Figuring out who I am, After Baby

It seems a lot of my life is separated into BB and AB. (Before Baby and After Baby) As much as I was adamant about how having baby would not change who I am, once again, I was Wrong. So wrong. (this is a reoccurring theme, lol)

I am sure plenty of people have kids and go right back to who they were, but there’s no way I can stay out late and do events several nights a week and then get up and take good care of my son. Having a pounding hangover does not make for a happy and engaged mom.

And I worked all the time. I loved my work, and events were part of that. But owning a business and a retail store takes ALL your time and brain power just thinking about all you have to do. A business requires care and tending as well. So I closed my store, dissolved the Three Muses Clothing, LLC and took a step back.

In the mean time, I started this blog and called it Geek Mamas because I had big plans to involve lots of other moms. Then I realized I barely had time to run it myself, much less work with other people so I just began to blog about stuff I had going on and that seemed to work better. I’d still like to have guest bloggers though. We’ll work on that…

I still like to make things so I kept my Etsy shop open and my facebook page and just changed the names to Candy K Cosplay as a sort of placeholder while I figured things out.

I now identify as Mom, geek, cosplayer and all-around crafty person. I also love the beach but Sew Beachy Geek Mama seemed too long…

So here is the official new business/blog name and new logo:

SGMlogoblogtopI’m working on changing all my social media links and names and everything. There’s so much! I’m still finding Three Muses stuff everywhere too. I don’t plan on doing a big retail thing again. This is just going to be small stuff I can fit in without it interrupting my family life. Little stuff on the side, and my blog and Youtube tutorials when I can. I don’t want a business to take over my life again, because the life After Baby is really great just the way it is!

 

Cosplay and Cons with the Kids

One of my favorite big conventions is almost here – San Diego Comic Con! I went the year I got pregnant and haven’t made it back since I had my son, but we have done a lot of daenerys targaryen and baby cosplayother conventions together. In fact, he attended his first con at just 6 weeks old! I look forward to taking him to SDCC one day, but until then, we’ll be hitting up cons a little closer to home.

Attending a con with a kid was a whole new experience for me. My usual plan was just show up, take a lot of pictures and basically party all day and night. Now I have to plan around nap times, changing diapers and having no choice about being up at 7AM every morning.

So here’s my Top 10 Tips List for Attending Conventions with Kids:

  1. Try something local first. Short trips are best. There’s lots of great resources to find a local event no matter where you are. You can search for events on Eventbrite.com or use their new conference management page for finding and planning conference and conventions. There’s also sites that list cons by state like UpComingCons.com Cosplayconventioncenter.com. Basically, if you just put “cosplay conventions” or “comic conventions” into google, you’re going to find something!
  2. If you aren’t going to be local, be close enough so you can easily walk back to the hotel for naptime. Believe me, this will make things SO much easier.
  3. Check out the event ahead of time and plan your day. Make a list of events and things you want to attend with time and location.
  4. Forget about actually making it to any of those things. Just kidding. A little.
  5. cosplay with babyIf you have a baby, make sure you have something to cover your costume with. Nothing like ruining all your hard work with a bunch of spit-up.
  6. Plan your costume around being able to pick-up and hold kid, feed kid and change diapers. If you are not able to do this, make sure you have a “baby handler” with you for assistance.
  7. Go easy on the kid costume. They are probably just going to fBaby in Superman shirtall asleep, drop food on it or rip it off after two minutes anyway. A good easy costume is a t-shirt that matches your general theme. When I do Wonder Woman, I often dress my son in a Superman t-shirt. He’s had an impressive collective since he was born. He never went a month without one in his size. I actually just printed out a bunch of ink jet iron-ons and would make whatever size I needed at the time.
  8. If you start taking them when they are young, then they will love it as they get a little older and you won’t need to worry about them being afraid of the characters and costumes. My son loves getting up close and touching the costumes.
  9. Pack more than you think you need- extra food, diapers, clothes, drinks…extras of everything! We went to ConJure and after a 2 hour car ride my son started projectile vomiting. We went through a LOT of clothes. You never know what you are going to run into. Be prepared.
  10. Do a kid-friendly cosplay group. I had a great time as Princess Parfaya in a Sesame Street Star Smores group at Star Wars Celebration and the kids and parents totally got it.

Sesame Street Star Smores Cosplay Group at Star Wars CelebrationAnd most of all, just have fun, soak up the experience and share every moment with your little one. This is your chance to share your fandom and geekiness as a family affair.

The Secret’s Out – Moms are Tired

Mom tired is a different kind of tired. We exist in a state of high functioning exhaustion. I am just now getting used to being able to have a good night’s sleep again and wake up at a decent time. Sleep is a wonderful thing and I have never appreciated it so much in my life.

But sometimes you don’t get good sleep and you still have to chase a toddler all over the place while putting on your happy face and be Excited about Everything! And that’s when we need some help.

img_4271Marketing people are catching on and targeting tired moms. I recently got these free samples of the new V8 Energy drink through BzzAgent.com. I really liked them! They are light and refreshing and it’s not a jolt of energy but it does seem to have a little kick to it. So I went and did my promo duty by posting a photo on my Instagram. Then I figured I’d click the hashtags and see what other people were posting. It was all mom’s posting about refueling to keep up with the kids!

So they are on to us…and at least looking to help. I can’t stop thinking of mixing it with vodka though, lol.

So what do you guys do or what have you tried to get through that afternoon (sometimes all day) slump?

The Toddler Time Paradox

There’s a time warp of sorts that comes with parenthood that I like to refer to as The Toddler Time Paradox. I would almost describe it as a black hole of time, sucking in all efforts and intentions to “get things done,” often causing tasks to go unfinished or simple tasks to take hours. While on toddler time, a simple trip to take out the trash which would normally take five minutes tops is going to take at least an hour, possibly the whole day

Without Toddler: walk outside, put trash in can, walk back inside

Time Lapsed: 2 minutes

Wiimg_4266th Toddler: 
Take 30 minutes convincing toddler to put shoes on. Finally give up just to get out the door.

Let him find just the right cars to take with him on this monumentous trip.

Grab his bike on the way because now he wants to ride his bike.

Go outside with a toddler, bike and trash.

Leave trash by front door while simple bike ride turns into full neighborhood stroll. In the rain.

Discover puddles. Prefer puddles over bike. Prefer bike in puddles. Make mom yell about getting wet and dirty in puddle. Mommy is funny.

Make it back to front door now wet and dirty. Finally grab the trash. Repeat process trying to get trash around the side of the house.

Now repeat process going back in.

Time Lapsed: 1 hour 20 min

 

Not quite a WAHM yet, but getting back in the game little by little

Now that I’m finally getting some sleep I feel like I might be able to get back to work a little bit. Not a full-on business again at this point, but just getting back to making things and keeping my skills sharp. If you don’t know already, I make cosplay accessories and costumes. And I do a LOT of Wonder Woman stuff so I really missed out on capitalizing on this whole movie wonder2release and everything so here I am a little late in the game but getting back on it.

I realized it was time to get busy when I checked my sad and empty Etsy page and found my views had gone up 530%…on an empty shop! Dang! So I stayed up a little late last night and did a Facebook live post on my page showing how I make some of the WW accessories: https://www.facebook.com/CandyKcosplay

And then I got my Etsy page all busy again: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CandyKcosplay

I’m about to reach my 1000th sale on there! I’ve been on there for nearly 10 years so I’ve had some time to work on it. I added some of my finished products, and also the materials I use to make and mold things.

Next up I’ll be making more of the kids accessories. I would have gone crazy to have real looking WW cuffs and tiara when I was little! I was happy running around with my cardboard cut-outs and Crayola stars, lol. Well, time to get to work!!

 

 

The Mystery of Mom Friends

see-you-have-created-a-tiny-human-i-too-have-18047322Let’s start this by being honest and saying I suck at this “mom friend” thing. It’s just like trying to make regular friends (not so great at that either) but harder because you probably have nothing else in common except your mom status.

* I do thankfully have friends who just happen to also be moms, but I’m talking about meeting new friends.

I started by joining mom groups on Facebook. I concentrated on one active one thinking, hey I’m making connections! But then I got kicked out, right on the day I was having a total mom breakdown because I hadn’t had much sleep in two days and K wouldn’t stop crying. Previously that week I had tried to do a meet-up at the zoo with them and totally failed finding the meeting spot and tried to be like, hey no big deal, we’ll just play here at the water park area. Apparently that was seen as “blowing them off.” See? I had no idea how horribly offensive I am.

I also joined a local place where kids can go and play, and in all the reviews it talks about how people just LOVE going there and have met SO MANY great mom friends! But unfortunately I have not met one other person in the 3 months we’ve been going there. Oh, I say hi and smile. Ask the obligatory “How old is he/she” while hoping I got the gender right because sometimes I can’t tell and that seems to be a conversation killer right there. Then we both go off running in separate directions to chase after our kids. And therein lies the problem. Even when I actually do meet up with another mom, we get maybe a few whole sentences in the span of a couple hours. I’m starting to suspect people who make mom friends have kids that stay still and aren’t trying to hurl themselves from the top of the jungle gym or throw toy cars over the fence.

Also, moms are busy. They are terribly hard to set up a date with and easily cancel due to a million different things. The more kids involved, the harder it is to meet up. And no matter where you met up, it’s like hanging out with someone with a severe case of ADD.

So maybe I am a little sad I never had that magical moment where your eyes meet across the playground and you become lifelong pals as your kids grow up together. (That’s how it happens, right?) But at least I’ve got my little buddy to keep me company so I’ll never be alone on the playground.

Let them eat cake! Or potato chips… or cookies…

My days used to be spent lacing people up in corsets and helping them pick out fancy costumes. Now I feel like 95% of my day is spent trying to find something my toddler will agree to eat. It’s quite a lifestyle change and takes some adjusting.

img_4107
Potato chips for dinner! #ParentingWin

Why do toddlers hate food? Or love something one day so you stock up on it and then they refuse to even touch it?
I clearly remember my great grandmother feeding me steak piece by piece while I pretended to be a little bird stealing it from her fork. It probably took 45 minutes for me to finish the entire thing but she kept up with it. I now totally understand why. Being a parent has given me insight into certain things from my childhood that I never really would’ve understood otherwise. I also remember her making me a pizza at 10 PM at night just because I said I was hungry. Parents (and grandparents) will do anything to get a kid to eat.

I can tell Keelan is going to be a skinny kid, just like me and his dad were. I hope he eventually embraces our love of good food and cooking. Right now I might as well make him a nice dinner and then dump it on the floor because that’s where it ends up. But I will keep trying! I really look forward to the day he is helping me make gourmet dinners the kitchen and picking out his own sushi at dinner. (Early 20s maybe? Lol)

Until then, I’ll just keep slicing up those hotdogs. Unless he hates them this week of course.

The Hands On Adventure

IMG_4084Our toddler adventure for today was at the Hands On Children’s Museum in Jacksonville, FL. I went in expecting it to be on the science-y side, but it ended up being more like a museum of real life.  There was a grocery store, bank, veterinarian, cafe, theater, etc. I’m not really sure where the “museum” part comes in… maybe because it has been there for 17 years? Lol

Everything was a little old and beat up, and it was hot and some stuff was stinky, but you know who doesn’t care about any of that? A two-year-old. So I just took a step back and let him go crazy and play with everything. We’ve got to kick that immune system into high gear for our impending date with preschool anyway!

It’s definitely worth checking out if you live in Jacksonville. We were there a couple hours and K didn’t want to leave! I think it’s odd that parents have to pay $5.50 to sit and watch their kid, so essentially that made it a $9.50 visit. But overall worth the trip since I had a tired baby afterwards!

#BodyAfterBaby and Why the gym is my new favorite place

gymOne of the best things I’ve done since becoming a stay at home mom is join a gym with child care. I have never had quite such a great incentive to go work out. No time for yourself? Kid driving you crazy and you just want to zone out in your own head for an hour? Go to the gym for a stress-relieving hour and a half break!

Of course the only drawback sometimes is that you actually have to workout. Though I confess to pushing the limits of that definition while peddling the recumbent bike on a level one while playing around on my phone. And even better- my gym has a cardio theater! The other day I hung out and watched Suicide Squad while peddling slow enough to fall over if the bike were real. 

But just being back at the gym has actually inspired me to start working out for real. I already lost a stubborn 7 pounds I’ve been fighting with for a few months. Five more and I’ll be back to my pre-baby size! Though I think some parts of me are permanently changed in shape just due to housing a child for 10 months in there.

Now that it has become a habit and a welcome break, I actually miss it when I don’t go. I even went on a Sunday last week! Normally I don’t even hit my FitBit step goal on a Sunday so this is quite a change for me.

But I look better, feel better and am happier for the little break every time I go. 🙂

Star Wars Mac & Cheese Makes Forks Easy

As a first time mom, I am learning as I go. I had no smaller siblings, so I know nothing about babies and kids. I wanted to start doing little reviews of products and things I found useful. So here’s my first thing:

mac

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner, Star Wars style!

ok, so yes I bought it because it was Star Wars mac & cheese, but I came to find out it was actually really useful! The little shapes make it so much easier for my two-year-old son to pick the pieces up using a fork (or spork) and that means he eats more of his meal and less lands in his lap/on floor/in hair.

It cooks fast, but gets pretty hot. If your toddler is anything like mine, than anything over room temperature is deemed “too hot.” So I cook it up, dump it in a bowl and then stick it in the freezer. Stir a couple times and it is good to go. Or if  you are in a hurry, make it a little thick and toss in an ice cube for a quick cool down.

PS – if they don’t eat it all, it is also a tasty adult snack as well. I find that a plus in any toddler meal.