#MOMLIFE (Part 1 of 3)

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My son is 2 1/2 years old, and my beautiful baby girl has just reached one month.  So between the two of them, they don’t speak very much, except for awkward sentences and vocalizations along the lines of “Is me all wet?” and “Waaaaaaaahh!”  But despite the lack of an extensive English vocabulary, I’m fairly certain that these two are already communicating…

It’s as if they plan their hysterical, break-mommy’s-heart, tear-filled meltdowns to coincide with the other’s.  It’s like they know that I’m outnumbered.

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Oh, you’re going to hysterically burst into tears, demanding milk from Mama, at a quarter past three?  Great, that works for me too!  I’ll bash my big toe in around then…

It always happens all at once.

Just the other day, I was sitting on the living room floor and pumping breastmilk while attempting to cradle my screaming baby girl.  (If you’ve never tried holding a baby against your chest while pumping, then you totally should.  It’s a riot).   And since I had thought it would be a good idea to bring my toddler’s highchair into the TV room to watch cartoons while I pumped, baked beans were raining down on my head… on the newborn’s head… and on the newly installed carpet.

You know, because I had thought that it was a good idea to feed the stickiest meal ever to my tantrum-throwing toddler… during a part of the day when I couldn’t easily get to him…. all while my baby girl was uncomfortable, screaming, and desperate to be held.  (Come to think of it, purchasing new carpet months before the arrival of a newborn probably wasn’t the smartest decision we’ve ever made either).

You live and you learn, am I right?

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But there I was, once again, surrounded by complete chaos; because my littles decided to impeccably plan their need for attention.  Brady needed to be held and shown love.  Kaitlyn needed to be held upright and secure to help her through a painful acid reflux episode.  ‘The girls’ needed to be pumped like two hours ago.  Oh, yeah, and the cats also decided that now would be a great time to sit at my feet and beg earnestly for their lunch.

All…at…once…

And granted, no one is going to die or be injured if they’re left to cry for awhile longer.  But it just seems to happen a little more frequently than I’m comfortable with, and – quite frankly – it breaks my heart.  I’m left having to choose.  Who do I comfort first?  Who do I disappoint?

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Who has to sit in the background while Mommy tends to the other child first?

And the more I ponder that in my head (at a rapidly fast pace), the more my anxiety levels go up.  The more my mommy guilt shoots through the roof.  The more I somehow blame myself for not being able to properly diffuse the situation.

Because I’m a mom…  So obviously, I’m supposed to be able to split myself into two mommy blobs and handle both problems at once.  (Which, for the record, wouldn’t be necessary if my kiddo’s didn’t somehow communicate and sync their schedules so perfectly).

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(…to be continued)  🙂

 

 

 

The Third Trimester Life

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Have you seen those memes that say something to the affect of “When you’re pregnant, shaving your legs is an Olympic Sport”?  I always thought that meme was funny.  Maybe even clever.

But now that I’m three and a half weeks from my due date, I’m not finding it so humorous.  😉  Forget shaving…  I can barely handle putting on my pants.  Between  Kaitlyn practicing future ballet moves and digging her chubby toes into my ribcage, the sciatica that’s sending intense pain down my lower back and legs, the exhaustion and breathlessness of anemia, and the ginormous belly?  I can’t bend or get comfortable or walk.  I’m at the point that I have to sit down to just put on my makeup, because I don’t have the energy to stand.  I have to sit down to prepare dinner.  I have to sit down to put on my shoes.

I even have to sit down to eat chocolate if I want to enjoy it!

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I do have this really awesome, penguin waddle going on though.  It’s totally sexy.  I feel like a confident, watermelon-toting Victoria’s Secret model marching down the runway.  Nate seriously can’t take his eyes off me…  (Although I have my suspicions that he’s sympathetically grimacing in pain while he watches me hobble by.  My belly looks as heavy as it feels these days.  I’ve officially passed the cute stage…  left behind the watermelon smuggler phase…  and now I’m entering blimp territory).   

I don’t even know how it’s possible that the 9 months aren’t up yet.  This third trimester really has been never-ending.

50 Funny Pregnancy Memes That Will Make You Pee Without Even Sneezing:

However, during this time, I’ve also mastered the art of kicking things into the air and catching them, which is quite impressive.  Bending down to pick things up is SO two months ago.  Even Brady is in awe of my mad reflexes.  I’m thinking of submitting a tape of myself and applying for America Ninja Warrior.  (I’ll bet being a mom has prepared me for most of the obstacles.  As for the warped wall, all they need to do is put a cup of iced coffee at the top, and – let me tell you – I’d make it up there in record speed.  Not even sure if my sneakers would need to touch the ground to get me up there…).

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In all seriousness though, this pregnancy has been completely different than my pregnancy with Brady.  I was so energized and active during that third trimester.   Of course, in between the energized activity, I did have time to nap and rest.  That doesn’t happen these days…  This time around, things have been much harder, because I’m constantly chasing after an ever-energetic little tyke.  (I feel like I’m even chasing him during the moments that I’m sitting down to pee.  I don’t know how that’s humanly possible, but – trust me – I do it.  Bathroom breaks are seriously no longer breaks…  It’s like trying to relieve yourself while being locked in a restroom with a wild monkey).  

Thanks to the added exhaustion and physical exertion, my body doesn’t seem to want to cooperate, resulting in more uncomfortable and painful pregnancy symptoms than last time.  And most times, my strong-willed toddler cooperates just as well.  😉   His favorite words right now are “in five minutes, Mama” or “no thanks.”

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The more I reply with “No, Mama, needs you to listen now,” the more he seems to retreat into his little toddler world of Mickey Mouse, icecream, bubbles, and puppies.  Seriously, men get a bad rap for selective hearing, but toddlers have turned that into an art.  They really do live in their own little world!  I say “green beans,” and he hears “icecream”.  I say “time to change your bum,” and he hears “time to dump out all the blocks and play.”  I say “time to put your coat on,” and he hears “let’s dance”.

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It’s a good thing that he’s cute, lovable, absolutely hilarious, and my entire world.  Because he’d be in trouble otherwise.  But, you know, despite the insanity, I just can’t imagine my long, exhausting days without him!  And he really is SUCH a good little boy.  He’s just, well, a toddler.  We’ve all had to go through that stage and drive our mothers a little crazy.  It’s like a requirement for growing up…

But yes, three and a half weeks.  That’s it.  That’s all that’s standing between me and meeting my precious baby girl.  And then, this will ALL be worth it… right down to the hairy legs, swollen feet, and out-of-control hormones.

For now, I’m going to do my best to see the humor.  To focus on our beautiful prize.  To be the best preggo mom that I can possibly be.  And to practice that sexy penguin waddle.  After putting in all this effort to learn it, I don’t want to forget how to do it just because I’m not pregnant anymore!  😉

50 Funny Pregnancy Memes That Will Make You Pee Without Even Sneezing:

Pregnancy is SUCH a blessing…  but it’s also a tough – often uncomfortable – journey.  Do you have a funny pregnancy story to share?

 

 

Preggo Journal – Week 30 Recap

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How Far Along – I’m 31 weeks, which means 8 weeks until my C-section.  Okay, now I really need to pack my hospital bag!  😉  And pack Brady’s things… And make sure the hubby has a bag…  And finish washing / organizing the baby things…  And organize a few places in the house.

Yeah, I basically just need to get these projects started and finished, my friends!  🙂  Apparently pregnancy brings out the procrastinator in me.  (Or maybe it’s life with a toddler.  I’m pretty sure that has a lot to do with it too).

Baby Name:   Kaitlyn Marie

First and Second Pregnancy, Comparison Pics:  

THEN –  (2014)

NOW (2017) –

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I’m Craving / Disliking:   Really no specific cravings.  I feel as though I’ve just been particular…  I’m usually a foodie who loves everything, but I’ve been very picky this pregnancy.  Like if someone offers to bring icecream over, I have a long list of flavors that they shouldn’t bring.  Ha, ha.  (For the record, normally I’ll eat any flavor of icecream).  For some reason though, I’ve been very specific about flavors during this pregnancy, whether it’s dessert or an entree.

Exercise:  I didn’t get any structured exercise in this week (as the temps dropped), but honestly chasing after Brady all day does count for something.  😉  I’m always on my feet, walking, carrying him or other things, and just all-around moving.  They should make a workout video that’s called ‘Toddler Mom’.  Seriously, it’s a full body workout!

Awkward Moment:   I survived the week without any awkwardness!

A Moment I Don’t Want to Forget:  While I was in line at the grocery store yesterday afternoon, an elderly veteran behind me pointed at my belly and said, “Miss, I just want you to know that I’ll be praying for a healthy pregnancy and delivery for mama and baby.” I thanked him for his thoughtfulness, adding that I appreciate every single prayer! And he said, “I go to church a lot so don’t think I’ll forget to pray for you!” Then he showed me pictures of his one-year-old granddaughter whom he was obviously very much infatuated with. I was completely touched by his kindness and by how sweet he was that I came dangerously close to bursting into tears. Oh pregnancy hormones!!  It was just a really special moment and reminded me that this insane world is still filled with wonderful people.

Ooh, AND I received my C-section paperwork in the mail just the other day!  My surgery has been scheduled for May 4th at 7:30am (which means Nate and I have to be at the hospital for 5:30am).  It’s SO weird to have a scheduled date and to know when I’m going to meet my precious baby girl.  At the same time, it is a little bit convenient, since I can arrange child-care for Brady that much easier.  😉  But still, please keep me and my nerves in your prayers!  I’m starting to get a tiny bit nervous about it…  C-sections do come with their risks, and the recovery afterward is no joke.  I’m just praying for a safe surgery and also that my recovery won’t be too bad (especially since I have a toddler at home this time around).  Honestly, last time, my recovery was pretty great; but I don’t want to get my hopes up that it’ll happen again.  😉

Something I Miss:  Energy.  And being able to bend down.  And coffee.  (As of two weeks ago, coffee gives me heartburn, so I’ve had to give up my treasured decaf).

Sleep:  Despite having to wake up every two hours to pee, I’m actually sleeping pretty well still.

To-Do List Completions:  Other than baby shopping, I got nothing done this week.  Yeah, I know, I need to get on that.

Purchases:  I have basically everything I need now for when baby Kaitlyn arrives… except for clothes.  I’ll probably focus on buying that closer to my due date.

Symptoms:  On Friday, I was diagnosed with SPD (or something like that. HA!).  Basically it has to do with my pelvis (or something like that).  Honestly, I have no idea what it is…  The doctor used big words and had a thick accent; so once I realized that it was nothing serious (and that it would go away on its own after the pregnancy), I kind of dazed off and just nodded in agreement to whatever was being said to me.  *sheepish grin* What I do know for sure is that it’s giving me sharp pains in my upper thigh every time I move, so – yeah – it’s no fun.

I also have on-and-off nausea, backaches, heartburn, never-ending Braxton Hicks contractions, headaches, and extreme exhaustion.  This pregnancy is definitely a lot tougher than Brady’s pregnancy was (although I’m suspicious that much of that has to do with the fact that I’m running after a toddler all day).  😉  Still, I’m in good spirits, and I don’t complain… too much.  Ha, ha!!  I figured that pregnancy gives me some right to complain on occasion to my hubby.  And thankfully, he’s very understanding and hugs me after my vent sessions.  🙂

Final thought:    Nate and I really do plan for this to be our last pregnancy…  And although I’m not a huge fan of the process (despite the fact that it IS a huge blessing),  I’ve decided that I’m going to really embrace the remaining 8 weeks of the pregnancy… aches and ALL!  It really is a miraculous process, even if it involves discomfort and frustration at times, AND it is a very special time.  So I’m going to embrace it for as long as I can.  🙂

My Snowy Valentine

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A week ago, there wasn’t an inch of white stuff on the ground and the temps were nearing 50 degrees.  Flash forward 6 days and two snowstorms, our mailbox is almost buried under the snow and temps are blustery to say the least.  It almost feels as though winter decided to bide its time – skipping over December and January – so that it could focus the entirety of its fury onto February.

That’s New England for ya…  Our winters are as unpredictable as our sports teams.  If you don’t like the weather / score, wait five minutes.  Things’ll change.  😉

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With two snowstorms hitting New England this week, Valentine’s Day actually crept up on me a bit.  I know, I know, I’m usually the queen of planning and happily anticipating fun holidays and activities.  But I’m very pregnant.  And I’m constantly chasing after a toddler who only knows three speeds:  fast, faster, and fastest.  And there’s laundry, and piano lessons, and teaching Kid’s Church, and cooking for my two hungry men.  As of late, the days have been blending together even more than normal.

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So, yes, I basically forgot Valentine’s Day until it was staring me in the face.  I realize this sounds a little sad, but it was honestly the best thing that could have happened.  Because let’s face it, I’m a “go big or go home” kind of girl.  I completely realize that I always bake, decorate, and plan too much.  But I also realize that I live for that.  I love it!  I love making my home look festive and baking so that others feel special.  It’s totally my thing.

But you know what I love even more than that right now?  Sleep…  Having a few free moments to put my feet up…  Fruit cups filled with melon, grapes, and blueberries…  Chocolate.

Yep, I’m officially feeling very pregnant, and it totally trumps my Type-A, planner personality.  Sooooo realizing last minute that Valentine’s Day had arrived was the best possible thing for me this year.  I didn’t decorate.  I didn’t plan.  I just celebrated preggo-mom style.

I had Valentine M&M’s in the cupboard (since I can never resist buying holiday-themed baking supplies the minute they hit the supermarket shelves), which I decided to whip into cookies.  (I used my favorite Hershey’s chocolate chip cookie recipe and just substituted the chocolate chips with a cup of m&m’s.  Both the hubby and toddler approved, and I have to admit that they are quite “dewishus”, as Brady would say).

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Honestly, Tuesdays are usually a little crazy around here, since I have to prep for piano lessons, clean the house, and pack Brady meals for my mom’s house.  But whatever the reason, this one was actually quite smooth-sailing.  Somehow we’d managed to keep the house rather clean during the week, I didn’t have much prep to do, and Brady was in a spectacular mood.  Like spectacular mood!

If every day was like this, the mom life would be easy-peasy lemon squeezy.

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Nate and I didn’t have our typical Valentine’s dinner together, because we decided to hold off for now (since the Babymoon is just around the corner).  Plus he had work… and then church tonight.  BUT we spontaneously danced to a favorite song and had a really sweet moment… And we finished the house-cleaning together while chatting about our night away…  And, I don’t know, we just made the absolute best of a busy day, and it was really special.

For dinner, during the one hour Nate was able to be home tonight, I made these pork chops (which are delicious) and this Strikeout Pasta Salad.  (It’s a homemade version of your typical, Italian-dressing pasta.  The dressing is really simple to make but has a ton of fresh flavor.  Both Nate and Brady LOVE it, as do I).

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Then, when the little guy was finally in bed for the evening and Nate was home from church, Nate and I cuddled on the couch and watched The Middle.  SUCH a great Valentine’s Day… even if I almost forgot it.  🙂

 

Up…Up… And Away!

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Poop.  I was searching in the dark for lost poop.  This, my friends, is what my life had become.  I had reached an all-new low, and I wondered – for a moment – if there was any coming back from this.

But first, let me start from the beginning…

My two-year-old son is in a Spica cast due to a broken Femur.  The story doesn’t fit the trauma of the injury and healing process.  He fell to the kitchen floor during playtime while trying on one of my husband’s shoes.  The end result was a trip to the ER, a two-night hospital stay, and 5-6 weeks in a body cast that doesn’t allow him to sit up or walk.

My poor baby boy was traumatized by the entire situation and spent the first few nights back home sleeping in bed with me and my husband.  I was scared to death of touching him, moving him… and of changing his diaper.  I was especially  terrified of poop.  The doctor had thought that it would be entertaining –  or helpful –  to tell us stories of toddlers who needed their casts completely redone, because poop had exploded up through their diaper into the inside of their cast.

Thank you for that image, Doc.  

Because of this, I was almost relieved that Brady was very constipated for his first bowel movement.  It was 3am in the morning; and he woke me and Nate up, asking for a cup of juice.  That’s when I smelled ‘it’ and sent Nate to get the juice while I tackled the diaper in the dark.  I’m not exaggerating… I was so freaked out about getting poop on the cast that I was sweating and basically lamaze breathing as I undid the diaper.

But then I realized that the poor kid had pushed out a hard, golf ball of poop.  I made a mental note to buy prune juice just as I breathed a sigh of relief at how easy it would be to clean up.

Okay, maybe not.  Brady decided to twist and kick in that moment.  He might as well have shouted “FOUR!”  That ball of poop took flight and landed… somewhere.

I just sat there, stunned, staring at the now-empty diaper.  Like seriously, does this actually happen in real life?  I squinted my eyes and tried to see better in the darkness, but I didn’t see the poop ball in the immediate area around us.  So I started pulling back the sheets a bit.  And then, as I searched and tried to keep my toddler from wriggling away, it hit me.  I had lost a hard lump of poop in our bed.

The hysterical laughter that hit me immediately afterward mixed with sobs.  I really wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry, so I laugh-cried.  (Totally a thing).  It was 3am, I was exhausted, there was a now wide-awake toddler lying naked on my bed, and I was looking for lost poop.

This.  This is what my life had come to.

It’s not that I ever imagined the mommy life as being glamorous; but – let’s face it – we all hope that we’ll turn into that mom who miraculously holds it all together.  You know, the June Cleaver of moms who manages to place a warm meal onto the table every night, while keeping a tidy home, looking effortlessly glamorous, and still finding the time for reading with her husband every night.  They just don’t make them like that anymore.

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This is more my reality these days.

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Spica-cast inspired melt-downs…  Tears…  Frustration…  And lost poop.

In the end, the flying poo turned up on Nate’s side of the bed.  (At 2 years old, Brady is already quite athletic.  Move over, Tiger Woods).  In my exhaustion, I briefly wondered if I could just grab it with a baby wipe and then wait to tell Nate the story in like 30 years from now.  But even if I’m no June Cleaver, I am very clean, hygienic, and humane, so I sighed in defeat and realized the diaper change had now turned into a sheet change.  Unfortunately, after waiting for a diaper change and a bed-sheet change, there was no going back to bed for the little guy.

That’s okay, sleep and morning showers are totally overrated, so early morning cartoons it was.

As we snuggled in bed and watched Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Brady gently cupped my face in his hands as if he wanted to keep me as close as possible.  Every once in awhile, he’d whisper “Mama” and then look up at me with his big eyes, as though to make sure that I was still there.  (It’s something he has done quite frequently since our stay at the hospital).  And I was reminded that even if the mommy life is far from glamorous (and that it does stink at times… literally), it is sweet.  And beautiful.  And precious.

Our little ones make it worth it, each and every day.  Because the love we have for them is unexplainable and unstoppable, even if it sometimes leaves us looking for lost poop at 3am.

 

 

Christmas Shopping… Done!

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Since coming home from our two-night stay at the hospital, I’ve been busy shifting around our crazy schedule into one that has been wiped clean.  Getting Brady around isn’t going to be an option for me, as his cast is heavy and cumbersome.  So I guess you could say that the next six weeks are going to be a staycation with a toddler in a lime green Spica cast.

Makeup is optional.  Yoga pants a must.  Travel by wagon…  Well, is there any other way to get around?  Even a poor little dude with a broken leg can’t resist giggling (and smiling from ear-to-ear) when the mode of transportation is a red, Radio Flyer.

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I wish I could say that I just shrugged off the cancellation of our fun, upcoming holiday plans with ease; but to be completely honest, I had to let myself have a bit of a pity-party today.   Although I always search for the humor and positive side of things, I don’t always jump to that conclusion automatically.  Sometimes, I have to let myself be pulled – kicking and screaming -to the place where I can find laughter or a reason to be thankful.

Need some parenting humor to help you laugh about the hardest job on earth? I round up all the funny parenting memes full of quotes from real parents to help you laugh and find the humor in raising our kids.":

 

I mean, I was totally okay with having to reschedule a dentist appointment.  (It’s not like I flossed as promised anyway).  And I can live with the fact that piano lessons are going to be half days in January (although it’s not ideal).  But then I started to get to all the fun plans we had scheduled over the next few weeks, and hitting the delete button was a bit tougher.

Okay, okay.  A lot tougher.

First, I had to come to the realization that Nate might not make it with me to our gender-reveal ultrasound on Thursday.  (And we definitely can’t make it to the dinner plans we had made to celebrate afterward).  Brady has special needs right now, and we wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving him with someone who hadn’t been trained in Spica cast care.

I had to cancel my Christmas shopping trip with my sister and a dinner date with a close friend.

We hope to make it to my family’s Christmas Eve party, but it all depends on how Brady is feeling.  We probably won’t make it to Nate’s side of the family on Christmas Day.  And none of Brady’s toys are appropriate for a little boy in a cast, so we have to put them aside to give them to him after Christmas (as apposed to the special, energetic Christmas morning we had planned).

And then I took a celebrity look-alike quiz on Facebook, and my result was Hilary Clinton.  (Okay, so that last thing is completely unrelated, but being compared to a 69 year old politician wasn’t the highlight of my day.  Kick me when I’m down, Facebook.  Kick me when I’m down).

I had to regroup a bit today.  I had to let myself feel sad for just a bit, acknowledging the fun plans that I had to let go of.  (If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that burying one’s feelings and ‘pretending them away’ doesn’t work).  Then I had to take a deep breath and decide to focus on the good things that can come with the change of plans.

After all, I am very much Type A.  I love to create plans and lists.  If anyone can make these next few weeks special by creating replacement memories, I can!

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I think I can…  I think I can…

I know I can!

And I decided to start right away with my Christmas shopping.  I originally had planned to finish my Christmas shopping on Thursday, but instead spent the evening at the hospital with Brady and Nate.  I realized this morning that I still had gifts to buy…  Granted, I didn’t have too much to buy this year.  Finances are a little tight this year (with Nate just starting the school bus driving job), so I could only afford to buy for family.  But still, I hadn’t bought Nate his gifts yet (sheepish grin), I had a Yankee Swap gift to pick up, there were a few odds and ends to grab, and I needed to pick up a few things for Brady.

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Thank goodness for Amazon Prime’s two-day free shipping!!!  While Brady napped, I finished my shopping in the comfort of my own home.  (There’s something to be said for that…  It’s a lot less crowded.  Browsing isn’t as rushed.  You don’t have to feel embarrassed by your chipped nail polish.  And the hot cocoa is a lot cheaper, even if you do have to wash your own mug afterward).

I’m going to make the best of these next six weeks, even if they will be different than planned!  Take that, Spica cast.  Take that!  This Type A mama has got this!

I mean, look at me go!  I finished my Christmas shopping, and it’s not even Christmas Eve yet.  🙂

 

The Real Reason for Christmas Lights

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I have to say that there’s nothing cozier than a house filled with the warm glow of Christmas lights.  My day may have been hectic and I might resemble a character from a terrifying zombie movie; but the minute those bright, white lights are plugged in for the evening?   It’s instant happiness, and a feeling of calm, and a reminder to sit still a moment.

It’s warm, and soothing, and…  Oh no, Brady, we don’t put our hands in the Christmas tree water!

Okay, mostly soothing.  The reality of mom life still continues.  😉  But still, I wish we could sprinkle our homes with pretty, twinkling lights all year long.  Don’t we moms deserve this?  After running around wiping noses, saving toddlers from falling off of kitchen tables (don’t ask), and making sure our husbands don’t walk out the door wearing that, don’t we deserve this small luxury in our lives?

For a moment, let’s just disregard the electric bills that would soon require us to work second jobs (and the devastating possibility that the cozy glow would potentially lose its magical charm) and just all agree that this would be amazing.

I mean, my house has been cleaner all week, because I am determined to keep it in its purest, cozy state.  Because let’s face it, nothing breaks the warm glow of a Christmas tree quite like stinky socks.  I have been on top of the organizing and putting away of clutter.  (Just please just don’t open the door to the spare bedroom.  There is a very real possibility that some things have been stashed there for the time being…But the rest of the house is oh-so-clean).   🙂

My house is glowing bright and beautiful!  So much so that I’ve been re-inspired to learn my DSLR camera, and it feels pretty awesome to be working on a hobby just for myself.  (Not that I don’t enjoy coloring Curious George pages with Brady, but – you know – learning photography is more my thing.  I never was very good at drawing or painting).  And I’ve made time to curl up on the couch with a book.  (It’s been so long since I’ve opened a book, I’m shocked I still know how to read).  😉  And I even just sat one day…  Just sat, took in the lights, and petted a fuzzy-headed cat.

For the past few months, I’ve been really bad about escaping for a mom’s night out (although I have a few really fun ones planned for December), but I feel as though I’ve appreciated each night at home this week.  It’s been relaxing, and being surrounded by so much prettiness has been good for the soul, so to speak.

It also doesn’t hurt that there’s coconut custard pie in the fridge left over from my hubby’s birthday.  Christmas lights, an episode of This is Us, and a piece of pie?  It doesn’t get much better than that.  (Although a pedicure would be nice…  But yeah, let’s not get greedy).

Christmas lights.  I’m seeing them in a whole new light this holiday…  I always thought they were just a fun tradition we do for the kids.  But now I’ve come to realize something…  The lights are actually for us moms (and busy ladies).

Wow, who knew!?!

 

A ‘Glass Half Full’ Kind of Life

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I don’t like to think of entire days as being bad…  Generally, a less-than-desirable morning will slowly blossom into an afternoon that is – in the very least – tolerable.  One’s attitude towards turning sour lemons into a refreshing beverage and seeing a glass half full really does work wonders.

And humor.  What would we do without the ability to laugh at spilled milk?  (Well, unless you’re a breastfeeding mom who has just knocked over freshly pumped breastmilk…  If that is the case, then you are excused.  Cry all you want to.  You’ve earned it).

I’d like to think that having a positive attitude sprinkled with a healthy dose of humor comes naturally to me.  But I have those days same as everyone else.  Last week, Dunkin Donuts got it right when they wrote ‘PMS’ on my Peppermint Mocha Swirl coffee.  Let’s face it.  I was having one of those days, and I was PMS’ing big time.

I’m talking about Pregnancy Mom Syndrome, obviously.  And it’s no joke.  When it strikes on one of those days, it’s kind of a lot to handle.

I did my best to hold onto the hope that things would turn around by noon, but then I whipped together macaroni chili for lunch.  If you’re trying to turn around a chaotic, feeling-sorry-for-yourself kind of morning, you probably shouldn’t serve pasta smothered with tomato sauce to your toddler.

(Google, how do I get tomato sauce out of my favorite sweater)?

Those kinds of dishes are best reserved for my-cup-is-runneth-over-with-patience type afternoons.  Not the oops-I-severely-burnt-the-butternut-squash type afternoons.

Bye, bye squash.  You would have been lovely.

Not locking myself out of the house would have been lovely too.  And I could have handled finding all my laundry folded and put away.   Not that I’m being greedy…

The crayon scribbles on the wall?  That was just another typical day in mommy-town.  I was actually pretty calm about that.

Anyway, I’ve found that once you let yourself go there – to the place where you’re focused solely on the bad – you let your mind wander.  And now you’re worrying and stressing and complaining about the things that haven’t even happened yet.  You bring finances, and upcoming home repairs, and personal struggles to the party.

You wonder “what if things were different” and “what if I had more”?  What if things were better?

I did let myself ‘go there’ for awhile.

But one of the best things about this upcoming holiday is the constant reminder to be thankful.  To appreciate what one has.  To focus on the good.

We (okay… I) so often take our blessings for granted.  I mean, sure, I complain about laundry just as much as the next mom.  But I have a laundry machine and a drier.  My great grandmother had to do it all by hand.  Can you imagine?  Can you imagine washing all your clothes by hand in some cold river, while you’re pregnant and watching your children?

(Yeah, you’re right…  I don’t even want to try imagining that either).

But let’s take a moment to also appreciate the fact that we have warm clothes to wash.   Do you know how many moms in this world wished they had warm clothes for their babies to wash?  And houses with roofs over their heads, along with heat, carpet, and plenty of blankets?

I have all that.  I find it easy sometimes to fall into the we need bigger, better, nicer, and fancier trap.  But compared to so many, we are rich.  We really are.

I have an amazing husband and a beautiful boy.  We have vehicles for transportation that bring us to jobs, healthcare, and distant family.  We have the freedom to worship God, friends to make memories with, and a sense of safety every night we slip into our comfortable beds.

Life can feel half full sometimes.  But it’s amazing just how many blessings and incredible things can be filled into that ‘half full’ glass.  🙂

We really are blessed.  SO blessed!

What are YOU thankful for this Thanksgiving?  

 

Shoppin’

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I love being a mom.  Like LOVE it.  Or maybe, more accurately, I love being a mom to the little boy who stole my heart and who has become my entire world.

Because sure, it’s a tough job.  And some days (maybe a few too many days) I’m fairly certain that I’m on the brink of insanity.  But at the same time, I wouldn’t want anyone else spending all their time with my curly-headed, bubbly toddler.  He melts my heart, and makes me laugh, and gives my life a whole new purpose.

Still, I have those days once in awhile….  You know, one of those days during which you realize, “Wow, I just can’t parent today.”  You know, one of those days during which even peanut butter cups can’t save you.

Now most of the time, as a mom, you just have shoulder through those moments as best as you can.  BUT things worked out for me last week…  It was one of those days, and I was just too tired to make one more batch of pom pom soup.  (It’s Brady’s favorite game right now.  We pour pom poms into my pots and pans, give them a good stir, pretend to eat the soup, run through the house throwing pom poms in every direction, pick up the pom poms, and start over again).

Nate just happened to be home and available…  My sister just happened to have the day off from work.  And I just happened to NEED a mom’s afternoon out.  (I haven’t gone out without a toddler for weeks now)!

Bye, Nate, have fun cooking ten batches of pom pom soup!  I’m outta here!”

Our first stop was Burlington Coat Factory, where we browsed to our heart’s content.  (Or, sorry, Burlington.  The commercials lately have been reminding us that the store sells so much more than just coats).  I found the fanciest bottle of ginger ale in the history of ginger ales.  No, I didn’t buy it…  But Sarah and I totally imagined what it would taste like.  😉

Then I tried on a few outfits, because I’m at that awkward stage where I’m too small for maternity clothes but feeling too bloated and lumpy for my usual tops.  (Blasted pizza and bread!  You’re catching up with me).  Honestly though, my preggo mentality is always to just enjoy the extra treats, because it’s the one time where you’re SUPPOSED to gain weight.  I don’t go overboard, but I totally enjoy the extra indulging!  Breastfeeding is awesome for helping to shed the pounds quickly after the baby is born.  🙂

And honestly, carbs are the one thing that help me fight off the nausea.   I can’t tolerate much else…  So looser tops it is!

I did buy two tops, but I regret that I returned the one below.  It was super cute for fall.

After shopping at Burlington, my sister and I headed to Target.  OBVIOUSLY!  Let’s face it, Target is basically the happiest place on earth for mom’s.  It’s full of pretty things AND it carries all the odds and ends you might need, should you also need to run errands while you’re out.  It feels practical and extravagant, all at the same time.

Per usual, we struggled with what to put in the cart and what to put back.  Target is the ONE place that I struggle with staying within budget.  I want to buy everything.  I mean, I walk past the shower curtains, and I’m like, “Oh, man, I really think I need that.”

It’s a dangerous place!  This time, Sarah struggled between boxes of pancake mix, which – apparently – are absolutely delicious and nutritious.  I’ve never tried Kodiak Cakes, but she is pretty much obsessed.  Still, she didn’t need both boxes, so she had to decide between flavors.  The struggle is real, am I right?!?  (I hate to leave you in suspense, but I’m realizing that I can’t remember which flavor she chose.  Ha, ha).

I ended up finding – and buying – these two wooden trays for $3 each.  I’m planning a small, family get-together for Brady’s upcoming birthday; and the theme is Winnie the Pooh.  I’ve been looking for something to serve the cupcakes on, and these are perfect!

Oh, and random question, have any of you tried these bath bombs from Target?  The ingredient list seemed pretty natural, and they smelled heavenly.  They’re not Lush (because no one does bath bombs like Lush), but – since I don’t live near a Lush store – it would be nice to have another option in case of an I-need-a-bath-bomb-emergency.  🙂

Sigh, it was a simple but AMAZING afternoon out.  And it was VERY much needed!  I definitely won’t be letting weeks go by before I have some more me-time, because every mom needs it once in awhile.  I’m always a much more patient, fun mom afterward.

I think I could even make 15 batches of pom pom soup now if it were needed.

(And, yes, we had our very first snow that night!  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas).  😉

The LOL Mommy Life

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The mom life…  It’s a fast-paced ride, one that’ll buck you here and attempt to throw you there, leaving you with smudged makeup, disheveled clothes, and hair more appropriate for a zombie apocalypse movie.  But it’s all good, really, because your adorable kiddo’s are SO worth it.  Prayer can get you through any day.  And the gas station up the street sells an endless supply of chocolate, coffee, and Dt. Coke.

You’ve totally got this!

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But then moments happen that leave you realizing that maybe you don’t exactly ‘got this’.  I mean, you’re surviving.  And everyone in your household is surviving (minus the potted plant you keep forgetting to water).  Still, you’re reminded that the mom life isn’t always a graceful one…  Sometimes, it’s hard.  And confusing.  And oftentimes – oh man, too many times – embarrassing.

I remember more seasoned moms telling me that – once I became a mom – I’d no longer have any shame or personal pride left.  I always took that to mean that the birthing and breast-feeding process would rip every ounce of modesty from my being.  I mean, after you’ve gone through that, everything else feels pretty tame.

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But then I became the mom of a rambunctious toddler, and I realized that releasing your pride is just a part of the journey.  You have to learn to laugh at yourself.  Or else you’ll be forced to create a disguise and move to another part of the country.

Thankfully, I’m pretty good at laughing at myself…  😉

Just the other day at the grocery store, I was waiting in line at the fish market, when Brady started to get fidgety and protested having to sit in the shopping cart.  I decided to make a game of asking him to touch and name the body parts he’s learned so far.  As he happily named his eyes, ears, nose, knee, toes, and hair, I felt this surge of pride.  Man, this was a mommy success story right here.  Even the people waiting around us looked impressed that the whining toddler was now suddenly giggling and grinning ear-to-ear.

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But then he exclaimed, “Belly!”, reached out with both hands, and grabbed my breast.  The kid wasn’t letting go.  He was proudly looking up at me with a beaming face, both of his chubby hands holding on with a deathlike grip.  It was one of those time-stands-still moments, and I should have reacted as apposed to just stand there.  But I just stood there, realizing that we obviously needed another anatomy lesson ASAP.  And the people around me all awkwardly shifted their attention elsewhere.  (Well, all except the elderly man whose mouth gaped open so huge, I was afraid he might lose his dentures).

The shopping trip afterward wasn’t all that much more graceful.  Thanks to a nasty head cold, I had a horrible coughing fit in the middle of a crowded aisle.  One of those coughing fits that leave tears running down your face, because you’re pretty much gasping for air.  I desperately needed something to drink, and the only beverage I had access to in the soup aisle was Brady’s sippy cup.  Sooooo, yeah, I totally gulped from a sippy cup in the middle of a crowded supermarket.  I got some looks for that one, let me tell you.

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And then there was the Walmart trip where – again – surrounded by people, Brady let out a very loud toot (thanks to a hearty lunch of baked beans).  He then followed that up with a very loud “AMEN!”  I burst into laughter.  Everyone else looked at me coldly as though I had disgraced the holy aisles of Halloween candy.  In a moment of ‘Nicole just got pushed over the edge’, I cheerfully told Brady, “Awww, I’m sorry, no one has a sense of humor today.”

Yeahhhh, I might have to create an alias for myself after that one.  I’m normally not one to be confrontational, but I was beyond agitated at how everyone was glaring at my happy little boy.  Relax people, am I right?!?

Maybe the moral of the story is that I should avoid shopping centers?  Maybe…  But then again, I think it’s just the mommy life sometimes.  There are just moments when being a mom is embarrassing.  So you’ve just got to laugh!  (Or buy that disguise quick while they’re on sale…).  😉