Jan 30, 2011

toddler battles

We are now in full-on toddler battle mode.  In fact, we had our first public meltdown Friday night.  Cue parental embarrassment and feelings of incompetence.  I'm just so glad we've now been initiated into THAT club.

All joking aside, it could have been a lot worse.  We went out to eat Friday night at a pretty family friendly place.  Thank goodness it was loud inside.  We have this Fisher Price travel highchair that was passed down to us from a wise mommy-friend, and it straps into a regular chair and has a tray attached.  The tray saves us from octopus arms and spilled drinks most of the time.  We decided to try out the restaurant highchair because we were too lazy to get ours out of car, and of course, the highchair our waitress brought us had a broken strap.  (Those of you with toddlers understand that they are escape artists as well as octopi and must be strapped down at all times.)  Silly mommy and daddy didn't notice the broken strap until the sweet toddler was already in the chair, so we had to take her out and switch the highchairs.  No big deal, I thought.  Cara bounced happily on my lap and chattered away.

It was when I tried to put her into the new highchair that she transformed into a toddler-at-war.  She was so mad that she did that crying-red-face-not-breathing thing until she threw up all over herself.  We stared in shock, and then desperately tried to clean her up and become invisible.  Really, Cara?  Was that absolutely necessary?

I put Cara back in my lap and she returned to her former sweetness, and I have admit that I was a little confused.  Why the sudden aversion to the highchair?  She sat in my lap for a few minutes and then in her daddy's lap, and then we tried the highchair again.  Bad, bad idea.  That highchair must have been made of scorching hot coals or flesh-searing acid.  We let her sit there wailing for a minute or two. 

The looks people throw you while you have a screaming child are nothing short of laserbeams.  They may as well say out loud what a horrible, mean parent you are.  Some of them say that you have a spoiled brat of a child, while others smirk and are grateful that it's you and not them.  Very few of these looks offer any pity or understanding.  Jerks.

Anyway, I decided that Cara and I should probably walk outside so that she could get her emotions under control.  Once she stopped crying, we had a very serious conversation:

ME:  Do you want to eat your chicken and fries?

CARA:  (sniff, sniff)  Okay.

ME:  Then you have to sit in your highchair.

CARA:  (wailing) Noooooo!

We went through this exact conversation five times.  On the fifth time, we had a breakthrough:

ME:  Do you want to eat your chicken and fries?

CARA:  (sniff) Okay.

ME:  Then you have to sit in your highchair.

CARA:  (pause, sniff, lip tremble, pause)  Okay.

What???  Did I really just reason with my almost 19-month-old?  Well, yes, actually, I did because I took her back in the restaurant and put her in the highchair.  She poked that bottom lip out, but did not protest.  And she ate her chicken and fries, and mommy and daddy sighed in relief and exhaustion.

Jan 23, 2011

a project reclaimed

The tea party shirt is no longer abandoned!  That fabric was too cute for me to allow it to hide in my scrap drawer. 

(In case you missed it, I tried this tutorial a weekend or two ago and failed quite miserably.  My shirt was way too small, and I had all kinds of craziness going on in the sleeves.  The whole thing was just jacked up.)

  I drew my original pattern a little on the small side, and then I followed the exact directions to attach the sleeves.  This is where I should have known better; I can never follow pattern directions exactly (or anyone's directions for that matter) and get the right outcome.  It all has to make sense in my head first, and the directions didn't make sense in my head.  The tutorial says to attach the sleeve at the shoulder and then sew the sleeve seam and the side seam all together, sort of as one seam.  I probably made it more complicated, but I sewed the sleeve seam, turned the shirt inside out and put the sleeve inside the shirt right sides together and then attached the sleeve to the shirt.  Does that make any sense at all?  Let's just move on to the pictures, shall we?

I debated putting the polka dot trim along the bottom hem too...

 and I used one of those adorable buttons for a matching hairbow.

Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE ruffles?  And tea parties?

Jan 19, 2011

I hope I don't jinx myself...

I can't believe I am going to put this in writing.  I will probably regret it as soon as I type it...you know how that goes...but here it is:  I am not tired anymore!

And it only took 18 months.

When Cara was just a teeny, tiny newborn, I thought I would never get used to the fatigue.  I missed my sleep more than just about anything else.  Cara wasn't a particularly good napper (as in she didn't nap during the day until she started daycare at four months), but she has always been a pretty good nighttime sleeper.  I nursed for about 8 months, and I know she was still waking up to eat twice at night when I went back to work 9 weeks postpartum.  I am also fairly certain that she was still occasionally waking up to nurse at night at 6 months.  And this is normal for a baby.  She's always been really good about bedtime.  Even now going on 19 months, she's in bed by 7:30 almost every night, and that means Mommy and Daddy get to hang out.  Yay!  She gets up pretty early, but I am always up earlier than she is during the workweek. 

I wondered if my new sense of restedness (did I make up that word?) was due to all the days off I have had recently.  I had 2 weeks off for Christmas and then 3 days off for snow, so we've been home a good bit.  But I remember being absolutely exhausted when I was home for maternity leave, so I'm not sure it's really the "at home" part.  I fully expect my job to leave me tired at times.  It comes with the territory, but it's not the same constant sleep-deprived feeling that comes with a new baby.  Maybe I have finally gotten my head wrapped around the role of Mommy.

Even better than the feeling of restedness is that I am really, truly back to my prepregnancy size.  Really.  I swear.  I hit up some after Christmas sales with my shopping buddy Jillian, and I kept picking up the size 4 pants, and when I tried them on, I remembered that I was shopping for new pants because ALL OF MY PANTS WERE TOO BIG.  Putting those 2s back on was sweet.  I thought I would never get back there, especially when the numbers on the scale were at prepregnancy levels.  I haven't lost any pounds since the summer, but I think my hips just returned to their previous positions.  THANKYOUSOMUCHFORGOINGBACK! 

All the pregnancy books say it takes a year to feel like a human again, but take heart!  18 months later, and I'm *almost* as good as new!

Jan 16, 2011

using laundry to change my heart

I hate folding laundry.  Most of the time, our clean laundry hangs out in a basket, and our dirty laundry hangs out on the floor.  Storing clean laundry in a basket is really not the best idea though; the clothes get wrinkled and bunchy, and then you have to iron them before you can wear them, and you can never find the shirt you were looking for...you get the point.

I don't know why I dislike putting away the laundry so much.  It looks like a huge, time-consuming mountain, but I know that mornings run smoother at my house when everyone knows where their clothes are.  The worst is when Cara's clothes are still in a basket.  Changing and dressing a wild toddler is so much easier when an outfit is easily accessible.

My resolution for 2011 is to focus more on my home, and the laundry is part of my home.  In order for me to get into the habit of consistently putting the laundry away, I'm going to have to change my attitude towards it.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offereing and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:1-2

How would Jesus handle the laundry?  I think Jesus would view putting away the laundry as being a good steward of the things God has blessed us with, taking care of what we have so that we will continue to have it.  Jesus would see laundry as a way to bring glory to God.  And that's what I want to do.

This seems like a baby step, but really, fighting against my selfish human nature is not at all easy.  I don't want to fold laundry, but I do want to bring glory to my Creator.  I have to stop placing myself above God. 

So, my prayer is that I can take me out of my heart while I fold laundry and use those moments to talk with God or maybe just listen for Him.  Whatever it is, I want to glorify God in a simple, everyday task and make my home a happier, calmer place.

Jan 15, 2011

abandoned projects

I hate not finishing something that I start.  I hate failing, but I really hate feeling like my best isn't good enough.  But, I am willing to learn!  Today has been a day of abandoned projects. 

#1:  Cara's lunch

I am fighting a losing battle here.  The only thing my child wants to eat right now is applesauce.  I couldn't even convince her to eat the organic gummy bunnies.  I just keep telling myself that she will eat when she gets hungry, and I'm trying not to make a big deal out of it, but it makes me want to pull my hair out.  I keep reading that this is common toddler behavior; I get it.  I just don't like it.

#2:  Tea Party Shirt

I was really excited about this shirt.  I love the whimsical fabric, I'm sucker for a ruffle, and I have some super cute buttons that were supposed to go on the placket.  The tutorial for this shirt is really good, but I am still a beginner, especially when it comes to sewing without a pattern.  My problems started with the sleeves and kept on going; sleeves always give me a hard time.  I think I have come up with a different way to attach the sleeves, so this project may not be abandoned forever.

Jan 11, 2011

snow day #2

Well, look at that.  I managed to get dressed today.
Jessica: 1  Snow day: 0

Here we are, stuck at home again.  It wouldn't be so bad except that I would really like to take Cara to the doctor.  Her eye is a little red and drippy, but her doctor's office is closed today.  She's been really congested, and it always manages to creep into her eyes or ears.  Last Sunday on the way to church, I said out loud that Cara had not been sick in need of meds in at least 7 months, since she had that crazy rash.  Way to jinx it mom...

Cara didn't really sleep well last night.  She kept waking up and whining, so at midnight I was rocking her against my chest so that she could breathe a little easier.  There in the dark with my cheek pressed to her forehead (the most scientific way to check for a fever, obviously), I thought of all the hours of sleep I had missed since Cara was born.  How "sleeping in" now means until 8 and only when my hubby gets up with her at 6:30 or 7, how many times I have rocked her back to sleep in the middle of the night.  When Cara was only a few months old, I wondered if I would ever feel rested again.  But, I do.  I don't miss those hours of sleep one bit these days.  And I would never trade those precious minutes of rocking my baby to sleep.  I love them, I love her so much that it's painful sometimes.  My heart aches because she's growing up.  I guess she can't be a baby forever, but she can be my baby forever.

(I put my hubby to work on the blog design last night.  What do you think?  Opinions? Suggestions?)

Jan 10, 2011

snow day

I am a working mom.  That is my reality right now for a number of reasons, but I will admit that there are times when I am a wee bit jealous of those stay-at-home moms.  The ones with their etsy stores.  The ones who get to spend lots of quality time with their little ones doing things like taking naps together on the couch but also have a hobby that brings them some fulfillment outside of mothering. 

However, I think it would be dangerous for me to stay at home with Cara full time though.  Granted, the laundry would be done, we wouldn't be paying for a maid twice a month, and Cara would have an entirely handmade wardrobe, but a few very bad things are likely to occur:

1.  I would gain 50 pounds.  At work, I can't just open the fridge and grab something.  I am busy, busy, busy, and food is not readily available.  At home, it's another story.  One that would have a very fat ending.

2.  I would never get dressed.  I suspect that I will still be in my pajamas when PJ gets home from work tonight.  In fact, I will probably take a shower tonight and put on more pajamas.  And if I am still snowed in tomorrow, it will probably be the same thing all over again.

3.  I would be crazy.  Because I cannot read "Elmo's 12 Days of Christmas" even one more time.

Jan 7, 2011

the crazy mom post

I have been a little concerned about my little one this week.  She has been refusing to eat dinner.  Instead of eating it, she has been wearing it.  So far, I have believed that children eat when they are hungry and don't eat when they aren't.  I have not offered Cara a completely separate meal from what we are eating most of the time.  I sort of had this idea that she might not be a picky eater if she was offered a variety of flavors early on.  Is this really that naive?  I figured that since Cara was back at school this week after Christmas break, she was filling up there and just not hungry.  We're not big snackers, so maybe she's getting a few more snacks at school.  I mean, she couldn't possibly turn down spinach and mushroom stuffed chicken, quinoa with tomatoes and ricotta, and MACARONI AND CHEESE and peas with bacon unless she was truly not hungry, right??  RIGHT??

So I let it go.  I'm not one to force an issue like this.  She's still got those chubby little cheeks and a little roll left on her thighs; she's not starving. 

And then tonight, we cheated and had pizza for dinner.  Of course, Cara ate her pizza, two bowls of applesauce, and then asked for more pizza.  And I entertained the idea that maybe she just likes kid food better than my food.  Boo...

Jan 4, 2011


I forgot my to-go cup of coffee this morning; therefore, the rest of my day was ridiculous.

That's awesome logic, isn't it...

I hate it when I walk out of the door without my coffee.  I have made no secret of my caffeine addiction or my aversion to mornings (see here), so forgetting my extra fix becomes a tragedy.  I spent all day, not just the morning hours but all freaking day,  lost in a fog or sitting on a cloud or wrapped in plastic wrap or something.  I cannot concentrate on anything.  Which makes for a frustrating, unproductive day.  I can't remember things, so I repeat myself, and I need questions rephrased, but I forget to answer them, but I will find the answer, and then my mind wanders, and I have to google that, so I click on that link, and then, oh yeah, I was supposed to be grading vocabulary quizzes.

I believe a shortage of caffeine causes ADD, no?

Jan 1, 2011

new year, new fun, new outlook

Happy 2011!

We might have been a couple of boring old folks hanging out at home for New Year's Eve, but we did everything you are supposed to do to celebrate the New Year.  We sipped a little champagne, brought in the New Year with a bang (wink, wink), and ate for luck and money.

I am beaming with pride because none of this came out of a can or box.
Cara had a special New Year's dress:
The fabric reminds me a little of fireworks.

And she can dance in it.
*Side note:  I used this pattern for the dress, which was super easy.  I made Cara a longer one to wear with leggings too. 

end side note*
In true New Year's fashion, I have given a lot of thought to my resolution for 2011.  Do I make one big resolution, or should I make more than one?  Should I just steal these from my friend Kimberly?  I love her goals; we're thinking a lot of the same things.  Maybe PJ and I should make one together, except that he said his resolution was to become even more of a man than he already is, which sort of excludes me...

In all seriousness, my resolution is to work more on my home and less on my work.  Does that make any sense?  I feel like I am always struggling with balancing my work and my home, and this year, I want to make a conscious effort to focus more on home.  On my family.  On my food.  On my sewing.  On creating an environment in my home that makes us all want to be here.  On leaving work at work.

What's your resolution?
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