Birthdays and motherhood

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Motherhood is a weird thing. Technically, you are kind of at the top of the pack. People, mostly little people, have to listen to what you say. You get to “decide” what everyone eats and when they sleep. So from a purely theoretical standpoint, you call the shots, youre the boss! Right?

Yeah, right!!! Reality, as we know, is very different. You are really somewhere at the bottom of the pack. People, mostly little people, will throw tantrums and refuse to eat what you make, so you make what they want to eat. Everyone, little and big, protests at their bedtime/turning down the volume of the TV so others can sleep/you name it. So in reality, you are really the office assistant’s assistant.

So how do people celebrate the mom’s birthday? At least while the kids are young – in my case a toddler – a birthday is just another day in a mother’s life. The husband may plan a great getaway, shower you with gifts, and in general be the romantic dude that used to sweep you off your feet before you became “mommy”, but you still need to change diapers, bathe little ones and be responsible.

Thanks to my super awesome hubby, my birthday was memorable. He whisked the family away to a mountain getaway by the lake, and showered me with a slew of Apple products I’d been eyeing. For a brief while there, I felt like the pampered girl who used to wake up on my birthday mornings, knowing I would be treated like a queen. And then I came back down to the reality of a toddler who is not sleep trained and refused to sleep.  And I came to this reality without regret. What, after all, is sweeter than an infant who needs you? And now I have my Apple Watch to play with while my son nurses to sleep 😉

 

Bath toy organization

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Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not the most organized person in the world. I have friends who create pinterest boards on organization, spend hours rearranging their pantries and have their kid’s toys organized into bins and baskets, segregated into colors, size etc.

Not I. I honestly dont have the time or energy to put toys into baskets and bags. That said, I love a neat, clutter free zone as much as anybody else. I have achieved a semblance of structure in V’s nursery. He has a box of books, a box of random toys (anything not a book IS a random toy 🙂 ), and his clothes are, for the most part, organized in his little green drawers. I’ll have to give my ex-nanny credit for getting his clothes sorted in the first place, Ive merely been following the pattern.

But given the time, I love to have everything neatly in its place, I used to love arranging his diaper changing station with all the wipes, diapers, washcloths and lotions in neat little compartments….so I do have the organization gene in me somewhere. Its just hidden under a load of exhaustion, work and distraction. And the little energy I manage to salvage, Id rather spend chasing my toddler than organizing his toys.

Anyhow, so today my take on stuff is a bath toy organizer – specifically this one: IMG_20160222_095049647_HDR

This is the bath toy organizer from The Bath Toy Organizer company. I have to say, I was pretty impressed. I usually leave my son’s wet toys in his inflatable tub and just rinse them off the next day before the bath. OK, so thats not super hygienic. But I do replace his toys frequently so there is no risk of contact with any moldy spores.

Why didnt I just get myself one of these organizers before and save myself the trouble (and the icky-gross factor)? No idea, it didnt strike me. But now that I do have this organizer , I LOVE it!. I have it high enough on the wall that my toddler cannot reach. He has the habit of testing the strength of things and I worry that he might try to yank the organizer off the wall. But he gets to stand under it and point to the toys he wants to play with, which is adorable! And now that I have a mesh organizer – tata gross, sliminess and risk of mold! the foam letters and toys air dry easily and so far the suction has held up really well. I have some heavy toys in there, as you can see, but I dont see it straining the suction. I havent used the extra strong suction cups they sent along with the bag, those didnt work for me (maybe my wall?), but Im plenty happy with the default suction cups. The bag is also huge. Way bigger than I thought Id need an organizer to be….you can see so in the picture, I have a big toy boat, a mother duck with baby rubber duckies, foam letters and room to spare.

So far, really liking this purchase, and I definitely recommend. Now, onto organizing another area of the house…..what are your organization tips? Anything specific that has helped you organize your stuff or your kids’?

 

*Disclaimer: I purchased this bath toy organizer at a discounted rate in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I received NO compensation and the views are my own.

 

Quick and easy, no-cook Oatmeal Chia snack bars

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Chia seeds are my new obsession and rolled oats are a left-over obsession from my early fitness-fanatic days. I love Chia in my smoothies, desserts and now these awesome no-bake snack bars. I learned this recipe from my nanny and added a couple of things to it…while its calorie intense and not a food to gorge on if the goal is weight loss, the calories all come from very healthy and nutritious ingredients. And if you can go organic, nothing like it 🙂

So without further ado, here goes:

Ingredients:

1 cup organic peanut butter ( I prefer the no- stir crunchy variety)

1/2 cup organic coconut oil

1 1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup organic Agave nectar (or more if you have a sweet tooth. You can also replace with thin honey if you like. I prefer agave for the consistency)

1/3 cup shelled, chopped walnuts

3 Tbsp Chia seeds (I use the organic black chia)

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Spread it out in a pan and refrigerate. Voila! Your healthy snack is ready :). I cut out bars to eat and spoon up the crumbs…YUM!

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Too early to plan for baby #2???

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One of the million dollar questions in my life right now – What is the ideal age gap between kids? I guess there is no right or wrong answer to this. There are pros and cons to any gap (or none) and researchers have done their homework on this topic. You can find articles on financial impact, impact on the children’s development, their bond with each other and with their parents etc.

There is no right or wrong answer, two babies born a year apart, who should be best friends if statistics are to be believed, may have nothing in common. On the other hand, kids born 10 years apart may have the best sibling relationship ever. No one can predict relationships in the long run. That said, I think my concerns will be limited to how the age gap between my children will impact me personally. I believe that as long as we create the right atmosphere, the children will have a good chance of becoming best friends whether they are 2 years apart or 4.

I have a toddler (16 mo), and I barely get enough sleep at night, so one of the first things on my list of “am I ready for baby #2” is physical readiness. Am I fit enough? Rested? Healthy? Able to provide a safe, healthy, strong environment for a baby to grow? That is truly more important than any considerations of sibling relationships. (And in my case, have I lost enough weight that if I gain another 30 lb with my second pregnancy, I will be ok? I havent lost the baby weight from #1 so at this point, my answer is a resounding NO)

Financial readiness: If I spend as much on #2 as I did on #1, can I afford it….and of course, I will continue to spend on #1

Does any consideration really even matter if you’re bitten by the baby bug (like I am) and you know its time? Im definitely healthy enough to make a healthy baby, and money can be worked out. But convincing my husband that we should have another LO is another ball game altogether.

Do any of you have spouses that have taken convincing when you are ready for a baby? Do you have the baby fever and your SO doesnt? Any ideas on how I can convince him DS NEEDS a sibling? 🙂

 

Braun SE3170 Silk-épil 3 SoftPerfection Epilator

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My take on my now 5 year old epilator. Those squeamish persons who are grossed out at the idea of hair/shaving/discussing it should really not read on. To the rest of us women who have no choice but to deal with these things, the epilator is a blessing!

Being a woman, there are a million things that concern us about our appearance. The “simple” topic of hair can cause a conniption (are my eyebrows too thick/thin, is my hair too long/short – too curly/straight – too thick/too thin – not the right color etc etc) . In fact, so obsessed am I by all of the above that a single strand of hair under my chin, which not even my husband noticed, made me so conscious that I was uncomfortable in public till I could tweeze the thing off! Fortunately, (or not), I am not the only weirdo in the world. If the internet is to be believed, most – if not all- women are freaks.

A freak I may be, but Im also chicken when it comes to subjecting myself to avoidable pain. The epilator is amazing, yes, but the women you see on TV who smile their way through the process of yanking hair off their limbs by the root must be high. Or have CIP (congenital insensitivity to pain). For most healthy adults, tearing hair out by the roots is a painful process.

Nevertheless, I braved the pain to epilate my arms and legs in the hope that I wouldnt have to worry about it for a month (or at least a couple of weeks as promised by the advertisers). Nope, no such luck! I ended up with what can only be described as a rash, probably my body rebelling against such torture, and it took less time for the hair on my arms and legs to grow back than it took for the painful red spots to vanish!

This is not something against the product though. The epilator is great- it does what it claims to do (Braun never claimed the process was going to be pain free), and 5 years after owning it, I still use it for underarm hair…one spot where I hate having a stubble.

For what it does and how long it has lasted me, I think this is an awesome epilator- totally recommended!

 

 

FeFit workouts

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FeFit     This is a workout system which has been around a bit, but something I just found. I love workouts, buying them, trying them and completing rotations. So far, in the last 9 years, Ive tried my fair share – SI6, Turbo Jam, Turbo Fire, Chalene Xtreme, P90X, T25, Insanity, Slim Series, 21 Day Fix etc. Mostly BeachBody stuff. I even caved and bought myself PiYo when my son was born – kind of as a push present for myself!

Fast forward 16 months from the PiYo purchase, and the only workout I’ve done is the Align, the first workout you do to familiarize yourself with PiYo. I cant put a finger on it, but I have a mental block as far as PiYo is concerned. And the reviews Ive read arent encouraging. Time is at a steep premium here, and if the 45 min I spend everyday arent going to get me results, Id rather be catching up on other stuff during those precious minutes when my napping toddler will let me do stuff!

21 Day Fix was nice, but I was always hungry (I was breastfeeding so that might explain it), the low carbs hurt my milk supply, and I didnt see results. I was discouraged enough to quit, unfortunately. I tried to start working out again after a move across the country, and signed up for Beachbody on Demand, and tried Power half hour for a few weeks. I even doubled up to see results quicker. While I did get a good workout every morning, it was supremely boring, and after I pulled my hamstring doing one of the leg moves, I stopped PHH.

So……enter Fe Fit. So far, Im on Day 2 of the Summer Challenge. Ive pored over reviews and checkins for Fe Fit and havent found too much information online, Im not going to let that stop me though. So far so good, I did Total Body Toning 3 yesterday and Upper Body 2 today.Here is the rotation for the summer challenge if anyone’s interested. I’ll keep my progress updated here 🙂

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This challenge is no longer available on the fe fit website, so forgive the grainy quality- I got the schedule from someone on videofitness.

If you own Fe Fit and have tried it, or are thinking of trying it- do comment and let me know where you are in your fitness journey. If you’ve tried it – what do you think about it? 🙂

#fefit, #exercise, #fitmom

 

 

Musings – mother of a toddler

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It seems like yesterday that we brought home a tiny infant with simple needs, few demands and little in the way of personality. Or maybe I couldnt read the personality of my little son very well. 14 months down the lane and I still struggle with being a first time mom. I am just getting to know my sweet little boy, and I feel like there is so much to learn about him! His needs are not so simple anymore nor are his demands ignorable (something I am guilty of doing at times when his cries are soft and work calls)

Is it possible to love a child more every day? I do – my boy is the joy of my life, my sunshine. And I worry that I am not doing enough with him…does that make me a bad mother? I dont go to the park every day, nor do I read him bedtime stories! When he is an adult, will that make a difference? I hope not.

And with my tiny angel now growing up, I miss the warm snuggles of a newborn who didnt want to be in ten different places at once.

I am getting back to the person that used to exist before I was pregnant, but it is hard. Its hard to be enthusiastic about a hair iron when I could be looking at a play tunnel for my boy. That is so inexplicably matronly and boring!!

And yet, I delight in finding him new toys to play with.

My nanny gave notice today. It shocked me – and I have this weird feeling of something ending. Some freedom (?), the reliance that she will clean up if I leave the kitchen a mess 🙂

But it brought home to me stronger than anything else, that I need not feel jealous of V’s time and affection. The only constants in his life for the next few years will be his father and I (and/or any potential siblings)

Millions of women have felt this before, and millions will feel this after me, but I cant get over the joy, amazement and awe of motherhood! The joy of tiny arms around you, a sweet nuzzle and snuggle with a small person wanting comfort- could anything be more precious?

After a hiatus!! Random thoughts

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So, its been a year since I wrote, maybe a little more! It has been an eventful time – I had a baby who is now 9 months old and I have a whole new list of things to spend time and money on (read babywearing, wraps, mei tais etc!!)

That said, this post is not about any of those materialistic joys of motherhood.

This is way more philosophical. I realized last night, after a very long day as I was getting ready for bed and I saw my little boy roll over in his crib, just how fast time flies. Now that is not a very original statement or emotion, but for some reason it hit home afresh.

I realized that nothing brings home your own mortality as having a baby. Nothing emphasizes with greater certainty that every day, every hour you take one step closer to your grave.

Every day, as my son reaches new milestones that will change his life forever, I realize how futile it is to expect anything to last. I try to grasp and hold onto these moments by taking a million pictures and videos, but none of that changes the fact that my baby will never be the little tot he was last month who was too small to grab things off the coffee table and just big enough to fit on my lap.

The human lifespan seems like a drop in the ocean of time. We are such fleeting beings, and yet we manage to do so much with our brief lives, both good and bad.

Dont get me wrong, I adore being a mother, every day my baby amazes me with his quirks and sweet habits. My heart melts when I see him cautiously crawl down a step or when he crawls to me and hugs my legs. But time is too short. These moments go by too fast.

Today and now, I promise to enjoy every single moment I can. 30 years down the lane, there will be no regrets, only a heart full of memories….

Home is where the heart is…?

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So they say. And I agree. Home is  where the heart is. What then would you call a heart that has multiple homes? What would you feel if you felt like a wandering mendicant for years and years? I guess you would feel what I feel!

That is very sentimental. Yes, I miss “home”….it has been 6 years and 8 months since I left my homeland. The first few years I was here…in fact the first 3.5 years, every other sentence would begin with “Back home, this is how we did it/it was lovely/ etc etc” You get the point. I refused to accept this alien country with strangers that smiled too much, roads that were too wide and devoid of pedestrians or animals, and where everything required you to fill out forms!

And well I knew it, this alien country called me an “alien” as well. I had limited scope to work, and earning my living  required permissions from “authority”. It was a strange tug of war – a struggle between fulfilling those dollar dreams you hear so much of when you grow up in Hyderabad, and retaining that patriotism, and love of everything Indian that I was so proud of. Mind you, NOT everyone felt that way. Most of my friends merely missed family, not the country.

Not I. I missed India, I still do. I miss the hustle and bustle of life there (contrast that with the fact that in the middle of the day, I can hear myself type here!), the colors you see all around you, the philosophy that seems to permeate the air (or was it only in Hyderabad where everything chalta hai ), the amazing smells of food, and yes, even the stench of the roads that people and animals freely use as bathroom/lavatory. And most of all, I miss my family. So if that is home, what is this? What is this little world that I have built for myself here, with my husband and my dogs, called? If this is home, why do I still say “Back home, vegetarianism is never a problem!”….and mean India of course!

Have I achieved the dollar dream? I dont know….is being nervous day in and day out about your visa status a sub clause of the dollar dream? If not, then no. Maybe the past looks rosy simply by virtue of being the past. You filter out the bad and remember the good. Has life improved here? Absolutely! I drive a nice car, live in a nice community, but somehow something is missing.

Back home (there I go again!), when we watched Oprah interview people who were depressed, I would wonder how anyone who could take a walk in the woods with their dogs, visit such gorgeous, clean beaches, or have centralized AC in the summer could be sad about anything…turns out woods near your house or clean beaches in the vicinity, or even all the facilities in the world do not contribute to peace of mind.

In the end, are we ever satisfied? Do we ever achieve peace by attaining material goals? I guess not! I guess there is some truth in MMY’s sayings that to find happiness outside, we need to first look within. But I must say, wisdom, or at least understanding, does come with age! Hopefully I can learn and understand some more before it is too late and I am a doddering old fool 🙂

Classics and favorites – Pride and Prejudice!

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I recently revisited an old favorite, Pride and Prejudice. I love Ms Austen’s skill of presenting the mundane in such a way as to make it exciting. Anyhow, since I now know most of the lines by heart, I wanted more. I found Pamela Aiden’s spinoff – Fitzwilliam Darcy – a Gentleman (a trilogy of books that represent the goings on of P&P from Darcy’ viewpoint).

I guiltlessly spent money on the books since the kindle version cost as much – the thought of a library never occurred to me – and set about devouring the books within three days. In addition to playing tennis and working, I pride myself in that accomplishment. As Ms Aiden would say – proper pride!

Not a bad book per se….I would have liked the end to go a little beyond P&P, but then the author only claims this to be the same story from Darcy’s viewpoint, so that is not really a flaw. I am, however, disappointed somewhat with the Darcy I met in her pages. I believe it is rightly said that one should not meet one’s childhood heroes, one is sure to be disappointed. Darcy was not my hero, but he was definitely my ideal crush. I grew up reading P&P over and over again, and with each reading, the character of Darcy grew a little more in my mind.

I am someone who dislikes watching movie adaptations of books I like. The characters as imagined by the director and producer never match what I have in mind…and having a very vivid imagination, all characters of books I read are real flesh and blood people to me. I was disappointed in Harry Potter, disgusted with Twilight, so-so about The Da Vinci Code and felt like my dream was taken and smeared with dirt with the 2005 P&P adaptation. Keira Knightly is the worst Elizabeth ever! The Darcy wasnt too bad….

Anyhow, I cannot blame Aiden for her representation of the character as she saw it. But to me, that spoiled my mental Darcy a little bit.

Do you read? Do you like movies that step out of the pages of books you love? I think it will take me a while before I can venture on another Jane Austen extension. I guess I will try Emma next – never liked her much anyway!