Keep Calm and…

There is simply not enough time in the day.  Today was one of those days where everything seemed to suddenly catch up to me.  J’s on the move, too many deadlines, far too many dirty dishes, the house is a mess, J won’t eat dinner, feeling overwhelmed…man it’s only Thursday?  Today I felt like a headless chicken.

It went a little like this:  7:30 arrive at work.  Run here, do this.  Run there, do that.  Oh wait, go back and finish the first thing since you got distracted trying to keep J from eating that spider over there.  Wait, what was I just doing?  Oh, right.  Run back over there.  Stop to feed some crackers to J.  Try and spend a solid 5-10 minutes on this project while he is content with his crackers.  Keep J from pushing the power button on the computer.  Give J a wooden spoon and move him to the other part of the office.  Work for another 3 minutes before he makes his way across the office back to the computer.  Give J a quick snuggle and put him in the pack-n-play.  He likes to look out the window there…good I’ll have maybe 10 minutes to get this done.  One thing down.  It’s now 9 am.  Only took me 1 1/2 hours to accomplish one thing (that should have taken 20 minutes) and half accomplish about 1000.  Nap time! Nurse J and put down in crib.  Close office door and try to type silently so as not to wake J.  9:30 J wakes up.  Managed to get 1 more thing accomplished.  Snack time, give J a snack and then put him with some toys hoping for another 20 minutes to get to a stopping point.  Spend the next 30 minutes working/moving J from under your chair to over with his toys repeatedly. Lunch time, attempt to feed J yogurt (which he refuses to eat) while also trying to remember if you’ve had anything to eat today.  Run errands hoping that J will sleep in the car.  He doesn’t.  Go stop at Wendy’s and then visit Gramma at work for a bit.  Go to the post office.  J sleeps in car on the way back to work (yay).  Spend the next 2 hours at the office trying to accomplish the most possible with the same silly baby distracting you with snuggles all the while.  Finally head home.  J sleeps in car.  Arrive home to far too many dishes in the sink and no food in the fridge.  Throw in a frozen pizza while giving your hubby the silent treatment over said dishes.  Attempt to get J to eat something for dinner.  Manage to distract him enough to get a full yogurt in him.  Attempt to eat said pizza with sleepy and fussy baby.  Bed time for J.  Takes mama and daddy 20 minutes each to finally get J down.  Aaaannnnnddd 8pm.  With a mere hour before I fall asleep myself.

I think the following apply quite nicely to my day:

Mid-morning =

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Late afternoon =

 

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J’s bedtime =

 

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9:00pm =

 

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Budget this, budget that…

First comes “adulthood”.  Time to be out on your own, work, pay your own bills, learn the way of the world.  AKA: work to pay rent, eat out more than you cook in (unless it’s ramen or frozen pizza), beg groceries off your parents (or eat at work), spend whatever money you do have leftover on booze or clothes or other worthless items, and sleep less than you have any other time in your life purely by choice (since now you are responsible for yourself and staying out until 2 am when you have to work at 7 is no biggie all of a sudden.) Ahhh adulthood, this is the life!

Then comes the REAL adulthood.  You’ve been out on your own for a while now.  Mom and Dad aren’t paying your car insurance or your health insurance anymore.  You spend money on gas and food and rent almost equally.  You still spend money on total crap but you are more aware of where your money is going and you’re starting to put some aside for those rainy days.  A few hundred in your savings account seems like a really great accomplishment. You have pets, you have credit cards, you have debt but not too much…yet.  Hmmm this “adult” thing isn’t as easy as it looks…

Then you get married.  Joint Adults.  Combine financials, belongings, goals, savings, dreams, debt x 2 now… Start to buy things for the future.  House = debt.  Car = debt.  New furniture, sure! = debt.  Those paychecks are getting a little more stretched now with all these great things that come with being an Adult, but hey – we’re building our future here!

And then the magical moment of offspring.  After all, this is what we were aiming towards all along, right?!  We’ve got insurance, we’ve got the house, the cars, the “stuff” to fill in the gaps.  We are ready!

Errr….wait…medical bills still almost 8k?  ^@%#$@%…Can we win the lotto?  No? Ok, now time to BUDGET!

The word Budget always seemed to (younger) me like something that was only necessary when you were really irresponsible with your spending.  When you had plenty of money to cover your bills but you chose to spend money on things that weren’t necessary instead of paying for the necessities.  Well, that’s still true, BUT budgeting takes on a whole new meaning when you become a PARENT.  Now budgeting is a godsend.  Probably the only way that families manage to stay afloat with all of the unexpected bills (new fridge, new car, medical) on top of the already necessary bills of everyday life as an Adult.

Budgeting doesn’t have to be such a “bad” word though.  There are different levels of budgeting depending on how your family spends money and how comfortable you are with your bills vs. income.  Now that I’m a parent, I doubt there are many families out there who are so comfortable with their spending that they don’t budget at all.  Maybe not a lot, but being aware of your spending is still budgeting to some degree.  Over the last 10 months our family has had to increase our budgeting quite a bit.  We are much more cautious and conscientious about how we spend our money and what we spend our money on.  Not that we have it down yet, we are constantly adjusting until we find what works best for our family.  And we still aren’t as careful as we probably could be. There are still months when we are living paycheck to paycheck.  My hope and goal is to get to a point where we aren’t doing that anymore.  Even if it does take us a few more months (or years) to get to that point…  As adults and parents we have the responsibility and privileged to do whatever it takes for our family, even if it means learning to budget.

Working Mama’s

There are few mothers I know who are blessed with the opportunity (and the desire) to be a stay-at-home mom.  For some of us mama’s we need an outlet for ourselves, and work provides that for us among the other obvious monetary reasons.  For other mama’s their dream is to be a mother and a wife, and those two things provide plenty of work and rewards on their own.  I find myself somewhere in the middle.  I love being a mama, and given the opportunity, I would make the most out of being a stay-at-home mom.  However our family, like many, is faced with the necessity of two incomes…so alas I continue to work.

That being said, my situation is different.  I have the very rare opportunity to bring J with me to work every day.  Yup, I work for my Dad.  And when J came along, our agreement was that I would continue to work full time if J could come with me.  Not that I had to beg or anything, this also means that my parents get to see their little one almost every day.  Win-win.  In a way I get the best of both worlds.  I get to be with J every day, all day, and I get to earn a living.  But there are always drawbacks…

For one, even though J is with me every day, I really don’t get to spend a lot of quality time with him. I do have a job to do every day.  And even though he’s in the same room as me, and I get to give him snuggles all day long, he does not have my undivided attention unless he’s nursing for naptime.  Then I have to try and squeeze as much productivity into his 30 minute naps as possible without waking him up with my typing or paper rustling.

On the pro side, I do get to see him every day all day long.  And he gets to see his gramma and grampa almost that often too.  I do love that part.  He doesn’t constantly get sick from all the germies in daycare, and I’m not shelling out 1/2 (or more) of my paycheck every month to a daycare.

Then again, in daycare he would get a lot more social interaction with other kiddo’s on a regular and daily basis.  He’d get to play in a setting built for him, and he’d probably get a lot more focused attention…

But isn’t it saying a lot that I get to be with him 24/7?  Is that enough? Or too much? Or not enough? Or is he missing out?

Ahh, this must be the same battle that other mama’s have on a daily basis as well.  What is really best for my kiddo?  If I stay home, they get me but maybe not a lot of anyone else….but if I work then they don’t get enough of me and too much time in someone else’s care.

One of the many never ending battles that us mama’s face in the lifelong debate over what is best for our children and how to make the best out of whatever situation we are in as a family.  Be it finances, needs, desires…it’s a matter of balancing what is best for the family and what is best for our kids.  I’d like to think that no matter how “perfect” someone else’s situation seems, or how envious us mama’s get of other mama’s, that we are all having the same struggles.  Somehow I find comfort in the fact that I’m probably not the only one wondering if I’m doing the right thing, or doing things right.

 

He does have a pretty good setup in my office though…his “office” space is bigger than mine!

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Pretty sure he’s got more toys at work then at home!

 

 

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Empty shelves and cardboard boxes are the best toys ever!

 

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Water bottle baby gate?

Family Pets

Izzy, Chloe and Zeke.  Our first children, really.  They are what we used as “practice” for our future parenthood.  We got Chloe and Zeke our first year together. Kitties are pretty easy though, but still gives you something besides yourself to take care of every day.  Then we got Izzy as a puppy the year after we got married.  Izzy was the real practice…a 4 month old puppy.  She really introduced us to sleep deprivation and cleaning up the house every morning (yay potty training).

When J came along, we weren’t sure how the kitties and Izzy would react, when we’d introduced Izzy to the family, Chloe didn’t come out from under the bed for a month and threw up all over the house in protest…what were we in for with a baby?!

Well, we lucked out.  Izzy was a great mama bear and didn’t even budge when J cried at all hours of the night.  She stayed close and made sure everyone was OK.  Luckily Gramma was around to give Izzy a little extra (and needed) TLC the first few weeks we were home with J.  The Kitties didn’t even seem to notice there was something new in the house.  Although they did lay claim to all of the baby gear…”this crib is for us, no?”

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Keeping a close on on baby J 🙂

Chloe was always a little persnickety…she used to scratch the heck out of me anytime I picked her up, and she wouldn’t come too close for too long.  Not a cuddly kitty and she certainly had no tolerance for being snuggled.  Then came J.  There’s something absolutely adorable about a kiddo connecting with a pet.  Chloe will be J’s kitty from now on.  She stays close to him, puts up with him pulling her tail, her fur, her whiskers, and she doesn’t make a peep.  Chloe found her person 🙂

Zeke is starting to realize that as J becomes more mobile, he will be an acceptable source of attention.  He’s coming around, but hasn’t quite warmed up to J as much.

Izzy is a little unsure when J tries to lay on her or give her smooches, but she’s so great with other little kiddo’s that once J gets a little bigger she’ll come around and they’ll be good buddies.

Being parents to pets is a little different that parents to kiddos, but we still hope that we raise them right, that they get enough love and attention, and we spoil them all the same.  We love all of our children.

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Springtime fun!

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Had to take advantage of the beautiful Colorado spring weather before the snow returns of Sunday…

Using my new favorite outdoor product the GoPod by KidCo. Perfect for outside play for those little ones who are now mobile!  It even has a snack and drink holder and places to attach toys.  We got it off our registry but this is the first time we’ve used it.  Now I’m hooked – it’s pretty awesome!

And a quick hike at Mt.Falcon Park near Red Rocks… tested out a 30 year old backpack graciously given to us by a family friend.  I think we will need to invest in an upgrade if we (hopefully) turn hiking with the family into a habit 🙂

Izzy got lots out outdoor playtime too 🙂

Intuition – the good, the bad & the consequences

A mother’s intuition.  We’ve all heard the saying, but until you are actually a parent, you don’t realize the true weight of the truth 3 little words carry.  I always felt like I had good intuition about people.  I think it was more so a feeling of dread or uneasiness about people that were different than myself.  And by different I mean their values – what’s right and what’s wrong.  (Ahem – refer back to the previous posting about judgement).   Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve made bad judgement calls before – but in the grand scheme I feel like my intuition is pretty sound.

Then onto motherhood, where your judgement and intuition about other people in relation to your own child doubles multiplies times infinity.  Suddenly we become aware of every movement, statement, action, reaction of anyone who is anywhere near our precious bundle of joy.  You’ve got a weird walk and a creepy gaze? Back the &$#% off and don’t even look at my kid on your way.  The need to protect also multiplies to infinity.  I don’t know about other mama’s out there, but it hit me by surprise how intense this feeling of intuition gets as soon as you realize you are pregnant even.

Good intuition is a natural response when your main purpose in life suddenly becomes protecting and nurturing another person who is incapable of judging for themselves.  And as the Mama we do know (mostly) what is best for our child.  We are raising them a certain way and we’d like the people and situations they encounter to aid in that positive growth.

Intuition goes array when your own dislike towards another person turns into the uncontrollable urge to jab a pencil in their eye anytime they look your child’s direction or say a simple “hi” to them on their way through.  With “stop pretending like you know my kid” passing through your gritted teeth at a low grumble.

As a result your children pick up on both ends – they’ll be surrounded by people and situations that help them grow, and they’ll pick up on your disdain for the people you personally don’t like and probably learn that trait as well.  Well, crap.  Guess there’s not an easy way around that one…hindsight is always 20/20, right?

I personally haven’t mastered the ability to be nice to everyone in order to be a better influence on J…if anyone out there has figured that one out, you really should write a book.  It’s kinda like a mama bear protecting her cubs – like we literally become the bear…and just want to maul anyone or anything that hurts them…or could possibly hurt them…or might have the potential to someday hurt them.

For now, I’ll keep trusting my judgement and intuition.  If I don’t like something/someone and it gives me a feeling of uneasiness, then I’ll do my darndest to keep J from interacting with that thing/person.  Hopefully my mama intuition won’t lead me astray. So far, so good 🙂

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Do what you’ve gotta do – Adventures in feeding

Most days J will eat anything – especially if an adult is eating it too.  He’ll eat almost anything off of a “big person” fork or spoon.  Funny how early on they realize that what you have is probably better than what they have.

Tonight he wasn’t having it though, did not want to sit in the highchair… at. all.  Only got a few bites into him before he was relentlessly screaming and fighting to spin around in the chair. OK, we get it, this isn’t going to work tonight.

So get him cleaned up and out in the play room with me while the hubby finished scarfing down his own dinner. 

J has always been a mobile kiddo.  From 6 weeks old he wanted to stand.  No sit, not lay, STAND.  So we learned very early on that if he’s standing, he’s probably happy.  Hence the Adventures in feeding began!  Multi-tasking is already a must if you are a parent, you just never quite realize to what extent!

So tonight was no exception, simply add feeding into the playtime equation and TA-DA!  Victory.  

His meal time went a like this:

Walk sideways back and forth in front of the bay window while babbling and slapping the seat as I sat on one side with a yogurt and skillfully finagled spoonfuls into his moving (but wide open) mouth each time he came my direction.  Hooray! One yogurt down the hatch successfully and without whining and yogurt flying about the room.

Then we moved onto the rolling walker and carrots.  As daddy aimed him one direction or the other across the room, I had a spoonful of orange goop ready and waiting for J to “pay his toll” before he could continue on his path across the room.  Woo!  Carrots down!

In the midst I also managed to become the human napkin – as we all do at one time…or always – so there wasn’t any clean up even!

Another successful feeding time in the Adventures of Feeding, hurrah!