Tuesday 10: 10 Favorite Photos

Below are 10 of my favorite photos that capture some of the most special moments in my life. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I will let these special photos speak for themselves.

1. When we first met…

2. Celebrating our marriage with family and friends…

3. Baby’s first picture…

4. Our first family photo…

5. Mother and daughter…

6. Little baby goes to Washington…

7. Precious smile…

8. Sisters…

9. That’s my boy…10. I love every, simple, mundane moment…

Advertisements

When Mom is Sick

I’m sick. The germ kind. This is what happens when the weather is pleasant and my schedule is flexible. As you can imagine, this happens frequently during holidays, vacation, special occasions, and other times that have the potential for enjoyment. For this cough and cold I have, I blame my sister.

Motivation frequently evades me. Even on my best days, I am easily distracted and unable to… oh, look… Pinterest! If you clicked on Pinterest, you are just as easily distracted as I am. When I am not feeling well, it is even more difficult to find the motivation to complete my daily tasks such as getting out of bed, leaving the house, and showing up at work. Further, I am struggling to compensate for the hour of sleep I just lost to Daylight Savings Time.

The world must go on, but I’m a non-believer. I believe it should stop until I am physically able to continue. Unfortunately, spouses and children do not recognize when mom is not feeling well. Their needs increase as does their own irritability. It is frustrating to the families of sick moms that their needs and requests are not top priority because mom: 1. Does not feel well and cannot fulfill their request 2. Is putting her health and wellness before mundane issues 3. Is not capable are caring about family nonsense. Families are always important, of course. However, so are moms.

It has been a year since I was sick. Last time I was sick, I enjoyed 3 weeks of a sinus infection and was unable to treat aggressively due to nursing. By enjoyed I mean I was miserable. Currently, I am only on day 3 of an unidentifiable cold and cough. I suspect this is the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. We all know how households fail to function properly when mom is sick. Imagine a world of moms with cough and colds. Zombie apocalypse.

My husband is concerned for me… or at least he is afraid I am turning into a zombie with a runny nose and an incoherent attitude. Whilst I coughed for an hour and a half last night at 3 am-ish, he asked me if I was ok. What he means is “You are keeping me awake. You should go somewhere and do something about that cough.” He’s probably right, but a medication induced sleep makes it impossible to find the energy to climb out of bed. I’d rather just lay in bed and cough (and complain about it the following day).

Zombie or not, I managed to brush my hair and show up at work. I certainly hope zombie isn’t contagious. Although I am suffering a sensitivity to sunlight and happiness, I’m holding on to humanity as best I can.

What happens to your household when mom is sick? Share your stories in the comments!

Welcome to our Kitchen

I am not a good cook. In fact, I’m a really bad cook. If you think my family is starving (or worse, eating the terrible things I cook), worry not. I married my husband specifically because he is a really good cook. Also, I love him.

Our first date consisted of conversation and a supreme pizza from Pizza Hut. Classy, right? In 8th grade, I earned the one and only ‘F’ of my academic career in home economics. It’s not as bad as you think; mom and dad thought it was funny and I was able to repeat the class (which I had skipped the first time around). When my husband learned this and noticed that I lacked the ability to prepare a meal that was not noodles, he made an effort to get me excited about cooking.

Despite the meals I prepared being considered ‘an insult to food,’ I have always enjoyed watching cooking shows. Cooking shows are great for inducing naps and an excuse for being unproductive around the house. Against his better judgment, my husband started including me in the kitchen and our meal preparations. For fun, we would suit up in aprons and he would provide commentary as though he had his own cooking show. Yes, we are very strict and serious when we cook.

Cooking was no longer a chore, it was a fun activity we did together. It was quality time with a delicious outcome. My role in the kitchen includes preparing noodles (boiling water), making rice (I have the patience to get it just-right), peeling potatoes (I’m more careful with a peeler than my husband), and chopping onions (punishment for my crimes against food). I made all of my own baby food purees and I am also in charge of baking and treat making which I do very well (it’s because I taste as I go).

Better, right?

Because we are so busy, we get into the habit of cooking things that are easy or that we can prepare quickly, thus limiting our menu options. When we acquired ground bison, we decided to try something very different. Very different in the kitchen means we have no idea what we are doing. My husband searched the internet for a recipe and was baffled by the results.

“How is this possible?” he asked. It seemed as though he was speaking to the lap-top, but his question was directed at me. “There are no recipes for ground bison. Doesn’t anyone eat this stuff?”

“Are you sure?” I asked absentmindedly as I peeled potatoes.

“There is absolutely nothing. I don’t get it,” he sighed.

I took a moment to look over his shoulder as my potato peeling production halted. As a nerd, I find it nearly impossible that Google does not find search results for EVERYTHING. There it was; 4 odd results and not one recipe.

“They sell this stuff at the store. What are you supposed to do with it?” I asked as my full attention was redirected from the potatoes to the recipe-search-fail. “You idiot!” I exclaimed in an affectionate manner. “You searched for ground bison receipts!”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s recipes not receipts!”

In all the glory of Star Wars, the student became the master.

Our little-chef has also shown an interest in participating in kitchen activities. He’s really good with an empty bowl and spoon and makes delicious invisible food. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes the new master.

Please VOTE for ME daily!

How I Met Your Father

My husband will hate that I’ve shared our story. I love him, but mostly I don’t care if this bothers him or not. It’s my story too. It’s the story of how we met.

When you are in high school, everyone wants to know when you will get your driver’s license.  When you are in college, everyone wants to know what you are majoring in. When you finish college, everyone wants to know where you are working. When you are working, everyone wants to know if you are dating anyone. When you are dating someone, everyone wants to know when you will get married. When you get married, everyone wants to know when you will start making babies. After you make babies, nobody cares about you anymore and their attention rightfully focuses on said babies.

After I finished college I started graduate school and was working full time. So what that means is, I got stuck on the ‘are you dating anyone’ question for a long time.

Eventually, I had heard it enough.

Most 20-something acquaintances were meeting their significant others in bars. I had hoped to meet my significant other in a library. Yes, nerdy but I assumed a library is the type of place where I might increase my odds of meeting a sober and intelligent person. Yeah, no.

Eventually, I looked on-line. Take a moment to gasp as you ponder explaining on-line dating to your grandmother. But after 2 days of searching profiles, I saw a picture that I liked. Yes I know, you don’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s how I picked my husband.

In a day we were chatting on-line for hours, in a week we were talking on the phone until the early morning, and in two weeks we were making plans to meet. But the scary thought of meeting him was almost enough to make me say no.

He called me on a Saturday night and told me he really wanted to see if our connection was what we thought it was. Despite the distance between Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, we knew it was something special. Don’t get any ideas of a dramatic meet-up on top of the Empire State Building. That stuff is for Tom Hanks (le sigh)!

My husband and I met the following day, September 12, 2004, at the airport. He splurged on a ticket, endured questioning from airport security as to why he was flying on such short notice, and our first date consisted of five hours together (and a supreme pizza from Pizza Hut) before he returned home.

This is where my story does sound like a Tom Hanks movie. The romantic-comedy kind, not the Academy Award winning kind. After my husband left that day, I immediately told my mother that I had met the man I was going to marry. As your roll your eyes at my absolute lovey nonsense, now ponder explaining that to your grandmother. Did I mention she’s feisty?

Finally on July 26, 2008, my husband and I were married. I don’t know what it will be like someday explaining to my children how I met their father. Will on-line dating be a norm or a thing of the past? But most importantly, we did meet.

My Family Featured on Babble.com

Monica Bielanko, a Babble.com contributor, recently included our very first family photo in the Moms and Dads edition of That Very First Photo.

Check out our family photo (and a precious moment when a Daddy returning from Afghanistan met his new son) HERE!

Top 10 Baby Myths

I was the first of my family and friends to have a baby last year during the baby boom. Cousins were pregnant, co-workers were pregnant, friends were pregnant, even famous people who are significantly older than me were pregnant. I began to suspect babies aren’t really made the way my mother told me. I think sometimes you can get pregnant from drinking water.

Mother & Baby

Facebook status updates were dominated by pregnancy announcements, OB-GYN appointment updates (3cm, holla!), it’s a girl/boy, and eventually something like OMG GET THIS BABY OUT! But there was nothing better than the ‘Our baby arrived yesterday weighing in at so many pounds so many ounces. Mother and baby are doing well.’

In my first post, I described the importance of talking to other moms as I prepared for baby. But as the first to deliver last year, I had other pregnancy newcomers asking me for advice, guidance, and honesty about what really happens.

One mom shared a motherhood secret that I always share with other moms: People will always tell you how to parent, but just parent the way YOU want to!

Is your mind blown?

But along with the good advice, there were a lot of myths.

Top 10 Baby Myths

(In no particular order)

1. Drink raspberry herbal tea to induce labor: Didn’t work for me and my frequent urination became more frequent (and urgent) urination. On a happy note, this was a delicious myth.

2. Breastfeeding is natural and your body will know what to do: Sort of true. I was misled with this one. My body and baby knew what to do but I certainly didn’t. I expected to wake up one morning and be a breastfeeding expert but it just doesn’t happen that way.

3. When you’re pregnant, you’re eating for two: Technically yes, but that doesn’t mean you need to eat double the portions. It’s nothing more than increasing your calorie intake. Have to admit, I still used it as an excuse when I wanted second helpings.

4. Weather and lunar phases cause women to go into labor: Every time someone mentioned a full moon or snowstorm approaching last winter, I had my hospital bag ready. But no amount of gravitational pull or barometric pressure started my labor.

5. Don’t cut the baby’s hair until they are 1 year old: I’m calling my mom out on this one. She mentioned it casually last year and I have been afraid to cut his hair ever since. (Note: Baby is now 1 year old and I have myself to blame for not cutting his hair yet)

6. Pregnant women are clumsier: No, I’m mostly just clumsy all the time.

7. Treat for stretch marks BEFORE you get them: I always intended to prevent stretch marks, but never really did anything about it. But no stretch marks on me! Only thing on my belly is a pretty little scar where I had my c-section.

8. Have sex to induce labor: If you can mange with a large belly and aching back, give it a try. Once baby arrives, your sleep deprivation and hormones could make it difficult.

9. Walk to induce labor: I would call this one mostly true. My strongest contractions were always after or during my daily walks.

10. Heartburn during pregnancy means your baby will born with lots of hair: So not true. I have been treated for severe heartburn since my early 20’s and my baby was born with nothing more than a little fuzz.

I am no medical expert, just a first-time mom sharing what didn’t work for me personally. It is important to remember that no two pregnancies, babies, or moms are alike. Keep that in mind when cross your cousin of the Christmas card list because the herbal tea didn’t work for you.

What myths and superstitions did or didn’t work for you?

My Love Affair with Mr. Darcy

I remember that afternoon at the office water cooler. Two of my co-workers were discussing their summer reading lists. I jumped in to the conversation by admitting I couldn’t remember the last time I had read a book and I was curious if they had any recommendations.

When I was growing up, if I didn’t have a Barbie in my hand, I had a book. Yes, I was that kid. It started with an encyclopedia of dinosaurs followed by the Babysitters’ Club, Sweet Valley High, and Michael Crichton. As an adult, I never saw much appeal in self help, non-fiction, and the other trendy titles I usually saw my demographic reading. In fact, I question whether or not they were only pretending to read; intending for some other adult to notice and start a conversation that would make them feel like a better person for reading whatever it was that they were pretending to read.

My co-workers suggested a book I had heard of many times before, but had never actually read: Pride and Prejudice.

“How have you NEVER read that?” they questioned. They were giggling and talking about their favorite parts without giving away the story. I didn’t like being judged unfavorably by them and grabbed a copy before my rail commute home. I was a work-zombie and all zombies conform. I wanted to be able to participate in the water cooler conversations, not be the grumpy old woman shouting for quiet in the office.

I read the first paragraph three or four times. The language was a tough pill to swallow. It was obviously written at a time before we started using words like LOL to express what Jane Austen might have described with the word follies. After the second paragraph and then the third, I made progress and adjusted to the language.

Just as my rail commute was coming to an end, I met a man who changed my life. As though I was in that room when Mr. Bingley and his party arrived, my heart fluttered at the mention of Mr. Darcy. There wasn’t a lengthy description or an illustration, but he had an attitude I was inevitably attracted to. After all, we always want what we can’t have.

I was thinking about Mr. Darcy all evening, and wondered when I might have the opportunity to meet him again. I tucked myself into bed early and continued reading. It was getting late and time for a bookmark (like the kind of bookmark you put between pages) when I read one of the most incredible things ever written.

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

“I love you too!” I wanted to declare my own love for Mr. Darcy in return, or at least scream like I had for New Kids on the Block all those years ago (I think today girls are screaming for Beiber, but I’m not really sure what that is).

Within a day I had finished Pride and Prejudice. My love for Mr. Darcy motivated me to find and make time. I always hated that lonely feeling of closing the back cover of a book and returning to reality. I hated leaving my Darcy.

I did what everyone does these days with good books, and looked for film versions. But even Colin FIrth couldn’t replace my Mr. Darcy.  My Mr. Darcy is super human and for me alone. No mortal actor could portray him.

I can’t remember the last time a book had such a lasting impact on me. It might be silly of me, but I absolutely am in love with Mr. Darcy or at least the idea of him.

I thought I was loosing my mind when I started to notice similarities between my husband and Mr. Darcy as I attempted to make him real. I was always proud to announce to my husband when he reminded me of Mr. Darcy.

But then I realized I was wrong. I understood how and why I could fall in love with a character who wasn’t real.

My husband wasn’t like Mr. Darcy, Mr. Darcy was like my husband.

I hadn’t fallen in love with a name and a character in a book, I had fallen in love with a real man long before I ever met Fitzwilliam Darcy.