Thursday, January 28, 2010

Crazy...I was crazy once...

So wish me luck because I seem to have fallen off the crazy horse and plan to join some others over at the Crazy Train for a sew along. Mind you, I can't even sew a straight this could get messy...but nothing ventured nothing gained...right?

sew along button

Words of affirmation

I tend to be pretty self depreciating and sadly, I sometimes extend that humor when talking about my husband.

Recently, I have been thinking about how important it is to affirm him and our marriage instead of taking pot-shots at it.

So I thought I would periodically mention some of the (many) things I love about my will take a lifetime to complete the we'll start off slow for now.

  • Every morning, my husband gets up before the sun to go to work and after showering, shaving and getting dressed, he cleans all the baby bottles, empties the dishwasher, gets a bottle ready for Little G, defrosts solid food for Little G's breakfast, takes out the trash and does some general tidying up so that all I have to do when I get up is start taking care of our son. This morning he did all of that AND folded all of Little G's laundry from the night before!

    So often I am witness to women complaining about their husbands and their lack of involvement with the every-day running of the household and I take pause when I hear those things and think how blessed I am to have this extraordinary person and wonderful man in my life.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Show me your drawers! this isn't a's a cabinet...but I just had to show you all my newest accomplishment!! All of my spices used to be on a lazy susan on the bottom shelf (now being used for salts, peppers, spice rubs and baking soda/power/cornstarch) and I never knew what spices I had or didn't have and I could never find what I needed when I needed it so finally I went to The Container Store and got myself some spice containers and a tiered spice rack.

Turns out it was a good idea because I had quite a few double-spices - some of which had never been opened! Those have all been donated to Goodwill and/or given to friends in need of spices and finally, order has been achieved in the spice cabinet! (can you see....they're even alphabetized!!)

I realize this just lets on to the crazy-side of me...but I have a good defense. My defense is that I work really well once something is organized...but getting organized is sooooooo not my forte! Which I think is pretty normal. Right? Tell me that's normal.

Other areas of our kitchen that have been organized and working well for us for a much longer period of time include our everything drawer (which my husband periodically sorts through and reorganizes - who's the crazy one now...right?):

A drawer for all of my small kitchen gadgets...graters, whisks, corn-cob holders, measuring cups and spoons, etc.:

And our silverware/knife drawer:

So...what type of 'crazy' drawers do you have? Care to show 'em off?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Badger Baby Creme

I wanted to share some of the things that have come into my life specifically because I have a baby that I unabashedly endorse to all my friends*. There are lots of great things that I will share about here, but the first thing that came to mind when I was thinking of something that I use EVERY DAY was Badger Balm's Diaper Cream and Baby Balm.

Badger is a wonderful company that was started by a family in New Hampshire back in 1995 when the father, "a carpenter by trade and an herbalist by avocation" whipped up a simple, but effective healing balm for his cracked, dry hands out of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Beeswax, Castor Oil, Aloe Vera and Essential Oil of Sweet Birch. You can read more about how the company started here.

Their diaper cream is made with a similar ingredient list but has 12% Zinc Oxide; which most diaper creams have to help with diaper rash. But most diaper creams don't use PURE mineral Zinc Oxide like Badger does, rather they combine it with other chemicals which may or may not be good for baby's skin.
I try hard not to be too arbitrary with my attempts to use natural products for Little G...but this stuff just makes the choice so easy! The other ingredients in the diaper cream are Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Castor Bean Oil, Natural Beeswax, Organic Calendula Extract and Organic Essential Oil of Roman Chamomile. The latter two really combine to make a heavenly, light scent.

The Badger Baby Balm is made from the same exact just omits the Zinc Oxide. But most importantly, this stuff really works.

Little G has had his issues with diaper rash and the Badger Diaper Cream always clears it up. And we have used the Baby Balm for everything from helping clear up his cradle cap, soothing his dry skin on *all* his cheeks :P, and even as a massage cream. Little G seems to really like when we put some on his face, so my guess is it feels good to him too.

We are actually running low on the Diaper Cream and my husband pointed out the plethora of other diaper creams that we received with various gift baskets...but I plan on donating them to our local Good Will....I figure it is silly to mess with what works!


*I hope to write about these things at least once a week and it is super important to note that I am not being paid for these endorsements. The companies represented in my endorsements have no idea I am writing about them and I am only writing about them because I personally use the products and want to share the experiences and tips with my readership.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Morning 20in20 Tracking

Starting date: December 1, 2009
Ending date: April 20, 2010
Starting weight: 222 lbs
Goal weight: 202 lbs
Current weight: 216 lbs
Weight loss this week: .4 lbs
Total weight loss: 6 lbs
Pounds left until goal: 14 lbs
Weeks left in challenge: 12

Only a slight loss* this week which is more realistic. We did finally join the gym last weekend so I have spent some time there this week. I have been meeting with a personal trainer and so now I actually do have an exercise plan.

Little G has been doing relatively well in the nursery there. It is a bit difficult to time our visits so that he isn't tired or needs food or a diaper change. (They won't change a diaper and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't put him down for a nap.) They will feed him a bottle, however, so I try and go when he is on the cusp of needing one, that way they can feed him and by the time he needs a diaper change I will be done.

Ok...gotta is up!

*I may or may not have talked some trash to my father-in-law this week which I think could REALLY be the reason why my loss was so really...I bet that's it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday Morning (uh...make that Tuesday Afternoon) 20in20 Tracking

Starting date: December 1, 2009
Ending date: April 20, 2010
Starting weight: 222 lbs
Goal weight: 202 lbs
Current weight: 216.4 lbs
Weight loss this week: 2 lbs
Total weight loss: 5.6 lbs
Pounds left until goal: 14.4 lbs
Weeks left in challenge: 13

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sitting up!

So I shared with you all in Little G's 6 month post that he has been sitting up unassisted...but I didn't have any pictures to share until I finally unloaded them from my camera this morning.


Other fun activities of late have included peek-a-boo which always gets a host of squeals and giggles...especially since it is so dry in here and his hair gets all static-y!

Hope you enjoyed the pics!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Supporting the girls (and boys)

I was on the receiving end of some pretty nice words from one of my favorite mommy bloggers over at OMG I'm a Mom. Her daughter, Mia, is a bit younger than Garrison and it has been so comforting to know that whatever funny bits about mommy-hood I have failed to find the time to write down for posterity, are being accurately, and funnily, recorded over at her blog.

Today she wrote about her daughter Mia's sleeping issues that popped up around month two and how she reached out to me at that time since I had recently shared that Little G was a champion sleeper. Here is part of what I wrote in response to her posting:

Oh how I wish I was the baby whisperer, in which case I could get my lovely lad to nap...sadly, that is sooooo not the case. The sleeping through the night thing we sort-of lucked into with our consistent routine and the fact that we have a big, formula-fed baby who loves to sleep at night (probably because he hates napping during the day so much).

I remember your email from so long ago and I truly think that although my advice did end up working for you, the true value was being able to talk to another mom and know that you could say what you needed to say without judgement and receive an answer in return with love and understanding. At least that has been the true value in the conversations I have had with other mommies regarding all the lovely things Little G is or is not doing.

The truth is, if we are addressing the non-mommies here with this blog, that not everything works for every baby. And not every method needs to be followed by the book. But every parent needs to believe in themselves and know that by the simple act of loving their child (which in actuality is not that simple when they are screaming bloody murder at you) they are automatically a wonderful parent.

One of the things I have been blessed with living here in an urban area is the wealth of resources available to Little G and I to get us out of the house and to support us. From just three weeks old we have been attending a free drop-in class every Monday morning at the hospital where he was born. That same hospital also has a free breast-feeding support drop-in class, and a free drop-in class for kids slightly older than him who are moving a bit more.

Additionally, we took some new-mommy classes at Isis Maternity; a store here in the Boston area where we also took our prenatal classes. While these classes have a fee, they ensure that you meet with the same mommies every week and that the age ranges of the children are all within a few weeks of each other. I can't even begin to describe how important the instant bond I had with the women and babies in our classes lifted me up and carried me through those first few months.

We also go to a mommy group once a week at the church I attend and childcare is available so I have been able to meet with other mothers and have intellectual and emotional conversations (as well as some killer refreshements) without having to worry about Little G.

Lastly, there is a listserv here in my area of Boston that I belong to, and from what I know it is one of many for this area, where parents can ask all sorts of questions and get all sorts of truly runs the gamut. Everything from advice posts on sleeping, eating, schools, daycare, nannies, temper-tantrums, etc. to borrowing car seats for visiting relatives, or baby paraphernalia so that you can try it out before buying it; to community notices about playground maintenance or lost-and-found or even off-topic items like are-there-any-beach-towns-in-CT-with-an-actual-beach? They even have weekly gatherings at a local community center for people to have an outlet to go to.

These resources, along with my friendships with other mommy bloggers that I know from my days as Mrs. Corn over at Weddingbee, have been the glue that have held my life together over the past six months. So it was downright shocking to me when I went to the Cumberland Valley area, in South Central Pennsylvania for a month and couldn't find a single mommy/baby support network/program to save my life! The only thing I found was a reading at a library for half an hour over 45 minutes away!

Now, I am sure Central Pennsylvania has these support networks, but they really aren't easy to find. And it makes me wonder how it is that the place I identify most with down-home, family value driven communities doesn't have a SEARCHABLE network of parent support groups? It really is something to think about, because while I found myself consumed with things to do while visiting the area, I am not sure I could make it on a day-to-day basis without some-sort of parent support network. And it makes me so incredibly grateful for the resources that I do have here in Boston.

Whether it be the classes we have taken, the drop-in groups we have attended, the posting of questions on a listserv or the ability to reach out to internet friends going through similar challenges, Little G, my husband and I have been fully supported as we transitioned from a couple to a family. A blessing that we hope all new families have the opportunity to have.

What about you? Do you have the support you need in your community? And is it searchable?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Monday Morning 20in20 Tracking

Starting date: December 1, 2009
Ending date: April 20, 2010
Starting weight: 222 lbs
Goal weight: 202 lbs
Current weight: 218.4 lbs
Weight loss this week: 3.6 lbs
Total weight loss: 3.6 lbs
Pounds left until goal: 16.4 lbs
Weeks left in challenge: 14

Saturday, January 09, 2010


As previously noted, my food "plan" for my 20in20 challenge is really just a place between all or nothing where I feel I can safely aspire to. Same goes for my exercise "plan". However, I do have some MAJOR motivation.

The gym we are joining as a family includes childcare.

Let me say that again.

The gym we are joining as a family. includes. childcare.

For up to two hours a day per person (meaning I can take Little G for two hours and then my husband can take him later for another two hours).

This means when Little G is being a total pest (hard to believe, I know, what with all the dimply goodness)I can put him in the car and in less than 10 minutes hand him over to SOMEONE ELSE!!

Also included in the membership: a personal trainer for eight sessions and then the same personal trainer once a month.

The gym has so many really cool features included in the membership (although some you pay extra for like tennis lessons and karate classes) like a slew of classes during the day for us stay-at-home-mommy types, rock climbing, salt water filtered pools, yoga, Pilate's, spinning, weight training, know...your basic gym well as two incredibly nice women's locker rooms with hair dryers and towels and beautiful wood and marble lockers; plus a cafe with healthy food and Internet! I seriously may never leave!!

So my "plan" for exercise is to make going to the gym part of our everyday schedule. Can you imagine...enough time away from Little G every day to not only take a class or meet with a trainer...but to also TAKE A SHOWER?? AND DRY MY HAIR?? I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever been so motivated to go to the gym!!

Let's just hope it sticks!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Happy 6 months, Little G!!

Today is Little G's sixth month birthday.

That is nuts.

Nuts because just a month ago seems like it was forever ago...not to even MENTION six months ago!! And how quickly the time has passed. Sigh. Note to any of you who don't like change...don't have a kid. Change is all they do.

We spent most of the month in Pennsylvania with Gram, Aunt K and Cousin W. But most importantly, we spent almost every day for two weeks visiting with Zayde. Zayde wasn't feeling well, so it was good for you and for him that you were there. Most days you would lay on the side of his bed and he would stroke your hair or play with your feet. Below, Zayde decided he wanted to hold you in his harms as well as he could.

The two of you spent lots of time staring into each other's eyes as though you had finally found 'your people'. I know you are too little to remember your Zayde, but I hope that through pictures and stories from myself and your father and your Aunt and Gram and Cousin W, you will be able to know the wonderful, loving man he was.

Amazingly enough, you still have not rolled over from your back to your do however have an amazing ability to spin yourself around in a circle like a pinwheel so that when we come to get you in your crib in the morning, you are usually perpendicular to the sides...which wouldn't be that big a deal if you weren't longer than the width of the crib.

Over the past month you decorated your first Christmas tree...

...helped Santa out by being the World's Cutest Elf... all dressed up and attended your first Christmas Eve service...

...waited patiently with cousin W for Santa to come...

...and enjoyed your first Christmas. Santa delivered a fun ball spinner toy, that you immediately decided to try to eat, and a super-nifty wooden pull train.

After Christmas was over, you were baptised by your Aunt K at her church where mommy and daddy promised to raise you in the Christian faith and the congregation promised to care for you and all other children as you grow up in the church.

You eat so much food these days...avocado, peas, cauliflower, beets, sweet potato, squash, applesauce, pears, bananas, carrots, baby oatmeal, broccoli...basically anything we put in front of you, you will eat! The pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to give you some protein items and grains and I just know you will love them!

Your hair has almost all grown back in...and it happened over a three day span at the start of the month! Your dad almost didn't recognise you when I sent him a picture. You also grew out of every single piece of clothing that we brought you to Pennsylvania in...thankfully Aunt K hadn't sent us the next installation of hand-me-downs yet so we didn't have to go buy you all new things!

You have most definitely found your voice and love to serenade us with babbles...'muh, muh, muh' and gurgling are your favorites, although when you are super tired you squeal and blow high-pitched is super cute :)

Finally, at the beginning of the month, you were still a bit rounded and even by Christmastime you still needed to be held up in order to sit and not slump over and as I write this, you have completely grasped the concept of sitting straight up and not slumping over. We still have to watch you because you don't know how to catch yourself when you topple backwards, but for the most part, you are sitting up!

I can't believe all the changes in just one month and I am so incredibly amazed that you are already 6 months old. The next six months hold even more change for us as up until now you have been immobile and we all know that won't last long.

Happy birthday, Love!!

Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The plan

So in light of yesterday's post I guess I should share with you my plan. The problem is...I don't have a plan.

In all actuality, I think this will work better for me than having a plan as I tend to be an all-or-nothing person so if I have a plan and then I don't match the plan, I tend to quit. So, if I have to define one, I guess my plan would be to aim for the-place-between-all-and-nothing.

With that said, I present to you the-food-place-between-all-and-nothing:

Since moving into our home in Boston and having the resources (both monetarily and educationally) and the support (both neighborly and institutionally) to start researching the food that I put on our table, I have come to the conclusion that I would like to provide myself and my family with the cleanest food possible.

To that end, we have participated in our local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for the past few summer/autumns by purchasing a half-share; supplying us with ridiculously delicious veggies and fruits that we devour during the season while freezing the extra so that not much goes to waste and even in the dead of winter we have the most delicious corn and/or veggie stew and/or fill-in-the-blank-veggie-yumminess on the block. We have also participated in the same farm's Meat Share where we have 10lbs of sustainably and responsibly raised meat delivered to us on a monthly basis. We have also gone-in on a cow with friends; supplying us with quite possibly the most delicious beef (as well as the most packed freezer) I have encountered in my life. And we have our milk and eggs delivered to us from a local farm here in Massachusetts.

Now all this isn't too say that I don't enjoy a Five Guy's burger every once in a while, or that you can't find me in the drive-thru of the various Dunkin' Donuts in a square-mile radius because I have once again left the house with Little G and forgotten to eat breakfast.

However, in the spirit of aiming between all and nothing, I think I am doing a fairly reasonable job of providing clean, good food for my family.

So, what does that have to do with losing weight? Well....just like with over-processed foods, there can definitely be too much of a good thing...but at least I am starting with a good thing which makes me feel better.

With a base of good food, then my next step towards aiming between all and nothing is to be aware of what I eat throughout the day.

A while back I participated in the first long-term study that was ever done on the four major diets. The diet I participated in was the high protein, moderate fat diet. A big part of the study was entering in every item of food that we ate into a computer database so that our calories could be tracked along with our weight loss. I lost 20 pounds on that program...not because of the specific diet I was on (as was proven by the results of the study) but because I tracked my food intake.

Again, with the intent to aim between all and nothing, rather than forcing myself to write down every stinkin' calorie I consume, my goal is to just be aware of what I have eaten throughout the day. Which means, if I have a large breakfast or lunch, than I know to have a healthier dinner. Conversely, if I know I am having a calorific dinner, than I plan ahead by eating moderately for breakfast and lunch.

As lackadaisical as this may seem, it works for me, as that is the only way I can figure how I made it through the past month without gaining 400 pounds.

So there you have it...the food "plan".

Next up....the dreaded exercise "plan"....

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Fatty Resolution

I have "struggled" with being overweight for most of my life. I put struggled in quotes because truly...there are other things that really warrant the word struggle more than a small, consistent obsession with being more attractively thin while denouncing the power of exercise and pretty much eating what ever I want whenever I want it.

My biggest frustration is my body image. As you may recall my stating prior to this, when I was pregnant, I felt the most proud of my body than I had ever felt in my life. And it was so powerful to feel that way. Yet, as soon as my son was born the self depreciation started. Which is so ridiculous. Because there are plenty of women out there who would look at my body and would never consider me anything other than why shouldn't I?

So my resolution this year is not to lose weight, but to stop being fat. I figure I am only fat if I call myself fat...which means that I resolve to look at myself with honesty and respect in hopes that I can love the body that I have and I resolve to not call myself fat by which I will stop being defined by it.

That said....

...I do need to lose some weight. I was clinically obese before getting pregnant and I gained over 40 lbs and thus far have only lost 20.

So, to motivate myself, I challenged my father-in-law to a 20 in 20. Here's the gist:

In 20 weeks, I vow to lose 20 pounds. At the end of 20 weeks, if I have not lost 20 pounds, than I vow to give up my iPhone until I HAVE lost 20 pounds.

In 20 weeks, my father-in-law vows to lose 20 pounds. At the end of 20 weeks, if he has not lost 20 pounds, that he vows to give up his Penguin tickets (at which point they will be in the playoffs, which really makes this a tough one to lose) until he HAS lost 20 pounds.

Our challenge to each other is that in 20 weeks, whomever of the two of us has lost more (as long as it is over 20 pounds) receives a prize. If I win, he buys me a Garmin. If he wins, I buy him a Kindle.

How's THAT for motivation?!

The 20 weeks started on December 1 and I was pretty distracted all last month, so although I didn't make any true progress, in light of the events of the past month I am rather proud to say that I started the challenge at 222 pounds and four weeks later, I was still at 222 pounds.

So, now I have twenty pounds to lose in 16 weeks...which is still totally doable.

Wish me luck...I could REALLY use that Garmin and if nothing else, I can't even imagine life without my iPhone.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


My dad died last month.

There...the words are out on the screen. Can't be taken back. Can't be forgotten. They are here forever. Or as forever as the internet is.

My mom called the Monday after Thanksgiving and said that he wasn't doing well and that she thought it was time for me to come. Little G and I packed up our things and headed out the next day and drove for what seemed to be an endless time.

If you are ever wondering if it would be fun to take a road trip for 10+ hours with an almost 5 month old, my advice would be don't. do. it.

The entire ride my mind would wander to the fact that my dad was dying and I would start to tear up. And then I would admonish myself for being dramatic and literally yell, 'STOP Crying!", or "I will NOT cry...I will not cry...I will not cry" until the tears went away and I could see the road again.

When I got to Pennsylvania it was night, so I didn't go to see him until the next day, Wednesday. He was so lucid and 'normal' I didn't even think about what was going to possibly be happening soon. Little G and my mom and I spent time with him and then my mom took Little G so that I could talk to my dad alone.

I sat next to him and grasped his hands and cried, "Oh, dad".

And he put his large, heavy hand on my head and whispered, "It's's ok".

I looked up at him and found it impossible to find the right words to say. So I said, "I am finding it really hard to put into words how much I love you. But you know I love you."

Then I asked him, "Are you scared?"

"No", he breathed out.

"Do you need anything...or want anything? Is there anything we can do for you?"


So we sat together silently for a bit while I wiped the tears from my cheeks. And then I left.

Little G and I visited with him almost every day until he passed away on December 15, but that was the last time I spoke to my dad on my own.

Maybe it is because I am so far away from where he was and because I had only seen him once from the time he had his knee surgery (which kicked off this whole health scare)until this past visit, but I have had a difficult time wrapping my brain around it.

We returned to Boston last Thursday and as of yesterday life is 'back-to-normal' and I just feel weird. Like if I felt like it, I could convince myself it was all a dream.

But it wasn't.

My dad died. On Wednesday, December 15, 2009. Nine days prior to his 76th birthday. Four months after his knee surgery that was supposed to enhance his life. Five months after his second grandson, who looks a lot like him, was born. Twelve days before that grandson's baptism which had been his goal to attend.

Twenty days ago.