notes on being a working mom: first day back

By a stroke of luck and good timing I ended up with 14 weeks off of work for Charlie’s birth. It wasn’t enough…not by a long shot. But, I suppose that may have been true for us no matter how much time I had off.

My first day back was April 1st, or, April Fool’s Day. I manged to get up on time, get Charlie fed, get myself ready, and get Kaylee started on her morning routine before 7:15 rolled around. After some nudging from Scott, I was out the door and on the road by 7:30.

I pulled into the lot at work by 7:50, plenty of time to spare.

7:51 – don’t notice travel mug is missing crucial piece that keeps the lid closed. Spill coffee all over bag, passenger seat, and floor. Mop it up with a diaper I had stashed in my purse. Try not to cry.

It was as if I could hear the universe laughing; “April Fools!”. You got me, ha, ha.

8:00 – get to my desk and set to work unpacking all the crap I drug in with me.

10:15 – pump. Try not to think about the months of this I have ahead of me. Think about how odd it is to do this at my desk. Check email to pass the time. Body decides it’s not a fan of this new setup. Get dismal amount of milk.

10:30 – spend time getting reacclimated. Start picking away at to-do list I made before I left.

12:00 – eat lunch. Send text to hubby to check in. No response. Wonder if the kids are eating him alive.

12:15 – pump. Think about baby. Cry. Get more milk than ever.

12:30 – Check in with coworkers about various projects. Schedule meetings, get through more email, get some web stuff done for gallery.

3:30 – pump. Think about baby. Try to cry. Doesn’t work. Clean up pump parts and pack them away for the day. Make some calls.

4:30 – walk to car. Get overwhelmed by coffee smell upon opening the door. Drive home with windows cracked. Ponder how much worse the smell would be if I had gotten around to adding milk instead of forgetting it in my rush to get out the door.

Feel exhausted. Stop off and Panera to pick up dinner rather than cook.

5:15 – pull up to the house. Take garbage cans inside. See Kaylee peek through the garage door while chanting ‘mommy’, ‘mommy’, ‘mommy.’ Run up and give her a big hug. Try not to cry.

5:20 – listen to toddler recount her day. Her story is mostly fiction, full of plot holes, and broken English.

5:25 – Kiss husband. Husband looks like he’s been through a war. Baby cried all day. Apologize for the coffee incident. Kiss baby. Smell baby. Nurse baby while watching Dora with Toddler. Husband is crashed out next to us on couch.

5:45 – baby is asleep. Put baby to bed. Watch daddy and Toddler play chase.

6:00 – Toddler squeals. Baby is awake. Change baby’s diaper. Watch daddy and Toddler play chase. Nurse baby some more.

7:00 – Baby is asleep. Put baby to bed. Get toddler ready for bed.

7:30 – Finish watching Dora. Brush toddlers teeth. Pee-pee on the potty. Turn on toddler’s favorite music. Dance together in her room. Get her into bed. Pick out stories. Read stories. Sing ABC song. Draw letters on her back. Toddler has to go pee-pee. Get out of bed. Go to bathroom. Get back in bed. Tuck toddler in. Toddler wants drink. Get drink. Toddler wants a kiss. Give her a daddy kiss, kitty kiss, doggie kiss, fishy kiss, eskimo kiss, octopus kiss. Kiss all of her animals. And. One. last. BIG. kiss. Say goodnight light. Turn off light.

8:00 – leave toddler to fend for herself in the dark.

8:10 – toddler is asleep. Do dishes. Start load of laundry.

8:30 – crash out on couch.

9:00 – baby is awake. Change baby. Nurse baby. Put baby back to bed.

10:00- take a nap.

12:15 – wake up. Pump. Throw pump parts in sink and milk in fridge. Trip over cat. Stub toe on kitchen table. Yell at cat.

1:00 – Fall into bed. Realize forgot to feed cats. Fall asleep while pondering getting up.

2:55 – cats freak out and start running around the house moaning.

3:00 – baby is awake. Try not to cry. Yell at cats. Change baby. Nurse baby.

3:45 – baby is asleep.

3:50 – baby wakes up when put down to bed. Baby cries. Walk baby until he falls asleep again.

4:00 – put baby down to sleep. Baby wakes up. Baby cries. Try not to cry. Nurse baby.

4:15 – baby is asleep again. Burp baby. Fall alseep with baby on chest.

5:45 – wake up. Get stink-eye from cat who is two inches from face. Put baby in swing. Baby is asleep. Take shower before he wakes up again.

6:00 – get ready for work. Pack up baby’s daycare bag. Pack up toddler’s daycare bag. Trip over cat while packing lunch for hubby and me. Feed cats.

6:30 – baby is awake. Change baby. Nurse baby.

7:00 – baby is asleep. Put baby in swing. Start swing. Swing is lound. Baby wakes up. Leave baby to fend for himself. Baby falls back to sleep.

7:05 – Toddler is awake. Go to toddler’s bedroom. Greet toddler. Get toddler dressed. Toddler wants ‘new milk’ and to ‘watch a show.’ Find Dora on Netflix. Start Dora. Toddler cries. Toddler wants to watch Caillou.  Stop Dora. Start Caillou. Wake up daddy.

7:30 – kiss everyone goodbye. Toddler clings to my leg as I head out the door. Daddy grabs toddler. Toddler cries “nooooo! don’t go mommy”, “stay with Kaylee”, “Mommy no go to work”, “Take Kaylee with you”.  Baby wakes up.

7:35 – pull out of garage. Realize I left lunch sitting out on counter. Wonder if this is what life will be like for the next year. Try not to cry.  Listen to Colby Calliet CD. Stop for cinnamon swirl latte on the way in. Daddy sends picture text. Everyone is all smiles. Feel better.

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Status

Coming up on the end of my second week back at work. I miss the kids. I can’t seem to manage to get organized. Laundry is piling up. Charlie cries most of the day out of protest. Some days he goes on hunger strikes and refuses to eat until I pick him up after work. Mornings and evenings are a mess when it’s 2 on 1 four days a week. We are all stressed out. It is crazy hard. I am hopeful it will get easier. Until then, we try to laugh as much as we can, sometimes even while crying.

sensory bin: construction site

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I picked up the Toystate Caterpiller Construction Mini Machines (Amazon) pack on sale last week and used it to put together Kaylee’s first official sensory bin. After contemplating what to use for the dirt portion, I settled on oatmeal after raiding the cupboards and stumbling on an old container of oats (I’m really not sure how long it has been there, possibly since we moved in…it is entirely possible that it came with the house) and half a pack of Trader Joe’s mediterranean rice medley. It worked out great and smelled nice too, plus it is all edible just in case she decides to taste-test. Later on I may add a bit of water to make it squishy.

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I added some twigs and a few rocks from Kaylee’s ‘collection’ and it was good enough for our first time out. The toys are plastic, a fact I didn’t realize until after they arrived because I wasn’t paying attention to the product description. They seem sturdy enough for this type of play though and I plan on putting them away after play sessions with the bin. That should help keep them both special and unbroken – that’s the hope anyway.

I’m not sure she has ever seen construction equipment so I found a kiddie show on Netflix  called “The Adventures of Chuck and Friends” and put that on while she played. She was completely disinterested in it, but she must have spent close to 2 hours playing with the bin independently between daycare and bedtime – the worst time of the day for us. This is best $10 I’ve spent in a long time.

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I plan to pick up “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” in the future for a book tie-in. I’d also like to get her a hard hat or construction costume to wear while she plays if she wants.

I decided to pack everything up into ziplock bags for storage so that I can reuse the bin. I’ll definitely be putting together more bins as time goes on and I’m on the look out for a larger bin so she has more room to play. I’m thinking an under-the-bed storage box will do the trick.

crafts: felt bacon and eggs

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Kaylee LOVES bacon and eggs so it seemed appropriate that she have a set for her play kitchen. There are a lot of free tutorials online, but I followed the one by Wee Folk Art (available here). I liked their crinkly bacon design.

It went together fairly quickly. I was able to finish it up over two naptimes. If I had to do it over again I would have taken the size of Kaylee’s pans into consideration since my versions are too large to fit nicely while ‘cooking’. She doesn’t seem to mind though.

food: valentines day dinner recap

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Exhausted and sleep deprived; We stayed in for valentine’s day this year. I made lobster tails with roasted green beans and Scott made chocolate dipped strawberries.

This was the first time I attempted to make lobster, and I was pretty intimidated going in. I probably wouldn’t have thought of it on my own, but Peapod had a sale on them for v-day so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I’m so glad I did. They were really easy to make and turned out great. I used this recipe (learn how to butterfly here) for the lobster, and Giada’s recipe for clarified butter. It turned out perfectly.

The green beans are my go-to side…we have it all the time because it is so easy:

Heat oven to 350 degrees, throw green beans on a baking sheet, sprinkle with almonds, douse with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake (roast) for 20 – 30 minutes until beans start to brown and almonds become crispy. It tastes like candy. If you steam the beans first they cook faster. Works great with asparagus too.

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Since we always have chocolate chips and strawberries on hand, we end up having chocolate covered strawberries quite a bit too. They’re simple as well. Melt chips in microwave, dip strawberries, place on parchment paper to cool. The hardest part is waiting until the chocolate sets – but you can put them in the fridge to shorten the wait. This tends to make the berries sweat though.

We got a 20 minute break from the action to enjoy it all before cries rang out from the other room, and it was perfectly yummy to the very last bite.

Starbucks Pick of The Week: An Awesome Book of Love

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Starbucks gives away free media via their Pick of the Week program. Patrons can pick up a business card with a code on the back to redeem a book or song from the iTunes store for free. The cards are typically available near the register or the toppings station. You can also download the Pick of the Week on your device via WiFi while visiting the store at http://promo.yahoo.com/starbucks/.

Why does Starbucks do this? Well, according to the website,

“what would the coffeehouse be without great music? Well it wouldn’t be Starbucks, for one thing. We’re just as passionate about music as we are about coffee. That’s why we handpick all the tunes you hear in our stores. We take pride in creating unique compilations you can’t find anywhere else. Because helping people discover their next favorite artist or recording is one of our favorite things to do.”

Whatever the ultimate reason, free music and books are pretty awesome. I pick up a card everytime go. Most of the time I don’t actually bother doing anything with them, but this week I’m so glad I did! The featured title was An Awesome Book of Love! by Dallas Clayton (also available in print and Kindle edition).

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The words contained within this tiny gem are a perfect expression of everything I have in my heart for both Scott and the kids. Reading through the first time made me tear up. I’m so glad Starbucks brought the book into my world for free, although I would have gladly paid to share its sweet sentiment with my family anyday.

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two months old

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He’s 14 pounds, fully vaccinated, and has a ginormous head. He still spends most of his time eating and occasionally sleeping if the mood strikes. His cry is earth-shattering. He smiles way more than Kaylee did at this age, and he let out his first giggle this morning – a hearty belly laugh. I love him so much, some days I feel like my heart will burst. The knowledge that he’s my last makes me cling to every moment we share with ferocity, understanding, and patience that I didn’t have the first time around and that I won’t know again until they bring home children of their own.