Am I the Only Germaphobe Mom?

Answer: Probably not. But I won’t get to know any of you other mommas because we’re all hiding from the flu, RSV, cancer, etc. in our Cold War fallout shelters in the basement.


I’m riding the antibiotic train right now. Not because I voluntarily want to leach it out into my son’s delicious breastmilk; because I’m sick and tired of being sick.

Oddly, I’m the only one in the house feeling like crap. Usually the toddler brings something home, and then my husband gets it and proceeds to die a slow death over and over and over. This time it’s just me. Or it’s the lingering after effects of a sick husband from a few weeks ago. I think it’s ok to blame him. I do that a lot.

I finally sought out an IRL doctor’s advice as opposed to only consulting Dr. Google. He told me I could wait out the sore throat and hacking cough and if I was lucky it might not turn into bronchitis. But because I’m not getting much sleep (thanks 2-month old!) and I’m wrangling two kids during the day, he said he’d prescribe me some medication if I desired.


Rather than stick to my granola-inspired, med-free nursing mantra, I caved. After a week of feeling like total crap, and the week prior feeling like kind-of crap, I knew I needed to med up before I broke down completely.

Not 24 hours after scarfing down a pink horse pill, I felt a million time better. Now my healing body is trying to convince me to lug my children to playdates and story times and the gym in the middle of flu season. “Get out of the house! You feel amazing! Do it or your brain is going to turn to mush, you shut-in!”

Must. Resist. The little will be 3 months old in just a couple of weeks. After that we can all dance the germ tango. Not quite yet; we’ve got to play the germaphobe card a bit longer. I just wish it’d snow. Then people would stop making fun of me for locking the family away.


The Weekend Before Christmas


Dun dun duuuuun! I should’ve titled this, “What the “F” it’s Almost Christmas Already?

My newborn momma brain is on full breakdown mode right now. I know there’s a better term for that, but I’m drawing a blank, which has been pretty much the motto of my life as of late.

I left carrots boiling on the stove for 4 hours last night. Yeah. Imagine my face as I realize what I had done as we were driving home from the craft store last night. I was sure the house had gone up in flames and the cats were burned into sad little balls of ash.


And then I walk into my son’s doctor’s office a half an hour late this morning, causing me to have to wait another hour to get his vaccines administered. I basically screwed my husband out of a morning of work since he had to watch our other son.

My niece’s birthday gift should have been on its way to Tennessee by now, but it isn’t even in a proper shipping container yet, so I screwed that up too. Crap, half of my husband’s and son’s gifts haven’t even arrived here yet, so you know, things are about to get REAL.

This post isn’t supposed to be a diatribe as to why I’m failing at life right now (even though it’s turning out that way). It’s to serve as a reminder to get some particular sh*t done:

  1. Make cookies & truffles. Truffles with failed, but crispy and delicious snickerdoodle pieces inside.
  2. Wrap and send cookies and birthday presents. Pray they arrive before they go stale.
  3. Try and cook a perfect fluffy omelet via America’s Test Kitchen. Because why not make my life more complicated?
  4. Put up the rest of the Christmas lights. They won’t be coming down till March, so why not arrive to the party a little late?
  5. There’s another one, but I can’t remember.

Come to think of it, I probably shouldn’t be blogging. There’s way to much to do.


Cone of Silence, Please

As far as I can tell thus far, surviving two kids under two is all about coordination. It’s a constant juggling act. Making sure they’re both alive is the first task. Making sure they’re happy is the second. The third: making sure you and your partner happy.

tumblr_nnbv6gysan1urf1kao1_500The thing is, don’t count on achieving all three things, especially #3. Because your toddler is probably just about to enter the crazy-spastic-wildebeest stage and will likely get more uncontrollable as time progresses.

What would make this momma happy is to get the newborn on a schedule. Help the poor little guy get in one damn uninterrupted nap a day. But the crazy-spastic-wildebeest toddler does not understand what volume is, and let’s be honest, if he did, he’d probably scream at the top of his lungs nonstop.

Open floor plans are beautiful and fancy. I love the flow, the ability to see my brood in almost every room – but thanks to it’s hip design, silencing said wildebeest is 100% impossible.


My husband and I joke that we’d pay a gajillion for someone to invent a cone of silence that would protect our poor little one from the high-pitched squeals of the wildebeest.

Since none of you have manned-up and invented such a device we are constantly on whisper alert, trying to muffle sounds of cats, bigger children, and a klutzy husband.

Sigh. I think silence is a luxury we will not be able to afford for a few years.


Another Fad Hobby?

Just in time for Christmas! I’m addicted to baking. And cooking. And eating, but that’s excusable, right? Since I’m breastfeeding and basically confined to the couch watching The Food Network.


Actually, I don’t personally think this is a fad. I’ve been baking ever since I tasted my grandmother’s homemade chocolate chip cookies – ooey, gooey, warm and sultry – but my major cooking spurts seem to come in waves, and giving birth to my second son warrants a reprieve, dontcha think?

For the love of all things sweet, I’ve spent the last 3 days baking snickerdoodles. I’m not even a huge fan of the damn cookie (where’s the chocolate?!), but my husband is, and I just downloaded a great cookbook with the recipe inside.

The thing is, it turns out the recipe was printed incorrectly. It took me several batches and a 2 a.m. breastfeeding slash Google research stint to figure out I wasn’t batty; snickerdoodles are definitely NOT supposed to come out of the oven hollow and far too sugary. I’m a perfectionist, so I had to get them right. And I did thanks to the author’s blog post. And it feels/tastes delicious.

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So if you want to come over and fill my stocking, I’m in the market for some kitchen goodies that hopefully won’t collect dust next year. Or make me gain back my pregnancy weight.


Simple Slow-Cooker Chili


I adore Autumn and Winter almost as much as I adore my slow-cooker. With a newborn and a toddler, it’s the easiest way to fill our tummies in the evening when the “witching hour” sets in and my arms are full of screaming baby.

I’m also one week in on my mission to shed major baby weight poundage. I want to feel fabulous come next summer when we go on a joint family vacation with some dear friends. Luckily this recipe fits in perfectly with my plan! It’s warm and satisfying, but also packs in protein and veggies and is easily portioned.

Simple Slow-Cooker Chili
serves 4

1 lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion, diced
1 drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
1 zucchini, chopped
2 15 oz cans petite diced tomatoes (I use Italian-seasoned)
1 15 oz can beans, unwashed and not drained (I use black or red kidney)
1 packet store-bought chili seasoning or homemade blend (I use this blend)
salt and pepper to taste
water as needed

In a large sauté pan, brown turkey and onion over medium-high heat until meat is cooked through and onions are translucent. Add to slow-cooker.

In same pan, add oil and zucchini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until slightly softened, 3-5 minutes. Add to slow-cooker.

Pour tomatoes, beans, and chili seasoning into slow cooker. Heat 6-8 hours on low. Add water if you prefer a thinner consistency and let heat through before serving. Enjoy!

Evan’s Birth Story


Evan and Dean came into this world in very different ways. I have to admit my second son, Evan’s, birth was a much more pleasant – not the labor part, yikes I’ll share that soon – but everything else was simpler, easier, and less worrisome.

Instead of going a little past my due date this time around, I went WAY past. 11 days, according to my midwives. I never hold any stock to their silly estimations anyway, but by seven days out, I was done. Done, done and more done. I was cranky and in pain and completely tired of everyone asking me where he was. Seriously, if you’re pregnant do what ever you can to hide your due date. Or lie about it. I think statistically more than 75% go past it anyway, so you might as well give yourself some wiggle room before the questions start pouring in. Not that family and friends don’t mean well (it’s sweet that they’re thinking of you) but when you’re that pregnant, fielding questions is the last thing you’ll want to do.

In hidsight, however, going so far over my due date was a hidden gift. On the morning of my induction I hobbled into bed for my examination to find – surprise! – I was 5cm dilated. 5cm of progress having only suffered minor, on-and-off contractions at home! A.MAY.ZING. Those first few centimeters with my first son, Dean, were by far the most painful centimeters of my life.

Rather than be induced, I was able to progress naturally for a couple more centimeters until they broke my water. Minor discomfort, no big thang.


“It is going to hurt eventually,” the midwife reassured me. Yeah, I knew it would. So I attempted to mentally prepare. I wanted to try to labor unmedicated again.

The familiar lower-back brutality progressed quickly. Instead of not being able to sit comfortably like last time, I labored on the birthing ball quite a bit. And I made a point to change positions around the room. I had to get antibiotics for Group B Strep, another new thing for this birth, but I was unlocked from my IV whenever possible. Yay.

Up until this point my husband Jeff and I had been fairly bored, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix. It’s oddly my go-to pregnancy show. The early episodes of course. The new ones blow. Now, however, Jeff was in full labor-partner mode, pressing on my back, changing the music, reassuring me in any way he could.

Eventually I made it into the tub. What a help that was! I had to wrap my hep-locked IV in a plastic bag and try not to submerge it, which was annoying. But other than that, it was delightful. Still painful but tolerable. The midwife can in an watched me at one point. I can kind of recall not wanting her there, but also glad she was around. Jeff was the DJ, searching for all the mellow Dave Matthew’s Band music he could find on his laptop.

When I awkwardly stumbled out and got back to bed, I had reached my breaking point. I asked them about an epidural and they decided to check me again before getting the juice. 9-10 CM. Groovy! But I wanted the damn meds anyway, so they called it in. But they knew there was no way getting to me in time.

I can’t recall how many minutes later I was screaming I couldn’t take it.

“Do you feel like you have to go to the bathroom?”

I knew what she meant. Poop. No, but I felt like I had to pee. Or I was delusional. Who knows. But apparently it was time.

Ten to fifteen Oh My God MY INSIDES ARE SPLITTING APART minutes later, I was told to grab Evan and pull him up to my chest. I was shaking all over. That is the second worst part of labor, the shaking. Uncontrollable, lasting for nearly an hour, shaking. They say it’s due to the hormones.evan

If you ask Jeff about my pushing phase his face will light up with excitement. “You should have heard the words coming out of your mouth,” he told me. “F-this, f-that!”

Yeah, I remember. I got primal. I even remember reaching down at the very end, wondering if my body was splitting open. I guess that was the “ring of fire” moment. “Ring of Hell” is more like it. But quick. Last time, 1.5 hours of pushing; this time, fifteen minutes max.

After spending some quality cuddle time on me, little man was whisked away to warm up.

8 pounds, nine ounces, 21.5 inches of boy was born at roughly 3:45pm. Well worth the debilitating 20 weeks of nausea, long gestation, and quick but intense med-free labor!



Dean’s Birth Story

I just knew I was going to go in labor during the snowstorm.

24 hours earlier I had been having painless Braxton Hicks contractions all day long. I had had them before, but never for more than an hour. All day my belly would get tight, then release, hinting that it was getting prepared for some major action.

The day of the snowstorm I woke up at 6 a.m. with serious lower back cramps. I hadn’t felt these since before being pregnant.

“It’s happening, honey.” I told my husband. His office was a 10-minute walk away from our apartment, so I told him to go in, for at least half a day. I didn’t want him to “watch a boiling pot” if you know what I mean.

I flipped on Despicable Me and awoke from my mid-morning nap to stronger cramps that came in waves. Two hours into the waves I started to get very uncomfortable and took to leaning on things, sitting on my birthing ball, closing my eyes and occasionally cursing at my cats. At 11 a.m. I texted dear hubby to make his way back.

We had planned to labor at home for as long as possible, but a few of feet of snow was threatening to blanket the roadways. My contractions, though sporadic, were only five minutes apart at times, and they HURT, so we made our way to the hospital around 2:30 in the afternoon. I had read enough birth stories to know that was going to be an uncomfortable car ride and it was, made worse by the sad state of Boston city streets in the winter.

We arrived and I trudged my Uggs precariously over slick ice and up to the main entrance. I thought the parking attendant would’ve assisted me, but I suppose I simply looked a super fat and slow visitor. Inside I fell onto a bench and waited for hubs to park the car. Cue very uncomfortable contraction. Fat tears pooled in my eyes.

“Are you O.K.?” A sweet woman leaned down to check on me.

Slowly I muttered, “Yeah, I’m just waiting for my husband,” and managed a weak smile.

Triage stats: 3 to 4 centimeters dilated. The midwife on duty suggested I walk around the hospital for an hour since they wanted to see another centimeter of progression before admitting me. But before I was clothed and sent on my merry way they noticed the little one’s heartbeat was falling occasionally after contractions. (Fetal heart rates falling during a contraction is the norm, falling after contractions end, called late decelerations, means the baby isn’t tolerating labor well. It can hint at other complications.) So instead of having to grunt my way through the hospital corridors for another centimeter, I was admitted.

The next 12 hours sucked.

Contractions, for me, originated in my lower back, then radiated quickly throughout my entire body. I did not want to sit, I did not want to talk, and I could barely move. I found the most comfort from leaning, either over the bathroom sink or on the back of a chair, or anything I could hold on to. I endured a couple of vomiting spells, which is really unpleasant while contracting. And as the contractions intensified I started to shake. A couple of hours after being admitted, complete, all-over body convulsions would precipitate each contraction and this wound up lasting through the entire labor and birth.

So those first 18 hours really sucked. But my husband and doula stationed themselves in my room and assisted with absolutely everything I needed. Sometime in the middle of the night, as my legs started buckling from the pressure and pain, the hubby began using counter-pressure to ease my pain. The most helpful of his moves was pressing on my lower back with all his might. I couldn’t really verbalize when a contraction was coming, but he could see me start to shake and at times I was able to mutter, “Now.” Get on me, dude, this is gonna hurt.

I moaned, I cursed, I rocked back and forth. The doula made me sip water, and the nurse monitored me and the baby. At the time I didn’t know it, but the baby was still having issues with the contractions, even after they administered the epidural.

I wanted to have a medication-free childbirth. My husband and I took a 12-week course of Bradley classes and we both felt incredibly well prepared for what lie ahead. And I don’t think I would have made it as far as I did without medication had we not taken the class, so I highly recommend it! (Why would you want to feel pain for that long? The bragging rights, of course!) But 12 hours later, when they found I had only progressed one – ONE – centimeter, I practically begged for a c-section. I went ahead, obviously, with an epidural, and within minutes of the blessed narcotics coursing down my spine I became human again.

A couple of hours after the epidural, my progression was checked again. Very little progress, so the midwife suggested breaking my water. I had initially requested this not be done because of the pain, but now I was medicated and we really needed to get things moving, so I allowed them to preform the amniotomy. It was exactly what little dude needed. I found out later that the midwife was anticipating finding meconium in the water, which can cause those late decelerations. Luckily we were in the clear, and one hour later I was fully dilated and ready to push.

“Oh my God, really?” I looked at my husband. This was it. I cried. Not from pain, but from excitement and a bit of fear.

The doula hooked my iPhone up to some speakers and turned on Led Zeppelin’s Mothership. For an hour and a half I grunted and groaned and pushed.

Eventually a nurse placed a mirror at the end of the bed. Kashmir (my favorite song; I used its lyrics to make some nursery decor) leaked out of the speakers and it was time. I beared down with my newfound mama strength and Bam! Dean burst into the world screaming.

When they put him on my chest, all I could think was that he was so big! He was an average size baby, but I couldn’t fathom that such a long, squirmy thing had been living inside of me. He instantly crawled up my chest. Dear husband looked astounded and I saw tears in his eyes as he leaned down to give me a kiss.

I developed a minor fever while I pushed so after a quick visit to my boob, Dean was whisked away with dad in tow to get treated with antibiotics.

When the last nurse had finished washing and attending to my post-labor body, I sat in the room with my doula, recapping the roller coaster. Now that I recall the entire experience, I can’t imagine her not being there after it had ended. My family was far away, hubby was with child, so it was just me. I can’t imagine sitting in that previously bustling birthing room alone, not being able to verbalize and recount the momentous occasion that had just taken place. I was high with endorphins, elated and deliriously happy. Her being there was comforting.

About an hour later we were whisked to my recovery room and the father-son duo descended upon us quickly. Our doula said her goodbye and we were alone.

Once was two was now three. I cried a little, watched as my two men fell into a slumber, then stumbled over to my bed. I was too full of adrenaline to sleep so I watched the snow and realized I could finally call myself Mom.

Weekend Baby Update


Little man got his first round of vaccines. When those shots went in he was not happy! I was ready to nurse him right away, and after a few tears he took to the boob and was pacified. The highest his temperature got before we gave him Tylenol was 100.2 and he didn’t seem too sleepy the next day as expected. We’re following a modified vaccination schedule so he has two more to go at month three.

He’s starting to focus on objects better and even bats at things occasionally. When he’s nursing he rubs his hand on my chest, holds a finger, or grabs my shirt. Loving that he’s getting more interactive. He’s pictured here, enjoying a playmat that his cousin handed-down to him.

We took our first trip to the mall. As you can see the little dude was super excited. At one point he started wailing and it turned out he was a overheated… malls can be hot places up north. It was great to get out as a family even though we’re not big shoppers. We noticed quite a few other tiny babies taking their cooped-up mommas out as well.

We missed grandma and grandpa this weekend! Last Saturday and Sunday they were here for a visit and it was really relaxing having some helping hands to get us through feedings, burpings and playtime. We are so excited that we will be seeing much more of them in a couple of months!

The Boob Tube

I’m tired of denying that I don’t love television. I will admit that I need to limit my intake as it’s easy to get overly consumed by the flickering beast, but now that I’m breastfeeding a 2-month-old, it’s a super convenient way to make the time fly by and keep me entertained.

My weekly lineup has definitely changed now that my son is in the house. While Top Chef and Project Runway were my old favorites, right now I can’t get enough of:

Quints By Surprise
Man, this show restores my faith in motherhood. Anytime I feel overwhelmed I watch the Jones Family corral 5 infants and 1 child on a daily basis. If they can do it, my one little boy isn’t going to break me, acid-reflux or no acid-reflux. The family, unlike Jon and Kate plus 8 (remember them?), seem super happy and the parents seem in love despite their challenges. I love that the mom, Casey, is continually taking photos of the children, regardless if she’s getting smiles or all hell is breaking loose. The kids are full of spunk and have incredibly unique personalities. If they lived in my area I wouldn’t hesitate volunteering to help out! Unfortunately the show has been off the air for a couple of years and you can’t buy the past seasons, so I am patiently recording all of the episodes on my DVR. I’ve even read their old blog.

19 Kids & Counting
My family and friends look at me and say, “Seriously?! You watch that show?” Yup. I’m not religious, nor do I wish to have a small army of children, but I think in their own way they are an awesome family. Michelle really is the epitome of a mom. Have you listened to her speak? Her voice is so soothing it has lulled me to sleep. And again, I think to myself, if they can raise nearly twenty well-behaved, friendly children, maybe I have half a shot with my boy.

It took me a few repeat tries to get hooked on this show, but now I’m all in. Probably because it’s closer to reality than other family-based sitcoms out there. I’ve become fairly attached to the characters… especially in the most recent season when two of them deal with a difficult newborn. (Obviously you see a pattern, I like TV shows that resemble my own life!) The show’s one downfall is that there is a bit too much arguing – I’ve had to mute it at times – but isn’t that what families do? I’m live far from any relatives, so these guys are my stand-ins. And the show is still on the air! Yay for new episodes.