Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Four Months of You

A grin so authentic it can't be replicated anywhere else. Deep conversations consisting of moans, groans, squeals and squeaks. The most glorious of welcomes with a whole body shake and light up from toes to top. A pretty rockin' sleep "schedule" of a 7 p.m. bedtime and a few night wakings here and there. An appetite fit for a king. A few tricks such as hanging in the Bumbo, playing for hours on the kickmat, grabbing and reaching for toys and nearly getting over onto your tummy solo (if only that darn shoulder and big ol' head weren't in the way!). A sunny disposition that allows us to take you just about anywhere. A love for sleep sacks and long naps. Infatuation with your brother. A deep seeded love for Mama and Sophie the Giraffe. The biggest love affair with your fists. A new bond with ducky, stroller rides and car outings. The constant desire to be held. The joy of spotting yourself in the mirror.

And best of all: four months of the deepest love we could ever know.

We adore you, little Squeak. And thanks for kicking that colic. Who knew there was so much sunshine underneath all that rain?!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Style for Substance

A lady of substance, that is!

Recently, my place of work returned its dress code from casual back to business casual, requiring new dress pants and amped up gear for the post-second-baby body. Because this girl ain't no Kate Middleton, this was quite a feat. Even finding black pants fit for a size XX proved to be hard. Here are some finds for those that require the double digits and seek work ensems:

INC curvy pants from Macy's; Alfani and GAP curvy trousers are a close second

Alex Marie dresses from Dillards that are on sale and have an a-line; this one is comfy,
 sassy andhas pockets while still being professional

Alex Marie - a touch of Pretty Woman

Also in the queue are some great Calvin Klein silky tops you can find in suiting, one of his teal suit jackets and  IN Studio dresses from Dillard that are an amazing price, and don't forget your accessories...the things that always fit!

Don't forget to feel good even when you're feeling a bit bad about where your body is in the moment. Slap on a bit of lipstick, some pearls and one of these comfies and affordables and you'll be set!

Inappropriate Thoughts...

By M. Choate when MedAct arrives at your home:

1. What am I even wearing? Do I have a bra on? Am I covered in breast milk or poop?

2. Are they asking me those questions because they think I knocked him out? I may be a pain ever so often, but there isn't a lot of Mike Tyson in this soul...

3. What's that dude reaching for his phone for? He's calling DFCS, isn't he? I knew it - this place is a disaster. Yesterday's dishes, weeks of unfolded laundry, toys galore...he totally is. Where could I hide the children...

4. Man, I hope that cute fireman doesn't trip on the army men at the top of the stairs.

5. How the hell do the kids sleep through 17 large, medically trained professionals tromping through the house but the cat cries from the basement and suddenly they are awake?

6. What? They want to lay him on the bed now?! But those are new, white sheets...

7. Who can watch the children, who can watch the children, who can watch the children?

8. So can I start Cloroxing now? It looks like you guys got this for a bit...I'm not letting that damn virus take us all down.

9. Did that guy really just ask me to put my dog away? Dude - she's a golden retriever. Are you fearful she'll lick your face off?

10. Did I just hear the MedAct chic say she had this virus YESTERDAY?! Get out, lady, get out! We don't need those germs here!

Before you judge, I believe these thoughts were just coping mechanisms for my brain to begin wrapping itself around that my husband was hurt, suffering and had a close call. That I don't know what I'd do without him. That I love him to pieces. And that he's the strongest, bravest guy I know.

I love you honey and am so glad you're don't forget it when DCFS comes to take me away, ok?

The Truth About the Toilet Paper Roll

"So sir, you're going to be disappointed, because you have another thing on your 'honey-do' list," the paramedic said as she and two others hauled my husband off the ground, the weight of the day and all that had happened in the past hour weighing heavily on their shoulders and his. It just didn't seem like the time to mention that that thing had been hanging off the wall for approximately seven months. You know, when there are still pools of blood lining your tile and your husband is half asleep awaiting an ambulance ride and all. So I kept my mouth shut, despite just a day earlier I was considering how applicable that Pinterest post about laziness stood in our household these days. Suddenly, none of it mattered.

It all started Friday when the daycare report came home that indicated Squeak had a challenge with his tummy, and his tummy won. For 12 hours we held him as he moaned, not understanding what was happening as the flu took over his small form, his body rejecting the only substance he longed for day in and day out. Loads of laundry later, several phone calls to Children's Mercy and hours of pacing the hallways praying such a young baby would bounce back and hydrate, and he was suddenly in the clear. Phew.

But you know what that means...

Daddy was next and boy did he take the job of acquiring THE VIRUS as we adoringly now call it, seriously. Around 4 p.m. he disappeared, tending to himself and hiding away as he suffered through, embarrassed and fatigued that such a strand could take down a man of steel. Balancing the kids (read: quarantining them and getting them to bed), Cloroxing and dropping wet washcloths on the hubs' head, he finally retreated into a fitful sleep, or so I thought.

Pen poised, I finally sat down to some long overdue baby spoiling thank you cards when the sickening thud of body meets tile echoed to the family room where I lay below. Panic stricken and heart racing I headed to the master bath, a pool of crimson greeting me first as my stomach and heart leapt in different directions, while my mind and fingers magically found the 9-1-1 buttons on my miraculously charged phone. A friendly, calm voice walked me through pulse checks, breathing, compressions, not moving him and keeping me close until MedAct arrived, the heavy thud of their boots on my stairs a most welcoming sound. As the children continued to sleep, the mister came through after a short seizure, able to answer what year it was, who was in office and where he lay while he began to process what had happened and of course, that he was only in his skiivies.

Some patches, saline, time and an awkward wardrobe change later we were advised to take the ambulance to the nearest ER for some stitches, fluids and a CT. On our agenda, the husband of course refused the ride, his ability to process the hit to our budget still existent as he lay weak and recovering as we waited for my Dad to watch the children in the wee hours of the morning. Once he arrived, I provided limited instruction, got the husband into a vehicle and took off for the ER less than five miles away, only to have him seize once more in the car.

Several bouts of shouting, wheelchair racing, question answering and calming later, the husband was getting cleaned and juiced up, the color slowly returning to his chiseled cheekbones and his humor sprinkling in with his spirit as he cracked jokes with the physicians and nurses on staff. A clear CT, bags and bags of fluids and 10 stitches later and we were close to on our way, alerting the doc we'd be back for suture removal and potentially that vasectomy thing that was on our list. With a smile, he advised they couldn't be done in the same visit. Dang doctors - always trying to make some extra dough...

Returning home to a roused child, an anxious and germ-concerned father and a slumbering pre-schooler, we snuck in a few hours of sleep, only to awake to it being Mommy's turn.

Then Little Dude's.

Then my poor parents, who were just trying to help out.

Silver lining: none of us tried to go extreme with THE VIRUS and wind up in white gowns under flourescent lights. Perhaps it's because neither of those things are very flattering.

That and someone still needed to fix that damn toilet paper roll...

Here's hoping you and yours avoid THE VIRUS and are off to a happy, healthy school year!

PS: to our neighbors who thought all those emergency vehicles were there to bust them for their itty, bitty bonfire...THANKS A LOT! :)

PPSS: Hubs thinks he can take the stitches out himself with a pair of scissors and some whiskey. You know, just like Rambo. For the record, this is a terrible idea.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mom Knows Best

Tory Burch Nude Flops: A just-because, pick me up gift from Mom's trip to Atlanta. My feet and heart are swooning over my first TBs.

Thanks for knowing best Mom!

Monday Momfessions

Yah, I know, I know...missed the deadline. Truth: Momma's tired.

1. A 911 call was placed to my nearest and dearest colleague to rescue me out of my hands-free pumping bra during a zipper snafu that left me helpless. Thank gah for besties and work wives. I hope they haven't installed those cameras yet in the hallways...

2. Two nights this week I've gone to bed before 8 p.m. Apparently for me, having two children equates to the worst case of mono that isn't improving.

3. You know the ol' trick of purposefully dumping half a glass of water on you to compensate for leaking breasts before hitting the board room? Yep. Check. "Oh I just spilled some water..."

4. Skittles for breakfast? Sure, why not.

5. I'm highly considering opening my own detailing business for car seat blowouts. Might as well make a buck on it if the chore is going to be required every three days, yes?

6. Though dressing one's self at three fosters creativity and independence, at times I want to scream into the universe that I prefer he wear something dapper that matches. Shhhhhh.

7. The block between the two daycare centers? Sometimes, just sometimes I want to toss the big in there without taking the time to strap him in to make the trek. Don't worry, I won't, I won't...but I may still want. Sometimes those two to eight minutes it takes for them to climb in, help buckle themselves and tell three stories makes me ponder if we could have summoned a camel and hoofed it over there at a similar pace.

8. I still haven't learned the secret of getting both small children into a public stall to meet my needs. It's like that island show...which do you kick off? And really, neither is acceptable. Lose-lose situation. Unless I revert back to that whole letting a stranger hold your baby thing I had going on for awhile during the colic stage.

9. Apparently I need a sponsor to get me through my grief stage of giving up the co-sleeper. Since we're no longer expanding Team Choate, we're consigning like crazy, the sleeper the most difficult to give up. This makes no sense. Perhaps the mattress is lined with addictive substances. Either that or I'm just getting old and nostalgic. Regardless, I see puppies and ponies in my future...

10. I've still not made the mister get up for a night feeding, though I do my fair share of thrashing and bed bouncing on my departures and returns "on accident because I was so tired." Or, as some may call it, "bitter at times for being the sole provider of food for baby at this time." That's a lot of accountability for one gal. Perhaps it will be a good resume builder in the future or a great answer to when my kid thanks me for breastfeeding him for a year....wait a minute...

I hope you have a great weekend Momma. Hang in there, you're doing great!

Four? Really?!

The vision has been announced and preparations have begun:

Bounce house secured. Invitations sent. Presents purchased. Excitement building. Bring it on.

But maybe leave the age four part out, ok? All this magic is going WAY too fast...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why's the WEEK Hafta END?!

How weekends are supposed to go:

Celebrating a beloved friend's birthday over mexican and cerveza

Getting our bounce on at the Midwest Hot Air Balloon Festival

People watching in awe

Experiencing all that is carnival-ous

Showing our true colors

Closing down Splash Cove for the season with Mommas and their littles

It was the perfect end to our version of summer, leaving the competition for fall to be stiff. Here's to the memories of the season and all that is to come!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Mommas Being Strong

Let's face it: Moms don't need lessons on how to be strong. Day in and day out they are role models for their children, serving as the entire C-suite of the household, kissing little foreheads away for nine hours, finding patience in all things, preparing meals, washing bottles, folding towels, hosting board meetings, attempting to look her best and maintain friendships, soothing boo boos, tripping over army men, trying to be sassy for her husband and so much more. But one area Moms could probably get some education in:

Taking a little time for themselves. To breathe. Recover from the 18 hour days. To feel a little bit good about herself and unite with others who understand.

Enter: Momma Strong.

I first stumbled upon Momma Strong from friend and blogger Melanie Knopke, who featured the site and an overview of the different web workout programs and immediately thought: YES. I can do 15 mins a day when the kiddos are asleep and I won't miss a second, on my time and my dime. And mommy branded and thoughtfully planned for women with children? Sign me up.

So sign up I did through one of Melanie's blog giveaways, and though I didn't walk away a winner, I still received a discount to sign up for the program for $15 - that's it! With that I gained access to the postnatal series, a 30-min manageable workout for a two week session delivered via the web and designed to regain your core strength and lengthen those mommy-needed muscles for toting and doing everything one-handed. After that, I'll commit to "The Hook" for 30 days, where Melanie and several of her friends experienced some great results. In addition, Momma Strong includes a suite of valuable and helpful resources, all designed for the Mom on the go that totally gets that 15 minutes is still a lot of time and that you're tired of running your knees into the remnants of your last c-section.

Courtney, the founder and trainer, is genius. Comfortable, approachable, doable and flexible the programs are tough and leave you sweating, but leave you guilt free as you're doing your time at home and the cost is extremely reasonable. Her customer service is over the top awesome, and it's easy to throw up your iPad or grab some space near your PC to get in your 15 mins a day.

So whether you're a new Mom or a seasoned one that's ready to get back into the groove without committing to all those 13.1s your gal pals are doing, take a minute to find "strength in the middle" with Momma Strong and sign up today. Then holler at me so we can do "The Hook" together and share our burpee war stories!

Happy workout, Momma!

Caught on Camera

On days like this where I only spotted the tops of my wee one's eyelids vs. his actual baby blues, I'm grateful for the sleep cam:

Sure he's actually only in there about eight minutes a day as he adjusts, but that's enough to feel as if he's just within my reach despite I'm 15 miles away lost in the clutter of work.

In the blessing vs. curse argument for technology, I'm going to go ahead and call blessing on this one.

Thank you, sleepcam.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Down With Diaper Rash

"Dude, I feel for him - can you imagine if your hiney felt and looked like one of those flame throwers from Mario Kart?" my husband states as I take a minute to wrap my brain around the analogy. Giving up I made a mental note to talk to some of my mommy friends and bring up the lash of the diaper rash at his upcoming appointment. As usual, I received some great tips and tricks, but this one by far won the prize:

Calmoseptine - made for those in the nursing home but perfect for wee ones with sore bums. Just remove the diaper, clean them up, slap on a bit of your favorite regular diaper cream and then coat in Calmoseptine and wa la: a clean set of buns that's pain free.

Pair this with diapers that work best for your baby's skin and cotton swabs that are wet vs. wipes that contain alcohol and you're golden.

Find it over the counter at your local pharmacy store but grab two when you go because for some reason they disappear fast.

Cleaner, calmer kiddos - happy pasting!

A Warmer Welcome

It's been said that the highest form of flattery is imitation. Well, I sure hope Andrea of Life.Love.Larson agrees because in reading her latest post on her back patio and then digging a bit further and scoping out her front door color, our stoop is starting to resemble hers:
We're still searching for that perfect  mat and a tiered planter to adorn the right corner, but other than that this was a quick fix to provide a warmer welcome to all who call to enter. Sure we'd love to replace the gold, get a screen, etc., but this was an inexpensive way to change it up and bring a little sass to the front of our chocolate and cream home. (PS: if it were my dream home I'd have those double antique looking doors that are uh-mazing). Even better, Andrea made it super easy with her beautiful taste. A friend of a friend and quickly becoming a gal pal, her home is remarkable and one I fell in love with instantly at a baby shower she hosted. The girl has mad taste!

But don't worry Andrea, I don't have an inkling of your DIY talent and vision, so this is likely as far as I'll be able to stalk and mimic you for awhile. Though that mudroom with the chalk wall of yours is calling my name...

Thank you for the inspiration A - we owe you!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Smile: It's Friday

Or in this case, give a little giggle:

This is his second laugh we've ever witnessed. And true to his name, it kinda squeaks too, don't ya think?

Have a weekend filled with all that's lovely!

Monday Momfessions: July 28 Week

Dude, it's nearly Friday. This is bad...

1. Last evening before bed in a wild game of hide n' seek, our missing son emerged from his closet bare naked, threw his hands in the air and boldly stated: "Hello ladies!" I can only blame this on his father's parenting skills or potentially genetics. Note: truly go out and purchase one of those cheesy "lock up your daughter" tees.

2. I'm already daydreaming about my "Office Space" copier moment with my pump. That's not good only three months in. Not applying storage to the end of the cones and getting so riled up about a work issue that milk is spraying three feet in every direction from small tubes is not helping. Did I mention I happened to be on a conference call in a hands-free bra on a cloudy day with the blinds open to our parking lot when this occurred? Awesome.

3. Next to Google: "how the hell boys can already stink at age three."

4. Two of my dearest had mommy meltdowns this week. This makes me feel much more normal in this universe and I'm so grateful they called.

5. I've decided to label my return to work schizophrenic. Like clockwork, one day is rainbows and productivity and the next is the greatest desire for slumber and motivation there ever was. It's quite interesting and slightly unnerving. Some days I wonder who I'm going to wake up to. Did I mention I'm her?

6. I'm definitely on the naughty list this year as I used Santa - yes SANTA - to convince my son to move his furniture back to the location I preferred. I may have a slight control issue around furniture placement. I'm uncertain as to whether this is a better bribe (or white lie?!) than chocolate chips at bedtime.

7. I may have confessed this before, but after nightly relations with Star Wars videos to get our kid to sleep, I'm not entirely convinced that Squeak did not come back as an incarnate of Yoda. Seriously - the resemblance is uncanny.

8. This week a horizontal dress I sported caused my Mom to say "you look like you just delivered." Note: this is NOT  a compliment. Then again, can I still say that I did just deliver? When is that drop dead date? Because I sure could use that excuse for awhile given my recent taco and candy consumption. I'm going to go ahead with two or three years and potentially lie to strangers who follow that chat up with "so how old is your kid?" I don't do math, new friend, and neither should you. PS: the princess totally got away with that sh*t.

9. Creating Little Dude's invites that contain the number 4 melts my heart into a little puddle. Even working so hard to enjoy every little moment, where do they continue to escape?

10. Murphy's Law ensures that after a 3 a.m. nursing session, the oldest then will always stumble out and wake. Despite my peepers are still perky as I lay down in bed 10 seconds before this debacle, I pretend to be asleep and whap my husband so he actually has to get up for once. Shhhhhhh.

Got any guilty pleasures this week Momma?