Airing Dirty Laundry

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Catching up . . .in pictures May 15, 2010

Filed under: baby!,daily grind,family,Uncategorized — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:25 pm

So, even though it’s been awhile (since Easter!), I really don’t have the gumption to string sentences together and make a coherent post right now.  Mike, Maggie, and I had a full day cleaning the house, taking a long walk, going for a run (OK, Mike and Maggie didn’t participate in that one and HOLY CRAP CAN YOU BELEIVE I STARTED RUNNING AGAIN?), and all of the other usual weekend-y type stuff.

Oh, and I cooked dinner today.  That in and of itself is newsworthy.  WITH MORE THAN 3 INGREDIENTS.  WITHOUT A RECIPE.  (I have friends in Seattle and Phoenix who just fell off their chairs when they read that).  I made pasta with zucchini, crab meat, spinach, and mozzarella, with a little bit of garlic, drizzled in olive oil, and topped with almond slivers.  It kicked ass, if I may say so myself.

Maggie is . . . mind-blowing.  It seems like every day she’s learning something new.  Some of her favorite things are waving, clapping, doing “so big”, peek-a-boo, “gimme five”, and dancing.  She LOVES to dance.  And, if I may say so, I think she inherited her dancing skills from me.  (Poor girl!)

Anyhow, here’s some pictures to tide you over until I come up with a real post.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes December 22, 2009

Filed under: baby!,daily grind,family,holidaze,random ramblings — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:14 pm

Sorry for my absence. I really have no excuse other than the avalanche of just normal life that dropped on my head in the past few weeks. Something had to give, and blogging was just one of those things.

A few weeks ago, I had it all together. Christmas shopping well underway, work stuff contained to 9 hours out of the day, an hour and a half of family time every evening, dinners made and on the table each night, and the grocery store and other errands run after Maggie went to bed. I had blocks of time scheduled on the weekends for projects that needed to get done—painting the powder room, cleaning the house in preparation for out-of-town guests after Christmas, wrapping presents, etc.

Then it all went to hell.

The first big change . . . .we took Maggie out of daycare. For now. The opportunity came along for us to have Mike’s sister watch Maggie full-time until next summer, so we talked it over and decided to go that route. It helps out his sister financially, and of course there are so many benefits for us—not having to pack her up and drag her to daycare in the dead of winter, having guaranteed one-on-one care for her, etc. But it was actually sad to pack up all of her stuff and to leave the wonderful women that have taken care of her for the past 5 weeks.

saying goodbye

They actually cried when we left with her and begged us to bring her back to visit. Maggie seemed to really like it there and we were really happy with them, so we made it clear that she will be back next year and they even agreed to keep her “active” in their system to ensure that she has a spot, and also to allow us to use them on a day-to-day basis if we would need to.

Next big change . . .Maggie’s getting her first teeth.  They’re just starting to poke through the gum, but as of right now they don’t seem to be bothering her too much.  Hopefully it will stay that way. 

And . . .I think she’s almost ready for rice cereal.  She drinks six 7-8 oz bottles during the day (!), and has for a few weeks now.  She was at the point where she was only waking up once or twice throughout the night (and mostly because she turned herself sideways during the night and her feet were up against the crib rails).  But now she’s waking up more and more, and getting up earlier in the morning.  I’m not sure if it’s hunger or her teeth that are causing this, and assuming I get a few free minutes during the day at work tomorrow, I’m going to call the pediatrician to talk with her about it.  She’s 3 1/2 months old, and that seems early to me to start cereal, but at the rate she’s packing away the formula, that might be a sign that she’s ready to take it up a notch.  What do you guys think?

I took last Thursday afternoon and Friday off (the last of my vacation time), and was able to get the powder room painted. Something like that wouldn’t typically be a high priority on my to-do list at this time of year, but it had never been painted since we built the house 3 years ago. There were patches on the walls where nail pops were repaired, and the normal scrapes and marks that occur with (cheap) flat white paint. Also, we have a poster of our benefit logo blown up each year and we use it for a “guest book” that night and have everyone sign it—we frame the poster and hang it behind the toilet in our powder room (Seriously. If nothing else, it’s a conversation piece for visitors.) Well, the toilet is tucked into a little alcove that’s approximately 27 inches wide, and the frame is about 26 inches wide, and for some reason this year we scraped the hell out of the walls wedging the frame in to get it hung. Even I thought it was shameful-looking and I’m really good at ignoring things like that.

So, I proceeded to paint. With a ladder that didn’t fit into the powder room. And with Mr. Curiosity the Cat (otherwise known as Forrest) very interested in the whole process. I love to paint, but I can almost guarantee you that that room will never get painted again as long as we’re in that house—what a pain!

The next big change was the switch to cloth diapers. We had debated on whether we were making the switch or not for quite some time, but around Thanksgiving I counted out how many disposables were in our stockpile and figured we had about 6 weeks worth left. I had been scouting around online looking for the best prices I could find on the brand of cloth diapers we wanted to use, and came across an awesome 20% off sale for Black Friday. We knew it was decision time, and we made the leap and ordered them. We had previously gotten a few of them to try out just to make sure we were OK with using them, so we ordered 12 more, plus a diaper sprayer and a few wet bags. We saved about $75 thanks to the sale, and the best part?  We will not have to buy diapers AGAIN.

I wanted to make the switch over a weekend so that I was the one changing her around the clock, making sure she wasn’t freaked out by the different feeling, and to check for leaks. All was going well . . . .

. . . .until I tried to install the diaper sprayer. It looked so simple. It connects to the water line on your toilet. You turn off the water, loosen the connectors, take the piece off, replace it with the sprayer attachment, turn the water back on, and viola . . . diaper sprayer. Long story short, I made a disaster of it, and we had to call in a plumber to fix my mess. Plus, I had put one of those blue 2000 flushes things in the tank eons ago and it just won’t fully dissolve, so I had blue stuff everywhere, including my freshly-painted walls.

And then, in the wee hours of Sunday morning, the cooties invaded. I woke up at 12:15 AM feeling like garbage, and then proceeded to wear a path in the carpet going back and forth from the bed to the bathroom about 478 times until morning. Mike was supposed to leave the house at noon to go to the Steeler game with some friends. He was so excited to go—it would be the first game he had gone to in a few years, and he and his friends had plans to go to Jerome Bettis’ bar for lunch and drinks and to watch the early games before heading over to the stadium. By 9:30 AM he called to cancel after seeing the state that I was in. He felt that there was no way I could take care of Maggie, even though I half-heartedly protested that he should go and that we’d be fine. I felt so incredibly bad and guilty that he was missing out on a fun afternoon/evening. .

. . until an hour later, when he was running for the bathroom too. Since our powder room downstairs was, um, out of order thanks to my plumbing experiment, it made more sense for him to quarantine himself upstairs while Maggie and I camped out downstairs. I was over the worst of it anyhow, so I only had to grab her to make a few trips upstairs myself. Poor little girl got quite a show while she was sitting in her bouncy seat in my bathroom.

Maggie and I spent the remainder of the afternoon lying on the floor with the TV on. She seemed entranced by WALL-E, so I let her watch that for half an hour and then felt guilty for plopping her in front of the TV. I mustered up enough energy to play with her for a little while and was hoping it would be one of those few-and-far-between days where she took a nap, but it just wasn’t gonna happen.

Mike came downstairs around 4:30 or so, and the two of us muddled through until it was time for her to go to bed. I still had some things I HAD to do that day, like laundry (didn’t want to wait the extra day to wash the cloth diapers), so I got everything done that I had to do and went upstairs to bed. We were up a few times with Maggie that night like usual, just to put her pacifier back in, and I have never been so glad to have a baby that sleeps relatively well at night.

I still haven’t had much in the way of solid food since Saturday night (but I lost 10 lbs so far!), and being at work all day has been a struggle when all I want to do is put my head down and fall asleep, but we’re at least on the road to recovery. Mike took Monday off work because he was still feeling so bad. Coincidentally, that was JLo’s first day watching Maggie.

I had intended to have the house clean, the fridge and pantry stocked, and everything organized for her. Instead, she walked into a mess of a house (after having to come through the garage because the front steps never got shoveled after we got a ton of snow dumped on us), no food, a non-working bathroom, Mike there but still sick, and a screaming overly-tired child who refused to nap. Oh, and then the plumber showed up, so there’s a little added chaos. She’s probably second-guessing her decision to watch Maggie after only the first day!

So, needless to say, the next few days are going to be a little crazy. I still haven’t wrapped one gift, the house needs to be cleaned before we head to The Sticks to see my family on Christmas morning (Mike’s brother and family will be coming in to stay with us right after we get back to Pittsburgh ), we STILL haven’t hung any ornaments on the tree, there are no decorations at all inside the house. And to top it off, things are incredibly busy at work. On Monday it was non-stop from when I got there at 7AM until I left at 5:15. Good thing I couldn’t even think of eating food, because I never had a chance to stop to eat lunch!

But as screwed up as all of my well-organized plans got over the last week or so, it’s still going to be an amazing Christmas. Our first one with Maggie, who doesn’t care that the house is dirty, or that her presents aren’t wrapped, or that there aren’t any ornaments on the tree. Because beneath this whole whirlwind of holiday stuff, I know that only one thing is important . . .spending time with the ones we love.

And now . . .some pictures . . .

check out my fur cuffs!

hanging out in the bumbo

naughty or nice?

looking for Santa?

 

play time!

 

Two week recap November 25, 2009

Filed under: baby!,benefit,daily grind,family — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:19 pm

Well, it has certainly been a crazy couple of weeks.

MAGGIE’S HEAD

First of all, let’s talk about Maggie’s head. Two weeks ago at her 2 month well baby appointment, the pediatrician noted that the soft spot on the top of Maggie’s head felt smaller than it should. Her exact words were “Do not panic. I will tell you if/when you need to panic”, but to be on the safe side, she sent us for an ultrasound to get a better idea of what was going on since the ultrasound would be a lot more exact than just her touch. So I didn’t think much of it, and we scheduled an appointment the next day at Children’s Hospital to get it done. Needless to say, Maggie did not like having the lady squeeze gel onto her head and roll the wand around on it.

The next day, we got a call from the pediatrician’s office confirming that, yes, her soft spot is extremely narrow, but it’s still open. They were also worried about the possibility of it closing way way sooner than it should, so they told us to take her to get her head X-rayed so that they could see the bone structure of her skull. The nurse that I spoke to was very matter-of-fact and very calm and very helpful with answering my questions about where we needed to go. I called Children’s, found out that we didn’t need an appointment for X-rays, and thought that we’d just go the next day.

THEN I got off the phone and googled “soft spot closing early” and FREAKED THE EFF OUT. Terms like “severe mental retardation” and “surgery in the first year of life to relieve the pressure” were mentioned, among other equally scary things. Fifteen minutes later, Mike was pulling in the driveway from work and I was on my way down the steps to meet him with Maggie in tow. We made the drive in record time, did the whole fill-out-the-paperwork dance, and waited our turn.

Maggie liked the X-ray even less than the ultrasound. And it broke my heart to see her thrashing around on a big slab of metal with the protective pad over the rest of her body while three people tried to keep her calm and get all of the pictures they needed. It turns out that, for now, everything is OK. They’ll just have to keep an eye on her head measurements to make sure it’s growing the way it should and that the soft spot isn’t closing prematurely. So although it could be worse, I get that nervous fluttery feeling inside when I think about it and start to imagine what will happen at her next appointment if her head hasn’t grown.

DATE NIGHT

At the end of that week was our 10 year anniversary. Mike and I went out alone for the first time for a few hours while Mike’s sister watched Maggie. It was such a weird feeling for both of us to be out without the baby, and we spent a lot of the time talking about her and missing her, but it was nice to have some alone time with Mike outside of the house.

DAYCARE

Last Monday was my last day of maternity leave. We had decided to start Maggie in daycare that day and Mike took off work so that we could both take her, get her settled, and get our crying out of the way without having to rush off to work. We had a ton of errands to run for the American Cancer Society benefit that we do, so it worked out well that we kept busy while she was there so that we weren’t tempted to just sit in the parking lot and talk ourselves out of going back in to get her.

Daycare has worked out pretty well. We really like the staff and the facility. It’s very clean and they’re very organized and, most importantly, we’re comfortable with the care that she’s getting. The infant room is segregated from the other kids and the adults either have to take their shoes off prior to entering or wear booties over their shoes to keep the carpet as clean as possible for the kids that are crawling. Maggie’s in with 5 other kids, roughly 4-10 months old, so she’s the youngest.

Last Wednesday when I got there to pick her up in the afternoon, I saw that her crib had been moved from one side of the room to another. I asked about it and was told that she and the girl in the crib next to her were “talking” and waking each other up during naptime so they separated them. Yes, my 2 month old daughter got in trouble on her third day of daycare. For talking. I can only imagine what the teenage years will bring!

MAKING IT ALL WORK

We seem to have a pretty good schedule figured out for the mornings, and Maggie was very cooperative last week by staying asleep until WE were ready for her to get up. I get up and get showered, dressed, and dry my hair. Mike gets up and gets in the shower while I finish getting ready. I get Maggie up, change her diaper, and get her dressed. Mike starts to feed her while I get my lunch packed, and then I sit with them for a few minutes until it’s time for me to leave. Mike drops her off at daycare since he typically doesn’t leave the house until an hour after I do, so that’s one less hour she has to be there and can be with one of us instead.

She’s exhausted by the time she gets home. There’s a lot more for her to look at during the day now than there is at home and a lot more activity and it really wears her out. She’s been napping a little better at daycare than she was at home, and her caretakers are amazed that they can just lay her down in the crib and she’ll fall asleep since there are other, older, kids there that are so resistant to sleeping in a crib and have to be in a swing to fall asleep. I think I can honestly say that she gets her ability to sleep anywhere from me!

Mike and I don’t eat dinner until we put Maggie to bed at night. She’s been ready for her last bottle and to fall asleep by 7:00 each night, so we only have an hour and a half to spend with her before she conks out and I don’t want to waste that time eating dinner. While I was off, I spent a few Saturdays cooking in bulk and freezing meals, and that has worked out incredibly well. It seemed to cost an arm and a leg at the grocery store at the time, even though I would buy meat and the more expensive things when they were on sale. But the extra expense upfront has been well worth the time saved each night now. We’re eating a home-cooked meal and not wasting a ton of time cooking and cleaning up. And it should save some time at the grocery store now each week. Once we near the end of these meals—I made enough to last us through January—I’ll have to devote some time once or twice a month to stocking up, but it’s so worth it.

I’m also trying to get in the habit of laying out Maggie’s clothes for the week, and also my own, on Sunday nights, so that there are a few less things to think about in the morning during the week.

RETURNING TO WORK

Not as bad as I expected, but still tough leaving Maggie each day. I was overwhelmed at first, forgetting passwords and where to find certain files that I needed. But within a few hours I had gotten back into the swing of things and it was like I had never left. And even though I’m busy all day, the time seems to drag, which it never did before. Now I’m counting the hours until I can see Maggie again.

THE BENEFIT

Most of you know that Mike and I run a benefit each year for the American Cancer Society. It was this past Saturday, so we had all of the preparations for that combined with me returning to work falling in the same week—needless to say, it was a crazy week! This year’s event was fantastic. We had over 200 people, which is more than we had ever had before. We ended up getting some great silent auction items which brought in a lot of money. Donations are still coming in from people that couldn’t attend but want to contribute. We’ll be over $8000 this year once it’s all said and done, and that amazes me. With as tough as things are financially for so many, it’s great that people are able to open their wallets and contribute to such a good cause. Thank you to everyone that came to the benefit or donated online—we really appreciate it. And if you haven’t donated but have a few extra bucks that you’d be willing to part with, please visit our website.

The benefit has gotten a little bigger each year, and I’ve slowly been letting go of my need to be a control freak about how things happen that night. And, this year, with Maggie added into the mix, I think I realized that I can’t do it all. I tried to sell raffle tickets along with one of our friends that we recruited for the job, but my mind wasn’t on it. Maggie hung out in the Baby Bjorn for awhile, but she got really hot in it which made her fussy. And since she was awake later than usual, she needed an extra bottle. So I had to give up on the tickets, grab my sister-in-law to fill in for me, and take Maggie into a side room to settle her down and feed her. Mike was concerned about her being OK, so he was leaving his post by the door and having his sister’s friends fill in for him. Without the help of Mike’s sister, her friends, and our friend Jen, the night would have been chaos. Maggie was really good the whole night, smiling at everyone and wide awake early on, and then falling asleep in her chair for about an hour. But she woke up cranky at 11:30 and I knew she had had enough. We had gotten a room at the hotel a block away to make it easier at the end of the night, and it was definitely worth it. Mike and I took her back to the room and I stayed with her while he went back to clean up.

MAGGIE’S FIRST COLD

So many people have told me that daycares are cesspools of germs and illness, but this one gets blamed on me. I woke up with a cold last Monday. Bad timing with all we had going on last week, but I don’t have room to complain since I went all of last winter cold-free and flu-free. It got worse as the week progressed, and I started to lose my voice on Thursday. Saturday night at the hotel, I noticed that Maggie seemed to be a little congested, and by Sunday night it was definitely a cold.  On Monday Mike decided to work from home and keep Maggie home from daycare so that he could keep an eye on her to make sure she didn’t get worse. Technically, she could have gone since she didn’t have a fever, but he felt better knowing that she was being closely monitored. Other than the congestion, she was fine all day.

Monday night she went to bed at her usual time, but woke up 2 hours later because she was so congested. We put her in her chair and she fell asleep—I think the little bit of incline helped everything drain and made it easier for her to breathe. She slept in our room last night because we expected to be up a lot, but she slept pretty soundly until 5:00 this morning. We suctioned her, fed her, and she fell asleep in her crib. When I left the house a little before 7:00, Mike wasn’t sure how the day would play out, but she ended up sleeping until 8:00 and then he took her in to daycare—she was smiling and giggling and fine except for a little congestion. Same for today, so hopefully she’ll be back to normal in a day or so.

Well, that sums up my life for the past 2 weeks or so.  Now I’m excited to have 4 days off work to spend with Maggie (and Mike too, of course)!

 

Going back November 15, 2009

Filed under: daily grind,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 12:03 am

I go back to work on Tuesday.

“Conflicted” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel.

I have to go back.  I don’t have a choice.  The little things like health insurance, retirement plans, and, well, a paycheck, make it necessary for me to go. 

But, if I had a choice, if money and benefits were not an issue, would I want to stay home?

Actually, no.  At least not full time.

I feel guilty even typing that. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I love being here with Maggie. I’ve fully enjoyed the time I was able to be off.  I was thankful that by having a C-section, my doctor wouldn’t release me to return to work for 8 weeks, and then I had 2 weeks of vacation time that I was able to use so that I could have a full 10 weeks with my baby.  And I know that when we drop her off at day care, I’ll cry and spend a good portion of the day missing her.  I’m tearing up now just thinking about it.

But I need more of a challenge, I guess you could say.  Not that raising a child isn’t challenging enough, but I sometimes feel the need for “shop talk” that doesn’t revolve around children.  I need more adult interaction, a reason to wear something nicer than jeans, someplace to go where I can take a purse instead of a diaper bag.

And I feel so selfish wanting that.

I know that by the end of next week (if not sooner), I’ll be longing for the days to be like they’ve been for the past two months.  The novelty of returning to work will wear off quickly.  I’m only the third woman at my company to have a child since it was founded over 15 years ago and will be the first one to come back; the other two quit after their children were born.  Most of the people I work with are older than me, and most are men.  With the exception of a few, no one’s really going to want to hear me blather on about Maggie.  There will soon be a such a sharp division between “work” and “home”, and I know that will irritate me to a degree.

I’m a fairly organized person (just don’t look in my basement or garage, because either one would totally blow your mind).  But my organization skills are going to be put to the test once I go back to work.  Being off work, I’ve been able to keep the house somewhat clean.  I’m almost always caught up on laundry (but I love doing laundry, so don’t let that depress you if you have mounds of it to do).  I’ve been able to spend time blogging. I started my Christmas shopping, something I usually don’t do until mid-December.  I even cooked a real dinner every once in awhile (and I freaking HATE to cook).

But once I go back, that will all change.  And quickly.  Just the thought of getting up in the morning, getting Maggie up/dressed/fed, making bottles to go with her to day care, getting showered and dressed, packing my lunch, and getting out the door by 7:15 at the absolute latest makes me want to curl up in a ball.  Figuring out how to get the house clean, the laundry done, errands and grocery shopping accomplished, and meals made is going to be a juggling act.  I’ll have about 2 precious hours each day to spend with Maggie during the week, and I’m already feeling a little bitter about that.  There won’t be enough hours in the day.

I’m whining, I know.  So many people do this.  People with more job responsibilites and longer hours.  People who travel for their job and don’t even have the chance to spend 2 hours a day with their children.  People with more children.  People with children that don’t sleep as much or as soundly as mine does at night.  People who don’t have a spouse that is willing to help.  People that don’t have a spouse at all.

I know it will all work out.  That we’ll get into a routine.  That some things will be sacrificed (such as cleaning the bathrooms, because I hate cleaning bathrooms).  We’ll find our balance.  We’ll find our groove.  We’ll hit the lottery.  OK, maybe I’m stretching it on that last one.

But right now, I’m overwhelmed.  I want to work.  I want to stay home.  I don’t know what the hell I want.

So, I guess the ideal situation would be for me to work part-time, get paid what I do now (or more . . .) for working full-time, retain my health benefits and retirement plan and stock options, and have the flexibility to work when I want.  Then I could still have a lot of the day to spend with Maggie and wouldn’t have to put her in (or pay for) day care. Is that too much to ask, really?

OK, back to reality!

 

Falling apart at the seams August 26, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,meow! — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:45 pm

So it seems that I have mono.

It started off last week with a sore throat and a double earache.  I went to the doctor and got started on some antibiotics.  No big deal.  We had planned on going to Harrisburg last weekend to visit my friend Amy and her 7 week old baby, so I just wanted to make sure I was healthy before I drove 4 hours to spread my germs to them.

By the end of last week, the earache was gone, but I still had a sore throat.  I called the doctor’s office, hoping to be given a stronger antibiotic (since the one they had prescribed for me wasn’t very effective when they gave it to me back during the never-ending sickness of January and February 2008).  Instead, I was given a needle in the arm and the possibility of having mono.

We canceled our trip to Harrisburg, and I took it easy all weekend.  A lot of sleep, reading, sleep, fooling around on the internet, sleep, playing with the kitten, and more sleep.  Sounds great, but still being exhausted on Monday when I dragged myself to work made it seem like the whole weekend was just a dream.

I got the call today that it’s definitely mono and the only thing I can do is rest.  You don’t have to tell me twice–nothing like being prescribed to sleep!  I feel like all I’ve done for the last week is drag myself to work, struggle through the day, drag myself through whatever errands have to be run, and then go home and crash.  I am in a complete fog.  I’ve never felt anything like this.  It’s like I can’t get caught up–the more I sleep, the more tired I get.  Very strange.  And no amount of Rock Star or Monster or coffee has helped.

So, even though I just slept for 1 1/2 hours after work, I’m going back to bed and hoping that I’ll be able to put a coherent post together within the next few days or so.  In the meantime, I leave you with this little bundle of energy and cuteness:

maybe I cant sleep very well because this ones favorite hobby is chewing on my hair.

maybe I can't sleep very well because this one's favorite hobby is chewing on my hair.

 

Catching up August 17, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,meow!,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:32 am

This past week included a trip to Vegas, a red-eye back to Pittsburgh, 13-15 hour workdays, a big event that I’ve been planning for months, dealing with the antics of an active (and still ringworm-ridden) kitten, and no more than 3-4 hours of sleep each night.

I survived on protein bars and energy drinks.  On Friday night I crashed.  I’m still alive, just comatose and groggy and now coping with an ear infection.  After I recover by catching up on sleep, I’ll catch up on everything else . . .

what appears to be a picture of a one-eyed cat and a prime shot of my nostrils

what appears to be a picture of a one-eyed cat and a prime shot of my nostrils

 

Vegas, baby! July 2, 2008

Filed under: daily grind,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 7:43 pm

We’ll be boarding our flight in 24 1/2 hours and I have a ton of stuff to do between now and then, so I just wanted to write a quick post to say goodbye!  Of course, everything at work exploded this week and I’m back to 10 and 11 hour non-stop days and feeling stressed out.  Just the thought of this trip is getting me through this week.  I’m looking forward to it now even more that I was before!

Hope you all have a nice weekend and a Happy Fourth!