Sleepless in Chicago

Thursday, March 31, 2011

That picture pretty much sums up how I feel right now.

Traveling with an infant sucks. Its an entirely different kind of suck that puts all other suck in my life to shame.

I decided to take Henry to Chicago to visit his grandparents. Fun, right? Wrong.

Tom couldn't take off as many days of work as I want to go so I booked a flight to travel alone and then Tom would come for the weekend. Sounded alright to me.

Everything was fine until halfway through the flight when Henry decided he no longer wanted to be imprisoned in his baby bjorn and started whining. I took him out and held him only to have him squirm and scream until I managed to blindly find one of his pacifiers and shove it into his mouth. He relaxed until the decent into Chicago when he screamed bloody murder (likely because he was uncomfortable with the pressure change) and noticeably frightened the guy sitting next to us.

After surviving the trauma of the flight, I was looking forward to Henry sleeping so I could get some good sleep too.

Not so fast, Mrs. Optimisticpants.

My parents are hoarders. Ok, not like "Horders," the TV show hoarders, but getting close. The only place for the two of us to sleep is in my childhood bedroom which they have since crammed full of yard sale finds and baby crap. Henry's Pack N Play is about 2.5 feet away from my twin bed, and those 2.5 feet are two and a half feet of old floorboards that squeak mercilessly.

Sleep was not to be had for either of us. Dad wasn't around to give Henry his midnight feeding, and between the squeaky floorboards and my mommy sense (much like spidy sense) waking me up every time Henry so much as moved a finger, sleep was a far off distant memory.

Here's to counting the hours before Tom arrives and I can take a 10 hour nap.

Mom Dreams

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I always knew that having a baby meant losing out on sleep. I knew it meant late nights and early mornings and waking up in between. I did not, however, account for the fact that the little shut eye I do get would be sabotaged by mom dreams.

Last night I had my first full on, sit-up-straight-in-bed, hyperventilating mom dream. I had a dream that Henry had been kidnapped after we had left him in a hospital nursery while we attended a parenting group. In the dream we looked for him for years and finally he had been found and no one bothered to tell us. Completely realistic. Complete nightmare.

Not fair. Not fair. Not fair. My nightmares use to consist of bad hangovers, fighting with friends, or Tom leaving the toilet seat up. Why oh why must baby brain take over?

Maybe I'll start having a glass of wine before bed, because I cannot stand the thought that my only moments away from baby and baby related things are now going to be filled with babymares.

Baby Giggles

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ok. Let me tell you. If you aren't a mom or you are a mom but your baby doesn't giggle yet, baby giggles are the single greatest thing about having a baby. The first time you hear your baby giggle you will be addicted to his giggles. Baby giggles are like crack. You will stop at nothing to get some!

Now getting your baby to giggle, that's a whole other story.

I was the kid in choir that refused to try out for any solos because I was afraid of how I would sound in front of other people. I was so scared of being off pitch or making a strange noise while singing, that throughout my entire 6 year choir career, I never once sang a solo or even a duet. I may have been the only kid involved in 2 different choirs that refused to sing alone.

What the hec does this have to do with baby giggles? Well, recently I have found myself making all kinds of foreign noises trying to get Henry to giggle. I speak in tones that are probably illegal in certain countries, I make up words, and I sing him songs that I was sure I'd brain-dumped at the age of 7.

I am consistently and willingly embarrassing myself in front of friends in family in order to prove that our darling son does giggle. At mommy group yesterday, I found myself talking a non-existent language to Henry in order to win him the award of first giggler in the group. I'm not sure if the stares I received were anticipation for his giggle or pure disgust at the noises coming out of my mouth.

He didn't giggle for them much like I wouldn't sing a solo for anyone. Guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

YouTube Video

Wonders of Fatherhood

Monday, March 28, 2011

Raising a baby full time is hard! I don't mean that I am spending 40 hours a week with Hen though I wish I could (pesky job thing gets in the way). Steph does, and far more than 40 hours a week, and I love her all the more for it). So when I come home he takes a lot of time interaction that I could be spending on work, other business, socializing. Yet, as important as some of that is and as much as I miss some of it, spending time with my little guy is a true gift I get to receive everyday.

I like to think of myself as a little unusual when it comes to my family life and advice in that I do take a lot of the tidbits other parents have given me, or at least listen and think about taking the tips. In this case I have been given advice I exercise daily ( by my dad ) and that is spend every moment you can with your kids and cherish it greatly because it goes by fast! It does go by fast, so so so so fast it makes my head spin. Henry is 17 weeks tonight and it feels like ages ago and minutes ago all at the same time, since he blessed us (even though there was a little drama with his entry into the world).

Point is, highlight of my day is coming home, holding him, talking to him, getting him to smile, and sometimes plopping him down in the oversized arm chair next to daddy while I unwind. (I've noticed he is happy to be anywhere so long as he can see the action) So, relish in the times, enjoy the good parts, forget the bad outside the usual baby meltdowns, and enjoy the ride because before I know it ill be busting him for stealing my beers and trying to sneak sketchy ladies in the basement!

Yummy Mummy - Easy Cake Pops

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In true domesticated, stay-at-home mom fashion, I like to bake. So here is my most recent endeavor: cake pops.

Easy Cake Pops Recipe:

1 box 18.25oz any type of cake
1 can frosting or you can make your own:

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 stick butter softened
2 cups powered sugar
1 8oz package of cream cheese softened

mix all ingredients together until creamy

2 8oz packages Bakers semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
Lollipop Sticks

Bake cake according to directions on box. Let cool completely. Crumble cake into large mixing bowl. Add frosting in stages. Add half the jar or half the amount of homemade frosting a mix into crumbled cake. I find it to be easiest to mix with your hands, but it is super messy.

Lay wax paper down on a cookie sheet and roll cake and frosting mixture into 1 inch balls. Warning: this will take a while so be sure to allot a good chunk of time! Put lollipop sticks into center if each ball Now put balls into fridge for a couple hours. You can speed this process up by putting the balls into the freezer, just be sure to keep checking on them. You want them to be solid enough to dip into the chocolate but definitely not frozen.

After balls are cooled, dip each ball into melted chocolate, and if you have some styrofoam handy, place each stick into the styrofoam so the balls are standing up.

Let cool and voila!

Getting Enough Sleep???

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Yes Actually! so thanks for reminding me why I don't like you in the first place. Admittedly I have a hot fiery side that can go off like a rocket if someone says the wrong thing ( I work very hard to hide this from the ones I love). However, since college I think I've matured enough to take in an antagonist's words, chew them up, swallow them, and digest them to a dark place therefore quickly getting over my urge to go postal on co-workers. This works well in refined society as I wouldn't do well in jail. I do understand as I am one of the first in my office ( of largely under 30 folks ) with a kid at home, and the people who used to talk to me about wild friday nights, my hobbies, and weekend plans, now have the sad lack of creativity to ask me about anything other than how I am sleeping. Honestly I don't care what you ask me if I think you actually care about the quality of my sleep but sometimes I spot a sadistic glint in someone's eyes where I know they secretly wish and expect me to breakdown in tears and tell them how aweful it is. Well A) its not bad like everyone tells you it will be ( at least in our case with Henry after week 6) and B) I have a glint in my eye that makes me want to karate chop your sugary latte into your too tight pastel dress shirt.

Look, I get it. You don't have kids. I also get how sad it is that you can't seem to look at me like the same guy I was 6 months ago....newsflash, I am still the same guy just with differerent priorities. How about next time you ask to see pictures of the little tyke, or just ask me about weekend plans because Steph and I do a ton of fun stuff on the weekends. Stuff I wish I would have done before and after Hen came along a big luxury is he does usually get us awake before 8am so instead of sleeping till 1pm we now get out and enjoy daylight on the weekends. Something I rarely did before. I do wish he would let us get till 9am once ot twice though....

Ask me how I am sleeping again and see what happens!
( Advice : It is easy to rage but I can speak from expereince, a great stress release is martial arts. Not just for Dads but Moms too. I used to play rugby but for the time being I am scared about getting maimed and leaving Steph with a fatherless boy. If you can't play a contact sport there is no better way to let loose than organized and relatively safe fighting. Why not learn some self defense, get a workout, and learn some self confidence if you are lacking in that arena? I just know there will be a day when I will have to teach Hen how to protect himself like my dad did with me and I am really looking forward to getting back into it soon, maybe this coming fall. I would even love to turn it into a father son activity as long as he doesen't try to go Luke Skywalker on me and try to take me down when I ground him for texting too much or something )

Alcoholic Baby?

We're fairly confident Henry will be talking by 6 months. Last week he even said his first word, "alcohol." No joke. He talks over us, during conversations, and when he should be sleeping. See Henry talking here:


Mom: Welcome to MomDonalds can I take your order please?
Baby: Boobs!
Mom: Would you like the supersized?
Baby: Extra supersized!!

The fact that babies have to eat almost every 3 hours is probably the worst thing about being a mom. I'm not sure about every other mom out there, but I think breastfeeing and pumping are the pits.

Now, I have to say, I wanted to breastfeed because I knew the benefits it would have on the baby. Something about the promise of a super high IQ and less likelihood of becoming a serial killer, etc, etc. So obviously, breastfeeding was the right choice for us, but boy, no one told me what it would be like. No one said, "Oh, by the way Stephanie, breastfeeding for the first week is going to feel like someone attached jumper cables to your nipples and is repeatedly trying to shock you!" No. Nothing. A heads up would have been nice. Instead, we suffered through the first week and it got better.

Well. Kinda. It got better until I started feeling like a cow. Feeding every 2.5 hours and then pumping afterward because everyone warned me I had to build up a "supply." (Funny how they warned me to build a supply but not about jumper cable nipples) A "supply," I've come to find out, is bullshit. Unless you plan on going back to work 2 weeks after your baby is born, or you plan on going on vacation and leaving your baby at home right after giving birth (I wish), then screw the supply. Turns out, breast milk only last 3 months in the freezer and chances are the compilation of breast milk you pump at 3 weeks is different than what your baby needs at 2 months. Woof. So I stopped pumping as often and things were easier.

No they weren't. Then because of all of the pumping and feeding I'd been doing and stopping pumping, my supply dropped. Not just dropped like a little bit. We're talking dropped like I was no longer making a enough to feed the bean.

Needless to say, after making it a little over 4 months, I think I'm ready to stop this rodeo that is breastfeeding. Moms, don't be intimidated by those other moms that tell you they love breastfeeding because of the bonding and cuddling time with their baby. Those moms are crazy. Breastfeeding sucks.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Well it finally happened. Everyone said this day would come but somehow I didn't believe it. I never ACTUALLY thought it would happen to me, but alas...

Henry sh*t in his own hair

The end.

Time Management

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Before Hen came along free time was the norm and abundant as opposed to a luxury. Leave for work whenever I wanted, come home from work whenever I wanted, drinks after work? No problem. Now its more of timing when I leave and come home. Leave for work after I can maybe help Steph get a few extra winks while I soothe Hen back to sleep, come home so I can spend time with them both before he goes to bed, drinks require 2 weeks of prep before I can commit to tacking an extra hour onto my day. That is where the time management comes in and what people with out kids cannont understand. Im a big believer in that a lot of the sucess I have had in friendships and my professional life is from my networking skills and a lot of that is still super important to staying relevant in today's world, but my priorities are obviously ( and my heart too ) are with the family, so drinks arent impossible, they just require the amount of preparation similar to the Normany landing. Also, asking Steph to spend another hour after 8 hours straight with an infant is a major gift to me. What makes this post pertinent is that when I can eek out the time to grab a beer or coffee right after work and just one! is when the people I am meeting dont respect my time like I need them too. Before I could wait you out, talk to the bartender, catch up on emails. Now I get antsy watching the clock so I can get home in time for dinner and bath time. I think this is part of a bigger issue of people these days not respecting time in general, cell phones certainly do not help as people will just send a text three minutes after you were supposed to meet and tell you they are just leaving wherever they are but always seems to equal 30 minutes..... What did people do 20 years ago???? Point is, maybe all people could learn from those of us with kids and show up when you say you will, plan the meet ups, and stick to them. I guarantee effective time management that respects others will get you further in life....and hey....I was single ( and childless ) relatively recently and I know that half the time I was late was because I was taking my sweet time. So, think of your friends with kids....and show up when you say you will because when you don't resepct that you hurt the friendship, relationship, opportunity whatever is it and you are reducing the rare free time we have to nothing. We could have been playing with the little guy who definitely wants to see us!

I wish..

There was an off button for baby hands.

To prevent this...

Yes, our son is wearing a skeleton onesie.

Multiple kids

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where, when, how, and why do people have multiple children? I went to mommy workout class this morning ( exercising at the mall while the baby is in the stroller ) and these two women were talking about how crazy life is with their two and three children. Why do people do it?

My theory? They say, "Screw it we can't just have one, so let's have another and get it over with." Am I right?

I HATED being pregnant and could never imagine going through THAT again. I had it easy, too. I didn't work for most of my pregnancy. I didn't have any morning sickness and I gained only 17 pounds. BUT not being
able to drink beer, eat sushi, and run after I was about 20 weeks was the equivalent of death for me. Not to mention the hormones. Don't even get me started on the hormones. Tom had to put up with a real circus some days.

Then, the first 6 weeks infancy? Why ever do that again!? Up all night, up all day, feeling like a cow, and BREAST PUMPS?! Ugh. Why?

4 months out I'm still baffled as to why people choose to have another or even 3 or more? Was one not expensive enough? Did he not take enough of your time and energy? Oh I get it...maybe you didn't get peed on enough?

Don't get me wrong. The babe is the best and most cutesy thing ever..see...

Told ya. But why have more?

Henrys sibling will be a turtle.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Scrumptious Sunday

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Another first day of the week, another recipe. This delicious dish was born out of our love of Chicago style Italian beef. See, I grew up near the city and ever since the first time I took Tom back with me to meet my parents and introduced him to Italian beef and deep dish pizza, he's been coming up with any excuse to get back there just for the food. However, considering a plane ticket costs approximately two hundred and fifty big ones, Tom decided he was going to take on making homemade Italian beef to save us a few bucks. At first, I laughed in him face. I grew up on Italian beef. Teddy Red Hots was 5 blocks away from my house and Portillos wasn't too far either. I wasn't going to be impressed by my fiancées first attempt at Italian beef. No way. No how.

Well I stand corrected. While his beef isn't Teddy's, it certainly satisfies my cravings and has decreased our amount of time in TSA airport security lines.

Ok enough story time, more recipe. Without further ado:

Chicago-style Italian Beef

-Pre sliced frozen steak (similar to steak-eze) - we use 3 patties for the two of us
-one small onion
-3 tablespoons jarred Italian cherry peppers - finely chopped
-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
-2 tablespoons minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
-splash of additional oregano

Cook onions until translucent. Add steak patties and seasonings. Add garlic and peppers once meat starts to brown. Cook until meat is cooked through. You may need to drain the meat if it's looking liquidy.

Should look something like this:

Oh, wait. That's our cooking partner ;). But, seriously like this:

Serve on sandwich rolls:

Stuff face.

Note: this is a quick and cheap alternative to slow cooking a roast all day. My mom makes a killer Italian beef, but Tom and I are very much 'want it now' types and with a baby in the house it's hard to be cooking all day.

Enjoy! And remember, always clean as you go!

St. Patricks Day

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh how I miss you. As a parent, the joy of the greatest drinking holiday in the world is pretty much lost. A year ago Steph and I were drinking free jameson shots, covered in free guiness swag, and bickering over whose party to go to next. Pretty much woke up in a haze in Steph's bed?? and I have been looking at the pictures ever since in joy, including the video of Steph karate chopping my cell phone right out of my hands. Watch...

This year I ignored texts from friends who hit the bar at 1 pm from some of my favorite spots forgetting temptation and knowing indulging in that kind of activity isn't the right thing for now. Regardless, I smiled at all the great memories and headed home to the metro where I crammed myself into the yellow line train to hell. I have to say though, Steph met me at the metro stop near home with Henry in a sling, his strawberry hair exposed ( finally warm out ) in his little green bear suit and it all melted least until I had 3 heavy belgian beers after he went man down. Then the nostalgia floods back. Like most holidays, going through it with a kid puts a WHOLE new perspective on the experience but maybe when the holiday hits a weekend I can attach him to one of those kiddy harnesses and take him with me to the bar as daddy takes downs a few guinesses.

Mommy Group

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yesterday and Today I went to Mommy Group. Mommy group on Mondays is sitting around chatting, and on Tuesdays we go walking at the mall.

Let me tell you. I never pinned myself as a mommy group person. I kinda thought baby and I would hang out all day together. We would watch Oprah, I'd strap him to my chest and do housework, we'd go to the grocery store and plan delicious meals.


Baby wants to cry though Oprah, fall asleep as soon as I strap him to me (which, if he's been sleeping half the day, will only cause him to stay up later), and even if we do make it to the grocery store, I can't put baby down for more than 10 minutes to make dinner. 

At 10 weeks old, baby and I were in TJMaxx when I ran into a woman who changed mine and baby's worlds. She invited us to mommy group.

Mommy group is great because we can chat about all of the things that our partners and non-kiddo friends don't want to hear about. We can chat about breast pumps, nipple shields, and epidurals.

I never thought I would be thrilled by a discussion about swaddling, but basically anything that promises at least 5 minutes of extra shut-eye is a holy topic.

Solid Sunday

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sundays in our house are almost always exciting. Sundays mean coupons for mom, a few beers for dad, coupious amounts of two parent attention for baby, and checking things off our to-do list.

This Sunday involved all of these things, plus one more! We finally tackled the infusion project we've been talking about for some time. Infusions. Yes. Fruit in Vodka. Yummm. Tom has had a recent obsession with stopper bottles, so while on an adventure to Marshalls we spotted one for $3, we knew our time had come. To make this deal even sweeter, we already had a carton of strawberries in the fridge and some Absolut Vodka chilling in the freezer. I had picked up the strawberries at the international market for $.99 a carton, (yes, really, $.99!!!!) and the vodka was leftover from a bloody mary brunch we held about a month ago. Enter deliciousness:

Our highly scientific...

Strawberry Infused Vodka Recipe:
1 liter (approx) bottle
1 carton strawberries (preferably overly ripe/couldgobadanydaynow ripe)
Enough Vodka to cover the strawberries
Splash of white wine

Here are the fruits (literally tehe) of our labor!

Knowing Tom, he will think of about 10 other ways to improve on this recipe, so I will keep you updated as we make changes to improve yumminess.

Happy (kinda) Monday