Currently | August 2018

It’s only been two and a half years since I last published a post here, but I’ve been feeling inspired and San’s post today gave me the push I needed to share something.

USING | Trello, a paper planner, Dubsado (okay, let’s be honest here. I just bought it, but I still have no clue how to use it.) and SmarterQueue.

WEARING | the most comfortable clothes I can find. I’m generally in dresses, yoga pants, maternity shirts, or pajamas at this point in my pregnancy. It’s nice to be a pregnant work-from-home mom for this very reason.

READING | You Are A Badass At Making Money by Jen Sincero. I just recently figured out how to make my library app work on my Kindle Paperwhite, and it’s a glorious feeling

WATCHING | Sneaky Pete on Prime. Just finished the most recent season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix.

MAKING | dinner? It hasn’t been a very creative month (with projects or with dinner!)

LOOKING FORWARD TO | this weekend a few family members and close friends are throwing me a sprinkle to welcome the new baby. If you don’t know what a sprinkle is, it’s a toned down version of a baby shower. Usually just a small group of people are invited and they bring a tiny gift, like diapers or a small gift card instead of purchasing a bunch of stuff off a registry. I was so honored when my best friend told me they were planning this for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone together.

EATING |  My diet this month has been a lot of peanut butter toast, hard boiled eggs, cereal, burgers, grapes, cherries, and ice cream. I’m okay with that.

DRINKING | tons of water. I’ve been cutting up watermelon rinds and freezing them and using them to keep my water cold and give it a bit of flavor. So yummy.

THINKING | that I still have no clue what I’ll name this baby.

ENJOYING | being pregnant. This will be my last baby, and I love being pregnant. Sure, it’s got a ton of weird aches and pains and awkward things that come with pregnancy, but I truly love having a baby grow inside of me, and am so grateful I got to experience this.

EXCITED | to meet my baby in a little over a month from now. I guess I should preface this to say that I’m both excited and extremely anxious. I remember how difficult the newborn days can be.

LISTENING TO | commercials on the radio. Because seriously, every single time I turn the radio on in my car all I hear are commercials and it’s driving me bananas.

TRYING | to sort through old baby clothes to find the most gender neutral options and also trying to get my business in order before I take a short maternity leave once baby arrives.

What’s up with you currently?

2015: A Year in Review

I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe transition into the new year. Every year I like to do a look back at the previous year before starting fresh.  Here’s my overview of 2015. 

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1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

Well, I had a baby for the very first time. I breastfed for the first time. I took a 13-week maternity leave from work, which was the first time I didn’t work in some capacity since I was in middle school.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions this year. I did choose a word of the year, and yes, I will definitely do that again this year. I think I’m going to try to make more goals for 2016, but I’ll save those for a separate blog post.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! It was the year of babies. 4 of my 7 bridesmaids had babies in 2015, and so did I, among many other friends!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. Unfortunately quite a few people passed away. Both my good friend and my great aunt passed away. Two of Mr. O’s uncles died, as well as one of the best mentors I’ve ever had in my life.

5. What countries did you visit?

None – I stayed in America this whole year.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn’t have in 2015?

More money! I’m very grateful for the salary and bonus freelancing money that I made in 2015. In 2016, I plan on working harder and smarter to earn even more than I did this year.

7. What dates from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?

The day I had my baby. That was a pretty big day for me.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?

Definitely carrying, laboring and birthing a child. Childbirth (and the growing process leading up to it) is no joke. Oh, and surviving all those months of infancy.

9. What was your biggest failure?

“Failure?” Well, I don’t like to focus on “failures,” but if I could pick anything it would be that I failed at my labor progressing. I know I didn’t do anything wrong in any way. The baby simply didn’t want to be delivered in the same way that we all wanted her to come. It would have just been nice to either 1) know I was going to get a c-section or 2) not go through all those days of labor at the hospital. If I would have known it would be a c-section earlier, I would have just scheduled it, showed up, and BAM – baby would be here. Instead, it was a hot mess of a few days.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, but I did have a c-section and a few minor colds.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Christmas presents for the people I love? I don’t really know. I didn’t spent a lot of money in 2015 on things. We went to NH once, so that’s always a good way to enjoy our hard-earned money.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Wolverine. He’s a great big brother. It’s a big change when you’re an only child (with two households) for 9 years to all of a sudden being a big brother, and he’s handled it with ease.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled or depressed?

My baby. It’s tough having a newborn. I don’t mean to blame her for any of her “behaviors,” either. She is simply learning about the world around her. She had to learn how to eat, sleep, breath, etc. However, it can be depressing to function on little sleep while feeling clueless as to what your baby needs.

14. Where did most of your money go?

I think we spent very wisely this year. Coming off the holiday season, I feel as if this year, money was spent on gifts. When I look over the year I see birthdays, weddings, and holidays of many special people.

15. What did you get really excited about?

Waiting to have a baby. Growing when I was pregnant. I was one of those pregnant ladies who loved being pregnant. It was all so new and magnificent to me.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?

“Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. I’ve always loved it very much, but it was extra special this year.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
possibly fatter, but about the same
c) richer or poorer? 
I’d say about the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Summertime activities. Summer ceased to exist because of either being too pregnant or the baby being too new.

Oh, and sleep. I love sleep, and I certainly wish I did more in the second half of the year!

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing. I stressed a lot in the second half of the year (new babies have a tendency to make you worry!). It’s almost impossible to completely live in the moment when you have a little one, but I sure wish I could have stressed less and enjoyed more.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With my husband and our two children. We spent Christmas eve at my parent’s house. Then Mr. O and Wolverine went to my in-law’s house. Wolverine woke us up in the morning and we opened presents with him while Little C slept in the next room. My parents then came over to exchange gifts with us, and the baby decided to wake up and join in on the fun. After all of that we went to my in-law’s for a gift exchange and then Wolverine went to his mother’s house. The afternoon was lunch at my parents and second lunch at my sister-in-law’s. It was a busy tiring couple of days.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

I fell in love on the day I had Baby O. I fall in love every day with my husband, and my love grows deeper every day for my son, family and friends.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

Walking Dead & Narcos

23. What was the best book you read?

A Place to Stand by Jimmy Santiago Baca

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Watching Little C play the piano with her Grampy. She loves it!

25. What did you want and get?

A healthy baby girl.

26. What did you want and not get?

Sleep! (This is starting to sound repetitive.)

27. What was your favorite film of 2015?


28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

The day started off watching Wolverine play fall ball and enjoying a pumpkin-flavored coffee. Then my four-person family did our own fantasy football draft, and we finished the evening with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. My baby gave me an extremely difficult time to fall asleep. My boys ate snacks and fell asleep without me, and I finished my evening all alone with a candle in and ice cream cone!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?


30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2015?

Evolving. I spent a little more than 1/2 of the year growing, so I transitioned out of my “normal” clothing into maternity clothes. Then, after you have a baby, your body doesn’t know what fits and what doesn’t. So my style concept of the year was definitely one in transition.

I pretty much wore the same outfits over and over and over again. And I still am now.

31. What kept you sane?

My two best friends. They both had children before me. One has a three year old boy and a baby boy who is ten weeks older than Baby O. The other has a baby boy who is six months older. I’m so grateful to them for keeping me in check and teaching me along the way.

But it wasn’t just those two. It was my community of close friends, colleagues, even acquaintances. My community made this year immensely better.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?

The Supreme Court ruled that all marriages – between a man and woman, woman and woman, or man and man – are legal. What an incredible day that was. It was my absolute favorite political issue because for once we were talking about growth as a nation, not regression.

33. Who did you miss?

I miss my memere. I thought of her a lot when I was pregnant and after I had the baby. I wish she could have been here to meet my child. I also wish she could have made her little baby booties that she made for all the newborns she met. She passed away just a week before her 102nd birthday, so in some ways, it felt like she’d be in my life forever. I believe she’s looking down on my baby and smiling, but it would have been nice to see that little smile up close.

34. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

Patience – with everyone, including yourself.

The baby is learning everything in life, be patient. The husband is in the same shoes as you, learning about the baby and guessing at what to do, be patient. The son is growing and developing his own little personality, be patient. The friends and family have opinions which are all kind-hearted, even if you don’t want to hear it, be patient.

35. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“Good times never seemed so good.”

Currently in November 2015


Reading: Remember how excited I was about finally getting my library card? Go ahead and ask me about what I’ve read this month: a whole bunch of nothing. I started back to work in the final week of October, and between that and some freelance work, I haven’t had the time to get any personal reading done.

Listening: While I was unable to do any reading, I was able to listen to two audiobooks during my work commute. I finished House Rules by Jodi Picoult and The Fault In Our Stars by John Greene.

Excited: to see my good friend who came up from Virginia for a quick visit.

Watching: Narcos, Walking Dead

Wearing: I’m not really enjoying my clothing choices. I feel uncomfortable in things that feel too small (which is a lot of my closet), but I also don’t feel any stress to lose any more weight at this time. I’m hoping that bringing down my winter clothing will offer me some more selection. We’ll see.

Wishing: that the baby learns (quickly) how to calm herself and fall asleep on her own. This is our newest baby struggle. It’s always something. I hate hearing the baby cry, but I also want her to learn how to sleep without assistance. Wish me luck and send positive thoughts my way.

Drinking: water or coffee, but much more water than coffee.

Loving: that it is almost time for our Elf on the Shelf to return for the holidays. I love Logan!

Loathing: Death and the despair someone must feel when they commit suicide. We’re only 1/2 way into the month, and I’ve had to deal with some pretty crazy shit. A good friend – someone I really cared about – committed suicide last week. I’m not really ready to write about it, because I don’t even quite know how I feel about it right now. All I can say is that it’s horrible and so very sad.

Admiring: people who band together to help their loved ones in a time of need. In the past week, I’ve watched as people I know or do not know have been there for my friend in her time of need.

Are you enjoying your November so far? Hold your loved ones close and enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, and October.

The 8th Anniversary


source (and yes, I’m temporarily using the same picture as last year)

Today’s the 8th anniversary of a very important day.

It’s been eight years since the day I officially became a nonsmoker. I don’t have much to say about it that I haven’t said in the past few years.

The only thing different this year is that I have a beautiful new baby. Whenever I think of smoking, I look at her and think about how horrified I’d be if she were to ever smoke a cigarette. I’m so glad that I stopped smoking years before she was born. I feel so fortunate that she’ll never see me smoking, and I’ll never be a bad example to her.

I feel so fortunate that my daughter will always look to me as a nonsmoker.

Eight years feels good.

Learn How To Make Banana Bread With These Simple Steps


I’m a shy baker.

I want to be a talented treat maker. I’d love to make homemade cookies and pies and bread, but the idea of it all makes me nervous. There is so much I don’t know about baking, so most of the time instead of learning, I just buy my baked goods. But that isn’t the Erin I want to be. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have no problem purchasing yummy deliciousness, but I want enjoy baking when I have the time.

A few months ago an acquaintance posted on Facebook about the banana bread she was making that afternoon. I hadn’t eaten banana bread in years, and because I had a few too-ripe bananas on my kitchen counter, I decided I wanted to make some as well.

Now, I didn’t know how to make banana bread, so I did what I do best – I asked Google. Have you ever googled, “how to make banana bread?” There are tons of recipes out there, and there are so many variations of what to include. I picked what seemed to be the most simple banana bread recipe, and it turned out great. Since then I’ve made banana bread quite a few times. What can I say? I tend to buy bananas and forget to eat them. Every time I’ve baked banana bread I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit, and I think I’m finally happy with the results.

I hope you enjoy!


  • 3 ripe (or slightly over-ripe) bananas (sometimes I go crazy and use 4!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of butter (melted)
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

How to make banana bread: The instructions


  1. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside. It’s going to be important in just a little bit.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it warm up while you combine all the ingredients.
  3. While the oven is heating up, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the bananas, egg, sugar, and butter together.
  5. Next, stir the dry mix into the new gooey mixture until everything is combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the greased pan and pop it in the oven. It’s time to cook this banana bread!
  7. This next part depends on your own oven. It took my oven about 45 minutes to cook the banana bread, but it took a friend an hour in her oven. Do you know how to tell if your banana bread is ready? Use a toothpick to test the center of the bread. If it comes out clean, it’s ready!

I’m dying add to this simple banana bread recipe. The next one I make will either be a chocolate chip banana bread or an apple and peanut butter banana bread.

Do you know how to make banana bread? What variations have you made from the standard recipe? Let me know in the comments!

This entry was posted in Food.

Currently in October 2015


Reading: Colic Solved, by Bryan Vartabedian

Guys, I finally got a library card, and I am so excited about it. My reading time with a newborn is pretty sparse, but it is still so fun to place holds on books I’ve been wanting to read instead of buying them all, when I’m not even sure the book is what I’m looking for.

In family news, Wolverine started the “Book It” reading program at his school. Did you guys do this when you were a kid? I did, and because I was a super geek, I loved the program then just as much as I love it now. The only bummer is that Wolverine doesn’t so much love Pizza Hut, and that’s the reward for the reading. Oh, well. He’s a kid that enjoys competition, so I’m sure he will still enjoy the “Book It” program (almost) as much as I did.

Listening: I don’t know why it took me this long, but I finally figured out a smart way to spend my time while breastfeeding in the middle of the night. In the past two months I had spent those hours checking email or scrolling through Facebook or clicking on every app in my phone. Well, that and watching television with no volume in my bedroom. Have I ever mentioned that I only really get about one good station in my bedroom? Yeah, the struggle was real. I don’t know why I feel the need to fill all my moments of time, but let’s just say it was monotonous and boring after a while.

Anyway, On October 1st, something clicked, and I brought my headphones to my normal nursing area and started listening to my audiobooks on my cell phone while feeding the baby. This was perfect because I wouldn’t wake up Mr. O with the volume, but I’d have something “productive” to do. Can you tell I’m pretty excited about this?

Excited: to begin the process of putting together issue 07 for Spry Literary Journal. I hate declining work, but I love accepting the prose and poetry of so many talented writers.

Watching: Just started watching Walking Dead and Blacklist again now that the shows are back on the air. Also going through my Netflix queue and watching a bunch of documentaries. I’ll tell you if I find anything I like a lot.

Wearing: the same outfits over and over again.

Wishing: I spoke way too soon last month when I wished that the baby would continue to take a bottle. Let’s just say that she took a bottle for about a week and has since refused it. Since my last post I’ve purchased probably all of the recommended bottles for breastfed babies, and we’re working our way through them to see what she will like best. I could honestly use some positive thoughts on this one, so send them my way. Also, I’ll take any advice on the subject, if you have any.

Update as of 10/15: the baby started taking the bottle again! She’s been consistantly drinking at least one bottle a day (sometimes it’s only a half ounce, other times it’s almost four ounces!) for about a week or so, and I couldn’t be happier. (But the above still holds true. It took about a month to get her to drink from a bottle again!)

Drinking: Trying to drink as much water as possible to stay hydrated. Some days I drink about 80oz of water. Other days I only make about 20 oz. My goal is 65oz a day for the month of October.

Loving: my family.

Loathing: the head cold that the baby and I got at the beginning of the month. I hate being sick, but it is so much worse when you are sick, and you have a sick baby. There’s nothing worse than seeing your child suffer and not be able to do much about it (and feeling ill at the same time!).

Admiring: working mothers. My maternity leave ends at the end of this month, and let me tell you, I am not ready for it to be over. This entire leave has flown by. When you’re a new mom, your head is so in the clouds just keeping up with every new struggle, change, milestone met, etc. I really feel as if I just had the baby a few weeks ago; I can’t believe she is almost three months old.

But back to the point. When I was on maternity leave, I missed work… a lot. I missed being productive and feeling as if I had real brain cells and good ideas. There is a part of me that is so excited about returning to work. I miss my friends. I miss my clients. I miss the feeling of creativity and meeting deadlines and everything that comes along with my position. I’ve always been a hard worker, so it’s been tough in many ways to be home.

On the flip side, I love being a mother. I love being home with my baby, and time flies by so quickly that I feel as if I have barely experienced it all. Part of me is just so nervous to go back to work because I won’t be able to take care of my baby. Will she eat while I’m gone? (Remember, she is refusing the bottle). Will she cry the entire time I’m gone? Will someone be there to comfort her? Will we be able to take care of her ourselves or will we need to get her in daycare asap? How will we know which daycare to send her to? Will it be safe? Can we afford it? Regardless of who she is with while I’m at work, I’m worried about what her day will look like.

Living this working professional/new mom life has really opened my eyes to the struggle of women who want a career and a family as well. If you ask me, it seems almost impossible to be fully vested in both. Maybe that is just my nerves talking, but even before I begin, I can’t imagine being able to give 100% of myself to both areas. And I don’t want either to suffer, because I truly love both areas of my life.

So I admire you working moms who make it all happen. I admire you for staying true to yourself and your career goals, while also doing what is best for your family.

How has October treated you so far? Fall is in the air here in Massachusetts, and I’m already nervous about the upcoming winter. Right now I’m just trying to enjoy this beautiful season, and I hope you are, too!

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and September.

Can You Make Instant Pudding With Almond Milk?

IMG_8222Trying to eliminate dairy from your diet?

Can you make instant pudding with almond milk? I tried it, and I’ll tell you all about it.

For a while we were wondering if the baby was allergic to cow’s milk. I was trying to eliminate dairy from my diet to see how she reacted to the change. Do you know how hard it is to not eat dairy? Dairy is in everything!

I don’t often think when making decisions. For example, I wanted to make dirt pie for Mr. O for his birthday (talk about a dairy-fest right there!), so I went to the store to buy some pudding. Of course I found a bunch of fun flavors like Banana Cream Pie and Cookies and Cream that I wanted to get and eat on a separate occasion – so I did. It wasn’t until I got home and started to make the dirt pie that I realized the only ingredient I need to make pudding was milk, and a lot of it!

That doesn’t work for a dairy-elimination diet, now does it?

Anyway, since I use almond milk instead instead of cow’s milk for other things like coffee and cereal, I assumed I could use it in pudding as well. I don’t know what made me Google it before trying it, but I’m glad I did.

Turns out, it says right on the package that you can’t use soy milk to make pudding. But what about a different alternative. Can you make instant pudding with almond milk? If you Google it, the answers are varied. Some people say that you can – though you need to use less than you would for cow’s milk. Other posts say that you can use almond milk if you also use cornstarch.

I didn’t know what option was best, so I figured I would try both.

Can you make instant pudding with almond milk? The Instructions

The first thing I did was try the less almond milk option. If you’re wondering how much almond milk to use, it’s simple: use half as much almond milk as you would use cow’s milk. For the box of pudding I used, it meant that I used one cup of almond milk and the packaged powder. The rest of the directions are the same. Simply beat the mixture until it thickens (about 2 minutes for me) and then refrigerate for a short period of time before serving. I wasn’t planning on eating the pudding until later that evening, so I just covered it and left it alone.

Can you make instant pudding with almond milk? The Outcome


Mixing the one cup of almond milk with the package powder was just as easy as doing it the old way. Refrigerating it was also just as easy. The taste was great.

The texture? Well, that is the only thing that was a little bit off. And when I say it was a little bit, I only mean a itty bitty tiny amount different. I think it tasted a little thicker than when using cow’s milk, so I added a tiny bit more almond milk to the mixture. It helped a little, but I still think there is a small difference than the original texture.

Will I do it again?  You bet I would! I actually really liked the almond milk pudding, and I can’t wait to try the Cookies and Cream flavor. Just remember, if you’re serving this to other people, you’ll need to purchase more pudding since you’re using less milk.

Now, if anyone ever asks you “Can you make instant pudding with almond milk,” you know the answer!

Have you ever used almond milk to substitute for cow’s milk in other recipes? I’d love some more suggestions on what you’ve tried. Let me know in the comments!

This entry was posted in Food.

Yikes! How to Handle a Diaper Explosion

IMG_8330Imagine this scenario: You’re feeding your new baby. She’s calm. Everything around you is silent. Your husband and son are playing quietly together in a room down the hall. It’s just you and your little girl, snuggled together on a chair watching each other as she eats.

And then it happens.

Sometimes the sound is soft, like turning the faucet on slightly. Other times the sound shocks you, and you don’t know how it could escape out of such a tiny little human who can’t even hold her own head up yet.

This, my friends, is my life. My tiny little human loves to poop, and many times when she does, it turns into the case of a diaper explosion.

What is a diaper explosion?

Well, it’s simple. Diapers are meant to keep baby poop and pee contained. A diaper explosion is what happens when the poop can’t be contained!

Identify the type of diaper explosion you’re dealing with

There’s the wet stuff. It’s practically water, except that it’s the color of poop, and it usually comes along with some of the thicker stuff. I call this garbage truck juice, because it seems to just leak out of the diaper, through clothing, and onto whatever the baby is against.

Oh, and there’s the poop that you think is over, when in fact it really isn’t. You’ve already wiped your baby and just placed a brand new, fresh diaper underneath her bum. What happens next? Before you can secure the straps, round #2 happens, and it’s all over your changing table. Time to change the baby once more!

Or, there’s a different type of poop: the semi-silent, slightly odorous, surprise-you-as-it-sneaks-out-of-the-diaper-and-all-the-way-up-your-child’s-back type of poop.

What to do if your baby has a diaper explosion

Easy – call your local HazMat team.

Okay, I was just joking about that, but you have some options. If you’ve identified that your baby had a diaper explosion, you have some options on how to proceed.

  1. Strip the clothing and diapers off of your baby and just throw it all out. Have you ever tried washing baby poop out of clothing? It isn’t easy. There isn’t much about parenting that’s simple. Take the easy route with this one and just toss everything the poop has come in contact with.
  2. Call in backup. Have a husband or wife or child or parent or friend who lives with you? Don’t hesitate to tag them in for diaper duty. Live alone? Make friends with some neighbors and bribe them to handle the diaper explosion for you.
  3. Buckle down and deal with the diaper explosion on your own. You may need a gas mask or industrial gloves before you’re willing to actually touch your little human, but it’s your responsibility to take care of. Block your nose and get to work!

If there’s anything I’ve learned when dealing with a diaper explosion it’s to keep your baby’s feet out of the way while cleaning and wash the clothing immediately. How about you? Have you ever experienced a diaper explosion? Were you able to handle it on your own or did you need to call in backups? Let me know in the comments!

This entry was posted in Baby O.

Currently in September 2015


Reading: Eat, Sleep, Poop by Scott W. Cohen

Listening: to a lot of classic music. Thanks, Baby Einstein.

Excited: to feel so much more comfortable in my role as a mother than I did last month. I wasn’t uncomfortable per say, but now I know I’ve got this thing down. We have our easy going days and we have our super tough days, but I know I can handle it all.

I’m also so excited that breastfeeding is going well. Like most people, it was pretty tough those first few weeks. It was probably right around the time of my last update that I really started to notice a difference, and the past 3-4 weeks have been overall easy as can be. I feel so fortunate that this was able to work for me and my baby.

I’m also very excited to hear that two good aquaintances recently became pregnant after trying for a while. I love happy news, especially when it includes babies.

Watching: Revenge, Grey’s Anatomy, many random crime documentaries on Netflix, and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Wearing: my wardrobe is still a pain. I’ve lost pretty much all the pregnancy weight. However, because I was already a bit overweight when I got pregnant, my stretching while pregnant, and the c-section scar, I have a serious belly pudge. It’s pretty tough to find clothing I’m comfortable in at this point, so I’m wearing and rewearing the same ol’ outfits. I don’t really mind so much since losing weight/looking good is the last thing on my mind these days, but I know I’ll feel better when I’m happy with my closet.

Wishing: that the baby keeps doing so well taking a bottle. I’m in no way stopping breastfeeding, but I’d like the option of having her take a bottle from time to time. We have a wedding coming up where we will be gone most of the day, and I’ll be going back to work in a month and a half, so she needs to be able to get her nourishment from something other than me. When we first tried the bottle she was refusing it, but now she is beginning to drink out of it like a champ. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

Drinking: finally drinking my pumpkin coffee! Also drinking an insane amount of water, too.

Loving: the amount of time I’ve been able to spend with one of my best friends because of my maternity leave.

Loathing: how quickly my little baby is growing up.

Admiring: all my mom friends. All the stories come out when you have an infant. Everyone wants to tell you about their pregnancies, their deliveries, their experience with breastfeeding, how their babies slept through the night, and everything else. We all have such similar and different stories, and I’m glad to have such great people to share my stories with.

Are you enjoying your September so far? It’s my birthday month, and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am!

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in January, February, March, April, May, June, July, and August.

Obligatory Baby and Life Update

IMG_7474Guys… I’m alive.

It might not seem like it from the lack of writing I’ve done.

In fact, you might still be wondering if I’m still pregnant.

I’m not.

I’m happily in the throes of infancy. It’s overwhelming, and it’s wonderful at the same time.

I want you to know I haven’t given up on the blog. Actually, I’ve probably written more in the past six weeks than I have in the past year and a half. The only problem is that I haven’t finished the posts. I’ve got about 5 posts that are 90% done, and another 15 that are 75% finished.

My goal is to get these posts up over the course of the next month. I was going to backdate my posts, but really… what fun is that?

So yes, you’ll read a lot of “old news” once the posts have published, but I’m thinking you’ll enjoy what you read.

Thanks for being patient with me. I can’t wait to introduce you to my baby and share everything that has happened.

Turning 31

IMG_7768If 28 showed you a portrait of who I was

If 29 was ripe with possibility

If 30 was for being a better me

then turning 31 is learning the balance between being selfless and selfish.

It’s my birthday and all I can think about is how this day is not about me.

I woke up in the morning and went to Wolverine’s fall ball game. I spent the day breastfeeding and taking care of a brand new baby. In the afternoon we did a fantasy football draft. Dinner was fun. We actually made it out to a restaurant, and the baby was kind enough to sleep through the dinner so I could eat. That was, however, short lived, as I spent the majority of the evening just trying to get her to sleep and listening to her scream and cry. For a year or two before the baby, Mr. O, Wolverine and I spent our Saturday evenings having a family movie night. We took turns choosing the movies, and we always had some special treat to eat. Well, Mr. O and Wolverine were able to watch the movie together. They got to eat a snack. And when I could finally get the baby to sleep, both of the boys were asleep, and I was alone on my birthday.

Honestly, I mostly didn’t care. I love fall ball. It was fun to do our first family football draft (even though I don’t really watch or know much about football). I was happy that the boys enjoyed themselves. Most of all, I was so pleased to have a baby to feed and calm and snuggle, even if she was crying.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t feel a bit alone at the end of the evening.

So I did the what I thought was best. I grabbed an ice cream cone and a candle, and I made a wish enjoyed my treat in my living room before I went to bed.

So I guess you could say that my first day as a thirty-one-year old was a day that I tried to balance Selfish Erin with Selfless Erin. I definitely didn’t find a balance. I’m not sure I will find it tomorrow, next week, or next month. I might not even figure out how to find the balance before I turn thirty-two. Being selfless is important as a mother and a wife and a good human, but it’s not healthy to be 100% selfless. It’s healthy to be selfish in the sense that I’m taking care of myself and putting my needs first (and sometimes my wants, too).

I don’t think I have it all figured out just yet, but I do know that I like where I’m heading. I’m surrounded by the best people in the world. I have a husband I love who makes sure that all of my needs are met and helps keep our household healthy and happy. I have two beautiful, wonderful children who fill my days with endless joy. I am in awe of them.

So turning 31 went well overall. I look forward to this new phase of my life I’m entering.


Currently in August 2015

photo-1424746219973-8fe3bd07d8e3Reading: I don’t think I’ve read anything at all since last month.

Listening: to a lot of white noise and soft songs with the baby.

Excited: when I get more than an hour or two of sleep at a time.

Watching: A whole lot of infomercials in the middle of the night when I’m feeding my baby.

Wearing: Is it weird that I miss my maternity wardrobe? I don’t quite fit in my non-maternity clothing yet. Well, I fit in a decent amount of clothing, but my body just doesn’t look right in it yet. I also don’t fit in some of my maternity clothes. So I’m living in this in-between stage where I’m wearing some maternity clothes and some normal clothes. To be honest, I’m really just wearing the same small collection of tops and bottoms.

And…to be really honest with you, I’m wearing my pajamas a good portion of the time.

Wishing: to freeze time. My baby is almost already a month old. I just don’t even know how we got to this point. I feel like I just had her days ago, and in just about a week she will be one month old. Having a baby – while incredible – is overwhelming. I feel like I haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy these moments with her yet. It’s all just blurry. I want to freeze time and take in all these moments.

Drinking: I’ve had coffee! It was wonderful. Now I’m looking forward to pumpkin coffee season. To be honest though I really don’t have too much interest in coffee. It was just nice to drink some. I’m really mostly just trying to drink as much water as possible. This may sound strange, but I think when I’m really hydrated I feel more like myself and less hormonal.

Loving: being a mother. It’s really wonderful. I love looking at my child, especially when she is breastfeeding, and realizing that she is something that me and Mr. O created and that she grew inside of me.

Loathing: the lack of sleep, how tough breastfeeding can be, the tears that come out of nowhere that I can’t stop, not knowing what my baby is feeling or needing when she cries.

Admiring: My son. He has taken so well to having a sibling. I know how tough it is for kids to adjust to a new child in the home, and I imagined it would be especially tough for him, seeing as he’s been the only child for nine years now. He’s really taken it all in stride, which is what I expected, but it is still so nice to see him in his new role as a big brother.

How’s August, friends? It’s one of my favorite months, and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am!

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in January, February, March, April, May, June, and July.


Pregnancy Update: Week 40

Excuse the mop and tired 40 week pregnant lady.


Guess who is still pregnant?

Today, I’m 40 weeks and two days pregnant, and I have no clue when my little baby girl will actually get here.

By this point, everyone I know is wondering if the baby is here yet. As I mentioned in the last post, I’m getting lots of Facebook notes, texts, and phone calls inquiring about the baby’s whereabouts. The best part is the advice we’ve been given. Everything from the normal old wives’ tales – drive down a bumpy road – to a specific chain restaurant we should eat at because that person’s children were born the very next day after they ate there. Continue reading →

Pregnancy Update: Week 39

38 Weeks and 4 days pregnant


To begin, I can’t believe my pregnancy has almost come to an end. In two more days I’ll be 40 weeks pregnant. I still vividly remember being six weeks pregnancy hoping to make it to week seven. I remember the relief of getting to week twelve and finally being able to tell our family, friends, and work. I remember perfectly those first few days in the early weeks of the second trimester when I was finally starting to feel better, but too nervous to be excited about it. I remember hoping the third trimester would be as kind to me as the second.

And suddenly, I’m days away from meeting my baby girl. It all seems so surreal. Continue reading →

Currently in July 2015

photo-1433208406127-d9e1a0a1f1aaReading: I haven’t been reading much in the past month. Besides Spry Literary Journal submissions, I’ve been doing a lot of writing for work to prepare for my maternity leave. My writing time is taking over my reading time.

Listening: to “House Rules” by Jodi Picoult on my way to and from work. It’s an Audible book, and I’m enjoying it so far.

Excited: to know that any day now I will meet my baby girl. It’s so weird to think that my pregnancy is almost over. In some ways, it feels as if it just started (in others, it all seems so long ago!). Technically, my due date is in 5 days. I could go then, now, or the baby could choose to keep cooking for a little while. We shall see. It’s both exciting and nerve wracking not to know when she will make her appearance to the world.

Watching: Wentworth, Revenge, Shark Tank, Cutthroat Kitchen

Wearing: My wardrobe hasn’t changed all that much throughout my pregnancy! I’m wearing dresses mostly throughout the week, but I’m also living in leggings and shorts some times. If you want me to be completely honest with you, my pajamas are my go-to outfit while I’m home. It’s the most comfortable clothes I own.

I’ve actually been real lucky to have a great maternity wardrobe, but I am a little excited about adding in some of my non-maternity clothes (hopefully soonish).

Wishing: for a healthy baby. Yes, same as last month, but that’s the only important thing right now. I’m also hoping that Wolverine loves being a big brother as much as I think he will. Yes, it will be a transition, but he’s such a loving, awesome kid I hope he adjusts well.

Drinking: Same old drinks: orange juice, cranberry-grape juice, or water. Sometimes I have an occasional ice tea.

Loving: all the baby movement I feel. Yes, I’m one of those moms who is going to miss being pregnant after the baby is born. I’m trying to enjoy our special little bond while we’re together, and I’m sure I’m going to love having her in this world even more.

Loathing: How huge my feet have been swelling and how arthritic my hands, feet and joints feel on super warm days.

Admiring: My husband. He’s a really great guy who goes above and beyond for other people. He’s one of the most selfless people I know. All he cares about is doing things to make other people happy. I’m so very lucky to have him in my life.

How’s July treating you? It’s one of my favorite months, and I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am!

FYI – Now that the baby will be here soon, I may move this monthly check-in back to the last day of the month. Not sure, but we will all find out come August!

Check out what I was doing, thinking, and feeling in January, February, March, April, May, and June.

The Lady Writers Interview Series: A.J. O’Connell

I’m so excited to continue my new blog series in which I’ll be interviewing some incredible lady writers. Every woman I interview is someone I know and admire, and I can’t wait for you to get to know them as well. 

The fourth incredible lady I interviewed is A.J. O’Connell. She and I went to the same graduate school, and were both chapter editors on an amazing book – Now What?: The Creative Writer’s Guide to Success After the MFA. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I enjoyed the process.

aj.oconnell.photocreditErin Ollila: Let’s start with something easy. I’ve always admired your writing. In fact, I interviewed you when one of your previous novellas came out. What are you currently working on?

A.J. O’Connell: Oh man. So I’m working on.. hang on, I’m counting them.. three projects? No. Four novel projects actually. I like the pain.

EO: Sounds like it! Are they all novels?

AO: Yes, three are novels. One is the last novella in the Beware the Hawk trilogy.

EO: How do you feel about rounding out the Beware the Hawk trilogy? Do you feel as if it’s found a natural end, or are you worried these characters will live with you forever?

AO: I have a lot of feelings about the Beware the Hawk trilogy. On the one hand, I am very ready to wrap it up and move on to my other projects, but on the other hand, I struggle with giving the story an ending. The whole trilogy is the a story about the death of an organization, really, and the evolution of our country’s post 9/11 mindset, and that’s been a hard thing to capture, especially since I feel like our country’s mindset is changing very quickly. So it’s taking me forever to write this last piece of the story.

That’s my excuse.

EO: It actually sounds like a pretty reasonable “excuse.” Are you willing to share any details about the three novels you’re working on, or is that still under wraps for the time being?

Continue reading →