Archive for August, 2013

Five on Friday

1. My office closes at 3pm today and I’m SO looking forward to an extra-long weekend. For the first time ever, we’re actually staying in town and I’m a little torn about it. Since we always used the long weekend as an excuse to get out of dodge, part of me feels like we’re “wasting” a good opportunity to go somewhere for a few days. But the other part of me, the part that is sill a bit exhausted from all the driving we did a month ago, is excited to just stay home and maybe squeeze in some last-minute pool time.

2. But what I really want to do? Is get started decorating for fall and planning our Halloween party. Gotta love Pinterest for keeping me inspired!


3. Speaking of fall, my favorite fall decoration are mums. I love them. And in these cute pumpkin “pots”? I must do this.


4. I finished my first book in at least a year – Gone Girl – and I finished it in less than a month! Woo hoo!  The book itself is pretty entertaining. But now I’ve already moved on to my next book, the new J.K. Rowling/Robert Gailbraith book, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Anyone else read it already? Is it good?


5. I can’t believe I’m even putting this on here, but dare I say it, I’m excited for college football season! I used to despise football, and most of the time, I still take the opportunity to get stuff done around the house while the hubs watches his beloved Michigan Wolverines. But there’s just something about the SEASON of football that I just really get into. Maybe it’s the food. The chips and dip, the smell of a warm pot of chili on the stove, an ice cold beer or warm apple cider in hand. Yeah…it’s definitely the food. And after seeing my first game when I was pregnant with D, I have to admit, I’m hooked and can’t wait to go to another game some day.  GO BLUE!


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You Are My Sunshine

My friend Sara is hosting a little photography contest so I thought I’d play along. The theme for this month’s contest is “sunshine” so last night, during our routine park visit, I took my camera and got to shooting.

Confession: I have a DSLR and I don’t really know how to use it. I’m learning little things slowly but surely, but taking good pictures is HARD.

Anyway, we arrived at the park and made the long walk to the swings.


Sadly, the swings were a bit out of view of the setting sun, but I got a couple of shots in there anyway, just for fun.

So high!

So high!


He makes this face while shaking his seat. He thinks it’ll make him go higher.

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Even though it doesn’t look like it, a swarm of other kids came over to swing and play with D’s push walker right after these shots, and since I try not to publish photos of other people’s kids, we decided to go somewhere a little more private to continue our photo session. So next up, the baseball field! And probably the best “sunshine” shots of the whole evening.

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So now I need your help. I can only submit ONE photo to Sara’s contest. Which one should I choose??? Contest closes tonight! EEK!



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Let’s Talk About the 2013 MTV VMAs

Alright so I know everyone is either a) tired of hearing about the VMAs or b) didn’t watch it, and doesn’t give two shakes of a rattle about them.

But I don’t care because I just HAVE to talk about it, just for a minute!


1. Lady Gaga opened the show and was shockingly tame in her performance. And though I’m not usually one to comment on body types, girlfriend looked GOOD. She had a little more meat on her bones and for the first time I ever I found myself saying, “Damn, I want to look like Lady Gaga!” P.S. You know it’s a bad sign when Lady Gaga is one of the more “normal” performances of the evening.

2. Miley Cyrus. Tongue. Foam Fingers. Beetlejuice. Creepy Teddy Bears. These are the things nightmares are made of.

3. But thanks to Miley, I now know what “twerking” is.

4. There was a 20 minute Justin Timberlake concert in the middle of the VMAs.

5. NSYNC reunited, but if you stepped away to refill your drink, you probably missed it. JT had 20 minutes and gave those guys all of 110 seconds.

6. Kanye performed. No one cared. But Jared Leto’s intro for him was actually quite amusing.

7. Apparently there was a shortage of A-List celebs in attendance because the cameras only seemed to cut to Taylor Swift and BFF Selena Gomez, The Will Smith Family, and One Direction & Rhianna.

8. One Direction won the award for “Song of the Summer” and Twitter BLEW UP because no one knew the song, making it very clear that my circle of friends are not the target demographic for the VMAs.

9. Taylor Swift became more unlikable when she mouthed the words “Shut the f*ck up” during One Direction’s dialogue and again, when she gloated about her award and took a dig at the ex (one of MANY) that inspired her song. Keep it classy, Tay-Tay.

10. The best thing about the VMAs: An award show FINALLY got the message and didn’t force us to sit through yet another Chris Brown performance. That alone deserves a round of applause.

In full disclosure, I didn’t even make it to the very end of the awards. I only watched so I could catch the NYSNC performance (that’s how MTV is keeping it relevant to us 30-somethings). After that, Drake came on and I realized I didn’t care anymore so I went to bed. Before 10 pm. Because I’m so hip and cool like that.

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Five on Friday

ONE: We’ve been debating the daycare v. nanny conundrum all week and after touring a daycare and interviewing what I thought was our best nanny candidate, we’ve decided – much to my own surprise – to go with daycare. Why? Well, that could be an entire blog post on its own, but to keep it simple, we’re only relying on childcare two days a week, so we wanted to make those two days a bit different than his regular days at home with dad. Mainly, we wanted him to be more social and be around other kiddos so he can learn to develop some social skills. Will let ya’ll know how this goes.

TWO: Now that we’re about to have the added expense of p/t daycare, we’ve really been trying to watch our finances and rein in our spending. But kind of like dieting, after only a day or two of being “good” and not buying anything other than necessities, I have the crazy itch to go shopping. 

THREE: Speaking of shopping, I am all about the fall fashions lately. So being budget conscious could not come at a worse time! 


FOUR: Ok back to budgeting. I’m also working on bringing my lunch to work but you guys, I need help. I don’t do lunchmeat sandwiches (so boring) or salads (dressings don’t sit well with me) and I’m a big snacker. I try to take things like strawberries and string cheese or yogurt, but am struggling with an actual lunch. So if you have a favorite lunch go-to item, please share!

FIVE: I had SO MUCH FUN meeting up with four lovely bloggers last night over dinner.  (And my mushroom ravioli was divine!) Thanks to Sara for getting us all together and thanks to Alyssa, Lindsay and Dacy for the great company and conversation!

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Two Things

1. After my last post, a few folks left some helpful words in the comments in regards to bottle weaning.

So the next day, we quit bottles cold turkey.  Just like that. We went from a morning and nighttime bottle to no bottles at all. It’s been a few days now and fortunately, everything is just fine. No big deal, really.

That’s the thing I seem to struggle most with as a parent. We get into a routine and before you know it, you’re supposed to change that routine and it becomes this big, daunting thing that I let build up in my head when really, it’s not a big deal. I did it when we moved D to his crib at 10 weeks old. I did it when I stopped pumping at 7 months. I did it when we started introducing solids. And then again, this time, when we stopped bottles. I worried he wouldn’t drink as much milk, but the first night, he sucked down 8 oz in a matter of minutes from his OXO straw sippy cup.  The next morning, pretty much the same experience. It’s almost as if he prefers the sippy cup because he can drink more, faster. Huh. Funny how that is. So now we can officially pack up the bottles. (Until next time!)

2. We’re interviewing nannies. Or babysitters. Or childcare providers. Whatever you want to call them. We’re starting the interviewing process for someone to come in and watch D two days a week while the hubs retreats to his office or goes out for meetings. We used to have this really great setup for the last 10 months where I worked from home one day a week so that the hubs could be free to go to business meetings. Well things changed recently at work and starting next month, I won’t have that option anymore. I was bummed at first, but this is also forcing us to do something we probably needed to do anyway. Now that D is so mobile and dropping his naps, it’s very hard for the hubs to get any work done during the day. When D does finally nap, he uses part of that time just to take a shower and fix something to eat. He barely has any time to work. And on the days I would work from home, I still needed to work, so he was still on daddy duty most of the time, unless he had an appointment or a call. So our arrangement worked for awhile, but lately, if I’m being completely honest, it wasn’t anymore. Still, I hate to lose my WFH day, but having someone come in to watch D two days a week will be good for the hubs. And good for D, because it will force him to interact with other people.

For anyone who has already been down this path, what types of interview questions did you ask? Any tips on what to look for or beware of? Any lessons learned the hard way to share? We’ve never used a babysitter before, other than my mom once or twice, so this is all new territory for us.

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14 Month Update

Well here it is, the middle of the month and I’m now more than 2 weeks behind on D’s monthly updates. Such is life.

Weight/Length: Somewhere between 22 and 25 lbs. I’m guessing closer to 25 since his size 5 diapers already seem like they’re shrinking. No idea on length but I will say that I don’t think his feet are growing quite so fast anymore since he’s still not fitting into his size 5 shoes. And size 4s are incredibly hard to find! He has one pair and he wears them all the time.

Sleep: This month I really started getting strict about his bedtime schedule so that he was in bed by 8:30 every night. Some nights he’ll sit and play until 9 or so but as long as he’s quiet and eventually falls asleep, I’m not complaining. However, this does not mean sleeping soundly through the night. Some time between midnight and 2:30, he wakes up screaming so we bring him in bed with us. He goes back to sleep almost immediately but lately he’s been tossing and turning and more often than not, I’ll find a foot in my face or under my ribcage. And I thought feet in my ribcage was only a pregnancy thing!

Feeding: Still taking a morning and night bottle. (Question for moms of toddlers: how do you get your kid to drink the recommended amount of milk each day without using a bottle? The only reason we are still using bottles is because it’s the only way he’ll sit and drink 8 oz in a sitting.)

He’s eating what we eat some of the time, but we don’t always eat regular meals or foods that he can eat (e.g. too spicy or too crunchy…like, nachos). So we rely on Happy Family and Gerber products quite a bit. He LOVES fruits, yogurt, and PB&J, will tolerate some veggies, but he’s not the biggest fan of Goldfish crackers, home-made cheese quesadillas, grilled cheese, or cheese in general for that matter. Even mac & cheese just seems tolerable, if he’s really hungry. He’ll try anything, but if it’s not sweet, it’s hit or miss on whether or not he’ll take a second bite.

Developments: This kid is a hugging and clapping machine. But only for mommy and sometimes for daddy. It’s a pretty awesome feeling to walk into a room and get a round of applause and then have two tiny arms wrap tightly around your neck while hearing squeals of happiness in your ear. And that’s after only being gone for 5 minutes.
As for new words, I’ve finally come to realize that when he says “ba” he means “baby.” If we’re out and about and he sees a baby or toddler, he yells “BA!” If one appears on a commercial on TV, same thing. It took me awhile to realize that he wasn’t just yelling at them, but that he was actually calling them “baby”. I think I need Rosetta Stone for baby talk.
So here we are, at 14 months, and he’s STILL not walking. He just has no interest in it. Doesn’t even attempt it. He’ll walk with his walker, cruise around on furniture, or if we hold his hands, so I know he’s capable. But it still bothers me that he won’t get up and walk through the splash pad with all the other babies, many of which are now a few months younger than him. My MIL told me before she died that my husband didn’t walk until he was 15 months old, and our pediatrician told us not to worry and not to force it, it’ll happen, but still. I’m starting to get concerned.

Firsts This Month: First trip to the community pool. I know there’s more but I can’t think of anything right now!

Likes: All the same stuff: dogs, balls, water.

Favorite Songs: Somewhere Over the Rainbow, the Hawaiian version, and most Bob Marley songs, bring a guaranteed smile to his face every time. It’s a little odd, actually, but at least my kid has good taste in music.

Favorite Toys: Balls, blocks, books – still the same. And he still loves his musical monkey at bedtime. In fact, we’ve completely stopped using the sound machine for white noise because it just seems pointless now with that thing playing half the night.

Dislikes: Being held/cuddled for too long when he’s in the mood to PLAY. Getting his diaper changed. Getting his boogers sucked out (which happens almost every night). Getting out of the bathtub before he’s ready. And grocery shopping. STILL. If I’m not in and out in 5 minutes, he starts throwing a fit. So I’m “that mom” playing Baby Einstein on her phone in one hand while putting grocery items on the conveyor belt in the checkout with the other.

What I’m Thankful For: When I went back to work full time, I used to worry that he’d never be a mama’s boy. That because his daddy was with him all the time, that he’d only want daddy. I’m so thankful that hasn’t been the case AT ALL. In fact, it’s pretty obvious that mama is his favorite person and even though I sometimes wish he was a bit more outgoing and friendly, I not-so-secretly love it when he grabs my neck a little tighter or reaches for me when daddy is holding him.

What I’m Looking Forward To: Just enjoying these last few weeks of summer. The temps have cooled already and it’s just so nice to get outside and spend time together as a family, going for walks, or playing at the park.

And because I can’t help myself from looking ahead, I already have big plans for fall. It’s my favorite season, after all. More on that later.

How Mommy’s Doing: Emotionally, the end of this month has been really hard on my little family, since my husband just lost his mom. But that tragedy aside, I’ve been doing alright. I started the Couch to 5K program a few weeks ago and while it’s not much, it’s SOMETHING and I feel so much better about myself even if the scale doesn’t show anything.

First 4th of July parade!



That smile.


splash pad fun at the pool


Still loves his bottle


Holding hands with mama


Walking – but only with his walker.

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Five on Friday

ONE: My FIL is staying with us for who knows how long. After my MIL passed away just two weeks ago, the house has become too boring and lonely for him so he’s taking a break and staying with us for a little while. Hoping this helps him clear his head. And I know my husband has enjoyed all the male bonding time.

TWO: The biggest news of the week is that my very corporate office has decided to relax the dress code. Which means, we can now add denim to our list of clothing options! This may not be a big deal to most people but when I posted the news to Facebook, I was amused at how many FORMER employees commented and were in complete shock by the change. Oh and we get to wear COLORED denim too. Dare I say my first pair of coral jeans may be on my shopping list this weekend?

Oh Kate Middy, I love everything you do.

Oh Kate Middy, I love everything you do.

THREE: I haven’t read a real book since I finished Jenny Lawson’s “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.” That was nearly a year ago, when I was still on maternity leave and needed a way to pass the (pumping) time during those late nights and early morning hours. I haven’t read a book in a YEAR! Until now. The other day I made the decision to download “Gone Girl” to the iPad. I hear they’re already in the process of making the movie and Reese Witherspoon is producing it, so I figured I might as well read the book before the movie comes out.  I know this has been a super popular book for awhile now so if you’ve read it, tell me and let me know what you think! I’m only a few chapters in. gone girl

FOUR: Summer is almost over and I can’t stop thinking about all things fall and holidays. (Expect many more posts on this topic.) I’ve already nailed down a date for our (almost) annual Halloween party and we’re currently in the middle of planning a trip to Colorado this fall for a friend’s wedding. This will make the second wedding we’ve attended in Colorado. Which is one more than we’ve attended in our own home city of STL. Oh and did I mention my FIL is coming with us? He’s never been on an airplane and never been west of Branson, MO so this should be a fun experience and we can’t wait to watch his reaction to all things flying and Colorado! He’s going to love it. Maybe not the flying part, but definitely the Colorado part.

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View from Red Rocks Amphitheater from our trip in May 2008.

FIVE:  Do you have a favorite soup? I think mine is a tie between a good lobster bisque and Charleston’s famous She Crab soup. Which I can only seem to find in Charleston. However, I have found a place near my office that occasionally serves the most delicious lobster bisque (anyone ever been to Snarf’s?) and I will be stalking their daily soup selection from now on.

Happy Friday!

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Learnings – Baby Edition

For the last few months, I’ve been keeping a running list of things that have actually surprised me about being a parent. Yes, I knew I’d be tired. Yes, I knew my body would change. Yes, I knew being a mom would be hard, but worth it. That’s what everyone says, isn’t it? “It’s HARD. (pause) But so worth it!!”

But here are a few things I didn’t expect. Some may be helpful, others not so much.

Different types of shampoo can actually GIVE your baby cradle cap. I use this Original Sprout brand at the urging of the stylist at the baby hair place and it cleared it up in ONE DAY. Magic stuff.

Ibuprofen is greater than Tylenol. But for even better results, use them both during times of ear infections, and sometimes teething, if it’s really bad.

Too much salt is bad for baby. I won’t go into WHY but just Google it and let the possibilities scare the piss out of you. So just play it safe and minimize salty foods for baby.

Babies get bored. Even before they can crawl. There were times when D would start to get fussy and all it would take to cheer him up was to step outside and let him get a breath of fresh air. This kid LOVES to be outdoors, but I had no idea that love would start practically from birth.

Sleep regression. It’s a thing. I was that lucky person whose baby started sleeping through the night around 10 weeks of age. He slept SO WELL for MONTHS. And then…I don’t really know what happened. Somewhere around 9 months, he started waking up in the middle of the night, and the only way to get him back to sleep was to bring him to our bed. It’s finally getting better, but we still have more nights than not when he’s in our bed around 3am.

It is impossible not to compare your kid to other people’s kids.

It’s also completely normal if your baby doesn’t walk before his/her first birthday. And completely normal if they do. 

My once too-big house is now too small. It’s also a death trap b/c of all the stairs.

Speaking of stairs, most baby gates are useless if you have a banister, a hand rail, and/or baseboards. And we have all 3. 

I’ve spent more money on sippy cups than date nights these last few months. However, I’m pleased to say we’ve finally found a cup that D loves, is portable, and easy to wash.  The OXO Tot Straw Cup. Love it.  Get 2.

There’s no better feeling in the world than making your baby smile or laugh. Nothing. Sadness just doesn’t linger with a baby around. After my grandpa died last year, I told my husband that having and taking care of D was the best medicine for helping me cope with that sadness.  He needed me and I needed him. Then, last week, after my MIL’s funeral my husband said to me, “I get what you mean now. You can’t help but smile when he’s around.”

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Saying Goodbye

Last Friday, my mother-in-law passed away. Just one day before her 40th wedding anniversary to my father-in-law. She was only 59.

We were in Chicago. My husband was at the hotel with D while I was working the booth for one of my clients at BlogHer. He sent a text asking me to come back to the hotel as soon as I could. I got the eerie something-is-wrong feeling and asked why, when he said “my mom just passed”. Gut = kicked. Then panic. Who’s going to cover for me? Where are my things? I need a cab NOW. It took a half hour to get back to the hotel, and not knowing what else to do, we just started packing our things and checked out. In the middle of rush hour traffic in downtown Chicago. Not our most brilliant idea, but we didn’t know what else to do. Go out to dinner and just leave the next morning? Neither of us felt like eating or sleeping. But sitting in traffic, as it turns out, wasn’t any better for our nerves. It was about 10:30 pm before we made it to Indianapolis and decided to check in to a hotel rather than drive until 2:30 am.

Not being able to immediately be with family in times of tragedy is pretty devastating. But I’m glad we were together at least, because I nearly took that work trip alone, in which case I would’ve had to try to get back to STL before we could leave. And he would’ve been alone with D for at least 24 hours, waiting for me.

Once we arrived, things were pretty chaotic. The family has lived in that area their entire lives. They’re members of a church, with an extensive church family. Before we even got there, the fridge and counter tops were packed to the gills with food that people had brought. On one hand, it was nice for the family to feel the love and support of so many, and on the other, there were times we thought about turning off the phone and locking the doors because it was just too much. Too difficult to be “on” and feel like you needed to entertain folks while they looked at you with sympathy.

When my grandpa passed away last year, that was the first and only time I’d been directly involved in funeral arrangements. For those who have been fortunate enough to still not have that experience, I will tell you this: It’s a lot of work. So much so that I would much rather everyone be required to plan their own funeral so their spouse or children don’t have to do it.

Because we were so late getting into town, my husband’s two sisters did most of the planning. And for that, he was especially grateful. He didn’t want to have to make any of those decisions. They picked out the casket, her outfit, the flowers, the guestbook, the photos, the slideshow, the music, and pretty much everything. And it was all so very lovely. The services were held on Monday afternoon, at her church, with the burial immediately following, and a dinner at the church after that.  She had more flowers than I had ever seen, and so many people came by – in the middle of a work day – to pay their respects. My parents even attended to help baby-wrangle so I could sit up front at the service. Each child and one grandchild wrote letters about their favorite memories, which the minister read during the service. Three of the other grandchildren gave tributes by singing, and it was especially heartbreaking when two of them broke down after the first verse of Amazing Grace and had to return to their seats, crying.

For those who may be new here, my MIL battled MS for more than 20 years. It’s a terrible auto-immune disease, one that affects people differently, and has no cure. She’s been in a wheelchair for the last 15 years, and for the last nearly 10 years, hasn’t been able to use her hands or arms. She was in tremendous pain, especially these last couple of years.

Over the weekend, a cousin remarked that he felt so guilty going to church with her, because it would be 2 hours of pure hell for her to get up, get into her wheelchair, and get ready for church whereas it was just so effortless for him to get up, throw on some clean clothes, and go to church. She went through so much pain to do something so simple, yet there she would sit with a smile on her face, just happy to be there.

And that’s just how she was. No words could adequately describe the kind of woman she was – kind, caring, thoughtful, classy, funny, strong-willed, and smart as a whip. She could get fired up at the littlest things, but cry at the drop of a hat if she was worried about someone. And she was ALWAYS worried about someone, no matter how sick she was all the time. She was always there for her kids, and never missed a sporting event or art show or spelling bee competition for the grandkids.

Losing a parent is never easy and I hate that she won’t be around to dote on D and watch him grow up. I know she was looking forward to that. And despite his shyness with strangers right now, he would ALWAYS light up whenever he saw her. He always had a smile for her, while everyone else got the evil eye from him. The last time the three of us visited was at the end of May for D’s birthday. And this is the last pic of them. She was in terrible shape, unable to sit up straight anymore, and in constant pain. But she had a smile on her face anyway, and I know we’ll cherish this pic forever.


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