Monday, December 26, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES













Sunday, December 25, 2011

RICH WE ARE

What a precious life we share.  To be in this world together. To truly live our days as a family. To know what it feels like to be sheltered, comforted, cared about. There is a magnet that sits on my friend’s fridge that reads “You are my greatest earthly blessing” and I think it’s the most perfect sentiment for how I feel about my family. 

There is a look that Pete and I give to one another all the time. Nothing verbal is exchanged between us, and yet we both know exactly what the other is thinking. 

Look at what we made. 

Together.

In a season of so much over-abundance, when our society is focused on shiny new things to add to our lives, it’s the gift of a young girl’s and young man’s laughter, and porcelain cheeks of my baby boy…that remind us how overwhelmingly rich we already are.

Friday, December 23, 2011

BEST DAYS OF MY LIFE

My children are still young and require so much of me.  Each day, they are growing.  And alongside them, I am learning how to be a better mother.  With every month that passes, they need me a little less and with that realization comes a little sadness.

Keegan and Bailey are racing into independence at lightning speed, and I feel the pace with which they are finding their own way picking up with every day that passes. Even my newborn, Reef, is barely holding on to that title anymore. He is becoming alert, aware of himself, and learning to self soothe.

One day, my children will be out in the world somewhere, perhaps even learning the same lessons I am now. And I will be missing these days, when I was the thing that they needed most. And in my heart I will be mourning for the challenging moments that I sometimes try to wish away now. I will long for a crying infant that needs to be shh-shh-shh’d late into the night, for a sensitive 9 year old pouting about eating her vegetables, and for an 11 year old angry that his bedtime is earlier than that of his friends.

I am trying to embrace the present all of the time… not just in times of happiness but even more so when I feel myself struggling.

These are the best days of my life. Here’s to not letting them pass me by.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

PRODUCTS I LOVE

It rubs me wrong when people have secrets of looking good or saving money and don’t share them. It’s incredibly selfish and tacky. Like when someone asks a skinny model how she stays so thin and the response is like “Oh, I eat whatever I want! And then walk my dogs and meditate!” and they really have a tape worm and starve themselves and work out three hours a day and do meth twice a week. Phonies! If I know about something that’s going to solve your problems, I want to tell you about it. Because 1) I like you, and 2) karma says so.

I am painfully picky about cosmetics. Especially foundation. For this reason, I rarely wear it. And then I go out in public and you’re all like [gasp]. I have tried probably hundreds over the years. Realistically, closer to 10 or 15. But while I’d like to have the porcelain skin I once had…I don’t. However, I now find, at my age, that less is still more and this foundation or shall I say "no foundation foundation", is really perfect. It covers just enough without any look at all of being made-up!

As much as it wants to be, this is not a "one-color-fits-all" product. That said, however, you absolutely CAN customize this color to match *you*. In order for this to blend seamlessly with my skin tone, I mix just a bit of moisturizer with it and VOILA, it is fantastic! I get the benefits of Perricone skincare, SPF 30, and the perfect color to match my skin.

In a word? AWESOME!!!


If you have drier skin, be sure to moisturize properly first (Perricone's Face Finishing Moisturizer is a great one!) before applying. As for me, I have extremely oily skin in my 30’s...extremely. By which I mean my face could qualify for OPEC world status. That's how oily I am.

Furthermore, I have experienced no breakouts using this product (and I'm pretty prone to them when a formulation does not suit me).


Monday, December 19, 2011

DEAR BABY

Reef,

I realized this weekend that you are officially a real baby now. You recently decided to hang up your newborn status without sending your father and I the memo. I say this because newborns don’t attempt sitting up for minutes at a time. Newborns don’t have intense baby babble conversations with that weird little frog thing that hangs from your car seat. Newborns don’t decide to eat an entire bowl of food, including carrots.

I will miss my “little peanut” as I liked to call you when you were a swaddled and sleepy newborn -- but I like this new baby you’ve become. You are turning into a real firecracker and I am constantly amused by the big personality that is pouring out of my little man.

Currently, your favorite thing in the entire world is staring and laughing at your big brother and big sister.  They fascinate you in a way nothing else does. Not to mention, cuttin’ up and giggling with your mommy and daddy. You’ve figured out how to push your pacifier back in your mouth using your chubby little hand and you prefer Daddy to sing old REO Speedwagon or Hall-n-Oats songs to you over the traditional lullabies.

Sometimes I think I can actually see you growing right before my very eyes. The whole world is opening up to you and we have been standing right there, watching with amusement and joy as you soak it all in. You are one heck of a baby, Mister Reef, and I am one lucky mama.

Friday, December 16, 2011

PARENTING

I’m trying to appreciate the busy-ness amongst us right now. But I have to agree with baby Reef at times, “waaahhhh!” Pete and I already had a lot on our plates, and now…the holidays. Sometimes I daydream of our carefree days, when we… went to the movie theatre every weekend and took spur-of-the-moment vacations and went to endless happy hours and dined at chic restaurants and lounged in bed talking for hours upon wakening and enjoyed long meals with a bottle of wine and played uninterrupted board games and window shopped and slept a good 8 hours every night. I’m grateful that I had that time with my babe. A couple of years of just the two of us, doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted to. It was important for us to have that then, so that we can be the best we can be to our children and each other now. Because some days, I look at my Petey with heavy eyes and think “I never even kissed you today.”

We willingly signed up for this. We expected it to be hard and tiresome and different from what we were accustomed to -- and so when it is, we just remind ourselves of that commitment. We never imagined how much parenting would open up our hearts. How much joy we would find EVERYDAY! in our hilarious little 4-month old, tender-hearted 10 year old, and brilliant 12 year old. And we never anticipated how much more love we’d have for one another watching the other embrace our new roles with the baby.

I share so much of the beauty of our family on this blog but it’s only fair to talk about the sacrifice and the stress and the hard work it requires. Children are amazing but they do change everything. Daily, we find ourselves learning to navigate this new life. We are finding ways to exist happily with its unexpected complexities, with the lack of individual and couple time, with the mess and the chaos…and couple it with the love and focus we feel for our family.

“We are doing important work” as a friend once told me. And none of it should be more important than the other -- raising our children, handling our responsibilities, taking time for ourselves individually, and nurturing our relationship. It’s a balancing act and one we don’t always feel like we are succeeding at -- but we continue to work at it, admit our defeats and our successes and move forward -- and really, that’s been our ticket to keeping it all afloat.

-

Thursday, December 15, 2011

CHRISTMAS MOVIES

The Roach household is already locked and loaded for these upcoming shows:
  • Elf
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Rudolph & the Island of Misfit Toys
  • It’s a wonderful life
  • Twas the Night
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Am I going to be THAT obnoxious Christmas spirit girl this year?

All signs point to yes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

BABY STEPS TO RECYCLING

I heard that November and December accumulate the most trash compared to other months in the year. It’s no surprise, really. And not just by a few tons, but 25% more, to the tune of a million extra tons per week! (source: http://bgm.stanford.edu)

With that, I want to post this friendly reminder to reuse once, twice, or a dozen times before throwing away a disposable. Just think: using the same napkin twice or tearing one in half for two meals (yes, we do this – thanks to my Petey) results in HALF as many napkins thrown in the trash on your account. A 50% improvement is worth noting in any book. And so simple!

Most of us are probably using reusable grocery bags for 100% of our shopping, but those plastic buggers still generally find a way into the home. We include them in our recycling, or otherwise use them to collect kitty litter and/or dirty baby dipeys. Bleh! The hubs recently suggested using them as trash can liners in our bathroom(s), as well as, for saving paint brushes and rollers for later. I sure have trained him right!


What suggestions might you have for reusing/repurposing?


Sunday, December 11, 2011

THINGS WE TAKE FOR GRANTED

We always take those things for granted that we promise ourselves we won’t. Legs that walk. Eyes that see. Bellies full of food. Children that are healthy. When I find myself feeling overwhelmed, or start feeling sorry for myself over one thing or another, I find there are two thing that help me most. One is prayer, the other is perspective.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

TO-DO LISTS

Sometimes my “ to-do” list feels more like a noose than a road-map for staying organized.

I can see the press release now: “Mother of three attempts to hang herself with a twelve page list of junk she ‘must-get done today’. Now the frazzled woman has a two new items to add to her list: buy more paper and ‘get a grip’!”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MAMA MUSINGS

On our days at home, Reef and I engage in a little dance with the crib. I change Baby. I feed Baby. Baby falls asleep. I put Baby down in the crib. Baby wakes up fussing before Baby has enjoyed a full nap. Cha Cha Cha. Repeat until around 6 PM, at which point Baby is bonkers in his overtired state. He finally passes out, and out of fear that he will not sleep for more than thirty minutes again, I turned on the vibrations provided by the pack-n-play. Baby stayed there blissfully for about two hours.

The bed, in all of its modern, technological glory did something that feels about as impressive as when Ford created the assembly line.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Sunday, December 4, 2011

ARRIVED!

Introducing my new nephew and niece, Grayson and Braylie!  We are so proud of them and their parents -- what wonderful holiday surprises!



Thursday, December 1, 2011

TAKING BETTER PHOTOS WITH YOUR iPHONE

We don't all have DSLR cameras, but we all have phones. Here are some great tips for taking better pictures with your camera phone...


Tip #1 – A good photo on your phone has to do with timing.

Stand still after taking a photo and know that your phone’s camera might not snap the photo as soon as you click the shutter button. Many cameras on phones will take the photo on the RELEASE of the button. So stand still and wait a second or two after you take the photo or to keep it from being blurry.

Tip #2 – Find Good Natural Light

We could talk about not using your on camera flash all day! ha. But we’ll be brief and recommend going outside or moving your subject to a window with good light. Avoid harsh sunlight and standing near lamps as well.

Tip #3 – Don’t Zoom – Move Closer to the Subject
The digital zoom on many camera phones only magnify your image and will pixelate your photos. Move closer to your subject so you won’t have to zoom. You’ll get a much sharper image this way.

Tip #4 - Play with the Exposure
iPhones have a tap focus feature and it will change your exposure based on where you touch the screen. This is a simple way to change your focal point and enhance any photo!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIETING

I don't do well with general weight loss strategies like "no carbs" because it doesn't take much to throw me off.

Tonight's thought to self: "Damn. I don't have any boneless chicken right now, I just have this leftover Thanksgiving ham. A ham isn't very nutritious. Well, if I'm going to eat fatty, salty ham, I may as well have it with a buttery roll and mashed potatoes and at least enjoy it."

Diet over. Fail.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A FEW SKILLS I'VE ACQUIRED

I'm back.  I've been found.  

I had abdominal surgery a couple of weeks ago.  Though it was a rough road, I'm on the up-n-up.  Able to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends, which in itself was mentally and emotionally healing for the most part.  When you feel good 'upstairs', your body tends to follow.

I appreciate the 'check-in' from a few of my blog followers -- it's a great feeling to know I've been missed.

In the weeks passed, you'd think I'd have a plethora of writings.  Things to say.  Soap box yammerings, in the least.  Nope.  But I've acquired a few new skills in the past four months that I thought I'd share:

Infomercial Aficionado: Ask me about any product and I'll have an opinion on it. Why? Because nothing else is on between 12 am and 4 am. The new Pajama Jeans seem pretty fantastic. Not!  If I had live plants in my house, I'd definitely have an Aquaglobe. Hardly!  And the Yoshiblade makes me want to chop up some onions - or a soda can, because it can do that too!  Possibly.

Forced Narcoleptic: Remember the days when you could freely choose your bedtime? 10:00, 11:00... what did it matter? If you felt like taking a quick nap on a Sunday afternoon, you could! Now, our sleeping schedule is dictated by the human alarm clock you gave birth to. And because of that, we force ourselves to sleep whenever we can... because who knows the next time you'll be able to lay down and close your eyes!?

Birdbath Taker: I've become an expert at taking birdbaths... you know, the quick "clean the necessary places" splash down you do in the bathroom sink when there is no time to take a real shower? No time to wait for the shower to heat up... a birdbath can be taken cold, hot, lukewarm. As long as some H2O hits the necessities, you feel like a whole new mama!  Too much information?  Yeah, probably so.

Psychic: I can now predict the thoughts, movements and needs of every person (or animal) under my roof. Forget multi-tasking... mamas learn to psychic-task -- predicting what everyone is going to need/want in the next 12/24/48 hours just to maintain a normal breathing pattern and avoid losing your mind.

Stealth Bomber: During nap times, Reef's got to have either silence or a consistent white noise if I expect him to sleep longer than 30 minutes.  Otherwise, he enjoys being awake and at play during the day.  Soooo, I am able to maneuver through the house with the silence of a drone. I've mastered doing things around the house as if I were a mime.


Bat Girl: No, not the baseball kind. The animal kind. As in the animal who has super sonic hearing. Forget baby monitors... a simple roll, sneeze, whimper from the baby bed and I am awakened from a deep sleep. Not much goes on in this house that mama doesn't hear.

Master Yogi: One hand on the baby, one hand reaching for the diaper cream that just got flung across the room, one foot picking up the burp cloth that fell on the floor, and hopping up and down on the other foot, trying to keep from peeing myself (because, yet again, I rushed to take care of the baby and forgot about my own needs). The flexibility required to be a mama is unprecedented.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES

Monday, November 7, 2011

BEING YOU

Isn’t it great to be an individual?

To have unique experiences

To love specifically

To know what you know and do what you do

in only a way that you can?

I RELISH my individuality. and I hope you do too. I hope you never ever try to be anyone else but yourself…because the world needs more authentic hearts.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

RUN IN THE PARK 5K

i play pretend. i make believe i look like i did pre-baby. like a frequent gym-er.

no one told me that my first days working out would feel like death. after about 30 minutes, my body cried uncle. i wanted to hit the emergency stop button on the treadmill, the one that i’m pretty sure they put there for the old folks whose glaucoma has gotten so bad they can’t really see. but no. instead, i was on a gravel path. outside in 48 degree weather. trying to keep up with my friends. holding back my wincing.

i didn’t make it far from the starting line before my body started retching and my mouth began producing excess saliva. i was a rabid dog with turrets. it’s amazing the kind of personal space people will allow you if they think you’re drunk, crazy, and about to vomit all over their new balance shoes!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

BIRTHDAY

Bailey,

Today is your birthday.

Your BIRTHDAY!


It might as well be a national holiday in my book. Because today is the anniversary of your existence and I cannot imagine what would have become of my life had you not come along and made it so grand. I am awed daily by the gentleness of your soul and the way everyone that meets you seems to be washed in the hormony of your spirit.

I love you! To eternity and back.



Monday, October 31, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES



Thursday, October 27, 2011

NUT HOUSE

Reef studies us so intently these days that I wish I knew what he is thinking as he follows us when we dance around the room, when Mommy and Daddy wrestle, or when we’re making up silly songs. All that racket we make with music, the tele blaring, the vacuum buzzing, and the yelling that sometimes goes on between his siblings. I wonder if he’s amused or concerned that out of all the families in this world, he belongs to the only one with crazy people.

(Hate to break it to you kid, but you’re genetically predisposed to be part of this nut house, too.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DON'T RUSH IT

Reef is teaching me some really valuable lessons about being a better person and a better parent but there is one thing that stands out above all the rest. The lesson. Don’t rush it.

Don’t be in a hurry for your baby to sleep through the night or to start solids or to sit up or crawl or walk. If I can offer you one bit of advice, it’s to just enjoy the stage your baby is in right. this. moment.

It’s human nature to look towards the future -- to imagine all the fun that comes with the next milestone in your child’s life -- but looking back, I am shocked at how fast my first two tiny babies are now pre-teens. I sometimes go and study pictures of Keegan and Bailey when they were infants. I look at Keegan’s deep thigh rolls that are all gone now. Bailey’s look of awe and wonder out into the world. And I can’t believe how quickly infancy passes.

Of course it’s important to stimulate and encourage your child, but I feel like I was far too focused on trying to ensure that they were advanced. I found myself (despite knowing better!) comparing them to their peers and worrying unnecessarily when a friend’s baby crawled before Bailey did or reveling in the fact that she was one of the first among her peers to walk. I’d rattle off a list of accomplishments at every pediatrician appointment so that our doctor would tell me how impressive their development was. In so many ways I felt as if their advanced development was a reflection of my success as their mother.

I look at Reef now and I realize that one day soon he will no longer sleep with his knees curled beneath his on my chest, sit content & happy in a bouncy seat, or gnaw on a chew toy for entertainment. I’m sure that you’ll agree that they all roll over, they all sit up, they all learn to hold their own bottle, they all crawl, and cruise, and walk, and run eventually. All of them. Each will do it on their own schedule. But they all get there.

Armed with this revelation, I am taking my sweet time this go round. Instead of focusing on whether Reef is advancing at the same rate (or faster or slower) than his peers, I am letting him lead the way. Even as I watch more and push less, he is still moving forward and growing at what feels like the speed of light. I am savoring each stage more as I know that it will be gone and replaced with a new one far too soon.

So that’s it. My two cents. Slow down. Let go a little. Delight in this moment, dear mothers. The tiny newborn. The squishy infant. The crawling, the cruising, the walking, the talking… it will all come and go faster than your heart can possibly imagine.

Monday, October 24, 2011

MONDAY

It’s Monday. Bleh! I would love nothing more than to spend every day with my children. I miss them most mornings before I ever leave the house. Especially Reef’s enormous gummy grins. Gah! It pulls at my heart strings, passing him over in the mornings while he looks on as if to say, “ready to play, mommy?” I am so ready to come home in the afternoons and just scoop them up and soak them in, before bed time steals them away from me again.

But there is a lot to be said for the career side of my life too. I get to work with a lot of great people. I think that even if I was able to stay home full time with my children, the urge to work in some capacity (writing, volunteering, event planning, etc) would be alive and well in me. I don’t think it makes me any less of a mother because I have a strong desire to work. I feel really grateful that in such tough economic times, I have a job that can help support our family financially.

On the other side of that equation is Pete -- and let’s be honest here -- there is no way (none. zero.) that I could pull this working mom juggling act off with any success without his unwavering support. (I say it all the time - but how do single parents do it? How did I do it? Seriously, God must’ve given me super-human abilities back then.) Pete is my support system, and sometimes the backbone of our family. Even as we have become happy and comfortable in our roles, there are times when we have to tag team around the kids’ activities and/or the baby’s needs. It’s a balancing act and we try very hard to take each other’s needs into account. No. Wait. Honestly, he always takes my needs into account. He cannot spell to save his life (i.e. just today, he IM’d me with “time flys”), or use the proper tense, and it’s both gargantuanly maddening and adorable at the same time. But nevertheless, he ensures there are ample date nights at the end of every busy week -- an opportunity to deflate from the hoop-lah invading the days prior.

Date night used to be trying on different outfits, straightening my hair, it also involved three rounds of drinks, and two to four different stops to meet up with friends. Most of the time it was hours past midnight by the time we made it home.

Date night has changed since we became the parents of a newborn.

There is no leisurely getting ready time these days. First outfit “works well enough.” A swipe of eyeliner, a dab of lipgloss, and out the door we go. With all the excitement of a night out, we never decide where we want to eat until we’re at the doorstep of some chic establishment. After a couple glasses of wine, a full belly, and relatively deep conversations, we’re still home by 9:15. Before 10:00 indeed. I know! Shock-ing!

The house is dark and quiet. I’ll curl up on a corner of the couch and I think to myself that this would be about the time we would just be getting started before we had a baby. I marvel at how efficiently we’ve managed to squeeze a night’s worth of fun into two to three hours. As different as our nights out are from the days when we used to stay out late, I feel just as satisfied. The process has changed but the key elements are exactly the same -- his hand holding tight to my leg in the car ride over, a bounce in our step as we seek out an undetermined adventure, laughing together under the street lights.

And when Reef wakes at 3:15am, I can almost hear the ghosts of Pete and Mandi past, rattling their keys in the door, kicking shoes off sore feet and feeling utterly exhausted from a night out on the town. I was happy to have been them at one point in my life, but looking down at that adorably sleepy boy in my arms I know I wouldn’t trade places again for all the date nights in the world.

Friday, October 21, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES

Sunday, October 16, 2011

BOYS WITH LONG HAIR

Everytime I see little boys with long hair, my smile goes wide. I think it all started with a childhood crush I had for Mowgli from the Jungle Book.

Indeed Reef will eventually end up with long blonde locks.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES

Sunday, October 9, 2011

MINIATURITIS

I am writing to warn you about a new dangerous disease that has affected me, and may also be affecting you.

It’s called “miniaturitis” and the major symptom is the inability to walk away from and/or not buy anything that has been shrunken to a miniature size.  I may not buy it, but I squeal in delight as though I’m 5 years old.  I later reflect on that behavior and roll my eyes – pathetic.

Miniature things may include:

·         mini soda cans
·         mini sandwiches (this includes slider cheeseburgers)
·         mini cupcakes
·         miniature ponies
·         baby shoes (this one’s HUGE)
·         miniature people (pls don’t be offended!)
·         and apparently this mini bottle of water (see below)

If you  or someone you love is experiencing miniaturitis, I’m sorry to say there is no cure.
But knowledge is power, so the first step is recognizing that you have a problem.
Be strong my friends.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

LIFE IN PICTURES




Friday, October 7, 2011

MORNINGS

Our early waking ritual.

One thousand smiles for me.

One thousand kisses for him.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

MODERN DAY LULLABYE

I made a playlist for Reef just prior to my maternity leave. It consists of mostly Indie, but my intention was overall melodic and peaceful.

Aside from traditional lullabies and children’s song, I also sing songs to Reef that touch me in a profound way. Aside from Dido’s Thank You, which you all know, I’m a big fan of Priscilla Ahn’s Dream. When the house is quiet and we’re rockin’ in our big plush chair, he’ll listen intently as I sing these lyrics. They bring back memories from my childhood.

I was a little girl
Alone in my little world
Who dreamed of a little home for me
I played pretend between the trees
And fed my houseguests bark and leaves
And laughed in my pretty bed of green

I had a dream
That I could fly
From the highest swing
I had a dream

Long walks in the dark
Through woods grown behind the park
I asked God who I'm supposed to be
The stars smiled down at me
God answered in silent reverie
I said a prayer and fell asleep

I had a dream
That I could fly
From the highest tree
I had a dream

oooo....

Now I'm old and feeling gray
I don't know what's left to say
About this life I'm willing to leave
I lived it full, I lived it well
As many tales I live to tell
I'm ready now, I'm ready now
I'm ready now
To fly from the highest wing



Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DEAR CHILDREN

Keegan,
You’re the epitome of awesomeness. Don’t get me wrong – you challenge me and push my buttons. It’s just who you are. But you resonate a whole lotta love for your family. You’re so perfect just the way you are. Without much effort, you excel in school. Gifted and talented -- nothing less than an A. Pretty much always. Your spirit on the football field... just wow -- your teammates marvel at your abilities. And what good looks you have. You want nothing more than your plaid skater shorts and t-shirts, but you can make a paper sack look cute. It’s no wonder you have so many female admirers in 6th grade. Oi vey! There’s a strong passion for music flowing within you, much like I had growing up. You can sit and research bands for hours, discovering new and undiscovered artists. You’re currently attracted to electronic music: drum & bass, trance, downtempo, some house –- you’re SO my kid!


Bailey,
You are incredibly affectionate and love to give me big hugs and kisses. This has been a constant characteristic of yours. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this about you! You still have a serious love for horses, and spend your evenings researching them on the internet. You are CRAZY about books – your vocabulary is often that of an adult as a result. You still can’t match your clothes to save your life. The Mini Bike boy’s t-shirt is about to go missing, I warn. Being feminine and appearing freshly coifed is not high on your list of priorities. Two of your favorite songs right now are Sail by Awolnation and Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People. Lastly, you have a brilliant mind. Above your years. I often say you have an old soul.



Reef,
You rolled over at 8 weeks, although you’ve stopped since. You are such an inch worm, however, that you can wiggle yourself clear across the floor in no time. Everyone comments on how strong you are. You can stand up for long periods of time with just a tiny bit of support under your arms and you have started pulling yourself up when I give you my hands for leverage. You have an insane grip and it sometimes takes serious effort to peel your little fingers off from around objects (or unwrap fistfuls of my hair from your fingers!). You meet your milestones much earlier than expected (my heart BURSTS with pride over this Reef!) You react to your reflection in a mirror, swing at toys that dangle from your play gym, and laugh in response to my jokes and my kisses! You are already teaching me to never (for even a single second) underestimate you. You are quickly getting a reputation for being “the happiest baby ever” as you dole out huge (I mean gigantic!!) smiles left and right and let out bellowing belly chuckles that make everyone else laugh too. You laugh all the time, at everything, and the joy you spread around is so infectious.
My darling children, you have changed the path of my life in the most wonderful way. Being your mother is the greatest thing I have ever known. To watch you grow and develop into three unique, individual little people is a daily gift. I can’t imagine this awe ever wearing off.



-

Monday, October 3, 2011

HAPPY BABY

Some people wait a month or two before posting pictures of their newborn to the public.  Probably because they want to ensure the grouchy-old-troll-baby grows up to be more attractive like Brad Pitt rather than Benjamin Button.  Of course, however, my new squished face baby was a specimen of unquestionable beauty.  I knew that he was destined to make the list of the nation’s Most Beautiful People (and I’ve seen Gabriel Aubrey in hi-def).  I can remember sitting in the hospital bed swooning over his puffy eyes, wrinkled forehead, and yellow complexion.  Don’t forget his scrawny chicken legs.  I was enchanted.  Smitten.  I may have been delirious, but I was in love with that egg-headed baby.  Even the baby acne a few days later couldn’t crush my crush.  He was a stunner.

Reef’s filled out since then.  A lot.  Carrying him is like schlumping around a fortune in gold bricks.  He’s a mini sumo wrestler.  And I’m often afraid I may lose things in the folds of his skin.  His hair’s also fallen out, leaving just enough peach fuzz for people to notice he’s a blondie like his mom and dad.  Now that I think about it, he somewhat looks like a dandelion.  Nevertheless, he’s a happy baby – always sporting a gummy, full-on grin.


Friday, September 30, 2011

SHOTS ANYONE?

And I don’t mean grey goose, chilled patron, or kamikazes.  [those were the days] 

We weren’t doing shots at the bar. 

Rather, we were doing shots at the pediatrician’s office: DTaP, Hib, Hep B, polio…and none of these require a chaser.  Though, Little Mister probably would’ve appreciated one.  Shots in his adorably chunky thighs provoked a fire-red face, trembling arms, and a 911-worthy shriek that I’ve never before seen or heard.  The corner of my own eyes got weepy. 

Reminiscing on Little Mister’s first rite of passage somewhat made me giggle later that evening.  Funny?  Ok, well maybe not funny, but there was some comedy in the moment….the look, the noise, the drama.  The way I saw it, this was just the beginning.  Life is full of good times and hard times.  And as his Mommy, I wish Reef the whole spectrum -- the most wonderful experiences to enjoy, and difficult times that will make him stronger.  Every day is a gift, and you must find the joy/ meaning/ strength with each experience dealt to you (good or bad). 

Here’s to life!  Now who wants a shooter?

OFFICE AWARD

Thursday, September 29, 2011

BABY WEIGHT

The most frequent question from both my prego friends and my non-prego friends is “how did you take off the baby weight that quickly?”  First of all, I haven’t completely shed it all. I gained 51 pounds when pregnant; started out at 103 and ended at 154. Yowza is right!  I’ve lost 37 ‘ell bees’ thus far, but I’ve been parked here for weeks and am somewhat starting to panic. I’m unable to exercise because of my abdominal hernia, and the lack of activity is weighing on me.  Literally speaking.

I’ve never really cared about the number on the scale, so long as I felt good in my clothes -- but after baby #3, I was worried about my body’s ability to bounce back. It took me just a matter of weeks to lose all of my baby weight with Keegan and Bailey (without any dieting or exercise) but being 10 years older with baby #3, I assumed it wouldn’t be as easy.

Quite the contrary.  Breastfeeding is the solution, ladies!  It’s been the common denominator in all three weight loss achievements. Breastfeeding is not only wonderfully nutritious for baby, but it’s fabulous for you, too.

I’m certain, however, I’ve now plateaue’d.  The remainder of my baby weight is not showing any signs of falling off on its own.  It’s going to take exercise to get where I want to be. My girl, Tracy Anderson, will make a regular appearance in my living room just as soon as my hernia is repaired. I’m also trying to eat healthy in the interim…appropriately portioned meals and water. Now…don’t get me wrong…I am proud of what my body has accomplished, even if it is a lot softer and squishier than it used to be. But I very much hope that I can get back to my desired weight so that I can enjoy wearing all of my favorite jeans again.

______________________________________________________________

You know you’re dieting when…
  • You see a broken nacho chip on the floor at work and actually consider picking it up to eat it.  Seriously!  This has happened.
  • A few sips of a beer or margarita now gives you a buzz because you haven't been able to properly carbo-load beforehand.
  • Your jaw hurts from chewing so much gum.
  • Instead of wiping the ice cream off your child's face, you kinda get the urge to just lick it off.
  • You bark at your children to clear their plates and then RINSE them in the sink, mainly so you don’t feel the urge to pick at their leftovers.  (Thankfully, soggy food is not appealing to me…at this point in my diet, anyway.)
  • As you are in the grocery store line, you see the woman ahead of you buying cans of Spam and actually ponder what it tastes like.  A nice Easter ham?  And then you proceed to fantasize about Easter dinner...Thanksgiving dinner...Christmas dinner...
  • You poop lettuce.


Monday, September 26, 2011

BACK TO WORK

Everyone asks how I’m doing leaving Reef with the nanny and returning to work.  I explain that it’s like so many other things in life…it is what it is.  I don’t have a choice and instead of focusing on the negative, I’m focusing on the fact that #1) I have a job in this economy and #2) that we’ve found a wonderful nanny – it’s the best of both worlds, really.

I somewhat miss the fun at the office, of being a big beach ball with legs. Mornings being a challenge in dressing my baby belly, and later have coworkers awe in what I could stylishly throw together, proving that pregnancy clothes can still be cute and not necessarily come from maternity stores. And now…I’m just a regular ol’ working gal again.  

Anyhow.  I’m grateful to my coworkers who stepped in and picked up my slack while I was out.  But now it’s time to get back into a routine – no more lounging in pajamas and smothering “baby cakes” with kisses any time I want.  However, I enjoy the work that I do and earning a salary is part of mothering my kids.  My fear was wondering if I’d lost my professional mojo. I am used to being good at what I do, and I am generally able to juggle work and family life relatively well, but all of life’s little bumps in the road (i.e. the addition of another child, the scare w Reef’s hips, my hernia, my skin cancer, Keegan’s concussion, medical bills, etc) within the past 9 weeks had really rattled me. 

I woke this morning with the adamancy that I would squeeze my postpartum body into something office-appropriate and muster up the confidence to march into work as though I still got it.

I fought off most of the anxiety of it all by reminding myself that it’s good for our souls to stir the dust up a bit. Change brings growth. And our ultimate goal is growing little girls and little boys and this life we’ve made into something bigger than it is today.



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ALL THINGS MOMMY

Most expressions with the word "mom" or "mommy" in them -- mom hair, mom shoes, mom jeans, soccer mom, hockey mom, mom's night out-- conjure up an immediate image, and it's not exactly a positive one. Rather a one-dimensional, pathetic, frumpy, unhip, conformist, soft, lacking identity, and selfless image.

Other than the blatant "dead-beat dad," why don't we use the word dad or daddy in derogatory ways?

Mama's boy? “Ick.”

Daddy's girl? “Awww, how sweet!”

Whose permission do we need to “be a mom?”  As far as I’m concerned, mom’s rock! And I’m proud to be one.

Monday, September 19, 2011

2 MONTHS OLD

My newborn who did nothing but eat and sleep all day is morphing into a busy little guy.  He still eats and sleeps a lot, but he has added a few new tricks to his repertoire.

He Talks. Reef has a lot on his mind. Mostly he says "ah goo." But sometimes he mixes it up and says, "coo coo." He uses his voice to get my attention -- which is good because he has some stiff competition from his brother and sister when it comes to commandeering attention.

He Grows . . . and Grows . . . and Grows. His 3 month clothes are starting to look snug. We have a check up next week for an official weigh in.

He Smiles. He has a few different versions. Sometimes he does a subtle curl of the lip, as if to say, 'Oh, hey there Mom." But more often Reef flashes an exuberant, gummy grin that screams, "LIFE IS GOOD!"


I can no longer remember what life was like before him.  It obviously wasn't as spectacular as it is now.




Saturday, September 17, 2011

BYE BYE BABY

Yesterday was my last official day of maternity leave. I’ve spent the last 8 weeks living on planet mama and spending my days consumed with chubby baby thighs and first smiles and late afternoons snuggling on the couch. We’ve stayed up late, we’ve slept in, we’ve gotten to know each other on a very intimate level.  And though I'm working from home this first week, this Monday morning, I’ve got to somehow figure out how to turn my “real world” brain back on. I’ve been feeling anxious about it -- but the one thing that keeps me from getting too worked up is that the nanny is located minutes from the office.  That is pretty much best case scenario for a working mom -- that I can visit my gummy bear on a whim.  But dang!  I miss him already!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

SKIN CANCER. IT'S REAL.

You live with the hope that you are going to be one of the “lucky ones.”  The ones that don’t get cancer.  I should know.  I am was one of them. 
I opted to visit the dermatologist a couple of weeks ago, simply as a preventative.  I did, in fact, have a questionable mole on my back, but still 99% certain it wasn’t anything to be concerned about.  Rather, the doctor questioned the WHITE, FLESH-COLORED bump on my nose.  A bump no bigger than 1 mm in diameter.  “Oh, that’s nothing,” I said.  “I think that maybe I had a pimple there about a year ago that I happened to pick…leaving a little bump-like scar.  I'm now a recovering picker.”
[paraphrasing]  “That’s a text-book story for skin cancer, Mandi.  Let’s scrape it off and send it in for biopsy,” the doctor says in response.
***
We think we have it so hard
Maybe you've got a test next week, maybe your best friend is being a b word, maybe there's some repair you need for your car that costs $1000, maybe your cat is sick, maybe your boss is a prick, or maybe your tooth has a giant cavity.  Life is just so terrible.  You want to die. (dramatically speaking)

And we go on like this for years.  YEARS!  Going from one so-called crisis to the next. Then one day you get a phone call, and you have cancer.  BAM!  Like a hit from a baseball bat to the head. CANCER.  Everything spins for a minute.  The world seems to jolt to a stop. 

Everything changes.  It sucks.  It sucks so bad, that unless you've been through it, you can't even begin to fathom the feeling.  It hollows you out in a split second.  It's like being struck by lightning. 
Yes folks…I developed CANCER.  Fortunately, I'm not going to die, or have to suffer through chemotherapy treatments.  Mine is a mild form of skin cancer.  Not that there is any good cancer or bad cancer – a disease with the word cancer as it’s suffix…well, is shitty no matter how invasive.  But in my case, I’m not having to prepare my family that they may potentially lose their mother/ wife/ daughter/ sister/ friend.
I spent most of my childhood and adolescent years playing sports and partaking in outdoor activities.  So, sure, I can recall numerous burns.  Floating the river, swimming everyday during summer break, and playing volleyball at the beach from dawn til dusk -- occasionally burning so badly that I couldn't move the next morning.  But it healed and I got a nice golden tan, never once concerned I was doing insurmountable harm to my body.  But I was no George Hamilton!  Still, I was playing Russian roulette with my life.
***
I am one day post-op today.  A specialty surgeon downtown performed the MOHS procedure on my nose to remove the cancer.  Once I was completely numbed, they switched on the bright light and laid the surgical scalpels and tools on my chest and proceeded to reconstruct the tip of my nose.  It’s a slow process, lasting 4.5 hours in my particular case.  Small amounts of the diseased skin are removed and then reviewed in a lab, until traces of cancer are no longer identified.  I heard the Dr. snipping through my skin. I felt the tug and pull of the stitches - both sub dermal and dermal.  In the end, I estimated I had about 18 shots in my nose, and 5 sub dermal and 7 dermal stitches.
People, don’t be fooled by the simplicity of my description.  The aforementioned surgery was nothing short of frightening.  Google the MOHS procedure and you’ll see why.  There was such potential for a far worse wound/scar than what I have.  I am, with no doubt, a “lucky one.”
My diagnosis is basal cell carcinoma (aka cancer).  It’s not likely to metastasize, which means that unlike its evil cousin, melanoma, it doesn’t travel to other organs. However, no one should take it lightly. Like the spreading roots of a tree, basal cell carcinoma can work its way throughout the basal skin cells much farther than the visible spots extend. Let it go too long and you could lose chunks of your nose, ear, leg, etc; a Google image search reveals horrifying pictures in which it’s consumed large portions of someone’s face. When I think about possible skin cancer scenarios, I thank God for what he spared me from.
One misconception is that this cancer only affects those over 40.  False.  There are over 1 million NEW diagnoses every year.  It’s simply those over 40 that truly begin to see doctors regularly but many times have cancerous conditions that they’ve been living with for 8-10 years.  My surgeon operates on patients as young as 16 from time to time.
Another misconception is that one had to have been a sun-worshipper to get skin cancer.  False again.  About half of my surgeon’s patients are not sun-bathers.  Some, he described, are simply runners, golfers, bikers...and those that typically wear clothing and ball caps while performing their activity
You must wear and REAPPLY UVA/UVB sunscreen when outdoors; even when you don’t think you need it.  A one-time application is not sufficient.  Avoiding the sun between the hours of noon and 3 is extremely helpful.  Wearing a broad-brimmed hat can do wonders, considering most skin cancers occur on the face, ears, chest, and shoulders.  Most importantly, get checked by a dermatologist yearly.
Jerry Seinfeld even wrote an episode around it. It was the one where he dates the dermatologist and calls her “Pimple Popper MD” because he doesn’t think she is a real doctor. After all she wasn’t saving any lives, right? That is what he believes until he meets the man she saved from skin cancer.
Folks, skin cancer is a REAL CANCER.  It’s a deadly foe that we actually can help prevent


Excuse the no makeup me, but this is 2 days post-op...


2 days post-op
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...