Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Me and My Shadow

If you were wondering what that 30 pound hemorrhoid dragging behind me was, no need to worry it was just my, almost three year old, daughter.  Lately Isabella has been up my butt like there's no other show in town.  If I go into the kitchen, she goes into the kitchen.  If I run up the stairs for 3 seconds to grab a pair of socks, she's trailing right behind me.  The bathroom and shower are no longer sanctuaries for me.

To be honest, I really don't mind her hanging around me.  I miss her like crazy when I'm at work and she's really funny and fun to be around.  Plus, she's starting to become a big helper to me.  I just think that she should have some time to play alone.  Especially that her nap is phasing out, I'd like to start giving her some "quiet time" in her room to unwind, but it's difficult because she won't stay by herself.  She trails me around the house.

I've heard that a toddler clock works really well.  So the Easter Bunny might leave her that special treat in her basket.  I really think independent play is a lot more conducive to creativity and imagination than watching me folding laundry.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Toddler Sleep Issues

Things have been a little rocky in the sleep department over here.  About a month ago, Isabella started waking up in the middle of the night...climbing out of her crib, asking to go potty, crying for us to save her from monsters.  At first I thought it was just a phase and that it would pass.  Then I thought once we transitioned into the toddler bed (more on that later), that it would stop.  Wrong again.

I don't know what her deal is.  She doesn't fight going to sleep anymore, she'll stay in her bed no problem.  Sometimes she wakes up 3 times a night.  Sometimes none.  Most times once or twice.  Sometimes she wants to go to the bathroom.  Sometimes it's the monsters.  Sometimes she wants us to sing her a song or to tuck her in.  Sometimes she says she's not tired and wants to go downstairs (I don't care what time she wakes up, we don't go downstairs until 6:30 the earliest.) Her wake-up time is also inconsistent.  Sometimes she'll sleep until 8:30 and other times she's up at 6:30.

Her nap is basically non-existent, although she'll nap at day care and in the car, but during the week when my mom and Andy are watching her, she won't nap in the bed, even though I think she should keep napping because I really do think she's overtired and is nightwaking because of it, like she would do when she was a baby.  Although, no one else agrees with me.

I really don't know what to do.  I was always a big proponent for sleep training and cry it out (judge away for this I really don't care, it worked and I'd do it again in a hot minute).  But I can't leave her in her room screaming about monsters...it's just too sad.  I also can't lock her in her room (can I?) so she'll just walk from her room into our room.

We never let her in our bed and during all of these nightwakings she's usually up from anywhere between 5-30 minutes.  Not so bad at the lower end of the spectrum, brutal at the upper end.

I don't know what the hell is going on, but I do know that I am so tired and beaten down with training and retraining this kid to sleep that I fear I have no fight left in me and that I should just concede to be exhausted for the rest of my natural life!  Did any of you have similar situations with your toddlers?  Or where they all the perfect little sleeping angels?
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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Final Happiness Project Post

This is it!  One year.  One area of focus each month.  One step by step journey to happiness.  It almost feels surreal that it's really done.  Of course it's not really over as I continue to tick off my resolutions each day and put conscious, present thought into my own personal happiness.  I figured I'd end it by summing up the ways I'm happiest in all of the 12 categories.

Organization - This was probably the easiest area for me to stick with because having clean, neat space makes me feel calm inside, where as if I'm surrounded by clutter I become frazzled and anxious.  I'm a believer in "a place for everything and everything in its place."  The one minute rule is amazing (this is where I don't put off anything that takes a minute or less, like dropping a dress from a hanger in the closet). I've had to do quarterly maintenance on big items like closets and such, and everything I've really kept up with.

Physical- My weight is at a low.  Not an all time low, but still the number on the scale makes me happy.  I've also been more active and have formed a solid love/hate relationship with running.  I also have come to realize that I'm happiest when I'm putting things that are natural and beautiful into my body and that splurges have their place, but should be planned out. I'm not so great about keeping up with the whole hair and makeup done, but I do try to at least make a bit of an effort half of the days of the week.  I feel better than I have in a long time physically.

Marriage- I'm very lucky in that I love my husband.  I love hanging out with him.  We make each other laugh and he really just gets me.  I was happy in my marriage to start with.  He still drives me absolutely insane sometimes and sometimes I really want to throat punch him, but we're still going strong.  I do need to work on showing more proofs of love.  Most days I think cooking dinner constitutes a proof of love, but I might just be being a bit lazy about it, especially when he's so good about surprising me with flowers or getting my lunch set up for the next day.

Friendship- Sometimes I'm super available to my friends and other times I'm moody and reclusive.  However, possibly the most profound thing to happen to me over this year, is that I don't completely lose my shit if I'm not invited to things.  I think I'm finally understanding that my friends are my friends weather I see them once a week or once a month and that friendships wax and wane depending on what is going on in each other's lives.  And, in regards to my core group of friends, I realize that sometimes I'm just going to be on the periphery; I live in NJ where as they are in NY and I have a child that I'm responsible too.  So now when my sister tells me that she's going to have drinks with Lara on Saturday, I don't get envious that I don't get to go, I'm happy that they are having fun and I really mean that.

Parenthood- I've absolutely become more invested in creating happy memories for Isabella.  I make it a point to make fun crafts with her (thanks to pinterest) even on a weekday, I've really tried to be extra patient with her, and I try to give her a balance of quality experiences and quality time.  I'm still basically a complete mess and half the time I'm convinced that I'm completely messing her up, but a little dysfunction builds character right?

Work- I really love my job.  I always have.  I don't enjoy the bureaucracy, red tape, or politics of it.  I've tried to become more organized at work and ask for help when I need it, which are big steps for me.  I still feel insecure at times, like maybe I suck or maybe my principal hates me.  Sometimes I feel like I'm on a big audition to get back the position that was cut last year , but I'm trying to let that go.

Leisure- Unfortunately, I'm still last on my own to-do list.  I take baths less than I should, but more than I did before starting this project.  I buy myself things when I need them and I have really indulged in my love for books.

Mindfulness- This is something I'm really good at sometimes and really bad at at others.  I try to say my affirmations in the morning and read books on the metaphysical when I can, but it's definitely something I need to try and be more aware of.

Money- I don't want to talk about it.  I suck at budgeting.  I suck at saving.

Eternity- I pray every single morning in my car.  I'm becoming much more comfortable with the fact that I'm more spiritual than religious and I've figured that we'll work out Isabella's religious affiliation as we go on.

Attitude- I've really been more conscious about finding the silver lining and being grateful for even the small things.  I still get dissatisfied and tantrumy sometimes, but for the most part I'm keeping a level head.

Happiness Boot Camp- I never did have one perfect day, but I sure did give it my best.

Overall, when I wasn't engaged, I was still the "old me", but it was never my ultimate plan to overhaul who I was at my core.  I like myself, I really do for the most part.  This goal was to make myself happier.  And I am happy, deep in my bones happy.  Even when stormy winds pass through, as they always do, I try to hold onto that overall happiness.  And while there have been a lot of valleys this year, there were definitely more happy days than not.

I want to thank you for sharing in this journey with me.  I know reading about this, I may have seemed a bit self-indulgent and I want to truly say how grateful I am that you walked this path with me.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reverse Anxiety

Wanna know something weird?  Sometimes when the weather changes from winter to spring it kinda bums me out.  Now I know about Seasonal Anxiety Disorder (SAD), but that usually happens at the onset of winter when things are dreary and there's no sunlight.  But sometimes I get some anxiety at the onset of spring.

I think it's because now there's so much pressure to be outside and to be doing things outside and sometimes I really just don't want to.  I feel like I put myself under so much pressure to be doing a ton of things.  I feel guilty holing up in the house when it's 75 and sunny outside.  Once the season is in swing I find my groove and get on with things.  At that point an occasional rainy day is a nice treat where I can just relax and watch movies all day.

But then it comes back again when school is out and months stretch before me and again I panic about how I will fill my days.  It generally takes less prodding for me to come out of that funk because there's the pool to hang out at all day.

This is weird right?
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Turning Negatives into Positives

The Happiness Project post is a few days late, I've been meaning to hammer it out, but I'm suffering from some sort of doppler effect of writing where the words sound good in my head, but when I go to type them out they sound trite and immature, so I have decided that this post is probably going to suck, but I'm writing it down anyway.

We've been having a rough go in regards to Isabealla's sleeping, if you're interested in that don't worry there's an entire post dedicated to it and it's coming soon.  So basically she wants me to sit in the room with her for a few minutes before bed.  So instead of being all disgruntled that I'm losing some of the few precious minutes I get to myself at the end of the day, I've decided to sit and meditate when I'm in there.  It's dark, it's quiet, and it forces me to actually do it, since meditating was one of the things I sucked at in my project.

Also, instead of moping around that I hardly ever get to see my girlfriends I planned a dinner out on Thursday.

Turning negatives into positives, yup I'm working on it.  Although I still haven't figured out how to find anything positive in the massive amounts of traffic I find myself in.
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

So usually St. Patrick's Day is just a giant excuse for me to get drunk with my friends and act like a dumb ass, but le sigh, this year Andy was working midnights and my mother had weekend plans with my aunt, so I dodged the day of drinking for a little at home fun with me and my best girl.

We had green bagels for breakfast and that mischievous leprechaun turned Isabella's milk green!  He did the same thing to her pudding at dessert.  She loved it.  These little holidays are so much more fun when you make them special with kids, even sans alcohol.  Then we met up with some friends and went to the Staten Island Zoo.  It was a beautiful day and Isabella loved feeding the animals.  Is it weird that her favorite was the bats? Hmmmm.....








May your neighbor's respect you
Troubles neglect you
Angels protect you
and Heaven accept you!

Hope you had a fun one, maybe yours even included beer!
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Friday, March 16, 2012

My Unpopular Opinion

I have an unpopular opinion about apparel with characters on it.  I think it's super tacky.  I cringe when I see kids decked out in T-shirts with princesses on them or when there room looks like Rapunzel threw up in it.  I realize that I'm probably in the minority here and I totally renig when it's a kid who is actually asking for the stuff, but generally I hate crap with characters plastered all over it.

My mother, on the other hand does not share my sentiments.  Bathing suits with Sleeping Beauty, towels with Minnie Mouse, pajamas with Cinderella and it makes me want to vom.  I know she's just being nice and she helps us out so much, but once she brought me a big Minnie and Mickie yard decoration for Halloween and I brought the hammer down.  Toys I don't mind, but unless she's asking for a specific character adorned outfit, which she hasn't because she doesn't care, if you see her in it...I didn't buy it.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wedding

This past Saturday I was able to stand and watch my cousin Christie get married.  It was such a beautiful wedding and she looked like she just stepped out of a Vogue bridal spread.  I've been pretty vocal whiney about my relationship with my friends, wanting it to be how it was, but knowing that it's not.  All of that melted away when we were all there together this day.

Christie, her sister Nicole, my sister Meaghan, and I grew up more like sisters and Christie and I got especially close about 5 or 6 years ago right before I got married.  We would go out for dinner and drinks just the two of us and talk on the phone all the time and even though it's not like that anymore we still hang out in the same circle and I was so proud to watch her on her wedding day.

There's something about weddings that just fill you with hope and I wish them a lifetime of love.







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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

What I'm Good At and Where I Suck

Happiness Boot Camp is in full effect and the first step to realigning myself to my original goal is to really reflect where I excel in this project and the areas that I blow in.

I'm really good at...

Taking care of myself physically.  In the 11 months that I've started this project I've really made exercise, eating healthy, and taking care of my skin a big priority.  My weight has gone up and down this past year, but currently I'm at a big time low and I feel great, skinny, strong, and healthy.  For the most part because I still have my fat days.

Organizing and decluttering.  Since my original closet/dresser purge I've kept it up by doing a mini sweep about every other month.  By sticking to my one minute rule (where I never put off anything that takes less than one minute) I've really cut down my nagging little things to do.

Praying.  I've made it a part of my routine to pray in my car every morning and talk about what I'm thankful for and ask for help if needed.  I look forward to the peace it brings.

Not fighting with Andy.  Not to say that we never fight, we do argue and bicker, but our relationship is stronger than ever because it's a priority.

Creating happy memories with Isabella and keeping my cool.  It's not always easy, especially on days where I just want to lounge around with a book and take the day off, but I try and give her as many quality experiences as I can.  I've also been really committed to keeping my patience.  I'm not always successful, but it's always in my mind.

Where I suck...

Keeping in touch with my friends.  OMG I suck at it.  I can be really close to my circle of girlfriends or I can be really close with my work friends or I can be really reclusive and not talk to anyone.  But it's been really inconsistent.

Showing proofs of love.  I never remember to do anything extra nice until like 10:30 at night.  Not even something little.  I'm sure I do things without realizing I hope, but I never realize.

Money.  I suck at budgeting.  I suck at saving.  I'm a big money spending suck fest.

Being Mindful.  Sometimes my mind still wanders and I get restless and dissatisfied.

Making time for my own leisure.  I tend to fall to the bottom of my to-do list.

Everything else kind of falls on a somewhere-in-between spectrum, so it's time to hone in on the areas of weakness.
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Friday, March 9, 2012

Toddler Bed

It's happening.  After Isabella keeps climbing out of her crib and we were planning on transitioning her from her crib to a bed in April anyway, we've decided to just do it now.  Plus she's been asking for a big girl bed just like the pig Olivia.

We've decided not to convert the crib because we'll (hopefully) need to be using it for an infant and I don't want to have to switch her twice.  So I have some questions and I'm hoping you have some answers:

1.  Recommend one for me!  Where did you get yours?  How much was it?  Was it a pain to put together?  What kind of mattress?  Bonus points for links!

2.  Did you buy a toddler bed or a twin bed?  Box spring or no?

3.  How was the switch?  Any tips.

4.  How do you keep them in their room?  Lock 'em in?  Put up a gate?

I think this is the last big transition we're going to have to undertake.  It'll be nice to be done with it.  Until we start it all over again.
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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Monsters

This is a very real fear in our household now a days.  Isabella is terrified of monsters, ghosts, bats, and foxes.  I spray them with anti-monster spray and I cast banishing spells, but apparently those besky buggers don't get the hint.

She's fine just so long as I'm in the room with her.  Even though my living room and kitchen are about 3 feet apart, if I go into the kitchen to make a cup of tea less than 2 minutes later I hear, "Mooooommmmyyyyy where are you?  Save me from the ghosts."  If I run up the stairs to grab laundry, there's my shadow not far behind.  Solo showers and privacy in the bathroom have also fallen by the wayside.

The thing is...I totally get it.  I'm pretty much scared of my own shadow.  Like I run up the stairs really fast at night so people don't kill me.  I'm convinced that there's some sort of demon just lurking around the house.  And I bet if I saw a fox or a bat it would freak me out too.  So I'm right there with her on this one.
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Happiness Boot Camp

I can't believe this is the last month in my Happiness Project!  I'm so proud of myself for sticking with it this long and really making an effort to follow through in my resolutions.  The focus of this month is to polish up everything I've been working on.  This is more about trying to be consistent in keeping up with my accumulated resolutions from all of the months.  This involves a bit of self-reflection.

This is how I broke up my months:

April - Organization
May- Physical
June- Marriage
July- Friendship
August- Parenthood
September - Work
October- Leisure
November - Mindfulness
December- Money
January- Eternity
February- Attitude

Which brings us to March which is Happiness Boot Camp.  I'm here to reinforce all the resolutions that I rock at and kick myself into gear on the ones that I'm slacking on and get rid of ones that aren't working for me at all.  I'm also challenging myself to have one perfect day where I do ALL of my resolutions...we shall see.
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Friday, March 2, 2012

Toddler Naps

I'm a staunch believer in naps...I really and truly am, but this past week Isabella has been on an out and out nap strike that is making me wonder if it's time to say goodbye to naps for good.  Isabella is a little over 2 and a half (she'll be 3 in June) and my goal was to have her napping through the summer.

 Isabella hasn't taken a legit nap in over a week save for a 20 minute snooze in the car. She fights me tooth and nail, but once she's in the crib she'll play quietly for 20-30 minutes and then scream to get out. I'm not really ready to let go of naps yet, but this is the longest nap strike she's ever had. It's like one day she was an awesome napper sleeping for 1-2 hours nearly every day and then BAM no naps. I am not a fan of this, although I do enjoy the super early bed time.

And I've heard of other moms doing "quiet time" where as long as the kid plays quietly in his or her room for an hour that's fine, but Isabella refuses to be in a room alone.  At all.  Like not even for a minute and if she realizes I'm not in the room she freaks out that she's afraid of monsters, but only in the day time and not at night so her bedtime and sleep isn't affected.

She's still sleeping 10-12 hours at night which is great, but by dinner time she's like a ticking time bomb.  I don't know.  I feel like she still needs the nap, but how can I force her to sleep?  I feel like I can't make her cry for an hour in her crib if she's really not tired, and CIO is so much harder now that she's older.

When did your kids stop napping?



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