We are taking a walk down memory lane as we prepare our household for a move to a new dwelling in a month. Well, Dan is running, I am crawling. It is so hard to part ways with the multiple spiral notebooks with all my to do lists in them. Reviewing them for the first time since they went in a drawer when the last page was used, is fun. Now what will I do? I use Evernote. I update the to do list electronically wiping clean all record of what has been accomplished. The next time I move I can expect to go more quickly, right?
I also cleaned out my stationery bureau. Yes, I have an entire bureau dedicated to stationery, note cards, address books, holiday cards we’ve received (only the ones with photos), invitations we’ve sent, and random stickers. I think I have an entire bureau full because since I was a child I have been obsessed with paper. I collected note cards and stationery for a long time, but of course now I use mostly social media and emails to correspond, so I have lots of paper just looking for an excuse. I will not throw it away. I will milk the opportunities to send appreciation. Thank you notes are always handwritten.
Today I received an e-mail from FineStationery.com. It made me pause, will there be stationery stores for my girls when they are 10? Will they save their allowance to buy paper and stickers? The answer is sadly – probably not.
Next on the agenda is all the children’s artwork – how much is enough? I did read an article where people take photos of the artwork and create a Shutterfly book. That may be more my speed.
It always rains on me in Puerto Rico and that’s ok. I am on a girls’ weekend in Ocean Park. We stay at the Número Uno Guest House. My two friends have been coming to this same place for eight years. My first trip here was their second year. It poured. And poured. We spent a lot of our time huddled on the wrought iron couches listening to the rain on the tin roof while deeply immersed in our books. My second trip here was their fourth year. It poured and was windy, but we did have a couple nice beach days. And now on my third trip here, I find all five (every year there is a different cast of characters who join the original two) of us huddled together in the courtyard talking about going to lunch; however there isn’t any power so we will just have to make due with the hunk of Manchego.
It’s ok that it rains because we are still relaxing. We still don’t have to check email. We don’t have to figure out how to entrain children in the downpour. We don’t have to do anything except be thankful that we can take this time out to recharge. We are milking our time in the rain, together but alone in our books and our thoughts (and drinks.)
I spent a lot of time worrying about leaving my family for four days. But my wonderful husband reminded me in his way that if I didn’t enjoy myself this time would be wasted. So therefore it goes to support the great advice – if you are going to do something do it well.
As I get ready to donate all my gear, I am reflecting back on the gobs of money spent on the products. There are so many baby items that turn out to be a waste of money, so here are six things that are totally worth it in my humble opinion:
Socks On – I really liked these, they actually kept the socks on and saved me a lot of time and frustration.
Milk Maids– This is a styrofoam type bottle holder that allows your baby to feed themselves a bottle – it rests on their belly so you don’t have to hold the bottle.
Bumbos with trays – These are really great and safe. It’s the perfect place to put a baby when you don’t want to leave them laying down all the time.
Vitamix 5200 – You knew I was going to put this here. It’s great for baby purees. See this older post. https://amkline.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/making-baby-food-is/
Dr. Brown Bottles – High end bottles with lots of parts, but they are supposed to prevent acid reflux and digestive issues. My babies spit up constantly until they were 11 months old, but I don’t think they were in pain.
CityMini Double Stroller – I am not giving this away for years. I love this stroller and it is worth every penny that we spent. I wasn’t sure I would like it, so I got it on Craig’s List slightly used so I could save money for the really super duper stroller. But I am happy to say, this one has not made me year for another (and I’m the kind of person who likes four strollers so I have the perfect one for each occasion). It is skinny so fits through a regular door. It is lightweight so with a flick of wrists you can fold it up and pop in the back of the van. And it is large enough for our four and a half year old who wishes she were one.
All of these items make wonderful gifts for friends having babies.
My children Maddie and Sammy turn one on Saturday. When I step back to reflect on the year, I have a number of emotions:
amazed – that we all made it through the year unscathed (let’s not count the five ear infections they both had, croup, the flu and numerous colds)
startled – I can’t believe the year is over, wasn’t it dragging on forever just last month?
happy – I love my long-awaited for and much dreamed of family
sad – that I wished any of the time to go by faster; there were times that I wanted to wave a wand and just get to age four
surprised – that I seem to have less mommy guilt, than I did three and half years ago when my daughter turned one.
awakened – to milk joy from every single minute we all have together
inspired – to take more photos and videos and to chronicle milestones more aggressively
grateful – to the village that helped our family during this last year (lots neighbors who made us dinner, grandmother who lived with us for the first two months, grandparents who became permanent fixtures until they left for Florida for the winter, a benefactor who gave me all her twin gear, co-workers who dealt with my sleep deprivation, friends who showered us with love and gifts, Midnight Moms who got me through the first three months, our nanny who is now a member of our family and of course most importantly to the random people who came up to me (as I pushed a ginormous stroller with two small babies) and ask if they are twins.)
If you follow this blog you know that I am challenged with finding time where I feel like working out. So in addition to the stairs (I managed to do 30 flights today), I am also starting to do the add one sit up and one push up everyday. I started this with my friend Donna at work. We don’t do this at work, but we make sure we are both sticking to the plan. We’re on day four, so we’re doing very well so far – four sit ups and four push ups – who can’t do that?!
I am applying a similar approach to keeping up with all the news in my industry. You can’t possibly keep up with everything, but you can get yourself organized in such a way that you can add things in on a gradual basis and before you know it you are reading new blogs (MarketingProfs), watching another TED video (Sheryl Sandberg) and following new people on Twitter (@jowyang).
I have been struggling for a while about finding the time to work out. I have always worked out in the morning, but after having my twins morning is the time for precious sleep. I get up at 6am so I can get the early train to work in order to get home for dinner time with the family. So working out in the morning means very early. I know people do it. I have been talking to many people to work up the motivation and conviction to do it.
So this past Tuesday I got up at 5am and did 45 minutes of Power Yoga in my kitchen/playroom/livingroom. I listened to a podcast of a yoga instructor in Chicago, but he was trained in Cambridge by Baron Baptiste so it is the same style of yoga I love. It felt great after.
Today I did it again. Today was harder. It is hard to stay focused. I miss the heat of the yoga studio. But there isn’t time to drive to a studio. So I’m sure I’ll get used to this.
But the other way I am milking time is walking stairs. At work I get off at the 8th floor and walk up to 18th where my office is located. My friend at work @soniachung turned me onto this. It is energizing. My goal is to do that three times a day – so far I have only made it twice a day. I should start scheduling meetings with Sonia and hold them in the stairwell. That is the easiest way to do the stairs – talking to someone the whole way up. The alternative way I have been doing this is listening to music very loud on my iPod. Lady Gaga, Ricky Martin and Ozzy are good for that.
So I am not working out like I used to, but I am milking the time I can to squeeze it in. I’m ok with this for now.
My 10 month olds are sick. My daughter fell asleep in her car seat as we were doing errands this morning. I know that when I try to make the transfer from car to house – she wakes up and doesn’t go back to sleep. Because she is sick I want her to sleep as much as possible. My son is asleep in his crib – he follows my rules well.
So I am setting the microwave clock for ten minute increments and running out to the car to check on her. I should mention that it is 20 degrees out. BUT she is bundled up and as a blanket wrapped around her. So I’m confident she is warm enough, but I am still nervous.
As I ran around during these ten minute bursts I realized how productive I have been. I noticed that I can pretty much break up whatever I do into blocks of ten minutes.
In/Out of the car with stroller and two ten month olds – 10 minutes
Shop and Checkout – 10 minutes (I have a small grocery store)
Going out with babies:
10 minutes to don snowsuits and arrange in seats
10 minutes of Prep (cutting veggies)
10 minutes of assembly
10 minutes of cleaning
10 minutes of puree, storage, etc
30 minutes of cooking (that’s three 10s)
Writing this entry:
10 minutes (so I’m almost out of time.)
Try milking the power of 10. See what you can accomplish. Set a timer.
Saturday’s two creations consisted of 7 vegetable bolognese with tiny star pasta AND strawberries, apple, kale and rice puree. I did the bolognese during the morning nap and the fruit puree during afternoon nap. Since my children don’t power nap, they spent a little time in their cribs “talking” so I could actually finnish the prep for the freezer.
I am thankful to Annabel Karmel for her recipes. I have made a lot of them so now I am into inventing my own and using her’s as a basic guide.
I know I could appear to be a spokesperson for the Vitamix 5200 but I promise I’m not. But that is my savior in this baby food making adventure. It’s really easy and efficient. So it makes the time spent much shorter than doing it by hand or by a traditional food processor.
The first photo shows the strawberries, apples and kale cooking. Second photo is the brown rice added to the puree (after the Vitamix) and the last photo is the storage/freezing process.
I have had a 17 day “break” but why do I feel like I am starting a vacation?
We had a wonderful time with family. I already miss my children. I feel terrible that we won’t be starting the day together.
But on this first day back to the office I feel like a different person. I have jewelry on. I put on purple eyeshadow, not sure if this is ever ok, but it seemed like a special occasion as I was getting ready this morning.
We ferberized my daughter last night – again. She went through a 14 day stint of waking up exactly 45 minutes after being put to bed for the night. She wouldn’t go back to sleep until we wrestled her into submission and let her sleep on our shoulders and then in our bed. It was not good hearing her scream at the top of her lungs knowing she was standing in her crib shaking the side and at any moment about to wake up her twin brother in the crib next to hers. But she resigned and went to sleep.
My other daughter had been trying to sleep in our bed off and on as she said it was more comfortable; so I brought up a down comforter from the basement and made a special deal about it. Miraculously she didn’t have to get a drink of water, go to the bathroom, tell us a secret, read one more book or tell us about a nightmare.
After the bedtime rituals we got to watch two shows (Parenthood and Grey’s.) In full disclosure my husband didn’t watch Grey’s with me. He made our daughter’s lunch, made his coffee grounds in the Vitamix and then retired to our bedroom to watch the Celtics.
I am all for milking long vacations, if for no other reason but to find comfort in the routine and order of the everyday life.
When my husband came home from Costco with Vitamix 5200, it sat in the middle of our kitchen in the box for three days. He was having buyers remorse and was nervous about the money spent on a blender. He loves a good sales presentation and got sold. I was skeptical and not supportive, but I finally said just take it out and let’s see what it can do.
We used it to make ice cream (it spins so fast it creates extreme cold or heat depending on the item in the machine), soups and smoothies. We used it a lot during the summer but use trailed off as the novelty wore off.
The Vitamix and Annabel Karmel’s 100 Baby Purees has helped relieve some of the guilt attributed to working outside the home and not seeing my children for long periods of time.
The Vitamix is an amazing machine and makes it super easy to make the purees. Maddie and Sammy eat homemade food. I make most of it and our nanny does the rest. The babies eat everything from beef to lentils, from broccoli to tofu, from berries to sweet potatoes. While I’m at work, I know they are heating healthy food without preservatives and very little salt or sugar.
I never considered doing this for our first child. The work involved seemed overwhelming
But now that I am in this I am finding it quite fun coming up with a new concoction. I have only had to throw out one batch. Barley and berries don’t mix that well.
I am going to milk it as long as I can, mixing up purees is much easier than figuring out what finger foods won’t choke them.