Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Cross Country Cafe K-cups (and how I stay sane)

There is something I love almost as much as I love my family. 

It's coffee. 

I've loved it since I was a high school kid who spent lots of time in a diner with friends staying up too late. It became a fixture in my life as a college student and again when I became a mom. 

There was a time after Bennett was born when my beloved Keurig broke and I almost died because I couldn't make coffee for a week! It was awful. I'm not joking. Coffee is my one daily necessity. I might be drinking it while the kids are running around and acting like wild banshees but I feel like the world stops for a minute and it gives me a bit of sanity. Oh, the taste is pretty fabulous too and the caffeine is the only way I survive almost 3 1/2 years of broken sleep. 

K-cups can be pricey and I'm a bargain hunter so the two things, well, they don't always bode well together. I have been buying my most favorite coffee of all time (Starbucks Cafe Verona) at Costco because well, it's the only way I could potentially feel okay spending that much on coffee. Then, Costco decided to stop carrying it and I practically sobbed in the aisle. I have been on the search for something more economic but with that same flavor I love so much. 

 I stumbled upon Cross Country Cafe and I feel like I scored big time. You can't beat the price. I have shopped around for K-cups a lot (more than I'd like to admit, really) and their prices? Amazing!They have a great selection and are family owned. Win-win for all, right? 

I did find a replacement that I am over the moon in love. Actually, I found THREE, which if you love coffee as much as I do, you know that is a big deal. 

I love BOLD coffee. These are amazing that I am oddly giddy to wake up and have some each morning. 


Hop on over to Cross Country Cafe and check them out! They have a great selection (Caribou, Wolfgang, Donut House and much more! I just happened to love three of the same brand!) 

Disclaimer: I did receive a sampler of coffee but the opinions are 100% my own and I love, love, love coffee. 

Introducing....'First Bennett'

If you follow me on IG you've already met the new guy in our lives.

Brady is the kind of kid who loves everyone and pretty much everything. He's pretty much happy to play with any toy or be around most anyone. It's just his personality. He is obsessed with trains, trucks and Toy Story. He's all boy but loves to play with barbies and cook in the kitchen.  I love that he's so very much into what he wants and I know that will fade but for now, I'm enjoying it.

When I was pregnant, I found this little doll at Target and thought he would be perfect since his little outfit says, "Little Brother!"  Brady played with him for half a second and then he got thrown into a bin somewhere A few months ago, we found him during a massive toy overhaul and he's been a figment in our lives ever since.

Meet First Bennett. He's small. Apparently, he poops A LOT. 

 He likes to nurse and cries when Brady leaves him. Hmmmm, sounds like someone else I know!

He also does get into trouble sometimes too!

I guess he gets first dibs on the name since he was around first? I don't know but when we asked Brady what his name was we were told it was "First Benny!'

Then we asked, "What is your brother's name?" His response was 'The OTHER Bennett, MOMMY!' like I should have just known that.

 He also reminds me that he is indeed a "pretend baby, MOMMY!" Geez, I should know that, right?

He goes everywhere Brady goes.

On wagon rides......
(side note: real benny hates hats!)

He does tummy time and plays with baby toys.

He takes naps.

Gets diaper changes (you know because he poops a lot) and Mommy then finds piles of wipes all over the house.

'Shhh' My baby is sleeping!

 He sleeps in bed with Brady and goes to the sitters house with him. It's the one thing he has to take with him to bed and I think I lose an hour or two each week looking for him (cause a responsible parent looses his baby!) The poor thing needs a bath. I tried to wash him in the wash machine but that apparently isn't 'safe for babies!'
So, this is 'First Bennett'' and for the past two months, he goes everywhere with us. I'm pretty confident that Brady is going to be a great Daddy someday.

Well....except when he leaves him like this. The social worker in me wonders if this is something I needed to report. The mom in me wonders if I should be worried about his parenting style.

I wasn't sure if it was the best place to leave him but I wondered if he was just trying to keep him safe from harm! You know because earlier that day he had to rescue him from a baby who tried to eat his tiny little plastic feet. 

The same baby who almost started WWIII because he *gasp* TOUCHED his two favorite things.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's happening 'round here.

I found an old photo album and realized my kids are actually mine. This look a lot like Benny but I see Brady in this picture too. It's funny because when I was about a year old, I was pretty tiny and I'm starting to guess Benny takes after me more than I thought!

Potty training. This is my least favorite 'milestone' in parenting but I am so thrilled to not have to buy diapers anymore for him! Surprisingly, it hasn't ben too rough and I think it's more because we let him be ready. I mean, I've tried here a few times and he just wasn't ready but then a kid at the sitter's started and he decided he wanted to go too. The kid let us know plenty of times he wasn't ready, trust me, ha! The biggest issues we've faced were 1) poopin' in the potty and 2) wanting to wear pull-ups instead of undies. We've tackled both this week. Whew.

I just can't believe how much older and grown up he seems now. I about cried when I thought that he is almost 3 1/2 and I'm looking into signing him up for preschool in the fall. Seriously?!?

I believe the only reason he decided to start was that he was promised a bounty of the one and only, Buzz Lightyear.

In that same note, you are invited to the 324,392th screening of Toy Story at our house. Seriously. Thank to this movie, my kid now knows the words idiot and stupid as it was demonstrated when Bennett knocked over his train track. He looked at him and goes, "Don't mess up my tracks you stupid baby!" My head spun around what felt like 360 degrees! I was cleaning the kitchen while he was watching it during his 'nap time' (what are naps?) and heard Woody call someone an idiot myself. Thanks, Disney. Thanks, a lot!

Speaking of the things this kid says, he is hilarious. I love this age, though the 1,000 of questions I get a day drive me insane sometimes but he cracks me up. I was talking to him on the phone on the way to work on Friday. He goes, "Mommy, come out of the phone and open my banana!" Made my whole day.

Bennett thinks he's a big kid. Standing up and cruising and stuff. He is something else.

He is a totally different baby the last two weeks. Happy, ALL the time. He still cries when I drop him off at the sitters but he doesn't cry ALL day anymore! You have no idea how happy this makes this momma!

Sigh. He was supposed to have surgery tomorrow. Key word supposed to. If you remember, he has something called, hydrospadias where his urethra is not in the 'right' spot and it was to correct it but he came down with yet another cold and since it's not an 'urgent' surgery, they want the babies to be 100% when they go under anesthesia. I can't say I'm too upset since I was a nervous wreck, ok, a HOT mess this week thinking about it and as an added bonus, we are about to get 'Snow/ice-megeddon.'

I was freaking out as it was because the pre-op instructions told us no nursing after 4:30 am. No clear liquids after 8:30 am. Clear liquids meant Pedialyte which if you remember from the ER visit went SO well. I could NOT imagine how I was going to deal with him wanting to nurse and not being able to. The thought makes me cry to think of denying food to him when he's hungry. It will be something we deal with next month but hopefully we'll have a better time of day that we will be scheduled for which could make it a bit easier. 

So....while it is basically putting off something that I am so ready to get over, I'll spend tomorrow without worry, which is the best place to be, right?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bennett {7 months}

(I am almost caught up, woohoo!)

Oh man. Oh man. OH MAN.

What a month.

Oh my sweet Benny boy.

Seven months. It's been a hard few weeks for you my sweet boy. You got sick this month and when I say sick, boy you got sick! You started out with a cold. I took you to the doctor and low and behold, a double ear infection. Then, you got RSV and the awful stomach bug. It broke my heart to see you sick but you were such a sweet boy through it all. I was SO happy once I started seeing the BIG smiles again!

You had a REALLY rough time leaving mommy. It's also very hard on me as well knowing you are having a rough time but I hope it gets better soon, leaving you while you're in tears practically kills me. I think it's partly because you haven't felt good but separation anxiety is a new thing for me since well, your brother is Mr. Social. You, my sweetie, you're a little more reserved I think but we'll see how that sweet personality of yours continues to blossom. Your laugh. Oh, your laugh. It's a gentle chuckle that is sure to make anyone smile.

See, you mustered smiles for Momma even when you felt so sick. The nurses at Urgent Care (and the ER) mentioned how happy and sweet you were.

Likes: Mommy, crawling all over the place, big brother's toys, grabbing things that Brady is playing with, nursing, mommy's phone, playing games like peek-a-boo and patty cake, his family, being near everyone, snuggles, kisses, trying to stand, toys you can hold, puffs/

Dislikes: Being separated from mommy, sleeping for more than 30 minutes or sleeping without mommy, going anywhere without mommy, having your nose wiped, anything other than milk, taking medicine, being alone in a room. You still don't like being put in your car seat but once you get in there, you're usually fine. I found it kinda ironic that you didn't cry during your last bloodwork but sucking your nose out was torturous. Screaming, kicking, crying! You surely didn't enjoy that!
Well. This month hasn't been a good one for eating. When you got sick, you coughed A LOT which led to lots of gagging and a few choking incidents. Not fun. Then after you got the stomach flu, you stopped eating all foods. You wanted to nurse but nothing else. It's actually been hard to get ANYTHING else in you. Not even puffs. You gag and turn beet red, even on solids. Luckily, you are slowly starting to eat again but we had to start giving you some purees again, which is fine as long as you are eating!

You are still nursing and I don't see it stopping anytime. It's pretty funny though when you're REALLY hungry you practically nose bomb into my chest. It's so very sweet when as you nurse, you rub your hand on my arm or my chest. I will say it's NOT very sweet that you decided to play squeeze mommy's other boob while your nursing and I end up screaming in pain. As I'm screaming, you give me this sly little smile. Stinker!

Sleep: You had just started sleeping a bit better at night and then you got sick and things went south. The separation anxiety didn't help either. I believe you would love to be connected at all times. I hope things get a bit better once you are feeling more like yourself.

 The last week of this month you have been a COMPLETELY different kid. You were happy at the sitters, still cried when I left but you even took a TWO hour nap there, which is amazing! You are full of smiles for everyone. It really amazed me so much that it makes me sad to know how bad you were really feeling. You were waking up after I put your to bed, 3-4 times before even 10 pm! You are finally sleeping through that again and hope to get things back on track!

You are such a ham. Your very silly and I see more of this part of your personality developing! You make the funniest little expressions and it makes me smile. You always, always light up when your brother walks by or tries to play with you. One of my favorite sounds you make is when you wake up and I come in the room to get you, this excited chuckle comes out of your mouth! It melts my heart every time to know how excited you get to see me.
Growth and Med stuff:
Oh, I have started calling you shortie because, well you are just so tiny! I feel like you've grown a lot this month and are starting to fit better into your 6-9 month clothes and you could fit into some 3-6 up until the end of the month.  6 month clothes are starting to get very tight on you and mommy retired the 6 month jammies too. Still in a size 3 diaper but I think we'll need to move up a size very soon. You seem so much longer to me lately but you are still very skinny with a little tiny belly and some ham hock thighs. I think your thighs are the ONLY big chunky spots and I love them. They (well, your entire body) is so very ticklish.

You had your follow up with the endocrinologist this month and it went well as you barely cried during bloodwork. I've found that distraction and a pretty nurse are key to this. You are such a little flirt! We did get a follow up saying your levels were back up again and we need to retest again soon to see if we need to up your meds which I think is expected with your massive growth the past two months! At the ER, you weighed a little over 16 pounds. Woot. Getting there buddy!

Pulling up to stand. YOu might be small but man, you surely are strong and determined.

First sickness.Not a fun first. Also first ER visit, not a fun one either.

Really started babbling more with the ba-ba and Da-Da! I think you are trying to say my name but it sounds more like a-ma. You only say it when you have woken up from a nap and want me or are hungry so either you name your milk or you are trying to say my name! I hope it's the latter!

Waved. Though, it was a few times but we'll see if it sticks!

I have to say, my little peanut, I held you SO much when you were sick and I looked down at you while you were peacefully sleeping and I just cannot believe how fast time is going. I feel like we just brought you home and here we are a few months shy of your first birthday. I really want to stop time and hold onto your a bit longer. I did tell Daddy that the only good part that came with the sicknesses was time was able to stop for a bit and I got to snuggle close all day with you. I was so glad you when you were better but I missed you more than ever when I went back to work. I just know how fast it goes and before you know it, you'll be potty training like your brother.

I love you to the moon and back. I love you to infinity and beyond and forever more.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Balancing Act

Someone said to me the other day, "I don't know how you do it."

I laughed.

The laundry is never done.

I always trip on at least one toy a day.

Brady knows his fair share of curse words thanks to those damn toys on the floor.

I have a long list of things that need to be done that don't get done.

My idea of working out is the dance I do after I step on one of their damn toys.

We eat a lot of sandwiches for dinner.

I could go on. The list always goes on.

Being a mom is hard enough and I thought I had adjusted to being a mom of two pretty well. That slapped me pretty harshly in the face when I went back to work.I remember it being rough when I went back after Brady was born and it one of the biggest hurdles I faced as a new mom. I thought it would be a bit rocky at first getting used to juggling another little one into the mix but it's been harder than I expected for different reasons. With Brady, it was getting used to the idea of having another little being to tend to instead of relaxing at home or going to the gym. This time around it is harder for different reasons. I mean it's obvious adding another little person is going to make things a little harder to adjust to but then you add in the fact that you need time for well baby visits, his endocrinologist, lab work and you know, the whole taking care of two kids thing. Then, the holiday's hit and then the sicknesses started and things spiraled into pure chaos.  I've missed a lot of work since I've been back which has left me WAY behind and very stressed. Lots of little things have piled up and my to-do lists are daunting and never ending.

I'm lucky my job is flexible to meet my family's needs but I have to say it doesn't make it easy and my work load is still just as heavy. My work week is a scheduled (but flexible on when) 42.5 hours and adding in drive time that probably hits it well over 50. I try not to work late but there are times it's a necessary evil. The flexibility is what keeps me there but as a social worker, my job is very stressful. I'm surely overworked and grossly underpaid. I'm not wanting to start a stay-at-home vs working moms debate and I know both have their ups and downs. I find myself struggling lately and I'm sure part of it is because I'm just so behind in every aspect of life because of everything in life but that is.....well, life!

When I'm at work, I'm thinking about the kids. Worrying if Benny's crying all day (which many times he does and that is probably the hardest thing, ever.) Praying they don't pick up another virus. Worry that they will eat/sleep/etc well that day. Wonder what the heck I'm going to feed everyone because I either need to go to the grocery store or I didn't thaw anything out. The list goes on.

When I'm at home, I'm good about not working when I'm at home but work is always in the back of my head, especially after a rough or stressful day. It's hard not to shake the stress sometimes and while yes, the sweet snuggles of my babies helps, it doesn't always magically make it disappear!

I find it hard to be just one person at a time. I can't just be Mommy. I can't just be the 'employee.' Can't I just be Amy because there is no set definition to who she is and who she is, well, that is up to me.

I think that it's what makes being a working mom the hardest. Picking a role isn't possible. My kids ALWAYS come first yet I have to be on time to work. I have to show up without spit-up or some other stain from my kids on my pants. I have to be professional yet I find myself talking to my 3 year old in the car on the way too a meeting about poop.

Then, there is the house. The perfectionist in me wants it to be clutter free and the dishes done. I have a hard time actually relaxing and I find that I need to be busy all the time. I know I don't have to be but I struggle with this a lot.

I can only describe being a working mom as a balancing act. I used see it more as a juggling act but as a mom, we juggle a lot in life but it's more than that. It's about finding balance amidst chaos. You can't juggle more than you can handle but you can create your own meaning of balance. It doesn't have to be a perfect definition. It doesn't even need to be defined.

I haven't found that perfect blend of balance yet. I'm working on it but until then I'll be the one with the messy house, the smear of baby food in my hair and  the one who needs to be reminded about everything because lets be honest, I can't remember crap anymore.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Catch up.

Right now, I'm pretty pumped it is no longer January. It was a rough month with sicknesses and February is a step closer to Spring. I just wish Spring wasn't a step closer to a certain little boy's birthday! I know it was a crazy month  and we lost almost two weeks with the plague but I can't believe January is long gone. I swear I blinked and another month is over!

 Since my last post, things got more chaotic and I was pretty sure I was close to losing my mind--another Urgent Care visit for Benny, breathing treatments and then a lovely ER visit. I think the good thing about all the visits in January is our deductible is met (or at least close to!)

 Last Sunday, Ben started throwing up. I thought it was from coughing but then it kept happening. It was awful. At one point, he just couldn't stop, it was like he could hardly catch his breath between and once it was like he was going to pass out! He was so worn out, poor guy! Then, he started throwing up bright green. I kinda started to worry since he wasn't even acting like himself and then it changed colors.  I called the exchange and being that he was only throwing up for a short time, they were concerned and wanted him to be seen. I was a mess. Poor Blake was sick himself so I was worried about driving with him in the backseat alone but luckily, he didn't throw up on the way to the hospital but started up as I pulled in and as we walked inside. They did x-rays to make sure there was no blockage (which they said could explain the neon puke!) and luckily, it was okay. As he was getting the xray, all I could picture in my head was the millions of things that he could have eaten but with Blake sick too, I knew he had a virus! We tried to get some Pedialyte in him but he refused it. I joked that it was probably the most expensive bottle I'll ever pay for but after some Zolfran, you could just tell he was feeling better which after a week of sicknesses, the poor baby deserved some relief. He must have some buff antibodies now right?

Thanks to the antibiotic and the stomach bug, we then dealt with a food strike. He wouldn't eat anything that didn't come out of a nipple! He despised the antibiotic (for the ear infections) and would look at me in horror as I tried to give it to him! When he would eat anything (except for milk,) he would gag on it sometimes it was so bad I considered giving him the Heimlich. We are finally (as in the past two days) getting to the point where he will eat purees again without gagging. I feel like at this point with Brady, he was eating all kinds of stuff and here were are, back at square one again.

Food stuff. That's the small stuff. I'm just so happy to see him smiling and happy again.
Look, I got the real camera out! Oh and Yep. Still no toofies either. I think Brady got his first one at 8 months so I'm sure it's coming!

In between the sickies, I decided potty training was happening! He is doing pretty well peeing in the potty but well, the other part might take a while! I will say, potty training sucks. It's not fun, it's messy and it just sucks. Brady is so funny about it. Every time he has to pee, he screams, 'I'm about to pee!' It's crazy how grown up they seem once they are in undies. Sniff.

We heard from the Endo that Benny's levels were a bit off so we need to retest him to see if we need to up his meds. Yipee. Great timing, being that he is supposed to have surgery this month, which can't happen if he is still testing hypo (meaning his meds are needing to be adjusted due to his growth!) Boo. We'll find out this week if we need to reschedule or not.

With the sicknesses, I've missed a lot of work so I barely have time at work to do anything but work. Ben was of course, held a lot more since he was so sick for so long and it's not helping his severe attachment to me! I'm not kidding you. It's freak out city if I walk out of the room and as soon as I walk towards the door, the crying starts. He's had some rough days even at Nana's and at the sitter's which sucks to know your kid cries most of the day. It sucks more so when you know all he wants is you. These are things you have no idea how much they suck till you are there. The poor sitter deserves a medal for taking good care of him, I swear. I love that he loves me so much but I can't wait for him to be able to relax a bit without me! Sigh.I guess I'll just plan on going to college with him. I hope his wife won't mind living with us too! I just hope he decides that he can sleep at bit better by then!

Through all of the crazies,  I had a brief panic attack realizing my baby is almost 8 months old. He started pulling up recently and I feel like his first year is flying by. I need it to slow down. I desperately need it to slow down.
Gosh. I know I said this on IG and I have to say it again. After all the sicknesses, after the long days at work worrying if Bennett's still crying and the lack of sleep, I see this. I see these two and everything just instantly feels better. I smile and I am reminded, life is good.