Thursday, December 8, 2011

Top 10 Gifts for Parents of Teething Babies

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but not for parents of teething babes. Can you imagine what it must be like to have multiple sharp objects penetrating the surface of your gums? I mean, I get a canker sore and I’m bitching – I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a mountain range popping up in your mouth.  Unfortunately, a pained infant equals distraught parents who frantically seek to tame their screaming little monsters. It’s really not a fun time for anyone.

If you know any parents of teething babies, below are a few gifts ideas that will go the distance:

1. Sophie. This dog-toy turned baby teether phenomenon, Sophie the Giraffe is a phenomenal toy to tame even the fussiest of babies. She squeaks, gleeks and pacifies babes everywhere. And she’s cute.

2. Whiskey. While an age-old remedy, whiskey can also be good for parents of teething babes. Buy them a nice bottle so they can enjoy several glasses before bed to ensure a restful sleep.

3. Cool cubes. Ice is good for aching gums – and also for whiskey on the rocks. These stylish ice cubes can entertain the sorest mouth and add a little fun to a much needed drink. 

4. iTunes gift card. For when they can’t take it any longer, give wearisome parents an iTunes gift card to rock out to a new album like Feist or Florence. Let them turn up the tunes and drown out the noise.

5. A year supply of aspirin. Babies teethe for a LONG ass time. To help reduce the pain of parents and babies alike, a year’s supply of aspirin is just what the doctor ordered.

6. A weekend getaway. Be a good friend and HOOK IT UP. Treat tired parents to a weekend getaway in a nearby big city or weekend hiatus in a tranquil B&B. Check out Bloomspot Travel for great deals.

7. Biscuits. Who doesn’t love a good soggy biscuit? Dogs love them. And the British. 

8. Massage. Just because the babies are in pain doesn’t mean parents should also suffer. Help relieve stress and anxiety with a deep tissue or hot massage. Groupon and YouSwoop seem to have regular deals on good massages – snag one of those up for a friend.

9. Cool towel set. When babies teethe, they drool--a lot. This drool can wreak as much havoc on a business suit or blouse as spit up. Equipping parents with a cool burp cloth set or equally cool and effect dish towel set can help them to protect their best garb stain free.

10. A free night of babysitting. Don’t have the resources to give them a trip away, but want to offer them some freedom from the wailing? Offering five hours of your time so they can do some shopping, see a movie or just get out of the house will likely mean more than anything you can buy them.

HERE’s to some sleep this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Time Out - Cosmo Country

The Country Music Awards (CMAs) are an annual event in our household. They present an opportunity to celebrate our rural roots and enjoy some of life's finer - and simpler - pleasures.

Now, I realize that the combination of the words "country" and "music" likely make many of your hairs stand on end, but I believe this is a culturally Pavlovian response.  If you like the 'Biebs (J. Bieber) and "hate" country or "listen to everything but country," give it five minutes - replace any of his references to girls with "beer" or "trucks" and the tracks are interchangeable. It's like Katie Couric and headaches - country and music just go together.

In our home, there's a defined decorum for celebrating this time-honored tradition. And as with many holidays, this is centered around the fare. While not a huge country music fan, the huz looks forward to the CMAs each year because of the food - and such refined fare it is! (shameless plug - for a variety of amazing fare options, check out the huz's site.)

down home delights
This year's menu included the following:

Country fried steak
Collard greens
Mashed 'taters

And this year's beverage of choice? Busch Light

E's bromance with ZB
With the baby asleep, mom and dad were ready to rock. We had previously selected our favorites and placed bets on who would win the most categories. With gravy and beer a'flowin', we squinted from the glare of Carrie Underwood's legs, shook our heads at Brad Paisley's terrible jokes and watched performances of some of our favorite songs of the year. We wished Eric Church would have sang Smoke a Little Smoke, that we would have seen a little less of Thompson Square *what is that song about anyway* and that Keith Urban would have karate chopped Taylor when she guffawed and sapped over winning entertainer of the year, but it was a great night and an even better way for mom and dad to have some fun at home.

Monday, November 7, 2011

FUPA Busters - The Kid Crunch

I know you all know what a fupa is. If you don't know, I'll give you a few hints. It's not what the girls in middle school sang to me from the back of the bus when it was my "it" week. That was "Andi's Got Big Buns" (to the tune of "Janie's Got a Gun"). It's not why my brothers called me "Andrea the Giant" when we played King of the Dock. In fact, my fupa is about 5" north of my "thunder thighs" - (how's that for a three-sentence overview of my hellish teen body image issues!?).

No, a fupa is an inverted muffin top, a 12-pack too many, a party in the panties.

It's also... the bane of my existence. It's the result of 10-months of feeding and nurturing this beautiful growing baby that makes me smile 1439 minutes of the day. It's the marsupial version of myself. Mom, a FUPA is Fat, Unforgiving Post-prego Andi.

(It's okay, if you still don't know, go ahead and check out the Urban Dictionary definition of it.)

However, like most working moms, I'm still trying to figure out how in the hell I can get everything done to feed, dress and keep the baby happy while still loving the huz, being responsive to clients, employees and my boss--and not looking like the Bride of Chucky throughout the process.

Basically, I have zero time to myself. And if I do, I'd rather spend it zen'ed out in the tub with an awesome malbec or cuddled up in bed trying to pick up where I'd left off in the book I'd dropped by my bedside six months ago. Yes, that would be more appealing than sweating profusely over an elliptical machine while watching "Growing Pains" reruns. Even though Kirk Cameron's hair used to be SO hawt. 

But I found a solution. It's the kid crunch. Want to spend time with your kid AND exercise? Set that little beautiful babe on your stomach, curl your legs up and crunch. To the tune of touch your elbow to the opposite knee bicycle crunch - drop the knees and neck down to the ground, then up with the baby, twist and crunch. Try three to four sets of 20 and that should do the trick (particularly if you have a 21 lb. six-month-old). The baby giggles, you giggle, bye bye fupa!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Boo Ya - Bronze Medal


Booyiddy. I'm celebrating my "bronze" medal in BF'ng sweet baby Q today. If you haven't done it, hooking yourself up to a machine to be milked several times a day isn't the most glorious experience in the world, but it's worth it. I started the day with sweet congrats from the huz and a bottle of wine and the sweetest note from a friend that helped put it all into perspective. Nope, it's not fun, I never imagined myself doing it, but whenever you have a goal and reach it, it feels absolutely AWESOME.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Jobs

Dear Q,

I’ve been gone for two days and it seems like two years.

I remember back in the day when traveling for work offered a sense of satisfaction – an affirmation of some sort that I was doing what I am supposed to be doing and was on the right path. In my 20s, I would pack minutes before leaving for the airport, shoving everything into my bag before sliding into my seat under the glares of fellow passengers just minutes before departure. Once situated, I’d pop in my earphones and turn on my barely charged first generation iPod, pull out Wired or some other weird magazine and order a glass or three of wine. Upon arriving, I’d excitedly deplane and take a deep breath to take in whatever new experience awaited. My favorite place was the hotel bar – or any place with people, really. I loved meeting new people and hearing about their ventures. It didn’t matter if it was New Orleans, Vegas or Chicago, I’d revel in the fact that I was going and exploring new things, seeing and experiencing – and it was my job.

Now, leaving for just an overnight trip to Toronto takes intense research and planning. Your dad and I spend entire dinner conversations figuring out how to pack the pump to limit the items I need to lug through the airport. I no longer haphazardly pick where I’ll stay, but intensely research the best option that will not only offer the closest proximity to wherever I’ll be spending most of the day so I can run back and pump, but making sure that they offer a fridge so I can keep the milk cold. During the day, I see your face every time I open my computer, I think about you and your dad every second I’m not engaged in conversation or focused on a task. If possible, I try to catch you and dad for a quick Skype before heading out to a client dinner. The minute the bill is paid, the only thing I can think about checking in to make sure you went to sleep without any problem. Now, I have an even more important job.

Today, as I was heading back from an agency meeting in Arizona, I stepped out of the restroom stall with two bottles in my hands, complete with the nipple shields still screwed on tight. I looked up to see a very pregnant woman entering the restroom, dressed in a suit and on her phone. She looked at me and laughed. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done that very thing. Amazing what you’ll do for your baby, isn’t it?” she asked rhetorically before returning to her conversation. I slowly poured the bottles into plastic bags, feeling much better about potentially exposing your food to unsanitary conditions. It gave me comfort knowing that she too had missed her little baby at night. She’s wondered if she’s missing her baby roll over for the first time or say “da da.” She’s probably dreaded the thought of having some random TSA officer pulling out her milk and handling the bags for testing. She’s definitely worried that she didn’t put enough ice packs in the cooler to keep the milk cold for the four hour flight home.

I don’t like leaving you, Q. In fact, I hate it. But I have to work and when I travel, it still gives me that same rush. I love landing and seeing the mountains or smelling the salt of the ocean in the air. I love knowing that my work gives me an opportunity to make a difference. In fact, one of my action items from the meeting is to research opportunities to help build a school in India, Africa or another developing country. Granted, my work isn’t always so altruistic, but the bottom line is that it’s my job. Just like being your mom is my job. And sweet baby, you can bet that just like that lady in the restroom today, I will do whatever it takes to be the best at that job that I can be.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Da Huz

I just have to give a shout out to the huz. He's sexy. And he cooks. That's right up there with being married to Jude Law if you ask me. Anyway, he blogs about his cooking and you should check it out. He's also blogged about some of the stuff he made for the wee one. That's right, he's sexy, he cooks and he makes stuff. With his hands. Anyway, check him out, but hands off, mamas! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Secret

Remember that book, The Secret, that had everyone talking a few years ago? The book that promised to offer keen insight into wealth, love and eternal happiness? The book that after reading you felt like punching someone because you realized the secret was that The Secret was a giant ball of baloney bullshit?

Yeah, well I've got a secret about the whole child-birthing experience.

You're in the delivery room, body strapped to the birthing bed like a psych patient gone AWOL. After those 10lbs of screaming joy drops from your poontak, the nurse and/or doctor asks you, "On a scale of one to 10, how would you describe your pain?"

Clearly this broad has no kids. Or she's deaf. Or she's just a big f*cking idiot. Did you not just hear me scream this child out of me, lady? I know people in RUSSIA could have heard my bellowing if they listened closely enough - you think that shredding felt GOOD?

Throughout my stay, she and her hoard of cohorts check in asking me to identify my pain. One would think that my response would dictate the amount of pain meds I was offered, but nada. After repeatedly advising that my pain is a "10" and being handed an effing Motrin, I realize it's a rhetorical question.

Today I came across this image, courtesy of The Blogess (who is heeelarious, if you get a minute) who was blogging for her day gig. It pretty much surmised my whole pregnancy experience - giving me awful flashbacks to the ladies in blue handing me those little LAME blue pills.

The top half of the chart is post labor.

The bottom half is post post post labor.

See, people tell you that post baby sex is non-existent, boring and pretty much just like getting in the car with a bad cab driver - you watch out the window and pray for the ride to end.

But the SECRET is pretty much the opposite. It's pretty much like the chart to the right. I wonder how many times you have to do it for your vagina to fall off? Do you think if I told those nurses I was a 10 on the sex chart and that my poontak just fell off that they'd actually have given me some good drugs?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I'm Addicted...

To Pinterest. We are hoping to move into a new house next year, and I can't stop thinking about what it's going to look like. But we're supposed to be saving money, and I can't stop looking at these gorgeous outfits. And these fantastic baby things. And thinking about all the fun parties I want to throw. For which I'll need to create all this fun stationery.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Booby Bar

It's been a heck of a three months, but she's here and we're rocking it. Posting was in my head  non-existent, but it's pretty much because she's already studying for her SATs and I had to assist.

So I changed the subhead of the blog title from "Pre-Sleepless Nights" to something that better depicts my current cycle of interests - shit, sleeplessness and wine. ;) I really don't have time to do fun stuff these days, but I still look and try to think about what I would do if I had 40 more hours in my week.

On a not so distant sleepless evening, following a missed flight and unexpected evening in a musty smelling hotel room in Boise, I had an idea. Why aren't there booby bars around? Not the type where women show their boobs, but the type where boobs are actually used and engaged for their original purpose and design. A sophisticated place where ladies feel comfortable being WOMEN and feeding their child in public. The double standard regarding breastfeeding just baffles me - routine studies show its benefit, yet there's such a taboo around it. Hell, even Barbara Walters admits that it makes her skin crinkle even more to sit beside someone breastfeeding.

So if you don't want to look at my boobs, and I don't want you looking at my boobs, why aren't there places we can celebrate this ability without the stigma? Studies earlier this year revealed that breastfeeding for the first six months of life could save millions of dollars and up to 1,000 lives. Apparently the new healthcare bill has requirements mandating employers provide breastfeeding employees with a sanitary space to pump or feed their babies.

Quit making moms feel like Hester Prynne. We're doing something that's good. So if you're ever out shopping and see a Booby Bar at your local mall, stop in and say hello. We're long overdue for something like this.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hormonal Rage: Stupid TV, Stupid Reporters, Stupid Sensationalism BOYCOTT

Despite my resistance, I can feel it happening. It's as innate as the whole "nesting" phenomenon (another blog entry). It's every stereotype of the old woman chasing the kids from her yard with a broom, the cantankerous geezer complaining about his phone bill, the raucous teenager smoking cigs in the bathroom at school, all rolled into one. I am becoming that woman. That hormonal mother hen, that PTA-lovin, soccer mom, fist pumpin cliche. But it makes me mad and it stresses me out, so what all this means is that I'm boycotting network news.

Last Friday, after boogying down to Dance Friday (starts at 6:55 a.m. on NBC Chicago if you haven't seen it - a MUST), Matt Lauer filled my television to tell me about how everyone is outraged about the U.S. intervention in Libya because they haven't heard the president's plan for the mission. (Fair enough, I guess, because we all knew that when Bush sent planes into Iraq, the objective was ousting Sadam to protect our oil supplies, not pull those WMDs as he'd suggested). Then Lauer went on to Japan, highlighting how there MIGHT be an imminent meltdown in reactor #3. MIGHT BE. 

Hey Matt, where did you go to journalism school? MIGHT BE a meltdown? Well, tomorrow, someone MIGHT BE trying to blow up a prominent U.S. landmark. Tomorrow, I MIGHT BE getting a giant banana split from DQ. Only in the weather forecast is "MIGHT BE" acceptable. Try reporting the news - what has actually HAPPENED. Quit freaking me out. I have enough to worry about bringing this little face into the world rather than you contributing supposition to the mix. You know Matt Lauer... tomorrow I MIGHT BE turning on the radio instead. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ruffles and Flowers and Skirting!

This was the inspiration. Gorgeous and feminine, it was almost like you could just scratch that bed skirt and smell the spring. But like everything toward which I seemingly gravitate, it was absolutely exorbitantly priced at a mere $585 for the set. And I would have a hard time selling the hubs on a skirt that cost more than the actual crib. So I was left to alternative means. Namely, using that wonderful sewing machine he'd purchased for me last Christmas.

Common, nesting Nelly, let's see whatcha got.

We scoured Chicago for appropriate fabric. The man was a trooper... he probably knows the inside of Hancock Fabrics better than any other straight guy in the city. I had visions of this print in my head and probably have no less than 50 shots in my camera of "potential" designs. But it wasn't it.

Then we went to Columbus. And he saw it. "What about this?" he asked.

It was it. He'd found THE fabric. And for under $10/yd. Six yards of fabric, a road trip back to Chicago and one weekend later, we have BG's bed skirt COMPLETE! I love it because it's a little more whimsy than the Bella Notte print, has some serious hot pink splashes that we'll be able to play with, and best of all, was selected by her daddy! She could use a little ironing and light to do it justice, but for a first effort, we're psyched!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Gibran on Children

My little brother selected a Gibran poem as a reading during our wedding and I just loved it. I think it's only appropriate to share his wisdom on children here.

On Children 
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Rug Envy

I really, really, really want this rug for the nursery... I just can't tell mom that it's more than the cost of BGs crib, car seat, stroller and wardrobe combined. The first item for her dowery, right? Damn you Anthropologie.

Ideas for a more cost effective alternative, anyone?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Designers Don't Do Bellies

The scene: Interior Design Show 2011
The location: Toronto, ON

When I read the article in the Toronto Star billing the opening night party as the "hottest" event in Toronto, I knew I was in trouble. Granted it was on a trade show floor in the middle of the city's financial district; sure, it was Thursday and no truly "hot" event takes place on a Thursday; and did I mention it took place on a trade show floor? Anyway, I knew I was in for an interesting evening before I even stepped into the hall.

It'd already been a long day by the time we arrived - around 8 p.m. I'd taken a 7:30 a.m. flight that morning, traveled out to a job site and karate chopped through a dozed emails, so needless to say when I began sipping that cran & 7, I could have easily sucked down a bottle of vodka.

At the base of the escalator, a line wrapped around the 1st level floor, closely resembling nightmarish scenes from the airport during the holidays. Except the people in this queue were donned in crisp Italian shirts, thigh-high boots and mini skirts rather than bulky winter wear.

"Oh my GOD!" said a guy in a striped pink and purple shirt to his scantily clad female counterpart. "Can you even BELIEVE Marco wore that vest again this year?"

We managed to circumvent any further painful conversations in the line and found an alternative entrance into the techno-pumping party. Passing countless flutes of champagne, stations serving raw oysters and more thick-framed eye glasses than I could count, we finally made our way to the booth. The fancy booth that one second place for superior design. At the trade show. Don't forget, it is a TRADE SHOW.

The minute I shed my protective garb, it began. I could just hear Tim Gund shouting "designers" in the back of my head as I watched the eyes start at eye level and work their way down. When their eyes once again met mine, it wasn't the warm, generous smile you normally receive from strangers, but more of a faint wince. Some might as well have been shouting "breeder!" Others clearly disappointed by my comfortable shoe selection for the evening, and a fist punch to the few random mothers who gave that reassuring nod as they passed.

Remember you pretentious a*holes, you're at a TRADE SHOW. Anyway, the evening passed quickly and I was fortunate enough to only have to spend a few hours the next day on my feet at the show. I love my clients, I love Toronto and it was LAST work trip (via airplane) so all in all, it was a great experience. Plus, I found a new lamp for BG's room! :) HA!

Friday, January 21, 2011

He Tried to Give Me a MINIVAN.

There's something about that aura women get when they're pregnant. That radiant, healthy glow that follows them around, disguising the fact that they haven't been able to sleep for days, their backs feel like they could give out at any time and that the only place they really feel like hanging out at is an Old Town Buffet.

That being said, Tuesday morning was a fiasco. A business meeting in Cincinnati required an early start to the day, shoving myself and child into a skirt suit that made us both fight for breath - quite a departure from the relaxing jeans we're accustomed to sporting. That, coupled with an early morning flight and a pair of panty hose from hell, and we're off to the motherland.

Upon arriving in Port Columbus, we made our way over to the car rental place. Rentals were strangely hard to come by on this random Tuesday in January, so I'd secured an SUV--the only decent available option. The attendant calls next and I give him my name to retrieve the reservation. He types in the information and looks back at me.

"We have a mini van available, ma'am."

A MINI VAN. Oh HELL no he DIDN'T just ask me if I wanted a mini van. Mister, I'm six months pregnant. Do you see any snot-nosed brats running around me yet? Is there spit up anywhere on my suit? Even bags under my eyes? I don't think so.

It took every bit of phat girl restraint inside me not to go off on this poor, naive little guy. He didn't know any better. He didn't realize his words were like shotgun bullets coming at me in several pieces from one direction. Obviously not a father, obviously not thinking, let it go, phat girl, let it go.

"I just can't do that yet, sir."

He laughed. I breathed. He pushed some more buttons.

"Would a Lincoln work better for you?"

"Yes. Yes, it does."

Sunday, January 16, 2011

We've Gotta Get WHAT?

They sit you down at the nice desk with a cute little old lady who you're convinced will be handing over cookies before too long. She asks you the normal questions and gets almost teary when she starts talking about the "gift" you've been given and what an exciting time it is in your lives. She obviously has blocked out the memories of sleepless nights, incessant heartburn and persistent nausea. We smile and nod politely.

The Hubs asks for a beer. I want the gun. Let's get this party started, hunny.

Excited to begin the quest and start giving form to our new life, we make our way to the stroller and car seat section. With price tags ranging from $400 to $1k on the three and four-wheeled varieties, visions of those romantic dinners out and impromptu 3-day trips become increasingly faint, kind of like Michael J. Fox's family in the picture he references throughout Back to the Future.

Our "personal shopper" joins us with another expecting couple who seem to be as clueless as us. Face filled with holes from random piercings around his lips, nose and ears, he begins telling us what we'll "need." This includes THREE different car seats by the time the kid is 8. THREE. However, the hubs astutely discerned that we'll be able to skip one of these units if we can get BG (baby girl) to 20 lbs by the time she's one - so of course we're on a course to fatten her like fois gras before she's even born.

Then there are the strollers. You can get "jogging" strollers and "snap and goes," upright Stokke strollers and the lesser recommended Graco strollers. Regardless, he advises getting two of these bad boys too - one for the car, one for city cruising. We're stuck in this section for two hours before we can even progress to the next section. I start feeling nauseous. The hubs really wants a beer.

Then there's the baby entertainment centers. Shocking they don't come equipped with wide screen plasmas at this point, but these are undoubtedly right around the corner. This little pod will likely send your kid to outer space if you put enough quarters in it.

So we made it. We ingested enough information to require a three-hour nap at the end of the trip, and we may have emerged with a mere five items on our registry after four hours in the store, but we made it. We made it right to the restaurant down the street where the hubs shed a few tears in his beer and we consumed every bite of the most expensive items on the menu. With dessert.

Monday, January 3, 2011

I am not a kernel of corn and I will not POP.

There are so many funny, wonderful and random things that happen when you're pregnant. Then there are so many people you come across that you want to punch in the face. I seem to be gravitating toward many of the latter, so I figure that if I don't document these lovely encounters, I'll forget all about them and the journey that brought us to this wonderful little face that we'll be seeing for the first time in April. This is also for the wonderful woman who yesterday advised that the women who go on and on about how they were just "meant" to be pregnant and how their bodies feel so complete now that they have a baby growing inside them are full of shit. I'm not saying it's not a wonderful experience, I feel very blessed because I know the little one is going to be rad, but it doesn't replace the fact that I feel like I'm auditioning for "Alien."

That being said, I'll start this blog with a vent. This vent is directed to the three people who, in the past two weeks, have made the comment that I look like I'm going to "pop."

First things first, people. Each of you proceeded this comment with an inquiry as to my due date. I told you I am due in April - which means I HAVE FOUR MONTHS of looking this way. In fact, chances are pretty darn good that I'll be getting even bigger! I'll be registering about 9 on the "pop-ter" scale around late March - just watch out.

Second, when I "have" the baby, in no way can or will it be qualified as "popping." Enough said.

Third, let me be the first to tell you that it looks just how it feels. You think my belly is "popping," just imagine how my back feels, jerks.