Monday, December 27, 2010

Dear Future Self,

If you are reading this, it is probably because you are in excruciating pain right now, thanks to either Jillian Michaels, Elliptical Monster, or the Total Pain, er, Gym. Everything is going to be okay. Just breathe. (If you can.) This will all be worth it, trust me, your Past Self. As I type this there are two, TWO amazing gift cards in your wallet, just begging to be spent on cute, sassy clothes. However, as I type this there is also a nice, jiggly layer of unwelcome flesh covering pretty much our entire body.

I know, gross.

And NO, we are no longer blaming this on pregnancy weight. It's been almost 5 months. This jiggle is all thanks to the junk we've been stuffing in our mouths, under the guise that breastfeeding will burn off any and everything we eat. (Which, based on how we look in our underwear, is 100% false.)

So, it's time. It's probably going to hurt. This layer of jiggly flesh is extremely comfortable where it is, and is NOT going to want to vacate our premises. The jiggle has a very effective bag of tricks to discourage us from reaching our goals. It's going to slow us down, jiggle and bounce with every stride on the Elliptical Monster, and mock us in the mirror after particularly strenuous sessions with Jillian Maniac. Regardless of how our body looks or how little the scale moves from day to day, repeat these words: IT IS WORKING. IT IS WORKING. Just remember that every time you finish a work out, we are that much closer to being ready to spend those wonderful gift cards, ready for shorts and sleeveless shirts, and one more step closer to letting go of the fear and dread we hold for beach season.

Now, suck it up, shower up, and go indulge in one of those amazing massages DH gave us for Christmas. Cause honey, tomorrow's another day made especially for fightin' the flab!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dear White T-Shirt makers,

What's a girl to do? You are really making my life difficult. I am a nice girl. Yes, I've had my moments of questionable fashion choices: the plaid flannel lumberjack shirt fad in middle school still makes me shudder, as does the jelly shoe trend I indulged in as a little squirt. Although I've just had a baby and am still fighting the remaining baby weight off, I don't think I look like a total slob, and I try not to schlep around in sweat pants EVERY day.

However, our relationship is now what you might call "complicated". As I previously stated, I am a nice girl. Unlike some hussies, er, girls, I am morally opposed to thongs to becoming "whale tales" showing out the back of my pants, bra straps showing, buttons gaping too much on shirts, and panty lines in general. Finding clothes in my closet that fit my still adjusting, post-baby body that also don't cause me to sweat (sweaters are OUT-thank you hormones. My application to the Polar Bear Club has recently been accepted.) has been difficult. One look I like is a nice white t-shirt under a cute, preppy cardigan or fitted jacket.

This is where you come in, and how you're making my life hell.

Why can't you people make one, ONE white t-shirt that isn't FRICKIN' see through!? I literally went through FOUR white t-shirts out of my closet this weekend, two short sleeved, one long sleeved, and one button up shirt, and each one presented a different problem. Shirt #1: can see my belly button indentation. Out. Shirt #2: oh, that's what my entire torso looks like underneath my clothes. Shirt #3: Nice bra. I can see the whole thing through the shirt. Shirt #4: See comment for Shirts 1-3. Sigh. Thus, my quest for the perfect white t-shirt continues. I make this promise, White T-Shirt Makers of the World: as soon as I find the perfect white shirt, one that doesn't show my entire bra through it, or my muffin top, or my belly button indentation, I will buy A DOZEN. Short sleeved, long-sleeved, button up. I will shout your praises from the hill tops (or at least post about you on Facebook)and be your devoted customer for life.
Rookie Mama
PS- Photo disclaimer- NO, that is NOT a picture of me or anyone else I know. I don't do sleeveless. ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Rants from Mommyland...

I heart you. You are my new favorite blog. You are my therapy. You are the reason that I log in to blogger on a daily basis now. Okay, twice a day now. Let me preface by saying I am absolutely in love with my son and my husband. I can not imagine my life without either one. I know that I am so blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom. I would do pretty much anything to be able to avoid handing my infant son off to someone else every morning while I trudged off to teach. It's not for everyone, but it's what I want, DH wants, and it works for us. However, being a stay at home mom is *not* any of the following: 100% fun, 100% easy, a vacation, spit up free, poop free, tear free (sometimes the baby cries too), stress free, nor is it free of swear words, piles of laundry, grimy bathrooms that mock you each time you try to speed clean only to have baby wake up as soon as you get out the scrub brush, just to name a few. The only things that are really free are my services. So, when DH silently shakes his head as he digs through the mountain of laundry looking for a clean dress shirt that doesn't smell so he can stick it in the dryer to get the wrinkles out, instead of whipping around and yelling, "Suck it, Fancy! When's the last time you peed with our son watching you??" I can now calmly channel a past post from your blog and laugh quietly to myself (too loud and DH will really think I've lost it- laughing to myself for no apparent reason), and ahhhh...the world is right again. So thank you. Thank you for being open, honest and letting it all hang out. It's so refreshing to come across a blog that isn't afraid to show all sides of mommyhood, without fear. Too many mommy friends of mine are so preoccupied with being the "perfect mommy" or at least, appearing that way, that I have been feeling a bit lonely during my own Mommy Fail moments or moments of complete absurdity (aka..covered in gooey spit up for the nth time with baby smiling as wide as he can with his beautiful face) in my new life. But that's all over now, because I've found you. So I'll say it again...Rants from Mommyland, you rock my face off. MMMMMMMMMMMMWAH!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Last week, I decided it was time for me to "solve" Patrick's sleeping problems. So, when I face a new situation, I tend to head to the library, check out a bunch of books and start reading. Well, long story short....things weren't working out in real life with Patrick as the lady in the book about baby sleep habits said they should. And I did what I do best- called my sister (mama of 2 amazing girlies) and cried onto her figurative shoulder. Then, she did what she does best- reassured me with words of wisdom and talked me down from the "I'm a horrible mother and my kid's gonna end up screwed up because of me" ledge. One thing she said has stuck with me since then, and I think I've thought about it every day. In our conversation about how being a mother is hard, she pointed out that one of the things that makes it hard is that we have to die to self. Our days of being first are gone. We need to look to the ultimate example of motherhood- Mary- and emulate her. Mary has been on my heart since then. Every time I've picked Patrick up, I have flashed to an image of Mary picking up the Baby Jesus. I feel so connected to Mary now that we have motherhood in common. Granted, her situation was quite a bit different than mine- I'm not raising the Savior of the world-but I think all mothers have something in common: that magical link of tenderness and awe towards their child. Many a night I've changed Patrick, swaddled him up, and cradled him in my arms for a few moments before putting him in his crib, admiring his sweet face, plump cheeks, and long eye lashes. How incredible is it that Mary has done these very same things? How gently she must have stroked his cheek, or kissed his forehead. There are also many challenging moments as a mother, that aren't as sweet as the ones I've mentioned. There are those moments when Patrick screams at the top of his lungs for no apparent reason, and all I can do is try to burp him, quietly shoosh him or rub his back, and sometimes those take a while to calm him. In those moments, when I know he has a gas bubble that just won't come up, I feel so bad for him that it makes me want to cry, too. But now, I'm trying to remember Mary. Because along with her gentleness, I also imagine Mary had a sense of calm, and an amazing inner strength. She faced unimaginable challenges, and yet in my heart and from what I've read in Scripture, she accepted the challenges with faith, trust and surrender to God's plan. I'm trying to remember these character traits in my challenging moments as a mother, and in my happy, sweet, amazing moments. It may sound strange to ask "What Would Mary Do?" instead of "What Would Jesus Do?" and I don't mean for it to sound like I'm putting Mary before Christ, because I'm not. However, when it comes to looking for women who were amazing mothers to serve as role models, Mary tops the list. Having a love for Mama Mary is one of the things that I love about being Catholic.
Final thought: I recently heard a man on the Christian radio station saying the following: "God isn't concerned about how much money you do or don't have. God isn't concerned that your baby is keeping you up at 2 am. God doesn't care that you're the CEO of a company. God isn't concerned that you just lost your job. He IS concerned about how you react in those situations. He IS concerned about your heart, and your attitude when facing challenges, or when trusted with great responsibility."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Martha Stewart,

I have always been a fan of your Christmas decor collections. When I first found them at KMart three years ago, I fell in love. Such pretty, classy decorations for such a decent price! It made Christmas the only time I ever visited KMart, often several times in a season to stock up on ornaments, ribbon, or garland. I am such a fan of your green and red tartan plaid ribbon, your matte green, red and gold ornaments, and your hand painted glass ball ornaments. However, I have one request. The next time you decide to take your beautiful collections from one store to another, would you please plaster the news on billboards across America? You see, making a special trip with my four month old in 27 degree weather to KMart for your decorations is a big deal to this first time, rookie mom. What a disappointment it was to me today to find Jaclyn Smith had taken up residence in the Christmas decor aisle, and you were nowhere to be found. I was utterly confused, and asked the helpful KMart lady what the deal was.
You moved to Wal-Mart? I wish I'd known that, especially since I was already at Wal-Mart once this week for groceries. Sigh. I caved and bought some Jaclyn Smith junk, er, decorations. But now I may just have to make a special trip to Wal-Mart to see if I can find you again. If I can, old Jackie's going back to the big K. In the meantime, think about my request. We Christmas lovin' ladies would love to continue ensconcing our homes with your beautiful products, but not if it requires multiple trips and one too many car seat bicep curls.
The Rookie Mama who loooooooooooooooves Christmas

Monday, December 6, 2010

Enjoying the Sights of the Season with help from Shutterfly!

I'll admit it. I am addicted to Christmas. No, I am not one of those girls who is up at 3 am on Black Friday just to get to Toys R' Us at 4 am. In fact, back in my college days, my sister and my mom would get up early (back then the earliest stores opened was 6 am!) and I would always roll out of bed at 8 or 9 to meet them out. No, I'm not addicted to that part of Christmas. However, I was always the girl who started listening to her Christmas CDs in early November. Nat King Cole, Perry Como and The Charlie Brown Christmas collection just moved something in my soul. There is something about all of the trappings of Christmas that make my spirit feel light. There seems to be more of a connection between people at Christmas, don't you think? All year we race around, working, twittering, depending on Facebook as our sole line of communication to our loved ones. (I'm not knocking FB-I'm a little addicted to it, too!) But there is something to be said about a season full of parties, cookie exchanges, and family meals. Also, what can be better than opening your mailbox and finding two or three actual pieces of mail from those we love most? Not bills, or sales circulars, but Christmas cards and letters. Photographs to show us how our loved ones have spent their year, how they've changed and grown. I have always loved opening such sweet little gifts, and last year I fell in love with creating my own photo Christmas cards. I can't wait to send out this year's card, plastered with Patrick's sweet, angelic face, of course! There are so many places that make photo cards, but my hands down favorite is The Christmas card designs are so sophisticated, yet fun! I can honestly tell you that I spent over an hour last night, just playing with the website. It is extremely easy to navigate, and the possibilities are truly endless. I think I actually made 7 or 8 different Christmas cards using our Christmas portraits.
Here are a few of my favorites:

I also like this one:

Check out Shutterfly's options for holiday cards. They have so many to choose from. Half the fun is trying all the different designs! But Shutterfly doesn't just do holiday cards. They also offer such cute designs for Christmas party invitations, so you can invite your loved ones over with style.

My other favorite offering from Shutterfly is their calendars.
My sister and I are planning on using Shutterfly to create cute desktop photo calendars of our children for our parents and grandparents. It is a perfect, practical gift for those people in your life who are so hard to shop for!

I hope you all enjoy your Christmas season, taking care to spend time with those you love most, and admiring the cards and letters from those who can't be with you through this precious, sweet season.

*Shutterfly has generously offered me 50 free Christmas cards in exchange for this blog posting. Thanks,!*

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dear Swaddle,

Please forgive me. I've been a silly, silly fool for abandoning you months ago. Little Patrick struggled and fought against you so, and always managed to break free of your grasp. I have pictures of him, just weeks old, with both arms flung up over his head as he slept. I just figured, hey, he loves to have his arms free; he'll be okay. I did notice how much he startled in his sleep when he was just weeks old, and thought it was cute. But now, now we're working on sleeping in the big boy crib. Through the night. With (cross my fingers) only one wake up to nurse through the night. But the poor boy still startles. I was watching him fall asleep the other night, and I swear he startled 5 or 6 times, each time as he was slipping into a deep sleep, as his arms slid off his chest. That was when I knew. I knew that it was time to try You again. So, try You again I have. Okay, I'm slightly cheating. He only has one arm swaddled in, because he does love to suck on his fingers. And I truly think it's helping!! He's startling less, which I think helps him fall asleep easier. So thank you! If God blesses DH and I with any more children (hopefully someday!) I promise I will not abandon you again.
Rookie Mama