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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How's this to make you feel like you're a better mom than I am?

Check out the bruises on both sides of his head.  One he got at daycare (of course they say he got it at home but I KNOW I didn't drop him off with that bruise...).  Once that started to fade, he was trying to walk and went headfirst into the door frame.  I promise, I watch him so close and was standing right there!!!  But sometimes I'm not quick enough...I think he is so active he is bound to get bruised up...right???

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Isn't it normal?


Hi Hi Hi Hi Hi.  Ughhhhhhhhhhhh...It's Fridayyyyyyyyy!  YEAH!!!!!!!!!!

That's how I feel.  HAPPY!  But like, "Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh"

This is what happens when your daycare SUCKS.

Over the past couple weeks I have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other back to the other back to the other.  Make up your mind, mind!  Begins when I find out my son had his diaper changed just once at daycare.  Husband goes to daycare on a Sunday evening to discuss, asks daycare to record diaper changes and meals.  Monday and Tuesday, daycare makes big effort.  I soften.  Begin to like daycare.  Begin to think daycare isn't so bad.  Begin to remember Jack is happy at this daycare and likes Z.  Begin to remember how convenient this daycare is. 

Fast forward a couple of days.  Wednesday.  Daycare stops recording diapers or meals.  Wow.  That lasted a long time (sarcasm).  I decide to send my own food for her to feed Jack.  Call me a control freak but I want to know what he is eating.  Diapers not a big deal b/c since I use cloth I can count how many were used each day.  Decide I do not need her recording diapers and food.  Fast forward a couple more days.  Friday.  I telework.  Pick Jack up to bring him with me to lunch.  Surprise daycare.  Z not there but her helper is.  (Her helper is sweet but does not speak much English.)  Helper rapidly whips the bottle out of Jack's sleeping lips.  I HATE BOTTLES IN CRIBS.  HATE IT.  Hate it even more when Jack has a double ear infection (like he does right now) because it is too easy for me to blame the double ear infection on daycare putting bottles in the cribs.  I have known she does this but I saw it with my own eyes today so...grrr.

Went to visit a new daycare who has NO SPOTS.  I could tell she didn't want me to come visit, since she has no spots, but I really wanted to meet her in case a spot opens.  I'm remaining hopeful because her daycare was AMAZING!  Its $100 less each week than Jack's current daycare...not that I even care about price at this point. Her entire upstairs is dedicated to her daycare.  She has a sleeping room with cribs.  She has a computer room where she teachers the older kids to type things like their names.  She uses sign language with them.  She has an outdoor playground.  She has an indoor playground room.  A kitchen dedicated solely to the daycare.  Cubby's for each kids stuff.  It's a school!  An in-home daycare school!  I loved it!  She has a room that she calls her office where she plans the lessons and activities for all the kids the next day.  She is AMAZING.  AMAZING!!! FA LA LA LA LAAAAAA!!!  So I asked if she could suggest another daycare who she thinks is as good...she gave me a name.  I called and left a hoping they have a spot.

But this is probably boring for you to read about. 

My husband tells me I always have something I am fixated on.  Maybe its something at work. Maybe its him needing an ADHD Coach ( worked though)...And now its daycare.  But isn't it normal?  It's okay to have one thing you're focused on at all times, right?  It's better than having multiple things you're focused on.  I focus on something, fix whatever the problem is, and then move on.  :)

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Sunday, December 12, 2010


I could use everyone's prayers.  We need to make sure our next daycare is a KEEPER.  We will be using a daycare CENTER and I want to make sure we pick the right one.  The last thing I want to is switch Jack again.  I dont want to switch him now and I dont want to switch him again.  I dont even think I could.  He is not an adaptable kid, that's for sure.  So, prayers for us as we try to pick a new place!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Daycare SUCKS.

Today was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.  (Remember that book?  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad day)

So if you read my blog, you know by now that I am constantly, I mean CONSTANTLY, torn about whether I should be working or staying at home with Jack.  I'll reach a place where I feel at peace with my decision and it might last a month before I'm thrown for a loop again and its all over.  I may be thrown for a loop when Jack gets sick, or someone makes a comment I take personally, or DAYCARE ISSUES.  DAYCARE ISSUES SUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John has been travelling in San Francisco all week and I haven't been able to talk to him much because of the time difference.  His flight gets in tonight at 1:30 AM...I will be so happy to have him home.  He does so much to help that I apparently take for granted...I'm just completely pooped.  But, speaking of poop...

John typically drops Jack off at daycare around 7:00 or 7:15 AM.  I pick Jack up at 4:00 pm.  Since John is out of town, I dropped Jack off at daycare in the morning, my mother in law picked Jack up for me in the afternoon so I could stay late at work to make up the time.  So I got home yesterday and Mary Ellen, my mother-in-law, happened to mention in passing that Jack seemed happy when she picked him up but he was pretty mad when Z was changing his diaper.  This is an important fact to remember...Z changing his diaper at 4:00 pm.

I use cloth diapers so I know how often he is changed b/c all the used diapers come back to me tied in a wet bag.  Each night I take out the wetbag from the diaper pail and throw it in the diaper pail until I'm ready to wash the diapers.  I don't use cloth diapers for the purpose of keeping track of how often he is changed, but it does allow me to do so. 

Well, Jack seems to have a constant diaper rash.  If its not a full fledged rash, its just red and irritated.  I kept thinking he must just have very sensitive skin.  Well, yesterday evening I was changing his diaper and thought to myself, jeez...diaper rash again.  I told myself to check the wet bag to see how many diapers Z had used that day.  I was just curious.  I forgot to check last night but this morning, I checked real quick right before I loaded Jack in the car to bring him to daycare.  To my dismay, there was only ONE dirty diaper in the bag.  Z had only changed him ONE time, the entire day, at 4:00 pm.  Meaning, Jack had not been changed one time from when I had changed him around 6:45 AM, til 4:00 pm when my mother in law picked him up.  That is just neglectful!  We have had to address this issue with Z before...but its never been this bad.  It was one time pretty bad but she was VERY apologetic and seemed to have a legitimate excuse that worked for me.  But I can't tolerate this.  I am not very confrontational, although I'm sure John would disagree ;).  But I have to make sure my son is taken care of.  So when I dropped him off, I very nicely said, "Z, could you change Jack at least three times today?  You know, b/c of diaper rash and stuff?"  She said, "The diaper rash is b/c of you."  I said, "You only changed him once yesterday."  She said, "He didn't have diaper rash yesterday."  I said, "I don't care about diaper rash.  I don't want him sitting in a wet diaper all day."  She said, "Okay"...but I was upset that she is actually trying to blame me for diaper rash.  I CHANGE HIS DIAPER.  Gah!

So since John is out of town, I can't talk to was something like 4:00 AM in San Fransisco when this was happening.  My poor, poor co-workers.  They had to listen to me go on and on all day, crying off and on.  ugh.  So I text my friend, who upon my recommendation, had moved her son to Z's daycare two weeks ago.  I said, "I'm disturbed b/c Z only changed Jack once yesterday."  She responded by saying last week when her husband picked up her 18 month old, her son hadn't been changed at all, the entire day.  She knows that b/c she had brought him to a doctors appointment that morning and had used one of the doctors diapers, which are different than hers.  That's how she knew he hadn't been changed.

There is a 2 1/2 year old at daycare named Cash.  He is a bully!  He hits Jack (he even hits me sometimes).  When I picked up Jack the other day, he pushed my friends son, TWICE!  Luckily, her son is very easy going but I said, "Wow, Cash is mean."  Z has said he only does this when I'm there which may be the case but, still...  Z responded, "That's just how boys are."  I said, "No, it isn't."  She knew this bothered me so she said a couple days later that she had "talked" to Cash about the hitting.  I'm sure that a "talk" is effective with a two year old.  (NOT) So this was already a concern of mine and the diaper issue is just...too much.

John says we should talk to her, get her on some sort of system...I think he actually used the words "help her with process improvement."  Oh John, that's endearing.  But NO...that's not going to work.  I should never have to ever address diaper are a DAYCARE PROVIDER.  CHANGE THE DIAPERS.  I was talking to my sister in law, Whitney.  She said..."WHAT!  That's neglectful!  You pay her to keep him safe and clean!"  I was like, you're right!  It already bothered me that every day his face is dirty with dried up food but I never saw that as a deal breaker...I'd just clean him up when I got home.  But you know, I don't think he is probably comfortable with food all over his face, just like I wouldn't be.  So keep his face clean, keep his diaper clean, don't neglect your kids.

My friend and I decided we will try taking the daycare center route.  This is the second in-home daycare for both of us.  We called around and think we MIGHT have an answer...this place won't have a spot for Jack until February but I don't mind leaving him with Z until then and just knowing I'll have to stay all over her to make sure she does these basic fundamental daycare tasks.  GRRRR....I'm so mad about this. 

Also, I really feel like I'm a bad mom.  Having to move Jack for the THIRD TIME since apparently I am AWFUL at picking a good daycare.  Ugh.  Horrible.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Making things easier...Part Deux

First of all, before we get started here, if you're reading this...please click the "follow" button.  I really love collecting followers.  There is a new feature on blogger now where I can track how many people read my blog on a given day.  Last time I posted, over 50 people read my blog that day...but I only have 47 followers...and I know not all of my actual followers read...which means I could potentially have more.  So please, follow me!!!

I wrote about my freezer meals in the last post.  I got a lot of good feedback about the post.  Immediately after I posted, a friend emailed saying she had read my  blog and is very interested in starting a "cooking co-op".  So we did!  The first swap meeting is mid-January.  We both did a lot of googling and research and came up with what we think are very thorough "Guidelines/Procedures".  Because I want to spread the JOY of simplifying life and enjoying the day-to-day as much as possible, I'd like to share our google doc showing how we will be operating so you can start a co-op if you want!  If you'd like more details, let me know and I'd be happy to share.  I'll keep you posted with how it goes.  Here are our guidelines:

Freezer Meal Cooking Co-Op Guidelines and Procedures

What I'd like to discuss today in this post is the "Harris Teeter Express Lane".  This has been equally critical in my attempt to make things easier and life more enjoyable.  I've tried Peapod (which actually delivers to your home for about $8 plus tip, depending on location) but HT Express Lane far surpasses the other services, in my opinion.  Let me show you a letter I wrote to their corporate office, so that I don't have to retype why I loveeeeeeee HT....


...Shoot, I can't find what I wrote to them.  Well I basically I went on and on about how their service has really been a life changer.  It's so convenient, the service is fantastic...I love that they offer this service and not only do I get convenience, I don't have to sacrifice quality.  Everything available in the store is available online.  Produce is carefully selected and always excellent.  Even the way they put everything in the bags makes me feel happy when I unpack.

And their response to my email:

Dear Lauren:

What a nice email! We're thrilled to hear from our customers who've had a great experience in our store. We'll definitely pass along your comments to our senior management and make sure that our Home Shoppers get special recognition for providing great service.

Thanks for your praise...and for shopping at Harris Teeter!
Harris Teeter Customer Relations

Ever since I wrote that email, whenever I pick up groceries, whoever puts the groceries in my trunk thanks me for writing the "sweet" email and asks how old my son is, etc.  (The email explained that once I had a baby, grocery shopping became much, who wants to give up a couple hours a week with your kids so you can  go grocery shopping?  Not me!  Also, I'm usually just plain exhausted.)

So, what is Harris Teeter Express Lane?  Express Lane is simply a service where you order your groceries online.  The website is EASY!  After you place your order, it takes them about 3-4 hours (sometimes about an hour!) to assign a personal shopper to your order and prepare your order.  This service is available seven days a week.  When your order has been prepared, they call AND email  you when your order is ready.  If you ordered a generic brand and they are out of generic, they will give you the name brand for the same price.  When you order, you can specify if substitutions are okay.  When they call you to tell you the order has been completed, they run through your order if there were any items they were out of.  Its very rare for them to be out of an item but every so often there will be an item or two they substitute with a different brand, as long as it is okay with you.  When your order is complete, you drive to the store, pull up into a specified parking spot, push an intercom button, let them know you're waiting, and they come out with your groceries.  The cost of this service is $4.95.  WORTH EVERY PENNY.  I'm forced to sit down and plan my meals for the week  before I order online.    Otherwise, I don't plan and IF I'm lucky enough to get dinner on the table at all, I will have to run to the store what seems like every night.  All of this is a big pain and it takes time away from Jack and John.  In addition, I'm sure we all splurge on $4.95 worth of stuff when we go into the store...magazines, junk food...whatever.  So this $4.95 fee is really nothing.  Now, not ALL Harris Teeter locations offer this service so let me show you the steps you need to take.

Step 1:  Go to, click "Home Shopping Express Lane", select your state, and check out which location you will be using.

Step 2:  Click the location most convenient to you, click "Proceed to Store", click "Sign In" and then click "Create Account".  Make sure you sign up for a VIC card so you can get all the specials.  Once you have registered, log in...

Step 3:  Start Shopping.  You can shop in several ways...I usually have written out my list so type in the search bar what I'm looking for.  For example, Baby Food.  Type in "Baby Food" and click "Go".  I select "Cereals and Snacks"

I select how I want to sort the results.  I select "Specials" and it brings up a list of all the Cereals and Snacks that are on sale. 

I select the one I want and you can see that I can use the arrow to increase or decrease quantity.

When you are finished shopping, click "Checkout".  It allows you to review your order once more, click "checkout" one more time.  Now, you're at the screen where you can specify the date and time you will be picking up your order. 

Here is the final screen where you will place your order.

That's that!  Try it out!

Believe it or not, as I typed this, the mailman came.  I went up to get the mail and make the dogs start barking (ugh) and I had a Christmas Card from harris Teeter with a coupon for $5 off my next order.  Nice!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Making things easier...

Working moms (or any type of moms) have to find tricks to simplify life in order to juggle the day-to-day.  I'll talk more about the tricks I've discovered and use in future posts.  Today, I will talk about the trick that has made the biggest improvement in our life...nightly meals.  Up until about a month ago, I just could not get that together.  I would pick up Jack from daycare every afternoon at 4:00 and from then on, it felt like a race to the finish line (bedtime).  Late afternoon is Jack's crankiest time of day and he pretty much demands undivided attention and a lot of entertaining!!!  My mom told me that I should put him in the highchair and cook dinner after work but...that does not work.  A neighbor happened to offer me a freezer they had laying around...this is what sparked the idea in my head to begin cooking on weekends.  I accepted their offer...only, the freezer did not work.  I had Sears come out to repair it...the repair would cost $300!!!  I posted the freezer on Craigslist and gave it away for free to someone who could fix it themselves.  I then invested in an upright freezer for the garage.  It was about $400.  Worth every penny!

I started a new routine.  It goes like this: 

Friday night:  Order my groceries from Harris Teeter
Saturday morning:  John watches Jack, I Pick up groceries from Harris Teeter (more about this trick later) and make a quick Costco run if needed.  This is typically during Jack's nap so I do not miss much with him.
Sunday:  Begin cooking during Jack's naptime and after Jack goes to bed.  Freeze meals for the week ahead.

The first couple of weeks I did a lot of extra cooking even on weekday evenings after Jack was asleep to build up a stash of meals.  This was an AMAZING feeling!!!  My new routine allowed me to have dinner on the table every night...not just Five Guys or Pizza but a nutritious and delicious (hopefully) meal.  Usually, you will need to supplement your frozen meal with a salad.  You might try making a huge salad on Sunday night that you can eat throughout the week.  I also buy the "Steamers" when they're on sale at the grocery store.  You can just pop this bag of vegetables in the microwave for five minutes and Voila!, you have your vegetables and a balanced meal.

The nice thing about having this nightly routine is routines can then be tacked on to this routine.  John has started going to the gym after Jack is in bed while I sometimes do extra cooking.  When your life lacks these basic routines, it can feel pretty out of control.  You may feel like you have no "grounding"...I felt like I was just making it through every day and collapsing into bed at the end...then, not even feeling very good about how it went.  This nightly routine has given me something to hold onto...and I feel a sense of MAJOR accomplishment, "Yes, I did that...we had dinner, ate healthy, can have leftovers for our lunch tomorrow."  We spend less on going out to dinner and buying lunches.  I also think it's important that Jack can be part of our nightly meal and it gives us family time.
After a few weeks of cooking, I ran out of ideas on meals to make that are freezer friendly.  I ordered two cookbooks on for freezer meals.  I'm not a big believer in cookbooks with websites out there like and but it is hard to find freezer meals on those sites.  Then, you have to adapt the meal yourself to double or tripple it...often it does not turn out quite how you like it when you do that.  I am going to tell you about the cookbook I like the best, first.  Once I work with this cookbook for awhile, I'll move on to the next.

The book is called "Fix, Freeze, Feast" by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik.  So far, there are many many things I love about this cookbook.  I will highlight a few of those and as I begin experimenting with the recipes, I'll continue to let you know how it is.  I'll then move on to the next cookbook. 
Here are some Fix, Freeze and Feast highlights.

1.  I love the binding on this is satisfying to hold and read...very unique.  I know, this is a strange "highlight" but I do love it.

2.  Designed for people who shop at the "Warehouse" clubs.  Costco!  You know when you go to Costco and buy a "tray" of's usually 4-6 pounds and you split up the meat into 1 lb portions and freeze those?  (That is what I do.)  Or, you run out of time to do that and throw the whole thing in the freezer and end up with a solid brick of beef...6 pounds worth?  Well this cookbook uses the entire tray of beef for each recipe.  For example, one of the beef recipes is "Cheese Chilada Bake".  The first ingredient is one tray of beef (about 6 lbs).  The recipe makes four entrees, 8 servings each.  So you will be able to freeze four meals after cooking this recipe...or eat one that night, and freeze the other three!  Or give one to a neighbor, make their day, and freeze the remaining three.  They have created their recipes based on the large packages of meat from warehouse clubs.  Genius!

3.  I love the book's intro.  It outlines EVERYTHING you need to know to get started.  And it makes you excited to do it!  It discusses the basics of make-ahead meals, how to get organized with your shopping list, how to select ingredients/ingredient substitutes, how to shop, how to set up your kitchen before your cooking session to make it painless, how to prep your ingredients, how to put it all together, how to correct mistakes (like measuring an ingredient incorrectly, forgetting an ingredient, buying the wrong meat, finding something too salty, etc)...and a lot more helpful information is included as well.

4.  In the back of the book you will find an appendix...the appendix contains sample labels for your convenience!  You can photocopy these and tape them to your freezer containers...they are printed with baking instructions, times and temps.  Very similar to those you use at those meal preparation kitchens like "Let's Dish" or "Dinner Done"...

5.  The appendix also lists resources that include helpful websites, books, magazines, etc.  It also talks about community cooking options like a cooking club or a cooking co-op (which I may consider joining/starting).

So these are a few highlights of this new book I am beginning ("Fix, Freeze, Feast" by Kati Neville and Lindsay Tkacsik.).  I will let you know how the journey goes.  This weekend, I'll discuss how I've learned to simplify grocery shopping and make that a routine and easy part of my weekly life.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Long Day...

Jack has had a fever for 7 days now.  Started low and progressively gotten worse.  This morning at 103.3.  This is not normal!  They checked and no ear infection (took  him to doctor yesterday).  They sent off for a urine culture and I have a sinking feeling that this is another kidney infection.  I worry about the kidney infections and I worry about the constant antibiotics he has had to take because of them.  Then I worry about the C.Diff coming back b/c of the antibiotics and question myself everytime he cries wondering if that is now an issue.

These are the days it is hard to work.  Its hard to come to work, hard to be at work, and hard to focus at work.  I called the nurse this morning at 9:00 to tell her about this fever and still have not heard back.  Of course, she did call me back the one time I left my desk and now am still waiting...I am so frustrated.  John is staying home with Jack today, I stayed home with him yesterday and I'll probably stay home with him tomorrow.