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Category Archives: Baby

Suddenly, everyone I know is having babies. Seriously, I can think of at least four ladies due this summer, and probably another three due this winter. I was starting to worry that I’d never find unique gifts for all of them until I found My 1st Years.

My 1st Years is a fairly new company, founded in 2010 and located in the UK, that aims to provide unique baby gifts that don’t break the bank…And as a huge bonus, they personalize your gift for free.

The selection of gifts is impressive… I had so much trouble narrowing my first order down that it took me a few days to decide. When I finally did make my selection, I was surprised at how quickly the package arrived. Ten days from my order date from the UK? I’ll take it.

By the way, if you are ordering a gift, have it sent directly to the recipient. Every order comes in a beautiful complimentary gift box, and the package itself will have a big ol’ Royal Mail sticker on it. I don’t know about you, but it certainly made me feel pretty fancy!

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Oh, just a package from my friend Kate…NBD

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This company really knows how to package a gift.

My 1st Years was kind enough to provide me with one of their lovely products so I could do a review. I agonized over the decision, drove The BF nuts, and finally…finally, I chose the Gingham Blue Trim Robe in the biggest size offered (2-3 years).

Oh my goodness y’all, this is lovely. The robe is beautifully made, with his name embroidered on the front. It fits perfectly, and the boy absolutely loves wearing it.

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It’s the hood that just really gets me, I think.

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He loves to put it on right after his bath so he can lounge around before bed in comfort and style. On chilly mornings, he will go find his robe and strut around the house with it on. I happen to love the fact that the belt is actually attached to the robe, so I don’t have to worry about it getting lost.

I could not be more pleased with this product, and this company in general. I have a number of items bookmarked for future gifts, and I just know that my friends will love them.

Do yourself a favor and check them out… Not only do they offer lots of beautiful, keepsake-quality gifts for babies and young toddlers, but they have some great stuff for mom and dad, too.

**My 1st Years provided the pictured product at no cost to me, in exchange for an honest review of their site. All opinions and photographs are my own.**

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I’ll never forget how it felt to hear “OH, you took the easy way out!” during the first few weeks of my son’s life. He was born right smack in the beginning of the holidays (like, the week before Thanksgiving that year), and we were dealing with feeding issues. The swelling in my feet and ankles just refused to go down, I was exhausted (duh) AND recovering from a major surgery, and here we were dragging our brand-new, teeny-tiny little baby to family gatherings during cold and flu season.

In other words, the last thing I wanted to hear was that I “took the easy way out”. Not only was it said, but it was generally accompanied by a pat on the knee and a somewhat condescending wink. Sometimes that would be followed by a knowing glance the person would share with another woman.

I got to hear all kinds of stories from the women who were ‘real’ warriors. 30 hours of labor this, episiotomy that, blah, blah, blah… And of course the complaining was always capped off with a quick, “but it was all worth it” at the end. Uh, ok.

“I wish”, one woman said, “that I could have just relaxed on a table while a surgeon did all of the work!” She then laughed at her own joke. As if I had gone to some all-inclusive resort and sipped a (virgin!) daquri and had a pedicure during my c-section. Yeah, that’s how it went.

Here’s the thing. I know a lot of people think that c-sections happen purely by a ‘selfish’ choice made by the mom. That generally isn’t how it goes, though. A lot of women face c-sections for a number of reasons…Reasons, I might add, that are no one else’s business.

I actually did not have a choice. When it was confirmed that O was breech and couldn’t turn around (he was sharing a small space with a rather large tumor, after all) my doctor immediately scheduled the surgery. When I asked if there was anything else we could do, she explained how dangerous it would be to attempt to go the natural route and that she wasn’t really willing to do it. Not only was my life at risk, so was O’s. I even asked her to turn him, which she said would be ridiculously painful for me and likely totally ineffective.

Thanks to hormones and a lot of misconceptions, I felt like an absolute failure. I was so embarrassed to tell people outside of my family, and I was always quick to justify it by saying, “but I have no choice in the matter”.

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The morning of my c-section, I felt strangely calm. It was incredibly early, and the 30 minute drive to the hospital was a piece of cake…No traffic, no rushing, just the BF and I chatting calmly.

They did one last ultrasound to see if he had managed to flip… I silently prayed that he had, and asked if they would be willing to induce me if that were the case. The nurse said that might be an option, but then promptly confirmed that he was still breech. So much for a last-minute miracle.

The BF had to wait while they prepped me and got the epidural going. I don’t really remember the epidural being too terrible, but I do know that I was terrified I would move and paralyze myself. After all, that needle was pretty huge and it was going right into my spine. I was also perched rather precariously on the edge of the operating table and shivering because damn it was cold in that room. Also, probably from what ever they had in my IV. At any rate, the very first epidural attempt was successful and it took no time to work. In fact, they were instructing me to move my legs and I finally had to laugh and let them know I couldn’t, could they please help me?

Once I was situated on the table, a green curtain was erected to block my view of the lower half of my body. I remember my doctor asking if I felt something, and when I replied “What?”, she smiled and said I was ready to go. Apparently, she had pinched the inside of my thigh as hard as she could to make sure I was numb. Even though I felt nothing, I asked if she thought she should try again…She just smiled and told me everything was fine.

“Well, you’re not the one about to be cut open, you know?”

She laughed and made a big show of pinching me again, just to humor me. I was still nervous, but I hadn’t even felt her move my leg. I couldn’t stall any more.

The BF finally got to come in, all suited up, and sat on a stool next to my head. He and I stared at the green curtain while the final prep work was being done, and finally Dr. Stephenson let us know they were getting started. The BF and the anesthesiologist talked about hunting, and they passed the anesthesiologist’s phone to each other over my head to look at pictures of an elk he shot on some trip. It was all very surreal, and then I noticed smoke wafting up from behind the green curtain.

Oh yes, they cauterize your incision as they cut.

I felt absolutely nothing, and I was surprisingly calm. I thought, “this might really be a piece of cake”. There was a lot of chatting, mostly the BF because he can be a bit of a nervous talker. Then, the six-foot-tall, 185-ish pound doctor that was assisting said, “Ok, you aren’t going to like me much after this part.”

Then he leaned on the left side of my stomach with what had to have been his entire body weight. I’ll admit, I did panic a bit when I suddenly couldn’t breathe and thought  he was going to break my ribs. I made this ridiculous “OOF” sound as every bit of oxygen I had in my body was forced out, and then I realized that he was grunting a bit as well from all of the force he was putting into it. You see, a baby is definitely bigger than the incision they make, and it’s not like they come out easily. No, there’s a lot of pulling from the operating doctor and a TON of pushing from the assisting doctor. That part sucked and I hated every second of it. My whole body was rocking from the force he was using, and I swore I was about to fall off of the table. There is actually nothing especially gentle about a c-section, and the “piece of cake” thoughts I was having ended rather abruptly the second they started actually working on getting O out.

Obviously, I didn’t fall off of the table, and obviously, this was how they had to do it. I knew that, but I still didn’t like it.

Once they got him out, they brought him over so I could see him, then he was taken to be cleaned up and weighed. BF got to go over and watch, and on the way back to his seat I saw his eyes get wide. He told me later that when he turned around, he saw my guts all sitting on my stomach just waiting to be put back in my body. And blood. Like, a lot of blood.

Yeah, another fun thing. They have to pull your ab muscles apart like curtains and remove the organs that are in front of your uterus to get the baby out. Easy way out my ass.

So I did cry a little tear, but then I started to feel very weird. Everything sounded like it was in a tunnel, my vision was starting to blur, and I felt a bit nauseated. I tried a couple of times to tell someone before I finally managed to get the words out…If you’ve ever had one of those dreams when you’re trying to scream and just can’t, that’s exactly how I felt. The anesthesiologist said that was totally normal, pushed something into my IV, and within seconds I was fine again.

I don’t remember a lot about being wheeled back to my room, or holding my boy for the first time. We had to wait an hour before my parents could come in, and I do remember asking the BF to take a picture of me holding O. I look a little confused, maybe a little tired, but I don’t exactly look excited. Then again, I was mid-sentence when he took the picture so that could be part of it.

I was told I’d have to stay in my bed for the remainder of the day, probably, because even after the numbing wore off I wouldn’t be able to comfortably get in and out of bed to pee. I thought that was pretty stupid, and as soon as I could feel my legs I asked my nurse to let me try to get up. She laughed, but then relented and started moving blankets and getting my catheter ready. The look on her face when I successfully stood up and started shuffling around the room was priceless, and she was still shaking her head as she took me in the bathroom to take out my catheter.

That part, by the way, doesn’t suck at all. It’s just a little pop! and it’s gone. Pretty painless.

The time I spent in the hospital was great. Nurses were coming in to take a look at O because word had gotten around that he had a ridiculous head of dark hair. We had a few visitors, but nothing too crazy. The BF went out to get us ice cream and brought Blizzards to all of the nurses. I was kind of sad when they told me we were released.

The recovery sucked. I wasn’t in a ton of pain, but I there were definitely times when I was reminded I had been cut open. I also had some gas bubbles that seriously felt like they were ripping my stomach open. Coughing, laughing, sneezing, sudden movements…all were painful, even if I had just taken pain meds. I wasn’t allowed to pick up anything heavier than my baby. Do you know what’s heavier than an eight-pound baby boy? Damn near everything. I couldn’t drive, I had some trouble getting in and out of chairs by myself, and pooping was absolutely terrifying. I don’t know that it’s possible to overdose on stool softeners, but I’ll bet I came close.

TMI? Sorry.

Then there’s the stuff that happens no matter how you get the baby out. Nothing is worse than talking to your best friend when you suddenly pass the mother of all blood clots and have to quickly shuffle to the bathroom before it falls out of your diaper. Because, yes, you are basically stuck wearing diapers for a few weeks.

Oh yeah, that’s definitely TMI.

There’s also the long-term stuff that you never hear about. My ab muscles separated, so here I am over two years post-baby and they’re finally coming back together (it’s taken some work, I’ll tell ya). I also have weird sensations from the scar tissue (that’s also from my second surgery) that feel a lot like something moving around in there. I can’t feel the area around my scar…except when it itches. Then I can feel the itch, but I could attack it with a cheese grater and feel no relief. That’s a blast and a half.

So, over two years removed from my sweet boy’s c-section arrival, do I still feel like a failure?

Nope. Not even a little bit.

I realized at some point that, as long as your child is healthy it doesn’t matter how you got him or her here. Having a c-section was the very first thing I did as a mother to ensure my boy’s safety. It wasn’t fun, but if I could do it over again I totally would.

And yes, I have a gnarly scar to show for it. I have actually come to love my scar for what it represents.

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Photo courtesy of Portraits by Natalie, because it’s surprisingly difficult to take a photo of your own scar. http://portraitsbynataliegomez.com/

After all, if my kid ever asks where he came from, I can show him my scar. Certainly can’t do that if you squeezed yours out the old fashioned way, can you?

Good God, I’d hope not.

Did you have a c-section? How did it go?

Happy Cesarean Awareness Month!


I hate oatmeal. Seriously, something about the gloppy texture just makes me want to gag. Unfortunately, oatmeal is really good for you, so I forced myself to eat it as often as I could while I was pregnant and especially while breastfeeding. In retrospect, eating it covered in a metric ton of brown sugar and butter probably canceled out the health benefits, but that was the only way I could choke it down.

Mmmmm…butter…

I was really glad to put that cardboard canister on the shelf and forget about it… but when O started eating solids I found myself reaching for it again. Luckily, O will eat just about anything you put in front of him. He got it from his mama.

I felt bad giving him the oatmeal, though… By the time it was cool enough for him to eat it was a lumpy, congealed, sticky mess. Gross.

Not to worry, Pinterest came to the rescue. I remembered scrolling by a recipe (if you can call it that) for refrigerator oatmeal… It was really simple and didn’t require heating. After some experimenting, I found a way to do it that I really liked…As in, I would gladly eat this for breakfast every morning. It’s that good.

So for each toddler-sized serving I use:

About 1/4 cup raw oats

1 container of vanilla yogurt

About 1/4 cup frozen blueberries (or any fruit, probably***)

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Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight-sealing lid. Cover and refrigerate overnight. That’s it!

I know.

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I kind of feel like a cheater, because this is so easy. If you have older kids they could even make their own.

O sometimes eats the whole thing, and other mornings he’ll eat about three quarters of it… I don’t know if it holds up well for another night in the fridge because when O leaves some in the bowl, I just finish it.

Sometimes being a mama is rough.

I think the trick is to make sure to have more yogurt than oatmeal, so if you need to increase the amounts just keep that in mind.

***Check with your pediatrician before introducing strawberries, as they are a potential allergen.


So the boy’s first birthday was Saturday.

I think the party was a success. Good lord, I hope the party was a success. I think I have bald spots from pulling my hair out over details that, truth be told, people probably didn’t even notice.

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The monster pops were a huge hit.

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Part of the spread

Everyone loved the food… Ham, pork loin, roasted chicken, sandwich fixins, broccoli salad, potato salad, cole slaw, pickles and olives, cocktail weenies, party meatballs… We even made green punch with lime sherbet and ginger ale.

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We made about 144 cupcakes. By the end of the day on Friday, I didn’t want to even look at another cupcake.

Ok, not true. I just ate a cupcake.

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Then there was, of course, the cake. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of this cake. Not sure that I’m a fan of the garbage can lid, though.

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The boy had a blast. I think he really enjoyed smashing the cake once he figured out what to do.

This party wouldn’t have happened without help, of course. The BF’s mom and my parents were kind enough to give up a Friday to help me with food and general party prep. I can be a bit of a Nazi about stuff when getting ready for something big, so they all get big props for putting up with me.


As I mentioned in my previous post, the Halloween festivities in my area were postponed until Friday because of the weather. Instead of trick-or-treating on Thursday, we ended up going to Goodwill and Wal-Mart to get what I needed for my costume.

I told you, I do everything at the last minute.

Friday, the downtown area merchants hosted a costume contest for the kids, as well as trick-or-treating along Main Street. I had put a lot of work into the boy’s costume, so I was pretty excited to show him off in it.

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I was so proud when I they announced that he had won first prize for his age group! He even made the front page of one of our local newspapers on Saturday. I was so excited that I bought four copies.

After the contest, the BF and I took O to visit a handful of people… But we decided against doing any real trick-or-treating, much to the BF’s chagrin.

On Saturday, the BF and I had our own Halloween excitement to get ready for.

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I have to say, I haven’t had such a fun Halloween in a very, very long time. I loved making O’s costume and seeing his reaction to all of the other costumes… And we had a blast at the party we went to as Al and Peg Bundy. I’m almost sad it’s all over. Now what am I going to look forward to?

Well yes, O’s first birthday is in a couple of weeks…

And of course Thanksgiving is soon after that…

And there are only how many days left until Christmas?!

Oh boy.

How did you celebrate Halloween?


After a lovely birthday weekend (I will write about that later…), I kind of expected Monday to hit me a bit hard. I didn’t expect that to happen immediately after I rolled out of bed.

I opened my eyes and looked around… The BF had already left for work and all was quiet.The boy was awake and sitting up, but from what I could tell by looking at the monitor he seemed to be playing quietly.

When I walked into his room I saw that he was playing quietly. With his diaper. That he had removed. After he pooped.

SHIT

When he saw my reaction he, of course, started crying. I scooped him up and headed downstairs to put him in the bath. As I carried him down the stairs I couldn’t help but notice everywhere he put his stinky little fingers… Oh, now I have poop on my shoulder… and now there’s probably some on my neck…and there goes a big ol’ smear down the front of my shirt.

Sigh

After cleaning him (and me) up, I got him settled with a bottle in the play yard and headed back upstairs to clean up the crib. Once I’d scrubbed all of the smelly, smudgy fingerprints I rinsed the bedclothes and tossed everything in the washer.

I spent a good amount of time checking myself over for any poop I may have missed. Once I was sure that I was poop-free, I started a pot of coffee because seriously.

The boy was finished with his bottle and had discovered Sophie, so I decided to let him play while I worked on a plan for dinner.

When I opened the refrigerator door, my birthday cake from last night said, “Hello there! I see that you’re having a rather challenging morning. I’ll bet a nice, chocolaty piece of cake would make you feel better!”

Well.

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It totally did.

Hey, cake would not normally be my breakfast of choice but after my morning?

I deserve some cake.


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Hmmmmm…

Friday

7:00 am: Wake up, look at monitor and see O standing in his crib waving at the camera and saying, “Maamaamaa”. I’ve never been a morning person, and even though 7:00am (or earlier) is now my standard wake-up time, I still wake up all fuzzy-headed. The temptation to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep is strong. Still,  I go in and get him… and of course he gives me a huge smile and starts clapping when I walk in the room so I suddenly don’t mind being up.

7:05 am: First diaper change of the day. Looks like the prunes O ate the day before did their job. Sheeeeeeeewie! Toss diaper in the trash, make a pot of coffee, and run some dish water. I turn on the news and let O run wild around the living room for a while like a tiny but destructive tornado. Say “No” approximately one hundred million times. Get into a handfull of tickle fights… Surprise! I win! BF comes down for a cup of coffee and heads off to work.

7:30 am: Time for breakfast! Apples, bananas, and oatmeal for O, a cup of coffee for mama. BF stops back in for another cup of coffee before heading off to start his day. O and I play with flash cards while he’s chowing down.

8:10 am: A morning bath has become necessary after O decided to smear his breakfast on the high chair tray and rub his face in it. He also decided that apples, bananas and oatmeal would make a fantastic hair treatment, so he rubbed it all over his head. I let him make more of a mess in the high chair while I run bath water. He’s got so much breakfast in his hair that I actually have to lather, rinse, and repeat. He really enjoys bath time so I let him splash a play for a few minutes while we (I) sing the alphabet song. image 8:30 am: O is enjoying the after-bath nakedness immensely, so I let him hang out in the buff…but after a while I feel like I’m playing with fire, so on with a diaper and onesie. Surprisingly, he doesn’t fuss much. I decide to tempt fate and put him in the bouncy seat while I do some dishes and tidy up the kitchen… He doesn’t seem to mind, so I get some laundry sorted and throw a load in while he’s playing. We (I) sing songs while I work so he doesn’t feel like I’m ignoring him.

9:45 am: O is showing signs of being hungry and sleepy, so I make a bottle and get him settled. I only hold him to give him a bottle now at bedtime…any other time he will take care of that himself, thankyouverymuch. Take this opportunity to pee since I haven’t done that yet this morning. When he’s done eating, he seems to need some help falling asleep. I cave and bounce him for a few minutes while I stand in the living room and watch the last of the news.

10:20 am: O is sound asleep. Put laundry in the dryer and throw another load in the washer. Clean up bathroom and laundry room (nothing major, just wipe down sinks, toilet, bathtub and shower). Put high chair tray in hot, soapy water to soak. Head upstairs to tidy up the bedrooms. 12:00 pm: I’m starving, and O is STILL sleeping (he’s teething, so sometimes his naps are a little longer), so I decide to make myself some lunch. I get distracted by the high chair tray I forgot about so I go ahead and scrub that clean. I pull the laundry out of the dryer and get another load started while I’m at it. I start to fold the laundry when I remember that I meant to have lunch.

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12:30: I make myself a quick salad (arugula, beets, a sprinkle of parmesan, and a little ranch dressing with a bottle of water to drink). I get two bites in before O wakes up. Of course. When I pick him up it becomes apparent that those prunes didn’t completely leave his system this morning. Smelly diaper change in the middle of lunch…Why not?

12:40: Dispose of butt bomb and wash my hands. I decide to try eating with O on my lap and by some miracle he cooperates. After I eat, we have another round of chase the baby around the living room while I attempt to fold laundry. O decides to help by pulling all of the laundry out of the chair and onto the floor. This keeps him occupied, so I play along by putting the clothes back into the chair so he can pull them out again. I use this opportunity to teach him about colors. “See that shirt of Mama’s that you’re dragging across the floor? That’s a pink shirt. Oh, and that sock you’re chewing on? Why, that’s white…” O laundry 2:30 pm: O is suddenly STARVINGRIGHTNOW so I make him a bottle. He takes his sweet time eating, then starts to act sleepy. Bouncing doesn’t seem to work so I take him upstairs to rock him in his bedroom.

3:15 pm: O is asleep in his crib. I go downstairs to work on more laundry and fold, fold, fold. While I’m at it, I pick up the living room. Because I apparently love doing the same thing a hundred times a day.

4:45 pm: O is awake and HANGRY. Retrieve the little chomper from his crib, change his (thankfully not poopy) diaper and hook him up with a bottle. Hey, did I mention I have MORE laundry to fold? This time O is occupied, so I get a lot done while he downs his bottle. We count the clothes as I fold. I may or may not do a pretty crappy Sesame Street Count Dracula impression while we fold and count. “ONE t-shirt, AH-AH-AAAAHHHH…”

6:00 Holy Mother, the kid pooped again. Change diaper, get him out if his onesie and into his high chair. Time for some veggies!

6:15 pm: BF comes home with formula, diapers, and a hand-held bug zapper. He proceeds to then wander about the house zapping flies, completely distracting O from his dinner.

6:45 pm: The boy is finally done eating. I clean him up and wipe down the high chair and tray. He goes in the play yard for a minute while I take a couple of baskets of clean clothes upstairs. By the time I get back down (maybe a minute later), he’s tired of being in there and letting me know about it. I let him out and he immediately heads over to bang on the tv screen. We start the “you know you aren’t allowed to do that” dance, where I pick him up and deposit him away from the tv, and he goes right back to it. This goes in for a while, then The BF comes in and distracts O for a bit.

7:30 pm: Bedtime is near, and you can tell O is ready. I make the little grump a bottle and he sits on the BF’s lap while he eats. He gets a new diaper, then he goes with the BF for a quick evening ranger ride around the property. {Bedtime usually consists of a bath (about every other night or so since his skin tends to be a bit sensitive), a bottle, and rocking in his room while I sing songs that I’ve customized with his name. Occasionally, though, the BF likes to take him on ‘nature drives’.} While they’re gone, I put the laundry away and put dinner in the oven. Typically I start making dinner around 5, but we have leftover homemade chicken alfredo pizza (um, with bacon) so I don’t have to mess with it tonight. Hooray!

8:10 pm: The BF is back, and O is sound asleep. BF puts O in his crib, then comes down to eat. I do more dishes (bottles and dinner plates) and make a gallon of iced tea while talking to the BF. After I’ve got the kitchen cleaned up he heads off to do some more work. The man is always working, seriously.

9:00 pm: I sit down and eat a piece of pizza, then I decide I need ice cream. I flip through the guide on the tv and find that a show I like comes on at

10:00 (Tripping Out with Allie and Georgia… cutest show ever) so I switch to that channel to make sure I don’t miss it.

10:15 pm: The BF is still in his office working on something and I’m only 15 minutes into my show but…I just can’t keep my eyes open. I make my way through the house, turning off lights and stuff…Then I realize that I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth. I make it back to the bathroom in the dark, managing to only run into one wall, brush the ol’ chompers, and head upstairs to bed.

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10:30 pm: I’m suddenly wide awake as soon as my head hits the pillow…So I bust out my phone and fool around on Facebook and Twitter for a bit. Thought Catalog  has tweeted links to some interesting articles, so I read those.

10:45 pm: Ok, now I’m back to being sleepy. I check the boy on the monitor and he hasn’t moved…so I sit there and stare until he fidgets just a little so I know he’s ok. Sure, I could get up and go check on him, but sometimes just breathing near his doorway wakes him up and then it’s TIME TO PLAY, MAMA! Um, no. I’ll just lay here and squint at the monitor, thanks.

Sometime around 11:00 pm: ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…   So there you have it. An honest answer to the question I always get when I tell people I’m a stay at home mom: “What do you do all day?!” No, I don’t get bored…And no, I don’t just ‘sit on my ass all day’ as some people would suggest. In fact, I don’t generally stop moving until I flop down on the couch some time after the sun goes down.

I did not document all of the times I went to the bathroom (so don’t worry, I do pee and poop during the day), but just assume that any time O naps or is contained or is being distracted by someone else I take the opportunity to go pee. Even if I don’t have to, I try.

What? You just never know when you’ll get the opportunity again.

I actually chose a pretty light day, as far as cleaning goes… Typically I pick a room and clean it top to bottom (as best I can with a 9 month old) each day…And I usually try to do a load of laundry a day to avoid days like this. I wasn’t home much last week, though, so a day of laundry catch-up was necessary!

What does your day look like? Do you stay home or do you go to work?



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