Thursday, January 15, 2015

How Traveling First Class Turned into the Worst Night Ever

...and other adventures in parenting.

Doesn't this look peaceful?

The funniest thing happened the other day. And by funny I mean horrifying.

It was the end of a wonderful Christmas vacation back east, and we were headed to White Plains to catch a flight to Atlanta, to then catch a flight to San Francisco. We made it through check-in with our four jumbo, zippers extended suitcases, our car seat, our stroller, our diaper bag, and my newly acquired hat collection. (Yes, you read that correctly.) We made it through security where numerous tests, swabs, and investigations had to be done on my breast pump. We made it. And we were sitting peacefully awaiting the invitation to board early because we have a small baby when our name was called over the loud speaker. Nothing good can come of this, I thought. But, I was wrong...sort of.

It turns out our plane was over the weight limit and given that we likely had more cargo and poundage than all the other people on the flight combined, we were being asked to change to a different flight. This flight would leave out of JFK. The taxi ride would be comped by the airline, as would our newly appointed first class tickets (oh, and we would get $200 each for being so accommodating). As we were  celebrating our amazingly good luck in the car ride to JFK, J. and I had visions of free movies, reclining seats, and endless glasses of champagne. I suddenly felt more beautiful and sophisticated; I was so glad I was wearing my new hat so I could look the part of the elite traveler. And then, as she chucked a Cheerio at me, I remembered that we had a baby.

Flash forward to boarding our flight. N. is sleeping peacefully in my arms. Around comes the lovely flight attendant with the bubbly. I look around and two people near me have dogs. I whisper to Jeff, "Who brings a dog into first class?"

Twenty minutes later, my decent into the seventh circle of hell commenced...

N. is not a fussy baby. She is generally quite chipper and easy going. The flight to CT had been relatively uneventful even though I had traveled alone with her (granted she did have her own seat on that one, and I had her strapped in her carseat). Instead of my beautiful, sweet daughter, I found myself holding a psychopathic terrorist bent on testing the mental and physical fortitude of all people within a twenty mile radius. She screamed like I've never heard her scream for a good four hours. And of course, we were in FIRST CLASS, so you know that everyone was now wishing me and my sweet baby dead.

Somewhere during that time, I decided that the flight was like labor itself.

Initially, I was cocky, believing I had everything under control. (In the early stages of labor, I felt totally empowered. In fact, I was so chill I was watching the newly released episodes of House of Cards.) All those other people who couldn't handle this? Sissies. As N. began to shriek, I just cuddled and kissed her. I am such a good mom, I thought. Anyone watching would surely be impressed by my composure and patience.

And then the "contractions" got worse...and I didn't have it anymore. I was weak. A sissy myself, believing completely that I would certainly die. I think I metaphorically entered this phase when N. and I found ourselves soaked with sweat from the strenuous tussle in which we were engaged, and I had actually tried to put her under the seat in an attempt to distract her. (It's first class and there is loads of room, so this is not child abuse, in case you were wondering.) 

And when you don't think it can get any worse, it does. Suddenly, you realize that you must take control. You must regain composure. I stared at the pattern on the wall in front of me breathing deeply, thinking about prana, or the life force,  or whatever the hell that cleansing energy is called, allowing the screaming and clawing to simply wash over me. This lasted about 3 to 5 second.

And then there is the crowning. At this point, you will do anything to make it stop. This essentially involved me stripping to the waist in plain view of all the other passengers and power nursing. Hey, a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.

And then comes the epidural...this occurs when your husband intervenes and takes the baby into the bathroom where no one can hear the screams...from either one of them.

At this point, I also noticed that neither dog had barked...not even once. 

Suffice it to say that she fell asleep, eventually, in the last hour of the flight. We were all spent, emotionally and physically. In that last hour, I tried to drink a glass a wine and watch a movie. I never got to eat the gelatto because the flight attendant was staging a silent protest against me and never brought me any. J. declared the evening "one of the most disappointing" of his life, and he it not a man prone to hyperbole. (In fact, in one dire moment, a woman came up to me offering to medicate my child. This is when you know you have reached a low point.)

Parenting is an adventure each and every day. Some days require more fortitude than others. But, like labor, and horrible plane flights, and epic screaming fits, moments and phases are generally transient. At least this time, I didn't get shit on...It's the little things.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fabulous Friday: On Being Beautiful

The other night I was taking a shower and gazing down at my post baby body. I've always been hard on myself about my physical appearance; in fact, I've been mean in the way that a person can only be to herself. Anyway, instead of cataloging my flaws and all the ways that I'm not as fit, or as toned, or as tight as I used to be, I was thinking about how I feel beautiful. 

It's funny because I had set out to write a post about "body after baby," but everything I wrote felt silly. I was writing about flab and losing the baby weight, and having this different relationship with my physical self, but never in those posts did I think about the other side of a post baby body, the beautiful side. And, actually, that beauty has nothing to do with physical appearance.

When I see my daughter smile at me, I feel beautiful. When I see myself through her eyes, I'm pretty close to perfect.

Now, does this mean that I actually look particularly beautiful these days? No. In fact, some days I look a certifiable hot mess. I have all these crazy baby hairs growing where my normal hair is broken. My stomach has not returned to what I now appreciate as my pre-baby abs. Somewhere along the way, I completely lost my butt. (If you see it, let me know.) I have dark circles that I never used to have. In fact, I swear I am getting wrinkles. Maybe you can't see them, but I know they're there. But, I could honestly swear to you that when I am playing with Nevie, and she is laughing at something I did or said, if you held a mirror up to me in that moment, I would fully expect to see my very best self staring back.

To her, my physical appearance is completely irrelevant. She doesn't care what I wear, how soft or hard my body feels (in fact, I imagine that soft is more appealing to her). She doesn't care if I wear make-up or pretty clothes, if I have my nails done, and even (I hope--sorry about all those early morning kisses, Nevie) if I've brushed my teeth because I'm her person. When she cries, she needs her mom, and it doesn't matter if I'm wearing a stained sweatsuit that hasn't been washed in days or an evening gown. Mom is mom whatever she looks like. I'm her person: her comfort, her reassurance, her constant.

There will probably come a day when my appearance will matter to her. One day when she is a teenager, I'll be the mom whose appearance either reinforces her status or threatens it. I'll never forget the horrible thing I said to my own mother once when I said I wished she looked like this other girl's mom (who, by the way, was a complete airhead and all around rather dreadful person). I remember my mom seeming hurt, but, of course, my fourth or fifth grade self didn't understand why. Now I do. I hope my daughter never says that she wishes I looked different, or dressed differently, or acted differently, but I also know that day will come. As Tina Fey so beautifully puts it in her "Mother's Prayer for Her Daughter," "When one day, (my daughter), calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister/ Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into the cab in front of her friends,/For I will not have that shit. I will not have it." Yes, I am sure that day will come. But, for now (and hopefully another good ten to twelve years), I'm her everything.

I am perfect to her. And there is something about looking at a truly beautiful little person who you created that can make you feel damn beautiful. And when she looks at you with her huge blue eyes, and puts her hands up for a hug, well, game over. Frankly, it makes me feel stunning. It's one of the most fabulous things I've ever known.

Friday, October 10, 2014

To My Friends About to Have Babies

Dear friends,

I am thinking of you as you enter this new phase of life, and I wanted to tell you a few things. Nothing I can say is going to prepare you, but maybe you'll read this after a sleepless night and feel a little consolation.  That's what I hope.

So, I want to tell you about where we are seven months later.

Let's start with a little dose of honesty. The other night we were at a hotel in Maine to celebrate our friends' wedding and Jeff said to me, "I don't want to be one of those guys who married a nice, normal woman who then had a baby and turned into a freak." This was a bad night, and that happens every now and then.

At that moment, it was three in the morning, and I was literally pacing the hotel room, and I may or may not have been crying. Exhausted from the trip, I just couldn't settle myself and get to sleep. Insomnia had struck again. That's a hard thing that's happened to me since I've become a mother. Let's face it, there are lots of hard things that happen when you become a mother.

You see, I used to be a worrier. If worrying had been an Olympic sport, I would have comfortably taken bronze. I was no gold medal winner. I know some of you who are; I'm not naming names. No, I was never quite that intense, but I worried. In the past seven months, I think I have been clawing my way up the medal stand.

Being a mom is all the things everyone says. It is every cliche and adage and trite throwaway remark. And none of those things even touch what it's like. It is the most isolating, rewarding, amazing, frightening, awe inspiring, insane thing that's ever happened to me. But the other thing I've realized in these months is that it gets better. So much better. Maybe it didn't look like it that night in the hotel room, but it does.

I don't mean to plagiarize, but I can't recall where I read this article in which the writer says about parenting that it doesn't actually get easier, but you just get better at it. Seven months later, I feel that. I was eating dinner the other night, at the table, with my husband, while my daughter was sleeping, in her crib (I just named each of these things explicitly because they are amazing to me), and I thought aloud, "All those nights of eating take out salad in shifts while we rocked a crying baby for hours and hours on end seem like a different life." I wondered during those long nights if I would ever start to feel like myself again, if my life would ever feel "normal" again. And now, seven months later, I can report that I do, and it does (albeit a new normal on both fronts). Yes, I still sometimes act crazy. And yes, I worry. A. LOT. But, I am deeply in love and happy in a way I didn't know about before I had Neve.

I was perusing Instagram the other day, also known as the wellspring of images to make you feel lesser, and I happened upon one woman's account who had also just had a baby. She was dressing her little guy in full cashmere ensembles while wearing the ubiquitous Valentino rock-stud flats (she had to trade in the heels now that she is a mom) and touting the figure of a fifteen year old boy a month after giving birth, and she kept captioning her photos with gems like, "Loving every single second of motherhood." and "This is bliss!" (in her monogrammed pajamas with a full face of makeup), and "So in love...". I wanted to punch her through the iphone. As Glennon of Momastery fame says, "Being told in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I am not in a constant state of gratitude and ecstasy, I'm doing something wrong." Let me tell you, my friend, every moment is NOT bliss. And successfully and joyfully carpe-ing every diem is pretty much akin to enjoying a root canal. But, boy do some moments take your breath away. (Sometimes because you feel like you just got punched in the gut and other times because you cannot fathom how a tiny human being was brought into this world because of you, and through you, and is now slithering (because she isn't crawling yet) around your living room giggling, and growing, and looking at you with her huge eyes like you are her whole world (which, essentially, you are), and smelling like the most delicious thing you've ever known.)

So, my dearest friends, there are nights when you will wonder if you'll ever sleep. There are nights when you won't sleep at all. There will be days when you think you've lost your mind, or your partner will think you've lost your mind, or you will think that you'll never be "yourself" again. There will be moments when it will all feel like too much, especially if you are doing it far away from family and support. But, just remember that you'll get better at it. And it is so normal not to wear cashmere robes and feel like every waking second of your life is bliss. And that doesn't make you a bad mom. That makes you a real mom.

And remember that every time it feels like too much, there will be that one second, or that one hour, or that one day when your baby will do something that will make you feel like you were never really living until you knew her.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Little Thing Called Guilt

Before I had a child, I seem to remember hearing people talk about this constant feeling of guilt that is associated with child rearing. The first few months of parenthood, I did not have this experience. My child was breathing, eating, making dirty diapers, and generally coming along just fine. I figured I was doing everything "right." I was trusting my instincts and going with it. I didn't read parenting books. I didn't obsess over every little thing. I was actually a pretty chill first time mom, if I do say so myself. Until I wasn't.

I noticed that this change in my approach to parenting came around the same time I went back to work. The night before my first day, we had a horrible night. The baby was up every-single-hour. I probably nursed her four times (admittedly, mostly to get her to go back to sleep). The next morning, I started work bleary-eyed and determined to figure out how to get my baby to sleep better. I decided that now that I was working, I couldn't do this up every few hours thing. I needed to be rested to function, and I was in a full blown panic. So, I started soliciting opinions. Of course, when it comes to babies and sleep, there is no shortage of opinions. Various colleagues of mine suggested everything from full blown cry-it-out (as in shut the door and don't go in until morning) to "just let her be and keep waking up with her every time she wakes until she is three" (or ten, or twenty five, as the case may be). I decided the next night that I would start sleep training. And night weaning. Throw that in the mix too. When I got home that evening, I took to the internet in my quest to find the perfect solution. Every site claimed that every other method of sleep training (besides the one they were touting) would do permanent damage to the baby. I internally debated the pros and cons of every approach for hours. I told J. that we were going to try one particular method only to take it back a few hours later. By the time it was bedtime, I was completely exhausted from thinking about sleep. Beyond that, I was feeling guilty.

I was feeling guilty for not having sleep trained my baby already, and at the same time I was feeling guilty for thinking about sleep training my baby.  No sleep was part of the package I signed up for, right? So, why couldn't I just suck it up?  I was feeling guilty for going back to work. I was feeling guilty for wanting to go back to work. I was a hot mess of guilt about almost everything. Suddenly, I thought to myself, "Oh. That's what all those people were talking about."

Being a person who has generally always had a good understanding of how to be successful, parenting has opened up a whole new world of uncertainty. There are a million and ten ways to be a good parent. There are a million and ten ways to raise a child. The one common denominator of every approach is that no one way is the "right" way, and that is so different from so many other things I've done in my life. No parenting book, no website, no advice gleaned from well-meaning friends can tell me how to best raise my daughter, how to be the best mother to this particular little girl. When people say that being a parent is the hardest thing anyone will ever do, I think that part of the reason for this is because there is no road map. It's trial and error, but the stakes are unbelievably high. When I think about the fact that any choice I make might impact this little person for the rest of her life, I pretty much want to call it a day right then and there. The pressure is stifling. I wonder if the messages I inadvertently send her will affect her in ways I can't anticipate. I wonder when those messages start getting conveyed. I wonder what those messages are and will be. I wonder and question myself on a daily--scratch that--hourly basis. And, I imagine that this is just the beginning of the doubt, and uncertainly, and guilt that comes with being a mother. I don't have a conclusion for this train of thought because I think that to be a parent is to feel guilty. Is there any way around it? If there is, please let me know.

P.S. I also feel guilty about the fact that it took me about two weeks to publish this post, and that I couldn't think of a way to wrap it up on a positive note (because this is a blog, and it is supposed to be chipper, right?)! Does it never end?!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Best Baby Buys for The First Few Months

Recently, I wrote an email to a friend about the products that were most helpful to me in the first few months of motherhood. I thought I'd share my picks with you in case anyone is expecting or looking for a shower gift for a friend. Certainly, there are millions of baby products out there, and I've only tried a handful, but here's what I'd buy again and what made those first crazy months a little bit easier. I will do another post on great items for new mamas, so stay tuned for that one. In the meantime, buckle up for one epically long list!

To start off, we used the book Baby Bargains to read reviews and compare products. It was an absolute lifesaver when I had no idea where to begin. I can't recommend it enough!


Stroller: We went with the Uppa Baby Vista stroller. They are definitely on the pricey end of strollers, but I feel like it was worth it. It handles like a dream, has a nice big basket below, and comes with a bassinet for tiny babes and a nice big seat for babies and toddlers. We also bought a car seat adapter so that we could clip the car seat onto the stroller base. This is terrific if the baby falls asleep in the car, and you don't want to transfer her to the stroller seat. You will probably also need a newborn insert for the stroller seat if you plan to use it in the beginning months. I now need an umbrella stroller for travel, but the Vista has been great, and I know we will be using it for a long time.

Car seat: We went with the Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat. I think it's very popular because when I went on my daycare tour every other person there had the exact same one! You would also want the newborn insert for the car seat, but this one comes with it! While you can use a seat belt to strap in the seat, I would advise the car seat base. We got one in CA and one in CT because the seat just feels so much more secure when it is on the base.

Carrier: We got the Beco Gemini carrier. This has been awesome while traveling this summer, and I would recommend it. I didn't realize how much babies love to chew the straps of these things, so I wish I can gotten the chew pads. I do plan to order those so I can throw them in the wash and not have to wash the whole carrier.

Wrap: I picked the Solly wrap mostly because it was so pretty, the packaging was lovely, and I liked the organic fabric. It was wonderful when N. was tiny because I could wear her around the house when trying to do dishes, laundry, my makeup, etc. and she could happily nap on me. She was too heavy for it (in my opinion) rather quickly, although apparently you can keep wearing it for a while. Once she reached a certain weight, I preferred the support of the Beco.


Swings and Things: My sister-in-law bought N. a beautiful bassinet, which I put her in when we returned home form the hospital. In short, I was delusional. Babies like to be held, and really N. just needed something a bit more cozy in those early days. When she got to be closer to 8-10 weeks, she transitioned into her bassinet. For the first few weeks, she slept in her mamaRoo (with the newborn insert), which I loved because it felt safer than a traditional swing because, when reclined, the baby is not slumped over, which can block her airways. I still pretty much obsessively watched her when she slept, but I think she was safe in this. As she got older, the mamaRoo was great for keeping her happy when I needed my hands free for a moment. At almost six months now, she is too long for it, and her little feet dangle over the edge (but she is quite a big baby), so that gives you a sense of how much time you might get out of it. We also got her a Rock 'n Play at my parents' house, and she really loved that. I didn't let her sleep in it, but she enjoyed being in it for a little quiet time or while we were eating at the table.

Crib: We went with the Babyletto crib, and I absolutely love it. It looks modern and cool, and it transitions into a toddler bed. N. is happily sleeping in there as I write this this. Yes, this is a miracle. My grandma gave us beautiful sheets and a quilt from Serena & Lily, and the quality is amazing.

Swaddling Blankets and Sleep Sacks: We used the Aden + Anais swaddling blankets. I foolishly thought that N. didn't like to be swaddled in the early days. Big mistake. Thank you to my friend Erin who told me to just do it already! It changed N's sleep quite a bit when she was happily swaddled. When she was a bit bigger, we transitioned N. to the Halo Sleep Sack, which was easier than swaddling with the blanket, but which she would not stand in the early days. I also found the Easy Swaddle by Aden + Anais to be terrific. Now we are using the Sleep Sack without the swaddle.

Black Out Curtains: When babies are tiny they can pretty much sleep in any conditions. As they get older, they definitely need more quiet and darkness to sleep well (or at least better as I am not the one to ask about how to get a baby to sleep well). At my parents, our room was quite bright. Since being home, N's room has blackout curtains, and it appears to be helping her sleep a bit longer in the mornings. I am now madly in love with my blackout curtains, and I would definitely recommend them!!

PJs: I bought lots of PJs with snaps, but I would highly recommend zippers. In the middle of the night when you have to change diapers, it is much easier to zip the baby up than to try to see the snaps, particularly if you are trying to keep the lights off. (I never wanted to turn the lights on, so I bought these little lamps, which were handy.)


Diapers: I cannot advise you on what type of diapers to buy. My daughter blows through all of them. Sad face. We've done Pampers, Honest, and right now we are going with Huggies. These have been the best of the three, but I think that different diapers work differently for different babies. At least it seems that way! (I have been going with the Pampers Sensitive wipes.)

Changing Table: We have a changing table that we fashioned ourselves. It started with an Ikea dresser. We attached a changer top and pad from Land of Nod to the top. Then, J. added hooks on either side where we hang the tub. I love that we outfitted this to meet our needs. We even spray painted the knobs gold.

Diaper Pail: We went with the Ubbi because it is metal, so it doesn't odors. In addition, you do not need special bags for this pail; you can use a regular trash bag. That adds up to savings even though the pail itself is a bit more than some of the plastic pails. (Plus, it comes in lots of cool colors, and I read somewhere once that the Kardashians endorse these--if that isn't a ringing endorsement, I don't know what it.)


Tub: The First Years tub is cheap and amazing. N. loved it from from the get go. You cannot beat the price, and it works from the newborn size up to a much bigger baby. It also worked in our sink and now sits in our bathtub. I highly recommend it.

Towels and Washcloths: I went with Aden + Anais towels and washcloths. They are great, but for a newborn, I would recommend a smaller washcloth like these. I received this towel as a gift, and it is literally the cutest thing I've ever seen. Buy one for a shower gift. It will be a big hit.

Soap and Lotion: I originally bought the Mustela products because I wanted to be all fancy like that, and they are very nice, but I was given a sample of the Noodle and Boo line, and I became obsessed with it. It smells like heaven. Yum.


Pacifiers: At first, N. wasn't very interested in the pacifier. But, thanks to the persistence of my mother-in-law, it is now my favorite baby item and the all time savior of my sanity. I have been using the Avent pacifiers. Now that N. sleeps unswaddled because she is rolling, the WubbaNub is terrific because it gives her something safe and little to hold on to while she is sleeping. Plus, they are cute, which doesn't hurt. I also highly recommend the pacifier clip!

Bottles: We tried a few different bottles for feeding her expressed milk (starting with the free ones they give you at A Pea in The Pod), but N. didn't care for them. Luckily J. found her these bottles that are cool looking and which she takes very easily. I also just got her a teether made by Comotomo, which she seems to love.

Nursing Accoutrements: If you are going to be a nursing mom, I highly recommend a nursing cover for feeding the babe on the go. While I personally think it's fine to whip out a boob if need be, most people are more comfortable with a little privacy, so I went with this cover by Bebe Au Lait, and it was great in the early months. Now it is honestly more of a hindrance, and N. claws at it when she is under it. If you are pumping, you cannot beat the Medela Pump in Style. From what I understand, this is the Cadillac of pumps. Go big or go home, right?

Toys: Honestly, little tiny babies do not play with toys. They do not do very much of anything. But, when you are ready for something, a play gym is great, even for littler babies because it gives them something to look at, as does a mobile. We found that stuffed toys like lovies were the first things N. took to. We've found some good rattles, but another nice toy that a small baby can hold is the O-ball. We are really just entering the wide world of toys, so I will have to keep you posted on this one.

The more I thought about this post, the more things I thought I could add to the list, but this seemed like a good place to start! If you have any questions, please send them my way. And, if you have any products that got you through those early months, do post a comment so others can benefit from your knowledge!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday's Thoughts

Who me?! I'm an angel.
I had an experience this week that I felt that I needed to share. I strive to keep it real, and I think that keeping parenting real is actually really hard. I know that I want to present the most beautiful pictures of N. with the prettiest outfits and sweetest smiles, but sometimes that ain't what it looks like...okay a lot of the time that isn't what it looks like round these parts, and this particular occurrence was too good not to mention. As I've said, N. is really quite a good, happy baby, and being with her is pretty joyful most of the time, but the lack of sleep over the past five + months is starting to take its toll on me. Tuesday was one of those days when I wondered how it would be humanly possible to go on without a good night's sleep. I didn't sleep well when I was pregnant, so I think I went into motherhood with a bit of a deficit. Then there is the labor. Then there is the first night after the labor when you are beyond tired but your husband is sick so he can't get up with the baby. And then there are all the nights after that when your baby doesn't really want to sleep and appears to be ravenous and eager to sidle up to the all night milk bar that is your body. (I know she doesn't need to eat three times a night to survive. I know I could sleep train...I know. But I haven't done these things--although I think the time might be coming for a change.) You get it, right? I'm tired.

This brings us to Tuesday afternoon. My sister and I took my grandma out to lunch with baby N. On the way home my grandma wanted to pick up some groceries. I opted to stay in the car because the baby needed to nurse (again). So, I'm in the parking lot of the store happily nursing away and enjoying a quiet moment (yes, these can happen while nursing in the car in a store parking lot), and suddenly I feel something warm on my legs. I happened to be wearing all white. This was probably an error in judgement. I am sure you can see where this is going. There was poop. Everywhere. I tried to lift her up, but the poop just kept flowing. She was wearing shorts (also white), so there was nothing to hold the poop in, and it runneth over, and out, and all across the car seats. My shorts, legs, and (let's be honest) underwear were drenched in poop. The car seat was a puddle of poop, and the baby had poop up to her hair line. I got up and carried her to the trunk of the car where I put her down (it is an SUV, so the trunk is raised and very open, in my defense) while I tried to sop up the poo on the car seats. I called my sister who was in the store and who came running out with a hand full of paper towels...I'm not even sure where she got them...because she sensed from my voice that there was bodily fluid of some sort involved in my horror.

Long story short, I ended up dropping trou in the parking lot, wiping myself with her baby wipes, and styling a swaddling blanket as a skirt, before bursting into tears from being so damn tired. It was not my most glamorous moment.

The other day, sweetly and with no malintent, someone without children asked me, "What do you do all day?" At the time, I made something up to sound "legitimately" engaged in worldly affairs. But, to be honest, some days you just deal with the (literal) shit that comes your way, and it takes every bit of energy you have, and that's about it.

P.S. I love my daughter more than anything. During poop-gate she just smiled and cooed. (Even when she was covered in an exfoliating combination of poo and sand from being put in the trunk that hadn't been vacuumed after our beach trip). What a champ.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fabulous Friday: July Loves

I thought I'd share a few things that have been among my favorite odds and ends this summer. This is a varied grouping of goodies, but I'm loving all of them.

J.CREW ENSEMBLE: J.Crew is KILLING IT with their new fall pieces, and I am totally enamored of this outfit and this shirt in particular. Must. Have. It. Stat.

CUTE AS A BUTTON: This is my favorite pedicure color in the summer. It is a beautiful coral shade and goes with lots of things. In the eternal battle of red v. pink nails, Cute as a Button is the best compromise. (Yeah, I know you are all familiar with that battle...).

CIMENT THERMIQUE: Recently my hair has been breaking like crazy. I find little pieces of it everywhere. I am not sure if this is the result of a post pregnancy thing or whether the fact that my baby pulls my hair every chance she gets has resulted in this particular problem, but my hairdresser recommended this product specifically for hair prone to breakage. It is triggered by heat...which I definitely use a lot of to to get my mane to cooperate. I am hoping it helps!

INITIAL PENDANT NECKLACE: My sweet, sweet husband did buy me the beautiful Maya Brenner "N" necklace after our baby was born. I adore it and wear it every day, but when I saw this  little pendant at the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, I had to snag it. On the back it says "One In A Million." How true.

BANGLE: If you read regularly, you know I love Margaret Elizabeth jewelry, and this new bracelet that she just started selling is at the top of my wish list! Meg, the designer, also just had a baby. Congrats to her!

EAU MOHELI: This is my new favorite fragrance. I love Diptique. My mom and I visted the store in Paris, and I love the sophistication and subtlty of their scents.

HARMONY THE MERMAID: Blabla Kids honestly has the sweetest little dolls, and my mom bought this one for N. as a reminder of her summer in Cape Cod.

CHEWBEADS: Okay, these necklaces are genius. Chewbeads makes adorable silicon necklaces that are meant to be gnawed on by little baby mouths! So, you can actually wear cute, colorful jewelry and let you baby put it in her mouth. Win win.

BARE SKIN: I know that I've written about loads of beauty products, but this Bare Skin by BareMinerals is amazing. I can't believe how glowly and lovely it makes my skin look. And, while I don't generally think you need a particular brush for this sort of thing, this brush helps the product go on evenly. As far as foundation goes, Bare Skin is reasonably priced, and if it were twice as expensive, I'd still want to buy it.

WUBBANUB: I bought one of these little guys a few months ago, but it wasn't until recently that N. started loving her. Now we cannot go anywhere without lamby. And, because she is rolling like a champ, she can't be swaddled any more and being about to hold her little lamby while she sleeps helps keep her hands off her face.

STYLO YEUX EYELINER: My sister was wearing blue eyeliner a lot, and I tried it out a few days ago, and I love it. I have blue-ish eyes, and this color liner makes them pop a bit more than usual. I think I might be a convert.

Feels good to get back in the groove!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Life Lately: The Update

Here I am again! Boy, I have not been true to my word, but the blissful summer days of playing with the babe are starting to dwindle, and I am thinking of what life will be like when I return to work in the fall (albeit part time). She will be in day care (for at least part of the day), and with that comes some uninterrupted work time. I was so ambitious, and I truly thought that I would get back to blogging in about two weeks after her birth. No problem, I thought. What else am I going to be doing? Boy, was I wrong. I would say mine is a relatively easy and good-natured baby, but babies are a lot of work, and there is no way around that. Now I have a much better sense of what I actually have time for and what I want to prioritize in my "free" moments. I think that the fall will bring with it some time to get back to the things that I've (rightfully and happily) neglected during the last five months. I have been talking to my good friend about what I might want to do with the blog, and our wheels are turning. This is to say that perhaps instead of less...maybe what's coming down the pike is actually much better! Stay tuned as I figure out just where we are going with this little bloggie baby. And, to those of you who have checked in on my sporadic posting and sent your comments, I am so appreciative. To the others of you who keep asking me what's happened and where I am, I'm here, and I'm not going away just yet!

This is what's been happening lately. I have been in Cape Cod for almost two weeks again, and it is just truly my happy place, and, beautifully, it is also baby's happy place (seemingly). When we walked through the door this last time, she was gleeful, and she learned to roll over here, and went swimming in the Atlantic here, and had a little non-christening christening here last weekend. I wanted to share about that. I knew I wanted to have something to celebrate her birth, but I am not religious at this point in my life. The ritual of a baptism seemed like a nice thing, but more for the opportunity to have family come together, to officially name her godparents, and to celebrate her entrance into our family. So, we planned a small ceremony on the beach with only our immediate family. I asked a friend who is a minister and chaplain to perform the ceremony, and we all gathered at the Cape to welcome N. The day was absolutely beautiful, she behaved like a total champ, and she looked like a million bucks in her totally Cape-ified Lily Pulitzer ensemble with her flower crown. One of the best things we did was ask each family member present to write N. a note with a promise or hope for her future. Many of the sentiments brought me to tears, and I can't wait for her to open them someday and know how deeply she has always been loved. That weekend was a really beautiful moment in my life, and I will look back on that day with great fondess for many years to come.

This past weekend, we spent with friends who have a baby two months younger than N. What a wonderful time we had with another couple who is in the same boat we are! No need to apologize for screaming, explosive pooping, spit up stained clothes, or the fact that it sometimes takes two hours to leave the house. It was totally relaxing, and we plan to make it a tradition!

This week brings us back to CT and my parents' house. This summer has been a tricky one because of J's work and having the new baby, and being with my family has been a total joy. While I know that San Francisco is beckoning me back soon, I am planning to soak up the love (and HELP) in CT for a little while longer.

Oh, and requisite blogger question...who has hit up the Nordstrom sale? Love this time of year!