About Me

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I have two kids - a girl and a boy - and live in north-central Minnesota, land of snow and ice. Well, for 9 months of the year, that is. I work full-time for a local government, and on my "free time" I enjoy cooking, baking, hanging out with my kiddos, and RELAXING.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

what makes a book "good"?

I finished The Hunger Games series last week. Excellent series, in my opinion. I love reading a book I just can't put down.

You know some books, they're just, well...books. Nothing too exciting there. But then other books, they are masterpieces. These are the books you just can't put down, the ones you stay up until 3am reading. These are the books you continue to think about long after the story is over. Where you think, "I wonder what happens next?" and then tell yourself you're being ridiculous, because it's just a book, not real life, and it's over and done, and nothing happens next. It's The End. Finished.

There are few books I've ever read that are in this category, but they tend to be the books I read over and over again, and they also tend to be in a series. So, here are some of my favorites:

  • The Hunger Games series

  • Harry Potter series

  • Twilight series (although the movies ruined it for me)

  • Pretense (not actually a series, but long enough to conceivably be one)

  • The Lauren Holbrook series (which I've read about three times in the past year. Chick lit, yes. Hilarious, YES.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

two months

I can't believe Christmas is two months from today!

It's going to be here before I know it. Every year I tell myself I'm going to get a jump on holiday shopping, and it never happens. But maybe this year will be the year. Maybe.

I always have the hardest time figuring out gifts for people, which is why I typically resort to gift cards. I even keep a list on my computer, which I update year-round whenever I think of a good present to give someone, or they mention something they wish they had. But somehow it never works out like I think it will. Of course Darren is the easiest to keep track of, because he's always telling me about some hunting gadget he wants, but he has a nasty tendency to go out and buy it before Christmas arrives. And my mom did the same thing to me last year! I thought, "Oh, I should get Mom a Kindle. She would really like that." So I order it, and then literally the next day I find out she ordered one for herself! But perhaps this year will be different...

In honor of an ever-nearing holiday (and an ever-stressful event), please take my poll and let me know when you start your holiday shopping. And may I wish us all a very successful gift-giving endeavor.

I'm going to need it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I think "formula" should be the code-word for "expensive."

I mean, I knew when I stopped breastfeeding that it was going to cost a lot of money to buy formula, but I didn't know that "a lot of money" really means "thousands of dollars."

No joke. I've read that parents should expect to spend about $1,200 a year on formula. And at $1 per ounce, it's probably one of the more expensive food products you can buy. Fortunately I had received about a two month supply of various brands of formula from my clinic and through the mail.

No, I have no idea how or why I received formula in the mail. But I wasn't complaining.

I just spent $106.74 on formula, and that was after my $35 in coupons. (Yes, you can find some excellent formula coupons, but $5 off of "a lot" is still "a lot.")

Granted, this much formula will probably last us for two months or so. Well, that's at the rate Natalie is eating right now...I did just sign up today for a program through Enfamil, and hopefully will be getting even more coupons soon. I just about cleaned out my stash today.

I have heard that since the FDS monitors baby formula so closely, generic brands are considered just as good as name brands. Probably when my coupons run out I'll make the switch, but for now I can get brand names cheaper.

Although I would hardly classify any kind of formula as "cheap."

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Well, we survived. A week of medicine for Natalie and just like that, all better.

It took me a little longer. I thought I was going to die from the combination of sleep deprivation and lack of food and water.

Not healthy. Not healthy at all. Just about passed out a couple of times, which would have been very not good.

It's hard to force myself to sleep, but I give it my best. It's been at least a week since I last spent two hours in the middle of the night staring at the ceiling.

There's nothing worse than those 2-4am hours spent staring at the ceiling. It's exhausting.

I've also been eating better, even if sometimes Darren has to remind me, or put a can of soup and a bowl on the counter for me in the morning. It's very strange, this state of "never-hungry" I'm in. It's never happened to me before, but really, it isn't all that bad. When you're never hungry, you don't miss food. I do well when we go up north for the weekends and people prepare food for me. I get my three meals a day in then. It's just when I'm down in the cities by myself, it just seems like so much work, and hey, since I'm not hungry anyway...well, I just let it go.

But I did have some cereal for breakfast today, a meal I'd started skipping. And sadly, what got me back on track is the knowledge that eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories. (Now is that sad or what?) I once read that it's better to eat a donut for breakfast than to eat nothing.

Amen to that.

So, we are progressing. I'm sleeping and eating. Natalie is most definitely eating and sleeping. In fact, she slept through the night the past two nights. She went 10 whole hours between feedings the past two nights, which has been amazing. I, of course, still wake up around 5:00/5:30 and toss and turn, expecting her to start crying any minute, every little peep she makes keeping me from falling asleep, but hopefully that will pass with time.

What I have most taken away from this experience, is that being a mom is hard.


It's not all smiles and kisses all the time. It is sacrifice. But so worth it.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

survival mode

Right now I am operating in survival mode. My main objectives:

1. Sleep
2. Eat
3. Do whatever it takes to accomplish #1 and #2

This means that Natalie has gone to bed with her pacifier, and slept half the night in the swing. It also means I have lived off of granola bars for two days straight, because hey, those are food, right? And even if they aren't, sleep is my primary goal, and preparing food is a far, far second.

Do you know how little sleep one needs on a consistent basis to not fall over from exhaustion? I do. It's approximately 5 hours per night. It doesn't have to be (and isn't) five hours straight. It's more like an hour and a half here, and then a three hours stretch, and then a couple fifteen-minute cat naps.

And do you know how little food one needs to survive? Answer: two granola bars per day. It's amazing what little food it takes.

Natalie's six-week growth spurt threw me for a loop. I was so used to getting up only once during the night around the 3-4am hour, and only feeding her every three hours during the day. And then suddenly BAM! Midnight wakings, eating every two hours during the day. It was tough.

But, trying to be the best mom I could be, I powered through it. Heck, I even offered the remainder of my frozen breastmilk to my now formula-fed baby. Because "breast is best," right?

Big. Mistake. And that's Big with a capital "B."

You see, that breastmilk had been pumped during mastitis round one (Yes, there were two rounds. It was killer.), meaning I was on antibiotics.

Oh, the joys of antibiotics. Made me all better. Baby, not so much.

Natalie developed thrush. And I am hoping...heck, I am PRAYING, that the thrush is why she has had such a hard time getting back into the swing of things. Why she continually wakes all night long and won't sleep wither her pacifier, or the swing, or sometimes BOTH. It has been BRUTAL. I think I would rather have mastitis again.

Yes, I did say I would rather have mastitis again. Never thought I would say that. But the last time I slept through the night was...well, before Natalie was born. And the last time I got more than five hours of sleep was...a week ago?

We have been having a terrible time. Mostly me. I'm up all hours of the night, crying on the couch because everything is so much harder than I thought it would be. I can't sleep. I can't eat. All I do is stare at the ceiling, praying to God to make it easier. Praying that my baby will fall asleep somehow, and sleep for at least three hours. Praying that when that finally happens, that I will fall asleep soon, so I can maybe get two hours in. Praying that this horrible period will just be over.

And it's not over. But I'm still standing (barely). I'm still surviving.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

six weeks

Natalie is six weeks old today! I can't believe how quickly the last six weeks went. That it was only six weeks ago she was born.

Although in some ways it feels like a lifetime.

The past six weeks have been some of the craziest, most exhausting, most wonderful weeks of my life. I'm excited to see what the next 18 years will bring.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

enjoy the moment

Sometimes I find myself thinking, "I can't wait until Natalie sleeps through the night."

I mean, really, who wouldn't think that?

And after that it will be, "I can't wait until Natalie crawls."

And then walks. And then feeds herself. And then is out of diapers.

And I forget to enjoy the moment. I forget to enjoy her tiny little body curled up next to me while she eats at 3:00 am. I forget to marvel at her precious baby face and her petite hands and feet. Because before I know it, she will be sleeping through the night. And crawling and walking and running and growing up.

So. Deep breath. Relax. And enjoy.