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Archive for February, 2013

Lately

I SWEAR my baby said “mama” last night. It was just before his bedtime bottle and he was getting cranky. We were playing on the floor and he was whining, reaching for me wanting to be held. My mom was standing there talking to me but my eyes were on him and I saw his lips go into the “mmmm” sound, twice. The way a mouth moves when it says “mama”. I yelled with joy! “Did you see that?! Did you hear that? He said mama!!” My excitement startled him but also made him happy. My husband argued with me from upstairs, saying I made it up. A few minutes later, as he sat on his dad’s lap whining again, I stepped closer and he whined “mmmaaaa” while reaching for me. The hubs heard it this time too. Take that, “dada”!

Speaking of “mama”, my own mom has been staying with us for almost 2 weeks. I don’t care who you are but 2 weeks with someone that doesn’t share a bed with you is a long time. I love my mom, but she hasn’t been herself this last year. She’s depressed, lacks confidence, and is hyper-sensitive to anything anyone says or does. She helped out by letting us have one date night, although we put the baby to bed before we left and he didn’t wake up while we were gone. She also helped wash bottles and did some spring cleaning in the kitchen and living room with me last Saturday, but as someone once known for being the best cook in our family, she didn’t so much as fix one sandwich for us while she was visiting.  Not that I think she should have to but it’s just weird to see her like this.  Fortunately, my husband was a good sport these last two weeks. He may not have been the most social guy with her but I don’t know many guys who could handle a mother like mine and not really say anything.

And speaking of how awesome my husband is, he earned super duper double fudge and caramel brownie points by surprising me with a massage appointment on Saturday at my favorite spa salon. Happy Saturday to me! I should probably treat him to an afternoon of golfing or something, right? 

In other news, my bestie now works just a couple of blocks from me and we had our first Starbucks meetup during a work day in years. There will be many more in our future, I’m sure, and it makes me so happy to have her so close again!

The hubs and I purchased our first baby gate tonight. I can’t believe it’s already that time. Our house is so not baby friendly. And baby proofing is expensive. As were all of the 12 and 18 mos baby clothes I just purchased on an impulse outlet mall shopping spree. I can’t believe it’s already that time too. Before I know it, he’ll be in toddler sizes. And that makes me want to cry.

Know what else makes me want to cry? The thought of an upcoming work trip that will keep me away from my boys for three days/two nights. I’ll be at the BlissDom conference, which I know will be fun, but I just can’t get over the fact that I’ll have to be away for TWO WHOLE NIGHTS. Thank God for FaceTime. 

And now that this post is just all over the place, tell me what you’ve been doing lately?

 

 

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Oscars

I had grand plans to do a detailed best and worst dressed of the Oscars this week, but after sitting through the red carpet preview and then the show, only two people are worth mentioning.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the Oscars yet, read this later.

 

 

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BEST: Jennifer Lawrence

She’s just a good ol Kentucky girl and there’s something so down-to-earth about her that I just love. She looked so elegant and flawless in this dress, and the fact that she tripped and fell going up the stairs to her acceptance speech just made me like her more. I only wish she would’ve spent more time planning her speech, because compared to Daniel Day Lewis’ acceptance speech, she just seemed young and immature. Hopefully she sticks around Hollywood and has many more chances to make a memorable speech.

jennifer-lawrence

WORST: Anne Hathaway

I know not everyone is fan of Anne Hathaway, but I personally think she’s (usually) a pretty classy girl. She’s also one of the few women who started out as a Disney kid and made the successful jump into more quality films. Or at least, more challenging roles. Still, even a fan such as myself couldn’t get over this dress. Within 30 seconds of seeing her I immediately noticed her chest and then hopped on Twitter to see if there was any chatter. Sure enough, Anne Hathaway’s nipples were the talk of the red carpet. They even had their own Twitter account. My only question is: How did no one notice this earlier? And why didn’t her stylist/handler/errand girl hand her some pasties STAT? I mean, it was so obvious that I can only assume it was intentional. But why? Haven’t we seen enough of Anne’s private parts?

Anne-Hathaway

I cringed when her name was announced for winning the Academy Award because I knew the theater lighting would do her no favors in the nipple region and if anyone skipped over the red carpet preview, they would FOR SURE notice them when she made her acceptance speech. Sigh. Sorry Anne, but without pasties, you have definitely won the award for worst dressed.

Other than that, everything else was pretty predictable. Seth Macfarlane was mildly offensive, Adele knocked it out of the park and now has an Oscar to add to her ridiculous awards collection, Quentin Tarantino made me unsure of whether or not I like him or just think he’s crazy, and the Academy made up for snubbing Ben Affleck for best director by giving his film the best movie award.

In other news, I neglected to post my weekly weigh-in last week but that’s probably because nothing really changed. By mid-week I was down 2 lbs, but by Sunday I was back up. This week was much of the same, but I was down 1 lbs on Sunday so we’ll go with that number, even though I ate like crap the rest of the day.

Week 8 (since I skipped week 7): -1 lbs lost

Total lbs lost: 8 lbs

Total lbs to go: 32 lbs

 

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socialmediaoverloadRaise your hand if you’ve ever wasted time on the Internet.

Unless you’re my grandma or you don’t have hands, your hand should be raised right now. Just the fact that you’re reading this blog post qualifies as wasting time on the Internet.

I’m on the Internet A LOT. Most of the time, it’s because it’s part of my job. But at home on my iPhone? That’s just for the sheer joy of it. My phone is like my third arm sometimes. And if I leave the house without it? I feel naked and will 9 times out of 10 turn around to go back and get it.

When I “check” my phone to see what’s going on, I look at several things. First, my email. Then Facebook, since some of my friends use the messaging feature as email. Then, Instagram followed by Twitter. And if I’m really killing time, I’ll check my Google Reader for blog posts. How long I spend on each depends on how many messages I have or how many updates there are. More friends = more updates = more time to go through them. To put it simply, it takes awhile. And though I’m pretty good about making sure it never interferes with the time I spend with my son, or when I’m out with friends, it still takes up a good chunk of time and I absolutely hate feeling like I’ve just wasted a bunch of time checking social media. But what I hate even more than that? Feeling disconnected and out of the loop.

I’ve seen several people make very public declarations about quitting Facebook or Twitter or blogging because it started interfering with their real life. It became a huge time suck that clearly caused them some sort of distress and just wasn’t worth the effort anymore. And even though I’m a self-proclaimed social media junkie, I get it. Social media IS a huge time suck. I’ve actually debated trying a little self-imposed ban for a week or a month and the idea of it is really quite…freeing. And refreshing. But I just can’t get over feeling out of the loop, so I never do it. Instead, I’ve had to find ways to scale back the amount of time I spend, so I’m still “in-the-know” but not overloaded. After months of tweaking, I think I’m finally in a good place and I ‘d like to share how I do it in case it’s helpful to you.

Email: I have three email accounts hooked up to my phone and they’re all on a “Pull” notification, meaning they don’t load my new email messages unless I open the email application. And if you don’t have three email accounts, or at least two email accounts (for those who don’t need work email), you should. And here’s why.

1. Work email: Self-explanatory. This email is for work purposes ONLY. I still get some spam sent to this account, but it’s work-related spam. Usually I can unsubscribe to whatever professional email list I’m on, or just send it directly to my junk mail. I get around 100 work emails a day but when I’m at work, I’m pretty good about keeping my inbox fairly clean.

2. Personal email: I ONLY give this email out to friends and family. I also have a blog email address that gets forwarded to my personal email, so it saves me from logging into another account. I don’t get a ton of comments usually but every comment is important to me so I want to make sure I read every single one, even if I don’t always respond.

3. Junk email: I call it my junk email but this is the email address I give out to retailers. It’s the address I use to sign up for various services, like all those BabyCenter emails, and it’s the address I use for all of my Amazon purchases and shipping notifications. I get somewhere between 30-40 emails here a day, and twice that gets caught in my spam filter. EVERY. DAY. While I check my first two emails multiple times a day (even on weekends), I only look at my junk email a couple of times a week. This saves me so much time because I’m not spending precious time each day deleting a bunch of eblasts and newsletters. Nor am I likely to miss a friend’s email because it’s buried under a sea of “Hurry now! Last chance for BOGO!” emails.

Facebook: When Facebook first started, I collected friends like a person collects stamps. Pretty soon, I had well over 500 friends and at any given moment, I could probably tell you EXACTLY how many friends I had. If the number suddenly dropped by one or two, I would scour the list to see if I could tell who unfriended me. (The AUDACITY!) I couldn’t, mostly because I couldn’t remember who I was even friends with anymore. Most of them were old high school classmates, friends of friends, or coworkers. One day, as I was scrolling through a bunch of status updates, it occurred to me that I really didn’t care about 90% of what I was seeing. Someone I haven’t talked to in 13 years just realized she put 5,000 miles on her car in one month? WHO CARES? Not me. Another person I haven’t talked to in about 6 years posts a picture of her dog in a funny sleeping position? That’s cute, but I’m no better for seeing it. So here’s what I did.

First, I unfriended a lot of people. Around 75 in one fell swoop. And as someone who takes unfriending personally, I was careful not to unfriend someone I thought would a) notice b) be offended by me unfriending them should they ever find out. Part of the unfriending spree was fueled by my desire to “cut the junk” but a big part of it was security. I have a family now and I post a lot of pictures of my son, our whereabouts at any given moment and where we live. If anyone on my friends list struck me as odd or slightly creepy, I hit the unfriend button. Just because we had a class together doesn’t mean I’d invite you into my home with my son. That’s what being part of my Facebook circle is like. Being in my home, with my family. I don’t want to share that with just anyone.

But even after unfriending a lot of folks, there were quite a few that made the cut because I just felt like I couldn’t unfriend them for other reasons, but I still don’t want to see their updates. For those folks, I just unsubscribed from their feeds. Out of sight, out of mind and no one is pissed off that I unfriended them. This trimmed things down considerably but I still wasn’t satisfied so I took it a step further and for another group of people, I changed my Facebook settings to only show “important” updates from those people. (To do this, you just hover over the friend’s name, then hover over the checked “Friends” box, then select “Settings” and change the selection from “Most Updates” to “Only Important”) I’m not sure how Facebook decides which updates are “important”, but I’m going to trust they know what they’re doing and that I won’t miss anything, um, important.

Warning: This does take some time to do, and I’m still tweaking things here and there, but for the most part I’m only seeing updates from people nearest and dearest to me now. I don’t need to “Like” every status update or photo posted and I don’t need to obsess over how many likes or comments I get on my posts. And best of all, if I don’t check Facebook for 24 hours, I’m not overwhelmed by the sheer volume of status updates in my newsfeed.

Twitter: Ok, so here’s where I admit a bit of defeat. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep up with Twitter. I follow a lot of people, yes, but that’s only part of the problem. The other problem is just the nature of Twitter itself. It’s a great outlet for all those random thoughts that pop into my head that aren’t quite Facebook worthy, yet I still feel compelled to share. It’s also great for bantering back and forth with folks, or “live tweeting” an event like the Super Bowl or the Oscars. On election night, I was glued to Twitter and actually heard that Obama had won before the broadcast news outlets were reporting it. But it’s terrible for sharing earth-shattering personal news and expecting all of your Twitter followers to see it. Still, there are ways to make your Twitter channel streamlined. I use JustUnfollow.com to see who I’m following that also doesn’t follow me back. That’s the easiest way for me to weed through everyone.  I follow a ton of celebs, bloggers, news outlets, etc. so I don’t expect them to follow me back, but I always find a few random folks that for the life of me, I can’t remember why I started following them in the first place. And since they don’t follow me back, what’s the point? JustUnfollow also has a feature that pulls a list of inactive Twitter uses – i.e. users that haven’t posted a tweet in 1, 3 or 6 months – but this has less do with taking up space in my stream so I don’t use it all that often.

Instagram: By the time I started using Instagram, I was already feeling overwhelmed by Facebook and Twitter so I was very selective with who I started following from the get go. I don’t follow everyone I’m Facebook friends with, and I certainly don’t follow everyone I follow on Twitter. The folks I do follow are a mixture of close friends and favorite bloggers. I don’t follow random strangers, no matter how great their photos are, and I don’t follow back just out of courtesy.

Blogs: Google Reader is my BFF. If you don’t use an RSS feed of some sort, then you are missing out and wasting precious time checking your favorite blogs for updates. Either sign up for email updates or subscribe to their feed via RSS. I find that Google Reader is the easiest to use for me,  but there are others such as Netvibes or Feedburner.

And even though I use an RSS feed to keep things organized, I still subscribe to a lot of blogs. Sometimes I’ll subscribe to a blog and over time, find that I’m just skimming over the posts or marking all as read more often than not. Once that starts happening, I know it’s time to unsubscribe. So about every 6 months, I’ll go through my feeds and hit unsubscribe for those sites instead of “mark as read”. There’s really no rhyme or reason as to who makes the cut and who doesn’t. Usually it’s just a case of boredom for me, but I have had to unsubscribe to someone before because their posts just made me angry. And considering my blog reading time is my “happy” time, I never want to feel unhappy or annoyed when I’m doing something that should be for pure enjoyment purposes. It’s the same reason I’ll stop reading a book if I’m not enjoying it. Even if I’m already half-way in. Life is too short to surround yourself with things that don’t make you happy.

So what do you think? Is this helpful? Any other social media junkies out there feeling like they need a cleanse?

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Friday Five

1. Fridays are my favorite day of the week. Well, ok, maybe Saturdays are my favorite, but Fridays always put me in a good mood because it’s the very beginning of the weekend. It just holds so much promise and excitement for the weekend ahead that I actually look forward to getting things wrapped up and organized at work so that I can come home and hang out with my two favorite guys for the next two days.

2. Actually, the next THREE days. I had to work over Super Bowl weekend so even though my office is open on President’s Day, I’m taking it off. (happy dance!)

3. My mom is coming to town tomorrow. I’m mostly excited, but given what happened last time she was here, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting a similar situation. So I’ll spend a good part of my night tonight prepping the guest bedroom and bathroom to make sure it’s as “bug-free” as possible, which means I’ll be Lysol-ing the heck out of it.

4. The weather in STL lately is driving me bonkers. One day it’s 60 degrees and sunny, the next day it’s barely 30. My sinuses are protesting via a sore throat. Not fun.

5. Now that Valentine’s Day is over, I’m looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. We don’t do much for either holiday, but I love any excuse to dress up my baby. (See Valentine’s Day photoshoot example.)

Happy Weekend everyone!

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Valentine’s Day – in photos

Started my morning with this funny Valentine.

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Hubs gave me a new travel mug. (not pictured) Got to work and cupcakes were on display.

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Around noon, a surprise delivery arrived.

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A little later, my lunch dates picked me up for a delicious burger and root beer at Bailey’s Range.

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Came home to a napping baby, so I checked out the husband’s handy work on baby D’s new toy box. Took him awhile but it looks great. He’s so proud of it!

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Baby D seemed to like it.

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Then we exchanged gifts. He got me a photo frame, some magazines, a funny card and candy. I got him a Cardinals tshirt, underwear, a romantic card and caramels.

A pretty perfect Valentine’s Day. Our first as a family of three. Hope everyone else had a great day too!

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Two Tuesday Tidbits

After taking a week off of Weight Watchers, thanks to lack of motivation and the Super Bowl party (aka pig-out extravaganza), I’m sort-of-kind-of back into the swing of things so here’s my weekly weigh-in update (as of Monday morning).

Week 6 (since I skipped week 5): -0.6 lost

Total lbs lost: 7 lbs

Total lbs to go: 33 lbs

So I lost basically half a pound in two weeks. Whooptie doo. I know it’s because I didn’t try very hard and went over my points limits more than once, so it’s definitely my fault, but I guess I’m just glad I haven’t gained. Onward.

In other news, little man has his first bad cold. He’s had the sniffles before, but this is some serious congestion. So bad that we had to co-sleep last night because he couldn’t breathe when he laid flat on his back or stomach. I’ll try elevating one end of his crib tonight to see if that helps. Between that, the snot sucker (real name: Nose Frieda), and a warm bath, there’s not much else I can do. On the plus side, he’s been super cuddly. He’ll tolerate daddy holding him but he clearly wanted his momma today. Killed me with sweetness.

 

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travel

Before baby came along, we were a couple of traveling fools. We took an average of two pretty awesome vacations per year, and a few random weekend trips thrown in for good measure. Hawaii, Miami, Napa Valley, Myrtle Beach…so many fantastic places and memories. I’ve recently been trying to backup my thousands and thousands of photos online (I’m using the paid version of Flickr for anyone looking to do the same – best service I could find) and it’s brought back to many memories of traveling and sightseeing.

The last trip we took pre-baby was a work-trip-turned-babymoon to Ft. Lauderdale. I was HUGE and uncomfortable and not at all willing to spend any amount of time in the sun or out in the ocean. I sat on the beach for about all of a half an hour. We spent most of our free time just riding the water taxi around and eating pizza. We haven’t taken a single trip for fun since the baby was born, and sadly, we still don’t have anything lined up for this year. I know people take trips with their babies. I’ve seen them do it. I’ve been on those planes! Some of you, reading this right now, have taken your baby on a plane for a vacation. How did you do it? Where did you go? Would you do it again? What do I need to know? So many questions, but I guess I’m digressing form the point of this post, which is the most important question of all: WHERE should we go?

Here’s a list of places I’m currently dreaming of escaping to, away from all this cold weather, but WITH the baby, which is why you won’t see super-far-off places like Australia  Maldives, or Tahiti on this list, even though I’d love to go there someday!

Costa Rica

costarica

We have friends that live there and have been begging us to come visit for more than a decade. We’re told the best time to come is around the holidays, since that’s their summer time. So this probably won’t be happening anytime soon, but maybe in a  year or two. And I KNOW it’s kid-friendly, not only because the folks we know that live there told us so, but another couple we know with young kids just recently returned and had the time of their lives.

US Virgin Islands

virginislands

How awesome would it be to hop on a boat and just sail around? Some friends of ours did this (sans kids) last fall and their photos were just spectacular. I also have another friend who did this over the holidays with her 6 month old baby and they had a blast.

Southern California

cali

We’ve been to San Diego just once, when I had to go there for a work conference,  and we fell in love. I’d love to rent a convertible and drive up and down the coast, exploring the beach towns along the way and taking scenic pictures like this one. I just love California sunsets, don’t you? We also have a friend/former co-worker who lives in San Diego and since her little boy is the same age as baby D (they’re just 5 days apart), I’d love to get together for a playdate. On the beach. With margaritas for the mommies. Boom.

Hawaii

How could any travel list of ours NOT include Hawaii? We’re obsessed. We still have one major island left to visit – The Big Island – and I hope we can eventually cross this off our list in the next five years. The Big Island is known for its black sand beaches and is the only island with a still-active volcano.

bigisland

Canada

Ok, so this is a bit different than all the other locations I just listed since there is a clear lack of beachfront property here, but there’s just something about this image that strikes me as breath-taking and I’d love to see it in person. Basically, I’ll settle for any giant lake set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains with access to a luxury hotel and spa. Whether it be Canada, or Lake Tahoe, or Como, Italy. I have no desire to ski or hike or do anything strenuous while I’m there. Just eat and drink and let someone rub my shoulders while I breathe in the crisp air.

Canada

Sadly, a recent assessment of our bank account means we probably won’t be heading to any of these places anytime soon, but a girl can dream right?

If you could go ANYWHERE right now, where would you go?

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