Thursday, May 27, 2010

Fun Foto Friday - Beach style!!!

Last week we were in Destin, FL for our family vacation. The kids LOVED the beach and they played non-stop!



We spent one day on the boat and this was Tallen's first time on the water. He had a great time watching the waves!



Going out to eat is my favorite part of vacation. Sophia looks forward to eating out too.


Tallen loved the beach. He could not wait to get down in the sand and get his hands dirty.


Our last day was great and for our last night in Destin we had a relaxing family dinner together at Baytowne Wharf.



Our vacation in Destin was so much fun!!! Really, the kids had a blast!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Mother's day is not always Happy...

It’s 9:00 AM on a Friday morning and I am driving to work with tear stained cheeks. I have already cried about three times this morning and I am emotionally drained. In about 20 minutes I will have to walk into my office, so I better pull it together soon. But the sad, lonely look Sophia gave me this morning when I dropped her off at her preschool class flashes across my mind. Guilt washes over me and my eyes begin to blur again with hot, wet tears.

Mommy Guilt is unique for every mom, although I would estimate that 99% of all the moms out there experience it in one form or another. For me, Mommy Guilt is defined as the guilt of being a mommy who hurries off to work every morning before her daughter wakes up and asks her to stay home. The guilt of being a mommy who (GASP) actually enjoys her job and (can’t believe I am going to admit this) does not spend every day longing to be a stay-at-home mom with her two children*. The guilt of being a mommy who was has been so tired that I once offered my husband $100 if he would get up and feed Tallen a bottle at 2:00 AM and let me stay in bed. The guilt of being a mommy who, by the end of the day, is so drained that I have rushed through Sophia’s story time just so I could get her into bed and have a few minutes to go read a book of my own.

Earlier this morning, around 7 AM, I went downstairs to the kitchen to get Tallen’s bottle ready. As I reached for one of the clean bottles that I had left on the counter the night before, I remembered that I had decided to start weaning him from his bottle and switching to a cup. So instead of a bottle, I filled one of Sophia's old training cups with formula.

Back upstairs in Tallen’s room, I lifted him out of his bed and laid him on his changing table. Once I had changed his shirt, I handed him the cup. For the past few weeks, we have only offered him water in his cups so this was the first time he was actually drinking formula. He took the cup, put the spout in his mouth and gummed on it for a minute before he thrust it back at me. This happened about three times before he realized I was giving him something other than water to drink.

After changing him, I sat down in the chair and laid Tallen across my lap while he finished his cup. It suddenly hit me that in just a few weeks, my baby boy will turn One and I officially have a toddler. This "baby window" is slowing closing and I will not have many more chances to sit here in the mornings, feeding my baby a bottle. For the first time that morning my cheeks grow hot with tears. My baby boy is growing up. I am going to miss this.

I take Tallen into Sophia's room to wake her and her eyes light up with excitement when she sees that I am home.

"No school today?" she asks.

"Oh Sweetie, you still have school today. I am home so I can take you to school this morning. I am going to go have breakfast with you and all of your friends." Today is Muffins with Mommy at her preschool and I am going into work late so that I can share a blueberry muffin and apple juice with my little girl.

Whenever Sophia wakes up before I leave for work in the morning, it throws off her schedule and this morning is no exception. I have to raise my voice more than once while trying to get her ready for school. I count to three then try to make a game out of getting dressed but my patience is wearing thin. Tears sting my eyes when I hear myself yelling at her for the third time that morning and I hate hearing the frustration in my voice.

Soon we are holding hands and walking into her preschool. Sophia takes me to her room and gives me a handmade card and two fresh flowers. After I squeeze myself into one of the tiny chairs at the child size table, we eat breakfast together with two of her friends. Finally, I walk her to her room and give her a hug goodbye. She runs away from me and tries to hide in the corner, yelling that she does not want me to leave. We are both in tears at this point and one of her teachers come out to coax her into the classroom. She finally agrees to go pick out a book and join her friends in the circle on the floor but that sad look she gives me when I start to walk away breaks my heart again.

After I pull into the parking garage at work, I check my makeup in my visor's mirror. A little bit of lipstick helps me look presentable and I take a deep breath as I get out of the car and head towards my office. I look down at the hand made card from Sophia in my hand. It is covered in finger paint and pink glitter and inside it reads "Happy Mother's Day, Love Sophia." Finally, for the first time today, being a mommy brings a smile to my face...

*I am not looking for a debate here on stay-at-home-moms (SAHMs) vs. working moms here. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my children and I look forward to seeing them every day but being a working mom is what works for me and my family.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Blogging Conference Confusion

It all started when I thought about looking for a blogging conference. Blogging has become so mainstream in the past half decade or so, that the number of conferences available to Internet addicted folks (like me) is overwhelming. In order to narrow down my choices before I could decide which conference to attend, I had to ask myself this question. “What type of blogger am I?”

Am I a mommy blogger like the women on Babycenter.com? Most of them are stay-at-home moms so I have a hard time identifying with the struggles they face. Then I think that maybe I should define myself as a “working mom” blogger. But to be honest, I try not to write about my work on my blog. My career in petroleum engineering is very structured, analytical and I always strive to appear professional in that setting. My blog is more laid back, humorous, personal, and is an outlet for me to express my creativity. If you met me in a work setting, you would meet a very different Stephanie than you would meet at say, at a blogging conference.

Once I started trying to decide what type of blogger I am, I found it easier to determine what type of blogger I am NOT…

I am a Christian, but I do not write regularly write about my relationship with God so I would not say that I am Christian blogger like Angie Smith (Bring the Rain).

I love to read, mainly books that you would find on the best seller’s list, both fiction and non-fiction but I have not found time to be in a book club or discuss the books that I read. (With the exception of this one review I did two years ago). Note to self, write a blog post about books that I have recently read. Book giveaways are not something I promote, because I get most of my books from the library and they might frown on me giving away their newest releases.

I am a member of the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) but I would not consider myself an arts blogger like my friend Denise. We often attend a lecture series together sponsored by the DMA but I rarely get around to writing a post about these events. We are going to hear Laura Bush speak about her new book on Friday, May 7th so I will try to get around to posting about it in the next week.

I am definitely not a style blogger. It is sad to admit this but more than 75% of the clothes I buy for myself or my kids come from the following stores… Target, Old Navy, Baby Gap or The Childrens’ Place. I do buy some of my clothes for work at Ann Taylor Loft (outlet store) or New York and Co. I have three pairs of black high heels (not a designer name among the three) that I wear with my standard work outfit of black pants and blouse or cardigan sweater, so it is safe to say that I am not up with the current fashion trends.

I am also not a food/diet/exercise blogger. My blog posts are not about my goal to get back in shape after having Baby T (one year ago this month), so that I can break out my bikini at the beach next week. I do not write about my goal to eat REAL food and to cook most of the food that my family eats. We visit local farmer’s markets for fresh produce and this year we planted our first vegetable garden, but I will probably never get around to posting about that either.

Once I exhausted all the categories of blogs that I did not fit in, I decided to look back through my posts and see what theme emerged. And I think I finally found it. Family. My posts are about what goes on in our family. Yes, most of my blog is about the kids because they are cute, funny, and a constant source of inspiration. Without them, I would not get to write about potty training, traveling with kids, tantrums, mommy guilt, mommy-daughter playdates, sickness and snot.

Because I write about my kids so much, I think I can elbow my way into this exclusive "mommy blogging" clique and try to to find a place to fit in. But I am still stuck scoping out a blogging conference to attend. BlissDom, Mom 2.o Summit, The Relevant Conference, Bloggy Boot Camp, Casual Blogger Conference, evo '10. Wait, those last two look really cool and branch out beyond "Mommy" territory. One of them in particular is so HOT that it sold out six months in advance (BlogHer), so I can cross it off my list. Others I have already missed in 2010 so I will put them on my calendar for next year, but I need to keep track of how far in advance that I need to register. Are there any tips from you other bloggers out there? Is anyone going to be attending a blogging conference this year? This would be my first time attending a conference so I need some advice from experienced bloggers!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Don't drink the water...

Tallen has learned a new trick, which he performs every time I give him a bath. When we walk in the bathroom, I stand him up next to the tub while I turn on the water. As the tub is filling up with about two to three inches of lukewarm water, I get him undressed and let him practice his drumming skills on the side of the tub, preferably with a bottle of shampoo or a hairbrush. I can’t resist letting him stand there naked beside the tub, drumming away in delight while he shows off his chunky bare backside. (No, I will not be sharing the pictures of my naked baby boy on this blog out of fear that he will hate me in about 10-15 years).

Once the tub has been filled to the proper level (enough to clean the kids but not deep enough for them to make waves that splash over the edge), I turn off the water and check the temperature again. Although it was lukewarm when I turned it on, I make sure it did not spontaneously turn boiling hot while I was watching the naked drummer boy performance. I pick Tallen up and dangle him over his special bathtub seat which is secured to the side of the tub (yes, I freak out about holding a slippery baby in the tub) until I can manage to get both of his feet in the leg holes. He shrieks and starts splashing away and… he goes PEE-PEE in the water. Yes, a little stream arcs up over the edge of the seat that secures him in the tub. He looks down, surprised that it is coming from his lap, then looks up at me and claps. If I am quick enough, I cover him up with a washcloth so I am not a target of his stream. (Yeah, maybe that was too much information). Admittedly, I am too lazy to take the time to drain the tub and fill it up again so I just continue bathing him.

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Earlier this week I was giving both of the kids a bath at the same time. They were playing their usual bath time game of “Who Can Shriek the Loudest and Bust Mommy’s Eardrums?” They also like to play this game when I am driving in traffic or when Trey is on the phone for work. I think Tallen was winning this time, his shrieks were bouncing off the bathroom walls and I had to resist the urge to cover his mouth with my soapy hand just to have a moment of muffled silence. Sophia was also playing with a cup that I use to rinse the shampoo out of the kids’ hair and I warned her not to drink the water.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because Tallen went pee-pee in the bathtub before you got in and if you drink the water, you might be drinking some of his pee.”

She looked at me warily, as if she didn’t really believe that Tallen’s pee-pee would be in her bathwater but she decided not to risk it and put down the cup of water that was halfway to her mouth. (Really, why does drinking bathwater appeal to every child under the age of 8? Do they not realize that once they get in there, that water is disgusting?)

“Why did Tallen pee-pee in the water?” she asked.

“Because he is not big enough to pee-pee in the potty like you and me,” I tell her. “He does not know how to go to the potty yet.”

“Mommy, I’m a big sister. I can teach Tallen how to potty!”

Sophia turns to Tallen in the tub and starts tickling his toes, talking to him in her singsong big sister voice. She tells him that she is going to teach him how to go pee-pee in the potty. "Pee-pee in the pot-tee, pee-pee in the pot-tee," she sings over and over.

You go for it sister. You teach that boy how to go potty. And while you are at it, could you also teach him NOT to pee-pee in the bathtub? Because I just watched you turn your back to me, trying to hide as you took a drink from the shampoo cup. Disgusting…

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One more thing… Why are babies’ pajamas so hard to get on after you give them a bath? Tallen is usually still a little damp from the bath water and even a little sticky if I have just put lotion on him. His arms get stuck halfway through the sleeve of his shirt and the opening for the hands is three sizes too small. He risks losing a finger every time I try to squeeze his little fist through the hole. Seriously, if he grows up with a pinky missing it will be because I broke it off trying to get him dressed for bed. I will then blame you, Baby Gap, for making pajamas for some skinny prototype baby model that does not exist. And for making such cute pajamas that I buy them anyway!