Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hip-Baby Mama's Meatballs

For the first time in my life, I'm taking a stay-cation. I have a whole work-week of family-bonding. By today, I was a bit board. I don't have all of the Christmas toys to entertain me like my daughter does. If I chose to play with my presents like a child, I'd have to explain why I was rolling around in the 8 new pairs of underwear I got and I just don't feel as though I have to justify it. So I cooked.
I made some delicious meatballs and I'm happy to share the how-to.

Ingredients
2 lbs of assorted ground meat. Today I used 1 lb. of ground beef (NOT LEAN), 1/2 lb of hot Italian pork sausage and 1/2 lb of turkey.
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs (Keep the can handy in case your mixture gets too moist)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (You can use the good refrigerated stuff or the Kraft can)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
5 cloves of garlic, minced
Assorted herbs to taste. You can use fresh or dried. I used dried basil, oregano, rosemary and parsley flakes. If it was summertime, I'd probably just use fresh oregano and fresh basil. (I had a very slim window for cooking today due to L.E.'s nap time)
Salt, pepper and a dash of crushed red pepper


1. Wash your hands. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray with olive oil cooking spray

3. Place meat in the bowl and set on counter. I like to let it warm up for about 20 minutes or so. You're going to be mixing with your hands and meat is rather cold.

4. Add ingredients in the order listed. Mix with both hands. Put your back into it! Really squeeze it through your palms. You want your mixture to be moist but still able to hold its shape. If you use too many bread crumbs and it seems dry, add another egg to it.

5. Rinse your hands under warm running water (I'm not sure while I'm telling you this because your hands will be so cold by now that you'll be doing this yourself.)

My oven is from 1953.
6. Start rolling! I try to keep the size a bit larger than a golf ball. Using this amount of ingredients, you'll end up with about 30 meatballs.

7. Once all of your balls are rolled, *snicker* bake for 20 minutes. Word of caution: if you used pork sausage or greater-than-85%-lean beef, you will have greasy balls. *double snicker*
Meatballs are done when the outsides are just beginning to brown. You don't want to over-bake them. They're going to be finished in sauce, anyway.


They're not so pretty now but still taste delicious.
8. While the meatballs are in the oven, heat some marinara sauce in a large saucepan. If you want to make homemade, you can't go wrong with Giada. Otherwise, you can use my secret weapon. (No judging; we're busy people!)

Tasty!


9. Put the cooked meatballs into the sauce and simmer. Once the sauce is hot, your balls are ready to eat. You can either serve them with a side of pasta or melt provolone over them and make a tasty meatball sandwich. Don't forget the bread and wine.

Enjoy!

We ate before I could get a photo so I stole this nicely-styled one from Gourmet.com







Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'Tis the Season

Really, does Christmas need to mean anything more than a leg lamp?
I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. I love the hustle and bustle as much as I hate the hustle and bustle. I never understand why people put so much pressure on themselves and then I turn into one of them. But this year I've realized that while I'm not the homemade-cookies-and-crafts kind of person, I have a giving spirit. And that's what this season means to me: giving what I can to those I love and even to those I don't know. Christmas is also about tradition; creating new ones while embracing the old.
While I apologize for compiling yet another list, I really want to write about what the holiday season means to me.

  • Eat N Park commercials
  • The memories of my sister and I sliding down the steps on our stomachs in our Winnie-the-Pooh footie pajamas, after waiting what seemed to be hours for Dad to get the video camera set up. It was later in life that we figured out he was moving so slowly because of how hungover he was from his cousin's annual Christmas Eve party the night before.
  • My mom's meticulously decorated home, which would put Martha Stewart to shame.
  • The tacky decorations that still found their way into Mom's meticulously decorated home.
Yes, please get her more Christmas candles.

  • My first Christmas presents from T: A pair of Dr. Marten boots and and giant stuffed dolphin. I still have them.
  • Exchanging gifts with my girlfriends over a fabulous dinner and wine.
  • Singing along to Christmas songs in the car, especially "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer."
  • My sister and I putting on a hilarious performance of the "Twelve Days of Christmas" complete with full-body interpretive dance. Grandma was so patient in watching the whole thing. Every. Single. Year.
  • The 30-person Christmas dinners which would culminate in several hours worth of Left, Right, Center until Pap would yell we were keeping him awake. ("Jesus Christ, what's the matter with you people?! It's 3:00 in the goddamn morning!")
  • This video
  • Appreciating Hanukkah
  • Coming home to packages on my doorstep
  • Holiday sales.
  • FaceTime with L.E.'s super-awesome godparents
  • Prime rib, manicotti and shrimp scampi for Christmas dinner.
  • Chinese food for Christmas Eve lunch or dinner.
  • Driving across town to see Christmas lights.
  • Dressing L.E. in ridiculous holiday garb.

  • Santa pictures!
  • Taking candy and cookies to work so I don't eat it all myself.
  • Feeling comfortable enough in my own skin to know that I am going to spend the entire month of December eating with reckless abandon and not feeling guilty about it.
  • A blizzard of wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and bags.
  • Singing along in church.
  • Wishing for snow.
  • A haphazardly decorated Christmas tree without breakable ornaments (New this year!)
I can't reach!


  • Christmas socks
  • Crying to Christmas songs in the car, especially "Christmas in Canon D".
  • Holiday-themed potholders and dish towels.
  • Keeping seasonal affective disorder at bay.
  • Using the "good" china.
  • All of my obnoxious singing/dancing decorations.
  • 24 hours of "A Christmas Story".
  • Holiday episodes of TV shows. (Last year's Community was epic. And let's not forget Festivus!)
  • Establishing new traditions with my little family.
  • Feeling guilty we won't see our parents but knowing we'll see them in a few months.
  • Giving to those who are less fortunate and promising to do so throughout the year.
  • Believing in Santa.
  • Loving my family and friends more than I could ever dream possible.
It's your turn now. What does the holiday season mean to you?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Random Musings (Because I'm Sick and Can't Stop the Brain Drain)

I can't seem to string too many coherent thoughts together so I just decided to write about all of them.


• How am I sick again? I just got over a cold a week ago only to wake up with an even worse one today. All three of us are fountains of snot. If I knew then what I know now, I would have invested in the company that makes Mucinex.

• Last night, I dreamt Pap came home at 1 am and was peeing with the bathroom door open. Then he wanted me to leave him my car so he could meet me for lunch at the salad bar around the corner. I’m not one for dream interpretation so any insight anybody was would be great. It was nice seeing him again, but I could have done without the open-door peeing.

• Yesterday, we went to the first birthday party for my friend S’s daughter. I was nervous about going because my friend is part of a very close-knit group of girls who all went to college together. I always feel like an outsider in this group, not because of any outward cattiness but because of my own insecurity. Also, there was an incident at S’s baby shower where I accidentally smacked L.E.’s head off of a doorway while trying to prevent dogs from escaping. Needless to say, I felt pretty judged then. So I was pleasantly surprised by the number of S’s friends who said they enjoyed reading my blog. Due to the low self-esteem I’ve written about ad nauseam, I’m always so excited when someone acknowledges they read this. So for that, I say Thanks, ladies!

• It’s the season of giving but I can’t seem to stop giving myself things. My favorite retailers have sales that are too good to pass up!

• Last week, I started a Twitter page for the mouse we found behind the garbage can at work. He had 12 followers within 2 hours, before I freaked out and shut the account down. I'd forgotten to get any sort of permission from the higher-ups about using the company name on a Twitter handle. Lesson learned.

• We’re traveling with L.E. in the spring and I’m nervous about it. Anyone have experience with giving a toddler Benadryl while flying? Does it work? Should my parenting be questioned because I’m considering drugging my child for long-distance travel?

• Sites I like: 
STFU, Parents (Even though I fear I’ll end up on there some day)
Joel Stein's Babble Blog

• L.E. pointed at Tina Fey on 30 Rock the other night and said, "Mommy!" It made me feel so good because I feel like Tina and I would be best buds if we ever met. I loved her book so much; it's the only book I've ever finished and immediately went back to page one.
It just goes to show that if you have thick dark hair, glasses and talk about food a lot, you can be just like Tina! (Minus the $13 million yearly salary that she pretends she doesn't make)

• There was a 5K today that I could have ran but I've regressed and got stuck on week 5 of the program. And because I keep getting sick, I'll probably have to go back as far as week 3 to get back into it. Ugh.

• I’m typing this on my work laptop because my desktop is tied up with the radio broadcast of the Steeler game. So this blog post shouldn’t go towards the advance I’m going to get when I finally get a book deal.

• Yes, a book deal. Next week I’ll finish my degree in social media marketing. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to use what I’ve learned to build my online “brand” and eventually get the book deal I keep hoping for. I’ve wanted to be a writer my whole life. I’m forever grateful for the invention of the internet, otherwise I would have never written a word.

• L.E.’s godparents are visiting in March for her 2nd birthday. I am so excited! But it’s around that time L.E. goes in for her hip x-rays . I keep hoping and praying everything works out but I still worry, too. Going back to my previous thought, for now my online "brand" is Hip-baby Mama. It's a cute nickname; but it's a no-brainer to say that I would trade that in a second and start over completely for L.E. to have normal hips at her next checkup.

With that, I'm signing off to go chug more purple drank. My next post will be about the recent baby bans in restaurants and movie theaters. Look for that one soon!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giving Thanks

Just a few things L.E. is thankful for.

It's that time of year where you enjoy your family and friends and count your blessings. Or air your grievances, depending on what holiday you celebrate. I see a lot of negativity in my social networks and I want to break the cycle by posting something positive. Who knows, maybe it will be infectious and people will realize how good they have it.
It's now day four of Thanksgiving weekend so I've taken some time over the last few days to really think about what I have to be thankful for. Sure, there's the obvious: my beautiful L.E., my amazing now-Dr. husband, my dog who still wags his tail in a circle...but I have so much more than that.
I've been taking classes to get my degree in social media and my assignment this week is to generate content. The instructor presented 52 ideas for generating content, one of which is to make a best-of list. So here it is:

Things for Which I'm Thankful, Including the Three I've Already Mentioned


• L.E. for giving me reasons to laugh hysterically every day. She learned how to say, "I pooped!" but never says it in context. The second she sees anything football-related, she says, "Touchdown! Go Steelers!" which is her first real sentence. She fights with Porter over cookies; sometimes she lets him win. She carried the Costco-sized carton of Goldfish down the hall so she could eat just one. Her newest obsession is brushing her teeth. She likes to suck on her toes. She is the most wonderful and amazing person I've ever known, hips and all. I wouldn't change a thing about her.

• T, of whom I can't be more proud. He finished his PhD while dealing with my pregnancy, new baby,  finding a camper van so we would camp more comfortably, finishing the basement, having dinner on the table every night, all while still working his full-time job and not neglecting his family. The man deserves a medal. Seriously, all that and he cooks, too! I love him as my husband but I like him even more as my friend.

• My dog, Porter. He's awesome. Smelly, but awesome.

• My friends. In particular, my friend M who invited me to spend Thanksgiving with her family and encourages me to wear "eating pants." She made me a pumpkin roll because I not-so-subtly demanded it. She gives me the best advice like, "Of course you should get T an iPad! It's like getting one for yourself."
My BFF C also "gets" me in the best way possible. Like when she offered to pick me up for a girls' night out and told me I was going to have to put out a little. I went over to help her move and I didn't have to lift a finger because I brought sandwiches. We go to dinner and stuff our faces but still get dessert.
(Yes, all of my friends really do understand my obsession with food)
I'm thankful for L.E.'s godmother E because she's always just a phone call away when I need her. She listens to me cry and complain with the patience of a saint. I miss her terribly.
And all of my friends who have been there for us through everything, I thank you. I wasn't the easiest new-mom to deal with and it took me a while to feel like myself again. I appreciate everyone who stood by me and supported me when I needed it the most. I wish I could name you all here, but the initial thing would get really confusing since I know so many S's, M's and J's. I love you all.
Lastly for the friends category, thanks for reading this blog and for not judging me to my face.

• My sister who had a rough year in her own right. I hope she knows she's the best auntie a little girl could ask for. I hope she feels better soon or else she's getting a designer babushka for Christmas.

• My mom and dad. They're nuts but they still make me laugh and are truly amazing grandparents. They spoil their only granddaughter rotten, as they should. I'm confused by it. These are the same people who forced me to play sports, which I did horribly, but would never dream of making L.E. do something she doesn't want to do. No, I'm not bitter. That's what therapy is for.
L.E. will grab my phone and demand we call Gndma and Bap Bap just to say hi so they're definitely making an impression on her. She's lucky to have them as am I.

• Jeans with built-in stretch.

• The small businesses who served champagne at 6 am on Black Friday.

• The $5 bill I found in the bottom of my purse.

Mindy Kaling's book

• My Kindle Fire so I can read books again.

• The giant deep-fryer we still have set up in the backyard so we can play, "Can you deep-fry a whole chicken? Can you deep-fry potatoes? Can you deep-fry *insert delicious food here*?"

• My cleaning service.

• Still trying to keep my Couch-to-5k goal.

• My job. I like going to work every day. And I like being in a creative field.

• The people who judge me. You make me strive to be a better parent and person.

• Sunny days in November

• The things you're supposed to be thankful for: running water, heat, pillows, cheese, free WiFi, etc.

• American Horror Story, which is pretty much the only TV show I look forward to every week.

• The fact that it's 1:00 pm and I'm still in my PJs.

• Facials.

• L.E's little friends who make playdates so much fun!

• L.E.'s little friends' moms who make playdates so much fun!

• The Muppets.

• Proofreading.

• The Christmas season. It is what you make it. Some people see it as consumer-driven commercialism. You should enjoy it for what it really is. I see it as an excuse to listen to Dean Martin and eat your weight in cookies while getting freaked out by claymation masterpieces.
Terrifying.
So there you have it. Not very succinct but brevity isn't one of my strengths. Seasons Greetings!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Is TV really that bad?

Now that you mention it, it does look a tad devilish...
I thought we were above this. I thought L.E. was going to be the same kind of quasi-nerdy bookworm I am. She would plie T and I with every book from her shelf in the mornings, demanding we read just one more. Those days are gone. The tales of Curious George, Harry the Dirty Dog and Pete the Cat have been replaced by the evil flat-panel on the wall: TV.
Instead of plopping Baby's First 100 Animals on our laps, L.E. brings the remote. "Babba. Babba. BABBA!!!" which means, "Turn on Yo Gabba Gabba or I will REALLY make your life miserable. I have ways of screaming you haven't even heard yet!" So we relent. Just one episode, just a taste. Next thing you know, she's four episodes in and dancey-dancing until her legs fall off. We really try to keep it limited but at the same time, we're busy people and sometimes letting her watch her favorite show is easier when we're trying to get ready in the morning, get her lunch going, do housework, etc. I'm not using TV as a babysitter; more like TV is the friendly neighbor who stopped by for a cup of coffee and also happens to be the equivalent of a vaudeville entertainer. It makes her happy. And we really do limit it to just Yo Gabba and Sesame Street. Unless the Steelers are on TV... or any football game...
So is it really so bad that she loves TV? Didn't we all grow up loving TV? I can't remember a time in my life when TV wasn't a part of it. Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, G.I. Joe, The Smurfs, Bugs Bunny, The Golden Girls, The Facts of Life, The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Friends, Seinfeld, Wings, 90210 (the original), The Simpsons...my sister and I used to skip Sunday night church and go watch The Simpsons at our old babysitter's house. (Sorry, Dad). T and I would have weekly viewing nights for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and South Park. TV was and is a huge part of our lives.
 I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person; I'm a college graduate. My husband has his PhD. The TV in our home is turned on every day. I cannot name a single Real Housewife and think the Kardashians are the most boring people on the planet. I'm pretty selective on what reality shows I watch (mostly the ones with food in them.)  
Try to remember the last time you didn't have access to a TV. Chances are you were camping and pretty miserable.
Stefanie Wilder-Taylor describes "New Mommy Math" in her book Naptime is the New Happy Hour. If any mom says her child only watches one hour of educational TV a day, add two more hours to that. If she says her child watches zero TV, add six hours. It's amazing to me that we've been reduced to lying about something that is ubiquitous in every sense of the word.
The AAP recommends zero TV for children under two. They say talking, singing and reading to your child is far more important. I agree to a point. I would love nothing more than to sing to L.E. all day but being that I have just about the worst singing voice ever, I don't think she'd appreciate it that much. But Elmo singing about how much he loves his tricycle is just the thing for her. We still read to her as much as we can, which is seriously like ten books a day. (No New Mommy Math here!) But she loves to learn in as many different ways she can. Why isn't TV an acceptable learning tool? 
L.E. goes to a wonderful preschool where she learns an incredible amount every day. She tells me what she's learned that day and we keep the conversation going when she's at home. She knows her animals and her favorite foods. She even remembers her friends' names when they're not around. She sings about Five Little Monkeys and Little Bunny Foo-Foo (complete with bops on the head) and even does the appropriate arm movements. She dances her little heart out any chance she gets. She'll throw her arms up at me and we dance the sillies out together. 
But she didn't learn how to dance at daycare; that she learned from TV. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Things Have Changed, But Not Really

She's more fun every day. Except for the full-body-plank tantrums.
(Nice photo, huh?)
I know I've spoken a lot about how my life has changed since becoming a parent. It may seem like overkill to write about it yet again but I think my soul is having this huge growth spurt and I want to get this out. Bear with me. If you're bored already, here's a funny video* to occupy your time.
I think what's strange right now is that I've had a few friends become parents in the last few weeks and they're looking to me (ME?) for advice.
How did I become such an expert? I guess if you use my logic, anyone who has been a parent a day longer than you have is someone whose brain needs picked. It's funny what I get asked, too. Nothing profound like what sleep-training method I used (the one where your own crying drowns out the sound of your baby's.)  Mostly, what restaurants are the most baby-friendly on a Friday night (any Mexican or pizza place, non-chain) and how quickly do the regular Gymboree clothes make it to the outlet (a full year) and where would you recommend for take-out (Miguels, Bangkok Thai, Clary's, Joe Bob's Chicken Palace, PF Changs, Kebab and Curry.) I still get appalled looks when I talk about L.E.'s TV watching (it's like an hour a day but she knows her favorite shows by name) and when she yells "Touchdown" even though there isn't a football game in sight. So it's not like I'm being held in uber-high-regard. I'm just a realist and I think my close friends know this and know they can rely on me to be honest about my experiences.
I'm not a perfect parent by any means. But I've reached the point where I know what my daughter needs and more often than not can meet those needs. There's not much I don't have in my trendy Coach diaper bag. Food, diapers, wipes snacks, stuffed Olivia the pig, books, extra clothes, bibs, spoons, etc etc. I used to be able to carry the smallest purse imaginable but now I'm practically armed with her royal highness' matched luggage when I leave the house. I always have exactly what she needs, including a steady supply of cheddar cheese Goldfish. (OK, those are for me.) It's crazy how at-the-ready I am now when I've left the house wearing two different shoes before and didn't realize it till lunchtime.
I've found myself between these two worlds of being completely mature and responsible while acting like a total kid again. I'm drawn to news headlines about horrible things happening to kids and families instead of reading celebrity gossip and horoscopes. I sometimes cry while I read, even when the stories have happy outcomes.
My diet more closely resembles that of a toddler than a grown woman. Salad? No, thank you. Chicken fingers? Yes, please.
My DVR is loaded with episodes of Sesame Street, Yo Gabba Gabba and whatever the latest Pixar movie is. I watch them even when L.E. isn't in the room. (Toy Story 3 is one of the best movies I've ever seen.)
I borrow L.E.'s hair clips because she just pulls them out anyway. How often do you see a 35 29-year-old woman wear a cupcake barrette? I mean one who doesn't work in childcare? I've fully immersed myself in the world of mommy-hood and it's still something I can't believe I've actually done.
I'm raising a pretty sweet little kid. L.E. may not speak full sentences yet but she knows "Please" and "Thank You," which I think are the most important words to know. She's been on-track developmentally in all aspects. But she decided to go ahead-of-the-curve on something: The Terrible Twos. Let me be the first to tell you that they don't start at two. It's more like 15 months. One day my sweet adorable baby girl who was the epitome of giggly-ness threw herself on the floor in a rage when I wouldn't give her more fruit snacks (OK, fine they were gummy bunnies) after the three packages she ate. As I picked her up, she partook in the craze that swept the nation and internet this summer: planking. Yes, holding a 23-lb screeching, planking, kicking toddler has become the workout-du-jour. My arms are nicely developing some definition among the bruises. Fortunately, she is easily distracted so the tantrums aren't lasting too long. Heaven help me if I don't have a book of animals in my pocket at all times.
So the best advice I can give to new parents is just roll with the punches, both the figurative and literal. Being a parent is the best thing and the hardest thing ever all tied up in an adorable little bundle of coos and screeches. Once that kid knows who you are and looks at you like you just won the Super Bowl for them, it makes the sleepless nights and bodily-fluid explosions so worthwhile.

Oh, and I know I have managed to complete this entire post without mentioning T once. He has been right there beside me every step of the way on this parenting journey. So if you could go back and read this again,  anywhere I say "I", just substitute a "we"so he doesn't feel badly. Maybe except for the part about the cupcake barrette...


*I've loved this video since it came out. I recommend watching the full length version if you can. I admire the filmmaker's uncanny ability to exploit his child so well, cigarettes, booze and all!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Hip-Baby Mama Still

Hip X-ray. 9-26-11. The bones are growing at a straight angle instead of a curve.
L.E. had her 18-month hip check-up. The news wasn't the happy promising "everything looks great" I was expecting. Where the tops of L.E.'s bones should be growing at a curve, they're actually a straight angle. Dr. P. said that if that is still the case in 6 months at her 2-year checkup, we're looking at surgery to correct it followed by 6 weeks in casts.
To say this was a devastating blow is an understatement. I thought we were in the clear; I genuinely believed the worst part of L.E.'s DDH was over and she would continue to grow and be active. Dr. P. assured me that it's better to handle it when she's little or else she would need hip replacements in her 30s. I totally agree that we need to fix sooner rather than later. But the thought of trying to keep my happy, ACTIVE, toddler confined to casts is a lot to handle.
I don't really see any other course of action for the next 6 months except for hoping everything turns out OK while expecting it not to. There are a bunch of preparations we'll have to make. I don't see how I could leave L.E. in daycare while she's in casts. It would be too hard for her to see the other kids running and playing while her mobility will be so limited. Plus, there's a trick to diapering that I'm not sure I would want  to burden her daycare-givers with.
I've had a bit to digest it all and honestly, L.E. deserves better than to have a mom who's reduced to tears every time she looks at her daughter. So I'm staying strong and brave for her. We have so much fun together and I don't want that to change for a second.
T. is in his last month of working on his PhD. dissertation. So there have been a lot of long nights at work for him while I maintain the household. It's like being a single mom! But the quality time I've had with L.E. is worth it, despite the Whole Foods meltdowns and projectile vomiting. She's my little sweetheart. Every day I pick her up from school and she yells, "Mommy!" and runs to me for a big hug. That justifies everything in my book. She is so sweet and funny. She loves to show you where her belly is. And she loves to show you where YOUR belly is which is kind of embarrassing at parties.
Her vocabulary is exploding. She knows all of her favorite animals and food. She learned "pizza" and "cupcake" the other day. Yes, my child for sure.
So despite the anxiety, I have six months before I really have to start freaking out. I plan on enjoying L.E. as she is and not worry about the future. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime, we shall swing.
WHEEEEEEE!!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Random Musings and Couch-to-5k Update

Get yours at hipdysplasia.org
Wow, it's the end of September already! Nothing like a slew of parental visits to really make time go fast. First up was T's Dad GG. He had a great time reading to L.E. And reading. And reading. I'm pretty sure all of her books are memorized now. Next up was twio weeks with my parents. They cleaned my house from top to bottom, including our cars. They also had a great time reading to L.E. Her vocabulary has absolutely exploded during these visits! She can name countless animals and foods. We're working on other things like transportation and parts of the house but as far as I'm concerned, her knowing "fish" as both an animal and food is just fine by me.
I got off track with running during the visits. I went 4 full days this week without a run and I thought it would have been way worse when I got back into it. Surprisingly, I didn't pass out on the side of the jogging trail like I thought i would! I'm doing surprisingly well. I can do the week 4 program just fine: 5-minute warmup walk; 3-minute run; 90-second walk; 5-minute run; 2-minute walk; REPEAT; 5-minute cooldown. It's about 2-1/2 miles total. I've lost 7 lbs. I know, right?
I love this time of year because it's the start of football season. Unfortunately, it's hard to take an 18-month-old out to watch a game because it's usually during her naptime. Also, she's not content to just sit and watch giant TVs anymore. A lot's changed between this year and last. Last year, my 6-month-old baby girl would doze contentedly during the games. Now, she has to run around everywhere. Plus, you get a lot of dirty looks when you're THAT family. It's not like we take her to dive bars; we aim for the restaurants that happen to have a lot of TVs and preferably show the Steelers at full volume. But I'm actually OK with staying home on Sundays. My new thing is shower-free Sundays. Let the natural oils replenish! (Actually, I'm just feeling really lazy today.)
This is also the time of year when I get really ambitious and attempt to be crafty. I'm working on a book of photos from L.E.'s recent photo shoot. I also want to do something fun and creative for Halloween. I'm sure I won't do either but it's nice to have goals.
Tomorrow, L.E. has her 18-month hip checkup. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't terrified. We ran into Dr. P. at the new kids' museum in town. He was in good spirits and acknowledged that we'd be seeing him soon. He said she looks good but really, why wouldn't he say that when she's wrestling for control of a fake airplane with his daughter?
I want her to be OK. But I'm mentally preparing myself for all of the changes that would take place should she need surgery and casts. It breaks my heart to think of my active little toddler being sidelined for a few weeks. She loves to run and jump! But I'm hoping for the best. I got my Healthy Hips 4 Life bracelet on to help with the good vibes. Plus I know our family and friends are all pulling for us.
Kind of a boring post but in a way, I'm playing catch-up with myself. I've neglected myself lately; I desperately need a haircut and I wouldn't say no to a mani/pedi. My fall wardrobe is sorely lacking in the long-sleeves department. (Guess I shouldn't have purged winter stuff in the middle of summer.) I'm still not drinking as much as I used to, despite my parents being here for two weeks. That may contribute to the weightloss, too. I need some new jeans.
Oh, and I haven't had chicken wings in what seems like months. Guess what's for dinner tonight?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I swore I’d be different.

When I found out I was pregnant with L.E., I immediately did what most parents-to-be do: I categorically made a mental list of all of the things my child would or wouldn’t do because I’m going to be such an awesome and progressive parent. In honor of that list, and as a tribute to a few of my friends who are about to embark on their own parenthood journey, I bring you my What I Swore list:

What I Swore

I swore I would curb my pregnancy cravings and only gain the minimum amount of weight.
Gained 60 lbs.

I swore I would have a natural birth with no interventions unless medically necessary.
Scheduled c-section.

I swore she would breastfeed with little effort on my part.
Trouble breastfeeding.

I swore she would sleep through the night right away.
Sleep has been hard-fought.

I swore our television would remain OFF while she’s in the room.
Sesame Street and Yo Gabba Gabba may actually teach her things that I can’t.

I swore she'd be so happy that she would never cry or throw tantrums.
The terrible twos may have started early.

I swore a binky would not be used. Once I caved, I swore a binky would only be used at night.
Binky addicts need a support group.

I swore she wouldn't eat sand.
I swore she would occasionally fall asleep on the floor of our living room, surrounded by all of her toys with a soft smile on her face.
 I should be so lucky to have her arbitrarily fall asleep.

I swore she wouldn’t be a picky eater because her parents love food so much.
One day she ate nothing but puffies and M&Ms.

I swore she would never eat French fries.
She's eaten French fries plenty.

I swore one of her first words would be Porter.
Her first word was uh-oh, followed by baby; she says dug for Porter; she can say Melmo but not Mommy

I swore she would love stuffed animals, especially Frank the Frog.
She’s indifferent to Frank the Frog. 

I swore I would quit buying stuffed animals when I realized she rarely plays with them.
She got two at the Portland Zoo this past weekend.

I swore that her nose would rarely be a river of snot because of how diligently I would wipe it.
Her nose is a constant river of snot and there aren’t enough boogie wipes in the world for her.

I swore she would love hats and hair bows.
 She hates hats and hair bows. 

I swore I wouldn’t give her any processed food.
She loves Kraft mac & cheese.

I swore we would do Mommy & Me classes regularly and swimming lessons from 6 months on.
Who knew those classes can cost $100 a month or more? 

I swore she would only drink filtered or bottled water.
 I’ve caught her drinking out of the dog’s bowl. 

I swore I wouldn't tell stories about her poop.
One day, she ate nothing but blueberries for a day and her poop was blue.

I swore I wouldn't dress her in onesies that have ironic, poop-based sayings on them.
She has a onesie that says, "I'm going green. (in my diaper.)" 

I swore I wouldn't exploit her for the sake of my own gain.
By reading this blog, you are helping with my exploitation and you should call up your editor friend at Random House or Penguin and tell them I need a book deal. 

I swore I would lose the baby weight before her first birthday.
My fatitude has been well-documented on this blog. 

I swore being a working mom would be easy like it is on TV.
It's like having TWO full-time jobs; stay-at-home moms just have one. 

I swore hearing her laugh would be the greatest sound ever.
One promise kept is better than none.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Couch to 5K

My Week Two look of despair matches Homer's


So I started running.
I haven't done any solid running in well over a decade. (Unless you count running from the cops but I am still maintaining my innocence.) Even then I would get bored after a week. This time is different. I set a realistic goal in my head and decided to just go for it. I need to lose weight and want to feel better about myself. I've tried other workouts like Pilates and the Dailey Method. But I never saw results fast enough and most of the instructors I've had were bitchy. I need nice, sweet motivation...not steely-eyed glares because I'm not doing something correctly.
So running. Yeah. It's cheap, as in free, and there are nifty apps you can use to guide you along. That's how I found the Couch-to-5K app. You can sync your own playlist in the app and there's a nice, sensitive-sounding man telling you when to run and walk. I think I'll call him Gregory. He sounds like a Gregory. Not Greg...Gregory.
I began this challenge with Reno's Race for the Cure 5K in mind. It's October 2nd. I don't know if I'll make it because the program is eight weeks and I'm on week two. But I really feel like it's important for that particular race be my first ever. My mom is a 10-year breast cancer survivor and I think she'd be really proud of me for running in her honor.
So I started a week ago. The first day was awesome. It's run/walk intervals the first few weeks and I handled the first week superbly. I love how I felt a bit sore the next day and realized all of the muscles I've neglected for the last couple of decades. I was sleeping better and feeling really positive and happy.
Week two hasn't been as easy.
I knew week two was doomed from the start when L.E. woke up screaming at 5:00 am on run day. I usually go at 6:00 am so I lost an hour of precious sleep. I had no choice but to run during my lunch hour. Luckily for my co-workers, I'm one of those people who sweats excessively when I exercise. It was hot, about 90 degrees and for whatever reason, I decided to forego stretching. Usually I keep a positive mantra going when I run but yesterday my mantra was "make it stop. make it stop." I felt pain in every part of my legs and back, even in this weird part down where my butt meets my thigh. I was gasping for air, instead of doing the long slow breaths you're supposed to do. I'm positive the landscapers on Lakeside were laughing at me, especially when I tripped over nothing on the sidewalk. I'm just happy I finished even if I wanted to throw Gregory into Virginia Lake at one point.
The aftermath was even worse. I had extra-wobbly legs the rest of the day. And I couldn't stop sweating. I wasn't smelly; just wet. And BRIGHT RED. Fortunately, I work with people who are less-than-observant so nobody noticed the beads of sweat or excessive panting. I woke up this morning feeling like I need to hack up a lung and my voice sounds as though I'm a Vegas lounge singer. That's what an off-and-on smoking habit will get you once you start working it out of your system.
I want to say my motivation is L.E. and wanting to be able to keep up with her and live a long and healthy life for her. But this is me we're talking about. My motivation is my too-tight, $200 Joe's jeans that have been languishing in my drawer since pre-pregnancy. (Yes I know they have them at Marshall's now but that's beside the point!) They survived the Big Purge and I'm determined to fit into them again. Or at least wear them without the disgusting muffin top  my stomach spilling over the sides. Also, T said if I keep this up for a month, I can get a jogging stroller so L.E. can tag along for the ride.
The biggest challenge will be if I keep up the program while I'm in Portland this weekend. I look forward to running at a lower elevation but not so much in the humidity. L.E.'s godparents are placing bets on whether or not I actually run while I'm there. I have always prided myself on being the biggest exercise-killer out there by convincing my friends they should skip the gym and go eat bar food with me. (What has happened to me?!) There could be some justifiable payback on their parts.
Oh, and going along with this running thing...I've cut carbs dramatically. Again, who am I and what has happened to the REAL Hip-Baby Mama??

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Non-Ticketed Lap Child

Traveling is stressful. Traveling with a 16-month-old adds a whole new layer. Make that several new layers. But let me back up.
L.E. has been across the country and back twice in her short little life. When she was barely two months old, we packed her up and took her to Pittsburgh to meet her grandpa G and help him recover from major surgery. She also got to meet my Pap, which made the trip all the more worthwhile. She was an absolute dream to travel with. She slept most of the time on the plane and when she was awake, she was smiley and happy. The flight attendant gave her a special certificate to commemorate her first flight. 
The next trip was last Thanksgiving when we visited her godparents in Portland. She was great then, too. We had to pass her back and forth a bit more often but she was easily distracted with the Sky Mall magazine. (Who knew something like this existed?) 
In April, we went to visit my parents on the east coast and once again she traveled very well. Even with a too-short layover that barely allowed for a diaper change, she was quiet and content to sit with us.
It's been getting increasingly more challenging, however. This past weekend, a dear friend of ours got married in Denver. Some weddings you can afford to miss; this was not one of them. J.D. had finally met his perfect match and we couldn't be more thrilled. I'd contemplated asking my lovely babysitter if she'd be up for an overnight watch but knew J.D. would want to meet L.E. We figured since she'd been so good to travel with before, she'll continue to do so. And she did, the first flight which was thankfully non-stop. She still loves the Sky Mall, especially the pages with dogs on them. She was pretty great the entire trip, except for bedtime but with her that's to be expected. (My kid loves zoos. If there's a zoo where ever we visit, we have to go. She loves animals so much!)
It was the flight home that could have ruined the entire trip. The first half of the 2-hour flight was smooth. We'd downloaded some Sesame Street episodes on which she contentedly zoned out. But then turbulence struck, both literally and metaphorically. L.E. reached the point where she just didn't want to be on the plane anymore. She started kicking the seat in front of her. I've been on the other end of that many times in my traveling life so I didn't feel too badly about it. But when the screaming started, I genuinely felt awful for our fellow passengers. NOTHING could get her to stop. Not water, food, magazines, books, Sesame Street (even the little furry red bastard couldn't save us!), a plastic cup, bag of pita snacks, playing with the tray table, looking out the window... NOTHING.
The plane ride was bumpy but I ignored the "Fasten Seat Belt" signs and took her to the bathroom for a diaper change hoping the change of scenery would do the trick. She didn't stop crying. It was as bad as when she was a new baby and we'd hit that 5:00 "unhappy hour." So I did what anyone would have done in my situation. I lost it. Do you know how hard it is to change a diaper on a plane when you yourself are sobbing hysterically? I felt like hiding in the bathroom for the rest of the flight but the attendants didn't seem too thrilled with us being up and about. We got back to our seats and the screaming became more of a whimper. But L.E. was still at full volume. (Ba-dum ching! I'll be here all week, folks.) Fortunately, we were close to landing. I could tell this not by the overhead announcements; those were drowned out long ago. I could see the majestic view of Pyramid Lake as we flew overhead. It was the most beautiful site I'd ever seen. It meant soon we would be HOME.
L.E. calmed down right as we landed. She fell asleep in the car and T successfully made the transition from car seat to bed. I collapsed on the couch.
So here I present to you my tips for traveling with a toddler:

1. Stay home. Let people come to you. Yeah, who am I kidding?
2. Understand that anytime your child is out of their element, they're going to make sure you know that they don't like it. Do what you can to make them comfortable. Favorite toys, books, blankets, binkies, etc should all be readily available.
3. A porta-crib or hotel rented crib is not a real crib. Kids know this. They will not sleep in them without putting up a fight. No matter how tired-out you try to make them, they still will not go to sleep in them. L.E. went to the zoo, 2 restaurants and a wedding in one day and still refused to sleep in the hotel crib. Just suck it up and put them in bed with you. It's easier to deal with a foot in the face than incessant crying. Even creepier is when the crib is next to your side of the bed and they just stare at you through the slats. She. Stared. For. Hours. I think she stole my soul.
4. Look extra-pathetic. Not one person said anything bad to us on the plane. I think because they could tell I was upset enough. Or they were really sympathetic. The lady sitting next to us said, "It's OK; she's so cute!"
5. Have a sense of humor and low expectations. Your trip is not going to be perfect. It's extra hard if you're not visiting family and staying in a hotel. You don't have the help like if you were going to see the grandparents. If you know going in that you won't have any relaxation time, you won't be disappointed.
6. Have a drink on the plane. Even sober living can't stand up to an airplane toddler tantrum. You get to chug your drink just like you were in college! Sometimes you just need to take the edge off.

So Mom and Dad, if you're reading this...I'm sorry to say we won't be making it home for Christmas this year. Unless you're willing to come out ahead of time and take L.E. back with you.

Wanna hear the worst part about this? We're traveling again next week, to Portland. Only it's just me and L.E. ALONE. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Info from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute

Sitting like a big girl!
I'm posting some new info in case anyone needs a refresher in DDH, since that's why I started this blog. I'm happy to report L.E. is still doing great! Her next ortho appointment is in one month. Hopefully her hips are doing their job and we won't need further interventions.
To those expecting parents out there, please please please make sure your pediatrician checks for DDH immediately upon birth! I can't stress enough the importance of early detection. We were very lucky and fortunate to have a doctor who checks for it.


Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH)

Hip Joint anatomy
The hip is a "ball-and-socket" joint that is held together by ligaments.
The ball is called the "femoral [fem-er-uhl] head" which is the top of the femur or thigh bone.
The socket is called the "acetabulum" [as-i-tab-yuh-luhm] and is a part of the pelvis.
The femoral head fits into the acetabulum creating the hip joint. This joint is normally held tightly in place by the surrounding ligaments and joint capsule.

Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip or DDH is generally the preferred term for babies with hip dysplasia since this condition can develop after birth. DDH is a medical term for general instability, or looseness, of the hip joint. 

Please visit International Hip Dysplasia Institute for more info.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sober Living

**

I'm 20 days into my life as a non-drinker*. It's been weird.

One of the reasons I embarked on this experiment is to see if it was possible. Can I go several days without drinking? Then, when I'm at an event where the booze is flowing freely, can I control myself? Happily, the answers to both questions are yes and yes. I'm relieved. I have an addictive personality with shades of alcoholism embedded. I knew that jonesing for a glass of wine "just to take the edge off" would be a possibility.

I have this innate ability to rationalize anything to make it seem positive. I worked out on Saturday so I can have some chicken wings. I crushed it at work today so I deserve a glass of wine. L.E. said another new word today so that deserves a beer or two. The only problem is I can't just quit after one glass of wine. I always want another and another. Next thing you know, the cork on the second bottle is broken,  I'm drunk-texting my friends from high school and starting fights with my husband. I somehow lose control of the situation and I want that to stop.

I'm someone's mom now. And when that someone began mimicking how I put my makeup on in front of the mirror, I became fully aware of the fact that like it or not I'm her role model. What kind of effective role model can I be if I'm living my life in this half-drunk fog lots of the time? I don't ever want her to go through all the things the children of alcoholics go through...like following her mom home from a bar because she refuses to hand over the keys or even worse, bailing her mom out of jail for drunk-driving. I'm fortunate that I didn't have to do this for my mom but I've seen what others go through and it's just not good for anyone. L.E. deserves the very best of me and I can't give that to her if I'm drinking a lot.

I get funny looks from my friends when I tell them I quit drinking. It's pretty much the same look they gave me when I told them I was pregnant with L.E. It's like I told them Hell had frozen over and pigs are flying. It's like I told them I got up at 6 am to go work out. But when I explain it to them more thoroughly, they've been nothing short of understanding and supportive. I'm not out to preach to them or convert them to the sober life. I haven't even challenged T to give up his daily beer although I've noticed he's been cutting back on his own. Most people who know me know about my battle with depression or else they've read this blog. They also know I'm not pushy or preachy in the least. My motto in general is do what works for you, whether it be parenting, Photoshopping or closet-organizing.

Anti-depressants didn't work for me. Gee, ya think it's because I kept drinking? It's not like alcohol is a depressant or anything.

I was afraid I wouldn't be as funny when I'm sober. I think I'm still pretty funny. But I guess I have to let others be the judge of that.

So where does this leave me? I feel really good. Like happy-good. I don't have the crippling black cloud that I usually carry with me. Mildred has barely reared her ugly head.  I'm not sad just for the sake of being sad. I'm sleeping better. I wish I could say there are other reasons besides not drinking but really, I'm just living my life the way I normally do. Things are pretty much the same. It's weird. I actually feel...OK.

Oh. And I'm going to work out at 6 am tomorrow. For reals.

Cheers!



Full disclosure: I did have drinks (beer only) on the following days/events: 
1. GourMelt/Buckbean grilled cheese and beer pairing dinner (It was inevitable)
2. American Century Golf celebrity golf tournament (I had a beer because it was free)
3. Company dinner (Two beers at a Basque restaurant but I successfully avoided the wine on the tables and their famous Picon Punch)
4. Camping (One beer and one spritzer)

**I couldn't find a source for this cartoon. I hope the creators are ok with me using it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Big Purge

I would like to take this time to admit a deep dark secret: I am a clothes hoarder.
The situation has become dire as of late. I can't shut any one of my over-stuffed drawers. My sock drawer is so overwhelmingly full that it just sits open because I can't close it. It's made for quite a few stubbed toes...and it's summer which means I never even wear socks. I've been pilfering hangers from T's closet after every load of laundry. I can't even move the clothes in my closet from one side to the other. The top drawer of my dresser is so jammed full of sweatpants, hats and pajamas that I split the wood on the sides of it. It's bad.
Today, I read a blog post by my wonderful Vegas-based stylist. (Yes, I have a stylist. OK, only for photo shoots. I'm never in the shoots. OK OK, I worked with her once but she really is fabulous!)  I enjoy reading her posts; she always introduces an awesome product or website and she has giveaways. This week's post was about two SoCal girls who are preparing themselves (and their closets) by whittling their wardrobe down to 20 pieces and only wear those 20 pieces for an entire year
I am completely amazed and inspired by this...but I don't think a year of the same 20 pieces is practical for me. However, I got to thinking that my wardrobe could really use an overhaul. I've been hoarding things since the first Bush administration. I have t-shirts I wore in high school, skirts that I keep thinking will come back in style, dresses that I would need oiled to get back into, not to mention all of those clothes that I was saving for when I got back down to pre-baby weight (heh heh heh). Now that I'm inspired by the Twenty Pieces Project, it's time to let things go and move on.

Among the articles of clothing I purged:

Four black t-shirts. I know, right? How many black t-shirts does one need? At least get rid of them once they start greying. One was a French Connection shirt I kept wearing despite the seams ripping on both sleeves. I would have kept it if not for the grease spots.

17 tank tops. 

The formerly-white waffle-knit scoopneck Esprit shirt I stole from my sister when I moved out of our parents' house in 1995.

Three pairs of size 2 shorts. That rainbow shall remain out of reach.

My post-pregnancy jeans which are now too big. (woo hoo!)

Five pairs of black workout pants of varying size, style, shape and wear.


A black dress I ran out and bought the day of a friend's wedding in February.  I won't ever wear it again because I hated it.

A pink and silver blouse that I didn't know I had and have no idea why or when I bought it.

A brocade CAbI coat I earned by throwing one of those home parties where the more clothes people buy, the bigger the discounts you get. It weighs about 15 lbs.

My extra-large grey puffy winter coat I wore while pregnant.

Maternity clothes that I held onto because they're comfy. 

A #77 Paul Coffey Pittsburgh Penguins jersey stolen from my high school boyfriend.

Six black cardigans. (I still have 3)

Five hooded zip-up sweatshirts.

About eight different dresses that I have worn to various weddings, Christmas parties and graduations. I have this silly Hollywood mentality where if I was photographed in a dress, I will never wear it again.

Sweaters. I lost count.

Three pairs of khakis.

27 t-shirts from various sports teams, concerts, breweries,  and events or some with funny sayings on them.

12 non-Coach purses.

Three Coach purses.

I held onto many sentimental things, including the first dress T ever bought me, the last skirt my grandma ever bought me and the dress I got married in. I also kept my Death Cab for Cutie tank top and my Modest Mouse t-shirt. And the vintage 1970s leather jacket that was my mom's is also a no-brainer for the keep-it pile.

I donated everything to Savers which is partnered with the MS Society. I didn't feel like trying to sell stuff at Plato's Closet or the like. There's a certain humiliation one feels when they're given back their huge bag of hardly-worn clothes and told that it's "not what we're looking for."

Here's a  Hipstamatic pic of my newly-cleaned closet. 
Look at all those empty hangers!

So I got to thinking what my Top 5 Essential Wardrobe Staples are not including shoes, undergarments or outerwear:
1. Black cardigan
2. Jeans 
3. Fitted t-shirt with a cool design on it
4. Knit sundress
5. Black v-neck sweater.

I'd like to know what yours are! Please leave your list in the comments section.

I think this Twenty Pieces Project is going to inspire many people just as it did me.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vacation from Mildred

$10 says you're either thinking of Forrest Gump or Bobby McFerrin right now.
I turned 35 last week. This may not seem like a big deal to most but it is to me. I'm pretty sure it's because I once had a friend tell me that 35 is closer to 50 than it is to 20. Let that sink in a bit. I've forgiven him for saying this mostly because he turns 40 in a few weeks. Ha!
Also, Princess Diana was 35 when she died and I recall thinking how old she seemed. I was only 21 at the time. Stupid, young, me. 35 is also the first age I remember my mom being. She seemed old, too. When L.E. is the same age I was when I realized how old my mom is, I'll be staring down the 40 barrel, too. (Did your head just explode?)
I've accomplished a lot in 35 years. I don't feel as if I'm wrestling with a lack of fulfillment or anything like that. But with the effects of PPD still lingering, there is some elusive happiness missing. There really is no reason why I should be depressed right now. My marriage, child, friends, family, job, etc are all better than ever. But I still have the feeling that Mildred is lurking by, ready to rear her goth-y head.
So I decided to take matters into my own hands for a change. I made a list of things I can to do eliminate Mildred in my life. Or at least make her take a vacation.

1. Quit drinking.
There. I said it. Let the judgment begin.
I haven't had a drink since my birthday. I'm not an alcoholic per se but I do love to drink. And I can't stop at just one glass of wine. OK, so maybe there are shades of alcoholism there. Mostly, I quit drinking to see if I could without missing it. And ya know, I don't miss it! I actually feel better. Happier.
We went to a concert in the park last night and several people offered to buy me a beer or a glass of wine. It was such a non-issue to say no.
I don't know how long this foray into sobriety will last. But I'm glad it's not as big of a deal as I thought it was going to be.
That being said, don't be afraid to invite me out for a drink. I'll still recommend wine for you and I'm still set on going to a beer/grilled cheese pairing dinner next week. Mostly for the grilled cheese part.
Try not to laugh as you keep reading.

2. Lose 20 lbs.
I'm serious about it this time. Because the whole diet/exercise thing doesn't seem to work for me, I ordered some crazy supplement that Dr. Oz was touting. I'm not really into the whole Cult of Oprah but Dr. Oz is ridiculously likable and looks hot in scrubs. He made a good case for sea buckthorn and I'm convinced because it promotes colon health, clears up your skin and does your taxes all in one easy-to-swallow shot of juice!
Is this handsome face capable of lying?

I work full time, I have a 16-month old, it's 90 million degrees out and I eat dinner at 8:00 every night. Not really a recipe for a healthy lifestyle. I must be one of those people who would have to work out for hours and hours a day and eat only vegetables to see any sort of results. Not. Gonna. Happen. If this sea buckthorn doesn't work, I'm going to look into that HCG diet...

3. Write more.
Lucky you.
Seriously, I love writing and it makes me happy. It especially makes me happy when I run into people I haven't seen in-person for a while* tell me they love this blog. It genuinely means so much to me!


4. Hug L.E. any chance I get.
Lucky her.


5. Be OK with the way things are instead of constantly worrying.
I'm tired of losing sleep over not returning a phone call or being convinced all of my new co-workers hate me. (Nobody says hi to me when they come in. It's not me, it's lack of caffeine. I'm sure of it!)
I can't sweat the small stuff. I have a lot going on and I can't cover all of the bases all of the time. Rather than worry and cry about the fact that I don't have time to dust or vacuum, my house is going to be a little messy for a little while longer. I'm going to be OK with this.

This is a lot to contend with all at once and truthfully, I thought I would have broken down by now. But strangely, I've laughed through more things this week than anything else. So what if my logo designs didn't get past the first round? I designed a t-shirt the client LOVED. It's a trade-off, always.

I'll post a report on my progress. I'm not aiming for Happy Sister Mary Sunshine here; I just want to be OK.


*I ran into a sweet gal from my prenatal yoga class a few weeks ago. She introduced me to her husband as, "the lady whose blog makes me laugh hysterically." It felt so good to hear that, I almost cried. 
This nice family is going through so much. Please take a minute and read their story here.