Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oh Lordy....

So I finally upgraded my tag lines. What else is there to do when you are stranded in an airport for hours? Well I did have wine at 9am but that's not the point.  The point is I'm no longer almost 40. I am 40. The big 4-0.  You know "oh Lordy look who's 40". Nothing cool like the dirty 30s or nifty 50s. 

40.

One thing interesting about middle age? You never round up.  My stepson will be 8 in a month.  If I say he is 7 he reminds me "ALMOST 8".   Since October I've had to say 7 AND A HALF for fear of a melt down.  No one ever says they are 41 and a half.  We wince as we say 43. Sometimes it comes out as 43? No. Seriously. Between 36 and 39, I could never remember my actually age and I always answered in a form of a question. But you ask a 6 year old? Oh, they know how old they are. To the day. And don't get it wrong. They are proud of their age. 

But honestly, so far it's been good to be 40. Or at least interesting. In two months, I have:

Tried pole dancing 
Signed up for a triathlon in September 
Saw the Long Island Medium in person
Planned a trip to NYC and NOLA

People tell me the feel their 40s are their best years yet. Really? Better than my 20s when I could eat a whole cake EVERY DAY without gaining a pound? Or get only 3 hours sleep and be fully functional?

So I started thinking, what have I learned by 40 that I wish I had known sooner or I wish others would grasp?  Things that would make life easier if understood?

I came up with 10 things.

  1. I used to walk into a room and hope people liked me. Now? I hope I like them.  Life is too short to spend it trying to impress sucky people.
  2. It is better to have a small circle of close friends with good values, who are loyal and genuinely care than 100 acquaintances that will meet you at the bar on Fridays and make you feel popular but won't stop you from making dumb choices that night.
  3. People are thinking about you or talking about you less than you think. Don't be so egotistical. And even if they are, it's still about their own issues and not about you. 
  4. When someone pops into your mind let them know. Don't let the moment pass. Tell them. It doesn't need to be an hour call. A text. A Facebook message will do. Just tell them.  Life is too short and you could change their day.
  5. Don't sweat the small stuff.  How do you know it's small? Ask yourself if you will care a month from now, a year from now or 5 years from now and react accordingly.
  6. Making friends after college is hard. But it can be done. It just takes EFFORT. 
  7. Forgiveness is not for the person that did (or you think did) something wrong. It's not about forgetting or accepting bad behavior.  It is for you.  Let go of the grudge.  It will just eat at you while the other person is more often than not oblivious and going along their merry way.  If it's still to hard for you to forgive them, just tell yourself you forgive them for doing the best they could at the time.  It probably wasn't really about you as much as their own shortcomings! And if it was all about you? They can't help being an asshole.  Take solace in the fact is they were an asshole before you, they will be one after you. That is their cross to bear, not yours.  Trust me.  They know they are assholes, even if they act like they don't around you.
  8. You can't get around eating right.  This is hard for me. I love good food.  But you can't jog 3 miles and then eat a juicy gourmet hamburger with sweet potato fries, a good drink and a rich dessert and expect to lose weight or be healthy.  Health starts in the kitchen and continues in the gym.  Just because the girl beside you is 100lbs and eating chicken wings, doesn't mean she's healthy. And although I know this, I struggle. Every. Single. Day. In fact I want a doughnut right now.
  9. Listen more. Talk less. Judge no one.  Always remember, "There goes I but for the grace of God".
  10. If you learn to TRULY love yourself, others will love you too.  The rest of your life will just fall into place.  And if it doesn't or they don't? Screw them! You love yourself.
I was going to wrap up the post here but realized many of them I only came to realize when I admitted I was making myself crazy over thinking things and needed help.  So #11 would be: It's OK to ask for help.  It doesn't make you weak.  Pushing your ego aside and putting everything out there makes you strong.  So whether it is asking for help with emotions, at work or directions ---- ask.  You won't regret it.

So here's to my next 40 years!



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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pacifier, Smashifier!

I am by no means an expert on parenting.  This past weekend confirms the fact that I often just stumble into dumb luck most of the time.

Little man will be two in a couple of months and we decided that it was time for him to kick the pacifier. 

He only used it for naps and bedtime but it was a pain in my ass.  My regular readers know that I throw a handful of pacifiers in his crib at night in case he accidently throws one out.   I don’t have the temperament to go back and find it when he wakes up at 3am crying hysterical.  So, I decided early on to make it a smorgasbord of binkies every night.  Unfortunately, he still managed to lose them all some nights and wake up screaming.

The thing I find ironic is that the whole time I was pregnant; I swore that I was not going to fall into the pacifier trap.  In fact, I only registered for one pacifier that I was going to keep just in case there was an emergency.

Then the hospital rolled in my little newborn bundle of joy with what in his mouth?  A pacifier.   Now I was really confused.   Everything I read said not to give them one until they took to the breast and here they were sticking one in him his first moments of breath.    How did I not know this would happen?

I blame them for his addiction and not breast feeding.   Damn hospitals.

I tried not to give it to him when we got home, but 3 days of that thing in the hospital was enough to cause withdrawals.   For both of us.   The pacifier is a magical thing and I think parents get addicted to the way they silence a kid just as much as a kid get hooked on sucking one.

So off to the store we went to stock up.

Fast forward to almost two years later, he still used one to sleep.

But times were changing and my baby was just assigned his 2014 New Year’s resolution – kick the habit.

But how?

Typical me -- I googled and pinterested (is that even a word) it for days.

Go cold turkey.  Wean from naps first.  Cut a hole in it.  Let the kid throw it away.  Have them place it in a Build-A-Bear.

Now that last one, I questioned.  Knowing my kid?  He would spend every waking moment screaming and trying to get out.  It seemed like a disaster in the making to me but it also seemed so cute.   Looking back I think I just wanted to go to Build-A-Bear.

But when should we do it?  It had to be a weekend because I was not going to work after a night of crying.   And it needed to be a weekend without my stepson because I didn’t think I wanted two kids in the house while I was sleep deprived.

I realized the upcoming 3-day MLK weekend was perfect! We didn’t have my stepson and  I would get an extra day to recover.

But no, we had tickets to Billy Joel that Friday night and I wasn’t going to throw away the pacifiers and have my mom watch him the first night.  That just didn't seem fair to either of them.

I went back and forth, back and forth.  What to do?  I realized I was more nervous about the process than he was and was trying to find an excuse.

Then fate stepped in.

We got back home from the Billy Joel concert to a frazzled Grandma who insisted that we needed to talk about my son’s bedtime routine because she had a horrible night of it.

I knew my son had been fighting against bedtime the past couple of days, but it was still a 20 minute (MAX) process.

What she described sounded like an absolute horror.

“Thank goodness we didn’t decide to wean him off his pacifier tonight – could you imagine?”, I muttered.

“Ummmmm, pacifier?” my mom responded.  “I forgot he used a pacifier to sleep.  You mean I did this to myself?!”

WAIT????!!   WHAT???!!!    The little man was currently sleeping without a pacifier?

And that is how we broke him of it.  

I won’t say it went smoothly after that.   He woke up at 4am and cried until he passed out exhausted at 6am.

I ended up taking a pacifier out, cutting the tip off and showing him it was “broken” and then letting him watch me throw it away.

For two days, he looked in the trash can hoping it had been magically resurrected.  Fortunately for me, it didn’t register than only one binkie was in there.   He never questioned where the others were.

Now we have to turn on his turtle so he can see the stars and the moon on his ceiling, but I think I like that as much as he does.

Other than that?  I think it went pretty well.

I knew I could do it…it was a walk in the park.


PS:  Oh yeah...thanks mom!

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Decisions

There is going to be a big change to my website soon.  OK, you probably wouldn't notice it but it is big for me.  My tag line will change from “The Diary of a Working, Slightly Nuts, Almost 40 Years Old First Time Mother” to a “40 Year Old”.   Yes.  My 40th birthday is only a few weeks away and it exhausts me to even think about it.

I know everyone says that age is just a number and I don’t look 40, but age does play an important factor in one the most often questions I get asked.
 
“Are you going to have another child?”

I may not look 40 but my ovaries are every bit of 40 years old.  Sometimes at night, I can hear them withering away into dust.  I cover my ears with a pillow to drown out their screams
.
I had my son when I was 38.  I knew I was on borrowed time.  I have blogged before about how women over 35 are treated by doctors – like freaks of nature.   So, when I got pregnant within a month of trying, I felt a sense of relief.  Then I immediately had 9 months of dread that my old uterus wasn’t going to keep my baby safe.  And then there was the consuming fear of SIDS on he was born.   But yes, for a moment I had some relief that I was able to be a mom.

But now 40 is around the corner and we are forced to decide if we want a 2nd child.  If it is not now, it probably will be never.  

Yes, I know that the 40s are the new 30s and it seems to be in to have a child at an older age.  For example….

Halley Berry (46)
Gwen Stephani  (43)
Salma Hayek  (41)
Kelly Preston (47)
Mariah Cary (42)
Marcia Cross (45)
Nancy Grace (47)
Tina Fey (41)



I could go on and on.    When you are rich and beautiful – you can do anything. 

Also a study out of Denmark came out saying that fertility doesn't really drop after 35.  It is more like 41.  They stated "78 percent of 35-to-40-year-olds got pregnant within a year, compared with 84 percent of 20-to-34-year-olds."   So the good news is I have one more year to decide.

One more year to stress about the decision.

Awesome.

Great.

Fantastic.

Like everything else in my life, I started thinking about the pros and cons of having another child in my 40s.

Pros

  • I am more laid back now.  Not as many things bother me.  I tend to go with the flow more than I used to.  Crayons on the wall?  Grab the Mr. Clean Eraser.   Kid with diarrhea?   Rub some Vicks under my nose and refill the antibacterial hand sanitizer bottle. 
  • I am more secure with myself.  I no longer walk in a room hoping that people will like me.  I now walk into a room hoping I like them.   “Those people” include my kids.  
  • We are more financially secure.    That means I can afford a good shrink and the good drugs.
  • I have had many of life’s experiences already.  Having kids keeps me home and from making any more bad life choices.
  • Having kids makes me more focused on family and health.   If I am going to be chasing after kids in my 40s, I better be in shape. 
  • When my kids are still in high school, I may qualify for senior citizen discounts.  That makes shopping for school clothes less expensive.
  • If I have a daughter, she won’t want to borrow my “grandma” clothes.
  • They can help color my gray hair with brown Crayola markers faster.


Cons
  • Obvious stress of having a miscarriage or birth defects increase.
  • Not sure my creaking bones can handle it.  I can’t even get off the couch without groaning.
  • I need to toughen up more so when people ask if they are my grandkids, I won’t be bothered.
  • There will be a huge culture gap.   They will never know what a tape deck is and I will never understand half of their texting lingo.
  • I am not old enough to be senile.  I still remember what it was like to be able to leave the house quickly and for long periods of time.  That will be long gone with two kids.
  • I am going to be one of those “creepy” old ladies I currently judge buying socks in the baby aisle.

One last pro....Gosh!  We make cute babies!  We would be doing the world a favor.

Decisions, decisions….

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

October 4th.   That was my last post.  Pathetic.

I only have one excuse.

Life.

As usual, with everything I do, I either go big or go home.  I couldn't go big, so I went home.

The main reason I took a hiatus was work.  They asked me to get my CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) certification.   For those of you who are not familiar with it, it is a bear of a test that confirms an individual's knowledge in the field of information security.   I guess I am official now. Whatever that means.

It was brutal.   There was no way I could keep up writing, working, being a mom and a wife, sleep, write this blog – and pass the test.  One had to go and I didn't think I could write this blog poor, living in a cardboard box under an overpass.  Nor could I get rid of my husband and kids.  At least that would be frowned upon.  And well, you really don’t want to be around me with no sleep.  So, the blog was placed on hold.

To give an idea of the stress I was under, half way through the test I went to the bathroom and, with tears in my eyes, told myself that passing this test did not define me.   If I failed, I would still be a good person, a mom, a wife and a friend.   I channeled Stuart Smalley:  I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

I then wiped my tears and rocked that test on December 5th.

Although I was happy, I was a little disappointed fireworks and a year supply of ice cream did not spontaneous appear.

After that, there was the Christmas party that I decided to throw for a few kids that ended up including 15 children, a bouncy house and a visit from Santa.

Add an over indulgent holiday, family in town and several failed Pinterest attempts and that pretty much covers my time over the last couple of months.

I think you are caught up.

So here is to a happy, healthy and hopefully productive blog in 2014!

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Call 911, Not me

My first major in college was biology.  I was going to be pre-med.  I was going to save lives or find out what ended them by getting into forensic medicine.   I took all kinds of science classes.  I even took an anatomy class and dissected a cadaver.

What I didn't do?  I didn't take a class involving people actually bleeding.

Almost done with my sophomore year, I realized I was going to be going to school a really long time, owe a lot of money and eat a lot of P&J sandwiches.  Unless…I switched my major to business and let the company I worked for pay for it.

That is how I ended up with a Bachelor of Science - in Business Management.

I have always felt like a sellout.  I picked the bottom line and easy street over doing something meaningful and rewarding….and hard.

That is until this month.

This month we had two accidents requiring us to go to the ER.  Both involving blood, making me realize that I wouldn't have made it in medical school.

In fact, now I realize I am pretty much useless in any emergency situation.  When I purchase emergency row seats on an airplane, they shouldn't be asking me if I can lift 30 pounds.  They should ask if I stay calm and don’t faint.

And then immediately move me to the back of the plane.

Situation #1 involved my 18 month falling on our hardwood floors, flat on his nose. Blood was everywhere. I ran screaming “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!” to the bathroom and stood there a moment before realizing my husband and son were in the kitchen.

By the time I got to the kitchen, the hubby had gone through several towels trying to get the bleeding to stop. I, being the supermom I think I am, took over attempts to get it to slow down and tried to calm my son.  For like a minute.  Then I told my husband I felt woozy and he instructed me to sit down and put my head between my legs and breathe.

Fortunately he was able to get the bleeding to stop.  Unfortunately, my son’s nose immediately proceeded to swell up 3 times its original size.  So, off we went to the ER to confirm it wasn't broken. It wasn't.

Situation #2 involved my losing battle with a mandolin slicer.  I cut off a small part of the tip of my thumb.   After not being able to stop the heavy blood flow for over 30 minutes, we decided to go to the ER.

Again, I gave another stellar and brave performance during a crisis.   This time when I felt woozy, I refused to sit in the chair as I was pretty confident the chair was only going to reduce the height of my fall when I fainted, not if I fainted.

I laid down on the cold kitchen tile, thanking the plastic baby Jesus for allowing me to live long enough to see my child born.   My husband didn't know what to think.   I just cut off the tip of my thumb, not my entire hand including a major artery.

He was wonderful and held ice to my head until I felt OK enough to sit up.  Then I took the towel off my thumb and started the whole, “I am coming to see you Elizabeth!” act from Sanford and Sons all over again.  Wow…showing my age with that reference.

My dear 18 month old didn't know what to think.  If I cried, he cried.  I tried to put on a brave face, so not to traumatize him.  Eventually, he laid on the floor with me staring at the ceiling.  For a moment.  Then he decided sitting on me playing with his cars (while I moaned) was more fun.

So there we were.  Me on the floor, holding my thumb.  My son sitting on my stomach, holding matchbox cars.  My husband, holding an ice pack on my head.

It was finally time to take me somewhere to help stop the insanity bleeding.

After piling me and my son in the car, my husband ran back inside the house to make sure we had everything.  That is when it happened.

I finally fainted, as promised.

Here is the thing about passing out.  I actually have the best dreams when it happens.  I have dreams that seem to go on for hours, but really only last about 60 seconds.  On this day, I dreamed were all trick or treating for Halloween.  I was little disappointed when a came to and there wasn't a bag of Skittles anywhere in sight.

Of course fainting meant I let go of the towel covering my thumb and woke up in a pool of blood.

Queue the circle of drama again.

In an effort to shorten this story, the hospital got the bleeding to stop, I will live and eventually the part I cut off will grow back. But I learned a lesson this month.

Need to be somewhere on time?  Call me.
Need to set up your wireless router?  Call me.
Need a shoulder to cry on?  Call me.
Need someone to help in a crisis situation, involving blood?  Don't call me.  You will be screwed.

You will die.


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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers

I decided to do something new on this site.  I am going to post recipes I have tried and really liked.  

Not only does it give me a break from having to come up with witty antidotes about motherhood, but I can finally do something with all those Pinterest boards I have.  An who doesn't love a good recipe?  Especially one that is easy, doesn't have a million ingredients and you don't need a engineering degree and a bunch of free to time to make.

I am all about easy.   I have tried to follow recipes that have a bunch of crazy ingredients and usually I screw it up.   I either forget an ingredient and end up looking confused.  Sort of like when you put together a Christmas toy and have screws left over?

Or it requires too much multi-tasking and I lose track of time and something boils over or burns.

Or it just tastes disgusting and them I am really, really pissed because I just spent a shit load on a lot of fancy ingredients that I will never use again.

Most of the recipes I try are variations of the original recipes I have found.   I am always looking for easier, healthier ways to make something.  Sometimes it works out.  Sometimes it doesn't.

This time, it turned out pretty yummy.

And I am sharing it with you.


Wine In My Sippy Cup's Crock Pot Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4

Would I make it again:  Oh yeah!

What would I do different:  I would probably try and make it a little more "clean" but cutting up fresh tomatoes and using plain quinoa and then adding my own herbs.   But right now?  I don't got time for that.  Plus, I was able to empty out what I already had in the pantry.

Ingredients:
  • Box of already seasoned quinoa mix (or rice mix if you want)
  • 4 good sized peppers (green is cheapest but I think yellow and red are yummier)
  • Package of Italian sausage (meat type and heat based on your preference)
  • 1 Can Hunt's No Salt Added - Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, Oregano

Step 1:  Make the quinoa or rice using the instructions on the box.  I used Near East brand in Roasted Red Pepper and Basil because it was in the house already and it seemed like a good fit.  But you can use any flavor you think will taste good.


Step 2:   While quinoa is cooking, cook the sausage.   You can find ground sausage or ask that your butcher ground up links for you.  Me?  I just took home a package of Al Fresco brand Chicken Sausage Hot Italian.  Chicken sausage is healthier but it is hard to find it already ground up.  So, I squeezed them out of the casings and browned it up.   It worked just as well.   However, it is a slimy process.  It is like touching used condoms.   Oops, should I have not said that?



Step 3:  While the sausage and quinoa are cooking, cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds.  Some people cut up the tops and add them to the sausage meat.  I like to feel all fancy and look like a better cook than I am, so I leave them intact and cook them in the crockpot.  But that is my preference.
 
 

Step 4:  After the sausage is browned and the quinoa is cooked, mix them together in the pan used for the sausage and stir in half the can of tomatoes.
 
Step 5:  Pour the other half of the can of tomatoes in the bottom of the crock pot.  Stuff the peppers with the mixture and sit them in the crock pot.   Put the crockpot on low and cook for approximately 6 hours or until the peppers are soft.
 


When done, it should look like this.
 

Enjoy!
 
Nutrition information below was obtained by plugging in all the ingredients into My Fitness Pal.  This is also using the exact brands I used.  If you alter the recipe, it will be different.   I have no idea how accurate it is, but hopefully it is pretty close.   Don't blame me if it is not.  You were warned.
 
Per serving:
Calories
Carbs
Fat
Protein
Sodium
Sugar
397
57
8
24
918
14


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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Quirky DNA

As I watched my child make sure every door was shut (including his baby gate), that his cookies were lined up in a row and that his blankie was hanging on the back of the chair; I rolled my eyes and muttered "crazy kid" under my breath.   That is when my husband reminded me that I really shouldn't talk.

Hello pot?  Meet kettle.

I have often wondered if I have a bit of OCD in my veins.  I do have a few quirks.  Idiosyncrasies.  Odd habits, if you will.

I can hear my husband saying "a few?" right now as he reads this.

OK.  So maybe I am down right weird.   Is that hereditary? 

For example...

We have two light switches in the living room that control one light.   It is very important to me that when the light is off, they are both in the down position.   The switches in the kitchen got messed up and now one is always up and one is always down, regardless if the light is on.  Have you ever tried to correct that?  You can't!  Once it is screwed up, it is screwed up.   And I will be damned if the same thing will happen in the living room.   It drives the husband nuts that I will walk across the room to turn the light off just so that both switches are in the off position.   Honestly, I am surprised he hasn't gotten up in the middle of the night and screwed them up just to end the insanity.

Then there is food.   I realized I have a lot of eating particularities.

I separate my candy by color.    I am talking about things like Skittles and M&Ms.   How I eat them depends on the candy.   Skittles are a rainbow of flavors.   I believe they should all get equal attention. Therefore, I make little piles with one color each in them (red, orange, yellow, green, purple).   If there is uneven number of colors, some piles may have less colors than others.  But still only one of each color.   I then start with the smallest pile and eat one at a time.  This way I am not left with a bunch of one flavor at the end.  Nothing is worse than getting to the end and having 3 greens left.  When possible, I try to always leave a purple for last.

M&Ms, on the other hand, all taste the same.  So I separate them by color and eat them in this order:  all of the browns, then yellows, then oranges, then reds and then greens.  Ugliest to prettiest.

Moving onto Oreos.   I must separate the chocolate cookies, making sure the cream stays intact on only one of the sides.  I then eat the side without creme before eating the other side.   I personally feel that the ratio of of two cookies to the filling doesn't taste right.  It hides the tastiness of the cream.  A one to one ration of cookie to cream?  Just right.  Double stuffed?  Even better!

Hostess Cupcakes?   I peel off the chocolate top, split the cupcake in two and lick out the filling.  I then eat the cake and save the yummy top for last.

Moving away from food, I love making lists.   I make them for everything.  However, if I do something that is not on my list?  I must add it to the list,  just to mark it off.  I have too.  It makes me feel more accomplished.

I can't stand all the notifications we have in our high tech world.  I have alerts for email, text, voicemail, missed phone calls, Facebook, Twitter and many more.   It drives me nuts.  I cannot leave a notification just sitting there.   All my emails must be read or deleted.   The SPAM and Trash must be emptied.  I must look at every Facebook alert just to get the number to go away.   I have been known to call myself and leave a voicemail message so I can go back in and delete it just to get the stuck voicemail icon to go away.    I can't wait until I get a legitimate voicemail from someone.  God knows, how long that would take while the little envelope just sat there at the top of the phone mocking me -- knowing all along I don't really have a new voicemail.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.   I have a special way of doing things.  Life would be boring if we all could just eat a bowl of ice cream without swirling it with their spoon first until it becomes soft serve.

Leave a comment if there is something you do that others may find weird.

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