I’m moving….

I know I just got here, but I’m moving again…  to a hosted domain so that I can jazz this place up a bit.  (I get bored easily, remember?)

The change won’t be huge for you, all you need to do is update your bookmarked address to www.notmommyoftheyear.com  (I’m dropping the wordpress part) so that you can come back and find updated pictures of my kid, gushings about how she is THISCLOSE to sitting all by herself and rants about how she won’t nap.  Easy enough, right?!?

Remember the time we thought we’d go to Mexico?

previously posted on Waking Up Williams.  If LCW isn’t on your blogroll, or in your reader, she should be.  Go.  Find out  But come back.   

Many of my phone calls and texts with a close friend begin with “does it make me a bad mom if…”  Case in point:  Last summer, I was seven months pregnant when Craig told me that two of our friends were engaged and planning a destination wedding.  “When will it be?” I asked. He shrugged, “not sure, probably next summer.”  I looked at my belly and thought… hm..  next summer.  Next summer there will be a baby here.  Next summer I will be a mother.  But I will still be the chick that likes to travel.  With her husband.  To tropical sunny locations. I was intrigued. A few weeks later we got the email telling us that the date was set for Memorial Day weekend and the destination was Riviera Maya.  Ooo la la.  We went to the Riviera Maya on our honeymoon and (minus the day we lost to food poisoning and a trip to a hospital in a foreign country) we had a great time. 

So, I text my friend and said, “does it make me a bad mom if before the child is born, I book a trip to Mexico that we’ll take when he or she is 8 months old?”  She said no and we decided I could still be a good mom from the sandy beaches of Mexico.  Craig and I talked about it for a few days.  Would we be able to leave?  Was it a responsible way to spend money now that our family was about to expand by one?  Who would keep the baby?  Would I miss my baby too much to be in a foreign country?

Nah, I decided.  It would be good for us to go.  I’ll be ok leaving the baby.  It’s only five days.  Financially, eh, it won’t be easy, but we’ll find a way.  And I kept thinking, “I still want to be me.  I mean I’ll still be the same person, just with an extra human hanging around.”

Fast forward to right before I delivered.  I called the travel agent and booked the trip.  I wanted to make sure that we were all set before the baby was born.  Folks, this was a priority.  We were going.  It was decided. 

… see where this is going?..

After the New Year, we got an email from the travel agent that our insurance money was due.  (After being sick in a foreign country, I will ALWAYS buy trip insurance.)  I double checked with Craig.  “You still want to go, right?”  “Yeah,” he said, “unless you don’t.”  I glanced in the backseat of the car at the sleeping baby and said, “Um, yeah. I still want to go, I think.”  So I sent in the insurance check. 

Then, early March arrives and final payment is due.  For us this means almost the entire payment is due because all I did was pay the $100 to save our seat on the plane and the $127 for trip insurance.  Final payment.  Once we pay this, we’re going.  So, Craig comes home and I say.  “Um, hon, we need to pay for Mexico.”  He looks at our daughter who is babbling and trying to roll over and says, “Yeah, I’d be OK not going.” 

Um, WHAT?  We talked about this.  We talked about it being important that we still take hot, sexy vacations and have date nights and happy hours.  We talked about still wanting to be the individuals and the couple we were before we had a kid.  Oh, but wait.  We talked about those things BEFORE we had a baby.  A baby who reaches for me when I come home from work.  A baby who looks for her daddy when she hears the garage door open.  A baby who has all sorts of milestones to achieve.  And what if, what if, we miss one when we’re in Mexico? 

So, I looked at him, looked at our little girl and smiled, “OK, I will call tomorrow and cancel.” 

Do we feel bad not going?  Yes.  We probably let our friends down.  Do we still need to take “Krista & Craig” time? Absolutely.  But are we the same people that we were six months ago, before we had a baby?  Nope, not even a little.  For now, our tropical vacations will be replaced with overnight trips while our daughter has a sleepover at her grandparents or family trips to aquariums and zoos.  Our happy hours will (sometimes, not always) be replaced by walks around the neighborhood.  Date nights are still important and we need to make a better effort at having a little bit of time alone.  But, five days?  In Mexico? When she is eight months old?  No. 

And if I had thought of that $227 ago, I could have had some new shoes.

‘Scuse me!? Is that mine?

Confession…  I might like the baby pears more than she does.

Oh, come on.  Admit it.  You taste test your kid’s food too.

Snow is gone, the sun is out & all is well with the world

Winters in my neck of the woods are Brutal.  Yes, that’s Brutal with a capital B. It’s cold, I mean frigid.  And it snows.  A lot.  I live on the tippy top of a mountain in a really small town and the winters around here make me all itchy because there are weeks that I can’t get out of this town due to treacherous travel conditions. 

So, every year in February and early March I start to get a really bad case of cabin fever.  Most years I can contain it with a quick shopping trip or lunch with a friend on a day that it stops snowing long enough for the plows to clear the roads and the ice to melt.  This year was different. This year, the weather was especially bad and usually on weekends. And, I had a baby.  So, leaving the house and the town was even more difficult leading to a “woe is me, I can’t do anything” attitude that would have given my 15-year old self a run for her money. 

And then, about 3 weeks ago, something wonderful happened.  It stopped snowing.  The sun came out.  The snow melted.  And I got out of the house.  I met a good friend for drinks (twice!) in the last month.  She has a little boy two months older than C so over a couple glasses of wine and fried calamari or bruschetta appetizers we compare notes about being new mothers, what our husbands are up to and how our professional lives are handling the impact of motherhood.  We laugh and we vent.  We look at pictures of the other’s baby and ooh and ahh over their smiles, their eyes and their chubby cheeks. 

On these nights, I get to put on cute clothes and touch up my make up.  I get to come home past my bedtime.  I get to spend a few hours just being… me. 

In addition to my wine with friends nights, I also had a date night with my husband and wonderful walks with my husband and my daughter.  We may not be out of the woods yet.  We’ve had snow fall well into April, but these few weeks of spring weather have made all the difference in the world. 

I’m writing this post as part of Theta Mom’s Time Out Thursdays.  Visit her site to grab the button, write about your own hour or more spent on your own this month and link up!  If you’re visiting from Theta Mom, “Hi!”  I will be making my rounds late Thursday evening and throughout the weekend.

Sometimes the good stuff comes at the end

Today was a bad day.  If I had to guess it was the combination of an overwhelming workload and PMS.  PMS on a Saturday I can handle.  An overwhelming workload on a day that my hormones aren’t all out whack from recently growing a human I can handle.  PMS on a Tuesday at 10 AM when I realize I’ve missed another deadline and look at the next three months of planning where enough work exists for four of me?  Not so good. 

It was a day that 18 months ago would have been rewarded with a cold beer and fried cheese.  And for a moment, just a moment, I found myself missing the ease of having a bad day and wallowing in it.  Coming home and soaking in a hot bath with a glass of wine and a good cry. Or bitching to a co-worker at happy hour.  Or running to the mall and buying new shoes. 

Then, I came home to this face. 

Bundled up in the car seat for the 100-yard ride from Nauni's house to ours. What? It was cold out.

And we giggled.  I clapped while she practiced rolling.  I put her down on one side of the floor and picked her up when she rolled to the other.  She ate carrots and yelled when I didn’t get them in her mouth fast enough.  We gave her a bath and I laughed as she splashed me.  I took pictures, calling her name and making funny noises to try to capture her smile. 

And when I rocked her to sleep and felt her head heavy on my shoulder and the rhythm of her breath on my neck, I found myself wondering why my day was so bad.

Nap wars are going to kill me

I’d like to be writing a beautiful post right now about the joys and struggles of motherhood. How I look at C’s face and fall more in love every time I look at her.  Or even one about how I struggle with weekends because I want to turn off work, but my to-do list is still looming and I just know that if I put in a few hours over the weekend, my week will be much better.  Or, talk about how we went for a walk this weekend with C in her Baby Bjorn strapped tightly to Craig’s chest and the vision of my husband with my giggling baby girl was the best thing ever. 

But I can’t write about those things because I am dead.  The nap wars have killed me. 

I fall into the category of parents who think that kids do better on a schedule.  I also tend to think that it’s OK for them to cry a little and I believe the books that say it’s important for babies to learn to fall asleep on their own.  Or maybe, I’m just scared to death that they’re right and I will be breaking bad sleeping habits when she is old enough to talk and walk and thus it will be a hell of a lot harder, so really I’m just lazy and taking the easy way out. 

A few weeks ago, I thought I was working my way into the Mom of the Year competition by sort of getting C to sleep on her own and take naps that lasted longer than 30 minutes.  Then it turned out that she was sick.  Can you say observation fail?  So, instead of sleeping because I was such a rockstar sleep trainer, she was sleeping because she had a virus.  Still, I fought on.  Made a few changes to her daily environment including loading my mother in law up with sleep sacks and lullabies.  The weather broke so now they go on walks and she sleeps in the stroller.  And I thought it was getting better. 

Until this weekend.  When she took two 30 minute naps Saturday morning and then I missed the window for her afternoon nap.  By the time she realized she was sleepy she was also pissed and didn’t want to sleep.  So while I rocked and walked her, she screamed.  She didn’t want to be held.  Didn’t want to lay down.  Finally after 30 minutes of screaming, I gave up.  Another 45 minutes later, my mom got her to sleep.  Sunday, she fell asleep in my arms for her 9:00 nap and again after our walk around noon.  When she got fussy, Craig took her on a walk and she fell asleep. 

So at the end of another weekend, I feel like a failure.  Like maybe someone else knows my kid better than me.  Has a better “way” with her than I do.  Spends more waking hours with her and knows more about her schedule and patterns than me, who has to ask for a recap.  (Just a way to add a little more working mom guilt to my blog.) Leaving me to wonder what I can do to help my kid sleep better, longer, consistently. 

And, I’m stumped.  Because I’m worried that the stroller is becoming her crutch for sleep.  I know that we don’t want to be pushing the stroller around the house because that’s the only way she’ll fall asleep.  But I’m out of ideas, and at this point, I just want the child to sleep.  I’m trying not to get all worked up and react to a bad day.  Generally, she’s a pretty happy baby.  What I’m really looking for is someone, anyone, to say that she’ll be OK.  That, maybe, as she gets older, she’ll start sleeping longer.  That there’s nothing I can do differently. 

Anyone?  Anyone?

CafePress Giveaway!

CONTEST CLOSED : Winner #14 Hayley Says

Congratulations Hayley.  Good luck deciding on a keepsake box.  Check your email later today for details! 

OK, I admit it.  I’m one  of the sentimental schmucks that thinks the card that comes with the gift is more just as important as the gift itself.  I still have things like ticket stubs and boarding passes from the early Krista and Craig dating years.  I will save one earring after I lose the other if it was a gift from someone special.  I keep drawings that little kids made for me because the thought of throwing them away makes me sad. 

I have a keepsake box that a friend gave me for a bridal shower and it’s been doing double duty holding all of my sentimental stuff along with things that I’ve started to save for C.  Her hospital bracelet, the hat she wore at the hospital, a necklace she received for her Christening, her birth announcement and more.  I’ve thought of putting these things in a shoe box, but well, that’s not very cute. 

So.  A few weeks ago I got an email from the awesome folks at CafePress asking if I was interested in doing a giveaway.  “I see you like to shop (hmm… I thought it was a better kept secret) so maybe a t-shirt” the email said.  After I got over my shock of “OMG a company wants ME to do a giveaway?!?” I spent a few hours on their website.  Yeah, you read that right.  HOURS. ON THEIR WEBSITE.  Looking at the personalized gifts at CafePress for a variety of interests, topics and brands.  I hate to even try to list them all because I’ll miss something but they have t-shirts, mugs, sweatshirts, onsies, calendars, and more.  When I found the keepsake boxes, I was hooked.  It was exactly what I’d been looking for.  Then, I spent another hour looking through all the boxes I could choose from.  One even said “future shoe shopper!” 

Finally I settled on this one.  (Just in case, C doesn’t grow up with my shopping gene – which is highly unlikely.

It’s the perfect combination of pink and brown and just too cute. And it is perfect for her hospital bracelet, birth announcement, hat and itty bitty baby jewelry.  But the best news, is that you can have your very own, because CafePress is giving one away right here!

To enter: 

1.  Leave a comment & tell me what you’d put in the keepsake box if you win it.
2.  Follow @cafepress on Twitter, leave a comment and tell me that you do. 
3.  Follow @notmommyofyear on Twitter, leave a comment and tell me that you do. 
4.  Tweet about the giveaway, leave a comment and tell me that you did. 

That’s it!  Easy peasy! Each comment you leave equals one chance to win.  The winner will be chosen using random.org.  The contest will close on Tuesday, March 23rd at 5PM. 

Good luck, folks! 

I received no monetary compensation for this review/giveaway. CafePress sent me a keepsake box in exchange for the review.

You’d think it was a Saturday in the fall…

I’m not sure what prompted me to dress my child in PSU clothes on the same day that her daddy was sporting the Nittany Lion logo, but I thought we should go with it and get a picture.  Especially for the crazy, I mean, faithful Penn State fans in our lives.  You know who you are. 

PS.  When I see this picture, I can’t help but be a little sad that my baby is in a sweatshirt, my husband in a long-sleeved t-shirt and I’m in tights & heels.

Learning to Drive

The last three miles to my grandparents house is on a back road.  You know those roads that have a few houses, more farms, and an old elementary school? It’s the kind of road that has a turn here and there and a hill or two.  Except for a school bus, a tractor or the occasional deer, it’s a quiet road. Especially in the middle of the day when the people who live in “the Valley” (as we call it) have gone to work.  It’s a simple place and the cars that travel through are in no particular hurry.  

It’s the road where I learned to drive.  When I was barely old enough to see over the steering wheel while sitting on his lap.  Coming back to Pap’s house after going out for breakfast or a Burger King lunch with Grandma; as soon as we got to the intersection by the hospital Pap would look at me and grin.  He’d unbuckle my seatbelt and I’d crawl on his lap.  We’d slow down, take our time and he let me steer the red pick up truck those last few miles home.  Unbuckled, with the window down, his arm holding me around the waist.  He’d tell me I was doing good and to keep it between the lines.  

I could say that during those three mile driving lessons I learned about taking control or confidence.  I could say I learned the thrill of doing something that I probably wasn’t supposed to do. I could say I learned about trust and knowing that Pap would never, ever let me get hurt.  But really, all I know is that more than a year since he’s been gone when we come to that intersection by the hospital, I remember sitting on his lap and driving his truck.  

As I see my daughter play with her grandfathers, I see them let her pull their hair.  They try to sneak her cookies, walk her around the house and blow raspberries on her tummy.  They will be the ones that say “yes” when I say “no.”  They will spoil her, buy her too many presents and let her stay up past her bedtime.  On their watch, she might not be dressed in matching clothes, they might forget her hat or let her have ice cream for lunch.  And hopefully, when the time is right, they will find an old back road and they will let her drive.     

My daughter with my father


What moment or memories from your childhood are you hoping your child gets to experience as well? 

Where did the last 5 months go?

And when did I stop counting in days and weeks?  It seems like just yesterday that I was answering how pregnant I was in weeks (Most conversations went something like, “I’m 35 weeks pregnant, yes I have a few more weeks to go, even though I am the size of a house. Thank you.”) Then in late September I was counting down the days until I met my baby or the number of days I went past my due date.   

Then I was welcoming visitors into my house and gushing over my newborn who was 10 days old already or going back to work and telling everyone about my 6-week old munchkin. 

But now? My squishy little newborn is a full-fledged BABY.  Who babbles and giggles, rolls around in her crib, pulls my hair, puts EVERYTHING in her mouth and wears shoes.  She’s five months old and I would have to do the math to figure out how many weeks or days old she is.

How is time going so fast that I don’t know how many days it has been since I met the person who stole my heart right from my chest?