talks and communicates so well.  But, sometimes, I wish she came with a mute button!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Last night I went to dinner with an old friend.  We had the most fascinting conversation about talents.  While on vacation with her parents, they got to talking about talents, and her parents each offered what they view as her talents:
1.  Getting things done
2.  Managing things - not necessarily people, but managing different roles and responsibilities

At first we both agreed that these do not seem like talents at all.  Everyone has to do stuff, and most people have a lot of roles to play.  Talents are things like playing the piano, writing, or painting.  As she talked it out with her parents, she started to see their point of view, and as we talked it out last night, I also agreed.  Playing the piano, writing, and painting are creative talents.  Those are great, and I am thoroughly jealous of people who have them.  I do not possess one stinkin' creative bone in my body!  But I am very much like my friend.  We both multitask and manage our roles - working, home life, parenting, schedules, appointments, activities, etc - with relative ease, and we are very good at getting things done.  At first I thought these were not talents because they seem more like an inherent part of my nature.  However, as I thought about it more, I realized, these are skills I honed and continue to work on improving.  They may not be talents I can sell like a painting, but they are talents that have great value to my job and my family.  I regularly tell people I have no talents, but now I see that is not true. 

I see people at work every day simply pushing things off to the side when they do not want to work on a project, or letting things slide because there is an issue they cannot work through easily.  I do not.  I keep a to do list on my desk and update it weekly (if not more often).  My e-mail account is my organizational toolbox - every project is color coded, every e-mail I read and address gets filed in a folder.  If I encounter a roadblock or an issue comes up, I will push through.  I will not let things slip or be forgotten, and if I do get  behind on something, I get anxious and stressed about it until I am back on track.  I generally realize I am behind on stuff and have it rectified before anyone else even realizes there was a delay.  This may sound conceited, like I am tooting my own horn, which I am, but it is not vain.  I just never realized this was a talent I have, and not something everyone can do.  With this knowledge, I am going to try and see people I work with differently.  Perhaps their talents lie elsewhere.  Obviously not being talented at getting things done is no excuse to slack off and I will still complain when things are not done, but I will use my talent to help others instead of looking down on them for being behind.

My ability to multitask is also something I did not see as much of a talent, but rather a necessity given the many roles I play.  It is both.  My husband also has many roles to play, but he does not multitask as well.  I am going to try to relax a bit when he forgets something on the schedule and not be so angry that he cannot keep track of things the way I do.  He has a lot of talents he brings to the marriage (most notably right now, the ability to fix stuff so we do not have to shell out tons of cash at the mechanic!), and I am going to focus on those positive things instead of being so negative.

Last night's conversation was very enlightening for me.  I am excited to see things in a different light, and to realize that for once, I do not have to answer "I have nothing" when people start discussing talents!

Monday, March 22, 2010


My kids are obsessed with boobies!

Seriously, wtf?!

I breastfed both, but only for 6 months. When I was breastfeeding the baby, I understood that the toddler talked about about boobies all the time. It made sense. I have not breastfed in over a year, and she still talks about them. The other day we were eating dinner and toward the end she asked if she could sit on my lap. So sweet. I obliged, and as I am getting her out of her chair, she says "I need to figure your boobies out". What? Yeah...okay.

Then there is the baby. She likes to snuggle with one finger in her mouth and her other hand down my shirt. Especially in church. She is so good and so quiet, which I love, but only when she's got her hand down my shirt. It is either in my cleavage just resting or sitting on the top of my boob, but definitely inside my bra. Weird, right? Not as weird as this weekend, though...I was getting the baby dressed after her bath and was shirt- and bra-less stretching up to get a diaper out of her drawer. I look down and she is staring at my boob (which was hanging right in her face) in awe and then out of nowhere opened her mouth like she was going to breastfeed. I did NOT see that coming!!! I have not nursed the baby in almost 10 months and here she is remembering or instinctively trying to start something! It was weird and fascinating at the same time. I will definitely be keeping my shirt on around her for a while ;)

Family Gatherings

I was reading a blog post the other day that really struck me.  The poster wrote about being invited to her sister-in-law's house for Easter, and being expected to bring "the dinner" (she called it the dinner, but it became apparent that it was really a side or sides).  This poster thought it was ridiculous for someone to expect her to bring a dish.  In her opinion, if you invite people for dinner, you provide the dinner.  All of the dinner.  I am not really commenting on this person's post because I do not know the relationship with the extended family and maybe there are underlying issues there.

In my family, we are all expected to bring dishes to family gatherings.  When we were younger, my mom brought things; now that we are out of the house, we each (the three girls; my brother lives far away and rarely gets to attend) bring dishes.  And, really, there just are not that many to bring, so it is a constant struggle to come up with something creative to bring because all the older people have their signature sides and the rest of us are left floundering.  I am pretty sure I am going to bring a salad - of the green, leafy variety - for Easter because every other damn thing is taken!  So, the way this works in my family (and I mean, extended), is the person hosting provides the ham/turkey and maybe a side or two and some appetizers.  Everyone else provides sides, rolls, desserts.  And there is always a BOATLOAD of food.  No one feels burdened by the responsibility to bring a dish.  Except me (kidding!) - but that is just lack of planning on my part that I am always at the store at the last minute getting stuff together.  I like being part of the group, knowing I contributed to the food.  This works very well and allows us to get together regularly without anyone going broke.

Another interesting (to me) facet to this is the location.  We do Thanksgiving at my mom's; Christmas and Easter at my aunt's.  Always.  If someone else wants to host, they need to get word out way in advance!  At some point in the future, we will have bigger houses, and our parents will get older, and my cousins and sisters and I will take the torch and start hosting holidays and family gatherings.  And someday my girls will do the same.  This tradition may not follow the etiquette rules of hosting dinner, but it is a great tradition, rooted in love.  And I would not have it any other way.

How about you - any family traditions?   Thoughts?

Hello World

I have not blogged in forever.  There is no reason other than it is hard to start a new routine and if there is anything I am good at, it is not following through! 

So, without further ado, I begin again...

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why Can't Men Breastfeed?

I was reading a post at DC Metro Moms, where the author had a newborn and mentioned all the time "wasted" on the couch nursing the baby.  While I do not think this is time wasted (and probably neither does she), I know the phrase.  I would sit on the couch nursing my babies and look around thinking "when I get up, I will clean up that, then wash this, then change out that laundry, and load the dishwasher...".  The lists went on and on with things I wanted to do.  Taking that time to sit down and look around made me see how much needed to be done.  And then I would get all excited about doing these things, but was stuck in place, nursing the baby.  While you can do things and breastfeed, it is an art that takes practice, and the things you can do are limited by the fact that there is a baby hanging off your boob! 

The thing is, if our roles were reversed, I can tell you, my husband would relish that excuse.  I would hear "sorry, I cannot do that right now, I have to breastfeed" all the time.  He would constantly be sitting down, feet kicked up, relaxing.  It is not because he is lazy.  He just does not get as "into" cleaning the house as I do.  Actually, it probably is because he is lazy.  I like nursing and I miss that time, but when I was doing it, I wished my husband could take over so I could get some stuff done!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Skin Issues

I have dermatitis, specifically, eyelid dermatitis.  It started when I was pregnant with the baby and since giving birth I have random flare ups, but it is not a big deal.  I saw the dermatologist when pregnant, got medication to put on the spots, and it worked like a charm.  Until I got pregnant with the baby I miscarried.  The flare ups have been happening with more frequency and are not responding to the medication.  I also started itching and noticing small bumps on my forearms and chest/neck area (right where I put perfume). 

After my husband started lovingly referring to my issues as my "flesh eating skin disease" and threatened to kick me out of bed until I figured out what was going on, I called the dermatologist.  The stars must have been aligning yesterday because I had a terrible flare up and the dermatologist had an opening!  As soon as I closed my eyes he said "your eyelids are all torn up!".  Turns out, my dermatitis is in bad shape and I need to get a different medication.  As for my arms and chest, it looks like I developed Acute Contact Dermatitis.  I need to put the medication on the spots, and stop wearing perfume.  Indefinitely!  As for my face, I have to use the medication/ointment twice daily and put Vaseline on at night.  Not Vaseline Intensive Care, not Vaseline face moisturizer, but Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.  For the next month, until all my dermatitis is cleared up, I will be greasing myself up with some Vaseline.  That's hot!

Hopefully in a month I can reintroduce moisturizer face cream and then makeup.  Sometime after that, I may be able to try perfume again.  I am thinking I'll just buy some flowery skirts and let my armpit hair grow out.  All natural, baby!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Non-Napping Toddlers Kill Me!

Monday was a holiday, which meant stay home from school and get off schedule have fun with mama and daddy!  We did have a great morning - one of my best friends, who has a toddler just a few months older than mine came over for a playdate.  We have not had a playdate together in ages, which is sad because my friend used to do daycare at my house with her toddler and my toddler, and they just love to see each other! 

After the playdate, the toddler was too wired to nap.  I tried the "just leave her in her room and she will fall asleep eventually" route, but that did not work out.  After a while of hearing her jump around and make noise, the baby started to cry (they share a room).  I went upstairs to find the toddler, naked, in the baby's crib.  She told me "mama!  I peed in the crib!".  Great... Apparently the baby was crying because the toddler jumped on her foot, after peeing on the crib right next to where the baby was sitting.  After dealing with all the mess, getting her redressed in her pull up, and taking the baby away, I told the toddler to get back in bed and take a nap and I did not want to hear one more sound.  She was quiet.  For a bit.  But she did not nap. 

Fast forward to night time.  We put her down at the usual time.  Two hours later, we hear noises.  I went up to investigate and found her in my room, drinking from my nightstand water glass, wearing a pull up and six shirts.  She moved her pillow and blankets to the doorway of her room (I do not know why), took out 10 shirts from the drawer, and scattered them around her new sleeping area.  When she saw me, she proclaimed "Mama!  I'm done with my nap!"  It took over an hour of putting her back in bed and finally letting her get in our bed before she fell asleep. 

The next meltdown central.  Ugh!  I wish there was a way to explain to her - and make her remember - that sleep is important.  I tried yesterday.  I even got to her to stop crying by explaining why she felt bad and how it was her fault for not sleeping.  I think she got the message.  I just do not think she will remember it the next time she wakes up at 10:30pm!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Weekend Recap

I love long weekends!  There is just nothing better than having an extra day!  I took Friday off to clean and prep for the party.  The cake turned out great - the princess dress was not quite what I planned, but did turn out nicely.  Our parents and siblings came for dinner, dessert, and presents, and everyone had a great time!

Saturday was fantastic.  On a whim, I decided to take the girls to the Library for the first time.  The toddler loved it - I mean, it was magical!  We got there about 5 minutes after the 2s Story Time started, so we went in and did that, which was great.  Then, we poked around and looked at books for about a half hour.  After picking out seven books to take home, we went to the 18 months Story Time.  The toddler was a little old and the baby was a little young, so I would not do that again, but they did enjoy the songs we sang (story time?  there was no reading!).  They each got a library card of their own (mostly for show - we will just use mine).  The toddler could not get over all the books everywhere - "mama, look at this!  mama, let's get this one!  mama, look!".  As we were walking out, she looked at me and said "Mama.  That was so nice.  It was so nice to play in the library" - melt my heart!!!  We are so totally going back every Saturday morning!

Saturday night we had a Christmas party at my sister's house.  The first one was canceled because of the blizzard.  This was the second "after Christmas get together" we had, and honestly, I liked it better this way!  My sister's party was great, and we were able to watch play-off games and have fun and eat, and everyone really enjoyed the party.  I like that it was not caught up in the bustle of the season! 

Sunday we watched more football, took naps and were generally lazy.  Which, of course, meant I had a total meltdown - in front of our friends who stayed over/came over for the games - about how lazy we are and how we never get anything done, blah, blah.  Well, Monday morning my husband did the morning routine while I cleaned the upstairs, then I had a play date while he put up the new baby gate and worked on refinishing the banisters.  In the afternoon, while dinner was cooking, he watched the girls and picked up toys while I continued the dusting and vacuuming.  When we finally settled in, I was able to fold about 5 loads of laundry while watching 24!  So, the day ended up being both fun and productive.  A great combination! 

All in all the weekend was excellent!  I love having lots of things to do and people to see.  I also love the opposite, which is why I am looking forward to this weekend - we are having friends over for the baby's birthday on Sunday.  Other than that, we are hanging out with the kids, and catching up on Law and Order: SVU!!! 

Hope you had great long weekends!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Baby!

My baby.  Today you are one.  One Year Old! 

You were born on the coldest day of the year in 2009.  If this cold snap does not let up, your birthday could be on the coldest day of 2010!  It is FREEZING out there!

No one believed labor could be as painless and easy as it was when I delivered your big sister.  And then you came along and broke the record by 8 minutes.  My doctor decided to induce your labor.  One of your aunt's came over Saturday morning to watch your big sister until Grammy and Pop-Pop arrived, while your daddy and I went to the hospital.  By 8am we were getting the induction medicine, and you were born less than 8 hours later!  I got the epidural, so we spent most of the day talking, reading, and napping.  The doctor checked me about 6 hours later and I was not very far along, so we told everyone to wait a little longer before coming to the hospital.  After an hour of laying on my sides, I told the nurse "it is time to push", but she did not believe me.  Boy, was she wrong!  She called the doctor and told her to "RUN!  NOT WALK!" over, and the doctor barely had time to wash her hands and put on gloves before you arrived!  Another perfect delivery!  Another perfect baby!

While you were getting cleaned up in the nursery with daddy, I was recovering in the delivery room.  I decided to turn on the news and discovered a plan had landed? crashed? in a river.  It was not until much later that we got the whole story.  A year later, I recorded the "one-year later" news program just so I could relive the news from that day.  It amazed me there were other things going on outside in the world that day.  I literally spent all day wrapped in a cocoon of love, delivering you in to the world, and could not see how your amazing, life changing entry to the world did not stop time.

The first few months were tough!  I had a toddler and a newborn to care for, and I was stressed.  I did not know how people could have three, four, or more kids - this was enough for me!  But, I kept hearing "the transition from one to two is the hardest, the rest are gravy", so I leaned on that and got through knowing I was not the first person to find this so exhausting.  Somewhere along the way, that changed.  Things got easier, and now we have a good routine. 

You are the easiest baby I have ever seen (I do not know what I would have done if you had been tough considering how hard I found this parenting two kids thing!).  We thought you would be a terror because your sister was such a perfect baby.  But, then you came along and proved that we could be blessed with two amazingly easy babies (proving EVERYONE wrong)!  You are happy all the time!  You laugh and smile constantly.  You love to cuddle and snuggle; you would be content to sit in our laps, snuggle, and suck your thumb all day long.  You like to get down and play, but cannot resist climbing into someone's lap the minute they sit down on the floor.  You are so sweet. 

For the past six months, you have been sitting up and interacting with us and your big sister.  You want to do everything just like your big sister does.  You play with her toys, copy her actions, and try to climb over things just like a big kid, even though you are still very small and cannot walk.  Your face absolutely lights up when your big sister is anywhere near you, and you laugh and get so excited you can barely contain it when she talks to you or plays with you.  You do not care if she is a little rough, you are just happy to have her around!

My baby, you are an absolute joy.  I cannot wait to see what this next year will bring :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

RTT: Happy!

  • My husband decided to take the office space!  He liked the space - it is a big open room, just like he has now, but a bit bigger (and he won't my wall of books crowding them out!).  He talked to some other people in the building and they all agree the landlord is great.  Move-in day is January 30/31, and they'll start working there February 1st!!!

  • My baby will be a year old tomorrow.  A YEAR!  And she still looks like a 6 month old!  

  • I cannot believe we have had two kids two and under for a year.  I love where we are so much.  I remember the first few months being impossibly difficult, but I cannot remember why.  I thought I was scarred for life, but it turns out the stress was just a phase and I do want more kids in the future. 

  • The toddler might be the best big sister ever in the history of big sisters.  She is so loving and caring and awesome.  She may hit the baby every now and then, but what sibling doesn't?  She gets - so adorably - super excited when the baby gives her high-five, or just touches her at all! 
  • The toddlers new thing is "helping" the baby learn to walk.  As this consists of pulling the baby's arm out of her socket (total exaggeration) while trying to drag her across the floor, the baby is not too keen.

  • The baby will try to copy everything the toddler does.  Yesterday the toddler was "making" me food in her kitchen and bringing it to me to eat.  The baby comes scooting over, fake mustard in hand for me to sample.  It was so freaking cute!  

  • In honor of the baby's first birthday (and the fact that my house is a mess and I want to make a nice dinner because I invited our parents and siblings over for dinner), I took tomorrow off work.  Then I found out Monday is a holiday.  Surprise - I get a four day weekend!  SUPER!!!
Happy Thursday!

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Say a Little Prayer for Me!

    My husband owns his own business - Priority Legal Services.  He does a great job and his business is successful and growing significantly every year!  He has been in business for a number of years now, and has always run things from his residence.  For the last four years, that has been our basement!  With two kids and a dog, and no available living space in our basement, our two-bedroom townhouse feels pretty cramped.  Today my husband is going to look at some office space he found for rent on Craigslist.  Not only is this space right down the road from our house, it is so astoundingly inexpensive I almost passed out from excitement when he showed me the ad!   I just hope this is not a scam and is not in horrid condition.  Honestly, they do not spend a ton of time in the office, so they do not need really nice digs, just some space for a few desks, computers, and file cabinets.  This place sounds perfect.  And the price...oh the price is just so right! 

    I cannot stop dreaming of what it will be like to have the rocking horses, ride on toys, toy box, and two bookshelves full of toys and books out of our living room!  We will keep some things upstairs for playing, but many of the "big" things can move downstairs.  And I can put out that awesome alphabet floor puzzle out for the kids to play with, finally!!!  We will have to put in new carpet and repaint, but luckily we just got a $100 gift card to Home Depot!  I am hoping my husband can do the carpeting - he installed the hardwood floors just he and his dad, so I do not think carpeting will be a big issue - and we can probably pick up some carpet for cheap at the Habitat for Humanity store.  The whole move should not cost us too much, which means hopefully we can do it soon...if all this works out!

    So, say a little prayer that this works out.  Please, oh please, oh please!!!

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Working from Home

    Yesterday my car was in the shop, so I worked from home.  I do not know how people do this!  It was awful for me.  We took the girls to daycare so I could actually work (trying to work from home on snow day = don't even try!).  All day, I felt like I was on speed, and not just because of the 3 cups of coffee I drank!  I would read, think about the laundry, take notes, look at the Christmas tree I need to take down, answer e-mails, program the new DVR remote, etc.  I could not focus!!!  It was ridiculous! 

    I know if I had to work from home, I could.  I would need to create an actual work space, as opposed to the kitchen table, and have set times and such.  But, this random working from home is tough on me.  I feel like I do not get anything done - at home or at "work"!  Bleh!  Then, I came home cranky because all the things I noticed and thought about all day, but did not do because I was working, were staring me in the face.  And, unfortunately, I took out my stress on my husband and kids.  Though, in my defense, the toddler skipped nap, and that seriously makes for a rough evening! 

    Blog Comments!

    Thank you to everyone who commented on yesterday's post!!!  I really enjoyed the response :)

    Now, for a dumb question for my bog-savvy readers...I want to respond to comments left on my blog, but (through testing with my sister today), I realize that I cannot just reply to the e-mail I get.  If a blogger hides his/her e-mail address, how can I respond directly to that person?  Thanks in advance!

    Monday, January 11, 2010


    My husband and I practice Natural Family Planning.  It was something we decided to do based solely on the fact that it is the only Catholic approved "birth control" method.  But, it quickly became more than that - for me especially.  I really liked the natural aspect.  I appreciate that it is all you and your body showing you signs that you can decipher, rather than your antibiotic reacting with your birth control pill.  Plus, it is something you can do all the time - including during breastfeeding.  I know the mini-pill is out there, but I find it creepy to take birth control while breastfeeding - the baby has enough postpartum hormones from the pregnancy alone! 

    Unfortunately, I think the book they give you during the pre-marriage counseling is awful.  And, in an effort to sell NFP, they shortchange you on the amount of learning you have to do.  I found that very frustrating.  It seemed so easy to me, take my temp, check the toilet paper - good to go!  Not so much!  Temperature is a lagging indicator and affected by so much, it cannot be the primary indicator.  Secondly, the toilet paper may or may not give you enough information based on how your mucus works.  Internal checks were briefly discussed, but did not seem necessary.  Because I did not throw myself into learning NFP, I was not too surprised to find out we were pregnant 3 months in to marriage!  And then, breastfeeding totally changes your cycles, so I was not able to really get back into a groove before getting pregnant again. 

    Luckily, I stumbled across this highly touted book:  Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  My friend turned me on to this awesome charting website:  Fertility Friend.  After the baby was born, I read and studied and practiced abstinence for so long I thought we would both go crazy!  But I learned.  And I freaking love what I learned!  I am committed to doing internal checks - something that totally freaked out my "never owned/wanted a vibrator, I'll stay out of there, thank you" self.  It is the most accurate reading, and it is so simple.  Back when I got pregnant with #3 (who I miscarried), I had a cold and took some Mucinex after I ovulated.  Based on my chart, I figured I was in the clear, even though my mucus said otherwise.  Now, I know I need to listen to what it tells me and remember that the chart is just a reference guide, not my fertility bible. 

    If you are considering NFP, I highly recommend doing it just to see how great it can be to go all natural and forget about hormones!  If you have any questions, let me know.  I am no expert on NFP, but I do know some people who have been doing it for a while and could answer anything I cannot. 

    Now we are considering the Creighton Model.  The class is expensive, but I heard it is worth it, so we are considering...Anyone heard anything about this model?  Anyone use it?  If so, comment with your review!

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Another follow up appointment???

    The OB called yesterday to say they need me to come back in (again) for a follow up internal exam.  Apparently my last one was too full of red blood cells.  Seriously!  I was literally miscarrying the MOST that day, if red blood cells were the problem, they could have saved the lab fees.  I swear, I think I have gone to the doctor as much with this 11 week pregnancy as I did with a normal 9 month pregnancy!

    The really annoying thing...they are open from 9-4:30.  But closed everyday from 12-1:30 for lunch.  Seriously!  What is so ridiculous is that this is pretty standard for doctors offices around here.  I wish I could do that - I will be here all day, but you can only contact me during the 6 most inconvenient times of the day, good luck!  Ha!

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Facebook Friends?

    One of the teachers in the baby's room at daycare Facebook friended my husband and I.  That act alone was weird to me.  I have plenty of co-workers as Facebook friends, but this just seemed strange to me.  Then I checked out her wall, because, you know, I am a total stalker.  She has two kids - one 8 year old, who does not live with her, and one 2 year old, who does live with her and is in the other (not the toddler's) 2's classroom.  Apparently she is pregnant again.  She does not live with the father - he lives across the country and they are not even in a relationship, although he fathered the two year old and this baby.  So, there are a lot of melodramatic statuses about this odd relationship.  There are also lots of posts about how she cannot make rent or pay utilities.  So I feel bad for her and for her daughter, who I know.  But, at the same time, I do not have money to hand out, and I do not even know her that well.  It is not that I think she Facebook friended us to ask for money; however, I cannot help but notice these statuses (they now show up in my news feed) without feeling bad.  It is just awkward.  I mean, I pick up the baby and see her and I am thinking "I know her story, but I should not know it so I am not going to say anything about anything.  I will wait until she is really showing to congratulate her on her pregnancy.  Does she think it is weird that I have not said anything?  AAAHHH!" 

    Well, yesterday, her status was "looking for new work".  She did not post the story, but did make a few comments that gave away she was fired.  I do not want to know why.  I really like our daycare, and while I am sure lots of stuff I would hate go on behind the scenes, I really, truly, do not want to know them.  So, I do not want to know.  But, I feel like I should say something.  But, what?  "Sorry to hear you lost your job.  My kid really liked you."  I think I will let my husband send her a message and I will just stay out - he is more social anyway! 

    What I am saying is this is weird.  I should just hide her posts and forget we are friends.  I cannot unfriend her - that would be so harsh.  Right?  Do you have any weird Facebook friends?  Do you think this is even weird?

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Dish-washing Woes

    Don't you hate it when you run the dishwasher, but don't unload it right away, and then the dishes pile up and by the time you get to them, the dishwasher is full and you have to run it again?  That happens to me way too often.  Ugh!

    Happy New Year!

    I know it is a bit late, but Happy New Year blog readers!

    Normally I do not do resolutions.  What is the point?  Am I really going to do it more because it is called a resolution?  No.  But, this year is different.  I resolved to do some things and decided that I would wait until the new year to do them.  Before we found out we were pregnant, things seemed (and I realize history rewrites itself) to be going along splendidly.  We had a great debt payoff plan, were sticking to a budget, I was doing great with the cleaning and cooking, and everything seemed to be moving smoothly along.  Then we got pregnant, I got depressed, stressed, and exhausted, and we have been treading water ever since.  Once the miscarriage was over, I started to get my energy back and to realize how much I had let go.  So I resolved to get us back to where we were.  But, since it was holiday season and our schedules would be wacky, I decided to wait for the new year to start doing.  So, here goes...

    1.  We will eat out only one dinner per week, twice if we have a lot going on or company.  Otherwise, I will cook.  I will not cook every night, but will cook enough to cover dinner for two or three nights, and will make leftovers of different things to take for lunch.

    2.  We will pay off all of our credit cards by the end of the year - there are currently 4 (we paid one off last year!)

    3.  My husband will move his business out of the house.  And we will have enough available credit cash in the bank to repaint and carpet the basement so we can make it into a play room!  No more toys all over the living room and kitchen!

    4.  We will finish the banisters, fix the broken front window, remodel the half-bath, and repaint the main floor.

    5.  I will de-clutter and organize two spaces a month.  And keep them that way!

    6.  I will clean a little bit every day or a lot every other day - no more putting things off for days at a time until it is too overwhelming.

    Nothing too drastic.  Everything here is do-able, which is the plan.  Here's hoping this year - and this decade - are as great as the last!