Welcome To The Cradle Chronicles!

These are the crazy confessions of a first time mommy, and her adventures in world "mom-ination." If you are coming to this blogsite by way of People.com, chances are you’re already familiar with my writing style and “Mommy-centric” blog fodder. If not, I'll introduce myself with this brief summary: Suffice it to say, I have kids. Two, in fact. Now, I’m not suggesting this defines me entirely, but it certainly goes a long way toward explaining my daily trials and tribulations with spit-up and dirty diapers. Which brings me to… Welcome to The Cradle Chronicles! I hope you’ll continue coming back again and again for more of my motherhood anecdotes, and I look forward to hearing from you. Please keep an eye out for my book, "Situation Momedy," to be released by Medallion Press in 2015 and feel free to follow me on Twitter too!

--Photos in Welcome section courtesy of Mimosa Arts Photography--

Archive for 'Five Things'

December 5, 2014

 

As if it isn’t obvious, I’m pretty darn mesmerized by my daughters. Call it smitten, enchanted, enamored, infatuated, captivated, bewitched, entranced, or just plain hypnotized. No matter the word of choice, it all leads to the same sentiment… I’m head over heels in love with them both! If I worried for even a moment that my second daughter might not be as special and spellbinding as my first, boy was I wrong. There’s just something about a newborn baby that renders me starry-eyed and silly with glee. More specifically, this little girl of mine is uniquely wonderful, and I refuse to take it for granted! In keeping with that idea, here are five reasons I absolutely adore having a newborn baby. (I might have listed thousands, if it didn’t contradict the whole ”Five Things” concept I’ve got going here… )

 

  1. That smell! Who can deny the beauty of inhaling a brand new baby’s fragrance? Certainly not I. It must be some sort of primal instinct that leads us to spend our afternoons endlessly sniffing that sweet little noggin. If you’re a parent, you are likely smiling at fond memories right now; if you’re a non-parent, the visual of purposely sticking your nose into a kid’s hair for hours on end may only be slightly more exciting than a root canal. But trust me when I say that many a mom has wished she could bottle up that essence to save for a rainy day when her kids are grown. Eau de Newborn is a powerful and intoxicating memory trigger! But parents aren’t the only ones who can appreciate it… even Gray noticed it immediately. The first time she met her baby sister she leaned over and kissed her on the forehead, then started to walk away. Stopping in her tracks and turning back, she returned to breathe in the scent of Marlowe’s hair and exclaimed in awe, “Mommy! Marlowe smells so good!” If a two-year-old is capable of observing something so delicate, it’s clearly magical! I have no clue when the scent will dissipate, so I’m enjoying it while I can!

 

  1. Itty bitty everything. Fingers, toes, grunts, coos, sneezes, pajamas, bloomers, and even diaper contents. There’s nothing like a tiny human to make you stop and appreciate the little things! It’s a wonderful reminder to pay close attention to details, prompting me to absorb each and every moment with both of my girls.

 

The "Accidental" Smile

The “Accidental” Smile

 

  1. The ”accidental” smile. I know it’s probably just gas, and a messy diaper change is likely in my near future, but I’ll take it! That brief flash of my daughter’s grin is a glimpse into her spirit. It’s one of the first signs of the little girl she is becoming…

 

  1. I get to show my iPhone camera an inordinate amount of love. I mean, what’s NOT worth taking a photo of at this stage? Everything is novel and new, and must be documented in more painstaking detail than a National Geographic special on the migration of the Monarch Butterfly.

 

Marlowe Discovers We Have Dogs

Marlowe Discovers We Have Dogs

 

  1. There’s so much to look forward to… well, actually, there’s everything to look forward to! There are the obvious milestones: a first giggle, a first step, crawling, talking, and tasting solid food for the first time. But there are also the initial milestones that stir your parental senses and sentimentality: the first time your baby looks you in the eye or turns toward the sound of your voice, the first time she grabs your finger and squeezes, or the first time she stops crying because you’ve started singing to her. A few of my recent personal favorites? The first time my husband fell asleep with our new little girl on his chest, the first time Gray requested to hold her baby sister, and the first time Marlowe realized we had dogs… and clearly got a kick out of it! See the above photo montage for proof.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen. This will help you stay in the loop when I release my new book, “Situation Momedy,” in 2015!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

September 12, 2014
Funny Girl

Funny Girl

 

 

Maybe my kid is getting more comedic as the days go by, or maybe pregnancy is overzealously tickling my funny bone. (Actually, I suspect that particular sensation can be blamed on the baby who’s hanging onto my ribs, but still…) Some pretty hilarious quips have escaped my 2-year-old’s lips in the last month or so, and I thought you might get a kick out of hearing a few.

 

  1. Taking Creative License with Sandwich-making: Gray is a fairly solid eater, and she doesn’t discriminate. My husband and I have done our best to introduce her palate to a variety of foods, so her tastes tend to run the gamut. That said, a recent lunch had me wondering if her appetite had begun bordering on the severely eccentric.

 

Me: “Gray, I’m making some lunch. Would you like a turkey sandwich?”

Gray: “ Yes please, Mommy. With gray pecans & bandaids.”

(A moment transpires while I attempt to translate this response from Toddler-ese into something resembling a sensible meal request)

Me: “Sure, no problem. One turkey sandwich with Gray Poupon and mayonnaise coming right up!”

 

At least she said “please.”

 

  1. Coffee Talk: By now, I suspect you are well aware of my affinity for caffeine—more specifically, for Starbucks coffee. These days, in fairness to my pregnancy, I’ve mostly switched to unleaded brew. Nonetheless, my errands often revolve around acquiring a cup of Joe before anything else can be accomplished. Apparently, I’m already passing along my enthusiasm…

 

Gray and I recently set out on a full day of errands. I generally try to reserve this type of activity for a time when Gray is in daycare but, alas, it was a necessary evil. With a list of 6 or 7 stops in our near future, I knew we were in for a long and exhausting afternoon. Which is why my sudden diversion to a giant toy store makes it clear that logic had momentarily left the building. Without thinking it through, I turned to Gray and asked, “Would you like to check out a toy store with me?” Once the question had escaped my lips, and I’d received her enthusiastic “Oh, yes!” in response, I realized my mistake. Every parent knows not to bring a child to a toy store or playground BEFORE the rest of the errands are done, right? But I’d already made my bed. We were toy store-bound.

 

Upon entering the shop, Gray immediately discovered the “kitchen” area, complete with elaborate kid-compatible supplies, and wooden grocery items. My little foodie was in heaven, and began busying herself with pots and pans. I commenced searching for the perfect gift for a one-year old boy, which I’m mostly clueless about. Thankfully, this particular place wasn’t your generic, run-of-the-mill, dollhouse extravaganza. It offered innovative and educational items, rather than every Disney princess figurine and Sesame Street character one could possibly need or want. Consequently, the perfect gift found its way into my hands in no time flat. As the cashier was wrapping the present, and I watched my daughter playing happily and soundlessly, I started contemplating how to avoid the meltdown of mythic proportions that was bound to ensue when I said, “Ok, let’s put the toys away now. It’s time to leave.” And that’s when my child surprised the heck out of me…

 

Gray: “Mommy, are we ready to go yet? I’m hungry, and I need to go to Starbucks to get a cheese Danish.”

(Insert my jaw dropping, and scattered laughter from my fellow toy store patrons here.)

 

Only my kid.

 

  1. Muscle Memory: One of the things I love most about my husband is his propensity to respond to very kid-like questions, with very non kid-like answers. I often find him launching into history or science lessons, while Gray looks on with sheer bewilderment. Or perhaps it’s mild amusement. So it was no surprise when Gray looked at me one afternoon and said, “Mommy do you have pectoral muscles?” I immediately recognized the source of her inquiry. “Have you been discussing Anatomy with your dad again?” I asked. “Yep,” she answered. “I do, in fact, have pectoral muscles,” I told her. “No you don’t, Mommy,” she replied confidently, “Daddy has pectoral muscles. You have boobies.”

 

And there you have it. Who can argue that kind of logic?

 

  1. Pointing the Proverbial Finger: My daughter was on a Skype video chat with my mother the other day, and they were discussing all of the preparations we are making for the arrival of her new baby sister. Apparently Gray is planning to be a very influential and loving big sis. But just in case, she has already chosen a scapegoat if she needs one…

 

My Mom: “Are you going to give your baby sister hugs and kisses?”

Gray: Yep.

My Mom: “Are you going to show her what a big girl you are, and share your toys?”

Gray: “Yep.”

My Mom: “Are you going to teach her good things?”

Gray: “Nope. Blame Daddy”

 

 

  1. Party Fouls: One Saturday, as we were getting ready to leave for a friend’s birthday celebration, I discovered that my daughter is learning some valuable life lessons of the social sort…

 

Gray: “We’re going to a party, Mommy?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am. We’re going to a birthday BBQ.”

Gray: “I’m not going to cry, Mommy”

Me: “Oh good, I’m glad to hear that.”

Gray: “I’m not going to pick my nose either.”

Me: “I’m even happier to hear that.”

 

Lo’ and behold, kids really DO say the darnedest things! Gray’s innate sense of comic timing is often surprising and impressive, and it certainly keeps me on my toes. If you feel like sweetening my day with an additional dose of laughter, please feel free to send along any funny stories you have as well! I love hearing from you…

 

Laughter is the best medicine

Laughter is the best medicine

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my website too!

  • Kim Q says:

    I keep a list of the funny things that come out of my daughters’ mouths so as not to forget. One of the funniest- when I was pregnant with my second daughter, my first daughter was at her gymnastics class (she had just turned 4 years old at the time). One of the other moms had to take her daughter to the bathroom and she was holding her baby at the time. I volunteered to hold the baby. My daughter saw me holding the baby and her eyes got as big as saucers. I saw her mouth, “Is that YOURS???” through the viewing window. I just about died laughing. If only having a baby could be so easy! Ha!

  • Desiree says:

    When my daughter, Kellie, was about 5 years old, she came home from kindergarten in hysterics. I’m talking can’t breathe tears of pure devastation. When I asked her what was wrong the following conversation happened:

    Me: What is wrong?
    Kellie: I can’t jump the rope!!! (she was SO upset)
    Me: I’ve seen you jumprope many times; why can’t you do it now?

    She looked at me and in the most exasperated voice, through tears and fristration, she throws her arms in the air, drops them back at her sides and screams “Because I’m white!”

    After a little more conversation and recon work, I discovered that one of the teen supervisors at her after-school program had used the phrase “white girl can’t jump” and poor Kellie was heartbroken.

  • Tiffany says:

    OMGosh! Grey Poupon and Mayonnaise….totally got that! LOL…I have a 3 year old who constantly leaves me speechless with his #KiddieLogic and their are many times I can do little more than Nod & Smile when my Momma translator seems to be on the blitz… :)

August 22, 2014
A Beachside Stroll

A Beachside Stroll

 

In the world according to Gray, summer has had some stand-out features… read on to discover them in “her words!”

 

  1. The 4th of July is supremely awesome. It means celebrating with fun picnic foods, planting patriotic flags in the yard, and getting to stay up late for fireworks! Sadly, the 4th of July isn’t as thrilling for my doggie siblings. Fireworks = puppy PTSD.

 

Celebrating the 4th of July

Celebrating the 4th of July

 

  1. While the 5th of July is a happier day for the canine brood, it’s a serious let down for me. I still don’t understand why there are so many fireworks one day, and none the next! C’mon people, you think stealing candy from a baby is bad?

 

The 5th of July let down...

The 5th of July let down…

 

3. Watermelon is a delicious and refreshing summertime treat. It’s also messy. I think I doubled my mommy’s laundry load because I ate so much of it!

 

  1. Cancelled flights = more time with our loved ones. It turns out that bad summer storms can leave you stranded, and make most travelers cranky. I heard some seriously not-so-nice words being shouted across the airport! But for me, a cancelled flight meant another day with my grandparents, “Gigi” and “Opah,” in Connecticut. And that was fine by me!

 

  1. The beach offers endless amusement. Sun, sand, and water. What else can you ask for? The only yucky part about going to the beach is having to say goodbye…

 

Sun & Sand

Sun & Sand

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter  and check out my new website too!

April 4, 2014

 

Cooking Tips!

Cooking Tips!

 

I am a true disciple of the kitchen. Some of my quietest and most reflective moments transpire while I’m chopping fresh herbs, sautéing garlic, or fire-roasting peppers. I feel like myself as I move through the culinary process… extracting pots and pans, sharpening my good knife, and prepping my ingredients. I am in my element; I’m in “the zone.” Food Network, here I come!

 

I realize not everyone has this sort of blissful take on cooking. For some, making dinners is an interminable struggle, a time-consuming chore they dread doing at the end of an otherwise happy day… you know, while they trip over toys, wrestle kids for bath time, and desperately wish they could chill over a good book and a glass of wine instead. But what if a few small tricks could help ease the heavy load just a little bit? Because until we can all afford to hire personal chefs, or train fancy robot sous chefs (for the record, I don’t see either of those things happening at my house any time soon), any shortcuts are a welcome relief. With any luck, maybe these five pointers will take some of the stress out of it for you…

 

1. Ice, Ice, Baby: I’m just as guilty as you are about forgetting my frozen goods until two years have passed since their expiration date, but I’m trying to be better about letting my freezer work with me.  I mean, can’t we all just get along?! I’ve decided to reform my perception of the thing formerly known as, “the place I stash half-melted cartons of ice cream and boxes of Hot Pockets I’ll never eat.” Lately I’m making more of an effort to double my recipes, freeze half of what I’ve made, and then write a notation in my calendar so I don’t forget to defrost it for a dinner the following week. (While I don’t mind two nights in a row of a yummy meal, sometimes it’s nice to have something prepped for an evening when I’m particularly short on time.) I imagine this isn’t even remotely a new concept for my fellow parents out there, so I’ll skip to the real time-saving trick… Ice cube trays are God’s gift to foresight! They are perfect for pre-portioning items such as pesto, tomato sauce, or stocks. Even milk, so you never run out! My favorites? Coffee, which I use to make instant iced lattes when I’m in desperate need of an afternoon pick-me-up, and… drumroll, please… wine. No really! I often deglaze my pan with wine when making stews or sauces. This is an easy way to store the stuff you only use for cooking, so it doesn’t get corked. (Just make sure your kids don’t rummage through your freezer and think they’ve stumbled upon some pretty little homemade popsicles…)

PS. Freeze fresh herbs with a little olive oil for a quick addition to pastas and marinades. Did you also know that you can freeze fresh ginger? It makes a huge difference in Asian inspired dishes, and it lasts an inordinately long time without spoiling!

 

 2. An Herbal Remedy: Mason jars and shot glasses double as handy dandy little herb keepers! Actually, anything that can hold water will work; I’m quite partial to the vintage sake cups I’ve collected over the years. The fact is, fresh herbs quickly wilt in the refrigerator, but dried herbs don’t add nearly the same level of flavor to a dish. Consequently, it’s nice to preserve the fresh ones as long as possible. We grow a garden full of herbs each spring, and I love going out to pick bunches of parsley, rosemary, basil, dill, you name it. That said, I hate wasting food and almost always manage to collect more than I have an immediate need for. When I can’t get through the entire selection in one meal, it’s great to know I can put the stalks in water and use them again throughout the week. It saves me from another trip to the garden or grocery store. Not to mention, they make for beautiful impromptu table adornments!

 

3. A Watched Pot Still Boils:  If you’re anything like me, you don’t have time to babysit boiling pasta… you’re too busy setting table, keeping your daughter from drawing on the wall, and shouting at your dog to stop chewing the library books. Oh wait, that’s me. Anyway, I recently discovered this really cool trick that keeps me from having to stand vigil, and I’m totally hooked. Once you’ve added your pasta to the water, place a wooden spoon across the top of the pot to prevent it from boiling over. It’s that simple! I was skeptical at first too, but it seriously works. I can’t believe I’ve spent so many years blowing on my pasta water as it threatened to spill over the sides of the pot, or racing back in to stop it from overflowing like a bad science experiment, when all I needed was a wooden spoon. Who knew?

 

4. Oiler Alert: If you’re anything like me, I get very nervous about touching my daughter after dicing jalapenos, or chopping chili peppers. Actually, I get pretty nervous about touching anything, considering I’ve accidentally rubbed my own eyes afterward. Brilliant, I know. I learned the following trick from an Italian chef in Chianti years ago, and I’m eternally grateful to have it in my kitchen trick repertoire. Before dissecting a spicy pepper, coat your hands in olive oil! Be sure to get some underneath your nail beds, where the pepper oils tend to infiltrate. The olive oil will form a protective barrier, which should then allow the pepper oils to wash off a bit more easily. As a side note, milk can cut down on the burning sensation, if you forget!

 

5. Throw The Towel In: No one likes to lose a digit, and preparing dinner while distracted by tiny tots can be a dangerous ordeal. Put a damp dishtowel underneath your cutting board so it won’t slide around on your kitchen counter! A moist paper towel will work too. This will be safer for you, since you won’t have to worry about unnecessary movement as you cube and mince. Not to mention, it keeps little hands from being able to easily swipe the cutting board off of the counter after you’ve just finish chopping an entire onion. Ahem. Not that that’s happened to me.

 

** Bonus Trick: You can resurrect virtually any leftovers by putting them in a quiche! See My “Everything But The Kitchen Sink Quiche” recipe from 2013, for an example of this.

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter too!

  • Ulysses says:

    I couldn’t resist commenting. Exceptionally wedll written!

  • NW Mamma says:

    great advise Jenna, I just love the way you think and express your self through your writing.
    Love Quiche? Our favorite Quiche is made with a hashbrown potato crust. we use the dehydrated ones,so all you have to do is hydrate and press into the pan and add your favorite items and then the eggs, so easy and so yummy!!!

February 14, 2014
Unspoken Love

Unspoken Love~ Photo By Mimosa Arts Photography

 

Sometimes love can be found in the subtlest of details or the briefest of moments. My daughter recently began saying those three little words every parent treasures hearing, but I knew her intentions long before the phrase “I love you” was uttered aloud. Actions truly do speak loudest!

Gray has heard those same words fall from my lips thousands of times in her young life. I don’t reserve them for special occasions or limit them to once a day. I don’t believe they lose significance over time, or suffer from the risk of being overused, or become unnecessary to articulate once the message has gotten through. I am a firm believer in reinforcement—of professing my love openly and often. Most importantly, I mean it every single time I say it. I’d like to think we all do… that such a deep expression of our hearts isn’t thrown around with reckless abandon.

I won’t lie– it is an incredible feeling to be the recipient of that dazzling assertion, especially when it’s coming from a child. The first time my daughter returned my “I love you,” I welled up with tears and called my husband at work to share the news. But if I’m being honest, Gray’s heart communicated that special sentiment long before her lips could form the sentence. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share five of my favorite moments of unspoken love…

 

1. A few months ago, Gray began calling my name when she awakens from a nap. Since she was old enough to sit up by herself, Gray would pop up, grab her pacifier, and quietly sit in bed until I came to retrieve her. These days, she sweetly calls out for me instead, even before her sleepy eyes open. I cherish knowing my face is the first thing she wants to see.

2. As you already know, I’m an animal lover through and through. Because of this fact, I tend to get very choked up when a canine best friend is lost. A dear friend’s dog recently passed away, and I took it pretty hard. I know some of our own pups are getting up there in years as well, and it’s never fun to reflect on that. Noticing that tears had formed in my eyes, Gray came over to hug me. She pulled back, looked at me intently, wiped my tears away with her little fingers, and asked, “Cry?” “Yes,” I told her, “Mommy is crying.” “Oh Honey,” she said in the motherly tone of voice I so often use with her. I immediately began smiling. Her sensitivity and empathy never fail to melt my heart!

3. Gray is incredibly affectionate, and unafraid of showing it. One evening, I absentmindedly let my hair down from a ponytail and shook it out. As I ran my fingers through the tangles, I happened to glance over at Gray. She was watching in awe, with a goofy little grin on her face. “Oh Mommy,” she cried when we made eye contact. She then put her hands on either side of my face and went in for a giant, sloppy kiss. I guess I should let my hair down more often… literally and figuratively.

4. No one else in this world is quite so enthusiastic when I walk into a room. One afternoon, when I returned from a meeting, Gray greeted me at the top of the stairs. “Mommy’s home!” she shouted with unrestrained glee. Of course that sentence was followed by, “Boobie’s home!” But who’s counting? At least she put me before the breastaurant!

5. I cuddle with her EVERY morning, and she lets me. Sure, sometimes I have to share her with our five dogs, but there’s plenty of love to go around.  We cozy up on the couch, huddle under my bathrobe, and watch Sesame Street together. It’s our special time to quietly adore one another, and I’ll take advantage of it for as long as I can!

 

Cuddling

Cherishing Our Cuddle Time

 

I thoroughly enjoy hearing from all of you… What are some of the beautiful ways in which your children say ”I love you” without words? If you feel inspired to let me know, please do!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours.

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

 

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter too!

Until next time…

  • Keri says:

    One day long ago when I was driving home from work after picking up my son who was about 2.5 years old, he exclaimed from the backseat that “when he grows up he will marry me and get to sit up in the front seat next to me”. I will never forget his sweet little voice!

  • Desiree says:

    My daughter is now nearly 14 but when she was younger, she made a construction paper gift with an acrostic poem from the word “MOM.” The first line was “my mom’s birthday is Nov 12th”. The second “Open” and the third line was my favorite and to this day, it makes me giggle. It said “My mom makes the moonshine.” It’s an adorable sentiment but obviously, there should have been a space. She also told me when she was little that “no matter what, you will always be my favorite person”

January 3, 2014

_KPS0910

As December transitions into a stark, cold January, we salute the dawn of the new year by toasting to better days and declaring unwavering pledges of self-improvement. As tradition dictates, we swear off our own imperfections and usher in renewed hope, as we wave goodbye to another passing year. In other words, we are now slaves to those pesky, nagging little nuisances called, “New Year’s resolutions.”

 

In true New Year’s fashion, a night of ceremonious glass clinking inevitably gives way to elaborate plans for personal growth. Maybe the hours of Ryan Seacrest jokes, Miley Cyrus performances, and Times Square antics have rendered us overly loopy. Or perhaps we should blame the spiked punch that was put out after the kids were put to bed. Either way, we usher in the coming year with promises of grandeur, professing impossible oaths such as: “I won’t get addicted to anymore stupid reality shows,” and “I vow to never eat another piece of chocolate as long as I live.” (You know, phrases that scare us the following morning, once the champagne haze has worn off.) Some of those assertions make it to the light of day, while others don’t– their importance losing steam in the face of higher priorities as the year progresses. But the point is really that we contemplated our own shortcomings long enough to make those commitments in the first place, right?

 

Maybe?

 

Truth be told, I’ve never been a huge fan of establishing New Year’s resolutions. In theory, I should be open to bettering and enriching my life all year long, shouldn’t I? Not to mention, it’s such a daunting task to make a lifestyle overhaul before the year has even begun! But I suppose it’s also a positive and motivating way to initiate the next twelve months. So with that in mind, I’ve decided to share five things I hope to accomplish and/or work on in 2014. They aren’t all mind-blowing or life altering ambitions (though the last one begs to differ), but they are notable nonetheless. With any luck, I’ll actually stick to them!

 

 

  1. Curb the caffeine & increase my water intake: (She writes as she zealously downs her fourth cup of coffee before noon…) My husband is a huge water drinker, and he swears by it for EVERYTHING. Seriously, it’s his cure-all. You have a pain in your knee? Drink water. You’re tired? Drink water. Headache? Water. You can’t focus? Yep, you guessed it. Water. I like to mock him for it, but I know he’s mostly right. Water definitely has its benefits, and I tend to take it for granted. In fact, when given a choice between that or Starbucks, I know where my true alliance is; I pledge my allegiance to the flagship of java. I just can’t help myself. Over Christmas, we got into a water-related discussion with my sister, who is currently getting her degree in Physical Therapy. She mentioned a recent assignment she’d been given, regarding the effects of dehydration on the systems of the body. It’s fairly obvious that dehydration can cause a variety of problems, but the extent of it is downright terrifying. Much like the urge to examine one’s meat consumption after watching Fast Food Nation, my interest in drinking more water immediately peaked. Looks like I’ll be ditching some of those venti lattes for good ol’ H2O! (Note that I said “some,” not “all.” It’s a work in progress.)
  2. Practice my patience: With my husband, my child, my dogs, strangers, and even myself. We all get overwhelmed from time to time, and I know I’m guilty of getting a little hot under the collar when I do. With the terrible twos well on their way, a house full of crazy canines, and a heavy work schedule, my brain feels like it’s on a perpetual mental merry-go-round. And I mean the frantic amusement park ones, not the tame carousels at the mall. I find the anxiety creeping in more quickly these days, and I want to learn to control it with a little more finesse. I was watching Sesame Street with Gray the other morning, and they were singing a song about “belly breathing.” It’s their suggested response to frustration—taking a moment to put your hands on your stomach, breathe in through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth. And I honestly think they have it right; it calms the inner monster. I’m starting to think Sesame Street is as educational for parents as it is for children!
  3. Finish “The Betweeners” and “Situation Momedy”: Perhaps you’ve heard me mention one or the other of the books I’ve penned in the last few years. Though I technically wrote “The End” on The Betweeners (my fictional book for young adults) three years ago, I’m still tweaking. Like a painter with his canvas, I can’t seem to quit adding brushstrokes here and there. My goal is to complete the project and get it out there to publishers. Similarly, I’m ready to deliver an extra dose of zany motherhood anecdotes to you all, via my other book, “Situation Momedy.” I mean who doesn’t want The Cradle Chronicles 2.0? I’m ready to buckle down and make it happen… Stay tuned.
  4. Sit down and enjoy eating lunch: This seems simple enough, but I generally find myself shoveling in crackers or a piece of fruit as I race around after Gray. Even if she is already down for her afternoon nap, I tend to forgo the quiet lunch in lieu of scanning and filing paperwork, while cramming a sandwich down my throat. I’d like to make a habit of sitting down to appreciate the food before me. For instance, chewing my food might be nice every now and then. I mean, what’s the point of eating if you can’t taste anything? Not to mention, it gives me some built in Mommy me-time. What a treat!
  5. Have another baby: God willing, my husband and I are ready to have another baby. We’ve actually been mentally prepared for a while now, but the timeline isn’t entirely up to us, after all. Here’s hoping 2014 blesses us with another beautiful soul in the family. I am the oldest of four kids, and I just can’t imagine life without my siblings! I’m sure being an only child has its merits too, but I’d love to give Gray an opportunity to be a big sister. I know she’ll be almost as thrilled as we will be to welcome another child into the house. Fingers crossed.

 

 

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday. May your new year be blessed, and your resolutions… well… resolvable!

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

 

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  • Liz says:

    Hi Jenna,

    I wanted to send you a note to say I love your blog! I am always checking to see if you added a new one. My daughter Quinn is only a few months younger than Gray and I started reading your blog around when she was born. It’s great to hear someone else is going through the same things I am and you always make me laugh. Keep them coming :)

    Liz

  • Chris says:

    One of your new year resolutions is to drink more water. Jenna, have you tried buying one of those flavor water enhancers like Mio, Crush, the Great Value Walmart/Sam’s knockoff brand, etc. to use to squirt flavor into the water you drink yet? If not, try buying one of them so that you can drink water and enjoy it more with great tasting flavor! Hope you and your family have a Happy New Year too!

    • I haven’t tried any of the flavor enhancers, but I actually don’t mind the taste of straight up water! It’s really more a matter of forgetting to drink it, or not choosing it over something caffeinated. I definitely need to adjust my mindset about it! That said, I will certainly look into that option. It might just give me the motivation I need!! Thanks for the suggestion! -Jenna

  • Desiree says:

    Okay…seriously? Your blog always has me giggling! My daughter is now 13 and in just a few months, she will round that out to an even 14! I can hardly believe it. In my heart, she is this bouncy, smiley and witty little redhead with spirals curls to boot! Now, she’s all of those things only less bouncy and while she is still very witty, it’s masked with teenage angst and attitude. Your blog is a great respite for me as I remember the days when she was little and frankly, way more fun!

    Thank you for sharing your sweet girl and anecdotes with us. I am sad to say that I haven’t read your book but it has just been added to my Amazon list!

    • Aw… glad I can give you a funny reminder of your daughter’s younger days :) Unfortunately, none of my books are available on Amazon yet, as I am still looking for publishing. But please stay tuned! -Jenna

November 22, 2013

 

In honor of the sacred alone time I’m attempting to find a little more of lately, I thought I’d let you in on a few of my favorite things to do when I allow a quiet moment for myself. (It’s a good reminder for me too!) In no particular order…

1.    Drinking a glass of wine. Okay, maybe this list is in order; don’t judge. I currently live in the Bible Belt, where a lot of folks frown upon the notion of touching their lips to an alcoholic beverage of any kind. To each their own, but indulging in a glass of (what I fondly refer to as) “Mommy juice” every now and then is good for the soul. Hell, I’m a firm believer that a glass a day keeps the doctor away…  far more than those silly apples, which claim to do the same! I generally prefer a Cabernet or a Syrah, though I’ve been known to partake in a dry French rosé, or even an Albariño, on a hot summer day. Regardless of the varietal, sitting back and sipping a glass of delicious vino is a beautiful thing. (Not to mention, I’m Catholic, and we do like our wine!)

2.    Watching an episode of Castle or The Mentalist. It seems I‘m always several years behind the curve in discovering good television shows. While everyone else is enjoying season four of something, I’ve typically just stumbled onto episode one. That said, at least it allows me to watch at my own pace, since everything is on DVD by the time I get into it. And when your mommy me-time is limited, that’s a huge benefit! Instead of impatiently waiting for my weekly fix, I marathon everything well after the fact. Once a week, during Gray’s naptime, I try to force myself to set work aside for an hour and let someone else do the entertaining. It gives my mind a rest for a while, and allows me to refuel.  While some of the shows I watch are totally frivolous, they offer me the chance to ignore my own drama in lieu of someone else’s. And who doesn’t love some drama they can easily walk away from when they need a snack or a bathroom break?

3.    Cooking. If you’ve read my past blogs, you are already aware of my affinity for cooking as therapy. If you approach meal assembly with a sense of passion, it can truly be a curative and spiritual art. I adore the preparation process; it’s all in the details for me. There’s something soothing about dimming the lights, lighting the candles, turning on the Something’s Gotta Give or Julie & Julia soundtrack, and sharpening my good knife! If I’m able to temporarily lose myself in chopping Italian parsley and sautéing garlic for a few minutes, I’m a happy woman… Of course, it doesn’t hurt when the culinary experience is accompanied by the first item on this list :)

4.    Writing my book. Despite having to keep up with (and find time for) penning a weekly blog, I like to work on my book every chance I get. These days, my brain is constantly swarming with endless strings of syntax, and grammar rules galore. Inspiration often comes from the strangest sources, and I have to write when the mood strikes. When I’m fortunate enough for that to occur during my alone time, it’s an opportunity I just can’t pass up!

5.    Reading. It seems I never allow myself much time for this pastime anymore, and I’m beginning to realize just how much I miss it. My husband and I are both very avid readers, and we used to fit in a few chapters every night before bed. However, if I’m able to read before bed at this point, it’s likely Curious George Goes To The Zoo or Green Eggs And Ham. While I treasure every moment spent reading to my daughter, I also yearn for the inspiration of a novel I can really dig into. I long to feed my soul with colorful characters and eloquent language. It’s much like the need to have adult conversations every now and then… Which I also try to make time for!

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

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July 12, 2013

 

 

 

Wearing Hats1. Wearing hats~ I mean, who doesn’t love a good opportunity to dress up in a fancy headpiece? Lord knows I wore enough hats in the 90’s, with nary an excuse needed. These days, I’m more inclined to sport a baseball cap to go the grocery store, but I admit to turning my daughter into a bona fide chapeau-loving fashionista. After all, why not protect yourself from the sun and be trendy at the same time?

Gardening

 2. Gardening & picking veggies ~ What better way to celebrate summer, than to enjoy a little outdoor fun? We certainly aren’t the most knowledgeable gardeners in the universe, which is an understatement, but we sure do love playing in the dirt. Gray is quite taken with sifting through the soil (better known as tasting it), and I love the chance to cook with the fresh veggies and herbs we grow!

Fun

 3. Playing, goofing around, and hanging with good friends ~ In a nutshell, that’s  what summer should be about! Even though Gray is only one, we do our best to strike a balance between work and play, so she understands the concept early on. We like to abide by the rules that life shouldn’t be taken too seriously and that working hard means we can play equally hard!

Food

 4. Indulging in summer fare & festive drinks ~ Summer is an excuse to break out the grill, indulge in fresh seafood, and sip a little rosé. Obviously, the latter is only for my husband and I to responsibly enjoy, but we are all foodies, through and through… even miss Gray. She has been known to try things that make some adults think twice, such as octopus! Yes, my sidekick is already becoming a little gourmande.

Swimming

 5. Swimming ~ Gray just completed a month of swim classes which, I suppose, means I did too. That said, I’d like to think she got more out of than I did. I’m not suggesting she can do the butterfly stroke across a pool or anything, but it was a great learning experience for her. While day one was fraught with tears, whimpering, and clinging to mommy like a barnacle, the final class saw her jumping into the water with reckless abandon. Score! … Now if only swim classes didn’t entail my having to squeeze into an ancient, pre-baby bathing suit that my child feels the need to pull down every five minutes, in search of  “num num.” Yep. Good times.

 

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

 

Jenna von Oy

PS. To join my blog, please subscribe to the RSS feed at the top of your screen!

PPS. Don’t forget to join my Twitter too!

 

  • amanda says:

    Oh my goodness, I’m finally responding to one of your posts after reading it for a little less than a year. I came across your blog while sitting at home last summer with my son, who’s birthday is May 21st, 2012 :) I love reading this and knowing someone is experiencing the exact same thing that I am. The swimming lesson part got me, I think you might just be living inside my head. We started swim lessons this weekend and it was challenging to say the least, lol.! Have a great day and keep writing cause I thoroughly enjoy reading :)

  • Saskia says:

    Just wantend to let you know that we do read your blog. I never see any comments on your posts, which is weird because so many of them are worth responding to. I never respond because I can never come up with something witty to say. Aside from the fact that I am not a parent so commenting on those issues would seem a bit far fetched at the moment. I do however enjoy reading your entries and I’m always a bit sad when I’m at the end of one of your writings. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and I am hoping you’ll continue your writings for a long time! Best of luck and a hug for your beautiful, precious little girl. – Saskia

April 19, 2013
  1. Diaper Wetness Indicators: Sure, diapers can be foul, stinky, messy business. That said, so is peeling shrimp, forgetting to take out the trash after deboning a chicken, and getting stuck driving behind a truck carrying hot tar… and those things don’t smile and say “Mommy,” or sweetly kiss us goodnight! I don’t imagine any of us would rank diaper changing as our favorite part of motherhood, but I’d like to think we take it all in stride. It’s a small price to pay in the larger picture, right? That said, we run into our share of grimy stuff on a daily basis, so why make dirty diapers more dramatic than they have to be? (Otherwise known as: why wind up with poop on your pants in the middle of a church service, if you don’t have to?) In the first couple weeks of being a mom, I was thoroughly impressed to discover there are now moisture meters on several brands of diapers. Genius! I love being able to see that Gray needs changing well before her diaper is so full that urine is running down my favorite silk blouse, or that immediately identifiable and malodorous scent hits my nostrils, or the dogs start sniffing around her bloomers for the source of the funk. Loving the lack of leakage!

 

**PS. I thought I’d skip a photo on this one… sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words.

 

2.     The Original Ba: Though Gray has graduated to a sippy cup these days, I spent a few months of her infancy trying to encourage her to drink water (or breast milk, every now and then) from a bottle. Being a strictly breastfed baby, she wasn’t terribly enthused about that notion. I certainly didn’t want to force her into it, and I absolutely did not want to wean her from the breastaurant. However, I knew there would be several benefits to the introduction. For example, I wanted to have the option of allowing my husband some father-daughter bonding time, by pumping and letting him feed her. I also wanted to make sure there was an alternative if I had to go to work… you know, since I can’t really leave a breast behind for the sitter. Ultimately, since I have been blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with Gray, she was (and still is) never far from the booby buffet. This means I didn’t have the need for an overabundance of bottles or the accompanying equipment. Nevertheless, when Gray finally took to the bottle, there was one thing that really helped her along… a fancy contraption called The Original Ba. If M.C. Escher had created baby products, the Ba might be it. In actuality, the progressive design was invented by four guys who possess creative imaginations and slightly contradictory career paths: a single dad, a lawyer, a designer, and a rock & roller. It sounds like the start of a really wacky joke, right? But they’ve come up with something neat; a holder that makes it simple for babies to hold their own beverage. Way to think outside of the bottle, gentlemen!

The Ba

 3.     Smart Teething Toys: Let’s be honest, when your kid is in the throes of the teething woes, you’ll try just about anything to ease their pain… and their screaming. I’m no exception. I’ve experimented with everything from a common household washcloth that I dampened and then froze for a few hours, which is cheap and effective, to the relatively trendy amber necklace. In all honesty, I’m not entirely convinced the latter isn’t someone’s attempt to make millions off of pulling the wool over our eyes. I tried it anyway. I’ve administered homeopathic chamomile powder, and offered Gray every rubbery toy she owns. The good news is that some of them have worked for a few minutes here and there, which I’m grateful for. Here are the two soothers she loves most… by a landslide.

~Sophie the Giraffe: So far, Sophie the Giraffe still reigns as Gray’s favorite. Vive la Sophie! Trust me when I say it’s like catnip for babies.

~Toofeze: This product was gifted to Gray by the generous folks at Toofeze. They even went so far as to engrave her name and birthdate on it, which was incredibly thoughtful. Gray is hooked! I definitely think they’re onto something, as you can also stick the Toofeze in the refrigerator (though the freezer is off-limits) for a colder teether.

Smart Teethers

4.     The Wubbanub Pacifier: You’ve heard me say it before, and I’ll say it again… Wubbanub has been our saving grace. In terms of calming and consoling Gray, this pacifier is unparalleled. I’m grateful for every plane ride, shower, photo shoot and dinner it has gotten us through. If your child is willing to take a pacifier at all, this is the one. With a stuffed animal at one end, even infants can manage to hold onto it. The ONLY downfall? My dogs find the stuffed animal equally fascinating. Recently, when I failed to keep a close eye on its whereabouts, the Wubbanub monkey met a tragic end. Gray has buried Mr. Monkey, and moved on to the giraffe.

Wubbanub

 5.     The Backseat Baby Mirror: I don’t know what I would do without this thing. My sister in law gave us one for our baby shower, and I am indebted. Truthfully, I initially chalked the product up to some sort of car company gimmick. You know, just one more thing they can trick you into thinking your baby needs, during your five thousandth pre-birth Target run. Boy, was I wrong on this one! Though the mirror certainly has its merits in terms of baby distraction, it turns out I’m the one who reaps the biggest benefits. Do you recall bringing your child home from the hospital? It’s terrifying to be out in the big world with your baby for the first time! If you are anything like my husband and I, we drove at snails pace, out of fear we would damage the tiny blessing in our backseat. In fact, a ninety-year old man in bifocals drives like Mario Andretti relative to how we drove that day. While my husband navigated, I sat in the back and stared at our daughter all the way home. I’m not sure I blinked. But in the weeks that followed, I had no choice but to bundle up our newborn and run errands on my own. This meant I was stuck driving, while Gray rode in her safety seat behind the passenger side. I desperately wanted to check on her every five minutes, and I remember being alarmed by the silence. Despite the fact that no mother enjoys hearing her child cry, there were moments I would have given anything for it… just for a sign that Gray was still breathing. Cue the backseat mirror. As soon as that thing was mounted, I became the only gleeful person stuck in traffic. As long as I can glance back and see that my kid is asleep, or looking out the window, or smiling contentedly while listening to The Little Mermaid, I’m golden.

car mirror

Until next time… Peace, Love, and Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

 

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

PPS. I wasn’t paid to promote any of these items, and I feel it’s important to put that out there. Though some of these products were gifted to us, my comments are based on our tried and true experiences with using them. Hope you have an opportunity to try them out as well…

 

 

 

 

March 8, 2013

 

 

1. My child already knows how to make a liar out of me, and flirting shamelessly in public is evidently not reserved for teenagers and hopeless romantics. At the end of February, I took Gray in for her nine-month check up at the Pediatrician. I’ll preface this by saying: I’d like to think I don’t have unrealistic expectations of my daughter’s personal growth. I’m not trying to compare Gray’s progress to every other kid her age, nor do I really know what her progress “should” be at this point. I’m trying not to rely on books and the Internet to tell me whether my daughter is smarter than your average bear, or in line to be the next Olympian. All of that said, I’ve been somewhat surprised to see that her physical prowess has, at least initially, outweighed her verbal aptitude. Gray began crawling at seven months old, and her acceleration has been exponential. She is now pulling herself up on all of our furniture, and moving from one thing to the next fairly deftly. Considering my penchant for verbosity, I would have bet the house (good thing I didn’t) on the fact that her verbal mastery would be significantly more advanced than her physical skills. So that brings me back to the Pediatrician. The doctor had inquired about Gray’s language development, and I’d just finished telling her that my daughter really seemed to be gaining physical momentum, but that I was less sure of her verbal advancements. At that very moment, Gray decided to make a liar out of me. She promptly looked up at a male nurse who was walking by, flashed a dimpled grin, and loftily said, ‘’Hi!’’ The nurse was a bit startled, then smiled back and responded, “Well, hello there!” The Pediatrician looked at me with a small smirk, and offered, “I think she’s doing all right.” Show off.

 

2. Naptime isn’t for the meek. So far, all I’ve incited in my attempt to get Gray to sleep in her crib are tears, screaming, anxiety, and exhaustion… And I don’t know which of the two of us has made the larger contribution. If teaching a child to nap were compared to a meteorological phenomenon, I would equate it to a category five hurricane. Unbearable winds, an abundance of rain, thunderous noise, and the fear of destruction. The major difference being, perhaps, that naptime cannot be considered a “low-pressure system.”

 

3. Babies can give hickeys. I thought I’d graduated beyond those foolish love bites. I was under the impression they were a college novelty that I never had to contend with again, much like fraternity parties, “jungle juice,” and thesis papers. So I was thrilled to discover I was walking around sporting a few. You know, since hickeys are so incredibly classy and all. But who knew my daughter would fancy herself a vampire? My arm looks like Edward Cullen and I had a make-out session. Which, in a sense, sounds more exciting than, “My daughter discovered she likes to chomp down on my flesh,” or, “I’ve given birth to a piranha.” Somebody get me a turtleneck sweater and some protective gear.

 

4. Sesame Street has come a long way, baby. We’ve been catching up on Sesame Street episodes each day, thanks to our local Nashville Public Television station. Gray absolutely loves it! This thrills me to no end, since I grew up watching the show too. That said, I’m noticing that Sesame Street has a wily sense of humor it didn’t have before… or, perhaps, that I never recognized. For example, a recent segment rhymed the word “door,” with “Zsa Zsa Gabor.” (This was followed by,  “Zsa Zsa Gabor. Wow, that sounds magical!” Yes, little muppets, it does sound magical. Unless, of course, you’re one of her eight ex-husbands.) Clearly, the Zsa Zsa reference was for my benefit, not my daughter’s. Their attempt at capturing my attention worked, as I abruptly came out of my morning stupor and nearly shot coffee out of my nostrils. Bravo, Sesame Street. Well played. I’m amazed to see that folks like Maria and Gordon are still around. Let it be known that this rumor started here: I suspect they’ve discovered the fountain of youth cleverly hidden somewhere in the Bronx. Anyway, turning on children’s programming for Gray has resurrected my own love for kid’s shows. My husband and I have started reminiscing about 3-2-1 contactThe Electric Company, and Reading Rainbow. Good times. “Well you know my name is Simon, and the things I draw come true…”

 

5. I’m unnaturally sentimental about bloomers. Gray has grown out of another set of clothes, and they are now attic-bound. For some reason, I get teary with every little shirt and onesie that gets packed up. It’s the passing of yet another beautiful phase, and the ushering in of a new one, which makes me more than a little emotional. Believe it or not, I’m FINALLY putting up some of Gray’s newborn and 3-month items, as she’s just now getting too big for them. My little girl is so petite (apparently she takes after her mama in that department), she has been able to wear the stuff for a lot longer than I anticipated… which I’m grateful for. But it’s really all about the bloomers. I’m mostly sad to say goodbye to the sweet pair she wore for her first photo shoot at the hospital. They were so big on her then, I had to tuck them into her itty bitty diaper. And now, I can’t stuff her thighs in there with a shoehorn. Not that I’ve tried, obviously. I just can’t bear to part with the first clothes she wore, when she still smelled like baby and sat in my lap without wanting to get down to crawl around. I know, I know. If it’s this tough to bid farewell to some clothing, what’s going to happen when she starts Kindergarten? I’m wondering the same thing…

If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the corner crying over a tiny pair of baby underwear.

Gray's First Hospital Photo

Until next time… Peace, Love, & Dirty Diapers,

Jenna von Oy

 

PS. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

  • Melissa says:

    Jenna,
    How is Gray sleeping at night? Emory statted napping better when she started sleeping better at night. Im reading “the no-cry sleep solution” by Elizabeth Pantley to help us all the way around because we’re still having some troubles.

    • Believe it or not, Gray has always been a great nighttime sleeper! I’m very blessed! That said, we co-sleep, so she still has breastfeeding intermissions from time to time throughout the night. We are currently working on the naptime training, and I can officially say she’s not a fan of her crib :) I wish you the best of luck- we aren’t past the hurdles yet either!! -Jenna