Tag Archives: Babies

Saying Good-Bye

Our nanny of two years is leaving us today. We made the decision that I would stay home with the kids for a little while (is that what everyone says? How long does “little while” typically last? These are the questions in my mind)… so to make it work, our four-day-a-week nanny is heading to a new family. We love her so much and what she has done for our family–loving my girls as if they’re her own, keeping me organized, just giving me some sanity. I was trying to find the perfect going-away gift for her, to let her know just how much she means to us.

The girls in one of my mommy groups all suggested doing a photo book. Duh. Why the hell didn’t I think of that? I LOVE making photo books! I used to be wicked obsessed with scrapbooking, but it required so much stuff and you could only do it in one place. But with my photo book obsession, it’s digital scrapbooking… I can do it anywhere! On the couch, on a plane, in the tub… love love love. Ok so I’m not really doing it in the tub. Don’t worry. My favorite book company is Blurb, and I adore the software to design the books (though, there are a few tweaks I would do to it… program developers: Call me!).

I put this photo book together throughout one evening and a few hours into the next morning. Looking back now, there are some tweaks–spacing, continuity, etc–but I was in a hurry to get this uploaded to Blurb and printing asap. But even given some of the nitpicky things I can see with my little eye, I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. And it made my husband cry when I showed it to him on the computer, so I’m pretty sure Anna is going to bawl.

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*This isn’t a sponsored post. I just adore Blurb. Have had nothing but great experiences with them and their products are top notch. When I’ve gotten a book back with some printing imperfections, they sent me a replacement for free the next day. Blurb is awesome.

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My Weekend, In Google Searches 

Is it bad that most of my 3 year old’s diet comes from food in pouches?” Seriously, y’all. I had purchased a bunch of baby food pouches when Poppy was six-months-old, thinking I would feed them to her but it turned out the girl wanted nothing to do with purées of any sort. She apparently did some reading of the Baby Center Birth Club boards while in utero and decided she was a “Baby Led Weaning” kind of kid. (I don’t call it baby led weaning… I just call it feeding your kid food that isn’t puréed)

Anyway, I digress.

So I have all these food pouches. Millie asked what they were and I, quick on my feet, said “it’s applesauce!” So she sucked it down. She didn’t know it was butternut squash, beet, peaches and kale or some crap like that. She thinks all food in pouches are “applesauce.” So for the past few weeks, that’s the only way I’ve been getting her to eat veggies. You gotta do what you gotta do, right??

How the hell do you fix a pocket door?” We have a pocket door that separates the first floor half-bath from the kitchen and dining room. Some family came in from out of town recently and a member of said family got a little rough with the door and ripped it off the track. So now the door won’t close, the wheels at the top have ripped off and we have quite a fix on our hands I think. Also, open door bathrooming. Yikes!

Quick vegetable side dishesGarlic Parmesan roasted broccoli for the win! Millie even ate a few pieces (after I bribed her with two M&M’s).

I keep forgetting to brush my baby’s teeth” I can’t be the only one right?? Someone tell me it’ll all be ok, please?

Typical paint finish for beadboard.” The beadboard is finally all hung and trimmed out in the playroom’s secret room! I had originally thought that hanging beadboard would be a great way to avoid having to paint in there but after seeing it with all the nails that have been filled in and caulking and stuff around the trim, it will need at least a thin coat of paint just to get everything looking cohesive. I am a total idiot when it comes to picking the correct paint finish for a wall… I have spent so many years living in rentals with terrible flat white, dirty walls that I’ve got this hatred for flat paint. In a poorly informed knee-jerk reaction to that flat-paint-hate, I had the entire interior of our house painted in semi-gloss (I know, I know). Now that I’m a few years in, I’ve learned that eggshell and satin are not the devils I thought them to be and that semi-gloss is totally inappropriate for most rooms. As I lay in my bed looking at the shiny charcoal walls reflecting at me, I know that now. It’s embarrassing.

So I had to find out what exactly I should do to the beadboard. Turns out, semi-gloss IS appropriate on beadboard, at least according to a few of the forums the Google search sent me to. I’m happy about that because I have a giant five-gallon bucket of Ben Moore trim paint sitting barely used in my basement. So any chance to use what I already have and not have to spend more money is welcome!

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Kid-Friendly Music That Won’t Make Me Scream (Mostly)

I believe the soundtrack in hell consists mostly of popular music hits sung by children. There are all kinds of really cool playspaces in the Chicago area and I pick where we spend a day based on which ones won’t play me that Kids Bop kind of stuff. It makes me want to scream. There is so much great music out there, there’s no reason we need to subject our kids to that crap, right??

As much as I am an advocate for just playing ANY music for kids, from The Beatles to Jason Mraz to Michael Buble, I have realized that my three-year-old does enjoy listening to songs that are about more than just unrequited love or adult-themes. Like, you know, songs about bubbles. She likes songs about bubbles.

So I created this playlist of music I found that my kids love and that I don’t mind listening to. I threw in some kid-friendly standards and classics, some current “kid musician” songs, to a little Queen. I’m not going to say that every song in here is curse-word free or void of adult references like drinking or kissing or whatnot. I’m not all that concerned about “protecting” my kids ears from things like that, unless it’s really blatant or, well, the Eff-word. So there’s your word of warning.

Some of my favorite tracks on this playlist:

“Yes, We Have No Bananas” from Louis Prima. This is a song from 1922 that first appeared in a Broadway musical revue and has been recorded by dozens of famous and not-so-famous artists throughout the years. Louis Prima is just fun and his version is also just fun. I love Big Band and Swing and pretty much all popular music from the 1920’s through the 1950’s and this is a wonderful example of some vintage music with interesting sounds and instruments for kids to hear and fun lyrics. I adore this one.

“Ho Hey” from The Nashville Cast/Lennon & Maisy. Millie goes through phases where she is obsessed with this particular recording and will not listen to anything else. The song is about two minutes long and we had thirty minute drive to an appointment and we listened to this 15 times in a row. I love The Lumineer’s original of this, but my kiddos like hearing little kids sing together, so this wins. Plus, I’m hoping that the sweet harmonies Lennon & Maisy have will sink into my kids brains so they too have a great sense of harmony.

“A–You’re Adorable” from John Lithgow. I was so excited to discover that John Lithgow recorded three children’s albums (one is a companion album to his children’s book The Remarkable Farkle McBride) that quickly added many of the tunes to this playlist. I love Great American Songbook songs and his does them well enough to please an adult music fan but also very accessible to little ears. This playlist is heavy on the Lithgow. Can you really have too much Lithgow, though?

“Bohemian Rhapsody” from both Queen and The Muppets. Okay, so here’s how two versions of this song ended up on this playlist. I love the Muppets. As you get to know me, you’ll find that my love for the Muppets runs deep and long. I showed the Muppet music video of this to Millie and she went nuts. It was all we watched for a week. I couldn’t not put this song on the list, however, part of me kept thinking that it would be a crime to also not have Queen’s version. THEY NEED TO KNOW ABOUT QUEEN! So there you go. Two versions. But we Wayne’s World Head Bang to both versions, ok?

WHY I LIKE THIS PLAYLIST: it’s light on Disney music (not that there’s anything wrong with Disney music…), it’s very light on actual kids singing, it has artists adults know and love singing kid-centric songs or kid-friendly songs.

spotify:user:1281555282:playlist:1KFWRPgybgkVbnGYw1auhC

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The Peculiar Feeling Of Going Viral

Back in May of 2015, I took a video of my then-eight-month-old baby laughing hysterically when the pages of the catalog we were looking at would rip. I posted it to youtube on a Monday evening and by Friday morning, I was watching that same video play back to me on the Today Show.

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By noon that Friday, I was seeing Poppy on The Huffington Post, Yahoo, MSN.com, The New Yorker, and so many more places. One that was particularly surreal was the full article written at The Daily Mail which also included photos from my Instagram feed to really flesh out the story.

It was a strange day… my husband and I were on cloud nine, seeing all these really great things written and said about our darling girl. But to our girls, life was exactly the same… Poppy had no idea that for a brief flash in time, her cute smile and laugh and face were all over the internet, making people smile. We went to the park that day and I wanted so badly to say to everyone I saw “yes… this is the baby you saw on the Today Show this morning.” Of course I didn’t actually say that, but ohmygod it took every ounce of restraint to not.

The views of the video have tapered off now and life is back to normal (hell, it was back to normal on the following Monday morning). Occasionally, I will see a spike in shares and views of it for a few days, mostly now in other countries, which is also kind of surreal… but for a tiny, itty-bitty moment in time, it was fun to see your cute babe become a D-list internet celeb.

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The Pre-Schooler and the Curse Word

Ahh, that blessed moment when our potty-mouths catch up to us and we hear our own words said back to us with the tiny, innocent voices of our babes. It’s distressing, embarrassing but dare I say….. pride inducing??

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My daughter Millie has cursed three times (that I’ve heard) and I am proud in that every single one has been contextually-appropriate. Surprisingly, none of those curse words have been the Eff-Word, since that is probably my word of choice in any situation. All of her first swears have been a form of “shit” or “damn.”

A few weeks ago, we were caught in a violent downpour of rain a mile from our house, the two girls in the double stroller. As the water literally poured down on us from the sky, little Millie sat in her side of the City Mini quietly repeating “Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit.” This makes sense. It’s exactly what I would say in that situation and how I would say it.

I have a hard time telling her that she can’t say these words. She’s not saying them to get a laugh from her audience or to rebel against me or “the establishment.” She’s saying it because she’s genuinely frustrated, along with me, at the rain or the lack of diapers or the fact that the pedestrian jumped out in front of my car and I had to slam on my brakes to not hit him. She’s an empathetic little girl and it even shows in her swearing. I’m kind of ok with that. But I’m pretty sure I have a future filled with notes home from her teachers. And probably the principal.

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Millie Can’t Say Fever

One of the best things about (almost) three-year-olds is that they can have conversations with you like they’re an adult, with their own fully formed ideas and thoughts and sentences. But then they go and mispronounce a word and the whole thing is ruined because they are just so damned cute you can’t even take it anymore.

That’s what Millie does to me all the time now. We will go on and on, discussing things (the girl has A LOT of thoughts on EVERYTHING), but then she just says the cutest damned thing. Like earlier this week when she was sick… after a trip to the doctor and several doses of Children’s Advil, she was on the road to recovery without a fever and feeling so much more like herself that she had been. And she wanted to tell me about it. I cannot get over how she says “fever.” OMG I JUST WANT TO SQUEEZE HER CUTENESS SO HARD.

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Love is Love Reflected

One of my favorite things about having a video baby monitor is catching my kids doing things when they think nobody is watching. Today, my three year old Millie did something that just melted my heart.

She just woke up and was still in bed, just chilling. I watched her get one of those stripey hospital baby blankets that everyone has and carefully spread the blanket across her bed. She then grabbed her baby doll, rested it on the blanket and proceeded to swaddle the doll with more care and tenderness than some adults. After the baby was swaddled, she picked it up and just sat on the bed, cradling the doll and rocking her side to side.

Sometimes, the care she shows to others–even dolls–just amazes me.

Trust me. This is her swaddling her baby and it's a-damn-dorable.

Trust me. This is her swaddling her baby and it’s a-damn-dorable.

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Baby Poppy’s Big Secret

Baby Poppy has a secret.

How could this face be frustrating? I’ll tell you how…

Yes. That sweet face has a big bad dark secret.

SHE CAN’T STOP EATING EVERY SINGLE OBJECT SHE SEES.

Okay, so it’s not really a secret, but it is one of the most frustrating things about this cute baby. She’s almost ten months old right now, so I know this is the prime time in her life and I know that babies learn about the world around them with their mouths. Blah blah blah, I know all that… but seriously. This kid needs to stop eating everything.*

I cannot put her down and turn my head for even a moment, so heaven forbid that my preschooler needs something. If I do avert my eyes from Poppy’s direction for even a second, I will most definitely find her in the process of eating dirt, dust, crumbs, toys, pebbles, twigs, sand… I sweep and vacuum daily, most of my day is now devoted to floor-cleanliness and she STILL manages to find something that I may have missed. A no-shoes policy in the house doesn’t help… crap from the outer world still seems to find its way into the house.

We headed in the stroller to a local park about a mile away recently. Upon arrival, I went to get her out of the stroller to find her chewing earnestly like a cow chewing the cud. For the six hundreth time that day, I shoved my finger into her mouth to fish out whatever the hell was in there (I certainly hadn’t given her anything) and I pulled out a twig, which must’ve fallen into the stroller during the walk.

Her beloved chew-toy twig.

*You know what the kid WON’T eat? Food.

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