Sick toddlers and sunny Sundays

Whew. Having a sick toddler is tough. I’ll start out this post by saying that. Because that is how my weekend started out: nonstop snuggles with FW and caring for him, since he had a fever that started Thursday morning and didn’t magically go away after Motrin, as we hoped (got the call from daycare Thursday afternoon to pick him up).

So, my Friday mostly looked like this. After a short run in the morning, we were mostly sitting on the couch. Except he was mostly on my lap or in my arms. B was traveling for work and I had sick toddler duty.

We spent the day coloring and watching movies, something we don’t typically let FW do. It was in the 50s, but even when I took FW outside, he just wanted to be held.

B got home late and thankfully brought us Indian food for dinner! With FW in bed, it was eaten on my lap while we watched some Glow on Netflix.

Saturday morning, we took FW to the doctor. He of course seemed to be feeling better there and afterwards, so we decided to go out for breakfast! We went to Jack’s and I had some great challah French toast.

We also decided to go for a super short walk. It was near 50 degrees and it was nice to get outside and run around for a little bit. 

That afternoon included a long nap from FW, along with some cleaning. He was sorta helping …

For dinner, we took B’s grandmother out! We went to a place they used to go when they were kids, which had some good bar food. FW even ate some of his grilled cheese – well, he ate the cheese off the bread …

After dinner we decided to stop for a quick detour a the Container Store. We hadn’t been before and it was a new place for Francis to run around at. They have a wall that is just garbage cans!

The Container Store just happens to be right next door to a local ice cream shop, so of course we had to make a quick stop. I had the caramel fudge brownie and hazelnut – both flavors were great! 

Sunday included some running, napping, grocery shopping and enjoying a little time outside.

B, FW and I all went for a run together! B pushed FW in the stroller and we discovered a new path near our house to run along.

I had to stop and get a pic of the frozen lake, above, with the blue sky. A picture-perfect day for sure!

We finished 5 miles, which is the longest run I’ve done this year! It was 40 degrees, so FW may have been a little over bundled up 🙂 But he’s finally feeling better, thank goodness. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy for the rest of cold and flu season.

We finished the day with dinner with B’s family per our usual Sunday tradition. It’s always nice spending the evening with a home cooked meal among family and FW always enjoys seeing his cousins!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have any Sunday traditions?
  • Favorite ice cream flavors?

I’m linking up with the weekly wraps!

What Not To Say to Someone Returning from Maternity Leave

It’s been a year since I returned back from maternity leave. Yup, a little over a year ago, I was starting to figure out daycare drop off and pickups, our new routine, and how to juggle life as a now working mom.

So, now that I’ve been there – and survived – here are some tips on things NOT to say to someone returning from maternity leave:

How was your vacation?

Believe it or not, people have asked this. Or said something similar, like, “How was your time off?” While I was very grateful for my FMLA-esque time at home, it was hardly a vacation or time off. In the beginning, FW didn’t realize that he was supposed to sleep at night, so he’d be sleeping during the day and then up at night. And then when he finally did start sleeping at night, it would be for 2-4 hours at a time. Also, I was breastfeeding (and newborns eat about every 2 hours from the time they start eating), which meant that an average morning went like this:

  • 7 a.m. wake up when baby wakes up.
  • 7:15 a.m. – 7:45 a.m. feed baby.
  • 7:50 a.m. – 8:15 a.m. burp/dress/change baby.
  • 8:20 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. put in a load of laundry.
  • 8:35 a.m. – 8:50 a.m. change baby into new clothes because he spit up all over himself. Luckily, laundry just started, so I can throw the dirty onesie in there.
  • 8:50 a.m. – 8:55 a.m. think about eating breakfast … but am interrupted by hungry baby crying.
  • 9:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. feedbaby. Repeat cycle. Except this time baby likely has a diaper blowout. 💩

Let’s just say it wasn’t much of a vacation 🙂

How are you planning on losing the baby weight?

Yes, I was also asked this. While not directly commenting on my new mom bod, it’s NEVER appropriate to ask a coworker this.  Or comment on anyone’s body- especially someone who has just given birth.

It must be so nice to be back and with adults again!

Sometimes, yes. But most days would I like to be home, snuggling with my little baby? Yes. Adults aren’t always as cracked up as they should be.

It must be so nice to get a break from the baby!

Wait, was that you said? I couldn’t hear you – I was halfway falling asleep at my desk and also thinking about the diapers, bottles, milk, etc. that I need to buy before heading to daycare pickup, while also calculating how much longer we can have this conversation before I can figure out a polite way to excuse myself to go pump. While I may not physically be with my baby, it didn’t really feel like I was  getting a break.

a selfie a few days before returning from maternity leave

I’m tired.

When I first went back to work, my average night’s sleep was awful. Some nights, FW would be up at 9, 11, 3, 5 and nurse for 30ish (at least) minutes each time …. Meaning I got 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep at a time, if that. No, I’m not saying you’re not tired, I’m just saying I had no idea what tired meant until I had a newborn at night and then had to function as a working, professional adult during the day.

So glad you’re back – we’ve been waiting on you for [insert names of 7 projects].

While it’s nice to feel needed, it’s also nice to get back into the swing of things slowly. I’m not saying you need to give working moms a break and be easier on them, but the first few weeks I was back, were HARD. I was tired (see: aforementioned lack of sleep) during the day and it was hard for me to work on my couch at night like I often did before FW.  I had serious mom brain some days. And, weekends became much more precious – they were time I longed for to spend with my new family. So, when I had to some of the first weekends that I was back, it was hard. If you know a mom recently back from maternity leave, at least tell her how much you appreciate her being back and understand her new schedule – and priorities – may be a little different.

So what CAN you say to a mom who’s back from maternity leave? Here are 3 things I’d recommend:

  1. You look GREAT! (I don’t care if she hasn’t lost any baby weight or looks like she hasn’t slept since giving birth … we all need to hear it sometimes!)
  2. We missed you so much! It’s nice to feel the love at the office, especially when you’re missing your baby!
  3. Here’s _____ for you and your family! (where ___ = healthy dinner, gift card for dinner delivery service, diapers, a frozen dinner, etc. Basically anytime someone dropped off dinner – or diapers! – they were my new favorite people. )

Please note – I am INCREDIBLY lucky to have an amazing group of coworkers who for the most part are supportive and understanding. But not everyone is so lucky. AND note that I do not speak on behalf of all recently-returned-to-work women. All women are different. Some may enjoy talking about their post-baby bodies. Some may have felt like their time off was a vacation. So please take these as suggestions and think how you’d like to be treated as well.

Note: These random thoughts are part of the Thinking Out Loud linkup. 

Bad Mom Days

Let me let you in on a secret. There are some days that I feel like a bad mom.

Earlier in the week I had one of those days. I picked up FW from daycare and knew it was going to be a hard night. His teacher mentioned that he hadn’t napped, didn’t eat much of his lunch, didn’t want to drink anything during the day, and he was cranky. Oh, and he was crying when I got there – which he never is.

So, instead of taking him to the playground after daycare as I was originally thinking we’d do, I popped him in the carseat and we headed home. Bad mom move number one. Good moms take their children to the swings on sunny days!

What good moms do (not what we did)

As soon as I got him in the car, he started crying. And then of course the second we pulled into our apartment parking lot, he passed out. Because he hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before (we were up with him from midnight until 2 a.m.) and because he hadn’t slept much at daycare, I decided to let him nap. Bad mom move number two. Good moms don’t let their kids nap after 5 p.m.!

After we got back to the apartment, I thought I’d let him play for a bit while I prepared dinner. That wasn’t happening – the second I put him down on the floor he cried. And I’m not talking about the little baby whimpering that goes on for a few minutes but then goes away when you distract them – no, I’m talking about the sobbing, head down on the floor type of crying that is typically inconsolable. So, I picked him up in one arm and attempted to chop of veggies with my right hand. Bad mom move number three. Good moms NEVER use a knife while carrying their baby. AND good moms don’t multitask with their baby; they give their children their undivided attention. 

FW didn’t really stop crying and made the sign for hungry, so I attempted to put him in his high chair to feed him. He continued to cry, so I put on some music. Still cried, so I resorted to turning on Elmo’s Song video on YouTube. Bad mom move number four. Good moms don’t allow screen time, especially on children under two years old.

Bad mom’s savior

FW settled down for a little bit, so I attempted to continue to make dinner and feed him. I gave him some zucchini and sweet potato. He threw it on the floor immediately. I gave him some spinach muffin and cheese. That landed on the floor as well. Then, I tried some bread and peanut butter. He shook his head and pushed all the food on the floor, dramatically picking up the peanut butter bread and dropping it – of course it landed peanut butter side down. I tried and tired again, but eventually gave up and ended up giving him some jarred peaches and graham crackers. Bad mom move number five. Good moms feed their children balanced meals and give them whatever you’re eating. And of course you don’t give in – they’ll eat if they’re hungry!

You can guess where the night ended. After FW’s not-so-well-rounded meal, because B being out late buying paint for the house, I was in charge of putting FW to bed. Which of course ended up being late and past his bedtime (and meant he ultimately cried himself to sleep … because, well, bad mom, again). And then instead of spending the evening cleaning or making food for FW, I caught up on work emails and started packing up 1 box of kitchen stuff for the move.

I’m not a hoarder, but this is the embarrassing state of my apartment right now …

I know that he won’t remember days like this and that we’re doing the best we can, but sometimes it’s hard to be a good mom 100% of the time. Does anyone else feel this way?

Thinking Out Loud: Summer Edition

I have so many random things on my mind that I think it’s the PERFECT time for a Thinking Out Loud post. It’s been a crazy few weeks, but here are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

Home Renovations …

B and I (or should I say B) are knee deep in some serious updates/renovations. I hope to have more to show soon, but he just tore down a ceiling (and wallpaper) in the dining room and then put one back up. I’ve never looked at ceilings so much as I have the past week or so. And now they’re all I notice!

Shopping …

I’m feeling in a serious fashion funk and I need want some new clothes. Ever since I went to the Saks blogger brunch/fashion show, I’ve been really wanting to get some new clothing items. BUT with the aforementioned home reno, I know I should be saving money. Le sigh. Still, it’s Nordstrom’s anniversary sale and here are some items I’m admiring (from afar):

This Bootie

This sweater

And while we’re at it, these non-Nordstrom items have been calling my name:

From J Crew

From Loft

Running (or NOT Running) …

I hurt my piriformis a few weeks ago and haven’t run since. That’s right, I’m going on 2+ weeks with NO runs. This is the longest I haven’t run since giving birth a year ago and I do NOT like it. I’m going a little stir crazy! Sorry in advance to anyone I snap at …

How I feel…

Cooking …

Now that FW is one, I’m trying really hard to find some foods he will eat. He is a picky eater has a refined pallet, and it’s getting hard to find foods that he, me and B will all eat. Oh, and FW has low iron and doesn’t like meat so I’m trying to find things with iron and/or protein. Some of the newest things I’ve tried:

Spicy Chickpea Burgers (without the spice for FW) >> I liked them as did B, but FW wasn’t a fan

Spinach Banana Muffins >> We all like these!

Crockpot Spicy Peanut Chicken  (without the spice for FW) >> I liked it, B sorta liked it and FW just spit it and threw it out

Cauliflower tots >> I liked them, B didn’t try and FW may have liked them (he didn’t eat them at home but school said he did …)

So, we’re 1ish for 4 …. any tips? Food or recipe suggestions?

And that’s about all the brain randomness from me this morning. Cheers to it almost being Friday!

Some questions for you:

  • Any recipes for picky eaters? Ideally something that an adult and a one-year-old would eat? Please?
  • What’s a fashion item you want right now?
  • What’s the last home renovation/DIY thing you did?

PS – Happy birthday MOM!!! You are a great mom and wonderful grandma … ❤

 

 

 

9 Reasons Why 2016 Was Pretty Great

ringing in the new year

ringing in the new year

2016 wasn’t that bad for us.

If you are anything like me and my friends, your Facebook feed has been full of reasons why 2016 was the worst year ever and people beyond ready to welcome in 2017. I even saw this trailer for a fake horror movie about the year:

And while not everything went as hoped in 2016, I can’t complain toooooo much. Why? Well, one big reason – FW. But 2016 was a pretty good year and when I was talking with B about how the year had gone, it was easy to come up with some reasons why. Here are 9 reasons*:
1. FW was born! FW was born in June of 2016, so the year can’t be considered all bad 😉

This was taken in the hospital when we were about to take him home!

This was taken in the hospital when we were about to take him home!

2. I had a healthy, relatively easy pregnancy. I was pregnant for about half of 2016 and I was able to remain active, walking and running, throughout – and I am so grateful of that!

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A wedding a week or so before FW was born
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A morning walk the week FW was born

Screenshot 2016-06-12 14.58.46

5k race at 39 weeks pregnant

And yes, I had the same pose in all the above photos. There’s not much you can do with your arm when your belly sticks out so much!

3. B got a new job! While his commute is a little worse, he is so much happier at his new gig and I’m so proud of him for all he is accomplishing.

4. The Indians were in the World Series! No, we didn’t win. BUT I did get to go to a game in the ALDS AND Game 7 of the World Series and it was great.

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5. The Cavs became NBA World Champions and B and I got to celebrate – both the night of them winning (we went out and partied with all the other Cavs fans to celebrate) and then the parade, the day before FW was born.20160619_230123(0)

6. Great travels. We kicked off the year with a trip to Mexico City (I can’t wait to go back with FW!), got in a trip to Boston for our 5 year anniversary and spent a weekend in Columbus after FW was born.

boston <3

boston ❤

Mexico City!!

Mexico City!!

Columbus!

Columbus!

7. Great friends. I felt so much love this year from so many great friends. I had a wonderful baby shower with so many of my great friends in Cleveland, had another great year part of Ladies Craft Beer Society (I love these ladies!), and even was visited by some other great friends – my BFF Jane came and visited before FW was born and Katie and Caitlin visited shortly afterwards.

Me and Cuoghi - she threw me the best shower!

Me and Cuoghi – she threw me the best shower!

some of the Ladies Craft Beer Society at my baby shower.

some of the Ladies Craft Beer Society at my baby shower.

Jane was excited to see me and touch the belly :)

Jane was excited to see me and touch the belly 🙂

girls night out with Katie and Caitlin!

girls night out with Katie and Caitlin!

8. I got to spend another year as a Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I’m so grateful to represent the Cleveland Marathon and even though I was just about 9 months pregnant, I’m so glad I got to be part of the group again and run the 5k/10k Challenge Series.

Cari and I before the race! We both did the 10k

Cari and I before the race! We both did the 10k

with my fellow ambassadors

with my fellow ambassadors

9. We got a new car! I didn’t realize a new car could excite me so much, but I LOVE our Subaru so much. We got it over the summer and I am loving using it this winter!

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I know many of us are looking forward to having 2016 behind us – and while I had a great year, I’m pretty excited to see what 2017 has in store for us! I have a feeling it’s going to be a pretty eventful year.

Questions for you:

  1. What’s something good that happened to you this year?
  2. What are you looking forward to in 2017?

*yes, there are 9 reasons. Not 10. Why? Because 9 is a pretty awesome number, because I’m recovering from a sinus infection and that’s all my brain could handle and because I’m joining with the Thinking Out Loud linkup where there are NO RULES except write what’s on your mind!)

Thinking Out Loud: First Single Working Mom Day

This post is dedicated to all the single working moms out there. Or all the single moms. Or all the working moms. You know what, it’s dedicated to all the moms out there because you’re all rocking at what you do, even if you don’t know it.

I had my first experience as a “single working mom” this week. B had to be out of town for work super early one day so it was my turn to do the dreaded daycare drop off AND pick up.

It was my first drop off. I expected a few things going into it: first that I’d have to get up super early if I wanted to work out, get ready for the day, feed and change FW AND make it out of downtown and back to downtown by 8 a.m. Second, that it’d be hard because I hate saying goodbye to FW in the morning.

Well, it was both of those things times ten. Of course when my alarm went off at 4:58 a.m. I didn’t want to get up. It felt like I had just fallen back asleep from FW’s 3 a.m. feeding and it was SO COLD and dark out. I managed to get out of bed only 15 minutes later than I wanted to, and got in a 29 minute workout. Not quite what I wanted … but better than nothing.

I quickly showered, got my breakfast ready (a.k.a. I grabbed a yogurt and some granola and fruit), fixed a crock pot meal and then woke up FW. He was super giggly and happy (he is a morning person!), which made me happy as well. Phew, I thought – this is nothing!

Of course two things happened then. One, he took about 15 minutes longer than usual to eat. And I felt too guilty on this particular day to cut him off. And then, he of course decided to have a massive “I haven’t pooped in two days” type of blowout right before we were ready to leave.

Before leaving, I took a look at my calendar for the day and remembered I was triple-booked for after work with daycare pickup, a board meeting (that I was going to be late to because of a work meeting) and another appointment.

FW was still giggly when I put him in his car seat. He was smiley all the way to the parking lot. And then, when he realized he wasn’t going for a walk/run, he seemed to get serious. (Yes, this may be all in my head)

When I got to the daycare, I was the first person there. Even the employee at the check-in seemed surprised, saying “Oh, wow, he’s the first little one! He’s so young!” (didn’t make me feel better)

And then, of course as I put him down to leave, he started crying. I know he wasn’t crying because I was leaving (right?! he can’t really know…), but it didn’t help matters. I ended up dashing to my car before the worker could see me crying as well.

On the bright side? I made it to work 10 minutes early. And didn’t get any baby bodily fluids on my work outfit.

So – single working moms … well all moms – I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you manage to make time for yourself. I don’t know how you get enough sleep. I don’t know how you turn off your “mom face” after dropping off your child with someone else and turn on your “work face.” I have so much admiration and am in awe of all of you.

Shared as part of the Thinking Out Loud linkup. Because I really can’t make complete thoughts at this moment and this seemed like a TOL post.

 

Friday Five: Ask A Mom (Part Three)

Happy Friday!! I cannot WAIT until the weekend. We have some fun stuff planned for Labor Day with the baby, including seeing my family! So wish us good luck with our first LONG carride with FW!

Today’s the last part in my interview with Reanna from The Last Mommy Blog (friend IRL). Don’t forget to read parts one and two – each week we’ve shared 5 questions and her answers. My answers for this week are found here.

This week’s 5 questions focus on confessions and reflections on being a mom.

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1. Confess without shame: What’s one thing you’ve screwed up as a mom so far?

There are so many things I wish I were better at, but I think that’s just the ubiquitous cloud of mom-guilt that follows every mom home from the hospital. The one thing I really am trying to be better about is not staring at my phone all the time. It’s been a really bad habit, and I keep having to remind myself I don’t want my baby’s memories of me to be looking down at a screen instead of at him.

2. What was the best advice you’ve gotten about motherhood?

I don’t remember where I first read it, and it’s so simple and not profound, but “Give it two weeks.” Whatever phase or struggle you’re going through that seems insurmountable and makes you feel defeated will feel like ancient history in no time. You’ll be on to the next challenge, and stronger for it.

3. What is something your husband is really good at, dad-wise?

He has really hit his stride as The Baby has gotten mobile and more playful. He’s great at getting The Baby laughing. He’s always been up for the baby care stuff, but I think has felt like second fiddle since I’ve been the primary food source since day one.

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4. Has motherhood changed your perspective on the world in any way?

I feel so hard for all mothers and babies now. I have always thought our maternity leave policies (or lack thereof) in this country were unfair, but now I feel they’re downright cruel. I took The Baby to a restaurant when he was a few months old and our waitress told me she had a two-week old at home and I wanted to stuff piles of money in both her hands, scoop her up, drive her home and tuck her and her baby into bed. It is appalling to me that we are failing families in this way.

5. Have you read any parenting books? Any recommendations? Any discussion about how they make you feel like drinking because you’re clearly failing?

I am, by habit, drawn to parenting books because I like learning about child development research. However, having read through a couple, I  now measure each parenting book by how many glasses of wine I think I would need to get through them because they all make me feel like a massive, child-ruining failure. Use a bouncer? Your baby will never walk and will probably get scoliosis! Co-sleep? Your baby is guaranteed to die of SIDS. Let your baby cry it out? Enjoy your robot-sociopath! I think I’ve finally read enough to get beyond the point of feeling like I’m doing literally everything wrong and landed squarely at the point of feeling like no one knows my baby better than me, and I’ll work it out.

BONUS: For (potential) future kids, what would you do differently? With pregnancy, childbirth, motherhood, etc.

The second time around, I’ll definitely feel less smug about breastfeeding.

Even though we’re trying to transition away from it, if I have another baby who is extremely needy when it comes to sleeping near me, I’m not going to feel guilty about co-sleeping. I spent the first several months of co-sleeping feeling like A) I was failing/being weak, B) Everyone was judging me and C) I was putting my baby in danger. But the more I’ve read and learned and experienced, the more content I am with our decision. It’s what The Baby needed, I’ve gotten twice as much sleep as I would have without it, and nobody really cares what you’re doing (except Internet trolls, and they can shove off).

As far as childbirth goes, as you know I lucked out with mine. I hope my next one is just as quick (though preferably not on a major holiday). I probably would practice more with The Husband on relaxation and pain relief techniques that worked for me the first time in case a doula isn’t in our budget again.

And that’s it from Reanna. Don’t be sad – you can always read her blog and get more of her wisdom there (and while you’re there, learn about the importance of mom friends). Or become friends with us in real life and get an invite to Ladies Craft Beer Society (you don’t need to be a mom to be invited)!

some of the Ladies Craft Beer Society at my baby shower. It was an awesome taco-themed shower!

some of the Ladies Craft Beer Society at my baby shower. It was an awesome taco-themed shower!

Questions for you:

  • What other questions do you have for moms?
  • Are you part of any clubs – like a ladies craft beer society, book club, wine club, etc?