July 31, 2009
But sometimes, just sometimes, the homework is done, the housework is done, and you've got fifteen minutes or so to yourself to do anything you want! When this happens, here's what I usually choose to do:
1. Pick up a book and read a chapter...or two, if they're short! This is how I managed to get through all four books of the Twilight series earlier this year.
2. Get involved in your favorite hobby or hobbies! For me, it's photography. The past few evenings and weekends have been spent learning the ins and outs of my camera, learning the tricks of the trade for Camera Raw, Bridge and Photoshop, and watching photography tutorials on the web. It allows me to indulge my creative side when most of the rest of the week is spent embracing the logical side.
3. Watch some trash TV! There are certain shows that are serious "guilty pleasures" that I can't get SuperScott to watch -- not that I blame him. During 15 minutes of free time, I can get through 1/4 of an episode of Intervention or 16 and Pregnant, though...long enough to decide if the show grabs my attention enough to really watch it later on.
4. Take a power nap. Fifteen minutes isn't long enough for truly restorative sleep, but this harkens back to the early days of parenthood when people always told me, "Sleep when the baby sleeps!" You might not wake up feeling fully rested and ready to go after 15 minutes, but at least you'll have had a little bit of time to decompress and relax.
5. Snuggle time with your hubby! Last, but definitely not least, don't forget that it's important to take time to reconnect with your hubby.
What's your favorite fun things to do in 15 minutes? Feel free to comment and share!
July 30, 2009
We first noticed the cyst when she was about four months old and it continued to grow with her as she got bigger. She saw a pediatric neurosurgeon to have it evaluated...we kept an eye on it from 4 months until 10 months when it was reevaluated and determined that it would not go away on its own. The neurosurgeon then had us have a CT scan (to determine if it really was a cyst, as well as figure out it's the exact position and if it was infringing on any important nerves or bone structures) and then we scheduled the surgery, which was performed at 11 months.
|[caption id="attachment_251" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="At 4 months old"][/caption]|
[caption id="attachment_250" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="Photo taken the day of her first appt. to have the cyst evaluated."][/caption]
This was Angelica the day before we went into surgery, at 11 months old:
If you ignore the messy yogurt face and notice above her right eye (on your left) there is a lump...that was what the cyst looked like. The surgery itself only took about an hour.
Here is what followed in the days after surgery (from this you can see what a truly happy kid I have...I've never been this happy so soon after surgery!):
|[caption id="attachment_236" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="Eight hours after surgery."][/caption]||[caption id="attachment_237" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="Two days after surgery."][/caption]|
|[caption id="attachment_238" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="3 days after surgery."][/caption]||[caption id="attachment_239" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="2 1/2 weeks after surgery."][/caption]|
In the days that followed, her eye, which was initially very swollen and bruised, started to heal. I was actually really surprised at how swollen and black and blue it was at first, but it healed pretty quickly and she didn't seem that bothered by it! They gave her a dose of pain medication before we left the hospital on the day of the surgery, and from there she had Tylenol for the next few days.
About two and a half weeks later, she turned one! By this point, the bruising and swelling was completely gone, the incision was healed except for a scar that's about 1/2 an inch long.
Fast forward to today...this was how it looked about two weeks ago:
Barely noticeable, right? It doesn't show up well in photographs at all anymore. Scott and I still notice it, and occasionally we'll get a comment from a stranger, like "Oh she must be walking now, look at that little scratch on her eyebrow! Does she trip and fall a lot?" For the most part it's barely noticeable and as she gets older, the neurosurgeon says it should disappear completely.
During the surgery, they were able to remove all of the cyst and did testing to confirm that it was a dermoid. They are also confident that it won't recur.
If you have questions, feel free to post them in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep in mind that I'm not a medical professional, so I can't give medical advice, so none of what I say should be mistaken for a doctor's opinion - I can just relay what our experience was and if you're truly concerned, ask your pediatrician because they'll know best. That's what we did!
July 29, 2009
Fast forward to Angelica's birth...entering the world is this adorable little girl with red hair and brown eyes! Imagine my surprise! Everyone said, "I told you so!" I was absolutely thrilled, but then reflected over my days growing up as a redhead, getting called "Carrot top" and "Little Orphan Annie", among other, less...ahem...appropriate things. I was relentlessly teased by my classmates and hated being a redhead growing up. It wasn't until I was older that I realized how unique and fun it is!
So today, I came across this site -- Little Redheads Across America -- and I absolutely love it. The site is definitely a promotional tool for a book by the same name, but has some really cute features on it...games, fun facts about redheads, and a photo gallery full of cute pictures of redheaded kids. The book itself is $29.99. I may need to pick up a copy of it for my little redhead so that she can see pictures of other little ones just like her.
I love having my little redheaded partner in crime. I love it when people comment on how our hair matches. It absolutely makes my day.
A few fun facts about redheads posted on the Little Redheads Across America site:
- Only 2% of Americans are redheads
- 20 US Presidents have been redheads (including the first one - George Washington!)
- Only 18% of redheads have brown eyes (both Angelica and myself fall into this category! Cool!)
- The most common eye color for redheads is blue (45%)
- 40% of Scottish people carry the redhead gene, and 14% of Scots have red hair (only 10% of Irish people do!)
Check out the Little Redheads Across America site to read more fun redhead facts!
The above site review is the author's opinion. The author was not compensated by the Little Redheads Around America site in any way, shape or form.
Jennifer over at nbjenni.blogspot.com came up with this idea...every Wednesday, list five things that are on your wish list. Because money doesn't grow on trees!
On my wish list this week:
1. To lose ten pounds! Over the past few months I have continued to hover between 5 and 7 pounds lost. I wish I could hit that ten pound mark!
2. A cleaning service. SuperScott and I are pretty good at keeping the place neat and clean, but we'd both have more free time if we could afford to hire someone to do it for us!
3. A house! Preferably a four bedroom, three bathroom one. We're apartment dwellers at the moment and while I love where we live, I'd love the freedom to invite people to stay over from out of town, and have a big, fenced in yard for Angelica to run around in.
4. A Canon EOS 5D Mark II digital SLR camera. Every time I look at this camera, I feel like cheating on my Olympus E510. Don't get me wrong, the E510 is great, I love it, but the Canon would be a dream, especially as I plan to progress from being a hobbyist to a professional at some point.
5. An iPhone. Yes, I'm the last person in America to jump on the iPhone bandwagon.
Interested in playing along? Head on over to Jennifer's blog, get the image code, write your post and then add your name to the wish list!
July 28, 2009
This week, we're looking at places to do your grocery shopping online. In fact, there are a handful of websites dedicated to doing just that!
For example, if you live in the northeast, Peapod.com doubles as an alternative to Stop and Shop. In order to maximize quality and freshness, they package your products at the last possible minute and ship in temperature controlled containers to keep the perishables cold. They are also currently offering free shipping on certain orders, and you can schedule a delivery window that works for you. As far as I can tell from the site, as long as you order by 4 p.m., your order can be delivered the next day. Peapod also delivers to other areas of the country, so check the site to see if your area is included in the list!
If you don't live in an area that Peapod.com can deliver to, you can opt for Netgrocer.com, which delivers to all 50 states. Like Peapod.com, they can deliver perishables and frozen products in temperature controlled containers. Their delivery schedule is published on their site, and they use a FedEx shipping method that does not require you to be home to receive the delivery. The delivery process takes a little longer with Netgrocer.com...about 3-7 days.
Another alternative is Amazon.com, who started selling groceries a few years ago. Delivery is available in all 50 states and shipping times and rates vary. I found it hard to find details on how they keep products fresh while they're on the way to you, though.
Finally, if you just need baby products delivered, you might try something like Diapers.com. (Use coupon code ANCA7897 to save $10 on your first $49 purchase - and for the sake of disclosure, I do get a referral bonus if you use that code.) They sell everything from diapers and wipes to formula to bottles, toys, clothing, and other baby gear and boast quick shipping. (And sometimes it's free!)
All product reviews in this post are the writer's opinion and have not been paid for or compensated, except where noted for Diapers.com.
July 27, 2009
Today is a great example. I am home today. All day, the house was silent. Why? Both SuperScott and Angelica were not home. He went to work, and I dropped her off at day care this morning. I took today to get caught up on some other responsibilities in my life, mainly homework, but to be honest, I spent a bigger part of the day just taking a breather. I can't remember the last time I was home alone for an extended period of time. It may have been before she was born. It was nice. I decompressed, decluttered my brain and in that sense, I feel amazing.
So why do I feel so guilty about it? When I left her at day care this morning I felt overwhelmingly guilty, like I should be keeping her at home with me since I'm home and all. But on the other hand, I really needed a day alone to take care of some other things and just breathe, separated from the daily comings and goings, work, daycare, grocery shopping, errands, and so on.
Then, when I talked with SuperScott about how I felt, he said to me, "So should I feel guilty that I would take the baby to daycare so that I can have a day to myself?" And of course the answer is no.
I think we as parents tend to forget about ourselves. Our natural inclination is to put our children first, and of course that's how it should be. We forget, though, that part of putting our children first is making sure that we take care of ourselves. Happy parents have happy children.
Angelica was no worse for wear today because I took her to daycare. She had been out for a week already and was so thrilled to be back with her friends...and then so thrilled to be reunited with me at the end of the day. So, while I still feel a little guilty about it, all in all, I know I did a good thing for both of us.
Unrelated to the above post, but I know of a family who is in need of good thoughts, good wishes, and prayers - whichever you happen to do. Fellow mommy blogger MckMama's youngest son, Stellan, has a heart defect and is in really bad shape right now. If you could spare a moment for them to do whatever it is that you do, please do so! Her blog is at mycharmingkids.net and she tweets @mckmama.
July 17, 2009
A year ago today I was still in the process of learning how to be a mom. On top of that, I had to learn how to be a working mom. My own mother was a stay at home mom, so I had no frame of reference to reflect on. It was a challenging thing, returning to work and having family members and friends who stayed home with their children saying, "I don't know how you can stand to work/have someone else raise your child/be away from home/miss out on all the milestones/be so selfish/etc!" (This is the flip side to the idea that stay at home moms watch TV and eat bon-bons and play all day - definitely not true.) The truth is, in my younger years I had always envisioned myself staying at home with my children, and words like that made me feel extremely guilty about working.
Fast forward to today, I know in my heart I could never be a stay at home mom. I love being a working parent for many reasons. Today I don't carry that same guilt that I did a year ago. I know what I'm doing is best for my family - not just for me, but for all three of us. I've also since added the task of completing my masters degree on top of all of it. It is a juggling act, balancing the responsibilities of deadlines, doctors appointments, assignments, readings, tests, chores (we don't have a cleaning lady) and more but my life is full, and all three members of this family are happy with the situation. (This is not to say that stay at home moms don't juggle responsibilities - we know you do too!)
So today, I dropped Angelica off at daycare and kissed her on the head, like I always do. She looked up, smiled and waved to me and said "byeee!". I got into my car and went to work. And I didn't feel bad about a thing.
July 10, 2009
I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. This was the hardest part of the early days for me. I am and have always been the kind of person who needs 8-10 hours of sleep each night in order to function. While friends and family bragged about their babies who slept through the night at six weeks, I was blessed with a baby who was still getting up at least once, if not twice a night at nine months old. Both SuperScott and I were perpetually exhausted and I was frazzled beyond belief for months.
Today, though, we were feeding Angelica dinner and watching YouTube videos of kids cartoons with her, and I came across one that she and I watched together one of those early mornings when she had woken up at 4:45 in the morning and was ready to go for hours, and it felt like it was just yesterday that we were sitting there on the couch and I was singing the cartoon songs to her and tickling her little baby belly. Remembering that, a feeling washed over me...how much I miss those days! (And yes, I am one of those moms who lets her baby watch TV! Oh no!)
The Fourth of July was also one of these moments. Last year on the Fourth of July, I had a five week old baby Angelica, and we decided to brave a party at one of SuperScott's co-workers homes...when they did fireworks, I sat and cuddled with my little sleeping angel, covering her ears so that the fireworks wouldn't scare her (or hurt her eardrums). That day was also the first time she smiled a genuine smile at us, and I was lucky enough to be just snapping the shutter on my camera when she did it.
[caption id="attachment_214" align="aligncenter" width="225" caption="Fourth of July 2008"][/caption]
This year...cuddling? Forget it! This child wanted to run down and pick up still smoldering fireworks (or eat them) so it was spent chasing, holding, and restraining her. I was so frazzled last year, worried that we were keeping the newborn up too late or breaking a schedule (HA! A schedule at 5 weeks? What was I thinking?). This year we've got the schedule down to a science. But hey, despite all the screaming, chasing, struggling, and sticking to a rigid schedule (set by her, not us!) we still had a good time. By comparison, that 6 week old was a lot easier than our 13 month old. And oh, what a difference a year makes.
[caption id="attachment_215" align="aligncenter" width="214" caption="Fourth of July 2009"][/caption]
Now that we're in the land of sleeping through the night, from 8 p.m. - 8 a.m. (she might wake up earlier than that, but she sits in her crib and plays and hardly makes a peep) I find that we spend less time together. I miss the quality snuggle time we had those sleepy mornings at 4:00 or 5:00. It's very strange to me that I feel this way, considering how much I wished she would just sleep back then. It's so bittersweet, especially when you consider that there isn't the luxury of one-on-one time whenever you want it when you have the second baby, so you can never really go back.
Knowing this just makes me want to cherish each moment even more than I already do, because in a year I will probably be saying the same thing about this time in our lives as well.
July 8, 2009
Several months ago, Momversation.com ran a video called The Mommy Wars, which discussed whether or not these wars are real, and thoughts about them. Mommy Wars are really just the ways in which we judge each other as parents.
Why do we do this? I ask that out of exasperation, but I think the answer is that we all love our children so much that to think that there are other ways of parenting means that we're not doing something right. This was a hard lesson for me, because I felt so strongly about so many things when I was pregnant, and when my daughter was born, I was surprised how different I did things and how there was no "by the book" (my mantra became "close the book and read the baby" after so many parenting books failed me).
Breastfeed or formula feed (or both)? Doesn't matter, as long as you're feeding your child. (I am an advocate for breastfeeding though we tried it didn't work out for us.) Co-sleep or crib sleep? As long as you're getting some sleep! (we did both). Work or stay home? As long as everyone's happy and your family's needs are met (obviously, I work). Pacifier or thumb? Whatever keeps the kid happy (we tried the paci but she only took the thumb).
I say we cut out the judgment. As long as our children are all fed, clothed, happy, and not being abused, and we're not breaking any laws, I think we should be free to parent without judgment.
July 7, 2009
Today's might make some of you laugh. It's a trip back to elementary school, but a way that I've managed to save both time and money every week.
A few weeks ago I wrote a Tuesday Timesavers piece about ways to save time in the morning. After that, I got to thinking - what are some ways to save time throughout the day? Later that night I was grocery shopping, and suddenly, it was staring me in the face, making me laugh like a ten year old girl.
It was a Lunchables display.
Okay, before you think I'm totally off my rocker, let me explain. One of the things that eats up time in my morning is packing a lunch. You have to get all the parts together, make the sandwich/grab a frozen meal, grab a drink...or worse, plan to grab fast food for lunch if you don't have time to do that.
So, feeling kind of silly about it, I decided to give the Lunchables a try. I hadn't had one since elementary school, and since then, they've started packaging them complete with a drink and a snack size candy bar.
For example, the one I have with me today is a Low-Fat Ham and Cheddar, with a snack size fat-free Jello pudding and a Capri Sun fruit punch. 360 calories. I tossed a banana in the bag with it to get my fruit/veggie for the meal and I'm set!
Another great thing about these is that they don't need to be microwaved. No need to wait in line in the break room for the microwave, no need to wait 5-7 minutes for a frozen meal to cook. Just pull this out of the fridge and eat, or if you're really pressed for time, put it in a lunchbox with an ice pack and keep it at your desk!
If your child or children are school aged, this also could save time at the grocery store. If you buy Lunchables for their school lunches, grab a couple for yourself too so you don't have to go elsewhere in the store to pick up yours.
Finally, each one costs about $2.50. That's about the same, or less than the cost of a frozen meal, and definitely cheaper than fast food. It may not be the 100% healthiest thing in the world, but if the alternative is fast food, the Lunchables is a better option.
I now understand why my mom used to send us to school with these every day.
Disclaimer: The above is my opinion. I am not compensated by Lunchables or any associated brands for writing this article.
July 6, 2009
That's not to say I lamented returning to work this morning. While the idea of being a stay at home mom sounds really great, the reality of it is probably much different. It's one of those, "the grass is always greener" situations.
While there are definite benefits to both sides of the stay at home/working mom fence, and neither one is better than the other (I think that stay at home moms are also working moms who just happen to be underpaid!), I have to say that, while I love being home with my daughter, I also love being a working mom and wouldn't change that arrangement.
I started thinking today all the things I love about being a working mom (that's not to say that some of these can't apply to stay at home moms though). Here's a few of my own - feel free to comment and share yours!
- Contributing to the family income.
- Maintaining a "me" identity (other than "wife" and "mom").
- Adult interaction for the win!
- The look on my daughter's face when I pick her up from daycare.
- Making the best of each moment together because I know our time is short.
- Feeling productive and fulfilled (though being a mom is more fulfilling than anything).
- Seeing the "friendships" my daughter has made (as much as a 13-month old can make friends).
- Setting the example for my daughter that it is possible to balance a happy work life and a happy family life.
July 1, 2009
Our move was really, really simple. In fact, anyone who has a toddler, I recommend doing it this way if possible! We were living in a two bedroom apartment, which was getting really cramped with two big people and one little person and all of HER stuff in it, so we upgraded to a three bedroom apartment, which was so conveniently located directly across the hall from us.
Yes, literally. As in, every morning when I left for work, the first thing I saw was the front door of the place we live now.
The move itself went quite well. We sent Angelica off to daycare for the first two days, and enlisted the help of a friend to help us carry our stuff the ten feet over to the new place. (Thanks Gary!) This is our third day here, and already we are almost completely unpacked and settled in. The only thing missing is a new desk for me (my old one was about to fall apart, so I'm sitting on the sofa right now typing this out on my laptop) and bedroom furniture -- which is something that in my 11 years of being an adult I have never owned. The bedroom furniture will be here next week!
Angelica's adjustment to the new place has gone really well. We did a quick walk through the day before the move, and she was nervous, probably because it was just big, open and empty (as opposed to crowded and cramped, like she was used to in the old place). When she came home from daycare on the day we moved in, she seemed a little overwhelmed, but by tonight it was if she's lived here her whole 13 months of life.
And so, that is what has been going on which has kept me from writing anything for the past few days! Keep an eye out for more new blog posts coming shortly -- including new Tuesday Timesavers starting again next week!