Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Transitioning from a stay at home to a FT working mom

HOLY Cow the last few weeks have gone by crazy fast and have been crazy, crazy hectic!

The kids started daycare FT, I started working FT and then the holidays started.

The first 2 weeks were rough - both kids were sick and cranky and not adjusting to daycare well at all.

I was sick with guilt and worry and totally stressed out.

My husband was overwhelmed with all the emotion in the house.
Everything seemed chaotic and time consuming.

However, I had a plan from day one.

Prepare early.

  • Crock Pot Dinners, pre-packing snacks, lunches, diapers, etc...
  • Making dinners after the kids go to bed at night so we can re-heat them the next night when they get home after daycare instead of cooking from scratch.
  • Pre-labeling everything they take to school as soon as I get it. (I feel like a movie star, signing autographs on all their food/snacks with a Sharpie - I don't know how they do it - I get tired after the first 5 jars of baby food)
  • Packing school bags at night so that in the morning all we have to do is grab and go
  • Ordering Groceries online and either picking up through Shop at home, or having Pea Pod Deliver. Both end up costing around the same when you figure out the prices of food, and sales and really - the extra $10 - $14 bucks is way worth it to me because that means neither my husband or I have to waste our minimal "downtime" grocery shopping.
  • I even have a plan for cleaning. I clean in spurts - a little every day. One morning before starting work, I might do the kitchen floor, and then after the kids go to bed, I will do the bathroom - one room at a time and I eventually get to the whole house and don't have to waste time doing it while the kids are awake.
Now, I have to get creative and figure out healthier snacks to send to school for Katie - so far I have jumped on the working mom bandwagon and have been giving her pre-packaged, easy to pack, horribly unhealthy stuff... but I'm working on that part and I try to include at least one piece of fruit or fruit snack cup a day!

This is the 4th full week of this schedule and it is finally starting to click.
I have my energy back, (Thanks to my Thyroid meds) the kids are adjusting and happy at school and like their teachers and they are sleeping better at home.

Dave and I work as a team. We each pack and take the kids to school depending on the day. It would be so much harder if I had to do it all myself all the time. I love that we live 5 mins from school and 10 minutes from Dave's job. It gives us the extra time we need to get everything done so neither of us is completely stressed out.

It's also nice to know that on the 2 days that I make my hour long commute to the office, Dave is 5 minutes away from the daycare in case anything happens.

The only thing missing from my life right now besides a full nights sleep (Ben still wakes up every night) is figuring out how to get some gym time in for myself. Right now, I just can't see going to the classes I love at the gym because they are only offered during family time before bed and I just can't see being away from the kids all day AND at night. I know I could easily work something in for when they go to bed at night - but I've always been total crap at working out at home. Maybe we'll suck it up and get a treadmill or elliptical or something - but for now - I will dream of the spin classes I miss so much!

Who knew that transitioning from Full Time Stay at home mom to Full Time working mom would be such an interesting journey?

So far, it's win win for everyone:)

P.s. this little system of ours worked so well that this morning, when we all woke up at 8 - we were able to both shower, get the kids dressed, fed, out the door and to daycare by 8:40... It was kick ass!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Never Traveling overnight again.... grrrrrr

My kids love their grandparents. Katie in particular is crazy close to them and LOVES seeing them and going to their houses... which is good cause their houses are 2 and 6 hours away....

She used to go to my parents house all the time for overnights cause they are the closer of the 2. She even has her own bed there...

So, yes, we hate the drive and we realize everyone is going to be a little off - but we pack it up and head up for Thanksgiving.

We leave early Wednesday - pick the kids up from daycare and start out drive.

Of course, we hit traffic.

Of course, my kids decide they don't want to be in the car. Katie didn't even want to watch tv - which is our fail safe for long car rides.... Ben screamed, and screamed - even though Dave was squished in the backseat between them talking/playing with him.

It was a stressful 3 hour drive.

We got to my parents house and I had already told myself - next year we are staying home. It's too much work packing up, leaving early, driving, etc.... and I just want to enjoy a peaceful, restful holiday.

I called my parents and told them this while we were stuck in traffic. I was grumpy already.

Then, we got there and all was right with the world for about 4 hours until bedtime... Ben freaked out during his bath (he never does that)
and Katie and I had to share the big bed in one room and the boys slept in the other room in the crib/twin bed respectively. Katie moves so much she kept slamming into me, waking herself up. She woke up and screamed bloody murder for about 5 minutes - mostly incoherently. I couldn't calm her down and she just kept freaking out. I finally got her to sleep and then Ben woke up - so Dave took him downstairs to keep him away from the sleeping people and he was loud and played for hours.

Katie woke up again... crying over god knows what.

They were both awake by 6:30 Thanksgiving morning.

The next day we put katie in the twin bed by herself and moved the crib into the other room with the big bed. She woke up again, screaming and yelling and wouldn't stop until DADDY went in there.
He talked/sang/gave her water - she was still freaking out. She calmed down and he left - she freaked out again. At this point, all the grandparents were sleeping in the house and we wanted to minimize the crazy interruption of screaming kids - so Dave took a blanket and slept on the floor next to her in the other room.
Luxurious right - the things you do for kids.

Ben woke up after she was done and didn't go back to bed until after 3 - so I was up from 10 til 3.

We decided then and there we were leaving the next day because clearly the kids just couldn't handle it.

Of course we ended up staying - because we all like going to Mimi's house and she volunteered to stay on the floor with Katie in case she was scared. (mimi's rule)
So, like idiots - we were like... ok - we'll stay.

She did it again - screaming and yelling bloody murder.
Until Dave went in.
And slept on the floor again.

So... Moral of the story is:
As much as we love seeing our families for the holidays and all being together in one house - the kids clearly can't handle being away from home - particularly at night. So... we will stay home for Christmas and we will stay home for the holidays next year.

It sucks, but we are just going to have to stay put for awhile so that the kids get their sleep and we don't have a stressful, crazy, hectic visit.

I am writing this here so that next year when I get the bright idea that it won't be that bad - I will be reminded of just how bad it really is - I swear, we aren't going. Thanksgiving will have to be at our house - wherever that is and no matter how small the house.

P.s. the kids have both slept wonderfully and peacefully since we got home and Katie even took a nap sunday - so I think it was just a little too much excitement for them and there is just too much going on right now in our lives for them to be able to handle that.

I swear - we are staying home for all the holidays next year. It's just tooooo much stress and toooo much sleep deprivation and it's hard to watch and entertain your kids in a different environment.

Maybe when they are 10 mom!;)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why did we have 2 kids again?

I always wanted a big family. I had dreams of maybe marrying into one.. but then I fell in love with an only child - so one dream dead - but another fulfilled:)

So, when my husband and I decided to have a kid - in my mind we would always have more than one. I even had ideas in my head of having 3. I figured the more you have, the more likelihood that some of them like each other and would be close.

We had a good thing going. A great thing actually. We had the most perfectly behaved, insanely smart little toddler. We were sleeping at night, she was good during the day and we all had a great relationship as a perfect little threesome.

So, we thought - hey - we're pretty good at this - let's do it again.

I'm starting to think that was a bit of a mistake.

The past few days I have been questioning our decision to have 2 kids so close together in age...

Let me start off by saying, I love my kids!!!

Absolutely, positively, love them.
I like them... most of the time
You know what I mean..

So all you ladies and gents out there gasping in despair at the fact that I would admit something like this.... Chill - cause if you are a parent - you know what I mean. I'm just gutsy enough to be honest about it.

This blog is all about being honest, right?

So... here goes

I miss my old life. My sleep in til whenever we want to, go out whenever and wherever we want to for however long freedom. I miss lazy sundays and friday night spur of the moment dates.
I miss playing Nintendo all day long without a second thought about how that would affect anyone else.

I miss drinking alcohol in a bar after 9pm.

I knew having 2 kids would be hard. Double the work - but I feel like the reality of the situation, is that having 2 kids under 3 actually means triple or quadruple the work.

I understand now why parents of multiples have such high divorce rates... it's tough and the little buggers turn you into tired, cranky, mean, angry people sometimes.
I miss sleeping more than 3 hours at a time.

Now, maybe it's more exaggerated for me because my thyroid shut down, rendering me pretty much helpless physically and mentally for most of the last year. Add that to the fact that Ben took to nursing with a vengeance and didn't give me more than a 3 hour break away from him for the first 6.5 months of his life and you have a very tired, exasperated, struggling mommy.

Add to that, the fact that my perfect little family of 3 has turned into a stressed out, crazed, fighting group of 4 and you have an exasperated family.

Some days I feel like we're failing.

Katie doesn't like Ben. She won't go near him most of the time and she screams and yells when he touches anything in the house.... poor Benny just wants to play with Katie.
Katie plays us against each other and pushes every last button we have as human beings. Bedtime which used to be fairly simple - has turned into an hour long production AT LEAST. Meals have turned into a cage fight.

Ben is a happy baby, but he teethes with gusto - with fevers and snots that make him not breathe and crying... Katie never did that. Ben also wakes up at night still wanting to hang out - sometimes for hours at a time, and sometimes more than once.

I had no idea.

Thank god Katie has been potty trained for a year because I can't imagine how frustrated I would be if I had to change 2 kids diapers all day ;)

We keep telling ourselves and each other that it will get better. It has to. It might take 18 years. But - in my head, they will be best friends. They will give me lots of grandkids. They will call me every other day and be successful individuals who buy me expensive gifts and marry people that we like to be around ;)

The other day, we were so broken down that we started talking about not being prepared for how hard it was going to be... and Dave said that we should warn our kids so that they don't do it to themselves... but I said... NO, cause I want grandkids!!!

Dave said... that's why we're here. Our parents knew how hard this was and they didn't tell us because they didn't want to scare us so they could have grandkids.

Damn it!! A little heads up would have been nice. We would have had Ben eventually... just maybe later.

I know, I know... here she is complaining again. Well, it's a blog. Blogs are mostly complaints and thoughts of the individuals writing them.

This is where my head is at these days.

Again, I love my kids. Every day, they do amazing things that make me smile and laugh and every day they make me proud... but then no sooner than I wipe my last proud tear - is Katie yelling at Ben for looking at her. And then I get brought back to reality!

The good news, is that they are adjusting to daycare wonderfully and work is going CRAZY WELL. I can't tell you how much better I feel as an individual now that I am back to work. And it makes me so happy to see how much Katie is learning in Pre-K and how much Ben likes his teachers. It has given me the break I need and it will allow us to be in a good place financially for our house search.

As far as I can tell, so far - it's win, win;)

So, there is a light at the end of the tunnel... it just feels like a REALLY, REALLY long tunnel.

Needless to say, there will not be a 3rd child. Unless we can pop him out at a stage where he will be self sufficient ;)

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I swear this stuff all really happened

If I was reading this on someone else's page, I would think there was no way so many things happened in 2 days... but it did. And thankfully, none of it harmed any of us - but the ridiculousness of the situation has created some stress as you can imagine.

It started Friday - my first day working from home. The kids were at their daycares, coffee was ready and I was running downstairs to throw laundry in before my 9 am interview call. When I got to the bottom of the stairs I noticed water - lots of water... I walked around the basement to the back of the house and realized it was all along one side of the basement - under the dryer and through the length of the house.


I called the realtor responsible for the house and she proceeds to call me a billion times while I'm on calls all morning and I finally had to explain to her that she just needed to come over because I was working.

She comes over in the middle of the day with some old guy and explains that it's coming from our furnace... which makes NO SENSE because the furnace is on the opposite side of the basement where all the water was - but she thought it was perfectly logical, and I was working... so whatever.

I go get the kids at the end of the day and the daycare drama starts. I get them home, get dinner settled, get daycare settled and sit down to enjoy the night when the realtor comes back with her husband. He investigates downstairs and proceeds to tell me that the furnace looks like it hasn't been serviced in years and is probably going to cause problems.

He then finds a dead bird behind the water heater (which must have been there before we moved in as I think I would have noticed a freakin bird flying around and then slowly dying since I am down there doing laundry ALL THE TIME) Yes, I almost threw up right then and there. (yes, he took the bird out for me, cause he's awesome)

Then, he starts to investigate for REAL the water leak because he and I agree that it's not the furnace. He moves some old building supplies that the owner left lying around and knocks over a can of paint that was open and about half of it spills all over the floor.

I swear to you, I am not making this up.

Now there is paint on the floor, water everywhere, old, dead bird germs behind the water heater and he finds 2 industrial sized bolts sticking straight up through the ground right smack in front of the problem.

The main drain for the house - which drains the shower, sink and kitchen sinks, has rusted completely through and there is now a 6 inch length of pipe that has literally disintigrated. The main drain of the house now drains directly into my basement, because the piece that would allow it to flow out under the house - rusted off so it pours right onto my floor.

They call a plumber - plumber shows up around 8 says he can't do anything until tomorrow. Then changes his mind when I tell him we have kids, and he says he can try to fix it tonight - just has to get the charges approved.

He gets a call from his office and tells us he has to leave because the realtor has not approved for him to do the work.

I call the realtor and she SWEARS she didn't tell him to leave. (which is total BS)

While he was investigating, he did something to our water heater - which is now steadily leaking water onto the floor to make the water situation worse.
I discover this as I go down there to check out how bad it looks before bed.

We go to bed with the main drain still completely open and she says she will send someone in the morning.

She calls in the morning and says the original plumber isn't coming. (interesting right, as she never told him he couldn't do it the night before but he instead told her he could only do it the next day... like I said BS)

She said she could send her husband to do it.

Her husband is not a plumber. I tell her I want plumber... she gets irritated like that is a ridiculous request. I also tell her about the water heater - she doesn't believe me.

We leave to go meet up with friends... have a lovely time... Realtor never calls me.

I call for an update. The water heater is overpressurized and needs a special valve so it doesn't burst or something, the furnace needs to be adjusted so that the heat actually flows through the house right, the plumber will come by at night to do the work.

Let me shorten this by giving you bullet points of how the rest of the night went.
  • Plumber finally shows up around 7:30 (bedtime for kids right)
  • Plumber makes lots of racket - terrifying our toddler
  • Plumber does fix drain YAY
  • Plumber tells us while we are putting Katie to bed late and exhausted that he needs to do something in her room in 45 minutes meaning we can't put her to sleep.
  • Katie's heat gets fixed - we wrangle her to bed
  • Ben wakes up
  • Ben vomits all over me
  • Then smiles
  • He seems fine for awhile, then vomits all over Dave
  • We have to call the pediatrician after asking FB friends for thoughts
  • It ends up being nothing and he's ok - just slept roughly - we get him to bed finally like, after 1 I think
  • Katie wakes up at 4:30 for the day - we explain it's still nightime and we have to sleep - she tells us we are wrong.
  • We eventually get Katie back to sleep around 5 something
  • Ben wakes up at 6:30
One of these things I could have handled - all of them on a weekend when we have to lose an hour and I can't wait for Monday so we can start over.

These were all small things... the reason it stressed me out is because renting you have no control over who does the work and these owners always pick the cheapest option:( and we always have other issues to deal with.

Everyone is ok and I'm thankful for that. but I'm also thankful that today is a new day!!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day Care DRAMA

O.k..... so Katie has been going to a daycare now for about 2 months. It's int he basement of a church and kinda dark and old and dingy (because it's in a basement) but I heard FABULOUS things about the teachers and really liked them when I met them. When I first put her in, it was only for a few hours, 3 times a week - basically to give both of us a little break so I could spend time with Ben and she could get playtime with kids her age. So, I wasn't really concerned with curriculum or brightness... newness...

Fast Forward to a few weeks ago when I decided to go back to work. (Mostly because Katie took to going to daycare so well )

Daycare A is the place Katie was in PT. They were actually in the process of opening a brand new location in a Huge old house and it included infants through full day kindergarten. (daycare B) State certified, beautifully decorated and designed for kids and it was all inclusive so all I would have been packing every day was formula. It was opening November 1 - so I signed Ben up for the new place because I didn't want him going to the old place since it would be full day.

The plan was for both kids to transition over to Daycare B when it opened and the timing was perfect because it was opening a few days before I went back to work so that we would have a few days of transition before I had to commute/work FT.

Daycare B - didn't open November 1. They were having trouble with permits and inspections - and they couldn't tell me when they were going to be able to open. They thought most likely the end of the week (like Thursday or Friday)

In the meantime, they were going to juggle some things so that they could take Ben for me at Daycare A for 2 days as I was scheduled to work. So, it was very nice of them to juggle things, but I needed to know if my kids had a daycare for sure because I was starting work.

Wednesday comes and they still don't know for sure.

So, I go and visit Daycare C which is in the town my husband works in (and one town over from me) it's only a 5 minute drive and that's only because of a long light -

I go check it out and fall in love. The infant room teachers are all sweet little old grandmas with one super hip young girl to balance it out:) They have a big open space to crawl, walk, play and I liked the way they were set up. They give me a sheet every day to tell me what he's eaten, his diapers, etc... he has his own crib there and it's just very nicely organized.

So... they have a spot and can take the baby. I decide I don't want to send him to Daycare A for just 2 days to then end up switching him out and Daycare B still had no definite opening date.

(p.s. I hadn't been given ANY OF THE PAPERWORK for Daycare B either yet)

Sorry... this is long... so I'll shorten it. This is what happened
I signed him up for Daycare C and they said they could take Katie too and that she could start in the Pre-K 3 class with her friend. My intention was to leave her at Daycare A for 2 weeks because that is the policy so I told Daycare C that she would start in 2 weeks but that Ben would start this week - they were great!

I called Daycare A/B to find out what is going on and of course they had JUST gotten the ok to open... So, I tell the owner that I had to sign my baby up for a different place and she was clearly irritated and said how she had told me they were opening on the 7th - and I explained that she had said she thought they were but that the date had already been pushed back 2 times....

So, I tell her that I'm sorry but that I needed to find coverage because I have to work and I agreed to leave Katie there for 2 weeks and I was perfectly ok with that because she really likes her main teacher.

Katie goes to Daycare A Thursday and Friday. Ben goes to Daycare C Thursday and Friday. All is right with the world. I'm feeling guilty and considering leaving Katie at her daycare because she likes her teacher....

I go to pick her up Friday and her teacher tells me it's her last day.

I had agreed to 2 weeks... If I had known they were going to make that her last day - I would have prepared her. My kid is smart, I didn't want to just pull her and tell her from one day to the next - I would have told her she wasn't gonna see her teachers anymore...

The freakin owner wasn't even there to tell me, she made the main teacher do it.

As you can imagine I was livid.

At the end of the day, Daycare C agreed to take them both on Monday - so it all worked out in the end - but I can't express how disappointed I am that what had been a VERY GOOD experience overall for us as Katie's first daycare and teachers has turned into a sore spot for me.

It didn't have to go down like that. I wasn't a complainer, I wasn't a meddler, I wasn't even holding them accountable for not knowing when they were going to open. I simply had to find a spot for my son because they couldn't guarantee me one as they had originally said they could.

In the end, It's better for all of us. They will be in Dave's work town so if we move, it won't be a drive to a random town for daycare drop off. Katie will be in Pre-K with her little bestie. Benny will be with the sweet little grandmas and we won't have to deal with all the kinks and problems that I am sure will arise from a facility opening for the first time.

And just to throw in a little more for my pity party and then I will stop - before all of this drama came about Friday Afternoon, I had found a flood in the basement, that ended up being the main drain for the house. In the course of figuring out what it was, the realtors husband found a dead bird in the basement, (I literally almost threw up at the announcement) he discovered that the furnace has probably not been maintenanced or cleaned in YEARS and that the main drain in the house literally rusted clear through and broke off... yes broke off. So, we can't use any water in the house until that gets fixed.

But... My pity party is over. The drain will get fixed and we will hopefully be moving VERY SOON. (this weekend has bumped my house hunt to a whole nother level) and the kids will be safe and hopefully happy at their new daycare - Daycare C.

Oh.. and I totally plan on writing a review on Daycare B to let other moms know the ridiculousness that ensued... it was the owner, not the teacher and I'm still bitter.

Here is to a better day today!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Clothes Shopping - FOR ME

O.k. I know... what's the big deal - clothes shopping - people do it every day.... but I don't - hardly ever!

I'm the type of stay at home mom who wore sweatpants all day at home - the same PJ pants I wore before I was preggo, got me through my first pregnancy and also my second! I was lucky that I didn't have to buy an entire wardrobe of maternity clothes because a lot of what I had fit even during pregnancy. (although probably not well!!!)

Needless to say, my closet needs an update. The clothes that are in there are the same clothes that were in there before I had my daughter almost 3 years ago and those clothes had been in there - since right after college. (ok I'm not gonna lie, some of it is from college)

So, this mommy is planning on splurging - I'm talking take a paycheck and go shopping on just me splurging.

Now, that is my intention, but my husband will tell you that the likelihood of me actually spending a significant amount of money is really slim to none - but I'm mostly committed to doing it!

My wardrobe doesn't just need an update - it needs a Clinton Kelly Makeover - start from scratch - throw things out and start over.

Lucky for me, my awesome new job is business casual so I can get nice jeans, sweaters, etc... stuff that I can also wear on weekends. Even luckier for me, I will be working from home 3 - 4 days a week - so I can still drag out the old stay at home mom pants if I want to.

Being home for so long has given me motivation to get up and get dressed every day as if I was going to an office. Now, I'm sure that will wear off soon enough - but until it does, I think that my almost 3 years of service to my family and home which including pinching pennies that didn't really need to be pinched, and saving by not buying things for myself has qualified me for a huge, over the top, makeover!

So... Ben and I will be going out shopping after his nap to get some stuff - fingers crossed that I find stuff I like and that it fits well:) I did not miss disappointing dressing room visits the past 3 years!

Yay for shopping!