Feeling Freshly Pressed

I would like to extend a special welcome to the visitors stopping by from Freshly Pressed and would like to invite you to stay a while. Take a look at the  main menu and explore a while. Before you leave, check out the side bar ——> if you would like to follow my blog or social media.

A special thank you to wordpress.com for recognizing my post, Work-Life Imbalance and featuring it on Freshly Pressed.

Tuesday 10: 10 Things I would say to my 16 year old self

What would you say if you met your 16 year old self? Below are ten things I wish I had known in 1996.

1. Don’t be afraid to be different.

2. Being the center of attention is not always a bad thing. Stop shying away from it.

3. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up.

4. Your senior year will be awesome. Try to enjoy your junior year too!

5. Seize opportunities to sing more.

6. They are laughing with you, not at you. Just chill.

7. Your first choice of college is the better choice.

8. You and he are really better off as best friends.

9. You are smart, you’re just lazy.

10. Invent Facebook.

What would you say? Link up…

Babysaurus Rex: My 1 Year Old Eats Like a Dinosaur

Something happened at the pediatrician last week that I don’t quite understand. Although I am happy to report I did not sob through my son’s booster shots again, I’m a little confused about the way I behaved.

One of my biggest parenting peeves (EVER) is when other parents assume that they can tell YOU how to parent. But motherhood is a lot like driving; once you figure out which side of the road you should be driving on, you have to figure out how to get where you’re going. Confusing? Yes. Yes, of course it is.

I have always been very careful about monitoring the foods my son is eating. I am hopeful that the healthy choices I make for him now will be healthy choices he will make for himself in the future. Despite my scientific-research-based and pediatrician-advised efforts, I have long endured comments from other moms about how chubby my son is.

“Oh, my! Look how chubby he is! You have a BIG boy! What are you feeding him?”

I smile, nod, and pretend to ignore the vocal emphasis on the word big that makes me think they might be describing a dinosaur. It’s not necessarily a weight issue, but the implication that I am feeding my son a brontosaurus for lunch and a Jurassic Park jeep for dinner. Not sure how either one of those got into my breast milk. Also, I thought his cereal puffs were sweet potato, not extinct-herbivore. I love-love-love my son’s chubby legs and knuckles, but are his eating habits and weight unhealthy?

After 4 shots, this little dinosaur was as angry as a Photoshopped T-Rex!

When we visited the pediatrician last week, I nervously waited for a lecture (or a take-home pamphlet) about my son’s weight. However, his height and weight were in the 44 and 50 percentiles. Yes, my son is perfectly average. I must have exhaled heavily, because the pediatrician asked me if something was wrong. I explained my concern that he was overweight, and she reminded me that he was, in fact, a baby. A healthy (and handsome) baby boy.

When I left the appointment, I felt like updating my status on Facebook to proudly announce how average my son was. However, I was embarrassed about what I had learned about myself, after all, bad parenting moments are among the most teachable if we aren’t too stubborn to admit it. Despite the fact that I have strong opinions which are easily expressed on my blog, I’m not otherwise vocal about agreeing or disagreeing with others. Yes, despite saying I don’t like it when other people tell me what to do, I take what others say VERY seriously. I mostly end up thinking that I am the one doing it wrong or not very well if someone else is doing it differently. And with billions of people on this planet, that’s a lot of ‘different.’

I could not possibly say enough good things about the network of moms and women I have encountered through blogging, web, and social networking communities for their pats-on-the-back and encouraging words when I dare to be brave about my feelings regarding parenting issues. It’s not that everyone agrees with me, but merely reminds me of the fact that we all must make decisions and assessments for ourselves.

And no, brontosaurus will not be on our dinner menu this evening.

Working Mom Style: 3 Sweater Alternatives

As a working mom, my look is limited to the constraints of time and budget. Working Mom Style highlights simple ways to make a fashion statement. If you’re a corporate mom or a SAHM, these tips and tricks can work for you too!

Remember to follow my Working-Mom-Style Board on Pinterest for style tips that can work for any mom!

Although the winter has been mild, I often underestimate the chill. For years I have gotten warm and cozy with bulky sweaters, but there is nothing stylish about a gender-neutral and over sized sweater made for function and not fashion. Here are 3 sweater alternatives that will keep you warm and looking stylish.

3 Sweater Alternatives

Blazer: You can get blazers in many colors, patterns, and fabrics. Blazers also come in lightweight and heavyweight (for those days when it is really cold).

Just be careful with blazers. The wrong one can be just as bulky as sweaters if the cut and fit is too large.

 

 

Scarf: Scarves are an endless source of possibilities and options. They come in a variety of fabrics and lengths and can be the perfect accessory to any outfit.

You can also tie, twist, wrap, and drape your scarf in a number of different ways to change the entire look and accommodate any scarf length.

Poncho: Not only are ponchos trendy, they can be really warm and comfortable too. They can function as a light cover up, or even as an alternative to wearing a coat.

They’re also super comfortable! Nothing tight or restricting about a poncho.

How to Make Barbie Skinny Jeans Out of Duct Tape

Don’t let the title discourage you from reading. Let me explain.

I always enjoy meeting and connecting with new readers. Sure it’s nice to know people are listening to what you have to say, but it’s wonderful to hear what others are talking about. Occasionally I’ll discuss a topic others are discussing as well, but mostly I share random thoughts in my head. Life just happens and no two stories are truly alike.

I always take notice of the search engine terms that bring people to Mommy Huh. Nearly every day it is the same terms; Hungry Caterpillar Party (which I highlighted in Mommy-DIY). But today (oh yes, today is obviously different) the top search engine term was ‘how to make barbie skinny jeans out of duct tape.’

Yes, indeed strange. However, the story is much deeper and personal than that. Barbie was a very important part of my childhood. Some people have inspirational teachers or kind neighbors, I had a plastic doll. A youthful obsession with Barbie.

If we had been more realistic about Barbie, we might have recognized how much women love shoes and clothes (neither of which we had a lot of). But Barbie’s wardrobe was weak and consisted of the clothes that came with our new Barbies or something crafty our mother or grandmother had made. We also had a few vintage outfits my mother had passed down to our Barbies.

I advise you to refrain from labeling my childhood as spoiled when I discuss how many Barbies we had. My sister and I always earned our new Barbie dolls by doing our chores or for good behavior and academic accomplishments. We NEVER acquired Barbies via tantrums or bribery (are you listening son?).

On one occasion, my sister and I stole some Barbie clothes from a playmate. Obviously this was not one of our better moments nor one we ever repeated. Instead we used creativity when Barbie needed a costume or special outfit. With permission mostly from our father (mom was more likely to say no), we took the clothes we had outgrown and used the fabric to make some new outfits. We’d cut out a basic shape like a rectangle, and use that to make a pencil skirt. Or cut a few small circles for the head and arms to make a shirt.

Scissors + Unused Fabric= Simple Barbie Clothes (unfortunately Pinterest did not exist in those days or else I would be happy to showcase our designs and creations)

I had learned to use scissors in Kindergarten, but one skill they didn’t teach was sewing. Without sewing, the clothes ceased to be clothes. Our solve? Yes my friends, DUCT TAPE. Our dad had taught us that duct tape could fix anything and could be used to make seams without a needle or thread. We could tape the clothes on and pull it off when Barbie was done. With our imaginations, a pile of unwanted fabric, and duct tape there was no limit to Barbie’s wardrobe.

If you are reading this and were the person who had searched for ‘how to make barbie skinny jeans out of duct tape,’ I intended no embarrassment! I’m merely highlighting the irony that strange as it may have been to search for ‘how to make barbie skinny jeans out of duct tape,’ you have actually come to the right place! Leave me a comment and I would be happy to help!

Bloggers, have you ever encountered some interesting search terms?

Guest Post: Getting the most out of Family Portraits

Today’s special guest post is brought to you by a longtime personal friend of mine. I have long admired the wonderful portraits I have seen other moms having done and reached out to Jessica, a professional photographer, for some more information that I could share with all of you. Enjoy and stay tuned for other helpful tips from Jessica on capturing memorable moments in photographs!

By guest blogger, Jessica Grof:

My name is Jessica, and I’m a mom to my 2 stepdaughters, Jessica and Gina,
and my son Nathan. I’m also a professional photographer and I work at
McMillen Photography, and part time at a one hour photo lab
in Uniontown. My kids were my main subjects for quite awhile (they mostly
just squirm when I get my camera out anymore, I guess I wore them out…)
but now I enjoy focusing on other people’s children in a studio setting.

I realize that the thought of getting portraits done can be overwhelming,
especially if you have more than one child, but the effort that you put
forth is very much worth it. It seems to me that people get a false sense
of security anymore because of digital cameras. You can click away and
have hundreds of snapshots of your children and the quality of point and
shoot cameras is improving. Most people don’t even print their photos
anymore. They just keep them trapped in their camera or computer. I’ll let
you in on a little secret here…memory cards fail and computers crash.
Things are changing rapidly if you haven’t noticed; there are several
different types of memory cards and it seems that each brand of camera
takes a different one. Instead of burning CD’s anymore, we use DVD’s
because they hold so much more information. Think about how many changes
have been made since cameras came about. They started off with tin or
glass plates, then film came along. Most of us think of 110 or 35mm when
it comes to film. But before that there were slides, the discs that remind me of Viewfinder
reels and who could ever forget the Polaroids (makes me want to sing shake
it like a Polaroid picture!). Polaroids aren’t around anymore, and who
reading this still even uses 35mm film? My point here is that things
change, all the time. Prints will last, as long as you take care of them.
And they can be passed down from generation to generation.

One of our main points of business at the photo lab are old black and whites that
customers want to get reprinted. Very rarely do these customers have the
slide or negative, they come in with the original print so we can scan it
in and re-print it. That’s just the way it is. I personally value a print
that I can hold in my hand or put in an album (just ask my husband, I have
so many photo albums that it’s a little crazy). Nothing beats taking a
photo album to a family reunion and seeing the looks on the faces of
relatives you don’t see very often as they admire your little ones. And
how in the world are we supposed to fill the frames on our walls without prints?

Portraits are important for many reasons. First, your child will never be
the same as he is today. Tomorrow brings changes that can’t be undone. As a parent, I know how quickly time flies. Before you know it, that baby you just had is walking, then he is walking into his kindergarten classroom. Where did all the time go? You may feel that you are too busy, or that now just isn’t the right time, but if not now, when? We also want to give our children something to remember. I suggest using a 3 ring binder with the
clear pages to store your 8×10’s in when you replace the photo in a frame, instead of stacking pictures on top of one another. That way you have an over-sized album of all of your portraits that you can look through and pass on.Do you remember what your parents did with your pictures? Shoe box? Albums? Nothing? I’m proud that my kids will have their photos to show their children.

Here are a few tips for your portrait day:

  • Schedule your appointment around your kids. When are they happiest during the day? Don’t schedule at a time when they would typically be napping or hungry.
  • You can dress you child casually. The frills and lace are optional. But if your kid is comfortable, it will show in the pictures, and the shoot will probably go smoother too. It may be a good idea to bring a few outfits, in case he happens to get dirty (we are talking about kids here). Most photographers don’t mind waiting the few minutes it takes to change clothes.
  • Bring snacks and a sippy. Sometimes bribery works.
  • If your child has a favorite toy, or if you have a special blanket or hat, bring it! It can be incorporated into the shoot, and make it all the more special.
  • This one depends on the photographer and your child, but sometimes its easier if mom and dad stick to the background and let the photographer be in charge. It can be confusing to a child to have so many people try to get his attention, and he may not be quite sure where you really want him to look. Bunches of people jumping up and down playing peek-a-boo can be overwhelming!
  • Be patient! It’s rare that we have children that come in, sit still and smile for every picture. A lot of the time we have to work for it. Kids wiggle, so re-posing may go on a lot! If they need a break, give them one.
  • Pick up your baby and cuddle or let your toddler roam around a bit.
  • Studio sessions aren’t the same as outdoor sessions. During an outdoor session, we are able to get more natural, unposed pictures of your children. They are more on their turf, so the smiles won’t be forced or fake (you know the big cheesy smiles I’m talking about!). We are able to move around more and get different, creative shots. If the weather is nice and the option is available, a mix of studio and outdoor shots is the way to go!
  • If you can’t choose just a few pictures that you like because there are so many good ones, get a collage. It’s a great way to incorporate several of your favorite pictures into one photo, and in a creative way.

I hope that I have inspired you to make that call and schedule an
appointment to go get some portraits taken. It will be well worth it!

Work-Life Imbalance

On a daily basis I find articles and blog posts promising good advice on balancing work and family. They only seem to help with making me feel more out of balance. How do these working moms do it?! There is a deceiving calmness to the advice they offer and I always ask myself the same question. What am I doing wrong? A harmonious work-life balance is like Bigfoot; I want to believe it exists.

On occasion, I have brought my son to work. He’s well behaved when he’s somewhere new and loves the oooh’s, awww’s, and attention he gets from co-workers. Although I don’t know much about cooking, I do know a 1 year old and an office environment full of things he can’t touch is a recipe for a tantrum.

The working hours are long and even longer when I am lonely for my son. Which is like always. Working from home sounds nice, but I can’t even fool myself into believing that it would be a good option to consider. Worth a try, but likely not a productive solution.

Fortunately, I have found ways of feeling closer to my baby during the hours of 9-5 when I’m doing my ‘other job.’

My son is always in the care of family when I am at work. Instead of a standard written report telling me about his day, I get pictures through out the day showing me the exciting things he is doing. For a moment, seeing his pictures makes me feel like I am right there with him. Fortunately my co-workers are good sports when I show them the pictures too.

There is also a special area in my work space where I keep a few of my favorite (and fabulously Washington, DC) photographs. I proudly display his hand prints we made during his first day in the office many months ago. Don’t be fooled by the neatness and organization. This is the only thing orderly about my cubicle. Might explain why a work-family balance feels so unattainable to me.

Occasionally, there are those days and opportunities for bringing my son to the office. By opportunities, I mean days when a lower level of productivity is acceptable. Mostly, those are just weekends.

With President’s Day just behind us, I’m reminded of how difficult 3 day weekends can be. You know what happens to the mouse you give a cookie to, right? Inevitably when I return to work, I miss my son a little bit more than usual.

If there is a such thing as a work-life balance, I am still looking for it. In the meantime, I have his pictures, baby-talk phone calls, and a wonderful greeting each evening when I come home. Although the quantity of time I would like to spend with my son is significantly less than I would prefer, the quality of our time together is wonderful. Perhaps it is the quality of family time that keeps work-life in balance. In that case, mission accomplished.

 

UPDATE 03.01.2012 Check out a follow-up to Work-Life Imbalance at Getting Work and Life More in Balance.

My Post Featured on BlogHer

I am pleased to share with you that my post, Life Labeled as a ‘Working Mom’, has been featured on BlogHer in the BlogHer Spotlight.You can see my post featured on BlogHer here.

BlogHer’s mission is to bring women bloggers exposure, education, community, and economic empowerment. As a member of BlogHer, I am delighted and honored to be recognized.Featured on BlogHer.comIf you are a blogger, check it out and consider joining this amazing network of women discussing a wide range of topics and issues.

Working Mom Style: My 3 Make-up Must Haves

As a working mom, my look is limited to the constraints of time and budget. Working Mom Style highlights simple ways to make a fashion statement. If you’re a corporate mom or a SAHM, these tips and tricks can work for you too!

Follow my Working-Mom-Style Board on Pinterest or follow me on Twitter @DCWorkingMommy for style tips that can work for any mom!

As mom, my ‘getting ready’ routine has been simplified for time and degree of difficulty. You know moms get no privacy in the bathroom no matter what they are doing. One of my getting ready must-dos is putting on a little make-up. With practice, my make-up routine has been adjusted to 3 simple steps to accommodate minimal time and effort.

WITHOUT Make-Up:

With Make-UP:

My 3 Make-Up Must Haves

(In order of importance)

1. Mascara does amazing things. It make me look polished, wide-eyed, and emphasizes a feature I kinda like; my eyes. (Cost: $8)

2. To cover blemishes and dark circles I use a liquid foundation with moisturizer and SPF. It’s like a 3 in 1 tool for my skin. (Cost about $15)

3. Blush is a subtle touch but gives my pale skin a pop of color. Bonus when you use it on your eyes too! (Cost about $4)

My 3 step make-up routine is done in under 3 minutes and doesn’t bust my me-budget!

Adventures in Commuting

I’m going to tell you a story. Not the soap-box kind, it’s more like the sitting-on-the-couch-with-Oprah kind. Yeah, it’s kind of major. No, not really.

I’m assuming that you’ve seen Adventures in Babysitting because it is so awesome. Girl babysits little girl and teenage boy. Girl’s BFF gets into trouble. Girl goes to rescue BFF and takes little girl, teenage boy, and teenage boy’s friend. Shit happens; stolen cars, stolen Playboys, and singing the blues. Yes, it is that awesome!

Occasionally, I experience my own adventures-in-babysitting moments. Although they don’t usually involve stolen Playboys or babysitting and I am not nearly as cool as Elisabeth Shue, shit happens in such a twisted way I believe it is scripted out like a Chris Columbus directed sequel to the 1987 flick.

This morning I was feeling especially sleepy and debated driving in to work instead of my usual rail commute. But because I was so sleepy, I didn’t think driving was a good idea. If you have ever visited Washington, D.C. you understand why public transportation might be a better option than sitting in traffic. Lots of traffic.

Fast forward 30 minutes into my commute. The empty seat beside me was occupied by a middle aged man with receding hair and shifty eyes. I usually only complain about the fact that middle aged men with receding hair and shifty eyes always want to sit beside me in my head. I silently shout at myself that it happened again. I have never shared this with anyone else before because it might be rude of me to complain to the other passengers or twitpic these pervy-vibe dudes for everyone else to see. But now you know the type of person who usually occupies the seat beside me.

Headphones and Pandora do a miraculous thing; keeping the outside world far away from you. Fortunately, this made it possible to ignore the pervy man sitting next to me with shifty eyes and a sneer every time my eyes looked slightly in his direction. And yes, he might not be pervy at all. He could be harmless and friendly, but my mind doesn’t work that way.  I always think the worst.

According to my maths: Vivaldi+pretty scenery+being sleepy= DID NOT SEE WHAT WAS COMING NEXT

A woman says excuse me once and says it again before I realize she is trying to get my attention. Give me five minutes to un-zen myself so I can understand what is happening.

“Ma’am, I don’t want to alarm you,” she says loudly. “Please stay calm…” Her words were doing the opposite of what she was saying. I’m totally un-zened. When she said, “Don’t panic” next, the rest of the train took notice. Yes, each and every one of my fellow commuters were un-zened and looking at me probably thinking bomb, robbery, chick fight.

I’m thinking to myself, there must be a tyrannosaurus rex chasing after the train. Wouldn’t you be thinking this too? No, I won’t panic. I will sit perfectly still. T-rex’s vision is based on movement. Yes, I learned my survival skills from watching Jurassic Park. This is why I camp in the tree tops. (No, just kidding. Maybe.)

“Ma’am don’t be scared. There is a bug on your head.”

A bug?

On my head?

I’m not sure why I didn’t immediately react to her concern. Probably because I am less concerned about a bug on my head than I am about a tyrannosaurus rex.

“There’s a bug,” she said again. Perhaps she assumed I was one of those girls who freaks out about that kind of thing. But no, I’m a mom who has cleaned tub shits. Bugs are not a big deal but I assumed the man sitting beside me might roll up his newspaper and smack me on the head, so I calmly reached up to touch my head.

In the nonsense that was happening, I failed to notice two train conductors had come to investigate.

“Is there a problem, ma’am?” one of the conductors asked the woman who had confronted me.

“She has a bug on her head. There is a bug on her head,” she repeated pointing at me almost at the same moment I concluded it was NOT a bug.

My tweet announcing to the world what it was after the conclusion of this incident:

@DCWorkingMommy: Thank you lady shouting I had a bug on my head. I call them bobbi pins not bugs. Is Tim Burton scripting my freakish commute today? #Punked

Yes. A bobbi pin.

“It’s just my bobbi pin,” I repeated 3 or 4 times to the woman, conductors, and other commuters. My hair is one of the few things I like about myself and someone just accused me of having hair bugs. My hair-thunder has been taken away.

Thankfully the conductors ushered the woman back to her seat and I quickly looked out the window and avoided the stares of the other passengers. I could feel their eyes fixed on my hair like laser beams targeted on my blond locks. I was thinking to myself “I DO NOT HAVE BUGS IN MY HAIR” so loudly, I may have accomplished telepathy. Perhaps you live on the west coast and you got that message. Yeah, that was me. And no, I really do not have hair bugs.

It was impossible, even with my headphones and Pandora, to recapture my zen. My zen is now broken. A few minutes later, I had arrived at my destination. Politely, yes politely, I told the man beside me that this was my stop. I had lost any concerns I might have had with the pervy dude. I wanted to be away from each and every passenger who had witnessed what had happened. Slowly, the man beside me got up (it was apparently his stop too) and he slowly began walking towards the doors. When I say slowly, I mean I was concerned that he might not get to the doors in time for me to get off. Can’t this commute just be over?!

No, the commute is not over until my shoe falls off of my foot and a fellow passenger stumbles over it. I’m still waiting for that scene when some handsome British actor in a scarf (because they pull it off so well) shows up to rescue me so the scene can fade to black and the end credits can roll. With as unusual as this commute was, the end scene might be a t-rex running around Washington, D.C.

DISCLAIMER: Yes. All true. Including the t-rex.