A “Phull Phun Philly” Week

Leave a comment

Guys.  There was no school for Zach in August.  Or September, until the 11th.  After the beach, it was just me, Z and G.  So I decided to do a “Phull Phun Philly” Week (yay, alliteration), just me and the boys.  By the way, we just got back from the Academy of Natural Sciences today (aka: the “dinosaur museum”)…

IMG_1830

Sunday: Spruce Street Harbor Park

IMG_1524

Monday:  Chillin’ in the “‘hood”

IMG_1567

Tuesday: Philadelphia Zoo

IMG_1581

Wednesday:  Smith Memorial Playground

IMG_1660

Thursday:  Camden Aquarium

IMG_1707

Friday:  Home fun

 

 

 

IMG_1681

Not gonna lie, kinda loving life right now 🙂

IMG_1545

 

 

She’s Baaaaaack!!!!

1 Comment

Hi everyone! Boy, has it been a while!  A year in fact…I see that the last post I wrote was post Broad Street and this Sunday guess what is coming up?  Yup…Broad Street!  So, it seems like nothing but EVERYTHING has changed.  I now have TWO precious baby boys

IMG_2637

And while it was questionable whether there was ACTUALLY a child in there,

One day before I gave birth

One day before I gave birth

Gabriel David was born on January 9th, a healthy 6 pounds 4 ounces via c-section.

IMG_1364

And while I have never felt more blessed, I will tell you…the struggle is REAL!  This ish is hard!  Ha!  So wait, how about THIS for a doppeldanger?  Guess who is who…

guess who

guess who

20120907-163708.jpg

Guess who

Guess who

1.  Zachary

2.  Me

3.  Gabriel

Hahah funny, right!?  So, as I said, not much has changed, but everything!  I have a TON of exciting posts coming your way including:

Broad Street this year (should be fun considering I have not trained more than 8 miles which including hopping on and off the torture mill to pop in the pacifier several times, my kid doesn’t sleep, and breastfeeding saps the life out of me)

Zachary’s third birthday party

Gabriel’s birth

What else do you want to hear about?!

SO glad to be back!

photo-19

Catch ya on the flip side!

Still Breastfeeding…A Toddler

4 Comments

Zach will be two next month.  When I was pregnant, I was turned off by breastfeeding and not sure if I was going to do it at all.  I had anatomical issues (I will leave it at that) and many bouts of mastitis to get through, but I can honestly AND PROUDLY say that we are TWO YEARS going strong with breastfeeding.  And I will say, I realize it is not for everyone.  But I am TRULY from the camp of “whatever works for you is the right thing.”  PERIOD.  So, haters, move along or leave a comment. Both will be equally accepted 😉  Honestly, though, it seems to offend some people that I am “still” breast feeding Zach (although I am seriously not sure why…it is not anyone else’s boobs but mine).  But as I have mentioned before, once you are a parent you seem to automatically hand yourself over to unsolicited advice and criticism.  This one though, I am not budging on.

In case you are wondering, bfeeding does NOT interfere with his appetite.

In case you are wondering, bfeeding does NOT interfere with his appetite.

Zach LOVES “mama bee” and has not shown ANY signs of wanting to wean.  He feeds 2-3 times daily.  The two “must haves” for him are before bed and in the morning. The noon-time pre-nap feeding sometimes doesn’t happen if I am out or something.  Can he do without my milk?  Sure. But am I withholding it from him?  No way.  It is SO easy for us and is remaining a fixture in our lives for the time being.  Does it interrupt his sleep?  NOPE!  Thank the good lord, Zachary began sleeping through the night ON HIS OWN ACCORD a couple months ago.  He no longer eats during the night or cries for us.  And he did this in his own developmental time-frame.  I can do a post on this later (sleeping through the night; cry it out or no?) but the point is, my son wasn’t going to wake up in the middle of the night until high school and he certainly isn’t going to breast feed when he goes off to college.  But he is HAPPY,  KIND, HYSTERICAL, DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE and most importantly, HEALTHY. So, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it right?  Man, what a HIPPIE I have become!

Disney with a Toddler Part 1

Leave a comment

OK, so before I begin a recap of what we did day-to-day, I have a few general trips:

1.  If traveling with family outside of your immediate (aka grandparents) bring/rent another car if you can. Or for a better bargain, make use of your hotel shuttle PLUS a car so that people can be free to do what they need to do.  Confession:  I am a nap nutso.  It isn’t even funny.  This tip was helpful for me.

2.  You don’t NEED to stay in Disney. Yes, it is definitely nice, but it is not the end all be all.  I have stayed at the Swan (as in the Swan and Dolphin) and it was lovely PLUS nearly on the park grounds of Epcot.  IT is NOT a Disney resort, rather a Westin and a Sheraton.  Or, stay in a nearby hotel or timeshare.  That is the route we took.  My parents had bought one YEARS ago and had some weeks banked so we used two weeks to get two two-bedroom condos.  Score.  We stayed at WestGate Resorts.

3.  Park Hopper passes are kind of ambitious with a young child, so I would recommend the single-day tickets based on both that fact and the price difference.  I mean, if you think about it, even if you plan on leaving for naptime and coming back, you will probably double back to the same park you visited in the am as you won’t get that much done each stretch.

4.  What age is best for children?  I would honestly say that it just depends on the parents and the child.  Disney tickets are free for children under three so that is definitely something to consider and was for us (I originally thought it was only free for those under 2).  BUT I will say that MANY people told us, “why would you take him so young to Disney, he will never remember?!”  Guess what, WE WILL.  And it was SO worth it.

IMG_7767

I mean seriously, look at this face! NOTHING will beat this memory!

5. I would recommend not going to the park too many days in a row.  For us, we were there for four days. IT worked best for us to do things not in the park day one, in the park day two, not in the park day 3 and then in the park day 4.  With that, here is a daily recap!

DAY #1:  No parks

We were exhausted from traveling.  So we hung around the condo in the am, walked around the condo grounds a bit (they have a ton of land), had breakfast, and before we knew it, nap time!  After naptime, we went out to the pool to sit for a bit and had a snack.

IMG_7591

We did a lot of much needed “hanging out” as we had travelled from my grandmother’s the day before.  I also took Z to a little Disney movie in the theater at our resort.  He did so well but I don’t think he is quite ready for a full-lentgh film.  He lasted almost an hour through Mulan.

IMG_7593

Then, some serious bath time (with a dog) happened. LOL.

IMG_7614

DAY # 2: Hollywood Studios

The getting into the park thing” took a LOT longer than expected.  Not the driving., That was fast.  So was the tram.

On the tram.

On the tram.

But we were waiting for my cousin who worked at Disney and was joining us while debating what tickets to get.  Bad idea.  Decide what you want BEFORE you get there.  And stick to it.

IMG_7635

Zachy entertained himself while waiting. Don’t you love that stroller? 20 bucks on Amazon!

Anyway once we got in, we actually had a great time and got a lot done.  We first went to the Honey I Shrunk the Audience playground.  Zach played and played and played!  I don’t have any pictures.  Just trust me.  Then we headed over the the Muppet 3-D movie.  My mom and dad stayed with him while husb, my sister and I went on Rock N Roller Coaster via Fast pass.  IT was awesomeeeee!  We walked around a bit and then decided we should take Z back to the condo to nap.  After nap time and a snack, we headed right back to Hollywood studios (as we had a fast pass for Tower of Terror…whatevs don’s judge, Z kept telling us to go on ;)).  We walked around for a bit and then it started raining so we hung out in a store.  All of the sudden it was time for our dinner reservations! We ate that night at the Sci-Fi Diner.  Everyone slept well that night 😉

Here are some more rides I would recommend for your little one in Hollywood studios:

-The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow

-Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream

-Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage

-Disney Junior- Live on Stage!

-Voyage of the Little Mermaid

FYI:  The park is only open until 7pm during the off season (right now).  OK, Part 2 coming soon!

Count down to the New Year!

1 Comment

Well, well, well, what better way to re-enter the blog world than with a fun “Count down to the New Year” post.  For real.  In all honesty, my absence has been due to a plethora of things; some crazy, some good, and some not-so-good, but all-in-all, I am glad to be back and blogging to you!  I am also looking forward greatly to the New Year!  How is everyone celebrating theirs?  We are going to Disney on Ice with Zachy this afternoon and I am excited to see how that goes!  Should be interesting! I honestly have NO idea how he will react.  He has never gone to a movie, and doesn’t watch TV longer than half an hour.  But my parents are coming too so hopefully all will go well.  I will let you know.  Then tonight we are all laying low 😉  So I thought I would attempt to count down my favorite 12 (one per month) things/moments from this past year.  What a challenge!  It has been an amazing one; as my life has greatly been enriched since the addition of my beautiful son 🙂  Woah.  Cheesy but true.  So, here it goes!

12.  Thanksgiving- so much to be thankful for!

IMG_7010

IMG_6980

11.  The Rothman 8K with Moms In TrainingNot only a PR for me, this race was a really special experience and running for our team hero meant so much to myself and the other Moms. 

IMG_6762

10.  Generations Connect visits (the second Saturday of every month)- PLEASE email me if you are interested in coming with us!  We go the second Saturday of the month and a good time is had by all.   Our mission is to instill respect for the elderly through music, crafting and socialization.  Find us on FB!

IMG_6689 IMG_6686

9.  Christmas; especially our own tree decorating at home 🙂

IMG_7274

IMG_7162 IMG_7127 IMG_7344

8.  The Leaf Photo Shoot at Grandma and Grandpa’s House.  Funny story about this actually; if you are waiting for our holiday card still, don’t hold your breath.  I ordered the cutest holiday cards ever featuring these pictures, but alas the company messed up and sent us a different family’s card and they have yet to respond to my inquiries!  So here are the pics anyway 😉

IMG_6797 IMG_6799 IMG_6824 IMG_6800

7.  Making New Friends (adult and babies).  This year was an amazing one in terms of making new friends; ones that are REAL, GENUINE and forever.  I am SO grateful and feel SO blessed.  You know who you are 😉

IMG_6411 IMG_6603

6.  Fun at Nest.  I am SO thankful for my job at Nest.  I am amazed each day by the greatness displayed there and am so proud to be a part of the family 🙂  Speaking of, check out this article about Nest that yours truly was quoted in 🙂

IMG_5757

IMG_5813 IMG_6383

5.  Halloween

IMG_6542 IMG_6426 IMG_6528

4.  Zach’s discovery of ice cream (Ah-EEE)

IMG_6136 IMG_6020

3. Trips to the playground with Mema and Poppop

IMG_5753 IMG_5171 IMG_5198 IMG_5196

2. Special family visits

IMG_6035

1.  Random Moments at Home

IMG_6012

IMG_5156 IMG_6663 IMG_6641

Cheers to a wonderful blessed 2013.  I cannot wait for all that 2014 will have to offer, although I can’t imagine it will get better than this 😉  Happy new year! xo

Let’s Talk About “Extended Breastfeeding”

4 Comments

…or not.  Warning: if this is a sensitive subject to you or you just don’t care, come back tomorrow for more on “those bars.”  I have talked about breastfeeding a bit on the blog before but have kind of curtailed the discussion since we started “extended breastfeeding” (beyond a year old).  I have had an interesting relationship with b-feeding for the past 17 months.  I have had, at this point, FOUR bouts with mastitis including the most recent this past week, a mere three months after the last, but have overall LOVED it and have been unwilling to quit. Plus, my son is, and has always been, a “boob man.”

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 12.29.39 PM

Ha.  Men.  So anyway, I have shied away from talking about breastfeeding lately, even though there is much to share, because I have received a lot of “kick back” from people for continuing on with it.  Common arguments are: “He will sleep through the night if you stop,” “he is too old and shouldn’t be able to ask for it (he calls it Bee),” and “it is causing you to get sick all the time so stop.”  It makes me kind of upset when people are so seemingly against it, especially people who are close to me and whose opinions I generally consider.  To me, I feel like whatever works for a mom and a child, be it breastfeeding, sleep, eating, etc., so be it.  Only a parent knows what works for them.  OK so moving on, I am getting over another mastitis; the last one was a short three months ago.  Bummer.  This one, at least, isn’t as bad as the last but nonetheless painful and frustrating.  So I finally had a highly esteemed lactation consultant come over, because a. I am not planning on weaning right now and b.  even if I was I do not want the same thing to happen with future babies.  Something obviously isn’t right. Here are some of the thoughts she had:

1.  The anatomy of that “side” is contributing to it; something dunno what, but when you get mastitis on on one side it becomes more prone to it in the future.  Awesome.

2.  It tends to happen when I get run down (running a lot, getting a cold, not getting a lot of sleep, etc.); take better care of myself and pop a lot of vitamin c, and possibly soy lecithin

3.  Go to a dermatologist to have it looked at- Update, my derm won’t look at it, so I am going back to a specialist. I will update 🙂

ANYYYYYWAYYYY…that is my thing with extended breastfeeding.  Glad I got that” off my chest” 😉 LOL.

photo-8

Bobby.

Leave a comment

“Zachy, are you being a bad boy?”

“BOBBY BOBBYYYYYYY!”

“Zach, are you being naughty?”

“BOBBYYYYYYY!”

We have a new word, friends.  Bobby.  Now, I know toddlers are hard to discipline, but imagine an (adorable) little face looking up at you while about to drop your glasses in the toilet and you say to him “NO!  Bad Boy!”  And he replies, “BOBBY!?!?”  I mean, seriously, how am I am supposed to not laugh?! And we all know laughing while disciplining ALWAYS works. NOT.  Incidentally, his favorite book, Brown Bear Brown Bear is also called “Bobby Bobby” to him.

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 8.58.50 AM

(Source)

So, I am trying to find a better “disciplinary technique.”  One of Zach’s “bad boy” (“Bobby”) behaviors, is throwing food off of his high chair; sometimes in an attempt to feed the puppies and sometimes just because.  I have tried to put him in a “time out” by turning his high chair toward the wall.  This basically just resulted in an increase in the square footage of “battle ground” as he just threw the food at the wall, a few feet away from where his chair normally is.  And when I took the food away? His “fake laugh” which is also….you guessed it: hilarious.

photo-6

Sometimes I count to three when he is being “naughty” (Which he has also labeled “Bobby”).  Another one I’ve tried was ripped off from my friend.  She was over one day with her toddler and I heard her say “STOP.  LOOK.”And then she gave “the command”  EX:  We don’t throw glasses in the toilet.  I tried that for a day until Z brought me another one of this books and turned to this page for me to read:

photo-5

So I read it.  His response? “Bobby?”  LOL.  This kid CRACKS ME UP!

photo 2

So tell me: What are your discipline techniques?!

Verti-NO and a Stepback Week

3 Comments

OHHHHH Friends. Yet another random health mishap in the life of Mrs. Upsanddownes 😉  Let me set the scene:  it was husband’s birthday Sunday. I had worked a convention for Nest in the morning,

IMG_5132

And then took Z to husband’s baseball game.

IMG_4282

On the way home I stopped at Reading Terminal to pick up cannoli for the birthday boy.  At about three blocks from my house, I experienced a MAJOR dizzy spell like nothing else I have EVER experienced. I thought it was a fluke and continued to drive a few feet, but it continued.  So I pulled over and got out, putting my head between my knees to try to get my bearings.  I didn’t know what to think. I was SO scared. The following thoughts went through my head:  is there carbon monoxide in the car (is Zach ok!?!)?  Am I having a stroke?  Migraine?  (Never had one and my head didn’t hurt Brain tumor?!  ARGG  worst. feeling. ever.  Panic set in.  I somehow made it home, nursed Z, put him down for a nap and collapsed on my bed to “wait it out.”  It didn’t get better.  I tried to look at my phone and everything was spinning.  I just had this horrible gut feeling that something was REALLY wrong, so I called my neighbor to come over to watch Z until my mom came from the ‘burbs and I walked teetered to Pennsylvania Hospital’s ER.  Thank God I made it without passing out, puking, or falling over.  Long story short, I was there for about 5 hours.  It was kinda awful.  After some tests, it was confirmed that I had benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). From the WebMD

What is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)?

Vertigo is the feeling that you are spinning or the world is spinning around you. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is caused by a problem in the inner ear camera. It usually causes brief vertigo spells that come and go.

For some people, BPPV goes away by itself in a few weeks. But it can come back again.

BPPV is not a sign of a serious health problem.

What causes BPPV?

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is caused by a problem in the innerear. Tiny calcium “stones” inside your inner ear canals help you keep your balance. Normally, when you move a certain way, such as when you stand up or turn your head, these stones move around. But things like infection or inflammation can stop the stones from moving as they should. This sends a false message to your brainand causes the vertigo.

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom is a feeling that you are spinning or tilting when you are not. This can happen when you move your head in a certain way, like rolling over in bed, turning your head quickly, bending over, or tipping your head back.

BPPV usually lasts a minute or two. It can be mild, or it can be bad enough to make you feel sick to your stomach and vomit. You may even find it hard to stand or walk without losing your balance.

 Anyway, it sucked.  But they gave me a great anti-vertigo med to use until the problem resolves itself.  I am so thankful it wasn’t more serious (and that I was home to feed Z and put him to bed).  It is so scary when you feel so out of control and don’t know what is going on!  Anyone else ever experience this?!  Horrible.

OK, so this week seemed like a perfect one for a step-back week from half-marathon training.  I have about a month until the big day!

Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 8.24.08 PM

Funny, because Caitlin was just talking about stepback weeks. From her blog:

What Coach Marni calls an Active Recovery Week is basically a Stepback Week. What does this mean? Well, in any decent training plan for longer events, every month of so, you’ll get a break (in running training plans, you usually see about 25% less mileage during a stepback week).  Stepback weeks are necessary for two reasons: 

  • Physical:  Stepback weeks give your body a break and allow time for muscles to heal properly.  Avoiding injury is key, and stepbacks really give your joints and bones a break from the constant pounding of ANY distance training plan.
  • Mental:  Most importantly (to me), stepbacks give you a mental break.  Especially for a longer race like a half or full marathon or a longer triathlon, the training program is such a huge time commitment.  Stepbacks give you some breathing room and help boost your spirits.  I always come back from a stepback week ready to go!

IMG_5202

AMEN.  This girl needed a stepback week both mentally AND physically (due to vertigo and heavy legs) this week. My average mileage has been 30-35 throughout training, but will be less this week in order to “step back.”  I will still do a long run so to stay on training schedule, but here is what my Stepback week has/will look like:

Saturday- OFF due to travel

Sunday- OFF due to vertigo

Monday- 4 miles, easing back after vertigo bout (also thought I could “jog” the crystals back into place LOL.  Really.

Tuesday- 7 miles (SPLIT: 4.25 hills on treadmill, later 2.75 easy)

Wednesday- 4 miles outdoors on track (was supposed to be easy but felt soooo hard, like one mile was really ten)

Yea, that pic pretty much sums it up.

Yea, that pic pretty much sums it up.

Thursday- cross train (elliptical?)

Friday- haven’t decided

Saturday-Off

Sunday- Long Run

Anyway, that’s the stepback.  How have you been?!

All at once

1 Comment

Today was crazy! I find Mondays always are. So I there I Found myself around 12:30 PM doing many things all at once. Thank heavens I didn’t mess any of them up.
-Putting away groceries
-loading the dishwasher
-Chasing after zach crawling around the kitchen (and then getting a clue and putting him in his high chair)
-Making Zach his first pancakes

20130318-163613.jpg
-baking cookies

20130318-163645.jpg
Yes. It was kind of crazy, and the kitchen is a mess to prove it. But i got a lot done all at once. And how about this for a daily dose of cuteness? My two boys.

20130318-163750.jpg

The Great Divide: SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms) VS WMs (Working Moms)

3 Comments

Hi!  So I generally try to stay away from controversial topics on the blog, because in reality, it is, for me at least, a place where I can freely express my opinions, be dumb funny and wax nonsense.  But, this is a topic that has been on my mind a LOT lately and so I wanted to do a little post about my thoughts surrounding it.  If you feel this post may trigger a lot of hatred towards me emotion or will just irritate you, then I encourage you to stop reading and come back later for a pizza dough recipe 😉  Really though.  I feel like there is an unspoken, although often spoken, “divide” between Stay at Home Moms (SAHMs) and WM (working moms).  I think there are many reasons for this, including mom guilt on both sides, insecurities and simply not understanding the hardships and conflict the other experiences on a day-to-day basis. I, myself, am so blessed to be able to stay at home with Zachary.  And I absolutely tip my hat to any parent who works full-time because I cannot imagine doing so at this point in my life.  I hear from a lot of WMs that it is just SO hard to balance work and home life; that they never feel as if they are giving 100% to either, and that seems like a perfect way to describe it.  I can’t speak from experience, but I can imagine how challenging it would be to go to work, whether full or part time, then come home and be a Mom, manage the house, tend to a husband, etc.  It seems SO difficult.  I work one day a week teaching a graduate class and am gone for about four hours.  It is a nightmare both logistically and emotionally, so multiplying that by ten (to create a full-time job) seems so daunting.  But, as a stay at home mom, I feel that l am doing an important “job” as well.  I often need to remind myself of this, which might be my own insecurities speaking, or my feelings of Inadequacy.  I don’t know if it comes from an external source, an internal place, or partially both.  Some SAHMs develop a complex where they feel as if they need to prove their worth; that they are not, in fact, staying home all day lounging on the couch eating bon bons.  Sounds cliche, but I, myself have fallen into the trap of feeling this way and in turn have tried to “overdo” it or spend a lot of time validating myself.

So I thought I would do a little verbal vomit detailing both the things I miss about working, and the things I am grateful for in being a SAHM.

I miss the beginnings that my job entailed: the new year, new students, a new unit, a new program.  The idea that each day brought something different, as that is the nature of my job as a teacher.  I miss adult interaction; telling jokes in the teacher’s room, talking about “adult things,” parent-teacher conferences, even complaining about nonsense. I miss saying hello to the janitor long after the studnets had left for the day, the slippery look of the floors when they had been cleaned, morning banter with the ladies in the office, slipping in just as the clock read 8:20 (and sometimes after lol-never one for being punctual).  I miss listening to KYW in the car, zoning out as the 22 minute report repeated itself approximately three times on my commute, putting makeup on at stop lights (I know, ever the safe driver) and dressing cute without the fear of being spit up on, or wearing sweet potatoes (even though my fancy pants included black yoga bottoms; why not?!).  I miss using my brain in the creative way my job demanded (and not to simply figure out how to methodically get all of the dishes in the dishwasher), assemblies, back to school night, school dances and even faculty meetings.  I miss the community of workers that I was a part of, pow-wowing in coworker’s rooms before the bell rang (and sometimes after whoops), conspiring about how we might be able to get our report card grades done while showing a movie (don’t tell).  I miss the collegiality of a common goal; student success, the language of being a teacher, taking it home at night, the tears, the laughs, the life.

But, being a SAHM mom, there are things that I greatly value about my “new life” (for now).  I love that my alarm is the sound of my son in the morning, and that I am home to watch the Ellen Show during his nap.  I love that I can make doctor’s appointments during “normal business hours” assuming it matches Zach’s nap schedule.  I love that I do not feel the “Sunday evening pit in my stomach” and that I forget which day is which during the week.  I love that I am able to participate in music classes, mommy groups and the like with my son.  I love that I am able to breastfeed this long and that it is ok that he never took a bottle.  I love not having to drive an hour to my job and can wear pajamas (the same one days in a row) and not shower if I can’t fit it in (happens A LOT) because my stench won’t offend anyone.  I love that I am able to make dinner every night, have time to clean my house (albeit while wearing my baby in the Bjorn at times).  But above all,  I love that I will be there for every one of Zachary’s milestones and that I will never miss a smile.

So, these are just my opinions, my perspective, but it shows just that:  there are positives and negatives (to any situation really) and maybe if we can try to see each others’ viewpoints, challenges and triumphs we can close the “divide” between the SAHM and the WM and appreciate each other for our true worth. Because no matter which you are (SAHM or WM) the commonality is the M- MOM, and it is something that will forever bind us.

IMG_2849