Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Friend or Foe?

The hormone changes that accompany having a baby are pretty crazy. You experience them throughout the pregnancy but after the baby is born its like you've been hit with a mac truck of wackiness. There are a wide range of emotions and it is pretty common for a new mother to experience some postpartum depression. I had hoped that would not be the case for me when Stella was born but unfortunately I did get a bit of the baby blues. My doctor prescribed me a low dose of Zoloft (50mg). I took it thankfully, I'm not afraid of medication and I really wanted to feel better. I've continued to take it because I noticed that even beyond depression it really helped me deal with life's little struggles. I haven't had problems with depression before, other than the occasional bum day but I am a sensitive person who cries easily. I've always hated crying over little things so the Zoloft is really great for that. So I guess you could say its been my friend, my little blue buddy.

However, I have thought for a while now that it is time to go off the Zoloft. It has served its purpose and I think I can handle things just fine without it. This is definitely easier said than done. There are side effects and withdrawal symptoms that make it a frustrating experience. It is best to wean off the medication slowly which is what I have been trying to do. I cut my pill in half which reduced the dose to 25mg, I did this for about a month. Then I even cut that in half for a couple weeks. The other day I tried to stop taking the medication all together and now I just feel like crap. I feel dizzy, nauseous and seem to be experiencing a little bit of vertigo. You throw in my monthly visitor too and you can imagine how wonderful I feel right now.

My point is that while this medication is really helpful it does have a down side. I think this true for all antidepressants, your body becomes physically addicted. Although I would have still taken the medication I just wanted to share this because this is information I was not aware of. Its good to have all your info up front so you can decide what is best for your health.

So, say a little prayer for me because I'll be back to the land of the crazies real soon!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tantrum City

I don't know who is more frustrated sometimes, me or Stella. Does anyone else have a one year old who throws a total fit when she can't close the door of the fridge because you are in it? I didn't think so, its just me. I know babies like to open and shut things but come on Stell, mommy is just trying to put the freaking groceries away! Oh the joy.

Fun Run

For those of you who didn't know, I've been training for my first 12k the last couple of months. I started running back in October and ran my first 5k on Thanksgiving day. I've always hated running but I really wanted to get into shape. I thought of joining a gym but since I've already had four different gym memberships I decided against it. My husband might lose it if I got one again. So I was pretty much forced to run because, well, its free. My sister-in-law was also training but since we don't live very close she ran with her friend. I tried a couple of times to find a running partner but it didn't work out for different reasons. I kept on a schedule the first month and I think the race would have gone better if I continued the schedule until the race but I got a little off track. The schedule came from a book called The Beginner's Guide to Long Distance Running, by Sean Fishpool. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to start running. It discusses nutrition, clothing, shoes, injury and a lot other things relevant to running. It has great training schedules starting from the most novice to running a marathon, which at this point is not a goal of mine. It still sounds awful!

Before the race yesterday, the farthest I had run in one session was 5.5 miles. Even though I hadn't run 7.5 miles(12k) yet, I knew I would finish one way or another! I started out feeling good and I was waiting to get in "the zone". Usually the first 20 minutes of a run really drags, even after running for months now. My legs feel heavy and I feel tired and slow but after awhile I get over the invisible hump and I start to feel good, like I can run for a long time. Unfortunately this doesn't happen every time I run but if I stay consistent and on schedule it usually does. I never did get in "the zone" on race day. Actually about 3.5 miles in I got a stomach cramp that stayed with me all the way to the finish line. Mike brought Stella to two different spots along the course to cheer me on. The first time I saw her I ran up and gave her a kiss. I heard her screaming for me as I ran away, oops. The second time I saw them I waved from a distance. It was great to see them during my run and at the finish, thanks baby! Even though it wasn't the race I was hoping for and my time was embarrassing, I am still proud of myself that I finished. When I first started I could only run about two minutes before I had to stop. I'm no marathon runner now but I've come a long way. I think my next goal will be to improve my 5k time. I'd like to improve that before I bump up my mileage. Always making goals really helps to keep me running.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Neighborhood Bullies

Lately my dogs cause me much more stress than they do happiness. Tucker(4 years old) and Dieter(2 years old) used to be our babies. We cuddled with them, spent time with them, took them places and talked about them to everyone. I could have never imagined, even after being told, that once my actual baby came along that I would no longer feel the same way towards my dogs. I remember having multiple conversations with Mike saying, "that is just not going to happen to us, we love them too much". Unfortunately, just as we were told, it did. I do feel I am slowly finding my way back to them but its difficult, they drive me nuts! They bark at anything, everything and nothing. They seem to find their way out front often, usually because I'm not paying attention to what they are doing.

This morning, once again, they got out. I let them out back to go to the bathroom and went about my business. After about twenty minutes the doorbell rang. We have pretty cool neighbors that always bring them back when they get out. Thinking it was one of them I answered the door. Instead it was a lady I have never seen before, she was holding her dog, a bichon or something. This woman informed me that my dogs were running all over the neighborhood, sounds about right. What she said next though didn't sit well with me:

Lady: "Your dog attacked my dog."

Me: "What?"

Lady: "Yes, they were running all over the neighborhood and the black one attacked my dog. I had to pick her up"

Me: "I'm sorry. They have never attacked anything in their whole lives. They must have gotten out of the gate, I'm sorry"

Lady: "Well he did. I just thought you should know".

Me: "Thanks."

In all reality I was not out there, I didn't see what they did but I can only imagine. Should I have apologized? Yes. Did I like it? No. I guarantee they probably barked at her dog, she panicked and picked up her dog. I can't really blame her for being worried but I think an "attack" might be a bit of a strech. Tucker attacking another dog is not a likely scenario in this situation. My dogs will run towards another dog barking until they actually get up to the dog, then they roll over on their backs and pee on themselves. Ooh, viscous.

Even though I was seriously irritated, my "mother's love" for them came back just a bit more today because I felt I had to defend them. "Not my dogs lady! No way." That is what I really wanted to say. I can only imagine the elephant sized pill I am going to have to swallow when someone accuses Stella of something bad. It sure does bring out the fighter in a mom! Hopefully if and when that occurs I can be mature about it, hopefully.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Method to my Madness

Everyone has a lazy day once in awhile but I'm coming off about a week of minimal productivity. For whatever reason there was a definite lack of motivation and an overall feeling of blah. Something that has been weighing heavily on my mind the past month, and became very apparent in the last week, is that Stella's diet is lacking some nutrition. I know toddlers are difficult to feed and at times I should cut myself a little slack but lately I've been feeling like even the dogs are eating better than Stella. She has gotten pretty good at sharing her meals with them.

I've realized that where I'm falling short is my planning. Every so often you have to re-evaluate what stage your child is at and what you are doing to support their development. I have to admit, I did a pretty good job when it came to baby food. I pureed tons of fresh fruits and veggies and rarely cracked open a jar. In fact, it was pretty easy. Throw some vegetables in a blender, spoon into ice trays and you've got meals for weeks! I miss those days. As mothers/chefs we have to be much more creative now because our little people are developing big brains and big opinions too. Toddlers are not shy when they don't like something. They'll be sure to find some adorable way to let you know that lunch sucks. Stella's favorite is using her hand like a windshield wiper on her tray, resulting in food every where except her mouth.

I'm attempting to approach this mommy challenge with a new attitude. Instead of looking for the easy, surefire meal successes: mac-n-cheese, chicken nuggets, diced hot dogs and PB&J, I am planning to make my life more difficult. Join me won't you?! My first plan is going to be just that; an actual plan. I will try my best to avoid the "oh crap its lunch time, what am I going to give her to eat". I'm thinking this might be a good place to start. The next step is to revert back to what worked before and that was the purees. I got so tired of putting vegetables on Stella's tray just for her to play with them that I quit offering them to her, not good. She needs those veggies! I picked up a copy of Jessica Seinfeld's cookbook "Deceptively Delicious", I'm sure you've heard of it. Her method is to stock your freezer with pureed fruits and veggies and add them to meals your kids already like.

I'm hoping that the book might help spark some creativity in my kitchen and provide some better nutrition for my growing girl. Shocking as it may seem after reading this post, I'm actually a pretty decent cook. So if I come up with any yummy recipes of my own I'll be happy to share. If you can relate to my struggles I hope this encourages you to try and find healthy, nutritious meals to feed your children. If not, you can at least laugh at how lame I am.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Little miss independent

From the very beginning we've known that Stella has a mind of her own. She wants what she wants when she wants it, no doubt about it. This entertaining yet difficult part of her personality once again disrupted what I had planned for today. A friend of mine is the nanny of a sweet little two year old girl and the four of us had plans to walk at this beautiful park and take pictures in the wild flowers. Doesn't that sound just adorable?! Well that's what I tried to tell Stella but she had plans of her own and they didn't involve flowers. Actually I really don't know what they involved but she was on a mission. The first picture is my friend and her little girl sitting pretty for a picture. The next is Stella. Sitting pretty? I don't think so.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mommy Dearest

Sometimes when Stella is tired and whiny, or screaming for whatever reason, I just don't know what to do with her. So tonight, as I was trying to get her out of our bedroom, she let out her usual scream of disapproval. I don't have the ability to explain to a one year old why she needed to leave our bedroom, nor was she able to express her frustration with this in words. So she screamed and screamed and to get her to stop I decided to scream back. "See, mommy can do it too". She actually thought it was pretty funny and she did stop screaming, mission accomplished. Mike, doing the dishes and listening from the kitchen chimes in; "Its a good thing we don't have any wire hangers". I fell down in the hall hysterical, with tears of laughter running down my cheeks. Then I tried to do my best Joan Crawford impression. Priceless moment.


Why is it that so many women feel that they have to do it all? They have to be a super mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend and employee. Not only do you fulfill all of these roles but you have to look good while doing it. Basically we want to be perfect. If we are not, we at least need to appear that way. I tell ya, I spread myself so thin sometimes trying to please everyone, including myself, that I start to feel like a failure. Just because I didn't accomplish the fifty million things on my to-do list for the day does not mean the world is going to end. So why does it feel that way?

It really is incredible the way we stress ourselves out. Over the weekend a co-worker of mine asked me how I was doing and I responded with, "good, but a little stressed out". You know what was one of the biggest things stressing me out? Macaroni salad. That's right, you read that correctly, macaroni salad. I was in charge of bringing the macaroni salad to my sister in-laws house for Easter and with my busy weekend I didn't know when I would have the time to make it. Thinking about this now I can't believe I actually told someone I was stressed about making a dang macaroni salad! If this sounds a little familiar to you then let me suggest this: put your priorities in check. To do this I think we need to change our thought process first. Decide what is really important in your life then check yourself on a daily basis. Better yet, an hourly basis. What's on your to-do list for the day? Is it stressing you out? Is it really important or just macaroni salad important? This might help to put things into perspective.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Playground patience

It is so fun to take Stella to the playground now that she is walking. She absolutely loves it and runs from one thing to the next the whole time we are there. Yesterday I went to the mall with Stella, my mom and niece. The mall in my area is great because it has two inside play areas that are rubbery and soft, so they are pretty safe for a stumbling toddler. One of the areas is supposed to be for babies, toddlers and preschoolers; at least that is what the monkey says at the entrance. Well yesterday there were quite a few kids in there that I'm pretty sure were none of the above. We were having a great time at first, Stella was bouncing around as usual. After a while it got a little chaotic with larger kids running everywhere, and not at all concerned about knocking over little ones. I could feel the anxiety building up every time another kid bumped, stepped on or raced past Stella. I thought to myself, "they are just kids, have some patience". How crappy is that though! I have to have patience all day with Stella and now I have to have patience for other people's kids too, ugh.

Stella made her way to the slide and was slowly climbing up to enjoy her little ride, so cute. After about the fourth kid walking over her I started to get frustrated. Where the heck were the parents? Most were sitting around chatting or staring off into space. Umm, hello? Come get your kid, he is blocking the slide and there is a line of about fifteen other kids behind him! Lets pay attention here folks! Even though Stella didn't seem to be bothered, I guess I didn't have enough patience for the playground that day. Next time I will remember to practice my relaxation breathing before entering a mall playground, geesh.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


It surprises me every so often when I look at Stella and realize I love her more than the day before. I thought my heart was full and I couldn't possibly love her anymore, yet I do. I am occasionally overwhelmed by the feelings you get once you become a mother. This new expansion of my heart is not always happy though, It can feel very sad too. This morning Mike informed me that the little girl gone missing in Tracy, CA. was found dead. Sandra Cantu was only 8 years old and her life was ended in a horrible way. This news left me sickened and even though I do not know this girl or her family I shed tears for them. It is because I am a mother that I feel the sadness so strongly; my heart has changed. Even though this change has brought a stronger sense of sadness along with the joy, I accept it gratefully. I guess you don't get the joy without a little bit of pain. That is kind of what motherhood is all about.

God Bless Sandra and her family.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My apologies to the dogs

At some point in our lives we realize that the world does not revolve around us. Our sweet little children don't fully understand this quite yet. This is why the new bed we just bought for our two miniature dachshunds has become Stella's new bed. She has also adopted their new bones. Our poor dogs, life will never be the same for them. As far as Stella is concerned she rules the world!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


There comes a time when you have to do more than just bathe, feed, and cuddle your baby. You actually have to parent. Seriously, you actually have to be a parent! For me it has been a slow process of small realizations every time Stella reaches a new milestone. The day she started to crawl was the first time I really went “ok, its probably going to get interesting here”. You get a little taste of parenting when your baby becomes mobile because you are constantly following them around to make sure they aren’t getting into something dangerous or really messy. Then they start walking and man do they get busy! How does such a little person move so fast? One second Stella is playing with her toys in the living room and the next she is running down the hall with a bottle of nail polish. It’s all giggles for her too, especially when you are trying to take something she isn‘t supposed to have. It is one of Stella’s favorite games really; she grabs a black Sharpie and laughs while mommy chases her to get it. It doesn’t end well for her though because mommy usually wins. At this point there is a bit of screaming. It’s raspy and cute and it makes me laugh but here is where the parenting comes in. I can’t just grab things from her all day or we are going to have a day full of the raspy screaming which is only funny in small doses. Ideally the first choice would be to make her environment as kid friendly as possible. The best way to handle these conflicts is to avoid them all together, but we all know this is not always possible. Another choice is to distract the mischievous one with another toy or something else that might interest them. This way you are not always having to say “no”, which gets pretty old. “Mommy said no, mommy said no”, I annoy myself saying that all the time. Unfortunately we do have to say “no” sometimes because that is what they understand. You can’t give lengthy explanations on how you will get electrocuted from playing with plugs and sockets, you’ll just get a blank stare. What I’m learning is to find a happy medium. I try to make a nice, safe place for Stella to play and when she finds some trouble I direct her to something that will keep her busy and of course there is the unavoidable “mommy said no”. With a combination of these parenting techniques hopefully we can have a tantrum free day, or at least keep them to a minimum.