Facebook Cleanse

For Lent I’ve given up Facebook.  I deleted the app from my phone and deleted the bookmark on Chrome, all in an effort to be more present in the moment.  It’s only been a week and I find it easy and yet hard to be away from Facebook.  It’s easy in that I really don’t miss it.  It’s hard in that everything seems to some how be connected to Facebook in one way or the other.

I now get my news from the radio, TV (as usual), and more and more Twitter.  God, Twitter is just so incredibly refreshing!  Like most, the first thing I used to do in the morning is check Facebook.  And no doubt many of my Facebook friends would share pieces of information about their favorite stars or latest piece of news.  While it is good at making news disseminate faster than TV news, it slowly began to be clogged with terrible noise.  In particular, a Facebook friend would constantly share at least 3 articles a day from a conservative blog editorializing the terror that is the Obama administration and not once citing any credible source.  Right before I went on my Facebook cleanse, I specifically complained to my husband about a particular person who posted an article stating that the Zika virus was a GMO created by the government (citing other blogs, not one citing any reputable science journal).  It made me realize Facebook was turning into my AOL e-mail account and the countless drivel saying that I would die if I didn’t forward this e-mail to 10 of my friends.  It’s great not having to sift through these terrible posts.

But it’s kind of hard.  I mean I don’t miss it.  But everything in the world is freaking connected to Facebook!!!  Websites, apps, everything wants you to sign in to Facebook.  They make it really hard to not sign up without Facebook too!  Do I want to share this on Facebook?  Do I want to sign up for this class using my Facebook profile?  No thanks!

We’ve also had snow this last week and the inevitable closings.  A lot of people update their business status via Facebook!  I get it; it’s a lot easier to update your business Facebook page to say that you’re closed due to snow than your website.  These mom and pop shops don’t have IT people to do this for them because they take a pre-made website and they, themselves, slap their stuff on there to save money.  That’s one thing that has been super annoying.  I’ve actually had to call a place to see if my daughter still had a her class.  Can one really be free of Facebook?

Overall I’m surprised at how I don’t miss Facebook at all.  Perhaps it will be a new habit?

Snowzilla 2016

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I was worried the day before Snowzilla arrived.  Mostly because I was afraid the power was going to go out in the middle of the blizzard, which means the heat will stop.  That’s the last thing I wanted to happen with two young kids in the home.  But we survived and we are all dug out of our 2 feet of snow thanks to our trusty snow blower.

The previous weekend we brought the kids to the zoo when there was a little snow falling.  We took the opportunity to catch up with friends who lived close by and have the kids see the animals.  One friend is Finnish, and we talked about what the weather is like in Finland (we’re attending her wedding later on this summer).  I admitted to her that we almost canceled on them today due to the weather, and I wondered what the Finnish do in the winter to cure their cabin fever.  She said, “There’s never bad weather, just bad gear.”  And she was right.  My kids had a blast outside in the blustery wind and very light snow, walking and looking at the animals.  I think we adults were more miserable.

When the snow began to fall for Snowzilla, I put them in snow gear and shuffled my kids outside the house.  The next day, after 14 inches had fallen so far I put the snow gear back on and kicked them out of the house.  Thankfully the whiteout conditions occurred later in the afternoon, but I’m glad I made them go outside.  We spent the entire morning making snow angels, “hiking”, and clearing our the driveway.  They had fun and napped so well.  Thank goodness for snow gear!

Here are things I love for my kids to brave the cold outside:

  • JJ Cole Bundle Me – I kind of wish they make an adult version of this.  We put this in the stroller when we go on a long walk outside and need the kids to stay toasty.  It also eliminates having to put on heavy thick layers only to take them off when they go inside.
  • Baby Snow Suit – I really like this one, especially since you can fold over the sleeves and legs so that their hands and feet are protected from the snow.  Since my daughter is walking now, we just have her in boots, but the sleeves are perfect.  Having her wear gloves is useless and always come off, but these are great.  She’s nice and toasty, and we go back inside she’s very dry from romping in the snow.
  • A good fury hat and mittens.  And any waterproof shoe!

I hate winter time and this cold weather, but I’m glad my kids are enjoying it.  I think outfitting them to brave the cold elements helps them.

2016 New Year’s Resolutions

OMG, I haven’t updated in a month!!!  It has been quite a hectic last few weeks with the holiday season.  Hope everyone enjoyed it with family.  And now it’s 2016!!!  How the heck did that happen?!  Anyhoo, here are my resolutions for this year.

  1. Try to be off the grid more!
    Is that possible in 2016?  Yes and no.  For me it means to check Facebook less.  I am really aiming to not be the parent that has their head buried in their phone while their child is happily playing independently.  While I still want my children to learn to play independently, I still want to observe the little quirks that make them unique.  If that at all makes sense to any of you.  The goal is just to stay present in the moments and take it all in.  However, you’ll still find me taking a few videos or photos for Instagram.
  2. Mom’s Night Out!!!
    The one thing I miss about SF are the mom’s I met while there. While I have mom friends here, we rarely were ever away from the kids.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s also difficult to have a very meaningful conversation especially now that our children are walking.  It’s usually a quick chat about a topic for 2 minutes before our children wander away from each other.  So I am trying to organize a monthly mom’s night out; away from the kids, away from the husbands so that we can reconnect as women over cocktails and food.  The first one went really well.  I just need to plan that second one.
  3. Be more active!
    Since moving back to the DC suburbs, it is really really easy to fall into that sedentary lifestyle–just sit on the couch or park bench and watch the kids play.  There’s just something culturally different between the East and West Coasts and our views on activity.  While I still play soccer, that’s not nearly enough to what I was doing in SF.  Granted the weather is a lot warmer and nicer there, that’s still not an excuse to not be outdoors and enjoying life.  So I’ve been taking advantage of the wetland preserve a mile away, which my son loves.  I have a zoo membership this year, which both kids absolutely love doing.  And we’ve gone to museums, which thankfully are mostly free here in DC.  We still walk to our local playgrounds.  But it’s nice to go out on a hike or walk, especially now Sammy just wants to walk all over the place (forget about baby wearing or stroller walking).
  4. Take pictures!
    I still primarily  use my iPhone to take pictures, but this year I really want to start using my DSLR more.  I used it a lot during my son’s first years of life, but I just haven’t done so with my daughter.  I always end up forgetting to bring it, but more often than not I’m just lazy about taking pictures.  This year it will change, even though I haven’t used it yet this year!!!  But we have some amazing trips (both with and without  kids!) planned this year, so it will definitely encourage me to pull it out and use it more.

So those are my resolutions that I hope to keep up this year.  I feel like it won’t be difficult, and I don’t want to say kids are the excuse.  What are your resolutions this year?

Sammy’s First Birthday

So we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday over the weekend a few weekends ago.  First and foremost, that first year went by super fast.  I know it went fast with my son, but boy does it just happen faster with the second.  I feel like she was just born and suddenly she’s walking, talking, and turning more and more into a little girl.  But enough with the tears, you probably are interested in the party details for inspiration for your next soirée.

First, I didn’t quite have a concrete theme like cars or a princess party.  I did, however, have a color scheme in my head–pink and gold with hints of black.  So I went to Michael’s and bought the supplies, which included a lot of cardstock.  They had an ombre pack of pink cardstock, and so then it evolved into ombre pink and gold with hints of black.  I then ran with it when it came to party decorations, and that soon evolved into ombre pink circles and gold stars.

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All our younger guests hung out in the play area where our kids have all their toys.  I also bought a cheap blow up baby pool and created a ball pit.  This was such a hit at the party; even the 9 year old loved hanging out in the pit.  I arranged the seating to be against the wall so that the parents can watch their kids playing in the middle.

I also set up a kiddie snack table for the toddlers/kids.  I created the bunting with my Silhouette Portrait, some craft tape, and pink twine, and it says, “Sammy’s Fave Snacks.”  We have an adjustable height table that we used to make the snacks accessible for our little guests.  I put out some apple sauce, teething biscuits, raisins, and Cheerios.  In hindsight, I should have probably put the Cheerios and raisins in a resealable bag since one of the tots decided to dump all the raisins into one big pile on the table.

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I also made these buntings.  The top one I used two different sized circle hole punches and a star hole punch, and then a sewing machine to string them all together.  It was actually pretty simple and my son liked to collect the different shapes and put them into piles for me.  I made 2 different and very long ones that we strung up around the house and cut down to size.

The middle set of pictures is the monthly picture bunting I made, again using my Silhouette Portrait, craft tape, a hot glue gun, clothes pins, and pink twine.  I then printed the pictures at Costco and they were ready in an hour for $.17 each I think.

The bottom picture is of the monthly picture bunting and another bunting that says, “Sammy Is One.”  I made that bunting with acrylic paint, stencils, black canvas bunting panels that were black, and then strung them together with pink twine.

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For Sammy’s high chair, I used the same blank canvas bunting panels to make the ONE, and strung it up with pink twine and just taped it onto a high chair.  And then we just added some balloons to make the chair more festive.

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The bottom picture is the cake table.  The left is the cake for all of our guests and the right cake is her little smash cake (which Sammy was sooooo not interested in at all).  They were made by a local baker called Occassionally Cake.  They made my baby shower cake, and they did a great simple job on my daughter’s cake.  And the cakes were sooooooo good!

I also did the first year stats on my Silhouette Portrait.  It was actually a bit of a pain at first–basically if you have fonts with a lot of intricate designs, it made Silhouette Studio crash.  After tinkering around, I found something that worked and I’m actually really pleased with the design.  It actually isn’t that hard to change out the pens to have it write what you want.  I then got a frame from Michaels, that also happened to be 50% off.  So a fairly cheap project that looks really great.

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Finally, the party favors.  I bought the mini bubble wands from Oriental Trading for fairly cheap.  And the tags I made with my Silhouette Portrait.  I then attached it with pink twine.  These were a great give away for kids since the age range of our young guests were 10 months to 9 years old.  Everyone loves bubbles!  I stuck them in an old pink Easter egg bucket and put it by the door so I wouldn’t forget to give them away to the kids.

Overall, the party went well.  Everything that I made was fairly simple and easy to whip up, so didn’t take up much time overall (although I did spread it out over a month and many many many trips to Michaels).  I also think the pink ombre and then adding gold and black accents helped to deaden that in-your-face-pink you see with some girl birthday parties.  Basically I was looking to do something feminine, but also not gaudy.  Hopefully I achieved that and have sparked some ideas for your next party.

When It Rains…

…it pours.  That’s the saying, and it can feel like that as a parent.  Take my Thanksgiving Weekend for example.

On Tuesday, my son stayed home from preschool because he threw up twice before we could get him out the door for school.  He even threw up in our bed, and I had to put our sheets in through the wash twice just to get all that milky vomit out.  Sorry, TMI.

Later that afternoon, I left him at home with my parents so I could take my daughter to her regularly scheduled Gymboree class.  She was just fussy the entire time and was not into anything, including bubbles.  Now that made me raise an eyebrow.  We got home and I tried to give her lunch, but she was not having it.  She was still feeling really hot (it is usually really hot at Gymboree), so I took her temperature and it was 104!  So I gave her Tylenol and let her cuddle and eat/drink anything she wanted.

The next day my son was fine.  I think my husband gave him rotten milk.  So my son went to school and I was left to tend to my still feverish daughter.  More Tylenol, but at least she was eating a little bit and would play a little.

On Thanksgiving she still had a low fever, but she was just clearly not herself.  Usually she is very happy in the mornings, and when she was sick she would still try to communicate she didn’t want anything.  But that morning she was a bit lethargic.  So we called the pediatrician and they saw her that morning.  Turns out that she had an ear infection–her first.  An escript was sent to our local pharmacy, picked it up, and made it back home all before lunch and in time to start cooking the side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner.

Friday she was feeling fine, but we still kept her home just because.  Saturday she started developing a rash on her head, but I thought it was probably the new headbands that I bought her.  I had her try them on before I washed them.  So I thought that perhaps it irritated her skin.  Or maybe it was a heat rash from her wooly hat I made her wear when she went outside for a walk even though it was pretty warm outside.  When she woke up from her afternoon nap the rash then spread all over her body.  So I called the pediatrician’s office.  The doctor told us to stop her antibiotics and to call Sunday when the office opens so they can see her that day.

Sunday morning the rash was all over her body, so we called the pediatrician and again were seen that morning.  I was worried that she may have a penicillin allergy like me, but the pediatrician said it looked more like a viral rash.  But the good news was that her ear infection was gone.

So it was a pretty hectic long weekend for us.  But I am so grateful that our pediatric practice offers emergency hours on holidays and weekends.  We could have easily gone to the emergency room or an urgent care facility.  And while these facilities are great, most urgent care facilities don’t know much about pediatrics (our lone experience, they sent us to an ER for just a run of the mill viral infection).  We also aren’t exposing my daughter to really sick adults and tying up an ER for something that’s not an emergency, like an ear infection.  Plus it was nice seeing a pediatrician we were familiar with, and who had notes about her (we were in the office the previous week for her one year appointment, and the doctor noted that she had fluid in her ear but it wasn’t infected, and that’s the ear that later got infected).

I hope everyone had a very good Thanksgiving this year!

And I promise I’ll post about my daughter’s first birthday party soon!  I started it, but then life happened.

Where Ya At?

OMG, it’s been a month since I last updated!!!  I apologize, but I have a lot of stuff lined up for this blog, to include:

  1. Stuff I’ve been making in preparation for my daughter’s first birthday party next week (which is why I’ve been absent).
  2. More Stitch Fix stuff.
  3. And my highly anticipated (at least with my friends) reinstatement of my annual Super Bowl Party, which entails a lot of cooking and, inevitably, recipes!

I haven’t abandoned the blog just yet, so keep an eye out for some great posts.

Growing Up

Today is Oliver’s first day of school, now in the 3 year old classroom.  It amazes me, saddens me, and excites me that he is 3 years old and embarking on a new journey today.  Everyone tells you that it goes by so fast, and these milestones help to remind you how the days, weeks, months, years get shorter and shorter.  It feels like it was just yesterday he was helpless during tummy time, and in a blink of an eye he’s forming sentences and has a mind and will of his own.

So to all the parents out there with kids who are off to school for the year, I wish your child good luck and hope that they are forever curious.

In the Moment

IMG_0213_FotorWe got this photo after we finished photographing my daughter’s 8 month photo.  I look like crap, but it shows her personality through and through.  Her brother was off to the side trying to make her smile, and they basically were giggling back and forth.  This happens on a daily basis, and it is the best thing ever.  I hope they continue to have a great relationship with each other.  It is amazing how much they love each other; and to see them both light up when they see each other, whether it’s first thing in the morning or when Oliver comes home from school.  I’m incredibly grateful tha they have each other and love each other so much.

P.S.  This was taken with a DSLR.

Relaxin

So it has been well documented in this blog that with my second pregnancy I had pubic bone pain, probably because I produced more relaxin in combination with general weakness from the relaxin during my first pregnancy.  Anyhoo, my pubic bone pain became such a big deal that I was seeing a chiropractor to help realign me and relieve the pain.

Fast forward to nearly 8 months postpartum, and I am in pain from a groin pull that happened last night from soccer.  Keep in mind that I haven’t had a groin pull in years!  I seriously can’t remember the last time I pulled my groin since I started wearing compression shorts as suggested by a trainer in college.  It seriously could be 10+ years.  So imagine my frustration and dismay to quit at half time because I just couldn’t jog, let alone play soccer.  My husband said that I am just old, which is true, but there has to be more to it.

So as I was lying in bed, moaning about the pain, I quickly did a Google search about relaxin.  Relaxin is the hormone produced during pregnancy to help loosen your ligaments to help your pelvis open up to push a baby through, but is nondiscriminatory so effects all joints in the body.  Why did I do a Google search for relaxin specifically?  Well, I have noticed that my hips and pubic bone aren’t quite 100%.  If I walk/run a lot (say a full soccer game) or an entire day of shopping, my legs feel like they are coming out of their sockets and sometimes a  little pain in the pubic bone area if it’s really bad.  (Also my historically bad shoulder has been really weak, as in it hasn’t been this bad since I first injured it.)  The last time I felt this kind of pain was when I was pregnant.  Turns out it takes a long time for relaxin to leave your body postpartum (a couple of months), and apparently your body produces relaxin if you are breastfeeding!  And this makes sense since Wikipedia says female breasts also produces the hormone.  Granted, the amount isn’t nearly as much produced when are you pregnant.  But the fact that it is present in your body is enough concern if you are trying to play coed soccer with people 10 years your junior who all played college level soccer.  No wonder I pulled my groin last night!!!

FYI, I stopped breastfeeding my son at 6 months, and that was around the time I really ramped up my exercise routine (e.g., bootcamp, soccer, and lacrosse).  So I never experienced this before with him.

Urban vs. Suburban Living

So we’ve been living in the DC suburbs for almost two months now.  And I’m surprised to find myself really missing SF a lot more than I thought I would be.  I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I ended up really enjoying urban living and the easy opportunities that it brought about.  So here’s a compilation of the pros and cons to both urban and suburban living!

Suburban Pros

  1. Space!  Omg, it’s luxurious out here–more house, a larger backyard, maybe a front yard and side yard too!  We no longer live in a community where the houses are pretty much on top of each other, and a little brick yard.  My kids can freely roam around the backyard to play soccer, wade in the kiddie pool, or have a picnic under a tree.
  2. And with space comes a lot of nature.  I mean every city has a large urban park, like Golden Gate Park in SF and Rock Creek Park in DC.  But there’s nature in your backyard like large trees, grass, and tons of different animals roaming about.  Hello, deer?!
  3. Parking!  It’s so easy to park any where here.  It’s kind of weird not having to parallel park or factor in extra time to find parking.

Suburban Cons

  1. Nature!  I hate bugs!  They are all over the place.  They bite.  I hate it.
  2. I hate how you have to drive to do anything.  It’s not easy to walk any where, even though it may be half a mile away.  Unless you want to walk on the wild side, e.g. sidewalk-less streets.  No thank you.
  3. Strip mall after strip mall after strip mall.  It’s hard to find anything mom and pop, which is good and bad.  But we can agree there’s no charm to a strip mall.  And the cookie cutter houses.  No charm there, and slightly bordering on Stepford-ish.
  4. Kid activities are a bit difficult here.  It’s not as abundant and things are just further out.  There’s a world of difference when you have to travel at least 10 miles to get some where vs. a few miles, especially with a baby.  A quick 15 minute drive to the zoo is now a 40 minute ordeal.  You get the drift.

Urban Pros

  1. Culture!  Not that suburbia can’t have culture because there are different pockets here with different cultures.  But it’s just nice walking around your urban neighborhood and seeing different types of people going about their daily lives.  There is no seeking–it’s just apart of the mesh of daily urban living.  And I know most people may not necessarily view this as a pro, but I personally like my child to be exposed to the urban poor.  I want them to see homeless people because I want them to know that the world is not perfect and that there are people out there that need some help.
  2. Walking!  Even though I hated walking in SF and those bloody “hills”, everything was easily walkable.  There were three different parks I could easily walk to, a grocery store, shops, restaurants, everything all easily walkable from my house.  I miss it, surprisingly.
  3. Kid stuff!  You live close to museums and the zoo to take your kids to, local artists are always playing music you can expose your child to; all just a quick bus or car ride or walk away.
  4. The charm of different neighborhoods and iconic cityscapes.  Each neighborhood is known for something and it’s always amazing to see something so iconic of your city, especially during sunrises and sunsets.  Nothing is ever the same, so you are always discovering something new.

Urban Cons

  1. Crime.  I mean there’s crime in suburbia too.  But it doesn’t seem to happen so close to home like it did when we lived in SF.
  2. EXPENSIVE!  Good grief is it expensive to live in a city!  Your buck just doesn’t travel as far when it comes to housing and food and everything in a city.
  3. Public schools aren’t the best in most urban areas.  You just hope that you can afford to live in the best urban school district, you win the school lottery, or you make enough money to send your kid to private school.
  4. Parking!  Sometimes paying for a space to house your car is just as much as a bedroom in a shared home (no joke!).  And then there’s that whole parallel parking thing.  But I guess that’s why you rely on public transportation and walking more.

Obviously this isn’t an extensive list, and you may disagree.  But these are my pros and cons right now.  I’m sure that the list will change as I become more acclimated to suburban living.