Friday, February 26, 2010

Having a *happy yet emotional week

Mimalicious enjoying some cheerios and banana :-)
We call these jammies her chocolate heart jammies :-)

As Mimi blissfully sleeps this morning, I wanted to make a quick post.

I am remembering a conversation I had with my husband awhile ago about how having children has affected our life together. I remember him admitting that he felt that when we had the baby his life would be burdened, he felt that he would have so much less time for himself. In his defense, my pregnancy Mimi was not planned. We had only been married 25 days before I got pregnant, and we had planned on waiting a year before we would try for a baby. I sometimes joke and say "Jesus had other plans for us" but in reality, Jesus had nothing to do with it! Careless birth control practices led us to our beautiful and much loved daughter. after he admitted to how he felt before (being burdened/having no free time), he said "it's not as bad as I thought--infact it's better than ever!" Last night after we put her to bed, we said how sometimes we just don't want to put her to bed because we want to stay up all night cuddling her and kissing her. We fight over who gets to tuck her in at night--meaning we both want to do it--and in the morning when we hear giggles coming from her crib we both jump up and say "I'll get her!" and we race to see who can grab our smiling baby first. We both admit that life is stressful and more expensive that without a baby. BUT---we also say that life would not be the same without her. She is by far the best thing we ever did. The day she was born was the best day of my life. My husband I often talk about how precious it will be when we have another baby someday and our family will grow in love, and how precious it will be to watch Mimi be a big sister. Having a baby is such a wonderful gift. I am thankful everyday that we had her and she is healthy and happy. We may not have a big house, or fancy cars, or take Caribbean vacations, be we don't care. We feel so full of love and happiness that those things don't matter to us.

Mimi is 7 months old and is the apple of our eye, the light in our day. My husband I always say, we wish everyone would get married and have kids, because it is the best experience of our life, and we want all of our friends and family to share in that joy as well.

Lately I find myself sitting with Mimi just watching her, watching her delicately pick up cheerios with two fingers, and crawl around her room playing with toys. I like watching her try to drink out of a cup in the bath. I am feeling quite emotional about it lately, I'm even tearing up right now writing this. Maybe it's hormones, I don't care. Sometimes I'm just overwhelmed with how much I love my baby, and how much it has made the love between my husband and I grow stronger.

Not a very interesting post--but just wanted to share my thoughts today.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Two awesome things to share....

Two things to show you all that are abosultely frickin adorable....
One--the cutest dang hairbow EVER that isn't overpriced! $2.50 with 50 cent shipping!!!!
As a fisheries biologist this was a must! lol my coworkers will LOVE it.
better photos and the women's etsy shop site click here

Two-- a video of Mimi with my husband "launching" her, she laughed harder than I have ever heard her laugh before!!!! Don't mind my topless husband in the video, lol, he just got back from his martial arts class so he took his shirt off.....

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Trip to the great grandparents

So we made our first "roadtrip" with Mimi this weekend. This is sort-of not true--Mimi and I went to NY in November, but we flew and then rented a car and drove around a lot. This was the first time my husband, Mimi and I took a little weekend car trip together. We went to visit his grandparents in down in South Florida, who are almost 90 and still live alone, unassisted in a little house about 4 hours away.

Let me just say this---the items for my husband and I filled one small bag---the rest of our subaru hatch was FILLED with baby crap. Seriously---no joke---full of baby stuff. We had the pack and play crib, the diaper bag loaded with diapers and wipes, bag of toys/clothes/bedding, baby food in a little cooler, and my breast pump. CRAZY. I'm proud to admit we used everything except of her coat! (because it was sunny and 80 :-) degrees)

On the way down we stopped north of Orlando and dropped of a cooler full of breastmilk. I know what you're thinking--that is a weird statement. Yes, I donated 150 oz of my precious overstocked breastmilk. It got to the point where I was like "we either have to buy another freezer or start throwing this stuff away." I had over 50 bags, each with 4-6 oz in them frozen and labelled for Mimi. With Mimi eating more and more solids each day, she drinks less and less milk, yet I still diligently pump it. So, I found a women through "Milkshare," a website designed to connect donors with local recipients, found a women with a baby one day younger than Mimi who needed milk. On our way down we exchanged coolers of milk at a local McDonalds. It felt good knowing my milk would feed another little baby. Mimi had plenty to spare :-)

We spent Saturday and part of Sunday with my husband's grandparents, who are crazy old. His grandfather still maintains the house and garden and cooks and cleans, his grandmother unfortunately is suffering from Alzheimer's and doesn't' take very good care of herself. I don't know how he takes care of himself, the house and her, bless his heart. She is kind of crazy--no joke, but loves seeing us all the same. She remembers us just fine, but forgets what she tells you. No joke, she asked me if I wanted coffee 20 times this morning and told me the same story about their car at least 10 times this weekend. All tha
t being said, they doted on Mimi all weekend, playing with her and talking to her in Italian, so sweet.
We didn't do much while we were there but eat, visit, relax and enjoy the sunshine. For some reason even though it is only 4 hours south, it is so much sunnier and warmer there. I am 150 pages into the fourth twilight book and very disappointed with the section describing their honeymoon--friggin' morons and their watered down love scenes (sorry if you're moron, i mean no harm)! but reading the book was relaxing all the same :-)

On our way home we stopped at IKEA and i'm proud to say that after 3 hours of browsing we only spent 40 dollars! LOL

Luckily our cleaning lady cleaned friday before we left so we came home exhausted to a bleachy clean home.

By the way Courtney------I walked 7.5 miles this week---Not as much as I expected--HOW DID YOU DO!?!??!

I'm pumped for my job interview tomorrow--wish me luck!


Friday, February 19, 2010

Job Interview!! Yeah!

So, to clue you in....I've been in grad school for 6 YEARS! Yes, and 4 years for my bachelor's before that. In the last 10 years i've also bought a house, got married, and had a little fat baby. I'm in the last year of my dissertation funding and no where near actually finishing writing. In August my $$ from the university runs out and I'm pretty sure I won't be graduated yet. With the current economy and the fact that I live in a college town full of educated people who won't leave, the job market SUCKS! So I have started looking for jobs NOW even though I don't really want a job until the summer. I've applied for 5 jobs--two I didn't get, one I haven't heard back from, and one called me today for an interview and even wanted me to come in TODAY! I'm on the phone with the lady, it's 10:00 and i"m still in my pj's with no sign of time for a shower and it's my day home with Mimi. She said "would today be too short of notice?" and I was like "yeah, today won't work...." I don't want to disclose that I have a small child to them..yet. I know what you're thinking--they can't discriminate against me for that--but they can and will and then will claim it is because of something else if they didn't hire me.

Now my dilema---one, I didn't want to start working until summer started, seeing how I"m still teaching and trying to get going on my writing. BUT---with the economy if they are hiring now, I'm afraid if I don't jump on it, I'll be SOL and wondering how I'll pay my mortgage in August.

two---Mimi's daycare only has a partime opening now--so I would have to put her at another daycare for the other three days a week until summer/fall when a fulltime spot opens up--which I don't want to do.

three---this consulting firm has a reputation for abusing their employees (by over working them), and having a high turn around with employees. I've met the women who runs the local branch of it--she seems like she could be a difficult person to work for. I'm hesitant to work for them, but they also pay well and would look great on my resume. If I know the women is a no-nonsense person going in and I just stay out of her way i'll be okay right? Plus---I am going to be very upfront about my availability. The job ad they posted said they wanted a FULLTIME person. When I forwarded my resume to them I was very specific in telling them, "I can only work 20-25 hours a week for now with eventually going fulltime." I will be very clear with them and say, this is what I can do, if this is not what you are looking for DON'T hire me. I don't want to disappoint you later when you expect more and I dont' have more to give.

four--My advisor thinks he's going to pull some magical funding out of his ass to keep me on--with the state of Florida's and the Universities' budget I don't see this happening. He applied for several grants to start a water quality teaching program through new 4 year colleges and wants to hire me to coordinate the program--and pay me--but we'll see if he gets his funding. In the meantime I had to email him and alert him of my interview because they will surely call him as a reference. He will no doubt give me shit about it when I see him. He just needs to understand that supporting my family has to come first. My husband and daughter come before my career.

On a positive note---check out how much fat baby LOVES the swings at the park around the corner!


Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Flaxseed Meal Hypocrite

Ever since I posted my "ugly truth of the post partum belly" video, a few people actually said that I looked good--I think they mean, good for having a a baby--lol...anyway, thanks for the friendly comments you all. Some people have asked me what types of foods I eat. What a loaded question. lol. My husband probably thinks all I eat is chocolate. He sends me over some disapproving looks as I snack on bits of dark chocolate from the freezer. The truth is, there are two Jens.

Jen one eats a pretty healthy, mostly vegetarian diet that is low in sodium, high in fiber and protein, and low in fat. She eats under 2000 calories a day and drinks 3-4 liters of water daily. Jen #1 tracks every calorie she eats on Calorie King Nutrition and Exercise Manager. She aims for:
less than 211 grams of carbs
less than 52 grams of fat
atleast 100 grams of protein
atleast 25 grams of fiber
Less than or equal to 2000 calories daily

Jen two is too busy to eat sometimes and finds herself surviving off of coffee (espresso), flour tortillas with cheese from the microwave, and bits of dark chocolate from the freezer---and I mean every time I pass the freezer. Jen two doesn't drink enough water and tends to eat convenient foods due to her crazy grad student/mom lifestyle. Jen two does not exhibit exemplary behavior.

These days Jen number one is dominating which is a good thing--with the exception of the other night when I ate two hotdogs and a handful of triscuits for dinner as I ran out the door to teach a review session on campus.
Here are a few things that I consistently do or eat.

-I always eat breakfast--and usually a sit down breakfast. It is not unusual for my husband and I to sit down and have toast and eggs 4 days a week. We mostly eat soft-boiled eggs with toast and coffee. It is also not unusual for me to whip out the griddle and make pancakes once a week. We don't eat breakfast meats usually unless it is the weekend (sausage, bacon, ham, etc). We also enjoys bagels, some cereals, oatmeal, and fruit w/yogurt. I don't buy high sugar cereals. We use real butter in moderation and 1% organic milk. I try to eat/drink organic dairy products when possible. I sometimes allow myself 8oz of OJ (with calcium added). I try to avoid any other drinks with sugar though.

-I drink water all day. Sometimes I pee like when I was pregnant, but it's worth it. Drinking more water helps you retain less water, It helps keep my breastmilk supply up, keeps me hydrated, and helps me crave water instead of sugary beverages. I carry a Nalgene water botttle (32 oz) with me all day. It's in the diaper bag, at m
y desk, on my nightstand---you see me, you see my awesome Nalgene. Plus--hello!! Water has NO calories--carry a bottle of water with you or put a case of bottled water by your door---every time you leave grab a bottle and drink it, you'd be surprised how much water you would drink if you made it super convenient.

-I don't buy processed junkfoods. I don't buy (or eat) li
ttle debbie cakes, premade cookies, chips, etc. I would say the exception here is chocolate and icecream. Icecream I can avoid as long as it is not in my house. Chocolate however can not be avoided. You know what happens when I crave chocolate and don't have a little bit
of chocolate bar to nibble on? I make something with chocolate---like the other night when I made 2 dozen chocolate chip muffins at 11pm.

As far as exercise goes, It is so foreign to me right now. I am just now able to start working out again as of last week so I need to make it a habit again. They say if you do something 21 days in a row, it becomes a habit--I'm going to try to schedule 2 days of lap swimming and 3 days of 2-3 mile walks into my week. It's hard after not having exercise as a part of my life due to my knee surgery.

Favorite snack of the moment (inspired this title)
Yogurt with jam and Flaxseed Meal Okay--back story here.....My mother in law pours flaxseed meal on everything---icecream, yogurt, you name it. She probably sprinkles it in her coffee when no one is looking. I used to think it was gross and kind of weird.

Our friend Matt was staying with us for a few months this past fall---he is mr. I joined the gym and have a fancy expensive trainer--so he has stocked up on all this stuff fromt he health food store. When he left--he left a bunch of his stuff in our cup
boards including a giant bag of flaxseed meal. One day I figured what the heck---I took some yogurt (Stonyfield Cream Top Plain (1 cup)), some jam (black current preserves), and some flaxseed meal and mixed it together. Turns out this tasty
snack is only 270 calories but it's full of fiber and protein (Not to mention Omega 3's and Lignans). You could use lowfat or fat free yogurt and lower sugar preserves and it could bring down that calorie intake substantially. I used the full-fat plain because that's what we give Mimi so I had a hug tub of it in the fridge. This snack fills me up and keeps me full for awhile. Sometimes I have it as a snack sometimes as breakfast.

Before you write me comments about "be careful abo
ut limiting calories, you're breastfeeding....blah blah blah" Let me tell you---I eat plenty of food for milk production. At my current sedentary state I only need 1500-1800 to maintain my body weight. I aim for 2000 calories---sometime I go over--but in general, we underestimate our calories by 24% (in my case up to 480 calories0--so I would say I get anywhere from 300-500 extra calories per day. This is perfectly acceptable according to medical evidence.

If you really wanted to know more of what I eat, let me know--but to be perfectly honest--it's not what you eat, but how much you eat when it comes to losing weight. If your only goal is to lose weight, it is as simple as calories in calories out--burn more than you eat. I don't want to just lose weight, I want to be healthy and have a well-balanced diet.

I leave you with a photo of the proud recipient of my high calorie breastmilk :-) Does she look under nourished to you?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Ugly Truth of Post Pregnancy Weight and Body

I'm posting this--even though I'm embarrassed of how I look. I think it's important for moms to know that not all people JUMP back into their prepregnancy clothes/size lickity split post delivery. I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I am dedicated to a healthy lifestyle and getting healthy and fit--not skinny. My goal is to get to 165 lbs, which is the higher end of the doctor suggested weight range for my height and build. I'm not going to be coy and not tell you my acutally weight--I'm putting myself out there.

Lowest weight as an adult over 20 yrs old===170lbs
Highest weight as an adult over 20 yrs old===250 !!!! Highest pants size 18/20! Holy scary
Prepregnancy weight===218 lbs and a size 16
Post pregnancy weight today at 61/2 months post partum==208 lbs and a size 14
Goal weight==165lbs and a size 12

There you go--the ugly truth!

Look at my links on the right to Courtney's blog "Go Team Hale" --Shame on her she doesn't update it more frequently (just kiddin') and also check out her youtube page

Also---Has baby Pile arrived yet!?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dealing with other moms

Today I'm not going to talk about weightloss or what Mimi is up to, etc. Today I'm going to describe the types of moms I've encountered and their associated traits. It's a long blog. Brace yourself. Have you encountered one of these?

The Germaphobe Mother
You've seen her, she is at the playground ready with the wet wipes and the hand sanitizer, ready to swipe up her kid and quarantine him or her from any snot-nosed toddler approaching. She's got the fancy shopping cart cover to avoid contact of her child's skin from the germ-ridden shopping cart. She avoids public play areas like plague. She swears off all pets and the idea of a dog licking her makes her clothes her eyes and wish for her happy place. Her house has a faint smell of bleach and lysol. There is hand sanitizer dispenser scattered throughout her home. If your child mouths her child's toys, watch out, you're on the no play date list.

Okay okay--this is a little extreme. But the overly germ cautious thing does get annoying. Don't get me wrong, I own a shopping cart cover, I regularly wash may hands just because and I carry hand sanitizer. I wash my daughters toys periodically. I'm a clean person. But you have to realize that kids are dirty little creatures. They're going to come in contact with other dirty little creatures (other kids) and eat dirt, and play with dirt. They will eat things they find on the floor before you even notice. And yes, occasionally they will pet the dog and...OH MY GOD...get dog hair on them. It's good to be a little extra cautious, especially with the extra fun flus flying around this year---but dont' be a shut-in swearing off playdates, or worse not getting invited because you smell of hand sanitzer.

The Helicopter Mother
My friend Grace told me that the people at her daycare call her this. I personally don't think she's what I will describe---but she wouldn't care even If I did, lol. What is the helicopter mom? She's the one who doesn't trust ANYBODY...period. She'll hire a babysitter and ask for fingerprints. She'll install Nanny cams throughout her house and attach a GPS tracking device to her toddler's shoe. She cuts her child's food up into tiny pieces until they're 5. She'll stick around the daycare 30 minutes after dropping off her kid, call 10 times throughout the day, and gets there to pick her child up early to get a full report on everything her kid did that entire day. Including the number of minutes he/she played and slept, the number of spoonfuls he/she ate, the approximately number of sips from a sippy cup. Lastly, the helicopter mom lets her fear of her kid falling impede normal motor development. She is hesitant to let her child move unassisted or without a room full of down pillows surrounding him/her. Let me tell you, we have tile in our entire house with small throw rugs in the bedrooms (mostly because the floors are cold), and Mimi rolls around and has never smashed her head on the floor, either on purpose or by mistake. I regularly let her play on a quilt on the floor surrounded by toys as I do laundry, cook and clean.

Okay--so maybe you're reading this thinking---Jen you're an awful parent if you dont' do all these things!----I think all of us have some of the helicopter mom in us--or atleast we should. I hired a babysitter through I checked her references, I interviewed her (and 3 others as well) for about an hour, I had all the sitters come for a "test run." Occasionally I come home early unannounced to see what's going on. I ask the sitter when she last ate and slep, but other than that, I trust my judgement. I am comfortable with this person. I rarely call her or my daycare provider during the day to check in unless I'm missing Mimi really bad and just want to see what she's up to. I am a little biased for 2 reasons. One, I grew up in small-town America and tend to be more trusting than the average person (which can be a bad thing), however my husband balances out my instant trust, he grew up in a city. Two, I have know my daycare provider for 6 years on a social level, so taking Mimi to her daycare was no problem at all.

I let Mimi touch our dog Buddy, and Buddy inevitably finds Mimi (and her graham crackers) and sneaks a kiss in there. I don't freak out--I tell the dog "no kisses" and I wipe her hands and face off. Don't be the aloof mom who lets her kid take nose-dive on the playground into the mulch, followed by a trip to the ER, but let your kid grow and explore a little bit. Be diligent in investigating your daycare provider, but if you choose to trust them, trust them and back off a little, no one will take of your child like you will, but when we're not there we just need them to be healthy, protected and happy.

The Prada Mom
I think the title explains it all. I think my husband wishes I was more like the prada mom. The mom who always looks put together, wearing heals and having flat-ironed hair. Never frazzled, always showered, even looks hot leaving the gym. These moms tend to equally stylish infants and children. I stare at these moms, while I am in jeans too big for me because I have no time to even shop for myself, I"m probably wearing a t-shirt without even realizing there is baby puke on my shoulder. Mimi's diaper bag is my purse--and not a glamorous one at that. I haven't had a haircut since November. In effort to try to transform me into less of frumpy mom my husband took me to DSW the other day and made me try on stylish heals. He then let me buy any makeup I wanted from Ulta. I guess I shouldn't criticize this mom--but wonder how to be her lol! I think if you look hard enough, you'll see that the Prada mom has a nanny in tow as well as her stylish children! lol

The Smug Mom
This type of mom was my inspiration for this blog entry. I am damn SICK of these moms. This type has many sub-categories which can include:

The breastfeeding Nazi
The "I'm nicer to the environment" cloth diapering mom
The "I only use organic food/cotton/bedding/toys/etc" mom (including the "I ONLY make my own baby food" mom)
The "oh I would never leave my child at a daycare" mom

I'm so sick of encountering these moms. All of us moms have different situations in life we have to deal with. Let's start with me, I will tell you why I am the mom I am.

I breastfeed. No, i'm not a nazi. I don't judge moms who bottle feed or use formula. I am an advocate for breastmilk. I am proud of breastfeeding and plan on doing so until my child is 12 months, or self wean earlier, but I am kind of ashamed to admit that the price of formula factors into my decision to continue nursing. I love nursing my child, it soothes her, nourishes her, boosts my immune system, helps me lose weight, and saves our family 20 dollars a week in formula. Mimi gets bottles with my breastmilk in it. If you have been able to "exclusively nurse" with no bottles or pacifier, all the power to you, that's now for me, I enjoy my temporary breaks from my daughter to go out for a night with my husband or friends, or go to the gym. That doesn't make me a bad mom. It makes me a sane mom.

I use disposable diapers. I have an environmental science background, I realize disposable diapers are not ideal for the environment. I know that cloth can be better in some cases for children with skin allergies and sensitive skin. I use disposable for two reasons--the convenience and the amount of water, energy, and time it takes to properly launder cloth diapers. I'm not opposed to cloth--I guess I would need some convincing to switch over at this point. I'm not saying my reasons for using disposable are all good reasons, but this is a choice I have made as a mother and citizen of the earth that I accept. Please do not look down your nose at me and think I am a horrible person/mother for not using cloth. There are plenty of decisions we make that others don't agree with--I'm sure I could find something that you do that I disagree with, but I'm not pointing my green finger at you making you feel awful. Back off cloth diapering mom!

Organic food. God, there are millions of baby food cookbooks and reference books about going green, making your own baby food. About us.... I make my own baby food and have since Mimi was 4 months. Most of my food is organic, but not all. I try to buy organic foods if the fruit/vegetable is thin-skinned, like apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, etc. Root vegetables and thicker-skinned veggies I will buy non-organic. I try to buy what is in season, but right now for example it is winter and peas are not in season, so I bought frozen organic peas, and I didn't lose any sleep over it. I let Mimi eat teether biscuits and graham crackers--oh my god i"m going to hell for giving my child a processed food. And the ultimate sin----yes, Mimi has had jarred food. She gets jarred food when we travel and 2 days a week at the daycare. It's organic jarred food (Earth's Best), but jarred all the same. I know, horrible mom right? Let's be realistic--feeding your kids junk is poor parenting, feeding your kid food from a jar is not poor parenting. Yes, I make my own (most of the time), but I don't fret if she gets jarred pears every now and again. Stop looking down your nose at me, Mrs. "I ONLY use fresh homemade organic babyfood."

Ah--the "I would never use daycare mother..."
About me---I have been in college for 10 years---yes 10 years, almost three degrees, and I am proud to be an intelligent and working mother. I love my job, I love to leave my home and be intellectually stimulated by others in my field. Does this make me a bad mom that, economicaside, I would choose to be outside the home? Right now I stay home with Mimi for economic reasons--fulltime daycare is EXPENSIVE. At first, before I had Mimi, I was content with the idea that she may go to daycare at 2 or 3 months old. Looking back, I don't think I could have done it. I LOVED being home with Mimi her first 5 months. In 5 months I wasn't away from her for more than 5 hours. The first day she was at daycare all day I cried, I missed her so much. Now, I enjoy working three days. I enjoy the days I am at my office interacting with other and non in sweats cleaning my house with baby puke on me--but I also enjoy the other 4 days when I AM at home usually in sweats or gym shorts, playing on the floor and talking to my little girl all day :-) In 6 months, I will have to work fulltime due to economic reasons, but I think I'll be ready, and I think Mimi will be a happy well-adjusted and loved child, whether she spends her days at a daycare or home with her mom. Don't judge other mothers for choosing to work. And don't generalize about stay at home mom's and think "what must they do all day?" Staying at home fulltime with Mimi was the hardest job I ever had.

I'm tired of writing and Mimicans is crying in her crib now--must go

Friday, February 5, 2010