Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days: "Does anybody remember laughter?"

When was the last time I laughed?

I asked myself this question yesterday midway through my shift at work. And I couldn't answer that question. It could have been that morning over something silly my boyfriend did. Or it could have been the day before with some coworkers. But I honestly couldn't remember having a "fit of laughter" in some time. At least not one memorable enough to look back on and laugh about later.

Actually, that's not true. I did get reminded of the "Saturday Night Live"  with Will Ferrell and Norm McDonald in a "Celebrity Jeopardy" skit in which McDonald plays Burt Reynolds and changes his name to Turd Ferguson. Something about that skit made me laugh uncontrollably at my desk last week and I couldn't stop. THAT'S the last time I memorably laughed.

(Until a few minutes ago when I decided to find the clip of that to post and ended up laughing so hard, I began coughing, a leftover side effect from my recent cold.)

It's good to know I have at least one trigger to incite my laughing. And, after watching that clip, I took stock of how I felt after. My shoulders let go of some of the tension; my mouth perked up on the sides, as if expecting to laugh again; my mind seemed less focused on "I must, I must, I must get this blog post written" and more on "What else is going to make me laugh this month?"

Here's where the challenge comes in.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Internet Finds

Thank you, Huffington Post, for supporting bloggers who are pro-vaccine. As much as it pains me to watch L.'s face in anguish as she's getting her shots, the diseases the vaccines are protecting against are much worse than any temporary pain she's experiencing.

JJ Keith wrote an article on Huffington Post today coming out as pro-vaccine. She mentions my cousin's daughter, Clio, who is battling leukemia and, because of the inability to receive vaccines, she is vulnerable to the diseases. I can only guess the risk is increased with all the trips to the hospital she has to take. As far as we know, childhood cancer cannot be prevented. Diseases that were mostly eradicated but have seen a jump in recent years, however, can. And transferring these diseases to others who don't have a choice about getting the vaccine is unfair, in my opinion.

So, if the article is a call for more parents to come out as pro-vaccine, consider this my announcement. Read the facts, do a Google image search of kids with those diseases vaccines protect against (it's heartbreaking), and decide for yourself.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Surviving a cold with a toddler

It was inevitable. I was getting sleepy at work, the tickle in my throat was getting more annoying and what I thought were allergies were getting stronger. None of this clicked until the head congestion set in halfway through my last day of work for the week and I realized I was getting sick.

Ugh, one of the worst annoyances to a mom. The common cold. On top of being annoying to deal with, deal with a cold has to be one of the biggest triggers of Mom Guilt. And I have to keep reminding myself to take time for me. But, tell that to any mom and she'll nod graciously, but secretly think, "Yeah, OK, like that every happens."

So, I prepared. I got my liquids, my Tylenol Cold and Sinus and my tissues set up in the living room and L. got to watch as much TV as she wanted while I sat like a zombie, pretty much doing the bare minimum of making sure she didn't hurt herself or get into trouble. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why I like my smartphone

When I gave birth to L., I had a pre-smartphone. Not like the ones out there today. It made calls, sent texts and photos, but to get on the internet, I had to literally go to the browser and type in my destination, like Facebook or my email. From there, I would have to login or, sometimes if the phone was feeling particularly generous, it would remember me, though it rarely did.

I was comfortable with the phone and the basic touch screen. The keyboard slid out and had actual buttons, which I loved. I uploaded photos of L. to Facebook if I had time but, mostly, used the digital camera to take the majority of photos of her for social media.

Then I got an iPhone. And, I am not exaggerating when I say my life was changed. And even today, there is a feeling of nakedness when I go anywhere without my phone.

First day of hockey season and, since L. couldn't be
there with us, I used my phone to make sure
her New York Rangers pajamas were seen.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tantrum Level Midnight

I read in "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" that the peak for tantrums is actually 18 months. By the time I had finally gotten around to reading the book, L. was about 22 months. I heaved a sigh of relief and tore through the book as quickly as I could. After learning how to spot a tantrum before it begins (warning signs are the key, by the way), either her tantrums have gone down on their own because she could communicate more or I'm just that good.

(Note: Pat yourselves on the back every so often. It feels good. And you deserve it.)

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ugh, technical stuff.

Not sure why there's such a large gap between the titles of my posts and the posts themselves. Sorry for the awkward looking blog, folks. I'll try to Google my way out of this pickle, but I make no guarantees.

Parkercise: How I finally lost the baby weight!

* In no way am I a medical expert. The closest I've come is taking a few anatomy classes and being a sports and leisure management major for a year in college. 

It's official. I am down the 20 pounds I set my goal for! You know what's sad? I'm not as enthusiastic as I thought I'd be. Isn't that always the way? I guess because you lose weight so slowly, you don't notice. I notice in pictures of myself. I notice in my clothes. But, I don't know, I just don't FEEL 20 pounds lighter.

But you, dear readers, don't care about that, right? You want to know HOW I did it.

If you're like me, you see a post on losing 20 pounds in a certain amount of time. Mine happened to be in 8 weeks, practically. From your perspective, eight weeks doesn't seem that long. It's eight. It's not 10, which is a really long time, apparently. And, for the first two weeks or so, it'll seem like a cinch to reach eight weeks.

But it's hard. It's frustrating. The initial weight loss is amazing and it goes so quickly. And starting anything new is always fun at first but, at least for me, my brain and body start saying, "OK, this was fun and all, but, um, when are we going back to doing things our way? As in, doing the absolute bare minimum every day. Seriously, we don't have the time or the energy for this anymore."

One of the biggest hurdles was finding the time. I love doing yoga, but on top of getting dressed for it, putting in the DVD and waiting for it to load, getting out the mat and accessories, there's also the shower afterward I have to account for. I have two hours before work now and, as much as I'd like to put in my 50-minute yoga DVD, I'm really looking at an hour and 15 minutes dedicated to working out. That's a lot of time, in my world. So, I had to figure out a way to be a mom and exercise.

I present to you Parkercise.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Celebrating small victories

I am a reluctant tosser. Despite the three garbage bags of clothes recently donated from the depths of my closets and drawers, I will not get rid of clothes I absolutely love and have served me well. I will repurpose them if I need to. But, if it's not stained, ripped or out of style, the fact that I can't fit into an article of clothing will not stop me from wearing it.

Meet one of the greatest tricks I learned in pregnancy:

The elastic-through-the-button-hole.

(Stretch marks blended, courtesy of an app on my phone. But, trust me, my tiger mom stripes are pink and prominent!)

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Avoiding hoarding by repurposing

I have had this green sweater since middle school. Since my mom took me back-to-school shopping at Bob's Stores before eighth grade. Yes, this sweater is 17 years old. Of course it's stretched, it's unflattering beyond belief, but it's comfortable.

But, in my effort to declutter, I realized I had to say goodbye. I hadn't even worn it around the house in years, despite it's comfort. It's just so stretched out and misshapen, I don't even feel good in it.

It was too tough to say goodbye to it. So I decided to figure out a way to repurpose it. And, that said, I present to you the sweater and what it has become.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Less is more: Cleaning out my closet

I'm currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. One of her tasks was a major wardrobe downsizing. Between her and (the love of my life) Tsh of SimpleMom, I had heard the phrase "You only wear 20 percent of your clothes 80 percent of the time."

Considering how my laundry was piling up, I could have probably just gotten rid of anything that wasn't in the laundry basket, since I seem to always look in my closet and have "nothing to wear." But I still decided to take L.'s nap time to reorganize the disaster closet. 

The "nothing to wear" closet.