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Friday, February 26, 2010

5 lessons on pumping

I've been back to work for just over 2 weeks now and I have been pumping breastmilk for William's snacking pleasure for 3 weeks. I feel I have some wisdom to share, even if it only makes you laugh.

I present -
5 RULES FOR PUMPING (breastmilk at work)

1. Bring breast pads.
This is the first baby I've ever even needed breast pads with. I constantly forget them though. Today I was on a phone call and I started to leak breast milk. Which wouldn't matter if I wasn't wearing a solid color shirt so that a wet spot right in the middle of my breast looks just like a beacon. There is only so long you can pull the "I spilled my drink on myself." That time stops when your spot starts on your nipple and runs all the way down to your waist.

2. Do NOT put your breast pump in the fridge.
I don't care how pressed you are for time and organization. A cold milk horn against a warm breast? Does NOT encourage my milk to flow.

3. Be discreet.
Sure, yelling "Hey I gotta go milk myself!" is funny once or twice but it is an HR nightmare after that. Of course nothing gets you onto break faster and with less questions than looking at your boss and saying "I gotta go handle some stuff." when they know you're pumping.

4. Make sure your breastpump is clean.
Nothing makes you question that hard won milk more than an odd odor coming from bra.

5. Bring an extra bottle.
I know about what I can expect from each pumping but I try to bring an extra bottle just in case. Because when you don't bring an extra bottle sometimes that port in the storm for milk storage looks a little weird. And makes you nervous a co-worker might steal it in the fridge.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I need a favor

I know I don't have a lot of readers. Mostly just a few friends and some family and that's totally fine with me. I write for entertainment, not to sell my blog and make a cool million. (Although I wouldn't be upset if that magically happened)

I somehow doubt though that my ramblings about my kids and my pets is hardly million dollar worthy.

I digress.

I need a favor from my small band of readers though.

Micah's grandmothers birthday is coming up. She's turning 80 in April and we're having her birthday on April 4th. It's a joint Easter meal/birthday party extravaganza.

The thing is, she's been in a nursing home for about 6 months now. And she was kinda out of the loop before that. She's 80 so a lot of her peers are either forgetful or have passed on.

Based on her reaction at Christmas ("Where is my present?") I'm attempting to avoid any confusion and also help make her feel special for her big day.

I need birthday cards people.

I'm asking that you, my readers, send a birthday card to my home address, addressed to Jenny Gonzales prior to April 4th. (f you need my home address email me at lacy323 at gmail dot com)

What I'm envisioning is a lot of birthday cards opened at the party (I promise I'll get a picture of her in her party hat to pay you folks back) that we can then take back to her room at the nursing home and put up around the room.

You might be thinking "But she doesn't even know me. Why would she want a card from me?"

My answer would be this: It's a nice thing to do for an elder who has lost contact with a lot of people in the last 6 months including friends and family. Also, she has dementia and often is okay with just accepting that she doesn't remember everyone anymore. She still doesn't remember my name and I see her weekly.

It's important for all of us to feel loved and thought about and prayed for. I want Jenny to feel that way on her birthday. Please wont you help?

I'll save you a piece of cake....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Conversations with Lizzie

*This is all true and verbatim

Me: Lizzie honey, time to get up for school. Let's get dressed.
Lizzie: I'm too TIREEEEEEDDDDD.
Me: Well let's get dressed and then you can lay back down for ten minutes.
Lizzie: *Sleepy nod*
Me: But we're going to have to skip something this morning in order for you to lay down.
Lizzie: Like what?
Me: Either breakfast or hair curling.
Lizzie: *laying back down* I'll skip breakfast.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bling

Will shows off his "ice". In the shape of a Moo Cow rattle. So precious he even sleeps with it.

(And yes, he is sucking his thumb too)

Father/Son Talk

Micah: Hey Will, can I talk to you for a second?


Will: Who me?
Micah: Yes you.


Will: I love talking to YOU Daddy!

Micah: I want to talk to you about being a man. I want to talk to you about being gentle all the time and firm when you need to be. I want to talk to you about how to treat women with respect, how to honor your parents, treasure your grandparents, protect your daughters like they are rare jewels and love your sons like you wear your favorite shirt; often and with fondness. I want you to cherish your family, love your neighbor and be an honorable man.

Will: Daddy you so silly!

Micah: I'm serious now Will. I want to talk to you about being a hard worker. I want you to always try your best, work your hardest. Don't take the easy road, no matter what others are doing. Learn from your mistakes and become a better man for it. Don't take shortcuts, especially when it matters the most. And it always matters the most.

Will: Shhhh Daddy. Let me tell you about how much I love you.

Dinner Disorganization

I am, by nature, a disorganized person.

I am also a person who likes lists. And spread sheets. Colored coded if possible.

I like making menu plans. I love them. Because when I don't make a menu plan my life after work is chaotic and often expensive. It generally looks something like this:

Monday - beg Micah to pick up fast food for the family because I'm exhausted and it's Monday.
Tuesday - Order Pizza
Wednesday - Spaghetti for dinner. Eaten at 8pm.
Thursday - Junk night (translation: soup for Kylie, macaroni for Lizzie) Micah and I fend for ourselves.
Friday - Pot Roast because I finally got my act together and put it in the crock pot.

Rinse and repeat.

One of my saving graces has been acknowledging that I'm human and busy. I know my limitations in the kitchen on a week night where I have just put in a full day of work outside the house. But even when I was a stay at home mom, my limitations were still there. Frankly I much preferred taking Lizzie to the museum than worrying about dinner. And prepping for dinner.

To that end, I LOVE making meals ahead of time and just pulling them out.

I also love my crock pot.

Those two ideas have saved my sanity on more than one week and I want to share that with you today.

Why?

Because last week looked very much like what I described above so yesterday I went back into Make Ahead Meals and crock pot planning.

This is what my week will look like for dinner:

Monday - Manicotti w/ garlic bread
Tuesday - Chimichangas
Wednesday - Pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green beans
Thursday - Teriyaki chicken, rice, peas and carrots (I think I still have some of those)
Friday - Spaghetti (Kylie will be making this)

All of this eaten by no later than 6:30pm and all with minimal crazy surrounding it.
Each entree is either pre-made or crock-potted (is that a word?) and is much healthier than the pizza or soup the prior dinner menu had.

I love the make ahead meal (some people call this once a month cooking but I don't make it in that big a batch). At it's simplest form you can just double a recipe when you make something and stick it in the freezer to pull out later.

Some places like Dream Dinners and Saving Suppers do all the prep work and menu planning for you but can be very expensive. (Although these are the places I am more apt to try new menu items since I don't have the choice of making the same things over and over again)

I am a fan of the website Saving Dinner , specifically the Freezer Meals. I also have two cookbooks for freezer meals, Don't Panic: (Dinners in the freezer) and Dream Dinners. Don't Panic is my favorite for family meals for my picky eaters while Dream Dinners lends it self to more adventurous meals. All tasty, all good.

My favorite thing to do is to gather a group of ladies together for fellowship and dinner. Usually the host decides the menu (two chickens, a red meat and a vegetarian is how I like to roll when I host) and gathers the ingredients. The people who attend the party pay the host for their portion of the food (usually in the $30 range) and off you go. Partygoers chop, place items in bags, marinate and talk and laugh while they make their meals based on the recipe the host provides. When I host I also supply labels that detail how to prepare the item and what the item contains but you can just write it in permanent marker if you need to. I also like the ability to cut or add items based on what you like. If you like more onions in your marinate, then throw them in. Like less basil? Don't include it.

This is a great time to fellowship and bond with your friends and prepare your menu for the upcoming weeks or months.

And in my case it DRASTICALLY cuts down on the chaos in my life and provides my family a decent quality meal without having to be out of a box or containing a lot of preservatives.

Mmmmm, manicotti.....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The house of illness

Oh what a week it's been.

Monday I went back to work. Micah also had a partial root canal and some other teeth work done.

Tuesday Lizzie went to the dentist. All clear. She thinks she won the lotto because she got to go to the dentist. Now if fairies would just sprinkle dust around the room so she could fly her life would be complete.

Wednesday was a normal day with normal working people and school and everything.

Thursday, today, Micah went for the BIG SNIP. He's not moving fast. Also, Will had gunk in his eye. Turns out he has Conjunctivitis. You'll call it pink eye. I skipped work.

Turns out this evening, Kylie appears to have pink eye too. So she had to throw out all her make up, wipe everything off and I'll have to burn everything in the house.

Or just use Lysol. Whatever.

I won't be going to work tomorrow. Micah finishes his root canal and gets crown work done. Kylie has to go to the Dr for her pink eye. Will can't go to daycare for 24 hours. *sigh*

On the plus side, he weighs 15 lbs at 3 months old.

Do you know how much I love those fat bracelets on his hands and arms? LOVE.THEM.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Not an insult

Ky: I think I want to be something bouncy from Winnie the Pooh
Me: Like what?
Ky: Like Rabbit. Or Kanga.
Lizzie: Roo
Ky: That's not the worst thing to be.
Lizzie: Uh hun
Ky: It's not an insult Liz
Lizzie: Your a tiger
Ky: what?
Lizzie: I'm a lion. Roar.

*Imagine "roar" being said half heartedly, quietly and in the most apathetic tone possible

Back in the saddle

This is my first fullish week back at work since I had the baby. It's been an experience.

First, let me say, I really like what I do. I like the IDEA behind what I do. I enjoy Human Resources like nobody's business and I like the feeling of accomplishment that I have when I make a difference. I am ridiculously good at what I do. That's not bragging, it's honest truth. I got my end of the year review today for 2009. My boss said the same thing. I'm professional, honest and respectful. I work hard and I do the job right.

Second, people can be stupid. That is not to say that all people I interact with are stupid or that when people have questions of me they are stupid. That's not the case at all. I need them to have questions. That's why I have a job.

People seem to worry about the small things, more than they should I think. At least that's how it has seemed lately.

People at work fussing over their 2% raise (That was the standard raise across the board this year) and not focusing on the fact that last year we, as a company, laid off over 8000 people. We've already laid off several hundred this year and I suspect the trend for layoffs will continue. People upset that we changed health care providers this year instead of focusing on the fact that they now get better coverage for less money. People worrying about the ability to see their paycheck online on Tuesday instead of Wednesday when in our current economy having a paycheck should be a blessing.

I got yelled at and hung up on yesterday by someone because his remote access to change something tax related wasn't working. I offered to send him the form so I could manually process it for him as well as offered him the phone number of our systems group so they could talk him through the computer issues he was having. Instead he yelled at me because filling out the form would take time (it's a W4 people, not a tough item to fill out) and insisted I should be able to manually process it for him. He also insisted that the website was broken even when I tried to explain that the same process had worked for me not 5 seconds prior and that we often have issues with remote access to the company website.

I don't like being yelled at. But it's part of the job I suppose. I just can't help shaking my head though that he was mad enough at the idea that he would have to take 10 minutes to fill out the form that he yelled and hung up on another human being who had no control of the website. His focus was on the 10 minutes and not on the fact that he was speaking to another human being, a co-worker for all intents, and the fact he had a job at all when another round of layoffs are looming on the horizon.

It was a day where I asked myself if I was sure I wanted to go back to work at all. I am giving up snuggling with my sweet baby for that?

Today a man called me upset about the fact he needed surgery and had to go out on leave. He assumed he would miss all of his pay, that he would have to use all of his vacation and sick time and the he would be without pay for several weeks. I was able to calm him down, explain that we have a disability policy in place and that he would be paid in full for the entire anticipated time off without having to touch his vacation time. He told me I was the nicest person he had ever spoken to in his lifetime. He couldn't thank me enough for calming his fears and letting him know it was safe to have his surgery as his finances would be alright.

And that's why I went back. To help that guy. And the guy that hung up on me. As crappy as it is.

Doesn't mean I miss those chubby cheeks any less though.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The bed of brotherly love

I'm not 100% sure what is going on in this picture.



It's either:

a. Jason is so desperate for love that he will snuggle with a sleeping baby in an attempt for attention

b. Will smells like milk and Jason is trying to look for the source without waking up the small, loud grabby thing

I have my suspicions....




It's all about the milk

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentines plate

I like making stuff with my kids hand prints. I look at the stuff I made with Kylie's little hands when she was a year old and I'm amazed that now she's talking about college and majors and purple hair dye.

Thanksgiving of 2008 I made this plate with both girls hand prints. I figured I wasn't having anymore kids so it was okay.


I was wrong. Obviously.

(And yes, I made their hand prints look like Turkeys. It's hard to see the beaks and feet unless you look at the picture up close.)

Earlier this week I had this brilliant idea for a Valentines craft plate that would use the kids handprints but I sadly didn't have the kids. And oh, I had jury duty and went back to work this week. So my time was slightly limited.

Lucky for me Brian had to work Saturday and his girlfriend is out of town so the kids were essentially home and doing nothing today. With that in mind I borrowed them for a couple of hours so we could do my awesome craft.

I love going to this particular pottery painting place. I drive almost 45 minutes to get there but the people there are awesome and I consider it worth the drive.

It's Arts on Fire studio in Highlands Ranch and no, I'm getting nothing for mentioning them in my blog. They wouldn't know me from Adam and they certainly wouldn't know about my blog. David the owner is so friendly and nice and his wife remembered us when we walked in, even though it's been over a year since we were there.

Today Kylie painted a fairy, Lizzie painted a small unicorn and small turtle and I made this awesome plate:
It's isn't glazed or fired yet, they will do that this week. So the colors will be a little brighter when I actually get it back but I love it overall. It's a pale pink and it says "Love is the" and then I used hand prints for Kylie and Lizzie and Will's feet since he still keeps his hands clenched in little fists to make hearts and then on the bottom is says "Of this home".

The meaning is of course "Love is the heart of this home".

I meant for it just for a Valentines decoration but I'm kinda thinking about keeping it up all year round. Because it is the heart of our home. And it just looks awesome.

Sometimes I really think I'm the craft queen of the world. Then I remember I'm really lazy and relegate the title to someone with a little more spunk.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Valentine story

I read a LOT of other blogs. Usually at work. Sometimes at home.

This blog made me cry today. And want to hand out Valentines to every child in the world.

So I thought I would share with you.

How to turn a blog comment into a very long blog post by Whiskey in my Sippy Cup

For some back story, the author was raised I believe Jehovahs Witness.

The quickest ER trip in history

Thursday morning Micah's grandma, herein known as Sweet Jenny, got out of bed and fell. We think. We think because no one actually saw her do it and her memory does not allow any detail whatsoever on what happened except "I fell".

She's got a bad bruise on her forehead which has spread to her right eye area and cheek. She looks like she was punched in the eye but she says it doesn't hurt.

Friday, Leslie (Micah's mother) and I took Jenny out to dinner. We, as a family, try to take Jenny out at least once a week. Normally it's Saturday's for lunch but due to the fall and the fact that Leslie was going up to the mountains for her long Presidents Day Weekend we decided to take her out Thursday instead. On the occasions that Micah can't make it (and that has been happening more frequently lately since his work has decided everyone works 6 days a week now instead of 5) Leslie and I take her alone and call it girls night out.

So Friday we took her out and while her eye looked bad it didn't look unusual for that kind of head bonk.

Friday night though, at about 9pm we got a call from the nursing home head nurse telling us that the Dr wanted Sweet Jenny to go to the ER for her eye. They said she had puss in it.

Trying to convince Jenny what to get for dinner can be a challenge so we knew that there was no way she could go to the ER alone. Micah and I got dressed and headed to the nursing home.

We got there and Jenny was asleep. The head nurse could not explain exactly why they needed Jenny to go to the ER right then but that the Dr had ordered it so. They called and ambulance but also could not explain with any information WHY Jenny needed to go to the ER. Her eye didn't hurt her and she had been sound asleep. While I did see some puss when she opened it it wasn't substantial and as I said, it wasn't bothering her.

None the less, we go. Jenny was really confused as to why we had to get up and go, no matter how often I tried to explain that it was for her head and to make sure she was okay.

The ER Dr seemed to be of the opinion that there was no reason to be there Friday when the fall was on Thursday and she seemed okay and was under the constant care of nurses anyways. But since we were there they did a CAT scan to be safe.

We were at the ER for roughly 2 hours and Jenny was agitated as all get out by the end. She just wanted to go home and go to bed. She was angry. I was tired. Micah was tired. The baby was, well, he was content to be held by Jenny which was good since that's how we distracted her while waiting for the Dr.

I snapped these pictures while we were there.



He probably weighs about as much as Jenny does.....


Hold her hands

All in all we were home by 1am and thankfully while I did go back to work today it wasn't until 1pm so I got to sleep in.

But I have some questions for those nurses at the nursing home when my anger has dissipated a little bit.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm on base!

Occasionally Lizzie and I will play tag in the morning before leaving for school. The couch and her bed are always "base" meaning whoever gets there is "safe" and can't be tagged. But they are it next. It's an easy game of run from one end of the house to the other really.

When I saw this the other night it reminded me of Lizzie laughing and saying she was on "base". I have a feeling Jason the cat is saying the same thing to Tasha. Can't get me, I'm on base!

video

Friday, February 5, 2010

Facing the menacing hordes

For some unknown reason there was no school today here in Sleeping Beauty town, Colorado. There wont be any tomorrow either. No, I don't know why. I wish I did.

I had the BRILLIANT idea to take the kids to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science today. It's only OUR district that was out of school today so I guessed that it would be a slow and boring day there, being a Thursday and a school day.

I.was.wrong.

There was an entire middle school AND elementary school there today, in addition to the regular group of home schoolers and other wise parents from our district who had the same idea that I did. I fail.

Luckily they left about an hour after we got there.

Lizzie adores the Space Exploration area and would live there if she could. Who knows, she may be my science minded child after all.

Kylie was too cool to be caught dead at a museum so instead stayed home and did laundry.

Will went with Lizzie and I and enjoyed the Genghis Khan exhibit which will leave our fair city on Sunday so I'm glad we went.

Lizzie rushed me through though in order to get to the hats. She HAD to have a Mongol hat. HAD TO.



Outside the exhibit. Will was being camera shy apparently.

Will shows off his very stylish Mongol hat.


My fearsome Mongol horde. Don't they look vicious?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

High School Excitement

Yesterday we had the high school open house, whereby I dragged myself, a 5 year old, a 2 month old in a very heavy carseat and a 14 year old who was too cool to be seen with her mother the breeder and braved the night to check out the school.

Cons: It's a big school. Very big. And I saw teenagers hugging each other. Boy and girl hugs. Eww gross. Also, we saw no "goths" there. I'm sure they are far too cool to be helpful to 8th graders for open house night.

Pros: Kylie voluntarily took forms from the drama club, Sisters In Community Club, dance squad, student leadership and talked to the counselor about getting college credits during high school. (she is SO doing that)

Also, for Lizzie's sake, they sold popcorn for $1 so she didn't starve while we were there.

Additionally, I don't want to talk about how many times people looked at Kylie and then looked at the baby, trying to figure out which was of us was breeding. Thankfully it's her much too young mother and not the 14 year old, thankyouverymuch.

Kylie is so excited about high school she can't stand it. I am so excited for her that I can't stand it.

Bring on August!