Saturday, July 30, 2016

3 Things I learned in my 1st year of parenting

Reuben is one. ONE. He's been alive outside of my body for an entire 365 days. That's amazing. I simultaneously am thrilled, awestruck, thunderstruck and..skeptical...all at once. I made it to a year, and he didn't die and he still has all of his fingers.

I've learned a lot in this first year of parenting. It's kind of like the first year of marriage, you know, where you jump in without knowing what you are doing even after premarital counseling and you just love each other through trials that you would laugh at after five years of marriage... I mean, in my first year of marriage I had to learn to communicate with my spouse over why I ate the last piece of pie in the fridge. First-year married me was a baby. An infant.

Now I'm about to celebrate four years of married bliss AND I've (well, WE) procreated. Mini-me. Or Mini-us, I never can tell. It's mixed.

At one year postpartum I feel I can communicate well within my marriage. I don't eat the last piece of cake anymore and neither does my husband (usually we forget it's in the fridge and toss it....) I can juggle a baby on my hip while making mental notes about what chores I still need to do, and simultaneously fill out a grochery get the idea. We Moms do a lot. At once. With two hands. Why didn't I get more hands?!

However, no matter how much I do, I still have a hard time remembering when the last time I washed my hair was. Let's not even talk about making time to wash it. Maybe this will adjust itself in year two.

So. I've clearly learned a lot. Here are some of the things I was mulling over in my head as I nursed my one-year-old to sleep tonight.

1) Nothing is ever clean (all at once). Today I mopped the floor after breakfast. The floor was clean until I fed my offspring lunch. Then I swept it. It was then moderately free of debris until dinner, when my toddler destroyed his peas with a I'm-about-to-grow-out-of-everything gusto I have yet to see in someone who can fit into a laundry basket, legs and all, and whose favorite word is "sqosghts". Now my floor is filthy with peas, some squished, some not. I am too tired to clean it. Tomorrow I will repeat from the top, sweeping and mopping the floor first thing in the morning. My husband probably thinks the floor is never cleaned. Oh well.

My floor is only clean for about 3-4 hours between breakfast and lunch. I deal. By not caring. It's great. You should try it.

I also needed to vacuum the living room today, and that didn't get done. I did do three loads of laundry. One of the loads is in the dryer still, and two are in laundry baskets. I didn't get to put them away. I am not the least bit upset or worried about it. It will get done eventually, or my husband will come to me and say, with shock in his voice "dear, I am out of socks". I will then direct him to said laundry basket. (okay, that hasn't happened since the first four months of parenting...I like to call those months "the dark years". May we never visit them again.)

Meet my boss. He pays in wet kisses and toe lint.
2) I could care less what I wear (most of the time). I used to take great care in my dress every day. I liked to wear fancy outfits (at least, I would call them fancy now) and even wigs sometimes. Fashion was fun and I often wondered why moms "let themselves go". On an unrelated note, if you see past-me, please smack me. Fast forward one year after popping (such a nice term for labor, isn't it) out a kid: today I went to fresh market in leggings, a tee-shirt, and a foxy tula...and probably some drool. My goal was chips, not outfit compliments.

I am a total hot mess mom when it comes to fashion nowadays. And I am 100% completely okay with it. Honest to God truth, the only times I don't wear leggings and a body-fluid proof top is on Sundays. And sadly by the end of church I am that mom who finds her kids snot on her sleeve and probably some breakfast crumbs on her lapel and suddenly realizes that I forgot to brush my hair...but I just shrug it off and bask in the silence that comes from having my kid in the nursery. It's nice to hear only myself think for and hour while someone else plays with my budding human. Emphasis on budding.

3) My life has purpose and drive in ways I've never experienced before. Never have I ever been so interested in watching someone learn about shapes for the first time. I mean, before kids I never woke up and thought "you know, today I'd really like to read 'The VERY hungry Caterpillar' sixteen times". But never say never... now I wake bright and early with the fresh zest of having stayed up way to late for adult-alone time reasons (AKA my kid was asleep and I was up eating dark chocolate and practicing my new hobby of "choosing sides" in all the wonderful parenting-wars on facebook) and spend quality together time with my very own special human that I created, trying to teach him not to eat pencil shavings or his own poop. And I love it. Sometimes when he's asleep I legit tear up from the overwhelming feelings of love that just pour out of my hormonal mom heart. I really am  enjoying this. But I am also really tired. But I feel whole. Don't ask. I can't explain it either.

"whats this stuff on daddy's face? is it mine because I think it's mine" -Reuben
Those are the top three things I've learned this year. I mean, I've learned more, of course. A lot of discipline...and I could give a speech to rival anyone on planning and how important it is to your sanity. Don't run out of chocolate. Sometimes if the baby is crying and you don't know what to do you really can cry too, and perhaps he'll think it's funny and than you'll both end up laughing...

I'm okay with this year. I tried my best and failed. It was wonderful.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Week 44

This week I woke up nauseous. I was vomiting. I was wondering if I was pregnant. And I got two positive pregnancy tests! Excitement! Planning! And... sadly, the next week I had a miscarriage. I only say this now so I don't get lots of congratulatory comments. I lost the baby. It was sad. But this week, oh this week--I celebrated that little ones life. And I never want to forget that.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Crochet Puff Baby Hat

I love making things for my son. I mean, it's a perk that he's small so things like hats and gloves and stuff take considerably less yarn and time! Last month I made him this hat.

This hat uses worsted weight yarn and a 4.0mm crochet hook. It took up about 200 yards of yarn including the pom pom yarn. Go here to download the PDF or see the video here!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Week 43

A week of much needed vacation. Husband took a week off work, and we went to the park a lot. A restful week for our souls. We also took Reuben to a children's museum and it was wonderful to see him play.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


So a few weeks ago I found out I was pregnant. Two weeks later I had a miscarriage. My fourth miscarriage. Then Reuben's birthday happened and life was keeping me super busy and I didn't have much time to think about it or grieve or wonder... and now here we are.

I was thrilled when I found out. We weren't trying, since sex still makes me feel like I'm being stabbed to death for some reason (ugh). We'd had sex twice in the last three months. Both of those times I did my best to get through it for my husband. This is the part where you tell me that I don't have to have sex if it hurts, and you would be right. But I like sex. Or at least I did. I want to like it again, and this means that I have to keep trying. It's just, well, not fun. And also hard to talk about.

Anyway, back to the pregnancy. I was alerted to said baby when I got morning sickness. Except I had a negative test. Two weeks later I still had morning sickness, and a positive test. I was so happy. My husband was so happy. I tested again and it turned positive immediately. Two positive tests are all I have to remember this little one by.

So, I had a miscarriage. I'd thought naively "that whole infertility thing" was behind me. That one birth meant my body would work right again. That I wouldn't have to revisit all those hurtful feelings.

And yeah, I know, it isn't my fault.

But it's happened, and its over, and I find myself now wondering what to do. Try again? Maybe, if my insides ever start cooperating. I want Reuben to have a sibling. Not that I think single kids are bad or anything, but I'd always pictured myself having at least two. If I'm honest, I want three.

So, obviously I've decided to have twins next. Wish me luck. And I need to figure out some time to deal with the fact I lost another baby.

Right now I just added a little gem to my infertility necklace.

Friday, July 15, 2016

You Are Responsible for Your Kids

You are responsible for your own kids. Not me. Not their school. Not the state, and not the government.

I am tired of seeing articles like this one calling for a school-wide ban of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because of one kid's allergy. I am tired of seeing articles calling for forced vaccinations when a doctor should be making those kinds of medical decisions, not the federal government.

The federal government is not your nanny.

My son Reuben goes into anaphylactic shock when he touches an avocado. He breaks out in hives and has diarrhea for two days if I eat an avocado and breastfeed him. He also goes into anaphylactic shock over soy products. Do you see me out there telling everyone they need to stop eating avocado and soy to protect my son? Nope. Because it's my job to protect him. This means I get to go all Stealth Mommy when visiting friends and watch him carefully, because sadly he does have this horrible allergy. This means that if I ever sent him to public school I would send an epi pen with him as well as give one to his teacher. This means I must be more careful with him then I would with a kid that didn't have horrible life altering allergies.

But it is my job, not yours, to protect my son. It's my job, not yours to make sure he doesn't ingest avocado or soy or banana, dairy or eggs (the latter three only make a rash but still).

It's my job.

I mean how far do you expect one school to bend over for one kid's allergy? What if each kid has a different allergy?! Can we ban peanut butter, but not milk or dairy products? How far should they take it? Can we expect one teacher to remember specifics for each kid? If your kid is hospitalized under the school, can you sue? If we make special rules for allergies, what about kids who suffer from PTSD? Kids who want to not wear pants? How far do we go to make kids feel safe? Or parents feel like their kid is safe?

And what about the parent who really can't afford much else to send to lunch for their kid? I ate peanut butter and jelly as a child daily, under a single mom who was trying her best and who wanted to give me her best. I mean, sure, you might say "well that kid would qualify for a free lunch" and maybe they would. Maybe they wouldn't. That isn't the point.

The point is: when it really comes down to it, it's YOUR job to keep your kids safe. Not mine. And not anyone elses. I mean, yeah, it'd be nice if perhaps the teacher could look out for something, and it'd be nice if other moms were more aware of high peanut allergies, but should it be a law? Should we force others to do what we want? Are we justified? Or are we shifting blame from our own responsibilities and holding others accountable for what should be our job as mothers and fathers?

You definitely won't see me on a pedestal any time soon telling you what you have to do with your kids to protect mine. You won't see me telling you how to parent your children.

I think it comes down to entitlement, a bit. I mean, if your kid has a life-threatening allergy to something, he or she is not going to be able to do everything other kids do. They might have to eat at an allergy-free lunch table. This is not to single your kid out, it is to make sure he or she is safe. Demanding your kid be treated like all the other kids who don't have allergies isn't going to work because, obviously, your kid might die. Also demanding all the kids in your special snowflake's class act like they have an allergy isn't very fair either.

So perhaps you should take a step back and look to your family and not to mine. Perhaps if you spent your time NOT telling me what I can and cannot pack for my child or shoot into his body and more time figuring out what YOUR own family needs, your kids would be a little bit safer.

Because I'm over here just raising my family and I don't have the time or the patience to raise yours.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Week 42

Reuben has been toddling around for awhile now, but this week HE WALKS. Like a lot of steps. He's doing it A LOT. I don't know if I should laugh or cry--I mostly just think that being an adult sucks because no one cheers when you walk anymore.

Anyway, he's a doll. I love him.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Knit Pineapple Baby Leggings

Reuben always needs more baby leggings. I love them because they stay on when pants have to come off for diaper changes and they also keep his legs warm. I made these in wool and they are just so cute!

To make these you need fingering yarn in at least 4 colors, and 2.75mm double pointed knitting needles. Check out the PDF pattern here for download, and the video here. I don't think I will ever stop designing baby leggings. So much fun!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

What We Spend In A Month

I am enjoying taking a hard look at our budget and sharing it with you all. This is month three! I finally got all the bank and credit card statements printed off for March 17 - April 16th 2016, color-coded them, and tallied them up.

So, to recap, from Jan-Feb we spent roughly $2,500, and February we averaged much closer to our goal of $2,000 by spending around $2,100. This month we went way over budget and spent $3,000--but we also bought a grochery share and had to pay up front for 19 weeks of groceries and duck eggs. However, the share SHOULD lower our bills for the next four months in the food category--it just had to be paid up front.

Last months statements: 

January 17th - February 16th
Feb 17th - March 16 

So, what did the Markey family buy for an entire month in America?

 Bills  ($368)

  • Netflix: We still have our $7.99 netflix account
  • Internet: We pay 50.00 for internet a month. It's expensive, but they only offer one service in our area.
  • YMCA: 75.00 for our gym membership--we have a family memebership now that includs Brian, me and Reuben
  • Phones: 25.00 a month for two phones with unlimited text and talk, no data.
  • Electric bill: $150 this month.
  • Water: 60.00
Bills are fixed points on our budget. Our YMCA bill did go up due to adding me and the squish.

Baby Expenses ($105.00)

Target. What did we buy? We bought a floaty for Reuben in the pool as well as a second bathing suit so that he has two (one is always in the wash, we swim a lot) and also wipes and disposable diapers. I didn't use cloth diapers for this month!

Food (1890.5)
  • Eating Out: 264.50
  • Brian's Lunch at Work: 123
  • Grocery Shopping: 1503
Our food budget was completely blown this month. We spent more than last month in each category! Now, the grochery share we purchased from Great Day Gardens was $500, and includes a bag of farm fresh veggies and 12 duck eggs each week. It started on the first weekend of March, and I hope it brings us lower bills next month, but who knows. We also ate out a lot--but did have a celebratory date night sans baby at our favorite restaurant where I got very tipsy. So worth it. It was our second night out without baby, (the first time was my high school reunion, so no tipsy happening there). We try to focus on $100 for eating out a month, that gives us one good out-to-eat per week, including tips and everything--this month it looks like we ate out twice a week. 
Gas (47.00)

Brian spent $40 in gas and I spent $17. Yay, driving!

Personal Money (453)

My husband and I decided to lower the cash money I get every other week to $25 a week, so I get $50 a month in cash now. I spent it on an Adobe program this week (you pay monthly, it's called creative cloud) and bought Indesign. I use Indesign to create my PDFs for my knitting/crochet patterns. Other then that, I spent $224-- mostly on amazon buying paleo cookbooks and two new nursing bras and other paleo products, and I also printed off some pictures of Reuben to have as hard copies and to mail out to family for his 1 year birthday in July.

According to our statements, the husband spent $229. It looks like he also made an amazon order and well as bought a game from Steam, and also parts to change his oil and work on his car.

Other (90.02)

Reuben had a wellness check at his pediatrician (he's doing great!) and Brian also visited the doctors once, making medical costs $90.02 this month.

Every month we try so hard to stick to $2,000 only--but it is harder than it sounds. Not included in this budget is our family health insurance or car/home insurance (I think we pay annually for that) or any taxes we paid, or how much we tithe.

My goal in posting this is to show what an average family might spend in America per month. I am sure that it widely differs, but this is our budget. I would like to note that even when we exceed our budget we still have not spent more than we earned, but we came pretty close this month. Our goal is to get our budget tightly controlled and spend no more than 2,000 a month baring an emergency so that we can save money. What's your budget like?

The 2016 budget series:

January 17th - February 16th
Feb 17th - March 16 
March 17-April 16th
April 17th-May 16th 
May 17th-June16th 
June-17th-July 16th

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Week 41

This week I put shoes on Reuben for the first time ever (so if you've ever wondered what wearing shoes is like if you've never worn them before...) I'll just say it was hilarious. I also go into what's wrong with Reuben's face, and tell the world why I dislike Lularoe.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

5 Months Paleo

Well, to be fair I did take a one-week break from paleo during my husband's one week of vacation this month. During this time I ate rice and a few gluten, soy, and dairy free treats that I don't normally eat. It was a relaxing break from the normal food prep I do, but I know my body suffered. I got brain fog, swelling, and had to take off my wedding ring. But I did get to enjoy toast (vegan and gluten free) with my husband's (gluten) toast in the mornings with breakfast. It was easier to feed myself just staying gluten, dairy and soy free, but I went right back on the paleo diet when husband returned to work. I enjoyed my break, perhaps I will do it again next year. (Anyone else find they get less done when their husband is home on vacation too?)

Anyway, I feel like I've got this paleo thing down, like it's second nature almost. Every Saturday I make ranch for the week, and mayo and ketchup too. I also prep a muffin for breakfast usually, since I am bleary-eyed and hungry when waking and it's the time my son is the most clingy as well. The muffins usually run out by Wednesday or Thursday and so I usually make more...

I also think I know the secret to paleo food: it's in the sauce. Most literally in the sauce. I usually make stir fry for dinner and having a good sauce is key to making it scrumptious. My favorite is the orange chicken sauce in Against All Grain's first cookbook. I also like the sunflower seed butter one in Well Fed Two. Sunflower seed butter by itself (not cooked) is disgusting.

I am still committed to this paleo journey and I am loving how great I feel and how much energy I have. Buying and eating local is fun too! We eat lots of zucchini (so easy to add to everything, or make into a "hummus" for dipping) and I snack on fruit all the time. Seasonally, I am eating organic cherries now. Reuben loves them too, he had some for lunch today!

So this is what 5 (ish) months paleo looks like. Next month will be 6! My goals next month are to start exercising again (it's been two months...) and to weigh/measure myself and take a selfie.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bib Creation

I've made Reuben some quick bibs. This kid drools like it's his job! I mean, I can't fault him, because he's teething and he's a mouth breather, so drool is just a daily part of his existence. But I needed some bibs that were more absorbent than your run of the mill department store bibs. After looking around Etsy and finding nothing, I whipped up a few of my own.

They are easy to make, I just used a bib he already owned as a pattern and hand-sewed a snap on. Snaps are the only thing he can't take off. Yet. I'm sure he will learn soon, and I don't know what I'll do then. Double layer shirts?

Anyway, these bibs have two layers of terry cloth (an old towel, honestly) on the back and one layer of cute cotton print on the front.

They last me about 2 hours with my son--unlike the one-layer kind I see everywhere that lasts like 30 seconds with him--as he either yanks it off or proceeds to mimic a waterfall at peak monsoon season.

I'm just happy to have something that works!