Friday, September 30, 2011

Christmas Cards

This post is sponsored by Tiny Prints. They’re giving me 50 free cards for writing about anything Christmas Card related.

I started using Tiny Prints earlier this year (last one to the bandwagon, I know) and I’ve already earned a reputation in my family as the thoughtful card giver. All cards I give have pictures printed in them and are obviously ordered in advance, which my family loves – especially my grandparents. I have to keep it up, though, because now every time I give them a card, Grandma says “I bet I know what’s in here!” She’d be quite disappointed if there were no pictures of the kids.

Anyway, Tiny Prints didn’t ask me to write about their service in general, they want to talk about Christmas! I’m hoping this means I’ll actually get my cards ordered and mailed before Christmas this year (last year they went out in February. oops.) That means I need to find a picture.

This is one of the professional pictures we got done when Paul was two weeks old. I don’t think I ever told you about this photo shoot. Meg cried the whole time. She whined and refused to smile. Afterwards we realized it was because we used the green blanket her Grandma made for her as a backdrop for some of Paul’s pictures. She was mad he “took” her blanket. We gave it back afterwards, while we were looking at proofs, and she was instantly better. I was so annoyed. She’s two! She can talk! Why didn’t she just say BLANKET, so we could give it to her and make her happy before we took family pictures??

The odds of getting the entire family to smile at the same time aren’t that good, anyway, so maybe we should go with just a kid picture. How about this one? It really says “I love my brother”

(I was trying to take three month pictures of Paul, but Meg wanted to be in the picture, too.  She refused to get off the couch and insisted the angel doll be in them, too.)

I obviously have better pictures of the two of them – like the one on my banner. I’m also going to try to have a family photo shoot – maybe while we can still do it outside? I'm not a big fan of Christmas cards with pictures of the kids only. I think the parents should be in there.

So my options are:

Keep taking family pictures until we get a good (ok, decent) one and go with a one card picture. I like these:

Christmas Cards Chic Sophistication  - Front : Gunmetal      Christmas Cards Christmas Flourish - Front : Bright Red    Studio Basics: Christmas Cards Painted Pattern - Front : Siren

Or I could find a good picture of each of us, plus maybe one of the kids together:

Traditional Wonder Christmas CardsChristmas Cards Divine Night - Front : Black
Studio Basics: Holiday Photo Cards Wreathed Monogram - Front : Winterberry

To see more Tiny Prints Christmas cards, go here.

So what do you think I should do? What are you going to do for your Christmas cards?

Again, this post was sponsored by Tiny Prints.  If you'd like to do a sponsored Christmas card post, you can apply via this form.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


For work this week I’m not in the office. I’m out at a very small client’s (10 employees, only 3 of which work in the office). There is no place to pump except the bathroom. The conference room would be ideal (and it’s what an employee would use, if they needed it), but we’re all set up to work in there and I don’t think my male co-worker would appreciate me busting out the breast pump. So, three times a day I sit on the floor in the bathroom. I lay paper towels on the floor and try not to touch it. The automatic exhaust fan is so loud I can’t even think. I sit there with my not-3G-enabled iPad (that was a bad call) and try to find things to do that don’t involve the internet. Sometimes I check Twitter on my phone, but it drains the battery. My back hurts so badly that at night, when I bend over to pick up the baby, I have a hard time standing up. Every time 9:30, 12:30, or 3:30 rolls around I think noooooo, not again.

I don’t want to do this. If it were just about providing milk for when I’m gone, I’d immediately drop to 1 or 2 times a day and open a can of formula. It’s not, though. I pump so I can nurse on my days off. I love breastfeeding. To use formula (for this particular reason) when my boobs are right there would be letting my job rule my life. My days off are MINE, my job shouldn’t dictate what I can and cannot do.

I’m not sure how much longer I can keep this up, though. Even in the office, the generally nice lactation room has an old, reject, rolling office chair. I have the fancy pump flanges that are supposed to save your back by not requiring you to hunch over, but it doesn’t make a difference. Not only do I have to lean forward, I have to balance. It’s exhausting. My back hurt the entire 10 months I pumped for Meg.

I’m sure the chair situation would be solvable if I really wanted to work on it. Heck, I could probably buy an old recliner at Goodwill and donate it. I doubt I will. The real problem is I just don’t want to do this. I don’t want to spend all my break time and the majority of my lunch locked in some windowless room hooked up to a machine.

But, even more so, I don’t want to deal with the hassle of remembering to buy formula and trying to convince my child to drink it as he tries to chew through my shirt. Even if it’s only 1 bottle a day.

I work 3 ½ days a week, so either way I’m going to be annoyed exactly half the time. Either because I have to go use the @(*$&^@ pump again, or because my supply no longer allows me to exclusively breastfeed.

This sucks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Last little bit of summer

I loooove watermelon.  As much as I hate summer, I do get excited at the beginning of watermelon season and always hang on to it for too long.  Right now, we have a not-very-good watermelon in our fridge no one has been eating.  I couldn't bear to throw it out, though, because it's the last watermelon!  I must eat it!  There will be no more watermelon until next year!

Last chance or not, it just wasn't good.  In a last ditch effort, I threw it in the blender with some orange juice and a little orange peel last night.  It was amazing.  It tasted a lot like an orange julius, both in texture and in sweetness, though it wasn't quite as knock-you-over sweet.  I liked it so much I immediately washed the blender so I could make it again before work this morning.  Now I want to buy another watermelon.  (My husband is screaming noooooo.)

I do have a little more - earlier in the summer we had a watermelon on the verge of going bad, so I pureed and froze it.  I figured I could use the watermelon ice cubes in fruity drinks or something.  My can't-waste-anything-ness can be ridiculous (who makes ice cubes out of an almost-bad watermelon instead of just throwing it away?), but I'm glad I have the promise of a few summery drinks this winter.

P.S.  I don't really have any proportions on the ingredients, but I think I used about a 2:1 ratio of watermelon cubes to orange juice.  If the watermelon is already pureed, it's about 1:1.

Monday, September 26, 2011

I have a feeling “I’m tired” is going to be a theme around here

This morning I went through the McDonald’s drive through. I ordered, paid, then drove off. Without the food. I got back on the road, went to shove the bag into my huge purse so I’d have one less thing to carry, and realized I didn’t have the bag. So I went back. This was a McDonalds I’ve never been to before and I didn’t realize they had two windows. So I sat at the window where you pay, wondering when someone would notice I came back, until I realized the employees (all four of them) were leaning out the next window waving and calling “Ma’am! Ma’am! Up here!”

Not the best start to a day.

At lunch, I got ready to go to the post office and mail the giveaway packages. I got as far as my car before realizing I left it all on my kitchen counter this morning.

I give up.

P.S. Giveaway winners – I put the packages in the car tonight so I can mail them tomorrow. The good news is at the post office, I’m supposed to pay then walk away without the stuff.  I should be able to manage it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Giveaway winners!

Per the winners of the giveaway are comments #1 and 2, Elizabeth and Hillary. Congratulations!

Also, since Elizabeth didn't want the coffee, I decided to send it to Erica.

Email me with your addresses at jesabes dot blog at and I'll get the packages sent out!

Kiss to make it better

When we first started doing "kiss to make it better" for Meg, she was in a big "I DO IT MYSELF" phase, so she started insisting that SHE would kiss it to make it better. Often, she either couldn't reach whatever she was supposed to kiss (because it was her head) or she was in too much of a hurry to stop, sit down, and kiss her foot (or whatever), so she would air-kiss it. Soon, an air kiss came to be what "kiss to make it better" IS and now that's all we do. If she pinches a finger and I actually kiss it, she looks at me like I'm crazy and insists I do it right. Air kisses, ONLY. I often hear "OW. I kiss it - *mwah*. All better!" around the house. If she wants me to do it, I can blow a kiss from across the room and she'll say "Thanks! All better now." It's very convenient when I'm nursing the baby or, perhaps, just don't want to get my butt off the couch to make her owie better.

Monday, September 19, 2011

First day back

My first day back at work was...good. I was almost drunk with the freedom - I went to the bathroom by myself! I ate my lunch while it was hot! I didn't have to share my afternoon snack! NOBODY SPIT UP ON ME ALL DAY.

Paul, whose reaction to bottles used to be "What the hell are you trying to do with this plastic thing? That's not how I eat! Get me mama!" did a 180 and was suddenly all "Bottle? Ok, no big. I'm flexible. Why are you looking so surprised?"

I'm still not thrilled about this being a three-days a week, EVERY week kind of thing, but we both benefitted from a day apart. I'm not even too upset about going back tomorrow. Success!


There was a discussion on Twitter today about how when people see the word "giveaway" they think "sponsored", so I hope that didn't scare you off from yesterday's post. There wasn't anything sponsored about it. I did get the coffee for free, but it was a party favor. If you don't like coffee, there's a bunch of other things in the box! I realize 'stuff from around my house' isn't incredibly enticing, so here's a sample:

Pretty self-adhesive ribbon!
They are small boxes, so nothing to get too excited about, but I think there's some fun stuff in there.  You can enter here through Wednesday at 5 pm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back-to-work giveaway!

I went to a church event this weekend and everyone who attended got a cute little bag of coffee from a local youth ministry.  They recently started a business purchasing coffee directly from growers overseas.  Youth from the program work at the business (and get paid) and the proceeds support the ministry.  They were serving coffee at the event.  I had the decaf and it was pretty good.  I don't drink caffeine, though, and the favor bags were regular coffee.  Thomas doesn't like coffee at all, so I thought it would be fun to have a blog giveaway!  The bags each hold enough coffee for one or two pots.

I went around the house and gathered up a bunch of little stuff to include in the packages.  I have two small flat rate boxes to give away.  If you also don't drink coffee, I can fill the space with other things:)  I found a ton of little Christmas stuff (stocking stuffer-type things) so I'm going to do another giveaway closer to the holidays and I can put the coffee in those boxes if the winners of this giveaway don't want it.

I set this to post Monday morning, since that's my first day back at work.  Maternity leave is over:(  I'm sure I'll be in need of a little cheering up.  Aside from the whole leaving-the-baby thing, my first day back after having Meg was pretty rough just because it was hard to get back into the swing of things. Hopefully having lots of comments rolling in will make the day go faster this time around.

To enter, leave a comment telling me:

1.  Do you want the coffee?
2.  Do you drink tea?  Decaf or regular?
3.  Something to make me smile.

I'll choose two winners Wednesday, September 21st sometime after 5 p.m.  Packages will be mailed Thursday or Friday. Good luck!

P.S.  Shoot!  I was going to set this to auto-post tomorrow but forgot and hit publish:(  I guess you have more time to enter now...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Watching what I eat

Last Sunday I decided I decided my non-stop eating of crap needed to stop. Since I'm breastfeeding, I'm hungry all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. There's not really much I can do about that. It's just the way it is. The problem was I was eating cookies and ice cream and pasta with butter and parmesan all the time. So I decided to go on a "watching what I eat" plan. I wasn't going on a diet, because hahahaha. Besides, my body has a mind of its own while pregnant or breastfeeding and weight gain/loss or lack thereof seems to have no relation to what I eat.

But, just because I can eat all the ice cream I want without gaining weight* doesn't mean I won't feel generally crappy while doing it. I'm certainly not going to stop eating ice cream, but it's worth trying to eat healthier if it will give me more energy or make me less sluggish.

That was eight days ago. I'm still watching what I eat, but now I just watch myself bring the entire tub of cookies into the living room so I won't have to keep walking to the kitchen. Maybe I'll try again when I go back to work.

*While it's great to eat all the ice cream I want without gaining weight, it's also insanely frustrating to be at an "unhealthy" weight and not be able to lose one single pound, no matter how hard I try, until I stop breastfeeding. In fact, while breastfeeding Meg, any attempt to lose weight in a reasonable, non-drastic manner just led to my body stubbornly hanging on to every pound and instead reducing my milk supply. I am not doing THAT again.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sweater Shaver

Earlier this week Hallie of Betty Beguiles posted her Sweater Care Plan.  I have to say, I generally don't do any of the things she listed.  I've never hand washed a sweater.  Even if a sweater says it's supposed to be hand washed, I generally throw it in the washer on delicate and hope for the best.

I saw, though, she mentioned a sweater shaver for de-pilling.  I've never heard of that.  Once, in a department store I saw some little comb-like thing supposed to remove pills, but it didn't look like it would work.  I had no idea battery-operated ones existed.  She linked to a travel one that was only $6, so I bought it.

It came yesterday.  I have plenty of sweaters that need this, but I figured first I'd give it a real challenge.  I got this sweatsuit for Paul in a box of clothes from eBay.  Both the sweatshirt and pants were covered in little white pills.  The outfit was unwearable.  I thought I should probably just throw it away, but I can't throw away anything ever.  I didn't even take a before shot since I thought nothing could save this outfit.  A sweater shaver might be great but it's not magic.

This is after I shaved half of the sweatshirt.  I was stunned at how well it worked.

After picture:

Have you ever used a sweater shaver before?  I can't believe I never knew they existed.  I assume it's to be used sparingly, since it actually shaves the clothes (duh).  In addition to the little white pills, there was a lot of blue when I emptied the shaver.  I don't care, though.  I'm so excited!  My sweaters are going to look brand new this year.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Beware of the silence

This afternoon, I was sitting in the living room ordering a canvas print of this:

and thinking about what a sweet little girl I have.  Then I realized it was naptime (score!).  I went to her room, where she was playing quietly, and found this:

Also?  She was shaking her sippy cup of milk onto her legs in an attempt to clean them.  As you can see, I threw her right in the bath.  I gave her a lecture about spilling milk and told her we don't write on ourselves.  I was mainly upset about the milk, because that could really make the house stink, whereas a little ink on her legs can easily be washed off.

Then I went back to her room to get the cup and noticed this:

Those white spots are milk.  I didn't even know what to say to her, so I just gave her the bath and put her down for a nap without saying anything about the chair.

P.S.  Does anyone have advice about creating/using a watermark?  Someone's been downloading pictures from my blog.  Oddly enough, just pictures of me (none of the kids), but I'm going to start marking anything with people in it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My first blog meetup!

Well, besides the Blathering 2010.  This was my first one-on-one blog meetup.

The lovely Whitney stopped by our house during her epic drive from Vermont to Idaho.  It was so fun to meet her (and Sona!).  Dublin came in and immediately dove into the toy bin.  Then Meg came back from my mom's house, gave him one look that said 'who the heck are you and what are you doing with my toys?' and he ran over to hide behind Sona. Meg can be a little scary. Although, I suppose walking into your own home and finding a stranger playing with your stuff would tend to provoke a WTF?? response. She did decide to share, though, and it was so cute to see them play together.

Dublin and Margaret coloring.  Don't you love the way the sun brings out every fingerprint on the windows?  I should probably think about actually cleaning them.
Whitney and Roman

Whitney and I looking at the camera while Roman, Meg, and Paul watch Dublin yell about how he doesn't want to be in the picture.

Sona and Dublin
Their visit went all too fast.  As we watched them pull out of the driveway, Meg waved and said "Thanks coming our house!"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I'm probably just the last to know

Over the past week (half a week?), I've seen a lot of tweets and blog posts about how awful this Facebook trend is where you post a status saying you're pregnant - even though you're not - supposedly to raise "awareness" for breast cancer. I was glad to have the heads up to take pregnancy announcements on Facebook with a grain of salt, but wanted more information. How can I tell if a pregnancy announcement is fake? If this is a "thing" there's probably some format to it, right? I want to be able to read someone's pregnancy-related status and know whether to tell them "I'm so happy for you" or un-friend them for being thoughtless and playing a ridiculous game. I read many posts about it and googled several variations of "fake Facebook pregnancy," but couldn't find an actual description anywhere. It's frustrating to read a person's thoughts on why "something" is bad without them fully explaining what the something IS. I realize people assumed everyone already knew, but I didn't and it was shockingly hard to find the information. I've been paranoid someone would announce a real pregnancy and I'd think they were faking.

Finally, Jen linked to Mel's post that contained a description of the format of the statuses. Apparently if someone says they are X weeks along and craving X, its almost certainly fake. THANK YOU.

I realize it's theoretically not necessary to have a detailed description in every post on the subject and its valid to assume a bloggy person already knows about the current "thing," either from a well-known blogger - I'm not sure why I don't have Mel in my feed reader, because I certainly knew about her - or someone else. But I didn't know. And couldn't find it even after looking.

I'm not asking you to start over-explaining everything and writing posts with the assumption your readers live in a cave and need to be educated on what "the internet" is. I don't know. Maybe just keep in mind that if something is a new fad not everyone may have encountered it.

Did you all know about this all along? Am I just the last to know? Are you now wondering if I do, in fact, live under a rock? If my husband, the non-blogger, reads this and tells me HE knew all about this, I'm going to feel pretty stupid.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Staying at home

I wrote this almost two weeks ago and thought I might tinker with it, but never did.  I haven't even read it in a week and don't really want to, because it makes me sad, but I do want to have it posted.


I’ve been thinking a lot about working vs. staying home. I LOVE being home. So much so the thought of going back to work practically gives me panic attacks. Yet as much as I want to stay home and never go to work again, I still can’t decide if I want to quit my job. (And I do mean whether I want to quit. If I decide I DO want to quit, whether I actually quit would be another decision entirely. I’m frustrated I can’t even figure out what I want, let alone what I should do.)

I like my job. At times, I love it. I can’t imagine giving up that part of my identity. Even now (on leave), I like that I still have a job, even though I love not going to my job. I had training last week (once you’re past six weeks, maternity leave is considered vacation and you’re not allowed to take vacation on a training day). I was dreading it. Once I was there, though, I kind of enjoyed it. The training was pointless, but I enjoyed sitting in a calm room, with a bunch of adults I know and (mostly) like, using my brain, and being talked to like an adult instead of a food source.

Then I came home and as I sat there nursing Paul and reading to Meg, I felt like this is where I was MEANT to be. In that moment, and for the rest of the afternoon, even when the baby wouldn’t let me put him down for a single second and Meg threw a fit about taking a nap, I was certain. I want to be home. All the time. Without a doubt. I didn’t do anything about it – even talk to my husband. I was relieved I finally had it figured out, but I wasn’t quite ready to do something about it.

Then I read a book today. One of the main characters was a woman who’d semi-recently quit her job to stay home with her two children. She had trouble with the fact her home and children were basically her entire life now, whereas they were a much smaller part of her husband’s life. She had friends, of course, but her husband’s job was this HUGE part of his life that didn’t involve the family and she didn’t have anything similar. I guess that was more of a marriage issue, though, since she mainly wanted him to care as much as she did (or at least care more).

I like that my job is a part of my life my family isn’t a part of. I don’t want to give that up. If I wanted the job just for the sake of having a job , I’d think that was kind of stupid, but I also LIKE my job. Also, even though I like being home more, maybe I wouldn’t like it as much if I was always at home. When I’m not on leave I work 3.5 days/week and am home 3.5 days. I always wish I had more time at home. But what if seven days would be too much? Though, it hasn’t been too much for the last 8 weeks, so maybe that’s an irrelevant fear. What I’m trying to say, though, is do I need more in my life than just raising children? Obviously, if I was a SAHM I could find things to do here and there out of the house (and my mom LOVES to babysit), but the whole point of quitting would be for the majority of my time to be focused on the kids.

When I think about this, I compare the best days at home to the best days at work. But there are bad days at work, too. I’d guess I love my job 20% of the time, like it for 40%, and dislike it 40% of the time. Whereas, at home, I think I love it 33% of the time, like it for 33%, and dislike it 33%. Does that mean I should choose home? I can’t decide if the days at home are better enough to give up the days at work. Also, if I had to think more or worry more about money, would the balance of like/dislike at home change?

Then there’s the fact Paul haaaaates bottles. Has since the day he was born. I thought it would get better with time, but it’s gotten worse (and not for lack of practice). I can’t imagine how guilty I’ll feel being at work and knowing he’s fighting every feeding and trying to hold out until I get home. I don’t think I could do it. In fact, I’m kind of hoping he goes on a hunger strike when I go back, which would make my decision easier.

I constantly go in circles like this. Discussions on whether I should stay home have always come down to: well, my mom watches the kids for free and I do like my job… That’s a hard argument to overcome. But I think at this point I really do want to quit. I like my job, but I love being at home so much more. For now, though, I’m going to give working another shot. I’ll be working on things I especially like when I first come back, so hopefully it won’t be too bad. Quitting would be a huge life change, one that would take a lot more family discussion and planning, so we’re not there yet.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Meg has gotten the idea "OK" is a synonym for "yes." Probably because when she asks for something I guess I usually say "OK." She uses it in all contexts, though, even if it doesn't make semse. Like if I ask "Is Paul crying?" she says "OK" Or "Is daddy at work?" "OK."

Sometimes it means basically the same thing as yes, but sounds funny. Like when she's begging for something:

"I want TEDDY GRAHAMS. Teddy Grahams, PLEASE. Please NOW."

"You want Teddy Grahams?"

"OK." (Said in a 'well, if you're going to try and talk me into it, I guess I'll take some' tone.)

It's adorable. Two-year-olds are so fun.