Month: February 2011

The In-Laws: Not a Dirty Word

While I don’t always participate in blogging prompts, I thought today’s SocialMoms prompt was an interesting one:

What are your tips on how to deal with difficult in-laws or family members? – Is it hard for you to get along with your in-laws or other family members? Has it gotten so bad that you don’t bring your kids around them any more? How do you overcome your differences for your children’s sake? Share your tips on how to make a better relationship with difficult family members.

I begin talking about this subject with a little bit of a chuckle. I married a guy with let’s face it, a pretty remarkable family. That’s not to say that I haven’t had frustrations (who hasn’t?) that I have had to work through. Most of those issues were born out of completely pure and good intentions on behalf of family. In my son’s early days, those frustrations were exacerbated because of my postpartum depression. Nobody was really “safe” with me during that time. Not friends, family, not even my husband. I spent a great deal of time ranting, raving and crying not knowing how to deal with my own issues and not being brave enough to explain them to anyone else. The only way I was able to survive it was to give myself some space. Sometimes, that meant ignoring calls or only having communication via e-mail.

Nobody really warned me about the unsolicited advice portion of parenting. How annoying it is or how it not only rears its ugly head from the ones closest to you but from perfect strangers as well. And now that I am a full-fledged mama? I confess… I dish out the advice as well where I am certain it is not wanted.

Us moms, we have to learn how to have a thick skin. We have to learn to give ourselves a break. We have to learn that we are going to do what we have to do to survive most days. Are we going to make mistakes? Yup. Are we going to hear those horrific words “I told you so,”? Yup.

I have a close relationship with my in-laws because at the end of the day, they love me and they most especially love my son. Now that Jack is older, he loves them too and can even tell them as much. It would have to take something pretty major to begrudge anyone in my family, either immediate or in-lawed, time with Jackson. No doubt, there are things that people, family or otherwise, say which make me cringe (thus, the entire inspiration for this blog). But, when it comes to family, I bite my tongue. There is no need to create drama where it doesn’t need to be. I look at these conversations as… just another perspective that I can learn from. I am fortunate that I am surrounded by families that are loving and dare I say, normal?.

With that said, Jack and I are pretty lucky to have such awesome family in our lives. So, for me, using the word “in-laws” is definitely not a dirty word, it is more like a blessing.

The Great Formula Debate: ENOUGH ALREADY!

I’d be remiss if I missed on this opportunity to rant about the latest and greatest breastfeeding vs. the evil formula companies debate. 

Let me premise this by saying that I FED MY BABY FORMULA. GASP! SHUDDER!

I’m not going to tell my story again. It has been told. Again and again. I didn’t have a choice but to switch because desperately trying to breastfeed was putting my baby’s life at risk. If your baby’s life was at risk because he needed to fricking eat, wouldn’t you do the same?

I am completely neutral when it comes to breastfeeding. If you can do it, I applaud you. Actually, I ENVY you. So, yay for you. Yay that it worked. Yay Yay Yay. Now, will you please stop shoving it down everyone’s throats and let people make this extremely personal decision on their own without all the guilt and bias getting in the way?

Here’s the new big dumb controversy. Similac was paying Bloggers for their positive reviews of their Similac Baby Journal app. Okay. So that’s nothing new. Bloggers often get paid to promote a product in return for money or goods. What became debatable was there were bloggers who happened to be breastfeeding advocates that are getting paid to write about something that they didn’t necessarily agree with or believe in. THAT I can understandably argue with (pot calling the kettle black much? Stick to your guns on your opinions or you can kiss your blog credibility and your integrity goodbye). As much as I would like to rake in some dough with my blog (I make enough for a medium Caribou coffee about every four months) there is NO WAY I would write a review for a product that I didn’t believe in (click on my About tab and I explain this further). You will never see me flip flopping just to get compensated unless I had a life altering experience with the product which genuinely changed my opinion.

When I first brought Jackson home, I was a disaster. New house, new mom, breasts that refused to work, uterine infection, baby that refused my breasts, baby losing weight quickly, jaundice getting worse, people constantly on my ass telling me I HAD to breastfeed… It was awful and not exactly the dream I had about bringing a baby home. My entire pregnancy, I literally poured over information about breastfeeding. I feel like I was incredibly self-educated and informed on the subject. I barely looked at anything in regards to formula; yet, I kept all of those samples from my OB/Gyn “just in case.” When it got to the point where the choice was very obviously no longer mine, I suddenly had to play catch up and figure out what formula was all about. I wish I had educated myself on it IN THE FIRST PLACE.

I would like to think that I am a smart mom and a smart consumer who makes informed decisions. The pressure to breastfeed from the mom community was SO enormous that I didn’t think I had any other options and let me tell you, that is simply not true. When making the switch to formula, I did not ask Similac, Gerber or Enfamil the best way to do it, which kind would be best for my baby or how often to feed him. I ASKED HIS PEDIATRICIAN. So please do not insult my intelligence- I didn’t choose to formula feed or buy a specific formula product because Enfamil shoved some marketing campaign down my throat. You don’t think Madela has to do some marketing for their breastfeeding products? Hmmmm? Does that make them evil for trying to sell their product? Are they preying on idiot moms who supposedly don’t know any better or don’t have a single clue on what the hell they are doing? Just curious.

Even though the end product for Similac’s baby journal app fell a little short and completely pissed off the breastfeeding community at large, I have to give them a little bit of credit for at least trying. They are at least recognizing that breastfeeding is a big deal for many moms and made an attempt at creating that connection. I took a peek at the app and found the journaling to be easy and straightforward. While I didn’t need an app to tell me when my kid was hungry (yes, even as a formula feeder, I read his hunger cues appropriately), his pediatrician did require us to journal when and how much he was eating as well as his dirty diapers and sleep time for about the first two weeks (they needed this information specifically because he was jaundiced). So in that respect, the app is pretty good. Take the “call our feeding expert” option out of it and I think they may have been on the right track. I would like to think that smart moms are going to go to their lactation specialists and pediatricians for advice on feeding before they rely on their iPhone app. Or maybe that’s just me. I WISH I HAD THIS APP (hell, I wish I had an iPhone) when Jack was born. There are many baby journaling apps out there (type in “Baby Journal” in the search bar in the App Store… you’ll see what I mean), the only difference with this one is that it was made by Similac. A formula company. Gee. I guess it’s evil now.

Here are some snapshots of the app at least of the pieces that I would have found useful way back when Jack was an infant (I think the pee and poop visuals in the diaper change section are kind of hilarious):

Would I endorse this app? Yup. I would. Do I endorse breastfeeding? Yup. Of course. Do I endorse formula? YES. Do I endorse moms whose babies love them regardless of which way they are fed? Absolutely.

FYI: I was not paid a single penny for my opinion.

Wordless Wednesday: Success Is…

Putting on pants from 3.5 years ago and not only do they fit, but they are BAGGY.

My WeightWatchers weight loss graph

Riding rides with my toddler at the Mall of America for the first time and not having a single tantrum (and that goes for the whole family):

Riding the Blue Train at Nickelodeon Universe


A husband who just got a big promotion and is a fabulous father.

From Jack’s Baptism- 3 months old

The Long Weekend

It was such a wonderful weekend. Time with good friends. Time with my husband. Time with my friends.

We took a mini road trip about an hour and a half away to visit our good friends who also have a little boy who is just 4 months older than Jack. She is one of my oldest friends from college and we’ve been through a bundle together over the years. We both dealt with our share of infertility so the fact that we ended up having boys so close in age is pretty surreal. Between chasing the boys around, making sure they have snacks and are getting along, we didn’t have a lot of time to catch up. We took all of our boys out for dinner and despite a long wait for our meal, the kids (and our husbands) held up pretty well. It was such a fun day and when we say that we want to hang out with them more often, we really do mean it.

Good ol’ man Minnesota winter reared his ugly head again. We hunkered down yesterday watching the snow fall and had a crazy day just running around the house. All three of us had the day off today for President’s Day and had been planning a day at the Mall of America- we weren’t sure whether or not to venture out in the weather, but I’m so glad we did! Growing up, I LOVED going on rides. Watching my kid ride his first rides today was awesome. He was a little uncertain at first but warmed up to it quickly. Here are a few of his favorites:

He rode the merry go round twice

A little scared of the cars but was laughing at the end

He LOVED the trucks. The poor guy that has to listen to those horns all day… yikes.

Beyond a really great extended weekend, was an overwhelming feeling of both fear and thanksgiving. Being a part of many online mom communities, I have gotten to know a number of moms and their babies virtually. Even though I don’t know them for real, their struggles, losses and victories still hit close to home and it is nice to be able to share all of those things with the women who know. Over the past week, someone I know in real life had her world rocked when she found out that her 2 year old daughter had a brain tumor. I’ve been reading her blog and following the updates of her little girl’s surgery and recovery. I’ve cried and prayed for them. What an amazing family they are- their strength astounds me. This little princess is doing so well, and I am praying for her quick recovery every single day.

Yes, being a parent is often challenging and frustrating but none of that matters in the grand scheme of things. I can’t help but feel like this is a reminder to never take a single moment for granted. I count my blessings every day.

Creature of Habit

I’ve gotten a lot of eye rolls in my 2+ years of parenting in regards to my overly scheduled kid.

Well, I have a confession… sometimes having such a schedule makes things a little complicated. Saturday afternoon weddings and playdates don’t exactly work out sometimes for a kid who will only nap at 1:00pm. No earlier. No later. Did I mention a napless child makes for a disastrous evening? So yeah, I can see how having such a rigid schedule complicates a day that may require some flexibility.

He used to fall asleep anywhere…

I will say, that our rigidly scheduled child makes for an easy child for the rest of the 90% of our lives. He gives us zero trouble when dropping off at school (although my little bum WOULD like to sleep in a little later), on a normal, no plan Saturday or Sunday, he goes down for his naps (at 1:00pm) like a champ and sleeps upwards of 2.5 hours. He goes to bed at 7:30 sharp without an issue and minus any illness, he sleeps for a solid 12 hours.

I can understand both ends of the spectrum, but when it comes to having to function at a job Monday through Friday? Having a scheduled creature of habit works the best.

Do you have a flexible or scheduled child? What are the pros and cons for you?

Small Weight Loss. Big Deal.

I have been on my weight loss journey for 7 weeks and am proud to say that I’ve lost 8.5 lbs. I am also frustrated to say that I’ve lost ONLY 8.5 lbs. I think all who have made the choice to lose weight for some reason feel like by simply SAYING we are going to lose it, that it will be gone quickly so it is frustrating that it takes so long.

But it is SO WORTH IT.

I know that by taking this journey slow and steady that I am going to be more likely to lose the weight and keep it off for good. I’m working on my patience.

For all of the times I think that 8.5 lbs isn’t very much, I remind myself of truly how much of a difference it is making:

Crazy Swollen Feet.


My Cute New Boots

When I was pregnant, and especially after our Tahiti vacation from hell, my feet grew. And grew… and grew… Much to my dismay, even though the swelling went down after having a baby, my feet still seemed… bigger. For someone with a major shoe fetish, this was devastating. I couldn’t shop at DSW (aka, my shoe heaven), was at least a 1/2-1 size bigger and most definitely a wide width- couldn’t shove my feet into a regular width for the life of me. The other day when it was brilliant and 50 degrees out in February in Minnesota, I wanted to get out of the office for a little bit and ventured to DSW. Preparing for my usual disappointment, I sauntered in and drooled at the sale. To my surprise, most of the shoes I tired on actually FIT. I was shocked. I didn’t buy anything but decided that I would stop back when sandal weather is officially here to get some cute peep toe pumps. Continuing to test my luck, I put on a pair of boots today, worn only a couple times (and only worn a couple times because of the sheer torture they were) and they have been perfect all day. I lost weight in my feet!!!

I was chatting with my husband the other day and he asked me how many pounds I was down, of course I replied, “Almost ten,” which is mostly true. He looked at me a little surprised (give the guy a break… he’s seen me try and fail at this about a thousand times) and told me that he can totally see it in my face. One of the things that truly was one of the many final straws for me in the decision to truly dedicate myself to this journey was pictures. Over Christmas, a lot of pictures were taken. I shuddered in horror when I saw most of them, even the ones of me from just the waist up. Was that really me? Even though I still have a ways to go before I make my lifetime goal, I can already see the difference and I am already more willing to allow people to take pictures of me.

While I haven’t lost enough to officially change sizes, I can already tell that my clothes are fitting better. Pants are requiring belts, tops & sweaters are getting baggy. Pre-pregnancy clothes that I thought I would never fit into again are finding their way back into my wardrobe. After just 8.5 lbs.

I have been doing all kinds of activities as part of my health plan from EA Sports Active for the Wii and XBox Kinect to Dance Central on the Kinect, to simply walking on the treadmill at the gym and Group Fitness classes (so kick ass). The one thing that I am always hesitant to try is jogging. I’m not good at it. I always hurt during and after. Prior to my wedding, I actually jogged quite a bit on our home treadmill. I had a favorite program that I would run and always found it challenging and rewarding. After 6 weeks of pretty hard core activity, I thought I would give it a shot. Guess what? It was a thousand times easier than I ever imagined. I am hoping that I can keep it up, add to my time and get out on the actual road this spring. Dare I say maybe try for a 5K in the next year?

My Overall Health: 
Okay, so the 8.5 lbs hasn’t kept me from catching every one of my son’s evil daycare illnesses, but I have noticed a significant surge in energy. Plus, it isn’t my imagination that running up and down the stairs is a thousand times easier. My knee pain seems to have disappeared. Just 8.5 lbs did all that.

So if you ever think that your weight loss is small or insignificant, think again. Even my little 8.5 lbs has shown immense health benefits both mentally and physically. I’m excited to think that I’m not done yet and how much more exciting this journey is going to get. I have lost weight, even just a pound at a time, EVERY WEEK since I started the program. In the end, all of those measly one pound losses are going to add up.

Wordless Wednesday: Inspiration

I participated in a survey the other day that was based on building an inspirational online community for women and it got me thinking about the things that are truly inspiring to me. Here are just a few:

Music inspires me to pursue my dreams and talents. 

Real weight loss success stories inspire me. I want to be a success story.

Other moms inspire me
I look to the moms I know both personally and electronically to learn and be a better mom. The moms who have to deal with illness and injury move me with their strength and inspire me to never EVER take a single moment for granted.

My husband and his Dad’s growing photography business and their art inspires me to view art and beauty from a new perspective and to search for it in every day things. 

My son inspires me. All I do, I do for him.

What inspires you?

Valentine’s Day. Best Left Unplanned.

I do know some single people. They all hate Valentine’s Day. You know what? I don’t care for it either.

We didn’t make any plans for today, but for some reason, I still had expectations. Isn’t that silly? 8.5 years together and I still expect SOMEthing. I put Valentine’s Day in the same ballpark as birthdays. You can plan all you want and somehow it never turns out like you want it to. I looked back on an old post from 2006 (even I am amazed that I have been blogging that long). My husband tried to send me flowers- they showed up a day late and very dead. We still chuckle about that one.

We’ve come a long way since 2006, but one thing remains the same: when things don’t go as planned, he makes up for them in big ways. He even buys cards and WRAPS gifts for me now. That is huge. HUGE. I’ll confess, when he got stuck with a work issue today, I was disappointed that we couldn’t go to Jack’s party together. I was even more disappointed when I came home and he was on the same call and we weren’t going to be able to go to lunch either. When I came home from the dentist (that’s right, I went to THE DENTIST on Valentine’s Day. Sexy, right?) I saw this (and no, Spiderman was not part of the gift):

He also took Jack and I out for dinner to make up for missing the school party today. Like I said, he makes up in big ways.

One thing that has changed everything for me on Valentine’s Day is becoming a mom. There is nothing better than that unconditional love and today that love was no exception. It made all the things that didn’t go quite right, seem so silly.

Putting Jack to bed tonight, he gave me a kiss on the cheek and as I laid him down he said, “I love you sooooo much Mommy.”

That’s what Valentine’s Day is all about.

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Was it everything you hoped it would be? 


Good Diaper Rash Treatment- A Review

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of the things I have done since having a baby is share my experience with products that work. Most of you moms out there know that you will probably try every brand on the market before finding one that works the best. Or, some of you will buy it simply because you have a coupon. Nothing wrong with either strategy, but I found it best to seek out some advice from my mama friends out there both in cyberspace and in person and of course, pediatrician recommendations.

Since the day he was born, Jack pretty much could’ve cared less about having a dirty diaper. We changed him every 2 hours like clockwork (unless we smelled otherwise) but we always had to deal with diaper rash with him. Even now, as we begin to work on potty training, he still gets bouts of it and it always has to be treated.

We tried just about every diaper rash treatment on the market and there are a few that make our top three. One of them is Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. I had gotten some good recommendations from my mama friends and hey, it has a funny name, so why not? It worked great! It goes on and cleans off easily, the tubes have a flip top cap, the scent is pleasant (as I’m sure you’ve learned, some of them are NOT very nice smelling) and it protected his skin from any further irritation. Working moms will also know that you have to have two or more of just about everything: one for daycare, one for home, one for the diaper bag and a million other places it is convenient to have. The price adds up. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is available in many convenient sizes: 1oz, 2oz, 3oz and 4oz tubes, 16oz jar so you never have to buy more than you need for your given situation.

Another thing I appreciate about Boudreaux’s Butt Paste is that it is highly recommended not just by the moms that know it best, but it is pediatrician recommended. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste was specifically formulated by a pharmacist with direction from a respected pediatrician to provide effective diaper rash care. It is made with 16% Zinc Oxide and Peruvian Balsam so it will effectively treat diaper rash and soothe your precious baby’s irritated skin. It is also nice to know that this great product was also featured on the Oprah Show, the Tonight Show, the Today Show, People Magazine, ESPN and While You Were Out on TLC.

I don’t do a lot of product reviews like this, so know that this is a good one that as a mom, I fully endorse. There is nothing worse than having my little guy screaming  “Mommy, Owies!” when trying to change his sore bum and this is one of the top products for diaper rash that I can count on to make it all better.

You can make the owie bums all better too! Visit the Boudreaux’s Butt Paste website at to receive your own free sample!

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Wordless Wednesday: Puppy Love

I have seen a lot of Valentine’s posts out there for Wordless Wednesday and while yes, my husband is my ultimate Valentine, I’m going to have to send the love to my doggie today.

I didn’t really like Sadie much when we first brought her home over 8 years ago. I had just moved in with my now husband and it was like having a child when we obviously weren’t ready for it. So I did what any girlfriend would do, I told him in the middle of the night when she was whining, “She’s YOUR dog. YOU take care of it” HA!!! Fast forward to a few years later, and she definitely became OUR dog and I could not have imagined our lives without her in it. She’s my loyal best friend whenever I need her. My walking buddy in the summer. My cuddle buddy in the evening. I am aware that our time with her here is limited yet I know that when the time comes to say goodbye, it will be too soon. I was reminded of that today when I realized how really sick she got overnight. She kept wanting to go outside to the bathroom, wouldn’t eat her food and when she did, she threw it up. My husband then discovered that she had blood in her urine. I was a wreck leaving for work. I was worried that she wouldn’t be there when I got home… my husband and I agreed that at this age and beyond, no extraordinary efforts. I was relieved when I heard it was a urinary tract infection. It’s a bad one, but it is easily treatable with antibiotics. She was even given pain meds. Poor sweet pup. I can’t wait to go home and snuggle with her tonight.

So even though this ended up being wordy, this Wordless Wednesday is for you, Sadie.

Baby Sadie w/ her Valentine bandana

Me & Sadie. Wow. This picture is old.

Model Sadie. This picture was actually in a calendar!

Daddy & Sadie roughhousing

Baby Jack & Sadie

Jack & Sadie

Jack & Sadie (current). He loves her so much.