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Archive for March, 2013

Confessions

I don’t love Downton Abbey. There. I said it. (Please don’t thrown rotten vegetables at me.) I gave it a good go. I watched the first two seasons and started recording the third until I had time to watch it. I was finally able to steal a couple of hours the other night to get back into it and…nothing. I wasn’t intrigued. The plot line is slow. The dialogue isn’t funny or entertaining. It’s just…blah. It reminds me of the days I lived with my grandparents and my grandma watched Masterpiece Theater all the time. I hated it. I’m glad to see PBS has a hit show on their hands for once, but I’m just not a fan.

No love for Downton.

And while we’re on the topic of me not liking shows everyone else likes, I’ll also confess that I don’t like The Bachelor. Or The Bachelorette. Or any other matchmaking show. I watched the first couple of seasons of both and that was enough. I suppose I’ve just lost fascination with other people’s love lives. Actually, I guess that’s not entirely true. I still read all the sordid details about celebrity breakups and makeups in my US Weekly. But I still roll my eyes and skip over the stories involving reality TV stars.

Why is this guy always on my magazines?!

I don’t understand the appeal of Bethenny Frankel. I watch a lot of Ellen, mostly because it’s one of the few shoes that I can have on while the baby plays on the floor. No sex, guns, violence – a little inappropriateness now and again, but for the most part, it’s kid-friendly. Anyway, Ellen is a huge Bethenny fan and helped her get her own show, so she’s on there almost every other week it seems. And I just don’t get it. What’s her hook supposed to be? What is it about her that I should be drawn to? It’s not that I dislike her, I just don’t get why she’s famous.

“I don’t get it either.”

If you’re a longtime reader, you know I have a mild obsession with John Stamos. The other night, after an evening that included a 10 minute viewing of a Full House rerun and a glass of wine, I had a dream about Mr. Stamos. A very good dream that I’m certain my husband would not approve of, if I were to tell him. (And I have not. In my dream, I was also conveniently single, so that makes it ok.) Let’s just say I woke up in a better mood than usual.

“So…wanna makeout?”

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Five on Friday

  • Had lunch with the lovely Julie from I Like Beer and Babies. She introduced me to a new Irish restaurant in the Dogtown area of St. Louis called Seamus McDaniel’s. Neither one of us remembered that it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and that area of town goes WILD with the festivities, so it was crowded but worth it. We had buffalo chicken salads (not Irish), nor did we drink a “pint”,  but we sat outside and enjoyed the lovely 70+ degree weather. If only we could’ve said “to hell with work” and stayed out there all day.
  • Did you see what I just said? 70+ degrees? In mid-March? Amazing. Yesterday I saw snow flurries and today I was sweating after a brisk walk to my car. I think it’s going to get cold and nasty again this weekend, but I’ll take what I can get.
  • Last night I went to Time for Dinner again with one of my friends. She brought wine. I can’t think of a better way to be productive during a weeknight than drinking wine and cooking with a friend.
  • My friend Jen and her hubs and son are coming over for dinner on Saturday night. I’m in the mood to be slightly festive, so even though we’re having tacos and key lime cupcakes, the cupcakes will be GREEN. In honor of St. Patty’s Day. What’s great is I can use this exact same meal plan for Cinco de Mayo. Ha.
  • My child is obsessed with this Caesar’s dog food commercial. We’ve played it at least 30 times over the last week and it never fails to get this reaction from him.

Hope your Friday is full of giggles too.

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Think about where you live right now. The house or apartment. The street. The city. The state. Is it where you thought you’d be at this point in your life? Is it where you want to be next year? Five years from now? How about 20?

We bought our home a month before we got married in 2006. In just a couple of weeks, we will celebrate our 7 year anniversary of living in this house. SEVEN. YEARS.

I thought we’d be here five, max.

I’ve talked about how we tried to move to Charlotte a couple of years ago, perhaps only vaguely. It was so horrible that neither of us want to move to Charlotte ever again. Not because we hate Charlotte; it’s a lovely place. We just don’t want to go through that heartbreak again.

But sometimes, just sometimes, I think we should try again. Maybe not Charlotte, no. But somewhere. Somewhere closer to my husband’s family. (Though not TOO close, considering they live in the unhealthiest and saddest city in the country.) Someplace where the housing market isn’t quite as screwed up as it is in St. Louis. Where we can get a nice home in a nice school district that isn’t five times the price of our current home.

But is that all it takes? Being closer to family in a semi-decent job and housing market? Shouldn’t we be dreaming a little…bigger?

Last Sunday the hubs and I (and the baby) drove back from my grandma’s 91st birthday party. A 2.5 hour drive. I brought up moving and threw out terms like “five year plan.” Then I said, “How about San Diego?” and soon we were down a rabbit hole of hypotheticals. The hubs started surfing realtor.com, pointing out this home or that. We talked about the pros and cons, making a verbal list of each. Wouldn’t it be great to live near the beach? In a warmer climate? But could we stand being so far away from family. In order to live in paradise, we’d have to leave everyone behind and spend whatever vacation time we had visiting them. Several flights a year. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

After we got home, we did our bedtime routine and climbed into bed. The hubs got out the iPad to continue exploring this California dream, but for me, something just didn’t feel right and I no longer felt like daydreaming.

Making a pros and cons list only helps with the criteria are of equal importance. But when you’re comparing being within driving distance of LegoLand or your entire family, it’s hard to give the former top billing.

And with that, he put away the iPad.

I’ve never been very good with staying content for very long, so it goes against my nature to admit that things are pretty comfortable right now and that maybe we should just continue to let fate run its course for awhile. So what if that means staying in our house for another 2, 3, 4 years. So what if that means staying in St. Louis for another 2, 10, or 20 years. Life is pretty good right now, and St. Louis truly is a great place to raise a family. I know this. But it’s just so hard to look at someone else’s grass and not think to myself “Is it greener over there?” Especially if that grass is in California, because with average temps in the mid 70s year round, it’s definitely greener.

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Ever since Marisa Mayer (Yahoo!’s CEO) demanded that all work-from-home employees now be present in the office starting this summer, the Internet has been ablaze with articles and opinions on the matter (most of them disagree with her actions). And since I have a blog, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to add my two cents to the discussion.

Working from home, in my opinion, is a privilege. Unless you’re self-employed, then it’s just a means to an end because maybe you’d like to have a separate office somewhere but it’s more cost-effective to stay home. But if you’re a parent who’s trying to have the career, save money, AND be a present parent, then it’s definitely a privilege.

I don’t fully agree with Mayer’s decision, but I’m also not the CEO of Yahoo! and I highly doubt it was an easy decision for her to make. I also don’t buy that it was a decision based purely on the assumption that all of the remote workers were unproductive. I would speculate it had more to do with trimming the fat without forcing layoffs, and putting a very public focus on profitability for shareholders. And in the instances where productivity was the issue, I would fault bad management. Besides, if you’re a company trying to model yourself after the Yahoo! as it currently exists, you’re probably doing it wrong anyway. Ahem.

But here’s where even I surprise myself: I don’t think it’s a bad move to require employees to check into a brick-and-mortar establishment once in awhile.

It’s no secret that I have a moderately flexible work schedule. I’ve been with my current company for nine years now. I think I’ve more than proven myself responsible and have showed my dedication to my workplace. So shortly after I came back from maternity leave, I worked out a schedule that allows me to work from home one day a week. And that day is flexible depending on what I have going on in the office. I still have to get my hours in and I still have to be available and responsive, just like I would be at the office. But instead of taking a Starbucks break, I can go play blocks with my baby for five minutes. My husband is self-employed and works from home so he’s still in charge of things when I’m home, but if he has to go to a meeting, he basically gets one day a week to do outside-of-the-home things. One day a week doesn’t seem like much, but it’s made all the difference in my job satisfaction, and my husband’s satisfaction with our childcare arrangement.

I read a blog post today that dispels the fantasy that working from home is the greatest thing ever, and while I know some of the article was meant in jest, a lot of it was very true. Although I have to say that while I have worked in my PJs before, I still usually get up, take a shower, and get ready for the day like I normally would. I just don’t put on makeup or shoes, but I still wear a bra and clean clothes. Nor do I sit on my couch in front of the TV. I’m usually at the kitchen table in silence, with my phone and notepad at the ready, and my work IM open at all times. The baby and my husband are typically downstairs, or I will set up a mini desk near the baby’s play area if my husband needs to go out for a meeting. I take frequent breaks, but if we’re comparing productivity, I’d say I’m just as – if not more – productive when I work from home. Mostly because I know it’s a privilege and I don’t want to screw it up.

So here’s what we know. Working from home all the time isn’t really a good thing. But not necessarily for the productivity concerns Mayer cites (though I’m sure those exist). The isolation, the mom guilt, and the inability to escape your work are just a few. And working at the office full time, all the time, with no flexibility isn’t a good thing either, for a multitude of reasons (though for a lot of employees, they simply don’t have a choice. You can’t be a truck driver from home, you know. Or be a receptionist for a doctor’s office out of your living room.) But for those of us in fields that just require a laptop and an internet connection, a schedule that allows for both at home and in office work days is the best of both worlds. I wouldn’t want it any other way.*

Do you have a flexible schedule? Do you work from home all the time? I love hearing other perspectives and experiences on the subject.

*Okay so maybe I would want to win the lottery and live in a mansion on the beach and be a SAHM, but unless I can have it THAT way, then I’m perfectly content with how things are right now.

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9 Months

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Goofing around

Weight/Length: 20 lbs exactly and 29 1/2 inches long. Long and lean, greenbean!

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9 month check up

Sleep: We’ve been all over the place this month. He was on a great schedule of 8:30pm until almost 8 am but a cold, a night of vomiting thanks to a new food allergy, and teething have messed that up. Now he goes down closer to 9 or 9:30 pm and still wakes up around 8am. Naps are still mostly predictable with naps around 9:30 am, 1pm, and 5 or 6pm.

Feeding: Things are still pretty much the same here. A morning 8oz bottle of formula, a noon meal of fruit puree and oatmeal followed by a 4oz bottle of formula, a 4pm meal of fruit puree and oatmeal and another 4oz bottle, and then a 7:30pm 8 oz bottle. The kid won’t eat veggies to save his life, and remember how last month we thought he had a corn allergy after we fed him some baby food of sweet potatoes and corn? Turns out, it’s the sweet potatoes he’s allergic to. We found this out the hard way the night my mom arrived. I cooked a plain sweet potato, mashed it up with a little water, and served it to him as his evening meal. About 3 or 4 hours later, I fed him his bedtime bottle and as soon as he finished it, everything came back up, including part of the afternoon’s sweet potatoes. Vomitting continued for about 2 hours, most of it dry heaves after the first 4 or 5 times. There was much cuddling that night and I felt so terrible since I’m the one that fed him the sweet potatoes. And a lot of them. I’m not sure why he suddenly has a food allergy to them considering sweet potatoes were his very first food. He’s had them multiple times and only in the last two months has developed a sensitivity to them.

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Typical day

Developments:  Oh my gosh I don’t even know where to start! He can push himself into a sitting position on his own. He raises his arms when he wants picked up. He takes big boy baths now, unless I need to wash his hair. On those nights, I put him in the baby tub so he will lay his head back. He loves music and dancing in the mirror with daddy. He claps whenever he’s excited, putting that whole “If you’re happy and you know it” song into perspective. So basically, when he wakes up in the morning – clapping. And when he sees mommy or daddy after a few hours away – clapping.  I swear he said his first word – mama – when he was cranky the other night and wanted me to hold him. But the little booger won’t say it on command. I still try daily though. And the most recent development is his one-armed crawling. He inchworms himself along with one arm while kicking his legs and is able to move pretty fast too. We noticed that if we stack his blocks, even just one on top of the other, he insists on knocking them down. It becomes a fixation almost. If he sees stacked blocks, it is his life’s mission to knock them over. And he’s so fast at it that we sometimes will push his hand out of the way to protect it and he just laughs while reaching over with the other hand. You would think a grown adult could easily restrain a baby from knocking over a few blocks but no. This kid is sneaky and smart. He’s also started crying/whining whenever we finish doing something he likes. Such as reading his favorite books. He even knows when it’s just about to end and on the second to last page, he’ll start whining. It’s hilarious and adorable, but only if he stops after five seconds, which he usually does because we’re onto the next thing. He’s also sporting his two bottom teeth – finally. There were a few brutal days in there this month as a result, but they’re in and growing and he’s in a much better mood. Oh and he does this little grunting thing when he wants our attention. He’ll just make faint little “ugh!” sounds while looking at one of us and does it several times until we make eye contact with him. Then he’ll grin. He’s been doing this for a few months now but I failed to mention it before.

But perhaps my favorite development? He gives kisses. Big, sloppy, open-mouthed kisses. Right on my cheek, my nose, my shoulder…whatever is in reach sometimes. And when we do FaceTime while I’m at work? He will even kiss the phone. It looks more like eating the phone, but I’ve seen him try to eat the remote and it’s definitely not the same. He also kisses some of his stuffed animals. It’s stinkin’ adorable. I guess technically he started doing this last month, but it’s just so much more obvious now and I love it!

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Watching some basketball at Buffalo Wild Wings

Firsts This Month: First Super Bowl, first Valentine’s Day, first crawl, first big boy bath, first time in the snow, first official playdate, first tooth, and first word.

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Zonked out toward the end of the Super Bowl

Likes: Anything having to do with the dog. Letting the dog out. Letting the dog back in. Feeding the dog. Watching the dog eat. Watching the dog drink. Obsessed, I tell you. He also loves to play our own little version of peek-a-boo. Basically I hold him and his daddy hides behind me and peeks around my head. So I’ll say “Where’s daddy?” and he’ll look over one shoulder or the other until he sees him. Then he smiles or laughs and I’ll say “There’s daddy!” Then “daddy” will move out of view again and I’ll say “Where’s daddy?” and he leans over the other shoulder to look for him. We could play this game all day long. He loves it! Another favorite is clapping. He claps when he’s happy or excited and looks at us to wait for a response. He’s definitely trying to communicate with his clapping.

*new category* Favorite Songs: Believe it or not, he LOVES Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes. As soon as the cymbals kick in, he grins from ear to ear. He’s also a big fan of Feel Again by One Republic, and Rhianna’s We Found Love. He also likes “kid” songs such as The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Old MacDonald, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the opening Disney theme music, and the Word World theme song.

*new category* Favorite Toys: The cheapest, simplest toys are his favorite. Blocks, plastic stacker rings, stuffed animals. We bought a little duck bath toy that quacks when squeezed and it never fails to get him to smile. But most of all, he loves his books. Baby Woof Woof, Boy of Mine, Bubbles Bubbles, and Goodnight moon are read to him daily. I bought a couple of Easter books already and am slowly going through the collection of books he was given at one of my baby showers.

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In the toy box that his daddy built for him for his first Valentine’s Day

Dislikes:  Usual suspects like being tired, hot, cold, hungry, bored, etc. He also HATES having his boogers sucked out and has screamed at decibles I didn’t even realize were possible for a tiny baby. He’s quickly lost interest in his Baby Einstein exersaucer and pretty much whines as soon as we put him in it, unless I can distract him by blowdrying my hair or doing something else equally as entertaining. He hates all vegetables. Even carrots and squash aren’t his friends. And whenever we stop doing something he likes, whether that’s playing with a toy or ending a book, he’ll whine to let us know of his disapproval.

What I’m Thankful For: It sounds cliche but I’m just so happy he’s growing and thriving right on schedule. He’s figuring things out and I just love watching him learn new things. I’m also looking forward to feeding him more foods and hoping he likes more things than his fruit and oatmeal purees.

What I’m Looking Forward To:  Although we think he said his first words just this week when he said both mama and dada, but I’m excited to hear him say them regularly. I think he knows what they mean, we just have to get him to use them! I’m also looking forward to the spring so we can go on more walks and just do more things outside as a family.

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Waving hi

How Mommy’s Doing: Weight Watchers has been a struggle lately. I wish I had a decent excuse, but is “beer is delicious” a good reason? No? Didn’t think so. I really can’t wait for spring, not just for the family bonding time but so I can get out and MOVE. I have big plans to do some serious yardwork which will definitely help me burn a few calories. And with the days getting longer, we’ll be able to squeeze in a few evening walks at the park during the work week. Hopefully the warmer weather will help get me out of this diet and workout rut.

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Five on Friday

Wow, what a slacker blogger I’ve been lately. I’d love to give you a song and dance about this excuse or that but ya’ll could probably one-up me on the level of busy you’re dealing with in your own lives so I won’t bother. Instead, I give you bullets! Five of ’em. You’re welcome.

1. Did you know food brands still put MSG in their foods? I thought this was just a Chinese food thing. Or Asian food thing. NOPE! I found MSG in Cheetos. CHEETOS! I mean, sure, not the healthiest snack anyway, but MSG? Yikes. What’s up with that?? On the plus side, you can buy “Natural” Cheetos that come in a tan bag (made to look like burlap I guess? Because burlap = natural?) and they taste 1,000 times better than regular Cheetos anyway. So why do regular Cheetos even exist anymore, huh Frito Lay? HUH?!?!

2. Jessica Simpson is looking pretty good these days. How the woman designed and already launched her new maternity line is beyond me. It seems strange that she would already have a maternity line when her first born is only 9 mos old, but maybe she put the gas on it since she was expecting baby #2 so soon and wanted to wear her own stuff? I don’t know. But as much as I hate to admit it, her stuff DOES look pretty cute. There’s no way I’d ever wear heels like these models, and the prices are a tad high, but it’s nice to see a bit more choice in the maternity wardrobe world.

3. I wish there were an easier way to eat grapefruit. I have a grapefruit spoon but even that doesn’t keep me from splattering juice all over my keyboard, monitor, desk and shirt. And thanks to the dozens of tiny seeds lurking in there, my hands always end up sticky from picking them out. Why must you be so tasty and healthy and yet leave me sticky and frustrated, grapefruit? Why? (Apparently I’m on a talking to food kick today. Just go with it.)

4. My favorite post I’ve read this week.

5. This last week was less than enjoyable at work. Frantic emails regarding mundane tasks like invoices and vendor contracts. Things that need to be done but are a huge, giant time suck that do nothing but leave me drained at the end of the day. That, coupled with the less than stellar weather has left me feeling a bit more anti-social this week than usual. So I’m giving myself props that when I was invited to my friend Alyssa’s 30th birthday sushi dinner, I actually went despite considering bailing when I not only forgot my wallet at home, but also got caught in traffic, made a wrong turn, and was about 20 minutes late.  It was a frantic hour and a half but I made it, and I had a great time chatting with some lovely ladies.

I read a quote earlier this week that said, “If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way. If it isn’t, you’ll find an excuse.” How true that is for a lot of things in my life. It’s one of those “things that make you go hmmm…” (Hello 1990s reference!)

Happy Friday!

 

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9 Month Check Up

Baby D had his 9 month check up today. I’m still working on his monthly recap post, but wanted to make sure I captured the appointment in detail so I’m breaking it out in its own post. You’re welcome. ;)

 

The stats: Baby boy weighs exactly 20lbs, which puts him at 45th percentile for weight. I want to say he was 29 1/2 inches long, but the important figure here is that he is 90th percentile for height. He is long and lean just like his daddy. I don’t know that I’ve ever mentioned his head circumference because that stat always seems less important to me, but he is 25th percentile there. The doctor said some people just have smaller heads than others and as long as it stays around that percentile, it’s all good.

Food: His weight isn’t a huge concern but she did say it’s time to start fattening him up before it becomes a problem. We also got the green light to start giving him regular solid foods. Bring on the Cheerios! So long purees! I’m both excited and terrified of this new stage. In my mind, there’s a whole world of foods open to him now, but in reality, I’m pretty sure he won’t eat most of them.

Milk: We talked about formula and how at around one year, we should make the transition to whole milk. We also talked about sippy cups and she said he’s still really young to be expected to concur a sippy cup. She recommended the spout kind of cups over the straw kind because there’s no threat of jamming it in his mouth/throat and it teaches him to tilt the cup upward, but she said it really all comes down to personal preference and it’s not a big deal either way. She also said it’s fine with her if we did sippy cups until he was 2 or so anyway, so there’s no real rush. The most important thing, she said, was to make sure we always give him milk/formula in his sippy and don’t make the mistake of always doing juice/water so he doesn’t think that the sippy is for just juice/water and the bottle is for milk. She said she’s seen lots of parents come in and their child won’t drink milk from the sippy because they think it’s for water/juice. I don’t plan on giving him juice/water anyway, but it’s such a mind shift from when I was growing up. I feel like most of my generation was raised on juice and now doctors are saying to never give your kids juice. Sucks for the juice industry, I suppose.

Allergies: We talked about D’s apparent allergy to sweet potatoes. She admitted it seemed strange, but not completely unheard of, and to hold off for about 6 mos before maybe trying again. She sometimes babies have strange intolerances during their first year and they work themselves out in the second and third years. She also said there’s no guarantee that he won’t be allergic to them for the long term and that they could do a blood test eventually, but typically they just say to not let him eat that food. Which is what my doctor told me when I told her bananas made me sick.

We also talked about the three types of foods to stay away from the first year because of their allergic potential:

  • Peanut butter
  • Honey (though things like Honey Nut Cheerios are ok)
  • Eggs, especially egg whites (though if they’re used in a baking recipe, that’s fine)

Movement: Though he can get into a sitting position on his own pretty easily and is now army-crawling, he’s not quite pulling up on furniture or on us yet. He’s showing early signs, like how I caught him grabbing the crib rail yesterday, but he just hasn’t quite gotten the hang of it. Doc said not to worry, he’ll be doing it soon enough, and after he does it’ll be about 3 months before he’s walking. So if he starts pulling up later this week, he’ll likely be walking at 12 mos. If he starts pulling up at 10 months, he’ll be 13 mos when he starts walking, etc. She lectured us about dropping the crib mattress down to its lowest setting (we dropped it down once, but not to the lowest setting) and talked to us about baby-proofing EVERYTHING.

Teeth: I asked about teething pain and if she had any recommendations for dealing with it. After two rough days/nights, D seems back to normal and his bottom two teeth are plainly visible. Doc said to stay away from Orajel or any numbing agent. Given the FDA warning against benzocaine, I already knew to stay away from these. She didn’t have much additional advice though. Tylenol and teething toys. She said teething doesn’t typically bother babies that much and that parents just seem to attribute all problems to teething, but I know my kid and I know teething HURTS. It’s bone pushing through gum tissue. That hurts, man!

Shots: Baby D had one hepatitis shot at this appointment, as well as an iron test, which meant a little finger prick. His iron levels were 12.1, and anything 10 or above is good, so his iron levels are just fine. Of course he screamed, but only for a minute. Then he was so fascinated by his little blue camo bandaid on his finger, he forgot all about the pain.

 

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