Thursday, August 20, 2015

About Being the Mom in Photos.

I've chattered on before about how I've never been one for being in photos. I've hidden my body behind things, covered my face, shied away from the camera. 

I regret so many of those photos untaken, memories that weren't logged into a visual catalog, moments wasted thinking I wasn't deserving of being in a photo.

It's different now. I refuse to sit back and miss out on opportunities to be in photos with my baby boy.Where I used to see hair out of place, under eye circles, wrinkles, bodily imperfections, and more I now see someone who is loved, someone who is happy to spend 1am rocking a baby back to sleep, someone who has worked hard to shut down that inner criticism that ruled her mentality for too many years. I see someone who takes chances, who loves fully, who hugs tightly, who laughs loudly.

I see someone who is happy.

I'm learning to love myself, flaws and all, one photograph at a time.

Friday, August 7, 2015


My super boy.
I am currently...
....eating hot sauce and sriracha all day every day. I found a pin this week for sriracha ramen with green onions and can't stop thinking about it.
...making the usual progress around this old house. My one-chore-a-day mentality is working. Some days I manage to scrub every inch of the living room with a toothbrush or go through all my clothes to weed out things for donations but other days I only have time to wash Rowan's bottles. It's all progress.
...listening to old school Ryan Adams. I found the Demolition CD in my car about a month ago and I just can't stop. I love him so much and that album is one of the tippy tippy tops.
...reading nada at the moment, unfortunately, unless magazines count (and even then I have a stack of those being ignored too). Once I have some time I may pick up Gone Girl and jump on that train about three years too late.
...watching Gilmore Girls from the beginning. It's like falling in love all over again and I want to move to Stars Hollow. How good is that show? Ugh, I love it so much.
...loving air conditioning! Now that ours is fixed, I am so grateful for it. Those two days with a house standing still at 89 degrees was basically the worst. Sweat 4 dayz.
 ...looking forward to the weekend and enjoying this summery afternoon with my tiny main squeeze! We are hitting a local splashpad and having a picnic with two of our favorites then we're taking care of some errands and making time for play. Just play. Finger painting, maybe a movie, swinging on our backyard swing. After my stress-full post yesterday, I am eyes-wide-open that I need to make more time for fun. Tomorrow I have date night with Rhyno and plan to actually use it as a date...not a night cleaning the house. 
Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

How to Deal with Stress.

I used to have this friend who constantly talked about how stressed she was. "I'm SO stressed" was her life's mantra and it was exhausting. Know people like that? Then you are picking up what I'm laying down.

Over the last couple weeks, I've realized that I am becoming the stress case. I am constantly thinking and worrying and wasting time stressing out over everything. Truth be told, there IS a lot going on in my life with work, relationships, child rearing, and the like but ick, enough already with the S word. I'm sure the people around me have noticed and I, ever trying to be self-aware, have definitely noticed. As I tried to fall back to sleep around 3am after feeding the baby last night, my mind started reeling. Remembering something I read years ago, I decided to jot what was bothering me down and have since decided to take a next step and see what I could do to remedy these issues.

Stress: Having #HomeownerProblems
  When we were house hunting, I fell in love with the charms of having an older home--the nooks and crannies and the unique personality each older home had. Now that I live in an old home I realize that shit falls apart. In a matter of weeks our lawnmower broke (with a big yard to manage this is a travesty), our dishwasher broke, our air conditioning stopped working, our guest toilet began having troubles, AND our master bath (which is currently under renovations) started leaking into our basement. WOOF! Partner this with the fact that we are in the midst of going through our home and purging the junk and I just feel overwhelmed and have fallen out of love with our little space.
Solution: Tackle one thing at a time and fix the things that need fixin' first (like our air conditioning during the sweaty armpit that is summer heat). It's so easy to feel overwhelmed when you step back and realize there are 865 projects to be done. I decided to make a super detailed list of all the cleaning, fixer upper, and DIY projects that I'd like to get done before the year ends and I am slowly ticking things off my list. My goal is to do one home project every weekday--even if that "project" is just cleaning off my vanity, that's an accomplishment.

Finding Work/Life Balance (or  Being Overworked/Underlifed)
I used to joke that I was a recovering workaholic but I don't think I qualify as being "in recovery" anymore. As a freelancer, I live my work life in feast more or famine mode. Right now I am in "feast," and while this is amazing and I feel grateful to have the opportunity to be working. I just stress myself out when I don't create boundaries. I feel like a bad mom when I am working with Rowan playing next to me, I feel like a bad worker when I close my laptop to focus on bath time when I have a looming deadline. For months in a row I've worked from breakfast until bedtime with short breaks in between, which is unhealthy for all involved.
Solution: Boundaries. It's okay to turn down projects and it's also okay to ask someone to come watch the baby for an hour while I tackle some writing. I am learning to take advantage of the time Rhyno is home, allowing him to hang with the baby solo while I really get in some productive work hours.

 Having the Lonely Girl Blues
I mostly work at home. My husband works second shift. I live somewhat far out from family and the bulk of my friends. I am solo the majority of my week and though I am someone that definitely thrives on alone time, it can be a lonely pill to swallow.
Solution: Make more plans with people, plain and simple. With a hectic work schedule, I've taken to not making plans. No. I need to make time to go do fun things and meet up with all my lovers...well not really get me. Also, two of my best friends live on my street within view of my house. Next time I mopey about being lonely, I can walk my happy ass down the street.

Being a Parenting Noob
I'm a new-ish mom and second guess a lot of my own parenting. Should I feed him more? Less? Should I wear him forever? If I pick him up when he's acting like this, am I rewarding bad behavior? Is it bad that I gave him Tylenol for his teeth twice this week? He isn't in his own room and now he'll live in my basement forever and people will make fun of him and call him Norman Bates and THIS IS THE END OF THE WORLD.
Solution: Calm the eff down. I try to remind myself often that I am doing the best I can and he's a happy, healthy baby. He is loved and I am trying and that's what matters most.

Ultimately, if I can work to change it then that's what I need to do. If I can't change it then I need to stop worrying about it.

How do you handle life's worries and stresses?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Plan, Some Goals, and Determination.

I've made no bones about it that I am on the road to getting healthy. Though I've come to appreciate my body and stopped saying, "EW!" every time I look in the mirror, I have firm resolve to get healthy for my sake and to set a good example for the baby. 

The thing is with nursing and working a lot and having a small human depending on you it can be kind of difficult to remember to take care of yourself (is it just me?). Instead of making a drastic calorie cut or telling myself I'm going to work out for 90 minutes a day (pretty unattainable for me at this point), I've made a few goals that will help me drop the excess pounds and boost my overall well being.

Some reasonable, daily goals:

Water, water, water
I've mentioned before, but I've always been great about drinking water. Lately, I have had more days than not that I realize it's 1pm and I've had maybe 8 ounces. I'm shooting for at least 100 ounces a day, every day, no excuses.
Curbing alcohol intake
Since Rowan is nursing less, I've allowed myself to imbibe a bit more than a glass of wine or two at least once a week. A small glass of red wine after baby's bedtime here and a nice glass of white with dinner there...those calories add up (not to mention that alcohol makes me bloat instantly). I'm limiting myself to one glass of wine per week maximum. 
10,000 Steps
I am a FitBit lover, total step geek, and all around nerd. Though I've had my FitBit lovingly clipped to my underoos for months, I've barely tried to hit my daily goal. Working from home and sitting while nursing make it a bit more difficult to hit that recommended 10,000 steps a day goal but I'm making an effort. 

Cut out/cut down on processed sugar
I know this to be true: when in doubt, eat real food. In the effort of saving time, there are days where I skip my usual spirulina smoothie and grab a cereal bar instead. A cereal bar. So sugar and pretty empty calories that don't do much to fill me up. Or I find myself mindlessly eating store-bought trail mix at 10pm. Rhyno, Type 1 diabetic, has also made a resolve to cut down on processed garbage.
One of my favorite girls, Molly, and I have made a little pact to keep one another accountable for the goals we've set (check out her post about it here). I'm also staying on track with MyFitnessPal and continuing to log every bite (are you on MFP? let's hook up!).

Here's to health!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Baby Talk: Teething Problems.

Here's a newsflash that will be news to no one: teething stinks.

Ro-bot has been in the midst of teething for what seems like eternity. I feel like every couple of weeks I'm announcing to the world that he is teething and then...nada. Though he is still all gums, most people have told us that this is how it goes with some kids.Some days he's a-okay and others he is les mis. During the rough days, I've been trying any and everything to help my babe find relief and rest.

 Some of my already-tried tricks:

Amber Teething Necklace/Bracelet
This seems to be the IT thing right now and in a bout of sleep-deprived desperation, I totally bought one. I'm actually not sure how much good it actually does but Ro rocks it anyway (plus how hippie cute do babies in amber necklaces look?). 

Cold fruit/teethers/anything
Our mesh chewer is one of my favorite things and when Rowan seems particularly miserable we stuff that thing full of super cold pineapple or strawberry and let him have at it. He's a fruit-asaurus so it seems to bring temporary relief/distraction. I've also tried ice cold gripe water and my little gripe-lover responded pretty well.

Nursing. Lots of nursing.
I'm very happy that Rowan is still happy to nurse and sometimes hang time with mom is the cure-all. Even though on rough nights this means I get about twenty seconds of sleep at a time...

If all else fails....Tylenol
I try hard not to pump Ro full of Tylenol after his vaccinations or teething. If there are other things that will work, I try them first but sometimes this is the answer. When his teething discomfort is at its most intense the answer is usually a warm lavender bath, a bit of Tylenol, and a bit of nursing with lots of snuggles. 

What are your best tips for dealing with teething?

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Letter to Rowan, 9 Months.

 Dear Rowan,

You’re NINE months! You’ve almost officially been on Earth longer than you were in my tummy and that makes me feel all the feelings.

You celebrated your first 4th of July and you saw fireworks for the first time. Your face lit up and your little noise protector headphones made you look like a tiny DJ. We had a block party and, man, you love watching big kids. When you are more mobile I know you'll be tearing it up with all your friends in the neighborhood (including your future BFF who is due September 23rd, Mommy's BFF is having a baby boy!).
You went on your very first vacation! We went to Tennessee and Florida and you were a freaking rock star. You are truly a kid who works best when we don’t impose a strict schedule, your vacation days were filled with adventures and really good naps and seeing lots of new things and sleeping really well at nighth. You saw the ocean for very first time and it was crazy magical. You flapped your hands and smiled your big smile when we got to the beach….then you got splashed with some salty water and you were very over it. You also went in a swimming pool for the first time and you are quite the little fish. When we got home we kept waiting for you to realize that vacation was over and you were back to your boring, old routine and pitch a fit but you didn’t. You take to change pretty well in that way.

You’re still partially co-sleeping. It works best for you and for me though I am slowly transitioning you to your crib for longer naps and bigger chunks of time at night. I laugh when I think about how I was so adamant that at six months you’d be in your own room full time. You still nurse quite a bit at night (you're usually up at least twice between 9:30pm and 7am) and you are the world’s lightest sleeper (we started having to take Violet's collar off at bedtime because she kept waking you up with all her jingling and jangling), but I have no doubt you’ll be hanging in your crib by yourself before month’s end.

It’s crazy to me to think about how different you’ll be by the end of the month because I feel like you’ve completely changed in the last few weeks. You are CRAWLING! You’re an army crawler so you look a bit like a tiny zombie but, boy, you are on the move. You sit up on your own and love to hang out on the fluffy rug in the front room surrounded by toys and Violet. Daddy and I have started doing more activities with you like finger painting and little puzzles. You are in this really cool, exploratory stage where you like to feel and see and listen to everything. You love to run your hands over the wooly sheep in your Feel & Read farm animal book and you turn every object over and over in your little hands. You are a big Sesame Street fan and your face lights up when you hear Mickey Mouse's voice. You and I listen to lots of music and your favorites seem to be Murder By Death (much to Daddy's pleasant surprise) and Elvis. Daddy and I bought this little indie band's (Saintseneca) album at a concert a couple months ago and you smile when you hear the clap-clap-clap of the first track fill up the kitchen.

You are still toothless but you are trying new foods—both pureed and just cut up—all over the place. You love Cheerios and start every morning in your high chair feeding yourself bits of bananas and Cheerios while Daddy and I start our day. This time last year you were in my belly and now I'm handing you little plates with dinosaurs on them so you can feed yourself sweet potatoes. Time flies.

Sometimes I look at you and just realize how big you are now, what a personality you have. You are just a sweet kid, you love to snuggle and you have the best laugh. But you seem to feel things to the core of your being--when you are happy, everyone knows it and when you are unhappy...woof...everyone knows that too. You are the master of the hold-your-breath screamfest and sometimes all you want is your Momma. That's okay because sometimes all I want is you, too. 

A few days before you were born I downloaded this app to track all your diaper changes and feedings. I was crazy about it (ask any babysitter, who had to write time what time you were changed and what was in the diaper or what time you ate and how many ounces and how long it took). When you transitioned to eat more solids, I kept up with the tracker and religiously logged all of your bites into it. A couple weeks ago, realizing that it took up a lot of space on my phone (terrible) and you weren't as unpredictable anymore so I deleted it. It's so weird but it felt like the end of your infancy and the beginning of you being a baby. You're not nursing constantly anymore so I don't need to time it and I don't panic anymore if you haven't had a wet diaper in the last couple hours. I feel like it's a small sign that we are in the swing of things. You're my baby and I'm your mom. We've kind of got the hang of this now.

To another month of firsts and changes and milestones and getting closer and closer to your very first birthday. I love you, Bear.