PJ’s Diary: My First Thanksgiving

Mommy says Thanksgiving is the best holiday – we see our whole family, and there’s lots of my favorite thing ever, FOOD!

We had two Thanksgivings this year, yay! On Sunday, some of my aunts and uncles came over to our house and Mommy made something called a turkey:


Waaaait a minute, should I be worried here?

Anyway, my Uncle John & me watched football together…

And my aunts all snuggled me! Snuggling is my favorite, right Aunt Linda?

Today, we went on a trip to see my family in New Jersey.

And on our way, we stopped in to see the nurses that took care of me when I was a tiny baby – this is Miss Erin, I was so happy to see her!

When we got there, my PopPop and my Aunt Cindy chopped up more of those turkey things.

It takes a lot of turkey to feed this crowd!

After the big people ate, it was my turn – yay! I didn’t think that turkey stuff was very good, but my PopPop’s tie was yummy!

Big families are fun, there are always people to cuddle you.

That’s my cousin Deanna, she’s so pretty and she likes Neverland just like me!

Then we all play games…it’s nice and loud, just the way I like it.

I had so much to tell my friend Michael before we fell asleep. Now we having dreams about next Thanksgiving…good night, friends!


Decisions, Decisions

I absolutely love watching PJ waking up to the idea that he can participate in the world. He’s finding new ways to move his little body, experimenting with new sounds, and wanting to be involved with everything! My favorite thing is that when we read stories now, he snuggles right up to lay his cheek on my cheek and look at the pictures with me.

The other awesome thing is this:


We’ve moved most of his toys to his very own shelf, and now he gets to decide what to play with for himself! My mom discovered this, she carried him over the other day and he just started reaching for his favorite things, so now it’s a new fun game for baby.

He takes decision making very seriously, too. I hold him up, and he sticks his fingers in his mouth and chews on them, and studies everything on the shelf. I can tell when he’s decided because he gets this big grin on his face and sure enough, about a second later he starts reaching out. Then I hand whatever it is to him, he gets the biggest smile and giggles, and then…he bites whatever it is.

We’ll be working on those good friend/naughty friend decisions a little later on.

How To: Make Awesome Pie Crust

Thanksgiving is coming early to Neverland! We’re hosting dinner on Sunday for some of my husband’s brothers and sisters, and I’m excited for what I hope will be the start of a new tradition.

I started prepping today with the crusts for our pies. After years of trial and error (ok, mostly error) I feel like I can finally say I have mastered the art of pie crust making. The recipe is amazingly simple, all you need is:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup Crisco
5 tablespoons of water

The assembly is the tricky part, but I’ve got a few tips to help you out. Anything *surrounded by stars* is something that I’ve found makes a big difference.

1) Fill a *glass* measuring cup with more water than you need and *add at least 4 ice cubes*. Set aside.

2) *Sift* your 2 cups of flour into your mixing bowl. Add the teaspoon of salt and give a quick stir with your *pastry blender*.

3) Add your 3/4 of Crisco *in 1/4 cup increments* so you have three separate dollops (or ten smaller ones if you’re like me and can never get it all out in one scrape).

4) Use that *pastry blender* to cut the Crisco in until it’s evenly distributed through the bowl (it will be both mealy and lumpy. Go with it).

5) Add your ice cold water in 1 tablespoon at a time. *Don’t* try to spread each tablespoon around the bowl (like you would put olive oil in a pan), pour the whole tablespoon *in one spot.*

6) After each tablespoon, use a fork to *press the dough from the outer edge of the bowl to the center*.

7) The dough will still look very floury after 5 tablespoons, but *stop with the water anyway*. You can lightly shape it with your hands into two balls *one just slightly larger than the other if you are making a double crust pie* or evenly to make two single crust pies.

8) Roll the dough out *on a floured metal cookie sheet*. Start in the center and change direction every couple of rolls. The cookie sheet keeps your dough cold and lets you move the dough to get a better angle without having to scrape it up and risk breaking it first.

9) When you are done rolling, *use a butter knife to completely separate the dough from the cookie sheet before attempting to move it*. I do not care what those toothy little liars on the Food Network tell you, crusts don’t lift off nice and pretty just by loosening the edges. Again, this is where cookie sheet comes to the rescue because you can spin it to reach every spot.

10) For a 2-crust pie, the slightly smaller crust goes into the pan, and the larger one is the lid. For both, put the ugly side towards the inside of the pie (you’ll know what I mean when you scrape it loose).

11) Check if your recipe calls for a baked shell first, then fill and decorate! 

Happy baking, and Happy Thanksgiving from Neverland 🙂


Changing Conversations

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I could have a complete conversation, in full grown up sentences. Many of these conversations took place with my BFF Anne, who is still not completely forgiven for up and moving most of the way across the country (years ago, but who’s counting?)

But now that I have a 5.5 month old, and she has a newborn, phone calls go like this:

{After two days’ worth of phone tag}

Anne: Did you get my message the other day? Did PJ….[to older son] Alex, I don’t know where it is, ask Dad…sorry, when did PJ….[to husband Mark] well, can you help him look for it please?…howlonguntilhesleptthroughthenight?

PJ: ::whimper whimper::

Me: Sorry, what?…[to husband Paul] It’s Anne. Can you take the baby for a minute?

Anne: Sleeping. All night. When? Plleeease say soon. [To baby Michael] Mommy’s talking, say hi to Aunt Shan!

Michael: ::coo coo burp coo::

Me: Awwww…hi baby!

Paul: Here, I think PJ’s hungry.

PJ (clearly jealous, grabs phone and licks it): Gaaaahh! Gaaaahh!

Anne: I guess five hours is good, right?

Me: Five hours of what? [to PJ] No biting Mommy! Now you have to wait.

Anne: Five hour stretch of sleep.

PJ: Weh Weh Weh Whhaaaaaaaaa

Me: [to PJ] Ok, you can eat more but no biting….Yeah, five hours is good for a month old!

Michael: ::coo coo hiccup coo:: Weh Weh Weh

Anne: Where’s your pacifier, buddy? Yeah, I thought that was good, but I couldn’t remember. Oh, did you see the….

Michael: Wwwwaaaaaahhhhhhh!

PJ: Wwwwaaaaaahhhhhhh!

Paul/Mark: Is he hungry?

Me/Anne: OK, talk to you later. Bye.

How PJ Celebrated World Preemie Day

1) Demanded breakfast at 5:30 am.

2) Demanded second breakfast a la Merry & Pip at 9:30 am.

3) Played nicely in his car seat until “Boondocks” came on the restaurant radio, then had a dance emergency and insisted on being taken out to dance on the table (a la cousin Korin) to the vast amusement of the waitresses.

4) Blew out his diaper. Twice.

5) Giggled uncontrollably at Mommy & Daddy singing “I Feel Good” for his entertainment.

6) Played with rubber duckies in the bath tub.

7) Started mimicing Mommy’s movements during tummy time.

8) “Helped” Mommy fold laundry.

9) Had guy time with Daddy while Mommy went to the gym.

10) Activated his Small but Mighty Preemie Powers and pulled himself up in his crib for the first time!

Happy Preemie Day, peanut!


In Search Of Good Shopping Juju

PJ & I are going shopping today. I’m looking forward to half of it, and dreading the other half. I’ve started his Christmas list, and there are a couple of things on it that I can’t wait to pick up today to make up to myself for having to buy clothes.

That sounds weird, I know! I do really like pretty clothes, but I hate shopping for them and I’ve been putting this off for awhile now. I have some pretty great Pinterest boards of clothes I would love to wear, but every time I go to the store I come home disappointed, and I’m especially dreading today’s outing.

The thing is, I’ve been on the larger side of average since middle school. And since I had the baby, even though I have technically lost everything I gained being pregnant, what’s left has shifted around to inconvenient places and I suspect that I will need to go up a size to the biggest number I have ever worn.

“It’s just a number!” some may scoff. “It’s not a definition of who you are, and you can always work harder to change it if you really don’t like it.”

That may be true, but in the meantime, it sucks. The bigger the number, the fewer pretty clothes there are to choose from. The bigger the number, the more major label brands (A&F, Lululemon, etc) who are publicly, absolutely disgusted by the idea that someone who looks like me would even dare to walk in their store, much less attempt to wear their precious clothes. And the bigger the number, the more of these small indignities are compounded by sneering, insincere platitudes about being concerned about my health. Which of course they know nothing about.

Even the maternity store where I get my nursing tops keeps the largest sizes in a back corner that is the only part of the store not decorated in hyper-cheery Pregnant is Pretty! themed displays (because otherwise tiny people with “bumps” are adorable, but too big is just eww, right?). I remember when I first needed maternity pants how relieved I was to find my size in the front, because in some stores I’m “normal” and in others I’m “plus size” and I never know until I get there which it will be. Having to buy plus-size maternity clothes from the hidden corner would have been the depressing icing on the hormonal cake.

I have (mostly) gotten used to this, and although it always bothers me, I haven’t given it too much thought. But now that I’m a mom, and have this little guy who will literally prop his eyes open to not miss a thing I do, I feel like I need to step it up a bit.

I don’t want him to get the idea that I’m ashamed of my body, or that I should be. I don’t want him to grow up thinking that all women should be tiny or else spending every waking minute trying to be. And if I ever have a girl, that’ll be even more important.

I just wish I could get a little help from the fashion industry with this. But I’m not holding my breath. I’ll hold my nose instead and go buy new clothes because I need them, and then I’ll cheer myself up with Christmas shopping for fun little guy toys.

Ok, ok, and shoes too.

Bedtime Snuggles

This is another topic where I know someone will read it, then laugh at me and say – “oh, just wait until he’s older!” I know that what I’m about to say won’t always be the case, which is exactly why I’m taking the time to enjoy it now.

Bedtime is my favorite routine of the day. Even on busy days when I get home late and tired and still have things I need to get done, I look forward to the cuddles.

First comes bathtime, which he loves. And seriously, is there anything better than the smell of freshly washed baby? Then he gets a bedtime snack nursing session, which he falls asleep while eating half the time.

If he’s still awake after his snack, we read a book together. He is just starting to get interested in the pictures, mostly in wanting to know how they taste. After stories, it’s good night kisses from Mommy and Daddy, then bedtime prayers. We stick with the classic “Now I lay me down to sleep…” and keep it short and simple.

Then more kisses, and into the crib he goes. Some nights he talks himself to sleep, but most of the time he is out like a light before I leave the room.


That’s if we ever made it upstairs in the first place haha! Being a baby is exhausting!

Lost in Good Books

People who know me offline know that I am totally book crazy. I have always enjoyed reading, and can spend hours trying to pick out just the right book (ok, I usually end up getting a whole stack). I once had a part-time job in a bookstore, about which my Aunt Cindy remarked: “Isn’t that like an alcoholic working in a liquor store?” I actually hated the job, but only because I got stuck working in the cafe and nowhere near the actual books.

I don’t get to read as much lately (can’t imagine why), but when I do get time to sit down with good reading material I end up devouring it like Starvin’ Marvin at an Old Country Buffet. Most of my good finds lately come through my book club, which is one of those awesome ones where we drink lots of wine and read books that are in that sweet spot above trash (first rule of book club was no Twilight, and no 50 Shades of anything) but not have to get it on tge list just to say we read it snooty.

So this weekend while I wasn’t writing I was finishing up our latest selection – The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. I thought it was great, it was suspenseful but the final resolution didn’t go off into left field from the rest of the plot (which is a pet peeve of mine). And it was also really thought provoking. What would you do if you suddenly found out that your husband had done something terrible before you ever met him? Do you keep his secret or tell the person most affected by it? How do you handle raising children with someone you just found out is not who you thought?

The selection I did finish in time was Bossypants by Tina Fey. The book read just like everything else she does – smart, sassy, and funny. I adore her, and I want to be co-besties with her and Amy Poehler in the worst way. I mean, really, who wouldn’t? If you say no to that, I can only respond with “Bitch, I don’t know your life!”

So anyway, I’m in book hangover mode now…until I start our next selection anyway!

Ready to Move

Every morning when I go into PJ’s room, he is in a different spot from where I put him to bed. He’s been spinning in circled since he was about a month old, and now he can push himself around with his knees.

Yesterday, he rolled over, spun around, grabbed his favorite toy and was having quite the conversation with the Peter Pan picture on his wall.


Today, I got this series of pictures from his babysitter Ms Janice:




He is so proud of himself! He’s laying on the floor next to me now, trying so hard to come get me – doing the rocking thing and pushing off with his hands, but ending up going backwards.

Something tells me that won’t last long!

5 Things Not To Say To A NICU Mom

One of the mom groups I belong to on Facebook is focused on providing information for breastfeeding mothers. I’ve learned a lot of good things there, but like any destination on the web, you find a mix of people who provide helpful, factual advice and people who, to be kind, don’t.

I’ve noticed quite a few questions on there lately from NICU moms who are doing their best to navigate that scary medical labyrinth with their tiny baby in the center. I try to answer where I think I can help, and I see other NICU veterans do the same. But it also seems like for each of us, there are three other well-meaning but misguided people who are pushing information that will likely end up frustrating the NICU mom if not outright setting her up for failure. And since I just so happen to have my own little platform here, I thought I would take a few minutes to put together a “5 Things Not To Say To a NICU Mom”:

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