Monday, September 24, 2012

My New Job

Screw this 9-5 office stuff!  I'm going to become a baker and make cakes for a living.

I'm only kidding.

I did, however, make a cake for Anthony's birthday this past weekend and it wasn't the complete disaster that I was afraid it might be.  You see, I made Andrew's dinosaur birthday cake for his first birthday. Andrea mentioned to Jenny (Anthony's mom) that I could do cakes and said maybe I could do his since she was having trouble finding someone to do what she wanted cheaply (she's a single mom and didn't want to spend big bucks on his cake).  I said "Sure!", thinking she just wanted an Elmo cake and I knew there was an Elmo pan out there, kind of like the dinosaur pan I used for Andrew.

Ummm, no.  She didn't just want an Elmo head. She wanted a two-tier two flavor cake with cream cheese icing and an Elmo on top. Oy.

After several emails back and forth  a decision was made on what she wanted. Thankfully she said she would just put a stuffed Elmo on top, so that helped.  I went out and bought all the cake pans and supplies I would need figuring it's worth the investment since I will be making cakes for Andrew for years to come (I can't believe we didn't have a single cake pan in our whole house!).  Friday evening I baked the cakes so they would be ready for the next morning.  There were two 9" rounds for the bottom and two 6" rounds for the top (chocolate and white).  I also mixed up the icing Friday night so it would be all set. No canned stuff for this lady!

Thankfully the party wasn't until 3:00 Saturday afternoon so I had plenty of time.  While J kept the munchkin entertained I went to work with my mad decorating skills.  Six years working at Baskin Robbins through high school and college finally paid off  :)

The cream cheese icing kind of sucked for decorating since it's kind of gooey, but I was able to get the cake frosted without too much trouble.  Luckily I wasn't using that stuff for the border or anything because there is no way that would have worked.  Instead I used some fondant for the star cutouts and the little balls for the border.  It looks like playdough and kind of has the same consistency, but at least it's edible.  It didn't come out exactly like I had pictured in my head, but I think it ended up alright:

Of course we had to transport it to the party over at Waterfront Park (about 4 miles from our house) and I didn't have a box or anything to put it in.  I held it in my lap with strict instructions to J to not slam on the breaks or make any sharp turns.

We made it there unscathed and Jenny topped the cake off with the Elmo toy and my fondant "1" for the final decoration.

Not bad, right?

Everyone loved it and most of it got eaten.

Oh, and Andrew had a good time at the party being mildly inappropriate with Anthony's  toy:

All in all it was a success.  Unfortunately it won't exactly pay the bills so I am back at work today.  Oh well...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Who's an Awesome Wife?

Yeah, that's me.

For getting these for J for his birthday:

He's a die-hard Cowboys fan.  I'm a die-hard Steelers fan.  As luck would have it they are playing each other in Dallas the day before his 41st birthday.  When he mentioned that I started checking on plane tickets and found some relatively cheap ones out of Myrtle Beach. I checked with my mom to see if my parents will be in town that weekend and up for some babysitting and she was all for some extra munchkin time.

We booked the flight and hotel combo and then I had to find some game tickets. I was hoping with the Cowboys losing to Seattle last weekend that ticket prices might go down a little, but it didn't seem to have much effect.  After a lot of searching I found some good tickets for $200 a pop and pounced on them.  They arrived yesterday with no problem (even though he almost threw out the FedEx envelope with them in there because he thought I'd taken them out).

J knows about the game and the trip so it's obviously not a surprise.  He knows that this is pretty much his birthday and Christmas present rolled into one (I'll get him some little stuff, but a $1200 football weekend kind of wipes out my gift budget).  I'm excited about the trip although a little part of me will be sad because it will be our first trip without the munchkin. I know we'll have a good time - I just don't know how it'll be going over 48 hours without getting to see him.

Oh, and even though it's his birthday trip I will still be rooting for my Steelers. I figure his gift will be getting to go to Dallas Stadium - he doesn't need a win, too  :)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Haven't done one of these in a while, but I feel like I have a few things to be thankful for today, so here it goes.

I'm thankful that even though I felt like absolute crap yesterday and appear to have some sort of bug that no one else in our house has gotten it.  Crossing my fingers that it stays that way because it'll break my heart if Andrew gets this and feels as bad as I did.

I'm thankful that my office is flexible and allows me to work from home if necessary.  Gotta love this kind of setup:

Laying in bed watching 'Despicable Me' while working

I'm thankful that we have such a great kid.  I can hear him downstairs laughing and playing with  my mother-in-law while I am working upstairs.  Hearing him so happy puts a smile on my face every day.

I'm thankful that we are finally getting a break with the heat and humidity and fall seems to actually be on the way. I'm so ready for some cool fall weather!

And finally, I am thankful for having such an amazing husband.  I know I can be kind of whiney and miserable when sick and he has been great about dealing with me  :)

What are you thankful for today??

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Was Worried For Nothing

Our daycare is closed for two weeks while they are in Belgium on vacation.  Kind of an inconvenience for us, but they are so amazing with Andrew and we love them so we deal.

For this week my in-laws are in town and my mother-in-law is taking care of the little munchkin.  She is staying with us while my father-in-law is staying at a hotel with my idiot brother-in-law (he's pretty much been banished from our house) and their poodle.  I'm sure that during the day they come over and hang out, but they aren't staying at our house.

Anyway, leading up to this week I have been nervous. I mean, my MIL did take care of Andrew for us before he started in daycare last year, but back then I feel like he was a little easier because he wasn't mobile (and was only 3 months old).  Now he is an almost 18 month old bundle of energy who doesn't stop.  Ever.

I was afraid that he would be too much for her. He loves to be out and about - walking outside, climbing on EVERYTHING and just being a typical crazy toddler.  It made me nervous that she wouldn't be able to keep up.

Well, I walked in the door yesterday at 5:00 to a crazy little munchkin, standing in the middle of the living room cracking himself up and my MIL sitting there beaming.  The very first thing she said was "He was so easy!".

They had spent the  morning playing outside. He loves to walk up and down the driveway and one of his favorite things is to climb up and down the little bump at the end. She said he was in heaven just exploring and playing and that he entertains himself so well.  She finally made him go inside at noon and they had lunch. Afterward he went into his room and laid down on the floor, which I guess was his way of telling her he needed a nap. Which he did for 3 hours (all that playing was hard work!).  They played the rest of the afternoon inside and on the deck.  I couldn't have been happier to see what I did when I got home. It totally set my mind at ease (at lease for a day) and made me happy to know that we really do have a great kid and he really is just fine even when we aren't there.

Now I can only hope that the rest of the week goes just as smoothly.

Happy as a clam as long as he can walk around outside  :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I Thought It Would Be Easier By Now

I remember the day after we came home from the hospital, sitting in the back room while my mom held Andrew. I was sitting on the floor with tears in my eyes saying how I didn't want to leave him.  How I never in a million years thought I would want to be a stay at home mom, but now that he was here it killed me to think of not being there for him.  Granted, I was one giant hormone bomb waiting to detonate, but still, I was a mess.

Fast forward 12 weeks to the first time I had to go back to the office.The entire day before I started back I was a teary mess. Every time I thought about him crying and me not being there to comfort him I broke down.  I remember sobbing my way through my shower that night.  I was able to make it out of the house with no tears that Monday, but I had a breakdown on the way out the door on Tuesday.  He was home with my mother-in-law, which made it a little easier, but I was still a bit of a mess.

Fast forward another month and a half to when he started at daycare.  The first day I took him in and got him settled my heart was in my throat. I couldn't stop thinking that he was in a strange place and he would be a meltdowny mess all day not knowing where he was or who he was with.  The tears welled up in my eyes a little as I pulled away in my car, but I kept it under control.  So I wasn't as much of a mess as the first time I had to leave him, but still a little bit.

Now here we are almost 14 months later.  Andrew loves daycare. He loves Andrea and Marc, he loves the other kids, and he has such a good time there. They constantly tell me how good he is, they send and post pictures and videos so I know he is having a good time and is happy.  I know he is well taken care of and is in a good environment.  But there are mornings like today when he starts crying as I walk away and my heart just breaks.  I know he's just going through a clingy stage and they assure me that a minute after I walk out the door he is fine, but it is still like a dagger to the heart.  To see his little scrunched up face, tears rolling down his cheeks as he crawls/toddles after me just kills me.  Even thinking about it right now is making me tear up.

I don't know. I just really thought it would be easier by now.  Then again I guess maybe it will never be easy to say goodbye.  I can't imagine the mess I am going to be when J and I take our first trip away from Andrew in December.  Maybe I should start stocking up on tissues now...

Really, who wouldn't want to hang out with this sweet kid all day?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Think We Need a Backup

Last year I bought Andrew a stuffed duck toy from Kohls when I was out shopping.  I figured what the heck - it's only $5 and it's really cute.  He liked it ok at first since it's brightly colored and nice and soft (this kid loooooooves soft stuff), but he didn't seem overly attached.

Yeah, that has all changed in recent days.

When we walk in the house as soon as he sees him he smiles and begins chanting "Dut, dut, dut..." until he gets his little hands on him.  He sleeps with Dut  (I decided that is his name for now) and there have been many mornings when we walk in to get him when the munchkin sits up in his crib and holds Dut in the air.  If Dut gets left behind in the crib while Andrew is getting his diaper changed as soon as he's on the ground he walks over to the crib and reaches through the bars to get him.  Dut is too puffy to fit through the bars so I have to pick him up and hand him over.  Andrew toddles around the house holding Dut and happily chants "dut dut dut".  It's one of the cutest/funniest things I've ever seen.

Some days Dut goes with us in the car on the way to daycare.  Half the time he also gets carried into daycare since I can't pry him out of Andrew's fingers. Then I have to distract him long enough to get a hold of Dut so he can go with me for the day.  I'll tell Andrew that Dut has to come with mommy so I'm not lonely during the day.

I'm glad he loves Dut and the look of joy on his face when he spots him is enough to melt my heart.  There's only one problem.  He also likes Dut to hang out when he's eating so he can snuggle him which leads to Dut getting kinda grimy.  Last night's guacamole left Dut a little worse for the wear. I scrubbed him down and was able to get him presentable, but he was not able to be a bedtime companion. Andrew didn't freak out about not getting to sleep with him, so that was good, but as soon as he saw him this morning he yelled for him.

He insisted on having a breakfast buddy, so now Dut is also nicely smeared with peanut butter.

I'm fairly certain he is washable since he is just a stuffed toy so he will be getting his own bath tonight. This makes me think that I need to go back to Kohls and pray that they still have him in stock so I can get a backup (or two) since something tells me that very soon Andrew WILL freak out about not getting to sleep with him.  I'm hoping maybe we can keep one somewhat clean for bedtime. Or at least have one that's clean and ready for snuggles while the other one gets a much needed bath. I only hope he doesn't notice the difference.

Anyone else's kid have a favorite fluffy companion?  Do you have a spare laying around?  If so, does it work or does your little one know the difference??

Friday, September 7, 2012

Happiness Is...

... sitting on the floor while a giggling 17 month old comes stumbling toward you...

... a reminder of the munchkin when I get in my car...

...watching him get excited about a ride in the race car at the grocery store...

... seeing the joy on his face while swinging at the park...

... and most of all, happiness is life with the cutest, sweetest, most lovable little boy I have ever known.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

This Makes Me Feel Better

After feeling defeated by my sister's comments the other day this is just what I needed. Andrea posted this video yesterday of the munchkin walking during their little outing to Pitt Street.  I can't tell you how many times I watched this last night and I smiled every single time.  It may have taken him a little longer than most babies to get up on two feet, but I think he's catching up.  I love this kid so much.

(I hope the video works)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Feeling Inadequate

Up until this past weekend I've felt like even though I am nowhere near perfect, that I've been doing a pretty darn good job at this mom thing.  Well, now I'm starting to wonder - am I?

In my heart I know I need to stop comparing myself to other moms and my child to other children. We're all different and we're going to do things our own way.  I know that and I need to accept that.  And I thought I had.

Then I had lunch with my sister.

The funny thing is that she's not even a mom.  She's a pediatrician, though, so I value her opinion and tips.  When I shared my excitement over the fact that Andrew is walking now she confessed that she was a little concerned that it took him so long. She pointed out that it's natural for first kids to be carried a lot and that can sometimes delay them walking.  I went from being excited to feeling defeated in about 0.025 seconds.  Then we were talking about his talking - or lack thereof - and I felt even worse. She asked if we are reading with him.  I told her that we are, but it's hard since all he wants to do it rips the book out of our hands and flip pages.  I point out what the pictures are, though, and he seems to like that.  I felt like I was talking to him a lot, but she mentioned that we need to not just tell him things, but to ask him questions.  That just giving him something when he points and makes noise isn't teaching him how to talk.

So yeah, I went from feeling like I am doing a pretty good job as a mom to feeling like I'm screwing everything up.  Like it's my fault that I took my kid to almost 17 months to walk because I carried him too much.  Like it's my fault that he only has a handful of words at 17 months because I don't talk to him the right way.  And of course I always feel like it's my fault that I can't get him to eat real food.

Just when I feel like we're doing great I get the wind taken out of my sails.  I know I'm not perfect, but am I really as inadequate as I am feeling right now?  I can only pray that Andrew doesn't think so...