Saturday, November 30, 2013

the importance of sharing the bad days

Today has been what I would qualify as a 'bad' day of parenthood.

It has been one of those days that brings you to your knees, curled up in a ball outside of your wailing toddler's room, tears hot on your cheeks, at a complete loss of how to parent this child well. A day filled with tantrums, minimal sleep, and unexplained crying. I don't know how to help you; I don't know what's wrong. An hour and a half past bedtime, he finally falls asleep in your arms. You rest your eyes, soaking in the dark peace of his bedroom and recognize how much you needed the silence--the silence which is temporary, of course, because when you finally lay him down and tiptoe out of the room it is just fifteen minutes before a coughing fit wakes him and he realizes how miserable he is once again. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And you know what? Nothing is more isolating than the bad days. Doubt about your abilities as a parent creep up and you find yourself wondering how you will ever survive the rest of your existence if this is a sign of what's to come. You are a failure as a mother. Your child deserves better. Anyone who is a personal Facebook friend of mine is well aware of our bad days because I rant and rave about it via status updates. I know that this annoys quite a few, especially my friends who haven't experienced parenthood. The truth is, this is how I cope. I am an external processor. It is no secret that Elden has been a challenge since Day 1 but I continue to be dumbfounded by just how much of a challenge being his parent can be. He is strong-willed. Stubborn like his da. He frustrates easily like his mama and resolves himself to a fit when he can't communicate his needs with you, which is often. Yet, the hardest thing about a bad day isn't the day itself, but instead the fact that I often feel like we are the only parents who experience them on a semi-regular basis. I see my friends children who are apparently beacons of peace, compliance and goodwill. I come to this conclusion because no one ever shares with me that they are having a bad day. That parenthood has crushed their confidence. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a compulsive over-sharer so I'm totally confused as to why others wouldn't share when they're struggling over relatively menial tasks like trying to mail a package at the post office that took 12 time longer than it needed to, a lot of judgmental stares, and a single offer by a sweet elderly woman to help me that resolved me to tears because yesIabsolutelycouldusesomehelp.

There's just so much value in sharing every single struggle we encounter. We do one another a disservice by keeping it in to save face, avoid sounding like a whiney Danielle, or [insert your reason here]. It can be a lesson, tips of how you conquered various mountains that seemed impossible at the time. It can be a simple reminder that yes, this will indeed get easier with time and it is perfectly normal to question every single parenting decision you make. It can help someone who is struggling to not feel so alone, like so much of a failure. It also helps prevent resentment from bubbling up because why in the world is everyone else's child so perfect? I know I've been hidden from many-a-newsfeeds due to my incessant updates about our struggles and that's okay. If I can help just one other person feel less alone on their bad days it's worth it.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

whinesgiving

So all the other bloggers on the face of the blogiverse are writing their thanks, gushing about how blessed they are today.
Funny Thanksgiving Ecard: I'm thankful that we can soon get back to being ungrateful, disillusioned, and cynical.
{image source}
However, despite the fact that I am indeed blessed (you know, healthy family, jobs, roof over our heads, etc. and blah, blah, blah) I am not feeling so reflective on this chilly Thursday.

Spoiler alert: whining ahead. Haters gonna hate.

Elden has a friggin' knack for detecting when holidays are and not sleeping during the immediate nights surrounding them. Did I ever tell you about Christmas 2012? I don't think so, but it was a disaster. I think he literally slept 2 hours the entirety of Christmas Eve (and was crying the rest, despite every effort to calm him.. thanks colic) and Christmas day was just peachy because our sleep deprivation caused Jon and I to get in an epic fight. In any case, totes not how I pictured my son's fabulous first Christmas and I'm not sure why I thought things might be different this season since Easter yielded similar sleepless results.
Funny Thanksgiving Ecard: Hope you don't mind that the side dish I'm bringing to Thanksgiving is several bottles of wine that I'm not sharing with anyone else.
{image source}
See where this is going?

Guess who didn't want to sleep last night!

Someone else 'round here has a knack for something around the holidays: illness. Jon seems to have some sort of illness every major holiday and today is no different. He's got a sore throat (and is convinced it's cancer) and somewhere around 3:21 this morning I looked at him and said "perhaps we should skip Youngstown tomorrow" and he said "I think that's probably a good idea" and my heart was crushed an infinite number of times because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I have been looking forward to celebrating since July.

Fast forward to a husband who let me sleep in this morning and a hearty breakfast of homemade English muffin breakfast sammies/a baby who decided to actually take a hefty little nap and we're back on for Youngstown. But it probably won't be pretty.
Funny Thanksgiving Ecard: Happy Thanksgiving to someone as ungrateful as me.
{image source}
Here's to hoping we all survive.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

christmas trees and lederhosen

So the good news is Elden is sleeping again! We took him to the pediatrician and they suspected he might have a sinus infection so antibiotics were prescribed and started immediately. That night he slept through! It's been mostly smooth sailing every since although there has still been the occasional wake up here or there. The bad news is this means there's still a decent chance we will eventually experience the dreaded 18-month sleep regression. For now I intend on taking advantage of every single sleeping opportunity I'm presented with, which includes procrastinating writing birthday thank you cards (yes, from October 9th) in lieu of a nap when Elden naps. Don't hate. 

With the return of mostly normal sleeping habits, mostly pleasant Danielle has come along for the ride. Work is going well--I continue to learn a lot and I so cherish the extra time I get with my guys each day. Last weekend I tried my hand at an ornament wreath and I intended to write up a tutorial on that bad boy but let's just say it still needs some work... especially after I burst through the front door today with six grocery bags on one arm and one Elden on the other and about fourteen ornaments fell off of it upon impact with the wall (it's currently on the inside of the door... story for another day). This morning we went to this amazing (free!) Christmas Tree Festival and when we left it was snowing and then we had hot chocolate so I am in a très festive mood. This Big Bang Theory themed tree was my fave:
There was also a tree made entirely out of ties that was amazing (and Jon's favorite) but I was too busy corralling Elden to take a picture of it. Speaking of--he has basically lost his baby face:
 Since we were hit with the first major cold snap in about 8 months, we busted out Elden's lederhosen (thanks Tilo & Karla!) to keep his hiney warm and oh my heart he is too cute:
don't mind the missing sock
I'm really loving this age. Elden has been particularly cuddly lately and even let me hold him and sing Itsy Bitsy Spider (five times, his request) before bed tonight. He's also finding his independence and doesn't want your help on a lot of stuff thankyouverymuch but loves it when he lays down on a blanket and you (and his da) pick it up and swing him side to side like he's in a hammock. In any case, it's fun and interactive but can also be quite challenging. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

you get a friend code and you get a friend code! {graze}

I have sent out the emails to the graze.com giveaway winners.

I kinda felt like Oprah since everyone who left a comment got a code ;) Ladies, if you didn't get the email let me know!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

regression aggression

Hey. All you moms of kids older than 18 months out there. I have a pretty beefy bone to pick with you.

WHY DIDNT YOU TELL ME THE 18-MONTH OLD SLEEP REGRESSION WAS A THING? A horrible life-altering thing that turned me into the world's least adequate parent and grumpiest human being?

Now. I know Elden is not even 16M yet. This could also be the perfect storm of 2nd year molars (all other teeth are in), sickness and/or separation anxiety. I'm working on getting him an appointment to rule the illness thing out. But based on the last three? Four? weeks I have to think it's related to the sleep regresh. We're running on E over here. Last night Elden was up literally every two hours. It makes me wonder how we ever survived having a newborn.

In any case, I will likely be pretty quiet over here since we are simply trying to survive each 24 hour increment. Expect lots of follow up posts about our experiences (nightmares) dealing with this, including my general parental inadequacies (you know, like when I flipped my ish and screamed at my crying baby in his crib this morning to just stop crying already).  Because we fell into this completely unwarned and unexpectedly and I want to save you from the same fate. In the interim, you conspiring mamas who let me fall into this blindly, how on earthhhh did you survive it!?

Friday, November 15, 2013

fashionable friday

Sweater: (no idea)/second-hand from years ago, skirt: I lied last time, it's Forever 21, tights: JC Penney, boots: Walmart
I would never ever consider myself a 'fashion blogger' in any capacity as I recently stumbled into work and realized I looked JUST LIKE Amy Farrah Fowler (boxy knee-length skirt, tights, a button-down under a sweater) with the only exception being I was wearing my brown boots instead of clogs. In any case, I think I found a dynamite costume for next Halloween (perhaps I could convince Jon to dress as Leonard because he will never ever wear contacts) and Elden as a little Sheldon!?

Also, if you haven't yet (odds are you haven't) you should click over to my graze giveaway because given the current number of entrants odds of you winning a free box of snacks are stacked in you favor ;)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

15 months

I'm overdue on this post and starting to get confused about what happened last month vs. this month so (full disclosure) this is likely not an entirely accurate reflection of month 15. Elden has really started to pick up words. He was a bit of a late bloomer in that department (he says "mm" with a cute little inflection for just about everything) but now that he's starting to grasp it things are moving along. He has said all of the following at least four times: shoes, cheese, bye, duck, boo, baby, ma, da, and bath. When prompted, he can point out his belly, bellybutton, booty, nose, ears, foot, leg, and toes. Elden knows many things as well--for example, when you get his shoes he knows to sit down and hold up his foot for you. He is somewhere in the 80th percentile for weight and 94th for height. Elden's sleep has regressed quite a bit this past month and we aren't sure whether he's perhaps cutting his 2-year molars (we hope that's it) but it's been pretty rough on all of us. Another notable is the removal of the bottle. We are going cold turkey and I'd say his daily milk intake is about an ounce which worries me but his pediatrician says will be fine since it should be temporary. The only food Elden doesn't like is hard boiled egg but he devours mostly everything else. I think my favorite part about this age is he is more cuddly and even fell asleep in my arms for the first time since he was probably 9 months old the other day. I could definitely get used to that...

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

graze {a giveaway!}

A friend on Facebook mentioned a healthy snack box subscription service called graze. It's currently invite-only and you get a box of healthy snacks mailed to you every 2-4 weeks for $6 per box. With her invite code, I got my first box free. I decided to give it a shot and we got our first order in the mail the other day.
Elden devoured the key lime pie trail mix and I'm all about the florentine one. Truthfully the sizes aren't as big as I expected so I'm not sure how long term we'll keep this, but we also get our 5th box free so I think we'll stick it out til then and determine its value. I just love that it's unique (but healthy!) snacks that we all love.

And now the good stuff... I have four friend codes that will get you your first box free (you could always cancel after that if you don't want to pay anything). You need an invite to sign up (or you could go on their waiting list) but once you sign up you get 4 invites to give out so you can spread the love! To enter, just leave me a comment on this post with your email address and favorite snack before Wednesday, 11/20 at noon EST and I will draw the winners using random.org that night. To earn one [total] extra entry you could share this giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or your own blog and come back to let me know you shared it!

snow

Yesterday was our first real snow of the season and as such I insisted on bundling Elden up so we could see how he reacted to it. I loved snow as a kid so I was definitely crossing my fingers that Elden would share my sentiment and give me an excuse to frolic in it once again.
He was a smidge hesitant at first but after a few minutes of gentle convincing he loved it! He was quite unhappy when we came inside about fifteen minutes later. As it happens, drool and freezing temperatures don't mix. Does anyone have a solution for this? We thought scarf but I'm worried he'd soak through it in five minutes and it would freeze to his face...

As for his gear, the hat is actually an adult winter hat that I got on a trip to NYC when I was 16, my mom got the coat on clearance at Marc's last season for $3, the snow pants I found (like new!) at Salvation Army for $2, his mittens are from last season (gift) and the shoes were buy one get one half off at Babies R Us a while back. Not too shabby!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

beauty tip: baby powder

When I was pregnant with Elden I learned something I had previously known nothing about at our newborn care class: you are not supposed to use baby powder anymore. Something about the particles and lungs and I don't remember but I'm sure Google has a ton of info on it so if you're curious go search for it. In any case, I'm usually pretty on top of this info so it came as no surprise that at our baby shower we got a few bottles of it. Being the hoarders we are, we held onto them and you guys? I am so glad we did.

If ya'll are like Jon this next part is going to have you giving me the side eye and calling me weird. This is my cross to bear. I have exceptionally thin hair. So much so that even if I wash it daily it oft looks greasy. One morning as I was getting ready for work it was particularly greasy and I noticed a bottle of baby powder on the bathroom shelf. I'm well aware that dry shampoo is all the rage these days so in my half-awake state I rationalized that baby powder was just like dry shampoo. Maybe this is common knowledge? Too lazy to Google. So I loaded it in my hair. And the results were phenom. And I've been doing it almost every day since. I think it's important to note that I obviously have light hair. The powder certainly makes it a tad lighter so I'm not sure how well this would work for people who have dark hair, but if you have a bottle lying around it's worth a shot. Here's the quick and dirty down-low on how I do it:
Step 1: acquire greasy hair. Note: cell phone camera did not do the grease justice.
Step 2: acquire baby powder
Step 3: place powder on your fingertips then pat it generously into the greasy areas
Step 4: pin back the bangs that are in dire need of a cut and go on your merry way
Seeing these on my computer makes me realize how the before and after basically look the same but I swear by this remedy in person, so it is what it is!

Monday, November 11, 2013

to my better half

Happy birthday to my favorite man, my closest friend and one of the best decisions I ever made. Thank you for choosing us, for loving us and for being an amazing husband and da. We will do everything we can to make your twenty-sixth year unforgettable. We love you always.

Love,
Danielle & Elden

Sunday, November 10, 2013

a recipe & video

Jon and I were talking and realized we finally feel like we've found our stride--the first time since Elden was born. If it wasn't colic it was general discourse in our marriage due to primarily miscommunications. In any event, it feels good.

On Sundays, Jon gets off work right as I put Elden in the tub. As such, he will often still be in the tub when Jon gets home. As soon as I hear the garage I will ask him where his Da is and he will shout and holler for Jon. Well, he's definitely found preference for saying "da" over "ma" and this is the result:
video

We had dinner to celebrate Jon's birthday on Friday and his grandma made soup just for Elden. The kid LOVES it. He had it for lunch and then at dinner I was looking in the fridge and asked him what he wanted--he promptly pointed to the soup. So he had soup for dinner and if I had to guess he's a big fan:

I had been craving sloppy joe's for a while and we also haven't had turkey for quite some time so I tried my hand at homemade turkey sloppy joe's for dinner and holy cow. So good. I modified the Pioneer Woman's recipe in the following ways:
-sub ground turkey for ground beef
-omit onion and bell pepper (please explain to me how I managed to marry someone who loathes two of my favorite food items)
-eyeball all measurements except for the water and ketchup
-omit red pepper flakes (didn't want it to be too spicy so Elden could have some)
-omit both optional ingredients
-add some onion and garlic powder, barbecue sauce
If you aren't a big ground turkey fan but want to eat healthier than ground beef I highly recommend going this route. I could barely tell it wasn't beef. Jon thought it was just okay, but he's not a big sloppy joe fan in general...

Friday, November 8, 2013

fashionable friday

Look at me still getting all fancy a few weeks in. Given my track record I think I'm worthy of a gold star or at least a cookie. Plus this is TWO SEPARATE OUTFITS. High fives all around.
(Monday) Cardigan: Express/second-hand, top: Burlington Coat Factory, skirt: H&M/second-hand
(Thursday) Sweater: Express/second-hand, Dress/belt: JCPenney, Leggings: JCpenney
Worth noting: I've worn more skirts and dresses in the last two weeks than I have in the last two years. This may be partially attributed to the glow-in-the-dark properties of my natural skin tone and wanting to spare the greater population from being subjected to the blinding white glare that bounces off me in sunlight. Also? Leggings feel like PJs and PJs feel like paradise. You heard it here first. Other breaking news: I finally got new boots! We had to run to Walmart yesterday for sippy cups, bulb syringe, etc. and I happened upon their shoe section and found the cutest pair of brown riding boots for less than $20. Prepare to see those thrown in the mix!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

numerical list

Prepare yo'selves for an onslaught of thoughts.

1. Literally right after I wrote my gushy post about my triumphant return to the 'gram the Android phone I had scored pooped out on me. :( I need to call HTC to see if they can do anything for me (seriously it worked one second then froze; I shut it down and it never returned from its grave--not even when charging) but let's be real. Ain't nobody got time for that.

2. I swear at least one person in my life (blogging and Facebook, mostly) announces that they are pregnant each day. I'm trying so so hard not to get jealous and stew over what we lost, but I'd be lying if I said I was nothing but happy for everyone. I want that and it's hard.

3. 'The Season' is upon us. The number of searches for no sew burlap stockings leading to my blog have skyrocketed. Also, prepare yourselves for my next batch of Christmas project tutorials within the next few weeks.

4. I need to do Elden's 15-month post. We did go for his well check on Tuesday and he's 25 lbs 12 oz (86th percentile) and 32" tall (94th percentile).
5. On the subject of the Stinker, his favorite game is when Jon or I hide and jump out at him and yell "BOO!" His favorite game happens to be tied with game #2: Elden is the one doing the raising of the hands and yelling "boo" and oh my freaking gosh. It's the cutest little boo you'll ever hear.

6. I'm obsessed with a new television show and I'm pretty embarrassed to admit it. It's called Reign on the CW and it's essentially a teenage soap opera about Queen Mary (Scotland, throwback) that is only borderline non-fictional. But is also addictive.

7. Work is going really well. I learn so much every day and I have been downright spoiled by the commute time and flex time. Feeling very grateful about that.

Monday, November 4, 2013

confession.

I realized I never gave the final update on my last blood draw.

My hCG was 6. Along with this information, the doctor wrote on my health portal that no additional lab work was necessary so I guess that means it's over. I still feel weird about it all. If I'm being brutally honest, I couldn't help but feel guilty for all the support and love we received. There are so many people who have it way worse than we did with this miscarriage. My heart immediately went to those who struggle to get pregnant in general, who lose their babies much further along in the pregnancy (don't get me started on stillbirth), etc. I knew deep down this was going to happen. Sure, I got somewhat attached and boy did I lose it the morning I got my second hCG report back (just ask the intern I was sharing an office with, sorry Tim!), but I wasn't as devastated as I think I should have been. I credit that back to God preparing my heart and just having that gut-feeling the pregnancy wasn't going to work out.

I guess what I'm trying to say is things seem to be 'normal' again. The OB said if we wanted to "try again" we have to wait at least one menstrual cycle. We're not planning on trying again, at least not at this moment, while we continue to work out the plan for when Jon graduates in May. We're also still not sure how to feel about everything and we continue to contemplate what this means and how it will impact any subsequent children (if we are able to have subsequent children). I still don't know how to refer to my next one. My third? My second-living? It all just feels so morbid and I know if I were to go either of those routes whoever I was talking to would be hella uncomfortable. But I also don't want to minimize the fact that we had a baby that we lost, especially if that baby truly had a soul (this goes back to the still not knowing how to feel topic) and is waiting for us in Heaven. In any case, I know that moving forward, should we conceive again, I will be a complete and total wreck of nerves.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

instagram

When Jon and I finally embraced the dark side (smart phones) purely due to our inability to locate any decent non-smart phones at Sprint, I had only one app requirement: Instagram. I longed for the day I could take perfectly normal photos and artificially age them to share with the world to see how absolutely fabulous my breakfast was. My first phone was a Samsung Galaxy (I think the orig) and my desires were met. Unfortunately, the OS on that phone was pretty awful and I had a nearly impossible time making calls consistently. After a switch to a Windows phone I made the dreaded discovery that Instagram, being the cruel hipsters they (the collective 'grammers public at large) are, refuse to support Windows phones. My soul was crushed.

Fast forward a blur of dreaded time that I cried and cried over my mostly app-less Windows phone. I was making French toast while using a recipe as reference on my phone.

Let's just say I spilled egg white on the microphone of my phone. Let's also just say this isn't the first time an electronic device of mine has met a similar fate. I may be thinking of a certain one Toshiba Satellite laptop and some marshmallow fluff. RIP. Thank God for Squaretrade warranties.

Anywho, despite that fact that every.single.person. I spoke with on the phone since "the incident" always told me they were having a nearly impossible time talking to me "because it sounds like you're under egg whites water!" I was stuck with it because a) T-Mobile doesn't offer rebates/incentives to get free phones throughout the lifetime of your contract [you pay full price for the phone but that's why their plans are so so cheap] and b) despite a pay increase at the new gig we're also paying a lot more for our health insurance (granted the plan is a rockstar) so I'm not making much more after all that jazz than I was before so money is still tight. Also, it helped fulfill my grand plan to talk on my phone to anyone as little as possible because hello I prefer text and email. In any case, enough was finally enough and I sent out a plea for old T-Mobile phones on Facebook and lo and behold I am surrounded by upstanding people who had an old phone to offer me! My friend, Erin, sent me her old HTC my Touch (box and all and generally seeming brand-spanking-newery) for the low, low price of $13.75 (shipping) + $4.99 for the SIM adapter. Suffice to say THE PHONE IS A FREAKIN' ANDROID and the very first thing I did was download the 'gram.

So what I could have said in one sentence (find me on the right bar via the social media section slash @daniellefilipko) I summed up in approximately four paragraphs. You're welcome.

Friday, November 1, 2013

fashionable friday

cardigan: second-hand/the limited, button-down shirt: second-hand/american eagle, skirt: second-hand/forever 21, accessory: first-hand/my uterus

If you haven't noticed, I don't do a lot of shopping for myself. I'd much rather buy for Elden or Jon if given the opportunity. Fortunately for me I have lots and lots of uber fashionable friends who bestow their gently-used items upon me. I did just purchase myself a pair of grey leggings (the black above are the only ones I had prior), a pair of flats for work and a blouse on clearance from JC Penney, and I am in the market for anther pair of boots. Unfortunately, being the frugal stingy buyer I am, I pass up just about every pair of boots that cost more than $15. I'm going to eventually try to get back to the mall store I obtained these boots at (they were about $15) to see if I can score a similar deal... that mall is just thirty-five minutes away...