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Entries in She'sWrite (41)

Wednesday
Feb162011

She'sWrite: Falling for a Hallmark-Free Valentine's Day

I’ve never been gaga over Valentine’s Day. Not because I’m bitter and spent many alone, but because it feels like a Hallmark holiday. And many of the staple gifts aren’t appealing. I’m not a big chocolate fan. (Yes, I know: Gasp, clutch your pearls, fall over in shock -- I’m used to that reaction.)

Photo by Phil Gyford on Flickr.I love going out to dinner, but when you hit up a restaurant on V-Day, it blows. The wait is forever, the kitchen has a hard time keeping up with the increased demand, and it’s just more crowded and noisy than a normal night. (I sound like an old grump.) If I’m going to get wined and dined, I prefer a non-holiday.

This year I had the bright idea of not buying each other anything. We’ve got enough stuff. In fact I’ve been purging our stuff over the past six months, so I’m in no rush to get more stuff. I asked Hubby to simply write me a letter.

We are busy. Everyone is. And we don’t hit pause to say how much we mean to each other. It’s just the usual “I love you, “Thanks,” “You’re the best,” etc. Not so romantic, right?

When I first brought up the letter-writing idea, Hubby wasn’t too enthused and said “As if I already don’t have enough to do.” But he liked the price point: Free. After dinner, and while Logan was orbiting the living room from a sugar high, Hubby and I opened our letters.

Mine to him was handwritten since he thinks that handwritten letters are a lost treasure. I poured my heart out and it was really cathartic. His letter to me was spectacular, a page and a half typed, and it outlined all the reasons why he thought I was so great.

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Wednesday
Jan262011

She'sWrite: And now for my next trick -- being a SAHM of two

This juggling life thing just took a hard left in our house and we’re finding our sea legs. I’m used to trying to squeeze in friends/sleep/laundry/grocery shopping/doctor appointments/blogging/cleaning around a hectic work schedule and being a mom of one.

Photo by iStockPhoto.But for the next six months, I’m a stay-at-home mom. There’s no more down time during my commute to and from the office so that I can blog, email or catch up with friends IRL. It’s a 24-hour-job and with my newest little guy who has a voracious appetite, I’m up every few hours during that glorious 24.

I’ve got to figure out a new schedule, when should we wake up now that I don’t have to waltz into the office at 7:30 a.m.? Sleeping in late for SAHMs unfortunately isn’t an option. (However, so far I’ve been able to take a nap each afternoon with little Ethan, I’m hoping that trend can continue at least three times a week!)

How often can I reasonably expect Hubby to come home early or at least on time? After spending all day with cute ankle biters, by the time 7 p.m. rolls around I’m looking for a breather.

It’s an adjustment to say the least. It’s not as rough as going from being a non-mom to a mom, but it’s an adjustment nonetheless and I’m trying out different tricks to see how I can get it all done.

Right now things have been pretty good as my mother-in-law stayed for three weeks and this week my parents are here, so the first month we’ve had great help. I’m thinking about when the cavalry leaves.

I’ve been getting both boys dressed and ready for the day to see how I can balance the two in a zone defense sort of arrangement. I’d like to hit up the grocery store solo with the boys to see how that goes. For some reason, planning and going on test drives so to speak makes me feel more in control.

That’s the funny thing about parenting though, I’m no longer in control, it’s more like I’m a suggestion box of sorts.

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Wednesday
Jan192011

She'sWrite: Getting Help After the Baby Is Born

My last week has been filled with feedings every two hours, diapers, tiny cries, lots of snuggles, diapers, tantrums from the 3 year old, diapers and more diapers. It can be hard work, but it’s easily manageable largely because I’ve got great help.

Photo by bgottsab on Flickr.As I’ve said before, my mother-in-law is in town from Norway to help us with life after baby. She’s here for a glorious three weeks, then my parents come for a week and my sister says she’ll stay for a few days after that. That means for at least the first month, I’ve got extra hands around the house.

When Logan was born, we also had help. My mom was there for his birth and stayed for a couple weeks, my dad also came for a few days and then my mother-in-law was here for a couple weeks.

Before Logan, everyone told me to make sure that when someone came over after the baby, take advantage and put them to work. I was advised to set up clear expectations before my guests arrived that people were not to be my guests and catered to, they were to help me. After having a baby, the last thing you feel like is being a hostess with the mostess.

For me that help meant doing our laundry, planning and preparing dinner, general pickup around the house and looking after the newborn so I could catch up on sleep lost the night before. The hard part was setting up those boundaries because it can be an uncomfortable conversation, but I figured I owed it to myself and my newly growing family to look out for what’s best for us.

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Wednesday
Jan122011

She'sWrite: Introducing Ethan Matthew

Our regular guest columnist She’sWrite posted this to her own blog last week, but I thought I’d share it with you all – for many of you, it likely will bring back some memories of when you became a mom, either for the first or the second or the third time. I love how she describes the moment when there were five people in the room and then voilà! There were six! -- Tara

It's official I'm a mom of two. I'm actually still in the hospital as I type, but it's just me and the little one and he's passed out while I'm too wired to sleep.  I'd forgotten how much they snooze at this age.

Welcome to the world, Ethan Matthew!After my last post, I was admitted into the hospital. No doctor in their right mind would let me leave with blood pressure of 177/115. They decided to induce me and around 4:30 a.m. started my pitocin, a medication that makes you have contractions.

The contractions were pretty light at first and I started practicing some hypnobirthing techniques that I finally had time to research a week ago since I was no longer working. I’m not against having epidurals, I had one with Logan, but I have scoliosis, making it very difficult to give an epidural and getting it in was the worst part of Logan’s birth. So I thought I’d try the unmedicated route if I could.

I made it fairly far, especially considering I hadn’t slept in more than 24 hours when the labor really started rolling. (I had a long day on Monday, left for the hospital shortly after midnight that night.) So was I exhausted, had lost my focus and couldn’t get it back.

There was even a time where Hubby was frantically searching for songs that could help me through and the next thing I know Eminem is playing in my delivery room… At first I was like, what in the hell is he doing? But I was game for anything and it turns out spitting rapid-fire lyrics *can* help you through a few rough contractions. Thankfully the nurse never came in while I was dropping rhymes.

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Wednesday
Jan052011

She'sWrite: Making a Chicago-centric bucket list

We want to issue a very warm congratulations to our guest contributor She’sWrite. She gave birth to a darling, healthy baby boy named Ethan earlier this week who joins 3-year-old brother Logan at home. But before she gave birth, She’sWrite came up with this list of Chicago-centric experience she’d like to have in 2011 – in addition to, you know, becoming a mom for the second time. Hey, she always admits to being “Type A with a twist.” 

Each year I make a New Year’s resolution and as I’ve said before, I take it quite seriously and pride myself on not breaking it. For 2010 I did Christine Kane’s exercise of picking a word that’s your theme for the entire year. Mine was reclaim and I loved it.

Spending a warm afternoon in Millennium Park is on the list. Photo by Ed Yourdon on Flickr.I figure I’ve got too many life-changing adjustments to make in 2011 with the new baby, six months of maternity leave and other things to adequately pick a theme for the entire year. So I chose to make a bucket list of Chicago sites that I want to visit this year.

For the record, I’m not dying or anything like that, I just think living in such a fantastic city, it’s easy to take for granted all the great experiences at our fingertips. I want to make a focused effort on hitting up some Chicago favorites.

My list consists of some personal favorites and other ideas were gleaned from my friends who told me about what they love to do in the city. I consider my friends to be fun, smart and pretty damn cool but unpretentious, so I added the rest of their suggestions at the bottom of my bucket list in case you’re curious. 

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