With and Without Series: Getting Ready for Work

Ever since having my daughter it seems my to-do list is always adding five things each day and maybe getting one task ticked off the list.

It’s not that I’m not motivated, but having a crazy one-year-old around can steal my attention and make simple tasks, like dishes, seem impossible.

And that’s when my husband is home to help.

Last night he went out of town and left me and the nugget to ourselves for a ladies’ night, and a ladies’ morning.

I have to admit, we haven’t done a very good job of getting Charlie on a schedule so some days she wakes up early, some days she sleeps till 10. Those days she sleeps late is usually when she’s home with my husband and I’m at work. So of course, on a day where I have to get ready for work and home by myself.. she decides to get up early.

Thus the inspiration for the latest installment of the With and Without Series..

With and Without : Getting Ready for Work

6 a.m.

Without Kids: Roll over to the alarm and hit the snooze. The sun isn’t out yet, just five more minutes in this small form of heaven, a.k.a my bed.

With Kids: Shit, shit turn off that dang alarm. It’s so loud and if it wakes up this sleeping baby in my bed I am going to be so mad! Phew, she’s still sleeping. Maybe I can catch some more shut eye quick since she was up three times last night.

6:30 a.m.

Without Kids: Time to get up! Stumble into the bathroom and get in the shower. Put my favorite radio station on and, oh yum, the coffee I got ready last night is brewing!

With Kids: Oh shit, I overslept again! Somehow I need to maneuver my arm out from under this sweaty, sleepy toddler without waking her up. Two tugs and I’m still not free, let’s try some ninja moves mixed with a downward dog, finally I’m loose! I tiptoe to the closet to pick out my outfit of the day, and squeeeaaaakkkkk. That damn closet door knob is going to be the death of me! Small cries start from under the covers.. I quickly jump into the closet thinking if she doesn’t see me maybe she will fall back asleep! Standing there the cries slow and it seems she’s fallen back to sleep. Taking way to long to pick out an outfit I scurry to the bathroom.. but first another squeeeeaaakkkkkk goes the bedroom door knob. Oh you’ve got to be kidding me. My husband better come home with some WD-40. I turn on the shower, only to hear cries instead of feeling warm water on my body. Little nugget is sitting up in my bed, crying, until I poke my head around the corner where she shows off her newest move, waving hello. Well good morning to you, too.

7 a.m.

Without Kids: Lotion up after that warm shower, go grab the steaming cup of Joe and get dressed. My favorite morning radio show is on and helping get me in the mood for the day. I’m running behind, as always, but I’ll just forgo some eye shadow to make up for the lost time.

With Kids: After nursing the baby, changing her diaper and getting her dressed for the day, there’s no way I’m getting in the shower today. Thank  God for dry shampoo and perfume. Grab some bath toys and set down the baby next to them to play while I quickly get dressed and pull out some make up. Before the eyeshadow even gets on, a whimpering baby walks over and is tugging on my legs to get picked up. Oh boy. Run and get some cheerios in a bowl in hopes the food will distract her long enough to throw on some mascara and concealer.

7: 30 a.m

Without Kids: Makeup finished, hair almost dried. Coffee cup is empty, just enough time to check my Facebook and grab a bite for breakfast! It is, after all, the most important meal of the day! Time to refill my coffee cup and take the dog out.

With Kids: After finally smearing on concealer under my eyes. I grab the still crying baby, who is obviously still tired, and set her on the counter. Alas, the tears stop! Perfect, now time to do something with this nest of hair on my head.. dry shampoo and a pony tail. Perfect. Almost ready to go, the dog gets up off the bed in the corner.. shit I forgot about taking the dog out! While throwing together anything that’s in the fridge for a makeshift lunch, I catch a glimpse of the empty coffee pot.. damn I wish I remembered to set it last night instead of falling asleep on the couch!

8 a.m.

Without Kids: Lunch packed, travel cup full of coffee, time to head out the door! Bye pup!

With Kids: With a lunch pail in one hand, purse over the shoulder, diapers under the other arm, and baby on the hip we rush out the door to get to daycare. Counting down the seconds until I have to be at work, I strap the baby in her car seat. Jumping in the driver’s seat I turn up my favorite morning radio show. Headed down the road I look in the rearview mirror and catch the most beautiful sight – Charlie dancing along to the music and smiling. Finally a smile! We sing and dance all the way to daycare.

In an instant a crazy, stress-filled morning was made amazing with just one glance at the most important person in the world.

Though I may have a disheveled look, mismatched clothes or a last-minute ponytail, I wouldn’t change this crazy morning for anything! Except for maybe a cup of coffee!

Cheers.

Easy, Fun Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

I’m all about good food. And easy food. Especially since I’m new to this whole eat-something-nutritious-for-dinner-not-a-bowl-of-cereal thing. And I thought I wasn’t turning into my mother.

I have had plenty of failed recipes that I have tried to do for my family and blog. You don’t even want to know about the turkey and zucchini meatballs that pretty much destroyed my oven and my daughter’s appetite.

But this recipe not only hits the spot when it comes to satisfying taste buds, it’s easy on a busy mom and makes the house smell fantastic! And with a giant, 120 lb dog that is sometimes a hard thing to do at my house!

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On the particular day I made these, I quick mixed everything together, threw it in the fridge, took a walk with one of my besties and came home rolled-it up, threw it in the oven and it was ready just in time for some Grey’s Anatomy and wine time with her!

My daughter is also eating anything we eat and she loves this!

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Molly also galloped through my house whenever a piece was dropped on the floor. I used the few rolls that were left over for lunch for the rest of the week. SCORE!

This dinner is a winner all around.

I’m not a big meat in my lasagna person but it would be very easy to add in some ground venison, beef or turkey.

This goes excelled paired with wine. Red or white. Just as long as it’s wine really.

Cheers!

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Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Allergy Egg, Milk
Dietary Vegetarian
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Serve Hot
Website Skinny Taste
A modern and easy take on a classic lasagna recipe. Perfect for beginners and hungry people.

Ingredients

  • 6 Lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups Spinach
  • 15oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (grated)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 cups Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Mozzarella Cheese (shredded)
  • 1 clove Garlic

Note

Tip: Lay cooked noodles out on foil or wax paper before adding cheese. This will keep them from sticking to your counter.

Directions

Preheat
Step 1
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Sautee spinach and garlic over medium heat until spinach is wilted.
Boil
Step 2
Boil water and cook lasagna noodles.
Mix
Step 3
Combine spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish with one cup of the sauce.
Spread
Step 4
Lay out cooked noodles, pat dry. Spread spoonfuls of the cheese mixture onto noodle until it's evenly covered.
Roll
Step 5
Roll noodle up and place seam side down in baking dish. Repeat until all noodles are in dish.
Cover and cheese
Step 6
Cover noodles in remaining sauce. Top each noodle with mozzarella cheese.
Cook
Step 7
Cover dish with foil. Cook for 40 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Step 8
Enjoy!

One Year Down

Holy crap. My daughter is one!

I am amazed everyday to watch her grow, learn and master new skills everyday. Tonight she managed to get herself into her now-too-small-bumbo seat and was stuck, trying to get out. Utilize those problem-solving skills girl.

I sit back and remember everything about when she was born: her smell, her touch, her ten fingers and ten toes, and her teenie tiny ears – just like her father’s.

I also remember the pain, determination and how I literally became my own version of the Hulk during her natural birth. (Just ask my husband about my angry voice.)

I think about the anxiety and being scared my first few hours and days with Charlotte, thinking can I do this? Am I a good mom? Did I get all of the poop? Am I making enough milk for her? What do we do now? And who the hell woke her up?!

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I remember everything about her growing this past year, I remember like it was all just yesterday.

What can’t I remember? Life before her. My life began on April 9, 2015.

I wouldn’t change anything for the world. But there are somethings I am glad are over. And looking back, some things that may have not been the best ideas.

Month by Month pictures

Like, month-by-month pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I did them and they were a nice decoration at her party. But dear lord, they were difficult to take. Most of the time the pictures were taken on the legit last day of whatever month she was turning.

Birthday decorations

At a very young age, Charlie became obsessed with Minions. Mostly because she learns a lot from her father and he is pretty fond of the little yellow dudes. He always talked to her in their silly voices and saying ‘banannaaaaaa’ over and over again. It always made her laugh, smile or stop crying. Now, she is one year old and says a few words, dada of course (can’t live it down that she says dada and not momma), but you better believe this little girl speaks fluent minion!

I think I am a pretty lenient parent, but I have a patience level of -50, which Charlie as taught me more patience.. so maybe it has grown to maybe 5? But I am very happy we never were successful teaching her ‘ut oh’ or giving in to her dropping things and always picking them up.

But I did teach her something that I wouldn’t recommend. Bang bang.

Couldn’t be too dangerous, right?

At maybe five or six months I taught Charlie how to hit her hands on things to make noise, like drumming on a table or toy. Innocent? Until she got in the hands of her older brothers ;).

While sitting on her oldest brother’s shoulders, her younger-older brother (still following?) yelled ‘Bang! Bang, Charlie! Bang, bang!’ So like any good listener does, she hits the closest thing to her with her hands – her oldest brother’s head! Now, she is used as a very cute weapon.

I packed up her old clothes the day before her first birthday. Mostly because her father dresses her in whatever is in the drawers. Today I picked her up from daycare in a too small Halloween onesie, “So cute it’s scary.” Scary indeed. But I digress, looking at all of her tiny stockings, pants, shirts brought back memories of the last 52 weeks. I was flooded with emotions and a slideshow in my head of her newborn pictures to her at our wedding, to Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I couldn’t wait for her to roll over, then she did. I couldn’t wait for her to crawl, then she did. I couldn’t wait for her to talk, and then she did. I couldn’t wait for her to walk, then she did.

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My heart sank as I thought of all of her firsts that have come and gone, and just like that my baby is no longer a baby – she’s officially a toddler.

And then it hit me, now there’s going to be even more firsts, and the seconds and thirds will be better than the first time around. We will keep the pictures of the past year, but now is the exciting time – the present.

I’ve learned not to wish her life away and but to treasure every moment, even the not-so-fun days and temper tantrums.

Instead of waiting to hit milestones, I can’t wait for her to be successful, and she will be. I can’t wait for her to show her motivation and drive, and she will. I can’t wait for her to fall in love, with only her father and brothers of course, and she already has. I can’t wait for her to laugh at her grandfather’s jokes, which she will. I can’t wait to watch her amazing life, right before my eyes.

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Which will continue right after she wakes up from her second nap.

Here’s to one year down – and 99 years to go.

Cheers.

Guilty Mommy


So it happened, the thing all parents fear.. she fell.

My daughter fell. From a pretty high height. She fell off of her diaper changing table.

On my watch.

She cried. I cried (harder than her). She bruised and healed, and I still felt the guilt of her falling and hurting herself.

I am her mom. Her mother. I gave her life. And I watched her fall and get hurt.

Now, this was a few weeks ago but I am still reminded of what happened daily when I change her clothes or change her diaper. So, to combat this reminder, and to reduce the potential fall factor, I started changing her on the floor. Can’t fall from there.

My 11-month-old wiggle worm cannot stay still. Not even to get a diaper change. So even though the floor is now a huge changing mat, it is still a struggle to get her changed or dressed.

Today I was tired, today I was achy and not in the mood to wrestle a diaper onto a crying baby who just wanted to move.

So I took off the dirty diaper, wiped the baby bubble butt and let her go. Onesie undone and one sock on, she crawled around her room, onto her toys and finally focused on playing with her rocking chair.

She’s laughing as I’m watching this miracle of life play and have fun in front of me. I am in awe of how much she has grown and her personality. And even though I’m tired, I wouldn’t change anything for the world. So I grabbed her to blow raspberries on her belly and join in on the fun.

When I snagged her I noticed her thighs were a little wet. “You better not have peed,” I told her. Nah, she couldn’t have peed, I’ve been watching her – must be from the wipes.

Mind you, when I put her down her cheetah-print hooded head was rolling all over the floor near her rocking chair.

I put her diaper on, while snapping her onesie it feels damp. “You seriously better not have peed.”

Concerned, I look for a wet spot on the carpeted floor, no spot. I inch closer to the chair and sniff and rub the carpet.. feels a little wet. Smells a little like pee.

Oh man.

I look at my little girl and give her a defeated look and pull her in for a hug. I wrap my hands around her and brush against her hood. Her sweatshirt up to her hood is completely soaked.

Oh boy.

I quickly undress her and stand up to put her on the changing table away from the urine soaked carpet and I notice the wet stains on the knees of my brand new leggings.

Oh brother.

I stealthy change her all without one peep or wiggle from my maniac mover. I look down at my newly clothed baby who is smiling up at me and her eyes are sparkling with joy. That’s when I realize she’s up on the changing table and I was ok, and more importantly, so was she!

It still amazes me that I am responsible for this little life. She is mine and I am hers. There comes a point as parents when we have to let go of the guilt we carry and be in the present with our babies.
For me, that was the whole pee-on-the-floor thing.

You’re not alone moms and dads, babies cry, parents cry. Then life goes on, faster than most of us ever imagined. So be in the present, learn from the past and look forward to the many more adventures in the future.

Cheers.

Working Overtime

I spent my Monday off running errands with my daughter, and overdosing my usage of the kitchen, which means there will be plenty of recipes coming your way this week (teaser – spinach and apple muffins, crock pot burrito bowls and of course lots of chocolate).

Having days like today make me appreciate my time that I do get to spend at home with my family.

While nursing my daughter to sleep for her first nap of the day, I reminisced about close to a year ago when baby C was first born and I was struggling with going back to work.

I found myself having anxiety about leaving C, stressing over pumping milk, keeping up my supply, not being able to soothe her cries and missing out on her life. Missing her smiles, coos, what if she did something she’s never done before and I don’t get to see it?

Forty hours a week away from my baby, it seemed like the impossible.

My husband was very sick through the last few weeks of my pregnancy all the way through the first six weeks of our baby’s life. He was actually admitted to the hospital twice, the first time just days after she was born, and the second time was the night before I was supposed to go back to work. My first thought was, “Yes, I don’t have to go back to work yet!” immediately followed by, “Holy sh*t woman, your husband is in the hospital, snap out of it!”

That was my wake up call. That was my ‘earth to mommy, time to put your big-girl work pants back on.’

I took the extra few days to make sure everything was set for C’s first days of daycare and organized the house in-between visiting the hospital and caring for my six-week old daughter.

The night before my first day at work was terrible. The babe didn’t sleep, couldn’t sleep, it was almost if she knew I was going to be away from her.

After no more than a few hours of sleep it was time to get up. Getting ready for work the next week seemed strange, like I was watching myself get dressed and put make up on. I got up earlier than I needed to and I spent those last fleeting minutes nursing this tiny little nugget.

As I drove to work, which is only a mile away, I held back tears and the feeling of guilt for going back to work and leaving her in the care of someone else instead of taking care of her myself. My body was at work, but my heart and head were at home with my Michelin-man thighed daughter with an even bigger smile.

I thought my first few days at work would drag and I would count down the minutes until I could go home, but between getting back on task, pumping and talking about C, my days went by faster than I could ever imagine. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and now being a working mom is second nature.

  • Relax. Easy for me to tell you, right? But you have to soothe your anxiety and breathe. Not only is your stress doing damage to you, baby and hubby will feed off your vibes too.
  • Take pictures. Bring in frames, keep out your phone, DIY the crap out of your office with that baby’s face. Keeping pictures near will help you remember why you are going back to work in the first place.
  • Know why you are going back to work. It doesn’t make a difference if you can’t afford to stay home or enjoy your job, either way they both end with it being the best thing for your family and you. That’s the priority.
  • Have a plan if pumping. Make a plan when and where you are going to pump/store your milk before your first day. And talk to your boss/immediate co-workers about your schedule so they know when you will be unavailable.
  • Create a relationship with daycare provider. Keeping close touch with whoever will be taking care of your child is irreplaceable during those first few weeks. Be honest with them if you want pictures and updates throughout the day, or if you don’t. Creating a comfortable relationship with them will help just not for everyday communication, but you when you’re on the verge of a breakdown and have to see their face either in FaceTime or picture. And don’t worry, you won’t be the first, or the last.
  • Enjoy the time you’re at home. And if you can, keep work at work so you are 100% present at home.

Lastly, and most importantly..

  • Drop the guilt. You know, that sinking feeling like you’re doing something wrong by going back to work, kick it to the curb. I’ll be the first to tell you, you are not doing anything wrong by going back to work. Do not feel guilty!

You’re an employee, you’re a boss, you’re a coworker.. You’re a mom. That means you’re also a master chef, cleaning lady, sex-pot wife, Thursday night tv watcher, toenail painter, DIY-er, laundry folder extrodinare, do I need to go on?

I’m not going to lie, it’s hard, exhausting, stressful and so much more, but it’s worth it. The first few days will be hard, but life has this crazy way of moving fast and not stopping for anyone, including you momma.

You can do this, you can do everything – you created a life, how hard can work be?

You are woman, let’s hear you roar.

Oh, and don’t forget the coffee. Lots of coffee.

Cheers to you, you 40 hour+ lioness. Rawr.

I won’t be that kind of mom

That’s what I would say for the whole, full nine months I was pregnant, “I won’t be that kind of mom.”

I won’t freak out over little things and I will stay close with every single one of my friends. I won’t stare at baby monitors and triple wash baby bottles to make sure every speck of ‘maybe it’s dirt or maybe it’s a water mark’ is gone.

I will be a cool mom, duh. I’ll be chill, relaxed, dress impeccably everyday and still had time for dates, girls weekends, coffee and cocktails.

Duh, it won’t be that hard.

The ‘duh’ is on me.

After ten short months of full-blown motherhood, I will admit, I was completely wrong. So, I made a list, because that’s what I do, of all the things I was so, so completely, immeasurably, wrong about:

  • Boogers gross me out. Snot, boogie, farmer’s blows, whatever you want to call the nasty stuff that lives up in those nostrils, I hate them. They give me the heebie geemies and make me squirm. Well, all except my daughters, I willingly dive in there knuckles deep and dig for gold, I’ll use my own shirt to wipe her draining nose. But your boogers, keep them away from me.
  • Ew, what is that smell/stain/coming out of your baby. Pretty much any adult bodily function shouldn’t be shared, in my humble opinion. But spit up, diarrhea, yellow, seedy breast fed baby poop, farts and so much more – bring them on. My baby once had a blow out up to the back of her neck in Sam’s Club, all up the back of her shirt (unbeknownst to me), I didn’t find it until I put her in her carseat… that’s a fun story.
  • I hate going to grocery stores alone. Not anymore. I find solace in the aisles of Wal Mart, peace between the produce at Tops. Thank the lord for quick trips, long hauls and everything in between, as long as I am alone. I’ll bring my baby another time, now I will meditate next to the meats please.
  • I won’t be overprotective. Yeah freaking right. You bet your bottom dollar I have the need to know exactly what my daughter is doing at every minute of the day (emphasis on need, I work 40 hours a week). When she was first born I was very close to collecting social security information and a background check if you wanted to hold her. I’ve since gotten better, now I only require a copy of a driver’s license.
  • I won’t rely on caffeine, I’ll sleep when the baby sleeps. HA!! Let me say that again, HA!! That one actually makes me laugh out loud, I can’t believe I actually believed that. While my first few weeks at home with my daughter was a little different than most (I’ll get to that in a later post), I did not sleep, coffee was my savior, my God and top of my favorites list.
  • I will not be able to function without at least eight hours of sleep. I love sleep, it is one of my favorite things to do. That was a hard habit to quit, and my body paid for it. This reverts back to my previous point of still being so completely and totally in love with coffee.
  • I won’t compare myself to other moms. Oh but I do. And it’s a hard hurdle to jump over – accepting that we all are amazing mothers to our kids and are giving the best love to our children, nobody else can come close. Even if you made a new train set with fresh, organic wood from trees you grew in your backyard all while the baby was sleeping.
  • I will not lose touch with friends. It’s not that you want to lose friends, nobody picks that as a goal to have, but it happens. Just like any other time in your life, people change, you as a mother change, and your friends that don’t have kids won’t really understand what’s going on in your life no matter how much they try, or don’t try. I have a core group of friends that I couldn’t get rid of if I tried, but I am lucky, and sometimes it is still hard to find someone to talk to. (So if you’re a momma or not a momma, I’ll be your friend!)

Those are all things I swore up and down wouldn’t change when I had my baby. But they did, and it is for the better. Even though I may be a tinsey bit strict and a little nutzo, I’ll ease up eventually. Like maybe when she’s 33. I’ll be 58, I could be chill at 58.

Mostly, the list contains everything that I wouldn’t do. But now, I’m not the center of my universe, she is. So I have no problem wiping boogers, butts or always having an eye on her. I will happily stay home and cuddle than go out. Everything I do is to care, love, and protect her.

Maybe I was too immature to see that from the start, but from the moment I held her in my arms, my fears and silly things I wouldn’t do disappeared, and my life changed, for the better.

So here’s to boogers, dirty diapers, and relaxing next to the frozen vegetables. Cheers.