Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chronicle 26: Say What?! New Mama Insider Info


Here is what I know: Being a parent is like living on Mars. Minus all the heat and weird gases. Ok, plus the weird gases and minus the heat. It literally feels as if you're living on a different planet than everyone else. Well, other than people who are in your exact same position.


Here are some things I absolutely did not know about and have not heard anyone talk openly about (until I asked):

Nursing

It's so much more difficult than you imagine. I literally thought you were supposed to pop the baby on the boob and let him drink away. Not so. There are different types of holds and the baby has to latch on correctly and you have to come to a mutal agreement with your child about when and where to breastfeed. And they BARELY eat the first few days. Which is why they actually lose a bit of weight that first week, but trust me, it is fine. Scary, but fine.

Honestly, it hurts like hell. It's like purple nurples every time they eat for a few weeks. Then the nips toughen up and nursing becomes a habit (if you decide to pursue it). When your milk comes in, you may or not feel as if you magically received breast implants. I was so swollen, that I had to make a 10 o'clock run to Babies R Us to buy a pump, then proceeded to pump all the way home.

Also, your baby will scratch your chest up with their tiny little claws and you will look like your breasts got into a bar fight with a rosebush. I was too scared to cut G's nails forever, so I wore high necked tops for months. Now that he is teething, I have bite marks and bruises. Fun.


Friendships...

come and go, but never more so than during major life changes like getting married or having babies. There are people who just can't handle the fact that you aren't going out/drinking like you used to, or they're jealous of your happiness, or they are just plain in a different phase of their lives.

Your schedule changes dramatically for awhile, and kids can be so unpredictable that you need understanding family and friends if you have to cancel or rearrange plans. I'm lucky to have people like this in my life!

The good news is that, as a new parent, you can meet so many new friends that know exactly what you're going through. Great meeting places include: the park, the gym, the library (story hour!), the grocery, through friends and family, church, birthday parties, etc. The hardest part is getting up the courage to strike up a conversation and then follow through by making plans. It's a lot like dating: you really have to see if everyone is compatible! I am still in the "working up the courage" phase, but I'm lucky to have several mommy friends already.


SEX

Oh, yes I did. Surprisingly, you recover from (natural) delivery fairly quickly. That doesn't mean that you wanna jump right back in the sack as soon as you feel pain free. Because, yes, it hurts the first time you have sex. It reminds me of Jessica from HBO's True Blood who was turned into a vampire as a virgin. Which means that every time she gets down is literally like the first time. And it feels like that for awhile.

My advice? Lots of lube. And patience. And HUMOR. It goes a long way. Just remember there are a lot of other things you can do with your hubby, including non-sexual activities that are still intimate like showering together, massages, cuddling, breakfast in bed, etc. Like many other things after having a baby, this is temporary and while it may be more difficult to find time with your man, it can (and must!) be done. You just have to become a bit more creative!


Competition

I am not a competitive person by nature, but when I'm out and about I cannot help comparing myself to other parents and my little man to other babies. What is that baby doing that my son isn't? What do I do way better than that parent? I would never do that. My son will never act like that in public... It goes on and on. Why do we do this? Human nature, I suppose. But I really try to keep it to a minimum because every single child goes at their own pace. And nothing is wrong with that by any means. Who am I to judge and compare? My son and I are happy and healthy and that is all I can ask for. (It still creeps in sometimes. Hey, I can't help it!)


Your turn, mamas! What are some things that shocked you as a new mama? What would advice would you give to a new parent that you would have liked to receive? 

Xoxo,
The Hot Mama

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chronicle 25: A Brief Hiatus


So I took a brief hiatus: from blogging, from life, from everything, really. It's been one of those weeks. No, make that month. Or even year, if you'd like. I feel as if I'm living two very different lives at the moment, and the distance between the two is stark and startling, and frankly, I lack the energy to figure it out at the moment.

My life as a mother is just right. It's baby bear's porridge, with extra sugar and cream and a temperature that warms your tummy, but leaves your tastebuds intact. My life makes sense. I have a purpose. My lungs breathe for him. My heart swells and breaks and mends itself a thousand times a day. It is simultaneously the hardest and greatest thing I have ever done.
And, at this point, I am doing most of it single handedly.

I'm half of a whole, yes. But while my husband's away each week, I become the whole. I try too hard to be the mother and the father. I encourage independence, yet I cling to my son. I play rough and tumble, then lament over our bruised knees and carpet burns. I butt in on their sacred bath time, then read books about a mama's love in soft whispers. I weep at the drop of a hat, only to quickly dry my son's tears and catapult into distractions.

So you see? Jekyll and Hyde. One moment I'm filled with joy, and the next? Despair and, yes, loneliness.  I miss my partner, my lover, my friend. Not only do I miss my husband, but I miss our family as a unit. Our mundane rhythm. The daily moments that seem so routine and boring, until they're disrupted. I mourn the fact that he has missed, and will miss, G's most transformative time.

I was completely overcome this weekend when my baby crawled for the very first time! I could see him gearing up for it all week. Tummy time transformed into popping up onto all fours and rocking and rolling towards an unknown destination. By midweek he had begun to look down and check out his knees while he lunged forward, desperately grasping for the glowing remote.
Saturday was THE day...tentative moments that resulted in alternating hands and knees. A brief movement that caused G great bewilderment when I burst into tears as my husband clapped his hands and lunged in for a hug.

For that one moment, I forgot everything and felt content. Felt whole.
Xoxo,
The Hot Mama

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chronicle 24: Sephora Haul!


As you know, I am obsessed with all things beauty, especially skin care and makeup. Since my husband has been traveling a lot lately, there hasn't been much time to run to the store when my supply of face wash and moisturizer kick the can. I've been resorting to my discarded, half used, old and sticky bottles of face wash to make due. I have sensitive skin, but it hasn't seemed to notice the switch, luckily.

This trip to Sephora was long overdue and I went a liiiittle crazy. Not only did I pick up what I needed to replace, but I also grabbed a few things I've been wanting to try for a long time.
#1 Bumble & Bumble Thickening Conditioner
I bought this thickening conditioner as a companion to the Bumble & Bumble Thickening Hairspray. At the moment, I shampoo with Phytocyane Revitalizing Shampoo for Thinning Hair, which I massage into my scalp and leave for 2-5 minutes. I've been pairing that with Wen, but the combo is too heavy for my hair and it looks greasy after one day. I am hoping this B&B conditioner is light enough to use with the Phyto. Fingers crossed!  You can read about my "tragic" post-partum hair loss here and here.

#2 Oscar Blandi Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray (a tried & true favorite)
This is one of my favorite products. In between shampoos, I spritz a bit of this into my hair and give it a once over with a round brush and my hairdryer on the coolest setting. It truly does add volume, and it has a decent fragrance. What I love most is that it goes on clear, unlike other dry shampoos or baby powder. 

Drugstore find: Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo Spray, $3.00

#3 Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Cleanser by Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins
I am super excited to try this cleanser. I know the saying goes "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." This just doesn't apply to beauty. Especially when it comes to me. I adore my Clarins Cleansing Milk, but I wanted to try something new, something natural and good for my skin. And it smells amazing... like a mossy fairy forest with little woodland creatures prancing about. Hopefully it works well with the Clarisonic... that will be the true test!

Drugstore find: Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover, $6.99

#4 Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream (Freebie)
Benefit is a brand that I've adored from afar, and never indulged in. This little sample was "purchased" with some of my Sephora points. Absolutely love the cute little packaging and the fact that the sample jar is actually decorated glass. I will have to let you know if it truly does give my skin total moisture! 

#5 Sephora's Lavender Cuticle Oil Pen
My cuticles are a raging hot mess at the moment. I've never mastered the self-mani or pedi, and thus spent a lot of time at the nail salon. Now my time there is very limited and I usually only allow myself one or the other. I have been concentrating on my feet because flip flop season has arrived, and I need the upkeep! Now I can at least have hydrated cuticles, which make for a healthier looking nail. It smells lovely, too. Nothing more calming than lavender! 

Drugstore find: Sally Hansen Cuticle & Nail Moisture Treatment Pen, $5.99

#6 Tarte emphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener
THIS is what I've been searching for for ages. You would not believe how difficult it is to find peach colored eyeliner. This is meant for the waterline of your bottom lashes. It makes your eyes look whiter and brighter AND bigger. I put it on immediately and loved the instant results. The Jimmy John's delivery guy was definitely impressed. This is a must for mamas on the go, because it's a quick & easy pick me up. This paired with mascara and some gloss and you're good to go! 

#7  Clinique's Age Defense BB Cream
BB Cream has had the beauty industry all abuzz for quite some time, and I'm glad it is finally available to the general public. I first heard about it through a video blogger who acquired all her BB creams on Asian excursions. Since then I've been patiently waiting to pick up my own! This supposed miracle product is said to be a primer, sunscreen, moisturizer and light foundation all in one! I simply cannot wait to try this baby out. 

Drugstore find: Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfecter BB Cream, $11.97

#8 Caudalie Beauty Elixir
This little baby is like fresh air in a bottle. It's a toner that's meant to tighten skin and minimize pores. This will be a wonderful refresher for the hot summer days to come. I may even stick it in the refrigerator to up the quench factor. This would also be a wonderful product to take on trips to replenish your skin after hours in a car or airplane.

I will make sure to pick an item or two for a more in-depth review after I've had ample time to see how my skin reacts and how the product fits into my routine. Let me know if you're curious about a certain one!

Xoxo, 
The Hot Mama

Disclaimer: I was not paid to discuss or endorse these products. I just really, really love 'um! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chronicle 23: New Traditions


This Easter was a first for our new little family. Baby G was actually old(ish) enough to participate in the holiday... alert enough to listen as we explained each item in his Easter basket, handsy enough to show us what he liked, and vocal enough to show his pleasure at Mommy & Daddy acting silly by donning bunny ears. It was absolutely amazing.
It was also...weird. Yeah. Weird.

When my parents decided to part ways after 27 years of marriage, I thought our traditions were lost forever. I mourned. Hard. Christmas was probably the most difficult time of the year, and I shed a lot of tears, yearning for what once had been. Years later, when I finally came to terms with it all, I began to see that bits and pieces of our old traditions were still intact. The cracks had just been filled in with new traditions and new people.

But what felt different was my husband and I purposefully veering from that (somewhat) steadfast course to blaze a trail of our own. We put together an extremely adorable and age appropriate Easter Basket for G (no candy, not even for ourselves. Sacrifice.) and propped him up in the high chair as we excitedly pulled out each item for him. Little Man was totally unimpressed, but I snapped a few hundred pictures, anyway.

I want to remember these moments for years to come. I am painfully aware how fast time moves and it's all I can do to pick up the camera...QUICK! before another moment passes us by. Our baby, who weighed in at a mere 6 lbs. 6 oz. at birth, is now a little BOY, with a beautiful personality of his own, the most wonderful sense of humor, and smile that cuts right to the heart. 

It's all so clear now, that this is my purpose, what I'm here for. Soaking up every moment, every little tiny scrap of love and giving it right back the only way I know how. This tradition isn't new, but it is new to our little family. And it's one we will keep up, religiously.
Happy Easter, mamas. 

Xoxo, 
The Hot Mama

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chronicle 22: Teething, in Pictures

Not sure what's goin' on, but my mouth hurts and I need to fix it. Mom? Got something for me to chew on?
Can't find the teething ring! But, this thing says "OUCH!" when I bite it...
Found it! Gnaw, gnaw, slobber, gnaw, full body chew, shlobber, bite, bite, BITE!

Soooo sleepy. But I'm gonna stay awake til I feel better. Even if it takes MONTHS! At least Mom will keep me company...
Look at these! I'm so proud...but I have no clue what they are, or how to use 'um!

Oh, I get it! They're for showin' off. Hey, look, Ma. Ma? How can you sleep at a time like this?!
Andddd...scene.

Ya dig, mamas? How did you get through your baby's teething? Baby G has seven teeth already (five of them came in at once)! 

Xoxo,
The Hot (and exhausted) Mama

Cooking Challenge: The 3 Ingredient Pot Roast

If you remember, I am challenged in the cooking, baking, anything other than tearing up a box and microwaving department. However, the time has come for the Hot Mama to learn how to cook. I may never be known for my amazing entrees, but hopefully I can be known as the woman who reaalllly tried. And...kept trying. I am so lucky that my husband will eat anything!
My lovely and super fancy slow cooker was a wedding present from a friend who knew my cooking woes. It was the gift I was most looking forward to, a gift that I had already supplemented with the One Thousand Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook. It has been sitting in my cupboards for close to two years, gathering dust and giving me the stink eye every time I rummage through and pretend like I don't see it. What a snarky appliance!
Snarky, or not, I conquered this beast in my first cooking challenge. While taking pictures and trying to cook was a unique experience, I had the best time. My son lorded over me in his Bumbo, wide eyed and confused, totally unused to the sight of his Mama in the kitchen. Without further ado, proof and evidence that I completed the cooking challenge!
Did you say mama's COOKIN'?!
The Ingredients:
1. A 3 lb. pot roast
2. 3/4 oz Onion soup mix
3. 2 tbsp Prepared mustard
4. Optional gravy: 2 tbsp cornstarch, 4 tbsp water (tried to ignore this, but I decided I had to make the WHOLE recipe)

The I'm About to Die-rections:

  1. 1. Place roast in a large crock pot. (Did this by doing a strange dance with a fork and the plastic covering the roast. I HATE raw meat!!)
  2. 2. Squirt or spread a thin layer of mustard over the roast.
  3. 3. Sprinkle onion soup mix on top.
  4. 4. Cook 8 hours on low (8 hours on high if roast is frozen).
  5. 5. OPTIONAL GRAVY: Strain the fat off the liquid and discard fat.
  6. 6. Place reserved liquid in a sauce pan and bring to a slight boil.
  7. 7. Add cornstarch to the water and make a paste.
  8. 8. Add paste to the reserved liquid and whisk until thickened.
  9. 9. NOTE: Do not add water to this - it will effectively "steam" the roast and make it tougher. Believe it or not, this will make its own liquid.

    After all those steps, I chopped up a large carrot and halved some small potatoes. I just threw them on top of the roast and made sure to heed step #9 by refusing to add water.

    The finished product:

    The only hiccup was the gravy. First it was lumpy, even after a rigorous beating with the whisk. After adding a tad more water, it was then too watery! Could not win, so I just used some pre-made gravy. Overall, super easy and super delicious!! Can't wait to dig into the leftovers! 


    A big thank you to Hot Mama reader and dear friend, Kimmie, who found this recipe at http://www.food.com/recipe/the-easiest-3-ingredient-crock-pot-roast-ever-slowcooker-416159


    Would you try this recipe? What changes would you make? Are you proud of the Hot Mama? ;) Be sure to drop a line in the comment section below!


    Xoxo,
    The Hot Mama

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chronicle 21: Truths & Discoveries

Do you ever have a sudden moment of clarity? As in, you've heard the same cliches over and over again, but it just doesn't ring true until it is relevant in your own life? Parenting is JUST like that. I feel as if I have a revelation every single day. Sometimes it is just an affirmation of a revelation I had the day before. Anyhow, I have compiled an even numbered list of these new truths and discoveries. Six, in fact. See? Even number. That's my OCD shining through. So lovely.


Six Truths & Discoveries of Parenthood:

1. Fear vs. Faith
My last post contended with a pretty heavy realization: I can either live each day in complete, paralyzing fear that something may happen to any of my loved ones, or I can have faith that every thing will work out the way it's supposed to. It sounds simple enough, but when I look at my son and try to grasp how much I love him, I pretty much fall to paranoid pieces. I've realized that it is time to let go of what I cannot control. Spending every waking moment worried that I'm going to get a horrible phone call will not stop it. I would rather spend that time enjoying my family and working on my happiness, instead! To read a more in-depth analysis, check out Chronicle 20: Fear vs. Faith.

2. You will cry...ALOT
I was a fairly sensitive person before I had my son. I might have cried at the end of E.T., or listening to my brother play a beautiful piece on his violin. Now I am an emotional mess. I have now cried at the following: a Geico commercial, a particularly moving episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the thought of grocery shopping, finding an actual bra that fits (not a sports bra), Word with Friends, and every single stage of my son's development. I teared up just now writing about crying. I try to avoid certain movies, TV shows, and books because I know they will trigger a cry fest. I see every thing from a mother's perspective, and perhaps the hormones are still raging. It's just become a fact of life.
3. Everything has changed. Especially you.
Your friends are still going out and you're staying in with a teething baby. You may lose some of these friends. You WILL gain others. You would rather sleep next to your spouse than with them. You stop doing your own laundry and concentrate on the baby's. Your parents and in-laws call and visit much more often. MUCH more. People come to visit the baby, not you. You find yourself excited that the baby finally pooped, that your nipples are not as sore, that you can finally wear something other than pajamas and sweatpants. You settle for a good ponytail, rather than those "messy" beach waves. You are different. You are stronger. You are experiencing love that will never fade.

4. Being a parent is like being in a club.
No, not as in The Viper Room. Like, the "You understand the bags under my eyes and the throw up on my t-shirt" club. You talk to random mamas at the park, in the grocery store. You have a new appreciation for the frazzled-looking mom shuffling her kids into a McDonald's because she's too tired to cook. You congratulate a new mom for merely getting out of the house (did that today at Victoria's Secret. Although I wonder what she was doing THERE. I'm just now wanting to step foot in that place...SEVEN months later.) You nod in agreement when another mama describes exactly how you've been feeling or going through with your babe. You can talk about bottle brands for hours and whether you like Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby better (I prefer the latter). Stuff that may seem mundane to anyone else is fodder for mamas. Welcome to the club!
5. The little things become more important than the big things (for now).
Say whaaat? Let me put it this way. Big thing: lunch and shopping with friends. Little thing: Baby's nap. What wins? NAP ALL THE WAY, FOLKS. Because a cranky baby is a cranky mom is a cranky dad. We are even cutting Easter short this year because all of the activities fall around Baby G's nap time. The good news is that this is a sacrifice that will only last a few years. At this point, I need these naps as much as he does!
6. Your child IS amazing. 
I am the mama who is obsessed with her baby. Every single thing he does seems like a tiny miracle. He moves a toy from here to there? INCREDIBLE. He blinks? BRAVO! I used to be annoyed by parents that bragged about their child's seemingly mundane accomplishments, but now I GET IT. However, I'm not about to slap an Honor Student bumper sticker on my SUV. I'm content capturing these moments on video and film to share with people who show interest. Or, I will watch them myself!

What discoveries have you made since becoming a parent? What are some cliches that are now tried and true in your life? Looking forward to hearing from you!

Xoxo,
The Hot Mama

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Chronicle 20: Fear vs. Faith

After putting Peanut down for the night, I usually unwind with a book, or listen to some records while sipping a glass of wine, or peruse the "heavy" sections of the paper while my husband stares at me adoringly from across the living room...
PSYCHE! I WATCH TV. There, I said it. I unwind by watching a trainwreck of a reality show, or catching up on backlogged episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210 (that I DVR every day). So, a few nights ago, I was all caught up on my stories, and looking for something uplifting. 
Enter E! and the True Hollywood Story of Giuliana Rancic. I've always thought Giuliana was adorable; she is super cheeky and chic...y. She makes crazy celebrity gossip seem like something important and exciting. And she is always honest and open about her personal life and struggles. I was so saddened when I heard about her being diagnosed with breast cancer. So saddened, in fact, that I started to cry.
Now, I don't know about all you mamas, or soon to be mamas, out there, but I cry ALOT now. Like every day. Sometimes more than once. Sometimes more than twice. So there I was, on the couch, remote in one hand, half-eaten Cadbury Creme Egg in the other, bawling my eyes out. But... quietly, so as not to wake the bebe.
Then, for no reason at all I got scared. Scared that baby G wasn't breathing (checked video monitor...he was fine). Scared that my husband's taxi got in an accident on the way back to his hotel (paranoid call...he was safe and sound, ordering chocolate cake from room service. Wait... I WANT chocolate cake!!) Scared that my eating habits will make me have a heart attack. Darn...no chocolate cake for me. But most of all, just plain scared that something would happen to any of my loved ones. 
Right as I was about to start hyperventilating (silently of course), I heard Giuliana's husband say something profound. He was talking about Giuliana's attitude about breast cancer and he said that we have a choice. We can either live by fear or we can live by faith. HOLD. THE. PHONE. How many times have I heard something similar? "Worrying is like a rocker, you never get anywhere" or "Let go, and let God." But combined? And so simplified? And so REAL? Never.

I don't claim to be religious. I've struggled with organized religion and the messages they put out in the world. Do not misunderstand me; I am so grateful that we have the freedom and are able to find comfort and something to believe in. But I look at my son, and how my body put him together and I feel as if there has to be something out there, orchestrating and planning and watching us grow. My life has come to a point where I'm ready to accept that there's more to life than just me and what I want. It's 100% scary giving up that bit of control. But Bill Rancic was absolutely right...it IS fear vs. faith. It's a choice, one you have to make every day. Quite the commitment.
I feel a bit better when I realize that faith doesn't even have to pertain to religion. It just means I acknowledge that most things are out of my control, and I can either be a paranoid freak, or let go of the paralyzing fear. So I am. And I will. One day at a time. 

Readers, what fears do you have? What have you let go of? How does Faith vs. Fear inspire YOU?
Much love to you all.

Xoxo, 
The Hot Mama

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