Poor Penny

Man, I should be buying stock in Lysol after this past weekend. It’s basically plague-central at the Fox house.

Penny caught the dreaded Hand, Foot, & Mouth Disease from daycare (it’s not super serious, but super contagious and super uncomfortable), and when I brought her into the sick clinic at her pediatrician’s office this morning, they not only confirmed that but also informed me that she has an ear infection to boot!

 

As long as she’s got some Motrin in her system, the HFM hasn’t precluded her from eating or drinking yet — something I’m very thankful for, since that’s the real danger of the disease (they can get little sores in their mouth / throat which makes them not want to eat or drink anything, and then they get dehydrated). I picked up some Pedialyte pops just in case though.

And as if it’s not bad enough to have a sad, sick, unable-to-communicate little baby, I, too, have been feeling pretty under the weather. I’ve been feeling pretty rundown since well before Penny’s symptoms showed up though, so hopefully it’s a whole separate thing (I only say hopefully as I hear that HFM is much worse for adults if they catch it.)

I haven’t been sleeping very well, and have woken up with a sore throat for a few days now. Bleh. So this weekend involved a lot of rest and a lot of lounging and a lot of sleeping — for pretty much all of us.

I’m very thankful Sean was willing and able to take on the brunt of Penny-care over the weekend, as I spent most of Saturday in bed.

This week I have far less of that luxury however, as things are speeding up work-wise now that we’re at the end of the month, end of the quarter, and heading into Fall / holiday season. Not that I’m complaining about that last one — the last few months of the year are my FAVORITES! I can’t wait to get to experience all the fall festivals and holidays and whatnot with Penny (especially considering she was just a little lump at this time last year, lol.)

Anyway, think quick-healing and healthy thoughts for Penny as we try to make it through this week, and hopefully I’ll have better news to report next time!

Toddler in the House!

WHY, HELLO THERE!

YOU MAY BE WONDERING WHY I AM SHOUTING AT YOU THROUGH YOUR COMPUTER (OR MOBILE BROWSER).

WELL SOMETHING EXTREMELY AMAZING AND EXCITING AND INCREDIBLE AND AWE-INSPIRING HAPPENED BETWEEN THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU ALL AND NOW, AND I STILL HAVE NOT RECOVERED EMOTIONALLY.

Ugh, Mom, you’re so embarrassing.

Do you find yourself asking, Hmm, Gretchen, what could that thing possibly be? Weeeeeeeell, no big deal or anything, it was just PENNY’S FIRST STEPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Hopefully the video collage thingy I tried to make works, but if not, you can see the proof on my Instagram feed as well, haha. But yes! It’s happened! It’s happening! Gahhhh! I’m not sure if she already qualified after turning one, but there’s definitely no denying that we have a TODDLER in the house now! I’m just a tiny bit excited.

Sean and I have been trying to practice walking with her more, by sitting across from each other and guiding her to each other, and then out of the blue on Monday she just stood up out of Sean’s lap and toddled right on over to me! And I know it wasn’t a fluke because I made her do it like eight more times so that I could capture it on camera, hahahahaha.

Man, it really has been a big week for our little nugget. Two brand new teeth AND her first steps? No wonder nights have been a little on the, er, difficult side lately. She certainly slept like a rock that night though!

And if it weren’t enough for her to take her first steps a zillion times Monday night, I was most definitely not prepared for what happened yesterday when I dropped her off at daycare. She was standing against my legs as I was putting her backpack in the closet, when her daycare teacher came over to greet her. And suddenly, she just lets go of me and waltzes on over to Miss O. like she’s been walking her whole life. Whaaaaat???

 

In other fun developmental news, she also started doing this thing yesterday where she waves SUPER excitedly at herself anytime she sees herself in the mirror. She did it in the morning when I was getting her ready, and at daycare they told me she kept doing it throughout the day there too. Babies are so much fun!

Anywho, all that excitement aside, today’s gonna be a busy one. I’ve got a full slate of calls, a lengthy to-do list, and a work event tonight. Definitely the kind of day that can easily make me feel overwhelmed, so I’m off to the gym with my little toddling bean to work out a little bit of my anxiety. Cross your fingers for me that I’m able to make today productive!

Weekend Update: Birthday Party, OTF, and New Teeth!

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope you all had restful weekends! Well, those of you who were in the path of Hurricane Florence, I can’t imagine you’ve had much rest, and I hope you and your homes are all okay! We thought we were in for a major drenching this weekend, but storm ended up shifting south and it was actually very mild (if humid) up here.

  

On Saturday, Penny and I went to celebrate the first birthday of our little friend Jonathan! I met his mom Anna through the Peanut app (which is basically like Tinder for Moms), and we became fast-friends. I’ve had tons of luck making new friends on both Peanut through local Mom-groups on Facebook — I went in pretty hard trying to meet other mamas with similarly aged babies when I was on maternity leave — and feel super lucky that I now have such a strong little tribe of amazing new moms to celebrate, panic, and generally commiserate with. 🙂

Of course, along with having similarly-aged babies, comes the fact that we’ve pretty much got a first birthday party to attend every Saturday from August through October, gahahaha. Guess this is the new normal I should start getting used to though, huh? I’m sure it’ll only get more crazy once Penny’s in school.

Aside from all the birthday party fun, I also hosted a Fitness event for Yelp this weekend at Orangetheory Fitness. A few of you had recommended I look into OTF when I started working out, and I see why! It was a hard workout for sure, but a lot of fun and there was a lot of camaraderie in the workout. My favorite part was definitely being on the floor doing the weight training, since that’s what I’ve been into at the gym myself, but the parts on the treadmill and rowing machines definitely pushed me way harder in terms of cardio, which is probably something I should be making more of an effort in regularly.

The science-y aspect with the heart rate monitors and everything was very cool to see, also. I actually just upgraded my old Fitbit Flex 2 to a Fitbit Alta HR so that I can have heart rate monitoring too, so that I can not only see if I’m exerting appropriate effort for maximum results, but also so that I can just keep a pulse (pun intended) on my ticker! This is the kind of stuff I so did NOT care about before, when working out and eating clean were both just a means to get smaller, but now that my goal is less superficial (at least, it’s not wholly about lookin’ good anymore, haha) and more, like, to make sure I live long enough to see my grandkids and stuff, heart health suddenly matters a lot more to me! Go figure.

In other news, Penny has officially sprouted both of her top teeth! So that brings our total tooth count up to four! And also explains why the past week has been hell on wheels in terms of sleep disruption, her appetite’s been a little off, she’s been fussy, and, you know, just all that fun stuff that comes with teething.

 

 

We’ve been doing a lot of cuddling (which, okay, I feel bad for her but also she like, never wants to cuddle with me anymore so it’s been kind of amazing?!) and watching The Furchester Hotel on Netflix (Penny’s fave). She’s also been snacking a lot over the past few days (hasn’t been as patient sitting down for her meals), which means the dogs are actually paying attention to her.

And that catches us up on the weekend! I’m headed into the office today, and my poor sleepy, teething baby (who may also be going through a growth spurt and/or maybe is getting sick? lol) slept from 7 to 8 last night (!!) so I woke up before her (for once), and was able to do my hair AND makeup this morning! Like a real human!

I’d also made time this weekend to get an eyebrow wax for the first time in months, so I’m def feeling myself right now, hahahaha. And with that final little burst of vanity, I’ll bid you adieu. ‘Til next time!

Fill Your Cup

So, Wednesday was kind of a rough day.

It didn’t start out rough, aside from the momentary panic that set in when I thought I had lost my wallet (found it in the depths under the passenger side of my car — whew), and there were plenty of good things that happened.

While I didn’t sleep great the night before, Penny slept in which is always a plus. We had lunch with a good friend. I saw my family for dinner and got to hang with my precious baby niece Marnie. All in all, it had the makings of a pretty good day.

And yet, despite the fact that there wasn’t really anything specifically wrong, despite the fact that nothing bad happened, it just ended up being a really hard day. There was this undercurrent of stress and tension running through the entire day as I tried to juggle getting to the gym and previous commitments and travel time and scheduled calls and simply the looming obligation of everything on my to-do list. I felt like there wasn’t enough time to do anything, let alone everything, and more than that, like my time wasn’t my own.

And so as the day wore on, as things slowly began running more off schedule, as I clamored to make sure I dropped Penny off in time to dial into my next call, as I went back-and-forth over what I needed to do, I just started to feel more and more overwhelmed. Toss in Penny being extra clingy, fussy, and not sleeping well (her top teeth are breaking through, so she’s definitely off right now as well), and me still dealing with the extraordinary terribleness that is being on your period postpartum and, yeah. You end up with a sleeping baby strapped into the back of a yellow Ford Focus on the parking pad outside her parents’ house, and a crying Gretchen, lol. It really was just the perfect storm of stress, hormones, and mental and physical fatigue.

So after a somewhat snot-filled drive home, I handed a sleepy Penny off to Sean to put down for the night and indulged in some much-needed self-care. I gave myself a facial, took a hot shower, diffused some calming essential oils, donned some soft, clean pajamas and climbed into bed early, where I read three chapters of a real, actual, for-fun fiction novel. I then popped two Unisom tabs and fell asleep.

I woke yesterday morning feeling uplifted, energized, and so much more optimistic. A few simple acts of intentional self-care and a solid night’s sleep (8 hours!!!), and I was like a new person! Well, sure, okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that groundbreaking, but it was like I’d woken up on the right side of the bed for the first time in a spell. And it really went to show A) how long it had been since I’d “indulged” in even just a little “me time”, and B) how true the cliche is: you simply cannot pour from an empty cup. You have to take care of yourself.

And while I’ve been taking lots of strides to take care of myself in other ways — therapy, working out, eating better — they don’t really feel like self-care in the traditional sense (to me, at least. Maybe one day exercising will feel like a true form of self-care, lol, but for the time being it’s still firmly rooted in “chore” territory.) And before I had Penny, I used to REALLY prioritize self-care: massages, pedicures, facials, shopping, getting my hair done, reading for fun… I used to partake in these kinds of things relatively regularly — things made me feel good, helped me relax, and that I just truly enjoyed.

These days, recoloring my hair usually comes at the expense of my sleep, because I can’t tackle my roots until after Penny’s gone to bed (and it takes like 3 hours, lol). I can count on one hand the number of pedicures I’ve gotten since she’s been born. Reading, as I mentioned in my last post, has long dropped out of my top priorities. And all my shopping happens online.

All of which is super normal, I’d imagine, especially when you’re a new parent. And honestly, it’s fine most of the time. My priorities clearly shifted when I became a mother. Having my life run by my tiny human is something I wouldn’t trade for all the massages and manicures in the world! But Wednesday was just a very marked reminder that finding (making!) the time to treat and take care of myself, even if it’s naturally going to be much less often than I used to, is still so crucial. We need to fill our cups so that we can be sharper and more focused employees, kinder and more considerate friends, loving and more patient parents.

Maybe the next step will be making the time for a real vacation, eh?

Just Read a Flippin’ Book, Gretchen!

Well, turns out I may just have a touch of the gift of foresight after all, because two of the things I predicted in my last post have indeed come true. First off, I am just as sore as I thought I would be after my mega workout on Monday. Yesterday, my legs felt like they weigh 100 pounds each, and my obliques were quick to remind me that they do, in fact, exist. Y’know. Because they hurt.

Ba-doom ching!

So I took yesterday off from the gym, and did a stretching routine at home instead. It actually worked out that I was too sore to work out, since Penny and I did not exactly have a night conducive to expending lots of energy at the gym. She slept terribly Monday night: tossing, turning, waking up, and crying out a lot more than usual. And then she just casually popped up and was SUPER AWAKE from 4 – 5:30 AM — chatting, playing, crying, and just generally keeping me (and only me -_-) up.

She did eventually fall back asleep (after several failed interventions of my own), and then proceeded to sleep in until 8:30! And on a daycare day no less (I usually try to drop her off around 8 so she can eat breakfast there.) After the night we had, though, I wasn’t about to dare try and wake the Kraken before she was ready. So I texted daycare that we’d be a little late, and after a hastily-fed, super healthy breakfast that consisted of two cherry tomatos and half of a tortilla, I finally got her there and hastened off to get some work done.

I met up with two of my coworkers, Mike & Kimberly, at Rare Bird Coffee Roasters in Falls Church, and between sips of my honey lavender latte and bites of proscuitto-gruyere quiche (sooooo good), I managed to put my nose to the grindstone and bang out quite a bit of work! Though it really shouldn’t, it still surprises me how productive and focused I can be when I get out of the house and work with intention. Even when Penny’s not there, it’s just so easy to get pulled away by different things at home — the dogs, laundry, dishes, etc. Another good reminder as to why I’m continuing to work towards figuring out a routine and carving out specific time (and apparently, space) for work.

After the three of us had put in a few hours of work, we headed to nearby Yayla Bistro for some lunch. We split a few appetizers, their mixed grill platter, and some salmon. It was all super delicious, and the portions were very generous (as were my coworkers for giving me the leftovers to take home, hehe.)

Mike had to hit the road after lunch, but Kimberly and I decided to get just a smidgen more done before daycare pickup called both of us away. We took a quick pitstop to pop into the independent bookstore across the street, and it was like a total breath of fresh air. I’d forgotten how much I love bookstores, love browsing, and, hello, love BOOKS!

It’s pretty shameful for me to admit, but aside from The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and Guide to Your Child’s First Year, I haven’t read an entire book in almost two years. Words are my lifeblood, so taking a step back to realize that’s the case is seriously sad. So I did my due diligence in supporting a local business and picked up a couple novels that I’ve been meaning to read since long before the movies came out (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians), a parenting book that I’ve had bookmarked for a little while (How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk — though a follower actually pointed out there’s a Little Kids version of this book that I think I’ll want to read first), and another one that caught my eye in the store (How to be a Happier Parent). And I’ve decided that the next item on the evidently unending list pertaining to Gretchen’s Total Life Renovation™ (lol) is to just start flipping reading again.

It sounds really simple, right? I mean, really it should be. I just need to unplug a little earlier each night. Instead of whittling my final moments before bed browsing the internet, scrolling through Instagram, or rewatching The Office YET AGAIN, I can read a chapter or two. But, of course, I think we all know that while something may sound easy in theory, it doesn’t always work out so smoothly in practice. Maybe the baby’s having trouble sleeping, or there are chores to finish, or maybe we just really, really want to finish writing a blog post (cough cough) instead. But hey, the point is to try, no? Hence why it’s called practice.

To help me with my goal of getting to the titles that I’ve long been piling onto my “To-Read” pile, a friend also suggested I dip my toe into audiobooks. I’ve never been a voracious consume of audiobooks (I used to feel like it was kind of pointless since I can read faster than they can speak, haha), but now that my life is basically just one constant frenzy of multitasking, the concept is very appealing. After all, I am now commuting into the city once a week(ish), and listening to an audiobook does allow me to do things like fold laundry or put away dishes while still allowing me to consume all those wonderful, beautiful words! So I’m taking Audible for a spin with a couple of free audiobooks I’m able to try out. I’m starting with Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, as well as Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life. (I feel like I really relate to both of these based on title alone.

So I’d say that yesterday was quite a productive day, all things considered. Let’s see if I’ll be able to successfully add another positive habit into the mix — I gotta admit, while I’m still going surprisingly strong with working out and taking my vitamins, my attempts to start my days with mindfulness and calm via guided meditation have been less successful. Ah well, tomorrow’s just another opportunity to practice again, right?