Month: February 2014

Shopping for clothes

When it comes to clothes for Diego, I’ve always been a less is more kind of person. Partly, because I find the selection of clothes that aren’t pink and glittery is slim. When I was pregnant I didn’t buy many outfits for Diego. I think I bought a handful towards the end of my pregnancy but for the most part the majority of his clothes were given to us as gifts. We had just enough to get by. I really liked this because the thought of having so many clothes that some would be outgrown before he had the chance to wear them disturbed me. I feel like we really got a lot of use out of the clothes he had.

As he grew I would supplement his wardrobe with whatever he needed. I don’t think I’ve ever paid full price for any of the clothes I’ve bought him. I’ve shopped at Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, Ross, Target, Walmart, and Gymboree. Now, I’ll start off by stating that I dislike Walmart. I don’t agree with their treatment of their employees, etc. I shop there are little as possible but I have picked up a couple of pieces here and there. Namely pajamas. They’ve been of decent quality.

What I have found is that Carter’s clothes hold up really well after multiple washes and they’re generously sized so that the child has room to grow. I think I have gotten the most use out of Carter’s brand clothing. Carter’s also makes cheaper clothing under the Child of Mine label, and Just One You (sold at Target). The target line has been a huge hit for me. I love Target and the Just One You brand has not disappointed me yet.

If you use cheaper clothes you will need more of them because they will wear down pretty quick whereas if you spend a little more you will get a lot more use out of them. In a way, clothes are an investment. Diego has a few outfits from Gymboree that he has worn a lot and they still look brand new. You can feel the quality of the clothes just by touching them.

Being a smart shopper means saving where you can without sacrificing quality. This past weekend we went into Gymboree and found a few pieces that we needed. Our total came to around $30. Not too bad for a pair of jeans, shorts, and two shirts. Gymboree allows you to use coupons on sale items which means that you can maximize your savings by shopping when they’re having a sale.

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I’ll be honest, on days that we don’t leave the house Diego usually spends most of the day in his pajamas. Usually until after his nap. He gets to be comfortable and I don’t add to my ever growing pile of laundry. On hot days he runs around in a tank top or t-shirt, and a diaper. I keep it simple. If I’m in yoga pants and a shirt, he can be in his pajamas. I wonder if this makes me a lazy mother, haha.

Check-in Wednesday

Giving up soda is one of the goals I have set for myself this year. Diet Coke in particular is my poison of choice and that’s no exaggeration. Diet Coke is poison. I know it’s full of chemicals, and I know I shouldn’t drink it, but I really like it. I also like regular soda but the fact that Diet Coke doesn’t have any calories has allowed me to justify my consumption. I have cut way back on the amount of soda I drink. I don’t keep it in the house and I stick to water when out at a restaurant but I still sneak the occasional sip from my husband’s glass, and if a meal comes with a soda I will indulge in a little Coca-Cola dosing.

I really want to give it up altogether as I don’t want soda to be a part of my life anymore. There are several reasons, the first of which I’ve already mentioned. I also have Diego to think about. He is blissfully not addicted to soda. He has tried it, and guess what? He loved it. Who wouldn’t? Sugar is a drug. The sip or two he’s had weigh heavily on my mind and I cannot expect him to not want any as he gets older. I am sure he will soon get wise to the fact that while he’s sipping water or milk we are indulging in what many would consider sweet nectar of the gods. These gods are no doubt addicted to sugar. In order to instill healthy habits in my son I have to model them.

Another reason to give up soda is my weight. I want to weigh less and in order to do so I have to make some serious changes. Permanent changes. It’s funny how hard it is to lose weight but how easy it is to fall back on the bad habits that expanded my rear in the first place. Surprisingly, it’s not vanity that motivates me to lose weight. I mean, it is an incentive but my main motivator is my health. Now is the time to take steps to ensure I have a healthy old age. Of course, there are no guarantees but surely giving myself an advantage by reducing my risk can’t hurt.

Obviously, I don’t think that having the occasional soda is a bad thing. I don’t plan to cut it out of my life completely or for good, but for right now I need to commit to changing my eating habits. It’s so easy to say it and write it. Actually sticking to it is hard. Hopefully, but putting myself out there I will hold myself accountable. A good friend of mine is a good support in this quest as she has been soda free for over a year with great results. It’s always great to see somebody make changes that change their lives. It gives me hope that I can do it, too.

So what other options does that leave us with?

Water! This beverage gets overlooked by a lot of people because it’s boring and has no taste. I actually love water and find it very refreshing. You can flavor it with fruit. Just cut it up and drop it into your pitcher. Remember to thoroughly wash your fruits, especially lemons. Flavored sparkling water is good, too. I used to love to freeze raspberry flavored sparkling water until slushy and eating it with a spoon.

Smoothies. Fresh or frozen fruits with a splash of milk or orange juice can make a great beverage that is also a meal. Last night I made a strawberry banana smoothie that was so delicious it was hard to believe it didn’t have any added sugar. Fruit is sweet enough on it’s own.

Tea sweetened with honey or raw sugar is another great option. I have been moving towards using natural, unrefined sweeteners as opposed to refined sugars or sugar substitutes.

Green Juice- similar to smoothies except it’s a vegetable base. I recently made one with spinach, green apples (cored but unpeeled), stawberries and ginger. I also added a little bit of water to the blender and a few ice cubes. I liked the taste but my cheap blended didn’t puree to the smooth consistency I would have preferred. Regardless, Diego and I enjoyed it and I felt good about it.

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Check-in Wednesday

Okay, so it’s practically Sunday but I am still going to do this check-in since it’s related to one of my goals this year. I wanted to share a week’s worth of toddler dinners but I didn’t get around to taking a picture every night. It is difficult when a gremlin is demanding food to do anything but feed it. I don’t if it’s past midnight…

Here are five dinners that Diego either scarfed down or picked at. I don’t believe in forcing him to eat. I let him explore and taste on his own. I encourage him to give it a try but if he doesn’t want to eat, that’s fine. I won’t prepare something else because as I think I’ve mentioned before I don’t want to give him the impression that I am his personal chef. Another thing I do not believe in is forcing him to finish his food. I think this creates a negative relationship with food and I recently read somewhere that children who were forced to clear their plates have higher chances of becoming obese as adults because they are taught to eat beyond satiation. 

Deconsrtructed fajitas: flank steak, tortilla triangles, avocado wedges, shredded cheese and tomato. 

French toast with Maple syrup, greek yogurt, strawberries and animal crackers (these were by request, haha)

Shredded pork with white rice. There were some veggies in there…

I didn’t manage to take a picture of Diego’s plate but this is basically what he ate. Homemade vegetarian spring roll and chicken with snow peas. 

Pasta shells with broccoli and Alfredo sauce. 

Finding my calm

A week or so ago I talked a bit about dealing with anxiety. I have been experiencing a marked increase in anxiety symptoms for a few weeks now and although it always sucks I am happy to report that the intensity has waned considerably. I am taking each day as it comes and try (but I often fail) to not think about it too much. I find that when I think about my anxiety and anticipate another panic attack I actually bring one on. It’s a very funny thing the mind. It is most traitorous. 

Whether or not you suffer from anxiety and panic attacks finding time to relax and quiet your mind can be very beneficial to your wellbeing. I know that regardless of how you spend your day there are always things that stress you out. Staying home with a toddler is both easier and harder than going to work everyday. 

Here are some of the things I do to combat stress and anxiety:

1. Calm- this website provides timed, guided meditation. They even have an app for your phone. I have been loving this app. The soothing sounds and timed sessions are great. The application is free but you can unlock some premium content for a fee. I have found that the free stuff works great. This is a useful tool you can use on your computer or take it with you in your pocket. 

2. Stretching- I have been doing some light, beginners yoga. It’s nothing fancy and the movements are ones that will be familiar to anybody that has ever stretched before a workout. I’ve found some videos on YouTube to this end and just taking those few minutes to stretch and focus on my breathing have helped a lot. 

3. Be creative- I am no artist but I have always enjoyed painting. I used to play around with acrylics and pastels but I didn’t find either of these mediums to agree with me. I have since taken up watercolors and I really love using these. There is something about painting that really relaxes me. I am by no means good but that’s not what’s important. With practice anybody can become a competent painter. That’s my belief,  at least. Once again, Youtube is a great resource as there are lots of talented artists who upload helpful videos about everything, from choosing your paints and brushes to actually drawing and painting something. I have spent a lot of hours on this endeavour and it’s been time well spent. While Diego naps, I paint. 

4. De-clutter- nothing gives me a sense of accomplishment like crossing something off a list. When I make time to organize some part of my life or home I feel instantly better. It can be my dresser drawers, the living room, or even my e-mail inbox. When I de-clutter I feel better. Busywork is very good for keeping the mind engaged. It also makes my house tidier. Deleting old emails and organizing ones I want to keep is one of my favorite ways to bore myself calm. 

5. Talk to a friend- when we feel down, anxious, or just sad we tend to feel alone. Everyone is different, and it might not be your cup of tea to seek interaction when you’re not in a good headspace, but I think we need to make an effort to be sociable even when we don’t want to. I’ve found my mood lifted just by a random text from a friend and when intrusive thoughts threaten to take over a well placed call can snap me out of it. I have learned that asking for support and being open about my struggles is better than suffering them in silence. 

6. Think happy thoughts- this isn’t just a way to fly in Neverland. Listen to your favorite music (Pharell’s Happy is my current instant mood lifter), watch funny videos, look at your favorite pictures, play with your pet, or just think about your favorite things. When we think happy, we are happy. 

Week in review…

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No check-in Wednesday this week so I’m doing a little week review instead. We didn’t do anything too exciting other than the usual. We finally got around to buying new shoes for Diego. We decided to go to Stride Rite because I wanted him fitted properly as I suspected that he has a wide foot. He does indeed have one and now that I know this I can shop around for shoes online with confidence should I ever want to or need to.

They were having a sale at Stride Rite where you bought a pair and got a second half price. We took advantage of this and bought him a pair for him to use now and a pair half a size bigger for when he outgrows them. If it were up to me I would have gotten him two pairs of the same shoe but my husband wanted something different.

These are the two pairs we ended up with:

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Today we met up with some friends at the park for a playdate. Their little boy is about a month older than Diego. He is a lot taller than him, too, which isn’t surprising considering that neither my husband nor myself are tall. He will likely be a small fry his whole life. They’re still at that age where they parallel play but it was still fun to spend time with friends.

Afterwards, the three of us went to Panera for lunch. Diego and I shared some Mac and Cheese but he wasn’t really into it and spent most of his time eyeing his dad’s sandwich.

Lunch was followed by a nap for the three of us. Diego slept for just over two and a half hours, which was nice.

You would think that after such a great nap Diego would have been a better sport during our shopping trip. He was a complete nightmare from the moment we arrived. He just didn’t want to be in the shopping cart and there was no distracting him. I am not sure if maybe we’ve just reached the phase where we can’t take him grocery shopping anymore.

On one hand having him whining was annoying and I’m sure other patrons didn’t appreciate it. However, their comfort is really none of my concern. I mean, kids whine and make noise on occasion and a grocery store isn’t a library. I’m trying to balance teaching Diego that sometimes we need to do things we don’t want to do with saving my sanity along with that of the people around me. I think next time we need to do a big grocery haul we will just split up. One of us will stay home with Diego while the other gets things done.

Here are some other things we got up to this week:

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Diego decided that his toy basket made a good place to sit.

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He loved the veggie stir fry we had for dinner on Tuesday.

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He enjoyed his first taste of a Chocolate Molten at Chilli’s.

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He loved making a mess of our living room with our pillow fort.

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Running around the mall dressed just like his Daddy.

Check-in Wednesday on a Thursday

So this post was supposed to go up last night but Tumblr wouldn’t let me create any new posts. I tried several times until I came to accept that this might end up going up on Friday.

Anyway, that’s not a big deal. This post isn’t anything that won’t keep for another day.

The past week has been kind of crappy for me. I’ve had a lot of anxiety and a couple of panic attacks. I haven’t had a panic attack since June 2012, so it had been a while since I had befallen such an indignity. I can’t say for sure what has brought this on but I think it might be partly hormonal. In any case, I feel better and hopeful that this will be but a small hiccup. I have considered returning to therapy but medication still remains a last resort. I don’t deal with anxiety everyday and this attack seems to be on the out.

Anxiety will always be a part of my life but I have learned to deal with it and have become proficient. I’ve kept up my daily routine and to be honest, Diego keeps me too distracted to worry about the possibility of another panic attack.

The first time I ever experienced an anxiety attack was in 2009, I was pretty much useless for an entire week. I couldn’t eat, sleep or even go to work. It was terrible and when I think of that period in my life I am amazed at how far I’ve come. I let fear rule my life. I was convinced I was dying and the panic attacks that send my heart rate flying have landed me in the emergency room twice. My primary care physician wrote me a prescription for a beta blocker (to prevent tachycardia) and Xanax. I didn’t take either medication because a) side effects scare me more than my symptoms and b) I wanted to try therapy first. He referred me to a psychologist that I didn’t make time to see for about a year. By then I was managing to go to work and not much more. I planned my life around my anxiety. There were a lot of things that I could no longer do. I dropped out of school, a decision I was already toying with but my anxiety pushed me into. The demands of my program were already too much with a full time job. I was at a point in my life where I knew that staying the course would result in my failing the courses I was enrolled in. Things I once enjoyed became fraught with danger. I was mostly able to hide my symptoms from everybody but my husband. He was the one person who saw me at my very worst.

I got a little better then I changed jobs. My anxiety came back in full force and brought reinforcements. I didn’t understand. I loved my new job, everybody was lovely and I had a friend who already worked there. I did not understand why I was having such a hard time. One day I had such bad anxiety that I felt faint, and looked so ill that I was sent home. My friend drove me and the whole way home I played up my “sickness”. I felt like a fraud.

On another occasion I had such a bad panic attack that I called my husband at work and begged him to pick me up from work as I did not feel like I could drive. He took me straight to the doctor. The next day, as I felt the walls closing in and my anxiety threatening to take over my life I made my first appointment with my therapist. I can’t remember how long I saw her for but my life got infinitely better because I did. I still felt a little anxious from time to time but I was going out more, less afraid.

Things just kept getting better and better from then on. My anxiety is always trying to creep back in, especially when I am going someplace new, or when I am about to see a lot of people, such as a wedding etc. I love talking and socializing but the beginning is always daunting for me.

Anyway, the reason I am sharing this here is because I feel like anxiety and panic disorders need to be discussed more openly. It’s not a shameful thing. It doesn’t make you weak or stupid. These are all things I had believed about myself even though I knew better. I don’t see anything wrong with medication either. It makes lots of people’s lives better. Quality of life is important. At this point in my life I do not feel that I needed but if at some point I do then I will take it.

Now that I am a mother my anxiety is something that I don’t want to pass onto Diego, now that’s not so say that he won’t develop it later on but right now I don’t want to project it onto him. I want him to feel safe and secure. I need to be a consistent source of tranquility and peace. I know I will have setbacks, that’s life but I am choosing how to handle this. I have my husband on my team, and I am open about my struggles.

So, because I’ve felt a little off this week I have been guilty of some very lazy cooking! We’ve had frozen pizza, chicken nuggets and lots of pasta this week. Not my best effort but I have managed to keep it mostly home made and have added veggies wherever I can. I can’t remember every meal I’ve made this week but they’ve been yummy.

Tomorrow I will hopefully go do the grocery shopping I’ve been putting off as I don’t need much but we are just about out of bread and that’s a staple I can’t do without. We also need produce.

I haven’t managed to exercise much this week beyond a couple of walks and some yoga I started doing. We’ve had a little bit of rain that I can blame for not getting out there and walking. Next week will be better.