Tag Archives: Relationships

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!

 

How to Make Time, Pt. 1

Following up on yesterday’s post, I am here today to tell you how I have managed to make cupcakes for my coworkers over the past 10 months. That is fourteen batches of cupcakes. There are still six batches to go.

The first step is one of those simple-but-complicated things. You know, the ones that are easy to say but not necessarily easy to do.

You have to want to do it.

I know what they say:  “If everything’s important, then nothing is important.” And that is absolutely true. There have been things that are not so important to me now that used to be important to me before. That’s pretty standard with any life change – oh, if only I had a blog when I started this job! – but that doesn’t mean that nothing is allowed to be important. That would be just as equally ridiculous.

Therefore, you need to set a goal. Mine was pretty ambitious – making cupcakes can be somewhat time consuming, especially when you consider clean up, and there were definitely days where dishes were left in the sink until dinner the next day, and I was cussing myself (we’ll get into how I conquered that!)

Yours may be slightly less ambitious. Maybe you want to treat all your coworkers once a month, instead of having it set to a birthday schedule. I did “cheat” on my cupcakes for the people who were born over the Christmas holiday – I brought one batch of cupcakes in to the holiday party for the two birthday ladies (three, if you count me!) – because our building literally would not be open from the time finals ended until the day after New Year’s.

You could make or buy cards. That one would be pretty simple – buying a cache of inexpensive cards that you could keep organized. You could even keep them in your office. Things are easier when they’re non-perishable!

Once you have your goal set, I suggest getting a calendar and writing down all the birthdays. You could set reminders in your phone, if you’re more technologically oriented. The goal is to make sure that you will be reminded, so make note of the  birthdays wherever you will actually look. That’s where Drew’s birthday was almost forgotten – I had tucked my calendar away in a binder, and it ended up behind some other papers.

Then ask your coworkers when their birthdays are. Just catch them in the break room, or the hallway, or wherever, and say, “Hi ____! I’m trying not to miss anyone’s birthdays this next (fiscal,/school/calendar) year, and I’m not sure I’ve got yours right. When is it?” If, for some reason, they ask further questions (we have pranksters here, so my coworkers have a right to be suspicious), tell them, “Well, I’m not making any promises, but I’d like to do something to make you and everyone else feel appreciated.”

I will confess, this one was done for me, because the office assistant keeps track on  her big calendar, and she gave me a list – but I actually had to cull the list a bit, which brings me to step four: set limits. There are 55 birthdays on the office assistant’s list, plus my two employees who started after the list was made. Some of them are instructors (who are only here one or two nights a week). Some of them are administrative people who don’t actually work at this campus. So I limited the cupcakes to the staff I work with regularly. This is the “core” of our group – the administrative staff downstairs – plus the BSAs, the part-time evening person, the bookstore clerk, the writing tutor, and my two employees in the library.

That still gave me 20 batches of cupcakes, so what do I do to get them made?

First, I split the two halves of the job: the cupcakes get made the evening before, and the frosting gets made and piped the morning of.  I usually make the cupcakes after Ana has gone to bed (hence the occasional sink full of dishes). They take, on average, about 35 minutes. Usually that small sacrifice of sleep is worth it, because it gives me a chance to wind down and I sleep better. Plus, the cupcakes can cool fully before frosting.

Then, either I frost the cupcakes before she gets up or while she is having breakfast in her high chair. Frosting cupcakes always seems like a bigger  job than it actually is, but it only takes about 15 minutes if the butter has been thawed, and if you use store bought, it’ll take even less.

Ana was already big enough to be eating semi-solid food when I started this, so she was used to being in the high chair, and loves to be in the kitchen with me. I’ll put on some music and dance around and play with her while I’m working. And then it’s quality mommy-baby time, too! Our high chair did have an infant setting though – we just didn’t get it until after she was sitting up on her own. Other options might be a playpen or a bouncer, depending on how big your kitchen is.

I’ve titled this post Part 1 for a reason. It’s something we’ll be coming back to often. The ability to make time, and the best ways to do it will change as your child grows.

Co-Workers…

If I am going to be honest with you, I first must be honest with myself. I have mixed feelings about my co-workers. I think, at some point in our lives, we all do.

My biggest problem, I think, is that the culture here is different than at the main campus. Four years in, and I’m still not always sure where I stand. But I have to work with these people, and after my year-long growing pains and pity party (again, I’m trying to be honest) I decided that maybe I should do something to make myself a better coworker.

Yes, I do my work. Yes, I volunteer to do things that are technically out of the scope of my responsibilities. Yes, I help my coworkers grow in their respective fields by giving them advice and constructive criticism. But I am an introvert at heart, and a very private person, besides.

These people are not private. We’ll get in to that later.

Back to the problem: I’m an introvert and therefore it makes me look like I’m not interested in other peoples’ lives. So this year, starting on the fiscal year (because it was convenient and because it aligned better with the school year) I decided to keep track of everyone’s birthdays and make them cupcakes. We are rapidly approaching the year mark, and the only person I have missed is the graduate assistant who was hired after my list was made. (Oops.)

We will get into how I managed to do that with a baby in tomorrow’s post. Today, I want to share with you the recipe I made Monday night/Tuesday morning, for Drew’s birthday. Head over to my cooking blog Butter and Whisky to see The Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcake.

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!