Mere Raises A Baby

Sorry in advance, future generations!

Mommy Hacks

A new mama friend of mine recently asked me what things saved me when Baby A was brand new. I really had to think about it because even though it’s only been two years, the mind apparently has a way of burying/blocking out those first few months when you’re light on sleep and experience but heavy on emotion and physical trauma. (Probably better that we don’t tend to remember every tiny detail, no?) Anyway, after a little reminiscing, things came flooding back to me and I thought that some of these might actually be worth sharing here, mainly so that next time I have a kid I can pop back in and remind myself. 😉

1. Coffee Ice Cubes

Yes, even though I was pumping and nursing I definitely sipped the sweet nectar of life that is coffee on a regular basis. And since the vast majority of my time was spent with a tiny, squishy, helpless little bundle of human baby in my arms I had to wait until my coffee was completely cool to enjoy it as holding a hot beverage over your tiny new offspring is frowned upon SUPER DANGEROUS. Dropping ice cubes in my coffee didn’t really do the trick because then I just ended up with sad, watery, tepid coffee. “If only I had something coffee flavored to make my coffee cold without making it all watery,” I thought forlornly, probably more than once. I was, after all, pretty sleep deprived and pretty heavily medicated in those first few days. But then! I remembered that ice is a thing not because water is magical but because science says we can freeze just about any liquid if we put our minds to it! I had the technology! Coffee, ice trays, a freezer, by golly this was gonna happen! And it did. And it was wonderful. And I survived without having to install a damn Starbucks in my house.

I like my coffee like I like my jokes: dark and slightly bitter, so I just used plain black coffee in my ice trays but if you are a fancy person you could freeze milk or even flavored creamer to achieve the same result.

2. Refrigerated Pump Parts

In the beginning, there was pumping. Lots and lots of pumping. And I was suuuuuper careful to clean every little thing that went near Baby A. Seriously, if the nipple part of his pacifier touched the countertop then a thorough cleaning was in order. (Let’s not talk about what it would take for me to have to thoroughly clean anything these days.) I went through more of those “sanitizing wipes” in six months than most people would in a lifetime. Seriously. There was so. Much. Cleaning. At my house. And in the days where I was pumping every three hours around the clock that made for a LOT of tiny plastic parts to clean several times a day. Even with two full sets of parts that was a lot of cleaning and added an extra ten or fifteen minutes to my pumping routine every three hours (which REALLY SUCKED in the middle of the night).

I don’t know where the idea came from, I don’t even know if it’s something you should do (so you should def consult a doctor or lactation consultant before to do this yourself) BUT at some point I started storing the pieces of my pump in the refrigerator rather than cleaning them in between each use. I would use the clean parts once, then give them a small rinse and put them in the fridge for three hours until it was time to pump again, then take them out, use them, and wash them. Since they were in the refrigerator any milk left in them was kept from spoiling and since it took only a minute or two to rinse, pat dry, and put in the fridge it helped to save about an hour of washing time each day. Freaking. Awesome.

3. Lunch Boxes

When they told me in the hospital that I needed to eat about 500 extra calories per day to help keep my milk supply up I was like “HELL YEAH, FOOD!” The first three days were AMAZING because I literally had hospital room service so I could call and ask for a turkey sandwich (which I did at least three times a day) and BOOM: Turkey sandwich, Doritos, and chocolate milk, at my door less than half an hour later. When I got home, though? Not so much. Although D and my parents and in-laws and others were super good about bringing me just about anything I asked for, there were times (3 AM feedings!) when I found myself starving but way too tired to cook a full meal. Solution: Prepacked lunch boxes. Super easy, and definitely an idea stolen straight from Starbucks.

I packed a bunch of easy-to-eat finger foods into Sistema containers and tossed them in the fridge (with my breast pump accessories) and voila. A full meal that I could grab whenever I needed to and eat while I was doing just about anything else (feeding the baby, rocking the baby, feeding the baby, trying to sleep, taking a shower, feeding the baby, you get the idea). Some of my favorite ingredients: Peanut butter (just a scoop), cheese cubes, hard boiled egg, turkey pepperoni, pretzels, almonds, trail mix, grapes, apple slices, baby carrots (with ranch, obvs), Reese’s Pieces (HELL YES!), the list goes on. What’s great is that your husband can also just grab one of these if you ever forget to make his lunch. Not that I ever forgot that. Nope, not me!

4. Side-Snap Baby Shirts

When Baby A was born, I had a lot of onesies. The seemed perfect for a newborn, and in a lot of ways they definitely were. I bought (and registered for) a lot of onesies and little knit pants to go over them because I was worried that A would get cold in the house with the air conditioner on. Totally reasonable. But we ended up keeping him wrapped up in blankets so much that what he was wearing underneath was rarely a concern. I discovered the little kimono-snap baby shirts on one of our first trips out of the house (Ah blessed, blessed freedom!) and I was hooked. Substantial enough to keep baby warm while still allowing super quick and easy diaper changes, plus if you end up with a diaper leak (Total possibility with newborns!) baby’s clothes are way less likely to get messy. Plus once we switched to cloth around 10 weeks I looooved putting him in just a shirt and cloth diaper because OMG how cute are cloth diapers? So cute.

So those are my four best…Mommy Hacks? Is that what these are? Unsolicited advice nuggets? Whatever, I don’t really know. If you’re the commenting type, tell me below: What saved you during your first few months of parenthood?

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Day of the Derp


Have you ever just had a kick ass day? A day where you’re on top of everything, nothing slips through the cracks, you hit all the green lights, and at the end of the day you kick back with a glass of wine and a good book before drifting off into the best night of sleep ever? Yeah, for me today was not that day. Today was big fat the opposite of that day.

8:00 AM: Wake up an hour and a half late. Why? Because my alarm clock (a.k.a. “Baby A”) decided to sleep late. It’s not like he had anything to do besides sleep and look adorable but it would have been REALLY GREAT if I could have gotten some stuff done. Also anyone with a toddler knows that when they sleep an hour and a half longer than usual their whole schedule is off for days. So I have that to look forward to.

8:05 AM: Go to get a glass out of the cabinet, realize that I put the childproof lock on upside down last time I opened it. Can’t get my fingers around the latch because the handle is in the way. Can’t have a glass. Drink my Plexus from a plastic Rudy’s cup like a caveman.

10:00 AM: Accidentally knock the kid over while playing horsey. Feel like I’m about ten inches tall. Apply magical mommy kisses to forehead, snuggle the offspring, and allow an extra half hour of Daniel Tiger on the TV.

11:15 AM: Venture to Ikea. Realize that I don’t have my debit card. Luckily, I have cash! Mentally high five myself. Mentally facepalm myself 30 minutes later when I realize I bought two of the wrong size picture frames.

12:30 PM: Determined to find The Smell in my laundry room, I start a load of laundry, empty the trash can, check the diaper bin, and finally discover It in the bottom of the recycling. Not sure what It actually was but It lives outside now.

12:30 – 1:30ish: Way too much TV happens in my house.

1:30 PM: Kid finally goes down for a nap. This is what happens when you let him sleep past 7:30!

1:35 PM: Realize that I put a freaking cloth diaper (a clean one) in with my regular laundry. Wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t load up the rinse cycle with fabric softener (because really, y’all, my fabric softener smells AMAZE). Begin desperate attempt to un-fabric-soften said cloth diaper. Wash. Wash. RINSE RINSE RINSE RINSERINSERINSERINSE repeat.

3:00 PM: Kid is still sleeping, I should go wake him up so he’ll go to bed tonight. Oh wait, here’s Facebook.

4:00 PM: Kid wakes up. I look at the clock. FML. Thanks, Facebook.

5:15 PM: Put peanut butter on bread and pop it in the oven bc it’s the natural stuff that has to be refrigerated so it’s hard to spread.

5:20 PM: Making dinner for myself and the kid at the same time. It’s not going well. At one point I’m slicing a watermelon while holding the oven door closed with my knee while the kid is trying to hand me toys. Sauce all over the stove. Jake and the Neverland Pirates valiantly attempt to hold his attention in the living room but alas, the room with fire and sharp objects is far more enticing.

5:25 PM: I remember the peanut butter in the oven.

5:26 PM: I become the first mom in history to burn a peanut butter sandwich.

5:45 PM: Kid finally eats dinner. He miraculously eats green beans and potatoes on his own with no trickery. This small miracle is worth all the shenanigans that went on today.

6:15 PM: Bath time! Wander upstairs with the kid and let him play with his cars while I run his bath.


6:25 PM: Kid is finally in the tub. It’s really more like a water tank at this point. It’s ok though, he doesn’t drown and there’s only like a gallon of water splashed onto the floor.

6:45 PM: Read stories. And more stories. And even more stories while kid drinks his milk. I don’t mind though because this is the sweetest part of my day.

7:15 PM: Put kid to bed, come downstairs, restart the damn washing machine because RINSE RINSE RINSE, look at all the crap I need to clean up around the house, grab my dinner and a sparkling water, get into bed, write a blog instead.

8:15 PM: Kid still making noise occasionally. Jurassic Park III on TV. Getting absolutely nothing done tonight. Ok with it. 🙂

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AWW YISSS Buffalo Chicken Dip

Alright, as promised. What I’m sharing with you is a little piece of my soul AND now that you have this recipe you also have the power to steal D away from me as it is one of his absolute favorite things in life. Ladies and gentlemen (but really just Mom bc you’re my #1 fan and only reader) I give you: Crock-Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Step 1: Gather your ingredients. Super easy, you will need:
1 Awesome Crock Pot (extra points if it’s the adorable one that me and literally all your girlfriends have because TARGET!)
1.5-2 lbs of boneless/skinless chicken Do NOT use canned chicken, I am not kidding, this is not 1960, canned meat is gross.
Frank’s Red Hot – I used about 1/2 of that bottle
8 oz. cream cheese
1 pkg dry ranch mix

What’s that, you say? The ranch dip is missing? Correct, you eagle-eyed reader you! The ranch dip was indeed missing that day. I had bought some and flat out couldn’t remember where I put it when I got home. #mommybrain

Step 2: Everything into the Crock Pot. Not sure if order really counts but I go chicken, sauce, cream cheese, ranch mix. And since I’m awesome you should probably do it that way too.


Step 3: Turn that sucker on. No really, it is that simple. I usually let the Crock Pot do its thing for about 6 hours on low or 4 hours on high, your mileage may vary. Just remember that you’re using ACTUAL CHICKEN (not canned chicken, that’s gross!) so it needs to be cooked thoroughly.

Step 3B: FIND THE RANCH DIP! BE EXCITED ABOUT IT! ADD IT TO THE POT! You will probably get to skip this step because you, unlike me, probably have your shit together.




Step 4: After about 2-3 hours start giving it a good stir every hour or so. Admittedly, it doesn’t look delicious at this point BUT I promise you it will start to smell amazing and it will taste much better than it looks. Swear!


Step 5: Once your chicken is cooked through you need to shred it (if it hasn’t come apart already on its own). Using chicken thighs this can usually be done just with a spoon, they literally fall apart as you stir. If you’re using chicken breasts then you may need to get in there with two forks and get to work. It’s super easy, it takes like 30 seconds.

It may feel like there’s way too much liquid in the Crock Pot before you shred your chicken but fear not, once you start shredding that stuff it soaks everything up.

Step 6: Serve. I like to serve this as a dip in a bread bowl (King’s Hawaiian, obvs) but there is literally not a limit to what you can do with this. D likes to put it in a wrap or on a sammich bun (again, King’s Hawaiian). I see no problem with just grabbing a spoon and diving in but apparently that’s “not ladylike.” Also I took this to a baby shower last night and the (adorable) mama to be declared that this is delicious on top of pizza and/or hot dogs so I guess you could try that too.


Ok that’s all. You’re done. Like $10 worth of ingredients in a slow cooker and you’ve got yourself a kick ass party dip that everyone will want the recipe for. I know because every time I make this stuff everyone wants the recipe. Go cook something.

EDIT: I kind of ballpark that this makes about 10 servings, where a “serving” is about the size of what you can scoop up with a ladle. Doubling the recipe shouldn’t be a problem, just be sure to increase cooking time. Per the MyFitnessPal app, the breakdown for the recipe goes as follows:
Serving size: 1/10 of a recipe. Calories: 297. Total fat: 22.5g. Cholesterol: 127.5mg. Sodium 2165.3mg. Total carbs: 5.3g. Protein: 21.3g. Doesn’t take in to account any bread, crackers, etc. 🙂

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Crazy-Train of Thought

For most of my life I’ve been a bit of a runner – I played a lot of soccer as a kid and teenager so I did a lot of running on my own time to stay in shape and I ran a lot in college to stay fit. I kinda fell off the running wagon in my later 20s but the past few months I have picked it up again and it’s actually going really well. At the same time, finding time to do some exercise while I’ve got the kid in my care isn’t always easy (He hates the play room at my gym, bummer!) so lately we have been taking lots of long walks on the trails in our neighborhood. He likes it because they all lead to parks (most of them lead to several parks, actually) and I like it because I get some exercise and some outdoor playtime.

Very recently, I got brave and started running certain parts of the trails with the jogging stroller. Let me tell you, IT IS RIDICULOUS. It’s the kind of decision that I instantly regret as soon as I start. Good runners will tell you that a lot of running is mental and that mental toughness can get you through even the most grueling runs. I, however, am a pretty terrible runner, and want to share my running misery with all of you. Here are the thoughts that inevitably go through my head every time I run with that damn stroller:

1. Doo bee doo, running down the trail, I bet I look adorable pushing my cute baby down the trail, look how cute we are everybody!
2. Ugh it’s so freaking hot. I hope the kid is enjoying the extra breeze he’s getting thanks to my fabulous speed.
3. HOLY SHIT is that a snake?
4. Oh nope, it’s a stick.
5. I wonder how many snakes are out here. And squirrels. And bears.
6. I bet a bear is watching me right now. If I were a bear, where would I be hiding?
7. Could I fight off a bear if one attacked me? What would I do? Try not to look delicious. I should probably have a bear plan.
8. Beer plan. Beer sounds super good right now.
9. HOLY SHIT is that a snake??
10. Nope, ‘nother stick.
11. OMG seriously, so hot. And how is this entire trail uphill?
12. This stroller weighs a million pounds. I’m not even kidding. It’s basically a pack animal. WTF did we bring with us?
13. Oh hi, other runner, you look so fresh and happy running along all by yourself, unencumbered by the steel and nylon chariot of your offspring. Ok I don’t really know what strollers are made of.
14. I hate this. I hate it so much. But I can’t stop because everyone else will see me stop and then they will know I’m a weenie. RUN!
15. 26 lbs of stroller, 34 lbs of kid, 5 lbs of extra crap, I am literally pushing 65 lbs up this stupid hill right now.
16. Look at the kid, he isn’t even impressed by how awesome I am being right now.
17. Oh crap, he lost his shoe. Where’s his freaking shoe? Oh wait no, it’s still there.
18. I’m dying. I’m never going to finish this. We are going to have to live here, in the woods, forever. My child will become feral. This is how it ends.
19. Ahh shade, bathe me in your shadowy greatness!
20. Oh running downhill and in the shade really isn’t so bad. Oh wait I’m not actually pushing the stroller, it’s just rolling away from me while I jog behind it.
21. HOLY SHIT is that a snake?!
22. That one may have been a snake. Gross. I could never live outside.
23. And what is that smell? Outside is disgusting.
24. Yes I see you, biker. Good for you, yes you’re very fast, we are all impressed. Don’t run me over.
25. OOOOOH I see the end of the trail! Run! Run like the wind!
26. Ok, lots of people over here, try not to look like you’re dying. CONCEAL DON’T FEEL.
27. Wow the end of the trail looked a lot closer. Don’t die, don’t die, don’t die. Seriously, is someone MOVING the end of the trail?
28. YESSS DONE! Ok be cool. Get some water…push this GODAWFUL contraption (the stroller, not the kid) to a shady spot…sit down gracefully DO NOT FLOP ONTO THE BENCH LIKE A DISGUSTING WET TOWEL you are not an animal!
29. I lived! That sucked!

PS Guys one time it really was a snake. A big one. It was horrifying.

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One of the things that differs greatly in practice versus theory in our home is the amount of screen time Baby A gets. Before I was a mom, I swore up and down that I wasn’t going to let the TV raise my kids. Parents that let their kid watch TV were lazy, I decided, and their kids just turned in to mindless lumps chilling on the couch while their TV-sheltered counterparts explored, ran around, and were generally free and genius tiny human beings outside.

WELL GUYS. I failed pretty hard at that. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the TV is totally raising him, but on any given day I should probably pay it for at least a few minutes of babysitting. Really, though, it’s worth it if I just get five minutes to pee in peace. ANYWAY, I didn’t come here to wallow in misery and self-judgment. Nope, I came to marvel at the tiny little snob that has been created in my home. D and I are both snobby about weird things in our lives. He is a snob about batteries. The man swears by brand-name batteries and won’t buy anything else and gets fussy if I bring home an HEB brand battery because HOW DARE YOU bring an inferior power source into our home?! Dork.

I’m snobby about plenty, but the one that probably annoys D the most is that I refuse to see a movie anywhere but an Alamo Drafthouse. It’s not stupid, it makes perfect sense: I can’t deal with people talking in movies. You don’t talk at the Alamo or Ann Richards will take your ass out. Also, beer and pizza. I won’t go see a movie anywhere else, don’t even ask, I don’t care if it is only playing at the Alamo at 10:00 AM, that’s the one we’re going to, Alamo or GTFO.

We are slowly noticing little quirks show up in Baby A’s behavior that mirrors one or both of us. He’s incredibly messy (me). He won’t eat a single vegetable (D). He thinks chasing the dog is hilarious (Me). Ok, so it’s totally possible that all of these things are typical of everyone at his age and D and I are both giant toddlers. Whatever. Point is, kid’s a TV snob. Like, to the point of getting completely pissed off if something is on that he doesn’t approve of. What does he approve of? This week it’s Veggie Tales and Sid the Science Kid. If literally ANYTHING else is on, it’s completely unacceptable. He will find the remote, shove it into my hand, and say “No no no no no!” Which is totally his favorite sentence these days. (Awesome!) Or if he has access to the TV he will go turn it off himself. Yep, it’s not that he constantly wants to watch these two shows, because he’s completely fine with the TV being off. But if it is on, it (apparently) has to be on either Veggie Tales or Sid. He’s just being a snob. An adorable little snob.

PS: If you didn’t click on the Ann Richards link you should totally click on the Ann Richards link. You’re welcome. 


Bottled Up

I would like to just take a moment to extend two emphatic middle fingers to the woman who I dealt with this past weekend. She was shopping off of a baby registry for a much younger friend/family member (It definitely wasn’t her daughter but she mentioned that the registrant lived with her at one time) and was having a hard time finding a gift she liked on the registry. The woman was nearing the curve that connects middle age to whatever comes next and was apparently trying to use makeup, hair dye, and condescension to keep herself firmly tethered to her younger days. We’ll call her Madge. In the interest of not trying to be a total bitch about this I will admit that yes, my opinion of her appearance is skewed heavily by the idiot comments that began tumbling out of her hot pink mouth the second we began our conversation. Also full disclosure, Madge 110% reminded me of a particular meddlesome and opinionated but misinformed person that I sometimes have to deal with and really can’t stand. So that probably didn’t help. I digress.

Perusing the registry with her ever-discerning eyes Madge loudly, openly made judgment of each item. “Nope, don’t like that. Ugh, pink, really? What was she thinking?” Smile plastered firmly across my face, I asked if I could help. “Well,” Madge began, “I’m just going to have to find her something that’s not on her registry. Look at this, she’s got too many bottles on here and I am ALL about breastfeeding!” Um. Ok. Sorry Madge, you’ve lost me. Blankets are over there, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

Honestly it wasn’t so much the comment that cut me, it was her tone. You may have had to have been there but the judgment and condescension that she put behind the last half of her declaration was forceful. She may as well have followed it up with “Because I was a MUCH BETTER parent.”

Here, nearly a year and a half after my own breastfeeding journey began, with a healthy and vibrant little boy, hearing someone openly judge an expectant mother for wanting access to bottles turned my stomach. And at least 20% of me wanted to punch her in the face.

I know that my visceral reaction to the comment has a lot to do with my own breastfeeding experience. Baby A was a preemie and, like most preemies, had feeding issues. But he was also hungry. So hungry. Because he came so early the nurses started me on a pump almost right away to try to build my supply. Luckily, my body was ready and I was able to produce plenty of milk, but A still had a horrible time trying to actually nurse. When he did latch he either got no milk or my letdown was so strong that he couldn’t deal and ended up choking. It was so painful for me and so frustrating for him that even five minutes on the breast had both of us in tears. We saw our lactation consultant (Diba, who I dearly love and am indebted to for the rest of my life) and visited a support group several times a month.

The questions and comments that came with it were equally painful. A few questions came from friends but a surprisingly large number came from strangers or distant acquaintances. “Are you breastfeeding?” Are you his doctor? No? Then MYOB. “Just give him formula.” Yeah I will, if I need to. Kthx. “I loved breastfeeding.” That’s awesome for you, I hate it. “Breastfeeding is so important.” Mmhmm thanks for that, I needed extra guilt to keep me on the milk train another day. Glad I ran into you. “You should try (fill in the blank).” Oh yeah I already did. And that. And that. K nice talking to you, gotta go pump. “Breastfeeding? Gross!” Yes that actually happened. An adult said it. Was he kidding? I sure as hell hope so. But hearing that in my fragile state just about broke me.

Let me just tell you, if a mom is breastfeeding and wants to talk about it, she will bring it up. If she doesn’t, PLEASE just keep your comments to yourself. We know it’s important, we have tried all the fixes that you idiots have come up with, and sometimes there is nothing to do but get through it. If there is a new mom in your life, just tell her she is doing awesome. Tell her that she can ask you questions if she needs advice. Tell her how beautiful her baby is and that he has her nose (but only if she has a cute nose). And then shut up. Better yet, bring her Subway and THEN shut up.

So I pumped and bottle fed. Wait, let me rephrase. I pumped and pumped and pumped and THEN bottle fed. We were released from the hospital on the condition that he would eat every three hours around the clock. Twenty minutes on the breast, whether he actually nursed or not, then at least 20 ml of pumped breast milk, then I had to pump for at least twenty minutes when we were done. It’s called triple feeding. If you’re a mathy person, you will know that if it takes him 10 minutes to drink the bottle of pumped milk that’s at least 50 minutes per feeding session. And that leaves only two hours and ten minutes between feeding sessions to put away the milk, clean the pump and bottles, nap, shower, eat, or try to feel at all like a human being.

My son ate nothing but breast milk from a bottle for the first six weeks of his life. You hear that, Madge? From a bottle. By six weeks he was finally big enough to latch and breastfeeding was much easier after that, but the pump and the bottles (the evil, evil bottles) were the only way that my very tiny and very hungry baby was able to eat. At six weeks, I still pumped once or twice a day but the majority of his feeding was breastfeeding with him latched on like a champ. By three months, we were dealing with nursing strikes and started supplementing with formula. If I had gone back to work, this is also when my maternity leave would have run out, so unless he was just going to not eat all day he would have been switched to a bottle by this time anyway, Madge. By six or seven months, he had discovered people food and just wanted sweet potatoes and bananas and goat cheese for the rest of his life. At eight months, he quit nursing. He just stopped. I was still trying to nurse him to sleep at night and he wasn’t interested. I decided not to pump and just supplemented his people food meals with formula until his first birthday, when he started getting cow’s milk in a straw cup. That was the end of our breastfeeding story.

What I’ve learned from sharing my story and talking to other moms about their breastfeeding experiences is that I am not at all unique. I definitely know women whose babies latched on and fed with no problems from the beginning and I know women who had issues like me. Some are able to fix their issues quickly and some aren’t. Some keep with it and nurse their babies into toddlerhood and some stop. Some formula feed from the beginning. We all have stories. There are no badges of honor. None of these women are deserving of judgment. None of these women love their babies any more or any less.

Madge picked out her gifts and continued to regale me with stories about how she is a baby miracle worker and how when another friend had her baby at a local hospital they sent “this woman” in to help with breastfeeding but “she just got the mom and the baby all riled up and frustrated and finally I just told her ‘I’ve got this’ and she left the room and I had that baby nursing before visiting hours are over.” GOOD ON YA, MADGE. She also talked about how she used “the diaper service” with her kids because she wasn’t going to put “nasty disposables” on her babies but how this friend that is pregnant now won’t even consider using cloth diapers. Thumbs up, Madge. In the category of motherhood dick measuring contests, you are clearly the biggest dick.

So what began as a blog post about an annoying interaction with a rude human being turned in to a therapy sesh. NBD. I feel better and that’s what I came here to do. But one last time, dear Madge, a giant GOOD RIDDANCE to you from me and my breastfed/bottle-fed/formula-fed offspring. Buhbye.

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Substandard Spatial Awareness Rides Again

OHMYGODYOUGUYS. Have you ever tried to put together a puzzle while someone is blowing up bombs for fun all around you? No, but sounds interesting? Read on to find out what happened to me tonight.

SO, let’s start with the fun fact: I won a car seat! Yay! Not just any car seat, I won a super awesome Britax Advocate 70-G3. Baby A now officially rides in the car in a car seat that is more expensive and more luxurious than my driver’s seat. Good for Baby A! How did I win this most excellent prize? I’ll get to that later. First, my ridiculous.

I had absolutely no idea that I would even be presented with the possibility of going home with a new car seat today, and I certainly wouldn’t have expected the Advocate (Which is monstrous!) even if someone had said “Hey, FYI, one of you might get to take home a car seat tonight.” Someone offered to help me take the thing out to my car which I declined, citing my shame regarding my car’s consistent super messy status. But in hindsight an extra hand might have been helpful, even if it would have come along with a set of eyes to witness the hilarity of what was about to ensue. Anyway – I was on my own. Carried that box (that BIG OL’ BOX) out of the hotel and straight to my car, which I had (thanks to my dad the former UPS driver) neatly backed in to my parking spot. As I crossed the parking lot I noticed the noisy, ever-growing swarm of grackles lining the trees, building, and utility wires. An extra flock of the creepy birds swooped overhead, as if the thousands of beady eyes and squawking beaks in the trees wasn’t enough already. Gross.

PS, If you’re not from here, you might not be aware of our grackle problem. Yes, Austin is known for its large population of bats (“Austin is home to the largest urban colony of Mexican free-tail bats in North America.” – Mandatory Austin Facts) but we also have a cray cray amount of grackles, and because this city insists on celebrating the weirdest freaking facts, we have a festival in honor of these noisy, obnoxious, creepy little birds. ANYWAY.

Realizing that the front seat was probably my best bet for getting this sucker home, I opened the front door and proceeded to…I’m not sure, “wedge,” maybe(?) the car seat into the car between the front passenger seat and the dashboard. Um, no. Not going to work. So I reclined the seat all the way and pushed it back as far as it would go, but this time it was the door itself that got in my way. As in, “the box is so big that it literally does not fit through my car door.” Well, great. Ok, back seat this time.

Now, it’s important to remember that Baby A’s current car seat (the not-quite-as-fancy but still pretty awesome Britax Boulevard) is installed, rear-facing, in the middle of the back seat of my car. FML. Back to the front seat, this time to lean the seat all the way forward and slide it as close to the dash as it will go. Back to the back seat, start trying to fit this ginormous box on the seat. And then, over the roar of the cackling grackles, I hear a metallic THUNK. Not thinking much of it, I continue to fight with the box. And then I hear it again. This time more of a “splat.” OH HECK NO. The damn grackles are in the tree above me, and they’re crapping on my car. With me standing right next to it. Suddenly, I’m acutely aware of the several little piles of bird plop dotting the roof of the back end of my car. Right next to where I’m standing. I’m basically no better than a target at this point. Great.

Having zero luck getting the box to fit in the car next to Baby A’s car seat and completely unwilling to attempt removing Baby A’s car seat because it would take me forfreakingever to get the thing back in by myself later on (alas the 2006 Honda Civic is not one of the lucky models that will accommodate LATCH in the middle), I try the other side of the back seat for no good reason, since if the thing didn’t fit in one side it’s completely unlikely to fit on the other. I did make one really important discovery when I swapped sides though. I discovered a very important fire ant bed on the ground near my car. Specifically, on the ground near my car where my foot was currently located. One thing Austin has more of than grackles and bats together is fire ants. Even Austin isn’t crazy enough to celebrate the fire ant, the most vile of all the ants. Luckily, only one got me before I realized what was going on. But still. It’s been like 2 hours and my foot still hurts. Bastard fire ant.

Anyway. I finally come to the conclusion that there is only one way to get this mofo in my car in one piece, and that is to do it in two pieces. So I pop the box open, the car seat itself goes on the front seat of my car (awkwardly, though, because you guys, it is a BIG FREAKING CAR SEAT), I rip the rest of the tape off of the box to break it down and kind of shove it in the back seat between the backs of my front seats and Baby A’s car seat. It worked kind of. But kind of was well enough to get me home.

SO, long story but that is how I ended up with a new car seat, a need for a car wash, and a swollen foot.

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The Pre-Baby Series: Sammich Mind Games

The Pre-Baby Series
During my pregnancy, I wrote a few blog entries that I intended to post over on that other blog but never really got around to it. Oh well, no one’s loss is your gain! This entry is part of the pre-baby series, written at some point between March and July of 2012 while I was pregnant with Baby A. It was likely written while I was at work, but I can’t guarantee that (for “I might need a reference from them someday” reasons). Anyway – enjoy!

I loooove me some sandwiches.  Joey from Friends and I are totally kindred spirits in that regard.  I’m not such a “meatball sub” kinda girl, I’m more a “load me up on veggies” lady.  And since I’m off deli meat for a while, I’ve been ordering a LOT of veggie sandwiches lately.

There’s a sandwich chain just about a half mile from where I work.  It’s perfect: Never busy, friendly staff, and AWESOME extras.  Like, I can steal an entire cup of pickles and nobody cares.  It’s the best.  So at least once a week I’m in there ordering my veggie sandwich.  And now the mindfreak: I always order the sandwich the same way.  “Can I please have a veggie on flatbread” is pretty standard for me.  And what I get is always technically a veggie sandwich on flat bread.  But I have never, ever, ever gotten the same sandwich twice.  Today it was tons and tons of shredded lettuce, a couple of tomatoes, a mountain of olives, and some Italian dressing.  Last week?  Guacamole, lettuce, tomato, onion, a few olives, and some cheese.

Part of me wants to ask them what the deal is with their freestyle sandwich making.  Do they just decide “This girl looks like she probably wants guacamole” or “I bet she wants a lot of olives” (for the record, I never want a lot of olives)?  Are they creating the veggie sandwich that they would make for themselves?  Nobody ever asks any follow-up questions about what I want on it or don’t want on it.  But the other part of me has come to love the mystery.  I do thoroughly enjoy getting back to work and unwrapping my prize, just to see what’s in it.

Sure, I could stand there and dictate exactly what I want and where they should put the pickles and how many onions I want on there, but that would kind of take the joy out of my sandwich mind games.  Where everyone’s a winner!

Post pregnancy edit: You guys, I have eaten so damn many sandwiches in the past year. Next time I have a baby invest in deli meat stock around my 3rd trimester because as soon as kiddo is born you know I’m going to eat like three sandwiches a day for months. AND IT WILL BE AWESOME.

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Rebel Without A Cake

Today on this installment of “Thoughts that are too long to put on Twitter but don’t really qualify for their own blog post”

Why is there always a “rebel” team on Cupcake Wars? Like “Oh, we’re kitchen rebels and we do things that nobody else does like put OMG JALAPENOS in our CUPCAKES (Which, wouldn’t that just make them muffins? Where is the line here?) and we wear retro hairstyles and your grandma’s apron and HOT PINK LIPSTICK and we like to say things like ‘We make our own rules’ even though there are only so many rules you can break before your ingredients just refuse to become cupcakey.” And besides, what do the “non-rebel” bakers make? Just regular cakes? Muffins? Donuts?

If getting a tattoo and baking cupcakes for a living is your idea of rebelling, I imagine that you were the kid in middle school who was really terrified to get in trouble but desperately wanted to break the rules so you drew a tiny picture on the inside of the bathroom stall in pencil. YOU REBEL YOU.

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The Pre-Baby Series: I’m A Pod.

The Pre-Baby Series
During my pregnancy, I wrote a few blog entries that I intended to post over on that other blog but never really got around to it. Oh well, no one’s loss is your gain! This entry is part of the pre-baby series, written at some point between March and July of 2012 while I was pregnant with Baby A. It was likely written while I was at work, but I can’t guarantee that (for “I might need a reference from them someday” reasons). Anyway – enjoy!

You know those old TV shows or movies or whatever where through some weird quirk of science or magic two people ended up sharing a body? And remember how it almost never worked out for both people, because two individuals with separate brains and free will were most definitely not meant to share one body? That’s kind of been my life for the past five and a half months.

There have been many adorable moments. Miracle of pregnancy and all that. There have, however, been some moments that remind me that while I’m gearing up for a lifetime of raising a son that I will be super proud of, I’m apparently also signing up for raising someone who is a lot like me (We’re pretty sure he’s mine, after all!) and therefore can kind of be a pill sometimes.

I give you some of our ongoing battles:

Baby-Imposed Bed Rest (Months 1-3)
APPARENTLY, this kid likes to lie in bed watching Parks & Recreation on Netflix and eating Saltines. Because that’s pretty much all I could do for several weeks. “What’s that you say, Mom? You’d like to get up and eat normal food go to work and have a normal life? TOO BAD!”
Winner: Callispawn. No way am I risking puking all over myself and my car while trying to get to work, or engaging in a lovely 5 minute dry-heave fest in front of my co-workers. Saltines and Netflix it is.

Early Bird vs. The Worm
Kid’s an early riser. As he has gotten bigger and stronger, he has started to wake me up around the same (ungodly) hour every morning. You really haven’t lived until someone has kicked your bladder from less than an inch away. Without fail, every morning, he’s mosh-pitting away there in my belly, ready for me to wake up and feed him something for breakfast. Unfortch for him, I likely worked until midnight and just barely crawled in to bed a few short hours ago.
Winner: Mere. Jump all you want, baby, this beast ain’t moving. You’ll get your Special K the same time you always do: later.

No Quiero Taco Bell
I didn’t like Mexican food when I was a kid, and it seems that the Callispawn is no different. My parents and their friends frequented the amazing, amazing Herbert’s Taco Hut in San Marcos, however, I spent my earliest years eating tortilla chips with those little tubs of Country Crock and thinking that hamburgers were Mexican food. What was wrong with me?! Anyway, now I’m a huge fan of awesome Tex-Mex. You really can’t go wrong with a plate full of sauce, meat, cheese, and zero nutritional value. Callispawn’s not such a fan! He likes to reward my semi-weekly bean & cheese burrito indulgence with some scorching (and I mean scorching) heartburn.
Winner: Mere (With an assist from my new BFF Tums!) I ate Saltines for weeks when it was your turn, kiddo. Deal with my burritos for another 4 months. Love you!

Coco-No Way
I kind of started to love coconut water about a year ago when I got really in to Bikram yoga. I was practicing several times a week and noticed a huge difference when I drank anything besides water (like soda or juice) before or after class. So I tried coconut water just to get some variety and it was amazing! Also, I freaking LOVE coconut. Callispawn? Not so much. For a while, it was just mild discomfort after I’d drink it, which happens sometimes and wasn’t a big deal. Until the day that I took one to work, drank half, and got the worst heartburn of my life. Makes the burrito heartburn look like…I don’t even know what. It was “go home and puke” bad.
Winner: Callispawn, hands down. No amount of Tums is fixing that. Got it, we’re off the coconut water. Ugh it kind of turns my stomach to even think about it right now.

I’m a belly sleeper. Big time. For me, there is nothing as comforting or rewarding as plopping facedown in to my bed at the end of a ridiculous day and staying that way for at least 8 hours. Apparently, it’s super uncomfortable to sleep on your belly when it’s the size of a basketball. (Try it! For funsies, put a half-deflated basketball in your bed and try to sleep on it. IDK if that’s really what it feels like but I just wanted to see if you would do it.) Also there’s the whole thing about not really wanting to squash this little person that D and I have created.
Winner: Callispawn. That’s an easy one.

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