Birthday Eve with Jack and @AmandaPalmer!

First off I have to say my husband is amazing. He didn’t have to get me tickets, but he did. He’s the best. Big ups to my mom and niece too…they came over to watch SproutCroft. WHO popped his first tooth yesterday, birthday eve!

I’ll admit I didn’t know what to expect heading down to Hudson for this show. Sure I’ve listened to a lot of Amanda Palmer over the years. But I knew nothing of Thor & Friends (opening act) nor of Amanda’s Dad, Jack. So we were going into the evening blind. We arrived in Hudson with an hour to spare before the show was to start and grabbed quick eats at Farmer and Sons. This was not at all cheap eats, but as the mister reminded me it was for my birthday. He got a burger and beer, I went with oysters and gin…like you do.

We finished around 7 when the show was to begin. But as if by happy accident it seemed we were wrong on the start time as people were just lining up. Once inside we were lucky enough to score seats (I’m too old to sit on the floor…ok honestly I probably can’t get off the floor now). The first thing I noticed was the age range of those in attendance…all over the map. The second thing? SO MANY ukuleles. Seriously all the ukuleles. And yes I had mine with me too.

"This is Islington..."

“This is Islington…”

If you recall Neil Gaiman (Amanda’s husband) had signed Islington three years ago when he came to Saratoga. At the time he told me that this wasn’t his area and I should really have Amanda sign it. Well, challenge accepted…which took three years to see happen. More on that later.

Now with the little at home that meant momma would need to pump at least twice while at the show.  Which I did. In the bathroom. I’m sure I could have done it in my seat and no one would have given a shit. But I couldn’t see what I was doing so I had to pump in the bathroom. Many thanks to all the woman who told me I was doing an amazing job or that I was a good momma. That really helped get me through missing some of the show and pumping. Funny story on the way to pump the first time I passed this dude who I SWORE looked like Ben Folds of Ben Folds Five fame. But I thought no freaking way.

So I missed the first few minutes of the show due to pumping. But I really enjoyed Thor & Friends! As Thor said what they do is magic. Apparently he’ll also be happy to host your kids at his house…so we’re thinking about it. I kid.They have their first album coming out in September. So check that out. At one point Amanda came out to play with them on, well I’m not sure what…but it was cool. Then Thor calls BEN FOLDS to come up and play! Yeah it was Ben FUCKING Folds I walked past.

Ben FUCKING Folds!

Ben FUCKING Folds!

But wait it gets better. My husband tells me at the break that he’s just chilling in the crowd. I say yeah I’m sure he is…then go to get some air. Well, who do I see hanging out but Ben Folds. So naturally I stop and fell all over myself like an asshole. However, he was super great about it and said I was sweet. He also shook my hand twice. I nearly died. Thinking back I totally should have apologized for the hack job my friends and I did singing Brick back in 2000. We though we sounded AMAZING…when we listened to the tape the next day…we sounded like Lawrence Welk on crack…so uh I’m sorry Ben Folds.

So after that I headed back to my seat to freak out about it on Twitter…because I’m super classy like that. Amanda came out with her actual special guest, Gracie Folds. Who sang a super beautiful song, that I now forget the name of. (Fun story, when I went to punp again she and I chatted in the ladies room WHILE I WAS PUMPING….yeah again not my finest moment, but she was super cool about it.) Now it was time for Amanda and her Dad to take the stage. But first Amanda sang “In My Mind” which I was not expecting and it was great! She and Thor and Friends then sang a song they just made up on the spot while on tour. Which was basically a beautiful poem with music. Even my husband wished he’d recorded it. Yes it was that good!

Then Amanda’s dad Jack joined her on stage. He’s awesome too. It’s obvious how much pride he has for his daughter and his grandson (who was in the audience for a moment). They sang a bunch of songs off their album “You Got Me Signing” most of which it turns out my husband had heard, as sung by the original artists. We were treated to: You Got me Singing, Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, 1952 Vincent Black Lightening, Pink Emerson Radio, Glacier, and I Love You So Much. That last one we all got to sing along on and it was epic.

This show was not at all what I expected, but it was everything I wanted in a show with Jack and Amanda Palmer. It felt super intimate and people were very chill about it too. Seriously no one was an asshole. After the show there was a signing and a lot of people left, so we got in line and waited. When it was our turn my hope was to not be a spaz as I was with Ben Folds. So there it was my turn to chat with Amanda and Jack. I gently took Islington out of the case and she said “This is like the fifth fucking uke of the night.” To which hubs replied “This one is a little different.” Then she saw Neil’s signature and smiled. So I told the story from three years ago and we laughed about it.

I asked for an across the table hug and got one! While hugging I told her her book helped me through some bad shit…especially the part where she talks about loosing her baby. Which lead to talking about my tattoo for my three and of course my rainbow baby. The whole time we were chatting we held hands and she patted the tattoo in question. It was brilliant and something I will never forget. I swear most artists love their fans. But Amanda seriously loves hers and it showed during the signing. She and Jack listened to everyone who stopped at the table and it was wonderful to have that experience.

Listen it's the only thing in the world at the moment signed by Amanda, Jack, and Neil.

Listen it’s the only thing in the world at the moment signed by Amanda, Jack, and Neil.

Oh right! She AND Jack signed my uke! All in all it was the best way to spend my birthday eve! Even better? Apparently my little guy wanted to see me on my birthday too as he STAYED UP until we got home…but a little boob and some cuddles and he was out for the count.

 

UPDATED to add that Amanda also sang Machete, a song she had written for her dear friend Anthony.

Honkin’ Horns!

It’s been an age. But as you know little ones are a lot of work! However, as the little turns six months soon I’m finding he doesn’t need me as often. So I have a little time to type this out.

Chugga, chugga, chugga...

Chugga, chugga, chugga…

The little and I have recently started watching Chuggington. Believe it or not he actually does watch it. I won’t lie I enjoy it too. Though some of the characters are jerks. I mean seriously do Wilson or Koko ever do ANYTHING right? I swear only Brewster knows what’s right…even if he’s a worrier.

Zephie seems to be just a little flighty. As for the adult chuggers well they seem to know whats up even if some of them are priss pants and show boats and don’t even get me started on Action Chugger…what a douche.  Yeah I said it! He sort of reminds me of Zapp Brannigan…

But all kid shows are like this I’m told. Good times! What are some other shows y’all with littles six months and up suggest (that are on Netflix and Amazon Prime)

And I was doing so well…

With posts that is. But you know baby’s are a lot of work kids. So excuse me if I disappear here and there….

Jane Steele 46 pages in… #JaneSteele #ReaderIMurderedHim

I know what you must be thinking…how the hell does she have time to read a book? With a baby?! Well, it’s like this my husband is awesome and offered to nap with little man so I could “do whatever I wanted/needed to get done”. Awesome right? Bet your ass. So I picked up Lyndsay Faye’s latest Jane Steele, a new take on Jane Eyre.

Now I’ve had the good fortune to meet Ms. Faye as she is a Sherlockian and has been to a few cons. One of which was 221B Con two years ago where I made a total ass of myself in front of her, but she was very cool about it. You see she wrote a Sherlockian tale called Dust and Shadow which I had read and wanted to meet her to thank her for such a great read. However, at the time I was a huge introverted puss (ok I still am) BUT enough of my friends told me to woman up and just talk to her.

And I did. I’m pretty sure I said fuck at least twice too. Classy right? Also super smooth to do in front of a best selling author…you should have been there when I mean Neil Gaiman…yeah. Where was I? Right, Lyndsay was super classy and even complimented my grey hat and I got a hug out of it too. I managed to not totally lose my shit in front of her (though I did utter those words out loud IN FRONT of her). I believe her response was “I lost my shit a long time ago.” Authors they’re just like us!

Needless to say I was super excited to pre-order her book when it came out thinking I’d have all this time to read it. Then surprise I had a baby. So reading has been an adventure in how long is this nap going to last? But I’m happy to report what iI have read is amazing and wonderful. So much so that I don’t know why I’m writing this and not reading more while my guys nap? Mostly to get the word out that you all should go pick up a copy (if you can find one). Yeah it’s pretty hard to locate.

Why you ask? Well, she’s a damn fine writer and oh the book was already optioned by 1492 Pictures (yeah you know Chris Columbus a few Harry Potter movies) – no big. Only it is and it’s awesome mostly because it’s happening to someone I’ve met and is equally awesome and deserves all the success.

So really why are you still reading this? Go on and try to get a copy for yourself. I promise a full review will follow.

100 Happy Days {Redux}

I really think I need to do this again. What the hell is it you may ask… You take a picture a day of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days. The idea is that it keeps you focused on the happy and not the negative things that happen in your life. So what brought this on?

Well, I was trying to be nice by sharing something with someone and frankly felt their response to my gesture was shitty. As a result I’ve not been in the best of moods today. I also learned some people are just jerks. So it’s time to get my happy on again. So follow my instagram for all the happy (galinthegreyhat) to come starting today! I’ll also try to post something happy here every day too, you know time permitting.

Can we please stop shaming momma’s who breastfeed in public?

I mean really people it’s 2016 for crying out loud! I’ve heard comments about me breastfeeding in church (I was covered up). Thankfully the wife asked her husband “Would you tell Mary not to breastfeed Jesus?” (I about lost it)

Just the other day when I was at the mall I was feeding my guy in one of the comfy chairs (again covered) and I guess this older woman was complaining to her teenage daughters about it. I say I guess because two twentysomething women yelled over to me “Good job momma, you feed that baby!” I thought that was nice of them and then I caught the stink eye from the other woman. I felt like telling her “Look lady my kid was about to have a melt down and I have no idea where the “family room” is in this mall.

My feeling is if my baby is hungry I’m going to feed him no matter where I am. In fact I came up with this gem during one late night nursing session:

I have nursed him in a car and I have nursed him in a bar.
In a church and at my former work.
I will nurse him here or there.
I will nurse him anywhere.
I do like nursing.
I do, I do!
How about you?*

*My apologies to Dr. Seuss, but it was the only thing keeping me awake at the time!

Have you been shamed while nursing in public? Did you ignore it? Did you say something to the person? Do you think it’s stupid to shame a mom for doing the most natural thing on the planet? Let me know!

MammaBaby {app review}

For the last 8 1/2 weeks I’ve been keeping track of baby’s feedings be it boob or bottle on a pad of paper. It stems from the hospital where they asked us to track feeding and diapers. The pediatrician also asked us to do it for two additional days. Well, it stuck and I kept doing it.

I thought I was the only nutty mom doing this. But thankfully many of the moms in the Facebook mommy group I’m in do it too! Though they use an app to track feedings. So I asked which one they used and MammaBaby was the winner.

LIFE SAVER

LIFE SAVER

This app tracks feedings: breast, bottle, and solids. Diapers: wet, poop, or a mix and even lets you pick the ahem color of the poop! It even tracks sleep. Best bit is you can look back at a summary of the day. You can even add in baby’s weight, height, and head circumference to see percentiles. Nice right?

One thing I wish you could do is sync it with your spouse or other caretaker so I didn’t have to ask my husband if the baby peed or pooped while I was napping or out of the house. The other pain in the ass is trying to track the middle of the night feedings. Listen the last thing I want to do while he dream feeds is fumble around for my phone. But those are the only two downsides really.

Nice right?

Nice right?

Here’s a shot of the main “landing page and you can see all the things you can track. Please note I cropped out our little one’s pic and his birthdate for obvious reasons. But by adding in the birthdate it helps you track milestones and how much your baby should be eating, peeing/pooping, and sleeping as they get older. You can check out all that info in the Summary tab at the bottom.

The app is free to download from the Apple Store (currently it is not available for Android, not that I could find anyway). There is also a paid version for $4.99 though it’s been a little difficult to see what else you get with the full version.

MammaBaby does allow you to set alarms for feedings, nap/bedtime, and if you need to give the little love meds. Which I should actually use because the mister and I suck at giving our guy his vitamin D. Yep we’re those parents. No one is perfect people!

Long story short I love this app! No more paper and pen for me. Keeping track of the wee one is just a few clicks away. Have you used tracking apps for your little man/lady? Which ones? Why did you choose it?

What being a stay at home mom really means

Let me first say I am very lucky that my husband and I were able to afford (with some cutting of spending/luxuries) me staying home with our little guy. Thank you hubbins, you are THE BEST! So today I started my first official day as a stay at home momma. Granted I was doing it while on maternity leave too. But I’m counting this as my first day of my new job.

They don't even make these anymore.

They don’t even make these anymore.

One friend asked me how living the life of ease was? I had all I could do not to laugh in her face or worse. I guess she assumed that I sat around all day and ate bon-bons in front of the TV or did a lot of online shopping. Which as any seasoned SAHM knows is not the case.

Here’s the basic, yet not exact way my day might go: My day starts around 8am (sometimes at 3 and 6 when he stirs because he’s hungry) when the little one wakes up and I change my first gross diaper of the day. I then dress the baby in outfit one of who knows how many. Then it’s off to put him in his swing while I try to make a cup of coffee (that I try not to leave under the Keurig all day and actually drink), take my vitamins, and maybe grab some breakfast. Usually I only get the vitamins.

Next little one gets breakfast from me. While he’s eating I check in quick on Facebook (I love the mom group I’m a member of) and go through my emails. Little one then typically takes his morning nap which is when I get to work on laundry, dishes, or something else for the house for as long as his sleeping lasts so I had better make the most of it!

Once he’s awake it’s time for a diaper change possibly two (lucky me) and feeding again. I might draft one of these posts on my phone and work on it later during nap time. We then play for a little and get in another change and feeding before the afternoon nap. Sometimes I join in at nap time and sometimes I get a few more loads of laundry done, folded, and put away.

Did I mention it’s now close to 4pm and I’m still in my pj’s? Yeah that’s my life I usually don’t get dressed like an adult unless we’re going out to an appointment or to see the grandparents. Besides with the amount of spit up I deal with in a day why ruin perfectly good clothing? Spoiler alert there’s no need to ruin those good clothes that my ass probably can’t fit back into yet anyway. Then again I love my pregnancy leggings and really don’t want to give them up. Yes, I’ve become that momma. Sorry not sorry.

Where was I? Right it’s now 4pm and we’ve got some time before Daddy gets home. So we’re now on feeding/changing number who the hell knows at this point. But before we know it Daddy’s home and we tag team parenting so I can get a shower or Daddy can get some video game time in before we start on dinner. After dinner, which I’ve probably eaten lukewarm or even cold it’s time to quiet down to get the little ready to go to bed. Which means more feeding/changing and depending on what day it is bath time.

If we’re lucky he’s ready to co-sleep with momma for the night by 11pm. And by lucky I mean it’s usually later (yay). But yes friend who thought I now lived a life of ease all day please note I’m probably still not showered and I probably only had dinner as far as meals go for the day. Did I even go to the bathroom? Seriously this is not an easy job at all. I also now know why they say this is the toughest job you’ll ever love. Because even after getting peed/pooped/spit up on countless times throughout the day I get to see my ever changing kid and maintain my house.

I’m also a much happier person unlike when I was working out of the home. Who knew? Are you a stay at home mom? What’s your day like?

What you think parenting will be like vs what it’s actually like

I’m not great at making up those meme things. You know the one…what I think I look like, what my mom thinks it looks like, what it really looks like, etc. So I’ll have to put it in words. Deal with it. Also I currently have a sleeping baby and who know how long it will last before that bomb goes off, I mean wakes up. (I kid)

A few weeks ago a friend stopped over to meet the baby and her first question was “Is this everything you thought it would be?” I told her I keep telling myself I wanted this, but it’s so hard/tiring/etc. Then I instantly felt like a horrible mother. My friend assured me I was not the first mother to feel this way at all.

I then told her I thought it would feel like Snow White singing to the woodland creatures meaning I would wake up with a happy baby everyday who never fussed and was basically perfection. Ok to be honest he’s pretty perfect to me. But I then told my friend the reality was most days I felt like I was the unlucky first victim of the UnSub on an episode of Criminal Minds who would not be saved by Hotch and the gang.

Yes, we had a good laugh over that and my telling her I didn’t care if her pink co-sleeper she was loaning me came with Hannibal Lecter as long as it helped get my little one used to sleeping on his own (and it sort of works)!

We also assumed we would only need to tack one maybe 15 minutes in order to get us out of the house. Hahahahahaha boy were we mistaken! We now give ourselves at least an hour because you NEVER know if the baby is going to need to eat/poop/need a whole new outfit/etc before you leave the house. Seriously ANYTHING can and will happen when you try to leave your house.

I also assumed it would be easy to get the baby on a schedule. How very wrong I was. It took nine weeks before we got our weekday nap schedule down. And really that one sort of happened on it’s own. There’s the 1 1/2 to 2 hour morning nap (aka momma does laundry or other chores) and usually a 3 hour afternoon nap (and I usually nap with him in the afternoon). I am told the schedule thing usually does work it’s way out on it’s own until the kid hits four months and all the sleep gets totally screwed up. Yay!

I also thought eating with a baby in the house would be easy. Do you know how many times I’ve forgotten my coffee under the Keurig brewer? I don’t want to talk about it, that’s how many! Forget making a cup of loose leaf tea! That’s a luxury I enjoy when dad is home to to tag in for half an hour. As far as real food goes I don’t use plates or bowls anymore. No I eat yogurt out of the container with a spoon and make pb&j and eat it off a paper towel because that’s one less thing I have to wash!

What about showering you might ask? Yeah I get one of those every other day, again when dad is home. I’ve experienced the phantom crying one time too many to dare try it on my own at the moment. As for clothing…pj’s and yoga pants friends. I’ve also learned not to freak over a little spit up on my shirt/pants. UNLESS that shit goes down my shirt, then all bets are off – so gross.

I won’t talk about the ups and downs of breastfeeding because I already did that earlier in the week. You can read that here. Go on I’ll wait.

Did I mention I'm a shite juggler?

Did I mention I’m a shite juggler?

But I’m learning (as is my husband) that being a parent is quite the juggling act. Slowly but surely I’m learning how to keep all the balls up in the air. What about you? What did you think parenting would be like? Let me know in the comments!

Crib Notes Class – AKA You’ve never been around a baby ever have you?

My husband and I attended what was called a Crib Notes class (aka you’ve never had it been around a baby before – your screwed) a few weeks prior to our little guy arriving. It was a five hour crash course in parenting 101. Which really meant glossing over everything you needed to know as a first time parent.

Diapering – the woman running the course gave every couple a doll baby (the head popped off of one of them which terrified the mom who had that doll – I won’t lie I laughed at her expense) and basically told us three things: if you have a boy keep his business covered and point him south, always put the diaper on by putting the back under the butt, and to watch out for blowouts. Then said ok now everyone change a diaper! This is not what I would call great instructions for people who have never changed a diaper. Thankfully I had and that’s like riding a bike you don’t forget. But for my husband it was less than helpful. Step-by-step would have been nice oh and the “ruffles out” would have also been helpful. If you’ve ever had a really big poop diaper you know what I mean!

Bath time – here we had step by step instructions on how to wash the baby. Which was great until you actually get the baby home and again realize your kid might truly hate the bath! Actually we found out what he hated was having the tub near the kitchen window. Luckily we have a big walk-in shower and can sit on the floor and bathe him in his tub that way…only took us one bath time near the window in the kitchen to figure that one out (way to go us). Yes we sort of use their step-by-step method of bathing a baby, but we also learned you can give a pretty great bath in about 15 minutes if one of you does the washing and the other the rinsing. Also make sure to use a third wash cloth to cover up the baby’s bits…TRUST ME!

Car seat – this was great that we had someone from the police department to tell us about putting the car seat in and where to go to get it checked. Not so great was her telling us it should be done at least two months in advance of having the baby. Yeah, great too bad my shower was the next weekend. Little hard to go to the police department and ask them to inspect my invisible car seat. But it was good to learn that coats were a no-no in the car seat and that all those cute toys for the car seat handle were actually dangerous and shouldn’t be used – who knew?

We also learned that if you had a pet in the house let them get to know the baby unless of course you had cats. Because according to the instructor cats are evil soul sucking bastards. Well, that’s all we’ve got lady and you know what all our cats are fine with the baby. And by fine I mean the oldest tries to step on him, the middle one stays away from him, and the third sniffs him but otherwise cares not a lick for him. Though she does sleep in his co-sleeper like it’s hers.

The instructor also informed us that bumpers and anything else in the crib beyond a crib sheet were death traps waiting to happen and we were horrible people if we used them. In fact she told us she goes to the local baby stores and takes them off all the cribs. Hey at least she’s passionate about what she does right? Sure let’s call it passionate. But we did as she suggested and have nothing harmful in the crib. Which makes me a little sad because it does not look inviting at all!

In all honestly the only thing that we took away from this class that actually helped us was: how to swaddle a baby (lifesaver), all the safety do’s and don’ts, and the car seat business. Thankfully they had tasty snacks and we also scored a free turkey (it was close to Thanksgiving). Otherwise I feel like we could have done something more with our Saturday. But live and learn right? Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to one of these classes, I’m just saying we didn’t get a whole lot out of it and that we could have learned what we really needed to know in two hours rather than five.

Did you attend a parenting class like this? Did you find it beneficial?

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