Monday, December 9, 2013

Confessions of a (temporary) SAHM

Wow! Where did the time go? It is already December and I head back to work in one month. Crazy. The following are thoughts, feelings, realizations and events from my short tenure as a "Stay at Home Mom."

1) Some days I wished I could be at work. Some days I wished I didn't have to go back to work. Most days I wished I had the opportunity to work part-time so I could have the best of both worlds. I am also dreading going back due to the new teaching standards and myriad changes to evaluations and testing for kids- but that is a different blog post entirely!

2) I found myself having long conversations with any adults I encountered in public- baristas, checkers at the grocery store, the mail carrier, etc.

3) On more than one occasion, I instructed Teddy (our Westie) to "watch Andrew" while I folded laundry, went to get the newspaper or emptied the dishwasher. Yeah, because Teddy is a reliable baby-sitter.

4) I am sort of miffed that I have to return to work right when Andrew is getting to such a delightful age! He is sitting up, smiles, laughs, and is generally happy. Instead I was mostly with him when he was a gassy, fussy newborn. However, I am glad I was the one to comfort him during this time.

5) Teaching prepared me, in some regards, for being a mother. I was already used to not being able to use the restroom or get food when I wanted. However, unlike teaching, there is no "plan period" where I can regroup and get ready for the rest of the day. Before I had a baby, I assumed that was what naptime was for. Wrong. Unless I never wanted to shower or clean. Or just lay on the ground.


6) Motherhood has also brought about the annoying trait of ALWAYS thinking I hear Andrew crying. Sometimes he actually is. Usually my ears are playing tricks on me. Also, why is it that men seem inherit the ability to turn a deaf ear to crying? At night, I will wake up when I hear the little man and Adam will be sleeping away peacefully.

7) Confession. I might be the worse housewife in the world. For the first 4 months I was home, I (maybe) cooked dinner a handful of times. I am a bit more organized now, but still find that run out of time, forget an item from the store or just don't feel like it because I would rather play with Andrew. Same goes with cleaning. I actually hired a woman to clean a couple times a month. I figured that I only have a limited time to stay home, so I might as well make the most of it.

8) I am terrified I will have a difficult time balancing work and home. It will be like I have two jobs and I worry that I wont be able to do both well. Also, although it might sound selfish, I worry about having time to myself. When will I work out? Go to the dentist? Or when can Adam and I go out by ourselves? I worry I will feel guilty about leaving Andrew/won't want to leave him because I will not be around him as much. Working moms- any tips would be greatly appreciated!

9) Growing up, I never really pictured myself as a "mom." In fact, when my sister and I played with dolls, we were always "teachers" and the dolls were our students. Now, I cannot picture myself not being one. It is amazing how someone so small can change your whole life.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A flexible baby?

Before having a child, I would secretly judge other parents.

I can't believe that kid is watching TV at dinner! No way would my kid watch TV in the car or at a restaurant.

Why do we have to be quiet...I am going to make sure my baby can sleep with noise!

Wow, it would be great to stay home all day- then I could have dinner made and the house cleaned and run all of the errands I need to!

I had always assumed that my baby would be easy-going and mold right into our lifestyle. A flexible baby, if you will.

Then we had Andrew, who seriously lights up our lives with a single smile. I could just stare at him for hours. However, I now get where these parent are coming from. Andrew is the sweetest (and most adorable) baby, but also quite sensitive. From birth, he had definite likes and dislikes and was not shy about voicing his opinions. Not, in other words, a flexible baby (if such a thing actually even exists).

This was first apparent when he showed a strong dislike for his car seat. I had heard the car was a mode of lulling babies to sleep. Not the case with my little guy. No sooner would you strap him into the seat, would the screaming begin. I was told he would just cry and then fall asleep. Nope. He even cried the ENTIRE way home from Sultan. Not wanting to be housebound, I researched "infants hating car seats." We tried music, feeding him a bottle, hanging toys, a Baby TV app (I know, I know...I said I would never let my kid watch TV in the car)and turning up the AC. Nothing worked. I may have even had a weak moment and purchased a brand-new convertible car seat on Amazon after reading some babies don't like the infant seats.

Well, Andrew now tolerates the car and you want to know the secret? He disliked the infant pads that came in the Chicco car seat. The pads that were suppose to make the ride more comfy for babies was making mine miserable. And, he was not shy about letting us know how he felt. I took out both the bottom and head pads and now the crying is rare. He now will even fall asleep in the car on occasion, especially if freeway driving is involved.

Speaking of sleeping, Andrew was also never a fan of simply falling to sleep on his own. Most newborns (so I am told) simply fall asleep all the time- in people's arms, while in their swings, in their car seats as their parents enjoyed a nice dinner. Even as a tiny baby, Andrew had to be rocked or walked to sleep by an actual human- not a swing. He disliked the cradle hold and would often cry if held by a stranger (or sometimes even a friend or relative). Soon, we had to learn tricks to get him to fall asleep during the day for naps. The Ergo carrier seems to work as well and as a result, I have walked 6 miles today. No joke. The good news is that Adam and I are probably getting stronger. The bad news is that it will soon be too cold and rainy to venture outside that often. I did buy an oversize gold umbrella just in case.


Once Andrew is down for nap, the next trick is to keep him asleep. I did say that my baby would be able to sleep with lots of noise and this is somewhat true. Andrew has slept at parties, with the TV on and while walking near loud cars. However, he does not enjoy sudden noises. And by not enjoy, I mean he hates them. This includes: the garbage disposal, Teddy's dog door, Teddy barking, the door opening and the doorbell. He is incredibly sensitive to loud noise even when awake, but if is is almost impossible if one of these noises wakes him. One way I have solved this is to put my phone next to him with the "white noise" app on as he naps in his swing or car seat.

Like I mentioned, I often see babies sleeping at restaurants. The other day, I went on a walk with Andrew and we (okay me) decided that frozen yogurt was in order. There were two other babies around Andrews age. One was sleeping in his car seat and the other was sleeping in his mother's arms as she selected toppings. What was my man doing? Sitting on my lap, sticking his fingers in my frozen yogurt and chucking my gummy bears on the ground. I am pretty sure he enjoyed a bit of "Cake Batter" well before the pediatrician recommended he start on dairy.

This last anecdote was when I realized how much I love my inflexible baby. As he smeared bits of fro-yo on his face, people walked by and smiled at him. He smiled back, shrieking and waving his hands. They all remarked what a handsome boy he was and what a big personality he had. I thanked them and let him continue his fun. Hey, at least he enjoys eating out at restaurants as much as we do- it is in fact, one of his favorite things. He lets us know this by wanting to stand on the table and laugh and well- stick his hands in our food. I figure there is only a small window where this is cute and might as well take advantage now.

We continued on our walk soon after and I thought again about the whole "flexible baby" idea. Why would we have a kid if we wanted to do everything exactly the same as before?Andrew may not exactly fit in to the lifestyle we once had, I love how he has welcomed us into his. We have a new lifestyle now and I truly could not be happier.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Things that used to be fun...but now are not.

Sorry for the incredible lack of creativity in the title, but there really is no other way to describe this post.

In my twenties (particularly my early 20's), there were many things that I thought were amazing and could not imagine having it any other way. Now that I have entered my 30's, I see things a bit differently.

1) Staying out late on a weeknight and then going to work the following day

When my friend Chrissy and I were roommates right after graduating from WSU, we rented an apartment in lower Queen Anne. The reason for our selection? It was in walking distance to many popular bars. Since Thursday was always a fun night to go out in college, we decided to keep up this trend. However, I soon realized that dealing with 60+ middle school kids while hung-over was in no way enjoyable! Now I stick to "happy hours" during the week as they only last until 7pm or so.

2) Living in sub-par conditions (yes, that is an actual photo of my former abode)

The apartment mentioned in #1 fits this bill perfectly. It might have been in a prime location, but it was disgusting and lacked many amenities. No dishwasher, shared washer/dryer and no garbage disposal. It was also always humid inside, causing us to often discover our shoes had sprouted mold. We did not really care at the time because we were rarely home. Upon returning to collect mail after moving out, I discovered the reason for the humidity when the landlord was ripping up all of the floorboards in the unit. There was an abundance of water underneath. Don't worry it is fixed now, so if anybody is interested in living there- the name is Prestige Lane. Great memories while living there, but I now prefer a place I can actually relax in- and do my laundry with my own washer and dryer!

3) Camping at the Gorge Campground (if you can call it "camping" as there are absolutely zero trees)

During my college years, we would head to the Gorge for a three-day-long Dave Matthews Band extravaganza. After the concert each night, we would return to our tents in the dusty, hot campground where the honeybucket lines were long and there was no running water. We didn't mind-and stayed up all hours of the night, only to repeat it again the following one.

When we were about 26, Adam and I decided  to camp here again, remembering how great it was in years prior. After attempting to relive our youth (and perhaps attempting to beer bong) it was then I realized I NEVER wanted to camp there again and would gladly make the drive to Crescent Bar or Chelan following future concerts.

4) Having a late night feast after going out at night

In Pullman, after a night out, we would almost always order pizza or go to Pita Pit. It wasn't even a question of if we would indulge in a snack late night, but where to go to purchase the tasty treats. I am going to assume that these 2am meals just might have hindered my ability to stay in shape in college...especially since I continued to work out almost everyday.

AND...Things that were fun in my 20's that I still love!

1) Girls night out

Even thought I don't get to partake as often as I used to, I look forward to nights (or days) out with the ladies. Whether it is to wine taste, celebrate a birthday or just head out to happy hour, I treasure these times with my friends.

2) Wearing high heels

I know many people think I am crazy for saying this, but there is something about a heeled shoe that immediately makes me feel more put together. They can make jeans seem dressy, make your legs appear longer and take a make a casual dress appropriate for a wedding.  Heels also makes me feel as though I am a normal height, given that most of my taller friends opt for flat shoes. Since heels are not practical in all situations, the wedge is a great replacement that gives a similar feeling.

3) Listening to rap music

Nothing helps my mile time like a little Tupac or Dr. Dre. Yes, the lyrics are a bit crass for a teacher to be listening to- but something about the beat just puts me in a good mood. And yes, I can still recite all the lyrics to Warren G's "Regulate."

4) Sales

In my early 20's I was lacking the cash flow right after graduating from college (plus a lot of the money I did make went towards going out at night). Because of this, I usually only bought clothes when they were on sale. I still get a thrill when I see the 40% off rack at Banana Republic or go to purchase an item online to discover that everything is on sale that day! The only issue is that since everything gets marked down so quickly, I often feel cheated if I buy an item at full price only to discover it on clearance a week later.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Decisions, decisons...

One thing that I am aware of is that I have a "type A" personality. My closet is organized by type and color and I religiously make the bed each day. This personality also seeps into my professional life. As a teacher, I feel confident when I in total control of my classroom. For this reason, I have yet to enlist a student teacher, plan lessons weeks in advance and rarely take a day off. I just cannot stand to have somebody else running my classroom.

For these reasons, the decision I made last week was a tough one.

I decided to take the first half of the year off and stay at home with Andrew. Let me also tell you I NEVER thought I would want to stay at home and always pictured that it would be easy to return to work because I was sure I would be bored. Truly, I love working. Weird, I know, but I do.

I figured I would be completely ready to go back in September when Andrew was a little over three months. But I was not. In fact, I was dreading it.

I considered my options...could I really take more time off? Would a sub totally ruin my classroom?

This is where my "type A-ness" actually assisted me in making the decision. After contacting the district office, I discovered I had nearly 80 sick days/personal days at my disposal. This was due to my near perfect attendance over the past 9 years of teaching. These days would get me through December and I could return to work in January (after winter break). I officially put in my request and it was accepted. I will attend the first few days of school to get to know the students, but then I will have the next several months off to spend with Andrew.

Honestly, this has been a tremendous weight lifted off of my shoulders. I do know that I am ultimately postponing the inevitable and that it may actually be more difficult to return when he is almost 8 months old. It may be. But I do know this is the right decision for me now. 

As somebody who NEVER had any intentions or desire to stay at home,  this whole situation threw me for a loop. I guess I never knew who strong my love would be for this little man or that I would actually want to spend my entire day just staring at him. Funny how one little human can change your whole world...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Misconceptions in month two...

Even before Andrew was born, I felt I knew quite a bit about babies from watching friends and relatives with their little guys. The doctor and classes at the hospital also provided us with advice for comforting and caring for newborns.

While some of this information turned out to be accurate, some of it did not hold true for our baby.

Here are those misconceptions:

1) All babies LOVE car rides. Get an infant seat so you can carry them from the car to your destination while they are asleep.
This is a rare pic of Andrew SLEEPING in the cars eat!

False for Andrew. More than false. He HATES either his car seat, the car... or possibly both. I have yet to carry a sleeping Andrew from the car in his seat. There are rare occasions where he might entertain himself for 15 minutes (even more unlikely) fall asleep, but most of the time this is not the case. Last night he cried for the duration of a 45 minute trip. It is awful, mostly because I cannot pick him up and feel horrible. I also feel like I, seriously, am a danger on the road as I attempt to get home at a record pace.

We have tried everything: pacifiers (he also does not like those), music, rolling the windows down, sun shields and dangling toys. The other night, I frantically ordered a convertible seat on Amazon because I read some babies dislike the angle of the infant seats. We have yet to put it in, but plan to this week!

Hopefully he outgrows this. Until then, I am getting quite a bit of exercise walking everywhere with him in the Ergo.

2) Babies like to sleep in the bedroom with you in a basinet.

We did try a few nights in the bassinet, but our active buddy needed more room. Even at a few days old, he was kicking the sides of it and waking himself up. After that, we put him in the crib and he seems to enjoy his space. Let's hope we can get him out of there when he needs to move to a "big kid bed."

3) Babies like pacifiers and being swaddled
Right after he was born- already has his hands out of the swaddle...

Andrew looks at us like we are stupid when we try to give him one. He might suck on it while somebody is holding it, but then he spits it out. I have ordered (again on Amazon) about 10 different kinds, but to no avail. Now my hope is that he finds his finger/thumb to help with the hellacious car rides.

As for swaddling- he broke out of the swaddle even when they were done by the professionals at the hospital so we kind of gave up on it. He regularly broke out of our swaddles too and then it was dangerous to have him in the crib (where the blanket could suffocate him). I know swaddling calms many babies and perhaps we should have worked on it more?

4) A rocking chair is a necessity in a babies room

I think I used the rocking chair for a week and then realized the couch was must more comfortable when he work up in the middle of the night. Here I could relax and catch up on my 80's sitcoms.

5) Newborns are super easy to take places, because they just sleep all of the time

Perhaps some newborns do. Mine? Not so much. He has slept through several dinners out in the carrier, but other than that, he up most of the day. Rather than taking long naps during the day, he prefers 20 minute naps and then will wake up ready to play. Or cry. Or both. Regardless, we have no plans to take him to a wedding or movie any time soon!

My mom claims this as Karma because I never slept during the day either.

I guess the consensus I have come up with is that "all babies are different." What works for one baby may or may not work for another. My friend Alicia also told me that just because they dislike something one day, does not mean they will not like it the next. They are constantly growing and changing as well. Good advice.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lessons Learned in month #1

As of yesterday, Andrew is 5 weeks old. Certainly, both Adam and myself have learned a great deal in the month+ of being new parents. Basic things like using a Diaper Genie, bathing a newborn or tips for burping a baby or how to assemble an infant swing.

 Also, there are those lessons that one cannot learn simply from reading a book or a guide: Never, for example, did I think I could love somebody so much after first meeting them. I now understand what parents mean when they say this.

There are however, myriad of random tidbits of information I discovered thus far in my life as a new mom:

1) There is an entire channel dedicated to 80's sitcoms (HUB) and you can even catch "Who's the Boss" reruns at 2am.

2) It is possible to shower and get ready in 20 minutes.

3) That being said, I never fathomed I might have to choose whether to nap or get ready for the day. Or even needing a nap at all for that matter.

4) Going to do anything by MYSELF feels refreshing and somewhat weird. This includes trips to the grocery store.

5) Although I cannot actually work out yet, I feel my arms are getting quite strong from lifting the BOB stroller out of my trunk. Also, since Andrew only likes it when it is continuously bounced, this adds to the muscle fatigue. Add attempting to walk a dog in the mix, and I think it might beat a Crossfit WOD!


6) It is okay to sing to babies- they do not care if you are (literally) the world's worse singer. It also might be okay to read your baby the newest Dan Brown novel (Inferno) rather than a baby book from time to time. Don't judge- it's the only time I can find to read.

7) Ordering online is the most fantastic thing ever- as are drive-thru restaurants and coffee stands. This was a concept foreign to me prior, as I LOVED getting out of my car and going into said establishment.

8) I never knew beer could taste so delicious. Or that one beer is all I can drink now without really feeling the effects. Probably because this has been the longest time period I have gone without alcohol since I was...I don't know, maybe 16? Again, don't judge.

9) Having a newborn sleep on you makes you feel instantly tired as well. Definitely a cure for insomnia.

10) It is possible to fly by even though all that was done was changing, feeding and playing with a baby all day.

11) The following constantly have "marathons" and you can watch them all day (if you choose): Love it or List It, What Not to Wear, Bones, CSI, Bones, 16 and Pregnant or Criminal Minds.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Don't ever let me do the following...

So, people say that having a child changes not only your life but who you are as a person as well. I am sure this is true, but there are several things I will strive NEVER to do.  Feel free to let me know if you see the following occurring:

1) Getting a "mom" haircut or forgetting to color my hair regularly. Yes, I know I will be busy, but that is no excuse for a hairdo like Kate Goslings!

2) Allowing my child to run around with "Sticky Jam Hands" after eating. This is more of an issue when kids get older and go to school. I still remember the kids in my class that reeked of breakfast food and were covered in Maple Syrup each day. And no, I was not just envious because we only ate cold cereal!

3) Wear "Mom Jeans" especially if they are made by LEE or have pleats. A long, flat butt look is not a good one for anybody.

4) Overshare disgusting things on Facebook about my child's daily activities. This includes: anything about excrement, boogers, breast feeding, vomit or pictures of any said items. Please really let me know if I "Instagram" pictures of above items that I have really lost it!
That being said, anxiously awaiting Baby Boy Brown's (no, we still have not decided on a name- we are not just keeping it a secret) arrival! Any day now...feel free to make your appearance SOON little guy!

Monday, April 29, 2013

And the Oscar goes to...

Every year when the Oscar nominees are announced, I always make a point to watch the movies nominated. Sometimes they are excellent and other times...not so much. However, rarely are these movies ones I would ever watch twice.

Take Zero Dark Thirty for example. A well done picture, but I could never envision myself sitting through it again. Same goes for Argo, Silence of the Lambs, American Beauty or Lord of the Rings (okay, so I hated that one the FIRST time and may have fallen asleep mid-way through).

Some, such as Forest Gump or Braveheart, I have enjoyed multiple times, but they don't have the pull that my all time favorites do.

There are certain movies, I would literally watch over and over again...and not grow tired of them.  If there was an Oscar category for "watchability" the following, in no particular order, would defnintely get my vote (I have also included a favorite quote from each):

1) Mean Girls (2004)

Karen: You know who's looking fine tonight? Seth Mosakowski.
Gretchen: Okay, you did not just say that.
Karen: What? He's a good kisser.
Gretchen: He's your cousin.
Karen: Yeah, but he's my first cousin.
Gretchen: Right.
Karen: So, you have your cousins, and then you have your first cousins, and then you have your second cousins...
Gretchen: No, honey, uh-uh.
Karen: That's not right, is it?
Gretchen: That is so not right.

2) Troop Beverly Hills (1989)

"It was a cold and rainy day in March. I went to Kristoff's where I usually get my hair done but Kristoff wasn't there. He had mysteriously disappeared. In his place was a stranger named Rinaldo. I'll never forget him. His eyes were steely gray. His hands were like ice. He said, "I'll streak your hair and I'll give you a body wave." He worked very fast and then, as he turned my chair around to face the mirror, I saw it. He permed me!"

3) Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

Buffy: All I want to do is graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater, and die. Now it may not sound too great to a sconehead like you, but I think it's swell. And you come along and tell me I'm a member of the hairy mole club so you can *throw* things at me?

4) Heathers (1988)

Heather Chandler: You wanted to be a member of the most powerful clique in school. If I wasn't already the head of it, I'd want the same thing.

5) Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." — Ferris

7) Love Actually (2003) 

Prime Minister: Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around.

8) Boyz in the Hood (1991)

Furious Styles: Why is it that there is a gun shop on almost every corner in this community?
The Old Man: Why?
Furious Styles: I'll tell you why. For the same reason that there is a liquor store on almost every corner in the black community. Why? They want us to kill ourselves.

9) Legally Blonde (2001)

Vivian: Nice outfit.
Elle: Oh, I like your outfit too, except when I dress up as a frigid bitch, I try not to look so constipated.

10) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (1985) 

Lynne: Whenever I'm in a room with a guy, no matter who it is - a date my dentist, anybody - I think, If we were the last two people on Earth, would I puke if he kissed me?

Others that almost made the list: 16 Candles, Top Gun, Mallrats, Jawbreaker, Sugar and Spice, Bring it On, Usual Suspects, Dirty Dancing, A League of their Own, Can't Buy Me Love and Clueless

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The other day I was flipping channels and ended up watching a bit of the show Hoarders on A&E. You know the show- the one where people have ungodly amounts of garbage (sometimes literally) in their homes. In this episode, it was so bad the woman had to sleep on a her kitchen. I get that these people have some serious issues, but I cannot fathom how one can let things get to this state.

This may be due to the fact I have the exact opposite problem. I get rid of everything. Accumulation of junk drives me crazy and I cannot stand clutter of any kind. If I am done using it...out of my house it goes.

Most people perform the annual task of cleaning out their closets. I do this monthly. It bothers me when yesterday's newspaper is still sitting on the table. And...don't get me started about dishes in the sink or an unmade bed. I have even been known to organize junk drawers. One day, I organized my husband's side of the closet...arranging his clothes by type and color (no, this did not last).

Okay, so I admit to being a bit OCD, but it is a good distraction when I am supposed to working on other things. Plus, when I have let things go, it never works out well. Yesterday, I left a pile of "Thank You" cards out on the stairs (I was planning to mail them when I had a chance). Upon arriving home from work, I discovered Teddy (our Westie) had eaten half of the cards. They were all over the house! Lesson learned.

This urge to declutter continues at work. When I first started teaching, I kept everything. I just assumed this is what one did. As soon as we started using projectors rather than overheads (wow, I just totally aged myself), all of this went into the recycle. Now, I have everything neatly organized on my computer. My desk is always clean and the counter space is clear of paper- everything neatly in baskets.

What is wrong with being an anti-hoarder you might ask? Well, occasionally, I toss (or donate) something I wished I had not. For example, my entire National Board Portfolio? Missing. Mistakenly, I assumed I had backed it up on my thumb drive. When the information was deleted from my computer, I lost the entire thing. Sometimes, I will look for an article of clothing and realize it is now at the Goodwill.

Overall though, no major issues have arisen due to my habit. Unlike on  Hoarders, none of my family or friends have nominated me to have my habit examined by psychologists on national television. Nor have I been at risk of being evicted from my residence. Instead I just get irritated when junk piles up.

However, with a baby on the way, I know that I will need to let my guard down a bit. There may be days when dishes do sit out longer than I would like. Toys might not be put away and there may even be days when clothes are on the floor. While this is not as severe as what one might see on Hoarders, it is something I will have to be okay with. 

And I am sure a new baby will be a distraction from the mess. I might not notice it (well, at least not as much). However, if you ever come over to my house and have to clear a path to navigate from room to room- feel free to stage an intervention (see picture below).