Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day of Doom

Here it is. What I have officially termed "The Day of Doom". For those of you who have missed it, I'm getting a root canal and tooth implant today. I'm absolutely terrified.

I woke up this morning thinking about if I could just fix my dental issue by super gluing a dry piece of white play-doh where my tooth broke.

I also had a dream this week where they had given me laughing gas, and as the dentist attempted to start working on my tooth, I giggled and smacked his hands away. Even my sub-conscious is trying to get out of this situation.

In addition, it has occurred to me how unjust it is that I'm spending my baby free time being tortured. Can't they give me a mild sedative and prop my mouth open so I can at least take a nap? Or, I wonder if I could sneak into one of their other exam rooms and take a nap post-procedure. I can't really remember if I told my friend how long this whole thing was going to take.

SIGH.

Rationally, I know there is no way around this. And, I'm tired of trying to not smile, laugh, or yawn in an effort for people to not see my dental embarrassment. So, in six hours, I will bravely enter that office, ipod in hand, trembling, sweating and attempting not to cry. Until then, it is a morning of running, cleaning, and taking my mind off all this. I pondered whiskey shots being part of these plans, but 8:00 a.m. seems too early for an appointment with Dr. Jack.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What a Day!

It's been one of those days in the Bryant household. One where I think 'OMG this baby is SO annoying, why did I want to be a mommy again?!?' and then ends in 'I am an awful parent, Mommy is SO sorry, Amelia!' 

Why, you ask? Well, the morning began with a trip to her pediatrician to check out her increasingly red and itchy spot on her leg. As I guiltily admitted to the nurse practitioner that the spot appeared, oh, I don't know, almost a month ago and I'm just now bringing her in because it didn't seem to bother her, I also informed her that Amelia seems mildly constipated. I inquired about maybe giving her some prune juice to help rectify the situation (Ha! Rectify! I told you, it's been one of those days.) The NP looked at me, a little concerned and said "Maybe you should try a glycerin suppository. If she really is constipated, it's probably causing some pain or discomfort. Prune juice will take some time to go through her system".

Oh, yes. Just what I want to do. Stick something up my child's butt. 

We left the office with a list of creams and suppositories for her itchy leg and clogged up butt. Halfway to the store, Amelia had fallen asleep, and I certainly wasn't going to wake her before my lunch date with a friend, so I decided to wait until the afternoon.

This was a MISTAKE.

Lunch was nice, with Miss Wiggle Worm shoving her hands in my sandwich and attempting to spill glasses of ice water all over. She was active, but not fussy. We came home, she took a short nap. The day quickly went downhill after that. She cried, she screamed, I texted my husband, begging him to let me mow tonight PLEASE, PLEASE, anything for a break from this child!!! The problem here being that I still had to go to the store. With a screaming child.

I put her up in her crib for a few minutes, so I could go downstairs, cry, brush my hair, and work up my determination to put her in her car seat, regardless of her tears and screaming. Go to Meijer, find the cortizone cream for her eczema, go to the pharmacist's counter to ask about pediatric glycerin suppositories.

"I'm sorry. We don't carry those. Funny, you're the third person to ask today!"

I thought I was going to punch her in the face.

I threw the cortizone cream out of the cart as I stomped down the aisles and out the door. Off to Kroger with an increasingly pissed off child. Luckily they had what we needed, I kept Amelia amused by letting her chew on the box of suppositories and a bag of candy, and bought the rest of my groceries. Went home, completed the task at hand (I won't provide details, let's just say we both handled it very well), and that did the trick. The nurse said Amelia was about 18 pounds, I'm pretty sure that post poop, she is 17.5 lbs. More importantly, she is a happy girl. She promptly nursed, and  took a short evening nap. At just that moment, Jon came in and said "Are you gonna mow, or what?"

No, thanks. I have some pretzel M&M's and a bottle of wine that are calling my name.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

CHOMP

Lately, things in the world of parenthood have been very up and down. As Amelia nears nine months, she is desperately attempting to make her little body go. She rocks back and forth on her tummy grunting and whining. She pulls herself up using my arms and shoulders as if I'm her personal jungle gym, often until 10:30 at night when I beg her please, please just go to sleep, doesn't bedtime sound fun? For right now, gone are the days where I can get her to bed by 8:30 or 9:00 and have a couple of hours to myself. But on the other hand she is currently taking longer naps during the day and even letting me lay her down in the crib for them. It never ceases to amaze me how I will think I know my daughter and her patterns and then, in a blink of an eye, she changes everything on me.

Little Miss Vampire Tooth
In the midst of juggling all these changes, Amelia has also gotten her first tooth. It's still just a nub on the bottom of her mouth, but definitely there, hard and sharp. Generally, as a breastfeeding mom, I've been terrified of this moment. I've done the research and I know that they are supposed to still be able to nurse without doing any permanent damage to mommy's nipples. Occasionally, they may bite down while teething or simply to see what will happen, but they should learn pretty quickly not to bite. I desperately hoped that Amelia would love breastfeeding so much that she would not hurt mommy.

I was WRONG.

It happened in the middle of the night. I anticipated rolling over to feed her and we'd both drift back off to sleepy land as she nursed. Instead, she CHOMPED DOWN, leaving me yelping with pain. Stunned, but thinking it was a fluke, we fell back to sleep until she woke again an hour later. Surely she is hungry now. I offered her the other side as I was pretty sure my right nipple was bleeding.

CHOMP.

Oh, and I should mention here that we aren't talking a bite like you bite a cookie and then cease. No, we are talking let's bite down on Mommy's nipple like it is a tough piece of meat and not let go. So, this forced me to tear myself away from her knife-like little tooth.

First I was stunned all over again. Then I became angry. Now, many of you are saying "Oh, Amanda, she's just a BABY, you can't get MAD at her." Well, first of all, being bitten at 2 a.m. does not lead to a lot of rationality. And second, OMG the searing pain. The rest of the night was a lot of tossing and turning, waking up every hour. I'm not sure if it was because I was so upset or because she was restless, but the dawn definitely brought a bad morning. Tired, frustrated, and anxious about having to let her nurse for her breakfast, I had to cry before before I could change her diaper when she woke.

And then I cried in the afternoon. And again before bed last night.

I could get all psychologically deep about why this upset me so much, but that's no fun. Let's discuss instead how I plan on holding this and her epidural free birth over her head for the rest of her life. "What, Amelia? You want to move across country to go to college? Did I ever tell you how much pain you leaving my womb caused me? And that I sacrificed my comfort because I was concerned about your ability to successfully breastfeed? AND that when you got your first tooth you attempted to bite both my nipples off?!? You change your mind, you say? You'll go to BGSU? Well, if you think that's what's best..."

Or let's talk about what God was thinking when he decided that women should provide nourishment to their babies through their breasts in the first place. Now, sans teeth, I have no objection to this. But babies get their teeth anywhere from 3 months of age to a year. For the determined woman who is hoping for no formula feeding AND has a baby who gets teeth at 3 months, we are talking 9 months of at-risk nipples. No good. My suggestion would have been lactating fingers. Much less delicate.

It's been about 36 hours since the traumatic event, and so far, so good. No more biting, although I am still tensing up each time she latches on. I'm spending my mental energy praying that she will not get her top 2 teeth in at least until November.

In the meantime, I guess I should start shopping for nipple piercings. If she's going to make holes, I might as well put some kind of ornamentation in them.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Plan B

Every year since I've moved out of my family's house, my mom and I have gone on a vacation in the summer together. I think this is pretty special, especially when you consider that a lot of women I know would kill their mothers if they had to spend 4-7 continuous days with them. We've been Myrtle Beach, Washington D.C., Indiana Dunes Park, Chicago, the Wisconsin Dells, Angola State Park and Pokagon Park in Indiana and a few other places that I can't remember at 7 a.m. on one cup of coffee. But you get the point. We've had some instances of having to make the best of not so favorable conditions too.

Perhaps the most challenging was Angola Park, when it rained for most of our trip. Ever the optimists, we ended up going to a bar, movie theater, and finally surrendered at the end, packing up our camping gear and heading to a Holiday Inn. Of course, there was also the extreme heat of Washington D.C. a few summers ago. The popsicle that I ate at the National Mall on that 95 degree day is still the most delicious popsicle I've ever had in my entire life.

This year's vacation has the twist of adding in little miss Amelia May. At almost nine months old, I was confident enough that she could travel fairly well, although I did tell my mom that we were shaving one night off our stay for various reasons. And so, I packed Amelia and I up to stay two nights and three days at Maumee Bay State Park for our annual girls' vacation.

During the biggest heat wave in years. In accommodations sans air conditioning.

This is a 'yurt'. How fun is that word?
As the countdown to our vacation continued, Mom and I watched the daily news hoping and praying that the forecast would improve. Instead, the temperature predictions worsened and climbed. I voiced my concerns about the heat and we attempted to find a hotel in the area to no avail. Our only choice was to be inventive as always and find ways to cool the yurt we were planning on staying in.

It didn't work out.

We did spend the day at the park all day yesterday. We saw the nature center and Amelia felt (and attempted to eat) the various animal furs and seed pods they had on display. She scared the crap out of  the fish and turtles in the center's aquarium. We visited the beautiful lodge, visited the gift shop, and had ice cream. We took a nice drive in the area while Amelia napped. Then we headed to the campground to set up to stay the night. 

Amelia waiting for Mom and Grammy to set up camp.

The view behind our campsite.

An hour later, we surrendered and headed back to my parents. When they say there is an excessive heat warning, they aren't fooling around.

I feel badly for my mom and disappointed that we couldn't enjoy all the plans she had made for us. But at the heart of it, I'm happy that we still get to spend time together. And, I'm thankful that she is flexible enough to change plans as necessary. In the end, it doesn't really matter if we are on a beach, in a park, or right here in my parent's lovely log cabin. What matters is that we get to enjoy each others company and make memories together. The location doesn't really make any difference.

I think our professions have led to both of us having an even greater appreciation for this. As a hospice nurse, my mom sees families lose their loved ones every week. Many of these families must face the fact that they have wasted a lifetime arguing and using their energy on hating each other rather than making the most of things and loving each other. And for me as a counselor, I see many families that are incapable of appreciating each others strengths and dwelling on what they can't stand about mom, dad, Uncle Joe, whoever-- GET OVER IT. You only get one life, and one chance to love your family.

So today, after we have breakfast, we will be leaving to go shopping and going wherever the day leads us, together as mother, daughter, and granddaughter. We will have a fabulous time, and we will love each other. And THAT is what will make this vacation spectacular.
Good morning! Can't wait to spend the day with my family :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Face Your Fears

Last week sucked. But, in an effort to be positive, I avoided griping about the annoyances in my life. All in all, this is turning out to be a better week. However, one of the crappy things that happened last week has inspired me to discuss one of my biggest fears:

The dentist.

What happened that caused this inspiration? Well, on the day that my friend and I went to Ann Arbor, we had lunch at Zingerman's. It's a somewhat overpriced but delectable deli that's very well known in the Midwest. Anyways, I was munching away on my sandwich which included some pumpernickel with a rather hard crust. I was nearing the end of my meal, when suddenly I detected something very hard in my mouth. Much harder than pumpernickel crust. I basically threw poor Amelia at my friend and ran to the bathroom.

I had broken off part of one of my teeth. Ironically, the day after Amelia's first tooth had popped through.

That was bad enough, but the first thought I had was "OMG, I'm going to have to go to the dentist." I could have thrown up right there in the middle of the restaurant. You would think that someone who has given birth without pain medication would not be afraid of some dental work. But indeed, I am. I went to a few verbally harsh dental professionals as a teen, and I've pretty much dealt with this by complete avoidance as an adult. I did get brave once in my early 20's and went to a new dentist. He was kind, but somewhat stupid in that he apparently thinks the best way to overcome a dental fear is to show you your teeth after they've been drilled. Not. Helpful.

Add to that the fact that I have inherited my family's hillbilly teeth (no, really-- my great great grandma used to keep her moonshine cold by putting it in a creek in the holler. Which is awesome, but she could have kept her bad teeth to herself), and you have a recipe for some deep seated anxiety. It was essential that I find a good dentist that would take my anxiety seriously and not scold me for the condition of my tooth.

This led me to the office of Dr. Hebeka this past Tuesday. The bad news is that a week from today, I will be having a root canal and partial implant done on the tooth that broke. Eventually, that tooth will also have to be crowned. And, I have to have five cavities filled sometime in August. The good news is that Dr. Hebeka seems to take anxiety very seriously and will be giving me laughing gas and wants me to wear my ipod while I get this procedure done. He also offered me valium, which sounds awesome, but alas, I cannot take it while breastfeeding. Sigh. The sacrifices I make for this kid.

As a side note, I also found out that I have tori (my bones look like the second picture in the link), a thickening of the bone in my mouth. WTF?!? Apparently, it only occurs in 10% of the population. None of my other dentists have ever mentioned this. The discovery of this mouth malformation led to me forcing my husband to open his mouth in front of our bathroom mirror that evening with me so I could compare our oral bone structures. All my life I thought everyone had these bulges of bone in their mouth. You learn something new every day, I guess. Things like what a freak of nature you are and so forth.

Stay tuned for how I cope with-- or become violently ill over-- next week's dental work. Suspenseful, I know.

What are your biggest fears? How do you deal with them?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Keep It Moving

Yesterday I ran two miles in the hot summer sun with my golden retriever at my side and baby in her stroller.

I can just hear half my family say "What the hell's a matter with ya, girl?!?"

Due to the ridiculous heat and humidity, I really thought I'd only walk a couple miles and be done for the day. However, I was already sweating after I'd walked a half mile so I figured I might as well give it a try. And, to my credit, it was before noon. I am not as crazy as the 50 year old man I saw running through Maumee the other day at 5pm while it was 93 degrees. I was pretty sure he was either going to fall over from a heart attack or burst into flames on the sidewalk.

Frankly, if someone had told me when I was 16 that I would be a regular exerciser when I was 30 years old and post-baby, I would have told them they must be high on something. I'm not an athlete. My physique does not reflect a runner's body. And yet, I've been exercising regularly for the past seven years. It just kind of happened. I joined Weight Watchers and a ladies only gym with my friend and it didn't take long for me to be hooked on endorphins (not so much hooked on dieting, apparently using all your daily WW points on chocolate and wine is not terribly effective). I even worked out during my whole pregnancy, including the last month when I finally had to give the gym up and waddle down the country lane next to our house with my dog.

Because I have grown to love exercise, I agonized while pregnant that I suddenly wouldn't be able to work out after I had Amelia. The stories of how busy your life becomes after you have a child made me go over and over again in my mind what my schedule would look like and how I could squeeze in 45 minutes at the gym a couple of days per week. Since November, I've discovered that exercising is a big priority for me and when something is important to you, you make it work. And I have.

But I still didn't think I would be running this summer. I don't even like running.

No, really, I don't. I love to exercise. I think my step and spin classes are awesome. Running, however, is hard. I started running because it got me outside when it's nice out, and it's a good challenge for me. And, you can take running anywhere, no gym required. When I found out I was pregnant, I thought I would keep running, but the image of my little fetus bouncing all over the place in my womb, along with constant nausea during my first trimester, stopped me from that. So, no running for nine months. Then when I headed back to the gym after Amelia's birth, it was winter and I'm not a big treadmill runner. So basically, I haven't ran regularly for 15 months. It's like starting all over again. Who wants to do that?

Luckily, I have new kinds of running motivation.
  • I'm not a fan of the morning daycare lady at my gym. I'm pretty sure she's going to let some toddler run over my baby. Then I'd have to punch her and I'm not ready for the big house. And, I don't like evening workouts in the summer. I want to get it out of the way so I can sit in the air conditioning for the remainder of the day.
  • I like to take our dog for a daily walk, especially when I'm not working. If I'm already spending 45 minutes of my day with tennis shoes on, I might as well be doing my workout too.
  • Aforementioned dog follows me around obsessively if I don't walk her. It's rather annoying. Hence the running when it's so hot that I could melt. It's better than having a 75 pound canine up my butt all day.
  • Amelia generally enjoys our walks down the country lane, but sometimes she's just not in the mood. I call her my personal trainer because the more she fusses, the quicker I run. Picture Jillian Michaels as a baby and with less swearing. Or maybe my daughter IS swearing at me. I can't really tell yet.
More important than all of that, Amelia is seeing me work at something that does not come easily to me, and I think that's important. I was able to jog 4-5 miles at one point pre-baby, and I would like to get to that point again, if not beyond that. Maybe some day down the road she will even witness me train for a sprint triathalon or a half marathon. The sky is the limit when you have great coaches like I do:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Just the Good Stuff

I was super tempted to gripe about some problems challenges I've had this week, but in the spirit of staying positive, let's review the highlights instead:
  • Tuesday we went to Ann Arbor. I had a major dental disaster there, but all in all, it was a fun day.
 
  • Wednesday my mom came down to Bowling Green to spend the day with Amelia and I. We went to Simpson Gardens, had lunch at Call of the Canyon Cafe, and went to a few shops. Amelia was in pretty good spirits most of the time and slept eleven hours that night, which is a rare thing.
 
  • Jon got his veteran's bonus check from the state of Ohio. I still think it's complete BS that since he was stationed in Kuwait and not Iraq during his active duty in 2003, he only gets half the amount. Apparently it's not enough that he had to go into Iraq for various missions. Whatever. In any case, it's some extra funds that will come in handy while I'm unemployed. 
 
  • An impromptu picnic with my dad on Thursday, where Amelia enjoyed her first cucumber. I enjoy all our lunch dates with my dad and am very grateful that I have a good relationship with both my parents. However, there was something about his big smile and laughter when his granddaughter was going to town with that cucumber that brought joy to my heart. I am extra thankful that she has terrific and loving grandparents.
 
  • I saw my friend's week old daughter yesterday. What a sweet little peanut! I have a friend that is always telling me that you quickly forget what it was like when they are that small, and she wasn't kidding! Amelia seems even closer to toddlerhood now that I've seen her right next to a newborn.
 
  • As such, I really enjoyed Amelia's bathtime this morning. She got her first tooth this week and it has really been the first milestone that I feel emotional about. It seems like such a big girl thing and the last couple months have really flown by. I am savoring every moment with her more and more. Also, keeping all that in mind is helping me get through the whininess that teething brings, although I have to say that she has not been as bad as I anticipated she'd be.

And an update on our grocery mission: This week has not gone quite as I had planned. I've been too busy to go to any farmer's markets or local produce stands, and our grocery bill last weekend was more than I anticipated. However, I have talked Jon out of running to the store for things we don't need once or twice, and I made some yummy vegetarian dishes (zucchini alfredo and white beans with rigatoni) this week to use up what we already had in the fridge. So, not a perfect week but there were some dietary/monetary victories thrown in there too.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today's Hot Topics

I awoke this morning undecided about if I would post anything or not. As Amelia played in her exersaucer and I sipped my cup of coffee, I turned on Good Morning America where within the first ten minutes, I was given inspiration. Get ready for a rant.

The first story was how believes that, in extreme cases, morbidly obese children should be removed from their homes and placed in the foster care system. We aren't talking pudgy, overweight, or even simply obese. This is an issue of life threatening morbid obesity. As discussed in the article, one girl removed from her home was 90 pounds at the age of three. That's 15 pounds more than my golden retriever. In another example, a 555 pound teenager was removed from her parents and subsequently lost 200 lbs. while living with her maternal aunt.

The Lunch Tray provides a thorough discussion and opinion on this topic and so, I'm going to get right to what my initial gut feeling on this. In a perfect world, the foster care system would have the goal of keeping families together, and my experience with the agencies in Northwest Ohio is that it is indeed the goal. However, the foster care system is, and I'm putting this lightly, a VERY flawed system. Policies, caseworkers, and work loads vary from county to county and state to state. Some families are never investigated when they would be safer out of the home, some kids are removed when they'd be better off in the home. I don't have any solutions and can't imagine having to be part of that system. My feeling in this case, though, is that with a possible exception of perhaps a few extreme cases, these families need help within the home. There are other ways to help, like services by a nutritionist, counselor, and/or doctor.

The second story is a new trend where restaurants are forbidding children under six from dining at their establishments. I'm just going to come out and say it: If you aren't going to let me go to your restaurant with my child, I'm not going to give you my money when I'm without her either. EVER. Now or when she's 25, you've pretty much been crossed off my 'places to have dinner list' forever. I will admit that prior to having a child, I would get a little annoyed with crying or screaming children in restaurants. Luckily I work with kids though and can pretty much tune them out. Beyond that, remember this, childless couples-- YOU don't have to continue to listen to that child for the rest of the night. The parent does.

On the flip side, I do sympathize. Customers are not dining at these restaurants to hear upset children. I about feel like I'm going to die of embarrassment when Amelia screams in a restaurant. But you know what? I don't let her continue to do that. I try to soothe her at the table, and if that doesn't work, I walk away so people don't have to hear her. On one occasion, I left a restaurant b/c she wouldn't settle. In truth, in that situation 95% of people were giving me looks of sympathy. I feel like this is a case of a few bad apples ruin the whole barrel. Because some parents will take their kids out to eat when they are too tired to make good choices, or because they won't set and stick to limits for their kids, the rest of us have to look like we are incapable of managing our children's behavior and volume in public.

Beyond that, I have to say that Amelia is much less obnoxious and WAY cuter than most adults dining at the restaurants I go to. You want to know what age group typically grates on my nerves when I'm out? Teenagers. But I don't complain to management, and I don't sneer at their parents, should they happen to be with them. I do not see why the same courtesy shouldn't be extended to myself as the mother of an eight month old.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day Trippin'

Yesterday, Amelia and I went with my BFF Sara to Ann Arbor. We started our trip with IKEA:


We really didn't need anything, but I've been told by many people that it's a store you just have to see, and now I know why. It's a such a big furniture store that there are arrows on the floor so you don't get lost and a restaurant just in case you can't make it through without a meal.

Then, we went to Zingerman's in Kerrytown for lunch. A trip to Ann Arbor is just not complete without stopping at the Midwest's best deli. Of course, Amelia couldn't have a sandwich, so she had some homemade squash, with a rattle for dessert: 





Finally, we went to the shops at Kerrytown, where I successfully managed not to blow any money on specialty foods, wine, toys, or kitchen gadgets. Between these three places, we were gone pretty much all day. Amelia was a trooper and she didn't want to miss a thing. Typically she takes three or four naps during the day, each lasting 30-60 minutes. Yesterday, she slept on the way to IKEA and then on the way home and was out like a light before 9:00 p.m. last night. It's hard to keep up with the big girls:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Our Family's Quest to Eat Local, Healthy, and Cheap

Food has always been a love of mine. Growing up, I enjoyed helping my parents cook and then during my teenage years I started exploring my own cooking abilities. I started making many dinners for our family, baking cheesecakes from scratch and sending them into my dad's work, and baking fresh bread, sans bread machine (and STILL don't have one, thank you very much. The world's best therapy is kneading bread by hand).

Despite that love, food has also been my enemy. Like many people, food is my comfort and support when things are bad-- or my celebration when things are good. Even though I pretty much stopped eating fast food in middle school in an effort to lose weight, I'm definitely like a good number of Americans who take pounds off then pack them back on. Over my adult years, I have developed some healthier habits, such as regular exercise, drinking mostly water throughout the day, and eating more fruit. Generally, I do not stuff myself when I'm stressed out, although I will more than likely reach for a brownie rather than a banana if I've had a bad day.

Beyond just trying to eat healthier, I'm fascinated with foods in different cultures and especially interested in the demise of food in our society. Things like genetically modified food, government regulations, and where the produce and meat that fill our plates really come from, and why we put up with such crap, are topics that I devour. I can't wait to read Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook. After I read Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, I talked about it during my entire annual week long vacation with my mom. I've watched Food, Inc. at least twice and just requested it from our public library again.

You would think with all this knowledge in hand, I would eat nothing but locally and organically grown foods. It's true that I always aspire to after reading a new book or watching another documentary. However, much like recycling (no, I don't recycle, I'm going straight to hell), it sounds like a great idea but I never follow through. It seems so time consuming and expensive, and being the perfectionist that I am, if I can't do it 100%, I'm unlikely to do it at all.

This summer has brought on a lot of new inspiration for me. As Amelia has been starting on solid foods, I've been very particular about what she eats. Which has made me wonder... why aren't I the same about what I put in my body? And further more, how much longer can I get away with eating a cookie in front of her while insisting that she eat her homemade pureed plums? From the way she stares me down while I eat a popsicle, I can tell you that the answer is not much longer.

Add to this unemployment, which has resulted in us not having much money for groceries or entertainment, and you have the perfect storm to do a complete overhaul on how we eat. Here's my new battle plan:
  • A further reduction on my eating of junk. Amelia can eat yogurt (gag!), cottage cheese, fruits, and veggies, so unless I sneak a cookie in the kitchen, that's what I've mostly reduced my snacks to.
  • No more running to the store for whatever sounds good for the evening. I'm planning our meals ahead of time using mostly ingredients that we already have on hand and adding the few that we need to the shopping list. Last week this cut our food cost almost 50%!
  • Shopping at local farmer's markets. We have two close by, which provides a fun time out for Amelia and I, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. I buy whatever looks good and build many of my weeknight menus based on those ingredients.
  • We also have two butchers that sell locally raised meat, so we will be filling our freezer with what I purchase from those shops. I especially like Tank's in Elmore, OH. Their meat is comparably priced to any local grocer's and tastes WAY better.

Here is what I bought at this week's farmer's market:



And here is what I had for dinner the night I bought these veggies. The baklava was from a baker across the street and some of the veggies on the salad I had bought the week before at a different market.

Stay tuned for updates on how our new eating plan is working out :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Getting a Little Creative

I think sometimes mommies get a bad rap as losing… well, many things. Their looks. Their inner passions. Their sexuality. Their sanity. Their keys and cell phone. I have specifically become a repeat offender of that last one. I’m not sure what happened to my ability to find those two specific items the precise moment that Amelia was born, but I can tell you that on any given day you can hear me say ’Where are my keys?!? Sweetie, have you seen my cell phone?? I just had it!’  I’m pretty sure the same gnomes that thief our socks while they are in the dryer move my cell phone and keys around the house just to add a few hectic moments to my days.

I would add to the list, creativity. I mean, let’s face it, when you are in a routine of change diaper, feed, make goo goo noises and smile, rock baby, clean house, REPEAT over and over again, all day long, things may very well get monotonous. I have become pretty good at mixing things up enough to fluctuate our routine and have some summer fun. Despite having a baby to care for, we pretty much do something enjoyable every day, whether it is a picnic, shopping, farmers markets, or a baseball game.

I think the reality is, mommies have to be pretty creative to make it through the day. The first creative moment was probably when we came home from the hospital and I had to change Amelia’s diaper for the first time. While at the hospital, I had no practice doing this task, as I was bed ridden due to passing out twice after birth. I’m pretty certain my body was telling me it was displeased with me for putting it through meds free childbirth. In any event, as soon as we got home with our little bundle of joy, Jon had to leave for a job interview. He looked a little nervous about leaving me, but I assured him we’d be fine.

And we were, except I was not aware of the importance of making sure little Amelia’s diaper was plenty high on her back. By the rules of parenthood, if you fail to follow the essential diapering techniques, that will be the moment your child has a great big bowel movement. Of course, my daughter was no exception. I should add that she hated having her diaper changed for the first six weeks of life. So now you have an exhausted mommy, two days post childbirth, with a screaming baby with poop up her back. And no surprise, her outfit was white, of course. I don’t recall what technique I used, but I know somehow through several tears and a backache from bending over the changing table, I used every bit of ingenuity to get that poo covered outfit off my newborn without smearing it on her little angry face.

This past weekend has required some additional creativity. While Amelia is generally a joy on most days, she, like all of us, has her moments of discontent. Sunday was one of those days. Perhaps you are thinking I had back-up relief since her daddy was home, but alas he was busy fixing the water that’s been mysteriously leaking into our basement, and therefore, I was on my own. To be honest, she was driving me kind of batty. I’d sit her on the couch next to me. WHINE. Feed her. After finishing, WHINE. Let her hang on to me while she walks. Well, yes, she loved that, but how long can you be a human support before you tire of it? Apparently for me it’s about twenty minutes. I tried putting a kid’s movie in. Nope, didn’t like that either. After about an hour of this, I’d had it.

What to do, what to do (in reality, I was really muttering swear words under my breath). We took a little walk around outside, which made her happy but ideally I was looking for a little break, without taking her for a walk in her stroller in the blazing July sun. The following was my solution.

This is the cheap swing I bought at a children's resale shop when she wouldn't sleep in her pack and play as a newborn and I was exhausted. It didn't cost very much, but I was a little dismayed that I wasted money on it when I discovered that she HATED it. She only liked her swing in the living room. So, this has been sitting out in our garage collecting cob webs for months. Not anymore though!
And this is when the sun started shining down on her little chunky legs. I certainly wasn't going to move her in the swing when she was sleeping peacefully. Never fear, the swing is now a baby tent.

She was a little distraught at first when she couldn't figure out where she was. Or perhaps disgruntled that Mommy had duped her into taking a nap that she was attempting to avoid altogether.
A little reassurance that Mommy was there with her and that life is good, and she was my smiling girl again!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Random Thoughts for the Week

It has been a busy week in my little mommy world, so I haven’t really been able to collect my thoughts into one cohesive writing. So a scattered brain results in a scattered post. Here it is:

1) My biggest realization this week is that the title of my blog is apparently somewhat pornographic. Out of curiosity, I put the title of my blog into Google. Yay, there’s my blog, right at the top of the search results! Wait, what’s the next result? Amateur mommies doing what? Oh, no…  that really wasn’t what I was going for when I developed the idea for this! I immediately called my husband and yelled at him, asking why it had never occurred to him that the phrase ‘amateur mommy’ would result in many perverts viewing my blog. Don’t ask me why I thought it was his fault, it just is.  I briefly thought about changing the name, and then realized, I really don’t care if I disappoint sexually excited men (or women? I’m trying not to think about it too much). What’s the saying? Bad publicity is still publicity? Let’s just run with that.

2) Apparently, I text the word ‘poo’ so much that it’s the first word that pops up before son, soo, or ron… I feel like this says something about the lack of interesting things I’m able to communicate to my husband about my day. Another disappointing auto text? A sad face pops up before the smiley face. I’m totally blaming that on the amount of annoyed, sad, and frustrated texts that were sent back and forth between me and my fellow co-workers that were recently cut from the school district I was at. Budget cuts = :( That’s a fact.

3) Since we’re on the topic of unemployment, I must admit I’m having a wide range of emotions about it. Getting any correspondence from the office of unemployment pretty much makes me feel like I’m going to hurl. I don’t know why. I could totally analyze the hell out of that feeling, but Amelia hasn’t slept well this week, so I’d rather not expend any brain cells on over-thinking. On the plus side, I might get to stay at home with Amelia for quite a while. Even if home ends up being a cardboard box.

4) I want to get rid of our television just about every day due to the Casey Anthony trial. I look forward to it being over. This is not news to me. It’s sad, and disgusting, and I don’t want to hear every little last detail about the court proceedings. I especially don’t want to see Nancy Grace discussing it all the freaking time. PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!!

This concludes the deep thoughts I’ve had for the week. Note that there are only four, and really, they are rather superficial. This is what happens when I spend the majority of my time job hunting, running, swimming, and taking care of a baby. Perhaps more extensive thoughts will be in store for next week. Thoughts that don’t include the words ‘poo’, ‘porn’, or ‘sad face’. Although it will make for some good tags.

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