Tuesday, December 28, 2010

the past month

I have been loving living my life.

Things got kinda crazy there, with planning Oliver's birthday party, and then BAM, HI Thanksgiving a week later! But, you guys. I am freakin' HAPPY.

So, since I last posted:
  • the weekend after the big leap he came down with his first ear infection - but it didn't affect his demeanor one bit!
  • 
    Please focus on the sweet grinning baby boy and not
    my inappropriate dog in the background.
  • I turned 31 years old. Bought new pants.
  • Nick broke his toe - but it healed up just in time for "the" birthday party.
  • Oliver got a bunch of awesome toys for his birthday - including his "first" (read: ONLY) 4-wheeler! More party pictures coming - but how could I not post this face?
  • Winter came to Cleveland. December 1st it started snowing like hell. News people predicted Snowmageddon! In reality it wasn't that bad... but maybe I'm just a little tougher than the whiny pants?

  • We attended two company holiday parties in the same weekend... mine on Friday night, Nick's on Saturday. And on that Saturday night, another girl and I were wearing the same dress. It was totally a sitcom-moment, where I berate people for not telling me quickly enough that *of course* I looked better in it! And I did... see?
  • I did all my Christmas shopping on Amazon. It was the shit.
  • We got his pictures taken for his birthday and Christmas all in the same session. Here are the birthday ones... I'm holding on to the Christmas ones until I get to the official birthday recap. Nyah nah.
  • He started walking, kinda, but yes really taking real steps. About a week before Christmas. He gets so stinkin proud of himself when he does it too.
OK, that's all I'm posting for now. I just wanted to put these awesome pictures out there, and give a little update. But, I've got nothing to bitch about so this post is short & sweet. My husband is awesome, my kid is awesome, I'm busy being happy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

fail: a short story.


I was all proud of myself, smug even, that Oliver had never flipped himself off of the changing table. I even figured out ahead of time, before disaster struck, that the lap belt that comes with the changing pad could not contain him anymore. All it would take was a flip, crawl forward and he'd be free to stand up! And fly off the table! Oh ho ho I am so brilliant to have noticed this and not let him put himself in danger!

Yeah.

So this morning. I put him in his highchair for some Cheerios. (Oh, by the way, have you had the chocolate Cheerios? They're awesome! A low fat snack!) I get his stuff together, my stuff together, and run it out to the car. While I'm in the garage, I hear him start wailing  and I run in.

He's sitting on the kitchen floor, crying. My best guess is that when I (thought I) buckled him in, I didn't "click" the one side all the way, and he wiggled himself out. And then up and jumped out!

So I sat on the floor with him, and we hugged and about 3 minutes later he's all calmed down and petting the dog (whacking her on the head). But she let him, sweet pup. I gave him a cold bottle, because after thrice checking him over, the only probably injury was a possible fat lip. That seemed to make him happy.

Drive to school, tell the teacher about my ginormous lack of paying attention this morning, cuddle him a little more, drive to work. Sigh.

And by the way? It was picture day, so of course he'll probably have a nice fat lip or something in the pictures. We'll see.

Friday, October 15, 2010

blog game extraordinaire

Yippee Skippy, I got tagged in two blog games!

Once by Cici, who is my homegirl. Go visit giggle giggle hiccup, you guys! Rules: answer the questions. Tag 5 people to answer 5 new questions.

Then by Mrs. B at messily ever after! Click it! You won't be disappointed! This one didn't have "rules" just answer questions and tag some more peoples. This works out beautifully for me, so I can just tag all the same poor saps.

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From Cici:

(1) If you could have a guy's mind for just a minute...what question or piece of understanding would you want to take away from the experience? What is it really like to walk around with something in the way all the time? Like, when I was pregnant, it felt like Oliver's head was getting in the way, making me walk funny. How do men walk with penises. Final answer.

(2) What was your favorite childhood place of travel? um, I guess Georgia, since we went there so many times (every summer) and my aunt/uncle/cousin lived in a development with a POOL! Whoa! Awesome!

(3) Can you pat your head and run your belly at the same time? (DO IT!) Yes I can.

(4) If your life had followed a different path from what it is right now what do you think you would be doing right now? Or perhaps, what do you wish you could have done perhaps in another lifetime? I'm going to take the easy answer here, but it's the truth. I really can't imagine my life, if it had been different, being any better than it is right now. I love my family, I am so lucky to be Oliver's mom. I mean, seriously.

(5) What is one goal that you've set for yourself to complete in the next year? Ugggggg I should have goals, shouldn't I? But I can't come up with anything that doesn't involve doing less than I do now. Ha!

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From Mrs. B:

1.As a child, what did you want to be when you "grew up?" Are you doing it now? I vividly remember telling my parents I wanted to be a bus driver. No, I am not a bus driver, but I do still think it would be cool. Those are some great hours...

2.What is your favorite, quick go-to recipe on a busy evening? Um, ok. Let's say I had to cook for some reason, like Nick is feeling sick. I would probably make brinner (breakfast for dinner). Pancakes, or even easier, waffles! Bacon & eggs. Quick & easy!

3.Do you burn candles in your home? If so, what is your favorite scent? I don't burn candles... but I used to. I actually have one of those Scentsy things now. My favorite scent usually falls into the fruit category... lemon is good, or a good clean laundry scent.

4.What was the best vacation you can remember? My honeymoon pretty much rocked. Vegas, baby!

5.If you have a wedding album, how often do you look at it? Where is it stored? Oooh I never finished (or started) on our wedding album. I have a stack of stuff with which to scrapbook our trip, but it never happened. Now I'm going to get in trouble. Thanks a lot.

6.What is the thing your treasure most about motherhood? Oliver has so many people who love him, which is so, so great. He's awesome, and funny and adorable, and the best thing about being is mom is that he's MINE. (of course, he's ours, honey...) He comes home with me, gives me bedtime hugs, smiles at me in the morning. He only has one mom, and it's ME. MINE.

7.What is your favorite day of the week and, why? Saturday, easy. 24 hours of hanging out with my guys, with no Sunday night blues.

8.Are you doing anything to be more "green" or earth-friendly? Er, uh, we recycle! We part-time cloth diaper!


***********************************************************************************

Alright, now here are my questions for my peoples, which are Jess, Christina, and Diana.

1. What are your top 5 all-time favorite movies? (Also, what's your favorite "guilty pleasure" movie that you could watch 100 times and never get tired of it even though everybody thinks it's silly?)

2. If you could go back and teach your former (younger) self one lesson, what would it be?

3. I just realized I picked three girl moms, so I'll ask... what situation or challenge have you come across where you thought "man, this would be different if I'd had a boy!"

4. What kind of camera do you have? (Do you love it? Want to throw it out the window?)

5. What do you usually do to celebrate your birthday? Do you have a favorite birthday memory?

6. Tell me something I didn't know about you/your family/your blog/whatever!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I live you

A simple typo, that wasn't changed by auto-correct.

I hit the "i" instead of the "o"...


but I like the meaning, just the same. It implies more than "I love you".

Not to say that "I love you" doesn't or shouldn't mean a lot...

But: when said 10 times a day, isn't it true that anything can lose a little of its meaning?

It's the feeling you intend to get across, and it's all you really need to say... when I tell Nick "I love you" I absolutely mean it from the bottom of my heart.

So I think next time "I live you" comes across I'm going to leave it.
Because it's true. I live him.


Friday, October 8, 2010

bye bye breastpump

In June, we started supplementing my breastmilk with formula on a daily basis because we started making bigger bottles since he was chugging every drop we were sending to daycare.

Here were my initial, irrational thoughts:
  • what if he thinks it tastes funny
  • what if he gets constipated
  • what if this makes my supply tank
  • I thought there'd be more bullet points here
Here are the thoughts I had a few minutes later:
  • at some point, everyone goes through this
  • which not only means I'm not alone
  • we made it over 6 months!
  • how funny can it really taste?
  • the kid could probably use some variety
  • it's just formula. there are worse things that could happen to him...
  • like he could be hungry!
What all this means is that I didn't my mind feeling guilty at the end of a workday when I came up short.

And he's fine. OMG NO WAY. And I'm OK with it too, because I have to be and why not?

****************************************************************************************

Now that he's almost one and hasn't breastfed in about two weeks?
  • He's still sleeping through the night - seriously, this kid is an awesome sleeper. I know it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that he's not nursing anymore, but his sleeping habits didn't change as he weaned, so we got that going for us, which is nice.
  • Solids have been a fun adventure! More posts on food to come, I promise!
  • I can drink a cup of coffee at 5 pm without repercussions
  • Bye bye, breastpump!
  • Hello, wine!
  • He's still such a playful, happy guy
  • I definitely still have my moments where I get all sad about it and miss that "special time" we used to have together, but I think about it less often than I thought I would.

Like I said before, I never really planned on full time nursing, it was just something I figured I'd try. But I loved it, and wouldn't trade that time we had for anything.

***************************************************************************************

So now, we look forward. My baby is becoming a little boy, and he's so sweet and smart and funny that I'm actually feeling myself letting go of the past and maybe even living in the moment!


Oliver "Squiggy" Panza
in his first highchair


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guest Post: The New Guy

t's only fitting that my first "guest post" come from my husband Nick! When I wrote about how the cable company changed my life and so many people commented about how they didn't think they could live without cable, my first reaction was "that's what we said!" I guess Nick had the same response, and felt so strongly about how the change has impacted our lives in a positive way, that he FINALLY agreed to let me post his thoughts here on the blog! *Please* leave a comment to make sure he feels the love!

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I've thought about doing this for a while now...

Hi. I'm Nick. I'm Ollie's dad. How's it going.

Sara has been doing this blog for a while now and has tried to get me to write on here a couple of times. I've never been a blog type dude, but I figured "What the hell?" I will warn you now. I tend to ramble from time to time. You are just going to have to deal with it.

Having said that, I challenge all of you. For one week, pick two or three shows that you watch often, and only watch them. Nothing else. I've learned over the past 8 or so months that we haven't had cable, that I was really missing a lot. Go outside and play with the dog. Plant a garden. Go for a walk. Play a video game with your kids and husband/wife. (Guitar Hero is lots o'fun, plus you don't have to listen to raffi or whatever for a few minutes.)

Just Ollie, Sara, and me, in our own little slice of reality. I think we both stopped and (insert cliche) smelled the roses. We just enjoy looking at the world through a whole new set of eyes. Now that Ollie is getting closer to the big 1, to watch him learn and experience all this stuff that's totally new to him is entertaining enough.

Plus, Time Warner Cable service sucked.

- Nick

Monday, September 27, 2010

how the cable company changed my life

We cancelled it. That's right, no cable TV.

We cancelled the cable because ever since we brought Oliver home we were spending time with him and we weren't watching the shows when they first aired anyway. Plus, I noticed that when I was home and had a little while to veg on the couch I'd rather watch an old movie that I'd already seen 10 times than try and find something new to entertain me every half hour, ya know?

fear & loathing in las vegas, yes?
So we were paying about $100 a month to DVR our few favorites. As far as surfing, that was becoming a luxury that we rarely had time for, so the TV just became absent minded clicking for semi-interesting background noise. $100 a month for DVR & noise that just distracted us for the best, pure joy entertainment possible, our son!


hugs!

So now, watching TV is special again. Aside from the whole Cleveland Sports Team Who Shall Not Be Named debacle that we have to drive elsewhere to watch, it's worked out really well. And imma go order one of those converter box thingys so we can get the local channels and solve that.

We bring the laptop to bed & watch our shows, (The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family & Parenthood) off the internet. On Friday nights (or some weeknights that have been particularly stressful days) we snuggle into bed with the computer and a snack and relax together. After the babe is tucked into bed we have an hour to ourselves to unwind. TV is special again because it's an occaisional event. We take care of our boy, and then take care of ourselves by laughing together & snuggling under the covers.

us, only younger


Friday, September 24, 2010

got issues?

Here are my issues: September, 2010.

1.   I'm Cranky. With a capital C. I don't know what my problem is lately I've been missing Oliver. I mean, duh, you all know that. I'm sure at least part of it is a normal working mom thing, but I miss him terribly.

my angel

I've gone through all the logical excuses: PMS? Probably. I think. I'm not on the pill & forgot how to keep track other than with pills. Breastfeeding hormone swing? Possibly... as with everything else boob-related, I'm sure there's a mood-swing phase I have to go through while weaning, and it's officially been 3 full days since the last time Oliver nursed. I haz a big, big sad over this, but I can't dwell on it, because I can't see that doing any good for anybody.

I feel like I missed this big window of when staying home would have been "necessary" or "for the best" and now am starting to just feel selfish over the whole thing.

2.   I think I may have a body image problem. About two years ago, if you had asked me what my ideal weight goal would be, I'd have said 135 pounds. That's the weight I thought I should be... if I weighed that, I'd feel good about myself. Right now, I weigh 133 pounds. Yet when I look in the mirror I don't see any difference. I mean, yeah, my clothes were FALLING OFF (seriously, I needed some new pants because I tripped over them so many times.) I now have two pairs that fit & are acceptable for work that are size 6. I'm not bragging, just saying, because I still don't see that version of myself I thought I would.

I'm thinking maybe I don't see it because I didn't work for it. I mean, after I delivered Oliver, the weight just came off, and kept coming off. I couldn't eat much at the end of my pregnancy, and for a while after I forgot both how to eat and to eat period (I know this is common.) So I guess with my new eating style and the "extra" 500 calories burned per day producing breastmilk I just slimmed down somehow. People comment all the time on how skinny I am, but I guess the problem is that (most of the time) I just don't feel attractive.

3. I'm having trouble being motivated for more than one thing at a time. I'm planning Oliver's birthday party, making sure I spend QT with Nick, tackling debt, blogging, keeping up on the house, but it's like one thing per day. If I spend time thinking about the party, then I feel like I'm not giving Nick enough time & attention. If I spend a Saturday with my guys, just soaking in the family, I feel like I should have carved out some time to clean or pay bills. And blogging ALWAYS feels like a guilty pleasure, no matter how supportive my awesome husband is.

Friday, September 3, 2010

in which the WIN outweighs the FAIL, but only barely

I've been thinking more and more (last week was a MAJOR SUCK and this week was only slightly better) about quitting work, seeing my guy all the time, and working to get the finances in order. I've been entirely too LAZY about paying the bills (they're getting paid - no worries) like: I pay the electric bill approximately once a month. Due date, shmoo date, really, because the electric company doesn't charge late fees and it gets paid often enough that it's not going to get shut off or something. The other day I took about an hour and set up auto-pay on some stuff. So hey! I got something accomplished! WIN

We are refinancing the house. We got a pretty good rate, signed the initail paperwork, paid the fee (stupid), and we're now the appraiser's coming Tuesday. *fingers crossed* I'm not too worried about the house appraising for enough, since all those home value estimate websites have reassured me. WIN

I want to trade in my car. We don't need 2 SUVs, and we definitely don't need a car payment that's almost $500 a month. I don't know what the fuck I was thinking. FAIL

At work today, I asked a caller "can I transfer you to his boyfriend? I mean, voicemail?" Oh, and I just called my friend's grandma a freak. Words: FAIL

In other non-name-calling news: I'm going to visit my BFF this weekend! Remember how I helped throw her baby shower a few months ago? Well, that baby boy is here, and we're road trippin' on down to sniff see that bundle of joy! Hooray for babies, friends and long weekends! WIN


The stupid fancy pants comments system on the blog has been all janky. I tried something new and shiny because I'm a geek and I was all oooh WIDGETS, and it failed. I'm trying to figure out how to uninstall the thing because now all the comments are missing and I'm just done. FAIL

But! I did add a couple pages up at the top and I think it's time for a new header soon. I moved all of my blog friends links to a separate page, Visit my Friends! so if you feel like surfin' start there! (OH! And while you're here, maybe vote for me on Picket Fence? kthxbai) I "designed" one of those buttons (hint: it's the FIRST one) and it was fun, so if anyone out there wants me to whip up something for you or if you'd like to see your link on that page, just let me know! WIN

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

baby transport: reviews

Here are all the different ways we've transported the baby boy around.

1: Peanut Shell sling 2: Moby wrap 3: Snugli carrier 4: Graco Alano stroller

1. The sling was the first carrier I bought, thinking it seemed easiest, being one piece with no buckles or tying involved. And at first, it was. Until he got to be more than like 10 pounds, then it was OUCH. My shoulder and back hurt within like 15 minutes. Now that he's almost 20 pounds, I can actually stick him in sideways sitting up and it's not so bad. I get a good hour before it starts to hurt. I throw this one in the diaper bag just to have on hand for situations where the stroller is not practical.

2. The Moby. Ahhh, the Moby. The internets are all abuzz with adoring fans of this wrap. I've read a couple blogs where the moms actually said it saved their sanity! A must have! So I got one.

Moby: Comfy, but also a PITA
For me, eh. Not so much. I mean, it's great when you get him in there, but it's a giant Pain In The Ass to tie. I thought I just needed practice, I mean, once I tied this thing up a few times it would get easier, right? Eh, I guess so. But it's just so MUCH fabric... like, you wrap it around your middle, cross in the back, and cross in the front and tie a knot. It makes this pouch for him to sit in, eventually. I do like it, it's really comfortable, but it's just not practical for my life. We used it to walk around the yard, but I can't imagine trying to do this in the grocery store parking lot, and when we're out and it's hot it seems like all the fabric makes us both sweatier than if I were to just carry him.

3. The Snugli carrier I got as a hand-me-down gift from my cousin. It's kind of intimidating with all the straps and buckles, but once you figure out what goes where (like, if you had the box or instructions or something) it's a cinch. This is the only one Nick will wear. We both like it, it's pretty easy to adjust from him to me, and it's pretty comfortable.

I think Ollie likes it, too.

In Case You Missed It or Didn't Click To Enlarge:
(lol)

OUTSIDE VOICE

4. Last but not least, the stroller. Pros: It handles easy, use with carseat, has diaperbag storage underneath, cupholders, reclines for when he's sleepy, sunshade with peek-a-boo window, baby snack tray (great for feeding on the go, cuz mall highchairs = ick). Cons: heavy, must have SUV because getting this thing out of a car trunk would be stupid, takes more than one hand to open & put kid in, I don't care what they say, not always practical (crowded areas, rough roads).

Really nice for when it's too hot out for "babywearing" or if you're going to be somewhere for a long time, or if you/your kid aren't into being all up in each other's grill. Or if you have to eat. Because seriously, Grabby McGrabberson will make you share your french fries if he's 5 inches from your face.

The NinjaPanza Verdict/Smackdown:

For summer: Stroller FTW

Other seasons: I'll use the Snugli & stroller for walks this fall, and probably buy a wagon for Halloween.
(Unless I win the lottery and can somehow afford an Ergo because those are dope.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I miss you, Papa (cancer sucks)

Cancer more than sucks. It is an evil thief that robs entire families.

It is SO hard for me to write about my Papa, so this won't be a long post. But hopefully, it will be meaningful. When I wrote about where I'm from, this is the young country couple I mentioned:

I could stare at this for hours. (My dad is the baby.)

He was the rock of our family. The man everyone gathered around. When he spoke, everyone listened.

I have so many favorite memories of this man. When I was little, my grandparents watched me & my brother all the time. We couldn't get enough of each other.

He made me feel so special to share our birthday month. We went to the fair. He bought me a real gold necklace for my 10th birthday. We went to the mall and ate at Arby's and people-watched. He took me back to school shopping and let me buy all the trendy stuff. (a denim shirt & a vest! hello 90s!) I spent all our holidays together sitting by his chair at his feet.

Christmas, 2004
He accepted Nick into the family and made him feel welcome. He made us laugh. We gathered to celebrate my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary.

60 years together. Amazing, right? Not if you knew them.

The weekend before my wedding in Las Vegas, he found out his cancer had moved into his bones. My grandparents couldn't fly out to be there that day, couldn't be that far away from his doctors. We did dance at the reception back home, though.

I am so grateful to have this picture.

He got very sick not long after that day. I can't believe it's been 2 and a half years that he's been gone. I held his hand as he took his last breath. I can see in my mind the pain on my Grandma's face when we realized he was gone, and how she bent to hold him one last time.

The hurt is still so fresh.

Papa's 80th birthday - November 30, 2007

It breaks my heart that he never got to meet my son, his great-grandson, because cancer took him too soon. It's hard, but I try to remember that they got to know each other for a whole year before Oliver was conceived. There was a time when they were both angels.

Monday, August 2, 2010

on the fence

in more ways than one.

#1
  • pumping at work may be coming to an end. I'm not getting very much any more... and it's hard to justify the time commitment. (just for me, not anything to do with other people at work)
  • also, pumping sucks. It's weird and not fun and I will be glad when I don't have to do it anymore. I'm pretty much just down to once a day now, at lunch.
  • that said, I'm not giving up nursing in the morning and at night. Don't have to, don't want to.
  • so, Oliver's 8 1/2 months old and I guess this is the start of weaning. I'm on the fence between ok with that and sad that my baby is growing up, which I am very much would be at any age.
  • looks like there's less of this in my near future


  • and more of this - which is OK because I love seeing my two best guys hanging out

#2
  • we've been talking a lot lately about finding a way for me to quit my job
  • I know lots of working moms think about this - but it's gotten to the point where, for me, there's almost no other option. You'd think that after 6+ months it would get a little easier to drop him off at daycare, but it hasn't for me. It just feels wrong.
  • I still tear up every single Monday morning.
  • so we're working on scaling back monthly payments as much as possible. We've cancelled the cable, consolidated some bills, and traded in the truck for a pretty Trailblazer with a lower payment
  • just a few more steps and we'll be there...
  • this is the (second) most exciting and scary thing I've ever planned on doing
  • I'm on the fence about whether to fully throw myself into being excited and planning for this - or being extremely cautious, not getting my hopes up because what if it doesn't work out?
  • what if we plan and plot and scrimp and save and we still can't afford it? what if I quit for a few years and then can't find a job when I need one again? what if I feel like I've missed out on something - am I giving up too much? I don't really consider my job a career, but at least it's a work history with no gaps...
  • what if I'm not as good at being home full time as I think I'll be? I don't have delusions of being able to keep a perfect house with zero dust and all that... but what if I still feel like something's missing
  • I can't imagine that, really... anything would be better than missing him all day long while coming to a workplace that I have to try so hard to get any enjoyment from
  • more like: what if I feel like I'm not living up to expectations (whose? mine?) what if I feel inadequate?
  • I need to get all of this doubt out of my head and just focus
  • who wouldn't want to spend all day with this guy?

#3
  • So. Now that I've unleashed the crazy (and my boob) on all of you
  • I bit the bullet and joined one of those blog ranking sites!
  • the more times you vote for me, the higher my link gets in the list.
  • which would (in theory) lead to my little corner of the internet being viewed by more people.
  • I used to have some regular readers from the Philippines, I wonder what happened to them?
  • anyway, Team NinjaPanza!
  • the site allows you to vote once per day - the button is to the right there, underneath my "followers"
  • click, please?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Baby's First Road Trip

About 3 hours south of Cleveland (which only took us 4 hours to make the trip!),
to my best friend's baby shower.

 I made that diaper cake! Isn't it sweet?

Ollie's 1/2 birthday was that Saturday, and the shower was on Sunday.
He had a ball, hanging with all da ladiez...


Friday, July 23, 2010

big time!

You guys. You may or may not have noticed.



I know. I am so big time.

So, I've updated my button, done a little rearranging (two righty-sidebars! yippee!) and I'm pretty sure I've updated the buttons up there to reflect the "new" feed. I know that Google redirects anyone that goes to the old .blogspot site here, but someday I may switch to Wordpress or something and blah blah bzzzzzzzzzzzt! 

It's new blog stuff! If anyone out there has me in their reader or bookmarked, I'd appreciate it if you'd update to the fancy Feedburner edition!

(Family: Email subscriptions stay the same!)

Also! There's a new way to comment... I'm trying out a new program that shouldn't require you to log in to anything - just enter your name and email address (which only I can see). So please leave a comment so we can test it out... this means you, California! And you, Ramirez!

OK. That is all.

Except for a few pics, which is what y'all come here for in the first place: