Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not Losing Yourself

A common complaint I hear from my mom friends is how they don't really have any sense of self anymore.  And on one hand, I understand--I feel that way sometimes, after all.  I felt that way especially after Bug was born and when Jon was overseas.  I didn't have any friends up here at the time, and my days were very, very lonely until I found my mom group.  And it's not easy to have a clear sense of self in the weeks after a baby is born, because it takes time for you to get adjusted to this new member of the family.  With Bug it was hard, but when Cat arrived it was much harder because I not only had a newborn, but I had another child who wasn't even two yet.  And so, I entered survival mode:  making sure all of us were fed, clothed, bathed, and the diapers were changed every day.  And it was exhausting, no question.  Having your first kid is tough because you don't know what the heck you're doing; having your second is tough because there will be times when both of them need something and you simply cannot meet both of their needs at once.

But, once everything settles down, at least for me, I have something that I can always go back to:  my writing.  And (I am pleased to say) my hard work has paid off:  my novel, Unraveling Anabel, is going to be released as an e-book later this year.  But it hasn't always been easy; while the writing part has, undoubtedly, been a lot of fun, I've also had to do a great deal of unpleasant things, like editing (I seem to have a love affair with adverbs), and querying, and...well, what I'm getting at is, it hasn't been easy, but dreams are important, and this was one worth working hard for.

Sadly, so many of my mom friends have lost this sense of self, a sense of "what I am without my kids."  And we do get wrapped up in our kids.  I mean, I talk about Bug and Cat more than I talk about myself, and believe me, that's saying something.  But before I know it, they'll be pursuing their own interests, and it's important to have your own.

So, what advice do I have for moms who are looking for an activity to call their own?  Well, keep a few things in mind:

1.  What are you truly, truly passionate about?  For me, it's writing, but I've always wanted to be a writer, dating back to the days when I used to write terrible, terrible plays based on episodes of Ducktales (I'm not even kidding.  This is one of those "I solemnly swear I am not making this up" moments, I was obsessed with that show as a young girl and it influenced my writing for years to come).  And be honest with yourself.  Explore every possibility, whether it's you want to write, or be an actor, or start your own stationery company.  Consider what you want, and think past what others have told you you couldn't do before.

2.  Look outside yourself and help others.  I realized that I was passionate about recycling, which is why I joined Terracycle with my Flip-Flop collection project.  Often times, by helping others, you can find things that you are truly interested in.  Find a food bank, a soup kitchen, a kid who needs tutoring.

3.  Take time for yourself.  And get to know yourself.  I'm not talking about taking a solo trip to Target; I'm talking about leaving your home, by yourself, and doing an activity just for you.  It could be a hike, or a visit to a museum.  It could even be an hour at the spa.  Do something where you can quiet the crazy in your head and just listen to yourself.

4.  Connect with friends and see what they're doing.  They might be engaging in an activity that sounds really cool.  It never hurts to ask.

What else?  Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Disappearing Act

I had to take a hiatus from blogging because life came at me all fast and furious-like.  (Hmm.  That doesn't sound right, but I'm pretty sure "fastly and furiously" wouldn't have worked either).

So what's been going on?

Well, if you'll recall, I was sick.  And I do mean sick.  I had a cold that seriously kicked my butt, and even now, three weeks later, I have a lingering cough that is fairly intense.  I felt horrible and getting out of bed was not easy, and there was more than one day when I had to call Jon and ask him to come home.  Thankfully, I was the only one who got sick--Bug, Cat, and my husband all emerged from the ordeal unscathed.

Me being sick really put us all behind.  By now, I was hoping to have the boys' room painted, but I haven't even made it to Home Depot yet to get the paint (am painting it a light blue, I think it's going to look great. And we'll save the leftover paint for when we move.  Whenever that is).  I am going to attempt to do that this weekend, but all of our weekends are filling up very quickly.  We'll be going apple picking again (hooray!), we have an upcoming birthday party for one of Bug's friends, and my brother is coming to visit.

Oh, and I'm turning 30 in the not too distant future:)

Bug has been doing swim lessons with his dad on Saturdays, as I mentioned before, and they seem to be going really well.  He's getting more comfortable with being in the water and he and Jon seem to have a really good time together.  Plus it's nice for me to have a little bit of time to myself, because I can usually get Cat to take a nap for at least part of the time that they're gone.  If I can even just get a shower in peace, it makes the whole thing worth it:)

Cat has started crawling, and he is trying really hard to pull himself up.  And so, the beginning of the end of my sanity begins:)  He had a rough few weeks (more teeth--will it ever end??), but has been happier and enjoying himself more these days.  It probably has to do with the change in the weather--it's been gorgeous the last few days.  Hello, Fall!

Anyway, I have some exciting announcements in the next few weeks, but you'll just have to tune in and see:)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Product Review: Chia\Vie

Bug is, as you know, two and a half, which means that he keeps finding new (and frustrating) ways to assert his independence.  One of these ways is by not eating.  And oh, it makes me so annoyed.  Like when I ask him what he wants and he says he wants a specific thing and then I take the time to prepare it and he takes a single bite--or worse, shoves it away without touching it--and then says, "All done!"

You get my drift.

Anyway, the point of this is, I sometimes have to be creative in how I get nutrition into him.  Some days it's by feeding him a few apple slices here, a piece of cheese there, and tricking him to drink his milk.  Other days he eats happily, but I never know quite what I'm going to get with my mercurial toddler.  Which was why I was super excited to try out Chia\Vie smoothies!

These smoothies are made with Chia seeds--yes, like the Chia pets of yesteryear, and they're apparently really, really good for you.  They are full of fiber, have 5 times the amount of iron that a serving of spinach does (which totally excited my anemic self), they have 5 times the amount of calcium as in a serving of whole milk, AND it has enough essential amino acids to count as a complete protein.  Win!

Plus, Bug liked them, which is a huge deal in this house.  The true test of whether he likes something is if he says, "Om Nom Nom!" after he consumes it, and he did.  We tried out the Mango and the Acerola-Pina, and both of us preferred the Acerola Pina (not a huge fan of mango in this house, although it was pretty decent).  I think we're going to order some of that and the Snapple-Berry, because I will take what I can get with this kid.

For more information, check out their website,  www.DrinkChiaVie.com. They have a store locator here: http://drinkchiavie.com/find-a-store/ and you can also order cases online if there is not a store near them.

Even better news--they often have free tastings, promotions and new store announcements which they share on their Facebook www.facebook.com/barenutrition and Twitter @Bare_Nutrition .



When Mama Is Sick...

Around Wednesday of last week, I started to not feel well.  My throat got sore and tight, and my nose began to stuff up, and I started having terrible sinus headaches.  I was hoping it was just allergies, but as it turns out, I have a cold.

I usually get a cold this time of year, as summer starts to fade into fall, and unfortunately, this year, I just don't have time to be sick.  I had to cancel playdates for Wednesday and Thursday (as well as a dinner date we were supposed to have Thursday night), for fear of spreading my disease.  I was really bummed out, because being confined to the house means I don't get any human interaction besides my children (and husband when he gets home).  And let's get real here, folks.  As much as I love Cat, his main topics of conversation are "GAH GAH GAH!" and screaming, so it's not super stimulating.  And Bug likes to talk about the following:  Poop, Thomas the Tank Engine, Mickey Mouse, and why I am not currently reading to him.  And when you have a sore throat, reading isn't exactly the easiest thing to do.

So, I've been feeling like a pretty crappy mom these days, because it seems like the electronic babysitter--the TV--has been going all day around here.  But I simply don't know what else to do when I feel this bad.  It's simply incomprehensible to me that I can be a total rockstar at natural childbirth, and then I am brought to my knees by the common cold.

We've gotten by, though, and Jon has been really great.  On Wednesday and Thursday both of my kids woke up at obscenely early hours so we all took morning naps on those days, which helped me recover better.  And today I don't feel too bad.  I got a good night's rest last night (Jon scored some major husband points by getting up with the baby and letting me sleep in until almost eight).  I feel very drained, but not totally miserable.  I was able to sleep last night with my head propped up by many pillows and so I woke up slightly more able to breathe than I normally am.

So, what else is going on around here?  Well, Bug started swim lessons yesterday with his Dad at the local rec center, which I think is going to be so good for both of them.  I think it's really important for kids to have one on one time with their parents, especially when they are Bug's age and will be able to start remembering these times.  And Bug doesn't really get a lot of one on one time with Jon, so I am happy that they are doing this.  It was great because I got Cat down shortly before they left, so I got a nice shower in and had a little time to relax before he woke up from his morning nap.

We are still very undecided about our living situation...ugh.  I hate not knowing things, but I am trying to go with the flow and make the best of it.  In the meantime, we got the downstairs painted and I think next weekend I am going to paint the boys' room, and we may do the study as well.  Whether we decide to sell this place or keep it as a rental property, I want it looking good, and I am excited about painting the boys' room (we're thinking a light blue).

So good times.  We'll keep you posted!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday Funny

(Bug and I are cuddled up on the couch, reading books before bedtime.  The following dialogue ensues)

Me:  Hey, Bug, what does the cow say?

Bug:  Moooooooo!

Me:  And what does the bee say?

Bug:  Dammit!

Parenting fail.  Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

30 Before 30....one month away!

Well folks, we're getting down to the wire--my birthday is NEXT MONTH.  Eeek!  Anyway, here's how I'm doing thus far....



1. Lose 15 lbs--the rest of my baby weight from both children:)  


2.  Get Cat sleeping through the night, preferably in his crib.  


3.  Give away 30 things.  (I have given away the following:  4 pieces of maternity clothing, 15 pieces of regular clothing, 4 books, various scrapbooking materials, 3 cans of sample formula that I couldn't use, foam blocks that neither of my kids were interested in, a bagful of items from my pantry that we weren't going to use, one of my three pie plates, 3 unopened bottles of dietary supplements, and a few other things that I have forgotten.  So more than 30!  Go me! )


4.  Complete two chapters of my book with Chad Thomas Johnston


5.  Potty train Bug.  (I would say this goal is about 75% complete.  He is peeing in the potty very well--which I love because every time we flush he says, "Buh-bye, Pee!"--but we haven't gotten #2 completely sorted out yet.  Oh well, we'll get there!)


6.  Take a sewing class.


7.  Do something physically adventurous.


8.  See my best friend.

9.  Collect enough flip-flops for my TerraCycle project.


10. Watch 3 movies that I have never seen before.  (I am actually up to four!  In addition to Magic Mike and Bridesmaids, Jon and I made it out to see The Dark Knight Rises.  And then we watched Boogie Man, which is the documentary about Lee Atwater) 

11.  See a play.  (Done on June 30, 2012--saw the exceptionally moving The Normal Heart in Washington, D.C.  Thanks for inviting me, Jordan!)


12.  Go to a concert.  (Shannon and I saw Enrique and J. Lo at the end of July.  It was phenomenal.  )


13.  Submit an entry to PostSecret


14.  Try three things I have pinned on Pinterest.  This can be recipes, arts and crafts, etc.  (I made my busy bag, and at the beach I collected seashells to make an ornament with.  I also am going to be celebrating a made up holiday-Annual Donut Day--which I think should be a lot of fun).  


15.  Visit the National Gallery of Art.  Sans children. (I may end up doing this after my birthday--am tempted to go when they have their Christmas decorations up).    

16.  Cut down on paper products that we use in our home.

17.  Get into a routine of cooking at least 6 out of 7 dinners per week. (I have done this the past two weeks!)

18.  Clean out my closet, getting rid of things I haven't worn in two years (Did this today!)

19.  Meet a Dessert Islander (Liza, it's probably going to be you!)

20.  Spend an entire day away from social media/e-mail.

21.  Get the house painted.


22.  Family Vacation.  


23.  Forgive those in my past who have hurt me.


24.  Get paid to blog.


25.  Buy the majority of my food locally.  Hooray for our farmer's market!


26.  Try a new restaurant.


27.  Abstain from buying new books until after my birthday.  (NOT EASY)


28.  Abstain from buying any new beauty products/lotions until all my current ones are used.  (You have no idea how many lotions I have).


29.  Blog post for Jennifer Luitwieler.


30.  Figure out our living situation.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long Weekend

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!  Ours was jam-packed.  We looked at some potential new houses (we're rapidly outgrowing our current living space and are hoping to find a new place to move into at some point next year).  It was also fun to see our realtor--she is expecting her first kid (a boy!) and so  we had a great time catching up with her.

We also got our downstairs painted at the end of last week.  We haven't decided yet whether we are going to rent or sell our current place, but we did know for sure that our downstairs needed a sprucing up.  So we painted it a lovely sage green color.  I need to post some pictures, but I have no idea where my camera is (thanks, Bug!).  Anyway, it really makes the trim pop and it accents our wooden floors perfectly.  So happy with it:)  I had painters come and do the downstairs because (a) our wall for our stairwell is very high and I couldn't have done it on my own and (b) I had a Living Social deal.  I love Living Social:)  My next project is going to be painting the boys' room.  It is currently Winnie-the-Pooh themed but Bug and Cat are both really into the Thomas trains, and so I am going to paint the walls a nice light blue--and I figure I'll probably have enough paint leftover to do the same for their room in the new house.  Even though the new house will have enough bedrooms for both of them, I want them to keep sharing a room (at least, for now) because Bug needs somebody in the room with him.  It's so funny how different they are--or maybe it's just because Bug has slept in my bed forever--because Cat can sleep happily in his crib all night long, and I usually have Bug join me at some point during the evening.  I am hoping that as Cat gets older, perhaps they can share a bed if Bug gets lonely.

I was busy this weekend as well--I cleaned out my closet some more (hooray for Freecycle!).  I also got a pedicure, which was really nice--I hadn't gotten one since before we went to Florida and, uh, let's just say my feet needed some help.  Yup.  I actually had a really nice weekend--some of my girlfriends and I went to the Melting Pot for dinner Friday night (and can I just say that I pretty much rolled out of there?).  The only thing that was kind of rough is both boys are congested--Bug I think because of the changing of the seasons, and Cat because the relentless onslaught of teeth is just driving the poor little dude crazy.

Anyway, I am going to go off now in pursuit of my phone--I haven't seen it in a couple hours and am starting to get anxious.  I sincerely hope Bug didn't throw it out.