If I Were My Cell Phone, Where Would I Be?

Hank Humor, Motherhood

The day started off spectacularly. Hank only got up once in the night, and he actually slept in. TIL 8:15 A.M. This was unprecedented.

Daddy was already well on his way to Nebraska for work. I scooped Hank up out of his crib, and could instantly tell he was in the most amazing mood! Usually on days when it’s just me at home, Hank is more clingy than normal, but today he was full of playful energy. After pouring him a fresh sippy of milk, I set him down to run around the kitchen. I fired up the Cuisinart, excited to have the luxury of both hands free to make myself a good coffee! No Keurig quickie-coffee for this mama today!

Well, it was a good thing Hank was entertaining himself, because I had phone call after phone call all morning long. The HVAC wasn’t working right at the building. Our electrician was fixing lights in a few suites. A gal inquired about available office space. The flower shop called to say they were having trouble delivering some flowers I had ordered for my best friend. Phone call after phone call came in, and thanks to the freshly-brewed cappuccino in my hand, I managed work from home pretty efficiently while also feeding the hungry one-year-old breakfast.

After I filled his little tummy up, I glanced over at the clock and had a minor freak-out! I still needed to get showered, dressed, makeup on, pack a lunch for baby, and get him down for his nap before I had to leave for a luncheon that started at 11:30! My wonderful dad was planning to watch Hank for me since my also-wonderful mama (his usual babysitter) was attending the luncheon with me. And I was getting picked up in 40 minutes!

I took the world’s fastest shower, threw on some clean clothes, and towel-dried my hair. That was going to have to be good enough! I looked for my phone to check with my folks about letting themselves into the house, since I would be putting Hank down when they arrived.

Hank.

I had just handed it to Hank, three minutes before, as he cruised around the bathroom like a crazy man, obviously mirroring his running-late mama. He was pulling things out of cupboards and drawers, yanking my wet towels off the shower door, and pulling clothes out of our closets. I had handed him my phone to try to keep him entertained, looking at “Hank and Daddy” on my home screen; turning it off and on, like he loves to do.

But now, the phone was nowhere to be found.

“Hank, where’s mama’s phone?” I asked him, well aware that even if he did remember where he put it, odds of him leading me right to it were slim to none.

He smiled and laughed. Clearly, this is a fun new game!

He smiled and laughed even more as I started running around the bathroom frantically, opening all the drawers, peering in all the cupboards, and crawling around our closets on my hands and knees, asking “Where is mama’s phone, Hankers? Where did you hide it?”

The harder I looked, the funnier Hank thought it was. He made sure to get in on the fun by tearing things apart even MORE while “trying to help me find it.”

He thought it was even funnier when I tried my best mama mime and acted out “phone” using both touch-screen and phone-calling charades to him. He obviously understood my charades perfectly well, because he started doing them back at me, laughing, of course! But did he take me to the phone? 

Nope.

You know what’s really helpful when you are looking for something important and you are already running late?

I don’t! But I do know that it is DEFINITELY NOT a one-year-old toddler!

Once our master bath and his-and-hers closets looked like a burglar had ransacked them, I finally got lucky. I happened upon a humidifier I used for Hank back when his crib was in our room. It was tucked under my hanging work clothes in the back of my closet. A little blinking light caught my eye from inside the dark blue plastic water reservoir. (Which thankfully, was empty.) THANK GOD for whoever commented on my Facebook or left me a voicemail or texted me or WHATEVER it was that caused that little light to blink!

MY PHONE!!!!! There it was, stuck down in the tank of the abandoned humidifier. I marveled at the fact that the hole he had shoved it through was hardly wide enough to get the phone pulled back out. That little turkey must have really worked at it, to even get it in there in the first place!
Even in my harried, frustrated state; I had to applaud my mischievous little blonde boy for his ingenuity! He found an absolutely incredible hiding place for my phone in less than three minutes, one I will know to check first the next time something I need goes missing.

What is the moral of this story?

Don’t give your toddler your phone as a toy?

Don’t keep some old humidifier stuffed back in the back of your closet, where your toddler can hide important things?

No. The moral of the story is this:

Don’t take the extra 10 minutes to make yourself a gorgeous, foamy cappuccino by hand, on a day when you have scheduled plans.

Make the 30-second instant Keurig cup of drip coffee. Because you are going to need that extra 10 minutes to FIND YOUR *#%@?!&* CELL PHONE!!!

Taking a Bite Out of Life 

Hank Humor, Motherhood

Teething. . .ahhhh teething. I have spent the last nine months of Hank’s life wondering: Why didn’t God design babies to be born with all their teeth in? 

Hank has three different teeth all coming in at once, which is equal parts awful and great. The great is my way of positive thinking. I say knock three more out at once, little boy, and let’s get this misery over!

The ONLY upside to teething is the new and exciting varieties of foods we can feed the little piggy as he gets more and more teeth. He has gotten quite good at crunching, now that he has some molars, and last night we introduced him to his new favorite food – fresh sweet corn – on the cob!

I didn’t intend to introduce it to him on the cob, I was mostly just excited for him to try such a yummy new vegetable. He had never been overly impressed with corn from the freezer or a can. 

He wasn’t convinced that he needed to try this corn at first either; the beautiful pile of yellow and white kernels I cut off for him (like I do my own) did not seem to interest him in the least. He was too busy watching the rest of the table eat their corn. He was fascinated! The lightbulb finally clicked on in my mama-brain and I realized he wanted to eat his corn like a man – like his daddy and big brothers were. With his chompers, right off the cob. 

What could it hurt? I thought, so I grabbed a half ear and held it for him. It took him about one failed bite to realize he needed to really give her hell if he was going to get anywhere on that cob! 

He looked that corn cob over, opened up wide, and bit into it with those 11 sharp little teeth like he was entered in a corn-on-the-cob eating contest. He meant business! I am not sure what part of it delighted him more; the yummy corn, the fact that he was now doing exactly what big brothers and daddy were doing, or the delightful pop, pop, pop the kernels made as he bit through them. I kept turning the cob for him and he kept biting away, loving it more and more as he went. I am not sure he was even stopping to breathe between bites.

All I could see in my mind’s eye while my little man inhaled corn like a big boy, was the bugs bunny cartoon where he eats corn-on-the-cob like a typewriter, complete with the “DING!” when he got to the end of the row! 

Turn please, mama!

The pride was bursting out of me, and I even took a video of the corn-eating machine to send to his Grandpa, a corn-eating legend in our family. 

After Hank finally decided he had had enough, he pushed the (second) empty cob back into my hand and turned around on my lap. 

Oh, now I get a snuggle from my big boy, too! 

What a way to top off a great dinner! I was thrilled, so excited he had mastered a new skill and enjoyed it so much. 

I didn’t get to savor my proud snuggle long. I became much less thrilled with Hank’s new skill about one second later when I felt a sudden burning pain—

“OWWWW!!!!”

I looked down, and there was my little piggy, sinking his corn-cob chompers into his mama’s arm. And he was giving her hell!

In celebrating his corn-cob eating prowess, we had created a monster! He obviously has the biting thing down. What he really needs is more practice with some cut-off corn kernals, his spiderman bowl, and a spoon; like I originally intended. I think that might be a better skill to focus on for now. 

The adorable little teeth marks in my bicep agree with me.

Hank the Tank and his beloved corn-on-the-cob

10 Aspects of Mama-hood I Never Imagined I Would Be OK With

Life Lessons from a One-Year-Old, Motherhood

Becoming a mother rocks your world. It rocked mine so fiercely that I hardly remember what life was like before I had a baby. EVERYTHING changes when you have a baby, but the best part is that most of those changes are good ones! With me, for instance, things that would have totally grossed me out or driven me crazy are now just details in my day-to-day adventures in motherhood. Here are 10 things I never imagined I would be OK with once I became a mother:

  1. Sharing food. Today for lunch I pulled a day-old half of a Jimmy John’s Club Lulu out of the fridge, and tried to eat it with a crabby teething baby on my lap. Well, he wanted that sandwich more than I did, so we took turns eating bites off the same end. You couldn’t have paid me a million dollars to share a gooey, slobbered-on turkey sandwich with ANYONE before that baby came along, but these days I’m just happy to be eating something.
  2. Sharing a cup with a back-washing monster. The allure of a tall glass of freshly poured, cold water from the fridge door is hypnotizing to a one-year-old, it seems, especially when he knows it’s “mama’s water.” I cannot bear to not give him a sip of it, even though it will most likely have Jimmy John’s bread crumbs floating in it when I get it back. No big deal.
  3. Diapers. Change a diaper on the seat of my Tahoe? Sure! Change a diaper on my couch? Certainly! Change a diaper on my bedspread? Why not? Change a diaper on my knees at a basketball game or in an airplane? Yep; check, and check.
  4. Yoga pants as clothes. Enough said.
  5. Friday nights in. Bars? Dancing? Movies in a theater, even? People actually have the energy to DO those things? An exciting night for my husband and me now means watching a recorded episode of Deadliest Catch in a blanket on the couch-maybe even with microwave popcorn-before crashing at 10.
  6. Driving a mommy bus. I adored my sporty little Volkswagen back in the days of just me and my dog. Now that I haul up to six people around at any one time, I cruise my mommy bus around proudly. What’s not to love about seven seat-belts, eight cup-holders, and a DVD player with headphones?
  7. Germs. I loaded up on hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial wipes, and pacifier wipes before the baby came. These days? A quick mama-suck after a paci has fallen on some random germ-infested floor, and it gets popped right back in his mouth. I am building that boy some serious immunity. (At least that’s what I tell myself as I pop it back in his cute little mouth.)
  8. Having a Buddha belly. No, we are not growing baby #2 in there, but it definitely appears that we are! Gone is my flat pre-baby stomach, and in its place is a lovely little baby gut. Sucking it in? Nah. I grew almost nine pounds of baby in there so it’s bound to show a little, and I’m good with it.
  9. (Super) Early mornings. I used to think 9 a.m. was sleeping in. Now I know that 6:30 a.m. is actually sleeping in.
  10. Spending all of my money on the baby, instead of on myself. My current wardrobe consists of maternity shirts, my stretchiest pre-baby jeans, and my oh-so-stylish (but comfy!) slip-on Sketchers I bought when my feet grew a size while pregnant. My baby outgrows his entire wardrobe every two months, so that is where the money goes. And I don’t mind one bit! It’s WAY more fun to see those tiny little new clothes on him anyways, and I have finally realized that my husband is no more enamored with me if my clothes are “in style.” (In fact, I am pretty certain he can’t tell if they are anyways.)

Motherhood has taught me that pretty much everything I used to worry about is insignificant in the grand scheme. All that really matters is that tiny little heartbeat I helped create, and all the rest is just details. I am certain that someday I will get into some new clothes or back to a bar to go dancing, but right now my crazy mama life is pretty wonderful. I wouldn’t trade it for all the sleep in the world!

Yes that’s a maternity shirt. No, I’m not 4 months prego, it just looks like it.

A Two Coffee Morning 

Motherhood

My sweet babe got his first summer cold yesterday. And it’s a GOOD one. I have never heard him cough before, so I guess we have been really lucky so far! Runny noses, sure, but he’s never had a full-blown awful cold like this before. I now know that there is no worse sound in the world than a rattley baby cough.

Our house has been surviving on two miracle liquids-baby Advil and good coffee.

It was one of those long, restless nights where I would’ve gladly traded places with him, because I would have rather just been the sick one myself. Daddy and I took turns snuggling that poor lil’ sickie in the recliner, til he finally crashed around 4am, and we did too.

When our lil man woke up, his daddy brewed us the most life-changing cappucinos, and I marveled at the incredible restorative powers of Starbucks.

Once you become a parent, I have discovered, you have an amazing ability to survive on very little sleep and be surprisingly high-functioning! (Well, once you have had your miracle elixir, + two sugars, that is.)

My precious little boy is sleeping again, and hopefully his little body is fighting off that darn summer cold while he rests.

And this Tired Mama is headed to the Keurig for a strong Caffè Verona. Two sugars 🙂

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My two best friends this morning – Cuisinart and Keurig

I Don’t Need A Gym Membership, I Have A Toddler

Hank Humor, Motherhood

I love food. Almost as much as I love my baby, my baby’s daddy, and wine. So “eating for two” was one of my favorite parts of pregnancy. I tacked on 50 pounds like it was nothing.

I thought it might be a struggle to get those 41 non-baby pounds off, but nursing was a miracle weight loss plan. The weight fell off surprisingly fast, thanks to the chubby blonde tumor that was permanently attached to my boob. Too fast, in fact.

By the time I hit the 12-month mark, I looked like a skeleton with skin. (And boobs.) I had lost every one of the 50 pounds I gained and about 13 more I didn’t have to spare in the first place. My husband was worried about his waif of a wife, so I kicked off the calf and hopped back on my pregnancy eating-for-two diet to put some weight back on.

Now that the (hyperactive) weaned calf is toddling around, I found that it doesn’t matter how much I eat, I can’t gain a pound! Toddler rearing might just be the new miracle weight loss fad of the decade. It’s a little bit like training for American Ninja Warrior, but with no Mt. Midoriyama. (Or screaming crowd of fans.) My big red button at the end of each obstacle-filled day is a big glass of red WINE. But, it damn sure is keeping me skinny! Here is a sampling of my daily exercise program, which I have lovingly dubbed American Ninja Mommy:

  • The pick-up-the-sippy-without-setting-down-the-baby squat. 14-month-olds, it seems, suddenly develop an attachment disorder, which means I cannot detach mine from my hip and set him down without a screaming, crying fit. But it’s all good! He is just pushing me to feel the burn! The deep squat is far more effective with a 26 pound weight on one arm while you scoop down to grab the milk with the other. And, repeat.
  • The “crib” yoga pose. This pose involves bending at the waist over the side of the crib, holding a hand on the chest of the almost sleeping toddler and keeping perfectly still for up to 10 minutes because he is So. Close. To. Sleep. If you break pose before his breathing changes, you will have to start from scratch. Hold that pose, mamas! Don’t weaken!
  • The stair stepper. Descend and ascend the 6 stairs that lead from the kitchen to the living room repeatedly, to retrieve the milk sippy/ball/paci/cell phone that the toddler has launched over the baby gate. Again.
  • Naked baby wind sprints. Post bath, if you look away for one millisecond to grab the lotion or jammies, the dripping toddler WILL open the nursery room door and run through the rest of the house before you can get the diaper on him. The race is on, mamas. The goal of this exercise is to catch that ticking pee bomb before your kitchen floor does. Diaper! Ready. . .GO!
  • Highchair waist bends. Meal times are all about core strengthening, ladies. Your toddler trainer will be happy to provide you with infinite spoon drops- all you need to do is bend. Pick up spoon, hand spoon to toddler, and repeat.
  • The dead- (asleep) lift. Once you have a sleeping toddler sprawled across your lap in the rocking recliner, you must rise from your seated position with the toddler held perfectly still, carry him over to the crib, and lay him down without waking him. High chair waist bends will come in handy here (see previous exercise).
  • The Time-to-Put-the-Toys-Away burpees. This exercise is a good cool down for the end of the workout, usually best done right before bed after the toddler has crashed for the night. Down to floor, grab a toy, up to your feet, walk it over to toy box/corner of the room/heap of toys behind the couch. And repeat. Repeat until you can actually see your pretty area rug again and you begin to feel somewhat on top of things. (Note: this exercise may be skipped, depending on how intense of a workout you have already had that day. You can always do it tomorrow.)

The very best part of this workout system is the $40/month you will save from gym membership fees. It can now be spent on Riesling, Malbecs, and Starbucks; the only dietary supplements recommended with this plan. Get ready to lose, mamas! (Pounds, that is!) And your happy little toddler trainer? While he may not celebrate your efforts like a paid personal trainer should, he will be the reason you wake up each new day, ready to do it all over again. And that is a huge WIN.

On Being a Mama

Motherhood, Step by Step

I can pretty much sum up my entire life right now in three words: tired, happy, mama. I have never enjoyed anything more, worked harder at anything, or lost more sleep over anything in my life before my dream came true and I became a little boy’s mama. I try and try to put it into words, but I can’t find a way to adequately express my love for that little blonde boy, my great big dreams for him, or how hilarious I think all of it is sometimes. What I can put into words though, are my experiences as a tired, happy mama (and a tired, happy step-mama too). Here are some of them so far.

Being a mama means hearing the baby cry on the monitor when you only have one leg shaved, but jumping out of the shower anyways so he doesn’t have to cry any longer. It is also knowing darn well that you won’t get another chance to shave that other leg today, so it’s just going to have to go ahead and stay prickly.

Being a mama means cleaning boy pee off of the toilet seat, the floor, and the wall, yep that’s right, the wall; for the 50 millionth time and wondering if they are ever going to pick the seat up or learn to aim. (Or pay full attention while aiming.)

Being a mama means sitting at a baseball game in 97 degree July weather and dumping water over the baby’s head every 10 minutes so he stays cool, so we can be big brother’s full cheering squad for All-Stars.

Being a mama means washing load after load of boy clothes, spending hours of your life turning shirts inside out, picking grass pieces out of dirty socks, and trying to figure out which clothes go to which of the four boys. And eternally searching for the mates to those 6 or 8 socks that never seem to match any of the others.

Being a mama means making coffee its own food group, and looking forward all day to that beautiful glass of chilled white wine you can pour once they are all tucked in for the night and you can finally put your feet up and do YOU for a few minutes.

Being a mama means loving every second of your weekly Costco mission, pushing the heavy loaded cart through every aisle with a perma-grin on your face because the baby in the front of it smiles, waves at, and talks to every stranger who walks by him, and it makes both your day and theirs every time.

Being a mama means laughing your head off when your one-year-old’s favorite new pastime is standing next to you in your closet while you get dressed, so he can slap your once-toned thighs repeatedly because he thinks it’s hilarious how they jiggle.

Being a mama means knowing before you get there, that Spot IS actually in the basket, but acting surprised for the 5th time that night when he lifts the flap and finds him, just as delighted as he was the first time.

Being a mama means hours of washing and cutting-up, warming and testing, spoon-feeding bites, and sitting beside the high chair, dodging flying food and wiping messes off the floor. And doing it all over again 3 hours later.

Being a mama means letting him fling an entire package of Always panty-liners one by one across the bathroom while you get ready, because you know it will buy you just enough time to get your makeup on.

Being a mama means spending an entire night in a recliner with a sick baby on your lap, taking his temperature every 5 minutes and watching the clock tick the hours slowly by until you can give him his next dose of baby Advil.

Being a mama means crying your eyes out after you put the baby to bed on the night of his 1st birthday party, because according to the rest of the world, he is a toddler now and no longer a baby.

Being a mama means making a running mental list throughout the day of all the little things you need want to do once everyone is tucked in; like paying those bills, finishing up your own laundry, looking up that new recipe you saw online, or watching that recorded episode of the Bachelorette you have been dying to see – but then being so tired you just collapse into bed at 9:15 and do none of it.

Being a mama means dropping the baby off at Grandma’s for the morning so you can get caught up at the office, and feeling like a part of your body is missing all day until you get him back in your arms. Because part of your body really IS missing – your heart stays with him every time you leave him.

Being a mama means laughing, crying, praying, napping, wondering, playing, hoping, reading, practicing, teaching, learning, cleaning, chasing, hand-holding, snuggling, soothing, loving, and living.

And did I mention drinking coffee?

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This little boy has my heart.

A Missing Fear of Heights

Hank Humor, Motherhood

We Wilsons live in a house with many, many stairs. We decided baby gates were really only needed on the tops of two of our staircases – at least at first – so we put those in and called it good. After many months of both his Daddy and me trying to keep our determined little Hankster from figuring out how to go UP the stairs, he finally got his chance. And he mastered it in about one minute. By the time I got over to him he was already halfway up, and nailing it, so I let him keep going against my better judgement! When he got to the top he did a little victory dance with an adorable squeal, as if he knew he had just accomplished something against great odds. I was equal parts proud for him and terrified for me.

As he danced around at the top of the landing, I had a scary revelation. With this new accomplishment came a new challenge: going back down the stairs. Why oh why did we build the split level house with three long flights of stairs? And why oh why does he think if he just runs straight at the stairs faster he will get down them easier? This adorable monster of ours obviously does not understand the concepts of heights, inertia, or danger

Just crawl down them backwards and show him, they said. He will pick it right up, they said.

Well, he still hasn’t figured out the whole “down” thing yet, so I’m praying he does soon! It takes so much willpower to not just scoop him up and carry him down myself!

My other terrifying Hank adventure this week also involved great heights, but this one included a near-death experience! He decided that in addition to not being afraid of heights, he would also try to be a stunt baby!

Why not?

Our back deck is one of Hank’s favorite places. I love letting him play out there while I do dishes, because it is hooked right to the kitchen. Daddy built us a hell-for-stout baby gate on the stairway down, and a big sunshade overhead as well, so we both thought our deck was one big wonderful outdoor playpen where he couldn’t really get into too much trouble.

Keep the monster caged!

That is, until I saw him try to get himself OUT of the playpen!

I made the mistake of taking a work call while I was cleaning up the kitchen a few mornings ago, and after the minute-or-so phone call I peeked out the door to check on Hank and I almost fainted. There he was – laying on his back, wriggling his chubby little bod underneath the bottom railing of the deck! And he must have channeled his inner Flat Stanley, because he was already up to his waist!

I panicked, rushed over to him and yanked him out, and frantically yelled for his Daddy while Hank looked at me with disdain, like I had foiled his plan. I never in a million years would have thought A) that he would be able to fit under there and B) that he would have any desire to find out whether or not he did!

Well, he sure did. And once I explained the whole emergency to Daddy, he tried to ease my mind with some good old Daddy logic.

“You know honey, his head definitely wouldn’t have fit through anyways, if he could have even gotten that far.”

Oh, ok! I feel much better now!

Seriously? So what you are saying, Daddy, is that his 25 pound body could get through and dangle from his 81st percentile-sized head, and you would be ok with that?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

And I was just not ok with risking it, either, on account of “we didn’t think he would fit through there.” Simply “watching him closer” didn’t seem like the right solution either, as fast as he had gotten himself into his little predicament in the first place!

So off to Home Depot we went, and the 1-by-2s quickly went up around the bottom railing so I can sleep at night and Hank can still continue to enjoy his lovely alfresco redwood playpen. Crisis averted. For now, anyways. Probably just until the monkey realizes he can climb the rails!

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Just try to get through there now, you adorable little Houdini!

10 Things I Never Thought I Would Be Thankful For

Motherhood

In my 33 years, I have lived a full, exciting adventure of a life. I have had ups and downs, twists and turns, and a lot of unexpected goodness thrown in there, which has made me both a believer in fate and also in God’s plan. The one thing that has shifted the most, through all the excitement over the years, is my perspective. Many of the things I am thankful for these days, I never would have believed 10 years ago! Here are 10 things I am thankful for today:

  1. A full dishwasher at the end of every day. (It means I have 5 mouths to feed besides my own, and those mouths belong to my 5 biggest blessings.)
  2. A big noisy, messy, crazy family of ALL BOYS. (They keep me on my toes and certainly, never bored!)
  3. A husband that I miss terribly because he’s on the road for work a LOT. (It reminds me that I’m married to someone I can’t live without.)
  4. The peaceful time at the end of the day when I get to tidy up the living room, the kitchen, and fold a load of clothes before bed. (I never appreciated that time when it was just little ol’ me, and I certainly didn’t look forward to it.)
  5. A baby who wakes me up between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning. (This is now the best part of my day.)
  6. Coffee. (See number 5.)
  7. A super long grocery list. (It’s no fun buying groceries for just yourself.)
  8. My job. (My amazingly flexible job lets me be a working mama but still allows me to be a good mama. I always dreamed of being a stay-at-home-mom, but now I wouldn’t trade it, I love both of my jobs!)
  9. My divorce. (It turned out to be the open door into what has become the best part of my life.)
  10. Quiet. (I used to hate quiet and had to have music playing at all times – now some quiet here and there is lovely, simply because it is rare.)

Since I titled this list “10 Things I Never Thought I Would Be Thankful For” – I will leave this last one off the official list, but it is noteworthy nonetheless:

I am also thankful for my big, awesome nose! (My ski-jump-esque profile reminds me every day that I am unique, that I have a little extra character, and most importantly – that I am related to some pretty amazing people with noses just like mine.)img_20160610_155615-1.jpg

So for all of you who know me and may have thought to yourselves, man, she would be really pretty if she would just get her nose done – Not happening! I finally have learned to love my nose after all these years of hating it, (even if it does have its own zip code.) I used to hope Hank would keep his adorable little button nose he inherited from his handsome daddy, but honestly I will be equally thrilled if he ends up with a big amazing beak like his mama. I am sure he will rock it even better than I do.

Like I said before, it’s all about perspective!

6 Ways a Baby Drives a Type-A Mom Crazy

Hank Humor, Motherhood

I am one of the biggest Type-A, control freaks I know. Or I was, anyways. Until my tornado baby came along, I was Master Of My Universe, and I loved it. My house was always picked up, my kitchen immaculate – hell, I used to even buy flowers once in a while, just because. Flowers I would arrange in a lovely white pitcher on the clean, bare countertop, just because it looked so nice. I was Martha Freaking Stewart.

Now don’t get me wrong – I love my life even more now with that crazy adorable whirlwind running all over tearing my house apart, but I have had to learn to get over some things! And for me, this is definitely a work-in-progress. Here are some highlights from Life With A One Year-Old that still drive me (just a little bit) nuts.

  1. Sippy cups. In a perfect world, there would be one universal size and shape of sippy, regardless of brand name, so all the tops would fit all the bottoms. Nothing frustrates me more than pouring the milk into the sippy cup, but then realizing that the ONE top that is clean at the moment is a Nuby and not the Munchkin I need, because of course the Nuby won’t screw on to the Munchkin. But I take that back – it is possible that the milk that sprays all across the floor and up the wall 25+ times a day when the baby throws the sippy as hard as he can frustrates me more. “Leakproof?” Not in my house!
  2. Keeping track of things. For the first month of having the adorable Little People barnyard playset, I actually put the animals back in their corresponding stalls every night, shut the barn doors, and folded it up neatly in the toy corner of the living room. Seriously. Now, I am lucky if there is one farm animal within a 25 foot radius of said barn. My new daily battle is keeping my entire kitchen Tupperware stock out of the potato bin. Yesterday, I opened it up and found 3 tuppers, 5 lids, 3 baby spoons and a plastic cup that I had been looking for all morning. (And a sack of potatoes, that I forgot was even in there. Go figure.)

    Hank’s treasure chest

  3. Bedtime. I set out trying to keep my little guy to a strict 7:30 bedtime. I fought hard to keep it there, but the craziness of my life and ever-changing blended family schedule wore me down and made me give up the fight, rather than lose my sanity. “Bedtime” is now a sliding window from 7pm to 9pm, (depending on about 15 different variables ranging from baseball to fishing to homework to teething to whether we have had dinner or whether we can even SEE the dining room table under all the clothes piled on top of it, that need to be put away so we CAN have dinner.)
  4. The clean house/laundry conundrum. Having a baby wrecked havoc on both the cleanliness of my house and my ability to keep everyone’s laundry done, folded and put away. Mopping? Now done in small concentrated areas when a tub of yogurt gets hurled at the floor or the dreaded milk splatter sprays across the kitchen. Dusting? Do people actually do that? Folding clothes right out of the dryer? Impossible. If you don’t like wrinkles, you are in the wrong house.
  5. The dishwasher. I have spent some serious time trying to brainstorm an invention that would keep the overly-helpful baby out of the dishwasher. I usually end up hand-washing half of my dishes anyways these days, just to keep them out of his eager little hands. Knives, forks, anything that still looks dirty and anything breakable – these are his absolute favorites to grab as soon as someone sets them in the dishwasher rack. His other favorite pastime is pulling random (clean) utensils out of my cabinets and “loading” the dishwasher for me. I found the turkey baster in the dishwasher the other day. I haven’t basted anything in at least 6 months.
  6. My car. My car used to get vacuumed as much as my house did. I actually have a devoted Norwex microfiber that lives in the jockeybox for dusting my dash and cleaning the glass. Well, these days, I need a tub of clorox wipes, a garbage bag, and a shop vac to get my car back into shape. If I had a dollar for every goldfish cracker I found rat-holed away in the car seat, door handles, and floor mats, I could probably afford to get my kid-chariot detailed professionally once in a while.

I know that someday, my sweet little monster and his big brothers will be grown up enough to help me keep the house and car spotless and organized, most likely when they are 18 and off to college. And I fully realize that when this happens, I will be wishing with all my heart, for the days of goldfish crackers, spilled milk, and pacifiers scattered all over the house! So I am embracing my new personality like I am embracing motherhood. I am not even sure what the technical term is for the opposite of  Type-A, so I’m calling it Type-Z!

Hank playing Sink or Float with his paci and my cappuccino

My 13 Months as a Milk Cow

Motherhood

Friday, June 17th, ended my 13 glorious months as a milk cow.  I spent over a year of my life as an on-demand, round-the-clock milk-machine.  And I loved it.

I was one of those on-the-fencers during my pregnancy, when it came to the decision of nursing vs. bottle.  In our age of Mommy Wars and in-your-face social media, where everything you want to know (and don’t) is on the internet, I was torn!  I knew that “breast is best” but I also knew that my husband and I were both pretty darn healthy, even though both of our mamas raised us in the era when formula was the latest greatest thing.  I had friends bottle-feeding and friends who nursed, and everyone I talked to thought their way was best.  I finally just gave up trying to make my own plans, and figured I would “let go and let God.”  I would give it a try and if I didn’t have any luck, I had a drawer full of free formula samples to fall back on.  Well, everything worked just dandy, and apparently God bred this skinny lil’ mama with a +1 score for milk production, which I think surprised all of us!  At his 1-year check-up, our prize calf was ready to wean at the 93rd percentile for height and the 83rd percentile for weight.  So, yay for the whole milk-cow mama thing working out!  And yay for kicking off the calf! (WEANING=WINE.)

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My weaning celebration.  AKA – Mama’s sippy cup

Growing up on a ranch, I was lucky enough to get a lot of first-hand experience calving. One thing I learned from seeing the trauma of birth on our big Hereford calves, was that a mama cow’s colostrum was a magic elixir.  Those completely dumb 110-pound bull calves we had to pull on occasion – who seemed to not care if they ever stood up once they hit the ground – were living proof.  Get them up standing next to mama in a nursing chute and squeeze those first few gulps of milk down their throats, and they perked right up!  Any time we had bottle calves on milk replacer, we even gave them colostrum paste in a tube, so they would get that same jumpstart.

With my calving knowledge tucked in the back of my mind, the personal goal I set was to nurse my baby for at least a week.  Even if that was as far as I got, I figured he would at least get that first liquid gold, jam-packed with all the goodness that science can’t quite seem to replicate.  His instant immunity, the antibodies I read about in all those pregnancy books; that first amazing jolt of life that would make him want to kick and play like those big dumb bull calves who bounced right back from their own traumatic births.

After the first week, with only a few minor roadbumps, I was still going strong, so I stuck with it.  Thirteen months and one chubby baby later, I can proudly say it has been one of my greatest accomplishments.  Were there days I wished I had listened to my formula-feeding friends?  Yes!  Many, actually!  But I am stubborn and I had an annoying little voice in the back of my mind that kept telling me to keep the milk flowing, so I did.  And so, for any of my mama friends who may be on the fence about it, too; here is a brutally honest little look at both sides of my dairy-barn fence.  And a little humor thrown in there as well, because nursing took me (way) out of my comfort zone, and the best way I dealt with it was by laughing about it!

The Hardest Parts

  • Nursing sucks, at times. (Literally.  Ha!  Take that free lanolin sample and use the hell out of it!  Then buy two more bottles when that runs out.  Lanolin is your friend.)
  • Nursing made me HANGRY.  I have never been so hungry in my entire life!  Nobody could touch my Oreo’s, or they knew they were in grave danger.
  • Three weeks of counting to 10 at the beginning of each feed because of the let-down pins-and-needles pain. (That did finally go away.)
  • Night feeds. For an entire YEAR. (And more specifically, every 2-3 hours, for about 9 months.)
  • That one time I got the clogged milk duct.  Painful does not even begin to cover it.
  • Awkward!  At times, especially in a house full of boys.  “What’s he doing under there?”
  • No wine!  I even tried the little breastmilk/alcohol test strips one time, and yep, it showed up.  So yep, I pumped and dumped.  And I cried equal tears while pouring out the milk and the wine.
  • Limited nursing wardrobe. (Seven different colors of nursing tops, one for each day of the week.  And, repeat.  For 13 months.)
  • Nursing a baby on 5 flights, sitting next to several strangers.  Talk about uncomfortable.  Can’t all planes have two seats on a side instead of three?  Or automatically upgrade nursing moms with babies to First Class?
  • Pumping every day for almost 9 months.  (I can still hear the ch-whoosh ch-whoosh sound in my sleep.)
  • Teeth. Enough said.

The Best Parts

  • Breast milk is FREE! (Well, pretty much. I did have to buy freezer bags and a few pump parts.  And a nursing cover-up, as I am not one of those let-it-all-hang-out-kind of moms.  Kudos to those of you who are, but I am a bit more bashful.)
  • Sitting in a cozy La-Z-Boy feeding a beautiful baby on your lap, listening to Enya playing quietly and the birds chirping outside the window, while he drifts off to sleep = bliss.  And I got to do just that, many times a day.
  • My fat little baby, who gained weight like a pro!
  • Nursing could calm that baby down from ANYTHING, no matter what.  If he was crying for any reason, nursing him would fix it.  Always.
  • I didn’t need to hold a bottle, so I had two hands free to read a book, scroll through my news feed on my phone, inhale snacks, or actually get some work done at the computer.  I got to where I could actually do most of my office job at my desk while nursing the baby on the boppy.
  • Never having to worry about bottles in the middle of the night.
  • Never having to worry about bringing bottles with me anywhere I went – I had the baby’s milk ready to deliver at the perfect temperature, on-demand.
  • Those 50 pounds I gained while prego (yep you read that right, 50) melted off pretty fast since a lot of my calories went into milk production every day!
  • I truly appreciate both sleep and wine more than I ever did before I was a milk cow for 13 months.

So, my stint in the dairy world was life-changing.  I felt like a living, breathing, walking, milk-producing little Mother Nature in human form.  Not only did I miraculously grow a human in my tummy, I also fed him for over a year (six full months, exclusively) thanks to that magical mother super-power that I got to tap into.  That to me, is one of the coolest things I have ever done.  And if I weren’t completely certain that this little guy is my one and only, I would do it all over.  In a heartbeat.  So I guess I made the right decision.

Hank, I am happy to report, has happily moved on to whole cow’s milk, so thank God Costco sells it in 2-gallon boxes!  So far between him and his brothers, we kill about 4 gallons a week.  I may be looking for a milk cow to throw in the corral here soon.  And I will be happy to let her take over the farm’s milk department.  My dairy days are over!

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Must. Get. Every. Last. Drop.