Saturday, March 24, 2012

Running Wild

What do you do on a lovely spring day with a little boy who is obsessed with football?

You take him to a college football field and let him run wild.

I even managed to catch the football a couple of times. This little boy is sure teaching me to love running around outside.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Meal Planning Gone Awry aka How I Saved My House From Explosion

Meal planning didn't go exactly as planned this week because my mother-effing stove is broken.

Come on, my cooking isn't that bad.

On Thursday morning I thought I smelled gas coming from the stove and the oven had been making a really loud bang during preheating. The husband couldn't smell anything and thought I was crazy. I didn't listen to him and called the gas company. It turned out to be a defective valve. When I was preheating the oven the gas would just pool and then ignite (a delayed ignition). So basically, I saved the house from blowing up and I was totally right and the husband was wrong. Win! Except that now I can't use my stove.

However, no stove means going out to dinner which is definitely a win. The husband doesn't really care to have his picture taken in restaurants. But he's so cute, I can't help it.

Shit got real with Leo for a minute or two. Homeboy started dropping all the forks on the floor and I thought he was going to chuck his sippy cup across the restaurant. Luckily he calmed down when the fettuccine alfredo arrived. Which he proceed to smear all over himself. I think a couple of noodles made it in his mouth.

We are hoping to get the stove fixed this weekend or else I'll be planning a week of cooking in the microwave and the crock pot. Or maybe we will just eat out every night. Maybe we don't really need that thing fixed after all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Working It Out

Once again I find myself trying to commit to working out. So far I'm on week #2 of keeping my commitment. We all know how hard it is to fit in workouts when you are a mom, particularly a working mom. The one good thing about daylight savings time is that it makes it so much easier to get out and take a walk after work. I'm trying to do two walks after work per week.

I know that two walks a week doesn't sound like much but at least I'm moving around. Getting everyone out of the house for a walk is giant hassle. I've got to get collars and leashes on two bulldogs, change out of my work clothes, get Leo in the stroller. Then we walk around the block and I have to go back home to drop off the bulldogs who have joint problems and can only walk a short distance. Then I head out again to walk the hills around my house. I only walk for about 20 minutes but pushing a 30 pound toddler up a hill in a giant ass stroller is actually quite a workout. Luckily Leo loves going for the walks and seeing all the cars and such.

Today I was at Target doing my ritual "I just got paid, I must buy all the things" trip and I picked up the 30 day shred dvd. I know I'm kinda late to the Jillian Michaels thing but the dvd was $10 and the workouts are only 20 minutes long. As soon as Leo hit they hay, the husband and I were in front of the tv shredding it out. Holy crap it is hard. I'm not sure I can do this every day for 30 days but damnit I'm going to try! I am already so flipping sore. I can't believe I used to do hour long kick boxing and spin classes. I'm so sore that wine doesn't even sound good. What have you done to me Jillian???

My workout goals are simple - lose 10 pounds and be able to wear cute, trendy shorts during my trip to New York this May. By blogging my workouts I'm hoping to make myself accountable. We shall see what happens in May. I'll either be rocking my shorts or covering my ass with a full circle skirt.

Monday, March 19, 2012

All About Leo

Sometimes, when I'm bored at work, I will go through my old blog posts and look at pictures of an itty bity Leo. I always wish that I had written more about Leo, posted more pictures, memoralized cute little things about him. I have pretty much failed at keeping a baby book so this blog is all I have written about him. In order to remedy this lack of information about Leo, I'm dedicating this post to him. This is probably only interesting to me but I'll be grateful for it on a slow day at work.

Leo is just over 20 months and seeing him become his own person is simply breath-taking. He is so opinionated. Every night we pick out books to read and he simply must pick out all his own books. If I pick out the book, he says "nooo" and shakes his head.

He loves to pretend to make food and then pretend to eat it. Or have me eat it. Or feed Scout. I wish he were as excited about eating real food as he is about eating pretend food.

He loves to play dress up with glasses, hats, mommy and daddy's shoes. He imitates our actions. He'll flip upside down and pretend to blow dry his hair like mommy. If daddy is laying in bed with his feet up, so is Leo.

Leo's current play things are mega-blocks, trains, little people, and books. Oh my, this little one loves his books. It makes my nerdy heart so happy to see him pick out a book, ask us to read it, and sit quietly while we read it.

Leo loves him some football. He wakes up asking for football. Thank goodness the husband has all the good Michigan games dvr'd. Leo always wants to know where his football is and often goes to sleep with a football or two in his crib.

Leo can be quiet and cautious in new environments. He doesn't get upset, but he you can see him taking the scene all in and planning how he is going to incorporate himself. Once he warms up, he's all in and ready to rumble.

Of course, Leo loves the bullies. He gives Frank kisses (which is kind of gross) and he is always trying to hug them. He also tries to pick them up while repeatedly saying "bath." I agree, they are pretty smelly and in need of a bath.

I could go on and on all night but I need to get to bed at some point. Don't you feel better that you know all about my little man?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Proust Questionnaire.

Today I had the honor of fulfilling my civic duty via jury duty. I was actually very excited, I've never had jury duty before. I was quite disappointed after sitting in a courtroom all day and not even making it into the box to be questioned by the judge and lawyers. I had the perfect answers all planned out!

We had a ridiculously long lunch so I wandered around and found a super cute little restaurant. I stopped at a newsstand and grabbed a Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair and Vogue were my absolute favorite magazines in the pre-Leo era. I loved looking at the glossy ads, reading about the latest fashion lines, the book reviews, and interviews. I was a little disappointed that I was too tired and too disconnected to even make it through one full article in Vanity Fair today.

But I was still able to enjoy one of my favorite things about Vanity Fair, the Proust Questionnaire at the end of the magazine. Every issue of Vanity Fair includes a Proust Questionnaire answered by a celebrity or some noteworthy figure. I've always wanted to answer these questions and since I'm am dangerously uninspired for blog topics here I go:

What is your idea of perfect happiness:

Feeling balanced and accomplished in everything that I pursue.

What is your greatest fear:

That somehow Leo grows up to be a mean person. I want so bad for him to be caring and compassionate.

What is your favorite journey:


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Perfectionism. Is that a virtue? I don't know but it seems like no good comes of striving to be perfect.

On what occasion do you lie?

When what I have to say will hurt someone's feelings and saying it serves no purpose.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?

My weight.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

"Like." "That's bullshit."

What is your greatest regret?

That I was not truer to myself when I was younger.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

What: books. Who: my husband and Leo.

When and where were you happiest?

The road trip that my Husband and I took after the taking the bar. We went up the coast of California. I felt like I could do anything at the point. The stress of being a grown-up had not hit yet.

Which talent would you like to have?

To be able to sing.

What is your current state of mind?


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To stop comparing myself and my situation to others.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

I would make them be more open with each other.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Passing the California state bar. (Gasp! My greatest achievement is not giving birth. I'm such a bad mother! But seriously I worked at passing the bar, giving birth is all biological and there were drugs involved.)

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

A cat.

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?

A dog.

What is your most treasured possession?

Probably my cell phone, which is so so sad.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Not having friends or someone to confide in.

Where would you like to live?

In a house with a yard that is close to my office!

What is your most marked characteristic?

I'd like to think it is my ability to look at a situation objectively.

What do you value in your friends?

Honesty and loyalty.

Who are your heroes in real life?

Working moms who do it all and share their secrets to success and manage to raise children who are not axe murderers.

What are your favorite names?

Catherine, Robert, Frank.

What is it that you most dislike?


How would you like to die?

As a very very old woman.

What is your motto?

I don't really have one. My motto for breastfeeding was "stay committed, be flexible," which I think can be adapted to many aspects of life.

If you made it this far, congratulations and thanks! I'd love to see others answer this questionnaire. I think it poses some pretty thought provoking questions.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Things I Learned This Weekend

- If you give a toddler a bowl of yogurt and a spoon the toddler will use said spoon to paint his hair with the aforementioned yogurt.

- Mani/pedi dates with good friends need to occur more frequently. Related, if you come home and change a diaper you will ruin your manicure.

- Sometimes you ugly cry in the mall. And not because you saw an "I love the 90s" t-shirt in a store and it made you feel ridiculously old.

- When your husband is going to be out of town for the week your grocery bill is reduced by about $30. This means you can spend $30 on funky colors of nail polish because pinterest told you to. And then you can fix your messed up manicure.

- It is really hard to find a reasonably priced, canvas messenger bag. I've been looking for months.

- Champagne and pizza make playdates even better.

- Goats don't mind a little pet but they do not care to be hugged.

- Weekends need to be longer. Just call me Captain Obvious.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to Eat Steak for a Week

This week my meal planning was, once again, derailed. One very important thing about meal planning I have learned is sometimes you have to be flexible and improvise!

Monday was my birthday so my oh-so-amazing husband cooked me a very nice birthday dinner. The only problem was that he had bought $30 worth of filet mignon from Costco. Do you know how much filet that is? It was about four huge steaks. And seriously amazing. It actually was a really good deal even if we ate filet all week. I know, our lives our so hard.

Here is how our week went:

Sunday - I made a recipe I found on pinterest, crock pot buffalo chicken. I hated it. I'm not sure why I even made it, I hate buffalo sauce. I thought the ranch dressing mix would make it not so spicy but it was still flaming hot. Despite hating it, I ate it for dinner and choked it down for two lunches because I didn't want to waste the food. My depression era grandparents would be so proud.

Monday - Husband made filet, asparagus, and a caesar salad. That man can grill a steak.

Tuesday - Oh my gawd, dinner on Tuesday was so amazing. I made the Pioneer Woman's beef with snow peas with the leftover filet. It was divine. Seriously restaurant quality and really easy and really fast. I have a new favorite recipe. The only thing I would change is that I would double the sauce recipe. I like a fair amount of sauce over my rice. I think the fresh ginger is really what makes this stand out and you could use the sauce for any kind of stir fry. I could talk about this recipe for days. Let's move on.

Wednesday - Ok, down to the last filet. I made steak and eggs for brinner! Who doesn't love brinner? It reminds me of my dad. He always seemed to make brinner when my mom was working nights.

Along with the steak and eggs I made some skillet potatoes out of my recent farmer's market purchase. We finally made it down to our local farmer's market and then didn't have any cash. We only had enough cash to buy this little bag of potatoes. Total Farmer's Market fail. I felt all Charles Dickens like as I handed over my $3 and walked away with a tiny bag of potatoes. Please sir, may I have some potatoes? (Please read that with that poor Dickens British accent. Thanks.)

Hey look! It's Leo enjoying brinner. Except not. He only ate a tortilla. The boy turned down filet. I can't even.

Thursday: We had turkey/spinach meatballs with the Pioneer Woman's bow tie lasagna. I think I make this meal once a week. It is good, easy, and everyone eats it. Well, usually everyone eats it. I'm pretty sure Leo has eaten nothing but carbs this week except for the random two helpings of green beans he ate at daycare today. Also, if the Pioneer Woman didn't exist I'm pretty sure my family wouldn't eat.

Tomorrow we are going out to dinner with friends and Saturday we have a play/dinner date with friends. I'm starting to run out of recipe ideas. I have no idea what I'm going to cook next week. I'm starting to get sick of my tried and true recipes and I don't really have any new ones to try. Suggestions are welcomed!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Nightlife

Oh the nightlife in my household. It is so hectic, crazy, and full of awesome. We pack so much into the approximately 2 hours we have with Leo after work that I'm surprised we don't fall down in exhaustion as soon as he is asleep. Sometimes Leo is in a great mood, sometimes he is a cranky toddler. Sometimes I'm in a great mood, sometimes I'm a cranky mess. Often times we get both sides in one night.

We started tonight with whining for mama's phone. To think that I was worried at one point because I didn't have an iphone or ipad and "omg would he be the only kindergartner who didn't know how to use any technology?" I worry too much.

I got him happily contained in his highchair with playdoh and crayons while I cooked dinner. This worked relatively well. There were only a few moments of whining when he couldn't get the playdoh out of the can (that stuff seriously creates some kind of mad vacuum seal in those stupid little cans). Obviously cooking dinner is a difficult part of the night. I don't want to ignore him but I also need to pay attention to what I am doing. I'm trying to think of more ideas to keep him occupied because him dumping out the contents of my pantry is driving me crazy.

Dinner can go in many different directions. Sometimes he eats. Sometimes he doesn't. Sometimes he dips his bananas in ketchup. Toddler eating is so confusing. I have given up on trying to understand it. I'm proud to say that most nights the three of us eat together as a family. Some nights it is just me and the little man. Even then I try to make sure I talk to him throughout the meal and not just stare into space out of exhaustion. I try my best to make sure he has a balanced meal but there has been more than one night where he ate goldfish for dinner.

The best part of our nights is after dinner when we just play. This is the time where I get to really experience my son and see the amazing little person he is becoming. I bought Leo an old school Mr. Potato Head this week and it has been a huge hit. Best $8 spent ever.

The husband got me an ipod and speakers for my birthday and we have been having dance parties on the regular. Tonight's dance party included a lesson on how we don't use our instruments on the dog. I honestly do not understand why Frank doesn't just walk away. He just stands there and takes it.

Another favorite right now is the tunnel. Which had to be put away after Leo insisted on trying to walk while standing up in the tunnel which caused all sorts of visions in my head of how he was going to trip and crack his head open. In related news, Leo has a scratch on his forehead that sort of makes him look like Harry Potter. I need to find little glasses and a Hogwarts scarf asap.

After playtime, it's bath, last drink of milk, saying goodnight to poor daddy who is working late again, books and bedtime.

I hate to think about the time I spend with Leo during the week in terms of hours because if you look at it that way it seems like I don't see him very much. I pack so much into the time after work because that is the quality time I get with him. I want to teach him things, see him grow, and show him that I am there for him even if I am at work during the day. I really do feel that our time during the week is quality time. When I do stay home during the week I am not at all this engaged with Leo from 6 to 8pm because I am so done with dealing with a toddler all day.

I'll admit, some nights, when I am too tired or emotionally spent from work, I just hang out while Leo plays with his toys. Other nights, I'm actively engaged with him every minute until he goes to bed. Most nights include a lecture on how we don't stand on the dog or we don't ride the dog, or for the love of baby Jesus don't touch the dog's butthole!

Our nights have evolved so much from when he was infant and the focus was just on nursing, bath, and bedtime because he went to sleep so early. I am interested to see how they change over time as he becomes older and more independent. I hope the terrible twos do not take away my happy toddler playtime.

I definitely end every night in exhaustion but it is (usually) a happy exhaustion. I'm not exactly sure why these two are so tired.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Whole Lotta Talk

This past weekend we went out to eat. I picked a restaurant that is in a plaza of restaurants by the Pond (ok fine, Honda Center). As we pulled into a very packed parking lot, I remembered that the Ducks were playing a big game that night. Sidenote: I love me some hockey. I'm hoping that if Rick Santorum actually becomes president, my love of hockey will ease my transition into becoming a Canadian because I will be getting the eff out of dodge if that happens. Ok, enough side rant about politics and hockey.)

Anyways, every restaurant was packed so we ended up going to this Irish pub that is a bar and restaurant with emphasis on the bar. It was very "You have a baby. In a bar." It took forever to get a table and forever for the waitresses clad in mini plaid skirts, tight tops and knee hi socks to notice us. Leo was quickly approaching flipping his toddler shit mode and I was crafting my acceptance speech for mother of the year for bringing my kid to a bar with scantily clad waitresses.

Finally, one of the waitresses paid attention to us, got our food, going, and made sure we had everything we needed for Leo. My husband remarked, "she must have a kid." You can totally tell when wait staff have kids. They just get it. The waitress as a mom got me thinking, I asked my husband, "so she's a working mom, do you think she spends lots of time and energy thinking/writing/talking/reading about being a working mom."

His response - "no you psycho-freak." Hmm, a simple no would have sufficed. The point is he thinks I spend too much time worrying and thinking about being a working mom. And I do spend a lot of time on this subject. I write about it, I read about it, I talk to other working moms about it, I talk to non-working moms about it. I went to my book club meeting today where I was the only working mom and I specifically told myself that I would not talk about it. Then I ended up making a working mom blogosphere reference.

I know I talk about it a lot. But the thing is I need to talk about it a lot. I need to talk (or blog) how I feel about it because I have a lot of feelings about being a working mom. I talk about it a lot in an attempt to help other working moms who might be feeling the same things and think they are alone. I know how heart-wrenching it is to leave your baby in the care of others and I know that it gets better. I read about it a lot in order to see how others make it work and to know that I am not alone. Hearing other women support each other in this role is inspiring and comforting.

I don't think that one can just do the whole working mom gig without talking about it. There is just too much going on. The guilt, the lack of guilt, the routines, the judgment, the lack of support, what support works, the list goes on and on and on. I think that women talking about their roles as employees and mothers furthers the advancement of work places that respect both.

So maybe my husband thinks I'm crazy for being obsessed with being a working mom. I say that all my talk helps me do what I do and there are many other things that make me crazy. Like me not letting Leo touch the toys at the children's hair salon because I thought they looked too dirty. Now that is being a psycho-freak.