Thursday, October 31, 2013

Spread too thin..



"Tears are words that need to be written"
              -Paulo Coelho

I am having one of those days where I just want to run away and hide. I am craving things that I know are currently out of reach.  Peace, normalcy, organization. We have had so much on our plate lately and no matter how much I strive for organization, I fail.  I have not written but will write soon of our recent scare and struggle with our daughter. I want to write it now but the emotion is so strong that I feel I would not only cry but wouldn't do the description any justice. Today I just want to write about me and my feelings of inadequacy as a mom and wife.

The last few weeks have been exhausting and today when I got ready for work I noticed how old my face looked. When did I get worry lines? What moment in time made me look my age. I know its tough to say but the extra weight in my face can make you look younger and yet it has failed me today.  

My normally thick and shiny hair is lackluster, needs a cut and a color. I look drab. When I was pregnant with Hayden my skin was smooth, my skin was shiny (not in a greasy way) and I was glowing. Maybe it is the sudden drop in hormones after childbirth that hits a mommy extra hard?  

I don't mean to be vague about our stress but because of our recent situation I have been extra worried. I wonder if I am paying enough attention to our 2 year old. I feel she is emotional lately and its my fault.  I have been putting my make up on with one hand and balancing her on my hip because I can't put her down. We struggle over my make up brush with me going.." Okay baby, mommy is doing her makeup. Okay baby, one more minute"  Then I just give up because putting on my make up and trying to get her to not grab the brush is difficult. 

She loves my makeup brush and loves to not-so-gently rub my face with it. I just tell her she is mommy's big helper and hope that once again, I got make up on both sides of my face. Its a small moment with my daughter in the morning that gives her a win. We can always use a win in our day and I don't see them much during the week.

My husband gives me a hug and I think to myself, what day is it? Do I need to wash my hair? I wonder what he must be thinking? All though I know him so I know that he sees me as me and doesn't think to himself..I wish she would get out of those yoga pants, dye her hair and put some make up on her old face!

I worry about my worry and find myself constantly trying to put things back to normal. I have watched my friends go through some very difficult times and yet none of them have ever voiced to me these kinds of worries. Does this mean I am weak? Are all of my friends stronger? What is wrong with me? Am I doing the right thing for my baby? My daughter? My husband? 

Those are just my current worries and thoughts. I am not myself, I am stuck in the in between. I have to make grown up decisions soon and I don't want to. I want to be young again where your parents made your choices and you got to play with your friends.

I have been driving home with the radio up really loud. Yesterday I caught Ice Ice baby by Vanilla Ice and rapped my way home. It was bath night and when I got home I saw these faces and my day made a sudden U-turn. If I could only have my baby fix during the day...I gave them kisses and they melt my worries.

  
   

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fisher-Price My Little Lamb™ Cradle ‘n Swing Review



Yesterday I noticed that our baby swing was swaying a little slower than usual. I know that this means that in a few pounds or a few weeks, Hayden will be too big for the swing. Here am I again, facing putting away forever, a baby item that we would not have survived without. If you think you don't need a swing please reconsider. This was a gift from my aunts and to this day, we silently thank them for the baby swing.

Fisher Price- My Little Lamb cradle n' swing

This swing is awesome and has great features. 
Easy to assemble
The legs fold up for storage
The cloth comes off and washes very well. (easy to remove stains)
The mobile keeps babies entertained and so does the removable tray.
3 swing positions
Music has a volume control (AMEN)
The headrest is snuggly
The batteries last a long time

We never had an issue, both our girls loved the swing and when Hayden had colic the swing eventually became our biggest ally. I am not going to sell this swing. I am going to hopefully pass it down to my baby sister. I hope one day to see more babies in this and to once again be comforted by the sound of a swaying baby!
If you are registering for a baby shower and you are wondering about a swing, this is the one. It has a great price and great features.
We actually have 2 different swings because we have one at my mom's house for the baby but this is my favorite.
Here are my sweet girls, enjoying the swing!

Abby was the first baby to grace the swing

And now Hayden is the occupant, the swing for her was magic at some points. 

Awww..a peacefully sleeping baby!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Minion pumpkin!

Sometimes I stare at it and imagine a little chick pooping out..Peep, peep, peep!                                              -Agnes (Despicable Me) 

This is the first year that we are really getting into Halloween. Every year so far we have skipped it because Abby was usually sleeping and she was really too young. This year we decided that we would have our first full on Holiday. My next door neighbor and very good friend is a stay at home mom and she has recently started doing more and more craft ideas. She loves Pinterest and found some very cute pumpkin ideas. 

She wanted to do this particular pumpkin for her 5 year old daughter who loves Despicable Me. When she surprised her with the pumpkin her daughter asked where the hair was? That is so funny because my friend worked really hard on her pumpkin but she obviously left off the hair. 

Here is the tutorial that she found on Pinterest, I was so impressed by how this pumpkin turned out. I wanted to do a cookie monster pumpkin but my October took a turn and I lost all the time I had to do something creative. There is always next year!

Materials
Pumpkin (real or fake)
Canning jar lids
Long screw
Wooden skewer
Hot glue
Yellow outdoor paint or spray paint
Blue outdoor paint or spray paint
White paint, black and brown paint or Sharpie
Black pipe cleaners. 

1. Paint top half pumpkin with yellow paint as shown and allow to dry
2. Paint bottom of pumpkin with blue paint and allow to dry.
3. Once dry, repeat step 1 and 2 (adding a second coat)
4. Take a canning jar lid and pierce a hole in the center as shown
5. Invert the lid so the white part is showing and insert screw through the center
6. Apply hot glue all around silver ring and hot glue lid to it; set aside
7. With a wooden skewer, pierce a hole where you would like the center of the canning lid to be located; in this case, the eye will be in the center of the face 
8. Gently push screw and lid into hole
9. Paint the black straps of the goggles at either side. 
10. With paint or Sharpies, color in the details of the eyes; the screw will be camouflaged by the black paint
11. For the hair, use the skewer to pierce holes at the top of the head and insert the pipe cleaners
12. Add additional details, such as the mouth, overalls etc. 

I will do something creative for the girls and hope my pumpkin comes out as cute as the one my neighbor did. This is her pumpkin..and below that is our just plain old traditional pumpkins for the girls! 

Every time I see this it makes me laugh!

Here are my ordinary but much loved pumpkins!



Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baby Einstein baby bouncer.


I was just thinking about all of the baby products that we have used and will be lucky enough to use again. This was by far one of our favorite toys for our daughter. I was just looking up the directions to see what age you can start using the bouncer and it says  4 month and up.  I was so excited because Hayden is officially 4 months and can hold her head up well, so its time to break out the Baby Einstein baby bouncer.


Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper



This is Abby in the bouncer at 7 months old, once she got the hang of it she loved all the features.


                                Both my husband and I were happy with this product because:

          It was very easy to assemble
       The part where the batteries go is easy to access
       The seat cushion pops off for easy laundering
                                               It has a base wide enough to handle rigorous bouncing                                                             It has a volume button on the sounds.                                                                                                 You can have it lay flat for storage
The seat spins very easily and doesn't have anything that would pinch little fingers.


When Abby outgrew this we were kind of sad because we loved watching her bounce, spin and play.  There is a mirror on there and we would laugh because she would talk to herself in the mirror and her baby babble was adorable.

I feel like I was just pregnant and waiting on Hayden and now its almost her turn in the bouncer!

We also can't wait to see how Abby reacts to the bouncer because even though we know she probably doesn't remember, she gets just as excited about the new baby equipment. She also gets a little (read, a lot) territorial about things for Hayden. When we brought the bumbo seat out she was was mad every time we put the baby into the seat. Its very interesting and requires my husband and I to have more than a few
"sharing is good" conversations with our two year old.

I have started to construct my Christmas list for the girls and I am pretty excited this year to have both girls for Christmas. I know Hayden won't know anything really but whatever Abby gets this year, Hayden can use next year. 




Monday, October 14, 2013

The Mom stays in the picture..

“What I like about photograps is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”                                     -Karl Lagerfield



   I always have my camera out and I fancy myself an amateur photographer. If a trained photographer looked at my pictures they would say I need work, lots and lots of work. This would be true, except I feel that if beauty is in the eye of the beholder then a great picture is the eye of the viewer. Considering my favorite subject is my family then I think most of my pictures are wonderful. My issue with my pictures is that I have so many with my husband and my children but very few with me.  Most times, I don’t want to bug someone by asking if they could take a picture with me in it and this causes me to feel picture remorse. I feel remorse that I missed out on a chance to be in a picture with my children. This is mostly my fault, I don’t ask because most times, my hair is in a pony tail and I am cooking, cleaning or doing something else.  Also, no one likes my camera and they think it is difficult to use, but most times no one offers and then I don’t ask.

My daughter is 4 months old and we don’t have a picture of the 4 of us, I have said this when she was one month, two months, three months and now 4 months. Each time I pass up a chance to be in a picture or I am silent on my wish a part of me feels sad. Sad because the passing of time and the speed in which it passes is never more evident than when you have children. The stages of baby move so quick and before you blink, they are walking and talking. I celebrate each stage and milestone with pride but my heart often aches with the realization that they are getting older and changing rapidly.  I love the special every day moments that I catch on film with my children. I want more of them, not just the fancy ones that have us color coordinated and posing.  I want to look back on pictures and remember how it felt to hold hands with my two year old or snuggle my baby, photos capture moments that pass quickly and they are needed for a million reasons. I couldn’t list them all but for me the most important reasons are to show my daughters what mommy was like when they were little. Not just the tired, teeth brushing, bath giving mommy. The mommy who is filled with love for her babies, who rushes home to see them and misses them all day long. The fun mommy who builds towers, crawls on the floor and knows all the tickle spots that make my girls giggle. The mommy that earned the tight hugs and feels satisfaction when she finally stops at night.


I recently saw an interview on Good Morning America about a mom who felt a similar way. I went online and read her blog and with her words she hit a cord. I included the link and would like you to read what she has to say. In her article she has a challenge that I have decided to accept. In one year I hope to look back at my pictures and see more of me! For the mommies that avoid the camera or don’t ask for a chance to be in a picture, I hope you accept the same challenge. Let’s show our children that we didn’t just plan every detail of the holidays and the birthdays but that we were there, enjoying it alongside them.

Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allison-tate/mom-pictures-with-kids_b_1926073.html

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What about me?

(24/7) Once you sign on to be a mother, that’s the only shift they offer                      -Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper


I have been  feeling a little overwhelmed lately and very tired. I used to be more organized and now I feel like I just throw all the balls in the air and then run for cover. I am a mess!                                                                    
Me time is a thing of the past and when it goes it is very subtle, hardly noticeable. Until the moment comes when you are Mommy exhausted. There is normal exhausted and then there is Mommy exhausted. They are not the same thing and any mom knows exactly what kind of tired I am talking about. The kind where you bump into stuff, forget important things and no matter what, you just can't seem to get it together.


By talking with some friends lately I have discovered that I am not alone. Stay at home moms or working moms, it doesn't matter. When you hit that wall of exhaustion we all feel the same.  Here is just a sample of the things I have heard in the last month from my friends.

During lunch with one of my girlfriends who is a stay at home mommy and has a little girl about to turn 1.  We were discussing sleep training and how frustrating this could be. Her daughter was going thru a rough patch and she was feeling a little tired.  When her husband brought in the baby because she was crying and he didn't know what to do, my friend got a little fired up and stated.

-I just wanted to lay here for a few moments and not have anyone bother me!

I was laughing when she was telling me this because who hasn't been there and just needed a solid 5 minutes to regroup. This is a friend who is refreshingly honest and our  friendship has been such a blessing in my life

Another friend who is funny and bright and her little girl at almost 2 years old is just as funny and bright. On a day where work was nuts and she was worrying about birthday plans this is what she said to me;

       -Sometimes, I just want to lay on the couch in my underwear, in the dark for 3 days and watch a lifetime movie based on a Nora Roberts novel..and not have anyone touch me. Is that bad?
When I was still on maternity leave and my sweet baby was having some pretty serious crying spells. There was a day in particular that I was feeling down. I was trying not to cry and just smile past exhaustion. My nerves were frazzled and I was telling my friend that I felt like a failure because I was having such a hard time.  After listening to me she said.

-          Sometimes, I feel like I am standing with my hand in the air, asking. “What about me?”

 Just the way she was listening to me and then telling me what she felt gave me comfort. Comfort to know that someone else has felt the same way and that these stages don't last forever. 

This week, I am working and trying to keep it together. There are days that are great and days where I sit at work wondering if I put eye liner on both eyes and if I managed to shave both of my underarms. There are actual days where I have missed an eye and an underarm. Yesterday I was so tired that I didn't change my shirt after the baby puked on me. I just wiped it off with a baby wipe and went to work.

My friends are wonderful and kind and if they are ever in a room asking.."What about me?"  I hope they know they aren't the only one and that somewhere there are other mommies with their hand up, asking the same thing.  Maybe, even more mommies dreaming of laying around in the dark, in their underwear, watching some lifetime television.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Step2 Sandbox

We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.       -Charles Schaefer

I have mentioned before about our house being small so to explain that we have an even smaller yard would be unnecessary  We have no front yard and only a concrete slab out back. We always loved our little back patio until we had our daughter and realized that she would have no place to play.  This is our first motivation for selling our house, until then we needed a fall outdoor activity.  

After tossing around ideas my husband and I decided a sandbox would be a something fun for Abby. I started shopping around for sandboxes and to my surprise I discovered that sandboxes are kind of expensive! I guess I expected at the end of summer to find a good sale on sandboxes. This was actually not the case and being that we have such a small patio I needed something that wasn't very large and something inexpensive. 

I should mention that we are lucky enough to live near Step2 corporate and they have a nice little store that customers can go into and shop. I wanted to try Step2 for many reasons.

               
                     1.  I purchased step 2 toys for my nieces 13 years ago and they are still being                                  used and in good condition.                                
                     2.  The Step2 store has all the toys set up on the floor so you can see which toy                                 interest your child.                                                                                                                            3.  Step2 store has really great customer service.

Having the toys set up is unbelievably helpful, we have taken Abby there on more than one occasion too give us ideas for her birthday and Christmas.  We went last weekend and found the perfect small sandbox. It fits on our patio, it has 4 seats, holds 200 pounds of sand and included a snug fitting lid.  Also, since the Step2 store is selling its own product it was about $15 dollars less than the retail stores. We purchased our Sandbox for $29.99 and they even had a bucket/shovel set that we were able to purchase and take with us. It was so nice not to have to worry about going to another store for sand toys. We purchased the sand and went home to set it up. By set up, I mean we took the box to the patio, dumped in the sand and TA-DA  we were all set up.  Who doesn't appreciate a toy that you don't have to put together?

The Step2 play and store sandbox.





It has been so nice to be able to have something for her to play with and once we explained only 100 times that the sand belongs in the box, it has been smooth playing.  I recently started covering her feet and saying “where’s your toes” and she laughs and pulls her toes up real quick and says “Hi, toes”. I love watching her discover something new and using her imagination.


I also love that it rained really hard and the sand stayed dry.  Next summer our little sandbox will have two little girls who will play in it and I can't wait.
I will say that watching Abby shop around at the store gave me some cute ideas for Christmas! 
Climbers, kitchens and playhouses..OH MY!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

An unwelcome visitor!

SHHHH! Quiet! Let’s get out of here before something else happens.
-Jiminy Cricket (Pinnochio)



We live in a small two bedroom condo that could be considered quaint if we weren't already busting at the seams. We thought when we put our condo on the market in March that we would have it sold and be in our new home before the baby came in June. In short we are already at max capacity and have no space for un-invited guests.

 I think any mom can tell you that those first few weeks home with your new baby are hectic and you are exhausted! Add to that your sore body and hormones and you have the makings of the perfect storm.
  
  With the birth of our new baby I had been sleeping on the couch with her in her bed next to me, it was easier to sleep downstairs then constantly go up and down the stairs with my sore c-section and carrying the baby. For a few weeks our living room was my bedroom, it was hard.
I was emotional, bone tired, sore body and new mommy exhausted!
I wasn't getting much sleep but what I was getting was imperative to my survival. So when I turned out the lights one night and I heard the chirp chirp chirp. I ignored it thinking it would go away.
I was wrong
I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep because of the incessant chirp chirp chirping.
Almost near tears I start to search for the chirp, I go in our basement and the chirp stops. That was easy, I must have scared it and it stopped!
Relieved, I go back up stairs to the couch, check the baby and close my eyes.
CHIRP
I tell you I barely made it to morning. I texted my husband and begged him to take care of the cricket.
He texted me and said. “Sorry, not sure how to”
My eye started to twitch.
I responded – “Am insane, you must kill cricket”
I googled how to kill a cricket and found that if you get some molasses and put it near where you think the cricket is, then cricket will crawl into molasses and drown.
BUH-BYE CRICKET
So I sent my husband to the store for Molasses, sure that I would no longer be disturbed by the cricket!
My husband came back from the store with a Betty Crocker package of Molasses Cookies.

A PACKAGE OF MOLASSES COOKIES

MENTAL, CHIRP

I wondered if my husband and I had different plans:
Me, I would like to kill the damn Cricket
 My Husband, wants me to make him cookies and possible make him feel welcome!
CHIRP
I told my husband that I was bordering on insane. If he doesn't kill the cricket than I was going to lose my mind!
I sent him back to Wal-mart to return the cookies and SURPRISE he managed to find liquid Molasses.
I am pretty sure his fear of me and my insane cricket ranting probably served as motivation to find the darn molasses!
Neck twitch and a CHIRP
 I finally relaxed in the knowledge that the score between me and the cricket was soon to be settled.
We filled a bowl with molasses and crossed our fingers.
Well, our cricket didn't like molasses.
Google lied.
CHIRP CHIRP
Finally when my insanity and tears were too much, my husband went to Lowes and found spray that he knew would kill the cricket.
I didn't want him to use the spray, my overactive and exhausted mind was imagining the harmful fumes rising up and affecting the baby.
Also, during my maniacal Google search there were a lot of Chinese proverbs about killing a cricket and I was feeling a little worried that we would end up with bad luck!
What if bad luck was a family of crickets that moved in and never died? CHIRP

When I was out of the house with the girls my husband took care of the cricket and finally my house was once again quiet! Except of course for welcome noise of our girls.
No more CHIRP…


Dear Cricket,
I hated your guts and I didn't find your noises soothing. Every time I hear a cricket now my neck tightens and my eye starts twitching. 
Stephanie




Dear Husband,
Sorry about the cricket insanity, my fuse was short and I felt crazy. I will do better with the grocery list so that next time when I say eggs you don’t accidentally bring me a Chicken. I love you more than anything and this post was just for you. Because in the crazy aftermath of delivering a baby you get sent home with someone that looks like your wife but acts like a nut!
Love,
Stephanie
          




Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Gerber for toddlers!

- My child is my biggest food critic!
         -ME

   I love to cook, I love trying new things and when my first daughter was born and able to move into solid foods I really enjoyed making her baby food. Abby would eat everything and smile.
   Fast forward to year 2 and she is no longer my biggest fan. Instead I feel like I am on an episode of chopped and I never make it to the second round.
   Each night when it is time for dinner I start to panic thinking of something different I could make. Sometimes I hit a home run but it seems like lately I have been striking out. I was using the Gerber meal plan products her first year but I wanted to get away from the boxed items. I was hoping she would eat what we eat and that worked for a little, but now more often than not..she snubs my dinner! 

Here are some things that Abby has loved and gets very excited when she knows this is what she is getting.

GRADUATES®  Breakfast Buddies®   Hot Cereal with Real Fruit & Yogurt - Bananas & Cream



A dinner favorite
GERBER® GRADUATES®  LIL’ MEALS™ Spaghetti Rings in Meat SauceGRADUATES®  Lil’ Entrees® – Creamy Chicken Stew with Vegetables with Green Beans & Carrots

A new snack idea that I wasn't sure she would like but she ended up loving!
GRADUATES®  2+™ Dippers Biscuits with Real Fruit & Yogurt Dip – Mixed Berry: naturally flavored with other natural flavors

My only problem and I am not sure if other people have noticed, but you have to chew the turkey/chicken in these meals for a long time and Abby doesn't like that. Most times she spits it out.
For now until I can test some recipes out and find something she loves, I am taking the pressure off of myself and going GERBER!
The meals do come with vegetables and seemed pretty balanced but if Abby could eat just veggies all day, she would. At least when she doesn't like the main thing I am fixing I know she will eat all the peas, corn and carrots we can give her.
The pressure to find new dinner ideas is too much right now and frankly I would rather have her eat dinner then feel like she is going to bed hungry!
If you have any fun kid recipe ideas for toddler's please send them my way. I need to research soon because Gerber meals can be pricey and with our other precious bundle I don't want to bust the budget!