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Messy Mom Bun in Full Force

If there has ever been a tall-tale sign of me being tired its my messy mom bun. I have inherently curly hair, so after I shower I have to make a conscious decision to blow dry/straighten/tame this mane or throw it up in a bun and hope for the very best the next day. I like to think it’s one of those buns that looks effortless but cute, however more than likely it looks like a squirrel’s nest. We are currently on day 2 of a mom bun situation. To give a little insight my day went like this:

5am: Wake up and try to pull myself together enough so my patients wont second guess my professional abilities

6-7am: The circus begins: Get everyone dressed (against their will), fed, and try to not be late to…everything.

7:30-noon: Work work work (precious adult interaction time)

Noon-3pm: Eat lunch, pick up middle child from daycare and try to convince him that the dentist is a fun place to visit, and then inevitably visit dentist for the 1st time…dentist currently retains all her fingers so thats a plus.

3-6pm: Pick up other children, attempt to make everyone happy for 30 minutes so you can make dinner for children to complain about said dinner. Except the baby, He’ll eat damn about everything

6-7pm: Bathe the kids to wash off those nasty boy smells they picked up through the day.

7-8pm: Play time with the babes, which tonight included pillow fight and climbing on daddy until someone inevitably gets hurt. This turned into looking for a movie everyone could agree on for 15 minutes to only watch it for another 15 minutes before bed.

8-9pm: Meal prepping for the rest of the week because we are so trying to be good but I gotta say Reese’s  Easter eggs are so gooddddddd and I often think to myself I think I’d rather be fat.

9:30pm: Shower which turns into to inevitable mom bun…

And this is with the help of my wonderful husband! Whew, I’m tired just re-hashing the whole thing. And then I think to myself, tomorrow is the beginning of 10 hour days for the next three days. This Mom bun might become a permanent fixture for the week.

As I was toiling away today I thought about my patients. Most of them are retired and have grown children of their own. If you have ever been to Physical Therapy, you know its about 50% exercising and 50% talking, or at least that’s how it is at our clinic. We have a ball and our patients become our family after awhile. We know about their kids, their grandkids, their lives before retirement and so on and so forth.

Today when I peeked at myself in the mirror after shower and thought “woof….oh well…” I laid down and thought about my patients who come home to empty rooms and silent halls. Right now, My kids think my husband and I hung the moon. They think we know it all and are in utter shock when we don’t. We are the kisser of boo boo’s and who they call out for in the dark when they’re scared. We are the retriever of snacks and we can make everything alright when their world is upside down. I am tired, and some days overwhelmingly tired, but I can’t really imagine it any other way. They will only be little for so long and then they will grow up, find love (I hope), maybe move away, and have lives of their own. I told my husband tonight, one day we will come home and there won’t be any squeals of laughter and the thump, thump, thump of feet running towards us. There won’t be mommy look at me or Sunday snuggles.

So messy mom bun it is. Today, maybe tomorrow, maybe for the next foreseeable future, but it does mean more time with my babies and my husband. Because time is fleeting, and my babies get a little bigger each day. A little closer every day for little birds to leave the nest. So, Rock those messy buns and pony tails ladies, heck grab a hat if you want, those little ones don’t mind, all they care about is that you are present and doing the best you can. And just in case someone needed to hear this today, You’re doing great mom. image

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The long and the Short of it

Oh lord it’s been a hot minute y’all! So much has changed in 4 years including 2 more babies, a big move, 3 jobs later and here we are! A few weeks ago, I was talking to my husband and I said to him, “I think I want to start up my mommy blog again.” Other than be taken aback since its been literally FOUR years, he was all for it. It was all further confirmed when  I was talking to one of my oldest friends this weekend, we were talking about “what do you do for you?”. I started to think about it and thought well, I don’t have any real hobbies except baking and napping lol. My life is mostly working and being a mom and wife. And I thought, I really enjoyed writing this blog and helping other mom’s through humor, mutual respect and humility (and maybe a little wine).

A quick update on our life! We are currently the proud parents of three beautiful boys. Currently I’ve realized anything in our house can be made into a sword, dinosaurs are the bees knees, “don’t touch that” is a phrase that really holds no merit, and the louder the better. I am still a clinical Physical Therapist working full time but hoping to hit that jackpot big any day now ;). My husband is just as wonderful as he was 4 years ago and has taken up the hobby of gourmet cooking and gardening! A hobby my belly and I can really get behind.

It’s funny now I look back at these old posts and think dang this lady used to make her own sensory bottles and bags. This mom would say heck, I’m sure I can find that joker on amazon and prime it now.  On the flip side, that same mom was terrified of going to the commissary in fears that my baby Mason would cry but now I tote all three boogers with me everywhere and they know the harsh reality of a mom’s glare and threats in the Kroger grocery aisle. So much has changed from baby #1 to baby #3 its unbelievable.

So much has changed and four years later I’ve decided that no mom is perfect. I’m almost positive those Instagram mom’s at some point have fed their kids some sort of processed cereal and their kids have picked their boogers and survived to tell the tale. I am now a mom that believes in herself and understand that I will make mistakes daily but also will apologize for it. I have learned it’s okay to accept help and some of the best mommy’s don’t do it alone. I have learned that my husband, as my best friend and partner, is just as capable of parenting and I need to delegate because a tired mommy is a help to no one. Even though I feel it daily, I try to shake the guilt of being a working mom. Its hard coming home to babies you feel you haven’t seen all day but conversely so tired from working all day you feel that you can’t give your whole self to them to start. I can only hope one day they admire how hard their mommy worked trying to make people feel better.

I’m so glad to be back and though many things have changed since my last post four frickin’ years ago, I still believe that mommy’s need bottles too….especially the ones filled with red and white 😉

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Homemade Sensory Bags and Sensory Bottles

Sorry guys it’s been awhile since my last post. Work, baby, and family have recently taken the entirety of my attention! Most recently things have actually settled down and I’ve had some free time at night to browse (my obsession) Pinterest. I have come across several ideas for making your own sensory toys and I thought I’d give it a go. I sometimes look back and laugh at all the really fun and interesting things that I have pinned and think….there is no way I’m ever going to have time to put together a Mickey Mouse fondant cake or get my hair to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. But recently I did have about 30 minutes to spare and made some really cool sensory bottles for Mason. With the help of my dear, wonderful husband it literally took 30 minutes to put together 4 sensory bags and 3 sensory bottles. And the best part was that it cost about 15 bucks! You might even have a lot of these items just laying around! Here is the shopping list gals and pals:

3 plastic bottles
3 heavy duty freezer bags
Duct tape (they have some really fun designs now!)
Popcorn Kernals or quinoa or rice!
Toothpicks
Fuzzy colorful craft balls
Big bottle of baby oil
Food coloring
2 big bottles of CHEAP clear hair gel (ya know that stuff that will turn your hair to rock)
Glitter and/or confetti
Anything colorful to put in sensory bags that is not too sharp that would puncture the bag and possibly educational!
Super Glue

Sensory Bottles

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Make sure your bottles are completely clean and dry!

For a glitter bottle: Put glitter and confetti in bottle. Add water to top of bottle. Put a little super glue on inside cap of bottle and screw on cap very tightly! Viola! Easy Peasy!
For sound bottle: Place popcorn/rice/quinoa in bottle and add color fuzz balls and toothpicks! Dab Superglue on inside of cap prior to screwing on cap! Babies like to make lots of noise so test your bottle out while you’re making them! Preferably not at nap time haha!
-To make colored rice: Place rice in shallow pan add 1 tsp of vinegar and several drops of food dye. Mix rice mixture and lay rice flat on pan. Allow to air dry for about 30 minutes.

Sensory Bags

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Lava oil bags:
Pour 1/2 of baby oil bottle contents into zip lock bag. Add several 5-10 drops of food dye in bag. Slowly add water to bag. As you add water mix contents with your hand on outside of bag. Once water “blobs” are desired size stop adding water. It does not take a lot of water so be careful!

Gel “Squish” bags: Add entire contents of gel container in zip lock bag. Add colorful objects like animals, number blocks, and alphabet beads to bag. Zip up bag and you’re done!

I would HIGHLY suggest reinforcing all side of your sensory bags with duct tape. The most difficult part of this whole thing was duct taping the bags. This is where my lovely husband stepped in. Also a side note on the oil bags. Get a really heavy duty zip lock bag. The oil seeped OUT of my porous bags and got all over my comforter so I ended up throwing those out.
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As always always supervise your children when playing with sensory bags/bottles and any toy. Mason has a tendency to put the bags in his mouth and I have to stop him. But mostly he likes to sit on the bags and shake the bottles! Have fun ya’ll!!
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A Working Mother’s Guilt

imageI had to return to work just 8 weeks after Mason was born. I had major anxiety, as I’m sure most mothers do, when having to return to work. For our family it was not a question whether I could or could not return to work. I have mountains of student loans to pay off and we are trying to save up to buy a house. Not going back to work was not a viable option for us.

Prior to going back to work I thought, “How in the world am I going to manage getting to work on time with a baby!”. I was already exhausted from multiple night feedings and I hadn’t even returned to work yet. Mason was still getting up at least twice a night at two months old, how was I going to breastfeed, get ready and be presentable, and be out the door in time?!

However, in between my pangs of guilt I also felt excitement to return to work. To return to adult conversation and having some freedom outside of our home by myself. To return to doing something that I loved and something that I felt was a part of me and defined me. I am a physical therapist. It took me 7 years to get my doctorate and I am not only proud of what I do but I love what I do. I have a powerful bond with my patients as I am there when they are at their lowest and I am part of their journey as they find their footing in the world again.

I also work because I feel that being a full time mom makes me a better mom. Every minute with Mason I cherish. I can not afford to take for granted a single minute that I have with my little one. He is only this little once. He will only want to be held and loved on for so long. From the minute he wakes up, to the time I put him down I have to soak up every laugh and every gummy smile.

Being at work for me is my “me time”. On the drive from one patient to the next, I find time to belt out to my favorite Britney song or call my best friend. Or just contemplate in perfect silence along the foothills of Kentucky on what activities our family will get into this weekend. At work, I get to have adult conversations and get a break from having one sided conversations with Dora, Peppa, and Mickey.

Being a working mom is a constant juggle. While I’m at work, I am constantly thinking of home and of Mason and if he took his nap today and how he is doing with teething today. But while I’m at home, I constantly wondering if my patients are okay, what doctors I need to call in the morning, and what paperwork I need to get done tonight. It’s a constant juggle between calling and taking care of patients with feeding Mason those peas he hates and entertaining my little monkey until bedtime. My life consists of not only having to juggle baby but juggle my married life. I am not only a mother but a wife as well. I never understood when people said there wasn’t enough time in the day until I was a working mother and wife. There will never be enough time in the day to get everything done but as long as my son and husband are happy and healthy, the rest will fall into place.

Do I still worry that Mason’s teachers or babysitter will know him better than I do? Yes I do, but even though my time with my sweet boy is limited I want it to be meaningful. I want to be an example for my son that hard work pays off. I want to show him that it can pay off if you are dedicated to your studies and education. That it is possible to find a career that will better your life and, if you’re lucky, impact someone else’s life.

Do I think that I would be happier if I didn’t work? No. Less hectic and crazy…yes. My patients and my career are a part of who I am as well as being a mother and wife. I hope that an older Mason will look back on the days when he was young and think back on his young(er) working mother who took care of the him and the household and think, “My mom really did it all and loved me all the same.” But until then I’ll continue to kiss and sing him goodnight and hug him every morning. I will thank God every day that I am a working mother who was blessed with a precious baby boy.

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Hidden Benefits of Being a Parent

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You’ll have those days when you are exhausted, disheveled, and covered in God knows what and you think, “Man, If I didn’t have kids I could just lay around, curse like a sailor and drink like one too” But there are some hidden perks of being a parent.

1) All ABOARD! Its summer time and it’s travel season. Flights are booked and every available seat on the plane is taken. Getting through security might have been a nightmare with your 10 bags, the removal of everyone’s shoes, and the dirty looks you got because your child is wailing and you are taking entirely too long to get through TSA. Don’t fret my dear. Some airlines are now letting families with small children to board first. Those that I know who allow this are Southwest, Delta, jetBLue, Alaska, and Virgin. And for you pond hoppers, some international airlines such as Emirates, British, Singapore, and Virgin Atlantic will provide child entertainment, meals, formula, and diapers! And to be honest, letting us families board first is a great idea because I know that my son would be trying to grab everyone’s hair all the way from the first class to coach.

2) Strollers have the right away
Shopping with a baby can be a challenge. You have to time everything just right with the last feeding, nap time, diaper change, etc. In those crowded malls it can be difficult to negotiate between all the kiosks, shoppers, and people trying to get you to buy some Dead Sea lotion and salt scrub for your hands. Thank god you have your giant stroller travel system with car seat carrier and under basket to lead the way. Can’t find a good route through the crowds? I say make your own…

3) I’m sorry to leave so early but the baby…..
Okay we have all been there. We are stuck talking to what’s her name at Kroger and can not find an appropriate escape route. Thank god for that darling baby that HAS to get home for a nap…or something….

4) Complete Strangers are genuinely nice to you
You’re struggling with that non-handicap door at the mall with your giant stroller, shopping bags, and all the while you’re juggling your iphone and venti latte. I want to say Thank you to all the complete strangers who stop and hold the doors open while my son is having an apocalyptic melt down because I can’t find Sophie the Giraffe in time.

5) Baby Weight
Okay, so I have been doing really good lately with the diet and working out thing….if you don’t count tonight’s bowl of butter pecan. But somehow with working full time, housework, and taking care of Mason (and blogging my Husband would like to add). I have been using my last reserve energy to drag my butt to the gym. I have lost most of my baby weight but there is still a few pounds to shed and you know what? Most everyone is really supportive and understanding of my post baby weight plight. I don’t know how long this will last but everyone seems super supportive and says things like “you just had a baby your body needs time to rest and recover!” I hate to tell them but Mason is 6 months old and that bowl of butter pecan wasn’t really necessary….or was it??…..

6) Time Management
Before my son was born I would seriously take almost all day to clean and do laundry. Not because I was slow or lazy but I just wasn’t in a hurry. Nowadays nap time is crucial. In a one hour nap time, I can shower, get ready, vacuum, do laundry, and tidy up all the baby toys that have been thrown around the house. After baby you learn to prioritize what has to be done right now and what can wait. There are a few things on the list that are always a priority….like showering…and having a cup of coffee…coffee is definitely on the priority list….

7) You’re a Hero without the cape
I have those days when I am completely and utterly worn out from work. I get home and there he is with his gummy smile and kicking his legs so feverishly because he is excited to see me. Right now I am his whole world and he is mine. There are days that I wonder what life would be like if we didn’t have our precious boy. You think about all the activities and events you are missing out on. But in reality, we would be missing out on so much more without him. I am blessed with giggles and smiles in the morning and hugs and snuggles at night. So the last not so hidden benefit of being a parent is that you are someone’s super hero. So soak up the crocodile tears and kiss the boo boos momma because you are super momma (or daddy!) to a very lucky little baby. You are able to juggle play dates, work full-time, keep the house up, make dinner, tell a bedtime story, and banish all the bed bugs and monsters before passing out and doing it again the next day. You go mom and dad…its all a bit exhausting but that gummy grin and sweet baby laugh makes it all worth it.

 

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Grilled Zucchini Pizza Bites

If you know me personally you know that I’m a pizza fanatic. I could have pizza everyday if my waist line would allow. Well, unfortunately pizza is calorie, fat, and carb loaded. We came across some giant zucchinis at our local farmers market and decided to make a heathy alternative! I gotta start eating healthy if I want to still fit in that bikini I bought…woof…

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Zucchini Pizza Bites

Ingredients:

Zucchini cut in ~1/4-1/2 inch thick rounds

~1 cup of Pizza Sauce

1-2 Cup of Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella

Topping to your liking! (Pepperoni, Ground lean beef, vegetables!)

Italian seasoning to taste

2-3 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Lightly brush both sides of each zucchini rounds with olive oil. Season each side of zucchini with salt and pepper to taste. Preheat grill to 350 degrees. Place zucchini directly on grill and grill 2-3 min until slightly tender. Remove zucchini from grill and place 1-2 TBSP of pizza sauce, toppings, and 3-4 TBSP of mozzarella on grilled side of zucchini. Sprinkle italian seasoning on each bite to taste.

Place non-grilled zucchini down on grill and grill for 3-4 minutes until zucchini is tender and cheese is melted!

VOILA! Thats it!

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Finding Swimsuit Serenity

We are summer people. My husband is an avid surfer and I am his beach bunny. My husband knew how to swim before he could even walk. When we found out Mason’s due date we were excited because that would mean that Mason would be getting to the age he could splash around in the water with us and introduce him the beach lifestyle.

One of the first things I did this summer was go out and buy Mason a cute little lobster swimming trunks and all the beach/pool baby paraphernalia I could get my hands on. The next step was a bit trickier. What in God’s name was I going to wear? I seriously have about 15 bathing suits in my closet stuffed into an old suitcase. I think all but one are two pieces. I tried them on eagerly at the start of the summer and one word came to mind….WHOMP WHOMP. I am nearly down to my pre-baby weight but when I had tried on those little bikinis it looked like a sad rendition of a Picasso-like version of what things used to be. Most of my baby weight is gone but things weren’t were they used to be. Everything looks just a little sad to put it mildly.

So my bathing suit shopping game plan was to go to the largest department store in our area and scour the racks. Since we are currently living in western KY my bathing suit selection is limited but I thought Dilliard’s might be the best place to start. I pinterested and online browsed various stores ahead of time but had a hard time balancing being a mom but also not wanting to be a frump poolside. Was I going to have to prepare myself to wearing the skirted bottom, floral printed, tankini wearing mom suit? Bathing suit shopping pre-baby was bad enough I didn’t know if a compromise was even possible.

So Mason and I arrived at Dilliard’s at the optimal time between his last feeding and morning nap so I could have maximum time in bathing suit hell. The sales lady was awesome and helped me pick up seriously 40 different bathing suits. I had monokinis, one pieces, two pieces, tankinis you name it. I had bathing suits draped all over Mason’s stroller as I mentally prepared myself for the actual trying on of the dreaded swimsuits.

The actual trying on process was dreadful. My “milk duds” were out of control and I had a hard time concealing my C-section scar and new mom pooch. During the process I would peep with one eye open and assess the damage. Crying was almost in short order and I was quickly running out of options. I thought the monokinis would be a good compromise but it was quite humorous. I had “baggage” coming out of all those damn openings.

A little knock from the sales lady came as my unknown salvation. She had a new style that just arrived. She told me that the new style this season ladies is high waisted bikinis. Celebs of all sizes including Taylor Swift, Serena Williams, and Kim Kardashian were sporting this retro style. The sales lady said that she had just received the shipment and most of the available bottoms were already being reserved for customers. It was love at first sight with its ruching and touch of sexy sass. To complete the look the sales lady brought me a under-wired triangle top that brought the girls up up up! Things were sucked in, covered up and lifted up!

I recommend this style to all you new moms out there. The suit style is complimentary on various body types, conceals those problem areas in a post-baby body, but has a trendy, sexy edge to it. In conclusion, I am a 20-something new mom and I’m not ready to turn in my bikini just yet. Don’t be afraid ladies. There is a swim suit for you out there that will compliment your new body. This body is not the body you used to have but it is beautiful. It made a beautiful little human and has the battle scars to show it. So grab a Marg and meet me at the beach you hot momma because you deserve it!

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Bikini Bottoms by Gianni Binni

Bilini Top by Kenneth Cole