Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two Truths and A Lie

Have you ever played this game?  If not, don't worry, I'll explain.

I work for an University and we play this game often as an ice breaker (you remember, those silly activities people make you do at a conference or something to get things started).  Here's how you play....

Think about all the cool facts about yourself.   Decide on your favorite two. Then, pick out some wildly crazy made up fact (maybe something you wish was true, maybe something that's almost true).

The goal of the game is to share all three facts as if they were true.  Everyone else guesses which ones are true and which one is the lie.  I've learned some really interesting (and random!) facts about my students through this game.

Want to play with me?

Here are my facts:

1.  I've been scuba diving or snorkeling with eight different species of sharks.
2.  One of my first jobs was dressing up as a mascot in a puffin suit at an aquarium.
3.  I spent a summer cleaning the octopus and piranha tanks at a different aquarium in college.

Hubby and I on a boat in Jamaica on our Honeymoon.  
Did we snorkel?  Were there sharks?

Do you know which one is the lie?  Take a guess in the comments!

Want to play along?  Do a post on this and leave a link below so we can visit your blog and guess!

Friday, February 26, 2010

HappyBaby Giveaway Winner

 Did you win?  Head over to Pacifier Party to find out!

Photo Friday

Bink as Granddad walked in the room...

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and ???

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Picture Perfect

I'm kind of obsessed with pictures.  I'll pause here and let my family and friends chuckle to themselves for a minute.  Done?  Ok.  But it's true, I am.

There is nothing more I love than doing a photo shoot with the kids or even Hubby and I.  I've done a handful of them at home and they've turned out better than the ones I've had done at the mall portrait studio.  My mom did our engagement photos and pregnancy photos and they all turned out great.  One day maybe I'll get them uploaded so I can show them to you.

But I think the real reason that I'm so obsessed with pictures is to have them to look back on later.  There are pictures of the Bink when he was wee-tiny--you know, because he's so big now--that bring tears to my eyes.  I feel like this is especially important in the first year, and even more in the first few months, because babies change to much, even just week to week.

I have eleventy-bajillion pictures of the Bink, especially since I've learned to use the "burst" mode on the camera when it just keeps taking pictures until I take my finger off the button.  I would have more pictures of K, but often when I pull out the camera in a public place I hear "You're embarrassing me!"

Can you hear it?  Make sure it's full of a mix of tween sass and exasperation.

I was lucky enough to receive an amazing camera for my birthday and I haven't put it down since.  I had been wanting to learn how to use a digital SLR camera (the big kind with all the fancy lenses and manual adjustments) for a long time.  I used to love a old film based one (Film? Who uses film?) in high school and would get such a kick of doing the focusing myself and trying out special filters.  So basically, I'm going to drive you all nuts with pictures because I took at least two hundred yesterday alone.

While I'm super excited for my new toy, you don't need to have a fancy camera to take great pictures.  Before Bink was born I knew I wanted to do a newborn photo shoot with him, but I had never done one myself (although I was quite good at that point at telling my mom how I wanted her to take pictures of me!).

I did a lot of research online, mostly browsing photography sites (google newborn portraits, adorable!) and finding ones that I liked.  I kept a file of those and jotted down ideas as they came to me.  Then, one afternoon when Binky was just three weeks old we found ourselves with nothing to do.  Hubby was playing video games, K was playing outside, and Bink and I were just sitting on the couch staring at each other.  So I decided now was the time!

I grabbed anything around the house that I thought might be a good prop, a white blanket, and my camera (not the new fancy one, an older one Hubby had since before I married him).  I opened up all the blinds, covered the couch with the blanket, and plopped Bink down.  The results are below:

Emerson Portraits

Are they perfect? No.  I could have used better lighting.  I could have used more experience.  I could have used a real backdrop.  Lots of things could have made the shots better.  But are they pretty good?  I think so.  Especially for not having any experience and doing it all by myself.  But the best part?  That afternoon is one of my favorite memories with Bink. And I use the pictures ALL THE TIME.  You'll see them all over my site, they are the ones I used to create many of the banners and buttons.  I've made countless photo gifts for my family with them.  Now and then I still watch the slide show just to make me smile at how much personality Bink already had at three weeks old.

Find a few minutes and take pictures of the people you love.  They can be posed, like my "formal" photo shoots, or candid shots while you've sitting around the living room.  Do it often, even if it doesn't seem like its important at the time.  You'll want the memories later.

The pictures through out this post are of Bink on a random Wednesday morning right before we left the house to start our day.  He was in a silly mood, using his crib mattress as a trampoline and I couldn't help stopping what I was doing to take a few shots.  Its one of the "everyday moments" that I don't always remember to capture and I'm working on doing more often. 

I have used pretty much every site I can find to create photo gifts.  There are a few that I go back to again and again, but I will also try any site that is having a good sale or giving away freebies.  Look for a series of posts soon on Pacifier Party, my review and giveaway blog, all about photo sites.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Treats

Here's an adorable picture of the Bink to start your day off right...

And here's a collection of fun, random things I found to pass along to you!  I'll try to do this every week. I find a lot of cool things and this will save my poor husband's eye from glazing over having to listen to all 487 of them.

  • Tips for traveling long distances with kids-- This is on my mind since we just booked our summer vacation rental in Myrtle Beach.  I'm looking forward to the sun and sand...just not the 8+ hours in the car with two kiddos.  
  • Photo Op for Almost Walkers--So cute!  I'm going to try it with Bink this week and I'll post pictures when we do.  I love any reason to take pictures.  (If you want more great ideas like this, Rookie Moms published an awesome book that is full of fun activities)
  • Need a Laugh?--Confessions of a Young Married Couple is definitely worth reading every day, but sometimes it just makes me laugh out loud
  • Crafty Homemade Crayons--My tween has asking for the Crayola color swirl-y crayons every time we go to Target.  I saw this post on how to make similar ones in the oven and it looks like fun.  Now to find the time to actually do it.  Hmm...
And also, today is my birthday!  I'm entering into my last year of my twenties, a fact that is amusing the Hubby to no end.  We're off for a child-free date!

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm a Sucker For a Cute Baby

Over the past few weeks I've realized that its a really good thing that the Bink is cute.  Otherwise, I might just have had to return him.

Last week we had grumpy Bink.  He was sleeping decently and only (ha, ha) getting up once or twice a night. But he was  He screamed.  He cried.  He kicked.  He flailed.  He head butted me in the face and split my lip open.  I'm 95% sure it was an accident, but you never know with these babies...always up to something.  

We finally realized that the problem was that his two little bottom chompers had just poked through the surface.  Once we knew the source of the drama, we orajeled, we tylenoled, we shoved teething rings in his general direction whenever possible.

Then one day he was suddenly in a better mood.  I'm not sure what switch flipped, but all of a sudden we had happy Bink.  However, happy Bink doesn't feel the need for sleep.  We're still playing the "get up to watch the Olympics" game at least four times a night, which is slowly killing me (or at least making me loopy and unproductive with the sleep depravation).

At 5:15 this morning, after getting up at 2:15...and 3:30...and 4, I begged Hubby to take over when Bink decided he was rested and ready to start his day.  I snuck in a half hour more sleep and got ready for work, muttering about making Binky sleep on the roof if he kept this up.  I'm not sure why the roof, it seemed like a fitting punishment.

The Bink must have known he was on thin ice with me.  So in his sneaky baby ways, he waited until I was completely burned out to bring on the cuteness.  As I was dropping him at daycare this morning, he brought out the big guns.

He was sitting on his daycare provider's lap and I kissed him goodbye.  I waved good-bye to him and he said "Mama!" and reached out his arms for me to pick him up.

I guess I won't make him sleep on the roof after all.  I'm such a sucker.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

HappyBaby Gift Pack Giveaway

Want to win this yummy HappyBaby gift pack for your little one?  Enter at my review and giveaway blog, Pacifier Party!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Photo Friday

Lots of other great sites I read do this and I think its a fun tradition.  I always have photos I love that don't go with my posts.

Because it doesn't get cuter than this...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic Dreams

Actually, most of my dreams lately are about the distant possibility of sleeeeeep.  Instead of sleep most of the last week, Bink and I have been watching the Olympics.  Thankfully NBC runs coverage into the wee hours.  I've been able to see some really great moments that I wouldn't have seen if I were busy doing other things (like sleeping, for example).

I have always loved the Olympics, but this one feels particularly special.  I think it's the contrast with the 2008 Summer Olympics.  Besides the obvious Winter-Summer thing, my life has changed SO MUCH since those days.

Living in Maryland, everyone was obsessed with Michael Phelps and the gold medal quest.  Hubby and I stayed up late to watch his races, back when I could do frivolous things, like stay up until midnight on a weeknight (er, any night).

That was also just before we could out that the Bink was on his way.  Hubby and I had been trying to get pregnant for a few months and I remember being so upset in August when I got my period.  And then my whole world changed in September when I didn't.  I tend to mark time in my head as pre-Bink, pregnant with Bink, and post-Bink. 

Now the Olympics are here again and I've got my own little Olympic athlete.  Right now, he's competing in the Pulling Up Using Unstable Objects, Stuffing Puffs In Your Pants, and Crawling Over Hurdles events.  And he's kicking the rest of our butts at them.  He's also won gold every night this week at the Wake Up Mommy at 3 a.m....and 4 a.m....and 5 a.m.. events.  Shame he couldn't be a little more of an under-achiever.

This morning in particular Bink seemed not only focused on his own gold medal, but also on seeing Shaun White take home snowboarding gold.  He woke up at 3 a.m., nursed for a while, realized it was just figure skating on, and decided to take a quick nap to save his energy for the half-pipe.

 Right around 4:30 his little eye plinked back open and he actually sat up in his crib, held onto the rails (like in a little baby jail), and wailed his baby cries at me.

Moooommy!  Mooooommy!  Hurry!  We're going to miss it!  There are only three more snowboarders left!  Moooommy!  We can't miss the Double McTwist 1260! 

(See, he's a genius!  He already knows his snow boarding lingo!)

 I dragged my sleepy self out of bed, snagged him, and plunked us both on the couch.  He happily nursed, watched the end of the snowboarding competition, and promptly fell asleep two seconds after Shaun White's second run.  He knew.  I'm sure he knew.

Back to bed we went (again!)  but as soon I put him down he started to cry again.  Mooooommy!  I was just resting my eyes.  We can't sleep now!  Lindsay Vonn is getting her gold medal.  Don't you want to see?

So back to the Olympics we went.  I'm all caught up on exciting Olympic news (including the US Speed Skating qualifying run).  Hopefully there aren't any super important Olympic moments being replayed tonight.  I'm not sure who gave this kid the TV Guide (or how he's reading it for that matter), but either way...

Mommy needs some sleep.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Daydreams and Boobies

I mentioned before my promise to myself to breastfeed the Binker for a year.  ALL the baby books (you'll quickly notice my obsession with baby books, there are 487 of them on my nightstand) say to breastfeed for a year.  The baby will be healthier, he'll be smarter, he'll be more connected to his mama.

While these things may or may not be true, long before Bink was even a twinkle in his Daddy's eye, I knew I was going to breastfeed.  My mom had breastfed me and it was one of those strange parenting decisions that I made way before I really thought it through.  I would breastfeed.  That's just how it was going to be.

Now I've been breastfeeding for 259 days (not that I'm counting or anything).  It hasn't always been easy (which will someday be a post of its own), but now  I'm 106 days away from my goal.  I'm two-thirds of the way there!  And I'm just losing steam.

When I talked about my goal to breastfeed for a year pretty much everyone said "well, just do it until one of you doesn't want to anymore."  And I would smile at them and think to myself, sure, but we're going to do it for a year...and THEN if someone doesn't want to, we'll quit.  But, we're GOING to do it for a year. 

The problem is...*sigh* recently I've started fantasizing about the day I get my boobs back.

A day when they don't get pinched by tiny baby hands with saber sharp claws leaving purple polka dots all over my chest.  A day when when they don't get bitten, chewed on, or clamped in the death vice of baby gums pulling away from me.  A day when they shrink back to a normal, less hot-air balloon-like size and when they fit into normal bras instead of nursing bras.  

A day when I won't feel like a middle of the night all-you-can-drink milk buffet.  A day when I don't have to say "Now, Bink, not everyone wants to see Mommy's boobies" twelve times while I try to nurse him under a cover and simultaneously eat dinner in a restaurant booth*.

 Mommy said boobies, that means dinner is around here somewhere, right?
 Ah, one least I can dream.

*If you think I'm kidding, you should see the list of crazy places this poor boy has eaten.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Win A Pair of Express Sandals!

Savvy Housewife is hosting a great giveaway for a super cute pair of Express Sandals!  You'll love them!

For more details check out my reviews and giveaways blog, Pacifier Party.

Eggless Baby Cereal Cookies

My little dude has become obsessed with feeding himself.  He likes to "eat" puffs, Cheerios, small pieces of bread, rice husks, and teething biscuits.  He also likes to chew on both ends of his spoon.

I've been making almost all of his baby food myself (part of my organic baby stuff obsession), so I decided to try my hand at making teething biscuits.

I found a great recipe on (scroll down a little to find it).  Since I had all three (!) ingredients on hand to make it, I dove right in tonight (in between watching the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, of course).


See the rest of this post at my baby food blog The Pacifier Cafe...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dear Seventeen Magazine, Thank You for the Heart Attack.

My tween love, love, LOVES Seventeen Magazine.  I mean Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, Taylor Lautner, L-U-V loves Seventeen Magazine. Her love affair began a few months ago in the waiting room of her doctor's office.  She spotted the magazine with Taylor Swift on the cover and practically pounced on the table to snatch it up.  She poured over the pages, taking in all the glossy ads and reading me random facts about Taylor.

Did you know that Taylor Swift likes being single?  I mean, she likes it.  Why would she like it?  Did you know that she used to date a Jonas Brother.  A Jonas Brother!  Did you know her new boyfriend's name is also Taylor?  He's in the Twilight movie.  Can I see Twilight?  

 On..and on...and on with the Taylor Swift facts.  The other thing about tween girls is that the is no "off" switch.  They talk and talk like it's their jobs.  I suppose it kind of is.

At the next visit to the doctor's office she found the same old issue and picked it up again like it was brand new.  This time instead of telling me Taylor Swift's life story, she asked for a subscription.  I tried to explain that Miss Swift was not on EVERY issue of the magazine, though I'm not sure she believed me. 

I paged through the magazine quickly and didn't see anything too out of place for a tween girl...lip gloss, lists of what's "in" and "out", booooooys.  Le swoon.  So I ordered her a subscription for her birthday. 

Once a month it arrives in the mail.  Once a month she follows me through the house telling me all about the cover girl or whatever else she finds interesting. 

This past month, I came downstairs early one morning and found the magazine on the counter with a few pages dog-eared.  When I opened it up, I found a few page article on S-E-X.  Blaaaaarg.  I hadn't even had my Diet Coke yet.

The good news is that everything that was in the article was the right message (at least in my opinion).  It talked about how not everybody is doing it, how boys will be ok with not doing it, how to talk with your parents before doing it.  All the right info.  But a little over the head of my ten year old.

Later that morning I asked her if there were things she wanted to talk about in the magazine.  She told me that she didn't really understand those pages.  Soooo...we hunkered down on the couch and I did my best to explain them to her and infuse a little more of our family values into the message.  Her dad sat a few feet away, mostly looking like he'd rather be having a root canal, but I feel like I need to jump on the teachable moments when they come.

Sure, ten years old is probably a little young for some of the birds and bees business. But not all of it.  I don't want her to ever feel like she can't come talk with me about something (even if I'm screaming at the awkwardness on the inside). 

Talking about the magazine also gave us a good jumping off point for when I want to talk about things.  (Remember when we were talking about that article, well, blah, blah, blah also goes along with that).  It also opened the door for a conversation about "sexting" after a story on the Today Show.

How do you talk about sex with your daughters?  Does it get easier or less awkward?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Temper Tantrums and Cabin Fever

The Blizzard of 2010 has been over for less than five days and the Mid-Atlantic is under siege by snow yet again.  Our area has already gotten over 70 inches of snow this season--about half of that from this storm--and the norm here is only 18 inches.  We have more snow here than they do in Vancouver for the flippin Winter Olympics!


Yes, that's right.  My son is eating snow.  Don't laugh, it kept him entertained for a full five minutes.  That's like three hours with an eight month old.

Schools have been closed since last Friday.  That means I've been home with the kiddos since Friday afternoon.  Daddy has been home with us for most of that, but even he got to escape to work for a little while yesterday.  Since Friday, I've left the house twice.  Once on Friday morning to run some silly errands with Bink and last night to have dinner with the hubby and kids.

Otherwise known as dear God, I can't take anymore snow or being stuck in this stinkin house anymore, so let's go to Pizza Hut and Target.  Cause we're cool like that.

Since we've been imprisoned, the Bink has learned a few new tricks.  He can now pull himself up in his crib, on his exersaucer (which is not heavy enough to hold him and sometimes falls over...on him), and on the couch.

He has also learned to SCREAM LIKE HE IS ON FIRE!  I'm not sure where this little discovery has come from on his part, but he is LOUD.  Like it's the end of the world, someone must be dead, the sky is falling loud.  It's the kind of scream that adults would reserve for being chased by an axe murderer in a dark ally...or probably anywhere since there is a murderous axe-wielding person involved.

He expanded on that trick to scream DIRECTLY IN MY FACE.  Whenever he finds the opportunity.

Perhaps I displeased him by suggesting his fussiness may be caused my his morning-long lack of napping.  Perhaps because I removed the laptop power cord from his grubby little grasp as it was headed for his gummy little mouth.  Perhaps its because I wouldn't let him pull on my hair while he was nursing.  Yes, surely it must have been that. 

He's only eight months (and one week) old.  That seems young to me for this level of opinion, determination, and 'tude.  Am I wrong?  Are other babies this age as bossy as my little dude?

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