Sunday, January 30, 2011


...the reason I've been away!

I've launched a business, my friends, and would appreciate any and all clients you can send me!

Whether you're in the Austin area, or have a friend who needs help who could use a consult via telephone or in a nearby area (Houston, Dallas, San Antonio), I'd appreciate your referral!

Also, any feedback on the site would be great! It's not anywhere near finished, since I'm finding WP to be a fickle b, but any comments on what's there, what could stand to be added, anything you feel is extraneous, etc, would be more than welcome. Feedback on the name? Is the background too much? Feel free to be completely honest :)

Any any veteran wordpress-ers...HELP! What are these plug-ins, where can I get them, and what do they do? LOL.

Be back tomorrow, now that the introductory legwork is complete!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FYI: Flu Vaccine Complications

I'm not here to berate the flu vaccination and certainly not any other vaccinations - you all know if you've been around here for any length of time that I fully support vaccinating children.

I also, however, believe in the importance of information and that knowledge is power, so as an FYI, I just wanted to post this FDA report on incidences of seizures in young children following the flu vaccine FluZone for those interested to read.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Austin Breastfeeding Flash Mob

Clearly motherhood has turned me into a sap, because for whatever reason, this video made me tear up. I'm just so proud to be a part of a community like this one:


(I particularly loved the close-up on the wee baby with the polka dot hat - her face is priceless!)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

All Good Things Come to an End.

Let's see if I can get through this post without entering a state of complete mental collapse.

My job. You all should know by now how much I love it. How I consider the D's my very own family. How very, very much they - and of course the girls - mean to not only me, but to David and Ava. I secretly pray they'll end up accidentally having another baby so I can stay on forever.

That was the news I was secretly praying for, but here's the news I actually got: With S in school 3/4 time, and P in actual school full-time, my hours will be getting cut from the forty they were prior to this school year and the thirty they are now to roughly 10-20 as of the fall. Whereas we've found a way to rework our budget with the previous cut and I've been able to supplement with babysitting and my writing gigs, there is no way I'll be able to get by on those things alone if I'm only working ten hours or so per week. Not only that, but I'll only work a couple of days per week as opposed to a few hours a day, which - while great for the ol' gas mileage - makes me insanely sad. I'm not entirely convinced Ava doesn't think that the girls are actually a part of our immediate family, and while it's heartbreaking for me, I feel like it will be hard for her also.

Aside from the emotional stress of this change, I'll also have to find a second job, one that will pay well enough and coordinate with my new, reduced schedule. Oh, and that will allow me to bring A, because adding the expense of daycare is just not going to compute.

Any ideas? Suggestions? Know anyone in Austin looking for a kick ass nanny and will allow me to bring my super sweet and charming - despite her food-throwing haha - toddler with me?

I'm all ears.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hand in Hand.

What goes hand in hand with Ava's emergence into toddlerhood? Why, her tantrum-throwing and other toddler behavior, of course!

Ava has always been a super sweet baby, and still is. That being said, she's begun some undesirable behaviors, and whether it's due to me running around like a chicken with it's head cut off on a regular basis or not getting enough sleep or what, some of these things are really bothering me.

First and foremost, the hair pulling.

UGH. I HATE this. She's always played with my hair while she nurses to sleep, which - despite the plethora of baby hairs I have on one side - I'm ok with. But now? She thinks that it's funny to grab my ponytail or side swept bangs (on a good day when I do my hair...not often it feels like!) and pull with all her might. The more I protest, the more she does it. If I ignore it, the more she does it to attempt to get a reaction. Not fun. Suggestions?

She does the same with the cats tail, as she's guaranteed to get a meowed protest. Ever since she realized that pulling his tail will make Spencer meow, she does it and then laughs, making kitty noises. He used to tolerate her - like her even, surprisingly - but she's quickly losing favorable status after this gem of a behavior. Again, suggestions?

The other place we seem to be running into issues is the dinner table high chair. Here, she does two things that make me a bit nuts. First...she throws food. Handfuls of food sometimes. It started out as a way for her to communicate that she was done, so I gave her the tools (aka signs) to tell me when she's done in other ways. But then apparently she missed the freeing feeling of food flying out of her hands, and now she just does it for kicks and giggles. BLEH.

Also, and this one really drives me bonkers, she likes to gag herself. I can't imagine she's doing this simply for attention, as she has my undivided attention like 1000% of the time I feel, but she gags herself at mealtime. My sweet little bulimic baby. Kidding. Totally kidding. But in seriousness, what the heck is behind that?? It scares the hell outta me.

Any of these ring true for my fellow toddler moms? Or vets with advice? Anyone else having new, less-than-lovely toddler behaviors emerging?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Toddler Time Thursday!

Fitting with my recent switch to referring to Ava as a toddler, she's decided to hold me to that term and start behaving like one. Check it out:

She colors:

She plays with puzzles:

She reads in the car (seems toddler-ish, right?)

She gets into trouble if I turn my head for a second:

She takes up the ENTIRE bed:

Another toddler-appropriate thing she does? She's been using the potty sporadically. We have her using a potty chair, because she's clearly not big enough to get on the actual potty and I think that me setting her on it might be overwhelming/scary, but if I take her pants and diaper off and set her on it, every single time without fail she goes! In fact, she POO'D on it the other day. No joke, friends. I took a picture, but I really feel that posting it would be crossing a line. Ha! I couldn't believe it. She just sat on it and she seemed to be straining a bit, so I thought she was protesting being on it and went to get her off only to find poo! Who thought that it was possible to be SO excited to see poo?! Anyhow, she's peed on it twice and poo'd that one time, but now she seems to be less interested. That's fine by me, since I'm not attempting to potty train her but rather get her used to the potty chair and have her not be afraid of it, so we're not pushing it. Still, yesterday I sat her on it while I went, saying "Look, mommy teetees on the potty, too!" and she wasn't interested and stood up. When I told her "Let mommy finish and I'll get you a diaper, she smiled at me and standing directly in front of her potty chair, peed all down her leg and all over the bathroom floor! HA! She clearly gets what "teetee" means.

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Laughing in the Face of 13-Months-Ago B...

While I don't regret the way things are with Ava, I will say this: I *will* do some things different if we ever have a second child. Here's just a quick comparison of where we are, as opposed to what my babyless-self had in mind as to where we'd be. Contain your laughter, if you will :)

What I said: "My baby will sleep in her crib from day one!" and, the hilarious gem, "We would *never* even consider co-sleeping."

Ha! Haha! Excuse me a second as I double over laughing.

The reality: That crib we bought from Italian designer Pali (albeit secondhand, thank God!)? Yeah, never been slept in. Currently being used as storage. A is happily, sleepily curled up in our bed, where she sleeps for every nap and every night. And even more surprisingly to current me? This works for us, at least for the time being. I'm not saying I want to round out this, her second, year with her in our bed still, but she's still so little - toddler or not - that it works for us and we're happy.

The other reality: These may be related, but what's done is done and you know where I stand about CIO: Ava doesn't sleep straight through the night. Yeah, yeah, shame on me for not letting her cry, but 13 months in, I still cannot support crying herself to sleep in an act of learned helplessness as the best way to sleep train. I've never met a child who still continued to wake up and nurse through the night their entire lives, so rest assured, this too shall pass.

What I said: "Just make it to 3 months..."

Reality: 12.5 months old, and the only two fluids she has ever received are water and breastmilk (yes, i'm anti-juice, but again, another story for another day).

What I said: "I'll never be one of those women nursing a toddler. If they're old enough to ask for it, they're too old."

Reality: Sometimes I just want to slap B-of-old. I stick to my guns about not being that mother at Kindermusik bra-less and letting her 18 month old nurse at will off and on throughout the class, but we still nurse 4+ times daily, at night and between meals, and both of us are still very happy with the arrangement, even if A says something that sounds suspiciously like "ma mil" (we've always asked her if she wants "mama milk") and signs milk.

What I said: "I'll never be one of those women whose children watch TV all day."

Reality: This one I've held up on bigtime, because I see so many children set in front of the TV so their parents can go about pretending like they're not parents and engage with their children. That being said, we permit A to watch a half hour of Dora on average twice per week, and I don't feel guilty about it. First and foremost, she's not passively watching, but rather engaged, pointing at Boots, Swiper, Dora, Backpack and being able to do so when asked. She makes the animal noises when animals are on screen, and then walks off to play with one of her toys. She's not in a TV daze. I grew up an only child and therefore watched a TON of TV growing up, since there wasn't anyone except adults for me to play with and - let's face it - adults tire of playing kid games. I'm also college educated with two degrees, would choose a book over TV any day of the week, and am a published writer, so things didn't go too downhill for me, did they?

How are things different for you than you imagined? In what ways did you change your thinking being a parent, and are you glad you did?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Next Up: Valentine's Day!

After Christmas and New Year's, I'm usually in the midst of a holiday hangover. The tree comes down, the decorations get stored away for next year, and the leftovers quickly dissipate, leaving my fridge (but, unfortunately, not my waistline!) a bit less full, and I take a long, earned sigh of relief. Now that I'm a parent, though, my attitude towards holidays has changed, and honestly? I cannot get enough!

Take for example Valentine's Day. The candy hearts, kissing stuffed monkeys and Valentine's party supplies hit the shelves the day the holidays were over, and for a change, this push to the next holiday was not met with dismay. Instead, it made me think fondly back to last Valentine's Day, where we dressed A up in her Beatles "Love" onesie and pink pants, presenting her with a "Happy 1st Valentine's Day" card and some candy hearts (which were obviously more for me!). We then ordered a to go meal from one of the most romantically-themed restaurants in the city, and popped open a bottle of champagne to toast over our tenderloin and cheesecake. The only thing I wish we had done differently is commemorating little A's first Valentine's Day in a more permanent way, such as a photo mug or a photo gift. Thankfully, as we all know, there is no shortage of holidays the whole year round, and, if you regret the way one went, there's always next year! That's why, this year we're ordering Shutterfly Valentine's Day cards to commemorate A's second Valentine's Day, and to send to all our Valentines!

Won't YOU be our Valentine?

I'm currently torn between these four... Which do you prefer?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Post-Holiday Shopping.

While it could be said that January is a terrible time for shopping, with the holidays barely a memory away, I feel the opposite. Sure, I probably went a bit overboard this Christmas, seeing as how it was Ava's first Christmas and her first birthday just days later, but still, I've found that January is a great time to find exceptional deals, as retailers nationwide know that shoppers are a bit more reluctant than normal to hand over the cash.

CSN stores is no exception, offering amazing deals (everyday, not just post-holiday!), a great selection of merchandise from over 200 stores, and - and this part is the best if you ask me - the ability to shop exclusively from home. That's right. I'm lazing around in my pink PJ pants right now, and yet picking out birthday gifts for some of baby A's friends. I'll check that off my to-do list now, thank you very much!

Aside from great gifts for children, which we can all use at some point, you can find much, much more at CSN stores. Take for example this great, contemporary furniture by Herman Miller. Even with my house being four years old, I still always feel like it's missing a quintessential piece as a finishing touch, and have found some great things available from CSN Stores.

If you're not in the market for furniture or baby gifts, rest assured there is still something for you at CSN. From gardening essentials (if you live in the South, like me, spring is just a hop, skip and a jump away!), to office accessories, to exercise gear to help breathe new life into your already forgotten resolutions, you're sure to find something you love at CSN!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(Not Entirely) Wordless Wednesday: The Potty Chair

I read this article a couple months back about getting your toddler (gulp!) used to a potty chair by just setting it in their bathroom, and I thought it sounded like a good idea. S wasn't potty trained despite her insane intelligence and physical capability until my maternity leave at 3 years and 4 months (!!!) and I just can't handle that. Anyhow, enter A's introduction to the potty chair:

This next part I wouldn't have believed if I didn't see it with my own two eyes. If you need a second eyewitness, thankfully D was home as well, or he would call me delusional. In a further bid to get A used to the potty chair, I decided we should sit her on it before bathtime so she'll get the idea. Anyhow, last night was the first time we did that, and SHE. PEED. No f'ing joke, friends! I mean, clearly it was a coincidence, but she peed on the potty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ha! Hilarious.

In what is surely may be crossing the line, I even snapped a photo. Oh, boy.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ladies, Please!

Can one of y'all please get pregnant already?!

First and foremost, I call NOT. IT.

It's just, I need one of you to, so that in fifteen months or so when I am ready to consider even the slightest possibility of having another child so that A doesn't end up spoiled or lonely or socially awkward, I'll have a good idea of what being pregnant and managing a newborn is like with a very active toddler and can make an informed decision.

So get on it, please :) Or shall we say, get it on, please. Ba-dum-cha!

*And yes, by informed I mean I want to watch one of you juggle a one-year-old, a huge belly, and the demands of recovering from childbirth/the sleep deprivation brought on by a newborn. I wonder why no one is stepping up to the plate after reading that! Ha!

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I had been planning this evening to post pictures and a little tidbit about Ava's first birthday party, which was today, but instead, I'd like to attempt the impossible and put down in words the utmost joy and happiness I feel today, so that I can always come back here to remember, if needed.

It hasn't happened for years and years now, but there was a time in my life where I thought for sure that there was no joy left in this world for me. I felt so desolate, and so alone, that I was sure that I would never feel happy again, and that there was nothing worthwhile up ahead.

And yet I sit here tonight in my home, littered with baby toys and wine glasses and half-finished novels - the signs of a meaningful and joyous existence - and now the opposite is true. In this moment, I cannot imagine that life could possibly be unhappy, or fearful, or negative. I spent the day celebrating the life of the person I love most in this world, surrounded by a family of our own making, as only one family member was actually in attendance, and it was lovely. A beautiful, perfect day, filled with baby giggles and smeared frosting and cake in chubby little skin crevices.

And while I'm not too naive to realize that bad things still do happen and no one is exempt from them, today, life is beautiful.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ava Loves Sock Monkey.

My lovely grandmother sent Ava a sock monkey (as well as three gorgeous dresses!) for part of her birthday present. She warned me that A might not like it initially, given it's exaggerated facial features, so not to be surprised if she wasn't into it. I'll let you judge for yourself how A felt about it:

These are for me?!


Going in for a kiss on this big ol' lips!


I love you, Sock Monkey!
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