Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Cookies

My last post about Christmas '08.

Have you ever noticed how it takes three times as long to get anything done with a baby around?

It has taken me three nights to watch The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (one hour per night).

It has taken me three days to complete the Sugar Cut Out Cookies. Four days if you count Christmas Eve where husband went to 4 different stores to find cookie cutters and came home with a huge variety of shapes and sizes. I would have been happy with 3 or 4 shapes. We can now supply Christmas cookies for a small party or a large family.

Day 1 - Dec. 26th - I made assembled the ingredients in three bowls and gave husband instructions to mix. We then tossed the mix into the fridge to bake the following day.

Day 2 - Dec. 27th - I didn't have parchment paper so tried rolling the cookies onto wax paper. I managed to mangle a few cookies onto the pan and resolved to get parchment paper later that day. After getting the paper, I made one batch and rolled the 3 remaining sheets to be baked the next day.

Day 3 - Dec. 28th - I've finished baking 2 of the batches and decorations are compliments of husband while holding jabbering 6 month old.



Evil Gingerbread man with his 3 subordinates.

I'm doing the last batch by myself!

Homemade baby food - follow up

After baby rejected the chunky sweet potatoes, we pureed them in the blender and compared texture to Gerber. It was a match. Baby still refused them. The following day she refused Gerber sweet potatoes. I no longer believe it's my fault.

Today I pureed banana with some soft tofu and she loved it! Will continue to experiment in fresh food fixings for baby.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Charlotte's first Christmas


It's only a good present if it can be eaten.


She was very polite with the book.


But wrapping paper is more fun to eat.


Onto the beach!


Good times!


As we arrived, we noticed the lifeguard stand had red and purple flags out with a sign reading DANGER Rip Currents and Man of war. We watched as a child ran screaming towards his parents after getting stung by a Man of war. We then found them all over the beach.


We had a lovely Christmas

Naive moment in parenthood #33

Today I decided to make baby food as part of a new year's commitment to give Charlotte the freshest food possible. So far she has eaten Gerber foods for 2 months and she loves sweet potatoes, carrots, peaches, applesauce and so forth. So I decided to start with a sweet potato. I cut it into 1" chunks and pureed it to where it looked smooth enough. I proudly sat down and presented her with the first bite - this should taste so much better then Gerber - it's fresh, I told her. She gets really excited at meal time and took a big bite and immediately gagged. Total failure. She hated it.

Later I opened a Gerber sweet potato and compared taste. Gerber has a bit of a sulfuric taste but otherwise same flavor. Big difference is Gerber is so smooth it's like yogurt. I need to figure out how to get my veggies that smooth. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pre-Christmas Cheer

Yesterday I took Charlotte to the Boca Raton mall. Arriving at the front entrance I was met with a yellow light which if I had crossed through would have left my car blocking oncoming traffic. So I stopped and habitually glanced into my rear view mirror to make sure the person behind me had stopped. Only to see a women in a Mercedes SUV, on a cell phone mouth the words "You f@#King bitch, I can't believe you stopped", next to her was her tween daughter. Merry Christmas from Boca! It thus cements is reputation as the happiest place on earth.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Company Christmas Dinner

It's that time of year for the annual company Christmas party. Many company's are canceling the party this year, Google, Disney to name two. Yet we soldier on and set our dinner for Friday evening.

This has produced unnecessary bouts of aggravation in all 7 employees (not counting Director of Ops because no one solicited his opinion). We all collectively requested a lunch because:
A. some of the younger ones have fab social life and regret losing any Friday night freedoms
B. one artist has an aunt with a birthday and parents coming down to celebrate
C. one person's child has child's Christmas play/event at nursury
D. my reasons are everyone I work with is a size 4 or smaller and I'm more like a 10 and seriously frustrated over what to wear with the addition of it being daughter's 6 month birthday and would just prefer a night in celebrating with cupcakes and silly photos.

Granted this is likely the spur of my Monday resolve to lose weight which backfired magnificently in the breast milk production area. Thus giving me total reason to stay cuddly and continue my carb injestion ways.

The pressure to get thinner is self-imposed. It comes from memory of the days when husband and I were rail thin in college and we're not quite sure how it's even possible our bodies managed to gain this extra weight. A history of being thin coupled with not wanting to settle into parenthood in front of the telly but wanting a vivaciously, adventurous life with our offspring is leading to impatience with our new found curves.

BUT - nothing gets in the way of caring for offspring so I settled for a new J. Jill billowing sleeveless top and spent the evening eating favorite Szechuan Chicken and rice. Pleased to say milk production favors rice intake.


Data a little inconclusive at this point

but I think eating carbs has much to do with breast milk quantity.

On Monday I began my quest to return to the body I had before pregnancy. The six month mark is looming, well it's today and I'm tired of carrying around this extra weight around my midsection.

I began my hour workout and dropped all carbs from my diet and was alarmed to notice 50% drop in milk production.

I made some small adjustments throughout the week and by Thursday recovered to full production.

Husband, the science expert of the family, says results are inconclusive and I'd need more study going with and without carbs.

I think I'm going to keep the carbs at breakfast and lunch, cut them after 5pm and continue the one hour workout.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The cat has bite through a light string on our Christmas Tree

The same cat who managed to get his tail caught in the door. Revenge? No, just a proclivity to bite cords. The same cat who has bitten through many mouse and keyboard cords before we managed to switch to wireless. The same who has bitten through so many cords that we now have a clever system of hiding all cords that might dangle in a cat's reach.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Motivational speeches

In the company I work for, there are 9 employees in the US office. We all know each other pretty well. 5 of us are in the creative department which is a big open room. One cannot receive a personal call without the entire room knowing about it. One cannot go out to lunch with a friend without everyone knowing. So today when the boss gave a little motivational speech that times are tough, people are getting laid off and we all need to work harder because next year is going to be a really hard year. In fact, an executive he just presented to recently just lost her job, without any warning. Her management didn't even see it coming. He then points at 3 of us standing the closest to him and says, I don't want to come in one day and have to say your fired, your fired, your fired. We look over at the 2 guys sitting at the side table - one cheers yeah we're safe. The girls and I just nod our heads sagely and after the meeting, we all go about our business. Let's face it, we work at a small company, there are no surprises. When there is really bad news, everyone knows it. When there is a need to work hard, everyone knows it. Motivational speeches, well considering how well we know each other are just as expected as knowing what everyone's personal calls are about.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm having balance problems

life balancing problems that is

6:30 - wake up, waste time on the internet for 20 minutes, get ready for work
8:30 - rush out the door with lunch in hand along with breakfast burrito and coffee
8:45 - arrive to work
Noon - girls in office tempt me with Mexican food. They know it's my favorite restaurant and they dangle it in front of me. Not excited about stew I've brought for lunch so I cave in. This is a bad idea for 2 reasons
- 1 - I plan to leave at 5pm, and since I didn't arrive until 8:40 that leaves my day short of working 8 hours
- 2 - that means I'll be up late at night finishing emails
I go anyway
5:15 - leave work for yoga class
6:00 - Yoga class - I rock the leg positions, really weak in the duel arm/leg boat position so flail around aimlessly.
7:15 - go to Whole Foods
8:00 - arrive home to notice husband needs to go to Petsmart before 9pm to get 30% discount that ends today. I take baby who promptly falls asleep on my shoulder after giving husband the wicked eye as if to say "I love mom and not sorry for being a total pain all day"
8-10 - I eat tamales while holding sleeping baby and get her ready for bed.
9:30 - husband comes back and small neighborhood boy knocks on door to ask him to fix his bike. Noticing husband will be busy for awile, I get babies bottle ready and take her to bed.
10:15 - spend a few minutes wandering aimlessly on internet
10:30 - midnight - finish work emails that I could have been doing instead of eating Mexican food for lunch.

Guess what?

Miami airport has located our carseat and is sending it tomorrow!!!! Now if Kodak would just call to say they are finished fixing our camera and have not found further issues to discuss!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Miami airport cements it's hideous reputation

I love going to Texas because my husbands family is really cool and I get to eat great TexMex food every day.

This trip was unexpected for me. I ordered tickets for husband and daughter so they could visit with his grandparents for her first visit and after telling my boss, he decided to give me an extra week vacation! In my quest to use miles and thus spend as little money as possible, I had to fly out separate from them and out of the Miami airport which worked out since we were both returning to the Miami airport. Oh the joys of using miles. Almost free trip, really annoying trip agenda of leaving from Fort Lauderdale and returning out of Miami. I dropped them off at Fort Lauderdale at 2:00pm, hung out in Fort Laud for an hour and then headed down to Miami to find parking in the off-site to save money. Got through the airport a grand 1.5 hours before my flight!

I had to spend the night in Dallas because the 2nd flight into husband's home town didn't leave until the following morning.

The trip was only for 3 days and baby did surprisingly well with her grand and great grand parents. If you've read my previous blogs you will realize this is nothing short of a miracle.

Friday, Dec 5th - Coming back baby did well on the flights and our connection was smooth. We arrived into Dallas with one hour to jump on the next flight. After collecting our car seat and carry on, we got on the train and went from terminal B to D. Arriving at our next gate, we dropped the car seat at the entrance to the flight and settled in with baby.

Upon arriving in Miami at 8:30pm, we are the last to get off the plane and do not find the car seat waiting outside the door. Someone tells us to collect it at the baggage claim belt.

9:30pm - no car seat to be found!

Panic sets in, cannot drive anywhere without it.

Leave husband with sleeping baby and rush around airport looking for American Airlines baggage claim office. Stand in line until 10:00pm to file claim. They suggest someone can help us get a loaner car seat. We are taken to storage room with lost luggage and shown a room with car seats that have little signs on them. The lady doesn't speak much English, I'm regretting 8 years of working with Latin boss and not taking time to learn Spanish. She basically tells me there are no options. I look at her in total disbelief and say I'm not leaving the airport without a car seat and that she must take me to her manager. She acts like she doesn't know what I'm saying so I push harder, take me to your manager. She finally takes us back to the baggage claim desk and goes inside to talk to her manager and comes out with a beat up broken dark blue car seat for toddlers - baby is 5 months old.

Beaten down and worn out, we take it and depart for the car lot where I left the car. I have to call them to pick us up. The lady tells us "just stand in the middle, the driver will stop". I try to tell her this airport is huge and she should take down the exact number stop we are at but she hangs up. The guy passes us, parks far away and as we are struggling to reach the van he takes off. I have to call back and I hear myself screeching that the driver left and they need to send him back to baggage claim 24. They try to tell me to calm down but I'm completely hysterical at this point. I look back at husband and baby, she's sleeping, he's tired and I have to wonder why I bothered to save a few dollars and put my family in this stupid predicament of standing in the center lane in the dark dusky Miami airport parking lot smelling fumes.

11:00pm - we finally arrive to the car lot. I stand at the counter with my head in my hands waiting for them to find my paperwork and keys. They keep picking up boxes and searching frantically, finally someone finds the keys on the desk in a pile. I pay and they send me outside for someone to collect the car. I tell my husband they are bringing the car from an off lot and he points at the car in front of us and says "isn't that our car?", just as they come back from the other lot to realize it's right there and they still pull it up for us. Weird.

12:00am - we get home and I finally feed baby. She hasn't fussed the entire time and hasn't eaten since 6:30 or 7pm. It's the oddest thing. She should have been furious with us by now but thankfully she was a peaceful baby in the calm of our little storm.

ps - Tuesday, still waiting for them to find our car seat :(

Monday, December 01, 2008

People keep asking "how are your pets doing with the new baby?"

in that really concerned tone that really says, are they threatening the child??? Brows are always furrowed when asking this question. Like they are expecting me to say, oh my goodness, just yesterday I found Rumble lying on Charlotte's face! I don't know what to do.

What they should be asking is - how are your pets doing now that you are ignoring them, shutting their tail in the door resulting in removal of 2 inches of prized tail, terrifying them into leaving the couch which results in them making a blind leap into an open box of Christmas ornaments causing me to scream NOOOO!!!! and resulting in said cat limping away mournfully.

Thus when I saw the pretty princess cat sitting on the newly positioned crushed red velvet runner on counter top I simply petted her and said nice kitty.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Recession Pizza

it's what you make when you determine to use up left overs in the fridge!

I'd take a photo but I spilled tea on my camera lens and it needs to be cleaned

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Someone call the abuse hotline

I didn't put socks on my daughter today!

scenario 1
- late for church and rushing down the long corridor and stopped with the following exchange:

women "awww, what a cute baby"
me "thanks"
women "but her feet must be so cold! You should put some socks on her"
me "her feet are fine"
I rush past her.

scenario 2
- in Barnes and Noble getting coffee and magazines when accosted by another concerned women with the following exchange:

woman "awww, what a cute baby"
me "thanks"
women looks at baby and coos in baby talk voice, "are your little feet cold", looks at me, you should put socks on her!"
me - silence
women bumbles on "I love it when they are that age, so small and cute, do you stay home with her, or work?" as she cocks her head
me - "my husband stay's home with her"
women's eyes bulge in surprise "really, so I guess that makes you the bread earner"
me - "I guess so"
women - "so what do you do?"
me - "I work for a toy company"
women tries to process this very complicated situation and nods knowingly "so you must make good money doing that"
me with desperate look of horror babbles "it's fun and my husband works on the weekends and while I stay home with baby"
woman - looks relieved that husband is not a deadbeat, breaths a huge sigh of relief and says "oh well that's okay"
me - big pause, searching for an exit line "okay well you have a nice day now"

scenario 3
- Whole Foods, stop at prepared foods counter

me - "do you have Italiano Chicken Breast?"
women - "no, not until tomorrow, awww what a cute baby, but you really need to wrap her up, it's cold outside!"
me - "she's fine"

Folks - I live in South Florida, it's 75F/24C outside and inside every building it's the same temperature it is every day. Sun's out and every time I get in my car I turn the air conditioner on. I must have a sign on my forehead that says "It's my birthday, tell me how to dress my child!"

The missing wallet and cat tail caught in door

Yesterday, baby and I slept an inexplicably long time. She had woken up around 6:30 (I had fed her at 5:30) and I wanted to sleep longer so I tucked her into the big bed with lots of padding surrounding her and we both went back to sleep. I thought it was only for an hour so when I finally woke up with a dry mouth and urgent need for water, I was astonished to find it was 8:20, husband should be gone for work since 8 but I stumble out to find him frantically searching for his wallet. Maybe it's in your truck I suggest. He goes out through the garage door and the cats happily race through the open door catching the 2nd cat's tail - he barely made a sound and that's when you know a cat is hurt. That and his body language as he flicks his tail and blood around the room. The cut is deep and it looks like the tail might need amputation or stitches so husband hustles the cat into a cat carrier and off to the vet.

Back story - the injured cat is Zorak, our oldest pet of 10 years. He's a 19lb gruff, sourpuss but we are fond of him.

Shortly after husband departs, I find his wallet under the bed. I collect baby, her stuff, Chopper the dog (he goes to work with husband who is a dog trainer and uses our dog for lessons), husband's lunchbox and follow. Haven't had breakfast but adrenaline rush seems to fill the void.

We arrive to the vet, which is located in a store that is actually husband's prior place of work and I sit baby's carrier on a bench, hand dog leash to husband and go back to car for his wallet.

Back story - earlier that morning, at 6am, husband gave himself a military haircut, one that I guess he had not had since before baby was born.

I come back to baby crying her horrified cry of "I don't know you, I don't want to know you and where is my MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" She didn't recognize her dad with the new haircut - ha, you gotta laugh. Meanwhile the cat is doing his pain meow and we are all waiting for the vet to arrive.

Baby stays upset as husband's old co-workers come over and say hi so I grab the baby and breastfeed her since she hadn't eaten since 5:30. Husband checks in the cat and leaves for work, I'm abandoned on a bench, breastfeeding baby. There is no one in the store that early so I'm basically left in my own little world.

We take our time and when finished I walk her over to see the birds and fish. She had a really great time.

More about the cat later.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

2nd Orlando trip post baby

You might recall my last trip to Orlando was an adventure in breast pumping in public bathrooms whist making my boss and co-works wait for me and it was all kinds of fun. Well this November trip was an overnighter with just me and the girls. So armed with with the company credit card we set forth to do as much damage, ur productivity as possible.

We started the trip right by leaving a 1/2 hour late because I forgot my cooler filled with dry ice intended to hold all the milk I intended to pump for the next two days. I'm NOT going without my cooler so I picked the girls up at the office and came back home. I had also forgotten $20 for turnpike tolls so I was able to come home and collect both items and got to see baby awake - so cute!

First BP stop was the turnpike bathroom. Not my favorite stop but came up with a great idea for future trips. You know those beach chairs that fold up neatly into a bag with sling so you can carry them over your shoulder? That chair is going into my car for next trip. I can see it now, beach chair in the handicap bathroom! Perfect!

We got to Universal Studios 1/2 hour late and the meeting had to start at 11am. We didn't have alot to go over so didn't figure we were going to cut into lunch too terribly much but after asking our client about his vacation and discussing the historic election we managed to finish at 1:30pm. Starving we drive to Chick Fil A for lunch and I use their bathroom for 2nd BP stop and this time drag a chair into the bathroom.

We all forgot to ask for tickets (we are supposed to ask 1-2 weeks in advance) so we went back to the offices where our client had agreed to drive us into the park the back way on those little golf carts. That's fun - getting in the park for free and transportation all the way in! We stayed for two hours and looked for product options to enhance our product line - AND we rode the new Simpsons ride with our client who took us to the front of the line! Did I mention he is our favorite client??? Seriously this guy is too cool.

After Universal we spent an hour getting lost while finding the hotel - did I mention we had GPS on one girls Apple phone??? I'm driving and all I hear is go forward so I can see which way the ball is moving, okay you went the wrong way now do a U turn. It says go NORTH, which way is NORTH??? We are all geographically stupid.

After locating the hotel and doing my 3rd BP of the day, we head to downtown Disney and get lost along the way. Finally arrive to buy reference samples, admire our products and eat at Wolfgang Puck and here is where I swear to never go to that restaurant again. It's overpriced, LOUD!!! and I'm just so tired of the menu. Every trip to Disney I go to this restaurant and I don't care how tired I am (or lost), I'm going to find a better restaurant. Orlando is the restaurant capital of the world, seriously they have every possible variety of food and top chefs. It ends now.

Next day we have more meetings with another client, my mommy friend pre-reserved a room for me to use between morning meetings and we take our client out to lunch. Pause for insert story.

I look very young, I can pass for a collage student in my early twenties when in fact I'm early thirties. I know this so I tend to notch my clothing up a bit when I'm leading a meeting, particularly one where I've invited the client to lunch. I get to the restaurant first and tell the hostess to inform the waiter that I'm bringing a client to lunch and would he please bring the bill to me. I position myself at the right top side of the table. At the end of the meal, the waiter bounces around me and puts the bill in front of the client whereupon I take it from him while in mid-sentence and proceed to pay the bill. Is it really necessary for waiters to assume the oldest person at the table is going to pay???

We finish our meetings and make an afternoon stop at my favorite restaurant on the way out of Orlando - Mimi's, for my last BP break. It was a lovely stop with the sweetest waitress I've ever had. One girl inexplicably ordered Pot Pie to go and then realized there was no possible way to get it out of the crockery and into the take out container. The waitress, spotting our situation came over and popped the entire dish into the take out tray and told us to not bring the crockery back. I ordered two muffins to go and she gave them to me for free saying they throw more than that away at the end of the night. After consuming a latte and half a sandwich, we headed back to our neck of Florida.

I gotta say, business trips as a mom are really quite complex, that and I'm totally getting a GPS now that the economy is tanking and everything is 1/2 off in stores for this holiday season.

How husband and I saved an American Pit Bull

It was a recent morning and I had just returned from walking Chopper, our small cute Cavalier King Charles when I noticed my neighbor frozen in place in front of her car. I heard two girls yelling don't move and noticed they were hiding behind cars, then I spotted the Pit Bull wandering aimlessly around the parking lot. I didn't see him acting aggressively so I called out to the neighbor to ask if it was her dog, she said no and that brought the dog's attention to me and he came over to say hi to my dog, who freaked out a little and shrank against the door on the wrong side so I had to wrestle him in the house while the big dog poked his nose at my little dog. The Pit Bull was nice and seemed well taken care of so I figured someone had lost their dog.

I came inside and got the trash and on my way to the dumpster encountered a short Asian guy looking for the dog. I told him it was freaking out the neighbors and he really needed to get it on a leash and back inside. He said it wasn't his dog and he had visited a friends house who was away and upon opening the door the dog ran out and sat on his car and would I like to have the dog? Okay this dog is easily 100 lbs and kinda bulky to jump up on a vehicle and isn't this the guy who owns a Hummer and those things are tall and why is he trying to give away the dog??? this is just too strange. The dog had disappeared by this point so I came back inside and woke up husband to tell him about it. He immediately goes outside to search for the dog and we see Pumpkin's mom (I don't know my neighbor's name but I know her dogs name - cool huh?) holding her small dog and rushing back to her condo, "PIT BULL" she screams! So we know where to start looking for the dog. I feel like a total dork because I saw her start her walk when I came back in from the trash and should have warned her. See people are scared of Pit Bulls and really don't know the difference between a happy dog and a bad dog.

Husband's gone for awhile collecting the dog while I wake baby and make breakfast. He finally comes back with dog in tow just as short Asian guy walks up to us. He kinda mumbles great you found him, you can have the dog and takes off. So husband calls the phone number on the dog's collar and the dog's mom cries and thanks us for finding him. Apparently he had been dog napped from her backyard the day before and is a blue blood.

Now when I see short Asian guy running as I do my morning walk I give him the raised eyebrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Getting up every night at 3am

to pump milk used to sound like a horrific nightmare. How could I ever get used to getting up in the middle of the night, every night and stay awake for 15 minutes??? Well I've been doing it since Charlotte was born and now I actually enjoy it. It's the only 15 minutes of the entire 24 hour period that's totally mine to surf the internet, get caught up on blogs, write mine, etc. No one is awake but the dog. He shuffles over to our bedroom door every night in hopes that his favorite person, my husband, will also get up and join us.

Many times I find myself hanging out past the 15 minutes necessary to pump. It's my time and I relish it!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Encouragement

On Nov. 2nd I had the privilege to hear Doctor Bob Barns speak at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. If you ever get the chance to hear him speak, bring a notepad. He offers so many nuggets of information that you will want to remember.

The title was called "The Sermon of the Mouth".

Your mouth is a powerful tool. It is able to bring pain, anger, frustration to people around you. Or one kind word of encouragement will change lives.

This really spoke to me because obviously from my earlier post, I've been careless with my mouth in the past. It's something I've really struggled with!

Some of the points mentioned are:
- who's arms are you lifting up?
- are you guarding your mouth?
- if someone said make a list of all the great encouragers would you be on anyone's list?
- the Bible says we will be accountable for every idol word we speak on judgement day.

Ep. 4:31 Get rid of every form of malace, bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, evil speaking, be put away from you.

and the one I memorized as a child

Ep. 4:32 And be ye kind one to another tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

This is one of those messages that convicts and motivates. Later that day I went to a coffee shop and made a long list of things I want to do to encourage others in my life.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Naive moment in parenthood #32

Last weekend my mother-in-law came into to town for the weekend. I made big plans. The closer the visit got the grander my plans were made. I counted down the hours until total freedom to "get some stuff done".

Saturday afternoon I picked her up at the airport with Charlotte dressed in a pretty dress with a bib displaying "I love Grandma". We went straight to my favorite afternoon restaurant and at 3pm there was no one there. I pulled Charlotte out of her car seat and proudly handed her to her grandmother. She was polite for about 10 minutes until we had ordered our food and suddenly she had a wild screaming fit like none I had ever seen before. Her grandmother did everything imaginable to calm the baby, giving her a bottle which Charlotte refused to take even though I know she was hungry; after what seemed five minutes of nothing working I offered to try. She immediately calmed down and took the bottle from me. The rest of the day went as such. Charlotte would grin happily at her grandmother across the table but refused to be held.

So the next day I did the only thing logical, I left for the entire day so she could bond with her grandmother. Everything went fine!

Now I know what goes on in the church nursery! Today I dropped her off and told them I'd swing back in 10-15 minutes to check on her. See they don't put the child's number up on the big screen until mid-way through the service so she could be crying for 30-40 minutes without me knowing. I came back and she was having a terrible time of it so we retreated into the nursing mom's room.

It's tough! I didn't expect this from my little girl so soon. She's only 4 1/2 months old and she has such a strong preference for mom and dad.

I must admit it's a confirming moment of connection for a new mom to be able to calm her baby so completely and quickly when said child is seemingly inconsolable. I've been reading a book recommended by Potty Mummy, "Why Love Matters" by Sue Gerhardt and the overall theme is to regulate the babies levels so he/she can learn to be emotionally independent. It's awesome to be able to calm her down but at the same time, I'm going to keep taking her to church because I want her to learn to regulate her own levels and gain some independence from mommy and daddy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Missing Asia

Grit just wrote that her husband is going to Asia. I suddenly miss Asia. I went 3 times last year, prior years at least once a year for 7 years. None this year due to baby. Earlier this year my boss asked when I could go back and I said when she's 6 months old I'd evaluate if I was ready to stop breast feeding and go back. After today's meeting, I've decided to push that date out.

Along with everything else in the economy that can inflate in price, insurance premiums have gone up 33% and the little toy company I work for is reevaluating the plan to look for reductions and will likely pass along remaining the cost increase to their hard working employees. I currently pay 15% of the insurance premium and I fully pay my daughters insurance. The cost of insurance is just ridiculous in this land of the free. If asked when I might return, I'll say I can't afford to stop breastfeeding due to increased insurance premium.

Sorry Asia, I'll get back some day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's cold outside!

I just spent 15 minutes trying to locate my running shorts, consuming a large glass of water and prepping my iPod only to find it's freezing cold outside! Laugh if you will, it's 57F (13.8C) and since I live in South Florida this is somewhat of an anomaly. I've had no time to even get used to this because yesterday was 76F (24C). I think I'll skip the run for now.

On the plus side, I'll get to wear a sweater today and drink tea at work and not feel like I'm in a sauna. This is going to be an awesome day!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Stroller (Pram) Envy

In church today I was pulled out of the service 30 minutes in. I said this before but I'm a slow learner, I'm not sitting in the front until she's a teenager! That said, I found myself in the nursery and at the close of the service I introduced myself to a lady with the most amazing stroller(pram) I had ever seen! It had a swivel for the car seat/bassinet to rotate on so when seated next to it, the mom can rotate the baby towards her. Unbelievably awesome design.

Check it out:


It is called THE ORBIT! I came home and immediately looked it up online, as you can clearly presume by the photo above, and the cost is - $900!!! That is like the Hummer of strollers!

I have a humble Cosco Umbrella Stroller and it was free (but retails for $16.99). Seriously - my husband found it.


Prior to this I was using a BabyBjorn Front Pack first used on 8/16/08, cost $99.99:


Now, 2 months later, Charlotte dislikes this carrier. She likes the free stroller so I'm sticking with that for now!

As a product designer

I spend my days with baby thinking up new products. Today, as baby ripped the burb cloth off my shoulder and threw it on the floor then promptly threw up on my shoulder. I thought, why not invent a burp cloth that has a string going around my neck so it cannot be removed. I quickly realized baby could still grab and yank the cloth and that might hurt. Cancel this idea!

Monday, October 20, 2008

1st grade

Grit just wrote something that reminded me of my childhood baking pies and canning food all summer with my mom and two brothers. My mom is a first grade teacher and she taught me in first grade. I have very vivid memories of kindergarten (it's where I told my first lie) but I barely remember first grade. I wonder, do moms give us such a cozy security blanket that we forget things?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More moments of an absented minded mom

Yesterday I made a pumpkin pie to celebrate the fall season. After dumping the contents of the can into a bowl, I washed the can, tossed the label into the trash and can in the recycling bag.

I then realized I needed the label for the recipe. It was quite mangled but I've made this pie a hundred times so just needed to double check the measurements for spices.

Today I forgot about the pie until just now. Husband brought me a piece and after one hearty bite I realized I had forgotten sugar.

Grocery shopping at 9:40pm

I debate with myself - should I go tomorrow after work? No, I like to come straight home and spend time with the baby. Could I go during lunch? No, I'd only want to get a few things so as to not shove too much food in the work fridge. Finally I convince myself to go because I'm out of milk and would be really irritated with self in morning.

So armed with a LIST, as recommended by Potty Mummy, I head off to the store.

Highlights -
A guy tosses a cart my way and says "here ya go"

Croissants are out of stock, didn't need the extra calories.

Walking towards the vegetables I hear a young couple:
girl "yeah well she's 91"
guy "well she can't die any sooner"

??? they want an old lady to die for what reason?

I poke around the vegetable section locating the following:
1 green pepper
1 potato
Ginger (while looking for it, I found Horseradish Root; I like the relish so the root must be fun to cook with but it all looks moldy, must do more research on this)
Grapefruit
1 zucchini (does anyone know the difference between zucchini and cucumber? I hope I bought the right thing)

While browsing the potatoes, the old lady scheming couple stroll over:
guy "do you like portobello mushrooms?"
girl brays "yeah"
guy "why don't you buy them?"
girl - silence

Leaving the vegetable section I spot an abandoned basket with meat. What would possess a person so abandon a basket of meat?

As I approach the meat section I run into the old lady scheming couple embracing while discussing Rib Eyes.

I finalize my purchases and head up to the check out counter. I inquire when the store closes and it's 10pm although I'm leaving at 10:13pm. On the way home, I realize that is why the store was so empty. Then I wonder if the the old lady scheming couple were stealing meat. I've read that people steal meat more often during an economic downturn.

Charlotte now loves her bouncer

Which is a relief because she is getting really heavy to carry around!

Getting my Mommy legs

Since going back to work, I have a short bout of panic on Friday night before my big weekend with the baby. My husband works on the entire weekends and is away from 8am - 8pm. I rush around on Friday night getting stuff ready for the next day, prepping quick to eat lunch and snacks, couple loads of laundry and dishes.

On Saturday morning I'd try to get up earlier then husband and baby to get a shower but more often then not, baby would wake up while I was in the shower or making breakfast and husband would be inclined to take over. I realized I was cutting into his short morning and resolved to fold my shower and breakfast into the day with baby.

I'm thrilled to say it's working! I've been able to get her off to sleep after her first bottle for just enough time to do both. I'm also getting a few more chores done around the house during my day with her.

Friday, October 17, 2008

TGIF!!!

she loves it when we get to her cot before she has to call for us.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Why South Beach is no place for a 4 month old

My brothers are visiting from Maryland. Being single they naturally want to visit South Beach. In a moment of utter madness I decide to join with the baby and the idea that I can crash at a book store my co-workers have been raving about while the boys hit the beach.

Books N' Books - does not have a baby changing station and does not have the latest weekly magazines. I totally planned on buying People or US Weekly to read during a relaxing lunch and all they have is last weeks rags.

So I walk up and down Lincoln road for an hour looking for baby clothes, a good lunch spot and a news stand.

Starbucks - does not have a baby changing station.

Lucky Brand - has winter clothes and nothing for baby (the one in Boca has really cute baby clothes), we don't get winter here so it must be for the tourists.

Could not find a single baby boutique, wanted to buy a sun hat for baby.

Finally settled in a sushi restaurant that had a changing station so I stayed for lunch and dragged it out for 1.5 hours. Sushi is a great meal to eat while feeding a baby. It's comes in bite size pieces and is not messy to eat.

After lunch I locate brothers and they decide to eat at a Cuban restaurant. I join them but spend the entire time walking around with Charlotte until she falls asleep and then its time to leave.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted from walking while carrying all the baby gear along with the baby.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

It happened again!!!

This time I got called away from the church service 30 minutes in and again I was sitting at the front. The singing had just finished when I see my baby's numbers pop up on the big screen. Optimistic to sit in the front you say? Well it helps to go in with a positive spirit. I went back to the nursery and found baby angry with me for leaving her there. Potty Mummy you win! She appears to be missing me because nothing else was wrong. I had feed her just before dropping her off, diaper was changed, no gas, after collecting her we went to the mommy nursery and she slept for the rest of the service. But I will keep trying!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I love breast feeding

title alone should be a warning to the guys - for chicks only

it allows me to do the following while making baby very happy -

- blogging (albeit one-handed)
- looking up albeit to make sure it makes sense in the above sentence (there are teachers reading this blog)
- catching up on favorite tv shows (which have been digitally recorded throughout the week)
- playing spider solitaire
- playing monopoly (on the computer)
- reading favorite blogs
- reading books

and while at work I get to take three 15 minute breaks per day to pump milk and while doing so get to read books; currently reading "Helen of Troy" by Margaret George.

so what I'm trying to say is it's a great way to relax and i'd like to do it as long as possible but there are only 2 problems:
- I keep getting shooting pains in my breasts randomly throughout the day but doctor says blood work shows normal white blood cell count.
- baby has been crushing my left nipple and I'm having a hard time keeping her on that side but it produces double the amount of milk so I either grin and bare or cut her meal short. It never hurts on the right side so I keep her on as long as she wants but it never causes the milk flow to increase. very weird

Do you ever hold your baby while he/she is sleeping as long as possible - even when you really need to pee?

because sometimes reading a good book (like Jenny McCarthy's "Baby Laugh's") is so much fun that you just want to hang onto the moment as long as possible. I should have read this book sooner, it's more fun then reading "What to expect the first year". Then sometimes you get lucky and baby keeps sleeping after you put her down so I really should be taking advantage of this time to make dinner - except that I hear her waking up now. Duty calls!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Angry baby!

Today I was on top of things. I marched Charlotte out the door at 9:30am, 45 minutes early for church. Drove the 15 minutes to church, dropped her off and trotted off to the church coffee shop for a cranberry muffin and decaf latte. Feeling rather smug, I strolled into church on time and located a seat at the front.

20 minutes before the end of the service, I see Charlotte's numbers come up on the big screen (it's a church that seats 7,000 people and the nursery assigns a number to each baby so if your child is misbehaving, or in the case of a 3 month old, freaking out, they can notify the parents). I grab my little card and check back and forth like 3 times, yep it's my kid. I craw over 5 people to get out and walk back the entire length of the church (did I mention it's big enough to seat 7,000 people?)

I arrive at the nursery to find her sleeping - it was such a big cry that she wore herself out! I'm rather absent minded at times so I really hope her numbers were not up there too long before I noticed them. She screams as soon as she sees me as if to say, thank God your here I was tortured.

The remainder of the day was okay but she clung to me all day. At one point I forgot to keep my hair back and she got a handful. She wouldn't let go, and I couldn't change positions so she got really mad. My how those little hands can grip!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Something is nagging me

It's Sarah Palin. Ever since I heard she went back to work 3 days after having a baby I've been irritated with her. Not one to believe everything I read I looked up articles written at the time she gave birth, by Alaskan newspapers that interviewed and have her quoted saying this about returning to work so quickly:

"It's a sign of the times to be able to do this," she said. "I can think of so many male candidates who watched a families grow while they were in office.

"There is no reason to believe a woman can't do it with a growing family. My baby will not be at all or in any sense neglected."

I'm irritated because I just had a baby 3 months ago and I still remember 3 days after the birth having trouble walking comfortably, definitely not able to walk far. We stopped at the mall because I decided I desperately need black sandals but didn't feel capable of walking to the other side of the mall to get a nursing bra (the day before I gave birth I walked 3 miles). I remember having trouble sitting for much longer then it took to feed the baby in the hospital. I won't even go into the additional "personal" details that a woman goes through in the week after having a baby. Suffice it to say, if you've been through it, you're shaking your head like I am.

I should also point out that prior to having a baby I was somewhat of a workaholic. I've been known to work 12 hour days consistently for long periods of time. I've traveled to Asia for weeks at a time working long hours the entire time. I've kept up a grueling pace for 7.5 years without much of a second thought. But going back to work 3 days after having a baby - not on my plate of options. I will admit I answered email on my phone throughout the first 5 days because my baby came a month early and was still in the hospital, also it's only good manners to leave fellow co-workers with some semblance of guidance and direction, but that involved lying on the couch with pain meds near by. Going to the office to meet with people and discuss policy - ridiculous.

Seeing a women act really cocky about flouncing back into the office 3 days after giving birth irritates me on so many levels but not in the sense that it was something I couldn't do but what seems like shouldn't be done. I can't explain it any further then to say I'm so irritated I don't believe it will be possible for me to vote for her.

I have nothing further to say about a woman's decision to do anything beyond this point. It's just returning to work 3 days after having a baby that really irritate me. If it were a major sort of operation, I'd have the same feeling. You have to wonder how a woman who doesn't have the common sense to take care of herself could run this country? Also, it doesn't help women reach the right to have government paid maternity leave for 3 months when the governor of Alaska decides to return to work without taking any maternity leave. Sort of makes the guy politicians wonder if she can do it what are all these other women clamoring for? While I recognize it might not be possible to take a full 3 months off while Governor, one could at string together vacation days and sick days to take a few weeks off. The least she could do is show some kind of shared sympathy for moms with young babies needing paid maternity leave. All we get is a statement about the right of woman to work equal to a man.

I'm a Republican. I'm the very voter that should be cheering her on right now. Instead I'm incredibly bothered. Now, when I look at her, I only see a smug face.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mommy amnesia

I've heard it is inevitable but until now I felt secure in myself that it had not happened to me. Look at me I said, I'm back to work and functioning properly. I'm getting decent sleep and baby is sleeping properly at night. I've skipped this thing called mommy amnesia, it probably only happens to stay at home moms and dads.

Wednesday I left for work at 9:30am through the garage, waved bye to husband and drove off to work.

Later that day, I arranged to meet husband at church where we would drop little one off at the nursery and enjoy two independent hours.

Husband called to discuss our meeting point and made a polite observation that I might want to not leave through the garage door anymore. It suddenly hit me - I FORGOT TO CLOSE THE GARAGE DOOR THAT MORNING!!!

We have 3 cats who have been looking for an uninhibited opportunity to explore the great outdoors and kill lizards with glee. Thankfully all 3 were accounted for when husband left at 6pm and were begging for dinner.

Today I went to a lunch seminar at church and before leaving for work I thought to myself, take $5.00 for lunch buffet and pen (I'm obsessive about taking notes). I left home without cash and pen in purse and thus arrived at seminar empty handed and had to borrow both from friends.

One day recently I finished breast pumping at work and walked all the way back to open office creative area with breast milk bag in hand - reaching desk and realizing situation I backed quietly out of the room, I don't believe anyone saw me. I'm sure of it, it would have been called out.

I've been telling myself for 3 days to put the razor back in the shower from overnight bag.

I used to be able to tell myself to do something and minutes later, I would remember. Now thoughts are in and out.

I'm not exempt. The baby has zapped my brain. I'm now officially a mommy.

Is it really a week later? And is baby really 3 months old today???

Stunned to realize this past week has flown by. Last Thursday I spent the morning packing like a mad women and preparing for a hurricane (that never got here but certainly looked ominous enough).

It was interesting getting through security with a dog and baby. Husband had baby and I had dog. Both must be removed from their carriers, then carriers are dropped on the conveyor belt and pet/baby hand carried through the doorway.

The flight went smoothly thanks to all the advice to nurse baby on the accent and descent.

I was worried about baby getting upset on the 2 hour drive home but she just sat in her car seat and giggled at grandma most of the way home. Babies do have such a way with grandparents.

We got to see my 93 year old great aunt. It was a really nice visit and she told us how she held my grandfather when he was born (she was 6) and she held my dad and myself and now my daughter. How cool is that. She also told us to not let Charlotte stand at such a young age because it will make her bow legged and it's one of those moments when you just nod and and say - oh really, we'll be careful to not do that. Husband came home and found it debunked in our "First year with baby" book.

Mom threw a post born baby shower with 31 relatives - at least 10 of which were children under the age of 10. It rained so we were all cooped up inside where it became a wonderful distraction to have a sweet playful dog that all the kids could adore. I think the dog was more popular then the baby! Husband even got the dog to do all his tricks and let the kids give him treats.

I got to see friends from high school while grandma babysat - really makes one want to move home!

The flight home was as lovely as the first.

I'm sure one day we will have a nail biting trip with the baby but this one was almost perfect - until you count the small mishaps of forgetting the breast pump base (yeah I packed all the parts but the base) and over packing a bit (I really didn't need to pack the bottle warmer and so many clothes and blankets!!!). Hard to find the right packing balance with babies first trip. Since going back to work I've gotten quite reliant on the breast pump and it was a bit alarming to deal without. In fact I didn't, I went to the store and bought a cheap hand pump which was extremely difficult to use and made me so thankful for electric.

And finally, baby is 3 months old today

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Getting ready for work

I'm sitting here holding a bouncing baby at 8:30am who has just hurled vomit all the way down my back and onto my pajama bottoms. Thankfully I've not chosen to get ready for work yet.

I keep glancing at husband to see what is taking so long with his breakfast. It seems the polite thing to hold baby while he finishes but it keeps getting later and later. It seems husband is caught up cleaning the espresso percolator and there is a whole lot of poking and prodding at the espresso screen and exclaiming that we have not cleaned it properly in years. He is not making progress on breakfast.

Time to try baby out on the swing. I need to get ready for work.

More later on our fun trip home to grandmas.

edited to add:
and as I leave for work, husband exclaims, "it's 9:30, aren't you late for work?"

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Going home to grandma's!!!! - and baby is 11 weeks old - tra la la

Wow. That is all I can say. These past 2 days have been insane. In case you hadn't noticed, there are 3 hurricanes headed towards Florida. The first was supposed to hit today and thankfully it's taken a turn north. The next 2 are coming in next week and one is already a category 4.

We fly out in 2 hours and here is what we did from 6am - now:

-put up shutters on all windows
-brought all plants into the bathroom
-cleaned cat litter, filled bowls with food & water
-packed for trip (took most of my day, hub did the other stuff)
-called 5 people to watch our dog (yeah on the day we are leaving) and everyone is going out of town. Not hurricane related, just going out of town. What a coincidence. Either we just developed really bad BO or we are destined to take dog with us. So husband went out to buy a dog carrier.
-give dog bath

Where was baby during all this you ask? Miraculously she was sleeping! We are stunned and pleasantly surprised.

I gotta run now. More to follow after plane ride!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Regrets? not really....

Boss threw me a trick question - "I need someone to go to Hong Kong, I don't suppose you would be up for going?". Nope - not until I reach the six month mark of breast feeding and then I'll cheer for myself and decide if I can handle the next six - I replied. Thinking of course if teeth develop that might cut my resolve earlier then expected. Please don't anyone warn me of how early this can happen, let me rest in my bubble.

Next question, "I also need someone to go to London" - I interrupt with, well I suppose I could manage that trip. He immediately cuts me off with saying "a ten hour flight to London, if you can't handle 14 hours to Hong Kong then..." with raised eyebrows. I must sulkily agree he has a point. I can just imagine the trip might go like this:

- Breast pump immediately before leaving for airport
- 1/2 hour drive to airport
- 1 hour wait before flight
- 2 hour flight to New York
- Breast pump in bathroom upon arrival in New York
- Find London flight and wait remaining 1:30 minutes before boarding
- During 10 hour flight pump 3 times, the last time 1/2 hour before decent
- Arrive to London, go through customs, collect luggage, catch Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station, always freak out a little that I'm getting on the wrong train.
- Arrive to Paddington Station and wait in long taxi queue.
- Take taxi to hotel
- Breast pump immediately upon reaching room
- Typically arrive mid-afternoon and don't have meetings the first day so run around London regardless of any jet lag
- Hope stress of travel hasn't reduce milk production
- During entire day of meetings at one client location, find excuses to disappear to bathroom for 15 - 20 minutes every 3-4 hours. Not to mention dragging equipment in some kind of inconspicuous briefcase or giant purse.

Honestly I can handle the client thing just fine. People are generally incredibly accommodating; it's really the breast pumping in airplane and airport bathrooms that has me feeling all uggg. Oh and the day following client visit boss always wants to shop all day long looking for inspiration in Hamleys (typically spend 2-3 hours there). Followed by at least an hour in The Disney Store, sometimes a visit to Harrod's (I'm speechless in the food and wine section every time), followed by a long leisurely look in the Nike store at all the really cool stuff they offer the UK and for some stupid reason only give us items in white because American's have no taste (jealous much?) and this all involves walking and walking while carrying breast pump equipment and trying out random bathrooms all over London. I have incredible stamina but there are limits.

Later that day Boss looked at my employee who supported our UK client during my maternity leave and says, I guess it's just you and me S! She happily clapped her hands as I did my best to not sulk at the rubbing in of my inability to go. I do love London and find this almost unbearable but not to the point that I'm willing to end my quest to breast feed baby or breast pump in bathrooms all over London. Sorry London, I'll get back to you some day. Just not again this year. Twice in one year, really, what was I thinking?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Newton's Third Law - regarding babies

For every fantastic day, there is an equal and opposite horrible day.

Yesterday was fantastic! We didn't have one scream; mama predicted baby's every need and both were happy the entire day. We went to Barnes and Noble, well the parking lot to start, and wandered over to Starbucks to get a decaf one splenda iced latte. While in line an older lady begins the chatter I've become accustomed to - how cute!, how old?, girl/boy?, is she a good baby? My anonymous life is gone. Midway through the chatter I get nervous as baby shoves a fist into her mouth. "Is she hungry or teething?", Yes she's hungry. I debate leaving the line because my iced latte will only melt while I feed baby, but then I'll have to wait in this long line again - then my turn is up.

Outside, feed baby, when finished prop her up on my legs to take cute photos on phone which are texted to grandparents and husband - I give myself mad props for figuring this out. Move onto to 2nd half of bottle when baby releases her now customary while we are out BM and prepares for a big cry. I pack everything and rush to the bathroom to find no changing station - really Starbucks, I thought better of you! Forced to go back outside to the table farthest away from everyone to change a really messy diaper - but I really don't care because baby is still happy.

Wander down to favorite dessert shop for chocolate eclair and conveniently forget recent pact to lose weight.

Wander back to Barnes and Noble and read magazines. Read cue that baby is done for the day and bring her home.

For the remainder of day she is adorable.

She sleeps 8 hours that night.

Feeling like I've finally conquered this baby thing, I plan our trip to church. I should have known to stay home when it takes me 30 minutes to find my car keys. A frantic search of the house then leads me to the car which is unlocked??? I finally find them in the diaper bag outside pocket.

Leave home late with baby and she throws up as soon as we get to the car. Starts to cry as I clean her. Turn around Rachel, just turn around now!

Drive to church and she calms down; while walking to the nursery realize we are really late so once I get her there I basically throw her at them.

Service is about the end of the world - part II. Forgot pen when changing purses but someone lets me borrow a pencil. Very interesting sermon and when done I linger to read the bulletin while waiting for the crowd to disperse. Next go to bathroom and then back to the nursery.

"She's really good but she wouldn't let me sit down and did not want to eat", says the attendant. She hands my daughter over the counter who screams upon contact. I take this as communication suggesting she is hungry and must be fed immediately!

We go to the mommy nursing room and settle down for what should be an hour of eating and diaper change. Eating goes fine but somewhere during the burping stage she develops some nasty gas and becomes inconsolable. The next service has started and the moms in the room are there for the service. I'm the only hanger on with a crying baby. So I leave to pace the hallway; not working. Leave the hallway to pace the main hallway and finally lay her down on a bench and give her a tummy massage. She calms down. So I pick her up and she screams, put her down and she stops. Now this seems slightly unreasonable to me since I can't leave her here all day! They are on the last service for God's sake. Screaming or not I resolve to take her back to the nursery and pack our things to go. She behaves until we enter the quiet room with all the sleeping babies and moms listening to church and lets out a def con 5 scream that continues as I resolutely stuff her into her backpack and kneel to gather all her things. Can someone explain to me how my diaper bag got so full I cannot close it?. Meanwhile a mom I was chatting with earlier rushes over and suggests a pacifier - why didn't I think of this? The mom must assume I have something against pacifiers because she starts babbling about how there is nothing wrong with them and they improve a babies latching ability. I'm like, hey what ever works to end this endless shrieking. I begin a frantic excavation of diaper bag and realize it's gone! So new mommy friend gives me one of hers, "it's sterilized" she promises. Charlotte immediately calms down with pacifier. God bless other moms. I was so worried I was pissing everyone off with my screaming baby and at least one mom does her best to help. I will return the favor one day - this I swear.

At home Charlotte continued her wild ways but it's okay. She has finally fallen asleep on my chest to allow me this blogging moment.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Baby is 10 weeks old today!

Which means I've been allowed to exercise for 4, and I have sporadically but I've also been eating lots of dessert, potatoes, pasta and my favorite fast food - Chick-fil-a where I get fried chicken, waffle fries and cookies and cream milkshake.

Since the weight has not magically fallen off with breast feeding, sporadic exercise and eating whatever I want, I've decided to get back on the diet wagon. The next 4 weeks will showcase my ironclad commitment to eating better.

Oh yeah and happy 10 weeks birthday to Charlotte!

The ducks have reached a new level of stupid...

I live in a condo complex that surrounds a pond which is home to Muscovy ducks and seasonal wildlife. Yesterday I returned home from work and took family dog for his evening walk. At one point he stopped to do his business and about 20 ducks rushed towards us. They see human = food and noticed I had something in my hand. It was only poo bags. As I reached down to pick up the poo, they rushed in to investigate and began to eat it.

I left without picking it up. So sue me condo association.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekend outing update

On Sunday Charlotte made my mommy dream come true. She slept sweetly at an outdoor restaurant while I read a book! Back up a bit...

Morning we left for church - on time - and I dropped her at the nursery. I'm such a trusting sort, I just dropped her off without a backward glance. 2 hours later, come back to find she slept the entire time. Slightly miffed considering she would not have done that at home, I take her to the nursing room for her lunch. 2 months of motherhood have taught that an awake baby must eat immediately. We lounge for another hour and listen to the next service start up along with all the songs and I get to sing to Charlotte.

She falls asleep on the walk to the car so I take her to my favorite lunch spot, an outdoor walk with restaurants and such. Considering she just ate and is likely to nap a bit since it's quite warm outside, I stuff her into her backpack and take a walk to collect a few things. First stop Starbucks for iced latte and bulk espresso beans, coordinate payment and such while balancing purse and diaper bag - I seriously need to downsize purse contents to fit into diaper bag so I can hold one bag. Sorry purse, you no longer define me as a prized leather accessory proudly purchased in Hong Kong, now need snappy diaper bag. Starbucks only has giant bags left, happily take one since it can consolidate all purchases.

Next stop Too Jay's for favorite chocolate eclair and dessert for husband. Chat with blond mom with 3 month old who's legs are much fatter then mine and discuss how chubby Charlotte will be in a month.

Next stop Barnes & Noble. I didn't mean to pull this stop but was passing the window and saw "Chasing Harry Winston" by Lauren Weisberger. I liked "The Devil Wears Prada" so thought this would be a good read.

Note - she is still sleeping.

Next stop, restaurant, order favorite chicken sandwich and proceed to book. Read about 7 pages and suddenly remember this author's 2nd novel was really bad. Her first was dealing with her real life experience and thus a richer descriptive novel. The 3rd threatens to be a repeat of the 2nd with one of the main characters sounding like a clone of Gisele B√ľndchen. I'm not sure why it irritates me so much that an author would first describe a character in such that I paint a mental image of Gisele but that she then goes so far as to say her character is thought of in Manhattan as the next Gisele. It dumbs down a readers ability to imagine the character when author feels need to be so specific.

Anyway, regardless of my critical outlook on book, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that Charlotte kept sleeping. Lunch arrived and I went to car to get her car seat, placed her in it and she kept sleeping! Finished lunch before she began to stir so I fed her. Around 3pm we finish and as I'm placing her into car seat she makes her poopy face so we rush with purse, now very full shopping bag, diaper bag and HEAVY car seat to bathroom. It presents a quandary, solid wooden door requires putting car seat on floor, prop door open, scoot car seat into next room where I'm presented with 2 more solid wooden doors - apparently each holds individual toilet with sink, neither with baby changing table, but one with marble counter top and room so small I have to prop door open with car seat. Thankfully Charlotte is back to napping while I set up her changing pad and such. She stretches sweetly and doesn't squawk about strange conditions.

Leave restaurant and on drive home call mom to proudly recount days events. Mom cheers me on as I come home to finish out the day.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Baby is 9 weeks old today!



I'm told she put her hand into mouth, dug nails into gums, then pulled lip really hard when she realized it was her hand doing the damage.

Not happy folks! Not happy!

I was not warned that babies tend to do damage to themselves. I've spent 7 years making toys safe and never once was told of the pain babies inflict on themselves. I've witnessed her poke herself in the eye, scratch the face - this one is common, punch herself in the chest, hit herself in the face, and this doesn't even begin to cover the damage she inflicts on my person with those nails. I cut them at every opportunity and I swear they grow back to the same size overnight.

Anyway - Happy Birthday baby! Will try to make tomorrow a happier day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The business trip and the lactating mom

Warning - this is a girly posting but if you show up PapaTV, feel free to read on but I'm just saying - you've been warned!

Today was my first business trip since getting back to work. Everyone received fair warning that I required 15 minutes every 3-4 hour. The day went as follows:

night before buy dry ice
4:30am - wake up, get ready for trip
5:50am - breast pump while eating breakfast, pack cooler and breast pumping equipment
6:15am - meet co-workers at office and take off for Orlando
9:00am - stop at turnpike bathroom to breast pump, choose hand-i-cap bathroom, basically have to stand while holding equipment for 10 minutes. It's really quite an ordeal.

12:00pm - 1:30
We were supposed to break for lunch and go to restaurant but mid-meeting realize we have much more to discuss so meetings are extended into a working lunch. Left equipment in car so after quick huddle with fellow gal co-worker, decide to get equipment and pump while everyone takes off to order lunch in deli. Get back with equipment and everyone in the room seems to know what I'm up to. One of the clients who is a young mom, adopts me and drags me off to find a private room. I'm saved from another bathroom! Mom's rock!

1:30 - 3pm
More meetings

3pm - leave for next location of meetings
5pm - group decides to go to Panera Bread with my pushy guidance of "hey guys you will be more comfortable there and can get soup and latte's while I do my business."
5:15 - drag cafe chair into bathroom, no one saw me do it, get comfortable and read book while breast pumping. I'm all about diverting my mind and cannot stand to do nothing for 15 minutes.

6:00 - leave restaurant and go to downtown Disney to pick up reference samples.
7:30 - leave for home.
11:00 - get home, immediately pump breasts, baby was not interested as her agenda was to sleep.

Note to anyone interested in trying out this experience - expect no privacy from male co-workers and boss for discussion of this activity, expect many lactation jokes but by end of day you will have worn them down through sheer repetitiveness.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tropical Storm Fay!

YEAH! Off work today due to Tropical Storm Fay!

Weekend outing update

This past weekend I continued with my quest to get baby out of house, into car and stops as various locations in South Florida.

Saturday
- finally wrestled baby into car at 4:30pm, somehow it took about 4 hours to hit the right combination of post feeding and sleepy baby.
- arrival at Barnes and Nobel and baby is fussing a bit.
- get out of car, go to release baby from car seat prison and her face is bright red with exertion. She hasn't had a BM since Wednesday and it appears the poop fairy has chosen this moment to show up. I grab baby, her bag, her new Bijorn backpack, purse and run for the bathroom (checking first that poop is not escaping from diaper). Poor baby, this is the worst one I've seen yet and cleaning her in B&N bathroom is a daunting task but managed.
- spend 1/2 hour reading magazines, breast feeding baby for first time in public
- stuff baby into Bijorn backpack and stroll the outside shops, stop at favorite to get chocolate eclair
- return home

Sunday
- leave for church 15 minutes late, they offer nursery care but I opt to sit in the cafeteria with other moms where they have monitors of the church service, manage to breast feed in public again (I'm practicing for upcoming flight home in 3 weeks)
- go to Target for new onsies and other various stuff

All trips measured a success since baby did not get mad and hit any shrill high notes at any location.

It seems I only write about the successful trips. I should have written about how last week she was really angry with the Boca Whole Foods trip and I had to carry her through the massively crowded store and push the cart that only wanted to go left with the other hand. It's amazing how infuriating an insensitive crowd can make a new parent as I push the left wandering cart and correct the direction with my foot, I just want to scream I have a cranky newborn get out of my way!!! I just chalk it up as a learning experience of how-to-calm-angry-baby-in-public-and-stay-calm. Upcoming flight has me a bit nervous even though it's only a 2 hour flight and a following 2 hour drive to grandma's house - I have no idea how she will react.

I now leave her in her father's capable hands for a week of outings.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Baby is 8 weeks old today!!!

Yeah! Another weekly milestone for baby. She celebrated by sleeping the entire night for the first time. Mom and dad were stunned to wake up and realize they had slept the entire night without interruption. Well mom got up at 3 to pump but otherwise had no interruptions.

I got a break to get a haircut with the sweetest Italian hair stylist in the entire world. I've been looking for years to find a great hair stylist. I've tried many different salons in every city I've lived in and finally found Nina. She has curly hair - just like mine - therefore she knows how to cut it perfectly every time. Nina is awesome!!!



Baby is awesome!!!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Poop Intervention

Baby has not had a BM since Wednesday. I’m not sure we noticed on Thursday, at least husband didn’t mention it but by Friday she was angry. I worked from home and by 11:30 left to visit a childrens store to pick up reference samples. Upon my return, husband announced she cried 40 minutes solid. He has finally rocked her to sleep and put her beside me while I wolf down Chick-Fil-A lunch. Just as he announces how cute she looks sleeping, she wakes up with a shrill scream. He blanches and dashes out the door to teach his afternoon class. I call after him to pick up some baby suppositories from Target on his way home.

Later that day -
Husband calls from Target and says the baby suppositories are for children ages 2+ unless doctor advises differently but the pharmacist has suggested Karo syrup. We try it out with slight misgivings that all the sugar will keep her up all night, nothing happens, she sleeps fairly well throughout the night, but no poo.

Today -
I wake up determined to make my baby crap. Husbands escapes for work around 9am and I call the doctor to find out if baby suppositories are okay for a 7.5 week old. She says yes and can also try a baby rectal thermometer covered in Vaseline. Quick inventory of supplies shows only ear and under arm thermometers. Thus begins the dance to prepare baby for outing to Target.

She’s cranky and threatening to create a huge disturbance so I prepare a bath. According to my very own stay at home dad, a bath is calming and relaxing and will put her to sleep. The prep for bath is an ugly crying fest and the bath is one long cry - she is not happy, NOT HAPPY!!! But I hum along knowing that post bath she will eat and fall asleep. This more or less happens - she’s mostly asleep as I buzz around the house, lock front door, pick up all cords of breast pump so Satan’s spawn the cat does not chew on the cords, prepare bottle, grab bib & run out the door.

I arrive at Target to find milk all over the seat - the entire bottle leaked into the bag. Frantically grab bag and pour water on a napkin, remove all milk from seat, notice pants are now wet as milk continues to ooze out of bag. Remove baby from car, grab purse and milk leaking bag and deposit all into cart. Baby is sleeping and continues to sleep as I shop, so cozy in fact that I stop for an iced decaf one splenda Latte at the in store Starbucks. La te da, I have a sleeping baby, what else can I buy?

Finally make way to check out where cashier completely ignores me as she whispers frantically into her mobile, one thousand dollars, she pales noticeably. I pile everything onto the counter, pay and struggle to get everything back into cart because she fails to push it down to the end of the counter and grab extra plastic bag to house milk leaking bag. The lady behind in line looks at me sympathetically and asks if I need help. No, I’m just so happy I have a sleeping baby!!!

On the drive home, she cries a little but it’s an 8 minute drive and somehow she falls asleep as we get home. Bring her in the house and she waits patiently in her car seat while I go back outside to haul the rest of my crap in the house. Unbundle baby from car seat and take into bedroom to lay on bed while I prepare the bathroom for what is certain to be a nasty explosion. Come back to bed and she is cheerfully kicking legs and arms so I wait a ½ hour for her to fully digest the last meal. Once she starts to scream, I remove clothing in preparation of inserting baby suppository. Just as I start to remove diaper I notice brown goo coming out the sides. Hurray! The karo syrup worked. Gross, nasty sticky poo is everywhere - I’ve never been so happy to see you. Baby is now sleeping peacefully for one full hour and I’ve had lunch, washed all bottles, emptied dishwasher, filled top half and wrote this blog!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Baby is 7 weeks old today!

I can't seem to stop myself. Every Thursday I announce it's Charlotte's x birthday! Today I came home from work to the following scene:

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Charlotte's Revenge

Friday, husband called me at the office around lunchtime to say he had managed to get Charlotte in the truck for a drive and was in the area. Of course I invited him to visit the office so everyone could meet my baby.

He arrived with a drowsy baby and as everyone gathered around she started waking up. We took her to boss's office to show off and just as we were discussing who she most looks like, I feel a warm goo shoot out of her diaper and in total alarm see it squirt onto the floor in 5 or 6 locations.

Charlotte's revenge for mom going back to work early is served.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Baby is 6 weeks old today!

Baby spent the day with her dad. He had planned to take her to Home Depot and Hot Topic but the tiny dictator decided to lounge at home all day choosing 4pm to scream for a bit and all around refusing to nap enough for him to sneak her into the car seat.

Guess my day out with baby was a small triumph.

And here is a photo of babies first impression of KISS (love the forked tongue and almost making the "corna" hand sign!!!)


This is also a personal milestone, I'm now officially allowed to exercise, have sex and wear tampons - well that's the list I was told not to do for 6 weeks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I understand why it is so difficult to lose weight post pregancy

Babies create massive stress.

Baby related stress triggers a massive craving for chocolate.

Case in Point -
Prior to baby - I worked a high stress job and thrived on it. I get really bored and unmotivated without work stress. Did not led to chocolate or junk food craving.

During pregnancy - continued working high stress job and somehow found rhythm that kept me mentally relaxed but balanced to handle work stress - did not crave chocolate - in fact avoided it out of lack of interest.

Post pregnancy - long spell with baby of repeated eating, diapering, putting to bed for 15 minutes while making mad dash for lunch or loo typically has me scrambling for chocolate! Today, I worked in office for 3 hours in back to back meetings discussing all manner of stress related work issues, downsizing, price problems, job reviews, etc. Not fun stuff! Never once felt need to eat chocolate. I come home to give husband a break while he runs off to teach a class, 3 hours in and I'm scrambling for chocolate and a glass of milk.

I don't understand it but I blame it all on baby.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Most annoying thing friends w/o children have said so far...

"sometimes you just have to let them cry". I just want to tell them to go get a newborn and try staying in the same house when he/she screams at ear splitting levels until reaching that unearthly decibel where I swear they must be severely hurting their throats because sound is strained and they cry harder because it hurts. I'm sure there is an age when this is correct advice but for now, with a newborn, the most I allow is 10 minutes for those emergencies when all bottles are dirty and formula must be made and only after all attempts to console have been soundly rejected by baby.

Sorry friends, until you spend all day for a vast period of days trying to console a newborn you will not understand the uselessness of this advice. Waking time of a newborn basically consist of diapering, feeding and consoling. Comforting baby is typically due to desperate need for bottle, diaper change, uncomfortable gas and digestion issues, burping and/or hiccuping issue causing more spit up. And so you do every thing in your power to work through the issues, rock to sleep and then carefully transfer them to crib without causing any waking thus crying. You hold your breath and conduct the transfer with every ounce of care so as to not awaken the crying beast. In other words, your goal is to reduce crying as much as possible. Not incense babies wrath by abandoning it.

ps. advice welcome from folks w/children as to when it is okay to let them "cry it out".

pps. have a friend with video monitor who noticed child crying to summon parents and then turn to look at the door, stop crying and wait for it to open, repeat performance until parents arrive. Child was approx. 1 year old. Assuming around this period of "awareness" is possibly time to prove who's boss?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Open letter to stay at home moms

To all stay at home moms

I've been at home with Charlotte for 5 weeks and today is my last day. Turning over the reigns to husband tomorrow. It has been the most amazing 5 weeks of my life. Challenging, stressful but also incredibly enjoyable. At the end of every day I'm completely wiped out and love my daughter more every day.

I'm in awe of stay at home mom's. I read your blogs and marvel at your stories. This is truly the hardest and most rewarding job I've every done. I don't know how you do it for such a long period of time and unfortunately I do not have a chance to find out at this point in my life. But I find myself wondering and planning how to make the switch in a few years. By the time I move onto baby #2 I think it will be time to try it out. Until then, you all have my highest respect and admiration.

Outing with baby a success

Buoyed with self-confidence after reading Grit's tale of outings with triplets (http://gritsday.blogspot.com/2008/07/adrenalin-junkies.html), I determined to take Charlotte out for our 2nd mom and daughter outing. The first had ended badly with lots of screaming.

I waited patiently until 4pm for the right combination of post bottle and sleepy baby. I had the car seat waiting for this moment and spare bottle with room temperature water prepared - just needed formula powder added. She's been eating every hour to 2 hours this week so I definitely needed the bottle. We went straight to Barnes and Noble, browsed the book section and found "Slummy Mummy" and "A Rather Lovely Inheritance" along with a few magazines and settled in the cafe.

Baby settled quietly in my arms while I read. I bought "A Rather Lovely Inheritance", changed babies diaper, fed her a bottle and left without any drama. Stopped at Chick-Fil-A on the way home and got waffle fries and Cookies and Cream milkshake through the drive through. Never understood the value of the drive through till now. Still no drama from baby.

Success!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Work is back on - lovely

I finally managed to track down boss at 11:35pm on Thursday night. He had Friday off so it was literally the last chance to figure out what the hell was going on with my proposal to return to work on Monday -- of next week! -- with partial stay at home and going into the office as needed.

Here's the deal - I can work from home for 2 months as long as I come into the office frequently as needed. Then I got the inquisition of - am I going to continue doing my job as before with trips and travel? A question that I'm sure has never been asked of a man who has just had a child. I was told that now I have 2 jobs, as a mom and director and would I be able to do both jobs? It felt like a job interview.

Considering husband and I have decided he will be stay-at-home-dad Monday - Friday (look for his blog to pick up a ton of action soon!!!), working as a dog trainer on Sat & Sun, I will be able to travel M-F. I assured him that my brain hadn't shriveled and died with 5 weeks home with baby and that I could definitely do my job with the same skill and success as before.

Sheesh!!!!!!!!!!! Let this be a lesson to all you young women just getting out of college. 7 years servitude at a company in Florida with less then 50 people, working 60-80 hour work weeks, traveling 3-4 weeks at a time to Asia several times a year, sacrificing personal time on vacations and holidays DO NOT buy you job protection post maternity leave. Employers with less then 50 employees can question your ability to do your job and terminate without cause. Let that be a lesson to all of you. If you want job protection, work for a 50+ person corporation.

If you want paid maternity leave, the following states have the best coverage - New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and California.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Baby is 5 weeks old today!

How long am I going to post about babies weekly birthday's? Probably until I go back to work and get distracted.

Starting next week I'm going back to work. It's Thursday and I'm still in negotiation with boss as to what style I'll be returning to work - work from home for 2 months or return to the office for a few days per week. Sound a bit late for this discussion? I think so! I've been trying for 9 months to finish this conversation with boss and he's just been so busy!!!

I've asked to work from home for 2 months because my job is frankly done entirely on computer through email, Microsoft and adobe software and on the baby front, I'd like to keep breast feeding her and it's easier to do from home with pumping, etc. Yeah there is interaction with other creative members but that can be done with phone calls and visits to the office which is 10 minutes away. I just want 2 more months to be near my baby!!!

Initially boss wanted me back in the office full time but was conflicted with family values of taking me away from baby so soon. Last message was something along the lines of he is leaning towards my proposal but with conditions. Standing by for the conclusion.

On the home front, husband and I have decided that he will be a stay at home dad M-F and work Saturday & Sunday. I've done the budget and this works.

Prior to this I was considering having a friend come up a few days out of the week (that husband was working) to work as a nanny. She called 2 days ago to say she's addicted to pain killers and needs to go to rehab. So that option is gone.

It's been a stressful week trying to figure all this out but today I'm very cheerful. I'm confident that having husband home M-F is the best option for our baby girl. Maybe I can come home for lunches and they can meet me for lunch. I just want babies first year to be comfortable and happy with mom and dad and this is the best compromise we can think of.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Want to watch movies and read books all day long???

Have a newborn.

Invite grandparents to stay for a week.

Grandparents will hold baby all day long!

Baby is one month old so for exactly 1/4 of her life she has been held all day long.

Grandparents leave.

Thus you must stay on the couch all day long holding baby, watching movies, reading books. Breaks from baby will cause enormous drama, note below post.

Oh baby...

I don't mind your new routine of eating small meals more frequently (60ml every 1.5 hours) when I thought you were on a more reasonable schedule of 100ml every 3 hours. I don't mind getting up in the middle of the night repeatedly to take care of you. I cheer on the poopy diapers because it's proof your digestive system is working.

But I'm having a tough time with the shrill, continuous screams you make when everything has been checked off your to do list.

It made me feel terrible but today I put you in bed and let you scream for 20 minutes. It let me eat a snack, get lunch started and prepare your bottle + holding out until it was a full 2 hours since your last meal therefore increasing chances that you would eat more thus relaxing enough to sleep.

It worked - you were happy to see me, I changed your diaper, fed you 80ml and you went to sleep. Thank you baby.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Grandparents have departed...

They say babies change a woman's viewpoint on life. Some of the changes I've documented so far deal with the grandparents. My mom and husbands parents visit once a year. My pre-baby reaction is happy to have them visit but I normally stress majorly over keeping the house clean, taking them out to see the sites, cooking frequently, etc. This past visit - they took care of me. I'm so blessed to have such wonderful grandparents and for the first time, I experienced real regret and sadness at their departure. I cried when I left my mom at the airport. I miss husbands parents. Pre-baby I'd bounce back into all the things I normally do, post baby I really miss the support.

On the other hand, I'm dreading the upcoming week as baby adjusts to not having grandparents to hold her non-stop. They have been gone for only half a day and it's been challenging. I assume this is what grandparents mean when they say "we are coming to spoil our grandchild".

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Baby is one month old today!

Yeah I've managed to get my child to one month old today! We took her to Chick-Fil-A to celebrate. Someday, it will be her choice to go there - they have a great little kids gym.



Happy one month birthday Charlotte - sorry the pic shows you looking kinda groggy! Shortly after this photo was taken you got tired of being in the carrier and demanded release. Your dad held you and gave you a pacifier dipped in Dr. Pepper. If you happen to like this someday, you know who to thank.