Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day in the Life (DITL): 10/22/11

DITL of a weekend at home with my 17 mo. toddler--on a day my doctor husband actually had off from working at the hospital!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mama book club

One of the best things I've done for my sanity since becoming a mom 17 months ago was start a mommy book club. I had started a local book club after I moved to my current home five years ago--and found it was a great way to meet people and make new friends. However, after becoming a new mom, I felt a specific need for mama friends: to find women who were going through the same things as me. None of my old friends had yet crossed over that threshold into parenthood, so I needed to look elsewhere for that support. Since I am also a working, pseudo-single mom (ie. doctor's wife), I knew I'd have to put some effort into creating a new peer network. So, that's how I landed upon my solution: book club experience + need for mama friends = mama book club!

I recruited most of the women in the book club through my mama-baby yoga class and regular yoga classes, so we're all a bit 'crunchy granola.' There's about 10 women on the email list, and maybe five will show up at each gathering. We've been meeting every month for the past year, and it's been a great outlet. The book list I put together ended up being a good mix, but reading (or finishing) the books was always optional.

As a whole, the mama gatherings have been a great time to get out of the house; to vent; to gripe about parenthood and marriage; libido blahs; postpartum bodies; baby behavior advice; solids and diapers and sleep; miscarriages; second pregnancies; and being moms! Our discussions can be both light and deep, or friendly and therapeutic. It all depends on the book and/or the group of women who gather. After a year, I can say that I have a group of women I can call on for advice and sympathy. Ideally, if we can keep this group going, I'd like to see us being able to do some babysitting swaps and more playdates. On a personal front, I like to see more working mamas in the group as well. I love my SAHM friends in the group, but working parenthood (and my pseudo-single parenthood on top of that) adds its own challenges.

Anyway, I wanted to share the 2010-11 Mama Booklist we used this past year. I tried to make a mix of parenting genres: advice; anthropology; emotional development; cognitive development; memoirs; and anthologies. With one book to go in the year, my favorites were Momma Zen; The Mask of Motherhood; and A Slant of Sun.

See the list behind the cut.

Monday, June 27, 2011

beach, petting zoo, and general updates

Mommy Montage

I went on a work trip to Atlantic Beach this past weekend, Friday through Saturday. My work colleague urged me to bring Sprout, so I did. It probably will be the last time I can do something like that since A) I have to travel by myself and babies always have three times their weight in gear (I tipped a bellhop for helping me carry and arrange everything in my car); and B) Miss Sprout is alllmost walking so will soon not be content to stay (manageably) confined in a sling while her mama "works" a conference display table. However, it was a nice getaway, and much more relaxing than my trip to Leesburg (my actual vacation, eh). I had fun taking Sprout out to her first little (< 30 minutes) beach visit, where she tasted sand and was not freaked out by the ocean or wet sand :). A success, heh.

This next video shows my hubby holding on to Sprout as she walks, although she can walk just holding onto our fingers now too. She's still a bit off-balance when I try to just support one of her hands. However, she's getting there! I think there's just going to be a light switch moment soon, where she all of a sudden--boom--walks on her own. She already has started to 'trust leap': turning around and letting go of a window sill to fall/lurch into my arms.

Crazy how quickly they become little people. Yesterday, she surprised me by all of a sudden blowing a raspberry on my tummy when we were snuggling in bed (high toddler humor!), and by trying to stick her foot in various shoes (her own, my humongous flip flop). She also has the cutest "hi" and "he-roh" (hello). I could also see her mind go into adorable overdrive when she was trying to figure out how to carry her two shoes and a snack cup (where to put the third object?). Love :).

Little girl is the joy in my life right now. She's such a little character, as the videos I just posted show.

We did manage to get away for a mini-vacation last week, despite our ongoing termite disaster. We still have one whole side of our house boarded over and the flooring removed from a corner of our home while we wait for a new window to arrive--but I try to put it out of my mind, especially since we don't know what the total cost will be yet. When we do know the cost, I know it will be up to me (harrumph, story of my life) to figure out A) how we might afford the bill; B) whether the current termite treatment contract covers this damage; and C) whether we can get home insurance help.

However, back to the happier topic of our mini-vacation, last Thursday to Sunday. On one hand, we were able to get away for a few days and it was the most economical of vacations ever: staying with my gracious Aunt and her boyfriend at their beautiful home in Leesburg, VA; seeing my Dad and grandparents and other family; relaxing and lounging as my aunt helped prep all food (grilled salmon, salads, fresh fruit, shrimp, and scruptious desserts like the tuxedo cake pictured here); walking in the neighborhood; and going on a daytrip to the nearby petting zoo. That petting zoo was pretty awesome too: llamas, donkeys, chickens, turkey...but also monkeys and wild cats and a giant tortoise. Here's a few pics and videos under the cut:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wife, M.D.

Good advice from a woman who posted to the Lives of Doctors' Wives Facebook page. I can relate to all the points, as we near the end of the hubby's intern year of Family Medicine residency:
We've been out of Residency now for 4 years. We met in college and on our journey we had 3 kids, 1 or 2 nervous breakdowns and several moves around the US. I feel your pain and so I would like to share some of my humble advise....
  1. Keep looking towards the future. You are investing in your family's security and success. IT IS WORTH IT!!
  3. Embrace the chaos, stop expecting normal! You're setting yourself for unhappiness. This is a process. It will not last forever.
  4. Reach out and surround yourself with good positive friendships, and fill your life with your own passions and interests.
  5. Remember he needs you. You are his lover, his sounding board, his psychologist and even sometimes his priest/rabbi... This is an endeavor that is difficult and challenging and filled with unexpected surprises. You have to develop good coping skills and be resilient so you can be strong for this journey.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mama Montage: parenting resource links, videos, and poems

NPR, Tina Fey, and TED Talk videos--awesome stuff, right?

NPR: Dos And Don'ts For Talking To Kids About Money (28 min 45 sec)
A poll conducted by a financial education non-profit found 70% of teens said their parents were the most important influence on their spending habits. But fewer than half thought their parents were telling them enough. Tell us: How do you teach your kids about money?

Sarah Kay: If I should have a daughter ...

Let's talk parenting taboos: Rufus Griscom + Alisa Volkman

Tina Fey's Prayer For Her Daughter

-An excerpt from Tina Fey's new book -Bossypants, 2011
First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her
When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short - a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day - And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mama Montage: news crews, super moons, and sick babies

I think I'm still recovering from the weekend, because I'm tired this morning. Of course it doesn't help that Sprout is suffering through her first fever, third day running. Poor little bleary babe. She's been sleeping OK, but I think my mommy brain makes my sleep more restless--even though I'm shielded from the full force of mommy-sick-baby worry with a doctor hubby (and awesome medically savvy childcare help, even). One of Sprout's yoga playmates recently had roseola, so it could be that--although I haven't seen any rashes on Sprout yet. We've just been dosing her with baby tylenol, monitoring her temp, and keeping her hydrated.

The weekend was busy, though! With my 10-hour work days, Friday is now a part of my weekends (yay flex time!), so the busy weekend started on Friday with my mama-baby yoga class being featured on the local news (click on the link to see the embedded news videos, up on my yoga website). The news crew filmed during most of our babies' nap times, so all us mamas were a bit tired from baby wrangling by the end of the 1 hour shot (for ~3 min of footage, heh).

Then, after that, I went in for what was supposed to be a quick oil change and that turned into 3.5 hours trapped at the car place. They found I needed new tires, and since I transport baby around, I wasn't going to scrimp or question when it came to car safety. However, I was stuck waiting with a very patient baby front-slung onto me that whole time. The hubby was still at the hospital, so couldn't rescue me. Thank heavens for cheerios and breastfeeding (in the cold bathroom); Sprout was a trooper through that waiting ordeal, but it exhausted me. When I got home, I handed the baby to the hubby and crashed face first onto the bed. I didn't end up having dinner until around 8PM, after I had briefly nursed the baby to sleep.

Saturdays are now yoga days, so I taught my regular morning class followed by co-teaching the mama-baby class. I don't remember what I did Saturday afternoon/night, except I made sure to go out and view the super moon (large, pretty, golden-colored).

Sunday was a total lounge day for me. I was alone again with baby (working hubby) and just spent it doing domestic stuff: watching Bones while nursing; taking a walk in the neighborhood; making crockpot lentils; doing laundry and dishes; watching the dogs run around in the fenced yard; and letting Sprout pick at dandylions on our lawn.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Yoga Split: teaching excitement

Last week, I completed a 16 hour training on teaching postnatal yoga. Above is a picture of the peaceful lounge at the studio in Raleigh where most of our training took place. We had a whole day on anatomy, and then a day observing a mama-baby class and taking a postpartum class. There were only two of us in the class, so I'm glad they still held it! I took the time off work to attend, driving back and forth from Greenville. The class will definitely strengthen my own teaching, and made me realize I need to have more focus on the abdomen and pelvic floor for myself and my student mamas.

In other yoga news, my new sessions of regular yoga and mama-baby yoga start up this weekend after a month break. My regular yoga class is full with 8 people, three of whom are new and the others are either friends or students I've had since I started teaching two years ago :). Our mama-baby class for precrawlers will be small, with only three others besides the co-teacher and myself (with our own daughters). On the other hand, we're trying out offering two toddler-mama yoga classes in April, and both class are completely full (8 mama-toddler pairs) with a waiting list. It's going to be a full room!

Finally, if that wasn't enough excitement for the yoga teacher aspect of my life, on March 18th we're scheduled to film a short mama-baby yoga segment for our local news!

Mama Montage: cookies and springtime

I made hamentashen cookies this weekend using this recipe.The cookies turned out decent and presentable, but I would call them more jam-cake tea cookies, than hamentashen. I used blackberry jam because I couldn't find the sweet poppyseed filling that I really wanted. The main selling point of these cookies was that they were for the "busy mom," and I actually finished making n' baking 'em during Sprout's 1 hour nap on Sunday. Now, I just need to figure out how to get dried cookie dough out of my wedding ring (whoops).

It was a pretty great weekend...exhausting, but pretty great. On Friday, I had a burst of energy which inspired me to take some exploratory drives around with Sprout in tow. First, I checked out the (new-to-me) Mickey & Mallory Bakery in Ayden, where I picked up two mini-canoli (one of my fave desserts!) and a breakfast cinnamon bun.

Then, I drove all the way out to Carolina Seasons plant nursury (practically on the other end of the county) in order to gaze longinly at their fruit/nut trees/bushes: persimmon, fig, pecan, blueberry, raspberry, peach, pear. Ah. I so want to start an edible garden in my fenced backyard (we're on 0.7 acres in our home lot), but I have no idea how to start. There's a company based in Durham called Bountiful Backyards which designs edible home gardens--assessing your land/sun/soil ph and drawing up a plan--but they cost a little over $300 for the consultation + travel out to me in eastern NC. Hmm, but we'll see. I want a garden, but don't want to invest in one and have all the plants die.

After that, I stopped by a friend's office. She works at an awesome childcare resource center called ChildLinks. I was able to pick up 3 toys for Sprout (two ring stackers, and a multi-texture plush flower thing), which I can keep for 3 weeks and then trade back in for more. They have a board book library as well! I also signed up as a member to use their lamination, stencils, colored paper, and criticut machine. I'll have to ask my friend for project ideas, but I initially thought the materials might be good for a basic chore/good behavior chart.

Finally, I also found the location of the gym that is closest to my house (it was hidden behind some other storefronts; I may sign up...soon...). I can't remember if I did much else on Friday, but that was enough!

All week and during the weekend, Sprout has been refusing all jarred pureed food--like spitting it out in messy raspberries. There's only so much splatter paint a mama can take! So, I've been having to get creative. She could live off cheerios if we let her, but I wanted to give her some other solid food besides carbs. Surprisingly, we discovered she looooves blackbeans smothered in mild green chilli sauce. I found out she was swallowing them sorta like pills (ask me how I know), but she enjoyed their taste. She also ate some scrambled egg, tofu, toast + creamcheese, banana, asparagus bits, and canned mandarin orange over the weekend. I'm hoping she'll allow for a bit more of her jarred food again, though, because of course the hubby bought two trays-worth (like ~20 jars!) of organic baby food last week! They may become some interesting 'dipping sauces' or muffin-fillers, heh.

What else? Ah, I returned to teaching yoga on Saturday. I had a regular class (8 people!) and a mama-baby class. I was exhausted after teaching, but happy. I also accomplished getting groceries, putting away 2 wks of laundry, and having the house cleaned (with much thanks to my cleaners, who hadn't been to my dog fur carpeted house in a month). All of that while the hubby was on-call, starting a new inpatient rotation (ie. he was gone most of the weekend).

I have a busy work week ahead of me, so next weekend may not be nearly as productive. I just had to reflect on last weekend being particularly good, with a large part of the credit going towards sunny springy weather and being in the company of a beautiful baby girl.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mama Montage: Elements of a haphazard nursery design

Eight months and running in setting up Sprout's bedroom! This is what happens when you move into your first house with a one-month old infant: projects become extended start-stops. Heh. However, bit by bit, things are coming together for her nursery. I've been adding bedroom elements month by month--from her crib to a small bookcase to wall art--and wanted to show off some of her room's design elements.

Wall color/carpet, both original to the house.
The carpet was in pretty rough shape when we moved in (stains galore), but I was able to steam-clean it into usable submission. The wall color is an orangey-pink salmon, something I would not originally choose--but it works OK for now and is a happy color, at least. I'll probably wait to change it for when Sprout is a bit older and has a color preference. The photo also shows the lovely handmade quilt a co-worker gave me at one of my baby showers.

Book case, toy corner, improvised clothes storage.
Sprout already has a good collection of books (with more to come) and stuffed animals, mainly in thanks to her grandparents and my friends. A prize among her books is the complete Childcraft set from 1950, I think was the year. Both my mom and my sister and I grew up with the nursery rhymes and stories from Childraft. Some of the books are amusingly out-of-date and un-pc (a la 'the role of the mother in the home'), but I look forward to reading many of the poems and stories to Sprout when she's a bit older and less prone to tearing paper pages. As for clothes storage, right now I keep the clothes that fit Sprout in a large plastic bin in the corner; my childcare friend has a small dresser I plan to get when I have the time to haul it from across town (or when I can get the hubby over there with his truck).

All-important rocking chair.
This padded rocking chair saved my back during the first week I had Sprout home, when we were still in the apartment. This photo shows Sprout in the chair with my father, when he visited a few weeks back.

Changing table.
With this furniture item, we get what we paid for. I got this cheapish changing table as a baby gift from my baby shower registry. What's disatisfying about it is that the bottom two shelves popped out of their holding grooves relatively soon after setting it up. Those two shelves now sag; they were not designed to hold much weight at all, and my cloth diaper stash was too much for them. Much of the time now, I just end up changing Sprout on the floor as a result. So, if I had had the money and foresight at the time, I definitely would've bought a dresser with the changing table space on top.

We bought the new crib when Sprout was 6 months old. My mom got it for us as a Hanukkah gift (thanks, Mom!). Before the crib, we just used our Pack n' Play (which you can see behind the crib, in the photo below)--which worked great! I think the Pack n' Play has been one of our 'most useful' purchased baby items, along with the rocking chair.

Crib set.
I wasn't too picky about the crib set we ended up getting. I chose one that was on the cheaper side from Walmart, using a giftcard. I settled on a cute (not too girly) Pooh set. However, for something that was bought without much foresight, it ended up being a fitting design. For one thing, the hubby has been reading the original Winnie-the-Pooh story to Sprout from my iphone on nights that he's home/has the energy. For another thing, it surprisingly coordinated with other wall art I bought afterwards, as you'll see below.

Wall art.
My favorite elements of the room. In pictures, the art might not seem to go together, but it all really does! I used the quilt from the Pooh crib set and hung it on the wall above the crib on one side. On the other wall over the crib, I hung the three butterfly canvases. The butterflies are pretty girly, but as a set of three they help make things feel more unified. I've become a bit resigned to the pink girl onslaught, since much of the child's wardrobe is pink/purple clothes gifted to us; hopefully I can avoid Disney Princess/Barbie gendered marketing in years to come, though! Either way, the pink in the butterflies matches the pink in Piglet and Eeyore's nose. I like that the canvases are very light, so I could hang them over the crib. The third wall art item (which I'm most excited about!) is the tree wall decal. It fills up the bottom half of most of one wall. It took me almost an hour to put up this tree this past weekend, since I was a perfectionist with the leaf color distribution (art dork!). The leaf colors work really well with the peachy color on the walls--and unintentionally, the tree matches spot on with the Pooh quilt tree, down to the leaf design! It has been nice studying the tree on the wall while I nurse Sprout to sleep.

Next project: Rain gutter book shelves!
I'm excited about this project. I got the idea from a ParentHacks blog entry yesterday. Here's the project tutorial (and a photo of the project below). It's a cheap way to display books face out, so kids can see the books that they like (promoting more reading), plus gets the books off the floor (where a lot of my extra board books now are located). I plan on filling the extra wall space in the room with these shelves--when I get the time to collect the needed materials. What a cool project idea, right?

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010: Year in Photos

2010 in Photo Recap

(or wherein baby/pregnancy photos take over my life):

(September 2009)-May
Let's get real. Pregnancy, birth, and baby were the main themes of 2010 for me. I'm glad I was able to capture my pregnancy belly shot progression in photos, if only to marvel at the dimensions a human belly can take on within a few months--and to cut myself some slack (ha) on my body continuing to adjust postpartum. You really do start to feel like a cartoon character toward the end, because the preggo belly is ridiculous!
Here's a photo from the week before I gave birth.

Work, baby prepping, hubby residency interviews/Scramble/Match Hell, and baby showers! The only photos I have from these months are from my three baby showers (family, job, and Greenville friends).


The hubby graduated from med school. Wooooohoooooooooooo!

A few days later, on the morning of May 11th--welcome to the world, Sprout!