Me For Now

It’s funny how this blog has evolved from sharing my infertility story to my pregnancy story to my momma story. Yet as the years have gone by I’ve shared some funny moments, some product reviews and letters to Mikey, but not very much about me. Let’s face it. At the end of the day I am too tired to write about me, but that needs to change. Starting now.

So a few weeks ago I went to my OBGYN to talk about starting the process to have Weisman 2.0 (I need a better name). Since Mike was a Shady Grove baby, I figured the process would be about the same. This was my 3rd visit with this doctor and I was lukewarm. She took my blood pressure and it was high, very high, and has been for the last few months. She was pretty dismissive and said the next step is to lose weight, get the blood pressure under control and come back in 3 months. And since it was the day before Valentine’s Day she felt the need to end the appointment with, ‘and try to avoid all the Valentine’s candy’!

No.

So, I made an appointment with my nurse practitioner who I adore to help me get it together. What I wanted was some immediate action items or goals. GYN left me with so many questions about diet and nutrition and as someone who already obsesses about food in one way or another, it wasn’t motivational. My NP really knew how to help, not only by putting me on a medication, but some goals:

Eliminating one thing each week from my diet (chocolate, fast food, dessert, whatever my ‘downfall’ is). The first two weeks I decided to scrap fast food.

Add 20 minutes of activity a day. Thanks to my FitBit, this should be easy to track.  It will most likely be walking and I am going to strive to do some water aerobics.

Write down what I eat. I’ve done this 1000 times before and it makes sense. How should I know how many calories I should be eating when I don’t know what I am currently eating? Spoiler alert, more than I should.

Drop 5lbs before my monthly follow up. I’m not going to share my weight here. And not because I am ashamed of it, but because it doesn’t matter. This isn’t about hitting a magic number, it’s about getting healthier, and that is tied to my weight, then that is the goal. I think 5lbs is totally manageable for the first month. That appointment was on the 23rd and I am already down 1.5 without making many changes just yet.

So that’s where I am now – where my focus is. And blogging more. But don’t worry, this isn’t going to morph into a ‘fat to fit’ or ‘weight loss journey’ or ‘transformation’ blog. You don’t need that and neither do I.

PS – that picture above was from this past weekend when the weather was unseasonably AMAZING and we took Mikey to a new playground. Normally I would throw on some sweatpants, tshirt and sports bra – but it is time I put on a real bra and actual clothes. It’s easy to look at that picture and see my wrinkly shirt or pasty legs, but instead I am remembering how much fun it was watching my boys interact, Mike go down the slide dozens of times laughing and what a great morning it was. #babysteps

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Dear Mikey: February 2017

Dear Mikey –

As I write this, you are laying next to me watching really annoying videos on YouTube kids on my iPad while I read and catch up on emails and Daddy and Charlie sleep. It is the perfect holiday weekend! Every so often you grab my attention and want to show me something and I am so impressed by what you know. And I’m not talking multiplication tables, but who characters are on shows you’ve never seen – like R2D2 from Star Wars. Granted, you call him Two-Two, but we get the idea. It’s clear you are building friendships at preschool and learning from your new friends.

I feel like I always start your blog posts with ‘it’s been a long time since I’ve written’ and this time is no different. But here are a few tidbits about you now, at 3 years and 8 months old.

{Opinions} Opinions – you have them. And not just about little things like TV shows and bed time. You had a hair cut yesterday and the stylist gave you a faux hawk and you were NOT happy. Of course you were polite until we got in the car and then you spent the rest of the morning asking me to fix it. And when we ask if you want a cheese stick for a snack you rarely say no – but immediately follow up with ‘not the spiky kind’ referring to the pepper jack cheese stick I accidentally packed you for lunch one day.

{Potty Time} I never want to embarrass you too much on social media or the internet since I am not sure what the internet will look like by the time you are an adult and you didn’t ask for a blogger mom, but I am thrilled to announce you are 100% daytime potty trained and have been for some time now. It was a relatively simple process and you were happy to pee for Reese Peanut Butter Cup (which you call cake) or go ‘big potty’ for a sticker or temporary tattoo. We are not really focusing on night time training, but happy we can leave the house without 100 diapers ‘just in case’.

{Manners} Daddy and I are a stickler for manners and you are picking up on that quickly. I love that when we sit down for dinner together you ask if you can start eating (I think school is teaching you that) and if you can be excused when you are done. You are quick to bless people after a sneeze and excuse yourself if you ‘toot’. I love that your days are filled with ‘yes pleases’ and ‘no thank yous’. (Now if we can get you to forget you know the word damn we would be in luck)

{Play} You are still super hero obsessed citing Batman and Ironman as your favorites. You also are a fan of gel clings which you like to use to decorate our car windows. You’ve been taking swimming lessons again, and even though you didn’t pass the county’s Parent and Me class this go-around, you had a hell of a lot of fun doing it. You saw your first movie in the theatre a few weeks ago and LOVED the experience. Sing was a great first movie. You like to randomly say, ‘today was a great day’ or ‘we had a fun day’!

{Bedtime} The biggest challenge for us as your parents is bedtime. Kid. You need to go to bed. I know you don’t want to the party to stop and you claim you aren’t tired, but you are and you need to go to bed. And more recently you’ve been getting in bed with me around 5am which I don’t mind. But bedtime should not take over an hour to happen. You are going to have a rude awakening (ha, pun intended) when we address this issue. I know in 10 years I won’t be able to get you OUT of bed!

{Hospital} We did have a quick trip to the ER when you had a really high fever. You charmed every nurse and perked up a bit when you got some medicine.

Well my lovie, we have a busy day hanging out with your cousin Mollie and feeding the ducks. We should probably get moving!

I’ll eat you up, I love you so,

Momma xoxo

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Happy Heart Month!

It’s funny how quickly life changes and you have no choice but to embrace the change and adapt. When S. was diagnosed with Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) last year, we had to do just that. And since he had that experience and is almost on the other side of his recovery, February takes on a new meaning since it is Heart Healthy Month!

Since I’ve mentioned HCM a few times here I thought I would celebrate Heart Healthy Month by sharing some information about the disease.

  • HCM is a genetic disease that affects 1 in 500 people.
  • It is characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle (usually the one that separates the ventricles) blocking air intake causing the heart to work harder.
  • HCM is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young adults.
  • Most people with HCM have no symptoms and experience no significant problems. For others, it can cause shortness of breath on exertion, dizziness, fainting, fatigue, and chest pain.
  • For an accurate diagnosis, a physical examination, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram and/or Echocardiography is needed.
  • Treatment can vary depending on the patient – S. is on a beta blocker for the rest of his life, has a defibrillator to regulate his heart rate and had surgery (Myectomy) to ‘shave’ down his heart muscle (which won’t grow back).
  • It is sometimes present at birth, but it most commonly develops in early adulthood. Since it is genetic, there is a 50/50 chance a child will ‘inherit’ it from their parent. Mike will be checked by his pediatrician yearly until adolescent which is when he will go to a cardiologist yearly for checkups.
  • Life post surgery with HCM for S. will be pretty normal, he just needs to watch his diet and exercise – like everyone does!

If you are interested in learning more about HCM or other heart diseases, visit the American Heart Association

And don’t forget to wear red on February 3rd!

 

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Dear Mike: Parent Teacher Conference

Dear Mikey –

Daddy and I were so worried about finding you a good preschool where you would make friends and start your educational journey. We knew right away that the school we chose would be a good fit for you and we weren’t wrong!

It took a little bit for you to share your day, but now you come home and share things about your day like what you learned (T-Rex dinosaurs eat meat!), what happened on the playground (someone threw sand in your eyes) and what your ‘job’ was (your current favorite is either Flag Holder or Line Leader). It has certainly made dinner time more interesting.

You’ve been there six months so Daddy and I were invited to our first PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCE (dun, dun, dun). We have a pretty good relationship with your teachers so we knew there wasn’t going to be any surprises, but we liked hearing more about your day and interests. Here are the highlights of you at 3 and a half from your teacher:

You are a genuinely good kid who wants to do well. You never do anything out of malice – which makes Momma’s heart happy.

You love reading and often will bring a book to your teacher and ask her to read it. Most of the time she can, but when she can’t you happily read it to yourself or with your best friend, B.

You have a growing interest in science like your Daddy. You are very focused on the details, so that makes sense!

Speaking of details, you always seem to know when something in your classroom is different or if someone comes in. You are always the first one to welcome them with a good morning or good afternoon.

Bug, like I said, we are not surprised, but we are so proud of the kid you are becoming.

I’ll eat you up, I love you so,

Momma xoxo

 

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The One Thing You Need in Your Kitchen


 

I will be honest, I don’t make money off my blog. It would be nice, but I am too tired to figure it out. However, some companies reach out to me (or vice versa) for product reviews and if I feel like my ‘audience’ (all 4 of you, hi mom) would find value in it, I green light it.

When Brieftons wanted to send me a chopper/grater/slicer/mixer do-hickey my initial reaction was a eye roll. I have a very expensive, heavy and large blender/mixer/chopper thing we got as a wedding gift that I use once a year at best and is too expensive to get rid of. Our kitchen space is limited and I bet it’s a pain in the ass to clean. BUT. I am currently obsessed with chopped salads and they are pretty labor intensive. So what the hell. Send me your magic machine! 

Guys? Buy this. I am all in. It basically has three core pieces – the bowl (with a divider), the top with the rip cord and another top with a slot to put the right ‘slicer’ in. This makes it super easy to clean and store.  But … this is only about $25. It can’t do everything it claims that easily. So for the sake of my blog, I decided to try. I needed to clean out the pantry and had a box of key lime bars (oh DARN) so I made them. The mixer part of this thing is worth the money alone. It totally gives in to how lazy I am. I put all the ingredients (4 eggs, 1/4 water and the mix) into the bowl, put the mixer attachments in, secure to top, pull the ripcord a few times and voila! Perfectly mixed.

Next was veggie prep and it totally exceeded my expectations! It was SO easy to switch out the slicer plates, clean the bowl and get my chopped salad pieces done quickly. I was spending $3 on pre-chopped onions to save time, but I bought a $0.67 onion this week and chopped it in 2 minutes.

The only negative I can come up with is the ‘safety food holder’ which you stick on your veggies (or whatever) to protect your hand while slicing. It didn’t stay in the veggies well enough to be efficient. But otherwise it fits my criteria for being awesome – cheap, efficient, space saving and money saving.

Here are some before and after pictures if you don’t believe me. And forgive the carrot picture. All I had handy was baby carrots. It looks so sad!

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, the legal stuff. Yes, I got this product for free to try. No they didn’t pay me for a positive review, they can’t afford that. No, if you buy it off Amazon I don’t get paid. But I should. 

 

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Be a Daddy

 

 

(out of the blue at dinner tonight)

Mike: When I grow up I want to be a Daddy.

Jackie: Is that right? Why?

Mike: Because I can have lots of jobs (he loves having a job at preschool like holding the door or leading the line)

Jackie: Like what jobs? What does your Daddy do?

Mike: He cooks, walks Charlie and works.

Someone is setting a good example!

 

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How to Help in Times of Illness

I’ve talked about it before, but about a year ago, S. was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) and after dozens of doctor’s appointments, hours spent online reading and discussing his options, he had open heart surgery and a pacemaker implanted mid-September at Johns Hopkins. I could go on and on about that experience, but the real memory is how our family and friends from near and far rallied to do whatever (and I do mean whatever) we needed while we were in the hospital (just over a week) and beyond.

If someone you know is dealing with an illness or might be spending time in the hospital you want to help right? Of course you do. But what CAN you do to help that requires little of the family but makes a big impact? Here are some suggestions from someone who has been there.

{Notes} Quite possibly the easiest (and cheapest of all). It’s important that the patient and their support team knows people are thinking about them and praying for them. As a caregiver I received countless Facebook and text messages from friends and even acquaintances. My favorite messages included funny memes. It showed that someone was thinking about us at a time that felt very lonely (I am 100% I was the youngest spouse on the cardiac ICU) and someone was taking time to find something they thought would make me laugh.

{Care Packages} Before S’s surgery we got two care packages, one from a long time friend with a bunch of fun goodies like headphones, slinkies and disguise glasses. The other package came from a friend who I met through my Momma and have yet to meet in person. She sent things to keep S and I entertained in the hospital and some fun stuff for Mike while we were away. This is just another great reminder that people were thinking about us and taking care of some of the things we might have forgotten (like pens and Post-It notes for the hospital).

{Services} Dealing with an illness for such a long time puts a lot of other things on the backburner like keeping the house clean. S’s Aunt offered to book a housecleaning service right before his surgery and it was amazing. We found a great company ThinkMaids who did an amazing job top to bottom. But services don’t always have to be done by someone else. My Aunt graciously went to Harris Teeter and picked up and delivered the groceries I ordered online. Helping out comes in many sizes and price ranges – find out what the family needs and jump in!

{Food} Food is probably the easiest thing to do to help families who are dealing with an illness. S.’s grandparents and coworkers sent a beautiful fruit basket which was SO nice, especially after eating cafeteria food for a week. His cousin reached out before and after about us ordering dinner from our favorite take-out place and letting them pay for it. If it’s one thing we have learned the past year it is to take people up on their offer to help, so we sent Debi our order and happily answered the door when our food came. Grubhub recently started selling e-gift cards making it easier for people to send takeout food without asking for the details. Just remember if you are helping out with food – it should be pre-made or easily made without much clean up. And keep it basic. Now is not the time to try a new Yugoslavian dish that was handed down for generations.

{Self care} While it was easy for me not to make S’s surgery ‘all about me’, it definitely was a challenge at time to remember to take care of myself. My dear friend Miranda was kind enough to send me a giftcard to my favorite spa, Swan Cove. I waited until we got home and settled for a few weeks then happily skipped to the spa for a much needed massage. Sometimes the family needs gentle reminders that they need to be taken care of too. Thankfully I have friends (and one of S’s nurses I will forever be grateful for) who reminded me.

We are so thankful for all our friends and family who made it a priority to think about us and reach out during the surgery and recovery.

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What Was Under Our Tree?

Was it just me or did the holiday season go by SUPER fast this year? I think because Mike is at the age where he ‘gets’ Santa Claus and the Christmas experience, we really had to pack in experiences. And I think we did a really great job of that with going to see the lights at Watkin’s Park and visiting Santa at Homestead Gardens.

Speaking of Santa, he heard that Mike was a VERY good boy this year! Here are the goodies he left (with some of my feedback because, well, this is my blog).

{Fisher-Price Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar} I was really excited about this gift because I think coding is such a cool skill to have and it is even cooler that they are incorporating it into kid’s education at such a young age. First of all, this was WAY louder than I anticipated. And it is a little confusing. I know it ended up under a lot of other trees this year and we are all wondering the same thing – how can you create an obstacle course when you aren’t sure how long each component lasts? Like how long does the Code-a-Pillar go straight? Mike really likes connecting the pieces and jumping in front of it mid-path to make it stop and he called it his ‘skeleton worm’. I think this was a semi-win with a full on win in about six months when he ‘gets it’. 

{KidKraft Table} Poor kid was sitting on his comfy chair pulled up to a wicker trunk we use as a toy box/coffee table to play with his stickers and Playdoh. We are a fan of the KidKraft brand and this was one of the more reasonably priced, not tacky tables for kids. I thought for sure S. would be up all night on Christmas Eve putting it together, but he was done before Mike was even asleep. I am a HUGE fan of the ‘hidden’ storage in the middle which now is where the bad superheroes are jailed. It is a nice finish, seems sturdy and blends in well with our hodge podge furniture.

{Super Hero Books} What is a holiday without books? We love board books because they are sturdy, small and usually pretty short so bedtime doesn’t last longer than it already does. These are a good size and Mike is already reading along with us. The super heroes aren’t of the ‘scary’ variety either, which is hard to find.

{Playskool Friends Mr. Potato Head Marvel} These are clearly Mike’s favorite gift this year. He plays with them all the time and is adamant that they are put together correctly. He throws all the pieces in a mixing bowl, puts them together and starts the process again.

{Superhero Dress Up Costumes} Bubbe got Mike a Batman cape and mask a few months ago and he loves it, so it made sense to get the rest of set so we could all join in! I was really surprised at how sturdy these are, clearly ready to withstand villains … and toddlers.

{Solar System Night Light} We turned Mike’s nursery into a big boy room a few months ago and the theme is space galaxy so when S. saw this, he knew Mike needed to have it. I have to admit, it’s pretty cool! It took some work for S. to mount it on the ceiling, but once it was there Mike loved it. Now he clicks the clicker so the ‘sun’ will come on and then again for the planets to rotate.

Well Mommas, were you a good girl this year? What did Santa bring you?

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Stupid Simple Chocolate Marshmallows

Looking for something stupid simple to make for holiday parties or teacher gifts? I have your answer – chocolate marshmallows. I came across these on Pinterest and have made them for a baby shower and a holiday party ultimately making me the most favorite invitee. Well, probably not, but I like to pretend. These are cheap, easy to make and SO addictive.

Ingredients: 

  • Large Marshmallows
  • Dipping Chocolate (I like Baker’s brand)
  • Sticks
  • Decorations
  • Parchment paper

Steps:

  • I like using paper straws as the ‘handle’ because paper straws are pretty. I cut them in half. You can also use lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks.  Just make sure you cut them to a decent length.
  • Stick them in the marshmallows.

  • Prepare the chocolate based on its directions
  • Then dip! Dip each one in about half way, and be patient while the excess drips off. You don’t want it to be gloopy.
  • Press the bottom into your decorations. I like seasonal sprinkles or chopped nuts. I did learn that sugar sprinkles don’t work well unless you are using white dipping chocolate.

  • Let them harden on parchment paper for about an hour and then enjoy!

See? Stupid simple. The whole thing takes about half an hour (max I would guess) and I was the hero; not only at my house, but the parties I attended! #youarewelcome

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Mini Picasso

I went back and forth with what this post could be called. I debated between ‘The Time I Called My Son a Liar‘ or ‘My Entry for Mother of the Year‘.

For about three weeks I’ve been picking Mike up from Preschool and his ‘take home’ folder has had a drawing of an obvious person. The first day I found it, I asked his teacher if it accidently was placed in his folder. I’ve only seen Mike scribble and these pictures were much more advanced. His teacher asked him if he drew it and he said yes. She then asked around to the other kids and no one claimed it. She agreed – no way he drew that. So I brought it home and tossed it in the recycle pile.

The next few days I continued to find pictures of people in Mike’s take home folder. His teacher and I ultimately decided that someone was sticking them in there by accident. All I could imagine was some poor parent whose kid was coming home without these drawings.

Then yesterday I grabbed yet ANOTHER picture of a person with a note from Mike’s teacher – “Yes! Mike did draw this. I watched!!”

Well shit.

Apparently my child can do something other than scribble and for the past month I rolled my eyes when I asked if these were his drawings and he replied yes.  I wonder what other skills he has that he is telling me about and that I am ignoring.

mike-drawing

 

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