Tuesday, September 29, 2015

This Morning Stunk

1:00 a.m. - Laney wakes & cries. Only way to calm her is to nurse her. After 20 minutes she's content and goes back to sleep. I hope this is just a growth spurt or something because I've gotten used to sleeping through the night at this point.

6:00 a.m. - First alarm goes off.


6:04 a.m. Laney says "Not so fast!" and wakes. She's hungry again. Again, PLEASE just be a growth spurt. 

After she's done the rest of us get ready for the day. Charley protests against the outfits I've chosen and set out for her this week and chooses something else. So much for that time saver.

7:20 a.m. We all are out of the house early! Go us!

Rain, rain, SO MUCH rain.


I'm SUPER tired from my interrupted sleep last night so I know I need to stop and get a soda before work.

I purchase my soda and as I place it in my cupholder I realize I left my actual breakfast (a smoothie) at home. UGH. Back home I go. So much for being early today.

I get back home, open the fridge to grab my smoothie and see Laney's milk for the day sitting there. Ughhhhhhhhh.

Call John. Tell him what he forgot. We cross our fingers that my sister Christy has enough frozen milk in her freezer for the day. (She did, whew!)

Meanwhile on my drive in to work - SO MUCH TRAFFIC. Not only am I NOT early, but will be a few minutes LATE at this point. 

Pull into the parking lot and have to stop as something was crossing my path.


A skunk!

I Google what it might mean when a skunk crosses your path and not surprisingly have no results.

So, I'm deciding it means "Your day stinks!"

Happy Tuesday.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pumping Update - Pumpdate, If You Will

So, just a quick post to update on the pumping issue from work. It actually got resolved that same afternoon but time to update about it has been hard to come by.

I don't know if I mentioned this or not but I sort of figured that the pressure was coming from someone other than my boss and he was just the messenger. He is actually a very understanding boss when it comes to anything family related as he has two small children of his own and he's a very involved dad - often leaving early to attend soccer practice or dance class or whatever. So, at the end of the day when he was finally free of meetings he and I got a chance to chat. He never replied because he very clearly read my hostility in my reply to him and instead of risking another incident where tone could be misinterpreted wanted to talk in person. At the beginning of our chat he said "I detected some hostility with your reply." This was the actual reply, so, not unprofessional or anything - just short and sweet and apparently did a good job of getting my point across:

I really don’t know how long. If the space is in such high demand they can find me another spot. It could be another month, it could be another 6 months. It’s up to Laney.
So I told him that yes, that hostility was intentional and was directed at whomever keeps asking for the space. He was super grateful we decided to chat in person instead of continuing with email. Ha!

As I suspected, he WAS just the messenger for whomever is pushing to get this room. While I think he should have pushed back himself while not checking with me again, that's neither here nor there at this point. As for asking again so soon after he asked the first time, he said he mis-remembered what I said before and thought he remembered me saying I would not need it for much longer. I did tell him in that first chat that I only pumped 6 months with Charley (but I went on to say that's not to say Laney will be on the same schedule so it could be months longer than that) so I guess he could have only heard that first part of that and tuned out the rest. Regardless, he definitely sees it now and I highly doubt another word will be muttered about it until I am the one telling them I'm done using it.

He agreed that there really isn't another place to put me and that "they" (such a secret about who is wanting to move in here!) were just going to have to find another solution to their space dilemma. He also didn't know anything about the incident last week where people used the room as a conference room without checking with me so we both agreed his email ended up being more of a straw that broke the camel's back and that it wasn't all his fault. We went on to talk about how tough it is to put your foot down and carve out space for your family sometimes and he commiserated that it is even tough for him in different scenarios because most of the other executives aren't as involved with their children or don't have children.

Anyways, it all came out just fine and was a happy chat. That's not to say I didn't shed a tear or two, because, well, because I'm me, but all that matters is that I am happy with the outcome and I highly doubt anyone will say a word to me about it any longer.

The next morning he called me back in his office to triple check that he and I were good. I assured him we were good. We're good. Laney's good. Pumping is ::saying this through gritted teeth:: good.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pumping Struggles

Within the last week I asked a few friends to give me a kick in the pants to keep pumping breast milk at work because I was growing extremely weary of doing it.** My supply had started to slip and I was just sick of sitting in there for 20 minutes at a time 3 times a day. They gave me several great suggestions and lots of back patting and cheerleading and so I continued on and things have gotten marginally better this week. But the real motivation to keep going came today from an unlikely source.

**I don't want to quit breastfeeding yet, especially right at the beginning of winter when she could really use the immunities it gives her throughout this sickly season coming up. But the pumping part I was ready to give up on. With Charley I quit pumping at 6 months and just breastfed while I was with her from months 6-10, so I was just envisioning the same freedom from the pump during a moment of weakness.

I briefly mentioned some of the struggles with getting a room to use at my place of employment here. Apparently I'm the only one that's ever needed a place to pump which is a sad tale on its own but that's a story for another day. While walking around with HR when pregnant, we only found ONE option to use and so that was that. It is an office that was vacant at the time so timing worked out perfectly. I've been using that office for the 2.5 months since I've been back at work. It is really no secret what I'm doing in there after this little incident and just because people aren't dumb. So, for 20 LONG minutes three times a day I'm locked up in there trying to keep up with my little chunky monster's needs.

A couple weeks ago my boss asked me in person how much longer I'd need the office because they were trying to plan when they could put someone else in there. I was definitely taken aback by the question and blushed as I stumbled through my answer. I told him I only pumped with Charley until she was 6 months old, but I really didn't know how long Laney would need it. He seemed satisfied with that answer and said he'd tell "them" a few more months at the very least. I moved on from that. Sure, it made me feel a little rushed and a little uncomfortable and a little pressure but I got over it.

Then last week I get a call from the receptionist that a few people needed a room to have a meeting in and that both conference rooms were taken so they were going to use "my" office for about an hour. They didn't even ASK me and they sent someone else to TELL me what was going on. They have no idea what my schedule is or if I'd need the office during the time they had already reserved it for. They just marched in and set their laptops down and I then rushed in to wipe the desk down for them as a courtesy and to freaking move my pump out and put it somewhere else. I was VERY irritated with this scenario too, but again, got over it. Luckily they were going to be out of there by the next time I needed the space. But I did want to rip their paper off of the door that read "OFFICE RESERVED FOR THE NEXT HOUR" and stomp it into the ground. I mean, to whom was the sign for? I am the only user of the office so I guess that was the plan until they saw my stuff in there. "Just stick a sign on the door! That will help us avoid a potentially uncomfortable conversation!"

Today I get an email from my boss that asked the exact same thing he asked me in person two weeks ago. I don't know if he forgot that he'd already asked me or if he got additional pressure to get a better answer from whomever is needing this office but it really set me on a path of rage. I couldn't believe I was being asked this again such a short time after I was asked the first time.

With an email, at least I didn't have to struggle through my response in front of him. I got time to IMMEDIATELY GET UP AND WALK TO HR TO VENT ABOUT IT FIRST. I am furious. As if pumping to keep up with your child's demands isn't enough pressure as it is (albeit that's just pressure from myself) this added a whole new layer. HR agreed that this was completely inappropriate and were typing emails before I even left the office. I don't care WHERE they put me. They just have to provide a space for me to use and that's that.

See the thing is I'm not even that type of person that would attend nurse-ins or feel compelled to nurse in front of people just to try and normalize breastfeeding at all. I do wish it was way more normalized, but I'm not the pushy type and pushing the agenda through those avenues is just not for me at all. (Let's be real - my avenue is to type it all up and hide behind a computer!) But this has me all up in arms. I'm not asking a lot at all, and it should be a complete non-issue. It's a private place and I'm not bothering anyone by doing it. I shouldn't have to give timelines to anyone. I cannot believe the resistance I'm feeling about it.

Which brings me back to my original point. Last week I was dreaming about the end of pumping and even just yesterday was complaining about carrying the crap around that pumping requires. And now? NOW I feel compelled to keep going strong out of pure spite. I don't care if it is in the office I'm using now or if they find another spot for me to use. I feel like pumping until she's in Kindergarten right now. (Okay a bit of exaggeration because I don't plan on going any longer than 1 year, but it just FEELS that way right now.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Lugging Stuff Around

And I used to think THIS was a lot of crap to lug in each day.

The stuff. Ohhhhhh the stuff. The amount of stuff being taken from place to place to place these days is insane. The daily car emptying takes at a minimum three trips. 

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Today wasn't AS bad as some days. The pump bag is hiding behind the diaper bag but don't mistake it's ability to be hidden for it being small and/or light. Those things it is most definitely not.

The list of stuff always includes:

Laney + carseat
Milk Cooler Bag
Diaper Bag
The Mail

And often also includes:

My lunch box
Charley's Lunch box
Cooler bag used to transport yesterday's milk to my sister's house
Charley's toys she's chosen to bring home
Preschool Papers
Charley's shoes she has taken off in the car
An Amazon package or two

And sometimes also includes:

Library books (I usually go get us new books on lunch hour)
Target bags (I also sometimes go to Target during lunch hour)
Other shopping bags (there is also an outlet mall near my workplace, so duh)
Trash from my lunch because I prefer to eat in my car ALONE

And will soon also include:

My jacket or coat
Charley's jacket or coat
A blanket for Laney. 

Actually scratch that blanket for Laney. I'll just keep her blanket in the car this winter. ONE less item on my list of stuff to cart around.

Insane right? I really do not like leaving stuff in my car and having a cluttery car but it of course happens sometimes. How could it not with all this junk? I do manage to drag it all inside about 75% of the time and the other 25% of the time it doesn't happen because Laney is super hungry right when we get home or something else along those lines so I end up forgetting to go back out and get everything.

& then the next morning, John does the opposite by taking all of this crap out to his car.

His list of stuff includes: 

Laney + carseat
Any toys Charley wants to take that day/Owlie
Charley's Lunch
Milk in a cooler bag (unless I remember to leave it at my sister's the previous afternoon)
Diaper Bag
His Lunch
His work stuff (he brings work home pretty often)
And soon, jackets + blanket, too.

We do keep stuff at my sister's house (toys for Charley, diapers and such for Laney) but a diaper bag is still needed in case they go anywhere during the day or I plan on going anywhere with them after I pick them up. 

Anyways. this is only temporary, I know. & soon enough so much of this stuff will be replaced with backpacks and I'll be sad so I'll gladly keep lugging this stuff around for my babies. Plus anyways, Charley is of age to be able to help me with some of it so it can't be that bad.


Thanks for carrying in that Barbie, girlfriend. You are just too helpful.

Silhouette Portrait

A year and a half ago I got the Silhouette Portrait cutting machine for my birthday. I was really excited to use it to make birthday banners or whatever but I truly didn't have much of a clue what all it could do much less how to actually use it. And that's no dig at the people that gave this to me for my birthday (my parents) because I purchased it myself with their credit card and handed it to them for them to wrap it up and give it back to me. That's a true story - my mom is not much of a shopper so she welcomes anyone to do the shopping for her, but don't you go messin' with tradition! You WILL receive your gift wrapped and ON your birthday. Don't go trying to get it early just because you already know what it is! Anyways - that wasn't the point of this at all.

So. I got the machine and tested it out a couple times and saw some of the things it could do on Pinterest and whatnot. I even watched the entire instructional DVD that came with it right when I got it. But, none of that really stuck and the machine got very little use for the first 14 months I owned it.

One simple project I was able to figure out - cut the bunny and tree out of striped wallpaper and framed them in Laney's nursery.


Until it was Father's Day 2015 and procrastinating Lacey still hadn't gone to the store to get a card for my dad. Typical. We were headed to my parent's house for lunch shortly and I had no card to give. I really didn't feel like running to Target to browse the picked over cards with the rest of the procrastinators. I had a gift (which I believe was either cash or a gift card) but no where to place it with no card so a card was definitely a necessity this time. So I decided to break out the Silhouette and figure this thing out once and for all. And I did, sort of. I cut some shapes and glued them onto a card and it was very easy. The card didn't end up looking like I had panicked and threw it together an hour before lunch so it was definitely a win. I was determined to figure out what else this machine could do after that.

The next thing I attempted to tackle was something I was straight ripping off of Pinterest. 

This was mid dining room update and I needed some large cheap art to put on either side of the china cabinet. [Cheap because a) I'm cheap and b) I'm cheap.] I picked up two large frames ($10 for both!) from a yard sale this past spring, spray painted them, and was ready for some cheapo art to go in them when I saw this idea on Pinterest using paint chips from the home improvement store. Let me just say - even though they are FREE and I have no problem taking many samples when I'm legitimately trying to pick paint colors, I truly felt and behaved like a thief when taking them for this project. Full on looking over my shoulder, sneaking them into my purse, etc etc. I'm glad they didn't question me for shoplifting or I may have just crumbled right there in the store. 

Anyways, I didn't originally set out to use the Silhouette to do this project but after cutting the first few triangles and seeing how just the slightest error in cutting would really screw this up I decided to give it a try. But this was a much more complicated project for the Silhouette than I had tackled before so it took some time for me to figure it out.

Basically I had to change the paper size to the size of one of the paint chip samples. And then set my triangle on it just so so that the printed paint color name wouldn't be a part of my triangle. It was a little bit of trial and error and the most I've used an actual ruler for measuring since elementary school but finally I had plenty of perfectly cut triangles ready to use. 

The frames I was trying to fill were big - like, 16x20 at least, maybe even bigger. So once I started cutting triangles and placing them on a piece of cardboard to fill up the entire space I got a bit overwhelmed with how many paint chips I was going to need to "steal" to complete this project. So, I scrapped it and moved on to find another way to make some large artwork for this room.

Instead, I ended up buying these two teapot shapes at $.99 each from the Silhouette store and using some leftover black vinyl that I purchased years ago and cut the teapot shapes from it. I made them as big as I possibly could with the size of the cutting mat. I also had a ton of burlap that I never used for another project that was scrapped last year so I decided to use that as my backing fabric. Placed the vinyl cut outs on the burlap and framed them up and voila! Cheap art! They cost me a total of $11.98 for both not considering the vinyl and burlap and spray paint I already had on hand - but even if I didn't have those things these would still be really cheap to make. I am pretty pleased with them even if they weren't what I originally set out to do.


So then I had a pile of little triangles on my desk begging to be used for something, so instead I went with the same idea and just used much smaller Ikea frames that I also already owned and were just hanging out in the basement waiting for a home. I have a lot of crap in my basement. Anyways, this is on the wall opposite the china cabinet wall and I like how these turned out too!


At that point I was on a roll with this machine and have been cutting out shapes for any and everything. I ended up replacing the art I originally made in Laney's room that I wasn't all that fond of with her monogram cut out of gold glitter card stock over some wallpaper I got from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.


I also made Charley's birthday invitations with it which added a new skill to my Silhouette repertoire. I learned how to PRINT on the paper first with our home printer, and then send that paper through the machine to cut out the shapes. It was actually really simple but I hadn't attempted it yet prior to this because it didn't seem simple in my head. The only other difficulty of this little project was that the tower shape straight from the Silhouette store (again, only $.99) had the tower roof and bricks as all one big piece, meaning the roof would have been the same color as the bricks. I didn't love that idea so I learned how to alter the shape to make the roof a separate piece. I love how they came out!


And then finally I used the machine to make Charley a birthday banner for her party - which was the main thing I planned on making when I got the darn thing in the first place. Again, really easy and just used brads to hold each little piece together.


Am I starting to sound like a Silhouette machine saleslady? Well funny you mention that. The first 10 people to comment will get an exclusive coupon code for 10% off a purchase with the coupon code LACEYSAWESOME.

Just kidding. I have no hookups like that and hopefully you haven't already closed out this window thinking this was yet ANOTHER sponsored blog post.

I just really love the darn thing now that I've started to learn how to use it and wanted to share. Get you one! I (I mean my parents) got mine on sale (shocker) for $118 and all the shapes you could even imagine are for sale in their online store for just $.99 each! That just screams to my little deal loving heart when I know competing machines (and the darn cartridges that they need!) cost way more than that.

Buy you one and make me a card. You can see some of my address up there in the invitation picture I did a crappy job of editing. Just guess at the rest of the letters & numbers. It may end up at my house, it may not. It's like the landlocked version of putting a note in a bottle and tossing it in the ocean.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Last Friday Charley turned four and I still cannot wrap my head around having a four year old. Something tells me every single year from here on out is going to feel this way. Like an annual wake-up call that your child is actually older than your brain has processed. And as soon as I adjust to realizing she is now a preschooler and not a toddler any longer like she is in my head, it will be time to adjust to her being a little school girl, and on and on. Time is tough, man.

Anyways. This is four.


Four has brought a few new challenges - mainly fears and pickiness. For a child that could not swing high enough or go fast enough for as long as she's been mobile, she is all of a sudden developed some fears about going too fast or too high or even riding amusement park rides she's been on before and loved. Which, is good from a safety standpoint, but I feel like they are a little unfounded too and I don't want her to be a chicken like I was as a child. These fears sort of came out of nowhere so I'm hoping they decide to leave randomly too. And if not that's okay too.

The pickiness has surprised us too. While I AM a very picky eater and was even worse as a kid, Charley has really never been like that at all. But over the last couple of months, food after food has been moved over from the safe list to the yucky list for no reason at all. They aren't foods that I am not eating either that she's mimicking; these are foods she's LOVED and then all of a sudden just will not eat anymore. Like yogurt - yogurt that she ate every single day for breakfast for a year at least. Or spaghetti where she would previously eat bowl after bowl after bowl. Sometimes we can still convince her to eat these things but it is getting to be more and more of a challenge. Again, hope these food issues quietly exit from the door from which they arrived. They are not welcome!

Teddy grahams are still on the good list. Imagine that.
Charley also became a big sister in this past year and I am so proud of how well she's transitioned. She truly LOVES Laney and has surprised us all at the lack of jealousy. That's not to say it's not ever there, but no where near as much as I was expecting since she was our only child for 3.5 years and was used to a ton of attention. She loves to tell people about her sister and I'll quote what she told the doctor's office receptionist last week in response to "Do you like being a big sister?"

"Yes! I love being a big sister. I'm so excited for her to get bigger so she can play with me. But then she won't be a baby anymore and that will be sad."

Charley can go from playing princesses while wearing a tiara and princess dress to throwing on some play clothes and shoes and making mud pies in 0 seconds flat. She truly enjoys both things so much and I'm glad she's not afraid to get dirty. She plays very well independently and can keep herself occupied for long periods of time with just a couple of Disney princesses and her imagination. She still asks us to play with her all day long, but if we are busy or just don't get to her in time she will just begin playing without us. I'd be lying if I said we don't use that to our own benefit sometimes.


Charley loves to make friends which I guarantee she did not get from me. Not that I didn't LIKE to make friends, but it was just more difficult for me to do being such a shy kid. Having a birthday party that included her friends this year was an absolute must to her. Over the weekend I overheard her ask another little girl within 5 minutes of meeting her at a bounce thing we visited, "Do you want to be my best friend?" She held hands and jumped with the perfect stranger and could not have been happier. I love the innocence at this age.

She was also in her first wedding in May and did such a good job. I really wasn't sure how she was going to do leading up to it. We talked about being a flower girl and read about it as well, but there is just no predicting a toddler (whoops there I go again) preschooler. Laney was just 3 weeks old at the time so Charley had just been through a big transition there and I of course was not getting great sleep, so I was worried about us both. My worries ended up being for nothing though.

View More: http://middlegray.pass.us/may-23-2015 

She walked out and properly dropped her flowers and smiled from ear to ear. She was so precious and loved every minute of it all. I was so proud of her. She even mostly stood still during the ceremony.

Charley is wearing mostly 5T now and a size TEN shoe. TEN! Those white flower girl shoes in the picture up there were a size 8! Looks like she's got Mama's big feet. She's at least 42" according to our own measurements at home, but we will confirm that at the doctor's office later this week. The scale at home says 36 pounds.

She goes to bed anywhere between 8:30 and 9 and wakes up anywhere from 7-9. She likes to keep a flashlight by her bed "just in case" and still takes her owlie blankets to bed with her. She still will take a nap for my sister - especially on preschool days. She has finally given over the pack n play to Laney though. I cannot believe she napped in that thing for almost 4 years! 

And finally, the annual questions.
1. What is your favorite color? Pink

2. What is your favorite toy? Horsey that opens and closes its eyes. (This was a hand-me-down toy from my niece, who coincidentally decided after she'd given it to Charley that she'd like it back. But my sister told her too bad and so it still remains in Charley's possession. Pretty popular horse, huh?)

3. What is your favorite fruit? Strawberries

4. What is your favorite TV show? My Little Pony

5. What is your favorite outfit? Rapunzel Dress

6. What is your favorite game? Hungry Hungry Hippos

7. What is your favorite animal? Kitty Cat (this hasn't changed in her entire four years)

8. What is your favorite song? Let It Go

9. What is your favorite book? Fancy Nancy and the Mermaid Ballet (Though I will say it took her quite a few minutes to come up with this one. I don't think she has a favorite favorite.)

10. Who is your best friend? Morgan and Nora (These are her two best buds at preschool. And last year her answer to this was Mama so wahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!)

11. If you had $100 what would you buy? Princess Belle. A BIG one.

12. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Drive my car. You knew I was gonna say that right Mama?

13. What is your favorite drink? Memolade! You knew I was gonna say that too right Mama? Me: No, I thought orange juice was your favorite. Oh yeah that is my favorite too!

14. Where is your favorite place to go? Toys R Us (She has probably been to Toys R Us 4 or 5 times in her entire life. Ha.

15. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Twilight. Me: Anything else?? No.... Me: What about owlies? Oh yeah! And owlies.

16. What is your favorite snack? Doughnuts! (I don't think we've ever offered doughnuts as a snack at home. Ha. Nor do we usually buy any because if we did I'd eat them!)

17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cancakes (love that there are a few remaining mispronunciations!)

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Peanut Butter sandwich

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Pizza

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A Mermaid Princess

I just love this spunky four year old so much. Cannot wait to see what this age brings. Early indications point to age four being a tough one!

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I'll post about her party in another post soon!