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Archive for January, 2013

Everywhere I turn lately, another friend or family member is struck with cancer. One of my neighbors just lost her mom to cancer earlier this week, and another was just diagnosed with a brain tumor so serious, that she’ll be lucky to live another 6 months, leaving behind a husband and two young girls. I can’t imagine. So I cope the only way I know how. I make cupcakes for them. Which is where this little poem came from. 

IF CUPCAKES COULD CURE CANCER

If cupcakes could cure cancer

No children would ever get sick

I’d quit my job and start a bakery

So cancer’s ass I could kick

I’d whip up every delicious flavor

From chocolate to lemon cream pie

And I’d give a bunch to my neighbor

So she won’t have to tell us goodbye

Yeah if cupcakes could cure cancer

It would be a tasty remedy

Much better than that poison they give them

The one called chemotherapy

And if only cupcakes could cure cancer

We’d need to start eating our Wheaties

Because next thing you know, there’d be a big increase

in the cases of diabetes

But cupcakes can’t cure cancer

They can only bring a little smile

For a friend or family member who’s hurting

Because they only have a little while

So I won’t quit my job to make cupcakes

Though that does sound pretty neat

But I’ll make them for friends who are suffering

Because they’re still a quite tasty treat

 

 

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Eight Months

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Weight/Length: At least 20 lbs but we haven’t had a doc appointment since early December so I’m not sure. No clue on length but he’s definitely in 9-12 month footie pajamas so I’d say longer than average.

Sleep: Still great. Goes down around 8:30pm and gets up around 8am. Averaging 3 naps a day, between 30-60 min each. Though I think that’s about to change because the last couple of days, he’s been reluctant to go down for naps, so I think he’s about to drop one.

Feeding: We’ve finally worked our way back up to two big pureed meals per day, usually at his noon and 4pm feedings. The problem? He refuses most veggies except squash or unless it’s hidden in a serving of fruit and oatmeal. He’ll eat just about any fruit though. And we have to keep our cabinets stocked with pureed prunes so baby D stays regular, usually giving him a serving of that every other day. Something new we discovered this month: D is allergic to corn. Or rather, he just can’t digest it yet. The first time we tried feeding him sweet potatoes and corn back in December, he vomited but we didn’t know if the food cause it or the fact that he’d also just gotten his boosters and first dose of flu shot. We assumed it was a shot reaction. We didn’t try the sweet potatoes and corn again until last week and just a couple of hours after feeding it to him, he threw up all over himself in the car seat when we were on our way to dinner. I still ride in the back seat with him most of the time so I told the hubs to just turn the car around and head home. It was bath time. Other than the vomiting though, no serious reaction, so we’re just staying away from all things corn for awhile.

Developments:  He sits like a pro now, and loves banging his bocks together to make sound. He’s also starting to clap, though he gets frustrated that his hands don’t make the same sounds ours do when we clap. His babbling is starting to sound more like real words, though he refuses to even attempt “mama” or “dadda” when asked. He does know who we are though. If I askhim, “Where’s dadda?” he’ll look for him. It’s downright adorable. The other day I watched him use his pincer grasp to pick something up so I know he’s capable of that now. His favorite activity right now is to smack things, though. My arm, my leg, daddy’s chest, the desk, the table, his own leg – whatever makes a smacking sound. I guess that’s his way of clapping and getting the same noise.  He also grabs for EVERYTHING now. If we take him out to eat, we have to move everything VERY far away from his reach or else he’ll grab it – and fast. He notices everything now.

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Clapping his blocks together

Firsts This Month: First New Year’s Eve, first intentional clapping, first time using a sippy cup, first time sitting in a restaurant’s high chair, first sporting event (his 8 year-old cousin’s championship basketball game), his first taste of a lemon (hilarious), giving mama his first big, open mouthed kiss, and today – on his 8 month birthday – his FIRST HAIRCUT!! (post to come on that)

Likes: Dogs are still his favorite. He just thinks they’re hysterical. He also still LOVES his Baby Einstein DVDs. Whenever the little Disney intro music starts, his whole body convulses in excitement and he will practically flip himself around to look at the TV. He also loves the Ellen Show. He sees a lot of it, so I guess he has no choice, but he will sit and watch it with me. Baths are still tons of fun for him, and he still gets excited whenever I pull out his bedtime books. Clapping is very exciting to him, and even though I’m sure he thinks I do WAY too much of this, he actually kind of likes having the bottoms of his feet kissed. (In my defense, baby feet are the cutest and I can’t help myself – I HAVE to kiss them. All the time. Have to.) His daddy likes to kiss him on the back of the neck, which must really tickle because he tenses up and scrunches his shoulders while laughing.

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Watching Ellen. Also note: The Hair.

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Smiling at Ellen. I mean…COME ON!

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Watching Baby Einstein. Hi Mommy!

Dislikes:  Boredom, boogers, being tired or hungry, not being picked up IMMEDIATELY when we enter his room.

What I’m Thankful For: My little cuddler! Last month I said my little guy wasn’t much of a snuggler. Well that has either changed or I didn’t realize what he was doing was snuggling. Probably the latter because, just like his momma, he’s not a gentle cuddler. Oh no. We hug and kiss with FORCE. He will grab my arm and dive face-first with all his might into my shoulder, letting out an ear piercing squeal when he does it. Sometimes he’ll just lay his head down on my shoulder while I’m holding him, but that’s not his typical style. He likes to grab us and waller us, planting a giant, open-mouthed kiss right on us. If you think about it, that’s exactly what we do to him most of the time too, so he’s just reciprocating, but it took me awhile to recognize that’s what he was doing. I just thought he was a bit of a spaz at first. ha! That said, he’s also been more cuddly in the traditional sense too. Falling asleep on me sometimes, laying his head down on me when I’m carrying him around the house. I just eat it all up.

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What I’m Looking Forward To:  I really can’t wait for him to start saying his first words. Of course, if he winds up saying “dadda” more than “mamma” then I’ll be disappointed, but really, just imagining his little voice saying our names sounds so incredibly sweet to me.

How Mommy’s Doing: The pump was officially packed away this month. I pumped a couple more times right around New Year’s and about a week or two after, but that was it. I went from pumping twice a day, to once a day, then to once every 36 hours, then 48 hours, then every 3 days, and finally once a week and then done. Weaning was definitely a process, and while I hate forking over so much money for formula now, I’m still really glad the pumping is over. My body is finally my own again. Weight Watchers is going pretty well, and I treated myself to a little makeup splurge the other day so I’m all set on my favorite makeup for the next 6 months.

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friends

As I alluded in yesterday’s post, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on a variety of levels. Today, I’ll focus on my perspective on friendships.

I’ve always been a pretty social person. You could say it was apparent as early as first grade when my teacher tried every possible (and still legal) tactic to try and stop me from chatting up my fellow classmates. I was placed in a different seat almost every day because she thought who I sat next to mattered to me. It did not. If they had two ears, they were getting talked to. (Side note: there was ONE boy that I didn’t chat as much with. He was weird, picked his nose, and smelled like pee. I was polite to him, but I pretty much lived in fear that the pee running down his leg was going to get on my shoes. And since I was relatively quiet around him, I ended up sitting next to him for about half the year.)

Flash forward to high school and things didn’t change much. I had my best friends, but I generally liked almost everyone. I never had problems finding people to sit with at lunch, or in a class. I didn’t play sports or cheer; I wasn’t particularly good looking or talented; but I wasn’t picked on or made fun of either. I just flocked from group to group, often the 3rd or 5th wheel in social circles. Generally liked but never identifying with a particular clique.

As for college, well, this was when friendships became a disaster for me. Long story short, I isolated myself in many ways. My best friend at the time ended up going away to college with me, and we made the unfortunate mistake of sharing a dorm room together. I don’t care who you are, but if you put two girls as close as sisters in a room the size of a closet, who are learning how to respect personal space at the same time, there will be fights. Everyone told us not to live together. Everyone. But we didn’t listen and by second semester, we all but hated each other and spent an entire summer not really speaking. What few friends we made in the dorms, she ended up keeping. She was always better at making friends anyway. Instead, I turned to guys and ended up in a 3-year long-distance relationship. And so goes the rest of my college years – spent on the phone or online, taking trips to visit the boyfriend, and therefore making zero effort to develop friendships with the people around me.  I didn’t play sports or music; I didn’t join a sorority; I didn’t even go to church. I had a couple of friends I could rely on to accompany me to the occasional party or two, but that was it. In short, I hated college.

But that was more than 9 years ago. I still kept a couple of close friends from high school, but I was eager to move on with my life post-college. I broke things off with the boyfriend and by summer 2004, my social life was FULL. As in, I’m-dating-two-guys-and-living-with-two-girls-so-I-party-every-night kind of life. It was awesome. I also lost about 20 lbs and was skinnier and happier than ever. I had my old friends, my new work friends, and friends of friends to hang out with whenever I wanted. It was fun, but also exhausting. Shallow, meaningless, and self-indulgent compared to life now, but that’s probably why it was so fun at the time.

And then I met my now-husband and I fell into my typical pattern of alienating most friends when a new guy was around. I can’t help it. I’ve just always been one of those girls. We still hung out with people, mostly his work friends or my work friends, but we also just liked spending time together. After less than 9 months of dating, we got engaged. Then it was wedding planning time in tandem with house-hunting time and then puppy-adopting time and suddenly, I didn’t have much time for friendships. I could count on two hands the number of friends that were invited to our wedding. Everyone else was family. As we created our new life together, I shed my old one like a snake sheds its skin. “I’ll make new friends,” I said. “Couples friends that we BOTH like. Friends we can go on vacation with and do double-dates with and have game nights with.”

Except, we were only 24 and 26 years old. And in this day and age, that’s a tad young to be getting married. We didn’t know any couples our age and it would be awhile before we met any. Besides, where do you go to meet couples friends? Match.com should get on something like that. Couplesfriends.com or something. Except that sounds like a site for swingers.

To make things even more difficult, my husband traveled about 75% of the time off and on for the first few years of our marriage. When he was home, it was “our time,” which left little availability for hanging out with friends. We would go months without ever seeing our closest friends. And with a dog at home that needed letting out, it’s not like I could take many people up on happy hour offers.

It’s easy to look back and see it all this way now. How time and circumstance kept us from developing deeper, meaningful friendships with others. But for the last several years, it’s never felt that way. I always felt left out. I would look at Facebook and see groups of people I knew hanging out together and I would get jealous. Jealous I wasn’t invited (to a child’s first birthday party when were were still childless). Jealous I didn’t have such a large group of friends to go to a concert with (when I already declined multiple invites to watch a friend’s band play). Most of my jealousy was pretty irrational, but again, it didn’t feel that way at the time.

I’m now 30 years old and as of Jan 30th, a mom for 8 whole months. Life is different now, and time is even more precious than it was before. So after years and years of feeling like my friendship circle just wasn’t big enough, I’ve finally come to realize that it is. I have lots of people I can email with, grab lunch or coffee with, and just generally shoot the shit. But there are only a couple of gals that I feel are my best friends (and their husbands too), that I talk with at least a couple times a week, if not almost every day. And I’m ok with that. If I somehow acquire more super close friends? Great! But if not? My life is not empty or friendless and I need to stop thinking that it is. It’s taken me years to finally overcome my friendship insecurities and be grateful for the few close friends that I have. They’re the kind of friends that I can talk to about anything without judgement. They know me better than most, and they still like me despite my flaws and our differences. And that’s really something.

Best of all, this self-reflection has helped me to stop feeling guilty and empty. The only thing I feel guilty about now is wasting so much time and brain space comparing my friendships to others. The problem was never with me, and I certainly don’t have a lack of friends. It was simply a case of lost perspective. That thing that happens when you look at others through just the Facebook lens and think their life is better than yours. It’s not.  And I finally realize that now.

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Weekend and Weigh-In

Oh how I love the weekends! Unlimited snuggles with my favorite little boy. Goofing around with my husband. Catching up on my DVR. That’s what my weekends are made of and I just love them so much.

This weekend we ventured downtown to the St. Louis Auto Show. We’re in the market for a new SUV so we thought this would be a great way to check out the latest models all under one roof. We spent a little more than 2 hours hopping in and out of vehicles and by the end of it all, I think we’re even more conflicted on what to buy than we were before. We absolutely LOVED the Buick Enclave, but holy smokes is it expensive. Other favorites include the Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, GMC Acadia, and Chevy Traverse. Ideally, we’ll get something with an accessible third row that also lays flat so we don’t always have to board our dog when we go out of town. Something spacious with room to grow with our family.

Basically, a van that isn’t a van.

D approved of this red truck, but we had to explain to him that it’s not very practical.

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Anyway, I’ve been doing a bit of navel gazing lately, mostly about life, parenting, money & career, health, the pursuit of happiness, and friendships. Broad topics, I know, but that’s just where my head is lately – jumping from big picture to big picture. I’m constantly trying to “trim the fat” from my life, in every sense of the phrase.

In regards to parenting, I’ve been stepping away from the weekly Bump and BabyCenter emails, and have swapped out my Baby Development books for guilty pleasures like US Weekly or a Chelsea Handler book. My baby is happy and healthy and developing just fine, but I get too caught up in the tiny milestones like crawling, talking, and teething that I work myself up into thinking something is wrong with my child.

Newsflash to myself: Just because someone else’s kid crawls faster than yours doesn’t mean they’re the next Einstein. It just means they have to babyproof earlier.

Besides, your kid has more hair than any baby on the planet and already LOOKS like Einstein. See?

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And enjoy those lack of teeth as long as possible. Gummy grins are the cutest anyway.

Maybe I’ll dive a little deeper on the other topics in the near future, but for now, let’s skip ahead to the literal “trimming of the fat” shall we?

Week 4: -1.2 lbs

Total lbs lost: 6.4 lbs

Total lbs to go: 33.6 lbs

So it looks like I’m not averaging 2 lbs a week, and while a tiny bit of me is disappointed by that, I’m SO HAPPY to see another loss. Especially since I FINALLY dropped a tens digit. The truth is, I could probably work a bit harder. I haven’t worked out AT ALL. I’ve been hit or miss with tracking points because I’m still allowing myself to live my life and not force friends or family to adjust their habits based on my diet. I’m making better choices most of the time, and I’m back to tracking this week, but I know there’s room for improvement and seeing a tiny drop is just enough motivation to keep me going, so for that, I’m thankful.

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It’s no secret that I’m not a great cook. Without a recipe, I’m pretty much useless in the kitchen. I think it all stems from growing up with the only grandma in the world that didn’t know how to cook. I can only recall two dishes that she would make that I would even eat as a kid – chili and chicken & dumplings. Once I went away to college, I dabbled with her chili recipe a bit, basically just omitting the onions and tomatoes she would often add and I would always pick out and throw away. So if you’re looking for a quick and easy chili recipe, you’ve come to the right place. My husband LOVES it. I’ve made it at least once a month every fall and winter that we’ve been together. I also make it for parties or large family dinners, and the leftovers taste even better the next day. Best of all, it’s Weight Watchers friendly (about 5-6 pts for 1 cup).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lbs lean ground turkey or beef, thawed
  • 2 cans of chili beans (I use Brooks brand most of the time)
  • 1 short can of tomato sauce
  • 1 packet of chili seasoning

Brown the ground beef/turkey in a large pot over medium-high heat and drain it. If you get the leanest meat there is, then it’s okay to be lazy and skip the draining step.

Add beans, tomato sauce and chili seasoning and stir. Cover with a lid and continue cooking for about 10 minutes over medium heat. If it starts to boil, turn down the heat.

Add a few shakes of hot sauce to make it spicy; put in a bowl and top with cheese and crackers; add veggies like onions or tomatoes during the cooking process if you’re into that sort of thing; WHATEVER. This is just the basics and you really can’t screw it up as long as you have those four basic ingredients above.

So now you all have my secret recipe for the best chili ever.

And while we’re all here, let’s do the weekly weigh-in (two days late because we were out of town until Monday night).

Week 3: -1.8 lbs
Total lbs lost: 5.2 lbs
Lbs to go: 34.8 lbs

When I saw the number this week, I didn’t believe it. I stepped on and off the scale at least 4 times and checked to make sure the scale was level. After the way I ate all weekend, I was sure I was going to see a gain this week. Honestly, I just think my bad eating hadn’t caught up with me yet. So I’ll take the loss this week, but I won’t be surprised if things aren’t so great next week. As far as any visible changes, my husband commented that my butt looked smaller, so that’s always nice. And one of my black work pants with a “tummy control” panel were actually a little loose, so I’d say I’m on the right track. I just have to remind myself that slow and steady wins the race, and to not let myself get discouraged if I don’t drop 10 lbs in a month.

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A Sea of Babies

Sometimes I say stuff to my husband that makes him look at me funny.

One thing I love to say, because it’s so true, is how much I just want to swim in a sea of babies. Not just any babies though. MY baby. A million baby Ds. Ok, maybe not a million, and maybe not a sea of them, but a bed full of baby Ds would be awesome.

Because then I could do THIS all the time.

And how awesome would that be?

Answer: Very awesome.

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Just because my husband and I now answer to “mommy” and “daddy” doesn’t mean we can’t be spontaneous.

At 10am Friday morning, my husband texted me to ask about our plans for the weekend. Of course, we didn’t have any. Well, that’s not completely true. I had grand plans of sleeping, cleaning, and organizing. But no major commitments otherwise. Plus, my office closed early at 3pm and we had MLK Jr. Day off so we were staring down the barrel of a nice, long, peaceful weekend.

He texted again: “Want to go to Louisville?”

Not the question I was expecting, and definitely not my idea of a vacation destination, but apparently there was a big basketball game happening on Saturday and the hubs wanted to go, and possibly have my step-dad and his dad meet us there. After a few phone calls, some logistics planning and ticket pricing, the basketball game plans quickly dissolved. But you know what you can’t do? You can’t dangle the possibility of seeing your family in front of them, especially when it includes the possibility of them seeing their youngest grandson, and expect them to not be disappointed if you change your mind.  It’s just cruel and virtually impossible to shake the guilt of getting their hopes up. So the plans went from hanging out in Louisville to just passing through Louisville on our way to my in-laws’ house. A 9-hour drive, just like we did on Thanksgiving and for Christmas, with a 7 month old. So that’s 3 times in just 2 months – the most we’ve EVER seen them in the 8+ years we’ve been together.

Basically, we’re spoiling them and I hope they don’t come to expect these visits every month. Because WOW is it hard. Between the packing and unpacking of all the stuff, the cost of boarding our dog, the cost of gas and food on the road, and the inconvenience of messing with the baby’s schedule – it’s just a lot of work. To hang out with my inlaws for the 3rd time in two months, meaning we’ve spent 10 overnights with them out of the last 50 days. VOLUNTARILY.

Do you see where I’m going this? I mean, are my qualifications for Wife of the Year not clear yet? I didn’t even protest this trip in the slightest. That’s just how awesome I am. (Kidding.) (Not really.)

So that’s what we did. Our wild and crazy spontaneous weekend getaway was an impromptu trip to my inlaws. And the highlight? Watching a bunch of 2nd and 3rd graders play basketball. Although, it was their “championship” game, so I guess that’s sort of a big deal.

So all you childless folks, take note. Even after you have kids, you can still pack up your (many, many) bags, and head out of town at a few hours moment’s notice, straight across the country to a relative’s house where you spend your days watching little league and your nights blowing your Weight Watchers points on pizza and chocolate chip cookies because no one else is on a diet or concerned about diabetes. Welcome to your future.

 

 

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