3.31.2011

Pregnant, Exhausted, and Older

The great and not-so-great thing about being pregnant is everyone cares how you're feeling (or at least they ask). Physically, I feel fine and I'm not the type to get into the uncomfortable details anyway, so I always reply with, "Good! So far so good!"

Here's the truth: I am totally, utterly, completely EXHAUSTED. I am so wiped out by 7:00 that simple things, like brushing W's teeth and reading him a couple of stories, are chores. Forget about doing laundry or putting away all the toys. Blogging and replying to emails sounds overwhelming, so I don't.

At first I thought I was just being lazy and taking advantage of the whole pregnancy thing. But, now I'm just thinking I'm actually feeling some major pregnancy exhaustion. I've pretty much stopped scheduling things, just trying to focus the energy we have on getting ready for Baby #2 and spending as much time with W while he's still the solo act.

The other day I told Matt how surprised I am by this deep exhaustion. I don't remember feeling this with W. Nothing even close. He reminded me that I wasn't chasing around a 2 and a half year old, trying to keep a house together, working full time, blogging, and then he dropped the bomb... "And you're almost three years older." OUCH, but TRUE.

So, let's just put it this way... When you ask me how I'm doing and I say fine, translate that in your head to be: "PREGNANT and EXHAUSTED and, oh yeah, OLDER."

3.29.2011

Making My Due Date Work For Me

My due date is May 27th. We're officially within the eight week window - And I really need these eight weeks. We're in the middle of getting W's new room ready, I have to go through all of our baby clothes, buy all the necessary gear, come up with a maternity leave plan at work... I could go on. Recently, two women I know have reminded me that they went into labor three weeks early with their second baby. Not exactly what I want to hear.

My goal is to actually go about a week after my due date. I never imagined I'd think that after being a week late with W, but the timing just works better for me that way.

Translation: I'd like to work in this whole labor thing the first week of June.

Call me selfish, but I have my reasons... My sister is getting married on September 3rd, so this would ensure I wouldn't be dealing with figuring out my back-to-work transition the week of her wedding. Plus, June just feels a little better for me, because it's officially summer. And, wellllll, there is an event for work that I really want to be at on May 19th. Really need to be at is more precise.

So, to make karma happy I'll cover myself: I just want a healthy baby and a good birthing experience. Blah, blah, blah. We all know that's true deep down, but seriously... Can't a girl hope?

I know that just thinking this means I'll go into labor early. Go figure, I seem to love setting myself up for disaster.

3.28.2011

Costco Soft Serve Puts Another Nail in the Coffin

Food courts in Costco, Target, and the like have always been scary to me. There's something awfully depressing about them for me... As if people can't be bothered to be choosy about what they're eating, so they grab a piece of pizza or a hot dog at a dirty table next to their over sized cart full of stuff. I've always thought I was too picky about food, ambiance, and germs to do it. Yup, I can admit that there is a wee bit part of me that felt kind of bad for those people... There was just something a little sad about it. Something about people eating unhealthy food in terrible lighting on plastic benches just makes me sad.

But today I became one of them. Today Costco's soft serve put another nail in the coffin of old Lisa. I was on yet another nesting-induced compulsive trip to Costco, this time stocking up on wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, diapers, pasta sauce, and other odds and ends for our baby bomb shelter. And W was being so good and the soft serve sounded like a nice treat, so I bit the bullet and stepped in line. I told W we'd take it home to share with Matt, but he insisted we eat it there.

I took a deep breath, picked out a seat away from the crowd, and we snacked on some rather delicious soft serve and chatted. I didn't even notice the pitiful looks that my old self was giving me from across the store.

Working full time and trying to keep up with our pace of life means I don't get a lot of one-on-one, distraction-free downtime with W. But, somehow I found it there sitting amongst the churro, pizza, and hot dog eating crowd of Costco. I didn't even think to check my phone, look over my shoulder, or worry what time it was and how much I had left to do with my day.

"Now I love you," W said.

"You didn't love me before I gave you ice cream?" I asked.

"I just really love you now," he replied reaching for another bite of his berry sundae.

Thank you, Costco soft serve, thank you.

3.23.2011

How We Nutritionize Mac and Cheese

I did not truly appreciate mac and cheese before I became a mom. I didn't realize that a simple little box can come in handy so often. And now I do.

I was talking to a friend of mine, telling her how often we make mac and cheese on the weekends, how I try to boost the nutrition content by making additions and she admitted it was something she had never considered. (Granted, there are many other moms out there who do this, I'm sure. My mom did this when we were young.)

So, if you're a new mom, keep this one in mind: A can of tuna and steamed brocoli or peas make mac and cheese a much more nutritional option, plus it boosts the servings from a single box.

This is not sneaky gourmet by any means, but it is a really fast lunch on a busy weekend or dinner on a week night (like tonight). Matt and I add parmesan and crushed red pepper to ours. You know, to class it up a bit.

3.19.2011

Girl Scout Cookie Craving


I recently wrote about my most recent pregnancy craving (Girl Scout cookies) and took a little walk down my own Girl Scout memory lane for TheChicagoMoms.com. Besides wanting to share that post, I thought this might be a good time to share a vintage Lisa photo. Here I am "crossing the bridge" from Brownies to Girl Scouts. Big day.

I kinda love this picture. There are many reasons why, but #1 may be because I totally remember walking over that rickety bridge... Only it felt much higher than it looks now. Notice my eyes focused on my footing, my arms out for balance? I remember being concerned I was going to fall or knock the bridge down.

I also love it because the girl who was chosen to give me my "you're a Girl Scout now" flowers or whatever it was REALLY did not like me. She spent a lot of time between classes glaring at me in the hallways of our junior high and high school. I never knew why, but this moment could have something to do with it.

Maybe she was scared I was going to fall off the bridge and knock her over? Or thought I was a huge nerd for taking that bridge so seriously? Either way, I'm sure she's a lovely person now.

3.17.2011

We're Idiots

"Put me down, you idiot!"

"What did you just say?"

"I said: Put me down, you idiot!"


I was so shocked, my only reaction was to laugh, which I know is exactly the opposite of what I should have done. But, seriously, I was shocked. W has had an incredible vocabulary and parrots just about everything he hears, but this has been one of his first naughty words.

We told him not to talk like that, not to use naughty words.

"But I like it, it's a good word," he argued.

"No, it isn't. I don't like when boys talk like that."

"Yes, it is."

I felt like an idiot, tried to wrack my brain to think of the last time I used the word around him and was reminded by Matt that it's something I often say. I blamed myself mostly.

Then last night W was jumping on our bed while Matt watched over him. Matt grabbed him when he thought he was getting too close to the edge. They were having fun, laughing, sharing a sweet moment. I was in the living room and could hear them.

And then: "Put me down, you idiot."

"That's not nice. We don't say words like that."

Matt claims the look in W's eyes was totally innocent and sweet, confused. "But, Mr. Potato Head does."

And suddenly it all made sense... He's been quoting Toy Story 3. The same way he was yelling "holy moly guacamole" for a while. He never really understood the meaning of idiot.

Now this leads me to something else... I've heard him say stupid a few times and found where they say it in Cars and Toy Story. Then I noticed the word moron is used in Cars. There have to be a ton of other naughty words that I would rather not hear my two year old say buried in his favorite movies. So, what's a mom to do? How to stay on top of this? (Taking the movies away is not an option, he'll hear it somewhere else if not there.)

We know that W has incredibly advanced verbal skills and a vocabulary way beyond his age, but we easily forget that he doesn't have the mental, emotional, or critical skills at the same level. We speak with him like he's an adult and, though he knows how to respond verbally, we don't always realize that he isn't comprehending everything we're saying. I use sarcasm with him. We joke with him. I need to remind myself that he is two and half. When we told him he was saying a bad word, we expected him to know that the word was idiot and what "bad word" means. But, he didn't, he must have been confused.

Sometimes the hardest thing about parenting is figuring out how to put the world in a context your children can actually understand. It's easier when they're little and you're just trying to teach them basics like "dog," "apple," and "bottle." But when your child can interact and respond all of that is so hard to keep top of mind.

I'm relieved W doesn't know what idiot means. And that he doesn't really think I am one or think that it's ok to call someone an idiot. But, I deserved it. I'm a parenting idiot sometimes. I guess we all are. I can admit it.

3.15.2011

30% Off Coupon For Gap Inc. Stores: Benefits Charity

I'm nesting. I've already put that out there, so of course now I'm ready to get W's spring and summer clothes in order and get a few things for the new guy. Not to mention some non-black, gray, or brown clothes for Matt. And, I'm guessing you're ready for a Spring wardrobe update too, right?

Well, I have just the thing to share with you: a 30% off Gap coupon that can be used at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Gap Outlet, and Banana Republic Factory stores. AND to make you feel really good about it, 5% of all purchases will benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Awesome, huh?

These coupons can be used March 17-March 20 and can be reused again and again. Share it with your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, postal worker, anyone else... Because who doesn't love such a great deal and giving to a worthy organization at the same time?!?!

Get your coupon here.

As a new mom I learned the value of Gap and Old Navy clothes very quickly. I have said this a million times and I will say it again: When buying clothes for baby, Gap clothes hold up better than anything else. They keep color, wash well, and are so soft. It's totally worth the extra dollars and it's really not that much. Shop sales. New moms should be given this information immediately. And this coupon.

No disclaimer needed as I was not compensated for this post. Just sharing a great deal and an awesome way to support JDRf with everyone.

3.14.2011

Is This What They Call Nesting?

I think I'm nesting. It's a little early for this, right? But, really, I think that's what's going on around here.

I'm 29 or 30 week pregnant. I can't remember (I know people find it strange that I don't ever seem to know, but I don't). I've still got a good two and a half months of baby baking ahead of me. But, lately I can't sit still.

I never did the whole nesting thing when I was pregnant with W. Things were so much different. First off, we had just sold our condo in the city, had no idea where we wanted to go, so were living with my parents. Our stuff was in storage. I had no nest. I didn't have a nursery to organize and decorate. I had uncertainty and weekend trips out with our realtor. Nesting was not even a remote possibility. So, I figured that like so many other pregnancy things (such as glowing skin), nesting was a myth created by the evil women who want other moms-to-be to feel bad about themselves.

But, I'm pretty sure I'm nesting... Or looking for ways to blow through a ton of cash, cuz this weekend my shopping trips became kinda insane.

First off, I bought Dreft at Costco. (Going through W's baby clothes is on the list for April, so I'm guess I'm just trying to be prepared.) I also bought two jugs (seriously, I have no idea what the size of Costco stuff is, I know it's not a gallon, though) of laundry detergent. TWO, which should last for a year (or a month with a baby around). I bought Costco-sized sponges, dish soap, regular pasta, whole grain pasta, tuna fish, baked chips, cereal, and coffee. Mind you, we didn't really *need* any of this stuff. But, now we've covered for a few months and our basement is like a well-stocked shelter. I walked down the wipes/diapers/formula aisle about three times, but convinced myself to hold off. If I have this baby next week, we'll all at least be fed, the baby will not have diapers however. Priorities, people.

During my trip to Target I started to go off the deep end a little. I bought SIX bottles of hand soap. I also found birthday gifts for two sweet little girls who will turn one... in AUGUST. So, then it struck me that now would be a good time to pull together that birthday gift stash I've been wanting to start, so when I was at Borders (purchasing The Happiest Toddler on the Block - more on that later) I stocked up on sale stuff to keep on hand for parties. And I got W plenty of books and puzzles to reward all the good behavior he'll display this summer when his new baby brother gets here. Yes, I fully intend to bribe him into liking and being nice to his brother. Even if the book tells me not to.

Anyway, that's what's going on here, right? I'm nesting? Please tell me yes, otherwise I'm pretty sure I'm just going crazy -- Which is also a distinct possibility.

3.13.2011

Baby Einstein World of Rhythm


When W was born we received a fair amount of Baby Einstein products, but haven't really used them. Except for the books, he always really liked them, and every now and then we listened to a cd when he was a baby. It was the videos I resisted. I think my hesitance to introduce Baby Einstein was more about me... What I'd heard about the videos bugged me: I heard they make no sense to adults and kids become obsessed. And, honestly, we had so much stuff when W was a baby, it's hard to know what to use and when they're ready. So, we just never got around to working Baby Einstein into our routine. I thought we'd missed our window. I was wrong.

When given the opportunity to review one of their new Discovery kits, I figured I might as well see what these products were all about. I chose the World of Rhythm video with a "but my son is very advanced, so I don't know if we're the best candidates for this product" attitude. I figured I'd learn what makes Baby Einstein so popular and then maybe use it for Baby #2.

W and I sat down and watched the video for the first time. He mainly sat, sang along, clapped and seemed engaged. I interviewed him afterward:

Did you like the video we just watched?
Yeah, I did.

What was your favorite part?
I liked the toys playing music. Those ducks were not in there.

What duck?
That duck that wasn't in there.

Did you learn something new?
I did.

What did you learn?
I learned that toys play music. Now Mater is washing Lightning.

Do you want to watch it again?
Yeah.

Did the music make you want to dance?
Nope.

Did you like the kids?
Yeah, I liked them.

What do you think about the video?
I think it's good.

I thought I'd put the video away and pull it out when Baby #2 seemed ready for it. I was proved wrong once again: The next morning W asked to watch it while he did his breathing treatment. And the next day and the next.

We've watched the video at least 15 times since then. At first it was annoying, but then I realized how interactive it could be and we've spent a lot of great time dancing, singing, pretending to play instruments, and running around in front of the tv. When the kids play drums, we play air drums. When toys roll across the scream, we turn in circles around the room. When the kids walk in a marching band formation, we do too.

Bottom line: I have totally been proved wrong. Baby Einstein World of Rhythm video is great when you need a 20 minute activity and is more interactive than most of W's videos. The book doesn't do much for a two and half year old and the music cd is fine, but he's not too into it. I have a feeling the video will continue to be a favorite for a while.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary Baby Einstein World of Rhythm kit for this review. The opinions expressed here are my own and I received no other compensation.

3.11.2011

"I Don't Lug You, Either"

We're currently in the "chase me if you want me to go anywhere and then I will fight to the end to stay home" phase, especially when we're headed to the train station to go to work. W loves going out, but getting the jacket and shoes on is a constant challenge. I know it's a control thing, but I am really ready to lose the jacket come summer. But then we'll be wrestling him with sunscreen...

Anyway, this morning I was chasing him around, explaining it was time to go to the train. I caught him after my third lap around the coffee table, threw him over my shoulder (kicking and screaming), and then heard him drop the bomb that every kid will drop.

"I don't LOVE you." I am positive this is what he said.

"What did you say?" I asked, not in my angry voice, mind you.

"I said I don't LUG you."

"Are you sure? I thought you said LOVE."

"No, I do LOVE you, I just really don't LUG you."

OK, first off, I find him telling me that he doesn't love me to be hilarious. Because I know it's not true.

Secondly, I am in huge trouble, because I have totally created a mini me. (Ba ha ha, world domination will be mine!)

Thirdly, I've decided that LUG is a verb that means: to enjoy cooperating with one's parents when it is time to go to work.

It can be used in the following ways:
-My kid is great at lugging, he has his coat on and is ready to go before I am!
-My son can't lug to save his life, all he wants to do is play his dinosaur puzzles.
-Getting a kid to lug is tough, but using donuts as bribery makes it easier!

3.07.2011

Who I Am

For the From Left to Write Book Club this month we read "Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English" by Natasha Solomon. This book inspired this post.

People often tell me I look different. A lot. I constantly have people ask me what nationality I am, as if I look like something they can't quite put a finger on. I like to make them guess. I've gotten it all: Asian, Hispanic, Greek, Hawaiian, Indian, Native American, the list goes on.

I grew up in a cookie cutter suburb outside of Chicago. There weren't many minorities, except for a few children of Mexican immigrants who lived in an apartment complex near our grade school and pretty much kept to themselves. They were all in ESL classes and our main stream classes remained very white. It wasn't cool or exotic to be different. One day a nasty kid in school called me Hispanic, as if it was an insult. So, I took it that way. I had no idea what he was calling me. I swore I wasn't Hispanic, that he was wrong and a jerk (which he was), and stomped home and told my mom. That's when she told she was Venezuelan and so was I. I always thought I was Italian. I had no idea.

My mom was born in Venezuela. She moved to the U.S. in early grade school and dealt with much of the same ignorant kids, except she was also trying to learn the language at the same time. She doesn't talk about moving here much, but describes it as being hard. I'm sure hearing me report little kids at school were repeating history was terrible for her. (For the record, she is half Venezuelan and half Italian, my dad is German and Bohemian.) Technically, I guess I'm a minority. But, I've never considered myself to be. I fill out every survey as Caucasian. I'm sure my mom does too. She would never outwardly classify herself as a minority, because I know she doesn't see herself as one.

People trying to figure me out has been a constant theme in my life. First it was nasty boys in grade school, then it continued in high school when a Mexican girl asked me why I was pretending I was white. (She was looking for a fight in the lobby of our high school and, again, I had no idea what she was talking about. I think I started laughing.) In college, I worked at a Mexican restaurant and often had to tell people that I "no comprendo Espanol." When I had a job fundraising for a domestic violence organization, race was a really big deal - And, for a lot of my co-workers who identified as being Hispanic/Latina/Chicana, so was the fact that I looked kind of like them, but lived in a white world. My husband has a photo from our wedding on his desk and is often asked by co-workers and clients what ethnicity I am. He takes it as a compliment and doesn't mind at all.

I've never understood what the big deal is, but it doesn't bug me. People never ask my mom what she is and both of my sisters have lighter eyes and hair, so never receive the same line of questioning. Something about the way I look seems to trigger people, I guess. But, as an adult I've found that it's a really good thing. I truly believe this. I'd rather be a little intriguing than just a face in the crowd.

Maybe my mom made some of these decisions for us when she totally assimilated into white suburban culture, like Mr. Rosenblum did in the book. But, I'm just being me. The only me I know how to be. Sure, there are some frustrations... I wish my mom had taught us Spanish. But, she grew up trying to hide that ability. She speaks without any trace of an accent, most people have no idea she can even speak Spanish. When we were born it wasn't something society was encouraging. (If we were born now, she agrees she would have taught us to be bilingual.) But, I know she has always made the best decisions and did what she thought was best for us. And I like to people guessing.

This post was inspired by Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English by Natasha Solomon, which I received complimentary as part of the From Left to Write Book Club. See how other bloggers were inspired by this book here.

3.06.2011

My Take Away From the Oscars: Damn, Penelope

I watched the Oscars last weekend. And thanks to Penelope Cruz I have a whole new post-baby complex. Didn't she look good? Ridiculous. The woman had a baby like two minutes ago.

Anyway, I'm writing for the Technorati Women Channel and our gal Penelope gave me inspiration for my first post. Check it out here.

3.02.2011

Wordless Wednesday: We Looked and It's A Boy


Note: Consider this a teaser... Story of big reveal to come.

3.01.2011

Fantastic Recent Quotes From the Little Man

"Mommy, do you know what fantastic means?" W asked me.

"Do you know what it means?"

"Yeah."

"What does fantastic mean?"

"When you like coffee and you get coffee."


He could not be more right.

***

Scene: In the car, running errands. W is throwing a total fit about having to be in the car.

"You have to stop crying right now," I told him firmly.

"Sometimes I just have to cry, but right now I'm screaming."

Wow, can't tell you how many times I've wanted to say that exact thing.

***