23 June 2014

It Gets Easier

I think as parents it’s easy to get caught up in all the “let’s talk about what’s hard in parenting” chatter all the time. It’s easy to do really because let’s be honest – parenting is hard work. I’ve yet to find a single parent out there who’s said, “Oh raising kids? That’s a walk in the park!” While there are constant challenges to this whole parenting gig, I’ve learned that there are some things that also get easier with time so let’s get Monday started off on a positive note and dish about a few things I’ve found to be a little easier going into my third year of parenthood {Because when they are babies you know your ass isn’t getting any relief…}.

{ONE} Going Out.
Gone are the days of packing up everything but the kitchen sink to take a simple trip out to the grocery store or to run errands. Diaper bag fully stocked? Check. Formula? Check. Bottles? Check. Diapers and wipes? Check. Stroller, blankets, blah blah blah? Check and check. Nowadays when we want to get up and go, it’s as simple as slipping on the shoes, grabbing my purse, and heading out the door. Huge stress reliever in and of itself.

{TWO} Eating.
I don’t know about you guys but for the first year, our dinnertime looked something like this:
{Suck it up, kid. It could be worse - it could be your grandmother's cooking.}

Can you say war zone?
Getting ready for dinner in our home used to be more like preparing to go into battle: suit up, get your face protection on, and get the hose ready. Chickie went through a horrible phase {as I’m sure most kids under 1 do} of throwing and tossing her food everywhere and while our sheltie was in heaven {#fatass} it didn’t make for good times for us having to steam clean the carpets and wipe food off the walls {Side note: If you’re seriously considering this whole having kids thing, purchasing a Bissell hand held little green steam cleaner is a MUST. Seriously, the best money I’ve ever spent}. 

Fast forward to today and dinnertime is much, much easier. Now that Chickie can use utensils, a cup, is able to eat properly, and doesn’t need me to do everything for her it makes for less mess and a more enjoyable time together all the way around.

{THREE} The Ability to Get Shit Done…Easier.
It used to be that in order for me to get anything done around the house, I had to have Chickie attached to me at all times so that I could either A. Keep her asleep or B. Keep an eye on her. While I do still have to keep an eye on her {obviously} I can now roam freely around my home while Chickie is happy to keep herself occupied playing in her room or by watching a movie. I usually just stick my head in every so often to make sure she’s still alive and if all is good, then carry on! I’m a huge advocate for independent play time so now that she’s past the baby years and can understand simple commands, rules, and requests life is a little easier where that’s concerned.

{FOUR} Sleep.
To be honest with you, this is one I’m torn on. We haven’t had good sleep at all since Maddy was about nine months old. Seriously, I kid you not when I tell you that we’ve been sleep deprived for the past two and a half years. So why do I have this one on my list? Because it’s in the process of getting better and it certainly isn’t like the newborn days either so for that, I’m grateful. Unless you have children or a raging case of insomnia, there is no easy way to describe what lack of sleep will do to your life. And it’s not just lack of sleep – it’s a combination of the nights with a baby that isn’t sleeping coupled with either crying, sickness, or a baby that has its internal clock all jacked up. It’s brutal and it’s nothing to sneeze at so the fact that we’re getting more shut eye these days is a win in my book. Hey, sometimes you have to celebrate even the smallest of victories. 

So there’s my short little list of things that have grown to be easier for me as a parent as Chickie gets ready to turn three. I know there will be plenty of challenges ahead but also knowing that there are things that get easier with time is comforting. One thing is for sure – there’s never a dull moment in parenthood!

What are some things you’ve found to be easier for you as your little ones have grown up?

19 June 2014

Blogging?! Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!!

As a full-time working mom, I often get asked, “How do you juggle it all?” This question often makes me cringe and makes me feel as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs because honestly, I don’t juggle it all. Not even close, and most people don’t want to hear that. They want you to tell them that you have the perfect secret formula to being a super mom when really, I’m just a hot freaking mess. Just this morning I was 10 minutes late for work, smeared lipstick across the side of my face, almost ran out of gas on my way into work, and am now working on this post at my desk at work because I made zero time to do it yesterday. #iadmitit

 Zero time. So when do I find time to blog?? Well, let me back up for a second.

 I figured a few things out quickly when I started this blog:

//I would never get more hours in the day for simply deciding to take on another project.
//Blogging takes work.  It’s not gonna do it on its own.
//Albeit work, I want it to be enjoyable and fun.

Having said all of this, I think the main way I find time to blog is by remembering my priorities. I don’t blog at the expense of my child and my own well-being comes first meaning, if after I’ve put Maddy to bed and I’m exhausted, I’m not blogging. I love you guys but chances are I’m going to bed to relax and will not be up just so I can finish a blog post.

I also don’t put a lot of pressure on myself to constantly post every day. I know most bloggers will disagree with this tactic but it’s what works for me. I don’t feel the need to have to post something all the time just for the sake of posting so it really frees up my time to give me more wiggle room on being able to focus on more important things when I need to or to simply just set the blog aside for a bit. Remember the fun aspect I mentioned above? Not putting the extra stress and pressure on myself to constantly have something to say helps with keeping the fun in my dysfunctional. This space will always be here. There’s no need in rushing things.

I’m also notorious for having several blog post drafts going at once. I constantly have ideas floating around in this head of mine so I may log into my account and briefly get out those ideas and then leave it alone for a while. It also allows me time to think, research, or decide how much effort I really want to put into a particular topic or issue.

So when do I find time during the day to get it all done?

Lunch breaks at work. Quiet mornings in my office. Evenings after Chickie is asleep. Nap time on the weekends. I keep a running list of blog post ideas on my Wunderlist app and update it when a thought or idea pops up. I also keep a calendar with important dates noted for the days I definitely want to post or for reminders of link-ups but I still give myself leeway to not participate if I’m just not feeling it. I wish I could tell you that I have the magic formula for making it all happen but I don’t. The reality is that this blog is a hobby. My life as a mom, partner, and employee isn’t. Those things must, and will always, come first so really it’s all in your mind-set. The truth is that we will always make time for the things we really want to do regardless. Just remember what the priorities are.

So, that’s how I make it happen. I’m curious to know other blogger's tactics, thoughts, and ideas. How do you make it all happen as a blogger?

Linking up today with Sara at Running From the Law and so many other lovely ladies
to join in on the One Year & Beyond series!

18 June 2014

Hump Day Mommy Confessions: I'm a Liar, A Hypocrite & Dishonest

Happy Wednesday, lovelies. We’re halfway through the week so hang on! Only a few more days till the weekend. 

Today’s ‘Hump Day Mommy Confessions’ is going to be a hodge-podge of things all rolled up into one little post so bear with me today, friends.

I’ve been debating for weeks on whether or not to talk about a little feedback I received about my blog but considering that this same person who gave me the initial comments about said blog also called me a hypocrite, I guess I would be one if I didn’t talk about what’s been on my mind lately regarding this topic since I’ve pegged myself as one to “keep the talk real” so let’s dish, shall we?

I few weeks ago, I received the following comments about my blog:

“It’s a shitty little blog. I hate it.”
“You’re such a hypocrite.”
“You don’t even talk truthfully and honestly about things.”

All of these comments came from the same person who is also someone I know very well. To say that I was shocked to hear these things would be a huge understatement. It almost felt like I had been punched in the gut. I just wasn’t expecting to hear it, plain and simple. So let’s address this once and for all and move on.

I know that I’m not curing cancer with my blog. What I’m doing is nothing special. Millions of people all over the world blog each and every day and being a mommy blogger is certainly not a unique concept. There are millions of women out there writing about their lives, their kids, and how to juggle it all. I get it. I’m just a very tiny speck of sand on a very cluttered beach. Having said this, I do feel that I’ve worked hard to try and make my blog special. I started blogging for the same reasons many mothers do: to keep an electronic diary of raising their child(ren). But the more I wrote and read other blogs, I quickly learned that I wanted to do more with my little space on the Web. I found that while a lot of moms love the crafty, uplifting stuff, a lot of moms also need places where they could let their hair down to be imperfect and bitch and vent about the realities of being a parent. And that’s the purpose of Shiraz In My Sippy Cup. Come as you are, make yourself comfy, and let’s just talk about what’s really going on. Hell, stay in your pj’s if you want! But feel free to take a breath and know you’re not alone in your struggles, your thoughts, your cares, and your concerns.

But “You don’t even talk truthfully and honestly about things” you say?  Ok, let’s talk about that…

Have there been times when I’ve left out certain bits of information while talking about a particular issue or story because I was either A. Protecting the people involved who hadn’t given me permission to use their name or tell their story or B. Because not everything is for public consumption, ridicule, or scrutiny? Yep, I sure have.

Have there been times when my information may not be exactly 100% accurate because I’m referencing a story or incident that happened years ago so I’m doing my best to remember as much of the details as possible? Yep. (Hell, I’m doing great if I remember my name on a day to day basis). 

I’m guilty as charged on all accounts and I make no apologies for that because here’s the thing – while I strive to “Keep the talk real” there are certain lines a writer (and just a decent human being) doesn’t cross. So while you may think I’m being dishonest in the things I write about, the truth of the matter is that I choose to be thoughtful and considerate to the people and subject matter I discuss in my posts. It’s a thing called tact, respect, and decorum. It is also possible to write about things and be truthful about the situation without airing all the dirty laundry because really, not everything needs to be put out there. That doesn’t make a person a liar, a cheat, or a fraud. It means said person has standards, and for that, you should be grateful.

“It’s a shitty little blog. I hate it.” Well, everyone is entitled to their own opinion I guess, but the 5,000+ readers I have a month may feel differently. Oh, and let’s not forget the writing deal I just secured with a new online mom magazine where I’ll be a featured columnist each month. They must have found something in my blog that they liked albeit a “shitty” little spot on the Internet. 

“You’re such a hypocrite.” Yep, guilty as charged. I’m human. I make mistakes. I fuck up. I’m sure in my life there have been times where my mouth said one thing but my actions did another. I’m not perfect but I like to think that I’m able to own up when I make mistakes so friends, please know that if I’ve ever disappointed you in this way through my blog, you have my most sincere apologies.

In the end, do I think my blog is for everyone? No, not at all. I know there are many women who have drastically different viewpoints to mine and those who don’t feel comfortable with the things I talk about and that’s OK! To each their own. Have I tried my best? Absolutely. There is a lot that I’m still learning every day about blogging but I know in my heart that I’ve tried to do my best and do right by my readers. Truly friends, I’ve always tried my hardest to give you the honest, genuine, me. If I’ve failed you, please know how very sorry I am. My blog wouldn’t be anything if it weren’t for you guys so please know how very grateful I am for each and every one of you. Thank you for taking time out of your day and life to be a part of mine. 

On that note, I ask for your input and feedback. What do you like about Shiraz? What maybe isn’t floating your boat so much? What would you guys really like to hear me talk about? Let me know! Tell me what you love and what you don’t because truthfully, I want to know. 

Enjoy the rest of your week, friends. 

11 June 2014

Hump Day Mommy Confessions!

I caught a glimpse of myself naked the other day and nearly gasped in horror. Having a kid does a number on your body, y’all. Things just don’t go back in all the right places and I’ve been so out of shape for a while now that my body looks like something that just got squeezed through the Play dough fun factory. On the bright side, I got myself a gym membership for my birthday but to confess even more, I haven’t used it once since last week. 

Parenting a toddler is like dealing with a dictator of a foreign country. Why can’t these things simply come with instruction manuals? I think this is why I enjoy working so much. I know what is expected of me, what my job is, and there is a 99.9% chance of me doing it right the first time.

I love it when Chickie wants to play bedtime with me. She insists that I lay on the floor with a pillow and she covers me up with a blanket and says, “Mommy go to sleep!” to which I’m oh so happy to oblige. We can play this game all day long as far as I’m concerned. 

So…this one time…at band camp… when I tried to get all sexified for Michael, it all went according to plan until I started taking things off and a few Cheerios came falling out of my bra. At that point, we enjoyed a snack and decided to call it a night. #themoodhaspassed

Chickie is turning 3 in July and as of today, the only party plans I’ve made are reservations at Chuck E. Cheese’s. I really just don’t see the point in going all Pinterest bat shit crazy over 3. We did a HUGE blow-out party for 1 {To which I’m still recovering from} and to be honest, she’s turning 3. She does not care if I give her cutely decorated swizzle sticks or refreshments named after Star Wars characters. If I’m being even more honest, I really think all these theme parties are more for the moms anyway – bragging rights as such. Until Chickie gets older, has actual friends, and is really able to remember what’s going on I’m sticking with the go-make-a-mess-and-let-someone-else clean it up route. I’m telling you guys it’s worth every penny for kids this age: Pizza, cake, tokens, fun. BOOM. Done. 

What are your confessions for this week?

10 June 2014

Sloth & Gluttony - A Birthday Recap

Last week I celebrated my Birthday. 

Or as I like to refer to it - a few days week of sloth and gluttony.

I really had a great couple of days and Michael and Chickie really made this momma feel special but somehow, the only pictures I managed to get were of food.

This is so apropos for me. I would definitely be the one in the Godfather to have the line, "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli." 

I heart food.

Saturday night kicked off with a babysitter and a trip to Chops on Main. We relaxed at the bar before heading to our table. Overall, it was an OK experience. Definitely not worth the hype or the price we paid for drinks and dinner but hey - we had a babysitter for the night for the first time in months. It did not matter. Y'all know #truth when you hear it.
{I've really taken to drinking dirty vodka martinis lately. I feel like I'm seriously cheating on my wine doing this.}  

Wednesday was the big day so I decided to treat my already fat and happy ass to a homemade, fat-free meal of She-Crab soup with made from scratch croutons from the lovely 40 East Grill on the downtown market. Michael will disagree with me on this but I like 40 East Grill. They buy their produce from local farmers and try to make the majority of their menu "farm to table." Our first experience here a few months ago was a little shaky because our risotto was a little crunchy {Cue an angry Gordon Ramsay "fucking risotto!!" moment} but they can cook the hell out of some scallops. And the drinks? Get out of here. 

{I can't lie. As I post this, I'm thinking this would be really good for lunch...}  

Wednesday night found us once again with a babysitter {!!} and another dinner reservation at an amazing local restaurant named South & Vine. The owner of South & Vine opened this restaurant a couple of years ago when he decided to leave his cushy job in IT because, to quote him, "I was tired of getting pissed off having to eat crappy food all the time."

Fair enough.

The food was unbelievable and I'm pretty sure South & Vine became our new favorite spot here in the 'Boro. I'm still dreaming about the potato fritters that came with my salmon. 

{Friend green tomato appetizer}
{Salmon, potato fritters, and some kind of delicious sauce that I wanted to drink by the stawful. I'm such a culinary wizard, aren't I?!}
{Creme brulee. AH. MAZ. BALLS.}
So there you have it. My world-wind food tour Birthday delight. In all fairness, it should be noted that the Birthday present I bought for myself was a gym membership...which I haven't used...yet. 
I'm getting there.
Have a great week, friends!