PJ’s Diary: Babies Against Clean Eating

Mommy says we are “eating clean” this week. I think this is a terrible idea. The best part about eating is getting real dirty!

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I don’t mind all the good, fresh veggies, I even made her give me a yummy scallion to munch on – it went real nice with my peanut butter and banana sandwich!

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And the eggs with tomatoes, fresh basil, and turkey bacon – deeeeeeelicious!

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But how am I supposed to enjoy my food if I have to keep it clean all the time?!

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I think I’m gonna go to Great Grandma’s house for the week. She understands me.

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So how about it Mommy? Pack me up some yummy veggies and fruit, and I will go where they appreciate a good mess and aren’t stingy with the ice cream!

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But …You’re coming with me, right?

Defying the Gravity of SCOTUS

I firmly believe that there is a Broadway song for every occasion. That when what you feel is much too big for words alone, you need music and a powerhouse singer to get it out. That’s how I’ve been feeling all week.


[GLINDA]
Why couldn’t you have stayed calm, for once! Instead of flying off the handle — !

I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re happy now
I hope you’re happy how you’ve
Hurt your cause forever
I hope you think you’re clever!

I was taught, many years ago, that our court system is supposed to represent the interest of justice (saaaaaaay, do you think that’s why they’re called Justices?!)

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[ELPHABA]
I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re happy too
I hope you’re proud how you would
Grovel in submission
To feed your own ambition

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
So though I can’t imagine how
I hope you’re happy
Right now

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Do you think this case was really about 4 specific prescriptions? Or about whether you pay for them pre-tax as part of your compensation or deducted premiums or post-tax in cash? Or is it about whether someone in a powerful decision making position has the right to make a religiously based judgment and pass it on down the line regardless of the faith or beliefs of the individuals in that line?

[GLINDA]
Elphie, listen to me. Just say you’re sorry!

You can still be with The Wizard
What you’ve worked and waited for
You can have all you ever wanted –

[ELPHABA]
I know
But I don’t want it – No!
I can’t want it anymore

It is not “beside the point” to note that the insurance plans in question here cover Viagra and Cialis without batting an eye. The relevant part there is that men are able to make decisions about their sexual health informed by their own needs and their doctor’s recommendations. But the sexual health of women is subject to higher scrutiny – that it’s a-ok for an employer to make a moral judgment before a woman even enters a doctor’s office about which medications are appropriate.

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Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by
The rules of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
And leap…

It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down

I have been alarmed many times in the past few years about legislation and proposed legislation regarding pregnant women – laws in Arizona would have legally defined pregnancy as beginning two weeks BEFORE conception. This is part of a medical definition, but making it a legal definition is a whole different ballgame.

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And don’t even get me started on “personhood” laws that could have landed me in jail while I was pregnant with PJ for ::gasp:: being in a liquor store with intent to purchase alcohol. Never mind that it was for a party, and I’m a good hostess who doesn’t expect other people not to drink on my account – if these “personhood” laws had been in effect, the store clerk would have been a mandated reporter and I would have had to prove that I was not planning to get wasted and harm my child.

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[GLINDA]
Can’t I make you understand
You’re having delusions of grandeur?

[ELPHABA]
I’m through accepting limits
Cuz someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try I’ll never know
Too long I’ve been afraid of
Losing love, I guess I’ve lost
Well if that’s love
It comes at much too high a cost

I’d sooner buy defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye, I’m defying gravity
And you can’t pull me down!

I don’t often write about feminist issues, partly because I see the kind of hate that is directed toward women who do, and partly because I know that my opinions on these subjects upset people that I care about and I try not to do that when I can help it. But here’s the thing – if more people like me, who care about women being full and equal members of society, not just capable of but trusted to make our own decisions start speaking up, maybe the point will come across.

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Glinda, come with me. Think of what we could do -together!

Unlimited
Together we’re unlimited
Together we’ll be the greatest team
There’s ever been – Glinda!
Dreams the way we planned ’em

[GLINDA]
If we work in tandem

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
There’s no fight we cannot win
Just you and I, defying gravity
With you and I defying gravity

[ELPHABA]
They’ll never bring us down!

Well, are you coming?

It isn’t just career feminists, who study and write about these issues every day (and kudos to them for doing it, I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress!) who should be involved in this conversation, engaging with the anti-feminist movement. Everyone should add their voice. Do you think that 4 of the 20 most effective contraceptive methods are morally wrong? Start writing about it, share your point of view, and back it up with your research. You never know who will read it and be informed by it when they need to make a decision.

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[GLINDA decides to stay behind.]

Here’s where it gets tricky, though. Taking your opinion and writing it into legislation says “I don’t trust you to make the right decision about your health and your family.” It says that you feel your position is so weak that you need muscle to back it up. Or that you think women aren’t capable human beings who can evaluate their needs and their options as fully as men can.

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[GLINDA]
I hope you’re happy
I hope your happy now that your choosing this –

[ELPHABA]
You too–
I hope it brings you bliss

[GLINDA & ELPHABA]
I really hope you get it
And you don’t live to regret it
I hope you’re happy in the end
I hope you’re happy my friend

There is nothing wrong with having religion guide your life – many wonderful people do amazing, good things in the name of God. I support several organizations both personally and professionally that help support women who choose to continue an unplanned pregnancy. I think they do great work, and I am happy to see women thrive in situations that started out scary and uncertain – women like my own mom, who had me very young.

But there has to be a recognition of where personal beliefs end, and where public policy begins. For myself, I don’t need access to abortion services. And I don’t feel a need to get into a debate about what kind of circumstances are or aren’t acceptable for someone else to seek one, because you can play the exception game all day long and get nowhere. So how about this groundbreaking idea – recognize that women are fully capable human beings, who can evaluate their own needs and circumstances, seek out information on points they’re unsure about, accept the counsel of their support system, their doctor, and their conscience, and make a decision without the input of their congressional representation or their boss.

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[ELPHABA]
So if you care to find me
Look to the Western sky!
As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves the chance to fly
And if I’m flying solo
At least I’m flying free
To those who ground me
Take a message back from me!

I am extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court for ruling that employees have less individual autonomy than the corporations they work for. This Court has proved over and over (Citizens United, McCutcheon, Hobby Lobby) that it believes in the Golden Rule above all else – they who have the gold, make the rules.

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Where is the Justice in that for individuals so unfortunate to be the employed rather than the employer? Did I miss the section of the First Amendment that says “This is a weighted right – by accepting a paycheck, you agree to be governed by the $peech of your betters, and are now free to practice their religion as they see fit.”

Tell them how I am defying gravity
I’m flying high, defying gravity
And soon I’ll match them in renown

Lots of people responded to the outrage over this ruling by saying “Don’t like it? Don’t work there! Find someone who shares your own beliefs and work for them, or start your own company and make your own rules!” (Can you hear the hymns playing at the “start your own company” line?) My BFF Anne had a great point to make about this – should we really need to ask in an interview, along with job description, salary, and benefits questions, about the personal religious beliefs of the company owner? Has it really come to that? And will job applicants have court protection if asking those questions gets them into trouble of any kind?

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And starting a company is a great option – for everyone. All it takes is a great idea, right? Anyone can do it! No experience in sourcing, production, bookkeeping, marketing, law, finance, or customer service needed, just start your own business and then YOU can make decisions about your health care! Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to find someone from that lower class species of Job Seeker to make decisions FOR in a week or two! And with all that money that will start rolling in the minute you let people know you are a Job Creator, you even get free speech in election years! Hot dog hot dog hot diggity dog!

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Hot dog, hot dog, hot diggety dog!

And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!!

Or maybe, just maybe, employees are people too – with religious beliefs of their own, and the desire to participate in their own lives and society regardless of how much cash they have to contribute to election campaigns. They may even have ::stage whisper:: sex lives.

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Bringing up the other medical uses for birth control is important, but misses the main argument – that women’s bodies and medical decisions are held to different standards of scrutiny than men’s are. And that is what the executives at Hobby Lobby and the SCOTUS five got wrong.

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At least someone got it right.

[GLINDA]
I hope you’re happy

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
Look at her
She’s wicked
Get her!!

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All you need to do to see why I hesitated to post this are read the Facebook comments on any article on the case. I’ve referenced some of the tamer themes here, but there are plenty of worse ones out there if you care to see what people have to say about women who think like I do. Or you could read through the #YesAllWomen conversation. Hopefully, it makes you uncomfortable.

[ELPHABA]
Bring me down!

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
No one mourns the wicked
So we got to bring her –

[ELPHABA]
Ahhhh!

[CITIZENS OF OZ]
–Down!

But hopefully, it also makes you think.

Gearing Up!

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Next weekend,  PJ, Paul, myself, my parents, brothers, sister-in-law, aunts, uncles, and cousins are walking and running in the Gary Papa Run in Philadelphia. We are team “Skip H” in memory of my grandfather, who went to heaven in October 2012 after a long battle with prostate cancer.

I recently signed a petition to my senators asking them to support proposed funding for prostate cancer research, and got a response back that Senator Toomey feels that it would be “irresponsible” to vote for funding. Senator Casey didn’t even bother to respond at all. Good to know for their next elections! In the meantime, while Congress votes on such pressing financial issues as forcing the military to retain and maintain Cold War era aircraft that the Pentagon thinks we could manage without, it’s up to the rest of us to try to get some funding for curing this disease that is killing men.

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This disease robbed PJ and his great Grandpa from getting to know each other. It robbed my grandmother and my friend Nancy of their husbands. It robbed my dad, his sisters, and my friend Laura of their dads. It robbed me,  my cousins, and Laura’s little girl Ella of their grandfathers. So,  with all due respect, Sen Toomey, I think that allowing THAT to continue is what’s irresponsible.

So we will walk. And we will raise the money, and prove it can be done.

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My personal challenge for all of you is to turn PJ’s stroller into a race car that would have made my Grandpa say “Well I’ll be damned!” – for every individual donor (of any amount) that supports us, I will add one piece of racing paraphernalia to the stroller and turn him into a rolling story about the great Grandpa he would have loved to play with!

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If you would like to participate, follow this link – and thank you!

My Love/Hate Relationship With Ikea & Party City

I can’t believe this, but PJ’s birthday is just one week away! He is keeping me busy for sure, with crawling all over and now pulling himself up to stand and walking his way around everything he can. Once he figures out that running gets him places faster than crawling, I will be in T-R-O-U-B-L-E!

We went out to get the supplies for his birthday party today. It is, of COURSE, a Mickey Mouse theme. I would love to say that it’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and I’m trying my best to make it so, but…well, you’ll see. First, if you don’t run in the toddler set and I lost you earlier, stick with me – it’s not just about a mouse, I promise. It’s about something that bugs me every single time I go to the store for baby supplies.

This is what the Clubhouse gang looks like on TV (and by the way, the link goes to another blogger who asks the tough questions about the show – one of which I can sadly answer and tell him that Pete is a cat. I know.):

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Anyway, my point is that Minnie and Daisy (and Clarabelle when she is in the scene) are part of the group. They’re not some strange, separate species of ::gasp:: GIRL ::pearl clutch:: that exist on a separate planet of pink and purple hearts and flowers. Yes, they like bows and dancing and ribbons, but they’re just as likely to climb a mountain or ride a train or cross the desert as the guys are. PJ’s two favorite characters here are Mickey and Daisy. He claps when they come on the screen, he laughs when they talk, and he pays more attention to stories they are in.

So when I go to Party City to get birthday party supplies, I had this crazy naive thought that there would be a young kids’ section where I could find the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse decorations. Chalk that up to first-time-mom naivete. There are actually TWO Mickey Mouse Clubhouse sections – one for boys, and one for girls. Outside of TV, the gang looks like this:

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IT’S LIKE THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW EACH OTHER ANYMORE.

And what’s worse, they don’t even want to know each other anymore. Look, I’m a marketer. I get the idea of splitting characters up to increase your overall ticket, and I get that some people really only do want one or the other because that is what their kid is obsessed with. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But it bothers me that these characters that are good friends, and help each other solve problems in every show, aren’t welcome at each other’s parties.

I did buy a couple of items from the Minnie/Daisy collection for their fans (including my son!) but my original idea to do half and half went out the window when I saw them all side by side. They just don’t work together. And that makes me a little mad, because it’s not just a Party City problem. It’s an (almost) everywhere they sell things for kids problem. Every time I shop, I am glad that I had a boy first, because if I ever have a girl in the future I can feel good that not all of her toys will be from the Pepto Bismol collection.

The only place I currently don’t feel this way is Ikea. Sure, you can get pink toys there – and again, nothing wrong with that. It’s a pretty, happy color and I adore it in moderation. But there are no girls’ aisles and boys’ aisles. There are just TOYS. The pink princess puppet is on the same shelf as the green dragon and brown owl. And the wooden play kitchen and wooden play workbench are part of the same display, both in nice neutral color schemes. 

So I can’t help but ask myself WHY this is such a rarity these days? WHY are girls being relegated to their own little pink and purple planet where they can be anything they want to be, as long as it’s pretty – and did we mention pink? Even Goldiblox, which I love the idea of, is fighting gender stereotypes by teaching girls engineering skills to…wait for it…build pink and purple princess castles. Whomp whomp. It makes me seriously ANGRY to see the same product on a shelf in a green/blue/red/whatever version…and a pink and purple version next to it. I won’t buy either version for my kid, or as a present for anyone else’s kid.

I know it’s only going to get worse as we move along, and that someday there will be the dreaded “But that’s for GIRLS, ewww!” conversation about something. But shame on you, Party City, for making “Boys are from Mars, Girls are from Venus” a part of his first birthday. How about trying a revolutionary idea, and making some things that any kid can enjoy? Take a trip to Ikea and see how it’s done, I dare you.

 

PJ’s Diary: Do You Wanna Build A Snowman? (A Diaper Story)

Do you wanna build a snowman?
With all this powder on my butt?
I’ve got a lot of stinky poos
And smelly toots
‘Cuz teething really sucks!

Do you wanna build a snowman?
I’ve got powder here to share
Even though I’m cute as can be
Don’t get too close to me
If you mind polluted air!

Do you wanna build a snowman?
I’ve got powder by the bag
I think it’s really funny
To make my Mommy
And Daddy gag!

Do you wanna build a snowman?
With all this powder on my butt?
I should really thank my Mommy
‘Cuz she still loves me
And always cleans me up!

Do you wanna build a snowman?

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The composer at work:

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Friends In Neverland, Dr. Seuss Edition

We’ve been busy, busy, busy lately! The past couple of weeks have been packed with all of our favorite things – friends, family, and celebrations. In between, we’ve been relaxing and catching up and getting used to more changes in our routine. PJ is crawling like a maniac now, and so there’s a lot more chasing and distracting time built into my days at home.

Here is one of my favorite pictures from the past couple of weeks – the first of what will be many, many get togethers between little friends. You guys all know Thing 1 of course, and there was some pretty awesome chaos when we introduced him to Thing 2 and Thing 3! Thing 2, aka Michael, came to visit us from TX and was so patient being stuck in the middle! In this picture, he and PJ are holding hands…awww! That lasted about 2 seconds, before PJ grabbed his ear and Sammy (Thing 3) started gnawing on his arm. Speaking of Thing 3, Sammy is a super special little guy – his mommy and daddy have been waiting a long time to meet him! 

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We parents of the Things have known each other for a long, long time. I grew up with the other two dads, and we met the other two moms in college – Anne was my roommate and ended up marrying my friend Mark, and Josh met Nikki at their school. Paul came along most recently, and now our little group is on to The Next Generation! Michael has a big brother named Alex, who was a great sport but a little babied out by the time the week was done. I think he forgave us for all the baby talk though, because we kept the good food coming and plenty of it!

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A little too much of it, to be honest, haha – PJ also decided he’s done with nursing and I didn’t fully appreciate how many calories that was burning until we stopped. So there was a little moment of horror on the scale after our week long foodfest, but nothing that can’t be fixed with some salads and sweat!

I hope you’ve all been having a great time lately too, we’ll be back with more updates soon – PJ wants to tell you all about his new adventures!

Scenes from A Greek Pizzeria & Restaurant

When I was little, one of my favorite parts of visiting “Gramma&GrampaInHope” (this was all one word in my head, with a second word for “Grandma&GrandpaOnTheFarm” – that’s right, I hashtagged before hashtagging was a thing. Take that, hipsters.) was going to The Store with Grampa. We’d get up early, have a slice of Entenmann’s Cheeese Danish,

CheeseDanish and head off on the one mile commute to The Store. Another fun fact about my childhood, there was an ironclad rule when Dad was driving that no one was allowed to ask “Are we there yet?” until we saw the store.  My brother once tried to see how many times he could fit the question in between there and the house – that did not go over well.

Once Grampa unlocked and checked for burglars (family legend says he once found one who got stuck in the ceiling on his way through the crawlspace), I would come in and wander the aisles, check out the cold cases of milk, bug the heck out of him for baseball cards and bubble gum, and then I would spin and spin on the lunch counter stools until I got dizzy and fell off or got yelled at to get out of the way for the breakfast customers.

TheStore The lunch counter at The Store fascinated me. In a town with a population that still hasn’t hit 2000 as of the 2010 census, a place like this is the original social network and REAL “where everybody knows your name.” It’s where I learned the differences between coffee black, coffee regular, and coffee light and sweet and the joys of a corn muffin cut in half and toasted with butter on a hot grill and topped with strawberry jam. Seriously, try that sometime. I still order it at diners and it’s never, ever lost it’s touch. And there were always stories being told – the regulars would come in, get their coffee and their newspaper, and shoot the bull for hours. In the summer, the tourists would stop by and get their pictures taken because The Store was used in scenes in Friday the 13th, and there were some TV specials filmed there too. And inevitably, one of them would park smack in front of the sign with an arrow pointing out the road to the Land of Make Believe amusement park and ask for directions – the favorite response was “Oh, they closed down two years ago!”

The Store has created a permanent soft spot in my heart for these little hole in the wall restaurants that are run by families who are all about being right in the thick of their neighborhoods. So you can imagine my delight when my husband introduced me to Ted, way back in the day when we were just dating. Ted is a Greek immigrant who runs a pizzeria with his wife, Peggy. If you go in there at lunchtime, the place is packed with all the local office workers grabbing a bite to eat. We usually go at night, when it’s slower, and Ted and Peggy have time to come sit and chat. And just like The Store, there is always something to chat about!

Scene 1 – Paul and I come in, and Ted announces “It’s my birthday! I buy a cake. You have some with me!” and plunks down these gigantic pieces of tiramisu. Later on, we pay our bill and yell back to Ted “Happy birthday again!” Peggy puts her hands on her hips and shakes her head. “Did he tell you it’s his birthday? It’s not. His birthday is in March. He just likes cake, so he invents extra birthdays a couple of times a year.”

Scene 2 – I come in alone. Paul and I are planning to meet there, but he’s stuck in traffic and told me to go ahead and order. Ted tells me if I beat my husband more often, he wouldn’t be late anymore. When Paul finally arrives, Ted yells at him for keeping me waiting, then feeds him a heaping platter of onion rings because traffic must have made him very hungry.

Scene 3 – My bestie and I have a running joke about competing to pick up the check when we go out to eat. This has been going on for years, where we have stolen each other’s wallets, “forgot” to tell the other one that a place is cash only, flagged down a waitress to pay the check while the other one is in the restroom, etc. But my personal favorite is the time that I took them to Ted’s for dinner and stopped by at lunchtime to pre-pay the bill – I slipped cash to Peggy and told her to tell me if it wasn’t enough. When we came back for dinner, Anne and Mark thought they were being all sneaky trying to distract me so Mark could run up and pay the bill as soon as we ordered. Ha ha!

Scene 4 – Last night, we took PJ there for the first time since he’s started sitting in a high chair and eating finger foods. Ted and Peggy both made a big fuss over him, which the little ham ate up! And right when we were about to leave, Ted conjured up a couple of balloons and tied them to PJ’s foot (don’t worry, Paul is holding the string and didn’t let him grab or bite the balloons!). They both thought this was the funniest thing ever!

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Even though The Store is now an antiques shop instead of a lunch counter, I’m so glad that there are still people like Ted out there keeping that kind of family business going strong. It’s easy to get caught up in a fast food, generic coffee world but if there’s a little place in your neighborhood that you’ve always wondered about, why not give it a try? Just don’t ask for directions until you’ve carefully read all the signs, ok?

PJ’s Diary: Declaring Independence

Listen, Mommy, we needs to talk. I’m getting all growed up now, and I think it’s time for me to move out. Thanks for teaching me everything I need to know!

I can feed myself now…

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And brush my teeth…

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I’m getting real good at crawling, when the cabinets don’t jump out and bite me. I even gots my own house to come home to after parties!

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I can work like you…

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And I even know how to turn on my fishie lamp!

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So I guess that’s everything, right? Thanks for all the yummy snacks…

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Except the eggs, I didn’t like those at all! I’ll be back for the stories…

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But I think I’m ready to take on the world!

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Just one thing before I hit the road…do you think you could be a pal and change this diaper?

9 Months Already?!

My baby boy is 9 months old today! So even if he hadn’t been all impatient about his early arrival, he’d probably still be at the point where he’s spent more time out in the world than growing in my belly. What a strange feeling!

He is crawling like crazy now, which is why I’ve been far too tired to write lately, and into everything. Every. Thing. I think we’re doing pretty good, so far only one instance of: “Uhhh, where’s PJ?” “Isn’t he in there with you?” “No, I thought he was in there with you! … Crap, here he is in the office taste testing the cats’ food.”

Other than his questionable taste in protein, it’s fun to watch him figure out new things, like his babysitter’s workbench.

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Even starting his own construction company! “Seriously? A picture now? I’m on the phone, can I catch you in five?”

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And how much fun finger foods are…

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Even when the food is actually Mommy’s…

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We’re going to call that stolen cupcake practice for his first birthday. 

Happy 9 months little man!

PJ’s Diary: Winter Decathlon Standings

I don’t get all this #SochiProblems stuff – MY Winter Olympiad is going swimmingly. I just received my standings from the Baby Olympic Committee (BOC) and I’d say my medal hopes are good.

Event 1: Cheerio Curling

Currently in first place. My sweepers, Roxie and Velma, have done an excellent job helping me get my missiles right on the button.

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Event 2: Cross Country Crawling

Mommy keeps stopping me just when I’m about to break my records – no fair!

Event 3: Mirror Dancing

Going well, but getting some stiff competition from that handsome boy in the moose onesie.

Event 4: Couch Skeleton

Again, blocked by Mommy. The BOC really ought to do something about the lousy officiating in this house.

Event 5: Bouncer Jumping

My best hopes for an individual medal. I shall bounce bounce bounce and make Tigger proud.

Event 6: Toy Hockey

Naiiillled it. Call me PJ Oshie!

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Event 7: Floor Slaloms

One unfortunate wipeout this morning but Mommy kissed it and got me back in the running. BOC complaint withdrawn…for now.

Event 8: Carseat Bobsled

I don’t like this one, but at least I look cute in my uniform, right?

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Event 9: Speed Crawling

An unfortunate third place ranking. Those kitties are FAST!

Event 10: Marathon Sleeping

Disqualified.  I just get so huuuuungry!

Altogether, I think I’ve got a strong program here. Mommy says she’ll give me a gold medal if I quit trying so hard at Couch Skeleton.

Hmmmmm…..naaaah!