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!

To Give And To Receive…A Liebster Award!

Thanks very much to Tales of A Twin Mombie (love the new name, by the way!) for nominating me for a Liebster Award! For those of you not on WordPress, the Liebster Award is about sharing our favorite blogs to help others discover them. So I have 10 questions to answer, and then nominate 5 of my favorite reads to answer 10 questions that I come up with.

So here goes, my 10 questions answered!

1. What led you to start your blog and how long have you been blogging?

My first blog was on MySpace, and then I took a long break. In March of 2012 I began a blog for work, about home improvement and home services. If you have a question about a heater, I’m your girl (with some help from the husband when I get in over my head haha!) I began this blog in August 2013 for a couple of reasons – one, so that my grandmother can keep up with PJ’s adventures and two, because when PJ was in the NICU there were topics that I had a hard time finding resources for online and I wanted to talk about them in case other people had the same problems. The biggest one was the challenge of teaching a preemie to breastfeed – most information about breastfeeding issues relates to newborns, not 2 month old babies that had to start on a feeding tube and a bottle. Now that we’re past that stage, it’s for the fun of figuring out what he is thinking and writing about it!

2. What did you accomplish in 2013 that you feel the most proud about?

Hands down, being successful in that tube to bottle to breastfeeding transition. The first day that he really got it was one of the best I’ve ever had.

3. If you could recommend a MUST READ, what would it be and why?

There are a lot of books that I come back to often, and it’s so hard to pick just one. But I’m going to go with Jane Eyre, because reading it again last year made me realize what a badass feminist she was, way before there was even a phrase for being a badass feminist. It’s pretty great.

4. When you are feeling stressed out, what is something that almost always works to calm you?

This may be a cheat to get around the one-book question above, but reading anything by Agatha Christie while drinking tea, especially if it’s raining, takes me straight to a happy place.

5. What TV character do you identify the most with and why?

I’m going to say Claire Dunphy from Modern Family. She means well and tries really hard, and sometimes she pulls it off, and other times she’s just awkward in the cute and quirky way that I always hope my awkwardness comes off as. Is there such a thing as aspirational awkwardness? Also, we both have husbands with big hearts and habits that drive us crazy, but we wouldn’t trade them in even for a really cute fireman.

6. If you had to give yourself a superhero name, what would it be and why?

I hate those name calculators because I always end up with dumb ones. Most recently, Green Pizza. Next!

7. What do you admire the most about your husband?

I love that he goes out of his way to help people who need him, even when it’s not convenient for him. There’s hardly a weekend that goes by without, “So and so needs me, they’ve got a problem with their whoosiewhatsit. Do you mind if I run down and take a look at it?” It’s definitely an example I want PJ to follow growing up.

8. What is your guilty pleasure? Something you shouldn’t indulge but just have to sometimes?

Netflix binges. If I get a hooked on a show, I just can’t stop until I’ve seen them ALL. This actually came in handy over the summer with the NICU and teaching PJ to breastfeed – spending all that time stuck in a chair, you have to do something! It was Grey’s Anatomy and Doctor Who for me.

9. What’s your occupation? Do you enjoy it? Why or why not?

I am a marketing coordinator, and I specialize in social media marketing. I love my job. People look at me funny when I try to explain what I do, but trust me, “working on Facebook” is very little Candy Crush, and a whole lot of data and analysis. Including work and personal accounts, I write for three blogs, manage  four Facebook pages, three Twitter accounts, two Google+, Pinterest, and a LinkedIn Page, and spend a lot of time digging deep into Google Analytics. And the rest of my working time I manage TV, radio, billboard, and print advertising. It’s a really big plate, but it’s a lot of fun and I’m always learning new things.

10. Three favorite online shopping websites?

With all the time that I spend on social media, I’m not actually a big online shopper. I research products online, but tend to buy in person. But I have recently started ordering my groceries from Peapod.com which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone with young children or any other reason that grocery shopping is a pain. I shop online, and they bring everything right to my kitchen table, easy peasy.

My five nominees for this award are:

The Culture Monk: Kenneth writes about social justice issues with a lot of insight and compassion. I’ve learned a lot from him about how people outside my own personal circle live, and I always look forward to his posts. Plus, he has an endearing obsession with good coffee.

Cabernet & Breastmilk: Another blogger I have learned a lot from! She writes a parenting blog in “Lesson” formats that have made me smile, nod, and bookmark for future reference. If you have a little one, are wondering what to expect, or want to take a trip down memory lane, check her out.

Making It With Danielle: I confess, I first started following this blog thinking it was my crafty neighbor Dani! I figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t, but was glad for my mistake because this Danielle also posts an interesting mix of projects and recipes (one of which I actually made for neighbor Danielle, bringing it all full circle).

The Dreaded Odyssey: The actual blog of my crafty neighbor Dani. I’m hoping this award encourages her to write more often, because I love her posts! She wrote one about her contributions to the Neverland nursery, which is of course one of my personal favorites.

Tales of A Twin Mombie: I’m not sure if this is allowed, to renominate the person who nominated me, but this is a blog that I never miss a post of so it feels wrong to leave it out! We connected as moms of preemies, and I love the way she writes about her two little men who are seriously adorable.

So here are my 10 questions:

1 – Chocolate or vanilla? Defend your choice in 10 words or less.

2 – If you could wake up tomorrow fluent in a new language, which one would you pick and why?

3 – Pick someone famous to be your new BFF. Who and why?

4 – What’s something stupid that never fails to make you laugh?

5 – Worst thing you ever had to eat?

6 – Your blog pulls a “Julie & Julia” and gets mega-famous. Woo hoo! Who do you cast to play you in the movie?

7 – What was your favorite Super Bowl commercial this year?

8 – You become dictator for a day. What pet peeve do you outlaw, and what would be the punishment?

9 – If you could eat unlimited amounts of any one thing without getting fat or sick from it, what would you pick?

10 – Name something perfectly ordinary that totally creeps you out.

Ping back to this post please so I can see your responses!

Christmas in Neverland

What a fabulous first Christmas we had here in Neverland! In fact, we’ve been having so much fun playing with all of PJ’s haul from Santa Claus that I haven’t had any time to write about it. I was planning to have him write you a diary entry about all his fun new things, but unfortunately my little peanut is sick right now and not feeling up to it 😦 He’s been coughing so much that he lost his voice, so we’ve been spending a lot of time just snuggling and mewing like a kitten (him, not me).

We started Christmas the Sunday before with a delicious brunch party at my brother and sister-in-law’s house. PJ loves any opportunity to be adored by his great-grandparents! Image

On Monday morning, PJ came to work with me for my company’s annual Christmas breakfast. He had a great time, and got to meet lots of Mommy’s friends. And he was very excited to see a good friend of his – Santa Claus dropped by for some pancakes! Image

On Tuesday, we went to my parents’ house for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner – lasagna! This was PJ’s first experience with presents, and he loved them. Of course he wanted to play with and eat all the wrapping paper, and he appointed himself the official taste tester of Christmas. He licked every single gift he got near, whether it was his or not.Image

He was a very good baby during Christmas Eve services too. He snuggled with his Nana, and as soon as he heard the childrens’ choir start singing “Away In A Manger,” he laid his little head right down on my shoulder and went right to sleep. (That song will be in our lullaby rotation all year long haha). He woke up just in time to see the dance routine a couple of the girls performed and was trying to dance along – I honestly don’t know where he gets that from, because his father and I have four left feet between us, but I’m thinking there will be dance lessons in PJ’s future. He was very excited when everyone sang Silent Night, since it’s another song he knows, and made me think fast a couple of times to keep him away from the candlelight part of the candlelight service.Image

You’ll have to excuse the lack of Christmas jammies on Christmas morning – we had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction. Who puts snaps on the BACK of a onesie, honestly? But even in his regular jammies, he had fun opening up his presents. Of course, he was more interested in the boxes and paper for the most part, but there was one big exception. Santa somehow heard that his very favorite toy at his babysitter’s house is a bead roller coaster, and brought him one of his very own! As soon as the paper opened up, he got so excited and tried to jump out of my lap to go play with it. Image

And here’s a little secret for Santa’s elves to tuck away until next year – IKEA. Their kids’ section is awesome if you are like me and not a fan of the ubiquitous pink and blue plastic junk that’s out there. Santa cleaned them out of soft toys, a road rug for PJ’s new play room, the famous bead roller coaster, a cool farm set, and has his eye on a neat wooden kitchen set with cloth food for next year! Here’s my favorite of the soft toys, because where else would you find a stuffed Big Bad Wolf that can actually eat Granny? Seriously. You push her in through his mouth and then pull his shirt open to rescue her from his belly.

 

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Oh hi there, future therapist…ummm…crap. I swear he was laughing two seconds later!

We hope you had a very Merry Christmas as well, and PJ will come tell you more about his favorite toys when he’s feeling better!

 

 

A Baby Just Like You

I am so excited for PJ’s first Christmas!  Today was an exciting one, for a couple of reasons. First off, there was an official announcement that friends of ours who have been on an incredible journey are finally, joyfully, parents again – their adoption of an adorable baby boy passed it’s first big milestone and I spent a weepy morning looking through pictures of the tiny little miracle! He’s the latest in a recent baby boom among our group of high school friends, and there will be much rejoicing around the trees this year.
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PJ slept through most of the decorating, but when he did wake up he enjoyed one of my family traditions – playing the John Denver & The Muppets Christmas album. He bounced and yelped along to The 12 Days of Christmas and laughed at the cats, who broke their own record and started climbing the tree before it was even fully assembled.
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Today was also his first snow!
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He was much more excited about the outfit than the actual snow.
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After the snow, my jolly little elf really wanted a hot chocolate – maybe next year buddy!
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I’ve still got decorating to do, but the main area is done, and I can’t wait to get PJ into all his other adorable Christmas clothes. And in the meantime, this little classic is for him and all the other new babies!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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.
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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.

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!