Health Care Bill & Nursing

As an expectant mom, one of my biggest fears is my maternity leave and eventual return to work. I’ve ALWAYS been hyper busy and am the one who works for the money in the house, so returning to work is not even a question—it’s happening. I’d go crazy if I didn’t! So crazy, in fact, that I’ve offered to help some school teacher friends make Literacy Stations during my leave—told you I’m nuts! But yet, I have fears. I fear that I won’t document a process well enough or train my temporary replacement how to do what I do (I am currently the only person in my department who does what I do, so can you see why I worry?) and something will go wrong (and in my mind, I am 110% to blame!). I worry that I will not have given my children enough time during my leave to truly bond with mom and they will be daddy’s kids and resent mom for working. (It sort of happened to me when I was young, I was raised by my dad while my mom worked. BUT, I have an awesome bond with my dad and a love and respect for my mother that I cannot even begin to explain—she is a super awesome hero whether she’ll admit it or not!…so I know that me working isn’t going to hurt the babies.) But most of all, I worry about how to handle my return and nursing. When I had our first child, there was no question about what I was going to do—I needed to save money and I wanted to give her everything possible I could, so naturally, I nursed. She would eat and eat and eat…and then get really gasy and sick. I kept trying for 4 weeks and finally her doctor suggested one of my fears—she was lactose intolerant and needed to be on a strict soy milk diet. Saddened, I let go of the nursing bond and put her to the bottle…she immediately showed signs of healthiness and I was ecstatic. With this baby, I definitely want to try it again, but I never had to breech the subject of nursing in the workplace because she was done 2 weeks before I went back to work. If this kid isn’t lactose intolerant, I definitely want to try again, but I am so worked up about asking for the room to block and the time to pump (I have a male boss, so I am sort of uncomfortable about that). Thankfully, even though I have nerves that might be over nothing, I read a great article in the Trib this week about how the Health Care overhaul is helping out moms who nurse:  So it sounds like I’ll be able to ask for a room and privacy…the only thing is that I am a salaried worker and am not sure how the bill impacts me (hourly workers get unpaid work time up to every three hours). It will be interesting to see how it all plays out—one, if the baby even gets to nurse and two, how and when I get up my courage to ask. Hey, I just blogged about it, so I can’t be that embarrassed by the fact I am giving my kid the best thing a mother can from the start, right? Stay posted.

Cute Things The Little One Does

Our kid is legally ridiculous. At 22 months, she has an incredible language base (atleast 100 words and speaking in sentences when SHE feels like it…) and is incredibly smart. Her favorite toys are her kitchen, baby, and phone. Here are just some of the cute things she has done lately…

*  Ate some fries and then put the fries in her play oven to heat them back up.

*  Fell in love with beans and blueberries.  We seriously cannot keep enough in the house.

*  Walks around in her Mama or Daddy’s flip flops–toes where they belong and doesn’t trip.

*  Tells our dog Rowdy to “Get Back, Get Back!” when Mama gets to the door after work.

*  Feeds her baby leftover oranges.

*  Begs for cookies regardless of how tired she is.

*  Chooses to wash her hands in the tub instead of the sink after using the potty because she doesn’t have to be held or rely on a stool.

*  Would prefer to take a shower instead of a bath. (How old is she?)

*  Practices her swimming moves when it’s raining.

*  “Waves a Terrible Towel” anytime anyone says “Steelers”.

*  Likes to feed chickens on Frontierville–and ONLY chickens.

We are pretty lucky to have such a silly, cute kid!  She makes our life full of blessings and we are very thankful.

Down, but not Out!

A long overdue post, I know. This past week has been yet another week of T’s and D’s in the journey to Baby #2.

If you’re wondering how our food plan went, well, we did the Ham Bbq’s but I made too much and we ended up having leftovers for three days. Yikes. This week, we’re working on the rest of the menu (tonight was stir fry veggies and rice, the baby liked, but with “Chinese” I am always hungry 2 hours later–never fails).  What’s left is breakfast for dinner and baked ziti.  I don’t know that tomorrow I will be in a mood for either of those, so it might be leftover rice turned into something.  We’ll see.

We had a good weekend minus my random sickness. My grandmother was able to come home, so we spent some time with her and family then went to my little cousins’ birthday party (full of Oakmont Bakery goodies…um, yum.).  Sunday I got in a nesting mood and we overhauled the playroom and nursery getting everything organized. The baby officially has its own closet and dresser…as well as 6 packs of Size 1 diapers and 6 packs of wipes. Thank you, couponing!  Need to remember to start picking up some Newborn’s too.

Friday I had the gumption to say I’d get to the library…that didn’t happen but I promise at some point I will get there. We are very much into Pretty Little Liars and True Blood, both with book series behind them. Soon enough, I’ll get there…but IDK when I’ll have time to read!

Other goals for this week include scrapping 2 pages by Saturday night. That’s not that hard, right? Here’s to a good week.


Last night’s dinner of burritos was amazing and so easy…however; the husband is enjoying leftovers tonight because I got sick through the night and ended up staying home today. After a sick visit to the doctor, I found out I was close to dehydration and am having an adverse reaction to an antibiotic.  *grrs* So tonight, it’s clear liquids for me and leftovers for Greg. Hopefully tomorrow I can stomach the Ham BBQs, been looking forward to this Pittsburgh Yum staple for a few days now. Some prayers for my sanity would be awesome.

Work/Life Balance

NOTE: Again, another Monday post.

It all started a long, long time ago, probably back in high school.  My days at school had to be full as they could (senior year I took 2 study halls because I had taken pretty much every class I could have and it drove me CRAZY) followed by band practice, work, and catching up on TV and ICQ.  College kept me even busier—starting work at 6 am two days a week with 5 am managing hockey practices three days a week (crazy lady, I know), taking 18-21 credits per semester, being a student leader, and spending weekends back and forth from home spending time with family and friends.  At one point for a Leadership Conference, I even presented on Time Management.  My adult life has not slowed down in the least, probably got even busier with being a mom and having a sick elderly grandmother.  Several people have commented on wishing they could have the balance I do, but let me tell you, it’s tiring.  I am so blessed to have a great husband who stays at home with our daughter and takes care of the housework and laundry.

However, there is one area where I struggle as an adult.  In high school and college, I was always able to get food whether from a cafeteria or work. There was no thought process, no planning.  When I taught elementary school, breakfasts and lunches were easy too—dinners got a little shaky but I had friends who were willing to eat dinner out OR I was so sick that it didn’t matter to me if I got an evening meal or not.  Now that I have moved back to PA and have to manage a house and work for a grocery store, it is not as easy to get meals.  Sundays, I will typically buy myself a loaf of bread or bagels to add to my desk peanut butter stash for breakfasts; however, I lack at planning lunches.  We have a café that delivers to our building, but often the options are either not all that healthy or appealing to my pregnant self.  And dinner? Forget that. The kid is guaranteed to eat a hot dog or chicken nuggets with fruit sides (we are still ferociously working on non-potato veggies and other meats, but her nickname before she was born was chicken so it has stuck with her palate apparently), so she’s an easy fix.  But for the husband and I, especially me being pregnant, we rarely can pull together a meal.

So like my good friend Amanda over at The Pantry Challenge, I have a pantry full of food that could be cooked, yet I spend $50-$70 a week on groceries.  Last year, when we blogged as a team, we’d have challenges to make meals at home and post our successes and failures.  I feel like I did pretty good, but between Arianna learning to walk and talk, Greg working at the Pizza shop, holidays, travel, and buying the house, it all fell to the wayside.  I know Greg loved when I’d cook at home, but sometimes eating dinner out is so much easier, right? Well, with a baby on the way and even with all my great couponing skills, I feel like I need something more to push us into the black for 2010 (before baby arrives and I am not working for 6-8 weeks).  For the past few weeks, I’ve been jotting down meal ideas on random pieces of paper then throwing them into a list of potential meals.  So we have our staples—I can’t do chicken right now and never was a big fan of fish or pork—and good old go to meals.  So, I am trying to plan meals based off cravings and what’s in the pantry.  There is no way I could totally pantry cook—Amanda is a hero—however, I can use what I have available to make things we really like that either Greg can have ready when I get home OR I can do up as quick casseroles for him to reheat.  (Plus, I LOVE having 2 crock pots to make anything we want sitting all day!)

This week, I have bought and prepared for five meals and planned them out like so:

Monday: Bean (or chicken for Greg) Burritos with Fiesta Taco Rice (yay rice cooker!)

Tuesday: Ham Barbeque Sandwiches and Fries

Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner (Sausage, Biscuits, Gravy, and Potatoes)

Thursday: Baked Ziti Casserole

Friday: Veggie (chicken for Greg) Stir Fry (getting a hand-me-down wok is AWESOME!)

Let’s see how it all goes down, and if we are able to keep up with the house, food, and balancing being a family with a hard working mama!


Note: I wrote this Monday; however, didn’t have the energy to log in and publish.

This week, for a moment, I felt like a failure. I had planned out a whole weekend of fun for my husband and I before our almost 2-year-old came home from an extra week of vacation with her Grammie and Pappy in Canada.  About half of it came off successful; however, as a person who tries to strive for perfection, it was tough to swallow “failure”.  You be the judge if we did the right thing.

We successfully went to a Pirate game on Friday with some of my family for a cousin’s 6thbirthday. The evening then turned into date night of firsts as planned—the Duquesne Incline (something I, a Burgher by birth have never done—shame!) and the Rivers Casino.  Maybe I am partial to the Mon Incline (since I’ve done it a gazillion times), but I felt a lot safer on it than I did on the Duquesne.  The view, as always, is breathtaking, but next time I’d prefer to drive up or just settle for the Mon.  The husband wanted to re-live “She’s Out of My League”; however, I told him over and over they were on Mon Incline overlooks. Point proven. Ha! Next was the Rivers. A great time, but Friday night at 12:00 is not the time to be getting signed up for a Players Card. Good thing we waited, it made me tired AND we got $20 in free play, so that kept us satisfied for about 30 minutes (plus $6 of our own).  We ended up tired and ready to go $46 of winnings in at 1:15, but there’s always room for breakfast on date nights, so we went to our local Denny’s. (Why no 24 hour Eat N’ Park is near us is beyond me!) Came home and our dog was sick in his crate—NEVER good for a woman who suffers nausea all 9 months of a pregnancy…good thing I have a stellar husband who can handle messes.

Saturday morning we slept in for a good while then I got to catch up on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader (couponing FTW!).  After a bit, I started to feel nauseous and emotional (part of my blames my anti-nausea meds, the other part the pregnancy), so I laid in bed a cried a good cry.  Frankly, my brother sent me a picture of my daughter hamming it up at a Wendy’s and I realized how much I missed her little face.  So I talked to my husband and we decided that there was no doubt, we needed to meet up with my parents and get our little girl.  That meant, unfortunately, missing out on a date night with good friends—a tweetup slash reveal party for @SecretAgentL.  I was torn, but in the end a night of further bonding with our daughter, enjoying Big Bear Pizza (my cousin’s pizza shop in Ford City—you must try if you haven’t), and relaxing in the pool (she’s swimming with wings!) won my heart.  (This is where I felt like a failure because I broke plans, but to see the look on her face and hear her say Dada and Mama when we walked in the door meant a million dollars to me!)

Sunday morning I had a minor shopping list (including replenishing diapers—oops!) that kept me awake all too early, so off I went, barefoot, in a downpour to shop.  Being pregnant, my four stops got me more tired than I’d expect, so the afternoon was spent watching “If You Really Knew Me” and “Extreme Home Makeover [from Loris SC, circa 2007]” (thus making me miss my past life as a teacher of less fortunate kids in South Carolina but so glad for the blessings we now have).  Next it was off to a cookout at a co-worker’s where I pretty much just sat in a daze because I was so exhausted.  We got home and took the sweetie for another swim then she and I crashed early. My husband woke me in the middle of the night (he’s VERY nocturnal) to show me pictures of our friends twins who are in a NICU and OMG they’ve overcome so much and gotten so big since we saw them a few weeks ago—life is a great miracle!

All in all, I think that spending time with my family was worth every second—I just wish weekends wouldn’t go so fast and weekdays go so slow!  The princess is growing by the inches and talking a mile a minute. When I look up at her baby pictures (the desk SERIOUSLY needs updated), I tear up because she’s not the little helpless being she was not so long ago.  Good thing I have a good dose of baby coming in less than 5 months (19 weeks pregnant today)!

Uncooperative Baby #2

Getting a fresh start plus being a working pregnant mom is nearly impossible! Not to mention the fact that I got a wonderful infection from swimming in the lake last week. The husband and I are not exactly enjoying our week “without the kid” like we expected; however, we have been able to get the relaxation we probably need.

Today was our first (and we had hoped only) Ultrasound for Baby #2…but our first little one apparently wrote instructions in my womb to be difficult. This child had its arms in its face and was sitting indian style with the cord between the legs…so we still don’t know what we are having. Good thing is that the pictures, although they appeared normal and healthy, weren’t 100% good enough for the doctors so we get to go back and do it all again in a few weeks when the baby is a bit bigger.

Wish us luck!

time to start fresh

Over the past few years, I’ve attempted left and right to blog–whether on my own or as part of a bigger project.  Most weeks, I was too busy to write…but I truly miss writing because I have a lot of material to work with…my almost 2 year old, a stay-at-home husband, life in Pittsburgh, and a pregnancy on top of all of it.  So this blog, ‘lil Burghers, will be dedicated to my life as a working mom trying to balance everything (of course including my Facebook Frontierville!) and go to bed feeling sane.

You’ll see and hear a little bit of everything in this blog–I don’t really have a theme except “Mom”, so that’s what you’re getting, my Scatterbrained thoughts!

…off to keep the little princess from getting into the recyclables again…