Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Here Comes Santa Claus {As Narrated By Liam}

On Sunday afternoon, Dad decided to start tearing into my new bedroom. He was making a lot of noise, so Mom and I decided to escape to the city for some wedding shopping and the Christmas Night of Lights at Storybook Island.

Normally, I hate wedding shopping, but I decided to be especially cute on Sunday. The ladies in line behind us at Michael's couldn't help but gush.


Since we were only going to be gone for a few hours, Mom didn't pack an extra set of clothes. Silly Momma. Of course I had a soaker just before we went to see Santa Claus. Mom put my pants on the heater while I grabbed a bite to eat in the back seat of the car, but I'm pretty sure Santa still got a little surprise once she sat me on his lap.



We stood in line behind a four-year-old who had to tell Santa everything he had ever dreamed of getting for Christmas. Me? I just wanted to get home, eat my squash, put my jammies on, and get to sleep.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Letting Kids Be Kids

This morning, as I was browsing articles in the New York Times Education section, I stumbled upon this article. The article starts with a description of a block building workshop led by a so-called "block consultant."

"A 'block consultant.' Seriously? That's so f-ing ridiculous." I thought to myself as I continued to browse through the article.

Then, it struck me. Who am I to get all judgy and self-righteous? Just this weekend, I tried to "teach" Liam sequencing with his ring stacker. Liam was far more interested in chewing on the rings than learning about sequencing.

Why is it so hard for us to let kids be kids? Poor Liam's just under seven months old. Here I am worried about teaching him sequencing with his ring stacker, when in all actuality he'd probably learn a lot more if I would just let him figure it out on his own. Liam's a pretty smart kid. (Of course, I'm slightly biased.) He's innately curious, and I love that about him. He'll learn new things, if I allow him the freedom to explore and discover on his own. Sometimes, I need to remember that.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Meet Amber: An American Girl

As we were cleaning out our extra bedroom/office this weekend in preparation for a few renovations, I discovered this stack of books nestled in a box that I had never unpacked after we moved into our current house.



I'm not sure what it was, but I just couldn't bring myself to part with these books (perhaps there is some truth to Craig's accusations that I am a hoarder). There's a part of me who hoped that I would one day have a daughter to share these books with. And, who knows, maybe one day I will.

More than anything, these books played such a huge part in my life for so many years. It all started when I was in second grade. My mom bought one or two of the books for me at a book fair at our school. I was hooked. I would get one or two at a time. Once I was old enough to quit reading them, I had the entire collection. I loved reading about Kirsten's traditional Swedish Christmas and Molly's Victory Garden, and one year for Christmas my parents got me Kirsten's amber necklace.

I was saddened when, in the process of researching for this post, I discovered that the Kirsten dolls had been discontinued. I felt better when I realized that her books hadn't been discontinued. I hope that girls of future generations can appreciate stories from that time period and of the others that have since been added. I hope that they're as intrigued by those stories as I was. I hope that they're able to look back nearly 20 years later and appreciate the role those books and others played in their lives.

***

Ooh, I also just got exciting news. I was accepted to the Top Mommy Blogs and Top Baby Blogs Directories. If you have a chance, can you spare a click to get me past #0. (I've never really been very competitive, but being #0 doesn't make a girl feel all that hot.)

Vote For Us @ Top Mommy Blogs Vote For Us @ TopBaby Blogs! The Best Baby Blog Directory

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stuff Liam's Mommy Wants

Liam and I aren't big fans of crowds, so we did most of our Black Friday shopping from the couch today. As I was shopping, I couldn't help but notice a few things that I wouldn't mind finding under the tree myself.

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1. Design Sponge at Home-- Shortly after Craig and I purchased our house in 2009, I discovered Design*Sponge. It was the first blog I read faithfully, and I've been reading it almost daily ever since.

2. You Are My Sunshine Print-- I would love to include this in a photo collage I've been thinking about creating in my hallway.

3. Herringbone Tote-- I love totes. And herringbone. Enough said.

4. Double Link Necklace-- I love the simplicity of this necklace.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Sneak Peek

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A few years ago, I bought these ice skates at our local consignment store with dreams of going ice skating. Sadly, they've hung in our garage since. When I saw this idea, I was immediately inspired. I picked up the greenery at Hobby Lobby for $4, so it turned out to be a really affordable {and easy} wreath alternative.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stuff Liam Wants

I'm not sure if this should have been titled "Stuff Liam Wants" or "Stuff Liam's Mommy Wants." I'm getting pretty excited for Liam's first Christmas and may go a little overboard.

Honestly, I've never done much kid shopping before, and when I do shop for babies or kids, I tend to buy things that aren't age-appropriate, simply because I think they're cute. Now that I have a kid of my own to shop for, I need some help. Here are a few things I'm considering for Liam's first Christmas:

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2. Bright Starts Having a Ball Get Rolling Activity Table  
3.  Fisher Price Bright Beginnings Activity Walker

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4. Educo Spring-A-Ling
5. Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic
6.Green Toys My First Blocks


9. LeapFrog Cook and Play Potsy

Monday, November 14, 2011

For the Love of {Picture} Books

Up until I was three years old, I lived two houses down from our local Carnegie Library and after that, I always lived within bike-riding distance from the library. I always loved visiting the library, and I am fairly certain that I checked out  the book Geraldine's Blanket at least 10 times between 1988 and 1990. I, too, loved my blanket and enjoyed reading about how Geraldine was able to turn her blanket into a dress for her doll. November is Picture Book Month. Since picture books had such a lasting impact on my childhood, I thought I'd share a few of Liam's (and my) favorite picture books.


  • All the Places to Love--My mom first bought this book because she thought the little boy and girl on the front cover reminded her of my younger brother and sister. This is such a beautiful story about a little boy who teaches his baby sister about all the places to love. Whether or not Liam grows up to have a baby sister, I hope that he, too, learns to cherish the place where he's grown up. 
  • Song and Dance Man-- I didn't have a grandfather who danced on a vaudeville stage. But, I did have a great-grandfather who shared stories about the "Dirty Thirties" and the Great Depression, and I always loved listening to his stories. Song and Dance Man was one of my favorite books as a kid for that reason. I can't wait until Liam's old enough for me to share this book with him, and I hope that he always cherishes the stories my grandparents tell him.
    • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? -- From the time he was very young, Liam loved the bright images and rhythmical text of this book. When my five-year-old cousin realized that Liam has a Brown Bear, Brown Bear backpack, she started reciting the book from memory, which makes me realize that he'll love this book for many years.
    •  Llama Llama Red Pajama-- Liam loves the rhythmical text of the Llama Llama books. He'll giggle and get excited as I read them to him. I know Liam is going to love this book for many years.
      What about you? What are your kids' favorite picture books? Any suggestions?

      Friday, November 11, 2011

      More Musical Musings

      1. Melissa at The Mommyhood Chronicles is giving away awesome Rowdy Sprout t-shirts. The shirts feature various bands, and you get to choose which band you would like. Since Liam loves music so much, I entered right away. I had a hard time choosing which shirt to go for since they're all so great, but I eventually settled on John Lennon. When I told Craig about it, he said, "Did you ask Liam what he wanted? You know, he and I listen to a lot of music in the mornings, and he's a big fan of Pink Floyd, especially "Another Brick in the Wall"." P.S. If you haven't already, you can enter Melissa's giveaway here.

      2. We also watched VH1's 100 Greatest Artists last night. Liam was sitting on Craig's lap during most of the show. At one point I heard Craig say, "Hey, Kid, who do you think is going to be #1? No, I know you like the Scorpions, but I don't think they're going to be #1." He then proceeded to belt out, "Here I am..."






      3. When Aerosmith was named #30 on the VH1 countdown (Seriously? They beat John Lennon?), Liam started bouncing around on Craig's lap. Craig's response was, "Sick, Kid."

      4. How does one get her baby into PJs when all he wants to do is suck on his feet? Please tell me this is normal. 

      4. I took a gamble and wore some animal print flats to work on Tuesday. When one of my students came into the classroom, she said, "Whoa, I like your swag." I may have had to use context clues to figure out what swag meant. That's how cool I really am.

      Thursday, November 10, 2011

      My Love/Hate Relationship

      I've decided that last week's snowfall and the end of daylight savings time are a sign that winter is officially here. Winter and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love fresh, untouched snow; scarves; sweaters; warm beverages; and grilled cheese and tomato soup. I hate slushy snow littered with sand and salt piled up at the edge of my driveway, wind chill, watching the sun set as I drive home from work (at 4:00), and pretty much everything else about winter.

      In order to keep myself from spending every single afternoon and weekend laying on my couch in my sweat pants, I've come up with a winter to do list:

      -learn how to make a new side dish for Thanksgiving dinner
      -pull Liam around in a sled at least once
      -go to a parade of lights
      -make Christmas treats
      -take Liam to see Santa Claus
      -come up with an indoor/baby friendly exercise routine

      Monday, November 7, 2011

      Liam Got Mail {from the President}

      A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a post about requesting a letter from the President for your baby on one of my favorite mom blogs, Growing Up Geeky. I love politics-- I listen to NPR every morning on my way to work, worked on campaigns while I was in college, and interned on Capitol Hill one summer. Somehow, I missed the memo about being able to request a letter from the President for your child. I'm so glad Mama G was there to help me out.



      It arrived this week and will go perfectly in Liam's copy of This is Your Book. This is seriously the best baby book ever. I didn't intend to have a baby book for Liam. I didn't register for one, and when nobody randomly gave me one, I wasn't disappointed. Craig's mom offered to make a scrapbook of Liam's first year if I send her pictures, and I kind of decided this blog would be the place where I would document Liam's activities.  I'm not really the type of person who's really great at documenting the exact date that my child first smiled, rolled over, or ate rice cereal. I am, however, the type of mother who enjoys documenting who the Secretary General of the United Nations was when Liam was born, so when I discovered This is Your Book, I couldn't help myself. I had to purchase it. I hope Liam enjoys looking back at the book, and if nothing else, it's been fun filling it out.

      Sunday, November 6, 2011

      Steppin' Out: Mama Time

      This was the first full weekend Craig's had off since before Liam was born, and I took full advantage. I took a day for myself to get a hair cut and new glasses. I've been going to my current stylist for five years now. I just can't bring myself to quit driving an hour to get my hair cut. I love Georgia -- she listens to good music, always knows how to cut my hair, and tolerates my fickle nature well. Last time I went to get my hair cut, she joked that she felt like we are always cutting my hair only for me to decide to grow it out again the following appointment. So true.

      As far as my glasses are concerned, I love my glasses. However, they're more than two years old and are in serious disrepair. I desperately need a new pair, but I had a hard time finding a pair that would live up to these. 

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      The new glasses won't be in until Monday. I had to take the after picture with my contacts in. 

       

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      The Details:
      Earrings: Target
      Jacket: A Walk in the Woods (my favorite local store)
      Scarf: A Walk in the Woods
      Brooch: Thrifted
      Purse: Thrifted
      Jeans: Nine West Vintage America Jeans (Herberger's)
      Flats: Target


      I recently read an article about The Lipstick Index. When I'm having a rough week, my cheap thrill of choice is earrings (less than $15, of course). I bought three new pairs of earrings in October, if that says anything about the month I had. Here's hoping for a better November with a fresh hair cut and new specs.

      Friday, November 4, 2011

      Llama Llama Mad at Mama and Other Friday Funnies

      1. Liam loves the Llama Llama books when we check them out from the library. Last week, I bought a group of Llama Llama books from a book sale at our school. The grouping had Llama Llama Red Pajama, Llama Llama Misses Mama, and Llama Llama Holiday Drama, but it didn't have Llama Llama Mad at Mama. When I told Craig that, he said, "Aww, that's his favorite one." Liam, of course, started laughing.

      2. Speaking of being mad at Mama, Liam and I traveled back to my parents' house last weekend. It's about a 5 hour trip. About halfway through the trip, Liam started crying. I would try to pass toys back to him, but he'd throw them on the seat. We stopped three times in less than three hours. Please don't tell me these temper tantrums are starting already. At least the trip back was better.

      3. Why, yes, we are the most awkward family ever.


      4. Gus and Ollie escaped yet again on Tuesday night. After a threat of a ticket for "dog at large" from the crazy dog catcher, Craig had to do a "super fix" on the fence. He was so proud of his work. This morning when I called them to come back in after letting them out, Ollie came rushing in, but there was no Gus (when they escaped on Tuesday night, I had the opposite problem). When I went out to start the car, I was greeted by Gus on the front porch. Yep, he had to squeeze through the fence to get there.

      5.  Tell me this doesn't make you smile.



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      Wednesday, November 2, 2011

      Things I Couldn't Have Survived The Past Six Months Without

      Fischer Price Space Saver Swing and Seat
      My house was built in 1937. While I love the charm of the original hardwood floors in the living room, I don't have much space to spare. When I saw this item, I knew I needed to register for it. I love that this item combines two essentials, the baby swing and bouncer, into one item. I can either allow it to swing or lock it in and use it as a vibrating chair. I can also allow it to vibrate while Liam is swinging.



      Liam has fought sleep from the time he was very young, but when I wrapped him up in a blanket and  turned on the vibration in this swing, he almost always fell asleep. Although he's nearly grown out of this swing now that he's six months old, it was a lifesaver in those first few months.

      Sassy Rock and Roll Play Gym
      One night, shortly after I returned to work, I let Liam play in his play gym before going to bed. That night, he nearly slept through the night, only waking up once to eat. Playing in the gym quickly became a part of his bedtime routine. I know most child-rearing books usually recommend quiet activities like reading and baby massage for bedtime, but for some reason kicking around in his play gym made Liam sleep better.



      I'm sure that any play gym would work for that purpose, but I love the bright colors and rock and roll theme of this gym.

      Butt Paste
      In the past month, we started supplementing with formula and solid food, which has brought on our first few bouts of diaper rash. Butt Paste has been amazing at combating the diaper rash. We put it on at the first sign of redness, and it stops it right away.


      Winkel
      I only recently ordered this toy, but Liam loves it. He also has the Baby Einstein Bendy Ball, but what's great about this toy is that it also doubles as a teething toy. It's easy for him to get his mouth around the tubes on this toy. I often find him staring at the various colors, and it's hard to get it out of his death grip. There have been a few occasions when I've had to let him take it to bed and pry it of his hands once he's fast asleep.



      Who's This Little Owl?

      Some of you might remember that I was considering three Halloween costumes, and I seriously bought supplies for all three of them. First I bought a plaid shirt, thinking I would turn Liam into a little lawn gnome, but I quickly discovered that I was not talented enough to make the suspenders. And, after searching for suspenders small enough for Liam, I gave up and decided to look at other options. I also struggled with finding the aviator hat for the owl costume, so I settled on the sack of potatoes. After trying to turn a coffee bean bag from Dunn Brothers into the sack and finding it entirely too bulky, I gave up on that idea, too.  I also briefly considered this costume idea.



      I realized that I just couldn't get past those goggles. I ordered a plain brown knit hat from Amazon and used the coffee bean bag to make feathers for the owl costume. Craig predicted that Liam would hate the goggles...


      ...and he was mostly right.


      So, Liam kept the goggles on his forehead while I took him around to show him off.


      Also, Liam has the best grandmas ever. I came home on Sunday night to find a package with this cute little shirt mixed in with our pile of mail. His grandma sent it to us all the way from Florida.

      Tuesday, November 1, 2011

      Liam is Six Months Old

      Liam,

      I can't believe it's already been six months since we rushed to the hospital in preparation for your birth. I've become one of those mothers who spends my time lamenting about how quickly time has flown by.

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      I had this brilliant idea that we'd take advantage of the 60 degree weather today before the chance of "widespread snow" set in. You weren't so fond of laying on the concrete.

      You've grown and changed so much over the course of the past six months. You're rolling around, laughing, and babbling more than ever. You and your daddy have already begun to gang up on me. You seem to think it's particularly funny when he orders me around or says horribly inappropriate things.

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      You perked right up when your daddy picked you up off the ground, though.

      You also continue to love to play and to be outside. I'm not sure what you're going to do this weekend when the high is predicted to be 29 degrees. I hope you learn to love the snow.



      We're still working on getting you to sit up, and I must admit that you're getting better every day. I love watching you learn new things, and I can't wait to see what you accomplish in the next six months. 

      Love,

      Mom