Friday, July 30, 2010

Open for Advice

I'd like to ask all the mommies out there for some advice.

I'm really feeling like I'm struggling finding any semblance of balance in my life right now, with working, having a family, and having an incredible lack of sleep from my son's crazy sleep issues lately. I feel like I'm doing all I can just to eat, sleep, get my son ready, and stay positive. My great schedule I used to have for planning for shopping, having time to shop, run my errands alone (I'm not sure this is a possibility anymore, and that in itself causes me stress) and all has fallen off the face of the earth, and before I break down and fall apart, I just want to hang on the rope and try to keep perspective.

I've now added two weekday activities to my week, which I'm sure will be affecting the craziness I feel on top of things too: an afterschool club and weekly allergy shots (which gets me home with my son 1/2 hour later than normal on that night).

When you first have a baby, all the books say to forget about chores and do all you can to care for your child and yourself. Is this still true as a working mom with a toddler? Do I get myself all worked up about nothing, or do the rest of you struggle with these things too?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blogging Club

Starting next Monday I am going to be sponsoring a blogging club for middle school students. I am so excited to watch them create their blogs and see what themes they come up with to write about. Of course I'm going over Internet safety and their parents have to approve them posting photos and have the link to their blog, to keep an eye on it.

I am struggling, however, with "model blogs" to show them as examples, that teens have created. I am not sharing my own blogs as I want to keep them private from young viewers, and separate from the class, so I'll be creating another one with them to model certain pieces.

Does anyone out there know links to any teenage/middle school blogs?

I'd also love to hear any suggestions you have, from the view of a parent, perhaps a middle school parent.

Monday, July 26, 2010

WILTW: Too Much

I learned way too much this week, big lessons that I'll never forget and little things I'll never understand.

1. The latest, tonight, that external hard drives fail, and you can spend an inordinate amount of time trying to save to them (like 4 hours?) until you realize its death has come.

2.  Working on a computer with no backup (yes, I deleted all my old ones trying to make room on my hard drive) is quite scary . My great husband has offered to give me his, but is currently moving files to do so.

3. Keypad on laptops should not be cleaned with Magic Erase and a little water. Yes, I shorted out my keyboard and had to get it replaced today at work (hence all the backing up and such). Do I feel like a schmuck? yes.

4. Even though children finally sleep through the night, their nights are often much shorter than ours when they decide to get up. 4:30 AM has been a trend the last 5 nights. I finally made a "morning bag" in the bathroom to grab and go get ready in our other bathroom so as not to have two parents awake too early.

5. See that sweater in my profile pic? Ever used a sweater shaver? Well yesterday I decided it was looking a bit pilly, so I decided to shave it while I was wearing it. I don't recommend that, especially in a bra with an underwire. When the little shaver hits the underwire, well, it makes holes in your sweaters. Like my external harddrive, my sweater has met its end.

6. Lastly, well, and I don't even want to admit this one, I made a big boo-boo this summer at work and read a colleague's notes in the same way others had written theirs, and this person had done the opposite (not my fault, right?). This caused numerous rearranging of students today and me being VERY upset with myself last Friday. Really upset. You know when you've really messed up but everyone else acts like it is no big deal, but you know it is. Ahh...that was Friday. BUT, a great buddy at work brought me pretzel M & Ms today. Have you tried those? Delish!

7. The biggest thing I've learned (okay, not really, but it is last), is that I am really struggling keeping up with postings and reading my favorite posts due to life lessons and responsibilities. I've had to tell myself it is okay, and that I'll find some balance again one of these days. So please forgive me if I haven't read yours lately. It is taking all I can to check my email.

Frankly, I think I learned enough last week to last me awhile. How about you?
See more at Julie's blog.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Anybody a Mac User?

Anyone out there a Mac user? Yesterday I was cleaning my keyboard with a slightly damp Magic Erase and since then, I have lost use of many of the keys on the right side of my keyboard! I thought it might have been a glitch since I hadn't restarted in a week or so, so I did some software updates, logged out, and what do you know, can't log back in because my name includes some of those keys that aren't working! Anyone know a fix? Just letting it sit to see if wetness got in didn't work.

So, I'm on an old laptop right now, with no access to any of my normal files, photos, or anything and awaiting my work tech person to help me, seeing as how that computer is my work one. I can't take it to the Mac store or anything. Wow, being without my resources has been VERY rough!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. We've had our 4th morning in a row where our son has slept through the night but is waking around 4:30. Better than hours awake during the night, but still a little tough.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Finding Time

Isn't it always tough to find the time to do all that we need/want to do?

These last two weeks have been particularly tough, with getting back to work full-time and managing the monster/sleeping issues in our house. What used include some relaxation and chore routine during the weekdays nights suddenly became just simply trying to get my son to go and stay asleep. Due to that, I have felt completely thrown off course. I know it has happened to everyone.

Last night, he was asleep by 7:15, with some encouraging words from Dad.

Oh, nice! Sure he was up at 4:45, and didn't earn his "wait until Mommy gets you up" award, but he is happy and a spaz today.

I love routine because I know how much time I have to do a particular thing, and can generalize whether I'll be on time, can get a certain thing done, etc. Mornings like today throw me off a bit and instead of being early because my son wakes up at 4:45 instead of me getting him up at 5:20 or so, I have to figure out how to have him entertained so I can sneak back in the bedroom to get my makeup and things to somewhat get ready before breakfast so it fits in the rest of the family routine, without him coming to the back to tell Daddy hello before Daddy wakes at 5:30, or we will definitely have a house full of monsters then!

I think what I'm learning most about parenting is to expect the unexpected, at all times, and just try to be flexible, knowing that around the corner, things will change again anyway. Sure, I feel/understand that today, but when the next change happens, I know I'll forget, won't I?

Until then, I'll try to find the time to squeeze in all the little things that didn't get done, or what the heck, write off a few things that aren't necessary...

How do you find time to get everything done when life throws you off course?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WITLW: Noses can be funny

Well, I have learned a lot this week, things I've mentioned about monsters, that I can survive on little sleep (and so can my son), but most of all, that noses can be funny.

Picture this:

I'm lying in bed last night next to my son, trying to settle him to go to sleep. I'm faking that I'm asleep, to get him to rest too. I hear him whisper, "Eye," and touch my eyelid, then "Lips," and touch my lips, and then, "Nose," and he touches my nose. Then he pinches my nose and says, "Nose." I just bust out laughing, then so did he. Oh...that does not help a toddler go to sleep! At that point, he just kept saying, "One more time! Nose!" and wanted to pinch it again.

I can't wait to see what tonight holds.

On that nose note too, think I can get an almost 3-year-old to wear a black clown nose for Halloween, for his Mickey Mouse costume?

For more, see Julie's blog. What did you learn this week?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monster Update Monday

Well, this has been one of the biggest challenges I've faced as a mom, and some of you may laugh, and think I have no clue...or that there is so much more to come.
I've spent so much quality time next to my son the last few nights that it has taken me back to when I used to call out for my mom in the middle of the night after a bad dream and she'd come and lay with me until I fell asleep. That meant so much to me that right now, I want to be able to do that for my little guy too, to help scare away his monsters.

We helped by supplying him with a flashlight.
And this weekend, we broke down and bought a single mattress for the floor, to see if that will help him, and help me, be able to lay next to and ease him into sleep. He took to the bed right away, which was great.
Now I just have to help get him from waking up 4 or more times every night and come looking for me.

My friends and family have been such great support with ideas left and right, and the continual message that this too, will pass. My husband asks how many days? :)

What has been one of your biggest struggles as a parent?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Monster Madness

I've been away from the blogging world this week, dealing with getting back to work full-time after six weeks of less work and we've had some monster madness at home. We just returned from a trip at the end of last week, had company and crazy schedules, transitioned my son into a daybed of sorts instead of his crib, and suddenly we had monsters on the floor and in the carseat, to the point of complete terror and nights awake from 1 AM on, so that Mommy (that's me) had only 3 1/2 hours of sleep one night.

Many of my great friends recommended monster spray (water in a spray bottle), I incorporated a sponge to wipe them away too, and we got a little Cars flashlight. It took about 2 extra hours to get my son to sleep last night, but he at least slept through the night.

With all of this, it has been all I can do to keep my head above water, awake at my desk, and moving forward. So, one of these days I'll get caught up again, maybe.

Until then, what have been things in your life that have thrown things off course for you?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

WFMW: Harness Backpack

Okay, you may be a mom who dreads seeing these things on children too. I say "too", because I used to feel that way, until I realized my child is a "runner". Yes, at 2 1/2 he is prepping himself to be an Olympic runner in a moment's notice. He just looks away and Boom! He's off! There is no stopping him.

A great friend suggested I try a harness style one, with a cute stuffed animal, but my son picked out this one for a trip we recently took (very cool and masculine, isn't it?). I have to say, it is THE BEST investment we've EVER made for him, at $13.99! Target. It even has a whiteboard under the flap, but we haven't used that yet, as I feared he'd draw everywhere except the backpack.

We started on a walk around the block.

Then, the airport. This was the main concern for a mother of a runaway. It was either this or the stroller, which would have been so restraining prior and in-between two 2 1/2 hour flights.
When he was safe from the fear of running away, he would simply just wear the backpack to hold his toys and sippie. Then I could easily grab the strap when it was time to walk back.
The best, when he just wanted to participate in pushing all our gear in the airport on the way home. We never did use our stroller, except to lug around the carseat and carry-on.
Go here for more great ideas of What Works For Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

WILTW: Toddler Traveling Tales

This last week, I learned a number of things and if you interested in what others have learned too, see Julie.

1. Traveling with a toddler can be exhausting. (What is up with that hair???)

2. Harness backpack can be made to look cool and make your child FEEL cool. (Note he's buckling his own backpack above.)

3. Kentucky can make you hot and sweaty.
4. Eating leftover carrots that you feed animals on a farm is cool (even if you refuse to eat them at home). See photo above.

5. Arm farts (we call them "toots") are funny when done with cousins.
6. Sprinklers can be cold.
7. Big slides are fun feet first.
8. Chicken eggs you find on a farm get "messy" when you throw them.
9. Knowing how to evacuate a plane is important.
10. It is quite rare, I hear, to be invited into the cockpit for a tour by the pilot prior to boarding. Lucky fellow!

Friday, July 9, 2010 there such a thing with a toddler?

What do you do when you just need some rest?

Just the other day, I was tired, really tired, from walking outside in the sun with my son (and I mean HEAT), keeping him (oh, that was me) sane while we ate lunch in a restaurant, and by the time I got home, I was exhausted. As my husband and I have been saying lately, I felt 90 years old. I got my son down for a nap, but had numerous errands still left to do and chores to tackle. My hubby suggested I take some time to lay down (don't only 90-year-olds do that? I do remember my mom needing one every weekend afternoon...though maybe it was just to get a break from all of us). I laid down and my body just sunk into the mattress. My mind was awake, but my body was throbbing, and sinking further into the bed. I don't think I slept, but I had 45 minutes of solid, no-moving, rest. Boy, did I need that.

I knew my world couldn't stop like it could pre-children (child in my case), and that was the toughest part. My hubby and I miss those relaxing weekends. Now I feel like I have to cram so much in and think of activities for my son so that he doesn't say, "Watch show?" With only one child, he tends to want me to be his playmate. I love that, and do that, but I need some downtime too.

Should I just give in and realize that I will feel tired like this until my son is 7? That's my joke, that we'll be able to do so much once he's 7, that maybe, just maybe that's when I'll feel rested? I have also gotten less exercise since becoming a mom than I've ever had in my adult life, and I wonder, could it be that? I can't afford a club membership anymore, it is simply too hot outside, and I already have such little time with him, working full-time. (Excuses, aren't they?)

Do you remember the days of your toddler, or do you have a toddler now? Do you feel this way too? It always makes me feel better to feel others feel what I do, don't you?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

10 Things I Love About Working

I may be one of those odd mothers, who really enjoy working. I do, I love going to my job each day. Here are some reasons why:

10 Things I Love About Working

1. I love the interactions with other adults, and the great people they are.
2. I love having another focus outside of my own life.
3. I love the challenges that work presents to me. It takes my mind off of my own challenges.
4. I love the great friendships I've made through my work. Truly, the best friends I've made have come from my job.
5. I love the routine of going to work. I actually don't do well having too much time off. It is not that I don't know what to do with myself, but I feel out of sync, like something isn't quite right. It happens whenever we have a break (unless I'm in some terrific place like a tropical island...)
6. I love encouraging myself and striving to get better at my job.
7. I love (and sometimes feel guilty about) the downtime away from my family, to have a place for me, where things are about what I'm working toward.
8. I love encouraging others, whether other teachers or students, in what they are doing.
9. I love the people. Oh, have I already said that? Well, I do. I love the positive environment I work in. Of course people always have their concerns/issues, but that's just part of life.
10. I love that I love going to work, that it isn't something I dread. It is something I look forward to.

What are 10 things you love about a part something you do every day?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WFMW: wall art

I just love being able to display my son's artwork, so in various places in the house, instead of fine artwork, I share toddler artwork:

The bathroom-

The hallway outside his room-

The wall between the kitchen and living room-

and of course the fridge (no photos there). Doesn't everything put their child's artwork on the fridge?

Where do you display your children's artwork?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WILTW: Blogging

What I learned this week has to do with blogging. I started a family-focused blog in the fall of 2007, actually Labor Day weekend, when I had the time to play around and figure out how it all worked. It was a great way to share photos of myself growing as a pregnant woman, with family far away, and all the fun events, like baby showers and such. It was even more amazing once I had my son and could share the goings on without having to contact and stay in touch with so many people. Basically none of our family lives anywhere near us, so it was perfect.

I felt like I was lacking something though, like a place for myself, where I didn't need to edit every little thought and I could feel free to write about anything. That's when I started this blog, which has gone so many different directions that I love it, and I enjoy even more, making connections with other bloggers!

The difficulty comes though, in keeping up with two blogs, and trying to post daily to each throughout the week (I just started doing that at the end of May). I just can't keep it up. I used to do it only weekly to my family one, and I think I'll go back to doing that again.

I love to blog, but I don't want to feel the responsibility that it brings. I think I'm busy enough in my job and role as a mom and wife, and I want those to be priorities. So, if I'm not here every day, I need to let that be okay with me. It is exciting though, to have ideas to blog about, so perhaps I still will as well!

Let me ask you, how often do you blog (I admit, I do schedule mine for future dates though and do several at a time), and do you ever feel pressured to do so, with your own expectations of yourself?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fun Bags

I went to this great bag party a month or so ago, and picked out some really cute products. Have you ever been to a Thirty-One party? (By the way, I'm not selling or trying to promote anything here, just sharing, and giving you a link if you want to check it out yourself.) From the moment I saw the catalog, I wanted one of everything! (Of course I can't do that, being the reasonable - well, not so much - woman who needs to come home to her husband and share that I didn't spend our life savings.)

Anyhow, I just wanted to share some of the cute things I got:
I got a little toy tote for my son, a beach tote, and a car tote organizer (we were heading to the splash park).

Fun stuff! I love bags, so I just couldn't resist. You should check out their things too, and if you're interested, you can contact the consultant I used too.

Click here and check them out!
Thirty-One Products

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th of July! (AKA: Don't Laugh at the Cake)

Many of you don't know about my birthday cake I made in April. It was sad. Very sad. I am definitely not a cake decorator! (Make that just cake froster in general.) Here it is in all its drippy glory. It WAS delicious however!
I even named this photo "40th b-day cake disaster" or something like that.

Well, I thought I'd just make a 13 x 9" pan cake with my son and decorate it for 4th of July, to look something like this.

I baked the cake, frosted it during naptime, and cut up all the strawberries and blueberries. I even showed the photo to my son so he could process it internally during naptime and visualize what we were attempting.

It began like this:
Not too bad, right? Then he began throwing strawberries on the cake. Next, he picked up the containers of fruit and dumped them, even while I was pointing and describing what we needed to be doing.  (I interject and make a comment that an author in a book I was looking at recently compared toddlers to cavemen...)
Well, I contemplated moving the fruit to the appropriate sides, but it was all stuck to the frosting. So, we adapted, and Mommy helped to create a reverse USA flag. Please don't call me unpatriotic. Flexible would be a better word.
How are you spending your 4th of July?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Slow Down!"

So this morning, as my regular routine goes, I'm scrolling through my dashboard, looking through blogs to read. Little do I know my 2 1/2 year old is watching, and he says, "Slow down!" I guess I was moving so quickly, he couldn't "read" over my shoulder.

I laughed so hard! Of course, because I laughed, he kept saying it, and "Wait! Turn around!" as he pulled on my arm so my attention went to him.

Gotta love those moments!

Recipe: Chipotle Tostadas

This is one of my absolute favorites, even with all the prep time it takes for chopping the goodies that go on it. I meant to take a picture of a "decorated" on during dinner the other night and forgot, so you'll just have to imagine the creative mix of items you can put on your tostada to pretty it up and make it taste so good!

I honestly don't know where I found this recipe, but I can't claim it as my own.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 med. onion, chopped
1 teas. ground cumin
4 c. cooked pinto beans (I use 2-15 oz. cans, drained)
4 teas. Chipotle Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 c. water
tostada shells
1 c. feta cheese or Cotija Queso Seco (I use feta)
1 c. finely diced tomato
1/2 c. thinly sliced radishes
1/2 c. loosely packed cilantro leaves (I chop them)
iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced, sprinkled with vinegar and salt
sour cream

Saute onions in oil in skillet. Add ground cumin and cook 30 seconds. Add beans, teas. salt, cup of water. Use potato masher to mash beans until like lumpy potatoes. 

Here's what mine looks like at this point:
Cook on medium heat until water is absorbed.

Here's what mine looks like at this point:
Stir in Chipotle to taste and add more salt if desired. 

My hubby likes to add more Chipotle sauce on top of his tostada after he prepares it. I always say he makes the prettiest tostada, that I should take a picture of. I forgot until he'd taken a few bites, but here is one partway eaten. I'm no "glamour gourmet photographer", so please forgive the unbreakable family friendly plate!
For more great recipes see We Are That Family.