Precious Moments

September 19, 2011

Ahhhh….a nice, hot cup of fresh brewed coffee. In a previous life, I used to sleep-in on the weekends and wake up with a cup of coffee and my laptop to enjoy a nice relaxing morning. So what’s the difference you say? Isn’t that what I am doing now? Well, 5:10am is the difference my friend. In a desperate effort to have a few minutes of “alone” time without anyone needing a snack or juice or cartoons or for me to get them dressed, I have decided to embrace my exhaustion after Claire’s 4:50am bottle and enjoy some rare and fleeting peace and quiet. At this stage in the game with small children, even trips to the bathroom do not guarantee privacy anymore. Never in a million years did I think I would choose an earlier than necessary wake-up time over a precious opportunity to sleep, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the first morning calls for Mom and the sleepy bedheads wanting warm pajama hugs because I know in few years I will not be so popular, but for now, some internet browsing for things I can’t afford and some mindless celebrity gossip is just what the doctor ordered. And this 5am cup of coffee tastes incredibly good for some reason. So good morning moms, have a great day…I hope you get to sneak in a few moments of peace and quiet in some shape or form.

Rainy Day Cupcakes

September 13, 2011

I love a good old rainy day, but let’s face it, there is only so much for the kids to do inside before they start driving any sane mom a little nuts. At the risk of a sugar high, I usually like to bake with my boys and they seem to love it - plus it keeps them occupied sans TV for a couple creative hours. Using box mixes are just fine if cooking is not really your thing or you want to keep it simple, but I like it a bit more complicated so there are more ingredients for the boys to mix.

This past weekend during a rainy spell, we decided to make “White Almond Sour Cream Cupcakes” (see the Recipes tab for the recipe) or just “cupcakes” to them. This recipe is good because it calls for a box mix but also a few additional ingredients for that extra “oomph.” I let Jerad pick the food coloring for the frosting, and we ended up with some delicious, neon blue cupcakes. I have a plastic picnic tablecloth that I throw over the kitchen table for any messy baking projects and another I keep on hand for art projects, etc. to save myself a headache. Just a little shake outside and a wipe down with Basic H afterward and clean-up is easy. Well except for the floor perhaps and the kids themselves – okay, I guess I’ll take what I can get in the clean-up department.

One Fine Morning........

September 7, 2011

See this little guy to the left squeezing his baby sister? Cute, huh? Don’t be fooled….try to get this moody little worldwind ready in the morning when he is tired and you’re attempting to get out the door:

8:30 – 9:15pm night before – Owen continuously gets up and insists he is not tired; voice cracks and is obviously tired.

5:55am – I am getting out of the shower. He comes and lays outside the bathroom door with his stuffed lamb (“Lamby”) and whines tiredly that it is morning time and he wants to watch cartoons. I scoop him up and tell him it’s too early to get up and he starts to cry. Still in my towel, I try to put him back in his bed and lay with him.

6:10 – 6:30am – Owen continues to cry again to go out on the couch. Claire starts fussing to be fed, so I settle for putting Owen in bed next to my soundly sleeping husband and he falls asleep. I heat up a bottle and pick Claire up to feed her. She starts smiling excitedly to see me and I realize she will now be getting up this early, too. Feeling like a negligent mom, I pop in a Baby Einstein DVD so I can get ready. Owen hears the music and now gets up for good requesting yogurt and juice. I am still in my towel.

7:10am – I have managed to put on make-up, dry my hair, get myself and the kids dressed, pack my bag, get snacks for Owen, remember the check and extra diapers for the sitter, grab breakfast to go all in the course of 40 minutes. I am not quite sure if my clothes match, but I have given it my best shot given the nanosecond I had to look in the mirror. I am trying to leave when Owen bursts into tears about wearing his new shoes. He wants flip flops. But it is too cold I tell him – don’t you want to wear your new shoes you picked out? Noooooo………..sniff, sniff…yes. I reach for socks. Nooooo….I don’t want socks. Okay fine.

7:23am – Actually trying to exit through door. Car is pre-packed. Claire in one hand, breakfast in the other. Mommy, wails Owen, I need socks. Sigh. I put Claire down and get him socks.

7:26am – Really leave this time. My loving husband gets up and comes out to say good-bye.

8:04am – Arrive at work. Battle #1 down, and now on to what I get paid to do…….

Homemade Baby Food - Is It Worth It?

September 3, 2011

I was determined to save money and be healthy by making my own baby food this time around. Sure, I initially invested $29.95 in a Baby Mill and about $10.00 in freezer/microwave safe containers, but I told myself they would more than pay for themselves in no time. Well, the first month has been great – I just put fresh or frozen fruit/vegetables in the Baby Mill and add water depending on the food’s hardness and “turbo” away. I did learn the hard way that I do have to cook some of the food first (I primarily boil) depending on what it is.

Today, though, when the lid on the Mill got stuck once again, I must have "tapped" a little too hard on the counter because it shattered. Now what? I decided to try using my larger food processor which was a pretty decent model when I received it for a wedding gift several years ago. Blessing in disguise! Now only did it work wonderfully, but let me process larger amounts of food at once - bonus.

4 small bananas - $0.69 = 5 servings of food

1/3 bag of large frozen mixed vegetables and a few tablespoons of water - $0.67 = 6 servings of veggies

11 servings of food for $1.36, not too shabby as the same would have been $5.99 at the store.

Lesson learned: Definitely a money saver, but if you have a decent food processor, baby gadgets not necessary.

Jogging Stroller - Friend or Foe?

August 28, 2011

Don’t get me wrong, despite this below experience, I love my jogging stroller, I really do. It is a BabyTrend travel system that is durable and easy to maneuver. I have been waiting in anticipation for my youngest to be old enough to take it for a test run. With multiple children now, it is even harder to sneak away for a solo run, or well anything for that matter, so I thought why not incorporate a child in the mix and make things easier? While previously out on walks, I had watched several mothers breeze by me with jogging strollers making it look like an effortless process. So today, determined to squeeze in a work out and with no extra time to spare, I deemed my chunky 5 month-old ready for the challenge.

Well, hats off to those other mothers I witnessed because it was not in any way, shape or form effortless. Pushing a stroller with roughly 20 lbs in it is just plain awkward at first, particularly when you are used to having your arms free to pump back and forth. I felt unintentionally like Phoebe on “Friends” running in Central Park with her legs flailing about – not exactly the picture of grace. I pushed and panted through two miles trying to not make too big of a spectacle of myself, but inevitably ended up a sweaty, breathless mess. At least I provided some amusement to a few others on the trail. I am guessing that jogging with a stroller is probably a learned art that will require more practice. A+ for effort I suppose.

Freshman - Now & Then

August 29, 2011

I work on a college campus and I am currently surrounded by the hustle and bustle of back to school time. Watching all the incoming freshman has made me reminisce about my freshman year here on the very same campus back in 1996, just to date myself a little. Though the same simultaneous air of “clueless” combined with “trying to be cool” is still rampant, there are many differences I can’t help but notice in such rather short amount of time:

1) Cell phones. As if I had to tell you, students are now glued to their phones and electronic devices. I, however, did not have a cell phone until I was 23. We had to check our messages on our corded dorm phone. Pay phones still existed. No one texted because there was just no way to. Can you believe that was only 15 years ago?

2) Computers. Slim, tiny fashionable lap tops and ipads are now the norm. I wrote the majority of my papers in the computer lab. We envied the occasional roommate who had a hulking desktop. Having an e-mail account was a brand new experience. What, pray tell, did we do without Facebook?

3) Clothes. Granted, it was the “grunge” era, so dress standards were much lower back then. But I am still taken aback when students attend class looking better than I do on a rare night out. At least some sloppiness still remains – let’s hope the big boots and sweat pants in public trend doesn’t return this season.

4) Jobs. I actually feel kind of bad for students nowadays. When I was in college I worked at a coffee shop throughout all four years and had a blast. Now students need to have internships and important jobs already when they graduate. What happened to fun?

5) Living Space. Okay, apartments in college now are way better than my first even out-of-college working apartment. Whatever happened to roughing it and scraping by in college in tiny, run down apartments? What are all these state of the art apartments and even dorm rooms for that matter? We also had a communal 14-inch TV with a built in VCR and were just fine. We had to walk to a laundry mat to do our laundry. Seriously, I have seen nicer furniture sets for students than we can afford in our own home in our 30s.

6) Awareness. Maybe it was just me, but despite thinking I knew everything, I was actually kind of clueless at 18. Kids today seem to know much more about the world and how to get what they want. Maybe it is the huge explosion of technology and social media over the past decade, but it is actually kind of intimidating in a way the knowledge/skills students have when they graduate. Of course, nothing beats real world experience to us oldies but goodies….