Tag Archives: Family

Working Wednesday: Rough Mornings

Today’s blog post does not really have any advice in it. I’m very sorry. Instead, I am going to relate to you, my Monday morning experience.

I think that Baby Girl might be going through somewhat of a growth spurt. She’s cranky, but has no sign of any illness, she’s eating like a horse (again, contradicting an illness theory), and she is not sleeping well. I was worried she might be getting too much caffeine in my breast milk, since I’m still nursing, so I cut down for a few days (toddlers metabolize it differently) and that did not change anything. If anything, it made things worse, because then I was cranky, too!

So, Monday morning, after very little sleep, I got up, got dressed, had her refuse her morning nap, and dragged myself into work. On top of everything, I’d made cupcakes for a birthday (the trials of which will no doubt be posted to Butter and Whisky shortly). I was at work for a little less than an hour (with me typoing everything in sight and generally being cranky) when my husband texted and said that Baby Girl was finally feeling sleepy.

Remember that post where I said vacation time is all right? Well, I decided that between me being incredibly unproductive and Baby Girl needing me, taking a couple hours of my vacation time would be okay. I’m salaried, so my vacation time doesn’t work quite the same as everyone else’s anyway.

I went home and got Baby Girl to sleep, took a nap myself, and got back in time to work a little bit more of the day – I think I was gone for about two hours total. It was worth it, for my health, for my family, and for my productivity on the job.

… I’ll try not to feel too guilty that I just had a real vacation not two weeks ago.

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Together Tuesday: How Does Your Garden Grow?

This past April, when my mother and her long-time boyfriend, Rick, came to visit us, he planted a small garden for me. It only consists of four tomato plants (2 regular, two cherry), but it is very much appreciated. I do not have what you would call a green thumb, but though they are not ripe yet (thank you, hot southern weather!), I am pleased to report that all of the plants have fruit on them. The cherry tomatoes especially look like they are just ready to give it all up, but alas, there is no red in sight.

All that being said, my garden has given  me something already even though I haven’t been able to eat anything from it. When I went to go buy myself a watering can (because I am such a non-gardener that I did not possess either a watering can or a hose), I stumbled upon a tiny, child-sized watering can with Disney princesses on it. It was rated for children three and up, but I honestly couldn’t figure out why (no small parts, the hole on the top was entirely too small for her to get her hand trapped in, etc.) so I went ahead and bought it. It was only 99 cents, and I figured I could snap a cute staged picture of us in the garden and be done with it.

Turns out, Baby Girl loves the watering can. She still hasn’t quite got the hang of getting to the garden before dumping it out, but she will follow me to the spigot, hold the watering can out for me to fill, and then take it with glee. We walk toward the garden, and she holds out about as long as it takes for her hand to waver, and as soon as the water starts spilling, she’s watering the ground (usually concrete. My backyard is a mess, y’all.)  It’s adorable. I go water my plants and then fill up her watering can again and let her water the concrete some more. Sometimes she makes a puddle and splashes in it.

I don’t always take her out to water the garden with me (sometimes I do it on the way in/out from work or while she’s taking a nap), but it is certainly fun together time when we do.

What activities have you thought about involving your children in?

Self-Care Saturday: Take Time to Do the Little Things … For Yourself

This post was inspired by the following:

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Yes, what you are looking at is a grilled cheese sandwich on a paper plate. Not my finest cooking, I assure you, but it got me thinking about self-care. You see, that is my grilled cheese sandwich, made after I had already made one for Baby Girl, cut it, cooled it, and given it to her.

Still confused? I don’t blame you.

Normally I cut the sandwiches I make for Baby Girl in half, diagonally. It’s silly, but my husband and I agree that this little act of love makes a grilled cheese (or really, any sandwich) taste better, even when I am subsequently tearing her sandwich up further into more manageable bites.

I never do this for myself.

I don’t know why. It doesn’t take more than a second, and it not only make it taste better through psychological trickery, but it actually makes it easier to eat. And yet I find myself skipping it. Well, no more! As part of my self-care, I am vowing to do more stupid little things for myself, because if I don’t love myself well, how can I expect anyone else to?

I want you to spend this weekend while you are ostensibly home with the family (maybe you’re even lucky enough to have a long weekend?) thinking about the little things you do for your family, and whether or not you do them for yourself. If the answer is no, then I have another question for you to answer: why not?

Flashback Friday: Meal Prep

Hello out there! I am going to make an effort on Fridays to talk about some of the things that I feel we’ve missed by me jumping into this blogging business when my daughter is already one and half! Flashback Fridays will cover topics about pregnancy and those first few months trying to juggle a newborn and a career.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, the timing was not great. She was due in September, so I was back at work for the Fall semester for about three weeks before she was born. I didn’t want to use any of my precious maternity leave before she was born (despite people asking me, repeatedly.) So, I was juggling the back-to-school frenzy (orientations, faculty meetings, etc) and the hormones and nervousness of impending motherhood.

Plus I was nesting like crazy and had not yet moved into my new house. I hadn’t even signed the paperwork yet. Another long story for some other Flashback Friday.

To work on all this nervous energy, I decided to organize a big meal prep weekend. I did it alone, and I was pretty well exhausted after I did it, but it ended up being the best thing I did to prepare for my daughter.

I made 14 meals, all of which had at least 6 servings (servings + second helpings + lunch the next day for myself and my husband.) I didn’t track how much it cost, because this blog was not anywhere near my mind when I did it – but I would estimate it cost about $100, and I didn’t have to cook for more than two weeks. That was especially nice when I ended up having to recover from an emergency c-section.

I put everything in my freezer – I have a normal sized side-by-side refrigerator/freezer, and it all fit comfortably with room for other things like my smoothie packs and ice cream. I had a fairly healthy mix of re-heat/cook in the oven and dump-prep for the crock pot. I tried to limit the need for sides, but I did buy a bunch of rice to make with some of the recipes ; I have a rice cooker so it was not a big extra step to add that to the meal. Other additions included pasta or hamburger buns. The biggest problem I had (because it was a side-by-side) is that I had to measure the width of my shelves – 9 x 13 pans would fit, but my round 9 inch pans wouldn’t, because of the extra space needed for the rim. Luckily I figured this out before I finished cooking and was able to use 8-inch round pans instead.

If you have a friend or two who want to help, the process can go even faster. And, if you have a deep-freeze, you don’t have to worry about the room issue!

I had such a good time and was so relieved to have the meals that a set of meals ended up being my baby shower girt when a coworker had a baby a few months later – yes, I did meal prep with a six month old!

These are the meals I made for my Baby Meal Prep:

  1. Easy Lasagna from The Shabby Creek Cottage
  2. Chicken Parmesan Casserole from Thriving Home
  3. Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Pasta Bake from The Shabby Creek Cottage
  4. Hawaiian Chicken  (combined from Saving You Dinero and The Girl Who Ate Everything)
  5. Chicken Fajitas from Saving You Dinero
  6. Chicken Cacciatore from Six Sister’s Stuff
  7. Freezer Chicken Pot Pie from FreezerDinner.com
  8. Chicken and Dressing from The Shabby Creek Cottage
  9.  Chicken, Veggie and Potato Pan from Just a Pinch
  10. BBQ Pork Loin (My Own Recipe)
  11. Creamy Baked Pasta from Graceful Little Honey Bee
  12. Goulash from Joyful Momma’s Kitchen
  13. Curry Chicken from New Leaf Wellness
  14. Chicken Enchiladas (My Own Recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

This meal prep idea is also really useful if you know you’re going to have to work late for a project or a schedule change! I did another mini-prep last semester when I had schedule conflicts and had to stay at work until 8pm on Thursdays!

Time To… Thursday: Time to Plan Quality Family Time

With my vacation coming up, I’ve been thinking about what I want to get done. I’m super lucky that I have lots of time off in the summer (two weeks in May, half-days in June, and then 6 more weeks of vacation!) and one of the things that I definitely want to prioritize is spending time with Baby Girl.  Last year during my vacation, she was still fairly small (11 months old at the end of the summer) so there wasn’t much I felt comfortable doing with her. This year, though, she is a big girl and ready to show me!

During the school year our schedule is (roughly) as follows:

8 am – Wake Up/Nursing/Breakfast/Getting ready

9:45 – Mommy leaves for work.

3:15 – Mommy comes home for lunch. Baby Girl usually goes down for a nap now if she hasn’t already.

4:00 – Mommy goes back to work.

6:00 – Mommy comes home and immediately starts dinner.

7:00 – Dinner and clean up

8:00 – Time with baby girl until she’s tired – Usually about 9 pm.

As you can see, quality time where she isn’t half asleep can be somewhat hard. If I can get away early from work and the weather is nice, we might go for a walk. The husband and I are especially fond of going for family walks on date night (which is honestly more-or-less family night now) and have even packed her up just to go walk around the mall or Wal-mart when the weather is too bad.

On Saturday night, I sometimes build a nest on the floor where we can settle in for some TV time. It’s our version of the kid-favorite fort; she likes to try to move furniture, so I settled for piles of pillows and blankets on the floor to cozy up in. This works surprisingly well in the summer as well as winter -with our HVAC vents on the floor, the cool air makes her want to cuddle.

Another thing we do together is Mommy/Baby Dance Party! I am currently working on a playlist of GirlPower songs for us to dance to, but for now, I just turn on Spotify, or one of the music channels on our DirecTV, and we boogie! It’s especially nice for those night where she just won’t settle down – it burns energy.

The last thing, off the top of my head, is spending time in the kitchen together, which I have talked about before. I can’t wait until she’s old enough to start helping, but for now, the company is nice and we can still interact!

This summer though, I’ll be home a lot more. I’m looking forward to trying out (and telling you all about) different arts and crafts we try!

 

Not Perfection, but Efficiency

One of the things I want to talk about in this blog is organization. We touched on this ever-so-briefly yesterday, when I advocated getting a calendar to keep track of coworkers’ birthdays.

The internet is full of organizational methods, paper and digital planners, and how-to-guides. I have even published one. It’s for planning conference trips, something I could not find anywhere one the internet. I found plenty of family trip planners, and one very nice but incomplete-for-my-needs blogging conference planner.

But here, I am going to let you in on a little secret: planners are a damn lifesaver when you’re a working mom. I had a lot going on in my life when we found out I was pregnant (including buying a new house, working toward tenure, and issues with my mother-in-law being unable to live on her own). I don’t know if it was stress or hormones, but baby-brain hit me hard, too. So I started looking for planners (and in a few cases, making them.) It is better to start earlier, because the more things you forget, the worse the stress will be, and it will affect your ability to remember other things.

My super-fantastic memory mostly came back when the new baby stress was over, but I do find myself relying on planners still. I have two, and I’m working on a third. The first is work, the second is family, and the new one is my personal one.

I task you with this, tonight: make a list of all the things you have to keep track of, regardless of whether you feel like you struggle with them or not. Then start looking for planner pages and start building your planner. As this blog progresses, I’ll be sharing how I built mine, but for now just start with taking a look at why you might need one.

 

Rebranding this Blog

As a Mother’s Day present to myself, I am going to be re-branding this blog. In the past I’ve used it to showcase some of my creative endeavors (most recently, my 21 Days of Creativity). I’ve also occasionally linked to my cooking blog, Butter and Whisky. That stuff will still happen, but in addition, I will be writing more about being a mom.

This is not another SAHM Mom Blog!

I am a career mom. I am a librarian at a university; I am tenure-track faculty. I love my job. For the first year of my daughter’s life, I can honestly, 100% say that I loved my job more than being a mom.

These days, it’s more-or-less even. Some days work sucks (cornered by the chancellor, difficult student questions, unruly employees who love writing on the whiteboard) and some days being a mom sucks (middle of the night wake-ups, super messy/stinky diapers, unexplained tantrums),  but they tend to even out.

But I felt like I did not have a lot of places I could go for advice about being a career mom. I adapted some advice from SAHM blogs, but a lot of it, I went it alone. So I am going to write out my experiences, starting from the pregnancy and going forward. Not all of it will pertain to every one, but I hope it will help someone.

Especially a couple of friends – one of whom has a career and is about to try to have a baby, and the other of whom has kids but is going back to school to pursue a career.

I’ve got a few categories of ideas thought up, but is there anything else you want to see? Let me know in the comments!