Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What is up with those Crock Pot Girls??

Leftovers Anyone?  Seriously, why do I bother making dinner????  Now begins the long process of cleaning this Pyrex dish.  I guess I should have used a Crock Pot!!  Has anyone heard about this new thing?  They're new to Facebook and have a new website ( and have over 600,000 Facebook followers!  In just 10 days.  That has to be a Facebook record.  They do have a lot of good stuff, but seriously I feel like my Facebook page has been taken over by Crock Pot Girls!!  Good for them though...wish I could cook and start a page like that!!  Probably wouldn't be worth the effort though.  I'm sure Munchkin Girl would still eat about three bites and then say she's full.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Announcing Contest to win $50 from Amazon!!

Greetings new readers!  I am going to have a contest!!  The first 100 people to become a follower on this site will be entered to win a $50 gift card from Amazon!  To qualify, you must Join the site by clicking on the right and signing up through Google or Yahoo.  It's very easy!  I will announce the winner this Friday, September 9th!  If crazy things happen and I get up to 200 followers, I will give away a 2nd $50 gift join up!! :-)

Nap boycott

Oh the afternoon nap.  The blissful time when the kids go to bed and I can eat my lunch quietly while watching my guilty TV for 10 peaceful minutes (Bachelor, Real Housewives, etc.  Yes, I need help these shows are eating my brain).   Or for most moms they can clean, cook, exercise, etc.  I myself HAVE to work during afternoon naps.  If I'm home, it's still part of my workday so the kids HAVE to stay asleep!!  Unfortunately, Munchkin Girl has decided that sleeping is for losers (my words, not hers).

A few months ago she started only taking naps three or four times a week.  Now it's down to 0 or 1.  But it's not all about me.  I really feel like she needs that rest time or she gets so crabby by night time!  It's no fun to have Scott come home from work and have her whining all night.  Plus, the more she cries, the more Little Buddy gets fussy too.  So, I have vowed that she WILL go to her room for 2 hours.  She however, doesn't seem to like this plan.  For several weeks now we (the nanny and I, depending on the day) have fought during naps.  I'll tell her she MUST be quiet.  We have a sticker program too and she does like to earn those stickers, but after awhile, she can't help herself, "Mommy!!!!  I want to be awaaaaaaaaake!!!!"

Sometimes she wakes up Little Buddy too so I really had to do something.  My friend told me about a clock you can get that lights up at certain times.  I did some research and found THE BEST PRODUCT EVER!!!  I'm seriously shocked that I've never heard about it before.  You can set it to light up blue during night and you configure the night however you want it.  I chose 8-7:30am.  Then at 7:30am, it changes to yellow.  That's really great too because she used to wake up around 6:45 and I never knew when.  Now I can watch her in there on her monitor.  She plays until 7:30 and as soon as it turns yellow, "Mommy, it's yellow, good moooorning!!!"

And the naps!  Bliss!!  Again, you can configure it and I did two hours.  Now she is quiet (or moderately quiet.  Sometimes she sings at the top of her lungs, but I figure that is playing by herself, right??) until the clock turns yellow.  It's SOOO wonderful to know that I have a full 2 hour block in the afternoon even if she doesn't nap.  I really recommend this product and you can click here to get to it directly on Amazon!


The Joys of Spending Time Alone With my Kids

Even though I work, my sitter sometimes has to have the day off, which I actually think is really fun because then I get to play with the kids.  I have a lot of friends who stay home so we almost always have plans and we have a fun playdate with one (or several) of Munchkin Girl's little friends.

Well, last week my sitter had a day off.  The only problem is that every single one of my friends was busy!  I seriously almost felt panicky, like what the hell are we going to do?  Of course I could think of plenty of things I needed to do, like run to Target for diapers because they're cheaper than at the grocery store.  I also had a Disney Movie Club that I need to return and take to the Post Office.  Sounds like a blast, right?

I decided I wasn't going to waste this day doing something boring like errands.  I began to open up my mind to the possiblity of going ourselves!!  I know stay at home moms are faced with this dilemma every day.  I've heard my friends talk about it.   But most of my friends also do literally manage to have something planned with someone every day.  It's just what people do, right?  Even Munchkin Girl seemed confused about the idea of going somewhere without her friends.  She kept saying, "But who ELSE will be there Mommy?" 

It just kind of never occurred to me that Munchkin Girl and Little Buddy could be each other's playmates for the day.  Really, Little Buddy just started walking well within the past few months (he's 16 months).  Plus, he is a total pain in the ass with the stroller.  I see kids all the time that are his age, riding peacefully in the stroller, just looking around and taking it all in.  Not Little Buddy.  He wants to be out, roaming free.  Plus of course he thinks I need his help pushing the stroller.  But then Munchkin Girl wants a turn pushing the stroller and the next thing I know, the three of us will be fighting and pushing and grunting until the stroller accidentally gets pushed directly into someone's legs.  People tend to frown upon having the stroller slam into the back of their legs.  Go figure!

I decided to take them to a local farmstead that has cows, pigs, playground etc.  Normally, a stroller would be the answer but I knew it would be end up being terrible. Little Buddy would whine until I let him out.  Then Munchkin Girl would want to be pushed instead and I'd end up with her in the stroller and him on my hip.  I decided to think outside the box.  I supposed I could let them walk/carry them.  But then I knew once they got tired I would end up with a kid on each hip.  Suddenly I had a "Tadaaaa" moment.   I went out to the garage and came up with this plan:

We had bought these at garage sales and normally we just take them for rides in the neighborhood but I figured why not?  They love riding in them and Little Buddy NEVER fusses while he has his steering wheel.  So, I held my breath while I tried loading them in my car.  They fit!  Off we went with a bag full of snacks and two huge cars that are certainly not meant for trips to places like a zoo.

However, we had a great time!  The cars were PERFECT!!  They could scramble out of them whenever I told them it was time to get out.  They didn't fuss AT ALL!!  I could really focus on the kids and talking to them about stuff instead of being distracted by talking to other moms.  The kids really played together and enjoyed each other...frankly I couldn't believe it!!  We spent about 20 peaceful minutes feeding the fish handfuls of food (How do those fish not die of overfeeding, seriously???)  Anyway, don't get me wrong.  I LOVE playdates and having a change to talk to my other mom friends.  And it's great for the kids to be able to play with other kids and socialize.  But I was really shocked at how peaceful and fun it was to go for a big outing with just the three of us.  We probably won't do it every week, but the next time at least I won't feel panicked! 


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Joys of Grocery Shopping

Saturday is usually grocery store day for me.  Today Hubby was going to watch the kids so I could go alone because I had a huge list.  The only teensy problem was that he is on call today.  We always have high hopes that he won't have to go in on Saturdays.  We convince ourselves that he's not really working since he's only on call.  I don't know why we do this since it's almost never the case.  I guess we're optimists.

Anyway, today was no different.  Right on my way out the door, his pager starts buzzing.  Sure enough, it's the ER calling with some orthopedic emergency.  The kids are coming with me.  I will admit that I spend way more at the grocery store than I need to.  I go the expensive store for 2 reasons:

1.  It's VERY close to my house
2.  They have these really cool shopping carts that they don't have anywhere else.  Not only can they both fit, they both have steering wheels!  I wish every store, especially Target would get these carts.

So anyway, I load them up in the cart.  They both drive very aggressively and the old folks in the store smile at us everywhere we go.  The kids eat up all the attention and they swing their little steering wheels even faster when they realize people are looking at them.  One person asks me if they are twins.  (They are 3 and 1, almost 2 full years apart, but Little Buddy is huge and Munchkin Girl is tiny).  She puts her arm around him repeatedly.  He puts up with her attention for awhile but finally starts to push her away as she invades his space. 

The only problem with the shopping cart is that it is seriously HUGE.  I keep running into things and knocking cans over.  Oops!  Of course it's 10:00 so they're starving and start begging me for food.  I decide granola bars are a good choice.  Soon they are both covered in chocolate.  It's all over their hands, their faces.  Crap!  I forgot wipes!  I take the cart over to the baby isle and open up some wipes and clean the kids up.  Now I have 2 wrappers, 2 dirty wipes, and the crumbly remnants of 2 granola bars.  Why don't they have trash cans handy in the grocery store?  I shove everything in the side pocket of my purse.  Yuck!!

We finally make it to check out and everyone around us is staring and smiling.  Munchkin Girl is very aware of this and starts singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star just to show off.  Everyone continues to smile.  Even the lady scanning our groceries can barely concentrate and keeps talking to them and asking questions.  Munchkin Girl looks at me and says, "I love you Mommy."  Wow, she's laying it on thick now!  We walk out of the store and both kids wave at their adoring fans. 

When I pull up at home I'm faced with a dilemma.  I have about 20 grocery bags to bring inside but what to do with the kids?  Hubby is still at the hospital in the Operating Room.  I can't leave them outside to play in the street.  I can't really leave them inside totally unsupervised either.  Plus I really need to leave the door open so then they'll just come outside anyway.  I open up the Graham crackers and give them each one.  It's probably best if they stay in their car seats while I put everything away.  They whine a little at having to stay in their seats, but they aren't too bad.  I finally get all the sacks on the counter and now begins the real work.  Time to put everything away.  This sounds easy right?  Well, look at my competition. 

Can you give me an inch, kids?  Everywhere I am, they want to be.  I keep having to pick Little Buddy up and move him away from the fridge so that I can get in to unload stuff.  Same with the pantry, only now I have 2 kids. 

Ahhhh, the joys of the grocery store.  And yet....I have to admit....I LOVED every minute.  I love all the attention from the old folks.  I loved watching Munchkin Girl repeatedly hug and kiss Little Buddy.  I love that there was minimal crying and fussing.  I love that while I was putting away groceries the kids kept making me laugh and I kept wanting to pull out my camera.  Plus, at the end, I can say, "Wow, I shopped for $200 worth of groceries, put them away, then made lunch all by myself.  I'm a rockstar!!"  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Have you hit a running slump? Try CrossFit

I'm a bit of a dingbat.  I admit it.  A few years ago I hit a running plateau and decided it was time for a change.  I looked into classes at gyms and the Y, but decided none of them were for me.  Then I found a class at a local studio called Mixed Martial Arts.  I had no idea what that was, but I thought it sounded like a good blend of aerobics and kickboxing or something.  Right?  Well that's what I thought and I got the schedule.  The class was only offered at 5:30am.  That seemed pretty early but I was determined to get out of my slump so I went.  I wore my little Yoga pants and my pink Nike shirt.  I walked in and everyone STARED at me.  It was a room full of heavily tattooed men dressed in jean shorts and cut off shirts.  Welllll....turns out Mixed Martial Arts means Cage Fighting.  Like you might see on TV where they are literally in cages and kick and punch each other.  Oops!  I did not stay for the class.  I think of a few of them were actually slightly disappointed to see me go.

Since then, I have actually found something that is a great solution for that plateau.  Cross Fit.  Have you heard of it?  It's a bit of a secret but when you do find someone who does Cross Fit, they are incredibly passionate about it.  There are a few gyms in major cities that offer classes, but mostly it is something you do on your own, either at home or in the gym.  The reason I think it's a great option for Moms is that the idea is that you work out really really hard, doing specific things, but then you don't have to work out for such a long period of time to get results.  Seriously.  My husband, the orthopedic surgeon, does it every day.  In fact, it is the only program he follows and he has done one Ironman already and is doing another this fall.  When he first started doing it, it seemed a little intense to me.  But soon I became a huge fan because it shortened his workout time dramatically.  At the time, he was working at the hospital from 6am to 8pm every night.  Munchkin Girl was a little over a year and I was pregnant with Little Buddy, so the more time he was around, the better! 

The website is However, I have a better way.  If you have an iPad or iPhone, download the free app called XF Diary.  It's actually geared toward pregnant women doing Cross Fit, so it's a great way to ease into this intense program.  The app will give you a different workout every day.  At first, the workouts will seem like they are written in another language.  Words like Burpee, Good Mornings, etc.  However, the awesome thing about Cross Fit is that they have all kinds of videos on YouTube to show you how to do everything.  So, to get started, enter the daily exercises into YouTube.  Type "Cross Fit Burpee" and you will get tons of videos to show you how to do it.   Soon you will know everything by heart and won't have to look them up. 

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but really can be worth it.  The workout you get it is something more intense than you've probably ever experienced if you do it right and it doesn't take as long as a normal workout.  My husband decided one weekend that he wanted to run a marathon even though he hadn't exactly been training.  He'd been following Cross Fit religiously though so he decided to try.  And he got a personal record!  Of course, he doesn't do the app geared toward preggos.  At that point, he had graduated to CrossFitEndurance ( , which is another animal.  Same principles, but longer and even more intense. 

Now I don't exactly follow it 100%.  I still like to run so I have some running days and some Cross Fit days and it works out pretty well.  Check with me in a few months though! :-)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mommy Guilt

I always thought I would quit working when I had kids.  Sometimes this knowledge can make women feel unmotivated to have a thriving career early in life.  After all, what's the point when it's only temporary?  However, for me it was the opposite.  I wanted to be really successful when I quit working so that I could go out on top and feel like I accomplished something.  Because of this, I worked like a maniac to try to break into the field of medical sales because that was my goal in life. 

After 2 jobs that were good but not great, I finally broke into medical sales.  I was nervous to drive all over the Midwest alone, and nervous to lose my work friends, but it turned out that I LOVED it.  And I thrived and became the top sales rep.  SO, when I had Munchkin Girl and it was time to quit, I found that I didn't really want to.  Not only that, but it just so happened that my company reorganized and I suddenly only had one state instead of three states.  I thought, Why not give it a try?  If I hate being a working mom, I'll quit.

It's been three years since I made that decision and I would say I now have a love/hate relationship with being a working mom.  This is all coming up at an interesting time because there was a segment on the "Today Show" this morning about the guilt that working moms have to deal with every day.  I thought it was ironic timing because just this morning I was thinking how absurd it was that I had just dropped the kids off at my nanny's house.  That seems reasonable, so you might wonder why that is absurd?

Well, my nanny lives 20 minutes away and we pay her to come to the house to take care of the kids.  However, I've found that when I leave my own house, they cry and carry on and I feel guilty all day for leaving them.  They beg me not to leave.  As I pull out of the garage I can hear the nanny struggling to get them distracted with promises of going downstairs or outside to play.  Little Buddy, my youngest, has a hard time getting out of a funky mood.  This means that I worry all day that he's in a bad mood because I had to leave. 

Alas, the miracle of discovering that they LOVE going to the nanny's house!!  She has a huge dog that the kids love.  Plus my nanny has a younger brother and sister who often are home to play with the kids.  So, instead of leaving 2 crying kids, they both hop out of the car with a smile and scurry inside to play.  It makes me so happy.  Then I can go about my day without feeling guilty for being a working mom.  My kids are happy and so am I.  Is it worth the 40 minutes out of my day that I squander so that my kids are happy?  Absolutely!  Well, most days anyway.

Should we force our kids to eat?

Ever since Munchkin Girl was a baby, she has been a terrible eater.  Even bottles she barely ate and I was always worried she wasn't getting enough nutrition.  She has also been a very busy kid and hates to sit still.  We had her three year check-up last week and I really was worried about how it would go since she looks like she's barely grown at all.  Of course she insists on brining her purse to the appointment, which just happens to be a fake Prada purse that I got in New York City several years ago.  At the appointment we sit next to a lady with her baby.  The woman smiles at me and glances at Munchkin Girl.  She suddenly sees the "Prada" symbol on the purse.  She raises her eyebrows at me and frowns at me really sour.  She looks away.

"It's not really Prada," I say.  I tried to resist justifying myself, but I couldn't help myself!  I'm not the kind of person that would buy my kid an expensive anything, let alone a Prada.

"Yes it is Mom," she says.  "It's a real purse."

"What?" I say.  "No, really it isn't.  She's just being silly."

The lady smiles, almost a pity smile.  Then they call her kids name and she walks away.  Munchkin Girl grins at me and starts searching through her purse and finds a small stick.  She pulls out the stick and carries it with her when they call our name.  

The nurse puts her on the scale.  Keep in mind she is three years old.  And the scale says....25.2 pounds!  Yes, that is less than my 17 month old weighs!  The doctor comes in, and we love him.  He sees her purse and then sees her stick sitting next to the purse.  He laughs and they talk for a few minutes about her stick and what else is in her purse.  Then he begins the exam, and Munchkin Girl is actually very well-behanved.  At the end, it's time for him to chart her weight and height.  He tells me she is in the 3rd percentile for weight.  Yikes.  But the 25th for height, so that's good news!  I ask him if I should be worried about her growth.  He shows me her chart.  From a small baby, she has hovered between 3rd percentile and 10th percentile.

"Nope," he says.  "This is totally normal for her.  Just keep doing what you're doing."

So that brings me to the question, Should we force our kids to eat?  Even though the doctor says she is fine, I know that she often is hungry and won't eat.  She will beg me for a snack, but when I tell her she has to get up in her chair to eat the snack, she suddenly isn't hungry anymore.  Even when she's in her chair, she'll eat a few bites, only enough to tide her over and then she'll say she's full and wants to get down.  Then without fail about 15 minutes later she says she wants a snack.  So the question is, should I insist that she eat more?

My grandmother had 8 siblings.  She says that she's the only one still alive for a reason (Yes, she's a bit of a skeptic and a very interesting old lady).  She says that she never forced herself to eat like the rest of her family and that's why she is still in good shape and still alive.  Although slightly morbid, I think she might a point.  I see moms who force their kids to eat every last bit of the pudding they brought for them to the park.  And their kids are slightly chubby.  Do we want our kids to go to school chubby?  For what?  So that we didn't waste the pudding we bought?  Plus, my friend was just telling me the other day how she forced her son to eat after he told her he had a tummy ache.  He went ahead and ate and about three hours later he promplty threw up on her.  Clearly he wasn't hungry for a reason, but she was worried about his nutrition. 

On the other hand, I know how frustrating it is to cook a meal, even macaroni, and have the kid not even want to touch a single bit.  Or worse, try a bite, make a face, and then spit it Mom's hand (that really happens a lot, I'm not making that up).

I think I've come to the conclusion that all we can do is try.  I'm going to really try to only offer healthy foods like lots of cheese, fruit, and veggies.  Whole wheat english muffins are actually a huge hit, and they will both eat them plain.  I'm also going to keep trying to always get them to eat in their chairs instead of while they wrestle (again, actually does happen sometimes).  Then if Munchkin Girl chooses not to eat, at least I know I've tried.  The good news is that at least the doctor says she's normal, she'll always be skinny, which she'll really appreciate when she gets older.  And at least I don't have this problem with Little Buddy.  That kids eats.  A lot.

What do you think?  Should we force our kids to eat?  Email me and let me know your thoughts!  I also have a poll on my home page.  I'm going to close the poll on September 1st and post the results!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Traveling with the Kids for the Austin Ironman

In October we are going to travel to Austin so that Hubby can do the Ironman.  Well, okay, it's really the half-Ironman but it's still 70.3 miles.  Originally I didn't really want him to spend time training for such an insane race, but it hasn't been that bad and he really enjoys it.  My best friend lives in Austin and I have always wanted to take the kids to visit her, so this is a great excuse.  The only problem is that she lives in a 3 bedroom house with her little girl and husband so it's going to be a little cramped when we stay with them.  I don't know if it's only my kids, but we have such a hard time sleeping in the same room with them on vacation.  In fact, we haven't tried it in a long time because we really can't wrap our minds around the logistics of it.  I mean, do you go to bed with them at 8:00?  Or do you sneak in later after they went to sleep and hope they don't wake up?  Plus, in the morning when they wake up at 6:00 like they usually do, don't they see that you're in the same room and want to get up and play?  Normally at home they will roll around in their beds for awhile before they make any noise.  (We know this because have fantastic video monitors, which I highly recommend!)
However, it appears we aren't going to have a choice this time.  I did some research and found what looks like a good travel bed on  I have bought stuff from this website before and liked everything.  The reason I liked this one is because it has a bag that can be rolled through the airport.  The other beds I found had bags, but they weren't on wheels and didn't look very easy to use.  We'll see how it goes sleeping in the same room with our 3 year old.  I figure that's better than sleeping with the one year old because at least with her we can tell her she has be lay still for awhile.
So, we'll see how this goes.  Fingers crossed!!

Tuck-Me-In Travel Bed with Removable Mattress & Accessories

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Tuck-Me-In Travel Bed with Removable Mattress & Accessories

 Blanket, Pillowcase, and sheet sold separately Inflates in minutes...pump and carry bag included! Lift the mattress edge...tuck blankets in!
Shown with Nylon Bed Cover (sold separately) Cotton Fitted Sheet (sold separately) Wheeled Duffle Bag for Air Beds (sold separately)

Running with Bob Stroller

For the past year, I mostly try to work out at 5:30 am before the kids wake up.  This means I get to leisurely run on my treadmill while watching my favorite high quality TV shows, such as Bachelorette, Kardashians, Bachelor Pad, etc.  However, Hubby was gone this morning doing a triathlon so I thought it would be a perfect morning to take the kids for a run in our Bob stroller, which we affectionately call the "double-wide".  We moved recently and I haven't had a chance to explore the new running routes in our neighborhood.  And okay, if I'm being honest, it's been a month since I took the kids running.  Okay several months.
So I start out with very high hopes, breathing in the fresh air and enjoying the trees in our neighborhood.  Shortly I realize it's MUCH hotter than I thought it was.  And Good God, when did this thing get so heavy?  I do the math and realize I'm pushing at least 70 pounds between the two kids and the stroller.  I didn't put my hair up because I almost never sweat.  Everywhere I turn I am greeted with another large hill.  Suddenly I feel sweat running down the back of my neck.  The kids start asking if I brought them anything to eat (luckily I did pack some snacks).  I suddenly feel very far from home and the sun is blazing!  Munchkin Girl asks, "Mommy, are you SURE you're running?  It doesn't feel like you're running.  Go faster!."   I start frantically looking for a rubber band for the hair now sticking to my neck.  I have nothing and feel panicky.  I end up finding a stretchy band from the last time we flew with the kids.  The kind with the pink tag from gate-checking the stroller.  I look around and don't see anyone.  I take the tag off the stroller and somehow get it wrapped around my hair.  Hallelujah!!  It worked!  Pure bliss, now my hair is at least off my neck.  Only problem is now I'm lost.  I have no idea how to get home.  I keep winding around and around and finally I see 114th Street, which means that if I just follow it I'll get home eventually.  I brace myself for another large hill.  While I'm climbing it, Hubby calls.  He is finished with the triathlon and begins to tell me about how he did and how he finished.  I'm having trouble responding because I'm breathing so hard.
"You okay?"  he asks.  "You're breathing pretty hard."
"Yes, but I got lost and I can't find my way home and these hills are huge..."  I start to explain everything to him and finally stop.  I'm not the one who just finished a triathlon.  I burst out laughing.  I guess I'm fine.  I will definitely choose to only remember what a great workout I got!