Tuesday, March 7, 2017





Thursday, June 9, 2016

I got a job! Sorta...

So, I've been trying to figure out ways that I can write and someone will pay me for it.  I started with fiction and finished one novel (in retrospect, it wasn't all that good), many short stories and the beginnings of at least 30 other novels.  The beginning and the end are awesome (in my head), it's that elusive middle part I have trouble with!

I started this blog as a way to write and also semi journal our adventures in trying to get pregnant and subsequently what life is like with two kids under two (not for too much longer!)  It's been a great way to practice and get my words out there, but I don't see anybody knocking on my door to give me money!

I stumbled across content websites where clients will pay for an author to write a piece on any random thing to use on their own website, blog, or online periodical.  I didn't know if this was worth anything, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  It's been a little over a week and I've written six articles.  The pay is no where near worth the time you put into it, but I look at it as practice writing in a marketing style, or really just practice in general.  The website I've been writing for give amazing feedback on grammar and sentence structure errors, so I am learning a lot while I'm doing this.  So far the feedback has been positive.

The biggest plus is that I can do as much or as little as I want, any time of the day or night.  Also, I can pick the articles that interest me, or at least ones I feel I can write confidently.  So far I've written about trampolines, a chiropractor, online reputation management, Beneful dog food, the 2016 Chevrolet Spark, and 50 ml conical centrifuge tubes with flat caps (which ties a little in with my lab background).  It's interesting and varied and I actually really like it!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

adventures in sleep training: a lazy mother's guide

Before I had Teddy, I read approximately ten million articles online about sleep training, co-sleeping, cry-it-out, and the like.  I asked all of my mom friends what they did and how they managed to get their babies sleeping through the night.  I even bought a book on children's sleep. Methods were as varied as the babies themselves.

I rejected co-sleeping almost immediately.  I treasure my sleep and must have a regular sleep schedule or things get out of whack quickly for me.  Being constantly afraid of rolling on an infant was not appealing to me at all!  I was more interested in cry-it-out, but all of the negative press about it made me reconsider.  Cry-it-out in gradually increasing increments is what I would have chosen.  The sleep training method I ultimately chose was, "Really Good Sleeping Baby."

At about eight weeks, Teddy started sleeping 8-10 hour stretches and by three or four months he was sleeping a solid twelve hours a night.  I thought I had a method, which included always putting him to sleep, whether for a nap or for the night, directly after a bottle when he was a little drowsy.  I'd heard to put them to bed drowsy but awake.  He made "sleep training" easy by just being a really good sleeper.  I was pretty anal about putting him down immediately after a bottle though, as if that was really what was doing it.  I didn't spike the bottle with Benadryl or anything, I promise!  I was actually afraid that when I weaned him off bottles that he'd stop sleeping.  He didn't.

When Oliver came around, I was prepared for him to be different from Teddy.  He was early, he had bigger glucose issues than Teddy, and of course he was a brand new person.  I worried that he wouldn't sleep as well and fretted about the whole sleep training issue all over again.  Admittedly, he didn't begin sleeping through the night as early as Teddy, but I gave him some slack since he was slightly premature.  He started sleeping 8-10 hours by about three months.  Then he had a horrible winter of sickness, so more slack was given.  By the time he was five months, however, I stopped getting up with him in the middle of the night.  He needed to sleep through and I knew he didn't need the bottle in the middle of the night.  Within days of me stopping getting up with him, he started sleeping straight through.  He's eight months and sleeping at least eleven hours a night.  He gets up earlier in the morning than Teddy, around seven, but it's alright!

I relaxed about the bottles with Oliver.  As long as he has a bottle within an hour or so of nap/bedtime then he's good to go.  So why do these two sleep so well?  Is it their personalities?  Is it because I didn't nurse/bottle them all the way to sleep?  Or rock them to sleep?  I put them down and if they cry, it's only for an extremely short time.  Maybe I'm callous because I didn't rock my babies to sleep every night.  I save that for when they're sick or hurt.  Whatever it is, I'm fortunate that they are such good sleepers.  I, myself, am a terrible sleeper.  I hope they continue to sleep well, even after they are not in cribs (no! never!), even after they start to share a room (after the inevitable big boy beds).  

P.S.  I'm not trying to brag about my good sleepers, I'm just exploring why they are.  Did I unknowingly sleep train them?  Or is it just them?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I Have No Idea

When I became a new mother, I was baffled by the amount of questions I received.  I'd just met this new little guy and suddenly everyone asked me questions as if we were lifelong buds and I knew all his likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, resume and shoe size.  As much as he was brand new, so was I.  I didn't know how to answer these questions.  I didn't know him yet!  New motherhood is an extremely quick learning curve, like being thrown into a PhD program with nary a high school diploma.  These are some of the questions I experienced and the answer is always the same:  I have no idea.

Does he always do that? I have no idea.  Isn't two weeks too soon to say always?  Because that's his age.

Does he usually sleep this long?  I have no idea.  I haven't slept more than three hours at a time in five weeks.  Sometimes he sleeps great; sometimes he naps for thirty minutes and makes me want to cry.  (Or actually cry.)  It's the unpredictability that gets to me.

Does he like sweet potatoes?  I have no idea.  I put food in his mouth and he eats it.  Mostly.  Whether he likes it or not, you'll have to ask him.  He eats most everything.

Does he pull at his ear?  Why do you suspect an infection?  I have no idea. He's screaming and he had a cold.  But it could be his teeth.  Or he could just have gas.  He's seven months.  He can't tell me.

Has he rolled over/crawled/walked/graduated yet?  I have no idea.  Wait.  Is he supposed to?  What does Google say?

Do you change him before he eats?  I have no idea.  Sometimes I do change him and he poops midway through the bottle and then I change him and he poops again when he's done.  Sometimes I don't change him and he doesn't poop at all.  Sometimes I don't change him and then he blows out his already semi-full diaper.  It's a crap shoot.  (See what I did there?)

How much does he eat in a day?  I have no idea.  This question was asked every time I went to the doctor for a well visit.  I learned how to answer, but the first few times I would frantically try to do math in my head and then usually just say something like, "He eats 3-4 ounces (or 5-6 ounces) 5-6 times a day."  Sometimes he ate a ton and sometimes not so much.  Also, if you're breastfeeding, there's no gauge, no ounce markings on each breast to show how much has been consumed.  I imagine you pretty much just guess.

These questions didn't really annoy me, but did serve to show me how little I actually knew about keeping a tiny human alive.  We're doing good so far, but number one is only 21 months.  It's too soon to tell.  I still feel like a new mother.  Is there ever a time when you feel competent, like, "I've got this.  I know what I'm doing.  They might make it to adulthood."?  I'll let you know.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Adventures in Potty Training

Day One:
Wake up.  Pee pee.  Have breakfast.  Pee pee.  Wait thirty minutes.  Pee pee.  We've got this!  It's nine thirty and no accidents.  9:56am.  Bathroom trip in four minutes.  Teddy tries to climb on my lap and I get a palm full of wet bottom.  Teddy says, "Uh oh."  Back to the bathroom.  Pee pee.  Change underpants.  10:11am,  Dark spot forms on front of grey underpants.  Back to bathroom.  Pee pee. Change underpants.  Today is the only day in the past year that he wants to sit on my lap - in his underpants with an unreliable bladder.

Number of times using the potty: 17
Number of pairs of underpants used: 7
Number of pull-ups used: 1
Number of wet pairs of underpants: 7
Number of twosies in the underpants: 1

Overall success rate: 58%

Day Two:
Follow same steps as day one, with one exception:  Every five minutes Teddy says, "Pahee?  Pahee?"  This is great except I'm pretty sure he's only doing it for the Teddy Grahams!  Sometimes he asks to go to the potty immediately after we return from the potty.  But, hey.  Whatever works.

Number of times using the potty: 1,901
Number of pairs of underpants used: 3
Number of pull-ups used: 1
Number of wet pairs of underpants: 3
Number of twosies in the underpants: 0

Overall success rate: 99.8%
(just kidding. He probably only went thirty times which would be a 90% success rate.)

Day Three:
Take Teddy to potty every twenty minutes unless he asks.  At one point this evening he says, "UH OH, pahee!  Uh oh, pahee!"  I feel his pants and say, "Uh oh potty, indeed!" and rush to the bathroom, where he pee pees in the potty even more!  I think he's kind of like a dog who needs to mark his territory, because he always saves a little pee pee.

Number of times using the potty: probably 20
Number of pairs of underpants used: 3
Number of pull-ups used: 1
Number of pairs of wet underpants: 2
Number of twosies anywhere: 0

Overall success rate: 90%

Conclusions:  Though I did a modified version of the three day potty training method (i.e. I didn't throw out diapers - still using them for night, pull-ups for nap), I conclude it's going to take longer than three days.  He did get markedly better about the number of accidents; he is incredibly motivated by Teddy Grahams. Taking into account the declining number of accidents each day, I expect him to be fully trained by Friday.  Just kidding.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

today was a good day... sorta

I filed our taxes last night and I thank the good Lord, we're getting more back than we ever have before.  Between my and Oliver's medical expenses and all the various deductions, we did very well.  Now we can chip away at that stupid debt that built up!

To celebrate we took a mini-shopping spree to Target.  One of Ed's coworkers had given us money to buy gifts for Teddy and Oliver.  I also have been eyeing a curling wand for a while and I had a few groceries to get also.  After lunch with Ed, we took off to Target, me pushing poor Oliver way past his eating time frame.  I had an emergency bottle, but he was so good I didn't use it.

The trip was mostly pleasant except for having to wrangle Teddy.  For some reason Target shopping carts are not made for Ted.  No matter how tight I belt him, he can twist around, get on his knees, grab stuff from the cart and chuck it on the floor.  He grabbed the Playtex straw cups I had in there and began trying to drink through the packaging.  Crazy kid.

I also treated myself to a flat white at Starbucks, mostly because I had no idea what it was.  The lady in front of me ordered it and I asked her what it was and she replied, "I'm getting ready to find out!"  Curious about it myself, and after the barista explained what it was, I ordered one as well, with a shot of toffee nut flavoring.  It was pretty delicious; it wasn't too sweet and wasn't at all bitter.

Once home I put them to sleep (after feeding poor Ollie), took a shower, dried my hair and played with my new curling wand.  I need a little practice, but I think it's going to work out!  And I only burned myself once.  That sucker gets HOT!

I made chicken soup with homemade noodles and invited Ed's brother for dinner... and I overflowed the stupid pot and lost like a quarter of the broth.  Darnit.

Despite all this, I consider today a success.