Guilty Mommy

The thing about being a part-time working mom with part-time daycare is that sometimes I have to work when I’m home with the kiddo. This means I try to schedule calls during nap time and check emails secretly from my phone when we pull into the garage so she can’t see me and yell “phone, phone, phone,” one million times in a row. It also means I feel a lot of guilt during the time I am home with her.

The thing about being a mom in that there is so much pressure to do it right. Choose the right parenting style, teach them the right manners, figure out how to make sure they aren’t little jerks. And with Pinterest and blogs and Twitter and Facebook I’m constantly wondering how all of these women are making time to decorate insanely adorable Easter eggs with their children rather than running from one errand to the next and constantly wiping snotty noses and doing laundry and everything else it takes just to keep the ship moving.

When I’m home with Evie I want to do things like take her to the Children’s Museum, and do crafts, and run around and play outside and just generally be an awesome exemplary mom. But it turns out the Children’s Museum drives me crazy because it’s actually filled with screaming children that aren’t mine, and I suck at crafts, and it’s freezing outside. So we go to the grocery store and maybe the Starbucks drive through because mommy is addicted to cappuccinos and then make some lunch and eat it and clean it up and play with the stacking cups for ten minutes before a tantrum hits and thank god it’s naptime. And then I do my client call and she wakes up and we start all over again.

I know what I have is truly the best of both worlds and I am lucky lucky to be able to spend this time with her and have my career, and really it’s only a few days a week anyway, but it’s hard not to feel the guilt set in some days. I know if I went to a full-time job I’d have guilt too, and I know that staying home full-time isn’t right for me either. So I’m somewhere in between, trying to be okay with that. Now I have to go look up how to decorate Easter eggs before my client call.

Suburban Life

Well we’re at my parents now. It’s okay so far. Some days are better than others. Really it’s nice that my mom is around to help with Evie all of the time, she’s been great. And I feel like I never have to clean or do dishes, because she’s kind of a neatnick. I feel bad about it but it’s like it’s just always done. So that’s nice I guess.

But you know, I guess I just feel a little displaced. Like I’m just waiting and can’t live my life until the next step happens. The house is moving slowly. We had problems with the structural and the framing and now it might not even be finished until January. The day we found that out I was pretty upset. I just wanted to be in my new house for Christmas. Of course we’d be with the family for Christmas regardless, but I just wanted Evie to wake up and have Santa and all of that in her new house. I don’t know. I guess I’m being sentimental. But still it’s just a bummer.

Life in the suburbs is pretty different from our little neighborhood. We used to walk everywhere, and now we pretty much never walk anywhere. With the exception of the dogs, but yeah. I joined a music class for Evie down here, and it’s just such a different vibe. I don’t know how to put my finger on it, it’s just different. Maybe the moms are older? Or younger? I have no idea. Maybe it’s just the teacher and I’m projecting my feelings about being down here on the other moms.

It’s not that I hate the suburbs. Really there are a lot of amazing things and I can totally see living here some day. We are a short walk away from an amazing trail. It’s five seconds to Whole Foods, a great shopping center, and pretty much anything we could ever need. The restaurant scene does leave a little something to be desired, but you know with a 15 month old we’re not exactly having leisurely fancy dinners anyway.

I just want my own house. My kitchen knives and my room and my things. Two more months. Or three.


They say moving is one of the top five most stressful things you can do, besides marriage and divorce and having a baby and death and a new job I think right? I don’t know but I do know that we are currently selling our house and it is sending me into convulsions pretty much every night. We are under contract right now and dealing with inspection issues, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed everything works out because I cannot deal with having to show my house again. Having a house show-ready is pretty much one of the most annoying things I’ve ever had to do. As my mom will tell you, I am not necessarily tidy.

I mean I don’t live in a pigsty and my house is almost always relatively clean (I said relatively okay?) but I have stuff. You know, stuff. Piles of mail. Ten pairs of shoes in the entryway. Some random markers on the kitchen counter. And don’t even get me started on the baby toys. We have so many baby toys. Child needs toys, what can I say?

So yeah, having everything looking like a page out of Real Simple was not easy for me. I persevered of course because I am slightly scared of my realtor, and we had an offer relatively quickly. Unless there’s a disaster, we close September 14. And miracle of miracles, we found a place to live.

Only problem is it’s under construction and won’t be ready until the end of November (hopefully). That means we have 2.5 months of homelessness. So we’re moving in with my mom.

I know. I am a grown woman with a child of my own and I’m going to live with my mom. But it’s going to save us a good chunk of change and really it makes the most sense. The biggest issue of course is that it’s the suburbs, but I think it might be a nice little trial run for us to see how we like living there. Our new house is in the same neighborhood we’re in now, and we absolutely love it, so we won’t have to do the suburb thing on a permanent basis for a while. But this will be a nice little experiment.

I’ll have to drive Evie back up to the Highlands a for daycare, which is going to be a pain, but luckily enough my consulting schedule is flexible enough that I can take her opposite of traffic times. Hopefully. And it will be nice to have my mom around to help out. I am going to do my best not to take advantage of that though. Because I am nice like that.

I just hope construction isn’t delayed and we don’t have any problems and it’s all smooth sailing. That’s totally going to happen. I’m putting it out there.

In other news I am leaving my baby girl for the first time overnight tomorrow. John and I are going to Seattle for three nights, just for a fun weekend getaway like we used to do before kids. I am doing my best not to freak out because I know she is going to be absolutely fine with my mom and my sister, but I’m still nervous. I’ve had this child attached to me in some way shape or form for almost two full years. I’m gonna miss her like crazy.

But it’s time to cut the cord and go drink way too much coffee and wine and sleep in past 7:30 (hopefully!!!) and enjoy my husband and a city I’ve never been to but I’ve heard wonderful things about. Wish me luck!

The Garden

Can I just give a little shout out to the weekend? We had such a good Father’s Day. We got lucky and John got on early flight home, surprising me on Friday night. I was so happy to see him. As Honest Toddler (possibly the best new blog in the world) would say, by about 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon I was comatose and about to hand Evie the iPhone and just tell her to stay alive, but we made it through.

Anyway, yeah I was happy to see him, and our weekend was great. We went to breakfast, we went to the pool, it was awesome. I even weeded (wed? weed? weeded?) the garden for about 15 minutes. I don’t know what it is with that garden. Every year I have a vegetable garden. Every year since we’ve lived in this house. And every year, despite my black thumb, we seem to at least get some zucchini and some cucumbers out of the mix. We have a raspberry bush that occasionally produces 10-15 edible raspberries if I’m lucky. At least enough to throw in some oatmeal one day. One year I actually had a successful head of lettuce. I think.

But even with the zucchini, which let’s face it a monkey could grow, mostly it’s just weeds and I think it causes me more stress than happiness. Which is not really the point of gardening is it? I like to imagine myself as some contented housewife with her floral gardening gloves and big floppy hat just enjoying the sunshine and digging in the dirt, emerging with a bounty of beautiful fresh organic vegetables that I can then lovingly serve to my family. But more often that not, it’s me out there in my pajama bottoms during nap time swatting at the flies and cursing the spade and wondering if those leaves are weeds or some sort of vegetable, wondering what I planted again and accidentally digging up the one little sprouted carrot I did have. I do enjoy the herbs, I feel proud when I actually keep the basil alive and can put it in a dish, but that’s rare.

In reality I think I just feel like I need to have a vegetable garden because we have the space for it, and lots of other people around here do it successfully, and it just seems like something I’ve always done. This year I am really trying to keep the little buggers alive, and so far I think I might be winning the war, but it just isn’t enjoyable for me. I guess I’d rather get my outside plant-y time by watering my pretty flowers that someone else planted and go buy my organic vegetables at the farmers market. Maybe I just need to accept that I’m not cut out for gardening. I’m going to suffer through the rest of this year, and so help me god we better get some cherry tomatoes or I will cut someone, but next year I give up. I’m done. I think I’ll make the vegetable garden a sandbox for Evie and call it a day.


Nine Months

Dear Evelyn,

You are nine months old. Nine months of awesome. I love this age. I love how you babble and talk and think riding in the car is the most hilarious thing ever. I love how big your smiles are. The past three months have seen tons of huge changes, way too many for me to enumerate here. BUT I guess I could list a few.

You’re in the big girl car seat and you love it. I love it too because I don’t have to lug that giant bucket around anymore.

You finally started moving, rolling over and attempting to get your butt in the air to get on all fours, but mostly  you don’t really feel like it. You still aren’t really too close to full-on crawling and lots of other babies your age are, but our pediatrician assures us that some babies just don’t care that much. And that some babies are just lazy. Or a number of comments that could be taken as offensive by your parents, but really I think that’s just her doctor-y way of telling us to chill out, that you’ll get to it when you get to it. I do like your doctor actually, I like how she just tells it like it is. But you know, moms will worry. And be offended.

Anyway, you’re doing lots of other things that all those other babies aren’t doing, and obviously we are still convinced you are a genius. You figure out new toys so quickly, and unfortunately you get bored pretty easily too. This means I am constantly trying to find ways to keep you entertained. I think once you start crawling you’ll be so happy that you get to explore more of your world, but for now you are very demanding. You really enjoy nesting toys and things that stack, mostly so you can knock them down and spread them all over the place. You like to bang things and make a TON of noise, which is of course only adorable at home and not so much when we’re trying to grocery shop with the masses. Your favorite toy right now is this drum/hammer set that affords us entire MINUTES of pure entertainment.

You got your tubes in your ears in February, and that has been fantastic for everyone. You can finally hear yourself, and mom and dad aren’t constantly worrying about ear infections. Sleeping: meh. You were doing great, then not so great, and well I’ve decided to try not to worry about that so much. Of course I can say that now because you are napping peacefully.

Speaking of, I’ve been home with you now for two and a half months. I should probably write a whole post just on that, and what it’s been like, how life is at home and working from home when I’m doing the mom thing, but let’s just say it’s awesome. I love it so much. And also some days it’s the hardest thing in the world.

Mostly, I just can’t believe how old you are already and how fast this time thing goes. If I slack off on writing posts like I have been you’ll be a year old next time I have anything to say. And there is just so much to say about you. You’re becoming this incredible little person, with such a happy personality, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Parenthood is good for me. You’re good for me. I love you baby girl.



Infant Essentials

Evie is almost six weeks old and I am emerging from a newborn haze. Actually I lie, I’m still in it. But, I’m trying to make my life a little more normal these days. Being a mom is pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. People tell you you know, when you have kids how things will change. How you’ll be different because you’ll experience this love that’s so big and enormous you think you’ll burst. But I don’t think I really ever got it. I know I never got it. But now I do. Now that I have this little girl I don’t think I’ll ever be the same.

But, as you know, having a baby is not without it’s challenges. Yes there have been a number of tear-filled, desperate moments at 3 a.m. And that’s not just the baby. So without further ado, some of my must-haves for the first few weeks of the little lady’s life.

Aden & Anais blankets for swaddling. This is a pretty standard one, but the swaddle is a must-have.

Halo Sleep Sacks. Perfect for making her feel all cozy, and easy for mom and dad.

 Gas drops. ‘Nuff said.

Petunia Picklebottom Onesies. Expensive, yes. But so soft, functional, and tre cute, no?

ETA: For all Evie, all the time, check out our Posterous blog.



New Additions to Thanksgiving Traditions

I went to a lovely baby shower yesterday for Jess, and I met a bunch of amazing bloggy ladies, and as we were talking about our blogs, I of course sheepishly had to say that I don’t write very much. And now, I’m looking here, and I realize I haven’t written since August. I won’t make any grand announcements about writing every day, but for today, I feel a little like writing, so I think I will.

It’s November and I’m definitely in nesting mode. Working on the house, cooking, all of those fun domestic things. Today I’m actually doing a test run for a new side dish I might attempt at Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house in Texas this year. We are typically a pretty traditional family. Same dishes at Thanksgiving every year since I can remember. Turkey, dressing, broccoli casserole, sweet potato mush (not sure if that’s the official name), my grandma’s homemade rolls, fruit salad, and about ten different pies. Nary a green thing in site. Well I guess the broccoli in the broccoli casserole, but that hardly counts when it’s drenched in velveeta does it? So, yeah, old school Thanksgiving.

And don’t get me wrong, I love every minute of it. But I also love the idea of bringing some new school flavor to Thanksgiving too. Last year, I found my pie, which is phenomenal, so I’ll definitely be making that again. And this year, I’ll also contribute a green salad, nothing fancy, just standard spinach, strawberries and walnuts or something along those lines. But for the new side, I’m trying something I’ve never done before. It’s butternut squash, which I love and eat all of the time, but can seem a little “different” to my family. But, it has tons of bread and cheese, (definitely not a healthy item) so I think that’s a plus. If all goes well, maybe I’ll post the step by step recipe later this week. I am a tidge worried about my ability to find Gruyere in this small Texas town, but my step-mom is an amazing cook so I’m sure she’ll hook me up.

I have to say I am really excited for Thanksgiving. Only five days of work, then I get to go to Austin on Saturday to see my little sister in her college element for the first time. Oh I know that is going to be a shock. My little baby sister is a college gal complete with booze and idiotic frat boys left and right. She’s a still a sweet angel baby to me though.

Then, Amy and I will drive from Austin to Midland for the big Thanksgiving extravaganza. One full week of family, fun, and nothing else. Can. Not.Wait. I should actually probably start fasting now in anticipation of all of the food I’ll be consuming during that week. But instead I think I’ll go try my creation. Fingers crossed it’s a winner.


So I got a new header. Well not really new, just added a little button. How do you like it? John made it for me.

Things on my mind right now:

  • Have not weeded the vegetable garden in ages. Vegetables seem to be doing fine. Do I ever bother weeding again?
  • Dog-sitting for my parent’s dog Maddie. She snores like a freight train. I am not sleeping well of course.
  • I was going to try to cook dinner at home every night this week. Made it to Monday, then tonight I had a work event. So far not so good. The housewife-y thing is much harder with a full-time job, I must say.
  • Though I am sad about the end of summer, I am kind of enjoying the cooler days and nights and looking forward to fall. I’ve always loved the changing of the seasons. Maybe I’ll try leggings again this year.
  • I got the TurboFire DVDs and they are awesome. I love them. But nothing beats a group exercise session for me. What can I say, I enjoy a room full of sweaty ladies.
  • Did you know YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google? I didn’t. That’s crazy.
  • There are some people I stay friends with on Facebook simply because their posts are such train wrecks. Can’t stop looking.
  • I need a good book to read. I just read a Jodi Picoult book and I hated every minute of it. Read the last page after about thirty pages in because I needed to know how this disaster wrapped up. Still read the whole book after that, though I have no idea why.
  • I’m just sitting around thinking up random bullet points now. I should just go through my twitter account and write that stuff out because it’s just as pointless. If you’re still reading, my deepest apologies.
  • Goodnight.

We Need a Cat

So…we had a mouse in our house.

Maybe even more than one. Now before you start getting all “ewww, that’s gross, her house must be so dirty, blah blah blah etc.” let me just stop you right there.

Image courtesy of

Devil mouse

My floors may not sparkle every minute of every day, but we keep the house clean. There are no dirty dishes in the sink. There are no piles of crap. Okay well maybe a few piles but really, I promise, we are clean people. We just live in an old, old house (built in 1890) and it is difficult to know if every tiny hole is sealed up from the outside.

And last week, when the temperatures dropped and the snow started piling up, we heard a little noise in Saucer’s dog dish. A little clanging sound, the same noise Saucer makes when he’s eating. Only problem was, Saucer was sitting there on the couch with us.

So we creeped into the kitchen, and what did we see? A little mouse, scurrying right underneath the dishwasher. Cute little guy really.

I remained calm. John jumped up on the kitchen counter and started screaming like a little girl. Saucer, although he’s a small terrier bred to hunt rodents, stayed on the couch and blinked at us a few times.

Once I had John calmed down a little, I proceeded to formulate a plan. We needed to catch this mouse, and we needed to do it now. NOW.

So I did what any intelligent person would do. I googled.

After a little research, I found two ways to make homemade mouse traps. On involves a box, a ramp, a tunnel and a trash can, and one involves a 2 liter. We decided to start with the 2  liter.

The basic idea is to cut off the top of the 2 liter, invert the top so it creates a type of funnel, and then lure the mouse in with some bait (we used dog food since he seemed to already be into it). I was so proud of our little homemade trap.

It didn’t work.

We saw the mouse at least three times over the next two days, and at no time was he inside of the 2 liter bottle. The little bugger was not falling for it.

So we tried the other trap. That didn’t work either. John was starting to get frantic. He was hopping on the kitchen counter screaming at the slightest shuffle of the leaves, worried that the mouse was going to come get him. He couldn’t sleep. He was losing his mind.

We had tried the homemade, crafty, do-it-yourself mousetrap method and it was not happening. So we turned to a traditional, tried and true tactic. We went to the store and we bought a bright shiny mousetrap.

Not just any mousetrap. Yes, a rodent had infested my house, but no, I do not want to kill it just because it’s trying to get in on that delicious dog food I feed Saucer. I didn’t want to put down poison, I didn’t want a snappy trap, and I didn’t want to watch him kill himself on sticky tape. I wanted a kinder, gentler mousetrap. At least something humane.

We ended up with this Victor Tin Cat Mouse Trap and within a day, we had captured the little guy. Unfortunately I wasn’t home to see it all go down (I was out partying like a rock star like I usually do on Tuesday nights) so John took him to a lake about a mile away from our house and set him free.

We may or may not have his brother, wife or cousin hanging around somewhere, so we put the trap back down just in case.

For now though, John is calm, and I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes homemade just isn’t good enough.

Scheduling Motivation

My sister told me the other day that I’ve “gotten too used to being able to do whatever [I] want all the time.”

At first I thought, well isn’t that entire point of life? Just to be able to do whatever you want? That sounds awesome! So does that mean that I’m awesome? Why yes, I guess it does!

But in reality, it’s not like I can do WHATEVER I want. There’s not jetting off to France for a week of wine drinking in the world’s best vineyards. Sigh.

But it is awesome in the sense that I can create my own schedule. I CHOOSE when to do things. Anything I want (within reason of course). Whenever I want.

That doesn’t mean I’m free from all responsibility. It doesn’t mean I still don’t have to do things I don’t want to. But I do have more flexibility in choosing when to do those things.

Sometimes though, I think that flexibility can lead to stagnation. It’s hard to get motivated to do the laundry, or water the lawn, when there is always time to do it later. I could start that load of whites now, or I could start it later. I could turn on the sprinkler now, or I could do it later.

That’s why I find that even though I have what might appear to be oodles of free time, for those of us that are unemployed, it still helps to be on some sort of a schedule. It doesn’t necessarily have to be anything rigid, but having a schedule will help give a sense of structure to your day, and it will help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

You might want to use a calendar to help you organize your schedule. A day timer is nice, or you can be all crazy awesome at technology like I am and use Google Calendar.

The first step is to establish a good sleeping pattern. I realize that it may be tempting to sleep in until all hours of the day and then stay up late (just because you can!) but you are a grown up, and it’s time to get on a good, normal sleeping pattern. Try to get at least 8 hours a night, because that’s going to help you be your best, and you want to be your best don’t you? For me, I find that 9 hours is optimal, and I usually sleep from about 11 or 11:30 until 8 a.m. or so. You might find you operate better sleeping from 12 to 9, or 10 to 6, or even 1 to 10. Just find what works best for you.

After you’ve established your normal sleeping pattern, try to find the periods of the day in which you are the most productive. This is no different for those of you that are employed, so perk those ears up if you’ve been nodding off during most of this post (maybe time to evaluate your sleeping habits, no?).  I find that I am most productive during my first hours of waking, so I try to schedule chores, errands, job-searching, and any other activity that requires a higher level of motivation (read: things I don’t really want to do but have to) during my morning hours, leaving the afternoon for more leisurely activities such as reading, writing, etc.

Now that you have a basic routine to your day down, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. For me, a large job search Web site that I follow here in Denver comes out every Monday, so I dedicate a good chunk of Monday to researching companies, drafting cover letters, and sending out resumes. When it comes to the more mundane tasks of daily life, I try to schedule them into my calendar so they don’t get put off and build up.

Sheets need to be washed once a week no? So let’s add that to the calendar, how about every Thursday? Floors should be vacuumed at least every two weeks, how about on Friday mornings? If it’s housework your focused on, take a look at, she’s got a very helpful calendar for almost any type of housework you can think of.

After I’ve scheduled necessary tasks into my week, I find time for the things I WANT to do. For me, this includes writing, which I’m trying to do on a regular basis. However, I find that if I don’t make time for my writing and actually insert it into my schedule, the stuff of daily life can often come up and trump that time I thought I might spend on it. You might not think you need to block off two hours on your calendar to do things you WANT to do, but trust me, if you don’t, something else will come up . So schedule the time to go to the gym, to work on that craft project, or even just to take that bath. Calgon anyone?Because even though you can do “whatever you want, whenever you want,” sometimes life just gets in the way.

So does unemployment mean footloose and fancy free? Sometimes, yes. But working off a calendar can help you stay motivated and productive, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after crossing those items off of your to-do list will reduce any guilt you might feel when it comes time to just veg out in front of the TV for a little while.