Loving on our (germy) local library {Rookie Moms Challenge #18}

Challenge # 18: Check out the Library is one of 52 challenges for new moms on this site.

Baby's first outing to the library #rookiemoms

Easy peasy. After our previous Cruise Director meltdown, I felt sure that checking out the library would prove to be a walk in the park, literally.

I am really lucky to live in a town with an AWESOME library. A couple of years ago they tore down an old dingy thing with a sign out front reading “Public Library” (much like the library I would frequent as a kid, smells and all) and replaced it with the type of building I have regularly argued devours small town character and turns America into one big strip mall. But in this case, they did it right. All that glass and chrome results in a library that glimmers like a shrine. The city built it and the people have come! This library is hoppin’. It’s got the triple f’s covered; fancy, free, and fun.

The Gear

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Baby buggy
  • Library card

Baby's first outing to the library #rookiemoms

Riley and I pulled it together and headed out the door in record time. After having my face re-arranged during the last challenge, I decided not to over think this one.

The library is just a 15-minute walk from my house. It is also located right on our civic park. I’m not really ready to take this babe to play at the park, but I am guessing he’ll want to go at some point. For now, he can’t sit up and I don’t really feel like listening to other kids scream and run amok. Plus there is the germ factor.

I am a serious germaphobe, a quality much challenged in my years spent traveling abroad on a budget. Exposure and necessity will cure you of a great many things, but hand sanitizer is still my friend. My best friend, actually.

Riley and I trolled the perimeter of the playground at the far end of the park where, to my surprise, there was a whole ring of mothers, on their own, away from the screams, shaking tiny bottles of hand-sani and wiping down everything in sight. My people. We hang out on the fringes. Now I know where to come to hit on a (germ-free) new mama!

But I digress. On to the library. Piece of cake. Strolled right in, and even checked out a little light reading. Things were going so well I decided we’d take the grand tour and check out all the facilities. Changing stations in the clean bathrooms – check. Private conference/study rooms – sweet. Café, yes, CAFÉ – ooh la la.  This is my kind of place.

I should mention: Riley is such a quiet baby, sometimes I forget he can wail with the best of them. I guess he thought the far corner of our tour would be a good time to remind me. So we strolled in and we screamed out.  I guess a little noise was all he needed, that and a high-five.

Rookie Moms Challenge #18, we SO checked you out.

Dusty Sleeves

  • Aside from the germiness of any public place, especially those where children roam, I dealt with it. Checked out a copy of The Vaccine Book, by Dr.Sears while I was dealing.
  • Riley’s squealing at the end took me totally be surprise. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that he might cry. There is only one thing to do when your baby starts screaming in the library: Run! Fast!

 Best Sellers

  •  I’m glad I had a chance to scope out the park, it was great to see some mamas, like me, hanging out on the fringe.
  • The library was totally do-able. A quick walk, some fresh air, and an environment to stimulate both of our developing brains. I give it an A+.

 Baby's first outing to the library #rookiemoms

[Photo credit: Suzanne Curletto — all rights reserved]

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babies

Editor’s Note: We recommend the library as an outing for new moms because the children’s sections feature places to read and snuggle with baby; schedules for baby circle times are posted; and there may be other free resources to discover. Make sure to put a library visit on your maternity leave bucket list. Find more baby activities in the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.

My first attempt hiking with a baby {Rookie Moms Challenge #16}

My first real hike with a babyI think of myself as a nature girl. I would say my friends think of me that way as well. Truth be told, I feel as though it has been 1,000 years since I’ve been outside. OK, I do check the mailbox every so often and try to walk down to Main Street once in a while. But the last time I was really outside? Like, with fresh air, trees, and squirrels? It’s been forever. A sad, sad, guilty, forever. The desire has been there, just not the motivation. I was especially eager to tackle Challenge #16 Walk into Nature.

So it is today – come rain or shine – my son, we will head up the mountain for a little earth and sky!

The Gear

  • 2 carriers, one front facing (which he loves) one inward facing (which he loathes).
  • Sunhats (check out Urban Baby Bonnets) and sweatshirts.
  • Cell phone with a fancy “map my hike” app.
  • A somewhat under-developed open space map.

Although it took longer for us to get in the car and buckled up than it took for us to get to the trailhead, we were still off to a good start. I’ll admit, I began with an alternative and sneaky motive. You see, I really, really, want my little man to like his inward facing carrier. There are so many great features! It’s like a perma-hug!

My first real hike with a baby

We can use it until he’s in first grade! Plus I’ve recently been made aware of the Anti-Crotch Dangler Gang. These mamas are a little scary, and outspoken, about the pitfalls and dangers of outward facing carriers. Luckily we haven’t tangled with them in person, but Google “Crotch Dangler”, I dare you. Alas, every time I put him in his inward facing carrier he cries, and then screams, and then does what I call his “turtle yurdle” the saddest sob you will ever hear – which puts the poor guy past the point of no return.

Anyway –

I was thinking, “Hey! I’ll take Riley on this great nature hike so that he can get used to facing inward.” He can peek over my shoulder and see trees and the sky, breathe the fresh air, bounce along over the bumps and ruts, it’ll all be enough to distract him from his predicament. He’ll love it, right? Wrong. After 10 minutes hiking and shushing, and screaming he won out with a yurdle of his turtle. We turned back to the car for Ol’ Faithful and I was rewarded with a happy outward facing camper. So we hiked, we explored, we conquered a largish hill and soaked up the views.

My first real hike with a baby

The Descents

  • I ended up acting as a human shield for all of Riley’s exposed bits. We stuck to the shade and under-brim with just a dash of Vitamin D rich rays.
  • The “largish hill” was really pretty steep and I really started to understand why someone would sport one of those dorky framed-backpack contraptions for hikes, and heck, around town. I was so scared I was going to do a face-plant, going up and down.
  • The map app was crap. And so was the real map. Next time I’ll scout the trail beforehand for less getting lost action.

The Ascents

  • Fresh air, I love you. I’ve missed you so.
  • There is something very primal about being in nature with your baby. It really feels like that’s where they belong, or where we belong, I should say.
  • I’m inspired to find some more baby-friendly hikes. Less hilly, more shady.
  • I’m even more inspired to get Daddy-O to babysit next time while I clear my head in the great wide open.

My first real hike with a baby

[All photos by me, Suzanne Curletto, all rights reserved]

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babiesFind more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.

The new mom challenge I didn’t want to do {Rookie Moms Challenge #17}

When I first discovered RookieMoms.com, it must have been by googling “What to do if you are a mom” at 3:45 AM. And hallelujah, the clouds parted. A list! A challenge! A saving grace! This would help me get back on track. This would help me figure out what to do with my new-momhood. This would get me back to myself. I gobbled up the list – save one. Nasty ol’ Number 17.

Good GAWD, I have been putting this one off.

I am so happy that I stumbled upon Rookie Moms and their 52 challenges. SO glad. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. There I was, beginning to sink. I don’t know if you could call it depression – maybe it is just coming to terms. Staring into the mirror, I barely recognized myself. And it wasn’t just the slightly disheveled, unkempt hair, new mom “look”, because honestly, I had plenty of those days before I was a new mom. This was something deeper. This was the mantra that I have been repeating for the last 4 months “I can’t believe I am a mom” personified. This is the mantra that unknowingly was echoed by friends and family “I can’t believe YOU are a mom.” Maybe it was about to hit me like a ton of bricks? I am a mom. Holy shit.

Become a cruise director #rookiemoms challenge 17

#17 – Become a Cruise Director

Plan out your week and write up the schedule. Pick an activity and a time and tell everyone who might be available that they are welcome to join you.

You see – this challenge is my jam – this IS who I am (was?).

send out an email with your whole week to get your friends excited about how much fun you are about to have over the next seven days. – See more at: http://www.rookiemoms.com/act-like-julie-from-the-love-boat/#sthash.hC0YIdqA.dpuf

I was a tour guide in Europe for 10 years. I am a travel consultant: I started an international adventure company with my husband last year. I do and I direct and I schedule and I organize for a living and because I love it. But all of that is on hold. I feel like all of what I am has been put on hold.

Getting on board for all of these challenges has been fun. While what I really feel like doing is hiding away, these weekly duties keep me marching on. And even I, the one who has become the ultimate home-body, can make it out once a week for the gratification of checking off a challenge. But #17 – this is too much. Sailing this ship is a bitch. But come hell or high water we are ending this here and now. Time to come to terms. Time to ride the storm.

The Gear

  • 1 super-ego
  • 1 (10) glass(es) of wine (I wish)
  • Pen and paper
  • My phone
  • Sheer will and determination

Become a cruise director for your baby #rookiemoms challenge 17

Am I ridiculous that this one little challenge has become my arch nemesis? (Don’t answer that.) I have thought on it for weeks – put it off for weeks. It’s been lurking in the corners.

Get on board, Suzanne. This isn’t so hard. Call your friends! Organize some fun outings! Get your life together for the love of god! I even thought about faking it.

“Oh yeah, my week as cruise director was simply fabulous” “I wore heels, danced ’till dawn, went to museums, sailed the bay, marvelous dahling, marvelous.” But no, I’ve been battling my demons, duking it out in the trenches. Really, really, trying. Come on girl, your ol’ self is in here somewhere, get on with it!

And you know what? I’ve made progress. Not a ton. I haven’t come out the other end nearly as chipper as I hoped. But through all the writing, list making, scheduling attempts, a genuine effort to get out and socialize, I can see the shore. This whole new mom thing isn’t harder than I thought it would be — it’s not easier either — this was a transition that I expected. I knew a big change was coming, I’ve been prepared. But all of that knowing and mental preparation doesn’t make it easier — or harder — I guess it’s just something I’ve got to get through.

Become a cruise director #rookiemoms challenge 17

So, in the end, my schedule of events didn’t amount to much. I don’t think anyone wants to hop aboard and set sail with this mothership. What I did do was make some long overdue phones calls to some great friends. I spoke with my grandmother (a mother at age 21 with five children to follow) about anxiety and how it is to be a new mom, I talked to myself…a lot. I cleared off my workspace and cleared out my head.

Instead of trying to save face, telling everyone how busy I am, or what a huge stack of work I have to deal with, I’ve switched gears. I’m focusing on being able to fully enjoy my job as Riley’s mom, directing drool, scheduling snuggles, and organizing onesies.

Become a cruise director for your baby #rookiemoms challenge 17

Low Tide

  • When I say I have been putting this off for weeks I ain’t lyin’ I’ve HATED and DREADED this challenge.
  • I’ve even written this post twice. Twice! My first draft magically erased itself. Just when I thought I was nearly done, I was faced anew, with a blank page.
  • Sheesh, talk about taming your inner demons. Those little buggers have exhausted me.

High Tide

  • The best thing about this challenge is that it is over- HA!
  • #17 you got me asking the big questions. And while I may not have all the answers, I am on course for finding my way.
  • This challenge will make every other challenge look like a cakewalk. Thank god – I love cake.

Become a cruise director for your baby #rookiemoms challenge 17

Rookie Mom Merit BadgePhew. At least I have a clean desk.

Find more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.

My amazing post-baby manicure {Rookie Moms Challenge #8}

My amazing post-baby manicure

Is it wrong that painting Riley’s feet had me skipping ahead directly to the mama-deserves-a-pedicure paint my own toes challenge? Well, it was truly out of my hands. It just happened to be my birthday and I was kidnapped by a friend who must be a mind reader. She treated me to a pedi AND a mani!

Dad stayed home with baby boy and my tootsies walked ran for that vibrating massage chair to soak up every moment of pampering. The pedicure was heaven, but the manicure, the manicure my friends, was to die for!

The Gear

  • I pretty much forgot everything at home in my excitement.
  • I did remember my partially charged phone (the boys did great, but, just in case).
  • Fortunately my new mom uniform of yoga pants and flip-flops were perfectly en vogue at the salon.

So what was so great about this manicure anyway? How did it beat out a half-hour foot massage and a thorough scrub? Get this: my fancy-schmancy gel manicure CHANGES COLOR! What?! Oh yeah baby. From bright red to deep purple and it’s sparkly to boot. Now, I wouldn’t classify a gel manicure as a cheap thrill, but my swanky digits have kept me easily entertained for 12 days and counting. No chips, super shiny, and did I mention? They change color!

My fingernails change color, yes they do

Y’all simply MUST request this polish at your local spa. Scrimp, save, do what you have to do for a gel/shellac color changing mani (or pedi!). I’ve been seeing great deals all over Groupon.

Diaper changes have become glamorous and bath-time double the fun!

The baby was home with Daddy while I got my nails done

The Duds

  • No complaints. No complaints at all!
  • Well, except that I missed my little buddy terribly.

The Delights

First off, my nails change color with the temperature. They change color, people!

The only other customers in the shop were another mama and her 8-year-old boy. He was equal parts embarrassed and thrilled. He kept squealing “that tickles!” or sighing, “I’m so relaxed”. He enjoyed the whole experience to his core and we all enjoyed the simple pleasure of his company. It had me thinking, “Riley, give it a few years, you’re next”.

[Photos by me, Suzanne Curletto, all rights reserved]

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babiesFind more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.

My Creative Moms’ Night Out {Rookie Moms Challenge #10}

I have to thank the Rookie Moms, Heather and Whitney, for helping to break my creative slump. Sincerely, I could not be more grateful. What with all of this painting I have been doing, when faced with Rookie Moms Challenge #10 Plan a moms’ night out with some friends,  I was inspired to choose a night of making art with my friends rather than a night of tequila shots and booty-shaking. See how refined I’ve become?

Suzanne is ready for her artsy moms night out

I figured what better way to spend an evening than with some good friends, wine (a friend indeed), and more paints? Have you noticed all of these studios stocked with easels and bars popping up? I think they are the best idea. If I were still dating (sigh), I would coerce each and every victim into this type of date, rather than the typical dinner and a movie.

Groupon came to the rescue, and I coerced my friends into grabbing a sweet deal for a three-hour painting class. Together we headed for Pinot’s Palette, a local “paint and sip” franchise. We arrived to find about twenty other people of every make and model ready to roll up their sleeves, sip some wine, and learn a little something new.

Moms Night Out idea: Pinot's Pallete

The gear

  • Makeup
  • Cute top
  • Heels

Much of the hour I set aside for myself to get ready to hit the town was mysteriously used up not getting ready. I am pretty sure I was wandering around aimlessly for a good portion of it, somewhat dazed. Mostly I was thinking, “How the hell am I going to stay awake until the class is over at 10:00pm?”

Somehow I managed to pull myself together and even got the “hubba-hubba” seal of approval from the hubby. This time I was nervous leaving the guys. All told, between dinner, travel and the class, I would be gone for the next 6 hours. Call if he runs out of milk, call if something bad happens, call if you panic, call me for any reason, in fact – just call me, were my parting words.

Planning an artsy moms night out

The Drips
To the sleep-deprived and deranged 10:00pm is really late. After feeling somewhat guilty that halfway through the class, engrossed in my brushstrokes I forgot I had a baby, I tiptoed home through the backdoor genuinely sad that my little one was already asleep for the night, without me.

The Divine
Painting class was fun. Really fun. It was a great group of people and there were plenty of laughs as well as a collective gasp of horror when we were ready to add human figures to the canvas we had toiled over for the last 2 hours.

Now that I’ve experienced it firsthand, I am sold. This is seriously the most fun to be had on a night out, whether it’s a date, girl’s night, or a birthday party. OK, OK, it takes a close second to tequila shots and booty-shaking anyway.

Planning an artsy moms night out

(And look at my souvenir!)

photos courtesy Suzanne Curletto and Pinot’s Palette website

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babiesFind more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.

Paint my baby’s footprint on a tile {Rookie Moms Challenge #6}

Put a baby footprint on pottery rookiemoms challenge

It’s amazing how “You haven’t done ______ with your baby yet?!” from even a passing bystander can sound a lot like “You are a failure as a mom”. Sheesh, talk about escalating quickly. In this case yes, it was “You haven’t done your baby’s footprints yet?!” which has caused me to lay awake many a night vowing to add it to the never-ending to-do list in the morning. So I was somewhat relieved to have it come up as our 6th challenge: Paint your baby’s feet onto pottery for posterity. More out of guilt than anything else, these damn footprints are something I have been meaning to do.

The Gear

  • My trusty BFF
  • Coupon saved to my phone for the local Color Me Mine
  • Baby fed, changed, and BLISSFULLY asleep (score one for Mama!)
  • The stroller plus diaper bag laden with supplies for any given catastrophe

And, we were off! We even walked to Color Me Mine. Magically we were the first to arrive just as the doors were opening. We quickly got down to business. A little artsy-crafty, a few inappropriate jokes, and some down and dirty gossip. I was in heaven. My BFF kept saying “We should do this more often”, and babe, bless him, was still asleep. Before I knew it TWO hours had passed! As if on cue, the little man woke up, happy as could be. Time to stamp these puppies for posterity.

Put a baby footprint on pottery rookiemoms challenge

The Downs

  • Argh! Lost my e-coupon, what’s wrong with me?
  • Despite being up half the night wondering if the glaze is toxic to a baby’s sensitive skin – I forgot to ask before his piglets were slathered with the stuff. As the assistant is painting away she says “and don’t worry, this is totally non-toxic”. So that’s that.

The Ups

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, getting out of the house was a 10. Hanging with my best friend was an 11. Getting a little creativity back into my life was off the charts. It felt SO good.
  • I LOVE my plate. I MISS my plate. Is that insane? I think I miss it so much because my little man’s adorable tootsie prints are all over it. I imagine him at 5 years old saying “Mommy? Was I really that small?” I’ll say yes, but I’ll be thinking, “You have no idea.”
  • We now have an outing planned for next week, to pick up the finished product. I can hardly wait!

Putting  a baby footprint on a tile: rookiemoms challenge

Rookie Moms Challenges -- weekly adventures for moms and babiesFind more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges. If you’re already participating, use hashtag #rookiemoms on instagram or twitter so we can cheer each other on.