Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Winter of My Skin's Discontent

I try to avoid blogging about the weather, but let me just put it out there that this winter has SUCKED.  Having a baby in the fall is difficult as it is, with the general darkness and cold and claustrophobia of being stuck indoors.  I always hope for the best, but this winter, I can honestly say I can't imagine it being any worse (okay, that's not true.  More snow would be worse.  But it's pretty damn bad.).  It's been polar vortexes and negative wind chills and gray day after gray day.

I myself can deal with the cold.  But throw in a newborn and two other kids with the most sensitive skin known to man, and we are pretty much home bound.  When I do take them outside, the physical ramifications are apparent.

Case in point: my oldest sons poor chapped hands:

We forgot to send him to school with gloves on Monday (and by we, I mean my husband, not that I'm pointing fingers or anything).  Four days later, he is still red and splotchy and asking for a bandaid to make it all better.

Additionally, despite only going from the door to the car, my two month old has developed eczema across his face.  My three year old looks like he has been slapped on both cheeks they are so red.  And my lips have begun spontaneously cracking and bleeding.  It's fun stuff.

I generally use lip balm and petroleum jelly or some other kind of lotion on our skin when it's frigid outside, but it only does so much.  We just weren't meant to live in the cold, I suppose.  (And we also weren't meant to live in the sun, as we burn ridiculously easily, so really, I'm not sure where we are meant to live).

In any event, OTC Safety has a great article about how to protect your skin in the winter (you can click here for the link).  And if you are using any moisturizers or lotions, be sure to check the drug facts label to be sure of the ingredients and safe application.

Here are some additional tips below (click to enlarge) - stay warm!

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Five Years Ago Yesterday

Yesterday was January 26th.  I knew it was a significant day in one way or another, but I honestly couldn't remember why.  An ex boyfriend's birthday?  A graduation of sorts?  An appointment I was forgetting?

It clicked yesterday afternoon.  It was none of the above.  

January 26th, 2009, was the day that I went back to work after my first son was born.  Five years ago.  

It makes sense that the date is forever etched in my mind.  From the moment I gave birth to him, that date loomed - January 26th.  From a formal perspective, it meant the end of my maternity leave.  But it meant so much more to me than that.  It meant the end of my days at home with my baby.  It meant nannies and childcare and breast pumps.  It meant fitting back into business casual clothing and rejoining the professional world and continuing on with life as it was before, pre-baby. It meant becoming Shannon, the lawyer, once again.  

But of course, I wasn't only Shannon, the lawyer, anymore.  I was also Shannon, the mother.  

Monday, January 20, 2014


It has been a while since I have posted.  I keep meaning to, and I have several ideas for emotional, thought provoking posts.  I title them in my head and think of how I will structure them, and I feel all satisfied with myself.  I'll draft that later today, I think.

I haven't yet written any of them.  And this is not one of those posts.

The truth is, life is getting away from me a bit.  I guess I should not be surprised as a new mother of three.  Every minute of every day is filled with a preschool pick up or a nursing session or a meal preparation or refereeing or rocking to sleep or cleaning or folding laundry or bedtimes or a multitude of other things that I don't even feel like listing or thinking of.  In between that, I am still trying to bathe and maintain friendships and volunteer for school activities and go to doctor's appointments and host playdates and blog and a multitude of other things that I don't even feel like listing of thinking of.  I feel like I'm constantly on catch up.  Like I just need a minute to breathe, to take a break, and there just isn't one.  And I can't think of when I will get one next.

I am holding it together, generally.  Because there's no other option.  Because I still do get joy out of my day.

But I have gotten a bit derailed.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Best Of

As we leave 2013 behind, my friend and fellow blogger Darcy had the great idea to come up with a "Best of 2013" list.  She got several bloggers on board, and we are all linking to each other (so go to Darcy's blog to see her list, and she'll link to another blogger, etc.).  This normally isn't my kind of thing, so at first I was a little nervous, but as I drafted the list, I realized it was almost therapeutic. It brought back memories and really made me reflect on the year that was - so thank you, Darcy!

Without further adieu...

Best book - It is shameful how little I read in 2013.  The problem is I discovered Netflix (see below). However, I was lucky enough to read one of the best books I've read in a long time  - Monkey Mind - A Memoir of Anxiety.  If you've ever had any bout of anxiety (or even if you haven't), you will love this book.  It examines anxiety in a humorous way, while at the same time imparting the seriousness of the condition.  It is brave and honest.  I laughed out loud multiple times, and in some ways, it made me understand myself a little bit more.  I highly recommend it!

Best TV series - It is shameful how much I watched on Netflix/HBOGo, etc. in 2013.  Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Homeland, the Wire, and House of Cards, among others.  Yes, I watched every single episode of ALL of them!  They were all great, but Breaking Bad is by far the best show that has ever been on television.  If you haven't seen it, I'm jealous.  There's nothing like experiencing it the first time around.

Best vacation - In 2013 we traveled to Cincinnati, Disney World, Cape Cod, and Washington, VA. They were all great, but first prize goes to Washington, VA - the home of the Inn at Little Washington - a destination in and of itself.  We took our time getting there, stopping at Virginia wineries on the way (not the best wine, but hey, it's wine, who cares?) and cozying up at a B&B before going to the Inn for dinner.  It was only one night, and it was snowing and cold, but it was heaven.  We hope to go back in 2014.

Best meal - My pregnancy interfered a bit with my foodie tendencies, so unsurprisingly my best meals were enjoyed before and after.  It's a toss up between The Inn at Little Washington (see above - in February) and Minibar (in December).  Both of these meals were ridiculously overpriced, but to me, it was worth it.  Wine flights and multiple courses (over 20 at Minibar!) - sign me up!

Best movie - I don't get out to the movies much these days.  But I did thoroughly enjoy This is the End this past summer, so much so that I devoted an entire blog post to it.  It was weird.  And stupid.  But I laughed out loud in a theater by myself, so that says something.

Best dayNovember 13, 2013.  Duh!  I got to meet this guy:

Second best day - October 5, 2013 - my sister's wedding.  Beautiful!

Best girl's night out - December 12, 2013.  Some of my friends took me out to Rosa Mexicano to celebrate my 35th birthday, the arrival of Colin, and the termination of my nine month sobriety.  It was a fabulous night, with some fabulous women - including fellow bloggers Valerie and Darcy, a good friend from high school, a good friend from college, and three of my best friends from DC.  Worlds collided, and it was awesome.  How could it not be when there is tequila involved? (You can even see a picture of me getting a shot disguised as a cake on Darcy's blog - scroll to the bottom).

Best kids excursion - To the National Zoo, in August.  I actually usually hate the zoo, but it was raining that day - who knew the best time to visit the zoo is in the rain?  It was empty, and for the first time, I felt like I could handle my two kids in a public place without yelling or running or losing my shit.  It was a good day.

Best Blog Post on My Blog - My favorite ones are never the most popular ones, but I think my best of the year is this one:  I'm in Love with a Boy.  The most popular one this year, by far, is this one:  Why are Lawyers so Miserable?

Best Blog Post on Any Blog- Kelle Hampton's birth story on the arrival of her son on her blog, Enjoying the Small Things, had me in tears.  (And if that one makes you cry, check out the birth story of Nella, her daughter born with down syndrome - have tissues ready).

Best Beauty Product - Ummmmmmmmmmmm.  This one is a joke, people.  I am lucky to get a shower every other day, let alone wear make up or use anything to preserve my aging skin.  I do use Pantene, by the way.  High quality stuff.

Now mosey on over to Darcy's blog, No Monsters in my Bed, to see her Best Of list!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Okay, 2014

Last year, in lieu of resolutions, I drafted a mission statement  of sorts.  It was sentimental and hopeful and a bit poetic.  I guess I was successful at some of them, but like all resolutions (or mission statements), the romance of it was gone after a week or so, and I forgot at times what my "mission" was.  

This year's resolution list won't be so idyllic.  Instead, it will be hard, measurable goals that I aspire to accomplish.  Such as: 

- Lose eight pounds. (How original of me.)  I am not going to promise to exercise X number of times per week, or cut out any major food groups for any lengthy period of time, but here ye, here ye, I proclaim now:  I will lose these remaining pregnancy pounds.  

- Get an uninterrupted night's sleep.  This is not so much up to me, as it is to the cute little baby staring at me as I type this.  But I WILL get him sleeping through the night, in the not so distant future.  And by the time we are ringing in 2015, he will be getting 12 hours of solid, continuous sleep.  Ahhhh, that will be nice.  

- Keep blogging - at least once a week.  If you haven't noticed, my posting frequency has correlated directly with the arrival of the aforementioned baby this past November.  There are weeks that I think there's no way I'll get it together to post, but at the end of the day, I am always glad that I do.  Because if I stop, this little blog of mine will fall to the wayside and disappear, and I have gotten so much out of it in the past three years that I refuse to allow that to happen!

- Use my spa gift certificates.  I have two sitting in a drawer right now (one to Bliss, one to Red Door).  I refuse to forget about them. 

- Do sit ups with some sense of regularity.  After three pregnancies, it's not pretty.  Who knows if sit ups will even help, but at least I can say I went down fighting.  

- Have dinner with my girl friends.  At least once a month.  And take a taxi so I can have more than one margarita.  

There you have it.  I've capped it at 6.  

You may notice that none of these resolutions has anything to do with my parenting.  That's because I've learned that you can't make any promises in that department.  All you can have is good intentions.  So I'm not going to say I won't ever yell, or I'll always serve nutritious foods, or that I'll strictly limit their screen time.  I'm going to make mistakes, and I'm not always going to be a model parent.  I'm not going to vow otherwise and set myself up for failure. 

But I am going to do the best I can.  And if I can stick to the resolutions above, I'll be a happier person.  And, hence, a better mom.  If I take care of me, I can take better care of them.  

And that's what we all should do!

Below is a graphic from OTC Safety which summarizes some of the most common resolutions moms make.  Apparently only 46% make it past January.  Hopefully I can beat that statistic!  But the message is clear - take care of yourself!  Make it a priority.  

Here's to a healthy, happy 2014 for all of us!

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Skipping Back to Work

The timing of Colin's birth coincided almost perfectly with the holiday season.  He was born just a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, and then of course Thanksgiving ran into Hanukkah which then ran into Christmas and New Year's.  As a result, I've been fortunate enough to have a lot of family come to help, and my husband was also able to take a few weeks off of work.

That's the good part of having a baby over the holidays.

The downside is that the older boys have been off of school.  A LOT.  AND WE ARE ALL GOING STIR CRAZY!!!!

Winter break sucks.

What I've learned in my five years of parenting boys is that they have to be run.  Like dogs.  They need to burn energy and have space, or there will be repercussions, generally in the form of obnoxious/violent/alarming/crazy/annoying/relentless behavior.  What this means is that you have to get boys out of the house - to parks, to open areas, to activities, to something.  Unfortunately, with the cold weather and the around the clock nursing, we haven't been able to get out as much as we've liked. Thus, the boys have excess energy combined with idle time, which is a recipe for disaster.  Add to that the fact that I have a seven week old baby to contend with, and I'm kind of losing my shit.  

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