life

Halfway to Motivation

As with most new-ish (I’m 13 months postpartum at the point of writing so I’m not sure I can blame this entry on being a “new” mom, but I’m going to try…) moms and women in general I am concerned with my overall health and appearance.  Mostly for health related reasons but also for some vanity but at this point I’ve have just gotten to a low level of concern and I haven’t been able to translate that into any actual motivation to do something about it.  I was hoping at my yearly wellness visit the doctor would say I was ridiculously unhealthy and going to die tomorrow if I didn’t change something about my life because maybe that would have been the kick to the @$$ that I needed but alas I’m still a relatively healthy 35 year old.

I have struggled with size issues for the majority of my life in various ways.  I’m 5’10” on a short day and have shoulders wide enough to qualify to be a linebacker (shoulder pads were a bad look for me) and I’ve always been on the hefty side.  We could get into the myriad of reasons why that has happened (including genetics, my father was 6’3”) but at this point it’s no one’s responsibility but my own and I have been trying to get back on the health and wellness bandwagon since I stopped officially “eating for two” in March 2016 but trying to juggle the craziness that is a working mom life and a toddler who demands a lot of attention and occasionally wakes up at all hours of the night for who knows whatever reason I have constantly made excuses for why I can’t do this that or the other thing even though I know what I need to do: eat less and move more.  Simple, right?  Easy – not so much!

I have always been a huge advocate of exercising in the morning because it gets it out of the way (eating the frog in the words of Mark Twain) but that means currently I’d have to get up around 5am (and if work wants me to start at normal time that gets pushed even earlier to 4am) and I am inherently a night owl (I’m typing this at 9:44pm).  If you tried to guess how many times I’ve ACTUALLY gotten up and worked out in the morning I’d bet you would definitely aim too high.  I like the quiet of night time when everything is settling down and people are quietly snuggled up just relaxing or sleeping.  Nighttime to me has always been more peaceful.  Of course while it’s more peaceful it also means I’m more exhausted.  I heard once that we have only so much energy to make decisions or spend on will power and by the end of that day that energy is exhausted and I believe it.  While I’m a better nighttime person, I’m definitely not a better person at nighttime.  I just want to curl up, watch TV/YouTube, read, goof around online and just enjoy the tranquility.

With all that said, I’m trying to actively change my behavior so I can get up at 5am to go for a run in the morning.  One of the joys of moving in with Babci is that there is a treadmill in the basement, no need to go out to the gym or run outside especially if the baby is asleep, just go downstairs and get it done.  I’m proud to say thought I’ve made it 50% there!  I’ve been getting up to shower in the morning.  I have also never been a shower in the morning type of person, I’ve usually done my showering at night; maybe that’s because my parents always gave us baths at night, maybe it’s because I could get up later in the morning, who knows?  But I’ve made it to 50% of a morning person!

I’ve joined a StepBet (it’s like DietBet but for steps instead of weight loss) for May 8 – June 18 so I’m hoping that’s going to give me some extra motivation with the goal in mind to get up and get as much done before my day starts so when the munchkin goes to bed I can focus on some relaxing time or the much more likely at this point, studying for a comprehensive exam to finish out my masters.

I’ll keep you posted on this one.

life

Meal Time with Toddlers

One of the greatest (and scariest) things as a parent is watching your child become more independent – except for meal time. There are so many things about toddler meal time that just make it a fun and exciting adventure every time you sit down to the table, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacks you’re never entirely sure what you’re going to get.  We have been very lucky with my daughter, she is a good eater and has been from start.  She was trying to eat foods at 3 months old….so we let her (that’s what baby lead weaning is all about right?!?!) but that brought a whole new set of challenges to parenthood.  

There are some very interesting things that happen when you allow a child to feed herself and most of it has to do with where the food ends up.  When the Munchkin started getting annoyed with meal time around 10 months we started giving her the spoon/fork to feed herself or just pick it up with her fingers and that’s resulted in finding food in various places, especially when we go to change her for bedtime.  She’s had cheerios in her diaper, yogurt in her eye, peanut butter in her hair, and peas in her ears.  It’s gotten to the point where dinner time almost always ends in a bath now because she attempts to feed herself and it tends to go horribly wrong from an adult standpoint.

She has also become aware of the fact that there are dogs in the house who will conveniently eat anything she drops or throws to them.  As a result of her meddling the dogs have put on a few pounds and for the time being I’m really not sure about what to do about it, because how else would I keep the floors clean if they weren’t around to eat up all the food that falls to the ground or clean her high chair when she’s done?

Lastly, she can’t communicate with words.  She’s saying some words but she’s not reciting the Gettysburg Address just yet.  This makes it difficult to decipher exactly why she isn’t eating something that she ate just fine yesterday.  We’ve been very lucky with the Munchkin, she eats pretty much anything and everything we give her.  She’ll never quite give up on a food, she’ll try it and spit it out multiple times and then you can get her to try it the next day.  I’m hoping this trait sticks around but it can make it difficult to understand why she doesn’t want to eat something, especially when it’s something she’s had multiple times before so this leads to a whole lot of me sounding stupid trying to get to the bottom of it: “Mommy doesn’t understand, does your mouth hurt? Are you not hungry? Do you not like green eggs and ham today?”
If you have ever wondered what it was like to feed a toddler, go look at some abstract art and imagine talking to the Swedish Chef and then I think you’d have some clue of what meal time looks like in our house!

life

Birthday Parties – A Celebration Amid the Messiness

This weekend was the big birthday party that I’ve been working on “planning.”  I use the term loosely since I didn’t do a whole lot but it was an adventure to say the least.  The Munchkin turned 1 last month and the Mr. turns 40 next week so we combined the parties and had an affair.  She had a pink sparkle cape and he had a “vintage dude” shirt.  We invited family and friends; had food, music, and just a really good time.  

I attempted to keep it low key because the Munchkin wouldn’t remember and the whole point of living with Babci is to save money so spending a ton of money on a party is counterintuitive to that goal.  I also am not a fan of huge, elaborate parties for children because anything you want to do for your kids that means you have shoulder that burden so why make yourself crazy?

I ended up ordering some food from a local grocery store as well as some chips, snacks and drinks just so the people are fed, plugged my cell phone into some speakers for some music, had a few things for the kids to do and otherwise it was just a time to have some fun!

Luckily the BFF and another friend became the “caterers” and took over the majority of work in the kitchen at the beginning of the party (after I arrived a little late and with tipped over cupcakes and the Mr. attempted to get the place up and running) so I actually got to enjoy myself and socialize.

However, if you were expecting a pinterest perfect party, this was not it!  In no particular order the pinterest “fails” of the party:

  1. Not enough centerpieces (and they were just cheap paper ones from oriental trading)
  2. Cake was only a sheet cake from the grocery store
  3. There was no actual theme to the party – the favors were dinosaur duckies and temporary tattoos, the Munchkin was wearing a pink cape, and there was a “vintage dude” banner
  4. The invitation was digital
  5. There were no special treats
  6. I was wearing jeans and sneakers
  7. The Munchkin was wearing a “superhero loading” onesie
  8. We didn’t really hang any decorations
  9. We didn’t have organized games or activities to keep the kiddos or adults entertained
  10. We didn’t have the attendees write cute letters to the Munchkin (although I kinda wish we had LOL)
  11. Pictures were hung in no particular order
  12. We didn’t decorate the high chair
  13. I did nothing crafty other than use shutterfly to make a photobook
  14. When we all started singing the Munchkin got upset
  15. It was not “magical” in any sense of the word, nor did I attempt to make it so – this was a willful negligence on my part

There was nothing magical about it; the cupcakes got a little damaged on the car ride from the store to the party, and we ordered way too much food (I’ve got lunch for days) it was still a great time because it was made special by the people who shared it with us and the fact that I wasn’t a crazy momma who couldn’t enjoy herself.  My family is truly blessed by the others who are part of our lives both actually related and not.  While most of my friends don’t have kids they are really good at treating my Munchkin like their own and are wonderful people.  My cousins have kids around the Munchkin’s age so it’s nice to get together with them and while I asked for no gifts the Munchkin and the Mr. were recipients of kindness and generosity from the people in our lives.
While I may be a messy mom and definitely not a pinterest mom I’m a happy mom with a network of friends and family who can’t be replaced.

life

No Tech Tuesday Rescheduled Until Further Notice

I am a tech person, I like tech, I use tech, my life is wrapped around tech in some way shape or form.  I still use hand-written paper calendar and to do lists but I also have a gazillion lists on my phone (some I even share with the Mr. through the Wunderlist app), my calendar is digital on my phone (the Mr. is supposed to look at it but that doesn’t often happen), all the phone numbers are now in the phone (I have learned exactly 3 new phone numbers since getting a cell phone almost 20 years ago), and of course the social media aspect of things.  I was on myspace when it was big (who else remembers the drama of when you could rearrange your top 8??) and now facebook, I also use twitter and instagram but there I’m generally more of a lurker/stalker type but I love my tech.  I regularly check my fitbit, I use my laptop for practically everything; I find there are a lot of things I can do now that I never would have dreamed up and a lot of things that I don’t have to do now because of the tech.  Who balances a checkbook anymore?  I look at the online statement and move on!  But the point of this rambling paragraph is that I love technology.  It’s here to stay so we might as well learn to harness it’s power for good instead of evil and deal with it.

That being said, however, I also realize that it is becoming so ubiquitous that it can be a problem.  I have seen the damage it can cause when children are actually addicted to it; every day there are articles out there about the ‘heroin-like’ addictive nature of technology for our children and I can see that.  Obviously some of these articles are clickbait and their headlines are more attention grabbing that some of the science would suggest but there does seem to be a link between phones, screens, and the pleasure sensors in the brain; potentially similar to gambling.  The Mr. loves his phone as well so I had a brilliant plan to implement “No Tech Tuesday” and today was going to be our first attempt.  The rules were simple, from the time the Munchkin got home from the sitter’s we wouldn’t use any tech until she went to bed.  It would be about 2-2.5 hours of time that would just be all face time, all quality time of doing something together.  I thought we would go to the park (since the Munchkin is walking she enjoys parks now), make dinner, play in her room and then she would go to sleep and it would have been a blissful 2.5 hours of quality family time!

Enter in real life, what happens when you’re making plans?  As I was driving home from work with my carpool buddy I started thinking about how I felt like today hit me like a ton of bricks, what could I cook, the Mr. is at the other house working on stuff for putting it on the market and how long would that take, how long would it take to cook something, am I going to pick the Munchkin up right away or am I going to go home first and take these god-forsaken heels off, is it too damp and chilly to go to the park, and so on…you know, the litany of thoughts that start running through your head whenever you have a quiet moment to think.  I decided I wanted to go out to eat, I didn’t feel like cooking and wanted to go to our local haunt which is basically a low key bar, I would even go so far as to call it wannabe gastropub.  

We get to the bar, sit down to eat, order drinks so the Mr. and I both need to log our beers into UnTapped (which by the way got me a badge and a toast from the brewery), the TVs are playing ESPN and they’re everywhere, a friend starts texting me about an issue she’s having (communication and connection, doesn’t count right?!?!) and then it just devolved from there.

Moral of the story?  Don’t make plans!  I am going to continue to try for some no tech time at some point during the week but I’m a mom trying to do the best I can and usually my best is far from perfect.  I can’t feel guilty about all the things I do wrong or only half-right, I have to do the best I can from moment to moment, all I can do is try to get it right the next time.  Here’s to a successful No-Tech Tuesday next week!   

life

Dinner Prep Obstacle Course

If any of you have toddlers who can now begin to entertain themselves and you try to cook dinner at home most nights then you will feel my pain on this one.  

The Mr. can cook but he can mainly cook comfort food or short-order cook type stuff, you’ll survive on it but different flavors and a variety of vegetables is not on his radar so the majority of the cooking is my job.  I also prepare the menu and do the grocery shopping which means I am in control of the types of food that come in the house and I’m ok with this responsibility (it also means that the Mr. is responsible for the majority of kitchen cleaning, yay division of labor!) but being the momma means that the Munchkin likes to spend her time with me in the kitchen while I’m cooking.

Here I am minding my own business and in walks (*gasp*) the Munchkin to see what mommy is doing in the kitchen.  Content that she’s in the same room with me she now goes back and forth to her favorite cabinets to pull out various kitchen things (pots, pans, lids, bowls, measuring cups, etc…).  I love her engaging with the pots or the pans and being with me in the kitchen.  I think it’s good for her to play with things, especially playing with things that don’t have buttons or make noises other than what she makes with them because even though I am a “techie” person there is value in the low-tech.  Her new favorite experiment is taking pot lids and throwing them to watch them spin and wobble until they stop and then she throws them again.  I tell ya, this kid is working on understanding physics.

The problem is that these cabinets of hers that she loves are right in front of the sink and the kitchen is not huge and spacious like the ones you see on HGTV, it’s a normal old house kitchen.  I’ve gotten good at being aware of the Munchkin now that she’s gotten mobile but now I have to worry about all the things she’s leaving all over the floor, needless to say I’m getting more nimble by the day!  It’s a lot harder when I’m also trying to manage a hot stove at the same time.  Luckily she’s not too interested in what’s going on with the stove just yet because she just wants to make noise with her kitchen instruments or an obstacle course for mommy.  
There is no big message or revelation about life with this post it’s just an observation about how I now have to add constantly watching for trip hazards to my daily life, add one more mess to the messy life of a working mom!

life

Snow Days – Then and Now

If you’re in the northeast corridor today you probably have a snow day that you are dealing with, either you’re lucky enough to have a snow day or you’re lucky enough to have to deal with everyone else’s snow day either way you’ve been dealing with storm Stella since this past weekend.  Of course this is not an officially named NOAA storm but it’s a Weather Channel named storm (I believe this is a marketing ploy for hashtags…but I’m not above using it).  Of course here in the Philadelphia region Stella has gone from a Nor’easter that’s going to hammer us to more of an icy nuisance of a storm which probably is worse logistically but more annoying because it’s less fun to play in ice than it is to play in snow and now that I have a kid playing in snow has become cool and allowable again since people tend to frown on adults (As Jo March puts it “roll around like dogs” or something to that effect, my memory and google-fu is escaping me on the direct quote).  But snow days have morphed in the course of my life:

  1. Kid – Woohoo day off from school!  Playing in the snow!  Nothing to do!  (Remember I was a kid before the digital age really took over so teachers weren’t able to assign work if we weren’t in school 🙂 ).
  2. Teenager – Woohoo day off from school!  But I’m going to stay inside where it’s warm and I’m going to be lazy.
  3. College Student – Eff mother nature, still gotta go to school, walk across campus in the snow, but sledding on lunch trays in our free time!
  4. Adult in office job – Eff mother nature, still gotta go to work, drive with all the other idiots in the snow (the idea of working from home was just starting when I was in an office job so it was either take time off or go to work, unless I had a lot of data entry to do that I could do at home and bring in the next day) and no one wants to go out for lunch because it’s a wreck out….can we order lunch in?
  5. Adult as a teacher – Woohoo day off from school!  That I have to make up in June…but I’m still home unexpectedly so I get to catch up on bingewatching whatever show I’m on or movies, snuggle, nap, snack, maybe even get some work done around the house that has been lacking but day drinking!
  6. Adult as a teacher with a kid – Woohoo day off from school!  That I have to make up in June but I get to spend the day with the Munchkin (and coincidentally the Mr. had off too but he’s out snowblowing right now).  An extra day of hanging out with her and trying to get grad work, blog post, ordering for the Munchkin and Mr. birthday party, animals, and everything else dealt with while she’s napping.  Oh yeah and day drinking (snow day mimosas have become our staple around here) but somehow I’m still exhausted and almost want to go back to work!

Through the course of life snow days change and depending on where you’re at in your life you may enjoy them or you may hate them but mother nature has a way of always winning out.  Be safe and have a good day no matter what you’re up to today!