February 28, 2011

The In-Laws: Not a Dirty Word

While I don't always participate in blogging prompts, I thought today's SocialMoms prompt was an interesting one:

What are your tips on how to deal with difficult in-laws or family members? - Is it hard for you to get along with your in-laws or other family members? Has it gotten so bad that you don't bring your kids around them any more? How do you overcome your differences for your children's sake? Share your tips on how to make a better relationship with difficult family members.

I begin talking about this subject with a little bit of a chuckle. I married a guy with let's face it, a pretty remarkable family. That's not to say that I haven't had frustrations (who hasn't?) that I have had to work through. Most of those issues were born out of completely pure and good intentions on behalf of family. In my son's early days, those frustrations were exacerbated because of my postpartum depression. Nobody was really "safe" with me during that time. Not friends, family, not even my husband. I spent a great deal of time ranting, raving and crying not knowing how to deal with my own issues and not being brave enough to explain them to anyone else. The only way I was able to survive it was to give myself some space. Sometimes, that meant ignoring calls or only having communication via e-mail.

Nobody really warned me about the unsolicited advice portion of parenting. How annoying it is or how it not only rears its ugly head from the ones closest to you but from perfect strangers as well. And now that I am a full-fledged mama? I confess... I dish out the advice as well where I am certain it is not wanted.

Us moms, we have to learn how to have a thick skin. We have to learn to give ourselves a break. We have to learn that we are going to do what we have to do to survive most days. Are we going to make mistakes? Yup. Are we going to hear those horrific words "I told you so,"? Yup.

I have a close relationship with my in-laws because at the end of the day, they love me and they most especially love my son. Now that Jack is older, he loves them too and can even tell them as much. It would have to take something pretty major to begrudge anyone in my family, either immediate or in-lawed, time with Jackson. No doubt, there are things that people, family or otherwise, say which make me cringe (thus, the entire inspiration for this blog). But, when it comes to family, I bite my tongue. There is no need to create drama where it doesn't need to be. I look at these conversations as... just another perspective that I can learn from. I am fortunate that I am surrounded by families that are loving and dare I say, normal?.

With that said, Jack and I are pretty lucky to have such awesome family in our lives. So, for me, using the word "in-laws" is definitely not a dirty word, it is more like a blessing.

February 24, 2011

The Great Formula Debate: ENOUGH ALREADY!

I'd be remiss if I missed on this opportunity to rant about the latest and greatest breastfeeding vs. the evil formula companies debate. 

Let me premise this by saying that I FED MY BABY FORMULA. GASP! SHUDDER!

I'm not going to tell my story again. It has been told. Again and again. I didn't have a choice but to switch because desperately trying to breastfeed was putting my baby's life at risk. If your baby's life was at risk because he needed to fricking eat, wouldn't you do the same?

I am completely neutral when it comes to breastfeeding. If you can do it, I applaud you. Actually, I ENVY you. So, yay for you. Yay that it worked. Yay Yay Yay. Now, will you please stop shoving it down everyone's throats and let people make this extremely personal decision on their own without all the guilt and bias getting in the way?

Here's the new big dumb controversy. Similac was paying Bloggers for their positive reviews of their Similac Baby Journal app. Okay. So that's nothing new. Bloggers often get paid to promote a product in return for money or goods. What became debatable was there were bloggers who happened to be breastfeeding advocates that are getting paid to write about something that they didn't necessarily agree with or believe in. THAT I can understandably argue with (pot calling the kettle black much? Stick to your guns on your opinions or you can kiss your blog credibility and your integrity goodbye). As much as I would like to rake in some dough with my blog (I make enough for a medium Caribou coffee about every four months) there is NO WAY I would write a review for a product that I didn't believe in (click on my About tab and I explain this further). You will never see me flip flopping just to get compensated unless I had a life altering experience with the product which genuinely changed my opinion.

When I first brought Jackson home, I was a disaster. New house, new mom, breasts that refused to work, uterine infection, baby that refused my breasts, baby losing weight quickly, jaundice getting worse, people constantly on my ass telling me I HAD to breastfeed... It was awful and not exactly the dream I had about bringing a baby home. My entire pregnancy, I literally poured over information about breastfeeding. I feel like I was incredibly self-educated and informed on the subject. I barely looked at anything in regards to formula; yet, I kept all of those samples from my OB/Gyn "just in case." When it got to the point where the choice was very obviously no longer mine, I suddenly had to play catch up and figure out what formula was all about. I wish I had educated myself on it IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I would like to think that I am a smart mom and a smart consumer who makes informed decisions. The pressure to breastfeed from the mom community was SO enormous that I didn't think I had any other options and let me tell you, that is simply not true. When making the switch to formula, I did not ask Similac, Gerber or Enfamil the best way to do it, which kind would be best for my baby or how often to feed him. I ASKED HIS PEDIATRICIAN. So please do not insult my intelligence- I didn't choose to formula feed or buy a specific formula product because Enfamil shoved some marketing campaign down my throat. You don't think Madela has to do some marketing for their breastfeeding products? Hmmmm? Does that make them evil for trying to sell their product? Are they preying on idiot moms who supposedly don't know any better or don't have a single clue on what the hell they are doing? Just curious.

Even though the end product for Similac's baby journal app fell a little short and completely pissed off the breastfeeding community at large, I have to give them a little bit of credit for at least trying. They are at least recognizing that breastfeeding is a big deal for many moms and made an attempt at creating that connection. I took a peek at the app and found the journaling to be easy and straightforward. While I didn't need an app to tell me when my kid was hungry (yes, even as a formula feeder, I read his hunger cues appropriately), his pediatrician did require us to journal when and how much he was eating as well as his dirty diapers and sleep time for about the first two weeks (they needed this information specifically because he was jaundiced). So in that respect, the app is pretty good. Take the "call our feeding expert" option out of it and I think they may have been on the right track. I would like to think that smart moms are going to go to their lactation specialists and pediatricians for advice on feeding before they rely on their iPhone app. Or maybe that's just me. I WISH I HAD THIS APP (hell, I wish I had an iPhone) when Jack was born. There are many baby journaling apps out there (type in "Baby Journal" in the search bar in the App Store... you'll see what I mean), the only difference with this one is that it was made by Similac. A formula company. Gee. I guess it's evil now.

Here are some snapshots of the app at least of the pieces that I would have found useful way back when Jack was an infant (I think the pee and poop visuals in the diaper change section are kind of hilarious):

Would I endorse this app? Yup. I would. Do I endorse breastfeeding? Yup. Of course. Do I endorse formula? YES. Do I endorse moms whose babies love them regardless of which way they are fed? Absolutely.

FYI: I was not paid a single penny for my opinion.

February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Success Is...

Putting on pants from 3.5 years ago and not only do they fit, but they are BAGGY.
My WeightWatchers weight loss graph

Riding rides with my toddler at the Mall of America for the first time and not having a single tantrum (and that goes for the whole family):
Riding the Blue Train at Nickelodeon Universe

A husband who just got a big promotion and is a fabulous father.

From Jack's Baptism- 3 months old

February 21, 2011

The Long Weekend

It was such a wonderful weekend. Time with good friends. Time with my husband. Time with my friends.

We took a mini road trip about an hour and a half away to visit our good friends who also have a little boy who is just 4 months older than Jack. She is one of my oldest friends from college and we've been through a bundle together over the years. We both dealt with our share of infertility so the fact that we ended up having boys so close in age is pretty surreal. Between chasing the boys around, making sure they have snacks and are getting along, we didn't have a lot of time to catch up. We took all of our boys out for dinner and despite a long wait for our meal, the kids (and our husbands) held up pretty well. It was such a fun day and when we say that we want to hang out with them more often, we really do mean it.

Good ol' man Minnesota winter reared his ugly head again. We hunkered down yesterday watching the snow fall and had a crazy day just running around the house. All three of us had the day off today for President's Day and had been planning a day at the Mall of America- we weren't sure whether or not to venture out in the weather, but I'm so glad we did! Growing up, I LOVED going on rides. Watching my kid ride his first rides today was awesome. He was a little uncertain at first but warmed up to it quickly. Here are a few of his favorites:

He rode the merry go round twice

A little scared of the cars but was laughing at the end

He LOVED the trucks. The poor guy that has to listen to those horns all day... yikes.
Beyond a really great extended weekend, was an overwhelming feeling of both fear and thanksgiving. Being a part of many online mom communities, I have gotten to know a number of moms and their babies virtually. Even though I don't know them for real, their struggles, losses and victories still hit close to home and it is nice to be able to share all of those things with the women who know. Over the past week, someone I know in real life had her world rocked when she found out that her 2 year old daughter had a brain tumor. I've been reading her blog and following the updates of her little girl's surgery and recovery. I've cried and prayed for them. What an amazing family they are- their strength astounds me. This little princess is doing so well, and I am praying for her quick recovery every single day.

Yes, being a parent is often challenging and frustrating but none of that matters in the grand scheme of things. I can't help but feel like this is a reminder to never take a single moment for granted. I count my blessings every day.

February 19, 2011

Creature of Habit

I've gotten a lot of eye rolls in my 2+ years of parenting in regards to my overly scheduled kid.

Well, I have a confession... sometimes having such a schedule makes things a little complicated. Saturday afternoon weddings and playdates don't exactly work out sometimes for a kid who will only nap at 1:00pm. No earlier. No later. Did I mention a napless child makes for a disastrous evening? So yeah, I can see how having such a rigid schedule complicates a day that may require some flexibility.

He used to fall asleep anywhere...
I will say, that our rigidly scheduled child makes for an easy child for the rest of the 90% of our lives. He gives us zero trouble when dropping off at school (although my little bum WOULD like to sleep in a little later), on a normal, no plan Saturday or Sunday, he goes down for his naps (at 1:00pm) like a champ and sleeps upwards of 2.5 hours. He goes to bed at 7:30 sharp without an issue and minus any illness, he sleeps for a solid 12 hours.

I can understand both ends of the spectrum, but when it comes to having to function at a job Monday through Friday? Having a scheduled creature of habit works the best.

Do you have a flexible or scheduled child? What are the pros and cons for you?

February 18, 2011

Small Weight Loss. Big Deal.

I have been on my weight loss journey for 7 weeks and am proud to say that I've lost 8.5 lbs. I am also frustrated to say that I've lost ONLY 8.5 lbs. I think all who have made the choice to lose weight for some reason feel like by simply SAYING we are going to lose it, that it will be gone quickly so it is frustrating that it takes so long.

But it is SO WORTH IT.

I know that by taking this journey slow and steady that I am going to be more likely to lose the weight and keep it off for good. I'm working on my patience.

For all of the times I think that 8.5 lbs isn't very much, I remind myself of truly how much of a difference it is making:
Crazy Swollen Feet.
My Cute New Boots
When I was pregnant, and especially after our Tahiti vacation from hell, my feet grew. And grew... and grew... Much to my dismay, even though the swelling went down after having a baby, my feet still seemed... bigger. For someone with a major shoe fetish, this was devastating. I couldn't shop at DSW (aka, my shoe heaven), was at least a 1/2-1 size bigger and most definitely a wide width- couldn't shove my feet into a regular width for the life of me. The other day when it was brilliant and 50 degrees out in February in Minnesota, I wanted to get out of the office for a little bit and ventured to DSW. Preparing for my usual disappointment, I sauntered in and drooled at the sale. To my surprise, most of the shoes I tired on actually FIT. I was shocked. I didn't buy anything but decided that I would stop back when sandal weather is officially here to get some cute peep toe pumps. Continuing to test my luck, I put on a pair of boots today, worn only a couple times (and only worn a couple times because of the sheer torture they were) and they have been perfect all day. I lost weight in my feet!!!

I was chatting with my husband the other day and he asked me how many pounds I was down, of course I replied, "Almost ten," which is mostly true. He looked at me a little surprised (give the guy a break... he's seen me try and fail at this about a thousand times) and told me that he can totally see it in my face. One of the things that truly was one of the many final straws for me in the decision to truly dedicate myself to this journey was pictures. Over Christmas, a lot of pictures were taken. I shuddered in horror when I saw most of them, even the ones of me from just the waist up. Was that really me? Even though I still have a ways to go before I make my lifetime goal, I can already see the difference and I am already more willing to allow people to take pictures of me.

While I haven't lost enough to officially change sizes, I can already tell that my clothes are fitting better. Pants are requiring belts, tops & sweaters are getting baggy. Pre-pregnancy clothes that I thought I would never fit into again are finding their way back into my wardrobe. After just 8.5 lbs.

I have been doing all kinds of activities as part of my health plan from EA Sports Active for the Wii and XBox Kinect to Dance Central on the Kinect, to simply walking on the treadmill at the gym and Group Fitness classes (so kick ass). The one thing that I am always hesitant to try is jogging. I'm not good at it. I always hurt during and after. Prior to my wedding, I actually jogged quite a bit on our home treadmill. I had a favorite program that I would run and always found it challenging and rewarding. After 6 weeks of pretty hard core activity, I thought I would give it a shot. Guess what? It was a thousand times easier than I ever imagined. I am hoping that I can keep it up, add to my time and get out on the actual road this spring. Dare I say maybe try for a 5K in the next year?

My Overall Health: 
Okay, so the 8.5 lbs hasn't kept me from catching every one of my son's evil daycare illnesses, but I have noticed a significant surge in energy. Plus, it isn't my imagination that running up and down the stairs is a thousand times easier. My knee pain seems to have disappeared. Just 8.5 lbs did all that.

So if you ever think that your weight loss is small or insignificant, think again. Even my little 8.5 lbs has shown immense health benefits both mentally and physically. I'm excited to think that I'm not done yet and how much more exciting this journey is going to get. I have lost weight, even just a pound at a time, EVERY WEEK since I started the program. In the end, all of those measly one pound losses are going to add up.

February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Inspiration

I participated in a survey the other day that was based on building an inspirational online community for women and it got me thinking about the things that are truly inspiring to me. Here are just a few:

Music inspires me to pursue my dreams and talents. 

Real weight loss success stories inspire me. I want to be a success story.

Other moms inspire me
I look to the moms I know both personally and electronically to learn and be a better mom. The moms who have to deal with illness and injury move me with their strength and inspire me to never EVER take a single moment for granted.

My husband and his Dad's growing photography business and their art inspires me to view art and beauty from a new perspective and to search for it in every day things. 

My son inspires me. All I do, I do for him.

What inspires you?

February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day. Best Left Unplanned.

I do know some single people. They all hate Valentine's Day. You know what? I don't care for it either.

We didn't make any plans for today, but for some reason, I still had expectations. Isn't that silly? 8.5 years together and I still expect SOMEthing. I put Valentine's Day in the same ballpark as birthdays. You can plan all you want and somehow it never turns out like you want it to. I looked back on an old post from 2006 (even I am amazed that I have been blogging that long). My husband tried to send me flowers- they showed up a day late and very dead. We still chuckle about that one.

We've come a long way since 2006, but one thing remains the same: when things don't go as planned, he makes up for them in big ways. He even buys cards and WRAPS gifts for me now. That is huge. HUGE. I'll confess, when he got stuck with a work issue today, I was disappointed that we couldn't go to Jack's party together. I was even more disappointed when I came home and he was on the same call and we weren't going to be able to go to lunch either. When I came home from the dentist (that's right, I went to THE DENTIST on Valentine's Day. Sexy, right?) I saw this (and no, Spiderman was not part of the gift):

He also took Jack and I out for dinner to make up for missing the school party today. Like I said, he makes up in big ways.

One thing that has changed everything for me on Valentine's Day is becoming a mom. There is nothing better than that unconditional love and today that love was no exception. It made all the things that didn't go quite right, seem so silly.

Putting Jack to bed tonight, he gave me a kiss on the cheek and as I laid him down he said, "I love you sooooo much Mommy."

That's what Valentine's Day is all about.

How did you celebrate Valentine's Day? Was it everything you hoped it would be? 


February 13, 2011

Good Diaper Rash Treatment- A Review

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of the things I have done since having a baby is share my experience with products that work. Most of you moms out there know that you will probably try every brand on the market before finding one that works the best. Or, some of you will buy it simply because you have a coupon. Nothing wrong with either strategy, but I found it best to seek out some advice from my mama friends out there both in cyberspace and in person and of course, pediatrician recommendations.

Since the day he was born, Jack pretty much could've cared less about having a dirty diaper. We changed him every 2 hours like clockwork (unless we smelled otherwise) but we always had to deal with diaper rash with him. Even now, as we begin to work on potty training, he still gets bouts of it and it always has to be treated.

We tried just about every diaper rash treatment on the market and there are a few that make our top three. One of them is Boudreaux's Butt Paste. I had gotten some good recommendations from my mama friends and hey, it has a funny name, so why not? It worked great! It goes on and cleans off easily, the tubes have a flip top cap, the scent is pleasant (as I'm sure you've learned, some of them are NOT very nice smelling) and it protected his skin from any further irritation. Working moms will also know that you have to have two or more of just about everything: one for daycare, one for home, one for the diaper bag and a million other places it is convenient to have. The price adds up. Boudreaux's Butt Paste is available in many convenient sizes: 1oz, 2oz, 3oz and 4oz tubes, 16oz jar so you never have to buy more than you need for your given situation.

Another thing I appreciate about Boudreaux's Butt Paste is that it is highly recommended not just by the moms that know it best, but it is pediatrician recommended. Boudreaux's Butt Paste was specifically formulated by a pharmacist with direction from a respected pediatrician to provide effective diaper rash care. It is made with 16% Zinc Oxide and Peruvian Balsam so it will effectively treat diaper rash and soothe your precious baby's irritated skin. It is also nice to know that this great product was also featured on the Oprah Show, the Tonight Show, the Today Show, People Magazine, ESPN and While You Were Out on TLC.

I don't do a lot of product reviews like this, so know that this is a good one that as a mom, I fully endorse. There is nothing worse than having my little guy screaming  "Mommy, Owies!" when trying to change his sore bum and this is one of the top products for diaper rash that I can count on to make it all better.

You can make the owie bums all better too! Visit the Boudreaux's Butt Paste website at www.buttpaste.com to receive your own free sample!

Visit Sponsor's Site

February 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Puppy Love

I have seen a lot of Valentine's posts out there for Wordless Wednesday and while yes, my husband is my ultimate Valentine, I'm going to have to send the love to my doggie today.

I didn't really like Sadie much when we first brought her home over 8 years ago. I had just moved in with my now husband and it was like having a child when we obviously weren't ready for it. So I did what any girlfriend would do, I told him in the middle of the night when she was whining, "She's YOUR dog. YOU take care of it" HA!!! Fast forward to a few years later, and she definitely became OUR dog and I could not have imagined our lives without her in it. She's my loyal best friend whenever I need her. My walking buddy in the summer. My cuddle buddy in the evening. I am aware that our time with her here is limited yet I know that when the time comes to say goodbye, it will be too soon. I was reminded of that today when I realized how really sick she got overnight. She kept wanting to go outside to the bathroom, wouldn't eat her food and when she did, she threw it up. My husband then discovered that she had blood in her urine. I was a wreck leaving for work. I was worried that she wouldn't be there when I got home... my husband and I agreed that at this age and beyond, no extraordinary efforts. I was relieved when I heard it was a urinary tract infection. It's a bad one, but it is easily treatable with antibiotics. She was even given pain meds. Poor sweet pup. I can't wait to go home and snuggle with her tonight.

So even though this ended up being wordy, this Wordless Wednesday is for you, Sadie.

Baby Sadie w/ her Valentine bandana

Me & Sadie. Wow. This picture is old.

Model Sadie. This picture was actually in a calendar!

Daddy & Sadie roughhousing

Baby Jack & Sadie

Jack & Sadie

Jack & Sadie (current). He loves her so much.

February 08, 2011

I Guess My Child Is Destined To Be Obese

I absolutely hate, let me repeat, HATE the studies that have been featured lately about how formula fed kids and now, how mothers who work are more likely to have obese children.

I feel like I should just accept that my kid is going to be obese. You know... because I had no choice but to formula feed and have a freaking JOB. What a horrible mom I must be!

I guess I can buy into the word "likely". I'm sure there are plenty of parents who find it a lot easier to stop at McDonald's or Papa Murphy's on the way home because it is late or heck, because I forgot to thaw some meat out of the freezer. Is this really just working moms or, could it be ANYone who has a busy schedule?

I read these articles and get angry. I feel like at every turn, there is something written or some new study that makes me hang my head in shame. But I'm done. No more shame. I AM A GOOD MOM. Since the day we brought our little person home, we have done everything we can to ensure that our son will lead a healthy, happy life. Yes, we formula fed, but not by choice. I followed the guidelines set by our pediatrician in terms of how much formula he should be getting. Jack has been consistently in the 50th percentile for weight (even less than that when he was just an infant). He goes to an AWESOME daycare that is very serious about child nutrition- whole grains, fruits, veggies is what they serve. For the most part he eats his fruits and veggies very willingly and refuses sweets. Not kidding, our son has refused cake for both his birthday parties and has had little interest in chocolate or sweets (I'm not sure how this can be my kid sometimes...). He's a crunchy kid and loves his crackers. I'd be lying if we said he didn't get the "naughty" foods on occasion. He loves cheeseburgers and french fries but is lucky to get them once a month IF that. He likes pizza. I LIKE PIZZA. Again, it's a special treat, not a daily occurrence.

The only thing I can think to do to counteract these studies is to continually encourage the good habits. The fruits, the veggies. My husband and I LOVE to cook. As a matter of fact we make our meals from recipes nearly every night of the week. Jack doesn't always get to eat them (we have a rather spicy, exotic pallet in our house), but we always ensure he has a protein, veggie and a glass of milk. As far as activity, our kid is crazy active. 90% of the time, he'd rather be running around like a maniac than sit down and play video games or watch TV. We are hoping for this trend to continue as the more active he is, the less likely we'll have to deal with the obesity issue that seems to be increasing in this country.

I get it though, parents are busy people. Especially the working ones. Hopefully the ones that are too lazy after a long day of work to feed their kids an appropriate meal will stop giving a bad name to those of us who keep working hard to the right things with and for our kids after we get home.

February 07, 2011

To Conceive Or Not to Conceive

We always thought we wanted 2 kids. The perfect little family.

The longer it takes to conceive #2 the more and more we are talking ourselves out of it.

Our friend's beautiful baby boy.
We got the chance to visit our friends over the weekend and meet their adopted newborn baby. He is so adorable with big huge eyes and sweet heart-shaped nostrils. I got that familiar rush of baby fever. I loved listening to all of their stories and hearing all about their process. Most importantly, I loved the look on their faces: that sheer utter new parent bliss. In my head I was thinking... wow. I wonder what it would be like to have a newborn without the postpartum stuff. She can sit. Anywhere. She can bend over to pick baby up out of the crib without that shooting pain from the epidural spot. She's not crying every two minutes over absolutely nothing. Sounds amazing. Can I do it that way next time? She even confessed that things were going great and that the transition was relatively easy- and it was likely because she's not having to physically recover from childbirth. They are going to be such wonderful parents and I am so over the moon for them!

I was around 8 months preggo here.
I have this love/hate feeling over the whole pregnancy/childbirth experience. I loved when I was midway through my pregnancy and I had the perfect bump. Just big enough to say "Yes, I'm pregnant, stop staring at me," and small enough not to feel as though I could topple over at any moment. I loved the feeling of the human person growing inside of me and feeling so incredibly protective over him. I loved that only my husband and I knew his name and talked to him as though he had already arrived. I LOVED feeling his kicks. I didn't love the morning sickness (evening for me actually) which plagued me for 25, YES 25 @$##@$ weeks. I didn't love that my weight creeped up 30lbs despite the fact that I was puking my brains out every night. I didn't love the weird taste in my mouth that made everything taste funny. I didn't love heartburn and reflux. I didn't love the fact that my blood pressure was creeping up dangerously high and I was at risk for pre-eclampsia by week 30 and had to go in for checkups every week and in the last 3 weeks, I was going to the doctor twice a week (thank god for a great boss who took pity on me who was more concerned about my health and the health of the baby than what hours I was punching on the clock). I didn't care for the fact that I could barely walk.

Funny thing is. I didn't mind childbirth. Once I got the epidural, I was in wonderland. Meeting my son for the first time was the most amazing experience of my life. I didn't care for the 6 weeks of postpartum recovery. As a matter of fact... that was worse than everything else. I do feel a little bad for even remotely complaining about any of this stuff seeing as I had to deal with several years of infertility as did many close friends of mine. Regardless, having a baby isn't a cake walk and trying to convince yourself otherwise doesn't make it all better.

Would I do it all again? Yup. In a heartbeat.

My Big Boy.
So why the indecision? The older and more independent Jack gets, the less we want to have a small baby in the house again. Part of me feels like it would be easier the 2nd time around- since I already had the experience, it wouldn't be as challenging (ha!). The other part of me feels like we keep saying "When Jack gets older we will..." He's getting older and we are now able to do a lot of the things we have longed to do with our child. I feel like he should have a sibling, yet I think he would do just fine as an only child. Childcare is expensive, we worry how we would pay for two kids in daycare. We worry how we would pay for two college educations. Yet... there is that little voice in the back of my mind that says to keep trying.

I'm not getting any younger. I turn 35 in a few months which is supposedly like the dreaded "deadline" age for childbearing (which is funny because I take 10 times better care of myself than I did 10 years ago...). For now, we are compromising. 2012 is our deadline. If we are not pregnant by then, we will be done and more than content with moving forward with just our beautiful boy.

How did you make the decision to have or not to have more children?

February 06, 2011

Our Super Bowl Tradition

I never used to care about the Super Bowl. Sure, I would go to parties but only because they were parties. Not because I cared about the game. Before Jack was born, we would go to someone's house. Eat "football" food and hang with our friends. It was fun, but again, the Super Bowl itself was just kind of meh.

Once we had a child, it wasn't as easy to go anywhere. Our friends had kids too so it wasn't easy for them to go anywhere either. So, my husband and I decided to start our own tradition. This will be our 3rd year with our new tradition and I have to admit that I have been looking forward to it for weeks.

For the third year, I'm cheating on my diet, we bought wing sauce from Buffalo Wild Wings, we are breaking out the fryer and making our own buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks and nachos. We are waiting for the munchkin to go to bed before we start our deep fried food extravaganza. I am actually looking forward to the game- hoping to watch the Packers get pummeled. I am looking forward to the commercials (give me a break... I'm in Marketing so this is like the Super Bowl of all things Marketing/Advertising). I am looking forward to hearing Christina Aguilera sing the National Anthem and wondering how big of a train wreck she will be. I am very much looking forward to Lea Michelle sing God Bless America (total Gleek here). I am totally excited for the Black Eyed Peas during halftime. I am looking forward to the Super Bowl! 

I could say that I do all this for my husband because he is a total football freak, but that's not true. We turned it into a fun night for US. We brought things into our tradition that we both happen to enjoy so it doesn't end up being about him getting a free pass for the night just because it is the Super Bowl. It is something we both look forward to and in a sort of weird, selfish way we are kind of glad that we aren't sharing it with anyone. We also feel like we started a tradition that our son can join us in when he gets older.

I know there are a lot of football and Super Bowl haters out there, but I am happy and proud to say that I love it and have fun with it.

Go Steelers!

How are you celebrating (or not celebrating) Super Bowl Sunday? 

February 04, 2011

When I Grow Up

Remember that question we were asked incessantly as kids? What do you want to be when you grow up?

2nd grade I recall saying that I wanted to be a singer. Weird. That almost happened.

Seriously. How gorgeous is that dress!!!
I was with my friend a few weeks ago at a small, local bridal shop and we were having an absolute blast picking out dresses for her to try on. This shop was AWEsome. The gal who we were working with was blunt, honest and had a great eye for picking out the things my friend was really interested in. Also awesome was the fact that the store's owner was there hanging out with us. While I was waiting for my friend to emerge in yet another beautiful gown, the owner and I got into a discussion about her shop. I told her that I LOVED it, and how ever since my own wedding, I had always kind of dreamed of having my own wedding shop. She said she was hoping to retire in a few years and to keep in touch. My first reaction was that of a raised eyebrow and a thought of maaaaaaaaybe swimming around in my head. Then reality settled in. Yeah. I don't have the money to buy the business from her, not now, and likely not ever.

My friend thinks I'm a little nuts. Deal with crazy, picky bridezillas all day long and their potentially crazy, picky friends and family? Funny thing is... I never saw the bridezilla come out in any dress shopping experience with myself, my friends or family. It was somewhat magical. Think about it. Most girls have some kind of dream in their head as to what kind of dress they are going to wear on their wedding day. It is the one day where they are front, center and likely to be the most beautiful they are ever going to feel in their life. How could I not want to be a part of that magic?

So why don't I just suck it up and do it? Well, quite frankly, it takes money to open a small business. Not to say we don't have money, but we have chosen a different life path and are saving it for retirement. We are also saving for our son's future as well. Let's face it, once we had a child, life wasn't just about us anymore.

It's not that I don't like what I do in my chosen career path. I have worked for a decade to hone my marketing craft and am proud at what I've accomplished over the years not to mention the amazing people that I have encountered and have had the privilege to work with. I think everyone at one point or another wishes they could be their own boss. In charge of their own destiny. Heck. Sometimes, I'd just like to dump it all and just be a Mom.

Chances are, the stars in my eyes over owning my own shop probably has more to do with the fact that I have been inundated by wedding stuff for at least the past year. After all the weddings are done in 2011 I'll probably go back to wanting to open a store with just little boys' clothing... Moms of boys... you know why but that is a topic for another day *wink* *wink*.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

February 02, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The iPhone- a Learning Tool

I receive a lot of flak from people who insist that I am damaging my poor little toddler by letting him play with an iPhone. While I could go into a whole rant about how I disagree (and I have in a past blog post), and for the record, my son is doing just fine.

I'll show you why:

Just like flash cards, the app he was playing with includes the written word as well as a picture. Before the fruit game, he was doing numbers and letters counting to 30 and doing the ABC's... Call me crazy but I don't think he's getting a mushy brain by playing these games.

Happy Wednesday!

February 01, 2011

Love Ingredients

Love. It is incredible how it changes over time.

For me, the ingredients that make up all the love in my heart is grown from my friends, family, husband, dog and especially my son.

My Elite Circle of Friends
Friend Love: I love my friends. Over the years, my circle of "besties" has gotten pretty small. I have just a handful of friends that are my go to girls. Two of them are old college roommates. We have gone through pretty much everything together not to mention extreme highs and lows in our friendships and I honestly cannot imagine my life without either of them in it. Sure, our friendships have morphed a bit throughout the past 15 years because of marriage and kids, but we've somehow managed to stick it out. A couple more friends I have met along they way in my adulthood journey and I love them just as much. They are my escape and I am grateful.

Family L-R, Aunt, Bro, SIL Sarah, Sis, Me
Family Love: I grew up in a pretty typical family: Two happily married parents, an older sister and younger brother. Even though we don't get to see each other much these days, I love them. Unconditionally. I would do anything for my family. Enter marriage into the equation (including my siblings' marriages): I acquired a whole new family to love, care for and worry about. It is incredible to me how natural and easy it is to love these people without question or reason simply because: they are family and they are forever.

Marriage: October 15, 2005
Married Love: Falling in love with my husband was like closing my eyes thinking I was diving into an empty, concrete pool yet safely landing on a giant pile of feathers. We were discussing the whirlwind courtship of his sister the other day (in a good way), and he said to me, "I absolutely knew that I was going to marry you after just 6 weeks." Here I thought he was just stringing me along for the first two years... Married love is pretty awesome. Our relationship has changed immensely over the past nine years. It has been important to remember that the "crazy" new love stuff doesn't last that long, but it is the deeper bonds of our history and dreams for our future that keep us together. Milestones such as getting married and having kids are just a few of the many pieces along the way that make our relationship and our married love so powerful. 

Me & My Girl Sadie
Pet Love: I can say without a doubt that I love my dog, Sadie. I didn't always love her this much. As a puppy, I got frustrated easily with her and just WISHED that someday she would start listening. Guess what? Out of nowhere, she did and she's perfect (weird... sounds a lot like kids huh?). I can also say without a doubt that my dog loves me back- she is the first one that I see when I come in the door to my house. She's been with us for 8 years, so yeah, she's getting up there in age. I know that we need to start considering that she maybe only has about 4-5 more years with us and I kid you not, it BREAKS my heart to even think of having to say goodbye. I am not certain how I am going to be able to function without my best dog in my life. She's been there for me through the best and worst parts of the last 8 years and I love her so much. One moment I recall is after finding out that I was having a miscarriage, I was sobbing uncontrollably and she just jumped up next to me on the couch and put her head in my lap. I don't know how she knows when things aren't right, but she does and she's always right there to offer her love. She's amazing. I know she hasn't been thrilled about giving up the spotlight to the little person, but I think she has really grown to love and be protective of her little brother over the past two and a half years.

A Mother's Love: You would think this would be the longest section of all when it comes to love yet I have a difficult time coming up with the words to describe how deeply I feel about my son. I often hear people describe their children this way and I couldn't agree more: My son is my heart out walking around. My heart just swells when I think of him. I think of his crazy arrival into the world and even though it shook us all to the core, I think it taught us the most important lesson in parenting: nothing ever goes as planned. My little boy is my everything and I would die for him. I have loved watching him grow into such a smart and loving person over the past 2.5 years and after dealing with fertility issues, I am still blown away that he is here and he is mine. He's the most amazing, frustrating and hilarious person I have ever known. You would think if you LOVE someone this much, it would be easy to find the words to describe it, but I just can't. It just is.
How Fast They Grow...

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, what is love to you? 

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