babies

The Messiest Moments…

Posted by on Nov 10, 2011 | Comments Off on The Messiest Moments…

…are the ones that make you laugh hardest after they happen. Am I right, or am I right?

Having a baby brings messes.  There’s just no way around it.  There are many evenings that I marvel at our play room after it’s been cleaned up, and 10 minutes after the kids are awake the following morning, all of our cleaning up is for naught- it’s a mess again.  But that just means they are playing and happy.  And the laundry…oh, the laundry.  There are few moments when I can say “I’m caught up on the laundry.”  As a family of five AND a newborn in the mix, there’s always something to wash.

But all the best stories, it seems, revolve around poop.  Poop puts a whole new spin on every aspect of a story because, well… there’s poop involved.  And it always shows up when you least expect it.

Case in point:  Meet Emily.  I’ve taken to calling her Em. 

 (above photo by my friend, Jenna)

She’s our #3 baby.  The one who completes our family. 

She is delicious.  She smiles, giggles and coos right now more than I remember our other two doing- or perhaps I’m just soaking it up more because I know once she stops I won’t have that in my life in the same way ever again {insert tears here}.

(newborn photo by LifeArt Photography)

She is, essentially a perfect baby.  The first few weeks were rough, but that was more just us getting used to a new baby again, recovering from labor, etc.  She’s so easy.  I can leave her on the floor in her little play bed for long stretches of time.  She grabs her toes, rolls over and is generally cute unless she’s tired or hungry.

(photo by my Dad, with his iPhone)

There’s just one problem.  Emily poops.  Well, every baby poops, so I should preface that with another statement:  Emily doesn’t poop very often, but when she does, it’s explosive.  It’s everywhere.  And it’s always at a really inconvenient time.   Always.

 

Case in point #1:

My parents were visiting from out of town.  Emily was just about three months old.  We dropped our two older kids, Jack and Anna, off at preschool and headed out to have breakfast at one of our favorite local places, the Hash House A-Go-Go.  Amazing food.  Great location.  Amazing food.  Did I mention the amazing food?  My husband went in late to work so he could come because we’ve only tried going with kids once and it just wasn’t as fun, so he wanted in on the deliciousness.

We got to Hash House and ordered our food.  Emily slept happily in her car seat and slept through the entire meal- it was awesome.  As we were finishing I looked over at her car seat, which was sideways in the booth, so I couldn’t see in.  I saw her little feet kicking, so I leaned over and popped her pacifier back in her mouth.  Seconds later I saw it fly out of her mouth and her feet gyrating and I realized, “Oh dear.  It’s the move.”  That move they do when they are uncomfortable.

I stood up and went over to look at her more closely and then I saw it.  Emily was wiggling and squirming because she was swimming in a sea of her own poop.  It was everywhere.  And if you’re thinking, “Oh, it couldn’t have been that bad,” let me tell you:  I could have ladled the stuff out of the seat.  Ladle.   I looked at my mom and we headed to the bathroom.  We were in there for about 15 minutes.  I had to throw her clothes away, and there was definitely poop in her hair.  Definitely.  Later, when we got home, I had to completely disassemble her car seat so I could sanitize it with wipes and wash all fabric contents.  There was even poop in the car seat base which means…. it LEAKED THROUGH THE SEAT.  It was, in a word, disgusting.  I know, I know- infant breast milk poop is not that bad, but it’s still POOP.

 

Case in point #2:

We went to the library just a few days ago.  As I put Emily in my Ergo carrier (love the Ergo!) and got ready to buckle her in, I could smell it.  She hadn’t pooped for 3 days.  I knew it was coming.  But at the library?  Really?!   I undid the Ergo, but it was too late.  Stain on the Ergo.  Emily looked at me with those blue eyes as if to say, “I feel sooooo much better.”  Lovely.  I had to change her on the floor of our Odyssey, and I used about half a pack of baby wipes.  I’m sure there is poop on the floor of our van somewhere.  There has to be.  But the real kicker of this particular story?  I forgot about the stain on the Ergo.   So the next day, as I’m in a public place getting ready to strap her in, I see it- that mustardy-yellowy-brownish color.  “What’s that?” I asked myself.  “Oh, right.  It’s a poop stain.”  Lovely.  “Hey everyone, check out my nice Ergo, complete with… poop stain.”

I love you, Emily.  I love you with every ounce of my being.  You are wonderful.  I do not, however, love your poop.

Love,

Mommy

I received information about Clorox’s Bleach It Away campaign and am sharing my messy moment for the chance to win prizes from The SITS Girls. To learn more about the messy moment program, check out www.BleachItAway.com.  Sharing your story on the Clorox fan page gets you entered for the chance to win $25,000 and daily prizes, and you can grab a coupon for Clorox® Regular Bleach.

 

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Back in {one} saddle again

Posted by on Oct 21, 2011 | 1 comment

Right about the time I had my son, Jack (my second child), I remember thinking to myself, “I can’t wait to have my body back.”   I think that’s something that sneaks up on you in mothering and parenting in general- it’s a physically demanding task.  It’s one I love with all of my heart, but it’s taxing and strenuous, just the same.  Breastfeeding alone is enough to make me want to cup my hands over my chest and say, “Mine!” from time to time (though I haven’t acted on it…)

My wonderful husband, Michael, has really payed attention to me.  Well, he pays attention to me regardless of the situation- I’m lucky like that.  But he really listened when I would toss comments left and right, sprinkling them into conversations here and there.  I’d say things like, “When I’m done having kids, I want to set some fitness goals.”  Or, “How in the he** am I going to exercise when we have 3 kids?”  Recently, near our home, a new YMCA has opened up.  That alone is cool, but then we found out that the Y has FREE “child watch” with a family membership.  Meaning I can take my kids with me, drop them off in a cute playroom with an outdoor, fenced in playground attached, and waltz on over to the gym and workout.  Try a class.   Do some Zumba.  Run a 5K on the treadmill.  All things I can’t do quite yet because my rear is so out of shape.

 

Michael listened.  We signed up.  We can’t necessarily afford it 100%, but we’re doing it.

So I’ve started.  The mission has begun.  I am going to workout three times a week.  That’s my goal.  A hefty one for our lifestyle and what we’re used to.  It’s a total pain to get there- Jack cries when I drop them off, the Child Watch girls can already hear us coming and I can see them bracing for at least 10 minutes of crying, but once I hop on a machine and start sweating, feeling 3-babies-worth of belly jiggling and (hopefully) melting away (slowly, I’m sure), I’m happy knowing that I’m at least doing something active for myself.  Last week the schedule I tried did not work, so I’m going to try a different one this week- still some stuff to figure out, but I’m exercising.  Yay for me!

My goals?  I’m not one to get caught up in numbers.  It’s not so much how much do I weigh, it’s what clothes can I fit into next?  What (relative) size am I?  Can I put on my favorite old jeans?  That cute skirt?  Will my thighs stop rubbing together so I can wear skirts and be comfortable again?  Can I do without Spanx?  This is where I’d like to be. Aside from that, I’d like to start by running a 5K, and work up to a half marathon.  And I have always wanted to do a mud run.  We’ll see.  Yes indeed- we will see!

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What is your “awesome”?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2011 | 2 comments

(Note:  I’ve come to realize that I really like to write, I have a lot in my noggin, and this is a great place to let it all out.  Those of you who have been around a while may have noticed that I changed my tag from “I fully admit I have no idea what I’m doing” to “Life is crazy. Craft it well.”  I’m shifting the focus of my blog to include many things, not just crafting in a literal sense.  I’m trying to craft a wonderful life for myself and my family.  I hope you’ll enjoy reading in weeks and months to come about how we do just that.  Thanks!)

 “I’m not a teacher anymore.” 

This phrase has gone through my head numerous times since May 13th, when I walked out of my classroom and headed to a farewell happy hour.  I was pregnant with Emily and done.  D-O-N-E done.  My doctor wrote the note, and it was as easy as pie to head out the door.  But I wasn’t just leaving for maternity leave.  Weeks prior I turned in a letter of resignation to my administrative office.  I will not be returning next week the way so many colleagues-who-are-now-just-friends will be.  I am now, “Just a mom.”  And that, my friends, is awesome.  For me.  Would it be awesome for you?

My husband and I worked hard to get to the point where we were ready to jump off of the two-income cliff, down to the one-income plateau.   It’s a huge leap for us.  We tried during the 2008-2009 school year to make a go of living on one income.  I took a leave of absence and got to be at home with the kids, but financially we weren’t quite there.  My heart has been at home since the birth of my daughter, Anna, in 2007, so returning to work after a year of doing what fills my heart was hard.  Two years later and we are making the change we’ve both wanted for our family.

It was interesting, though, once we were sure we could and would make the commitment, to hear people’s reactions to the fact that I was leaving my profession behind.

They ranged from disbelief….

“No!  You’re quitting?!”

“Shut up!  For reals?”

“Can you afford it in this economy?”

…to dismay…

“But you’re such a good teacher…”

“When will you come back?”

…to happiness…

“I’m so happy for you!”

“That’s wonderful!”

“Finally!”

There were many more that tore at my heart strings in both good and bad ways- many I’ve since forgotten, but in the moment were at times hard to hear.  Having so many different reactions to my choice to leave was so interesting.  No one’s reaction truly bothered me, they just made me think.  A lot.

It seems like there is a continual debate about what the “right” choice is for women.  One trend is to have a full-fledged career, work long hours, and show our kids that women can have careers just as big and bold as men.  Another seems to be a “back to basics” trend of having the mom give up that second income and stay home- essentially, what I am doing.   Whether they realized it or not, many people displayed their opinions of what the “right” choice is through their reaction to my departure from my teaching career.  It was fascinating.

What is the right choice?   I think the reason that everyone argues about it so much is that there is no one “right answer” and the only thing that’s tried and true about this issue, regardless of you choice, is this:  parenting is hard work.  If you’re doing it right, then you are exhausted at the end of the day, whether you are a “FTWM,” “SAHM” or “WAHM” (or any other acronym that applies to you).  I admire women who are passionate about their careers, love going to work, and manage to still be there for their children.  I equally admire women who give up their careers to be there for every minute of their kids’ lives, whether they are infants, toddlers, or school-aged kids.  We all make the choices that work for us and our families, and some of us don’t even have a choice in the matter.  I hope that we can eventually reach a place where we aren’t judged by whether we stay home, work, or a combination of the two.  I’d rather be judged by the kind of children I’m raising, working a paid job or not.

What do you think?  Is this debate ever going to go away?  Are we ever going to just appreciate our different life choices or will there always be comparison and judgement?  I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts.

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The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to BlogHer

Posted by on Aug 8, 2011 | 3 comments

Well then.  Dang.  I am ti-RED!

BlogHer ’11 was amazing.  Really.  I’ve attended a lot of conferences in my life, and this one was by far the most well-organized, friendly and easy to access conference I’ve ever been to.  Little confusion, lots of friendly faces.  Well done, blogging women, well done.

I have so much to process, as I’m sure many people who attended do.  I need to revamp more and more of this little plot on the internet, and I’m sure that’s going to happen….eventually.  The biggest take away for me:  my blog is what I make it.  And I want to make it about more than crafting, yet stay away from family stuff since I already have my family blog.  The only thing holding me back from making it just that is… me.  Changes are a-comin’.  There’s just one thing holding me back, and it’s this:

photo by my amazing friend Amber of LifeArt Photography– isn’t she outstanding?!

In the meantime, while I get this whole “mommy-of-3-and-trying-to-start-anew” thing down, I thought I’d share the part of the conference that surprised me the most:  boob stuff.  That’s right, I said boobs.  That’s funny for a few reasons, one being that before I had children, I hated the word boob/s, but now… I’m okay with it (ah, the hands of time, how they help us change…).

Before I bit the bullet and bought my ticket to BlogHer, I emailed my friend Tonya and asked her, “Can I bring a baby?  She’ll be really little.  Am I insane to do that?”  Tonya assured me that there would be kids everywhere.  BlogHer also provided child care for bigger kids, and I ran into many people who took advantage of it- hooray for that.  But I couldn’t leave my  nearly-5-week-old Em with anyone- she needed me and my boobs.  So, in case anyone in the future wants to attend BlogHer with a new baby and isn’t sure, check this stuff out and you’ll find that it’s not too bad.  You’ll be hell-a-tired afterwards, but it is possible.

Awesomeness #1:  The Lactation Lounge!

When I received my email with my pdf document containing all things BlogHer I scanned the map of the convention center.  My eyes lit up when I saw the words “Lactation Lounge sponsored by Lansinoh.”  Holy crap.  A place to feed my baby?  Where other moms can pump?  In privacy?  Rock ON!  That’s what I’m talkin’ about!  I didn’t nurse every single time in there, but it was so nice to escape the craziness for a bit and just sit back, relax, hold my babe, and let her do her thing without a bazillion people in the midst.  Every conference with even 50% women should have this available.  Just sayin’.  I actually met some of the nicest women ever while nursing Em.  I even picked up a few nursing tips.  I did have visions of rocking chairs, pillows, nursing swag, soft music, dim lighting, etc.  That is not what it was- it was basically an empty room with a bunch of sectional chairs and some Lansinoh freebies, but it was so much better than a whole bunch of nothing.

Awesomeness #2:  Undercover Mamas

My friend Jane turned me onto these.  Well, actually, she gave them to me to wear.  How cool is that?  If you have not discovered these yet, get some.  They are tank tops that have no straps; instead they hook into your nursing bra and you can layer them with anything from your wardrobe.  Anything.  No nursing top required, no tummy showing.  Awesome, right?

And a side note:  best nursing bra ever:  find it here.  I love it! It’s cute (I need to feel cute right now), comfy and it works so well!  I just noticed it’s a sleep bra.  Whatever- it’s comfy.  Wear it.

Other tips:

Take a stroller

Even if you are a baby wearer, take a stroller.  It’s not for the baby.  It’s for the crazy amount of swag you’re going to get.  Be sure to add a few stroller hooks (I’m cheap, so I use these) so you can just hang those swag bags and move on to the next booth.  Awesomeness.  Aside from the swag it’s nice to have a place to put your baby.  I wore Emily and had her in the stroller 50/50.  In the Expo hall I had her in the stroller, usually covered with a blanket, mainly to keep people at a distance to avoid germs and such.  But it was also nice to just have options.

Take a nursing cover if you need one

I need a nursing cover when I nurse around strangers.  It just makes me feel better.  Not everyone needs one, so if you don’t, feel free to do it your own way- I really was very surprised at how nice everyone was about having a baby at the conference in a general sense, and also how little people cared that I was nursing Em at all- maybe they just didn’t notice.  One of my favorite moments was when Annie of  PhD in Parenting spoke as a BlogHer Voice of the Year.  She shared with us a video she made about breastfeeding in public and telling women what to wear.  It’s an awesome video- you can view it here.  I love it. I was also nursing Emily as it was playing, which was just hilarious to me. I was touched by how much applause it received- it made me feel better about bringing Emily at all, let alone nursing her during sessions, etc.

Manage your expectations

Both of yourself and of the conference.  If you have a relatively young baby like I did, you can’t do it all.  You can’t do it all even if you DON’T have a very young baby.   I didn’t attend a single party, and I don’t feel like I missed out on too much other than seeing some transvestites and petting some cute puppies.  In order to have enough energy for day 2, I had to go home and rest.  I am lucky that I live in the outskirts of San Diego, but even if I was traveling, I would have gone back to my hotel room and passed the heck out.  I’m sure I would have enjoyed the parties, but that will have to wait until next year- in NYC!!!  Boy, I hope I can go (hint-hint, honey… please oh please?).

I hope these were helpful things.  If you went as a nursing mom and have more to add, please do! And if you met me and I didn’t get your card for whatever reason, please leave a comment so I can go see your blog- it was hard to remember to give out cards between feedings, diaper changes and poop explosions.  :)

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Well hello there…

Posted by on Jul 27, 2011 | Comments Off on Well hello there…

I can’t believe it’s been three weeks.  I’m having to reassess my ability to jump back into things in the blogging world.  In the meantime, please meet our newest addition, Emily Lou.  If you’d like to read more about her, click here.

I have lots of things in the works… in my head.  Some are already finished and I just need to write them up.  Others are projects that I’m longing to do, but just haven’t found the time yet.  I am also attending BlogHer next week, and that is going to take some prep work.  So, please pardon the sporadic posting, and hopefully BlogHer will give me the jumpstart I need to… do whatever it is I’m going to do with myself. :)

More to come!

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A Hat for Miss M

Posted by on Sep 14, 2010 | 4 comments

Well, here I am during the third week of school and already we are plagued with sickness.  My son, Jack, and I are sick.  He is a gross, snot-factory, cranky sort of sick.  As mommy, I’m only allowed to be sick and still functioning in many ways, so I have been drugging myself with Sudafed, but yesterday was the last straw with that approach.  Today  my husband is home, Anna is at school, and I am presently waiting for an iTunes movie to download so I can veg in bed.  While I wait for my movie, I thought I’d show you a little something I made.

This is a little hat I knit.  My friend and colleague (in that order) Stephanie, just had a little baby girl, Mackenzie.  Mackenzie is adorable, and I worry that she may not need this hat because she has the most gorgeous head of hair a girl could ask for.  But, babies need hats, right?  And I started the hat before she was born with all of that hair, so either way, she was getting a hat.

I think this is my first knitting post on Crafting Crazy, so I’ll give you a little background on my knitting history.  I tried to get a knitting lesson from my aunt a couple of years ago and we just couldn’t get it done.  She started showing me how to cast on, but because a certain little miss would not eat unless I fed her during that holiday season, I headed back to San Diego with what one might call “knitters frustration.”  For whatever reason, I really wanted to learn.  I love yarn, I love handmade things, and yet I didn’t know how.  So I hopped on YouTube and decided to teach myself with video tutorials.  I guess it worked.  I wouldn’t say I’m an expert knitter, but I have made several things.  My next project, I decided, is going to be for me.  I actually started a wrap that I think may take eons.  Not sure if I’ll finish it or cave and switch to something else.

But back to Mackenzie’s hat…  I made it with Debbie Bliss yarn- I just love Debbie Bliss.  Anything Debbie Bliss is right up my alley.  This is a thin yarn, so I actually double-knit it on size 7 circular needles.  Just your basic hat pattern- I think I cast on 88 stitches, then knit in the round until it was about 5-6 inches long.  Then I reduced and switched to DPNs when needed.  My favorite part, though, is the top.  Check it out:

I got this part of the hat on Ravelry.  If you haven’t discovered Ravelry, go check it out- it’s a great online community of knitters, and there are tons of free patterns.  If you want to make this little “twirl top” then search “Twirl Top Baby Hat” and you’ll find it.  It took me about 4 tries to get it right, but it was worth it- it makes it so stinkin’ cute.  I can’t wait to see a picture of little Miss M in her twirl top hat.  This last collage is just an ode to the stockinette stitch:

There is something so visually satisfying in knit stitches that line up perfectly.

Welcome to the world, Mackenzie!

And what about you, dear reader?  Do you knit?  If you live in SD I’d love to teach you- I have tons of friends I’ve offered this to, and no one has taken me up on it….

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