Sunday, November 27, 2011

Continuum Games Review and Giveaway!

The holidays are quickly approaching, and as such, I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to test out two great games from Continuum Games: Lumps, and Family Talk 2.

As you all know, my own daughter is a bit young for organized games, but luckily the older children that I nanny for are not, and had a blast playing with me while I tested out and reviewed them both.

First, we'll start with Lumps, as the holiday theme is appropriate to the time of year. To play Lumps, you gather the pieces of coal (dice) in your hands, give them a lucky shake and let them fly. The goal is to score the most points in three rolls by rolling pairs. What makes Lumps exciting is that there are four different types of dice and only a few of them have high numbers on them. After your first roll, you have to decide which dice to keep and which dice to roll again. Though the preschooler I watch found this game a bit complicated (as she should have - it's made for children 6+), she did pick up on the excitement, and I loved that I was able to make her feel included and modify the rules a bit to fit her developmental stage. The third-grader was far more capable of playing along, and particularly loved the little stocking that the game dice came in. For those who do not celebrate Christmas, or are interested in a less seasonal edition, Lumps comes in a year-round edition as well. This would make a great stocking stuffer for a school-aged child!

I also reviewed the game Family Talk 2. The game cards come on a portable key ring, great for traveling or taking in the car on those holiday road trips! The game is made for 2 or more players, ages 3+, though you'll likely be able to play longer and ask a wider range of questions with the older kiddos, who have the added benefit of being able to read the cards themselves.

The questions start off simple enough - such as "What is your favorite flavor of cake?" - and grow increasingly probing - for example, "Have you ever had a crisis of faith when your faith was tested?" While a lot of these questions could be great for school-aged children who are increasingly interested in their family members and history, the single best age group for this game seems to me to be tweens, who may be increasingly isolating themselves from their families and need conversation starters. Whatever age your child is though, learning more about each other as a family is sure to be a wonderful experience!

Both Lumps the Elf Coal game and Family Talk 2 are available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores, Books-A-Million,
Go! Games and 100s of specialty toy stores in the US, as well as on Continuum Games' website.

Now, thanks to Continuum Games, you all have the opportunity to win copies of these games for yourself!

As a mandatory entry, hop on over to Continuum Games website and leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite product/game on their site is! Also, make sure you're following me on Google Friend Connect :) That's it!

For additional entries (one entry per action - leave a separate comment for each!):

"Like" Continuum Games' Facebook page
Follow Continuum Games on Twitter
Follow me on Twitter
Tweet about the giveaway with the following text: Enter to win two Continuum Games on @unexpexpectbaby blog (maximum of once per day)

Good luck, and happy gaming!`

*Disclosure: For the purposes of this review and giveaway, I was provided with both games free of charge. The opinions expressed, however, are entirely my own.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wordless Black Friday: Merry Christmas, Ava!

This is technically her Christmas and birthday present, but David's dad had to help him put it together, and they won't be back before Christmas. This bad boy right here? Took the two (sometimes three, when David's brother was still here yesterday) guys about 14 hours total! I'm so thankful for my fiancé - he's the best father ever :D

As for what Ava thinks of it, she keeps climbing up the ladder and then jumping up and down, yelling, "Happy! Happy!" I think she likes it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgayving: My Favorite "Holiday"

First and foremost, before I get into a picture post about my favorite event of the year, I just wanted to say thank you to all the lovely ladies that made me feel so much better after my last meltdown post! Knowing I'm not alone in being overwhelmed and occasionally short on patience makes me feel much better :)

OK, now moving on to the fun stuff!

As I've mentioned the past two years (2009, 2010), I'm involved in an annual Thanksgiving potluck that functions as both a major party and a charitable event. It may come as no surprise even if you don't know me well, but I have always been and will always be a friend to the gays. In fact, prior to David, my friends consisted of 99% gay men, but now we're just getting off topic.


Each year ten of us come together to host a huge (over 800 invites went out this year, with about 450 attendees!) party at a bar downtown, where everyone brings a dish, participates in a silent auction (botox, anyone?), and brings canned food and other items to donate to those in need. I am so, so, so incredibly blessed to have such generous and wonderful friends, and look forward to this event more than almost anything else about the holiday season (well, aside from A's birthday and Christmas moments for her!). I should mention that unfortunately this year David and Ava stayed home, and though I was disappointed, I totally understand why he wouldn't want to spend the afternoon/evening wrangling her in a bar packed to the brim!

Without further adieu, here are pictures from this year's shindig (I should note that we hired a professional photographer this year, and so my pics were few in comparison. I'll post those when we get the images!):
This year the location changed, as the bar moved to a bigger space, so I made sure to get a good rooftop shot:

Most hosts, some others:

Ava's godfather and me:

One of my very best friends:

One of the best parts of Thanksgayving is that it brings in out-of-towners I only see this one day a year!

Young Folks:

So very many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, starting with amazing friends and family! Happy Thanksgayving, y'all!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Date Nights!

Y'all. I have had reason to throw on a dress, put on heels and curl my hair FOUR times in the past week and a half. And while one was for a bachelorette party with the ladies, the other three were for nights out (twice at weddings) with David! Hallelujah!

Proof that I spend time with someone other than Ava:

*Sorry, Ava, that you inherited mommy's tendency for your hair to curl and react to humidity, as indicated in that last picture :/

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's That Time of Year: Shutterfly Holiday Cards!

I’ve been slow to warm up to the idea of the holidays this year. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it’s still hitting 80 degrees here on a regular basis, but I feel like I’m stuck somewhere back in August. Then, in setting up my calendar for the upcoming holiday season’s events, one deadline did excite me: placing my order for our 2011 holiday cards!

As you may remember from last year, we ordered our holiday cards from Shutterfly, and boy did we ever get a positive response! Our cards turned out absolutely delightful – far beyond what I had hoped – and so when considering my holiday cards for this year, there was no doubt in my mind that we’d be repeat customers.

On top of our Christmas Card order this year (we’re waiting to take some holiday-themed photos to choose our actual card and place our order), I’m going to be taking advantage of some of the other awesome photo items that Shutterfly offers, both for myself and for gift ideas for friends and family.

Here are some of my favorite ideas:

-Personalized 2012 Calendars! Who doesn’t need a calendar to get organized for the upcoming year? And rather than looking at stock pictures of waterfalls and animals, something tells me the grandparents would much rather look at cutie pie pictures of their favorite little granddaughter!

-Photo Books. Each year/during pregnancy, I have made my blog into a (lengthy!) photo (and text) book, and ever since, I’ve been hooked. If any big event has happened where photos have been taken without restraint, it’s been turned into a photo book at my house! With the holidays approaching, this seems like a perfect gift idea!

Have you started thinking about your Holiday/Christmas cards yet? When do you normally place your order? Will you be gifting any personalized photo items to friends and family?a

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ava's Birthday Dress: Voting Time!

So Ava's second birthday party will have a "Pink Poodle in Paris" theme, and so I'm wanting to commission a dress on Etsy that will go hand in hand with it. I've found three that I like/love, but want to know what you all think.

Here they are:




I've almost completely ruled out the second, but still thought I'd keep it in the running for now. Also, the first poodle matches the poodle on her party decor, so that's something to think about as well.

Ok, go!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Lately, Ava has been saying such adorable things, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to share a few!

-This morning, while trying to find an episode of Dora on the revised Nick Jr. lineup (why are they always changing the times that shows come on?!?!?!?!), we stumbled across Winnie the Pooh and stopped for a second, since it was one of those celebrity voice-over shorts and it happened to be Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. Now, I'm not a big Pooh fan, mainly because my mom is the world's biggest fan, so potentially I was just overexposed, but I do like that story. Anyhow, after it was over, we kept flipping, but Ava kept asking us to turn it back on, yelling "Winnie the Poop! Winnie the Poop!", and then later, "Winnie the Pooh Pooh!" HAHAHA.

-Ava has only just recently started to drop the "sh" sound in place of an "s" (yesh for yes), but she still says it in a few different instances. Mainly, she asks on a regular basis to "shit" on the potty (instead of sit on the potty). HAHA!!!! I love it. Until she asks in public, and then it's unfortunate that I'm super pale and blushing is so obvious on my face!

-Ava lately has become more aware of what it means to be in trouble. Rather than just knowing that mommy is upset over something, she recognizes a feeling of guilt, and has started to hide her face behind her hands when she's done something wrong. More often than not, this "something wrong" includes overturning her snack/food bowl. Drives me nuts!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Christmas/Birthday Gift Idea.

Well, we only made it to her second birthday before doing a combined gift, but if they're as awesome as this, it's ok, right?

Now who wants to help me put this bad boy together?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Hallowean!

Nope. Not a typo. Also? I know Halloween was a few days ago, but I just could NOT come up with a relative title for this post, so that's the best I could do. Deal with it.

Anyhow, this is the post where - rather than revealing Ava's fifth Halloween costume - I ask for advice from any extended breastfeeders out there. That's right. We may not have had a heart to heart about it in recent months, but I am still breastfeeding Ava.

I know that most people may think that's a bit odd. In fact, I definitely fell into the aforementioned category prior to having a child. But between Ava's love of nursing and the comfort it gives her, and her milk protein intolerance, it's been the best choice for us. I could go on and on justifying why I'm still nursing my 22 month old, but - long story short - it's been what has worked best for our family. The end.

Now, though, I'm feeling like that ship has sailed. More and more I'm wanting to start the weaning process - and more and more she's pushing back on my attempts. I try to put her off when she wants milk and I feel like she doesn't really need it (aka bedtime/naptime), and she collapses into pitiful cries of, "Mama milk, peeeeaaase! Pease?" Then she starts signing please. Ok, Ok, Ava. I get it.

So - I need advice. Any weaning tips for a toddler. Also, anything to make it easier on mom? As much as it'll be nice to have my body entirely to myself for the first time in 2.5 years, I will admit to feeling sad about this time being over. Also, I definitely don't want to do it abruptly and have it mess with her feelings of security and comfort - I'm a real weirdo about my child not feeling abandoned or rejected at any cost.

Thanks, guys!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Photo Bomb!

First, our pumpkins :)

Costume number one: pumpkin for the fall fest. Fail.

Costume 2: Angelina Ballerina for a Halloween Party! Better...

Halloween morning (aka before the madness and overstimulation kicked in...)

Betcha didn't know Tink did gymnastics?!

Tink at the park :)

Mid-afternoon dress-up:

Preceeded by a mid-afternoon meltdown:

Surrounded by her many admirers!

Debuting her Halloween costume!

Someone got a bit sick of her costume about five minutes in, but we managed to talk her back into it...whew!

Pink poodle playing in the sandbox:

What a gorgeous peacock (and baller costume!):

Setting out on our trick-or-treating adventure:

Hmm..whatcha got in there?

P lends a hand :)

Checking out her stamp:

"Knock knock"

She may have gotten a bit tired there towards the end!

Family pic!

In sum, Halloween was awesome. I LOVE this age! Seriously, I much prefer this holiday being a parent, as opposed to a drunken college student.

Happy Halloween, everyone!
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