Archives for October 2015

10.29.2015

Social Media Is Not Real Life

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I log onto various social media platforms and scroll through. Majority of us do it. So here I am-minding my own business, looking at pictures and posts, when suddenly the green monster starts to hit me:

How are they on vacation AGAIN? I want to go on a vacation.

She just had a baby and her body looks perfect! I wish I had her body.

Their house is GORGEOUS and in the perfect location! I want to build a new house.

I find myself turning into ‘Ol Negative Nancy wishing and wanting things I don’t have. It’s not on purpose; and it’s not because I’m unhappy, it’s because I’m human.

Lately I have been trying to hop off the jealousy train and stop comparing myself and my life to others. I remind myself that I am so thankful for my husband, my healthy tot, a growing baby in my tummy, our home that fits our family perfectly, and so much more. I think the word ‘blessed’ is overused. However, in this case I think it’s the perfect term. I am truly blessed for all the things I have in my life. I may not have the perfect body, my ideal house, all of the cutest clothes, or fanciest child-hauling SUV. But, what I do have, I love, and I am thankful for it.

Greed and jealousy can take over easily, and I think in our sharing society it makes it harder to avoid. Something that I have tried to remind myself is that other than ‘over-sharers’ (we all know them) people only post the best things they have going for them. In the tagline of a new home’s Facebook picture, you don’t see the stress behind the choice to move homes was to be closer to their parents who are entering into advanced age. You don’t see the tag “I financed this motorcycle at a criminally high interest rate!” No-one Instagrams past-due notices. When taken at face value, other people may seem to just constantly win. And I truly hope that some people really do! But everyone has problems, and comparing yourself to someone’s chosen sharing is tough, and unfair. The comparison that I am working on making is asking myself, am I happier than I was in the past? Am I improving? If not, it’s time to log off.

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10.23.2015

Dressing The Bump With Pink Blush

Since my bump has been growing I needed a few new maternity items that would be great for fall and winter! I also never want to spend an arm and a leg on things I won’t be able to wear for long. Shopping for maternity clothes can be both fun and frustrating, depending on my mood. After looking high and low online to find trendy maternity clothes, I came across Pink Blush Maternity. I’ve found Pink Blush Maternity Boutique has SO many items that fit my taste and their fall collection is to die for! Anyone who likes sweaters, plaid, tunics, and mustard yellow will feel the same way! From necessary basics to amazing maternity dresses, they have it all. The best part is that they are reasonably priced, online I always worry that the quality might not be outstanding, however I am very impressed. I give Pink Blush Maternity two thumbs up and will continue to shop there!

http://www.pinkblushmaternity.com

Pictured from Pink Blush Maternity:

Black Sash Tie Coat
Charcoal plaid accent maternity top
Mustard lace trim maternity tunic

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10.23.2015

Mom Bod: A Love/Hate Relationship

My body has undergone an incredible transformation since growing and carrying Henry for 40 weeks and 5 days.

Since I was young, I’ve been self conscious of my body. I remember the first time I thought I was fat. I was in third grade-the worst part is I was actually pretty scrawny. It wasn’t like my parents didn’t tell me I was beautiful or encourage me to love myself, it was just something that started to happen. I remember taking small hair clips and clipping them to the back side of my fingers and then looking at my hands to see what it would look like if I had skinnier fingers. Through high school and college I stayed in decent shape, but never thought “Wow, my body is amazing.”

After getting married and getting pregnant I couldn’t have predicted the changes my body would go through. As dumb as this sounds, I don’t think I ever saw a pregnant woman’s belly with stretch marks! I only ever saw women with rocking bodies and perfect little round bellies covered in glowing, perfect skin.

Don’t get me wrong I knew that stretch marks existed, but I never thought I would get them! Once I hit my third trimester I dreaded being weighed at my appointments and avoided the scale at home. Then, the stretch marks started to appear and I was miserable and couldn’t have hated my body more. My body was growing another human, but I secretly hated it for looking the way I did. It wasn’t my bodies fault- it was doing its job and I was failing for not treating it right with exercise and eating right. After having Henry the weight slowly but surely came off and I started to work out again and eat and little better. I was 5 pounds below my “pre-pregnancy” weight and my body still looked SO different. I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said I loved the way my body looked. Everytime I see something that says, “embrace your stretch marks, you earned them.” I want to punch someone in the face.

This pregnancy has been much healthier both mentally and physically. I weigh myself every morning and feel in control of weight gain and now I don’t fear my appointments. I work out 5-6 days a week and feel much better about myself! I have found a balance between eating healthy and still enjoying my treats. My stretch marks have not disappeared, but they are faded and that’s no longer my focus. I am proud of myself and my body.

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23.5 weeks pregnant with Vivian- squats on the balance board.

10.22.2015

Where’s the Purell?

Dad’s Disclosure:

The point of this post is to share some interesting, infuriating, mostly heartwarming stories about public interactions with the aforementioned public and our son, Henry. Most of these occurred between the ages of two weeks and one year old. He’s so mobile now at 14 months, he’s not trapped inside a seat when we are out and about, and therefore less exposed to the ‘less shy’ of the world, to put it mildly. People lose themselves in the cuteness of a tiny human. For better or worse, and in most cases better, they can’t stop themselves. The attention is really nice, especially at a time when we had started to become jaded to other people, and weren’t sleeping particularly well. The reminder of how much good is in the world was welcomed.

So, put yourself in the shoes of a young father whose been trusted for the first time to make a quick Target run for supplies while your wife gets some tasks done around the house. Target is the best place to get all the items we need, plus a couple things to earn some brownie points with the wifey. (PSL from Starbucks anyone?)

I finish my shopping. I’m standing in line. In one arm I hold a car seat with a three-month-old inside. With the other hand, I deftly unload my small amount of groceries and goods onto the conveyor belt. I could’ve put the car seat inside the cart and place the groceries around the baby… This is a good thought to have when entering the store and really just frustrating moment to have while checking out. After the cart was 3/4 unloaded, I set the seat down in the cart to give my aching arm a rest and to pay the young lady behind the counter. Her name was perfect for Target: “New Hire.” (Don’t fret reader, she didn’t think was funny either.) In the time I made my bad joke and paid using our shiny new Target card(5% off your purchases adds up homie) an elderly woman had thrown herself headfirst into Henry’s face in his carseat in the cart. I will put it this way, when I tapped her on the shoulder, giving her a start and causing her to stand up, she almost smoked me in the face with the back of her head, that’s how far she was ‘all-up-in-there.’ I was initially shocked. I politely said something like “Do I know you?” and she smiled and said something like “Cutest baby EVER ermaherhd.” She waved at Henry who was obviously scarred for life, and we left the store. I realized, as I snapped him into the base of his seat (which is 100% Dad-proof, which I appreciate.) People are unbelievable around babies.

Recently, I have begun the undertaking of listening to the book ‘The Stand’ by Stephen King while I drive to-and-from work or any other time I am alone in the car. The book is literally 44 hours long. So far, through almost 18 hours, my fear of germs and the passing of sickness in the air has become an unforeseen symptom (pun intended) from the story. Thank GOD I didn’t read the book while Henry was a newborn, as I would have been convinced that the woman had given Henry some terrible plague disguised as the flu. I never realized how many people think that touching someone’s baby you don’t know is ok. People are unbelievable around babies.

I will say again, people are unbelievable around babies!

-SuperAmerica, East St. Paul. A group of gang-bangers smile and wave at the kid at our least-favorite gas station. (Not stereotyping, the station is in a not-so-safe area.)

-Urban youth driving tricked-out race-inspired Honda civics would stops dead and waves us across the street, smiling. Usually, he would rev the engine as he passed people outside he knew could hear his new fuel-injector tank making the engine fly.

-Uppity barista at Starbucks, typically too cool for interaction-would always marvel at the sleeping cherub, and ask if he wanted a sippy cup of water. She would even take the time to ask how to spell our names. No more ‘Darrick’ on my vente black coffee! Seriously, who spells Derek like that?

-Target, older woman, 60, comes up to our cart with Henry (4 months) across the seating area in his seat and mentions how cute he is etc. Then she proceeds to tell Molly and I her life story, complete with names and dates, and how much we remind her of her kids and grandson. The line was crossed when she kept grabbing Mol’s arm and talking to her like Molly was deaf. Awkward turtles. The encounter lasted around 10 minutes, and it took me spinning around, pretending to take a phone call to end the suffering of awkwardness. She meant well, that’s all that matters right?

-Mall of America, Family of 5, 8-40, Molly is breastfeeding Henry in the entrance rotunda of the mall on one of their padded, circular benches. This family walks by and the 4 kids are flabbergasted that a baby is beneath a feeding bib. Their mom is dressed more revealingly than what Molly is ‘showing.’ Complete with a muffin-top with cleavage hanging out of a too-tight/too-short tee that would make Elvira blush. Regardless of his own mother dressed like a hooker from the 1980’s, the youngest points, and I slowly bring my hands up, palms upward and raised my eyebrows in a ‘what’s up’ type face. The mom pulls the smallest in close and gives my wife a stink eye that I had never seen. The nerve of some people. Hypocrite is the word I believe I was looking for at the time, but was raised too well to yell after them.

-Outback Steakhouse, young family with 2. Henry was 9 months old and being a beast. He was trying to take a swan-dive out of his highchair, refusing to eat and crying at the slightest lack of affection and attention from Molly. I volunteered to walk him around the restaurant, which I know means he won’t cry but will just look around and be cute. This lasts until I return to the table and he needs to feel attention again! As I walk him around, a guy about 3 years my senior and his wife are waiting to be seated. They have two kids and Henry is taken by their little girl immediately. Staring a hole in her tiny head, enthralled. The parents wave me over and say he’s a cutie pie and ask his name. The dad, after the necessary pleasantries, said something I will never forget. “You may think that the people in here are super annoyed by Henry here crying. Screw em. Let him belt out. They don’t notice and if they do, their either an asshole or just miss their kids from that age. You’re doing great and being happy and proud of your kid is all that matters. You will never remember him being bad at dinner, but you will remember him being this little. Enjoy it man.” I almost cried. Thanks Nate!

The general consensus between Molly and I on how many people we have been approached by about Henry is in the 100’s. Target is the main place for strangers to come say hello. Also, this post isn’t saying he’s some Matt-Bomer-looking baby, or some wizard with the power to attract people. Simply, this illustrates the power of a child to people. Looking at Boogs brings people back to what their kid looked like, or what their grandchild looks like. As long as they don’t touch him without asking (and an amazing amount of people have asked to hold him, where we politely decline.)we are more than happy to take oggles and compliments, and to let people remember how amazing having a baby is.

10.21.2015

What Kind Of Mom Am I?

I feel like there used to be good moms or bad moms. Sure, there’s gray area, but that’s not as simple. Now, with the age of information and people’s desire to quantify and categorize everything, there are many “types” of mothers. These types bring about questions on how you parent and your lifestyle.

Including, but not limited to:

Are you crunchy?

Do you co-sleep?

Cry it out?

Baby wear?

Breastfeed?

Bottle?

Pump?

Swaddle?

Cloth diapers?

You Working?

Stay at home?

Extended rear face?

Vaccinate?

The list goes on… Every time I was asked a question on my parenting, I would cringe waiting for a response from that person, regardless of how little or well I knew them. People in real life are shitty actors. You can read reactions and know immediately if they agree or disagree with your choices. “Oh, you breastfeed? That IS best for baby.” Or “You mean your STILL breastfeed your one year old!? OH.” The stress on certain words not only makes the vernacular easier to understand, but it can reveal how much you want to throat punch the woman in line behind you at Target or not. Um, WHY does anyone care what I’m doing with my boobs? Everyone loves to interject their opinions or “advice.” I push it away, but I can’t help but care what others think. I wonder what category of mom I am put into by others.

What I’ve discovered, and how I would categorize myself is I am a “this works for us” mom. We didn’t plan co-sleeping, but it happened, and it made things easier for us. I loved breastfeeding Henry, so we stuck with it until it wasn’t working out anymore. I didn’t always baby wear, but if it meant I could snuggle my baby and get the house clean, lawn mowed, garbage out, then it worked for us. I am not completely one of any “type” of mom, but I do have respect for every “type.” Reading about the lengths Cruchies have to go to to feel like they are being crunchy enough is a hassle to just read about!

I do my very best not to judge parents for the way they do things, because it’s probably what works best in their life. I know how awful it can feel to be judged. Parents need to stick together and support each other in their decisions and respect differences in how things are done. If you really don’t understand something I would recommend educating yourself on it, as there are two sides to a coin. This is of course referring to practices between bottle and breast, not battery and beratings. I will never defend striking your child, as I wouldn’t ever want to hear the reasoning or research behind that. (This is a light-hearted, 1st world mother problems blog!)

In the end, we all have one common goal. Get them to 18 and out! (Just kidding, sorry, I never said I was a ‘funny’ mom.) If babies, children, and families are happy and thriving, there should be no categories, just Moms.

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10.21.2015

Ten thoughts that have changed since becoming a mother:

tired mom

10. Why do moms always talk about being tired? It can’t be that hard to get your baby to sleep through the night- I mean they take naps too!

Hahahaha! Does this need expansion? Henry didn’t sleep through the night until 13 months!!! I ate those words, and they tasted like irritability.

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9. There are a lot of people to babysit your baby; going on a date shouldn’t be that hard.

Unless it’s a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday… Then people are busy and have their own lives. And for me, there are a select few I trust to watch my child.

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8. Being a stay at home Mom will be so amazing (and stress free.)

Yes, I love staying at home with my son and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but there are days I want to pull out my hair. Crying, tantrums, blown out diapers, fighting a nap, malicious attacks on our cat… Going back to work would be a piece of cake compared. (This is more rewarding too)

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7. I won’t be that mom who looks frumpy. I’ll still get ready everyday!

Again, this is laughable. I wouldn’t say I’m frumpy, but often I’m lucky if I shower and put mascara on. Not so glamorous anymore. Husband knows better than to make comments.

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6. Why are those parents letting their child act out at dinner? Control them.

Easier said then done. We have pretty much given up on going out to eat. Henry lasts about 5 minutes in a highchair or booster seat before he wants to get down and run around. Now I feel for those parents. That being said, the public eatery is not a damn playground once you’ve given up either. There’s a fine line people!

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5. I will never let my child use my phone or iPad as a “toy”.

We don’t allow Henry to just use the iPad or phones, but when we are out in public and he is throwing a fit? There is no compromising with a 14 month old. You better believe we pull up “YouTube” and put “Elmo’s Song” on. It’s gotten over 130,000,000 views, so we aren’t the only ones!

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4. Can’t that breastfeeding mother put a blanket over herself while she nurses?

Have you ever tried blindfolding a cat that still has claws? No, well keeping Henry covered with a blanket while nursing him was just as difficult. And he caused 10 times the scene with screaming and tearing off the blanket then if I just discreetly nursed him. Also, it’s boobs, relax.

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3. Why do those parents only post pictures of their kids, I’ll never be like that.

Now, I am “that” mom. My child is attached at my hip and I think he is adorable. Naturally, I think everyone else wants to see this adorableness… Right?

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2. Breastfeeding will be so easy and convenient.

It was a challenge. Waiting for milk to come in, supply being low, trying to get an “extra” supply, sore nipples, biting, not taking a bottle. It was NO walk in the park, but it worked out for us

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1. Being a mother will be amazing!

This one’s true. It’s beyond amazing. Nothing could have prepared me for the love I feel for our son. It’s much more than I could have ever dreamed! It’s like waking up every morning feeling like you’ve won the lottery (your just really tired, and don’t have lots of money! )

10.19.2015

Pomegranate

Baby is the size of a pomegranate- 10.5 inches and 12.7 inches.

Week 21 has gone by fast! I’ve been making more plans for the nursery and pretty much have everything picked out that I would like. It’s surreal that we are having a girl and I can pick out pink, frills, and glitter- I’m so used to blue and trucks! Henry likes to pat my belly and lay on it like a pillow- it melts my heart. I know he has no idea what’s going on, but I am excited we are able to give him a sibling so close in age to him. Though there will be times when they will battle it out like all siblings do, I know there will be no-one closer than our two under two will be!

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10.19.2015

Banana

Baby is the size of a banana- 6.5 inches and 10.2 ounces

This week (20) we had our anatomy scan and got the greatest news parents can ask for! Our Doctor says Vivian looks healthy and is growing right on track! Waiting for this appointment had caused me so much stress and anxiety because of our scare with Henry (read the post “on stress, scans, & webMD” if you haven’t for more) and being reassured of everything being normal has put me at ease again. My bump is definitely growing and her kicks and punches are becoming stronger. Derek still hasn’t been able to feel a kick himself yet, but I’m sure it will happen soon! I still cannot believe we are already halfway through this pregnancy! It’s flying by and I almost wish I could slow it down. I have enjoyed being pregnant so much that I don’t want it to end too quickly (guess we will just have to keep makin’ babies!) I will make a note to myself to read this post when I am 38 weeks+ and make sure that I am still feeling so positive.

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10.19.2015

Consessions of a Gap Addict

Confession

When I was in my third trimester, I would wake up multiple times a night to use the ladies room. If it was after midnight, I would check my Gap app on my phone to see what the new sale there was and if any new items or collections were added. I was addicted. It was embarrassing. I am happy my husband was asleep and couldn’t judge me!

Gap shopping bag

Tips

But, I did learn to get the best deals and saved our family a lot of money. Here are my 6 rules to getting a great deal:

1. NEVER, EVER buy something unless they have an additional 40% off or it’s part of a spend $100 get $45 off. These events come up often, every week or so, and all items will eventually be put on these lists.

2. Don’t buy things at aren’t in the sale section. Gap goes through their collections fast so it normally doesn’t take long for current to become ‘sale’ (3 weeks to a month.) That way you get the $40 sweater on sale for $28 plus the additional 40% off you have been waiting for! Thank God for their impatience.

3. If you have a Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, or Athleta card you will earn rewards and receive an extra 10% off on Tuesdays! If you’re like me, Tuesdays have become a top 3 best days of the week!

4. Check at Gap.com for their sale of the day even if you’re going into the store itself. Read the details- because sometimes it says: online AND in stores, but the stores won’t be advertising an extra 40% off (this happens A LOT especially an additional amount on sale items in stores). Normally they will take the extra 40% off at checkout!

5. If it’s time to redeem GapCash, use it in stores!! Online will not let you combine your GapCash with any other offers, but in stores will! This last round of GapCash I got an additional 40% off my items on top on using my GapCash!

6. Try to shop ahead. I know this is easier said then done, but, you can save a lot of money. I bought Henry’s winter jacket at the end of last winter and paid $12 for a jacket that was originally $70.

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10.18.2015

Apartment M23

Sunday Morning

Henry seems to always decide to get up extra early on Saturdays. We decided to make the best of our early-riser and head out for breakfast at our favorite cafe in Highland Park.

After breakfast we took a little drive past the apartment we lived while we worked and went to school, before getting married and having babies.

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Our First Home

Here she is: ‘Highland Village apartments’ apartment M23. We lived on the second floor on the right side of the hall. It had the perfect location of being right by St. Kate’s and St.Thomas, and literally steps away from a few of the “best” college bars. The wave of nostalgia driving through the narrow, packed driveway knowing this is where I become a pro parallel Parker. We realized that we had so many firsts and so many endearing memories that we would remember forever. From drinking a bit too much and having to break in through the fire escape- to staying in all day and binge-watching Breaking Bad and Walking Dead. We didn’t have a ton of money, but that didn’t matter- our small double bed and dollar beers from Goby’s kept us happy.

Moving On

Since getting “real” jobs, buying a house, getting married, having a baby and now having another- our lifestyle has significantly changed.

But, change is only natural and we have grown together as people. Derek has learned I hate finding Poptart crumbs by the toaster. I’ve learned that Derek hates when I use his hairbrush. Reaching goals and making memories as a married couple is so satisfying. As we grow, change, and learn our marriage becomes stronger and honestly, better! Being young and settling down isn’t for everyone, and that’s fine, but it was for us.

We both look forward to showing our children the first apartment where we lived together (leaving out all the drinking stories.) The style and care that is put into the Highland Apartments ensures that it will still look just as cute in a couple decades!

A trip down memory lane

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Drinks at Plums, probably after dollar beers were over at Golby’s next door.

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Our first time trying ‘Banana Bread Beer’ at the Chatterbox Pub. I will never forget karaoke night there when we heard “Ally Cats” a father daughter duo that were…. In need of some improvement.

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Tiffanys Sports Bar on St.Pattys. Good thing we lived right across the street because according to my husband I had a few too many long islands and needed assistance walking home.

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More Long Islands and foggy nights. I’m in the middle, Derek on the right, and our best friend Cole on the Left.