It’s OK to Complain

I get annoyed by people who complain. 

Why complain if you can do something about it? 

I always felt this way.

I recently looked in the mirror and looked deep into my hazel eyes, I’ve had a lot of alone time lately, and realized I am a complainer. 

And complaining can actually be healthy and will get you a free hotel upgrade. 

My family moved to central PA about six weeks ago, four of those weeks I’ve been in Pittsburgh training for my new job. In Pitt I’ve been pampered with all expenses paid and classy five-star hotel rooms. I feel like the modern day Eloise at The Plaza, except I’m in my mid-to-late twenties raising havoc in Pittsburgh. 

After the initial shock of grand entrances, city views and ten crystal chandeliers in the lobby wore off, I started to notice my actual hotel room.. which was filled with white towels dirty with someone else’s makeup, someone else’s hair in the shower and someone else’s makeup all over the bathroom counter.

Gross.  

My normal self would have been disgusted but cleaned it up and go on with my life. But through my recent learning experiences, I decided to say something. 
So I complained. And I felt bad doing it. Then the room wasn’t cleaned,  so I complained again, and no lie, I had to complain four different times before someone at this hotel actually assisted me and put me in a new room. Which just happened to be an upgrade. ?

The moral of this story isn’t to complain to get things for free, but to make your complaints matter. 
I learned if something is an actual issue it is best to let someone know ASAP so they can actually fix it for you. 

Complaining about his dirty hotel room left me feeling empowered and strong, not annoying and greedy, which is how I initially viewed compulsive complainers. 

Once I got into this mindset, I started complaining about everything. Most pominate complaint, being away from my family for so long. 

I feel so helpless and lonely in Pittsburgh. I miss my husband, I miss my family and helping with homework. I even complain about not being home to clean the house. C’mon that’s a terrible complaint. 

After complaining to someone about being away from home for the gazillionth time, I stoped myself mid-sentence. How ungrateful am I? I was given a great opportunity and handed amazing resources to succeed with a company that actually values their employees, which shows through their rigorous training schedule. 

I get to play Eloise, eat a hot meal, stare at a beautiful city’s skyline and take a hot shower without interruption, all while learning out to excel at my new career. 

There’s a place and time for complaints, big and small. 

So the next time you want to complain, take a step back. Could you shift your perspective to be grateful? Can you do something to fix what you’re complaining about? 

Social media is filled with constant complaints – everything from politics to food at a restaurant to jobs, how many of your own complaints could you alter with actions instead of a status or tweet? 

Make an impact, not just another post to scroll by. 

But if you have a dirty hotel room, go ahead and complain. That’s just gross. 

Cheers from a classy hotel in the 412 ?

SOLD!

Well folks, we’ve got some big news coming out of the Amspacker household!

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

Not just any house, but a beautiful, big, mid-century home with a white picket fence and a big oak tree out front.

It’s pretty much our dream home.

Catch? Does there always have to be a catch? Well, yes.

This wonderful, beautiful home is located in central Pennsylvania.

Like three-and-a-half hours away from good ol’ Sayre, PA central Pennsylvania.

Now, let me start off by saying, it was never a goal or dream in my lifetime to move to another middle-of-no-where small town, or even a town with close ties to Penn State, because well, I went to Temple University and my blood runs cherry and white, not white and blue. T for Temple U.

But there are two things in this three-and-half-hour, middle-of-no-where small town with close ties to Penn State University that make this move worth it.

Their names are Gabriel and Owen, my amazing stepsons.


Now, instead of being far away from them, we will now just be a short drive away.

A short drive away from their mom’s house, a short drive away from their school, a short drive away from baseball, basketball and any other sports, or anything, they decide to do.

We can now be the crazy, overbearing, cheering-too-loud parents we’ve always wanted to be and not just there for activities on every other weekend.

After going through a brutal custody battle in the beginning of the summer, and losing. Aaron and I were left with some choices, but really only one option. If we wanted to have the best environment and family for the boys, we needed to relocate to Mifflin County.

And so the house hunt began.

Well sort of, upon seeing a few houses online, we got together with a wonderful realtor (thanks again Kim!!) and we ended up putting an offer in on the first house we saw!

After a grueling mortgage process (seriously, I’m in banking and I don’t understand why it is always so tough), we finally closed on this beauty last week!!


It’s real now.

It was hard to wrap my mind around this all happening when everything was a hypothetical. Now, it’s real. We own a home. We are painting, we are moving, we are unpacking. It is ours.

Ours.

While I may be moving from my home town, and Aaron moving away from his home for the past eight years, we are making our own home in Lewistown.

Because home is where the heart is, and our hearts are with our boys. There’s no running from us now!


So I may be a little MIA for the next few weeks while I try to wrap up the last few days at work, packing and unpacking and starting a job in t-14 days.

But don’t worry, this process has already inspired many blog posts, and ways to further embarrass my stepsons when I pick them up from the bus stop.

Cheers family. ? ? ?

The Potty Trials

So Charlie pooped on the potty! Exciting, right? Yes and no.

I never thought my daughter would be ready to start potty training before I was ready for her to. I mean, seriously, who wants to change diapers?

Now, I keep having flashbacks of the bright green, raisins and stained carpet.

But I’m getting ahead of myself… let’s take it back to where it all began.

My daughter makes distinct noises and crouches down like she is a tiger stalking her pray in a field of tall grasses when she goes number two.

I became acutely aware of this after she added some company to one of our baths one night.

While cleaning up, I noticed some crouching tiger hidden dragon going on in the corner of my living room.

Upon this discovery, Charlie and I made our way to the bathroom to sit on her stinky skunk potty.

It was then I realized the hard part is keeping her on the potty long enough to do the deed.

So, I did what any parent would do. I bribed her. I let her play with something she knew she was never supposed to touch, my nail polish bottles.


After picking up and dropping all of the nail polishes, the thunder came down into my bathroom.

It was really the sound the got my attention. It was like a rescue airplane dropping gallons of water on a burning fire in California. The sound also scared my daughter so much she jumped up off the pot before she was actually done going and got it all over the bottoms of her pajamas and shoes.

The color, the smell, oh goodness she ate raisins today.

Between figuring out how to clean this catastrophe in the corner of my bathroom and pure shock that Charlie actually used the potty, I missed the tiger crouching down behind me on my bath mat. After cleaning out the potty and yelling congratulations to this little child, I turned just in time to catch her finish her poo all over my bathroom rug.

It was then we decided to take the second bath of the day.


And when I realized I needed more wine, a lot more wine to even consider the potty training process for at least another month.

So, whenever you think you have a bad case of the Mondays, just think, you could be cleaning multi-colored poop off the floor while chasing a pant-less toddler. Or you could borrow mine for a few hours.
Cheers. ?

How do we explain all of this hate to our children?

I don’t have much time to write since I am on my lunch break, #workingmomlife. But, in light of the recent violence and murders that occurred within the last 24 hours I felt like something needed to be said.

I had to stop reading, listening, and watching the news this morning – and as a former news journalist that’s a huge deal – because of all of the terrible things going on in the world – this time right in our own country.

I am disgusted, sad and shocked with the actions that have happened in Dallas.

According to CNN, the killing of five police officers and injuring seven others is the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001.

Let’s just let that sink in for a moment, the deadliest law enforcement incident since a massive terrorist attack that changed our nation. And this attack was by a 25-year-old Texas man.

It is terrifying and hard to explain terrorism and war to our children, but now we have to explain the racism and hate that is flowing through our country and taking lives? Lives of those who have sworn to serve and protect us. How do you make sense of that to children and teenagers?

I am not a political person, nor do I always follow up with national news/debates (hence the ‘former’ part of news journalist), but I’d like to think that I do know right from wrong. 

It is wrong to kill people. It is wrong to hate. It is wrong for our country to be divided.

Racism is wrong.

There are good cops, there are bad cops. Just like there are good African Americans and bad, good Caucasians and bad, good Asians and bad – do I need to go on?

It scares me to think of the world my children will grow up in if this is the course our nation is taking. It is scary enough with the enemies we have outside of our boarders – never knowing when another terrorist attack might strike – and now we arguably just as much conflict right here in the U.S.A.

We need to stop flooding our newsfeeds, twitter feeds, youtube channels, etc. with hatred and pointing fingers, and start filling them with love, compassion, understanding.

Let’s treat people equally, no matter their skin color, job description, sexual orientation, etc.

C’mon people.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hatred cannot drive out hate, only love can do that,” – MLK Jr.

Cheers.

Frustratingly Frustrated

Emotions have been ringing high in my house the last few weeks. There is an underlaying tenseness in the air. And I am too stubborn to let it fade away.

Let me start over by saying MY emotions have been ringing high for the last few weeks. There’s no doubt. I’ve been cranky, grumpy, tired (i.e. welcome to motherhood), but I, especially, have been on an emotional roller coaster that has apparently gone 90 m.p.h. downhill, crashing into my house.

My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago, my daughter is cutting molars, she and I are weaning from breastfeeding, and we are just days away from a custody hearing for my stepsons. Easy peasy.

My husband and I seem to be nipping at each other’s heels for the sake of, well nothing. Oh that lovely nine-month-plateau, that’s real, right?

And as I have learned through this nipping, I can really only 100% touch base with myself. So, here I am. I’ve realized I’m too stubborn. Too stubborn to give in. Too stubborn to let my guard down. And I’ve gotten to the point where I am too stubborn to fight.

I get extremely frustrated with dealing with all of the emotions in my house. I’ve baked three loaves of banana bread in five days, I ate them all. By myself.

I’ve tried exercising. I’ve tried cleaning. I’ve tried blaming the dog, but she just gives me her big, saggy, sad eyes and my heart melts all over and I’m back to being frustrated.

Until I realized, I haven’t written a post in a while because my emotions were numb. I have plenty of post ideas, rough drafts, brainstorms, ven diagrams, you name it, but I didn’t have the emotion – or understanding of my emotions – behind the words.

I finally found my muse – frustration.

Typing, the finger strokes on a key board, the sound of keys making thoughts come alive – it keeps me steady, its consistent. 

I hope you didn’t come to this post in hopes of finding ways to deal with your emotions or frustrations, because frankly I have no clue. 

Like I said earlier, I can only really check in with my emotions so here it goes.

I am frustrated because I feel like my voice is not heard. I am frustrated because I think I have plateaued. I am frustrated I can’t help with my daughter’s pain. I am frustrated because I can’t help with my husband’s pain. I am frustrated with how people treat other people and think it’s ok. I am frustrated that my dog has suddenly stopped listening. I am frustrated that good people are taken from this earth. I am frustrated with politics. I am frustrated because so many people put their own feelings and bitterness before their children’s well-being.

And though I may feel lonely at times, I know I am not alone with these feelings.

But it’s how we handle these feelings that make us who we are. And set us a part from the rest of the herd.

Don’t dwell on things you cannot change, on rude attitudes, or poisonous people. I am a firm believer in karma, and whenever she comes around it won’t be pretty.

What’s the point in always being angry? Nit-picking? Fighting? Bitterness? Holding grudges?

That doesn’t sound like a fun, light, healthy life to me. Sounds heavy and quite frankly, agonizing.

Now I’m not saying lets sweep everything under the rug until it all piles up and explodes all over the crazy emotional rollercoaster that crashed in my living room. (Psh, I’ve never done that before).

So let’s all take a breath – in through the nose, out through the mouth – sit back and really check in with what fights are worth fighting. And are you arguing for the sake of conversation?

Still frustrated? Talk to the main man upstairs. He always points me in the right direction.

After all these late night ramblings, I’ll cheers you with my three cups of coffee in the morning.

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!

DSC_0362

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!

DSC_0365

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!

DSC_0370

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!

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.

With and Without Series: Friday Night

TGIF! Freaking TGIF! I don’t know about all of you but THANK-FREAKING-GOODNESS it’s FRIDAY!

Last week was not just rough for me at work, it was rough for: my husband who has been pretty much working 24/7 on expanding his business (he even has a nice ol’ shiner to prove it), my big puppy who has been having nightmares and Charlie, who has a sinus infection, leaving her congested and coughing.

So let me say it again, THANK GOODNESS it’s the weekend!

I have so many things I will be able to do this weekend… like fold one of the three baskets of clothing that are meticulously placed throughout my house so I will not be guilted into doing them. I’ll go to the store and make something since we’ve been living off leftovers and pizza this week. I am finally going to freaking clip Charlie’s nails, she’s starting to look like the Wolverine. And I’ll start planning her first birthday party since it’s only a few weeks away.

I’m going to do all of that on Friday night so I can spend the rest of the weekend relaxing with my family and enjoying the sunshine!

Obviously I had an ambitious itinerary for the start of the weekend. So, let me tell you what really happened..

This is the introductory blog post into a new series I like to call ‘With and Without’ where I will explain the differences in everyday tasks when you do not have children vs. when you do.

WITH AND WITHOUT : FRIDAY NIGHT 

  5:00

Without kids: Yes! Out of work, time to dance, time to relax. Hmm.. what to do? Let’s snag a co-worker and go grab a drink! That will be fun! Get out and socialize a bit, relieve some of the stress from the week. Who is ready for happy hour?!?!

With kids: Yes! Out of work, time to dance, time to relax. Hmm.. what to do? I hope my husband picked up the baby from daycare, it closes at 5. Call him, no answer. Fingers crossed and head home. Good, he’s home with the baby, but baby is crying, baby is hungry. Let me put my bags on the counter quick and feed her. Phew, now I can sit down for a few minutes. Pull out phone to catch up on all the social media from the day, take a deep breath, yes, it is finally the weekend. Transcending into relaxation, you look into your darling daughter’s eyes while she’s nursing and it hits you that this has been what you’ve been looking forward to all week. Then, OUCH, she bites you! OUCH, OUCH, OUCH, not only is she nipping at your nips, she has a bear trap locked on you and is pulling, biting and tearing with her two baby teeth. So much for relaxation.

6:00

Without kids: Just finished a happy hour specialty cocktail. Let me call my girlfriend, she just go off work maybe she’ll meet me for dinner! I don’t have much planned for tonight, time to hangout and have some fun, ITS FRIDAY!!

With kids: Finally got the Sabertooth Tiger of the nip, now she’s walking around the table laughing at me. Grab her fun Violet dog, that will entertain her for a few minutes, maybe I’ll grab a basket of laundry quick. Oh, and I have shows recorded! Yes, I’ll fold quick and catch up on a show while she plays, perfect!! Get set on the couch with all my weapons: laundry basket, remote, some puffs just incase Char wants a snack. Perfect. Come on Grey’s Anatomy! Two t-shirts in and watching April and Jackson’s relationship start to deteriorate, and the tv shuts off.. WTF? Oh you better believe little Char angel loves the blue lights on the cable box – which she is now pounding on changing all of the settings, while laughing with her two-toothed smile.

7:00 

Without kids: Dinner time! I’m starved! There aren’t any tables available at the restaurant so we’ll just sit at the bar for dinner, it’s more fun there anyway! It’s so nice to catch up with friends and unwind from the week. Oh look, girlfriend A, B, C and D are here too! It’s fate we came here, we can all eat dinner together!

With kids: Laundry basket is still half full, folded clothes that were in piles on the coffee table are being strategically thrown about the living room by an enthusiastic 10-month-old. My stomach starts growling, my husband is working downstairs, maybe he’ll want to get something to eat? Grab Char, her food, a bib, spoon and head down to the restaurant. Hubby is busy, restaurant is packed, no tables available only the bar – crap I can’t put a high chair at the bar. Guess I’ll head back upstairs and feed Char and I’ll snack until hubby gets off work. Pop Charlie in her high chair and give her some puffs to hold her over while I spend ten minutes cooking up a masterpiece meal of baby food, yogurt and kiwi. Do you know how long it takes to cut kiwi? Time to teach this girl how to eat it out of the skin. Oh crap, the dog needs to go out. Grab Char, put her in her jacket, run Molly downstairs, wait for her to pee, run back upstairs. Put Char back in her seat and re-warm up her food. Perfectly place the kiwi on her tray, Charlie looks at the green and black-seeded fruit, smiles, grabs a handful and squashes all the pieces into pulp in her hand. Attempt to feed her yogurt and baby food, but she gags and spits it out. Looks like it’s puffs for dinner.

8:00 

Without kids: Dinner was delicious! We did finally get a table and now all of my girlfriends are here and we’re on our third round of margaritas! We’ve been talking about jobs, boys, shopping, reality tv and, of course, Grey’s Anatomy! Last night with Jackson and April, ah I couldn’t believe it! I definitely cried! Oh look, the guys at the bar bought us some shots! Bottoms up!

With kids: Run a bath because the kiwi squasher is sticky and messy from spitting out all of her food. Take a nice, fun bath where you, of course, get soaked because you thought it would be a great idea to teach Charlie what ‘splash’ means. Manage to get her out of the bath, diapered, lotion up, and in pjs in less than ten minutes (MOMMY WIN!)! That’s when your sinus infection-ed daughter gets into a coughing fit and spits up all over you and her pajamas. Time for some new pjs.

9:00 

Without kids: We didn’t want this night to end so we moved back to the bar to catch up! The girls think we should all go dancing tonight! There aren’t too many places with a dance floor around here but if we’re all together we won’t care where we dance! Bottoms up ladies!

With kids: New jams and we’re back on the couch, Charlie is getting tired so it’s the perfect time to nurse her again and try to put Grey’s back on, I wonder what happens with Jackson and April!?! Finally, relaxation. Then my stomach grumbles, but Charlie is nursing and her eyes are fluttering closed. Getting her to sleep > me eating. At least Grey’s is on. Crap, I can’t reach the remote, oh well I’ll just watch the commercials – first world problems, right?

Down for the Count! 10:00 

Without kids: Dance, dance, dance, dance! I would have never thought this  night would turn out like this!! SO much fun!

With kids: Fell asleep during first commercial of Grey’s.

11:00

Without kids: Still dancing

With kids: Still sleeping

1:00 AM 

Without kids: Headed home, so happy tonight turned out like this! It was nice to finally catch up with my friends, now time to go home and sleep in tomorrow!! I’m going to stay in my sweats all day! Maybe I’ll re-watch Grey’s just for fun!

With kids: Still sleeping. Husband came home from work while you were sleeping and didn’t want to wake you. We’ll catch up in the morning over coffee. Tomorrow you’ll fold the clothes, plan Charlie’s party, go to the store, maybe you’ll even paint your nails? Oh, and watch Grey’s!

THANK GOODNESS IT’S THE WEEKEND!

First Solo Mission

As promised, this blog will contain the many crazy, silly stories that make up my life.. This is one of those stories.

For the first time I took a road trip with just my daughter. I’ve driven a few hours here and there with her before, but my husband was always either at the other end or meeting me. This time it was just me.

I have been having anxiety about traveling with just her for months. What will I do if she starts crying? What if she gets hungry? How will I be able to comfort her?

I thought about this trip all week, dreamed about it every night and when it came down to me leaving on Saturday morning, half of my brain told me just to back out.

I waited until baby girl was fed, changed and tired and thought “this is perfect timing,” she will sleep for the 3 1/2 hours and hopefully I won’t hit traffic and everything will be A-OK.

So I packed up the car and hit the road.

I downloaded an audio book to listen to thinking it would help me keep my mind of the long trip and help pass the time, and everything seemed to be working!

45 minutes into the trip baby girl is sleeping, I’m on the third chapter of my book, there’s not too many cars on the road and the sun was shining. See, you were being silly worrying about how this trip would go, everything is just fine. You can do this!

Then I got to my first toll, that’s when the loudest truck on the face of the planet decided to speed though the EzPass lane.. waking up my sleeping baby. Waking up my sound, sleeping baby. Waking up my sound, sleeping baby who just realized she’s stuck in her car seat and can’t get out.

She started out calm, but the cooing and mumbling turned into frustrated grunts which turned into angry screams as she tried to get out of her car seat.

On top of that, I told myself, don’t drink anything, don’t even take one sip. You are not stopping on this trip.

Well, I got thirsty. Just a little water wouldn’t hurt, right? Wrong.  Now I have to pee, in pain pee, counting down the mile marker signs to the rest stop.

So, as I’m singing 10 Little Monkeys as loud as I can for the thirtieth time, I finally make the 20 miles to the rest stop.

Shaking from having to go to the bathroom, I quickly park, grab the baby and the diaper buy and skip/sprint/Foxtrot into the crowded rest stop. As i finally shimmy my way to the bathroom, I stop in a panic. What the heck am I going to do with my daughter while I use the facilities? I will not put her on a dirty bathroom floor, I didn’t bring a carrier, what the heck am I going to do?

Then my body took over, as I stealthily wiggle my pants off with one hand and manage to pop a squat while holding my daughter on my lap. In a public bathroom.

Let’s touch light on this one more time. I am squatting over a toilet while holding and entertaining my daughter in a public rest room.

On top of that spectacular sight, after managing to wash my hands and getting covered in water, because remember, I am holding my almost 10-month-old daughter, I decided to change her diaper. Let’s set the scene, the changing table is next to an automatic soap dispenser and automatic paper towel holder.

As I’m changing her diaper, she starts getting fussy so another rendition of 10 Little Monkeys is on deck. While breaking it down while monkeys are falling off the bed, I hear a squirt, squirt, and rollllll, squirt, squirt and rolllllll. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but by the time I got to six monkeys I figured I should probably look around… As I turn I see paper towels creating a pile on the floor.. seeping up the pink and white foaming soap that has descended all over the floor due to my booty popping to 10 Little Monkeys.

As I try to figure out how the heck I am going to clean it up, the cleaning lady comes around the corner, looks at the mess, looks and me. I tried to smile and explain but she just held up her hand and told me to stop.

Our reactions after the bathroom catastrophe.

I don’t think I’ve ever booked it out of a rest stop so fast in my life.

While still in shock about going to the bathroom with my daughter on my lap and making a mess in the bathroom, we get back in the car and hit the road.  My daughter soon realizes she is back in the car seat, back in the car = her hell.

She cries, I try to reach around and give her her binky. She cries, I try to give her her favorite minion doll, Bob. She cries and the process repeats itself over and over. Until I take Bob and make him dance over my head behind the driver seat head rest.. this makes her giggle and laugh.

So for the next 45 minutes, Bob was dancing like crazy behind my head getting switched from one hand to the other to try to make her happy.

Ten minutes away from our destination, she falls asleep, of course.

After a fabulous trip with friends and celebrating a new baby coming into the world, we got ready to hit the road again. This time, anticipating a dance recital from Bob, stops on the way home, and lots of 10 Little Monkeys. Ok mom, you can do this.

Ten minutes into the drive home, she’s sound asleep. Sound asleep at one hour, sound asleep at chapter 12, sound asleep at three hours.. until she finally wakes up as we pull up to our house. #blessed.

Now, just a few hours later, she’s curled up in her crib with her favorite blanket, which I forgot to bring on our trip. And I can’t help but smile and be thankful for the weekend time we got to share together and with great friends.

Plus, even when she’s angry crying, or looking at me confused while I hold her while I pee, she’s still pretty cute.

Cheers.