Monday, October 1, 2012

The Baby Crap Trap...don't say you haven't been warned...

My older sister warned me. She really, really did. But I was a first-time-mom-to-be, and although I did heed *most* of her advice, I just couldn't help myself.

Baby stuff is so frikkin' cute.

And baby stores are a MAJOR racket. But, after having gone through labor, delivery, and 2 plus years (thus far) of mommy hood, here is a short list of things I registered for that I never used, and the little things that all mommies should have on hand in those first weeks after baby comes.

Should've Skipped:
1. The complete bedding set. Over $100, it was the perfect combo of zoo animals that I wanted and sports that The Wiz required. I never used the fluffy crib bumper (if you don't know- there have been lots of studies and recommendations against using the thick crib bumper.) I bought a Breathable Crib bumper that was mesh so if Munchkin rolled up against it, he would still be able to breathe. Also, it velcroed shut, instead of having those scary looking strings to tie around the crib rails.
(Or around my baby's neck, which was my nightmare. Granted, the strings probably aren't long enough to get around baby's neck, but try to reason with a post-partum, leaky-chested new mother.) I  never used the valance- wrong size for our window. The quilt has never made it into Munchkin's bed, but I did use it as decoration in his room. Okay, it's flung over the rocking chair. That's decor, right?
INSTEAD: I should've concentrated on having several crib sheets (which I later got) and changing pad covers. Those come in a variety of colors and patterns if you're worried about decor. (Which I certainly was.)

2. The Highchair. Yes, baby will eventually need a place to eat once he gets to the solid food stage. Eventually. This could mean anywhere from 5 months to even later if you decide to stick to exclusive breast feeding for a while. If you register for this before baby comes, and someone is kind enough to buy it, most likely it will stay in its box or in a corner of your kitchen for months until baby is ready to use it. I'm a big fan of mommy consignment sales, and I found a great high chair and later a strap-to-the-table booster seat for GREAT prices. This would've left room on my registry for oh, I don't know- DIAPERS, or a great swing, etc. By the way- I say skip the high chair altogether. My strap-to-the-chair booster seat has ROCKED and we've taken it on every vacation we've taken since Munchkin has started eating solid foods.

3. The Diaper Stacker. This perfectly coordinated with my complete bedding set and looked so, so cute in the nursery. There are still newborn diapers in it from when Munchkin was born. The hard part about being a new mom, or getting ready to be a new mom, is figuring out how to organize this new life that you are about to begin. Once Munchkin arrived, I found it was easier to keep the diapers in a canvas box, on top of a bedside table. The table was within arms reach of the changing pad, as opposed to the diaper stacker which hung off the side of the dresser. Now Munchkin is a major wriggler and the changing pad is on the floor. (We're working on potty training. Tips, anyone??) The diapers are now kept in the bottom drawer of the dresser right next to the changing pad.

4. Wipes warmer.  I didn't register for one of these, mainly because of my hilarious coworker and friend telling me NOT to. She said: "Don't you dare! He needs to get used to disappointment!" She was totally kidding, and it cracked me up. One point I'd like to make is that those first weeks and months of nursing meant lots of night time feeds. It never failed that Munchkin would nurse on one side, then fall asleep. So, I'd change his diaper to wake him up enough to nurse on the other side, and the "cold" wipes would always help rouse him. Plus, really- how "cold" are the wipes you're using? Are you going to keep them in the freezer? Skip it.

5. Teethers, bath toys, infant toys. Okay, so all of this stuff is SO, SO cute. And you WILL need this stuff- eventually. But really, baby won't have teeth for several months, nor will he play with bath toys for several months. Having fun toys hanging from the car seat handle and a mobile over the changing table can be fun for baby, but it's not one of those necessities like diapers, a reliable car seat or sturdy stroller that you will use immediately and often. (As for the mobile- Munchkin was terrified of his, so keep in mind that every baby is different. I also hesitated to put anything over his crib because I just felt it was safer. Nothing can fall off the wall into crib to hurt your baby if there is nothing hanging directly over him. Just sayin'.)

6. Shopping cart cover. Again, I'm going to praise mommy consignment sales and coupons. Baby will most likely stay in his car seat, inside the grocery cart while you shop for several months. The shopping cart cover is great, but not a necessity for the first 3-5 months of life. Checking out stores like TJ Maxx, Marshall's or Ross can also be great places to find shopping cart covers at very reduced prices when you finally need one. I found mine at a local consignment sale for dirt cheap, which is a good thing because after 2 or 3 trips to the store I got tired of wrestling with it. I figured the antibacterial wipes for the grocery cart would kill any germs, and a few toys that could attach to the cart had my boy occupied.

Let's pause and talk about strollers and car seats. Please don't buy a car seat second hand, if you can avoid it. Take some non-necessities off your registry and hope that a nice aunt or your mama helps you out if the car seat price is steep for you. Buying a car seat second hand (unless you are buying it or borrowing it from a family member you completely trust) can be very dangerous. Sometimes there is no way to tell if a car seat has been in a car accident and/or has internal damage. Also, car seats expire after a few years, so if you unknowingly buy a second hand seat that is out of date, it may not be as safe as you'd like. Think of how much use you'll get out of a brand new car seat-every time you get in the car, y'all!-and reconsider the second hand car seat.

As for strollers, I've come to terms with the fact that there is no such thing as one perfect stroller. We started out with a snap n' go stroller frame (pretty inexpensive) that our infant car seat just snapped into. We used this for MONTHS- it was so much easier, lighter and less expensive than a large, bulky travel system. There is nothing wrong with the travel system, it just wasn't for me. By the time Munchkin was more mobile/sitting up and we were ready for a new stroller, I'd had time to really research and think about what worked best for us. I ended up investing in a City Mini, which does have its cons (small storage basket underneath, no attached cup holder..) but it has been great for us.

Okay, so here are some of the little things that you will find you need in the first few weeks/months baby is home. Not all of these are things that should go on the registry, but are things you can pick up at the drug store or Target before baby comes. I nursed Munchkin and am planning on nursing Baby Girl, so for the sake of disclosure- I know nothing about formula fed babies, their needs or the needs of a mama who is using formula. Sorry- several things on this list are for nursing mamas.

1. Lanolin cream. Lots of it. Slather that stuff on your "girls" as much as possible. Keep a tube in any room in which you might nurse, at the grandparents' house, in your diaper bag, etc. It'll help relieve some of the pain (yes, there will be pain, even if baby has a perfect latch from the beginning. The girls will get used to it and the pain will go away, I promise.) Lansinoh HPA Lanolin cream doesn't need to be wiped off before feeding baby, which just saves time and worry.

2. Boo-boo (or in this case, Boobie) Buddy ice packs- or any other circular shaped/sized ice packs that will fit into your nursing bra/shirt in between feedings. Buy several pair so that you always have a few cold.  Repeat after me: Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. That's how it'll feel to put those puppies on your puppies, if you know what I mean.

3. Nursing tanks/shirts. Bring a few with you to the hospital to make life easier. Live in them the first week/year (your choice) of baby's life. You won't regret it.

4. Nursing pads. These are what you put inside your nursing bra in between nursing sessions and booby ice sessions, or when you venture out in public. There are two main types: disposable and washable. Some mamas find the disposable type to irritate their lady bits and thus preferred the washable. I didn't have that problem, thankfully, because it meant less laundry for me to worry about. But, use whichever is most comfortable for you. The nursing pad is essential in preventing your milk  from leaking (WHEN it leaks, because it will. Trust me.) through your bra to your shirt.

5. A Boppy or other nursing pillow. Crucial.  You think 7 lbs., 8 oz. doesn't sound that heavy? Wait till it's 3 am and you're struggling to stay awake and keep baby propped correctly so he latches right. I have experience with the Boppy and a pillow called My Brest Friend, and my preference is My Brest Friend simply because of its firmness. The Boppy was too lumpy to get Munchkin lined up correctly, but I have tons of friends who swear by the Boppy. The downside to the My Brest Friend is that it is MUCH more difficult to get the cover off for laundering, in cases of major baby spit up or blow outs.

6. Alcohol swabs. I used these to clean Munchkin's belly button/umbilical cord area when I changed his diaper, until the cord stump thingy (that's the medical term) finally fell off. Do not, I repeat DO NOT use this to clean your son's circumcision area. Just sayin'.

7. Diapers and wipes. Duh.

8. Undies.  Go to Target and buy a package of 6- 8 pairs of loose fitting, maybe even an extra size larger cotton panties. Label them "Post-Partum Undies" or something so that you remember to use them in those days after baby comes when you turn into a human Mount Vesuvius. We're talking..."lochia" here, girls. If you don't know what it is- you'll have to google it. I refuse to describe it here. Basically, *down there* will be a hot mess for a while (even if you're curious, no looking, mmkay? You'll go blind.) and having undies that you feel free to throw away if they get stained is important. Also, having a little bit larger size will leave room for those packs of ice that should go *down there* to help ease swelling and pain.

9. Maxi pads. And I do mean Maxi. Super Absorbency. Just do it. Post partum bleeding is Mother Nature's way of saying, "Hellluuuurrrrr! Remember me????"

10. Colace or other stool softener. Start taking it ASAP after baby is born. That first ahem, "movement" can be painful. (Keep in mind I'm not a doctor, so check with yours before you start taking any medication.)

I'm sure I left some things off my list. What about you other mamas? Comment and let me know which items you wish you hadn't registered for, or items that were life savers in those first weeks and months after baby was born. I hope some new mom-to-be out there found this helpful!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mommy's (Activity) Arsenal

Mommy guilt wrecks me. Seriously. I think I call my older sister/voice of sanity at least once a week to ask her if that day's mommy guilt that I am feeling is warranted or not. According to her, it never is.  Lately, I've been feeling mommy guilt because in the days before the exhaustion of pregnancy set in, my little Munchkin had it GREAT. I have looked back at photos on my phone, and MAN, I took that little boy to a playground or park pretty much every day, and going outside each afternoon was a GIVEN for him. After nap time, we had a snack and then it was out into the yard for us.

But these last few (sweltering/horridly humid) weeks and months...not so much. Granted, I have found other activities we can do that keep us in the air conditioning: free play at a gymnastics gym, the indoor playground at our local YMCA, play dates with our buddies, the mall play area, etc. But going outside to play in the yard at 4 pm every day has been an extremely rare occurence.

So, I worry and fret, and imagine that my poor active 2 year old is becoming deprived, is becoming a TV zombie, is losing muscle tone and stamina because he's not able to play outside as often as I think he should because mommy is exhausted and already sweaty in our 70 degree house. (Yes, this is how my brain works. This is not even half of what my brain does to make the mommy guilt worse.)

Which leads me to...Pinterest. I have decided that Pinterest can be a blessing and a curse. There are SO MANY amazing ideas to be found, but all of those same ideas make me the laziest person in the world. Lazy because although I have pinned HUNDREDS of great ideas, I have actually followed through on...NONE of them. Until now.

I decided I was tired of feeling guilty and tired of letting my exhaustion prevent me from providing Munchkin with some interesting hands-on activities. So, after seeing a pin about how a few simple supplies from the Dollar Store can provide several cool projects, Munchkin and I went for it. This wasn't rocket science nor was it particularly original, but I was excited to see what the Munchkin would do with our supplies. Plus, the Dollar Store is definitely in my budget.

So, here's what we bought:

The list includes: dry beans (2 kinds), uncooked rice, three types/sizes of scoops, a red bucket to serve as our sensory bin, a white colander, a divided tray and three colors of marbles to use for a sorting activity, pipe cleaners, stickers, a bag of cool rubber snakes/spiders/bugs for another sensory bin, a package of those pinball type maze games (I'm hoping this will keep him busy and quiet for a few minutes...ha!), some foam shaped sponges and circular sponges that I'm hoping to let him use with washable paints. Again, not rocket science, but I am SO excited that I have a little cabinet of goodies to pull out when we have a lull, or when his toys become boring to him, or on a rainy day.

So far, Mommy's Activity Arsenal has been a hit:
Munchkin LOVED  using the different scoops and cups to pour the dry beans and rice. I also pulled out a tin pie pan later, and I think he liked the noise the beans made when he poured them into the pan.
The beach towels worked for a while to keep the beans contained. Next time, I might use a plastic baby pool or really large cardboard box to let him do this activity in. I learned the hard way that my vacuum doesn't pick up any rice or beans off the floor.

Munchkin LOVES stickers. However, he has a good bit of trouble getting the stickers off the sheet. I was thrilled to find "puffy foil" stickers at the Dollar Store. They are raised off the sheet so that Munchkin had a blast playing with them. He is all about, "I do it!" so not needing Mommy's help was a bonus.

 Of course, the entire sleeve of stickers wound up on Munckin's shirt by the end of his play time, and he wore them like little toddler badges of honor all day.

Am I a super Pinterest Mommy? No, and that's okay. My boy had fun, and I was happy to be able to give him some new experiences. I am realizing that once Baby Girl comes, we won't be able to run around town a whole bunch while Mommy is healing and getting the hang of our new normal. I do plan on getting back to daily outings to the park and lots of playing outside, but in the mean time Mommy's Activity Arsenal will stay stocked.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To my beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy on your second birthday,

"I have died everyday waiting for you
 Darling don't be afraid
I have loved you For a thousand years
I love you for a thousand more

And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I love you for a thousand more."
-Christina Perri

 Oh my darling Munchkin, growing so big and so fast right before my very eyes! When I hear that song on the radio, even with you sitting right behind me gazing out the window looking for "tucks!" it makes me tear up thinking of how Daddy and I waited, month after month for a year to see that wonderful positive sign on the pregnancy test! And even though you're only two years old today (Happy birthday, love bug!) I truly do feel like I have always known and loved you, for my whole life, you've been a part of me- the best part of me- waiting to come out. And yes, finally, time and our Father in Heaven brought you to us. What lucky, blessed, unworthy people we are to be blessed with your care!

I know when you're a bit older that you will have years of discovering who you are and what you want from this life- those so-called Wonder Years. But for me and for your daddy, these years with you while you're small are our Wonder Years. It is truly an awe-inspiring wonder to witness how you change, grow, and learn every day. Daddy and I laugh in amazement every day about how much you TALK! Sometimes it is your own language, but more often than not it is clear as a bell, full sentences, and sometimes verbatim from what you've heard others say. Some of your favorite things to talk about are trucks, trains, cars, airplanes, helicopters and "moto-bikes." You are so smart and know the names of all kind of different automobiles: fuel trucks, transporters, bull dozers, tractors, dump trucks, and so on. You call them out by name as we see them driving down the road. You LOVE the movie Cars, and often will re-enact the tractor tipping scene with your own Mater and Lightning McQueen cars and a few other match box cars playing the part of the tractors.

 You are forming quite an imagination, and talk to your toys as if they are your friends, which absolutely delights me. You have also started using your blocks to pretend they are other objects- such as an ice cream cone. That's one of your favorite games to play with Mommy- stacking up three blocks and saying, "Mmmm, ice cream! Yummies!" while taking pretend licks and bites off your blocks. A lot of the time when you ask me to play, you really just want me to watch you play, which is fine with me.

You and your Daddy are great, great buddies. Your face absolutely LIGHTS UP when he is home, and when he comes through the door, you greet him with shouts of, "Daddy here! Daddy here! Hi, Daddy!" followed by a great big hug! You two love to wrestle, and Daddy is so, so good about letting you be a big boy, encouraging you to try to work things out before coming to your rescue like I am often too quick to do. Daddy also takes you outside a lot, which you love, and the two of you play with what you call "tubs" but are really your golf clubs. I have to say, your swing is actually impressive, as is your ability to throw and kick a ball.

As far as your personality, you do love playing with friends and have a few favorites. Aiden, Caleb, "Ash-y" or Miss Ashley, "Wobyn" or Miss Robyn and her little girl, "Baby" whose name is actually Landon Lea, "Tee Tee" or Miss Katie and her little girl Bella Grace, and of course, Na Na (Miss Amanda),Na-fan (Mr. Nathan), Bet-it (Becket) Cate (Mary Cate) and Baby Wucy (Lucy)top the list. You are not a big fan of large crowds of kids right now. I found that out the hard way after trying out the splash pad and the mall play place on crowded days. In those larger crowds you hang back, watch the other kids, and try to find your own space away from the majority of the others. You much prefer smaller groups to play in, and when you get together with your buddies your wild, silly, high energy self comes out and you have a blast.

You are growing so, so fast my sweet boy. I struggle daily between running to you immediately after you fall and letting you pick yourself up off the floor. In my head, I know that it's important to let you become more independent, to shake off the bumps and bruises and get back to playing. But in my heart, I know that all too soon the day will come when hugs and kisses from your mama will be the LAST things you'll want, and I want to soak up every chance I get to snuggle, console and enjoy this time with you.

 Before long you will be a big brother, my little man. You will have a baby sister watching you, how you play, how you explore, how you treat her. She will want to do everything you do right along side you and I hope you'll let her. My hope and prayer for you is that you continue to grow into the sweet, smart, caring, funny and generous boy I see in you. I pray that you love and dote on your sister, that even though she WILL bug you, take your toys, and crowd you and your friends, that you will allow her to be your friend. My greatest hope for you and your sister is that you become the kind of friends and siblings, bonded by shared memories of your crazy parents, that will take care of each other after Daddy and Mommy are gone. I am so, so proud to be your Mommy, and I want you to know that I am working each day to be worthy of you! Happy Birthday, my sweet wonderful Munchkin.

"Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Before you go to sleep
Say a little prayer
Every day in every way
It's getting better and better"
 -John Lennon

Sunday, August 5, 2012

In the last six months...

Yes, it has been SIX months since I've blogged. So, to keep it brief while updating this blog about our family's latest news, I'm just going to go with list form here. Then maybe I'll get back to blogging on a more regular basis, say, every two months. :) 1. The Wiz is still working at his company's home office in Chicago. The Munchkin and I are We have had ZERO luck selling our home on our own. This means The Wiz has been flying (on his company's tab, thank GOODNESS!) home just about every weekend and commuting back to Chicago on Sunday nights or Monday mornings to spend a week working and living out of his suitcase. NOT the easiest time in our marriage. But, I will say that it has helped us really strive to make the most of our time together as a family and a couple, it has forced us to improve our communication, and it has helped me realize just how INCREDIBLE my family is. I don't know what I'd do many afternoons if my mom and dad weren't willing to come by after work or cook us dinner at their house. 'Cause sometimes, y'all? Mama needs a BREAK. I don't have a clue how single parents DO IT. 2. The upside is this- The Wiz's company has graciously struck a deal to give us a full relocation package. This means that we are currently working with one of their realtors to get our house listed, and making appointments for appraisers to come out to the house to get this house SOLD. If it doesn't sell within 90 days of being on the market, his company will buy our house from us. AND THEN WE CAN ALL BE TOGETHER AGAIN AS A FAMILY!!!!WOOOOOHOOOOO!!! Of course, this means we'll be living in Illinois, 600 miles from our family, friends and the only home I've really known for the past 20 plus years, but I can't think of all that right now. 3. Despite all of The Wiz's traveling, he still managed to get me knocked up. That's right, I'm currently about 26 weeks pregnant with a sweet baby due in November!! Haha!!! The belly is steadily growing, and Munchkin looooves to hug and kiss it, "his baby". On a daily basis I shake my head in disbelief that I'm going to have two- TWO little ones by Christmas. WHA?? I am feeling like the luckiest, most blessed, most ill-prepared girl in the world! Ha! I'm trying to prep my routine-loving self to be ready for the reality that for a while after this baby comes, there will be no routine, and we'll be finding our new normal. 4. Did I mention- baby is a GIRL. That's a whole different post, but I will say that I'm soooo excited! 5. This pregnancy has been extremely hard on my body, specifically my heart, as compared to my first. Long story short, I have a congenital heart defect and at about 16 weeks along I found myself in what's called Atrial Flutter- basically my heart was racing and I couldn't catch my breath. This went on pretty much an entire day before I called my cardiologist. In the end, I was rushed to a hospital 2 hours away, prepped, and in the end they had to use the defibrilator machine to jump my heart out of the fast rhythm to a normal rhythm. The most terrifying part was worrying about my baby, especially when they couldn't find her heartbeat when two different people tried with the doppler after my procedure. Thank the LORD that the third person, a doctor using the ultrasound machine, found that baby girl was alive and well. 6. Since then I've been trying to take it easy, taking my heart meds, avoiding caffeine and depending a lot on my family to help with the Munchkin. I've had to get creative to find ways to get him exercise and get him play time as much as possible, while avoiding the ridiculous southern heat that leaves me breathless and exhausted. But we're getting there- 26 weeks and counting. 7. Lastly, amidst all of the exciting going-to-be moving news, and going-to-have-a-baby news, my cardiologist has strongly recommended that I have the baby at the hospital where I was treated for my heart condition earlier in the pregnancy. Which means no moving before the baby comes. Which means if our house sells before the 90 days are up (the 90 days haven't started yet, as we have some things to finalize before putting the house on the market) then we'll probably move in with my parents until the baby comes. This means my nesting/need to organize/need to plan to prepare for this baby has kind of been blown to bits. In the most basic sense, I have no idea exactly where I'll be living when this baby comes, or when we'll find a place to live in Chicago, when we'll move all of our stuff and our family, and how I'll manage a two year old, a newborn, unpacking a house, and living in a brand new city and state all at the same time. For now, it's going to have to be one day at a time, with my eyes pointed upwards towards Him who holds our future in His hands.

Monday, February 6, 2012

18 months!!

Ohh, my baby is getting to be a big boy more and more each day. I can't believe he is half way through his SECOND year of life!! Our Munchkin is such a joy to us always, although he is entering into the "Trying Two's" stage it seems. Here are a few things that Munckin is doing, saying, and enjoying these days....
-The Munchkin is talk, talk, talking. At last count, he has over 50 words, including "buebewwies" (blueberries), milk, truck, bath, dog, "Amy" (his mother's morning out teacher) and "Sydney" (our dog's name) and "Pop" or "Papa" for my dad.
-He loves his bath time, absolutely HATES having his diaper changed or clothes changed. It is a battle every.single.time to do either one of those despised activities.
-He loves all types of play from coloring, tinkering with his workshop, pulling his doggy or xylophone around the house, digging in his kitchen drawer or enjoying his "poor man's trampoline"- pillows on the floor.
-Jumping up and down and falling on his bottom is one of the Munchkin's favorite things, and he laughs hysterically at himself when he does it.
-The Munchkin has a great sense of humor and especially loves funny noises and faces. He loves making the noises and faces, and he loves it when other people make them.
-He is a ridiculous FLIRT! Old ladies in line at Target, little girls in the cry room at church- it doesn't matter. My boy will bat his insanely long eyelashes at the chosen lady and *snap* they are under his spell. I'm in trouble!
-Being still- not so much for this kiddo. He is what they call "all boy" and rough housing is his game. I have to be very careful if I try to lay on the floor bc before I can blink he will climb on top of me and bouncing as if my belly is a trampoline.
-He loves animals and constantly repeats their names and the sounds they make whenever he sees one. Any time we see a dog- "Dawwwwg" (yes, he says it with a southern drawl!)Although "birds" is said as if he's from Jersey- "boids". His favorite lately seems to be "mooooo!" because last month's craft at Mother's Morning Out included coloring a Cow for the "God Made the Animals" theme. His cow is hanging up on our bulletin board and every time he passes it--"Mooooo!!!!"
-Munchkin is also a dancin' fool! It's a very Elaine Bennis from Seinfeld move-mostly head shaking, foot stomping, but it's precious! One of his favorite songs is the theme song from Thomas the Train show.
-Speaking of trains, Munchkin is obsessed! We have train tracks a few miles from our house and we can hear the trains blowing their whistles. As soon as the first whistle sounds, Munchkin is frantically signing "train" and saying "Choo-chooooo! Choo-chooooo!"
-Munchkin also seems to have a bit of Mama's temper and Daddy's stubbornness. He is prone to frustration (which I've read is typical of this age) and whining and crying is his immediate reaction when he can't figure something out easily. He will also act out by hitting and or biting (especially Mommy) if he's angry. I've been trying to follow my pediatrician's advice by trying Time Out in cases of hitting, and ignoring other temper tantrums. We also are being very purposeful about being consistent, and doing what we say we're going to do.
-Overall, I'd have to say Munchkin's favorite play mate is DADDY. They have such fun together, throwing the ball around (Munchkin has an amazing arm in my biased opinion!)practicing with golf clubs, watching Poppey hit balls at the club, or just rough housing. Munchkin love, love, loves his daddy.
-Book are also a favorite still for Munchkin. The library is a weekly stop for us, and Munchkin really enjoys books about trucks, animals (dogs especially), rhyming books, books with sports or balls, and trains. I try to get a range of topics, and expand his interests to things that aren't totally boy-ish, but his interests seem to remain the same.
-Munchkin, sadly, also learned the word "mine." I'm convinced he learned it at Mother's Morning out because The Wiz and I have tried very hard to say things like, "This is Daddy's. That is Mommy's," instead of using the dreaded word "mine." (NOT that I'm blaming MMO or upset with them- it's a natural thing for kids this age to use the word "mine." I absolutely LOVE our MMO and Munchkin's teachers!) He even clutches the object (whatever it is he doesn't want to share) tightly to his chest and gives the stink eye when he's shouting "mine." Sigh.

We are truly having so much fun with our little man, and each day serves as a learning experience for all three of us. Now it is so much more than just simply caring and protecting this beautiful child. Now is when the parenting really kicks in, and you have to make sure you know what you believe, how you want your child to act, and how you're going to get him to act, and what you're going to do if he doesn't behave like you want him to. You have to be firm but not lose your schmidt after he smacks you in the eye because it's time to leave the playground and he doesn't want to. Now, too, the terror sets in because he is really truly mobile, so so fast, and has a stuborn will of his own. The idea that he could take off in a parking lot or store haunts me, thus he spends a lot of time in his stroller or store carts. I'm just not ready to let him roam nor do I feel like he'd hold my hand for more than 30 seconds in a store. We're living, learning, and loving in our own little Oz! Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

And then you realize....

That you have PMS. Because after posting a full-on-woe-is-me-my-life-is-so-hard blog get your period.

That your life is SO.EASY. Because you spend time with a friend whose child is struggling with physical and emotional issues. A child whose physical ailments keep her awake for hours at night, meaning my friend and her husband sometimes only get 3 hours of sleep. A night. For days on end.

That you are blessed. Because you have the privilege of loading your child into a very safe, reliable vehicle, packed with a warm coat and lots of snacks for an outing to the zoo. Because you get to spend a Tuesday morning watching the wonder in your child's eyes as penguins slice past us through the water.

That God's mercy and grace are the only things that matter. Because after reflecting on these last two facts, and comparing those facts to my behavior, selfish and self-centered attitude, I remember that He still loves me. He is going to love me through every moment, every bad decision, every time I approach him on my knees in regret, every time I rejoice over my child, every moment my selfishness overtakes me, through it all. I neither deserve nor appreciate His mercy and grace enough, because of the simple fact that I am human. But I will fight to be more like Him, to seek Him, to love my son, my husband, family and friends as he loves- through every one of their weak moments, through every one of the disappointing moments, through every one of their triumphs. God, help me to love like you do!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Confessions of an Angry Housewife

Before I begin, let me just say that I know, in my heart and in my head, how lucky I am. I have a beautiful, healthy, amazing son, and a wonderful husband who loves me. I have a roof over my head that brings me shelter, comfort and provides a place for my family to grow and bond. I have great friends, and the best family a person could ask for. I get it. I know this, and I am eternally grateful.


But somedays, sometimes, a girl just gets sick and tired of some things. Sometimes a girl takes a look at her life, at the way she spends her time, at the first things to enter her mind each morning (Tuesday. Floor Day. Must make sure I move all the chairs off the hardwoods. Pack Munchkin's snack for preschool. Return faulty baby gate to store.) before her feet even hit the floor, and sometimes that girl just can't.take.another.second.

When I dreamed of staying at home with my children, I didn't dream of feeling like the maid. I didn't dream of sweating by 9 am every morning, attempting to get myself, my little person, and all of our collective crap out the door. I didn't dream of feeling as if my home OWNED me, owned my time, owned the majority of my thought life. I didn't dream of the resentment I'd feel at going to the bathroom while keeping my wriggly, tantrum throwing son away from the toilet brush. I certainly didn't dream of the guilt that would flood through me every single time I spoke too sharply, or felt relief when dropping the Munckin off at preschool. (Two and a half hours all to myself!!! Oh. Hell. It's Floor Day. #$&#($($#&!!!)

I had no idea what I was asking for when I decided to stay at home. And those of you out there reading this, who've never stayed home with your children, and are scoffing at my resentments- this blog entry is not for you. I don't know what your life is like, and you don't know mine. It's my blog and I'll write what I want to. :)) I can't count how many times I've wondered, as I'm scrubbing the floor, folding another load of laundry, picking up yet.another.pea. off the floor or getting kicked in the boobs AGAIN while trying to change the poopy diaper of a screaming toddler, WHAT IS THE POINT??????

Did I work all my life- for THIS? My parents raised both my sister and I to believe that college was neither- 1)optional nor 2) a place for us to solely search out our "MRS. degree." Of course, family and having kids has always been a goal of mine, a dream of mine. I couldn't wait to be able to stay home with my kids, and avoid the unbelievable stress of having to work outside the home and raise kids and take care of a home. Until that happened, I was going to teach. And teach I did. I chose teaching bc I was good at it, and bc I couldn't imagine getting up each morning and going to a job that I didn't feel had worth or value. Making money was (obviously) not my first priority. I wanted to do something important. Something that made the world a better place.

But now, my second year away from the classroom, I just don't know what my purpose is any more. I know the time I spend with the Wiz- reading, playing, teaching, talking, singing, disciplining, laughing, and yes, changing diapers/bathing/feeding/nurturing- all of those things have purpose and value. I realize that being a mother (whether it's stay at home or not) is a MOSTLY thankless job. (Hello, I was a teacher for 6 years. That's probably one of the top 5 other most thankless jobs out there, right behind mother and trash collector. I'm used to it.) But with teaching I felt that just about everything I did had a purpose. Even the small, annoying, tedious things had value, contributed to the bigger picture of educating these kids. Standing in front of a copy machine, enduring finger cramps from cutting out countless bears/bunnies/gingerbread men out of construction paper, and yes even the most POINTLESS of " district staff development" meetings. I always seemed to endure those much more willingly than I am able to endure the same level of tedium as a homemaker.

You know that old adage about the needle and the haystack? I feel as if the needle in my haystack is my Purpose, or my Value. The haystack- each tiny, itchy piece of hay- are the tedious, humbling, boring tasks that I am stuck with. They are weighing down on my purpose, suffocating it.