Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The List #23: List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them

So I've been in somewhat of a funk, creatively speaking, as of late. I think it's because my entire soul is consumed with my child, and I also think that's okay. But I'd really like to get back on track by writing and taking photos again because it's what makes me happy. 

With that being said, I'm going to finally finish The List that I started a million moons ago! If you missed the last 22, click on the link to see what I've written in the past. If you're up to speed, then join me on the final quest. 

23. List your Top 5 hobbies and why you love them. 
[In no particular order]

5. Singing. 
Oh I love singing. So much. Like, so much. I've been annoying everyone around me since I discovered my ability to belt a tune back in the Disney movie days. I sing in the shower, in the car, in the movie theater, at work, at the gym, on runs...basically all the time. And I often fantasize about winning American Idol when I do it. Because I'm really cool and you can't deny that. It's become more of a hobby than a skill because I basically only sing to the radio or Pandora. Or to the Frozen soundtrack. No shame.

4. Crafting
I love me some DIY projects. If not for Pinterest appearing in the last 3 years, I would just be a plain 'ole mom of 1 who spends her time watching marathon runs of Breaking Bad on Netflix. Er...I guess I do that anyway...
Moving on. 
Here are just a few of my most popular DIY projects from the blog. 

3. Photography
This is a controversial issue right now...okay, controversial might be the wrong word; let's go with "up in the air". Mainly because everyone - and I say that relatively - has access to badass cameras now days. But the main theme among us folks who call themselves photographers is that the camera doesn't make the image. You can take a breathtaking photo with your camera phone if you pick the right subject, lighting, and composition. Now, that's not to say I have "the eye" for photography, but I like to think I do. Mainly because people have paid me to take their pictures. Again, does that qualify me as a "photographer"? Up in the air. The main point is that I love taking pictures. Ask anyone close to me and they'll tell you that I've had a camera in my hands since I knew what a camera was. My first amazing camera was a cheap Polaroid that my grandparent's got me for Christmas. Since then I've owned approximately 40 different digital cameras (that estimation is a little high, but not too far off), not to mention the countless "disposable" cameras. I could go on about photography and why I consider myself a photographer, but that's a post for a later date. Here are some of my favorite images I've ever taken. 
 2. Playing Piano
Let me preface this by saying the following: I'm terrible at piano. It's not because I'm not talented or because of a lack of coordination, it's because I'm lazy. And I dropped out of piano lessons when I should have listened to my parents and just pushed through and actually practiced. So now I'm stuck playing the same songs over and over because I don't have enough time to relearn everything there is to know about piano while subsequently regretting not listening to my parents when they told me to not be a quitter. C'est la vie.

1. Being a mom and aunt
I added a new hobby to the list when my nephew was born. And then another when my daughter was born. And then came my second nephew. Being a mom/aunt is similar because my sister and I are really close and we have both agreed that in our absence [like, the other room], the other is totally allowed to go "mom" on the kid if something goes awry. Though my nephews are perfect, as is my daughter, so we don't really have to worry about that silliness.

Some of you who don't have children might be all, "uh, that's not a hobby." But I'll be damned if something that I put so much heart, soul, and time into isn't considered a hobby-slash-full time job. Nothing is more important to me than being a good mom and aunt.

So there you have it, folks. One of these days I might just finish this list! Until then -

Monday, August 4, 2014

a mother's guide to surviving the airport with an infant

We just returned from Florida for a relaxing 7-day vacation and I can safely say that traveling with an infant is...well, it's exhausting. 
"Relaxing" soon became "mommy needs an adult beverage. NOW." 

A mixture of strep throat, teething, sleeping in a pack 'n play and lots of baby spoiling turned my adoring child into a monster by the end of the trip. 

In hindsight, she wasn't really that bad, considering the listed factors, but by the end of the trip I was over it and ready to get home to our normal routine. 

My biggest concern going into this trip was the travel it required to get there. 
The center of disease and bitchy TSA agents. And lest I forget old, cranky passengers. 
"Excuse me, Miss Flight Attendant, can you bring me a barf bag so I can put it over this guy's head that's shooting daggers at me and my daughter?"

It really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Addi was good about 98% of the time, but when she was screaming in those few short moments I had about 40 panic attacks at once. Because keeping an 8 month old entertained in a space the size of a lima bean can just isn't easy. It's physically and emotionally draining.

In the end, I got quite a few nice comments about how well-behaved she was, but let's face it that was just pure luck. My parenting skills don't really come into play when she's this young. I took their comments to heart anyway because sometimes you just need to feel good about yourself. You know, to counteract the assholes who like to point out your every flaw as a parent. 

So, as an added bonus, and on behalf of my first trip ever on an airplane with my child, I want to offer the smallest bits of advice I can. If it helps just one mom figure out what to pack and how to handle the situation, then I'll consider it a win.
What to pack:

If you're sailing off on your maiden voyage with your youngster, you're probably wondering...how am I going to fit all of this crap into one tiny carry on?! The answer is: you're not. You're going to need a big-ass carry on to bring all of the junk it requires to keep an infant quiet for a couple of two-hour long flights. Just start off with the essentials and go from there.

-Birth certificate [if they're sitting in your lap and are under 2]
-Formula/Breast milk
-Baby food pouches. These things are amazeballs. I packed 3, just in case.
-100 extra pacifiers. Okay, 4 would probably do, but it's your call.
-Puffs or some kind of snack. This little trick kept her busy when nothing else would.
-Diapers, 6-8 depending on how old the child is
-Wipes, I recommend packing a brand new package just in case. You do NOT want to run out of wipes
-Burp Cloth
-At least 2 new toys that they've never played with or haven't played with for a while, or a board book.
-Ibuprofen for you & for them [as long as they're 6 mo.+ ]. She was still teething during this trip so I kept her on a every 6 hours regimen during the flight process [her ears are already bugging her with the teething so I knew they could potentially get worse during the flight]. I also brought teething tabs along just in case. And Tylenol. You can never be too prepared.
-Change of clothes for the kiddo, change of shirt for you. I put ours in big zip lock bags and pushed the air out of them so they took up minimal space.
-Antibacterial wipes - planes are freaking DISGUSTING. You'll want to wipe down every surface within arm's reach of your child. Believe me.
-Antibacterial hand sanitizer - the ones from Bath & Body work great and are super portable. Plus they smell delicious.
-Ipad or some form of digital entertainment [if you allow it]. Yes, I let my kid watch baby Einstein on my iPad. I'm not even sorry. This saved us during some seriously potential scream fests on our flights. Our fellow passengers weren't judging me for early screen time when it kept her [and mommy] from losing her shit. After the trip I kept the screen away from her for the most part because it was getting a bit out of hand, but on a plane you've got to break some rules and just go with the flow.

After packing the above-mentioned supplies, plus my camera [I wasn't going to check my super-expensive camera and leave it in the hands of the ever-vigilant airport baggage folk], I was left with a bag heavier than my child. But, to be honest, I didn't regret bringing one thing. I used pretty much all of it.

Getting through security
This is the part of traveling by air that really gets my goat. I mean, I get that everyone's really tense after the 9/11 thing [thanks a lot, Bin Laden.], but I don't think that gives TSA agents the right to be total dicks to everyone who goes through their security line. Leaving from KC, they were total jerks and NO ONE would help me. So I'm stuck getting our stroller, baby, big-ass carry on, shoes, and anything else that might piss them off onto this conveyor belt, meanwhile 40 passengers are tapping their shoeless feet behind me, waiting to get their stuff through. Thank God for the people I was traveling with. My mom took Addi and walked her through while I got all of our crap onto the belt. Here are the keys to surviving this process:

-Getting huffy with the asshat TSA agents does you no good. Believe me I tried. If anything, it fuels their hate-fire. Just get your shit on there, get through, and get out. If you're sweating by the end of it you're doing it right.
-If you put water in the baby bottle and the agents are wearing their particularly large ego-infested hats, they're going to want to check it for...actually, I don't know what they checked it for. Bomb juice? Whatever. Just let them do their thing, otherwise you'll probably end up getting detained and questioned for 12 hours.
-Wear flip flops or shoes that are easy to get on and off during security. This is kind of "air travel 101", but it's worth noting.
-Bring a buddy. Don't be a hero, mom. If you can avoid it at all costs please do. Don't travel alone with your child. I honestly don't know how people do it.
-Wear your baby. We brought a lightweight stroller to keep her in on our way to Orlando. This became even more of a pain in the arse because we had to get her out of it, then carry her through the security line and then put her back in it - it was a small nightmare. On the way back home we used the stroller as a luggage carrier and loaded it with our carry ons. I wore her through security and it was the most magical of experiences. They ushered me to the shortest security line, let me walk through the metal detector, swabbed my hands for more bomb juice and let me be on my merry way. You do NOT have to take your baby out of the carrier to go through security. I repeat: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE THEM OUT. It's on the TSA website, so if you get any lip from the agents just direct them there. [Note: You will have to take them out of the carrier for the flight, so be prepared for that.]
-If you had to take stuff out of your carry on, just throw it all back in there and neatly arrange it when you get seated and situated. No use irritating any more grumpy passengers.

Getting ready to board
If you're anything like me and are fearing for the worst on this flight, you're anxiety level at this point in the trip has probably topped out at "I'm dying from the excessive amount of adrenaline pumping through my veins right now." No worries, it will get worse once you actually get on the plane.
But focus. The important thing now is to prepare for the flight.

-Get a tag if you're gate-checking your stroller. Do this early. I would also recommend having it available at your next destination if you've got a layover. It's simple to wait for and it's great for either carrying your luggage or your baby. I also can't stress enough about how important it is to kill them with kindness. Just act like you're so friggin' happy to be traveling by air that you can't imagine doing anything else. This may or may not frighten them, but it will more than likely make them more willing to help you. And when you're traveling with a kid, you need all the help you can get.
-Make sure they know you are traveling with a lap infant. If you're extra with it, you've already done this by mailing in a copy of the child's birth certificate to the airline at least 2 weeks before the flight. But I didn't do that. And it was easy enough to just do it at the gate. They will print you out new boarding passes and you'll be good to go.
-If you need to change seats: My mom and I didn't have seats together on the flight home, so when we went to gate check and take care of the lap infant thing, I asked in the sweetest voice I could muster "could you check to see if there are seats available for us to sit together?" Not only did he get us seated together, he got us some rockin' seats on both legs of our trip. The first leg was behind first class so we had ample leg room [score!] and the second leg, we had an extra seat between us [double score!]. Again, kindness is key.
-Make a bottle (or prepare to nurse on flight). And go over the top with it. Our formula lasts two hours refrigerated from the time you mix it with water. Buy a ridiculously overpriced bottle of water from the vendors inside the gate and keep the excess in your bag. You might need it again. Addi's drinking around 4 ounces at each formula feeding right now [since we started solids she's cut back], so I made 8 ounces to have a little bit of extra. Obviously this does not apply if you're pumping & giving breast milk. I know that shiz is more valuable than gold, so use your own discretion.
-Organize your bag. Make sure everything is going to be where you need it. Give them medicine if you need to. Do whatever you can before the flight, because once you board that aircraft your home is about 1 cubic foot of space for the next two hours.
-Change the diaper. Even if it's only a little wet, change it anyway. Even if you just changed it an hour ago, CHANGE IT ANYWAY. You want to avoid the possibility of blow outs or having to change them in that pathetic excuse for a lavatory.

If you're flying Southwest, hopefully you checked in the MINUTE you were able to [24 hours in advance] otherwise you're going to be boarding with the dogs in crates [aka - the end of the line]. Check in as early as possible to ensure good seats. By this I mean seats near the front of the plane, preferably with the people you're traveling with. The good news is people don't want to sit by babies, so they'll avoid your row until the plane fills up and there are no other options. If you're flying every other airline, you'll have assigned seats so you won't have to flip out about what group you're boarding with. When you get on the plane:

-Get everything you'll need immediately out of your bag and put it in the seat pocket. I got her bottle, lovey, extra paci's and the iPad. Also, I wiped down everything I could with antibacterial wipes. Basically, just get everything you'll need to avoid a tantrum. This is futile during take-off and landing because that's when their ears hurt the most.
-Put your bag underneath the seat in front of you. Hopefully it fits. If not, put it in the overhead bin and pray you won't need one of the 40 toys you brought.
-Take some pictures of their first flight before the potential scream-fest that's about to ensue.
-Buckle up. Shit's about to get real.

Take-off, landing and everything in between
-I'm sure you've heard this one a million times, but always give them a bottle or pacifier during take-off and landing. It's hard on their ears and they don't know how to pop them like adults do. The sucking motion helps their ears pop. Plus, it might put them to sleep which would be a major bonus:
I win all the things.
-Do whatever you can to keep them busy or entertained. For Addi, naps are a completely necessary part of her day. If she doesn't get naps in it's a miserable day for everyone involved. You can try to schedule the flights around naps but it's not a guarantee. She was really tired on our second leg during the trip to Orlando but she just wouldn't fall asleep. So I was doing everything in my power to keep her from screaming. Finally on the descent [while I was feeding her a bottle], she fell asleep and proceeded to sleep through the airport on my shoulder while we waited for our luggage. She slept through the entire first leg so I had it pretty easy.
-Make buddies with the passengers around you. Some of them won't want anything to do with you, but others are more than happy to try to entertain your kid, too. It helps pass the time. Luckily we weren't surrounded by any rude people who didn't want to sit by a baby [it helped that we were flying to/from Orlando and kids were just a part of the experience], but it's still a possibility. Let them talk and play with your little one. They are your ally. They will help you pick up toys that land in the aisle and sympathize when your kid lets out a shrill scream. If they do those things, they're good people. They realize how stressed you are and don't want to make you feel worse by giving you dirty looks.

Overall our first experience on a flight with Addi went much better than expected. Was it a lot of work? Hell yes. I needed a 12 hour nap when we got to our final destination. But we had a blast and that's all that matters. Most importantly, I survived the ordeal mostly unscathed.

Friday, June 27, 2014

a day in the life of a not-so-stay-at-home mom

I've always wanted to document a day in the life of a work day for Addi and I, because it's not something that people typically do. And surprisingly enough, people don't usually ask me any questions when I tell them I get to bring her to work, they just respond with, "oh, you're SO lucky!" Which I totally am, don't get me wrong. I am super fortunate that I can bring her to work, for many reasons. Mainly because I don't have to worry about day care, but also because that means I don't have to miss any of her "growing up."
But that doesn't mean it isn't hard. Some days I get home from work so utterly exhausted that I walk around from room to room, forgetting why I walked into it in the first place. Yeah, I work a desk job, which is a generous term for sitting on my ass in front of a computer all day, but it pays the bills and I don't have to worry about finding some weirdo stranger to watch my kid. But add a child to the equation and all hell breaks loose. Having my little one in the office creates a whole new realm of challenges. I will say that it definitely makes time zoom by! 

So, here's a typical day in the life of a working mom who also brings her kid to work.

I've tweaked her schedule to pretty much time our mornings perfectly, but as nothing in life is perfect [particularly when it comes to getting anywhere on time when a child is involved], neither is our schedule. For example, this morning she slept until 7:30. Which was pure magic. Because that meant I, too, got to sleep until 7:30. Because of this, and because I set my alarm for 7:30 to remind myself to give her reflux medication, I slept soundly until she woke up. Which put us quite a bit behind.

Typically, she's my alarm at about 6:30. Matt has been getting her bottle and medicine ready for me before he leaves for work at 7, which is incredibly helpful because I'm the furthest thing from a morning person a human can be. Him preparing these things saves me time and effort, both of which I'm lacking substantially before 9 am. 
Once I've got her fed and medicated, I get ready while she plays on our bed. 
And then we're finally out the door. This process is usually the hardest part of my day. Though I do get frustrated throughout my work day balancing calls, cries, hunger, and everything in between, it's nothing compared to getting me and my child prepared for a work day. 
I also make a stop on the way to work at Kwik Shop to get my mountain dew fix. Because I like to add insult to injury.

This bag has become the Mary Poppins of all bags. It seemingly has no bottom. 
This type of organization is called "throw shit in there randomly and hope milk doesn't get all over everything." It's quite a popular method among mothers everywhere. 
I carry it everywhere and if I forget it, I have to go back home and get it. I don't keep bottles at the office anymore because it just became a pain in the ass to wash them there, so I bring one and reuse it throughout the day, rinsing it out between feedings. [And in case you are new to the blog, no, I do not breastfeed. We've formula-fed from the beginning.]

When we finally get to the office, it takes me about 10 minutes to get all of my crap together. I'm usually sweating by the end of it. Adelaide stays in her car seat by my desk while I do this, until she starts screaming, signaling her irritation with me leaving her in there. After her wave of annoyance hits, I stop what I'm doing and tend to her. 
This is a crucial part of my day because it happens...oh, every 10 minutes. That's about how long her attention span is. Every time she starts crying, I have no choice but to tend to her. Because I'm her mother and it's kind of my job. And I'll tell you right now, no matter if I'm in the middle of a call with a pissed of customer or one of our stores is burning down and they for some reason called me to assist them, my kid always comes first. No exceptions. 
That said, she is really into fake crying right now and she knows how to manipulate me into picking her up. We're working on that one. I work in a very small office, my father in law as my boss. The other two people who work in here only use it as a hub for their stuff; they're typically out and about at the stores all day, so usually it's just me and Addi in here. Most of the time I will let her fuss a little bit if I know she's faking it or just trying to get her way. But if someone's in here, that isn't really a possibility. The last thing I want to do is annoy people with a crying child I'm trying to "teach a lesson." It's rude. 

My desk area is much like my life in general; a hot mess. 
A true example of starting your day in "fight or flight" mode. Yikes.
At any given time during the day, my desk becomes littered with bottles, sippy cups, sleepers and bibs. Plus all of the actual work stuff that accumulates. 

In the corner where my desk is sits Addi's play area, something that will soon need expanded when she becomes mobile [I'm thinking a gated area, but I'm not sure yet]. 
 This is where we spend most of our time. She eats, plays, and gets changed here. It's multi-purpose. 
The foam puzzle pieces get disgusting so they get an almost daily cleaning with anti-bacterial products. 

In addition to my desk being surrounded with baby crap, the drawers get a little piece of action as well. 
I keep the important stuff [boogie wipes, paci wipes, pacifiers, bibs, burp cloths, etc.] in these drawers for easy access. I have backups of everything in another room.

On the other side of my desk are more toys to keep her entertained throughout the day. We also have a bin filled with extra toys and books; we read several a day. 
I bought the stand-up play center for super cheap second hand. It's been a life-saver.
I can watch her while I'm sitting at my desk -

The bathroom isn't left alone, either. 
I fill up bottles and clean toys, spoons and medical equipment in here as well. Multi-purpose once again.

Napping was probably my biggest concern when I was first trying to figure out this venture of ours. I originally had her pack 'n play set up as a changing area, but when she grew out of her rock 'n play, I was forced to move that to the play area and use the pack 'n play solely for sleeping. 
I also have fabric drawers filled with extra blankets, spare clothes, bibs, socks, diapers, medicine, and diaper wipes. Anytime I run out of something, I have to make a note in my Mary Poppins bag so I remember to replenish from extra stocks at the house. In the event that I forget to do this [which is pretty much every time], I run across the street to Dollar General and pay a lot more money than I should to stock the supply temporarily. It does help to have it right across the street, though. 

Nap times are tricky; sometimes she sleeps two hours, sometimes only 45 minutes. The other day she slept for 3 hours and I had to go check in on her to make sure she was okay. It really just depends on the noise level and how many times I have to go into her room to get uniforms for new employees. 
There are also times when the conference room is being used for actual meetings. In these situations we just improvise. Sometimes it ends with a really fussy baby, but you just have to adjust and anticipate change. 
I once got really creative and made a blanket fort under one of our tables during a meeting. Gotta work with what you've got. 

It's sometimes really difficult to keep her happy. Usually she's up a couple hours between naps [she typically naps from 9-11 and 2-4 if I'm lucky. I'll put her down for naps in between if she doesn't sleep long during either one of those] so keeping her busy can be tricky. When I get to the point where nothing is working, I put her in her carrier and hope she takes a cat nap. 

And when even that doesn't work, I break out the big guns; 
Baby Einstein videos on the iPad
This whole process has taught me a lot about stay-at-home moms and how much work it is. Being able to be around my child all day is a blessing, but it's exhausting. Add in my day job and by the end of the day I'm ready for a glass of wine and bed at an incredibly early hour. 

So that's it, ya'll. Hope you enjoyed a look into our typical day at the office! 

Monday, June 23, 2014

7 reasons why Frozen isn't as annoying as I anticipated

Ah, Frozen. The movie all of us want to hate, but can't help love. 
I first became annoyed with the idea of this movie when the YouTube lip-syncing videos on my Facebook feed went from adorkable to OH MY GOD NOT ANOTHER ONE. From there I refused to watch it purely out of spite. Irritated by the endless stream of "Leg it Go" remixes, I quickly dismissed all raving reviews from friends and family members. Until that fateful day when Elsa and Ana finally broke me. Curiosity got the best of me and I just decided to give it a shot.
Unfortunately, everyone was right about pretty much everything. The catchy tunes, Pixar genius, and deeply feminist undertones swept me away into the Frozen phenomena. 
So, as it stands, I am a Frozen fanatic [in the weirdest of ways]. I'm even trying to get my 7-month old daughter to like it. [She's not as intrigued as her mother, unfortunately]

And here are the 7 reasons why Frozen isn't as annoying as I anticipated:

7. Women as main characters that actually accomplish something
Try it, mofo. I will break that sword in half with my badass turning-to-ice abilities.
Usually the women in Disney/Pixar films are either supporting characters, girlfriends, lippy wives, or damsels in distress. All of which are incredibly annoying attributes. But not Ana and Elsa. These two are taking girl power to the next level. 
How refreshing it is to see two lead characters be smart, attractive, and useful! Oh, and they're women. What a novel idea. 

6. The outfits aren't super-skanky

The whole "conceal, don't feel" trend runs deeper than Elsa's freezing abilities. I mean, yeah, Ana's dress is shoulderless, but this isn't the 1800's. If kids can't handle seeing shoulders, we've got bigger problems. 

Unlike some of Disney's past characters - 
get your shit together, Ariel.
they kept the story in line with the "these girls are kickin' butt and taking names, not distracting audiences with their stupid seashell bra" mantra, and I like it. 

In fact, these outfits, apart from Elsa's blue dress seen later [can we say awesome?], are - dare I say it - rather forgettable. Which is kind of the point, right? 

5. Hilarious sidekicks
There are some seriously hilarious sidekicks in this movie. And just when you think you've found the funniest one, the next dude comes along and makes you LOL. ROFL even. 

 First we have Sven [the reindeer], who can't talk, but still manages to make us all giggle. 
"But you won't get your new sled if she's dead!"
Then there's this guy, who, and I don't even know his name, is almost funnier than Olaf. And he's only in the movie for like two minutes.
"Big Summer Blowout!"

And the aforementioned Olaf. My favorite. Voiced by the brilliant Josh Gad, he really brings this wildly hilarious snowman to life.
"Do me a favor and grab my butt!"
4. Calling attention to the fact that marrying someone you just met is totally ludicrous
Oh, Hans. You're such a jackass.
Ah the handsome price. Every dumb Disney girl's kryptonite. But Ana's not dumb; she's just had a lapse in judgement. Lucky for her, Elsa tells her that she's a nutjob [in so little words] and she can't marry someone she just met. And for good measure, Kristoff tells her a little bit later, too. 
I really like that Disney brings this up because in any other movie before Frozen, it wouldn't be such an absurd idea; more like romantic. Therefore leading girls to believe it's not only okay to marry a complete stranger [or someone you've only known for a short time], but that it's completely plausible! Way to set the bar WAY too high, Disney. Insert a life of disappointment for women everywhere. Maybe that's why Ana's so surprised when she gets called on it.
Plus, to throw a little bit of fuel into the fire, they reveal this prince as a [spoiler alert] huge douche and the hardworking ice-man gets the girl. 

3. The super catchy tunes
Get out of my head, Elsa you CRAZY ICE QUEEN!
I don't even know the lyrics to these songs and I'm constantly singing them. I make up my own lyrics 'cuz that's how I roll. Addi isn't a fan of my version of the songs, but what does she know. 

2. The fact that the act of true love was between sisters
Just...come on. It's like they made this movie for me. 

Maybe it's because my sister and I are joined at the hip or because we, too, are weird [just not in the whole ice-magic way, but to each her own]. Either way, this was my absofrigginlutely favorite part of the film. Because at first they were all, "You need an act of true love to melt your frozen heart so go kiss that doucecopter, Hans." Ugh, hurl. But then said douchecopter tries to off her sister and Ana was all like, "oh no you didn't!" and breaks his pansy-ass sword into a thousand douchey pieces. 
And then she turns to ice, but eventually de-ices because of her pure badassery [a.k.a. sister-saving tactics]. 

1. Voila! A movie that isn't about the girl getting the guy
It's about family being the most important thing in life. And recognizing that love isn't just about kissey-kissey. AND that girls/women can be lead characters and not make you want to vomit all over everyone in the theater because they're such idiots and only concerned with finding the perfect mate. Not that that isn't important, but it is not what I want my daughter focusing on, just like you probably don't want your son focusing on...well, the things that men typically focus on. 

So let's all just agree that Frozen has a lot of deeper lessons in it that can teach our kids what life is really about. 
Bravo Disney & Pixar. I am proud to say that you did not annoy me with this film. I'll do you one better and say that I will be elated when my daughter wants to be like Ana and Elsa! Until then, keep on singin' them tunes, ya'll. 

[Warm] hugs not drugs.

Monday, June 9, 2014

My big epiphany

I know all I do is talk about parenting now. And my kid. And post pictures of my kid. And talk about stuff relating to my kid.

I can't be sorry because this blog is about my life. And from now on, my daughter is my life. So that's what I like to talk about. Because she's - quite literally - all I think about now. Even if she's not with me, I'm always worrying if she's okay. Or if she's behaving. Or if she got a nap. Or if she's eating. Or if she has poop running up her back [it's happened more often than not since starting solids].

The other morning when I was getting ready for work, Matt randomly said something to me about the shots he had to give me during my pregnancy with Adelaide. And I had to think really hard about it.

"What did I have to get those for again?" I asked him.
"Progesterone, remember?"
"Oh yeah." I recalled. And it all came flooding back.

I have this really silly thing called PCOS, which I think I've mentioned before. And it was the cause of our initial 2-year failure to get pregnant. And when my little weasel decided she wanted to surprise the crap out of us, I had to get progesterone shots [progesterone runs low in us weirdos with PCOS] to make sure she was safe in there. Low progesterone often leads to miscarriage, so those with PCOS are particular susceptible to miscarriage due to their inherently low progesterone.

Anyway, like I said, all of this came flooding back. And I was remembering how absolutely miserable that time in my life was. As if the nausea and back pain and core pain and rib-kicking wasn't miserable enough, but I had to get a shot in my ass every day, which is about as pleasant as it sounds. Lest we forget my poor husband, who actually had to give me the shot. We teased that he actually enjoyed causing me pain, but I know that it probably hurt him more than it hurt me.

But I did it. Because I wanted to keep my daughter safe and growing and healthy. And at the time it seemed like the worst thing in my life. But now? Now, a year later, I had totally forgotten about it. So much that my husband had to remind me why I even had to get the shots in the first place!

This is all a metaphor, if you're not grasping that yet.

I have found in the 15 months since finding out I was pregnant, that parenting just moves from one challenge to the next. In early pregnancy it was the constant worry of progesterone and miscarriage rates, mid-pregnancy was growing tired of waiting, and late-pregnancy was pain in every part of my body, being even more tired of waiting. Then it was fear of the birth. And then fear of never sleeping. Ever again. And then RSV at 6 weeks. And possible milk allergies. And then reflux. And then an ear infection. And the list will grow as time goes on. But once the first one passes, the next one comes and you tend to forget about it.

This principle applies to all areas of our lives. Life throws curveballs our way every single day. Through parenting I've learned to just roll with it.

There are no surprises anymore, just new adventures.

I basically had a "holy shit I just figured out life" moment. And I feel like that's something I needed to share with you all. Take my wisdom and do with it what you wish.

I'll leave you with an adorable picture of my daughter to brighten your day. It's raining cats and dogs here, so I need a few of her smiles to keep the gloom at bay.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Life Lately

1. Blanket Forts

Sometimes when I get to work, I find out there's going to be a meeting in the conference room [where her pack 'n play is], which puts a damper on the nap situation we have so meticulously crafted. So, we improvise. With blanket forts.

2. Sidewalk Chalk
If there's time in the evening [there usually isn't], we like to all go sit outside in our driveway and blow bubbles and write on the driveway with chalk. Addi loves to play with the bubbles and acts very confused when one of them pops in her hand. I enjoy the chalk more than anyone else, as you can see. Recently, our neighbor across the street was mowing, so I spent the entire time critiquing his poor mowing habits. Rich, coming from someone who never mows her own lawn. :-|

3. Sweet Potatoes
We started solids the week before Addi turned 6 months old. We attempted to start her at 4 months [the soonest you're recommended to start], but she just wasn't in to it. Now? Good lord. She runs a train on that baby food. She loves sweet potatoes, bananas, peaches, and hates everything green [we're working on it]. Her particular favorites are the ones out of the pouches [her green discrimination does not apply for the pouch food], which is extra handy for mom.

4. Pedicures
Sometimes, in the evening, I get the inkling to put on a movie in the bathroom [yeah, that's right, I have a TV above my bathtub] and decide to stay up a little late to do my nails. This month's color inspiration was rainbow. Pedicures are cool. Injuries during pedicures are not.
 I didn't even know a pedicure injury could happen.

5. Baby Einstein
That's right. I let my kid watch baby Einstein videos from Youtube. And by "let," I mean I set her in front of it so I can get a few things done at work. She has the attention span of a squirrel, so despite my efforts to entertain her with numerous toys, books, or songs, sometimes you've got to pull out the iPad and let 'er rip. The "two-years old before screen-time" rule is really just a guideline.

6. Sitting Up
Yes, we're there. She's sitting up like a big girl. Occasionally she'll take a tumble forward [but she's good at correcting herself and ending up on her tummy] and we've only had two "hit the wall closest to me" incidents, but other than that it's been smooth sailing. We're almost to the point where she doesn't even need the boppy around her anymore. Crawling is just around the corner!

**Sorry for the crappy picture quality. These are all from my phone. Sometimes convenience trumps quality.