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Let me tell you about our (no good, very bad) week.

19. September 2014

I didn't mean to not publish many blog posts this week, but you know how that goes.

This week has been rough. And I mean really freakin' tough.

I mean, it hasn't been the worst week by any means, but it's definitely been the most challenging week of this very-new (motherhood) season of my life. 

So I really just need to tell you about it.

But first, here is a gratuitous picture of Clara Jane.

On Sunday, we got back from St Louis and I started feeling crappy. Like, sore-throat-runny-nose-run-down crappy. I passed out at 8pm and slept for what felt like ever with the exception of waking up a few times to feed Clara.

I woke up Monday feeling even worse, which was not convenient timing because Tim had to leave for Denver (for work) that day. UGH. I struggled through Monday by spending a lot of couch time with Clara. I honestly don't even know what I did but in the evening my brother brought me soup, which was very nice. I could barely sleep that night because it was my first night alone with Clara since she was born and I was an anxious ball of nerves, plus I could barely breathe because my nose was so stuffy/runny/disgusting.

On Tuesday I forced myself to leave the house and go to my New Moms Group, which was awesome, per usual. I spent the rest of the day packing so that I could head to my mom's house for the remainder of the week for some company and to visit with my aunts, who were coming into town for a few days from Ohio.

My first mistake was leaving for my mom's house at the beginning of rush hour (4:30) but my second mistake was listening to Google Maps. I knew the route we normally take to drive to the suburbs, but Google Maps told me to take a different way (it was the faster route, because of traffic) and after a few minutes I realized I was heading into a not-great-area of town. Then suddenly I was driving through a not-great-area of town and realized I needed to get out of it and onto the expressway. Of course, this entire time Clara is screaming (because her pacifier fell out of her mouth). 

She cried for 40 minutes. And then she fell asleep.

I drove for almost 2 hours and finally got 'home' to my mom's house. The whole drive should have only taken me about 35 minutes, but traffic is traffic! I actually don't mind sitting in traffic, but I had to keep turning the radio up to drown Clara's cries out. This is a 'normal' mom thing to do, right?!

I was so happy to get to my mom's house. And I was so, so exhausted. I ate soup for dinner and just wanted to pass out. But of course, I couldn't, because Clara stays awake until 12am-1am every night before she goes to sleep for the night. (I would mind this more if she didn't sleep for almost 7 hours per night!)

On Wednesday my aunts came into town and I still felt under-the-weather but not that bad. We had a relaxing day of visiting and walking around the neighborhood in the sunshine.

Thursday was the roughest day. We started out great. Clara woke up and was her usual smiley, happy self and spent the whole morning smiling at everyone. Then we decided to walk around the downtown area of town, and that's when things started going badly.

First, we couldn't figure out how to get her car seat base in my mom's car, and my car was too small to fit everyone. After trying (and failing) for a few minutes, we gave up and tried to put it in my aunt's car. Thankfully, that worked, but it was still frustrating that it took three of us trying to wrestle with this car seat and it still wouldn't work! 

Then, we drove downtown, found a parking spot, pulled out her stroller, plopped her in, and started walking around downtown. Within 2 minutes, Clara got stung by a bee. I COULD NOT BELIEVE IT. Seriously. I saw a bee fly away from her, then I heard her scream and saw a stinger with a bit of the bee attached to it in her finger (thank goodness it was a big stinger so I knew what had happened). We took it right out but Clara wouldn't stop screaming at the top of her lungs.

Poor baby. 

We immediately took her out of her seat to comfort her, but nothing worked. People on the street were seriously alarmed by how terrible she sounded. Then my aunt and I ran into a tea shop to get some tea leaves to put on her, which seemed to help. Then we found a man smoking outside a restaurant, so we asked him for a cigarette, took out some tobacco leaves, wet them, and put it on the sting. Clara immediately calmed down and went to sleep.

Did you know tobacco leaves were great for bee stings?! Thank goodness my aunt knew that, because we continued on our walk calmly and I was able to buy some ice cream and some shoes!

When wine isn't immediately available, I settle for ice cream to calm myself down after traumatic events.

Of course, we eventually returned back to the car and I couldn't figure out how to collapse the stroller. You know, something I do semi-often. We were late and in a rush and I couldn't get the damn stroller to collapse. 

After Clara woke up, the rest of the day was a mess. She couldn't calm down, she didn't want to be held, she didn't want to lie down, I couldn't tell if her finger was hurting or if she was just gassy or what in the world was going on. It was the worst, the absolute worst.

The only thing that helped was a bath that she wanted to stay in for hours. I am so happy this little lady likes the water. 

Around this time, I texted Tim, who informed me that he was sick with a cold (probably the same one I had earlier in the week). I mean, seriously?! I was looking forward to Tim coming home to help and now I may have to take care of two unhappy campers!

Eventually, after a lot more crying, and a few glasses of wine (enjoyed by me, obviously) Clara went to sleep at midnight (which is early for her) and slept until 6:30am and then went to sleep again until 9am.

This morning, life was good. 

Now Clara is happy & I am happy. And right now she's sitting next to me in her bouncy chair, staring at plastic elephants and grinning from ear to ear.

Today was a much happier day for everyone!

Thank freakin' goodness. Seriously. 

She must know it's Friday and that her daddy's coming home tonight! I have her in an adorable outfit and we are ready for some happy times!


Lessons I learned:

//  Do not blindly follow Google Maps into rough neighborhoods on the west side of Chicago.

//  Do not drive to the suburbs during rush hour.

//  Nasal spray is the greatest invention ever.

//  Wet tobacco leaves takes the sting and swelling right out of bee stings.

//  I need to practice using all of our baby 'tools'.

//  Life is easiest when Tim is around and easier when anyone is around to help. I do not know how single moms do it!

Cheers to the weekend and a fresh start next week!

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A roadtrip to St Louis to celebrate love and stuff.

16. September 2014

I don't really do weekend recaps anymore, because now that I'm not working my days tend to blur together. But this past weekend was a little extra-special.

This past weekend, my best friend got married! 

And (as if that wasn't enough in itself) I officially lost my bridesmaid virginity. Yep, always a bride and never a bridesmaid... until a few days ago!

But first, of course, my little family had to get to St Louis, where the wedding was being held.

Packing was an adventure (why do babies need so much stuff?!), but once we got in the car, it was smooth sailing driving. Clara, not surprisingly, slept the entire way to St. Louis. All 4.5 hours of it. 

I have the very sleepiest baby.

Friday night was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner at the groom's parents' house. Sidenote, there house is in Ferguson, MO, so we were able to see all of the 'landmarks' where all of the chaos and protests took place a few weeks ago. (Clara slept through the entire rehearsal and dinner).

On Saturday morning I got ready with the other bridesmaids & bride and then we joined our dates and family members on the trolley to ride around and take pictures at various locations within Forest Park. The bride and groom decided to do a 'first look', which I loved because we had a ton of time to take pictures before the ceremony.

The ceremony and reception took place at a clubhouse in Forest Park and both events were gorgeous. We drank, we danced, we caught up with friends... it was wonderful. (Clara slept through all of it. HOW DOES A PERSON SLEEP THROUGH A WEDDING RECEPTION?! She was seriously asleep in her carrier under the table throughout the entire thing.)

And then before we all knew it, the night (and weekend) was over.

Sunday was a present-opening gathering at the house of the new Mr. and Mrs. Then, much too soon, we had to head back to Chicago.


It was such a perfect weekend. I had an absolute blast being a bridesmaid and it was so special to be standing by my friend's side as she said 'I do'. I'm so glad that my best friend found her perfect match and the entire experience was filled with love and friendship. 

On a motherhood note: Traveling with Clara was both easier and harder than I expected. Packing was hard. I needed to bring all of her clothes, bows, socks, blankets, cloth diapers, pack & play (so she had somewhere comfy to sleep) and then pre-pumped milk and bottles for the car (so we didn't need to stop) and the breast pump (so I could pump during the reception when I wasn't with her). Plus, of course we had to bring all of our stuff... it was just a lot. That being said, she was a super easy baby the entire weekend (which I pretty much expected). She slept through both car rides and through all of the events on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I had her in the cutest little outfits and no one even saw her in them! Sigh.

No one saw this outfit, so I took a picture at the hotel just to prove she looked cute.

I'm saying all of this because if you're pregnant or the parent of a newborn and are contemplating whether to take a trip with your little one, do it. Clara was better than I could have anticipated and I'm really glad I wasn't too intimidated to take a trip with her at only 2 months old.

Cheers to going outside of our comfort zones and to love!

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Sometimes I just need something quick and easy. (I'm referring to food here, people)

11. September 2014

In some ways, life with Clara is exactly as I expected, and in some ways it is not.

At first, Tim and I were surprised at how bored we were. For the first four weeks (or so), Clara slept in 4-6 hour chunks all day and all night. I expected to be sleep deprived, and I've actually slept more with a newborn than I did during pregnancy or even prior to pregnancy. (But the thing is, somehow I'm still more tired now than I ever have been. I'm not necessarily sleepy, but I'm mentally/emotionally/physically worn out each day, if that makes sense.) 

Those first few weeks, we really had nothing to do, and there were two of us to help with everything. Let me tell you, that makes a difference.

Then Tim went back to work, and Clara started staying awake longer. I love when she's awake. I could stare at her little blue eyes forever. Plus, she's a happy baby and spends lots of time by herself, just staring at the ceiling and grinning. I have no idea what she finds so amusing, but she's clearly a self-entertained little one. In the past few days, she's started to focus on our faces and smile back if we smile at her. It's seriously so freakin' precious. 

This is why I can't get anything done, Clara and I spend a lot of time staring at each other.

I feel blessed that we don't have a fussy baby, and that she can eat in 20 minutes or less (which has always been the case, thank goodness) and that we generally have a pretty easy time during the day. But, I say this relatively. We have an easy day compared to other moms with newborns - life is by no means easy compared to what my 'old' life was like!

When Tim went back to work, this is how I thought my day would go: Clara would sleep, I'd make myself a healthy lunch, we'd walk around the block if the weather was nice, we'd maybe run an errand, I'd find projects to keep me occupied and I'd spend time doing laundry and organizing the house, I'd have time to read, and then I'd prep dinner... you get the idea. (I clearly didn't know how messy babies are.)

Obviously, my life is not like that. What actually happens is that we finally get out of bed in the late-morning because Clara doesn't really wake up until 10am and so neither do I, and at that point I try to decide if Clara needs a bath or not (based on how much she pukes on her hair in the morning), then I give her a bath, she poops in the tub or on her towel and I need to rush to change her and then she pukes on her outfit and I change her again, and then I realize I'm still not showered or dressed and I try to decide if that actually needs to happen and right when I decide to take a shower Clara decides she's hungry so then I feed her again and she pukes again... and seriously by the time this all occurs it's 2pm and the bathroom is still a mess and Clara is wide awake staring at me and I'm in pajamas with 'Divorce Court' on in the background wondering where my day went. 

I consider it a major victory if we get out of the house at all!

And then, sometime in the late afternoon, I realize I never ate lunch and the thought of preparing dinner is just too much for me. 

This is about the time I pull out a box of crackers and decide that the term 'lunch' can apply to just about anything.

Lately we've gotten a little more prepared, though, and we've stocked our freezer with frozen meals. We've been trying different brands and meals, and so I was very excited when Chili’s® at Home gave me the opportunity to try one of their meals.

Chilis At Home Frozen Meals

I chose the Pepper Jack Mac 'N' Cheese because, I mean, it's mac & cheese, and I happen to be obsessed with all things noodles and cheese and used to eat at least one meal of mac & cheese each day. I'm not proud of this... or maybe I am. 

Anyway, the other day it was 3pm and I hadn't eaten lunch and Clara was asleep so I didn't want to bang around anything in the kitchen to make anything, and I was so freakin' excited that all I had to do was reach into the freezer, pull out a box of goodness, throw it in the microwave, and 4.5 minutes later I could enjoy a delicious meal.

Honestly, I loved it. It had way more flavor than I expected - I'm not sure if it was from the pepper jack cheese or the peppers - and I devoured the whole thing within minutes. This was one of the best frozen food meals I've had in quite a while - yay!

It's the little things that make my life easier and happier as a new mom, and this frozen meal did it for me! 

So now I'm going to be stocking up. Breastfeeding makes me ravenous (this is something else I didn't expect) and it seriously makes such a difference to eat a 'meal' rather than a snack when I get hungry.

This is my advice o' the days for new moms: stock up on frozen meals.

(To help you with this, Chili’s® at Home is offering you a $1 off coupon for a frozen meals - every little bit helps!)

Yes, in a perfect world you'll be able to whip up dinner each night, but lunch is a whole different ballgame, and you may not have time to prepare meals ahead of time. I think setting realistic expectations in the beginning is important, and you should definitely have a back-up plan! Friends and family might bring you meals, but in our case people brought us lasagna and pasta dishes and dinners that still took a lot of time to reheat/cook. 

I'm telling you, fast and easy will be your friend.

(This post is sponsored by Bellisio Foods, but my love for their tasty, bold, and quick meals is all my own!)



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Two Martinis