Baby Body Wardrobe Trauma

Everyone knows being pregnant changes your body.  You can lose all the baby weight and your shit’s still probably not going to be in the same places.  At least not all of it.  It’s fun.  Ok, it’s annoying, because I kind of liked where things were before, but whatever.  Still, even knowing this, moms are definitely at risk for some wardrobe-related trauma.

I’m currently the same weight and dress size I was pre-pregnancy.  While I overhauled my wardrobe when I decided to stay home with my babies, I kept some of my favorite pieces of “professional” clothes, which have literally been hanging in my closet since sometime in January 2015, when my baby bump outgrew them.

Moving on. Now, my twins are almost three.  It’s not like I’m just now emerging from the months of maternity clothes post delivery.  I started wearing regular clothes almost immediately, because unlike a lot of women I know, I fucking hated maternity pants and missed my skinny jeans. Anyway. Yeah, I’m a SAHM/WAHM. I spend quite a bit of time in running tights or similar stretchy apparel. If you chase toddlers all day, you get it. BUT. I’ve had several occasions to get dressed up. My husband and I have had a couple date nights, holiday parties, a wedding, a funeral, etc. But none of those events required me to wear anything from my old work wardrobe.

Then, last Friday [ominous music playing], I had to attend an event at my husband’s very conservative employer. First of all, it’s hard for me to look conservative. I have weird colors in my hair and tattoos all over me. I wear unusual jewelry. Most of my clothes are black and tend to either be tight, or low cut, or have holes (ex: ripped jeans), and they almost all show at least one tattoo. This is all fine and good for the vast majority of my life. Case in point, it’s been three years since I’ve needed my old professional wear.

And guess what. It all looked like shit. Like, it looked so bad that it caught me off guard. I zipped up my old favorite black trousers and looked in the mirror and just…what the fucking fuck? If only it had just been the trousers. My pencil skirt, my wrap dress, my silk blouse? They all betrayed me. I was shocked that things that used to look great could still fit and look so goddamn awful. Just how? Blame the c-section tummy that still won’t go away? I don’t know, I’m sure it doesn’t help.

closetI ended up digging through the rest of that mess and improvising.  But I mean, seriously, HOW is there nothing in that closet to wear to a fucking work event?? I mixed some old professional pieces with new shit that fits right, and it worked, IMO anyway. (Pro tip: always own solid black pants that just kill it with heels.) Anyway, why not just go shopping like a normal person? Well, I didn’t know about the event until the night before, and I doubt I would have found much at our 24-hour Wal-Mart to improve my wardrobe situation. That said, I will for damn sure be picking up some new trousers in the very near future.

XX Nic

Migraine Hell Help

Hi, I get migraines. If you’ve had one, you know they’re awful.  The fun thing (lol) about migraines is that everyone has a unique migraine experience. There are tons of different triggers and symptoms and if you want more info on that, start with the Mayo Clinic page here.  I usually get intense stabbing/throbbing pain on one side of my forehead, sensitivity to light and loud noise, and nausea, all of which typically last a day or less, and my triggers include barometric pressure changes, stress, hormonal birth control (the Depo shot was murder), dehydration, and a few food-related things (like sage). I think right now, I’m averaging about two per month, but I’ve had periods of time when I was getting a migraine every other day or so.

I started getting them when I was 18, and here we are 13 years later, still going strong. Back in the before time, ya know, before kids, I would pop a pain reliever and crawl into the darkness of my bedroom as soon as possible.  Of course, I’ve always had jobs that weren’t super accommodating about taking time off for something that wasn’t contagious, so I’ve worked through plenty of pain, which sucks, but I guess I should just thank my stars that I don’t completely lose all ability to function. Anyway, I’m now a work-at-home mom, which is worse than the most oppressive boss about allocating sick leave. Also, while I, once upon a time, took prescription migraine meds, I stopped when I was pregnant and, even though they worked, never bothered to get back on them because they’re fucking expensive. Anyway, over the years, I’ve found a few things to help deal.

  1. Drink water. Yeah, caffeine helps with migraines, but so does hydration. I drink a glass of water when I first notice symptoms, and I swear it reduces the severity.
  2. Excedrine Migraine. Or the off brand. I honestly can’t tell the difference. Their magic formula is acetaminophen + aspirin + caffeine. This one probably isn’t news. A Again, I take it as soon as I can after I notice symptoms. It doesn’t work as well as the prescription pain reliever I used to take, but it definitely takes the edge off forme. Plus, it’s cheap.Excedrine
  3. Migrastick. I kept this in my desk and used it all the time when I had a “regular” job. It’s a little roll-on tube of mint and lavender essential oils that you apply to your temples. The smell helps with my nausea, and the cooling/soothing sensation of mint oil distracts me from the pain. I personally don’t think it does anything to help my migraines go away faster, but it does help with the symptoms. I buy it from a little local supplement store, but you can get it on Amazonmigrastick
  4. IMAK Compression Mask. I can’t lock myself in a dark bedroom anymore because I have kids, but this is kind of the next best thing. It’s like a soft, knit face mask for sleeping, but it’s full of these little balls that you can kind of mush around on your face so absolutely no light reaches your eyes, plus the pressure and weight of the mask helps with the pain. Also, you can keep it in the freezer, and the cold mask feels amazing if I have any kind of headache at all. I have been known to wear it pushed up on my forehead so I can have the cool pressure and still be able to keep an eye on my sweet little demon toddlers. I found it on Amazon, and it was worth every penny IMO.

IMAK

I honestly hope you don’t get migraines (of course if you don’t, you probably didn’t read this post), but if you do, maybe something on here will help. Share your own go-to fixes in the comments.

XX Nic

Homemade Cough Shards

Today was day two with sick toddlers. Leeloo started feeling bad and got a fever yesterday. By this afternoon, Monkey was also starting to feel a little toasty and had developed a cough that was progressively worsening. So far, I only have a headache. Who knows. Everyone I know is sick with the flu or some respiratory thing. If I knew who they got it from, I might know a bit more about what to expect, but we’re in wait-and-see mode. Fun stuff.

Anyway, Leeloo doesn’t mind Children’s Tylenol, but she hates cough syrup with a passion. Monkey will take neither unless we hold her down and pour it down her throat, so she’ll be dealing with this unmedicated unless it gets too bad. So, two kids with horrible coughs that hate cough syrup. Not great. I decided to look for something else, dug around in my Apothecary board on Pinterest, and found a Homemade Cough Drop recipe by Elise at Frugal Farm Wife.

It was basically herbal tea and honey cooked into hard candy drops. I didn’t have exactly what was in the recipe, but I improvised, and despite also burning the honey a bit, THE DROPS WORK AND MY KIDS WILL TAKE THEM.

If you want to try them, use her recipe. I’m just talking about what I changed in case you’re in a similar situation.

teas

Elise’s recipe called for peppermint, chamomile, cinnamon, and ginger, though she said peppermint tea and chamomile tea were fine. Since the first part of the recipe is to basically make a strong tea, I just went with it and added ginger tea too since I didn’t have ginger root. I had a cinnamon stick, but forgot to let it steep with the tea. Oops. I’m sure it would have been better, but I just added a tiny pinch of ground cinnamon to the tea/honey mixture.

The next part involves cooking the tea/honey mixture until it reaches hard-crack stage (300ºF). I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I used this amazing guide from The Spruce which explains how to test for hard-crack stage in candy without a candy thermometer. It worked great.

I burned the sugar in my honey just a touch at the end, but that wasn’t related to anyone’s instructions. I just didn’t stir fast enough for about 5 seconds of the whole process. Burning the sugar is super easy to do at those temperatures, by the way, if you’ve never made candy before. It didn’t affect the functionality of the drops and the texture is still very nice. They just have a little bit more of a bitter flavor than I would have preferred. I added orange zest on the outside of the candy as I spread it out to cool, and the flavor could be improved but it’s not bad.

I intended to roll it out and shape it, but just as I was ready to start rolling, there was a toddler crisis of some variety, and it set up too hard. So…I don’t have cough drops, I have cough shards.

cough shard

They look a little like beef jerky, IMO, but they taste like strong minty honey and orange.  I’m trying a new batch soon and will hopefully 1. not burn the candy and 2. actually get to roll it out and shape it. I like my candies and things to look like I want them to look, so I’m slightly annoyed by these, but you can’t really do a damn thing about toddler timing. Plus, considering that these “cough shards” work and the kids will actually suck on them, I don’t give a fuck what they look like. Bonus point: if you hate the way the stuff tastes alone, the pieces can be dissolved in hot tea to take the edge off a cough.

Obligatory disclaimer: I’m not a medical doctor. Nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I feel comfortable giving my kids honey (they’re almost 3) and the herbs in the teas. If you don’t, don’t try it. If my kids get sicker, we will go to the doctor and get medication, but until then, I’ll keep making cough drops they won’t immediately spit out.

XX Nic

Sick Little Pickle

I’ve been pretty lucky on the sick-kid front, as they aren’t in daycare (aka germ repositories), but we did not luck out this go around. My tall, strong, sweetheart was knocked on her ass this afternoon by one hell of a cold (or something TBD). We went from playing outside in sandpiles and climbing on livestock panels to splashy, giggly bathtime, to featherbed-and-blanket nest in the living-room hammock and leave me the fuck alone. By dinner, she had a 100º fever and a surprisingly decent appetite. She’s such a little trooper. Then my husband, Superdad tonight, got home with toddler cough syrup and liquid Tylenol.

leeloo

The hard part is that her sister still feels good.  I assume, in about 48 hours neither she nor I will feel good in the slightest, but maybe we’ll luck out. Anyway, the sprightly little fireball misses her friend and just doesn’t quite understand what “sick” means. Like, why is it a big deal today if we switch sippy cups, wtf, mom? What do you mean I can’t tackle her from the back of the couch? I tried to explain, but showing works best, so I said “Hey, Monkey, will you come help me take Leeloo’s temperature?” She runs over, “Tematur?” I put the thermometer under Leeloo’s arm as she snuggles her dad, “See Monkey? We have to check her temperature because sometimes, when people are sick they get a fever and it makes them hot.” Her eyes open big in recognition and concern “Leeloo hot?” “Yeah, Baby, Leeloo’s hot. See her temperature is 99.6 now; that’s a whole degree above what it normally is.” Monkey runs off to get Leeloo her juice. Toddlers are so smart and awesome and thoughtful and sweet.

So, the Tylenol brought it down a little bit. Yay. I’ll keep checking, and hopefully will not wake either of them up. Ha.

The point of this post, however, is what does one feed a sick little pickle with a fever, cough, and sore throat? Mom’s Magical Calorie-Bomb Baby Smoothie. Fuck yes. A more meaningful name would probably be Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Smoothie, but I gave it a cool name because it made it up when I was pregnant and had god-awful morning sickness for literally 28 weeks. I digress. I love it. Nauseous me loves it. Hypoglycemic me loves it. My kids fucking love it. Here’s how to make it.

Mom’s Magical Calorie-Bomb Baby Smoothie
Ingredients:
Blender: I make this in a “personal smoothie-sized” blender, but it would obviously be fine in a full size too.
Banana (regular or frozen. Frozen makes it thicker)
2 TB peanut butter (smooth almond butter is fine if you’re no-peanut people)
2 TB Nesquik (powdered chocolate milk mix)
milk (I use whole milk, but anything’s fine, even almond, coconut, etc.)
2-5 ice cubes

shake1

Pour some milk, the banana, and some ice in the blender. Yep, the whole banana. I just broke that one in half.

shake2

Add the Nesquik and the peanut butter. I definitely vote for creamy peanut butter for this particular recipe. The Nesquik is more of a “to taste” kind of thing. I’m sure Ovaltine, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Chocolate Muscle Milk, or hell, Hershey’s chocolate syrup would all taste about the same. You’re just getting some extra nutrition from some of the options.

Blend. Check on it. Add more milk if you want it to be thinner. My girls like it thin enough to be easy to drink with a straw.

shake3

Et voilà.

Tinker with the ratios of ingredients or leave one of them out. It’s hard to fuck up so badly that it’s undrinkable. Enjoy.

I must go prepare for a day of sick pickle snuggles, Tylenol distribution, and toddler grumps.

XX Nic

Showing Love in Weird Places

Hey guys.  My husband works. I stay home with the kids. Just recently our schedules were completely different and he spent a semester at home with me, taking grad classes, not working, and it completely threw our dynamic off. I think it’s me. I guess I need to be able to define the role I need to fill to do it well. We were both stay at home students, which to me, meant we should contribute equally. Alas, that was not how it played out. Honestly, there was some serious tension in our relationship by the end. But, thank the gods, that situation is NO MORE, so I’m just going forget about that.

Now, I am the domestic goddess with my toddler minions, and I shall reign supreme over the realm of the home and fields and forests. It’s my world from the time he leaves before sunrise until he comes home late at night, and I am going to make it fucking beautiful, all with two wild little pixies in tow.

While I’m working on building some income from my freelance work, my husband is busting his ass so I can stay home with our girls: teaching math in a charter school, finishing his math ed. master’s, and tutoring for his university between teaching and class. He loves it, but during the week, he’s gone all the fucking time. Oh, he’s also working on his competition level heavy weightlifting.

I like to say “thank you, I love you” for working so hard out there so I can work hard here.  My ability to stay home with our children and homeschool as they get just a bit older is as, or more, important to him as it is to me. We’ve turned our lives upside down a couple times now so that I could stay with the kids. This last big change, with his new jobs this week is amazing. This kind of came out of nowhere, and it could not have happened at a better time. Regardless, we’re still adjusting.

Anyway, I digress. He’s gone long hours and his body, because of his weight training, has pretty strict nutritional needs. He needs a ton of protein, especially on workout days.  He needs some high-quality carbs, some high-protein dairy, some fruit, and usually some vegetables. He will make his own lunch, but it’s really, really sad. Or, he goes to Subway and pays like $12 for a roast chicken salad that leaves him hungry.

Therefore, I, like many women before me, do what I can to take care of my man with food. I’ll talk about breakfast in a separate post, but I handle that too. Brief summary there, though: eggs, vegetables, maybe bacon, coffee.

Tonight, as he was going to bed, I started making his lunch. I coudn’t find his lunch bag, which I assumed was in the car, but he says “Oh, just put it in a grocery sack, I can get it.” Which was nice. I was really happy for about 5 seconds, because it is cold as fuck out here tonight. Anyway, it hit me that I was trying to infuse this daily, mundane task with love, and that stuffing it in a grocery sack did not feel like a love-infusing task. I drug my crazy ass out to the car for the bag, and grabbed his coat for in the morning, and felt better about it.  I then marveled at the beauty of a clear, cold southern night, far out enough in the middle of fucking nowhere that the stars are beautiful. And tonight there’s the full moon, the blue moon, the supermoon, and the blood moon. This, a happy witchy woman doth make.

Back inside. I made two of his favorite sandwiches: fuck tons of turkey and swiss, on 12-grain bread, with dijon and mayo. I washed an apple. I bagged up mango slices and grapes. I sacrificed a beloved black cherry greek yogurt. I added a homemade blueberry muffin, which he probably won’t eat, but could, idk, trade for something? Whatever, it’s a fucking muffin.

I don’t want him to feel like it’s a big deal. I don’t want him to think I’m going out of my way. I’m really not. All I have to remember to do is buy the right stuff at the grocery store, wrap it up, and put it in a bag. I do hope he feels a little bit taken care of though.

Should I put a little note in the top? We’ll see.

XX Nic

Welcome

Hi. I’m Nic. Welcome to my life.

fancy fangs

The pic is a pretty solid representation of my personality. I’m a work at home mom to twin, almost-3-year-old, girls. I’m working on building a freelancing career (empire?), which is still in the max-hustle phase. A separate page all about that will show up soon. Anyway, my life is crazy and so am I. If we have to label things, this is a mommy/lifestyle blog. But. It’s my mommy lifestyle, so it’s all about the weird, geeky, “alternative” ways a smartass punk with too much higher education gets her shit done.

Expect posts about: parenting, family, food, writing, art, the freelance hustle, homeschooling, social commentary, books I’m into, entertainment, interesting shit, and whatever the fuck else I might think to write about.

XX Nic