Sunday, October 30, 2011

Name Bubbles Take 2

O.k. so as I finalize the details of my return to work, I keep finding myself playing around with the Name Bubbles website to create mock ups of what Ben's Daycare labels will look like.

Here is my trouble - there are too many adorable options to choose from! I know I want something that is going to be bright and stand out because Katie's labels match some of her stuff so her teachers don't notice them. (plus I think we need to change where we put the labels on her cups, and food containers to make sure it's the first thing they see.)

So, I have done this about 4 times and just haven't pulled the trigger yet because I just want to pick the right ones.

I know, what's the big deal. I just think they are adorable and I feel such pressure to get them "right" There are 42 different pictures to choose from if you want to pick the icon style. Right now, I'm partial to the guitar since my hubby plays. Then on top of all the cute pictures to choose from, you have to pick from 24 color combinations. Some are more boyish and some are girlish, but I feel they have some very nice gender neutral options as well.

I love these things. They have stayed in all of Katie's clothes after repeated washings and haven't budged on any of her cups or food containers, despite the fact that we REFUSE to wash dishes by hand around here and they go through the dishwasher every night.

I'm having a hard time picking which "pack" I should order because the kids aren't allowed to take any toys to school with them, so it will just be bottles, food containers, clothes and eventually - shoes. So, I think I will order the sampler pack because as cute as the shaped labels are, I just don't think we have any use for them right now.

I think these would be a great idea for people who work in places with shared refrigerators and lots of people instead of writing your name on your tupperware. You don't have to choose icon pictures, you can pick monogram styles and they will not look like they were intended for kids.

I think I'm gonna place my order tonight in anticipation of finalizing my new job tomorrow. Maybe it will be my good luck.

Either way, check them out - you will love them.

OH, and as a friend pointed out, they have fund raising options - so maybe this is a good idea for your school or organization too!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Going back to work!!!

So... this has been a big week for us all!
I got 2 job offers, the new daycare I want the kids in, is opening up next week and Ben is crawling and climbing as fast as lightening!!

Yup - 2 job offers. It all happened kind of quick and kind of random but I am super happy to say that I was able to choose from 2 VERY nice job opportunities for going back to work FT.

I am going to be working for my old company - from my home office - with a one day a week commute to the main office. (it's about an hour each way)

I will be doing a little recruiting/HR but mainly, a brand new, totally challenging, business analyst job. The fact that I will be working from home means that my lunch "breaks" and "commuting time" will be used to do small things around the house instead of eating, like laundry or dinner prep so that after 5 pm, things won't be as crazy as when you have to commute to and from a job every day. The kids will be at a daycare 5 minutes away and since my husband works 5 minutes away - we can share the drop off/pick up of the kids, doctors appointments and sick days!

The daycare we are putting the kids in is all inclusive. So, I don't have to pack diapers for Ben, or lunch and snacks for Katie. That will help significantly with the packing/unpacking portion of the day that a lot of working moms complain of.

The crockpot will be my new best friend, as well as freezing meals on weekends to throw in the oven so that we can still eat around 5:30 most days.

I am so excited to be going back to work, and even more excited because it's going to be such a different position than what I was doing before.

This also means that we will be kicking it into high gear on the house search!

Big Big week for us around here!
I plan on celebrating with Dunkin Donuts Hot Chocolate since I have lost my taste for alcohol!!! :)

Any working moms have any other time saving ideas for starting daycare??? I see crock pots meals, sandwiches and casseroles made over the weekend as being the focal point of our nightly meals. What do you do when your kids aren't awake when you have to leave in the morning? Who is responsible for drop off/pick up?

We will be sharing the responsibility depending on our work schedules.

I'm so excited, nervous, happy all at the same time that I can't stand it. I have 1 and half weeks before I start FT and I hope to be able to start the kids FT next week to iron out any kinks and selfishly, to get a little time for myself before things get crazy again!

Happy November everyone!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Halloween Candy

I know a lot of parents don't love Halloween but I LOVE IT. I think there is nothing sweeter than all the little munchkins dressed up, walking around and asking for candy.
I truly enjoy it!

So.... my post today is about the SWAG! What do you do with your kids Halloween candy?
Do you let them have it all?
Do you let them eat candy as they trick or treat?
Do you inspect it for needles and poison and torn wrappers. (I remember doing this as a kid)
Do you let them keep the candy to eat during the weeks after Halloween?
Do you take it work?

Do you let your kids use pillow cases or do you buy fancy bags, containers for it?

What time do you take your kids out?

Katie didn't get much last year because she was so little that she didn't last long and it was COLD so we went to a few houses and came home. She doesn't eat a lot of candy normally (was never really into it and we certainly never pushed it on her) so it was no big deal what her candy disappeared after like 3 days.

This year will be different. She has an amazing ability to inventory everything and I am sure she will keep tabs on what goes in her fancy schmancy Thomas the Train Candy bucket (courtesy of her grandparents - it's adorable)

Ben is so small, that I am sure we will want to go out as early as possible so as to not disrupt bedtime too much - but if Katie is having a really good time, I suppose we could split up and she could stay out a little longer.

I used to think it was weird when people went out before it was dark, but now that I have little kids I am SO HAPPY that people around here do that because it means we can go out and get back before it gets REALLY cold and it won't ruin bedtime - so I'm hoping to be out by 5 pm and back by 6 pm. (although out by 4 would be even better:))

Wishful thinking probably - but that's the idea, timeline for me.

How about you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My favorite gifts for new moms

A FB post today made me want to re-post about my favorite things to give a new mom.
A medicine kit!

I like to include:
  • Infant Ibuprofen
  • Infant Aspirin
  • Saline Drops
  • Cornstarch Powder
  • Different Diaper Creams
  • Mylicon
  • Vapor Bath
These items are INVALUABLE to a new mom, particularly as colds come on QUICK and sometimes at night so there isn't time to run out and buy this stuff... Plus, as a new mom, you might not know which types of stuff to buy, so a little instruction with the kit can help out a WHOLE LOT! My cousin gave me a kit like this that was pre-made at my baby shower and it ended up being one of the best gifts ever!

I don't suggest getting the pre-made kids because you can't see the expiration dates on the individual items so you might be giving an expired gift (sucks I know, they should really regulate that stuff)
Also, you won't know if the items inside are a part of a recall.

I also like to make diaper cakes with different brands/types of diapers. I find that every kid is different and what works for some, doesn't work for all and it's helpful for a new mom to get to try one or two of one kind instead of having to buy a whole package only to find out they don't work.

I gotta run, it's baby hat making time for a brand new little bundle of joy that just arrived and then it's on to some craft fair crocheting... I'm making breakfast sets with eggs, bacon and toast:)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Selling Breastmilk on Craigslist... WTF

I know, I know, my previous posts regarding breastfeeding were controversial, however, I Can't NOT talk about this!!!!!

I browse Craigslist all the time particularly for things for my kids like outdoor toys. I am always VERY careful as there are crazies out there - but I have used it with great success in the past.

I was browsing looking for something in the kids section and came across this posting... I swear to you, I am not making it up - it's still there on the NY page if you don't believe me... October 15, is the date of the posting. Here it is in Italics and to be CLEAR - this is not MY posting (in case you are just skimming this post) this is a posting I came across online....

Currently 32 weeks pregnant, and planning to sell breastmilk to mothers unable to bf, single fathers, adoptive mothers etc. $2 an ounce given daily, or frozen and given weekly. Breastmilk should only be stored in the fridge for 24 hours, or three months in the freezer.
Coming from a healthy mom, that doesnt smoke, drink or do illicit drugs, nor have any disease, and willing to test to verify at buyers expense. Not taking any medications, aside from folic acid suppliments (assists in brain development for baby) and prenatal vitamins.
Cash only, and pick up only, until mobility is fully restored, then we can work something out.
Due date is december 9th, and mature milk forms after 2 weeks, so it can be given by roughly christmas.

Already producing colostrum, if wanted, for $100 a days worth. Please keep in mind, colostrum is for newborns, and although boost the immune system among other benefits, is usually only given for the first 2-3 days, in very small amounts. A small amount on a plastic spoon, five times a day for three days is the norm. It is produced, and expelled in small amounts, and i am unsure if you can freeze it, so if you want colostrum please have the time to bring back the baby every two hours or have some idea of sanitary storage

Ummmmmm WHAT????

Ok. - I am huge advocate for breastfeeding - however I advocate for breastfeeding your own child. I understand there are instances when moms can't breastfeed and want to very badly, or where preemies or babies with illnesses might require breastmilk to help them have a fighting chance, and that there are actual, sanitary, regulated breast milk banks for these types of situations.

However, buying breastmilk from a stranger that you find on Craigslist seems like the most insane thing I have heard of in a long time.

I fully understand and realize that WET NURSES existed and allowed lots of babies to survive when they otherwise would not have - but that was before the invention of formula (for the most part) which is a safe alternative. AND wet nurses were usually people that lived in the house who you knew and could "monitor" if you know what I mean.

How do you know what is in this breastmilk? How do you know the person doesn't smoke or do drugs or have any illnesses, or drinks alcohol... I mean - It's CRAIGSLIST.

Can anyone tell me a good reason why someone should actually consider something like this?
Do you all think it's as crazy as I do? Am I overreacting to the idea of this?

I know I have seen postings for people selling breastmilk previously - so I don't think it's a one off type posting that I just happened upon.. although a little research doesn't show any other postings like this in about 5 states that I checked - but I know I have seen it before...


Monday, October 17, 2011

Going back to Work and Day Care

O.k. so I have decided to pursue the idea of going back to work. Selfishly, I need this for myself for many, many reasons. I also think that in my current state, it would be better for the kids to be with people who have more patience with them and who can teach them new things. (Katie is doing so incredibly well right now learning -it really makes me happy)

So, now begins the job search. In a perfect world, I could go back part time and the kids would only have to be in daycare for half a day and then home with me for the other half - giving me the break I need and them the exposure to other kids I want them to have.

However, no job exists that will pay enough working part time to supply enough money for 2 kids in daycare - even part time. I would be working to make just enough to send them to daycare and that's not what I was looking for.

How do other working moms do it? How do you quantify how much you make versus how much you pay for daycare.

At first, my decision to go back was mostly selfish because we don't really need the money to pay the bills day to day - but then we went and got pre-qualified for a mortgage and ended up getting less than we can actually afford.

(Thank you banking jerks who encouraged people to spend more than they could afford, thus creating the cluster f*&k that is mortgages right now - which is resulting in us not getting as much as we KNOW we could actually afford...)

So, now if we want to buy a house in the next 6 months, I have to go back to work so that we can up the amount for a house because we also have certain requirements we want to stay within during the house search - including staying close to jobs so that we can maximize our time home with the kids - staying close to jobs means - $$$$$$$$ houses and taxes...

So... how much is too little for a paycheck when you have to send your kids to daycare?
How do you deal with the guilt of only making enough money to pay for daycare?
How did you find an affordable daycare that has a good curriculum and nice facilities for your child?

I of course, want it all. High tech facilities, awesome, state certified teachers, nice location with ample play space - well, around here that costs a minimum of 400 - 600 A WEEK for full time care for 2 kids. I feel like I'm drowning in decisions and choices and pressure. I want to make sure I make the best choice for everyone involved and at the same time, I want to make sure I can bring something to the table financially because I think it's time we get a house and really get ourselves settled and start meeting people, getting the kids involved in town, etc...


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Splitting Holiday time with family

So... halloween is almost here which means the Holiday season is going to be taking over our lives VERY QUICKLY. (for those of us who don't start in June that is;))

And every year we have the question of where do we spend the holidays. We do not live near our families (or anyone that we really know for that matter...) So, our holidays have always been split between CT or Maine. The year that we were pregnant with our first child, we selfishly decided that we didn't want to drive ANYWHERE (granted I was 8 months pregnant) so, we spent our last single christmas morning, alone together to open presents and have breakfast and then my family drove down from CT for the rest of the day. It was nice and I'm glad we got to do that just once.

The first year after our daughter was born, we spent Thanksgiving in CT with BOTH SETS OF GRANDPARENTS. (all of us get along really, really, well, so it was a good time for everyone)

Her first christmas we spent at my parents house and it was lovely! There is just something about having christmas with my parents that makes me happy. Then we got to have a christmas weekend with Daves parents at our house a few weeks later. It was a nice way to let Katie have christmas with both sets of grandparents privately.

The hard part of spending Christmas at my parents was that we had to drive out there, sleep somewhere other than our house (which is ALWAYS hard for kids and us for packing supplies, etc...) and pack and tote around presents and then bring all her stuff back to our house... that part I could do without.

Katies second year, we hiked all the way up to Maine for Thanksgiving. It is a 6 hour drive minimum with no traffic or stops... not easy to do with kids AT ALL. I think we drove late at night so that she slept in the carseat and we might have had to stop at a hotel in the middle of the drive because she wouldn't sleep -either way, it ended up working out ok and not being too hard. She always slept poorly when we travelled and then slept poorly for a few days after travelling too... So, it's not something we like to do all the time.

We love going to maine, but it's such a far drive that it makes it very hard to do. Now with Ben, it's even harder to do because he doesn't sleep for long in the car and won't sit in the car awake for too long before he tries to break out of his carseat - so we aren't sure what we are doing for holidays this year. It's hard to travel as a family of 4 and stay overnight anywhere - especailly with a baby who doesn't sleep through the night. But, at the same time, we like spending holidays with our parents - so every year we are torn about what to do and where to go.

How do you split your holiday time? Do you travel? Do you refuse to travel? Do you have people come to you? Do you pick a time other than the holiday itself to get together so you can avoid high priced tickets and expensive, travel with traffic??

When do you decide to just have holidays be for you and your kids?

Lucky for Dave and I, we don't have siblings that we have to share holiday time with or plan around their plans - so I can't even imagine if you come from a big family, how you get to see everyone and not hurt anyone's feelings. I feel for you because I can only imagine all you want in the world is to sleep in your own bed and stay in pj's all day - cause sometimes that's all I want - but then I think to myself - how is that any different than any other weekend (well, except for the presents of course) and I end up deciding to have holidays with our parents because it's more fun that way!

I think this year, we might have our Christmas be just the 4 of us - as we are in a house now which to me, feels a little more festive and manageable - but who knows - I will probably decide that's too boring!

Thanksgiving is tough too because I don't know if Ben will sit in the car for as long as it takes us to get to Maine and the trip home always ends up feeling like it takes FOREVER....The holidays are stressful enough right? If only someone could come up with a way to teleport instantly! It's 2011, someone get on that please!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sleep Habits

My kids only sleep in their cribs or their car seats.
NOT because I am crazy rigid and make it that way - but because for some reason it is impossible for me to move my kids from the car into the house for them to continue their sleep.

I am so jealous of all you families out there that can move your kids while sleeping. I even saw a lady at Sesame once with her kid sprawled out in a double stroller (not in a very comfy position I might add) SOUND ASLEEP - pick her kid up - take her to take pics with Big Bird and the little girl never woke up! I wanted to run to that mother and say - HOW DO YOU DO THAT???

Ben and I went out for a breather this morning while Katie is at daycare and he fell asleep in the car. He should be EXHAUSTED - it's time for his regular morning nap.. he fell asleep on the 10 minute ride home and as soon as I put him in his crib he did a ninja roll over onto his belly and was up on all fours in like 2 seconds flat.

He's currently up there playing with toys...

Is it something you do to help them be able to sleep in different places? Katie never even napped in her stroller except for 1 time at Sesame Place when she was beyond exhausted and we had to keep her moving or she'd wake up.

I just wish we didn't have to plan our days around their critical nap periods because I hate to deprive them of their sleep because I want to get something done.

Maybe if I give him a bottle, he'll go back to sleep???
Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Creating an environment of support

I am sad that breastfeeding is over for me. I am sad that we had to give up after 7 months of exclusive nursing with no break because my son never took a bottle.

I am however, happy that he is sleeping better at night and that we now know how much he is eating at every feeding.

I am sad at how mean spirited the blog turned both from my original posting and the comments that ensued.

I would like to be able to continue having conversations on here that support each other and the way that I worded my inability to understand why some moms choose not to breastfeed was not conducive to that, nor were the comments that followed - so I took it down because I do want this to be a place for discussion without judgment and I didn't accomplish that.

I am sorry that I offended people and that my words were judgemental, but I still hold on to the fact that I support breastfeeding and sticking to it as long as you can. Every one has a choice and I hope that people make their choices for the right reasons and perhaps it's not up to me or you to decide what the right reason is for each other.

Breastfeeding was right for me up until this weekend and I am sad that it is over, but I am SOOOOO looking forward to wearing normal bras again and not leaking randomly. That's for sure.

Thank you for posting comments to get the conversation/argument going and for making me see that it was not a supportive posting but a one sided and apparently hurtful one. Things like this only make people better and I hope to be able to proceed with fun/insightful/supportive posts that generate comments of the same nature.

After all, we are all in this together as parents are we not?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Name Bubbles

I was so excited to get my "media" packet from Name Bubbles today. They sent me some samples to test and review and to be honest, I was only expecting one type of label.

I received shoe labels called Bubble Toes, Bitty Bubbles for clothes, Fun Bubbles, Shaped Bubbles and Giant Bubbles.

They are all dishwasher or laundry safe. They are also the most adorable things I've seen in a long time! I want to label everything! I immediately started pulling out her stuff so that I could try them out.

Katie LOVES them. She was so excited and wanted to know what she could put the pretty stickers on! I understand her enthusiasm

There are TONS of designs, colors, font options and motifs to choose from.
Fun, playful pictures, modern designs, colors that pop against whatever you are putting them on and the fact that they are washing safe is a huge time saver.

(Previously, we had been using a Sharpie to write her name every day on her lunch items... how boring and how time consuming as we have to do it after every time it gets washed.

I have labeled a few of Katie's items for testing and am happy to report that her cups come out of the dishwasher with the label still in tact and with no color fading. Her clothes that went in the laundry came out with the label in the exact place I put them on.

I love, love, love these labels. I can't wait to find something to put the larger ICON ones on that are in the shape of a train. (She can't wait either, cause she keeps asking where we can put them)

Overall, I couldn't be happier. I think the baby is going to be headed to daycare soon as I go back to work, so I am excited to pick out colors, designs for his stuff too.

Check them out, you won't be sorry!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Creating a new generation

Yes folks, as dramatic as that sounds - it is what is happening RIGHT NOW!
(no, not me - I stand by my 2 is enough stance right now - particularly as sleeping is NOT getting any better!!!)

ANYWAY - the point of this posting is to send a HUGE congratulations to all of the people in my life either directly or indirectly, who have either JUST had babies or are about to embark on this journey through pregnancy.

We literally are creating the next generation - and I think it will be a multi-tasking, technologically superior and HOPEFULLY HEALTHIER AND NICER breed:)

I do however, beg and plead that you take this seriously. We are creating the next generation, which means how they turn out, mostly depends on us. So, put your baggage in the closet, and treat your children with respect and love and understand that you can never give too many hugs or kisses but that it is possible not to hug or kiss enough - and that sticks with your children.

Be prepared to support them, encourage them, ground them, teach them manners.

Please do NOT let them get fake nails ANY EARLIER than 16 or 17 OR let them get fake tans, or let them wear words like Juicy on their asses until they are out of your house, living on their own. It's disgusting and highly inappropriate - yes they will hate you - but they are supposed to hate you - you are their parent, NOT their friend.

Please teach your sons how to respect women and others and to be open hearted of others, regardless of sexual orientation, coolness factor or other totally non important factors.

NIP BULLYING IN THE BUD! It's a horrific, horrible thing and parents should take it seriously. I'll never forget once I posted something publicly on AOL (back when AOL was dial up and super cool) about a fellow classmate in highschool and it was mean and despicable and my parents found out and took away my AOL for good. Cancelled the account completely right then and there. I hated them for it, but they were right - what I did was the lowest of the low and I thank them for teaching me right from wrong.

Being a parent is more than dressing your kid up in cute clothes and showing them off to anyone who will look. (Although enjoy that while it lasts - because toddlers are harder to coax into crazy outfits!!)

Understand that life no longer revolves around you. Although I preach autonomy in a serious way - please know that I seek balance in allowing myself to have a SELF outside the kids - but that ultimately my kids come first. It's part of parenting - if you are doing it the right way.

If you don't stay home with your kids and pay someone to take care of them - please make sure you treat their caregivers with respect and appreciation - they are doing an amazing thing for you and although it's their "job" the good ones do a better job than some of us could do on our own and we need to respect that.

I watched the movie the Back Up Plan and Anthony Edwards has a scene in a playground where he is talking about parenthood and he hits it right on the nail... I can't remember it exactly, but the message is something like this...

Parenting is a whole lot of terrible, awful, disgusting, horrible things - followed by something unbelievably amazing and heartwarming, which is followed by something else terrible, awful and disgusting, then horrible, then something amazing happens again - and that cycle is what parenting is about - particularly in the infant/toddler years - and it's QUITE a ride!

Happy Parenting - Congratulations and welcome to the club!